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Archives - July 2005

July 29, 2005

"Tree Ring Circus" - "Is it really possible to determine the change in global temperatures over the last 1,000 years by examining tree rings?" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"El Niño or La Niña? The Past Hints at the Future" - "Studying the same evidence with the same techniques, two teams of researchers--one reporting on page 758 of this issue of Science--have painted diametrically opposite pictures of a key period in the history of Earth's climate, which climatologists are probing for hints of what's to come." (Richard A. Kerr, Science)

But they only disagree by 4 °C - 8 °C... over a period during which the Earth is thought to have been ~3 °C warmer than present.

"Forget Kyoto: Biggest emitters enter new pact" - "The biggest emitters of greenhouse gas in the world, including nations without compliance obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, have signed onto a new accord, led by the US and Australia." (NBR)

"U.S.-led climate plan won't supplant Kyoto -experts" - "OSLO - A U.S.-led Asian-Pacific accord on spreading technology to fight global warming has hazy targets and is unlikely to end up supplanting the far broader U.N. Kyoto protocol, experts said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Sayonara Kyoto" - "The new climate initiative that the U.S. and five Asian nations unveiled yesterday was most interesting for what it didn't say. The grand-sounding Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate drafted by the U.S., China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia consists of a vague vision statement that calls for technology transfer to speed the development of "clean" energy sources such as nuclear and hydroelectric power as well as liquefied natural gas." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Changes in the air post-Kyoto" - "THE Kyoto Protocol is over. Get over it. It doesn't have a future if the US-inspired Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate gets off the ground. The ballast on the issue of global warming and climate change is shifting to the New World - now including China and India - and away from the punitive system of limits and targets set by Old Europe for 2008-12." (The Australian)

"Climate pact: For good or bad?" - "On the surface, there's no conflict between the new Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate and the United Nations process which led to the Kyoto Protocol." (BBC)

"Statement by Klaus Toepfer in Response to US-Led Climate Initiative" - "Nairobi, 28 July 2005—Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today welcomed a plan by the United States to work with Australia and Asian countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Rapidly developing economies like China and India need new and more efficient energy technologies if they are to lift their populations out of poverty without compromising the environment or destabilising the global economy,” he said." (Press Release)

"EU reacts to US climate change pact" - "A US-led six nation climate change agreement is not a threat to the Kyoto protocol, the European Commission has said." (EUPolitix)

"EU pushes binding climate deal" - "The European Union says it will push for legally binding global restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. A spokeswoman's comments came after the announcement of a voluntary pact, based on new technology, between the US and five Asia-Pacific states." (BBC)

"EU sceptical about new climate pact" - "The European Union expressed scepticism on Thursday about a new pact between the United States and five Asia-Pacific nations aimed at cutting greenhouse gases in the future." (Agence France-Presse)

"EU Commission Welcomes Six-Nation Climate Pact" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Thursday hailed a six-nation climate change pact unveiled by the United States and Australia, saying it would boost efforts to fight global warming." (Reuters)

"Key points of US-Asia Pacific emissions agreement" - "The United States, Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea on announced Thursday a new treaty aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing global warming." (Agence France-Presse)

"New pact a welcome Kyoto complement but needs meat: Canada" - "A pact unveiled by the United States and five Asia-Pacific nations to cut emissions blamed for global warming is a welcome complement to the Kyoto Protocol but needs to be fleshed out with more details, Canada's foreign minister said Thursday." (Agence France-Presse)

"German Papers: Notes on Climate Change and the 'Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations'" - "On Thursday, US President George W. Bush and his Aussie chum John Howard dish up their latest conservative meal: Climate Protection á la Crawford avec sauce Cannberroise. But unlike the Kyoto protocol, the plan includes no targets or dates for emissions reductions and some German papers fear it is the most cynical ploy yet to get Kyoto countries to withdraw from the global warming treaty." (SPIEGEL ONLINE)

Oh my... "When it comes to the carbon crunch" - "The rising costs of carbon trading compliance will hit both companies and consumers, says Tobias Webb" (The Guardian)

Unfortunate bit of timing, eh Toby? Roughly half the world's population (and emissions) have signed up to an alternative scheme focussed on development and technology rather than economy-killing arbitrary caps. Regardless of whether enhanced greenhouse poses any kind of threat, the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, (notably including Japan, the naming host of the ill-fated Kyoto Protocol) clearly and unequivocally underlines leading industrial nations' No to Kyoto means exactly that. The music is coming to an end and for the EU there's not a chair in sight - their isolation is complete and key members Italy and Spain have clearly stated they will not be parties to any caps beyond Kyoto's 2012 limit. While EU states may fiddle around among themselves for a little while yet it must now be clear even to the Commission that their dreams of energy rationing schemes will never come to fruition.

"What is a Record Heat Wave, or a Record in Any Climate Metric?" - "The discussion on the significance of the recent heat wave in eastern Colorado continues (see the Rocky Mountain News article “Hot streak has experts divided“). This article illustrates an important issue in climate science: What measures do we use to identify a heat wave (or other climate extreme) as an all-time record? Can we make such claims from a record at an individual location?" (Climate Science)

"Giving Fossil Fuels Their Due" - "When it comes to the weather, it’s time to stop global whining. Surely it is an international pastime to complain about the weather, but making global implications out of a local hot spell is a bit much. Consider the editorial in the July 26, 2005 New York Times, headlined “A Few Degrees.” The idea is that the recent heatwave that started in the American Southwest and that has been slowly spreading eastward across the rest of the country is an example of how anthropogenic global warming, although it may only raise temperatures “a few degrees,” subtly makes life miserable for everyone." (World Climate Report)

"Journalism: Art of the Impossible" - "As we all know, the major newspapers and media outlets do not have an agenda to push. Reporting is scrupulously fair and balanced, editorials are pondered and written using the exquisite tact and careful attention to facts for which the medium is famed and, in complete and total contrast to blogs, vague and general assertions are never used to support pre-existing prejudices." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"E.P.A. Holds Back Report on Car Fuel Efficiency" - "With Congress poised for a final vote on the energy bill, the Environmental Protection Agency made an 11th-hour decision Tuesday to delay the planned release of an annual report on fuel economy." (New York Times)

"Japan needs more nuclear energy" - "The new general guidelines for nuclear energy policies formulated by the Atomic Energy Commission signify the first forward-looking course of action set for this nation's atomic power program in many years. The latest policy guidelines framed by the government's advisory panel incorporate a plan to expand the scope of nuclear energy development and utilization." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"India's Energy Policy 'Nuked' by Geopolitics" - "NEW DELHI, Jul 28 - India, one of the world's big guzzlers of energy, is caught between securing future supplies of depleting conventional energy sources, especially petroleum, and opting for nuclear power complete with an energy-intensive development pattern." (IPS)

"BMJ highlights lack of international cooperation to investigate scientific fraud" - "This week, the BMJ expresses concern about the validity of a paper it published in 1992 written by Dr Ram B Singh of Moradabad, India." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Malaria mechanism revealed" - "By determining the molecular structure of a protein that enables malaria parasites to invade red blood cells, researchers have uncovered valuable clues for rational antimalarial drug design and vaccine development." (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)

"Swim for Malaria" - "Speedos finally put to a good use. (But, swimmers, knock the water out of your ears and hear this. Nets are not the "single most effective way" to prevent malaria. The problem with malaria is that no single most effective way exists.)" (AFM)

"Drug patents are part of the cure" - "Access to medicines is a serious problem in developing countries. Yet a global campaign that places all the blame on intellectual property rights reflects growing confusion and ignorance about this complex issue." (AFM)

"Uganda Turns to Shrub for Producing Malaria Drug" - "Uganda will launch a new antimalarial drug combination to replace the common chloroquine plus fansidar or quinine drugs, which have become weaker as the first line of treatment, but the new drug cost 10 times as much as the traditional ones." (AFM)

"Making Antimalarial Agents Available in Africa" - "A review of the Institute of Medicine's recommendations regarding the procurement of artemisinin drugs." (AFM)

"Number of the month: 350" - "For the opening of yet another silly season to whom should we turn for the number of the month but Mad Margot herself. Realising that she was to European industry what a demolition ball is to a house, the Commission decide to move her sideways to take charge of public relations. Her first move, reported in The Times is to increase her staff by another 50 to 350. How many struggling European taxpayers does it take to keep that lot in luxury?" (Number Watch) [Scroll to foot of page]

"'Toxic Traces': Is It Muckracking or Just Muck?" - "Alarmism is harmful at any dose. Just as political mudslinging can unfairly sully reputations, sensational news about health dangers can rattle public confidence -- whether or not the sensational report turns out to be true. "Something about modern living has driven a steady rise of certain maladies," reports a front-page article from the July 25th Wall Street Journal, which goes on to say that the culprit may be "the prevalence of certain industrial chemicals at extremely low levels [in the environment]." An issue of profound importance is raised by this startling declaration: exactly how dangerous are the industrial chemicals that are increasingly prevalent in our environment, and are they really causing an epidemic of cancers and childhood brain disorders?" (Mara Burney, ACSH)

"Congress Curbs EPA Use of Pesticide-Experiment Data" - "Lawmakers agreed late Tuesday to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from using data from experiments that expose human subjects to toxic chemicals until the agency establishes a new standard for evaluating pesticides based on such tests." (Washington Post)

"Sensing environmental estrogens with glowing yeast" - "With the prospect of assessing thousands of chemicals as potential human and wildlife endocrine disrupters, the U.S. EPA needs faster analytical tests; current ones can take days to provide results." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Energy bill would order study of air-toxics risks" - "Lawmakers, responding to recent reports of risky concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals in Houston's air, are poised to order the federal government to study whether living near refineries and petrochemical plants damages people's health." (Houston Chronicle)

"UK: 'Health disaster' fear if pollution curbs go" - "The government is proposing to remove pollution controls from thousands of small businesses as part of its deregulation strategy, threatening its own targets on air quality. The proposal put to local authorities, which at the moment must license 17,000 businesses to help prevent pollution, is intended to "modernise" the regulations. However it would mean scrapping some rules entirely. The National Society for Clean Air (NSCA), which fought for 20 years to get the pollution controls imposed, and the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), whose members sell pollution abatement technology, regard the plan as a potential public health disaster." (The Guardian)

"UK: Junk formula demonises 'healthy' food" - "ADVERTISEMENTS for popular high-fibre cereals such as Kellogg’s Special K and All Bran would have to be shown on television after the 9pm watershed under a crackdown on junk food promotions. Yet campaigns tempting youngsters to eat a McDonald’s McFlurry Crunchie, a McChicken Sandwich, six chicken nuggets and even the English muffin with butter would sail through a healthy-eating formula devised by the Food Standards Agency and could appear on teatime and Saturday morning television." (London Times)

"Schwarzenegger Slams Sodas" - "California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced his support of the state's pending bills to limit the sale of soda and "junk food" in public schools. He claims this will help in the fight against childhood obesity and says that obesity-related health problems may be costing the state billions of dollars each year, with the number of overweight children still increasing." (Sara Cuccio, ACSH

"Scientists discover global pattern of big fish diversity in open oceans" - "A new study in Science reveals a striking downward trend in the diversity of fish in the open ocean – the largest and least known part of our planet. Teasing apart the effects of climate change and fishing over the past 50 years, the authors show a clear link to overfishing and highlight a surprising global pattern of open ocean hotspots - areas with predictable congregations of tuna, marlin, swordfish, and other ocean predators." (SeaWeb)

"Forget sunscreen, try salmon" - "Eating Scottish salmon can prove an effective weapon against sunburn, according to scientists." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"'Myth' That Forests Improve Water Flows - Study" - "OSLO - Many countries are wasting millions of dollars planting trees because of myths that forests always help improve water flows and offset erosion, a British-led study said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Planting trees may create deserts" - "Planting trees can create deserts, lower water tables and drain rivers, rather than filling them, claims a new report supported by the UK government. The findings - which may come as heresy to tree-lovers and most environmentalists - is an emerging new consensus among forest and water professionals." (NewScientist.com news service)

"GM potato uses frog gene to resist pathogens" - "A chemical that South American frogs excrete from their skin could protect potatoes and other crops from a range of diseases, according to biotechnologists in Canada. Researchers at the University of Victoria inserted a modified frog gene into potato plants to make them produce the chemical. The genetically modified (GM) potatoes showed resistance to infection by a broad range of disease-causing fungi and bacteria, including those responsible for diseases such as dry rot, late blight and pink rot." (SciDev.Net)

"Are scientists playing God with Frankentrout?" - "Consumers want bigger fish, so researchers at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service have figured out a way to breed trout that are bigger and considered more attractive than the regular variety." (CNET News.com)

"Genetically Engineered Goats: Technology Faces Challenges on Many Fronts" - "At a small biotechnology company outside Montreal, Canada, the future looks like milk from a goat - a genetically engineered goat that's engendered both controversy and millions of dollars in funding from both the U.S. and Canadian governments." (VOA)

July 28, 2005

"Kenya gets Sh6.3b to fight malaria" - "Kenya has received a grant of US$ 81.7 million (Sh6.3 billion) from the Global Fund for the fight against malaria." (AFM)

"Call for New Approach in Fight Against Malaria" - "Controversy at the SAMC Conference: Regional coordinators accuse RBM workers of running shoddy programs." (AFM)

"Chirac urges plane ticket tax to finance Africa aid" - "French President Jacques Chirac urges a tax on airline tickets to finance campaign against disease in Africa. Leaders of vacation destination countries are not impressed." (AFM)

"Is Uncle Sam watching you?" - "35 years after the US military invented the Internet, they still retain overall control of the master computers that enable you to send emails, surf web pages, and provide new domain names. But the UN's Working Group on Internet Governance wants an end to US domination of the net and is proposing instead an all-embracing Internet policy body involving all stakeholders, who would be in charge instead." (New Scientist)

Why, so the UN can get an opportunity to levy their first global taxation on internet commerce? Not for this little black duck...

"Beer Buzz in China Over Formaldehyde Fuels Health Scare" - "Fears about formaldehyde in Chinese beer have offered a vivid lesson about public-health scares in China and how newspapers, Web sites and marketers can drive the agenda more than state authorities." (Wall Street Journal)

"Record Low for June Arctic Sea Ice" - "June marks the beginning of the melt season for Arctic sea ice, which reaches its minimum extent at the end of the season in September. In the past few Septembers, Arctic sea ice concentration (the amount of ice in a given area) has been markedly reduced." (TerraDaily)

"Amazon source of 5-year-old river breath" - "The rivers of South America's Amazon basin are "breathing" far harder – cycling the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide more quickly – than anyone realized." (University of Washington)

Perhaps tree-huggers claiming the Amazon basin to be the "lungs of the planet" are right after all - busily exhaling carbon dioxide...

But seriously, why is anyone surprised by relatively fast cycle times for carbon from leaf litter? Carbon is sequestered for relatively long periods in timber and root, much shorter in relatively short-lived leaves. An awful lot of leaf litter washes into the rivers and swamps of the Amazon basin and carbon sourced from the breakdown of said litter is relatively recently sourced from the atmosphere. No, duh!

"Barton's reasonable request" - "When talking science, especially global-warming science, civility is a word rarely used these days. Take, for instance, what happened to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton recently. In June, Mr. Barton requested research information from the authors of a controversial global-warming study, because "this dispute surrounding your studies bears directly on important questions about the federally funded work upon which climate studies rely."

Sounds reasonable, but to House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, this constituted "intimidation" of the scientific community. The New York Republican responded to Mr. Barton's inquiry with another letter, saying that it was a "misguided and illegitimate investigation." The Washington Post and columnist David Ignatius quickly followed. "This is a bizarre episode that deserves much wider condemnation from congressional leaders," The Post editorialized.

Nonsense." (Washington Times Editorial)

Letter of the moment: "Controversy over global warming" - "A few weeks ago, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Joe Barton, wrote a letter to three honest men and asked for some facts. In this case, the men were scientists and the facts are contained in the data that support their global warming theories.

Few think there isn't global warming, but many wonder why. The three scientists say the facts finger you and me and our cars and our jobs. Other researchers have begun to doubt their data, however. At stake is potentially billions of dollars in taxpayer spending to fix the problem.

This is controversial stuff, and evidently just asking for facts generates some global warming. Much of the news media reaction goes something like this: Forget facts and get on with the spending. Only not so nice.

The committee's request for information has been called "bizarre, stunning, disingenuous, hunting witches, ludicrous, partisan, nasty, politically skewed, outrageous harassment." And that's just from one newspaper.

Fortunately, scientists are almost uniformly proud of their work and downright eager to explain it to the people who pay for it - the taxpayers - and it looks like the three climatologists are no different.

In the end, Mr. Barton wants their facts to speak for themselves. -- LARRY NEAL, Deputy Staff Director, House Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. Congress" (Toledo Blade)

"Global Warming: Religion or Science?" - "The “theory” of global warming posits that human activities such as deforestation--but primarily the burning of fossil fuels--are causing an increase in the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, enhancing the natural greenhouse effect. This warming, the theory continues, if unchecked will lead to all manner of apocalyptic events. I placed the word “theory” in quotes because I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that the idea that humans are causing global warming is really more akin to a religious belief--a revealed truth about human sins (fossil fuel use) and their consequences (all manner of calamities)--rather than a testable scientific explanation." (H. Sterling Burnett, Human Events)

Oh dear... "Global Warming: How Hot? How Soon?" - "A broad scientific census says that Earth is already experiencing significant global warming. So how hot will it get, how soon, and to what effect?" (National Geographic News)

"Wild Species Threatened by Low-Yield Farming, Not Global Warming, Expert Says" - "CHURCHVILLE, Va., July 27 -- "Claims that global warming will destroy up to a million wildlife species -- as recently featured on ABC's Nightline -- are willfully misleading," warned Dennis Avery of Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues at the American Society of Animal Science's annual meeting on July 24.

Worse, said Avery, TV networks and wildlife biologists ignore the real threat to the world's wildlife: a redoubling of human food demand over the next 50 years that could imperil vast tracts of wildlife habitat. Recognizing the food demand, however, would shift government research funds from climate models to politically incorrect agricultural research stations-our main hope to double crop and livestock yields." (U.S. Newswire)

Ooh! Bad timing, Stephen! "Moves afoot to counter U.S. Big Oil's clout" - "Reducing the greenhouse gases that derive from human activities and cause global warming is perhaps the most critical environmental challenge facing the world community. The task is made even more difficult by the intransigence of the world's largest economy and its leading oil company. Nevertheless, across the world, from Asia to Europe and even to the United States itself, there are glimmers of hope." (Stephen Hesse, Japan Times)

"US in plan to bypass Kyoto protocol" - "The United States and Australia have been working in secret for 12 months on an alternative to the Kyoto protocol and will reveal today a joint pact with China, India and South Korea to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (The Guardian)

While we are far from convinced there is any urgent looming catastrophe and hence hardly excited by "actions to address global warming" etc., we are amused by the response of the EU and big "G" Greens to news that several non-Kyoto-mandate countries are apparently acting in concert to enhance technology and reduce emissions allegedly causing harmful climate perturbation. You'd think that adding almost half the world's population to efforts to curtail ghg emission would have believers in raptures wouldn't you? Instead they're in a huff before the agreement's even been officially announced. Almost makes you wonder whether they're more concerned about the climate or just ensuring they are the ones making the rules, no?

"US, five Asia-Pacific nations unveil new climate initiative" - "VIENTIAN - The United States, China and four Asia-Pacific nations have announced a partnership to cut greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, but environmental groups have dismissed the plan as unworkable." (AFP)

"Kyoto Protocol target impossible, says South Korea" - "SEOUL - It will be impossible for emerging industrial powers such as China and South Korea ever to comply with the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, South Korea's Environment Minister says." (Reuters)

"Moveon Beyond Kyoto" - "A new agreement between the U.S., Australia, China, India, and South Korea seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, believed to fuel global warming, through technological approaches to the problem. This includes the development and transfer of energy efficiency and pollution reducing technologies to the developing countries of the world. Since these countries have not yet achieved the efficiencies of scale and technological advances that make the industrialized west so productive, their emissions per dollar of productivity currently average twice those of the U.S. The new agreement is very significant in a number of ways." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"Australia to host inaugural 'Beyond Kyoto' meeting" - "VIENTIANE - Australia will host in November the first meeting of six nations that have agreed a pact to combat global warming through new technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions, diplomatic sources said on Thursday. The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate will be introduced by the United States, Japan, Australia, China, India and South Korea at the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional forum later on Thursday. In documents seen by Reuters, the six nations say the pact will "seek to address energy, climate change and air pollution issues within a paradigm of economic development" and will "complement but not replace the Kyoto protocol." (Reuters)

"Short-term strategies can distort emissions progress" - "The UK government is reviewing plans for tackling global warming. At the same time, a formal review of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), seen as a central plank of UK climate change policy, is under way." (Financial Times)

Art? "Artist pulls the plug on running tap" - "A water company has given notice to a work of art which has already shed enough water to sprinkle half the lawns in Surrey." (London Guardian)

"Can we afford the energy bill?" - "It's bad enough that the energy bill now working its way through Congress may cost taxpayers close to $36 billion over the next five years. Worse, it actually contains provisions that would increase the cost of energy in the years ahead." (Ben Lieberman, Washington Times)

"CEI ON THE AIR" - "On Thursday, July 28, Myron Ebell will be on the "Diane Rehm Show" on WAMU from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. (please check local listings for broadcast times). He will debate David Doniger of NRDC and a representative from the Wind Energy Association on the energy bill." (CEI)

"New Zealand: Farmers frustrated by GM contamination" - "Farmers are "frustrated" by news that a big maize consignment has been contaminated by genetically modified (GM) material, endangering export markets. Around 13,500 tonnes of maize -- all from one region -- may have to be dumped, after routine testing revealed the presence of GM contamination. This is believed to be the sixth such incident in the past three years." (NZPA)

We could wish: "WTO to bulldoze European bans on GMOs?" - "Geneva, 28 July 2005 - The right of consumers to say 'no' to genetically modified (GM) food is under attack by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Greenpeace warned today." (Press Release)

"Fears trial threatens GM-free canola" - "There is a claim Australia's status as a producer of genetically modified (GM) free canola has been jeopardised by trial work in New South Wales. The Network of Concerned Farmers says GM canola was added to 10 truckloads of conventional crop as part of a CSIRO trial to evaluate testing regimes." (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

July 27, 2005

"Dispatches from the Southern Africa Malaria Control 2005 Conference" - "Why read newspaper accounts of the goings on at the Southern Africa Malaria Control 2005 Conference in Maputo, Mozambique when you can get the scoop straight from AFM's own Richard Tren? Read on to find Richard's take on the Conference." (AFM)

"Combination therapy based on artemisinins might not be the ideal treatment for malaria" - "A paper published in this month's PLoS Medicine suggests that combination therapy based on artemisinins (one of the newer antimalarial classes of drug) might not be the ideal treatment for uncomplicated malaria in Africa." (AFM)

"Kenya Launches Fight Against Its Top Child Killer, Malaria" - "Kenya has launched a campaign against malaria, which remains the country's leading cause of death for children under the age of five." (AFM)

"Race against malaria" - "An interesting paleo-pathology piece: Did malaria spur Polynesian migration throughout the Pacific?" (AFM)

"Don't believe what you read" - "Unless you drink two litres of water a day, your body won't be properly hydrated. People in the west consume far too much salt, increasing their risk of high blood pressure. Non-organic foods are covered in harmful pesticides. The incidence of obesity would be drastically reduced if only we stopped gorging on Big Macs.

Many people would regard all of the above claims as true. After all, they are repeated incessantly in the media, by health officials and in general conversation. They have become nuggets of wisdom that shape our understanding of the relationship between what we eat and the healthiness of our bodies. So they must be true, mustn't they?" (William Skidelsky, New Statesman)

"School study sparks pesticide row" - "Campaigners have called for action to protect children after research highlighted a link between illness and pesticide use in or near schools." (BBC)

"Exposure to pesticides in schools produces illnesses among school employees and students" - "The rate of new illnesses associated with pesticide exposure at schools increased significantly in children from 1998 to 2002, according to an article in the July 27 issue of JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

Hmm... over the 5-year period the annual rate was 0.00074% of students, of which roughly nine-tenths (2,315) were of "low severity" (saw application and reported a mild headache?) and all but three of the remainder were "moderate" cases...

At least the release eventually states that pesticide exposures produce "illnesses among school employees and students in the United States, albeit mainly of low severity and with relatively low incidence rates," the authors write."

Oh boy... "Small planet seeking saviour" - "Ecologists need a figurehead to stir us from selfish slumber, to help translate nebulous dread into action" (The Guardian)

Here's to pragmatism: "Thirsty art lover suspected of drinking sculpture" - "The sculpture, a plastic bottle of water full of melted ice from the Antarctic, was intended to be a telling comment on the dangers of global warming. But one light-fingered, and presumably thirsty, visitor to the exhibition may have missed the point." (The Guardian)

"New Asia-Pacific climate plan" - "AUSTRALIA has joined the US, China, India and South Korea in a secret regional pact on greenhouse emissions to replace the controversial Kyoto climate protocol. The alliance, which is yet to be announced, will bring together nations that together account for more than 40 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. To be known as the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, the grouping will aim to use the latest technologies to limit emissions and to make sure the technologies are available in the areas and industries that need them most." (The Australian) | "Beyond Kyoto" greenhouse pact being formed-Australia (Reuters)

"Govt undermining Kyoto: Greenpeace" - "THE Federal Government's reported participation in a secretive climate-change pact undermines the global Kyoto Protocol, Greenpeace said." (AAP)

In a way we agree with the 'peas - we'd rather governments refrained from signing up to silly weather control schemes too but that has precisely zip to do with a desire to resuscitate the Kyoto Protocol.

"Calculating the costs of climate change: Funds would be better used preparing for an inevitably warmer world" - "LONDON -- People who arrive at parties that are in full swing, and then ask who is paying and how much the party costs, are usually regarded as party poopers who should either keep their views to themselves or withdraw. At the moment the global warming party is at its height and it is considered very negative indeed -- almost bad manners -- to question the colossal costs of fulfilling the Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, or to ask whether the benefits justify the outlays. Yet a recent report from a very high-powered committee in the British House of Lords the other day did just that." (David Howell, The Japan Times)

Australia's anti-terror laws too weak? "Greenpeace Closes Australia's Main Coal Loading Port" - "July 27 -- Environmental activists Greenpeace have blocked access to Newcastle port, the world's largest coal- export harbor, to protest Australia's reliance on fossil fuels, which the group says contribute to global warming." (Bloomberg)

That virtual world again: "Climate change puts communities at risk" - "CLIMATE change is inevitable and will need to be factored into every decision made by Australian governments and industry as the nation faces more frequent and severe droughts and floods and more severe storms. A report commissioned by the Howard Government says that even if greenhouse gases were cut immediately, Australia could expect more extreme weather and less rainfall because of previous greenhouse gas accumulation." (The Australian)

Warwick Hughes used to run comparisons of Aussie 3-month predictions with what subsequently occurred (to the acute embarrassment of modellers) and probably still does. Regrettably, demands on my time mean that it has been some time since I had a good fossick around Warwick's wonderful resource but I would be surprised if interested readers had much difficulty locating such comparisons and much more of value besides.

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Medieval Warm Period in the Central Alps of Austria" - "How does it compare with what is suggested by other Northern Hemispheric temperature reconstructions?  And what does the new study imply about the relative roles of solar and atmospheric CO 2 forcing of climate over the past two millennia?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"'Little' Medieval Warm Period" - "In addition to the voluminous evidence that continues to accumulate for the occurrence of higher-than-present temperatures during the Roman Warm Period of 2000 years ago and the Medieval Warm Period of 1000 years ago, a growing body of evidence is beginning to indicate there was a period of time some 500 years ago when temperatures were also warmer than they are currently." (co2science.org)

"Long-Term Studies (Non-Woody Plants)" - "Will the positive effects of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment observed in short-term studies of non-woody plants gradually dwindle away as the air's CO 2 content continues to rise?  Climate alarmists would have you believe they will.  Long-term experiments suggest otherwise." (co2science.org)

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

Journal Reviews:
"20th-Century ENSO Events" - "Are they becoming more frequent and more severe?" (co2science.org)

"A Climate History of the Northwestern Mediterranean Region" - "How have the temperatures of this region fluctuated over the course of the Holocene, and what do they reveal about the Modern Warm Period?" (co2science.org)

"Primary Production in the Adriatic Sea" - "How has it varied over the past four decades?" (co2science.org)

"Growth Responses of Five-Species Ecosystems to Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment" - "What do they suggest about potential changes in the species richness of earth's ecosystems as the air's CO 2 content continues to rise?" (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO 2 on the Reproduction and Progeny of a Dioecious Plant" - "Is it a help or a hindrance?" (co2science.org)

"With a Push From the U.N., Water Reveals Its Secrets" - "Today, more than a billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Polluted water contributes, each year, to the death of about 15 million children under age 5. By midcentury, between two billion and seven billion people will face water shortages." (New York Times)

"Claims of GM-field ‘superweed’ are dismissed" - "A herbicide-resistant weed has been found in a field used for the UK’s farm-scale evaluations of genetically-modified crops but – despite the claims of several media reports – it is no GM “superweed”, say scientists." (NewScientist.com news service)

"African Union sets up biotechnology advisory panel" - "[NAIROBI] A panel has been set up to advise the African Union on ways of building capacity to apply and safely handle modern biotechnology. The African Panel on Biotechnology includes senior scientists and policymakers from across the continent. Its creation was announced on 30 June by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The panel will be co-chaired by a former vice-president of the World Bank, Ismail Serageldin of Egypt, and Calestous Juma, the Kenyan former executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biodiversity." (SciDev.Net)

"We need to move past scare stories in GM debate" - "DEBATES about GM crops continue, refreshed from time to time by new claims of risks or benefits, sometimes backed up by scientific evidence. In the latest example, an announcement from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Dorset, reported yesterday, led to renewed claims that GM crops have created a "superweed". This idea is neither new nor surprising. I first became involved in such discussions in the late 1980s when there were heated discussions among scientists about whether GM crops would be fit enough to survive in the natural environment, and whether they would be able to hybridise with wild relatives." (Professor Joyce Tait, The Scotsman)

"India: Govt study spies genetic cotton faults" - "New Delhi, July 26: Government scientists have acknowledged flaws in the genetically modified Bt cotton plants under commercial cultivation, virtually endorsing what non-government organisations have been claiming for long. However, biotechnology company Monsanto, which provided the technology to create the plants, said Bt cotton had gained acceptability among farmers and done well in the past three years." (The Telegraph)

"Genome scheme to revamp vines" - "Milan, July 25 - An Italo-French vine genome project will boost the quality of wines, protecting them from pests and making them better for consumers' health, experts said on Tuesday. The six-million-euro project has the blessing of French and Italian agricultural ministries and will be carried out by top genome, biotechnology and molecular biology labs. Project chief Enrico Pe' stressed that the scheme did not involve genetically modified organisms, which are highly controversial in Europe." (ANSO)

"GM plant produces non-GM watermelon" - "A combination of genetic modification and traditional plant grafting techniques can help watermelon crops resist a potent plant virus without introducing foreign genes into the fruit, say researchers. The method could be applied to other crops, such as cucumber and melon, which the virus can also damage. Instead of genetically modifying an entire watermelon plant, the team of Korean biotechnologists modified only the 'rootstock', a kind of underground stem, to which seedlings of commercial watermelon varieties are grafted. This produced fruit that contained no foreign genes, avoiding some of the often-controversial issues relating to genetically modified crops." (SciDev.Net)

July 26, 2005

"Should we ban chemotherapy too?" - "USAID’s anti-pesticide policies must change, or millions will continue to die." (AFM)

"Finding a better way for Africa" - "For us in Africa, the real nuts to crack are excessive government regulations, poor education, punitive local taxes on drugs and poor health infrastructure both in terms of personnel and resources." (AFM)

"Unraveling CAFTA: Lobbyists vs. free trade" - "CAFTA-DR, as originally drafted, had both costs and benefits, and congressional support for the document was weaker than the administration had hoped. However, special interest groups have joined the renegotiation process--a potentially harmful development for consumers." (Frances Smith, CEI)

Richard Doll (Number Watch)

"Understanding biases in epidemic models important when making public health predictions" - "Mathematical models have become invaluable decision-making tools for public health officials. As demonstrated during the United Kingdom's foot-and-mouth epidemic of 2001, models can be useful in two ways: they can reveal the underlying characteristics of an infection and they can allow the comparison of alternative control measures. Often, however, such models make implicit assumptions that may systematically bias their predictions, say researchers at the University of Georgia." (University of Georgia)

Decision support systems are one thing, decision abdications systems another. A system used to "justify" the pointless decimation of UK's livestock is hardly a great selling point.

Uh-huh... "'Is my baby a boy? Is it a girl?' No one could tell me" - "The number of male babies born with reproductive disorders is rising rapidly, and some scientists blame a group of chemicals that are around us." (London Times)

Isn't it interesting, a [developed] world full of people prepared to point accusatory fingers at trace amounts of "nasty" chemicals (they must be nasty, they're "synthetic") and yet no mention is made of these being the same generations who have apparently wholesale self-medicated with who knows what compounds generically labelled "recreational" drugs. Can't be anything they've done to themselves though, must be the Evil Empire's fault, no?

"Evolution of taste receptor may have shaped human sensitivity to toxic compounds" - "Researchers have found new evidence suggesting that the ability to taste bitter compounds has been strongly advantageous in human evolution. Animals rely on chemical perception, including the senses of taste and smell, for protection against the harmful compounds found in nature. It is widely believed that behavioral and dietary choices may have reduced the importance of such chemical perception in higher primates, and particularly in humans." (Cell Press)

"Toxins drove evolution of human taste sense, global study reveals" - "Plant toxins in the diets of early humans drove the evolution of a bitter taste receptor better able to detect them, suggests a new genetic research by scientists at University College London, Duke University Medical Center, and the German Institute of Human Nutrition." (Duke University Medical Center)

"Soft drink industry weighs restrictions on school sales" - "With pressure from health advocates mounting, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and the rest of the soft drink industry are considering a voluntary ban on carbonated soft drinks in elementary and middle schools and restrictions on sales in high schools. Industry leaders are expected to vote on the issue this week during a conference call of the American Beverage Association's board, say several people familiar with the trade group's discussions. The policy would mark a significant shift in strategy for the industry, which has fought proposed school vending machine restrictions in state legislatures and local school districts." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Possible exposure to nerve agents and brain cancer deaths in Gulf War veterans" - "A new research paper to be published in the August 2005 issue of the American Journal of Public Health finds that Gulf War veterans who may have been exposed to nerve agents during the March 1991 weapons demolitions in Khamisiyah, Iraq, appear to have a higher risk for brain cancer death than veterans who were not exposed." (The National Academies)

"Multiple genetic 'flavors' may explain autism" - "In a pair of studies, the researchers identify and characterize a number of mutations in the gene that regulate brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in breathing, digestion, sleep, appetite, blood vessel constriction, mood and impulsivity. About 25 percent of people with autism have elevated levels of serotonin in their blood. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) drugs improve some of the symptoms of the disorder. These findings have led scientists to propose that serotonin plays an important role in autism." (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

"Mercury pollution talks yield no change" - "A meeting with top federal environmental officials that the Ehrlich administration hoped would lead to tighter controls on mercury air pollution has produced no changes, state and federal officials said." (Baltimore Sun)

"Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Prigs" - "Never one to avoid leaping on a bandwagon I am going to tell you about Harry Potter. Or rather, how others who cannot see a passing wagon without similarly leaping aboard have managed to get their facts a little, umm, confused." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"Ocean spray lubricates hurricane winds" - "According to mathematicians from UC Berkeley and Russia, turbulence at the boundary between wind and ocean should keep hurricane winds to a gentle breeze. Models of this interface, however, show that large drops of water thrown up by waves suppress the turbulence, allowing winds to build to tremendous speeds. Perhaps, they speculate, a fast decaying surfactant poured on roiling seas could tame a hurricane." (University of California - Berkeley)

"NASA's Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes Mission in Costa Rica" - "NASA’s ER-2 airplane departs the San Juan Santa Maria airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, on July 6, 2005. On July 20, NASA's ER-2 embarked on a mission over the eastern Pacific Ocean, studying intense tropical thunderstorms west of Costa Rica and performing a satellite underpass that helped validate weather data collected from space. This mission is part of NASA's month-long Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) campaign." (Marshall Space Flight Center)

"Ice ages linked to galactic position: Study finds Earth may be cooled by movement through Milky Way's stellar clouds" - "It might sound preposterous, like astrology, to suggest that galactic events help determine when North America is or isn't buried under immense sheets of ice taller than skyscrapers. But new research suggests the coming and going of major ice ages might result partly from our solar system's passage through immense, snakelike clouds of exploding stars in the Milky Way galaxy." (SF Chronicle)

"Did The July 21, 2005 U.S. Senate Committee Hearing On “Climate Change Science And Economics” Provide A Balanced Perspective On The Climate Science Issues?" - "On July 21, 2005, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a Full Committee Hearing entitled “Climate Change Science and Economics.” The Hearing was:

“To receive testimony regarding the current state of climate change scientific research and the economics of strategies to manage climate change. Issues to be discussed include: the relationship between energy consumption and climate change, new developments in climate change research and the potential effects on the U.S. economy of climate change and strategies to control greenhouse gas emissions.”

I am particularly interested in learning what testimony was given since I was called on July 11 and invited to present testimony at this Hearing. However, on July 13, I was e-mailed:

“Dr. Pielke: we have had a change in plans. We have decided to ask NCAR to provide a senior scientist from that organization for the hearing. As a result we won’t be asking you to drop everything and appear at our hearing. My apologies for the confusion.” (Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

"Global Warming Claims Still Need Investigation" - "Comments during a widely publicized hearing in the Senate were intended to end the debate about global warming. It is caused by human activity and, according to the scientist testifying, "nearly all climate scientists today" agree that such is the case.
We hope sincerely that those concerned about climate change read the Associated Press report on the hearing - all of it. Because the scientist, Ralph Cicerone of the National Academy of Sciences, had more to say.

Cicerone was questioned about a 2004 report prepared by two consultants working for the Pentagon. That report was so far out in its predictions concerning global warming that simple common sense should dismiss it. But Cicerone told senators the report "was well done. I didn't think it was fictional."

Part of that report predicted catastrophic results for humankind as a result of climate change. One specific prediction was that rising oceans will break down the Netherlands' famous dikes and levees, making the Hague "unlivable" - in 2007. No reputable scientist would make such a prediction. It is more the stuff of a hit movie than of science.

But Cicerone accepts it. That should tell senators something about his objectivity - and about whether additional, more truly scientific, investigation of global warming is needed." (News-Register)

"Green Coal?" - "The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held its first hearing on what its chairman Pete Domenici, R-NM, promises will be several reviewing all aspects of the debate over climate change. With luck, subsequent hearings will provide more light than the first, otherwise this nation could face electricity brownouts and economic blackouts in the near decades ahead." (Duane Freese, TCS)

"U.S. an environmental slacker" - "Polar ice caps are shrinking, glaciers are melting and coastlines are falling away. The culprit? Global warming caused by burning fossil fuels. Unless we take strong action, these conditions will only get worse." (Dianne Feinstein, LA Times)

"John Kay: Bush’s lack of guilt on global warming" - "In the recent Group of Eight Gleneagles discussions on climate change, US President George W. Bush made four assertions: there are large uncertainties about the science and the economics; the Kyoto agreement would involve large costs and negligible benefits for the US; proposals to deal with greenhouse gas emissions that exclude developing countries are ineffective; and that research and development on new technologies should take priority over expenditure for meeting emissions reduction targets. It pains me to say it but on all points Mr Bush is right." (Financial Times)

"Climate change inevitable: Minister" - "AUSTRALIANS should expect higher temperatures, more droughts, severe cyclones and storm surges as a result of inevitable climate change, a new study has found. The Climate Change, Risk and Vulnerability report findings could be considered alarming but the changes would take place over time, Environment Minister Ian Campbell said. Even if greenhouse gas emissions could be miraculously halted tomorrow, there would still be climate change because of gases already in the environment, the government-commissioned report reveals." (AAP)

"Snake Oil Additives" - "Never say Congress isn't willing to accept blame -- as long as it can assign it to someone else. Having mandated the use of the fuel additive MTBE, the Members now want to shake down the companies foolish enough to have made the product.

This is the real story behind the debate over MTBE, which has once again become the sticking point in the House-Senate conference over the energy bill. The House has passed modest liability protection for MTBE makers, while Senate Democrats are threatening a filibuster if there's any such thing in the final bill. If we're lucky, the dispute will cause the hot-air dirigible that is the energy bill to crash and burn one more time. But it's more likely the Members will "compromise" by dropping the House provision and thus blame private business for Congress's mistakes." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Provisions to Curb Oil Use Fall Out of Energy Bill" - "WASHINGTON, July 25 - Working furiously to try to strike a deal on broad energy legislation, Congressional negotiators on Monday killed two major provisions aimed at curbing consumption of traditional fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal. House members rejected an effort to incorporate a plan passed by the Senate to require utilities to use more renewable energy like wind and solar power to generate electricity. They also defeated a bid to direct the president to find ways to cut the nation's appetite for oil by one million barrels a day." (New York Times)

"EU Emissions Trade to Dampen Aviation Demand - Study" - "BRUSSELS - Passenger demand for air transport will grow at a "slightly slower rate" if aviation is included in the European Union's emissions trading scheme, a document by the EU executive Commission showed on Monday." (Reuters)

"UK Power Industry Backs Future Role for Nuclear" - "LONDON - Britain's biggest energy suppliers on Monday backed the future use of nuclear power in the UK and urged the government to reduce obstacles to the construction of new reactors." (Reuters)

"Nerve damage repair agent hope" - "Scientists say they have discovered a protein that could be injected to repair damaged nerves and brain cells. The protein, KDI tripeptide, works by blocking the harmful effects of a substance present in degenerative brain diseases and spinal cord injuries. By blocking this substance, called glutamate, KDI prevents permanent cell death and helps the body heal itself." (BBC)

"Jab cuts hepatitis virus levels" - "Scientists have harnessed genetic technology to develop a potentially potent treatment for the B strain of the viral liver disease hepatitis. They have found a way to inject tiny molecules into the blood that switch off genes that play a vital role in the reproduction of the virus. The jabs have cut viral levels in infected animals by around 90%." (BBC)

"Field of beams" - "By firing rapid pulses of polarized light at corn, spinach and other crops, researchers have uncovered a picture of plant health that is invisible to the naked eye. Using a portable light source and detector technology, the researchers can differentiate minute differences in leaf colors - indicators of over- or under-fertilization, crop-nutrient levels and perhaps even disease." (National Science Foundation)

Eye roller: "Coalition of Groups Takes Aim at Sacramento, Calif., Public TV Show" - "Jul. 26--A 40-member coalition of food safety groups, environmentalists and anti-biotech organizations is demanding that a Sacramento public television station withdraw its national weekly TV series on American food production scheduled to debut in September. The groups claim that sponsorship of "America's Heartland" by agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto Co., the American Farm Bureau Federation and other national farm organizations will present viewers "biased" programming favoring genetically engineered crops and other conventional farming methods." (The Sacramento Bee)

"What's so scary about rice?" - "In the heart of America's rice industry, a fight has broken out between the King of Beers and a tiny biotech company with plans to cultivate transgenic rice containing human genes." (Business Week)

"GM foods: popular myths" - "In this article on genetically modified (GM) foods, DietDoc takes a look at some of the most persistent myths that do the rounds – and the actual facts. The information has been sourced from a report based on a publication released by the New Zealand Royal Commission on genetic modification. This report was the result of 14 months of consultation with proponents and opponents of GM." (Health24 .com)

Today's meaching: "Weed discovery brings calls for GM ban" - "Britain cannot afford to take the risk of spreading genetically modified genes to wild plants and should ban GM crops that have wild relatives in the countryside, the former environment minister Michael Meacher said yesterday." (The Guardian)

"Scientists play down 'superweed'" - "Scientists have urged caution over a study which may have found a so-called "superweed" growing at a site where GM crops had been trialled." (BBC)

July 25, 2005

"Poisonous Chemicals or Poisoned Media Coverage?" - "CDC report on environmental chemical exposure triggers wildly different response in media." (STATS)

"CDC Report: Chemicals in Human Body Not a Problem" - "CDC finally confirms what CEI has long maintained: The existence of trace levels of manmade chemicals in the human body is no cause for alarm." (CEI)

Oh dear... "Common Industrial Chemicals In Tiny Doses Raise Health Issue" - "For years, scientists have struggled to explain rising rates of some cancers and childhood brain disorders. Something about modern living has driven a steady rise of certain maladies, from breast and prostate cancer to autism and learning disabilities.

One suspect now is drawing intense scrutiny: the prevalence in the environment of certain industrial chemicals at extremely low levels. A growing body of animal research suggests to some scientists that even minute traces of some chemicals, always assumed to be biologically insignificant, can affect such processes as gene activation and the brain development of newborns." (The Wall Street Journal)

At the same time as we have these allegations, some of which involve powerful effects from the "memory" of chemical properties remaining after solutions are so dilute that no molecule of the "active" ingredient remains, we have men suing over hereditary infertility (male IVF offspring of infertile men can and do inherit their father's infertility). Why is it that some people are prepared to believe in subtle (imaginary?) effects from barely- and even no-longer- present compounds and yet give no consideration to health care having improved so much over the last century that we have greatly increased the number of less-than-robust members of society? Are we seeing the result of bizarre miniscule-dose poisonings or the result of less-ruthless selection? After all, nature is a harsh editor of non-advantageous genetic anomalies, medically capable societies are not.

"University of Kentucky chemist tilts at autism's origins" - "Boyd Haley is a leader in a nationwide effort to tie the vaccinations that were required for millions of American children to a rapid increase in the number of youngsters being diagnosed with autism." (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Haley has something of a mercury mania, blaming amalgam dental fillings for Alzheimer's and thimerosal for autism.

"Will Environmental Fear Stick to DuPont's Teflon?" - "When DuPont agreed to pay more than $100 million last fall to settle a lawsuit contending that its factory near Parkersburg, W. Va., had fouled local supplies of drinking water, some investors hoped to close the book on pollution caused by an important ingredient used in processing Teflon." (New York Times)

"High DDT levels found in breastmilk of HK mothers" - "High levels of DDT were found in the breastmilk of new mothers in Hong Kong even though the pesticide has long been banned in many places, including Hong Kong and China, suggesting that DDT is still being illegally used, a scientist said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Senators Act To Kill Mercury Rule" - "A group of 32 mostly Democratic senators acted last week to force a floor vote on a resolution that would overturn an EPA rule establishing a cap-and-trade program to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Lack of modern fuels kills 1.6 million people per year, UN report says" - "22 July 2005 – Some 1.6 million people die per year because more than 2 billion people in developing countries lack the modern fuels and electricity that help prevent indoor air pollution and its negative health effects, a new United Nations report says." (UN News)

"Cooling It On Global Warming" - "Newsmaker interview with Fred Singer, aka the godfather of global warming denial." (Bill Steigerwald, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

The Week That Was July 23, 2005 (SEPP)

NYT pretends to misunderstand: "Houses Divided on Warming" - "It's going to be hard enough to find common political ground on global warming without the likes of Representative Joe Barton harassing reputable scientists who helped alert the world to the problem in the first place." (New York Times Editorial)

as does the Post: "Hunting Witches" - "THIS IS HIGHLY usual," declared a spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee when asked this week whether the request by committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Tex.) for information from three climate scientists was out of the ordinary. He and his boss are alone in that view. Many scientists and some of Mr. Barton's Republican colleagues say they were stunned by the manner in which the committee, whose chairman rejects the existence of climate change, demanded personal and private information last month from researchers whose work supports a contrary conclusion. The scientists, co-authors of an influential 1999 study showing a dramatic increase in global warming over the past millennium, were told to hand over not only raw data but personal financial information, information on grants received and distributed, and computer codes." (Washington Post)

"Global warming: Climates political ..." - "The global warming controversy gives new meaning to "political science." Rep. Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, has asked for the data, documents and financial information regarding a study published in the late 1990s purporting to confirm the global warming theory. Instead of welcoming the opportunity to share the information with Mr. Barton -- and encouraging other scientists to conduct identical experiments to replicate the findings -- the three researchers circled the wagons waiting for the cavalry to come to the rescue. It did in the form of Reps. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., and Henry Waxman, D-Calif. -- true believers in man-made global warming science." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

"... climates bogus" - "When 15 tropical storms last year produced nine hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean, global warmers looking to augment their argument cried out, "You see, You see!" To which serious scientists have replied, "See what?" (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

"Editorial: The politics of climate / Global warming graph overheats debate" - "A hockey stick in the hands of an angry player can create quite a ruckus on the ice. Another hockey stick, created by a computer program used to study global warming, is doing worse in the scientific community and Congress. It's high time for an intermission so the players can take a few deep breaths and focus on the real problem." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"The Myth of a Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" - "Author's note: I noticed in Hawaii Reporter a recent statement by guest commentator Todd Shelly in his piece "Bashing the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming" that addresses the contentious debate about whether or not there is a general consensus on the science of global warming. Regrettably, Mr Shelly has made a number of erroneous and misleading comments regarding my research which I would like to correct. Please find attached my brief response which I hope will help your readers to make up their own minds about this ongoing scientific controversy." (Benny Peiser, Hawaii Reporter)

"The climate can't wait" - "For years, American politicians have been playing a dangerous game of denial over the issue of global warming." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Don't throw money at overheated issue" - "The suggestion that U.S. senators are considering inflicting severe damage on the U.S. economy to mitigate some of the supposed effects of global warming is worrying. It suggests that "the world's greatest deliberative body" hasn't deliberated anywhere near enough." (Iain Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Warming Up to a New Task" - "A frigid Alaska village, formerly a Cold War listening post, is now a research hub on climate change. Here, the effects come 'fastest and first.'" (Los Angeles Times)

"Commission authorises the climate change levy rebate for the agriculture sector in the UK" - "The European Commission has today authorised the United Kingdom (UK) to grant the agriculture sector a tax rebate of € 687 million over a period of 10 years. The rebate on the climate change levy of 50% for horticulture and 80% for agriculture sectors covered by Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) agreements allows UK agriculture to accommodate higher energy prices caused by the levy while helping to meet the CO2 reduction targets for the UK and for Europe." (Press Release)

"EU pollution penalty could add to price of air tickets" - "Ticket prices for return flights out of European airports could rise by up to €9 under a proposal by Brussels to make airlines pay for the pollution they cause." (Financial Times)

"Carmakers set to miss EU emissions goal" - "European carmakers are unlikely to meet their voluntary target for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, an industry newspaper reported yesterday, raising the prospect that lawmakers will force them to act." (Reuters)

"Out of Gas" - "A look at the current state -- and future potential -- of alternative-fuel technologies" (The Wall Street Journal)

"Senators Demand More Information on MTBE" - "Twenty-one senators asked the Environmental Protection Agency for more information Thursday about an internal paper that reportedly concludes that the gasoline additive MTBE may cause cancer." (Associated Press)

"Lawmakers remove roadblock to energy bill" - "House and Senate conferees abandoned giving makers of the gasoline additive MTBE liability protection against environmental lawsuits on Sunday, removing the major roadblock to enactment of broad energy legislation." (Associated Press)

"Plan for Winter Windmill Idling May Save Birds" - "Windmills in the Altamont Pass near Livermore will be partially shut down this winter to protect birds that have been flying into turbine blades and dying in large numbers. This is the first time since the wind farm opened 24 years ago that the operation will be curtailed to protect migrating birds and raptors, such as golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and Western burrowing owls. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval to the seasonal shutdown and other measures this month — steps that went beyond what the wind energy industry supported but that didn't completely satisfy environmentalists either." (LA Times)

"Tax blots on the landscape" - "Robert Watts investigates how wealthy investors are being lured by enormous tax breaks to channel billions into British wind farms." (London Telegraph)

"Uncertainties Slow Push for Nuclear Plants" - "When the nuclear industry looks at the Bush administration's initiatives to promote a new generation of nuclear power plants, it sees a giant dollar sign. Critics see a giant mushroom cloud. For investors and taxpayers, who will have to pony up the cash, the sign may be a giant question mark." (Washington Post)

"Tidal power: the wave of the future" - "Three small B.C. companies are turning the tide on the world's future energy supply." (Victoria Times Colonist)

"Some dairy farmers oppose cloning" - "WASHINGTON - As the Food and Drug Administration considers whether to lift a voluntary ban on selling food from cloned animals, the agency is getting some resistance from an unusual source: the dairy industry. Trade groups for farmers and companies that use dairy products are not enthusiastic about introducing milk from cloned cows into the marketplace, fearing consumers would be leery about the products. "There's a strong general feeling among our members that consumers are not receptive to milk from cloned cows," said Susan Ruland, a spokeswoman for the International Dairy Foods Association, which represents food manufacturers that use dairy products." (Associated Press)

"Skin cancer breakthrough in an egg" - "CHICKEN eggs containing a drug that can target and treat skin cancer have been produced by Scottish scientists. Researchers at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, where Dolly the Sheep was cloned, used genetically modified hens to lay the drug-laced eggs. By "hijacking" the biological processes of the hens they were able to concentrate high levels of the drug inside the egg whites. The drug comes in the form of an antibody in the egg white. It specifically targets the malignant melanoma cells that cause skin cancer. The breakthrough has raised hopes that large quantities of the cancer drug can be harvested for patients from chicken eggs." (Scotland on Sunday)

"GM crops created superweed, say scientists" - "Modified rape crosses with wild plant to create tough pesticide-resistant strain." (The Guardian)

"Biotech brouhaha" - "Some native Hawaiian leaders harbor concerns about developing the state's life science industries." (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

July 22, 2005

"Stem Cell Smoke and Mirrors" - "The debate over federal funding of embryonic stem cell research has heated up again. A recent exchange of views in the Washington Post exposes the smoke and mirrors on both sides." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Fast-food restaurants give up on healthy food" - "NEW ORLEANS -- Healthy-eating campaigns at fast-food restaurants are fast fizzling, company executives say. Consumers aren't interested in health options and aren't reading nutritional information even when it's printed on napkins, they say. ''This isn't a rosy picture,'' said Marilyn Schorin, chief nutritional officer for Yum! Brands, which owns chains including Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut.

Schorin said Taco Bell changed its sauces and offered an eight-item alternative called Border Lights that had half the fat. The new offerings even won praise from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a longtime scold of the excess of artery-clogging food. ''It was a disaster,'' Schorin told the annual convention of the Institute of Food Technologists. She noted that at the same time Pizza Hut introduced a double-stuffed-crust pizza, and sales of that item soared. The company got the message, and Taco Bell scrapped Border Lights." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Obesity May Begin at the Office" - "WEDNESDAY, July 20 — Being a desk jockey weighs heavily on workers, according to a study that finds the more a man sits at his desk, the more likely he is to be overweight. The finding suggests office work may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic." (HealthDay News)

"CDC Releases Extensive Survey of Americans’ Exposure to Environmental Chemicals" - "The Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, released today by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows a significant decline in exposure to secondhand smoke and continued decreases in children’s blood lead levels. The report also suggests the need for more research into health effects of exposure to low levels of cadmium." (Press Release) Get Report

"Biomonitoring and Body Burden in Perspective" - "Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is releasing the Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Known as "biomonitoring," the practice of measuring extremely small levels of chemicals in human tissue is all the rage these days. Just last week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tried to scare us by reporting that they found "toxic chemicals" in umbilical cord blood." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

UCSF doesn't care for data quality (if it's publicly funded, anyway): "Unprecedented industry-backed laws limit public safety, study shows" - "Two laws recently passed by Congress with strong industry backing have had a chilling effect on government efforts to protect public health, according to a UCSF study." (University of California - San Francisco)

"Sandia completes depleted uranium study" - "Sandia National Laboratories has completed a two-year study of the potential health effects associated with accidental exposure to depleted uranium (DU) during the 1991 Gulf War." (DOE/Sandia National Laboratories)

"Court rules for Dow in dioxin case" - "Residents cannot sue Dow Chemical Co. to pay the cost of testing for future dioxin-related health problems, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled." (Detroit News)

"Gulf Dead Zone Likely to Be Smaller" - "The dead zone off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas should be considerably smaller than usual this year -- about the size of Rhode Island, rather than larger than Jamaica, researchers say." (Associated Press)

"Business fears set to prompt review of air quality improvement plans" - "Plans to improve Europe's air quality at an annual cost of €12bn are expected to be scaled back to meet the concerns of business." (Financial Times)

"Eco-friendliness not aiding governor" - "When it comes to the environment, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is learning what Kermit the Frog discovered years ago: It's not easy being green." (San Jose Mercury News)

No... but it is getting him a lot of publicity as a Girlie Gov..

"Special issue of Yale journal analyzes environmental impact of consumption" - "The environmental impact of what we buy and use is increasingly drawing the attention of business, governments, and consumers. The connection between consumption and environmental impact is analyzed in new and important ways in a special issue of Yale's Journal of Industrial Ecology. The full text is available free and online." (Yale University)

Guest Column: "How the humanity is to defend itself against eco-swindlers and believers in supernatural phenomena" - "They are not many, those swindlers who cheat by spreading falsehoods disguised as scientifically proven facts. There are perhaps not more than several thousands of them, or a few millions at most if we count also those of the tiniest caliber, but they are noisy and, eagerly supported by the media, they are very well heard everywhere." (Przemyslaw Mastalerz, Wroclaw, Poland)

"Satellites and the city" - "Just how does society's desire to live in densely populated areas have the potential to change our Earth's climate? According to a new paper, satellites can help us answer that question." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"US Senate Panel Begins Work on Greenhouse Gas Cuts" - "WASHINGTON - A senior Senate Republican said on Thursday he will pursue legislation that may eventually require US industry to cut gases linked to global warming, a view sharply at odds with the White House and many other Republicans. However, crafting legislation that would reduce emissions without being too costly to the US economy will not be easy, said Pete Domenici, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee." (Reuters)

"Senators Struggle to Act on Global Warming" - "After listening to some of the world's preeminent climate researchers yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators said they saw the need to take quick action on global warming but were struggling to reach consensus on what policy to adopt." (Washington Post)

"Poll says legislators should act on climate" - "A strong majority of Californians, rejecting Bush administration assertions that global warming is not yet a proven phenomenon, believe the effects of climate change have already begun and want state legislators to take action to lessen human activities that scientists say are warming the planet, a new poll shows." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"A Bid to Chill Thinking: Behind Joe Barton's Assault on Climate Scientists" - "In today's partisan political climate, science has inevitably become a political football. But I can't remember anything quite as nasty -- or as politically skewed -- as Rep. Joe Barton's recent attack on scientists whose views on global warming he doesn't like." (David Ignatius, Washington Post)

As always, there's at least two sides to this and they're actually quite nuanced and dependant on perspective. To break this down to a coarse juxtaposition the situation basically is one of elitist "How dare anyone question selfless experts?" and pragmatic "This is a radical (and potentially horrendously expensive) revision of history - prove it!" (about now everyone with a nuanced position is howling with outrage - and for my blood).

Everyone should calm down.

Key points here are that Mann, Bradley and Hughes have derived a graphic that has both become iconic and radically alters perception of past and current climate. Like it or not, the perception driven by this iconic "hockey stick" graph is a key driver in the move to divert prodigious human effort and resources. Rather understandably, a lot of people want to be reassured this radical re-evaluation of Earth's recent climate history is, well, bullet proof. Given that the IPCC essentially abandoned what we might call the tradition view including the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) shown in graphics in the Second Assessment Report and adopted the "hockey stick" (gradual cooling and no MWP or LIA) in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) and that it is this revised history against which climate models are calibrated (and then 'predict' massive warming) said revision is of particular interest. It has not helped that Mann was the IPCC's lead author for the TAR section adopting his revised assessment of recent climate history and, as such, was essentially his own reviewer.

Are 'experts' used to being called to show all workings and data? Usually, patient personal data, trade secrets and commercially sensitive data excepted, complete audit trails are expected if for no reason other than professional curtesy (besides, you feel a real goose when others attempting to repeat your work have to contact you with a "Listen old chap, just can't see how you got to such-and-such from somewhere-or-other..." and you find you haven't properly written the methodology or included required data [How come the reviewers didn't say anything?]). It may be that this is uncommon in the previously somewhat esoteric field of climate science but, given the stakes involved, who can find such intense scrutiny anything but expected.

Perhaps the best advice might be "Tell Mike, it's not personal."

Letter of the moment (don't know if this actually made print but it should have): "Noctilucent Clouds and Global Warming" - "Dear Editor, Your correspondent suggests that noctilucent clouds (NLC’s) over N Wales are a sign of “man-made” global warming.
NLC’s were first noticed in 1885 following the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa: spectacular sunsets and NLC’s were seen globally and NASA scientists now tell us links with global warming are “speculative”
When carbon dioxide (CO2) levels began rising again early last century, the planet cooled. This led to anti-capitalist claims in the Seventies that industrial pollution was precipitating the next Ice Age, though CO2 levels are currently very low historically.
If NLC’s were seen when the planet was cooling, it is difficult to see how they are only associated with warming. Man-made global warming was a theory supported by flawed virtual-world computer models and is now discredited by hard climate science.
Earth needs vegetation for survival; every molecule of CO2 removed by plants during vital photosynthesis is converted into sugars and oxygen, yet politicians and others have convinced the gullible it is a pollutant which must be taxed. A tax on air? What a silly and dangerous game this man-made global warming nonsense is. -- Name and Address supplied" (Letters, Daily Post, Wales)

"Greenland glacier melting rapidly, sliding into sea: Greenpeace" - "PARIS - A glacier in Greenland is melting very rapidly and has accelerated its slide sliding into the sea, with Greenpeace warning that the "dramatic" discovery proved that immediate action is needed to stop climate change." (AFP)

"Scorched earth" - "With forest fires, failing crops and reservoirs running on empty, southern Europe is in the grip of the worst drought since records began. But why is it happening? Temperatures are blazing but, as John Vidal discovers, other causes are at work too, not least our insatiable appetite for golf, swimming pools and freshly picked salads." (The Guardian)

"The great desiccation" - "Water shortages in Spain reflect low prices as much as drought." (The Economist)

Oh boy... "'Frankenfood' Controversy Spawns World's First Gene-Spliced Plant Character in 'Rustle the Leaf' Environmental Comics" - "July 21, 2005 -- GO NATUR'L STUDIOS, LLC., Danbury, CT — Citing growing concerns about potential environmental and health risks from food-related use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) -- often referred to as 'Frankenfood' -- the creators of 'Rustle the Leaf' environmental comics have introduced a GMO corn plant named 'GEEMO' to the strip's already quirky cast." (PRWEB)

Not actually about soy or other substitutes: "Campaign for Real Milk hits the public bar" - "A FAKE pub was yesterday serving up pints of milk in protest about genetically modified food and drink." (Western Mail)

"Using biotechnology to improve the yield and quality of rice" - "Demographers project that the World’s population will increase over the next 30 years, increasing the demand for all crops, but particularly rice because it is a significant source of calories for half of the world. As a result, rice is receiving considerable attention by plant breeders who are using both conventional and transgenic techniques. The goal of these breeders is to increase rice’s yield and quality." (Western Farm Press)

July 21, 2005

"Lawyers Challenged on Asbestos" - "Plaintiffs' lawyers, long accustomed to public criticism and lawmakers' wrath, now face a new and more dangerous adversary in federal prosecutors." (New York Times)

"Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Probed as Potential Pathways to Illness" - "Accumulating evidence that some widely used chemicals may have hormone-like effects on the body is heightening concerns about their potential long-term health risks, particularly when developing fetuses and neonates are exposed." (Journal of the American Medical Association)

"Threats to Patents, Threats to Health" - "Last month, Brazil made a splash in the pharmaceutical and healthcare world when it became the first country to set a deadline for breaking a patent on an AIDS drug. Until recently, all threats have been implicit. So on June 24 eyebrows were raised when departing health minister, Humberto Costa, issued an ultimatum to Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories to further reduce the costs of its antiretroviral combination drug, Kaletra. Brazil gave Abbott ten days to reduce the price to what Brazil deemed an acceptably low level -- effectively forcing the company to take a loss -- or it would copy the drug." (Roger Bate, TCS)

"Get rid of those bugs!" - "Officials at the WV state Department of Environmental Protection are in an ethical quandary. They need to rid the agency’s headquarters of an insect infestation but they don’t want to use pesticides." (Associated Press)

"ME is in the genes not in the mind, say scientists" - "The belief that chronic fatigue syndrome is "all in the mind" may finally have been laid to rest with the discovery that sufferers have biological abnormalities, researchers claim today." (London Telegraph)

"Groups argue vaccine, autism link" - "On the eve of a scheduled rally in Washington by parents of children with autism, leaders of federal health agencies and medical societies called a press briefing Tuesday to emphasize their message that childhood vaccines are safe and don't cause autism." (USA Today)

"BSE cluster triggers fears over contaminated feed" - "A cluster of BSE is being investigated by scientists who fear that contaminated feed is still being given to British cattle, nearly 10 years after it was banned." (London Independent)

"Will quantifying industrial symbiosis improve the world?" - "Central to the growing discipline of industrial ecology is the idea that one business’s waste can become another’s “food”—and that increasing the cycling of materials, water, and energy puts businesses on the path to sustainable development." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"New CEI OnPoint Confronts The Movement To Separate Science From Industry" - "Today's special supplement of the American Journal of Public Health on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy represents the latest installment in a campaign ostensibly designed to defend science that in fact wants to drive industry out of the scientific arena. As CEI Senior Fellow Iain Murray points out in his new OnPoint policy brief, The Nationalization of Basic Science: How Overzealous Attempts to "Protect" Scientific Integrity will Damage American Science as a Whole, these moves constitute an attempt to de facto nationalize academic science." (CEI)

"Strong impact of wintering waterbirds on zebra mussel populations at Lake Constance, Germany" - "The numbers of overwintering waterbirds at Lake Constance, have increased fourfold since the early 1960s, as shown by a study published in Freshwater Biology. The main avian population changes concerned the mussel-eating tufted duck, pochard and coot. Each bird consumes about 1.4 kg of mussels (fresh mass) per day. It is apparent that wintering waterbirds exert a strong top-down effect on the littoral community, but the mussel stocks recover every summer during the absence of their main predators." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Experts Question Science of Elephant Culls" - "JOHANNESBURG - Experts questioned the wisdom of using culls to contain swelling populations of African elephants on Wednesday, saying the science was dubious." (Reuters)

"Animal militants set fire to Oxford boathouse" - "Animal rights extremists are claiming responsibility for an arson attack on an Oxford University boathouse which caused an estimated £500,000 worth of damage. The attack comes after the Guardian revealed last month that activists have unleashed a campaign of arson in a return to tactics of the 80s in response to the government's attempts to clamp down on their activities." (The Guardian)

"Ozone doesn't make outside a 'no' zone" - "A group of health and clean-air advocates who decided to define how much exercise is safe for children on polluted days has made a happy discovery." (Sacramento Bee)

"Soil generates more NOx" - "Soil on farms and in tropical savannas may be a bigger contributor to ground-level ozone and its accompanying smog than previously thought, according to a new satellite-based inventory of global NOx emissions." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Barroso to face test over environment" - "José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, will on Tuesday face the toughest test of his campaign to scrap or tone down costly European Union legislation, when his team debates whether to press ahead with a raft of environmental laws." (Financial Times)

"EU Commission to Press Ahead on Environment" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union executive said on Wednesday it would press ahead with several environmental initiatives this year despite industry concern about high costs." (Reuters)

"Health v industry: EC finally forces through emission cuts" - "The European commission is to go ahead with plans to force governments and industry to improve air quality by cutting emissions, despite a furious row among commissioners yesterday over the cost of environmental policies. Stavros Dimas, the environment commissioner, who won strong backing for fresh measures to combat pollution in the face of opposition led by president Jose Manuel Barroso, is also due to present plans to include aviation fuel within the EU's emissions trading scheme this autumn." (The Guardian)

"House Fight Heats Up over Global Warming" - "The head of the House Energy and Science Committee is engaged in a nasty public fight over global warming." (National Public Radio)

"Title to MBH98 Source Code" - "It will take a while to go through the responses of Mann, Bradley and Hughes. I’ve taken a first look at the new source code and will commenting on it in due course. I have no information on responses from NSF and IPCC, other than what I read in the Nature interview with the Chairman of IPCC. Update (Wed.) : Just to clarify, the new source code referred to above is archived at ftp://holocene.evsc.virginia.edu/pub/MANNETAL98/METHODS/multiproxy.f. Mann’s arguments about title to source code discussed below are presumably an attempt to justify his withholding this source code up to now, rather than for withholding this program from the House Committee (which he has not done). That is not to say that there are not issues pertaining to exactly what he has now disclosed, but that’s another story." (Climate Audit)

"CEI ON THE AIR" - "Tomorrow, Friday, July 22, CEI Director of International Environmental Policy Myron Ebell will debate the appropriateness of congressional oversight over how federal research dollars are spent on NPR's "Science Friday," which airs at 2:00 pm ET. Also on Friday, July 22, at 10:00 pm, Showtime will air the latest installment of Penn & Teller's documentary series, "Bull***!," featuring CEI Adjunct Fellow R.J. Smith speaking on the Endangered Species Act. (Warning: The show contains strong language.)

"States Thwarted On Greenhouse Gases" - "A federal court of appeals has rejected an attempt by a dozen states and environmental organizations to force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as air pollutants." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Climate-change debate may hinge on Senate committees' jurisdiction" - "The opening salvo of a jurisdiction battle over climate-change regulation will be fired today at a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The issue highlights a sharp division between leaders of two Senate committees. Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and ranking member Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), on one side, have shown interest in passing a bill, while Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has called global warming the “greatest single hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” (The Hill)

"McCain – Wait, this Time It’s Domenici – Packs Climate Hearings with More of the Same Alarmism" - "[Today]’s scheduled Senate hearing on the science and economics of climate change misses an important opportunity to present a balanced, full view of the debate over its topic." (CEI)

"Canada: Resignations fly over Kyoto" - "OTTAWA - A team of officials responsible for a key part of the Kyoto implementation plan has been decimated by resignations, raising questions about whether insiders believe the plan can work. Almost half the members of a team working on a national emissions trading system quit, rather than transfer to Environment Canada from the Department of Natural Resources, officials at the two departments say." (CP)

"World Bank to Take Lead in New Climate Change Plan" - "WASHINGTON - The World Bank wants to bring together nations split over the Kyoto Protocol to work out a new plan that would remain effective long beyond the 2012 expiration of the climate change treaty." (Reuters)

"Scientist Testifies on Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming is caused primarily by humans and "nearly all climate scientists today" agree with that viewpoint, the new head of the National Academy of Sciences — a climate scientist himself — said Wednesday." (Associated Press)

"Scorching Heat Around Europe Causes Deaths and Droughts" - "All through a hot summer, the temperatures in Europe have soared to unusual levels." (New York Times)

When Summer Temperatures Were 2 °C Warmer Than Today: "Palaeoecological evidence of changes in vegetation and climate during the Holocene in the pre-Polar Urals, northeast European Russia" - "Abstract: This study investigated Holocene tree-line history and climatic change in the pre-Polar Urals, northeast European Russia. A sediment core from Mezhgornoe Lake situated at the present-day alpine tree-line was studied for pollen, plant macrofossils, Cladocera and diatoms. A peat section from Vangyr Mire in the nearby mixed mountain taiga zone was analysed for pollen. The results suggest that the study area experienced a climatic optimum in the early Holocene and that summer temperatures were at least 2 °C warmer than today. Tree birch immigrated to the Mezhgornoe Lake area at the onset of the Holocene. Mixed spruce forests followed at ca. 9500-9000 14C yr BP. Climate was moist and the water level of Mezhgornoe Lake rose rapidly. The hypsithermal phase lasted until ca. 5500-4500 14C yr BP, after which the mixed forest withdrew from the Mezhgornoe catchment as a result of the climate cooling. The gradual altitudinal downward shift of vegetation zones resulted in the present situation, with larch forming the tree-line." (Journal of Quaternary Science)

Holocene Climate Optimum: More Evidence That Eurasia Was Much Warmer In The Past: "Holocene environmental history recorded in Lake Lyadhej-To sediments, Polar Urals, Russia" - "Abstract: An 1180-cm long core recovered from Lake Lyadhej-To (68°15' N, 65°45' E, 150 m a.s.l.) at the NW rim of the Polar Urals Mountains reflects the Holocene environmental history from ca. 11,000 cal. yr BP. Pollen assemblages from the diamicton (ca. 11,000-10,700 cal. yr BP) are dominated by Pre-Quaternary spores and redeposited Pinaceae pollen, pointing to a high terrestrial input. Turbid and nutrient-poor conditions existed in the lake ca. 10,700-10,550 cal. yr BP. The chironomid-inferred reconstructions suggest that mean July temperature increased rapidly from 10.0 to 11.8 °C during this period. Sparse, treeless vegetation dominated on the disturbed and denuded soils in the catchment area. A distinct dominance of planktonic diatoms ca. 10,500-8800 cal. yr BP points to the lowest lake-ice coverage, the longest growing season and the highest bioproductivity during the lake history. Birch forest with some shrub alder grew around the lake reflecting the warmest climate conditions during the Holocene. Mean July temperature was likely 11-13 °C and annual precipitation-400-500 mm. The period ca. 8800-5500 cal. yr BP is characterized by a gradual deterioration of environmental conditions in the lake and lake catchment. The pollen- and chironomid-inferred temperatures reflect a warm period (ca. 6500-6000 cal. BP) with a mean July temperature at least 1-2 °C higher than today. Birch forests disappeared from the lake vicinity after 6000 cal. yr BP. The vegetation in the Lyadhej-To region became similar to the modern one. Shrub (Betula nana, Salix) and herb tundra have dominated the lake catchment since ca. 5500 cal. yr BP. All proxies suggest rather harsh environmental conditions. Diatom assemblages reflect relatively short growing seasons and a longer persistence of lake-ice ca. 5500-2500 cal. yr BP. Pollen-based climate reconstructions suggest significant cooling between ca. 5500 and 3500 cal. yr BP with a mean July temperature 8-10 °C and annual precipitation-300-400 mm. The bioproductivity in the lake remained low after 2500 cal. yr BP, but biogeochemical proxies reflect a higher terrestrial influx. Changes in the diatom content may indicate warmer water temperatures and a reduced ice cover on the lake. However, chironomid-based reconstructions reflect a period with minimal temperatures during the lake history." (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology)

"Field tests unite weather and climate models" - "Researchers from NASA and several other government and academic institutions have created four new supercomputer simulations that for the first time combine their mathematical computer models of the atmosphere, ocean, land surface and sea ice. These simulations are the first field tests of the new Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF), an innovative software system that promises to improve and accelerate U.S. predictive capability ranging from short-term weather forecasts to century-long climate change projections." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Dangerous beauty of summer nights" - "STUNNING cloud formations in the night skies high over North Wales could be a sign of global warning, says a science writer. John Rowlands is building up a dossier on the spectacular but unexplained summer sailor's sky phenomenon, officially known as noctilucent clouds (NLCs)." (Daily Post)

Ah, Canada... "Women turn up heat to beat the freeze" - "When it's boiling hot out, Clio Godkewitsch sometimes arrives at her office in the Cadillac Fairview tower and turns on the space heater under her desk." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"UK: Industry beats govt carbon dioxide cut target" - "LONDON - Industry cut the amount of carbon dioxide it produced last year by 14.4 million tonnes, more than double the target set by the government, the department running the scheme said on Thursday. Almost all industrial sites met their goals with the biggest cuts achieved by steel, aluminium and cement makers." (Reuters)

"Bid to reduce impact of aviation on climate change" - "European Report, 20 July 2005 - European Commission services believe it is high time that air transport is involved more fully in efforts to combat climate change. A draft communication on the issue (initially due to be adopted by the Commission on July 20 but finally deferred) outlines a series of options for integrating this previously protected sector in efforts to combat climate change, notably through Kyoto Protocol instruments." (European Report)

"Carmakers falling behind on emissions cuts" - "Carmakers in Europe, Japan, and Korea are not on track to meet targets for cutting CO2 emissions, according to a European Commission report." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Japan Seeks Better Way to Introduce Bio-Gasoline" - "After a delayed attempt, Japan's government is seeking a better way to blend gasoline with environmentally friendly ethanol and put such fuel on the retail market in as early as 2008 to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Putin Slams Environmentalists over Pipeline Fears" - "MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday criticised environmentalists for hindering the country's development by trying to block major infrastructure projects such as a huge Pacific oil pipeline." (Reuters)

"Japan: Government to provide financial support to promote wind-generated electricity" - "The government plans to provide fresh funds for wind power generation suppliers that have fallen way behind in reaching the state's output goal of 3 million kilowatts in fiscal 2010, officials said." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Tough to swallow" - "As America and Europe squabble over the viability of genetically modified foods, Egypt is quietly developing modified corn and cotton crops that have the potential to boost output and reduce chemical spraying." (Cairo Business Today)

"Institutions Carry Out Research to Produce Modified Crops" - "Public institutions across Africa are conducting groundbreaking research to produce genetically modified crops, according to a new study by the International Food Policy Research Institute." (Harare Herald)

"EU Experts Fail to Agree on Greece GMO Seed Ban" - "BRUSSELS - EU food safety experts on Wednesday failed to agree on Greece's ban on planting genetically modified (GMO) maize seeds, leaving the decision to be made by ministers later in the year, a European Commission official said." (Reuters)

July 20, 2005

"Not enough is known about treating malaria in pregnancy, researchers say" - "Despite the fact that pregnant women are more vulnerable to malaria, a disease that can also pose serious risks to the health of a fetus, there is little information on which drugs are best, according to a new review of recent studies." (Center for the Advancement of Health)

"Why a Global Research and Development Treaty Will Fail" - "Few people would argue we shouldn't have a United Nations. This does not however absolve the organization from the obligation to earn respect. The well-paid officials and diplomats who serve UN agencies forget this every now and again when they take on seriously bad ideas that discredit the organization. The latest is that the World Health Organization (WHO) should go into the business of discovering and developing new drugs. No one in their right mind would suggest the UN should manufacture its own cars; why would anyone think it could develop drugs?" (Alan Oxley, TCS)

"Should the FDA Always 'Err on the Side of Safety'?" - "These are turbulent times for the FDA. The almost daily barrage of negative headlines questioning the safety of marketed drugs is likely depleting regulators' individual stocks of aspirin and antacids. But as they try to soothe their own pain, regulators must not forget their mission -- to ease the plight of patients who need new medicines." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"No Vaccine-Autism Link, Parents Are Told" - "WASHINGTON, July 19 - Top officials from three of the nation's premier public health agencies held an unusual news conference on Tuesday to say that childhood vaccines are life-saving medicines with no proven link to autism.

"The science says very clearly that vaccines save lives and protect our children," said one of the officials, Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To many, that declaration might have seemed akin to an announcement so basic as that high cholesterol readings are linked with heart disease. But the officials felt a need to make a forceful defense of vaccines because a growing number of parents contend that a mercury-containing vaccine preservative called thimerosal caused their children to become autistic. Indeed, several parents held a vigil outside the news conference, with one holding a large sign blaming vaccines for her child's disorder." (New York Times)

Today's meaching: "Indecent exposure" - "Chemical pollutants are a part of our everyday life, and links to diseases such as Parkinson's are being investigated. So why, asks Michael Meacher, isn't the government acting?" (The Guardian)

It's actually very simple, Mike. Despite enormous cost and prodigious effort by dedicated researchers, cause and effect remains so subtle (read: immeasurably small) that no useful action can be defined for government to take. Politically correct and often hysteria-driven investigations continue and, when (if) useful actions are identified they will doubtlessly be implemented (sadly, a great many useless ones will be implemented anyway, mostly due to meaching like the above).

"Judge Slams Law Firm In Silicosis Case: Multidistrict Suit Created ‘Phantom Epidemic,’ She Says" - "A Texas federal judge has issued a blistering 249-page order and sanctioned a high-profile plaintiffs law firm, accusing the plaintiffs bar of manufacturing a "phantom epidemic" of the lung disease silicosis. And at least one legal expert suggests a similar finding might come if courts look closely at recent absestosis litigation." (ABA Journal)

"CFC method turns asbestos into a harmless powder" - "A college professor says he has developed a method of reducing cancer-causing asbestos into harmless dust by using a catalyst linked to the destruction of the ozone layer." (Asahi Shimbun)

"The New Litigation Against Teflon Won't Stick" - "Only in America: today, a group of Florida attorneys filed a $5 billion class action suit against DuPont claiming that the company has for decades failed to notify consumers of the health risks posed by "Teflon chemicals." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"Commission battle over environment comes to head" - "The battle between members of the European Commission committed to improving environmental standards and those backing a pro-business agenda is expected to come to a head tomorrow, when the Brussels executive meets to determine the future of its environmental policies." (Financial Times)

"EU Commission weighs environment against industry" - "BRUSSELS - Can the European Union reduce air pollution without creating financial havoc for industry? Can it protect marine life without generating prohibitive costs? The executive European Commission will lock horns on those questions on Wednesday in what activists are calling a make-or-break moment for the future of EU environmental policy. The battle to boost the sluggish economy of the 25-nation bloc while remaining true to social and ecological policy goals has been a key theme of President Jose Manuel Barroso's Commission, which took office last November." (Reuters)

Talk about lousy inspiration... "EU chemicals law REACH inspires US bill" - "Senator Frank R. Lautenberg has introduced a bill to regulate chemicals in the US after a government report criticised current legislation for failing to protect Americans from toxic substances." (Euractiv)

Concerned about the Amazon burning they're going to... set fire to it? "Woods Hole Research Center plans controlled burn in Amazon rainforest" - "Fire is an important agent of transformation in the Amazon landscape. Every year, low intensity fires burn thousands of square miles of Amazon forest. To study the effects of these, and the forests' ability to recover from repeated burning, Woods Hole Research Center scientists will burn two and a half square kilometers of forest in the transition forest of northern Mato Grosso state, at Fazenda Tanguro in Querencia, from late August into early September." (Woods Hole Research Center)

"Soil fertility in the tropics can be influenced by landscape and precipitation, study finds" - "A new study conducted in the Hawaiian Islands has revealed that landscape and erosion play crucial roles in determining soil fertility in tropical ecosystems." (Stanford University)

"U.S. Gets More Asian Air Pollution Than Thought" - "Air pollution blows across the Pacific Ocean from Asia to North America far more regularly than was previously thought, says a new UC Davis study. The findings are likely to affect attempts to clear hazy skies over much of the U.S. and to understand how growing Asian air pollution will influence global climate change. "Occasional, large-scale Asian dust storms had led us to believe that this pollution traveled east in infrequent, discrete events," said UC Davis atmospheric scientist Steve Cliff. "As it turns out, Asian pollution, particularly in the Sierra-Cascade range and elsewhere in the American West, is the rule, not the exception." That may make it hard to meet air-quality goals set by the federal Clean Air Act, Cliff said. "Assuming Asia continues to develop as predicted, with commensurate energy needs from combustion, we will continue to increase our 'background' haze in the U.S," he said. It also may change the prevailing notions of long-range aerosol transport, which are used by scientists trying to predict climate change using computer models, he said." (UC Davis News Service)

"Global warming has nothing to do with it" - "There is some disagreement among climate scientists on the potential impact of global climate change on future hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Last year, claims were made that the frequency of hurricanes will increase due to global climate change. For example, after Hurricane Bonnie, Charley and Frances hit Florida in 2004, the prime minister of England, Tony Blair, and many other prominent American scientists told the world that the hurricanes were due to global warming. Luckily scientists who actually regularly study hurricanes quickly responded with the facts, and, for once, the misinformation was curbed quickly and effectively. But now the alarmists are at it again, claiming that global warming will increase the intensity of hurricanes. Don't worry, readers; there is absolutely no scientific support or correlation of hurricane intensity or hurricane frequency with global warming." (James O'Brien, Orlando Sentinel)

[Dr. James O'Brien is the Florida state climatologist and a professor of meteorology and oceanography at Florida State University in Tallahassee]

"All Cost, No Benefit" - "Tomorrow, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Sen. Jeff Bingaman's (D-N.M.) Climate and Economy Insurance Act. Originally an amendment to the Senate energy bill, Bingaman withdrew this legislation from consideration after its more aggressive cousin, the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (S. 1151), went down to defeat by 60-38, losing by five more votes than did an earlier version in October 2003." (Marlo Lewis, Jr., TCS)

"Short-Term Memory" - "With nary a week after the worst attack in London since World War II, a Blair Cabinet minister warned of "the greatest challenge facing the global community." This greatest threat is, of course...climate change." (Christopher C. Horner, The Washington Times)

"Heat and Hype: The Truth about the Scorching Southwest" - "PHOENIX - The Southwest has been gripped by a deadly heat wave that might seem extraordinary to newcomers, those with short memories, or anyone who pays too much attention to the media." (LiveScience)

"Businesses consulted on effect of emissions scheme" - "Businesses prepared to make their voices heard on the impact of the European Union's greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme yesterday, as the government launched a consultation into the scheme's second stage. The initial consultation will last until mid-September, but the final allocations of carbon dioxide emission permits under the scheme, which began on January 1, will not be agreed with the European Commission until late next year. The next stage of the trading scheme, under which businesses in certain sectors are issued with permits to produce carbon dioxide, begins in 2008 and will run to 2012." (Financial Times)

"Emissions Trading's Outlook Uncertain" - "While the EU's emission trading scheme (EU ETS) is the most prominent instrument in the drive to meet the Kyoto Protocol's greenhouse gas emissions targets, it is not without flaws. The trade-off between growth and emissions reduction, and current concerns over competitive advantages, international cooperation and policy uncertainty, beg questions about the future of the EU ETS and the Kyoto agreement." (seeeurope.net)

"UK: CBI accused over climate strategy" - "A row has broken out between business leaders and green campaigners over claims that the government has failed to tackle climate change. Friends of the Earth (FoE) has accused the CBI of "routinely exaggerating" the cost of regulation, and lobbying hard to prevent it." (BBC)

How much is too much to spend on something with no measurable effect anticipated? We'd suggest a penny would be over budget and, as such, any regulation cost is too much.

"What Every European Should Know about Global Warming" - "CEI Senior Fellow Iain Murray gives our European friends a summary of the key issues in global warming policy today and clarifies some common misunderstandings." (CEI)

Bitten by Al? "Clinton Warns of Global Warming Dangers" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Former President Clinton sounded a warning Tuesday against the dangers of climate change as he met with young South Africans, and had lunch with anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela." (AP)

"Companies target millions from Kyoto" - "Cape Town - Four JSE-listed companies stand to earn $99 million (R664 million) if the emission reduction projects they have applied for under the Kyoto protocol are approved. The clean development mechanism (CDM) is a tool adopted by the protocol that allows countries on behalf of their industries to buy and sell certified emission reductions (CERs) that cut down on the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change." (Business Report)

"Kyoto is dead let it be buried" - "SHOWING what a skilful politician he is, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his role as president of the G8, managed to simultaneously read the burial service for the Kyoto Treaty while declaring the corpse still breathed. In a sense, though, he is right. The issue of global climate change and how to deal with it is still very much alive. What is dead is Europe's attempt to impose its highly regulated socialist model of climate control on the rest of the world, striking a calculated economic blow at the US in the process." (The Australian)

"A Court Rules Prudently... for Now" - "In the latest setback for global warming activists, the federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled last Friday that the Clean Air Act does not require the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The Court did not decide whether the Clean Air Act (CAA) gives EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases (GHG), but merely that, in choosing not to regulate GHGs, EPA made a policy call that was within its legitimate legal discretion." (Joel Schwartz, TCS)

"Expert sees long legacy in emissions" - "Even if carbon dioxide emissions were magically cut to zero today, future generations will feel the heat. Because heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas lingers in the air for a century or more, our descendents will feel the effects of global warming even if dramatic steps are taken now to reduce emissions, said Susan Solomon, a Boulder atmospheric scientist." (Rocky Mountain News)

"World faces massive increase in CO2 emissions as population grows" - "TOURS, France - The world faces a massive increase in carbon dioxide emissions, which fuel global warming, due to population growth, poor countries getting richer and the failure of wealthy countries to reduce greenhouse gases, a world population conference heard." (AFP)

Hmm... "1955 holds the record, but we feel hotter today" - "While July in Montreal 50 years ago was hotter than a blast furnace, that record-breaking summer heat wave wasn't as hard on people then as this season's stifling temperatures have been on us." (Montreal Gazette)

ABRUPT GLOBAL WARMING AS A RESULT OF A P/E COSMIC IMPACT? "Bolide summer: The Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum as a response to an extraterrestrial trigger" (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology)

WHEN NEW ZEALAND WAS MUCH WARMER THAN TODAY "A Late Quaternary pollen record from Lake Tangonge, far northern New Zealand" (Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Arctic Tundra Ecosystems: Will They Gain or Lose Carbon if Arctic Temperatures Rise Substantially in the Future?" - "Old ideas give way to new realizations, as real-world observations continue to refine our thinking." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Aerosols (General)" - "How well are their climate-influencing properties characterized by climate models?" (co2science.org)

"Health Effects (Temperature - Stroke)" - "If the broad upward temperature trend of the 20th century continues into the future, how will it impact loss of life due to stroke?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Broadleaf White Birch, Honey Mesquite, Soybean, and Wheat." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"500 Years of Winter Precipitation in Central Scandinavia" - "How variable was it?  And what do the results from centuries past imply about the future?" (co2science.org)

"A Thousand-Year Temperature History from the Canadian Rockies" - "Was the warmth of the modern era unprecedented in this historical temperature reconstruction?" (co2science.org)

"A Thousand-Year Temperature History of Northwest Alaska" - "Is the warmth of the modern era unprecedented in this historical temperature reconstruction?" (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO 2 on the Lignin and Total Phenolic Concentrations of Cattail and Trembling Aspen Leaves" - "What are they?  And why do we care?" (co2science.org)

"Photosynthetic Responses of Fast-Growing Poplar "Forests" to Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment" - "What happens when their canopies close?" (co2science.org)

"New Gas-Mileage Standards May Vary by Vehicle Weight" - "The Bush administration is preparing new fuel-economy regulations for light trucks and sport-utility vehicles based on size, with smaller vehicles required to achieve higher gasoline mileage than larger ones." (Wall Street Journal)

"First Step in Fuel Economy Reform Should Be Assessing CAFE’s Lethal Effect" - "The federal government is about to propose a major reform of its fuel economy standards. However, there should be no change in the program until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fully analyzes the program’s lethal effect on traffic safety." (CEI)

"China's Shrunken Thirst for Oil" - "Even China's enormous thirst for energy appears to have its limits. Evidence has mounted across Asia in recent days that oil prices have finally grown too rich for China, which accounted for more than 40% of total growth in world demand in 2004 and is expected to feed even more explosive demand this year." (Business Week)

"'Gene test' for autism in sight" - "Scientists who have discovered a gene linked to autism believe they can use the new knowledge to work out an individual's risk of the condition. The French team from IntegraGen SA hope to have a working risk assessment test on the market by the end of 2006. The gene sits on chromosome 16 and holds the DNA code for a protein that plays a central role in brain function. Experts said the Molecular Psychiatry study was promising but that it was premature to talk about an autism test." (BBC)

"Ending hunger in China" - One of the arguments for GM technology is that it would help meet global and national food demand with lower reliance on inputs that are potentially harmful to the environment. In other words, GM agriculture (relative to conventional or organic agriculture) can, for the same level of inputs, increase yields and, therefore, better help reduce hunger. The counterargument to this, which notably is oblivious to the environmental aspect of the argument, has been that the world has enough food -- all we need is better food distribution and equal access to food. A variation of this argument was advanced in a recent editorial in the Lancet. The following is a response to that misbegotten editorial (which also serves as a general response to the counterargument). (Indur M Goklany, The Lancet)

"EU Will Abide Members' Different Biotech Laws" - "In a blow to Europe's biotech industry, the European Commission said it will allow countries to adopt different approaches in patenting biotech-drug innovations rather than insist on a single European standard." (Wall Street Journal)

"The Biotech Waiting Game" - "The European Food Safety Authority has declared three of Monsanto's genetically modified corn varieties safe for human consumption, saying they were "not different from their conventional counterparts with regard to their safety and nutritional properties." Well. That's pretty much what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been saying for years. These special hybrids resist some insect pests and herbicides. They can cut a farmer's use of pesticides and herbicides, potentially saving money and the energy that would have been expended in spreading the chemicals." (Omaha World - Herald)

"Super Staples: Africa seeks bioengineered food solutions" - "African scientists, in conjunction with research facilities in the United States, are working toward developing super strains of traditional nutritional staples in Africa. This project was stimulated in part by the Grand Challenges program, which seeks to tackle major problems associated with global health. The program has an operating budget of $500 million primarily from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has contributed $450 million. The United Kingdom’s The Wellcome Trust and the Canadian government have also contributed, $27 million and $4.5 million, respectively to the program. This sum will be divided among 43 individual projects designed to address and ideally, conquer these problems." (Tina Butler, mongabay.com)

"Kenya: Farmers may start planting GM maize in three years" - "A new maize seed resistant to the stem-borer will be available to farmers in 2008, scientists say." (Nairobi Nation)

July 19, 2005

"Clear a path to eradicate malaria" - "A great editorial from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The money quote: "Until then, limited and closely monitored applications of DDT may help hasten the day when malaria in Africa and other parts of the developing world is little more than a memory — as it is here." (AFM)

"Kalangala to Start DDT Trials" - "Good news out of Uganda. DDT trials, courtesy of the Global Fund, are about to start." (AFM)

"Federal chemical regulation panel faces boycott" - "Environmental groups are boycotting a key advisory panel that Ottawa is establishing on chemical-sector regulation, saying they are being marginalized and business interests have been put in control." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Take a Hike" - "It's what kids do, not what adults say, that matters regarding obesity." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Expanding forests darken the outlook for butterflies, study shows" - "Changing environmental conditions in the Canadian Rockies are stifling the mating choices of butterflies in the region, say University of Alberta researchers." (University of Alberta)

"Discovering an ecosystem beneath a collapsed Antarctic ice shelf" - "The chance discovery of a vast ecosystem beneath the collapsed Larsen Ice Shelf will allow scientists to explore the uncharted life below Antarctica's floating ice shelves and further probe the origins of life in extreme environments. Researchers discovered the sunless habitat after a recent underwater video study examining a deep glacial trough in the northwestern Weddell Sea following the sudden Larsen B shelf collapse in 2002." (American Geophysical Union)

"Methane's impacts on climate change may be twice previous estimates" - "Scientists face difficult challenges in predicting and understanding how much our climate is changing. When it comes to gases that trap heat in our atmosphere, called greenhouse gases (GHGs), scientists typically look at how much of the gases exist in the atmosphere." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"France Feels the Heat" - "PARIS, Jul 18 - French scientists and environmental groups say global warming could hit France particularly hard. Scientists are anticipating high summer temperatures, droughts, erosion and the consequent damage to agriculture, destruction of beaches, and dangers for biodiversity and human health. A report 'Un climat à la dérive, comment s'adapter?' ('A changing climate - how to adapt to it?') presented to the government late in June by the National Observatory on the Effect of Global Warming (ONERC, after its French name) says temperatures in France could rise by nine degrees Celsius by the end of this century." (IPS)

"Senseless in the Senate" - "The Energy Policy Act of 2005 recently passed by the U.S. Senate features a big push for domestic energy production, including fossil fuels, nuclear power, ethanol and some small carrots for politically correct solar and wind. As sausage making goes, it looks to be a fairly significant victory for the President and those opposed to environmentalist alarmism, particularly on climate change, right? Not so fast." (Jon Reisman, TCS)

"Lords a Leaping" - "At the same time the G8 was meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, to discuss climate change and development aid, a bit further south, the British House of Lords made public a report on the economics of climate change. This report deserves all of our attention, as it constitutes an important evolution in the consensus presented until now by all English political elites." (Cécile Philippe, TCS)

"Free Market Environmentalism" - "An intense competition is heating up among automakers to bring more environmentally friendly cars into the marketplace. Both Toyota and Honda plan to launch marketing campaigns this fall promoting new lines of hybrid cars, which use a combination of combustion engines and electric motors to raise fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. American manufacturers are also itching for a piece of the hybrid market. It's not because of some new government mandate in respect of fuel efficiency but because consumer demand for hybrids is so great - and growing." (New York Sun Editorial)

"EU Presses On With Drive to Reduce Energy Use" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's energy chief charged ahead with his drive to cut energy consumption in the EU on Monday, calling on households to use efficient appliances and launching a campaign to promote sustainable energy use." (Reuters)

"Seattle, Post Intelligence" - "First, Washington state's speech police came for the talk-radio hosts, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said nothing. In fact, the Evergreen State's largest daily newspaper said worse than nothing; it actively cheered on the enemies of the First Amendment." (Ryan Sager, TCS)

"ANALYSIS - Uranium Price Triples to Record Peak, Seen Higher" - "LONDON - Prices of uranium, the fuel used in most of the world's nuclear power plants, have tripled in the last five years to record levels due to years of under-investment in the supply chain, traders and analysts said." (Reuters)

"Researchers make advances in wind energy generation" - "Engineers at the University of Alberta have created a wind energy generator that they hope people will one day be able to use to power their own homes." (University of Alberta)

"Genetic discovery could lead to drought-resistant plants" - "New knowledge of how plants 'breathe' may help us breed and select plants that would better survive scorching summers, says a University of Toronto study." (University of Toronto)

July 18, 2005

"The Problem with Precaution" - "Once again, proponents of the precautionary principle have tried to convince us that we are always “better safe than sorry." Dr. Bruce Barrett recently published an article in favor of using this poorly defined doctrine to govern public health issues, making it in effect an institutionalized "fear factor." (Sara Cuccio, ACSH)

"Swiss sperm goes under the microscope" - "Scientists fear that pesticides, cosmetics, and certain drugs are to blame for fertility problems in Swiss men." (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

"New Study Suggests Phthalates No Threat to Male Fertility" - "Media not very interested in study showing controversial chemical has no ill effect on semen." (STATS)

"Can plastics trigger lupus?" - "A family of chemicals used to make toys, polyesters, and cosmetics called phthalates triggers lupus in mice bred to develop the autoimmune disease, research shows. The doses were high compared to typical human exposures." (WebMD)

"Autoreactive responses to environmental factors: 3. Mouse strain-specific differences in induction and regulation of anti-DNA antibody responses due to phthalate-isomers" - "Science Byte: Phthalates cause mice that are genetically susceptible to develop autoimmune symptoms resembling Lupus." (Journal of Autoimmunity)

"Don't Believe Everything You Read -- Even in Medical Journals" - "When reading the medical news, you might want to start asking for a second opinion. A report in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that it is not unusual for medical studies to contradict one another: 16% of highly-cited original clinical studies were contradicted by subsequent ones, and another 16% were shown by later trials to have overstated results. The JAMA findings are significant because the author reviewed high-impact medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and The Lancet, and each article reviewed had been cited at least 1,000 times. That translates into a lot of medical misinformation!" (Mara Burney, ACSH)

"Flame out" - "With no substantive discussions underway within the state government on how to enforce a much-hyped ban on flame retardants, the ban appears likely to go into place next June with the chemicals still tainting consumer products." (Oakland Tribune)

"Chemicals and Newborns: Womb Mates?" - "The latest government report on biomonitoring will be presented next week -- but the Environmental Working Group (EWG) could not wait for that data. Instead, today they released their own "study" concluding that chemical "pollution" is so extensive that it "permeates everyone in the world, including babies in the womb."

I have to give EWG credit. What they lack in science, they make up for in spades in their ability to manipulate the most basic human fears and emotions." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"Media Hype over 'Chemicals' in Newborns" - "There was substantial media coverage this week of the claim by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), based on analyses of a small number of umbilical blood samples, that newborn babies are exposed even before birth to toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Few stories put the disturbing assertions in perspective." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"Province set to fight U.S. polluters" - "The Ontario government has hired a Washington environmental lawyer to help pursue legal action against American polluters." (Toronto Star)

"British Columbia looking for supplies of controversial pesticide" - "As Manitoba battles its exploding mosquito population, B.C.'s health ministry is trying to line up a supply of the controversial pesticide malathion in the event of a West Nile outbreak here." (Victoria Times Colonist)

"Law bans pesticide use at schools, day-care centers" - "A bill recently signed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell is the strongest lawn-care pesticide measure in the nation and an extra safeguard to protect children, its proponents say." (New Haven Register)

"The lethal water wells of Bangladesh" - "As many as 20 million Bangladeshis drink water contaminated with arsenic. Estimates vary widely, but some experts believe arsenic poisoning, if left unchecked, could ultimately cause cancers that could kill millions." (New York Times)

"Scientists dispel ageing theory" - "Drinking gallons of orange juice and popping vitamin pills may not make you live longer, say US researchers, contrary to previous reports. In the past, scientists have suggested that taking antioxidants to combat free radical cell damage might delay ageing. But a University of Wisconsin-Madison team has found no proof that highly reactive oxygen molecules are involved." (BBC)

"Exercise Helps Girls Avoid Excess Weight Gain in Adolescence" - "A new study suggests that increasing physical activity may be the key to fighting the obesity epidemic -- despite all the recent emphasis on food consumption and schemes to tax or ban "junk food." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"Sickly sweet?" - "Aspartame - the sweetest poison known to humanity? More likely it's a storm in a Diet-Coke can." (John Sutherland, The Guardian)

"Schwarzenegger sliding on green issues?" - "Stunned by a string of industry-friendly appointments and a stingy budget for coastal resources, some of the state's leading environmentalists are scrambling to determine whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has retreated from a once-lofty green agenda." (Los Angeles Daily Breeze)

Don't they think the Girlie Gov. has done enough harm via absurd emission controls?

"Protecting California tiger salamander to cost $367 million, study says" - "SACRAMENTO - Protecting the California tiger salamander as a threatened species will cost the state $367 million in lost development opportunities over the next two decades, federal wildlife officials said Friday." (Associated Press)

"Federal Court Deals Blow to Climate Alarmists" - "In a key decision for the future of national energy policy, a federal court upheld the EPA’s refusal to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant." (CEI) | US gov't wins lawsuit on regulating auto emissions (Reuters) | Court Says E.P.A. Can Limit Its Regulation of Emissions (New York Times)

"Ottawa sets 15% greenhouse-gas cut for big companies" - "The federal government wants about 700 big companies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent in 2010, compared with a business-as-usual case, it said Friday." (CBC News)

"Ministers back carbon dumping" - "Ministers pledged £25m yesterday to develop technology that captures greenhouse gas pollution from power stations and dumps it under the North Sea." (London Guardian)

Dumping? They mean sequestering but that lacks suitably emotional connotations (dumping toxic waste...). We haven't looked at current proposals but back-pumping CO2 is usually done to extend the economic life declining oilfields and, as such, would represent a massive public subsidy of North Sea oil in the guise of 'addressing' the dreaded 'global warming'.

"Kentucky Geological Survey involved in global climate change research" - "Kentucky geological studies are identifying large point sources of carbon emissions, assessing terrestrial and geologic opportunities for carbon storage, examining transportation issues, and evaluating public health and safety." (University of Kentucky)

"Canada's chance to shape global Arctic research agenda slipping: officials" - "EDMONTON - Canada's Arctic research interests could be shuffled to the back of the bush plane as funding deadlines for a major international polar research program approach without monetary commitment from Ottawa. Canada has already missed one target for announcing its intentions for 2007's International Polar Year, one of two years of global scientific focus expected to quadruple the number of international researchers in Canada's Arctic. As a final September deadline approaches, officials admit they're trying to cobble together whatever funding they can, likely to be much less than originally hoped. And they warn the delay is already hampering Canadian access to up to $1 billion in matching funds from international sources." (Canadian Press)

"Glacial cover-up won't stop global warming — but it keeps skiers happy" - "EISGRAT, Austria — It gets so cold up at this Alpine skiing station that the locals call it Eisgrat — "Icy Spine." But Eisgrat's spine is melting." (Associated Press)

"Tasmanian coral reef 'proof of global warming'" - "Scientists believe they have discovered proof that global warming has altered Tasmania's marine environment. A group of biologists from the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute has found a shallow reef extensively covered by coral at the Kent Group Marine Protected Area near Flinders Island off the north-east of Tasmania. Coral reefs only survive in warmer waters and are usually found in tropical areas such as Queensland. The senior biologist who discovered the reef, Neville Barrett, believes it is evidence that rising water temperatures are having an impact on the marine environment." (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

"General Assembly endorses small island states’ call for help with climate change" - " The United Nations General Assembly has endorsed a declaration made by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) requesting expanded trade opportunities, assistance in coping with sea-level rise and other adverse consequences of climate change, and renewable energy and cleaner fossil fuel technologies." (UN News)

Strictly for Flannery fans: "Earth needs a climate of change" - "Those with entrenched environmental beliefs are being left behind, writes Tim Flannery." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Two G.O.P. Lawmakers Spar Over Climate Study" - "A public dispute has flared between two Republican House committee chairmen over an inquiry one of them began last month into the integrity of an influential study of global temperature trends." (New York Times) | GOP Chairmen Face Off on Global Warming (Washington Post)

"AAAS Letter" - "Alan Leshner, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Executive Publisher of Science, has written Rep. Barton objecting to the letters to Mann, Bradley and Hughes." (Climate Audit)

Mann's Response To Barton (.pdf) | Response of Ray Bradley (.pdf) | Response of Malcom Hughes (.pdf) (RealClimate.org)

"EPA Paid Weather Channel for Videos" - "The Environmental Protection Agency paid the Weather Channel $40,000 to produce and broadcast several videos about ozone depletion, urban heat problems and the dangers of ultraviolet radiation as part of the Bush administration's efforts to inform the public about climate change, agency records show." (Washington Post)

"EU scheme caps carbon output" - "The European Union's emissions trading scheme started on January 1, placing a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide that companies within certain industry sectors are allowed to emit." (Financial Times)

"UK: Energy-saving targets scrapped" - "Minister drops efficiency plan for older homes and postpones tougher regulations for new houses." (Paul Brown, The Guardian)

"EC proposes tougher curbs on SUV emissions" - "Gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles (SUVs) would be forced to meet stringent new emissions standards under European commission plans, adding as much as €2,000 (£1,400) to their cost, according to the motor industry. The commission proposed yesterday that SUVs, derided in Britain as "Chelsea tractors" clogging urban streets on school and shopping runs, would no longer benefit from a loophole that classifies them in the same way as vans and sets lower standards." (The Guardian)

"A congestion charge for the skies is critical" - "Tony Berkeley says BA's argument that airlines should join an EU emissions trading scheme is an attempt to dodge its responsibilities." (The Observer)

"US House keeps MTBE protection in energy bill" - "The US House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly voted to keep intact language in a broad energy bill that protects Exxon Mobil Corp. and other makers of a water-fouling gasoline additive from lawsuits" (Reuters)

"Hybrid Cars Burning Gas in the Drive for Power" - "WASHINGTON, July 16 - Mark Buford is happy with the Honda Accord hybrid that he bought six months ago, and he has already driven it 13,000 miles. He was determined to buy a hybrid electric car, he said, and this one is clean, "green" and accelerates faster than the nonhybrid version. He just cannot count on it to save much gasoline." (New York Times)

"New plastic solar cell unveiled" - "Danish scientists said Friday that they have built a new type of plastic solar cell that lasts significantly longer than previous versions and could pave the wave for cheaper solar power." (Associated Press)

"Former critics see the light: The nuclear power industry has some surprising new friends: environmentalists" - "Longtime opponents, including Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, have done an about-face, and that might be enough to revive the nuclear industry after a quarter-century hiatus." (USA Today)

"India to Seek Expanded Access to U.S. Nuclear Technology" - "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday that persuading the United States to share more of its nuclear technology would be a priority in his meeting next week with President Bush." (New York Times)

"China to Build 10 Nuclear Reactors in East – Paper" - "BEIJING - China Power Investment Corp., one of the country's major electricity firms, plans to build 10 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors in the provinces of Shandong and Liaoning to ease reliance on coal, a newspaper said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Australia Looks to China to Double Uranium Exports" - "SYDNEY - Australia wants to double its uranium exports if it can reach a safety agreement with China, which is increasingly turning to nuclear power generation, a senior government minister said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Australia Mulls Nuclear Dump in Remote Desert Heart" - "CANBERRA - Australia's government is considering dumping radioactive waste in the nation's remote desert heart, just a few hundred kilometres from the iconic Uluru monolith once known as Ayers Rock." (Reuters)

"Research into GM crops critical to ending hunger in Africa" - "Research into genetically modified crops is crucial to improving food security and reducing poverty in Africa, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute." (Reuters)

"EU food agency gives green light to GMO hybrids" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's food safety agency gave a clean bill of health on Friday to three more genetically modified (GMO) maize types, its first assessment of hybrid strains that combine different quality traits into one plant. The three maize hybrids are all manufactured by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto . Their intended use in the European Union, if an authorization is granted, would be for in food and animal feed, as well as industrial processing, but not growing." (Reuters)

"Three EU States Warned to Adapt National GMO Laws" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission warned three EU governments on Friday to bring their national laws on genetically modified (GMO) foods into line with EU law or face legal action at Europe's highest court." (Reuters)

July 15, 2005

"No Fiz in Soda Scare" - "The food police filed a petition this week with the federal government to require that regular (non-diet) soft drinks carry health warning labels. But scientific data, including a new study published this week, expose such soda scaremongering for what it is -- junk science-fueled nanny-ism." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Debate Pops Open Over Soda Warnings" - "Yesterday, consumer activists and food manufacturers traded rhetorical barbs in the ongoing debate over whether government regulation or stricter voluntary industry standards are needed to address concerns about the marketing of food to children." (Washington Post)

"The More You Hear, the Less You Know" - "A new study casts doubt on all the old studies." (Opinion Journal)

"Despite conflicting studies on obesity, most Americans think the problem remains serious" - "The past year has seen scientific studies that have varied in their estimates of the seriousness of obesity and overweight and their impact on premature death. A new opinion poll by the Harvard School of Public Health finds that most Americans have not changed their minds about the seriousness of the obesity problem and do not believe that scientific experts are overestimating the health risks of obesity." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Schoolchildren 'prefer junk food'" - "Most children choose unhealthy school meals despite attempts to promote better eating habits, a report says." (BBC)

"Acrylamide 'does not increase the risk of cancer'" - "There is no measurable connection between the levels of acrylamide in food and the risk of cancer, a new Swedish study has shown." (The Local)

Sigh... "Sweetener 'linked' to leukaemias" - "Fresh doubts about the safety of an artificial sweetener have been raised by Italian scientists who have linked its use to leukaemias in rodents. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is used throughout the world in low-calorie drinks and foods. Regulators say existing studies show it is safe, but will look at the European Journal of Clinical Oncology study." (BBC)

"Industrial contaminants spread by seabirds in High Arctic, new Canadian study shows" - "Seabirds are the surprising culprits in delivering pollutants – through their guano – to seemingly pristine northern ecosystems, a new Canadian study shows." (Queen's University)

"EU Environment Chief Presses for Air Quality Change" - "BRUSSELS - New measures to improve Europe's air quality, put on hold last week, would cost up to 12 billion euros ($14.63 billion) but generate health benefits worth four times that, the European Union's environment chief said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Cost-benefit analysis" - "The notion that a zero pollution objective is not necessarily ideal policy is one of the more difficult concepts for environmental economists to convey. After all, if pollution is bad shouldn’t we design policy to completely eliminate it? Many of us are drawn to the field based on a genuine concern for the environment and the belief that economics provides a powerful tool for helping solve environmental problems. Yet we are often in the position of recommending policies that appear on the surface to be anti-environmental. How can these observations be reconciled?" (Environmental Economics)

"The Robber Baron" - "How much should drivers be forced to pony up at the pump to pay off trial lawyers? A penny a gallon? Two cents? How about $66 million? Most motorists would vote for nothing, and by a pretty wide margin. But unfortunately, motorists aren't organized politically to influence election campaigns. Toxic tort law firms are, and do." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Michigan Supreme Court rules in Dow's favor in dioxin case" - "Residents cannot sue Dow Chemical Co. to pay the cost of testing for future dioxin-related health problems, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday." (Associated Press)

"Science Funding's Unintended Consequences" - "According to an eye-popping article in the June 9 Nature, about one-third of more than 3,200 polled U.S. researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health self-reported serious scientific misbehavior during the three years prior to being surveyed." (Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

Eye roller: "Unborn babies soaked in chemicals, survey finds" - "WASHINGTON - Unborn U.S. babies are soaking in a stew of chemicals, including mercury, gasoline byproducts and pesticides, according to a report to be released on Thursday." (Reuters)

Can we pass laws against junk science? (EricBerlin.com)

"NIH Inquiry Shows Widespread Ethical Lapses, Lawmaker Says" - "Results from an ongoing internal review of drug company consulting payments to scientists at the National Institutes of Health show the agency's ethical problems are serious and widespread, a House committee chairman said Wednesday." (Los Angeles Times)

"AAAS concerned over House inquiry of climate scientists" - "The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has expressed deep concern about a congressional demand for detailed documentation on the scientific work and professional history of three researchers whose studies suggest temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are warmer than they have been for a thousand years." (American Association for the Advancement of Science)


"More than hot air" - "The G8 summit made quiet progress on climate change." (The Economist)

"Global warming: Common sense prevails" - "The G8 declaration blows apart Green delusions." (Philip Stott, sp!ked)

"Consumers Will Pay The Cost Of Reducing Emissions" - "The EU's emissions trading scheme is one of the EU's initiatives to help mitigate the cost burden of meeting the region's greenhouse gas reduction target under Kyoto. The scheme embodies many characteristics of a standard "cap and trade" regime. There are a range of issues that will need to be addressed before the scheme can be efficient in practice. Each of the EU nations is vying for a competitive edge, with no one wanting to find themselves at a trade disadvantage with respect to National Allocation Plans." (Oxford Analytica)

"India can't commit to Kyoto targets-U.N. climate head" - "NEW DELHI, July 14 - India will be unable to commit to greenhouse gas emission targets when the first phase of the Kyoto treaty ends in 2012 as its energy-hungry economy is developing fast, the top U.N. climate expert said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Siberia getting warmer: study" - "AVERAGE temperatures in Siberia have risen by three degrees Celsius since 1960, research by a team of German scientists has found. Furthermore the forests in the region are less effective in soaking up greenhouse gases than previously believed. Snow and ice are melting earlier, according to the scientists, from the University of Jena in eastern Germany who used data from European, Japanese and US satellites. Because of the rise in temperatures in the taiga (coniferous forests) there has been an increase in the release of organic carbon from decomposition and in the production of methane, a greenhouse gas." (AFP)

"Climate changes on carbon trading" - "Until five or six years ago, every time environmental adviser James Cameron spoke in public about creating a market to trade carbon credits to reverse climate change a protestor would disrupt his talk. The protestor said it amounted to paying for pollution. But now Europe has embraced carbon trading as a way to meet the goals laid out in the Kyoto Protocol." (BBC)

"Will Schwarzenegger Terminate California's Prosperity?" - "Arnold, how could you? You were the GOP's great gubernatorial hope. Sure, you had no political experience, were "squishy" on social issues, and had married into America's foremost Democratic family. But you were going to terminate the state's financial problems. How could you mandate a global warming program that will leave your people drowning in red ink long after you've said, "Hasta la vista, baby!" (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"UK: Lords blast energy plan 'disgrace'" - "THE government has to get an urgent grip on the UK's huge waste of energy if it is to limit the country's contribution to climate change, according to a highly critical new report from the House of Lords. At present there is a "complete lack of coherent policy" on energy efficiency, with too many departments, agencies and strategies pulling in opposite directions, the House of Lords' all-party science and technology committee stated. Baroness Perry of Southwark, who chaired the inquiry, said that without immediate reform of the policies and government schemes to promote energy efficiency, targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be missed by a wide margin." (The Scotsman)

"Moscow defends plans to accept nuclear waste" - "Russia defended plans to accept nuclear waste from other countries under international monitoring Wednesday, despite protests from environmental groups." (Agence France-Presse)

"Food study reveals hidden £9bn costs of transport" - "Food "miles" have risen dramatically over the past 10 years, are still rising, and have a significant impact on climate change, traffic congestion, accidents and pollution, according to a report published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday." (The Guardian)

"The environmental cost of the tomato on your plate" - "It takes less energy to import tomatoes from Spain than to grow them in this country, says a report which claims that "food miles" are not always a bad thing." (London Telegraph)

"Climate Only Partly to Blame for Africa Food Woes" - "WARDEN - Africa may seem incapable of growing enough food to feed its starving millions, but in the fields of South Africa's Free State, farmers are taking in more maize than they know what to do with." (Reuters)

"Three deadly parasite genomes sequenced" - "An international group of researchers working in more than 20 laboratories around the globe have determined genetic blueprints for the parasites that cause three deadly insect-borne diseases: African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. The research, funded in part by the NIAID, is published in this week's issue of Science. Knowing the full genetic make-up of the three parasites -- Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania major -- could lead to better ways to treat or prevent the diseases they cause." (NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

"Genetic clue to drought resistant crops found" - "A gene shown to determine how well plants conserve water could help scientists develop drought-resistant crops, say Australian researchers. Josette Masle and colleagues at the Australian National University isolated a gene that helps a plant called Arabidopsis minimise water loss as it grows. Their work was published online by Nature on 10 July." (SciDev.net)

"Africa should Hasten GMO Test Approvals - Researcher" - "NAIROBI - Africa should permit more trial cultivation of genetically modified (GMO) crops to enable farmers to decide more quickly if they can grow them safely for profit, a researcher at a food think tank said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"GM contamination sparks call for total testing" - "AUSTRALIA'S first food crop contamination with genetically modified material has sparked calls for wide-ranging tests on any food that can be affected. Authorities yesterday confirmed the first known contamination of canola by genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A small amount of GM material was found during routine testing by the Australian Barley Board (ABB) of an export consignment of Victorian canola seeds that was bound for Japan. GM canola is being trialled in Victoria but its use in commercial food crops is banned everywhere but Queensland." (AAP)

July 14, 2005

Happy (belated) Birthday Number Watch "Five years on" - "Leaving aside any thoughts of triskaidekaphobia (which, incidentally gave us the very first number of the month) it is time to observe the birthday of Number Watch (and, as it happens, its author)." (Number Watch)

"Let a Thousand Licensed Poppies Bloom" - "EVEN as Afghanistan's immense opium harvest feeds lawlessness and instability, finances terrorism and fuels heroin addiction, the developing world is experiencing a severe shortage of opium-derived pain medications, according to the World Health Organization. Developing countries are home to 80 percent of the world's population, but they consume just 6 percent of the medical opioids. In those countries, most people with cancer, AIDS and other painful conditions live and die in agony. The United States wants Afghanistan to destroy its potentially merciful crop, which has increased sevenfold since 2002 and now constitutes 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product. But why not bolster the country's stability and end both the pain and the trafficking problems by licensing Afghanistan with the International Narcotics Control Board to sell its opium legally?" (New York Times)

Not that this will slow the drumbeat: "Male fertility not harmed by phthalates-study" - "NEW YORK - Contrary to earlier reports, everyday exposure to phthalates -- chemical plasticizers used extensively in household products and in certain medical products -- may not have harmful effects on fertility in young men, a new study shows." (Reuters Health)

"EPA Is Faulted as Failing to Shield Public From Toxic Chemicals" - "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing to protect the public from tens of thousands of toxic compounds because it has not gathered data on the health risks of most industrial chemicals, according to a report by the investigative arm of Congress to be released today." (Los Angeles Times)

"Who's Ignoring Science?" - "For years, Democrats and their environmentalist allies have been accusing the Bush administration of "ignoring the science" they claim shows humanity is warming the planet. It's a debatable accusation that we'll return to in a moment. What's not debatable is the utter hypocrisy of the Democrats, who ever since the Clinton administration have successfully forced pesticide regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency to ignore the science when establishing pesticide regulations." (Alex Avery and Dennis Avery, TCS)

Eye roller: "US group calls for health warnings on soft drinks" - "WASHINGTON - A U.S. consumer group on Wednesday called for cigarette-style warnings on soft drinks to alert consumers that too much of the sugary beverages can make them fat and cause other health problems. People who overindulge in soft drinks are also more likely to develop diabetes and have decaying teeth, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said in a petition to the Food and Drug Administration." (Reuters)

"Soft Drinks Under Siege" - "The Ralph Nader-inspired nutrition-nanny organization, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), this week proclaimed that sodas -- sugar-sweetened and diet versions -- pose a health hazard, particularly to children, and warrant cigarette-style warning labels. The report, "Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks Are Harming America's Health," charges that soda consumption increases the risks of ailments ranging from heart disease to tooth decay, osteoporosis, cancer, obesity, and poor nutrition.

In the course of proclaiming soda "junk food," CSPI has relied on rhetoric, emotion, and junk science (as CSPI often does). Consumers -- and particularly worried parents -- should consider some scientific background information that puts the CSPI charges in perspective: (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

Back on the old n number of Earths to sustain us thing: "Ringing the alarm for Earth" - "Leading botanist Peter Raven calculates that species crucial to the survival of the human race are in steep decline. Tim Radford meets a man dubbed a 'hero of the planet'" (The Guardian)

"ENVIRONMENT: Debunking myths about the Great Barrier Reef" - "Claims of human-induced threats to the Great Barrier Reef have been grossly exaggerated, argues Prof. Walter Starck, one of the world's pioneering investigators of coral reefs." (News Weekly via CCNet)

"A rare bird? Genetic analysis says not so" - "Efforts aimed at saving one of the world's rarest birds of prey from extinction may be too late, a genetic analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan and The Peregrine Fund suggests. The last remaining Cape Verde Kites, considered by some to be the rarest raptors in the world, are not Cape Verde Kites at all, but more common Black Kites, the research shows. The real Cape Verde Kites apparently disappeared some time ago and never were a uniquely different species." (PhysOrg)

"Cloudy skies blamed on shuttle" - "Exhaust plumes from space shuttles could be responsible for the formation of high-altitude clouds occurring over the Earth's poles. Until now, scientists have tended to associate these clouds with global climate change, but this latest data suggests that shuttles may be the major culprit." (The Guardian)

?!! "America feels the heat" - "George Bush refused to tackle climate change at the G8 summit, but the world is moving on without him, reports Paul Brown" (The Guardian)

Really Paul? Where, pray, is 'the world' going without him? Let's see:

Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development

G8 Gleneagles 2005

1. We face serious and linked challenges in tackling climate change, promoting clean energy and achieving sustainable development globally.

(a) Climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe. We know that increased need and use of energy from fossil fuels, and other human activities, contribute in large part to increases in greenhouse gases associated with the warming of our Earth's surface. While uncertainties remain in our understanding of climate science, we know enough to act now to put ourselves on a path to slow and, as the science justifies, stop and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. [em added]

Global Climate Change Policy Book

President George W. Bush, February, 2002.

... "The policy challenge is to act in a serious and sensible way, given the limits of our knowledge. While scientific uncertainties remain, we can begin now to address the factors that contribute to climate change." ...

  • ... This new approach focuses on reducing the growth of GHG emissions, while sustaining the economic growth needed to finance investment in new, clean energy technologies. It sets America on a path to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, and – as the science justifies – to stop and then reverse that growth. [em added]

Gee Paul, looks more like the world's running to catch up.

"Editorial: G8 missed chance on climate change" - "The G8 communiqué on climate change from Gleneagles last week was a disgrace - politicians must engage with curbing emissions." (New Advocate Scientist)

"NCPA: How G-8 Killed Kyoto: Failure to Achieve Targets Also Helps Render Accord Ineffective" - "DALLAS, July 14 -- The statement on global warming released at the conclusion of the G-8 Summit plus the failure of most signatory nations to achieve emissions targets effectively kills the Kyoto Protocol, according to National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett. "The G-8 statement is a death warrant for Kyoto," Dr. Burnett said. "The final Summit statement on global warming is an endorsement of long-standing U.S. policy -- improve technology and transfer it to developing countries. Essentially, we live in a post-Kyoto world." (U.S. Newswire)

Another dopey editorial: "Global Warming: Time for clear goals" - "President Bush has acknowledged that human activities play a role in global warming. That's progress, even if the gain is of a very modest sort. While the president used last week's G-8 economic summit to join the overwhelming scientific consensus, he still refused to be drawn into concerted international goals for lowering the rate of increase in temperatures. That's unfortunate. Action delayed is likely to become survival denied to many species and ecosystems." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"Robert D. Novak: Bush’s unheralded energy triumph" - "OVERSHADOWED by the London terrorist attack and largely ignored by inattentive news media, the declaration on global warming at the G-8 summit of industrialized nations sounded far more like George W. Bush than Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac. Prime Minister Blair failed in his attempted coup at Gleneagles in Scotland to bring his close friend President Bush into conformity on the Kyoto protocol." (The Union Leader)

"How Earth-Scale Engineering Can Save the Planet" - "Maybe we can have our fossil fuels and burn ’em too. These scientists have come up with a plan to end global warming. One idea: A 600,000-square-mile space mirror." (Michael Behar, Popular Science)

Getting the word out by making it a secret: "Gore makes private speech on climate change" - "Former Vice President Al Gore delivered what was billed as a "one-of-a-kind multimedia presentation on global climate change" Tuesday evening in St. Paul." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"Plan for regulating greenhouse emissions won't kick in until 2008" - "OTTAWA - Canada's plan for controlling greenhouse emissions from large polluters - a major piece of the national Kyoto implementation plan - won't kick in until 2008, and critics say that's too late. The plan won't be in place until the beginning of the 2008-2012 compliance period in the Kyoto protocol, when Canada is supposed to be actually achieving cuts of roughly 30 per cent from present emissions levels." (Canadian Press)

Not too late, just that every one of the pretenders are waiting for someone else to kill the stupid thing off so they can say: Oh we would have done it but now it will just put us at a disadvantage... Guess what fellas? You were the ones silly enough to paint yourselves into this particular corner by trying to restrain the American economy and now you get to be the ones to either commit economic suicide or admit your stuff-up.

"UK: Tax cuts push on climate change" - "Council tax should be cut by between £50 and £90 for people who make their homes more energy efficient, says a report from an influential watchdog. The Energy Saving Trust also argues there should be stamp duty rebates for new homes which do not waste fuel." (BBC)

"UK: Ministers 'should be held to account on climate change'" - "A coalition of campaign groups and MPs is pushing for a new law to hold the government to account on its promises on climate change. More than 200 MPs have now supported the introduction of a Climate Change Bill, which would set legally binding targets for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. The move is being backed by Labour former environment minister Michael Meacher, Conservative former environment secretary John Gummer, and Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker." (ePolitix.com)

Hot air trading: "ANALYSIS - Europe Greenhouse Gas Trade Hots Up as Prices Soar" - "LONDON - Trade in greenhouse gas emissions is hotting up in Europe as carbon dioxide prices surge and companies buy and sell credits worth hundreds of millions of euros." (Reuters)

"BP boss asks for cash to help oil giants go green" - "BRITAIN'S oil giants should get cash help from the Government so they can work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the chief executive of BP said today. Lord Browne said his firm was working on a pioneering reduction technology, but argued that companies would need the lure of subsidies to take up on the technique, called "carbon capture", which experts claim can reduce greenhouse gases significantly." (Evening News)

Now you can see why Browne et al pretend to believe in catastrophic AGW.

"Methane found in Timor Sea" - "We estimate, in an area of half a square kilometre, up to a tonne of methane per day is being dispersed into the atmosphere," Dr Brunskill said. "If these seeps occur throughout this continental shelf and slope region, then that's an enormous amount of gas entering the atmosphere and contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming." (AAP)

"Mayors Make Sundance Summit Annual Event; Mayors Commit to Actions to Stem Climate Change While Saving Money, Protecting Environment" - "SUNDANCE, Utah, July 13 -- Mayors from 46 cities, representing 28 states and more than 10 million U.S. citizens wrapped up their three day Sundance Summit hosted by Robert Redford, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) by committing themselves to tangible actions to address climate change." (U.S. Newswire)

"Growth in Global Oil Demand Is Expected to Ease" - "Two years into the biggest run-up in oil prices in a generation, the International Energy Agency said it sees a gradual return to normality in the global oil system this year and next, as demand growth moderates, supply capacity increases and inventories build up. In its latest monthly report, published yesterday, the Paris-based IEA revised down its forecast for growth in global oil use this year by a modest amount. In its first look at 2006, it projected just a small rise in oil-consumption growth. In a sanguine outlook for oil buyers, the IEA estimated that petroleum-production growth from projects begun years ago would be enough to meet global needs this year and next, even as recent high prices encourage new investment needed for more output increases further in the future." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Doubts Rise Over the Great Nuclear Promise" - "PARIS - The euphoria over a decision to base the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France seems to be evaporating. What remains is a growing doubt over the feasibility and cost of the project." (IPS)

"County bans on crops trigger backlash" - "Bans on genetically engineered crops and animals in three California counties have triggered a national backlash." (Associated Press)

"Global cooperation vital to weigh benefits, risk of genetically modified trees – UN" - "With genetic modification (GM) of trees already entering the commercial phase, international cooperation is essential to weigh potential risks, such as plantation failure, against anticipated benefits, such as resistance to diseases, according to a new United Nations global study of biotechnology in forestry released today." (UN News)

July 13, 2005

"The United States of Avarice?" - "So why have we had all this fuss about how little the US spends on aid if Americans do in fact spend a great deal? Ah, there is the very point." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"Experts weighing life's many risks" - "In a columned hall of the University of Ottawa, more than 100 scientists and public policy experts from around the world are meeting to discuss aspects of the environment that might ultimately prove harmful -- or not." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Limit cell use: Health officer" - "The country's top public health officer says Canadians should consider moderating their use of cellphones - and their children's - until science overcomes nagging uncertainties about long-term health effects." (Toronto Star)

"Living well: exposure to toxins driving up healthcare costs" - "A new study shows environmental contaminants cause $1.6 to $2.2 billion in direct and indirect costs in Washington state for childhood conditions such as asthma, cancer, lead exposure, birth defects and neurobehavioral disorders. Adult conditions run up $2.8 billion to $3.5 billion." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Cue baseless hysteria: "Chemical 'link' to breast cancer" - "A chemical found in cleaning materials, textiles and plastics pose a breast cancer threat, scientists from Texas and Southern Carolina believe. Experts have suspected for some time that hormone-disrupting substances in the environment may pose a threat. Now the Journal of Applied Toxicology reports one chemical, 4-nonylphenol, triggers breast cancer in mice. But cancer experts said people should not panic and that work was needed to check whether people were also at risk." (BBC)

But, but... they're nachural! "Women cautioned against using herbal supplements" - "Women who take soy or herbal supplements, such as black cohosh, red clover and ginseng, should do so with care, says Barbour Warren, an expert affiliated with the Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors (BCERF) at Cornell University. Herbs can have estrogen-like actions, he warns in a free fact sheet." (Cornell University News Service)

"Naturally occurring asbestos linked to lung cancer" - "Everyday exposure to naturally occurring asbestos increases the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma, according to a study by UC Davis researchers. The study - the largest to examine the question - will be published this fall in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine." (University of California, Davis - Health System)

"Congress's gas-additive cleanup quandary" - "Who pays to handle the MTBE mess -- and how much -- could determine whether Congress passes an energy bill this year, one of the Bush administration's top legislative priorities." (Wall Street Journal)

"Childhood pastimes are increasingly moving indoors" - "The fundamental nature of American childhood has changed in a single generation. The unstructured outdoor childhood — days of pick-up baseball games, treehouses and "be home for dinner" — has all but vanished. The change can be seen in children's bodies." (USA Today)

"A solution on paper" - "One wouldn't expect paper to be a major source of pollution: after all, it's made from wood, which in nature breaks down into tiny components that re-enter the plant growth cycle. Yet without proper dampness and other conditions that are often missing in garbage dumps, paper fails to decompose for dozens of years. As a result, billions of tons of wastepaper cram the planet's landfills, creating an enormous environmental problem worldwide." (American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science)

Oh... so, by extending the durability of paper, landfills are slowing the carbon cycle and, like um, acting as a kind of brake on that terrible global warming thingy eh? Let's hear it for landfilling paper then!

"Increase in storms may last decades" - "William Gray of the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University says the Atlantic is experiencing a pattern of warmer ocean temperatures that help spawn more storms." (USA Today)

"Changes in West Coast ecosystem befuddling scientists" - "Oceanic plankton have largely disappeared from the waters off Northern California, Oregon and Washington, mystifying scientists, stressing fisheries and causing widespread seabird mortality." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Urbanization Causes More Torrential Rain in Seoul" - "The city of Seoul has reported an increasing possibility of receiving torrential rains due to more than 40 years of rapid urbanization." (Seoul Korea Times)

"New markers of climate change" - "Epiphytes (plants without roots) are being investigated for their use as markers of climate change in rainforests. Monica Mejia-Chang from Cambridge University, UK, will present her research on how changes in photosynthesis and water evaporation in these plants could indicate the effects of climate change over the past 50 years." (Society for Experimental Biology)

"Global Warming and Terrorism" - "For years, Sir David King, science advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has stated that “climate change is a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism.” In fact, King has been so effective with this hysteria that Blair has repeatedly said that global warming and terrorism are the two most important issues confronting mankind. In doing, so, he has espoused the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which does nothing measurable about planetary temperature, but would cost the U.S. 1-2% of its GDP per year." (World Climate Report)

"Experts gauge fallout from G8 nations' nonbinding decision on global warming" - "At the G8 Summit in Scotland last week, world leaders opted for a nonbinding resolution about the need to combat global warming. Was the G8 effort on climate change a failure for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other proponents of the Kyoto Protocol? Or was President Bush's acknowledgement of human-caused warming a step towards middle ground for the United States and other nations? Dan Lashof, deputy director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Myron Ebell, director of global warming programs at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, look ahead to the next stage of the international climate debate." (CEI)

Still at it: "Beyond Gleneagles" - "Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the global community. The nature and scale of its potential effects are so great that it is inseparable from the challenge of fighting the blight of extreme poverty. Yet it is an issue on which the world's leading countries are divided. It is also an issue on which there is insufficient attention and urgency both among governments and, frankly, in many cases among their citizens - as we saw from the vastly greater public attention given to Africa in the run-up to Gleneagles." (Margaret Beckett, The Guardian)

Bizarrely, some politicians still can't tell the difference between real-world problems and virtual-world hyperbole. Let's try again: the scenarios used for IPCC model storylines are impossible layers of multiple worst cases (for example most of the impoverished world achieving greater than US spending power over the next few decades, no technological improvement over 50 years [just ponder changes since the 1950s] or improvement over current third world emission standards - simply multiplied by US-standard consumption ability and then guesstimated emissions multiplied by GHG factors plus the magic chest-expander of "positive feedback" of truly gargantuan proportion [in reality we don't even know the net sign of any forcing from possibly increased atmospheric water vapour in a potentially warmer world, if any]). Even if the storylines were credible they are still run in models attempting to emulate a chaotic system, which, by definition, is not predictable. The planet is telling us that concurrent with ~30% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last century it got warmer by perhaps +0.6 °C (causation far from fully understood) and modellers are trying to tell us that a similar increase over the next century will have 10- and some are now saying almost 20-times that result. This when we don't know what proportion, if any, of the previous increase was attributable to enhanced greenhouse.

"Kyoto floundering in the wake of G8 summit" - "AS the G8 Gleneagles summit proved, there is no consensus on how to combat global warming today or tomorrow but the bell now tolls on a decade of illusion. The Kyoto protocol, with its system of caps, targets and timetables, is being buried with a discretion that conceals one of the great public policy failures in recent decades. Hoax is probably a better word." (The Australian)

"NZ: Industrialists say carbon tax unfair" - "A group of industrialists wants the government to go back to the drawing board on climate change policies. A submission by the Greenhouse Policy Coalition to Inland Revenue on the proposed carbon tax, calls for more investigation into new technologies to ward off climate change. The Coalition claims its members are being unfairly punished when the agricultural and transport sectors are bigger polluters." (NZCity)

"General Electric (GE) Joins Pew Center On Global Climate Change, Next step in Company-wide Focus on Addressing Global Warming" - Washington, D.C. July 13, 2005 -- The Pew Center on Global Climate Change announced today that General Electric Company (GE) has joined the Pew Center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) and their efforts to address global warming. GE, one of the world’s largest companies, has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions one percent by 2012 and the intensity of its GHG emissions 30 percent by 2008 (both compared to 2004)." (PRWEB)

How much is it to join BELC? Wonder if shareholders know how much they just poured into Pew's coffers from their own? Somehow we doubt it, just as we doubt this has thing one to do with global climate.

While we're mentioning Eileen Claussen and the Pew Center for Generating Climate Claptrap, we should point out Ms Claussen is a tad cavalier when it comes to quoting items she finds on JunkScience.com. In an online chat hosted by The Washington Post Ms Claussen replies to the query:

"Now the Russian Academy of Science has asked to have its name withheld from the statement made by Lord Robert May saying that the world biggest academy's agree that climate change is human caused. Why are these things not reported more often?"

Eileen Claussen wrote: "I believe junkscience.com has reported that SOME Russian scientists have asked to have the Russian Academy remove its name. This appears to be speculation."

Um, no Eileen, it's actually bullet point 5; Statement of the Council-Seminar of the Russian Academy of Science under President of the RAS on Climate Change and issues of the Kyoto protocol on "Joint science academies' statement: Global response to climate change" July 1, 2005, reprinted JunkScience.com, July 3, 2005. You could have learned as much from the linked RIA Novosti article quoting Academician Yury Izrael, who chairs the Russian Academy of Sciences' council-seminar on the Kyoto protocol. Granted, we've never really been favourably impressed by PCGCC but misrepresenting republication of the Academy's statement as speculation is a reach too far, don't you think?

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Continuing Saga of the Duke Forest FACE Experiment" - "At the point where the 200-ppm CO 2 -enrichment of the air in the Duke Forest FACE study had been maintained for a full six years, was there any evidence that the large initial aerial fertilization effect of the extra CO 2 had declined with the passage of time?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Dark Ages Cold Period (North America)" - "Was there such a multi-century period of relative coolness in North America?  And what was it like in terms of relative moisture conditions?" (co2science.org)

"Lignin" - "How is this recalcitrant component of plant tissues affected by the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content, and what is its primary implication?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Loblolly Pine, Red Maple, Salt Marsh Sedge Ryegrass, and Sweetgum." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Solar Activity and Indian Monsoon Rainfall" - "Is the latter phenomenon modulated by the former?" (co2science.org)

"Millennial-Scale Oscillations of a Maritime Plateau Glacier of Western Norway" - "What do they reveal about the relative warmth of the Modern Warm Period, Medieval Warm Period and Roman Warm Period?" (co2science.org)

"Seventeen Years of CO 2 Enrichment of a Wetland Sedge Community" - "Have the benefits of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment increased, decreased or stayed about the same over the length of this long-term study?" (co2science.org)

"Species Range Responses to CO 2 -Induced Global Warming" - "Should we be worried about model predictions of imminent warming-induced extinctions?" (co2science.org)

"The Photosynthetic Adjustment of Mosses Exposed to Life-Long Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment" - "How have various species of moss adjusted to living in highly-CO 2 -enriched air in the vicinity of CO 2 -emitting springs?" (co2science.org)

"Greens Try Flanking Maneuver on ExxonMobil" - "NEW YORK -- Several environmental groups are launching a coordinated PR effort this week aimed at doing an end-run around ExxonMobil's Maginot Line inside Washington's Beltway. Instead of lobbying, the groups are launching an awareness campaign aimed at getting consumers to boycott the Irving, Tex., company, which they say has promoted oil dependency and holds a recalcitrant position vis-a-vis global warming in Congress and the administration." (BrandWeek.com)

"Exxon-Mobil Boycott - All Politics, No Science; NCPA E-Team Scholars Say Boycott Is About Change - Political Change" - "DALLAS, July 12 -- The boycott of Exxon-Mobil by a coalition of environmental lobbying groups is part of a massive public relations campaign to effect change, but political not environmental change, according to NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett." (U.S. Newswire)

"Wind farm set to become UK's biggest" - "PERMISSION has been granted to expand a wind farm site in East Lothian that will make it the largest such generator in the UK, supplying enough electricity for 100,000 homes. Ministers approved the application to extend the current 20-turbine Crystal Rig site near Dunbar with an extra 52 turbines. With a further five turbines already approved and due to be installed this year, it will bring the total at the site to 77 and will create up to 100 jobs in the process, according to the Scottish Executive." (The Scotsman)

"Device creates electricity and treats wastewater" - "An environmental engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has created a device similar to a hydrogen fuel cell that uses bacteria to treat wastewater and create electricity. Lars Angenent, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering, and a member of the University's Environmental Engineering Science Program, has devised a microbial fuel cell which he calls an upflow microbial fuel cell (UMFC) that is fed continually." (Washington University in St. Louis)

"Living fossil roams the seas" - "Genomics is being used for the first time to investigate the mystery of the 'living fossil' fish coelacanth, first dragged up along the coast of South Africa in 1938, having been considered extinct for 65 million years. Dr. Chris Amemiya from the Genome Resource Center Benaroya Research Institute (Seattle, USA), will be presenting his work on the generation of a DNA library of the Indonesian coelacanth." (Society for Experimental Biology)

"Boosting vitamin C in plants can help reduce smog damage" - "The harmful effects of smog on people and animals – the stinging eyes and decreased lung capacity – are the stuff of well-researched fact. Now, the body of knowledge about air pollution's effects on plants has grown with University of California, Riverside Biochemistry Professor Daniel Gallie's discovery of the importance of vitamin C in helping plants defend themselves against the ravages of ozone – smog's particularly nasty component." (University of California - Riverside)

"Slim Chance of EU Labels for "Biotech" Meat, Eggs" - "BRUSSELS - EU regulators show no sign of wanting to extend strict labelling laws to foods like meat and eggs coming from animals that have eaten genetically modified (GMO) feed -- annoying green groups but keeping industry happy." (Reuters)

July 12, 2005

"Wood smoke may raise lung cancer risk" - "NEW YORK - Although tobacco smoke is the top cause of lung cancer, some cases of the disease can be traced to smoke of a different sort, according to a new study. Researchers in Mexico found that of 62 lung cancer patients they assessed, more than one-third of the cases were associated with exposure to wood smoke. These patients, mainly women, were non-smokers who for years had used traditional wood-burning stoves that were not equipped with a chimney to funnel the smoke outdoors. In many countries, wood and other solid fuels are still used for heating and cooking, and some studies have found potential health hazards. A study in Brazil showed that wood-burning stoves may raise the risk of mouth and throat cancers, while others have found that smoke from wood and other sources may contribute to chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma." (Reuters Health)

"Simulation Investigates Method To Improve Prediction Of Global Pollution" - "For asthmatics and for anyone with respiratory problems, air pollution can significantly impair simple everyday activities. NASA is trying to tie together satellites and stations on the ground to develop a "sensor web" to track this pollution and improve air quality forecasts." (Agence France-Presse)

"Doing It for the Children" - "A recent report in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology says that girls as young as five years old are beginning to have problems with body image. The authors concluded that the girls "felt 'paranoid' about their weight -- partly because of the Government's anti-obesity message," according to the London Telegraph. Girls as young as eight are being diagnosed with eating disorders." (Radley Balko, TCS)

"Genes 'decide cholesterol levels'" - "US scientists say they have pinpointed why some people can eat all the chocolate and chips they want and not increase their cholesterol levels. A study by researchers at the Berkeley National Laboratory of identical twins show it really is all in the genes." (BBC)

"Group wants mercury alert in markets" - "A national environmental group wants grocery stores to do more to warn consumers about mercury contamination of popular fish, such as swordfish and tuna, and is asking major chains to place warning signs next to such items on shelves and fish cases." (Oakland Tribune)

"E-waste: Electronic paperweight crisis?" - "Supposedly, we face a major tech-trash "crisis." Too many Americans, according to a handful of in Congress, use their old home computers and other outmoded electronics as giant paperweights, storing them in attics, garages, and basements and "taking up space in homes and businesses." (Dana Joel Gattuso, The Washington Times)

"Can we reduce cellphone risk for kids?" - "Scientists, academics and public health officials from around the world are gathering in Ottawa today to debate how governments should manage such global health risks as mad cow disease, climate change and influenza -- and also to discuss the possible risks posed by electromagnetic radiation from cellphones." (Toronto Star)

"New Observatory Measures Ozone Layer" - "BUENOS AIRES - An observatory to measure the thinning of the ozone layer, the first of its kind in Latin America, has begun to operate in southern Argentina." (IPS)

New Climate Blog: "Climate Science" - "The weblog of the Roger A. Pielke Sr. Research Group"

WARNING: Risk of actual science ahead! At least the first couple of posts show great promise: What is climate? Why does it matter how we define climate? and; The Globally Averaged Surface Temperature Trend - Incompletely assessed? Is it even relevant?

"von Storch at Boulder" - "Here is a guest report from Scott Shipley of George Mason University on the von Storch seminar at Boulder." (Climate Audit)

"A Positive Side to Controversy?" - "Hans von Storch’s talk last Friday, titled “Hockey sticks and the sustainability of climate science,” was divided into two parts. The second part of the talk dealt with the politicization of climate science and the possibility of negative effects stemming from this, while the first half focused almost entirely on technical details related to climate reconstruction and the algorithms of Mann, Bradley, and Hughes (MBH) that led to the hockey stick." (Prometheus)

"Climate's effect on exercise" - "A new study shows that people who live in hot, humid areas get much less exercise than people in cool, dry areas." (Los Angeles Times)

And we suppose the corollary is that BMI can be determined by the inverse of the latitude, with equatorial peoples sedentary and pachydermal while those of high latitude are frenetically active and pencil thin?

Wow! "First Alarming Signs of the Slowdown of the Gulf Stream Current" (The Epoch Times)

This brief notation of an old Sunday Times piece from May 16th of this year is most notable for the appended: Editor’s Note: All predictions concerning climate change are hypothetical, and involve a number of factors which are still not clear to science. True, if perhaps understated - and very unusual to see it in print.

"A Change in Climate" - "One of the key issues discussed at last week's G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, was global warming. Although the conclusions were largely overshadowed by the London terrorist attacks, they demonstrate a huge shift in the way world leaders are addressing climate change." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"Asian Eyes on Gleneagles" - "Mainstream media reporting from the Gleneagles Summit is that George Bush gave ground on climate change. He did give a little on what doesn't matter much -- the politics. On the substance, he had a win. The G8 Leaders endorsed technology, not controls on emissions of carbon dioxide, as the long term approach to climate change. This is the Bush Administration strategy." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

Moonbat, of course: "Faced with this crisis" - "Instead of denying climate change is happening, the US now denies that we need proper regulation to stop it" (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

"For South Africa's Proteas, Change Is Not a Good Thing" - "Global warming is coming to your living room, your dining room, your kitchen, anywhere you decorate with cut flowers." (Washington Post)

"UNESCO urged to protect world heritage glaciers from climate change" - "The United Nations' cultural arm, UNESCO, has been urged to place the world's highest peak Mount Everest and tropical coral reefs in central America on its list of World Heritage in Danger due to the impacts of global warming." (Xinhua News Agency)

"Michael Richardson: Heat on China, India in climate debate" - "It was not only the spectre of terrorism that loomed over last week's meeting of the Group of Eight major powers at Gleneagles, Scotland. The possible consequences for the global environment of Asia's rapid economic growth and soaring demand for energy were a prominent feature of the G8 leaders' statements after the meeting on Friday, with aid to Africa." (New Zealand Herald)

"How to make a difference on climate change" - "Last week’s agreement on climate change at the meeting of the Group of Eight industrialised nations was a great piece of progress. Having climate change on the agenda was remarkable in its own right and helped raise the profile of this enormously important subject. Now the G8 nations have agreed to a dialogue with developing nations on how to tackle the problem of increasing carbon dioxide emissions." (John Browne, Financial Times)

Lord Browne is all excited over an agreement to talk (actually, the G8 adopted the US position and text)... and 'Big Oil' is paying this guy how much?

"Exxon Mobil Becomes Focus of a Boycott" - "WASHINGTON, July 11 - A coalition of environmental and liberal lobbying groups is planning a boycott of Exxon Mobil products to protest the company's challenges to warnings about global warming and its support for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The boycott is part of a public relations campaign to brand Exxon Mobil, the nation's biggest oil company, as an "outlaw," the groups say." (New York Times)

How does this work? Either boycotters won't use the product at all out of belief that it is inherently harmful or they get exactly the same product from some other source with exactly the same environmental impact (whatever that may be) or possibly even exacerbating said impact by avoiding the most efficient supply option and expending greater resources in order to feel morally superior by avoiding Exxon Mobil. In either case it's likely that there'll be no effect on Exxon product sales or profits since zealots probably don't purchase from the biggest of big oil, enviro poster meanie Exxon, under any circumstance. What a bunch...

"Local Leaders Urged to Lead Climate Fight" - "SALT LAKE CITY - Former U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson urged mayors from across the nation Monday to take the lead in fighting global warming. "If we wait around for the Congress to ... take steps that are going to be significant, we are not going to address this problem," said Richardson, a Democrat who served in the Clinton administration and is now New Mexico's governor. "It's up to the mayors. It's up to the city councils," Richardson said." (Associated Press)

"NZ: Greenhouse gas output skyrockets" - "Greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation have skyrocketed since 1990, the latest New Zealand figures show. Based on current calculations, New Zealand is facing a bill of between $500 million and $1.2 billion if it fails to reduce greenhouse gases in line with its Kyoto Protocol commitments. Overall emissions have risen more than 22 per cent since 1990 - the year used as a benchmark - with the greatest gains coming from the energy sector, the government figures show. Emissions from public electricity generation increased 84 per cent between 1990 and 2003, while emissions from transport (petrol and diesel) increased 61 per cent." (The Press)

"Reassessing 'what if' factor at state's nuclear power plants" - "Six months after the mega-tsunami in the Indian Ocean, fears of a major tsunami on the California coast are spurring scientists to reassess the possible impact on nuclear power plants." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Natives Remove Obstacle to Arctic Canada Pipeline" - "CALGARY - A Canadian native group has struck a deal with Ottawa to end a bitter legal fight that has been standing in the way of a C$7 billion ($5.6 billion) Arctic gas pipeline, the two sides said Monday." (Reuters)

"'Noble Savages' Savaging Noble Men" - "Sometimes pictures in our heads get in the way of our seeing the obvious. That's certainly been the case in the media's depiction of a bioprospecting fight in Chiapas, Mexico, that holds relevance for the future pursuit of medicines from the wild." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Dairy industry skeptical about cloned cows" - "As the Food and Drug Administration considers whether to lift a voluntary ban on selling food from cloned animals, the agency is getting some resistance from an unusual source: the dairy industry." (Associated Press)

July 11, 2005

Shhhh! It's a secret! "Gore wants global warming remarks kept private" - "Organizers of a global-warming conference say former Vice President Al Gore will give his keynote remarks privately so he can speak "candidly" to a group including 45 mayors from big and small cities across the country.

Organizers have sought out media attention for the three-day conference but say Gore wants to keep his speech to mayors off-limits.

Gore approach[ed] organizers two weeks ago asking to be included, but "his people have been very clear they do not wish to have the press," said Wyman, who said she was trying Saturday to get Gore to reconsider." (Associated Press)

Given the venue Al, surely you want at least a hoarse whisperer spreading the gospel?

Why the ruffled feathers? "Todd J. Gillman: Barton setting his sights on global warming researchers" - "WASHINGTON – Joe Barton is throwing his weight around, opening an inquiry into global warming by scrutinizing the methods and funding of key researchers. Environmentalists and scientists, who have long tarred the Ennis Republican as an apologist for polluters, now call Mr. Barton a bully, as well – one who has blinded himself to the downside of greenhouse gas emissions. His response: "Tough luck. It's the real world. I have to report every dime that I raise and who I get it from," he said." (Dallas News)

Here's a simple test: Assume, say an ExxonMobil-funded researcher, produced a graph demonstrating radically different result from previously understood contemporary climate history, one which essentially 'proved' climate much more variable over the last 1,000-odd years than currently estimated and absolving greenhouse gases of any responsibility because 'unnatural' change has now virtually disappeared from the record. Would said researcher be expected to demonstrate exactly how that graph was derived? Would they be expected to declare funding sources?

Now, Mann et al have derived a graph radically differing from historical accounts and the work of other researchers which identifies both the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) in proxy records of varying type from ocean and lake sediments, cave stalagmite deposition and dendrochronology, from locations around the world, in tropics, mid and high latitudes and in both hemispheres. Mann's graph eliminates natural climate perturbations such as the MWP and LIA, indicating a sudden, significant warming concurrent with recent increased fossil fuel use. Should Mann be expected to show precisely how he managed to rewrite history? Should he be expected to declare his funding sources?

Our test cases are not entirely equivalent, of course. In the first case the funding is private and details of that funding beyond declaring the source is really a matter for the parties to that particular transaction (and perhaps the IRS). Since there is no case for massive societal expense and suppression of the global economy being supported by it the only reason for precise data and methodology disclosure would be to demonstrate the veracity of the graph itself - prove it or forget it. Not so our second case since that which is paid for by the people belongs to the people unless there's a darn good reason why not. Consequently, that which is the people's must be rendered unto the people, no? Even if not paid for by the public purse, this radical rewrite is being used to justify an enormously costly and likely futile exercise, so, either prove it or go hang it on the fridge with the kid's finger paintings because it doesn't belong in the debate and certainly shouldn't be the IPCC poster child.

There is no suggestion of misconduct involved in such a request but others may draw differing conclusions from the data. It is imperative with so much hinging on this reinterpretation of history that the process both is and is seen to be absolutely transparent. It is always possible that Mann is just extremely polite and doesn't want to prove us wrong, no matter what kind of horrible sceptics we might be. Lest that be the case let us make another invitation:

Mike, it's alright mate, we change our position when the facts change and you should feel free to show us the error of our current thinking. Let 'er rip pal, prove us wrong and history too, we'll get over it. Throw back the curtain buddy, let the light shine on all the data and code that we may see our mistakes, warts and all. Come on Mike, if our friends won't tell us, who will?

"Allegations of Fake Research Hit New High" - "Allegations of misconduct by U.S. researchers reached record highs last year as the Department of Health and Human Services received 274 complaints -- 50 percent higher than 2003 and the most since 1989 when the federal government established a program to deal with scientific misconduct." (AP)

"AFM Comments on G8 Africa Agreement" - "Read Africa Fighting Malaria's comments on the recent G8 leaders Agreement on Africa." (AFM)

"Kicking the Can" - "Blame it on the Terminator. Ever since California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger mused that he wanted to extend California's school junk food ban to school vending machines by replacing "junk food", including soft drinks, with milk and vegetables, there has been a race among the food police in other states to see who can come up with the most draconian restrictions on what kids can eat at school. So far the prize goes to Connecticut whose lawmakers recently passed legislation (later vetoed by Governor Jodi Rell) that would ban the sale of soda pop and junk food in all school cafeterias, vending machines and stores. In a session that lasted longer than debates on the death penalty and same-sex civil unions, legislators argued that such bans were a necessary part of the fight against childhood obesity. Similar measures, though not as extensive, are currently on the legislative calendar in 17 other states." (John Luik, TCS)

"Kids at risk?" - "A young girl with a cellphone pressed to her ear can't feel the plume of radio frequencies penetrating her brain. But it's there." (Toronto Star)

"'Deadly' skin cancer gene found" - "Scientists have found a gene that drives the growth and survival of the most dangerous form of skin cancer." (BBC)

"Health Screenings for Teflon to Start" - "Tens of thousands of Ohio and West Virginia residents could be tested over the next year to determine if their health has been affected by drinking water containing a chemical used to make the nonstick substance Teflon." (Associated Press)

He's back - and with a new miniseries you can tune in to: A Return to sceptical landscapes (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Paving paradise: the peril of impervious surfaces" - "In the US alone, pavements and other impervious surfaces cover more than 43,000 square miles. When rain falls, it collects pollutants and runs off into nearby waterways, threatening aquatic life and contaminating water." (Environmental Health Perspective)

"The Greens Are Wilting" - "The ecoconscious party may be the foremost victim of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's decline. Can it survive?" (Newsweek International)

"Fischer Rallies Germany's Demoralised Greens" - "BERLIN - Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer tried to rally his demoralised Greens party on Saturday, vowing Germany's ruling coalition would overcome poor opinion polls and beat the conservative opposition in a September election." (Reuters)

Must be some document, seems everyone sees what they want or expect to see in it. For your delectation, a spectrum of reports:

"Climate change accord meets objectives, claims Blair" - "Tony Blair yesterday claimed victory in forging an agreement on climate change among the Group of Eight industrialised nations yesterday." (Financial Times)

"G8: hope for Africa but gloom over climate" - "10 out of 10 on aid says Geldof. Critics angry over environment." (The Guardian)

"Good, but not great" - "Leaders of the Group of Eight countries have concluded their summit in Gleneagles with a series of communiqués, despite the London terrorist attacks that disrupted the meeting. Though the declarations are not as bold as activists had hoped, they nonetheless represent progress on poverty in Africa and—to a lesser extent—climate change and global economic imbalances." (The Economist)

"Now G8 leaders must follow up their words" - "Leaders of the Group of Eight countries have a sorry record of backtracking on the lofty promises they regularly make at their annual summits. So this year's host, Tony Blair, wanted to mark a break with the past. But he did so in a way - getting his seven G8 counterparts personally to sign the final communiqué of their Gleneagles summit that ended yesterday - that also underlined the very risk of backsliding he seeks to avoid." (Financial Times)

"G8 Statement Affirms Bush on Global Warming: European Leaders Moving Toward U.S. Position" - "Washington, D.C., July 8, 2005—The Bush Administration’s position on global warming received a strong endorsement in the concluding communiqué to the G8 Summit of industrialized nations this week. The joint statement affirmed concern over the possibility of future climate change and echoed many past statements of U.S. policy that any governmental response to global warming be gradual, be based on technological transformation, and proceed only “as the science justifies.” (CEI)

"Fresh talks but little hope on climate change" - "G8 leaders agreed yesterday to start a new series of talks on climate change that will bring together big polluters, including the US and China. But the action plan contains no substantial pledges of financial investment in low-carbon technologies or assistance for developing countries." (London Guardian)

"Most important move on the environment since Kyoto" - "The agreement at Gleneagles by China, India and other leading developing nations to start talking to the G8 countries about their greenhouse gas emissions is the most important step to counter climate change since the signing of the Kyoto protocol in December 1997." (London Independent)

"President Bush Scores Victory With G-8 Climate Proposal" (The Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA))

"Bush remains out in the cold on climate change at the G8 summit" (Greenpeace International)

"G8 leaders agree global warming is urgent problem" - "Notably, US president George W Bush, who alone among G8 leaders has refused to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol to combat climate change, accepted the language in the document delivered from the heads-of-state meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland." (New Scientist)

"U.S. Trips Up Climate Agreement" - "GLENEAGLES, Scotland - The G8 countries remained divided over how to tackle global climate change at the end of their three-day summit here." (IPS)

"Warm words, but no targets and no timetable" - "George Bush emerged from the Gleneagles summit yesterday once again the victor on climate change, appearing to compromise but in reality giving no ground." (London Guardian)

"Blair: climate change talks are a small victory" - "Tony Blair has papered over the cracks in the G8 on climate change by announcing that a "new dialogue" will be launched between the world's richest countries and the emerging nations." (London Independent)

"G8 climate plan 'lacks bite'" - "World leaders attending the G8 summit in Britain have released their eagerly awaited statement on climate change, agreeing that the issue is a "serious long-term challenge". But environmental groups have criticized their plan, saying that it lacks firm targets and timetables for action." (Nature)

"A low-key Bush gets what he wants from G8" - "US President George W. Bush, who kept something of a low profile at the G8 summit that closed Friday at Gleneagles, Scotland, appears nonetheless to have got what he wanted on climate change and aid to Africa issues." (Agence France-Presse)

"No Solutions Here to 'Climate Chaos' - Activists" - "GLASGOW - Around 500 activists in Glasgow said goodbye to the G8 Summit with a street party against climate change Friday, rejecting "any market-led techno-fixes to the climate crisis by an unelected global elite." (IPS)

"...an unelected global elite." Are they talking about the Prime Ministers of the UK, Japan, Italy and Canada, the German Chancellor and Presidents of the United States, France and Russia? Can't be, since the leaders of all eight G8 nations were elected, most for more than one term. Bizarre.

"Warm words, but no targets and no timetable" - "George Bush emerged from the Gleneagles summit yesterday once again the victor on climate change, appearing to compromise but in reality giving no ground." (Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian)

Not only did the US "give no ground" but, as S. Fred Singer points out in The Week That Was (July 9, 2005, SEPP), the G8 has adopted the US position (and language) for the G8 agreement on climate change - so there was considerably more progress than I gave credit for in our first reaction post on Saturday.

"Curtain set to rise again on Kyoto ballet" - "PARIS - The G8's initiative on climate change has started a momentum that may profoundly influence the effort to forge the next global deal on curbing greenhouse gases. Greens and scientists alike are shaking their heads at the bland Declaration and self-described "Plan of Action" delivered by the Group of Eight at their three-day summit in Gleneagles. Politicians, though, are more optimistic." (AFP)

"Blair to push forward on climate and trade reform" - "Tony Blair is to use Britain's six-month EU presidency to push forward his trade and climate change agenda, including an end date for agricultural export subsidies of 2010 and closer EU-US cooperation on energy efficiency with India and China, the big energy consumers of the future." (London Guardian)

"Wolfowitz offers World Bank help on climate change" - "World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz on Friday said the global lender wants to help foster discussion among industrialized nations and emerging market countries like China and India on tackling global warming." (Reuters)

"Clinton: Global warming an opportunity" - "Former President Bill Clinton has what may be some sage advice for his party's next presidential nominee, but it was his thoughts on global warming and energy independence that most resonated with a packed crowd Friday at Aspen's Harris Hall." (Aspen Times)

Gee, how could this be? "Five less developed nations tackle Bush on Kyoto" - "The developing nations attending the summit of the Group of Eight leading economies sent a strong rebuff to the US on climate change yesterday. They strongly endorsed the Kyoto protocol on climate change, which the US has rejected, and called on developed nations to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, in a joint statement ahead of the G8's expected communiqué on climate change. China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa noted that climate change had and would have "a profound impact on the development prospects of our societies".

However, the five developing countries did not pledge to reduce their own emissions, invoking the terms of the Kyoto treaty that said developed nations were in a stronger position to make emissions cuts. Instead, they called for more money to help them adopt sustainable energy technologies, such as solar and wind power, that would reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, and money to help them adapt to the effects of climate change, such as drought and flood, which they said were borne mainly by the poor." (Financial Times)

Lesson from New Zealand (dopey blighters bought into the idea they'd make money from hot air): "Getting to the roots of Kyoto problems" - "The hole in the Government's accounts - caused by its obligations under the Kyoto climate change treaty - is prompting calls for incentives to plant new forests. The Kyoto Forestry Association has backed away from its initial claim that the forest industry could "rescue the Government from its predicament by doubling the size of the Kyoto forest estate by 2012". Because of the time it takes to acquire suitable land, grow seedlings and grow trees, it is too late to get us out of the hole for the climate change treaty's "first commitment period", 2008 to 2012. But the Kyoto foresters still say a lack of new planting of commercial forests is one of the main reasons New Zealand is now likely to fall short of meeting its Kyoto target." (Brian Fallow, New Zealand Herald)

"Protocol of the elders of ozone" - "The much-vaunted Kyoto Protocol and carbon trading are finally revealed as nothing more than a load of hot air." (Tim Blair, The Bulletin)

"Wither Whither" - "ASO has an interesting article that attributes the collapse of Mayan civilization to drought based on new sediment studies that show changes in rainfall patterns." (Crumb Trail)

Common error: "With or without Kyoto: Treaty wouldn't slow down global warming" - "What do we have to show for the more than $25 billion in U.S. funding for research on global environmental change? A convincing body of science confirming the reality of the greatest environmental challenge of our time: global warming." (Tom Yulsman, Denver Post)

Actually not Tom, while the bit about Kyoto is demonstrably true what we have is the barest beginnings of data collection and just sufficient understanding of the global climate system to sustain hysteria. We are at least a decade, probably several decades short of sufficient understanding to attempt any sort of multi-year prediction with moderate confidence. Where we are, specifically, is arguing way beyond our current understanding.

"The race to protect year-round skiing" - "If a plan to preserve Horstman Glacier is approved, it could become a model for other resorts." (The Globe and Mail)

Virtually: "Britain, Europe's beach holiday capital" - "A new report claims that Britain could become the beach holiday capital of Europe by 2025." (London Guardian)

Great, that'll save flying to Majorca or wherever - think of all those lovely summer tourists bringing money to the UK for a change. Unless, of course, other model 'predictions' are correct, in which case there'll be plunging temperatures for the British Isles because of changes in the Atlantic Conveyor (but that would be a boon for the allegedly endangered ski industry, eh?).

By the way, anyone produced a model demonstrating greater predictive skills than a table of random numbers yet? Anybody?

"Sir Edmund urges climate care" - "Conqueror of Everest Sir Edmund Hillary has urged world governments to protect the Himalayas from climate change." (BBC)

"Ocean temperatures highest in 50 years" - "VICTORIA, British Columbia -- Ocean surface temperatures off the British Columbia coast and in the Gulf of Alaska in spring and summer 2004 were the highest in 50 years, according to a scientific report." (Associated Press)

"'Fingerprints' point to human cause of ocean warming" - "Researchers claim to have found the first strong evidence that human activities are responsible for warming the world's oceans over the past 50 years." (SciDev.Net)

"Plumbing the Secrets of Undersea Weather" - "When scientists study the interaction of currents known as the "internal weather" of the Atlantic Ocean, they find updrafts, downward flows and even cyclones." (Washington Post)

"Global warming increases oyster sensitivity to pollution" - "Eating oysters on a hot sunny afternoon sounds great, but it may not last forever. Dr. Gisela Lannig from the University of North Carolina, USA, will present her observations on increased cadmium sensitivity in oysters in relation to temperature. Global warming causes a threat to the species as otherwise harmless concentrations of metals become toxic under changing environmental conditions." (Society for Experimental Biology)

"Vermont weighs new emissions standards Calif.-style regulations limit carbon dioxide" - "MONTPELIER — With minimal rush hour traffic and no big fossil fuel-burning power plants, Vermont is not usually considered ground zero in the debate over how to improve the nation's air quality. But Vermont, like neighboring states in the Northeast, is expected to move ahead by the end of the year with new and tougher California-style car emission standards. Effective for new vehicles sold beginning in the 2009 model year, the standards would regulate the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide for the first time." (Associated Press)

"More Clean Air Follies" - "A perennial problem in democracies is the reluctance of permanent bureaucracies to accept that elected officials should set policy. This has been famously satirized in TV shows such as Britain's "Yes, Minister." But it isn't always a laughing matter, as President Bush found out during his first term as the mandarins of the CIA worked to undermine his policies in the war on terror. Another policy area plagued by this problem has been the environment.

Just a few weeks ago the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against enforcement officials at the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency in a case involving rules known as New Source Review. This marks the first appellate loss for the government on NSR. But it's the fourth time in the past year or so that federal courts composed of judges spanning the political spectrum have issued rulings against the agencies' case. Yet incredibly, the EPA and Justice are thinking of appealing to the Supreme Court, and the White House is reluctant to rein them in lest it be portrayed as anti-environment." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Japan Delays Biofuel Introduction, Scarcity Seen" - "TOKYO - The introduction of environmentally friendly biofuel for cars has been delayed in Kyoto protocol leader Japan despite a decade-long government effort aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Funds for 'hydrogen highway' cut in half" - "In a setback for one of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's centerpiece environmental efforts, state lawmakers on Thursday approved barely half the money the state Environmental Protection Agency had said was needed to start building a "hydrogen highway" across California. Lawmakers hammering out the state budget in Sacramento approved $6.5 million for the system of nonpolluting hydrogen cars and fueling stations beginning Jan. 1. Some Democrats questioned the expense. They raised concerns about whether the money would be better spent on schools and whether taxpayers or private companies will own the hydrogen fueling stations the money will help construct. Republicans also questioned whether the technology for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles is viable." (Knight Ridder)

"Industry Wants European Hydrogen Development Boost" - "AMSTERDAM - Europe should boost its public investments in hydrogen and fuel cells to pave the way for a future with cleaner cars and renewable energy, politicians, academics and corporate executives said. Public investments in Europe should be more than doubled to 250 million euros ($297.7 million) a year to be on a par with government efforts in Japan and the United States, the European Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technology Platform said in a strategic overview." (Reuters)

"Fossil fuels are not yet extinct, says Shell" - "With oil prices hitting new record highs, a major oil industry executive has warned that the world will still be reliant on fossil fuels for the majority of its energy in 2050." (Glasgow Sunday Herald)

"Nascar unable to get the lead out" - "Nascar fans are not going to find many Greenpeace signs, Nature Conservancy banners or hybrid electric car displays along the Nextel Cup circuit. Somehow, the environmental movement has never quite gained a foothold in those exhaust-fumed Nascar garages." (New York Times)

"FRANCE: Dangerous Summer for Nuclear Power Plants" - "PARIS - The northern hemisphere's summer began officially just a few weeks ago, but the high temperatures already recorded in France could prompt the shutdown of some of the 58 nuclear reactors that supply 80 percent of the country's energy." (IPS)

"Should we invest in nuclear power?" - "President Bush and some environmentalists look to nuclear as an alternative to other fuels. The idea should be pursued - without hype or hysteria." (Denver Post)

"Company plans woodchip plant" - "A renewable energy company plans to build a power plant in the southern Vermont town of Ludlow that would burn wood chips and generate 20 megawatts of power." (Associated Press)

"Old Carpet Being Tapped As Energy Source" - "Next month, the world's largest carpet maker will open a one-of-a-kind power plant that will be fueled by the 16,000 tons of overruns, rejects and remnants it turns out every year. The $10M plant can help save $2.5M a year, and eliminate reams of waste from landfills." (Associated Press)

"Regulators OK wind farm near bird home" - "Wisconsin regulators approved a $250 million wind farm Friday that its proponents said would generate energy for 72,000 homes and opponents warned would kill migratory birds." (Associated Press)

"Fight the flight" - "Only fools fall in love and buy organic vegetables, according to the terminally cynical. Organic may be popular - sales now top £1bn - but detractors still fall about laughing at shoppers paying premium prices. 'There's no difference!' they never tire of crowing. They'll be delighted by Panic Nation, a new book which debunks modern myths and has a chapter on the 'cult of organic food'." (The Observer)

"Of Rice and Men" - "For U.S. and Thai trade negotiators meeting next week in Montana, intellectual property rights protections for plant breeders and pharmaceutical innovators are proving to be the most contentious issues in negotiating a Thailand-US Free Trade Agreement (TUSFTA)." (Dr. Pichit Likitkijsomboon, TCS)

"Strengthening coffee" - "Is your cup of coffee suffering from fertility problems? The difference between instant (Robusta) and filter coffee (Arabica) lies in the self-incompatibility of its reproductive cells. Sylvester Tumusiime from the University of Nottingham, UK, will elaborate on how his research contributes in the development of breeding strategies that will help the Robusta crop survive." (Society for Experimental Biology)

"Milk plan has anti-GE lobby group livid" - "A plan by Crown research institute AgResearch to create a herd of genetically modified cows to produce human health boosting proteins has been criticised by lobby group GE Free New Zealand. AgResearch is partnering Dutch therapeutic protein developer Pharming Group with the goal of creating cows capable of producing recombinant human lactoferrin - a naturally occurring immune system boosting protein that may also aid bone regeneration and osteoporosis as well as fight cancer. GE Free predicts "huge public opposition" saying the plan poses risks to human safety, animal welfare and New Zealand's international reputation." (New Zealand Herald)

"Bill would let state rule on banning modified crops" - "As the debate over genetically modified crops in North Carolina accelerates, the General Assembly is considering legislation to limit just who controls what crops can be grown in the state." (Winston-Salem Journal)

"Grain of Doubt" - "PLYMOUTH - North Carolina farmers haven't grown rice in many years, so they welcome the green sprigs now poking out of a flooded field near an agricultural-research station here." (Winston-Salem Journal)

July 9, 2005

"G8 agree need for climate action" - "GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- The Group of Eight powers meeting in Scotland declared on Friday that global warming required urgent action, but set no measurable targets for reducing the greenhouse gases that trigger it." (Reuters)

Well, kind of...

Gleneagles 2005: Chairman's Summary: Climate Change

We were joined for our discussion on climate change and the global economy by the leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa and by the heads of the International Energy Agency, International Monetary Fund, United Nations, World Bank, and the World Trade Organisation.

We have issued a statement setting out our common purpose in tackling climate change, promoting clean energy and achieving sustainable development.

All of us agreed that climate change is happening now, that human activity is contributing to it, and that it could affect every part of the globe.

We know that, globally, emissions must slow, peak and then decline, moving us towards a low-carbon economy. This will require leadership from the developed world.

We resolved to take urgent action to meet the challenges we face. The Gleneagles Plan of Action which we have agreed demonstrates our commitment. We will take measures to develop markets for clean energy technologies, to increase their availability in developing countries, and to help vulnerable communities adapt to the impact of climate change.

We warmly welcomed the involvement of the leaders of the emerging economy countries in our discussions, and their ideas for new approaches to international co-operation on clean energy technologies between the developed and developing world.

Our discussions mark the beginning of a new Dialogue between the G8 nations and other countries with significant energy needs, consistent with the aims and principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This will explore how best to exchange technology, reduce emissions, and meet our energy needs in a sustainable way, as we implement and build on the Plan of Action.

We will advance the global effort to tackle climate change at the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal later this year. Those of us who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol remain committed to it, and will continue to work to make it a success. | G8 agreement on climate change | Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development: Gleneagles Plan of Action (DirectGov)

Our first reaction:

There we have it. Doubtless this will be spun as some kind of 'breakthrough' agreement, although we can't see that anyone has changed their positions in any meaningful way. Nonetheless Tony Blair will probably get to appear the miracle broker, bringing that "Toxic Texan" into the fold (pretty good result for him from an untenable position). George Bush gets to look like a concessionary President without changing his reasonably rational position at all. Jacques Chirac gets a couple of mentions of Kyoto into the texts (even though it is framed "Those of us who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol..." and irrelevant to the real world).

What really happened?

  • "Alternative" energy gets to keep its collective snout in the public trough.
  • There's recognition that we have a lot of work to do to get power to the roughly one-third of the planet's population currently lacking access to affordable electricity.
  • Recognition, too, that energy needs are going to escalate significantly.
  • There's a few more bits of paper "associating" greenhouse gases with "climate change"
  • A statement of intent to continue the propaganda campaign regarding the dreaded "global warming"

What didn't happen?

  • Anything really substantive

What should have happened?

  • Recognition that the UNFCCC is a complete nonsense that should be scrapped forthwith - but that was never on the table anyway.

What a stupid game this is.

July 8, 2005

"Trillion-Dollar Radiation Mistake?" - "A federal research panel last week concluded that there is no safe exposure to radiation. It’s a conclusion based on assumptions about cancer that may be all wrong — and in very costly ways." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Reports: Lower doses, but no floor for radiation risks" - "Low-level doses of radiation took on opposite meanings in two separate reports released last week, one by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the other by the National Academies of Science." (Los Alamos Monitor)

"Growing Danger" - "Last reports show that there are 300,000,000 people infected with Malaria around the world. This number is constantly increasing. Countries that are located south of the desert of Africa are the regions that most undergo the pressure of malaria. However that doesn’t mean that the countries located in temperate Zone are insusceptible against this disease." (AFM)

"National Environmental Policy Act Is 'at a Crossroads'" - "NEPA is facing strong challenges from the Bush administration, Congress and business interests who say the law has been holding up progress on a number of fronts." (Los Angeles Times)

"Carcinogens on the Playground?" - "The PCB scare has hit the news yet again. A Westchester County school district is about to spend $100,000 to remove soil next to an elementary school, because the soil contains PCBs from window caulking. PCBs, used for their insulating and fire-resistant properties, were banned in 1977, when high-dose animal tests revealed an association with cancers and developmental problems. However, there is no evidence that tiny exposures from environmental contamination cause any health effects in humans. Indeed, studies in the most highly exposed groups -- workers who handled PCBs for decades -- showed no evidence of increased rates of cancer or developmental issues." (Sara Cuccio, ACSH)

"Mistrust rises with autism rate" - "The argument over what is causing soaring rates of autism has reached a boiling point with furious parent groups and their famous allies accusing scientists and public health officials of hiding information to cover up their own mistakes." (USA Today)

"Should you worry about the chemicals in your makeup?" - "Phthalates have become the focus of a growing debate over cosmetic safety." (New York Times)

"Media Claims Phthalates (Might) Cause Genital Defects" - "But the study itself did not even consider this hypothesis." (Rebecca Goldin, STATS)

"A Health Scare That Stinks?" - "Should you be worried about phthalates in cosmetics and toys?" (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"When warnings become a scare" - "Just as scientists are pursuing early-warning systems for everything from earthquakes to hurricanes, public-health officials are monitoring potential epidemics as never before." (Christian Science Monitor)

"DuPont disputes EPA's C-8 review" - "The DuPont Co. stepped up its safety claims Wednesday for a chemical used to make Teflon and thousands of other products and coatings as a federal science panel reviewed a separate warning of potential cancer links." (Wilmington News Journal)

"Pesticides and natural stressors trip up tadpoles" - "A new study reports that exposing tadpoles to low levels of pesticides in the presence of natural predators impairs their growth and development. The finding indicates that commonly used toxicity testing may seriously underestimate pesticide risks." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Did humans cause ecosystem collapse in ancient Australia?" - "Massive extinctions of animals and the arrival of the first humans in ancient Australia may be linked, according to scientists. The extinctions occurred 45,000 to 55,000 years ago. The researchers traced evidence of diet and the environment contained in ancient eggshells and wombat teeth over the last 140,000 years to reconstruct what happened. The researchers believe that massive fires set by the first humans may have altered the ecosystem to the fire-adapted desert-scrub of today." (Carnegie Institution)

"NASA Able to Pinpoint Changes in Sea Levels: New Satellites May Help Explore Global Warming" - "NASA scientists are able to identify for the first time how rapidly sea level is changing through a series of new satellites and observation systems, agency officials announced yesterday." (Washington Post)

Virtually: "Report reveals extreme impact of global warming on Europe" - "Spaniards could be sunning themselves on British beaches and Greeks could be cruising down the Rhine if global warming patterns continue, a report revealed today. Southern Europeans could be heading northward for their summer break and British holidaymakers could be boycotting Benidorm as temperatures rise to unbearable levels within the next twenty years." (University of East Anglia)

"Congressman unmoved by peer review, asks to see raw data" - "In what observers are calling an unprecedented request, a member of the U.S. Congress has asked prominent researchers for all the raw data underpinning an influential historical study that shows that the earth’s climate has been warming dramatically since 1900." (Environmental Science & Technology)

Hmm... quite apart from 'show me the data' being a standard part of scientific review (one which appears somewhat unusual in certain sections of the climate clique) and hence certainly nothing to ruffle any feathers of honest and diligent scientists, Paul D Thacker doesn't seem to have kept pace, does he? The Academies' statement he claims has been ignored by MSM has proven quite contentious with Russian Academicians calling for the withdrawal of their president's 'mistaken' signature and US-National Academy of Sciences president Bruce Albert writing "... we definitely did not approve the Royal Society press release, and I have sent a letter to Bob May expressing my dismay at his misleading and political statements there."

Can't agree with the slant of your piece Paul. The hokey 'hockey stick' certainly should be examined in the most open and detailed fashion and there is nothing vindictive or intimidatory about wanting to see precisely how it was derived. The value of the joint academies statement is open to question since it appears more Bob May-orchestrated propaganda than impartial science.

"Jay Ambrose: Warming debate is hardly over" - "Arnold Schwarzenegger, California's actor turned governor, recently turned scientist, too, or so you might guess from the definitive, self-assured language he employed in an op-ed piece for Britain's Independent newspaper." (SHNS)

"Urgency 'vital' in climate talks" - "Climate campaigners have urged G8 leaders not to lose sight of the urgent need to tackle greenhouse emissions as well as develop clean technologies. At the G8 summit in Gleneagles, the US and UK leaders called for a new consensus on climate change." (BBC)

"G8 Leaders Close to Agreement on Climate Change Communiqué" - "The Group of Eight Summit is providing an opportunity for the eight leading industrialized nations to find common ground on climate change, says a senior Bush administration official, and the substance of the group’s final communiqué is “essentially there" -- a consensus statement that reflects concrete actions as well as "how to frame the issue" in a manner that reflects President Bush’s view." (U.S. State Department)

"France and US bury differences to allow consensus on climate change" - "The US and France put aside some of their differences over climate change last night to enable the Group of Eight industrialised nations to reach an agreement on the contentious issue. A final text of the communiqué on climate change will not be issued until today, because of the attacks on London. It is expected to include a statement on the science of climate change but no mandatory targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions." (Financial Times)

Sigh... "A climate change agreement that everyone can love" - "THE bombs may have been intended to derail the summit, but an agreement on climate change that satisfies the widely differing positions of France and the US appears to have been clinched last night." (London Times)

We don't love 'climate change agreements' or anything operating under the ridiculous misapprehension that we can knowingly and predictably alter the planet's climate by tweaking a few minor variables among the myriad interacting in that complex, coupled, chaotic, non-linear system.

Might just as well fall for this: World Jump Day. [Update: this section previously included some arithmetic nonsense but, in fear it was being taken seriously, it has been deleted] Oh well, at least it's a lot cheaper than Kyoto.

"Emissions: It's time to go on a low-carbon diet" - "The G8 summit is due to release its final communiqué on climate change today, but unless it recommends rationing carbon emissions, argues Mayer Hillman, it's not worth the paper it's written on." (London Independent)

That there's no value in climate change communiqués we agree, at least.

"Developing Countries Stand Firm by Kyoto Protocol" - "GLENEAGLES, Scotland - Leading developing countries delivered an open challenge to the G8 nations Thursday over proposals to abandon the Kyoto Protocol as the means to contain global climate change." (IPS)

"China sides with Kyoto, stresses rich nations' role on climate change" - "GLENEAGLES, Scotland - Chinese President Hu Jintao renewed his backing for the UN Kyoto Protocol on climate change, urging Group of Eight nations to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (AFP)

"The challenge no one understands" - "Canadian Conservative MP Bob Mills says the government's media campaign is too focused on the vague concept of climate change, rather than concrete terms such as pollution and smog." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Outside the negotiating rooms, no one believes there is a magic bullet" - "George Bush has made a deal on climate change conditional on an acceptance that technology will provide many of the answers.

But a techno-fix for global warming has always been the refuge of those who hope that lifestyles will not have to change. The US has always believed that there would be some kind of magic bullet, such as cold fusion or some other theoretically plausible but unlikely method of producing electricity, or perhaps hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels." (The Guardian)

Guess what Paul? Outside the hair shirt brigade, very few believe an urgent problem exists at all.

"Crops fail across southern Africa" - "More than 10 million people need food aid after crop failure in six southern African countries, the United Nations food agency says." (BBC)

"Biotech Opens Doors to Andean Development" - "CARACAS - The aid of the sweet potato for fighting vitamin A deficiency in Africa, and a biological agent that fights moulds which attack roses and bean crops are just two examples of how biotechnology is being used to make the most -- socially and economically -- of the biodiversity in South America's Andean region." (IPS)

"Farmers use more biotech crops" - "The furrows of Wisconsin farm fields are seeing a rise in genetically modified crops, a recently released federal survey reported. This year's increase continues a steady, upward trend that has brought the amount of biotech corn and soybeans planted in the state to more than 3 million acres, new figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show. About a decade after the controversial crops debuted in this country, a UW-Madison professor said Wednesday he plans to examine years of data to see whether the new technologies have improved farmers' bottom line." (Wisconsin State Journal)

July 7, 2005

Combatting So-called 'Corporate Social Responsibility' (.pdf) - "Given their political success, how is it that right-leaning thinkers may be losing important policy debates without even noticing?" (Human Events)

"How malaria makes Africa poor" - "Through Live 8 concerts and the G8 summit in Scotland, the rich world is asking, what can we do to help Africa? One answer is to tackle malaria, a deadly disease that has drained economic growth from the continent, but is cheap to treat and easy to prevent." (Dan Gardner, The Ottawa Citizen)

As correspondent G MacDonald points out, all this verbiage and not one mention of DDT

"EPA to okay human tests of pesticides" - "A leaked draft EPA rule on using human volunteers for tests of pesticides and toxic chemicals-- which omits some safeguards sought by National Research Council-- has drawn a sharp response from Congress." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"New rules for testing on humans denounced" - "While Congress pushes for laws to restrict how and when scientists use human test subjects for the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency is seeking to loosen its rule for experiments involving humans." (Baltimore Sun)

"Household dust is main source of flame retardants in humans" - "Household dust is the main route of exposure to flame retardants for people, followed by eating animal and dairy products, according to a report in the July 15 issue of the American Chemical Society's journal Environmental Science & Technology. The study is based on a computer model developed by Canadian researchers." (American Chemical Society)

"Teflon concerns don't stick" - "Teflon's stellar success story makes it a very ripe target for those who spew chemical-phobia in their crusade to eliminate the tools modern industrial chemistry has given us." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, The Washington Times)

"The Food Industry Empire Strikes Back" - "Food companies have had astounding success in their aggressive campaign to make it impossible for anyone to sue them for causing obesity." (New York Times)

The Old Gray Lady has just about completed her descent to Dotty Old Crone - now so rabidly anti personal choice and/or responsibility this item came headed "Obesity Inc."

"Chicken 'has same fat as Big Mac'" - "MEAT from cheap supermarket chicken contains as much fat as a Big Mac, according to new research. Intensive farming techniques mean most battery farms are turning out birds which cost as little as £1.99 but are "obese" and dripping with fat. The new research threatens to explode the widely held belief that chicken is a healthy alternative to red meat." (The Scotsman)

"NRL study finds shuttle exhaust is source of mysterious clouds in Antarctica" - "A new study, funded in part by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reports that exhaust from the space shuttle can create high-altitude clouds over Antarctica mere days following launch, providing valuable insight to global transport processes in the lower thermosphere. The same study also finds that the shuttle's main engine exhaust plume carries small quantities of iron that can be observed from the ground, half a world away." (Naval Research Laboratory)

"Ocean temperatures hit record high" - "ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. - Ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic hit an all-time high last year, raising concerns about the effects of global warming on one of the most sensitive and productive ecosystems in the world." (CP)

Dimming again, this week: "Earth is getting warmer and darker" - "Getting rid of pollutants from the atmosphere may speed up the rate of global warming, according to a report. The investigation by science and technology magazine "BBC Focus" highlights evidence from a range of international studies, looking at the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface and the effect on our climate." (PA News)

"Bowhead bones could provide clues to climate change" - "Two researchers will soon be scouring central Nunavut for bowhead whalebones and prehistoric dwellings. It's part of a project to understand future climate warming trends by looking at the past. About 8,000 years ago bowhead whales, which can grow up to 18 metres long, swam through the Northwest Passage, which was partially ice-free because the temperature was about three degrees warmer at that time." (CBC News)

"Climate Models Spur Controversy" - "Climate modeling plays a big role when it comes to global warming predictions. But one Purdue researcher says to throw those models out." | Climate Change Arguments Caught up in Politics (WISH-TV)

"The Royal Scam" - "Economists are famous for their inability to agree on anything. "If you put two economists in a room," Winston Churchill once observed, "you get two opinions -- unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three opinions." Harry Truman shared this frustration. He once exclaimed that he needed a one-handed economist, because all the economists he knew would say one thing, and then in the next breath, prefaced by "on the other hand", say the opposite. No wonder that economists, like me, become very suspicious if scientific bodies publicly espouse one line of thinking while denouncing alternative views." (Hans Labohm, TCS)

"Hungry to Get Hungrier with Global Warming - FAO" - "ROME - The poorest countries where food is scarcest will find it increasingly difficult to feed themselves as global warming exacerbates desertification and drought, a United Nations food agency expert said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

House of Lords Report: "The Economics of Climate Change" (.pdf) - "ABSTRACT: The Committee, having considered various aspects of the economics of climate change, calls on the Government to give HM Treasury a more extensive role, both in examining the costs and benefits of climate change policy and presenting them to the United Kingdom public, and in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

We have some concerns about the objectivity of the IPCC process, with some of its emissions scenarios and summary documentation apparently influenced by political considerations.

There are significant doubts about some aspects of the IPCC’s emissions scenario exercise, in particular, the high emissions scenarios. The Government should press the IPCC to change their approach.

There are some positive aspects to global warming and these appear to have been played down in the IPCC reports; the Government should press the IPCC to reflect in a more balanced way the costs and benefits of climate change.

The Government should press the IPCC for better estimates of the monetary costs of global warming damage and for explicit monetary comparisons between the costs of measures to control warming and their benefits.

Since warming will continue, regardless of action now, due to the lengthy time lags in climate systems, and since there is a risk that international negotiations will not secure large-scale and effective mitigation action, a more balanced approach to the relative merits of adaptation and mitigation is needed, with far more attention paid to adaptation measures.

We are concerned that UK energy and climate policy appears to be based on dubious assumptions about the roles of renewable energy and energy efficiency and that the costs to the UK of achieving its objectives have been poorly documented. We look to the Government, with much stronger Treasury involvement, to review and substantiate the cost estimates and to convey them in transparent form to the public.

We think that current nuclear power capacity, before further decommissioning occurs, should be retained.

We urge the Government to replace the present Climate Change Levy with a carbon tax as soon as possible.

We are concerned that the international negotiations on climate change reduction will be ineffective because of the preoccupation with setting emissions targets. The Kyoto Protocol makes little difference to rates of warming, and has a naïve compliance mechanism which can only deter countries from signing up to subsequent tighter emissions targets. We urge the Government to take a lead in exploring alternative “architectures” for future Protocols, based perhaps on agreements on technology and its diffusion." (HOUSE OF LORDS Select Committee on Economic Affairs)

"Roger Bate's G8 Coverage" - "Dr Roger Bate, resident fellow of American Enterprise Institute and director of Africa Fighting Malaria reports from the G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland. Read his commentaries here." (AFM)

"Bush and Chirac come to Blair's aid on climate change" - "Tony Blair's hopes of progress at the G8 summit were boosted yesterday by conciliatory moves on the vital issue of climate change by the United States and France." (London Telegraph)

"Hope for fresh climate deal" - "THE G8 leaders are poised to reach a new agreement on climate change, involving a deal on energy efficiency and a pathway for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said last night that he was confident about brokering an agreement whereby the United States will agree to work with India and China to forge a new environmental agenda." (The Scotsman)

"G-8 Leaders Remain Split on Global Warming" - "GLENEAGLES, Scotland - British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush said Thursday they were unable to narrow differences between the United States and other major industrial countries over how to tackle global warming. "There is no point in going back over the Kyoto debate," Blair said at Bush's side after a breakfast meeting between the two leaders. Blair had sought to do just that at this year's Group of Eight nations economic summit. As summit host, Blair wanted the United States, along with the other countries, to set specific targets for reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that many scientists believe are responsible for global warming." (AP)

"Successful G8 failure" - "Tony Blair's big ambitions for today's G8 summit appear to be falling short. If his two main themes -- aid to Africa and climate change -- do get watered down as expected during the event in Gleneagles, Scotland, it will be for the best of reasons. The British Prime Minister's objectives were misguided from the start and deserved to fail. They lacked the three fundamentals necessary to drive issues forward: a clear definition of the problems to be solved; a real grasp of what might be done to fix the alleged problems; and reasonable grounds for believing the proposed solutions might work." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Fate of the world" - "Tony Blair wants to gain wider acceptance for the prevailing scientific view on global warming and to promote technology-led solutions. All that's required of the Americans is to admit that the problem exists." (Newsweek)

"Blair Says G-8 Needs to Move Past Kyoto Climate Change Debate" - "U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said leaders of the Group of Eight industrial countries need to move beyond disagreements about caps on greenhouse gas emissions and agree on steps countries should take to address global warming without harming economic growth." (Bloomberg)

"Martin's effort to sway Bush on climate change gets mixed reviews" - "OTTAWA - Environmentalists are cheering on Prime Minister Paul Martin as he appeals for U.S. support in fighting climate change, saying Canada can't meet its Kyoto targets unless the United States is onside.

Canada's greenhouse emissions are now 24 per cent above 1990 levels, a far cry from the six per cent reduction from 1990 levels called for under the Kyoto treaty.' (Canadian Press)

"Cut global warming by becoming vegetarian" - "Global warming could be controlled if we all became vegetarians and stopped eating meat. That's the view of British physicist Alan Calverd, who thinks that giving up pork chops, lamb cutlets and chicken burgers would do more for the environment than burning less oil and gas." (Institute of Physics)

"First-mover disadvantage" - "Europe and its new carbon-emissions trading system are doing their bit to make pollution history. Where is everyone else?" (The Economist)

Where is everyone else? Probably around the corner, trying politely to restrain their guffaws. For the record, carbon dioxide remains an essential trace gas and 'carbon-emissions trading' has zip to do with pollution, historical or otherwise.

"Oil chiefs disagree on issue of climate change" - "Perhaps more than any other industry, oil companies are having to get to grips with the issue of climate change one of the top items at the Group of Eight summit. They are also more divided than other industries, with Shell appointing a “Mr or Mrs CO2” and ExxonMobil dismissing such initiatives as public relations." (Financial Times)

"Green energy will never meet needs, says Exxon" - "ExxonMobil has dismissed solar and wind energy as "inconsequential" and urges politicians to concentrate on sources that would continue to provide 99% of future energy needs. Lee Raymond, the chairman and chief executive, also argues that areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska should be opened to exploratory drilling. His comments - in Exxon's house magazine, the Lamp - could be indicative of White House thinking. He says improvements in US air and water quality are being buried beneath "ideological agendas or inflamed rhetoric that often pervades discussions about energy and the environment." (The Guardian)

Cue insurance companies looking to offload liability for storm damaged solar panels, toppling windmills... "MP's 'windmill Bill' paves the way for home-made power" - "SOLAR panels and wind turbines on houses could be the norm in less than a decade if new measures to encourage home-produced energy are passed by politicians, it was claimed today. A private member's Bill introduced at Westminster by Edinburgh North and Leith Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz aims to encourage do-it-yourself energy generation by removing bureaucratic barriers. He says people are keen to switch to "microgeneration" - using windmills, solar panels and the like on houses to power heat and light - but are turned off by red tape." (Evening News)

Australia was long amused by Eric Jolliffe's cartoon 'Saltbush Bill', now the Scots have the even more rustic sounding 'Windmill Bill' and more mirth should ensue.

"EU Commission Targets Member States over Biofuels" - "BRUSSELS - Several European Union states have failed to implement rules promoting biofuels, the bloc's executive said on Wednesday, adding it was starting or advancing legal action against the offending countries." (Reuters)

"EU: Car Tax Will Not Solve Emissions Problem, Groups Warn" - "BRUSSELS - New European proposals to reform car taxation will not result in reduced car emissions, warn environment and transport activists, but could instead have the undesired outcome of more pollution, road accidents and congestion." (IPS)

"Hot idea: Fight warming with nuclear power" - "When it comes to global warming, President Bush's refusal to endorse mandatory action means he is largely isolated on the world stage. But when the curtain rose at the Group of Eight summit on Wednesday, he was poised to tout a climate strategy shared by some peers, and more surprisingly, by a few environmentalists: nuclear power." (MSNBC)

"Calif. planning green power revolution" - "Only four years removed from an energy crisis that cost a governor his job and plunged the state into debt, California is embarking on an environmentally friendly but risky strategy to quench it future thirst for power." (USA Today)

"Wind farms pitch plan to address bird deaths" - "Wind farm operators in the Altamont Pass are offering to shut down half of their electricity-producing windmills during the winter to reduce bird deaths and to replace them all with more modern machines within 13 years." (Oakland Tribune)

"Whisky fans can drink to crop research" - "Research into the genetics of barley could lead to improved varieties of the crop most commonly used in the production of whisky and beer. Scientists funded in part by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are beginning a new programme to uncover key genes that control the specific characteristics of different barley varieties." (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

"US says Cyprus ties could suffer over GMO plan" - "NICOSIA, July 6 - A plan by Cyprus to put genetically modified food on separate supermarket shelves angered the United States on Wednesday, as Washington warned the move could harm bilateral ties." (Reuters)

"Biotech crop bans face 'hijack' threat" - "Marin's biotech crop ban, approved by voters last November, could be threatened by "hijacking" attempts in the state Legislature that would pre-empt county ordinances, local activists said." (Marin Independent Journal)

"Study says meat could be produced in a laboratory" - "Laboratories using new tissue engineering technology might be able to produce meat that is healthier for consumers and cut down on pollution produced by factory farming, US researchers said today." (Reuters)

July 6, 2005

"The Road to Hell" - "It's time to get angry about the latest foreign aid push for Africa." (Max Borders, TCS)

"Meet Pinky: Africa's War on Self-Reliance" - "Want to make poverty history? Make the African elites that create poverty, history." (Richard Tren, TCS)

"The UN at 60" - "Not a happy anniversary for the scandal plagued institution." (Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, TCS)

"WHO's Mission Impossible" - "AFM believes that South Africa's Minister of Health is correct in criticising WHO's program to treat 3 million people by 2005. The 3x5 program is unrealistic and WHO did not consult the affected countries first. Furthermore treating people affected by HIV/AIDS like numbers and not patients could undermine the prospects for decent treatment in the long run." (AFM)

"The Fairy Tale of Free Drugs For Brazil" - "The government of Brazil has recently announced its intention to begin copying a patented AIDS drug, earning it the dubious distinction of becoming the first county to break a patent on an antiretroviral medication. The move has appealed to the Robin Hood in many journalists, who are praising the step as a victory for public health over the pharmaceutical company villains. But there is much more to the story than simply robbing from the rich and giving to the needy Brazilians. Editorialists across the country frame the issue with a false dichotomy: if you agree with Brazil, they seem to say, then you are on the side of humanitarianism and public health, but if you choose to respect intellectual property rights, you are right-wing, heartless, or both." (Mara Burney, ACSH)

"Property seizure backlash" - "State and federal lawmakers consider new limits on takings in the wake of court decision." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Your Land Is My Land" - "To the candidates for Sandra Day O'Connor's job: I recommend a trip to my hometown of Pittsburgh to see the long-term effects of eminent domain." (John Tierney, New York Times)

"Study questions extent of autism in the U.S." - "Government figures which have been cited to prove that autism is rapidly increasing in the United States are not reliable and thus unsuitable for tracking the disorder, a study said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Index may err on child obesity" - "CHICAGO - A medical task force is urging pediatricians not to focus only on height and weight in determining whether a child is too fat. Leading groups of family doctors and pediatricians endorse routine screening using the height-weight ratio of the body-mass index. But there is no evidence that all children with high BMIs need to lose weight to be healthy - and there is no evidence that pediatricians' weight counseling results in weight loss and better health, according to a report from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a nongovernmental panel of researchers." (Associated Press)

"Adult lifestyle biggest risk factor for diabetes, study finds" - "ADULT lifestyle - not childhood experience as previously thought - has the biggests influence on your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes in later life according to new research by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, whose findings contradict previously-held beliefs." (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

EU hunts rubber duckies: "Europe bans chemical use in toys" - "The European Parliament has voted to permanently ban the use of a group of chemicals to soften children's toys following health concerns." (BBC)

"A Cross of Green? Reflections on Eco-Theology" - "Growing evangelical interest in environmental issues has made news headlines in recent months. This Outlook reflects on the inherent difficulties of this dialogue and speculates on what environmentalists and evangelical Christians can learn from each other." (Steven F Hayward, AEI)

"Green groups lobby on climate change on eve of G8 summit" - "EDINBURGH - Environmentalists from every continent made a pitch for action on climate change on the eve of a three-day G8 summit dominated by development aid and global warming." (AFP)

"China: mind-numbing damage" - "It's the nightmare scenario that environmentalists dread. What happens when China's 1.3 billion people (and counting) get the cars and air conditioners that people in the West take for granted?" (London Independent)

Um... their quality of life will improve?

"Blair close to G8 consensus on flagship issues" - "Tony Blair will greet world leaders at the start of the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles tonight, confident he can forge a consensus between the US and Europe on the flagship issues of climate change and Africa." (Financial Times)

"Befuddled by the fog of Kyoto" - "Britain's environmental policy is a costly shambles based on dubious predictions about the future." (Rosemary Righter, London Times)

Ouch! "Lords fuel climate change row with blow to Kyoto" - " THE Kyoto Protocol has been rubbished by a heavyweight committee of peers, on the day that Tony Blair opens the G8 summit with a focus on global warming. A cross-party House of Lords report today finds that the Kyoto targets will make "little difference" to the pace of global warming and has called for Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, to calculate how much it is costing Britain. The report will deal a damaging blow both to Mr Blair's attempt to present a "consensus" behind global warming, and demands that the United States agrees to Kyoto in a G8 declaration tomorrow." (The Scotsman)

Oh my! Not what Tony wanted to hear at all (Gordon may not be too happy either):

  • ... the peers said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations-backed environmental watchdog, is tainted by "political interference".
  • Policymakers were too focused on mitigating climate change, rather than adapting to it, they said.
  • Lord Lawson, a former chancellor and committee member, was critical of the way that Kyoto targets for greenhouse gas emissions had been "subcontracted" to the IPCC, which he described as "very, very flawed".
  • An issue so central to Britain's economy should be decided by the government, he said. "I can tell you that I was astonished when the Treasury witness said that the Treasury really wasn't involved in any serious way in this at all," he said. "When I was chancellor, it would have been unthinkable on a matter as important as economic affairs - important in public expenditure terms - that the Treasury was not making a very thorough analysis of the issue."
  • The committee expressed sympathy with the United States, whose Senate voted unanimously against any climate-change treaty that could damage the economy without imposing conditions on developing countries.
  • Instead of trying to coerce the US president, George Bush, into signing up to the Kyoto Protocol, the UK should abandon the treaty and explore alternatives based on agreements over carbon-free technology. ...

Now, all the UK needs is some Commons sense (Ooh! Sorry!)

On the same day their own House of Lords declares affinity with the U.S. position: "A storm brewing" - "As global attention fixes on today's G8 climate negotiations, George Bush will strike a lonely figure - out of step not only with the rest of the world but, increasingly, with his own country. US isolationism on climate change - its unwillingness to sign the Kyoto treaty, set its own emissions reduction targets or even accept the overwhelming evidence of a manmade warming world - is under severe strain." (Polly Ghazi, The Guardian)

Apparently there are degrees of totality in error, you can be dead wrong and then you can be Guardian wrong...

"Anti-Bush gibe by Royal Society sparks climate change row" - "A prickly row between the scientific academies of Britain and America over the precise wording of their positions on climate change has come to light on the eve of the G8 summit.

Letters show that shortly after the scientific academies of the G8 group of nations, as well as those from China, Brazil and India, issued an "unprecedented statement" urging action on climate change, the presidents of the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences argued over how the statement was presented.

Bruce Alberts, the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), accused Lord May, the president of the Royal Society, of misinterpreting the work of the American academy and causing "considerable confusion" in the American media and to the Bush Administration.

The argument undermines the show of unity achieved by the world's leading scientific academies on June 7 when they released their statement on climate change." (London Times)

"Bush not warming to Kyoto" - "Even the science 'consensus' is falling apart" (National Business Review)

BBC Audio: "Royal Society Isolated, As US National Academy Of Sciences Threatens To Withdraw From Future Cooperation" - "James Naughty: Only last month we reported that the scientific academies of the world's leading industrialised nations had agreed a statement, pretty well unprecedented, urging their governments to take prompt action on global warming. Climate change was real, it said, human activities had caused atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to rise, above pre-industrial levels, there was a need to take action to reduce the causes of climate change.

Now that consensus seems to be unravelling. A few days after that joined statement - there was a great fanfare about it, you remember, at the Royal Society in London, the president of the American National Academy of Sciences, Bruce Albert, fired off a pretty angry letter to the president of the Royal Society here, Lord May, accusing him of misrepresenting their position.

Our science correspondent, Tom Feilden, is in the middle of all this and watching it." (BBC Radio 4, Today Programme, 5 July 2005)

Anguish on the gravy train: "Climate scientists fear fudge at G8 meeting" - "Climate scientists fear that this week’s G8 talks in Gleneagles, Scotland, will not hear the truth about the “clear and present danger” of climate change." (NewScientist.com news service)

Hot air bubble: "Market for emissions picks up steam as Kyoto Protocol takes hold" - "PARIS For a market that is less than a year old and still feeling its way, European trading in carbon dioxide emissions has grown in liquidity and complexity well beyond the expectations of most of those involved." (International Herald Tribune)

What a pity for all who wasted money on this market that the Kyoto house of cards faces cooling gusts of reality.

"Kyoto Protocol to destroy Russian economy with unnecessary payments" - "The G8 summit is set to take place in Europe this week. The global climate change on the whole and the Kyoto Protocol in particular, are expected to become one of the central subjects of the international discussion. US President George W. Bush used the occasion to crack down on the ideologists of Kyoto agreements. Russian scientists prepare their own scandal too: they want Russia to withdraw its signature from the British report on the global warming." (PRAVDA.Ru)

"How It Became Safe to Embrace Global Warming" - "Global warming -- the belief system, not the scientific puzzle -- has now been fully domesticated and institutionalized." (Holman W. Jenkins Jr., The Wall Street Journal)

More on that 'Girlie Gov.': "Hot Air From California" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing stringent new rules to cut back on greenhouse gases in California. So why is he talking about them in Europe?" (IBD)

"Martin says he'll be forceful with Bush in discussions on climate change" - "DUBLIN, Ireland - Prime Minister Paul Martin says he won't be shy about pressuring George W. Bush to accept that climate change is a reality. Martin, who is visiting Ireland, said he will speak "forcefully" to the U.S. president at this week's G8 meeting to convince him of the scientific evidence that the world is getting warmer and that manmade sources are the cause. "Obviously, accepting the validity of the science is the first step toward dealing with the issue," Martin said." (Canadian Press)

No word on his response to the question of whether 'W' would notice a representative of the 51st State was there or not.

"Bush, the obstacle to a deal on global warming" - "Can America prevent the rich countries agreeing what to do about climate change? That's the other vital question at Gleneagles alongside Africa and its poverty and, last night, the omens did not look good." (London Independent)

The 'omens' for Bush saving the world from misguided politicians looked pretty good though...

"Bush Should Stand Firm on Kyoto Global Warming Treaty at G-8 Summit" - "As world leaders meet to discuss important world issues in Scotland, President Bush must be on guard, as he will face strong pressure to adopt needless global warming measures." (CEI)

"White House says no shift by Bush on climate change" - "COPENHAGEN - President Bush has not shifted his position on climate policy, a White House spokeswoman said Tuesday ahead of the Group of Eight summit. Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, the summit's host, said last week he had been having tough negotiations with the United States, the world's biggest polluter, before the summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, which runs from July 6-8. Washington has refused to ratify the co-called Kyoto Protocol on carbon dioxide emissions and the greenhouse effect. In response to speculation in the British media that the U.S. administration was softening its stance ahead of the meeting, the spokeswoman said this was not the case." (Reuters)

"Bush recognizes that human activity promotes climate change" - "COPENHAGEN - US President George W. Bush told reporters near Copenhagen that he recognized that human activity contributes to climate change. "I recognize that the surface of the earth is warmer and that an increase in greenhouse gasses as caused by humans is contributing to the problem," Bush said during his first-ever visit to the Scandinavian country." (AFP)

"Bush urges G8 lead shift from oil and gas" - "COPENHAGEN - President Bush urged leaders ahead of a G8 summit on Wednesday to spearhead a worldwide effort to invest in alternatives to oil and gas to help control global warming. Speaking hours before the start of the G8 meeting in Scotland, Bush put forward economic arguments that might help bridge gaping U.S. differences with the other seven countries over how to grapple with climate change." (Reuters)

"Vegetarianism 'could help climate'" - "Climate change could be reduced if mankind swapped their pork chops for tofu sausages, according to new research. A scientist claims ditching meaty meals in favour of nut roasts could do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions than burning less oil and gas." (Evening Standard)

"Global warming at Gleneagles: PM for N-option" - "NEW DELHI: As the world seeks to address the threat of climate change, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make a strong pitch for nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels at the summit of the eight industrial democracies this week at Gleneagles, Scotland. Along with the top leaders of China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, Singh will be joining the leaders of G-8 in Scotland to discuss practical ways to deal with the challenge of global warming. Amidst the intense trans-Atlantic squabble over global warming, there is an interesting congruence of views between India and the developing countries on the one side and the US on the other." (NewIndPress.com)

"Global Warming Debate: Experts Disagree on Historical Climate Data" - "Global Warming is a term that can quickly polarize a room of close friends. Is our planet heating up, and if so, are we responsible for it? Recently, a front-page USA Today article hailed an end to the global warming debate. But the controversy is far from over." (WorldNow and WISH-TV)

Can't say I know anything about television in Indianapolis but it is good to see this station appears to be attempting accurate reports - the issue is both contentious and polarised. Good work Channel 8 (or News 8 or WISH-TV, whatever they call themselves).

"Gerard C. Bond, 65, Geologist Who Studied Climate Change, Is Dead" - "Gerard C. Bond, a marine geologist at Columbia University who conducted novel studies of earth's climate changes by interpreting sediments taken from beneath the seafloor, died last Wednesday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. He was 65 and lived in Pearl River, N.Y." (New York Times)

New evidence that geomagnetic factors may play major role in climate change: "Does Earth's magnetic field secular variation control centennial climate change?" - "Abstract: We obtained new archeointensity data from French faience potsherds dated from the 17th to 19th century. These results further document the occurrence of sharp changes in geomagnetic field secular variation in Western Europe over the past three millennia. The intensity variation curve shows several maxima whose rising parts appear to coincide in time with the occurrence of cooling events documented in this region from natural and historical data. This coincidence suggests a causal link between enhanced secular variation of the geomagnetic field and climate change over centennial time scales, challenging the role of solar forcing as the sole factor provoking these climatic variations. We propose that the archeomagnetic jerks described by Gallet et al. [1] [Y. Gallet, A. Genevey, V. Courtillot, On the possible occurrence of archeomagnetic jerks in the geomagnetic field over the past three millennia, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 214 (2003) 237–242.] may engage the mechanism for centennial climate change." (Earth and Planetary Science Letters)

Solar variability has more significant impact on climate change than thought: "Influence of solar 11-year variability on chemical composition of the stratosphere and mesosphere simulated with a chemistry-climate model" - "Abstract: An understanding of observed global chemistry and climate changes caused by solar activity changes is a high priority in modern geosciences. Here, we discuss the influence of the ultraviolet spectral irradiance variability during solar cycle on chemical composition of the stratosphere and mesosphere with chemistry-climate model that fully describes the interactions between chemical and thermo-dynamical processes. We have performed several 20-year long steady-state runs and found a significant influence of solar irradiation on the chemical composition in the stratosphere and mesosphere. An enhanced photolysis during solar maximum results in destruction of methane, nitrous oxide and CFCs providing an increase in the chemical activity of the atmosphere with more pronounced effects in the mesosphere. In the mesosphere, an increase of HOx caused by more intensive water vapor photolysis results in significant ozone depletion there. More intensive methane oxidation gives statistically significant rise to the stratospheric humidity. The influence of dynamical perturbations has been identified over high latitude areas. The response of OH is found to be in a good agreement with observation data. The response of the other species is hard to validate, because of the lack of theoretical and observational studies." (Advances in Space Research)

"Stalagmite fuels climate debate" - "A stalagmite from an Alpine cave may indicate that global warming is not as unusual as many think. Deposits laid down in the stalagmite have enabled a European team to probe past climates confirming a Medieval Warm Period between AD 800 and 1300. The warm spell is also indicated in some studies of tree-rings, ice-cores and coral reef growth records. Writing in Earth and Planetary Science Letters the researchers suggest that global warming is a natural process." (BBC)

"Climate consultant says climate change not affecting rainfall" - "There is disagreement over whether climate change and the resulting lack of rainfall are behind Australia's worst drought in a hundred years. A Canberra-based international climate consultant insists rainfall is not being affected by global climate change or global warming. Dr Brian Button from Agrecon says his company's analysis shows rain is falling at different times of the year, but the country is getting the same amount it used to. "The evidence that we have seen not only in Australia but in North America where we are working commercially with very major partners is that rainfall has not changed significantly over the last 100 [to] 150 years," he said. "Similarly in Australia, our assessment is that long-term annual rainfall is not changing significantly." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) [Complete]

"Should North Carolina curb greenhouse gases?" - "A climate-change bill before the N.C. House this week would place North Carolina among states that aren't waiting on federal solutions for a warming world." (Charlotte Observer)

As an end in itself, heck no! Economy and efficiency are laudable goals, 'controlling' climate change is a nonsense.

"Melting ice will wreck polar bear populations" - "Polar bears are facing slow elimination over the next century as their vast frozen habitat melts away, according to a report by a panel of the world's top experts on the subject." (Anchorage Daily News)

"Polar bear population growing, hunters say" (link no longer active) - "...But in Nunavut, where some areas have already seen a four-degree rise in average temperatures since 1950, the bears have never been healthier, said the territory's polar bear specialist, Mitch Taylor. "We're seeing an increase in bears that's really unprecedented and places where we're seeing a decrease, it's from hunting, not climate change," Mr. Taylor said. In the past 10 years, he estimates, the Canadian polar bear population has risen 25%, to nearly 15,000 from 12,000.

In fact, he said, global warming could actually be good for polar bears. The most cautionary forecasts suggest that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2050, and the past 30 years have already brought a 15% reduction in ice coverage and thickness. But with Earth tilted on its axis, northern winters will always be dark, and always cold -- likely always cold enough to form the sea ice that is the bear's habitat. Parts of the Arctic will begin to see less impenetrable pack ice, a benefit for bears that need cracks in the ice through which to hunt seals. Warmer weather could mean fewer ring seals, the main part of the bear's current diet, but more harp seals and walrus." (National Post, Dec. 31, 2004)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

A New Perspective on the Warming of the North Pacific Ocean Over the Last Half of the 20th Century: How much did eastern North Pacific sea surface temperatures rise over this period?  How smooth was the temperature rise?  What did not cause it?  What did?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
Aerosols (Biological - Terrestrial): Multiple intriguing interactions among rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations, increasing air temperatures, and aerosols produced by terrestrial plants bode well for the continued robustness of the biosphere." (co2science.org)

Trees (Early Spring Growth): Mounting evidence suggests that the aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment is several times stronger than normal in woody plants when they first begin to produce new foliage in the spring, and that this phenomenon has played a significant role in the progressively earlier occurrence of biological spring over the past few decades." (co2science.org)

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

Journal Reviews:
Modeling Permafrost: Which provides a more accurate representation of permafrost trends, a two- or three-layer model?  And which is typically employed by climate alarmists?" (co2science.org)

800 Years of Siberian Climate: Are the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age evident in the new record?" (co2science.org)

Interpreting Sea Level Trends: Documenting change in sea level is problem enough.  Determining what caused the change complicates things even more." (co2science.org)

CO 2 Effects on Wheat Quantity and Quality: Although most people acknowledge that wheat yields will likely increase in a future CO 2 -enriched world, there have been periodic predictions that its quality will be reduced.  A new field study sheds some important light on this subject." (co2science.org)

Combined Effects of CO 2 and O 3 on Nonstructural Carbohydrates of Beech and Spruce: Are the negative effects of O 3 too much for the positive effects of CO 2 to overcome?" (co2science.org)

"Doubts over 'clean' nuke power" - "NUCLEAR power generates more damaging greenhouse gas emissions than gas-fired power, an Australian scientist says. As federal and state politicians debate the merits of starting down the nuclear power path to help reduce Australia's contribution to global warming, scientists say it may not be so clean after all. University of NSW Institute of Environmental Studies senior lecturer Dr Mark Diesendorf says nuclear power stations do not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) themselves, but the processes involved in creating nuclear energy do. Mining, milling, uranium enrichment, nuclear fuel production, power station construction and operation, storage and reprocessing of spent fuel, long-term management of radioactive waste and closing down old power stations all require the burning of fossil fuels, he says." (AAP)

"Ethanol and biodiesel from crops not worth the energy" - "David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, has co-authored an analysis that finds that producing ethanol or biodiesel from corn and other biomass uses more energy than is produced." (Cornell University News Service)

"Wind Turbines Not so Deadly for Birds - Dutch Study" - "AMSTERDAM - Wind turbines producing "green" energy kill many fewer birds than previously thought and pose less of a threat to avian life than cars, a study by the Dutch Bird Protection charity and power utility Nuon showed. The study, published on Wednesday, was based on results from three wind farms. It showed each turbine killed an average 28 birds per year, a third of what had been assumed on the basis of research conducted in the 1980s." (Rueters)

"UK falls behind in energy research funding" - "BRITAIN is lagging behind the rest of the Western world in funding research into new forms of energy, it emerged yesterday, as the International Energy Agency called for more investment to combat climate change." (London Times)

"Brown accused of hypocrisy for delay in raising fuel duty" - "GORDON BROWN was branded a hypocrite last night after he announced that motorists would be spared a planned increase in petrol duty, on the eve of crucial G8 talks on climate change." (London Times)

"Big ears for British wheat" - "Scientists at the University of Nottingham are working with researchers in Mexico to develop new varieties of wheat that could combine the best characteristics of British and Mexican types to bring about a quantum leap in yield while increasing the sustainability of UK agriculture." (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

"UK science helps farmers in Africa and India" - "As the world's attention is focused on issues of aid and trade in developing countries, UK researchers have shown how science can improve the lives of farmers in Africa and Asia. Genetic research at a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) sponsored institute has been used by Indian researchers to develop a new strain of pearl millet that is resistant to attack by downy mildew." (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

"African scientists plan GMO super sorghum" - "JOHANNESBURG - African scientists are developing a genetically modified (GMO) super strain of the staple grain sorghum that they say will be vitamin-packed to help fight malnutrition. The project brings together several African research institutions as well as a unit of U.S. Dupont, South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said in a statement on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Philrice Eyes New Vitamin a-Rich, Disease-Resistant Rice Variety" - "SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, Nueva Ecija, July 5 - The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is targeting to introduce before 2010 a new nutritionally-enhanced and disease-resistant rice variety. We aim to produce after about three years a rice variety rich in beta-carotene or Vitamin A and resistant to 'tungro' disease and bacterial blight, said Dr. Antonio Alfonso, head of PhilRice's Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division." (Asia Pulse)

July 5, 2005

"I see no ships, no demonstrators -- Geldof's Sail 8 flotilla flops" - "LONDON - A day after Bob Geldof's dazzling Live 8 concerts, his tie-in Sail 8 appeared a total disaster as just four boats -- carrying a grand total of zero demonstrators -- made it back to Britain from France. Participants admitted the stunt, designed to aid masses of continental protesters to reach the G8 summit demonstrations in Edinburgh, "didn't work" and was "disappointing". Geldof had been due to welcome the incoming armada but cancelled his planned appearance at Portsmouth harbour on the southern English coast." (AFP)

Bono, lead singer of U2, said: "This is our moment, this is our time, this is our chance to stand up for what is right. Three thousand Africans, mostly children, die every day of mosquito bites. We can fix that. Nine thousand people dying every die of a preventable, treatable disease like Aids. We have got the drugs. We can help them."

Indeed we can help but, as Steve Milloy so eloquently iterated in Rock Stars' Activism Could Be Put to Better Use, naïve entertainers and obstructive activists are not helping. Indoor Residual Spraying with DDT can save millions of lives now and would be so doing if not for activists driving a de facto anti-third world agenda by having development aid and access to markets contingent on using more expensive and less effective anti-malarial vector compounds.

You really want to help guys? Great, use your apparent popularity to highlight the damage done by the anti-chemical, anti-development, anti-free trade maniacs apparently bent on killing all these kids by deception and misdirection. Tell the European consumers their bizarre demands for produce devoid of harmless traces of lifesaving compounds cost real children's lives. Tell fans that policies keeping people trapped in museum-style "nature exhibits" also trap them in disease afflicted misery. Tell them... oh never mind - we don't imagine reality will intrude on your pampered world any time soon.

"What rocks is capitalism... yeah, yeah, yeah" - "I felt a faint early Sir Cliff-like curl of the lip coming on during the opening moments of Saturday's festivities as Sir Paul McCartney stepped onstage, writes Mark Steyn." (London Telegraph)

"James K. Glassman: How to make Africa even poorer" - "As chairman of this year's Group of 8 conference, Tony Blair has chosen to put African poverty and global warming at the top of the agenda when the leaders of the world's top industrialized countries (plus Russia) meet this week in Gleneagles, Scotland. African poverty, sure. There is no greater problem in the world today. Elsewhere, even the poorest people have gotten healthier and wealthier over the past 30 years. But in sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy has declined, malaria and AIDS run rampant, and economic conditions have plummeted." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Choking on Aid Money in Africa" - "Ahead of this week's G8 conference in Scotland, the world's richest nations forgave billions in debt to the world's poorest. Great news, right? Not necessarily. Decades of Western aid have done little to ease suffering in Africa -- indeed the situation is worse than ever. Is it time for the West to rethink its aid strategy?" (Erich Wiedemann and Thilo Thielke, Der Spiegel)

"Affluent notions" - "Recently a friend described a meeting with a nasty-tempered leftist from a rich family. Unfortunately, many leftists were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and, instead of being grateful, are venomous against American society." (Thomas Sowell, The Washington Times)

"Whose Responsibility" - "The innovative drug company Bristol Myers Squibb and its charitable foundation, the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation have just announced a $40 million program to create a pediatric AIDS treatment corps for Africa.

UN-AIDS estimates that there are more than 2 million children living with HIV/AIDS in Africa and they require specialized treatment, so the move is a welcome one. Yet, typically the company has come under fire for not doing enough and for protecting its innovative drugs with patents. Although these criticisms are largely incorrect and somewhat churlish, it is appropriate to question the role that drug companies play in long term AIDS treatment in Africa." (Richard Tren, TCS)

"Malaria money no good ‘if US funds agency not overhauled’" - "Business Day reports on AFM's insistence that President Bush's new malaria control funds will not make any difference to malaria control unless USAID reforms the way it conducts its programs. USAID needs to spend more buying the things that actually save lives and less on consultants and workshops." (AFM)

"Attorneys behind silicosis suits draw US judge's wrath" - "In a stunning rebuke to plaintiff lawyers who had hoped to turn the age-old occupational illness silicosis into their next legal crusade, a Corpus Christi federal judge has blasted most of the 10,000 cases that landed in her court as a fraudulent enterprise." (Houston Chronicle)

"Closer look for possible ritalin, cancer link" - "Federal health officials are looking into a small Texas study that earlier this year linked Ritalin use to increased risks of cancer later in life." (Houston Chronicle)

"Researchers urge caution on ritalin-cancer link finding" - "As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration moved to examine a potential link between Ritalin and cancer, the scientists who first unearthed the connection stressed Friday that the finding was preliminary and should not be cause for panic." (Health Day News)

"Teflon as a 'Likely Carcinogen': Do the Charges Stick?" - "With headlines stating "Compound in Teflon A 'Likely Carcinogen'" (June 29) and "Teflon likely to cause cancer" (June 30), it is crucial to clarify a few issues surrounding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientific advisory board's recent draft report identifying PFOA (also referred to as C-8) as a 'likely carcinogen':" (Rivka Weiser, ACSH)

?!! "Big pylons are killers" - "Miscarriage rates could nearly double if Transpower's giant pylon route through Waikato, New Zealand goes ahead in its present form, according to a scientific study." (Waikato Times)

"Diet (?!) Soda and Obesity" - "Diet sodas, which have no or very few calories, should be a boon to the overweight in their attempts to lose excess pounds. What, then, can we make of a recent report about a study purportedly showing that people who drink diet sodas gain rather than lose weight? The answer might lie in the report, rather than in biology, and is a great example of the drawbacks of presenting preliminary reports (those which have not been peer-reviewed) to the public." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"A Modern Refrain: My Genes Made Me Do It" - "In the Age of Genetics, your gene pool can be a convenient endorsement of the science of no personal responsibility." (New York Times)

"Proposals stiffen standards on air" - "Environmental Protection Agency staff members proposed tightening the nation's air pollution standards yesterday, a move that environmentalists said could save the lives of thousands of Americans." (Washington Post)

"Brussels rift opens over attempt to crack down on air pollution" - "A rift has opened up in the European Commission over a proposed crackdown on air pollution, intended to help prevent 350,000 premature deaths a year, but with a projected €12bn (£8.1bn) annual cost to the economy." (Financial Times)

"EU Executive Shelves Environment Initiatives" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission has shelved planned initiatives on air quality and marine protection in the European Union while members reconsider the executive's overall environment policy, a spokeswoman said on Monday. The two strategies were to have been aired this month, but Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso decided his team needed to discuss environmental issues at a general level first -- including the potential costs of such policies, Commission spokeswoman Francoise Le Bail told journalists" (Reuters)

"Europe drops green agenda to put life back into industry" - "ENVIRONMENTAL groups have been angered by a decision by the European Commission to shelve its long-term environmental strategy because of concerns that it would constrict Europe’s economy and destroy too many jobs." (London Times)

"Developed nations agree to slash use of methyl bromide pesticide" - "Nearly 20 developed countries on Friday agreed to cut their use of methyl bromide -- a pesticide that harms the ozone layer -- by 20 percent in 2006." (Agence France-Presse)

For a brief break from the 'woe-is-us': "At-risk birds flocking back" - "Britain's bird species have bounced back from a fall in numbers recorded in 2003, a survey has revealed." (London Telegraph)

"Bill Would Reduce Government's Role in Protecting Species" - "WASHINGTON, July 3 - Republican critics of the Endangered Species Act in Congress have drafted legislation hedging the government's obligation to take all necessary steps to bring back to robust health any species on the brink of extinction. The draft envisions more limited government obligations: ensuring that the status of an endangered plant or animal gets no worse and helping to make it better." (New York Times)

Gotta love these guys - and they have great faith in climate models: "Green farming plan 'in chaos over software'" - "The Government's flagship environmental farming scheme, which is meant to be transforming the landscape, has collapsed into chaos because the software does not work, say farmers' leaders." (London Telegraph)

See also: "Government IT projects 'are not checked properly'" - "Nearly one in three high-risk government computer projects is not checked properly for budget and system failures, a spending watchdog reports today." (London Telegraph)

"France's rivers run dry" - "Even before the hottest and thirstiest months of the summer, France is running short of water. Deux-Sèvres is one of the three or four worst afflicted areas but a drought has already been declared in 28 of the 94 départements in metropolitan France." (London Independent)

"Disaster losses lead insurers to global warming debate" - "Worldwide disaster losses have been rising for the last half a century, even when inflation is factored in — and Munich Re asserts that climate change is at least partly to blame." (Los Angeles Times)

Obligatory eye-roller: "Icecaps and hurricanes: the proof of climate change" - "Some, including influential figures on the American right, still deny the arrival of global warming. Mark Lynas has documented examples for his book 'High Tide'. Here is his compelling evidence:" (London Independent)

"Global warming to wreck Mediterranean" - "Global climate change will bring hotter, drier summers to the Mediterranean and hit two of the region's biggest earners, agriculture and tourism, according to a study released by environmental group WWF on Friday." (Reuters)

Inevitably: "Don't like the weather? Change it" - "The weird science of weather modification makes a comeback." (Boston Globe)

On this weather control theme, I clicked into EnviroSpin Watch on Sunday to see if Philip had returned from his travels and checked the stats on his current vote: "Can Mr. Blair control climate change predictably?" Astonishingly, of 391 respondents, 3 couldn't/wouldn't hazard a guess and 11 actually responded in the affirmative! Apparently 3.6% of Philip's voting readers either have complete faith in the UK's Prime Minister or are at least sufficiently awestruck as to think he might be able to "control climate change predictably." On the other hand the result shows more than 96% of voters of Philip's predominantly Euro-focussed site are aware the Great Leader does not command the climate. (Another thought occurs, perhaps the PM's staff couldn't let the boss suffer a nil vote and clicked "Yes"?)

The Week That Was July 2, 2005 (SEPP)

Yes, No and Maybe so, imaginative reporting for all:

"Bush to Prevent G-8 From Putting World Economy on `Energy Diet'" - "July 5 -- President George W. Bush, the lone holdout against mandatory limits on gases that cause global warming, may prevent the world's richest nations from endorsing such curbs at a summit this week in Scotland." (Bloomberg)

"G8: Bush may bend on climate change" - "SENIOR government officials are confident that President George W Bush will sign up to a G8 statement on climate change at the summit in Scotland this week. British officials say that although the US president is unlikely to commit to any tangible measures to clamp down on carbon emissions, he may agree to a communiqué declaring that the problem of climate change is a “reality” that must be addressed by the leading industrialised nations." (London Times)

"G8 climate cools as Bush lays down law on global warming" - "N almighty row between the G8 leaders over how best to arrest global warming is expected at Gleneagles this week. If the most powerful men on earth want at least part of an answer, however, they might do well to look a few miles away, due northeast. It lies in Peterhead, where a venture between oil giant BP and Scottish Energy is to lead to the world's first full-scale 'carbon-free' power station. It is among the trailblazers in a new generation of power generators where technology - not targets - has been used to cut emissions." (Scotland on Sunday)

"US gives way on carbon pollution" - "A historic deal on climate change which would see the US sign up to cut greenhouse gas emissions was last night emerging after a day of frantic negotiations ahead of the G8 summit. The draft text hammered out by officials meeting in London is expected to pledge the world's richest countries to wean themselves off fossil fuels - not just to save the planet, but to prevent a worldwide energy crisis." (The Observer)

"No G8 favours for Blair on climate deal, declares Bush" - "President George W Bush appeared to rule out any legally-binding treaty to cut global warming last night, crushing Tony Blair's dream of a groundbreaking deal on climate change. In an interview prior to this week's G8 Gleneagles summit, Mr Bush bluntly said that the Prime Minister could expect no special favours even though he had supported the war in Iraq. That meant No to any Kyoto-style deal on slashing harmful emissions, declared Mr Bush, who instead placed his faith in new technology to combat the problem." (London Telegraph)

"Chirac Has `Good Hopes' for G-8 Agreement on Climate Change" - "July 3 -- French President Jacques Chirac said he has ``good hopes'' the Group of Eight nations can agree on a statement about climate change this week, while insisting that any communiqué state the scientific reality of global warming and cite the Kyoto agreement as the means to deal with it. ``We will accept a resolution in the G-8 statement only if there is an acknowledgement of the problem and of its scientific nature,'' Chirac, 72, said today at a press conference in Kaliningrad, Russia." (Bloomberg)

"Bush, the obstacle to a deal on global warming" - "Can America prevent the rich countries agreeing what to do about climate change? That's the other vital question at Gleneagles alongside Africa and its poverty and, last night, the omens did not look good." (London Independent)

"Bush wants action against global warming at G8 but Kyoto still no-go" - "While the G8 has to tackle climate change, US President George W. Bush vowed to spurn any Kyoto-style deal on the "significant" problem of global warming, he said in an interview to air Monday. Bush told Britain's ITV television ahead of the July 6-8 gathering that global warming was "a significant, long-term issue that we've got to deal with". However, any G8 climate change agreement at this week's G8 summit in Scotland along the lines of the of the UN's Kyoto Protocol -- which the United States refused to sign -- would get short shrift, he said." (AFP)

"G8 SUMMIT: Expect Little on Climate, Says Top UN Expert" - "LONDON, Jul 2 - Little change should be expected on climate change at the G8 summit, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Dr Rajendra K Pachauri told IPS in an interview." (IPS)

"Chirac hails possible climate change breakthrough at G8 summit" - "SVETLOGORSK, Russia - French President Jacques Chirac hailed a possible breakthrough on climate change at this week's G8 summit talks in Scotland after meeting with his Russian counterpart and Germany's chancellor." (AFP)

"Bush rejects Kyoto-style G8 deal" - "President George W Bush has ruled out US backing for any Kyoto-style deal on climate change at the G8 summit." (BBC)

"G8 heads on brink of climate agreement" - "The leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations look set to agree an accord to combat climate change at their summit this week, averting a rift between the US and France over global warming and intensifying pressure on China and India to curb greenhouse gas emissions.' (Financial Times)

"Straw positive on climate change" - "UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said he believes there will be a "satisfactory outcome" on the issue of climate change at the G8 summit." (BBC)

"Bush strikes blow to Blair's hopes of global warming deal" - "Tony Blair's hopes of a breakthrough to tackle climate change were dealt a blow when President George Bush made it clear that he would not help the Prime Minister to strike a deal on global warming at the G8 summit in return for his support on Iraq." (London Independent)

"Beckett says climate change deal 'will go to wire'" - "ENVIRONMENT Secretary Margaret Beckett today said a G8 deal over climate change was possible despite US President George W Bush refusing to do any favours on the issue for Tony Blair. She said negotiations about global warming and how to tackle it would go "down to the wire" at the Gleneagles Summit of the world's richest nations this week." (The Scotsman)

"Diplomacy clears cloud over climate change" - "A marathon round of diplomacy in London over the weekend has averted the prospects that the need to address climate change would turn the G8 meeting into a shouting match." (Financial Times)

"Canada will urge U.S. at G8 summit to accept climate change is reality" - "DUBLIN, Ireland - Prime Minister Paul Martin will do what he can at the G8 meeting in Scotland to persuade his neighbour George W. Bush to recognize the reality of climate change, say senior Canadian officials. But no one should expect the American president to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol against global warming, they said, adding that just an acknowledgement of climate change would be a big step." (Canadian Press)

"Bush says: I put US interests first" - "President George Bush today sounds a warning to those hoping for a significant deal on Africa and climate change at Wednesday's G8 summit, making clear that when he arrives at Gleneagles he will dedicate his efforts to putting America's interests first." (The Guardian)

"After the revelry comes the cold political reality" - "BRITISH negotiators have given up hope of a G8 breakthrough on either trade justice or climate change after talks over the weekend led to a dead-end on both issues." (The Scotsman)

"Word games for nations with separate agendas" - "AFRICA and climate change are Britain's two chosen topics for the G8 summit on Wednesday - but ask George Bush what his aims are for Gleneagles and he'll talk about North Korea's weapons and the war on terror. While Britain is hosting the summit, the other invited countries have a long list of their own aims - and each an agenda that their audience at home wants fulfilled." (The Scotsman)

"G8 SUMMIT: Bush Dampens the Climate Already" - "EDINBURGH, Scotland - U.S. President George W. Bush's Independence Day remarks on climate change have turned out to be a statement of independence from any global efforts to contain damaging change." (IPS)

"Delicate balance to avert climate meltdown" - "In 1896, Svante Arrhenius, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist, predicted that burning fossil fuels would increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and cause global warming. The recent statement from national science academies around the world confirms Arrhenius’s broad conclusion." (Financial Times)

Nothing wrong with the broad conclusion. The statement from national science academies, on the other hand, appears to be illusory (see updates below). Perhaps it should more correctly be defined as "the statement of Robert May."

"Emissions credits to be issue at G-8" - "At this week's Group of Eight summit, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will propose easing conditions on Kyoto Protocol projects to make emissions credits easier for Japan and other nations to get, government sources said." (Asahi Shimbun)

Girly Governor? "Schwarzenegger urges governments to act on climate change" - "LONDON - In a British newspaper editorial, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged governments - including that of President George W. Bush - to face up the reality of global warming. "The debate is over," he wrote in Britain's Independent on Sunday newspaper. "We know the science. We see the threat posed by changes in our climate. And we know the time for action is now." (The Associated Press)

At a low point in his popularity as governor, Arnold tries pandering to the Greens on global warming. Not a terribly manly move in our view.

Claussen interview: "We Need To Cool It" - "Even without federal leadership on global warming, states and businesses are starting to take action. A leading advocate for clean energy explains." (Anne Underwood, Newsweek)

"Business divided on moves to tackle climate change" - "Kyoto Businesses are divided over the prospect of further international action to tackle climate change, which will be discussed by the Group of Eight industrialised nations this week at Gleneagles, Scotland. (Financial Times)

GE's going to cool the world - with sexy coal miners? "Working in a Coal Mine: Lord I Am So Tired, but Good-Looking" - "Most people tend to think of coal mining as a dangerous, dirty business. But General Electric, in its Ecomagination campaign, is trying to change that, in part through a hopelessly conflicted new ad." (New York Times)

Won't keep the antis off their case though: "'Greenwashing' Does Not Make the World Cleaner" - "LONDON - The "greenwashing" that corporations are now doing as their bit to clean up the environment cannot hide the damage they are causing, Meena Raman, chair of Friends of the Earth International, said Saturday." (IPS)

"Group plans first U.S. oil refinery in 30 years" - "Glenn McGinnis surveys his 1,400-acre empire rimmed by the Mohawk mountain range and declares he will build what nobody else has in the past 30 years: an oil refinery." (Phoenix Arizona Republic)

"With Interest: To cut oil dependence, look to the skies" - "With crude oil prices having topped $60 a barrel this week, politicians in the United States and the European Union - doubtlessly joined in private by their colleagues in the Far East - have again bemoaned their countries' dependence on foreign oil. Yet taking a big chunk out of the oil market could be surprisingly easy. The key isn't here on the ground; it's up, up in the air." (Daniel Altman, International Herald Tribune)

"Half-Baked, Sketchy Science Damns Airlines on Pollution" - "CHEAP flights are something the average Briton now takes for granted, with millions of people travelling abroad each year. It was a surprise therefore to see last week's front page in The Observer newspaper, which screamed: "Britain backs curb on cheap flights." (Red Nova)

"Don't tax airlines for sin of emissions" - "Aviation plays an increasingly crucial role in economic and social relationships across the world. But the industry faces a major challenge in ensuring that its activities can be sustained and enjoyed more widely without serious damage to the environment." (The Observer)

"UK: Minister ponders the nuclear option" - "When Malcolm Wicks stepped in to his new job as Energy Minister, he faced a number of problems that needed urgent solutions." (The Observer)

"Germany plans C02-free power plant" - "The search for a coal-fired power station that does not give off any carbon dioxide has taken a step forward with the announcement of plans to build such a plant in Germany." (BBC)

"Drive to cut 'standby' energy wastage" - "New rules to cut the enormous amount of electricity used by televisions, video recorders, digital boxes and other appliances left on standby are to be approved by EU environment ministers." (London Telegraph)

"Alcohol fuels not so green" - "Ethanol's reputation as an environmentally friendly fuel is overblown, say researchers who claim that large-scale farming of sugar cane or corn for alcohol is damaging the planet." (Nature)

"Menacing the Land, but Promising to Rescue the Earth" - "A tussle over a project that would crown a gusty lump of land in England with power-generating wind turbines has divided the environmental movement in unlikely ways." (New York Times)

"Virus-resistant GM abaca seen to raise yield to 3 MT/hectare" - "A genetically modified (GM) abaca [Manila hemp] resistant to mosaic virus is being proposed to be developed so that the Philippines will achieve a high yield of as much as Ecuador’s three metric tons (MT) per hectare. Cecilia Gloria J. Soriano, administrator of the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA), said FIDA has proposed the development of GM abaca that will raise yield to world standard." (Manila Bulletin)

"Greenpeace urged to hand over papaya report" - "The Department of Agriculture wants Greenpeace South East Asia to send its report that shows that genetically modified papaya tested at the department's Khon Kaen research station was contaminated with tetracycline antibiotic-resistant gene." (Bangkok Post)

"Ballot fight targets biotech crops" - "Saying their livelihoods are threatened, powerful forces that drive California's $27 billion agricultural economy are mobilizing to defeat a November ballot initiative to ban biotech crops in Sonoma County." (Sacramento Bee)

"Bill would nullify local GMO bans" - "Environmental groups and local government officials are decrying a Central Valley lawmaker's attempt to nullify existing bans on genetically modified seeds and prevent communities from enacting similar bans in the future." (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

"Beyond Food and Drugs, Biotech Fights Pollution" - "On the site of a former hat factory in Danbury, Conn., a stand of genetically altered cottonwood trees sucks mercury from the contaminated soil. Across the continent in California, researchers use transgenic Indian mustard plants to soak up dangerously high selenium deposits caused by irrigation of the nation's bread basket. Still others are engineering trees to retain more carbon and thus combat global warming. The gene jockeys conducting these exotic experiments envision a future in which plants can be used as an inexpensive, safer and more effective way of disposing of pollution." (Associated Press)

"US scientist develops corn that won't cross with biotech crops" - "When US farmers began planting genetically modified crops in 1996, Nebraska corn breeder Tom Hoegemeyer watched the unease develop in Europe and elsewhere. He knew that pollen from biotech crops could drift from one farmer's field to another, contaminating corn plants that were not intended to be biotech crops. So Hoegemeyer, who as a boy had learned from his grandfather how to breed corn on the US Great Plains, selected an ancient type of maize native to Central America. He worked in tropical climates with eight generations of the exotic corn to tease out genetic material and naturally develop a breed that rejects any pollen except its own." (AFP)

"Debating modified crop label" - "A global battle continues to rage over whether foods containing ingredients from genetically modified crops ought to be so labeled. Producers are understandably concerned that, given the choice, many consumers would opt for non-GMO (genetically modified organism) food items. In the words of the Biotechnology Industry Association, labeling would "communicate to consumers nothing relevant to health, safety, or nutrition, and indeed serve only to confuse and mislead consumers." (Honolulu Advertiser)

July 3, 2005

Russian academy of science calls on president to withdraw unauthorised signature from climate statement: "Russian scientists still negative about Kyoto protocol" - "MOSCOW, July 1 - Russian academicians are still negative about the Kyoto protocol to the UN convention on climate change, a leading scientist told a Friday news conference. Academician Yury Izrael, who chairs the Russian Academy of Sciences' council-seminar on the Kyoto protocol, said the council had confirmed its position on climate change remained the same." (RIA Novosti)

UPDATE II: The "Joint Academies Statement" engineered by Lord Robert May appears to be more "misstatement"

Then US-National Academy of Sciences president Bruce Albert (his term just expired on June 30) states in an e-mail:

"... we definitely did not approve the Royal Society press release, and I have sent a letter to Bob May expressing my dismay at his misleading and political statements there."

The situation now appears that we have a joint academies statement, including the US and Russian Academies of Sciences that does not, in fact, include either the US or Russian Academies. At this time, immediately prior to the G8 Summit, the only definitely known endorser of Lord May's statement is, well, Lord Robert May.

-- information curtesy S. Fred Singer


The international scientific community was plunged into disarray as news emerged yesterday how Britain's Royal Society has been orchestrating a political campaign behind the back of the Russian Academy of Science. In a calculated attempt to overthrow the well-known sceptical position of the Russian Academy of Science (RAS) on climate change, the Royal Society appears to have pressured its president, Yuri Osipov, into signing a politically motivated document against the expressed stance of its own organisation.

The RAS had never seen or discussed the text of the Academies' statement. After having done so, the RAS climate scientists have come to the conclusion that the statement of the Academies is "lacking scientific proof and having contradictions in logic in its many assertions."

The shenanigans of Lord May and his cronies appears to have backfired: Instead of providing evidence of an international "scientific consensus" on climate change, the public retraction by the Russian Academy of Science from the Royal Society's unduly political G8 statement has exposed the whole exercise as a complete farce. As a result, the reputation and integrity of the world's leading scientific academies have been severely damaged.

-- Information curtesy Benny Peiser

Andrei Illarionov provides:


Moscow, July 1, 2005

Statement of the Council-Seminar of the Russian Academy of Science under President of the RAS on Climate Change and issues of the Kyoto protocol on "Joint science academies' statement: Global response to climate change» (further - «Academies' statement»)

The Council-Seminar of the Russian Academy of Science has examined the «Academies' statement» and makes the following statement:

1. The Council-Seminar announces that the Russian Academy of Science has not been given the opportunity of working over the text of the «Academies' statement». «The Academies' statement» itself has not been discussed by any of the collective bodies of the Russian Academy of Science. The decision to support it has not been taken by any of the collective bodies of the Russian Academy of Science.

2. The Council-Seminar sees the «Academies' statement» as lacking scientific proof and having contradictions in logic in its many assertions.

3. The Council-Seminar attracts attention to the fact of absence at the present level of knowledge of cost-effective methods of stabilization of greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere.

4. The Council-Seminar noted that the «Academies' statement» offers costly and ineffective measures to achieve unproven targets.

5. The Council-Seminar asks the President of the Russian Academy of Science to repudiate his signature from the «Academies' statement».

6. The Council-Seminar reiterates its full support to its Statement of May 14, 2004*, including:
- in regard of the absence of scientific basis of the Kyoto Protocol,
- in regard of ineffectiveness of the Kyoto protocol to achieve aims of the UNFCCC,
- in regard of risks to the Russian economy from the ratification of the Kyoto protocol.

* Opinion of the Council-Seminar of the Russian Academy of Science under President of the RAS on Climate Change and issues of the Kyoto protocol on anthropogenic climate change and Kyoto protocol, Moscow, May 14, 2004.

"G8: The Problem May Lie En Route" - "LONDON, Jul 1 - The arrival of huge planeloads of leaders and officials to the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland will be made ''carbon neutral'' by the British government. But that may not be enough, experts say." (IPS)

"Change in sight as US makes gesture on climate" - "BRITAIN last night gave a cautious welcome to moves by US President George W Bush to accept the basic facts of global warming ahead of next week's G8 summit. Raising hopes that an ongoing deadlock over climate change could be broken at the Gleneagles meeting, the US President yesterday appeared to make a gesture towards the position of other G8 members." (The Scotsman)

"Blair pressed to isolate US over climate change" - "Jacques Chirac, the French President, and Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, have joined forces to press Tony Blair to isolate the Americans over climate change at next week's G8 summit.

The French and Germans would prefer a 7-1 split over the final communiqué on the issue, which is being negotiated this weekend by officials in London, rather than bow to pressure by the US for it to be watered down.

A leaked draft of the communiqué yesterday showed that the Americans are still resisting a tough wording on the scientific evidence that human activity is causing climate change. British negotiators are seeking a compromise to keep the US on board, but France and Germany are insisting on an explicit reference to the scientific evidence, with wording on the urgency of the threat from global warming." (London Independent)

"Climate Plan Splits U.S. and Europe" - "To hear President Bush's top environmental adviser tell it, Europe is coming around to the administration's approach to confronting global warming." (Washington Post)

"G8 moving 'further apart' on climate change" - "EDINBURGH - The world's richest nations are moving even further away from agreement on climate change just days before their summit in Scotland, according to their latest draft declaration. Stark differences between the United States and the other members of the Group of Eight (G8) nations are clear from the text, drafted for the senior officials known as sherpas preparing the summit for their leaders. Environmentalists are calling on Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, the G8 president, to signal an open rift with Washington rather than agree a watered down text. The G8 is deadlocked on global warming, unable to agree its severity, causes or how to tackle it, according to the text seen by Reuters." (Reuters)

"Climate change - a problem too hot to handle" - "Grand gestures over debt are all very well, but what will the G8 do about climate change – a phenomenon that could make civilisation history? Michael McCarthy investigates." (London Independent)

"The heat is on" - "Thanks to greedy environmentalists and corrupt scientists, the world is in the grip of a dangerous mass delusion that driving cars and using electricity is causing global warming. Unless these mendacious “experts” are stopped, the leaders of some of the globe’s biggest economies will pour trillions of dollars into useless schemes that exist merely to feed the enviro-industrial complex. Only a few (American) voices speaking out against a dangerous (European) orthodoxy can save us from global chaos.

If this sounds like the plot of a thriller, it’s because it is: in Michael Crichton’s latest bestseller, State of Fear, environmental groups grow so fat on middle-class guilt over pollution and the destruction of small furry things that they fasten on the alarmist theory of global warming, or climate change, as a means of screwing even more money from gullible donors.

But unlike Crichton’s previous tales - of dinosaurs stalking schoolchildren (Jurassic Park) or invisibly small machines taking over people’s brains (Prey) - the author doesn’t want this novel to be regarded as total fiction. He really does think the dangers of global warming have been seriously exaggerated." (Fiona Harvey, Financial Times)

Small note for Fiona Harvey on her rebuttal: In the past nine months alone, three new reports have given considerable backing to the IPCC’s position. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment ... Not quite - what has been released is a pretty booklet of suppositions but the science, if any, has not been published. There has been zero net warming in the Arctic since 1938. A geological survey of the Antarctic Peninsula found that 87 per cent of glaciers studied in the region had been retreating at an increasing rate over the past 50 years; Technically true since it speaks only of that tiny portion of Antarctica that is not within the Antarctic, the bulk of which is actually cooling, see the end of the previously linked file. ... and a study led by the California-based Scripps Institution of Oceanography found the warming of the world’s oceans could only be explained by anthropogenic (man-made) climate change. Another virtual-world construct, whether it has real-world relevance remains to be seen. As one of its authors said when news of the report broke: “The debate over whether there is a global-warming signal is over now, at least for rational people.” Well, maybe, for true believers (if you repeal the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics). That's pretty much what it boils down to, isn't it. For believers pretty booklets, computer-generated disasters and sweeping statements constitute proof while, for sceptics, these are no more compelling that claims of imminent ice age were a scant few decades ago.

Always lost in the noise is the position of the realists, those who figure warming is better than cooling, so, if warming there be then we should adapt to that, if it be cooling then we'll be less fortunate but we'll have to adapt to that, too. Either way, change is inevitable and we should not be wasting effort or finance trying to change the world when it is us who'll have to adapt to whatever conditions prevail, as we've always had to do.

"Rich nations 'must change to avoid climate disaster'" - "The developed world is "going to have to adjust" to prevent climate change becoming a global catastrophe, Hilary Benn, Britain's international development secretary, has warned." (Financial Times)

"UK: Energy ration cards for everyone planned" - "Every individual in Britain could be issued with a "personal carbon allowance" - a form of energy rationing - within a decade, under proposals being considered seriously by the Government. Ministers say that increasingly clear evidence that climate change is happening more quickly than expected has made it necessary to "think the unthinkable". They believe they need to start a public debate on energy rationing now if Tony Blair's aspiration of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds by 2050 is to be achieved. Under the scheme for "domestic tradeable quotas" (DTQs), or personal carbon allowances, presented to the Treasury this week, everyone - from the Queen to the poorest people living on state benefits - would have the same annual carbon allocation." (London Telegraph)

Meanwhile: "EU states reject binding energy efficiency targets" - "In Short: Just days after the Commission suggested ambitious EU energy savings plans, national governments scrapped every binding element of a related earlier proposal aimed at increasing energy savings on the retail side." (EurActiv)

"Transport remains thorn in the side of pan-European plan to slash emissions" - "Europe could cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40% of 1990 levels within the next 25 years but our taste for travel could throw a spanner in the works of the carefully mapped out European Environment Agency (EEA) plan." (Edie)

"A warm Atlantic linked to hot summers over Europe and US" - "The Atlantic Ocean plays a much larger role in controlling summer climate in Europe and North America than previously thought, say scientists in a paper published in the journal Science on 1 July 2005." (NERC)

"Ancient mountain glacier in danger" - "Scientists in India have warned that the ancient glacier that feeds the holy river Ganges is likely to melt down before the end of the century. They say it could disappear even faster if climate change speeds up. They say man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are almost certainly to blame for the current level of warming." (BBC)

"Nuclear reactors are the only truly 'green' solution" - "We know that this Government likes to boss us about. But the scheme to personalise carbon emissions - that is to set quotas on how much fuel we can use - is particularly silly. The idea begs at least five questions." (London Telegraph)

"Activists seek to curb raptor deaths at California wind farm" - "ALTAMONT – When it comes to wind power, few places are more productive – or more deadly to birds – than this gusty stretch of rolling hills 50 miles east of San Francisco. At a time when demand is rising for greener energy sources, the Altamont Pass has become one of the nation's leading producers of wind power, generating about 820 million kilowatt hours of pollution-free electricity annually – enough to power 120,000 homes for a year.

But the Altamont, where more than 5,000 windmills line the hilltops, has also become a death trap for thousands of migrating birds that get chopped up in fast-rotating turbine blades as they fly through or hunt for prey in this mountainous region between the San Francisco Bay area and the San Joaquin Valley.

An estimated 1,700 to 4,700 birds are killed each year in the 50-square-mile Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. Of those fatalities, between 880 and 1,300 are federally protected raptors such as burrowing owls, red-tailed hawks and golden eagles, according to a study released last year by the California Energy Commission. "Altamont is killing more birds of prey than any other wind farm in North America," said Jeff Miller, a wildlife advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Incredible numbers of raptors are being killed there, and it's hard to believe it's not having effects on the populations."

The relentless bird killings have provoked a fight between the windmill operators and environmentalists who were once reluctant to take on an industry that provides an eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels blamed for air pollution and global warming." (Associated Press)

July 1, 2005

"Merrill Lynch Pushes Global Warming Bubble" - "Merrill Lynch is bullish on global warming. The rest of the world, however, appears to be heading in the other direction." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Malaria Push Would Double US Aid to Africa by 2010" - "WASHINGTON, Jun 30 - Less than a month after rebuffing British Prime Minister Tony Blair's calls for a massive increase in aid to sub-Saharan Africa, Pres. George W. Bush announced plans to double annual U.S. aid to the world's poorest region by 2010 and launch new initiatives to cut the number of its malaria deaths by half and boost enrollment, especially of girls, in primary schools." (IPS)

"AFM reacts to President Bush's pledge of more money for malaria control" - "President Bush has announced an extra $1.2 billion for malaria control. The good news is he specified indoor spraying would receive funding. The bad news is that it seems that USAID, which has failed miserably in its malaria control efforts, will handle the money. Read AFM's media release here." (AFM)

"The UN's Silent Scandal" - "With all the scandals surrounding the UN lately, one is receiving too little attention--the promotion of policies that block the use of safe technologies to ease worldwide public health and environmental problems." (Henry Miller and Gregory Conko, National Post)

"This is Independence Day? Federal Regulatory Burden Reaches New Heights" - "A new CEI report on federal regulation finds that while the number of new rules declined slightly from 2003, costs are at record levels compared to other economic measures." (CEI)

"Endangering Species" - "The aim of the 1973 Endangered Species Act is to recover plants and animals threatened or endangered with extinction. Does it work? Thirty-two years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, it would be nice to know. So kudos to Representative Richard Pombo, who ordered a comprehensive review of the law from the House Resources Committee, which he chairs. Mr. Pombo has long argued that the species act is broken in a way that not only renders it incapable of conserving plants and animals but also puts unnecessary burdens on private landowners. It turns out he was right." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Pesticide warnings upheld" - "An appeals court yesterday upheld a federal judge's 2004 ruling requiring warning signs where pesticides are sold in Washington, Oregon and California." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"Limits sought on testing for pesticides" - "The Senate on Wednesday passed two amendments to an appropriations bill that would limit the Environmental Protection Agency's use of pesticide tests that involve humans." (New York Times)

"EPA faces fight on mercury policy" - "House and Senate Democrats introduced legislation yesterday that would force the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap a plan that would allow polluters to trade for the right to emit a certain level of mercury rather than face mandatory cuts." (Boston Globe)

"Does manganese inhaled from the shower represent a public health threat" - "A new analysis based on animal studies suggests that showering in manganese-contaminated water for a decade or more could have permanent effects on the nervous system. The damage may occur even at levels of manganese considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine." (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

"PCB exposure may raise lymphoma risk" - "Results of a study hint that exposure to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) increases the risk of the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a blood cancer involving the lymph nodes." (Reuters Health)

"Testicular cancer on the rise in much of the world" - "Though testicular cancer remains relatively uncommon, rates of the disease have risen in many countries since the 1970s, a new study shows." (Reuters Health)

"Radiation exposure during virtual colonoscopy doesn't significantly raise cancer risks" - "The risk of developing cancer as a result of being exposed to X-rays during computed tomography colonography (also known as "virtual colonoscopy" or CT colonography) is considerably less than 1 percent, according to an article published today in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Gastroenterology. Researchers say the radiation risk can be further reduced by creating optimized protocols for performing this screening test." (American Gastroenterological Association)

Back on the LNT trail: "Low doses of radiation are called dangerous" - "Even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer over a person's lifetime, a National Academy of Sciences panel concluded yesterday. It rejected some scientists' arguments that tiny doses are harmless or may in fact be beneficial." (Associated Press)

Seemingly there will always be zealots trying to worry people over insignificant exposure, although this time they're talking the equivalent of about 1,000 chest x-rays (not 10, as one ridiculous Reuters item stated). It must upset them no end when studies show exposure to solar radiation reduces everything from rickets to cancer incidence.

"Exposure to sunlight may decrease risk of prostate cancer" - "In the largest such study to date, a research team from three cancer centers measured sunlight exposure in men and found that increased exposure to sunlight may decrease the risk of prostate cancer." (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

"Adolescents should walk on sunny side of the street to avoid rickets" - "Walking on the sunny side of the street is being recommended for teenagers because they spend so little time outside that they risk developing rickets." (London Telegraph)

"Making a case for sun's benefits" - "Researchers are beginning to conclude that modest exposure to unprotected sunlight may actually be good for you, helping the body produce the vitamin D it needs to keep bones healthy and ward off cancers." (Los Angeles Times)

"Hurricane danger up and expected to continue" - "Hurricane activity has increased and is likely to remain high for a decade or more, the head of the National Hurricane Canter said Wednesday." (Associated Press)

"Are aerosols reducing coastal drizzle and increasing cloud cover?" - "Scientists are conducting a six-month atmospheric research campaign at the Point Reyes National Seashore in California. The experiment's goal is to help understand how aerosols -- small particles such as soot, dust and smoke -- influence the structure of marine stratus clouds, and how aerosols are associated with drizzle – the misty rain regularly produced by these types of clouds. The scientists think aerosols may be reducing coastal drizzle while increasing cloud cover." (DOE/US Department of Energy)

Because readers ask: "Clearing smoke may trigger global warming rise" - "Global warming looks set to be much worse than previously forecast, according to new research. Ironically, the crucial evidence is how little warming there has been so far." (New Scientist)

Several wrote wondering why we didn't highlight the circular reasoning involved and so neatly encapsulated above. Well, we thought we'd covered the situation pretty much to death but, OK, here it is again and yes, they really are saying it's going to be bad because it isn't.

"Oceans turning to acid from rise in CO2" - "A report issued by the Royal Society in the UK sounds the alarm about the world's oceans. While marine organisms need CO2 to survive, work by Caldeira and colleagues shows that too much CO2 in the ocean could lead to ecological disruption and extinctions in the marine environment." (Carnegie Institution) | Cuts in carbon dioxide emissions vital to stem rising acidity of oceans (Press Release) | Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide [.pdf 1069kb] (Royal Society) | CO2 emissions turn oceans to acid (The Guardian) | Marine crisis looms over acidifying oceans (NewScientist.com news service) | Oceans in trouble as acid levels rise (Nature)

Hmm... The Royal Society sure has a bee in its collective bonnet over anthropogenic greenhouse emissions lately.

Check out the Ordovician Mass Extinction. Note that fauna of the period included large diversity of corals, bryozoans, bivalves and gastropods (we know most about these because shells and skeletal remains fossilise best). In fact, reef builders took something of a hiding in Earth's second-most devastating mass extinction event.

Why is this significant? Well, all these shelled and reef building critters were apparently doing fine when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were an order of magnitude greater than current and anticipated levels. If these creatures, many of whose descendants are current denizens of the seas, managed to fashion calcium carbonate shells and skeletons then it would appear that atmospheric CO2 levels are not a major determinant of the success of these marine creatures. Why would apparently insignificant levels be a problem now?

UPDATE: Readers have inquired about the headline on the feature piece: "Oceans turning to acid from rise in CO2" and wondered if seawater is literally becoming acidic. Yes and no, seawater is alkaline and expected to remain so. However, reducing pH is always termed acidification and so having a suspected change from ~8.25 to ~8.14 over some two and one-half centuries is acidification even though oceans are sliding slightly closer to neutrality (less alkaline) than they were before. It is simply the terminology and it is accurate.

"Global Warming to be More Extreme in Some Areas than Others" - "Serious global climate change is nothing new; in fact, it is quite ancient. One University of Missouri-Columbia researcher has reviewed the earth’s temperature patterns from the past 70 million years to predict future patterns. His findings show that regional patterns vary and that means changes caused by modern-day global warming will not simply occur across the board. Some areas of the globe will be hit harder than others." (Newswise)

?!! Check out the varied media spin on Blair, Bush, climate and the G8: "Blair may snub US on climate" - "Tony Blair is contemplating an unprecedented rift with the US over climate change at the G8 summit next week, which will lead to a final communiqué agreed by seven countries with President George Bush left out on a limb. The alternative is to face a "catastrophic failure" of his plan to get concerted action to combat global warming, which he has long said is the greatest threat the world faces." (The Guardian)

II: "Global warming issue key - Blair" - "Tony Blair has said climate change is the most serious threat to the globe and any solution must involve the US." (BBC)

III: "Leaders scrap targets on climate change to keep the US on board" - "SENIOR political figures were lowering expectations dramatically yesterday over a G8 plan to tackle global warming. They said that not a single target would appear in the summit’s climate change communiqué. It also emerged that British officials were still battling with the White House over the inclusion of the word “urgent” in the statement. Even long-term goals, such as the call to stop the planet’s temperature increasing by 2C since the industrial age began, are being sacrificed to ensure that President Bush signs the Gleneagles declaration." (London Times)

IV: "Climate change focus turns to Beijing" - "The UK wants to shift the focus on climate change at next week's Group of Eight summit away from disagreements with the US and towards forging ties with China." (Financial Times)

meanwhile: "Bush: Kyoto Would Have 'Wrecked' Economy" - "President Bush said in a Danish TV interview aired Thursday that adhering to the Kyoto treaty on climate change would have "wrecked" the U.S. economy, and he called U.S. dependence on Gulf oil a "national security problem." (Associated Press)

II: "Fact Sheet: President Bush Is Addressing Climate Change" - "President Bush is dedicated to climate change policies that grow economies, aid development, and improve the environment. To address climate change, the President's policies promote technological innovation and reduce harmful air pollution in the U.S. and throughout the world while improving our energy security." (Press Release)

For your amusement: "Heat" - "The Guardian's 34-page supplement on how global warming is changing our world." (The Guardian)

I admit not having bothered with what I assume to be their hand-wringer of the moment and include the link purely for entertainment - The Guardian is not one of our recommended information sources on climate (or any other) science.

Update: John Brignell (Number Watch) has apparently had a look at it.

"Warnings of Imminent Disaster Fall on Deaf Ears" - "BUENOS AIRES - If a select international group of architects and engineers warned that a house already showing cracks and leaks was in danger of collapse, the residents would logically adopt immediate measures to prevent the imminent disaster." (IPS)

"'Vague' targets on climate change" - "The Scottish Executive is to set its own climate change targets for devolved areas such as transport, First Minister Jack McConnell has announced. The move was welcomed by the Scottish Greens but they criticised ministers for giving vague details." (BBC)

"Cheap flights blamed for aircraft greenhouse gas rise" - "Greenhouse gases from aircraft rose by almost 90% between 1990 and 2003 according to new Government figures published today. The boom in low-cost air travel is partly blamed for the huge rise – disclosed on the eve of the G8 talks where climate change is a key issue." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Fuel ethanol cannot alleviate US dependence on petroleum" - "Researchers assessed carbon dioxide emissions, cropland requirements, and other environmental impacts of the use of fuel ethanol made from corn or sugarcane in the United States and Brazil. The study, which evaluated the whole production and usage cycle, indicates few environmental advantages of wider use of fuel ethanol, and many disadvantages." (American Institute of Biological Sciences)

"'Carbon Free' Power Station Planned in Scotland" - "LONDON - Energy major BP and three partners are planning to build a plant in Scotland which would be the first in the world to generate "carbon free" electricity from hydrogen, the companies said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"France Targets Greenhouse Gas, Nuclear Plan to Help" - "CADARACHE - President Jacques Chirac said on Thursday the country stood by its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions and said a new nuclear fusion project hosted by France could lead to a cleaner form of energy." (Reuters)

"Portuguese Tycoon Heads Bid to Build Nuclear Plant" - "LISBON - Investors headed by tycoon Patrick Monteiro de Barros will seek to build a nuclear power plant in Portugal with an investment of 3.5 billion euros, Monteiro de Barros said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Biotech Crop Policy in EU gets Rethink after Rebuff" - "BRUSSELS - EU policymakers may be forced to rethink how they stand on biotech crops and foods after national governments recently took a strong stance against them." (Reuters)

"GM papayas in Khon Kaen found unsafe - Greenpeace uncovers antibiotic resistance" - "Genetically-modified (GM) papaya seeds used in in experimental field trials by the agricultural research station in Khon Kaen contain the tatracyclin antibiotic-resistant gene, recognised as an unsafe GM marker gene by various international food safety organisations, said Greenpeace South East Asia yesterday." (Bangkok Post)