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Archives - June 2004

June 30, 2004

"Study: Artificial sweetener may disrupt body's ability to count calories" - "Choosing a diet soft drink over a regular, sugar-packed beverage may not be the best way to fight obesity, according to new research from Purdue University. But the researchers said this doesn't mean you should grab a regularly sweetened soft drink instead." (Purdue University)

"In the obese, metabolic adaptations post-weight loss lead to regaining of shed pounds" - "After months of torturous dieting, there is nothing more frustrating than to find that the lost weight has returned. Many dieters are shocked to see they have returned to their original weight despite modifications in exercise and eating habits. Now a new animal study reveals that when loss occurs, metabolic adaptations occur that mandate a return of the undesired pounds." (American Physiological Society)

"Dieting makes little girls fatter, study finds" - "WASHINGTON - Girls who are starting to get too fat at 5 are often experienced dieters by the age of 9 -- but they put on extra fat instead of taking it off, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said their study shows that children and their parents are well aware when they weigh too much, but they do not know the best ways to slim down. Jennifer Shunk and Leann Birch of Pennsylvania State University studied 153 girls living in central Pennsylvania. Those who weighed too much tried to diet, but ended up putting on more weight, they wrote in their report, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association." (Reuters)

We don't have a 'They should be embarrassed' section but this would be a good candidate: "Passive smoke risk 'even greater'" - "The risks of passive smoking could be twice as bad as previously feared, the British Medical Journal has reported." (BBC News Online)

Basically this distils down to 'people engaging in lifestyles with slightly elevated risk of CVD more likely to encounter environmental tobacco smoke' - but only if you limit perspective to short-term data because the association disappears over time (an inverse dose-response that tells us it's either an artefact of study design or evidence that people increase their ability to deal with environmental irritants with exposure). They get paid for this?

"Nearly 100 Million Breathing Particulates - EPA" - "WASHINGTON - Almost 100 million people in 21 U.S. states breathe unhealthy levels of tiny particles spewed by coal-burning power plants, cars and factories, the Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday." (Reuters)

Well blimey! Something Polly and I can agree on: "Charles is more keeper of the kitsch than heir to the throne" - "The prince spouts archaic notions because he has no role in modern life." (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian)

Interestingly, in this column, Polly also admits "in western democracies there has never been a better time to be alive, never a time that was safer, richer, healthier or freer." Her words! Not bad for a card-carrying member of the watermelon caucus.

"Lords attack Blair over Kyoto" - "Tony Blair today comes under criticism from a group of scientists and diplomats for failing to use Britain's "special relationship" with the US to put pressure on US president George Bush to ratify the Kyoto protocol. The intervention is made by peers on the cross-party House of Lords science and technology committee, whose members demand that Britain redouble its efforts to persuade Mr Bush to change his mind on climate change." (The Guardian)

"Beckett sees climate change as being righteous war Blair could win" - "Environment secretary says the world looks for UK to play historic role." (The Guardian)

From CO2 science Magazine this week:

"Was There a 15th-Century "Little" Medieval Warm Period?" - "In scrutinizing some of the papers we have recently reviewed in the pages of CO 2 Science Magazine, we are finding more and more evidence for a period of time in the vicinity of the 15th to 16th century transition when surface air temperatures, like those of the central core of the Medieval Warm Period, appear to have rivaled - or even exceeded - those of the Modern Warm Period." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Snow (North America)" - "Temporal trends of various properties of snow over different parts of North America provide little evidence for a number of claims routinely made by climate alarmists intent on painting anthropogenic CO 2 emissions as the mortal enemy of a benign earthly climate." (co2science.org)

"Seeds (Trees)" - "As the air's CO 2 content continues to rise, how will the reproductive capacities of earth's forests be affected?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: European Yellowrattle, Lambsquarters, Redroot Amaranth and Sorghum." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"How 'Pristine' are the Surface Air Temperature Data that Suggest an 'Unprecedented' Global Warming Over the 20th Century?" - "The question is a valid one that deserves an honest answer, especially in view of the radical -- and radically expensive -- energy policies that climate alarmists use the data to justify." (co2science.org)

"Two Centuries of Runoff and Floods in Sweden" - "Have floods in Sweden become more frequent and extreme as the earth has emerged from the Little Ice Age and entered the Modern Warm Period?" (co2science.org)

"Global Warming and Malaria in the East African Highlands" - "Is the latter promoted by the former?" (co2science.org)

"Calcification Response of Porites Corals to Global Warming" - "Climate alarmists continue to claim that the "twin evils" of rising temperatures and atmospheric CO 2 concentrations will doom earth's corals to extinction.  Are they right?" (co2science.org)

"Elevated CO 2 vs. O 3 -Induced Stress in Aspen and Birch Trees" - "Which comes out the winner when the air's O 3 concentration is increased by 50% and its CO 2 concentration is enhanced by 55%?" (co2science.org)

"Asia hungry for nuclear power" - "On the 50th anniversary of nuclear power, China and India are pursuing ambitious nuclear plans." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Kenya unveils $12m greenhouse" - "Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya has stepped to the forefront of African agricultural biotechnology with the inauguration of a 'level II biosafety greenhouse' that will allow containment of genetically modified (GM) crops at the experimental stage. Kenya is only the second sub-Saharan country to possess such a facility - the other being South Africa." (News24)

Doh! It gets worse and worse! "Row brewing over decaf coffee plant" - "A BRAZILIAN scientist’s discovery of naturally decaffeinated coffee plants in Ethiopia has landed him in trouble with Ethiopian authorities which yesterday suggested he may have taken the bushes without permission.

The discovery was disclosed last week by Paulo Mazzafera, of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil, in the science journal Nature.

The decaf arabica plant has not been grown commercially and Mr Mazzafera did not know how productive it would be, but if it were commercially productive, naturally decaffeinated coffee could be on the market in five or six years." (The Scotsman)

Not just a Frankenbean but a stolen Frankenbean! It's definitely a case for SPOC (Society for the Preservation of Our Caffeine)!

June 29, 2004

"How and why WHO is wrong about child deaths" - “ENVIRONMENT kills 100,000 youngsters”; “UN says one third of child deaths due to environment”. These were just two headlines in newspapers across Europe, prompted by a World Health Organisation (WHO) study published last week.

Can it really be so? Do 100,000 children die each year in Europe, victims of air pollution, environmental hazards and ecological degradation? The numbers sound far-fetched. Fortunately neither the headlines nor the report represent the truth." (Bjørn Lomborg, The Times)

Aha! Environmental factors cause old age: "Environmental Factors the Major Cause of Cancer" - "BETHESDA, Maryland, June 28, 2004 - Most cases of cancer are linked to environmental causes, U.S. government scientists report, and simultaneously, a second group of government researchers says the number of cancer survivors is growing in the United States. Cancer is the second leading cause of death for Americans after heart disease.

But more people diagnosed with cancer are living longer today than ever before. A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) released Friday shows that 64 percent of adults whose cancer is diagnosed today can expect to be living in five years.

The majority, 61 percent, of cancer survivors are aged 65 and older, and the study estimates that one of every six people over age 65 is a cancer survivor. The findings are published in the June 25 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Cancer Survivorship – United States, 1971 – 2001.”

Cancers linked to environmental causes make up at least 80 percent of all cancer cases, according to a second new report by the National Cancer Institute, this one published with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Environmental causes include exposure to agents in the air and water as well as lifestyle factors such as smoking and diet.

"Most epidemiologists and cancer researchers would agree that the relative contribution from the environment toward cancer risk is about 80-90 percent," said Aaron Blair, Ph.D., the chief of the Occupational Epidemiology Branch in NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. "There is very solid evidence that environmental factors are the major cause of cancer," he said." (Environment News Service)

"Dirty Air – or Dirty Tricks?" - "How strange! The cleaner our air gets, the sicker we become. At this rate, when the air becomes absolutely pure over L.A. we'll all keel right over. Or so you might believe from the new report of a group called Clear the Air, "Dirty Power, Dirty Air." It attempts to persuade readers to support one of two Democratic bills introduced in the Senate over a Republican one, although all three would "tighten the lid" on allowable air emissions from power plants. Not incidentally, the legislation called for in the report, by its own reckoning, will cost $34 billion versus $9.3 for the alternative Democratic bill and $6.2 for what it labels the "Bush bill." (Michael Fumento)

"Fed up with fishy advice" - "Fans of Bruce the vegetarian shark, in Finding Nemo, will be interested to learn that he was right: Fish Are Friends, Not Food. Well, not too often, anyway." (Rebecca Front, The Guardian)

"Increasingly in Decline, Frogs Face a Deadly Fungus" - "Frogs are vulnerable to all kinds of threats and now there is a new one: attacks by emerging pathogens, especially a fungus that causes a skin infection." (Jane E. Brody, New York Times)

Chytrid fungus is not new Jane - but it might have been spread to areas where it is not endemic by researchers comparing declining and healthy frog populations (now belatedly sterilising catch nets, boots and equipment with pure bleach I believe). Almost certainly the pathogen has been spread by eco-tourists 'protecting' near-pristine areas by cross-contaminating them with pathogens like some sort of well-intentioned Typhoid Mary (Chytrid Mary?). Oh well, at least having these regions set aside for such friendly enterprises as exclusive playgrounds for affluent jetsetters (now rebranded 'eco-tourists') prevented any local resource extraction didn't it. Far better to be wiped out by accidental (but very well intentioned!) infection than disturbed by politically incorrect enterprises, no?

"Harvard Forest: a biogeographical short story" (republished on EnviroSpin Watch)

"Early Snowmelt Ignites Global Warming Worries" - "Scientists have known rising temperatures could deplete water sources, but data show it may already be happening" (LA Times)

"Cutting emissions won't help" - "The Climate Stewardship Act, introduced by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), would require mostly large industrial sources of greenhouse gases in the United States to curtail their emissions over the coming decades. Every economist and climatologist worth his or her reputation has jumped on the bandwagon to calculate the impacts.

Calculating the cost of McCain-Lieberman assumes it is possible to predict how a complex and increasingly global economy would respond to measures to make fossil fuels more expensive in one country. Calculating its impact on Earth's complex and probably chaotic climate assumes we can predict the effects on weather of tiny changes in the composition of Earth's atmosphere.

Fie, we say." (Jay Lehr And Joseph L. Bast, Chicago Sun-Times)

"Climate change link to clearing" - "Sydney researchers believe they have found strong evidence that land clearing can trigger devastating climatic changes. The Macquarie University team also says its findings warn that the climate can respond suddenly and dramatically, almost without warning, to centuries of environmental abuse. The researchers used one of Australia's most powerful supercomputers to model changing rainfall patterns since the mid-1970s in the south-western corner of Western Australia. Some parts of the region have suffered declines of up to 15 and 20 per cent in winter rain, threatening Perth's water supply. A previous study started in 1998, called the Indian Ocean Climate Initiative, involved the West Australian Government, the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. It blamed global warming and changes to atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"U.S. Carbon Dioxide Piped, Pumped Into Canadian Oil Well" - "WASHINGTON, DC, June 28, 2004 - A partnership among U.S., Canadian and European researchers has developed a new approach that is one of the first to successfully store carbon dioxide (CO2) underground. Carbon sequestration is being evaluated internationally as a means of long-term carbon dioxide storage.

At the Weyburn oil field in southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada, the U.S. Department of Energy is joining more than 15 government agencies, universities and research institutions from around the world to monitor the capacity, movement and fate of carbon dioxide injected into a producing oil reservoir." (Environment News Service)

"Report: Warming May Lower Rice Yield" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming could mean bad news for one of the world's most important crops, rice. Increased nighttime temperatures were associated with significant declines in crop yield at the International Rice Research Institute Farm in the Philippines, according to a report in Monday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Indeed, an average daily temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius resulted in a 10 percent reduction in the rice crop, according to the researchers. One degree Celsius equals about 1.8 degree Fahrenheit.

Increasing temperatures, thought to be a result of heat trapped by industrial and other chemicals in the atmosphere, have caused mounting concern in recent years. Scientists have argued over the potential effects of climate change on crops, largely basing their contentions on laboratory tests and computer models of climate and crop yield." (Associated Press)

"Tasty task for hungry scientists" - "Scientists are spending £12m looking at why our food tastes so bad. Experts from Newcastle University are leading the project, which also examines how organic farming can solve the problem and boost the nutritional value of basic foods. The project includes 31 partners from across Europe and is funded by the European Union. Test crops of cabbages, lettuces, wheat and potatoes are being grown at a research centre in Northumberland. They are being grown under a variety of conditions so that the research team can compare factors such as taste and nutritional quality between the vegetables grown organically and those grown using synthetic pesticides and fertilisers." (BBC News Online)

"Functioning kidneys grown in rats" - "NEW YORK - For the first time, researchers report that they have been able to transplant embryonic tissue into rats, grow the tissue into kidneys, remove the animals' own kidneys, and prove that the newly grown kidneys can perform the functions necessary to keep the animal alive." (Reuters Health)

Natural Frankenfruit: "Mutant fruit appear in Switzerland" - "HEART-shaped cherries and plums, with two stones to each fruit, have been appearing in orchards across Switzerland, an apparent consequence of a severe summer drought last year. Farmers across the Alpine country have reported harvesting millions of the quirky fruit, which were until now a rare oddity, according to the Swiss farm industry information service LID. On some trees, more than half of all fruit are heart-shaped, with plum trees the most affected, followed by cherries." (AFP)

"EU Officials Deadlocked Over Biotech Corn" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Union governments on Monday failed to agree on a contentious proposal to approve a genetically modified corn made by a U.S. company for use in processed food." (AP)

"Law 'may stifle German science'" - "Research group says GM law, applauded by environmentalists, will trigger scientific exodus" (The Scientist)

"No quick fix to Africa's food problems" - "African countries require less of an Asian-style 'green revolution' than a 'cultural revolution' involving ideas, attitudes and institutions. This must include, but not be limited to, a belief in science-based innovation." (SciDev.net)

June 28, 2004

In case you thought it was about science: "Research Advance: At Pitt, Scientists Decode The Secret of Getting Grants" - "PITTSBURGH -- For David Kupfer, getting grant money from the National Institutes of Health isn't only about science. Marketing is also key to success.

So earlier this month, the head of the University of Pittsburgh's psychiatry department used an NIH-sponsored conference in Phoenix for a bit of self-promotion. Allotted five minutes to speak as co-chairman of a panel on bipolar disorder, he filled the time with a PowerPoint presentation pitching his own ideas on the subject -- which are central to a $4 million grant proposal now pending at NIH. In the audience: prominent psychiatrists who sit on the NIH review panel that will help decide whether Pitt gets the money.

The maneuver is one of many that Dr. Kupfer, 63 years old, says he uses to try to score hundreds of millions of dollars for Pitt in grants from Uncle Sam. A consummate schmoozer, he chats up NIH officials about hot new areas that might produce funding for his 240 faculty members and researchers. He requires young Pitt scientists to attend boot camps on grant writing. And he makes sure the scientists who win NIH money get onto the agency's review committees to further penetrate the grant-giving system at NIH, in Bethesda, Md. Researchers can get bonuses of as much as $50,000 a year based on how much NIH money they bring to Pitt." (The wall Street Journal) [Subscription required]

Long may EII reign: "Now Charles backs coffee cure for cancer" - "Angry doctors warn of dangers as Prince of Wales lends support to controversial alternative treatment. Health Editor Jo Revill reports" (The Observer)

"Fury at Blunkett's secret links to animal rights campaign" - "David Blunkett, who has been widely criticised as Home Secretary for refusing to take tough action against violent animal rights activists, is revealed today as a supporter of a leading anti-vivisection charity." (Sunday Telegraph)

"The New Apple a Day - Selling the Health Benefits of Enriched 'Phoods'" - "The introduction of iodine to Morton Salt in 1924 was instrumental in eradicating a dangerous thyroid condition called goiter from the U.S. population. It was also the first time a food company purposely added a medically beneficial ingredient to food to help market that product.

Eighty years later, the food industry is intensively researching all kinds of other healthful ingredients it hopes to use to help sell otherwise everyday foods.

Functional foods, or "phoods" as they're sometimes called to connote the intersection of food and pharmaceuticals, have been trickling into supermarkets over the past several years -- think of calcium-enhanced orange juice and cholesterol-lowering margarine, for example. But they met with mixed success because consumers didn't know or care enough about the new ingredients." (Washington Post)

"Public 'fear pesticide in foods'" - "Most people are worried about traces of pesticides in food, a poll by organic milk suppliers suggests." (BBC News Online)

Be careful what you wish for: "UK public wants a 'nanny state'" - "Three quarters of the population would like the government to prevent people from leading unhealthy lifestyles, a survey findings show. The King's Fund, an independent think tank, surveyed more than 1,000 people and found most favoured a "nanny state" controlling diet and public smoking. Responses varied with socio-economic background, with people from lower classes wanting cheaper food. Higher classes wanted action on smoking and alcohol." (BBC News Online)

"A hint of paranoia in every mouthful" - "The anorexia plight of tween idol Mary-Kate Olsen is as good an illustration as any that we have pathologised food to the point where it poses a serious risk to our children." (Miranda Devine, The Sun-Herald)

Another wild assertion rushed to print: "Mobile phones cut sperm up to 30pc" - "MEN who regularly carry a mobile phone could have their sperm count reduced by as much as 30 per cent. Those who place their phone near their groin, on a belt or in a pocket, are at greatest risk, new research has revealed. The findings, to be presented at an international conference this week, are the first to suggest male fertility could be affected by the radiation emitted by mobile phones, also long suspected of causing cancer." (The Sunday Times via The Australian)

"Nuclear cancer study is scrapped" - "A major study into the rates of cancer near a former nuclear power station has been called off, BBC News Online can exclusively reveal. The investigation into a possible cancer cluster at Bradwell, Essex, had the support of all sides in the radiation debate. Environmental scientists say it has been scrapped because of "strong evidence of a cluster." (BBC News Online)

Doubtful in the extreme. I'm not aware of a single such 'cluster' investigation that has discovered anything out of the ordinary.

"Largely poppycock..." - "So we have no summer weeds, have we? Here we go again - it's 'Get Modern Farmer Giles [aka Brian Aldridge]' time and yet another cause for collective angst over the supposed loss of heritage 'biodiversity': 'Experts fear for popular flowers' (BBC Online Science/Nature News, June 27):" (EnviroSpin Watch)

The weekly Whipple: "Climate devils in computer model details" - "BALTIMORE, June 25 -- Climate scientists are getting close to proving a link between human activity and global warming, but translating that knowledge into long-term forecasts remains as tricky as ever as the data become more complex, researchers report." (Dan Whipple, United Press International)

Hmm... the assertion is: "the connection between observed warming over the past half-century and greenhouse gases is 'always large and always positive.'" (GHGs cooking the planet!)

Let's see: "the connection between observed warming over the past half-century and transmitted hours of Sesame Street is 'always large and always positive.'" (Big Bird et al cause global warming! Uh-oh... no funds in enraging Cookie Monster fans - try something else);

"the connection between observed warming over the past half-century and amount written about environment is 'always large and always positive.'" (enviros cause global warming! Plausible but not PC);

"the connection between observed warming over the past half-century and greenhouse gases is actually really poor because the past half-century has seen rising GHGs and both increasing and decreasing global temperature" (Oops! That darn global cooling scare of the 1950s-1970s! Somehow that seems too inconvenient to include in current assertions.)

"ITMA2" - "When the distinguished panel nominated Michael Mann for the tile of Man of the Year in the most recent Numby awards, it chiefly took account of his contribution to lemming economics by providing the main evidence on which the global warming myth and Kyoto were built. His had been a dominant figure in each of the last four months of Number Watch for 2003, from ITMA to the award itself. Among his contributions to the propagation of wrong numbers was the application of linear algebra to a self evidently non-linear system, thereby wiping out the mediaeval warm period and the little ice age, so giving birth to the infamous hockey stick. He further distinguished himself by making strenuous efforts to prevent the publication of any papers critical of his own." (Number Watch)

Sigh... "Forecast for New York This Century: Hotter and Wetter" - "It will not happen the day after tomorrow. Nor a decade from now. But well before this century ends, global warming will make New York City and the metropolitan area that surrounds it a hotter, wetter and significantly less healthy place to live and work, according to a federally financed study released on Friday by a group of scientists at Columbia University. The three-year study by the New York Climate and Health Project is the most detailed look ever at the effects of global warming on New York. It makes no doomsday predictions, but it paints a worrisome portrait of New York's vulnerability to global climate change. As global temperatures rise by 2.4 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, a densely developed area like New York City will be hit even harder, the scientists said, because it has so few trees and so much heat-retaining concrete and asphalt." (New York Times)

Virtual temperature increases can only be a problem if your residence is also in the virtual realm of 'models' - if you reside in the real world then these 'forecasts' are quite irrelevant.

"Perth will die, says top scientist" - "Perth will become a ghost city within decades as rising global temperatures turn the Wheatbelt into a desert and drive species to the brink of extinction, a leading Australian scientist warns." (The West Australian)

This Tim Flannery, in case you've forgotten.

"Europe tackles freak weather risk" - "Rising temperatures are shrinking all but two of the main glaciers that give Europeans clean water, scientists say." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"You're getting warmer" - "The Day After Tomorrow was scary. Brian Fagan's account of how civilisations are at the mercy of the weather, The Long Summer, is altogether more frightening, says Robin McKie" (The Observer)

Cooler Heads Vol. VIII, No 13 (CHC)

"Underground carbon dioxide storage reduces emissions" - "A new technology that is one of the first to successfully store carbon dioxide underground may have huge implications for global warming and the oil industry, says a University of Alberta researcher. Dr. Ben Rostron is part of an extensive team working on the $28 million International Energy Agency Weyburn CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project--the largest of its kind--that has safely buried the greenhouse gas and reduced emissions from entering the atmosphere." (University of Alberta)

"Ivanov says Russia may ratify Kyoto pact soon-Kyodo" - "TOKYO, June 25 - Russian Security Council chief Igor Ivanov told visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi on Friday that Russia may soon ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change, Kyodo news agency said. The fate of the 1997 U.N. pact aimed at curbing global warming hinges on Russia after a U.S. pullout in 2001. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in May that Moscow would move to ratify the 1997 deal after an agreement with the European Union on entry to the World Trade Organisation." (Reuters)

"GlobalWarming.org live chat June 30: Economic impact of McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act with Dr. Margo Thorning" - "Dr. Margo Thorning is senior vice president and chief economist with the American Council for Capital Formation and director of research for its public policy think tank. Thorning is an internationally recognized expert on tax, environmental, and competitiveness issues." (GlobalWarming.org)

"Energy disinformation" - "We have apparently used up to 40 percent of our oil supply. ... There is need for a countrywide thrift campaign looking to the saving of this essential resource." When U.S. Geological Survey Director George Otis Smith issued that warning in 1920, he probably was prompted by the jump in the crude oil price to $3.40 a barrel — a level not seen again for 50 years." (Alan Reynolds, The Washington Times)

"UN predicts rapid nuclear growth" - "The International Atomic Energy Agency has forecast that the use of nuclear energy will increase rapidly in the coming years. In a report released on the eve of a conference in Moscow marking 50 years of commercial nuclear power, the UN's nuclear agency says that more reactors are being built in Asia than anywhere else. Nuclear power now generates about one-sixth of the world's electricity. The IAEA believes that is likely to rise as concerns over fossil fuel use and global warming increase." (BBC News Online)

"Nuclear power 'can't stop climate change'" - "Nuclear power cannot solve global warming, the international body set up to promote atomic energy admits today. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which exists to spread the peaceful use of the atom, reveals in a new report that it could not grow fast enough over the next decades to slow climate change - even under the most favourable circumstances. The report - published to celebrate yesterday's 50th anniversary of nuclear power - contradicts a recent surge of support for the atom as the answer to global warming." (Independent on Sunday)

Well, they've got one thing right - humanity can't 'solve' global warming. But then, we can't knowingly 'control' the climate at all.

"Low-key cars have a clean-air secret" - "Imagine cars so clean that their tailpipe emissions contain less pollution than the air around some California freeways. They're not hybrids, the media darlings of the environmentally correct. Rather, they're clean air's best-kept secret: 31 familiar gas-burning 2004 models that have met a strict new California pollution standard. The Honda Accord, Ford Focus, BMW 325i and Volkswagen Jetta are among the ``PZEVs,'' which stands for ``partial zero-emission vehicles.'' (Mercury News)

"Jetting Around More Responsibly" - "Budget airlines have made it easier for people to take to the skies, but on the downside frequent air travel pollutes the environment. A German initiative "Atmosfair" aims to encourage passengers to restore the balance.

The idea is simple: those who fly will make a contribution to finance an environmental project in a developing country. The idea occurred to Germany's environmental minister, Jürgen Trittin, when he attended the United Nations' Conference on Environment and Development in 2002. "We were trying to think of a way we could credibly attend the conference, given the fact that the transport of our delegation would result in 1280 tons of greenhouse gas," said the minister. Of course, that would have to be made-up elsewhere, says Trittin, so he and and his ministry financed a row of ecologically sensitive homes in a township.

The concept has now been adopted on a larger scale by Atmosfair, which is run by Klaus Töpfer, the director of the United Nations' environmental program. Töpfer doubts every flight guest will voluntarily contribute his or her share, but he hopes the project will create a greater awareness." (Deutsche Welle)

"China Pays a Price for Cheaper Oil" - "HONG KONG, June 23 - With toxic lead finally disappearing from most of the world's gasoline, a new air pollution fight is emerging around the globe over how much sulfur to allow in fuel. Rapidly developing countries like China, India, Thailand, Mexico and Brazil, where ownership and use of cars and trucks is soaring, are on the front lines.

High levels of sulfur contamination occur naturally in some crude oil, especially from the Mideast and Russia. This "sour" oil is ordinarily harder to sell and fetches a lower price than "sweet" low-sulfur crude, because it is more difficult to refine and because environmental laws in the United States and Europe already impose tight ceilings on sulfur in fuel, limits that are set to grow still tighter over the next decade.

But this year, oil producers are pumping and selling all the oil they can to meet surging demand, and the extra oil they are able to bring to market is, to a great extent, high in sulfur. With sweet crude commanding the highest prices, many refineries in China and elsewhere are buying cheaper sour crude, and turning it into fuels that may contain many times more sulfur than the gasoline and diesel sold in the United States or Europe." (New York Times)

"Committee: spread sludge closer to rivers" - "CONCORD, N.H. -- A group of New Hampshire lawmakers, environmentalists and government officials says sludge should be allowed closer to rivers. The group recently issued a 47-page report that also recommends allowing a dozen farmers who have used sludge as fertilizer since 1998 to continue that practice without meeting the state's current strict rules about riverfront setbacks. The group also says sludge should be allowed to be dressed on crops without mixing it into the soil." (Associated Press)

"Food defect could make thousands mentally ill" - "Factory farming has denied us chemicals in our diet that are vital to brain development, warn scientists" (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Dough! "Genetic engineering has too many unknowns, opponents say" - "Supporters of a ban on genetically modified crops and animals believe there are too many risks of unalterably corrupting the gene pool by altering plants and animals that have evolved and been bread for millions of years." (Chico Enterprise-Record)

Someone's not using their loaf in the above (sorry!) - perhaps they believe early hominids did the Jack & the Beanstalk thing and ground the bones of animals to make their bread? Even if they meant 'bred' they'd be out by a couple of orders of magnitude at least in the timescale of human-directed selective breeding. Certainly these half-baked opponents of biotechnology have demonstrated there's much they don't know.

"Study Refutes Greenpeace Claims on GM Milk" - "German scientists have refuted a study made public by Greenpeace, which claims genetically altered feed particles can make their way into milk. A German agricultural research institute took pains to explain to a worried public that components from genetically altered livestock feed are not carried over into a cow's milk, but environmentalists at the activist group Greenpeace are nonetheless saying more studies should be carried out. A study done in 2001 was recently brought to light by Greenpeace, which claims the test showed that particles of genetically altered feed had made its way into cows' milk." (Deutsche Welle)

"Wake up and smell the genetically modified coffee" - "As is often the case, being on the leading edge of technology is reason enough to expect that not everyone will embrace your views and vision. Such is the case with American agriculture and its adoption of biotechnology." (The Morning Sun)

"More California Counties to Vote on Banning Genetically Engineered Crops" - "In March, Mendocino County made national headlines when its residents voted to ban the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), becoming the first county in the nation to prohibit genetically engineered livestock and produce. Since then, other counties in Northern California and the Central Coast have been moving in that direction. Activist groups in Butte, Humboldt, Marin and San Luis Obispo (home to the Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles appellations) counties have all gathered the requisite number of signatures to place GMO-ban initiatives on their local November ballots." (Wine Spectator)

"India intends to usher New Green Revolution with GM crops" - "London: India intends to use Genetically Modified (GM) crops to usher in a new Green Revolution in the country, Kapil Sibal, Science and Technology Minister said today. 'We favour GM crops. This is our Government's policy and we will encourage GM,' Sibal said in an interview to BBC Hindi today." (Taja News)

June 25, 2004

"Have a Coke and a Waistline" - "Let's 'grab a Coke and a smile' this week as Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee demanded proof that vending machines lead to childhood obesity before permitting the state to restrict the machines in schools." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Imagine that... "Overweight women overestimate physical activity" - "NEW YORK - Young women, especially those who are overweight, tend to overestimate their levels of physical activity, according to a new study." (Reuters Health)

"Getting the Skinny on Fat" - "In writing a wrap-up of the TIME-ABC News Summit on Obesity, I thought it might be best to take a week or so to review my notes and process all that went on. Perhaps a theme might emerge that would enable me to weave the anecdotes, quotes, and outrageous public policy proposals bandied about in Williamsburg that would have been amusing if it weren't for the fact that they have steadfast supporters in statehouses, regulatory agencies, and up on Capitol Hill. What follows are a series of stories, observations, and comments from various aspects of the conference that didn't fit neatly into my other dispatches. Perhaps the best way to do this is to simply run off a list of themes, quotes, and stories that emerged while I was there." (Radley Balko, TCS)

Oh dear... "Tobacco control style tactics needed to fight obesity epidemic" - "Global strategies similar to those used against the tobacco industry are needed to tackle the obesity epidemic, argue researchers in this week's BMJ." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Autism Report Completely Unfounded and Wholly Irresponsible" - "The June 22nd CBS evening news item ‘Vaccines Linked to Autism’ by Sharyl Attkisson was a journalistic atrocity. Where did she get her information?

Based on the degree of factual inaccuracy, the litany of unsupported claims, and the obvious reliance on anecdotal evidence over sound science, my bet would be from some alarmist group still looking to blame thimerosal, a mercury-derived vaccine preservative, for causing autism." (Aubrey Stimola, ACSH)

Psychotics full of Social irResponsibility are at it, again: "Women and kids should strictly limit fish: experts" - "NEW YORK - Children, pregnant women, and women who are planning to become pregnant should strictly limit their intake of fish and avoid some types altogether to avoid potentially harmful levels of mercury and PCBs, experts said on Thursday.

According to new guidelines released by the Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, women of reproductive age and children should never eat shark, swordfish, tilefish or king mackerel." (Reuters Health)

Even worse: "FSA releases warning over oily fish" - "Limits on how much oily fish people should be eating are due to be issued by the UK's food watchdog.

Fish of this type contains omega 3 fatty acids, which can help to prevent heart disease. But they are also at greater risk of containing dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), which have the potential to cause a wide range of health problems.

The FSA say there is no immediate harm from consuming these contaminants and that any negative effects would be outweighed by the health benefits of eating oily fish as part of a balanced diet.

Most people in the UK are still not eating enough white or oily fish." (Daily Telegraph) | Guidance on oily fish consumption (BBC News Online)

Despite demonstrated health benefit from consumption of these fish, knowing people in the UK do not consume sufficient quantities for a healthy diet and zero demonstrated harm from exposure to the trace amounts of allegedly worrisome compounds contained therein, UK's FSA  issues a 'warning' anyway. Sheesh!

At least Jeremy Lovell did a better job with: Eat More Oily Fish and Be Healthy, Say Food Experts (Reuters)

Meanwhile: "Mother's fish diet boost to baby" - "Children whose mothers eat fish regularly during pregnancy develop better language and communication skills, research suggests." (BBC News Online)

"Sometimes 'Natural' Can Be Harmful" - "We've said it before, and we'll keep saying it: The fact that a food or supplement is 'natural,' i.e., non-synthetic, doesn't necessarily mean that it is always safe. Such beliefs underlie at least some of the popularity of herbal supplements — the market for such products reached an estimated $20 billion plus last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, along with the increasing popularity of these products comes the potential for increasing health risks." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

Always good for a fright, back to the old 'endocrine disrupter' line: "Prof warns of environmental health hazards" - "Novelist Ogai Mori (1862-1922) took time out from his literary pursuits to get involved in building a sewage system in Tokyo to improve public hygiene. Now his great-grandson, Prof. Chisato Mori of Chiba University, aims to improve public health by sounding the alarm about environmental pollutants that disrupt human development." (Daily Yomiuri)

"Washington Works to Weaken European Chemicals Policy at WTO" - "WASHINGTON, DC, June 24, 2004 - The Bush administration has filed a formal comment with the World Trade Organization that is critical of Europe's proposed system to regulate industrial chemicals, commonly known as REACH.

The United States spelled out its concerns about the European Commission's Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restrictions of Chemicals (REACH) in a 59 point document submitted Monday to the World Trade Organization (WTO) committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.

A major U.S. concern involves the effect of REACH on transatlantic trade, because the regulations would apply to a majority of U.S. exports to the European Union - valued at over $150 billion in 2003. Among the key sectors affected would be textiles, pharmaceuticals, electronics and automobiles." (Environment News Service)

"More Americans now surviving cancer than In 1970s" - "ATLANTA - The number of Americans who live at least five years after a cancer diagnosis has risen sharply since the mid-1970s due to increased screening, improved medical treatment and overall higher life expectancy, federal health experts reported on Thursday. An estimated 64 percent of adults diagnosed with cancer between 1995 and 2000 could expect to be alive five years later, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. The five-year survival rate was 50 percent for adults diagnosed between 1974 and 1976." (Reuters)

"Extinction's group theory" - "Cavemen may not have been such resourceful big-game hunters after all, writes James Woodford." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

For the latest in indoctrination: "Virtual island way to green life" - "A hi-tech attempt to stimulate the next generation to think and act green has been launched by two European groups." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"France, Britain in climate appeal" - "FRANCE and Britain made a joint appeal today for action against global warming, declaring that a recent string of extreme weather events had now confirmed climate change was underway." (AFP)

Perpetuating the myth: "Scientist Creates Global Warming Awareness" - "BALTIMORE - A NOAA scientist awarded a nearly $500,000 environmental prize on Wednesday for research that led to a ban on ozone-depleting refrigerants said the experience shows nations can work together to overcome global warming if science can show the need for change." (Associated Press)

"Heinz blamed for global warming" - "The Heinz corporation has been named in the United Nations as being a major contributor to global warming through its more than a century marketing of its range of baked beans." (TheSpoof.com)

"What is the Earth's 20th Century Temperature Trend?" - "The following important comments were made by Kary B. Mullis in his autobiography, "Dancing Naked in the Mind Field."

"Science appeared in the seventeenth century. Robert Boyle, who was a Christian and a friend of the English monarch Charles II, made a vacuum pump in the seventeenth century and showed that he could extinguish a candle by pumping air out of the jar wherein the candle was burning. According to Boyle, whatever was left in the jar after the candle went out constituted a vacuum. In the common vernacular, it meant that absolutely nothing was there. Whether God was in there or not was not something Boyle addressed. The Catholics seriously disagreed. But the candle went out. Boyle didn't care whether God was there or not because he couldn't measure God. The religious issue was not as interesting as the issue of what he could measure. That's when science started to take off. Computer modelers of ... the next thousand years of climate could take a lesson from Sir Robert Boyle and his Royal Society. If you can't actually measure something, or make an accurate prediction from a theory, and present it to a group of your fellows, be good enough not to disturb us about it." (Willie Soon, TCS)

"Research supports theory that ocean currents redistribute heat during warming & cooling" - "A paper published this week in the journal Science supports the hypothesis that heat transfer by ocean currents – rather than global heating or cooling – may have been responsible for the global temperature patterns associated with the abrupt climate changes seen in the North Atlantic during the past 80,000 years." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

"E.P.A. Energy-Saving Spots Give Cars Short Shrift" - "DETROIT, June 24 - A new series of whimsical public service announcements from the Environmental Protection Agency are lampooning the notion that cars can be made more energy efficient while the ads encourage conservation at home." (New York Times)

"Government must address local fears if renewable targets stand a chance" - "The apparent gap between support of renewable energy and opposition to wind farms is a perplexing one for government and environmentalists alike. The drive to have 20% of UK energy derived from renewable sources by 2020 sits uncomfortably with the fact that only two in five wind turbine applications are given planning permissions." (Edie)

"Genetic blueprint of MRSA cracked" - "Scientists have hit back at hospital superbugs by cracking the genetic code of a common strain of MRSA. The strain chosen causes half of all UK outbreaks of MRSA. The researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute hope they will be able to use the code to find MRSA's weakness." (BBC News Online)

"Disease threatens choc production" - "World cocoa production could plummet if diseases ravaging South American crops spread to other major cocoa producing regions, UK scientists have warned. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs in Brazil as its cocoa industry struggles with the "witches' broom" and "frosty pod" infections. If the diseases reach plantations in West Africa the effects could be devastating, researchers claim." (BBC News Online)

"Want Amid Plenty - An Indian Paradox: Bumper Harvests And Rising Hunger" - "THIRUKANCHIPET, India -- In the 1960s, this country set out to prevent famine by boosting agricultural production. The push was so successful that wheat and rice stockpiles approached 60 million tons. By 2001, India had its own grain export business. But Murugesan Manangatti, a 29-year-old illiterate peasant, was still hungry. He had no land to grow crops and no steady income to buy food.

Last summer, an agricultural research foundation gave Mr. Manangatti some unusual advice: Drive a taxi. With the foundation's help, he and 15 members of this rural village received a loan to buy a three-wheeled, battery-powered vehicle. The taxi business earns up to $25 a day and Mr. Manangatti takes home a monthly salary of about $55. For the first time, he says, his family is regularly able to eat three nutritious meals a day.

The Thirukanchipet taxi is a fresh approach to solving a jarring paradox. The world is producing more food than ever before as countries such as India, China and Brazil emerge as forces in global agriculture. But at the same time, the number of the world's hungry is on the rise -- including in India -- after falling for decades. Despite its overflowing granaries, India has more hungry people than any other country, as many as 214 million according to United Nations estimates, or one-fifth of its population.

The paradox is propelling a shift in strategy among the world's hunger fighters. International agencies that once encouraged countries to solve starvation crises by growing more food are now tackling the more fundamental problem of rural poverty as well. The old development mantra -- produce more food, feed more people -- is giving way to a new call: Create more jobs, provide income to buy food." (Roger Thurow And Jay Solomon, The Wall Street Journal) [Subscription required]

Today's meaching: "GM food is heading for your fridge" - "It may well be dangerous - and it is about to enter our food chain" (Michael Meacher, The Guardian)

"Group Turns In Almost 7,000 Signatures For Anti-GMO Initiative" - "Although it only needed 4,400 signatures to qualify for the November ballot, Humboldt Green Genes committee members turned in almost 7,000 to the Humboldt County Elections Office Wednesday. Martha Devine, group co-chairwoman, said it was inspired by Measure H, a Mendocino County measure banning genetically modified organisms that passed in March. The purpose of the initiative, said Mike Gann, co-chairman of the group, is to protect the rights of people who do not want to eat genetically modified foods. Similar efforts in Sonoma, Butte, Marin and San Luis Obispo counties are under way, she said." (The Eureka Reporter)

June 24, 2004

Eek! Monster! Destroy the unnatural thing immediately! "Scientists discover decaf coffee bean" (The Guardian)

We must prevent this Frankenjava wreaking environmental havoc, spreading its genetic pollution and lowering plants' natural defences against predation - global food security and the entire natural food web is at risk! Call Greenpeas, Pals of the Planet, the Toil Association, call all the defenders of pp (proper plants, i.e., ones like what we're used to) and rally them to the cause! We must prevent the spread of Frankenbeans, the sons and daughters of Frankenjava, lest the world be decaffeinated! Caffeine-free Frankenjava will require massive increases in synthetic pesticide use, endangering the environment and human health while allowing multinational Big Decaf to seize control of coffee production! Help protect impoverished, seed-saving coffee growers everywhere (not to mention usually-wired computer users) - Stop Big Decaf now!

Donations for the (yet to be formed) SPOC (Society for the Preservation Of Caffeine) will be accepted shortly (Seattle could levy a dime-a-cup on all decaf served in commercial establishments to be paid directly to SPOC to support this important action) - watch this space!

Things to do: start a consumer campaign to extract promises from coffee chains, roasters and traders to boycott mutant beans - provisionally called the "No Frankenbeans in our cups" campaign; start catchy signature phrases - perhaps "Frankenbeans are hasbeans!" or "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Frankenjava's got to go!"; come up with sound bite health risks from Frankenbeans such as increased auto crashes with drivers falling asleep at the wheel, facial injuries as people collapse onto computer keyboards...

Say No! to this massive, uncontrolled experiment with the biosphere! No environmental risk assessment and no animal or human health trials have ever been conducted! Tell Big Decaf "Stay out of our cups!"

Feel free to offer suggestions here

"Written out of history!" - On Hill and Doll (Number Watch)

"Global sewage torrent harms young" - "The amount of raw sewage entering the river Ganges every minute is 1.1 million litres, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. Its Atlas Of Children's Health And The Environment says large quantities of sewage are also flushed into rivers, lakes and oceans worldwide." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

Symptom of a society with a lack of genuine problems? "'Can't cope culture' bill hits £2bn and rising" - "The cost of benefits paid to those claiming they have been disabled by stress, depression and anxiety has risen to more than £2 billion a year, prompting a warning by Conservatives of a burgeoning "can't cope culture". Analysis of Government spending on incapacity benefit for various forms of mental disorder suggests claims for stress and depression are soaring, leaving the taxpayer with a ballooning annual bill." (Daily Telegraph)

What is it with Western society? Freed of any real struggle to hunt and forage for sufficient nourishment we now subsidise (even donate to) organisations whose sole function is to invent scares pretending we're heading to heck in a hand basket. And in societies where it's virtually impossible to starve we are under such 'stress' we become non-functional? What an appalling bunch of wilting violets!

If it's all too much guys, I'm certain I can find any number of people in the third world with much simpler lifestyles who would be delighted to exchange places.

"Acrylamides Pose Little Risk, Panel Decides" - "WASHINGTON - Acrylamides, a family of chemicals recently found in cooked foods that is known to cause cancer in rats, pose little threat to the U.S. population, an expert panel reported on Wednesday. People do not eat enough of the chemicals in their daily diet to risk the genetic damage that can lead to cancer, the committee of experts in reproductive toxicology, birth defects and others areas reported. "Considering the low level of estimated human exposure to acrylamides derived from a variety of sources, the Expert Panel expressed negligible concern for adverse reproductive and developmental effects for exposures in the general population," the group's final report reads." (Reuters)

World Wide Font of nonsense continue their terror campaign: "83 per cent of Europeans concerned by chemical contamination" - "Gland, Switzerland/ Brussels, Belgium – Eighty three per cent of Europeans are concerned about the build up of chemicals in the bodies of people and wildlife, according to an opinion poll conducted by the global research firm, IPSOS, on behalf of WWF, and released today in Budapest at the opening of a World Health Organisation Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health." (Press Release)

"Common chemicals morphing into potential toxins in Arctic" - "Compounds used to protect carpets and fabrics may be travelling to remote regions of the planet and undergoing chemical reactions before building up in the food chain, says a new study from the University of Toronto." (University of Toronto)

"NASA scientists get global fix on food, wood & fiber use" - "NASA scientists working with the World Wildlife Fund and others have measured how much of Earth's plant life humans need for food, fiber, wood and fuel. The study identifies human impact on ecosystems." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Dark days doomed dinosaurs, say Purdue scientists" - "By analyzing fossil records, a team of scientists including Purdue's Matthew Huber has found evidence that the Earth underwent a sudden cooling 65 million years ago that may have taken millennia to abate completely. The fossil rock samples show that tiny, cold-loving ocean organisms appeared suddenly in an ancient sea that had previously been very warm." (Purdue University)

"Saved by the storm?" - "Clouds formed by thunderstorms may help brake global warming. They're already challenging climate forecasts." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"States, Environmentalists File Brief in Global Warming Case" - "WASHINGTON, DC, June 23, 2004 – A coalition including 11 states and 14 environmental groups filed their brief Tuesday in a case challenging the Bush administration's decision not to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases - in particular carbon dioxide (CO2) - as pollutants under the Clean Air Act." (Environment News Service)

Appeasement never works: "Flare-up over Shell's 'double standards'" - "Shell's battered reputation took another pounding yesterday when Friends of the Earth and activists from around the world accused the Anglo-Dutch energy group of polluting communities, damaging wildlife and endangering human health. Tony Juniper, FoE's executive director, said Shell - a self-styled pioneer in sustainable development - had exaggerated its social and environmental performance in the same way as it had overstated its oil and gas reserves. The devastating critique, in the form of an alternative annual report, Beyond the Shine, condemns Shell for using double standards in rich and poor regions and making empty promises about making good the damage it has allegedly wrought." (The Guardian)

"Australia: Gone with the wind" - "Why one of Australia's prime sources of alternative energy has lost its puff. Lisa Mitchell reports." (The Age)

"One slip, and you’re dead…" - "The lethal toxins produced by cone snails are in hot demand for neuroscience research, and are being developed as potent drugs. Laura Nelson visits a would-be snail ‘farmer’, for whom milking time is fraught with danger." (NSU)

"Growing replacement teeth and dental tissues"- "The restoration of lost tooth tissue, whether from disease or trauma, represents a significant proportion of the daily routine for many practicing clinicians. The challenge and resource burden of restoring lost tooth tissue will be with us for many years to come." (International & American Association for Dental Research)

"Plant-made antibody targets hepatitis B virus" - "NEW YORK - Japanese scientists have successfully used genetically engineered cells from the tobacco plant to produce a human antibody that homes in on a molecule on the surface of the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Currently, treatment of HBV may include infusion of serum containing antibodies, called immunoglobulin, collected from blood donors. The new results demonstrate the feasibility of producing anti-hepatitis antibodies in plants "as an alternative to anti-HBV human immunoglobulins," Dr. Akira Yano from the National Institute of Public Health in Tokyo and colleagues write in the Journal of Medical Virology." (Reuters Health)

"Australia: Cutting family ties - GM carp breed males only" - "THE Murray-Darling Associations Albury office will play an integral role in the new daughterless carp program which aims to reduce numbers of the feral fish. The daughterless carp technology was developed by the CSIRO and aims to block genes critical for sexual differentiation so that only male off-spring are born. With fewer females it has been predicted the genetic technology will sharply reduce carp in the Murray-Darling Basin within 20 to 30 years of the release." (The Border Mail)

"Attackers fell Finland's only GM tree study" - "HELSINKI – Attackers have torn up 400 genetically modified birch trees in Finland, wrecking the nation's only research into the environmental impact of biotechnology on forests, officials said Wednesday. Police said they did not yet know who was behind the attack on the Punkaharju site in eastern Finland or whether protesters opposed to genetic modification were involved. The trees were chopped down or torn up by their roots over the weekend on the fenced but unguarded site." (Reuters)

"Genetically Modified Foods, the Debate Moves Ahead, Europe" - "The debate over genetically modified (GM) foods has been going on for some years now, with much of the discussion centered on whether or not these foods are safe to eat. Thanks to scientific research, improved understanding of the technology and new regulations, most parties involved in the GM debate now agree that the food and food ingredients derived from currently available genetically modified crops are not likely to present a risk for human health." (Medical News Today)

"Boost for India's battling biotech business" - "MUMBAI - Earlier this month, an agricultural biotechnology task force led by Professor M S Swaminathan, aka the "father of India's green revolution", mapped a path to end the rampant confusion, suspicion and controversy choking India's fledgling biotechnology industry." (Asia Times)

"West Africa to create database about biotechnology, GMOs" - "OUAGADOUGOU - West African leaders will create an easily accessible database to share information about biotechnology and the potential uses of genetically-modified organisms to boost farm production in the region. The database was one of a series of recommendations that emerged from a three-day conference on biotechnology in agriculture sponsored by the United States for the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that ended Wednesday in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou." (AFP)

June 23, 2004

"National Cancer Institute Doublespeak on Cancer Causes" - "With all the media coverage of alleged "carcinogens," it is no wonder that Americans are confused as they try to distinguish the real from the hypothetical causes of human cancer. Over the past few years alone, the media have reported claims from various so-called "environmental" groups about cancer threats from PCB traces in farmed salmon, acrylamide in French fries, nitrite in hot dogs, PCBs in the Hudson River, dioxin in paper towels, and trace levels of naturally occurring arsenic in drinking water. As I write this, the media is hyping a new "report" from the Environmental Working Group that claims that a spectrum of commonly used cosmetics elevates the risk of breast cancer." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"The 'Cancer Epidemic' that Never Was" - "Cancer is a plague, and we have brought it upon ourselves. Or so many of us believe. "Cancer epidemic" in the Google search engine pulls up 10,500 references, while "epidemic of cancer" reveals 1,700. The culprit list is endless: pesticides, power lines, cell phones, drinking water, food additives, plastic IV bags and rubber duckies, soap and shampoo, cosmetic products, even crayons. You name it: "Man-made" means "malignancy." (Michael Fumento, TCS)

"Speed cameras work! – the proof" (Number watch)

"All Quiet on the Environmental Front" - "There is an important environmental message out there, but the American people aren’t hearing it, and it’s not likely to be a major factory in the Presidential election. Why? Because Americans have very little information on environmental issues. According to veteran radio producer Dale Willman in an opinion piece for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, less than two percent of all network TV news stories involve the environment. The problem is made worse by the financial crisis at the targeted programs that remain. National Public Radio’s “Living on Earth” is hurting, and Former National Audubon President Peter Berle’s syndicated “The Environment Show” has disappeared, as has the radio arm of High Country News." (Jim Motavalli, E/The Environmental Magazine)

At last the propaganda is dying down? Would that that were true since so-called environmentalism is largely misanthropy flying false colours. The 'movement' traces its roots to the confused musings of Rachel Carson in Silent Spring, an infamous propaganda piece that began: "This is a fable..." - possibly the only factual statement that it contained - and the contemporary organisation has not improved.

How many days pass when the media does not contain multiple scare themes promoted by enviros? When isn't the population subjected to a barrage of baseless fright-features on this chemical or that technology? Backed by the constant drumbeat of 'global warming's gonna get us,' we have stories about how noxious is the air we breath, how poisonous our food, contaminated our water, even your shampoo is allegedly 'carcinogenic'!

The real message is that recovery from the LIA has been very good for us and the biosphere and that further recovery would be better, air quality in the developed world is the best we've ever known (unless you think inhaling wood/dung smoke cooking in a mud hut constitutes 'quality' air), we have an extraordinarily safe and affordable food supply and virtually zero chance of dying of cholera or other waterborne disease. There is an untold environment story out there - the one about how much the wealthy world has improved the environment, how good it currently is and how it constantly gets better but that isn't the one enviros want you to hear.

There's a dearth of 'environment' network news stories? Yes, the ones that tell the real story.

"New book debunks environment, health myths" - "From 23-25 June 2004, environment and health ministers from 52 countries will gather under the auspices of the World Health Organisation for a meeting called "The Future for Our Children" in Budapest, Hungary. The ministers will negotiate regulations to protect people, especially children, from environmental health risks.

In a new book - Environment & Health: Myths & Realities - 10 expert scientific contributors analyse key environment and health issues being discussed by the WHO. The book challenges the conventional wisdom that human health problems (cancer, disease and even death) are being caused and exacerbated by modern industrial society.

The book offers an overview by scientific experts of the available scientific evidence concerning the impact of pesticides, dioxin, nitrates, radiation, endocrine disruptors, global warming and the precautionary principle on human health.

The contributors show that many environment and health risks have been exaggerated, to the detriment of scientific research and public policy." (International Policy Network)

"Poor air 'harms lungs of unborn'" - "Air pollution can damage the lungs of children even before birth, the World Health Organisation says. A report to be published later this year will say animal studies confirm findings that pollutants can impair lung growth in the womb. The pollutants responsible are particulates, tiny fragments of soot emitted mainly from vehicle exhausts." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online"

As I recall the proposed mechanism for harm from PM10s (and below) was that these fine particulates could be inhaled deeper into the lungs where they may lodge as irritants. A biologically plausible mechanism for a foetus to inhale said particulates is admittedly unclear to me.

"Arresting childhood asthma rate proves as baffling as its rise" - "The prevalence of asthma in Australian children is stabilising, reversing the big increases of the 1980s and '90s. Australia's Health 2004, the nation's two yearly health report card, finds 14 to 16 per cent of children and 10 to 12 per cent of adults have the condition. No one knows why asthma rates rose so rapidly, or why they have now reached a plateau, said Dr Guy Marks, director of the Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring. "It could be a range of different things, but in order to understand the changes we need to know why people have asthma, and we don't." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Sounds like diagnoses and classification effect doesn't it. Did asthma prevalence really rise or did we simply diagnose more cases?

"Japan told to act over 'impending' food crisis" - "The country's interest in the global warming problem has been dwindling rapidly recently. Not only the general public, but also people in the political and industrial fields have lost enthusiasm for the issue. But there is growing alarm over the possibility of a food crisis, a threat that may focus arguments on the environmental crisis.

Lester Brown, president of the U.S. think tank Earth Policy Institute, visited Japan recently and held discussions with Kakutaro Kitashiro, chairman of IBM Japan, on global warming. They are close acquaintances because Kitashiro supervised the translation of Brown's latest book, "Plan B," into Japanese.

When asked by Kitashiro about the threat of global warming, Brown talked about the threat of a food crisis. He said food prices would soar within a year or two or at the end of this year at the earliest." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Gauging press bias" - "A new poll from the Pew Research Center has raised again the issue of liberal bias in the media. A growing body of academic research at top universities supports it. Unfortunately, those in the major media still don't get it and are unlikely to change their behavior, resulting in further declines in ratings and circulation." (Bruce Bartlett, The Washington Times)

"Critic of Kyoto pledge quits as green adviser" - "Bjoern Lomborg, a researcher who made his name playing down the threat of global warming, said yesterday that he was stepping down as head of the Danish government's environmental advice agency." (Associated Press)

Eek! Run for the hills! Stop urbanisation! Um, hang on... "Rapid urbanization in China warming region's climate faster than other areas" - "Rapid urbanization in southeastern China in the past 25 years is responsible for an estimated warming rate much larger than previous estimates for other periods and locations, according to a new study funded by NASA. Researchers led by the Georgia Institute of Technology report that the mean surface temperature in the region has risen 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1979." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

This 'faster than other areas' warming rate of 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 degrees Celsius) per decade equates to 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) per century. Pretty similar to that which is believed to have occurred over the last century. And the problem with this would be...?

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Elevated CO 2 : What Can It Do for Semi-Arid Shortgrass Steppe Vegetation?" - "Plenty." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Droughts (North America: United States)" - "Climate alarmists claim that global warming will result in ever-worsening drought conditions.  A good test of this claim is to see what the global warming of the past century or two has wrought in this regard.  Hence, we present a brief review of this subject as it pertains to the United States of America." (co2science.org)

"Seeds (Grasslands)" - "How do elevated levels of atmospheric CO 2 impact the production and properties of the seeds of the plants that comprise natural grasslands and managed pastures? … and what are the ramifications of these phenomena?" (co2science.org)

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

Journal Reviews:
"Is There an Ice Age on the Horizon?" - "Perhaps; but some important new evidence suggests it may be a long time getting here." (co2science.org)

"Eight Centuries of Indian Ocean Monsoon Rainfall Data" - "What do they tell us about the ability of general circulation models of the atmosphere to simulate monsoonal circulations and their response to global warming?" (co2science.org)

"Millennial-Scale Variations in West African Precipitation" - "Evidence continues to accumulate for the existence of a millennial-scale oscillation of climate that alternately brings each part of the world either warmer or cooler and/or wetter or drier conditions as time marches on." (co2science.org)

"The Photosynthetic Response of Soybeans to Elevated CO 2 " - "A new study reveals a strong response of soybean leaf photosynthesis to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment, while theoretical calculations suggest that the CO 2 -induced increase in photosynthetic prowess is still only half as strong as it has the potential to become." (co2science.org)

"Response of Spring Wheat to Elevated CO 2 and Ozone" - "Sometimes, atmospheric CO 2 enrichment actually more than completely ameliorates the damage caused to plants by ozone pollution." (co2science.org)

Uh-huh... "New version of premier global climate model released" - "The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., is unveiling a powerful new version of a supercomputer-based system to model Earth's climate and to project global temperature rise in coming decades." (National Science Foundation)

That's exactly the problem isn't it, the model's built on the assumption that temperatures will rise and that they're forced by increasing atmospheric CO2 when we have empirical measure of Earth doing exactly the opposite during the preceding global cooling scare. Nothing changes in this little scenario - models do as they're programmed to do and Earth ignores silly scaremongers. What a bizarre game this has become.

Hey lookit! 'peas joins the black helicopter crowd: "What Exxon doesn't want you to know" - "The secret's out. Climate sceptics being funded by ExxonMobil can no longer hide behind the name of a front group. A new website - www.exxonsecrets.org - exposes the links between ExxonMobil money and the think tanks, associations and individuals denying global warming." ('peas)

"Next best thing: wood chip bedding for cattle" - "Recently, the lumber industry has been promoting the use of wood chips as an alternative bedding material to traditional cereal straw. Wood chip bedding is a mixture of bark, post peelings, and sawdust. Compared to straw bedding, wood chip bedding requires less frequent additions, keeps animals cleaner, and can be cheaper in drought years when straw is scarce. However, the effect of different bedding materials on greenhouse gas emissions during composting of manure had not been previously studied, until now." (American Society of Agronomy)

"UK small firms pay lip service to green issues" - "Government emphasis on voluntary environmental action is unlikely to have a significant effect on the environmental practices of SMEs, according to researchers at Kingston University who will present their findings at the Environment and Human Behaviour Programme seminar at the Policy Studies Institute in London on June 23 during ESRC's Social Science Week. The research concluded that small firms pay scant attention to energy saving and minimising waste.

'Most small firm owners do not accept the government line that going green is good for business," says Andrea Revell, who conducted the research with Professor Robert Blackburn at the Small Business Research Centre. 'The ecological footprint of SMEs is very significant,' she explains. 'They make up 99% of all enterprises, and 43% of private sector employment and are estimated to be responsible for 60% of industry's carbon dioxide emissions, 60% of commercial waste and eight out of ten pollution accidents.'" (Economic & Social Research Council)

"France launches radical green tax on bigger cars" - "French drivers who favour large, gas-guzzling cars will have to pay up to €3,500 (£2,300) more for a new model from next January under a radical green road tax scheme unveiled by the environment ministry." (The Guardian)

"EDITORIAL: New energy policy" - "More efforts are needed to attain Kyoto Protocol target.

At long last, the government appears to be taking a realistic approach to energy policy. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has submitted a draft plan on energy demand and supply over the long term. It is markedly more down to earth than previous policy papers, but will it lead to change in the government's thinking?

The main departure concerns the number of nuclear reactors envisaged in 2010 and 2030. This is unprecedented. The plan calls for 56 nuclear reactors by 2010, or four more than at present. They are all under construction. Even by 2030, the increase is still fairly small at 10. The new figures represent a downward shift over plans announced just six years ago. Then, the panel envisaged more than 70 nuclear reactors by 2010, or 20 more than now.

The panel deserves credit for taking a more pragmatic view. Its past plans for nuclear power generation had to be taken with a grain of salt, which made the government's energy policy meaningless." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Energy conservation targets hit by notions of 'comfort'" - "Design professionals, their clients and end users have wide-ranging and ever-changing views of what constitutes a comfortable indoor environment, according to research funded by the ESRC at Lancaster University" (Economic & Social Research Council)

"Frogs muscle-in on 'wasting' process" - "Scientific studies of a unique Australian frog could lead to the development of new ways to improve livestock production levels and boost the prospects of maintaining human muscle strength into old age." (CSIRO Australia)

"Transgenic chickens help UK's Oxford Biomedica fly" - "LONDON - A potential breakthrough in the production of protein-based drugs in the eggs of genetically modified chickens lifted shares in British biotech firm Oxford Biomedica eight percent. Biomedica said it and U.S. partner Viragen had managed to generate transgenic chicken lines with an efficiency of the order of 10 to 100-fold higher than any previously published method." (Reuters)

"Eco sounding: Feeding frenzy" - "The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is reeling from one of the angriest letters it has ever received. Signed by more than 650 leading civil society groups and 800 individuals from 120 countries, it doesn't just condemn a recent FAO report on how to feed growing populations, but shreds it. International charities, social movements, networks of peasant farmers and hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOS) all accuse the FAO of "declaring war on poor farmers", of "disgraceful bias" and "incompetence in addressing scientific and technical issues", and "pandering to multinationals". The FAO's crime? A 200-page report published last month that endorsed GM foods, despite rich countries' reservations, and advised the poor to start their own programmes. Jacques Diouf, the director-general of the FAO, has now replied to the critics, saying that GM is "not needed to meet current UN targets of halving hunger by 2015". But his critics want blood and say that they will meet "to determine what further actions should be taken." (John Vidal and Paul Brown, The Guardian)

"'Crude and rude' GM condemned" - "A New Zealand researcher working in the US abhors the 'sloppiness' of inter-species gene transfer. SIMON COLLINS reports." (New Zealand Herald)

"Spain to seek independent advice on biotech crops" - "MADRID - Spanish Environment Minister Cristina Narbona said the government would seek the advice of independent researchers about continuing with the country's extensive cultivation of biotech crops." (AFP)

"Kufuor, African Leaders Cautiously Favors GM Crops" - "President Kufuor and other West African leaders say they are cautiously in favor of using genetically modified crops. Kufuor says there is urgency to embrace biotechnology because with traditional methods and over-exploitation, fertile African land is being depleted.

However, non-governmental organizations are calling for a five-year moratorium so more research can be done. The issue is being discussed at a U.S.-sponsored conference in Burkina Faso.

During the three-day conference, which started Monday, West African leaders said they want assurances that genetically modified products are safe for the people who eat or use them, and for the environment. But the leaders say that in general they believe the genetically modified crops will lead to higher agricultural productivity and therefore should be used." (GhanaHomePage)

June 22, 2004

"Malaria vaccines warning" - "Vaccination programmes could create even more virulent strains of malaria, British researchers warn today. Laboratory experiments in mice show that vaccines that work imperfectly could lead to malaria parasites that will be even more dangerous, and more difficult to treat.

Malaria claims 2 million lives a year. In Africa, it kills a child every 30 seconds. More than a dozen potential malaria vaccines are under development or in preliminary trials.

But Margaret Mackinnon and Andrew Read of the University of Edinburgh report in the Public Library of Science Biology, on online journal, that partly-effective vaccines are likely to backfire. "What that would mean is that we could have increasingly nasty malaria parasites," said Prof Read." (The Guardian)

"No Skeeters, No Problem? Not So Fast" - "Elizabeth Willott is the kind of professor who gives the ivory tower a good name. She is an entomologist and environmental ethicist at the University of Arizona, and I called her to ask a simple question: What good are mosquitoes? Dr. Willott seemed like a good person to call because she has spent some time thinking about these issues. She has an article in the current issue of Restoration Ecology titled "Restoring Nature, Without Mosquitoes?" In it she notes that in planning wetland restoration, people sometimes fail to give enough thought to one inevitable consequence - more mosquitoes. In the bad old days, not all wetlands were drained to build hotels. Another motivation was the real fear of death and disease, as spread by mosquitoes." (New York Times)

"The World's Largest Un-Scientific Clinical Trial" - "Recent developments suggest the world's preeminent global health organization is conducting the world's largest un-scientific clinical trial. But the drugs and treatment guidelines it is recommending for poor nations raise troublesome questions." (Jeremiah Norris, TCS)

"Fossil fuel subsidies 'must end'" - "The only way to meet international poverty targets is by a massive switch to renewable energy, such as solar power, a UK think-tank says. The New Economics Foundation (Nef) says the cost of climate change and oil scarcity will otherwise scupper attempts to help the world's poorest. It wants an end to subsidies for fossil fuel projects, and nuclear power. Over the next decade, it says, two billion of the poorest people should be given access to clean energy." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

That we must help impoverished peoples gain access to reliable and affordable energy supplies is a given, which is one reason I despise the antis for obstructing every hydroelectric dam and infrastructure project on principle. And no, solar, wind and/or biomass schemes are nowhere near as beneficial as hydro schemes - they don't provide/supplement potable water supplies for the population nor the consistent water supplies required by industry and so do virtually nothing to alleviate poverty and improve health. What is the value of electrickery if you can't do anything with it? WWF disagrees:

"WWF: Dam Building Threatens World Rivers" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Dam building poses a serious threat to some of the world's largest rivers, with China's Yangtze at greatest risk, WWF International said in a report released on Tuesday. The report, "Rivers at Risk," also said many of the benefits conferred by dams -- such as hydropower -- are canceled out by wasteful practices and environmental damage." (Reuters)

"500,000 a year die in childbirth" - "MORE than half a million women died in childbirth each year, most of them in poor countries where they lacked proper medical care, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said today.

"We still have that terrible number of over half a million women dying every year and roughly 18 million women who are left either disabled or chronically ill as a result of illnesses incurred during maternity," the UNFPA's Professor Gita Sen said.

"These are all due to preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth." (Agence France-Presse)

"Beyond Precaution" - "Two recent cases demonstrate how distorted our understanding of risk, especially health risk, has become. Risk no longer means the possibility of harm. Risk is harm." (Sydney Smith, TCS)

From the land of fruits and nuts: "California Sues Three Tuna Makers on Product Warning Law" - "SAN FRANCISCO - California yesterday sued three big canned tuna companies for not warning customers that they are exposed to mercury, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said." (Reuters)

"Gas cooking linked to respiratory ills in young" - "NEW YORK - Young children who live in homes with gas cooking stoves may be at increased risk for respiratory illnesses, research from Hong Kong suggests. "Gas cooking can be a significant source of indoor air pollution," Dr. T. W. Wong of the Chinese University of Hong Kong told Reuters Health. Wong explained that the burning of cooking gas may generate nitrogen dioxide. Smokey cooking fumes, particularly from deep frying, may also contribute to indoor air pollution, the investigator said. Both types of indoor air pollution may increase the likelihood of respiratory diseases, especially among the very young and very old, according to Wong. "Ventilation of the kitchen is important to prevent the accumulation of these air pollutants in our homes," Wong said." (Reuters Health)

EWG... "Study: Toxic Chemical Found in Cows Milk" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Young children and pregnant women who drink milk from California cows may be exposed to unsafe levels of a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel, according to a new study by an environmental group. The study released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group comes as state and federal regulators consider setting new standards to regulate perchlorate -- the explosive ingredient in missile fuel that has been linked to thyroid damage." (AP)

EWG again: "Purely Cosmetic?" - "A New Report Gives Risk Ratings to Thousands of Personal Care Products. It Reveals How Little Is Known About Them -- but Not Whether There's Really Much to Fear " (Jennifer Huget, The Washington Post)

"Environmental toxins can cause a model of Parkinson's disease in rats" - "Scientists have induced a movement disorder in rats that closely resembles Parkinson's disease in humans. The study, published June 21, 2004, in the online edition of the Annals of Neurology, suggests that natural toxins found in the environment could contribute to the development of this debilitating movement disorder. The full study will be available via Wiley InterScience (http://www.interscience.wiley.com)." (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

Fat, lazy, boozing, smoking and... living longer than ever: "Australia fourth in long-life chart" - "AUSTRALIANS are living longer than ever, but a significant number are still lazy and fat, according to a new report. In its two-yearly look at Australia's health, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has given the nation's health a general thumbs up, describing it as very good." (AAP)

"Without disturbances in nature the world's forests will be impoverished" - "The forests of the world are not the stable and unchanging ecosystems they have been assumed to be. Without the occurrence of wide-spread disturbances in nature, such as forest fires, icing, or volcanic activity, forests will eventually be impoverished, owing to a lack of phosphorous." (Swedish Research Council)

"Philippines: DENR says country’s forest cover reversed decline, grew by 1.8M hectares since 1985" - "THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources said on Monday that the country’s forest area expanded by 1.8 million hectares in 17 years. Romeo Acosta, DENR-Forest Management Bureau (FMB) director, said the satellite image of the country taken in 2002 shows the forest area expanded to 7.2 million hectares compared with 1985’s 5.4 million hectares." (Manila Times)

More value than it seems: "Report: Scientists cure burping sheep" - "BERLIN, Germany -- Scientists have developed a serum to reduce methane gas in burping sheep, cows and other ruminants to combat global warming, a German magazine reported Monday." (Reuters)

Actually, this is good news because it leads to greater livestock food efficiency and profits for graziers. Nice to see some useful research and results generated by pretending to 'address' climate change.

The Week[s] That [Were] June 19, 2004; May 29, 2004; May 22, 2004; May 15, 2004; May 8, 2004; May 1, 2004 (brought to you, albeit sometimes belatedly, by SEPP)

The weekly Whipple: "The opposing paths of climate change" - "BALTIMORE, June 21 -- The focus of the global warming debate is shifting somewhat, from the question of whether it really is happening to how to deal with its effects, which are beginning to look inevitable. So far, two primary strategies are emerging to address changing climate -- mitigation and adaptation -- and Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Arlington, Va., thinks both need to be employed in force." (Dan Whipple, United Press International)

"Global Warming Skeptic Says Kyoto Money a Waste" - "MAINZ, Germany - One of the world's leading environmentalists and a rising star of environmental skepticism squared off on Monday in their first public debate on the merits of fighting global warming." (Reuters)

Much as we are in accord over Kyoto's non-value, I am troubled by Lomborg's belief in the 'problem' of global warming. Earth is currently warm compared with cooler times, cool compared with warmer times and is what it is. While change is inevitable (with or without human involvement) it must be hoped that Earth does not cool - very bad for the biosphere - although an extension of sub-tropical and temperate zones to higher latitudes would certainly not go amiss.

"Beyond Kyoto" - "Summary: Global warming is real and needs to be addressed now. Rather than bash or mourn the defunct Kyoto Protocol, we should start taking the small steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions today that can make a big difference down the road. The private sector already understands this, and its efforts will be crucial in improving fossil fuel efficiency and developing alternative sources of energy. To harness business potential, however, governments in the developed world must create incentives, improve scientific research, and forge international partnerships." (John Browne, Foreign Affairs)

Oh dear... "Climate film put to computer test" - "A worldwide experiment to test the plausibility of the disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow starts on 22 June. Computer users across the world are being invited to download and run a climate model of what may happen this century. The test will see how predictions may change if the behaviour of the Gulf Stream is affected, as the film shows. The project is the work of climateprediction.net, a consortium of UK universities and the Met Office." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

I actually ran climateprediction.net's software for one simulation cycle (on a machine I use as a firewall and print server in my heavily wired household) before removing it as a blasted nuisance. I don't know what the result was, only that it finished and promptly downloaded another set of fictitious 'data' and assumptions and began all over again. I had hoped that allowing the use of spare processing power might result in some useful simulations being run but, on reflection, that's naïve in the extreme - these 'models' are hard programmed to produce varied extremes of warming in response to small increases in atmospheric trace gas presence, namely CO2.

We know this is a waste of time because we have direct observation that relative abundance of this trace gas is not a primary driver of global temperature. When? Over the last century, of course.

In the first half of the Twentieth Century, Earth demonstrated recovery from the Little Ice Age particularly during the 1920s and '30s when it warmed quite rapidly (Continental US temp graphic here), although there was comparatively little increase in atmospheric CO2 during the first half of the century. Then, during the 50s through 70s, global temperature fell (the great global cooling scare) although atmospheric CO2 increased >30ppmv. Subsequently, with still another >30ppmv increase in CO2 levels, temperatures have merely recovered to what they were prior to supposedly alarming increases in said trace gas. The demonstrated Earth temperature response to an increase of ~70ppmv atmospheric CO2 is, um... nothing.

"Derivatives trading turns green to meet EU emissions rules" - "Fortis Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and other banks are updating an international agreement on derivatives trading to include emissions permits before the European Union's mandatory emissions-trading system starts next year.

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, an association of trading companies and banks, was adjusting its master agreement, a trade-contract template that allowed banks to trade commodities and derivatives while limiting financial risks, Fortis and Dresdner said in a statement. The adjustment could be complete by the end of the month." (Bloomberg)

"Good climate fight: state vs. carmakers" - "In rolling out rules that limit how much carbon dioxide can come out of the tailpipes of cars, California is asking for a fight. It's a good fight to pick. With the Bush administration inert on global warming, states must do what the federal government will not -- take climate change seriously by reducing the gases that contribute to it." (Mercury News editorial)

"Wind farm plan blown off course" - "Plans to erect 500 wind turbines in the Scottish Highlands received a setback yesterday when councillors voted against the siting of devices to test wind capacity." (Daily Telegraph)

"Scientists Urge Shift to Non-Food Crops" - "LONDON - Farmers of the world must shift quickly to growing plants for industrial uses such as oils and plastics to replace petrochemicals as the climate warms and crude supplies run out, British scientists said on Monday. "In the next 20 to 50 years we have to reverse our dependency on fossil fuels," said Alison Smith of Britain's John Innes plant research center. "We must breed for sustainability." At a news conference, she complained that in the past there had been a lack of coherent thinking, but that was now changing in the face of the looming crisis." (Reuters)

"Making a FRIENDLIER Mosquito" - "Bioengineered insects could help defeat malaria ~ or they could turn out to be Frankenbugs and wreak havoc on our ecosystem, writes Bhaskar Dutta" (The Statesman)

From Percy's apologists: "Patent decision sows seed of conflict" - "Canada's patent laws have been thrown into disarray by a recent Supreme Court decision that will take years of court battles to resolve, and could put technological innovation in this country in jeopardy until the mess is sorted out, one of Canada's leading patent law experts says." (Toronto Star)

Schmeiser has repeatedly been adjudged a liar and a thief - get over it.

"450 million Dollar international boost for Nigeria's battle against hunger" - "Nigeria's fight against hunger received a major boost recently with a $450 million development assistance by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID. A substantial part of the multi-million dollar lifeline which cover a period of five years would help improve the country's agricultural productivity through the development of biotechnology in Nigeria. Biotechnology is the new tool that assists conventional breeding techniques by selectively giving plants and animals new qualities and better nutritional value." (Newswatch Nigeria)

"Food safety key to food security, west Africa says after US makes GMO pitch" - "OUAGADOUGOU - West African heads of state meeting in Burkina Faso said they were interested in genetically-modified organisms as a way to boost food production at home but were waiting for proof there was no risk to their people or the environment. "Our obligation is to our people, to provide them not only with food security but also food safety," said Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, one of four heads of state at the US-sponsored conference." (AFP)

"Zambia refuses GM foods" - "Lusaka - Zambia has maintained that it will not allow genetically modified foods to enter its territory despite shortages, as biotech foods are not yet scientifically proved to be suitable for human consumption. Chance Kabaghe, deputy agriculture minister, said genetically modified food has been banned from being distributed in the poor country, which is largely dependent on Western food aid. "The position of Zambia on GM foods has not changed. We still feel that the country is not ready to accept genetically modified foods without proper research on its effects" Kabaghe said." (News24.com)

"Ag at Large: The rush to GM rice delayed by roadblock" - "Agriculture in California has a reputation for moving ahead and accepting new technology, but recent action by the state's Secretary of Food & Agriculture makes it clear that caution must prevail. The action taken was a temporary rejection of a bid by a Sacramento biotechnology firm to grow genetically modified rice south of the Tehachapis, where it is not likely to contaminate or otherwise affect the state's huge rice crop produced primarily in the Sacramento Valley." (The Porterville Recorder)

June 21, 2004

"IBM fights to suppress cancer probe" - "Computer giant accused of persuading scientific journal to block academic investigation of illness in employees" (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Uh-huh... "Candles 'can smoke out bacteria'" - "The traditional candle could become the latest weapon against harmful bacteria. Researchers from the University of Southampton have found that adding essential oils, like eucalyptus, orange and thyme to candles can destroy bugs. Dr Lindsey Gaunt and Sabrina Higgins said adding these oils to plug-in devices had a similar effect." (BBC News Online)

So, ultra-fearful householders can gas bugs - and then sue for indoor pollution-induced asthma risk?

"Estimates on HIV called too high - New data cut rates for many nations" - "PRETORIA -- Estimates of the number of people with the AIDS virus have been dramatically overstated in many countries because of errors in statistical models and a possible undetected decline in the pandemic, according to new data and specialists on the disease. In many nations, analysts are cutting the estimates of HIV prevalence by half or more." (Boston Globe)

?!! "Experts link asthma to global warming" - "GLOBAL warming could lead to more people in Britain suffering the misery of asthma, new research suggests today. A major study of almost 670,000 children has found a clear link between indoor humidity and asthma rates in western Europe. Every 10 per cent increase in indoor humidity was associated with a 2.7 per cent increase in the prevalence of asthma symptoms, the researchers found. House dust mites, which trigger asthma attacks, thrive in moist air, and humidity encourages mould which can irritate the airways. The study also found that places where average outdoor humidity dropped below 50 per cent for at least one month a year had lower rates of asthma. Warmer temperatures caused by climate change are expected to drive up humidity levels, especially in cities." (The Scotsman) | Climate Seems to Influence Rates of Asthma and Eczema (Occup Environ Med 2004; 61: 609-615)

Really? Tell that to Australians who live with very low humidity levels and very high asthma rates. Peak asthma hospitalisations here occur in bouts of cold, dry weather. Try looking at indoor pollutant levels increasing with poor ventilation (so-called "energy efficient" housing) and you have no trouble associating increasing asthma diagnoses (though not necessarily increased incidence) with ridiculous global warming scares. Big D U H !

"Western frog deaths concern scientists" - "Trout-stocking adds to climate change in demise of some amphibians" (Associated Press)

"North Sea birds dying as waters heat up" - "Scientists warn that warmer conditions could have a catastrophic effect on east coast ecosystem" (The Observer)

"Western drought beats Dust Bowl, could be worst in 500 years" - "LAS VEGAS — The drought gripping the West could be the biggest in 500 years, with effects in the Colorado River basin considerably worse than during the Dust Bowl years, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday. "That we can now say with confidence," said Robert Webb, lead author of the new fact sheet. "Now I'm completely convinced." (Associated Press)

"Dust Bowl Tied to Shifts in Ocean Surface Temperatures" - "Meteorologist studied moisture and air patterns that he says created atmospheric conditions that caused the 1930s drought." (Associated Press)

"Scientists bemoan lack of funding for weather research" - "Only government has the ability to gather, store and study weather and climate data generated over long periods of time, and the erosion in funding for this atmospheric research must stop, scientists from across the country said yesterday." (Globe and Mail)

Hmm... governments are squandering billions annually on panicked research on "global warming" (actually, on finding ways to pretend that an "emergency" exists from which voters need "protecting," those suggesting little or no human culpability need not apply) and still there's the eternal cry from researchers: "more research required" (read: lots more money wanted). Is this the best use of limited resources, funds and effort? The Copenhagen Consensus apparently thinks not (Kyoto ranked dead last as a total waste of money) and this time I find myself in accord with the economists. Understanding our weather system is very important but not to the exclusion or detriment of development of third world potable water distribution, sanitation, disease abatement through treatment, vaccination, vector control, etc., etc.... Addressing third world health problems will help impoverished societies develop, which will help reduce the inequalities so bemoaned by socialists, as will assistance with building electrical generating capacity, transport infrastructure, manufacturing base and so on. It is within human capacity to address pressing global problems - as long as we do not allow ourselves to be distracted by the phantom menaces promoted by misanthropes, technophobes, chemophobes and outright "nature nuts."

"Consider all the evidence on global warming" - "Stephen Harper's timing couldn't be better. Just as the American Association for the Advancement of Science convened a blue-ribbon panel of scientists last weekend to urge action on global warming, the Conservative party candidate says he will opt out of the Kyoto accord. He apparently bases part of this decision on the notion that the science is uncertain. Is it? It depends on what you read." (Jay Ingram, Toronto Star)

"Dim Stars" - "On June 15, 2004, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) convened a self-described “all-star” panel of U.S. climate scientists to discuss climate change. Never before has a group that purports to represent the purest ideals of scientific discourse put together such a biased look at the issue." (co2andclimate.org)

"Science warms to the cause" - "If scientists disagree on the greenhouse effect, how do laymen find the truth, asks science writer Leigh Dayton" (The Australian)

Not in this Leigh Dayton column, that's for sure. Nor in the following piece by Ken Ogilvie:

"Why are we even questioning Kyoto?" - "Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol. By doing so, we committed to join leading industrial countries in the quest to deal with global climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This decision was not taken lightly. It was controversial and difficult, but it was right." (Toronto Star)

"Celebrity tree-planting schemes a ‘phoney fix’ for global warming" - "Stars saving face and not the planet, say radical greens" (Sunday Herald)

Leaving aside the inability to fix what ain't broke, our fluorescent green whiners are correct in one respect: personal "carbon neutral" tree "schemes" are scams that will do zip to "control" the climate.

"Baby Steps on Greenhouse Gases" - "Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does California. In the absence of a commitment by Washington to address global warming, the California Air Resources Board last week proposed regulations that would reduce new vehicles' emissions of greenhouse gases in that state by 30 percent over the next decade." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Australia tops greenhouse pollution index" - "Australia has the highest per capita level of greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world, largely because of its heavy reliance on coal to generate electricity, a report has found.

Just days after the Prime Minister, John Howard, outlined an energy package which confirmed coal as the major source of future energy production, the Australia Institute revealed total emissions are now greater than those created by more highly populated countries such as France and Italy." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Indonesia: Kyoto Protocol ratification not enough: Official, NGOs" - "Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) praised on Sunday a plan by the House of Representatives to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but stressed the move would be meaningless without making revisions to regulations and policies that are unfriendly to the environment." (Jakarta Post)

"Global warming at the pumps" - "Global warming may or may not be real, but Washington's latest proposal to deal with it would sure get America's drivers heated up." (Ben Lieberman, The Washington Times)

"Energy industry fights bird protectors" - "SPOTTED HORSE, Wyo. -- Once again an imperiled bird has become a symbol of clashing values in the Western wilds. Reminiscent of the bitter struggle over the spotted owl, a battle over the greater sage grouse is pitting an industry against protectors of an ancient, colorful species that inhabits the same region thought to harbor much of the West's most promising natural gas deposits." (Los Angeles Times)

"Europe's biggest wind farm planned for Scotland" - "A plan to build a 300-square-mile coastal wind farm in the Scottish Highlands has prompted claims that it would ruin a magnificent landscape, officially recognised as one of Britain's finest." (Sunday Telegraph)

"World Bank rebuked for fossil fuel strategy" - "The World Bank's drive to promote fossil fuel-generated power for 1.6 billion people lacking electricity will drive developing countries deeper into debt, a report by a development thinktank claims today." (The Guardian)

"Risk in Crying Foul Over Exhaust Rules" - "Automakers are likely to face bad PR if they sue to stop a proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in California." (LA Times)

Great quote in this one: Eron Shosteck, a spokesman for the automakers alliance, said a suit was "just one of the options" being considered in response to the California greenhouse plan. He declined to discuss the others. Automakers insist that the industry is environmentally aware and is working to lower harmful emissions.

In fact, the industry is in a tough position, Hossack said, considering that it is trying to build an environmentally aware image for itself but has been unable to make bestsellers out of the most fuel-efficient vehicles, which discharge the least carbon dioxide.

"They can either shoot themselves in the foot" by opposing greenhouse rules, he said, "or shoot themselves in the head by going along."

"Energy war jeopardises progress" - "For years the superpower politics of the cold war blocked efforts to end global poverty. Today it is the hot war of energy economics and global warming that present an impossible obstacle. They also threaten something far worse - a great reversal of human progress." (Andrew Simms, The Guardian)

Is piracy still a hanging offence? "Greenpeace 'pirates' storm GM crop ship" - "THE battle over genetically modified crops took a dramatic turn last night when members of the environmental group Greenpeace boarded a vessel off the Welsh coast.

The pressure group claimed the Panamanian-registered MV Etoile was carrying American GM crops.

In what coastguards immediately declared an act of piracy, four volunteers boarded the cargo ship and prevented a pilot from being able to climb aboard and take it into harbour." (The Western Mail)

"New Agricultural Technologies Gaining Acceptance, USDA's Penn Says" - "U.S. officials are seeing "much more acceptance" of new agricultural technologies on the part of developing countries, U.S. Under Secretary of Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Agriculture J.B. Penn says." (United States Department of State)

"Monsanto withdraws GMO wheat from all but US FDA" - "WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Monsanto Co. has formally withdrawn submissions for its genetically modified wheat from all regulatory agencies except the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a company spokeswoman said. The withdrawal is the last step in Monsanto's announcement last month that it would shelve plans to introduce the world's first GMO wheat, spokesman Chris Horner said." (Reuters)

"US pushes transgenic crops in Africa" - "OUAGADOUGOU - The US government will sponsor a three-day conference here to sell the benefits of genetically modified seeds -- a subject that has already found fertile ground in Burkina Faso." (AFP)

"German assembly adopts bill on bio-engineered foods" - "BERLIN - The German parliament adopted a new bill governing the production of genetically modified foods that aims to protect traditional farming methods and consumers.

"This bill is a triumph for consumer protection and for farmers who do not want to cultivate genetically modified organisms (GMO)," said Agriculture Minister Renate Kuenast, after it was voted through the Bundestag lower house on Friday.

The bill was refined by the ruling Social Democrats and their Greens coalition partners through months of debate but has been opposed by the conservative opposition." (AFP)

"Banking on biotech" - "In India, where 650 million people eke out a living on the land, biotechnology could be a tool for survival, leading scientists and farm advocates say. The nation is squeezed by a growing population and a diminishing amount of available, arable land. Farmers are poor and often malnourished. More than half the fields lack irrigation, so productivity depends on monsoon rains. Crop biotechnology - inserting a gene for a desirable trait from a plant or bacterium into seeds - could lead to wheat that grows in a dry season or rice that thrives in salty, coastal soil." (Post-Dispatch)

"Monsanto tries to win Indian farmers over to biotech seeds" - "Monsanto Co. is doing its best to win over farmers in India, one cupful of seed at a time. Many of the 650 million farmers sow just an acre and lack technology that U.S. growers consider essential. Still, they see what works in the field and which investments bring a return. And an increasing number are finding in favor of Monsanto's genetically modified crops, a survey shows." (Post-Dispatch)

June 18, 2004

"Coconuts in Wyoming?" - "It's almost summer in the northern hemisphere, and that can only mean one thing — it's time for global-warming activists to sound the alarm." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"CO2 fertilization is slowing global warming" - "A Boston College scientist has published new research introducing the concept of a CO2 fertilization factor for soil carbon, a way to measure an ecosystem's ability to store carbon in response to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The study, authored by Kevin G. Harrison, an assistant professor in Boston College's Geology and Geophysics Department, says that CO2 fertilization may be slowing down the expected accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by increasing carbon accumulation in terrestrial vegetation and soil." (Boston College)

"New bug indicates global warming" - "An insect that normally inhabits warm countries has been found living and breeding in the UK, entomologists say. The green "shield" bug, which attacks a broad range of crops, is usually seen in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Australia, North America and Africa. Its arrival in Britain is a clear sign of climate change, claim experts from the Natural History Museum, London." (BBC News Online)

"NSF's North Pole researchers study climate change in the Arctic" - "Long before a Hollywood blockbuster about catastrophic climate change packed cinema multiplexes this spring, researchers at the top of the world, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), were using an array of scientific tools to build a comprehensive scientific picture of environmental change in the Arctic and what it may mean for the rest of the globe." (National Science Foundation)

"Action urged on aircraft emissions" - "Government plans to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 60% by 2050 will be "impossible" if the huge airport expansion forecast by the Department for Transport goes ahead, a senior adviser on green issues warned today. Sir Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, issued the blunt warning in a report calling for urgent action by the department to deal with climate change caused by aircraft emissions." (Press Association)

"Investing climate heats up for corporations heedless of emissions: study" - "TORONTO - Large investors are starting to put heat on companies that fail to take account of their impact on the environment, a investors' study released Thursday indicates.

"The financial risk of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions has swiftly become a matter of primary concern among members of the global investment community," the Carbon Disclosure Project stated.

Investors "are increasingly demanding an accounting of such risk exposure from companies in which they hold shares," it said. "In turn, more global companies are acknowledging their responsibility." (Canadian Press)

"NASA data shows hurricanes help plants bloom in 'ocean deserts'" - "Whenever a hurricane races across the Atlantic Ocean, chances are phytoplankton will bloom behind it. According to a new study using NASA satellite data, these phytoplankton blooms may also affect the Earth's climate and carbon cycle." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Ocean 'Conveyor Belt' Sustains Sea Life, Study Says" - "An estimated three-quarters of all marine life is maintained by a single ocean-circulation pattern in the Southern Hemisphere that pulls nutrient-rich waters from the deep ocean, brings them to the surface, and distributes them around the world. "This is really something," said Jorge Sarmiento, a professor of atmospheric and ocean sciences at Princeton University in New Jersey. Sarmiento made the discovery using sophisticated computer models." (National Geographic News)

"No Growthers' 'Green Line' Shouldn't Deter Bank Loans" (PDF) - "America’s top banks are routinely asked to support all sorts of charitable causes. Yet not all causes deserve support.

One such unworthy cause is the tax-exempt Rainforest Action Network’s campaign to get America’s largest financial institutions to stop making loans to economic development projects in the Third World that RAN opposes." (Neil Hrab, Investors' Business Daily)

"Lifting Trade Barriers Would Reduce Poverty -Study" - "WASHINGTON - Eliminating global trade tariffs and other protective barriers would lift at least 500 million people out of poverty over 15 years, according to a new study released on Thursday.

William Cline, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Global Development and the Institute for International Economics, said cutting trade barriers would also create long-term economic benefits to developing countries of around $200 billion a year.

In the study, titled "Trade Policy and Global Poverty," Cline also argues that lifting trade barriers would enable rich industrial nations to convey about twice as much gain to developing countries as they currently provide through foreign aid -- at a benefit rather than cost to their own consumers." (Reuters)

"Environment Hazards a Big Killer of Children - Study" - "LONDON - Environmental hazards such as pollution, unsafe water, poor sanitation, lead poisoning and injuries are the cause of one third of child and adolescent deaths in the European region, health experts said on Friday.

Pollution from burning coal and wood indoors without ventilation is a leading killer of children in the central Asian republics and Turkey.

Unsafe water and sanitation is a major cause of young deaths in eastern European nations, while injuries, mainly from road traffic accidents, top the list across the European region, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO)." (Reuters)

Lack of sun exposure? "Study finds many kids deficient in vitamin D" - "NEW YORK - Vitamin D deficiency may be a common but unrecognized problem among U.S. adolescents, new study findings suggest. Researchers found that among 11- to 18-year-olds living in Boston, nearly one-quarter were deficient in vitamin D, a nutrient that aids in calcium absorption and is vital for healthy bone development. That so many adolescents were low on the vitamin is both surprising and "very concerning," according to lead study author Dr. Catherine M. Gordon of Children's Hospital Boston." (Reuters Health)

"Myths surrounding Cuyahoga River fire 35 years ago" - "Jonathan H. Adler, Case Western Reserve University law professor and director of the Environmental Law Center at the Case Law School, revisits his environmental studies of the legal issues surrounding the fire on the Cuyahoga River in 1969 and separates the facts from what has become the fable of the Cuyahoga River burning." (Case Western Reserve University)

"Developers panic as Spain scraps river project" - "Cabinet to opt for desalination to meet urgent water needs" (The Guardian)

"Forget fat tax, says food expert" - "A fat tax would be an awful method of tackling obesity, a leading food expert told a conference in Ireland today. Christopher Haskins, who is the food advisor to the British government, said it was impossible to determine what food was healthy and what was not. “There’s natural sugar in fruit. Are we going to tax fruit?” he said. “No food is unhealthy as long as you eat it in moderate levels.” (Irish Examiner)

"Better diet 'would save millions'" - "Malnutrition is the underlying cause of more than half of all child deaths, experts have warned. As aid workers seek to avert a famine in Sudan, the World Health Organization said poor nourishment leaves children underweight and weakened. This means usually non-fatal illnesses, such as diarrhoea, can kill them." (BBC News Online)

"Farming Initiative for Africa Launched" - "An initiative was launched yesterday to increase productivity among Africa's small-scale farmers. The African Agricultural Technological Foundation (AATF) plans to spearhead transfer of agricultural technology as a way of addressing Africa's perennial food insecurity." (The East African Standard (Nairobi))

"Natural, man-made mix promises biggest landscape plant growth" - "A recent study points to an inexpensive natural additive that makes better use of some fertilizers, saving not only money but improving the environment, according to Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researchers. Mycorrhiza mixed with synthetic fertilizers yielded better plant growth and nutrition. That contradicts previous notions that the fungi work better with just organic, slow-release fertilizers." (Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications)

"Locals build a better broccoli" - "GILROY - Gilroy seed researchers are devising a variety of broccoli that won’t break a sweat even when temperatures soar above 100 degrees.

Normally, broccoli does best in temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees. It is generally grown in the late spring and early fall and almost exclusively along the California coast to avoid warmer temperatures. Exposure to heat can cause irregular heads and brown buds.

“Sometimes even if you grow it in a cool place, like the Salinas Valley, you’ll get a hot day or two, and it messes it up,” said Robert Barham, a seed researcher from Gilroy.

Barham and David Joynt, owners of R&D Agriculture, will be planting three to four acres of broccoli in a field along Pacheco Pass with seedlings of their new breed next week, hoping the plants will endure Gilroy’s sometimes sweltering summer heat.

“Broccoli can’t normally stand over 80,” Barham said. “This was almost like going to color TV from black and white. It can take 110 if you give it enough water. It’s amazing.”

When their plants mature, they’ll put their genetically modified broccoli to the test." (Gilroy Dispatch)

"Indian farmers defying government to grow gene-modified cotton in the north" - "BANGALORE, India - Farmers are defying the government to grow genetically modified cotton in northern India, where authorities have barred it from being planted, the federal textile minister said Thursday.

Authorities have not yet allowed companies to sell seeds of modified cotton - called Bt cotton - in the northern agricultural states such as Punjab and Haryana. So farmers there have found ways around it, Shankarsinh Vaghela told reporters in the southern city of Bangalore.

"Farmers in Punjab and Haryana also want to grow Bt cotton. They go all the way to Gujarat to buy the seeds," Vaghela said, referring to the western desert state. "I don't know if it is illegal. You have to ask the agriculture ministry." (Associated Press)

"Genetic engineering field test is rooted in the soil of secrecy" - "The green shoots poking out of the brown soil look just like any other plants you see around Germany. But the crop is quite exotic by this country's standards: It has been genetically modified in a way that is supposed to eliminate the need for pesticides. But the crop's appearance is not welcomed by everyone. Activists, who see the plants as a symbol of powerful, profit-oriented agriculture giants, intend to stop it." (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

"Biotechnology: FAO response to open letter from NGOs" - "16 June 2004, Rome -- FAO Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf has sent the following letter to NGOs in response to their criticism of FAO's recent State of Food and Agriculture report." (FAO)

"Durbin bill seeks federal review of genetically modified foods" - "U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced new legislation Thursday that he said would increase consumer confidence in the safety of genetically modified foods.

The Genetically Engineered Foods Act would require a mandatory Food and Drug Administration review of all genetically modified foods as well as an environmental review for genetically modified animals as part of the safety approval process. In addition, the public would be informed of the decisions made in the process and would have the opportunity to comment, Durbin said." (St Louis Business Journal)

June 17, 2004

"More sorry than safe" - "'If everything we did had to be absolutely safe, risk-free, proven to have no adverse outcomes for anyone or anything, we'd never get anywhere. Buildings wouldn't go up, planes wouldn't get off the ground, medical breakthrough would come to a standstill, science would be stifled…. Shall I go on?'

Professor Sir Colin Berry is not a big fan of the 'precautionary principle', the idea that scientists, medical researchers, technologists and just about everybody else these days should err on the side of caution lest they cause harm to human health or the environment. Berry is one of Britain's leading scientists; he has held some of the most prestigious posts in British medicine, including head of the Department of Morbid Anatomy at the Royal London Hospital from 1976 to 2002. Now he watches as his 'good profession' threatens to be undermined by what he says is an 'unscientific demand' to put precaution first." (Brendan O'Neill, sp!ked)

"Childhood shots not tied to allergic diseases" - "NEW YORK - Allergic diseases have risen over the past few decades in developed countries, and some people have blamed this on the increase in mass immunizations that has occurred. However, that notion seems to be unfounded.

UK researchers have shown that routine childhood vaccinations are not associated with an increased risk of asthma or eczema." (Reuters Health)

"Doctor 'faked blood tests to show vaccines had worked'" - "A doctor who ran a private clinic offering single vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella deceived parents into believing their children had been protected from the diseases, a court heard yesterday." (Independent)

"Minister rules out spray buffer" - "The government has rejected calls for special zones around residential areas to act as buffers against farm pesticides and has instead opted for a system advising people just to stay indoors or leave their homes as a precaution." (The Guardian)

"The Terror Of Fat" - "If you checked out the Web site for the Obesity Summit, you'd have noticed the quote the summit's organizers chose to set the tone for last week's three-day event. It's from U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona: "As we look to the future and where childhood obesity will be in 20 years ... it is every bit as threatening to us as is the terrorist threat we face today. It is the threat from within." (Radley Balko, Cato)

"Bottom line on obesity" - "Body size is largely inherited, a fact ignored by a recent health committee report, writes Vivienne Parry" (The Guardian)

"Poor people of the world, start a business" - "In the search for answers to grinding poverty, the world's rich nations have decided on a new tack. It's radical in its simplicity: For poor people to succeed, let them start a business.

The plan is one of those rare confluences of similar thinking. The Bush administration likes it. So do the French. It was endorsed at last week's summit of the Group of Eight in Sea Island, Ga. Development experts and even many poor nations endorse the idea." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"This mad, mad world - a brief foray..." - "Here's a roundup of some of the more bizarre aspects of our modern environmental sensibilities:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Hotter City Summer Nights May Be More Frequent" - "LONDON - Summer nights in cities may get hotter and sweatier because of the impact of global warming, a science magazine said yesterday.

Analysis by researchers at Britain's Hadley Center for Climate Prediction in Exeter has shown that the so-called "urban heat island" effect, of heat generated from buildings and vehicles being retained by asphalt and concrete at night, will intensify.

"Cities that now release an average of 20 watts of heat per square meter (yard) will in future release 60 watts more," New Scientist magazine said." (Reuters)

"Report Warns U.S. Must Adapt to Warming Climate" - "WASHINGTON, DC, June 16, 2004 - The United States needs to adopt measures to adapt to global warming, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

The report details that even if extreme measures could be taken immediately to curtail emissions, the momentum of the Earth's atmosphere is such that the planet will continue to warm for many years to come.

"Unfortunately, we are already past the point where climate change can be prevented entirely, said Eileen Claussen, president of the Center. "Now we need a two-pronged approach that combines reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with policies that will help us adapt to the climate change that is going to occur." (Environment News Service)

Newsflash for Ms Claussen: Humanity has never been at a point where we could prevent climate's constant change - or predictably control global climate in any meaningful way - so how can we be "past the point"?

"Japan struggles to cut emissions as levels increase" - "Kyoto Protocol promise difficult to keep as lifestyle changes drive up carbon dioxide." (the Japan Times)

Oh dear! "Oil chief: my fears for planet" - "The head of one of the world's biggest oil companies has admitted that the threat of climate change makes him "really very worried for the planet." | Interview: Ron Oxburgh (The Guardian)

"UN climate body meets in Bonn" - "BONN - Delegates from 188 countries began a ten-day meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) amid rising optimism that the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse emissions can finally be ratified and put into effect.

UNFCC executive secretary Joke Waller-Hunter said she was optimistic that there were finally positive signals coming from Moscow that Russia would join the 1997-drafted protocol.

The Bonn meetings are to prepare for the next ministerial conference for climate protection set to take place 6 - 17 December in Buenos Aires." (Expatica)

"Kyoto climate deal feels heat in Canadian election" - "TORONTO - The Kyoto climate change protocol, hanging by a thread during Russia's tortuous deliberations on ratification, may be set for another blow if the opposition Conservatives win Canada's looming general election.

Surging opposition Conservative leader Stephen Harper has pledged to cut off federal support for work to implement the protocol, aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, even though Canada has ratified the document.

His remarks have sparked alarm in the environmental movement, but with the focus on the perceived sleaze of Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal government, have yet to connect with voters." (AFP)

"Kyoto by Another Name: McCain and Lieberman Make Climate Mischief" - "Who does Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) think he is fooling?

McCain's Climate Stewardship Act, cosponsored with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D., Conn.), is a political roadmap back to the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations global-warming treaty that the Senate preemptively rejected by a vote of 95-0 in July 1997." (Marlo Lewis, National Review Online)

"UN confirms: Russia will support Kyoto Protocol" - "The information on Russia's supporting Kyoto protocol was received on June, 16 by the Executive-Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Klaus Topfer, in Buenos Aires.

Argentina's Capital will hold the World's Climate Change Conference in December.

Russia will change its vote and will support the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, said Klaus Topfer in Buenos Aires Wednesday during a meeting with the Argentine Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia. According to this source, the formal announcement will be made on December, during the annual meeting on Climate Change to take place in Buenos Aires." (Environment News Service)

"Junk Law" - "They all deserve a good spanking. "They" are the state attorneys general (AGs) and other lawyers who will soon file briefs with the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia demanding, in effect, that the U.S. Government ration and restrict the American people's access to energy." (Marlo Lewis, TCS)

"Ill wind: Six big fears about wind farms" - "Wind farms have been blamed for everything from causing headaches to risking the lives of air travellers. Now farmers in India claim they have been the cause of a severe drought." (BBC News Online Magazine)

"Bob Carter: Weathering the scaremongers' storms" - "THE Howard Government's new energy policy commits $575 million to low emission technology and solar cities funding. The policy also opposes signing the Kyoto accord or increasing the level of the mandatory renewable energy target scheme. Less obviously beneficial, because it includes support for environmentally damaging sideshows such as wind power, is the $134 million for other renewable energy technologies.

In general, however, these are excellent decisions with strong economic and environmental benefits, and should be widely supported. They have been welcomed by the Business Council of Australia, but other public reaction has consisted of shrill criticism. The criticism rests partly on naked self-interest, and partly on an utterly inadequate understanding of the realities of climate change science and of the art of government for the welfare of all." (The Australian)

"Organic Food Has 'Significantly Higher' Contamination, Study Finds" - "A new study on food safety reveals that organic produce may contain a significantly higher risk of fecal contamination than conventionally grown produce.

A recent comparative analysis of organic produce versus conventional produce from the University of Minnesota shows that the organically grown produce had 9.7 percent positive samples for the presence of generic E. coli bacteria versus only 1.6 percent for conventional produce on farms in Minnesota.

The study, which was published in May in the Journal of Food Protection, concluded, "the observation that the prevalence of E. coli was significantly higher in organic produce supports the idea that organic produce is more susceptible to fecal contamination." (CNSNews.com)

"Norwegians spurn healthy, organic and homegrown food" - "A new survey from Market and Media Institute gives Norwegian authorities plenty to chew on as findings defied recent long-term campaigns to publicise the various benefits of organic food and domestic produce.

Norwegians were increasingly health conscious until 2001 but the latest study shows a broad retreat, newspaper Nationen reports. The MMI survey found that now only 44% were concerned about a healthy diet, 22% thought it was very important that produce came from Norway, and a scant 13% were willing to pay more for organic fruits or vegetables.

Programmes to revive and promote traditional Norwegian food also seem to have missed their mark so far, with only 50% expressing affection for local products, a number stable since 1997.

A trend analyst questioned by the newspaper blamed poor information campaigns that failed to convince "trendsetters." (just-food.com) [Complete]

"Breeders send out warning over unpaid seed royalties" - "FARMERS who cheat on paying royalties due on arable crop seed have been branded "no better than shoplifters" by plant breeders.

They warn that a continuing shortfall on returns to breeders jeopardises future work to produce competitive varieties suitable for the UK market.

Plant breeding companies are virtually all owned by multinational groups responsible to their shareholders, says the British Society of Plant Breeders and they could pull the plug on unprofitable British work at any time.

More than 90 per cent of barleys and wheats grown in Britain are tailored for British conditions. But the society reckons that growers fail to pay up over £2 million a year - or about 10 per cent of the total due to breeders in royalties - by misrepresenting the varieties they are sowing.

"This 10 per cent is no different in principle from pilfering from the local shop," said Tony Guthrie, the society’s specialist on royalties. "We are getting serious about losses at this level and intend to take further action." (The Scotsman)

Will anti-biotech protesters try to claim these thieves as "martyrs" too?

"China: Country may become ag-biotech star" - "China could become an agriculture biotechnology leader in the next couple of years. "China's use of ag-biotech is substantial in this global biotechnology revolution," said Dr Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis. Alfen was speaking at the 16th National Agricultural Biotechnology Council (NABC), which ended Tuesday." (China Daily)

"GM Food in China" - "GM food now has a massive global presence. China's GM cultivation remains well below that of the US.Yet her consumption of imported GM modified products has exploded. How does GM food look in the eye of consumers there?" (crienglish.com)

"EU deadlocks on genetically-modified oilseed rape" - "BRUSSELS - A top panel failed to agree whether to let genetically-modified oilseed rape be imported into the European Union (EU), which means the politically-charged decision will now be handed to ministers." (AFP)

"Thailand: Suwit questions govt plan to bring in GMOs" - "Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti yesterday questioned government plans to introduce genetically modified agricultural produce, saying he saw no market for such products." (The Nation)

June 16, 2004

"In Africa, DDT Makes A Comeback To Save Lives" - "Spurred by the dramatic and life-saving results in a few African nations that persisted in using DDT, a larger group of nations, now malaria-ravaged, want to use the banned pesticide. Marjorie Mazel Hecht reports." (Executive Intelligence Review)

"The Cost of a Cure" - "Anti-patent AIDS activists are hurting AIDS sufferers." (Roger Bate & Richard Tren, NRO)

"Let's Attend to Real Health Issues (Like Vaccination and Aspirin)" - "Two stories came to my attention recently — testimony to our distorted health priorities — thanks to activist groups' alarmist emissions and the media's slavish devotion to them:" (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Rules for the Discriminating Risk-Taker" - "The brain hungers to place things in simple categories: good for you, bad for you...safe, risky. But the stomach hungers for French fries, salmon, meat substitutes, and other things that have been hastily labeled "bad" by activists, so the brain has some work to do: putting the activists' warnings (about food and other things) in context, weighing those tiny or imagined risks against other risks from everyday life. Ten lessons for the discriminating risk-assessor:" (Todd Seavey, ACSH)

"The General on the March" - "New York's Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has accused the British-based drug giant Glaxo-SmithKline of consumer fraud because of the manner in which GSK promoted Paxil, an anti-depressant, for children and adolescents. He has accused GSK of misleading consumers by suppressing studies which did not support the drug's efficacy, especially for teenagers with depression." (Gilbert Ross, TCS)

Well DUH! "Lean teens more likely to compensate for overeating fast food than overweight peers" - "Adolescents are more likely to overeat when served fast food, but lean adolescents tend to compensate for the over-consumption by eating less at other meals, which is not something their overweight counterparts are likely to do, according to a study in the June 16 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)." (JAMA and Archives Journals Website)

"Latest report shows prevalence of overweight among children and obesity among adults not decreasing" - "The high levels of overweight among children and obesity among adults remain a major public health concern, according to a report in the June 16 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)." (JAMA and Archives Journals Website)

Presumably the banner on this item represents the pessimists' path to reporting "no increase in overweight/obesity"?

"UK: Schools to keep snack vending machines" - "A proposal to ban vending machines from schools has been rejected by the Government.

Ministers were under pressure to remove the machines after the Commons health select committee said they contained snacks which were often high in sugar, fat and salt, and were encouraging unhealthy eating." (Daily Telegraph)

"Inquiry to assess cost of animal rights 'terrorism' investigated" - "The Royal Society, the national academy of science, has announced new research into how much animal rights "terrorism" is costing universities." (Independent)

Asthma due to lack of pesticides? "Allergy to mice common even in the suburbs" - "NEW YORK - Exposure to mouse allergen is known to be common among inner city children with asthma, but new research extends this finding to their suburban peers.

Moreover, as in urban settings, exposure to this allergen is associated with an increased risk of becoming allergic to the household pests.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, are based on a study of 257 asthmatic children living in the outskirts of Baltimore and 78 city-dwelling kids. In addition to completing a questionnaire, the subjects underwent skin testing for allergies and had dust samples from their homes tested for allergens." (Reuters Health)

"Garbage flood feared as EU laws bite" - "LONDON - Britain will be knee-deep in garbage within a generation unless thousands of waste treatment plants are swiftly brought on line, experts say. European Union rules will cut the amount of rubbish simply thrown into holes in the ground - Britain's favourite method of disposal - by 10 percent in 2010 and one-third by 2020. But plans to burn the trash mountain are being constantly opposed by environmental protesters who, scared by pollution horror stories, don't want incinerators in their back yards. "Every year we see more campaigns preventing the introduction of desperately needed facilities," said Nigel Mattravers of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)." (Reuters)

"UK: Coming to a lay-by near you... toxic waste" - "Industry blames the Government and Whitehall for dithering over new EU environmental rules. Charles Clover reports

Lay-bys could be littered with hazardous waste as well as fridges and cars from next month because the Government has dithered over meeting new European Union rules.

The Environment Agency says the Government has been too slow to warn industry about a directive that will cut drastically the number of sites for disposing of toxic waste.

The 250 sites in England and Wales will be cut to five from July 16." (Daily Telegraph)

"Hunting ban on 'vermin' hippos lifted" - "Hippos have been classed as vermin in Burkina Faso because of the destruction they wreak on farms.

The number of hippos in the west African country has risen sharply to almost 1,500. Two decades ago they were on the verge of extinction and a hunting ban was imposed.

The ban has been lifted after an alternative plan to ship hundreds of the animals to Europe was abandoned because they were too heavy.

"This is a last resort but we have no choice if we want to protect our agriculture", a government official said. "If the population is not controlled we could face a national disaster." (Daily Telegraph)

"The catch about tuna" - "The words 'dolphin-friendly' on the tin aim to reassure buyers. But what do they mean? The reality, as Charles Clover discovers, is that many other species are perishing as fishing fleets hunt the 'chicken of the sea'" (The Guardian)

"First seals, now a sea horse ­ but is this a sign of cleaner water in the Thames, or global warming?" - "The discovery of a sea horse in the Thames estuary has been hailed as a sign that what was once the outlet for the dirtiest river in Britain is returning to ecological health." (Independent)

"Are we really all doomed?" - "THE inimitable Private Fraser of Dad’s Army encapsulated the Malthusian doctrine to grim comic effect when he suggested an end to civilisation as he knew it.

He was not the first - or the last - to oil the wheels of the doomsday machine." (The Scotsman)

Doh! It just gets worse and worse! "Urgent action call on US climate" - "Ten leading US climate scientists spoke on Tuesday of the need for more urgent action to tackle global warming. They warned that climate models might have grossly underestimated the rises in temperature that will soon occur. The team called for a major shift to cleaner fuel technologies to constrain the rapid growth in greenhouse gases." (BBC News Online) | Climate Change Experts Despair Over US Attitude (Reuters) | Alarm Sounded on Global Warming (Washington Post)

"Down to earth approach to global warming" - "Art Patterson, a geological engineer, says he has a print of a 1706 painting that shows people skating in the canals of Venice, Italy. Eric Lougheed, another Calgary geologist, says he has a copy of a print of Britons standing on a frozen Thames River barbecuing an animal.

A few hundred years before that, however, there is archeological and written evidence that shows Europe was much warmer -- so warm in fact, Britain had thriving vineyards and the Danes inhabited Iceland and Greenland -- only to later die in the subsequent Little Ice Age between the 1400s to the 1800s.

Those slices of life from the distant past are just small slivers of proof in the mountains of evidence proving that the Earth has always endured natural warming and cooling cycles that have nothing to do with carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.

Yesterday, Patterson and Lougheed joined the Calgary Sun editorial board along with Albert Jacobs, a petroleum geologist, to bring to our attention just a small mound of those mountains of hard evidence that disproves the theory of global warming and the need for the Kyoto protocol.

All men are members of the Friends of Science Society, a not-for-profit scientific organization that receives no funding from oil and energy companies.

Patterson says those two paintings, as well as volumes of scientific evidence -- including ice core samples from the Arctic and Antarctic -- proves that so-called "global warming" as a result of CO2 emissions is a farce." (Calgary Sun)

Climate change on trial? Excellent! "Climate Justice - enforcing climate change law" - "Cases already underway: Germanwatch and BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) have begun a legal action to force the German government to disclose the contribution to climate change made by projects supported by the German taxpayer through its export credit agency Euler Hermes AG. http://www.climatelaw.org/media/german.suit

The International Centre for Technology, along with Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, have begun an action against the Environmental Protection Agency seeking mandatory reductions of greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act. http://www.icta.org

Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and affected individuals have been joined by the cities of Boulder, Oakland and Arcata in suing the US export credit agencies for funding fossil fuel projects under the National Environment Policy Act. http://www.climatelawsuit.org" (climatelaw.org)

It will be fascinating to see anyone prove causation (we still know surprisingly little about climate forcing), apportion 'blame' or even determine detriment. Perhaps this is precisely what is required to finally bury the ridiculous 'global warming' scare.

Really? "U.N. Says Globe Drying Up at Fast Pace" - "UNITED NATIONS - The world is turning to dust, with lands the size of Rhode Island becoming desert wasteland every year and the problem threatening to send millions of people fleeing to greener countries, the United Nations says." (Associated Press)

Oddly enough, UNEP said just a few months ago "World getting 'literally greener'"; a year ago it was "Climate changes making planet greener"; "Global Garden Gets Greener"; in 2001 "Northern Hemisphere getting greener as temperatures rise"... of course, none of this is new or unexpected, see: The Inexorable Greening of Earth's Arid Lands

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The World's Oceans Possess Not One CLAW, But Two" - "A negative climate feedback phenomenon that tends to keep sea surface temperatures from rising too high over nutrient-rich portions of the world's oceans has now been joined by a companion phenomenon that accomplishes the same task over the world's nutrient-poor marine waters." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Droughts (North America: Mexico)" - "Multi-century reconstructions of past precipitation in northern Mexico fail to reveal anything unusual about this aspect of climate in the 20th century, in contradiction of what climate alarmists say should be a near-certain consequence of the rising temperatures of that time period." (co2science.org)

"Seeds (Crops)" - "Atmospheric CO 2 enrichment promotes several processes that combine to increase crop seed yields and enhance a number of important seed properties." (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Grain Amaranth, Loblolly pine seedlings plus a variety of C 3 and C 4 weeds, Redroot Amaranth and Thale Cress." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Antarctic Sea Ice (1979-2002)" - "In the virtual world of climate alarmism, CO 2 -induced global warming is predicted to be most evident in earth's polar regions.  Consequently, if the planet has truly experienced "unprecedented" global warming over the past quarter-century, as climate alarmists also claim, one would expect that the sea ice surrounding Antarctica would be rapidly disappearing.  Is it?" (co2science.org)

"The Medieval Warm Period in Tierra del Fuego" - "At the southern tip of South America, about as far south as one can go from the lands surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean and still remain on a habitable continent, new evidence for the Medieval Warm Period -- claimed by climate alarmists to be a unique feature of high northern latitudes -- makes its debut." (co2science.org)

"Response of Silver Birch Trees to Elevated CO 2 and Ozone" - "High ozone concentrations often reduce the productivity of crops and natural vegetation.  Can enriching the air with CO 2 help to mitigate this situation?" (co2science.org)

"Dark Respiration of Leaves and Needles: How Is It Influenced by Elevated CO 2 ?" - "This question has been fraught with controversy ever since it was asked.  A new study now appears to provide a definitive answer." (co2science.org)

"The Photosynthetic Response of Poplar Trees to CO 2 Enrichment from the Seedling Stage to Maturity" - "A unique experiment that measured the photosynthetic response of a plantation of poplar trees from planting to harvest reveals the great potential for mature closed-canopy forests to positively respond to the ongoing rise of the air's CO 2 content." (co2science.org)

"Adapting to Global Warming - New Report Discusses the Ability of the United States to Adapt to Effects of Global Warming" - "New report from Pew Center on Global Climate Change warns that we are past the point where global warming can be prevented entirely; calls for measures that will help U.S. adapt to the climate change that will occur." (Press Release)

"Advocates pump up greenhouse storage" - "The nightmare scenario for geosequestration - also known as geostorage - occurred in Africa in 1986. In the dark of night, Lake Nyos in Cameroon emitted a huge cloud of carbon dioxide. The gas, which is heavier than air, settled in a thick layer over the surrounding area, asphyxiating 1800 people and countless animals.

Geostorage is a seemingly sensible idea - trap polluting gases from power plants, compress them until they are liquid and pump them underground. No more greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere and, therefore, no global warming.

The so-called "catastrophic release" is one reason why many groups, including Environment Victoria, are nervous about geostorage. But defenders of the process point out a couple of things. The Lake Nyos disaster was a natural disaster - the lake is in a volcanic basin where carbon dioxide occurs naturally on the lake floor. No sane power producer would pump carbon dioxide and other waste gases into a lake (ocean geostorage is possible but not popular). It would be pumped hundreds of metres underground into porous rock." (The Age)

"A Hoax to Raise Our Consciousness" -

"The science and evidence in Roland Emmerich's anticipated blockbuster Independence Day may be flawed and the posited scenario may be impossible as far as we know, but the movie has the potential to do a lot of good. It will raise awareness of the possibility that a race of hostile aliens may someday attempt to exterminate humanity. What's more, it may convince the White House to address this pressing issue."

Is there any chance that a paragraph like that would have made it onto the editorial page of a major newspaper in anticipation of Roland Emmerich's mid-nineties blockbuster? Doubtful. And yet Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow has generated a lot of publicity and a lot of "dialogue" by positing a doomsday scenario that is only slightly more realistic than the alien invasion scenario that was the centerpiece of Independence Day (or the giant nuclear lizard that wreaked havoc in Emmerich's update of Godzilla)." (Art Carden, Mises.org)

"Fossil fuels the future's energy" - "Australia would be dependent on fossil fuels for generations, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday as he announced fuel tax breaks for business but rejected calls for a higher renewable energy target.

Releasing an energy blueprint condemned by green groups but welcomed by the mining sector, Mr Howard said it was not in Australia's interest to "lock up and leave undeveloped" coal supplies." (The Age)

"Coal remains king in solar age" - "A national energy strategy unveiled by the Prime Minister offers $700 million in incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but will slash $1.5 billion from fuel tax and continue heavy reliance on coal and other fossil fuels.

Declaring the Federal Government was responding to the threat of global warming "the smart way", John Howard insisted the country was right to exploit its fossil fuels to secure economic prosperity.

"It recognises that Australia cannot afford to put at risk ... industries that directly employ 120,000 Australians and which earn more than $24 billion a year in export income," he said. "The energy advantage provided by our resources is something Australia must not throw away." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"We've got steam heat, and it's got us pumping" - "As hot chillies go, none comes hotter than the habanero.

So that's the name that scientists have given to the hottest borehole that has ever been drilled in Australia, part of a renewable "hot rock" energy project set to benefit from yesterday's energy statement.

The Habanero 1 borehole in the Cooper Basin in north-eastern South Australia is the first step in an attempt to generate electricity by pumping water kilometres underground to be heated by the super-hot rocks there, then bringing it back to the surface to drive turbines in a power plant." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Cheaper wastewater-fueled device produces more electricity" - "Penn State environmental engineers have removed and replaced one of the most expensive parts of their prototype microbial fuel cell and the device now costs two-thirds less and produces nearly six times more electricity from domestic wastewater." (Penn State)

"GM imports under scrutiny" - "Europe could on Wednesday inch forward towards importing genetically modified oilseed rape marketed by US company Monsanto. The European Commission’s expert committee will debate the approval of the controversial GMO known as GT73. Wednesday's meeting will be the first time all 25 EU countries vote on GT73, and a commission official told EUpolitix it was too early to tell whether it would receive the qualified majority backing needed for approval." (EUpolitix)

"Kenya: Bid to Boost Food Security" - "The Government is committed to support local scientists carry out research on genetically modified products to combat famine in the country. The National Council for Science and Technology executive secretary, Prof George Kingoria, however, said the government would ensure that the GM products were strictly observed for a given period of time before being introduced to the market." (The East African Standard (Nairobi))

"Strong GM compliance in Australia, claims FSANZ" - "New laws on genetically modified foodstuffs ushered into Europe earlier this year may be tough, but Australia and New Zealand’s joint food watchdog claims that their own rules are among the toughest, following an extensive review of labelling regimes for GM foods across the world." (FoodNavigator.com)

June 15, 2004

"Fire retardants' effects arouse safety debate" - "TORONTO -- For more than 30 years, the stuff of American life -- computers and hair dryers, sofa cushions and auto dashboards -- has increasingly been built from plastic and synthetics treated with chemicals to slow the spread of fire.

And at alarming levels, researchers are discovering, those fire retardants are building up in our bodies as well. A growing body of research shows that the chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, are rapidly accumulating in people's blood, in mothers' breast milk, and in animals as remote as Arctic polar bears.

Concern about the rising measures of PBDEs has prompted three states and the European Union to ban two of the three forms of the chemical. Canada just declared all three forms toxic. But as momentum builds, scientists and regulators are running into a nagging knowledge gap: Even the experts haven't proven PBDEs are causing humans any harm." (Boston Globe)

"EWG Fears Toxic Toiletries" - "That's toxic toothpaste you're using, or so says a consumer health advisory recently issued by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The study claims that one out of every hundred popular cosmetic products contains ingredients identified by the government as toxins and/or carcinogens. This information, while meant to "heighten consumer awareness," actually exploits a fallacy and accomplishes little more than unnecessarily frightening the public." (Deborah Gopstein, ACSH)

"Perchlorate Isn't as Risky as Some Think, Study Says" - "Perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel and munitions that has contaminated water supplies nationwide, may not be dangerous to people at the levels considered unhealthful by California scientists, a UC Irvine study says.

The chemical is known to affect the thyroid, and research, largely on laboratory rats, has led state and federal scientists to conclude that it could be dangerous even at low levels, particularly to pregnant women and young children.

But the UC Irvine study, which reviewed existing research, concluded that perchlorate at levels substantially higher than those considered harmful by California appeared to pose no health risk." (LA Times)

"Ozone Aid May Be Life Threatening to Low Income Asthmatics" - "WASHINGTON, DC, June 14, 2004 - Two alternatives to inhalers that deplete the ozone layer are now on the U.S. market, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comment on a proposal to withdraw essential use status under the Montreal Protocol for the ozone depleting inhalers now in common use. Both alternative products are safe and effective, but the higher price of ozone friendly inhalers may keep as many as a million canisters each year from reaching patients, the agency predicts." (Environment News Service)

"Vaccines-Autism: The Scare That Won't Die" - "Study finds possible link between autism and mercury preservative in vaccines," screams the headline of the L.A. Times. It seems like a bad, recurring dream: why won't these people go away?" (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Inquiry into causes of Gulf War syndrome announced" - "An independent inquiry is to be held into Gulf War syndrome, the range of unexplained illnesses suffered by soldiers who served in the conflict 14 years ago." (Independent)

"Fat ad budgets producing fat kids?" - "When my daughter was 6, she spent a morning watching cartoons, during which she saw one commercial after another for cereal, candy and cookies. Inspired by these messages, she grabbed her purse, drove to the grocery store, and loaded up the car with Cap'n Crunch, Skittles and Oreos. That was all she ate for a month.

The astute reader will detect a few hints I made this story up: Six-year-olds do not drive, nor usually have access to large sums of cash. Even if they did, their parents probably would notice if they went on a monthlong junk food binge." (Jacob Sullum, The Washington Times)

"Force feeding us junk facts is distorting the truth to suit the message" - "EVERYBODY tells “good lies” in their private life, whether about Santa Claus or how nice that new haircut looks. We understand what Mark Twain meant in describing how Tom Sawyer’s God-fearing auntie, suspecting he had lied to comfort her, “fortified herself with the thought: ‘It’s a good lie – it’s a good lie – I won’t let it grieve me.’ ” But public life is a different matter. We now know that we were misled by those horror stories about a three-year-old girl who died of heart failure. She weighed six stone, not because her parents stuffed her face with food, but because of a rare genetic condition. Her bereaved family has been traumatised, and other parents guilt-tripped about the mortal dangers of overfeeding our children, on the basis of junk facts.

Yet defenders of the Commons health service committee report that highlighted this little girl’s death now seem to ask whether this really matters." (Mick Hume, The Times)

"Sponsoring the obesity crisis" - "Now we know that the tragic death of a three-year-old girl weighing 40 kilos was due to a rare genetic disorder and not, as the media had almost universally concluded, to gross parental neglect and cruelty. The Commons Select Health Committee chose to highlight this death as an example of children "choking on their own fat" in their 146 page report on obesity … What this sad piece of inappropriate opportunism reflects is the level of near panic that characterises the current discussion of obesity issues … specialists in food-related disorders have drawn attention to the potentially damaging consequences of the increasingly irrational and politicised obesity debate … The psychoanalyst, Susie Orbach, author of Fat is a Feminist Issue … places the blame for much of the hysteria currently surrounding body size on those who stand to profit from it most directly — the diet and fitness clubs, slimming magazines and the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture weight-loss drugs." (SIRC)

"They're Coming for Your Shrimp" - "H.L. Mencken famously defined Puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." Yesterday's puritans worried about their neighbors enjoying alcohol or gambling too much. Today's neo-Puritan activists fear that someone, somewhere, may be enjoying…a plate of shrimp. And, like the puritans of yesteryear, they see grave danger in allowing people this simple pleasure. They claim that much of the $7 billion worth of shrimp produced globally each year hurts the environment, so they want people in America and other developed countries to eat less shrimp to curb the damage." (Neil Hrab, TCS)

"Radical Environmentalists Take Aim at Suburbia" - "Earth Liberation Front Frustrates Law Enforcement With Increasingly Destructive Campaign" (The Washington Post)

"Environmental groups lose case over off-road vehicles" - "The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a lawsuit that accused the federal government of doing too little to protect undeveloped Western land from off-road vehicles.

The court, on a 9-0 vote, said environmental groups cannot use courts to force the federal Bureau of Land Management to more aggressively safeguard about 2 million acres of potential wilderness in Utah.

Interior Department spokesman Tina Kreisher said the department was "pleased that the court has upheld the principle that the federal resource managers may use their expertise to make day-to-day management decisions without unnecessary litigation." (Associated Press)

"Ecology drives the worldwide distribution of human diseases" - "Comparative analyses reveal that human pathogens increase towards the equator and that the relationship is linked to climate - this has important implications for global biodiversity, public health and environmental epidemiology." (Public Library of Science)

"Ecosystem bounces back from hurricanes" - "After receiving the brunt of powerful hurricanes in 1996 and 1999, the Neuse River and Estuary and western Pamlico Sound in eastern North Carolina appear to have suffered few long-term ill effects from the storms, and have actually benefited ecologically in some ways from the storms' scouring effects." (North Carolina State University)

"Fish story linked to climate cycle" - "Old fish bones can tell scientists about more than what people used to eat. They can also provide clues to the climate in which those people lived. In the scientific journal Quaternary Research, a team led by three University of Maine scientists reports using fish bones from an archaeological site in Peru to describe the timing of Pacific Ocean climate cycles linked to El Nino." (University of Main)

"Alpine plants put to global warming test" - "On top of the mountain, dotted across a few grassy plains, this experiment is difficult to miss.

It is a space-age vision, a glinting group of fibreglass structures raising the temperature on the plants inside. It may look strange, but it is internationally important.

These 40 open-topped chambers, scattered across four sites not far from the Falls Creek resort, are unique in the southern hemisphere. They are part of the International Tundra Experiment, which is trying to predict how arctic and alpine areas cope with global warming.

The specially designed structures act like open-topped greenhouses, increasing the internal temperature by an average 2.5 degrees. Henrik Wahren, an ecologist from La Trobe University's Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology, will monitor how the plants react to the extra heat.

Not that, in the first year, there are many reactions yet. "It is way too early to look at changes," Dr Wahren said. "We are looking at a living system of things that grow slowly, and up here things grow particularly slowly." Statistically useful results are expected within three years." (The Age)

"Climate change a blooming threat" - "SPRING flowers are blooming earlier in Scotland due to climate change and this could ultimately alter their natural distribution, according to a new report from Scottish Natural Heritage." (The Scotsman)

"USA's built-up surfaces equal Ohio in area" - "If all the highways, buildings, and other solid structures in the contiguous United States were pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, they would almost cover the state of Ohio. Impervious surface areas (ISA) affect the environment. The qualities that make them ideal for construction also create urban heat islands, by reducing heat transfer from Earth's surface to the atmosphere. The replacement of heavily vegetated areas by ISA reduces carbon sequestration by plants." (American Geophysical Union)

"Flood-menaced population to double by 2050" - "UNITED NATIONS - The number of people vulnerable to floods is expected to double to 2 billion worldwide by 2050 due to global warming, deforestation, rising sea levels and population growth in flood-prone areas, U.N. researchers have warned.

One billion people, roughly a sixth of the world's population, now live in the potential path of a worst-case flood, and most of these are among the planet's poorest, United Nations University experts reported." (Reuters) | Two billion vulnerable to floods by 2050; number expected to double or more in two generations (United Nations University)

"Warming won't devastate, researchers say" - "Global warming could lead to higher sea levels, more potent storms and more intense summer heat waves, say some of the experts who have looked long and hard at the consequences of Earth's rising temperature.

The Day After Tomorrow notwithstanding, higher temperatures will not decimate Earth's population, according to Robert E. Davis, a University of Virginia expert on bioclimatology, who recently published a paper dissecting that very question. " (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Warming´s big freeze" - "In The Hollywood movie The Day After Tomorrow New York is swamped by a tidal wave and then plunged into an ice age after the world's weather patterns are thrown into chaos by runaway global warming.

Cold comfort for the campaigners who warned ignoring the warming signs would lead to this, but what about the real world? Is the film a wake up call for us all?

In the wake of the Hollywood disaster movie Amsterdam Forum took the plunge into the climate debate this week.

Greenpeace activist and climate campaigner Joris Thijssen went toe to toe with global warming denier Hans Labohm, an economist and adviser from the Netherlands Institute on International Relations." (Radio Netherlands)

"Here We Go Again" - "John McCain just won't stop. He and someone else once favored by Democrats as a Vice-Presidential candidate, Joe Lieberman, look likely to have their Climate Stewardship Act (S.139) considered once again by the US Senate, despite it having been defeated 43 to 55 just last October 30. Other Senators, who invest years of effort in getting their pet proposals to the floor, must be somewhat jealous of McCain's parliamentary abilities. This time, with Democrats more willing in an election year to vote for a proposal that would damage the President, chances for success look far greater.

Unless, that is, the Senators stop to consider just how much the proposal would cost their constituents, at which point they might have second thoughts. The truth is that S.139, which will do nothing at all to stop any global warming that may be occurring as a result of man's actions, would cost more than two Iraq wars if we had to pay for it now. That's because the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would suppress energy use, leading to job losses and lower incomes." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Greenhouse gas bill goes into effect today" - "Connecticut will become a vanguard in the fight against greenhouse gases as a sweeping anti-global warming bill goes into effect today. Only an unlikely gubernatorial veto could stop the legislation, which was passed by overwhelming majorities in the state House and Senate." (New Britain Herald)

"Canada should be a leader on global warming" - "COLOGNE, GERMANY—A conference on climate change provides an interesting backdrop against which to watch the apocalyptic science-fiction movie The Day After Tomorrow. This is exactly what the organizers of Carbon Expo arranged here this week.

You sort of wished that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper had been in the theatre, given his rejection of the Kyoto Accord.

While the movie, with its spectacular special effects, presents a highly exaggerated view of what may lie ahead as a result of climate change, the reality is that climate change is a long-term threat to future generations and we need to accelerate the move to a low-carbon world now." (David Crane, Toronto Star)

"Kyoto principles must be preserved" - "In the midst of the energy wars 25 years ago, many Albertans sported bumper stickers counselling the province to "let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark." If there were a bumper sticker today reflecting Conservative leader Stephen Harper's promise to rip up the Kyoto treaty on global warming, it might say, "Turn up the heat and let everyone fry."

Harper has disguised his huge sop to Alberta's oil industry, which bitterly opposes the Kyoto accord, in a bright green cloak of environmentalism with his pledge to use the money saved from abandoning Kyoto to fight smog instead.

It's a clever gambit. People are naturally more inclined to engage an enemy they can see and feel than one that is almost imperceptible." (Toronto star)

"New war on emissions" - "A state plan to be unveiled Monday would be the first to curb greenhouse-gas emissions in cars." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Editorial: California Leads on Warming" - "Filling a leadership vacuum left by President Bush and Congress, states have been forced to lead the fight against global warming. Yesterday California unveiled an ambitious proposal to require automakers to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming by as much as 30 percent over the next decade.

The plan will almost certainly be challenged in court by the automakers and possibly by the Bush administration. Given California's long history as an innovator in environmental policy, however, the initiative is likely to inspire similar efforts in other states and may have the further salutary effect of forcing the issue of climate change — which even Senator John Kerry has shown little inclination to tackle — onto the campaign agenda." (New York Times)

"Pits 'fighting for life' over EC rules" - "The government was playing brinkmanship with the coal industry last night, waving aside warnings that proposed new environmental regulations would cost thousands of jobs. The crisis centres on the implementation of a new anti-pollution directive issued by Brussels which demands a reduction of sulphur emissions by up to 500,000 tonnes annually by 2015. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was doing further analysis on the regulations. It said a decision was imminent but had yet to be finalised." (The Guardian)

"Europe thinks again on scrapping nuclear power" - "LONDON - Europe is finding it harder to rule out a future for nuclear power as governments face the need to tackle climate change without risking the future security of energy supplies." (Reuters)

"India: Farmers blame wind turbines for drought" - "Claims that wind turbines are responsible for the three-year drought blighting parts of the sub-continent are being investigated by a group of India's most eminent scientists.

Farmers in Maharashtra, a drought-ridden central state, are convinced the windmills' massive propeller-shaped blades are chopping up the clouds which bring precious rain to their fields." (Daily Telegraph)

Aflatoxin: "Contaminated maize kills 80 in Kenya" - "Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki was yesterday to declare a national disaster following the death in recent weeks of more than 80 people from contaminated maize." (The Guardian)

Parenthetically, this problem is significantly less prevalent when using Bt varietals, simply by reducing insect damage to the kernels - once again highlighting some of the lifesaving qualities of biotechnology. It would be interesting to hear some of the misanthropic anti-biotech brigade attempt to justify their massive campaigns to inhibit inclusion of the very same insecticides that eco-correct organic growers liberally spray over crop and countryside. You can try again to convince me that these campaigns do not contribute to morbidity and mortality if you wish but I am largely persuaded otherwise.

"Don’t worry, it’s organic" - "According to public perception, organic food is the more healthy option. But is this always the case? Maria Burke looks at organic farming and explodes a few popular myths" (The Royal Society of Chemistry)

?!! "Biotechnology: Breeding hurdles and hype" - "SYDNEY - Is there anything that genetic doctoring can't do? Not much, according to the biotechnology industry, which has shrugged off a series of regulatory setbacks by repackaging itself as the answer to every lifestyle ailment from malnutrition to obesity." (Alan Boyd, Asia Times)

June 13-14, 2004

"McKellar calls for DDT review" - "ONE of Britain’s leading veterinarians has made a scathing attack on environmentalists and the organic movement.

Professor Quintin McKellar, about to leave his job as director of the Moredun animal disease research institute, Edinburgh, to become head of the Royal Veterinary College, London, has shot warningly across the bows of the green and organic movements in the past.

But on Wednesday night he opened up with heavy artillery at the British Veterinary Association Scotland dinner in Edinburgh. Quoting from Michael Crighton that "environmentalism has killed millions", McKellar said the chemical DDT had done more good than harm. Its eventual ban, he said, had not been on scientific grounds, but an emotional reaction to Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, the 1960s textbook for environmentalists. The dangers of organophosphate (OP) chemicals had also been much exaggerated - "disallowed with no scientific logic by the [organic] Soil Association" - he said." (The Scotsman)

"Fears over Gulf War chemicals" - "More people may have been exposed to chemical warfare agents during the 1990 Gulf War than previously thought, a report says." (BBC News Online)

"Concern mounts that medical research does not give the full story" - "Be wary next time you read about a medical breakthrough or a miracle drug. New research has found that scientists are disturbingly selective when reporting the results of clinical trials. Many scientists cherry-pick favourable results. Others change tack when unexpected or interesting results emerge, breaching research protocols. A research team led by Oxford University academic An-Wen Chan analysed 102 trials and found that researchers failed to fully report almost two-thirds of the results relating to potentially harmful outcomes. Half of the results relating to the effectiveness of a treatment were not made fully public." (New Zealand Herald)

"Lung cancer carries severe stigma" - "The stigma attached to lung cancer can have far reaching consequences for patients, research suggests. Oxford University researchers found many patients felt people blamed them for their illness because it is so strongly associated with smoking. They also found that anti-smoking campaigns helped to fuel prejudice, which resulted in damaged relations with family, friends and doctors." (BBC News Online) | Stigma attached to lung cancer can have far reaching consequences (BMJ)

"Parasite reaction link to asthma" - "A faulty immune reaction - where the body reacts to non-existent parasites - could trigger asthma, a study suggests. Yale University scientists found high levels of an enzyme called chitinase, produced by the immune system, soar in mice with asthma-like disease. The enzyme is linked to parasites because it breaks down chitin, found on the surfaces of parasites and insects." (BBC News Online)

"Eats shoots and defies forecasts" - "The giant panda, symbol of China and of wildlife conservation, is not as endangered as thought, according to the most detailed survey yet of the bamboo-covered hillsides that are its home." (Daily Telegraph)

"Nutrients cause increase in parasites and frog deformities" - "Extra and missing-legged frogs have become increasingly common in North American wetlands. Research implicates a flatworm parasite, Ribeiroia ondatrae, as the culprit while reasons have remained a mystery. In the July issue of Ecology Letters, Johnson and Chase suggest excess nutrient inputs into the ponds where tadpoles develop causes an increase in rams horn snails. This may explain increases in amphibian malformations and suggest control strategies for reducing infection associated malformations and mortality." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Researchers seeing double on African monsoons" - "NASA and University of Maryland scientists have found the African monsoon consists of two distinct seasons. The first season is in the late spring and early summer, and appears strongly influenced by sea surface temperatures off the coast of West Africa. The second season arrives later in summer in July. Atmospheric waves moving westward over the Atlantic Ocean appear to play a major role in this summer season monsoon rainfall." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"The Mediterranean connection: ecological effects of El Niño in the Northern hemisphere" - "The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are increasingly acknowledged as major climatic sources of ecological variability. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this is a priority research area facing global warming. In the July issue of Ecology Letters, Pablo Almaraz and Juan A. Amat provide the first evidence of concurrent NAO and ENSO effects on the long-term dynamics of a natural population." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Limited climate tracking in European trees despite 10,000 years of postglacial warmth" - "The relative roles of environment and history as controls of large-scale species distributions is a crucial issue in biogeography and macroecology. In the July issue of Ecology Letters, Svenning & Skov use bioclimatic modelling to show that among 55 native European tree species, 36 occupy less than 50% of their climatically suitable range." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"52 thousand years of marine fertility sheds light on climate change" - "New Research on marine fertility shows that variations in the workings of the equatorial heat engine may be as important as high latitude processes." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Chemists retrieve clues to ancient ocean chemistry and global greenhouse from Cretaceous sediments" - "Global warming. Rising sea levels. Massive volcanic activity around the world. Widespread erosion. Its not a scene from the latest Hollywood disaster film, but the Earth as it appeared during the mid- to late-Cretaceous geological period, 135 million to 65 million years ago, when the largest dinosaurs ruled the planet." (University of California - San Diego)

"Responding to Climate Change" - "Bleached Bond: Coral bleaching, long considered an indicator of reef demise, creates an opportunity for corals to adapt by creating a new symbiotic relationship with different, better-adapted algae. Bleaching may be an excellent strategy employed by corals to sacrifice short-term benefits for longer-term gains. Coral has demonstrated the ability to survive over millions of years and through much harsher climate changes than those experienced over the last few decades." (co2andclimate.org)

"Global Conscience Conference wants Kyoto implementation" - "This event was held to counter the "Copenhagen Consensus" program organized by Bjorn Lomborg. Here is a quote from the Conscience conference document:  "We demand a speeding up of the efforts to attain the reduction goals of the Kyoto Protocol. . . . Denmark and other rich countries must commit themselves to long-term goals - at least 50% reduction before 2030.” (Global Conscience Conference Final Statement)

"Study Says McCain/Lieberman’s “Climate Stewardship Act” Would Cost U.S. More than 600,000 Jobs" (pdf) - "WASHINGTON—Today United for Jobs and the American Council for Capital Formation released a study by Charles River Associates which demonstrates the true costs to the American consumer of S. 139, the McCain-Lieberman “Climate Stewardship Act.” The study also provides a state by state breakdown of economic impacts of the legislation." (United for Jobs, ACCF)

"Carbon Sequestration Partnerships Multiply" - "WASHINGTON, DC, June 11, 2004 - The Department of Energy (DOE) said Thursday that seven new states and 13 organizations have joined the Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnership Program, the centerpiece of U.S. efforts to validate and deploy carbon sequestration technologies." (Environment News Service)

"A Hamstrung Market Fights Global Warming" - "IN "The Day After Tomorrow," the disaster movie, millions die while politicians and scientists squabble about global warming.

Real life, of course, is a bit more complicated. For more than a decade, there has been a fierce international debate over how to curb the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. While the environmental results of the dispute may not be clear for years, some economic consequences are already apparent." (New York Times)

"Kyoto pact could derail Canada's Conservatives" - "OTTAWA, June 11 - If Canada's opposition Conservatives win a narrow victory in the June 28 election as the latest polls predict, their government may not last long unless they back down on plans to abandon the Kyoto climate-change protocol.

Opinion polls show the Conservatives are set to win the most seats in Parliament, but not enough to gain a majority. This means they would need the support of another party to govern.

The most likely choice of partner would be the separatist Bloc Quebecois from French-speaking Quebec but any talk of co-operation could founder over Kyoto, designed to curb emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The leftist Bloc strongly backs Kyoto but Conservative leader Stephen Harper, whose base is the energy rich western province of Alberta, promises he will abandon the accord because it is unworkable." (Reuters)

"Kyoto: Brazil jumps the gun" - "First country in the world to set up Interministerial Commission on Global Climate Change

Brazilia has jumped the gun ahead of the rest of the international community by setting up its Interministerial Commission on Global Climate Change, announced this week by the Minister of Science and Technology, Eduardo Campos.

The Commission will measure the level of Greenhouse Effect Gas emissions in Brazil and will implement the emission levels stipulated under the Protocol of Kyoto. Two projects have been approved already by the Commission." (Pravda)

"Global warming's impact on world's most isolated people revealed in study" - "AUCKLAND - From coastal erosion and toppled coconut trees to sun-damaged homes, the impact of global warming on some of the world's most isolated people has been revealed in a groundbreaking study of the looming environmental problem." (AFP)

"UK charged with nuclear 'fudge'" - "One of the UK's foremost environmental thinkers, Sir Crispin Tickell, has accused British politicians of failing to give a lead on nuclear energy. Sir Crispin said nuclear power ought to enjoy comparison with "other forms of renewable energy" in making policy." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

Nonsense of the moment: "Study finds dramatic increase in thyroid cancer" - "The Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI) today called on the Bush administration to reassess its commitment to the expansion of nuclear power; based on new study reported in the June edition of the International Journal of Epidemiology. The study documents a dramatic increase in thyroid cancers following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster." (Nuclear Policy Research Institute)

The couple of thousand thyroid cancers that 'appeared' post Chernobyl do not represent an unusual number for the population but rather the previous near-zero number diagnosed suggests that no one was diagnosing these cancers. Following the accident the population was checked and [gasp] some thyroid cancers were discovered. That's the same as say, following a traffic accident on I65, checking the local population for hangnails (bet you find some, and a damn site more than were known to exist before) and then claiming that the traffic accident caused the hangnails. Too silly for words really.

See also: The Truth About Chernobyl Is Told by Zbigniew Jaworowski. Jaworowski, a former chairman and member of UNSCEAR, is unimpressed by claims of significant effect from Chernobyl.

"Why Top Conservationist Believes Wind Farms Are 'ridiculous Waste Of Cash'" - "A Leading conservationist and television personality has dismissed plans for wind farms in Lincolnshire as a waste of money. Dr David Bellamy criticised county turbines proposals at the Lincolnshire Environmental Awards. He also accused the Government of scare tactics over global warming. "The latest is that global warming is a bigger threat than international terrorism. Tell that to the people of New York," he said. "The first of the most outrageous claims made by the Government and the wind industry is that carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for climate change. "With more than 99 per cent of greenhouse emissions coming from natural sources, over which we have no control, how can they be responsible?" (Lincolnshire Echo)

"Wind farms 'will blow our tourists away'" - "Heiress protests that spread of energy mills is destroying natural beauty of the Highlands" (The Observer)

"Greenhouse Gases Are Targeted" - "California plan seeks to force auto makers to cut emissions 29% by 2015. Companies say the state has no right to demand the restrictions." (LA Times)

"Much of Coastal U.S. May Follow California on Car Emissions" - "DETROIT, June 10 - California's plan for sharp cuts in automotive emissions of global warming gases could eventually lead much of the coastal United States to turn to vehicles that are substantially cleaner, and by extension more fuel efficient, than those in the rest of the nation.

This year, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut have said they intend to start following California's car rules instead of Washington's. New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine already do so.

Together, these seven states, along with California, account for nearly 26 percent of the nation's auto market, according to R. L. Polk, a company that tracks auto registrations. Other states are also considering joining. One reason is that many states are now out of compliance on federal ozone emission regulations and see car tailpipes as a solution. Canada is also considering a similar approach on global warming." (New York Times)

"4x4s into Paris won't go - if SUV ban works" - "French threat to bar off-roaders from capital echoes London debate" (The Guardian)

"Trapping carbon in soil key for protecting global food security, dealing with climate change" - "Restoring soil carbon levels should be a top priority among the global community, according to a viewpoint article in this week's issue of the journal Science. The amount of carbon that can be restored in the world's degraded agricultural soils will directly influence global food security and climate change within our lifetime." (Ohio State University)

"UK: It's official - the South-East has less water per head than Sudan" - "The South-East of England has less water per person than the desert states of Syria and Sudan, according to official figures. The statistics, from the Environment Agency, show that there are 58,000 gallons of water available for every person in south-east England per year, while in Syria the figure is 95,000 gallons and in Sudan - a country wracked by civil war - 269,000. Even the national average in Britain - 293,000 gallons per head of population - is only slightly more than in Sudan and less than half the figure for Spain, where each person has 610,000 gallons." (Daily Telegraph)

"EU adopts Action Plan for organic food" - "The European Commission has adopted a 'European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming' to boost organic farming in the EU.

Setting out 21 specific policy measures to achieve this, the action plans pays special attention to strengthening research, particularly in relation to processing and production methods; harmonising standards and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

'The organic food and farming sector is very dynamic, showing rapid growth and constant development which needs to be supported,' states the Action Plan." (cordis)

"'High-vigour' wheat puts weeds in the shade" - "CSIRO is breeding new 'high-vigour' wheats so fast-growing they can out-compete weeds while maintaining high yields." (Media Release)

"Chestnut may take root" - "A century after blight began to bring down the American chestnut tree, once known as the "redwood of the East," scientists are tantalizingly close to reviving the majestic species.

Within a few years, using traditional plant breeding and genetic engineering, researchers hope to have a variety of blight-resistant chestnuts to repopulate the tree's native range.

If they succeed, the towering species that once accounted for one out of every four trees from Maine to Mississippi will be back, benefiting wildlife and humans alike." (The Associated Press)

"Growing India's promise: Seeds of change" - "In the world's largest democracy, even the poorest of the poor are discovering that they're rich in power.

India's 650 million farmers were a driving force behind the stunning defeat last month of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had ruled since 1998. Now, they're demanding policy changes that will carry the fruits of India's economic boom to their villages.

And if these reforms are carried out, experts say, Indian farmers will grow into a global economic force." (St Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Backlash curbs GM investment" - "Investment in genetically modified food is drying up in the world's biggest GM market, the United States, because consumers in the rest of the world are not willing to buy its products.

Speakers at the Bio 2004 conference, which ended in San Francisco yesterday, forecast continued fast growth in investment in genetically modified medicines, including those made in modified plants and animals.

But Roger Wyse of San Francisco-based Burrill and Company, the biggest investment firm focused on life sciences, said the consumer backlash against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) had forced a lull in projects aimed at modifying food.

"We are probably looking at three, four or five years before the GMO issue subsides sufficiently that we will feel comfortable investing in it," he said." (New Zealand Herald)

"Mendocino's GMO vote sparks action" - "This spring Mendocino County, California, voters banned production of genetically modified (GMO) crops and animals there. Mendocino is the first county in the United States to implement such a ban, inspiring people across the country and the world to follow suit.

Indeed, halfway across the world, major agricultural areas in Australia, including Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, passed or will soon pass GE crop bans.

Of course, Monsanto and its GMO peers don't like the idea. The Organic Consumers Association reports the biotech lobby will soon introduce a bill in California to nullify the Mendocino ban and make it illegal for other California counties to pass similar laws." (SustainableBusiness.com)

"Pro-GM man in impromptu debate with protest crowd" - "Nature did not make the world good enough, so we need to genetically modify it to make it better.

That was the awkward position that Canadian Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore was forced to adopt when he single-handedly started a debate with protesters outside the world's biggest biotechnology conference in San Francisco this week.

In an extraordinary two-hour exchange with a well-informed group including British author Luke Anderson and Food First policy analyst Dr Raj Patel, Dr Moore defended genetic modification against many of the key arguments against it.

Despite earlier threats to shut down the Bio 2004 conference, the anti-GM activists heard his arguments and responded respectfully.

The 200 or so protesters unnerved the 20,000 conference delegates with noisy slogans and drew a massive police presence, but never came close to disrupting the event." (New Zealand Herald)

"CropLife Canada responds to recommendations by Quebec Committee on Genetically Modified foods" - "TORONTO, June 11 - The importance of plant biotechnology as it relates to consumers, the agri-food industry and Quebec's economy is recognized in a report released today by the Quebec Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. While CropLife Canada concurs with this assessment, it cautions the Committee's recommendation to implement mandatory labelling for Genetically Modified (GM) foods and food ingredients." (CNW)

June 11, 2004

"Reagan's Regulatory Reform" - "Getting a grip on runaway federal regulation was one of Ronald Reagan's many significant achievements as president. But media tributes since his death have scarcely mentioned President Reagan's efforts at regulatory reform." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

June 10, 2004

"What to Do First to Save the World" - "For the leaders of the world's richest countries, meeting this week at the G8 Summit on Sea Island, Georgia, there's no more important question than, "What should come first?"

At last, we have the answer." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"The Industrial Revolution - Past and Future" - "Of the tendencies that are harmful to sound economics, the most seductive, and in my opinion the most poisonous, is to focus on questions of distribution. In this very minute, a child is being born to an American family and another child, equally valued by God, is being born to a family in India. The resources of all kinds that will be at the disposal of this new American will be on the order of 15 times the resources available to his Indian brother. This seems to us a terrible wrong, justifying direct corrective action, and perhaps some actions of this kind can and should be taken. But of the vast increase in the well-being of hundreds of millions of people that has occurred in the 200-year course of the industrial revolution to date, virtually none of it can be attributed to the direct redistribution of resources from rich to poor. The potential for improving the lives of poor people by finding different ways of distributing current production is nothing compared to the apparently limitless potential of increasing production" (Robert E. Lucas Jr., Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

"World Health Disorganisation" - "What is the new head of the World Health Organisation is up to?" (Roger Bate, TCS)

"NNii statement on new thimerosal study" - "The following statement can be attributed to Martin G. Myers, MD, executive director of the National Network for Immunization Information (NNii):

This week, the journal Molecular Psychiatry published a study by researchers at Columbia University on the neurotoxic effects on mice of thimerosal, a mercury derivative that has been used as a preservative in vaccines.

The study raises important scientific issues that need to be further explored.

The study found that thimerosal could cause behavioral abnormalities in newborn mice that have a specific genetic susceptibility. However, it is important to keep the study in perspective. Abnormalities were noted only in mice that were specially bred to have problems with their immune systems. How and whether this relates to human infants can only be determined by additional research." (Infectious Diseases Society of America)

"Too much fructose may skew appetite hormones" - "NEW YORK - Consuming too much fructose -- a form of sugar found in corn syrup, honey and fruit -- appears to alter levels of hormones involved in appetite regulation in such a way as to encourage overeating, a new study suggests.

After people in the study ate a meal followed by a drink flavored with the same amount of fructose found in two cans of soda, they showed relatively low levels of insulin and leptin, hormones that help people know that they are full.

On the other hand, they showed relatively high levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates eating." (Reuters Health)

"Pacific Salmon Runs to Remain on Endangered List" - "Despite rebounding populations, 26 species of Pacific salmon will continue to be classified as threatened or endangered, according to NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency overseeing salmon recovery efforts. The agency is also recommending re-listing an additional run, the Lower Columbia Coho, which had been removed from protection in 2001." (E/The Environmental Magazine)

Fundraising time, again? "E Australia koalas 'under threat'" - "Koalas could be wiped out in eastern Australia within 12 years, a conservation group has warned. The Australian Koala Foundation said that urban and agricultural sprawl was infringing on koalas' habitat to a dangerous degree." (BBC News Online)

The 'Australian Koala Foundation' is a club, of sorts, that happily admits never having attempted a koala survey, as such (mostly because its very hard work counting the nasty nocturnal beasts as they spend their days sleeping in forks and hollows high in the tall timber). AKF's chosen 100K population figure seems to be picked for no particular reason (they must like it though - been using it for decades) and bears no known relation to figures determined by koala researchers or state departments of wildlife, natural resources and/or environment, all of whom give significantly greater numbers and list koala populations as increasing (sometimes catastrophically, as is the case on South Australia's Kangaroo Island where 20K-30K need to be culled to prevent them eating out the manna gum forests and destroying the habitat).

As for koalas being viewed 'in the wild' by tourists - fugeddaboudit! The vast majority of tourists (and a significant portion of Australians) will only ever see koalas in zoos or 'sanctuaries' (enclosures where contained populations are habituated to the presence of people and structured so people can - for usually exorbitant fees - see and sometimes touch something that looks like an overgrown dust bunny that may [but probably won't] lazily open its piggy little eyes).

Anyone who really cares about maintaining healthy koala populations in Australia should lobby for the reopening of the skin trade, which would restore material value to endemic populations (the fur is thick and soft, probably quite valuable) and provide incentive for landowners to maintain habitat for their noisy, ill-tempered 'canopy rabbits'.

"Kyoto protocol on climate change would be scrapped under Tory government" - "BARRIE, Ont. - A Conservative government would scrap adoption of the Kyoto treaty on climate change, Leader Stephen Harper said Wednesday.

The Tories would instead pass a new clean-air bill that would include mandatory limits on emissions with targeted levels to be achieved by 2010, Harper told supporters. "Now is the time for federal leadership to ensure that targets for smog-causing pollutants are reached," Harper said." (Canadian Press)

"Greenland and Global Warming" - "Recent popular media coverage of climate change issues has presented a scary scenario in which human-induced global warming will give rise to a new ice age. Indeed, this is the scenario sketched out in the climate disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow." It sounds counterintuitive, so let's explain the science behind the scare scenario, such as it is." (Willie Soon, TCS)

"More Local, Less Global" - " Factors such as economic activity and data quality—which are not included in climate models—are closely tied to temperature increases observed during the past two decades, according to a study in the May 25, 2004 edition of Climate Research." (GES)

Coverage of this ranges from fair to atrocious: "New ice core record will help understanding of ice ages, global warming, CU prof says" - "Recovery of a new ice core in Antarctica that extends back 740,000 years -- nearly twice as long as any other ice core record -- is extremely important and will help scientists better understand the Earth's climate and issues related to global warming, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder professor." (University of Colorado at Boulder) | Oldest Antarctic ice core reveals climate history (British Antarctic Survey) | Palaeoclimate: Frozen time (Nature)

"Study Supports View That Ice Age Is Still Quite a Way Off" [since rebranded as 'A New Ice Age? None Soon, Snow 2 Miles Deep Implies'] - "Despite the recent trend toward global warming, scientists have long wondered whether the earth was nearing another ice age — an end to the 12,000-year temperate spell in which modern civilizations arose. Some have said such a transition is overdue, given that each of Earth's three previous temperate intervals lasted only about 10,000 years.

But now, in an eagerly anticipated study, a group of climate and ice experts says it has new evidence that Earth is not even halfway through the current warm era. The evidence comes from the oldest layers of Antarctic ice ever sampled.

Some scientists had already proposed similar hypotheses, basing them on the current configuration of the earth's orbit, which seems to set the metronome that ice ages dance to. Temperature patterns deciphered in sea-bottom sediments in recent years supported the theory.

But experts say the new ice data is by far the strongest corroborating evidence, revealing many similarities between today's atmospheric and temperature patterns and those of a prolonged warm interval that took place 430,000 years ago.

The findings are described today in the journal Nature by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica." (Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times) | Ice cores unlock climate secrets (Julianna Kettlewell, BBC News Online)

Wow! Look how The Indy writes it up! "Ice core reveals a worrying truth about Earth's climate" - "Scientists drilling in the Antarctic have found evidence that man-made greenhouse gases are causing the planet's climate to destabilise - and could bring on a new ice age in 15,000 years." (Independent) | Record ice core gives fair forecast ['As long as humans do not mess it up'] (NewScientist.com news service) | Weather Forecast Warm for the Next 15,000 Years ['barring human interference'] (Patricia Reaney, Reuters)

"Oil Prices Could 'Damage Climate Change'" - "High oil prices will encourage the search for more oil reserves and the result will be “very serious and damaging climate change”, a leading environmental campaigner warned MPs today.

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, told the powerful all-party Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into Sustainable Development Strategy, that the row over the rising price of oil had been useful in generating debate about the global warming problem.

But the US and Britain are planning to press ahead with the search for more oil fields, he warned." (PA News)

"Kicking up a storm over climate change" - "For those who cannot decide whether to see "The Day After Tomorrow," I sympathize. This recent Hollywood thriller that offers an apocalyptic portrayal of global climate change has me at odds with myself. I am torn between the desire to wallow in mindless hyperbole, and the fear of seeing an audience depart even more ignorant about climate change than before they entered." (Stephen Hesse, The Japan Times)

"Greenhouse gas production of corn tracked" - "Canberra, Australia, Jun. 9 -- Australian scientists have received a $600,000 grant to study how much greenhouse gas is released in the production of a bowl of cornflakes." (UPI)

"NASA data shows deforestation affects climate in the Amazon" - "NASA satellite data are giving scientists insight into how large-scale deforestation in the Amazon Basin in South America is affecting regional climate. Researchers found during the Amazon dry season last August, there was a distinct pattern of higher rainfall and warmer temperatures over deforested regions." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"All ecosystems are equally productive under drought conditions" - "Under drought conditions, tropical forests can be as efficient at using water as desert ecosystems, researchers report. The finding has implications for how various ecosystems will behave under future climate change." (University of Arizona)

"Lax U.S. power plant rules killing thousands-study" - "WASHINGTON - Over 90 percent of the 23,600 annual deaths caused by pollution from aging coal-fired power plants could be prevented if the U.S. government adopted stricter rules, according to a study by environmental groups.

The report criticized the Bush administration for trying to roll back existing clean air laws which the report said would result in nearly 4,000 more annual deaths from asthma, heart attacks and other ailments linked to coal plant emissions." (Reuters)

"Low Emissions Power Plant to Burn West Virginia Waste Coal" - "WASHINGTON, DC, June 9, 2004 - A new $215 million West Virginia power plant that will use new technology to turn waste coal into electricity with fewer emissions than standard coal-fired power plants was commissioned Monday by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham." (Environment News Service)

"Experts Warn of Biotech Exploitation" - "STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Biotechnology research used to find new cures for disease could instead be harnessed for use as a weapon of terror, a prominent European think tank warned.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in its annual yearbook, said that biotechnology, including advancements in mapping the human genome, could result in new biological weapons that could cause harm to a specific ethnic group or a large swath of a country's population.

``The free access to genetic sequence data for the human genome and a large number of other genomes, including for pathogenic micro-organisms, is a great scientific resource, but it could pose a significant threat if misused,'' said the report, which was unveiled in Stockholm Wednesday." (The Associated Press)

"Research fuels fear of gene-altered fish" - "In a head-to-head battle for food, normal coho salmon lose out to their genetically engineered cousins, says a new study that adds to the controversy over what critics call "frankenfish."

Not only did the aggressive, gene-modified salmon gobble up most of the feed when raised in tanks with ordinary salmon, but they also gobbled up their weaker competitors — including their own type, British Columbia scientists reported in yesterday's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The results were often dramatic population crashes, with only one or two of the genetically modified fish surviving in tanks that originally held 50 animals, said lead author Robert Devlin of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

"When food supplies are low, transgenic (genetically modified) fish have a very significant effect on the population," he said, adding the caveat that laboratory experiments may not predict what would happen if bioengineered salmon escaped into the environment." (Seattle Times)

"There's no masses" - "Protests over biotech conference lead to minimal disruption." (San Francisco Examiner)

June 9, 2004

"'Nasty' Hurricane Season Seen for U.S. East and Gulf Coasts" - "Long-range forecasters are predicting another worse-than-average hurricane season on the United States East and Gulf Coasts. The experts predict as many as four major hurricanes during the June-to-October hurricane season. An average season produces two.

Forecasters also are wondering how much longer the most powerful hurricanes will continue to steer away from the southeast coast or dissipate before making landfall." (National Geographic News)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"It's Never Too Late" to "Live Long and Prosper" - "Taking a cue from demographic science and Star Trek's Mr. Spock, we explore some interesting similarities between plant and animal lifespan extension." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Droughts (North America: Canada)" - "Climate alarmists warn of all sorts of weather disasters, including droughts, as the earth recovers from the debilitating chill of the Little Ice Age and assumes the temperature mantle of the Modern Warm Period.  Does history vindicate them?  We here explore this question across the broad Canadian heartland of the Prairie Provinces.

"Biodiversity (Weeds vs. Non-Weeds)" - "Climate alarmists typically claim that future increases in the air's CO 2 content will increase the presence of weeds and the problems associated with them in both agricultural and natural ecosystems.  After reviewing some of the relevant literature in this area, however, we come to a much different conclusion." (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Bracken, Field Mustard, Lambsquarters and St. John's Wort." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"East Asia and North Atlantic Climates of the Past Two Millennia: What Links Them?" - "The sun, of course." (co2science.org)

"The Industrial-Region Heat Island Effect" - "A permutation of the well-known urban heat island effect could well be responsible for the bulk of the "unprecedented" global warming of the past quarter-century." (co2science.org)

"Deaths Due to Heat and Cold in US Cities" - "Which are greater?  And what do the results portend for likely changes in annual mortality in response to potential future warming?" (co2science.org)

"Native vs. Nonnative Invasive Plants in a CO 2 -Accreting Atmosphere" - "Will either group enhance its productivity at the expense of the other?" (co2science.org)

"Photosynthetic Recovery of Beans Following Chilling" - "How is it affected by atmospheric CO 2 enrichment?" (co2science.org)

"Energy Producers See Cash in Kyoto" - "Staff Writers When the Dutch government expressed interest in funding the modernization of a power plant in Amursk, Khabarovsk region, last year, the Russian government stopped the deal dead in its tracks." (The Moscow Times)

"Room for improvement" - "Britain is moving to reduce emissions but is the rest of the EU? The government and industry think not. Paul Brown reports" (The Guardian) | Full text: government and industry environment statement

"Brian Fallow: Germany's Kyoto ruling to be felt in NZ" - "As Europe's biggest economy steps up its efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the ripples will be felt in New Zealand." (New Zealand Herald)

"Exxon Mobil: US Can't Kick Oil Habit" - "WASHINGTON - The United States will have to depend on the volatile Middle East for much its oil over the next several decades, but energy companies still need drilling access to more U.S. areas closed to exploration, the head of Exxon Mobil said." (Reuters) | Exxon Head: Energy Independence Is a Myth (Associated Press)

"Oil unlimited?" - "Predictably, the recent rise in oil prices has the usual doom-and-gloom crowd, which has consistently been wrong for 30 years, saying once again that this proves we are running out of oil and that severe curbs on gasoline consumption must be imposed to preserve what little is left for future generations. They need not worry. There is growing evidence that oil is far more plentiful than we have been led to believe." (Bruce Bartlett, The Washington Times)

"California Weighs Tighter Fuel Economy" - "DETROIT, June 8 - An initial draft of a California global-warming regulation would require automakers to cut the amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to climate change that their new vehicles emit by as much as 30 percent over the next decade.

The draft is expected to be made public this week or next. People briefed on it said that the 30 percent figure could still be changed before it is released, though probably not by much." (The New York Times)

"Nanotechnology pioneer slays 'grey goo' myths" - "Eric Drexler, known as the father of nanotechnology, today (Wednesday, 9th June 2004) publishes a paper that admits that self-replicating machines are not vital for large-scale molecular manufacture, and that nanotechnology-based fabrication can be thoroughly non-biological and inherently safe." (Institute of Physics)

"Protesters fail to shut down San Francisco biotech conference" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Police arrested at least 33 protesters Tuesday near a convention center where thousands of biotechnology scientists and entrepreneurs are meeting.

About 200 demonstrators protested on the sidewalks early Tuesday, though they failed to shut down the annual Biotechnology Industry Organization convention as they had vowed. They did cause disruptions in traffic, however, and heckled attendees as they attempted to enter the Moscone Convention Center.

"Arrest them, shoot them," protesters shouted as police escorted attendees across a barricaded street.

Police wouldn't say how many officers were at the scene, but it appeared their number equaled that of the protesters. Police also wouldn't estimate the number of protesters." (Associated Press)

"An Indian farmer bats for new technology" - "MR M.S. Shankarikoppa, a 74-year old from Adur village in Haveri district of Karnataka, is a farmer of modest means but with progressive ideas. He is one of the growing number of farmers starting to benefit from planting genetically-modified cottonseed.

He cultivates about 14 acres of land and has supplemental water facilities in the form of borewell to tend crops such as groundnut, maize, paddy and sugarcane.

Mr Shankarikoppa has turned an unabashed admirer of the latest technology - GM seeds — that helps him cut crop losses, reduce expenses and make a higher profit than he used to. He is one of the participants at BIO 2004 here - the annual convention of the world's biotechnology industry." (Hindu Business Line)

"Who created this monster?" - "As one of the nation's largest and richest trade associations holds its annual meeting in San Francisco this week, it is worth noting that all is not coming up genetically engineered roses for the biotech industry. Although the biopharmaceutical sector is for the most part robust, biotechnology applied to agriculture, food production and environmental problems has a long row to hoe.

Many of biotech's travails can be traced back to two decades of unwise strategic decisions by individual companies and by the trade association itself -- the Biotechnology Industry Organization." (Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, San Francisco Chronicle)

"Biotech Trade Group Launches Nonprofit" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Biotechnology's trade group, armed with a $1 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said Tuesday it was launching a nonprofit institute dedicated to fighting disease in the developing world.

The institute, called the BIO Ventures for Global Health, plans to work with biotechnology companies to deliver vaccines and medicines to poor countries overlooked by the industry. It also intends to address diseases endemic to the Third World that are ignored by an industry focused on profits." (The Associated Press)

"Editorial: Crop science/Better genes without splicing" - "From Wired magazine, of all places, comes an intriguing look at new agricultural technologies that could deliver all the benefits of genetically modified foods while avoiding their objectionable aspects.

Despite their significant advantages and widespread use, it seems unlikely that plants and other organisms created through gene-splicing will ever shake their "Frankenfoods" image. No amount of science will persuade those who believe GM foods are inherently risky to human health. Even if those fears could somehow be put to rest, thornier issues would remain: potential environmental harm, inadequate regulatory review, enlarged corporate control of food supplies, the risks of increasing reliance on single strains of important crops. Thus Monsanto Co.'s recent decision against releasing a pesticide-resistant strain of wheat, bowing to the reality that the world marketplace would reject it." (Star Tribune)

Kimbrell, et al: "Anti-biotech coalition lashes out at GMO crops" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Genetically modified crops have not delivered promised benefits of fighting world hunger and raising poor farmers' incomes, according to a report by an international coalition of anti-biotech groups." (Reuters)

"Revolutionising Biotechnology Through Agriculture" - "Biotechnology holds the promise to double food production, ensure adequate nutrition and rid small farmers from poverty. Biotech applications are already yielding health benefits by releasing what are considered life saving and life enhancing drugs. India is slowly emerging as one of the world leaders in this area." (PIB)

"Pharma crops seen as risk to food chain " - "Environmentalists and food industry groups are concerned that crops grown solely for use in pharmaceuticals could contaminate the food supply, and think the federal government must regulate the practice better." (The Washington Times)

"'End of the World' Narrowly Averted" - "The last few days have felt like I'm living through an extended version of the infamous 1938 radio broadcast of "The War of the Worlds." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

Eco correctness strikes again: "Fresh air blows cold germs away" - "NEW YORK - The more outdoor air is pumped into office ventilation systems, the lower the inside levels of viruses that cause the common cold -- according to a new report." (Reuters Health)

Ah, the joys of "energy efficient" (poorly ventilated) buildings - sick building (occupant) syndrome.

"Backyard battles" - "The middle-class nimbys have been replaced by noabys: public-spirited environmental campaigners protesting on behalf of communities across Europe. By John Vidal" (The Guardian)

"UCI center finds perchlorate may be acceptable in drinking water at higher levels" - "Even at significantly higher levels than recommended by the state's leading health assessment agency, the contaminant perchlorate in drinking water seems to pose no additional risks to healthy people, according to a recent report issued by the UC Irvine Urban Water Research Center." (University of California - Irvine)

Re-enter the panic: "Thimerosal, found in childhood vaccines, can increase the risk of autism-like damage in mice" - "Scientists from Columbia University report in Molecular Psychiatry the first animal model to provide evidence that postnatal administration of low-dose, vaccine-based mercury, in combination with genetic factors, can lead to behavioral and neurological changes in developing brain." (Molecular Psychiatry) | Row over autism link to vaccines (BBC News Online)

"Good News Is No News on Cancer" - "Last Thursday, there was wide coverage of the fact that cancer rates have fallen according to a new report.  There was extensive coverage in many news and TV broadcasts but not in America's newspaper of record.

There were actually two stories about cancer death and incidence rates, and perceptions about these important items, contained in the New York Times' coverage: one about health statistics and one about how little some in the press care about stories that can't be spun as scary." (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Ten Odd Health Stories" - "The first half of 2004 has brought some weird health news. Whether good, bad, or ambiguous, these items are all worth noting:" (Todd Seavey, ACSH)

"Turning sea-water into tap water" - "As temperatures push upwards with the onset of summer, some water firms are looking to the Middle East in a bid to stop their supplies from drying up. At first glance there's little that binds the urban sprawl of industrialised east London with the sun-baked scenery of the Canary Islands. But if Thames Water gets its way, the borough of Newham in east London will host Britain's first large-scale project to turn salty sea-water into fresh drinking water." (BBC News Online)

June 8, 2004

"The new PCBs?" - "The good thing about polybrominated diphenyl ethers is that they have probably prevented many household items from bursting into flames. The bad thing is that they could be threatening our health. MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT reports" (Globe and Mail)

"‘Economy class syndrome’ is a myth say medics" - "DOCTORS have found no evidence to prove that passengers flying in economy class are more likely to suffer from deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) than those in more expensive seats, according to a report that debunks many myths about air travel.

Although DVT has been dubbed “economy class syndrome”, the British Medical Association (BMA) believes all passengers have enough leg-room to prevent dangerous blood clots forming during long-haul flights.

“There is no evidence that DVT is related to seat pitch and this is borne out by several papers that have noted that DVT occurs with comparable frequency in all classes of travel,” says the BMA report, called The Impact of Flying on Passenger Health.

“Even in seats with the shortest seat pitch and the tallest passenger, there will still be room to flex the calf muscles — the action to maintain venous circulation.” (The Sunday Times)

"He Says the Fat Epidemic Is an Illusion" - "Ask anyone: Americans are getting fatter and fatter. Advertising campaigns say they are. So do federal officials and the scientists they rely on. But Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, an obesity researcher at Rockefeller University, argues that contrary to popular opinion, national data do not show Americans growing uniformly fatter. Instead, he says, the statistics demonstrate clearly that while the very fat are getting fatter, thinner people have remained pretty much the same." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"A Science Lesson for Those Who Demonize Soda" - "Which beverage is best for staying slim -- a can of diet orange soda or a glass of orange juice?" asks the New York Sun's Julia Levy. "If you ask the city's Department of Education, it's option B, the orange juice," she writes.

The June 27, 2003 article should have made the point to misguided officials that their ban on sodas, even diet ones, and replacement of them with high-sugar juices, is a backwards approach for the obesity crisis. As ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth Whelan told the Sun, "There's nothing wrong with soda per se. People just have to know that there are calories in it."

But nearly a year later, as the school year comes to a close, the same regulations apply. And who seriously think the soda ban slimmed New York's kids? Maybe only the regulators themselves, since the rules have not been changed." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

"What To Do About Fat Kids" - "It's amazing how many people feel comfortable blaming the food industry for the obesity epidemic in the United States. Less surprising is that having blamed industry, people seek to regulate what types of food can be marketed toward children. But refusal to take personal responsibility for eating misleads us into thinking that Americans are fat because of junk food. It also perpetuates the nonsensical claim that food can be separated into two categories: good and bad." (Aubrey Stimola, ACSH)

"Separation of Church and Diet" - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." So states the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — a statement widely interpreted as specifying the "separation of church and state." Perhaps we need an amendment mandating the separation of church and diet, too. Some advocates of certain vegan and/or "raw" diets claim to garner their authority from the Bible — presumably one can gain brownie points in heaven." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"Sunburn scares have led to vitamin D deficiency, expert warns" - "OVERZEALOUS health campaigns warning the public to cover up to avoid skin cancer have resulted in an “unrecognised epidemic” of vitamin D deficiency, a leading researcher will warn this week.

Professor Michael Holick says that a moderate amount of unimpeded exposure to the sun on a regular basis helps the body convert ultra-violet (UV) rays into vitamin D.

He claims lack of the vitamin is causing thousands of unnecessary cancer deaths each year and increases vulnerability to rickets, a bone disease that can cripple children and makes adults more prone to weak bones and muscles.

“Dermatologists have frightened so many people about the sun that they now always wear sunblock. Even people with dark skin do not want to get sunshine to avoid skin cancer and are suffering a lack of vitamin D as a result,” said Holick, professor of medicine at Boston University in America." (The Sunday Times)

"London smog could shave 10 years off lifespan: report" - "LONDON - Air pollution in London could reduce the life expectancy of its residents by as much as 10 years, according to research.

Tiny dust particles, mostly the result of auto exhaust, and ozone are the culprits behind health problems suffered by thousands of locals in the British capital, say the researchers from King's College in an article published by Britian's Evening Standard newspaper." (AFP)

"Emissions of CFC substitutes now feared" - "The greenhouse gas emissions generated by chlorofluorocarbon substitutes are expected to soar in the next decade, according to predictions issued by a business organization and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, informed sources said Monday." (Japan Times)

"This is no disaster movie: Global warming is flooding Britain" - "ENVIRONMENT: Scientists say their worst predictions will come true by 2050 and that London may eventually have to be evacuated." (Duluth News Tribune)

"Climate change 'is costing millions'" - "While Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow continues to pull in punters with its vision of the world plunged into a new ice age, the insurance industry is today issuing a warning about how global warming could drive up the costs of cover." (The Guardian)

"Changing climate sees Britain offer a warm welcome to new varieties of wildlife" - "Some sub-tropical species are migrating north at a rate of 50 kilometres a year. And many are ending up on our doorsteps. By Paul Kelbie" (Independent)

"Carbon Dioxide Traders Set for Summit" - "Buyers, sellers, brokers and lawyers, even "specialists in carbon asset creation management," convene Wednesday on the banks of the Rhine to launch a new business for a worried world. CarbonExpo, in the cavernous congress halls of Cologne, Germany, is a three-day trade fair for those who would deal in carbon dioxide — buying and selling permits to discharge the waste gas chiefly blamed for global warming." (AP)

"Garbage in, garbage out" - "Commonly used, but flawed, measures of economic output can lead to bad decision-making" (The Economist)

"An Icy Riddle as Big as Greenland" - "SWISS CAMP, Greenland Ice Cap - This vaulting heap of ice and the swirling seas nearby have emerged as vital pieces of an urgent puzzle posed by global warming. Can the continuing slow increase in worldwide temperatures touch off abrupt climate upheavals?" (New York Times)

"New Land Use Standards Offset Global Warming With Sensitivity" - "WASHINGTON, DC, June 7, 2004 - For the first time a set of standards has been drafted for certifying land use projects that reduce global warming while conserving the environment and alleviating poverty at the same time. The new standards are offered by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), which says the "multiple benefit" approach incorporates climate, environmental and social issues in a way that addresses shortfalls in existing climate strategies based on land use." (Environment News Service)

"First ever standards linking climate change, biodiversity and poverty seek global peer review" - "The first ever set of standards certifying land use projects that reduce global warming while conserving the environment and alleviating poverty have been opened up for global peer review and comment by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA)." (Conservation International)

"Russia Seen Ratifying Kyoto in 2004 - UNEP Head" - "BARCELONA, Spain - Russia is likely to ratify the Kyoto protocol this year, salvaging the stalled U.N. pact aimed at curbing global warming, the head of the U.N. Environment Program said.

Kyoto's fate hinges on Russia after a U.S. pullout in 2001. President Vladimir Putin said last month that Moscow would move to ratify the 1997 deal after an agreement with the European Union on entry to the World Trade Organization.

Putin set no deadlines but UNEP head Klaus Toepfer told Reuters he expected Russia would ratify by the next meeting of Kyoto signatories, scheduled for December in Buenos Aires." (Reuters)

"Iran ministries at odds on signing Kyoto-economist" - "TEHRAN, June 6 - Iran's powerful Oil Ministry has crossed swords with the Foreign Ministry on whether to sign the Kyoto environmental protocol, arguing petrodollars outweigh the need for greater sway abroad, an economist said on Sunday." (Reuters)

"Govt to make firms report CO2 emissions" - "In an effort to help prevent global warming, the Environment Ministry decided Friday to make it compulsory for commercial premises over a certain size to submit reports on how much carbon dioxide they produce." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Poll backs boycott of rogue firms" - "Consumers say they will boycott firms which do not comply with targets to reduce CO2 emissions that come into force in January, a poll warns today.

It found a third of consumers said they would shop elsewhere. And one in six said they were prepared to pay up to 25% more to those firms that met the tougher environmental standards. Research by the IT group LogicaCMG found that three in four British firms said they were trying to reduce the emissions, but more than half would not meet the deadline." (The Guardian)

"Scientist suggests to set up national policy on climate change" - "BEIJING, June 6 -- One of China's leading meteorologists suggested here Sunday that the country need to set up a uniform policy on climate change, in order to coordinate diplomatic, economic and social measures for ensuring the country's sustained development." (Xinhuanet)

"$50 Billion Question: World, Where to Begin?" - "COPENHAGEN, May 31 — What would you do with $50 billion? (Assuming that the goal was the benefit of humankind as opposed to owning a personal Lear jet or a tropical island.)" (New York Times)

"The Development Consensus" - "Zealots regularly make the mistake of assuming that others accept the rightness of their cause. That's why Greens run into brick walls, like developing countries. The recent "Copenhagen Consensus" of a group of the world's leading economists that global warming is at the bottom of the list of what needs to be done to improve global welfare clearly shows why." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

"World Bank on horns of dilemma - Key decision looms on oil, coal funding" - "The World Bank faces a momentous choice: whether to heed an official recommendation to stop financing oil and coal projects in developing countries. The bank's decision will not only affect the fate of millions of people around the world and billions of investment dollars. It will help determine whether our civilization reverses perhaps the greatest threat of the 21st century: catastrophic global climate change." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Is the world's oil running out fast?" - "If you think oil prices are high at $40 a barrel then wait till they are four times that much." (Adam Porter, BBC News Online)

"The Age of Renewables Has Arrived" - "BONN, Germany, June 4, 2004 - Pledges of increased funding for renewable sources of energy have brightened the four day International Conference for Renewable Energy which concludes here today. The nearly 2,000 participants - government ministers and business people, trade unionists, women, nongovernmental organizations, consumers, scientists, farmers, actors in development and poverty alleviation, and renewable energy manufacturers - heard investment promises of hundreds of millions of new dollars a year for renewables." (Environment News Service)

"Green energy may be free but it ain’t gonna be cheap" - "THE full cost of rewiring Scotland to exploit its green energy potential is now becoming much clearer. In January Scottish and Southern Energy revealed its preferred route for a new 400kV transmission line stretching 220km from Beauly in the Highlands to Denny near Stirling. If approved, that project alone will cost some £200m." (Sunday Herald)

"Water World" - "The supply of fresh water is vital: as the world's population and economy expand, demand for water inevitably increases. The UN World Water Development Report "Water for People, Water for Life" should be, therefore, a timely and valuable document. Sadly though, it remains entrenched in the command-and-control paradigm, and so its policy recommendations will likely produce expensive failures, as have so many in the past. This is a pity, because there are several success stories from around the world where significant efficiency in water use has been gained at very low cost." (Roger Bate, TCS)

Grief! "Russian babies fall victims to bio experiments" - "Baby food manufacturers conduct cynical experiments on Russian newborns.

Scientists tested samples of the most popular brands of baby foods sold in Russian supermarkets. Results turned out to be absolutely shocking: 70% of samples contained genetically modified organisms (GMO). Some of the dairy and vegetable mixes were fully made of GMO!" (Pravda)

"Biotech: Mainstream or Pipe Dream?" - "The Biotechnology Industry Organization kicks off its annual gathering in San Francisco this week, prompting plenty of news coverage focusing on the health and financial promise of what is perhaps the most capital-intensive technology sector." (Cynthia L. Webb, washingtonpost.com)

Vandana Shiva, still: "Indian Firebrand Battles Biotech" - "SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The sari-wearing firebrand who for two decades has fiercely fought biotechnology in her native India was complaining yet again about the men in lab coats who say they know best how to manage the world's food supply." (AP)

"Focusing GM on feeding the world’s poor" - "Genetically modified (GM) crops can feed the world’s bulging populations if biotech research focuses on the needs of poorer nations, reports the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). In the same week, an EU decision lifted the de facto moratorium on GM food." (Europa)

"Anti-GM views growing in US" - "Biotechnology companies are getting worried that what they call "the European disease" of opposition to genetically modified food is spreading to the United States.

Activists opposing genetic modification and a variety of other causes staged protests in San Francisco yesterday as 18,000 delegates gathered for the world's biggest biotech conference, Bio 2004.

The activist groups, under the umbrella name "Reclaim the Commons", hope to emulate the success of protesters at the World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle in 1999 and shut down the Bio meeting tomorrow." (New Zealand Herald)

"Zero tolerance for GM crops could be eased" - "Officials are reconsidering New Zealand's "zero tolerance" threshold for GM plants. The move looks set to rekindle the GM debate - just when the Green Party had decided to adopt a softer line to help Labour get re-elected. Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said any attempt to lift the threshold would meet strong opposition." (New Zealand Herald)

"Biotech sees role in obesity fight" - "Meeting in S.F., industry experts tout engineered vegetable oils as healthier." (Sacramento Bee)

June 4, 2004

"Global Warmers Adopt New Tactic" - "The global warming treaty known as the Kyoto protocol is politically dead in the U.S. But the treaty's left-leaning environmental extremist supporters haven't given up their fantasy of creating a socialist global economy through controls on energy use." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Pollution: Canada and the UK - 'like unto whited sepulchers' ..." - "When it comes to chastising the USA, the governments and bien pensant elites of both Canada and the UK should first turn to their Gospels:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"World 'appeasing' climate threat" - "One of the UK's best-known scientists, Professor James Lovelock, says only a catastrophe will prompt the world to tackle the threat of climate change. He says the global climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, is simply an attempt to appease a self-regulating Earth system. Professor Lovelock thinks the Earth's attempts to restore its equilibrium may eliminate civilisation and most humans." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"Hellfire and brimstone as Lovelock faces his anti-nuclear opponents" - "It was an occasion akin to Daniel's away fixture in the lions' den. James Lovelock came face to face with the environmental establishment for the first time yesterday since his dramatic call for a massive expansion of nuclear power.

In keeping with the biblical analogy, the celebrated green guru delivered a "secular sermon" full of "hell fire and brimstone" at the Gaia Conference in Devon yesterday. But the reaction of his audience was, at best, agnostic." (Independent)

"Global warming: An injection of innovation" - "BURPING sheep and cattle may not sound much of a hazard, but their burps contain methane, and methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. In Australia, a place with a lot of livestock, this methane amounts to 13% of the country's greenhouse-gas emissions. That is a tempting target for politicians looking for ways to meet Kyoto protocol targets without having to curb consumer lifestyles.

But how do you stop a sheep burping? André-Denis Wright, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's laboratory in Perth, has an idea. The methane is generated not by the animals directly, but by bacteria that live in those animals' stomachs. So a vaccine against these methane-generating bacteria should switch off the gas supply. On top of that—and of more direct interest to farmers—methane-producing microbes consume over a tenth of the food the animals eat, making cattle less beefy." (The Economist) | Global warming backgrounder (The Economist)

While I normally despair at the waste and misdirection of effort involved in averting the phantom menace of anthropogenic global warming I do appreciate that useful research is carried on under its grant-grabbing banner. The above is one example of useful livestock productivity research funded by the myth. The fact that atmospheric methane levels have already stopped rising (will GCCMs ever be revised to reflect that?) is irrelevant.

If you say it often enough? "Climate Change Film Has Potential to Change Minds" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Jun 3 - It is easy to dismiss Hollywood's big movie on climate change, 'The Day After Tomorrow', as fantasy, but small low-lying island states like Tuvalu take it seriously. It is already the day after tomorrow there, with rising seas forcing residents of the South Pacific nation to emigrate to New Zealand." (IPS)

"Arctic Ocean probe to predict ice age" - "Scientists are to drill the deepest hole yet under the Arctic Ocean to investigate whether global warming would plunge Europe into an ice age." (The Guardian)

"Continents played key role in collapse and regeneration of Earth's early greenhouse, geologists say" - "Now, the geologic record revealed in some of Earth's oldest rocks is telling a surprising tale of collapse of early Earth's greenhouse - and its subsequent regeneration. But even more surprising, say the Stanford scientists who report these findings in the May 25 issue of the journal Geology, is the critical role that rocks played in the evolution of the early atmosphere." (Stanford University)

"Corals can reestablish symbiosis with algae from their environments after bleaching" - "Corals can develop new symbiotic relationships with algae from their environments after they've undergone bleaching, the process by which corals whiten as a result of environmental stress, University at Buffalo biologists report in the current issue of Science." (University at Buffalo)

"Putting the world to rights" - "What would be the best ways to spend additional resources on helping the developing countries?" (The Economist)

"Mediator urges exemptions to 'green' power order" - "The mediator charged with drafting a mandate to dramatically increase the amount of "green" electricity consumed in New York calmed the most vocal critics of the initiative Thursday by proposing that many of them be exempted from the requirements.

In a long-awaited recommendation that must be approved by the state Public Service Commission, Administrative Law Judge Eleanor Stein said industrial firms that already receive cheap electricity from a state job-retention program should not be subject to the potentially higher costs of a green energy mandate." (Newsday.com)

"Renewable energy is nothing without the atomic option" - "GERMANY could hardly have chosen a better week to host a four-day international conference to promote renewable energy. Half the world seems to be panicking about the price of oil and gas, and the other half about security of the imported supplies on which nearly all industrialised nations depend.

Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, could pat himself on the back for his foresight. The conference was promised as a follow-up to the ludicrously unfocused Johannesburg sustainable development summit of 2002.

America, Japan and Australia had kiboshed a plan at that to impose targets and timetables for shifting to wind, sun and wave power. Herr Schröder, Tony Blair and the European Commission want to revive it. Although this seems unlikely, the atmosphere is now more conducive to rethinking energy policy than at any time in 25 years.

Economic fear of energy shortage has come together with the environmental fear that burning natural fuels will pump out too much carbon dioxide and change the climate alarmingly. Self-interest and earth-caring virtue coincide." (Graham Searjeant, The Times)

"Wind farms 'danger to shipping'" - "The danger to shipping from massive offshore wind farms has been ignored by the government as it tries to meet green energy targets, MPs have warned. A huge expansion of the sites, some of which could be as big as a major city, is proposed under the Energy Bill. But a Commons Transport Committee report says maritime and shipping bodies have not been consulted about where they should be situated. A future collision with a vessel would be "inevitable", the report warns." (BBC News Online)

"Report to the nation finds cancer incidence and death rates on the decline" - "The nation's leading cancer organizations report that Americans' risk of getting and dying from cancer continues to decline and survival rates for many cancers continue to improve." (NIH/National Cancer Institute)

"Whatever Happened to That Cancer Epidemic?" - "If ACSH had a nickel for every time an activist railed against the "cancer epidemic," well, we wouldn't have to ask you to contribute to our work." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

"Sloppy stats shame science" - "What is published in scientific journals may not be as true as it should be" (The Economist)

"'Toxic dust' on computers linked to diseases" - "SAN FRANCISCO — "Toxic dust" found on computer processors and monitors contains chemicals linked to reproductive and neurological disorders, according to a new study by several environmental groups." (Associated Press)

From what I've seen perhaps you should limit your consumption to fewer than three PCs per day - if you're really worried then don't eat any at all.

Naturally: "Vaccine critics attack mercury report" - "WASHINGTON - Several members of Congress who believe that vaccines can cause autism in children criticized an official report meant to lay such fears to rest, saying on Wednesday they do not believe the findings." (Reuters)

"Panel Releases Recommendations Regarding Ethics of Pesticide Testing in Humans" - "[RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC] A group of nationally recognized experts made up of ethicists, physicians, toxicologists, and policy analysts today released a series of ethical and public policy recommendations regarding the testing of pesticides in humans, in a new article published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). The recommendations address any research that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsors, conducts, and/or accepts in pesticide registration applications. Pesticide manufacturers have tested pesticides in small groups of human volunteers over the past decade and submitted the results to the U.S. EPA for consideration in standard setting." (Press Release)

"FEATURE-Romanians say GM soya beats smelly salami" - "VARASTI, Romania, June 4 - The smelly, soya-based salami that replaced meat on Romanian dinner tables during the rule of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu long symbolised the misery of communism.

Almost 15 years after Ceausescu's overthrow, Constantin Necsulescu, 61, who grows genetically modified crops on his 500 hectare (1,236 acres) farm near the Danube river, says soya now means prosperity.

"It sharply cuts my use of chemicals, labour and fuel. It's incredibly profitable. My costs have halved," he said, pointing at his newest acquisition -- a John Deere tractor." (Reuters)

June 3, 2004

"We're losing the malaria battle" - "A Chinese plant extract offers hope, but only if Britain is prepared to act decisively, writes Sarah Boseley" (The Guardian)

"Author takes swipe at scientific elite" - "Researchers forget that making errors is path to knowledge" (The Guardian)

Gasp! "Double check casts doubt on science statistics" - "A study highlighting statistical gaffes in scientific literature has brought renewed calls for vigilance among mathematically challenged researchers and journal editors." (NSU)

"Health Fascism" - "The UK's parliamentary Health Select Committee in the House of Commons has now reported on obesity. As expected, the report is a health fascist power grab. It is an impressive mix of junk statistics, unsubstantiated claims, generalizations from single instances, tear-jerking pleas to "save the kiddies", claims on our pockets and personal freedoms, and demands for jobs and status for the usual class of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, educators, and politically correct clients in corporate big business. The recommendations include advertising bans, compulsory exercise for schoolchildren, and discouragement of fatty food." (Sean Gabb, TCS)

"Fat road to perdition" - "The death of an overweight 3-year-old opened the doors to a wave of simplistic hysteria about obesity, writes Vivienne Parry" (The Guardian)

"BSE outbreak in sheep could lead to cull of 25m animals" - "Nightmare scenario for farms if disease jumps species" (The Guardian)

"Fear of 'toxins' leads to brain drain" - "Bad press turns UK into nation of chemiphobes" (The Guardian)

"Experts weigh need to overhaul environmental governance system as world ecosystems worsen" - "Environmental conditions worldwide are worsening despite a proliferation of treaties and organizations, calling into question the need to overhaul the way the world manages its environmental affairs, according to research published Thursday June 3 by United Nations University Press." (United Nations University)

"In ecology, we should watch our language..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"North American Pollution Falls 10 Pct." - "WASHINGTON -- Pollution in North America fell 10 percent over three years, but coal-burning power plants are lagging in improvements among industrial sources fouling the air, it was reported Wednesday." (Associated Press)

What's that thing about putting your own house in order? "Canada lags behind U.S. in curbing toxic emissions, says NAFTA report" - "OTTAWA - Canadian industrial plants released 2.7 million kilograms of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm in 2001, says a new report by the NAFTA environmental agency.

The annual Taking Stock report, drawn from submissions by more than 20,000 polluters in the United States and Canada, shows that Canada is lagging the United States in curbing toxic pollution. Although total North American emissions declined by 18 per cent from 1998 to 2001, Canadian emissions rose three per cent." (CP)

"EU: Latest trends show need for more environmental action in key sectors" - "Evidence of climate change is growing, both on land and in the oceans: glaciers are receding and marine species are being disturbed." (EEA)

"Greenhouse gas crisis, 55 million years ago" - 'Undersea Volcanoes released stupendous amounts of greenhouse gases 55 million years ago, causing a cataclysmic change in the world's climate.

Scientists warn that the dramatic climate change which happened during that period could be a model for a similar disaster in the coming centuries as a result of man-made global warming.

The earth 55 million years ago was already a warmer place than it is now when it suddenly became much warmer - by between 5C and 10C - for unknown reasons." (Independent)

In response to Patz's BMJ global warming editorial: "Climate Surprise: Weather Related Mortality Trends Are Down" - "The randomly selected anecdotal mortality data provided in Mr. Patz's editorial for various extreme weather events are, at best, red herrings or, at worst, misleading. For instance, it notes that events such as severe storms, floods, and drought claimed millions of lives during the past 20 years. Similarly it informs us that between 1972 and 1996 weather disasters claimed 123,000 lives annually. While these numbers are interesting in their own right, unless one provides a reasonable (and defensible) partition of the mortality into the portions attributable to natural climatic variability, and to human-induced climate change, it is unclear how they relate to global warming. Without such a partitioning, global warming can, at best, only be found guilty by association." (Indur M. Goklany, BMJ Rapid Response) | Joseph E Morales is similarly unimpressed | James Whiting is hardly in awe either | Nick A Wilson, however, favours social engineering on a grand scale | and KRT were fooled.

The world according to Margot: "Washington under growing domestic pressure on climate change: EU official" - "BRUSSELS - The US government is coming under increasing pressure from its own companies to sign up to the Kyoto protocol on climate change, EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem said.

"Slowly but steadily things are also changing in the US," she told reporters. "It is coming from the bottom up. There are also big American companies or multinational companies (which) look to Europe." (AFP)

"Japan puts climate change on the agenda" - "Japan is not universally renowned for its environmental sensitivities. The nation's coastline is famously swathed in concrete and its policy on whale-hunting leaves many conservationists fuming. Yet Japanese companies are among the world's most advanced in countering the potential impact on their business of climate change and environmentally driven legislation, according to a survey of 500 global companies." (Financial Times)

"Kyoto Advocates Brim With Optimism" - "MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti analyst Tatiana Sinitsyna) - In stating the need "to accelerate the Kyoto protocol ratification process" at the Russian-EU Moscow summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that it was time to end the arguments and solve the problem. There is no doubt that his words will be heeded in Russia, thereby leading to a breakthrough in the "civil war" of opinions over the document that has been raging for three years. Alexander Khanykov, general director of the National Carbon Sequestration Organisation, says, "there have been banners in the war, but not a single charismatic leader, so the hostilities were like shaking fists in the air".

Indeed, the document went round in circles, as no new ideas or arguments were put forward and everyone understood that the only solution was to find a political settlement. The Kyoto advocates are happy that the president has not said "No". According to Sergei Kurayev, deputy director of the European Commission's Russian regional environmental centre and one of the protocol's authors, "it is, of course, too early to open the champagne, but we have at least recovered our spirits, as political wisdom has prevailed over the circumstances." (RIA Novosti)

"The Day After Tomorrow" - "In 1997’s “Batman And Robin,” a maniacal Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) runs around with an ice-emitting blaster gun turning Gotham into the North Pole, while he grunts: “Stop Global Warming! Start Global Freezing!”

There may actually be more science in the last installment of the Caped Crusader saga than in “The Day After Tomorrow,” which premiered on May 28th." (Don Feder, FrontPageMagazine.com)

"What Impact Will 'Day' Have?" - "The Day After Tomorrow" is a disaster, and while that may not be a good thing, it's definitely a profitable thing. The film had the misfortune of going head-to-head with "Shrek 2" in the theaters, and yet it still managed to pull in $86 million at the box office in its first weekend. So if "Day" is making all that money, how could it be a disaster? Well, there are other factors to consider, such as accuracy. Indeed, one might even wonder whether the film's biggest cheerleaders, the Greens, have correctly calculated their cheering. "Day" will make money for its makers, but will it really score points for environmental advocates?" (James Pinkerton, TCS)

"Brace for another anti-auto industry hatchet job" - "Here we go again. Hollywood is sticking us with another asinine disaster movie and this time the environmental apocalypse storyline will put the automotive industry in the firing line." (John McCormick, Detroit News)

"The roots of enviro-hysteria" - "Some of the environmentally concerned are not happy with The Day After Tomorrow. They worry that the Mother of all Disaster Movies, in which the Earth's climate shifts into a new Ice Age over a long weekend, will feed skepticism about global warming. As an antidote, the mediasphere is about to be hit with a shower of new and recycled disaster books." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

"Companies not ready for greenhouse gas monitoring" - "EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Almost half of European companies emitting large amounts of greenhouse gasses will not be ready to comply with the EU's emission trading rules when they come into force early next year, according to a report published today (2 June).

The report published by LogicaCMG - a large international IT and consultancy firm - reveals that only 51% of industry expects to be prepared for the EU's Emission Trading Scheme - which will enter into force on 1 January 2005." (EUobserver)

"Industry paying 'high cost' for greener energy" - "Incentives to promote renewable energy are adding significantly to industry's costs, according to businesses accounting for up to 80 per cent of European industrial energy consumption.

The International Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (IFIEC), representing sectors such as steel, chemicals, non-ferrous metals, cement, paper, food packaging, and automotive industries, said: "Renewable energies can only successfully contribute to the energy situation when permanent subsidy is not required." (Financial Times)

"India panel seeks long-term GMO technology policy" - "NEW DELHI - India should evolve a long-term policy on use of biotechnology in agriculture and set up a regulatory authority to generate public confidence on its usage, a government-appointed panel said on Wednesday.

The policy should aim to provide direction on research and development, devise a system for commercialisation of transgenics or genetically modified organisms and formulate a clear policy on GMO food and feed in the country, the panel said." (Reuters)

June 2, 2004

"The sick are taxed to death in poor countries: ROGER BATE" - "In the debate about combating disease in poor countries, pharmaceuticals companies have been berated for being slow to cut drug prices, while the World Health Organisation and other agencies have been blamed for buying the wrong treatments. So far the extraordinary tax policies on life-saving drugs adopted by the poor countries themselves have received little attention. It is time campaigners got them in their sights." (Financial Times)

"Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month" - "As we begin June, are you more aware of asthma and allergies?  Better sleep?  Hepatitis?  High blood pressure?  Well, May was awareness month for these important health issues as well as others.  It was also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month (see: http://www.healthfinder.gov/library/nho/nho.asp#m5 ), and the public is reportedly better informed about the twenty-three issues that the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports wants brought to our attention.

But "awareness" of an imaginary, phantom illness does not do us any good.  So a thumbs-down to Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco (D) who made May 2004 the first "Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month," at least in Louisiana (see: http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1085639406224410.xml )." (Jeff Stier, Esq., HealthFactsAndFears)

World Wide Font of Nonsense is at it again: "Everyday toxins ‘are affecting children’s brains’" - "A COCKTAIL of man-made chemicals in everyday objects is preventing children's brains from developing properly, environmentalists warn today.

The toxic effect from items as mundane as videos, television sets, computers, soft furnishings, car seats and furniture could be harmful to children's intelligence and co-ordination, according to the WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Its report, Compromising Our Children, brings together the latest studies on the impact of man-made chemicals and has led to calls for greater safety information." (The Herald)

"Bum rap for the albacore" - "Poor albacore (white) tuna. This tasty, healthy food has gotten caught in the nets of environmental protectors who say methyl mercury contamination makes the fish unfit for childbearing women, nursing mothers and small children to eat." (Goody L. Solomon, The Washington Times)

"Air pollution a serious threat to heart health" - "NEW YORK - Exposure to air pollution not only creates breathing problems but also poses a serious threat to cardiovascular health and overall health, the American Heart Association warns today in its medical journal Circulation.

An AHA panel led by Dr. Robert D. Brook of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor conducted a comprehensive review of the medical literature on air pollution and cardiovascular disease. "The existing body of evidence is adequately consistent, coherent, and plausible enough to draw several conclusions," they write." (Reuters Health)

"Fat Cats" - "Feeling a bit overweight? Blame capitalism. Or rather credit capitalism.

In the not too distant past most people on the planet had difficulty getting enough good food to eat. But now we have a new worry: There's apparently too much food out there and our insatiable appetites won't let us leave it alone." (C.C. Kraemer, TCS)

"Lazy days and hot nights fuel obesity" - "Dr James Le Fanu wonders if sloth or greed are to blame for weight gain

Last week's shock report on the epidemic of obesity sweeping the country was accompanied by the sound of the grinding of many familiar axes.

The wicked food industry, it seems, is primarily to blame for peddling its potentially lethal products to unwary children – its massive advertising budgets "drowning out" the healthy eating messages of the virtuous public health brigade. It was interesting, too, to see the Ministry of Transport being taken to task for its "shameless failure" to develop a "walking strategy". Shame on it.

For some reason, the Commons health committee, in producing the report, seems to have overlooked the important fact that people are actually better off being pleasantly plump." (Daily Telegraph)

"Tyranny of the Self" - "The vertiginous descent, particularly in the Anglosphere, from responsibility for self to the depths of frenzied individualism has been a giddy ride over the last few years and it seems to be accelerating. Competing rights have become untethered from personal responsibility." (Val MacQueen, TCS)

Andie Blaustein nuking newts again: "Concerns remain about UVB damage to amphibians" - "The exposure of amphibians to damaging levels of ultraviolet-B radiation in sunlight is likely a significant part of global amphibian declines, researchers say, despite some recent suggestions to the contrary and a scientific controversy about what role UV-B actually plays in this crisis." (Oregon State University)

"17th century solar oddity believed linked to global cooling is rare among nearby stars" - "A dip in the sun's activity during the 17th century, what is now called the Maunder minimum, has been linked to a lengthy cold spell during the same period, leading astronomers to look for stellar analogs of this solar funk. UC Berkeley astronomers throw cold water on that search, having found that none of the hundreds of stellar analogs identified to date fit the bill." (University of California - Berkeley)

"Natural disasters cost EU £6bn" - "The costs of environmental disasters in Europe are running at £6bn a year and rising yet the EU is still failing to manage agriculture, transport and energy in a sustainable way, says the European Environment Agency says in its annual assessment." (The Guardian)

Revisiting that 'unprecedented' thing: "German wines ripe for the sipping" - "Germany—The summer of 2003, with its searing deadly heat wave, had a profound impact on the wines of France, Italy and Spain, producing almost California-rich reds and tropical-accented whites. But nowhere is the difference so dramatic to the tastebuds as here....

Just how different the 2003 growing season was I discovered when chatting to producers in the Mosel, Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions. Winemakers went digging into their record books and discovered the summer was the warmest in centuries. In fact, the last comparable growing season to 2003 was in 1540." (Toronto Star)

Kind of like the Sargasso Sea eh? Hopefully we are not about to descend into a repeat of the Little Ice Age - that would be most unfortunate for the biosphere. Climate change surely affects bio-productivity and a cooling would certainly make feeding the Earth's population much more difficult. Change is and always has been inevitable, let's hope the change is a continued recovery from the cold, hard times of the Little Ice Age.

New journal? "Global warming is more than a theory -- it's happening all over the Earth right now" (Rolling Stone)

"Feeling the heat" - "The disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow has been dismissed by some scientists and environmentalists as too extreme and spectacular to be credible.

But in presenting such an attention-grabbing scenario, the movie's producers may be providing a valuable service. The film uses Hollywood hyperbole to fill a critical vacuum left by U.S. press, whose negligent coverage of this issue has left the American public woefully uninformed about global climate change." (Jim Motavalli and Ross Gelbspan, E/The Environmental Magazine)

"Hollywood's religion -- fundamental environmentalism" - "Prepare for more religious propaganda: "The Day After Tomorrow" is the New Left's evangelism with ecology as religion. Junk science is holy in Hollywood, and director Roland Emmerich's motion picture is the latest example -- the press notes read like Earth First! talking points. This disaster movie does not pretend to be anything else." (Scott Holleran, San Francisco Chronicle)

Oh no! "Japan: Environment Ministry heats up campaign to head off new ice age" - "In an unprecedented limelight-grabbing move, the Environment Ministry is promoting a Hollywood movie depicting the threat of climate change caused by global warming, with its minister organizing Saturday's Japanese premiere of the film.

"The Day After Tomorrow" depicts a scenario in which global warming caused by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions sends the Earth into another ice age.

The ministry asked the leading actor, Dennis Quaid, and director, Roland Emmerich, who were in Japan, to visit Environment Minister Yuriko Koike.

"The movie can relay the message of how important it is to protect the Earth better than several thousand words of mine," Koike said holding up a ministry poster featuring a scene from the movie, which is being used to promote the ministry's monthlong campaign to promote environmental protection." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Film's tale of icy disaster leaves the experts cold" - "The Day After Tomorrow's" depiction of the consequences of global warming is so extreme, so indifferent to scientific credibility, that a high school physics student could spot the holes in it." (Keay Davidson, San Francisco Chronicle)

"I've Seen This Movie Before..." - "The Day After Tomorrow" -- or TDAT, for short -- premiered Friday. It could have amounted to just another rip-snorting science fiction thriller with a thin plot, thinner characterizations but loads of great Hollywood special effects. That is what German film director Roland Emmerich is known for best, in such films as "Independence Day" and "Stargate." But this time, rather than merely having fun, Emmerich decided to load his film with pretensions -- pretensions about science and politics and man's wastefulness." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"LIVE CHAT 2pm EDT, Thursday June 3 - 'The science (or lack thereof) in The Day After Tomorrow'" - "with: Dr. James J. O'Brien, Climatologist for the State of Florida. Dr. O’ Brien is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Meteorology & Oceanography and Director of Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. He was appointed as State of Florida Climatologist in 1999." (GlobalWarming.org)

"Russian support for Kyoto pact spurs trading - WSJ" - "NEW YORK - Russia's backing of the Kyoto protocol is spurring some large-scale trading in emission credits by companies and countries that want to limit the financial impact of future restrictions on emissions of greenhouse gases, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday." (Reuters)

"Trading in hot air: greenhouse gas emissions" - "Commenting on the failure of several member states to abide by the deadlines set by Directive 2003/87/EC, which is designed to create an EU-wide emissions trading system (ETS) in greenhouse gas as a means to help achieve the goals set forth in the Kyoto Protocol, Commissioner Wallstron has announced her intention to prepare infringement proceedings against the offending countries, Poland included." (Warsaw Business Journal)

"New ice age in the midst of global warming?" - "Every now and then the notion resurfaces that the influx of warm water to the Norwegian Sea might stop and lead to a catastrophic worsening of the climate in Norway and the Nordic countries. As recently as March this year, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation aired a BBC program called The Big Chill, which concluded that within the next 50 years global warming could bring about a new ice age here in the north. We argue here that the speculations that were presented in the program are based on insufficient and erroneous assumptions." (CICERO)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Establishment and Demise of the Medieval Nordic Settlements on Greenland: The Role of Natural Climate Change" - "A set of three research papers in the 2004 March issue of The Holocene documents the role of natural climate change in fostering the settlement of Greenland by seafaring Norsemen prior to the end of the first millennium AD, as well as its role in bringing about the demise of the transplanted Nordic culture some five hundred years later." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Urban CO 2 Dome (Other Cities)" - "How do the urban CO 2 domes of various cities around the world compare with each other and with that of Phoenix, Arizona, USA in terms of their origins and magnitudes?" (co2science.org)

"Agriculture (Species - Alfalfa)" - "How will the upward trajectory of the air's CO 2 content impact the growth and development of this important forage crop in the years and decades ahead?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"Late 20th Century Drying of the Sahel: Real or Imagined?" - "Apparently, we've all believed the same wrong thing for many years." (co2science.org)

"The Recent Climate Regime Shift in the Northeast Pacific" - "It is difficult to detect these periodic shifts in climatic and hydrographic conditions until they have been in place for a while; but observations of the past few years suggest that the most recent such shift occurred in 1998.  What are its ramifications?" (co2science.org)

"Selecting Crop Cultivars to Capitalize on Rising Atmospheric CO 2 Concentrations" - "Research on rice demonstrates how choosing the proper cultivar can greatly enhance grain yield as the air's CO 2 content continues to rise." (co2science.org)

"Nighttime Temperatures Influence Daytime Photosynthesis in Cottonwood Trees" - "How does the former affect the latter?  And how is this phenomenon impacted by the unique nature of real-world day/night climate change?" (co2science.org)

"CO 2 Effects on Isoprenoid Emissions from Oak Trees Growing in a Water-Stressed Environment" - "Evidence continues to accumulate for the environmentally-beneficial tendency for atmospheric CO 2 enrichment to reduce isoprene emissions from vegetation." (co2science.org)

"Europe's energy use still rising" - "The countries of Europe are not keeping their promises on the environment, the European Environment Agency believes. The agency, a European Union body, says the latest trends show growing evidence of climate change, on land and at sea. It says there are also worrying levels of urban air pollution and agricultural contamination of water, and increasing amounts of packaging and other waste. The agency calls in its report, EEA Signals 2004, for more use of market-based instruments to change behaviour." (lex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"Splicing of human genes into plants regains" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Biotechnology companies are quietly pushing to splice more human genes into food crops after the practice was nearly abandoned last year, a Washington-based advocacy group says.

The news comes some 18 months after College Station,Texas-based Prodigene Inc. caused an uproar by accidentally mixing such crops with conventionally grown plants in Nebraska. At the time, giant food manufacturers called for tighter regulation of such experiments, and biotech titan Monsanto Co. announced it was pulling out of the field.

The number of federal regulatory approvals and applications for these outdoor plantings -- often called "biopharming" because the idea is to lower drug-making costs by using plants as delivery agents -- have nearly doubled in the last 12 months when compared to the previous year, according to the Washington D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest." (Associated Press)

"U.S. to Divulge More About Modified Crops" - "Responding to criticism that a controversial farming practice is shrouded in secrecy, the Department of Agriculture plans to disclose more information about crops that are genetically engineered to produce pharmaceuticals, an official said yesterday.

The official, Cindy Smith, the deputy administrator for biotechnology regulatory services, said in an interview that the department planned to begin using its Web site to post its analysis of the risks and environmental impacts of the crops that are being grown in field trials. (New York Times)

"Scientists zero in on drought-resistant crops" - "In a hot, dry growth chamber at Monsanto Co., a few green soybean plants with small flowers and a handful of pods show scientist Stan Dotson that he has made a breakthrough.

The genetic traits that he and his colleagues identified, then engineered into the plants, allowed the soybeans to survive under drought conditions. Unmodified control plants in nearby pots withered and died." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Borlaug Urges More Agricultural Research to Help Poor Countries" - "With new plant diseases emerging and the amount of the world's farmable land holding steady, the international research and aid communities must increase efforts to develop and share with developing countries information about new agricultural technologies and methods, says Norman Borlaug, 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

In a May 20 speech at the National Press Club, Borlaug said Africa, in particular, needs access to improved agricultural technologies." (United States Department of State (Washington, DC))

"Report: France to allow biotech crop field trials" - "Just a few weeks after the European Union ended its five-year moratorium on genetically modified foods, France has approved field trials of genetically modified crops, such as those produced by St. Louis-based Monsanto Co., according to published reports.

The trials will cover eight types of genetically modified maize, or corn, mostly in southwest France, the report said." (St. Louis Business Journal)

"Living Modified Organisms: New Guidelines for Risk Assessment" - "WASHINGTON and ROME, June 1 -- New guidelines for determining if a living modified organism (LMO) poses a hazard to plants have been published by FAO." (PRNewswire)

"Kenya prepares to grow genetically modified maize" - "Every year, Kenya loses Sh7.2 billion ($90 million) to a pesky insect that attacks maize stalks.

The stem borer, which eats away 400,000 tonnes of maize — about 15 per cent of farmers’ annual harvests — has been on scientists’ minds for a long time.

Now, a new project to develop insect resistant maize on the continent is likely to put farmers at rest.

The Insect Resistant Maize for Africa (IRMA) project uses Biotechnology to develop varieties of the crop that are resistant to insects, and in particular the stem borer." (Sunday Standard)

June 1, 2004

"Where Will Malaria Be The Day After Tomorrow?" - "Where will you be?" This ominous question, which accompanies the latest Hollywood disaster film, "The Day After Tomorrow," will no doubt have some people mulling over an appropriate answer. In the film, the earth's climate topples over a hypothetical "edge" as a result of anthropogenic global warming. This then leads to terrific global storms and a sudden ice age. Mark Gordon, one of the producers of the film, hopes that the film will "raise consciousness about the environment," a statement akin to the producers of Peter Pan saying they hope that film will raise consciousness about air travel.

However, unlike the film, the film's Web site attempts to be somewhat serious as it discusses global catastrophes associated with global warming. One scenario that it promotes is the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria. This is a popular scenario, but it's not a serious one. It's a fantasy that should be confined, along with marauding glaciers, to Hollywood plot lines." (Richard Tren, WSJ Europe)

"Anti-Fire Chemical Spurs Toxic Fears in Arctic" - "OSLO - Chemicals widely used as flame retardants in homes have been found in polar bears and birds in the Arctic, raising fears that they could pose a health hazard, Norwegian scientists said yesterday.

Norway's government said it would seek a European Union review of the chemicals, used in everything from computers to clothes, saying their presence in the Arctic showed the need to investigate whether they were damaging for humans and wildlife." (Reuters)

"Food firms warned over fat crisis" - "The food industry is "on probation" over moves to fight obesity in the UK, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell says. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, she said she doubted that banning junk food TV ads would help tackle the problem. But she said the food industry could help find a solution to the "crisis of obesity" and was expected to do so." (BBC News Online)

"A broadside in the war on blubber" - "Just for a change in the old columnar diet, I thought I'd weigh in on Britain's obesity epidemic. But, on closer inspection, the war on blubber seems to be the war on terror by other means. In the Guardian, for example, Polly Toynbee had no hesitation in deciding on the root cause: "America has by far the most unequal society and by far the fattest," she wrote. "Britain and Australia come next. Europe is better and the Scandinavian countries best of all. No doubt there are also social policy reasons for this: the best social democracies pick up family problems earliest... But the narrower the status and income gap between high and low, the narrower the waistbands." (Mark Steyn, Daily Telegraph)

"Editorial: The global diet" - "THE WORLD Health Organization, resisting pressure from sugar-producing nations, has approved a strategy to fight obesity that urges limits on sugar and salt, among other sensible suggestions. A panel of US scientists is suggesting that the federal government also adopt strong food guidelines. Support for the WHO strategy by the Bush administration offers hope that it will endorse a shift in policy that will provide a blueprint for lifetime weight control." (Boston Globe)

"Foolish panic is about profit" - "Diet and drug firms are whipping up a fear of food, writes Susie Orbach. But it's possible to be fat, fit and healthy " (The Observer)

"UK: Labour considers ban on junk food ads during children's TV" - "Junk food manufacturers could be banned from advertising during children's television programmes under plans being considered for inclusion in Labour's next manifesto." (The Guardian)

"UK - Press Review: 'We'll soon have a fat controller'" - "The health select committee has called on the government to act" (The Guardian)

Uh-huh... and still wrong: "The population bomb keeps on ticking - Too many people may kill us all, say the Ehrlichs" - "Ever since his popular book "The Population Bomb" appeared in 1968, Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrlich has been the most widely known prophet of population problems -- if not doom. Since that landmark work he has written many more books, and some critics carp that he has continued to produce variations on the same theme, albeit with ever more sophistication and scientific nuance." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Ten problems for the world - but which one to fix first?" - "SO BJORN Lomborg has done it again. It’s three short years since his famous book The Skeptical Environmentalist first had his enemies in the Green lobby choking on their cucumber soup - rubbishing their doomsday predictions of melting ice caps and sinking islands. Now he’s returned to the public gaze, enraging his critics with a fresh assault on their pro-environment views. Already he’s winning admirers - and not just among those who prefer their academics tall, blond, Danish and gay. Newsweek magazine, obviously smitten, has just proclaimed him one of the 100 most influential people in 2004.

Lomborg pulled off his biggest coup in Copenhagen last week. He assembled a jury of eight world-renowned economists who spent five days trying to prioritise the world’s biggest problems - HIV, hunger, education and so on. Their verdict was damning for the environmentalists. Money spent on global warming, the panel declared, is "a bad use of our finite resources", compared to solving the planet’s other woes. It takes enormous expenditure to achieve very small reductions in greenhouse gases, with uncertain results. Funding to fight, say, malnutrition with iodine pills and vitamin A is a much better use of the limited finance the world makes available for such causes." (The Scotsman)

"Americans put cash above environment" - "More Americans prefer healthy wallets over protecting the environment, according to a poll by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. Of 1,000 persons polled, 54 percent said that protecting the environment is important, but it is more important to keep the economy growing." (Audrey Hudson, The Washington Times)

"UK's 'responsible' industry credibility blown asunder" - "Campaign groups have withdrawn their support for the government's international CSR proposals, says Nick Mathiason." (The Observer)

"Dino impact gave Earth the chill" - "Evidence has been found for a global winter following the asteroid impact that is thought to have killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago." (BBC News Online)

"Climate disaster 'upon us'" - "Humans have done so much damage to the atmosphere that even if they stop burning all fossil fuels immediately, they risk leaving an impoverished Earth for their descendants, a giant of research in the field will say this week. James Lovelock, who detected the build-up of ozone-destroying CFCs and formulated the Gaia theory now widely adopted by environmentalists and biologists, will tell a conference in Devon: "We have not yet awakened to the seriousness of global warming." (The Guardian)

"Tropical plants help identify lags between abrupt climate and vegetation shifts" - "Clues to the timing and cause of abrupt climate changes in the past may lie in ocean floor sediments." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"North Pole Ice Pack Dwindles" - "It's been a warmer than usual spring at the top of the world, reports CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen. At a remote field camp near the North Pole, American researchers have been fishing for answers. "We've seen the change concentrated at the pole over the last 15 years,'' says one of the researchers, Jamie Morrison, with the University of Washington. Each April, scientists funded by the national science foundation, take advantage of a three-week window -- when there's 24 hour daylight and temperatures hovering around freezing -- to probe the polar ice pack. The ice pack that has been thinning and retreating for several decades now." (CBS News)

Lots about that silly picture, both from wishful hand-wringers and irritated realists:

"The trouble with climate forecasts" - "Hollywood is jumping on the global-warming bandwagon but in the world of environmental and weather studies things are not so simple, as SIMON COLLINS reports.

Between 1861 and 2000, New Zealand's average temperatures rose from around 12C to 13C. Scientists calculated at that rate we should be seeing significant changes in the landscape. Based on international evidence, for example, trees should now be growing 180 metres higher up the slopes of mountains than in the days of our great-great-great-grandparents.

But they are not. A careful study by Landcare Research at six South Island alpine sites has found the treeline has climbed only 5 to 6 metres in the past 150 years." (New Zealand Herald)

"Hollywood, Russia Spur Climate Cost Feuding" - "OSLO - Any rich nation would willingly spend billions of dollars if it could prevent tornadoes, tidal waves and an ice age that destroys cities like New York.

Far from the disasters depicted in "The Day After Tomorrow" movie opening last week, experts in the real world are feuding over how to stop global warming after Moscow signaled last week it would salvage a U.N. pact on greenhouse gases.

At issue is how much - or whether - it is worth paying for a global insurance policy against feared desertification, storms, rising sea levels and species extinctions by forcing a shift from the fossil fuels blamed for warming the globe." (Reuters)

"The Weather Channel Goes Hollywood" - "The opening of a big-budget weather-horror movie, The Day After Tomorrow, has the Weather Channel going Hollywood. Highlighted in the film, The Weather Channel now seeks the limelight by running a series on extreme weather, to be broadcast the week of the movie's release.

Meanwhile, the science journal Nature is urging climate researchers to grab a spotlight for themselves, in a May 6 editorial asserting:

"Advocates of responsible behavior must seize every opportunity to get their message across, such as the forthcoming ice-age blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow. … Climatologists will criticize the faulty science on which the movie is based, but it will allow them to raise citizen's awareness … and … to heighten carbon consciousness…Climate researchers should contact local media, who will seize the chance to trade on a disaster movie. …"

Science education is the basis for the movie, according to its director, Roland Emmerich, so that the movie's message -- bleak ending included -- would raise fears of the elevated concentration of carbon dioxide in the air. Emmerich, (Spiegel Online, April 26), "I went very far in order to provide viewers with lots of scientific information." (Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, TCS)

"Hollywood's fake take on global warming" - "IS THIS WHAT it has finally come down to? Rebuffed by science and ignored by the public, global warming alarmists are desperate enough for political relevance to trumpet second-rate Hollywood sensationalism as a "teachable moment" for the complex science of climate change." (James M. Taylor, Boston Globe)

"EDITORIAL: A Film Fit for an Activist" - "Environmentalists are hoping that Friday's release of the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" will generate a wave of popular support for congressional action to minimize the environmental dangers of global warming. So far, however, the film seems only to have widened already broad and bitter divisions over how to react to climate change." (LA Times)

"Editorial: Movie’s message is worth ignoring" - "It’s often hard to take "message movies" as seriously as their makers wish we all would — director Oliver Stone’s repeated efforts to rewrite history as seen through his own revisionist camera lens are only taken seriously, it seems, by fellow conspiracists and the malleable-minded. But arriving this past weekend was a film green extremists obviously hope will raise audience anxieties about global warming to a boiling point and provoke a political backlash against the Bush administration. And, between being misinformed and propagandized, audience members will be getting some really cool special effects to look at, like a tidal wave crashing down on Manhattan.

The problem is, the catastrophic climate change scenario presented in "The Day After Tomorrow" — which, weirdly, has global warming resulting in a new ice age, after the gulf stream stops streaming — is, according to all credible scientists, a fantasy — no more connected to the real world than Middle Earth or Oz." (Valley Morning star)

"Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid" - "At least for the moment, ''The Day After Tomorrow'' -- 20th Century Fox's new movie about catastrophic climate change -- has reawakened public anxiety over global warming and broken through the thick crust of American denial. Unfortunately, the movie does for climatology only what ''Independence Day,'' also directed by Roland Emmerich, did for cosmology. It delivers summer blockbuster thrills and the kind of hyperbole -- a tidal wave pounding through Manhattan -- that makes the whole problem easy for skeptics to dismiss. All across the country, ''The Day After Tomorrow'' has started debates the movie itself cannot resolve -- debates, all too often, between the prejudiced and the ill informed." (Verlyn Klinkenborg, New York Times)

"Science of hot air" - "THE consequences of global warming portrayed in The Day After Tomorrow are so absurd that even the hysterics in the US green movement reportedly feared audiences would laugh it out of the cinema. However, the scientific proponents (and massive financial beneficiaries) of the greenhouse effect are more hopeful.

The general line from climate scientists in the US, the UK and Australia has been that while the science is bad, the film could be helpful in raising awareness of the consequences of climate change. It is revealing that they apparently don't see anything wrong with using bad science to push their case.

It will certainly frighten university students and schoolchildren. After all, they have been assiduously prepared to be frightened. According to Mark Latham last week, one of the three issues always raised with him in high schools and universities is the Kyoto protocol.

As Latham said, they have grown up with the issue. It would be more accurate to say they have grown up with teachers pumping ever-so-politically-correct propaganda on Kyoto and climate change down their throats." (Alan Wood, The Australian)

"U.S. told tax can control warming" - "Copenhagen, Denmark - In addition to oil prices hovering at record levels, some economists say a carbon tax would encourage Americans to curb wasteful energy consumption that contributes to global warming.

Three prominent economists appearing here for the global economics conference "Copenhagen Consensus" agreed that the chances of approving a carbon tax during an election year are slim. Consumers would face the tax at the gas pump." (Denver Post)

"Transcript: Fred Smith Debates Jon Coifman on Capitol Report" Full transcript available as a pdf. (CEI)

Weekly Whipple: "More species threatened by climate change" - "BOULDER, Colo., May 31 -- The Bufo periglenes, the golden toad of Costa Rica, vanished from its habitat in 1987 in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica. It is the first animal species credited with being driven to extinction by climate change.

Biologists do not expect it to be the last. Camille Parmesan, a professor of conservation biology at the University of Texas, called the golden toad "a very rare prized endangered species, which has always been very restricted, only ever known from Monteverde, and that's been linked with climate change."

"One extinction of an entire species has been solidly linked to climate change," Parmesan told United Press International, "and lots and lots of population extinctions." (Dan Whipple, United Press International)

"Another doomsday: 'Day After' is just more propaganda" - "Americans are crazy about disaster movies. Are you kidding? Every interstellar asteroid on a collision course with Earth heads for the United States. Same for interplanetary invasions by weirdo aliens, tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes and tornadoes. Over the weekend "The Day After Tomorrow," which depicts one view of what might happen if the atmosphere went bonkers and the polar ice caps defrosted, made its big splash." (Oklahoman Editorial)

"Getting warmer . . . A movie on climate change is a warning" - "It's one scary movie. "Climate change is a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism," says the science adviser to the British government. "Temperatures are getting hotter, and they are getting hotter faster than any time in the past," says the international weather expert. "Climate change is poised to change our pattern of life," says the African ecologist. But the U.S. president won't listen." (William S. Kowinski, San Francisco Chronicle)

"Dumb `Day' not worth all the hot air" - "Environmentalists are hitching their sleds to a movie that's tough to take seriously" (Chicago Tribune)

"Targeting Bush with a phony apocalypse" - "On March 13, the Guardian newspaper of London, beating the American networks by nearly eight months, called the U.S. presidential election for Sen. John Kerry. The Democrat would win, the paper declared, not because of his plan for Iraq or his proposals for the economy, but because of . . . a movie.

Specifically, a movie about global warming. It's called "The Day After Tomorrow." And if it doesn't actually unseat George W. Bush, it won't be for lack of trying." (Patrick J. Michaels, Newsday)

"Dyer: An overdue debate: Boosting nuke power to avoid climate chaos" - "When James Lovelock calls for a massive expansion in nuclear power generation to ward off the worst effects of climate change, as he did in a front-page article in The Independent this week, you have to pay attention. The future may view him as the most important scientist of the 20th century, and he is revered by the Green movement, which hates nuclear energy. But now he writes: "Every year that we continue burning carbon makes it worse for our descendants and for civilization. . . . I am a Green, and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy." (Gwynne Dyer, The Salt Lake Tribune)

"Europe's Green Week Focus on Behavior Change" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, May 31, 2004 - Brussels and Bonn will be the focus of major environmental debates during the first week of June. The European Commission's latest annual Green Week will unfold in the European Union capital, while Germany will host four days of discussions in Bonn on boosting renewable energies worldwide.

The Commission's objective during Green Week is to encourage people to "think aloud" about how citizens, businesses, policy makers, nongovernmental organizations, authorities, teachers, scientists and young people can really change their environmental behavior." (Environment News Service)

"Goliath windmill highlights Germany's big bet on renewable energy" - "EMDEN, Germany : On a stretch of reclaimed land in northern Germany looms the tallest wind generator in the world, its curved blades tensed for battle with the air. The Wybelsum polder on which the windmill E-112 is sited is emblematic of how the limits of modern technology are being tested by one of mankind's most ancient sources of energy. The flat, wind-battered land hosts one of Europe's biggest wind farms, nearly six kilometres (four miles) long, run jointly by four companies eager for a stake in the new goldrush. As oil prices spike to new highs, driven by Mideast security fears and rising consumption by emerging countries, windpower and other "renewables" have become buzzwords. But developing and exploiting alternative energy -- the theme of a four-day worldwide conference opening in Bonn on Tuesday -- is tougher than its wholesome image suggests." (Agence France Presse)

"Green coal to take on wind power" - "LONGANNET power station in Fife could become the centre of a multimillion-pound experiment to prove that coal-fired plants can meet tough anti- pollution targets.

ScottishPower is considering a proposal from Mitsui-Babcock, whose latest technology could make coal a viable long-term source of clean energy in the government’s bid to cut damaging greenhouse gases." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Research funds for renewable energy must rise -IEA" - "PARIS, June 1 - Governments must spend more on research and development of renewable energy before such secure and clean power can make a real contribution, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Blackout gave cities a breath of fresh air" - "The blackout that left 50 million North Americans without power in August 2003 had an unexpected benefit - the air became cleaner. As power plants were turned down in south-east Canada and the north-east and mid-west US, levels of pollutants fell, says meteorologist Russell Dickerson. His team from the University of Maryland in College Park flew an aircraft over the middle of the blackout zone 24 hours after the power had gone down. "This was a unique opportunity to explore what would happen to air quality if power station emissions were reduced," he says." (New Scientist)

"Bug-laden foam destroys stink of manure" - "A bacteria-laden foam could destroy the foul-smelling pongs from animal waste on intensive farms.

The waste from intensive pig and chicken farms produces smells that can destroy the quality of life for nearby communities.

People who are only familiar with ordinary farmyard smells find it hard to believe how bad it is, says Amy Chapin, who studies the health effects of intensive farming at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. "It's an incredibly strong and pungent odour," she says." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Why France is still so keen to support and protect a declining business" - "WHEN President Jacques Chirac visited the agricultural fair in Paris in March, he stayed for three hours. He was upstaged a few days later by his prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who squeezed in an astonishing seven hours. Such is the lingering hold of farming on the French imagination that no self-respecting politician can ever miss the chance to pose with a heaving Charolais bull, or to cuddle a kid goat. Now France's strange bond with farming is under fire once again. The European Commission wants to revive the Doha round of world trade talks by offering to eliminate all export subsidies for farm products, a concession that is fiercely resisted in Paris. What is it about the French and farming?" (Economist)

"Some Firms Seek Regulation to Squeeze Out Their Rivals" - "VIEWPONT: America learned long ago that what's good for General Motors isn't necessarily good for the country.

This axiom applies equally to the biotechnology industry, which has lobbied for - and gotten - stultifying regulation that constrains R&D, inflates prices, and deprives consumers of new agricultural and food products.

Long before the first gene-spliced plants were ready for commercialization, a few agrochemical and biotechnology companies, led by Monsanto and Calgene, approached policy-makers in the administration of President Reagan and requested that the EPA, USDA, and FDA create a regulatory framework specific to gene-spliced products.

The policies recommended by the industry, that were predicated on the myth that there's something fundamentally novel and worrisome about gene-splicing techniques, were far more restrictive than could be justified on scientific grounds.

Often they were even more burdensome than those proposed by regulators." (Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller, Investor's Business Daily)

"Russia tightens controls over GMOs in food" - "MOSCOW - In an effort to strengthen control over genetically-modified organisms, Russia is introducing obligatory labels on all food that contains more than 0.9 percent of GMOs, officials said. The new regulations, which are in line with European norms, will enter into effect on Tuesday, but have been slammed by environment groups as ineffective." (AFP)

"Japanese create a cow immune to BSE" - "TOKYO - Japanese firm Kirin said on Monday it had produced jointly with a US company a cow that is immune to mad cow disease.

The animal, produced through genetic manipulation, carries none of the prion proteins that cause the brain-wasting disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a Kirin spokeswoman said.

The cow, still in its mother's womb, is expected to be born early next year, she said." (Reuters)

"Man-made bacteria could help fight cancer" - "London - Genetically modified bacteria could provide a potent new weapon against cancer, scientists believe. Researchers have used engineered E.coli bugs to wipe out a variety of cancer cells in the laboratory. They also succeeded in slowing down the progression of skin cancer in mice. The bacteria were used to smuggle a tumour-busting enzyme into cancer cells." (IOL)

"South Africa: GM spuds could be growing in a field near you" - "An application to conduct field trials on genetically modified (GM) potatoes at six sites in South Africa, including a farm in the Koue Bokkeveld near Ceres, has been submitted to the government.

The application is by the Agricultural Research Council and is for trials designed to test potatoes that have been genetically manipulated to prevent damage by moth larvae that feed on the plants, and damage by antibiotics." (Cape Argus)

"Gene-altered rice is hot issue" - "A handful of anti-biotech activists descended on Ventria Bioscience last week with an "eviction notice" and a moving van, bluntly inviting the Sacramento company that grows pharmaceuticals in rice to leave the state.
Ventria's proposal to grow its novel product is scheduled for review again Tuesday morning by a rice industry panel in Yuba City.

But the street theater signaled that the company's plans to ramp up production are catalyzing concerns about manufacturing drugs in food crops." (Sacramento Bee)

"Biotech meeting to attract thousands - Protests expected to accompany gathering in S.F." - "Downtown San Francisco will soon be crowded with enough biotechnology professionals to populate the city of Millbrae, as the industry takes over the entire Moscone Center for its largest annual meeting starting Sunday.

Nearly 20,000 people are expected to attend BIO 2004, the yearly convocation of the industry's influential trade association, the Biotechnology Industry Organization based in Washington." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Philippines: Anti-Bt corn group protests Monsanto" - "KORONADAL CITY -- Some 1,000 militant members spearheaded by the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) staged a protest rally on Thursday just outside Monsanto Company's plant in nearby General Santos City to condemn the firm's controversial Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn for its alleged hazardous effects to humans and the environment.

The chairman of the South Cotabato Movement Against Genetically Modified Organisms (SCMAGMO), Eliezer Billanes said members of militant organizations like Bayan Muna, Kilusan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas, Anak Pawis, Gabriela, Suara Bangsamoro and representatives from the local Catholic Church from as far as North Cotabato and Davao del Sur joined the indignation rally.

A mock trial was held wherein Monsanto was adjudged 'guilty' for allegedly causing illnesses to humans and poisoning the environment, Billanes added." (Sun Star)