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Archives - July 2006

July 31, 2006

"So Big and Healthy Grandpa Wouldn’t Even Know You" - "The past 100 years has seen a change from small, sickly people to humans who are so robust their ancestors are almost unrecognizable." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Study debunks birth season-autism risk link" - "NEW YORK - One of the largest studies to date to look at the issue has found no relationship between the month a person was born and his or her risk of autism." (Reuters Health)

Acts of the apostle (Number Watch)

See also "A Good Month" immediately prior.

"Media advisory: International mercury conference coming to Madison Aug. 6-11" - "Madison -- More than 1,000 scientists, academics, natural resource managers, environmental managers and policymakers will gather Sunday-Friday, Aug. 6-11, in Madison for the Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Agent Orange 'caused gene damage'" - "New Zealand troops who served in the Vietnam War suffered significant genetic damage from exposure to Agent Orange, a study suggests." (BBC)

"Mosquito spray increases toxicity of pyrethroids in creek, study finds" - "Berkeley -- A relatively benign compound contained in a widely used group of insecticides can mix with and increase the toxicity of existing pesticides in the environment, according to a new study led by biologists at the University of California, Berkeley. While the increase in toxicity was relatively modest, the effects from the interaction of chemicals were unexpected, the researchers said." (University of California - Berkeley)

Well blimey! "Fly-tipping soars to record levels" - "The fly-tipping of household waste is at record levels, according to figures to be published tomorrow. A report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs shows that, last year, local councils recorded more than one million such incidents of illegal dumping." (The Observer)

Make it too difficult for people to get rid of refuse and, surprise, surprise, they engage in less-desirable behavior.

"China's Air Pollution Reaches U.S. Skies" - "MOUNT TAMALPAIS STATE PARK, Calif. - On a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Steven Cliff collects evidence of an industrial revolution taking place thousands of miles away. The tiny, airborne particles Cliff gathers at an air monitoring station just north of San Francisco drifted over the ocean from coal-fired power plants, smelters, dust storms and diesel trucks in China and other Asian countries. Researchers say the environmental impact of China's breakneck economic growth is being felt well beyond its borders. They worry that as China consumes more fossil fuels to feed its energy-hungry economy, the U.S. could see a sharp increase in trans-Pacific pollution that could affect human health, worsen air quality and alter climate patterns." (Associated Press)

"UGA study explains peaks and troughs of dengue epidemics" - "Athens, Ga. -- Scientists have long known that epidemics of dengue fever wax and wane over a period of several years, but they've never been quite sure why. With the incidence and range of the potentially deadly mosquito-borne illness increasing, understanding the factors that influence these epidemics has never been more important. A new study by researchers at the University of Georgia suggests that a brief period of cross-immunity conferred by any one of the four viral strains, or serotypes, that cause dengue explains the timing of epidemics." (University of Georgia)

"What chance of being hit by a meteorite? Don't ask a scientist" - "In the true spirit of the British bureaucrat, scientists at a top secret atomic energy research centre were ordered to calculate the precise chances of being killed by a meteorite while out for a stroll." (London Telegraph)

"An active Florida hurricane season adds to red tide" - "Scientists believe that Florida's very active 2004 hurricane season may have played an important part in the development of extensive and long-lasting red tide conditions that affected its coastal areas in 2005. The four hurricanes that crossed the Sunshine State in August and September 2004 dumped as much as 27 inches of rain (nearly double the historical values) in central Florida, which increased groundwater levels and rates of surface runoff. These two factors are thought to create conditions ripe for the bloom of a red tide." (NASA/GSFC)

"Rare Whales Appear off Scotland, Heat Wave Blamed" - "Unusually large numbers of dolphins and whales have been sighted off the eastern coast of Scotland this summer, including several species that are rare in these waters." (National Geographic News)

Ah, but which came first -- the heat wave or the cetaceans? Do whales heat the British Isles now more of them are migrating to and from the tropics with the hunting moratorium? Has anyone quantified cetacean tropical heat transport?

"Ugly bugs get the hots for Scotland" - "RISING temperatures are bringing exotic - and sometimes dangerous - new insects and reptiles to the shores of Britain, with black widow-like spiders found in Helensburgh and scorpions nesting in Liverpool. As Scotland sweltered in the heat last week, amid growing evidence of global warming, experts warned that the creatures, together with larger numbers of snakes and lizards, were here to stay. One said: "Batten down the hatches, things are going to get interesting." Probably the most alarming development has been the arrival of scorpions, which appear to be moving north after becoming established in port cities such as Liverpool and Southampton. Arriving on cargo boats, the arachnids set up home in dockside walls. Soaring temperatures are now helping them to survive for much longer periods." (Scotland on Sunday)

Possibly the most depressing thing about all this is knowing we'll have to endure the howls of declining biodiversity as the globe cools again and the range of warm-loving critters contracts back toward the equator. doubtless that'll be our "fault" too.

"California: 141 Deaths Later, Heat Wave Appears Over" - "FRESNO, Calif. Jul 28, 2006— The state appeared to break out of its nearly two-week heat wave Friday, but not before it caused as many as 141 deaths and did untold damage to crops." (AP)

The 2005 population estimate for California is some 36 million people. Assuming average lifespan of 75 years then on average each year 1/75th of the population or 480,000 Californians can be expected to die, no? That's about 1,315 deaths per day (dpd). Should we be any more surprised at ~1,325 dpd during warmer than normal weather than we would be at such an occurrence during cooler than normal weather? At first blush it appears to be a case of heat-attributed excess mortality RR = 1.0076, which may not hold during increased frequency of warmer episodes.

As is our usual want, we check the numbers, while AP's Seth Borenstein writes of global heat waves the numbers say July (0.4 °C/century) has warmed at the annual average, even if we omit the southern hemisphere and globally January has been slightly less cold (0.5 °C/century).

Refreshingly: "Some not warming to theory" - "For California, sporadic blasts of withering heat are as typical as earthquakes. Not new. Not unexpected. But able to dominate our days, our nights and our conversations with an oppressive drumbeat of discomfort. So those who study weather and climate weren't surprised to be asked repeatedly if the recent stretch of killing heat was yet another effect of global warming. Their short answer is, if so, global climate change would be just one factor stirred into a confounding brew of other effects, including the routine variability of weather. "There certainly is global warming, but … it's not like every summer is going to be like this one," said Jan Null, a Bay Area meteorologist. The changes are likelier to come in fractions of a degree each decade." (Sacramento Bee)

"July sears its way into history, and the heat is still rising" - "IT PROBABLY comes as no great surprise — this month is about to become the hottest July since records began in Central England in 1659, the longest-running weather archives in the world. Average temperatures for the month will probably come out at 19.8C (67.6F). Temperatures would have to plunge to unforeseen wintry depths today to rob this July of the record set in July 1983 with 19.5C (67.1F). They will not, but the country will still be entering a brief cooler spell as the record is broken." (London Times)

"A Little Eco-Nomics Never Hurt" - "Technological advancements have elevated mankind to its healthiest and wealthiest level in history. Our lives are longer, our health is greater, our food is more plentiful, and modern conveniences are now so affordable that even the poor among us own what only the rich could afford 50 years ago." (Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

Advocacy showing? "Time to get serious about climate change" - "Climate change has hit the American West. The number of large wildfires in Western forests increased sharply in the mid-1980s, according to a new study in the journal Science, with longer fire seasons and longer-burning fires becoming the norm. That should be no surprise to the residents of Yucca Valley, Calif., Sedona, Ariz., Carson City, Nev. and other locales where the fire season already is well under way with dangerous and unpredictable results.

The increased fire threat is linked to warming temperatures and earlier snowmelts in the mountains, the study says. It echoes other reports over the past few years showing that floods and wildfires have been increasing all across the globe and that the average intensity of tropical storms -- hurricanes and typhoons -- has been increasing in all ocean basins. While no single weather event, including California's searing heat wave of the past few days, can be confidently attributed to climate change, the increased frequency of such events is an expected result of rising surface temperatures. There is a clear message in the growing torrent of studies revealing that impacts of global climate change are already occurring: It is time to muster the political will for serious evasive action.

Alas, there are no quick and easy remedies. The biggest culprit is emission of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel technologies that supply 80 percent of civilization's energy and are not easily modified to limit these emissions. Deforestation also adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and is hard to reverse. Agricultural expansion and unsustainable logging are at the root of this part of the problem and are linked to rising population and affluence, coupled with powerful market forces." (John P. Holdren and Alan I. Leshner, San Francisco Chronicle)

John P. Holdren is president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard University. Alan I. Leshner is CEO of the AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science.

Holdren and Leshner are two people who should know the temperature effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic - that is that the per unit effect of additional CO2 diminishes as the total quantity increases. Anyone with a half-way decent calculator or a spreadsheet program can get a fair idea of the surface temperature increment of any atmospheric CO2 content simply using the natural log of the carbon dioxide content in parts per million with the result in degrees C -- the result is not likely to be perfect since the sensitivity so calculated is between that of Lindzen's clear sky calculation and that of Kondratjew & Moskalenko but it is quite adequate to belie the "biggest culprit" claims.

Those who don't yet have a handle on the diminishing effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide should try it out. The first 20ppmv atmospheric CO2 yield almost 3 °C while boosting that to 200ppmv results in a total warming of ~5.3 °C, the pre-IR level of 280ppmv: ~5.63 °C; current 380ppmv: ~5.94 °C; doubling to 560: ~6.33 °C and so on. To derive the net warming of any increase simply use the formula LN(higher CO2ppmv) - LN(commencing CO2ppmv) =  °C increment -- e.g., LN(560) - LN(280) = ~0.69 °C for the expected surface warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide relative to pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

Most damningly, the HadCRUT3 data series indicates warming of 0.67 °C for the 30-year period 1911-1940 after cooling 0.62 °C from 1878 to 1910, periods when both rising and falling periods were accompanied by increments of ~10ppmv in carbon dioxide levels. Even ignoring the subsequent quarter-degree cooling from 1941-1975 (concurrent with an increase of ~20ppmv CO2) this still leaves the problem of explaining why the period 1976-2005 should be considered exceptional with a warming of 0.69 °C and why we should now ascribe this warming completely to rising carbon dioxide when there is recent modern precedent without it.

If the world has warmed as we think it has (not guaranteed) then obviously carbon dioxide is far from the "biggest culprit" and these gentlemen are presumably quite capable of determining that, making us wonder what prompted the inclusion of such a silly statement in the above piece. We further note that increasing carbon dioxide is associated with warming periods totaling ~1.3 °C and cooling periods ~0.9 °C for a net change of ~0.4 °C over one and one-quarter centuries with history suggesting a shift to a cooling phase is imminent as another ~30-year phase expires. Hardly alarming, surely -- unless, of course, we get a serious cooling, that could be rather troublesome.

Another Peer Reviewed Paper That Raises Questions On The Robustness of Multi-decadal Land Surface Temperature Trend Assessments (Climate Science)

"Rooftop relief" - "Heat rises, energy use soars, a toxic chemical stew is trapped in our atmosphere. We're creating urban heat islands. Some experts say green roofs are a solution." (Toronto Star)

"Public Disservice: Melting Myths" - "The last two weeks of July are normally the hottest of the year, so it's no surprise that we're being deluged with public-service announcements about the horrors of global warming. Radio and television stations are compelled to transmit these announcements at no charge because of a long-standing policy that they must provide "public good." "Don't Litter" and "Fasten Seat Belts" come to mind. Now the notion has been expanded to "Fight Global Warming."

By defining it as something we all should fight, these announcements tell us warming must be bad — something no comprehensive treatise on the science and economics of climate change has ever demonstrated." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute)

"Cold Comfort" - "Last week, two separate House hearings on climate change provided a study in contrasts -- one filled with controversy and anger, the other with mostly good feeling, except by those who didn't show up." (Duane D. Freese, TCS Daily)

"White House Plans to Skip High-Profile Talks on Climate" - "One of the higher-profile meetings on climate change is set to bring together this week British Prime Minister Tony Blair, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and about 25 chief executive officers of major corporations around the world. But the Bush administration will be a conspicuous no-show." (Wall Street Journal)

Oh great... "Scientist publishes 'escape route' from global warming" - "A Nobel Prize-winning scientist has drawn up an emergency plan to save the world from global warming, by altering the chemical makeup of Earth's upper atmosphere. Professor Paul Crutzen, who won a Nobel Prize in 1995 for his work on the hole in the ozone layer, believes that political attempts to limit man-made greenhouse gases are so pitiful that a radical contingency plan is needed. In a polemical scientific essay to be published in the August issue of the journal Climate Change, he says that an "escape route" is needed if global warming begins to run out of control. Professor Crutzen has proposed a method of artificially cooling the global climate by releasing particles of sulphur in the upper atmosphere, which would reflect sunlight and heat back into space. The controversial proposal is being taken seriously by scientists because Professor Crutzen has a proven track record in atmospheric research." (London Independent)

"Dan Walters: Global warming, whether theory or fact, spawns political heat" - "Thirty-one years ago, Newsweek magazine published an extensive account of what it described as a growing scientific consensus of global climate change.

"There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production," Newsweek said, adding, "The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it" and "to scientists these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather."

Global warming? Not quite. The Newsweek article about the emerging scientific consensus was about global cooling and the potential onset of a mini-ice age, akin to the one that chilled the Northern Hemisphere between 1600 and 1900." (Sacramento Bee)

"Swiss Map Permafrost After Signs Alps Crumbling" - "ZURICH - Switzerland has carried out its first ever survey of permafrost -- the frozen soil that keeps its mountains glued together -- as evidence mounts that global warming may trigger natural disasters in the Alps." (Reuters)

"Evangelicals spar over climate" - "What would Jesus do? Or as one evangelical group has said -- "What would Jesus drive?" -- in response to the biblical command to be proper stewards of the Earth. Although no one quite knows the answer, global warming is beginning to heat up in the evangelical community." (Washington Times)

Featured scammer: "Capital Pollution Solution?" - "Richard Sandor, chairman and C.E.O. of the Chicago Climate Exchange, seems to be fond of green. His business card and company stationery are trimmed in green; he wears green neckties. When he is photographed by the news media, there’s lots of green in the frame: green file folders, green paper, anything. For Sandor, it may be a way of signaling that the Chicago Climate Exchange — a commodities market for an unusual kind of commodity, greenhouse gas allowances — is more than just another business venture. It is, as he describes it, the engine of an environmental revolution." (New York Times)

"Rationing could be key to war on climate change" - "Governments may be forced to turn to wartime-style rationing to combat climate change, or risk mass migration and more than 40 million deaths, an expert in global warming has warned." (Sheffield Hallam University)

"The folly of carbon swipe cards" - "David Miliband is right: his plan for all citizens to carry around a card that measures their use of carbon will be seen as ‘burden’ by most of us." (James Woudhuysen, sp!ked)

As correspondent and sometimes JunkScience.com commentator, Dennis Ambler reminds us:

The Carbon card idea is not David Miliband's idea and has been around since 2004. It is a product of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, which I have previously highlighted as the government's main climate propaganda organisation and an offshoot of the Hadley Centre and CRU.

This is from their press release http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/media/press_releases/pr_30.pdf

"Scientists devise 'equal rights' system to combat climate change. Scientists at UMIST's Tyndall Centre have devised a system to combat climate change giving each and every adult in the country an equal greenhouse gas 'allowance'. Unlike a carbon tax system, where people emit as much carbon dioxide as the amount of fuel plus carbon tax they can afford, each adult would be given a smart card that only allows them to use a certain amount of carbon 'units'. Every year the nation’s total number of units would decrease, thus reducing greenhouse gases."

They followed that up last year with air travel.


"Everyone’s carbon dioxide emissions must go to zero to allow for aviation pollution reveals major analysis of UK climate change targets.

All householders, motorists and businesses will have to reduce their carbon dioxide pollution to zero if the growing aviation industry is to be incorporated into Government climate change targets for 2050 reveals new research from the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research."

MEP's have recently approved taxation on air travel.

To recap:
The Tyndall Centre was established in 2000 and is based at the University of East Anglia, with regional offices at the partner Universities of Manchester, Southampton, Sussex, Oxford and Newcastle, together known as the Tyndall Consortium.

It is core funded by the National Environmental Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council & Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Director is Professor Mike Hulme, from the University of East Anglia.

The Tyndall Council has 20 members, with an eleven-member research management team. Its Advisory Board has 22 members comprising: 9 from business (including one from an SME and one from the media sector), 7 from academia, 3 from the public sector and 3 from NGOs (including one from Greenpeace).

Tyndall Centre Objectives:
Part of the mission statement is to “exert a seminal influence on the design and achievability of the long-term strategic objectives of UK and international climate policy”. It seeks to integrate scientific and social disciplines in promoting the idea of dangerous climate change and to stimulate public policy initiatives on energy and transport. It wishes to motivate society into an acceptance of the catastrophic perception of climate change and to impart the view that it, (society), has the ability, but needs the willingness to “choose our future climate”.

It has been eminently successful, ably assisted by the media in all its forms and even involving church leaders:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, has famously said that not signing up to the Kyoto protocol is un-Christian and he was recently part of a Tyndall Centre public relations event: "Archbishop of Canterbury launches our new research strategy" (03 May 06).

As Michael Caine reputedly said, "not a lot of people know that"

"Scotland: Car drivers vote with their wheels over parking fines" - "BANNING cars restores social justice, removes dangers, rights anomalies and provides Roundheads with a cosy glow. Global warming, traffic jams, the decline of the corner shop, child obesity and inner city poverty can all be solved by restrictions, limitations and banning orders. Now, bless our souls, cars are responsible for our moral decline. Preaching from the pulpit, the Today programme or whatever platform he could command, the Bishop of London judges big cars sinful. God is apparently on the side of scientists who say cars are to blame for global warming, and He doesn't believe those who say global warming is like global cooling, and one will most surely follow the other." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Top scientists demand deep burial of radioactive waste" - "Proposals to bury the UK's existing radioactive waste deep underground should be acted on urgently and not delayed by calls for more scientific research, top scientists said today." (London Independent)

"More efficient and ecological system for the production of electricity, cold and heat" - "IKERLAN-IK4 is taking part in a European project the aim of which is to design a single installation that will, at the same time, produce electricity, cold and heat for domestic use, while affording a notable reduction in environmental impact. In the PolySMART project, 32 organisations from eight European countries are participating, with a budget of 14.3 million euros and a projected period of four years.

Some large installations – sports centre, hotels and large industry - already use systems capable of generating both electricity and refrigeration for air conditioning and heat for heating and hot sanitary. This integrated, trigeneration system provides significant energy and environmental advantages. However, for domestic use, its installation meets a number of problems." (Elhuyar Fundazioa)

"UK: Grid issues £500m demand" - "National Grid is demanding up to £500m from prospective wind farm developers before it expands the electricity network capacity to accommodate new sources of power. Wind farm developers that have applied to connect to the electricity grid have been told they must first put up financial guarantees, known as final sum liabilities. National Grid is seeking a total of £500m from the top 20 wind farm developers. National Grid wants developers to provide bank guarantees to cover the cost of the network expansion to cope with the expected extra power. It wants to weed out opportunistic wind farm developers and protect itself financially." (London Telegraph)

"Ideal growing conditions give way to heat and drought across the Prairies" - "To farmers across the Prairies, it looked like it was going to be an ideal growing season - warm temperatures combined with just the right amount of moisture to create what could have been a bumper crop. At least until the beginning of July." (Canadian Press)

"Ecosystems unlimited" - "A new Canadian super-lab will allow international researchers to create the frigid Arctic or a steamy rainforest in sealed environments -- and to experiment with them in ways they can't do in the real world." (Ottawa Citizen)

"Modified solution: Gene-splicing crop plants to tolerate drought holds great promise" - "Ask any farmer in America's major wheat-growing regions about this year's crop and you'll get an earful. A severe, prolonged drought - which in some places is in its fifth year - has cut the winter wheat crop drastically." (Dr. Henry I. Miller And Gregory Conko, Rocky Mountain News)

"Malawi: Science for food" - "The famine of 2001 was a double-edged sword in Southern Africa and Malawi was a typical example. On one side, people were dying of hunger-related illnesses. On the other, government was being accused of accepting genetically modified (GM) relief maize." (Nation Online)

"Panel meets to discuss biotech for African development" - "[NAIROBI] Researchers and policymakers met in Kenya this week to discuss ways that biotechnology could contribute to the continent's development. The meeting held on 25-28 July was the 4th gathering of the High-Level Panel on Biotechnology, set up by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development to provide policy advice to African leaders." (SciDev.Net)

"Pharming's rabbit-derived drug on fast track in U.S." - "AMSTERDAM - Shares in Pharming soared on Friday after the Dutch biotechnology firm said its rabbit-derived lead drug, a potential treatment for angioedema, has received a fast track designation for review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration." (Reuters)

"Stem Cells: The Hope And The Hype" - "The debate is so politically loaded that it's tough to tell who's being straight about the real areas of progress and how breakthroughs can be achieved." (Time)

July 28, 2006

"The EPA's Polluted Science" - "The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to tighten air pollution standards again. What we really need, however, is an effective program to control the EPA." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"DDT about to be reintroduced as pesticide" - "GENEVA, Switzerland, July 27 -- One of the most controversial chemicals on Earth -- DDT -- is about to make a comeback as a prime weapon in the fight against malaria in Africa. Scientists say DDT helped eradicate malaria from the United States during the 1940s, but was indiscriminately overused for agricultural purposes during the 1950s and 1960s. Beginning in the 1970s, the United States and several European nations banned the pesticide, largely due to concerns about environmental harm. Pressure from international agencies also led many African countries to abandon DDT's use." (UPI)

"Tackling malaria makes good business sense" - "Fighting malaria is good for business, governments and the community, highlights a report launched today entitled Business and Malaria: A Neglected Threat by the Global Health Initiative (GHI) of the World Economic Forum." (AFM)

"Uganda: Health Threatens To Sue Nema Over DDT Use" - "The Ministry of Health is ready to go to court to secure clearance to use DDT to control malaria in case the National Environment Authority fails to give it green light to use the anti-mosquito chemical in the country." (AFM)

Imagine that... "University of Leicester produces the first-ever 'world map of happiness': Happiness is ... being healthy, wealthy and wise" - "Adrian White, Analytic Social Psychologist at the University of Leicester produces first ever global projection of international differences in subjective well-being; the first ever World Map of Happiness. Happiness is found to be most closely associated with health, followed by wealth and then education." (University of Leicester)

"Food labels should list all fats to help cut heart disease, say experts" - "Food labels should list trans fats as well as cholesterol and saturated fat to help reduce coronary heart disease, say researchers from the University of Oxford in this week's BMJ. Trans fats (also known as trans fatty acids) are solid fats found in margarines, biscuits, cakes, and fast food. Scientists think that our bodies deal with these fats in the same way as saturated fats." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Study suggests TV watching lowers physical activity" - "Boston -- A study of low-income housing residents has documented that the more television people say they watched, the less active they were, researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and colleagues report. The findings of television's effects on physical activity are the first to be based on objective measurements using pedometers, rather than the study subjects' memories of their physical activity, say the researchers. The study will be published online by the American Journal of Public Health on July 27 and later in the journal's September 2006 issue." (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

"Iowa State psychologists produce first study on violence desensitization from video games" - "Ames, Iowa -- Research led by a pair of Iowa State University psychologists has proven for the first time that exposure to violent video games can desensitize individuals to real-life violence." (Iowa State University)

"Chemical in many air fresheners may reduce lung function" - "New research shows that a chemical compound found in many air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, mothballs and other deodorizing products, may be harmful to the lungs. Human population studies at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, found that exposure to a volatile organic compound (VOC), called 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB) may cause modest reductions in lung function." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Study: Water Contaminant Can Cause Cancer" - "WASHINGTON -- Growing scientific evidence suggests the most widespread industrial contaminant in drinking water -- a solvent used in adhesives, paint and spot removers -- can cause cancer in people. The National Academy of Sciences reported Thursday that a lot more is known about the cancer risks and other health hazards from exposure to trichloroethylene than there was five years ago when the Environmental Protection Agency took steps to regulate it more strictly." (AP)

"Endangered species repair required" - "California, as much or more than any other state, has witnessed firsthand the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) shortcomings." (Richard W. Pombo, Washington Times)

"A bigger 'dead zone' this year than usual" - "Heavy spring rains poured high levels of river runoff – and pollutants – into the Gulf of Mexico this year." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Marine 'dead zone' off Oregon is spreading" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – A hypoxic "dead zone" has formed off the Oregon Coast for the fifth time in five years, according to researchers at Oregon State University. A fundamental new trend in atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns in the Pacific Northwest appears to have begun, scientists say, and apparently is expanding its scope beyond Oregon waters." (Oregon State University)

"The fall of nature?" - "THE early bird may indeed catch the worm, but there are fears it may miss out on its favourite insect prey, following new evidence that climate change is throwing the behaviour of many plant and animal species into fast-forward. A report published yesterday by Scottish Natural Heritage, the government agency, suggests that, due to climate change, the increasingly unpredictable seasonal activity of our flora and fauna could mean serious gaps in the food chain, as hunter and hunted slip out of synch with each other." (The Scotsman)

"Study questions link between power of hurricanes, global warming" - "Studies that link global warming to an increase in hurricane ferocity might be full of hot air, according to a research paper that will be published Friday in a major scientific journal. The paper, co-written by Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade, challenges earlier findings that hurricanes have grown more powerful in the last 30 years." (Miami Herald) | Hurricane 'spike' may not be accurate (Florida Today)

"In California, Heat Is Blamed for 100 Deaths" - "A searing heat wave nearly two weeks old is responsible for a toll of casualties that has no recent precedent." (New York Times)

Oh boy... "Movie grim on future of state" - "The Union of Concerned Scientists produced a video that looks at global warming impacts in the state." (The Press-Enterprise)

"Report: Mediterranean beaches set to get hotter: Temperatures expected to rise by up to 2 and 10 degrees by 2100" - "OSLO, Norway - Mediterranean beaches may get too hot for tourists this century because of global warming and northern Europeans will find the summer balmy enough to stay at home, researchers said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"France counts toll of heatwave as weather cools" - "PARIS - Overnight storms in France brought welcome relief on Thursday from a heatwave that killed 64 people and which provided the first real test of new measures aimed at preventing the mass deaths of three summers ago. Temperatures however remained high in other European countries. Thunder, lightning and heavy showers swept across France from west to east, knocking down sweltering temperatures and bringing an end to a over a week of unusually hot weather. This year's heatwave was neither as hot nor as deadly as 2003's, in which 15,000 people died but it still put France's health system to the test." (Reuters)

"Cosmic dust in terrestrial ice" - "For the last 30,000 years, our planet has been hit by a constant rain of cosmic dust particles. Two scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University in New York and the Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, have reached this conclusion after investigating the amount of the helium isotope 3He in cosmic dust particles preserved in an Antarctic ice core over the last 30,000 years. They have shown that this rare helium isotope in cosmic dust exceeds that of terrestrial dust in ice by a factor of 5,000. Moreover, measurements of the amount of 4He – a helium isotope much more common on Earth – in the Antarctic ice strongly suggest a change of origins in terrestrial dust between the last Ice Age and the interglacial warm period we currently live in." (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research)

Rent-a-crowds must be getting expensive: "Small changes fight global warming, activists say" - "Individual actions that lead to collective change will be the solution to the worsening global warming crisis, national and local environmental activists said in Duluth on Wednesday. The National Environmental Trust and U.S. Public Interest Research Group sponsored the event that included a local scientist and a hunting enthusiast testifying on the crisis." (News Tribune)

With the backdrop of an inflated burning Earth, Christopher Cox with the National Environmental Trust speaks about global warming during a rally Wednesday at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. Conservation activist David Zentner of Duluth and members of the Minneapolis chapter of U.S. Public Interest Research Group listen.

"Shoot up and cool down: New study examines a way to fight global warming by injecting sulfur into the atmosphere" - "Injecting sulfur into the atmosphere to slow down global warming is worthy of serious consideration, according to Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego. His thought-provoking paper1 is published in the August issue of the Springer journal Climatic Change, devoted this month to the controversial field of geoengineering." (Springer)

What If Global Cooling Occurs? (Climate Science)

Recycling: "What About Us?" - "At a time when global warming has become an overriding issue, NASA has been delaying or canceling programs that could shed light on how the climate changes. The shortsighted cutbacks appear to result from sharply limiting NASA’s budget while giving it hugely expensive tasks like repairing the stricken shuttle fleet, finishing construction of the space station, and preparing to explore the Moon and Mars. Something had to give, and NASA’s choices included research into how the planet’s climate is responding to greenhouse gas emissions." (New York Times)

Over the weekend Old Gray ran NASA’s Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet, to which I responded and likewise respond to the above editorial:

I've been giving this quite a bit of thought and come to the conclusion that, if this has the side-effect of defunding some enhanced greenhouse = global warming projects, then it is probably a good thing. This might seem a strange conclusion for a site promoting science fact over science fiction, after all, how can we determine the physical facts of the matter with inadequate study? Regrettably, this is not about study and pure science. The funding pool for "climate research" is probably massively excessive, with the unfortunate side-effect of massive incentive for claims of crisis. Where once the field of climate study was almost an esoteric field the cries of crisis -- and associated political allocation of huge budgets -- have seen its transformation through bandwagon to current juggernaut. This has done nothing good for either science or society.

The science that is settled, that which can be demonstrated in the lab, is that doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (compared with pre-Industrial Revolution levels) can only deliver a trivial near-surface warming, a fraction of a degree which cannot possibly be discerned amongst the noise of natural climatic variation. Everything else, all the claims bought by tens of billions of dollars of public money thrown at an alleged "problem", amount to the digital equivalent of readings of the entrails of chickens. For all the claims of unmitigated positive "feedbacks" used as multipliers for the provably trivial effect of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide even the IPCC (whose mission is to find scary warming) can only identify a possible 0.6 ± 0.2 °C warming from all causes from a time when it was uncomfortably cool (and half of the suspected change occurred prior to the bulk of emissions from fossil fuel use).

Even our recent planetary climate history is somewhat vague. We're all pretty well agreed that at least the North Atlantic region and probably the Northern Hemisphere, if not the world, suffered unfriendly cold around 400 years ago and that it has warmed somewhat since. We're all pretty well agreed that this warming began prior to the Industrial Revolution. We're all pretty well agreed that it is much easier to feed the global population and requires less infringement on wildlands and wildlife habitat when the world is warmer rather than cooler, as it was some four centuries past. We view this as a crisis solely because there now exists an entire industry whose existence and finance depends on creating and maintaining the impression this is so.

If we insist on using global mean temperature as our yardstick, and there remains no compelling argument this is a particularly useful metric, then the science is telling us that our carbon emissions have but trivial influence. If we look to the practical metrics of local cause and effect then global carbon emissions disappear as significant contributors. Why should we keep over-funding groups to create scary scenarios in the virtual worlds of computer models that bear no apparent relation to the behavior of the real world we inhabit?

This is particularly relevant given the current hit pieces aimed at Pat Michaels (below):

I always like these: "Making Money by Feeding Confusion Over Global Warming: Electric Utility Pays $100,000 to Global Warming Naysayer" - "July 27, 2006 — Ever wonder why so many people still seem confused about global warming? The answer appears to be that confusion leads to profit — especially if you're in some parts of the energy business. One Colorado electric cooperative has openly admitted that it has paid $100,000 to a university academic who prides himself on being a global warming skeptic." (ABC News) | Utilities paying global warming skeptic (AP)

Gasp, shock, horror, etc., etc.. Skeptics sometimes get money -- and from people who might be better off if skeptical viewpoints are aired. I am frequently accused of receiving vast sums for my skepticism too (my wife could wish), as though that would somehow invalidate global temperature measures and trends posted on this site or magically prove causation (we all could wish, for that would resolve a great many unknowns and reduce risk of action or inaction as the case may be). Fair enough, there are always people looking for the "Evil Empire" conspiracy they are convinced must exist and nothing I say or do will convince them otherwise, besides, this site encourages skepticism which should apply equally to us.

Just one thing -- how does the amount spent allegedly "buying" global warming skepticism (variously described but collectively supposed to be at least tens of millions of dollars over the last decade) compare with the tens of billions of dollars made available over the last decade for demonstrating "global warming" to be a problem? The US alone is injecting over $2 billion a year of public monies, your tax dollars, into grant streams to investigate and "address" the dreaded warming but I haven't heard of a single nickel of public money being available to demonstrate there is no cause for alarm. If Pat Michaels is a shill for big electric because he accepted funds from them then presumably Jim Hansen is a shill for the misanthropic Heinz Foundation who takes money to espouse catastrophic warming (I don't know whether he is or he isn't but he did accept a cash "award" of $250,000 from them, a matter of public record in the same way grants to Michaels are).

If opinions are being bought then opinions supporting "global warming" are apparently much more expensive and they are being bought with both our taxes and our donations to allegedly "green" groups and foundations. Like I said, if people want to be skeptical because money changes hands that's fair enough, possibly even warranted, but for heaven's sake, how about applying skepticism uniformly? Sure you should follow the money -- but where is most of it going?

P.S. -- my wife says I should post a link so people can send money to have me continue to express my skepticism -- see the site donation links at left on the main page.

"Toronto Buildings Going Green on Top, But Very Slowly" - "TORONTO - A handful of buildings in Canada's biggest city are going green on top in an effort to help the environment and reduce global warming, but the city admits its plan for high-rise gardens has barely taken root." (Reuters)

"Heat Wave Shows Limits of Nuclear Energy" - "PARIS - The extreme hot summer in Europe is restricting nuclear energy generation and showing up the limits of nuclear power, leading environmental activists and scientists say." (IPS)

It actually shows the inadequacy of water storage infrastructure but oh well...

"Transmission congestion threatens to clog nation's power grid" - "Champaign, Ill. -- Inadequate investment in the power grid transmission network remains the Achilles heel of the nation's electric system, an engineer who specializes in utility policy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says. The electric industry and government regulators have addressed the immediate problems that led to the nation's worst power failure three years ago on Aug. 14, 2003, said George Gross, a U. of I. professor of electrical and computer engineering. This includes mandatory reliability standards for the industry, which were passed by Congress as part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. But the broader problems of transmission congestion and bottlenecks continue to threaten the reliability of the grid, particularly during periods of peak demand." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Where will big oil's big profits go?" - "Exxon Mobil says some windfall will go to more drilling." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Shell Launches Huge Gas-To-Liquids Scheme in Qatar" - "LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday launched the world's biggest gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Qatar that will convert gas from the Gulf State's vast North Field into clean fuels for the world market." (Reuters)

"UK: Millions hit by record gas price rise" - "Gas bills are rising at their fastest rate since records were first kept almost half a century ago, Government figures showed yesterday." (London Telegraph)

"Japan joins the energy race" - "TOKYO - Resource-poor Japan is revving up its diplomatic drive to strengthen relations with the oil- and gas-rich countries of Central Asia amid stubbornly high oil prices." (Asia Times)

So much to whine about, so little time... "Recycling experts dump on wine cartons: Environmental benefits called overstated" - "They are touted as a blessing for the environment: lightweight, portable and easily recycled. Tetra Pak, or aseptic, containers are used to hold everything from soup to apple juice. Most recently, they have surged in replacing glass bottles in the wine industry, with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario heralding them as a green alternative. But their environmental qualities have been grossly overstated, experts say. Instead, they rarely make it into Ontario recycling bins; and when they do, the containers must be shipped to the United States to yield only a small amount of low-grade paper." (National Post)

"Nanotechnology enables low-dose treatment of atherosclerotic plaques" - "St. Louis, July 27, 2006 -- In laboratory tests, one very low dose of a drug was enough to show an effect on notoriously tenacious artery-clogging plaques. What kind of drug is that potent? It's not so much the drug itself as how it was delivered. Fumagillin -- a drug that can inhibit the growth of new blood vessels that feed atherosclerotic plaques -- was sent directly to the base of plaques by microscopically small spheres called nanoparticles developed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "Previously we reported that we can visualize plaques using our nanoparticle technology, but this is the first time we've demonstrated that the nanoparticles can also deliver a drug to a disease site in a living organism," says Patrick Winter, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine. "After a single dose in laboratory rabbits, fumagillin nanoparticles markedly reduced the growth of new blood vessels that feed plaques." (Washington University School of Medicine)

"Organic Food and Humvees Are Both Eco-Wasteful" - "Organic food consumers are as careless of the environment as the drivers piloting those massive Humvees around our city streets. Both are wasting money and natural resources to gain snob appeal—with no other benefits." (CGFI)

"Soil Quality Deteriorating in China, Threatening Public Health and Ecosystems" - "China’s arable land, which feeds 22 percent of the world’s population, is facing grim pollution and degradation, warns Zhou Xiansheng, director of the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), according to Xinhua News Agency. The decline in soil quality has become one of the most worrisome byproducts of China’s breakneck economic growth. Heavy metals are accumulating in the soil, hardening the soil surface and reducing its fertility, and residues from chemical fertilizers and pesticides are showing up in farm products, poisoning both people and livestock. Currently, about 10 million hectares of cropland—10 percent of the country’s total cropland area—has been contaminated, most of it in more affluent regions like the Pearl River Delta, SEPA officials noted in a recent national teleconference." (WI)

"Designer Jeans From Designer Genes" - "As the "new biotechnology" -- gene-splicing, or "genetic modification" (GM) -- enjoys ever more varied and impressive successes, the intractable opposition from environmental and other activists has become reminiscent of the old cartoon cliché about the person who year after year inaccurately predicts the end of the world." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Fighting Secrecy Over Transgenic Crops, Greenpeace Carves a Circle" - "MARMANDE, France, July 27, 2006 - Early this morning a group of Greenpeace activists entered a field of genetically engineered maize, or corn, in southern France and carved a giant "crop circle" with an "X" in the field. The action, taken to mark the field as a contamination zone, was in response to a ruling by a French court yesterday. The court ordered Greenpeace France to remove from its website maps showing the location of commercial fields of genetically engineered (GE) maize in France. "As we are now forbidden to publish these maps of GE maize on our webpage, we have gone into the fields and marked it for real," said Arnaud Apoteker of Greenpeace France." (ENS)

July 27, 2006

"Up to 10m malaria tablets 'may be destroyed'" - "Millions of tablets of a highly effective medicine for malaria may have to be destroyed in the next few months because orders from the developing world are substantially below original forecasts, Sanofi-Aventis, the French-based pharmaceutical group, has warned." (Financial Times)

"Rwanda: 12 Districts to Benefit From Bush Malaria Fund" - "Twelve districts are set to benefit from eighty five million dollars (US$85m) from the US President Bush's Malaria Initiative to help fight Malaria." (AFM)

"US safeguards vastly cut BSE risk to people -study" - "WASHINGTON - The U.S. government virtually eliminated the threat of mad cow disease to consumers by requiring the removal of brains, spinal cords and other high risk items from older cattle, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Blair says Britons must improve their own health" - "LONDON - Prime Minister Tony Blair urged Britons on Wednesday to take more responsibility for their health as he warned that poor lifestyles were putting a huge financial strain on the health service. Companies, such as food retailers, must also recognise their duty to promote healthy living and the government must be prepared to act against those that fail to do so, Blair said." (Reuters)

"Britain Sees Big Fall in Animal Activist Attacks" - "LONDON - Attacks by animal rights activists fell dramatically in Britain in the first half of this year, the country's drug industry said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"NASA Africa mission investigates origin, development of hurricanes" - "Scientists from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, universities and international agencies will study how winds and dust conditions from Africa influence the birth of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean." (NASA/GSFC)

"Sun kills 60,000 a year, WHO says" - "WASHINGTON - As many as 60,000 people a year die from too much sun, mostly from malignant skin cancer, the World Health Organization reported on Wednesday. It found that 48,000 deaths every year are caused by malignant melanomas, and 12,000 by other kinds of skin cancer. About 90 percent of such cancers are caused by ultraviolet light from the sun." (Reuters)

"French officials take new steps to protect citizens in heat wave" - "Dozens have died in three scorching weeks in France, but new steps have saved lives." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Europe Facing Vegetable Shortage Due to Heatwave" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's shops and supermarkets are facing a shortage of vegetables later this year as a result of the current heatwave, a leading industry group warned on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - French Farmers Haunted by Memories of 2003 Drought" - "PARIS - Hot weather in France may have echoes of the deadly 2003 heatwave that killed thousands, scorched fields, crippled crops and sent wheat prices soaring but analysts see less risk of shortages this year." (Reuters)

"Farmers Ask EU to Relax Land Rules for Hot Weather" - "BRUSSELS - Unusually hot weather has led eight European Union states to seek permission for their farmers to use land that is normally prohibited under EU rules, a spokesman for the EU executive branch said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Europe Heatwave Sparks Disruptions, Fire Fears" - "BERLIN - A deadly heatwave gripping central Europe has raised fears of forest fires in Poland, sent electricity prices rocketing in Germany and caused the suspension of shipping on major rivers as water levels dwindle." (Reuters)

Further to yesterday's item: "July Hottest Month in Netherlands in 300 Years" - "AMSTERDAM - July 2006 is on track to be the hottest month in the Netherlands since temperatures were first measured in 1706, the Dutch meteorological institute KNMI said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Correspondent Dennis A. highlights this item from GoDutch.com:

According to Buisman’s recent findings, the year 1540 was one with an even more severe summer than was 2003. All over Europe, the heatwave lasted, off and on, for seven months, with parched fields and dried up rivers, such as the Rhine. People in Paris, France could walk on the river bed of the Seine without getting their feet wet.

In medieval times, such severe weather conditions often led to other disasters. Although the Summer of 2003 presumably led to the untimely death of some 15,000 people in France alone, death and disease in 1540 struck many countries even worse. Drought caused famine, countless deaths from dysentery and other ilnesses caused by lack of safe drinking water, and to large-scale starvation of farm animals. Another disaster usually associated with heatwaves and droughts was fire, often destroying entire villages or even towns such as Harderwijk in 1503. Wooden houses became tinderboxes, dry peat, forests and undergrowth ignited readily and led to massive wildfires.

Nothing new under the sun, eh?

"Democrats Push Bill to 'Stop Global Warming'" - "In the middle of a summertime heat wave, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that she is co-sponsoring legislation intended to stop global warming." (CNSNews.com)

"Sick of heat, Dems move on global warming" - "WASHINGTON - As California swelters through a record heat wave, Golden State Democrats say they are hot to move on global-warming legislation. Bills by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, and Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, are intended to increase energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Both lawmakers said they believe global climate change is related to the searing temperatures throughout much of the country, and fears of a connection between weather patterns and global warming are propelling increased debates on energy issues." | Blame us, too, for city warming (Daily News)

"Can we do anything about global warming?" - "EVEN the scientists can't agree on whether there is a problem." (Graham Davies, Daily Post)

"YES says Frank Kennedy, NW regional campaigns co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth" (Daily Post)

"NO says Benny Peiser, social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University" (Daily Post)

"ANALYSIS - As World Warms, Legal Battles Loom" - "OSLO - Heatwaves, droughts and rising seas are likely to spur a spate of hard-to-prove lawsuits in the 21st century as victims seek to blame governments and companies for global warming, experts say." (Reuters)

Bizarre: "NZ: Royal Commission on Climate Change rejected" - "The Climate Change Minister David Parker has rejected a proposal by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition for a Royal Commission on Climate Change. Mr Parker says by far the majority of climate scientists in the world agree that there is no longer any doubt our climate is changing due to human activity, and it is now a matter of how quickly it changes, not if or when. But Mr Parker said that even if climate change wasn't occurring, climate change policies would still make sense." (Media Statement)

New Zealand is a tiny nation with a minuscule population and roughly half the US per capita GDP. Quite how a national debt of US$620 million for "carbon credits" to comply with Kyoto equates to "good policy" is unclear.

"Coalition Finds Parker Royal Com Statement Strange" - "The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition finds it strange that the Minister of Energy, David Parker, has replied to and rejected the formal request addressed personally to the Prime Minister for a Royal Commission to inquire into the science and economics of climate issues. The words used by Mr Parker in his media statement rejecting the Royal Commission proposal confirm the degree of confusion and justify the need for a searching and independent review of climate issues." (Press Release)

New Paper on the Role of Land Use on Climate (Climate Science)

"Housing boom plays role in the big heat, experts say" - "California's growth patterns - the migration to hot inland regions, construction of big new homes and paving of open space - are contributing both to increasing temperatures and record demand for electricity. Experts say development choices can play a large role in making hot weather even hotter. "People usually talk of greenhouse gases. What's forgotten is what we've actually done to the surface of the planet," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "I call it extreme makeover warming." (Scripps News)

"UK: Are Floods Increasing Due To Global Warming?" - "Recent heavy storms that caused flash floods could become more common in the future as global warming increases, experts have warned. One-in-10 homes are now at risk of flooding, with insurance premiums in those areas set to soar. Last weekend's storms dumped almost a month's rainfall on parts of the country in a matter of hours, turning day into night in seconds and flooding roads, homes and businesses. And weather forecasters say the unpredictable conditions will continue with thunderstorms predicted again accompanied by gusty winds and hail and these events look set to become more regular in the longer term.

Professor Mark Saunders, a climate prediction expert at University College London, said: "The trend is towards warmer and drier summers and we tend to get storms after about three or four days of dry spells. "There is no evidence that thunderstorms will be more severe, but it is likely we will have warmer summers broken by more storms in the future." Sancha Lancaster, a spokesperson for the Met Office, said: "The old adage is that a British summer is three fine days and a thunderstorm and when there is a build-up of heat and humidity it does spark thunderstorms." (LSE)

"A hard look at aerosols" - "Scientists are learning more all the time about the particles' impact on the atmosphere and climate." (Robert C. Cowen, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Science In the House of Pain" - "Editor's note: On July 19, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee held a hearing on "Questions Surrounding the 'Hockey Stick' Temperature Studies: Implications for Climate Change Assessments." Those studies, under the lead authorship of paleoclimatologist Michael Mann, claimed that that the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 likely the warmest year in a millennium. They reached iconic status in the climate change debate when they were cited in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as proof of unprecedented human induced global warming.

The hearing on July 19th was to hear a report to the subcommittee by a panel headed by Edward Wegman, who chairs the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, that found Mann and his co-authors had misused certain statistical techniques in their studies, techniques that tended to produce hockey stick shapes in the temperature history. Further they found the studies were peer reviewed by a "social network" within the paleoclimate community who wrote papers together, reviewed each others work and shared the same data sets. Here are some excerpts from that hearing that -- for the most part -- speak for themselves." (Duane D. Freese, TCS Daily)

"Scientists: Warming Triggers 'Dead Zone'" - "GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Bottom fish and crabs washing up dead on Oregon beaches are being killed by a recurring "dead zone" of low-oxygen water that appears to be triggered by global warming, scientists say." (Associated Press)

"Global warming: Good or bad?" - "All the recent discussions about global warming failed to recognize that global warming is really two separate topics. One is, "Is global warming good or bad?" The other is, "What is the cause of climate change?" (David J. Ameling, Ventura County Star)

Hmm... "Cold, Hard Facts" - "IN the debate on global warming, the data on the climate of Antarctica has been distorted, at different times, by both sides. As a polar researcher caught in the middle, I’d like to set the record straight." (Peter Doran, New York Times)

... JunkScience.com has a significant archive of the "he said, she said" on global warming and Antarctic trends but I only found one passing reference to "Peter Doran," despite his being lead author of a piece published in Nature. The gist of his complaint would appear to be that he is taken out of context or misquoted as claiming an Antarctic cooling trend so, is he? The UAH MSU southern polar data shows a trend of -11 °C/decade (-0.14 °C/decade for the troposphere over land and -0.09 °C/decade over the sea). The entire 1880-2005 GHCN-ERSST for the region 64S-90S shows no trend while the "satellite era" from the same set shows a cooling trend. At most the great southern thermostat is ignoring "global warming" -- it actually appears to be heading in the opposite direction of late. Why would Doran be upset about being associated with something the best available data shows to be true?

"Spent nuclear fuel edges closer to Yucca" - "The Department of Energy has announced a timeline for the nuclear-waste site, as opposition intensifies in Nevada." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Spain Seeks Site For Nuclear Waste Store" - "MADRID - Advertisements will appear in newspapers across Spain on Thursday offering towns the chance to become the site for a new centralised nuclear waste store, a government source said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Canada Lags US on Industrial Pollution Cuts - Report" - "TORONTO - North America appears to be reducing industrial pollution, but Canada is lagging behind the United States, according to the latest report by the Commission for Environmental Co-operation." (Reuters)

"Price-fixing raids put a stain on green paradise" - "JAPAN’S reputation as a paradise for high-tech, environmentally-friendly projects was in tatters last night after 20 companies were raided for suspected bid-rigging in a government-sponsored green fuel initiative.

Over the past four years the Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry has poured billions of yen of state subsidies into a network of more than 355 filling stations where specially designed cars can fill up on natural gas, methanol or electricity. But the Government’s scheme to bolster Japan’s green image could now be badly tainted and, according to one ministry insider, lose its subsidy and effectively be closed. Many of the “eco stations” that dot the country, it seems, have been built under 90 illegally-won contracts and via a string of monopolistic practices.

By deciding beforehand which companies would win each contract, and by artificially fixing the prices of construction and engineering contracts for the stations, gas and construction companies have allegedly squeezed more than £100 million from the state purse for a service used by just 60,000 vehicles across the country." (London Times)

"Scotland: Ramblers protest against ‘assault’ on Ochil Hills" - "RAMBLERS yesterday staged a protest outside the annual general meeting of Scottish Power in an attempt to curb a contentious wind farm scheme atop one of the nation's most popular hill ranges." (The Herald)

"UK set to miss EU waste targets" - "The UK faces fines of up to £180m a year from the European Union, because it is likely to miss targets for reducing the amount of waste that is tipped into landfill sites, the National Audit Office warned [Wednesday]. The spending watchdog pointed out that the fines will be passed on to local authorities, and ultimately council tax payers, for their failure to recycle more waste." (Guardian Unlimited)

"Reconciling Infrastructure and the Environment" - "BUENOS AIRES - Following announcements of several large-scale joint infrastructure projects among South American countries, social organisations have called for common legislation to protect natural resources and the environment." (IPS)

"Toilet-to-tap poll" - "QUEENSLAND voters appear headed for an early election with the main issue being the proposal to add recycled sewage to the southeast's dwindling water supplies." (Courier-Mail)

"Australia: Nat has seeds of doubt on scuttling drought cure" - "NATIONALS MP John Forrest has accused government scientists of scuttling research into cloud seeding, a weather-altering technique being used in at least seven countries to bring rain to drought-ravaged areas. The civil engineer and federal member for the Mallee in northwest Victoria said yesterday that scientists at the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne had provided politicians and policymakers with misleading advice on the effectiveness of cloud seeding.  "They're standing in the way of political action," said Mr Forrest, who blamed the stance on competition for funding and professional jealousy. "My feeling is that both organisations have prostituted themselves to where the dollars are - in climate-change research - and have lost their capacity to think outside the box." (The Australian)

"UK: New wildlife agency in jeopardy after cutbacks" - "England's high-profile new wildlife agency, charged with bringing rare and endangered species back from the brink, is being crippled before it starts by massive budget cuts demanded by the Government, its chairman says. Sir Martin Doughty, the chairman of Natural England, which begins operations in the autumn, has made an outspoken behind-the-scenes protest about the size of the funding cutbacks." (London Independent)

Stupidity: "Sanctions Can Be Healthy" - "BELGRADE, Jul 26 - It was only after a sharp rise in the number of patients with the same symptoms in southern Serbian town Leskovac that doctors began to look for the cause." (IPS)

What they are trying to say is that primitive agriculture and food insufficiency, i.e., "organics", is a societal good. Bloody idiots.

"A more powerful and efficient engine for rice: the C3-C4 challenge" - "Los Baños, Philippines – A major international scientific effort was launched last week to develop and use a radical new approach to boost rice production and avoid potential rice shortages, or even future famine. Scientists have been working on different aspects of the approach since the early 1990s. But new knowledge generated by the sequencing of the rice genome is allowing researchers for the first time to discuss how they might work together to completely reconfigure what's known as the engine of rice production, the plant's photosynthetic system." (International Rice Research Institute)

"French Court Orders Greenpeace to Withdraw GMO Map" - "PARIS - A French court on Wednesday ordered Greenpeace to withdraw from its website information pinpointing fields of genetically modified (GMO) maize, a move the environmental group called censorship." (Reuters)

"Animals fed biotech food safe, scientists say" - "DES MOINES, Iowa — A nonprofit consortium of scientists says in a new report that food products from livestock that eat biotech crops do not present a risk to consumers. A three-member task force of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) compiled the report, which looked at regulatory assessments and evaluated safety data. “Meat, milk, and eggs produced by farm animals fed biotechnology-derived crops are as wholesome, safe and nutritious as similar products produced by animals fed conventional crops,” said John Bonner, CAST's executive vice-president." (Associated Press)

"African experts focus pros and cons of GM research" - "NAIROBI, July 26 -- Africa might in future be forced to consume genetically modified food products from other continents if it failed to develop adequate research capacity on genetic modification, a panel of experts warned here Tuesday." (Africast)

As usual, The Indy gets it completely wrong: "Farmers use as much pesticide with GM crops, US study finds" - "One of the major arguments in favour of growing GM crops has been undermined by a study showing that the benefits are short-lived because farmers quickly resort to spraying their fields with harmful pesticides." (London Independent)

What they are talking about is this, a discussion on the need to protect against pests not affected by Bt toxin in the plants' leaves (most specifically sap-suckers). After seven years of decreased costs and significantly reduced pesticide application these other pests had built in number to the point there was no significant advantage in Bt cotton. The conclusion being that we need to engineer resistance to a wider range of pests in order to keep the need for additional pesticide applications low.

July 26, 2006

Wonder if Bill has yet figured out that appeasement never works: "Another Ford Trial: Steering Around Activists" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- On Ford Motor Co. CEO Bill Ford's long list of problems these days, Michael Brune may not rank very high. But he ranks. Mr. Brune is executive director of the Rainforest Action Network, a scrappy group of liberal activists who combine anticorporate guerrilla tactics with high-level corporate engagement to achieve some surprising results. This is the group whose members chained themselves to wood piles in Home Depot stores before getting the company to stop selling old-growth lumber. They shadowed former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill on his travels before getting him to sign on to eco-friendly lending principles. And they put "Wanted" posters with former J.P. Morgan Chase CEO William Harrison's picture on them throughout his Greenwich, Conn., neighborhood to shame him into a similar agreement. Now, Mr. Brune has put Ford -- and its CEO of the same name -- at the top of his target list." (Alan Murray, Wall Street Journal)

"Einstein researchers find 'key' to unlocking world's deadliest malaria parasite" - "Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have leveraged the results of their research into tuberculosis to craft a tool for unlocking the secrets of another of the world's leading infectious killers--malaria. These findings, published in the August issue of Nature Methods, "should substantially speed up research efforts to bring malaria under control," says Dr. David Fidock, senior author of the paper and an associate professor of microbiology & immunology at Einstein." (Albert Einstein College of Medicine)

"Study raises malaria block hopes" - "Scientists have made a key breakthrough in understanding the genetics of a parasite they hope could be used to block the spread of malaria." (BBC)

"Gene breakthrough heralds better prospect for malaria solution" - "Scientists have made a major breakthrough in understanding the genetics of the insect parasite that is being targeted by researchers as a way of preventing the spread of malaria." (University of Bath)

"Irradiation preserves T-cell responses in bacterial vaccine" - "Using gamma radiation to inactivate bacteria for the preparation of vaccines, instead of traditional heat or chemical methods of inactivation, appears to create a vaccine that is more effective than so-called "killed" vaccines against disease, and has the added advantage of a longer storage life than "live" vaccines, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. Their findings, published in the July 26 issue of the journal Immunity, could result in more potent vaccines that are relatively inexpensive to produce, easy to store, and that can be transported without refrigeration." (University of California - San Diego)

"UK physics funding to be revamped" - "The way in which the physical sciences are organised and publicly funded in the UK is to be revamped." (BBC)

"Blair threatens junk food ad ban" - "Tony Blair has said he would consider banning the advertising of junk food to children to boost public health." (BBC)

"More Americans too fat for X-rays, scans" - "WASHINGTON - More and more obese people are unable to get full medical care because they are either too big to fit into scanners, or their fat is too dense for X-rays or sound waves to penetrate, radiologists reported on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Bingeing on 'Doing-Good'" - "Simplify, simplify, simplify," admonished 19th Century writer philosopher Henry David Thoreau. Considering his roots, you might think The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) would take a bit of his advice before giving its own advice about how to deal with obesity. Instead, a message that most people can grasp came not in an article and commentary in the esteemed journal last month but from a California girl." (Duane D. Freese, TCS Daily)

Statistical Stuff Happens (Number Watch)

"Study of Songbirds Finds High Levels of Mercury" - "A biologist studying wild songbirds in New York State has found that all 178 woodland birds he tested last year had unusually high levels of mercury in their blood and feathers, a sign that the toxic chemical has spread farther in the environment than previously thought." (New York Times)

Could it be they're trying not to say that mercury is and always has been ubiquitous in our environment?

"Save the Whales!... From Sonar?" - "On July 7th -- four days after a preliminary injunction was granted halting the use of active sonar -- the US Navy settled a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeking to halt sonar training in order to minimize disruption to the RIMPAC 2006 exercises currently going on around the Hawaiian Islands. This settlement prevented a permanent injunction, which could have been devastating for the U.S. Navy's anti-submarine warfare training, since the RIMPAC exercises are one of the rare opportunities the Navy has to practice against some of the latest well-manned diesel-electric submarines (Australia, South Korea, and Japan have sent such submarines to this year's exercises)." (Harold Hutchison, TCS Daily)

"Ancient global warming drove early primates' dispersal" - "Ann Arbor, Mich. -- The continent-hopping habits of early primates have long puzzled scientists, and several scenarios have been proposed to explain how the first true members of the group appeared virtually simultaneously on Asia, Europe and North America some 55 million years ago. But new research using the latest evidence suggests a completely different migration path from those previously proposed and indicates that sudden, rapid global warming drove the dispersal." (University of Michigan)

"David Bellamy and Jack Barrett: Carbon is the world's best friend" - "New Zealand's climate change carbon liability is huge, estimated to cost around $522 million over the first five years of the agreement to buy credits to cover the shortfall in emission reduction promised by signing up to the Kyoto treaty. But is this expense really necessary? Two world experts on conservation and the environment think not. David Bellamy and Jack Barrett explain that, in fact, carbon is the world's best friend." (Chris de Freitas, New Zealand Herald)

"There's a change in rain around desert cities" - "Urban areas with high concentrations of buildings, roads and other artificial surface soak up heat, lead to warmer surrounding temperatures, and create "urban heat-islands." This increased heat may promote rising air and alter the weather around cities. Human activities such as land use, additional aerosols and irrigation in these arid urban environments also affect the entire water cycle as well." (NASA/GSFC)

"Scientists split on heat wave cause: Some think culprit is global warming, but jury is still out" - "In the past, most weather experts hesitated to blame short-term weather events -- say, a terrible winter storm or a nasty heat wave -- on longer-scale climate shifts like global warming. But this week -- as many Bay Area residents flee to air-conditioned theaters to watch Al Gore's global warming film, "An Inconvenient Truth" -- the latest sweltering weather is starting to look to many like a calling card of global warming. Some of the nation's top climate experts also believe the heat wave is caused at least partly by global climate change. Others, however, disagree and say it's still too early to blame the current weather on the planet's changing climate." (SF Chronicle)

"Global warming didn't cause scorcher" - "LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE - Don't blame the seemingly endless heat wave just on global warming - this one's the product of a high-pressure system to the east and California's rapidly expanding growth, said Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert. Together, he said, they have combined to push the temperature 12 to 16 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. "Of the 12 degrees, how much is global warming? I would say 1 degree," Patzert said. "The other 11 degrees is meteorology" and lots of new heat-soaking pavement and other developments." (Pasadena Star-News)

"Hot? Yes. Global Warming? Maybe." - "The heat was unreal — so blistering that a windowsill thermometer overlooking Olympic Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles blew its top when the mercury hit 130 degrees. People consumed so much water that parts of the city briefly ran dry. Four people died. Dozens were hospitalized. It was still 89 degrees at 1 a.m. The record hot spell did not occur in 2006, but 1955, long before scientists raised the prospect of global warming and climate change. The extreme temperatures of this year's heat wave have been so intense that they have created a sense of fundamental change — that somehow Los Angeles is on the verge of a searing future. But few events occur with such regularity or are so quickly forgotten as Southland heat waves, with extremes of temperature rising and falling in a regular rhythm like rolling curls of surf." (LA Times)

See the reason LA sets new records here.

"July Hottest Month in Netherlands in 300 Years" - "AMSTERDAM - July 2006 is on track to be the hottest month in the Netherlands since temperatures were first measured in 1706, the Dutch meteorological institute KNMI said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Experts predict regular heatwaves" - "Hot spells are set to become commonplace in Switzerland, with average temperatures due to rise by up to five degrees Celsius by the end of the century, say experts." (Swissinfo)

"Fire, drought and a dangerous rise in pollution: welcome to tinderbox UK" - "A fire in north Wales was blazing out of control for a sixth consecutive day. Another has virtually destroyed an important Surrey nature reserve. In Liverpool alone there are reported to have been 600 separate blazes this month and fire brigades across the UK said yesterday that they have handled thousands more. The prolonged heatwave that has stifled parts of the UK has also brought tinderbox conditions. Water tables in some areas of south-east England are now at levels similar to the drought of 1976." (The Guardian)

"Boiled alive" - "The 2003 heatwave killed more than 30,000 people. It was the biggest natural disaster in Europe on record, according to the government's chief scientific adviser. And yet, as temperatures reach new highs, Britain is fretting about dried-out lawns and stuffy offices. Alok Jha looks at the dangers that really lie ahead - and how to survive them." (The Guardian)

"Global Warming Puts 12 US Parks at Risk - Report" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming puts 12 of the most famous US national parks at risk, environmentalists said on Tuesday, conjuring up visions of Glacier National Park without glaciers and Yellowstone Park without grizzly bears." (Reuters)

Erroneous Presentation of My Views on Climate In the Media (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

"NZ: Scientists warn against climate change 'hysteria'" - "A group of scientists has written to MPs asking for a Royal Commission to be established to investigate climate change." (NZPA)

"NZ: Call For Royal Commission On Climate Change" (.pdf) - "A call for a Royal Commission into the science and economics of climate change has been made by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition in an open letter to members of Parliament. The coalition describes itself as “concerned citizens who believe that the public is being given incomplete, inaccurate and biased information about the effects of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This information is often tainted by the emotional arguments of the environmental movement and seldom stands up to objective scientific analysis.” | Open Letter (Climate Science NZ)

From CO2 Science this week:

Update on Tropical Forest Productivity: How is it changing? ... and how sustained have the changes been to date?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from the Ashdod Coast near Israel and from Yakushima Island, southern Japan.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Monsoon (Solar Connections): Is there any evidence to suggest that temporal variations in the behavior of earth's monsoons are orchestrated by variations in solar activity?

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: Durmast Oak, European Hornbeam, Rice, and a Perennial Grassland Community.

Journal Reviews:
Microclimatic Inhomogeneities in Surface Air Temperature Records: A new study enumerates them, describes their impacts and suggests that they currently infect many well-regarded global temperature databases in ways that likely introduce spurious warming.

A Long-Term Hydrologic History of West-Central Mongolia: Does it reveal a tendency for more extreme periods of wetness and dryness in the 20th century, as climate alarmists claim should occur during periods of severe global warming?

The Medieval Warm Period in Svalbard, Norway: How did its warmth compare with that of the Current Warm Period?

Response of a Common Isoetid to Ultra-CO 2 -Enriched Water: Little good was expected, but much was observed.

Desert Shrub Responses to Elevated CO 2 : They are very sizable, especially under conditions of greater soil moisture availability. (co2science.org)

"California: Costly contest over oil tax plan" - "LOS ANGELES -- The Proposition 87 campaign is shaping up into a big bucks battle between big oil companies and "no oil" investors and environmentalists. Chevron and other major energy producers are fueling the drive to defeat the November ballot measure that would impose a severance tax on California oil production to pay for alternative energy. Venture capitalists with multimillion-dollar investments in "greentech," meanwhile, have joined forces with environmentalists to finance the campaign to create the $4 billion fund for alternative energy." (Sacramento Bee)

"Ethanol's rise prompts worries of a corn crunch" - "Some see a competition between food and fuel as corn growers begin to provide a significant energy source." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Doha's Message: No Free Ride to Growth" - "Reality finally bit. The Doha Round talks have been put off indefinitely. This is the second best result: There was no deal worth doing in the Doha Round right now." (Alan Oxley, TCS Daily)

Andrew Bolt on green nitwittery: "Australia: Gods must be crazy" - "Pray to the nature gods of green priest Thwaites and ask them to return our pious favours. Learn how deaf they are and how pitiless." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"Bt cotton in China fails to reap profit after seven years" - "Ithaca, N.Y. -- Although Chinese cotton growers were among the first farmers worldwide to plant genetically modified (GM) cotton to resist bollworms, the substantial profits they have reaped for several years by saving on pesticides have now been eroded. The reason, as reported by Cornell University researchers at the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting in Long Beach, Calif., today (July 25), is that other pests are now attacking the GM cotton. The GM crop is known as Bt cotton, shorthand for the Bacillus thuringiensis gene inserted into the seeds to produce toxins. But these toxins are lethal only to leaf-eating bollworms. After seven years, populations of other insects - such as mirids - have increased so much that farmers are now having to spray their crops up to 20 times a growing season to control them, according to the study of 481 Chinese farmers in five major cotton-producing provinces." (Cornell University News Service)

July 25, 2006

"Fake malaria drugs will 'murder' Africa - WHO" - "Hong Kong - Fake China-made malaria drugs, which have flooded parts of Asia and killed many people in recent years, are beginning to show up in Africa where the dummy tablets are expected to take far more lives, a WHO expert has warned." (Reuters)

"Report warns of earth scientists shortage" - "Britain is facing a chronic shortage of geophysicists as fewer students choose to study geophysical science at university and leading scientists in the field retire, a new study reveals. The problem has reached crisis point and if the current rates of decline continue there will be no geophysics undergraduates by 2030, the British Geophysical Association report warns." (EducationGuardian.co.uk)

"Climate Experts Warn of More Coastal Building" - "Ten climate experts who are sharply divided over whether global warming is intensifying hurricanes say that this question, a focus of Congressional hearings, news reports and the recent Al Gore documentary, is a distraction from “the main hurricane problem facing the United States.” That problem, the experts said yesterday in a statement, is an ongoing “lemming-like march to the sea” in the form of unabated coastal development in vulnerable places, and in the lack of changes in government policies and corporate and individual behavior that are driving the trend. Whatever the relationship between hurricanes and climate, experts say, hurricanes are hitting the coasts, and houses should not be built in their path." (New York Times)

"Ice sheets drive atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, inverting previous ice-age theory" - "In the early 20th century, Milutin Milankovitch, a leading astronomer and climatologist of the time, proposed that the Earth's ice-age cycles could be predicted because they correspond directly with routine changes in the Earth's orbit and its tilt over cycles of tens of thousands of years. Because of these changes, there are predictable variations in the amount of solar radiation striking the Earth's surface. Milankovitch argued that low levels of summer radiation permit snow to accumulate as permanent ice, while high levels of solar radiation melt snow and ice." (University of Virginia) | Ice-driven CO feedback on ice volume (.pdf) | Quasi-100ky glacial-interglacial cycles triggered by subglacial burial carbon release (.pdf) | Proposing a mechanistic understanding of changes in atmospheric CO2 during the last 740000 years (.pdf) (Climate of the Past)

Uh-oh... Xmas trees cause global warming! "Pine plantations may be one culprit in increasing carbon dioxide levels" - "Columbus , Ohio -- The increasing number of pine plantations in the southern United States could contribute to a rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, a new study reports. This is important because carbon dioxide is a key greenhouse gas, one that is linked to global warming. Landowners in the South are turning stands of hardwood and natural pine trees into pine plantations because pine is a more lucrative source of lumber." (Ohio State University)

"UK record heatwave and rising pollution observed by eyes in the sky: Images reveal hotspots" - "As the UK bakes during this summer's heatwave, sensors in space have been recording dramatic increases in both UK land temperature and in air pollution, particularly in major cities. During a period of persistent stable summer weather from 15th and 19th July, temperatures rose to record highs for the U.K. and pollution due to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a respiratory inhibitor, appears to have risen considerably too; the Met Office reported that temperatures on July 19th reached a record maximum for July." (University of Leicester)

"Global warming could lead to new Lake Erie shoreline" - "CLEVELAND — The newest update to a Lake Erie management plan predicts that global warming will lead to a steep drop in water levels over the next 64 years, a change that could cause the lake’s surface area to shrink by as much as 15 percent. The drop could undo years of shoreline abuse by allowing water to resume the natural coastal circulation that has become blocked by structures, experts said." (AP)

Kudos to Tom Karl and NOAA For Recognizing That Climate Involves an Integrated Earth System Perspective and the Consequences to NCDC As A Result (Climate Science)

Press Release On The Santa Fe Conference on “Global Warming and the Next Ice Age” (Climate Science)

Complete News Article On the Santa Fe Conference “Global Warming and the Next Ice Age” (Climate Science)

Alternate coverage: "Los Alamos scientist a dissenter on global warming" - "SANTA FE — Climate scientist Petr Chylek is a dissenter among many experts when it comes to global warming. While there is widespread agreement on some aspects of global climate change, Chylek says climate science is not a monolith. So last week, the Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist organized the 2nd International Conference on Global Warming in Santa Fe to recognize the range of views on global warming and to encourage discussion, the Albuquerque Journal reported in a copyright story Sunday." (AP)

"Defense of Science Magazine Global Warming Study Fails to Address Critiques" - "Naomi Oreskes, History of Science professor at the University of California at San Diego, in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, “Global Warming -- Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” set out to defend the validity of her study titled “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change (Science Magazine, December 3, 2004). The study purportedly shows a 100% consensus on human caused global warming. In today’s op-ed, however, Oreskes failed to acknowledge several key criticisms to her analysis of peer reviewed literature allegedly showing there is 100% scientific consensus that human activity is primarily responsible for warming the planet in the last 50 years." (Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)

"Global Warming on Trial: The Supreme Court is right to weigh in on the globe's hottest issue." - "IN AN UNUSUAL BUT WELCOME intervention, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to wade into the global warming debate. In its next term, the court will hear a lawsuit brought by California and other states against the federal government for failing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Courts usually defer to the discretion of administrative agencies to implement the law, but in this case such deference is outweighed by the administration's glaring dereliction of duty." (LA Times)

"Australia: Kyoto 'ineffective and boosts emissions'" - "The Kyoto Protocol is ineffective and will actually boost greenhouse gas emissions, federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell says. Senator Campbell defended Australia's refusal to sign up to the international treaty during his opening address at the Queensland government's Climate Change Summit on Tuesday." (AAP)

"Red Cross says climate change info too 'scientific' for public" - "DIRECTOR of Disaster and Emergency Management at the Jamaica Red Cross Society (JRCS), Ruth Chisholm, says not enough is being done to sensitise Jamaicans about climate change. In fact, she said the information being disseminated was far too "scientific" for people to understand." (Jamaica Observer)

"Wind market needs nurturing" - "The downside? As Astle points out, wind can't really offer us a true capacity rating. Sure, we can say we're building a 100-megawatt wind farm, but that figure is assuming the turbines spin at optimal speed 24 hours a day or on request.

Let's take Ontario during the month of July. Last Thursday, for example, the output of the province's three operational wind farms, which at full output can produce 207 megawatts, only generated between 4 and 42 megawatts depending on the hour.

For most of the day last Friday, output was below 10 megawatts, working out to less than 5 per cent of "nameplate" capacity. So far this month the typical range is between 35 megawatts to 75 megawatts, with a top output of 157 megawatts achieved during a single hour.

This is part of the reason why power planning authorities, when factoring in the contribution that wind makes to the grid, only assume that an average of about 10 per cent of theoretical output will make it to the grid during peak times." (Toronto Star)

"Greenpeace Girds for the Nuclear Revival" - “Denmark gets 25 percent of its electricity from wind power. Europeans use energy twice as efficiently as we do. Nuclear doesn’t get you where you want to go. The opportunity costs prevent you. It only makes global warming worse.” We are sitting, of course, in the Washington offices of Greenpeace, the international organization that rams whaling boats, sabotages fields of genetically engineered crops in Europe, and hangs huge banners across acres of rainforest accusing Colonel Sanders of being an “Amazon criminal” for feeding his chickens with Brazilian-grown soybeans." (William Tucker, TAE)

Australia, too, is infected with these: "Helen Caldicott: Fuel plan beset by fossilised thinking" - "AUSTRALIA is perfectly placed to be the real energy superpower: the instigator and global leader in renewable electricity production. A country bathed in sun and ferociously windy in many locations, Australia could, with political will and vision, usher in a safe, carbon-free and nuclear-free future." (The Australian)

"Safe storage for nuclear waste" - "Nuclear energy is making a comeback. In Northeast Asia, nuclear power has long been a staple of national energy policy. But the rest of the world has suffered from a nuclear allergy mostly as the result of the fear of environmental disasters, such as the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Today, the twin specters of rising oil prices and global warming have prompted a rethinking of the nuclear-energy option." (Japan Times)

"China plans to launch a satellite for the purpose of developing super space-enhanced fruit and vegetables." - "The country is looking for ways to strengthen their food production. Recoverable satellite Shijian-8 is set for space in a Long March 2C rocket. The launch date is expected for early September. As part of a two-week mission, 2,000 seeds will be exposed to cosmic radiation and micro-gravity.

“The ‘seed satellite’ will enable scientists to try to cultivate high-yield and high-quality plants,” Sun Laiyan, head of the China National space Administration, told China Daily. "Exposed to special environment such as cosmic radiation and micro-gravity, some seeds will mutate to such an extent that they may produce much higher yields and improved quality," the newspaper added." (Scenta News)

"Cacao Under Fire: Could frankencacao ensure a sweet future?" - "Tamiflu isn’t the only thing worth stockpiling these days. The world looks like it’s on the verge of a chocolate shortage, and biotech could help—if the chocolate industry could modify its stand on genetically modified foods. The cacao plant, from which chocolate is produced, is under threat from rapidly spreading pathogens. Today 20 percent of the world’s cacao beans are lost to disease, about $4 billion worth—or $75 billion when that amount of beans is converted into chocolate. But the shrinking global total could be cut by another 25 percent again, according to Randy Ploetz, professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida, if two different diseases spread from the Americas to West Africa." (Red Herring)

"Next up for biotech: Virus-resistant trees" - "Washington, D.C. - When a virus was discovered in Jim Lerew's Pennsylvania peach orchard in 1999, all 160 acres of trees had to be destroyed. He hasn't planted any replacement trees since then for fear the virus would attack them, too. The only way to halt the spread of the virus is to destroy the entire orchard that is infected, and that's a risk a grower can't afford to take when an acre of fruit trees can be worth $10,000. "That's a difficult situation to get enthused about planting under," Lerew says. But the government soon could approve the first fruit trees that have been genetically engineered to resist this virus, known as the plum pox, which attacks several types of trees, including plums, apricots, peaches and cherries." (Des Moines Register)

"Genetically modified seed business" - "Hawaii is an epicenter for genetically modified crop seed because of its climate, not its remoteness, says the trade group for GM seed growers here. The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association represents companies that have 8,000 acres in Hawaii for seed crops. Its head told PBN the key is the weather. "We can grow three to four generations of seeds in a single calendar year here," said association President Paul Koehler. "What that does for the industry is compress the amount of time that it takes to grow the product." Hawaii farmers grow a small amount of soybeans, sunflowers and cotton for seed, but 95 percent of the crop seed grown in Hawaii is corn and Hawaii grows more corn for seed than it does for eating." (Pacific Business News (Honolulu))

July 24, 2006

"NASA’s Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet" - "From 2002 until this year, NASA’s mission statement, prominently featured in its budget and planning documents, read: “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can.” In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet” deleted. In this year’s budget and planning documents, the agency’s mission is “to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.” David E. Steitz, a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the aim was to square the statement with President Bush’s goal of pursuing human spaceflight to the Moon and Mars." (New York Times)

I've been giving this quite a bit of thought and come to the conclusion that, if this has the side-effect of defunding some enhanced greenhouse = global warming projects, then it is probably a good thing. This might seem a strange conclusion for a site promoting science fact over science fiction, after all, how can we determine the physical facts of the matter with inadequate study? Regrettably, this is not about study and pure science. The funding pool for "climate research" is probably massively excessive, with the unfortunate side-effect of massive incentive for claims of crisis. Where once the field of climate study was almost an esoteric field the cries of crisis -- and associated political allocation of huge budgets -- have seen its transformation through bandwagon to current juggernaut. This has done nothing good for either science or society.

The science that is settled, that which can be demonstrated in the lab, is that doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (compared with pre-Industrial Revolution levels) can only deliver a trivial near-surface warming, a fraction of a degree which cannot possibly be discerned amongst the noise of natural climatic variation. Everything else, all the claims bought by tens of billions of dollars of public money thrown at an alleged "problem", amount to the digital equivalent of readings of the entrails of chickens. For all the claims of unmitigated positive "feedbacks" used as multipliers for the provably trivial effect of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide even the IPCC (whose mission is to find scary warming) can only identify a possible 0.6 ± 0.2 °C warming from all causes from a time when it was uncomfortably cool (and half of the suspected change occurred prior to the bulk of emissions from fossil fuel use).

Even our recent planetary climate history is somewhat vague. We're all pretty well agreed that at least the North Atlantic region and probably the Northern Hemisphere, if not the world, suffered unfriendly cold around 400 years ago and that it has warmed somewhat since. We're all pretty well agreed that this warming began prior to the Industrial Revolution. We're all pretty well agreed that it is much easier to feed the global population and requires less infringement on wildlands and wildlife habitat when the world is warmer rather than cooler, as it was some four centuries past. We view this as a crisis solely because there now exists an entire industry whose existence and finance depends on creating and maintaining the impression this is so.

If we insist on using global mean temperature as our yardstick, and there remains no compelling argument this is a particularly useful metric, then the science is telling us that our carbon emissions have but trivial influence. If we look to the practical metrics of local cause and effect then global carbon emissions disappear as significant contributors. Why should we keep over-funding groups to create scary scenarios in the virtual worlds of computer models that bear no apparent relation to the behavior of the real world we inhabit?

"More solar physics, please" - "The upcoming launch of NASA’s STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) probes is a sign that NASA’s science directorate has not lost sight of the original goals of the “Living With a Star” program. They will be launched on a single Delta 2 no earlier than August 20th and will provide the solar physics community with an unprecedented three-dimensional view of our Sun’s coronal mass ejections, (CMEs). These are the single most spectacular and significant “local” space weather events." (Taylor Dinerman, Space Review)

Lots of propaganda... "Did Al Get the Science Right?" - "The usual oil industry flacks and dogmatic skeptics have surfaced to denounce Al Gore's global warming movie. But climate scientists say that, basically, he got it right." (Katharine Mieszkowski, Der Speigel) | SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH AL GORE: "I'm Already Involved in a Campaign"

... but did he get the science right? Click here to find out.

There's a message here, too: "Program on global warming gets cold shoulder" - "The ducks and geese at West Silver Lake Park were all that showed up for a global-warming-awareness event Thursday morning." (The Post-Bulletin)

"Heatwave in Europe, US. But is it climate change?" - "ROME - As large parts of Europe and North America once again bake in an exceptionally hot summer, many people are asking what has now become a perennial question: "Is this global warming?" (Reuters)

"Global Warming, Not Just Heat Wave" - "PARIS, Jul 21 - The heat wave sweeping Europe is a direct consequence of the warming of the earth's atmosphere, experts say. "We are observing and suffering the first effects of global warming," Hervé Le Treut, meteorologist at the French Centre for Scientific Research told IPS." (IPS)

"Christian Global Warming Policy News Conference: National Press Club, Tuesday, July 25" - "WASHINGTON, July 21 -- Amid mounting controversy among evangelical Christians over global warming and climate policy, the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance will present “A Call to Truth, Prudence and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming” at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 25, at the National Press Club at 14th & F Streets NW in Washington, DC. The paper is a refutation of the Evangelical Climate Initiative’s “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,” released last February, and a call to climate policies that will better protect the world’s poor and promote their economic development." (Christian Newswire)

"Researchers link wildfires, climate change" - "Scientists worldwide are watching temperatures rise, the land turn dry and vast forests go up in flames. In the Siberian taiga and Canadian Rockies, in southern California and Australia, researchers find growing evidence tying an upsurge in wildfires to climate change, an impact long predicted by global-warming forecasters." (Associated Press)

Historic Forest Fires | Forest Fires | Fire and Ice | Fire of Life (ASF)

"English butterflies flutter north" - "THE UK's butterflies are taking refuge in Scotland as climate change forces them to seek more hospitable climes, it has been claimed." (The Scotsman)

Ball gazing: "Drought, gales and refugees: what will happen as UK hots up" - "As this week's heatwave shows, climate change will affect almost every aspect of British life. But how? We examine the likely outcomes in coming decades." (The Guardian)

II: "100º - get used to it" - "Britain experienced its hottest July day on record last week and forecasters say more is to come as climate change tightens its grip on the country. Global warming experts claim that by 2050 temperatures will regularly top 40C and warn that our health and infrastructure will be unable to cope." (The Observer)

III: "Warming climate could alter weather, farming in the Midwest" - "WASHINGTON - Last week's heat wave may have felt like something Midwesterners had never experienced before. But scientists are confident they'll get more chances to experience it again as climate change encourages more extreme weather. Higher temperatures and more turbulent weather will affect everything in the Midwest - from what trees dot the landscape to what wildlife roams the region to what crops farmers raise to how cities allocate water." (McClatchy Newspapers)

Blame it on the moon, says long-range forecaster (Sydney Morning Herald)

While people could guess annual weather patterns "there are no techniques we know of that can provide detailed forecasts beyond seven days. Predicting the weather a year ahead, that's really pushing the boundaries of the science," -- the weather bureau's NSW regional director, Barry Hanstrum.

Real climate change: "Ancient humans 'followed rains'" - "Prehistoric humans roamed the world's largest desert for some 5,000 years, archaeologists have revealed. The Eastern Sahara of Egypt, Sudan, Libya and Chad was home to nomadic people who followed rains that turned the desert into grassland. When the landscape dried up about 7,000 years ago, there was a mass exodus to the Nile and other parts of Africa." (BBC)

"Climate change could have killed ancient city" - "A Sydney conference has heard that climate change led to the fall of the ancient Cambodian city of Angkor. The theory has been presented to an international gathering under the patronage of UNESCO." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Wonder if this theory is based on the finding of 8th Century SUVs?

"Warmer waters disrupt Pacific food chain" - "FARALLON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Calif. - On these craggy, remote islands west of San Francisco, the largest seabird colony in the contiguous United States throbs with life. Seagulls swarm so thick that visitors must yell to be heard above their cries. Pelicans glide. But the steep decline of one bird species for the second straight year has rekindled scientists' fears that global warming could be undermining the coastal food supply, threatening not just the Farallones but entire marine ecosystems." (Associated Press)

The Week That Was July 22, 2006 (SEPP)

Presentation at the Santa Fe Meeting entitled "Unresolved Issues with the Assessment of Multi-Decadal Global Land-Surface Temperature Trends" (Climate Science)

"Oil wealth causes angst for Norway" - "The Saudi Arabia of the north is struggling to work out what to do with the $1billion it earns each week. Should new reserves be left untapped or its citizens made even richer?" (The Sunday Times)

"Cuba drills for oil off Florida" - "Cuba is drilling for oil 60 miles off the coast of Florida with help from China, Canada and Spain even as Congress struggles to end years of deadlock over drilling for what could be a treasure trove of offshore oil and gas." (Washington Times)

"UK: Wasteful homes 'risk eco-targets'" - "Key environmental targets are "undeliverable" unless households cut the amount of resources they consume, a government-commissioned report warns. The UK's 21 million domestic dwellings are responsible for 27% of CO2 emissions, consume half of water supplies, and produce 8% of all waste." (BBC)

"Britons Hold Mixed Views on Nuclear Power" - "Adults in Britain would be open to an increase in the number of nuclear reactors as part of a comprehensive energy strategy, according to a poll by YouGov published in The Economist. 68 per cent of respondents would support building more nuclear power stations, if the plan includes other kinds of "clean" energy, such as solar power and wind farms." (Angus Reid Global Scan)

Irresponsible prats: "Greenpeace publishes nuclear waste train timetable for UK" - "ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners yesterday revealed detailed timetables for the trains that carry nuclear waste across Britain, triggering alarm that terrorists could exploit the information." (The Scotsman)

"ANALYSIS - China Wind Power Boom May Bust Without Policy Change" - "HONG KONG - China's wind energy boom threatens to turn into a bust unless Beijing's new energy policymakers change its controversial investment regime soon." (Reuters)

"Hybrid car sales stall as cost of going green is turn-off" - "PETROL-ELECTRIC cars have been hailed as saviours of the environment and every “green” celebrity is driving one, but hybrids are failing to impress consumers and sales are falling." (The Times)

"Have You Hugged a Hummer Today?" - "Hybrid vehicles' overall energy costs exceed those of comparable non-hybrids." (Shikha Dalmia, Reason Foundation via Greenie Watch)

"Michelin pumped from green tyre success" - "It's not just fuel that is becoming more environmentally friendly – green tyres are rolling ahead on the quest to save carbon emissions, according to tyre maker Michelin. Joining a host of automotive manufacturers keen to promote the car industry's green credentials at the London Motorshow earlier this week, the tyre manufacturer spoke of the emissions-saving success of its 'green' energy tyres." (ETA)

"Switzerland: Green petrol fuels heated debate" - "The first pump serving a new environmentally friendly fuel, that emits 80 per cent less carbon dioxide than conventional petrol, has opened in Switzerland. But questions have been raised about the viability of the new ethanol-based E85 because of low current demand and uncertainty over how much energy is needed to produce the fuel." (Swissinfo)

"Bush Pollution Curbs Are Rated Equal to Clinton's" - "The Bush administration's new program to cut harmful pollutants from utilities through a cap-and-trade system will do nearly as much to clean the nation's air as the Clinton administration's effort to make aging power plants install pollution controls when they modernize or expand, a report by an independent scientific panel has concluded." (Washington Post)

"Power plants are major influence in regional mercury emissions" - "New Haven, Conn. -- The amount of mercury emitted into the atmosphere in the Northeast fluctuates annually depending on activity in the electric power industry, according to researchers at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies." (Yale University)

"Rise in sea level, loss of wet lands may account for unstable ground in Mississippi Delta" - "While erosion and wetland loss have become huge problems along Louisiana's coast, the land 30 to 50 feet beneath much of the Mississippi Delta has been very stable for the past 8,000 years, with low to nonexistent subsidence rates. So say geoscientists from Tulane University and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, challenging the notion that subsidence, or sinking of the earth, bears much of the blame for Louisiana's coastal geology problems. A research team led by Tulane's Torbjörn Törnqvist suggests instead that compaction of the shallowest and most-recently formed delta sediments is the main cause of subsidence in that area." (National Science Foundation)

"Real risks, irrelevant risks" - "Few parents want themselves or their children to be prescribed drugs that cause anemia, nausea, diarrhea, increased infection risks, fertility problems, fetal defects, hair loss and even death. But when those chemotherapy drugs mean not dying from cancer, it's an easy choice. That's the situation facing Africa -- only for us it's not cancer. Our concern is malaria, which infects nearly 400 million of us, and kills 1 million of our precious children, every single year." (Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes, Washington Times)

"Ugandan environmentalists criticise govt over DDT" - "Kampala (AND) The National Association of professional Environmentalists in Uganda has criticized Parliament for allowing government to spray DDT to kill malaria causing mosquitoes." (AFM)

"Uganda: NEMA gets DDT report" - "THE health ministry has finally handed over to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), an environmental impact study of the effect DDT (Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) on the environment. The Government plans to spray homes countrywide with DDT to eradicate malaria." (New Vision)

"Kenya: Wrong drugs causing high malaria mortality" - "The lone doctor on duty on a Sunday morning at the hospital’s paediatric wing has to attend to some 100 patients. He tells his audience that he loses three patients everyday to malaria, just because they reach the hospital when their health status has deteriorated. As the delegation of medical experts, including journalists and experts from the Global Fund to Fight Malaria, Aids and Tuberculosis, move out of the ward, a doctor in the delegation spots a poster showing the kind of medicine on use to treat malaria." (Sunday Standard)

"National Research Council Rejects EPA Risk Assessment Methodology" - "Risks from dioxin overstated: EPA not justified in relying solely on linear risk assessment for suspected carcinogens. Decision undercuts many environmental health scares." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Temple looks right on academic rights" - "Temple University responded to complaints about left-wing bias by beefing up its academic-rights policy, handing the academic-freedom movement the biggest victory of its three-year history." (Washington Times)

"Animal testing hits a 14-year high" - "Activists' backlash expected as number of experiments rises to 2.9 million." (The Observer)

Obligatory eye-roller: "Dying Forest: One year to save the Amazon" - "Time is running out for the Amazon rainforest. And the fate of the 'lungs of the world' will take your breath away." | Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert' (Geoffrey Lean, et al, London Independent)

"Little time to fix eco crisis: Gorbachev" - "Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev says it's "five minutes to midnight" in terms of the global environmental crisis, with little if any time left to fix the damage already caused. Delivering a final ominous warning during the last day of the Earth Dialogues forum in Brisbane, the man credited with bringing an end to the Cold War said the world's only option was to take immediate action. The planet was already in the grip of an "environmental crisis" that may be too late to fix." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Cows' urine source of lake trouble" - "Leaching of cows' urine, not nitrogen fertiliser, is the main cause of nutrient enrichment affecting the health of Lakes Rotoiti and Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty, according to AgResearch scientists. Ruakura-based scientist Anwar Ghani has reported that studies showed the main source of nitrogen was cows' urine, even though it had commonly been thought nitrogen fertiliser leaching was the main culprit." (New Zealand Herald)

"Finns Use Pig Slurry to Clean Polluted Pond" - "HELSINKI - Finnish engineers have poured pig manure into a contaminated pond next to an old mine, saying the bacteria in the slurry will clean up metals in the water." (Reuters)

"Is buying local always best?" - "Small shops and farmers benefit. But that may be outweighed by cost to other parts of the world." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"UCLA scientists strengthen case for life more than 3.8 billion years ago" - "Ten years ago, an international team of scientists reported evidence, in a controversial cover story in the journal Nature, that life on Earth began more than 3.8 billion years ago--400 million years earlier than previously thought. A UCLA professor who was not part of that team and two of the original authors will report in late July that the evidence is stronger than ever." (University of California - Los Angeles)

"Erratic Monsoon Threatens Bangladesh Rice Crop" - "DHAKA - Monsoon rains, which started in Bangladesh at least 10 days earlier than usual in June, triggered temporary flooding in the north and southeast, killing up to 30 people and driving thousands from their homes. But the monsoon has since largely disappeared in most of Bangladesh, an agrarian country of 140 million people, delaying sowing of rice -- the country's main staple, officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Food giants to boycott illegal Amazon soya" - "Leading European supermarkets, food manufacturers and fast-food chains, including McDonald's, are expected to pledge today not to use soya illegally grown in the Amazon region in response to evidence that large areas of virgin forest are being felled for the crop. In a victory for consumer power, the companies say they will not deal with the four trading giants who dominate production in Brazil unless they can show they are not sourcing soya from areas being farmed illegally. The traders met in Sao Paolo last week and are expected to sign up to a moratorium on using soya grown in the Amazon." (The Guardian)

"Biotech Tipping Point" - "China is no newcomer to the biotech-crop club--only four countries plant more acres of GM crops than the world’s most populous nation. Yet government leaders in Beijing are on the verge of a decision that historians eventually may interpret as a tipping point in the global debate over genetically modified food.

A “tipping point” is the dramatic moment when something unique or rare becomes utterly common. The term has academic origins, but it gained enormous popular attention a few years ago, upon the publication of Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

I’ve argued that when it comes to biotech crops, we passed the tipping point long ago. My own favorite metaphor has involved the genie and the bottle--the biotech genie is out of the bottle, and nobody will ever coax him back in. The bottom line is that with well more than a billion acres of GM crops now having been planted and harvested, this agricultural technology is here to stay." (Dean Kleckner, Truth About Trade & Technology)

"India suspends rule on GM imports until end-March" - "MUMBAI - India has suspended until the end of the financial year in March 2007 a rule that required imports of genetically modified foods, including soyoil, to be cleared by a government panel, officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Roundup Ready beets shine in tour" - "TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A tour of Roundup Ready sugar beet fields in the Twin Falls area this week showed the significant impact of the genetically modified beets. Vastly fewer weeds grew in the Roundup Ready crops treated with Roundup than in the standard beet fields treated with traditional herbicides." (Ag Weekly)

"Scotland: Green MSP's call for GM crops plan" - "MINISTERS have been urged to produce a strategy for genetically modified crops in Scotland. Green speaker on the environment Mark Ruskell MSP has tabled a motion at the Scottish Parliament calling on the Executive to publish consultation on GM crops. The MSP also calls for a more "precautionary" approach which would protect the interests of Scottish farmers, Ian Pearson, the UK environment minister, angered the organic movement by suggesting in his Westminster consultation that "zero cross-pollination" is not possible in the real world." (Evening News)

"Call to keep GM crops out of Wales" - "Friends of the Earth Cymru has criticised UK Government plans to allow widespread contamination of agriculture by genetically modified (GM) material in England and challenged the Welsh Assembly Government to take action to protect farmers in Wales." (News Wales)

July 21, 2006

"PETA: Sacrifice Human, Not Animal Life for Medical Research" - "The animal rights activist group PETA seems to have its own “ethical” problem -- urging the sacrifice of human life rather than that of laboratory animals for medical research." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Transgenic Mosquitoes Enlisted in Fight Against Malaria" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Jul 20 - Brazil's René Rachou Research Centre has genetically modified a mosquito to eliminate its ability to transmit the parasite that causes malaria. If this mosquito can reproduce in nature, and replace the original disease-carrying mosquito, it would help control a disease that affects 300 to 500 million people each year -- 90 percent in Africa -- and claiming one million lives annually." (Tierramérica)

"Smoking in pregnancy tied to kids' behavior issues" - "NEW YORK - There seems to be a link between maternal smoking during pregnancy and behavioral problems in preschool-age children. A study published in the journal Child Development found that two-year-olds whose mothers smoked regularly while they were pregnant were significantly more likely to exhibit an abnormal pattern of behavior over time compared to age-matched toddlers who were not exposed to cigarette smoke before birth. While many toddlers exhibit mild behavioral problems during the "terrible twos," the behavior problems of cigarette-exposed toddlers significantly increased between 18 and 24 months of age compared to the milder, more stable patterns of non-exposed toddlers." (Reuters Health)

As editor I get a lot of mail from proponents of both sides of the so-called "smoking debate" and usually don't bother with either. After all, if you choose to smoke, that's your business and your problem, as it is if you are genetically susceptible to smoking related ailments but there is no compelling evidence that your doing so harms anyone else, so I plain don't care either way. That said the above-linked item is a cheap shot, not deserving of the title "study". Under the barrage of anti-smoking messages aimed at pregnant women -- and no one recommends gravid women take intoxicants -- it would appear likely that women who smoke during their pregnancy may be somewhat less progeny-concerned or have a different parenting style than those who either give up the self-gratification of tobacco products during their pregnancy or who are more concerned with health than self-gratification to begin with. Tobacco might be a marker of maternal progeny focus and parenting style affecting child behavior, just as toddler behavior might reflect maternal progeny focus and parenting style. None of this demonstrates that prenatal tobacco exposure drives child behavior. Parenting has much to do with child behavior (and child weight) and attempting to assign blame everywhere but parental responsibility will solve nothing.

"The Formula Follies" - "Is not breastfeeding your baby the equivalent of smoking cigarettes?" (Opinion Journal)

"A Vaccine's Promise" - "In 1952, before the first polio vaccine was available, that paralyzing disease killed more than 3,000 Americans, almost as many as cervical cancer kills each year now. With last month's FDA approval of the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, there is reason to hope that this disease and a host of related afflictions may one day be as rare as polio. So why isn't everybody cheering?" (Opinion Journal)

"EU bans 22 hair dye substances to ensure safety" - "BRUSSELS - EU regulators said on Thursday they would ban 22 substances from use in hair dyes in the European Union from December 1 to ensure consumer safety. But the move will not affect the 2.6 billion euro ($3.4 billion) EU hair dye market because the substances are not used anyway, said Gerald Rennor, director of science and research at the European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association." (Reuters)

"High BMI doesn't always spell obesity, Jackson Laboratory researchers show" - "For years doctors have used the body mass index (BMI), a ratio of height and weight, to characterize the clinical weight status of their patients. The lower the number, the presumption goes, the leaner the person, and anyone with a BMI above 30 is characterized as obese and at high risk for the associated complications." (Jackson Laboratory)

"Wild bees and the flowers they pollinate are disappearing together" - "The diversity of bees and of the flowers they pollinate, has declined significantly in Britain and the Netherlands over the last 25 years according to research led by the University of Leeds and published in Science this Friday (21 July 2006). The paper is the first evidence of a widespread decline in bee diversity." (University of Leeds)

Figures... "Woodpecker sighting halts $320m scheme" - "A US federal judge temporarily stopped construction on a $320m (£170m) irrigation project yesterday, saying the work could disturb the habitat of a woodpecker that might or might not be extinct. The first purported sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the area was in 2004, but more than 100 volunteers and researchers who spent weeks last winter trying to find evidence of its existence came back empty-handed." (The Guardian)

"One-third in high-risk hurricane areas say they may ignore evacuation order" - "Boston, MA -- According to a new survey of high-risk hurricane areas in eight states--Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas--conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health Project on the Public and Biological Security, one-third (33%) of residents said if government officials said they had to evacuate due to a major hurricane this season, they would not or are unsure if they would leave. Homeowners (39%), whites (41%) and long-term residents (45%) are the groups most likely to ride out a major hurricane. People with children under 18 are less likely to remain in their homes (26%). Mobile home owners are no more likely to evacuate than the general public." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Low temps underlie winter peak in heart deaths" - "NEW YORK - Cold temperature is to blame for the well-known winter peak in the incidence of sudden death due to cardiac causes, according to a new study. The fact that cold temperatures increase blood pressure and put more strain on the heart is a possible explanation for the increased rate of sudden cardiac death during wintertime. Cold stress may also trigger processes that make blood thicker and increase its ability to clot, which can lead to cardiac events. Investigators reporting in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology note that seasonality in heart disease events, with a winter peak and summer trough, has long been recognized. Yet, the role of weather conditions is unclear because most studies did not include weather data." (Reuters Health)

Weird disconnect in reporting of hearings on climate. Some of the following suggest the CoGR hearing claimed climate science to be solid and compelling (I looked briefly at Christy's testimony and found it honest and compelling but not in the manner being reported) and there seems to be nothing in the mainstream media on the final demise of the absurd "hockey stick" climate history representation.  Seems like everyone is talking but no one is listening:

"Global warming disputes heat up Congress" - "WASHINGTON - As a heat wave baked the capital, global warming dominated a number of conversations in and around the government Thursday." (Associated Press)

"Science Is Solid on Climate Change, Experts Tell Congress"  -"United States reducing emissions, but doubt remains on long-term possibilities." (Washington File)

"Climate Change: Understanding the Degree of the Problem" - with links to testimony (Committee on Government Reform)

"Global Warming Debate Hits Capitol Hill" - "Lawmakers concur on the reality of global warming but can't agree on how to stop it." (ABC News)

"Global Warming a Hot Topic in Congressional Hearing" - "A congressional committee took up the topic of global climate change Wednesday, focusing on an eight-year-old study suggesting that the world is warmer now than it has been in a thousand years. Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) used the hearing to question the study and the debate over global warming." (NPR)

Questions Surrounding the ‘Hockey Stick’ Temperature Studies: Implications for Climate Change Assessments - Hearing archive now available (Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations)

The epistle of Paul to the Gullible (Number Watch)

"Cost of food grows to 18m tons of carbon dioxide" - "Cars, lorries and planes are emitting a record 18 million tons of carbon dioxide a year transporting food around Britain, new figures from the Government showed yesterday. A jump of 6 per cent was recorded in the number of "food miles" by road and air in 2004, according to figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The figures will heighten concern about the damage done by the supermarkets' policy of flying in products like sweetcorn from Thailand, prawns from Ecuador, or apples from New Zealand. They are also a blow to the Government's commitment - made in its Food Industry Sustainability Strategy earlier this year - to cut the social and environmental costs of food miles on 1990 levels by 20 per cent by 2012." (London Independent)

18 million tons of carbon dioxide! Well that's, that's, um... that's actually less than UK residents exhale over the same period. Big deal.

"Go green, Miliband tells supermarket bosses" - "Environment secretary David Miliband yesterday summoned bosses from the big four supermarkets to demand they work harder to make their businesses more environmentally friendly." (The Guardian)

"This trade in carbon emissions won't combat global warming"  -"There are much more honest and sustainable ways of dealing with climate change, says Peter Bunyard." (The Guardian)

At least the title's correct.

"Gorbachev backs Kyoto treaty" - "Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev today urged the US and Australia to sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, saying the world’s “reservoir of life” was rapidly shrinking." (Irish Examiner)

Even if true, Gorbie old mate, Kyoto is no way to address anything.

Oh goody... "Nine Climate Change Champions depart for Switzerland to learn more about effects of Global warming" - "Nine climate change champions from across England will next week depart by train to Switzerland to see how global warming is affecting Swiss glaciers." (Defra)

GIGO: "The Next Generation of Climate Models" - "Few areas of scientific research today are as important, or provoke as visceral a response as global warming. Climate scientists around the world agree that the average global temperature could rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. And scientists -- as well as government leaders, economists, and increasingly, the public at large -- recognize that warming could bring about far-reaching and unpredictable environmental, social, and economic consequences.

To address these concerns, global leaders and policymakers need comprehensive, objective information on the global climate system, and the role of human activity in climate change. In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to scientifically assess and understand the global risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impact, and options for mitigation." (Per Nyberg, HPC)

In case there's anyone who doesn't know, the acronym "GIGO" stands for "Garbage In, Garbage Out." Whether we ever manage to create predictive models of a coupled, chaotic, non-linear system such as climate remains to be seen but the chances of the next generation of process models operating to the limit of our understanding of the atmosphere producing meaningful predictions of future climate are precisely nil. Our ability to predictively model even small subunits of the climate system is currently rudimentary and, well, pretty crappy really -- see, for example, how well we don't do with ISMR (Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall), something of critical importance to a significant chunk of the world's population and note the wild disagreement between the various ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) models. In fact, a lot of the time we don't even agree on whether we are in neutral or a mild phase of either sign (El Niño or La Niña).

The claim "average global temperature could rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century" comes from abusing GCMs by trying to pretend they are predictive models, you can see a lot of results here and note that results range from 0.2-8.7 °C. That temperatures could rise by those amounts has been hypothesized but this is not possible from the increased radiative forcing from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, the doubling of which is not physically capable of increasing near-surface temperature by a whole degree.

Whether any of the unmitigated "feedback effects" (used as devices in GCMs to produce the spectacular numbers cited above) actually exist in the real world is doubtful in the extreme -- there are likely plenty of feedbacks of mixed sign but the net result would seem to be neutral or even slightly negative. The temperature effect of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic and the increase that has already occurred is sufficient to deliver roughly three-fourths of the temperature effect of doubling it. Over the same period the estimated increase in global mean temperature is smaller than the error margin on our ability to derive thermometric near-surface temperatures. If the entire estimated temperature increase is genuine, if we discount the effect of known solar brightening and if we assume clean air laws will actually increase apparent warming (thus allowing large overestimates as a safety margin) we still find net increase from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (plus all other anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions) struggling to reach the lower bound estimate of 1.4 °C, half of which is assumed to have occurred already.

The only place dangerous warming occurs is in GCM-generated virtual worlds, of which our planet apparently takes no note. Now you know why we call it "GIGO".

"Global Warming Real, Serious for Americans" - "Many adults in the United States are concerned about climate change, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. 74 per cent of respondents describe global warming as a very or somewhat serious problem, and 70 per cent believe the earth is indeed getting warmer." (Angus Reid Global Scan)

"As Emission Limits Loom, TXU Bets on Coal" - "As many utilities plan for imminent carbon-dioxide emissions restrictions, TXU is racing to build 11 coal-fired power plants in Texas, contending the state needs more power and that it wants to be the firm to provide it." (Wall Street Journal)

"Spanish Firm Claims it Can Make Oil from Plankton" - "MADRID - A Spanish company claimed on Thursday to have developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, providing a potentially inexhaustible source of clean fuel." (Reuters)

"Australia: Parrot's endangered list nomination threatens wind farms" - "A submission to list the orange-bellied parrot as critically endangered, could put an end to wind farms in Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria. The federal Department of Environment and Heritage has nominated the parrot based on a report into bird collisions with wind farms." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"What Do NGOs Have Against Poor Guatemalans?" - "Residents of El Estor, a small Q'eqchi community of 40,000 people located in northeast Guatemala, cheered when they heard that Vancouver-based Skye Resources was interested in reopening a local abandoned nickel mine. According to local press, the town's mayor and several community leaders led a rally last September in favor of the mine with a banner that read, "El Estor says yes to responsible mining."

It's easy to see why there was such excitement. Skye Resources estimates that it will employ 1,000 people and create four indirect jobs in the community for every new mining job. That plus an overall investment of at least $539 million is not irrelevant for an impoverished town with one of the highest illiteracy rates in the country -- over 40% for indigenous men and 35% for indigenous women.

The festive mood didn't last long. Within months, opposition to the project began to swell. Well-organized protesters were soon demanding that the Guatemalan government withdraw the mining license it had issued, alleging environmental risks and inadequate consultation with the community." (Andrea Tunarosa, Wall Street Journal)

"Scientists Look to DNA To Crack the Neanderthal Code" - "Modern humans may have overcome Neanderthals, but they have yet to figure them out. Now a multimillion-dollar project to decipher the genetic code of Neanderthals may help explain not only why humanity's closest cousin became extinct but also which genetic features have made Homo sapiens so successful." (Wall Street Journal)

"UK: Ministers reject no-spray zones" - "The government has rejected calls for "no-spray" zones around the edges of fields where pesticides are used. The call came in a report published last September by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP)." (BBC)

"DEFRA sets GM separation distances" - "DEFRA has set out the minimum separation distances it believes are needed between genetically modified crops and their conventional counterparts to minimise cross-pollination. The government yesterday (18 July) published a co-existence consultation paper which suggests that anyone wanting to grow a GM crop would have to observe separation distances ranging from 35m to 110m and also notify any neighbouring farmers. Junior DEFRA minister Ian Pearson stressed no commercial GM crops were expected before 2009, because no crops suitable for the UK had passed EU safety checks." (Farmers Weekly) | Proposals for GM crops launched (BBC)

"Ministers pave way for GM crops as 'zero cross-pollination' ruled out" - "Ministers yesterday paved the way for genetically modified crops to be grown commercially in Britain from 2009 and warned consumers of organic and conventional food they might have to put up with some GM contamination." (The Guardian)

"Plans to allow GM farming in secret 'are irresponsible'" - "GM crops could be grown in secret under Government plans announced yesterday. The move was denounced as "irresponsible" by surveyors, who gave warning that it could blight land and property prices. Environmentalists said the proposed rules for "co-existence" between genetically modified and other crops would lead to widespread contamination of the countryside." (London Telegraph)

"Blair accused of leaving GM-contaminated legacy" - "Tony Blair's legacy will be a British countryside contaminated by genetically modified crops, a leading environmental campaigner has warned. The attack was prompted by a government decision to open a consultation on ground rules for growing GM crops." (London Independent)

July 20, 2006

"Uganda: Farmers Reject Use Of DDT" - "MEMBERS of the National Organic Agricultural Movement Of Uganda (Nogamu) have opposed the governments proposal to use DDT in the control of malaria, saying the act would affect their export market in Europe." (The Monitor)

"Call Off the Dioxin Dogs" - "The EPA has been scaring us over dioxin and cancer for years. But recently, one big fat fly from the National Academy of Sciences plopped into the EPA's ointment." (Michael Fumento, TCS Daily)

"Richer areas 'child cancer risk'" - "Child leukaemia rates are higher in richer areas of Britain, an expert group of leading scientists says." (BBC)

"Leukemia gene normally has mammary gland function" - "A gene that is critical for normal mammary gland function during nursing helps trigger a highly lethal group of leukemias when it undergoes a mutation that fuses it to another gene, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The discovery of the normal function of this gene suggests that drugs used to inhibit the activity of its mutated form might be used in leukemia patients with few serious side effects, the researchers said." (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)

"Many Americans Back Higher Costs For People With Unhealthy Lifestyles" - "A new WSJ.com/Harris health-care poll indicates growing U.S. support for charging higher insurance premiums or out-of-pockets medical costs to people with unhealthy lifestyles." (Wall Street Journal)

"Don't blame me, I'm just the junkie" - "Pretending that heroin addiction is a disease is perverse." (Theodore Dalrymple, London Times)

"New study supports findings that periodontal bacteria may be linked to heart disease" - "Chicago -- The presence of specific bacteria and combinations of bacteria in periodontal pockets might be an explanation for the relationship between periodontal disease and acute coronary syndrome (ACS), according to a new study published in the Journal of Periodontology." (American Academy of Periodontology)

"Columbia University researchers discover on-off switch for chronic pain" - "New York, NY, July 19, 2006 -- Chronic pain affects approximately 48 million people in the U.S. and current medications are either largely ineffective or have serious side effects. But researchers from Columbia University Medical Center have discovered a protein in nerve cells that acts as a switch for chronic pain, and have applied for a patent to develop a new class of drugs that will block chronic pain by turning this switch off. The discovery is published on the website of the journal Neuroscience, and will appear in the publication's August issue." (Columbia University Medical Center)

"Modern Stone-Age Family?" - "If somebody told you that Columbia was the second best place on the planet to live, the UK 108th and the US 150th you would suspect them, I am sure, of having ingested copious amounts of the marching powder that is Columbia's most famous export. While I am, as a staunch libertarian, all in favor of your right to consume such products unhindered by the law, that doesn't mean I wish to listen to (much less agree with) the drivel spouted by those who have." (Tim Worstall, TCS Daily)

Watson trying to land another unelected über government role: "Earth facing 'catastrophic' loss of species" - "The Earth is on the brink of "major biodiversity crisis" fuelled by the steady destruction of ecosystems, a group of the world's most distinguished scientists and policy experts warn today." (The Guardian)

Just imagine if Bob had gotten his way when he was with the IPCC -- by now everyone would have to be using biofuels with the result all available wildlands would need to be converted to growing either fuel or food to support the global population. Would have seen a biodiversity crisis then, eh Bob?

Funny how all these banner wavers, proclaiming themselves world savers, will promote any scheme (as long as they get to be in charge) regardless of the collateral damage to impoverished peoples, wildlife, open space and your lifestyle (not to mention your pocketbook).

Somehow they can never see why most of us resist treatment akin to a tourniquet around the neck to stop a nosebleed -- granted it would be effective but their "cures" are far worse than the illusory ills from which they claim to protect us.

"Asteroid impacts: can we keep Armageddon at bay?" - "It's easy to dismiss asteroid impacts as sci-fi scare stories, but this month's near-miss raises the question: can we stay off the collision course? Jimmy Lee Shreeve reports." (London Independent)

Probably not at any cost.

Will Earth get clobbered again? Almost certainly.

Are we worried about it? Nope, too many addressable problems to worry about first before squandering effort on something that probably won't occur before human civilization has long run its course and with which we couldn't deal if it did.

Here we go again: "Ozone hole kills sea life, says scientist" - "The ozone hole over Antarctica is having a bigger impact on life than realised, scientists believe. The layer, 24km above Earth, acts as a shield against ultraviolet (UV) radiation. An annual thinning of the ozone over Antarctica allows significantly more UV light to reach the ocean and damage DNA." (NZPA)

Funny how they forgot to mention that tropical coral reefs, those biodiverse and highly productive "rainforests of the sea", are far more heavily irradiated every day than are regions under the seasonal (and very transient) Antarctic ozone thinning. You get more UV radiation in New York on any spring morning as the Southern Ocean does when the ozone-depleted zone expands and collapses each September/October. Note that the Southern Ocean is far more heavily irradiated after the "ozone hole" is gone and ozone levels are "normal". See also: Seasonal Ozone.

Not blaming 'global warming' yet? "Secrets of ocean birth laid bare" - "The largest tear in the Earth's crust seen in decades, if not centuries, could carve out a new ocean in Africa, according to satellite data. Geologists say a crack that opened up last year may eventually reach the Red Sea, isolating much of Ethiopia and Eritrea from the rest of Africa. The 60km-long rift was initially sparked by an earthquake in September. Follow-up observations reported in the journal Nature suggest the split is growing at an unprecedented rate." (BBC)

Wow! Even hotter than... 1911: "UK: Heatwave breaks record for July" - "The hottest recorded July day has emerged to have been in Wisley, Surrey, where temperatures hit 36.5C (97.7F). Earlier in the day, 36.3C (97.3F) near Gatwick Airport was thought to have been the high. As the sun blazed across the country schools closed and workers dressed down while the elderly and young children were urged to drink plenty of water. Peaks were 29.7C in St Angelo, Northern Ireland, 31.3C in Prestwick, Scotland, and 33.6C in Anglesey, Wales. The previous hottest July day was in 1911, when Epsom, Surrey, reached 36C. The highest UK temperature recorded was 38.5C (101.3F) in Faversham, Kent, on August 10, 2003." (BBC) | Hottest July day as temperatures top 36C to break 1911 record (London Independent)

3 weeks ago UK's Met Office forecast "average" temperatures for July/August/September (you're not exactly on a roll here in the Antipodes either fellas -- been setting cold records). Not easy, this climate forecast thing, which is probably why people like to make sensational claims for the far (post-career) future when they can't be invalidated.

The overall CET trend for the summer months June, July and August since 1850 (when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are believed to have been 288ppmv) is one of increase (0.00446 °C/year) with a net gain of almost seven-tenths of one degree (C). Given the population increase, industrial development, building and paving over the period, it's not much, is it? And this is when New Scientist is telling us Sun more active than for a millennium. Interesting how the NS graphic is reminiscent of most representations of Earth's recent temperature history (if you squint a bit you could even imagine a hockey stick sun -- just flatten everything before c1600).

"France imports power in heatwave" - "France has urged firms to use less electricity as a heatwave across Europe triggers high demand for power supplies." (BBC)

"Europe's heatwave claims victims" - "A heatwave affecting much of Western Europe has resulted in several deaths, health officials say." (BBC)

Strange critters, these Europeans. They'll fly to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean or some other exotic and preferably hot location, specifically to toast themselves under the sun and yet similar weather at home is a heatwave and a crisis. Go figure!

Hey lookit! Old "Ice Age" is now Adelaide's "Thinker in Residence": "Climate change expert urges industry tax on pollution" - "An expert on climate change says South Australia should consider the introduction of a tax on businesses that dump pollutants into the atmosphere, in an effort to reduce global warming." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Gas escaping from ocean floor may drive global warming" - "(Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- Gas escaping from the ocean floor may provide some answers to understanding historical global warming cycles and provide information on current climate changes, according to a team of scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The findings are reported in the July 20 on-line version of the scientific journal, Global Biogeochemical Cycles." (University of California - Santa Barbara)

Multi-decadal Climate Forecasts to Be Disseminated (Climate Science)

"The Heat Is On" - "During the past week's heat wave--it hit 100 degrees in New York City Monday--I got thinking, again, of how sad and frustrating it is that the world's greatest scientists cannot gather, discuss the question of global warming, pore over all the data from every angle, study meteorological patterns and temperature histories, and come to a believable conclusion on these questions: Is global warming real or not? If it is real, is it necessarily dangerous? What exactly are the dangers? Is global warming as dangerous as, say, global cooling would be? Are we better off with an Earth that is getting hotter or, what with the modern realities of heating homes and offices, and the world energy crisis, and the need to conserve, does global heating have, in fact, some potential side benefits, and can those benefits be broadened and deepened? Also, if global warning is real, what must--must--the inhabitants of the Earth do to meet its challenges? And then what should they do to meet them?" (Peggy Noonan, Opinion Journal)

Questions Surrounding the ‘Hockey Stick’ Temperature Studies: Implications for Climate Change Assessments - prepared testimony available via links on this page (Committee on Energy and Commerce)

I don't know what the policy is for viewing these things after the event - if anyone has a link to download or otherwise access for people unable to view in real time I'd be pleased to hear about it.

Oh boy... "Climate Action Board would tackle business, environmental concerns" - "SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a powerful, centralized authority under his direct control that would be charged with implementing one of the nation's most far-reaching initiatives to curb global warming. In a key overture to wary industries, Schwarzenegger's hand-picked Climate Action Board also would have the authority to delay a proposed deadline for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions if state regulations prove too onerous for businesses." (Copley News Service)

"Schwarzenegger proposes changes to bill seeking to cut emissions" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is seeking changes to a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to cap greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources, a move that could put him in a difficult political position if Democrats object to his amendments." (Associated Press)

"Climate change can affect all sectors of the economy" - "CLIMATE change is the greatest environmental sustainability challenge facing society. It is not a new phenomenon. It has been occurring naturally for thousands of years. What is new is the rate of change in the climate due to the impact of a rapidly expanding world population and the growth in modern business. Since the start of the industrial revolution 250 years ago, business has been using an increasing amount of energy to produce the goods and services that improve our living standards." (The Age)

True enough to this point in the article, although it rapidly decays into AGW rhetoric. Purely from the perspective of temperature anthropogenic effect can be quantified as one-sixth of one degree (C) or less since about 1850 -- there is no downside to this, especially as a significant chunk of the northern hemisphere was unfriendly cold before then. That we can knowingly and predictably manipulate global mean temperature by adjusting carbon dioxide emission is a nonsense and it's time we acknowledge that. That it would be universally beneficial to do so even if achievable is, at best, dangerous naivety, at worst, a misanthropic lie for there are winners and losers in every climatic change -- who gets to decide tundra is 'better' than arable temperate zone, for example?

Sigh... "Global warming woes" - "The effects of global warming could have played a role in the recent outbreak of malaria experienced on the island of Great Exuma last month, Director of Meteorology Arthur Rolle suggested yesterday. Global warming, he explained, will have a direct impact on the health of a country." (Nassau Guardian)

Actually Arthur, international travel and tourism has a direct impact on the health of a country far in excess of relatively trivial climate alteration.

"NZ: Energy consultant says Kyoto Protocol too expensive" - "A conference of energy experts has been told implementing the Kyoto Protocol would impose a huge cost on New Zealand. This country has agreed to return net emissions of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. Veteran energy consultant, John Beckett, says successful implementation of the protocol could set the Government back by $3 billion in buying carbon credits on the international market. Most of that money would go to Russia. He says reducing greenhouse gas emissions would require the equivalent of one car ride in four being abandoned, and would need a carbon tax that would push electricity prices up by a quarter. However, the Ministry for the Environment says using smaller, more efficient cars could save emissions just as easily as reducing car journeys by a quarter." (Radio New Zealand)

Presumably they are talking NZ$s, so about US$1.87 billion or ~2% GDP. An onerous ticket for a few islands with a population of about 4 million in total, a labor force about half that number and a per capita GDP barely more than half that of the US.

"Australia: Slashing greenhouse gas would cut GDP" - "Achieving deep cuts to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions would slash the nation's GDP and require massive reductions in industry output, a new report suggests. The scenario is among six options for cutting global emissions explored in a report by the federal government's commodities analyst, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE)." (The Age)

"NZ: Judge rejects Greenpeace's Marsden B discharge claim" - "The effects of discharges from a coal-fired Marsden B power station on global warming cannot be taken into account in appeals against the station, the Environment Court has ruled. It has rejected the first part of Greenpeace's appeal against decisions by the Northland Regional and Whangarei District councils to allow Mighty River Power to run the Marsden B power station using coal. The appeal included a claim that the effects of any greenhouse gas emissions from Marsden B on climate change should have been allowed to be considered by the councils. The Resource Management Act was amended in 2004 to remove councils' ability to directly manage and regulate greenhouse emissions." (Northern Advocate)

Red Ken's deputy: "Nicky Gavron: We need a new version of the Clean Air Act" - "Low carbon zones could be rolled out just as the smokeless zones of the 1950s were." (London Independent)

The difference here Nicky is that smog was a) a problem and b) addressable by human action.

"Ford calls for emissions 'choice'" - "Carbon pricing at consumer level could become a useful tool to reduce emissions of harmful carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to the head of Ford of Europe." (BBC)

"Greenland opening Arctic sea to oil wells" - "COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Several of the world’s largest oil companies hope to tap into possible offshore oil and gas reserves as Greenland opened a new round of concessions for exploration licenses in the fragile Arctic region. Eyes of an oil-thirsty world have turned to the shores of the semiautonomous Danish territory amid rising fuel prices, Mideast instability and concerns over future supplies." (Associated Press)

"CANADA: Transforming the Northern Landscape" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - Over much of northern Canada, there is little more than trees, rocks, lakes and wetlands. But in northeastern Alberta, the landscape is changing dramatically as strip mining peels off the forest and soil to reach a molasses-like viscous oil mixed with sand and clay 40 to 60 metres below the surface." (IPS)

"China Crude Oil Imports May Decline, Says Cnooc's Fu" - "July 20 -- China's oil imports, a driving force behind record crude prices, have ``stabilized'' and may decline within three years on government measures to conserve fuel, the head of the nation's third-biggest energy company said." (Bloomberg)

"Mike Steketee: Nuclear opportunity seen as too good to waste" - "AUSTRALIAN businessman John White's ideas fit neatly with John Howard's assertion this week that, with projections of world energy demand doubling by 2050, Australia could become an energy superpower if it adopts the right policies. "This is business worth hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 50 years," says White. "It can contribute to Australia becoming an energy superpower this century." (The Australian)

"Bruce Power CEO urges hydrogen options" - "The chief executive of private nuclear operator Bruce Power says Ontario should invest in pilot projects to see how hydrogen could be produced from nuclear power as a fuel for transportation and large-scale energy storage." (Toronto Star)

"Take money or safeguard the land: plans for world's biggest windfarm divide Lewis" - "A visitor to Lewis, the northernmost Hebridean island, might think it the slowest, softest and calmest place in Britain. Nothing breaks the views over moor and mountain: the mosaic of lochs and bog is undisturbed, the sky, sea and land all merge and suggest a different age. But the island is in social, political and environmental turmoil, with communities and families divided over developments that will change fundamentally the landscape - and their lives." (The Guardian)

"Rising Biofuel Use to Drive Up Crop Prices - Goldman" - "LONDON - Rising biofuels demand will probably drive up crop prices and is creating growth opportunities for food processing companies, Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Corn waste potentially more than ethanol" - "After the corn harvest, whether for cattle feed or corn on the cob, farmers usually leave the stalks and stems in the field, but now, a team of Penn State researchers think corn stover can be used not only to manufacture ethanol, but to generate electricity directly." (Penn State)

"WTO: Nestorize It" - "With the Doha Round threatening to slide into bitter obscurity, we might look to the past work of Argentine Ambassador Nestor Stancanelli who prodded the EU and US to save the Uruguay Round... "We need him to step forward again." (Alan Oxley, TCS Daily)

"China becomes the world's third largest donor of food" - "After 26 years of receiving food aid, China has emerged as the world's third largest food donor, according to a report released today by the UN's World Food Programme (WFP). China donated 577,000 tonnes of food to more than a dozen countries around the world in 2005, with the great majority sent across the border by rail to North Korea, which relies on food aid to feed its poverty-stricken rural population. The report's findings, which track all international food donations, underline China's growing economic and political clout in Asia, and show how far the country has come since the great famines of the late 1950s killed an estimated 30 million peasants." (The Guardian)

"INDIA: Organic Farming, Answer to Farmers' Suicides?" - "NAGNI, Uttaranchal - As the phenomenon of mass suicides by farmers turns into a major national issue, small cultivators in this sub-Himalayan state are demonstrating that the way forward to sustainable agriculture may lie in sticking to traditional methods." (IPS)

No, the answer lies in education, managed technological improvement and poverty reduction -- these desperate people have been "organic" since the dawn of agriculture so it is highly unlikely that more of the same will suddenly improve their lot.

"Firm turns safflower into insulin" - "In a breakthrough that could rival the discovery of insulin by Canadians Frederick Banting and Charles Best in 1921, a Calgary biotech company claims to have produced commercial quantities of human insulin from genetically modified safflower plants, a move that could change the economics of the diabetes market." (SHNS)

"Worm 'could screen new medicines'" - "A primitive worm could help to screen new medicines, according to research. Scientists have genetically modified nematode worms (C. elegans) so they avoid and crawl away from certain chemicals. The UK/Dutch team believes the worms could help to provide a simple method for looking at the effectiveness of compounds for new drugs." (BBC)

"Companies lose to automatic ban on GM crops" - "US-based agricultural bio-tech giants Pioneer and Monsanto stand to lose millions of Euro in expected revenues when their commercial growth of genetically modified soy here comes to an end with an automatic ban if Romania joins the EU in five months." (BBW)

"DEFRA consults on GM coexistence measures" - "Defra has today proposed detailed measures to ensure that any growing of genetically modified crops in England will not disadvantage other farmers. Amongst the consultation proposals is the enforcement of strict separation distances between GM crops and their conventional counterparts. Under EU rules, no GM crops will be grown in the UK unless scientific evidence shows they are safe for human health and the environment. No commercial GM cultivation is expected here before 2009 at the earliest." (Defra)

"First major cargo of U.S. corn sails for China" - "CHICAGO, July 19 - The first significant shipment of U.S. corn to China in years is making its way across the Pacific Ocean, opening the door to a potentially lucrative market, U.S. grain and shipping sources said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

July 19, 2006

"Africa Fighting Malaria Responds To Berkeley University Study Into DDT And Neurodevelopment In Children" - "Once again media attention has been given to research that links DDT exposure to human harm. Africa Fighting Malaria rejects this conclusion and finds it both irresponsible and misleading." (AFM)

"US-Funded Program Fights Malaria In Tanzania" - "During the rainy season on Pemba Island, bright-green rice plants shoot up, and breezes carry the sweet scent of cloves. But trouble brews in the muddy puddles - by a nocturnal species of mosquitoes that multiplies and carries malaria. This season, the mosquitoes are being thwarted on this Indian Ocean island that is part of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar chain. Kambini, with 5,000 people, and six surrounding communities have become nearly malaria-free under a $1.2 billion prevention program launched last year by the United States. The program hands out bed nets for pregnant mothers and children under 5, who are most susceptible to the disease, and pays for indoor spraying and treatment." (Boston Globe)

"Spending Warren's Money" - "With Warren Buffett's largesse added to his own, Bill Gates has about $60 billion to spend on health and development... How should he spend it?" (Roger Bate, TCS Daily)

"Halting global tax tyranny" - "Should the U.N. be able to tax you? Over the last several years, officials at the U.N. and other international organizations have been hatching schemes to directly tax the world's people. Traditionally, only sovereign governments have the right to tax. The U.N. and other international organizations have largely depended on their ability to extract dues or other payments from their sovereign members.

Naturally, officials at the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other organizations hate the present system because it limits their ability to spend other people's money on themselves and their various schemes. The U.N. crowd has proposed an international tax on aviation fuel, a tax on airline tickets, taxes on international currency transactions, carbon use taxes, including a 4.8-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline, and other taxes on an extensive range of transactions, goods and services." (Richard W. Rahn, Washington Times)

"Toxic Reporting — PCBs in Salmon" - "STATS report into the claims that PCBs in farmed salmon pose a health risk is back online — just in time to deal with the latest batch of kooky reporting on the study that just won't go away. Even if you accept the worst-case scenario of the fish-scare mongers, the U.S. public is at much, much greater risk for injury and death from falling television sets." (STATS)

But, but... it's pollution! "Dirty old mine has rich seam of drugs" - "EVERY cloud has a silver lining. A contaminated lake designated hazardous is turning out to be a source of novel chemicals that could help fight migraines and cancer." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Australia: Creature discomforts" - "Wildlife protection laws are hampering development, writes Greg Roberts. THE Coxen's fig-parrot is so scarce it has never been photographed. Yet purported sightings of the tiny green birds have been used to frustrate developments, including the $200 million Paradise Dam near Childers, southeast Queensland. Now, opponents of a proposed dam at Traveston on the Mary River, near Gympie, are claiming Coxen's fig-parrots live in the area to be flooded. Protesters are quick to invoke the name of an endangered species to pressure Canberra to intervene with the aim of stopping or delaying a project they oppose." (The Australian)

"South Korea: Dams or Environment? Recent Floods Raise Need for More Prevention Facilities" - "There is a growing voice calling for the necessity to build more dams as a means for flood control. The recent inundation has served as an occasion to teach the importance of multi-purpose dams. Concerned officials unanimously said “the extent of the damage would have been far more devastating without Soyang and Chungju Dams.” The remarks epitomized the crucial role those dams played in lessening the casualties and property damage from the unprecedented downpour." (Korea Times)

"Direct link established between tropical tree and insect diversity" - "Higher tree species diversity leads directly to higher diversity of leaf-eating insects, researchers report in the July 13, 2006 early-online version of the journal Science.

Understanding the drivers of the high diversity in tropical forests has been a major question since Darwin and Wallace visited tropical forests and even before, Smithsonian co-author Scott Miller writes, We found that higher tropical tree diversity explains why there are more leaf-eating insects in tropical than in temperate forests.

It may be obvious that forests with greater numbers of tree species should support a wider variety of leaf-eating insects than do less diverse forests, but no one had ever done the experiment to rule out the major alternative explanation: that insect species in the tropics eat the leaves of a smaller number of host trees (are more host specific), which would also result in more insect species in a given area. This study presents the best experimental evidence to date to account for the latitudinal gradient in herbivorous insect biodiversity." (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

"Pollution threatens coral health by preventing lesions from healing, UCF study shows" - "Coral tissue damage that normally heals on its own will not mend when the colonies are near pollution sources on land that release industrial chemicals, fuel oils and other contaminants, a University of Central Florida biologist and several colleagues have found. UCF associate professor of biology John Fauth and scientists from the National Coral Reef Institute, Broward County Department of Environmental Protection, the College of Charleston and Nova Southeastern University tracked how quickly coral regenerated lost tissue from lesions they created while collecting samples." (University of Central Florida)

"Likely, But Implausible" - "That's likely, but implausible." If that statement makes sense to you, then you might seek career summarizing science panel reports, or even working as a science writer for Nature or a major newspaper. For you would be well versed in what my fellow TCS columnist Jim Pinkerton has dubbed "adjective creep." (Duane D. Freese, TCS Daily)

"What's the Big Idea? Podcast with Dr. William Gray on Hurricanes and Global Warming" - "This week's guest is hurricane expert Dr. William Gray, who discusses whether this year's storm season will be as bad as last year's, and whether global warming has anything to do with it." (Nick Schulz, TCS Daily)

"Debate on climate change far from over" - "The UN panel from which governments get their information is deeply flawed, writes Economics editor Alan Wood." (The Australian)

Today, 10:00 AM [GMT-4]: Questions Surrounding the ‘Hockey Stick’ Temperature Studies: Implications for Climate Change Assessments (Committee on Energy and Commerce)

"Not So Stern Review" - "Sir Nicholas Stern leads the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, reporting to the United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer and to the Prime Minister. His report will be published in Autumn 2006. In the journal World Economics, Stern recently published an article setting out some of the issues under consideration. It was based on his lecture, "What is the Economics of Climate Change?" delivered at the Oxford Institute for Economic Policy (OXONIA)." (Hans H.J. Labohm, TCS Daily)

AGW-promoters just love summer: "Temperature set to hit 100 degrees - and global warming is to blame" - "Think before you enjoy it. The near-record temperatures expected today are a sign of things to come, and will become commoner and hotter in future years as man-made global warming takes hold, scientists predict." (London Independent)

We'll see how good the forecast is, won't we? Central England has, of course, seen significant temperature increments several times over the last three centuries or so, although there is some reason to suspect at least a portion of recent apparent increase is due to urban heat island contaminating the record. The less-severely urban-influenced Armagh Observatory record barely registers an increase in maximum temperatures, although there is certainly a little less-colding going on, both in summer and winter.

So, what is the overall rate of warming in the Central England Temperature record? +0.24 °C per century (0.0024 °C/year), two-thirds of which can be attributed to the 0.2% increase in solar irradiance since 1675.

Call out the Guard! Humans might be responsible for warming Central England at a rate of 0.0008 °C per year! That's 8 °C in only 10,000 years!

Dubious claim of the day: "Be warned" - "Oppressive summertime heat claims more lives than all other weather-related disasters combined, including tornadoes and hurricanes. During 2003, a heat wave across Europe killed as many as 40,000 people." (Kent State University)

In a review article published in the Southern Medical Journal, Keatinge and Donaldson (2004) of Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of London begin the main body of their text with a clear declaration of the relative dangers of heat and cold when it comes to human mortality: "cold-related deaths are far more numerous than heat-related deaths in the United States, Europe, and almost all countries outside the tropics, and almost all of them are due to common illnesses that are increased by cold." more...

Health Effects (Temperature - Hot vs. Cold: Global) -- Summary: Although there are regional differences in the details, people everywhere share certain commonalities in their responses to the many physical stresses that are produced by cold temperatures, as they also share in the alleviation of those stresses that comes courtesy of global warming. In what follows, we review the findings of some of the studies that have helped to elucidate these broad planet-wide responses. (co2science.org)

2nd International Conference On Global Warming And The Next Ice Age (Climate Science)

Can't say you weren't warned: "Plan for 'credit cards' to ration individuals' carbon use" - "A limit could be imposed on the carbon each person pumps into the atmosphere under proposals being considered by the Government to combat global warming. A credit card-style trading system would ensure that people pay for air travel, electricity, gas and petrol with carbon rations as well as cash, under the plans to be floated today by David Miliband, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a speech to the Audit Commission." (London Independent) | Swipe-card plan to ration consumers' carbon use (The Guardian)

"Inuit seek role in climate change plan" - "Ottawa should consult northerners before forging ahead on a new climate change plan for the country, Inuit leaders say." (CBC)

"Australia: Red tape cut for greenhouse reports" - "PROPOSALS for a single mandatory reporting system of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions will be developed by the end of the year. The Council of Australian Governments yesterday agreed its preferred option was to devise a "single streamlined system that imposes the least cost and red tape burden"." (The Australian)

"Australia: Beattie coal plan risks carbon trade" - "PLANS for a multi-billion-dollar carbon trading system for Australian industry are now in doubt because the Queensland Government has given priority to technological solutions to greenhouse emissions. Queensland's Labor Government has joined the Howard Government in looking at technological solutions to global warming ahead of a European-style emissions trading market in Australia. All the state premiers and John Howard have agreed to look at low greenhouse emissions technology development before the next intergovernmental meeting at the end of the year. In a deliberately low-key description of the commitment at the Council of Australian Governments last week, the commonwealth and states agreed to "work in partnership to maximise opportunities for Australia to achieve low emissions outcomes through clean coal and other low-emission technologies". On the push for a national emissions trading scheme, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has declared that "it is crucial for us to get clean coal technology right first"." (The Australian)

"Where corn is king, a new fuel is prince" - "An ethanol boom lifts farmers and the sagging rural Midwest." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Trouble in the Pipeline" - "Turkmenistan's gas reserves are bound to pit Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine against each other -- and leave the EU as the ultimate loser." (Evgeny Morozov, TCS Daily)

July 18, 2006

"The truth about malaria and DDT" - "Inaccurate claims about DDT are killing African children. People need to learn the facts." (Paul Driessen, American Daily)

"Malaria Foundation International Announces First Annual Awards to Honor Unsung Heroes and Leaders in Science, Business, Education and Media in the Fight Against Malaria" - "The Malaria Foundation International (MFI) announces the 2006 Inaugural Malaria Awards. (AFM)

"Be the One" - "The idea of the One Big Thing resonates throughout our entire culture, through the history of technological advancement. Jim Pinkerton on the larger significance of a medical breakthrough." (James Pinkerton, TCS Daily)

"G8 urges lower tariffs to help poor get medicine" - "Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised nations have called for lower customs duties on drug imports to bring medicine and medical technology into easier reach for people in the world's poorest countries." (AFM)

"G8: Getting basic drugs to poor better than grandiose schemes" - "Oxford, England -- With the weekend's G8 meeting in St Petersburg dominated by the crisis in the Middle East, plans for a bold but risky new plan to develop vaccines for major infectious diseases fell somewhat by the wayside. Perhaps this was a good thing, as these kind of eye-catching initiatives distract attention away from the hard and unglamorous effort that it takes to fight disease in the poorest parts of the world." (Andrew Farlow, CFD)

"Study supports 'urgent' need for worldwide ban on lead-based paint" - "Cincinnati -- Environmental and occupational health experts at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that major countries--including India, China and Malaysia -- still produce and sell consumer paints with dangerously high lead levels." (University of Cincinnati)

"Number of indoor swimming pools per capita linked to rise in childhood asthma across Europe" - "The prevalence of childhood asthma and wheeze rises around 2 to 3 per cent for every indoor swimming pool per 100,000 of the population across Europe, indicates research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine." (BMJ Specialty Journals)

"Chicago Weighs New Prohibition: Bad-for-You Fats" - "Edward M. Burke, who has served on the Chicago City Council since 1969, when cooking oil was just cooking oil, is pressing his colleagues to make it illegal for restaurants to use oils that contain trans fats, which have been tied to a string of health problems, including clogged arteries and heart attacks.

If approved, nutrition experts say, the ban will be the first in a major city, following the lead of towns like Tiburon, Calif., just north of San Francisco, where restaurant owners have voluntarily given up the oils. In truth, while the proposal’s prospects are uncertain, Chicago officials have been on a bit of a banning binge these days in what critics mock as City Hall’s effort to micromanage residents’ lives in mundane ways." (New York Times)

"Research documents children's exposure to pesticides, suggests need for family education" - "Winston-Salem, N.C. -– Two studies of immigrant farmworker families in North Carolina and Virginia found evidence of pesticide exposure in young children, and prompted researchers to call for pesticide safety training for workers' spouses." (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

"US trumps Europe in public funding for cancer research" - "A major pan-European survey published in PLoS Medicine has found that there is inadequate public funding of cancer research relative to the actual burden of cancer in Europe. The European Cancer Research Funding Survey found that across the entire European Union, the average public spending on cancer research was only 2.56 Euros (US$3.30) per person, compared with 17.63 Euros (US$22.76) per person in the United States. As a percentage of GDP, the US spent four times as much as the average across the entire European survey." (Public Library of Science)

"Judgment day for pesticide crusader" - "Georgina Downs will this week learn if her tenacious campaign against crop spraying near homes has succeeded. Mark Townsend reports." (The Observer)

"Pombo lays out case against species act" - "Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, says he thinks the Endangered Species Act needs to be overhauled because it is heavy-handed in the way it treats private property owners and because it doesn't help species recover." (Sacramento Bee)

"Melanoma may be over-diagnosed" - "Jacksonville, Fla. -- A Mayo Clinic physician and colleagues have defined the normal number of melanocytes that are present in Caucasians' sun-exposed skin. Until now, there has not been a criterion to distinguish sun damage from early (in situ) melanoma. Results of the study, which shed light on this undefined area in skin cancer, are available in the July issue of Archives of Dermatology." (Mayo Clinic)

"Our Sun's fiery outbursts – seen in 3D" - "UK solar scientists are eagerly awaiting the launch of NASA's STEREO mission which will provide the first ever 3D views of the Sun. STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) comprises two nearly identical observatories that will orbit the Sun to monitor its violent outbursts – Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) – and the 'space weather' it creates that can impact the Earth, satellites and astronauts. STEREO is due for launch on August 1st 2006." (Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council)

?!! "Economists must take climate change seriously say scientists" - "Lord Martin Rees, president of the famed scientific academy, took the opportunity to speak on the subject in the run up to a debate on the economics of climate change set to be heard in the House of Lords. He all but accused the Lords' Economic Affairs Committee of burying its head in the sand on the issue and said more must be done to fund both mitigation and adaptation. The crossbench peer said economists needed to take a "bigger and more constructive role in dealing with the threat of climate change" and claimed media articles were playing down the problem." (Edie.net)

Lord's Hansard: Climate Change (EAC Report) - My Lords, I am delighted to be able to introduce this debate. It is more than a year ago since our report was published, on the eve of the last G8 summit at Gleneagles. Since then we have had the opportunity in this House to discuss climate change in the debate on 10 November, which was initiated by the noble Lord, Lord May. But eight months later, the subject remains, of course, as topical as ever. Like all economic affairs reports, this one is evidence-based and non-party political. And once again, the report has been agreed by all Members of the committee. --Lord Wakeham

The Kyoto principle is to raise the price of carbon-based energy to the level where non-carbon-based energy becomes economic. But that means that, as this process takes place, energy-intensive industries and processes in Europe will increasingly migrate to China or India, as the textile industry has done, to take advantage of cheaper energy there. We will meet our targets all right, but nothing will happen about global emissions; they will just come from China and India rather than from Europe. No wonder the Economic and Social Committee of the European Union warned last April that Kyoto could seriously damage the European economy, and prohibitively so, "without having any tangible effect on climate change", especially if big emitters such as America, China and India are not brought in. --Lord Lawson of Blaby

We do not need imbalance in reporting, exaggeration which is not justified by the evidence and, above all, constant predictions of catastrophe. That approach will undermine the credibility of the threat. It will induce a mood of fatalism. If we are doomed anyway, the attitude is likely to be "Well, let's make hay while the sun shines. Let's enjoy life while we can". --Lord Taverne

The noble Lord, Lord Soley, rightly referred to the guilt complex. The eco-mullahs will turn up in the form of Ministers, advising us that we should not go over 60 miles an hour on the motorway because we are adding to carbon emissions. I came here in a car which is powered by the equivalent of 500 horses - one would have done. I do not feel guilty about it, but it will not be long before I do. And I will certainly be taxed on it, if the Mayor of London has anything to do with it, because my car has a big engine. These are small things. Why should not people travel on economy jets to their destinations? Why should they be made to feel guilty? This is what will happen. I will not be convinced about this until the hockey-stick graph has been explained to me. Are our temperatures higher or lower than those in the medieval warm period? If they are lower, let us, as the noble Lord, Lord Taverne, implied, lie back and enjoy it. --Lord Tanlaw (Hansard)

"Give a Hoot, Don't (Call It) 'Pollute'" - "This summer is only half over and already we have been treated to the film "Too Hot Not To Handle," Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," as well as the news that the Supreme Court will get involved in the question of whether carbon dioxide (CO2) should be considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. In an attempt to reinforce the idea that CO2 is a pollutant, Gore and others often speak of "CO2 pollution" in the global atmosphere." (Robert C. Balling Jr., TCS Daily)

"UN says mangroves in Pacific under threat" - "BANGKOK, Thailand - Rising seas caused by climate change could destroy half the mangroves on some Pacific islands, according to a United Nations study released Monday." (Associated Press)

AP throws in the usual chestnuts: "Already, rising seas in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific have forced hundreds of islanders to abandon vulnerable coastal homes for higher ground." -- not true, the seas are not rising but the land is sinking:

The Carteret Islands are sinking due to tectonic activity and associated volcanism because the Pacific Plate is sliding into the Bismarck and Solomon Plates, some of the islands in the associated Duke of York group are sinking 30 centimetres (11.8 inches) a year.

The problem is hardly unique among low-lying atolls and even quite high, mountainous islands have difficulties stemming from tectonic subduction and volcanism - witness the UN's recent shameless misrepresentation of the 600yd relocation of Lateu on Tegua Island (Vanuatu). Tegua is sinking right enough - due to tectonic activity and volcanism. Last we heard that was not one of the hypothesised effects of enhanced greenhouse.

The Publication of Forecasts in Peer-Reviewed Papers (Climate Science)

"Tiny Airborne Particles are a Major Cause of Climate Change" - "The local effect of atmospheric aerosols can be greater than the greenhouse effect." (Weizmann Institute)

No? Duh! "Worldwide tax on carbon unlikely, says forecaster" - "THERE IS little chance the world would agree to a uniform carbon tax to stabilise greenhouse gases in the atmosphere but without it the cost of addressing climate change would be sharply higher, according to the nation's top forecaster. If all countries agreed to cut their forecasted 2050 emissions by 40 per cent and to impose a carbon tax, the consequences would include an estimated reduction in global economic output of up to 3.4 per cent below what it would otherwise have been, said the executive director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Dr Brian Fisher. "However, the political feasibility of all countries agreeing to a harmonised carbon tax to achieve this outcome is highly questionable," he said." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Amazing... "China, India Not Ready to Cut Emissions - UN Official" - "ESPOO, Finland - Developing countries are unlikely to commit to curbing their rising carbon emissions because they believe rich nations are not doing enough to tackle global warming, a top United Nations official said on Monday." (Reuters)

... and they figured this out, all by themselves?

No sillier than some we've seen: "Jump to Prevent Global Warming: German Artist Claims World Jump Day Could Save the Planet" - "July 17, 2006 -- Hans Peter Niesward, from the Department of Gravitationsphysik at the ISA in Munich, says we can stop global warming in one fell swoop — or, more accurately, in one big jump." (ABC News)

"US Sees Widespread Record Power Use Amid Heat Wave" - "HOUSTON - Blistering temperatures from New York to Sacramento on Monday will boost power demand to record highs and strain electric resources across the United States as people try to escape the sweltering heat, according to utilities and power grid operators." (Reuters)

Woohoo! "'UK's hottest day ever' warning" - "The heatwave that has left much of Britain sweltering is due to continue, with forecasters predicting that tomorrow could be the hottest day ever recorded in the UK." (The Guardian)

Hmm... "Global Warming Has Bright Side for Greenland" - "Greenland represents one of the largely unrecognized paradoxes of global warming. To many of the people who live in Greenland, the warming trend is a boon, not a threat." (Wall Street Journal)

While there has been warming "for the last 30 years," the trend from the 1930s-1960s was one of cooling and the 1970s & 80s kind of neutral really. In fact, there has been a step warming in the region over the last decade, much the same as there was in the 1920s. The trend 1930-2005, however, remains negative. It's nice this guy's reindeer have a few more feet of grazing as the threatening glacier backs off a little but it doesn't seem much to write home about.

"NZ: Environment Court Rules Against Greenpeace" - "Greenpeace has lost the first round in a battle opposing the re-firing of the Marsden B coal power station, near Whangarei. The Environment Court has ruled the effects of the station's discharge on climate change can't be considered." (NewsRoom)

From CO2 Science this week:

Did Increasing Solar Activity Drive 20th-Century Global Warming?: A recent study suggests it played a major role, if not the major role, in orchestrating the temperature rise that climate alarmists primarily attribute to the concomitant increase in the air's CO 2 content.

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Lake Caveiro, Pico Island, Azores and Lake Nakatsuna, Japan.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Respiration (Response to CO 2 - Woody Plants: Deciduous Trees): Are respiration rates of deciduous trees enhanced or suppressed in CO 2 -enriched air?

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: Hayfield Tarweed, Honey Mesquite, Maize, and Slender Oat.

Journal Reviews:
Surface Air Temperature Trends in Central California, USA: What do they reveal about anthropogenic-induced climate change?

Arctic Eurasian Precipitation: 1936-1999: Did it significantly increase in response to concomitant global warming, as climate models suggest it should have done?

The Pan-Arctic Shrub Expansion: What is it? ... and what's causing it?

The Effect of Elevated CO 2 on the Optimum Temperature for Photosynthesis in Rice: Does atmospheric CO 2 enrichment make it easier or more difficult for rice to cope with higher air temperatures?

Nitrogen Uptake by Soil Microbes: The Long (Term) and the Short (Term) of It: Another paper looks at the progressive nitrogen limitation hypothesis and finds it wanting. (co2science.org)

Anyone got a cracker? "The climate-change deniers have now gone nuclear" - "When the rightwing tradition of bad science comes onside, it's time to look seriously at other energy technologies." (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian)

"EU gives wary backing to G8's 'new global energy order'" - "ST PETERSBURG – Open oil and gas markets and more nuclear power will form the backbone of the industrialised world's new energy policy, with the EU welcoming the deal but urging Russia to make good on promises made in St Petersburg on 16 July." (EUobserver)

"Australia: We'll be an energy superpower: PM" - "JOHN HOWARD wants Australia to become an "energy superpower", carving out a position as one of the world's biggest exporters of coal, natural gas, uranium and petroleum." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Blame Big Business for High Gas Prices" - "This past week, the average price for a gallon of gasoline rose above $3 for the first time since the brief post-Katrina spike. On cue, politicians, journalists, and liberal agitators are crying "price gouging," and telling us we need federal policy to guide us towards a petroleum-free world." (Timothy Carney, TAS)

"Cars Heavier, Faster But US Fuel Economy Unchanged" - "WASHINGTON - New vehicles in the United States are the fastest and heaviest in three decades, with the fleet's fuel efficiency no better than the figure for 1994 -- about 21 miles per gallon, the government said Monday." (Reuters)

"Canada Aims to Boost Biofuel Production" - "CALGARY, Alberta - The Canadian government said Monday it will give grassroots groups C$11 million (US$9.7 million) toward boosting biofuel production to meet its 2010 production target. "We'll have to more than double our production," Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl said at a biofuel conference in Calgary." (Reuters)

"Swiss urge EU to do more to cut pollution" - "Environment Minister Moritz Leuenberger has called on European counterparts to step up efforts to combat dust particle emissions at an informal meeting in Finland." (Swissinfo)

"Leukemia stem cells show significant differences from normal blood stem cells" - "Boston -- Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston and their colleagues have isolated rare cancer stem cells that cause leukemia in a mouse model of the human disease. The leukemia stem cells isolated proved to be surprisingly different from normal blood stem cells -- a finding that may be good news for developing a drug that selectively targets them." (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

"Kenya: Sh32b Sorghum Project Halted" - "A multi-billion shilling research project by a Kenyan scientist to develop a genetically modified sorghum type has been suspended. The project by Prof Florence Wambugu and a biotechnology organisation was expected to come up with a new variety of sorgum to help alleviate hunger in the sub-Saharan Africa. The super sorghum was to contain proteins and vitamins. The traditional variety is mainly starch with little protein or mineral nutrients." (The Nation)

"Biotech White Corn Increases South Africans’ Food Security" - "Who says biotech crops help only big farmers? In South Africa, small farmers have gained important food security by shifting to genetically modified varieties of their staple food, white corn, because it resists the corn borers that abound in South Africa’s sub-tropics. Biotech farmers have harvested more than a month’s worth of additional food for their families. A recent study found that the Bt corn yielded four times as much grain as the farmers’ own saved seeds, and 21 to 62 percent more grain than an improved corn variety without the Bt. This was during a relatively dry year, when the yields were low enough to be critical for food security. The biotech corn also produced far more high-quality kernels." (Dennis Avery, ChronWatch)

"Lid stays on modified rice" - "China, the world's top rice producer and consumer, is unlikely to give its nod for commercial production of genetically modified rice at least until next year with a government panel demanding more data to prove its safety." (The Standard)

"Kansas trying to lure California biotech rice firm" - "WICHITA, Kan. - A biotechnology firm that abandoned plans to grow biotech rice in California and Missouri amid protests by farmers and others in those states is now being courted by Kansas. Ventria Bioscience, a small Sacramento, Calif.-based firm, expects to decide in about a month whether it will relocate its processing plant and rice acreage to Kansas, said Ventria president Scott Deeter. Biopharming is the practice of growing food crops genetically engineered with human genes to produce drugs. Ventria's rice is used to make an experimental U.S. drug to treat diarrhea." (Associated Press)

July 17, 2006

"Coburn to Barosso: End threats against African countries that use DDT to stop malaria" - "Physician and US Senator Tom Coburn, MD, has written European Union President José Manuel Barroso, seeking his “support and help in a life saving effort,” to end malaria and express support for countries choosing to do so by using DDT." (AFM)

"KENYA: Battling malaria in western region" - "KISUMU, 13 July - One-year-old Cosmas Wambua lies unconscious on the bare hospital mattress with IV tubes draining into his weak body. He is in a critical condition following a severe attack of malaria. He is also malnourished. His mother watches over him, barely moving from her seat, afraid of the worst, but hoping and praying for her son's recovery. "His condition has stabilised," says Acquills Achieng, a nurse. "We did not expect him to make it when he was admitted last night." Cosmas is lucky: one in 10 children diagnosed with severe malaria at the Nyanza Provincial hospital in Kenya's western port city of Kisumu dies, according to medical staff." (IRIN)

"Fundación BBVA and IDIBAPS reassess the intermittent treatment efficiency against malaria" - "Rafael Pardo, director of the Fundación BBVA, and Pedro Alonso, coordinator of the Centre of International Health of Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, have presented in the Fundación BBVA the results of a research project that will be published in the August issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases on the efficiency and safety of the intermittent preventive treatment in Mozambican children of less than a year with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, a common and cheap anti-malarian. This work, that will be published in the prestigious journal of the American Society for the Infectious Disease, was presented in a press conference that had the participation of Clara Menéndez, also responsible for this work, and Eusebio Macete, the first signatory.

This research, promoted by the Fundación BBVA and the Hospital Clínic in Manhiça (Mozambique), demonstrates that the intermittent treatment with sulphadoxin-pirimetamine (SP) is safe, well tolerated and reduces by 22.2% the cases of clinical malaria in children under one year of age.

The project is also assessing, in a thousand of pregnant volunteers, the preventive value of the administration of the anti-malaria intermittent treatment on mother anaemia and parasitemia, and on the premature birth and low weight of newborns in mothers with malaria." (IDIBAPS - Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer)

Hmm... "Science reporters' top challenges include finding photos and well-spoken researchers" - "MUNICH, GERMANY--As many U.S. and other newspapers continue to lay off science journalists, reporters still covering technical topics say they increasingly need good-quality images, as well as researchers who can help make science more understandable. Judging the trustworthiness or integrity of scientific findings while avoiding "hype" also emerged as key concerns for reporters who took part in the survey, sponsored by EurekAlert!, the science-news Web site of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)." (EurekAlert!/AAAS survey)

... this bodes ill. Here's a few clues for alleged science/health reporters:

  • if it's "science by press release" (media presentation of unpublished research) -- it's probably not worth reporting.
  • if it's "ground breaking" research then it's a vague possibility -- wait for repeatability as the paper is evaluated and tested.
  • if it's a new paper reversing a paradigm, it's merely a challenge -- wait to see if additional, independent papers refine and generally support it.
  • if it speaks of "subtle" effects at the limit of perception or measurability -- don't worry about it.
  • if it involves hand-wringing and arm waving about newly-discovered massive risk -- stop to wonder why you didn't trip over the heaps of bodies on the way to the press conference.
  • ALWAYS compare claims of environmental toxins, contaminated/noxious food supply, dangerous air quality, etc., etc. against population mortality/morbidity tables -- populations being sickened/killed are obvious (and exceptionally rare) while those with increasing longevity with increasing populations of seniors are indicators of baseless scares.

Sadly, I saw nothing in the survey about pressure to publish, ideological bent of publication/scribe or commercial need to titillate the masses with lurid tales regardless of the near-certainty of falsehood in banner headlines of "breakthroughs" or population decimation from minute trace contact with compounds that have been in the environment for decades/centuries/millennia.

"EU to Propose Limits on Chemicals in Lakes, Rivers" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's executive arm will propose new rules next week to reduce water pollution in the 25-nation bloc's lakes and rivers to try to cut down on substances that harm the environment and human health." (Reuters)

From the land of soon-to-be defenseless fruits and nuts? "State toughens rules on a household pesticide" - "California next month will begin to regulate a broad class of pesticide that has become the dominant home and garden bug-killer. The state Department of Pesticide Regulation in August will notify manufacturers of pyrethroid insecticides that they must share data on their products or those products will be banned from sale in California. The data will drive a regulatory review that could result in use restrictions or a ban on specific products." (Sacramento Bee)

"UGA researchers find that hunting can increase the severity of wildlife disease epidemics" - "Athens, Ga. – A new study by University of Georgia researchers shows that the common practice of killing wild animals to control disease outbreaks can actually make matters worse in some cases." (University of Georgia)

"Too fat - but is it my fault?" - "Obesity isn’t just too much food and too little exercise. Roger Dobson reports on new findings by Yale scientists." (London Times)

"Charcoal reveals wildfire history" - "UK scientists have traced the history of wildfires by studying lumps of ancient charcoal from around the world. The fossils show the incidence of fires through time is closely related to the level of atmospheric oxygen. Andrew Scott and Ian Glasspool say huge swathes of the planet were ablaze when concentrations of the gas peaked some 275 million years ago. Their research is published in the US scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (BBC)

Ooh! This is going to leave a mark: "Subcommittee to Hold Global Warming Hearing: Witnesses to Testify on Climate Change Assessment Report" - "WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, July 19 at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building entitled, “Questions Surrounding the ‘Hockey Stick’ Temperature Studies: Implications for Climate Change Assessments.”

Dr. Edward Wegman will present his panel’s report but a full witness list has not yet been finalized.

About the Wegman report: ‘It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility. Overall, our committee believes that Dr. Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.’ – Excerpt from Wegman report." | Wegman report fact sheet (.pdf) | Wegman climate change assessment (.pdf) (The Committee on Energy and Commerce)

End of the hockey season (Number Watch)

The Week That Was July 15, 2006 (SEPP)

Sigh... "Droughts could boost global warming: scientists" - "It appears global warming may not only be causing more severe droughts but the droughts could be exacerbating global warming. Australian scientists have found that drought-affected forests do not absorb carbon dioxide as efficiently as they would under normal climatic conditions, meaning more greenhouse gases may be left in the atmosphere." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

This is where the whole tangled myth of unmitigated enhanced water vapor feedback built into climate models causes such confusion. The physical properties of carbon dioxide are well understood and the global warming potential of a doubling of this wonderful, nay, essential, trace gas is known to be trivial -- so small we are never likely to be able to discern it amongst the noise of natural climate variability.

The hypothetical concern is massively enhanced water vapor content in the atmosphere (which still has some potential to absorb IR in the 5-7µm band before the band becomes saturated and some potential in the sub-3µm band, although that micron range implies as much likelihood of absorbing solar-sourced IR as Earth-sourced and is therefore not clearly increasing net potential surface temperature). Drought implies reduced atmospheric moisture content and reduced greenhouse effect (the same effect that sees deserts cool rapidly at night while humid regions do not), something barely perturbed by drought-stressed trees absorbing slightly less carbon dioxide.

"Our wasteful ways will finish us off" - "We must all risk becoming 'environmental bores'. To see the crisis coming and not act would be worse than denying climate change." (Henry Porter, The Observer)

"Hyping a Hoax" - "The slanted coverage of the debate over global warming is on display almost every day. But a good recent example was the June 23 USA Today story headlined, "Global warming stoked '05 hurricanes, study says." That headline ran across the entire top of page 4 of USA Today. A picture with the story showed emergency workers battling Hurricane Katrina. You have to read to the 7th paragraph to find out that an expert named William Gray of Colorado State University believes "more intense hurricanes" are due entirely to natural changes. It turns out that Gray has been described as "the world's most famous hurricane expert" and that he has been studying hurricanes for 50 years.

The story, however, highlighted a new report finding that "Global warming helped fuel 2005's destructive hurricane season…" Gray, in the 7th paragraph of the story, called that "ridiculous." (Cliff Kincaid, AIM)

Six-month releases now? Can't wait for the "hottest 10 minutes..." "First half of 2006 warmest on record in U.S. -- Globally, January-June was sixth warmest on record" - "January through June was the warmest first half of any year in the continental United States since records began in 1895, U.S. government scientists reported Friday. The average January-June temperature was 51.8 degrees Fahrenheit — 3.4 degrees above the 20th century average, according to preliminary data reported by scientists at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C." (MSNBC)

Crops, no -- weeds... "Pumped Up on Carbon Dioxide, Vines Strengthen Their Grip" - "Vines -- poison ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, kudzu -- snake through the back yard, girdling trees and strangling shrubs, thriving, scientists say, on the same pollution they blame for global warming. From backyard gardens to the Amazon rain forest, vines are growing faster, stronger and, in the case of poison ivy, more poisonous on the heavy doses of carbon dioxide that come from burning such fossil fuels as gasoline and coal." (Washington Post)

"Program lets forests grow longer to combat global warming" - "Californians could soon invest in trees to offset the greenhouse gases they pump into the air when they heat their homes or drive to work. The nonprofit California Climate Action Registry was set up by the state six years ago to encourage corporations and government agencies to track, and ultimately reduce, their emissions. The Forest Protocols program will allow environmentally minded citizens to pay to preserve enough trees to offset their personal carbon emissions. The registry has calculated how much the timber industry loses by allowing trees to grow longer and bigger past the time they're normally harvested. The industry would then be compensated by other companies that buy carbon credits or shares of the trees to offset their carbon emissions." (Associated Press)

"Greens slam G8 over climate change" - "ST PETERSBURG, Russia - Environmental advocacy groups accused the Group of Eight industrial nations on Sunday of failing to take seriously the problems of climate change and the dangers of nuclear energy. At a summit in St. Petersburg, the leaders of the G8 approved a statement that acknowledged divisions among the world's top economies on promoting nuclear energy and tackling climate change." (Reuters)

"Global warming: world dancing on a volcano, says Chirac" - "SAINT PETERSBURG - French President Jacques Chirac issued a stark warning to his G8 partners, saying "humanity is dancing on a volcano" and urging them to live up to commitments to combat global warming. "We cannot discuss energy security while standing still on climate change," Chirac told the leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia at their summit in Saint Petersburg. "Humanity is dancing on a volcano." Chirac described the Kyoto Protocol, which took effect in February last year, as "only a first step". "I regret that the United States is not taking part. But all the others must stick to their commitments." (AFP)

"Republicans not warming up to Gore's polemic" - "WASHINGTON - Former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" might be igniting new concern about global climate change among moviegoers, but it's not easing the partisan divide in Washington that is blocking any action on the issue. More than a year has passed since Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, an Albuquerque Republican, voted a year ago with a majority of senators for a nonbinding resolution by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a Silver City Democrat, putting the Senate on record as calling for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions. But the New Mexico senators have not agreed on how to craft legislation for such a cap. "A bill is far, far away," Domenici said." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Will sea levels rise 20 feet as Gore predicts?" - "Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth. says human-emitted CO2 will boost the earth's temperatures enough to melt the Arctic ice cap -- and suddenly raise sea levels by 20 feet. Phooey." (Dennis T. Avery, ESR)

"Jeffords’ bill would halt greenhouse gas emissions" - "MONTPELIER — U.S. Sen. James Jeffords this week will introduce a measure that would dramatically curb carbon emissions in the United States over the next 50 years. The bill, Jeffords last major piece of legislation before retiring, is a fitting way to end a political career that started with aggressive stances on the environment more than 40 years ago, according to a key aide to the senator. “This is truly a legacy bill,” said Kenneth Connolly, the minority staff director for the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the key author of the legislation. “The senator has been working on this for close to six years.” (Rutland Herald)

Oops! Shouldn't put so much faith in myths: "NZ: Big chill shakes rural sector" - "Bitterly cold weather is having a severe impact on farming activities in both the North and South Islands, leading to lower earnings for newly formed pastoral giant PGG Wrightson.

Many farmers seem to have been unprepared for the wintry blast after several years of benign weather and the focus on global warming. Fortunately, according to ANZ Bank economists, livestock was in generally good condition after a fine summer, but they are likely to lose this rapidly if the cold and wet weather continues." (Sunday Star-Times)

News Release on The Dissertation Award of Christopher Davey (Climate Science)

"Canada Stresses Commitment to Kyoto Climate Pact" - "LONDON - Canada is committed to the Kyoto protocol on climate change, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday, despite his country's acknowledgement it will not be able to meet emission reduction targets." (Reuters)

Ration cards coming? "UK: Labour plans to cap carbon use" - "Plans to impose a limit on the amount of carbon that every household in the country is allowed to emit are being drawn up by the Government." (London Telegraph)

"Euro-bureaucrats run amok" - "In a monumental amalgam of both regulatory zeal and Chicken Littleism that puts California's Air Resources Board to shame, the European Parliament earlier this month approved plans for "immediate introduction" of a tax on jet fuel for flights within the 25 member states of the European Union. The charge is predicted to double the cost of round-trip airfare by employing a special emissions trading scheme (ETS) for the aviation industry, wherein airlines would have to buy permits to cover their output of carbon dioxide. This complicated nightmare is a direct result of the slavish adoption of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol by officials from industrialized European countries, whose governing philosophy seems to be "of the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats and for the bureaucrats." (Washington Times)

Really? "EU's Dimas Says CO2 Cap Tighter for Second Phase" - "TURKU, Finland - The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions cap will be tighter under the second round of the European Union's emissions trading scheme in 2008-2012, the EU environment chief said late on Friday." (Reuters)

Oh well: "Greece to Raise Carbon Allowances for 2008-12" - "ATHENS - Greece plans to raise slightly its annual quota for heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions in its 2008-2012 plan for the second phase of the European Union's carbon trading scheme, an environmental official said on Friday." (Reuters)

II: "Ireland Nudges Up Carbon Allowances for 2008-12" - "LONDON - Ireland plans to increase only slightly the amount of environmentally harmful carbon dioxide that companies will be allowed to emit in 2008-12, the country's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Europe Fails Kyoto Standards as Trading Scheme Helps Polluters" - "July 17 -- When European Union officials created a market for trading pollution credits, they boasted it was a ``cost-conscious way'' to save the planet from global warming. Five years later, the 25-nation EU is failing to meet the Kyoto Protocol's carbon-dioxide emission standards. Rather than help protect the environment, the trading system has led to increases in electricity prices of more than 50 percent and record profits for RWE AG and other utilities. ``I don't suppose the environment has noticed the European emissions trading scheme,'' said William Blyth, director of Oxford Energy Associates in Oxford, England, and a former International Energy Agency official who advises businesses on energy and climate change policy. The electricity companies and emissions traders ``have done very well.'' (Bloomberg)

Here's some guys pretty sure they can rip you off at any price: "ANALYSIS - Kyoto 1 Billion Tonnes Pollution Cut Seen in Doubt" - "LONDON - The Kyoto pact's novel system for letting rich countries buy pollution cuts from poor ones is unlikely to achieve a UN forecast of axing more than 1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, some firms implementing the scheme say." (Reuters)

"Blair to push for progress on trade and climate change" - "Tony Blair is determined to use this weekend’s Group of Eight summit to boost progress on two fronts – climate change and world trade. On climate change, the British prime minister is looking to hasten progress on a post-Kyoto agreement that must take effect from 2012." (Financial Times)

"Blair confident of practical energy-saving measures on global warming" - "Tony Blair hopes to force climate change back onto the agenda at the G8 summit - even if only in private talks with other leaders. Environmentalists have been horrified by the document that Russia has put forward as the main item for discussion tomorrow, when leaders of the world's richest countries will assemble in St Petersburg. They see it an invitation to the big oil and gas producers to carry on polluting, ignoring the progress made at Gleneagles a year ago." (London Independent)

"Rich nations snub Blair vision for nuclear-powered future" - "World leaders at the G8 Summit in St Petersburg failed to agree common ground on nuclear energy and global warming yesterday. Tony Blair's struggle to persuade the world's eight most powerful nations to unite to end climate change produced a disappointing one-line acknowledgement that the issue matters to some countries, but not others." (London Independent)

"Energy Review gives powerful boost to nuclear generators" - “NUCLEAR — no thanks” the old car bumper sticker used to read. This week the Government finally tore up its sticker and replaced it with a shiny “yes please”. The endorsement of nuclear in the Energy Review was no surprise. Two years of soaring oil and gas prices, a shambolic launch of a Europe-wide emissions trading scheme, supply crises across Europe last winter and increased evidence of climate change have changed the energy environment a great deal since 2003’s Energy White Paper." (London Times)

"Britons Ponder Future Energy Options" - "Many adults in Britain would like to explore two choices in order to generate energy in the future, according to a poll by ICM Research released by GMTV. 79 per cent of respondents would like to expand solar power, and 76 per cent prefer wind power. Building more efficient coal and gas powered stations is third on the list with 50 per cent, followed by nuclear power with 38 per cent." (Angus Reid)

"Atomic Balm?" - "For the first time in decades, increasing the role of nuclear power in the United States may be starting to make political, environmental and even economic sense." (New York Times)

"Nuclear power in from the cold as energy gap looms" - "In his foreword to the Government's latest Energy Review, the Prime Minister wrote: "We face two immense challenges as a country - energy security and climate change." Concerning the Prime Minister's first challenge few would surely disagree. Over the next 15 to 20 years, Britain's nuclear power stations, which currently generate about 20pc of our electricity, are due to be decommissioned. In addition, the share from coal-fired power stations is expected to halve, reflecting EU directives on cutting carbon emissions, and indigenous supplies of natural gas are expected to decrease rapidly. There is, without being too alarmist, a looming energy supply gap. The prospect of being dependent on Russia and/or Iran for supplies of natural gas does not appeal." (Ruth Lea, London Telegraph)

"Study Cites Plan to End U.S. Oil Imports" - "WASHINGTON, July 14 — American imports of oil could be eliminated by 2030, a new study by an interstate consortium asserts, if the nation turns to an aggressive program of energy efficiency and commercialization of four already-demonstrated technologies for making transportation fuels. The study, sponsored by a nonprofit group of legislators and governors called the Southern States Energy Board, urges a crash program to meet fuel needs without imports, a strategy it says will lead to an American “industrial rebirth.” It says that such a strategy could create more than one million new jobs, reduce the trade deficit by more than $600 billion, and end oil price shocks that hurt the economy." (New York Times)

"PM brands Canada an 'energy superpower'" - "LONDON — Stephen Harper positioned Canada as a new “emerging energy superpower” in his first speech abroad Friday as Prime Minister. Mr. Harper boldly sold Canada as a secure, stable and reliable source of energy to an audience of about 300 business people — members of the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce. He bragged about Canada's vast and seemingly limitless energy resources, calling the country “a new energy superpower” and spoke about how his government was about to build Canada into a “global energy powerhouse.” (Globe and Mail)

"The lures (and limits) of natural gas" - "From Boston to St. Petersburg, natural gas is changing the way the world thinks of energy. But as gas goes global, will Russia become the new Saudi Arabia?" (Boston Globe)

"Wind Energy Sweeping Away Wildlife?" - "Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sources of new electricity in the United States. For some environmentalists, that's good news. Wind turbines don't spew smoke into the air. There's no nuclear by-product. But there is an environmental risk. To see it, you have to view the wind turbines through the eyes of a bird." (GLRC)

"New World Bank Body to Battle Latin American Smog" - "WASHINGTON - The World Bank founded a Clean Air Institute to help fight smog in Latin America, where road traffic is the leading cause of pollution killing thousands of people a year." (Reuters)

"Eating the Amazon: The fight to curb corporate destruction" - "Huge soya farms financed by Cargill, the largest privately owned company in the world, are the rainforest's new worst enemy." (London Independent)

Vandana Shiva, again: "India: GM crops: Supreme Court notice to government" - "New Delhi, July 14 The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central government on a petition seeking a ban on genetically modified (GM) crops in any form in India till a regulatory framework was put in place. A bench comprising Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Justice C.K. Thakker and Justice R.V. Raveendran issued the notice on the petition filed by environmental activist Vandana Shiva. Shiva said that while most countries were banning GM products, India was being used as a dumping ground for vested multinational corporations." (Indo Asian News Service)

"Genetic Rice Gives Good Dividends to Chinese Farmers" - "The genetically modified rice provided to Chinese farmers has paid dividends as they succeeded in have their production cost reduced, improving per acre yield, and reducing use to pesticides to zero level, according to a report published in journal 'Science' last week. Scientists in Tando Jan Sindh Agriculture University evince national interest and are of the opinion that its health and safety should be examined before cultivating genetically modified rice. The study, conducted by American and Chinese scientists who have long backed the crops, comes as the Chineseb government is deciding whether to approve the sale of genetically modified rice, which would make China the first nation to adopt biotechnology crops in one of the world's leading food staples." (AgBioView & Business Recorder)

"Significant Increase in GM Corn Planting in 2006" - "In 2005, French farmers planted their first commercial crop of Bt corn (MON-810) on 500 to 1,000 hectares (see FR 5060) since 1999. Previously, farmers had been wary of planting genetically modified varieties due to lack of market demand in France because of consumer and industry resistance, traceability rules and a lack of transparency for coexistence liability. In 2005, due to a drought in Spain, French farmers were able to sell their biotech crop to this market for use in animal feed. In addition, in the southern part of the country, the conventional corn crop is threatened by the European corn borer. Bt corn is viewed as providing an effective and profitable remedy against the European corn borer in this region, which contains 400,000 to 500,000 hectares, i.e., almost a third of the total French corn acreage. Due to the agronomic and economic benefits experienced in 2005, French farmers are expected to expand the acreage of Bt corn to 4,000-5,000 hectares for 2006." (USDA)

"Peru: Use of biopharmed drug causes uproar" - "Genetically engineered rice is the focus of debate." (Associated Press)

"Biotech crops' role increases in clothing industry" - "In a sneak peek of what could be fashion's future, leggy models draped in dresses by designers like Oscar de la Renta and Versace strut their stuff on the runway. But this is no Paris or New York fashion show. Rather, the scene is a Toronto biotechnology conference and the dresses are made from a new fiber called Ingeo, made largely from genetically engineered corn. The Biotechnology Industry Organization used the fashion statement last week to burnish its battered image as an environmental scourge." (Associated Press)

"Europe: Trust in biotech on the rise, survey shows" - "As knowledge of the field improves, Europeans are warming to biotechnology and one in two express confidence that it will improve their quality of life. But according to the latest Eurobarometer survey, trust in ‘emerging’ areas, such as genetically modified food, remains on the low side." (European Commission)

July 14, 2006

"EPA's Never Ending Dioxin Scare" - "If ever there was an example of what’s wrong with the intersection of government and science, the Environmental Protection Agency’s 20-year campaign to scare the public about dioxin is certainly a leading candidate." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Putting your computer to work to fight against malaria in Africa" - "Geneva, 13 July 2006 – While you are sending an email or surfing the web, your computer could be helping to tackle one of Africa's major humanitarian challenges, malaria. Africa@home, a project conceived and coordinated by CERN , was launched publicly this week. It is recruiting volunteer computers in homes and offices to run a computer-intensive simulation program called MalariaControl.net, developed by researchers at the Swiss Tropical Institute (STI)." (CERN)

Another attempt: "Bird brains shrink from exposure to contaminants" - "The regions in robins' brains responsible for singing and mating are shrinking when exposed to high levels of DDT, says new University of Alberta research--the first proof that natural exposure to a contaminant damages the brain of a wild animal. "These residues have been persisting since the late 1960s--that's what is really disturbing," said Dr. Andrew Iwaniuk, a post-doctoral research fellow in the U of A's Department of Psychology. "It has been years since it has been used and still has this effect." The new research, published in Behavioural Brain Research, strongly suggests that exposure to environmental levels of DDT causes significant changes in the brains of songbirds." (University of Alberta)

It will be interesting to see if this claim of harm from DDT holds up any better than the myriad previous failures.

"Frisco's Folly Trolley" - "Do American parents need to worry about plastic baby bottles?" (John Luik, TCS Daily)

"Go on, take off your green-tinted glasses and see the real world" - "IN MY SALAD days to be labelled green would mean that you were deemed (dusts off old school thesaurus) gullible, ignorant, immature, inexpert, naive, starry-eyed, unworldly and wet behind the ears. Today many wear the green label with pride, as a sign of grown-up wisdom. But I think the old meanings still apply. There remains a hole in the Doh!-zone layer between starry-eyed, unworldly policies of officials in green-tinted glasses, and the way that most people live in the multicoloured real world." (Mick Hume, London Times)

"Chernobyl's 'nuclear nightmares'" - "On 26 April 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant blew up. Forty-eight hours later the entire area was evacuated. Over the following months there were stories of mass graves and dire warnings of thousands of deaths from radiation exposure. Yet in a BBC Horizon report to be screened on Thursday, a number of scientists argue that 20 years after the accident there is no credible scientific evidence that any of these predications are coming true." (BBC)

"Backstory: Global warbling" - "It's a peculiar thing that as the threat of global terrorism reaches a crescendo, so apparently does the threat of global warming - at least that's what some would have us believe.

Tough language is borrowed from the war on terror and applied to the war on weather. "I really consider this a national security issue," says celebrity activist and "An Inconvenient Truth" producer Laurie David. "Truth" star Al Gore calls global warming a "planetary emergency." Bill Clinton's first worry is climate change: "It's the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it."

Freud called it displacement. People fixate on the environment when they can't deal with real threats. Combating the climate gives nonhawks a chance to look tough. They can flex their muscle for Mother Nature, take a preemptive strike at an SUV. Forget the Patriot Act, it's Kyoto that'll save you.

That's why in 2004 we got "The Day After Tomorrow" - so we could worry about junk science that may or may not kill us in 1,000 years instead of the people who really are trying to kill us the day after tomorrow." (Julia Gorin, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Hockey Stick Hokum" - "It is routine these days to read in newspapers or hear -- almost anywhere the subject of climate change comes up -- that the 1990s were the "warmest decade in a millennium" and that 1998 was the warmest year in the last 1,000. This assertion has become so accepted that it is often recited without qualification, and even without giving a source for the "fact." But a report soon to be released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee by three independent statisticians underlines yet again just how shaky this "consensus" view is, and how recent its vintage. The claim originates from a 1999 paper by paleoclimatologist Michael Mann.

The trouble is that there's no reason to believe that Mr. Mann, or his "hockey stick" graph of global temperature changes, is right. Questions were raised about Mr. Mann's paper almost as soon as it was published. In 2003, two Canadians, Ross McKitrick and Steven McIntyre, published an article in a peer-reviewed journal showing that Mr. Mann's methodology could produce hockey sticks from even random, trendless data.

The report commissioned by the House Energy Committee, due to be released today, backs up and reinforces that conclusion. The three researchers -- Edward J. Wegman of George Mason University, David W. Scott of Rice University and Yasmin H. Said of Johns Hopkins University -- are not climatologists; they're statisticians. Their task was to look at Mr. Mann's methods from a statistical perspective and assess their validity. Their conclusion is that Mr. Mann's papers are plagued by basic statistical errors that call his conclusions into doubt. Further, Professor Wegman's report upholds the finding of Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick that Mr. Mann's methodology is biased toward producing "hockey stick" shaped graphs." (Wall Street Journal)

"Hearing: Questions Surrounding the ‘Hockey Stick’ Temperature Studies: Implications for Climate Change Assessments" (Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations)

"Centuries of land-use practices profoundly impact earth system, UNH scientists report" - "In a paper published in the July 2006 issue of Global Change Biology, University of New Hampshire scientists George Hurtt, Steve Frolking, and coauthors show that land-use activities over the last 300 years have substantially altered the land surface in ways that are likely to have had profound effects on the Earth system. Land-use changes have impacted some 42-68 percent of the global land surface, according to the study, which used historical records, satellite data, and computer modeling to reconstruct 216 different global land-use reconstructions to derive the most comprehensive picture to-date." (University of New Hampshire)

Potentially very useful, especially as we should be looking at much more than carbon budgets. Regrettably, the focus above is promptly jerked back to atmospheric carbon and thus repeats the same myopic error.

Let's be unequivocal: we believe Earth has warmed from about 287 K to about 287.6 K during the Twentieth Century. At most, increased radiative forcing from added atmospheric carbon dioxide can account for ~0.17 K (an increase in Earth's estimated mean surface temperature of <0.06%). The IR absorbency bandwidths where atmospheric carbon dioxide is active are either saturated or approaching that state. This means the trivial warming attributable to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is almost complete.

"'Global Warming' TV Special 'Misleads Public,' Scientist Says" - "A program on "global warming" set to debut on the Discovery Channel Sunday night "misleads the public," because it relies on "just a few scientists with a particular personal viewpoint on this subject," says a climatologist who has seen the two-hour special." (CNSNews.com)

"NASA explains puzzling impact of polluted skies on climate" - "NASA scientists have determined that the formation of clouds is affected by the lightness or darkness of air pollution particles. This also impacts Earth's climate. In a breakthrough study published today in the online edition of Science, scientists explain why aerosols -- tiny particles suspended in air pollution and smoke -- sometimes stop clouds from forming and in other cases increase cloud cover. Clouds not only deliver water around the globe, they also help regulate how much of the sun's warmth the planet holds. The capacity of air pollution to absorb energy from the sun is the key." (NASA/GSFC)

"Faster westerlies threaten Antarctica" - "Heat-bearing westerly winds have picked up speed in the past 50 years are likely to be contributing to the melting of Antarctica's Larsen ice shelf, say scientists. Meteorologist Professor John Turner of the British Antarctic Survey says the biggest change in the wind speed occurs in the southern hemisphere summer." (ABC Science Online)

"We Solve More Problems Than We Create" - "Bjorn Lomborg is a realist. He doesn't expect miracles from political leaders and bureaucrats, hoping instead for "getting it slightly less wrong." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

For every silver lining:) "Global Warming Blamed for Tornado Drought" - "A severe shortage of tornadoes in Nebraska and Kansas this year is threatening the local economy." (ecoEnquirer)

"NZ: Liability of $1 billion for Kyoto denied" - "The Government is denying claims that New Zealand's carbon credit liabilities under the Kyoto protocol have blown out to more than $1 billion." (NZPA)

"Germany's Green Hypocrisy" - "Germany has finally bid auf wiedersehen to "the first climate neutral World Cup", as FIFA dubbed it. Yes, the organizers worked hard to give the host country the greenest tint possible. For example, according to BBC News, the stadium in Munich harvested rainwater and stored it in underground reservoirs, while the stadium in Dortmund, the venue of Germany's semi-final loss to Italy, was equipped with solar panels that generate 550,000 kilowatt-hours of energy a year. Fans have even been encouraged to commute by trains and buses rather than by cars and planes -- and Franz Beckenbauer, German soccer legend and the big boss of the tournament, was criticized for using his helicopter too often. So, if not "climate neutral", then at least "climate correct." (Evgeny Morozov, TCS Daily)

"Public support for EU energy policy wilts" - "EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Despite Brussels' push for a common European strategy on energy, the latest opinion poll - seen by the EUobserver - has shown a shift in public opinion towards support for strategic decisions on energy to be taken at the national, and not the EU level.

Europeans have also again clearly expressed their opposition to more expensive green energy. A majority (59%) of those surveyed said they were not "prepared to pay more for energy produced from renewable sources than for energy produced from other sources." This tendency has been recorded before but it has even risen - by 5 percent - compared to the autumn poll." (Lucia Kubosova, EUobserver)

"Calm days are a bit of a blow for wind farm" - "THE air above Yatabe Minami elementary school is heavy with humidity. The playground swelters without the slightest breath of breeze, and on the highest trees the leaves do not flicker. The sails of the Darius-Savonius generator stand still. Tsukuba, the town that prides itself as Japan’s most hallowed scientific research centre, is the site of perhaps the world’s worst electricity wind farm: in the 12 months it has operated, its windmills have consumed 43 times more power than they have generated." (London Times)

"G8 draft highlights deep split over nuclear energy" - "ST PETERSBURG, Russia, July 13 - A draft G8 communique on "Global Energy Security", expected to be approved at a summit in Russia this weekend, highlights a deep split on the issue of nuclear energy among the world's most powerful economies. The 5,500-word draft statement, given to Reuters by a senior official from one of the Group of Eight nations, was still being revised before the arrival on Saturday of the leaders of the United States, Russia, Japan, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, Britain and the European Union in St. Petersburg. Although the United States and Russia would have liked the G8 statement to back the global revival of nuclear energy, Germany and, to a certain extent Italy, oppose this, G8 diplomats said. The draft text clearly highlights this rift." (Reuters)

"China Announces Major Undersea Gas Find" - "BEIJING - China announced the discovery of what it said may be its largest undersea natural gas reserves on Thursday, adding a potential source as the country strains to cope with climbing energy consumption." (Reuters)

"Indonesia Says Needs US$22 Billion Investment in Biofuels" - "JAKARTA - Indonesia needs 200 trillion rupiah (US$22 billion) of investment to develop more biofuels so it can cut subsidised oil-product consumption by 10 percent by 2010, the mines and energy minister said on Thursday." (Reuters)

All's well -- it's only Lester: "Ethanol Boom Could Hurt World's Poor - Expert" - "NEW YORK - The race to boost ethanol production could one day hurt food supply for many of the world's poor, an environmental expert said on Thursday. "This is shaping up as competition between the 800 million people in the world that own automobiles and the 2 billion low- income people in the world, many of whom are already spending over half their income on food," Lester Brown, president of Washington D.C.-based environmental research group Earth Policy Institute, told reporters on a teleconference." (Reuters)

"Sugar-Based Fashions Star at Toronto Biotech Show" - "TORONTO - Models stalked the runway in designer clothes made from fermented corn sugar on Thursday in a fashion show held at an international biotech conference in Toronto in an attempt to "make green sexy." (Reuters)

"Kenya: Members Root for Research On Genetic Foods" - "Members rooted for scientific research by shooting down a motion seeking to ban all genetically modified products in the country. They were contributing to Saboti MP Davies Nakitare's private member's motion seeking to disallow production, consumption and sale of non-traditional foods." (The Nation)

"Problems with the Cartagena Protocol" - "The Cartagena Protocol was negotiated under the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and came into force September 11, 2003. It covers transborder movement of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs). LMOs are viable GMO products of biotechnology or genetic engineering. LMOs, for the most part, are commodity grains like soybeans, maize, and canola. Processed GMOs, pharmaceuticals or other products of genetic technologies are exempt if they are unable to reproduce. To date, 132 countries have ratified the Protocol, which obligates countries to establish extensive bureaucracies to, among other things, identify, monitor, document, and track the transborder movement of LMOs. Why have so many countries signed on to the Protocol with its intrusive and expensive obligations?" (Alan McHughen, ACSH)

July 13, 2006

"EU Seeks Ban on Aerial Spraying of Pesticide" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission proposed new rules on Wednesday that would largely ban aerial spraying of pesticides on farms and other areas in the EU to better protect soil, water supplies and human health." (Reuters)

Advanced Psychology (Activist Humor)

"High humidity is a risk factor for heart attack deaths among the elderly" - "High humidity, even in a relatively mild climate, boosts the risk of a heart attack among the elderly, reveals research published ahead of print in Heart. The researchers analysed all reported deaths in Athens for the whole of 2001 and looked at daily weather reports from the National Meteorological Society on temperature, pressure levels, and humidity for the same year. The total number of heart attack deaths during the year numbered 3126, of which 1953 were in men. There were sharp seasonal variations in the timing of the deaths, with the overall proportion of deaths a third higher in winter than in summer." (BMJ Specialty Journals)

"Japan: Ministry looks to forecast storms 30 years ahead" - "The government said Wednesday it will launch a project in the next fiscal year to develop a 20- to 30-year forecast for typhoons, heavy snowfalls and other potential disasters likely to affect Japan. The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry hopes that by coming up with predictable routes of major typhoons and locations of concentrated downpours, heat waves, heavy snow and other adverse weather, the government will be able to ward off disasters by allocating funding to vulnerable areas." (Japan Times)

"See the Truth on climate history" - "It says it right here on the Official Climate Change Web site of the Government of Canada: "The 20th century has been the warmest globally in the past 1,000 years." This statement is wrong on several counts, and the Government of Canada knows it. After all, the knowledge that it is wrong is the product of two Canadians who have become internationally renowned in climate circles for having debunked the idea that the world is warmer than it has been in a millennium." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Misled again: The Hockey Stick climate" - "History is flawed, and so is the process by which its author's claims have been adjudicated." (Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, Financial Post)

"Global Warming FAQ" - "What Every Citizen Needs to Know About Global Warming." (Iain Murray, CEI)

Open Arctic Ocean Commentary by Harvey Nichols, Professor of Biology (Climate Science)

"Antarctic will melt as carbon dioxide levels rise: scientists" - "A gathering of leading Antarctic scientists in Hobart has heard alarming predictions about the rate at which the frozen continent will melt as the earth warms. Experts predict changes on the Antarctic as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise. Stanford University Professor Robert Dunbar has told the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research it is inevitable atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will double in the next few centuries. Professor Dunbar says ice sheets in western Antarctica will be particularly vulnerable under these conditions." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Yet it has been cooling as the northern hemisphere warms and satellite-mounted MSUs indicate the southern polar region has a trend of -0.11 °C/decade. This is one of the reefs upon which the carbon dioxide/global warming obsession founders because atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are virtually identical in northern and southern polar regions yet the north has a recent trend of +0.45 °C/decade while the south exhibits one of -0.11 °C/decade.

Suggesting gas molecules behave differently because they are upside down on the map provides no more tenable hypothesis than the world's cold air falling to the "bottom" of the globe.

Having a high degree of confidence that molecules do not change their behavior according to hemisphere promotes an equal confidence that something other than carbon dioxide is the primary agent of change. And since it apparently isn't carbon dioxide driving observed changes then we are wasting an inordinate amount of time and effort on this obsession, no?

"Climate change not the only factor controlling distribution of plant species: Spatial analysis reveals hierarchy of factors controlling species distribution" - "Biogeographers have long recognized that the spatial distribution of plant species, at a coarse resolution, mainly reflects each species' climatic requirements. However, few studies have carefully matched maps of a species distribution with maps of climatic variables to see where climate may fail to predict a species distribution, thus suggesting other ecological factors, such as limited seed dispersal or competition with other species." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Gail Shister | Brokaw, 'Global Warming' host, is chilled by gas-guzzlers" - "Tom Brokaw to gas-guzzling whiners: Serves you right. The former NBC anchor, proud owner of a 44-mile-per-gallon Prius hybrid, has no sympathy for monster-car owners who complain at the pump." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

So, uh Tom? How do you heat that dwelling on your ranch in Montana, mentioned in the article? Commute there do you? Ever travel by private jet, or limo maybe? What an arrogant, hypocritical, overpaid motor-mouth!

Oh boy... "Vice President Gore Addresses Global Warming Issues at State Treasurer Conference" - "(WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia) - Oregon State Treasurer and President of the National Association of State Treasurers Randall Edwards today thanked Vice President Al Gore for accepting his invitation to talk to state treasurers about the financial risks behind global warming at the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) and College Savings Plans Network Joint Annual Conference in White Sulphur Springs, WV." (Salem-news.com)

... but this should convince people: "TWC to Tackle Global Warming" - "Pasadena, Calif. -- First, The Weather Channel warned us about impending natural disasters. Now, it wants to educate us on global warming. The network will launch a multiplatform content initiative under the umbrella term Climate Watch to delve into the issue, TWC Cos. president Debra Wilson said at the network's Television Critics Association Tour presentation here Tuesday. TWC will debut The Climate Code with Dr. Heidi Cullen, a weekly series premiering in October that will explore the issues surrounding the earth's warming and its eventual effects. The show will feature expertise, opinions and perspectives from policymakers, celebrities such as Ted Turner and world-renowned figures such as former Vice President Al Gore who are both knowledgeable and passionate about global change, TWC Networks general manager and executive vice president Wonya Lucas said." (multichannel.com)

"Canadian Business Ill-Prepared for Climate Change Risk, Lloyd's Warns" - "Canadian business is vulnerable to climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of natural catastrophes, Lloyd's Chairman Lord Peter Levene warned in a July 11 speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade. Levene called on governments, businesses and insurers to "do more to understand and adapt to the implications of global warming." Based on current models, Levene said, Canada may have to deal with flooding of low-lying lands on its seacoast, a shrinking Artic ice cap, reductions in Great Lakes water levels, permafrost thawing and reduced river flow on the prairies." (Insurance Journal)

"Jacques Chirac: Going our own way will not solve global warming" - "I am concerned at the weakening of the international regime for climate change." (London Independent)

"Global warming 'will cancel out Western aid and devastate Africa'" - "Climate change could have a devastating impact on Africa, wiping out all the benefits from the measures to help the continent agreed by the world's richest nations last year." (London Independent)

"Climate change should be taken out of politics to allow radical remedies" - "Climate change is now such a critical problem for Britain and the world that it should be taken out of politics to make radical remedies possible, an inquiry convened by an independent group of MPs will say today." (London Independent)

"NZ: Climate change policies misguided" - "Why we need a royal commission to look at the science and economics surrounding global warming." (National Business Review)

Child abuse? "Climate change champions join Environment Minister Ian Pearson at major climate change youth summit" - "Two of the English climate change champions will today join Environment Minister Ian Pearson to speak at a major youth summit on climate change. Lucy Stansfield, climate change champion for the South West and Carri Swann, representing the East Midlands, will speak alongside Mr Pearson at the four-day Summit, being held at the Natural History Museum. The champions will also meet seven Chinese environment ambassadors, who are attending the Summit. Mr Pearson said it was important for the UK to help build an international consensus to draw up a long-term goal to stabilise emissions that caused climate change. He added that it was vital that all countries - including the US, China and India - also agreed to an international framework of action to move to a global low-carbon economy." (Defra)

"Blair: US warming to low carbon agenda" - "The Bush administration is warming to the idea of reducing carbon emissions, Tony Blair has claimed. Speaking after the launch of his government's much-anticipated energy review, the prime minister said the US was beginning to take action that could benefit the global environment. President Bush has drawn criticism from environmental campaigners because of his failure to back the Kyoto Protocol. But according to Mr Blair, other countries "hide behind America" when it comes to combating climate change, adding that most European countries are failing to meet their Kyoto targets." (InTheNews)

Tons of hot air: "Montreal Climate Exchange Sets up Shop" - "MONTREAL, July 13, 2006 - The Montreal Exchange (MX) has partnered with the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) to establish the Montreal Climate Exchange (MCeX), the first environmental products market in Canada. The new exchange combines the special expertise of the MX, Canada's financial derivatives exchange, with that of CCX, which operates the only global greenhouse gas emissions trading system. CCX is a world leader in building and operating environmental markets." (GreenBiz.com)

"Canada Climate Exchange Awaits Govt Kyoto Decision" - "NEW YORK - The first greenhouse gas emissions market is set to launch in Canada, but exchange officials said it won't clear any deals until it finds out whether Ottawa's new Conservative government will drop out of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming." (Reuters)

"Spain Looks Overseas to Meet Costly Kyoto Goals" - "MADRID - Spain wants to help shield its industry from the cost of getting back on track with its Kyoto climate change goals and plans to allow firms to buy nearly a fifth of their pollution cuts from developing countries." (Reuters)

"Spain Says Kyoto Will Cost it Up to 3 Billion Euros" - "MADRID - Spain said on Wednesday that it will cost up to 3 billion euros (US$3.82 billion) to help it turn around an overshoot on its Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas emissions targets, which it must meet by 2008-12." (Reuters)

"£25-a-day congestion charge for 'Chelsea tractors'" - "The £8-a-day congestion charge in London is to rise to £25 for cars such as 4x4s - "Chelsea tractors" - that emit high levels of carbon dioxide." (London Telegraph)

"'Global fear' over energy plans" - "People fear energy policies are threatening the environment and global stability, a BBC poll suggests." (BBC)

"The Real Cost of Gasoline: Get Over It!" - "Time out for a reality check. Amidst the blizzard of stories about how high motor fuel prices are hurting America and big oil companies are raping consumers, we decided to do some calculations. The graphic below tells the story: current gasoline prices are a bargain. Yes, they are high when compared to prices over the past twenty years or so. But when compared to the entire post-World War II period, gasoline today is cheap, cheap, cheap." (Energy Tribune via Greenie Watch)

"And, finally, there was heat and light" - "After years of hot air and outdated ideas, Whitehall has hit on the right mix of energy for Britain's needs." (Philip Stott, London Times)

"A rational way forward for UK energy policy" - "The Scientific Alliance welcomes the publication of the government’s Energy Review , which provides a rational framework for the future. Modern society is built on a reliable, affordable energy supply, and politicians bear the responsibility for ensuring its delivery." (Press Release)

"When the wind stops blowing" - "A new form of renewable energy has come on stream in the UK: the incandescent environmentalist. Once started, it lasts forever, but tends to generate far more heat than light. In a startling outbreak of long-term thinking, the Government has made clear its belief that nuclear power must be part of Britain's energy mix. Yet to judge by the furious response of environmentalists, you would think Blair had declared Britain must go 100 per cent nuclear. Not at all: the energy review makes clear renewables should also have a role in ensuring diversity of supply." (The First Post)

"David King: Why we have no alternative to nuclear power" - "If there were other sources of low carbon energy I would be in favour, but there aren't." (London Independent)

"Coal burns a hole in the carbon crusade" - "WHATEVER we say or do, they will burn the coal. Neither preaching nor politics will stop the mining and burning. Furnaces will be stoked, hydrogen molecules will ignite and millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide will be released as China and India burn the fuel that lies under their feet. This simple truth, which stands out like a sore thumb from any book of energy statistics, is ignored by our Government, which has turned the pursuit of carbon-free energy into a moral crusade. Yesterday, after years of prevarication, the Prime Minister’s energy review backed the construction of nuclear reactors to replace ageing plant soon to be decommissioned. No more pandering to the green lobby (the Cabinet’s own Greens were sacked or sidelined), because Tony Blair has belatedly discovered a gaping hole in the nation’s future power supply which cannot otherwise be filled except by fossil fuels." (Carl Mortished, London Times)

"Blair's Drive for U.K. Reactors Suffers as Carbon Costs Sink" - "Prime Minister Tony Blair, aiming to spur construction of nuclear and wind power plants, must raise the cost of pollution permits to discourage natural gas and coal- fired generators, companies and financial advisers said. The price of European Union carbon emissions permits has halved since April as governments issued more certificates than expected. The price of carbon matters because nuclear and wind generators cost more to operate than gas and coal stations. If carbon prices remain low, investors won't risk the $2 billion it costs to build a 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plant. Utilities including EDF Energy Plc and RWE AG said neither nuclear nor wind power will be viable unless they can predict carbon prices will be high enough to generate a return." (Bloomberg)

"Britain to enter a new nuclear age, whether you like it or not" - "Residents living near proposed new generators will lose their right to object." (Mark Henderson and Lewis Smith, London Times)

"Green reaction: Environmentalists express dismay at 'a huge mistake'" - "Environmental groups reacted with dismay at the plan to go ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations." (London Independent)

"The Man Who Fed The World" - "From the day he was born in 1914, Norman Borlaug has been an enigma. How could a child of the Iowa prairie, who attended a one-teacher, one-room school; who flunked the university entrance exam; and whose highest ambition was to be a high school science teacher and athletic coach, ultimately achieve the distinction as one of the one hundred most influential persons of the twentieth century? And receive the Nobel Peace Prize for averting hunger and famine? And eventually be hailed as the man who saved hundreds of millions of lives from starvation—more than any other person in history?" (Leon F. Hesser)

"The Israeli rainmakers" - "While scientists have made great strides in recent years in understanding and predicting the weather, the idea of taking control of the weather and making it rain has remained within the realm of mysticism and religion." (Israel21c)

"Straight from the swamp, a vaccine you can drink" - "The future is going to be vaccines that you drink," Professor Barry Marshall told a National Press Club audience yesterday. Professor Marshall and Robin Warren won the 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine for their discovery that Helicobacter pylori bacteria caused stomach ulcers and other symptoms of gastritis. He famously proved their theory by ingesting a dose of the bacteria which tasted like "swamp water". He and the stomach bugs have had a symbiotic relationship ever since, to the point that he has an "HPYLORI" number plate on the BMW he drives to his labs at the University of WA. His research is now focused on the fact that H. pylori, a successful colonist in the stomachs of modern humans and their ancestors, is a prime candidate to deliver oral vaccines. "If the bacteria's harmful genes can be turned off, and vaccine molecules for a range of diseases like SARS, malaria, tuberculosis, avian flu, can be spliced onto the bacteria, we could create an inexpensive and very efficient way to deliver vaccines to the third world, " Professor Marshall said. "It is a radical new way of thinking about vaccine delivery, and it requires genetic engineering." (Canberra Times)

"USDA set to approve second genetically-modified fruit" - "The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique of France and Cornell University are planning to introduce genetically-modified plums for commercial use, RAW STORY has learned. This would make plums the second genetically engineered fruit--along with papaya--to be approved for commercial use." (Raw Story)

July 12, 2006

"Much-maligned DDT has key role in battling malaria" - "In the time that it takes you to read this sentence, at least one child has died and many more will have suffered needlessly from a disease that is entirely preventable and curable. Malaria is responsible for the death of approximately one million African children every year and as many as three million people worldwide. Malaria is not only a human tragedy; it is an economic one as well." (Jasson Urbach, Cape Times)

"EU to Revamp Process for Approving Pesticides" - "BRUSSELS - Europe plans to overhaul the way it authorises pesticides, allowing groups of countries with similar geography and climate to decide if their farmers may use specific products, the EU's health chief said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Parliament of Bans" - "Scandals, incompetence, and profligacy at the UN are hardly news these days, but many of the organization's worst transgressions are hidden from public view. Among the worst examples are the organization's attempts to police all manner of scientific, technological and commercial activities." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Panel Says Dioxin May Pose Less of a Risk " - "Americans exposed to small doses of dioxin, a toxic chemical released in industrial burning and forest fires, may face less risk from cancer than a report by the federal government suggests, advisers say. The Environmental Protection Agency, in a 2003 draft assessment, should have noted that its estimates were uncertain, using techniques that did not precisely measure risks at different exposure levels, an advisory panel created by the National Research Council said. The report criticizes the environmental agency’s assessment that said dioxins might contribute to cancer in as many as 1 in 1,000 Americans, saying the agency should not have assumed that cancer risks change at a proportional rate no matter how much exposure occurs." (New York Times/Bloomberg) | Dioxin Less Dangerous? (ScienceNOW Daily News)

"New questions about safety of tuna imports" - "Tuna is the top fish on American consumers' plates and a favorite of children. But some imported canned tuna may contain far higher levels of toxic mercury than federal warnings indicate, a new study shows." (Christian Science Monitor)

Eye-roller: "Climate report sees a thirsty future: Global warming will shrink state's water supplies but trigger floods, study warns." - "As global warming continues and California's mountain snowpack decreases, the state can expect to see a drastic drop in its drinking and farm water supplies, as well as more frequent winter flooding. These are among the findings in a report released Monday by the state Department of Water Resources. The report was commissioned in response to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's order last year for state agencies to begin preparing for an altered climate. The result, a 338-page study, offers the most detailed look yet at how climate change could affect California water supplies." (Sacramento Bee)

"Water, mismanagement both abound in California" - "The governor of California stood atop a levee Tuesday and warned that the state is threatened by disastrous flooding, a day after his own water agency framed the potentially severe effects of global warming on water supplies. The juxtaposition illustrated anew the two salient facts about water in California: Managing the flow of water through the state is vital to its economic, social and environmental health, and there's little agreement on how it should be managed." (Scripps News)

Say what? "Computer models better predict climate change" - "Computer models that once relied on just atmosphere and sea temperatures to project global climate change now use a dozen inputs, including clouds, vegetation, sea ice and air pollution. "Every two or three years the models get better," Warren Washington, a researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said Monday at Solar 2006, a Denver solar energy conference." (Denver Post)

That rather depends on how you define "better" doesn't it? In 1980 model "predictions" for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide encompassed about 2 °C (2.0-4.2 °C), by 1994 we had slightly less certainty but lower warming expected with "predictions" of 1.4-4.0 °C but lately we've been getting "spread betting" model output with a significantly larger range -- 2-11 °C and some even worse (which the media so love to highlight).

As an example of how mileage may vary, as they say, we've reproduced here a table of comparisons between 108 model guess-timations for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide compiled by Kacholia and Reck, published in 1997. Note that the range spans from 0.2 °C to 6.3 °C and that the same modelers get large variations as they play with their model parameters, e.g. Washington and Meehl show five listings of 1.3 °C; 1.4–3.5 °C; 1.6 °C; 4.0 °C and back to 1.6 °C respectively over the course of a decade (not highlighted as being egregious or any such thing, merely prolific in this now decade-old list).

That models better reflect our uncertainty and lack of understanding is true but that models usefully "predict" future climate is not.

December 2006 AGU Session on Global Heat Content and the Earth’s Energy Budget: Tools for Understanding Climate Change (Climate Science)

Cryin' Wolf: "What do we do now the climate wolf is at the door?" - "The little boy who cried “wolf” was finally proved right and was gobbled up as punishment for his earlier pranks. Malthusians have been crying wolf for a couple of centuries. But in global warming they may well have seen a real one. It would be wrong to say their warnings are being ignored. But they are certainly not receiving much practical attention. The Kyoto protocol now covers a mere 30 per cent of emissions, while its hard limits cover just 8 per cent. Is global warming a wolf at our door?" (Martin Wolf, Financial Times)

Who says the 'climate wolf' is at the door? Looking at global temperature trends since we have had reasonable thermometric coverage, 'global warming' has been truly trivial (perhaps 0.75 °C since 1850, when it was believed inconveniently cool, the IPCC estimates 0.6 °C ± 0.2 °C warming during the Twentieth Century), which is probably why we only hear about 'since the seventies' or 'the last thirty years' (another way of saying since the end of the last cooling phase really). While it is fashionable to produce graphics depicting dramatic temperature swings a quick look at Earth's temperature plot restores perspective, the change is trivial. When viewed against how variable are near-surface temperatures measured over land throughout the year anyway (a range of about 12 °C each and every year) it becomes inconsequential. (Those not familiar with scaling effect should check out these two graphics, each depicting the same data.)

No problem, we'll go with the flow. How about we use 'after 1978' to include the widest variety of available global temperature metrics? While there are significant disagreements over just how much the world has warmed, all metrics have one thing in common over the period -- wide disparity in the rate of warming between the northern and southern hemispheres. It doesn't matter whether you evaluate near-surface, radiosonde or satellite-mounted MSU-derived records, the north appears to be warming at 2-4 times the rate of the south. The difference appears cyclical, having been pronounced in the 1930s-60s, small to nonexistent in the 1970s and seemingly restored since the 1980s.

Having such disparity is a major problem for those who cherish the simplistic notion that increment in atmospheric carbon dioxide equals increment in global temperature because carbon dioxide is well mixed in the atmosphere, with negligible difference evident between the hemispheres. It's no good trying to blame the old 'sulfate particulates masking expected warming' chestnut since the industrialized north is where humans emit most of these relatively short-lived particulates, meaning the south is where carbon dioxide-induced warming should be most evident (making the disparity even worse from the perspective of anticipated warming rates).

In a further inconvenience for carbon zealots, the super cold, super dry atmosphere of the Antarctic should make it the most enhanced greenhouse-sensitive region on Earth and yet it has been cooling as the north warms.

No one really knows exactly why the Earth is behaving as it is but the notion that trivial increments in the atmospheric trace gas, carbon dioxide, has a dramatic effect in increasing global temperature is pretty well dead -- the hypothesis is irreparably broken. When will we abandon this myopic focus and start paying attention to what is really going on?

Martin Wolf is apparently doing a cost-benefit analyses of attempting to address 'global warming' next week, hopefully he'll pay more attention than he did here as this piece contains quite shoddy errors (such as carbon dioxide persistence and atmospheric accumulation being 60% of emission when it is actually ~39.32% -- overstating the fact by half again). Wolf states he has "no intellectual difficulty with" claims about global warming. Sadly, he seems to have no understanding of them either. Perhaps he should check out the real carbon footprint calculator since that will lead him to cost calculations for restraining carbon dioxide-driven warming. While he's about it we have a Greenhouse Primer he might find useful and a brief examination of possible warming drivers here. Not too flash, Martin, not too flash at all.

"Brokaw joins warming fight" - "NEW YORK - Tom Brokaw is giving Al Gore some company in the effort to raise awareness of global warming." (Associated Press)

"Brokaw’s Objectivity Compromised In Global Warming Special" - "Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw’s lack of objectivity and balance on the issue of global warming appears to have tainted his upcoming Discovery Channel documentary called: “Global Warming: What You Need To Know” airing on July 16. Brokaw’s partisan past and his reliance on scientists who openly endorsed Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and who are financially affiliated with left wing environmental groups, has resulted in a documentary that is devoid of balance and objectivity." (Majority Press Release)

"EU's Barroso Says G8 to Renew Climate Commitments" - "BRUSSELS - The Group of Eight leaders of the world's big industrial nations will reaffirm commitments to fight climate change this weekend after agreeing them last year, the head of the European Union's executive arm said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

From CO2 Science this week:

The Net Primary Productivity Response of Earth's Temperate Forests to Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment: How large is it? How stable is it? How substantial is the evidence for it? How significant is it?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Apennines, Italy and the Northwestern Arabian Sea. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Monsoon (Solar Connections): After seven decades of fine-tuning models of the planet's monsoonal circulations, one would think we'd be pretty good at simulating them by now. However ...

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: Barrelclover, Italian Ryegrass, Maize, and Rice.

Journal Reviews:
Recent Climate Change and Western U.S. Forest Fires: What changes have occurred? ... and how have they impacted forest fires?

A 1500-Year History of Drought on the U.S. Great Plains: What does it reveal about the climate-alarmist claim that extraordinary global warming produces extraordinary droughts?

Damaging Snowstorms of the United States: Have they become more frequent in response to the global warming of the past half century?

CO 2 Effects on Carbon and Nitrogen in a Six-Year Open-Top Chamber Study of Ponderosa Pine Seedlings: Were there any signs of progressive nitrogen limitation over the course of the experiment?

Elevated CO 2 Boosts Water Use Efficiency of Two California Grassland Species: How significant were the improvements and how widespread are they likely to be in a CO 2 -enriched world of the future? (co2science.org)

"Ethanol's Dirty Little Secrets" - "Today's politicians try to justify ethanol's upward pressure on gasoline prices by touting it as a "clean fuel," but that claim is dubious. In fact, ethanol was on the verge of being outlawed by clean air laws in October, 1992, when President George Bush called for exempting ethanol from the Clean Air Act." (Tim Carney, TCS Daily)

"Cap and Sue" - "One of the great revolutions in environmental policy has been the adoption of the "cap-and-trade" method for controlling air pollution, starting with the 1990 Clean Air Act. The basic idea is to have the government set overall limits and let the market figure out how most efficiently to achieve the goal. And it has been a major success: Over the past 35 years U.S. energy consumption has increased by 48%, and population by 42%, while emissions of the six most common pollutants have decreased by 53%.

Yet that achievement is now threatened by federal, state and private lawsuits asking the courts to impose a command-and-control approach to air pollution by judicial fiat. The trouble started in the late 1990s when the Clinton Administration's Environmental Protection Agency seized on a clause that dates from the 1970s' Clean Air Act rules known as New Source Review. As the name suggests, everybody thought the rule required only genuinely "new" sources of pollution to install scrubbers and other specified control technologies." (Wall Street Journal)

"UK says atomic power can help fight global warming" - "LONDON - Britain must build new nuclear power stations, generate more electricity from wind and waves and curb domestic demand in the battle against global warming, Trade Secretary Alistair Darling said on Tuesday. He also stressed the need to guarantee security of supplies and reduce rising dependence on imported oil and gas as supplies from the North Sea dwindle." (Reuters)

"Nuclear power plants get go-ahead" - "The go-ahead has been given for a new wave of UK nuclear power stations." (BBC) | UK Energy policy shapes up to new Global Energy landscape (eGov monitor) | The Government's report on the Energy Review (DTI)

Going nuclear... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Nuclear chiefs say plans do not go far enough" - "The nuclear power industry dealt a blow to the government's hopes of seeing a new generation of plants when leaders warned that the energy review published yesterday did not go far enough or offer suitable incentives. Politicians must get away from the "froth" of words and come up with something more concrete before winning support for new stations, said the Association of Electricity Producers (AEP)." (The Guardian)

"Nuclear power is the future, says Blair - but not in Scotland" - "TONY Blair yesterday paved the way for a new generation of nuclear power stations - but only in England." (The Scotsman)

"Leader: Nuclear shelter" - "Were it not for the clear and present danger that climate change presents to the planet, it is likely that the energy review presented by the government yesterday would have been very different. Some of the issues it dealt with - especially security of supply and cost - would surely have been included. But the overwhelming evidence of global warming has transformed nuclear power from a source fraught with risk into a much more attractive carbon-free alternative to gas and coal-generated electricity." (The Guardian)

Of all the reasons anyone could choose for using nuclear power generation, 'global warming' shouldn't be on the list.

"UK Nuclear Focus May Boost Emissions - Green Groups" - "LONDON - A decision by the UK government to build new nuclear power plants will increase pressure on uranium reserves and the need to process lower grades will cause greenhouse gas emissions, environmental groups said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"CO2 quota plan shows Germany's craving for coal" - "In Short: Plans to exempt new power stations from the next phase of the EU’s CO2 trading scheme could lock Germany into highly polluting coal-fired power plants for many years, warn researchers and NGOs." (EurActiv)

"Italy to Have New CO2 Caps Plan by Autumn - Minister" - "ROME - Italy will take until autumn to come up with a new plan to cap emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) as part of the European Union's scheme to fight climate change, its economic development minister said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - Carbon Prices No Cure for UK Energy Mix" - "BRUSSELS - Carbon prices are key to Britain's drive to a low carbon economy, the government is expected to say on Tuesday, but much uncertainty remains about their future level and whether this can spur change." (Reuters)

"Spain to Cut Free CO2 Emission Rights 20 Pct - Press" - "MADRID - Spain plans to cut the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rights it gives industry for free by about 20 percent in 2008-2012 as part of efforts to curb global warming, a regional newspaper reported on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Green revolution is heralded for Scotland" - "ALL new property developments in Scotland will need to produce some of their own electricity through a micro-renewable generating plant, under one of Britain's most radical energy initiatives unveiled by Scottish ministers yesterday." (The Scotsman)

"Self-cooling soda bottles? Researchers work to shrink technology that harnesses sun's energy to both heat and cool" - "Every day, the sun bathes the planet in energy--free of charge--yet few systems can take advantage of that source for both heating and cooling. Now, researchers are making progress on a thin-film technology that adheres both solar cells and heat pumps onto surfaces, ultimately turning walls, windows, and maybe even soda bottles into climate control systems." (National Science Foundation)

"Energy-rich portfolio of new genome sequencing targets for DOE JGI" - "Walnut Creek, CA -- Bioenergy crop plants switchgrass and cassava, other important agricultural commodities such as cotton, and microbes geared to break down plant material to render biofuels, round out the roster of more than 40 projects to be tackled by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) over the next year. Drawing submissions from DOE JGI's more than 400-strong user community, the genomes of these organisms will be sequenced and characterized as part of the DOE JGI Community Sequencing Program (CSP). Over 15 billion letters of genetic code--or the equivalent of the human genome five times over--will be processed through the DNA sequencers at the DOE JGI Production Genomics Facility for this year's program and ultimately, the information will be made freely available to the greater scientific community." (DOE/Joint Genome Institute)

"Czech birthplace of genetics seeks biotech future" - "BRNO, Czech Republic - The walled garden of Brno's 14th-century Abbey of St. Thomas seems an unlikely birthplace for the gene revolution, which gave the world biotech drugs and genetically modified crops. Yet it was here, 150 years ago, that the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel worked out the basic laws of inheritance by painstakingly cross-breeding thousands of pea plants." (Reuters)

"Europe's biotech 'immigrants' to America" - "LOS ANGELES When the Scottish government injected $9 million into the biotechnology company Cyclacel last October, the country's enterprise minister explained that "there could not be a more important company for Scotland's future." So how did Cyclacel show its gratitude just two months later? By moving its headquarters to Short Hills, New Jersey, and merging with a publicly traded American company. Cyclacel executives say there was no slight intended to the government and the company's 65 research scientists, who continue to work in Dundee, Scotland, and Cambridge, England. "The issue was one of access to the capital markets of the United States," said Spiro Rombotis, Cyclacel's chief executive. Only American investors, he said, could provide the tens of millions of dollars needed to carry the company's cancer drugs through clinical trials." (Andrew Pollack, New York Times)

"Bill would prevent counties from regulating GMOs" - "SACRAMENTO — For the second time in a year lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent local governing bodies from regulating genetically modified seeds or crops." (Capital Press)

July 11, 2006

"National Academies advisory: EPA dioxin risk assessment reviewed" - "Health Risks from Dioxin and Related Compounds: Evaluation of the EPA Reassessment, a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council, will be released at one-hour public briefing on Tuesday, July 11. Dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, released into the environment by industrial processes and present in the food chain, have been a concern since they were found in the herbicide Agent Orange. The new report examines the scientific soundness of the data, assumptions, and methods used in a draft reassessment of the health risks of dioxin issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2003. The report also looks at how uncertainties were factored into the reassessment." (The National Academies)

"New risk factors do not improve assessment of coronary heart disease risk" - "Chicago – Screening for levels of C-reactive protein and other compounds recently found to be associated with coronary heart disease may not help physicians predict risk for the condition with any more accuracy than traditional major risk factors, according to a report in the July 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Yellowstone ecosystem may lose key migrant: 6,000-year-old migration route in jeopardy, study says" - "Bozeman, MT (JULY 10, 2006) – A mammal that embarks on the longest remaining overland migration in the continental United States could vanish from the ecosystem that includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and National Park Service. No, it's not the bison, the grizzly bear, or even the wolf, but the pronghorn antelope, which travels more than 400 miles between fawning grounds and wintering areas. Second only to caribou in the Arctic for long distance migration in the Western Hemisphere, this isolated population and its ancient migration route could disappear because of continued development and human disturbance outside the parks according to the study, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Biology Letters." (Wildlife Conservation Society)

"Is recycling utter rubbish?" - "Do you ever wonder why people recycle old newspapers? To save precious trees, you might think. But trees are a renewable resource, if grown in managed forests and replanted as quickly as they are cut down. Transporting old newspapers to recycling plants, on the other hand, uses up non-renewable fossil fuel. So is it conceivable that recycling newspapers does more harm than good?" (Richard Tomkins, Financial Times)

"UK: Court clears woman of putting rotting food in recycling bin" - "A woman who was prosecuted for throwing rotting food into a recycling bin was cleared yesterday after Exeter council failed to prove that the contamination was not the fault of a passerby." (The Guardian)

Most sensible response we've seen in a while: "Heritage body 'no' to carbon cuts" - "The World Heritage Committee (WHC) has rejected a motion calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The WHC meeting in Lithuania heard evidence that 125 sites including the Himalayas and the Great Barrier Reef are at risk from climate change. Campaigners wanted the WHC to agree that the only way to protect such sites was by reducing emissions, which would have obliged governments to make cuts. But in discussions on Monday this option was rejected by the Unesco body. A further clause encouraging countries to draw on projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when assessing risks to World Heritage Sites was also rejected." (BBC)

This should provide encouragement for the Supremes to put paid to the great carbon farce once and for all for there is zero possibility of our knowingly and predictably adjusting global temperature by tweaking carbon emissions.

"Supreme Court Case Looms Large in Climate Change Arena" - "Taking it to the courts. From coffee that’s too hot to T-shirts that are too religious, this years-long trend has now reached an even greater height of glory -- that of the potential to enact Kyoto Protocol-type provisions in America without the consent of Congress, without the consent of the administration, and most certainly, without the consent of the governed." (Cheryl K. Chumley, Human Events)

"UK: Met Office predicts milder, wetter winter in drought-hit south" - "The World Cup is over and the evenings darkening but, with summer holidays ahead, the chilly days of winter are still far from people's minds. Not so for the weather forecasters at the Met Office, who yesterday released their first predictions for December, January and February. There are, after all, just 167 days to Christmas. The verdict? The coming winter should be mild and wet, good news for a parched southern England which has endured record levels of drought during the previous two years." (The Guardian)

"Rogue Giants at Sea" - "Scientists are now finding that rogue waves are far more common and destructive than once imagined and are launching new research projects to study them." (New York Times)

"As the World Wobbles" - "As the atmosphere shifts, it influences the earth's rotation." (New York Times)

Before anyone quibbles "about 5,000 trillion metric tons" is a perfectly reasonable estimate of the mass of the atmosphere, which Trenberth calculated as 5.137 x 1015mt in 1981 (Journal of Geophysical Research, 86: 5238-5246). In Britain, France, and Germany, that would be "about 5,000 trillion grams" because those European nations view a trillion as a million cubed (1018). Such differences in naming conventions, however, do not represent any form of error in Revkin's article.

Real Climate Post of June 28 2006 on Geo-engineering (Climate Science)

This girl's clock running a bit fast? "Seven years to save our world - US eco crusader" - "In Hunter Lovins' eyes, saving the world from environmental disaster is comparable to the battle of good against evil in The Lord of the Rings. The promoter of sustainable development, from the US, told a crowd at the Waikato Management School in Hamilton that New Zealand had given the world a story of leadership when Peter Jackson put JRR Tolkien's classic on film. "These are very grim times," she said. "Perhaps as grim as in the Lord of the Rings."

Are doom-mongers racing each other to bring forward global apocalypse or something? A couple of years back we had 50 years, then 20, even the Ozone Man will spot you 10 years and now here's Hunter shortening the fuse yet again.

"Al Gore's Convenient Campaign Film" - "The intense media hype for “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s documentary about the coming global warming apocalypse and his tireless crusade to warn humanity about it, cooled down several weeks ago." (Bill Steigerwald, Human Events)

One way to start a panic: "Report: Global warming could devastate U.S. wineries" - "WASHINGTON — Global warming could spell disaster for much of the multibillion-dollar U.S. wine industry. Areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced by 50% — and possibly as much as 81% — by the end of this century, according to a study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (Associated Press)

Ifs, buts and maybes: "Alpine glaciers could all but disappear within this century" - "Washington - The European Alps could lose some 80 percent of their glacier cover by the end of this century, if summer air temperatures rise by three degrees Celsius [five degrees Fahrenheit]. And if temperatures increase by five degrees Celsius [nine degrees Fahrenheit], the Alps would become almost completely ice-free by 2100. These are the conclusions of numerical modeling experiments by scientists from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. The study will be published 15 July in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union." (American Geophysical Union)

It's a wonder the animal mobs don't get more upset over climate prognostications, what with all the readings of chicken entrails and all.

"NJ's Swamplands Pledge to Meet Kyoto CO2 Targets" - "NEW YORK - New Jersey's Meadowlands has become the latest US region to buck the Bush administration by agreeing to greenhouse gas emissions goals outlined by an international pact on global warming." (Reuters)

Beyond parody: "Brussels gets Kew steamed up over greenhouse emissions" - "The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has been obliged to sign up to the European Union-wide scheme to reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases." (London Telegraph)

We've looked at this one a few times wondering whether it's a spoof. A botanic garden stung under the EU ETS for emitting carbon dioxide while forests are given credits as carbon sinks? And "The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last year set Kew a target of producing no more than 397kg of CO2 a year"? Say what? A single person who jogs a couple of miles a week emits more carbon dioxide than that -- even if they meant straight carbon emission that's been mislabeled here as CO2 that's still less than a family of four couch potatoes exhale per year. Meanwhile commercial greenhouses deliberately generate carbon dioxide at some expense specifically to enhance plant growth, for which Kew will allegedly be penalized. As dubious as we remain we are assured this is a genuine article.

So, tell voters again just how profitable this hot air thing will be... "NZ: Half billion dollar loss adds to Kyoto woes" - "New Zealand’s Kyoto liabilities have deteriorated by a further $500 million, official papers show. National’s Environment spokesman Nick Smith says the just-released papers show that the estimated rate of deforestation is six times last year’s forecast. “The Government last May estimated this deforestation problem at 6.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions. They set a cap at 21 million tonnes but now these papers show a current estimate of 40 million tonnes. “This 33 million tonnes of additional carbon deforestation amounts to an increased liability to the taxpayer at $15/tonne of a further $500 million." (Press Release)

Proving to be quite a sizeable bill for a land of just 4 million people and a piddling industrial base.

"Researchers identify energy gains and environmental impacts of corn ethanol and soybean biodiesel" - "The first comprehensive analysis of the full life cycles of soybean biodiesel and corn grain ethanol shows that biodiesel has much less of an impact on the environment and a much higher net energy benefit than corn ethanol, but that neither can do much to meet U.S. energy demand. The study will be published in the July 11 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (University of Minnesota)

Vermonters don't use much electricity? "Cow power: Dairy farm draws electricity from unlikely source" - "BRIDPORT, Vt. — The cows at the Audet family's Blue Spruce Farm make almost 9,000 gallons of milk a day — and about 35,000 gallons of manure. It's long been the milk that pays, but now the Audets have figured out how to make the manure pay as well. They're using it — actually, the methane that comes from it — to generate electricity. With the help of their power company, Central Vermont Public Service Corp., the Audets have devised a way to extract the methane from the manure and pipe it to a generator. They make enough electricity to power 300 to 400 average Vermont homes. It's renewable energy, and they're not the only ones interested in it. Four other Vermont farms now have similar projects in the planning or early construction stages, power company officials said." (Associated Press) -- Hat tip Gerald G.

"300 to 400 average Vermont homes" it says -- later in the article: "The methane is piped into an adjacent shed that contains a big Caterpillar engine that powers the 200-kilowatt generator." To power 300 homes from a 200kW generator allows each home just 0.67kW (670 Watts) -- that's not even enough to run a sandwich toaster.

We assume AP simply went with figures from Total Energy Consumption in U.S. Households 2001, Northeast Census Region, finding a listing for Physical Units of Total Consumption per Household, Fuels Used: New England: Electricity (kWh) 7,142 -- dividing that by the number of hours in a year (24 x 365 = 8760) = 0.815kW (815W) per hour and guesses that not everyone will be home using power at the same time, so 0.5kW should be enough to power a home, thus 200kW/0.5kW = 400 homes capacity, right? Fortunately AP do not set energy policy for the reality is that about 30 Vermonters coming home from work, trying to cook dinner, having the kids do their homework on PCs and keep up with household cleaning and washing are going to tap out one 200kW generator without any difficulty because electricity usage is not evenly spread over every hour of the year but rather has huge demand peaks.

Serious reality check needed in energy reporting guys.

More EU wand-waving: "INTERVIEW - Wind Could be Third of French Energy Mix" - "PARIS - France's wind power share in electricity consumption could jump to 30 percent by 2030 provided the government removes bureaucratic hurdles, France's wind power association said on Monday. Wind power makes up 0.25 percent of French electricity consumption with a production capacity of 1,000 MW. A 2001 European Union directive requires EU members to bring their green electricity share to 21 percent of their power mix by 2010." (Reuters)

"Go-ahead for £12bn atomic revival" - "The government will finally give its official endorsement to a new generation of nuclear power today, but will stress its commitment to obtaining 20% of electricity from wind and other renewables." (The Guardian)

"Labour and the nuclear lobby" - "Anti-nuclear campaigners like to portray the government as being in the pocket of the nuclear industry." (BBC)

"The powerful business of promoting a nuclear future" - "Those involved in a huge lobbying campaign for a new generation of nuclear power stations will declare victory today when the government's energy review finally gives the plants the green light." (The Guardian)

Moonbat corner: "Sure, nuclear power is safer than in the past - but we still don't need it" - "It's true that another Chernobyl couldn't happen in a new reactor, but the case against is as strong as ever." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Warming could help: "Arctic Harshness Hinders Search for Oil" - "Major global energy firms are making long-term bets in the world's Arctic regions, looking to tap vast deposits of oil and natural gas. But some of the harshest conditions on Earth could stunt development for decades." (Wall Street Journal)

"China Is Called On to Rein In Its Growing Use of Electricity" - "HONG KONG, July 10 — The International Energy Agency on Monday called for China to revamp its electric power industry, noting that waste and inefficiency contributed to the need for the country to add enough new, mostly coal-fired, power plants every two years to equal the entire electricity generation capacity of France or Canada." (New York Times)

"Environmental activists block access to coal-fired power plant" - "More than 50 environmental activists blocked access to Appalachian Power Co.'s Clinch River plant for several hours Monday to protest its use of coal to generate electricity, state police said." (Associated Press)

"Coal key to India's energy security" - "Coal has the potential to play a key role in India's energy security but it comes along with a few challenges relating to environment issues, according to Mr. Milton Catelin, Chief Executive of the UK-based World Coal Institute. According to him, there is an urgent need to harness the power of coal, as it is the single largest commercially traded source of energy, providing about 55 per cent of India's primary energy consumption." (Business Line)

"Clean Energy Solutions" - "Projected dramatic increases in energy consumption in the coming decades, combined with a higher risk of climate change, require a massive global response based on technological innovation and the power of the marketplace. Experts and government officials describe the options before us, including renewable energy, novel vehicles, and low-carbon power generation, and discuss the best ways leading to a sustainable energy future." (eJournalUSA)

"Clean Energy for Tomorrow" - "The world needs affordable and clean energy to fuel economic growth, development, and democracy without harming the environment. The United States is confronting this challenge with transformational technologies, creativity of entrepreneurs, and support for local initiatives in the developing world." (Paula Dobriansky, eJournalUSA)

"Producing flu vaccines will be faster and cheaper, thanks to MSU technology" - "East Lansing, Mich. -- Technology from Michigan State animal science labs looks to produce new human flu vaccines quicker and cheaper than current methods.

While studying new techniques to produce vaccines for Marek's disease, a common chicken disease that causes big losses for poultry producers, Paul Coussens, MSU professor of animal science and microbiology and molecular genetics, and his colleagues found a cell line that had intriguing potential for growing flu virus – a change from the fertilized chicken eggs that are now used to grow the virus strains for vaccines." (Michigan State University)

"Science captures the essence of fruit" - "Biotechnology opens new opportunities for flavor and fragrance industry." (Kureczka/Martin Associates)

"Biotech slashes breeding times" - "New techniques, including genetic manipulation, are slashing plant breeding timetables meaning new grass varieties can be available in as little as one-and-a-half years. Traditional breeding programmes can take 15 years to produce varieties, but scientific advances mean progress can now be made at up to 10 times that previously possible." (Farmers Weekly)

"South African Farmers Continue to Increase GM Plantings" - "St. Louis, MO July 10, 2006 -- South African farmers grew more than 1.2 million acres (480,000 hectares) of biotech corn, soybeans and cotton in 2005. Plantings have significantly increased each year since commercial-scale introduction in 1997, enabling these farmers to increase their incomes by US$56 million and reduce pesticide applications by 330,000 pounds (150,000 kg)." (PRWEB via PR Web Direct)

July 10, 2006

"'Junket' Science" - "Judges learn a lot in law school and as lawyers, but even after they put on black robes the training must continue, because the world they confront is becoming more complex, more litigious and less defined by well-understood legal maxims. In both civil and criminal trials, judges must evaluate competing claims about scientific evidence presented by experts hired by rival counsel who have only a modest interest in truth.

Much of that training today is carried on by private groups, including universities, that sponsor seminars. Judges are free to attend or ignore these programs as they wish, but that freedom, even when exercised by an independent branch of government, does not sit well with critics who fear that some self-serving ideology will be foisted upon tender judicial minds.

Sens. Russ Feingold, John Kerry and Pat Leahy want to put an end to university-based training programs. If they succeed, all such training will have to be approved by the Federal Judicial Center, a group of administrators governed by a board of seven judges, constituting the research arm of the federal judiciary. But the real motive of their bill is not to approve courses but to end them." (James Q Wilson, Wall Street Journal)

"And Now, Toxic iPods" - "Earlier this year, legislation was proposed in California to "protect the public health" by banning iPods unless they are redesigned to be free of "harmful toxins." Assemblywoman Lori Saldana would make iPods illegal in the state unless the manufacturers completely redesign them to remove any traces of lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury, and other chemicals. Californians Against Waste, which endorses this anti-iPod legislation, argued that "the brew of toxic substances (in iPods) can damage nervous, kidney, and reproductive systems, while some of the metals contain carcinogens." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"Danger from radiation is exaggerated, say scientists" - "THE dangers of radiation to human health have been exaggerated significantly, according to scientists who have examined the legacy of the Chernobyl disaster 20 years ago. Research into the aftermath of the meltdown at the Soviet nuclear reactor has suggested that low levels of radioactivity are not as harmful as believed — and may even be beneficial." (Mark Henderson, London Times)

"Infections cause large share of cancers worldwide" - "NEW YORK - A handful of viruses, bacteria and parasites is responsible for nearly one fifth of cancers worldwide, according to new estimates. In 2002, 17.9 percent of cancer cases worldwide were caused by infections ranging from HIV to the ulcer bug Helicobacter pylori, according to a report in the International Journal of Cancer." (Reuters Health)

"MMR scare 'may cause epidemics abroad'" - "British scare stories over the safety of the combined MMR injection could cause deadly epidemics in poorer countries, experts believe. Internet sites filled with messages from worried parents were "building up aversion" to the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine across the globe, said Mark Weston, healthcare policy consultant for the International Policy Network, an economic think tank. Despite scientific evidence that there is no link, parents remain wary of the vaccine, which is administered in infancy. These fears have resulted in a fall in the number of British children receiving the vaccine." (London Telegraph)

"Florida Coral Battered by Hurricanes and Disease" - "DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK, Fla.- In the azure waters of Florida's remote Dry Tortugas National Park, corals have been toppled by hurricanes and blighted by disease and a phenomenon known as bleaching." (Reuters)

Uh-oh... UK shortage of CO2: "Britain runs out of bubbles for its fizzy drinks" - "We have had crippling heat, torrential rainstorms, a heart-wrenching World Cup defeat and the traditional early exit from Wimbledon. Now, in a final blow to the British summer, the fizz is set to go out of our drinks. Drinks manufacturers have revealed that the UK is suffering from a shortage of carbon dioxide - the gas dissolved in drinks such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi to create the refreshing bubbles." (Mail on Sunday)

Personally, I blame Blair's anti-CO2 hysteria for this deplorable situation.

"Alaska: Annual red return leaps" - "Fisheries experts credit global warming for unexpected salmon numbers." (Anchorage Daily News)

"Get Your Priorities Right: A rationalist crusader does the math on global warming." - "NEW YORK--Bjorn Lomborg is a political scientist by training, but the charismatic, golden-haired Dane is offering me a history lesson. Two hundred years ago, he explains, sitting forward in his chair in this newspaper's Manhattan offices, the left was an "incredibly rational movement." It believed in "encyclopedias," in hard facts, and in the idea that mastery of these basics would help "make a better society." Since then, the world's do-gooders have succumbed to "romanticism; they've become more dreamy." This is a problem in his view, and so this "self-avowed slight lefty" is determined to nudge the whole world back toward "rationalism." (Kimberley A Strassel, Wall Street Journal)

TV Special “Global Warming” to Air July 16, 2006 (Climate Science)

The 10 final proofs of 'global warming'... (EnviroSpin Watch)

Corals and Climate Change (World Climate Report)

The Fire This Time: More Perspective Needed (World Climate Report)

Speaking of perspective: "Prairies swelter on 70th anniversary of 'granddaddy' of Canadian heat waves" - "EDMONTON - David Phillips loves to ask people whether Canada, Venezuela, Lebanon, Cuba or Bangladesh has had the highest recorded temperature. For Phillips, a senior climatologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada, the best part of the question is watching people's reactions to his answer: Canada, with a record of 45 C set on July 5, 1937, in Yellowgrass, Sask. But that one sweltering day was nothing compared with the heat wave the year before, explains Phillips. Seventy years ago this week, a two-week heat wave across much of Canada claimed the lives of almost 800 people, destroyed crops, killed livestock and even prompted the authorities to allow topless bathing suits on men. From July 5-17, 1936, the country baked from Alberta to Ontario, with temperatures soaring as high as 44.4 C in St. Albans, Man. Winnipeg faced lows of 28.3 C, and an Ontario provincial record was set with a temperature of 42.2 C in Atikokan." (CP)

The Week That Was July 8, 2006 (SEPP)

From the ecoEnquirer:) "The Arctic Barbecues" - "(Barrow, Alaska) Each summer, Americans enjoy traditional activities such as swimming, camping, and going to the beach. While some of these events are limited to areas with the warmest temperatures, global warming is increasingly allowing summer fun-seekers even in the far north to enjoy them as well. In Barrow, Alaska, the summers are usually dismal, cold, and above all, short. Ice perpetually coats the Arctic Ocean, placing this coastal town at the edge of a endless blanket of white. But as summertime temperatures continue to soar in response to global warming (which is now known by all reputable scientists to be man-made) more summer activities are being enjoyed by the locals." (ecoEnquirer)

"Climate change brings Eiger to earth" - "A SLAB of rock weighing millions of tons is poised to break away from the Eiger, one of Europe’s most treacherous mountains, and crash into the valley below, a geologist has warned." (Sunday Times)

"Global warming not affecting India" - "Pune, July 7: FORMER scientific adviser to the Prime Minister and eminent scientist Vasant Gowarikar feels that global warming has not affected the Indian climatic system." (Express News Service)

Tropical cyclone finger pointers please note: ‘‘If we look at the last 115 years of data on cyclones, we will find that the highest number of cyclones (10) hit the country in 1893, 1926 and 1930. If we check last 20 years’ data, the highest number of cyclones in that period, which is six, hit the Indian shores in 1992 and 1998,’’ Gowarikar said.

He then pointed out that the highest rainfall recorded in the country was in 1917, with 1457.3 cm of rainfall and the lowest was around 913 cm in 1918. ‘‘In the last 20 years, the highest rainfall was recorded in 1988 with 1288 cms while the lowest was in 2000 with 939 cms. If climate change has taken place in terms of warming, that should reflect on this data. But there is nothing to indicate the claims of warming affecting the Indian climate system,’’ Gowarikar said.

"A Convenient Lie" - "When he was in college, atmospheric-science professor John Christy was told, "it was a certainty that by the year 2000, the world would be starving and out of energy."

That prediction has gone the way of so many others. But environmentalists continue to warn us that we face environmental disaster if we don't accept the economic disaster called the Kyoto treaty. Lawyers from the Natural Resources Defense Council (another environmental group with more lawyers than scientists) explain: "Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas." And Al Gore's new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," depicts a future in which cities are submerged by rising sea levels.


But many scientists laugh at the panic." (John Stossel, RCP)

"An inconvenient truth for Gore" - "It's wonderful that Ralph Klein and Stephen Harper are working to raise our profile in Washington, but for every silver lining there is a cloud - and in this case it's a glowering thunderhead named Al Gore." (Paul Stanway, Edmonton Sun)

Oh boy... "A Dated Carbon Approach" - "These days almost nobody asserts that global warming isn't happening. Instead, we are confronted with a new lie: that we can respond to climate change without taxing and regulating carbon." (The Washington Post)

Sebastian Mallaby equates oppressive taxation and energy rationing with the protection of intellectual property? Sheesh!

Earth to Mallaby! You can not knowingly and predictably adjust the Earth's temperature by tweaking the price of carbon. The only predictable result of such energy rationing will be harming the economy and the most vulnerable people -- the poorest.

"Global Warming and the Courts" - "In a move that has caused both delight and apprehension among those who worry about global warming, the Supreme Court has agreed to rule next fall on whether the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The case is among the most important environmental disputes ever to come before the court." (New York Times)

"Climate change warming the bench" - "Last week, as Washington floated away in a summer torrent that reporters glibly blamed on global warming, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, the mother of all climate changes cases. The case represents a proceeding of several state attorneys general, environmental groups and others arguing current law requires the federal government to classify carbon dioxide -- the main global warming gas -- as a "pollutant." But is carbon dioxide a "pollutant," a harmless byproduct of human activity, or even an adjuvant? No one knows. There has never been a truly comprehensive study of the net effects of powering our world on fossil fuels." (Patrick J. Michaels, Washington Times)

"Taking a Molecule to Court" - "The Supreme Court, by agreeing to hear a case on whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must take steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, will finally judge on the alleged threat of global warming. The stakes are huge. Should the Court find in favor of the plaintiffs, it would put the EPA in control of the U.S. economy for the foreseeable future." (Iain Murray, American Spectator)

"Who's to Blame for Global Warming?" - "If we take into account CO2 emissions from deforestation and methane emissions from rice fields when trying to estimate how much each country has contributed to global warming, we find that developing countries have contributed more than previously thought." (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - E-Wire)

"Volcanic Leaks Point to Climate Gas Storage Risks" - "TRONDHEIM, Norway - Hundreds of deaths caused by volcanic leaks of carbon dioxide from Cameroon to California are worrying experts seeking ways to bury industrial emissions of the gas as part of an assault on global warming." (Reuters)

"Plants, grass on the rooftop? No longer an oddity." - "With grants and other incentives, Chicago leads the nation in installing green roofs." (Christian Science Monitor)

Woohoo! "Australia: Wind farms reduce gas emissions" - "VICTORIA'S wind farms are saving more than 250,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, a new report shows." (Agence France-Presse)

1 tonne = 1 metric ton (mt). The minister claims 'savings' in 'greenhouse gas emissions,' presumably carbon dioxide. How exciting is this 250,000mt?

People (at rest) exhale approximately 11,000 liters @ ~4.5% carbon dioxide per day or roughly 500 liters CO2, which is roughly equivalent to 1Kg of CO2 (@ 1 atmosphere and 0 °C). 365 days x 1Kg = 365Kg/year (or ~100Kg Carbon/year). Assuming they never get excited or energetic, the roughly 4.5 million residents of the Australian state of Victoria emit about 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or ~450,000mt carbon each year -- just by breathing.

Heck, the way greenhouse accounting is done, Victorians collectively probably 'save' a great deal more emissions by not exerting themselves cycling to work each day than these aerial cuisinarts will do during their entire working lives since people's carbon dioxide emission roughly triples with moderate activity.

*For the sticklers, CO2 = 1.977Kg/m3 (cubic meter or 1,000 liters) gas measured at 1 atmosphere and 0 °C and 1.834Kg/m3 at 1 atmosphere and 70 °F but the above is adequate for our rough calculation (and Victoria's not much over 0 °C anyway).

<chuckle> "EXCLUSIVE Blair's war on TVs left on standby to save fuel" - "TONY BLAIR will this week declare war on TV and stereo standby buttons as part of a major plan to slash fuel bills. On Tuesday the Prime Minister will reveal findings from his long-awaited review of Britain's energy needs. And top of his hit-list is £750million of wasted energy from standby buttons on TVs, DVD players, set-top boxes and stereos. He reckons eight per cent of all domestic energy is used in this way. He will outline plans to ban the least fuel-efficient electrical appliances and light bulbs - unless they are phased out by the manufacturers. Hitting the off switch could save every home £25 a year, stop one million tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere and help slow the impact of climate change." (Sunday Mirror)

Silly politicians and gullible punters... 'One million tonnes of carbon' -- that's a lot of emission in a year, right? Actually not. To help you put it in perspective, humans collectively exhale 1.7 million tonnes of carbon each and every day but don't worry, this is a truly trivial amount in an atmosphere containing more than 800,000 million tonnes of the stuff. Nor is that 1.7 million tonnes cumulative since the majority is captured by the biosphere or oceans and it was all ultimately sourced from the atmosphere anyway.

Parenthetically, the above figures are for "people at rest" (couch potatoes are certainly better angels in the carbon dioxide emission stakes) and beg the question, with roughly 60 million UK residents emitting almost 22 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year (6 million mt carbon, at rest), will penalties be applied to joggers, cyclists and all those terrible 'sporty types' who insist on expending energy wantonly and dramatically increasing their emissions to atmosphere of said 'pollutant'? Have politicians sought and received answers to such critical questions as whether banning personal exertion and sitting quietly in front of the 'telly' would help the UK meet its Kyoto targets? Should couch potatoes be allocated credits they can sell on the European Emissions Trading Scheme? Gosh, having people on standby could save more emissions than worrying about TVs doing the same...

"Canada: Carbon cutters in the grips of uncertainty" - "Firms struggle with environmental plans as government waffles on climate policy." (Globe and Mail)

Well there's an easy remedy for their problem -- is there a sound business reason for taking the action or not (this doesn't include carbon dioxide on either side of the ledger)? Answer this and the problem is solved and so it should always be, for there is no business case for hand wringing over carbon dioxide emissions.

"Fuel Scientists See Drawbacks to Clean Hydrogen" - "AMSTERDAM - Hydrogen, the ultimate clean fuel, may not be very suitable as a conduit of renewable energy because it is wasteful and there are better alternatives, scientists said on Friday. One reason that hydrogen is embraced by politicians like US President George W. Bush is that it promises a source of power for cars and buildings that emits only water." (Reuters)

"Fuelling debate" - "A poignant new documentary asks who killed GM's promising electric car project? Regardless of who is responsible, let's hope there's no sequel, says Tyler Hamilton." (Toronto Star)

"G-Wiz! Electric car offers way to beat congestion fee" - "FORWARD movement is something that battery-powered cars have not enjoyed much of since early last century. Sustained progress they are not good at, and although there has been some improvement since the milk-float era, it has been negligible. New sorts of battery and regenerative braking have been a help, thanks to computer wizardry, but the physical laws that effectively prevent the storage of electricity are unchanging. Nothing beats petrol for stockpiling energy efficiently in a small tank, which can be topped up when necessary and left for weeks ready for you to drive away. Petrol power is simple, straightforward, reliable and, if the government did not leech so much in tax, it would even be quite cheap." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Why coal-rich US is seeing record imports" - "With nearly a quarter of the world's coal supply - enough to last centuries - the United States has been dubbed the "Saudi Arabia of Coal," by US officials and energy experts. But thanks to growing global coal markets and clean air regulations, the US is witnessing a latter-day equivalent of "carrying coals to Newcastle" - a 230 percent leap in coal imports to the US since 1999." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Energy Supply Worries Ignite Coal Revival in UK" - "DONCASTER, England - Soaring oil and gas prices, doubts about Russian supplies and advances in clean technology are fuelling a revival of Britain's coal industry ahead of a review of energy policy expected next week." (Reuters)

"Russia's energy wasteland" - "The G8 summit of industrialised nations being hosted by Russia is likely to be more interesting for what it says about the West's growing reliance on Russia for its energy." (BBC)

"Saudi Arabia Tests Its Potential For Unlocking Heavy-Oil Reserves" - "With global energy demand soaring, Saudi Arabia, whose abundant reserves of light oil have supplied the world for decades, is looking to unlock its huge, hard-to-tap and largely unexploited reservoirs of heavy crude. If it succeeds in overcoming the technical hurdles, the effort could significantly increase Saudi Arabia's oil reserves over the next several years, potentially adding some slack to tight energy markets. It would also be a blow to so-called peak-oil theorists who have forecast that world oil production is on the brink of peaking." (Wall Street Journal)

"Israel presses for oil from shale" - "Proposed energy plant could help vastly reduce oil imports" (Business Week)

"Asia going nuclear amid rising oil prices" - "ULSAN, South Korea — Led by fast-growing China and India, Asia is going nuclear in a big way to feed its ravenous appetite for energy. The strains of economic growth are already showing. Energy shortages have forced Chinese factories to scale back production, and farmers in India often have power for only half the day. Both countries say their future growth is at risk unless they diversify their energy mix." (Associated Press)

"UK sees nuclear power as 'viable'" - "The UK government is expected to say nuclear power is "economically viable" when it unveils an energy review on Tuesday, a report has said." (BBC)

"MPs warn Blair against hasty decision on energy strategy" - "MPs have warned the government not to rush into hasty decisions about Britain's energy policy without considering all the evidence, ahead of Tony Blair's energy review tomorrow, which will endorse a new generation of nuclear power plants." (The Guardian)

"Don't rush into nuclear power, MPs warn Blair" - "Tony Blair must not give "preferential treatment" to nuclear power when the Government unveils its long-awaited energy review this week, a committee of MPs says today. In a hard-hitting report, the Labour-dominated committee warns the Prime Minister not to rush into hasty decisions on nuclear power which will end up shaping Britain's energy policies for decades to come. It also voices concern that ministers may have overstated the ''energy gap'', which has raised fears that Britain will become dangerously dependent on gas imported from countries such as Russia." (London Telegraph)

"Energy review 'a sham' to back Blair on nuclear" - "A major review of Britain's future energy supplies has been a sham designed only to push through Tony Blair's dream of a new generation of nuclear power stations, a former leading government adviser claims today." (The Observer)

"Obsession with nuclear power is wrong for Britain, Mr Blair" - "The Energy Review will back the PM's push for atomic energy, but, says Stephen Hale, it won't deal with the challenge of global climate change." (The Observer)

Hmm... depends on how you look at it. In the sense that our power generation is largely irrelevant to the Earth's climate then nuclear power will make no difference, that's true. On the other hand, as part of a reliable energy mix, nuclear power has a substantial contribution to make as far as defending people from whatever the climate does and, as such, is a perfectly legitimate component of baseload electricity supply.

"Revealed: Blair's energy blueprint" - "Long-awaited government review stresses need for more renewables but critics blast nuclear plans." (The Observer)

"Wildlife may threaten development" - "THE $6 billion expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium mine in outback South Australia could be threatened by a whale and a rare seabird." (The Australian)

"BRAZIL: Biodiesel Comes in All Flavours" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - The production of biodiesel from low-quality coffee, from the oils extracted from urban runoff, or from cattle fat is a pioneering initiative in Brazil, where efforts are under way to diversity the raw materials used as clean fuels, the consumption of which is on the rise." (Tierramérica)

?!! "Shell Plans Cleaner Second Generation of Biofuels" - "LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell aims to develop a second generation of biofuels that diminishes their impact on climate change and competition with food crops, the company's head of biofuels said on Friday.

But Darran Messem distanced the group from comments by a senior Shell executive in Singapore, quoted by Reuters, that generating biofuels from food crops was morally inappropriate as long as there are people in the world who are starving.

"The comments made yesterday do not fully represent Shell's policy or position on biofuels," he said." (Reuters)

So, Shell do approve of starving people by diverting food to pretend fuel?

"UK launches review of nanotechnology policy" - "The UK government has launched a review of its nanotechnology policy, part of a move to assess the implications of current developments in the emerging science of tiny dimensions." (Food Production daily)

"Problem: implant infection, solution: nanotech surfaces" - "Providence, R.I. -- Orthopaedic implants help millions of Americans stay active. But these medical devices are prone to infection, forcing patients back to surgery for repair or replacement. Now, for the first time, a team of engineers has shown that zinc or titanium oxide nanosurfaces can reduce the presence of bacteria, a technique that can be applied to implants to reduce the number of these costly and debilitating infections." (Brown University)

Where farming is concerned, beware romantic European nationalisms... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Codex sets new standards on lead, cadmium, aflatoxins" - "GENEVA - Food experts on Friday set new international standards on maximum allowed levels of contaminants including lead and cadmium, as well as aflatoxins, so as to improve food safety, officials said. The standards, issued by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, are voluntary for countries, but apply to food consignments that move in international trade, they added. "The new standards adopted this week will thus go a long way to protecting human health, as they set out new, maximum limits for lead in fish, cadmium in rice, marine bivalve molluscs and cephalopods, and aflatoxin in Brazil nuts," a statement said." (Reuters)

"Gene swap find adds support for GM food" - "The gene swapping antics of two wheat diseases are set to cause upheaval for biologists and deliver a powerful new argument in favour of genetically modified food, researchers say." (AAP)

"Mr. Green Genes" - "An old anti-biotech activist tries to engineer some confusion." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"EFSA launches GM food consultation" - "EFSA has launched an open consultation on the approach of its panel on GMOs in assessing hybrid genetically modified (GM) crops." (CEE food Industry)

"The GM 99: Genetically modified ice cream could be coming to Britain" - "New designer ice cream, made possible by genetic modification, threatens to set off a "time bomb" in the health of British children, scientists are warning. The scientists, from Britain and Canada, have alerted an official committee which this month will rule on the safety of the ice cream, being sold increasingly worldwide by the food giant Unilever. It contains an artificial protein copied, through a GM process, from a fish living in the frigid waters of the bottom of the North-west Atlantic." (London Independent)

July 7, 2006

"Bald Eagle-DDT Myth Still Flying High" - "Pennsylvania officials just announced success with their program to re-establish the state’s bald eagle population. But it’s a shame that such welcome news is being tainted by oft-repeated myths about the great bird’s near extinction." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Prion find points way to test for human 'mad cow' disease" - "GALVESTON, Texas -- In the July 7, 2006, issue of the journal Science, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) describe experiments that may soon lead to a test that will enable medical science to estimate how many people are infected with the human form of mad cow disease, which can take as long as 40 years before manifesting itself. Such a blood test could also help prevent accidental transmission of the malformed proteins that cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) via blood transfusions and organ transplants, the scientists suggest." (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston)

"Whooping cough 'endemic' among UK school children" - "Nearly 40% of school age children in the United Kingdom who visit their family doctor with a persistent cough have evidence of whooping cough infection, even though they have been fully immunised, finds a study published on bmj.com today. These startling results suggest that whooping cough is endemic among young children in the UK, with important implications for clinical practice and immunisation policy, say the authors." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"EU warns 'barbecue' sunbeds may cause cancer" - "BRUSSELS - The young and fair skinned tan lovers should give sunbeds a wide berth because they can cause skin cancer, the European Commission said on Thursday. The European Union's executive arm said its scientific committee on consumer products concluded that using sunbeds, tanning lamps and other ultraviolet radiation devices is likely to increase the risk of malignant melanoma, a skin cancer." (Reuters)

"Keystone Food Cops" - "At any given moment almost two-thirds of American men and more than three quarters of American women are dieting or watching their weight, at least according to a Center for Disease Control survey back in 1999. (Not much has likely changed since then.) And no doubt the remaining few who are not dieting are either thinking about it or think they are thin enough not to care. And while there are no statistics, the number of American adults who have never thought about or attempted losing weight can probably be counted on one hand." (John Luik, TCS Daily)

"Researchers find link between developmental exposure to pesticide and Parkinson's risk" - "Atlanta -- A team of Emory University researchers has found a connection in laboratory mice between developmental exposure to the pesticide dieldrin (now banned from use) during gestation and lactation and an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD). The findings are significant because most studies aimed at determining the disease process in PD have been focused on events occurring during adulthood, not during developmental stages. The study results were published online in The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal (http://www.fasebj.org/papbyrecent.dtl)." (Emory University Health Sciences Center)

"Kelo's Backlash: Imminent Success?"  -"In his June 29 piece, ("Unhappy Birthday, Kelo"), Pejman Yousefzadeh asserts that "[t]he year after Kelo has largely seen anti-abuse forces fail in the political arena to organize any kind [of] meaningful pushback against the dangers posed by the Kelo ruling. Despite grand promises of a backlash, one has just not come about." This pessimistic assertion is baffling because it simply can't be reconciled with reality. In fact, the Kelo backlash isn't just alive -- it's thriving and producing results that can only be described as historic." (Bert Gall, TCS Daily)

"Britain's frogs and toads face threat of extinction" - "Global warming, urbanisation and pollution are devastating frog and toad populations around the world, with almost a third of species under threat." (London Independent)

"Major initiative proposed to address amphibian crisis" - "Corvallis, Ore. – Fifty of the leading amphibian researchers in the world have called for a new Amphibian Survival Alliance, a $400 million initiative to help reduce and prevent amphibian declines and extinctions, an ecological crisis of growing proportion that is continuing to get worse. In a policy statement to be published Friday in the journal Science, the scientists say that 32 percent of all amphibian species are threatened and at least nine – perhaps as high as 122 – have become extinct since 1980. It's time, they say, for a more organized and effective approach to address the various diseases, habitat loss, invading species and other causes of this problem." (Oregon State University)

Proving the old adage... "New Study by Landor Associates Reveals Most Consumers Don't Care About 'Green'" - "NEW YORK, July 6 -- A new study conducted by branding firm Landor Associates, shows that fifty-eight percent of the general population surveyed considers itself "Not Green Interested." These self-proclaimed "non-green" individuals do not care about environmentally friendly practices, including recycling, corporate social responsibility, or natural and/or organic ingredients." (PRNewswire)

... you can fool most people some of the time and some people most of the time. Interesting that fewer than one in five allowed "green" considerations to influence purchasing decisions -- decisions which may be as trivial as risking organic over real produce.

"Corals switch skeleton material as seawater changes" - "Leopards may not be able to change their spots, but corals can change their skeletons, building them out of different minerals depending on the chemical composition of the seawater around them. That's the startling conclusion drawn by a Johns Hopkins University marine geologist, writing in the July issue of the journal Geology." (Johns Hopkins University)

Gosh! Wonder if that's how corals have survived hundreds of millions of years of changing conditions?

"Courting Regulatory Disaster - or Clarity" - "The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case being brought by a dozen states, several major cities, and environmental groups who want carbon dioxide, widely believed to be contributing to the current global warming trend, to be designated as a pollutant. The plaintiffs are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's decision in 2003 that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant that would come under the regulatory portions of the Clean Air Act. That decision has been upheld by two lower court rulings." (Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

What is a “Normal” Temperature? (Climate Science)

"Climate change 'real and severe'" - "An expert panel convened by BBC News has concluded that climate change is "real and dangerous". Temperatures are likely to rise by 3C to 5C by the end of the century, with impacts likely to be "severe" but not "catastrophic", the panel said. It also concluded that politicians are unlikely to cut emissions sufficiently to prevent dangerous global heating. The panel's discussions were based on themes set by Professor James Lovelock in his latest book The Revenge of Gaia." (BBC)

"Climate change blamed for western US wildfires" - "WASHINGTON - Here's another thing to blame on climate change -- wildfires, those forest and grass fires that have threatened communities across the U.S. West, according to research published on Thursday. And a warming climate will only cause more." (Reuters) | More large forest fires linked to climate change (University of Arizona) | Warming climate plays large role in Western US wildfires, Scripps-led study shows (University of California - San Diego)

"Malaysia Weighs Palm Oil Share for Food, Energy" - "KUALA LUMPUR - Hunger for palm-based biofuel is growing so fast that Malaysia has decided to stop licensing new producers while industry works out how to divide up its raw material between the food and energy sectors." (Reuters)

"Shell Says Biofuels From Food Crops 'Morally Inappropriate'" - "SINGAPORE - Royal Dutch Shell, the world's top marketer of biofuels, considers using food crops to make biofuels "morally inappropriate" as long as there are people in the world who are starving, an executive said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"DOE publishes research roadmap for developing cleaner fuels" - "Washington, DC -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released an ambitious new research agenda for the development of cellulosic ethanol as an alternative to gasoline. The 200-page scientific "roadmap" cites recent advances in biotechnology that have made cost-effective production of ethanol from cellulose, or inedible plant fiber, an attainable goal. The report outlines a detailed research plan for developing new technologies to transform cellulosic ethanol--a renewable, cleaner-burning, and carbon-neutral alternative to gasoline--into an economically viable transportation fuel." (DOE/US Department of Energy)

"Safe at Any Speed" - "With higher speed limits, our highways have been getting safer." (Wall Street Journal)

"Beyond Jeremy Rifkin" - "Mendacity and misrepresentation are nothing new from anti-meat, anti-technology, anti-capitalism activist Jeremy Rifkin. His statements about biotechnology's threatening "a form of annihilation every bit as deadly as nuclear holocaust" and civilization standing perilously "on the cusp of a frightening new era of cloning, genetic engineering, and eugenics" are absurd. No less so his speculations in the early 1980's that a small-scale field trial of a gene-spliced soil bacterium could change weather patterns and disrupt air-traffic control." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Science and technology to play bigger role in China's agriculture" - "China plans to become a major world power in agricultural science and technology by 2020, the country's Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin said here Thursday. Addressing a national conference on agricultural science and technology, Du said by 2020, science and technology will contribute 63 percent of the growth in the agricultural sector, 15 percent more than it does now. China still has a long way to go to catch up with the United States, where technical advancements account for 81 percent of the growth in agriculture, and 85 percent of agricultural technologies are actually applied to agricultural production, he said." (People's Daily)

July 6, 2006

"Hank Paulson Was Thrown Softballs" - "The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa), failed the public this week by hurrying through the confirmation hearing of former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry M. Paulson as Treasury secretary." (Steven Milloy and Tom Borelli, Human Events)

"How the west's health fads kill the poor" - "Measles has killed one child in Britain this year and infected 450, making headlines. In poor countries, it kills more than 1000 children a day. Although there is a cheap vaccine, scare stories from the west are building up aversion to this life-saving MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) injection, just as scare stories led to millions of avoidable deaths from malaria." (Mark Weston, CFD)

"Exposure to radiation after Chornobyl increases risk of thyroid cancer in children and adolescents" - "New York -- In a study of thyroid cancer after the Chornobyl accident in 1986, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health report that exposure to radioactive iodine ingested through the food chain increases the risk of thyroid cancer in children and adolescents. The study is published in the July 5 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute." (Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health)

"Land use, land cover affect human health, food security" - "MANHATTAN, KAN. -- They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A Kansas State University geography professor is using satellite imagery to research how land use and land cover changes affect human health and food security. Doug Goodin uses remote sensing, in combination with other types of data, to monitor and forecast the spread of infectious disease. Goodin and other scientists recently discussed this subject at the workshop, "Contributions of Remote Sensing for Decisions about Human Welfare," sponsored by the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C." (Kansas State University)

"Report warns about carbon dioxide threats to marine life" - "Boulder--Worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning are dramatically altering ocean chemistry and threatening marine organisms, including corals, that secrete skeletal structures and support oceanic biodiversity. A landmark report released today summarizes the known effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on these organisms, known as marine calcifiers, and recommends future research for determining the extent of the impacts.

"It is clear that seawater chemistry will change in coming decades and centuries in ways that will dramatically alter marine life," says Joan Kleypas, the report's lead author and a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. "But we are only beginning to understand the complex interactions between large-scale chemistry changes and marine ecology. It is vital to develop research strategies to better understand the long-term vulnerabilities of sensitive marine organisms to these changes." (NCAR/UCAR)

Given that the Early Permian (about 270 million years ago) was the last geological time both Earth's temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were as low as today's so it seems likely that marine critters will cope.

Revisiting the “Edmund Fitzgerald” (Climate Science)

"Waiting To Exhale (As Court Takes Up CO2)" - "Environment: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case to decide whether the federal government should be forced to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Is the basis for all plant life on earth really a pollutant?" (IBD)

"Lots of hot air but no action" - "Brussels has turned a brilliant idea for creating a carbon market into nothing but a tax on Britain." (Camilla Cavendish, The Times)

Poor Camilla. She doesn't realize the entire construct is about tax and damaging other nation's competitiveness.

"UK: Debate tilts in nuclear power’s favour" - "When Tony Blair launched a review of energy needs last autumn, his support for nuclear power was never in doubt. The big question was how, after rejecting nuclear energy as uneconomic three years ago, the government could justify investment in a new generation of plants and make it a reality." (Financial Times)

"Hong Kong: US corn import deal sealed as grain restrictions lifted" - "China Xiwang Sugar Holdings said it has obtained government approval for US corn imports, which signals that Beijing will no longer stand in the way of the grain's trade." (The Standard)

July 5, 2006

"DDT in mothers linked to developmental delays in children, UC Berkeley study finds" - "Since the 1970s, scientists have known that when DDT accumulates in a woman's tissues it can be transmitted to her developing fetus across the placenta. Now, a new study led by a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that such in utero exposure is associated with developmental delays in the young child.

The team also found that the longer the children nursed, the better they scored on developmental tests, despite the fact that DDT is also transmitted through breast milk. This was the case even with mothers who had high accumulations of the pesticide in their bodies, a finding that suggests that the benefits of nursing may outweigh the potentially harmful effects of DDT transmission through mother's milk.

The study is the first to examine the effects of maternal levels of DDT, rather than its breakdown products, on child neurodevelopment – that is, the development of mental and physical skills. At a time when health authorities around the world are considering increasing use of this pesticide to combat malaria, the study is one of the first to suggest that DDT may be harmful to child development. As such, it provides important health information for decision makers, said Brenda Eskenazi, the study's lead author." (University of California - Berkeley)

"A Tax on the Sick" - "Poor countries have long claimed that their people suffer needless sickness and death because the price of medicines is too high. They are right. But in many cases, part of the fault lies in their own policies, which jack up prices by taxing medicines, raw materials for drugs and medical devices." (New York Times)

"Animal exposure may beat asthma" - "Exposure to certain animals may prevent rather than trigger asthma and allergies, experts believe. Lab workers who frequently handled research rodents had fewer allergic reactions to the animals as a result, an Imperial College London team found. The researchers believe it is the type of exposure that is important. A recent study found early childhood exposure to cats increased eczema risk, whilst early exposure to dogs appeared to be protective." (BBC)

"A Sweetener With a Bad Rap" - "EVERY time Marie Cabrera goes shopping, she brings along her mental checklist of things to avoid. It includes products with artery-clogging trans fats, cholesterol-inducing saturated fats, MSG and the bogeyman du jour, high-fructose corn syrup. That last one, she says, is the hardest to avoid unless she happens to be shopping in the small natural-foods section of her supermarket." (New York Times)

"Infections 'may cause diabetes'" - "Common infections may be a trigger for diabetes in children and young adults, research suggests." (BBC)

"Measles Mumps Rubella and mercury-based immunizations cleared as causes of autism" - "Montreal 4 July 2006 -- Pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) like autism and Asperger Syndrome have been on the rise for years. Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccines and thimerosal–containing vaccines (which are approximately 50 percent ethylmercury) have been suggested as possible causes. A new MUHC study published in the scientific journal Pediatrics tomorrow, assesses the link between childhood immunizations and PDD in 28,000 Quebec children and finally clears MMR vaccines and thimerosal–containing immunizations as risk factors." (McGill University)

"European study supports hair dye-lymphoma link" - "NEW YORK - Using hair dye may increase the risk of a type of cancer known as lymphoma, a European study shows. "Our data suggest that personal use of hair coloring is associated with a small increase in lymphoma risk, particularly among women who started using hair coloring products before 1980," Dr. Silvia de Sanjose of the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona and colleagues write in the July 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology." (Reuters Health)

"Biggest trend is the end" - "When the dorks start spouting doomsday scenarios, it's time for the rest of us to take heed. Once a topic relegated to fringe academics and geocities websites, discourse on the pending collapse of civilization is becoming the raison d'etre of some of Earth's greatest minds." (Toronto Star)

"Where are all the birds?" - "The world's birds are disappearing in greater numbers than previously calculated, and the number of extinctions will grow even more dramatically by the end of the century, according to a grim study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (SF Chronicle)

"Dodos Killed by Natural Disaster, Scientists Say" - "PORT LOUIS - Scientists who unearthed a mass dodo grave in Mauritius say they have found evidence showing the birds were killed by a natural disaster long before humans arrived on the Indian Ocean island." (Reuters)

"Some legislators thinking green" - "Maybe it's the summer heat, or maybe it's Al Gore's documentary. Whatever the cause, California environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers have embarked on an ambitious campaign to catapult the state ahead of the nation on a number of green initiatives. From greenhouse-gas caps to alternative energy, they say it's time to make significant changes after watching a number of clean water and air quality bills vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in recent years. They say the looming election should also help motivate politicians to think green." (Sacramento Bee)

"Why it will cost the earth if you refuse to recycle" - "As Scotland on Sunday reveals today, councils are backing plans to make recycling mandatory on pain of a fine. Meanwhile, ministers are considering a charge for all non-recyclable waste which households persist in throwing out. The reasons for this new drive can be found at the dozens of landfill sites where more than three million tonnes of our household waste - half of it biodegradable - are piled up on an annual basis. Currently, 90% of all the rubbish piled into bins goes to these sites. As the biodegradable rubbish on these sites degrades, it gives off methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The European Union is insisting that member states prevent what is claimed to be a contributor to global warming." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Out and about with the recycling police" - "Recycling is no longer voluntary - not if you live in Barnet, north London. In fact the council there may soon become the first to prosecute households for failing to sort their plastics from their paper. Hannah Pool reports." (The Guardian)

"The Unscientific Reporter" - "When it comes to a dispute between politicians and the press, it's always been a good rule to go with the press. Lately, though, some of us longtime newspaper folks find ourselves questioning the rule." (IBD)

"Hurricane warning of $100bn loss" - "Insurers can expect to lose up to $100bn (£55bn) from the next hurricane to hit Florida after a surge in property values, according to Lloyd's of London. Only last year Lloyd's was estimating losses at $60bn but constant migration to coastal districts and the increasing severity of the storms is putting ever more pressure on insurers. Lloyd's says that its 200-plus syndicates could expect at least another five or 10 years of severe hurricanes lashing Florida and towns on the Gulf of Mexico." (The Guardian)

"The Source of Europe's Mild Climate" - "The notion that the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping Europe anomalously warm turns out to be a myth." (Richard Seager, American Scientist)

"Long-haul birds 'returning early'" - "Birds that migrate long distances have adapted to the world's changing climate in unexpected ways, a study shows. As the planet warms, and spring arrives earlier in Europe, birds are being forced to change their migration patterns. It had been thought that birds travelling long distances from Africa to Europe would be unable to adapt. But a study in Science suggests they have evolved in response to climate change and are returning earlier." (BBC)

"Confidence in Ability to Control Weather Dries Up" - "OSLO - China says its scientists make enough rain to fill the Yellow River; Moscow claims credit for sunshine for Red Square parades -- but confidence in other nations that humans can alter the weather has almost dried up. If it worked reliably, the use of aircraft and rockets to spread tiny chemical particles into the sky to "seed" or disperse clouds could be the answer to famine, drought, desertification, even global warming. However, lack of proof that it works means that funding by many governments has fallen sharply, after millions of dollars were spent on teasing rain from clouds in arid regions of West Africa, or on research into trying to prevent hurricanes." (Reuters)

"Green Fears Grow as Britons Binge on Gadgets" - "LONDON - Fear of the catastrophic consequences of global warming is finally prompting Britons to start changing their lifestyles, a survey said on Monday. It is not before time, said the Energy Saving Trust's report "The Rise of the Machines" which predicts that energy used by consumer electronics will double in the next four years." (Reuters)

"Climate change could cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, scientists say" - "OTTAWA - So the warnings of harsher heat waves, stronger hurricanes and rising seas fail to impress. How about volcanic eruptions in the Arctic, or a tsunami off the coast of Newfoundland? The latest scientific discipline to enter the fray over global warming is geology. And the forecasts from some quarters are dramatic - not only will the earth shake, it will spit fire." (CP)

"Earth observation satellites contribute to international polar year 2007-2008" - "Thousands of scientists from 60 countries will be conducting research during International Polar Year 2007-2008 and will, for the first time during an International Polar Year, be armed with satellite measurements offering complete coverage of the polar regions, which play a vital role in the Earth's climate and ecosystems. Having access to near-continuous satellite data of these regions over long periods of time is important for scientists to identify and analyse long-term climatic trends and changes. ESA will provide current and historical data, dating back 15 years, from its ERS-1, ERS-2 and Envisat satellites as well as data collected from a number of non-ESA satellites." (European Space Agency)

"Jellyfish-like creatures may play major role in fate of carbon dioxide in the ocean" - "Transparent jellyfish-like creatures known as a salps, considered by many a low member in the ocean food web, may be more important to the fate of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the ocean than previously thought." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"Supreme Court Warms Up To Climate Change" - "The Supreme Court has agreed to review whether or not the federal government is currently required by law to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, the major human emission implicated in global warming. How could they not do it? The public is being barraged daily by climate horror stories. Greenland is shedding ice at a fever pace. Antarctica isn’t far behind. Hurricanes are getting worse. Species are going extinct by the millions. And worst of all, it just rained a lot in Washington. All because of (ahem) global warming." (World Climate Report)

"Climate Change Evaporates From G8 Agenda" - "ROME - At the last G8 summit, political leaders vowed to ``act with resolve and urgency'' on climate change. A year on, global warming has been sidelined by concerns on how the world can satisfy its growing appetite for energy. While analysts were not entirely convinced by Prime Minister Tony Blair's bid to highlight climate change -- a fashionable issue in Britain -- during his G8 presidency, they believe Russia has all but dropped the issue. ``I don't think this year there's going to be any particular emphasis on climate, I would be very positively surprised if there were,'' said Benito Mueller, Senior Research Fellow at Britain's Oxford Institute for Energy Studies." (Reuters)

"Climate change can wait. World health can't" - "With $50bn, we could make the planet a better place but money spent on global warming would be wasted" (Bjorn Lomborg, The Observer)

"Black: Anti-warming measures would hurt" - "I don't know if there is global warming. However, if the recommendations on lowering carbon dioxide emissions are enacted, the short-run consequences on the economy will be recessionary, raising energy prices and increasing unemployment." (Harold Black, Knox News)

"Cycles of change" - "A climatologist's view on Al Gore's movie, 'An Inconvenient Truth'" (Joseph D'Aleo, Knox News)

"Star Search" - "A recent AP news story by Seth Borenstein claimed to report on the science community's opinion of the accuracy of the science in Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth", coming soon to a theatre near you." (Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

"Don't Believe the Hype" - "Al Gore is wrong. There's no "consensus" on global warming." (Richard S Lindzen, Opinion Journal)

The Week That Was July 1, 2006 (SEPP)

Traffic Accidents and Weather - The Role of Climate Mitigation Relative to the Role of Other Technological Endeavors (Climate Science)

"Global warming cattle call" - "ABC News is contributing a new fleet of hot air balloons to the bavardage that passes for serious global warming reportage. And it's going to get the kind of landfill contributions for which it shills." (Colin McNickle, Tribune-Review)

"Can't stand the heat? Don't worry, our summer may be over" - "JUNE ended in scorching heat over much of Britain yesterday, bringing good news for sellers of ice-cream, barbecues and sunscreen but causing more ballgirls at Wimbledon to wilt in the sun. Last month was on course to have been the hottest June for 30 years, and perhaps the fourth hottest in a century. It continued the trend of extreme weather in 2006, which saw a freezing March and sodden May. William Hill drastically cut its odds on June having the hottest day of the year after a flurry of late betting." (London Times)

Seems to be a lot of comment regarding June temperatures in England, so, here's a couple of quick "June facts" from the CET record:

Warmest June recorded: 18.2 °C in 1846.
June just past: 15.9 °C (does this mean 160 years of global warming cooled central England by 2.3 °C?)

So how does the GWS (Great Warming Scare) period compare with the rest of the record? Dennis A. checked out 30 year periods throughout the record, to which we have added the graph of almost three and one-half centuries of June CE mean temps with overlaid trend line -- wherever global warming is, it is apparently not in Central England in June:

30 year June CET averages
1661-1690  14.28
1691-1720  14.00
1721-1750  14.54
1751-1780  14.48
1781-1810  14.54
1811-1840  14.38
1841-1870  14.40
1871-1900  14.25
1901-1930  13.82
1931-1960  14.57
1961-1990  14.16
1971-2000  14.07

Sigh... "Cold spell's weird cause" - "AUSTRALIA is in the grip of a nationwide cold snap - and paradoxically, it could be another result of global warming." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Buried gases may escape: scientists" - "CARBON dioxide buried underground has dissolved the minerals that help keep the dangerous greenhouse gas from escaping, US scientists have revealed. Researchers testing the viability of injecting CO2 into saline sedimentary aquifers, in a US Government experiment in Texas, found it caused carbonates and other minerals to dissolve rapidly, which could allow CO2 and brine to leak into the water table. Nothing had leaked out so far but the phenomenon would have to be investigated before carbon sequestration could help fix the greenhouse problem, said the researchers, quoted in a recent issue of Science."

From CO2 Science this week:

Food for Thought Indeed: Can what we all thought was the preferred approach to the study of CO 2 effects on crops, i.e., FACE technology, really be inferior (especially the way in which the technique is often applied) to more simple enclosure studies?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Great Aletsch Glacier, Alps of Valais, Switzerland and Qinghai Lake, China.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Respiration (Woody Plants: Coniferous Trees): Do conifers respire more or less CO 2 when growing in CO 2 -enriched air compared to what they respire in today's atmosphere?

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: Peace Lilly, Phytoplankton Community, Maize, and Rice.

Journal Reviews:
Solar Activity, Cosmic Rays and Earth's Temperature: How are they related?

PDO-ENSO Interactions Over the Past Four Centuries: Is the recent spate of El Niño events a response to contemporary CO 2 -induced global warming?

Effects of an Order-of-Magnitude Increase in Aquatic CO 2 on the Growth of Algae and Macrophytes in a Danish Lake: Are the responses miniscule, modest or massive?

The Impact of Ozone Pollution on Soybean Yields: How bad is it? How fast is it occurring? Is there anything we can do about it? Is there anything we have been dong about it, albeit unwittingly?

Effect of Elevated CO 2 on Water Use Efficiency of Maize: How significant is it? (co2science.org)

"Climate Change Brings New Options for UK Farming" - "STONELEIGH PARK, England - Climate change provides many new opportunities for British farmers, like tea and energy crops, but also poses challenges including the threat of new insects and diseases, a British government minister said." (Reuters)

"US beats Europe over CO2 control" - "THE United States has frozen its carbon dioxide emissions at a time when signatories of the Kyoto Protocol are conceding that they cannot meet their own targets, according to official figures released last week. While the American economy grew by 3.5% last year, more than twice the European average, its fossil fuel emissions were up by only 0.1% – with no growth in road pollution and a drop in aircraft emissions. Its progress came as several members of the European Union (EU) missed the deadline to submit new targets to reduce their carbon footprint with Germany demanding an opt-out for its power stations and Spain and Portugal preparing to abandon their target." (The Business Online)

"Dutch report: EU climate policy not effective" - "In Short: The EU's climate change policy is too focused on restricting CO2 emissions within its own borders and lacks a global dimension, according to a new advisory body to the Dutch government." (EurActiv)

"UK: Carbon trading leaves a nasty smell" - "Companies have made millions selling excess permits - while hospitals and schools have to buy them, reports Robert Watts" (London Telegraph)

"The high price of hot air" - "In a new pamphlet Open Europe looks at the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. In its first year of operation, the scheme has raised serious questions about its organisation and effectiveness in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

*The allocation of permits means that NHS trusts will spend about £1.3 million a year for the first three years buying up extra permits, while BP and Shell will be able to sell off the equivalent of £17 and £20 million worth of surplus permits each year.

*The UK has set a tough target, while other member states have set very loose targets. This means that the ETS will cost UK firms about £1.5 billion over the first three years, while firms in Germany will make just under a billion selling off their surplus permits.

*Overall, the EU target will not reduce emissions. Member states handed out free permits for 1,829 million tonnes of CO2 in 2005, while emissions were only 1,785 million tonnes. Emissions would have to be 44 million tonnes higher for the system to actually “bite” – in other words, for the EU as a whole, at present the system is simply not reducing emissions at all." (Open Europe)

Read Open Europe's pamphlet: The high price of hot air: why the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is an environmental and economic failure (.pdf)

"UK: Credits cut 'will raise prices'" - "Business groups hit out at the Government for cutting its cap on carbon emissions which they say will push up energy prices and make Britain less competitive.

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, said the Government would issue 3pc fewer carbon credits, which give companies the right to emit carbon dioxide, from 2008 to 2012 under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme.

Electricity companies are allocated less carbon credits than they need to encourage investment in environmentally friendly power generation and have to make up the shortfall by buying credits from others. Businesses believe electricity companies will be forced to buy even more carbon credits from 2008 with the extra costs passed on to customers. They claim Britain already has some of the highest energy costs in Europe." (London Telegraph)

"UK: Lambert faces climate change task" - "Richard Lambert, the new head of the CBI, has said climate change is one of the main challenges facing British companies as he takes over at the helm. But the new director general said that "economic success need not come at the expense of the environment". Mr Lambert criticised environmental legislation that he said caused "unnecessary cost and negative environmental outcomes". And he urged regulators to be more "intelligent" in their outlook." (BBC)

"EU Parliament Wants Aviation Tax, Emissions Trade" - "STRASBOURG, France - Airlines should pay a tax for jet fuel and join the European Union's emissions trading scheme to cut back on the rising amounts of greenhouse gases they produce, the European Parliament said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Airlines ready for a dogfight over EU's plan for cleaner, greener skies" - "Lufthansa leads the way in lobby of MEPs as they vote on a controversial scheme." (The Guardian)

"EU Carbon Market Tested as States Miss Key Deadline" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's emissions trading scheme faces its second major hurdle in a matter of weeks on Friday as EU states struggle to meet a deadline to finish plans laying out industry pollution rights for 2008-2012." (Reuters)

"UK and 10 others miss deadline for setting targets" - "The EU's ambitious greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme (ETS) is in further disarray as 11 of its 25 governments, including Britain, face warnings of legal action from the European commission for failing to meet last Friday's deadline for submitting their plans to cut carbon dioxide between 2008 and 2012." (The Guardian)

"Big Costs Seen for Small Carbon Credit Projects" - "JOHANNESBURG - Measuring greenhouse gas emissions can be costly and this expense may prevent small carbon trading projects from getting off the ground, a leading South African researcher said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Energy Independence: A Dry Hole?" - "WASHINGTON -- The U.S. may be addicted to oil, but many of its politicians are addicted to "energy independence" -- which may be among the least realistic political slogans in American history." (Wall Street Journal)

"Al Gore full of hot air: Klein" - "Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore is full of hot air for comparing oil sands backers to junkies seeking their next fix, charges Premier Ralph Klein. “The United States needs our oil. I don’t know what he proposes the world run on, maybe hot air?” Klein snapped. In an interview to be published next week in Rolling Stone magazine, Gore bashes oil sands development, and says the reliance of fossil fuels is “dysfunctional.” (Edmonton Sun)

"Search for New Oil Sources Leads to Processed Coal" - "EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — The coal in the ground in Illinois alone has more energy than all the oil in Saudi Arabia. The technology to turn that coal into fuel for cars, homes and factories is proven. And at current prices, that process could be at the vanguard of a big, new industry." (New York Times)

"Nuclear cutback in energy plans" - "Britain could be spared a mass building programme of nuclear power stations under plans to force power companies to reduce energy use and help the public cut their fuel bills. Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, said tackling the 'waste' of power would ease pressure on resources and, while that would not be enough to avoid the need for nuclear power altogether, it would mean fewer reactors being built over the next three decades." (The Observer)

"Biofuel folly based on ideology rather than solid evidence" - "FIRST it was "economically viable" then it was "sustainable", which gave way to "renewable" and now the latest fashionable buzz word is "bio". Soon every driver of a four-litre Chelsea tractor with two bags of pony nuts in the back by way of justification will salve his or her conscience by filling it up with bio fuel. Mind you, by 2010 when EU Directive 2003/30/EC comes into force, they won't have the choice - by law all fuel will have to have a 5.75 per cent bio content.

Joining the Renewables Obligation Order as yet another suspension of the free market in energy, this legislation underlies the current interest in bio fuels that has got NFU Scotland all excited. True disciples of Adam Smith, nothing gets the union going quite so much as the prospect of a captive market for one of its products.

Not content with plastering the landscape with wind turbines, which when present proposals are completed will cost about £2.25 billion a year in subsidies, NFUS now hopes to cover the bits in between with oilseed rape to feed a biofuel plant proposed for Fife." (The Scotsman)

"World Biofuels Use to Grow But Subsidy Needed - OECD" - "BRUSSELS - Very few countries have enough raw material available at present to produce biofuels that could compete on price with fossil fuels without government subsidies, a major agricultural study said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Vietnam Firm to Make Biofuel From Catfish Fat" - "HANOI - Vietnamese catfish processor and exporter Agifish plans to turn catfish fat into fuel to run diesel engines, a company official said on Monday." (Reuters)

"UC San Diego biologists solve plant growth hormone enigma" - "Gardeners and farmers have used the plant hormone auxin for decades, but how plants produce and distribute auxin has been a long-standing mystery. Now researchers at the University of California, San Diego have found the solution, which has valuable applications in agriculture." (University of California - San Diego)

"Gene that withstands salinity could mark agricultural boon" - "Imagine what it would mean for the world hunger problem if farmers could grow wheat and other crops on land considered unsuitable for agriculture. That day may be coming soon, after Israeli researchers from the Institute of Evolution of the University of Haifa, have succeeded in isolating a gene that withstands salinity. "The research will contribute to a significant increase in the amount of arable land available for agriculture," said the institute's director Professor Eviatar Nevo, who initiated and spearheaded the pioneering research." (Israel21c)

"Monsanto France Seeks Probe Over GMO Field Attacks" - "PARIS - The French arm of US biotech giant Monsanto said on Friday it had lodged a complaint after two of its experiments on genetically modified (GMO) maize were destroyed this week." (Reuters)

"Plea to model GE crop liability on German rule" - "Germany's approach to setting new liability laws for genetically engineered (GE) organisms provides an important example for New Zealand, says a Wellington lobbyist. The German Government has sought to explicitly allocate liability for the financial risks from the cultivation of GE crops to protect farmers with conventional crops." (New Zealand Herald)

"China may lift ban on modified rice" - "BEIJING -- China could soon become the first developing country in the world to allow the sale of genetically modified rice, experts here say, as leaders desperately search for ways to mollify the country's increasingly restless peasant farmers and shore up China's shrinking agricultural system. As the world's largest rice market, whatever decision China makes about genetically modified rice could have implications around the globe." (Boston Globe)

"How a tobacco farm in Kent could provide a life-saving drug for millions" - "In the perfectly controlled atmosphere of a brick-proof, hermetically sealed greenhouse deep in the Kent countryside, a fresh crop of tobacco plants is beginning to flourish. There is nothing unusual about the plants' appearance, but they are nonetheless extraordinary. A genetic tweak ensures that every cell of every plant churns out tiny quantities of an experimental drug. When harvested, they could bring cheap medicine to millions." (The Guardian)