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Archives - June 2005

June 30, 2005

"New product for US industry: 'manufactured doubt'" - "By generating and publicizing uncertainty about the scientific underpinnings of proposed action on air pollution, global warming, the health effects of tobacco and other subjects, industries have been able to ward off regulation and buy valuable time." (Austin American-Statesman)

Yeah, and these darn industry flacks have been around for ages - see:

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin. -- Thomas H. Huxley

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
-- Gautama Buddha

"Bush to Seek More Aid for War on Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa" - "President Bush plans to call on Thursday for a substantial increase in spending to fight malaria in Africa." (New York Times)

"Advisory panel ups cancer warning for much-used chemical" - "A mysterious chemical linked to the coatings on take-out food cartons and raincoats is "likely" to cause cancer in humans, according to a draft report by a panel of an independent advisory board to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Bill to monitor body toxins advances in the assembly" - "California moved closer Tuesday to the establishment of the country's only statewide biomonitoring program, aimed at tracking chemicals such as plastics and flame retardants increasingly found in our bodies." (Oakland Tribune)

"Three reasons not to believe in an autism epidemic" - "Some people think we are witnessing an autism epidemic. However, according to a new report published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, there are three good reasons not to believe in this so-called epidemic." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

It's a conspiracy... "Group: Dentist hid fluoride-cancer link" - "An environmental group alleges a dentist who teaches at Harvard concealed a student's findings linking fluoride to bone cancer." (United Press International)

As usual EWG got it all wrong - it's a guberment mind-control thing. Gee, all they had to do was search on chemtrails or black helicopters and those guys'd set 'em straight.

II: "Dairy industry sued over weight-loss claims" - "An activist physicians group entered the battle of the bulge yesterday, filing lawsuits in Alexandria that accuse the dairy industry of fraudulently claiming that people can shed pounds by consuming more dairy products." (Washington Post)

"Mexico confronts sudden surge in obesity" - "Mexico is facing a surge in obesity to rival the United States. In a startlingly short time, say public health experts, Mexicans have become among the heaviest people on earth." (New York Times)

"Better to Die Young Than Get Fat" - "The UN's World Health Organization has declared obesity a crisis of "epidemic proportions" in the developing world, with 300 million people globally deemed "obese." The UN has listed it among the world's top ten 'preventable risks,' along with unsafe sex. The reality of life in the developing world makes this agenda nothing short of genocidal." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Potato health benefits discovered" - "Potatoes may be healthier to eat than previously thought, after scientists found them to contain chemicals which lower blood pressure." (BBC)

"Forest Reforms in Crossfire" - "On July 1, the Forest Service will celebrate its 100th Anniversary and will, no doubt, commemorate the past century's vast forest growth and reforestation throughout many parts of the nation. But before the agency uncorks too many bottles of bubbly, officials should be cognizant of the enormous challenges facing the Forest Service in controlling worsening catastrophic summer wildfires that destroy homes, wildlife and human life." (Dana Joel Gattuso, TCS)

Africans shouldn't have infrastructure, apparently: "Crumbs from the carbon banquet" - "Building more roads won't cure Africa's poverty - but it will worsen global warming." (Ian Roberts and Mayer Hillman, The Guardian)

"Adding fuel to the fire" - "Car ownership in developing countries will overtake the west, but oil demand threatens global stability." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

In the virtual realm: "Future Climate Could be Hotter than Thought - Study" - "LONDON - Global temperatures in the future could be much hotter than scientists have predicted if new computer models on climate change are correct, researchers said on Wednesday." (Reuters) | Soot blamed for global warming underestimate (Fred Pearce, NewScientist.com news service)

Right... these are the aerosols that had to be included in calculations because they must be cooling the planet (because we couldn't find the warming that our dreamt up positive-feedback forcings insist should be produced). Just a small point guys, the vast majority of these aerosols occur in the northern hemisphere (where a slight warming trend is observed) and very little in the southern (where negligible warming is observed), no? So, since atmospheric carbon dioxide is really quite well mixed, with negligible difference between the hemispheres, and alleged aerosol cooling should be most prevalent in the northern hemisphere, why isn't the southern hemisphere apparently warming more quickly than the northern?

Actually, while we are on the topic, we thought it was supposed to be sulphate particulates that were allegedly causing the cooling while black carbon ("soot") was a major warming influence. Dr Jim Hansen published papers a few years ago that rather upset some of the global warming clergy by pointing to absorbing particulates, these same black carbon ("soot") particles and suggesting lowering their prevalence in the atmosphere would be a more effective means of avoiding catastrophic warming (from memory Tom Wigley was about the first to present a horrified counter article saying "No, no, we must work on CO2"). Regardless, the "father" of global warming hysteria went so far as to classify black carbon particulates ("soot") as absorbing particles with a warming influence on the atmosphere (and who would argue black carbon particulates do not absorb IR?) yet here we have models suggesting "soot" cools the atmosphere.

Well? Are black carbon particulates to be treated as a net positive or net negative climate forcing? What work has been done to change the way in which they are viewed? Why have models been reworked to treat warming influences as cooling ones?

The more we learn about the production of these warming "forecasts" the less-well founded in empirical reality they appear to be. Not that we're too surprised, over the few decades of their iterative evolution, GCMs have become complex heaps of fudge factors, guesstimated parameters and wishful thinking, collectively run at breathtaking speeds on very expensive hardware, seemingly for the express purpose of taking perfectly good data and using it to generate absolute nonsense.

Surely now we have arrived at a point where we are absolutely dazzled by our ability to perform all these calculations on these lovely expensive machines while having overlooked inconvenient details - such as not knowing which calculations need to be performed.

How should we represent clouds, will increased evaporation be a positive or negative feedback? Will there be more or less precipitation on ice shields? What effect will there be on planetary albedo? Is shading more an influence than black carbon absorption? Is UHIE adequately compensated for in the near-surface amalgam? Why don't proxies (e.g. dendrochronology) show similar warming over the last few decades as does the near-surface amalgam? What temperature should be considered "normal"? What is the planet's temperature now? These are basic questions without satisfactory answers.

GCMs crank out warming scenarios? Well whoopee duck! That's what they're programmed to do. The possibility of one accidentally "predicting" the future is, however, vanishingly small. Gosh this is a silly game.

"Does dirty air cool the climate? Study adds a factor to climate-change debate" - "Over the past several decades, industrial countries have made major strides in cleaning up pollutants roiling from smokestacks. But some researchers now say this progress could have a troubling side effect - accelerating the pace of global warming." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"New studies highlight global warming peril ahead of G8 summit" - "PARIS - Scientists publish two new studies shedding light on hidden aspects of global warming, in a move that coincides with the runup to the G8 summit where climate change is set to be the stormiest issue." (AFP)

"Warming May Harm Africa's Sand Dune Fields" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Global warming could have a major impact on Africa's southern sand dune systems, spreading desert-like conditions and destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people before the end of the century, new research warns." (Associated Press)

"Blair sees difficulty over Kyoto" - "LONDON, England -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair has acknowledged differences with the United States over climate change, ahead of a key summit meeting in Scotland next week." (AP)

"Pre-G8 talks to thrash out key disputes" - "Senior officials from the G8 nations will fly to London tomorrow for a weekend of unscheduled intensive talks aimed at settling disputes between the world's richest western nations over climate change, Africa and global trade ahead of their summit at Gleneagles next week. In what UK officials admitted was a high-risk strategy for Tony Blair, the special meeting of the so-called sherpas has been arranged in an 11th-hour attempt to piece together an agreed joint communiqué before the leaders arrive in Scotland on Wednesday." (The Guardian)

If America doesn't toast us, China will (at least according to Nature's news and features editor): "Energy: China's burning ambition" - "The economic miracle that is transforming the world's most populous nation is threatened by energy shortages and rising pollution. It also risks plunging the planet's climate into chaos." (Peter Aldhous, Nature)

"EU 'must cut emissions by 40%'" - "COPENHAGEN, DENMARK -- The European Union needs to reduce greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2030 to reach its long-term goal of curbing global warming, the European Environment Agency said." (AP)

The EU's CO2 emissions are rising, because of a booming economy, right? Nope: "Big European economies weak" - "PARIS - Continental Europe's two biggest economies showed little sign of vibrancy in unemployment reports released on Thursday, with a marginal dip in Germany and no real change in France, where household confidence unexpectedly slid. Britain, which has enjoyed stronger expansion than the main euro zone countries for years, announced that first-quarter growth was lower than it first thought, cutting its quarterly rise to 0.4 from 0.5 percent initially.

The news was not all bad, however. The European Commission said the business climate improved for the first time this year in June and there were signs of better morale in the industrial and service sectors, although a preliminary Commission readout on inflation showed a June rise to 2.1 percent from 1.9 in May. Germany's seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment fell to 11.7 percent in June from 11.8 percent, and the jobless total in adjusted terms fell 23,000 to 4.858 million, the Labour office said.

France's jobless rate remained at 10.2 percent for a third month running, the Labour Ministry announced in a report which coincided with news from the statistics office that household confidence slid slightly in June." (Reuters)

Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2003 and inventory report 2005

Surely misreported... "Oceans at risk from global warming-scientists" - "LONDON - Thousands of marine species are at risk from global warming because of acidification of the world's oceans, scientists said on Thursday. The Royal Society said in a report that the seas were currently absorbing one tonne of carbon dioxide -- the prime greenhouse gas -- per person per year and were simply running out of capacity to absorb it. It called on next week's summit of the Group of Eight industrialised nations to take action." (Reuters)

Acidification, whether significant or not, is not a result of "global warming" but of carbon dioxide absorption, something that occurs continuously and did so even when there were no people or SUVs. As bizarre as emanations from the Royal Society have become it is difficult to believe they have become so slipshod as to confuse temperature with atmospheric gas constituents.

"Sunshine mapping from space means brighter solar energy future" - "How sunny is it outside right now – not just locally but all across Europe and Africa? Answering this question is at the heart of many weather-related business activities: solar power and the wider energy sector, architecture and construction, tourism, even health care. Today accurate and continent-wide scale measurements of ground radiances are provided every 15 minutes by ESA's Meteosat Second Generation satellite." (European Space Agency)

"NCAR analysis shows widespread pollution from 2004 wildfires" - "Wildfires in Alaska and Canada in 2004 emitted as much carbon monoxide as did human-related activities in the continental United States during the same time period, according to new research by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The fires also increased ground-level ozone across much of the Northern Hemisphere." (NCAR/UCAR)

"Clue To Sudden Climate Change Found In Arctic" - "The sudden deep freeze of the northern hemisphere that occurred 13,000 years ago has been traced to events originating in northern Canada, according to University of Toronto research. The findings could shed light on the future of climate change due to greenhouse gases." (Agence France-Presse)

"Warmer air may cause increased Antarctic sea ice cover" - "Predicted increases in precipitation due to warmer air temperatures from greenhouse gas emissions may actually increase sea ice volume in the Antarctic's Southern Ocean. This may indicate that climate change processes may have varying impacts on different areas of the globe." (American Geophysical Union)

"Holly feels the heat" - "Holly is on the march. The evergreen bush so beloved of Christmas card manufacturers is spreading its spiky leaves further north each year. No prizes for guessing the reason: climate change." (The Guardian)

"Is recent extreme weather evidence of climate change?" - "There have always been thunderstorms and sudden floods, Boscastle one year and Carlisle, North Yorkshire and Glastonbury the next. But are extreme weather events becoming more frequent or does it just seem like it?" (The Guardian)

"British think tank opposes nuclear power as way to fight global warming" - "A British think tank opposed Wednesday what it said were draft plans by the Group of Eight industrial nations to expand the use of nuclear energy as a way to fight global warming." (Agence France-Presse)

"Power to the people" - "Nuclear could be more expensive than we think. That makes renewables more attractive to Andrew Simms." (The Guardian)

"Europe's New Nuclear Standoff" - "As much of Western Europe dithers over atomic energy, its Eastern neighbors are building a new generation of nuclear stations to meet rising domestic demand and explore export opportunities." (Wall Street Journal)

"Industry Lobbyist Named to Air Board" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday named a personable energy industry lobbyist who has fought against many of the state's toughest air pollution regulations to head California's powerful air quality agency." (Los Angeles Times)

"U.S. Automobile, Factory Emissions Cut by More than Half Since 1970" - "Washington -- Emissions from factories and automobiles in the United States today are less than half of what they were in 1970, even though the U.S. economy grew by almost 200 percent over the same period, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official told participants during a June 29 Internet chat." (Washington File)

"ANALYSIS - Fuel Cell Cars Face Bumpy Road Despite $60 Oil" - "FRANKFURT - Astronomical costs for delivering hydrogen-powered cars and the network to run them mean clean vehicles are years away from competing against today's polluting rivals, even if oil prices stay at record highs." (Reuters)

"One in six countries facing food shortage" - "One in six countries in the world face food shortages this year because of severe droughts that could become semi-permanent under climate change, UN scientists warned yesterday." (John Vidal and Tim Radford, The Guardian)

"Economic sabotage a form of free speech?" - "A good example of the type of economic sabotage engaged in by environmental extremists in the UK during the past five years involves genetically modified (GM) food, feed and seed. Extremist efforts have focused, since at least 1999, on terrorizing and causing economic loss to industry (biotech and pharmaceutical companies), farmers and scientists that dared to go forward with outdoor government-planned GM trials. Their ultimate goal was to stop the trials altogether, hamper government GM research efforts, and to block industry's development and distribution of GM products to British supermarkets and retail stores. The intended effect of such conduct was to deny the British public a potentially useful, and perhaps, essential new technology." (Rural News, NZ)

"'For Diabetics?'- Organic Food Baffles Russians" - "MOSCOW - Organic foodstuffs may fill European shops but they are almost totally unknown in Russia where they are seen as luxury items for the affluent few." (Reuters)

"Algae farmers get green light" - "The state Board of Agriculture yesterday voted 6-2 in favor of allowing Big Island algae farmer Mera Pharmaceuticals Inc. to import genetically modified algae for trial production of pharmaceutical drugs." (Honolulu Advertiser)

June 29, 2005

"Activists Want Fish off California Aquarium Menu" - "LOS ANGELES - An animal rights group has called on one of the largest aquariums in the United States to stop serving fish to its visitors, likening the practice to grilling up "poodle burgers at a dog show." "It's easy to think of fish as swimming vegetables but of all the places in the country where fish should get a fair shake it's an aquarium," said Karin Robertson, manager of the Fish Empathy Project for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals." (Reuters)

Curious, PETA doesn't seem too worried about killing cats and dogs but don't want you to eat fish.

"Green success" - "The purpose of green chemistry is to find ways to develop ever-better chemical products and processes that require fewer reagents, less solvent, and less energy to produce, while being safer, generating less waste, and increasing profitability." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Study Says Weight Loss May Raise Risk of Death" - "A study of 2,957 twins in Finland found that those who were overweight who lost weight on purpose were about 86 percent more likely to die for any reason over the next 18 years compared with those whose weight remained stable." (Washington Post)

Still trying to take us to the Second Stone Age: "Maurice Strong: Our Man in Rio (and San Francisco, too)" - "World Environment Day was celebrated June 5 in San Francisco, the first time it was held in the U.S. The event commemorates the anniversary of the first World Conference on the Environment in Stockholm in 1972. The organizer of that meeting, Maurice Strong, has been an energy-sector CEO, an adviser to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the convener of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. He sees his new project, the Earth Council Alliance, which coalesced out of more than 100 Earth Councils around the world, as a vehicle for international cooperation and political pressure for the environment. Strong was interviewed June 3, 2005." (Michael Stoll, E Magazine)

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" -- Maurice Strong, Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Ronald Bailey produced some information on this rather appalling individual some years ago, see a copy here.

"“Full, True and Plain Disclosure” and Falsification" - "Full, true and plain disclosure" is a fundamental obligation in the offering of public securities. As someone with experience in this field, I’ve been reflecting for some time about the following questions:

Is there a duty of “full, true and plain disclosure” or its equivalent in science? If so, how is it expressed in journal policies and science codes of conduct? If not, should there be such a duty? (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

Can't keep their stories straight for two weeks: "Conifer trees get the chop" - "Effort to restore traditional varieties of English woodland gives owners second subsidy to replace foreign species planted for timber" (The Guardian)

Oh dear! For a little background, see British tree species will make way for continental neighbours (Edie.net), which highlighted this event, where we had Elliot Morley's speech at the Trees in a Changing Climate conference.

So, if we read the scorecard correctly, British trees and traditional English woodland will not be able to survive looming climate change, so naturally landholders will be paid, from the public purse, to replace exotic timber with, um, traditional English woodland.

Must be expecting really big things from the G8 meeting, eh?

"Rising sea levels may destroy nuclear dump" - "Rising sea levels caused by global warming could destroy the UK's only major nuclear waste dump in as little as 500 years, according to a report by the Environment Agency." (New Scientist)

"Global Warming May Alter Atlantic Currents, Study Says" - "Some scientists say the North Atlantic ocean current is vulnerable to rising temperatures." (National Geographic News)

"Greenhouse Hypocrisy" - "Almost a decade ago I suggested that global warming would become a "gushing" source of political hypocrisy. So it has. Politicians and scientists constantly warn of the grim outlook, and the subject is on the agenda of the upcoming Group of Eight summit of world economic leaders. But all this sound and fury is mainly exhibitionism -- politicians pretending they're saving the planet. The truth is that, barring major technological advances, they can't (and won't) do much about global warming. It would be nice if they admitted that, though this seems unlikely." (Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post)

"Europe's Rising Emissions" - "How is Europe responding to the challenge of global warming? With more global warming. That may seem incongruous given all of the EU's Kyoto hype, but take a look at the latest report from the European Environmental Agency on EU greenhouse gas emissions.

In it we learn that between 2002 and 2003 emissions have increased by 53 million tons, i.e. 1.3 percent, in the EU-15 after having fallen for two years in a row. Basically all of the reductions achieved in 2001 and 2002 have been lost. According to the EEA, "The emission increase in 2003 was mainly caused by an increase in power production using coal. The colder weather in the first quarter in several EU countries, also contributed to an increased use of fossil fuels to heat homes and offices." This tells us two important things: on the one hand, despite their environmental rhetoric, European countries aren't able to promote non-carbon based fuels; on the other hand, a colder winter (are we talking about global warming?) drove emissions up, whereas in 2002 a warm summer resulted in less emissions." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"Taiwan: EPA minister sees urgency in meeting targets set by Kyoto" - "Taiwan's newly appointed environmental protection minister suggested yesterday that to help Taiwan meet Kyoto Protocol targets, new car or motorcycle buyers should be required to plant trees to absorb the carbon dioxide discharged from their vehicles." (Taiwan News)

"Denmark becomes first country to buy Russian Kyoto quota" - "MOSCOW — The Danish government and Russia's electricity giant, Unified Energy Systems, have struck a deal on the sale of gas emission allowances under the Kyoto protocol, UES spokespeople report. Two UES subsidiaries - Orenburgenergo and Khabarovskenergo - signed the deal Tuesday with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, which is the authorized body of Denmark's government for climate change issues." (The Russia Journal)

Here's a shock: "Finance giant Allianz wants G8 climate change move" - "LONDON, June 28 - Allianz Group, one of the world's largest financial conglomerates, called on Tuesday for Group of Eight leaders to come up with a clearer policy on climate change so business can adapt to a global threat. It said its industry needed long-term goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Ahead of a G8 meeting in Scotland next week, the German insurance, banking and investment giant underlined its concerns by saying it would screen all its businesses for risks linked to rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2)." (Reuters) | Climate changes to push up insurance fees-Allianz (Reuters)

Insurance group wants to offload risk onto the public purse - imagine that...

"World will pay dearly for ignoring climate" - "THE global cost of catastrophic weather events will soar to $27 billion (£15 billion) a year by 2080 if world leaders do not address climate change, insurers will reveal today." (London Times)

"G8: Chirac predicts tough talks on climate, warns of threat to growth" - "PARIS - The G8 summit in Scotland next month will have to grapple with divergences over global warming and the threat to economic growth posed by "deep imbalances" such as the sky-high price of oil, French President Jacques Chirac said." (AFP)

Jacques, mate, the greatest threat to economic growth is global warming hysteria...

"New plan targets warming" - "With the Kyoto Protocol snubbed by some of the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, Japan is planning to propose industry-based standards in an effort to combat global warming. The government will submit the proposal at the annual Group of Eight summit, to be held next week in Gleneagles, Britain, sources said. Under the proposal, energy efficiency indexes would be established as nonbinding targets for each industry, with the cooperation of the International Energy Agency." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Central bank chief pushes for G8 to shift its focus to imbalances" - "Next week's Group of Eight summit should focus on the threat to global prosperity from economic imbalances rather than Africa and climate change, David Dodge, the governor of Canada's central bank, said yesterday. The rising economies of China, India and Brazil meant the G8 was no longer the right forum to deal with big economic issues, Mr Dodge added. He called for a new institution, expanded to include these countries and South Africa. "The [G8] summit should be focusing on the issue of how in the medium-term we are going to address global imbalances and how we will work with systemically important players in other parts of the world to deal with this issue." (Financial Times)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week: (Free access restored to articles and reviews)

"Notice: After six months of experimenting with two tiers of subscriptions to CO2Science, we have found that the vast majority of our subscribers have opted for premium membership, and that most of them have contributed significantly more than the nominal fee we charge for this service. Hence, we have decided to discontinue our basic membership program, as it accounts for only a small fraction of the funds we receive and stands in the way of many people who desire to visit our website. Premium membership, however, which is required for access to our several plant and climate data bases, will remain the same at $12.95 per year; but from this time forward, all textual material, both old and new, will once again be made freely available to everyone. To compensate those who currently hold basic memberships that are now obsolete, we have upgraded them to premium memberships."

"Earth's Temperature History: How Well Is It Known?" - "New findings suggest we may be premature in prescribing drastic cuts in anthropogenic CO 2 emissions based on what we have been told about earth's climatic history over the past several years." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Dark Ages Cold Period (South America)" - "Far from the handful of lands where climate alarmists might possibly be willing to acknowledge its existence, i.e., those lands that surround the North Atlantic Ocean, the Dark Ages Cold Period is strongly expressed in proxy climate data from South America." (co2science.org)

"Transpiration (Woody Plants: Dryland Shrubs)" - "How do dryland shrubs respond to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment, and what are the consequences for the biosphere?" (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: Japanese Knotweed, Mongolian Oak, Tall Fescue, and a 75-cm-tall herb." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Flooding and Drought in the US Northern Great Plains" - "Have the two hydrologic phenomena become more extreme in response to the supposedly unprecedented global warming of the 20th century?" (co2science.org)

"The Urban Heat Island of Debrecen, Hungary" - "How strong is it?  What drives it?  And what do the answers to these questions imply about our ability to use urban temperature measurements to correctly quantify background climate change?" (co2science.org)

"The Little Ice Age in Southernmost Chile" - "Wherever one looks around the world, there is evidence for the Little Ice Age, a period of colder temperatures that climate alarmists claim was a regional phenomenon of lands that border the North Atlantic Ocean." (co2science.org)

"Primary Production of Inner Mongolia, China" - "How has it varied over the past couple of decades?" (co2science.org)

"Experimental Warming of Icelandic Plant Communities" - "Will moderate global warming devastate Iceland's tundra ecosystems?" (co2science.org)

"Senate Passes Bill That Strives to Balance Oil and Alternatives" - "WASHINGTON, June 28 - The Senate overwhelmingly passed broad energy legislation on Tuesday, with its authors hoping the bill strikes a balance between traditional and alternative sources of power that can break a four-year Congressional stalemate over energy policy." (New York Times)

"High-octane energy fight" - "The Senate passes a version of energy legislation long sought by Bush, but it differs sharply from the House bill." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Micro-power hailed as cheap, safe energy of future" - "Thinktank sees nuclear subsidy as bar to full use of renewables." (The Guardian)

"France gets nuclear fusion plant" - "France will get to host the project to build a $6.6bn nuclear fusion reactor, in the face of strong competition from Japan. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor will be the most expensive joint scientific project after the International Space Station." (BBC)

"Environmentalists Angry over French Nuclear Project" - "PARIS - Environmental groups responded angrily on Tuesday to a deal to build the world's first nuclear fusion reactor in France -- a project Greenpeace called a ridiculous waste of money." (Reuters)

"G8 Leaders' Cars to Use Eco-Fuel made from Straw" - "OTTAWA - When leaders of the world's major industrialized nations meet next week, their cars will run on a blend that contains a fuel made from straw, which its Canadian makers say can help in the battle against climate change." (Reuters)

"Kernals of Truth" - "The world is going corn-crazy and maize-mad . . . again. Five years ago, there was near-hysteria over "contamination" of yellow corn and products made from it -- chips, tortillas, taco shells and the like -- with tiny amounts of a gene-spliced variety called StarLink. Federal regulators, who had approved the variety for livestock, but not human consumption, initiated a massive recall of more than 300 perfectly safe corn products, costing StarLink's producer more than $100 million and disrupting U.S. corn exports.

History is repeating itself. In March, it was reported that between 2001 and 2004 the Swiss agribusiness company Syngenta had inadvertently mislabeled and sold to American farmers small amounts of an unapproved corn variety called Bt10, as Bt11, an approved variety. The European Union and Japan are demanding that corn imported from the United States be tested and found to be free of Bt10." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"African Group Urges Ecowas to Reject Crops" - "Economic Community of West African States should not accept unhealthy propaganda of biotech industries bent on using Africa as a dumping ground for Genetically Modified crops, the Friends of the Earth Africa Action has advised." (Lagos This Day)

"Focus shifts to drought-tolerant, health providing GM crops" - "AS genetically modified (GM) crops gain acceptance among farmers, the focus has now turned to development of varieties that are drought-tolerant and those that can deliver health benefits." (Hindu Business Line)

"Germany to fund research into the safety of green gene technology" - "The German government is to support research into the safety of genetically modified (GM) plants with ten million euro over the next three years." (Cordis)

"Australian Gov't Pressures States To Lift GM Food Ban" - "CANBERRA, June 28 Asia Pulse - The federal government is stepping up pressure on the states to lift their bans on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) food crops. Most states have moratoria in place on GM crops until 2008, but the situation varies in each jurisdiction. Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss believes the bans are "unscientific" and has again called for them to be scrapped. He has criticised the states for sending delegations to the BIO 2005 conference in the United States this week in the hope of attracting biotechnology investment, while still maintaining the moratoria. "How can the states and territories hope to attract any investment while they keep their moratoria on GM crop cultivation in place?" Mr Truss said in a statement." (Asia Pulse)

June 28, 2005

Perpetuating the myth? "U.S. Has Plans to Again Make Own Plutonium" - "The Bush administration is planning the government's first production of plutonium 238 since the cold war. The substance is so radioactive that a speck can cause cancer." (New York Times)

"The substance is so radioactive that a speck can cause cancer" The response here is "Yes, but it isn't likely to do so." That's because plutonium is an alpha-emitter and a sheet of paper, in fact, the layer of dead skin cells that coats your body is quite sufficient to stop alpha particles and thus external exposure is of no consequence.

Contamination of food or water supply? Not really a big deal either since gut absorption is poor and your theoretical risk increase involves really tiny numbers.

The only risk of any note is inhalation and even then you'd have to be very unlucky to suffer adverse consequence. If you managed to inhale a suitable size particle and if that particle were to lodge in your lungs and remain so and if you survived all other risks for sufficient time then you might become a victim of plutonium-induced lung cancer. What do all those "if"s and "might"s add up to? According to ANL "breathing in 5,000 respirable plutonium particles, about 3 microns each, is estimated to increase an individual’s risk of incurring a fatal cancer about 1% above the U.S. average “background” rate for all causes combined."

"The substance is so radioactive that a speck can cause cancer" sounds so much more scary than "5,000 specks might increase your natural cancer risk by 1%," no?

"Corporate social responsibility in Peru: Locals protest for corporation – and against activists" - "The day I visited the Peruvian mountain village of La Oroya, I watched Mayor Clemente Quincho lead a noisy demonstration involving thousands of marchers. Their loud slogans and emotional chants would remind anyone of the protests that have long characterized environmental and civil rights activism. In many ways, that’s exactly what this was.

But this wasn’t your ordinary demonstration. These vocal townsfolk were demonstrating in favor of the continued operation of an 80-year-old copper and lead smelter – both because it’s the lifeblood of the town and because they support the company, Doe Run Peru, in its efforts to improve social and environmental conditions in the region.

Unfortunately for the people of La Oroya, this doesn’t sit well with international advocacy groups like Oxfam, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth – who have made Doe Run one of the latest targets in their ongoing anti-corporation, anti-development campaigns. These campaigns ignore the wishes of people in developing-world communities that the international groups profess to defend." (Dr. Patrick Moore, MichNews.com)

"Brazil's dangerous denial" - "When is a life-saving intervention somebody else's responsibility? From the example of Brazil, the answer seems to be: When it's expensive." (Roger Bate, TCS)

"$5.1 billion would save 6 million children" - "According to researchers from the JHSPH, six million children could be saved if $5.1 billion in new resources for preventive and therapeutic interventions were provided each year in the 42 countries around the world where approximately 90 percent of all child deaths occur." (Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health)

"From malaria to TB, top scientists get £245m to revolutionise world health" - "Some of the world's most inventive scientists were yesterday awarded grants totalling $450m (£245m) to turn their outside-the-box ideas into practical solutions to the 14 greatest problems besetting human health today. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose multibillionaire entrepreneur founder knows something about invention, yesterday revealed the winners of the Grand Challenges in global health, which it launched in 2003 to identify the major obstacles to improving health and find ways to overcome them." (The Guardian)

"Everything That Can Go Wrong Listed" - "FULLERTON, CA—A worldwide consortium of scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers is nearing the completion of the ambitious, decade-long project of cataloging everything that can go wrong, project leader Dr. Thomas R. Kress announced at a press conference Tuesday.

"We are mere weeks from finishing one of the most thorough and provocative scientific surveys of our time," Kress said. "The catalog of every possible unfortunate scenario will complete the work of the ancient Phoenicians and the early Christian theologians. Soon, every hazardous possibility will be known to man."

"And listed," Kress added." (The ONION)

"EPA proposal would allow human tests of pesticides" - "Manufacturers would be allowed to test some pesticides on human volunteers when seeking government approval without applying all the ethical safeguards recommended last year by an expert panel, under proposed rules soon to be issued by the EPA." (Washington Post)

"EPA criticized for pesticide testing rules" - "A proposed policy on experiments on human volunteers is inadequate and could lead to abuse by industry, California lawmakers charge." (Los Angeles Times)

"New blood-pressure guidelines pay off — for drug companies" - "In recent years, expert panels from prestigious medical-research organizations have called for lower thresholds for blood pressure and behind each of those panels were the giant pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the new and expensive hypertension drugs." (Seattle Times)

"Tempest in a Cereal Bowl?" - "Last week, General Mills announced its intent to launch a national ad campaign that will be targeted at children and tout the health benefits of eating breakfast -- especially a breakfast of cereal that the company produces. Among the General Mills cereals being promoted to
kids are several brands that are pre-sweetened with added sugar.

The ad campaign should have been welcomed -- and praised -- -for the pro-health message it will promote: eating breakfast is important for children. Instead, a parade of churlish nutritionists stepped up to the media microphones and complained that General Mills was acting irresponsibly by urging kids to eat cereal that contains sugar." (Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, TCS)

"Rush toward new weight-loss drugs tramples patients' health" - "By the mid-1990s, some of the world's most prominent obesity experts, with backing from the drug industry and medical societies, defined obesity as a stand-alone "disease" that caused premature death and needed to be treated with drugs." (Seattle Times)

"Intention to lose weight and mortality" - "Research published in PLoS Medicine reveals that deliberate weight loss in overweight individuals without known illness is not obviously beneficial, and may be hazardous in the long term." (Public Library of Science)

"Cancer: looking beyond mutations" - "Some scientists are beginning to challenge the widespread belief that gene mutations largely control the development of cancer. They are looking to new ideas, including changes in gene expression and errors in cell division called aneuploidy." (Houston Chronicle)

"Phthalates to be banned in toys and childcare articles" - "The planned compromise deal banning, without age-limitations, the use of phthalates in toys, will be an EU landmark decision in the protection of children's health." (Euractiv)

"Immune to Reason" - "Other than UFOs, there may be no hotter topic for conspiracy theorists than the claim that childhood vaccines cause autism. There are more than 150 Web sites devoted to fingering various vaccines for the severe neurological disorder. Many blame a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal, used in some vaccines, while others blame the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, although it never used thimerosal. The only commonality is that autism appears shortly after the period during which childhood vaccinations are given. The theorists take this "post hoc" fallacy, add suggestive quotations (often taken out of context), toss in a few "experts" and claim cover-up – so far, unconvincingly." (Michael Fumento, Wall Street Journal)

"EU sets 2011 deadline to ban mercury exports" - "Environment ministers from the European Union, the world's largest producer of mercury, called on Friday for exports of the toxic substance to be banned by 2011." (Reuters)

"Canada's environment ministers draft agreement on mercury standards" - "HALIFAX - Canada's environment ministers agreed in principle Monday on a national standard to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. The draft plan calls for the aggressive use of technology and clean coal initiatives to cut 2003-2004 mercury output levels by 58 per cent by 2010." (CP)

"Growth secrets of Alaska's mysterious field of lakes" - "The thousands of oval lakes that dot Alaska's North Slope are some of the fastest-growing lakes on the planet. How the lakes grow so fast, why they're oriented in the same direction and what gives them their odd shape has puzzled geologists for decades. New research indicates that the lakes' unusual shape, orientation and speed of expansion all result from seasonal warming of the permafrost." (University of Arizona)

Took a long time to figure out they were dead? "2003 heatwave killed 20,000 in Italy, many more than thought" - "The heatwave that hit much of Europe in 2003 killed almost 20,000 people throughout Italy, the national statistics institute said on Monday, more than doubling the previous official estimate of the toll and taking it above that recorded in neighbouring France." (Agence France-Presse)

Bluff Called (Number Watch)

"Blair admits G8 climate deal 'very difficult'" - "LONDON - Britain's Tony Blair vowed on Monday to press for agreement among world powers to tackle the causes of climate change but admitted he was a long way from achieving it." (Reuters)

"While acknowledging the global warming issue, the U.S. Senate joins President Bush in refusing to take substantial steps to begin solving it" - "The U.S. Senate voted to kill an amendment to energy legislation that would begin the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The decision dovetails with the Bush administration's policy of trying to halt global warming by wishing it away. By dumping the measure, backed by moderates such as John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., senators signaled that they were not ready to take economically restrictive steps to deal with the emissions that an expanding number of climatologists believe are steadily heating the Earth's atmosphere." (Houston Chronicle)

The Chronicle goes on to say "At some point, as the scientific evidence mounts, policy-makers must decide whether the price of our inaction will be too steep for future generations to pay." From the perspective of trusting souls who have allowed themselves to be stampeded by hyperbolic statements regarding global warming, this might seem a fair statement. Does their emotive appeal stand scrutiny - did they ask themselves appropriate questions first? Let's pose a few, with what answers seem most appropriate:

  • Do we know anthropogenic global warming to be a serious hazard? No, we're decades to centuries short of really understanding climate and its myriad forcings.
  • Assuming that it is, would Kyoto do any significant good? No, the estimated effect on global temperature will be immeasurably small and of no known benefit.
  • Is there a downside to Kyoto? Yes, misdirecting public funds and resources has a negative effect and energy rationing certainly recessionary.
  • Are there other possibly beneficial uses for said funds and effort? Of course.
  • Could humans knowingly and predictably 'control' climate? Nope.
  • Is it possible humans would be better off ignoring attempts to 'control' climate for the foreseeable future? Of course.

Houston Chronicle, you have a problem. We don't know whether we genuinely have a climate problem and we couldn't predictably adjust the climate even if we do. That leaves us with the situation where doing 'something' has an unknown possibility of doing good associated with a certainty of doing harm. Looks more like policy-makers must decide whether the price of our action will be too steep for future generations to pay.

Right... "Nightmare vision of underwater Britain" - "THE UK's major coastal cities could be submerged as a result of massive sea-level rises over the next two centuries, transforming the British mainland into a string of islands, according to latest research. In a doomsday scenario, the melting of ice sheets caused by global warming could mean that Scotland's major coastal conurbations, including Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness, and smaller settlements such as Peterhead and Ullapool, could be wiped off the map completely." (The Scotsman)

This has to be one of the silliest pieces we've seen in a long time (not just The Scotsman's - it's fairly general in the UK media). From memory it's even overstating possible sea level rise from total global ice melt by about 50 feet but, since that means raising Antarctic temperatures by, oh, 50 °C or thereabouts, we aren't going to be measuring it, are we.

but no worries though... "Space Ring Could Shade Earth and Stop Global Warming" - "A wild idea to combat global warming suggests creating an artificial ring of small particles or spacecrafts around Earth to shade the tropics and moderate climate extremes." (LiveScience.com)

Just for novelty value: "Climate change in Egypt 'to force millions to migrate'" - "Millions of Egyptians could be forced to migrate as climate change makes their livelihoods untenable, warns a report published last month by Egypt's environment ministry. The report, compiled in collaboration with Egyptian research institutions, recommends the government acts both to prepare for climate change and to reduce emissions of the 'greenhouse gases' that cause it." (SciDev.Net)

"Senate energy bill faces GOP opposition" - "For the third time in four years, the Senate is certain to produce an energy bill embraced by Republicans and Democrats. But its chance of becoming law depends on hard bargaining with House GOP leaders more favorable to industry." (Associated Press)

"Senate Is Set to Pass Energy Bill As House Seeks Accord on MTBE" - "The Senate is set to approve a wide-ranging energy bill today as House lawmakers hope to find a middle ground on a fuel-additive provision that has derailed the bill for four years running." (Wall Street Journal)

"Blair poised to say Yes to more nuclear power" - " TONY Blair yesterday gave his clearest signal yet that he will authorise the controversial building of a new generation of nuclear reactors. To the dismay of environmental campaigners, the Prime Minister answered a question about new nuclear stations by casting doubt on whether wind and wave farms or solar power were viable alternatives." (The Scotsman)

"UC scientist says ethanol uses more energy than it makes" - "Ethanol, touted as an alternative fuel of the future, may eat up far more energy during its creation than it winds up giving back, according to research by a UC Berkeley scientist that raises questions about the nation's move toward its widespread use." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Governor's Solar Plan Is Generating Opposition" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to spend billions of dollars to put electricity-producing solar panels on a million California rooftops could be running into stormy weather." (Los Angeles Times)

"Power station begins fuel trial" - "The UK's biggest power station is to start an 18-month trial to burn the controversial fuel petroleum coke." (BBC)

"Europe may force airlines to pay for CO2 emissions" - "AIRLINES will be forced to buy permits to cover all their carbon dioxide emissions under European proposals to address the growing contribution that flights make to global warming. Ticket prices for return trips within the European Union will increase by between approximately £1 and £6, according to the option favoured in a report for the European Commission. Aviation could join the European emissions trading scheme as soon as 2008, although British Airways believes that 2010 is more likely. The scheme would apply only to routes within the European Union. Unlike other industries taking part in the scheme, aviation would not be given “grandfather” rights to cover its existing emissions." (London Times)

"BA says emissions trade may be passed on in fares" - "LONDON - British Airways said on Monday extra costs to the airline from a European emissions trading scheme would likely be partly passed on to passengers through ticket price hikes. However, this would be a cheaper option for passengers than alternatives for tackling climate change such as fuel taxes, according to the airline, which strongly backs joining the European Union scheme." (Reuters)

June 27, 2005

"Using the Most Vulnerable" - "Headlines recently exclaimed: "Hormone-altering chemical puts ICU newborns at risk-Babies treated with plastics have high levels of a toxic substance, a study finds." The basis for this disturbing news was a study from Harvard School of Public Health published in the on-line issue of Environmental Health Perspectives which detected phthalates in the urine of critically-ill and premature babies in neonatal intensive care units. The amounts correlated with how many medical treatments and procedures were being used to save their lives -- babies with the highest levels of intervention had levels 5.1 times higher than those with the least.

But before emotions, fears and uncertainties get the better of us, let's turn to the scientific evidence. Are "detectible" amounts of a chemical -- in billionths of a gram -- "high"? Does its mere presence make it dangerous? And is this chemical even considered a danger to humans in the first place? No, no and no." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Failed agenda returns as HBN" - "What’s in a name? Ask Philip Morris, the holding company for a tobacco producer that changed its name to the benign, sunny-sounding “Altria.” Ask Andersen Consulting, which, after the Enron debacle, felt its prospects might improve under the new, softer “Accenture” handle. Or ask my ex-colleagues at Greenpeace." (Patrick Moore, Greenspirit Strategies Ltd.)

"Focus: He was not a scientist and did not harm animals. But they blew his car up anyway" - "The latest attack shows that animal rights extremists are now targetting people with little connection to testing labs. Tim Luckhurst reveals who is behind these terrifying tactics." (London Independent)

"Liberals, Conservatives and Aid" - "Karl Rove has his theories about what separates liberals from conservatives and I have mine. Mine include the differences between Jeffrey Sachs and George Bush." (David Brooks, New York Times)

"Keeping the Poor, Poor" - "Helping the under privileged can be hard work. Take Oxfam's recent experience in Sri Lanka. Customs authorities insisted it pay US $1 million in duties on 25 four wheel drive vehicles imported by Oxfam for tsunami relief. Naturally, Oxfam objected. Shouldn't Sri Lanka contribute to help its own people as well? A case can be made for that, but not by Oxfam given how it encourages developing countries to regulate trade." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

Oh well, that explains it then: "Many in Brazil See Their Amazon as a Jungle of Foreign Intrigue: Suspicions run wild that 'hegemonic' powers like the U.S. have designs on the vast, rich region" - "BELEM, Brazil — Afghanistan was the first to fall. Iraq, with all that oil, was next. And Socorro Leite says she has a fair idea of what else lies in the sights of the American imperialists. "Soon," she warns, "their target will be the Amazon." (Los Angeles Times)

"Health groups' funding faulted" - "Leaders of organizations that advocate on behalf of people with specific diseases, disorders or conditions concede their groups couldn't survive without corporate sponsors, and contend it's natural that chief among them are companies that sell products to treat the ailment." (Sacramento Bee)

"Group estimates potential toll of pandemic flu outbreak at 500,000 dead" - "More than a half-million people could die and more than 2.3 million could be hospitalized if a moderately severe strain of pandemic flu virus hits the United States, a research group said Friday." (Associated Press)

"On Autism's Cause, It's Parents vs. Research" - "Public health officials have been trying for years to convince parents that there is no link between thimerosal - a mercury-containing preservative once used routinely in vaccines - and autism. They have failed." (New York Times)

"Experts Reject Some Therapies" - "Practitioners are using nutritional supplements, sauna baths and powerful "detoxification" drugs to treat autism in the belief that it is caused by thimerosal, a vaccine preservative that contains mercury. But health experts say such therapies are not effective and can be harmful." (New York Times)

"Polls finds many Americans believe cancer myths" - "An American Cancer Society survey finds up to half of Americans mistakenly believe surgery can spread cancer, and more than one in four thinks a cure for cancer already exists but is being held back by a profit-driven industry." (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

"Senator slams Scots scientists for testing toxic pesticides on humans" - "An Edinburgh laboratory has been criticised by an influential US senator for intentionally exposing volunteers to harmful pesticides." (Glasgow Sunday Herald)

Now they're editorialising on trans-fat! "As Serious as a Heart Attack" - "Most people who pay attention to their diets know that partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fat that clogs the arteries and reduces the "good" cholesterol that helps unclog them. Beginning next year, companies must disclose trans-fat amounts on food labels. But it is already clear that the Food and Drug Administration is going to have to do more to protect the public from heart-threatening fats." (New York Times)

"Overweight who diet risk dying earlier, says study" - "Overweight people who diet to reach a healthier weight are more likely to die young than those who remain fat, according to a study. The finding needs to be backed up by further research before sweeping changes are made to public health strategies, the authors warn, but it highlights how poorly the long-term health effects of dieting are understood." (The Guardian)

"Health spending soars for obesity" - "Private health insurance spending on illnesses related to obesity has increased more than tenfold since 1987, according to the first research to quantify the trend. The growth in obesity has fueled a dramatic increase in the amount spent treating diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and other weight-related illnesses, says the study, which is published today in Health Affairs, an online journal of health policy and research." (USA Today)

"Endangered Species Act Faces Broad New Challenges" - "WASHINGTON, June 22 - More than three decades after the Endangered Species Act gave the federal government tools and a mandate to protect animals, insects and plants threatened with extinction, the landmark law is facing the most intense efforts ever by the White House, Congress, landowners and industry to limit its reach." (New York Times)

My brane hurts (Number Watch)

"Ozone, Heal Thyself, US declares" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Jun - Holes in the ozone layer over the Earth's polar regions remain dangerously large, even as international efforts to solve the problem are flagging, scientists warn. The Arctic region suffered its greatest ever loss of stratospheric ozone last winter. Only a change in weather prevented millions of people in the Northern hemisphere from being exposed to significantly higher levels of damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Ozone depletion has not lessened despite international action through the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, scientists from Cambridge University reported last April in the leading journal Nature." (IPS)

Problems fixing what ain't broke?

This could get interesting... "Letters Requesting Information Regarding Global Warming Studies" -  "The Committee on Energy and Commerce has written to IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri; National Science Foundation Director Arden Bement; Dr. Michael Mann; Dr. Malcolm K. Hughes and Dr. Raymond S. Bradley, requesting information regarding global warming studies." (The Committee on Energy and Commerce)

... as far as JunkScience.com is concerned, with obvious exclusions such as patient privacy, data produced during publicly funded studies is public data. Apparently this is not the universal view.

"Public rejects giving control of energy use to government" - "Only a week after USA TODAY, in an article summarizing mainstream media opinion, announced that "The debate's over: Globe is warming," the Senate voted 60-38 to once again reject measures aimed at controlling energy use. The margin of defeat was even bigger than a similar vote last year and was followed by a 49-46 vote against a nonbinding resolution sponsored by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., calling on the United States to negotiate an international treaty on global warming. The last such treaty, the Kyoto Protocol negotiated by then-Vice President Al Gore in 1996, was greeted in the Senate by a 95-0 resolution refusing to even bring it up for ratification." (Thomas Bray, The Detroit News)

The Week That Was June 25, 2005 (SEPP)

"Global warming will bring fiercer hurricanes" - "Despite intense speculation, there is no proof that global warming has caused an increase in the number of Atlantic hurricanes in recent years. But a warming Earth is definitely making the hurricanes wetter, more powerful and hence more dangerous." (New Scientist)

"A Man on a Mission" - "Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has been assigned the position of Lead Author of the “observations” chapter of the upcoming (due out in 2007) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As such, he is responsible for heading the effort to gather together and summarize the current state of scientific understanding concerning observed climate variability and change. However, based upon some recent statements that have been attributed to him, it is not clear that he can be trusted to fulfill that role." (World Climate Report)

"How does the Antarctic ice sheet affect sea level rise?" - "The greatest uncertainty in predictions of future sea level rise lies in the contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet. But it now appears that greater snowfall in East Antarctica will not be enough to offset sea-level rise caused by other elements of climate change." (Science)

Indoctrination kit to suit all Canadian children:  "Teacher's Kits on Climate Change now available!" - "OTTAWA, June 24 - Climate change fits in all subject areas. Whether it's through science, social studies or geography, students can learn about climate change and take action!" (CNW Telbec)

"Green stars 'can't see wood for the trees'" - "IT IS the latest celebrity badge of honour in the fight to save the planet from the devastating consequences of global warming. Pop stars such as Coldplay and Dido have signed up for "carbon offsetting" - planting trees to compensate for the production of damaging greenhouse gases by the industry - as have Hollywood actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood. The Rebel Wood at Orbost on the Isle of Skye was the first carbon offset forest in the world when it was started by The Clash singer Joe Strummer in 2000, two years before his death. But the feelgood campaign has now been attacked from an unexpected quarter. Environment groups claim carbon offsetting through tree-planting has become a fashionable way of showing concern for global warming but has little or no long-term effect." (Jeremy Watson, Scotland on Sunday)

Pulling out all the stops before the G8 meeting:

"Condemned to death by degrees" - "The science is indisputable: climate change is real. But can we learn the lessons of history to save ourselves?" (London Observer)

"How Britain will burn up" - "Although no one can say precisely what the long-term effects of climate change will bring, scientists agree its impact will be dramatic in our lifetime." (London Observer)

"Outbreaks of freak weather will increase, climate experts warn" - "Britain faces many more unpredictable and dangerous flash floods, the country's top environmental watchdog warned yesterday, as Tony Blair contemplates publicly breaking with George Bush for the first time over global warming." (London Independent)

"John Houghton: Take the flood tide now" - "Britain's top climatologist says a G8 fudge on global warming could be disastrous" (London Independent)

"Leader: The heat is on" - "Act on carbon emissions now." (The Observer)

"Climate Shock" - "The Senate has now completed work on an energy bill that might actually do some good. But that was not the only surprising news from the Senate floor last week: despite ferocious White House opposition, the Senate went on record as favoring a program of mandatory controls of emissions of the gases that contribute to global warming." (New York Times)

Apparently not the kind you look up: "FEATURE-Kyoto protocol: waste of cash or green lifeline?" - "BONN, Germany, June 27 - A waste of more than $1,300 a year for every American, undermining economic growth and jobs? Or a lifeline for the planet costing just an annual $20 for each European? The U.N.'s Kyoto protocol on curbing global warming looks utterly different when viewed from Washington, which opposes the 150-nation pact, or from its main backers in the European Union, Japan or Canada. So who is right?" (Reuters)

So, if it's only an annual cost of $20/European why do the figures look like this following a period of, well, pitiful growth (at least in the EU):

  • Canada: 1990-levels +20%
  • Denmark: 1990-levels +6% (2010 target +27%)
  • Greece: (projected) 1990-levels +38.6% by 2010
  • Ireland: (projected) 1990-levels +29.4% by 2010
  • Japan: variously described as 1990-levels +8% - 1990-levels +12.1%
  • Portugal: (projected) 1990-levels +53.1% by 2010
  • Spain: (projected) 1990-levels +48.3% by 2010 (numbers curtesy EnviroSpin Watch)

Sounds like a bargain for Europeans since slashing their energy use by one-third only upsetting productivity by $20/European/year suggests they don't do much productive work with all that energy anyway.

"While Supplies Last: Three Natural Wonders That Are Feeling the Heat" - "While skeptics still call the increase in the earth's temperature over the last century a natural evolution, its effects are beginning to show in some of the world's most famous tourist destinations. Here are three where the changes have been particularly dramatic in recent years." (New York Times)

"The Race to Alaska Before It Melts" - "Alaska is changing by the hour. From the far north, where higher seas are swamping native villages, to the tundra around Fairbanks, where melting permafrost is forcing some roads and structures to buckle, to the rivers of receding ice." (New York Times)

"Climate change threatens humanity's cradle Africa" - "Climate change in Africa gave rise to modern humans but now experts fear that global warming linked to carbon emissions will have its worst impact on humanity's cradle." (Reuters)

"UK: Parks try tropical trees to beat heat" - "LONDON’S royal parks are to be planted with Mediterranean and tropical trees because they will be able to withstand the effects of climate change." (London Times)

"French watchdogs call for early action to cope with climate change" - "PARIS - France needs to introduce a early strategy to cope with climate change, whose effects will ripple across almost every sector of society and the economy, a report unveiled by government experts said." (AFP)

"Wilted Europe eyes global warming (and air conditioners)" - "A searing heat wave closes stores, opens windows, and gives new life to perceptions that America is inattentive to global warming." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Britain backs curb on cheap flights" - "The majority of Britons believe that there must be restrictions on cheap air travel if the increasing problem of global warming is going to be tackled." (The Observer)

"Investors impatient for action at the top" - "Multinationals are under growing pressure from powerful City investors to explain what they are doing to mitigate the risks from global warming. In response, companies want government to take a lead in laying down clear ground rules to allow industry to invest in order to meet the challenges posed by climate change." (London Observer)

Investors should keep their shirts on - or risk losing them. Just how anyone imagines energy rationing schemes to be the path to wealth creation remains a mystery.

Wishful thinking from the, um, 'Carbon Trust': "Homeland revolt threatens Bush" - "Beneath the surface a quiet green revolution is taking place in American politics, and, perhaps more importantly, in American business." (London Observer)

"Why the Earth needs a Jamie Oliver treatment" - "'Realistically, the best thing that could come from the G8 meeting would be a signal that countries and major corporations are willing to move to a low-carbon economy across the world,' says the 46-year-old chief executive of the Carbon Trust, the government company charged with helping UK business reduce their carbon emissions." (London Observer)

"Small steps can save the planet" - "Every move you make, every breath you take leaves its mark on the environment, in the form of your carbon footprint - the amount of carbon dioxide that you release into the atmosphere." (London Observer)

"Beckham's feats too big for good of environment" - "His foot has made him an idol to millions, but David Beckham's carbon footprint is likely to earn him a red card from environmentalists." (London Observer)

"Housebuilders failing to see the light" - "Reducing energy consumption by careful use of resources is obviously key to meeting Kyoto targets. But Britain's homeowners, councils and house builders appear complacent and dangerously slow at doing anything about it." (London Observer)

"Businesses must report impact on green issues" - "Businesses will be asked to report their impact on the environment from today with a set of voluntary guidelines that will become compulsory if not followed." (Financial Times)

How voluntary are guidelines that are compelled?

"Colleges Compete to Shrink Their Mark On the Environment" - "After decades of inertia, American colleges and universities have begun to recognize that they have lagged behind the corporate world in tackling energy conservation and efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and trash generation." (Washington Post)

"Korea to Open Greenhouse Gas Reduction Registry" - "SEOUL - The government said on Sunday that it will open a greenhouse gas reduction registry in July to encourage companies to cut back on emissions. The move is designed to prepare domestic companies for the emissions-reduction scheme in the Kyoto Protocol on climate control, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said." (Korea Times)

"U.S. Court Backs Bush's Changes on Clean Air Act" - "WASHINGTON, June 24 - A federal appeals court sided with the Bush administration on Friday, upholding its revisions of the Clean Air Act to allow plant operators to modernize without installing expensive new pollution control equipment. The ruling turned back challenges to the revisions by New York, California and a dozen other states. In upholding central provisions of the regulations known as New Source Review, the court concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency had acted within its rights in issuing rules in 2002 that allowed operators of power plants, refineries, and factories greater flexibility in controlling emissions of air pollutants than they had previously." (New York Times)

"Toyota says US Mileage Rule will Hurt Bottomline" - "DETROIT- Toyota Motor Corp., which has sought to burnish its image as an environmentally friendly automaker, said Friday that tougher US fuel economy standards could hurt its bottlomline. Toyota, which has won high marks for mass production of fuel-sipping gas-electric hybrid vehicles, also warned that US efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions could prove "costly" for the company." (Reuters)

"Tokyo's clean air policy found to be paying off" - "Regulations governing diesel exhaust emissions have reduced air pollution in Tokyo significantly, according to a Tokyo metropolitan government survey." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Rising power demand unearths coal dilemma" - "Consumers in Indiana don't tend to worry about electricity. But they should." (Indianapolis Star)

"Is Blair's turbine vision all hot air?" - "The winds of change are blowing over energy generation in Britain. Turbines are springing up in their hundreds with the government promising thousands more will follow. For the short-term at least, the wind will be granted every opportunity to demonstrate its role in satisfying Britain's future energy demands." (London Observer)

"Energy on ice" - "Frozen methane hydrates could be a giant source of energy in the future. Place a match next to the ice and it burns." (Science News)

"To Replace Oil, U.S. Experts See Amber Waves of Plastic" - "Chemists and engineers are racing to figure out how to substitute Iowa's bounty for Iraq's. The goal: to use crops, weeds and even animal waste in place of the petroleum that fuels much of American manufacturing." (Los Angeles Times)

"Hydrogen cars? Don't hold your breath" - "It is hard to imagine oil companies and environmentalists in agreement on how to achieve greener travel. But now the car industry has made it clear the future fuel of choice will be hydrogen, and although the technology is still in its early stages, the big players in the climate-change debate are starting to speak the same language." (London Observer)

"Farmers: Frankenfoods aren't evil crop monsters" - "Critics say genetically altered seeds will ruin the land, but they're gaining in popularity." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"EU votes to continue ban on GM crops" - "The UK failed to persuade the rest of Europe to give in to American pressure and lift the ban on genetically modified crops and food yesterday." (London Guardian)

June 24, 2005

"Rock Stars' Activism Could Be Put to Better Use" - "Bob Geldof's Live 8 concerts scheduled for July 2 will spotlight the problem of global poverty ahead of the July 6-8 G8 summit in Scotland. But like Geldof's 1985 Live Aid concert, Live 8 it is a noble idea that, unfortunately, isn't likely to make any significant or lasting progress toward reducing poverty in Africa." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Spice Up G8 with No Regrets" - "The suggestion that the Spice Girls are about to re-form may not seem like major international development news, but the upcoming Live 8 concert on July 2 at which Ginger, Baby, Scary, Posh and the other one will probably perform does give us a good opportunity to reconsider the real problems facing the world." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Save Africa From America" - "Jeffrey Sachs has done heroic work bringing the world's attention to the malaria issue. But based on the anti-malaria provisions he outlines below, it appears Professor Sachs thinks simply throwing money at a problem equals results. It doesn't. Sometimes it just equals a lot of wasted money. Bednets have their purpose, but bednets as the only form of malaria prevention are not enough. To control malaria areas need a compressive malaria plan that fits the needs of different areas, plans that may well include the spraying of insecticides." (AFM)

"Mozambique battles malaria" - "The Southern African nation of Mozambique, which is set to fete its 30th anniversary of independence from Portugal this weekend, is fighting an uphill battle against malaria which claims the life of a child every 15 minutes." (AFM)

"In Man versus Microbe, Germs Will Lose" - "The number of writers forecasting humanity's downfall before an onslaught of "supergerms" is countless. Most notorious is Newsday's Laurie Garrett, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for her hysterical writing on Ebola virus – which kills fewer people yearly than malaria kills every two hours and tuberculosis kills each hour. She also gave us two hysterical but best-selling and prize-winning (or shall we say, "THEREFORE best-selling and prize-winning") books on the imminent victory of microbe over man. But it was always predictable (and in my case, predicted) that she would be wrong for one simple reason: Germs don't have intelligence and we do." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

Nice to hear JunkScience.com is Soso inspiring: "Soso, So Good: Can woman live on Mickey D’s alone?" - 'Morgan Spurlock, of Supersize Me fame, may have gained 30 pounds living on McDonald's for a month, but Soso Whaley had an altogether different experience—both losing weight and dropping cholesterol points." (Kathryn Jean Lopez, NRO)

"Unease over guidelines that label 9 out of 10 people as sick" - "Guidelines that set ever lower thresholds for "normal" blood pressure and cholesterol mean that 90% of people over 50 could be labelled as sick, warn doctors in this week's BMJ." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Pharmaceuticals in waterways raise concern" - "Academics, state officials and environmental advocates are starting to question whether massive amounts of discarded pharmaceuticals, which are often flushed down the drain, pose a threat to the nation's aquatic life and possibly to people." (Washington Post)

"Fragrances in human fat" - "Some US residents are taking up polycyclic musk compounds from cleaning and personal care products. The amounts are higher than levels observed in Europeans." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"The changing chemistry of office cubicles" - "Tests reveal that most newer office furniture and equipment produce much fewer potentially toxic emissions than their predecessors. But even the greenest office cubicles usually emit 200–300 different chemicals." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Scrutinizing pavement sealants for PAHs" - "When city workers in Austin, Texas, detected unusually high concentrations of carcinogenic PAHs in sediments near the popular Barton Springs swimming hole, they were initially stumped about where the contaminants could be coming from. New research indicates that the source could be parking-lot sealants, not just in Austin but in streams nationwide." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Poorer kids have much lower risk of leukemia" - "Children living in Canada's poorest neighbourhoods have a sharply lower risk of developing leukemia compared to their wealthier peers, according to an intriguing new study." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

Hmm... support for the "hygiene hypothesis"? Perhaps, or conversely, support for the "population churn" school of thought, since the more affluent are more likely to move into new estates and rates tend to be higher where you have new population mixing. Some things it suggests against are old favourites like pollution and power lines since less-affluent areas tend to be closer to industrial sites and transmission lines, which is why they are lower price tag dwellings to begin with.

"Justices Uphold Taking Property for Developing" - "WASHINGTON, June 23 - The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, in one of its most closely watched property rights cases in years, that fostering economic development is an appropriate use of the government's power of eminent domain." (New York Times)

"Property Rights Devastated by Supreme Court Ruling" - "The U.S. Supreme Court today dealt a blow to property rights in a split decision that will hurt homeowners and small business owners across the country. "The Supreme Court has said that local governments can seize private land if government and business interests think they know best how the land should be used," said Hans Bader, legal counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute." (CEI)

Old Gray's still Red: "Editorial: The Limits of Property Rights" - "The Supreme Court's ruling yesterday that the economically troubled city of New London, Conn., can use its power of eminent domain to spur development was a welcome vindication of cities' ability to act in the public interest. It also is a setback to the "property rights" movement, which is trying to block government from imposing reasonable zoning and environmental regulations. Still, the dissenters provided a useful reminder that eminent domain must not be used for purely private gain." (New York Times)

The NYT places quotes around "property rights"? A bit like "copyright" or "patent" eh? Presumably then The Times would view it as reasonable if the government of the day seized the press during some future recession as a means of promoting or imposing more reasonable zoning and environmental regulations (read: more profitable ones to spur development - in the public interest, of course). After all, the government would not then be using eminent domain for purely private gain and the "free press" movement is only trying to block government from the same things as that pesky "property rights" movement, no?

Eminent domain has a place, to be sure. Some essential use for society cannot be held to ransom by profiteers or even those simply resistant to change. The properties being seized in this case present no danger to society or any member thereof, they had not fallen into blight and they do not stand to impede essential infrastructure - they are being seized so someone can make a profit. Make no mistake, we are all for people making a profit. We can not, however, view the profit of a section of the community as sufficient reason for seizing the property of individuals or another section of the community. As the The Wall Street Journal notes today:

No one disputes that this power of "eminent domain" makes sense in limited circumstances; the Constitution's Fifth Amendment explicitly provides for it. But the plain reading of that Amendment's "takings clause" also appears to require that eminent domain be invoked only when land is required for genuine "public use" such as roads. It further requires that the government pay owners "just compensation" in such cases.

The founding fathers added this clause to the Fifth Amendment -- which also guarantees "due process" and protects against double jeopardy and self-incrimination -- because they understood that there could be no meaningful liberty in a country where the fruits of one's labor are subject to arbitrary government seizure.

How a major broadsheet like The New York Times, an alleged bastion of rights and freedom, can be so blithely cavalier about the right of property is absolutely mystifying. Who could have imagined a once-great paper, a staunch defender of freedom and basic human rights could have so putrefied in its senility as to decline to such a sorry red rag?

"Editorial: A win for big government" - "Cities may now seize homes and businesses and hand them over to private developers to raise tax revenue. Kelo v. New London is a resounding defeat for ordinary landowners and a threat to property rights." (The Washington Times)

"They Can't Take That Away From Me... Unless They Can" - "By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that governments may seize your business and even your home in order to facilitate private economic development schemes." (Stephen Bainbridge, TCS)

"New findings show persistent El Niño-like conditions during past global warming" - "During the most recent period in Earth's past with a climate warmer than today, the tropical Pacific was in a stable state of El Niño-like conditions, according to a new study. Whether this represents a likely scenario for the future, given the current rise in global temperatures, is uncertain. Nevertheless, the study has important implications for scientists trying to understand the global climate system and how it might respond to global warming." (University of California - Santa Cruz)

"Climate change 'worries children'" - "Climate change is young people's biggest concern for the world's future, a government survey says." (BBC)

Then stop terrorising them with stupid scares and endless propaganda in schools.

"Global warming evident in Timor Sea corals, say scientists" - "Scientists aboard Australia's national research vessel say corals found about 600 kilometres north of Darwin could already be showing signs of global warming. The Southern Surveyor has returned to Darwin after a voyage to the Timor Sea. Australian National University scientist Bradley Updyke says if coral is drilled and examined at the core, water temperature could be tracked over long periods of time. "We've already analysed one of the cores from up there and we're already seeing a warming, just over the past 20 years," he said. "So we may be actually recovering evidence of global warming even in this warm tropical region." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Uh-oh! Someone's off-message... "Climate change: not a global threat" - "MOSCOW -- One issue on the table at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in early July is global climate change. As I see it, this problem is overshadowed by many fallacies and misconceptions that often form the basis for important political decisions. G8 leaders should pay attention to them. There is no proven link between human activity and global warming." (Yury Izrael, Director, Global Climate and Ecology Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences and IPCC Vice President, for RIA Novosti)

"Bush Set to Shun G8 Allies on Global Warming" - "OSLO - Unconvinced that the world is warming, US President George W. Bush looks set to shun pleas by his main industrial allies to step up a fight against climate change at a Group of Eight summit next month." (Reuters)

"UK: Government attacked over inadequate green energy policies" - "The government was warned yesterday that aspects of its policies to develop renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions were "totally inadequate." (The Guardian)

"Kyoto and the Art of Political Backtracking" - "Why should the Kyoto Protocol (the UN agreement to reduce man-made emissions of CO2 in order to counter global warming) be canceled as soon as possible? The answer is that its underlying science is fatally flawed; it costs a fortune; it will have almost no cooling effect (0.02 degree Celsius in 2050); and, finally, it will play havoc with our economic system, with dire implications for our prosperity and freedom." (Hans Labohm, TCS)

"Better than Kyoto" - "America should use the G8 summit to embrace carbon trading" (The Economist)

Better than Kyoto? A bit like "better than falling out of a 'plane without a parachute"? Most anything is better than being sucked into Kyoto.

"Climate-Friendly Farming Project Underway" - "Reducing greenhouse gases from agriculture is the goal of Climate Friendly Farming, a five-year cooperative project involving the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Washington State University (WSU)." (USDA / Agricultural Research Service)

"A Congressional Waste of Energy" - "Several years after considering comprehensive energy legislation, the Senate is mulling over yet another expensive, special interest-driven bill. Thankfully, the House will kill this misguided piece of legislation." (Iain Murray, The Examiner)

"Wis. power plant project causes alarm" - "Environmentalists and the state of Illinois are lining up against a proposal to construct a mammoth coal-burning power plant on the shores of Lake Michigan, warning it will pollute the air and water across the Midwest and set off a "coal rush" to build more such projects around the country." (Associated Press)

"Power to the people" - "Mini-power stations in homes which produce electricity and hot water and export power to the grid will replace many of the country's giant power generating plants, Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, said yesterday." (The Guardian)

"Carmakers Must do More to Cut CO2 Pollution – EU" - "BRUSSELS - Car manufacturers need to step up efforts to meet their pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution from vehicles by 2008, the European Commission said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Hydrogen cars will save lives: Cleaner vehicles would be better for people, as well as the planet" - "Hydrogen-powered vehicles will save thousands of lives a year in the United States alone, researchers say. If all the nation's vehicles were powered by hydrogen fuel cells rather than fossil fuels, the drop in pollutants that cause asthma, respiratory problems and other potentially life-threatening conditions could reduce deaths by over 6,000 a year. So says a study in Science conducted by Mark Jacobson and colleagues at Stanford University, California." (News @ Nature)

"The Guardian profile: Michael O'Leary" - "In building a staggeringly successful business and making a £280m fortune, Ryanair's boss has become the environmentalists' public enemy number one. But behind the casual abuse there might just be a case for the defence." (The Guardian)

"Phytopharm Broker Quits over Animal Rights Attack" - "LONDON - Canaccord Capital has quit as broker to Phytopharm Plc after a senior manager was attacked by animal rights activists because of the Canadian financial services group's links to the British biotech firm." (Reuters)

"Bumper rice plant created by novel approach" - "A high-yielding rice plant which does not fall over in bad weather has been created by a team of researchers. Their approach could help plant breeders develop more productive cultivars of rice – the crop that provides nearly a quarter of the world’s calories - without the need to use genetic modification technology." (NewScientist.com news service)

"US Biotech Firm sees FDA Approving Cloned Meat" - "WASHINGTON - A US biotech company said on Thursday it expected the Food and Drug Administration to soon approve the industry's request to market meat and milk products from cloned cattle and other animals." (Reuters)

"Genetically modified food can boost health but risk assessment must continue – UN" - "23 June 2005 – Genetically modified (GM) foods can contribute to enhancing human health and development, but continued safety assessments are needed before they are marketed to prevent risks to both human health and the environment, according to a new United Nations report released today." (UN News Centre)

"WHO study on modern food biotechnology, human health and development" - "In April 2002 the Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases (formerly the Food Safety Department) of WHO commissioned an evidence-based study of the human health and development implications of GM organisms and food products. This study has involved a wide range of stakeholders, including FAO, UNEP, OECD and other international organizations." (WHO)

"EU Governments Ready to Slap Down Order to Lift GMO Bans" - "BRUSSELS - EU governments may deliver a stinging rebuff to the European Commission this week and uphold their sovereign right to maintain bans on biotech crops and foods if they wish, officials and diplomats said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Dosanjh says a strain of genetically modified corn will stay on the market" - "OTTAWA - Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh says a strain of genetically modified corn produced by Monsanto will stay on the market in Canada despite allegations it may pose a risk to health." (Canadian Press)

June 23, 2005

"The myth of DDT versus the reality of malaria in Africa" - "The United States has just assumed the largest burden of forgiving $40 billion in debt owed by 18 mostly African countries. It's no wonder these countries can't repay their debts when they suffer the enormous human and economic costs of malaria." (AFM)

"Africans need DDT, not 'blah, blah, blah'" - "Africans have paid a heavy price for the West's misplaced demonising of the mosquito-killing pesticide." (AFM)

"Chinese Company Plots Malaria Eradication in Africa" - "A Chinese pharmaceutical firm plans a malaria eradication drive in Tanzania." (AFM)

"Majority of Britons feel Live 8 gigs will fail to help end Africa poverty" - "LONDON - Most Britons think the Live 8 concerts next month to boost awareness about poverty in Africa and protests outside a G8 summit in Scotland will fail to help solve the problem, a poll showed. The gigs in London and other major cities on July 2 have been organised by rock star activist Bob Geldof to pressure leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) world powers to lift Africa out of its misery at their July 6-8 summit. But the survey by YouGov and Sky News found that almost three-quarters of people quizzed believed African governments had the biggest impact on the continent's standard of living and economy. And over half suggested that investment by top international businesses in Africa would raise its prospects." (AFP)

"3-Year Federal Study of 9/11 Urges Rules for Safer Towers" - "After an exhaustive, three-year study of the collapse of the World Trade Center, a federal panel will call for major changes in the planning, construction and operation of skyscrapers to help people survive not only terrorist attacks but also accidental or natural calamities, according to officials and draft documents." (New York Times)

"Speed limits may not be saving lives" - "Recent research shows that there is no widespread connection between a higher highway speed limit and a higher fatality rate." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"The power of gross statistical fraud" - "The tobacco-banning movement has finally reached the stage of the last push in England. It is remarkable that it has taken so long, considering that it is driven by the combined forces of the political correctness movement, the zeal of the converts with a fear of their own cravings, those who get their kicks out of ordering others around and the socialist love of banning things." (Number Watch)

"Doctors urge tough obesity drive" - "A raft of tough measures must be introduced if the child obesity crisis is not to get worse, top doctors say." (BBC)

"Charles Secrett: 'We are killing the planet. That is not an exaggeration'" - "The statistics released yesterday are a wake-up call to individuals and families that we're all responsible for climate change. Too many people think: "Climate change has nothing to do with me - it's the fault of government and industry." But statistics like this show the cumulative effect of millions of people doing the wrong thing." (London Independent)

You know Charlie, you're right! It's not an "exaggeration" - it's a complete fabrication! There's been life on this Solar-orbiting mote for hundreds of millions of years, it's been irradiated, cooked, chilled and walloped by whopping chunks of space trash and still it persists. Silly thing is, the "worst" case scenario postulated involves the "catastrophic" warming of the planet from current temperatures to about half-way nearer where they were when the biosphere really boomed (we think it's about 14 °C now and was about 22 °C when giants trod the Earth). The chance of any IPCC storyline leading to >2 °C warming ever playing out in the real world is roughly zero so, sadly, we will not see a return to the Utopian world where the tropics extend to about 45° North and South latitudes and the temperate zones extend to the poles. Oh well...

Oh my! "'Earthy evangelist' changes US climate" - "Europe's environmental activists are not renowned for their faith in the power of prayer. But in the run-up to the G8 summit they should put their hands together for the Rev Richard Cizik. One of America's senior evangelical leaders, the lanky Virginian preacher is an unlikely ally of the Greens given the Christian Right's reputation for being in lockstep with the White House. The Bush administration is famously sceptical over global warming and greenhouse gas emissions and notoriously cosy with big business, especially the oil companies. Mr Cizik is, however, in the vanguard of a striking new movement: evangelicals prodding President George W Bush to take action on global warming. And his stance cannot easily be dismissed as radical nonsense, as the Green cause is traditionally mocked by the Right." (London Daily Telegraph)

So, uh, Reverend, can you tell us how you feel about the increase in global crop yields, variously estimated at 15% and above, attributed to increase in global atmospheric carbon dioxide acting as an aerial fertiliser? The US is "accused" of contributing about one-fourth of that increased aerial fertiliser to the world free, no strings attached.

Then there's all that food aid donated by the US, some available because of the aerial fertilisation and more due to extensive use of fossil fuels that also liberates said aerial fertiliser, free for anyone in the world to use.

And what about the wealth generated by the US utilising said fossil fuels that liberate the plant food that ultimately supports just about all God's creatures, which the US uses to underwrite donations of food and other aid and which finances the protectors of democracy and liberators of the oppressed that they might worship the God(s) of their choosing?

Without even bothering to get into research funding, health and development aid and little things like being the engine of growth that has so lifted standards of living for so much of the world, could you tell us Reverend, do you view the world as better or worse off for the efforts of the United States of America?

Could you explain to us please Reverend, just how the world might be better off if the US cripples the engine of the world's wealth? To whom will developing economies sell their goods if we plunge the world into recession? The EU already discriminates heavily against developing nations' crops and products, they will not champion development-enabling free trade. Who will prosper if the US rations energy as the EU claims is necessary but will not do?


"UN atlas, zoomed in on environmental damage, misses big picture" - "Photos of devastation on a microcosmic level don't prove the whole planet is doomed." (Christopher J. Falvey, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Blair's Global Environment Failures: It's Not Just Climate Change" - "George Bush's unwillingness to back Tony Blair's climate change initiatives for the G8 Summit in July is not the only recent global initiative of Blair's to flop. Less publicized, but just as prized by green NGOs, was Blair's recent failure to garner support for a global convention on forestry. While making a big deal about listening to Africans, he is not listening to developing countries when it comes to the environment. He is taking his cue from greens groups that have other ambitions." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

"Lights, Camera, Action on Climate Change?" - "The summer's hottest horror flick might be called, "Kyoto 8: The Bad Idea That Wouldn't Die." It's opening in the U.S. Senate this week, and it's coming to the big conference of global leaders in Gleneagles, Scotland, next month." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"U.S. Senate rejects mandatory emissions cuts" - "WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday soundly rejected a plan to force American industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions, in a vote that came a day after lawmakers approved voluntary reductions." (Reuters)

"CEI Applauds Growing Consensus in Senate Against Global Warming Alarmism" - "CEI congratulates the Senate for rejecting ill-conceived McCain-Lieberman amendment." (CEI)

"The Gashouse Gang" - "Global Warming: British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the media and a gaggle of U.S. senators are pressuring President Bush to reverse our policy on Kyoto. But are rising emissions a danger or a blessing in disguise? High on Blair's agenda when he met with Bush earlier this month was the issue of climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. "If the U.S. isn't part of the deal, then it's very difficult to tackle the problem," Blair said. Particularly when Europe is failing miserably to meet its emission targets. But is it an environmental problem or merely a political one?" (IBD)

Hmm... "Standby Britain: How it fuels our energy crisis" - "Appliances on standby pump one million tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Wasted energy of appliances on standby could power 400,000 homes. Up to 85 per cent of power used by a video recorder is consumed on standby. Government says Britain would save 240,000 tons of C02 emissions by switching off televisions." (London Independent)

... let's assume, for a moment, that one of the standby functions is to keep at least some of the electronic components warm. Let's further assume, perhaps rashly, that manufacturers deliberately design in this feature in order to reduce moisture condensation within the appliance and that they may even have a reason for so doing - reducing corrosion and component failure perhaps. We could even imagine manufactures aim for reduced component fatigue by having them kept within a narrower temperature range rather than going from potentially cold ambient to quite warm functioning temperatures and back again with each use. Apart from really annoyed consumers whose appliances failed much more frequently, what would be the total energy budget for repair/replacement of failed units? Would it be more energy efficient to replace the units frequently than to keep them (slightly) warm and significantly extend their useful lifespan?

On the energy rationing front: "EU wants 20 pct cut in energy use by 2020" - "BRUSSELS - Europe should reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020 through more efficient technology, the EU executive Commission said Wednesday, helping cut dependency on oil and meet climate change targets." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - European Industry Squeezed by Surging Power Prices" - "LONDON - Record power prices in Europe are squeezing industry and analysts say there is more pain on the way as utilities pass through soaring costs of complying with new limits on greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Blair insists Britain will meet climate change obligations" - "Britain will meet its international climate change obligations, Tony Blair insisted." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Brian Fallow: Kyoto - should we stay or should we go?" - "Debate over New Zealand's membership of the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to combat global warming, has been revived by new Government estimates of the likely cost." (New Zealand Herald)

Obituary Notice: Climate Science Pioneer Charles David Keeling — Charles David Keeling, the world's leading authority on atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation and climate science pioneer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), died Monday, June 20, 2005, while at his Montana home, of a heart attack. He was 77 years old. Keeling has been affiliated with Scripps since 1956. (Newswise)

"New Measurements Of Arctic Ozone" - "The winter of 2004-2005 saw the second highest chemical ozone destruction ever observed over the Arctic. Polar ozone is destroyed when chlorine, cold temperatures, and sunlight mix in the atmosphere 8-50 kilometers above the Earth's surface." (Agence France-Presse)

"NASA's Terra Satellite Watches Southern Asia Heat Wave Build" - "A pre-monsoon heat wave left India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh baking for much of June 2005. The heat wave, which started at the end of May, has claimed more than 200 lives in India alone, according to news reports, and has also caused deaths in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal." (Agence France-Presse)

Yes, it's also normal and anticipated. It is this seasonal heating that drives the Indian Summer Monsoon Rain (ISMR) cycle.

"Heat, Drought Back Haunting Europe On First Day Of Summer" - "With tens of thousands of deaths in a sizzling summer of 2003 still fresh on people's minds, Europe suffered in a new heat wave Tuesday, the first day of summer, while farmers warned of a historic drought." (Agence France-Presse)

"France releases new heatwave plan as temperatures rise" - "France was on a heatwave alert Wednesday as the government released its new emergency plan to avoid a repeat of the nearly 15,000 deaths attributed to the scorching temperatures of summer 2003." (Agence France Presse)

"Algae also feel effects" - "New studies by University of Washington researchers have found that algae, the foundation of the Lake Washington's food chain, appear to be responding to rising temperatures in ways that could affect the many animals that rely on it." (Seattle Times)

"Deep sea algae connect ancient climate, carbon dioxide and vegetation" - "Mark Pagani in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale and his colleagues mapped the first detailed history of atmospheric carbon dioxide between 45 - 25 million years ago based on stable isotopes of carbon. Reported in Science Express, they show that a sharp drop in carbon dioxide, between 33 - 25 million years ago, may have prompted the origin of economically important land plants like corn and sugarcane." (Yale University)

"Maldives experience that sinking feeling" - "The Maldives--a string of more than 1000 small islands that stretch from the southern tip of India to the equator--may be underwater within the next century, according to a new study. The finding is the latest salvo in a raging debate over whether changes in global sea level will cause the islands to disappear." (Science Now)

"Chilly theory on climate change" - "Global warming could lead to a cooling down of northern Europe, according to research led by experts at the University of Edinburgh. The study suggests that major climate changes are influenced by fluctuations in ocean currents. The researchers' work contrasts with the view that there will be uniform global warming across the world." (BBC)

"Global warming threatens Tibet rail link" - "BEIJING - Rising temperatures on the "roof the world" threaten China's controversial railway link across the snow-covered Tibetan plateau, the China Daily said on Thursday. The pan-Himalayan rail project, which began in 1958, eight years after Chinese troops invaded Tibet, is expected to be finished by the end of this year. "By 2050, safe operation of the Qinghai-Tibet railway will be affected if temperatures keep rising steadily as observed over past decades," Luo Yong, deputy director of China's National Climate Centre, was quoted as saying." (Reuters)

"Nasa Satellite Data Capture A Big Climate Effect On Tiny Ocean Life" - "Turns out that the old cliché, “it’s the little things that make a difference,” is especially true when it comes to our atmosphere and oceans. Tiny ocean plants, or phytoplankton, help regulate the Earth’s climate by accounting for about half of the carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, absorbed annually from the atmosphere by plants." (Earth Observatory)

"Climate shift at 4400 years BP: Evidence from high-resolution diatom stratigraphy, Effingham Inlet, British Columbia, Canada" - "Abstract: Diatom paleoecology and climatic interpretations were assessed from a 15-cm long laminated sediment slab extracted from an anoxic fjord in southwest British Columbia. The slab spans at least 62 years of deposition, determined from counting varves, and is dated at approximately 4400 years BP. The slab shows a sedimentation pattern where thick diatom-rich varves at the bottom become thinner and more silty toward the top. Thin section analysis reveals that the thicker varves contain a distinct succession of diatoms, representing seasonal deposition throughout each year. Annual-scale subsampling shows that the abundance of coastal marine diatoms, namely a weakly silicified form of Skeletonema costatum, decreased over the 62-year period, while benthic and brackish water diatoms, such as Planothidium delicatulum and Achnanthes minutissima, increased with the concomitant increase in silt. The increase in such benthic species and silt, along with the presence of not, vert, ~1 cm thick nonlaminated intervals, is interpreted to represent deposition during progressively increasing precipitation over time. These sedimentation patterns and changes in diatom assemblages may signify a change in the relative intensities of the Aleutian Low (AL) and North Pacific High (NPH) atmospheric pressure systems. Thicker diatomaceous varves at the bottom of the slab reflect a stronger NPH system with associated coastal upwelling and enhanced diatom production. The thinner silty varves at the top of the slab suggest that the AL system was prevalent, resulting in greater amounts of precipitation and reduced upwelling. The findings of this study show that significant natural environmental change can occur within a twenty-year time frame, and can provide a basis for the study of modern change in the ocean–atmosphere system over the northeast Pacific Ocean. " (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology)

Something we can agree on: "Public Citizen Says Nuclear Power Doesn’t Deserve More Taxpayer Handouts; 50-Year-Old Industry Should Stand on Its Own" - "WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a new cost analysis of the Senate energy bill, Public Citizen today said that the nuclear industry would stand to gain more than $10.1 billion in subsidies and tax breaks, as well as unlimited taxpayer-backed loan guarantees and other incentives." (Press Release)

We agree, it's true. Of course, wind power is a much older industry than nukes, centuries older, so we would anticipate a complete removal of wind subsidies, tax breaks, market guarantees... Ironically it's the enviros who are responsible for both boondoggles: atomic energy because it needs protection from the absurd and horrendously expensive requirements and liabilities foisted on it by said enviros and wind because it's a virtually useless and financially non-viable sop to their dogma.

"Bush: Nation needs more nuclear power plants" - "LUSBY, Md. - Pushing for the construction of nuclear power plants, President Bush on Wednesday pressed Congress to send him an energy bill, though he acknowledged that even when he signs the legislation, gasoline prices at the pump won't fall overnight. Bush is promoting nuclear power as a way to take the pressure off fossil fuels - oil, natural gas and coal. ``It's time for this country to start building nuclear power plants again,'' said Bush, who noted that while the U.S. gets 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors, France meets 78 percent of its electricity needs with nuclear power." (Associated Press)

"Go dump it in the mountain" - "Deep in Nevada rock is a store built to hold 70,000 tonnes of highly radioactive waste. If safety protesters win the day, it will never open. Peter Huck goes inside" (The Guardian)

"G8 decision on fusion would herald nuclear future" - "STOCKHOLM - Nuclear fusion as a future abundant energy source would receive a boost if G8 leaders agree next month on the site for the world's first fusion test reactor, two nuclear scientists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Top of the crops: Brazil's huge heartland is yielding farms that can feed the world" - "A tapestry hangs on the wall in the capacious office of Celso Amorim, Brazil's foreign minister. Based on a chart drawn by a 15th-century Italian explorer, it shows an inverted map of the world - the southern hemisphere is on top.

Brazil's farmers, backed by a pugnacious diplomatic and legal campaign by business and political leaders such as Mr Amorim, are similarly turning the world of agricultural trade on its head. The European Union this week proposed deep cuts in the price it guarantees its own sugar farmers. The US is due by the end of next week to announce reduced support for cotton growers. Both retreats follow actions initiated by Brazil at the World Trade Organisation." (Financial Times)

"Tiny Changes, Exponentially Multiplied" - "Mike Treder, Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, discusses some of the potential economic and industrial benefits of nanomanufacturing." (Newswise)

"The rush is on for biotech bonanza: Nations jostling for shot at jobs, profits" - "PHILADELPHIA -- It might be easier to find life on Mars than to locate a region on Earth that does not aspire to become a biotechnology hub. From Australia to Toronto and Singapore to Amsterdam, everyone has big plans--and hefty government subsidies--to attract biotech firms. The obvious lure is well-paying jobs, which average more than $60,000 a year, but even the most enthusiastic biotech boosters agree that most efforts are long shots to produce big profits. At the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual meeting this week in Philadelphia, the enthusiasm is virtually worldwide." (Chicago Tribune)

"China issues 176 safety certificates for genetically modified organisms" - "China has issued 176 safety certificates for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to a national conference on GMO safety held in Beijing on Wednesday." (Xinhua)

"Monsanto research raises health concerns about genetically modified corn" - "OTTAWA - Monsanto research obtained after a court battle in Germany suggests that a genetically altered corn approved in Canada produces adverse effects in rats, scientists who've seen the study say. But Health Canada spokeswoman Carole Saindon says there is nothing in the Monsanto data to change its opinion that the GM corn, known as Mon863, is safe." (Canadian Press)

June 22, 2005

Twaddle: "World Leaders Urged to Put ‘Natural Capital’ at Centre of Poverty Eradication" - "Sound and solid investment in the environment will go a long way towards meeting international targets on poverty reduction, the supply of drinking water and fighting the spread of infectious diseases, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Friday." (UNEP)

"Natural Capital" is a nonsense term for failing to develop, another sop to the natur über alles crowd. We know how to address poverty: democracy, property rights, development and free trade are the essential ingredients.

"Preparing for the next pandemic" - "A number of recent events and factors have significantly heightened concern that a specific near-term pandemic may be imminent." (Foreign Affairs)

Oh boy... "WHO Starts Drive Against Environmental Cancer Risk" - "GENEVA - The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday launched a drive to raise awareness of the risk of cancer, particularly to smokers, posed by uranium occurring naturally in the environment." (Reuters)

"Activists demand GE agree to dredging now" - "A coalition of environmental groups in Poughkeepsie, New York sent a message to the EPA Friday their expressing "grave concern" about another expected delay in a Superfund cleanup marked for more than 20 years as much by delays as by controversy." (Poughkeepsie Journal)

Time to don the ol' "woohoo hat," "synergistic endocrine disruptors" are back: "Environmental chemical cocktail may sabotage sperm" - "New research has shown that combinations of chemicals found in everyday products and food have subtle but potentially damaging effects on sperm fertility. Professor Lynn Fraser told the 21st annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology that her previous research had shown certain chemicals -- known to mimic the female sex hormone, oestrogen -- could individually affect the correct functioning of mouse sperm, but now her new research shows that when the chemicals are combined they have an even stronger effect." (European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology)

Europe sure is into recycling - Tulane tried to pedal this about a decade ago.

But wait! It's really the tofu! "Women who eat soya cut chances of conception by killing sperm" - "Women trying to conceive should avoid eating soya products at certain times of the month because they can kill sperm, a study has found." (London Independent)

"Rooting out toxins" - "Saying increases in household pesticide use threaten people's health, environmental advocates yesterday called on the state to ban certain harmful chemicals and take other steps to curb pesticide use." (Milford Daily News)

Animal crackers: "Chug Milk, Shed Pounds? Not So Fast" - "The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, has filed petitions with the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration claiming that the association between dairy products and weight loss is false and misleading." (New York Times)

Try your favourite search engine with a term like "pcrm peta" (without the quotes).

"Veritas No Longer" - "Ever since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's beliefs about the connection between being overweight, obese and dying were turned on their head earlier this spring, the true believers in the fat=death faith have been plotting how to get those embarrassing news conferences -- with CDC Director Julie Gerberding trying to explain how the CDC got its figures and its claims so badly wrong -- off the evening news. The new strategy for bringing the media back on their side -- an indispensable requirement for scaring Americans about being fat -- appears to be to move the focus of the campaign about the dangers of being overweight away from the discredited CDC to the purer intellectual pedigree of Harvard. After all, we may not trust what the government tells us about the dangers of being fat, but who can doubt Harvard?" (John Luik, TCS)

"Obesity: Size isn't everything" - "Obesity has been trumpeted as the biggest health risk of modern times. But is it really? Jerome Burne reports on startling new research." (London Independent)

"Blair 'hypocritical' on green priorities" - "Tony Blair has been accused of "hypocrisy" over plans to back a move in the EU to downgrade the environment as a priority - behind growth and jobs. Leaked documents obtained by The Independent show a cabinet split over plans to put growth and jobs ahead of the environment when the priorities for sustainable development are reviewed by the EU." (London Independent)

"Oil, Coal Lobbyists Mount Attack On Senate Plan to Curb Emissions" - "Lobbyists for the oil and coal industries and other business groups are mounting a counterattack against a Senate proposal to impose mandatory regulations on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists say are accelerating climate change." (Wall Street Journal)

"Domenici Backs Off Warming Limits" - "Republican Sen. Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico announced Monday that he would not sponsor an amendment to address global warming as part of this year's energy bill, a development that reduced the probability that Congress would act to regulate greenhouse gases." (Los Angeles Times)

"Surrender Monkeys in the Senate" - "When British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced to the world that he was going to make global warming a focus of his G8 chairmanship, few would have expected that the likely result would be agreement with President Bush. Yet staunch and principled diplomacy from the president and his team, combined with Blair's willingness to listen, have resulted in the draft declaration on the subject, as widely reported, endorsing the president's policies rather than any of the economy-destroying Kyoto-like policies embraced by Jacques Chirac and his cronies for decades. Unfortunately, at the very last minute it is possible that Republicans in the U.S. Senate could stab the president in the back by endorsing the Chirac stance for trivial reasons. The president and the American economy deserve better treatment from our most senior elected representatives." (Iain Murray, NRO)

"Senate Passes Amendment to Combat Climate Change" - "WASHINGTON, June 21 - Acting to address the contentious subject of global climate change, the Senate passed an amendment to pending energy legislation on Tuesday calling for voluntary reductions in some emissions and spending money to promote technology to reduce pollution. The measure, adopted by a vote of 66 to 29, was the least stringent of three competing amendments intended to address climate change." (New York Times) | Senate Endorses Bush Policy on Climate (Associated Press)

"McCain Pushes U.S. Senate to Back Mandatory Emission Limits" - "June 22 -- U.S. Senator John McCain said he will push for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions today even after the Senate voted to offer incentives for voluntary reductions in legislation overhauling the nation's energy policy. McCain, an Arizona Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, are proposing to require greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 2010 to their 2000 level. The Bush administration and energy industry groups such as the American Petroleum Institute oppose the proposal to impose mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that linger in the atmosphere and may contribute to global warming. ``Over time, we will win,'' McCain said. ``Climate change is real.'' (Bloomberg)

"Senate Backs Offshore Energy Inventory" - "WASHINGTON - The Senate endorsed President Bush's climate-change policies Tuesday, approving a measure that avoids mandatory reductions of heat-trapping pollution while still boosting government support for cleaner energy sources. In a second setback for environmentalists, the Senate agreed to conduct an inventory of offshore oil and gas resources that some senators called a prelude to drilling in coastal waters now off limits to energy development. An attempt to strip the inventory from a broad energy bill failed 52-44. On climate change, Republicans rallied around a measure offered by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., that would rely on voluntary industry measures to slow down the growth of heat-trapping emissions through an expansion of "private-public partnerships" to develop ways to produce energy with lower carbon emissions." (Associated Press)

"CO2 emissions rise 1.8 percent in 2002/03-EU Agency" - "BRUSSELS - A cold winter and increased coal-burning power production raised carbon dioxide emissions in 15 EU states by 1.8 percent between 2002 and 2003, the EU environment agency said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Reader Martin Crozier points out Denmark is in serious trouble trying to meet their Kyoto "commitments" despite this.

"Poland Puts Forward Reduced CO2 Emissions Plan" - "WARSAW - Poland on Tuesday said it had reduced by 47 million tonnes the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions allowed by industry under its new national plan for integration in the European Union's trading scheme." (Reuters)

"Climate change demands coordinated response" - "MOSCOW - Global climate change is no longer just a scientific problem. If the current global temperature growth rate persists, the scale of the potential natural change is hard to fathom - as hard as it is to imagine the huge volume of work that will have to be done for us to adapt to the new environmental conditions. Adapting to the fluid climatic situation is key for Russia, whose steady economic development is heavily dependent on it." (RIA Novosti)

"Scientists critical of Bush on climate change" - "British scientists today condemned the Bush administration for apparently attempting to undermine efforts to tackle climate change by challenging scientific evidence of the impact of global warming ahead of the G8 summit." (The Guardian)

"Bush may agree pollution plan if rivals also sign up" - "TONY BLAIR’S hopes of persuading President Bush to adopt a wide-ranging plan of action on climate change were strengthened yesterday when Beijing announced that President Hu would attend the G8 summit in Scotland. Mr Hu’s visit will be his first to Britain and only the second by a Chinese leader to a G8 summit. Washington’s past reluctance to act on climate change, including Mr Bush’s rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, has partly been driven by concern that emerging countries such as China and India, which will become bigger polluters as their economies continue to grow, are not signed up to the process. But with China, India and Mexico at Gleneagles, Mr Blair will press for a far-reaching international programme to develop new technologies and alternative sources of energy." (London Times)

"Air and road charges 'must rise'" - "New taxes on road and air travel are needed if the UK is to meet greenhouse gas targets, a watchdog has warned. An immediate emissions charge on domestic flights should be followed by a levy on international travel, says the Sustainable Development Commission. It also suggests increased road taxes to cut pollution from vehicles and measures to cut building emissions." (BBC)

"Worried about airline pollution? Sell your car, says Ryanair boss" - "The thorny issue of climate change has left most airlines bending over backwards to sound green. But Europe's largest low-cost carrier, Ryanair, has dismissed its environmentally nervous rivals as "lemmings". Ryanair's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, has refused to support an industry-wide effort to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Asked yesterday what he would say to travellers worried about the environment, he replied: "I'd say, sell your car and walk." (The Guardian)

"Canada: McGuinty rejects Suzuki's appeal for ban on SUVs" - "Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty brought in environmentalist David Suzuki to kick off a government-orchestrated clean-air summit in Toronto yesterday, but was cool to the crusading scientist's call for a ban on SUVs." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Rising temperatures bring threat of new diseases" - "Disease outbreaks are occurring in Alaska involving pathogens no one expected to find that far north. Experts point to climate change as the cause." (Anchorage Daily News)

"How Global Warming is Changing the Wild Kingdom" - "The planet is warming, humans are mostly to blame and plants and animals are going to dramatic lengths to cope. That's the consensus of a number of recent studies that used wildlife to gauge the extent of global warming and its effects." (LiveScience.com)

"Simulation of the role of solar and orbital forcing on climate" - "Abstract: The climate system is excited by changes in the solar forcing caused by two effects: (a) by variations of the solar radiation caused by dynamical processes within the Sun, and (b) by changes in the orbital parameters of the Earth around the Sun.

Numerical simulations with a three-dimensional coupled ocean–atmosphere climate model have been performed to investigate the sensitivity of the climate system to both kinds of changes in the forcing.

The climate system responds to the (relatively) short term variations of the solar output variations with changes in the surface temperature of up to 2 K, but without any noticeable long lasting effect. The response to the changes in the orbital parameters is more dramatic: dependent if the orbital parameters correspond to the Eemian (a warm phase at around 125 kyr BP) or the one at 115 kyr BP (the onset of the last ice age), the simulation produces a warm state or the initiation of a cold climate. For the Eemian, the simulated climate agrees with the temperature distribution derived from pollen data. For the glacial inception, the model gradually builds up a large snow cover in the northern part of North America." (Advances in Space Research)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Earth's Temperature History: How Well Is It Known?" - "New findings suggest we may be premature in prescribing drastic cuts in anthropogenic CO 2 emissions based on what we have been told about earth's climatic history over the past several years." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Dark Ages Cold Period (South America)" - "Far from the handful of lands where climate alarmists might possibly be willing to acknowledge its existence, i.e., those lands that surround the North Atlantic Ocean, the Dark Ages Cold Period is strongly expressed in proxy climate data from South America." (co2science.org)

"Transpiration (Woody Plants: Dryland Shrubs)" - "How do dryland shrubs respond to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment, and what are the consequences for the biosphere?" (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: Japanese Knotweed, Mongolian Oak, Tall Fescue, and a 75-cm-tall herb." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Flooding and Drought in the US Northern Great Plains" - "Have the two hydrologic phenomena become more extreme in response to the supposedly unprecedented global warming of the 20th century?" (co2science.org)

"The Urban Heat Island of Debrecen, Hungary" - "How strong is it?  What drives it?  And what do the answers to these questions imply about our ability to use urban temperature measurements to correctly quantify background climate change?" (co2science.org)

"The Little Ice Age in Southernmost Chile" - "Wherever one looks around the world, there is evidence for the Little Ice Age, a period of colder temperatures that climate alarmists claim was a regional phenomenon of lands that border the North Atlantic Ocean." (co2science.org)

"Primary Production of Inner Mongolia, China" - "How has it varied over the past couple of decades?" (co2science.org)

"Experimental Warming of Icelandic Plant Communities" - "Will moderate global warming devastate Iceland's tundra ecosystems?" (co2science.org)

"One energy forecast: Oil supplies grow" - "NEW YORK – According to the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, the end is near - when the earth's oil reserves start to run dry and scarce petroleum will go to the highest bidder. Seers have written books detailing that time, and websites such as EnergyShortage.com forecast a steady rise in prices - such as Tuesday's oil price of more than $59 a barrel.

Not so fast, maintains a new report issued Tuesday by the widely respected group Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA). Instead of the wells running dry, CERA says petroleum supplies will be expanding faster than demand over the next five years, according to an analysis oil field by oil field. In good news for the SUV set, the new oil will be light, sweet crude - ideal for making gasoline. And since supply will grow, CERA forecasts prices will fall, possibly below $40 a barrel." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Senator Is Running Against the Wind" - "As Congress moves toward passage of an energy bill, Lamar Alexander has taken to tilting at windmills." (Wall Street Journal)

"Scientists map cow genome" - "After three years of research and $70 million, scientists have cracked one of farming's most important codes by mapping the entire bovine or cow genome. The breakthrough could help halve the time it takes for breeders to change the taste characteristics of meat, increase the health qualities of milk or even build disease resistance in animals." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"China resists 'Frankenbean' and sees windfall" - "BEIJING - While farmers around the world are switching in droves to hardy, genetically modified soybeans, China's producers are finding an unexpected windfall growing the conventional crop. Consumers in Europe and other countries are still worried about the safety of the so-called GMO products, which some have dubbed "Frankenstein food." (Reuters)

"BRAZIL: Port of Paranagua stops GM exports despite court ruling" - "The Brazilian port of Paranagua stepped up its ban on exports of genetically modified soybeans in May, despite a Supreme Court ruling in April that the port must ship the GM beans, the Dow Jones news agency reports. The port says it doesn't have the facilities to segregate GM and non-GM produce, but the Supreme Court ruled that argument isn't valid." (just-food.com)

June 21, 2005

"Time for Action on Global Warming!" - "I've decided it's time to get serious about Global Warming. The national academies of science of eleven nations recently united to warn us of impeding climatic doom resulting from our careless inflation of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from its God-ordained 19th century value of 0.00029 to the current astronomical magnitude of 0.00038. With increasing fears that this extra plant food will cause a choking of our cities and highways with unwanted greenery, and the Russians' concern that winter temperatures will warm above -40 deg. F, thus changing the hibernation habits of the endangered Siberian snow snake, I must now join the chorus of voices calling for action." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

Oh boy... "Leader: Global warming - The message hits home" - "Summer heat and sudden floods are a reminder that even the British climate has its extremes. But if the rock-solid scientific consensus on global warming is proved to be right over the coming century, heatwaves, storms, droughts and flooding will cease to be a surprise." (The Guardian)

See "The Not So Clear Consensus on Climate Change" [.pdf]

"Blair told: act now on climate" - "Tony Blair will arrive at next month's G8 summit with a powerful mandate from voters to confront George Bush over global warming, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today." (The Guardian)

Uh-huh... apparently four-tenths of those harassed by phone poll agreed climate change constitutes a threat to them (although it's unclear whether that threat manifests itself in any manner other than being harassed by phone polls on the topic of "climate change").

"Bush Faces Heat Over Global Warming" - "President Bush is facing new pressure from key allies -- both abroad and in his own Republican Party -- for tougher action on global warming." (Wall Street Journal)

"Stepping up the Pressure" - "As the G8 summit to be held in Gleneagles, Scotland nears, the Bush Administration finds itself coming under increasing pressure to alter its course on climate change. A couple of weeks ago, British Prime Minister and acting G8 head Tony Blair came to Washington to persuade President Bush to see global warming as a looming threat necessitating dramatic measures to abate it -- measures that could be hammered out at the upcoming G-8 summit. All indications are that Blair was unsuccessful. Now, several leading U.S. newspapers have tried their hand at the issue by applying a different tactic -- running stories which give the appearance of "exposing" an Administration conspiracy to suppress the true nature of the global warming problem." (Pat Michaels, TCS)

paleocarbon.gif (17906 bytes) Planetary Temperature and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2): One point apparently causing confusion among our readers is the relative abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere today as compared with Earth's historical levels. Most people seem surprised when we say current levels are relatively low, at least from a long-term perspective - understandable considering the constant media/activist bleat about current levels being allegedly "catastrophically high." Even more express surprise that Earth is currently suffering one of its chilliest episodes in about six hundred million (600,000,000) years.

Given that the late Ordovician suffered an ice age (with associated mass extinction) while atmospheric CO2 levels were more than 4,000ppm higher than those of today (yes, that's a full order of magnitude higher), levels at which current 'guesstimations' of climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 suggest every last skerrick of ice should have been melted off the planet, we admit significant scepticism over simplistic claims of small increment in atmospheric CO2 equating to toasted planet. Granted, continental configuration now is nothing like it was then, Sol's irradiance differs, as do orbits, obliquity, etc., etc. but there is no obvious correlation between atmospheric CO2 and planetary temperature over the last 600 million years, so why would such relatively tiny amounts suddenly become a critical factor now?

Adjacent graphic 'Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time' from Climate and the Carboniferous Period (Monte Hieb, with paleomaps by Christopher R. Scotese). Why not drop by and have a look around?

"Deepak Lal: Hot air over Gleneagles" - "Theories about global warming fail to stand the test of history." (Business-Standard)

"Lobby Intensifies As Climate Change Vote Nears" - "WASHINGTON - Industry groups and environmentalists lobbied hard to sway lawmakers' votes Monday as the Senate prepared for a major challenge to President Bush's global warming policy as part of emerging energy legislation. At the same time, the Senate agreed unanimously without debate to incorporate a package of energy tax incentives totaling $18 billion into the energy bill. The tax breaks lean heavily toward promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, alternative motor fuels and clean coal technologies. Partially offset by new or revamped energy taxes, the package would cost the government $14 billion over 10 years, more than twice what the White House had said it would accept and $6 billion more than the House approved." (Associated Press)

"Kyoto by Degrees" - "Something strange is happening in the U.S. Senate -- or at least stranger than usual. The world's greatest deliberative body is hurtling toward passage of limits on greenhouse gases, even as the scientific case for such a mini-Kyoto Protocol looks weaker all the time. Recall that as recently as 1997 the Senate voted 95-0 for the Byrd-Hagel Resolution assailing Kyoto's provisions. Bill Clinton never even brought the Protocol up for a vote. But all of a sudden such limits are said to be a political "inevitability" in a Republican Senate. Energy Chairman Pete Domenici says he's open to the John McCain-Joe Lieberman mini-Kyoto, and New Mexico Democrat Jeff Bingaman is proposing an amendment that would impose even stricter limits on fossil fuel use." (The Wall Street Journal)

"James K. Glassman: Kyoto comes to town" - "The summer's hottest horror flick might be called, "Kyoto 8: The Bad Idea That Wouldn't Die." It's opening in the U.S. Senate this week, and it's coming to the big conference of global leaders in Gleneagles, Scotland, next month.

The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, sought to cool the climate by limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (the stuff that we exhale and that trees need to grow). The only way to limit emissions in today's world is to cut back on energy use. To do that, governments either have to tax energy heavily or simply command reductions.

Either way, the economy will suffer enormously — in the United States alone, the slowdown would slice two to three percentage points off growth, according to the Clinton Administration's research. That's a recession, or close to it, every year. Implementing Kyoto would plunge the world into stagnation, mainly hurting the developing nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America, which depend on United States and European demand for their goods." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Global warming: Blind (obe)science" - "USA Today declares the debate is over. The globe is warming. And lots of folks in business and industry are getting on the bandwagon to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. If the government running scared dictates more of the nation's economic activity, smart businessmen want to be ready to turn a buck. The ordinary consumer ultimately will pay the price. As the climate is not utterly static we would be astonished if the planet were not either warming or cooling." (Tribune-Review)

"Bingaman Climate Plan Should Doom Energy Bill" - "Bingaman amendments to energy bill could harm the U.S. economy--causing people to lose their jobs while driving up the cost of energy." (CEI)

"Kyoto Lite: A Potential Deal Breaker in the Senate Energy Bill" - "Since 2001, each effort to get a final energy bill to the President’s desk has been held up in the Senate, and some senators are pushing some very questionable additions to the current version. Accommodating their wishes could turn a bill once intended to expand energy supplies into an anti-energy bill that would impose costs of tens of billions of dollars or more per year. In particular, expensive measures to combat global warming do not belong in the energy bill." (Ben Lieberman, The Heritage Foundation)

"Cap-and-Trade is More Pain Than Gain" - "Efforts to encourage corporations to curb "greenhouse gas" emissions through a mandatory "cap-and-trade" scheme imposes a hidden tax on small businesses and amounts to a Kyoto-style rationing of energy use, says the National Center for Public Policy Research. Early crediting legislation proposed by Senator Jeff Bingaman to encourage U.S. utility companies to slow the intensity of "greenhouse emissions" by 2.4 percent starting in 2010 would hurt small business while aiding a select few corporations." (National Center for Public Policy Research)

"Storms, floods and sunshine: welcome to global warming" - "Unusual meteorological conditions led to the topsy-turvy weather at the weekend, which saw torrential storms in the North contrast with bright sunshine and high temperatures in the South." (London Independent)

"Experts blame it on the jet stream" - "A CHANGE in the jet stream has turned Britain into a divided nation, with the North drenched in heavy storms while the South suffers from a desperate shortage of water." (London Times)

"Airlines to reveal their impact on environment" - "People booking a flight will be able to assess the damage to the environment as well as to their wallet under plans announced by the industry. Travellers will be given the price of a ticket as well as information about the amount of fuel used and the noxious gases emitted by individual airlines on specific routes. And Third World carriers which use dirty antiquated aircraft could be banned from flying to Britain under the strategy revealed by airlines, airports, aircraft manufacturers and National Air Traffic Services. The unprecedented campaign commits the United Kingdom to cleaning up the industry's act over the next 15 years." (London Independent)

"Aircraft emissions to double by 2030 despite hi-tech jets" - "GREENHOUSE gas emissions from aircraft will double by 2030 even if airlines invest in new fuel-efficient planes, the industry predicted yesterday. Any savings in average emissions per flight will be eclipsed by the huge growth in air travel forecast for the next 25 years." (London Times)

"New Hope For Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions In Australia" - "An international research project has for the first time successfully stored carbon dioxide in European coal beds. Scientists from CSIRO's Petroleum Division who were involved in the four year project, say its success could have major implications for Australia, leading to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions associated with electrical power generation." (SPX)

"EU Approves Greek Plan for Emissions Trading" - "BRUSSELS - The EU executive Commission approved Greece's plan for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions trading over the 2005-2007 period on Monday." (Reuters)

"Emission cuts 'too costly' for Hong Kong" - "An energy company-sponsored report has assailed the Hong Kong government's plans to cap carbon-dioxide emissions, saying they could hurt the economy - and even worsen global warming." (The Standard)

"Taiwan Seeks to Balance Industry, CO2 Emission Cuts" - "TAIPEI - Taiwan's government is seeking to cut its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions without negatively impacting the island's industry, officials said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Nigerian Challenge Over Emissions" - "BRUSSELS - Ethnic communities from Nigeria's Niger Delta are challenging the Nigerian government and some of the world's biggest oil companies over the level of greenhouse gases emitted during oil production." (IPS)

"Shell faces flaring lawsuit" - "Shell and its partners yesterday found themselves facing a legal suit from local rural communities and western environmentalists over allegations of causing pollution and global warming by flaring gas in Nigeria." (The Guardian)

"Amid nuclear renaissance, time has come to mine more uranium - experts" - "VIENNA - Haunted by the threat of global warming, the world may very well be on the verge of a renaissance in the use of nuclear power and the time has come to gear up uranium mining, the head of the world's largest uranium producer said." (AFP)

"U.S., Europe Clash Over Global Environment Fund" - "A fight between the U.S. and major European and developing countries is threatening to derail a multibillion-dollar fund created to help poor nations preserve rain forests, stem global warming and address other world-wide environmental concerns." (Wall Street Journal)

"Assessing the Amazon River's sensitivity to deforestation" - "Understanding how the Amazon River varies in time, what causes those variations, and how sensitive it will be to ongoing, and accelerating, deforestation is a focus of study for scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center. By using a combination of numerical models and data from several disciplines to assess the possible impacts of future human-induced land cover and land use change, researchers are investigating the causes of changes to stream hydrology and biogeochemistry." (Woods Hole Research Center)

"'World's factory' China faces looming environmental crisis, official warns" - "A top Chinese environmental official has questioned whether China should embrace being the "world's factory" and called for a "green rise" to prevent ecological disaster, state media reported Sunday." (Agence France-Presse)

"Making a case for sun's benefits" - "Researchers are beginning to conclude that modest exposure to unprotected sunlight may actually be good for you, helping the body produce the vitamin D it needs to keep bones healthy and ward off cancers." (Los Angeles Times)

"Magic vs. Modernity" - "In the European Enlightenment, the belief was that science and reason would soon sweep myth and magic into oblivion. For some, myth included religion while others operated in terms of some variant of Deism or even Theism, believing that there was an unknown power beyond what was known and knowable to humans. In fact, many scientists, then and now, could fully exercise their religious convictions and interpret them in such a way as not to allow them to interfere with scientific understanding. For those for whom there was no conflict between science and religion, it was because particular statements or religious beliefs about the way the things work always gave way to emerging facts and theories of scientific inquiry. Science and reason became the basis for advancing human understanding and enlightenment." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ButterfliesandWheels.com)

"Royal Society vs. Lancet over Health Scares" - "A group of leading scientists in England is making headlines for writing a scathing letter attacking one of England's leading medical journals, the Lancet, for promoting unfounded health scares." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

"Glamourless diseases" - "Even as billions of dollars pour in to find a cure for AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) and several lifestyle diseases, governments and the medical community worldwide continue to be apathetic to the millions of deaths caused by endemic diseases like kala-azar, sleeping sickness or malaria. These so-called ‘neglected diseases’ have seen very few new drugs coming up, with treatment systems confined to drugs discovered in the early part of the 20th century." (AFM)

"Putting Profits Before People" - "Last month the Kenyan government responded to pressure from its academics, AIDS activists and business leaders -- although, sadly, not the World Health Organisation -- and removed the 10% tariff on medicines coming into the country. This was welcome news for the poor and suffering of Kenya who might obtain cheaper medical technologies as a result. But today (20th June) that decision may be reversed by East African trade ministers, who appear intent on European-style tax harmonization." (Roger Bate and Richard Tren, TCS)

"China faces up to obesity epidemic" - "China faces an obesity epidemic, a senior academic warned yesterday with the release of a report predicting that the world's most populous country will have 200 million people who are dangerously overweight within the next 10 years." (London Guardian)

"Local researchers link 3 new genes to obesity" - "Seattle scientists have identified three new genes linked to obesity." (Seattle Times)

'From pizza and corn dogs to salads?" - "Concerns about unhealthy eating at schools and evidence of mounting obesity and illness in America's young people has triggered a new kind of food fight in US school cafeterias." (Reuters)

"Joggers at risk from car pollution" - "University of Queensland researcher James Sharman said although regular physical activity benefited health and longevity, over-exposure to vehicle exhaust fumes was harmful." (Brisbane Courier-Mail)

"Putting asbestos mystery to a test" - "Research could help verify-- or dismiss-- the possibility of health risks from naturally occurring asbestos in El Dorado County, researchers say." (Sacramento Bee)

"Calculated, Risk Is Worth Benefit of Eating Fish" - "Because fish can be healthful as well as hazardous, medical experts have grappled for years with what advice to give people, particularly pregnant women, about how much is safe to eat." (Los Angeles Times)

"Three EU states seen keeping ban on GMO maize type" - "BRUSSELS - The United States may see its case against Europe's biotech policy strengthened this week as three EU governments look set to maintain bans on a type of genetically modified (GMO) maize, a EU official said on Monday. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, wants Austria, Luxembourg and Germany to scrap their bans on Bt-176, a GMO maize strain made by Swiss biotech giant Syngenta. The Commission says there is no scientific justification for the bans on health and environmental grounds. It fears failure for the Commission view could fuel arguments in the more pro-biotech United States that the EU's policy on genetically modified organisms harms trade and is not founded on science. This is the key aspect of Washington's case against Europe's biotech policy in the World Trade Organization." (Reuters)

June 20, 2005

"Businesses Giving Away the Store on Global Warming" - "Businesses are poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the battle over global warming." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

"Arctic's season of dread" - "Canada's eastern Arctic, one of the last places on the planet to resist global warming, is finally succumbing to the greenhouse effect." (Ottawa Sun)

Some bizarre anecdotal "evidence" in this one. Who could fail to be moved at the recounting of the hunter losing his legs after a fall through rotten ice? Surely the tragic human face of catastrophic global warming - except the surface air temperature is cited as -33 °C for that February day, hardly marginal ice conditions. What else besides "global warming" could account for his accident? We'll never know but there are active submarine volcanoes in the Arctic, perhaps the ice was subjected to a warm water lavage and eroded from below (polynya occur for various reasons, ranging from small to truly enormous), perhaps it's as simple as a snow covered seal breathing hole, enlarged by a hunting bear - meltdown at -33 °C, however, seems somewhat unlikely. That and the fact the Arctic has seen no net warming since 1938.

"Warm Atlantic water comes to call on Arctic Ocean" - "Late last summer, Igor Dmitrenko and a few other scientists returned to Alaska from the top of the world with information about an immense pulse of warm water that had entered the Arctic Ocean. The scientists believe the warm stream of Atlantic water visiting the Arctic might affect the entire planet.

The warming of the Arctic Ocean has happened before, in a pattern that scientists call multidecadal variability. Since Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen first recorded Arctic Ocean temperatures in the late 1800s, the temperature of the Arctic Ocean has been higher than average during two periods: from the 1920s to about the 1950s, and from the early 1980s to the present." (Anchorage Daily News)

Um... no. "EDITORIAL: Bush, Out in the Cold" - "By this time, believing that global warming is only a theory is akin to saying the same thing about evolution. And just as creationists shouldn't be allowed to remake schools' curriculum on fossils, naysayers on climate change cannot hide from the damage caused by fossil fuels. Both areas of study are backed by robust evidence accepted by scientists around the world." (LA Times)

Speciation, trait inheritance, genetics can be readily demonstrated, these are facts. Catastrophic enhanced greenhouse (common name: "global warming") is a horse of an entirely different colour. For a start, we don't know the planet's current temperature, we don't know the planet's past temperatures (although we make guesses guided by proxy data) and we are far from certain about our urbanised measures affecting trend and slope (especially since atmospheric measures disagree - a serious problem given that the entire hypothesis is based on a warming atmosphere causing problems - at least the Climate Reference Network is attempting to come to grips with this problem).

To be correct the LA Times should have said: "Only evolution is backed by robust evidence accepted by scientists around the world." Bad misprint that.

Speaking of proxies: "Changing Adjustments to 19th Century SST" - "While there has been a great deal of discussion in other locations about possible urban heat island effect, there has been relatively little discussion about SST (sea surface temperature) adjustments and NMAT (night marine air temperature) adjustments. This is too bad. I’m not going to get into this, but there are some handy sources which I’ll direct interested people to and make a few short comments. 19th century temperatures are used to "verify" proxy models, but there are some curious inconsistencies between 19th century temperatures and proxy behavior, which I’ll not get into here, but made me go back to look at some of the 19th century adjustments. Generally, it worries me when "adjustments" become as large as the effect. One of the biggest changes in later IPCC reports resulted from new assumptions on 19th century use of wooden versus canvas buckets!" (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Reconstruction of temperature in the Central Alps during the past 2000 yr from a δ18O stalagmite record" - "Abstract: The precisely dated isotopic composition of a stalagmite from Spannagel Cave in the Central Alps is translated into a highly resolved record of temperature at high elevation during the past 2000 yr. Temperature maxima during the Medieval Warm Period between 800 and 1300 AD are in average about 1.7 °C higher than the minima in the Little Ice Age and similar to present-day values. The high correlation of this record to Δ14C suggests that solar variability was a major driver of climate in Central Europe during the past 2 millennia." (Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Article in Press, Corrected Proof)

"The influence of the 11 yr solar cycle on the interannual–centennial climate variability" - "Abstract: The monthly sunspot number (SSN) for January 1749–August 2004, the global sea-surface temperature (gmSST) and the regional SSTs in the northern N. Pacific (npSST) and the Nino3.4 (ninoSST) areas for the winters of 1870–2004 are analyzed by a wavelet transform to show their multi-scale nature. On the interdecadal timescales, both gmSST and npSST have similar variation tendencies with that of the intensity and cycle-length of the 11 yr SSN, with slight phase differences. The npSST and ninoSST are often out of phase on the decadal–interdecadal timescales. The ninoSST is predominated by the interannual timescales peaking around 3.8 yr. Moreover, the ninoSST exhibits an apparent 80–90 yr signal that is almost out of phase with that observed in SSN. Numerical experiments using a simple nonlinear system illustrate that the intensity of the seasonal forcing, modulated by the 11 yr solar activity, is likely an important factor causing different dominant timescales in regional SSTs. Even a small change in the “solar constant” by 0.04% on the 11 yr timescale may result in a regime change in the response (e.g. SST) with various dominant timescales, including the 77 and 88 yr signals that are similar to those of the “Gleissberg cycle” in observed SSN. The results show that part of the energy of the internal variability of the system is transferred to the forced variability that may have richer timescales than those in the forcing itself due to nonlinear resonance. This suggests that observed interannual–centennial climate signals are not purely internal, but also external because of the existence of the 11 yr solar activity cycle, which has changed the “solar constant” in the past and will continue doing so in the future. It also suggests that if the solar “Gleissberg cycle” is included in the forcing term, the 77 and 88 yr interdecadal signals and their subharmonics on centennial timescales may be more significant than what is shown here, which might have some implication to “global warming” research." (Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics)

"Global warming in Africa: The hottest issue of all" - "Any benefit from more aid to Africa will go up in smoke unless rich nations halt temperature rises that are robbing rainfall from a continent reliant on small-scale farming, write Michael McCarthy and Colin Brown." (London Independent)

Hmm... I was under the impression the desiccation of Africa had been ongoing for millennia, perhaps since the Holocene Maximum when it was wettest?

Parenthetically, we have been asked several times recently for a link to a simple treatment of past climate - try Paleoclimatology - The Study of Ancient Climates from The Page Paleontology Science Center.

"Lightning is striking less often" - "Lightning strikes are in decline, perhaps as a result of changes in climate, scientists say." (London Daily Telegraph)

"How high-pressure politics threatens action on climate" - "American resistance will not be the only obstacle to saving the world when Tony Blair meets the G8 leaders - but they must act or face catastrophe, says Robin McKie" (The Observer)

"Global warming gains higher profile in Senate" - "For the first time since President Bush rejected the international Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases, momentum is building in the Senate to begin addressing global warming." (Los Angeles Times)

"Senate climate vote puts heat on administration" - "WASHINGTON - A simmering conflict between U.S. lawmakers and the Bush administration over global climate change could boil over in the coming week when the Senate debates legislation that would require U.S. industry to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. President Bush has rebuffed pleas from world leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to take mandatory action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, which are blamed for rising temperatures. But three different Senate approaches to address the issue could be offered as early as Monday as amendments to pending energy legislation. The Senate debate comes two weeks before the Group of Eight industrialized nations meets in Scotland, where Blair hopes to hatch an action plan for rich nations to fight global warming." (Reuters)

"Record European CO2 Prices Seen Going Higher Still" - "LONDON - Record European carbon dioxide prices are likely to pile on more gains as the economics of running polluting coal-fired power plants remain more attractive than generating electricity from cleaner gas." (Reuters)

"Targets to cut aviation pollution" - "New targets to reduce the environmental impact of air travel are being launched by the UK's aviation industry. Airlines, airports and aircraft manufacturers aim to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced by new aircraft over the next 15 years." (BBC)

"Uncertainties in the proposed Regulation on F-gases" - "In Short: In an attempt to limit emissions of Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) in the EU, the European Commission has proposed a regulation focusing on containment and improved handling of refrigerants, with limited marketing and use restrictions in other minor applications. This research by Jason Anderson for the Institute for European Environmental Policy shows that the reductions proposed are anything but certain, and that alternative approaches may need to be considered more seriously." (EurActiv)

"U.S. nuclear power industry working on quiet comeback" - "WASHINGTON — More than 26 years after a near-meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, the Senate is considering an energy bill that includes financial incentives for construction of nuclear plants. It's the latest sign of the industry's quiet rehabilitation." (USA TODAY)

"'Scaremongering' Lancet accused of causing harm to health and wasting millions: Nobel prizewinners in the Royal Society attack on editor over publication of flawed research" - "BRITAIN’S premier medical journal is endangering public health by publishing unfounded scare stories, 30 of the country’s leading scientists say today. Poor editorial judgment at The Lancet has fuelled panic over issues such as the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, hormone replacement therapy and genetically modified (GM) crops, the eminent medical researchers charge in a letter that the journal has refused to publish." (Mark Henderson, London Times)

"Risky business" - "Health-scare stories often arise because their authors simply don't understand numbers" (Ben Goldacre, The Guardian)

"Are these sperm doomed?" - "Male fertility is falling. New evidence shows that phthalates - chemicals found in plastics and cosmetics - can damage boys' reproductive development at much lower doses than thought and that hormone exposure in the womb could cause disease later in life." (London Daily Telegraph)

Does the effect exist at all? If so, does it affect other than this particular breed of lab rodents? Like all scares based on not very much, this will not be ready for a public airing any time soon, if ever.

Inevitably: "Call to regulate gender-bending chemicals" - "Scientists press for urgent curb on endocrine disrupters." (The Guardian)

Language advisory: contains quotes from a Dr. Kortenkamp about labelling very soft ends and banning very hard ones, or words to that effect. Whether this is a deliberate spoof or merely unfortunate journalism we can not say. Either way it's something of a joke.

"Consumer Group Wants Warning Label on Potato Chips" - "LOS ANGELES - A California consumer legal group is campaigning to require warning labels on potato chips, saying they contain a chemical known to cause cancer and state law requires the warnings." (Reuters)

"Taking Candy From Children Isn't So Easy After All" - "On Monday, regulations become law in New Jersey - to be fully phased in by September 2007 - that will ban soda, candy and foods listing sugar as the first or principal ingredient from almost all school cafeterias from prekindergarten to high school." (New York Times)

"Chips face the chop as schools get healthy" - "Chips should not be served to pupils more than once a week and salt must be banished from their tables." (The Guardian)

Hmm... my kids will eat most vegetables - almost exclusively with some sort of seasoning for otherwise bland fare and that seasoning is commonly salt. Granted, we don't exactly obsess about family meals (between school, sports and part-time work schedules it wouldn't be practical anyway) and the kids can eat whatever they're hungry for, whenever they're hungry (yes, keeping the pantry and 'fridge stocked is a never-ending chore) but this doesn't seem to present a problem. Does such unrestrained eating mean fat kids? Certainly not from our experience, in fact, standing sideways it just about takes the three of them collectively to cast a shadow.

There's no such thing as "good" or "bad" foods or seasonings - it's a whole lifestyle thing. Is there a risk of some of what they eat not being the "best" for them? Sure but my kids have been allowed to take risks. This has resulted in the need for a few sutures and the odd plaster cast to be sure but they certainly seem to be happy, healthy and active enough. Best of all, life isn't passing them by while they worry incessantly over things of little or no consequence. You want some salt with those 'taters?

"Couch potato label gives veg a bad name - farmers" - "British farmers have launched a campaign to remove the term "couch potato" from the dictionary because they fear its negative connotations are putting people off buying the vegetable." (The Guardian)

"Horseshoe crab decline puzzles scientists" - "Before dinosaurs roamed the land, horseshoe crabs crawled the ocean floor, always emerging on the beach this time of year to reproduce. Few things have changed over the eons for the living fossil with the distinctive armor-like shell, but recently, researchers have notice a decline in their numbers that is worrisome." (Greenwhich Time)

"Hi-tech military sonar systems 'are killing Britain's whales and dolphins'" - "The research on corpses of stranded whales, at the Zoological Society of London, indicates that they have suffered a kind of decompression sickness after surfacing too fast when the sonar interferes with their navigation systems." (London Independent)

"Compassion not sentimentality" - "Unfortunately, where wild animals are concerned, sentimentality is too easily the enemy of true compassion. Failing to act with respect to diseased animals is a facile option, one that, in the end, leaves the animals to suffer, unprotected and in silence, and one which can even damage the survival of native species." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Save our forests -- harvest them" - "Following decades of a Massachusetts policy not to manage its forests, a group of Harvard University forestry experts is encouraging people there to embrace sustainable forestry practices. Their goal: ensure that forests in Massachusetts remain for future generations, rather than be converted for some other use. Ironically, the forest-management techniques they advocate are already used here in California, although they are neither widely understood nor embraced. Too often, sustainable forest management is fought by so-called environmental activists and hindered by contradictory regulations. The result for California: more land converted to other uses, lost jobs, an increasing dependence on imported wood and an unprecedented forest-health crisis as we enter this year's fire season." (SF Chronicle)

"Food agency accused of Stalinist tactics over GM maize cover-up" - "Britain's official food safety watchdog - which prides itself on its "openness" - is embroiled in a row over the blanking-out of large sections of a document relating to a banned GM maize illegally imported into the country." (London Independent)

June 19, 2005

Non sequitur du jour: "Fiddling as the planet burns" - "There is nothing left to debate about climate change. It is happening and each of us must act." (Henry Porter, The Observer)

Yes, the climate is changing, that's what climate does. No, no human action is required for the climate to change nor could we predictably or controllably adjust the climate.

"Revisiting the 'stick'" - "Despite proof that the official 1,000-year temperature history (the hockey stick) is wrong, government scientists refuse to correct the data." (Steve McIntyre, National Post)

Because people regularly request it: "The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea" - "Sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, and flux of terrigenous material oscillated on millennial time scales in the Pleistocene North Atlantic, but there are few records of Holocene variability. Because of high rates of sediment accumulation, Holocene oscillations are well documented in the northern Sargasso Sea. Results from a radiocarbon-dated box core show that SST was ~1 °C cooler than today ~400 years ago (the Little Ice Age) and 1700 years ago, and ~1 °C warmer than today 1000 years ago (the Medieval Warm Period). Thus, at least some of the warming since the Little Ice Age appears to be part of a natural oscillation." (Lloyd D. Keigwin, Science, 274: 1503-1508)

or here: "Sedimentary Record Yields Several Centuries of Data" - "The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea

These results are exciting for a few reasons. First, events as young and as brief as the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period have never before been resolved in deep sea sediments from the open ocean. Because the Sargasso Sea has a rather uniform temperature and salinity distribution near the surface, it seems that these events must have had widespread climatic significance. The Sargasso Sea data indicate that the Medieval Warm Period may have actually been two events separated by 500 years, perhaps explaining why its timing and extent have been so controversial. Second, it is evident that the climate system has been warming for a few hundred years, and that it warmed even more from 1,700 years ago to 1,000 years ago. There is considerable discussion in the scientific literature and the popular press about the cause of warming during the present century. Warming of about half a degree this century has been attributed to the human-induced "greenhouse effect." Although this is not universally accepted, it is widely accepted that eventually changes to Earth's atmosphere will cause climate warming. The message from the Bermuda Rise is that human-induced warming may be occurring at the same time as natural warming—not an ideal situation. Finally, building on the studies of physical oceanographers and climatologists, marine geologists and paleoclimatologists may use the North Atlantic Oscillation as a model for understanding North Atlantic climate change on longer, century and millennial time scales." (Lloyd D. Keigwin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

and, for something from 'the other side' of the world: "General characteristics of temperature variation in China during the last two millennia" - "ABSTRACT: Three alternate China-wide temperature composites covering the last 2000 years were established by combining multiple paleoclimate proxy records obtained from ice cores, tree rings, lake sediments and historical documents. Five periods of temperature variation can be identified: a warm stage in AD 0-240, a cold interval between AD 240 and 800, a return to warm conditions from AD 800-1400, including the Medieval Warm Period between AD 800-1100, the cool Little Ice Age period between 1400-1920, and the present warm stage since 1920. Regional temperature variation is found during AD 800-1100, when warm conditions occurred in Eastern China and in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau and in AD 1150-1380, when the southern Tibetan Plateau experienced a warm interval. In contrast, evidence for cool conditions during the LIA is more consistent among the proxy records. The temperature reconstructions for China and the Northern Hemisphere show good agreement over the past millennium." (Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2001GL014485)

For more on broad/globally distributed evidence of the the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age try: Mayewski et al. Quaternary Research 62: 243-255; Loehle, Ecological Modelling 171: 433-450; Holmgren et al. The Holocene 9: 295-309; Bard et al. Tellus 52B: 985-992; Krenke and Chernavskaya Isvestiya, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics 38: S59-S79; Soon and Baliunas Climate Research 23: 89-110; Bond et al. Science 294: 2130-2136; Broecker Natural History 110 (8): 60-69; Huang and Pollack Geophysical Research Letters 24: 1947-1950 and so on...

Curious, isn't it, that with mention of evidence of these events discovered around the world being almost common in the literature, (or at least not difficult to find), that the IPCC so thoroughly adopted Mann and that hokey hockey stick graph, virtually airbrushing out two of the most important events in a millennium of human history. People and cultures have prospered or suffered in accord with these climatic cues, history did not imagine them.

Bizarrely, the graph depicts proxies to 1980 with an "instrument record" appended for dramatic effect, despite there being an abundance of proxies available to continue a like record. Perhaps the failure of proxies to emulate that appendage disqualifies them or perhaps, just perhaps, failure of proxy and instruments to concur on recent temps and trends so breaks the association that "alarming warming" disappears.

This leads to a number of possibilities: the simplest, Mann disagrees with a multitude of studies and recorded history - Mann's graph is broken or; Mann is right - history and a wealth of other researchers are wrong or; Mann's method of dealing with proxies is correct - continuation of the proxies show that the "instrument record" is purely an artefact of UHIE. Since options 1 and 3 suggest nothing abnormal and so no problem and option 2 suggests there's only a problem if history is wrong, all we need to do is decide whether Mann is wrong, or history is.

"Emission impossible - it's known as economic growth, folks" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Europe fails to cut greenhouse gas emissions" - "Europe is failing to tackle climate change, putting further pressure on Tony Blair to come up with a fresh initiative at the G8 summit and embarrassing the European commission, which is floundering over budget cuts and the constitution treaty." (London Guardian)

"How high-pressure politics threatens action on climate" - "American resistance will not be the only obstacle to saving the world when Tony Blair meets the G8 leaders - but they must act or face catastrophe, says Robin McKie" (The Observer)

And it's all those dreadful Americans' doing: "New US move to spoil climate accord" - "Extraordinary efforts by the White House to scupper Britain's attempts to tackle global warming have been revealed in leaked US government documents obtained by The Observer. These papers - part of the Bush administration's submission to the G8 action plan for Gleneagles next month - show how the United States, over the past two months, has been secretly undermining Tony Blair's proposals to tackle climate change." (The Observer)

"G-8 Draft on Global Warming Is Weakened at U.S. Behest" - "Drafts of a joint statement being prepared for the leaders of the major industrial powers show that the Bush administration has succeeded in removing language calling for prompt action to control global warming." (New York Times)

"British finance minister reassures doubters on G8 climate change deal" - "LONDON - Britain insisted it had not allowed a communiqué on climate change to be issued by next month's G8 summit to be watered down at the insistence of the United States. Environmental campaigners expressed alarm after newspapers reported Friday that a key document being prepared for the July 6-8 gathering in Gleneagles, Scotland, had been changed to incorporate Washington's scepticism on the issue." (AFP)

"You couldn't make it up" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Expert View: Europe or Kyoto, there's no such thing as 'we all agree'" - "The latest budget argument between Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac is pure theatre. Mr Chirac is trying to distract attention from the disastrous (for him) referendum, while Mr Blair is seizing the opportunity to look tough and Eurosceptic. But both must be somewhat rattled by the implication from their electorates that the privileged political elites need to pay a little more attention to their constituencies. So a nice global warming summit where they can emote with their "subjects" on the new religion and blame George Bush should make them feel better.

But even here this might not last, for cracks are appearing in the Kyoto consensus. This is an economics and markets column and not a political one, so I'll restrict my views on Kyoto to noting that even if I were convinced of the science predicting a 0.7 per cent increase in temperatures over the next 200 years (which I am not), I would still have a huge economic problem with the proposed solutions." (London Independent on Sunday)

Sigh... "GOP Senator Wants White House Climate Deal" - "A leading Republican senator, trying to shepherd a broad energy bill through the Senate, is urging the White House and other GOP senators to support a compromise proposal on global warming, including mandatory curbs on climate-changing pollution." (Associated Press)

"Climate change gains crucial ally in U.S. Senate" - "WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate's top Republican energy bill negotiator, risking a break with the White House over the global warming issue, on Friday said the United States must act to curb heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, "is convinced that the science now indicates that climate change is occurring and we need to do something about it," said his energy advisor Alex Flint. The stance is contrary to the Bush Administration's opposition to mandatory measures. Domenici supports recommendations by the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) for a mandatory cap-and-trade system starting in 2010, Flint said." (Reuters)

The Week That Was June 18, 2005 (SEPP)

Twaddle: "While the G8 waters down its plans to combat climate change, the Antarctic ice sheet is melting far faster than we thought. The consequences could be devastating" - "‘This is definitely not science fiction ... it could happen’" (Rob Edwards, Environment Editor, Sunday Herald) | Melting polar ice caps are scientific fact, yet the G8 leaders won’t act (Sunday Herald)

Uh, Rob? The Antarctic is gaining ice mass, not losing it and the bulk of Antarctica is cooling. The portion of the Antarctic Peninsula where recent warming has been observed and where some relatively tiny and insignificant ice shelves have collapsed is actually not within the Antarctic but protrudes north of the region towards South America. The 'consequences' of this will never be known because the effect is immeasurably small on a global scale.

"DOE provides $100 million to advance climate change technology" - "WASHINGTON -- Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman has announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) will provide $100 million to further develop carbon sequestration technologies used to capture and permanently store greenhouse gases. The research is part of President Bush’s Global Climate Change Initiative." (Capitol Reports)

"Australia: Trial of pumping gases underground urged" - "Australian scientists involved in a research project in Poland where carbon dioxide was pumped deep underground and stored in coal seams say this approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be tested here." (Melbourne Age)

"Japan making Kyoto push" - "Japan is calling on schools, companies and households to curb energy use, reduce trash and recycle to help lower greenhouse gas emissions under a global climate change treaty, a government report said yesterday." (Associated Press)

"Beijing in rush to curb private-car ownership" - "Faced with a mounting smog problem and huge traffic snarls, city officials here are taking steps to staunch a surge in the number of privately-owned cars." (Asahi Shimbun)

"It's Getting Cheaper to Tap the Sun"- "Excitement over residential solar energy may not be running high everywhere, but providing homes with electricity and heat from the sun is getting more buzz than it has in decades." (New York Times)

"Insects develop resistance to engineered crops" - "Cornell University entomologist Anthony Shelton finds when engineered crops containing just one Bt toxin grow near modified plants with two toxins, insects may more rapidly develop resistance to all the engineered plants." (Cornell University News Service)

"Spurning biotech" - "Nine years after farmers began using GMO soybeans, ingredients made with them are found in many supermarket products-- yet many people have no idea they are buying genetically modified food." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Consumer group wants warning label on potato chips" - "A California consumer legal group is campaigning to require warning labels on potato chips, saying they contain a chemical known to cause cancer and state law requires the warnings." (Reuters)

"Health Group Advises More Skepticism About Activists’ Health Claims" - "New York, NY -- June 2005. Journalists can improve their coverage of public health topics by more critically considering health claims made by activist groups. These claims are frequently not based on sound science. In a new publication, Good Stories, Bad Science: A Guide for Journalists to the Health Claims of "Consumer Activist" Groups, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) explores the issue by analyzing claims of four such groups: the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). ACSH suggests some questions that journalists might use to determine the scientific validity of claims made by such groups." (ACSH)

"Cancer: how scared should we be?" - "Alarmist news stories are making us paranoid about the 'c-word'" (London Daily Telegraph)

"Halt to Pesticide Tests on Humans Is Sought" - "More than 100 volunteers in San Diego were intentionally exposed to a pesticide in one of two dozen scientific experiments worldwide that have come under attack by California members of Congress." (Los Angeles Times)

June 17, 2005

"Global Warming Heats Up in Senate" - "Global warming is a hot issue in Congress right now, but not just because of pressure from the usual suspects in the radical eco-activist movement. Instead, a few businesses are leading the charge — which happens to be calculated to fill their coffers at the public's expense." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Britain's Blair caught in G8 climate dilemma" - "British Prime Minister Tony Blair is trapped in a dilemma of his own creation over saving the planet from global warming, analysts say. Blair has put climate change at the heart of his year-long presidency of the Group of Eight industrial nations, but his efforts to get radical action agreed at next month's G8 summit in Scotland are being repeatedly torpedoed by the United States. Environmental campaigners say this leaves Blair with a stark choice -- either drop U.S. President George W. Bush and get a strong agreement with the other G8 members or stay with him, get a weak deal and be blamed for missing a crucial opportunity." (Reuters)

Five reasons why so many UK environmental correspondents are poor on critical science (EnviroSpin Watch)

"U.S. Pressure Weakens G-8 Climate Plan: Global-Warming Science Assailed" - "Bush administration officials working behind the scenes have succeeded in weakening key sections of a proposal for joint action by the eight major industrialized nations to curb climate change.

Under U.S. pressure, negotiators in the past month have agreed to delete language that would detail how rising temperatures are affecting the globe, set ambitious targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions and set stricter environmental standards for World Bank-funded power projects, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. Negotiators met this week in London to work out details of the document, which is slated to be adopted next month at the Group of Eight's annual meeting in Scotland." (Washington Post)

"G8 cold shoulder on global warming" - "A briefing on climate change for next month's G8 summit questions whether global warming exists and has scaled down recommendations to tackle the problem. The text has removed plans to fund research and put into question top scientists' warnings that warming is under way." (The Herald)

"US defends stance on climate change" - "The US on Thursday played down differences on climate change with the other Group of Eight industrialised nations, amid claims by environmental campaigners that a leaked “plan of action” showed the US was blocking progress in the run up to next month's Gleneagles summit." (Financial Times)

"UK Delays Climate Change Rethink as CO2 Goals Slip" - "LONDON - Britain on Thursday delayed by six months the launch of a revised climate change strategy as it tries to get back on track to meet ambitious goals on curbing greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Business plea over climate change" - "Businesses in Scotland's two biggest cities rank climate change at the bottom of the list of their priorities, according to research." (BBC)

"NZ: Kyoto bill creates $1 billion deficit" - "Taxpayers will be at least $1 billion worse off under revised Government estimates of the costs of the Kyoto treaty to combat global warming. National's environment spokesman, Nick Smith, says the party, if elected, will consider pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, despite the cost to New Zealand's international reputation, given the 'hammering' the economy will take under the latest numbers. 'It's a huge stuff-up.'" (New Zealand Herald)

Aha! Greenhouse warming... "How much excess fresh water was added to the North Atlantic in recent decades?" - "Large regions of the North Atlantic Ocean have been growing fresher since the late 1960s as melting glaciers and increased precipitation, both associated with greenhouse warming, have enhanced continental runoff into the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas. Over the same time period, salinity records show that large pulses of extra sea ice and fresh water from the Arctic have flowed into the North Atlantic. But, until now, the actual amounts and rates of fresh water accumulation have not been explicitly known." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

... or not. Turns out fully half the "excess" fresh water flow 1965-1995 entered the North Atlantic in the late 1960s - when global cooling was the alarm du jour.

"Comments on “Evidence for global runoff increase related to climate warming” by Labat et al." - "Abstract: We have examined the evidence presented by Labat et al. and found that (1) their claims for a 4% increase in global runoff arising from a 1 °C increase in air temperature and (2) that their article provides the “first experimental data-based evidence demonstrating the link between the global warming and the intensification of the global hydrological cycle” are not supported by the data presented. Our conclusions are based on the facts that (1) their discharge records exhibit non-climatic influences and trends, (2) their work cannot refute previous studies finding no relation between air temperature and runoff, (3) their conclusions cannot explain relations before 1925, and (4) the statistical significance of their results hinges on a single data point that exerts undue influence on the slope of the regression line. We argue that Labat et al. have not provided sufficient evidence to support their claim for having detected increases in global runoff resulting from climate warming." (Advances in Water Resources [Article in Press, Corrected Proof])

Meanwhile, in Trenberth's virtual world: "NCAR climate expert: Hurricanes to intensify as Earth warms" - "Warmer oceans, more moisture in the atmosphere, and other factors suggest that human-induced climate change will increase hurricane intensity and rainfall, according to climate expert Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His paper, "Uncertainty in Hurricanes and Global Warming," appears in the June 17 issue of Science." (NCAR/UCAR) | Uncertainty in Hurricanes and Global Warming (Science, Vol 308, Issue 5729, 1753-1754) | Debating whether global warming will trigger nastier hurricanes (Scripps Howard News Service)

Flashback: Scientist resigns from UN global warming body saying IPCC has a pre-conceived agenda - "After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns...

I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound. As the IPCC leadership has seen no wrong in Dr. Trenberth's actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I have decided to no longer participate in the IPCC AR4." (Chris Landsea, Open letter)

Climate models to face the music? Meet Ensemble: "RESEARCH: More accurate climate change predictions" - "They say ‘great minds think alike’ but the essence of large-scale integrated projects is to put the best minds – frequently from different disciplines – towards solving major scientific problems. One European project, called Ensemble, takes this grouping principle to the next level, assembling partners from all over the world to come up with more accurate predictions for climate change. Predicting climate change – whether from natural or man-made causes – is notoriously difficult because of uncertainties in weather forecasting and problems with data reliability and key processes used, lament scientists. For the first time, thanks to European Union funding, a group of research teams spanning the globe will develop a common aggregated climate forecasting system covering various timescales and spatial spreads – i.e. regional, local, national." (European Commission) | Ensemble

We've heard of 'sexing up' climate predictions but this is the first (potential) model we know of with its own gender committee.

"Mother Nature is altering the planet" - "The world is changing. But that change isn’t just the result of human actions and impacts on the natural environment. Mother Nature, herself, is sending the world into a series of “rapid landscape” changes that can be harmful to the environment, ecosystems and human societies. That’s the argument being made by 75 Canadian and international scientists at this week’s Rapid Landscape Change conference being held at Yukon College. The conference is part of a two-year series of international meetings entitled Dark Nature – Rapid Natural Change and Human Responses. “Dark Nature refers to the potential for the natural environment to inflict harmful damage on people and ecosystems,” said a press release put out by conference administrators." (Whitehorse Star Online)

Still steering Science firmly into political waters: "The Fight of the Decade" - "At the inauguration of the United Nations (UN) World Environment Day 2005 Conference in San Francisco on 2 June, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did an astonishing thing in his opening speech. Such occasions normally invite specimens of banal hospitality: "We welcome this distinguished gathering of international leaders to our great state..." Well, the Gubernator wasn't having any of that. Instead, he talked about global warming, laying out a real challenge to climate policy as it is practiced in Washington, DC, today. His talk has set up a heavyweight bout between two powerful Republican leaders over the proper role of science in politics. Best of all, we won't even have to pay to watch it!" (Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief, Science)

"Sharks bask in Scotland's balmy waters" - "SCOTLAND is becoming a hotspot for migratory sharks because of rising ocean temperatures and climate change, according to a report published today. Sightings of basking sharks have increased by 65 per cent in Scottish waters over the past four years, while those in the fish's traditional summer home off south-west England have dropped by 66 per cent. " (The Scotsman)

"Asian dust storms affect Canucks" - "A growing number of sandstorms as far away as China that researchers blame on climate change are contributing to an increase in health problems for Canadians, such as coughing, fevers and sore eyes, a new international report warns." (Canadian Press)

"Study: Ohio should lead on global warming" - "The Ohio Environmental Council unveiled proposals Wednesday to help Ohio fight global warming, saying the challenge could be an economic boon to the state." (Dayton Business Journal)

Germans vote in California? "Schwarzenegger's global warming stance praised" - "BERLIN - A top German governmental official praised California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday for pledging to fight global warming over objections from the White House." (Expatica)

"In Senate, energy debate focuses on U.S. resources" - "Senate Democrats agreed with President Bush and Senate Republicans on Wednesday on the need to reduce the nation's dependence on imported oil. What they differed on was how to do it." (New York Times)

"Another Full-Employment Act For the Lawyers" - "Let us begin with the obvious: Politics is the art of wealth redistribution. And while the meek shall inherit the earth, someday, in the here and now it is Congress that bestows favors and imposes costs as we travel down that not-so-lonesome highway bedecked with signs proclaiming clean air and a myriad other goodies just over the next rise.

That Congress can be far more generous and destructive than even it imagines is illustrated by the saga of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, and the efforts therein ostensibly to reduce summer air pollution by "reformulating" gasoline with the addition of two percent (by weight) of oxygenates. That requirement took effect in 1996." (Benjamin Zycher, TCS)

"Julian Simon Would Be Proud" - "The late Julian Simon wrote dozens of books and articles debunking neo-Malthusians. In the 1980 swirl of Three Mile Island and record-high oil prices, he bet doomsayer Paul Ehrlich $1,000 that any five commodities he chose would cost less in 1990. Ehrlich chose; Simon won. The price of each commodity was down 40%. Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills have written a book, The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, The Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy, that is debunking, technical, entertaining and surprising, much in the same way Julian Simon's work was." (Jack Rafuse, TCS)

RAN rant: "Declare Your Independence from Oil" - "July 4th marks our nation's birthday and our annual celebration of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We barbecue, we attend parades, and we celebrate freedom and democracy. Today, however, our freedom is threatened by the tyranny of oil. With less than 5 percent of the world's population, we consume more than a quarter of the world's oil. Of the 20 million barrels a day we burn, nearly half of that is wasted in gas guzzling cars, trucks and SUVs. We're writing to ask you to stand up for our freedom and sign the Declaration of Independence from Oil!" (RAN)

"Norway Offers Firms New Arctic Oil/Gas Prospects" - "OSLO - Norway offered oil and gas companies new exploration areas in Arctic seas on Thursday to spur activity despite opposition from environmental groups." (Reuters)

"Plan could reduce waste sent to Yucca Mountain" - "There is new interest in a plan to recycle nuclear waste, which could then be used again in a reactor to make electricity. Reprocessing could also reduce the amount of material destined for Nevada's Yucca Mountain." (National Public Radio)

"Duke Energy Did Not Break Law, Court Says" - "A federal appeals court sided yesterday with industry groups that have been fighting a government crackdown on aging coal-fired power plants, ruling that utility giant Duke Energy did not break the law when it modernized its facilities without obtaining a permit." (Washington Post)

"Studies confirm ozone's health risks" - "Three independent ozone studies all appear to confirm what scientists and environmentalists have long suspected: that higher atmospheric ozone levels are dangerous and perhaps life-threatening." (Health Day News)

"Using DDT to Reduce Mortality" - "Should DDT be an option in malaria control? The evidence indicates that it should indeed." (AFM)

Here a conspiracy, there a conspiracy... "Deadly immunity" - "When a study revealed that mercury in childhood vaccines may have caused autism in thousands of kids, the government rushed to conceal the data -- and to prevent parents from suing drug companies for their role in the epidemic." (Salon)

"New EPA head defended study using pesticides around children" - "Stephen Johnson, the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has defended a controversial study that would have exposed children to pesticides as "ethically and scientifically sound," agency employees said." (Denver Post)

"EPA reviewing 24 tests of human pesticide" - "Data from two dozen industry tests that intentionally exposed people to poisons, including one involving a World War I-era chemical warfare agent, are being used by the Environmental Protection Agency in approving and denying specific pesticides." (Associated Press)

"Kids' favorite snack? It's a fruit surprise" - "New data from a leading market research firm show that fresh fruit is the most popular snack among children today — a finding greeted with some skepticism by nutritionists." (USA Today)

"Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Many of 2 billion dryland dwellers at risk as land degrades" - "Growing desertification worldwide threatens to swell by millions the number of poor forced to seek new homes and livelihoods. And a rising number of large, intense dust storms plaguing many areas menace the health of people even continents away, international experts warn in a new report." (United Nations University)

"Robert Wager: Genetically engineered crops: The first 10 years" - "Front Lines is a guest viewpoint section offering perspectives on current issues and events from people working on the front lines of Canada's technology industry. Robert Wager is a member of the Biology Department at Malaspina University College in Nanaimo, B.C." (Globe and Mail)

June 16, 2005

"Hey Plan Fans!" - "There are a lot of malaria plans and reports out there, and it's hard to keep score on which plan says what and how well the plans are doing. We've compiled some links to a few of the best known plans and their follow up reports here as well as some links to some of the criticisms of these plans in the hope that this will help make it a bit easier for the public to find out what's going on." (AFM)

"AFM's Comment on the WHA Malaria Resolution" - "The World Health Assembly recently passed a resolution on malaria control. The WHO and UNICEF also recently published their World Malaria Report. AFM comments here on some aspects of the resolution and report." (AFM)

"All humans are food to mosquitoes : Surviving an encounter with malaria" - "Ever wonder what it's like to get malaria? This article should give you some idea." (AFM)

"Health experts warn over 'dangerous' malaria drug" - "BRITAIN’s biggest drug company has been marketing a malaria treatment in Africa despite a leaked report from World Health Organisation (WHO) experts which warns that it could be dangerous to some users. The scientists say that Lapdap, a drug produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), should be subject to more extensive tests before it is offered for widespread use." (AFM)

"Fat versus fiction" - "The moral panic about the obesity epidemic was always hard to swallow, says Vivienne Parry. There is an epidemic of obesity. We are all going prematurely to hell in a heavily reinforced handcart, the victims of our own self-indulgence and laziness." (The Guardian)

"Rell Vetoes Junk-Food Limit in Connecticut's Public Schools" - "Gov. M. Jodi Rell exercised her veto powers on Tuesday for only the third time, rejecting a bill that would have restricted the sale of some snack foods and beverages in all public schools and required a minimum of 100 minutes a week of recess for younger students." (New York Times)

"Loggers, Environmentalists Square Off Over Landmark Australian $6.36 Million Lawsuit" - SYDNEY, Australia — Taking up a tactic long used by Australian environmentalists, the country's largest timber company has gone to court to try to block prominent environmental campaigners from carrying out what it claims are violent protests and to demand millions of dollars in damages from anti-logging demonstrations.

Hearings will be held next month on the suit filed by Gunns Ltd. accusing the Australia-based Wilderness Society, federal Sen. Bob Brown of the Green Party and 18 other environmental activists of engaging in "guerrilla tactics" at four logging sites in the southern state of Tasmania.

The 216-page suit filed late last year in the Victoria Supreme Court accuses the defendants of sabotaging logging machines, destroying private property, trespassing, blocking access to land and obstructing police. It also claims the defendants organized smear campaigns targeting Gunns' overseas customers -- particularly in Japan and Belgium -- and vilifying Gunns investors and shareholders.

Gunns is seeking an injunction against such tactics and Australian $6.36 million (US$4.8 million; euro3.91 million) in damages.

Environmentalists, who frequently have gone to court to battle logging companies, argue the Gunns' lawsuit undermines their right to free speech." (Associated Press)

"Hurricane Losses Big in 2005 - Insurance Consultant" - "NEW YORK - Hurricanes could cost insurers "above average" losses in 2005, after an unprecedented number of such storms in 2004 made it the industry's costliest year ever, EQECAT Inc., a consulting firm that tracks natural disaster costs, said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Improved water vapor sensor takes to the skies" - "A new water vapor sensor developed partly at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research will improve a wide range of weather forecasts to make flying safer, allow airlines to expand routes, provide alternate landing options, and save fuel. The new data can also verify computer model projections of climate change." (National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)

Hmm... "Rising sea levels erode half of Bangladesh's biggest island: study" - "DHAKA - River currents strengthened by rising sea levels have devoured half of Bangladesh's biggest island in 40 years, leaving half a million people homeless, researchers said. From a size of 6,400 square kilometres (3,968 square miles) in 1965, Bhola island near the mouth of the Bay of Bengal is now only half its original size." (AFP)

So, having apparently been stable for some period, Bhola began suffering from erosion in the midst of the post-WWII cooling period. This is allegedly due to rising sea level-strengthened river currents.

Readers may find this paper interesting: Forcing Mechanisms of Sea Level Interannual Variability in the Bay of Bengal (.pdf) Han and Webster, 2001

"Only a deracinated computer nerd with no sense of history could get us into a panic about 'global warming'" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Nukes in, cash out in softened G8 climate text" - "LONDON - A new draft communiqué on climate change for next month's Group of Eight summit has removed plans to fund research and put into question top scientists' warnings that global warming is already under way. The text seen by Reuters, titled Gleneagles Plan of Action and dated June 14, has been watered down from a previous draft which itself had no specific targets or timetables for action. The latest draft also explicitly endorses the use of "zero-carbon" nuclear power -- another development that will dismay many environmentalists three weeks before the summit of the world's eight richest nations at Gleneagles in Scotland." (Reuters)

No kidding... "G8 summit will not produce greenhouse gas targets: Britain" - "BERLIN - The British government said that the Group of Eight summit next month would not produce specific targets for reducing greenhouse gases from the highly industrialized countries. Secretary of State for Environment Margaret Beckett said that the United Nations remained the preferred forum to discuss the specifics of fighting climate change, despite Prime Minister Tony Blair's goal of making the environment and Africa the twin points of focus at the G8 meeting." (AFP)

Time for another Canute: "Experts unite to fight sea rises" - "Researchers have joined forces in Devon to discover ways to tackle rising sea levels on UK coastlines." (BBC)

"Poll: Many See No Need to Worry About Warming: Most Think Global Warming Has Begun, but Differ With Scientists on Urgency" - "June 15, 2005 — Nearly six in 10 Americans think global warming likely is under way and as many accept that human activities play a significant role. But — like the Bush administration — most part company with scientists' calls for prompt government action.

That lack of urgency stems from perceptions of the hazard: While a vast majority, nearly eight in 10, believe global warming will pose a serious threat to future generations, far fewer — just one-third — think it will affect their own lives. The majority who see the risk as a distant one overwhelmingly prefer more study to immediate action.

The majority view aligns in this respect with the Bush administration, which has focused on uncertainties in climate science, urged further study and supported only voluntary steps through 2012 to slow greenhouse gas emissions. The administration has rejected the Kyoto treaty on global warming, which went into effect in February and now has 150 signatories." (ABC News)

Naturally: "Canadian Inuit activist slams US on climate change" - "OSLO - A Canadian Inuit activist fired a salvo at Washington which she accused of doing nothing to help stop the climate change that is threatening the way of life of the Arctic's native peoples." (AFP)

"New Zealand: Govt admits huge Kyoto cost miscalculation- taxpayer will cough up $543 million" - "The Government has admitted it has made a massive miscalculation in the cost of the Kyoto Protocol. Original estimates were that New Zealand would have a surplus of 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide credits between 2008 and 2012, worth around $450 million. Climate Change Minister Pete Hodgson says new estimates put it at a deficit of 36.2 million tonnes. That will cost New Zealand $543 million, and it will have to be borne by the taxpayer." (NZCity)

"Switzerland: CO2 tax needed to meet Kyoto target" - "The Swiss environment agency announced that Switzerland will not meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gases unless it takes further action." (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

"Energy Bill Amendments on Fuel Efficiency Ignore Safety Issue" - "As the Senate debates an energy bill, some Senators plan to support amendments that would drastically increase fuel economy standards, without regard to technological feasibility or the safety of America’s drivers." (CEI)

Mmm... corn-fed pork! "Senate Backs US Ethanol Boost in Energy Bill" - "WASHINGTON - The US Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly backed a plan to require oil refiners to double the use of corn-blended ethanol in gasoline by 2012, rejecting a move to gut the mandate from pending energy legislation." (Reuters)

"How will carbon capture and storage work?" - "Crudely, the carbon dioxide spewed from power stations will be, well, captured and stored. But there the problems begin. The government may have pledged £25m to help the climate change busting technology along earlier this week, but significant obstacles remain with two parts of the plan: capture and storage." (The Guardian)

"Plan for more coal energy in Nevada runs into Calif. opposition" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Nevada's high desert to provide more energy for Southern Californians are opposed by renewable energy advocates and may also run afoul of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's new effort to fight global warming." (Associated Press)

"Where Oil Is Mined, Not Pumped" - "Major oil companies - faced with tough prospects for developing new fields around the world - are doing what was once unthinkable: sinking billions into projects to wring oil out of a viscous substance called bitumen, buried amid sand and clay." (Washington Post)

"Environmental concerns generate new interest in nuclear power" - "WASHINGTON - Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. Yucca Mountain. For the past 25 years, a nuclear industry already saddled with prohibitive costs and radioactive waste struggled in the face of the worst fears about nuclear power. But the atom is rebounding." (Knight Ridder)

"Minister bows to Coalition calls for debate on nuclear power" - "Australia is likely to have a formal inquiry into the feasibility of domestic nuclear power generation to cut global warming." (Sydney Australian)

"Huge wind-farm to go ahead" - "Victoria's second-biggest wind farm – a $326-million project with 128 turbines – will go ahead at Waubra in western Victoria after approval today from the State Government." (Sydney Australian)

"Ontario to Slow Phase-Out of Coal-Fed Power Plants" - "TORONTO - The government of Ontario, Canada's biggest power-consuming province, said Wednesday it is delaying its deadline for shutting all of its coal-fired power plants, with the biggest of them staying open until early 2009." (Reuters)

"Global Animal Feed Use to Soar as Population Grows" - "LONDON - Animal protein production will have to treble by 2050 in order to meet population growth and rising living standards in countries like China, the head of the world animal feed body said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Call for genetically modified food ban" - "More than 20 environmental, faith-based and food security groups have called on government to ban genetically modified (GM) food. The call for the ban stems from fears that GM maize might be contaminated with bt 10 -- a variety of maize which contain genes from antibiotics and ampicillin." (Sapa)

June 15, 2005

"New IPN study shows foreign aid does more harm than good" - "This weekend (Friday and Saturday), the G-7 finance ministers are meeting in London to conduct further negotiations on next month’s G8 agenda. High profile campaigns are pressuring the countries to commit themselves to doubling aid to African countries, suggesting that Africa needs an extra US $25 billion a year until 2015. A new study from International Policy Network concludes that aid has failed to achieve its goals in the past 50 years. Worse, in many cases aid has been counterproductive – crowding out private sector investment, undermining democracy and perpetuating poverty." (Press Release)

"MyPyramid Scheme" - "Many of us learn what foods to eat for good nutrition from the government's food guide pyramid -- that graphic symbol posted in American school classrooms and cafeterias. Its purpose has been to translate the Dietary Guidelines issued by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services so that they're easier and more accessible to use. But the new pyramid, MyPyramid, released two months ago, doesn't accurately depict the revised 2005 Dietary Guidelines or follow sound science at all. Covertly, MyPyramid puts the nation on a diet. In fact, its calorie recommendations are so restrictive, they endanger the health of Americans." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Cancer unit is assailed over studies" - "Three leaders of local cancer support and education groups are accusing the American Cancer Society of downplaying links between environmental contaminants and cancer." (Poughkeepsie Journal)

"Exposure to sunlight may decrease risk of prostate cancer" - "In the largest such study to date, a research team from three cancer centers measured sunlight exposure in men and found that increased exposure to sunlight may decrease the risk of prostate cancer." (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

"Marshfield Clinic researchers launch study of environmental causes of Alzheimer's disease" - "Marshfield Clinic researchers have begun searching for genetic and environmental links to Alzheimer's disease as a first step toward developing diagnostic markers to identify people at risk before they develop the disease. According to Marshfield Clinic Epidemiologist Catherine McCarty, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Personalized Medicine Research Project and co-investigator of the Alzheimer's study. "We are the first that I know of to look at the interaction between genetics and environment on the risk of disease." (Marshfield Clinic)

Tough place, that virtual world: "The deadly price of dirty air" - "More than 5,800 Ontario residents are expected to die prematurely this year because they are breathing dirty air, warns a new report from the Ontario Medical Association. Breathing pollutant-laden air will cost the province almost $1 billion this year in lost productivity and treatment of smog-related illnesses, the OMA says in the report obtained by the Star.

The report was created using a sophisticated software model developed by the OMA in 2000 to estimate the health effects and economic costs of smog in Ontario." (Toronto Star)

"PETA: People Enabling Terrorist Atrocities" - "To hear the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals tell it, they're just animal lovers. They usually claim they simply want to ensure our furry and feathered friends aren't abused. In reality, they call humans "a cancer" and insist we all become become vegetarians. They also say that all animal testing, necessary for testing new drugs, be eliminated. "Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we'd be against it," says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk." (Michael Fumento, TCS)

"Contribution of thermal expansion to present-day sea-level change revisited" - "Abstract: We investigate the thermosteric (i.e., due to temperature only) sea-level change over the last 50 years using two global ocean temperature data sets recently published (Levitus et al., 2000a [Levitus, S., Stephens, C.M., Antonov, J.I., Boyer, T.P., 2000a. Yearly and year-season upper ocean temperature anomaly fields, 1948–1998, pp. 23, U.S. Gov. Printing Office, Washington, DC] and Ishii et al., 2003 [Ishii, M., Kimoto, M., Kachi, M., 2003. Historical ocean subsurface temperature analysis with error estimates, Monthly Weather Rev., 131, 51–73]). These data sets which provide gridded temperatures, down to 3000 m and 500 m respectively, are based on interpolation schemes of raw historical profiles over 1950–1998. We find that the two data sets compare well over 1950–1990, both in terms of thermosteric sea-level trends and global mean. Some difference is noticed however beyond 1990, due to differences in the raw temperature data processing. Analyses based on ‘Empirical Orthogonal Function’ show that the interannual variability of the thermosteric sea level is dominated by the signatures of El Niño Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation and influenced by North Atlantic Oscillation. As a result, regional thermosteric sea-level trends are not stationary on a century time scale and have a typical lifetime on the order of a decade. In terms of global mean, the rate of thermosteric sea-level change computed over 10-year windows displays high variability, with values reaching up to three times the 40-year (1950–1990) average at some periods. Even negative values are noticed at other periods. One important consequence is that the pattern of sea-level trends derived from Topex/Poseidon altimetry over 1993–2003, which is mainly caused by thermal expansion, is very likely a non-permanent feature. Thus past and future extrapolation based on this 10-year altimetry pattern should be considered with caution." (Global and Planetary Change)

Translation: things change and we haven't got all this stuff worked out yet.

Heads up: Mörner et al rather upset Big Warming by determining that the Maldives appear to have coped with previous warm periods and sea level rises and were not in imminent danger of disappearing beneath the waves. Stand by for attempts to drown heretical claim.

"Plains Drought Cycle Has Long History, Ominous Future" - "Cyclical droughts have ravaged the United States' northern Great Plains for thousands of years, a new study says. Scientists expect the potentially devastating events to continue—perhaps with a boost from global warming. "These drought cycles have gone on pretty consistently throughout the last 4,500 years," said Jim Clark, an ecologist at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences in Durham, North Carolina. "They are pretty severe, so they have a large impact on the full set of ecosystem processes." Many climatologists believe that devastating droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl are not abnormal when viewed in larger historic context." (National Geographic News)

"Yes, globe is warming, even if Bush denies it" - "As the world's sole superpower, the United States has tremendous influence. Beyond military might, it can shape issues from trade to terrorism to the environment. That's why future generations, say 100 years from now, might ask: So why didn't it get serious about global warming when it had the chance?" (USA Today)

"Evidence is underwhelming" - "Despite the lack of a scientific consensus to warrant such measures, climate change alarmists — in the heat of the summer for the scariest effect — are promoting mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions in the USA. It's a classic case of "ready, fire, aim." (James M. Inhofe, USA Today)

"Emissions Regulations Could Stall Energy Bill" - "WASHINGTON, June 14 - Hoping to break a long legislative deadlock over energy issues, the Senate on Tuesday returned to a broad power proposal stuffed with the same politically combustible issues that have derailed past legislation - including fuel consumption, industry benefits, oil and gas drilling and pollution. Now, with President Bush pressing Congress to deliver an energy bill this summer, the Senate is adding yet another contentious issue to the mix: global warming." (New York Times)

"All Pain...with No Environmental Gain" - "In a new CEI OnPoint, Kyoto-by-Inches Is Just as Foolish, Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, Jr. explains why the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act and Sen. Jeff Bingaman's soon-to-be-introduced climate bill are all economic pain for no environmental gain." (CEI)

Diplomat-speak for "No" "China to watch others on climate change action" - "BRUSSELS, June 14 - China will watch how other countries meet their environmental commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions in coming years before deciding whether to sign up to its own mandatory cuts, a minister said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Dispelling the Myths of Global Warming" - "Is global warming really threatening our planet, or are the warnings about climate change just a lot of hot air? At next month's G-8 summit, there will be immense pressure on President Bush to join the fight against global warming." (Dale Hurd, CBN News)

"Funds for greenhouse gas storage" - "The UK government has announced £25m of funding for a plan to capture greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and store them under the North Sea." (BBC) | Ambitious scheme aims to 'capture' harmful emissions (DirectGov)

"North Sea CO2 storage scheme is 'expensive and illegal'" - "The Government's plans to store carbon dioxide under the North Sea were attacked yesterday for being hugely expensive to carry out and currently illegal." (London Telegraph) | Thinking on CO2 is lost in the deep (Telegraph Opinion)

April 13, 2004: Using CO2 to prolong UK North Sea oil too costly - LONDON - A UK proposal to inject carbon dioxide into ageing North Sea oil and gas fields, extending their life while reducing greenhouse gas levels, is too expensive for energy companies, a government study found last week. (Reuters)

Geological carbon sequestration: critical legal issues (.pdf) (Centre for Law and the Environment, University College London)

"The boat is sinking" - "As our appetite for oil hastens climate change, who will speak out for the alternatives? One possible champion is Lord Ron Oxburgh, the distinguished geologist who also happens to be chairman of Shell. He tells Aida Edemariam why the time for complacency is over." (The Guardian)

"Exxon Chief Makes A Cold Calculation On Global Warming" - "Exxon openly disputes the notion that fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming. While rivals have begun to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels, Exxon continues to take an approach that typifies the bottom-line focus of its entire business." (Wall Street Journal)

"Ex-White House Official to Join Fuel Co." - "WASHINGTON - A former White House official and one-time oil industry lobbyist whose editing of government reports on climate change prompted criticism from environmentalists will join Exxon Mobil Corp., the oil company said Tuesday." (Associated Press)

So much for "reduction" "'Record volume rise' in world energy consumption" - "World energy consumption surged 4.3 per cent last year, the biggest percentage rise since 1984 and the largest volume increase ever, according to new figures from BP, the oil company. Burning fossil fuels at a faster rate also resulted in the largest absolute increase in carbon emissions, adding to the stock of “greenhouse gases” blamed for global warming. BP's annual statistical review, released on Tuesday, showed that the fast-growing economies of Asia were responsible for a large portion of the rise. China's fuel consumption rose by 15.1 per cent and India's by 7.2 per cent." (Financial Times)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The East Antarctic Ice Sheet Has Accumulated Mass Over the Past Decade" - "How much did it add to its base, and how did it do it?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Floods (Asia)" - "What do real-world studies conducted in Asia reveal about the likelihood of global warming producing more frequent and severe floods?" (co2science.org)

"Transpiration (Woody Plants - Conifers)" - "How are the transpiration rates of conifers affected by atmospheric CO 2 enrichment, and what has been the primary consequence of this phenomenon over the course of the last century?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Alfalfa, Bottlebrush Squirreltail, a Semi-evergreen Tree, and Thurber needlegrass." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Antarctic Temperature Trends" - "What are they?  And how have they changed over the past decade or so?" (co2science.org)

"The Little Ice Age on the Yucatan Peninsula" - "Just as the Little Ice Age raised havoc with Vikings in Greenland, so too did it negatively impact the Mayas and Aztecs in Central and South America." (co2science.org)

"Effect of Elevated CO 2 on Leaf Reflectance" - "More evidence surfaces for one of the many ways in which the biosphere responds to the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content to counter its enhanced impetus for global warming." (co2science.org)

"Decomposition of Soybean Postharvest Residue: Contrasting Effects of Elevated O 3 and CO 2 Levels" - "Although the biological consequences of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone tend to oppose each other in most respects, CO 2 impacts tend to predominate; and in one crucial matter, O 3 tends to reinforce an important consequence of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment." (co2science.org)

"Elevated CO 2 Reduces Herbivore Damage in a Scrub Oak Ecosystem" - "CO 2 -induced changes in the chemical constituents of leaves of three species of oak tree and a nitrogen-fixing legume lead to reductions in several types of herbivore damage produced by a number of different insect feeding guilds." (co2science.org)

"Demand for Natural Gas Brings Big Import Plans, and Objections" - "Energy companies are aggressively championing the creation of a global market for natural gas, but it will not happen easily." (New York Times)

"Solid (State) Progress: Hydrogen-fuel storage for cars gets a materials boost" - "Motorists expect cars to go at least 300 miles between fill-ups. That's not a concern for autos that burn gasoline or diesel, but for a future in which vehicles run on nonpolluting hydrogen, adequate driving range remains a real roadblock [see "On the Road to Fuel-Cell Cars," by Steven Ashley; Scientific American, March]. Despite considerable effort, engineers have so far failed to find a way to cram enough hydrogen--the lowest-density substance in the universe--onboard cars." (Steven Ashley, SciAm)

"Nanotech Advances Need More Safety Screening" - "NEW YORK -- Nanotechnology, an engineering science that holds hope for scores of new products and processes, is not being properly evaluated for human and environmental risks, a study released this week has found. The rapidly evolving science, which involves scores of start-ups, corporations and universities seeking to engineer materials on a molecular level, carries both actual and perceived environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks. But without a full and continuing assessment of those risks, the nascent industry expected to employ thousands of people and generate billions of dollars in revenue may be hobbled by public opposition or corporate mishaps, a study by investment house Lux Research concludes." (Reuters)

"Nanoparticles carry cancer-killing drugs into tumor cells" - "University of Michigan scientists have created the nanotechnology equivalent of a Trojan horse to smuggle a powerful chemotherapeutic drug inside tumor cells – increasing the drug's cancer-killing activity and reducing its toxic side effects." (University of Michigan Health System)

"K-State part of effort to completely sequence common wheat genome" - "Wheat should be next in line for the genome sequencing process. The complete sequence of common wheat holds the key to genetic improvements that will allow growers to meet the growing demand for high-quality food produced in an environmentally sensitive, sustainable and profitable manner." (Kansas State University)

"Genes and a Hoe" - "Developing genetically modified crops for poor farmers requires help from governments and cooperation from biotech concerns." (New York Times)

"Switzerland: Parliament opposes GM crop moratorium" - "Parliament has come out against a people s initiative calling for a five-year moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops in Switzerland. The House of Representatives narrowly rejected the move, following the line taken by the Senate earlier this year. The initiative will now go to popular vote." (Swissinfo)

June 14, 2005

"Leader: Out of debt" - "Change the subject on Africa from poverty to wealth creation." (London Times)

"AIDS: The Unique Epidemic?" - "Roger Bate comments on recent study in World Economics about the nature of the AIDS epidemic." (AFM)

"Homoeopathy - a sweeter pill?" - "There's no proof that homoeopathy works. So why is the NHS spending millions on it?" (London Independent)

"Flight stockings significantly reduce DVT risk, says research review" - "People who don't wear graduated compression stockings when they fly are more than 12 times more likely to develop Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) than those who do, according to a research review published in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing. Researchers analysed the results of nine comparative trials carried out in the UK and Italy on nearly 2,500 flyers over a two-year period." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Man sentenced for truck arson appeals, fights for environment" - "EUGENE After serving five years of a 23-year sentence, a young man considered an ecoterrorist by prosecutors and a political prisoner by his supporters says he considers himself a teacher about environmental protection." (Corvallis Gazette Times)

"Study shows eutrophic lakes may not recover for a millennium" - "Although it has taken just 60 years for humans to put many freshwater lakes on the eutrophication fast track, a new study shows their recovery may take a thousand years under the best of circumstances." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Scripps studies provide new details about Antarctic iceberg detachment" - "A multifaceted research effort by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and their colleagues has resulted in several important new findings about Antarctica and the changing dynamics of its ice structure. During the project, researchers used a variety of approaches to uncover details of ice shelf "rifting" on East Antarctica's Amery Ice Shelf." (University of California - San Diego)

Another surprise for those who believe we have this climate thing sorted, we're beginning to work out [dramatic drum roll please]... Seasonal Cues: "Scientists gain insight into spring onset, better forecasting expected" - "Scientists have discovered that the interplay between two layers of the atmosphere plays a major role in the arrival of spring -- a finding that could lead to improved weather and climate forecasting." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

"First test of predictions of climate change impacts on biodiversity: Reliance on just one model no better than flipping a coin!" - "In a fascinating new study published this week in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, a group of Oxford Scientists have tested the ability of environmental science to predict the future. Dr Miguel Araújo and his colleagues tested 16 commonly used climate-envelope models against real data from 1991. "The accuracy of the predictions can be drastically increased if a set of alternative models are compared and used together to create a 'consensus' projection." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

This shouldn't be but probably is revelatory for many even though news has long been in the public domain that the "swarm" (multiple model) projection utilising realistic CO2 trends barely differs from a lineal projection of the last century's gentle recovery from the Little Ice Age. How much warming from 1880-2100? About 1 °C - 1.5 °C, with about half that amount having already occurred (ie, if the trend continues we could see another 0.5 °C - 0.75 °C increase this century). Sadly, this "consensus position" (of climate models) was almost immediately buried by a deluge of "Big Carbon Propaganda!" claims and promptly ignored.

"To avoid further accusations of crystal ball gazing, environmentalists and scientists now need to find further ways of improving the accuracy of models to provide more meaningful inputs into environmental policy making." That would be good.

"'If we don't improve our forecasting soon then not only will the climate skeptics find it easy to criticize climate change research, but we will be left making decisions about the future of the planet based on guesswork' says Dr Ladle." We do and we are, which is why nasty sceptics vehemently object to diverting vast sums from potentially useful availability and squandering them on panicked 'do something' protocols having at least as much chance of doing harm as doing good.

"Climate change - the good news" - "CLIMATE change is too often presented as a looming catastrophe, threatening the future of civilisation as we know it. Even government ministers, who should know better, have not always been above trying to exploit public fears. But much of the hyperbole is nonsense." (Western Mail)

"The Copenhagen Solution" - "Why global warming should rank at the bottom of the world's priorities." (OpinionJournal.com)

More money... "Climate of fear" - "Scientists cannot work alone to tackle climate change, says Linda Nordling, but millions in extra funding should make politicians sit up and take notice." (The Guardian)

"Robert D. Novak: Blair trying to turn Bush onto Kyoto" - "BEHIND THEIR brave common front on Iraq shown the world by Tony Blair and George W. Bush in Washington last week, the British prime minister is orchestrating an aggressive campaign to force the American President to retreat on climate change. Blair and the other European leaders are aiming at next month’s G8 industrial summit in Scotland as the last good chance to get the U.S. to back the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gases." (Union Leader)

"US climate talks 'disappointing'" - "Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett has spoken of the UK government's frustration over America's failure to agree to take action on climate change." (BBC)

"Blair and Putin agree to push for action on climate change" - "Tony Blair has the support of Vladimir Putin for action on climate change at the forthcoming G8 summit at Gleneagles. The Prime Minister and the Russian President agreed yesterday to work together to put pressure on other countries which have not signed the Kyoto agreement, including the United States, to do more to meet the challenges of global warming." (Independent)

Poor senile Old Gray... "Editorial: Feeling the Heat" - "President Bush has been running from the issue of global warming for four years, but the walls are closing in. Scientists throughout the world are telling him that the rise in atmospheric temperature justifies aggressive action. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other prominent Republicans are telling him to get off the dime. His corporate allies are deserting him. And the Senate is inching closer to endorsing a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions." (New York Times)

Pro/Con: Will [California's] global warming program boost economy?

"Yes: California plan shows 'Red America' that green deeds mean green revenue" - "The Bush administration constantly drags out the bloated red herring of negative economic effects as a rationale for unilaterally rejecting international environmental protection treaties and eroding domestic environmental laws. The recent Executive Order issued by Bush's fellow Republican, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, to make drastic cuts in his state's greenhouse gas emissions while creating new technologies and jobs to reduce global warming, proves the Bush environmental doctrine is dead wrong." (Wayne Madsen, Duluth News Tribune)

"No: Schwarzenegger's quest for greenie votes could terminate that state's recovery" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says California will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050. The question for today is whether this defense against global warming will terminate California's economy." (Dennis T Avery, Duluth News Tribune)

"U.S. Mayors Agree to Adhere to Kyoto Pact" - "CHICAGO -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution Monday requiring their cities to try to meet or surpass emissions standards set by the Kyoto Protocol, the international global-warming treaty ratified earlier this year without the United States." (Associated Press)

Resolved to try? Well, there's a binding commitment if ever there wasn't. Silly game just chock full of platitudes and lip service to nothing in particular. Have a nice little convention did we guys? Resolved to try... what?

"The U.S. Climate Change Vision" - "The United States is turning to technology and international partnerships to address climate change in order to preserve living standards and reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (John H. Marburger III, White House Science Advisor)

"Understanding Climate and Global Change" - "The U.S. Climate Change Science Program is the nation's foremost national research program focusing on changes in climate and related environmental systems." (Richard H. Moss, Director, U.S. Climate Change Science Program)

The above items and more in Protecting the Environment: 30 Years of U.S. Progress (Electronic Journal of the U.S. Department of State, June 2005) | Download Adobe Acrobat (PDF) version

"Greenhouse Gases Debate May Slow Energy Bill in U.S. Senate" - "The bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate that pushed energy legislation through a committee last month may crack when the bill comes to the floor today amid renewed debate over issues including greenhouse gases. The Senate Energy Committee, led by New Mexico Republican Pete Domenici, in May approved the bill 21-1. The panel's top Democrat, Jeff Bingaman, also from New Mexico, now may seek amendments to promote renewable energy and cap emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, said Bill Wicker, a spokesman for committee Democrats. The committee's bill didn't address policy on greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman reminded an industry group in Washington on June 9. ``A lot of challenging issues, this among them, were left out and will be taken up on the floor,'' he said." (Bloomberg)

"Climate change threat to gardens" - "The English country garden is unlikely to survive in the South East beyond the next 100 years, scientists say. Climate change means the rolling lawns and herbaceous borders of Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and Sussex may be replaced by olive groves and grape vines." (BBC)

See, particularly: Watch out! There's a sunflower about (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Sea plan to fight climate change" - "Carbon dioxide could be stored underground in used North Sea oil fields instead of being released into the atmosphere, according to experts. The British Geological Survey is currently collaborating with two Edinburgh universities to establish how the proposal might be carried out. Carbon dioxide would dissolve in water after being injected into sandstone. One scientist said that if successful, it could provide Scotland with a multi-million pound industry." (BBC)

Letter of the moment: "No consensus on prime cause of global warming" - "Sir, The claim by the science academies of the Group of Eight nations that, as you put it in your main editorial ("A clarion call on climate change", June 9), "the scientific evidence about man-made climate change is now clear enough for there to be no further excuses about the urgent need for cost-effective steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" is a political statement not a scientific fact." (Gerald Marsh, Financial Times)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: The nuclear option" - "BOULDER, Colo., June 13 -- The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is creating pressure for a variety of potential technological solutions, some new, and some old -- like nuclear-powered electricity generation." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Utilities hit at regulatory fog over US emission standards" - "The Salt River Project -a publicly owned utility that powers the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area - is just the sort of company that critics of President George W. Bush's environmental policies would think has benefited from the loose regulatory regime endorsed by his administration.

Utilities and power producers in many parts of the world are restricted by the environmental standards of the newly implemented Kyoto protocol. In the US, however, electric utilities such as SRP are not subject to any costly federal regulations on carbon emissions - pollutants that cause global warming - in spite of the growing body of evidence suggesting that climate change poses the most serious global environmental threat.

But Richard Hayslip, manager of SRP's environmental, land and risk management departments, says the lack of "regulatory certainty" on the future of carbon emissions standards represents a "real problem" for his company. Like a growing number of utility executives, Mr Hayslip believes it is only a matter of time before the US will be forced to take action on climate change." (Financial Times)

Hayslip et al should wise up and stand firm against even the possibility of such stupid actions. Anyone who has paid more than cursory attention knows key EU countries have already stated categorically there will be no mandatory emissions caps post Kyoto (2012) and that the "EU Bubble" as the EU collective emissions were negotiated can not go close to meeting their fanciful commitments. Carbon emission limits were defunct long before The Protocol went "live" and rightly so, there's no possibility they'll make any measurable difference even if the stuff of life eventually proves to be a problem.

Forget carbon limits, they are a ridiculous distraction.

"'Plastic oil' could improve fuel economy in cars, chemists say" - "Recycled plastic bottles could one day be used to lubricate your car's engine, according to researchers at Chevron and the University of Kentucky, who in laboratory experiments converted waste plastic into lubricating oil. These polyethylene-derived oils, they say, could help improve fuel economy and reduce the frequency of oil changes. The pilot study appears in the July 20 issue of the American Chemical Society's peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels." (American Chemical Society)

"Ethanol Proposal Fires Up a Lobbying Battle" - "Farm and oil industry lobbyists are waging a battle of facts and figures on the costs of corn-blended ethanol as the U.S. Senate prepares to debate an energy bill that would double its use." (Reuters)

"Coal gasification gets energy expert's vote" - "Power plants that turn coal into a burnable gas hold "tremendous promise," and Springfield City Utilities should consider building one, an energy expert said Monday. That was the recommendation of Kiah Harris, a principal with Burns and McDonnell architectural and engineering firm and a 30-year veteran in power plant issues." (News-Leader)

"Nuclear talk powers fresh debate" - "A debate on dealing with nuclear waste raises fears of future power stations in the west of England." (BBC)

"Wind farm 'dead heat'" - "Four years into the contentious Cape Wind debate, local residents are evenly split over whether to build an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts." (Cape Cod Times)

Here's one opinion anyway: "Greenpeace's Glory Days 'Are Not Over'" - "MEXICO CITY - When German-born Gerd Leipold took over as executive director of the international environmental watchdog Greenpeace in 2001, there were some raised eyebrows." (Tierramérica)

"A Cautionary Tale" - "GENEVA -- What do the national costumes of Yunan Province in China and the microbes of Panamanian rainforests have in common? Both are subjects of ongoing meetings of The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization/TRIPS. From June 6 to 15, delegates are gathering in Geneva to debate the best methods for protecting so-called traditional knowledge, cultural expressions and biological materials from misappropriation.

At issue are claims by indigenous and local communities that foreign interests are exploiting their cultural and biological bounties. These interlopers are accused of violations ranging from withholding commercial benefits that flow from products made from the communities' resources (or their traditions) to eroding their cultural identities." (Sally Satel, TCS)

"Plant pathologists evaluate eco-friendly alternatives to methyl bromide" - "Alternatives to a powerful pesticide that was found to be an ozone depletor are now being evaluated in agricultural production areas of Florida, say plant pathologists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service." (American Phytopathological Society)

"Tobacco-derived drug prevents cavities" - "A US company has revealed a unique method in drug development that uses transgenic tobacco plants to cultivate the human protein CaroRx, which could prevent tooth decay in the future. The cultivation of these plants for eventual use in the pharmaceutical industry is set to become a subject of much focus, as attention is not concentrated on the risks of green biotechnology, but rather on its medicinal possibilities." (DrugResearcher.com)

"Better living through microbes" - "Genetically engineered bacteria made biotech drugs possible. Now, they are becoming drugs in their own right, Monya Baker reports." (Nature Biotechnology)

"SARS vaccine grown in genetically modified tomatoes tasty protection for mice" - "TORONTO - Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, but if you want immune protection against SARS, don't hold the tomato. American researchers have managed to grow a SARS vaccine in genetically engineered tomatoes, reporting that mice fed the tomatoes developed antibodies to the coronavirus that killed nearly 800 people in 2003. Their findings, published Tuesday in the medical journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, drew interest from others in the scientific community. But experts were quick to caution that vaccine-laden produce isn't heading to your dinner plate anytime soon." (Canadian Press)

Transcript: "WA farmers see GM wheat as solution to salinity problems" - "ELEANOR HALL: Farmers in Western Australia who have invested in a trial of genetically modified wheat are touting the crop as the solution to their battle against salinity. The wheat has been developed to grow in a saline environment, an environment which is unfortunately becoming all-too-common in Australia, particularly in the west. But the trial of the GM crop has sparked division in the farming community and beyond, as David Weber reports." (The World Today)

"Illegal GMO rice spreads across China - Greenpeace" - "BEIJING, June 13 - The discovery of genetically modified rice being illegally sold in a booming southern Chinese city shows the grain is spreading across China and could enter markets overseas, Greenpeace said on Monday. The environmental group said genetically engineered rice had been found at grain wholesalers in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, even though such rice had not gone through safety testing or been approved by the Chinese government." (Reuters)

"EU Food Agency Says Illegal GMO Maize is Probably Safe" - "BRUSSELS - A genetically modified (GMO) maize that is illegal in Europe but found its way into EU countries probably does not pose a risk to either animals or humans, Europe's food safety agency said on Monday." (Reuters)

June 13, 2005

"SEIU Using Intimidation To Expand Membership Rolls" - "Union membership has declined steadily for decades, but don't think unions are going away. The Service Employees International Union, for one, is trying to reverse the trend by waging an aggressive war against business." (Steve Milloy, New York Sun)

"Political Expediency vs. Science" - "A bill introduced by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D, NY) that attempts to end financial conflicts of interest among FDA advisory committee members passed by a vote of 218 to 210. The bill prevents the FDA from empaneling scientists with financial ties to companies whose products they are evaluating by eliminating FDA fees to such scientists.

This step by Congress appears to make sense. But as often happens, there can be unfortunate unintended consequences." (Dr. John Ford, TCS)

"No cancer cluster at school" - "A toxicologist has concluded there is no link between an elementary school building and 13 cases of cancer reported among its staff, while health experts point to other factors as the cause, including profession, economics, race and genetics." (Los Angeles Daily News)

"Outbreak" - "According to the latest document, if an epidemic of influenza happened in Australia and affected 25 per cent of the population, not only could up to 44,000 people die, there would also be between 57,900 and 148,000 people admitted to hospital." (Sydney Australian)

... and if it affected 50% of the population it could be, oh... like, twice as bad? Sheesh!

Oh boy... from the EWG, where else? "Fluoride water 'causes cancer'" - "Fluoride in tap water can cause bone cancer in boys, a disturbing new study indicates, although there is no evidence of a link for girls." (London Observer)

"Companies press for immunity in cleanup of nation's groundwater" - "Oil producers says it's not fair to require them to remove MTBE contamination because gas additive was required by Congressional order." (Copley News Service)

"Unlikely partners unite on the environment" - "After President Bush's re-election victory in November, many political commentators pondered whether environmentalism was dead because it seemed to have become a narrow, liberal special interest with no appeal in red-state America." (Baltimore Sun)

"Space measurements of carbon offer clearer view of Earth's climate future" - "Follow the carbon – this is the mantra of researchers seeking to understand climate change and forecast its likely extent. A workshop heard how improved detection of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from space promises to revolutionise carbon cycle understanding." (European Space Agency)

"Warm Atlantic water heads north" - "Late last summer, Igor Dmitrenko and a few other scientists returned to Alaska from the top of the world with information about an immense pulse of warm water that had entered the Arctic Ocean. The scientists believe the warm stream of Atlantic water visiting the Arctic might affect the entire planet." (SitNews)

"Global warming cyclical, says climate expert" - "Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas and has helped produce the "green" world agricultural revolution, according to an Australian climate expert. Rob Carter, from James Cook University in Townsville, said the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in recent decades had boosted agricultural crop yields. "Carbon dioxide is the best aerial fertiliser we know about," he told the Victorian Farmers Federation in Morwell late last week. Professor Carter, a marine geologist, is research professor in the university's Marine Geophysical Laboratory. He said the Kyoto Protocol would cost billions, even trillions, of dollars and would have a devastating effect on the economies of countries that signed it. "It will deliver no significant cooling - less than 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2050," he said. "The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been the main scaremonger for the global warming lobby . . . Fatally, the IPCC is a political, not a scientific body." (The Age, Melbourne)

"Beckett exposes G8 rift on global warming" - "The British Government is deeply disappointed that President George Bush has not made a greater commitment to tackling climate change before the G8 summit." (London Independent) | Margaret Beckett : 'Mr Bush has known for a long time that climate change was a priority for Tony' (London Independent)

"Deal on climate change in sight" - "HOPES of a historic deal on climate change at the Gleneagles summit were raised yesterday by Gordon Brown. As Tony Blair embarked on a final European push to get backing for his G8 agenda, the chancellor fuelled expectations that a ground-breaking agreement on reducing global gas emissions would be sealed." (The Herald)

"Key to climate change" - "AMERICA, it seems, is on the brink of returning to the international fold. Gordon Brown's declaration that the UK is confident of "making progress" on climate change is the strongest indication yet that a deal on which the US can agree could be reached during the G8 summit in Gleneagles. The details of such an agreement are, at this stage, extremely sketchy. What seems clear, however, is that it will not demand the emission reductions of the Kyoto protocol. With America producing 23% of global emissions, this would be a significant omission." (The Herald)

"Forget global warming. Let's make a real difference" - "Last Tuesday, 11 of the world's leading academies of science, including the Royal Society, told us that we must take global warming seriously. Their argument is that global warming is due to mankind's use of fossil fuels, that the consequences 100 years from now will be serious, and that we therefore should do something dramatic. We should make substantial and long-term reductions of greenhouse gases along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol. This is perhaps the strongest indication that well-meaning scientists have gone beyond their area of expertise and are conducting unsubstantiated politicking ahead of next month's meeting of the G8." (Bjørn Lomborg, London Telegraph)

"Putin wooed on climate change plan" - "Tony Blair will today seek the backing of President Vladimir Putin in Moscow for Britain's ambitious plan of action on climate change, despite worsening relations between Britain and Russia, the prime minister's official spokesman said yesterday." (The Guardian)

Here we go again: "The debate's over: Globe is warming" - "Don't look now, but the ground has shifted on global warming. After decades of debate over whether the planet is heating and, if so, whose fault it is, divergent groups are joining hands with little fanfare to deal with a problem they say people can no longer avoid." (Dan Vergano, USA TODAY)

There hasn't been a serious dispute about general trend for decades and atmospheric measures suggest a magnitude that, if extrapolated, indicate an increase of something south of 1 °C over the next century (if it continues). Where there is contention is whether this constitutes any form of problem and whether or not we could knowingly and predictably alter that trend if the need ever arose.

Letter of the moment comes to us today via EnviroSpin Watch

An interesting problem: "Betting on Climate Change: It's time to put up or shut up" - "Reporting on the climate change debate is not for sissies. For example, one line in an article I wrote back in November discussing the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment triggered a furor among climate change bloggers. I reported a bet by MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen that in 20 years global average temperatures would be lower than they are now. This "bet" circulated as blogfodder in climatological circles." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

Hmm... how could such a wager be fairly structured? What positions could advocate and "contrarian" take? How would we determine the winner? What metrics could we use? Let's see what we can come up with:

Representing industrial-strength Anthropogenic Global-warming in the blue corner, let's call them AG (please, no blind Patagonian Sheep jokes) and, in the red corner, we'll have Usual Situation (US).

So, we would have to assume AG would take the position of at least the median IPCC estimate of +1 °C over the 1990 figure by 2025 (our 20-year bet) and we've already hit a problem. The GISS Global Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (C) (Base: 1951-1980) suggests 1990 was a tad warm so we may be unfairly biasing against AG by using this figure. Let's try the 5-year mean from that same record and make the bet on the 5-year mean for 2025 (not available until after 2027 because it averages 2 forward and 2 back from the target year). This looks a better proposition (ooh! sorry) since it will reduce El Niño and other transient effects.

Now, we don't have quite the number of records we'd like but -0.14 °C is the mean of the first 5 years of the record and is probably close enough for our requirements. US contends +0.5 °C over 11 decades is none too exciting and a continuation of that gentle recovery from the chill conditions of the Little Ice Age could lead to near enough +0.6 °C over 13.5 decades (to 2025, in other words) so 1990's 5-year mean +0.11 °C.

Defining our figures then we have AG punting for a target global mean temperature of 1951-1980 mean (14 °C*) + 1990 5-year mean of +0.36 + 1 °C for an aggregate of 15.36 °C and US tipping 1951-1980 mean (14 °C*) + 1990 5-year mean of +0.36 + 0.11 °C for an aggregate of 14.47 °C (rounded to 15.4 °C vs 14.5 °C here for convenience).

Now we come to the problem of that darn "*" seen above. The estimated global mean absolute surface temperature 1951-1980 is 14 °C ± 0.7 °C. It's like that because we're really not that flash when it comes to determining the actual temperature of the planet yet and we could even be getting worse due to urban heat island effect (UHIE) corrupting the near-surface temperature amalgam (records such as GISTEMP are beginning to race ahead of atmospheric measures and the discrepancy appears to be worsening).

Our situation then would appear to be AG punting a range of about 14.7 °C through 16.1 °C versus US with 13.8 °C through 15.2 °C and a mutually-claimed zone of 14.7 °C through 15.2 °C.

What to do?

We could declare the overlap a "no joy" zone, I suppose (should the house win or all bets off?). Then there's unforeseen transients like explosive volcanic events in the preceding year or two - might need to declare such things as bet invalidators too...

Climate's not really a binary situation is it, rather more nuanced than usually presented and, given our precision difficulties, trying to work out just what is happening turns out to be looking through a glass darkly.

What do you think? If you believe you can work out a fair wager for climate over 20 years, drop us a line. Workable entries may be published.

"A Shift to Green" - "American corporations are increasingly calling for action on global warming, sensing a business opportunity in cutting greenhouse gases while hoping to shape regulations they believe are inevitable." (Los Angeles Times)

Has someone been running around hitting execs with a stupid stick or something? The world is in far more danger from climate hysteria and precipitous regulations to fight the phantom menace than it is from increase in essential trace gasses.

Herald having second thoughts? "New tax attracts negative feedback" - "At a time of concern over the robustness of both the New Zealand and global economies, one still has to ask whether it is a good idea to increase the tax burden for everyone. The Government claims the carbon tax will result in reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and help stop global warming. Whilst it is easy to be cynical about this there is the question of what the alternatives were?" (New Zealand Herald)

They just gotta stop you flying: "G8 wants tax on airline tickets to help world poor" - "Airline groups have condemned plans by the world's richest countries to impose a tax on airline tickets to fund extra money for poor African countries - and make a gesture towards fighting climate change." (London Independent)

"Are these towers safe?" - "It has been nearly four years since 9/11 awakened the country to the possibility that nuclear power plants might be the next big target for the U.S.'s terrorist enemies. The country's reactors— deployed, as so many of them are, in areas with large civilian populations? have the potential to be weapons of mass destruction." (Time Magazine)

"Nuclear Power On The Menu As France And Italy Sign Energy Deal" - "France and Italy on Saturday signed a wide-ranging agreement on cooperation in the energy sector, including possible joint work on future nuclear projects, the French industry ministry said. The statement, signed at a meeting in the northern Italian city of Genoa, called for a joint approach to the European Union's single market in energy, including possible nuclear power projects aimed at "facing up to climate change and to energy supply security," a ministry statement said." (AFP)

"The nuclear power option - expensive, ineffective and unnecessary" - "There are more than two choices in the debate on how to meet future energy needs, writes Stuart White." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Too risky: Labor stands firm on nuclear power" - "Labor politicians raised the spectre of terrorists using nuclear technology to help reaffirm opposition to a domestic nuclear power industry at yesterday's NSW ALP conference. The federal Labor parliamentarians Anthony Albanese and Peter Garrett rejected a recent call by the Premier, Bob Carr, for a national debate on the merits of nuclear energy. But they left Mr Carr room to manoeuvre, noting debate over nuclear energy had occurred over the past half century and "will continue into the future". At the Queensland Labor conference in Cairns, the Premier, Peter Beattie, also also rejected a nuclear power industry, though for different reasons, arguing it would jeopardise the coal industry and harm state revenues." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Senator crusades against wind power" - "U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has filed bills, made speeches and taken numerous opportunities to voice his opposition to one of the nation's fastest-growing sources of renewable energy -- windmills." (Associated Press)

"Greenpeace fined 4,000 euros under new Danish terror law" - "COPENHAGEN - The Environmentalist group Greenpeace was fined 30,000 kroner (4,900 dollars, 4,000 euros) by a Copenhagen court, becoming the first organization sentenced under a new Danish anti-terror law." (AFP)

"Tenth anniversary for biotech crops; debate continues" - "It was 10 years ago this year that the first biotech crops were introduced to the world's agricultural industry. And even though the use of biotech crops has been questioned in all parts of the world, the growth in biotech crop acres continues to grow at a double-digit rate each year." (Farm & Ranch Guide)

"Monsanto may ditch GM corn investment" - "Agribusiness giant Monsanto, a leading developer of genetically modified (GM) crops, has threatened to scrap its plans to invest in GM corn production in Thailand unless the government lifts its ban on open field trials and the commercialisation of transgenic crops." (Bangkok Post)

"Judges order disclosure of secret study on GM risks" - "Judges have ordered the publication of a secret study which has raised fears that eating GM food may harm human health, after it was revealed in The Independent on Sunday last month." (London Independent)

June 12, 2005

Wow! This will not suit Big Warming: "Warmer, wetter and better (or the good news that the climate change lobby doesn't want you to hear)" - "Just when it seemed that the dark clouds had lifted, they all came back again. Not Britain's on-again, off-again summer, but climate scientists calling for action to prevent global catastrophe.

... Yet, just as the clamour for action grows in anticipation of next month's G8 meeting in Scotland, another group of academics has begun fighting to have its voice heard. It includes experts in fields ranging from agriculture to medicine, and most of them agree that something strange is happening to the Earth's climate.

Where they part company with Lord May is in their assessment of the threat it poses. After studying the likely consequences for everything from crop yields to human health, their results are anything but apocalyptic. They have found that a hotter planet brings with it many benefits, and that humans can adapt perfectly well to it.

Indeed, far from joining the calls for action, some now warn that trying to prevent climate change could prove far more catastrophic than learning to live with it. Nor is this cheery vision based solely on questionable computer models. Analysis of past episodes of dramatic - but entirely natural - climate change repeatedly shows the benefits of a warmer world." (London Telegraph)

"Rising water changing Utah's Great Salt Lake" - "BRIGHAM CITY, Utah -- The water in the Great Salt Lake has begun rising again after years of drought, changing the landscape and starting to submerge one of Utah's best-known artifacts: an enormous earth sculpture called the Spiral Jetty." (AP)

Droughts are part of natural cycles? Apparently not written by climate alarmists. Wonder how it made it past the PC desk?

Of course... "Arctic explorers say global warming forced them to cut journey short" - "One week after a Russian helicopter lifted them to safety off deteriorating ice on the Arctic Ocean, explorers Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen said they believe that climate change caused by global warming is breaking up the ice cap earlier than usual and would prevent anyone in the future from making an unsupported crossing of that ocean in the summer." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

"Hamlet: 'Kyoto not to be' - Europe stars yet again" - "Well! Well! European hypocrisy continues to know no bounds - something is rotten in the state of Denmark (so much for all that wind power). Just look - here are the latest, updated Danish statistics on its Kyoto Protocol targets: 'Progress [now that is an optimistic word] toward the Kyoto targets: Greenhouse gases' (NERI, Denmark, May 2005):" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"How will U.S. curb global warming?" - "A consensus has been growing among scientists that global warming is one of the biggest environmental problems facing humanity and the emission of greenhouse gases causing it must be curbed to offset damaging climate changes." (Newsday)

Should it even try? Most of the climate scare is so much waffle, flying in the face of historical experience.

Bad idea: "GOP Warms Up to Emissions Cuts: Some Environmentalists Say Proposals Do Not Go Far Enough" - "Republicans who have historically dismissed calls for federal action on global warming are now seeing a political benefit to embracing some curbs on heat-trapping gases, prompting a flurry of Capitol Hill negotiations that could ultimately shift the nation's policies on climate change." (Washington Post)

"Blair tries for elusive climate change deal to shore up plans" - "Tony Blair will seek an elusive Europe-wide consensus on a framework to limit climate change when he undertakes a four-nation tour to shore up his plans for a breakthrough on the issue at the G8 summit in Gleneagles next month." (London Guardian)

The Week That Was June 11, 2005 (SEPP)

"Joint Statement of the G8 National Academies: A Non Sequitur" - "On June 7, 2005, a joint statement on climate change was issued by the national science academies of the G8 countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan, and the United States) along with China, India and Brazil. The statement emphasized two primary points, 1) that climate change (as caused by human-induced alterations of the composition of the atmosphere) is real, and 2) something needs to be done about it.

As has been the case in the climate change debate for years, the second point simply does not follow from the first." (World Climate Report)

Now The Observer is taking climate advice from telecom execs: "Climate change is costing us, says BT boss" - "The chief executive of BT has become the first boss of a British company to admit that climate change is already affecting his company, and that environmental damage could threaten the stability of the world's financial system. Talking exclusively to The Observer, BT boss Ben Verwaayen reveals that extreme weather in the form of flooding and high winds has hit BT's British operations, and he fears that this is just the beginning." (The Observer)

"BP shows two faces as it fights US bill to cut CO2 emissions" - "BP's reputation as one of the world's most environmentally progressive energy companies is on the line. The oil giant has been privately lobbying in Washington to block legislation to introduce a mandatory curb on greenhouse gases in the US, it has emerged. The move has prompted an outcry from America's green lobby. Environmentalists had hoped the country's new energy bill would include a stringent set of regulations on climate change in the US, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, after it refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. BP's attempt to scupper the inclusion of mandatory caps in the energy bill has emerged just two days after its representatives met Tony Blair last week to back an initiative to reduce harmful emissions." (London Independent)

"Senate closer to adding climate provisions" - "WASHINGTON -- Despite opposition from the White House, a growing number of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate want to address global warming, including limits on heat-trapping emissions, as part of the country's broad energy policy. The Senate is scheduled to take up energy legislation next week and hopes to finish it this month. Whether to include a measure on climate change will be sharply debated. The House rebuffed any attempt to address global warming when it passed its energy bill in April. If the Senate moves ahead with a climate provision, it would create yet another major confrontation when the two chambers try to reconcile their differences and fashion a final bill." (The Associated Press)

Unfortunate timing: "Former lobbyist leaves White House post" - "WASHINGTON - A former oil industry lobbyist who changed government reports on global warming has resigned in a long-planned departure, the White House said Saturday. Philip Cooney, who was chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, left Friday, two days after it was revealed that he had edited administration reports on climate change in 2002 and 2003. His departure was "completely unrelated" to the disclosure, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said." (Associated Press)

"Gov. Schwarzenegger vows to fight global warming in radio address" - "SACRAMENTO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Saturday renewed his vow to make California a leader in the battle against global warming, calling on the state to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases while increasing use of renewable energy." (Associated Press)

"Bury CO2 at sea, says DTI" - "The government will this week unveil a radical new plan which it believes could solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions for the next 60 years. Energy minister Malcolm Wicks will on Tuesday announce a strategy for 'carbon abatement technology': effectively stripping out harmful carbon dioxide from power station emissions and pumping under pressure into exhausted North Sea oil fields." (The Observer)

"Thirst for energy leads U.S. down old path: Nuclear power" - "WASHINGTON — For two months, Ray Ganthner took to the road, visiting a dozen power companies to find out if his bosses should take a $100 million gamble. Asking executives "eyeball-to-eyeball" about their future generating capacity needs, he wanted to know just how serious utilities were about building a new nuclear power plant in the United States for the first time in three decades." (The Associated Press)

"Nuclear waste: the 1,000-year fudge" - "Secret plans to postpone solving Britain's nuclear waste crisis for up to 1,000 years are being drawn up by the nuclear industry, The Independent on Sunday can reveal." (London Independent)

"Nuclear policy to focus on upgraded light-water reactors" - "In a policy shift, the government will upgrade existing light-water nuclear reactors and shelve its fast-breeder reactor plans for the nation's power needs over the next few decades, officials said Thursday." (Asahi Shimbun)

"A program to fight malaria in Africa draws questions" - "Though its budget for fighting malaria has risen since 1998 to $90 million from $14 million, the United States' foreign aid agency is spending 95 percent of the money on consultants and less than 5 percent on mosquito nets, drugs and insecticide spraying to fight the disease." (New York Times)

"Scientists on the warpath as malaria fights back" - "Emergence of new mosquito species, coupled with the viruses’ resistance to drugs, has researchers worried." (East African Standard)

Tiny studies and premature promos: "Link found between food packaging and miscarriages" - "Scientists in Japan have found evidence of a link between recurrent miscarriages and a chemical widely used in food packaging." (London Guardian)

"Chicken industry 'not behind superbug'" - "The chicken meat industry today rejected claims that it was behind the latest outbreak of potentially deadly antibiotic resistant bacteria in NSW hospitals." (Australian Associated Press)

"Fears that new strain of bird flu will kill millions" - "International experts fear that bird flu is mutating into a strain that will cause a worldwide pandemic, killing many millions of people after the mass deaths of wild birds in China." (London Independent)

"Striking back at the food police" - "Rick Berman has become the face of the food industry as it tries to beat back regulations and discourage consumer lawsuits. Food and restaurant companies, he says, are being unfairly blamed for making Americans fat and unhealthy; he adds that people are smart enough to make their own well-informed choices." (New York Times)

"Hungry moms could lead to obese children, study says" - "Japanese researchers say a fetal surge of the hormone leptin explains why children of mothers who are poorly nourished often face an increased risk of obesity as they grow up." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"For health's sake, NASCAR is urged to get the lead out" - "There is one part of racing that NASCAR would be better off without, health officials say. It's a gasoline additive that enhances performance but was banned from regular cars years ago: lead." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Air pollutants can harm child lung growth" - "Long-term exposure to air pollution is a key factor in respiratory-illness development in children, U.S. researchers said at a briefing on Capitol Hill Friday." (United Press International)

June 10, 2005

"Enviros, Homeland Security Threaten Drinking Water Safety" - "Chlorinated drinking water is generally regarded as one of the most important advances in public health. Yet the lifesaving practice of chlorination has never been in such jeopardy as it is now -- thanks to an unfortunate alliance between junk science-fueled environmentalists and overzealous homeland security officials." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Water Safety Tops EPA Chief's List" - "EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson predicted Wednesday that safeguarding the country's water supply — from terrorists and pollutants ? would be one of the pressing environmental concerns of the 21st century." (Los Angeles Times)

"Feinstein demands answers on perchlorate" - "A California senator wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to explain why it used a study that many scientists say is flawed to determine how much of a rocket fuel chemical is safe in drinking water." (Riverside Press-Enterprise)

"Many Scientists Admit to Misconduct" - "Few scientists fabricate results from scratch or flatly plagiarize the work of others, but a surprising number engage in troubling degrees of fact-bending or deceit, according to the first large-scale survey of scientific misbehavior." (Washington Post) | The truth will out (The Economist)

Hmm... self-reported via survey. I have little doubt about some cherry-picking and result bending or that perpetrators might admit to what a distressing number apparently consider trivial infractions of scientific method and/or ethical behaviour. I have been known to cast aspersion on the mental acuity of miscreants but what kind of reprobate responds in the affirmative to questions of whether they have fabricated or plagiarised work? Might be a little reporting bias in these results, perhaps?

"Mobile phones 'can trigger skin allergies'" - "Radiation from mobile phones can trigger reactions in people with skin allergies, according to new research." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Japan: Gov't to virtually ban use of harmful substances in appliances" - "The Environment Ministry plans to introduce a regulation that is expected to lead to a virtual ban on the use of lead, mercury and four other harmful substances in large home appliance and personal computers, ministry officials said Wednesday.' (Japan Today)

"Experts fail to find a link between nuclear power stations and cancer" - "Nuclear power stations have been given a clean bill of health by an official investigation that failed to establish any link between radioactive discharges and levels of childhood cancer. However the study has confirmed three known childhood cancer clusters around nuclear installations, although it found no evidence that these resulted from radioactive discharges. The findings are described as the most definitive research anywhere in the world on alleged links between nuclear plants and cancers in local children." (London Independent)

"Traffic pollution is keeping air quality below standard" - "Pollution from traffic is undermining otherwise successful efforts by industry to improve air quality, according to new research from the Environment Agency." (London Times)

"Air pollution 'may have killed 800'" - "Up to 800 people may have died in the UK from air pollution caused mainly by traffic in 2003, according to a report out today." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Forget the tiger - put sheep urine in your tank" - "A British bus company is testing a new secret weapon that it hopes will help forward its push to cut its polluting emissions - sheep urine. Stagecoach has fitted a bus in Winchester with a tank containing the animal waste, which is sprayed into exhaust fumes to reduce emissions of harmful nitrous oxides." (The Guardian)

"Legal victory gives hope to victims of Russia's smokestacks" - "A woman whose home was polluted by Russia’s biggest steelworks yesterday won a landmark case in the European Court of Human Rights that could spawn thousands of similar lawsuits." (London Times)

"Pupils sit 'flab-fighting' exam" - "Teenagers are to sit exams on exercise and healthy eating in an effort to reduce the level of childhood obesity." (BBC)

"Lawmakers want probe in charge White House doctored climate change reports" - "WASHINGTON - Two senior US lawmakers called for a congressional probe into charges the White House altered government documents to cast doubt on the generally-accepted scientific consensus about the causes and effects of global warming. Representative Henry Waxman and Senator John Kerry asked the General Accountability Office (GAO) -- Congress' investigative arm -- to look into a recent whistleblower report that a former oil industry lobbyist altered government reports on global warming." (AFP)

Is everyone feigning surprise or are they so naive they really don't know how committee documents are prepared for public consumption? Reporters, unless they self-publish I suppose, should be familiar with editors and the editing cycle (from the shoddy or absent fact checking apparent these days perhaps I'm the one being naive). Lawmakers deal with committee documents all the time and constantly tune and edit their message to the public.

When push comes to shove, what do we really know about this whole "catastrophic global warming" thing? To be brutally honest, the entire enhanced greenhouse "issue" is hype-driven and based on a hypothesis so underdeveloped and poorly understood that it should not yet have left academic coffee table discussions. Concern, much less hysteria, is premature because we simply lack baseline data. We are only now deploying drifting submersible buoys to develop some baseline measures of ocean temperatures (70% of the planet's surface!), we have some rudimentary data on atmospheric temperatures and we have a lot of work to do to get a clear picture of the absolute mean surface temperature. At the very least we are decades short of a good working knowledge of climate and the atmosphere, much less thorough understanding.

Worse, obscured in the hype is how little we know with certainty regarding the planet's recent temperature track because the use of proxies is a terribly inexact science. We deal with things like the tree ring circus trying to estimate temperatures from the growing conditions experienced by trees in the past, which is fine so long as we acknowledge its shortcomings. How many people, we wonder, are aware that, by dendrochronology, recent decades have been very mild - not at all deserving of claims of being the hottest decades in the hottest century... Click here for the temperature track developed from Briffa et al's attempt to analyse tree rings to the year 2000. (Graphic hosted by KlimaNotizen, a site well worth a visit if you follow the climate "debate.") If we listen to the trees the graphic suggests one of two immediate possibilities: either our current guesstimates of planetary temperature are accurate and we underestimate the past or; our estimates of the past are accurate but we vastly overestimate current temperatures. Instead, advocates of AGW would have us listen to the trees until relatively recently and then paste on urban temperature amalgams, claiming this 'proves' rapid warming. Sorry guys, tree trunks times city walls do not a contiguous history make.

And then there are the climate models. The GCMs outputting scary "scenarios" are kludges composed of so many arbitrary parameter adjustments and guesstimated settings that they are mere curve fitters (albeit very expensive ones) and yet the output of these computer games is considered as though it were empirical data - this is absurd!

Some perfectly ordinary document editing served to reduce hype and underline uncertainty, well thank goodness for that!

"House Energy Chair Rejects Carbon Regulation: Pledges to Reject Kyoto Protocol-Style Language" - "Washington, D.C., June 9, 2005— House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) told reporters today that the House would reject outright “almost any” global warming language and a renewable electricity mandate if the Senate includes provisions addressing either issue in its version of the energy bill, according to the environmental news service Greenwire. Barton also said he opposes the Senate’s proposed 8 billion gallon ethanol mandate." (CEI)

"At last, a Europolitician grasps Kyoto economic realities... and further G8 woes" (EnviroSpin Watch)

Letter of the moment: "Can humans combat climate change?" (Prof Philip Stott, Daily Telegraph)

"If we make global warming history we'll all be better off" - "The G8 summit must deliver on climate change as well as on poverty" (Robin Cook, The Guardian)

Um, Robin? When the climate's not warming it's well, um... cooling. If (when) global warming becomes 'history' we will face much greater difficulty feeding the planet's less affluent citizenry. Historically, with cooling has come famine, plague and mass human misery. How will that make us all better off?

"US thinks Blair should lower public hopes" - "WILL Tony Blair win anything more from President Bush in the four weeks left before the Gleneagles summit? No. Nothing. Not on African aid or debt relief, where, this week in Washington, he got as much as he is going to get. And not an inch of movement on climate change; it is not even worth discussing. In the Bush Administration’s view, the Prime Minister would do best to spend the next month thinking how to lower expectations of the G8 summit between the world’s big industrial powers so that he can present it as a success." (Bronwen Maddox, The Times)

"The Pickett's Charge of Climate Alarmism" - "The release on June 8 of a statement signed by 11 separate national science Academies on global warming represents the Pickett's charge of climate alarmism. Not only has it dashed against the rock of the defensive position of the United States, but the attempt has also needlessly thrown away the academies' reputations for unbiased information, just as Pickett's charge threw away General Lee's reputation for invincibility. Climate alarmists in the scientific community now face a long retreat, while the victory of the President Bush's position on the issue seems assured. Even the hopes for European intervention are dashed." (Iain Murray, TCS)

Oh Bob... "UK's top scientist delivers stinging attack on Government's environmental record" - "Britain's most senior scientist, Lord May of Oxford, has lambasted the Government's environmental record, labelling some of its policies as "gutless" and saying it needed to do "a hell of a lot more." (London Independent)

"Japan: Diet passes bill requiring firms to report greenhouse gas emissions" - "The Diet passed a bill law Friday to revise the current anti-global warming promotion law, which newly requires about 7,000 to 8,000 companies to report their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other types of greenhouse gases." (Kyodo)

"States grapple with carbon reduction plan" - "By Timothy Gardner NEW YORK - States working toward a plan for the first mandatory carbon dioxide reductions from U.S. power plants have missed a target to begin regulating emissions this spring but hope to finish an outline on how the program would work by the fall." (Reuters)

"Millions 'hit by global warming'" - "Millions of people in England and Wales are being seriously affected by pollution and global warming, the Environment Agency says." (BBC)

From the virtual world: "York scientists warn of dramatic impact of climate change on Africa" - "Scientists at the University of York are warning that dramatic changes may soon occur in Africa's vegetation in response to global warming." (University of York)

"New Paper on Hurricanes and Global Warming" - "We heard earlier this week that a short paper we had started on during last year's hurricane season has now been accepted for publication in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society after successfully completing peer review. With the paper we seek to provide a concise, largely non-technical, scientifically rigorous, globally inclusive, and interdisciplinary perspective on the state of current understandings of hurricanes and global warming that is explicitly discussed in the context of policy. As new research findings are reported in peer-reviewed journals on tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and climate change (global warming), and a corresponding public debate undoubtedly continues on this subject, we thought that it may be useful to provide a forest-level perspective on the issue to help place new research findings into a broader context." (Prometheus)

"Volcanoes cool climate through bacteria" - "Volcanoes can cool the planet by keeping methane-producing bacteria at bay, researchers say. Scientists already knew that a major volcanic eruption can cool the Earth for a couple of years, because the particles and chemicals thrown into the air make clouds that reflect sunlight back out into space." (News @ Nature)

"New findings show a slow recovery from extreme global warming episode 55 million years ago" - "Most of the excess carbon dioxide pouring into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels will ultimately be absorbed by the oceans, but it will take about 100,000 years. That is how long it took for ocean chemistry to recover from a massive input of carbon dioxide 55 million years ago, according to a new study." (University of California - Santa Cruz)

Rent-seeking: "Alcan to Target Global Solution to Climate Change at July 2005 G8 Summit" - "Alcan Inc. joins 23 international businesses today in calling for urgent global action to combat climate change, with its President and Chief Executive Officer, Travis Engen, endorsing a package of recommendations presented to the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Tony Blair MP, who also holds the G8 Presidency for 2005. Mr. Blair will be presenting his recommendations regarding climate change at the G8 Summit in July." (PRNewswire-FirstCall)

"Big business urges G8 global warming action" - "Leaders of some of the world's biggest businesses on Thursday increased the pressure on the Group of Eight industrialised nations ahead of a summit on global warming, urging them to set up a system of emissions trading for greenhouse gases that would extend to 2030 and beyond." (Financial Times)

"Kyoto Protocol unleashes the friendly atom" - "Green lobbyists have unwittingly been responsible for countries turning increasingly to nuclear power, writes Peter Westmore." (News Weekly)

"Regulation as 'Sport'" - "The Bush administration is wasting public and private resources -- and worse, undermining the rule of law -- by continuing to pursue legal action against the nation's coal-fired power plants. So said an Alabama-based federal judge last week in a ruling that ought to shake things up at the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department.

The cases at issue concern a set of rules known as "new source review" that date back to the 1977 Clean Air Act. As the name suggests, the rules were intended to require new pollution sources -- such as power plants -- to install state-of-the-art control technologies. But in the mid-1990s the Clinton Administration unilaterally decided that too many existing plants had been "grandfathered" by the rule, and declared that maintenance activities such as replacing turbines or ducts created "new" sources and triggered expensive NSR requirements." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Leader: Time to charge" - "In 10 to 15 years' time, owning and driving a car in this country will be a very different experience, based on the speech by the transport secretary Alistair Darling yesterday. In a decade or so, it is likely that cars and their drivers will be charged, via high-technology tracking, based on the mileage and the time of the day and road congestion in which they do the driving. In much the same manner easyJet charges for seats on its planes, so the price of driving on a mile of road will change depending on how many other cars are on it. The busier the traffic gets, the higher the price will go, to act as a incentive for motorists not to make rush hours worse." (The Guardian)

"Green anger at plan to tax journeys, not gas-guzzlers" - " The transport secretary, Alistair Darling, has angered green activists by insisting that a Mini would pay the same rate as a gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle under his plans for a nationwide road charging scheme." (The Guardian)

"Drought-plagued China sees water crisis peak in 2030" - "The water crisis in China, where 300 million people already do not have access to drinkable water, will peak in 2030 when the population hits 1.6 billion people, a senior government official was quoted on Wednesday as saying." (Reuters)

"UN predicts that millennium development goals will be missed by a wide margin in Africa" - "The United Nations Human Development Report Office this week released preliminary figures from the 2005 human development report projecting that the UN’s millennium development goals will be missed by a wide margin in Africa." (British Medical Journal)

"Fungi destroy mosquitoes: Live spore spray could curb spread of malaria" - "A mouldy house could help combat malaria by killing off the mosquitoes that carry the disease. Researchers have found that an oil-based fungal treatment could be a viable alternative to the insecticides to which mosquitoes have grown resistant." (News @ Nature)

"Greenpeace on trial under Danish terror law after GMO protest" - "COPENHAGEN - The environmentalist group Greenpeace went on trial in a Copenhagen court as the first organization charged under new Danish anti-terror laws introduced after the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001." (AFP)

June 9, 2005

"Malaria crisis may doom Africa progress, MPs say" - "The UK's plans for a prosperous Africa are doomed to failure unless malaria, the world's most lethal disease, is tackled as a global health crisis, an all-party group of MPs will warn in a report today.

Malaria kills between 1 million and 3 million people a year - several times as many as died in the genocide in Rwanda. Most of the them are in Africa, where malaria is the biggest killer of children under five. The HIV/Aids pandemic which has swept Africa has made treatment less likely, because hospitals are so overcrowded and nurses and doctors themselves have fallen ill.

Yet ironically, says the report from the all-party parliamentary malaria group, unlike HIV/Aids, the tools for the eradication of malaria are to hand - insecticide impregnated bednets, house spraying and new drugs based on the Chinese artimisinin plant." (The Guardian)

"The Precautionary Principle Under Fire: Detractors continue to challenge chlorination as a safe water solution for developing nations" (.pdf) - "Despite data supporting chlorine’s highly beneficial impact on clean water supplies and public health, claims persist that the potential risks of chlorination outweigh the public health value of water disinfection. To me this is comparable to watching the third sequel of a grade Z science fiction movie about a monster that won’t die. A case in point is a Greenpeace report currently posted on the organization’s website asserting that DBP concerns had no bearing on the spread of disease during the 1991 cholera epidemic that began in Peru and was propagated to almost all countries of Latin America. From personal experience I can confirm that these claims are utter nonsense. I am concerned that such disinformation and half truths might be accepted as fact, resulting in otherwise avoidable disease, suffering, death, and economic impact on the poor people of developing countries." (Fred Reiff)

[Fred M. Reiff, an engineer, is a former official of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization. He retired from that organization in 1995 but continues to serve as an independent international consultant.]

"End this two-way process" - "Scientists are too busy discovering hard facts to engage the public in constant dialogue, says John Warren" (The Guardian)

"Our Greatest Challenge" - "I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears." (Michael Crichton, Remarks to the Commonwealth Club)

"Veterans of first Gulf War have more chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia" - "More than a decade after the first Gulf War in 1991, a detailed comparison of the health of veterans who were deployed to the Persian Gulf region and veterans who served elsewhere has found that the health of the two groups is very similar. However, the study also found that Gulf War veterans are more likely to have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome." (Washington University School of Medicine)

"'Industrial' Pollutants Reveal a Surprising Origin" - "After a True's beaked whale washed ashore in Virginia, Woods Hole chemist Emma Teuten toiled for seven months trying to whittle 10 kilograms of blubber down to a milligram of methoxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers – chemicals synthesized for use as industrial flame retardants and regarded as persistent environmental pollutants. But improved carbon dating methods revealed that these PBDEs were natural compounds, possibly originating in marine sponges. The surprising find has focused a debate about the risks of exposure to synthetic compounds." (Stuart Blackman, The Scientist) | Chemical Compounds Found In Whale Blubber Are From Natural Sources, Not Industrial Contamination (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"Death by Natural Causes" - "The circumstances of a teenager's medical emergency are in dispute. But her case raises important questions about the line between increasingly popular naturopathic health care and standard medical treatment." (Nina Shapiro, Seattle Weekly)

"The Empire of Alarmists Strike Back" - "It's funny how quickly CDC Director Julie Gerberding has stopped sounding like a scientist and started talking like a character out of 1984." (John Luik, TCS)

"Ozone levels drop when hurricanes are strengthening" - "Scientists are continually exploring different aspects of hurricanes to increase the understanding of how they behave. Recently, NASA-funded scientists from Florida State University looked at ozone around hurricanes and found that ozone levels drop as a hurricane is intensifying." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

JunkScience.com too technical? Ben Rooney of the London Daily Telegraph seems to suggest so in his quick review of Global Warming Resources. If so, we're sorry, we really don't mean to be but it is a complex topic. For a simple explanation try the commentary following the June 8, 2005 item: Good! "Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming" - it's about as simple as it gets.

Back to Earth: "'Global warming' and the curse of presentism" - "Farmers and country folk know about the weather. Their lives and livelihoods depend on it. They witness its diurnal and seasonal patterns on the farm and in the field. By contrast, in modern cities, existence tends to be insulated against such harsh realities through an urban heat island and by a semi-troglodyte existence in shopping malls and pedestrian parades. But weather, and longer-term climatic change, remain at the heart of the story of Britain’s once and future countryside." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Would that certain activist Academy office-holders had Philip's sense, both common and of history.

"Moscow region to be boundary between warm and cold zones by mid-century" - "MOSCOW, June 8 - The late 20th century has been the warmest period in the human civilization's history. Over the past 20 years, the Earth warmed up by an average of 0.2 degrees. The change in the circulation of sea currents and the shift of the planet's energy zones have altered the atmospheric circulation, which, in turn, has altered the climate of large areas on the planet, Igor Kopylov, a professor with the Moscow Energy Institute and a State Prize winner, said in the scientific supplement to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.

According to the scientist, the global energy change is due to the growing solar activity, the Earth's deceleration due to the transient phenomenon and the shift of its warm and cold zones. Another transient cycle in our galaxy began in the early 20th century and has been underway for a century." (RIA Novosti)

"Inhofe Introduces Ratepayers Protection Act of 2005" - "WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, introduced legislation today that will ensure the costs associated with actions taken by utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are not transferred to disadvantaged Americans. As the need for those reductions is not grounded in science, it is important that those costs are not passed on to electricity consumers. The Ratepayers Protection Act of 2005 is prompted by research that has shown poor and disadvantaged individuals are negatively impacted by energy rate increases due to climate change-related costs." (Environment and Public Works)

"Remember (the) Maine!" - "The search for a sustainable climate change policy took small steps in the right direction in Maine this year." (Jon Reisman, TCS)

"Nickels pushing pro-Kyoto resolution to mayors" - "Mayor Greg Nickels will be looking far beyond Seattle when he takes up one of the most ambitious political challenges of his career this weekend. Nickels will try to persuade the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents 1,183 cities, to do what the federal government has refused to do and endorse the Kyoto treaty goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions." (Seattle Times)

"Blair: US set for new climate change treaty" - " TONY Blair is negotiating a "Gleneagles Declaration" on climate change that would sign the United States up to a new world plan of action on global warming. The statement would accept that the US will never sign the Kyoto Treaty, which commits signatories to reducing greenhouse gases. Instead, it would recognise US efforts to fight global warming in its own way, with extensive investment in new fuel technology. Environmentalists last night dismissed the move as mere "window dressing", while opposition politicians warned the Prime Minister not to use the G8 summit at Gleneagles to "paper over the cracks" on climate change." (The Scotsman)

"White House Calls Editing Climate Files Part of Usual Review" - "Bush administration officials said yesterday that revisions to reports on climate change made by Philip A. Cooney, a former oil-industry lobbyist now working at the White House, were part of the normal review before publishing projects that involved many agencies." (New York Times)

"New Zealand: Foresters warn: No Kyoto carbon sinks" - "The carbon credit surplus posited by the government as a justification for the enormous costs of signing onto the Kyoto accord are not likely to be there when they're needed, foresters said today. That's because trees -- the country's primary source of carbon credits -- are simply not being planted, said Forest Owners Association president Peter Berg. Mr Berg said the average new rate of new forest planting for the last 30 years has been 44,900 hectares a year. In 2002, it dropped to 22,000 ha and last year to 10,600 ha, with forward orders placed at tree nurseries indicating a further decline this year. Meanwhile, the gap between the area harvested and area replanted has grown, with increasing areas of harvested forest being converted to dairying and other livestock." (National Business Review)

"UK: Targets likely to be missed on emissions" - "Tony Blair has returned from his visit to Washington with vague promises from George W. Bush, the US president, about tackling climate change. Measures to slow global warming are one of the two priorities for Britain at the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles next month. But the UK itself is likely to miss the targets set by Mr Blair for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, unless a government review of climate change policy now under way can come up with measures to slash the country's rising output of carbon dioxide. Last year, emissions of greenhouse gases rose by 1.6 per cent according to the Office for National Statistics, owing mainly to an increase in emissions from electricity generators." (Financial Times)

"World's biggest wind farm plan 'threatens seabirds'" - "A colony of internationally protected seabirds is threatened by plans to place the world's biggest wind farm in the Thames estuary, conservationists warned today." (The Guardian)

"Wind farms pose low risk to birds" - "Migrating birds are unlikely to be seriously affected by offshore wind farms, according to a study. Scientists found that birds simply fly around the farm, or between the turbines; less than 1% are in danger of colliding with the giant structures. Writing in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, the researchers say previous estimates of collision risk have been "over-inflated". However, conservationists warn that turbines pose other risks to birdlife." (BBC)

June 8, 2005

"Can we dodge celestial bullet? Ex-astronaut wants government to plan for possible hit" - "ARLINGTON, Va. - One future Friday the 13th could turn out to be a very unlucky day for planet Earth, according to ex-astronaut Rusty Schweickart. Astronomers agree that on April 13, 2029 (which just happens to be a Friday), an asteroid called Minnesota 4, or MN4, is expected to narrowly miss hitting Earth. No one seems to think there is great danger from MN4 on that pass, but there is some dispute about what might happen after that first encounter." (The Huntsville Times)

"EPA Data Not Reliable, Business Lobby Says" - "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has red-penciled what it views as errors in 16 databases that the Environmental Protection Agency uses to make regulatory decisions about chemical cleanups and other policies that affect states and business." (Washington Post)

(Slightly) bad again this week: "Study links hair dyes to cancer" - "Those who regularly dye their hair have a higher risk of developing lymphoma, a European study involving nearly 5,000 women found." (BBC)

"Sorry, but We've Got Really Bad Chemistry" - "The results are in, and it turns out I'm a walking cocktail of toxic chemicals. I've got a jigger of lead in me, a splash of flame retardant and a dash of DDT. But none of this came as a surprise, and before you take pity, let me remind you that your organs are probably marinating nicely too. We've all ingested and inhaled chemicals in our lifetimes, and some of them linger in the body for decades. What's different in my case is that I've got the evidence right here in front of me, having participated in a bio-monitoring study two months ago with 10 other Californians who gave blood, hair and urine samples. To be honest, there's little evidence of links between chemicals and specific diseases, and we don't know much about safe levels of exposure. Still, it was a little unnerving to read that I had the second-highest level of mercury among the 11 people tested. Have I eaten too much tuna?" (Steve Lopez, LA Times)

"Self-cleaning 'smart' fabrics capable of environmental toxin remediation" - "Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory's Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering (CBMSE) have developed a new cost-effective, self-decontaminating ultrathin materials coating that actively destroys pesticides and related chemical agents on contact." (Agence France-Presse)

"Offshore fish farms - a solution or a problem?" - "Legislation calls for expanding fish farming up to 200 miles from shore, raising environmental concerns." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Researchers are busy saving us from ourselves (and out wallets)" - "The headline practically jumped off the page, its conclusion so seemingly obvious the reader was left wondering how this even qualified as news: "Scientists advocate sunshine." However, before you pencil this as an early front-runner for the next Masters of the Obvious Award, consider that the American Academy of Dermatology immediately blasted the findings, saying any advice that you get some sun is "irresponsible." (Alex Lekas, Up & Coming Weekly)

"German Greens at Crossroads as Vote Defeat Looms" - "BERLIN - Germany's Green party, which grew out of the protest movement of the 1970s to become the country's political kingmaker, faces a struggle to redefine itself as the prospect of election defeat and loss of power looms." (Reuters)

"Broken promises leave three million children to die in Africa" - "As Blair and Bush close in on deal over debt, UN report reveals human cost" (The Guardian)

"Britain enlists US help on aid and reversing climate change" - "WHEN it comes to giving aid to developing countries, is the United States hero or villain? It gives a smaller percentage of its national output as aid than any other major country, a meagre 0.15 per cent, or 15 cents of every $100. The figure has been declining for decades. It is well below the 0.41 per cent that is the average of major countries and even further off the 0.7 per cent UN target that Tony Blair is trying to move the wealthy world towards. Britain currently gives 0.34 per cent. Yet in hard cash, the US aid contribution amounted to more than $16 billion (£8.8 billion) last year, nearly twice the next largest donor, Japan." (London Times)

Good! "Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming" - "A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents." (New York Times)

If only a lot more government aides and bureaucrats were as diligent in damping unfounded hysteria and ridiculous overstatement the world just might be focussed on real issues rather than this ridiculous sideshow.

At least a couple of times a week people write to me on the topic of global warming, either abusing me as some kind of Earth-toasting global conspirator (usually following some slur and innuendo laden article by advocates of Big Warming) or wondering why I'm less than excited by claims of looming heated catastrophe. Let me see if I can very briefly explain:

  1. We think we can figure out the global mean temperature to within a range of about 1.5 °C (about 2.5 °F)
  2. We think Earth may have warmed between one-third and one-half that range over the last century or so
  3. We think there might be a recent warming trend in near-surface measures but don't know if that's purely an artefact of sampling in and around cities and urban environs
  4. Neither balloon-sonde nor satellite-mounted MSU measures of the lower troposphere indicate alarming warming
  5. Our ability to model the complex, chaotic, coupled, non-linear system we call the atmosphere is in its infancy and our understanding of climate woefully insufficient to make predictions. Of 9 broad inputs the IPCC classifies our level of scientific understanding as "Very Low" for 5 of them, incredibly including solar and land use (albedo) [don't take my word for it, see table 6.12 of the Third Assessment Report]. You'd expect, given Sol is the source of planetary warmth, that very low understanding of Sol's role in driving the planet's climate, coupled with equally poor understanding of albedo (that is how much solar radiation is reflected and how much actually absorbed by the planet), would give people pause before pontificating on climatic trends - at least I so expect.
  6. Climate change is inevitable, that's what it does.
  7. We should hope that said inevitable change is for the warmer - cold is very hard on humanity and the biosphere.

So, we don't know the planet's temperature, we think it's likely warming but not by very much, we have no useful agreement between methods of deriving the planet's temperature except those that show no significant warming and we don't understand the system well enough to make useful predictions. Oh, and on the strength of this we are supposed to spend trillions of (1990 US) dollars to 'fix' it (see IPCC's 'correcting figure 73' down-revising cost estimates by two orders of magnitude).

I think that about covers it.

Inevitably someone will want to argue about the above so here's the address again (that's editor 'at' junkscience.com). There's no guarantee I'll continue to reply to the same tired nonsense though. Here's a tip on how not to approach such discussion: claims that 'contrarians' are paid agents of big something-or-other while enhanced greenhouse advocates act out of pure altruism just don't cut it - to begin with this telegraphs that you know nothing of academia and publish-or-die pressures and secondly paints you as extremely naive believing researchers don't frame their grant applications and results in an effort to grab some of the billions of dollars annually hosed over shrill claims of looming climate disaster (see, for example, livestock researchers trying to develop vaccines to increase the feed conversion efficiency of ruminants applying for global warming mitigation research funds on the grounds of reducing livestock methane emissions (despite the rate of atmospheric methane increase having fallen below zero)).

Too silly for words: "Nations told 'curb greenhouse gas to fight warming'" - "THE national science academies of all the G8 countries issued an unprecedented challenge to their governments yesterday, urging immediate action to curb greenhouse gas emissions to fight global warming. Scientific evidence about the causes and impacts of climate change is now so clear that effective measures to address them can no longer be delayed, the elite institutions said." (Mark Henderson, London Times) | Read the scientists' statement in full

We have to wonder whether any of these guys actually read any of the IPCC Third Assessment Report or simply went on the fanciful "Summary for Policymakers" (which seemingly bears little relation to the TAR). Even then they should have noted such inconstancies as: "Since the start of the satellite record in 1979, both satellite and weather balloon measurements show that the global average temperature of the lowest 8 kilometres of the atmosphere has changed by +0.05 ± 0.10°C per decade, but the global average surface temperature has increased significantly by +0.15 ± 0.05°C per decade. The difference in the warming rates is statistically significant." (WG1 - Summary for Policymakers) In fact, even that document goes so far as to state: "The record shows a great deal of variability; for example, most of the warming occurred during the 20th century, during two periods, 1910 to 1945 and 1976 to 2000." OK, so the first warming period was prior to most of the increase in atmospheric GHGs (they omit mention of the cooling 1950s through 1970s but I guess mention of the looming ice age scare is a tad embarrassing) and then we had both a cooling and recovery during the period of most significant GHG increase.

We just have to point this out guys, a warming without and both cooling and warming with significant GHG increase do not causation make.

And that rising sea level thing? The same IPCC document suggests a possible 0.1m to 0.2m rise over the entire 20th Century (plausible, as far as we know we're still emerging from the last great glaciation) so, at that rate, it'll take 500 to 1,000 years to rise 1m (about 3 feet), suggesting we might have time to get out of the way.

Rightly: "Bush seeks 'to know more' about global warming" - "President George W. Bush on Tuesday promised to take action on US greenhouse gas emissions, but said the US first needed to know more about the phenomenon of global warming. At the White House after talks with Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, Mr Bush said the US would continue to lead the world on investment in technology to diversify away from the use of fossil fuels. However, in remarks that will disappoint environmentalists, Mr Bush appeared to suggest he still had doubts about the scientific evidence behind global warning. “We need to know more about it,” he said. “It's a lot easier to solve when you know more about it.” (Financial Times)

No, duh! "Revealed: how oil giant influenced Bush" - "President's George Bush's decision not to sign the United States up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was partly a result of pressure from ExxonMobil, the world's most powerful oil company, and other industries, according to US State Department papers seen by the Guardian. The documents, which emerged as Tony Blair visited the White House for discussions on climate change before next month's G8 meeting, reinforce widely-held suspicions of how close the company is to the administration and its role in helping to formulate US policy." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

Gee! The Bush Administration might have consulted with one of the world's largest corporations on possible effects of certain actions... ya think? Wonder what kind of howl there'd be if the democratically-elected government failed to consult with those most affected? (Silly me, that'd only happen if it was on a matter favoured by Mr. Vidal and company.) I sometimes wonder whether these guys suffer from a crick in the neck watching out for black helicopters and such. (Uh-oh! If I wasn't there already that's bound to have me listed as a member of the global conspiracy spraying the population with mind-control substances in the guise of commercial jetliner contrails and manipulating the weather with the secret machine hidden at the North Pole [did I leave anything out?].)

"On being a 'global warming' sceptic" - "To be a sceptic is a difficult and dangerous business. To be what the philosopher, David Hume, called a "mitigated", or moderate, sceptic is, in addition, deeply frustrating. In the first case, sceptics are seen as enemies of 'religion'; in the second, the sceptic is constantly misunderstood, because one is dealing with carefully-modulated degrees of questioning and doubt that do not conform easily to the modern world of sound bites, shallow interviews, and pressure-group action. The media inevitably favour the religious fanatic who can encapsulate into a single sound bite simple articles of unquestioned faith that mesh readily with the prevailing public mood, which they themselves so often share." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Rain forest myth goes up in smoke over the Amazon" - "The Amazon is now a major source for pollution. Rampant burning and deforestation, mostly at the hands of illegal loggers and of ranchers, release hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the skies each year." (Los Angeles Times)

Hello! Where were you? Long has the Amazon rainforest been called "the lungs of the planet" and every biology student should be able to tell you that we use lungs to draw oxygen from the atmosphere and release carbon dioxide and water vapour into it (enviros were right - just for the wrong reasons).

"Terminating Prosperity" - "According to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, "the debate [over human-induced global warming] is over. We know the science, we see the threat and we know the time for action is now." Schwarzenegger issued his call for action on climate change last week at the United Nations World Environment Day conference in San Francisco, where he unveiled an executive order establishing stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for California.

In the absence of national action on GHG emissions, the Governator is just one of many state and local politicians seeking to impose GHG reduction requirements on their constituents. Climate alarmists promote GHG reductions on the basis of ostensible improvements in human welfare. Unfortunately, it is climate change activism and the public credibility of its misguided intellectual foundation, rather than climate change itself, that poses a threat to the safety and prosperity humankind." (Joel Schwartz, TCS)

Uh-oh... "Did glacials start with global warming?" - "Abstract: Correlation of paleoclimatic evidence with orbital changes shows that the build-up of polar ice accelerated when low obliquity coincided with perihelion in Northern Hemisphere winter. Under low obliquity the insolation was channeled to the tropics at the expense of both polar caps. As perihelion moved from winter solstice toward spring equinox, the solar beam in astronomic winter and spring became stronger than in summer and autumn. This orbital configuration under climate conditions like today would lead to warming of tropical oceans but cooling of the polar regions. The areally weighted global mean surface temperature, which is dominated by the low latitudes, would increase. Consequently, during the first millennia, the early glacial ice build-up was most likely accompanied by global warming. It was the associated increase of meridional insolation and temperature gradients, which were instrumental in the transition to a glacial.

A significant part of the current global warming is due to the gradual temperature increase of the tropical oceans. As the changing orbital configuration today resembles that of the last interglacial/glacial transition, the warming is likely to have a natural component." (Quaternary Science Reviews)

"A New Alpine Melt Theory" - "The Alpine glaciers are shrinking, that much we know. But new research suggests that in the time of the Roman Empire, they were smaller than today. And 7,000 years ago they probably weren't around at all. A group of climatologists have come up with a controversial new theory on how the Alps must have looked over the ages." (Hilmar Schmundt, Der Spiegel)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"A Record Heat Wave and Its Implications" - "Just how anomalous was the European heat wave of August 2003, and to what extent was it sustained by the greenhouse effect of prior anthropogenic CO 2 emissions?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Volcanic Eruptions (Climatic Impact)" - "What do we feel we know about the subject?  And how certain are we about what we think we know?" (co2science.org)

"Transpiration (Herbaceous Plants - Non-Agricultural)" - "How will the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content impact evaporative water loss from non-agricultural herbaceous plants that are periodically exposed to varying degrees of water stress in their natural environment?" (co2science.org)

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

Journal Reviews:
"Southern Hemispheric Tropical Cyclones" - "How do those of the past five years compare with those of the preceding 36 years?" (co2science.org)

"Recurring Large Storms of the South China Sea" - "Have they increased in tandem with the supposedly unprecedented global warming of the 20th century, as climate alarmists say severe storms should?" (co2science.org)

"The Medieval Warm Period in Southern Patagonia, Argentina" - "How does it compare with the Modern Warm Period?" (co2science.org)

"The Battle for Soybean Seed Production: CO 2 vs. Ozone" - "Can slightly less than a doubling of the air's CO 2 concentration overcome the deleterious effects of a tripling of the air's ozone concentration?" (co2science.org)

"Response of Temperature- and Water-Stressed Alfalfa to Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment" - "If mean air temperature were to rise by 4°C while the air's CO 2 concentration rose by 325 ppm, what would be the consequences for the production of alfalfa?" (co2science.org)

"Shell predicts two decades of rising energy prices" - "Worldwide energy prices are set to rise over the next two decades as individual countries become more concerned about ensuring security of supply and governments take a more pro-active role in dictating energy policy and regulating markets." (London Independent)

"Huge wind farm proposed to power London" - "LONDON - London could see a quarter of its electricity come from 270 wind turbines in what would be the world's largest offshore wind farm, Shell and several energy partners said Tuesday in applying for permits to build the $2.7 billion project. The London Array project would place the turbines on offshore platforms where the Thames River meets the North Sea around 60 miles outside London." (The Associated Press)

"Green campaigners back wind farms" - "Plans for a 27-turbine wind farm in Cumbria have won the support of green campaigning group Friends of the Earth. Tony Juniper, executive director of the organisation, will tell a public inquiry that a ridge overlooking Tebay would be an ideal site for the farm. Those against the energy scheme at Whinash say it would be a desecration of a beautiful landscape." (BBC)

"Australian Treasurer Backs Commercial Nuclear Power" - "CANBERRA - Australian Treasurer Peter Costello said on Tuesday he would support the development of nuclear energy in Australia if it proved to be economically viable." (Reuters)

"China pledges billions for nuclear power" - "China, the world's second-largest energy consumer after the United States, will spend some 400 billion yuan (US$48.33 billion) on building new nuclear power plants by 2020." (China Daily)

"Biotech brouhaha: Rural myths and conspiracy theories abound" - "Recently, Brian Tokar, who directs the Biotechnology Project at the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield, visited my state to preach about the evils of biotechnology. I thought I might "visit" his state via your editorial pages to respond to some of the charges Tokar levied against agricultural biotechnology in his effort to cause mischief in Maine.

I give Tokar credit. He is an excellent speaker. He knows his subject and he tells his story well. The problem, though, is his story is full of rural myths and rests on a foundation of conspiracy theories. Rural myths, like their urban cousins, are one percent fact and 99 percent fiction. Conspiracy theories are … well, conspiracy theories." (Douglas Johnson, Times Argus)

June 7, 2005

"NGO Threat to African Growth and World Bank Agenda" - "Paul Wolfowitz marked his first day as the new head of the World Bank by reaffirming his plan to focus primarily on reducing poverty in Africa. He also intends on allowing poor countries to have a greater say in the decision making process at the global lender. One of the legacies of the Wolfensohn era that he will be forced to address is the increasing influence of non-governmental organizations, and their most strident incarnation--advocacy pressure groups. And while he tries to promote more lending to democratic states he will be undermined by many of the same NGOs who want Bank funding." (Roger Bate, Sunday Independent (South Africa))

"Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds worldwide, and Kyle Webster aims to stop it" - "Kyle Webster, a research scientist and U.S. Army officer, wakes up one night, feverish, his sheets soaked with sweat. The next morning he is so exhausted he can hardly stand upright. He drags himself out of bed and goes straight to his lab, where a technician pricks his finger and smears a drop of his blood on a glass slide. The technician looks into the microscope and waves Webster over." (SF Chronicle)

"Malaria drug resistance warning" - "A tiny change could mean the malaria parasite becomes resistant to the newest drug weapon against the disease, researchers have claimed. Artemisinins were hailed because they succeed where other drugs failed. But the St George's University of London team found one protein component can control whether the parasite is sensitive or resistant to artemisinins." (BBC)

"Novartis boosts cultivation of antimalarial plant" - "ZURICH - Novartis will ramp up cultivation of an antimalarial plant in Africa to meet spiralling demand for treatments of a disease that kills some one million people a year. The Swiss drugmaker supplies Coartem, whose main ingredient artemisinin is derived from the artemisia annua plant, on a not-for-profit basis to developing countries stricken by chronic malaria. A shortfall of artemisinin combined with resistance to older treatments such as chloroquine has hampered a global drive to halve deaths from the mosquito-born disease by 2010, prompting Novartis to boost its cultivation of the plant." (Reuters)

"An Infantile Policy" - "The World Health Assembly, the rule-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently finished its annual meeting by adopting a resolution to promote exclusive breast feeding for a baby's first six months." (Sally Satel, TCS)

Webcast: Four Leading Nutrition And Cardiovascular Researchers Challenge 2005 Salt Intake Guidelines
News Conference and Panel Discussion to be webcast
June 9 at 11:00 a.m. EST - On Thursday, June 9, the Salt Institute will host a webcast news conference and panel discussion to discuss the issue of health and sodium intake. The researchers will cite evidence that questions the science behind the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for salt intake. The web cast will be approximately forty minutes in length, followed by a twenty minute interactive question and answer session, where participants may submit questions online and receive responses in real time.


  • Suzanne Oparil, M.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, will discuss the history of salt and hypertension policy
  • Alexander D. Logan, M.D., University of Toronto, will discuss efficacy and safety of salt restriction
  • David A. McCarron (moderator), M.D., University of California, Davis, will speak to diet quality and salt sensitivity
  • Michael H. Alderman, M.D., Einstein Medical College, will cover sodium intake and cardiovascular disease outcomes

WHAT:   A webcast and interactive question and answer session to discuss the issue of health and sodium intake and to question the science behind the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for salt intake.
WHEN: Thursday, June 9, 11:00 a.m. EST / 8:00 a.m. PST / 9:00 a.m. CST / 10:00 a.m. MST

"The causes of childhood leukaemia" - "We don't yet fully understand the aetiology of childhood leukaemia, but we are now reasonably sure that it often involves damage to DNA before birth—probably in response to infection, chemicals, ionising radiation, or other environmental exposures." (British Medical Journal)

"Doctors squabble over sunshine vitamin" - "Is it any wonder so many people are confused about the sun?" (Houston Chronicle)

"Women overestimate breast cancer risk, U-M study finds" - "When asked to estimate the lifetime risk of breast cancer, 89 percent of women overestimated their risk, with an average estimate of 46 percent – more than three times the actual risk of 13 percent, according to a study by University of Michigan Health System researchers." (University of Michigan Health System)

Given the constant fear-reinforcement I'm surprised it's only by a factor of 3.

"Soil emissions are much-bigger-than-expected component of air pollution" - "Nitrogen oxides from huge fires and fossil fuel combustion are a major component of air pollution. But new research shows that, in some area, nitrogen oxides from the soil are far greater than expected and could play a much larger role in seasonal air pollution than previously believed." (University of Washington)

Oh my giddy aunt! What has become of the academies? "World scientists urge CO2 action" - "The science academies of the world's leading nations are urging their governments to take prompt action to combat possible climate change. They have agreed that all countries could and should take cost-effective action to cut carbon dioxide emissions. The unprecedented statement will be issued on Wednesday by the academies of the G8 nations, including the US National Academy, and China and Brazil. World leaders attending July's G8 meeting in Scotland have received it." (BBC)

"Global warming 'less threat to diversity than habitat damage by man'" - "GLOBAL warming may not have the catastrophic effect on the diversity of the world's species that has been forecast, according to a new book. Plants and animals may actually be able to respond to the temperature rises that are expected to occur over the next century, the University of East Anglia's Professor Godfrey Hewitt claims. Drawing on the fact that many species have survived ice ages without becoming extinct, Prof Hewitt believes man's destruction of habitats is a far greater threat to biodiversity. The theory is put forward in Climate Change and Biodiversity, to be published this Friday." (The Scotsman)

"Study shows heat and smog are killers" - "Smog is responsible for more than 800 deaths a year in Toronto, and extreme heat makes the problem even worse, a new government study has found." (CBC News)

Heat gets a mention in the title, although cold is associated with more deaths - perhaps because it's [comparatively] warm now. No mention on whether 'global warming' would so reduce 'cold deaths' that an overall reduction in mortality could be anticipated.

"When it doesn't fit the model, it's just the variability of the weather..." - "The fact that England and Wales have experienced the driest winter for thirty years is a bit of a blow for the climate-change modellers and for the 'global warming' faithful. 'Global warming' is meant to give us wetter winters (*witness this): (see: 'England and Wales record driest spell in 30 years', The Daily Telegraph , June 6)." (EnviroSpin Watch)

Oh dear... "And what if the sceptics are wrong?" - "Climate change is one of mankind's greatest challenges. In the past 30 years world temperatures have increased by almost 0.5C. We cannot predict with certainty what will happen now, but the risk of abrupt climate change certainly exists. Human activity is increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to levels unprecedented in human history. If we do nothing, or next to nothing, those levels will continue to rise, progressively increasing the risk of runaway global warming." (Michael Howard, The Guardian)

Um, Michael? Kyoto isn't a small, short-term cost whose only consequences are 'the reward of greener, cleaner technologies for saving and generating energy.' Such naivety is frightening. Signing on to the 'catastrophic global warming' scare involves massive misdirection of funds, even a small portion of which could and would save lives if applied to third world development. And the 'reward' for such misdirection? No measurable difference in global mean temperature, even after 50 years.

It's long past due that we bury the illusion panicked acceptance of silly protocols is a low-cost option with broad upsides and made plain that such cavalier disregard for empirical science and human needs comes complete with associated third world body count and untold human misery.

In answer to the question posed in the item title the answer is "Nothing." Why? Because even if Kyoto were to be completely implemented, which it most certainly will not be, a 'saving' of a paltry few hundredths of a degree will make no perceptible difference - making all expenditure on it a complete waste. If sceptics are right we're not going to know with any certainty for quite some decades but at least we will have used available finance and effort significantly more rationally. If sceptics are wrong the world will be in a better (more affordable) position to adapt. Either way the human condition will be significantly enhanced over where it would be if we did sacrifice the engines of wealth creation to the superstition firstly that inevitable change must be bad and secondly that we could knowingly control and adjust it. For goodness sake think rather than simply regurgitating Green myths.

"Sea helps in global warming prevention" - "Tokyo, Japan, Jun. 6 -- Japanese researchers have found that a subtropical area in the western Pacific absorbs about 60 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. The study, conducted by Japan's Meteorological Agency, is the first to prove that the sea helps prevent global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide. Researchers say the data will serve to predict the pace of future global warming, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Monday." (UPI)

In the virtual world: "New and bleak climate-change study" - "Paris, France, Jun. 6 -- A French study finds global warming is proceeding apace, even under a best-case "green" scenario. Published jointly by the Pierre-Simon-Laplace Institute and Meteo France, the report looked at 11 climate scenarios with different concentrations of heat-trapping, greenhouse gasses. The study's findings were reported in the French newspaper Liberation." (UPI)

The little boy in the crowd (EnviroSpin Watch)

And a new poll: "Can Mr. Blair control climate change predictably?" Uh, put like that...

Weekly Whipple: "Ocean Warming Supports Models" - "Clear evidence of human-produced warming in the oceans verifies some of the most important predictions of climate models, suggesting it is time for action instead of argument about the existence of greenhouse warming, according to a paper by Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

Is it me or are these claims becoming increasingly desperate? What we know about ocean temperatures is limited, to say the least and our database of historical baseline measures is, to all intent and purpose, empty. We end up with a 'trend analysis' with error margins significantly greater than the surmised trend and then claim that models, programmed to produce such a figure in response to fed parameter values, actually 'prove' the veracity of the figure they are programmed to produce. Supplementing this we have the recycled 'smoking gun' claim of Earth's radiative imbalance - using immeasurably small figures that are but a fraction of the error margin. This is not a clear signal but a hopeful mislabelling of noise.

"Companies call on Bush for emission guidelines" - "WASHINGTON A growing chorus of utilities, manufacturers and investors is asking the Bush administration for a clear federal standard on emissions of so-called greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, saying the administration's current approach provides little guidance on how to map strategies for expansion.

"We want this issue addressed sooner rather than later because we have to start building new power plants," said John Stowell, who oversees environmental strategy at Cinergy, a utility based in Cincinnati. "It's tough to move into a billion-dollar-plus building program without knowing what the rules of the road" will be, Stowell said. In a May 9 speech, Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, called for "certainty" in emissions standards." (Bloomberg News)

These companies want reassurance that no one is stupid enough to reclassify carbon dioxide 'a pollutant' and they should receive it.

"EU Commission moots adding airline industry to emissions scheme" - "The European Commission is preparing a legal package to include the CO2 emissions of the rapidly expanding airline industry into the general EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The first step in the process - a Commission Communication to the Parliament and Council, also known as a white paper - is expected to be on the table before August, according to a high-level Commission source." (EUobserver)

"Coming in out of the cold: Cold fusion, for real" - "A very reputable, very careful group of scientists at the University of Los Angeles has initiated a fusion reaction using a laboratory device that's not much bigger than a breadbox, and works at roughly room temperature. This time, it looks like the real thing." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Analysis: China And Nuclear Power" - "China's incessant demand for energy to fuel its burgeoning economy includes doubling nuclear power use by 2020, a leading industry official said Monday." (UPI)

"Breaking That Dirty Oil Habit" - "A Republican loyalist and canny political strategist, C. Boyden Gray has been quite busy lately. The former White House counsel to the first President Bush heads up the Committee for Justice, an advocacy group that has worked closely with the White House to push Bush 2's most controversial judicial nominees through the Senate. John Podesta has been busy too. The former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who today leads the liberal Center for American Progress has worked hard to foil Gray. Yet even as the two party generals square off in a battle that has roiled the Senate, they manage to find common cause: energy policy. "Boyden and I agree on virtually nothing," says Podesta, "but we do agree on this: the security of the country depends on a whole new generation of vehicles and fuels." (Time Magazine)

"A fishy fix for tainted water?" - "Ever since developers learned how to tap coal seams in Wyoming's Powder River Basin for natural gas, they've struggled with what to do with the brackish groundwater that comes out first. A fish may be the answer." (Associated Press)

"Plan Would Expand Ocean Fish Farming" - "Critics are worried that NOAA has not addressed the health and environmental problems of existing fish farms: pollution from wastes, chemicals and drugs; the impact of escapes on wild fish, including transference of disease and parasites; the dependence on wild fish, which are used as feed for the farmed fish; and the impact on traditional fishing." (New York Times)

"Who is afraid of GMOs?" - "It is a perversion of the 21st century that while affluent societies continue the quest to slice the fat from their increasingly obese populations, five million children die from hunger each year, and more than 850m people go chronically hungry. And the irony is, in their superior knowledge, the fatties have put the brakes on possibly one of the greatest hopes to alleviate hunger: genetically modified crops." (FoodNavigator.com)

"INDIA: Calls to Ban GM Crops Intensify After Rats Suffer" - "NEW DELHI - Environmentalists and food security activists in India have renewed calls for a moratorium on genetically modified (GM) foods and crops after rats reportedly secretly tested with GM corn diets by the U.S. agribusiness and biotech giant Monsanto developed blood and organ abnormalities." (IPS)

"Plant biologists explore biotech crop options" - "In the mountains of northern Thailand, rice farming is an age-old occupation largely untouched by the modern world. Farmers hand-cultivate rice from seeds varieties their ancestors have saved for thousands of years. No high-yield hybrid plants or genetically modified seeds exist there - leaving intact a treasure-trove of rice varieties sprinkled among small villages." (Post-Dispatch)

"INTERVIEW - US Lobby Says World Not Ready for GMO Wheat" - "HO CHI MINH CITY - Twice bitten, forever shy. After a strong worldwide backlash prevented Monsanto Co. from launching the world's first genetically modified wheat last year, the US wheat trade is in no hurry to see a transgenic variety of the food grain. Vincent Peterson, vice president of overseas operations for the US Wheat Associates, said the first GMO wheat could be at least five years away as they try to learn from mistakes of corn and soybean traders who faced severe opposition to transgenic varieties." (Reuters)

"Gene therapy hope for arthritis" - "Gene therapy could potentially be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other non-fatal diseases, research suggests. Scientists have shown it is feasible and safe to introduce a new gene to block destructive inflammation in arthritic joints." (BBC)

June 6, 2005

"The WHO: a time for reconstitution" (.pdf) - "An international health agency such as the WHO should be spending its limited resources on fighting communicable diseases and helping the sickest people in the poorest countries. An analysis of its budget for 2006-7 reveals, however, that it is more concerned with pandering to the politically-correct health concerns of Western health bureaucracies. The WHO must be reformed so it can better serve global health." (Campaign for Fighting Diseases - an IPN project)

"Arsenic: In Search of an Antidote to a Global Poison" - "Globally, millions of people are at risk for the adverse effects of arsenic. Chronic exposure places people at risk for skin and internal cancers, diabetes mellitus, and vascular, reproductive, developmental, and neurological effects." (Environmental Health Perspectives)

"Clean water is no pipe dream" - "There are more than one billion people across the world without safe water. Every 15 seconds a child dies from diseases caused by a lack of clean water or adequate sanitation." (London Observer) | Two billion people need access to basic sanitation by 2015 to meet UN target (UN News Centre)

We can invest in fixing the above situation or we can do this.

"Only job-creating businesses can really make poverty history" - "On the face of it, making poverty history seems a straightforward task. Virtually everyone, including the poor in Africa, lives in a cash economy. With cash, you can access food, clothing, shelter, health care and education. So creating millions of new jobs should be at the very heart of the efforts of the international community's endeavours, because this is the only thing that offers poor people a chance to escape poverty permanently." (Kurt Hoffman, The Guardian)

"No miracle cure for junk science" - "I LEFT BRITAIN three weeks ago for a book tour of Australia. I thought I was escaping the release of What the Bleep Do We Know?, a documentary purveying pseudoscientific claptrap of the worst kind. (Just for the record, quantum physics does not imply that meditation can bring world peace.) But, I was shocked to find that the film was also haunting Australia. I had imagined that the Aussies were a more down-to-earth bunch, less vulnerable to hippy-dippy brainwashing, but they are equally fond of junk science. Indeed, junk science is now a global phenomenon." (Simon Singh, The Times)

WOW! "Leader: Living with risks" - "It looks like an eye-grabbing statistic: a report that infants living near overhead high-voltage power cables have a nearly 70% higher risk of developing leukemia than other children, according to research from Oxford University published in the latest British Medical Journal. Figures such as 70% sound dangerously high and demand action - and yet, as is so often the case with statistics as with electricity cables, they must both be handled with extreme care." (The Guardian)

The Guardian with a rational piece on risk... good, um, well, excellent! The Guardian? Didn't expect that...

"Key study on safety of chemical disputed" - "Five years ago, an industry-funded study concluded that small amounts of perchlorate had no effect on adults. That study became the linchpin of national policy. It is now under fire." (Riverside Press-Enterprise)

"Get Moving!" - "Americans didn't worry much about keeping fit 100 years ago. In those days 40% of the population was reaping and sowing, herding and mowing its way through life on preindustrial farms." (Time Magazine)

True, being fat wasn't a big problem 100 years ago but rather an indication of affluence. On the other hand, little things like malnourishment, infant mortality, smallpox, tuberculosis, polio, malaria...

"The Fat Lady Ain't Singing Yet" - "Whatever else you might want to say about Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, she is not a quitter. Ever since controversy erupted over the CDC's claims about the number of so-called obesity-related deaths published last year in a paper co-authored by Gerberding, she has been out in front of the mikes trying to defend both her claims about what she persists in calling America's "tragic and unacceptable" obesity epidemic and the integrity of the CDC itself. The problem is that every time she gets up to speak her take-away messages destroy a little bit more of both her standing as a scientist and the credibility of her institution." (John Luik, TCS)

"Don't Eat This Book -- It's Indigestible" - "Well, credit Super Size Me producer, director and guinea pig Morgan Spurlock one thing for his just-released book, Don't Eat This Book. The title is right, it's pretty indigestible." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

Hmm... "Right-Wing Hostility to NGOs Glimpsed in Amnesty Flap" - "WASHINGTON, Jun 4 - This week's flap over Amnesty International's characterisation of U.S. overseas detention facilities and practices as a ''gulag of our times'' offers insights into the Bush administration's and its neo-conservative supporters' deep distrust of some non-governmental organisations (NGOs)." (Jim Lobe, IPS)

Well gee, Jim, when it gets right down to it, we should be suspicious of unelected moonbats claiming to represent some population or segment thereof and staking out arbitrary positions of most everything. There's NGOs and then there's NGOs, of course. We look quite favourably on the likes of Africa Fighting Malaria, for example, and then there's the sort of things you see when you don't got yer gun.

... and this doesn't help: "'New Superpower' Seeks 'Better World'" - "U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's characterisation of civil society as ''the world's new superpower'' reverberated through the corridors of McGill University here this week as 350-plus representatives of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) met to hatch strategies to prod world governments on crucial political, social, and economic issues that plague the world's poorer nations." (Inter Press Service)

"UN's Agenda 21 targets your mayor" - "We've all seen the bumper stickers, "Think Globally – Act Locally." It's a creation of those who seek to impose international guidelines, rules and regulations on how we all live. Americans are about to find that it's not just an empty slogan.

From June 1 through 5, 2005, the city of San Francisco was the site of an international conference called "World Environment Day." But the agenda of this conference was much bigger than just another hippy dance in the park. This meeting of the global elite had a specific target and an agenda with teeth. The goal was the full implementation of the UN's Agenda 21 policy called Sustainable Development, a ruling principle for top-down control of every aspect of our lives – from food, to health care, to community development, and beyond. This time, the target audience is our nation's mayors. The UN's new tactic, on full display at this conference, is to ignore federal and state governments and go straight to the roots of American society. Think globally – act locally." (Tom DeWeese, ESR)

"Mayors Sign 'Urban Environmental Accords'" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- Mayors from around the world on Sunday signed an international treaty calling for increased use of public transportation and drastic cuts to the amount of trash sent to landfills. The signing of the "Urban Environmental Accords" capped the United Nations World Environment Day Conference in San Francisco. The nonbinding accords list 21 specific actions that can make cities greener." (Associated Press)

"A troubling rise in violence for green causes" - "No deaths are attributed to 'ecoterror' cases, but authorities see growing use of explosives." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"“One Planet Many People” Atlas Launched to Mark World Environment Day 2005" - "San Francisco/London/Nairobi, 3 June 2005--The dramatic and, in some cases, damaging environmental changes sweeping planet Earth are brought into sharp focus in a new atlas launched to mark World Environment Day (WED)." (UNEP)

UNEP wants to sell you 80 "before and after" picture pairs showing that development can lead to change (from a raw and hostile environment to a developed one, presumably).

That's odd... "Supermarkets 'are selling fish that face extinction'" - "Leading supermarkets are selling fish which face extinction, according to research." (London Telegraph)

... where I come from fish sold in supermarkets face consumption.

"Ivory-billed woodpecker not extinct after all" - "The ivory-billed woodpecker wasn't extinct after all, just very shy. And it's not the only creature to come back from the dead, says Michael McCarthy

In the last 400 years, it is thought that 116 species of bird, 82 species of mammal and another 100-150 vertebrates of all kinds have become extinct, along with perhaps 400 invertebrate species and hundreds of species of plants. But there will undoubtedly be more cases of returns from the dead. We know that life can be extremely vulnerable - yet we forget how stubbornly it can persist." (London Independent)

"Australia: More mean than green" - "AUSTRALIAN business is failing in its ecological responsibilities as the planet celebrates World Environment Day today, experts say. Australia remains one of the world's top greenhouse polluters in per capita terms but is also falling behind global best practice in areas such as recycling." (Sunday Telegraph)

If recycling is their criteria then it is indeed embarrassing to have Australia rated as highly as it is. Recycling is not environmentally friendly very often (in fact, rather rarely) and, unless you are talking something comparatively rare and valuable, a complete waste of everyone's time and effort. With reference to the greenhouse thing above, the only time significant greenhouse gases H2O and CO2 are "pollutants" is during industrial processes requiring their exclusion.

Mean Australia? Bewdy Mate!

"Controversial NOAA report says Louisiana's shores plunging fast" - "Instead of minimal geologic subsidence along most of the Louisiana coast, as previously thought, the state's entire coastal region is sinking at least 5 feet every century." (Houston Chronicle)

"EPA, State AGs Argue Climate Change in Appellate Court" - "On April 8, 2005, the D.C. circuit court of appeals heard oral arguments in Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Petitioners, who include the attorneys general (AGs) of 12 states, are suing EPA, which is being supported by 11 states, for rejecting an October 1999 petition by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and several other environmental groups asking EPA to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from motor vehicles. In effect, the petitioners are demanding EPA impose the Kyoto Protocol—a non-ratified treaty—on U.S. automakers." (Marlo Lewis, CEI)

algore: "Warning from Gore on future: Global warming called an emergency" - 'When former Vice President Al Gore gave a long list of doom-and- gloom statistics Saturday about global warming -- warning people that rising sea levels could drown out parts of Florida, Louisiana and Manhattan -- there were no loud gasps or headshakes of disbelief from a roomful of Bay Area environmentalists. At the World Environment Day conference in San Francisco -- a five-day U. N. gathering dedicated to adopting sound environmental practices for urban centers -- he was preaching to the choir. "To an audience like this, Al Gore needs little introduction," Randy Hayes, founder of Rainforest Action Network, told the crowd before Gore took the stage for his keynote address." (SF Chronicle)

"William Kininmonth: Climate change is a natural phenomenon" - "AS Australia develops policies for its diverse energy resources there is a need to ensure that the policies are based on sound economics, technologies and science. Unfortunately, it is representation of the science of climate change where there is most uncertainty, including a fair degree of misrepresentation." (The Australian)

"Cities lead way to a greener planet" - "While national governments quibble and drag their feet on global warming, one tier of government is forging ahead. City governments are growing tired of waiting for national action, and are grabbing the green initiative for themselves." (New Scientist)

"Skipping Stones: A Perspective on Global Warming" - "The contributions of human activities to global warming is a topic of continuing and intense debate. Unfortunately, the vast majority of articles and reports on the effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide are overstated and exaggerated." (G.W. Burrows, sci-tech-today.com)

Scratch one stunt... "Harsh Weather Cuts Greenpeace Arctic Voyage Short" - "NEW YORK - Extreme weather conditions forced two US explorers to abandon what would have been the first summertime crossing of the Arctic Ocean, environmental group Greenpeace said on Friday. A spokeswoman for Greenpeace said Eric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre were tired but in good condition after 23 days of their voyage. The two Minnesota men were evacuated by a civilian helicopter on Friday. They were attempting the 1,250-mile (2,000 km) journey by canoe and skis from Cape Arctichesky in Siberia across the North Pole to Ellesmere Island in Canada. A statement from Greenpeace said the pair encountered unusual heavy snow and ice conditions, as well as some aggressive polar bears." (Reuters) [Complete]

"Studies show climate change melting permafrost under roads, runways in N.W.T." - " Roads and airstrips across the Western Arctic are sagging, cracking and washing away as climate change slowly melts the permafrost beneath them. And as engineers try to adapt transportation networks and buildings to warmer weather, some say the consequences of doing nothing are already apparent just a short drive out of Yellowknife." (CP)

"Arctic Ocean shuttle to be studied" - "Marine transportation in the Arctic Ocean could become a reality in the next few decades as climate change thins Arctic sea ice, allowing icebreaker ships to plow through, scientists say." (Associated Press)

"UK: Continental trees coming to a wood near you" - "Some of our best-loved species are at risk as environmental conditions change more rapidly than at any time since the last ice age." (London Independent)

Today's meaching: "Climate Change Breakthrough Remains Priority" - "The Prime Minister remains committed to achieving a breakthrough on climate change, Labour former environment minister Michael Meacher insisted today. His comments come amid speculation that Tony Blair is focusing on African aid and debt relief because he has failed to convince a sceptical United States to back his plans to combat global warming." (PA News)

"Blair confident of change of climate in White House" - "TONY BLAIR is increasingly confident that he can persuade President Bush to usher in a new era of climate change talks as well as poverty relief for Africa as he leaves for Washington today." (The Times)

"Bush and Blair to Hold Global Warming Talks: CEI Urges Bush to Oppose Alarmist Policies" - "Washington, D.C., June 3, 2005—British Prime Minster Tony Blair arrives next week for meetings with President Bush, including talks on global warming. Blair is expected to argue that the United States should adopt a global warming policy closer to that of the UK and the rest of Europe, requiring a cap on greenhouse gas emissions." (CEI)

"Blair faces tough task calling in pre-G8 favours in Washington" - "LONDON - Prime Minister Tony Blair flies to Washington next week on what, to many, looks like a diplomatic mission impossible -- persuading a sceptical United States to back his plans for Africa and climate change at July's Group of Eight summit. Whatever political credit Blair may hold across the Atlantic after his domestically unpopular support for the Iraq war, analysts say, he is unlikely to get any joy from President George W. Bush when the pair meet on Tuesday." (AFP)

Your taxes at 'work': "Blair's plan to save the world" - "The G8 summit will follow a celebrity trend and be 'carbon neutral' by giving £50,000 to offset damage done to the environment." (The Observer)

The Week That Was June 4, 2005 (SEPP)

"Australia: Howard open to climate measures" - "JOHN Howard has significantly softened his stance on climate change, agreeing to examine with the states measures that will produce "investment certainty" for big emitters of carbon dioxide." (The Australian)

"Schwarzenegger Vow on Climate Change Short-Sighted; Policy Will Only Harm Citizens of California, Says NCPA Scholar" - "DALLAS, June 3 -- As the so-called science underpinning most current claims about the causes of climate change continue to erode, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) this week vowed to lead the world's response to global warming by unveiling a plan to reduce his state's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over the next 50 years.

"Gov. Schwarzenegger, in particular, and California, in general, like to tout themselves as being ahead of the curve in politics and policy, but they are now not only ahead of the science, they have put California taxpayers behind the 8-ball of the economic impact of this policy," said NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett. "More and more frequently peer-reviewed research is increasingly linking the current warming cycle to natural variations, rather than to humans." (U.S. Newswire)

Eye-roller: "Chain gangs raid Ford 4x4 dealers" - "Eleven climate change protesters were arrested yesterday after chaining themselves to Land Rovers at the start of a national campaign against 'gas guzzling' four-wheel drive vehicles. At dawn up to 1,000 Greenpeace activists stormed Ford dealerships across the UK and attached wheelclamps on sports utility vehicles or handcuffed themselves to their steering columns." (The Observer)

"Cheap flights spark runway chaos" - "Plans to expand enormously Heathrow and Gatwick airports will receive a major blow this week with the publication of a report which will describe them as 'unnecessary' and a serious threat to the environment." (The Observer)

"Oregon Governor's emissions plan falters" - "SALEM - There is bipartisan support for putting the brakes on Gov. Ted Kulongoski's plan to steer Oregon toward California auto emissions standards.

A Senate bill requiring Oregon to adopt California's stricter standards, beginning with the 2009 model year, stalled in the Environment and Land Use Committee Thursday and is likely to die. Lobbyists for the Oregon Automobile Dealers Association and the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers contend that adopting California emissions standards would potentially increase the cost of a new car by as much as $3,000.

However, a report from the governor's global warming advisory committee says the average cost increase would be about $367 per car in 2012 and $1,064 in 2016. The report says the proposal would cut greenhouse gas emissions 18 percent by 2020 and 28 percent by 2030." (Associated Press) [Complete]

Red Ken strikes again: "U.S. Cities Urged to Adopt 'Congestion Tax'" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- The mayor of London told dozens of world mayors that they could unclog city streets and fight global warming by charging hefty fees for driving in congested areas of their communities. Mayor Ken Livingstone said making drivers pay a "congestion charge" to drive in central London has improved traffic flow and reduced the emission of "greenhouse gases" blamed for raising temperatures and changing weather patterns. The $9 fee has forced people out of their cars and filled city buses, subways and sidewalks, he told mayors assembled here Friday for the U.N. World Environment Day Conference." (Associated Press)

That's the way Ken, don't fix the problem, tax the people.

"UK: Drivers to pay £1.30 per mile" - "The government is throwing its weight behind a revolutionary plan that would force motorists to pay £1.30 a mile to drive on Britain's busiest roads in a bid to prevent 'LA-style gridlock'." (London Observer) | Satellite toll plan to make drivers pay by the mile (London Independent)

"Hunger for Energy Transforms How India Operates" - "Fed by a decade-long economic boom, India's ever-growing appetite for energy is quietly reshaping the way it operates in the world." (New York Times)

"Waste woes that bias our energy debates" - "Britain has an energy dilemma: on one hand it wants to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Kyoto protocol; on the other, the country is phasing out nuclear energy, resulting in the UK becoming dependent on just one reactor by the year 2023." (Ragnar Lofstedt, London Independent)

"Casks Gain Favor as Method for Storing Nuclear Waste" - "As the plan to bury nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain falters, the nuclear industry and Congress are taking steps toward a radically different storage strategy: putting the waste in huge casks that could be parked in a handful of high-security lots around the country for decades." (New York Times)

"Nuclear options" - "Talk of nuclear energy as a viable alternative to fossil fuels is back in fashion, even among some environmentalists. But can the promise of nuclear power ever be separated from the spread of nuclear weapons?" (Boston Globe)

"Australia: Anderson warms to nuclear debate" - "AUSTRALIA must consider using nuclear power to counter droughts caused by global warming, according to Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson. His comments are the most significant boost in decades for the push for Australia to go nuclear-powered." (The Sunday Mail)

"Build wind farms off coast, urges adviser" - "A SENIOR government adviser on climate change is calling for more wind farms to be built offshore to prevent turbines spoiling the Scottish countryside. Alan Werritty, professor of geography at the University of Dundee, believes renewable forms of energy must be developed to reduce harmful emissions of carbon dioxide gases linked to global warming. But Werritty, who will be speaking at a major conference on tackling climate change in Scotland tomorrow, told Scotland on Sunday that there had to be more "sensitivity" about selecting sites in scenic locations. "There are problems with wind generation, particularly on siting some of the facilities on land, and I think we have to be more sensitive about that," he said." (Scotland on Sunday)

Why build them at all?

I must've missed something... "Tapping Thermal-Gradient Cold: Free Power or Planetary Suicide?" - "Advocates of tapping ocean depths for “stored cold” promise a clean future of indoor comfort at low cost. But is this practice really environmentally friendly, or is it a slippery slope into unrecoverable catastrophe?" (Mary-Sue Haliburton, Pure Energy Systems News)

I'm afraid I didn't quite catch Mary-Sue's point about “anomaly point” water being critical to life on Earth. Granted this is the point at which water begins to form ice and so will not normally achieve any greater density but water stratifies across a gradient of temperatures and densities, with or without the presence of “anomaly point” water. Whether direct heat exchange with deep cold water will actually lead to an increase in thermal energy within the total Earth system would seem to depend on whether the technology displaced a greater or lesser amount of thermal electrical generation. It's efficiency would not need to be that dazzling, after all, to exceed that of coal-fired thermo-electric generators. Cooling urban regions without burning fossil fuels to do so might even lead to more local cloud formation, increasing shading for the region and importantly, cloud albedo, reflecting more incoming solar radiation and leading to a net thermal deficit (less energy actually entering the system). Regardless, with deep, cold water covering at least half the planet's surface we are talking about one really big heat sink so Mary-Sue needn't worry about any significant effect from “stored cold” air conditioning for many lifetimes to come.

"Natural gas the future of Africa's energy security needs, conference told" - "Natural gas in Africa will play a major role in the future of the continent's energy needs and can be used in wide-ranging roles from household cooking to generating electricity at power stations, an African energy expert said Friday." (Agence France-Presse)

"Drilling ignites battle over Western paradise" - "Accelerated drilling for natural gas and oil has produced a backlash by an unlikely alliance of diehard conservatives and left-leaning environmentalists." (Baltimore Sun)

Guess these aren't the same guys howling about "energy independence" then eh?

"Anti-cancer drugs in chicken eggs" - "A genetically-modified chicken whose eggs contain large amounts of a protein which can be used to treat cancer could become a commercial reality." (BBC)

"Biotech in the Balance" - "GENEVA -- Lost in the shadow of the European Constitution debate is an important international dialog about intellectual property rights in the biological sciences. Last Friday a meeting of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Meeting on Genetic Resources and Disclosure Requirements began under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Representatives from around the world have come to Geneva to hammer out a position on the intersection of environmental diversity, biotech development and patent law." (Tim Wolfe, TCS)

"EU in deadlock over new GMO approval" - "BRUSSELS - EU food safety experts failed to agree on approving a genetically modified (GMO) maize on Friday, once again revealing Europe's deep divisions over biotech foods, a European Commission official said." (Reuters)

"Mandelson wants to fast-track GM" - "The EU Trade Commissioner is pressing for new GM foods and crops to be eaten and planted across Europe, even though governments cannot agree on whether to introduce them, top officials from the European Commission have told The Independent on Sunday." (London Independent)

"CHILE: 'No Protection' from Transgenic Foods" - "SANTIAGO - Chile is ''totally legally unprotected'' when it comes to genetically modified organisms, and they are found in 50 to 60 percent of the processed food consumed in this country, Juan Carlos Cuchacovich, an activist with environmental watchdog Greenpeace, told IPS." (IPS)

"No papaya probe without evidence: Department insists no GM spread found" - "The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry will not probe the alleged spread of genetically modified papayas in the central and eastern provinces unless environmental group Greenpeace hands over its findings as evidence to back up its claim." (Bangkok Post)

June 3, 2005

"Greens Are the Real Energy Problem" - "It goes without saying that the global economy depends on the availability of affordable energy. Many place their hopes for abundant energy supplies in yet-to-be-imagined technologies. But while researchers tinker with far-off possibilities, there’s something we should do right now to keep the energy flowing: break the radical environmentalists’ chokehold on national energy policy." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"EPA's physical-chemical data criticized" - "Environmental databases that are used and recommended by the U.S. EPA for making federal and state regulatory decisions are beset with errors and uncertainties in some of the essential fundamental physical–chemical constants, according to the US Chamber of Commerce." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Scientists turn from brown to green chemistry" - "A quiet revolution to discover more environmentally friendly products and processes is under way in one of society's most polluting industries. Called "green chemistry," the idea is to make chemicals using less toxic or environmentally benign feed stocks and to develop chemical manufacturing processes that take fewer steps and therefore use less energy, water and potentially harmful substances." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Road Noise Can Improve Memory in Children - Study" - "LONDON - Living next to a noisy road does not impair a child's reading ability and can actually improve memory recall, according to a new study published on Friday into the effect of noise on childhood learning ability." (Reuters)

"Is there a link between childhood cancer and overhead power lines?" - "Children living close to high voltage overhead power lines at birth may be at an increased risk of leukaemia, finds a large study in this week's BMJ." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

Three words: plausible biological mechanism?

"Power lines and cancer: Not so shocking" - "Another look at the alleged link between power lines and cancer." (The Economist)

"Children suffer middle-age health woes" - "Obesity among European children has been on the rise over the last 15 years. About half a million children in Europe are suffering classic middle-aged health problems because they are too fat." (Washington Post)

Stupid waste of time and effort: "C.D.C. Team Investigates an Outbreak of Obesity" - "For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent a team of specialists into a state, West Virginia, to study an outbreak of obesity in the same way it studies an outbreak of an infectious disease." (New York Times)

Is the country so healthy this is all the CDC can find to do to justify their existence? Anyone who can legally capture a copy of this item should do so and file it as a gem, an all-time classic example of moronic bureaucracy in action.

"CDC Stresses Obesity Problem, Faults Study" - "Weighing a little too much might not kill you, but there's nothing healthy about it, the head of the nation's health agency said Thursday, distancing herself from a controversial report suggesting that being overweight isn't so bad. Health experts increasingly are faulting a recent study by scientists at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that concluded obesity is not nearly as dangerous as was thought and that being a little plump might actually lower the risk of death. At a news conference, CDC chief Dr. Julie Gerberding acknowledged potential flaws in the study and pledged to get scientists and the public back on track." (AP)

Back on track? You wouldn't have any preconceived notions or agenda now would you Julie?

"CDC Internal Investigation Shows Agency Knew Obesity Deaths Study Was Flawed Prior to Publication, Says Center for Consumer Freedom" - "WASHINGTON, June 2 -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) knew of serious methodological errors prior to publishing its study, which erroneously attributed 400,000 annual deaths to excess weight. Following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Center for Consumer Freedom, the CDC has released a report from an internal investigation that examined the embattled study. The October, 2004 report reveals damning evidence that the agency knowingly misled the American public by using the flawed 400,000 deaths figure in a massive PR campaign that sent the nation into a frenzy and wrongly suggested that obesity would soon become the number- one cause of preventable death." (PRNewswire)

Rolling out all the old faithfuls for summer: "Man-made pesticides blamed for fall in male fertility over past 50 years" - "Pesticides and other man-made chemicals may lower male fertility for at least four generations, according to new research." (London Independent)

"Washington State University study points to role of toxins in inherited disease" - "A disease you are suffering today could be a result of your great-grandmother being exposed to an environmental toxin during pregnancy. Researchers at Washington State University reached that remarkable conclusion after finding that environmental toxins can alter the activity of an animal's genes in a way that is transmitted through at least four generations after the exposure." (Washington State University)

"Animal Rights Activists Face Trial Under Terror Law" - "PHILADELPHIA - New Jersey is using an anti-terrorism law for the first time to try six animal rights activists charged with harassing and vandalizing a company that made use of animals to test its drugs." (Reuters)

"Senator Inhofe delivers final "four pillars" climate change speech" - "WASHINGTON (05/26/05) -- Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee has delivered the final of four major speeches on the issue of climate change.

Inhofe is a prominent skeptic of the science behind global warming and has delivered four speeches over the last several weeks in an effort to debunk what he describes as the "four pillars of climate change alarmism." The fourth speech, given on the floor of the United States Senate this week, addressed the data produced by climate models, which proponents claim supposedly provide irrefutable evidence of global warming consensus." (Capitol Reports) | The full text of Inhofe's four speeches is available online

Speaking of models: "India Rings Alarm Bells on Monsoon Prediction" - "NEW DELHI - An Indian government research body on Thursday forecast dismal rains in the first half of the four-month monsoon season, creating uncertainty about farm growth and crop yields in the farm-dependent economy. Painting a grim picture, the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation forecast monsoon rains in June to be 34 percent below normal, reversing its earlier forecast of 22 percent excess rainfall in the month." (Reuters) [Em added]

Don't misunderstand - it is of tremendous importance that we gain understanding of and (hopefully) ability to predict Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall (ISMR), in fact very many people's lives and livelihoods depend on it. You can see our concern regarding models though - here we have an intensely studied, critical phenomenon (ISMR), one of relatively minor complexity compared with long-term global climate and yet consecutive attempts to forecast this month's rainfall range from norm+34% to norm-22%. It is somewhat difficult to gather great enthusiasm for GCMs when we demonstrate such difficulty replicating even small parts of the puzzle.

and model imaginings: "Scripps-Led Global Ocean Warming Research Paper Published" - "Research led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, that describes the first clear evidence of human-produced warming in the world’s oceans will be published June 2, 2005, in the peer-reviewed journal Science. The research was first announced publicly and widely publicized in February at a news briefing at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. (For details, see http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/article_detail.cfm?article_num=666)" (Newswise)

"Arctic Lakes Disappear; Researchers Blame Global Climate Change" - "More than 100 large lakes in an Arctic region of Siberia have vanished. Researchers say warmer temperatures have caused the disappearance." (Newswise)

"Feeling the heat in the land of ice" - "The Arctic provides a front-row seat for the phenomenon of global warming, as temperatures here have been rising almost twice as fast as in the rest of the world. Wildlife, native traditions, and the very foundations of buildings are at risk." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

The data just don't show it. Note: since NASA's server upgrade the zonal anomaly source file is now located here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/ZonAnn.Ts.txt.

And we thought he smoked cigars... "Gov. Vows Attack on Global Warming" - "Vowing to lead the world's response to global warming, California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says: "The debate is over. We know the science, we see the threat, and the time for action is now." (Los Angeles Times)

Fascinating how many climate scientists come from the entertainment industry.

"California, low-carbon leader" - "Climate change is not just an environmental issue, it's an economic issue, too. Major economic activities of our industrialized society are at the root of human-caused climate change, which in turn will have economic effects. Yet, the degree that we allow our response to the threat of climate change to be economically damaging or economically productive is in our hands." (Nancy Skinner, SF Chronicle)

So, Nancy, you'd agree then that if what you can achieve is, well, squat, then that's how much you should spend on it?

Good sense eventually prevails: "Money Trumps Environment in Maine" - "Jun 2 - The governor of Maine last week signed into law a measure requiring the state’s environmental agency to weigh the economic impact of regulations when instituting and enforcing them, reversing two-year-old legislation that made the state the first in the nation to embrace climate change emissions standards. The bill, sponsored by Republican State Representative Henry Joy, requires the state Department of Environmental Protection to issue a cost-benefit estimate with each new emission control rule it adopts." (NewStandard News)

"Ireland: Climate change impact report published" - "A new report from Met Éireann and UCD on the likely impact of climate change on Ireland has concluded there will be dryer summers in the southeast and wetter winters in the northwest, with temperatures rising on average by 1.5° Celsius. The research suggests that storms over the North Atlantic in the vicinity of Ireland are likely to increase in frequency. Climate change is associated with more hostile weather conditions." (RTE News)

"Climate change is associated with more hostile weather conditions." Mmm-maybe... let's see: "Climate change is associated with massive increase in longevity in the developed world." Yup, that holds. How about: "Climate change associated with elimination of small pox/near elimination of polio"? That, too, would appear to hold true, while enjoying similar absence of causation.

"A daily text for Europe" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Running on Empty" - "Does unilateralism work? As far as environmental regulations are concerned, it definitely doesn't. The European Union decided it would cut emissions and pursue its Kyoto Protocol targets even if the US and other big emitters (including developing countries such as China and India) are not submitting to any caps. In order to lower the cost of the reductions, the EU implemented the European Trading Scheme (ETS), which allows for an inter-country trade in emissions allowances." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"EU eyeing changes to emissions trading scheme" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's emissions trading system could get a makeover in the future as officials prepare for a planned review, with potential changes ranging from new gases to a new system of allocating pollution rights. But policy makers at the EU's executive Commission have expressed caution about making too many alterations to the still young scheme, which is the key part of the 25-nation bloc's efforts to meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol." (Reuters)

From Worrywarts Inc.: "New WRI, Ceres Report Highlights Investor Tools for Assessing Climate Risk" - "WASHINGTON--June 2, 2005--The World Resources Institute (WRI) and Ceres today released a report designed to help investors analyze business risks and regulatory uncertainties associated with global climate change. Citing the growing prevalence of limits on international greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the likelihood that national carbon limits will eventually be adopted in the United States, the report recommends that investors assess climate risk posed to their investments and include climate-risk adjustments when valuing companies due to climate-change policies and other related impacts." (BUSINESS WIRE)

What about a tool to assess the risk of climate hysteria?

"Setback for PM on air travel emissions" - "Tony Blair's aim to make climate change a priority for Britain's presidency of the EU has suffered a serious setback after the European Commission said it would be impossible to curb emissions from air travel before 2012. Aviation is the only industry not covered by the Kyoto climate change treaty which requires countries to cut their fossil fuel emissions." (London Telegraph)

Meanwhile... "Airport reveals expansion plans" - "MANCHESTER Airport unveils a new era after confirming expansion plans which will see passenger numbers almost double to 40 million a year over the next decade." (Manchester Evening News)

Yes, he's a whacko - but he's our whacko... "Premier wants national debate over nukes" - "THE nation's longest-serving premier has pressed for a national debate on nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, to combat the catastrophic effects of global warming. NSW Premier Bob Carr said nuclear energy could be no more dangerous than burning coal to produce electricity. He said Australians needed to consider the latest methods of nuclear waste disposal and reactor safety, and whether expanding nuclear power would have any effect on the proliferation of nuclear weapons. "I just think the world's got to debate whether uranium-derived power is more dangerous than coal," Mr Carr said. "The polar ice caps are melting, every glacier on the planet is sliding away to extinction." (The Australian)

Actually 'Baffled Bob' is right (for all the wrong reasons), there is no logical reason Australia shouldn't be nuclear powered (the policy is an embarrassing legacy of Green scare campaigns and past bizarre leftist Governments). Given our abundant coal resources, however, there has been little need nor political will to correct the situation.

"Greens say Carr sucked in by nuclear propaganda" - "NSW Premier Bob Carr has been "sucked in" by industry propaganda in calling for a public debate on the merits of nuclear energy, the Greens say." (AAP)

"Plant carbs harnessed to power cars" - "Fuel born from carbohydrates could be clean and easy." (News @ Nature)

Now, if they can just work out those glossed over 'magic' intermediary processes...

"Bioenergy Touted to ''Green'' Cities and Aid Farmers" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - A pellet of dried grass. Not much to look at, but the tiny ball symbolises a technology that experts say can help meet our surging demand for energy while curbing poverty and global warming especially in developing countries where vast rural populations with no access to electricity and rapidly-expanding mega cities vie for material resources." (IPS)

"Keeping car cool costs more: Europe's push toward new AC refrigerant limits supply of old" - "It's going to be a more expensive summer for some Arizona motorists this year. Prices for air-conditioning recharges are rising because of a controversial change in European policy that limits the supply of the refrigerant used in late-model vehicles. At the Car Repair Company in Scottsdale, the average price for air-conditioning service has risen to $85 from a recent average of $50, owner Jim Atkinson said. That includes a pound of R-134a, the gaseous refrigerant used in car and truck air-conditioners since 1995." (The Arizona Republic)

"INTERVIEW - Pressure on Prices as China Readies First GMO Rice" - "SINGAPORE - As the leading exporter of rice, Thailand is bracing for a slump in global prices once China gives the go ahead to commercialise the world's first genetically modified rice. World rice prices are hovering at multi-year highs, or 30-40 percent over last year's levels, thanks to a drought in the growing nations in Asia. But Vichai Sriprasert, president of the Thai Rice Exporters' Association, said that China will sharply reduce its imports and could even become a exporter with the introduction of GMO rice, which can double yields. China is already the biggest producer and consumer of rice on the planet." (Reuters)

June 2, 2005

"Once Bitten - the Dangers of Malaria" - "Hello young--and not so young--travelers. Remember-- if you're traveling in malarial areas, you too can get malaria. Your passport does not confer immunity." (AFM)

"Researchers close to developing malaria-free mosquitoes" - "Ah yes the malaria free mosquito, like the malaria vaccine, a marvelous concept that is always 10 years away, but unlike the malaria vaccine the malaria free mosquito is unlikely to ever be an effective means of malaria control. As the article notes, two huge problems will prevent the rise of the malaria free mosquitoes. One, they're not successful breeders. Two, they're genetically modified. If you think environmentalist are strident in their opposition to insecticides, just wait until the genetically modified mosquito hits the market." (AFM)

"Winning Malaria War" - "While we agree RBM's "rhetoric befuddles issues," this edtitorial from The Vanguard is equally befuddled. As any medical entomologist will tell you--and frequently do with a verve that would quash the Ancient Mariner--the key to malaria control is reducing mosquito/human contact, not killing mosquitoes. Many medical entomologist argue that breeding ground control does little to reduce the malaria burden as it does little to reduce human/mosquito intereactions. Moreover, Anopheles breed in a variety of settings, including puddles as small as a hoofprint, which means that environmental control of some Anopheles is practically impossible.

Nigeria would be better off with RBM's plan than with The Vanguard's, but Nigeria could reduce the malaria burden even more if it would focus on using a variety of methods to reduce human/mosquito contact, and not just the ITN's pushed by RBM." (AFM)

"Zimbabwe Commended Over Malaria Control" - "Can anything good come out of Zimbabwe? If reports are to be believed, Zimbabwe is doing good work in the area of malaria control, meeting the Abjuba declaration mid term malaria control targets. Incidentally, Zimbabwe didn't meet these targets by using just ITN's, but by using a variety of methods, including IRS that uses DDT." (AFM)

"FDA's Fast Track for Medications Called 'Broken'" - "The government's fast-track system for making new medications quickly available to treat the deadliest illnesses has become a route for companies to market drugs without fully proving their effectiveness or safety — either before or after they go on the market, according to a congressional report to be released today." (Los Angeles Times)

"Meet the Regulations" - "We are, at times, told by business types that restrictive regulations are costing more than the entire output of the planet and we are, at similar times, told by proponents of such regulations that they are the only thing preventing business from poisoning/drowning/murdering us in our beds, cackling with glee the while. No doubt both have valid points just as they both employ the hyperbole of which the above is not in any way an example." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

Not PC: "Troops studied for effects of war" - "Going to war is not necessarily bad for a soldier's psychological health, new research suggests. In a study hundreds of soldiers from Colchester, Essex, were questioned after months of deployment in Iraq. Researchers found no deterioration in their mental health and actually saw a significant relative improvement in their psychological well-being. The study by a team from King's College London is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry." (BBC)

"Obesity must be treated as disease - expert" - "ATHENS - Obesity, which already affects more than 300 million people and an alarming number of children, must be recognized and treated as a disease with deadly complications, a leading expert said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Under the First Amendment we will defend to the death their right to hold and expound such a stupid opinion.

"You Can Relax About Food and Eat What You Want" - "Just as the recent Flegal study by the Centers for Disease Control put the nail into the coffin of the obesity crisis myth, one published this week in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association buries the dieting myth. While it's popularly believed that dieting and weight loss improve health, this study found the greatest improvements are among women who don't diet." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Fatty acids may be key to unlock autism" - "Childhood autism may be linked to a deficiency of fatty acids found in oily fish, Scottish researchers said yesterday." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

No comment on whether this represents a significant 'breakthrough' because autism is, as yet, poorly understood. We wonder, however, whether chemical hysterics might pause to ponder for a moment on their own part in this unhappy state of affairs. Could their fish/mercury mania actually be increasing the incidence of autism? Once again the suspicion arises that activists are more part of the problem than the solution.

"State Senate battles hidden chemical risks" - "Concerned that Californians may face exposure to hidden chemical hazards in everyday life, the state Senate passed bills Tuesday that would explore the potential dangers of playing outdoors in high-asbestos areas or using beauty products." (Sacramento Bee)

"Developers See Green in 'Brownfield' Sites" - "Brown is the new green in a hot real-estate market. In an era of high land prices, fierce competition for real estate and federal-government incentives, investors and developers are actually competing for abandoned steel mills, gas stations, and shuttered factories." (Wall Street Journal)

"Granholm to decide fate of mercury rules" - "Environmentalists and health officials are pressing Gov. Granholm to make good on a campaign promise to cut Michigan's mercury emissions by 90%." (Detroit Free Press)

"Ehrlich bars Md. challenge of EPA rules" - "The Ehrlich administration has blocked Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. from going to court to challenge new federal regulations that environmental groups say will hinder efforts to curb air pollution from power plants." (Baltimore Sun)

"Cities lead the way to greener world" - "City governments tired of waiting for national action on global warming, are taking the initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions on the local level instead. Last month, sweeping aside the Bush administration's refusal to cut carbon emissions, more than 140 American cities pledged their cities would meet Kyoto targets and cut emissions by 7 per cent. Toronto is already the "greenest city in North America" and is taking steps that it hopes will lead to a cut in Canada's overall emissions." (New Scientist)

Yeah, great... what if these actions aren't really 'green'? Over the years we have attempted to trace the GCM (climate model), any GCM that purports to be able to reproduce a reasonable facsimile of the measured 20th Century global mean temperature track (seemingly a reasonable prerequisite for 'predicting' what the chaotic, complex, coupled, non-linear system we call our atmosphere might do over the next few decades). Thus far the situation is akin to locating the Loch Ness Monster, a there's this guy who knows a fellow whose cousin dated a guy who said he's heard of someone who'd seen it kind of thing. Fine. Where is it? How is it spun up (what initialisation files does it use)? What forcing values are applied?

So fruitless has been our search that we now have a general appeal 'in the wild' for information on the whereabouts of any GCM that can meet some, well, pretty ordinary criteria (found under item 3 of May 31 - we'll likely post a separate file linked from above sometime soon).

Don't be shy, we'd love to hear from you.

Oh my... "New probe may silence climate sceptics" - "THOSE who deny global warming is happening often rely on somewhat error-prone satellite information about our planet. But a proposed probe could dramatically improve the accuracy of such readings and put an end to the climate change debate - at least as far as satellite evidence is concerned." (New Scientist) | The trusty sword of Truth (The Guardian)

If it "proves" catastrophic enhanced greenhouse it's correct, otherwise it's 'error-prone,' right? It's also not where real contention lies. It seems ridiculous to have to reiterate it but there is no argument that Earth is warmer than when it was cooler, the interesting bit is what is driving the change and to what degree, if any, anthropogenic GHG emissions are affecting it. Once that is established (if ever) then we would need to work out whether we could knowingly and predictably make adjustments to that effect.

"Tornado numbers far below normal in '05" - "No one died in a tornado in April or May, normally two of the three busiest months for the storms. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center reported Wednesday that only 129 tornadoes struck the USA last month. There were more than 500 in May of both last year and 2003. Over the past decade, an average of 1,274 tornadoes a year struck the nation. For the first five months of this year, the count is 365, far below normal. In another twist, Oklahoma, in the heart of “Tornado Alley” and home to the prediction center, had zero tornadoes in May, a new record." (USA TODAY)

No, sadly, this can't be attributed to 'global warming' either.

"Methane reduction: good for global climate, Good for air quality" - "Research posted finds that controlling methane emissions would not only slow global warming but also improve air quality by slightly reducing global ozone levels." (Environmental Science & Technology)

... but you can't take Hollywood out of the Governor: "Schwarzenegger unveils plan to combat global warming, greenhouse gas" - "SAN FRANCISCO, United States - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared war on global warming by imposing bold new greenhouse gas targets emissions on the most populous US state." (AFP)

"Green Week: EU needs to 'get to grips' with climate change" - "The EU's obsession with reducing greenhouse gas emissions has caused a misdirection of resources which will do more harm than good argue Kendra Okonski and Julian Morris of UK based charity International Policy Network." (EUpolitix)

"Back to the future?" - "Greens pose as reds but their pedigree is true blue. Josie Appleton is unimpressed by environmentalist morality tales." (EUpolitix)

?!! "Green Week: What's the story?" - "If climate change is the single biggest threat to mankind, how come it's so hard to find any coverage in newspapers or on TV? David Gow has a few suggestions." (EUpolitix)

Um, David? Dozens, sometimes hundreds of Big Warming pieces cross my desk every day, mate! Try searching on any of the internet news search engines with the terms "climate change" or "global warming," you'll find the nonsense tide rising a lot faster than sea levels buddy.

"Seabirds put at risk by global warming" - "INTERNATIONALLY important populations of seabirds are failing to breed for the second year in a row. Conservationists have warned colonies on Orkney and Shetland could face collapse if the problem, blamed on global warming, continues." (The Herald)

"Vanishing dolphins 'a wake-up call' on wildlife" - "WHITE-BEAKED dolphins, once the most common species of cetacean seen in Scottish waters, have almost disappeared from the west coast, it was revealed yesterday. Marine scientists investigating the vanishing populations last night blamed global warming and said that the disappearance should act as a wake-up call to politicians about the impact of climate change on the country’s vital wildlife, both at sea and on land." (The Scotsman)

"Green Week: Blue skies thinking" - "There are a number of questions that need to be answered before including Europe’s aviation sector in the EU’s emissions trading scheme, writes Holger Krahmer MEP." (EUpolitix)

"Green Week: Flying high for climate change" - "Jos Dings of the European Federation for Transport and Environment and Roy Griffins of Airports Council International, Europe debate the issues surrounding climate change and aviation." (EUpolitix)

"Patented technology captures carbon dioxide from power plants" - "Researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have invented a new method for controlling the emission of carbon dioxide from power plants. The technique, which mimics natural weathering processes, converts carbon dioxide gas into soluble compounds that can be disposed of in the oceans." (PhysOrg)

"An escape valve for greenhouse gas" - "New coal-fired power plants could be built to accommodate future plans to capture CO2 from their exhaust." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Cost savings may not offset higher price for hybrids" - "Gas-electric hybrid vehicles are better for the planet than the pocketbook, a new study finds." (USA Today)

"Simpler - and safer" - "In its comeback bid, US nuclear industry eyes a new generation of reactors. Will they ease Americans' worries?" ( The Christian Science Monitor)

"Nukes-Against-Global Warming Strategy Scored as Too Costly" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - Faced with the rising toll of global warming and soaring petroleum prices, countries like Canada and the United States are giving nuclear power another look. But this might be among the most expensive ways to produce electricity, say experts and environmental advocates." (IPS)

"Sweden shuts nuclear plant in shift to wind" - "A Swedish nuclear reactor has produced its last watt, shut down at the stroke of midnight Tuesday as part of a citizen-sanctioned shift to more environmentally friendly power." (Reuters)

"Sweden's nuclear waste headache" - "As Sweden begins decommissioning its nuclear power plants, time is running out to find a way to make 9,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel safe for the next 100,000 years." (BBC)

"US Safety Regulators Probe Toyota Prius Hybrid" - "WASHINGTON - The US government is investigating Toyota Motor Corp.'s popular Prius gas/electric hybrid sedan over complaints about sudden engine stalling, safety regulators said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Japan Finds US Biotech Corn, now to Test all Imports" - "WASHINGTON/CHICAGO - Japan, the biggest buyer of US corn, found an American shipment tainted with the unapproved Bt-10 biotech variety and will begin testing every US cargo, a Japanese official told Reuters on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"France launches drive to boost organic food sales" - "PARIS - France launched a national campaign to promote organic produce on Wednesday, kicking off 10 days of events to boost a sector that has struggled to make its mark in Europe's agricultural powerhouse." (Reuters)

June 1, 2005

They don't say? "Tort reform associated with increase in physician supply" - "States that enacted malpractice reforms had an increase in their overall supply of physicians, according to a study in the June 1 issue of JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Obesity: An Overblown Epidemic?" - "A growing number of dissenting researchers accuse government and medical authorities--as well as the media--of misleading the public about the health consequences of rising body weights." (SciAm)

"Does less fat mean less cancer risk?" - "Suggestions that a low-fat diet helps reduce the recurrence of breast cancer have reignited interest — and some debate — about what level of fat is best to eat." (Los Angeles Times)

"New Technologies, Demands Lead to Food Identity Crisis" - "New food technology, processes and nutritional demands from consumers for low-fat and low-calorie foods are driving the development of new products that don't fall in the old categories." (Washington Post)

"Snack Makers Use a Calorie Count to Appeal to Dieters" - "Makers of popular snacks like Oreos and Pringles have found a new way to appeal to consumers who are trying to lose weight: selling small-portion snacks by their calorie count." (New York Times)

"Study links pain relievers and breast cancer" - "A new study of California teachers fuels the debate about whether aspirin, ibuprofen or other, related pain relievers affect breast-cancer risk. Although research has consistently linked use of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory pain relievers with a lower risk of colon cancer, findings about the drugs' effect on breast-cancer risk have been mixed. Some suggest that the pain relievers protect against breast cancer, while others have found no link." (USA TODAY)

Yes, but... "Heavy metal" - "Toxic heavy metals can weigh down a person's health, says Dr. Ross Myerson, medical director for occupational and environmental health at Washington Hospital Center in Northwest." (Washington Times)

... a naturopathic rant against amalgam fillings? Puh-lease!

Another terror campaign: "SENEGAL: Local Eggs Not All They’re Cracked Up To Be?" - "DAKAR - Odds are that a few weeks ago, most Senegalese would have looked blank if asked to comment on "persistent organic pollutants". Now, they’re only too aware of the dangers posed by these chemicals – also known as POPs." (IPS)

"People with diabetes more sensitive to cardiovascular effects from air pollution" - "People with diabetes may be at higher risk for cardiovascular problems when air pollution levels are higher, according to a new study of Boston-area residents. The ability of the blood vessels to control blood flow was impaired in adults with diabetes on days with elevated levels of particles from traffic and coal-burning power plants." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Seattle asks cities to fight global warming on own" - "The mayor of Seattle has persuaded 151 other U.S. cities to agree to reduce global warming by voluntarily following the Kyoto Protocol that the Bush administration rejected, but cities in North Texas have responded to his call with varying degrees of warmth.

'We'd like to go even further than the Kyoto Protocol,' says Denton Mayor Euline Brock, with Charles Fiedler of Biodiesel Industries. Denton plans to convert all of its vehicles to Earth-friendlier bio-diesel, which combines vegetable oils with diesel. They range from Denton (hot) to Mesquite (warm) to Dallas (tepid) down to Hurst (cool).

In fact, until last week, Hurst Mayor Richard Ward was wondering how his endorsement of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement got onto Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' Web site. He finally found a fax to Mr. Nickels containing a statement he made saying environmental protection is necessary "even if it results in great sacrifices." (Dallas Morning News)

Whoops! "Environmental Professionals Think That the United States Should Have Ratified the Kyoto Protocol, Enviro.BLR.com Poll Finds" - "OLD SAYBROOK, Conn.--May 31, 2005--A majority of environmental professionals in a recent online poll disagree with the Bush administration's decision not to sign the Kyoto treaty decision on global warming. Enviro.BLR.com, the Business & Legal Reports, Inc. website for environmental professionals, conducted the poll in May 2005." (BUSINESS WIRE)

Carefully not highlighted in this Kyoto-promo is the uncomfortable fact that greater than four-tenths of "environmental professionals" (now there's likely to be an unbiased group) support the United States' stance on Kyoto. Oh my, only 76 for and 58 against in a group whose living depends on having something (anything) to 'protect' the environment from. Apparently 'global warming science' is not the only place where 'consensus' is strictly an illusion.

"Green Week: Commissioner Stavros Dimas" - "As Green Week begins, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas outlines the goals, events and issues of this year's events. "Get to grips with climate change is our slogan, and our goal, for the 2005 edition of Green Week, the European Commission’s flagship annual programme of environmental events which takes place in Brussels from today until Friday June 3 in the lead-up to World Environment Day on June 5. The slogan could not be more apt: tackling climate change is not only what the EU is working hard to do, but what we and the rest of the world must do." (EUpolitix)

"Green Week: EU leadership now paramount" - "Finnish MEP, Satu Hassi argues that strong EU leadership on climate change is now paramount. "Do political leaders think they are living in an alternative universe where the laws of nature are not in force?" (EUpolitix)

Why not? Modellers have apparently repealed the Second Law of Thermodynamics ;-)

For those who didn't believe energy rationing would ever be contemplated: "Green Week: Carbon Cards" - "Everyone could play their part in reducing global warming with the introduction of carbon cards, writes Struan Stevenson MEP. "The radical proposal to reduce carbon emissions by allocating every individual citizen and every business a carbon allowance is beginning to take hold in the corridors of power. A key environmental strategy committee set up between the US government and the European Commission has put carbon cards on the agenda for their next meeting. Under the proposed scheme, 40 per cent of the EU’s annual carbon emission quota would go to individual citizens, with individual carbon cards issued to each adult. The member state governments would put up the remaining 60 per cent for auction to business and industry, with the proceeds used for other environmental control measures. Each EU government would set an annual carbon budget, within the context of an overall EU allocation, which would be reduced year on year until we reach our target of a 60 per cent reduction by 2050. Carbon cards would be swiped each time a person filled their car or paid for electricity or gas." (EUpolitix)

"EU says aviation likely to join emissions trade" - "BRUSSELS - The aviation sector will likely join the European Union's emissions trading scheme to tackle pollution rather than face a fuel tax, the EU's environment chief said on Tuesday. The European Commission is currently studying three options for dealing with aviation emissions -- inclusion in emissions trading, a fuel tax or extra ticket charges." (Reuters)

Why not? Stockholm's so nice this time of year... "Antarctica conference in Sweden to focus on environment, climate change" - "STOCKHOLM - Representatives of 50 governments, researchers and experts will meet for a two-week conference in Stockholm to discuss the Antarctic, especially environmental and climate change issues, the Swedish hosts said. The conference, which runs from June 6 to 17, comes amid fresh warnings from scientists about the effect of climate change on Antarctica, the fifth largest continent in the world, which contains more than 90 percent of the world's ice." (AFP)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: The Importance Of Being Ernest" - "If Ernest Hemingway had written a short story called, let's say, "The Snows of Dinwoody Glacier," then the controversy about the retreating snows of Kilimanjaro might not be so resonant. Thanks to Papa, however, equatorial Africa's landmark volcanic peak has become a focal point of the disappearing glaciers in the tropics. The northern ice field on the Tanzanian mountain may be gone in as little as 20 years - even though it has survived for the last 11,000." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Future of the West Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets" - "Do we know enough about them to predict their responses to global warming with any confidence?  And what does the answer to this question imply about global energy policy?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Dark Ages Cold Period (Europe)" - "The climatic conditions of the multi-century interval of time that separated and helped define the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods presented many challenges to the human societies of Europe. (co2science.org)

"Transpiration (Herbaceous Plants: Crops)" - " How will the rising CO 2 content of earth's atmosphere affect evaporative water losses from C 3 and C 4 crops in the years and decades ahead?  And how will the results impact agricultural productivity and water requirements? (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: Black Poplar, Black Walnut, White Poplar, and Wild Oat. (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Is Sea Level Rise Accelerating?" - "The question is simple.  Finding the answer is another matter. (co2science.org)

"A Multi-Proxy Approach to Peat-Based Climate Reconstruction" - "A melding of analytical results of different components of a core extracted from a raised bog in Scotland provide an important perspective on the climate of the past two millennia. (co2science.org)

"Desertification in China: 1982-1999" - "How much did it accelerate during the time climate alarmists claim temperatures climbed higher than at any other time during the past two millennia, in a warming many of them say should be more feared than global terrorism and nuclear warfare? (co2science.org)

"The Effect of Long-Term Warming on Three Types of High-Arctic Tundra" - "How does it vary among dry, mesic and wet sites, and what is the overall result? (co2science.org)

"A Half-Century History of Chlorophyll in the Northeast Atlantic" - "What does it reveal about the health of the open ocean over the period of time when the "twin evils" of atmospheric CO 2 concentration and temperature are claimed by climate alarmists to have risen at unprecedented rates. (co2science.org)

"UK energy R&D slump threatens green technology push" - "LONDON - Britain's power industry has suffered a collapse in research and development (R&D) in recent years, raising concerns about its ability to foster new energy sources to fight climate change, the government's top scientific advisers said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Wind-farm rage leads to threats and vandalism" - "A bitter dispute over a wind- farm project that has divided an island community spiralled into vandalism and acts of intimidation." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Call for tighter GM controls" - "Pressure groups release first international register of contamination mishaps as governments meet to discuss problem." (The Guardian)

"Biowatch, seed groups at odds over gene-cotton success" - "Seed companies Monsanto and Delta & Pineland have disputed the findings of a study, which found genetically modified cotton had not improved income for small-scale farmers in Kwa-Zulu-Natal’s Makhathini flats. (Business Day)