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Archives - June 2002

June 30, 2002

"Serve my potatoes raw" - "Scientists on June 27 who announced the results of an emergency consultation convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) seemed even more puzzled about recent findings by Swedish researchers that some common foods when fried, baked, and roasted contain surprising levels of a possible human carcinogen--acrylamide.

What probably caused most of their puzzlement is that many of the foods--such as potatoes [and] certain breads--have been cooked and eaten by people for centuries. Scientists involved in policy matters may be perplexed because the concern involves very common foods in widespread use for many years rather than the novel foods demonized by many anti-technology activists. The 23 scientific experts said yesterday that the issue of acrylamide in food is a major concern and recommended that substantive research programs are needed." (Frances B. Smith, Consumer Alert)

"Measles cases rising sharply" - "Cases of measles have been rising rapidly in England and Wales, with 126 children contracting the disease in the first three months of this year, data has shown. Health experts have blamed the rise on poor take-up of the controversial measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination." (BBC News Online)

"Chemicals put workers at risk, new study says" - "slew of common chemicals makes workers ranging from truck drivers to farmers more likely to contract kidney cancer, a disease that kills about 1,500 Canadians a year, a Health Canada study says. The study's lead author wants industry to sponsor more research on the link between the substances and renal-cell carcinoma -- one of the country's 10 most prevalent cancers." (National Post)

"A Consumer Group's View of the Precautionary Principle" - "A Presentation at a workshop sponsored by The International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, June 20-21, 2002" (Frances B. Smith, Consumer Alert)

"Coloring Climate Change" - "To get a sense of how compromised and politicized climate science has become, you don't have to look far. Just examine the lengths to which key documents were doctored to distort public perceptions." (Nick Schulz, TCS)

"Models Again Under a Cloud" - "Here is the abstract to a new paper which finds that global climate models fail to reproduce real climate when they are tested against observed conditions. Climate models still fail to match the real world." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"The Miami Herald | 06 28 2002 | It's possible to control global warming" - "Global warming is once in the nation's political spotlight thanks to a startling new report by the Bush administration that finally acknowledges the costly effects of climate change on America's health, economy and environment. What's more, it identifies pollution from cars, power plants and other industrial sources as the cause. But the 260-page review concludes that there is nothing we can do about the problem except get used to it. Top officials call for more study but offer no solutions. Meanwhile, the report says that U.S. emissions of the heat-trapping pollution will grow 40 percent in the next 20 years."

"Kyoto Protocol - Hydro-Québec files a brief with the Federal Climate Change Secretariat" - "MONTREAL, June 28 /CNW/ - Hydro-Québec submitted a brief yesterday in which it encourages the federal government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The brief is part of the federal government consultation to determine how Canada can achieve its targets for reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change."

"Flower Power" - "In central England, the alarm bells are ringing - 385 plant species are flowering about 4½ days earlier in the year than they did back in 1950s. That's what a new paper in Science (Fitter & Fitter., `Rapid Changes in Flowering Time in British Plants', v.296, p.1689, 31 May 02) says. They attribute the flowering changes, predictably, to `climatic warming'" (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Financial Times: Brussels differs with US in new energy policy" - "The European Commission yesterday backed a new energy policy that differed with the US in emphasising energy-saving and renewable technologies, but which also provoked an internal dispute over nuclear energy. Announcing the conclusions to 15 months of consultations and 300 conferences on the "security of energy supply", Loyola de Palacio, Europe's energy commissioner, acknowledged the difference with George W. Bush's energy plan and appeared to contradict other commissioners by arguing that a greater role for nuclear power was essential to meet Kyoto treaty commitments."

The Observer? "Scientists dismiss farming's organic revolution" - "Prince Charles and the Blairs support green farming but critics say its methods are flawed. Prince Charles will issue a rallying call tomorrow for more British farmers to join the organic food revolution, in spite of warnings from scientists that consumers are victims of an 'economic sales gimmick' that is conning the public into paying up to 40 per cent more than they pay for conventional products. In a speech at Britain's biggest agricultural show, Charles will recall a time when food production was dominated by family-run smallholdings offering fresh, local produce.

But an Observer investigation has revealed fierce criticism from scientists, who claim the movement is a con trick that is misleading millions of British consumers. According to influential experts, the central message of the organic food industry - that its products are better for us than conventional produce - remains unsupported by scientific evidence. Even the Government's food safety watchdog, the Food Standards Agency, has failed to find evidence to substantiate claims that organic food is nutritionally superior." (The Observer)

"JAPAN: New organic food regulations decimate market revenues" - "New Japanese regulations for organic food production have caused a large reduction in market revenues. The organic food market size has shrunk from over US$3bn in 2000 to US$250m in 2001 as a result of the new ruling, according to a study by Organic Monitor. Revenues in the Japanese markets for organic fresh fruit & vegetables and organic beverages have shrunk from about US$2bn in 2000 to US$167.1m in 2001. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) introduced new guidelines for organic food production and marketing in 2000. Since April 2001 all organic foods marketed in Japan must meet Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS). The high standards have caused the majority of organic foods that were sold in Japan prior to April 2001 to lose their organic status." (just-food.com)

"Pioneer Press | 06 29 2002 | Bad weather could end low crop prices" - "... On a separate survey, U.S. farmers said they increased their plantings of biotechnology — or genetically modified — seeds by 13 percent this year. About 75 percent of this year's soybean crop, up from 68 percent last year, uses the new technology, and 34 percent of the corn acres, up from 26 percent in 2001, use biotech seeds.

Minnesota farmers used biotech seeds for 44 percent of their corn, up from 36 percent last year; and Wisconsin farmers planted biotech corn seed on 26 percent of acres, up from 18 percent last year.

Insect-resistant biotech seeds a year ago resulted in farmers reducing use of pesticide sprays by 46 million pounds. Monsanto, a maker of both the biotech seeds and chemicals the seeds are displacing, said Friday that pesticide use could drop by 50 million pounds this growing season."

"US biotech crop rise seen overcoming StarLink fear" - "CHICAGO, June 28 - Data showing increased plantings of genetically modified crops by U.S. farmers reflect the waning impact of the StarLink corn episode of two years ago that led to massive food recalls and hurt U.S. exports, agricultural products maker Monsanto Co. (MON) said Friday. But Greenpeace genetic-engineering specialist Charles Margulis said the increased plantings of biotech soybeans and corn this spring did not mean consumers were losing the battle against food produced from gene-altered crops." (Reuters)

"Gene-altered canola pollen can spread to other fields" - "WASHINGTON - A new study has shown that the pollen of genetically modified canola can spread over wide areas into neighboring fields. That study, together with other recent reports of similar cross-pollination, have farmers concerned about possible legal fallout. As researchers develop more genetically altered crops, the threat grows of major lawsuits from growers who don't want the genetically modified crops mixing with their crops. The biotechnology industry has already experienced one crop-contamination fiasco. In 2000, StarLink, a genetically modified corn that contained a pesticide and was not approved for human consumption, was found processed into taco shells and other products. The discovery resulted in sweeping recalls and lawsuits from farmers and grain elevators. StarLink's maker, Aventis CropScience, now a unit of Bayer AG, has set aside €100 million ($98.2 million) to cover losses by farmers and food companies." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Monsanto hails savants’ stand on biotechnology" - "International agricultural research leader Monsanto recently lauded the firm stand of Filipino scientists in support of the food sufficiency policy of the Arroyo administration. Several groups of Filipino scientists led by researchers and professors from the University of the Philippines defended the Arroyo policy, which anchored the growth of a modern agricultural sector on biotechnology. The Philippine government has been conducting at least seven major researches on the application of the technology to agriculture since 1997." (The Philippine Star)

"Toad-gene fears win GM debate" - "Fears about a toad gene genetically modified to kill potato virus vied with a more prosaic argument for a ''case-by-case approach'' in the first public debate of the election campaign last night. Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons told more than 500 people crammed into the Dunedin Civic Centre that an African toad virus that might kill soft rot in potatoes was too dangerous to risk using. Science Minister Pete Hodgson argued that the risks should be assessed ''case by case'', rather than taking an ''absolutist'' line against any release of genetically modified organisms. Thunderous applause for Ms Fitzsimons left no doubt that the minister had failed to sway most of the audience." (New Zealand Herald)

"'National debate' on GM crops" - "Members of the public are to get their say on the merits of genetic modification. The government is launching a "national debate" in a bid to form some sort of consensus about whether the UK wants to grow GM crops." (BBC News Online)

June 28, 2002

"French Fry Scare, Part II" - "The food police at the Center for Science in the Public Interest have jumped on the recent health scare involving french fries and potato chips. Not surprisingly, its new effort at food terrorism is self-debunking." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"UN agencies call for additional research into possible cancer risk of fried foods" - "27 June – Two United Nations agencies today called for further examination of the implications of acrylamide, a known carcinogen that has been detected in certain fried foods. Following an expert consultation held in Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) concluded that while most people do not consume high enough levels of the substance to produce nerve damage, the problem of acrylamide in food is a major concern because it might cause cancer in humans." (UN News)

"Scientists Say Education and Research, Not Bans, Needed to Manage Antibiotic Resistance" - "WASHINGTON, June 26 -- Microbiologists are raising a red flag about legislation proposed by Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) that would prohibit several antibiotic uses in food animals." (U.S. Newswire)

"Health recommendations from study on aspirin and lung cancer are premature" - "An epidemiological study published earlier this week in the British Journal of Cancer by NYU School of Medicine researchers shows an association between regular use of aspirin and reduced risk of a common type of lung cancer in women. But the NYU researchers emphasized today that until large clinical trials establish aspirin's beneficial effect, women shouldn't start taking the painkiller to prevent cancer." (New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine)

"Senate panel votes to ban mercury thermometers" - "WASHINGTON - A Senate panel yesterday approved a bill that would ban mercury thermometers and provide $20 million for a program to encourage families to trade in their old thermometers for new ones that are safer for the environment." (Reuters)

"British baby deaths 'down to Chernobyl'" - "Fallout from the accident at Chernobyl nuclear power station in the Ukraine may have led to hundreds of deaths and deformities among babies in Britain." (New Scientist)

"Extent of Chernobyl damage questioned" - "Sixteen years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the head of the Israel Cancer Registry says scientific studies show the fallout caused much less damage to those exposed to its effects than had been expected.

Dr. Gad Rennert, an epidemiologist at the Technion's medical school who maintains records for the Health Ministry on all cancer cases, says the principal harm from the nuclear meltdown has been a significant increase in thyroid cancer in children, which is "relatively easy to treat."

Rennert said low levels of radiation were responsible for the happy news. He believes that increased reports of breast cancer and other conditions in the Chernobyl region are the result of "increased anxiety among residents, who go for checkups; but when we compared the prevalence of various cancers in the affected area with those in Moscow or Leningrad, where there was no radiation, we didn't see a difference." (Jerusalem Post)

"Backdoor Kyoto" - "With little fanfare, a Senate committee is swiftly moving ahead on a bill that would bring back the treaty that won't die - the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, an agreement signed in 1997 by Vice President Al Gore that would require hugely expensive reductions in greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), the stuff we exhale, the stuff that makes plants grow." (James K. Glassman and Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"US Senate panel passes first greenhouse gas curbs" - "WASHINGTON - The Senate Environment Committee yesterday narrowly passed a bill that would impose the first-ever limits on emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the United States, but Republicans called the measure dead before it gets to the Senate floor." (Reuters)

"Climate-Science Shuffle; The White House should admit about-face" - "President Bush amazed supporters and detractors alike with his recent submission to the United Nations, "Climate Action Report 2002" (CAR), debuting a U.S. position that man is most certainly changing the climate. The report, which is a product of lingering career Gore-ites at EPA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), did undergo a four-month White House bowdlerizing effort. And, it is true that the president's prescription for dealing with this "serious issue" remains unchanged." (Christopher Horner, NRO)

"ABC Politics - 28 06 02 : Downer claims Kyoto protocol has failed" - "The Federal Government says the Kyoto protocol has failed in its major objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level which will prevent global warming. Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says global warming is a serious issue that needs international attention but the protocol has been a disappointment. He says part of the problem is the failure to sign up big polluting developing countries like India, Brazil and China, as well as the United States."

"Prepare for the big chill" - "A new ice age is due now, says Andrew Kenny, but you won’t hear it from the Greens, who like to play on Western guilt about consumerism to make us believe in global warming." (The Spectator)

"New gene therapy protocol: First successful treatment for 'bubble babies'" - "A lifesaving protocol, developed by a team of Israeli and Italian researchers for the treatment of children born without immune systems, has wide ranging implications in the successful treatment of similar genetic diseases, such as Gaucher's and other diseases caused by enzyme deficiency. A description of the first successful application of the new treatment appears in the June 28 issue of the journal Science." (Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America) | Gene therapy may offer release from sterile isolation for patients lacking immune systems (AAAS)

"Bugs clean teeth; GM yoghurt could fight tooth decay" - "Bacteria can now prevent tooth decay, as well as cause it. Researchers have genetically engineered the bacterium in yoghurt to fight the bugs that rot teeth. Rats whose mouths were swabbed with the modified bacteria developed fewer cavities. Delivering similar bacteria in food or neat could also be used to combat other microbes in the mouth or gut. Lennart Hammarstrom, of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and his colleagues engineered Lactobacillus zeae to carry an antibody against Streptococcus mutans on their surface. S. mutans causes most dental caries. The antibody sticks to the molecule on S. mutans that normally sticks to teeth. The two species clump together and slide harmlessly down the throat. Hammarstrom thinks the lactobacilli also kill the Streptococcus, perhaps with the lactic acid they produce." (NSU)

"US farmers to share GM experiences with counterparts in Oz" - "Next month, US farmers will visit NSW, VIC, SA and Western Australia to share their experiences and concerns of genetically modified (GM) crops. The "Seeds of Doubt" tour has been organised by a network of Australian farmers from the major grain growing regions of Australia. In a communiqué they explain: "We, like many farmers, are concerned about the potential economic and environmental impacts of GM crops." Speakers include Canadian Percy Schmeiser, a canola farmer who was ordered by the Canadian court to pay Monsanto for breaching their patent when GM canola was found in his 1998 crop; and Gail and Tom Wiley, North Dakota grain farmers, who lost a major export contract to Japan through GM contamination of their crop." (just-food.com)

Oh great... a convicted thief is going to come to the land down under to explain to us how the product he found so desirable as to steal it is actually not desirable for us. Right...

"Greenpeace spends $170m to oppose biotech" - "A US-based leading advocate for biotechnology, Dr. Channapatna S. Prakash was cited as saying Friday that Europe-based Greenpeace, a group that used to be respected for advocacy in saving whales and other endangered species but has become a foremost opposition to biotechnology worldwide, spends about $170 million for such an activity." (The Philippine STAR)

"China to require GMO health permits from '03 - trade" - "SHANGHAI - China's soy importers will not need Health Ministry import permits for genetically modified organisms (GMO) until January 1, although its new rules will be imposed on July 1, traders said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Modified pollen travels far but not wide, says study" - "WASHINGTON — Pollen from genetically modified crops can spread to neighboring fields but may only fertilize a small percentage of plants there, Australian researchers said Thursday." (Reuters)

"GM-free zones ‘unnecessary’" - "Research results announced today in a global first for Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management suggest that large buffer zones between genetically modified crops and normal crops may be unnecessary.

Appearing today in the prestigious American journal ‘Science’, the work measured pollen flow from fields of canola carrying genes for herbicide resistance to other nearby canola crops. In a study involving the collection of more than 48 million seeds from 63 fields across southern Australia, the research showed that pollen was carried to other fields in amounts well below internationally recognised levels for unwanted genetic transfer.

The amounts were so small that it would be almost impossible to detect the gene flow using current DNA assessment methods." (LSN)

"GM canola spreading: Agriculture Canada report" - "WINNIPEG - There is confirmation of something canola farmers have been saying for years: that genetically modified canola is popping up where it wasn't planted and where it isn't wanted.

An Agriculture Canada study suggests the problem is in the seeds. More than half of the seed samples tested showed some level of genetically modified presence. The study's authors conclude that means almost every canola field planted with conventional seed will contain some genetically modified plants." (CBC News)

June 27, 2002

"Precautionary Principle Raises Blood Pressure" - "It used to be said that the most fearsome statement in the world is, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." Now, government officials have the "precautionary principle," which supposedly will make our lives safer. In fact, the principle — which is not really a principle at all but a seemingly plausible excuse for opposing innovation — has already laid waste to several industries and boasts a body count in the millions." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, ACSH)

"Chernobyl scare dismissed by experts" - "Claims that the Chernobyl disaster may have caused child deaths and birth defects in the UK have been attacked.

John Urquhart, a statistician from Newcastle, told New Scientist magazine that, between 1986 and 1989, there were both higher than normal rates of infant deaths. In addition, there were hundreds more cases of birth defects such as cleft palate, spina bifida and Down's syndrome, he said. He suggested that radiation fall-out drifting from the Chernobyl explosion in 1986 was a possible cause. He told the magazine: "We've probably been too complacent about health effects from Chernobyl in western Europe."

However, other experts say there little hard evidence to support this link." (BBC News Online)

"Multiple sclerosis - smoked sausage link examined" - "BERLIN - Eating certain smoked sausages in childhood may increase the risk of developing the crippling autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life, researchers said on Wednesday. The findings support other studies that have pointed to a possible link and suggest that nitrates used in meat preparation combined with chemicals in smoke could be causing autoimmune problems." (Reuters Health)

"Passive smoking increases the risk of heart disease" - "A new study published in BMC Public Health shows that breathing in second-hand smoke significantly increases the risk of developing heart problems in non-smokers. These findings have serious consequences for public health giving weight to calls for smoking to be banned in public places." (BioMed Central)

"Good news about oral contraceptives" - "A new study reverses the long held notion that birth control pills increase a women's risk for breast cancer. Breast cancer experts at Johns Hopkins say these newest results confirm that taking birth control pills, even for a long time, does not appear to increase a woman's risk for breast cancer and reduces their risk for endometrial and ovarian cancers. Their editorial appears in the June 27, 2002, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine." (Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions)

"NORTH KOREA: UNDP, Aid Groups Appeal For Pesticide To Save Rice Harvest" - "The U.N. Development Program and four other aid agencies working in North Korea made an urgent appeal today for 150 tons in pesticide donations to save the famine-stricken country's vital rice harvest, saying the $1.5 million in chemicals were needed within 40 days to reverse "alarming signs" of rice water weevil infestation." (UN Wire)

"Obsessive washing 'is bad for children'" - "Parents who are obsessive about keeping their children clean may be putting them at a higher risk of developing eczema or asthma. Research has found a direct link between the frequency of washing and the incidence of eczema and wheezing." (Daily Telegraph)

"STUDENTS JOIN SCIENTISTS IN SEARCH OF ASTHMA TRIGGERS" - "Students and teachers of more than 20 Baltimore, Md. middle and high schools will be helping NASA scientists, and doctors and researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine to better understand the causes of pediatric asthma in Baltimore City. The students will be gathering data on aerosol particles that will help experts track particulates in relation to incidence of asthma." (NASA/GSFC)

"Also in flames: Smokey Bear approach" - "As Western fires swept past the 2.5 million-acre toll, debate of forest management methods was heating up." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Making our mark" - "What a piece of work is a man!

A new paper released by scientists claims that humanity's 'footprint' (whatever that is) on the planet has increased by half in under 40 years. The paper, Tracking the Ecological Overshoot of the Human Economy, also suggests that by 1999 the human economy was absorbing 120 percent of the Earth's productive capacity (whatever that means).

Attempting to measure man's 'footprint' upon the planet has become quite fashionable. This new study comes hot on the heels of a report published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in May, predicting that by 2032 more than 70 percent of the Earth's land surface could be marked by the impact of cities, roads, mining and other human developments. An unusual 'atlas' produced in the USA over a year ago claimed that, already, man has ploughed over or concreted about a quarter of the world's surface.

Amazing, isn't it, to catalogue the extent to which humanity has been able to shape our world around our needs? Funnily enough, though, the results are never reported in this positive way. Instead, man is presented as a pestilence upon the Earth, bleeding our precious planet dry - and spawning headlines like 'Mankind demands too much of Earth' and 'Human use exhausts Earth'. Rather than celebrating and building upon our achievements, we are supposed to hold back, slow down, and prostrate ourselves on the altar of the environment." (Jennie Bristow, sp!ked)

"First fridges, now tyres: law change brings threat of new waste mountain" - "Britain could be swamped with illegally dumped tyres following a change in EU law which forbids their being disposed of in landfills, the environment agency warned yesterday. Following the government's embarrassment over the fridge mountain which is costing £40m to solve, Sir John Harman, the agency's chairman, said action was needed now to prevent the same debacle over tyres. Fifty million tyres a year - amounting to 134,000 a day - are discarded in Britain, he said." (The Guardian)

"MIXED CROPLANDS MAY MAKE SOME AREAS COOLER, WETTER IN SUMMER" - "The variety of the vegetation and crops in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states has helped maintain a cooler, wetter climate, according to a NASA-funded study using a computer climate model." (NASA/GSFC)

"New NCAR, ORNL climate simulation doubles detail of previous models" - "Climate studies just doubled in resolution because of a new model developed and implemented by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and run on the Cheetah supercomputer." (DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

"Climate in a computer" - "CSIRO has developed one of the world's most sophisticated computer-based climate models. Researchers are using the model to assess how Australia's climate will change due to rising greenhouse gas concentrations and to forecast seasonal changes, such as when the next El Niño event is likely to strike." (CSIRO)

"FEATURE - Cheap air travel adding to global warming woes" - "Aviation is the world's fastest growing man-made source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - seen by many as a major contributor to global warming. Some 16,000 commercial aircraft pump out 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

A study by the eco-group Friends of the Earth found that one return London-Miami flight generates as much carbon dioxide as the average British motorist produces in a year. Jet fuel use is set to triple in the next half century." (Reuters)

"Global Warming Threatens U.S. Parks, Waters-Green Group" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming is threatening many U.S. parks, forests, marine sanctuaries and wildlife refuges, and the federal government must act to protect them, a report by the environmental group Bluewater Network said. Average global temperatures may increase by 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit this century, which could raise sea levels by almost 3 feet, increase catastrophic wildfires and storms, and wipe out entire species, the group said." (Reuters)

"The Nando Times: Government selects 3 companies for nuclear permits" - "WASHINGTON (June 25, 2002 3:54 p.m. EDT) - The Bush administration's campaign to kick-start a new wave of nuclear power plant construction in order to meet the growing energy demand in the United States took a step forward Monday with the selection of three utilities for a $17 million program that will speed up the permit process."

June 26, 2002

"When Brain Trauma Is at the Other End of the Thrill Ride" - "Some doctors think some amusement park rides may be dangerous, pushing and pulling the body with greater force than many people can tolerate." (New York Times)

"Healthy eating 'can cut crime'" - "Encouraging healthier eating could be the government's secret weapon in the fight against crime, according to experts. A study by researchers at the University of Oxford has found that adding vitamins and other vital nutrients to young people's diets can cut crime." (BBC News Online)

"VA panel urges better research into Gulf War illness" - "WASHINGTON - A panel advising the Veterans Affairs secretary on Gulf War illness research urged investigation of veterans' neurological problems, more spending for studies and a better plan for carrying them out. The panel was appointed by VA Secretary Anthony Principi to redirect Gulf War illness research, which has yielded few answers for the ailments of sick vets more than a decade after the war. Their suggestions Tuesday recommended spending $450 million over three years on future research, but only after a plan is established to coordinate studies and set objectives and a timeline." (AP)

"Cell phones don't cause cancer, rat study finds" - "Radiation from cell phones doesn't appear to cause cancer in rats, according to a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The research team exposed rats to the two most common types of cell phone radiation for four hours a day, five days a week for two years." (Washington University School of Medicine)

"Green groups aided spread of US fires - Veneman" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration blamed environmental groups yesterday for contributing to raging forest fires such as the ones in Arizona and Colorado by blocking the federal government's effort to remove dangerous underbrush." (Reuters)

"Little Fires to End Big Fires" - "The fires that have already blackened millions of acres in the West this year should finally heat up efforts to avoid such threatening blazes in the future. The long-term solution is to reverse decades of fire-suppression policies that have contributed to the buildup of brush, fallen wood, and other fuel in the forests. As that task is undertaken, fires in many instances can be treated as a natural phenomenon that aids the cleanup process. For now, however, bureaucratic inertia to clearing out forest fuel must be overcome. That also means overcoming stiff opposition to federal approval for carefully selected logging to help clear out the woods." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"The Poison Is Arsenic, and the Suspect Wood" - "A debate has begun over whether wood treated with chromated copper arsenate, a wood preservative, contributes to arsenic poisoning." (New York Times)

"The End Is Nigh, Again; Environmentalists insist that humanity really has overshot the earth’s carrying capacity this time" - "The United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development is coming up at the end of August, so expect to see a spate of news stories warning that humanity is on an unsustainable economic path. To bolster this notion, environmentalists are positioning their views to make it easy for the press to echo them." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

What a relief! "Yes, we can have curved bananas, judges decide" - "European laws which insisted that cucumbers and bananas could not be excessively curved and had to be of a certain shape were ruled "unenforceable" by the High Court yesterday. Reversing two decades of regulations regarded by many as an affront to common sense, Lord Justice Rose said that EU quality grading standards imposed since 1973 were "unknown to law." (Telegraph)

"A Pitiable Ploy to Promote the Kyoto Protocol: The Predicted Demise of Earth's Coral Reefs" - "Summary: In a recent article in Science magazine, Brian C. O'Neill and Michael Oppenheimer urge immediate implementation of the Kyoto Protocol to prevent what they view as the three most dangerous biospheric impacts of global warming. We here discuss the first of their trio of planetary meltdown scenarios, exposing the flaws in their specious arguments." (co2science.org)

"Floods (North America)" - "Summary: Will floods become more severe and more frequent in response to global warming, as climate alarmists say they will? Some insight into this question is provided by another question that can be answered with real-world data: Has flooding in North America intensified in response to the post-Little Ice Age warming of the globe?" (co2science.org)

"Carbon Sequestration Commentary" - "Global Warming Will Not Cause the Release of Great Quantities of Carbon from Forest Soils: Proposals to rely on new and old forests to remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester its carbon in the soils in which they grow have met with stiff resistance from many who falsely claim that global warming will actually turn the proposed carbon sources into carbon sinks. We thus review several recent studies that should once-and-for-all put this bugaboo to rest." (co2science.org)

"Simulating El Niño: How Are the Models Doing?" - "Summary: Probably as well as they're doing everything else ... and that is not an endorsement of them. Climate Dynamics 18: 255-276." (co2science.org)

"Late-Holocene Sea Surface Temperatures of the North Icelandic Shelf" - "Summary: They paint a revealing picture of how much the climate has deteriorated since the time of the Roman Warm Period ... and how much we have yet to warm to return to the "good old days." The Holocene 12: 137-147." (co2science.org)

"Four Centuries of ENSO Activity Reconstructed From Coral delta O-18 Data" - "Summary: The results of an important new study essentially put to rest all claims that the heightened ENSO activity of the past two decades is due to global warming. Paleoceanography 17: U71-U83." (co2science.org)

"ABC Australia News - 26 06 02 : EU disappointed Australia won't ratify Kyoto protocol" - "EU environment ministers have expressed their disappointment at Australia's refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol, which is aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions."

"Trees may contribute to ozone problem" - "Trees may not actually commit suicide, but certain species do produce pollutants that hamper their own growth while contributing to global climate changes and causing harm to other life forms, contend two Texas A&M University researchers." (Texas A&M University)

"Blessed Are the Poor with Spirit" - "This year's UN-sponsored World Food Summit just concluded with a grim reminder that the goal of cutting world hunger in half by 2015 set six years ago at the first Food Summit still seems far out of reach. This time, however, delegates agreed to meet the challenge of achieving genuine food security with a very potent tool: agricultural biotechnology." (Gregory Conko and C.S. Prakash, TCS)

"EU ratifies Cartagena GM crop trade treaty" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union has ratified a treaty setting environmental rules on the trade in genetically modified crops, bringing the pact closer to coming into force, the EU Commission said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Biotech boon for North Dakota?" - "North Dakota wheat and barley farmers would be big winners from biotech crops, if they are adopted for common use, says a Washington-based think tank. The National Center for Food and Agriculture Policy released its report, “Plant Biotechnology: Current and Potential Impact for Improving Pest Management in U.S. Agriculture,” that examines 40 case studies of 23 different crops. It projects large savings to farmers from less chemical use and higher income from increased production." (Grand Forks Herald)

"Biotech Crop Use Benefits Environment; CAST Releases New Scientific Report Showing Environmental Gains" - "WASHINGTON, June 25 -- The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), a non-profit consortium of scientists, today released a comprehensive report detailing the environmental safety and environmental benefits of commercial biotechnology-derived soy, corn and cotton crops. (U.S. Newswire)

June 25, 2002

"Fireproofing Faulted in Trade Center Collapse" - "NEW YORK, June 24 -- Fireproofing failures -- rather the impact of the plane crashes -- probably caused the World Trade Center towers to quickly collapse, architects and engineers told a federal panel today. "The insulation is going to turn out to be the root cause," said James G. Quintiere, a professor at University of Maryland's Fire Protection Engineering Department who analyzed the fireproofing in the two towers." (Washington Post)

It seems the Junkman's Sep. 14 FoxNews.com column, "Asbestos Could Have Saved WTC Lives" was way ahead of the curve.

"Commuters awash in mobile phone emissions, study finds" - "Steel cars trap potentially cancerous radio waves from cellular phones. If you are a train user, you may want to change your travel habits to and from work after reading this. Commuter trains, packed with people and their cellular phones, are a hotbed of potentially cancerous radio waves, according to research by Tohoku University." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"WHO To Convene Meeting On Link Between Fries, Cancer" - "Alarmed by studies suggesting a chemical in potato chips, french fries and some types of bread may be causing cancer, the World Health Organization is tomorrow convening a three-day emergency meeting on acrylamide in carbohydrate-rich foods. The meeting is being jointly organized with the Food and Agriculture Organization." (UN Wire)

"Low-Fact Diet: The Acrylamide Case" - "A low-fact diet can be dangerous. Have you heard that chips, fries, and even bread can give you cancer? This "fact" has been widely reported, even though it's essentially untrue." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"On a Mission to Kill Mosquitoes (washingtonpost.com)" - "The slogan on Lewis Jones's T-shirt, "Gonna Getcha," declares outright war on mosquitoes. Unlike citizen arm-slappers, though, Jones is a professional mosquito slayer with weapons at his disposal."

"Human use exhausts Earth" - "Humans are making more demands on the Earth than it can cope with, scientists believe. They say humanity's footprint on the planet has increased by half in under 40 years. Their analysis suggests that by 1999 the human economy was absorbing 120% of the Earth's productive capacity. But while they think the trend will probably intensify, the scientists say solutions already exist which will maintain high living standards. The claim that we are exhausting the planet's resources is made by an international team of authors in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), published in the US." (BBC News Online)

"Meeting Fire on Its Terms" - "ALPINE, Ariz. — A wildfire near here has burned more than 500 square miles, and it and other fires burning now in the West will have swept over hundreds more before they are put out or burn themselves out. America is fighting the fires — as it fights Western forest fires every year — as if it were conducting military campaigns. Helicopters circle overhead, airplanes drop heavy loads of firefighting chemicals, uniformed firefighters march to the front and lines of refugees stream out of burning towns.

There is a way out of the vicious spiral that replays these scenes, sometimes with this year's degree of severity, sometimes with less. But it requires that we rethink fire management in ways that demand adjustments in much of American society, not simply at its fire agencies." (New York Times)

"The Bad News Industry" - "THE HAGUE -- In December of last year, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn gave an interview to an environmental magazine that may very well have sealed his fate. Though his murderer, Volkert van der Graaf, remains silent about his motives, there is little doubt that these statements by Fortuyn caused outrage among the green brigades, enough outrage perhaps to make Van der Graaf reach for his gun." (Joshua Livestro, TCS)

"Having it Both Ways" - "A recent paper in Science titled "Global Cooling After the Eruption of Mount Pinatubo: A Test of Climate Feedback by Water Vapor" (Soden et al. v.296, p.727, 26 Apr 02) set out to prove the `mountain out of a molehill' approach to global warming adopted by the IPCC (where an initial CO2 warming of less than 1°C blows out to nearly 6°C when `feedbacks' are applied, especially feedbacks from water vapor, a greenhouse gas)." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Swedish prime minister believes U.S. will eventually sign on Kyoto accords" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said Monday he believed the United States would eventually sign on to the Kyoto accords on global warming. "Kyoto will be ratified and I'm convinced in the end the U.S. will go along because of international politics," Persson said. "They can't afford to stay outside forever." Persson made his remarks alongside Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and South African President Thabo Mbeki at the start a United Nations-sponsored meeting on sustainable development." (Associated Press)

"As Trees Die, Some Cite the Climate" - "SOLDOTNA, Alaska — Edward Berg has a pair of doctorates, one in philosophy and another in botany, but for the last decade he has been a forensic detective in the forest, trying to solve a large murder mystery." (New York Times)

"Esso in bid against 'StopEsso' campaign" - "Oil giant Esso is to sue Greenpeace over the use of its company logo for a protest that claims the corporation has waged a ''dirty tricks'' campaign to stop international action against climate change." (utvinternet.com)

"Use the Force" - "Oil's too political. Coal's too dirty. Solar, wind, hydro—they're all just green dreams. Hydrogen is lovely stuff, but it takes energy to make it. It's time Americans learn to stop worrying and love nuclear power." (William Tucker, American Spectator)

"GM food still in your cupboard" - "Six months since new laws covered genetically modified foods, the only labelled products to have entered Australian supermarket shelves are a Woolworths doughnut and a can of Spam. Yet thousands of other genetically modified foods are sold daily, escaping the need for labelling and consumer scrutiny. An investigation by The Advertiser has revealed that food derived from GM crops is now a staple part of Australian diets." (The Advertiser)

June 24, 2002

"US experts back MMR doctor's findings" - "The man whose research first raised concern over the vaccine's safety is winning support. Lorraine Fraser reports from an influential Congressional hearing. Scientists in America have reported the first independent corroboration of the research findings of Dr Andrew Wakefield, the specialist who has questioned the safety of the childhood MMR vaccine." (Daily Telegraph)

"Era of the Big Fire Is Kindled at West's Doors" - "The price of holding back nature has come home, fire officials say. A century-long policy of knocking down all fires has created fuel-filled forests that burn hotter and faster than ever. The era of big fires — and with it, the need for big government to contain them — is at hand, many firefighters say. Already, with 1.9 million acres burned by the first day of summer, wildfires across the West are burning twice the acreage of the 10-year average for this time of year." (New York Times)

"How Hot Is Too Hot?" - "One of the more startling stories in The Times recently was Timothy Egan's article on the climate in Alaska, where the average temperature has risen seven degrees in the last 30 years and mosquitoes have shown up in normally frigid Barrow, the northernmost town in North America. (Bob Herbert, New York Times)

"Hot and Bothered" - "In Alaska, "the average temperature has risen about seven degrees over the last 30 years," according to the June 16th New York Times. Discussing the seemingly severe effects of climate change in Alaska, the newspaper of record observed that "rising temperatures... are not a topic of debate or distraction. Mean temperatures have risen by 5° F in summer and 10° F in winter since the 1970's, federal officials say." Unfortunately, this big climb in temperature reported by The Times does not synch with any available data." (Howard Fienberg, TCS)

"Animals at risk as snowfall declines" - "THE level of snowfall in Scotland could drop by between 60 and 90 per cent by 2080 if high volumes of greenhouse gases continue to be pumped into the atmosphere, according to a new report. The increase in temperature would spell disaster for many of the Scottish countryside’s most treasured plants and animals, causing them to disappear altogether." (The Scotsman)

World Climate Report Volume 7, Number 24 (June 24, 2002) is available (GES)

"Thestar.com - America's failure on climate change" - "ONE WONDERS how much longer Americans can play the role of the world's ostriches, heads buried in the sand, on the urgent issue of climate change. The latest reality check for the United States comes in a new report released by NAFTA's Commission for Environmental Co-operation on North America's increasingly integrated electricity market. It shows that planned expansion of electricity production in Canada, the United States and Mexico is likely to lead to a new surge in emissions of the greenhouse gases that contribute to costly climate change."

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT, June 18, 2002 Vol. 3, No. 20" - "Three major media outlets have run stories in the last six weeks on climate change in Alaska: the BBC on May 8, Washington Post on May 28, and New York Times on June 16. We’re not certain what specific event prompted this spate of coverage (unless it’s the absence of a decent heat wave to report upon) but, whatever the reason, the articles are remarkably similar. Each claim the 49th State has warmed over the past forty years. They quote Inuit elders who say they never in all their born days have witnessed such strange goings-on. They claim permafrost is becoming less, well, permanent, and that various forms of wildlife are suffering (or will suffer) the effects of global warming. The problem is that Alaskan temperature observations don’t seem to support reporting that the climate of the late 20th century and early 21st is remarkably different from the past." (GES)

"Green Alert, June 18, 2002 Vol. 1, No. 32" - "Urban trees, according American Forests’ Gary Moll, are the ultimate urban multi-taskers. They provide an array of benefits. High on the list is absorption of large quantities of air pollutants. D.J. Nowak, who is with the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban Forest Ecosystem Research Unit, estimates that trees in New York save Gotham’s taxpayers some ten million dollars a year because of the improvements they make in the city’s air quality. Urban trees also serve as homes for resident bird populations and rest-stops for many migratory species. They provide recreational opportunities along with good old shade. Just the sight of a tree is a comfort to urban dwellers. Now we can add to the list. Trees are front-line warriors in the effort to mitigate global warming. They sequester atmospheric carbon – with a vengeance – right where much of it originates, among fossil fuel users in cities." (GES)

"Green Alert, June 18, 2002 Vol. 1, No. 33" - "Australia’s capital, Canberra, was established on a largely treeless plain in 1911. Things weren’t always that way. The area originally was covered by native eucalypt forests. But most of the substantial woody plants were depleted by the grazing activity in the early 1820s. However, as urban development proceeded, residents were strongly encouraged to re-vegetate their city. They responded. With a population of 300,000, Canberra today boasts many good-sized trees surrounding residences and another 400,000 in publicly managed parks and alongside roadways. Because of their century-long history of urban arboriculture, Canberrans resemble Dr. Seuss’s Lorax in their love for trees. How do they love them? Let us count the ways. Brack (2002) presents a table listing what he calls the "benefits of an urban forest" (GES)

"sunspot.net - Russia’s turn on Kyoto " - "The temperatures in Moscow these days are the same as they were 30 years ago in Voronezh -- 250 miles to the south. The city is saving money in winter and doing less environmental damage by using a milder blend of road salt, because of the warmer conditions. At the same time, all of Russia is experiencing an explosion in its tick population. Plagues of locusts have appeared where they never visited before. Flooding becomes ever more commonplace. None of this confirms global warming, much less a human role in global warming -- but the circumstantial evidence is likely to be enough to prod the Russian government into action."

"Study: Warming Will Spawn Diseases (washingtonpost.com)" - "WASHINGTON - A warming climate will allow disease-causing pathogens to thrive in places where they once could not live, posing a new risk for species as diverse as butterflies and humans, oysters and lions, a study suggests."

"Boston Globe Online Nation | World Disease threat cited in global warming" - "Warming temperatures around the world are increasing the geographical range and virulence of diseases, a trend that could mean more devastating epidemics in humans, animals, and plants, according to a report published in the magazine Science yesterday."

"Charlotte Observer | 06 22 2002 | Expert says smog will still cover mountains" - "RALEIGH - A new law aimed at reducing emissions from 14 coal-fired power plants will do little to reduce the smog in the N.C. mountains, an environmental and air pollution expert says. The plan, signed by Gov. Mike Easley on Thursday, will lower emissions below federal standards for plants owned by Progress Energy and Duke Energy. Environmentalists and the utilities supported the legislation, believed to be among the first of its kind in the nation."

"GLOBALISATION AND FREEDOM: THE PROSPERITY LEAGUE" - "The Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World report, an annual publication that aims to measure economic freedoms in 123 countries (www.freetheworld.com), debunks the anti-globalisation assertion that wealth in countries with liberalised trade is concentrated in the hands of a privileged few. In both laissez-faire and more restricted economies, the poorest fifth of the population in all the countries studied received around 2-3% of national income. The less economically free a country, the worse off are its poorest members. In 2000 the income of the poorest tenth in the least free countries was around $728, compared with $7,017 for the poorest tenth in the freest countries. The elites in the most closed economies took as large a share of national incomes as those in the freest. The top slots, based on 2000 date, were occupied by Hong Kong, Singapore and America; the bottom three were Guinea-Bissau, Myanmar and Congo." (The Economist) [Subscription required]

"Gene research labs at risk of being overrun by millions of mutant mice" - "Unravelling the human genome has given scientists an unexpected headache: mutant mouse overload. They have discovered their animal containment buildings and cages could soon be overrun by hundreds of thousands of new strains of genetically engineered rodents needed to make sense of data generated by the human genome project. Tens of millions of mice could be involved in this research initiative over the next two or three decades - after years in which scientists have managed to make serious reductions in mice experiment numbers." (The Observer)

"Don't fear 'rogue genes'" - "Foes of agricultural biotechnology lambast it as unproven, untested, unnatural and uncontrollable, and worry that ''rogue genes'' in the modified crop may contaminate wild (or domesticated) relatives. These fears are unfounded.

Those opposed to plants crafted with the newest gene-splicing techniques (and food derived from them) gloss over two fundamental points: Neither biotechnology nor genetic engineering is new, and consumers, government and industry all have extensive - and positive - experience with both of them." (Henry I. Miller, National Post)

"Monsanto applies to grow GM canola in Australia" - "SYDNEY - The Australian government's gene technology regulator said last week it had received an application by agricultural chemical maker Monsanto Ltd for a license to grow genetically modified (GM) canola on a commercial basis." (Reuters)

June 21, 2002

"Rethinking DDT" - "June 30, 1972 is a date that lives in junk science infamy. That’s when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the insecticide DDT. The ban survives 30 years later, even as it has helped kill millions of people, mostly children." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Notice: The International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology presents "The Precautionary Principle, A Workshop" June 20 – 21, 2002 at The Hilton Crystal City at National Airport, Arlington, Virginia. (ISRTP)

"Space rock's close approach" - "Astronomers have revealed that on 14 June, an asteroid the size of a football pitch made one of the closest ever recorded approaches to the Earth. It is only the sixth time an asteroid has been seen to penetrate the Moon's orbit, and this is by far the biggest rock to do so. What has worried some astronomers, though, is that the space object was only detected on 17 June, several days after its flyby." (BBC News Online)

"Consumer groups say US playgrounds pose safety risk" - "WASHINGTON - A majority of public playgrounds in the US contain conditions that make them potentially unsafe for children, according to a national survey released by two consumer groups Thursday. The survey of over 1,000 playgrounds in 36 states and the District of Colombia found that many lack basic safety measures that can help children avoid injuries. The playgrounds studied were especially deficient when it came to minimizing the risk from falls, according to the report." (Reuters Health)

Two words: childhood obesity

"More clues about obesity revealed by brain-imaging study" - "The idea that obese people eat too much because they find food more palatable than lean people do has gained support from a new brain-imaging study at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The study reveals that the parts of the brain responsible for sensation in the mouth, lips, and tongue are more active in obese people than in normal-weight control subjects." (DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory)

"Sugar on the brain: Study shows sugar dependence in rats" - "It's a common refrain: "I'm addicted to sugar." Now a study by Princeton University psychologists suggests that such urges really may be a form of addiction, sharing some of the physiological characteristics of drug dependence. Although the term "sugar addiction" often appears in magazines and on television, scientists had not demonstrated that such a thing as sugar dependency really exists, said neuroscientist Bart Hoebel, who led the study." (Princeton University)

"DALE McFEATTERS: Jumbo jets, jumbo passengers" - "Perhaps President Bush's new campaign to make us all physically fit will head off a growing travel controversy. Some airlines require bulky passengers who, as American delicately puts it, "protrude extensively into an adjacent seat," to purchase an extra ticket. The requirement has been long-standing, quiet and apparently seldom invoked but suddenly, as these things have a way of becoming, it is a public issue." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Opinions: DEROY MURDOCK: Fighting the wrong fight" - "NEW YORK - President Reagan once quipped that sometimes in his administration, "the right hand doesn't know what the far-right hand is doing." The United Nations these days possesses two left thumbs, most concretely when it addresses nutrition. The U.N.'s World Health Organization strives both to shrink and expand waistlines across the globe. And even as WHO bureaucrats furiously add and subtract calories, millions of Third Worlders succumb to diseases that industrialized nations vanquished decades ago." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Study finds many young adults lack vitamin D" - "NEW YORK - Many young adults are not getting enough vitamin D, particularly during the winter months, a team of Massachusetts researchers reports. "We conclude that young adults aged 18 to 29 years have an equal to greater risk of vitamin D insufficiency than do older adults, especially during the winter," write lead study author Dr. Vin Tangpricha of Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts, and colleagues." (Reuters Health)

"BBC News | HEALTH | 'Cancer chemicals' in cod liver oil" - "High levels of harmful chemicals have been found in cod liver oil sold by two high streets shops. The supplements sold by Superdrug and Holland & Barrett were found to have higher levels of dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs than others brands. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) asked both the firms to remove the fish oil from sale. It said the capsules contained more than twice the recommended daily intake."

"Clinical symptoms may aid early diagnosis of variant CJD" - "The possibility of a large epidemic of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cannot be excluded, and doctors may see patients who are worried about the possibility of this diagnosis. A study in this week's BMJ provides a comprehensive description of the early psychiatric and neurological features of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to aid early recognition of this condition." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Molecular study questions Pfiesteria's link to coastal fish kills, threat to public health" - "Coastal fish kills and a potential threat to public health previously linked to the single-celled marine creature Pfiesteria piscicida may be a case of mistaken identity.Using new molecular detection methods, a study headed by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientist found no indication that the Pfiesteria life cycle as originally described is unusually complex with many amoeba-like toxic stages." (University of North Carolina School of Medicine)

"The Nando Times: Scientists differ over role Pfiesteria plays in fish kills" - "CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The microscopic marine creature Pfiesteria piscicida - also known as "the cell from hell" - may have been mistakenly identified as the culprit in recent fish kills in eastern U.S. coastal waters, though microbiologists who study the organism strongly disagree about the meaning of the latest research."

"Paradise lost? A beaver dam has upset the plant balance at Spring Pond" - "SHERANDO -- Doug Coleman followed a mountain trail to Spring Pond, a natural treasure like no other place on Earth. What Coleman saw filled his face with sadness. Spring Pond, the boggy home of orchids, cranberries and rare plants called swamp pinks, was not itself. Beavers had flooded the pond, killing nearly all the swamp pinks and most of the other unusual plants." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

"At 95, an environmentalist who is anything but green" - "Frank B. Smoot was an environmentalist before most people even knew what that meant. "I was accused of being a bird watcher when that was the insult of the day," says the pipe-smoking Smoot. "Today, that would be a tree hugger." The state recently honored the 95-year-old Pikesville man twice for lifetime achievements in conservation, an interest that began in 1928." (Baltimore Sun)

"Pioneer Press | 06 21 2002 | There was smoke — and fire — in Barton's story" - "A trend has developed in the news business over the past few years to report forest fires, any forest fire. In fact, forest fire news is so popular that it has become the land-locked equivalent of reporting every shark attack. Why, if it weren't for forest fires and shark attacks most of the cable news outlets would go out of business. It is almost a rule of thumb that the more forest fire and shark attack news you get, the farther out we are from Sept. 11.

I'm not sure, but I think we are supposed to get the idea that forest fires, or wildfires, are caused by global warming. I can't think of any other reason to breathlessly report a 2,300-acre fire in a state the size of, say, Montana. I suppose if you glance at the number, 2,300 acres, and you don't process it, you could get the idea that the entire state was on fire."

"Climate change linked to disease epidemics" - "A warmer world is in all likelihood going to be a sicker world for everything from trees to marine life to people, according to a new report by a panel of US scientists. But opponents remain unconvinced there is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Troublesome Facts" - "Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story."

That used to be a joke among newspaper reporters, especially when "their terrific story" - be it about corruption in City Hall or UFOs from outer space - turned out to be pretty ordinary after a little digging. The sexy little gift on the desk, it turned out, was a joke sent by the mayor's wife for his 50th birthday, or the flying saucer in the photograph was a Frisbee. End of story.

But on the subject of climate change, too many reporters - and in particular, one national newspaper -- don't let the facts or alternative views get in the way of their "good" stories." (Duane Freese, TCS)

See also: Baked Alaska (Number Watch) [Scroll down]

"Irresponsible for Ottawa to close Arctic ozone lab: scientists" - "IQALUIT - Many researchers are upset about the closure of a lab in the High Arctic. They say it's an important site for studying the relationship between ozone depletion and global warming. Environment Canada says it can't afford to run the observatory, which is used to detect stratospheric change on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. Scientists from Canada, the United States and Japan use the lab for their research." (CBC News)

"Making Coal Green" - "To address global warming, we're going to do something that may surprise the save-the-planet camp: burn more fossil fuel less efficiently. Big oil will prosper. It's official: global warming is a republican issue, too, now that the Bush Administration has officially acknowledged its gravity. So something will be done. But what? To address global warming, we're going to do something that may surprise many in the save-the-planet camp: We will burn more fossil fuel less efficiently. Big oil will prosper. So will Saudi Arabia." (Peter Huber, Forbes Magazine)

"UK carbon emissions prices rise as trade picks up" - "LONDON - Trade in the fledgling UK market in carbon emissions allowances has picked up, with prices rising as companies try to meet targets to cut greenhouse gases, brokers said at a industry conference yesterday." (Reuters)

"Old US power plants emit twice as much pollution - report" - "WASHINGTON - Aging, U.S. coal-fired power plants released twice as much sulfur dioxide into the air than newer plants that are required to meet stricter environmental standards, according to a report from Congress' investigative arm." (Reuters)

"Environment minister nixes ban on coal-fired power exports during smog alerts" - "TORONTO -- As smog alerts blanketed vast stretches of Ontario, an environmental group urged the province Wednesday to ban non-emergency exports of electricity generated by pollution-spewing coal-fired generators. "Ontario Power Generation should not be allowed to increase its profits at the expense of our children's health by exporting dirty coal-fired electricity to the U.S.A. on smog-alert days," said Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Alliance." (CP)

"Alternative cell source investigated" - "Adult stem cells could be just as versatile as embryonic stem (ES) cells as a source of new tissue for transplant, according to research just published. Scientists have been working with special stem cells taken from the bone marrow of rats. These cells were injected into mouse embryos, where they transformed into most, if not all, of the cell types in the body, showing they have the potential to replace or repair tissues which have become diseased. Other related research, also published by the journal Nature, shows that ES cells can generate neurons in the brain to effectively treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in rats." (BBC News Online) | Stem Cell Web Focus (Nature)

"Worm turns for US cotton farmers" - "A quiet battle between genetic engineers is underway in the cotton fields of Arizona. At a secret location there, genetically modified pink bollworms (Pectinophora gossypiella) have just been released to see how they behave in the wild. They are the first GM insects to be released anywhere, and they have been freed under netting. But if the experiment is deemed a success, the insects will be further modified and released into the great wide spaces where they will breed but produce no offspring that survive." (BBC News Online)

"Companies form group to champion biotechnology" - "Paris, 20 June 2002 - Companies involved in the life sciences have joined forces to present common positions on regulatory, social and ethical issues related to biotechnology and to promote the benefits that the life science industries are bringing to society." (ICCWBO)

"Australia bill rejects GM crop exclusion zones" - "SYDNEY - An Australian state government in a key canola-producing region said yesterday it plans to introduce legislation which rules out the establishment of exclusion zones for genetically modified (GM) crops." (Reuters)

"US mulls WTO action to lift EU block on GM crops" - "BRUSSELS - The United States is thinking of taking the European Union to the World Trade Organisation over its nearly four-year-old logjam in approving new genetically modified crops, a U.S. official said yesterday." (Reuters)

"NAFTA group to study transgenic corn in Mexico" - "MEXICO CITY - A NAFTA environmental commission said yesterday it would investigate reports of transgenic corn growing in southern Mexico, responding to concerns that imported corns have contaminated native crops." (Reuters)

"Farmers, consumers 'miss benefit'" - "The United States Department of Agriculture's biotechnology specialist says opponents of genetically engineered technology are denying benefits to farmers and consumers. Thais should not let non-scientific data about the technology's adverse effects disrupt development, US-based geneticist Channaptna Prakash told a briefing on GE technology held by the US embassy." (The Bangkok Post)

"Greenpeace's cotton warning full of holes" - "Since its introduction to Chinese agriculture in 1996, genetically modified cotton has grown to occupy over one million hectares, or one-third of the total area planted in what is northern China's most important cash crop. This particular GM variety, called Bt cotton, has been modified to resist the cotton bollworm, its most destructive pest worldwide.

Earlier this month, Greenpeace issued a media release announcing the publication of a report on the ''adverse environmental impacts of Bt Cotton in China.'' In typical Greenpeace hyperbole, we were advised that ''farmers growing this crop are now finding themselves engulfed in Bt-resistant superbugs, emerging secondary pests, diminishing natural enemies, destabilized insect ecology,'' and that farmers are ''forced to continue the use of chemical pesticides.''

Let's examine these allegations one at a time." (Patrick Moore, National Post)

"GM food: good for the Earth and our future" - "We hear a great deal about the possible detrimental effects of GM crops. This is invariably based on inadequate research that has been hyped to hysterical levels. Slowly but surely, however, the health and environment benefits of these crops are becoming obvious." (David Dennis, National Post)

June 20, 2002

"Sellafield 'increases cancer risk'" - "Children of men exposed to radiation while working at the Sellafield nuclear plant have twice the normal risk of developing certain types of cancer, research suggests." (BBC News Online)

"Fresh fears over mobile phones" - "A major study into the safety of mobile phones has concluded that they may affect the health of people who use them. Research carried out by scientists in Finland suggests radiation from mobile phones causes changes in the brain." (BBC News Online)

"WHO says second hand smoke does cause cancer" - "LYONS, FRANCE - There are new warnings for smokers from a respected agency of the World Health Organization based in Lyons, France. The International Agency for Research on Cancer says second-hand smoke is even deadlier than previously thought." (CBC News)

"Gulf War troops' brains 'damaged'" - "BRAIN scans on Gulf War veterans in the United States who are suffering from debilitating diseases may have resolved why 130,000 US and British servicemen and women complain of mystery illnesses. Research discovered that disabled veterans of the 1991 war suffered chemical changes in their brains, similar to the onset of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. The findings of the research, which have not yet been published, were revealed yesterday at the second day of a US congressional hearing into so-called Gulf War syndrome, being held in the Palace of Westminster. British veterans who were present looked shocked." (The Times)

"Overweight fliers will have to pay for two seats" - "AMERICA’S leading discount airline is to start charging larger passengers for two seats. Southwest Airlines’ announcement yesterday prompted cries of discrimination and threats of lawsuits. The company said that as of next Wednesday, what it coyly calls “persons of size” will have to pay for two seats if they cannot fit comfortably into one. Obesity support groups said that the problem was the size of Southwest’s seats, not the size of its passengers. They denounced the policy as “blatantly prejudiced” and gave warning that it would cause nothing but trouble for the domestic carrier." (The Times)

"Pesticide fear for fruit eaters" - "Strawberries and cream at Wimbledon next week could have an unlooked-for extra ingredient - an illegal pesticide. Government figures released yesterday showed that UK grown strawberries contained dicoful, which is not approved for use on these crops but can be used to kill aphids. It is similar to long banned DDT and is a suspected hormone disrupter, which can cause sexual abnormalities and cancer. Imported fruit and vegetables were also above legal limits, according to the pesticide residues committee. Organophosphate pesticides known to cause brain damage were found in grapes, starfruit, nectarines and peaches." (The Guardian)

"BBC News | HEALTH | High pesticide levels in popular fruit" - "Some of the most popular fruit and vegetables sold in the UK have traces of pesticide that exceed safety limits, experts have found. A report by the government's Pesticide Residues Committee also found eight chemicals that are not approved for use in the UK on some of the portions they examined. Of the 15 types of fruit and vegetables tested, 11 had pesticide residues in excess of the maximum recommended levels (MRL). These included strawberries, grapes, potatoes and mushrooms. However, writing in their quarterly report the experts said none of the residues was high enough to pose a risk to human health."

"Mounting fridge fiasco leaves Meacher cold" - "THE failure of the government to anticipate the "fridge mountain" fiasco has created a £40 million bill which could have been entirely avoided, MPs are saying today. Michael Meacher, the minister for the environment, stands accused by the Environment Committee of blindly signing Britain up to a Brussels policy which he did not fully understand. As a result of his confusion, the committee argues, Britain has been plunged into an unnecessary fiasco with fridges being stockpiled in fields because the government failed to provide facilities to destroy them." (The Scotsman)

"Record winter weather caused major economic impacts in the U.S." - "Unusual weather across most of the United States last winter created huge and generally positive impacts to the nation's struggling economy." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"US Senate climate warming hearing delayed until July" - "WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats said yesterday they would postpone a hearing on global warming until July, when Bush administration officials have promised to clarify if the president agrees with a recent report concluding that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities were the main cause of global warming." (Reuters)

"Smoke may be gumming up weather machine" - "Scientists tracking smoke from agricultural burning warn that it's more than an air-pollution nuisance. By changing the way water condenses from the atmosphere, it can affect Earth's weather machine in what Meinrat Andreae calls "strange and unpredictable ways." (The Christian Science Monitor)

From Hysterical Bob: "No Margin for Error" - "Global warming is already attacking the world's coral reefs and, if nothing is done soon, could begin a long-term assault on the vast West Antarctic Ice Sheet. If the ice sheet begins to disintegrate, the worldwide consequences over the next several centuries could well be disastrous." (New York Times)

"The aviation polluter should pay tax for greenhouse gas emissions, says Beckett" - "CALLS for an international tax on air fuel to penalise the aviation industry for causing greenhouse gases has been backed by Margaret Beckett." (The Times)

"California may make micro-pollution standards world's strictest - 6 20 2002 - ENN.com" - "LOS ANGELES — The California Air Resources Board will consider making the state's air quality standards for microscopic pollutants the world's strictest. But it could be at least a decade before technology allows those standards to be met."

"Charlotte Observer | 06 20 2002 | Easley to approve coal emissions restrictions" - "RALEIGH - Gov. Mike Easley today will sign into law new pollution restrictions on 14 aging coal-fired power plants, and environmental groups say the legislation will help save lives and reduce smog-related illness."

"Organic croppers cry ruin as all land is rated GM" - "NSW has quietly ruled out setting aside land to be kept free of genetically engineered crops, prompting complaints by organic and canola farmers that this could destroy their businesses. Exclusion zones received in-principle support at last month's meeting of the Gene Technology Ministerial Council, comprising state ministers, but the NSW Agriculture Minister, Richard Amery, has rejected them as "unrealistic." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"‘Pathetic’ buffer zones reopen GM debate" - "SCOTTISH ministers were last night urged to tighten the rules surrounding genetically modified crops after a company conducting trials in Belgium was ordered to destroy a trial field. The Aventis seed company, which also has trial sites in Scotland, was instructed by the Belgian government to rip up a research plot of oilseed rape as it was too close to other non-GM plants provoking fears of cross-fertilisation. Instead of being planted 1km away from non-GM oilseed rape, Aventis planted the genetically modified strain 880 metres away." (The Scotsman)

June 19, 2002

"Group wants stricter controls on plastics additive" - "TORONTO - An agency that looks at the safety of cosmetics has received a report on phthalates. They are the chemicals used to make plastic flexible. The report, by an environmental lobby group, says exposure to phthalates has increased substantially and governments have failed to look at the health risks." (CBC News)

"Plastic additive may be dangerous: health panel" - "WASHINGTON - They could be in your nail polish, your hair spray, your shower curtain or your wallpaper – and they could be dangerous. A review panel in Washington is looking into the effects of phthalates, a group of chemicals that are used to soften plastics." (CBC News)

"Opinions: ANGELA LOGOMASINI: Deploy DDT" - "Thirty years ago this month, the government launched an assault on a basic liberty - the liberty to protect one's own health using a pesticide. At that time, the Environmental Protection Agency banned the pesticide DDT. Fortunately for Americans, we had largely eradicated malaria here, but this affront to liberty produced deadly reverberations elsewhere." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"New study sheds light on frog malformations" - "The appearance of strange deformities in amphibian populations across the globe has been blamed on various culprits — from chemicals to parasites. But a new study in Wisconsin and Minnesota wetlands shows that ultraviolet radiation could be responsible for the freakish frogs." (American Chemical Society)

"EPA says toxic sludge is good for fish -- The Washington Times" - "The Army Corps of Engineers' dumping of toxic sludge into the Potomac River protects fish by forcing them to flee the polluted area and escape fishermen, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency document. The document says it is not a "ridiculous possibility" that a discharge "actually protects the fish in that they are not inclined to bite (and get eaten by humans) but they go ahead with their upstream movement and egg laying."

" Forecasters worry public losing trust" - " Meteorologists at Canada's national weather service say cuts to the service have made long-range forecasts difficult to predict, leading Canadians to cast doubt on their work and putting the profession's credibility in jeopardy." (National Post)

"El Niño Odds Shorten" - "Signs of a possible El Niño event have strengthened over the past month, making the continued development of an El Niño during winter and spring clearly more likely than not. This advice is based on the latest analysis by the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre and coincides with a general warning issued by the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva." (media release)

"Drought puts focus on wisdom of farming in the desert" - "SALT LAKE CITY — Farmers and politicians call Utah's fourth straight year of below-average snowpack a disaster. But a University of Utah political science professor who writes on Western water issues says that ignores a simple fact: Deserts are supposed to be dry. "It's a mistake to talk about the drought as a crisis," said Dan McCool. "We are always in a drought. That's the definition of a desert. It's ignoring that Utah is a desert that's causing the problem." (AP)

"NASA SATELLITE CONFIRMS URBAN HEAT ISLANDS INCREASE RAINFALL AROUND CITIES" - "NASA researchers have for the first time used a rainfall-measuring satellite to confirm that "urban heat-islands" create more summer rain over and downwind of major cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio and Nashville." (NASA/GSFC)

"NYT Foot in Mouth - Again!" - "The New York Times have repeated the debacle they suffered two years ago with their discredited `water at the North Pole' story, this time with a new story on alleged soaring Alaska temperatures." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Disasters waiting to happen" - "As the US finally concedes that global warming is happening, dramatic new data is emerging on the impact of "natural" disasters. Neither rich nor poor countries can escape. But the biggest question raised is for the developing world. After a decade of UN conferences designed to end poverty and save the world, disasters driven by global warming are causing catastrophe for the poor majority and political and economic insecurity for the rest." (Andrew Simms, The Guardian)

"The Aerial Fertilization Effect of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: Can We Make a Good Thing Even Better?" - "Summary: Humanity owes a huge debt of gratitude to the increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration that accompanied the planet's recovery from the last great ice age, as the CO2 increase single-handedly doubled the productivity of earth's plants. The biosphere's rejuvenation is not yet finished, however; for we stand today on the verge of even further productivity increases, due to the continuing upward trend in the air's CO2 content and the possibility of creating novel plant genotypes better adapted to take advantage of this most fortunate phenomenon." (co2science.org)

"Floods (Europe)" - "Summary: Climate alarmists are always claiming we will see more and larger floods in a warmer world. We here review some papers describing relevant studies in Europe to see if this claim has any merit." (co2science.org)

"Wind-Blown Sand on the Coast of France" - "Summary: During the coldest parts of the past 4000 years, strong and frequent wind storms created significant dune fields in France and many other European countries, while at the same time negatively impacting the people living there in a number of other ways. European Journal of Agronomy 10: 185-195." (co2science.org)

"SeaWiFS: Assessing the Climatic Significance of Aerosols" - " Summary: Out over the world's oceans, where aerosols are much better detected against the water's low-reflectivity surface, their radiative cooling influence is determined to be far larger than the radiative warming influence of all the CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere since the inception of the Industrial Revolution. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 59: 748-757" (co2science.org)

"New York settles for trees in idling trucks pact" - "NEW YORK - Six companies whose trucks, buses and vans have been cited as the most frequent violators of anti-pollution law against idling have agreed to plant 100 trees as part of a settlement with the New York State Attorney General's office, city officials said yesterday." (Reuters)

"AP Wire | 06 19 2002 | Landmark legislation on emissions reductions approved" - "RALEIGH, N.C. - Environmental groups praised new pollution restrictions on 14 aging coal-fired power plants that will undergo an estimated $2.3 billion in upgrades, saying the emissions controls will help save lives and reduce smog-related illness."

"Ministers afraid of car lobby, says MPs' report" - "The outspoken Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody will launch an onslaught on the Government today, claiming more than 2,000 people are needlessly killed in road accidents every year because ministers are afraid of the motoring lobby. In a scathing report, her Commons committee accuses the Government of being too preoccupied with favourable headlines to take tough action to combat speeding." (Independent)

"German onshore wind plant build seen peaking in 02" - "HAMBURG, Germany - The building of new onshore wind power plants in the world's No.1 market Germany is seen slowing over the next few years as suitable sites become harder to find and the market waits for offshore developments to take off, according to a new study presented yesterday." (Reuters)

"China to build plant to turn coal into oil products" - "WASHINGTON - U.S.-based Headwaters Inc. announced yesterday plans with Shenhua Group Corp. Ltd to build in China the world's first commercial plant to turn coal into diesel fuel and gasoline, a move that could help China reduce oil imports and cut pollution." (Reuters)

"'Fields of Gold': Science fiction" - "The Science Media Centre was accused of ugly tactics by 'The Guardian's Alan Rusbridger when it criticised his anti-GM TV drama, 'Fields of Gold'. The centre's director, Fiona Fox, was not impressed." (Independent)

"Ecological risks of GMOs come in unexpected ways, model shows" - "Introducing genetically modified organisms into wild populations holds a greater theoretical risk of extinction of natural species than previously believed, according to two Purdue University scientists." (Purdue University)

"Keep ministers away from GM debate" - "Public mistrust of the government could hold back understanding of genetically modified (GM) food, MPs have warned.  Government-funded independent research is needed to end confusion over conflicting scientific positions on GM crops. But ministers should be kept "at arm's length" from the findings as their position on the issue is not trusted, a committee of MPs has said. The MPs called for an independent panel of scientists to review research in an effort to raise the "quality" of public knowledge and fuel debate." (BBC News Online)

"Aventis told to destroy Belgian GMO field" - "BRUSSELS - The Belgian Health Ministry has told French-German drug company Aventis to destroy genetically-modified rapeseed on a Belgian field because of a risk of contamination to a field close by. A spokeswoman said yesterday that the ministry had made the request after Aventis failed to abide by certain conditions for planting the genetically-modified rapeseed. Under the rules, the rapeseed was to be planted 1,000 metres away from regular rapeseed fields, but this particular field was 880 metres away." (Reuters)

"China health ministry seeks opinions on GMO rules" - "SHANGHAI - China's Ministry of Health released a document yesterday to canvass opinions on its rules on genetically modified organisms (GMO) that will be implemented on July 1." (Reuters)

June 18, 2002

"My kingdom for a genetically altered, nuclear-powered horse" - "Like all complex systems, the environment does not take kindly to simple, linear thought. It happens that biotechnology is generally good for biodiversity. And nuclear power is generally good for the air, water and land. Who woulda thunk, listening to the Cassandra NGOs?" (Globe and Mail)

"Mercury rises as latest environmental worry" - "In the past, wreckers and junkyards didn't worry about these small amounts of mercury. But the prospect of the silvery-colored metallic element accumulating in riverbeds, lakes, and oceans has alarmed everyone from lawmakers to businesspeople to environmentalists." (The Christian Science Monitor)

From the wacky-world files: "Eco-warriors' invasion halts incinerator work" - "Environmental activists invaded and halted construction of a controversial incinerator yesterday. More than 100 eco-warriors, including Greenpeace campaigners, stormed the site. They climbed a crane, chained themselves to machinery and staging a protest on the roof of one building. One team of climbers set up camp in helicopter cargo nets suspended from the framework of the unfinished building." (Independent)

"Common bacteria kills elkhorn coral off Florida keys, says UGA research team" - "Populations of the shallow-water Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata, are being decimated by white pox disease. Losses of living elkhorn coral in the Florida Keys typically average 85 percent. A team of scientific investigators, led by researchers from the University of Georgia, has identified the common fecal enteric bacteria, Serratia marcescens, as the cause of white pox." (University of Georgia) | Sewage casts pox on reefs (NSU)

"Vancouver Sun - Unravelling mysteries of climate change" - "The emerging portrait of earth as a single complex ecosystem in which all its parts -- temperature, wind, vegetation, water -- are interconnected is forcing scientists to adopt new approaches to unravelling the mysteries of climate change. Researchers in different disciplines -- hydrology, atmosphere, ice sheets, oceanography -- have tried individually to figure out the cause of ice ages, for example, but are finding that only by working together can they fully understand the complexities and interactions. "They've all done their best, but no single community can explain it," explained Shawn Marshall, a geography professor at the University of Calgary who made a presentation on earth's climate extremes to about 400 people at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research conference in Victoria Sunday. "Climate is much more complex than anything people could engineer," he said in an interview."

"NAFTA agency sounds alarm on greenhouse gases" - "As top environmental officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico prepare to meet Tuesday to discuss global warming and the need for greater measures to protect the environment, a new report calls for urgent action to stem the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The study, prepared by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, is on top of the agenda for the annual meeting of ministers. It calls for "immediate action" to tackle harmful greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, about 35 percent of which is generated by North America's electricity sector." (Chicago Tribune)

"statesman.com | Opinion | Texas acted too fast by reducing speed limit" - "Since February, when speed limits in eight Houston-area counties began dropping from 70 to 55 mph, drivers throughout the area -- and those just passing through -- have bemoaned their loss of speed. Either that, or they've continued to drive at 70, while looking over their shoulders for cops. But Gov. Rick Perry appears to be holding a light at the end of this seemingly endless, miserable tunnel.

Last week, Perry was in Houston, hinting at the possibility of raising the speed limit back to 70, to the joy of many Houstonians and their neighbors. The governor mentioned the potential increase after ordering the Texas Department of Transportation to switch 75 percent of its vehicles from unleaded to cleaner-burning diesel fuel. This initiative is part of Houston's attempt to reduce ozone gas emissions -- which are exceptionally high -- to comply with Environmental Protection Agency clean air standards."

"EU to spend billion euros on nuclear power research" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission said yesterday it had approved spending of more than one billion euros on research into nuclear power over the next four years but was criticised by Greenpeace for wasting money. The European Union, trying to meet targets on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Treaty on reducing global warming, is devoting funds to nuclear research." (Reuters)

"Denmark seen extending wind power subsidies" - "COPENHAGEN - Denmark's government is close to sealing a deal on a surprise extension of a wind energy support scheme, government sources told Reuters yesterday." (Reuters)

June 17, 2002

"DDT: Malaria's answer in Africa?" - "To grasp the toll and terror of malaria in the world today, Harvard University's Amir Attaran offers a visual device: Imagine seven jumbo jets, each packed with women and children, crashing into the ground every day — day after day, year after year — adding up to more than 2 million deaths a year. Now imagine that many, if not most, of those deaths could have been prevented with limited use of DDT, the chemical insecticide that brings a grimace of revulsion, fear and horror at its mention." (The Washington Times)

"DDT and Chemophobia" - "This week marks the thirtieth anniversary of the unfortunate ban on DDT, and politicians are poised to make matters worse. In December 2000, there was a international conference in South Africa whose stated purpose was to finalize an internationally binding treaty to ban what was called the dirty dozen, the twelve POPs -- or persistent organochlorine pollutants -- including, of course, DDT. The U.S. Senate is now planning to ratify the final version of the resulting treaty. (See ACSH's press release about the DDT anniversary and impending POPs treaty.)" (Dr. Thomas R. DeGregori)

"We'd Better Keep Pesticides" - "On the thirtieth anniversary of the DDT ban, some reminders of why we need to kill pests." (Dr. Jerome Goddard)

"BBC News | HEALTH | 'Safer' mobile phones on horizon" - "A UK university has designed a mobile phone antenna which it says could cut radiation emissions into the body by up to 85%. Scientists from Loughborough University's Centre for Mobile Communications Research (CMCR) proved the antenna worked in laboratory tests. But it has yet to be tested as part of a phone, or in studies on people."

"Greenpeace founder branded 'eco-Judas' by his detractors" - "TORONTO - It's hard to avoid biblical references when discussing Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace co-founder who now gets paid by the biotech industry and other foes of the environmental organization. "Patrick Moore is an eco-Judas," said David Suzuki, who taught Moore genetics at the University of British Columbia and is one of Canada's best-known anti-biotech figures. Moore, an avowed agnostic, would rather think of himself as the apostle Paul, who converted to Christianity after railing against it for most of his life." (AP)

"Too many trees feed Colorado fires -- The Washington Times" - "DENVER - Severe drought, high winds and careless campers have all fueled the wildfires raging in Colorado, but Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth sees another problem. There are simply too many trees."

"Falling swift population blamed on 'better' roofs" - "From a hilltop village in the south of France to the south London suburbs, readers of The Independent have been asking the same question this damp and disappointing summer: "Where have all the swifts gone?"

The absence of the familiar wheeling clouds of birds has been vexing the letters page of this newspaper for the past two weeks. To ornithologists the explanation is clear and sadly familiar. Man is again to blame.

The swift population has declined by more than 75 per cent in 15 years, almost entirely because old buildings have been demolished and ancient roofs replaced." (Independent)

'Global warming' apparently makes forest grow too well: "asahi.com : Evolving side-by-side in the tropical forest" - "Tropical forests, teeming with all sorts of life, are an ideal place to study the cycles of life. But global warming seems to be having its effect on them, causing trees to grow too much. Growth should slow down as trees grow old, but they keep on growing, seeming as if stricken with a disease comparable to chronic human illnesses attributed to wrong patterns of daily habits. The phenomenon, Inamoto says, is probably due to the presence of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

"Advancing Glacier Threatens an Alaskan Fishing Village" - "YAKUTAT, Alaska, June 16 — Hubbard Glacier, one of the world's largest, is threatening the economic life of this tiny, predominantly Tlingit fishing village on the southeast Alaskan coast. Within days, the advancing glacier could block the outlet of Russell Fjord, a 30-mile-long habitat of porpoises, seals and salmon at the end of the Situk River." (New York Times)

"The unequal costs of Kyoto -- The Washington Times" - "There is general agreement that the Kyoto Protocol, rejected by the Bush administration as "fatally flawed," is ineffective in reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But debate is still ongoing about the cost of imposing mandatory caps on the emission of carbon dioxide, and thereby on fossil fuels that produce the energy needed for transportation, electric power generation and other uses. Caps translate to a stiff tax on gasoline and electric bills."

"Yahoo - Media Advisory - "None of the four options works.": CAPP Input to June 14th Workshop on Federal Climate Change Policy" - "CALGARY, June 14 /CNW/ - As part the federal government's cross-country stakeholder sessions on climate change policy (meeting today in Calgary), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is providing a technical overview of its key arguments. (To see the 13-page backgrounder, go to www.capp.ca and find the document reference on our home page.) This work-in-progress underlines industry's view that none of the four options laid out in the Federal Discussion Paper on Climate Change adequately addresses key issues such as competitiveness, investment confidence, regional and sectoral fairness, achievability of the Kyoto targets and consumer impacts."

"Scientists probe 'lazy gene' theory" - "Some people could be genetically predisposed to being lazy couch potatoes, according to scientists in Scotland. Researchers from the University of Glasgow have been studying thousands of Scottish schoolchildren to determine whether genetic factors cause inactivity and obesity." (BBC News Online)

"Scientists may be able to 'switch off' hay fever" - "Summer free of red-eyed, sneezing misery could be on the horizon after a breakthrough in finding the causes of hay fever. The findings, from a team led by Dr Brian Sutton at King's College London, could be good news for Britain's 12 million hay fever sufferers, as well as asthmatics and people with serious allergies to insect stings or certain foods. Current treatments only try to alleviate the symptoms of the body's allergic response." (Independent)

"Got Silk" - "This is a so-called ''transgenic farm'' -- a place where animal species are either cloned or genetically mixed to create medically useful substances -- owned and run by a firm named Nexia Biotechnologies. It is housed on a former maple-sugar farm in rural Quebec, not far from the remote hamlet of St.-Telesphore. Nexia's facility is one of only three transgenic farms in the world. (One of the company's rivals, PPL Therapeutics, runs the farm in Scotland that collaborated in the production of the famous sheep clone, Dolly.) Out here in this tough French-speaking farming country, however, hardly anybody gets worked up about the fact that on the old St.-Telesphore sugar farm, a new chapter in biotechnology is being written." (New York Times)

June 16, 2002

"Tools Gauging Blood Pressure Raise Questions" - "As mercury gauges in blood pressure cuffs are being replaced with newer devices, experts warn of unreliable readings and false diagnoses." (New York Times)

Hmm... "Revealed: more evidence to challenge the safety of MMR" - "Scientists have found new evidence to support fears that the MMR vaccine is causing children to develop autism and bowel disease, The Telegraph can reveal today. Specialists from Trinity College, Dublin, have detected the strain of measles virus used in the MMR jab in tissue samples from the inflamed intestines of 12 children, who each developed autism after receiving the injection." (Telegraph)

"Inquiry gives fresh hope to Gulf veterans" - "Compelling evidence that thousands of British troops who served during the Gulf war are dying prematurely and suffering debilitating illnesses because of exposure to a lethal cocktail of chemicals is to be put before a powerful commission of inquiry. Experts on war illnesses will tell a meeting in London of the US Congressional Subcommittee on National Security this week that there is now enough evidence to make a direct link between serving in the Gulf and physical and mental disability." (The Observer)

"Duluth News Tribune | 06 15 2002 | Warnings about contaminated waters rising" - "WASHINGTON - More American waters than ever before bore warnings against eating their contaminated fish last year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

It's not that there's more pollution, most scientists agree. Rather, states are doing a better job of checking for contaminated fish and warning the public.

Because pollutants build up in their bodies, the most likely fish to be affected are big, long-lived ones, especially fish that eat other fish. Among them are bass, grouper, red snapper, pike, swordfish, tuna and king mackerel.

According to data the EPA will announce next week, the number of miles of rivers with health advisories about fish consumption rose 33 percent from 2000 to 2001. Overall, one out of every seven miles of U.S. rivers last year bore a warning against eating one or more species of their fish."

"Lomborg Muzzled at Last?" - "OSLO -- In this week's cover story, Business Week lists the 50 most interesting "leaders at the forefront of change" in Europe. Among them are the Dane Bjørn Lomborg, who became world famous last year with the publication of The Sceptical Environmentalist. The best-selling story of the true state of the environment was met with high praise from influential newspapers and magazines from the Washington Post to The Economist and The Guardian. The scientific press has however been mostly critical, and the green movement up in arms." (Jan Arild Snoen, TCS)

"Now, in Alaska, Even the Permafrost Is Melting" - "ANCHOR POINT, Alaska, June 13 — To live in Alaska when the average temperature has risen about seven degrees over the last 30 years means learning to cope with a landscape that can sink, catch fire or break apart in the turn of a season." (New York Times)

"Scientists trapped in Antarctic" - "Authorities in South Africa say they are preparing to rescue more than 100 people - including 79 Russian scientists - whose ship is trapped by frozen seas in Antarctica. The German ship, named the Magdalena Oldendorff, was returning from a Russian research base on Antarctica's Princess Astrid coast, when thick ice blocked its escape route. A South African ship will leave Cape Town for Antarctica on Sunday to provide food and fuel to the stranded passengers. Argentine and Russian ice-breaking vessels are also expected to join the rescue attempt." (BBC News Online)

"BBC News | SCI TECH | GM crops: A bitter harvest?" - "GM food has been the subject of much debate and controversy. A new BBC Two series charts its history, including the first field trial and the first field trashers."

June 14, 2002

"Cloning Hype Offers False Hope" - "Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kans., and lifestyle maven Martha Stewart have a common problem this week—fly-by-night medical researchers." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Obese children developing adult diseases, doctors say" - "Childhood obesity has reached crisis levels, according to pediatricians, who say one in four Canadian children is obese. As a result, this generation of children is increasingly being diagnosed with maladies that 20 years ago surfaced only in adults, such as hardened arteries and high cholesterol. "We're seeing children and youths with high blood pressure, and we're seeing children with Type 2 diabetes," says Dr. Claire LeBlanc, chairwoman of a Canadian Pediatric Society committee on healthy living and activity." | 'Globesity' blamed on fast food, TV (National Post)

"Cancer strikes more young women than men" - "Young women are twice as likely as men in the same age group to be diagnosed with cancer, according to new Canadian research." (National Post)

Letter of the moment: "Climate change: the new bioterrorism" - "Sir--I write in sorrow in response to the uncritical science and anti-Americanism of your Nov 17 editorial. This is sadly the second occasion, the first being your unfortunate foray into genetic modification in agriculture, on which you have opted for ecochondria rather than the cautious assessment of environmental science and economics. I do not think your role is to engender mass sociogenic illness by proxy through using the term, bioterrorism, so disingenuously." (Philip Stott, The Lancet)

"Oil Corporations and the Destruction of the Climate" (PDF) - "Internationally active oil corporations can be economically profitable in the long term if they now invest in protecting the climate. This is the finding made by the study "Oil Corporations and the Destruction of the Climate", Greenpeace is publishing in Hamburg today. According to it oil corporations must channel their investment into renewable sources of energy instead of continuing to support oil and gas. Greenpeace is calling for oil corporations to face up to their responsibility to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases throughout the world much in the way that the industrialised nations have done in the Kyoto agreement on climate protection. Greenpeace's study proves that in technical terms business in energy can be successful using other sources of energy, and that the oil industry can do this financially." (Wuppertal Institute)

"Antarctic ice fringe 'melting faster'" - "US scientists say the floating fringes of the Antarctic ice sheet are melting faster than previous studies had suggested. They say the rate of melting is linked to the temperature of the surrounding seawater. They estimate that each 0.1 Celsius rise in sea temperature can increase the rate of melting by one metre annually. The scientists say their findings could have implications for the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)." (BBC News Online)

"Preserving options: Short-term action required to avoid long-term climate damage" - "The world still has a realistic chance of avoiding some, although not all, of the more disruptive effects of global warming, according to a new analysis. Doing so, however, will require substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2010, consistent with those required by the Kyoto Protocol, scientists from Princeton and Brown universities reported in the June 14 issue of Science." (Princeton University)

"US to relax air pollution rules for utilities" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration yesterday said it will relax costly air pollution rules when US utilities are repaired or expanded, triggering a storm of protest from environmental groups and some Democrats." | FACTBOX - Details of US utility pollution rule changes | NY to sue Bush Administration over utility rules (Reuters)

"UPDATE - House, Senate set for fight over energy bill" - "WASHINGTON - House Republicans this week vowed to overcome Senate Democrats' resistance and negotiate a final US energy bill that would open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil and gas drilling." (Reuters)

June 13, 2002

"Ohio Court OKs Suit Vs. Gun Makers" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated a lawsuit that Cincinnati filed against gunmakers in an attempt to recoup the cost of gun-related violence. The justices ruled 4-3 that an appeals court was wrong in dismissing the lawsuit and ordered the case back to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. Justice Francis Sweeney said Wednesday's ruling does not imply that Cincinnati will be successful in its lawsuit but that the city had enough facts to pursue its claims." (AP)

"Terrorist Roadmaps Courtesy of Uncle Sam" - "What did the FBI know of possible terrorist attacks before September 11? The CIA? The White House? President Bush's dog Spot? The media and Congress are demanding answers, and not without reason if the purpose is to try to ensure terrible mistakes aren't repeated.

But what if you knew that for years now the same "J'accusers" have jammed their fingers in their ears to keep out the pleas from the FBI, the Justice Department, and other law enforcement-agencies that we must not provide what they've called "terrorist roadmaps" for the sabotage of chemical plants to any Tom, Timothy, or Osama who requests them?" (Michael Fumento, NRO)

"European Union Takes Aim at U.N. Food Summit" - "ROME - The European Union took a swipe at a United Nations World Food Summit Wednesday, accusing the organizers of trying to build an empire rather than tackling the real problem of hunger. The outspoken comments by the EU's Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson added to growing complaints about the handling of the four-day meeting that was intended to give impetus to a 1996 pledge to halve world hunger by 2015. "It is high time that the international community showed a minimum of realism when addressing these issues, and this I think is missing when we listen to the noise coming out of this meeting," Nielson told Reuters on the sidelines of the summit." (Reuters)

The UN? Empire building? International community demonstrates minimal realism? Gasp!

"Revisiting Sustainable Development Concept; Environmentalists worldwide march under banner of idea that is, in fact, flawed" - "IT's hard to contest the virtues of sustainable development, the banner under which environmentalists march these days: it's good for the planet, it's ethically correct, and it's now irreversibly rooted in the policies of the industrial world. However, since we shall have our brains washed with the concept over the coming weeks with the Johannesburg Earth Summit, it behoves us to treat it with caution. Not least of the many problems associated with it is that it does not brook dissent: sustainable development is so self-evidently "good" that it escapes rigorous scrutiny." (Business Day (Johannesburg))

"Silent Spring at 40; Rachel Carson’s classic is not aging well" - "The modern environmentalist movement was launched at the beginning of June 1962, when excerpts from what would become Rachel Carson’s anti-chemical landmark Silent Spring were published in The New Yorker. "Without this book, the environmental movement might have been long delayed or never have developed at all," declared then-Vice President Albert Gore in his introduction to the 1994 edition. The foreword to the 25th anniversary edition accurately declared, "It led to environmental legislation at every level of government." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Pollution may worsen African droughts - scientists" - "LONDON - Pollution in North America and Europe may have disrupted weather patterns and contributed to severe droughts in poor African countries." (Reuters) | African droughts "triggered by Western pollution" (New Scientist) | Revealed: how the smoke stacks of America have brought the world's worst drought to Africa (Charles Arthur, Technology Editor, Independent)

Something the model suggests occurs due to, ahem, cooling the north (where it's alleged warming has occurred), thus driving the tropical rain belt southwards. Anyway, warming, cooling or both, it's our fault. Just love the way The Indy's Charlie Arthur, supposedly reporting on the New Scientist piece, managed to get from 'Western (North American and European) pollution' to 'smoke stacks of America.'

From Stephen 'Ice Age' Schneider, et al: "Two years to save the world; Fighting global warming would barely dent the world's economy" - "PEOPLE will be five times as rich in a hundred years' time. And if we are willing to postpone that prosperity by just two years, we could fix global warming into the bargain.

That's the startling conclusion of leading US climate scientist Stephen Schneider and Swedish energy economist Christian Azar, who are about to publish a bruising assault on the Bush administration's claims that international plans to curb climate change would cripple the US and world economies.

"The wild rhetoric about enslaving the poor and bankrupting the economy to do climate policy is fallacious, even if one accepts the conventional economic models," Schneider told New Scientist. He says the economic arguments need to be put in context, and called on climate scientists to take a tougher stand against the doom-mongers who say action would be too costly." (New Scientist)

"Canberra Times - Past changes don't point to the future" - "CLIMATIC and sea-level changes in the recent geologic past were even more rapid than forecast under global greenhouse, according to evidence from the Greenland ice cap and other parts of the world. Moreover, there is evidence that plants and animals adjusted to these changes, which occurred not once but repeatedly throughout at least the last million years, with little loss of species."

"Editorial | A report in the hand..." - "Is worth little to Bush, especially if it's an EPA study he disagrees with." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Editorial | Blaming the Bureaucracy" - "POOR PRESIDENT Bush. First his own campaign staff thoughtlessly included atmosphere-warming carbon dioxide in a list of power plant pollutants he promised to seek to control through mandatory caps if elected. When EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman took that commitment seriously and cited it as part of the administration's response to global warming, there was a howl of protest from coal and other industry interests. Mr. Bush made a quick about-face, saying such controls would be too costly for energy consumers, and a spokesman said campaign aides had made a mistake. Now it's "the bureaucracy" that has produced a report acknowledging the human contribution to climate change and detailing possible damage to the United States." (Washington Post)

"EPA Chief Not Told About U.S. Climate Change Report" - "WASHINGTON - Christine Todd Whitman, the top U.S. environmental regulator, said on Wednesday she was not told in advance about a controversial Bush administration report that concluded greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activities were the primary cause of global warming. The report caused a stir last week among environmentalists because it appeared to put the administration on the side of many scientists who believe that vehicle emissions and pollution from power plants and oil refineries were to blame for rising global temperatures." (Reuters)

"Score one for bureaucracy!" - "BUREAUCRATS have been mugged at every political intersection, staggering toward their next beating as ambulances refuse to stop because no one can stop the bleeding. They have been called ''parasites'' by Thomas Jefferson, ''fifth-rate men'' by Henry Adams, and ''pygmies'' by Honore de Balzac. John F. Kennedy said dealing with bureaucracy is ''like trying to nail jelly to the wall.'' That makes bureaucrats either spineless jellyfish or seedless grapes incapable of germinating thought." (Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe)

"Report Highlights Dams' Role in Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON, Jun 11 (IPS) - Dams and their reservoirs are significant sources of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, contrary to hydropower industry assertions, environmentalists said Tuesday. Industry groups have described dams as "climate-friendly" because they are unlike coal-powered energy plants, which emit large amounts of the air pollutants that most scientists believe cause global warming. However, a growing body of scientific evidence refutes those assertions, said the International Rivers Network (IRN), a U.S.-based anti-dam group, in its report, "Flooding the Land, Warming the Earth." (Inter Press Service)

"The Sierra Club Singles Out Ford's Chief in New Campaign" - "DETROIT - The Sierra Club introduced an advertising campaign yesterday that ties fuel economy to patriotism and calls for action by William Clay Ford Jr., the chairman and chief executive of the Ford Motor Company, who was once viewed by the group as an ally." (New York Times)

"Organic scandal halts Germany's green revolution" - "Prince Charles gives his backing to Schröder's beleaguered farming policy in an effort to restore consumer confidence in green products" (The Guardian)

"Animal rights campaign in US 'exported from Britain'" - "Almost all the most violent and disruptive animal rights activism in the US has been imported from Britain, north America's biggest biotechnology conference heard yesterday. Frankie Trull, president of the US Foundation for Biomedical Research, told the BIO 2002 meeting in Toronto that the British government had been too slow to act. She said animal rights activism came to the US from Britain in the 1970s and continued to cross the Atlantic today in the form of the "vicious ongoing campaign" against US institutions that supported Huntingdon Life Sciences." (Financial Times)

"Europe deterred by cost of certifying non-GMO meal" - "AMSTERDAM - European buyers are interested in soymeal free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) but balk at paying higher prices for the full certification process, industry sources said yesterday. Supermarket chains such as Britain's Tesco and France's Carrefour have been pioneers in selling meat raised without GMOs, with soymeal the biggest component of animal feed. But many food companies are now seeking to allay European consumers' fears about GMO foods by buying soymeal from Brazil, where GMO crops are illegal, without going through a strict and more expensive certification process." (Reuters)

"Limited federal allergy research funds spent on food biotechnology" - "The science needed for government regulators to assess allergies in genetically engineered foods could be greatly improved, according to a new report issued today from the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology." (The Pew Charitable Trusts)

"'Frankenfood' Activists Failed to Scare the Public" - "TORONTO - What happened? That's what dazed and confused anti-biotech activists gathered at BIO 2002 in Toronto must be asking themselves in light of information showing that more transgenic crops than ever are being planted in North America.

Just two years ago, a gleeful scholar at the Worldwatch Institute in the United States declared in an International Herald-Tribune op-ed that, "After four years of supercharged growth, American farmers are expected to reduce their planting of genetically engineered seeds by as much as 25% in 2000 as spreading public resistance staggers the once high-flying biotech industry."

Dust off your crystal ball, guy. Biotech plantings actually increased in North America in 2000. And like a certain pink bunny, they just keep on going and going." (Michael Fumento, National Post)

"Patagonia's Poor Posture" - "BOZEMAN, Mont. -- PBS recently ran a reality show called "Frontier House." Here's the storyline: Three families re-create the life of homesteaders in Montana in 1883. Russ Roberts describes it on his new web site:

"There's not much time for nature walks in 1883 Montana. Today, we tend to romanticize nature. Nature in 1883 turns out to be an enemy as often as it is an ally… After watching the families struggle… you learn what really made life difficult in 1883—the amount of time and effort it took to stay alive in a rural setting of near self-sufficiency. A good chunk of the rest of the world still lives that way…"

In a strange twist, many environmentalists and the elites from rich nations are working hard to stop scientific and biotechnological innovations - ensuring that the world's poor continue to live in squalor. The outdoor-clothing manufacturer Patagonia is a prime example." (Pete Geddes, TCS)

"Biotech sector urged to focus on problems of poor countries" - "The biotechnology sector must develop drugs and crops that address problems in the developing world, and work more closely with non- governmental organisations, if its growing international presence is not to provoke a backlash, according to an industry leader. Carl Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organisation, said the sector needed to develop "its first foreign policy" if it was not to be dragged into a growing number of ethical and social controversies." (Financial Times)

"Prince's GM fears are 'hysteria'" - "Prince Charles' fears over GM crops have been challenged by a leading scientist as symptomatic of the "hysteria" surrounding the subject.  Professor Patrick Bateson, vice president of the Royal Society, told the BBC that he saw "no evidence" that genetically modified crops were causing environmental damage. But campaigner Dr Sue Mayer argued there was a "conflict" between organic farmers and GM crop testing. They were responding to the Prince's calls for GM research companies to be made liable for harming the environment." (BBC News Online) | Prince Charles 'fuelling GM hysteria' (The Guardian)

June 12, 2002

"Thirtieth Anniversary of Misguided Ban on DDT — Without This Pesticide, Millions Die of Malaria, Says Health Group; Senate To Extend Ban" - "New York, NY—June 2002. With the thirtieth anniversary of the DDT ban upon us, the Senate is concluding consideration of a treaty that will ban DDT use worldwide — a policy that condemns millions of poor children to death.

The Senate's consideration of the treaty, notes the American Council on Science and Health, falls close to the thirtieth anniversary of one of the most tragic public health decisions in history: the Environmental Protection Agency's original ban on DDT, a powerful and inexpensive pesticide." (ACSH) [See also ACSH's full report on DDT]

"Assam warns of malaria epidemic - The Times of India" - "GUWAHATI: Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from malaria in Assam where 73 people had died of the disease in the past six weeks, a health official said on Tuesday. Officials said that the disease assumed epidemic proportions after a prolonged spell of heavy rain that created vast pools of stagnant water and provided a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which spread malaria. "At least 400,000 people tested positive," B K Baishya, Assam's chief malaria control officer, said in Guwahati."

Hey lookit! Phil's on about evil chemicals again: "The Nando Times: Pediatrician links industrial chemicals to childhood disorders" - "WASHINGTON - Learning disabilities and certain cancers are on the rise in children leading at least one pediatrician to surmise that pesticides and industrial chemicals might be to blame. But Dr. Phillip Landrigan's theory is being sharply criticized by industry representatives who say it lacks scientific support."

"No evidence that MMR vaccine is associated with autism or bowel disease" - "There is no evidence that MMR or single measles vaccines are associated with autism or inflammatory bowel disease, researchers announced today." (BMJ)

"Canadians need big vitamin D supplements: study" - "CALGARY - A new study says Canadians aren't getting enough bone-building vitamin D from sunshine, so people should be taking more vitamin D supplements to prevent brittle bones. A survey by the Canadian Medical Association has found people living in northern latitudes don't get enough sunshine which helps make vitamin D." (CBC News)

"E.U. Parliament backs broad ban on animal testing" - "STRASBOURG, France — The European Parliament voted Tuesday to ban cosmetics tested on animals, a move European Union governments say could lead to a global trade dispute. The European assembly decided not only to back a ban on testing within the 15-nation bloc but also to stop imports of all products tested on animals abroad." (Reuters)

"Environmentalists Win Bombing Lawsuit" - "OAKLAND, Calif., June 11 — Twelve years after they were accused of carrying a bomb that exploded in their car, two Earth First environmentalists were awarded $4.4 million in a federal civil suit contending that their rights had been violated by the local and federal officers who arrested them." (The New York Times)

"Dino heatwave recorded in leaves" - "Fresh evidence to show an impact from space lay behind the demise of the dinosaurs has been published by scientists. The researchers say analysis of fossil leaves from 65 million years ago shows there was a sudden and dramatic rise in carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. Only the impact of a large asteroid, vaporising billions of tonnes of limestone rocks, could have released so much gas so quickly into the environment, they believe." (BBC News Online)

"The Nando Times: Scientists drilling Alaska's depths to research climate" - "CHITINA, Alaska (June 10, 2002 11:45 a.m. EDT) - Seeking clues into Alaska's climate change since prehistoric times and how it might relate to recent global warming, an international scientific team spent the past month drilling deep into ancient ice high in the mountains. Working from a camp perched in a spectacular 15,000-foot-high saddle between Mount Bona and Mount Churchill, glaciologists from Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University have so far extracted cores from a hole drilled more than 1,500 feet into the unnamed glacier."

"Ice cores show volcanic eruptions interfere with the effect of sunspots on global climate" - "University at Buffalo scientists working with ice cores have solved a mystery surrounding sunspots and their effect on climate that has puzzled scientists since they began studying the phenomenon." (University at Buffalo)

"The Nando Times: U.S. to increase funding for global climate monitors" - "GENEVA, Switzerland  - The Bush administration announced new policy and funding initiatives Tuesday to advance the development of a single integrated global climate observing system to collect and share data on climate, including placement of thousands of high-tech buoys to monitor the oceans."

"Does the Sun Control Everything Climatic?" - "Summary: New evidence of the power of the sun to set the agenda for climate change on earth should give everyone pause to "look before they leap" into the mindless morass of the Kyoto Protocol." (co2science.org)

"Holocene (Solar Effects on Climate)" - "Summary: All sorts of palaeoenvironmental data demonstrate that the millennial-scale climatic oscillation that has reverberated throughout the Holocene has been driven by similar-scale variations in solar activity. Hence, it is abundantly clear that such mini-climatic epochs as the Roman Warm Period, Dark Ages Cold Period, Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age - as well as the Modern Warm Period - have come to us courtesy of periodic phenomena originating in the sun." (co2science.org)

"Carbon Sequestration by a Subarctic Sedge Fen" - "Summary: Will northern peatlands release massive amounts of carbon to the atmosphere if the temperature trend of the past century ultimately returns the earth to a climatic condition similar to that of the Medieval Warm Period? Climate alarmists would have you think yes; but if you did ... you'd be thinking wrong." (co2science.org)

"A 12,000-Year Record of Climate Change in Australia" - "Summary: Oh, for the good old days ... of the mid-Holocene. Journal of Paleolimnology 27: 207-219." (co2science.org)

"The Greenland Ice Sheet is Melting!" - "Summary: From beneath, that is. Science 294: 2338-2342." (co2science.org)

"Carbon Sequestration in Marine Communities" - "Summary: The preservation and proper management of coastal marshes may well be a policy goal about which all environmentally-minded people concerned - or not concerned - about the possibility of CO2-induced global warming could agree. Limnology and Oceanography 47: 11-22." (co2science.org)

"Governor's Task Force Is Divided on Plans to Reduce Greenhouse Gases" - "ALBANY, June 11 — Gov. George E. Pataki's task force on global warming is weighing ambitious recommendations for reducing greenhouse gases, ideas that go far beyond what any other state has done. But the task force is divided over those proposals, as are administration officials, who say that some of them could survive to become state policy, while others clearly will not. The recommendations were drafted by a consulting firm, not by the task force the governor appointed last year, which has been unable to achieve unanimity on any of the issues. A member of the task force who favors the recommendations gave a copy to The New York Times.

"Boston Globe Online Health | Science Cooling the Earth" - "The hot new field in engineering is breathtaking in its ambition. These so-called ''geo-engineers'' want nothing less than to turn down the Earth's temperature by altering the chemistry of the air, soaking up and storing away carbon dioxide that prevents heat on the planet surface from dissipating into space. The payoff would be extraordinary, too. If ''carbon sequestration'' works, it could allow governments to head off the worst effects of global warming without sacrificing all the sport-utility vehicles and other fossil-fuel-burning staples of modern life that are causing a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the first place. So, scientists around the globe are engaged in intriguing, if bizarre, experiments to get rid of a gas once thought of as harmless - genetically engineering plants to absorb more carbon, learning to grow ocean plankton blooms that will do the same, and looking for places on the ocean floor or depleted oil wells where carbon could be stored virtually forever."

"Curb on Gas Emissions Is Stalled in California" - "DETROIT, June 11 — A bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles has stalled in the California State Assembly, the latest legislative setback for environmental groups." (The New York Times)

"Balloons burst ozone myths" - "Half the ozone over the Atlantic would be there without us" (NSU)

"U.N. slammed for distributing GM corn in Guatemala" - "GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan environmental activists slammed the United Nations Tuesday for distributing genetically engineered corn to drought-hit peasants in the Central American nation through its World Food Program (WFP). Environmental group Madre Selva said U.S. laboratory tests on a sack of UN-distributed corn it acquired in eastern Guatemala detected genetically modified varieties, which some scientists fear could be unsafe for human consumption. Genetic ID, the Iowa laboratory that performed the tests, confirmed to Reuters the sample contained three products engineered by U.S. companies but banned from use in the European Community, where opposition to so-called ''Frankenfoods'' is strongest." (Reuters)

"Prince warns of GM crop 'threat'" - "Prince Charles has called for GM research companies to be made liable for damage caused to the environment. He warned that policymakers had their priorities wrong and said people should realise humans, wildlife and the land were inextricably linked. The Prince said the emphasis seemed to be on backing GM crop research "which, regardless of any possible environmental threat, certainly pose an acute threat to organic farmers". His criticisms came in a wide-ranging speech in the German city of Lubeck after accepting the 2002 Euronatur Award for his efforts to protect the environment. The Prince discussed the threat of GM research on organic farming, depleting fish stocks in the North Sea and the use of "nasty" plastic corks in wine bottles." (BBC News Online) | Prince challenges Blair over his GM crop policy (The Times)

"Nature Biotechnology on Environmental Impact Of GM Crops; ‘No compelling scientific arguments that GM crops are innately different from non-GM crops" says UK ‘s John Innes Centre" - "The June 2002 issue of Nature Biotech confronts the issue of the impact on the environment of GM crops. In three papers and the leader it recognises that although an acreage the size of Spain has been planted with GM crops without serious fallout, nevertheless public fears are only going to be allayed if the agbio industry comes up with new methods to improve containment." (content-wire.com)

"San Francisco Chronicle - Biotech group considers policy for poor nations Goals include new treatments for diseases in developing countries" - "Toronto -- Biotech leaders are considering whether to create an industry "foreign policy" that would foster the development of medicines for the world's poorest people, as well as enable Third World nations to profit when foreign scientists use folk remedies as the starting point for new drugs.

Those were among the ideas discussed Monday as scientists and financiers from North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim gathered in Toronto for the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual conference.

"Our industry needs to formulate its first foreign policy, one which is cognizant of the miserable judgments and mistakes of other industries and avoids them," BIO President Carl Feldbaum said in a luncheon address."

June 11, 2002

"Scientists look for link between formula, Type I diabetes" - "TORONTO - Health Canada is contributing $10 million towards an international study on whether there's a link between cow's milk and Type I diabetes. Type I diabetes is caused by an abnormal autoimmunity that destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is usually diagnosed in children and affects 200,000 Canadians who require daily insulin injections. Years of research have pointed to an association between drinking cow's milk in baby formula and the development of Type I diabetes in animals, but the studies in humans have been inconclusive." (CBC News)

"Treating bacterial infections can help asthmatics" - "New research indicates that many patients with asthma may have bacterial infections in their lungs, and that treatment with antibiotics can improve their ability to breathe. Researchers report in the June issue of the journal Chest that 31 of 55 chronic, stable asthmatics showed evidence of infection with mycoplasma or chlamydia bacteria. After six weeks of treatment with the antibiotic clarithromycin, these patients demonstrated clinically significant improvements in their lung function." (National Jewish Medical and Research Center)

"Newsday.com - Scientists Fight to Save Antibiotics" - "WASHINGTON -- The ad shows a tantalizing glimpse of gold inside a treasure chest. No, not a pirate's doubloon: The message is that antibiotics are one of the nation's great treasures and it's everybody's responsibility -- not just doctors' -- to make sure they keep working. With more bacteria becoming immune to leading antibiotics, worried federal scientists are preparing new measures to try to save the drugs -- ranging from nationwide ad campaigns that will urge patients to do their part to rules that may make it tougher to sell antibiotics for livestock."

"Revised Cumulative Risk Assessment For Organophosphate Pesticides Released For Review; Public Meetings Scheduled" - "WASHINGTON, June 10 -- The Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a revised assessment of the cumulative risks of organophosphate pesticides, and is making the document available for public comment and scientific peer review of the methodologies used in its development." (U.S. Newswire)

"Newsday.com - In review of 30 pesticides, EPA says only two are dangerous" - "WASHINGTON -- After reviewing the safety of one group of pesticides, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that only two of the 30 pose unreasonable health risks by acting together as cumulative poisons. "It certainly gives us a high level of confidence in the safety of the food supply," EPA Assistant Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, who oversees the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said in an interview with The Associated Press."

"Demonizing Drink" - "If every night is party night on college campuses, a new study suggests more than just a hangover awaits students who drink. Over 1,400 students are killed annually because of their alcohol use, charge researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health. Their report, published in the Journal of Alcohol Studies and promoted by the federal National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, also claims that over 600,000 students a year are assaulted by other students who have been drinking. Additionally, over 70,000 are the victims of sex assaults or date rapes in similar circumstances. These are worrying figures, indeed. But they do not stand up to close scrutiny." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Cleaner off-road diesel vehicles may save 8,500 lives - report" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration should adopt tough federal pollution emission standards for bulldozers, farm tractors and other off-road diesel vehicles to prevent 8,500 premature deaths and 180,000 asthma attacks each year, state and local environmental regulators said in a report released yesterday." (Reuters)

"Air pollution a significant health risk for Canadians" - "OTTAWA - An air quality expert with Health Canada says studies need to be done on the long-term effects of air pollution. Dr. Dave Stieb says evidence shows air pollution can cause a variety of serious illnesses in the short term. Stieb says air pollution is a significant health risk for Canadians." (CBC News)

"EU Energy Ministers Dilute Biofuels Measure" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 10, 2002 - European Union energy ministers have scaled back the first part of a European Commission plan to increase the use of agricultural biofuels in transport as a means of combating climate change. Meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, the council said proposed minimum targets for achieving market penetration should be indicative and optional rather than mandatory." (ENS)

"Fallacy of More Renewables" - "Renewable sources of energy are greatly misunderstood in public debate.

One misunderstanding is the idea that having more renewables supply our energy needs in the next decade or two is necessarily a public good. A second mistaken notion is that renewable energy sources can support the energy needs of a vibrant global economy without significant political, economic, or social costs. Perhaps the most serious misunderstanding is that "clean and renewable" energy resources such as biomass (e.g. ethanol), fuel cell, wind, solar, and geothermal can be exploited easily and freely sustained without tremendous costs to other resources." (Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"Mythical Madness" - "LONDON -- The other day, a somewhat irascible environmental correspondent who writes for one of the UK's more liberal bien pensant broadsheet newspapers demanded to know why I was so against the idea of 'global warming' and the Kyoto Protocol. "It seems you are in favour of pollution," he averred somewhat disparagingly (and, though left unsaid, that I was in favour of America, too, a much greater sin). I replied at length, but as simply as possible, producing my own broadside against the Kyoto Protocol and the dangers of the myth of "global warming." I reproduce the core of this Manifesto here, in the hope that others might find it of use to explain precisely why ratifying the Kyoto Protocol would be such a serious mistake." (Philip Stott, TCS Europe)

"New Way Upcoming To Test Climate Change Predictions" - "A team led by UK Royal Holloway geologist Dr. Michal Kucera will map sea-surface temperature of the Mediterranean over past millennia. The data will provide a new target to test the computer models on which our predictions of climate change are based." (UniSci)

"The greening of the North: Real, and caused by climate change" - "Twenty years of satellite observations have indicated a "greening" trend in northern regions of the northern hemisphere (boreal regions). Scientists at Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC) in Jena, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Lund University, Boston University and Le Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l'Environnement (LSCE), Paris, have developed an advanced global ecosystem model showing that the trend is just as would be expected due to the warming climate (Science 31st May 2002)." (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft)

"Funds cut 'crazy' in view of Kyoto pact" - "A surprise official funding decision has axed world-leading research into the rate at which trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air.

The chief executive of the Forest Industries Council, James Griffiths, said the decision was absolutely crazy in view of the Government's decision in April to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which requires measuring carbon absorbed by forest "sinks" to offset the country's obligations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars and industry." (New Zealand Herald)

"Dangerous waters" - "The world now faces two imminent nuclear threats. The first is the stand-off between India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers vacillating on the brink of war. The second arises from a commercial deal between the United Kingdom and Japan." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

"US offers new grants for nuclear power research" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration gave another boost to the U.S. nuclear power industry yesterday by launching a program of university grants to encourage reactor research." (Reuters)

"Biotech aids farmers, study suggests" - "TORONTO (June 10, 2002 8:41 p.m. EDT) - Genetically modified crops have increased yields, lowered farmers' production costs and prevented the use of millions of pounds of pesticides and herbicides, a study released Monday says. Critics of such crops - which include corn, soybeans and cotton - have argued that biotechnology does not improve the bottom line for farmers, said study author Leonard Gianessi, of the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, a non-profit research organization in Washington, D.C. "It does and it has," Gianessi told a news conference during the annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization or BIO." (UPI Science News)

"Cities and States Clamor to Be Bio Town, U.S.A." - "TORONTO, June 10 — Michigan is spending $1 billion to create a "life sciences corridor." St. Louis bills itself as the BioBelt, while Hawaii boasts of its biodiversity. Cities and states across the United States are committing billions of dollars to become centers of the biotechnology industry, just as they once tried to attract computer and microchip companies to emulate Silicon Valley." (New York Times)

"Two major reports highlight the globalization of biotechnology and the battle within the U.S. for regional supremacy" - "Two new reports paint the most detailed portraits yet of the increasing globalization of the biotech industry and the growing competition between U.S. metropolitan areas to become centers of bio-activity.

A global study produced by Ernst & Young and a metropolitan report from the Brookings Institution are being unveiled as thousands of biotech executives, scientists and financiers from around the world gather in Toronto for the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual convention through Wednesday.

As the industry's largest trade event, the BIO conference has also become a magnet for biotech critics, who rallied over the weekend to protest the genetic engineering of foods and animals, research that could lead to biological weapons, the high costs of patented medicines and other issues.

Inside the Toronto Convention center, however, the two reports catered to the notion that biotechnology is becoming the next big industrial thing." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Greenpeace founder defends biotech; His former allies call him a tool of industry" - "Toronto -- Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace activist turned industry booster, opened a biotechnology conference here Sunday by blasting his former colleagues, while one of Canada's most respected environmental figures retorted by calling Moore an "industry hack." (San Francisco Chronicle)

June 10, 2002

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | US moves Gulf war hearing to London" - "The US Congress is to hold an unprecedented hearing in Westminster next week to take evidence from British sufferers of Gulf war syndrome, as President Bush prepares for the possibility of renewing the war against Iraq. The congressional subcommittee on national security, veterans' affairs and international relations is to hold an all-day hearing in parliament's new building, Portcullis House, as part of a renewed investigation into undiagnosed illnesses which have affected 5,000 of 52,000 British troops sent to the Gulf in 1990. It is said to be the first time a congressional committee has held a hearing in parliament."

"Study disputes oil well smoke, Gulf War illness link" - "NEW YORK - Available scientific evidence does not support a link between the long-term health problems experienced by some Gulf War veterans and exposure to smoke from Kuwaiti oil fires, US military scientists report. "Since returning from the Gulf War in August 1991, some of the nearly 700,000 US military personnel who served in the Gulf have reported a wide range of symptoms that have been difficult to classify," according to Tyler C. Smith of the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, California and colleagues." (Reuters Health)

"Scientists find rogue gene that starts off skin cancer" - "Scientists have identified a single genetic "spelling mistake" that leads to malignant melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer that kills more than 1,600 people per year in Britain alone. Researchers say that the mutation, which makes skin cells grow out of control, is so clear-cut that drugs are already being designed to block the action of the defective gene. The discovery is also significant because it is the first fruit of the £36 million Cancer Genome Project, the world's largest cancer genetics study, which has been under way for two years at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, near Cambridge." (Telegraph)

"Study links night lighting to risk of breast cancer" - "Artificial night lighting may contribute to breast cancer because it interrupts evolutionary sleep patterns, according to research presented yesterday at an international breast conference." (National Post)

Some items are simply irresistible: "Local inventor's process may produce clean air, clean water for all - The Tennessean - Sunday, 06 09 02" - "Vanderbilt children's neurologist and inventor Robert Holcomb may be, in the words of one university official, the Thomas Edison of our age. Holcomb and a lot of other people think he has solved a scientific riddle whose answer could reduce the United States' dependence on Middle Eastern oil, keep industrial poisons out of America's back yards, and turn the oceans into drinking water for dry, poor countries. He has invented a chemical process that would allow power companies to burn coal without spewing pollution into the air. The same process, changed somewhat, preserves lumber without using toxic chemicals that are being banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. With another change, it makes gasoline burn more cleanly, he said; change it again, and it purifies sea water that would destroy ordinary filters."

Later in the article:

He's still working on the idea and believes that one day it will work. The same goes for his pain-relieving magnets, which also became the focus of a court battle.

Isn't it wonderful to 'know' are problems are all so well 'solved'?

"Gore slams Bush for refusing global climate report" - "MADISON, Wis. - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore on the weekend criticized President George W. Bush for refusing to accept a federal agency report that blames humans for global warming." (Reuters)

"Flips, flops and facts on warming -- The Washington Times" - "Sure was big news on June 3 when the Bush administration released the "Climate Action Report 2002," a document describing the effects of climate change on the United States in coming decades. It appeared to be a remarkable change in policy, espousing gloom and doom global-warming scenarios that President Bush has studiously eschewed for years. Within 24 hours, though, Mr. Bush dismissed it as a "report put out by the bureaucracy," which it was, and "revowed" his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. The problem is that the core of the Climate Action Report was produced by the wrong administration. Chapter 6, the section on climate change effects on the U.S., is largely an outtake from the "U.S. National Assessment" (USNA) of global warming, a politically inspired document rushed to publication some 10 days before the 2000 presidential election."

"NYPOST.COM Post Opinion: Editorials: THE EPA'S HOT AIR" - "It was reported last Monday that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had notified the United Nations that America now accepts the notion that global warming is real - and that it is caused by human activity. Next stop, the Kyoto Protocol? Happily, it appears not: President Bush quickly dismissed the report. The protocol, meant to reduce industrial use of cost-efficient "greenhouse" gases, is a blueprint for economic catastrophe."

"Majority of Canadians support Kyoto: poll" - "OTTAWA - A new poll has found that 67 per cent of Canadians surveyed support ratification of the Kyoto accord on fighting global warming. Only 19 per cent of those asked oppose the treaty, which would compel more than 150 countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ekos Research Associates conducted the poll for CBC, Radio Canada, and the newspapers the Toronto Star and La Presse." (CBC News)

"Power grid goes green at brand name prices" - "Ontarians will have the option to buy environmentally friendly power by the end of the year. But its purveyors have a tall order in convincing customers to palm over more money for exactly the same juice. "People think of electricity as a no name product, but we're trying to change that," says Jason Edworthy, executive director of marketing for Calgary-based Vision Quest Windelectric Ltd., which already supplies Albertans with green power, the only province where it's currently available." (National Post)

"Ministers reverse pledge to endorse clean air campaign" - "The Government was yesterday accused of "running scared'' from the powerful motoring lobby after a minister pulled out of a public appearance to support a clean air initiative. The Department of Transport had promised the "Don't Choke Britain Campaign'' that it would receive ministerial backing when it launched its campaign tomorrow, but the decision has been reversed." (Independent)

"INTERVIEW - Europe's refiners bemoan "green" red tape" - "MONACO - Abysmal returns and tighter European Union environmental regulations top European oil refiners' list of woes, a senior industry official told Reuters. "Firstly, the economics of refining are very dismal, second, European refiners are constrained by legislation which is not being applied to their Asian and U.S. competitors," said Pieter Tjan, secretary general of Europia, the European petroleum industry association." (Reuters)

"Diesel seen overtaking petrol as top motor fuel" - "MONACO - Technological advances and a significant price advantage could propel diesel ahead of gasoline as the favoured motor fuel of the 21st century, forcing oil refiners to change production strategies, industry experts said last week." (Reuters)

"Germany hopes to avert EU ban on organic produce" - "BERLIN - Germany's deputy farm minister said on the weekend he hoped to avert a threatened European Union ban on organic produce from Germany because of the contamination of grain by a cancer-causing chemical." (Reuters)

"smh.com.au - Precious porkers to deliver a tissue of lives" - "These little pigs could be the answer to Australia's shortage of donated organs. They are members of a unique pig colony being bred in NSW to provide tissue for eventual transplantation into people. All are direct descendants of a male and female pair of porkers left on Kangaroo Island in 1803 by the French explorer, Nicholas Baudin. They are believed to be the most inbred pigs in the world. Tissue can be transplanted between individuals without rejection when no immunosuppressive drugs are used. Each animal is only 40 per cent as big as a commercial pig, which makes its organs similar in size to human ones. "They are an enormously precious resource, unique to Australia," said Professor Richard Allen, the director of the National Pancreas Transplant Unit based at Westmead Hospital. The Westmead team hope it might eventually be possible to cure diabetes by transplanting insulin-producing tissue from foetuses from their pigs into people."

"BBC News | SCI TECH | UK 'needs GM research animals'" - "British scientists say the UK could be penalised if they are prevented from using genetically modified (GM) animals for research. The warning comes from the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of sciences. It says those who oppose the use of GM animals in research are trying to impose their views on society."

"Scientists infuriated by influence of protesters" - "Britain is in danger of being left behind in the race to develop new medical treatments because of the influence of protesters against genetic modification, the UK's leading scientific body said yesterday. Pressure groups are drowning out the debate over the future direction of GM research by exaggerating the suffering to animals and minimising the benefits to society, the Royal Society said. Speaking before a meeting today to discuss the pros and cons of GM research on animals, Professor Patrick Bateson, vice-president of the society, said protest groups were trying to persuade government advisers to recommend the rejection of such experiments." (Independent)

"Ministers prepare to sell GM to the public" - "Ministers are determined to grow GM crops commercially in Britain as soon as possible and are setting out to persuade the public to accept them. The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has told The Independent on Sunday that it is planning a campaign to "dispel the myths'' that have cast doubt on the crops." (Independent)

"Gene crops are no answer for world hunger - Bove" - "ROME - Genetically modified (GM) crops are no cure for world hunger but solely exist to benefit multinational corporations which patent GM seeds, French anti-globalisation campaigner Jose Bove said." (Reuters)

"For a real GM plot, look no further than the greens" - "Fields of Gold, the BBC drama on Saturday and Sunday night about genetically modified crops, was an accurate portrayal of one thing: what goes on inside the skulls of Guardian-BBC types.

The world where all businessmen are itching to murder people who get in their way; where all scientists are doomed to play Faust; where all farmers are greedy; where only man-made chemicals are toxic - this world exists only inside the heads of people such as the authors of the programme, Ronan Bennett and Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian." (Matt Ridley, Daily Telegraph)

"Campaigners 'trampled GM crops'" - "Four people have been arrested following a protest against genetically modified crops in Fife. An estimated 250 people from across Scotland converged on Wester Friarton Farm at Newport on Saturday. The event was billed as a "Tea in the Field" protest, involving barbecues, music, stalls and speeches. Organisers said that about 70 anti-GM crop demonstrators trampled crops in the field." (BBC News Online)

"Annual biotechnology conference opens in Toronto" - "TORONTO - The world's biggest annual biotechnology conference opened in Toronto yesterday, providing a forum for boosters as well as detractors of an industry where stock prices have been hammered by regulatory setbacks." (Reuters)

June 9, 2002

"E.P.A. and Budget Office to Work Jointly on Diesel Soot Rules" - "The Bush administration announced a controversial effort to engage budget watchdogs in writing environmental regulations." (New York Times)

"Newsday.com - Gov't Pushes Diesel Pollution Cuts" - "WASHINGTON -- Three days before the scheduled release of a study linking non-road diesel engines to 8,500 premature deaths a year, the Bush administration said Friday that curbing such pollution should be a top environmental priority and suggested voluntary reductions. The study concludes emissions from engines used in diesel-powered vehicles and equipment such as bulldozers, portable generators and tractors should be toughly regulated because of their role in the premature deaths and an estimated $67 billion in health care costs annually. The health costs result from problems such as asthma attacks, chronic bronchitis and emergency room visits."

"Radon cancer fears dismissed" - "There is no evidence of a link between radon gas in homes and cancer in children, according to scientists. A major study carried out in the UK found levels of radon gas and gamma radiation were no higher in the homes of children with cancer compared to those who are healthy. There have been fears that high levels of radon gas and gamma radiation in some areas of the country were putting children at risk." (BBC News Online) | Homes on granite are not a cancer risk for children (Telegraph) | Exposure to radon 'does not add to risk of childhood cancer' (Independent) | Home radon cleared of cancer risk to children (The Times)

From the wacky world: "Dandelions: to die for?" - "Our new pesticide bill should incorporate the precautionary principle: Protect first, permit later, says lawyer JERRY DeMARCO" (Globe and Mail)

"The Seattle Times: Local News: Tribe digs into health of its food: Swinomish wonder if toxics have permeated diet" - "LONE TREE POINT, Swinomish Indian Reservation — For thousands of years, as the tide has slipped from this beach, the table has been set with a bounty of sweet clams. Dungeness crabs have beckoned in nearby shallows. But today some tribal members wonder what else they could be eating in these traditional foods that have sustained them for generations. Oil refineries, a chemical-manufacturing plant and agricultural lands share the air and watershed with the tribe's 3,000 acres of tidelands located on the Swinomish reservation, just outside La Conner in Skagit County."

"Independent News - UK tests for pesticides in food 'weak'" - "The head of a national food safety body has admitted that Britain's system for testing whether food contains potentially toxic pesticides is too weak and needs a major overhaul. The admission by Dr Ian Brown, chairman of the Government's Pesticides Residues Committee, follows damning criticism of the UK's policies on testing from European Commission health experts. The criticisms included the revelation that Britain's safety authorities – the Food Standards Agency and the Pesticides Safety Directorate – have the lowest annual rate of food testing of any European country, at only three samples per 100,000 people. Countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, France, Ireland and Sweden test between 2,743 and 8,320 food samples every year, compared to just 1,575 in the UK."

"Kitchen waste compost ban under review" - "A ban on applying to the land compost made with kitchen waste is to be reviewed after a study for the Government found yesterday that the risks posed are "acceptably low". The ban, which caused a crisis in the composting industry, was imposed three years ago in regulations designed to prevent the spread of highly contagious animal diseases. Though intended to prevent catering waste from commercial outlets being applied to land where livestock graze, the ban was interpreted by the National Trust to apply to domestic compost made from kitchen waste. The trust said it had had to stop composting waste from tea rooms and restaurants, even the tea bags, cauliflower leaves or coffee grounds." (Telegraph)

"San Francisco Chronicle - Bush sticks his head in sand" - "President Bush, that staunch friend of the environment, shrugged off his own administration's finding last week that global warming poses a threat to the planet's well-being. The report by the Environmental Protection Agency, he said, is nothing more than the musings of "the bureaucracy" (never mind that we're talking about Bush's own bureaucracy). Yet there's still reason for hope. A quiet but fast-growing movement is emerging in the business world to look past the White House's environmental shortcomings and take the initiative in tackling global warming. And that movement might just accomplish something, because participating companies aren't motivated by a sense of doing right. Rather, they're heeding those two vital aspects of corporate survival: self-interest and greed."

"The Nando Times: Administration's climate report marks watershed in debate" - "The Bush administration's release of its Climate Action Report 2002 marks a watershed in the global warming debate. All but a few diehards concede global warming is real and caused by humans. The issue now is: Who pays? This administration report should lay to rest most of the wrangling over the scientific validity of the main global warming conclusions. Early on, the report states, "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing global mean surface temperature and subsurface ocean temperature to rise." Scientific certainty being an elusive goal, the report carries caveats about natural climate variability influencing interpretation of the data. In general, however, it is the strongest statement yet by a U.S. administration that we face pervasive, human-caused global climate change. Not everyone is convinced, of course. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, of Washington, D.C., immediately filed a petition with the administration "to prevent the distribution of a fatally flawed report on global warming."

"Hot air from where? -- The Washington Times" - "During the 2000 presidential campaign, candidate George W. Bush said he was skeptical about Vice President Al Gore's fundamentalist doctrine on the threat of global warming. Mr.Bush said there was disagreement among scientists and we shouldn't be stampeded into a response that would cost a lot of money and require Americans to substantially alter their way of life. Now, in an unannounced transmission of a climate report to the United Nations, the Environmental Protection Agency accepts the doctrine that the Earth is getting warmer and, in a critical concession, partly blames human activity for the trend."

"statesman.com | Opinion | Leadership is needed, Bush gives us denial" - "The Bush administration's appallingly indifferent response to its own admission that global warming is real, potentially dire in its effects and largely man-made is another example of the administration's default on a growing list of matters that call for leadership instead."

"Boston Globe Online Editorials | Opinions As the globe warns up, Bush won't believe it" - "AT THE WHITE HOUSE, where science is a seance by Exxon Mobil, the driftwood of the South Pole itself could float up the Potomac, flood onto the grass of the Rose Garden, and President Bush still might not believe in global warming. The mystics and their oodles of cash remain capable of freezing Bush into the world's most cataleptic leader on climate change, absolutely unmoved by chunks of Antarctica falling off or projections in our children's lifetime of pronounced disease, hunger, storms, bleaching of coral reefs, and swamping of island nations. With eyes frozen and lips moving at the controlling wave of big oil, big gas, big coal, and ridiculously big cars, the same Bush who demands that students and teachers be held accountable to mandatory standards in math refuses to account for the data on climate change."

"STATEMENT - Climate Change Consultation Process" - "OTTAWA, June 7 /CNW/ - The Honourable David Anderson, Minister of the Environment, and the Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources today released the following statement to report on the consultation process to develop a workable plan for Canada to meet its international climate change commitments."

"NATIONAL POST ONLINE | West demands consultation on accord" - "DAWSON CITY, Yukon - Canada should not ratify the Kyoto Protocol until a first ministers conference is called on the proposal and there is a full hearing of alternative climate-change strategies, the Western premiers said yesterday. In a gesture designed partly to salve the wounded pride of the Alberta government, the premiers wrapped up a conference in Dawson City with a shopping list of demands for the federal government -- some of which will likely cause headaches in Ottawa."

"Drivers attack Kyoto toll plan; Levies would cost average motorist $1,800, CAA says" - "OTTAWA - The federal government is proposing that Canadian drivers each pay $1,800 a year in road tolls to implement the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the Canadian Automobile Association said yesterday. The CAA, which represents about four million motorists, calls the proposal punitive, restrictive and unacceptable. The proposed tolls are among the measures being considered by Ottawa -- along with higher parking fees and levies on less fuel-efficient vehicles -- to implement the Kyoto accord. "Every motorist ... will be charged 3¢ per kilometre for driving inter-city roads such as Ottawa to Toronto or Brandon to Winnipeg and 15¢ per km for urban travel," said Elly Meister, vice-president of the association." (National Post)

"canada.com - Premiers onside for Klein's Kyoto bid" - "Ralph Klein left Dawson City on Thursday at the head of a united front of western premiers backing his demand that Alberta's strategy on climate change be included in public consultations. A call will go immediately to Ottawa to include Alberta's plan, and documents from all other provinces, to ensure the hearings include as wide a range of opinion as possible."

"Anti-Kyoto alternative wins airing" - "DAWSON CITY, YUKON -- Alberta Premier Ralph Klein saved political face yesterday by persuading his Western colleagues to present Alberta's alternative to the Kyoto Protocol at public consultations.

The agreement, which also urges Ottawa to convene a first ministers conference on climate change, is a middle-of-the-road compromise in light of Alberta's failure last month to persuade the federal government to include the province's anti-Kyoto plan as an official option in the nationwide meetings." (Globe and Mail)

"U.S.'s hard-line stand on Kyoto leaves Canada out in the cold" - "The Chrétien government continues to torment itself in its quest for a way to have its Kyoto and eat it too.

There is, of course, no easy way out. Canada must decide soon whether it's in or out of the landmark 1997 global warming treaty.

Canada's waffling has left it exposed to critics on both sides." (Globe and Mail)

Meanwhile, the weather is being as fickle as the, uh... weather: "Frigid spring on Prairies keeps farmers guessing" - "After last summer's record-breaking heat and drought, western farmers are scrambling to cope with their latest challenge from the heavens: the coldest spring on record.

Temperatures in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba dipped an average of four degrees below normal over the past few months, Environment Canada reported yesterday.

The most frigid spring since record-keeping began in 1948 has dusted the fields with late snows and left ice on northern lakes." (Globe and Mail)

"Warming world on thin ice" - "Rapidly melting glaciers threaten death to millions by making huge areas uninhabitable" (The Observer)

"HoustonChronicle.com - Rash of Antarctica ice breaks 'normal'" - "WASHINGTON -- The icebergs breaking away from Antarctica in recent months -- some as big as small states -- are part of a process scientists say marks a return to ice conditions of years past. Several ice shelves around the continent have been growing in recent years, a process that has puzzled researchers concerned about possible global warming. In the last three months -- autumn there -- several icebergs, one the size of Delaware and another nearly as big as Chesapeake Bay, have broken free. "The icebergs that have calved in the last couple of months probably don't have much to do with global warming. It is part of a pattern of growth and retreat that is more or less normal," explained Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado."

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT, June 5, 2002 Vol. 3, No. 18" - "Polar bears are at risk, at least according to a recent online report by The World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The WWF cites human activities as imperiling the bears. Guess which human activity is the most dangerous? It’s energy consumption. It’s not that your lifestyle causes polar bears to currently face difficulties. There’s a total population of 22,000 polar bears that the WWF classifies into about twenty somewhat distinct populations spread across the circumpolar Arctic. Here’s how the WWF rates the status of those sub-populations: forty-six percent are stable, seventeen percent in decline, fourteen percent increasing, and the remaining twenty-three percent are of "unknown" status. So the problem, as the WWF sees it, is not so much with today’s polar bear population, but rather tomorrow’s." (GES)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT, June 5, 2002 Vol. 3, No. 17" - "The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Defenders of Wildlife late last month reported on anticipated effects of global warming on the habitat of cold-water salmon and trout species within the United States. The report’s focus is on water temperature changes in streams and rivers in response to projected rises in air temperature. It concludes that cold water fish habitat will decrease from four to twenty percent by 2030, seven to thirty-one percent by 2060, and fourteen to twenty-six percent by 2090, depending on the climate model and emissions scenario employed in the analysis. Therein is the root of our problem with the report’s findings." (GES)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT, May 21, 2002 Vol. 3, No. 16" - "Imagine for a moment that you are a newspaper editor and you face the daily challenge of filling space. It’s part of your daily routine to search the newswires. On a particular day, you come up with two pieces on the same topic. One concerns large chunks of ice calving in Antarctica and quotes scientists who worry that this is an irreversible sign of global warming. The second describes another group of scientists and quotes them as saying that this is part of the natural process of ice sheet growth and retreat. What do you do? Which do you choose?

If your objective is to sell papers using stories with the potential to shock readers, you pick the former. If your objective is to be objective, you run both. The preceding scenario is real. Why, then, have you been reading more about the latest iceberg calving event in Antarctica and its association with global warming and not both scientific perspectives?" (GES)

"Independent News - Meet Skippy, the flatulence-free kangaroo" - "Farmyard flatulence is no laughing matter in Australia, where methane emissions from sheep and cows contribute significantly to the output of greenhouse gases. Now scientists plan to tackle the problem by studying a creature better adapted to local conditions: the kangaroo. Kangaroos have a similar diet to cattle, but produce no methane, one of the gases implicated in global warming. Scientists in Queensland believe that bacteria found in their stomachs, which help them to process their food, could be used to reduce emissions by the nation's 23 million cows and 170 million sheep."

"Yahoo - Oil refiners can make "clean" hydrogen too-Shell" - "MONACO, June 7 - Oil companies can wrest the initiative from the green lobby by making the clean fuels of the future from their own refineries, but they will need to act quickly if they are to stay ahead of the game, a Shell executive said on Friday. Hydrogen was likely to be a vital clean source of energy, Michiel Boersma, the head of Shell's Global Solutions consultancy, told an industry conference. But he said producing it through the solar-powered electrolysis of water, as green groups would like, would remain costly and difficult for a long time. "While some environmentalists are reluctant to admit it, the refining industy offers a number of very practical ways forward on hydrogen. Refineries can convert fossil fuels to usable hydrogen by gasification far cheaper than the solar model," Boersma said."

"Duluth News Tribune | 06 09 2002 | Bush to seek unlikely allies in bid to alter clean air act" - "WASHINGTON - The White House plans to promote its initiative on air pollution control by trying to enlist the help of a number of minority, labor and environmental organizations that it believes can rally public support.

Those are not typically the kinds of groups with which the Bush administration finds itself closely aligned. But an internal White House draft, disclosed on Friday, identifies several such organizations that administration officials think can help them win enactment of the initiative."

"Time to come clean on the dirty secret of starvation; This week's World Food Summit will once again avoid the real issues" - "If you want to see a hideous sight in the next few days, head for Rome where the second World Food Summit will be taking place. Held over from last year following September 11, it will feature 60 heads of state and thousands of bureaucrats and politicians. Even as they pledge yet again to feed the 800 million people who go hungry every year, they will be tucking into the world's finest produce." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

Vidal and The Guardian apparently realise there's a problem and still choose to promote their bizarre ant-biotech / development / progress / technology / trade if- only- everyone- would- eat- organic- carrot- sticks- and- ride- bicycles- everything- would- be- alright nonsense. Go figure!

"Farmers can use seeds despite patent, panel says" - "Farmers should have the right to plant genetically modified seed they have harvested from previous years' crops, even if the original seeds were covered by a patent, a blue-ribbon panel on biotechnology is advising the federal government.

The Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee's recommendation -- part of a package of 13 proposals dealing with patent-related issues -- would effectively absolve Saskatoon farmer Percy Schmeiser of blame in a patent-infringement case involving a genetically modified organism, a case that has garnered worldwide attention." (Globe and Mail)

"Science journal accused over GM article" - "Britain's most prestigious science journal, Nature, ignored the advice of most of its own advisers when it took the unprecedented step of retracting an article claiming that DNA from genetically modified maize had leached into native, wild maize in Mexico, BBC2's Newsnight claimed last night." (The Guardian)

"Bananas could combat cancer" - "A banana or a potato could one day offer woman protection against cervical cancer, according to a team developing edible vaccines. Scientists reported success yesterday in animal tests of an edible vaccine to confer protection against human papilloma virus, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases and the cause of virtually all cases of cervical cancer in women. Potatoes produced and tested by Dr Robert Rose and colleagues at Rochester, Cornell and Tulane Universities provoked an immune response in mice. Bananas, potatoes, tobacco and apples are among the crops being tested for the production of vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis B, rotavirus, respiratory syncytial virus and even tooth decay." (Telegraph)

?!! "GM damages environment but not pests, says study" - "Scientists were yesterday embroiled in an international row over genetically modified cotton after a study in China suggested for the first time that the crop was permanently damaging the environment and that insects were building up resistance to it." (The Guardian)

Alex Avery's excerpted summary of the reports, taken from the reports themselves, is below, but please read the reports for yourselves. Klaus Ammann has provided them on his site at: http://www.botanischergarten.ch/debate/XUEdayuan.pdf; http://www.botanischergarten.ch/debate/GMcottonDamage.pdf

There are 6 basic conclusions, none of which demonstrates ANY environmental harm. A summary of the six conclusions below (directly quoted from executive summary of Chinese report):

  1. "the populations of parasitic natural enemies [of cotton bollworm] in Bt cotton fields are significantly reduced."
  2. "Some pests replaced bollworm as primary pests and damaged cotton growth."
  3. "the stabilities of insect community MAY be less than those in conventional cotton, and the POSSIBILITY of outbreaks of certain pests in Bt cotton is much higher." (emphasis mine, however this is a hugely speculative statement and even if true still doesn't demonstrate ANY negative environmental impact. After all, the possibility of outbreaks of certain pests is MUCH higher in organic farms because of a lack of adequate control, yet they aren't arguing that this is a negative environmental impact from organic farming)
  4. "cotton bollworm CAN develop resistance to Bt cotton." (So what, this is NOT a negative environmental impact)
  5. "resistance to Bt cotton to bollworm decreases over time...farmers must use chemicals 2-3 times to control bollworm" (Where's the negative environmental impact? Without Bt, they'd have to use chemicals MORE!) Finally:
  6. "there are not yet effective measures to postpone resistance development [of bollworm to Bt cotton] or to resolve the resistance problem." (Again, assertion not demonstrated reality, but still has nothing to do with negative environmental impact from Bt cotton.)

Last week we featured some of the controversy regarding the BBC 'docu-drama' come 'GM-thriller' (depending on where you entered the coverage). The featured two-part fiction piece has now aired (as ridiculous and inflammatory  as feared, apparently) - you can see some early commentary on it by John Brignell (Number Watch) here (scroll down).

"Genetic threats blowin' in the wind; Scientists warn modified crops are 'escaping and going rogues'" - "Wayward pollen and seed from genetically modified crops have cost Canadian honey producers and organic farmers millions of dollars, according to researchers who say there is an urgent need to better control the controversial GM crops and their novel genetic machinery.

"It is essential that new molecular gene-containment strategies be developed and introduced," says a report in the journal Nature Biotechnology this month, which points to the significant economic risks and liabilities associated with GM crops now widely grown in Canada and the United States.

In the most costly case to date, GM corn meant only for animals ended up in U.S. food in 2000. The resulting scramble to recall tacos and corn products cost "a staggering US$1-billion," the report says.

Canadian honey producers and organic farmers, the report says, are also paying a big price." (National Post)

"GM protesters target Fife in new campaign" - "PROTESTERS opposed to genetically modified crops are to step up their campaign across the whole of Scotland this summer, as demonstrators today converge at a trial farm in Fife. Hundreds of people are expected to join the Tea in the Field demonstration organised by Fife Against GMOs at Wester Friarton Farm, in Newport, the site of one of Scotland’s biggest GM crop trials. The march, expected to draw upwards of 200 people, marks an intensification of anti-GM protests previously focused on the Easter Ross village of Munlochy, also the site of a trial by seed company Aventis." (The Scotsman)

"Nestle office raided by Greenpeace campaigners" - "Greenpeace Southeast Asia raided Nestle`s offices yesterday, dumping products containing genetically modified ingredients on the floor. The action was to kick off a campaign urging consumers to return products found to contain GMO (genetically modified organisms). Ten Greenpeace activists stormed Nestle`s office near Ratchaprasong intersection and dumped boxes of Nestle GM products including Cerelac, a baby food, and the Starfish brand of snacks." (Bangkok Post)

June 7, 2002

"Global Warming Fears Must Cool Down" - "Last week was embarrassing for global warming worrywarts.

First, protesters were surprised and routed by free-market advocates at ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting in Dallas. Then, President Bush backhandedly dismissed the Environmental Protection Agency’s sneaky attempt to embarrass his administration about its global warming policy.

And, of course, the global warming-loving media grossly erred in reporting on both events." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ajc.com: White House downplays Bush's EPA slight" - "Washington --- A day after President Bush dismissed a climate-change study by his own Environmental Protection Agency as a product of ''bureaucracy,'' the White House on Wednesday continued to zigzag on the issue of global warming. The president does believe that climate change is caused largely by people, his spokesman said. And Bush continues to maintain that his program of voluntary pollution cuts is the best way to address the problem."

"The Nando Times: CAL THOMAS: G(lobal) W(arming) Bush?" - "During the 2000 presidential campaign, candidate George W. Bush said he was skeptical about Vice President Al Gore's fundamentalist doctrine on the threat of global warming.

Bush said there was disagreement among scientists and we shouldn't be stampeded into a response that would cost a lot of money and require Americans to substantially alter their way of life.

Now, in an unannounced transmission of a climate report to the United Nations, the Environmental Protection Agency accepts the doctrine that the Earth is getting warmer and, in a critical concession, partly blames human activity for the trend.

In an exercise in political hair-splitting worthy of the previous administration, the report says the burning of fossil fuels has contributed to slight temperature increases, but that much of the warming can be attributed to natural causes. Expect big government liberals to ignore the natural part and focus on how they can further alter our lifestyles by forcing us into smaller and less safe cars, increasing taxes on gasoline (something Gore proposed) and further penalizing growth and prosperity which the use of fossil fuels has fueled."

"New EPA report puts Bush in environmental quandary" - "Study on threats of global warming presents dilemmas for a White House skeptical about climate change." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"statesman.com | 'A' Section | Aides: Global warming view unchanged" - "WASHINGTON -- A day after President Bush dismissed a study about global warming by his own Environmental Protection Agency as a product of "bureaucracy," the White House was mending fences Wednesday, downplaying suggestions that its view had changed."

"The Global Warming Dropout" - "In its business-as-usual approach to climate change, the Bush administration is increasingly out of step not only with other industrialized powers, but also with the growing support in this country for action to prevent global warming. The administration's oddly two-sided report last week to the United Nations brings the White House into the scientific mainstream on the subject — acknowledging that human activity is probably the cause of global warming and that America itself faces serious consequences — but at the same time lays out a strategy ensuring that American emissions of greenhouse gases will continue rising sharply for at least a decade." (Eileen Claussen, New York Times)

"Western premiers ask Ottawa to consider Kyoto options" - "DAWSON CITY, YUKON - Western Canadian premiers want a national debate and a first ministers' meeting on the Kyoto accord to cut greenhouse gases. Following a western premiers meeting Thursday, they called on Ottawa to expand its planned consultations on Kyoto to include options other than the four advanced by the federal government. Alberta and Manitoba, which came to the meeting with different views, both supported the proposal." (CBC News)

"asahi.com : Long shot : Goals seem ambitious as emissions increase" - "Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol was easy. The government did that Tuesday. Now comes the hard part: Cutting emissions of gases believed to contribute to global warming to levels set out in the 1997 document. Under the terms of the protocol, Japan must reduce its overall emissions of so-called greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) during the period from 2008 through 2012 to levels 6 percent below those recorded in fiscal 1990, which serves as the international framework's base year. Environmental officials say that's a lofty goal because annual emissions, which totaled 1.22 billion tons, have been steadily increasing, hitting 1.31 billion tons in fiscal 1999."

"asahi.com : EDITORIAL/ Kyoto Protocol ratified: But more effective policy initiatives are needed" - "The government submitted the necessary paperwork to United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Ratification by Japan, and the 15 nations in the European Union in late May, marks a huge step forward in putting the crucial climate change treaty into force. We welcome the move. The Kyoto Protocol has a built-in delay of 90 days before taking effect. It can only do so if 55 countries ratify the treaty."

"New Zealand News - NZ - National praises Howard's Kyoto Protocol stand" - "National and Act yesterday praised Australian Prime Minister John Howard for deciding not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and the parties again criticised the New Zealand Government because it intend to sign up. Mr Howard said committing Australia to the protocol would hurt Australian businesses and cost jobs, the same reasons Opposition parties here have cited for their concerns. The Government intends ratifying the international climate change protocol in August, binding New Zealand to measures starting in 2007 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed policies include a carbon tax on processes producing carbon dioxide, which could increase petrol and electricity costs."

"GREENLAND ICE SHEET FLOWS FASTER DURING SUMMER MELTING" - "New measurements show that the flow of ice in the Greenland ice sheet has been accelerating since 1996 during the summer melt season. The results suggest that the ice sheet may be responding more quickly to the warming climate than previously thought." (NASA/GSFC)

"LARGE VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS AFFECT THE "GREENER GREENHOUSE" - "Last year, scientists discovered that the northern hemisphere was becoming increasingly greener due to increased warming. Furthering that study, researchers have discovered that tremendous amounts of tiny pollutant particles thrust into the atmosphere by large volcanic eruptions slow plant growth, but still enhance the ability of lands to act as a sink for carbon, as reported in the May 31st issue of Science." (NASA/GSFC)

"100,000-year climate pattern linked to Sun's magnetic cycles" - "Mukul Sharma, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth, examined existing sets of geophysical data and noticed something remarkable: the sun's magnetic activity is varying in 100,000-year cycles, a much longer time span than previously thought, and this solar activity, in turn, may likely cause the 100,000-year climate cycles on earth." (Dartmouth College)

"Fish comeback; Weather and man have accounted for population explosions in some species" - "VIRGINIA BEACH -- The idea was to catch striped bass and gray trout and maybe try for a bluefish or two. Claude Bain, director of the Virginia Saltwater Tournament, considered the request and said, "No problem." He was right. Bain even added a flourish by hooking and landing a giant striped bass the color of pin-striped steel that measured 41 inches long. Ever the professional - his job with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission is to promote Virginia saltwater fishing - Bain took the big catch in stride. After all, he said, we were fishing in the Chesapeake Bay." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

"US lawmakers want Mexico power plants to cut pollution" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. legislation would block Mexican power plants located near the California border from using natural gas from the United States as fuel unless the facilities complied with the state's clean air laws. The legislation, introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House this week, would make sure that Mexican power plants sending electricity to the California market don't spew harmful emissions that are restricted at U.S. plants." (Reuters)

"Europe Finds Fried Food Has Probable Carcinogen (washingtonpost.com)" - "A third European government's food agency has found surprisingly high levels of the chemical acrylamide, a probable carcinogen, in fried and baked starchy foods. Unlike the other governments, Norway's National Food Authority yesterday recommended that people who eat a lot of potato chips -- the food with the highest levels of the substance -- should reduce their consumption to avoid possible harm."

"Fields of ire" - "A BBC drama about a GM crop that goes wrong has come under fire from some scientists who say it distorts the facts. But, asks co-writer Alan Rusbridger, could the criticism have more to do with the interests of the biotech industry?" (The Guardian)

"Greenpeace and Biotech: Truth or Deliberate Scare" - "On June 8th Greenpeace is calling for a “National Day of Action” against genetically engineered food. Specifically, Greenpeace is asking (in some cases directing) its operatives and consumers to demand that Safeway, Shaw’s, and Star Markets remove any and all foods with genetically engineered ingredients from their store shelves. Greenpeace advocates see this move as safeguarding the public’s food supply. Critics of Greenpeace might characterize it as yet one more attempt to strong-arm controversy-shy corporations into bowing to Greenpeace’s version of reality. On the issue of biotechnology and Greenpeace’s view of it, a strong case can be made that what Greenpeace sees as reality has very little to do with truth." (International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources)

June 6, 2002

Doh! "Longer lives in rich nations 'increases incidence of cancer'" - "Europe's richest countries have high rates of cancer because they have a large proportion of elderly people and can help victims of the disease live longer, a survey published today says. The biggest study of the prevalence of cancer in Europe shows that Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Italy have the highest proportion of patients, while Poland, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia have the lowest. The study, by an international team of scientists, whose findings appear in the journal Annals of Oncology, analysed data on nearly three million patients from 17 countries who were diagnosed with cancer from 1970 to 1992. The researchers found that the rates of some individual cancers varied widely. But in general, cancer was more prevalent in wealthier nations, which had low mortality and higher spending on health care." (Independent)

"New Zealand News - NZ - Asthma sufferers need car fuel pollution cut, Government told" - "The Auckland Regional Council wants to cut vehicle pollution to help asthmatics because the city has one of the highest rates of the disease in the world. Asthmatics are susceptible to nitrogen dioxide in vehicle fuel, says the council's air quality manager, Kevin Mahon. He says monitoring has shown a widespread and serious nitrogen dioxide problem.'

Yesterday: Asthma researchers taking hunt for clues down to the farm (New Zealand Herald)

"Ecotourism could be harming wildlife - scientists" - "LONDON - Ecotourism may be endangering wildlife by spreading human diseases to animals and is probably responsible for three outbreaks of tuberculosis in mongooses and meerkats in Africa, according to a study. Scientists in Botswana's Chobe national park have documented how the human pathogen was passed on to mongooses in the popular park and followed an outbreak that killed meerkats in the Kalahari Desert. "The threat from human infections is certainly real enough," New Scientist magazine said yesterday." (Reuters)

"The Nando Times: Study suggests marine plants produce aerosols" - "A new study places plankton, kelp and seaweed alongside cars, factories and planes as sources of aerosols that may affect Earth's climate. Ocean plants were fingered by an international team of atmospheric scientists and marine biologists tracing the tiny particles that cool Earth by seeding clouds and scattering incoming radiation. Investigators from Ireland, Finland, Germany and the United States found sunlight can convert organic iodine vapors emitted by the aquatic organisms into secondary aerosols in sea air. If the transformation occurs on a large scale, it could significantly influence climate, they report. Marine aerosols and their cloud-forming component can regulate climate by reflecting the Sun's rays, they said."

"Mountain areas show signs of global warming, UN environment agency reports" - "The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today reported "startling" evidence of the effect of global warming on the Himalayas. A recent UN-backed mission to the area found that the glacier from where Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay set out to conquer Everest nearly 50 years ago has retreated by around five kilometres up the mountain. "The evidence of climate change was all around us, from huge scars gouged in the landscapes by sudden, glacial floods to the lakes swollen by melting glaciers," said Roger Payne, of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, who served on the expedition. "It is clear that global warming is emerging as one, if not the, biggest threat to mountain areas." (UN News)

"Ignoring a Growing Peril" - "Very weird. The Bush administration has acknowledged that the U.S. will experience far-reaching and, in some cases, devastating environmental consequences as a result of global warming. But it does not plan to do much about it. The administration has been so poor when it comes to climate change that this odd bit of news was initially seen as some sort of progress. It was thought, momentarily, that the president might be starting to pull his head out of the increasingly hot sand on this issue." (Bob Herbert, New York Times)

"The Nando Times: JAY AMBROSE: Still a bad bet" - "Ah, ha, we've caught you now, you Kyoto-evading scoundrels," is roughly speaking the response of some to news that the Bush administration has sent the United Nations a report saying that the globe is getting warmer, that human activities likely have much to do with it and that there could be adverse consequences. But this is not entirely new stuff from an administration that has already proposed spending $4.5 billion in the 2003 budget in part on much-needed further research, that does have a voluntary, tax-incentive plan for the reduction of greenhouse gases and that said a year ago that warming presented scary possibilities. And the administration is right in continuing to evade the Kyoto Protocol."

"Kyoto: Both sides have got it wrong" - "Global warming skeptics just got the political rug pulled out from under their feet. In a newly released report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admitted that climate change is real and that humans are causing it. For George W. Bush's oil-friendly administration, it was a first.

Though Mr. Bush himself downplays the document as the work of a government "bureaucracy," the report is significant nonetheless. For years, right-wing think-tanks have been trying to convince the world that the Kyoto Protocol on global warming is a conspiracy hatched by enemies of capitalism. By graphing temperature data in creative ways, and hyping the work of a dwindling group of dissident climatologists, they have succeeded in creating reasonable doubt among ordinary people on the question of whether humans are really making the world hotter." (Jonathan Kay, National Post)

"Boston Globe Online Editorials Bush vs. the EPA" - "NO SOONER had the Bush administration grudgingly reported for the first time that manmade sources of greenhouse gases are major contributors to global warming than President Bush dismissed the report by his own the Environmental Protection Agency. While the report made it clear that the administration will still not take serious steps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal contributor to global warming, Bush's disdainful reference yesterday to ''the report put out by the bureaucracy'' strikingly demonstrates how isolated the administration's environmental specialists are from its policy makers."

"Australia Won't Sign Kyoto Protocol" - "CANBERRA, Australia - Prime Minister John Howard used World Environment Day on Wednesday to reject calls for his government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Howard has repeatedly said he will not sign the treaty unless the United States does, arguing it would be bad for Australia, the world's leading coal exporter. "For us to ratify the protocol would cost us jobs and damage our industry," Howard told Parliament. "That is why the Australian government will continue to oppose ratification." (AP)

"'Natural' & Organic Foods 8 Times More Likely to Have Safety and Recall Problems, Review by Food Policy Think Tank Finds" - "WASHINGTON, June 5 -- Organic and "all natural" products are revealed to be eight times more likely to be recalled for safety related problems than conventional products, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada records." (U.S. Newswire)

"Want to Avoid GM Foods? This Regulation Won't Help" - "Yesterday, the European Parliament's Environment Committee voted to expand the EU's labelling requirement for Genetically Modified foods. The measure, in the form of a proposed regulation put forth by the European Commission last summer, will go next to the full Parliament for a final vote. The regulation has been promoted as a way to ensure that consumers have information they need to make informed choices about the food they eat. In truth, the measure will do no such thing. The Parliament should vote down the proposed regulation when it comes up in plenary session this July. Both the existing labelling regulation and the proposed new one only require certain categories of GM foods to be labelled. Some are subject to the labelling rules; some are not. Thus, to truly make an informed choice, shoppers must still rely upon other sources of information, including consumer-driven label statements and advertising by food producers who must battle for customer loyalty and earn their trust." (Gregory Conko, The Wall Street Journal)

"The good side of GM [biotech] revealed" - "CONSUMERS and environmentalists have as much to gain as farmers from genetically modified (GM) crops, say scientists at Reading University. Not only do they result in dramatic reductions in pesticide usage, but the use of fossilised fuel in production and spraying is slashed, resulting in less greenhouse gas emission. "This potential for reduction in pesticide use is reflected in the figures of companies such as BASF who have stated that, since the introduction of GM crops, their sales have declined by US$300 million [£206 million] a year," said Dr Richard Phipps, principal research fellow at Reading. He points out that Canadian consumer research found the public was much more inclined to buy food products clearly labelled as GM against other products equally clearly labelled with the list of pesticide sprays used on them. As a clincher, he estimates that if half of the maize, oil seed rape, cotton and sugar beet planted in Europe were biotechnological varieties, pesticide usage in the EU would decrease by 14.5 million kilos of formulated product a year." (The Scotsman)

June 5, 2002

"Medical journal highlights flaws in studies" - "CHICAGO - Editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association have turned the tables on themselves, and devoted this week's issue to how published medical studies can be misleading. Researchers looked at problems such as bias and conflict of interest among peer reviewers who approve studies before they are published. Another study looked at how news releases may fail to mention a study's limitations or industry funding." (CBC News)

"Research presentations at scientific meetings often receive unwarranted media coverage" - "Press coverage of scientific meetings may be characterized as "too much, too soon," according to a DMS/VA team in the June 5 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Results are frequently presented to the public as scientifically sound evidence rather than preliminary findings of still uncertain validity. This coverage is concerning since a substantial number of the studies remain unpublished, precluding evaluation in the scientific community, they say." (Dartmouth Medical School)

"Medical press releases may exaggerate results and fail to include study limitations" - "Some medical press releases use formats that may exaggerate the perceived importance of findings and do not routinely highlight study limitations, according to DMS researchers in the June 5 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz." (Dartmouth Medical School)

"Asthma researchers taking hunt for clues down to the farm" - "Thousands of New Zealanders will be asked about their contact with cows as part of a search for clues to the causes of asthma. One of the leading theories on the causes of the disease, which afflicts one in six people in New Zealand, is the so-called hygiene hypothesis." (New Zealand Herald)

"Data Revised on Soot in Air and Deaths" - "Revisiting their own data with new methods, scientists who conducted influential studies that linked sooty air pollution with higher death rates have lowered their estimate of the risk posed by bad-air days. The findings do not challenge what is now a well-established link between air pollution and premature death. But the new analysis is highly likely to delay the final review of new regulations on small-particle pollution, officials of the Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday." (New York Times)

"Stove improvements associated with reduced lung cancer risk in China" - "A study of farmers in rural China suggests that switching from unvented to vented stoves could decrease the risk of lung cancer. The findings appear in the June 5 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute." (Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

"Organic Alchemy; Organic farming could kill billions of people" - "Organic food production is growing by leaps and bounds in the United States. Many consumers are willing to pay premium prices for organic fruits, vegetables, and meats, convinced that they are helping the earth and eating healthier." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"EU warns Earth Summit agenda unrealistic" - "BALI, Indonesia - A U.N. summit in August aimed at saving the environment while slashing poverty has set unrealistic goals and its failure could not be ruled out, a senior European Union official said yesterday. In comments clearly at odds with United Nations officials convening final meetings in Indonesia before the Johannesburg summit, EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said a draft action plan for the event had to be shorter and more focused." (Reuters)

"Japan Ratifies Kyoto Protocol, Urges U.S. To Do Likewise" - "Japan ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change today, following the treaty's unanimous approval in the upper house of the Diet, and said it will push for other countries to do the same." (UN Wire)

"Critics slam Japan's lethargy on gas emission cuts" - "At the 1997 United Nations climate conference in Kyoto, Japan pledged a six-percent cut in emissions of six greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide by 2008-2012, compared with 1990 levels. It ratified the agreement yesterday. But a study by Japan's Environment Ministry showed emissions in 1999 were almost seven percent higher than 1990 levels. More recent data will not be published until later this year but critics say the picture has got no better." (Reuters)

"Warming Up to Warming" - "Much of the developed world sees the United States as stubbornly uncooperative on global warming. But things are not quite that simple. The US just submitted a report to the United Nations that starkly acknowledges some of the negative effects warming could have on America, such as an increased likelihood of drought, and flooding in coastal areas. The report forthrightly admits that human activity partly lies behind such effects. This could seem an about-face for the Bush administration, which has opted out of an international treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, that mandates substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The administration, however, argues that it has never denied that global warming is a serious concern. It has only disagreed on how to address the problem." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"More Hot Air on Kyoto" - "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy," said a dismissive President Bush yesterday, taking the opportunity to reiterate his opposition to the Kyoto treaty on global warming. Too bad the bureaucracy didn't show its report to Mr. Bush before it released it to everyone else.

The President was doing damage control on a report on climate change that his Environmental Protection Agency sent to the United Nations Friday. In what was widely hyped as a reversal of the Administration's policy, the report warned that global warming was in fact occurring and admitted that recent temperature changes were "likely due mostly to human activities." Aha, said the greens, "Gotcha."

Having plowed our way through some of the 268 pages, we can see how, without too much squinting, the report might be interpreted as a greater acceptance of the whole global warming doctrine, even if the White House now says it hasn't changed its position. EPA boss Christie Whitman sure has a knack for blind-siding her boss; someone should inform her that Al Gore lost the election." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Bush Withholds Backing Of EPA Report on Warming (washingtonpost.com)" - "President Bush appeared to distance himself yesterday from a report by his administration that says human activities are mostly to blame for recent trends in global warming, which many scientists predict will seriously disrupt the environment. The report, prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency and submitted last week to the United Nations, for the first time put the administration on record as saying that the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels is the main cause of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Until now, Bush administration officials have insisted there was too much uncertainty in climate change research to accurately assess blame"

"Batty policy on climate change -- The Washington Times" - "The Bush administration is taking flak again from both sides for making yet another misstep in formulating policy on climate change, a policy that is, well, batty. So batty, in fact, that in the latest development yesterday President Bush himself denounced it. Flip, flop and back to flip."

"Boston Globe Online Editorials | Opinions Two leaps forward on global warming" - "HARDLY ANYONE noticed, but a large step was taken at the United Nations last week that could breathe legal life into a five-year-old treaty designed to reduce the greenhouse gases that have produced global warming."

"Get Out the Ouija Boards" - "The president a year ago correctly rejected the Kyoto Protocol that demands intense reductions in U.S. energy use as a way to avert hypothetical human-made global warming that is forecast by computer simulations. Bush's sound statement called for intensive research on climate as the proper base for policy discussions. But now, in the new climate report issued through the Environmental Protection Agency, the administration says climate science is settled, and that global warming from human activities will damage the nation. Yet in the interim there has been no new science to cause the shift in viewpoint.

As a result of this waffling in position, the "third formal national communication" to the U.N. Convention on Climate Change has created a field day for media and environmental activists to play havoc again with the actual science of climate." (Dr. Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"President Distances Himself From Global Warming Report" - "WASHINGTON, June 4 — Under intense criticism from conservatives, President Bush distanced himself today from a report by his administration concluding that humans were to blame for far-reaching effects of global warming on the environment. The report, drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and reviewed by several other agencies and the White House, was sent to the United Nations early last week. The report said the United States would be substantially changed in the next few decades by global warming, although it called for no rapid response. Reporters asked Mr. Bush about the report today. "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy," he said. He said he still opposed the Kyoto treaty, which Japan ratified today. The treaty calls for the mandatory reduction of greenhouse gases by industrial nations. Critics across the political spectrum said that Mr. Bush was trying to appear more moderate to environmentalists while signaling to conservatives and industry that he would not promote the views contained in the report." (New York Times)

"Bush - Global climate report is bureaucratic hot air" - "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush yesterday called a recent report that blames humans for global warming nothing more than a product of government "bureaucracy" and said he would not accept an international accord to reduce heating-trapping emissions." (Reuters)

"Bush pans Kyoto as Japan OKs pact -- The Washington Times" - "President Bush yesterday reiterated his opposition to the Kyoto treaty on global warming as Japan ratified the protocol, and distanced himself from a report by the Environmental Protection Agency that suggested that human activity is responsible for a warming climate."

"Global Warming and Extreme Weather: Impacts on Agriculture (Italy)" - "Summary: Climate alarmists say that increasing temperatures lead to increases in all sorts of extreme weather phenomena that bode badly for almost everything. Consequently - and since the world has recently experienced a centennial-scale period of warming that is typically described as unprecedented within the past millennium - one would expect to see some devastating consequences in a number of different areas. So how has the agriculture sector fared?" (co2science.org)

"Holocene (Regional -- North America)" - "Summary: The climate of the interglacial period in which we live, i.e., the Holocene, exhibits a millennial-scale oscillation that alternately produces several-hundred-year intervals of warmth and cold, the most recent of which intervals is the Modern Warm Period. Evidence from North America indicates that this current warm period is likely not yet as warm as the Medieval Warm Period of a thousand years ago and, hence, that it is likely not related to the historical rise in the air's CO2 content." (co2science.org)

"Glacier Mass Balance Trends: Up or Down?" - "Summary: In view of the dramatic warming climate alarmists say has occurred over the past two decades or so, earth's glaciers should be rapidly wasting away; and many of them are. But when all of the data are considered ... Progress in Physical Geography 26: 76-95." (co2science.org)

"Climate and Alpine Ecosystem Changes in Glacier National Park" - "Summary: With all the talk of disappearing glaciers in the National Park made famous by such icy features, one would also expect to see forests moving upward in elevation in response to rising temperatures ... if there really were rising temperatures. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 34: 49-56." (co2science.org)

"The new green house effect - smh.com.au" - "The cost of the typical Australian home could rise by as much as $111,000 if the nation was to meet its obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a conference of architects was told yesterday. A lawyer and greenhouse expert, Ross Blair, told the Royal Australian Institute of Architects that the cost of making the materials which went into houses, such as bricks and concrete, was very energy intensive. If Australia adopted a carbon tax system to meet its Kyoto protocol obligations, the housing sector would be hit hard."

"PM a 'recalcitrant' over Kyoto" - "Prime Minister John Howard was described as an environmental recalcitrant as more countries signed up to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases. Greens leader Bob Brown said Mr Howard was leading a cabinet that had less environmental savvy than an average kindergarten student. His comments follow the decision by Japan to sign up to the protocol binding nations to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions."

"CLIMATE CHANGE MAY BECOME MAJOR PLAYER IN OZONE LOSS" - "While industrial products like chlorofluorocarbons are largely responsible for current ozone depletion, a NASA study finds that by the 2030s climate change may surpass chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as the main driver of overall ozone loss." (NASA/GSFC)

"Daily Yomiuri On-Line - Radar may help ozone hole science" - "A research team unveiled Monday plans to build a huge radar system in the Antarctic that one day could contribute to understanding of the ozone hole over the icy continent. The 3-D radar system would cost about 5 billion yen, but would bring new levels of accuracy to the study of atmospheric phenomena, according to the team led by researchers from the National Institute of Polar Research of the Education, Science and Technology Ministry."

"Mercury News | 06 04 2002 | Bleak future for water predicted" - "Global warming will shrink the Sierra Nevada snowpack over the next half-century, disrupting water supplies for two-thirds of Californians, researchers at the University of California-Santa Cruz predicted Monday. Based on computer models of California's climate, the study echoes last year's dire predictions by scientists and state officials about the ramifications of atmospheric temperature increases averaging 3 to 7 degrees."

"Science editor explores the role of environmental change on global security" - "Hijackings, bioterrorist attacks and suicide bombings aren’t the only human-induced threats to global security. Climate change, dwindling resources and the unintentional spread of microbial pests also have the potential to cause political destabilization, according to former university president Donald Kennedy, now editor-in-chief of the journal Science." (Stanford University)

"Star Telegram | 06 05 2002 | Houston likely to get higher speed limits" - "State environmental officials are expected today to scrap Houston's 55 mph smog-fighting speed limit for at least three years but do not plan to raise Metroplex speed limits for at least 18 months. Although lower speed limits reduce pollution, they are not as effective at cutting smog as had been thought, said Jeff Saitas, executive director of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Saitas is asking state environmental commissioners to restore Houston speed limits for cars and light trucks to 70 mph, while the lower speed limit would still apply to large trucks. The limits in Houston and eight surrounding counties were lowered in February. The lower limits provide "a very small fraction of the benefit we assumed," Saitas said, "Clean air plans are best based on technological solutions as opposed to lifestyle changes."

"Newsday.com - As Republicans search for votes, Torricelli tries to set an agenda" - "TRENTON, N.J. _ Sen. Robert Torricelli, hoping to set the agenda for his re-election campaign, said Monday that the Senate's one-vote Democratic majority has a crucial role to play in battling the Bush administration on air pollution. A day before Republican voters choose his challenger, Torricelli hosted Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords, whose switch from Republican to independent a year ago gave Democrats control of the Senate. Jeffords, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has proposed an approach to air pollution that Democrats prefer over a plan by the Bush White House. "Before my switch, the Bush administration had a green light to relax and roll back our national environmental regulations," Jeffords said. "Today I'm proud to say the Senate is flashing a red light to Bush administration plans."

"Russian scientists, Monsanto develop beetle-resistant potato varieties" - "MOSCOW More than half a century after U.S. food shipments introduced the Colorado beetle into Russia's potato fields, scientists from both countries have developed a genetically engineered potato resistant to the agricultural pest, officials announced Tuesday. Russian scientists at the Center of Bioengineering have adapted technology developed by St. Louis-based Monsanto, one of the world's biggest biotechnology companies, to three varieties of potatoes commonly grown in Russia, said Konstantin Skryabin, the center's director." (AP)

"Euro MPs vote for tougher rules on GM food labels" - "BRUSSELS - Genetically modified (GM) food and fodder should be clearly labelled and kept separate from non-GM varieties, a key European Parliament committee voted yesterday. Parliament's environment committee voted to toughen draft European Union rules aimed at reassuring consumers they can avoid GM foods if they choose. The bill, once approved could finally unlock EU approval of scores of new GM crops. The 15-country bloc has not issued a single new GM permit since 1999 when a large minority of member states vowed to stall approvals pending the new regulations." (Reuters)

"GM foods plot a myth, says critic of TV show" - "A scientific adviser on a BBC1 drama about genetically modified crops rejected its creators' claims yesterday that he was part of a multinational "conspiracy to undermine the truth."

Dr Tester said he believed he had originally been approached to help by the Guardian because he was neither strongly pro or anti GM crops. "If I am a pawn of the big pro-GM industry giants, then it's a bit funny to use a Green socialist," he said." (Daily Telegraph)

"Rutgers scientists create high-protein corn with Third World potential" - "Rutgers geneticists have devised a new approach to create a more nutritious corn without employing the controversial biotechnology used in genetically modified foods. Instead of adding foreign DNA to the corn, the researchers increased the plant’s ability to produce more of its own naturally occurring protein by adjusting the genetic signals that control the process." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

June 4, 2002

"Justice Is Blind to Scientific Evidence" - "Most adults missed something in the films "Star Wars" and "Goldfinger" because, according to a new National Science Foundation study, only 45% know that lasers focus light waves rather than sound waves. That finding bodes well for more junk science in the courtroom." (Bart Kosko, LA Times)

"The Detroit News - Conyers expected to introduce toxic mold protection bill - 06 04 02" - "DETROIT -- U.S. Rep. John Conyers was expected today to introduce legislation on Capitol Hill aimed at protecting home owners against toxic-mold poisoning. Conyers' bill, the United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act, is designed to help prevent consumers from moving into mold-infested homes. It also will provide legal protection and recourse to home buyers and renters who already have been exposed to dangerous levels of toxic mold."

"Report Clears Hepatitis B Vaccine Of Triggering MS" - "Based on a review of clinical and population studies, the hepatitis B vaccine does not cause or trigger multiple sclerosis in adults, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies." (UniSci)

"Environmental group petitions EPA to take weedkiller atrazine off the market - 6 4 2002 - ENN.com" - "WASHINGTON — An environmental group asked the government Monday to ban the use of atrazine, a weedkiller commonly sprayed on cornfields and lawns. The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a petition asking the EPA to take the chemical off the market, charging its leading manufacturer did not properly disclose that 17 workers had developed prostate cancer. The group also said the chemical had been linked to deformities in frogs."

"To Feed World's People, Modern Practices Must Supplant Organic Fads" - "Organic farmers have every right to grow crops using any practice they deem suitable. Consumers who buy organic produce deserve that option, and a growing number obviously perceive a benefit.

Yet when deference to a niche segment begins to adversely affect our ability to produce food most efficiently, it's time to dispel some myths--because despite its proponents' claims, organic agriculture is not capable of supplying our country's food needs while protecting the environment." (Jim Wells, LA Times)

"Pesky Pesticide Tests" - "One of the main reasons some consumers choose "organic" produce over conventionally-grown produce is to avoid the pesticides used in conventional farming. A study published last month in the Food Additives and Contaminants Journal (Vol. 19, No. 5), seemed to provide evidence in support of that choice." (Howard Fienberg, TCS)

"Empty Superfund halts cleanups" - "WASHINGTON — The loss of corporate taxes supporting the Superfund has left the federal environmental cleanup machine of the 1980s and'90s foundering. And that, in turn, has left the government with a difficult task: forcing mining companies to live up to liabilities from the past. The firm ASARCO recently refused an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin paying to remove lead-contaminated soil at Granby, Mo., and Diamond, Mo. "The retroactive liability EPA is attempting to impose on ASARCO is severe and patently unfair," the company wrote in an April 18 letter to the agency. The EPA is encountering similar difficulty in Picher, Okla., at the Tar Creek Superfund site." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Film promo? "Champion of seas faces attempted murder case" - "For a man under investigation for attempted murder on the high seas, Paul Watson seems remarkably calm. The veteran environmentalist, who has been arrested many times before but never convicted, believes the latest accusation is an example of how far powerful fishing interests are prepared to go in trying to neutralise conservation campaigners." (The Guardian)

"Fatal Chilean storms awaken El Nino fears" - "SANTIAGO, Chile, June 3 - At least four people were reported killed on Monday in some of the worst storms to hit parts of Chile in the last 40 years, awakening fears of a return visit of the devastating El Nino weather phenomenon." (Reuters)

"Rainfall lessens odds of El Nino" - "QUEENSLAND still stands a chance of an El Nino drought after rain brought relief to the southeast corner of the state yesterday. The weather bureau said the odds of the drought weather pattern forming this year had lessened in the past few weeks. If the same weather patterns continued next month the state would be spared because El Nino weather patterns usually form before the end of June, the bureau said." (Courier-Mail)

"Say It Ain't So, George" - "Today, Americans learned from a front page story in The New York Times that, "in a stark shift,…the administration for the first time mostly blames human actions for recent global warming. It says the main culprit is the burning of fossil fuels that send heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere."

In the past, President Bush properly noted that, while the earth had warmed at its surface by one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, scientists were still uncertain what caused the warming and what would happen in the century ahead. In addition, the administration urged the weighing of potential benefits against real-life costs -- which could run to $300 billion or more annually. Bush encouraged more research before drawing catastrophic conclusions." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Humans cause global warming, US admits" - "The US Government has acknowledged for the first time that man-made pollution is largely to blame for global warming. But it has again refused to shift its position on the Kyoto protocol, an international treaty against global warming which the Bush administration rejected last year." (BBC News Online)

"It's official, global warming does exist, says Bush" - "In an extraordinarily secretive manoeuvre, the Bush administration has subtly altered its position on global warming, officially admitting that there is a crisis while still declining to offer policies to combat it. A government report to the UN says that global warming exists, that it is man-made, and that it will transform the environment - all points that the current US government, while never actually denying, has been reluctant to accept. However, the report suggests that the country will have to accept the changes, rather than take any action to try to avert them. "Adapting to a changing climate is inevitable," it says. "The question is whether we adapt poorly or well." (The Guardian) | Bush shifts global warming stance (Independent)

"White House defends U-turn on global warming -- The Washington Times" - "The White House yesterday defended the about-face on global warming contained in its report to the United Nations on climate change. The report marked the first Bush administration agreement with environmental activists that recent global warming is caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human use of fossil fuels.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan yesterday defended the report, issued Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency, by pointing to its language reiterating the administration's stance that, Mr. McClellan said, there remains "considerable uncertainty in current understanding of how climate varies naturally."

"Impact of Climate Change Outlined (washingtonpost.com)" - "The Bush administration has outlined significant environmental impacts from climate change, possibly within decades, in a report to the United Nations. But the administration stood firm on its plans to address heat-trapping "greenhouse" pollution by urging voluntary measures and avoiding the Kyoto climate treaty."

"Is Bush playing treaty "chicken"? -- The Washington Times" - "As one of the first manifestations of President George W. Bush's supposed campaign of foreign policy "unilateralism," last year he rejected, withdrew from or otherwise abandoned the Kyoto Protocol on "global warming" - right? Not exactly. That which is required to withdraw from unratified treaties was recently demonstrated regarding the Treaty of Rome. Mr. Bush formally told the United Nations that this agreement establishing a permanent international criminal court would not involve the United States, despite our having signed it (see the instrument to that effect, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/9968.htm).

The president has undertaken no similar action to withdraw from Kyoto, the U.N. effort at rationing energy use among developed nations. Now, his State Department having just denied a petition that it in fact reject Kyoto, Mr. Bush makes clear he has no such intention. Thus the rap on Mr. Bush of getting tough with the maniacally green Europeans, regarding the unfair and unwarranted Kyoto, is fiction. The stranger truth is that Kyoto is alive, well, and as likely as not headed to the Senate at the behest of a Republican."

"Global warming would help many US crops - EPA report" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming means that U.S. farms are likely to increase production of soybeans, cotton, sorghum and oranges during the coming decades, according to a new U.S. government report. Farmers will also need less irrigation water and more pesticides because of slightly warmer temperatures expected across the continental United States from carbon emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency report said." (Reuters)

"EPA Global Warming Report Violates White House Agreement To Settle Lawsuit" - "Washington, D.C., June 3, 2002—The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest report on global warming to the United Nations, Climate Action Report 2002, violates an agreement between the White House and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, three members of Congress, and other non-profit advocacy groups, struck in settlement of a lawsuit. The report relies in part on the discredited National Assessment on Climate Change.

As a result of the lawsuit filed in October 2000, the Bush Administration ultimately agreed in September 2001 to withdraw the National Assessment and stated that its unlawfully produced conclusions are “not policy positions or official statements of the U.S. government.” EPA has ignored this agreement in issuing its report to the United Nations.

“Through Freedom of Information Act inquiries, we learned that the National Assessment was hurriedly slapped together in an incomplete and inaccurate form,” said Christopher C. Horner, CEI counsel who filed the lawsuit. “The current Climate Action Report inappropriately cites the disgraced National Assessment, in clear violation of the spirit and letter of our agreement with the White House in return for withdrawing our suit.” (CEI)

"New climate study shows California's vulnerability to global warming" - "Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have produced a detailed picture of how California's climate is likely to change within the next 50 to 100 years as a result of global warming. Their study, complete with temperature and precipitation data for different parts of the state, goes far beyond the usual speculation about the potential impacts of climate change on the state." (University of California - Santa Cruz)

"World climate moves put heat on govt" - "The federal government is under increased pressure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change amid a world rush to secure a pact to combat global warming. All 15 European Union states have ratified the protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions, widely blamed for global warming. The ratification came as the attitude of the United States took a surprise shift with President George W Bush's administration finally acknowledging the impact of greenhouse gases." (AAP)

"Earth Summit 'will produce 500,000 tons of greenhouse gas'" - "The 60,000 delegates to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg this September will produce the same volume of greenhouse gases through air flights, ground transport and hotel pollution as would half a million ordinary Africans in a year. The British company Future Forests, which has been asked to devise a way of offsetting the emissions, estimates that the summit, which is to concentrate on alleviating the environmental problems of the world's poorest people, will produce nearly 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide. This is the amount produced annually by 44,000 Britons or 450,000 Africans." (Daily Telegraph)

"Chicago Tribune | Ethanol plant pollution raises concern at EPA" - "Factories that produce ethanol, the homegrown fuel touted for environmental benefits, pollute more than anyone anticipated, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which intends to crack down on the unexpected plant emissions. Representatives from ethanol factories in five Midwestern states are expected to attend a meeting Monday in Chicago to discuss plant changes and new permitting requirements, said Steve Rothblatt, the EPA's Acting Director of Air and Radiation Division for the Midwest region. The EPA will individually investigate those who don't attend, Rothblatt said. The surprise findings, which complicate the ongoing argument over ethanol's overall contribution to clean air, come during the most aggressive and rapid expansion in the industry's history."

"ABC Sci-Tech - 03 06 02 : Kangaroos could be key to greenhouse gas reductions" - "Queensland Government scientists are pondering one of the stranger mysteries in life - why kangaroos emit very little methane. They are investigating microbes found in kangaroos' stomachs in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock. Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Minister Henry Palaszczuk says the DPI researchers hope to isolate the bacteria in kangaroos that prevent the production of methane and see if can be used to reduce gas from sheep and cattle. "If we can have a breakthrough there, it'll be great news for the environment because at the end of the day it will mean a reduction in the 60 million tonnes of gas emissions that come from our cows and our sheep each year," he said." | Kangaroos offer clue to global warming (BBC News Online)

"China GMO cotton bad for environment - Greenpeace" - "SHANGHAI - Transgenic Chinese cotton, developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto , is bad for the environment because it encourages the continued use of pesticides, environmental group Greenpeace said yesterday. The crop, Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton, genetically engineered to be more resistant to pests, is building up resistance toward cotton bollworm after just five years of commercial cultivation, Greenpeace said in a statement. Monsanto director of scientific director Eric Sachs said the Greenpeace report was misleading and flawed." (Reuters)

June 3, 2002

"New Study Adds to Debate on E.P.A. Rules for Pesticide" - "WASHINGTON, June 1 — The Environmental Protection Agency is embroiled in several fierce legal and scientific debates as it struggles to write new rules governing the use of atrazine, one of the nation's most widely used pesticides. The chemical, used to banish weeds from cornfields in the Midwest and residential lawns in the Southeast, and for many other purposes, has been linked in studies to cancer in humans and to deformities in frogs that caused them to grow both testes and ovaries. It is banned in some European countries. Now, the environmental agency acknowledges that the newly published research on frogs may force it to seek an extension of a court-ordered August deadline for issuing the rules. Atrazine's major manufacturer, Syngenta AG of Switzerland, now says it will offer studies of its own to refute the frog research, and it continues to challenge many of the agency's findings as being too cautious. But environmental groups are making just the opposite claim: that the agency is not being cautious enough." (New York Times)

"US military eyes more environmental leeway" - "LOS ANGELES – The war on terrorism, especially in Afghanistan, is giving Americans a new window into the future of global conflict: guerrilla and special-forces tactics with unseen foes, without the front lines and battalion-force battles of yesteryear. But as US forces continue to prepare for this future of unconventional war – with new maneuvers, weaponry, and strategy – defense officials say America's military readiness is increasingly running smack-dab into an unlikely foe: regulations protecting endangered plants and animals on military-training installations." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Green tax is 'own goal' for environment" - "A new tax, presented by the Government as part of its green agenda, is being criticised for threatening one of Britain's most important recycling industries. The Aggregates Levy, which came into force this year, penalises firms for extracting materials like sandstone from quarries, with a charge of £1.60 per tonne. It could raise hundreds of millions of pounds a year, and it has led the industry to begin using glass from bottle banks, grinding it down into sharp sand to use in road building. But the glass industry says it should have a prior claim on discarded glass, to recycle into bottles and jars." (BBC News Online)

"Companies told to disclose emissions" - "Merrill Lynch and Henderson Global Investors were yesterday among a group of institutions spearheading a project to force the world's 500 largest companies to reveal how they are tackling the problem of global warming. The institutions have written to a broad spectrum of companies from ExxonMobil to Unilever to demand that they disclose information concerning their greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative was prompted by a fear among some of the world's most powerful financial institutions that companies' attitudes to climate change could affect the value of their investment funds. The move is the first time that institutions not generally renowned for shareholder activism have supported such a project." (Independent)

"Crossroads on Global Warming" - "As it is required to do under international treaty, the Bush administration has sent to the United Nations a report on global warming that is much more pessimistic than its earlier calculations about the environmental damage that unchecked warming could cause. A White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said the report is reason "to move forward on the president's strategies for addressing the challenge of climate change." There is only one thing wrong with this picture. President Bush has no serious strategies for climate change." (New York Times editorial)

"Climate Changing, U.S. Says in Report" - "In a stark shift for the Bush administration, the United States has sent a climate report to the United Nations detailing specific and far-reaching effects that it says global warming will inflict on the American environment. In the report, the administration for the first time mostly blames human actions for recent global warming. It says the main culprit is the burning of fossil fuels that send heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But while the report says the United States will be substantially changed in the next few decades — "very likely" seeing the disruption of snow-fed water supplies, more stifling heat waves and the permanent disappearance of Rocky Mountain meadows and coastal marshes, for example — it does not propose any major shift in the administration's policy on greenhouse gases." (New York Times)

"Biologist recognized for linking global warming initiative to wildlife habitat enhancement" - "PORT ROWAN, ON, May 31 /CNW/ - The Forest Stewardship Recognition Program (FSRP) has honoured biologist Steve Hounsell of Ontario Power Generation for his leadership in promoting an innovative approach to OPG's global warming reforestation efforts in southern Ontario. "Steve Hounsell has worked tirelessly to convince people, both inside and outside of the corporation, that tree planting must be done using the right mix of trees that are genetically adapted right to the local area. These new forests will provide good wildlife habitat, along with all the other benefits that come from forests," says Al Davidson, chairman of Wildlife Habitat Canada. "Steve has helped to ensure that OPG's carbon credit planting is beneficial to both wildlife and the environment."

Oh, so they don't really believe their own hype about radically altering climate zones going to wipe out forests and wildlife in currently established regions then... Since they apparently recognise that there is negligible risk of human-induced 'climate catastrophe,' what's the 'carbon credit' value of a pointless exercise? And if they do believe their own ridiculous climate prognostications, this guy is, according to them, planting the wrong species mix, 'genetically adapted right to the local area' for current conditions rather than those we are assured are imminent. Either way, they've got it wrong.

"UK generators may burn wood, straw at coal plants" - "LONDON - British generators are looking at burning wood and straw with coal at their power stations to cut greenhouse gas emissions and so get valuable green certificates (renewable obligation certificates [ROCs]), said company spokesmen last week.

The shortage of green power in the UK means ROCs are worth about 40 pounds ($58.67) per megawatt hour, more than double the value of wholesale electricity. But industry watchers say if co-firing at coal power stations goes ahead it would lead to a huge increase the amount of ROCs available, resulting in a sharp drop in certificate prices." (Reuters)

"Critic of GM drama denies conspiracy" - "A scientific adviser on a BBC1 drama about genetically modified crops rejected its creators' claims yesterday that he was part of a multinational "conspiracy to undermine the truth". Dr Mark Tester, a GM researcher at Cambridge University, was attacked simultaneously yesterday by Alan Rusbridger and Ronan Bennett, co-writers of Fields of Gold, after he said they had ignored his criticisms and produced a programme "to inflame uninformed anti-GM hysteria". Dr Tester's rubbishing of the scientific credibility of the thriller, in which a lethal GM-created superbug runs rampant through the human and animal population, was repeated by other senior scientists who were shown a preview of the programme." (Daily Telegraph) | Scientists rebut writer's claim of GM conspiracy (The Times)

"GM trials under scrutiny" - "AUSTRALIA'S gene modification watchdog is to slap tough conditions on plans by two multi-nationals to trial GM canola. Commonwealth gene technology regulator Sue Meek said if approved they would be heavily policed to avoid contamination of surrounding countryside. Aventis Cropscience has sought approval for 318ha of canola in 90 sites across South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Western Australia while Monsanto wants to trial 90ha of its GM canola over the same states." (The Advertiser)

June 2, 2002

"Organic Reporting Skewed" - "An example of how organic agriculture gets hyped by the media: I am quoted in a story in the May 31 Los Angeles Times ("Organic Farms Viable Despite Lower Yields, Study Finds") about a new study in Science, also published today — a study comparing organic, biodynamic, and "conventional" farming systems in Switzerland. Too bad the reporter, Emily Green, who interviewed me for an hour on Wednesday, decided to ignore my strongest points. While she mentioned my argument that the study didn't compare modern no-till farm systems — and so is a comparison between the latest organic and the "old-school" conventional methods — she didn't explain that or include any of my subsequent points. She ignored the fact that no-till achieves the same improvements in soil structure, organic matter, water infiltration capacity, etc. that the most advanced organic techniques do — perhaps even outperforming them — and, more important, does it with about one-third the energy usage of either the organic or "old-style" conventional systems, which use laborious plowing and tilling to control weeds." (Alex Avery, Health Facts and Fears)

"Speaking of science" - "UK prime minister Tony Blair made a pro-science speech to the Royal Society on 23 May. The fact that it was the first ever speech given by a serving prime minister to Britain's premier science body speaks volumes. And the fact none of the print media reported the speech on their front pages shows what an uphill struggle promoting science will be." (Bill Durodié, sp!ked)

"Women face collapse of court claim over the pill" - "A huge high court claim by more than 100 women against the makers of third generation contraceptive pills looked certain to collapse last night after the judge trying the case told lawyers he did not want to hear eight weeks of further evidence due to start in 11 days. Mr Justice Mackay told lawyers in the case they could stand down after hearing detailed submissions on a key issue: whether evidence on behalf of the women proved that the newer pills were more than twice as risky as the second generation pills." (The Guardian)

"How to have a healthy World Cup" - "The nation is set to be glued to its televisions this weekend as the World Cup kicks off in the Far East. But what impact will those early matches have on our bodies? How will we cope with beer and pizza on Sunday morning as the England v Sweden match kicks off? And what about the palpitations as one of the England squad steps up to take a penalty? Experts are offering advice about how football fanatics can get through the tournament with their health intact." (BBC News Online)

"Television link to eating disorders" - "Doctors say they have found further evidence to suggest television programmes encourage eating disorders among teenage girls. It follows a major study examining the impact of the introduction of television in two towns in the Pacific islands of Fiji." (BBC News Online)

Elk chips (... and wolf and bison...): "Snowmobiles stress wolves, MSU prof says" - "Snowmobiling in Yellowstone and other national parks can stress elk and wolves so much that it might affect their reproductive and immune systems, according to a Montana State University study." (Billings Gazette)

"Newsday.com - EPA: Toxic Chemicals Are Cancer Risk" - "WASHINGTON -- Toxic chemicals pose an elevated cancer risk to two-thirds of Americans living in nearly every part of the country, says an assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency. A long-awaited study of health risks from 32 toxic chemicals, released Friday, concludes that 200 million people live in areas where the cancer risk from exposure to these substances is higher than what the EPA considers a minimum level of concern."

"Gannett News Service - Air pollution increasing cancer risk by 10 times" - "WASHINGTON - Air pollution from cars, trucks and construction equipment is exposing Americans to a lifetime cancer risk at least 10 times greater than the level considered acceptable by the federal government, according to a government report released Friday."

"Court Orders Study of City Trucks' Soot" - "A state appeals court has ruled that New York City must study the health effects of soot from the diesel sanitation trucks it has added to Manhattan's streets in recent years. That could lead to the city's installing emission controls on the trucks.

Beginning in 1999, as the city slowed and then stopped the dumping of garbage at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, it instead sent several hundred trucks each day through Manhattan to carry the trash to rail cars in New Jersey. The court ruled unanimously that the Giuliani administration was wrong in concluding that it did not have to examine potential health effects from the truck traffic." (New York Times)

'Natchural' not better?: "Holy smoke ... a faithful winter workhorse is under fire - smh.com.au" - "High on the Great Divide, the seasons didn't change today. For people in the cities, the calendar marks the first day of winter, but on the slopes and ranges, smoke is a more faithful sign the season has begun. The old wood heater is still as synonymous with the elevated regions as an occasional fall of snow and, when the mercury plunged, many people on the mountains and tablelands reached for the block splitter weeks ago. What is rustic charm to Sydneysiders, however, has sent respiratory problems soaring in some rural centres. Even in Sydney - where councils such as Waverley have banned them in new homes - wood heaters produce up to three times more particle pollution on a winter's weekend than cars."

"Indianapolis Star - Feared mosquito boom is a bust" - "Although record amounts of rainfall had experts predicting a bumper crop this season, Marion County officials report that mosquitoes are, for the most part, under control. "The big boom I thought we were going to see never really transpired," said Chuck Dulla, an administrator for the county Health Department's mosquito control unit. "Things are really pretty normal right now."

"Alberta's boreal forest threatened: National Geographic magazine" - "SALT PRAIRIE, ALBERTA - Alberta Premier Ralph Klein said Friday that he's considering writing a letter of complaint to National Geographic magazine, after the publication wrote a scathing article about the province's boreal forests. Boreal forests that ring the world's northern hemisphere are as "as important" as the Amazon for curbing greenhouse gases, the magazine said. And it said Alberta's boreal forests are among the most threatened in the world." (CBC News)

"The Nando Times: Expert predicts heavy hurricane season" - "DENVER - One of the nation's leading hurricane forecasters Friday predicted a busier-than-usual season this year, with six hurricanes, two of them major. Colorado State University hurricane expert William Gray predicted 11 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins Saturday and runs through Nov. 30. A major hurricane has wind of 111 mph or more."

"Calving and Sobs" - "There are a lot of headlines about weird weather these days. And many of those stories often blame human-made global warming for the wacky weather events. As a result, it would be difficult even for a reasonable person not to conclude that human fossil-fuel use has transformed the natural weather to something wholly dastardly and 'unnatural.'" (Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, TCS)

"Irish Newspapers - Floods and heatwaves to come as climate changes" - "SAVAGE winter flooding encroaching on Irish cities and towns and summer droughts will be the norm by the middle of the century, a government climate change report reveals. There will be hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters with 1.5 deg temperature rises by 2050 and 2.5 deg 20 years later. The report reveals that as the climate changes because of global warming, local authorities will have to store winter rain to cope with major summer droughts. Summers will be marked by water shortages, winters by increased flooding on a scale previously unseen here. "Seasonal flooding may occur over large areas and persist far longer," the Progress Report on National Climate Change Strategy says."

"CLIMATE CHANGE: EU's 15 Members Submit Kyoto Protocol Ratification" - "UNITED NATIONS -- In a move calculated to highlight the isolation of the United States on the issue of global warming, the 15 members of the European Union simultaneously ratified the Kyoto Protocol this morning in a public ceremony at the United Nations." (UN Wire) | EU Ratifies Global Warming Treaty (washingtonpost.com) | Hopes for Kyoto rise after Japan and EU ratify treaty (The Guardian) | EU ratifies global warming pact (BBC News Online) | EU Nations Ratify Global Warming Pact, Goad U.S. (Reuters) | European Union ratifies treaty aimed at curbing global warming; U.S. alone in opposition (AP)

"Upper House OKs laws in support of Kyoto pact" - "The House of Councilors on Friday approved statutes designed to put Japan on the path to meet its legally binding international obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, also given the legislative stamp of approval the same day. Under the revised global warming prevention law, Japan aims to trim greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 6 percent of 1990 levels over the period from 2008 to 2012." (Japan Times)

They wuz conned: "Nike, Inc. and Delta Air Lines Present The Climate Trust With a $25,000 Donation to Address Climate Change; Donation to Offset One Year's Air Travel by Investing in a Portfolio Of Projects That Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. BEAVERTON, Ore., May 23 -- Nike and Delta Air Lines today announced that they will offset the equivalent of 5,000 pounds [correction: should read 5,000 metric tons] of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by donating $25,000 to The Climate Trust, a Portland, Oregon-based non-profit organization committed to reducing greenhouse gas levels. The donation represents Nike and Delta's second Eco-Class fund, which each company contributes to every time Nike purchases a Delta ticket for flights originating in the United States. The fund serves to mitigate the impact of business travel on Delta Air Lines by Nike U.S. employees, and represents how both companies are addressing the rising level of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and the resulting impact on global climate change." (PRNewswire-FirstCall)

Wonder how long it'll be before they have to pay compensation to third world farmers for denying them aerial crop fertilisation at the same time as they are paying 'protection money' to the greenhouse gaggle. Such a silly game...

"Campaign ExxonMobil Caters To The Greens" - "Before its cataclysmic fall, Enron had become the darling of the environmental movement. The company tirelessly pandered to environmentalists to bolster its green image and lobbied fiercely for environmental regulation, the crown jewel being the Kyoto Protocol, that would eliminate its competition. In hindsight, Enron should have paid less attention to politics and more to business. Now environmentalists are demanding that other companies emulate Enron, even arguing that such behavior would increase shareholder value. Before companies heed this advice they should examine Enron's record." (Georgia Op-Ed in National Review Online)

"WA's carbon trading plans under Kyoto pressure" - "There are claims the Federal Government is damaging its chances of attracting foreign investment by not signing the Kyoto Protocol. Western Australia's Agriculture and Forestry Minister, Kim Chance, today announced a bill to sell the state's potential for environmental development through carbon trading. Under the proposal, companies worldwide could invest in local environmental projects to offset their greenhouse gas emissions." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Wind farms stir up rural fury" - "Wind farms, hailed as the solution to Britain's clean energy crisis, face a storm of protest. A campaign aims to stop the creation of dozens of new ones - a central plank of government energy strategy. The farms would provide power for 1.5 million homes, but a campaign was launched last week after a contentious decision to approve Britain's biggest onshore wind farm in the Cambrian mountains of Mid-Wales - without a public inquiry. Cefn Croes may become a cause célèbre similar to the Newbury bypass protest in the 1990s, and could spoil the Department of Trade and Industry's vision of a wind-based renewable energy sector." (The Observer)

"Penn State engineers boost hydrogen production from fermentation" - "The cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells that the Bush Administration has partnered with the Detroit Big Three automakers to develop could eventually be pulling up to wastewater treatment plants for fill-ups, say Penn State environmental engineers." (Penn State)

"Car fumes blight Eden's green vision" - "The Eden Project, which has wowed visitors to its bubble-like 'biomes', is becoming a victim of its own success. The attraction, conceived as a homage to the environment, is accused of ruining the surrounding Cornish countryside. And it is environmentalists who are most scathing of the world's biggest greenhouse, blaming carbon dioxide emissions from hundreds of thousands of visiting vehicles for high levels of pollution. In a desperate move to fend off criticism, the project's director Tim Smit is planning a high-speed train link to reduce the numbers of motorists visiting the 37-acre site near St Austell. Although Green campaigners last night welcomed the proposals, they could not resist condemning the £74 million attraction as 'contradictory'. Maurice Spurway, Friends of the Earth spokesman for Exeter, urged Eden to close its 3,500- space car park immediately." (The Observer)

"The conspiracy to undermine the truth about our GM drama" - "A BBC eco-thriller is at the centre of a furious row. Ronan Bennett, co-author of Fields of Gold, says that the attacks are orchestrated and groundless." (The Observer)

"Lobby group 'led GM thriller critics'" - "A science lobby group, backed by major pharmaceutical and chemical companies, was yesterday accused of orchestrating a secret campaign aimed at discrediting Fields of Gold, a controversial BBC thriller about genetically modified crops." (The Observer)

"Green lobby forces Blair into rethink over GM" - "The Government buckled to pressure from the green movement last night when it announced plans for a national debate on genetic manipulation technology. The concession could halt plans for the commercial growing of genetically modified crops in Britain, according to analysts. The move gives a strong hint that the Government may be shying away from its previous determined support of science only a few days after Tony Blair vowed to make Britain a world leader in research." (The Observer)

"Zimbabwe Rejects US Food Aid On Genetic Modification Fear" - "HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe, facing severe food shortages, turned away a U.S. donation of 10,000 tons of corn because it wasn't certified as free from genetic modification, U.S. officials said Friday. The food was diverted instead to neighboring Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement. ''Zimbabwe did not waive its requirement that entering commodities must be certified as entirely non-GMO,'' or not of genetically modified origin, the embassy said." (The Wall Street Journal) | Starving Zimbabwe shuns offer of GM maize (The Guardian)