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Archives - June 2006

June 30, 2006

"The Right to Bear Firecrackers..." - "As Americans prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, safety nannies will be urging a national ban on the sale and use of consumer fireworks." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Africa Launches DDT Attack Against Malaria" - "Constant pressure from concerned scientists and public interest groups appears to be paying off for the people of Africa, as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has endorsed the indoor spraying of DDT to battle malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The decision, announced on May 2, is expected to turn the tide on a disease that has killed more than 1 million people each and every year since environmental activists effectively banned DDT in favor of ineffective tools such as bed nets." (James M. Taylor, The Heartland Institute)

"The Spring is Silent on DDT" - "Let there be no doubt that the war on malaria has failed. It is estimated that 800,000 children in Africa die from the disease every year, and as many as three million people altogether every year." (AFM)

"Drivers on cell phones are as bad as drunk" - "Three years after the preliminary results first were presented at a scientific meeting and drew wide attention, University of Utah psychologists have published a study showing that motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cellular phones are as impaired as drunken drivers." (University of Utah)

Antis won't like this: "Studies show that rockfish thrive with offshore platforms as their home base" - "(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– While some observers consider offshore oil and gas platforms to be an eyesore on the horizon, new data shows they are performing a critical function for marine life. For the first time, scientists have documented the importance of oil and gas platforms as critical nursery habitat for some species of rockfishes on the California coast. Two articles documenting the importance of the platforms are published in the current issue of Fisheries Bulletin, with lead authors from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Available on-line at http://fishbull.noaa.gov/, Fisheries Bulletin is a quarterly publication of the U.S. government that is sent out worldwide." (University of California - Santa Barbara)

"Study shows lack of national consensus on teaching K-12 students about human-environmental impacts" - "The destruction caused by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and human activities such as mountaintop removal mining are powerful examples of how the environment and society are tightly interwoven. But to what extent do, or should, state science curricula in the U.S. seek to investigate or influence the nature of this interaction? That is a question new research being published in a special issue of the Journal of Geoscience Education examines by looking at the degree to which the individual state science education standards encourage study of society and the environment as interrelated systems." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Ecopolis Now?" - "Combine an almost universal fascination with dystopian fiction, a little environmental alarmism, some beautifully rendered graphs and graphics, a dash of selective demographics, countless economics omissions... and you've got the makings of a catastrophist's advertorial." (Max Borders, TCS Daily)

"Unhappy Birthday, Kelo" - "Just over one year ago, the Supreme Court validated eminent domain abuse in its decision in Kelo v. City of New London. At the time of the decision, it was predicted by some as way of consolation that the Court's decision would prompt a spate of anti-Kelo legislation designed to curb eminent domain abuse. In every cloud, they say, there is a silver lining. And it was thought that local governmental action preventing further episodes of takings abuse would be the silver lining in the dark cloud that was and is the Kelo decision. It has not turned out that way. And things will not improve until the issue of eminent domain abuse occupies a larger place in the public consciousness than it currently does." (Pejman Yousefzadeh, TCS Daily)

Obligatory eye-roller: "Scientists find Antarctic ozone hole to recover later than expected" - "Scientists from NASA and other agencies have concluded that the ozone hole over the Antarctic will recover around 2068, nearly 20 years later than previously believed. Researchers from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have developed a new tool, a math-based computer model, to predict the timing of ozone hole recovery. Their findings will be published tomorrow in Geophysical Research Letters." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

No idea what it was. No idea what it "should" be. No worries, we've got a computer model to tell us when it'll be "fixed".

"Ozone hole in the head" - "Scandals, incompetence and profligacy at the United Nations are hardly news these days, but many of the organization's worst transgressions are hidden from public view. Among the worst examples are the organization's attempts to police all manner of scientific, technological and commercial activities.

The U.N.'s regulation of various chemicals applied to agriculture and food production is among its most egregious failures. Consider, for example, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which took effect in 1989. In essence, this is an agreement to limit or phase out various chemicals, and although it stipulates that "measures taken to protect the ozone layer from depletion should be based on relevant scientific knowledge, taking into account technical and economic considerations," appropriate balancing of all these factors has been lacking.

One chemical on the Montreal Protocol hit-list is methyl bromide (MB), an important pesticide used to control harmful insects, rodents, pathogens and weeds. Used by a large cross-section of the world's agriculture producers, it is an essential tool for pest control." (Henry I. Miller, Washington Times)

"Gore’s Grave New World" - "Imagine, if you can, a modern society in which scientists positing theories contrary to those accepted by agents of the government are declared heretics and swiftly punished. Ray Bradbury imagined one in his novel “Fahrenheit 451,” as did Pierre Boulle in “Planet of the Apes.” Unfortunately, Al Gore has also envisioned such a culture – ours." (Marc Sheppard, Opinion Editorials)

"Northeast US Floods Stir Global Warming Debate" - "BOSTON - Images of swamped homes in the US Northeast deepened suspicions over global warming, giving ammunition to scientists and others who say greenhouse gas-spewing cars and factories are fueling extreme weather." (Reuters)

"Catastrophic 'lake burst' chills climate" - "Ocean circulation changes during the present warm interglacial were more extensive than previously thought, according to new research by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Cardiff University. The findings, reported in this week's edition of the international journal Science (30 June 2006), prove for the first time that sudden North American 'lake bursts' slowed ocean circulation and cooled the climate approximately 8200 years ago. The groundbreaking research increases our understanding of the complex link between ocean circulation and climate change and highlights the sensitivity of the Atlantic overturning circulation to freshwater forcing." (University of East Anglia)

"Global warming may lead to colder winters in Britain" - "Greenland's melting glaciers have the power to change Britain's climate because of the way they can interfere with the Gulf Stream of the North Atlantic, which keeps winters relatively mild." (London Independent)

The Indy... sheesh! Oh well, our turn for a little recycling:

Greenland_trends.gif (27571 bytes) Indeed Greenland has warmed in the 20th Century - more precisely, in the 1920s. The mean anomaly (wrt 1961-90) for the period 1930-1990 is +0.33 °C, which means most of the period was warmer than the reference period that just happens to be the period of greatest greenhouse gas emission. If we must go with post hoc, ergo propter hoc then the assumption is that... greenhouse cools Greenland? With the corollary that cooling melts glaciers? Puh-lease!

The following items collated by Benny Peiser and distributed via the ever-excellent CCNet:

"A model intercomparison of changes in the Atlantic thermohaline circulation in response to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration" (.pdf) - "Abstract: In an experiment coordinated as part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, integrations with a common design have been undertaken with eleven different climate models to compare the response of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) to time-dependent climate change caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. Over 140 years, during which the CO2 concentration quadruples, the circulation strength declines gradually in all models, by between 10 and 50%. This weakening is consistent with the expected effect of reduced heat loss and increased net freshwater input in the north Atlantic. No model shows a rapid or complete collapse. The models having the strongest overturning in the control climate tend to show the largest THC reductions. Despite the reduced ocean heat transport, no model shows a cooling anywhere, because the greenhouse warming is dominant. In all the models, the THC weakening is caused more by changes in surface heat flux than by changes in surface water flux." (Geophysical Research Letters)

"Ice growth in the greenhouse: a seductive paradox but unrealistic scenario" - "ABSTRACT: The recent IPCC (2001) assessment stated that

"Most models show weakening of the Northern Hemisphere Thermohaline Circulation (THC), which contributes to a reduction of surface warming in the northern North Atlantic. Even in models where the THC weakens, there is still a warming over Europe due to increased greenhouse gases."

However, there is still a widespread misunderstanding of the possible consequence of climate change on the Atlantic Ocean Meridional Overturning. In particular, it is often touted, especially in the media, that a possible consequence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is: "the onset of the next ice age". Here we document the history of this misconception and quantitatively show how it is impossible for an ice age to ensue as a consequence of global warming. Through analysis of the paleoclimate record as well as a number of climate model simulations, we also suggest that it is very unlikely that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning will cease to be active in the near future. We further suggest that a region where intermediate water formation may shut down is in the Labrador Sea, although this has more minor consequences for climate than if deep water formation in the Nordic Seas were to cease." (Geoscience Canada)

"Gulf Stream safe if wind blows and Earth turns" - "Sir - Your News story "Gulf Stream probed for early warnings of system failure" (Nature 427, 769 (2004)) discusses what the climate in the south of England would be like "without the Gulf Stream." Sadly, this phrase has been seen far too often, usually in newspapers concerned with the unlikely possibility of a new iceage in Britain triggered by the loss of the Gulf Stream.

European readers should be reassured that the Gulf Stream's existence is a consequence of the large-scale wind system over the North Atlantic Ocean, and of the nature of fluid motion on a rotating planet. The only way to produce an ocean circulation without a Gulf Stream is either to turn off the wind system, or to stop the Earth's rotation, or both.

Real questions exist about conceivable changes in the ocean circulation and its climate consequences. However, such discussions are not helped by hyperbole and alarmism. The occurrence of a climate state without the Gulf Stream anytime soon - within tens of millions of years - has a probability of little more than zero.

Carl Wunsch
Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology" (Nature 428, 601, April 8, 2004)

Will Freshening Of The North Atlantic Ocean Slow The Gulf Stream And Cool Europe? (CO2 Science Magazine)

See also: Seager, et al, "Is the Gulf Stream responsible for Europe's mild winters?" [.pdf] Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 128(586): 2563-2586).

The chances of actually shutting down the NH thermohaline circulation is roughly, well, nil, and the consequence for Europe should that vague possibility occur is about the same.

"Environment Canada warns climate change could bring mayhem" - "OTTAWA - A rise in infectious diseases, food-poisoning outbreaks, flooding coastlines, as well as crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems are all among the dangers Canada faces because of climate change, newly released federal documents warn." (CanWest News Service)

"Food-crop yields in future greenhouse-gas conditions lower than expected" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Open-air field trials involving five major food crops grown under carbon-dioxide levels projected for the future are harvesting dramatically less bounty than those raised in earlier greenhouse and other enclosed test conditions – and scientists warn that global food supplies could be at risk without changes in production strategies." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Long et al found only 12-14% yield increase with additional carbon dioxide enrichment (with a side-order of ozone), roughly the same as believed to have occurred since about 1950. Guess we'll still need poly tunnels and biotech-enhancement of crops too, eh?

"A Refinery Clears the Air to Grow Roses" - "A number of leading oil executives now say that how their industry manages carbon emissions will become as important to their business prospects as replenishing energy reserves." (New York Times)

Gosh, wonder why commercial growers boost carbon dioxide levels?

On Professor Bill Gray and the Debate on Climate Change (Climate Science)

Europe's hypocrisy and shame needs to be thrown in the Manneken Pis... (EnviroSpin Watch)

What else did anyone expect? "ANALYSIS - Kyoto Climate Pact Backers Waver as Emissions Rise" - "OSLO - Five years after berating Washington for pulling out, many backers of the UN's Kyoto Protocol are wavering in the fight against global warming. Many European Union nations are giving high-polluting industries and power generators easier than expected targets in plans due to be submitted to Brussels by June 30 about how they aim to meet cleaner air goals by 2008-12. And Ottawa gave Kyoto the worst snub to date in March, saying Canada would be unable to reach a goal of cutting fossil fuel emissions from factories, power plants and cars by 2012." (Reuters)

Doh! "EU's Fledgling Carbon Market Faces Crunch Date" - "LONDON - The European Union's key scheme to fight climate change is heading for impasse as member states this week submitted pollution targets that are much softer than the European Commission's guidelines require." (Reuters)

"Government promises carbon cuts" - "The UK government has thrown down a challenge to its EU allies by promising to cut, by 2012, carbon emissions from big business by 12.5% on last year's levels. That will mean the UK will achieve almost double its targets under the Kyoto Protocol, and bring it closer to its self-imposed target of a 20% cut in CO2 by 2010. The surprise announcement comes the day after the French and German governments announced comparatively lax targets. Based on last year's figures, the Germans will cut emissions by just 0.6%." (BBC)

"Europe should set 'emission limit'" - "Minimum national limits on polluting carbon dioxide from industry should be set and enforced by the European Commission, according to new research. The Government is expected to announce the UK emissions cap, but a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research argues that this should be the last time limits are set by national governments on whatever basis they choose. The IPPR research shows that because EU member states are allowed to set their own carbon dioxide allocations, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is not delivering on the Kyoto targets for cutting emissions." (Press Association)

Green vision: "Tibetans should hold on to yak dung" - "The world's highest railway, linking Tibet with the rest of China, may bring many changes to the region, but environmental experts suggest Tibetans keep one tradition intact: burning yak dung for fuel. Stacks of dried yak dung can be found near houses in many Tibetan villages. Together with firewood and scrub, it is a major source of fuel for herdsmen in the autonomous region. "Some people claim that with the completion of the railway, Tibetan people can dispense with yak dung and use coal. But this isn't a rational view," said Tanzen Lhundup, of the China Tibetology Research Centre, yesterday." (People's Daily)

"House Votes for Expansion of Oil and Gas Exploration" - "The largely party-line vote would sharply expand efforts to make use of energy supplies in coastal waters other than the Gulf of Mexico." (New York Times)

"Synenco Seeks OK for C$1.7 Billion Oil Sands Mine" - "CALGARY, Alberta - Synenco Energy Inc said Thursday it has asked Canadian regulators to approve the mining portion of the C$5.3 billion Northern Lights oil sands project the firm is building with Chinese partner Sinopec Corp." (Reuters)

"Carbon trading will not cut airline emissions, says BA" - "Greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft, increasingly implicated in climate change, will continue to grow even if the airlines join Europe's emissions trading scheme (ETS) which is designed to cut them, British Airways' chief economist admitted yesterday." (London Independent)

"BA Says Time to Speed Up Alternative Fuel Research" - "LONDON - British Airways, Europe's third-largest airline, said it wanted to start working with fuel makers on researching biofuels amid pressure on airlines to reduce emissions and the cost of jet fuel. However, a serious alternative to powering airline jet engines was still a long way off, BA said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"New process makes diesel fuel and industrial chemicals from simple sugar" - "MADISON - The soaring prices of oil and natural gas have sparked a race to make transportation fuels from plant matter instead of petroleum. Both biodiesel and gasoline containing ethanol are starting to make an impact on the market." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Ministers warned on nuclear power" - "Nuclear power alone cannot solve the UK's energy inefficiencies, the government's environment advisers warn. An energy review, due next month, is expected to call for additional nuclear power stations to be built as replacements for older plants. The Sustainable Development Commission said the nuclear option "won't get us anywhere near tackling the UK's energy and climate change crisis." (BBC)

"Power companies to bear the burden of stricter emissions targets" - "Ministers are to crack down on carbon pollution from electricity generators under stricter targets agreed for tackling climate change. David Miliband, the environment secretary, said the power companies would have to "bear the burden" of new limits on carbon dioxide emissions." (The Guardian)

"Power Industry Urges Britain to Develop Wave Power" - "LONDON - Britain could produce enough electricity to supply nearly two million homes using marine power technology which harnesses energy from waves and tidal streams, the power industry said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Is the Smart Car Smart? Americans are Unconvinced" - "NEW YORK - DaimlerChrysler AG may face an uphill struggle when it launches its two-seater Smart car in the United States in 2008. In a quick survey of Americans in New York's Times Square on Wednesday, as many people saw the tiny vehicle as ugly as found it cool and cute. And there were also concerns about safety and the lack of space -- for baggage or people." (Reuters)

"Ford Drops Focus on Hybrids, Shifts to Biofuels" - "DETROIT - In a sharp shift of strategy, Ford Motor Co. plans to focus less on hybrid technology and more on a wider range of alternatives to traditional gasoline-powered engines, Ford Chief Executive Bill Ford told employees of the automaker." (Reuters)

"Who Killed the Electric Car?" - "Who killed the electric car? Don't be ridiculous. You can't kill the electric car. It's been around for well over a century. It's the Frankenstein's monster of automobiledom. No, no, it's the Orphan Annie of automobiledom -- eternally singing "Tomorrow! Tomorrow!" And tomorrow is only a battery away." (Ralph Kinney Bennett, TCS Daily)

"Dial-Up Interstate" - "When it comes to internet connections we are quick to appreciate the importance of speed. Whether we're shopping, job hunting, or doing just about anything else, we recognize that our opportunities expand when broadband connections let us zip around this global network quickly. We'd never want to return to dial-up now, but that's what we're doing with another network -- our roadway system." (Ted Balaker, TCS Daily)

"USDA Works to Improve Bread With Biotech" - "WASHINGTON — U.S. government scientists are trying to bake a better bread - one that will provide the kind of reliable, consistent quality that commercial bakers yearn for - and they are using biotechnology to do it." (Associated Press)

"A Kinder, Gentler Jeremy Rifkin Endorses Biotech, or Does He?" - "For years, activist Jeremy Rifkin was the bete noire of biotechnology. Beginning in 1983, he filed several lawsuits to block field trials of genetically modified (GM) organisms and grabbed headlines around the world. Rifkin, an economist who runs the nonprofit Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C., said such actions were necessary to force an insulated research world to confront pressing ethical questions.

To many in the scientific community, however, Rifkin was simply fanning irrational fears about biotechnology. A headline of a 1989 Time magazine profile called him "The Most Hated Man in Science" and captured the prevailing sentiment.

After a decade and a half of protests and campaigns to ban GM crops, Rifkin largely moved on to other topics, such as commerce, European politics, and hydrogen fuel. But now Rifkin, 61, is jumping back into agricultural biotech--this time, as a promoter. "This is an amazing twist for Jeremy Rifkin," says Susan McCouch, a rice geneticist at Cornell University. "I've never seen the man come out in favor of anything." But, like many others, she doubts his support will make much difference, as he is endorsing a biotech approach, known as marker-assisted selection (MAS), that is already well accepted." (Truth About Trade)

June 29, 2006

"Business Joins African Effort to Cut Malaria" - "Companies are beginning to join forces with governments in Africa to mount regional campaigns against malaria." (New York Times)

"Serious Study: Immaturity Levels Rising" - "June 23, 2006 —The adage "like a kid at heart" may be truer than we think, since new research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever. Specifically, it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth. As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry. Among scientists, the phenomenon is called psychological neoteny." (Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News)

"Studies evaluating health effects of dental amalgam fillings in children confirm safety" - "For the first time at a major international meeting, scientists are reporting the results of the first-ever randomized clinical trials to evaluate the safety of placing amalgam fillings, which contain mercury, in the teeth of children. The findings will be presented today during the 84th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, convening at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Both studies--one conducted in Europe, the other in the United States--independently reached the conclusion that children whose cavities were filled with dental amalgam had no adverse health effects. The findings included no detectable loss of intelligence, memory, coordination, concentration, nerve conduction, or kidney function during the 5-7 years the children were followed. The researchers looked for measurable signs of damage to the brain and kidneys, because previous studies with adults indicated that these organs might be especially sensitive to mercury." (International & American Association for Dental Research)

"New clean air standards a savvy investment?" - "Among the many contributing causes to gasoline prices north of $3 per gallon is the Environmental Protection Agency's insistence on special blends of fuel in different parts of the country, and constant changes in the standards. The reality of high pump prices is a stark reminder that we need to carefully calibrate the incremental benefits and costs of new clean air regulations.

Unfortunately, instead of a careful calibration, the EPA routinely justifies new regulations with massively distorted benefit-cost (B-C) calculations. The EPA already counts several trillion dollars in benefits from restricting the emissions of a single pollutant: particulate matter (PM). As EPA contemplates yet another reduction in the PM standard this summer, we ought to reflect on the credibility of its past analyses, lest we jump once again into economically-suspect new programs. Such care is especially important to our manufacturing sector, challenged as never before by global competition and required to foot 80 percent of the bill for pollution abatement in the United States." (Thomas J. Duesterberg and Garrett A. Vaughn, Washington Times)

"Killing the passive smoking debate" - "“Secondhand smoke debate ‘over.” That’s the message from the Surgeon General’s office, delivered by a sycophantic media. The claim is that the science has now overwhelmingly proved that smoke from others’ cigarettes can kill you. Actually, “debate over” simply means: “If you have your doubts, shut up!”" (Michael Fumento, Townhall)

"Report: Warming of N. Hemisphere Unprecedented in Past 1,000 Years" - "A new study requested by the U.S. Congress is helping clear up some of the controversies regarding global warming." (Paul Sisco, VOA News)

Well it might, if the press would take the time to read and understand it.

"The Real News About Mann-Made Global Warming" - "Last week's release of a National Academies of Science (NAS) report entitled "Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years" was the result of a congressional request to look into the controversy surrounding the now-famous "hockey stick" temperature curve. The media portrayed the findings of the NAS review panel as some sort of new statement about how warm the Earth is at present, and totally missed the real news: that the original claim of Mann et al. of unprecedented warmth in the last 1,000 years -- based mostly upon tree ring data, especially from the southwest U.S. -- was dubious at best." (Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

"How to save the world: Bolton v Gore" - "A question of priorities: hunger and disease or climate change?" (The Economist)

"How Not To Poll Climate Experts on Global Warming Movie" - "Cheap journalism at the Associated Press reveals little about accuracy." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

A complete list of things caused by global warming - newly updated and linked (Number Watch)

Climate Science? (Climate Science)

"The Skeptic" - "Celebrated and shunned, CSU's Bill Gray is taking heat in the global-warming debate." (Alan Prendergast, Westword)

"My Green Friend" - "Alexander de Roo is former member of the European Parliament for Green Left. Together, we take part regularly in public discussions in the Netherlands on the climate issue and Kyoto. He believes anthropogenic global warming may yield disastrous consequences for mankind, and that Kyoto is the right way to tackle this problem. I don't." (Hans H.J. Labohm, TCS Daily)

"France to Cut But Keep Generous CO2 Cap in 2008-12" - "PARIS - France's environment ministry proposed on Wednesday to cut its greenhouse gas emission caps for heavy industry in 2008-12 but environmental groups said the plan was still too lax to force pollution cuts." (Reuters)

"Germany Gives Coal Opt Out Under CO2 Emission Plan" - "BERLIN/FRANKFURT - Germany proposes to tighten its greenhouse gas emissions limit in the second round of the EU's carbon market, but will allow new coal plants to opt out, the environment minister said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"New German Rule Could Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions" - "The German cabinet decided to exclude the coal industry from the E.U.'s carbon trading program— a move that is expected to be challenged." (New York Times)

"Harper expresses 'desire' to join Kyoto rival" - "OTTAWA -- The Conservative government talks about a "made-in-Canada'' environmental plan like a mantra, but the catchphrase was curiously absent when Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi came calling Wednesday. The made-in-Japan environmental plan, of course, is the Kyoto Accord, the product of international negotiations in that Japanese city nine years ago. Koizumi has become one of the world's biggest proponents of the climate change agreement, and his country has taken aggressive steps in an effort to meet the targets for reducing greenhouse gases." (Canadian Press)

"World could face choice between food and fuel - Using vegetable oils in vehicles could hurt food supplies: study" - "OTTAWA — Abrupt climate change may soon force governments to choose between feeding people and fuelling SUVs, a respected investment firm says in a new study. Toronto-based Sprott Asset Management says global warming is occurring faster than expected and rising demand for so-called green fuel will cut into food supplies. The investment firm produced a bleak study that also predicts increased regulation and ballooning deficits as governments try to cope with more frequent climate-related disasters while building new infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions. Hyperinflation is seen as a plausible result." (Canadian Press)

"Flexible-fuel vehicle production to rise" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. automakers said Wednesday they will double production of flexible-fuel vehicles by 2010, adding vehicles capable of running on ethanol blends and other biofuels and reducing dependence upon foreign oil." (Associated Press)

"The Big Question: Is ethanol the answer to the world's oil problems, or a green pipe dream?" - "Ethanol is the best known of the biofuels, and they in turn are any fuels derived from recently living organisms or their by-products. So wood and straw are biofuels, as is camel dung. But in practice today biofuels are mainly alcohols or other hydrocarbons distilled from the residues of specially-grown crops such as sugar cane, sugar beet, oilseed rape or maize, and used as substitutes for petrol or diesel in the engines of motor vehicles." (London Independent)

"Big Players Race to Convert Waste Into Fuel" - "Driven by a federal push to find future power supplies, big energy firms are racing to find ways to turn cellulosic ethanol, which can be made from crop residues, wood chips and even garbage, into a full-blown power source." (Wall Street Journal)

"EU Warns Greece, Italy Over Compliance on Biofuels" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's energy chief took legal action against Italy and Greece on Wednesday over their failure to comply with EU rules that aim to boost demand for biofuels over the next few years." (Reuters)

"Chile Says Viable Oil, Gas Fields Found in South" - "SANTIAGO, Chile - Chile said on Wednesday natural gas and oil fields in Magallanes in the nation's south were commercially viable and could help the country ease its current energy deficit." (Reuters)

"How to Squeeze More Oil Out of Natural Reserves" - "LONDON - Creating artificial seismic waves, similar to those that occur during an earthquake, could help squeeze more oil from natural reservoirs, scientists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Sweden Aims to Cut Oil Use, Transport Targeted" - "STOCKHOLM - Sweden should slash petrol and diesel use in transport, use less oil in industry and be more energy efficient, if it wants to meet its goal of breaking its reliance on oil, a government panel said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Killer tomatoes attack disease" - "Genetically modified tomatoes containing edible vaccine are to be used to challenge two of the world's most lethal viruses." (New Scientist)

"'Environmental insanity' to drink bottled water when it tastes as good from the tap" - "Campaigners have attacked Britain's £2bn thirst for bottled water as "environmental insanity" after a report showed that tap water in the UK is among the safest and purest in the world." (London Independent)

"More Trade, Less Poverty" - "GENEVA -- The atmosphere is charged with political pressure and historical significance as trade ministers and negotiators representing World Trade Organization members gather this week. With time running out for a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round, speculation has intensified about what the U.S. and other WTO members will be willing to do to achieve success. I reaffirm here that the U.S. is committed to an ambitious and comprehensive outcome by the end of the year. As President Bush declared last week at the U.S.-EU summit, the Doha Round is too important to fail.

We regard it as our generation's opportunity to attack the scourge of poverty by opening trade flows between all nations in agricultural goods, industrial products and services. Half-measures that would leave millions in poverty -- people who might otherwise have been helped -- and that would dampen potential economic opportunities for people in all countries, should not be acceptable.

Economists have determined over and over again that the more ambitious the opening of trade flows, the greater the results. The data also make it clear that the most effective way for developed countries to assist developing countries through trade is to lower agricultural tariffs." (Susan Schwab, Wall Street Journal)

"New research may reduce global need for nitrogen fertilizers" - "Research published tomorrow (June 29) in the journal Nature reveals how scientists at the John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwich and Washington State University, USA have managed to trigger nodulation in legumes, a key element of the nitrogen fixing process, without the bacteria normally necessary. This is an important step towards transferring nodulation, and possibly nitrogen fixation, to non-legume crops which could reduce the need for inorganic fertilizers." (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

"IFT: No consensus on global GM labelling" - "The current move towards harmonising global regulations on genetically modified food is a good thing, though agreement on labelling remains as far away as ever, an IFT conference heard this week." (Food Navigator)

"Greenpeace Wants China to Think Twice About GM Rice" - "BEIJING - Transgenic rice is a direct threat to China's environment and biodiversity and will not benefit farmers, Greenpeace said on Wednesday, calling on the government to think twice about its commercialisation." (Reuters)

"Brazil may destroy black-market GMO cotton fields" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazil may destroy 16,000 hectares of genetically modified cotton that has not been granted commercial clearance in Brazil, an agriculture ministry technician said." (Reuters)

"French anti-GM activists convicted on appeal" - "Paris - A French court of appeal convicted 49 activists for destroying a crop of genetically modified (GM) maize, quashing an earlier court ruling which found their actions were justified. Jean-Emile Sanchez, a leading member of the Small Farmers' Confederation of anti-globalisation hero Jose Bove, was handed a two-month jail term, while the 48 others were given two-month suspended sentences. State prosecutors had appealed after the activists -- who attacked two fields of GM maize planted in France by the US biotechnology group Monsanto, in 2004 and 2005 -- were cleared in December of charges of organised vandalism." (AFP)

June 28, 2006

"Malaria kills 320 Ugandans daily" - "Uganda loses an average of 320 people daily to malaria, a symposium on the disease heard in Kampala yesterday." (AFM)

"An Iron Fist Joins the Malaria Wars" - "Dr. Arata Kochi, the new chief of the World Health Organizartion's global malaria program, has turned an enfilading fire on the whole field: the drug-makers, the net-makers, the scientists and even the donors in his attempt to relieve the burden of malaria." (New York Times)

"Push for New Tactics as War on Malaria Falters" - "After years of failed efforts to fight malaria, major donors are increasing financing and pushing for a new approach." (New York Times)

"Preventive treatment reduces risk of malaria in infants" - "A new study shows that giving 3, 4, and 9-month-old infants a single dose of a common anti-malarial drug significantly lowers their risk of contracting malaria. The research appears in the August 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online." (Infectious Diseases Society of America)

"Pesticide exposure associated with incidence of Parkinson's disease" - "A prospective study of over 143,000 people found that those who reported exposure to pesticides had a 70 percent higher incidence of Parkinson's disease. Exposure to other occupational hazards, including asbestos, chemicals, acids, solvents, and coal or stone dust did not lead to an increased disease risk. The study is published in the July issue of Annals of Neurology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons. The article is also available online via Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ana).

While the causes of Parkinson's disease are not fully known, many studies have suggested that factors other than inherited genes play a large role. Data suggests that chronic exposure to pesticides, even in low doses, could be a risk factor. To examine this association, researchers led by Alberto Ascherio, M.D., Dr.PH of the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a prospective study of Parkinson's disease among a large cohort of Americans." (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

"A probable cause for Parkinson's?" - "RICHLAND, Wash.--Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease and other brain disorders are among a growing list of maladies attributed to oxidative stress, the cell damage caused during metabolism when the oxygen in the body assumes ever more chemically reactive forms. But the precise connection between oxidation and neurodegenerative diseases has eluded researchers. Now, a study by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine reveals that damage is linked to a natural byproduct of oxidation called nitration." (DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

"Landfills, chemical weapon debris possibly a good match, computer model suggests" - "Putting building debris contaminated by chemical weapons into municipal landfills likely would pose only a minimal risk to nearby communities and the surrounding environment, according to a study scheduled for publication in the July 1 issue of the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology. The study's computer model, developed by environmental engineers at the Technical University of Denmark and North Carolina State University, could help policymakers and waste management officials determine what to do with these harmful materials if another terrorist attack occurs. "The results indicate that burial in a landfill will not result in a massive release of toxic chemicals," says Morton A. Barlaz, Ph.D., the study's corresponding author. "Our work can now be used by scientists who specialize in health effects to confirm that landfill disposal is acceptable. All indications are this is the case." (American Chemical Society)

No? Duh! "Africa's Natural Wealth Key to Fighting Poverty - UN" - "NAIROBI - Africa must harness its teeming mineral, freshwater, tourism and land resources to help fight poverty, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Development needed to address poverty... how do they do it? How ironic that such a statement should come from obstructionists in chief, UNEP. Who knows, perhaps such recognition means the pendulum is beginning to swing back and we might finally get misanthropic enviros out of the way and get back to actually making things better for everyone.

"Sleep loss, air conditioning may be making us fat" - "NEW YORK - "Super-sized" fast food meals and TV time shouldn't take all the blame for the U.S. obesity problem, according to a research review published Tuesday. In fact, a group of researchers contend, a number of aspects of modern living -- from lack of sleep to exposure to environmental chemicals to living with air conditioning -- may be feeding Americans' weight woes." (Reuters Health)

"Activity level in kids unaffected by environment" - "NEW YORK - While children vary in how active they are, they are consistent in the amount of physical activity they engage in every day, regardless of the amount of school-based physical education they receive, their daily routine, background or culture. According to British investigators, these findings imply that children's physical activity is not determined by the environment but by some internal regulator of sorts that all children share, according to their paper in the International Journal of Obesity." (Reuters Health)

"Asthma study busts dust mite myth" - "RIDDING the house of dust mites and making dietary changes does nothing to stop children developing asthma or eczema, researchers have found. The surprising results show that popular steps taken by parents to prevent the onset of allergic conditions simply do not work." (AAP)

Some EU environment moves catching up to US: "EU States Back Measures to Improve Air Quality" - "LUXEMBOURG - European Union environment ministers backed measures to improve Europe's air quality on Tuesday but were rebuffed in their calls to speed up proposals for more stringent vehicle emissions standards. EU ministers gave preliminary approval to draft rules by the executive European Commission that seek to bring the EU up to par with the United States in capping emissions of particulates, or fine dust, in the air." (Reuters)

"NASA finds intense lightning activity around a hurricane's eye" - "When you think of lightning, you think of a thunderstorm. Many people also assume that hurricanes have a lot of lightning because they are made up of hundreds of thunderstorms. However, according to Dr. Richard Blakeslee of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Ala., "Generally there's not a lot of lightning in the hurricane eye-wall region. So when people detect a lot of lightning in a hurricane, they perk up -- they say, okay, something's happening." In 2005, scientists did perk up, because a very strong Hurricane Emily had some of the most lightning activity ever seen in a hurricane. Scientists are now trying to determine if the frequency of lightning is connected to the hurricane's strength." (NASA/GSFC)

"ESA donates mosaic of global images taken by Envisat to United Nations" - "ESA PR 22-2006. The European Space Agency today donated a composite satellite image of global land cover provided by its Envisat satellite to the United Nations in Geneva, as a testimony to the current state of our planet, to be handed down to future generations." (ESA)

"Underwater microscope finds biological treasures in the subtropical ocean" - "Scientists towing an underwater digital microscope across the Atlantic have found possible missing links to the global nitrogen cycle, which in turn is linked to ocean productivity. In a recent report in the journal Science, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found abundant colonies of Trichodesmium. The multi-celled, filamentous organism is thought to play a significant role in the input of nitrogen to the upper layers of the tropical and subtropical ocean, nearly half of the Earth's surface. Lead author Cabell Davis, a senior scientist in the WHOI Biology Department, and co-author Dennis McGillicuddy, an associate scientist in the WHOI Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department, suggest that nitrogen fixation rates for Trichodesmium may be 2.7 to 5 times higher than previously estimated from traditional sampling." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"EU Ministers Agree Rules to Prevent Flooding" - "LUXEMBOURG - European Union ministers agreed new rules on Tuesday to fight floods, saying climate change threatened to increase their frequency." (Reuters)

"AP Incorrectly Claims Scientists Praise Gore’s Movie" - "The June 27, 2006 Associated Press (AP) article titled “Scientists OK Gore’s Movie for Accuracy” by Seth Borenstein raises some serious questions about AP’s bias and methodology. AP chose to ignore the scores of scientists who have harshly criticized the science presented in former Vice President Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” In the interest of full disclosure, the AP should release the names of the “more than 100 top climate researchers” they attempted to contact to review “An Inconvenient Truth.” AP should also name all 19 scientists who gave Gore “five stars for accuracy.” AP claims 19 scientists viewed Gore’s movie, but it only quotes five of them in its article. AP should also release the names of the so-called scientific “skeptics” they claim to have contacted." (Majority Press Release)

"'Inconvenient' Change For Gore Film" - "LOS ANGELES, June 27, 2006 -- Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" has seen its ticket sales plummet after a promising start. After Gore's global warming documentary garnered the highest average per play ever for a film documentary during its limited Memorial Day weekend opening, recent theater takes for the film have been less than stellar, Daily Variety reports." (UPI)

"Hockey Stick Shortened?" - "The NAS Panel Report on the infamous hockey stick graph concludes that the "uncertainties of the published reconstructions have been underestimated." (Duane D. Freese, TCS Daily)

"Germany to spark 'climate crisis'" - "The German government is about to trigger a new crisis in Europe's flagship climate policy, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). BBC News understands the German cabinet is likely to agree a deal that will reduce carbon emissions from industry by only 0.6% between 2004 and 2012. The decision is likely to influence other EU countries, including the UK, which still have to set their own caps. Environmental groups describe the target as "pathetic and shameful". "These figures are unbelievably unambitious," said Regina Gunther from WWF Germany. "It is shameful that our environment minister has agreed to this." Climate analysts now fear a meltdown of EU climate leadership." (BBC)

"EU's climate change leadership loses credibility" - "In Short: For the second year in a row, the EU's greenhouse gas emissions have risen, undermining its position as world leader in the fight against global warming." (EurActiv)

Europe's climate policies fall apart... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Japan looks at emissions trading with Ukraine" - "The Japanese government plans to discuss the buying of pollution rights from Ukraine rather than Russia, largely because of concerns about Moscow's lack of a proper system of recording its own greenhouse gas emissions. Japan's qualms about Russia suggest a fundamental problem with one of the linchpins of the Kyoto protocol to combat climate change, since Russia has been seen as potentially the biggest seller of carbon credits to the world's rich countries." (Financial Times)

"Quebec looking for Kyoto partners" - "QUEBEC — Quebec is looking to Ontario and Manitoba to form a common front to pressure the federal government for money for the provinces to go ahead with the Kyoto Protocol on their own. "We won’t let it go, that’s for certain," Sustainable Development Minister Claude Bechard told The Canadian Press on Monday in an interview from Toronto, where he was taking part in an air quality summit. If he gets the support of the other provinces, Bechard will be looking for a meeting with federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, and her assurances that Ottawa will contribute to provincial efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, Bechard is courting British Columbia and Alberta to sign on to the Quebec plan to fight climate change." (Canadian Press)

Will developed world austerity reduce consumerism and emissions? Not likely: "The Most Optimistic Country in the World" - "In the mid-1980s, India's middle class comprised just 10 percent of the population. Today, it's larger than the entire population of the United States and is predicted to grow to 445 million by the end of this decade. For 70 years, Mohandas Gandhi's myopic vision of backward-looking socialism as a template for national advancement was accepted as revealed wisdom by a string of Indian prime ministers, starting with his acolyte, Nehru. Despite a plenitude of cotton, Gandhi didn't think India should create a cotton industry, believing instead that every family should own a spinning wheel and spin its own. He didn't believe India should develop a manufacturing base, which not only caused the dead hand of "import substitution" to smother native initiative, but the failure to develop factories meant there was also a failure to develop infrastructure like roads and ports to take goods to market. Now at last, riding on a new surge of confidence at home and overseas, Indians have ditched austerity, the spinning wheel and the Mahatma and are spending it up like maharajas. In a recent survey, 90 percent of them cheerfully admitted that they spend their disposable income on non-essentials." (Val MacQueen, TCS Daily)

Recycling: "Big Three cars emit 230 mln tons of greenhouse gas" - "WASHINGTON, June 28 - Cars built by the Big Three automakers gave off 230 million metric tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the United States in a year, more than the biggest U.S. electric utility, environmental researchers said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Environmental Defense seem to be trying to retread a worn out case, still not getting traction though... Junkman checked under the hood and kicked the tires the last time they were running this.

Climate Summaries for 2005 Published (Climate Science)

The Weather Where You Live (Climate Science)

Lags in the Climate System (Climate Science)

New discovery -- world not homogeneous: "Climate change responses vary: study" - "People on opposite sides of the world react in completely different ways to climate change, a new study has found. The study, conducted by Chris Turney and Douglas Hobbs of the University of Wollongong, looked at how indigenous populations in Queensland reacted to changes in climate over the past 5,000 years, concentrating on the El Nino phenomenon. El Nino refers to a sustained warming over a large part of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The results were compared with those from a similar study conducted in the North Atlantic region last year.

... "If we want to understand how people respond to climate change, we are going to have to look at regional climate change rather than the global average," Dr Turney said." (AAP)

From CO2 Science this week:

Is the Recent Greenland Temperature Increase Evidence of Man-Induced Global Warming?: A new study both asks and answers the question.

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Lake Teletskoye in the Altai Mountains of Southern Siberia and Russkaya Gavan' Fjord on the northwestern coast of Novaya Zemlya, Barents Sea.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Methane (Emissions to the Atmosphere: Natural Vegetation): Are ongoing environmental trends impacting methane emissions to the atmosphere from natural vegetation and thereby exacerbating global warming?

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, Chairmaker's Bulrush, Saltmeadow Cordgrass, and Spring Wheat.

Journal Reviews:
A 221-Year Temperature History of the Southwest Coast of Greenland: What was the warmest decade of the record?

The 20th-Century Behavior of Southeast Icelandic Glaciers: What does it tell us about the contemporary climate of the region?

The Thermal Effect of Anthropogenic Aerosols in the Arctic: How large is it? And what does the answer imply about claims of CO 2 -induced Arctic warming?

In Vitro Growth Responses of Ornamental Plantlets to Very High Atmospheric CO 2 Concentrations: Would increasing the air's CO 2 concentration by as much as 8-fold be physiologically detrimental to earth's plant life?

The Growth Response of Rice to Elevated CO 2 at High Air Temperatures: Can the crop "take the heat" and register a significant CO 2 -induced stimulation of total biomass and grain yield? (co2science.org)

"U.S. Looks to Canada to Undercut OPEC" - "WASHINGTON - Faster development of Canadian oil is another way the United States can lessen its reliance on energy sources from Middle Eastern or Latin American countries now deemed unfriendly to the U.S., according to a new congressional study." (IPS)

"The lights will go out if we avoid the nuclear option, says Darling" - "The new trade and industry secretary expects a mix of sources - and atomic is one" (The Guardian)

"UK's Blair Signals Support for Nuclear Power" - "LONDON - Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday he would need a lot of convincing that Britain could meet its future energy needs without nuclear power, signalling his support for a new generation of reactors." (Reuters)

"CHILE: Hydropower Plans Paddle On Against the Current" - "SANTIAGO - The Chilean government has granted Endesa, a Spanish corporation, permission to carry out exploratory studies in the south of the country for the purpose of building four hydroelectric plants, in a move opposed by environmentalists, who are planning several demonstrations." (IPS)

"Parched Pakistan Feuds Over US$18 Billion Dam Projects" - "KALABAGH, Pakistan - High above the Indus river, straight white lines painted on the chaparral-covered hillsides mark the site of an ambitious, US$7 billion dam project. President Pervez Musharraf wants to build five dams -- of which the Kalabagh dam, his top priority, is the biggest -- to head off Pakistan's looming water crisis and cut energy costs." (Reuters)

"INDIA: Patented Seeds Edge out Local Varieties" - "CHITRADURGA, Karnataka - ''Earlier, there were no 'outside' fertilisers or seeds. There were no (plant) diseases and we were happy", recalls 83-year-old Chandrappa, farming for the last 60 years on his family's five acres in the black cotton-soil heartland of this southern Indian State." (IPS)

"IFT: A US perspective on EU GM regulations" - "The EU's approach to GM food regulation has little theoretical basis, and panders to the fears and prejudices of its citizens, according to a US scientist." (Food Navigator)

"Iowa State plant scientists tweak their biopharmaceutical corn research project" - "AMES, Iowa -- A biopharmaceutical corn created at Iowa State University is getting a makeover. Researchers are developing the corn into a variety that keeps the therapeutic protein, but eliminates the pollen. And they're using traditional breeding to do it. ISU researchers have had promising results using the biopharmaceutical corn to treat bacterial diarrhea in pigs. Now they are shifting their focus. They are developing a male sterile corn that carries the transgene. Because male sterile corn plants do not produce pollen, the new biopharmaceutical variety could be grown in corn-producing states without risk of pollinating traditional corn varieties." (Iowa State University)

June 27, 2006

"New malaria strain kills 55 in India; many infected" - "KOLKATA - A new strain of malaria has killed 55 people and infected more than 18,000 others in India's eastern state of West Bengal since January, the World Health Organisation and the state government said on Monday." (Reuters)

"A New Approach to Combating Malaria at WHO" - "Interview with Dr. Arata Kochi on his tenure and policies as director of the malaria program at the WHO" (Global Health)

We have to wonder whether that means an effective approach -- at least we can hope, for now.

Squabble in Kenya: "Pyrethrum board boss opposed to use of DDT" - "The Government has been told to promote the use of pyrethrum in the fight against malaria instead of re-introducing the DDT pesticide." (The Nation)

"DDT remains one of the best means of eliminating malaria" - "There are no substantial and precise scientific studies so far which prove that DDT is particularly toxic to human beings or other primates if use is regulated." (The Nation)

"Why the ban on use of DDT in Kenya must remain in force" - "DDT poses a great threat to the environment and animal health (including man) because of its long persistence in the environment." (The Nation)

"If use of DDT is the solution, go for it" - "What logic is there in protecting the environment and wildlife at the expense of human life? For whom are we protecting the environment? To what extent will DDT damage the flora and fauna if used to wipe out malaria?" (The Nation)

"Use of DDT ruled out in war to roll back malaria" - "Kenya has no plans to reintroduce a banned pesticide to control mosquitoes that cause malaria." (The Nation)

"Confusion 'could lead to deaths'" - "Children are in danger of serious illness or death unless confidence is restored in the MMR jab, doctors have said." (London Telegraph)

Not enough sunlight? "Rickets rises among city's young" - "Young children in Bradford are being given free vitamin D after research showed a rise in the number of cases of the bone disorder rickets in the city." (BBC)

"New Model Suggests Antarctic More Dynamic Than Previously Believed" - "Through dated geological records scientists have known for decades that variations in the Earth's orbit around the sun – subtle changes in the distance between the two – control ice ages. But, for the first 2 million years of the Northern Hemisphere Ice Age there has always been a mismatch between the timing of ice sheet changes and the Earth's orbital parameters." (Boston University)

You've been warned:) "EPA Pushes to Have Water Vapor Designated a Global Warming Pollutant" - "(Washington, DC) The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to classify water vapor as a pollutant, due to its central role in global warming. Because water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, accounting for at least 90% of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect, its emission during many human activities, such as the burning of fuels, is coming under increasing scrutiny by federal regulators." (ecoEnquirer)

"High court to hear 'greenhouse' case" - "It will consider whether the EPA must regulate carbon dioxide, which is said to contribute to global warming." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Much-Heralded Plan to Stop Global Warming Fails" - "Europe's carbon trading scheme flops, now what?" (Shikha Dalmia, Reason Foundation)

Not as advertised: "Trends in 20th century drought over the continental United States" - "Abstract: We used a simulated data set of hydro-climatological variables to examine for 20th century trends in soil moisture, runoff, and drought characteristics over the conterminous United States (U.S.). An increasing trend is apparent in both model soil moisture and runoff over much of the U.S., with a few decreasing trends in parts of the Southwest. The trend patterns were qualitatively similar to those found in streamflow records observed at a station network minimally affected by anthropogenic activities. This wetting trend is consistent with the general increase in precipitation in the latter half of the 20th century. Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century. The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where, notwithstanding increased precipitation (and in some cases increased soil moisture and runoff), increased temperature has led to trends in drought characteristics that are mostly opposite to those for the rest of the country especially in the case of drought duration and severity, which have increased." (GRL)

"Glaciers are melting at their fastest rate for 5,000 years" - "Mountain glaciers are melting faster now than at any time in the past 5,000 years because of an unprecedented period of global warming, a study has found. Ice cores taken from mountains as far apart as the Andes in South America and the Himalayas in Asia have revealed how climate change is leading to a full-scale retreat of the world's tropical glaciers." (London Independent)

On the other hand: Solar modulation of Little Ice Age climate in the tropical Andes (PNAS)

Surprising: "Gray whale calf count is rising along California coast" - "WASHINGTON -- While many whale species remain endangered, the gray whale calf count along the California coast rose sharply this spring, marine scientists reported yesterday. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the increase probably reflects the whales' greater access to their Arctic Ocean feeding grounds. That's likely due to warmer temperatures that have reduced sea ice." (KRT News Service)

We don't normally see the positive side of temperature cycles mentioned these days, particularly ones containing quotes like: "Warm-to-cold cycles in Arctic temperatures are "normal," Perryman said, and don't necessarily reflect global warming."

Further evidence regarding role of land use on precipitation: urbanization as a missing component in current climate models (Climate Science)

"US Won't Rule Out Joining Kyoto Successor" - "LONDON - Washington cannot rule out joining any successor to the UN's Kyoto Protocol for curbing global warming beyond 2012 but such a move would face big legal hurdles, the US chief climate negotiator said on Monday. President George W. Bush withdrew the United States from Kyoto in 2001, saying its caps on greenhouse gases would cost jobs and that poor nations were wrongly excluded until 2012. "I never rule anything out," Harlan Watson told Reuters during a climate conference at Chatham House, London, when asked if Washington might re-join the 163-nation pact beyond 2012." (Reuters)

Houghton's toutin': "US Has Duty to Lead on Global Warming - Scientist" - "LONDON - The United States - the world's richest and most polluting nation -- has a moral duty to take the lead in tackling catastrophic global warming instead of denying it is happening, a leading scientist said on Monday. Addressing a meeting of international climate scientists and policymakers, John Houghton, a former senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said urgent action was imperative. "If only the US administration could flip from denial to acceptance it could save the world," he said. "If the Americans continue to do nothing then we have a big problem -- therefore they must do something." (Reuters)

Blair's blarin': "Blair sets climate change deadline and hails Africa aid successes" - "Tony Blair set a one-year deadline last night for a new global deal on climate change as he warned that time was running out to find a way of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Blair used a report on the progress made since last summer's Gleneagles summit to say that the international community could not afford to spend the five years it took to finalise the Kyoto agreement, under which some developed countries pledged action on global warming." (The Guardian)

"Japan Proposes to Bury Carbon Dioxide" - "TOKYO - Japan hopes to slash greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming with a revolutionary plan to pump carbon dioxide into underground storage reservoirs instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, an official said Monday. The proposal aims to bury 200 million tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2020, cutting the country's emissions by one-sixth, said Masahiro Nishio, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Introduced last month, the plan is still under study." (Associated Press)

"How to Cool a Planet (Maybe)" - "In the past few decades, a handful of scientists have come up with big, futuristic ways to fight global warming: Build sunshades in orbit to cool the planet. Tinker with clouds to make them reflect more sunlight back into space. Trick oceans into soaking up more heat-trapping greenhouse gases." (New York Times)

"Environmental chiefs join forces to fight growth in air travel" - "Britain's environmental leaders today call on the Government to change course over aviation policy - or pay a huge environmental and social price. In a letter to The Independent, an unprecedented coalition of senior greens, scientists and politicians demands a radical rethink of current plans for air travel expansion, which they say will lead to an enormous increase in emissions of the greenhouse gases causing global warming." (London Independent)

June 26, 2006

Boy, did the press make a mess of the NAS release or what? Check out this bunch via Google News

Two things can be said about the report: 1) it did a great job of answering something that was never actually in question -- namely that we believe it has been warming for the last 300-400 years and; 2) it does not actually endorse either the hockey stick representation of Earth's recent climate history or the criticisms of MBH98, which forms the basis of that representation -- but incongruously does both.

Doubtless this report will attract a good deal of criticism, although perhaps unfairly, simply because it is somewhat inconsistent (a hazard of authorship by committee). If it does attract much sledging then the fault for that should be laid at the media and its reporters' collective door. Why? Because through ignorance and a goodly measure of advocacy entirely the wrong message is being proliferated. This report restores accuracy by reintroducing uncertainty -- it specifically denies our ability to compare specific years or decades with those of a millennium past (i.e., it denies the conclusions of MBH98 that made it so controversial, that hottest year, hottest decade of the millennium nonsense). Unfortunately no one would know this from the newspaper reports on their breakfast table and thus the failing is with the press rather than the NAS panel.

Where to now? This report could be called "revolutionary" but that may have as much to do with the amount of "spinning" going on as anything else. Well, ever the optimists, we are going to call this the Janus Report, not because it is two-faced but because in Roman mythology Janus was the god of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. We fervently hope this report represents a beginning of the restoration of rigorous and robust methodology to climate science along with an associated end to advocacy and science by press release, what we term the mythology of climate change. It is possible we seek too much in hoping to step from mythology to methodology in short order -- we shall just have to wait and see, won't we? In the meantime we'll be posting a selection of the revolving pieces over the coming days but we do not recommend anyone get too excited, at least until the dust settles and we see whether the panel's report is actually read, digested and understood. So far the reporting has been, well, appalling, with focus solely on current temps likely being the warmest for centuries (always provided contemporary measurements are correct) and only those already inclined to skepticism taking the trouble to actually read the report and discover that the criticisms of MBH98 are largely upheld. Sadly, both "sides" still appear to be talking past each other.

Comment on the NRC Report “Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2000 Years” (Climate Science)

"Lord Rees welcomes US findings on climate change" - "Lord Martin Rees, the President of the Royal Society, today (22 June 2006) welcomed the publication of a report by the United States National Research Council that endorses scientific evidence showing that the global average temperature over the past few decades has been higher than for at least 400 years." (Press Release)

"Inhofe Says NAS Report Reaffirms ‘Hockey Stick’ Is Broken" - "Washington, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works commented on today’s congressionally commissioned review by the National Academy of Sciences that shows that Dr. Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” study was flawed, specifically refuting some of its most often-cited conclusions." (Press Release)

The Week That Was June 24, 2006 (SEPP)

"There Is No 'Consensus' On Global Warming" - "According to Al Gore's new film "An Inconvenient Truth," we're in for "a planetary emergency": melting ice sheets, huge increases in sea levels, more and stronger hurricanes and invasions of tropical disease, among other cataclysms -- unless we change the way we live now.

Bill Clinton has become the latest evangelist for Mr. Gore's gospel, proclaiming that current weather events show that he and Mr. Gore were right about global warming, and we are all suffering the consequences of President Bush's obtuseness on the matter. And why not? Mr. Gore assures us that "the debate in the scientific community is over."

That statement, which Mr. Gore made in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, ought to have been followed by an asterisk. What exactly is this debate that Mr. Gore is referring to? Is there really a scientific community that is debating all these issues and then somehow agreeing in unison? Far from such a thing being over, it has never been clear to me what this "debate" actually is in the first place.

The media rarely help, of course. When Newsweek featured global warming in a 1988 issue, it was claimed that all scientists agreed. Periodically thereafter it was revealed that although there had been lingering doubts beforehand, now all scientists did indeed agree. Even Mr. Gore qualified his statement on ABC only a few minutes after he made it, clarifying things in an important way. When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim -- in his defense -- that scientists "don't know… They just don't know." (Richard S. Lindzen, Wall Street Journal)

"The Global Salvationist creed should be challenged" - "It must come as no surprise that I regard the current lack of an open and balanced debate on climate change a deeply worrying one, driven as it appears to be more by quasi-religious fundamentalism than cool logic. Passions run high as believers, who claim the moral high ground of an apocalyptic "consensus view" of man-made global warming, often seek to demonise, belittle and silence those who question the main doctrines of eco-fundamentalism. And what a powerful "consensus view" there seems to be. In the UK, supporters include the Government, many in the scientific establishment, a plethora of NGOs and the BBC (to say its website is partial is a glorious understatement and witness the recent Climate Chaos season)." (Ruth Lea, London Telegraph)

"Pandering to the greenhouse gods" - "IN this post-religious age, a mass fear of climate change has become the new creed. It has its very own litany and certitudes: the planet is dramatically heating up because of an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere; mankind’s excesses – rather than natural causes – are solely or largely responsible for the warming; this will have cataclysmic consequences; and radical government restrictions on the consumption of energy and the emission of carbon dioxide – requiring a reduction in global economic growth – are needed to stop this decline. This new green fundamentalism tolerates no dissent: anyone questioning the official litany is decried by the new green clergy and its fanatical followers in politics, the media, big business and non-governmental organisations as a stupid flat-earther at best or as deeply immoral or even deranged at worst." (The Business Online)

Round & round she goes... "Hurricanes Linked to Global Warming" - "According to the study, the 2005 hurricane season was a record one with 28 named storms. The season extended beyond its normal November close, lasting until Dec. 30. It was the first year on record with three Category 5 storms, the strongest hurricanes." (USA Today)

"This hot air isn't an environmental threat" - "Baird Helgeson of The Tampa Tribune writes, "Was Tropical Storm Alberto an anomaly or an ominous sign of storms to come? The answer is: neither. 'Alberto is a very classic June tropical storm,' said Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Don't expect Alberto to reveal much about what to expect the rest of the hurricane season, experts said." (Gregory Rummo, Herald News)

"Polar bears are left high and dry by shrinking Arctic ice" - "POLAR bears are being forced to change their behaviour and natural habitat because of the retreating Arctic ice. On Svalbard, a group of islands 350 miles (560km) north of the Norwegian mainland, and the starting point for many polar explorers, the bears are showing signs of becoming island dwellers instead of living on the ice sheets." (Lewis Smith, The Times)

"Huskies might soon be out of a job as Norway's frozen fjords turn to mush" - "THE huskies that transported David Cameron, the Tory party leader, to a melting glacier this year will soon be redundant unless global warming can be slowed." (Lewis Smith, The Times)

"Denmark to Set Up Ice Cap Stations" - "COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Denmark is to set up seven unmanned measuring stations along the edge of Greenland's vast ice cap, to monitor how fast the frozen sheet covering the massive island is thinning, Environment Minister Connie Hedegaard announced Friday." (Associated Press)

"'Warm' species invading Antarctic" - "Scientists are calling for action to prevent foreign species from taking hold in Antarctica and wrecking the continent's unique ecosystems. Despite Antarctica's inhospitable environment, non-native species introduced by tourists, scientists and explorers are gaining a foothold." (BBC)

"Tighter Antarctic Protection Measures on Hold" - "EDINBURGH - Antarctic Treaty countries failed on Friday to agree on tighter environmental measures to protect the continent amid a boom in tourism." (Reuters)

"Britain's first olive grove is a sign of our hotter times" - "In one of the most remarkable signs yet of the advance of global warming, Britain's first olive grove has been planted in Devon. Temperatures have risen so far in recent years that it is now considered possible to grow the iconic fruit of the Mediterranean countries commercially in southern England." (London Independent)

Armagh-CET.gif (26002 bytes) Interesting point and quite topical, given the NAS report coverage -- is temperature really rising dramatically? That the planet is warming is likely true, places like Armagh Observatory do indicate some warming, although rather less than more heavily urban-influenced sites. We are aware more papers are being produced on the problem of determining near-surface temperature trends and we'll highlight them as available. In the interim readers should see Microclimate Exposures Of Surface-Based Weather Stations: Implications For The Assessment of Long-Term Temperature Trends (.pdf) and The Surface Record: ‘Global Mean Temperature’ and how it is determined at surface level for a greater understanding of the problem.

irradiance.gif (21293 bytes) According to the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the sun is rather more active now than, oh, since about the Holocene Maximum really. Now, MPG certainly don't want to be associated with any non-PC hypotheses about 'global warming' and solar activity, so let's be clear that they have explicitly stated that the sun is not at fault. Nonetheless, solar activity has increased over the last 400 years or so and the fit with estimated warming is certainly a great deal better than that with the increase in atmospheric trace gases.

In a nutshell: "A New Way to Ask, 'How Green Is My Conscience?'" - "WHEN Anne Pashby moved to Baltimore last year, she was dismayed by the complexity of recycling in her new city. "I can never get it right about which day is paper versus cardboard versus cans," said Ms. Pashby, 38, a human resources manager. "So I've given up on it." But she wasn't ready to give up on the environment. Looking for an easier way to make her life greener, she tried a "carbon calculator" at the Web site of the Conservation Fund (conservationfund.org). She learned that the events of her everyday life, like driving the car, heating her home or taking plane trips, produced about 14 tons a year of carbon emissions, or "carbon footprint." The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit group in Arlington, Va., offered to neutralize that amount for $57, by planting 11 trees in the lower Mississippi Valley — enough to remove 14 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. She happily complied. "It felt pretty good," she said. "I could pat myself on the back and not lay out a whole lot of cash." (New York Times)

Sign of a successful scam, make the marks feel good about being ripped off.

No kidding? "EU falls behind on green targets" - "EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - New figures released on Thursday have revealed that the EU is falling far short of reaching its emissions targets under the international climate change treaty, the Kyoto Protocol. Instead greenhouse gas pollution rose for the second year in a row, according to the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency." (EU Observer)

"Harper rules out federal carbon tax as a climate-change strategy" - "QUEBEC - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ruled out introducing a federal carbon tax as a means of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions." (CP)

Feisty: "Ambrose dares opposition to force election on climate change" - "OTTAWA — Environment Minister Rona Ambrose is daring opposition parties to bring down the minority Conservative government and fight an election campaign on the issue of climate change." (CanWest News Service)

"British Climate Change Envoy Sees China as Key" - "LONDON - China has a key role to play in the drive to convert the world to a low-carbon economy, according to John Ashton, set to travel the world as Britain's first Special Representative on Climate Change." (Reuters)

"Legislation Will Not Mitigate Climate Change" - "A response to Alan Dupont of the Lowy Institute." (William Kininmonth, Lavoisier Group)

Uh-huh... "Homeowners get green light for 'eyesore' wind turbines" - "The government is to sweep away planning restrictions so that millions of homeowners can put wind turbines and solar panels on their houses. In a move likely to spark controversy over whether such 'micro-technologies' are an eyesore that could ruin the residential landscape, ministers will announce within 10 days proposals that mean homeowners will no longer need planning permission to install renewable energy technologies on their homes." (The Observer)

The mind boggles at what sort of 'micro-generation' monstrosities will be spawned under a no-permit system. Scrap iron, binder twine and old 5 gallon drums can be fashioned into "micro-generators' of sorts, never mind if they look like hell and aren't structurally sound -- at least they are offerings at the right altar.

Cartoonists are welcome to forward works depicting fantastic arrays of solar panels and generating gizmos hanging off the roofs of domestic Britain for reproduction or linking from this site.

A Lord Howeller? "End of the oil age in sight?" - "LONDON -- First there was wood. Then it was replaced by coal. Then coal was replaced by oil. Is it now the turn of oil -- which currently accounts for some two-thirds of the world's primary energy -- to be pushed aside by other energy sources and devices?" (Japan Times)

"Ukraine coalition deal could spell EU gas trouble" - "EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Ukraine's Orange Revolution allies signed a new government coalition deal on Thursday (22 June), set to put hawkish former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko back in power but raising the risk of a fresh gas crisis that could impact the EU." (EU Observer)

"Bangladesh Discovers New Coal Reserve" - "DHAKA - Bangladesh, frantically looking for substitute to ease pressure on natural gas, said on Saturday that it had found another coal reserve in northern district of Dinajpur. Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB), energy ministry's arm to explore natural resources, has already drilled five bores in the new mine at Dighipara in Dinajpur, 450 km (281 miles) north of the capital Dhaka, said energy ministry's spokesman Abdullah-al Shahin. Bangladesh is eyeing coal as a major supplement to natural gas for producing power." (Reuters)

"Russia To Build Floating Nuclear Power Plant" - "Russia is constructing a floating nuclear power plant for remote regions that could provide energy for coastal cities. Environmentalists warn of a catastrophe at sea. And nuclear proliferation experts point out that the ship would use weapons-grade uranium to generate electricity." (Der Spiegel)

"Ethanol war brewing" - "Grain alcohol is seen as the new gasoline. But which recipe is the one for investors to bet on?" (Business 2.0 Magazine)

"For Good or Ill, Boom in Ethanol Reshapes Economy of Heartland" - "Dozens of factories that turn corn into the gasoline substitute ethanol are sprouting up across the nation, from Tennessee to Kansas, and California, often in places hundreds of miles away from where corn is grown. Once considered the green dream of the environmentally sensitive, ethanol has become the province of agricultural giants that have long pressed for its use as fuel, as well as newcomers seeking to cash in on a bonanza." (New York Times)

"Sewage Firm Links With Scots Farmers for Green Fuel" - "EDINBURGH - A sewage recycling company is teaming up with farmers on Scotland's east coast in a pilot project to produce biofuel from crops fertilised from Edinburgh's waste output." (Reuters)

"Wind farm operators fear incentives too far off"  -"Proponents of a wind farm in Tasmania's north-east say they cannot wait years for the Federal Government to reconsider its stance on renewable energy. The Musselroe wind farm is in doubt because of the Federal Government's refusal to provide incentives for energy retailers to buy wind power." (Australian Broadcasting Corp)

"Laos Boosts Development Prospects With Dam Hopes" - "NAKAI PLATEAU, Laos - For landlocked Laos, US$1.25 billion may help buy a ticket out of poverty. The Nam Theun 2 dam, key to a Lao bid to become the "battery of the region", represents the sleepy, communist-ruled country's biggest hope for development that will pull it closer to more prosperous neighbours like Vietnam and Thailand." (Reuters)

"Reuters Summit - US Consumers Edging Into 'Green' Territory" - "NEW YORK - US consumers are slowly becoming "greener," though the motivation may be more about saving money and less about concern for the environment, executives and analysts said this week." (Reuters)

"Business Coalition Says Dozens Of Pending Bills Hurt CA Economy" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A coalition of business groups says many bills being considered in Sacramento this summer are bad for California's economy. The Coalition for California Jobs is trying to spread the word that the local business climate, thanks to what could happen in Sacramento, is not so hot -- and may quickly turn chilly." (KCBS)

"Summit to discuss transient air pollution that kills thousands a year in Ontario" - "TORONTO - The United States exports more than $150 billion in goods to Ontario every year - along with enough pollution to kill 2,700 people and sicken 14,000. Those casualties, along with the annual $5.2 billion pricetag for related health care and environmental damage, are reasons for the Shared Air Summit 2006, a meeting of the minds on Monday to discuss the trade in transboundary air, which sees pollution produced in one place before being carried in the air across borders." (CP)

"China Population to Peak at 1.5 Billion in 2030s - Paper" - "BEIJING - China's population will peak at 1.5 billion by the mid-2030s, and its sex ratio will remain skewed at 119 boys for every 100 girls, state media reported on Friday. A study has found that China's population -- which stood at 1.307 billion in late 2005 -- will begin to gradually drop after the mid-2030s, the China Daily newspaper said." (Reuters)

"Get on with it" - "The global poor, especially, cannot afford to see world trade talks fail." (London Times)

Today's mercury mania: "Millions of Indians at risk from mercury poisoning" - "NEW DELHI - Millions of people are at risk from the unregulated use of mercury in India, which has become the world's biggest consumer after China, an environmental group said on Friday. Researchers say India is emerging as a hotspot for trade and unregulated internal distribution of the toxic metal, which has been outlawed in many developed nations because of its effects on humans and animals." (Reuters)

"Mobile phone users warned of lightning strike risk" - "LONDON - People should not use mobile phones outdoors during thunderstorms because of the risk of being struck by lightning, doctors said on Friday. They reported the case of a 15-year-old girl who was using her phone in a park when she was hit during a storm. Although she was revived, she suffered persistent health problems and was using a wheelchair a year after the accident. "This rare phenomenon is a public health issue, and education is necessary to highlight the risk of using mobile phones outdoors during stormy weather to prevent future fatal consequences from lighting strike injuries," said Swinda Esprit, a doctor at Northwick Park Hospital in England." (Reuters)

"Cell Phone Signals Excite Brain, Study Finds" - "WASHINGTON - Cell phone emissions excite the part of the brain cortex nearest to the phone, but it is not clear if these effects are harmful, Italian researchers reported on Monday." (Reuters)

"An Anti-Addiction Pill?" - "Last month, the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was host to a conference about addiction for a small, invitation-only crowd of neuroscientists, clinicians and public policy makers. It was an unusual gathering. Addiction conferences are usually sober affairs, but M.I.T. offered a lavish cocktail reception (with an open bar, no less). More important, the conference was a celebration of the new ways scientists and addiction researchers are conceptualizing, and seeking to treat, addiction. While many in the treatment field have long called addiction a "disease," they've used the word in vague and metaphorical ways, meaning everything from a disease of the mind to a disease of the spirit. Many assumed that an addict suffers from a brain-chemistry problem, but scientists had not been able to peer into our heads to begin to prove it." (New York Times)

"Red tape may strangle cottontail rabbits" - "Activists sued last week to force authorities to do more to save a dwindling Northeastern species." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"China Gives Extra-Picky Pandas Their Space" - "BEIJING - China is giving an unusually endangered species of panda extra space, privacy and protection to help the animals reproduce, state media said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Do not panda to misty-eyed sentiment" - "Pandas are badly designed, undersexed, overpaid and overprotected. They went up an evolutionary cul-de-sac and it is too late to reverse. By cosseting them we are simply rewarding failure. Pandas are doomed. Let them go." (Alan Beattie, Financial Times)

"Strawberry Fields Forever?" - "The great debate over the use of polytunnels in strawberry growing has unearthed a deep divide, as Westminster and even Wimbledon join a battle that could be decided in the law courts, writes Martin Hickman." (London Independent)

Buy local! Unless it doesn't look pretty -- then "food miles" don't count. :)

"The Holy Grail in a Grain of Rice" - "Who among us hasn't experienced a touch of the trots from stomach flu or food poisoning? For those of us fortunate enough to live in an industrialized country with ready access to health care, diarrhea is little more than a nuisance, most often involving some discomfort and bloating, and a day or two off from school or work; but in the developing world it can be deadly. In sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Latin America and Asia with poor access to health care, clean water, and other resources, diarrhea is the number-two infectious killer of children under the age of five (surpassed only by respiratory diseases), accounting for two million deaths a year." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"FDA issues guidance on GMO safety testing" - "The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a voluntary guidance on testing programmes for bioengineered plants. The regulator wants to prevent the possibility allergens or toxins are accidentally introduced into commercial food supplies." (Food Navigator)

"Fish blood the key to low-fat ice cream" - "Wall's is planning to use a protein originally isolated from fish blood to create the world's first ice creams using genetically-modified technology. Its parent company, Unilever, claims the technique will allow it to develop low-calorie, low-fat ice creams. It could be used to create new versions of best-sellers such as Cornetto, Magnum and Carte D'Or. But using GM technology may be at odds with a desire by consumers for a more natural 'real' food diet, where artificial additives are removed." (Daily Mail)

"Crop biotechnology: The next revolution in agriculture" - "India is one of the largest agrarian economy in the world. However, the agriculture output has declined in last one decade because of various reasons like disease, pests and weeds, the subsistence nature of farming, unprecedented climatic conditions, limited water, poor land condition, drought, heat and saline soil conditions." (Financial Express)

"India: Doubts galore over govt's GM policy" - "As vegetable prices rise higher and higher and supplies fall the government is considering using the GM route to usher in another Green Revolution. This is in a bid to prop up falling yields but top government advisors now feel that the government is being hasty and needs to be more cautious." (Andhravision)

June 23, 2006

"Toilet Bowl Cancer Scare Deserves A Good Flush" - "Do the deodorant toilet bowl blocks used in public restrooms cause cancer?" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"What Science Really Says About the Benefits of Breast-Feeding (and what the New York Times didn’t tell you)" - "The Science Times section of the New York Times announced today that it had received more than 100 letters “pro and con” over its article “Breast-Feed or Else.” Coverage of the reaction suggests that this is a controversial topic, with the Times acting as an honest broker; but when a newspaper compared cigarette smoking to using infant formula, we suspected that there’s got to be something screwy with the science, which is, in fact, the case. By failing to take a thorough, critical look at the evidence for this new public health campaign, the Times has caused needless anguish to countless mothers." (Statistical Assessment Service)

"Stop Doing What I Said" - "The task of responding to the latest crusade from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has become almost tedious. Last week, the organization was busy, announcing a lawsuit against Kentucky Fried Chicken and targeting Starbucks for its "high-calorie, high-fat" drinks and pastries." (Radley Balko, TCS Daily)

"vCJD 'may develop over 50 years'" - "A disease linked to cannibalism has given clues about how long mad cow disease (BSE) can lurk in the human body before it develops into vCJD." (BBC)

"Bush-meat trade puts Britain at risk of Ebola" - "Britain is at risk of an outbreak of the lethal Ebola and Marburg viruses because of the burgeoning trade in illegal bush meat from Africa, a leading public health expert has warned." (London Independent)

"Doubt cast on road safety claims" - "Research has cast doubt on government claims roads are getting safer. A study by Oxford University and a regional public health group found serious injuries caused by road crashes had not changed since the mid 1990s." (BBC)

"Storm over European bid to ban mercury barometers" - "THEY grace the walls of hundreds of homes, a reassuring reminder of a bygone era. But now mercury barometers face being consigned to history thanks to a ruling drawn up by the European Union. The remnants of an industry in which Edinburgh once led the world face oblivion under the proposals, described as a "sledgehammer to crack a nut". The rules would not only ban the manufacture of new barometers but also forbid their repair and import." (The Scotsman)

"Off the Deep End: Lawyers took our diving board" - "I'm now an official victim of the trial lawyers. So are my kids and the 800 members of our community pool that opened this summer without a high diving board.

The three-meter board had been a fixture of our pool at Chesterbrook Swim Club in Fairfax County, Va., for as long as anyone can remember. But the county has declared that it can no longer afford to pay the liability insurance for it--and so we've been grounded.

Most of the parents and kids share my disappointment at being cheated out of one of the great joys of summertimes past. No high board means no more "atomic" cannonballs, can openers, jack knives and watermelons, the kind of attention-grabbing dives that boys love to perform, sending a quarter of the pool's water spraying onto unsuspecting sunbathers nearby. And no more graceful teenage girls either, performing double flips with a twist, entering the water with hardly a ripple.

So why can't we just have a sign that reads: "Jump off this board at your own risk"? Some of our club members, many of whom are lawyers, say the elimination of the high board is for the safety of "the children." (Steve Moore, Opinion Journal)

"Gorey Truths: 25 Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore" - "With An Inconvenient Truth, the companion book to former Vice President Al Gore’s global-warming movie, currently number nine in Amazon sales rank, this is a good time to point out that the book, which is a largely pictorial representation of the movie’s graphical presentation, exaggerates the evidence surrounding global warming. Ironically, the former Vice President leaves out many truths that are inconvenient for his argument. Here are just 25 of them." (Iain Murray, National Review Online)

People reading what they want into a report saying not very much: "High Confidence in Surface Temp Reconstructions Since A.D. 1600" - "June 22 -- There is sufficient evidence from tree rings, retreating glaciers, and other "proxies" to say with confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years, according to a new National Research Council report. There is less confidence in reconstructions of surface temperatures from 1600 back to A.D. 900, and very little confidence in findings on average temperatures before then." (NAS)

Bit of a "No? Duh!" moment since virtually everyone but Mikey and the hockey team seemed confident in historical accounts of the "Little Ice Age" (LIA) being coldest c1600 and general warming since. Our take is basically that the LIA has more or less been "restored" (meaning Mike's Magic Hockey Stick is unsupported since he claims general slight cooling to c1900) while there is less confidence in the accuracy of early reconstructions (i.e., the Medieval Warm Period may, or may not have been as warm as current temperatures). We were not aware such a relatively well established historical view was considered controversial.

We are confident this reaffirmation will not, however, prevent activists and advocates claiming support for their position of catastrophic AGW, even though the warming trend predates industrialization by a considerable margin and appears closely associated with solar activity. In fact, we have yet to hear anyone seriously contend the sequence Roman Warm, Dark Ages Cold, Medieval Warm, Little Ice Age and Modern Warm Periods did not take place and thus that temperature oscillation is other than normal.

Assuming Earth's mean temperature of 14 °C (287.15 K) is close enough, the agreed 0.6 °C increase over the Twentieth Century (~0.2%) was concurrent with ~0.165% increase in total solar irradiance (i.e. more than three-fourths of the increment or >0.45 °C likely can be attributed to the sun), leaving us something under 0.15 °C attributable to enhanced greenhouse forcing over the 20th Century (see this file for brief discussion). Is this something we should really be getting very excited over?

"NAS Panel Report" - "The early rumors on the NAS Panel was that it was “two handed” – on the one hand, …, on the other hand, … with something for everyone. I’d characterize it more as schizophrenic. It’s got two completely distinct personalities. On the one hand, they pretty much concede that every criticism of MBH is correct. They disown MBH claims to statistical skill for individual decades and especially individual years." (Climate Audit)

"Statement on the National Research Council’s Surface Temperature Report" - "The National Research Council’s report on the “hockey stick” temperature graph, which was released today, confirms what was not controversial—namely, that the twentieth century was the warmest in the past 400 years. As the Earth’s climate has been emerging from the Little Ice Age since the mid-nineteenth century, this is not being debated." (CEI)

Coming clean over climate change... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"U.S. and EU Announce New Global Warming Agreement" - "Following months of closed-door sessions on the role of technology, not rationing, in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the United States and the European Union have agreed to pursue a new emissions reduction initiative, targeting the development of new energy technologies and gains in efficiency and conservation." (CEI)

"IEA Warns G8 of Sharp Rise in CO2 Emissions" - "PARIS - Emissions of climate-changing carbon dioxide could more than double by 2050 if unchecked, the International Energy Agency warned on Thursday, ahead of an energy-focussed meeting of G8 world leaders in July." (Reuters)

Oh boy... "Stephen Hawking Warns About Global Warming" - "BEIJING -- Stephen Hawking expressed concern about global warming Wednesday even as he charmed and provoked a group of Chinese students.

He said he was afraid that Earth "might end up like Venus, at 250 degrees centigrade and raining sulfuric acid." (AP)

"Kyoto promises are nothing but hot air" - "MANY governments, including some that claim to be leading the fight against global warming, are harbouring a dirty little secret. These countries are emitting far more greenhouse gas than they say they are, a fact that threatens to undermine not only the shaky Kyoto protocol but also the new multibillion-dollar market in carbon trading. Under Kyoto, each government calculates how much carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide its country emits by adding together estimated emissions from individual sources. These so-called "bottom-up" estimates have long been accepted by atmospheric scientists, even though they have never been independently audited." (NewScientist.com news service)

Gosh Fred, you don't think they'd, like, cheat or something, do you?

"EU Urges Action as '04 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise" - "BRUSSELS - European Union nations must boost efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after data showed they rose 0.3 percent in 2004 among the EU's 15 "old" member states, the bloc's executive said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Ukraine Emissions Dive, Risk Swamping Kyoto" - "LONDON - Ukraine's greenhouse gas emissions fell by a bigger than expected 57 percent in 2004 from 1990 levels, UN data showed on Thursday, potentially undermining wider climate change aims of the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto obliges 35 industrialised countries to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases overall by 5.2 percent by 2008-12 from 1990, but it allows countries whose emissions are over target to buy emissions reductions from those below. Former communist countries' emissions have dived since 1990 because of an industrial collapse following their transition to liberalised markets, and while this is good news for climate change goals, it risks swamping the Kyoto trading tool." (Reuters)

"Canada: A political storm hits Tory Rona Ambrose" - "Environment Minister fends off calls for her resignation as Kyoto debate rages." (Globe and Mail)

"NZ: Minister to unveil carbon tax II" - "The Government is poised to announce a revised version of its scrapped carbon tax. It will target energy generators and is likely to lead to an increase in fuel and power bills." (Dominion Post)

"Doing the Work of the Media" - "Since we have a biased media on important public policy issues, it is really up to conservative groups to try to get alternative information into the national debate. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), headed by Fred Smith, is doing just that. It is filling the void on the media's failure to present both sides of the global warming debate by running ads directly confronting media bias. One of CEI's targets is a Time cover story urging people to be "very worried" about global warming. As CEI suggests, we should really be worried about slanted journalism that doesn't have enough faith in people to enable them to make up their own minds." (Cliff Kincaid, AIM)

"IEA Says Expanded Nuclear Power Can Curb Emissions" - "PARIS - Expanding the use of nuclear power could play a big role in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and help create a sustainable energy future, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Wind farm 'hits eagle numbers'" - "Wind farm turbine blades are killing a key population of Europe's largest bird of prey, UK wildlife campaigners warn. The RSPB says nine white tailed eagles have been killed on the Smola islands off the Norwegian coast in 10 months, including all of last year's chicks. Chick numbers at the species' former stronghold have plummeted since the wind farm was built, with breeding pairs at the site down from 19 to one. Scientists fear wind farms planned elsewhere could have also harm birds. And there are fears Britain's small population of the birds could be adversely affected." (BBC)

"Power blackouts for Scots homes if new energy plants are not built soon" - "ELECTRICITY blackouts, not seen since the miners' strike, could be imposed on Scottish households within nine years unless new power stations are built soon, experts have warned. They claim that without radical work to modernise the National Grid, there will not be enough power by 2015 to keep the lights on in Scots homes." (The Scotsman)

"Rapid Urbanization Alters Local Climate" - "Rapid urbanization and other human activities have altered the climate on the Korean Peninsular and degraded the ecosystem, according to a government study. Worsening environmental pollution and increasing urbanization in Korea have recently raised public concern about a potential environment disaster in the near future should the country continues its reckless industrial development and ecologicial destruction." (The Korea Times)

"The Not So Good Earth" - "Thousands of acres of land in northern China are sinking because of the ravages of underground coal mining." (New York Times)

"Oregon joins Washington, California in strict car emissions standards" - "Washington state's tough new standards on emissions for cars and light trucks became permanent Thursday after Oregon officially adopted the same rules. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission approved the new rules that strive to reduce greenhouse gases and make the entire West Coast a more uniform market for automobile manufacturers." (Associated Press)

"4x4 debate: Enemy of the people" - "Gas-guzzling, road-hogging, air-polluting... and now even doctors have joined the outcry over 4x4 cars." (London Independent)

"EU Consumers Say GMO Food is Risk to Society - Poll" - "BRUSSELS - Most Europeans believe that genetically modified (GMO) foods should not be encouraged and see biotech crops as posing a risk to society, a survey requested by the European Commission showed on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Hawaii leads in genetic modification bills" - "With Hawaii taking a lead role, state legislatures are increasingly attempting to bar, limit or regulate genetically modified seeds and crops. A growing segment of the Hawaii farming sector is the cultivation of genetically modified seeds for sale to farmers in other places. For example, more corn is grown in Hawaii for genetically modified seeds than for eating. There is concern both in Hawaii and on the Mainland about genetically modified plants cross-breeding with regular plants, possibly causing unintended botanical consequences and probably causing economic issues for farmers who sell to markets that are averse to anything that has been genetically modified." (Pacific Business News (Honolulu))

"Brazil GMO crackdown seen leading to $30m in cotton losses" - "SAO PAULO - The discovery of illegal Monsanto transgenic cotton plants on roughly 18,000 hectares of Brazilian cotton farms caused a quarantine of those fields by federal authorities this week and will likely amount to $30 million in losses, according to Brazil's Cotton Producers Association, or Abrapa." (Checkbiotech)

"Kenya: Researchers now turn to local plants to control pests" - "Kenyan scientists have turned to traditional methods of pest control in a bid to produce a new variety of genetically modified cotton." (The Standard)

June 22, 2006

"Fatal Inaction" - "There is a silver bullet for Africa's malaria epidemic. Why the Bush administration won't pull the trigger." (Joshua Kurlantzick, Washington Monthly)

"Centre gets £7m malaria funding" - "The University of York is being given £7m by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates to help source a treatment for malaria. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is backing research on a plant that could help to ease the global shortage of effective drugs for the disease." (BBC)

"How Kelo Can You Go?" - "We've just had the first anniversary of the Kelo decision (your property is your property but only if, like, no one else will pay more taxes on it) and the blog Division of Labour has a listing of what those fine upstanding citizens, the local and State governments of the country, have been doing with it." (Tim Worstall, TCS Daily)

"Potassium-enriched salt may cut heart risks" - "NEW YORK - Replacing regular salt with a potassium-fortified alternative may help lower older adults' risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, new research suggests. In a study of nearly 2,000 elderly Taiwanese men, researchers found that those given a potassium-enriched salt substitute were 40 percent less likely to die of heart disease or stroke over the next two to three years. The salt alternative, which was half sodium chloride, half potassium chloride, helped the men make a moderate cut in their sodium intake and a substantial increase in their potassium consumption. This potassium boost may have been largely responsible for the lower risk of cardiovascular death, the researchers conclude in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." (Reuters Health)

"Diagnosis: nation in good shape but at obesity risk" - "AUSTRALIANS are among the healthiest people in the world but an alarming rise in obesity and diabetes could lead to a drop in their life expectancy and place unprecedented pressure on an already stretched health system. A report on the nation's health showed death rates from cancer declined about 14 per cent between 1986 and 2004. The number of deaths caused by cardiovascular disease also fell. Life expectancy for Australians, at 78 years for males and 83 for females, is fifth in the world behind Japan, France, Switzerland and Italy." (The Australian)

"Defusing the War Over the 'Promiscuity' Vaccine" - "Viewpoint: The controversy over a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer is a sign of the deep suspicion on both sides of the cultural divide. It needn't be that way." (Nancy Gibbs, Time)

"More evidence breast implants pose no cancer risk" - "NEW YORK - A large study has found that women with breast implants show a lower-than-average risk of breast cancer, adding to evidence that silicone implants do not contribute to the disease. In a study of more than 24,000 women who underwent breast augmentation in the 1970s and 1980s, Canadian researchers found that the women had a 43 percent lower rate of breast cancer compared with the general population. They also showed a lower-than-average risk of developing cancer of any kind. The findings, published in the International Journal of Cancer, echo those of past studies showing that silicone-gel implants do not appear to be a cancer risk. A recent study of Danish women followed for up to 30 years found no evidence of a higher risk of any cancer among implant recipients." (Reuters Health)

"The Creation Myth" - "This June 22 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of one of the Twentieth Century's most far-sighted scientists. But Georges Lemaître, in addition to being a first-rate mathematician and physicist, was also a diocesan Catholic priest -- and in these days when religion and science are often hyped into starkly opposing sides, it's instructive to recall the man's extraordinary scientific achievement as well as his views on science and religion and the careful distinction he maintained between them." (John Farrell, TCS Daily)

"Scientists urge evolution lessons" - "The world's top scientists have joined forces to call for "evidence-based" teaching of evolution in schools. A statement signed by 67 national science academies says evidence on the origins of life is being "concealed, denied, or confused" in some classes. It lists key facts on evolution that "scientific evidence has never contradicted". These include the formation of Earth 4.5 billion years ago, and the onset of life at least 2.5 billion years ago." (BBC)

"Conservation will trump access at the national parks" - "Settling a long debate, the president puts nature's needs ahead of those of park visitors." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"South San Andreas Fault Set for Huge Quake - Study" - "LOS ANGELES/LONDON - The southern end of the San Andreas fault near Los Angeles, which has not had a major rupture for more than 300 years, is under immense stress and could produce a massive earthquake, a new study said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"New Mini Poll..." - "After much testing and searching, 'EnviroSpin' has, at last, a new Mini Poll service [with Pollhost]. This carries no adverts on the blog, but only on the results pages, and I approve entirely of Pollhost's policies, which reject web sites that exhibit racism, hatred, harassment, adult content, obscene material, nudity, and pornography. I thus feel confident that the advertising on this poll will prove acceptable for a Family Friendly site like 'EnviroSpin'." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Let a Hurricane Huff and Puff" - "After two years of horrendous hurricanes, coastal builders are finding eager buyers for their fortified houses." (New York Times)

"NAS Panel - What I’ll Be Looking For" - "The NAS Panel is scheduled to issue its report, "Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years" at 11 a.m. on Thursday. I suspect that many people would expect me to be worried about what the panel will say. Actually, I’m not worried in the slightest." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Confessions of an 'Exx-Con'" - "MediaMatters and The New Republic get the science of global warming wrong." (Robert L Pollock, Opinion Journal)

Further Evidence of the Biases in Surface Temperature Measurements At Poorly Sited Locations (Climate Science)

"ABC News begs: Send us 'global warming' evidence" - "As summer begins, network solicits reports from 'people coping with differences' daily" (WorldNetDaily.com)

"Al Gore and the Global Warming Scare" - "People are naturally prone to worry about dangers that are invisible: radioactivity, for one spectacular example. The media know this, and are forever trumpeting the discovery of new perils to scare us with. Hardly a week passes without someone announcing that some familiar food or other useful substance has just been discovered to cause cancer (though usually only when administered in huge doses to mice). Dangers associated with weather are special favorites because they are usually so difficult to cope with. In recent decades, we have been treated to alarmist reports about impending disasters to be caused by nuclear winter, acid rain and the ozone hole. But the Big Daddy of all such scare stories is "global warming." (William Rusher, Human Events)

Impact of Tropical Deforestation on Climate (Climate Science)

Doh! "New Science Shows Greenhouse Gases Under-Reported" - "LONDON - Many countries may be grossly underestimating the quantity of greenhouse gases they emit according to a new method of monitoring output, scientists said on Wednesday. The new "top-down" system measures the actual amount of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, compared with the traditional "bottom-up" method which estimates what is likely to be produced on the ground. The findings, still the subject of scientific debate, could destabilise the European Union's fledgling carbon trading system and have implications for the Kyoto treaty." (Reuters) | Methane emissions twice official level - study (The Guardian)

This is where a lot of miscommunication occurs in the "greenhouse debate" -- some very earnest and dedicated people make the error of assuming they are dealing with facts when reports are, in fact, the modern equivalent of readings of chicken entrails.

The silly thing is that the wrong questions are being asked. Rather than "how much are these countries emitting" to which the correct answer is "who knows?", the appropriate question is "could altering their emission levels predictably and measurably alter the climate?", to which the only honest answer is "no." Moreover, even if we could knowingly tweak response by adjusting emissions, how would we pick who to advantage and who to disadvantage? There is no "this way good, that way bad" knob to twist, what might be beneficial for one location probably will not be for another because the world is not uniform. More rain, for example, is good where there is a deficiency, not so where there is enough, bad where there is too much (to suit our particular purpose, anyway). Who gets to decide?

The funny thing about the current finger pointing is that methane levels appear to have stopped rising in the atmosphere towards the end of last century (as predicted by empiricists) and have been in apparent equilibrium for about a decade (so much for model-estimated exponential increase). With emissions going nowhere and irrelevant anyway, does it really matter whether the European guy with the red face mutters "It wasn't me!" or "Ce n'était pas moi!"?

"'Market Failure' Doesn't Exist" - "In a recent column in Canada’s National Post (June 10, 2006), “economist” and author Mark Jaccard of Simon Fraser University argued that (alleged) manmade global warming represents a “market failure” that must be corrected by government taxes on carbon dioxide emissions. Leaving aside the fact that there is no scientific evidence that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing harmful climate change and that environmentalists are notorious for arbitrary, scare-mongering assertions, there is no such thing as “market failure.” Like the unicorn, it doesn’t exist." (Glenn Woiceshyn, Capitalism Magazine)

<chuckle> "No Decision Made on German CO2 Plans - Ministry" - "FRANKFURT - Germany has not made a final decision on its carbon dioxide emissions quota for 2008-12, its environment ministry said on Wednesday, describing media speculation that it would set tougher targets as misleading." (Reuters)

Scammers always ready to play on emotions and ignorance: "FEATURE - From World Cup to World Bank, Climate Actions Rise" - "OSLO - The World Cup, a movie by former US Vice President Al Gore and the World Bank are all doing their bit to fight global warming by using the burgeoning but barely regulated business of "carbon neutrality." (Reuters)

"California Sets 'Clean Energy' Oil Tax on Ballot" - "LOS ANGELES - Californians will vote in November on a ballot measure proposing a constitutional amendment that would tax oil production to fund a range of alternative energy efforts, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"FEATURE - Green Investors Warned of 'Bubble' Risk" - "LONDON - Investors hoping to strike it rich while saving the planet risk losing everything in the rush to invest in "green" companies, analysts say. High oil prices, climate change and insecure supplies have sparked an explosion of companies seeking money to develop ways to ease the looming energy crisis. But some fear backers of growth firms on London's junior exchange, the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), could lose their shirts." (Reuters)

The risks are enormous here because the motivation is artificially contrived -- investors are flooding in to fill a perceived need, one that is the product of a scare campaign and media hype. Just remember that it is inevitable Earth's brief warming phase will end, probably before most of these schemes mature, and you don't want large holdings in "anti-warming" stocks when the planet is no longer warming.

"INDIA: Private Hydel Project on Naramda River Halted" - "NEW DELHI , Jun 20 - Once again, the government has been compelled to suspend work on the Maheshwar dam over the Narmada River in central India." (IPS)

"Duke Student's Study Touts Corn for Home Heating" - "Burned like wood, corn holds promise as a renewable, low-cost fuel that could help reduce carbon dioxide emissions." (Duke News)

"US Lawmakers Remove Roadblock to Mass. Wind Farm" - "WASHINGTON - US lawmakers Wednesday unveiled a deal that would allow the nation's first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts to proceed over the state governor's objections." (Reuters)

"Gorged on Subsidies" - "Yesterday's U.S.-EU summit did little to end the finger-pointing over which side of the Atlantic is holding up the Doha trade talks by refusing to budge on farm support. The blame game is so entrenched as the central story of the negotiations that an OECD report on rich-country agriculture policies, also released yesterday, may go largely unnoticed.

If so, that's too bad. The Paris-based outfit's study shows that many developed countries continue to milk their citizens -- both as taxpayers and consumers -- to prop up uncompetitive but coddled farmers.

The headline figure is the $280 billion, or €225 billion, that wealthy nations handed out to farmers in 2005. The, ahem, honor roll goes like this: The European Union spent the most on its farmers last year, $133.8 billion. Next was Japan at $47.4 billion, and then the U.S. at $42.7 billion. Those three account for four-fifths of the rich world's agricultural subsidies." (Wall Street Journal)

"NFU alarms organic farmers with genetically-modified crops co-existence policy" - "The NFU is embroiled in a row with farmers against the introduction of genetically modified crops after agreeing a policy statement on GM coexistence targets." (FWi)

June 21, 2006

"Uganda: NEMA denies sanctioning DDT" - "THE National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has denied sanctioning the use of DDT in the campaign to control malaria. In an interview yesterday, NEMA Executive Director Dr. Aryamanya Mugisha said the proposed spraying of DDT by the Ministry of Health would not be cleared until an environment impact assessment (EIA) is taken. Mugisha said they had ordered the ministry to undertake an EIA last year and that NEMA is still waiting for the report. Dr. Sam Okware, the acting director in charge of clinical and community health, reportedly said NEMA had cleared indoor spraying of DDT. “As far as NEMA is concerned, we are yet to receive the EIA report and it is not true that we have approved spraying of DDT,” said Mugisha." (New Vision)

"African health ministers to discuss DDT" - "Health ministers from different African countries are due to start a meeting in Congo Brazzaville on Wednesday this week to discuss the use of DDT in the fight against malaria." (AFM)

"Study looks at pesticide link with Parkinson's" - "Scientists have begun a three-year study aimed at establishing whether pesticides can cause Parkinson's disease as part of an attempt to assess the extent of long-term health risks from the chemicals." (The Guardian)

"An Updated Weight of the Evidence Evaluation of Reproductive and Developmental Effects of Low Doses of Bisphenol A" (.pdf) - "Summary: Bisphenol A (BPA) is used primarily as a building block to manufacture polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Human exposures to minute levels of BPA occur mostly through food contact products, as polycarbonate plastic is used in certain water bottles, baby bottles, and food containers, while epoxy resins are used to coat the interior surface of food and beverage cans. These exposures are well below the intake levels set by government bodies that are considered to be without harm.

For many years it has been known that BPA is weakly estrogenic. Although BPA exhibits generally low toxicity, considerable controversy has surrounded the so-called “low-dose hypothesis” that very low doses of BPA may act as a synthetic estrogen and cause adverse reproductive and developmental toxicity. Several years ago an expert scientific panel convened by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis to evaluate the weight of evidence supporting this hypothesis “found no consistent affirmative evidence of low-dose BPA effects for any endpoint.”

Since the April 2002 cut-off date for studies evaluated by the Harvard panel, numerous relevant studies have been published. We recently participated in an expert scientific panel that critically reviewed the new studies and reached an updated weight-of-the-evidence conclusion. The panel’s report has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology. (Goodman et al., 2006). As summarized below, the panel’s findings are consistent with the earlier Harvard study and government bodies worldwide—“Taken together, the weight of evidence does not support the hypothesis that low oral doses of BPA adversely affect human reproductive and developmental health.” (Risk Sciences Bulletin)

"Eminent domain surges after ruling" - "The Supreme Court's decision last year to allow cities and states to seize property for private development "opened the floodgates" to eminent domain actions nationwide, a report says." (Washington Times)

"Of lobsters and men" - "Two weeks ago in Hill v. McDonough TheSupreme court unanimously ruled that a death-row inmate may challenge in court, via the 1871 civil rights act (42 USC 1983), the cruel and unusual nature of the method of execution he is about to be subjected to. In that case the method was lethal injection. Last week, in a related case reported by the Associated Press, the natural-foods grocery chain Whole Foods Market has ruled that they will stop selling live lobsters and soft-shelled crabs "on the grounds that it's inhumane." They will, however, "continue to sell frozen, raw and cooked lobster products." According to the AP, animal-rights activists welcomed the decision." (Tony Blankley, Washington Times)

How sad... "Climate change may affect East Asia differently to North Atlantic nations, study suggests" - "The extreme effects of climate change on the world depicted in the US blockbuster movie The Day After Tomorrow may not be quite true where East Asia is concerned, according to a new study. In particular, the scene from the film depicting huge ice balls falling on Tokyo, causing death and destruction, is very unlikely. The research suggests that temperatures are unlikely to change as drastically in East Asia as they could do in countries bordering the North Atlantic, such as America and Great Britain. The study was led by Newcastle University, with partners in Germany and Japan*, and is published in the July issue of Geology, the journal from the Geological Society of America. Researchers studied the period from 16,000 - 10,000 years ago as they believe that climate change patterns experienced in that period are similar to those we are experiencing today. This is because then, as now, temperatures were gradually increasing from cold to warm." (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

... that researchers must frame possibly useful papers in the context of populist crap in order to have them noticed. What a depressing commentary on science and society. Still, it is much better than throwing tantrums before gullible media megaphones to garner front page coverage -- coverage which itself invalidates the very claims of censorship and enforced silence which garnered the coverage to begin with. Now Junk Science Joe is going to tub thump on the alleged issue. Wonder where all these "outraged" Democrats were when then-Senator Gore elevated intimidation of researchers and suppression of inconvenient science to a near-art form?

Junk Science Joe rides to the rescue: "Lieberman probes U.S. climate research row" - "WASHINGTON, June 20 -- Sen. Joseph Lieberman is probing allegations of U.S, government censorship in global warming research, GovExec.com reported this week. Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate has asked two federal offices to investigate media reports of agencies censoring climate change-related research and reports. In letters last week, Lieberman asked officials at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to investigate the role of official or unofficial guidance from the White House in the publication of scientific findings related to climate change, GovExec.com said." (UPI)

Another AGW disaster founders, wrecked on shoal of solid, investigative science (a.k.a. "sound science"): "New study finds multiple invasions increase green crab's Canadian range" - "The recent rapid expansion of the European green crab's range in the Canadian Maritimes had biologists wondering if global warming or an adaptation to cold was responsible. Using molecular tools, biologist Joe Roman, conducting research at Harvard University's Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, found that it was the injection of new lineages in northern Nova Scotia that was responsible for the crab's success in the north." (American Association for the Advancement of Science)

"EU, US to Agree 'Urgent' Action on Climate Change" - "BRUSSELS - The United States and the European Union, long at odds over the significance of climate change, will agree on Wednesday to act with "resolve and urgency" to reduce emissions of gases blamed for global warming." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Norway Sees North Sea as CO2 Dump, But Legal Hurdles" - "TRONDHEIM, Norway - The North Sea could be a vast dumping ground for carbon dioxide under a UN-led drive to slow global warming but high costs and legal barriers need to be overcome, Norway's oil minister said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

What do you call centrally controlled "free market mechanisms"? "Carbon Trust says EU should set minimum carbon price" - "LONDON - The European Union's carbon market should set a minimum price for pollution permits to send a firmer signal to industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the government-funded Carbon Trust said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

From CO2 Science this week:

Tick-Borne Diseases: Jumping to Climate Change Conclusions: Climate alarmists have a history of knee-jerk reactions to almost anything bad that happens, including increases in tick-borne diseases, blaming them on global warming. But can blame be that easily ascribed?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Dasuopu Glacier (Tibetan Plateau), Dunde Ice Cap (Tibetan Plateau), Guliya Ice Cap (Tibetan Plateau), Huascaran Glacier (Peru), Quelccaya Ice Cap (Peru), and Sajama Glacier (Bolivia).  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Herbivory (Woody Plants - Oak): Will oak trees experience more or less damage from herbivorous insects as the air's CO 2 content continues to climb ever higher?

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: Chairmaker's Bulrush, Saltmeadow Cordgrass, Unicellular Alga, and White Lupine.

Journal Reviews:
The Sun Never Rests: ... especially when it comes to controlling earth's climate.

Boreal Forests and Cloud Condensation Nuclei: What role do boreal forests play in the creation of cloud condensation nuclei? And what are the implications of this phenomenon?

Deaths Associated with Unseasonable Cold and Warmth in Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico: Which is worse: hot weather or cold weather? ... and accountings of which of these extremes often include deaths due to air pollution and respiratory epidemics?

CO 2 and Poison Ivy: How will the dermatitis-inducing plant and its impact on humanity be impacted by the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content?

Thermal Conditions at Major Coral Reef Sites Prior to the Late-20th-Century's "Unprecedented" Global Warming: Many such sites experienced even greater thermal stress prior to 1979 than they did subsequently. So why did their corals not bleach as badly - or at all - in those earlier years? (co2science.org)

"Call for 'safer' nuclear fuel" - "A LITTLE-known nuclear fuel that is safer and more environmentally friendly than uranium could be the solution for the future of Australian energy, according to a leading scientist. Sydney University nuclear physicist Dr Reza Hashemi-Nezhad said Australia was the world's richest source of thorium, which had all the benefits of uranium without some of its drawbacks." (News Limited)

"Addicted to Regulation: The real reason for America's foreign-oil dependence" - "In his State of the Union Address, President Bush said that "America is addicted to oil." But it would be more accurate to say that America is addicted to opportunity, and oil and its products help us seize it.

American oil consumption is indeed rising, from more than 15 million barrels a day in the early 1980s to more than 20 million today. It is likely to continue to increase--another 33% over the next 25 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy--because crude oil is a useful substance. Some 40% of our oil consumption is for cars and light trucks; 32% for buses, railroads, ships, trucks and agricultural machinery; and another 17% goes into petrochemicals to produce products from plastic to paint. These uses represent opportunities, not addictions.

The problem is that America's domestic petroleum production has significantly declined, from 10 million barrels a day in 1970 to about 5 million today. Our response has been increasing importation of oil, now more than 12 million barrels a day." (Pete du Pont, Wall Street Journal)

Uh-oh... "World CO2 Emissions to Rise 75 Pct by 2030 - EIA" - "NEW YORK - Global emissions of the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide will rise 75 percent from 2003 to 2030, with much of the growth coming from coal burning in developing countries, the US government forecast on Tuesday." (Reuters)

... good thing it has little to do with global temperature then.

"World oil demand 'to rise by 37%'" - "World demand for oil is set to increase 37% by 2030, according to the US-based Energy Information Administration's (EIA) annual report. Demand will hit 118 million barrels per day (bpd) from today's existing 86 million barrels, driven in large part by transport needs, the EIA said. But oil cartel Opec's supply share will fall from 39.7% to 38.4% as West Africa and the Caspian increase production. Higher demand is expected to come from Asia, especially India and China." (BBC)

"Rising Prices Seen Lowering World Oil Demand in Coming Decades" - "Washington -- A continued rise in prices is projected to dampen global demand for oil and spur use of more coal, natural gas and renewable energy over the next quarter century, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)." (Washfile)

"DuPont, BP link up for biofuels production" - "KANSAS CITY, Missouri - DuPont Co. and BP Plc on Tuesday said they were partnering to develop transportation biofuels that would help cut overall greenhouse gas emissions and reduce reliance on petroleum. The companies said they formed a 50-50 partnership with plans to roll out their first product, a gasoline bio-component called biobutanol, next year in Britain." (Reuters)

"Tough to reap the benefit of biofuel" - "Not long ago, politicians encountered ethanol only when sipping a dry martini. But now a combination of soaring petrol prices, fears over a reliance on Middle East oil and concern about global warming has led governments in Europe, America and Asia to promote alcohol as a fuel for cars. Wall Street is drunk on ethanol, pouring cash into constructing refineries and searching for any company that can claim a link to “green” fuels. Political leaders have been quick to offer their imprimatur. “Ethanol benefits a lot of folks,” US President George W. Bush told an audience this year at Johnson Controls, a car parts supplier. “Most importantly it benefits people who are driving cars.” But strip away the hoopla and it becomes clear that the benefits of this investment, both for the environment and for energy security, are being wildly overstated – because money is being poured into technologies likely to be outdated within a decade. Moreover, a big switch to biofuel with today’s technology would serve only to replace US and European dependence on foreign oil with a dependence either on foreign biofuels or foreign food. Neither is likely to gladden the hearts of national security hawks." (Financial Times)

"Brazil's Biodiesel Program May Have Found Its Way" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Less than a year ago, analysts were saying the Brazilian government's biodiesel program -- based on castorbean oil production to benefit poor family farms -- was a charitable thought but unviable." (Reuters)

"U.S. Hybrids Get More Miles Per Congress" - "EVER since the first Prius rolled off the assembly line almost a decade ago at the Takaoka plant not far from Toyota City, hybrid cars have basically been a luxury item. If you owned one, you could feel good about using less gasoline and being a trendsetter, but you couldn't expect the fuel savings to make up for the thousands of extra dollars that the hybrid cost. There was no financial reward for environmental virtue." (New York Times)

"FEATURE - Indian Plan to Dam Northeast Rivers Stirs Critics" - "GANGTOK, India - Ambitious plans to build dams and hydro power projects throughout the hills of India's remote northeast have trodden on some sensitive toes in the troubled region. The Indian government and the World Bank say there is enormous -- and so far unrealised -- potential to tap rivers throughout the eight northeastern states. The projects could generate around 60,000 MW of power -- which is double India's current hydro output and more than half of today's total generating capacity -- while the country's demand for energy is growing rapidly." (Reuters)

"World's largest solar plant planned in Bay Area" - "A Palo Alto company has decided to build the world's largest factory for making solar power cells in the Bay Area -- a move that would nearly triple the nation's solar manufacturing capacity and give a significant boost to a growing source of clean energy." (Mercury News)

"Doha Held Hostage" - "Why are India and Brazil pushing for an ineffective approach to delivering benefits to owners of biological resources?" (Alan Oxley, TCS Daily)

June 20, 2006

"Uganda: Pro DDT Use NGO Petitions Museveni" - "Congress of Racial Equality, an NGO which supports the use of DDT in the fight against malaria, has petitioned President Yoweri Museveni to support their move. The NGO supports the use of DDT through indoor residual spraying. In a petition dated June 6 and signed by the Coordinator, Ms Fiona Kobusingye, the NGO said those against the use of DDT do not care about the thousands of Ugandans being killed by malaria each day." (The Monitor (Kampala))

"Nigeria: Doctors Disagree with International Anti-Malaria Strategy" - "Health professionals are ignoring the recommendations of the Federal Government and the World Health Organisation by continuing to rely on Chloroquine, a drug experts say malaria has become resistant." (AFM)

"World’s poorest countries see some growth but poverty rates persist – UN report" - "19 June 2006 – An increase in development aid since 2002 has raised health and education standards and hastened gender equality among the world’s poorest nations but overall poverty rates are not improving, according to a new United Nations report released today." (UN News)

"Big business — it's mankind's biggest boon" - "If large corporations are greedy and dishonest, who is banishing poverty and drudgery from the world?

THE SPORT OF THE season is beating up corporations. Every month it seems a new movie comes out to slate them. Most famous of the genre was Super Size Me, but there were The Corporation and Syriana among others, and the latest is Thank You for Smoking. Someone whose view was entirely shaped by such presentations would have acquired a very firm view about what corporations were like and how they behaved. They would deduce that all of them were rapacious and dishonest, bent on screwing every last penny out of a gullible public they despise.

The current fad for “corporate social responsibility” carries with it the not-too-subtle message that corporations left to themselves are not socially responsible. Some pressure groups, including Christian Aid and War on Want, have joined with trade unions and other vested interests to establish the “Corporate Responsibility Coalition” (Core) to lobby for laws restricting the way that businesses operate overseas. Given the known anti-business stance of many of them, including full-page ads depicting business as a suit-clad pig riding on the back of a peasant, this is hardly a surprise." (Madsen Pirie, The Times)

"Finding green in the concrete jungle" - "Apart from a few lower members of the animal kingdom, no-one other than human beings build cities. They are totally artificial constructs and in them we live artificial lives. We travel differently, eat different food, receive water and energy through pipes and wires, live in different kinds of buildings, do different jobs. All of these things come with an environmental price-tag. Given that the world's urban population is expanding at such a rate, it is worth asking what are the numbers on that price-tag, and whether they are higher or lower than the environmental cost of living a rural life." (BBC)

It's a matter of development -- the more developed the nation (read: "the greater their wealth generation"), the nicer environment the society can, and does, afford. See the Beeb's footnote graphic, "Polluted Cities" and note that New York (those "dirty Americans") accommodate more people than Delhi but with significantly better air quality. The difference is not population or ratio of urban living, it's development and wealth generation.

"Robust economy = robust giving" - "Disasters heightened needs in 2005, but latest figures show that 'donor fatigue' did not occur." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Supreme Court splits over protecting wetlands" - "The Clean Water Act might not prevent building on them." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Parsing the Waters" - "The Supreme Court tiptoed up to the edge of a landmark property-rights ruling yesterday, but in the end it merely dipped a toe in the water without deciding whether to jump in or not.

The vote in the case left little room for doubt about the reason for the Court's indecision -- his name is Justice Anthony Kennedy. The Court split, in effect, 4-1-4 in Rapanos v. U.S., which covered two separate cases concerning federal jurisdiction over "wetlands" under the Clean Water Act. Mr. Rapanos had filled a wetland that was essentially a drainage ditch without a permit back in 1989. Five years later, the government filed suit against him. Mr. Rapanos lost, and that decision was upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court vacated that decision Monday and sent it back to the lower courts to try again. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for four of the Justices, clearly would have gone farther in reining in the expansive interpretations of the Clean Water Act that have taken hold over the last three decades. Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, the definition of "navigable waters" can now include puddles and drainage ditches and has turned the law-abiding likes of Mr. Rapanos into wetlands desperadoes." (Wall Street Journal)

"Hope for future of giant panda" - "Fears that the giant panda is on the brink of extinction may be unjustified, research suggests." (BBC)

Bet the WWF won't give your money back though.

"Chocolate set to conquer the heath-food market" - "ZURICH - The ancient Mayan and Aztec people believed that chocolate increased wisdom, energy, vitality, and sexual power, but in the intervening centuries it has been recategorised as an unhealthy indulgence. Now the world's biggest industrial chocolate maker, Barry Callebaut, is rediscovering the medicinal properties of the cocoa bean and using them to produce "healthy chocolate". For those who think the only health benefit of chocolate comes from remembering Valentine's Day, Hans Vriens, Barry Callebaut's chief innovation officer, has a few welcome surprises up his sleeve." (Reuters)

"Children 'face obesity timebomb'" - "A survey of children's favourite foods showed some contain double the recommended dose of salt or fat." (BBC)

"Europe: Consumer health: Food fears"  -"Despite ongoing criticism, food companies are still not taking health issues seriously, according to a new report

With public health officials increasingly concerned about the “obesity epidemic”, investors worried that healthy eating habits could dent food profits, and the media on a warpath about the dangers of fat, salt and sugar, the food industry might be expected to have something to say about diet, nutrition and exercise. But a new report concludes largely the opposite.

The 80-page study, by three academics at London’s City University, finds that many of the world’s top 25 manufacturers, retailers and food service companies provide little or no information on health issues in their annual reports, accounts, or Web sites." (EthicalCorp.com)

Small World & Big People (Briscoe)

It's only a game... "Doctors probe heart attack risk for soccer fans" - "COLOGNE - World Cup soccer causes joy and despair and even ends marriages but now doctors are studying whether the thrill of it all can be literally heart stopping. Previous research during international soccer tournaments has found an increase in the general incidence of heart attacks, particularly on days when tense matches have had fans on the edge of their seats." (Reuters)

Middle-class panics from MMR to 'global warming'... (EnviroSpin Watch)

'Sceptical Landscapes' back on air... (EnviroSpin Watch)

Why not, just about every other risk is so claimed:) "Global Warming Claimed to Increase Asteroid Risk" - "University of Michigan scientists have claimed that global warming causes an increased risk of asteroids striking the Earth, due to expansion of the atmosphere outward into space making the Earth a bigger "target." (ecoEnquirer)

A complete list of things caused by global warming (Number Watch)

"Americans Concerned Over Climate Change" - "Many adults in the United States are worried about global warming, according to a poll by Hart/McInturff released by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News. 29 per cent of respondents think climate change is a serious problem that requires immediate action, and 30 per cent feel there is enough evidence that global warming is taking place and some action should be taken." (Angus Reid Global Scan)

Naked misanthropy: "Cut fuel use and curb population" - "As summer approaches, global warming has vaulted into the news, thanks to the release of "An Inconvenient Truth," in which former Vice President Al Gore raises the alarm about the impact of carbon emissions on our planet. Every day we read reports about fuel-efficient cars, wind turbines and emerging high-tech energy solutions. All seek to cut carbon emissions. Yet, apart from Gore's own candid comments, there is near-total silence about the role of global population growth and the need for population stabilization. Serious discussion of population stabilization was absent from international climate meetings in both Kyoto and Montreal, and from almost every other public forum." (John Seager, Sitnews)

"An Inconvenient Paranoia" - "Observers of contemporary society will surely have noted that a liberal is far more likely to fear global warming than a conservative. Why is this?" (Dennis Prager, FrontPageMagazine.com)

Complexity of Current Glacial Advance and Retreat (Climate Science)

"Tropical forest CO2 emissions tied to nutrient increases" - "Extra helpings of key nutrients given to tropical rain forest soils caused them to release substantially more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a concern to scientists monitoring global change, says a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

The study showed when either phosphorus or nitrogen -- both of which occur naturally in the rain forest soils -- were added to forest plots in Costa Rica, they caused soil microbes to increase their CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by about 20 percent annually, said Cory Cleveland of CU's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

The study is important because human activities are changing the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen in ecosystems all over the globe, including the tropics, Cleveland said. Tropical rain forests play a dominant role on Earth in regulating atmospheric CO2, the primary greenhouse gas that has increased by roughly 33 percent since the Industrial Revolution began about 1760." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Global warming affects bird migration" - "Australia's migratory birds are arriving earlier and leaving later - most likely due to global warming, a new study has found." (AAP)

"Next Victim of Warming: The Beaches" - "NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — When scientists consider the possible effects of global warming, there is a lot they don't know. But they can say one thing for sure: sea levels will rise." (New York Times)

"INTERVIEW - CO2 Storage Grows; No 'Silver Bullet' for Climate" - "TRONDHEIM, Norway - Energy firms are stepping up projects to bury greenhouse gases but storage will not be a silver bullet to stop global warming, an International Energy Agency (IEA) expert said on Monday. Capturing and pumping heat-trapping carbon dioxide underground costs too much to make sense for most industries at about US$35-$55 a tonne, Kelly Thambimuthu, chairman of the IEA's greenhouse gas technologies research programme, told Reuters." (Reuters)

"Europe's Green Image Clashes With Coal Reliance" - "SCHWARZE PUMPE, Germany — In the shadow of two hulking boilers, which spew 10 million tons of carbon dioxide a year into the air, the Swedish owners of this coal-fired power station recently broke ground on what is to be the world's first carbon-free plant fueled by coal. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, presided over the ceremony. "We accept the problem of climate change," said Reinhardt Hassa, a senior executive at Vattenfall, which operates the plant. "If we want a future for coal, we have to adopt new technologies. It is not enough just to make incremental improvements." But the new plant, which will be just a demonstration model, pales next to the eight coal-fired power stations Germany plans to build for commercial use between from now to 2011 — none of them carbon-free." (New York Times)

"New Mexico: 2030 target for fossil fuel independence" - "New Mexico is spearheading a national effort to redefine building standards so that they reduce emissions linked to global warming. The "2030 Challenge" is a national initiative backed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The challenge seeks to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings and to make all buildings completely independent of fossil-fuel energy by the year 2030." (New Mexico Business Weekly)

"Canadian Oil Sands Joins Canada Southern Battle" - "CALGARY, Alberta - Canadian Oil Sands Trust , owner of the biggest interest in the Syncrude Canada oil sands venture, launched a US$146-million bid for Canada Southern Petroleum Ltd. Monday, joining the rush to stake claims on its vast Arctic natural gas deposits." (Reuters)

"Ghana Confident China to Finance US$600 Million Dam" - "ACCRA - China is likely to finance a US$600 million hydroelectric dam in northern Ghana which could boost the West African country's gold and iron ore industries, officials said during a visit by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao." (Reuters)

What? "Tried, tested and failed" - "Nuclear power is now so discredited that even the World Bank won't lend money to build reactors." (Chris Huhne, The Guardian)

"Scary Food" (.pdf) - "Like a scene from some Hollywood thriller, a team of U.S. Marshals stormed a warehouse in Irvington, New Jersey, last summer to intercept a shipment of evildoers from Pakistan. The reason you probably haven’t heard about the raid is that the objective was not to seize Al Qaeda operatives or white slavers, but $80,000 worth of basmati rice contaminated with weevils, beetles, and insect larvae, making it unfit for human consumption. In regulation-speak, the food was “adulterated,” because “it consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance, or if it is otherwise unfit for food.” (Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller, Policy Review)

Today's moonbattery: "Mass medication with Omega 3 would wipe out global fish stocks" - "Our children need their fatty acids, but after we have fed our stocks to cattle and pigs there simply aren't enough left." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

So George, does this mean you'll be dropping your absurd anti-biotech stance then?

"We cannot allow the terrorists to terrorise us" - "Scientific research shouldn't be halted simply because it might fall into the wrong hands, says Ross Anderson" (The Guardian)

"One in two Europeans believe biotech will improve quality of life; Majority oppose GM" - "Fifty two percent of those polled in the latest Eurobarometer survey on biotechnology, published today, indicated a belief that biotechnology will improve their quality of life. The Eurobarometer “Europeans and biotechnology in 2005” shows that most Europeans are in favour of medical (red) applications of biotechnology when there are clear benefits for human health; and industrial (white) applications, but they are still mostly sceptical about agricultural (green) biotech, and will continue to be so unless new crops and products are seen to have consumer benefits." (Chechbiotech)

"GM cereal resists heat to boost nutrition" - "Scientists have genetically modified wheat and barley so the seeds still contain an important nutritional enzyme after cooking. The enzyme phytase helps people absorb zinc and iron and the researchers say the plants could be used to alleviate dietary mineral deficiency, which affects 2-3 billion people worldwide, primarily in developing countries. In wheat, phytase looses its effectiveness at 63 degrees Celcius." (SciDev.Net)

June 19, 2006

"At its core, capitalism is only way to end poverty" - "IN the past 50 years, global business has been the superhero of the world’s poor, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. China was once the deathbed of the world, seeing 70m people murdered under Mao and most of the rest living in abysmal and worsening conditions; now it enjoys double-digit growth. From India to Vietnam, historically unprecedented progress is occurring thanks to the spread of capitalism in a process which will one day be remembered as the greatest episode of poverty alleviation in human history." (Alex Singleton, The Business Online)

World Bank incompetence and malpractice (Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes, CFP)

"UN Bashing is Hardly Enough" - "United Nations deputy secretary-general Mark Malloch Brown has a singular view of what constitutes international diplomacy. He said in a speech recently that the American public is ignorant of the importance and effectiveness of the UN because of the U.S. government's tolerance of "too much unchecked UN-bashing and stereotyping." By whom? "Much of the public discourse that reaches the U.S. heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News," according to Malloch Brown.

In fact, during its six decades, the overall record of the United Nations has been so rife with failure, corruption and incompetence -- to say nothing of poor judgment, rudeness and condescension, as exemplified by Mr. Malloch Brown -- that it deserves to be disdained." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Uganda: NEMA okays DDT use against Malaria" - "ENVIRONMENT watchdog NEMA has approved DDT for indoor residual spraying to fight malaria. Dr. Sam Okware, the acting director in-charge of clinical and community health, yesterday said a NEMA Environment Impact Assessment found out that indoor DDT spraying had no negative impact on the environment. “We have been cleared by NEMA. What is remaining is the resources for us to buy DDT and we start spraying immediately,” Okware said." (New Vision)

"Rat Study Shows Dirty Better Than Clean" - "WASHINGTON -- Gritty rats and mice living in sewers and farms seem to have healthier immune systems than their squeaky clean cousins that frolic in cushy antiseptic labs, two studies indicate. The lesson for humans: Clean living may make us sick.

The studies give more weight to a 17-year-old theory that the sanitized Western world may be partly to blame for soaring rates of human allergy and asthma cases and some autoimmune diseases, such as Type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The theory, called the hygiene hypothesis, figures that people's immune systems aren't being challenged by disease and dirt early in life, so the body's natural defenses overreact to small irritants such as pollen." (AP)

"White, middle-class, loving mums. And their stupidity could kill your child" - "It isn’t enough that my daughter has had her MMR jab. Her friends must have them too." (Cristina Odone, The Times)

More mercury mania: "Cheating with mercury cheats us of our health" - "Conservatives' Rona Ambrose has the authority to force the provinces to adhere to a stricter set of emissions rules and must act now to curb dirty power producers, writes Albert Koehl" (Toronto Star)

"New Urban Designs Sought in Obesity Fight" - "DENVER -- It'll take more than public service campaigns to solve the nation's obesity problem, according to fitness experts who say neighborhoods must be designed so people can get around without their cars. Virtually everything American society has done for the past 100 years has made it easier for us to be fatter, said James Sallis, a San Diego State University psychology professor, and others who gathered recently at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting. ''We've built an unhealthy world in a lot of different ways,'' said Sallis, who was once dubbed an ''obesity warrior'' by Time magazine. Sallis contends change will come only when the public demands walkable development, more federal money for parks and bike paths and even a tax on industries that promote sedentary lifestyles (he pointed to video game makers, movie theater chains and even electric Segway scooters)." (AP)

Funny how wannabe social engineers always consider gummint involvement and increased taxes must be good for you. It should be quite gratifying to James Sallis that there is some apparent empathy for his aspirations in this office -- the general consensus being that he should "take a hike!"

"Sunscreens Faulted on Cancer Protection" - "Think slathering on the highest-number sunscreen at the beach or pool will spare you skin cancer and premature wrinkles? Probably not, if you're in the sun a lot. That's because you don't need a sunburn to suffer the effects that can cause various types of skin cancer." (AP)

Small World Cartoons This is the sort of thing that really annoys adherents of the Montreal Protocol -- while there are a couple of researchers claiming otherwise it is usually UVA (ultraviolet radiation in the 320-400 nanometer [nm] band) that is considered the culprit in cancer-precipitating DNA changes in the skin of [heavily] sun-exposed individuals and UVA is unaffected by stratospheric ozone. This and the fact that life flourishes in the tropics, where stratospheric ozone levels are never high and where solar radiation bombardment is roughly 1,000 times higher than that received in the region of the Antarctic Ozone Anomaly (the so-called "ozone hole"), are some of the reasons we tend to rubbish Ozone Al and the "ozone depletion" circus. See The "Ozone Layer" - what's going on? for more on the seasonality and variability of the conceptual "ozone layer".

Political ecology and environmentalism: Marxism through the back door... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Climate consensus and the end of science" - "It is now firmly established, repeated ad nauseam in the media and elsewhere, that the debate over global warming has been settled by scientific consensus. The subject is closed. It seems unnecessary to labour the point, but here are a couple of typical statements: "The scientific consensus is clear: human-caused climate change is happening" (David Suzuki Foundation); "There is overwhelming scientific consensus" that greenhouse gases emitted by man cause global temperatures to rise (Mother Jones)." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Proof? Too late" - "On June 12, 1992, President George H.W. Bush, appearing at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, signed the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. It set the goal of averting "dangerous" human interference with the climate system." (Elizabeth Kolbert, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

"Too much Gore" - "Reviews by Democrat activists of "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's documentary on global warming: raves on content, not so favorable on the principal actor." (Robert Novak, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Uh-huh... "Scientists Spotlight Arctic Warming, Plight of Polar Bears" - "A climate scientist at the University of Chicago and 30 of her colleagues from across North America and Europe are urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the polar bear as a threatened species because global warming is melting its sea-ice habitat." (Newswise)

The Week That Was June 17, 2006 (SEPP)

Arctic Tree-line and the Polar Front: Guest Weblog by Professor Harvey Nichols (Climate Science)

"Hot Air" - "A study purporting to show man-made global warming affecting atmospheric circulation is dubious." (Anthony Lupo, TCS Daily)

"The Truth About Tuvalu" (.pdf) - "A New Zealand climate scientist and a Pacific Island writer give assurances Tuvalu is not sinking." (ClimateScience.org.nz)

"Quebec Carbon Tax Plan Pressures Ottawa Over Kyoto" - "OTTAWA - Canada's French-speaking province of Quebec plans to bring in a carbon tax to help meet its targets under the Kyoto protocol, putting more political pressure on a federal Conservative government that dislikes the international climate change accord." (Reuters)

"NZ: Shrinking forests hit Kyoto aims" - "The country's forest estate could shrink by up to 7000ha this year, making it even more difficult for the Government to meet its Kyoto Protocol obligations. Forestry companies spoken to last week said they were not planting any new areas while 9000ha of Canterbury forestry was in the process of being converted to pasture and 30,000ha in the central North Island from trees to dairy farms. Ernslaw One Otago regional manager Phil Delamare said the net effect was an expected 7000ha decline in the nation's exotic forest plantation. Last year the area of forestry shrunk by 1000ha, the first time in two decades more land was taken out of forestry than planted in trees." (New Zealand Herald)

"Finland, Spain to Miss EU Carbon Emissions" - "LONDON - Finland and Spain confirmed on Friday they would miss the end-June deadline to submit proposed caps on their greenhouse gas emissions under the European Union emissions trading scheme, designed to combat climate change." (Reuters)

Scam of the moment: "Rhodia's CO2 Credit Trading Venture Draws Interest" - "PARIS - Rhodia's yet to be completed carbon dioxide credits trading joint venture with Societe Generale is drawing lots of interest from potential customers, as CO2 is gaining ground as a commodity." (Reuters)

"Bank of NY Spawns Voluntary CO2 Registry - Sources" - "NEW YORK - The Bank of New York Co. has created a registry it hopes will ease and increase trade in the growing global market for voluntary greenhouse gas credits, sources at the company said on Friday." (Reuters)

"China Aims to Limit New Projects to Cool Growth" - "BEIJING - China has called on local authorities around the country to control new projects, newspapers reported on Saturday, as the government tries to restrain breakneck growth." (Reuters)

"FEATURE - Proposed Dams to be Chile's Next Environment Battle" - "RIO BAKER, Chile - On the banks of the Rio Baker, Cecilio Olivares worries his days of guiding tourists on horseback through the magnificent Patagonian scenery could be over if power companies build a series of dams on the striking, turquoise-coloured river." (Reuters)

"China to Fill Cars With Cassava Ethanol" - "BEIJING - China, trying to cut dependence on imported oil, will use cassava-based ethanol fuel for cars in the southern region Guangxi in 2007, state media said on Friday. The region will build ethanol plants with a combined annual capacity of 1.0 million tonnes to deal with a fuel shortage, Xinhua news agency quoted Pan Wenfeng, an official with the Guangxi development and reform commission, as saying." (Reuters)

"Demand for Ethanol Aggravates Pain at the Pump" - "Ethanol has been touted by President Bush and others as a possible long-term cure for Americans' addiction to fossil fuels, especially expensive gasoline. But right now it is pushing pump prices higher in the U.S.

Ethanol, a plant-based fuel, is being used in the U.S. primarily as an additive to blend with gasoline in proportions of up to 10%, not as an outright substitute. Demand for ethanol as an additive has caused its price to soar about 65% since early May to around $4.50 a gallon in U.S. spot markets, according to the Oil Price Information Service. That makes it far more expensive than gasoline, which costs about $2.90 a gallon at the pump on average, according to the AAA driving club.

At service stations across the U.S., the gasoline that drivers pump into their cars is up to 10% ethanol.

Analysts say this has set up a lesson straight out of the Economics 101 textbook: If you add an ingredient to a product that is pricier than the product itself, in effect, you're driving up the price of the product." (Wall Street Journal)

"Demise of grocery-store lobsters renews animal welfare debate" - "ATLANTA – Unceremoniously, Whole Foods Markets, the largest natural-foods chain in the world, pulled its lobsters from their tanks last week and boiled them all. For the influential grocer, it was the final lobsterbake. After an eight-month inquiry, Whole Foods decided that keeping live lobsters in tanks for long periods does not jibe with its stated values promoting the proper care and welfare of food animals. Ethicists and marketers see the decision as a bold move - one sure to spark more discussion among grocers about the merits and demerits of the lobster tank, which has been the target of a Lobster Liberation campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Safeway, with some 1,700 stores in the US and Canada, last month became the first grocer to drain its tanks and stop selling live lobsters." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Chinese Animal Rights Protest Shuts Restaurant" - "BEIJING - Banner-wielding animal rights protesters swarmed into a restaurant serving cat meat in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and forced it to shut, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday. The 40 or so, mainly female demonstrators -- holding banners reading "cats and dogs are friends of human beings" -- entered the Fangji Cat Meatball restaurant and demanded the owner free any live cats on the premises, Xinhua said." (Reuters)

"Backstory: Accidental tourist on the run" - "Cute, but no longer a fashion statement, the prolific and environmentally destructive nutria is the focus of wildlife officials from coast to coast." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Norway to House Seeds in Doomsday Vault" - "OSLO, Norway—It sounds like something from a science fiction film—a doomsday vault carved into a frozen mountainside on a secluded Arctic island ready to serve as a Noah's Ark for seeds in case of a global catastrophe. But Norway's ambitious project is on its way to becoming reality Monday when construction begins on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, designed to house as many as 3 million of the world's crop seeds. Prime ministers of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland were to attend the cornerstone ceremony on Monday morning near the town of Longyearbyen in Norway's remote Svalbard Islands, roughly 620 miles from the North Pole." (Associated Press)

"Oranges to oranges" - "Organic produce may not be any healthier than the conventional kind. As the organic food movement goes mainstream, critics question whether consumers are getting what they pay for." (Boston Globe)

"Toyota's 'Green' Efforts Extend to Cow Dung" - "TOKYO - When it comes to saving the planet, Toyota Motor Corp. seems to be leaving no stone unturned. Nor, as it turns out, any pile of cow dung. The world's number-two car maker said on Friday it had co-developed a cutting-edge composting ingredient and process that drastically reduce nitrous oxide, methane and other greenhouse gases, as well as offensive odours produced by livestock waste -- part of its efforts to clean the environment." (Reuters)

Tofu good -- unless you grow it: "BRAZIL: Soy Exporters in Greenpeace's Sights" - "TORONTO - Financed by huge U.S. agribusiness corporations like Cargill, soybean farming is now one of the primary drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, charge activists from the environmental watchdog group Greenpeace, which is leading an international campaign against unregulated, unsustainable soybean cultivation." (Tierramérica)

"In Amazon, Soy Shows Potential Despite Curbs on Deforestation" - "SÃO PAULO -- Good river transportation and high productivity bodes well for soy's future in the Amazon, even as moves to curb deforestation in the region gain more prominence world-wide. The Brazilian government is organizing more federal departments to monitor illegal Amazon deforestation, relieving pressure on the Brazilian Environmental Institute, which used to handle the duties alone. Deforestation has slowed as a result, according to Brazil's National Space Studies Institute. "The goal in the Amazon region now is to make those properties that are already deforested and farming become more productive rather than more expansive," said Alfredo Homma, a researcher at the government-owned crop science institute, Embrapa." (Wall Street Journal)

"Grumble in the jungle" - "Palm oil is everywhere. It's in lipstick and horseradish sauce, Jammie Dodgers and margarine and shoe polish. It's in shampoo. It's in TV dinners. Throw a stick of celery in your local supermarket and you've got a 10 per cent chance of hitting something with palm oil in it. Tortilla chips? Hazelnut spread? Cornish pasties? That's three out of three. Often - in a packet of crisps or a tub of ice cream or a dozen jam tarts - it will come disguised as 'vegetable oil'. Chocolate bars are famous for their 'vegetable oil'. A few weeks ago, Friends of the Earth campaigners picketed a meeting of Cadbury Schweppes shareholders, demanding that the company come clean about precisely this kind of ambiguous labelling. If it's palm oil, we want to know where you got it, they said. This is a new thing. What once seemed an innocent cloak of neutrality has assumed an air of deceit. The reason for this is that the magic ingredient has gone bad." (The Observer)

"Green to the Gills" - "Is there a way to farm-raise fish that helps to save the oceans?" (New York Times)

"Food safety body will work closely with EU on GMOs" - "PARMA, Italy - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) aims to improve cooperation with European Union countries over the controversial issue of genetically modified (GMO) products, EFSA officials said on Friday. The EU's 25 member states are divided over whether to approve the gene-altered products for import and development. Many European consumers are sceptical about GMO products, but the biotech industry says they are safe. EFSA, EU's leading food safety agency, has been criticised this year by some EU commissioners for ignoring opinions of national authorities on risk assessment of pending new GMO authorisations, and for relying on short-term data provided by the biotech industry." (Reuters)

"China prudent in GM farm produce sales" - "China is prudent in developing genetically modified (GM) farm produce but it will keep working in bio-engineering for agriculture, said an agricultural official at a forum on food safety held in Harbin on Saturday." (Xinhua)

June 16, 2006

"Trans Fat Lawsuit Against KFC Based on Thin Science" - "The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sued fast food purveyor KFC this week claiming the food chain’s use of cooking oil containing trans fats is unhealthy. Although KFC said the lawsuit was frivolous and plans to fight it in court, it’s not clear that KFC understands how frivolous the lawsuit really is." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"S. Africa says DDT helping to slash malaria rate" - "CAPE TOWN - South Africa's use of controversial pesticide DDT has helped it achieve a huge reduction in malaria cases over the past five years, the health minister said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Uganda: Malaria Prevention, Control Using Residual Spraying" - "There have been several articles about indoor residual spraying in the media and in particular the use of dichoro-diphenyl-trichoro-ethane (DDT)." (The Monitor (Kampala))

"Environmental Hazards Cause Unnecessary Disease - WHO" - "GENEVA - Preventable environmental hazards from dirty water to use of toxic substances in the home cause 13 million deaths worldwide each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Potentially 1000s of 'brain drain' scientists would help home countries if system to do so created" - "Potentially thousands of expatriate scientists and academics from developing countries would willingly contribute to scientific development and innovation in their countries of origin if simply there were effective mechanisms created to help do so. And researchers say industrialized countries that profit enormously from the "brain drain" should lead the establishment of those mechanisms to everyone's mutual benefit, -- the benefits for industrialized countries including strengthened science links between North and South, improved international competitiveness and greater productivity." (University of Toronto Joint Center for Bioethics)

"Misplaced autism worries fuel measles outbreak" - "England is experiencing its biggest measles outbreak in 20 years, fuelled by the reluctance of some parents to have their children immunised because of now-discredited claims of a link between the MMR jab and autism." (The Guardian)

"Proposed changes to obesity guidelines may harm children in the US" - "New guidelines on obesity in the U.S. may end up harming children, says an article in this week's BMJ. And an accompanying article goes on to question the financial links between the organisation promoting these proposals and the pharmaceutical industry. If implemented, the proposals would see many more children classified as overweight or obese - and thus eligible for treatment with obesity drugs." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Radical moves to tackle obesity crisis: Advertising ban may be widened and supermarkets and GPs enlisted" - "Controls on junk food advertising could be extended to websites, text messaging, computer games, cinemas and posters under radical plans being drawn up by the government, the Guardian has learned. Ministers fear that plans to clamp down solely on TV advertising would be undermined without a more ambitious approach and are putting together a range of measures to tackle the problem. They plan to encourage shops and supermarkets to offer extra loyalty card bonus points to customers buying healthy foods low in salt, sugar and fat. And GPs may be monitored to see whether they are prioritising obesity among children." (The Guardian)

"World Cup is rapped over sponsors" - "World Cup bosses, and the UK's Football Association, have been criticised for accepting sponsorship from companies selling "unhealthy" food and drink. Public health doctors, writing in the Lancet, questioned the inclusion of companies such as Budweiser and McDonald's as FIFA official partners. And they express concern over the FA's links with similar companies." (BBC)

Oh boy... "Safe zone" - "IT was one of the original depressing findings that gave the impression that everything was toxic. In the 1980s, scientists announced that the ozone layer shielding Earth from ultraviolet rays was disappearing. Chlorofluorocarbons — wafting from countless air conditioners, refrigerators and deodorant cans — had gnawed a huge hole in our atmospheric shield. Nineteen years later, there's excellent news: Human actions have helped the ozone layer heal." (Houston Chronicle)

Don't know what it was. Don't know what it "should" be. Can't find evidence of any contemporary change indicating humans might be "fixing" it. Don't even have any idea on whether it's even broken. Annually we suffer through competing press releases "informing" us that, on the one hand, the zone layer is "getting better" and, on the other, that there's a "record" seasonal Antarctic Anomaly and that it will be at least another 50 years before it "heals" because things are "much worse than we thought". What a crock! Check out how variable and seasonal the conceptual "ozone layer" really is here. Risks to Patagonian sheep and backyard rabbits were never more than figments of Ozone Al's fevered imagination.

"Gore preaches green gospel to Canadians" - "MONT-TREMBLANT, QUE. -- Al Gore heard yesterday from current and former Liberal MPs about the direction the Harper government is taking on the issue of climate change. The former U.S. vice-president, who is on a campaign to address the climate-change crisis, was in this Laurentian resort town to speak at Canada 2020, a conference to look at progressive approaches to public policy." (Globe and Mail)

Holy Smoke and Mirrors (Cox & Forkum)

"When Science Is Used For Political Ends" - "When science is used to achieve a political goal, it is no longer science. It may resemble it, but that is where the relationship ends. In a dramatic story being published across the globe this week, we are told that polar bears are eating each other because of global warming and that this behaviour is unprecedented. Historical evidence and past studies show this to be an outright lie." (John Lawrence, ConservativeJoe.com)

"Arctic ice melt is inevitable, scientists warn: Plan now for future summer navigation in the Northwest Passage, panel advises" - "OTTAWA -- Arctic scientists say Canada must develop policies now to deal with the Northwest Passage when it becomes ice-free. A panel of Canadian and U.S. scientists said yesterday it's inevitable that the melting of Arctic ice will open the passage for summer marine navigation, leading to new worries ranging from controlling pollution to halting smuggling. Experts may still disagree about whether the thaw is part of a natural cycle or the result of human activity causing climate change, said John Falkingham, the chief of ice forecasting services for Environment Canada. But there is no doubt what's happening." (Globe and Mail)

Hmm... could happen, we guess. After all, the last seven centuries or so have been the coldest sustained period of the Holocene, at least in the Arctic region -- or so indicates the GISP2 ice core data. And a recovery from such harsh conditions would make the region somewhat more life-friendly.

Oops! Never mind... "Arctic dips as global waters rise" - "Arctic sea level has been falling by a little over 2mm a year - a movement that sets the region against the global trend of rising waters. A Dutch-UK team made the discovery after analysing radar altimetry data gathered by Europe's ERS-2 satellite. It is well known that the world's oceans do not share a uniform height; but even so, the scientists are somewhat puzzled by their results. Global sea level is expected to keep on climbing as the Earth's climate warms. To find the Arctic out of step, even temporarily, emphasises the great need for more research in the region, the team says." (BBC)

"Thawing soil in permafrost a significant source of carbon" - "FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Permafrost, permanently frozen soil, isn't staying frozen and a type of soil called loess contained deep within thawing permafrost may be releasing significant, and previously unaccounted for, amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, according to authors of a paper published this week in the journal Science." (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Naturally: "Great whites head for UK" - "GREAT White Sharks could soon be swimming near BRITISH holiday beaches because of global warming, an expert warned yesterday. Marine researcher Anuschka de Rohan said UK waters are fast becoming an ideal feeding ground." (The Sun)

"Emission Impossible" - "Over the last few weeks, several good, even excellent articles have been published on the vicissitudes of the EU's Emissions Trading System. However, many of them overlook one crucial factor: In the bewildering array of technicalities, the original, and ostensibly only, purpose of the scheme -- the reduction of putative man-made global warming -- has been forgotten." (Hans H.J. Labohm, TCS Daily)

Common sense down-under: "Global warming appeal fails against mines" - "A north Queensland conservation group has lost its bid to force the Federal Government to consider global warming when approving new coal mines. The legal action was launched by the Wildlife Preservation Society against Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell last October. The group says Senator Campbell did not consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions when he approved two new mines near Moranbah and Collinsville in the Bowen Basin. It says the emissions from the mine will impact on the Great Barrier Reef and wet tropics regions. But the Government and mine owners argued consideration was given to the effects of emissions when the approvals were granted. Justice John Dowsett agreed and dismissed the conservation society's application, saying he was "not satisfied that the burning of coal at the mines would contribute towards global warming." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Canada: Nuclear plan skips key green review" - "TORONTO -- The Ontario government has exempted itself from a law requiring a full environmental assessment for its plan to spend up to $83-billion on nuclear plants and fixing the province's aging electricity system. The action, which wasn't announced this week when Energy Minister Dwight Duncan said the government intends to proceed with the Ontario Power Authority's 20-year electricity supply plan, is a sign the provincial Liberals are playing hardball with their environmental opponents by fast-tracking approvals." (Globe and Mail)

"New GOP push for offshore oil -- state royalties" - "Washington -- Just weeks after a bipartisan vote to preserve the 25-year-old ban on drilling off most of the nation's coasts, House Republicans have a new strategy: offer states a huge share of billions of dollars in royalties if they allow offshore drilling. Critics say the measure is an attempt to bribe states to allow oil and gas production in areas that have been off limits. The plan also would force governors in states such as California and Florida, which oppose offshore drilling, to petition the federal government to continue the moratorium on drilling off their coasts." (SF Chronicle)

"The New Drilling Battle: High Energy Prices Spur Fresh Debate on Offshore Moratorium" - "More than a mile beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico lies a tract of sea floor that is bigger than New Jersey and that oil and gas companies believe holds a trove of natural gas and a measure of salvation for corporate and residential consumers." (Washington Post)

"Greens attack go-ahead for waste-fuelled power station" - "Britain's biggest waste-to-electricity power plant was backed by the government yesterday, provoking accusations from green campaigners that ministers were going the wrong way about tackling the growing rubbish problem and climate change. Approval for the £200m incinerator in London, on the south bank of the Thames opposite the old Ford works at Dagenham, was given by the Department for Trade and Industry 16 years and two public inquiries after plans were first mooted for the site." (The Guardian)

"ANALYSIS - UK Private Sector Raises Doubts on Nuclear Support" - "LONDON - The private sector could not shoulder the full clean-up costs of new nuclear power plants in Britain, potential investors say, casting doubts on government claims this week that it would not subsidise new reactors." (Reuters)

"A Tale of Two Oil Patches" - "Canada's province of Alberta and the country of Mexico are both renowned oil economies and in both places, the government owns the oil reserves. But that's where the similarities between the two end.

Alberta has an annual per-capita gross domestic product just shy of $55,000; Mexico's is roughly $6,000. To put it another way, Albertans are swimming in their black gold while Mexicans are swimming the Rio Grande for the right to wash dishes for Tom Tancredo's constituents, while the congressman hurls insults at them on cable TV.

Why, in the midst of this energy boom, is Mexico so poor, while Alberta lives large? My guess is that it has to do with the fact that the Canadian province welcomes private-sector investment (otherwise known as money) in its energy sector while Mexico has a government-owned oil monopoly (Pemex) and forbids private-sector risk capital.

Money in an economy has a way of making people wealthier. Alberta estimates the long-term capital investment value of its inventory of privately funded energy projects at almost $80 billion. Mexico has made such investment illegal, creating a lack of funds. We call this poverty." (Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal)

"Alarm Bells Sound For European Water Supply As Hot Weather Looms" - "Summer has still to make its official start in Europe, yet many countries are sweating - and it has less to do with the immediate temperature than out of worry for their water supplies." (AFP)

This is part of the problem with "developed world" mentality, we've had a period when people think development is finished and must now be "undone" and "nature restored" and the bill is coming due. Development can and should never stop, infrastructure must be maintained and improved and renewable resource storage and diversion must be increased beyond the anticipated needs of the populace. Under the influence of the last three to four decades of Green delusion this hasn't been happening, so we now have genuinely man-made problems or, more precisely, Green delusion-made problems.

"Just how green are polytunnels?" - "Farmers claim they cut food miles, reduce pesticides and and give us year-round soft fruits. Others say they disfigure the British countryside. Helen Brown investigates polytunnels." (London Independent)

June 15, 2006

Pandemic! New and apparently highly contagious syndrome identified -- Spreading almost unnoticed for at least thirty years, this newly identified debilitating disorder, provisionally named Ciotu Mania, has burst onto the global scene.

Ciotu Mania is the first epidemic to spread via electronic media

Pronounced "see-oh-too," the origins of this dementia are obscure. Tracing the disease has been complicated by there being two apparent epicenters or contagion "hot spots" -- one in Europe, centered around Brussels, and the other on the US West Coast, with Los Angeles and Sacramento considered likely infection points. Ciotu Mania is believed to belong to the Jade-Vermillion class of diseases.

Recognizing the demented

Ciotu Maniacs are identified as having loss of historical perspective, declining logic and numeric skills, increasing feelings of looming disaster and a growing fixation on weather events as portents of that disaster. Patients are likely to develop a phobia regarding plant food and to visualize human well-being as damaging to an anthropomorphized planet, with "Mother Earth" having a "fever" -- this may be extended to viewing humans as a pathogen "infecting" the "Earth Mother." Exposure to certain audio-visual cues, slide shows and Al Gore interviews appears to cause chronic sufferers to advance to the acute stage of the disorder.

What can be done

At this time it remains unclear whether sufferers can be cured. Exposure to history and so-called "skeptic" information or "contrarians" does appear to have some protective effect against this form of dementia although sufferers of full blown Ciotu Mania exhibit considerable distress when exposed to any sort of facts and display significant aversion to "sound science." Carers should exercise caution exposing sufferers to corrective information and should desist at the first sign of inevitable hysteria.

As a public service JunkScience.com is providing additional inoculation against this terrible disorder in the form of a new page addressing recent claims of "mother Earth's fever."

More information on this critical public health issue as the story develops.

It's called 'development': "New wave of international investment may ease global infrastructure woes, researchers find" - "The magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck Indonesia on May 27 killed at least 6,200 people and destroyed an estimated 130,000 homes. In contrast, the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake that hit the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989 was several times the strength of the Indonesian temblor but killed just 63 people. In California, sturdy homes, bridges and roads saved lives." (Stanford University)

"UK 'in grip of measles outbreak'" - "Numbers of measles cases in the UK have risen to their highest level in nearly 20 years, experts said. Surrey and Sussex could have up to 156 cases and South Yorkshire may have 180. Last year there were just 77 cases across England and Wales. The south east's health agency blames low uptake of the MMR vaccine. It comes as a doctor who linked MMR with autism faces possible misconduct charges." (BBC)

"Cancer triumph and travail" - "This week the Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine specifically designed to prevent cancer. Merck's Gardasil thwarts cervical cancer by blocking infection by the human papilloma virus, which is spread through sexual contact. Gardasil also blocks precancerous lesions that can cause infertility. To reach maximum effectiveness, the drug should be administered at a young age -- ideally between 9 and 14 -- to assure protection prior to sexual activity and to take advantage of the robust immune response among preteen girls. Given that a half-million women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually -- and some 4,000 die from it -- the approval of this drug is phenomenally good news. It is even better news for the developing world where cervical cancer is far more common than it is here. So it's all systems go, let's get all young girls vaccinated so we can wipe out cervical cancer in the U.S., right? Not quite." (Elizabeth Whelan, Washington Times)

"Risk for skin lesions increases with low-dose exposure to arsenic in drinking water" - "Millions of persons around the world are exposed to low doses of arsenic through drinking water. However, up until now estimates of the health effects associated with low-dose exposure had been based on research from high-dose levels. In a study of more than 11,000 people in Bangladesh, research conducted by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health clearly provides evidence that a population exposed to well water with arsenic concentrations of as little as 50 ug/l is at risk for skin lesions. The report also concludes that older, male, and thinner participants were more likely to be affected by arsenic exposure." (Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health)

"UK: Ban all junk food ads before 9pm, says watchdog" - "Advertisements for chocolate bars, crisps and fizzy drinks should be treated like sex, swearing and graphic violence and banned from television before 9pm, the Government's food watchdog says. The Food Standards Agency is expected to press today for a pre-watershed ban on all junk food commercials to improve children's health. The move represents a dramatic escalation in the battle between health campaigners and food companies." (London Telegraph)

"Will Taxes, Regulations, Lawsuits and Advertising Bans Prevent Obesity?" - "The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has now officially morphed from a scientific publication into an advocacy organ for big government. An article and editorial in the current NEJM call for what amounts to a government takeover of the food industry in the name of reducing obesity, especially childhood obesity. But there is even more to this agenda than meets the eye." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"Microbes transform 'safest' PBDEs into more harmful compounds" - "WASHINGTON, June 14 — Bacteria in the soil can transform the most commonly used flame retardant compound in the United States into more toxic forms that could be harmful to humans, according to a new laboratory study published today on the Web site of the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology. The study is scheduled to appear in the July 15 print issue of the journal." (American Chemical Society)

"Study concludes that pesticide use increases risk of Parkinson's in men" - "ROCHESTER, Minn.--Mayo Clinic researchers have found that using pesticides for farming or other purposes increases the risk of developing Parkinson's disease for men. Pesticide exposure did not increase the risk of Parkinson's in women, and no other household or industrial chemicals were significantly linked to the disease in either men or women." (Mayo Clinic)

As sensible as a lot of coverage on weather and warming:) "FEMA Trailers To Be Used As 'Tornado Bait'"  -"(New Orleans, LA) The Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced a bold new plan to actually help avert natural disasters rather than simply respond to them after they have occurred.

Thousands of trailers meant to house New Orleans evacuees never made it to their destination, but they will not go to waste: they will be deployed throughout the midwest and south to divert tornadoes away from residential areas.

"We are taking advantage of Mother Nature's preference of house trailers as targets for tornadoes,", explained FEMA's newly named Director of Disaster Avoidance, Ray Brown. "By strategically deploying dozens of these unoccupied trailers near tornado-prone residential areas, we hope to divert future tornados away from houses and toward the trailers." (ecoEnquirer)

"Late Snowmelt Swells California Water Supply" - "California's reservoirs are brimming with a bountiful late snowmelt that has left the state's water storage system in its best shape in nearly a decade. With some of the upper reaches of the Sierra still buried under as much as 6 to 9 feet of snow at the end of May, spring runoff has approached twice the norm. The unusually wet spring and heavy snowpack put Central and Northern California on flood watch for weeks, straining its rivers and the levees that guard them. But the weather was a boon to the state's immense plumbing works. "If you could try to design ideal storm systems as they moved through, 2006 would come pretty close," said Dave Paulson of the State Water Project, which captures water in the north and ferries it more than 400 miles to the dry south. "The later in the year the water comes, the more advantageous for our system." (LA Times)

"Polar bear plight worsens as toxins reach the Arctic" - 'POLAR bears and other Arctic animals are being poisoned in their thousands by man-made chemicals, the wildlife charity WWF has said. . . .

Elizabeth Salter Green, the director of WWF-UK’s toxics programme, said: “What we are seeing here is a mass contamination of Arctic wildlife. We believe it is making these animals less capable of surviving the harsh Arctic conditions . . . [the] survival of wild animal populations is threatened." (London Independent)

So... we should hope for 'global warming' to make Arctic conditions less harsh?

"Scientists urge G8 not to ignore global warming" - "LONDON - World leaders must not allow concern for energy security to distract them from taking promised action on global warming, top world scientists said on Wednesday. Climate change solutions agreed at the G8 summit in Scotland a year ago risked being pushed off the agenda at next month's G8 summit in Russia by worries about security of energy supply, they said." (Reuters)

Could get displaced by a real issue? Can't have that now, can we.

"Fewer night flights could cut climate change impact" - "LONDON - Cutting the number of flights that take off at night could help to reduce the contribution of aviation to global warming, researchers said on Wednesday. Night flights contribute to climate change because the white streaks of condensation, or contrails, left behind by jets trap energy emitted from the Earth's surface." (Reuters)

Not as silly as it might first appear. Shutdown of airlines aided contrail studies.

Some Controversial Results on the Radiative Forcing of Our Climate System as Extracted from Model Results for the AMIP-2 and IPCC-FAR and for the Radiation Climatologies of the ISCCP-FD and GEWEX-SRB (Climate Science)

"Investors Seek Climate Change Information" - "Investors worried about the possible financial fallout from greenhouse gas emissions have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to require that companies disclose their financial vulnerability to changes in climate." (New York Times)

"World Oil Reserves Grow, But Only Just - BP" - "LONDON - The world is not running low on oil reserves, BP Plc said on Wednesday. The amount of recoverable oil known to be in the ground at the end of 2005 was higher than a year earlier, BP said in its Statistical Review of World Energy, continuing the trend that the oil industry each year finds more oil than it produces. "There isn't a shortage of reserves," BP Chief Executive John Browne said at the launch of the review. Browne said the fact that only a small fraction of oil in reservoirs is currently considered recoverable gave plenty of headroom to increase the amount of oil deemed exploitable. "Improvement in recovery factors, notably from the techniques of drilling and the techniques of enhanced oil recovery, lead us to believe that these will continue to grow," he said." (Reuters)

"BP sets up lab to find greener car fuels" - "BP promised yesterday to spend $500m (£285m) establishing a dedicated energy laboratory aimed at using the emerging knowledge from bioscience to find greener car fuels. The company hopes the study of living organisms will also provide ways of improving the recovery of oil, as well as opening up more opportunities for coal bed methane and carbon sequestration." (The Guardian)

A useful move at last! "UK: Homes to be energy rated" - "Homes put up for sale in England and Wales will have to carry an energy rating similar to those displayed on fridges and washing machines, the government said today. The measures, which come into force next year, will make it easy for potential buyers to see how energy efficient a property is and encourage homeowners to reduce carbon emissions." (The Guardian)

Just the ticket, the more stars for a house's "energy rating" the quicker potential buyers should get away from it. Why? Easy! "Energy efficiency" = lack of ventilation = "sick building syndrome," so, if you want a healthy, happy family -- stay clear of crappy ventilation, soon to be rated for you.

"Addressing Climate Change, Electricity, Renewable Energy Sources, and Greenhouse Gases: The Expanding Role of State Renewable Energy Policy in the U.S." - "New report from The Pew Center on Global Climate Change analyzes states' role in climate change policy development. State initiatives provide a model to analyze whether federal Renewable Portfolio Standards are a feasible way to increase the nation's use of renewable energy." (PRWEB)

"Floating atomic plant for Russia" - "Russia is to build the world's first floating nuclear plant, designed to provide power for remote areas." (BBC)

"£33m wood energy plant is a Wales first" - "WORK on what will be the first commercial-scale biomass plant in Wales is scheduled to begin shortly. In a joint venture Cardiff-based renewable energy company Eco2 and Western Log Group are leading the project which will burn clean wood from sustainable forestry sources in a modern combustion system." (Western Mail)

"UK: Rubbish collection 'may be taxed'" - "Charging householders for the amount of rubbish collected from their homes is being considered by the government as part of proposed council tax reforms. Sir Michael Lyons, who is conducting an inquiry into the future of the tax, told the Times newspaper he was looking at environmental taxes. These would be paid in addition to council tax to make the cost of services more visible." (BBC)

"African Leaders Pledge Farming 'Green Revolution'" - "ABUJA - African leaders recommended on Tuesday scrapping taxes on fertilisers as one of 12 key measures to foster a "Green Revolution" in farming and reduce hunger in the poorest continent." (Reuters)

"Firm eyes Kansas as a rice producer: Grain is genetically modified with proteins found in breast milk to reduce diarrhea" - "TOPEKA | - TOPEKA | A bio-tech company that grows rice with proteins found in breast milk is in talks to expand into Kansas. The company, Sacramento, Calif.-based Ventria Bioscience, is asking for public help to build a processing plant and farm tens of thousands of acres for its genetically modified rice, possibly in Shawnee County." (Kansas City Star)

June 14, 2006

"Increase in counterfeit antimalarial drugs prompts call for crackdown, better detection" - "A worsening epidemic of sophisticated anti-malarial drug counterfeiting in southeast Asia and Africa is increasing the likelihood of drug-resistant parasites, yielding false-positive results on screening tests and risking the lives of hundreds of thousands of malaria patients, mostly children, researchers say." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

"Bad Science: Academics are as guilty as the media when it comes to publication bias" - "When I am finally assassinated by an axe-wielding electrosensitive homeopathic anti-vaccine campaigner - and that day surely cannot be far off now - I should like to be remembered, primarily, for my childishness and immaturity. Occasionally, however, I like to write about serious issues. And I don't just mean the increase in mumps cases from 94 people in 1996 to 43,322 in 2005. No." (Ben Goldacre, The Guardian)

If only it were a joke... "Feds use false 'sound science' to regulate carcinogens: industry critics" - "The Canadian Environmental Protection Act calls on the government to use 'precaution' in its risk management of toxins, but the principle has not been used. As the federal government comes under criticism for failing to properly regulate toxins and carcinogens in consumer products and the environment, the Standing Committee on Environment heard last week that government departments have relied on a faulty approach of using "sound science" to determine the risks associated with toxins." (The Hill Times)

Science and facts are now a "faulty approach" apparently... says it all really.

"EPA plans to ban orchard pesticide" - "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to ban azinphos methyl, one of the most widely used farm pesticides in Oregon and Washington, as a result of a Seattle lawsuit alleging risks to farmworkers' health. Pear and apple growers rely on the pesticide -- known by the trade name Guthion -- to kill codling moths, which lay eggs on or near the fruit. Once hatched, the offspring burrow into the fruit, leaving, for example, wormy apples." (The Oregonian)

"AMA hoping to cut sodium in processed foods in half" - "The doctors' group wants the Food and Drug Administration to improve sodium labels so people will lower consumption." (Chicago Tribune)

"Put a Stop to 'Big Tofu'" - "You've surely heard about the political bogeymen "Big Oil" and "Big Tobacco," but when it comes to your freedom to choose the foods you eat, there's no special interest more powerful than "Big Tofu." (CEI)

"KFC Sued for Fattening Menu" - "June 13, 2006 — The fast food chain KFC is being sued for the fat content in its fried chicken, which Center for Science in the Public Interest says contains "staggering amounts" of trans fat." (ABC News)

The weirdest thing is that the media pays any attention to CSPI.

"Harmful Algal Blooms monitored from space in Chile" - "Chile is currently the world's largest producer of farmed salmon and has a burgeoning mussel culture industry that is supplying a growing world market. However, the country's marine aquaculture sector is vulnerable to Harmful Algal Blooms, which occur when some algae species producing poisons bloom rapidly in water, causing physical or biochemical damage to fish and shellfish.

Early detection of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) allows fish farmers to make timely key decisions in order to minimise the damage to aquaculture. To aid in this effort, a team led by Hatfield Consultants Ltd. (Hatfield), under the ESA-funded Chilean Aquaculture Project (CAP), has implemented an early warning service based on Earth Observation (EO) data, which delivers forecasts of potential HABs to aquaculture companies via a customised Internet portal." (European Space Agency)

"Venice In the Balance" - "This week, Venice in Peril, the British charity for the preservation of Venice, hosted a debate in London on the resolution, "Enough money has been spent saving Venice." The motion didn't pass, but in the world outside there is a worrying current of defeatism in the face of the sea." (Josie Appleton, TCS Daily)

Not even close -- yesterday I mentioned possible 'hot records' for the Central England Temperature series, hazarding 1775 as a remembered 'warm one' for June. Ardent readers and number watchers were quick to highlight my deficient memory -- 1676: 18 °C; 1822: 17.1; 1826: 17.3; 1846: 18.2, (the hottest); 1976: 17.0 and the only year to date since 1846 to even touch 17 degrees; 2003, the heat wave year "resulting from global warming", a miserly 16.1. 1775 weighed in at 16.6. This list of 17 °C and over June Central England mean temperatures from Dennis A., thanks to all who highlighted 1846 as top of the CET June league table.

"Warming 'threat to Asian security': Grim scenario of disease and disaster" - "SYDNEY, Australia -- Rapid global warming poses a variety of security threats to the Asia Pacific region that have been "seriously underestimated," a new study says." (CNN)

'Hi-Fi' stood for 'high fidelity', so why does 'sci-fi' mean noise like this: "Sci-Fi Channel ponders 'Doomsday' scenarios" - "LOS ANGELES - There might be a bit of the panic button pushed on this thrilling two-hour telecast, but the threats it recounts are no less frightening for it, no less doomsday material." (Hollywood Reporter)

"Half of Americans chilling out over global warming, but many hot under the collar about pandemic, terrorists" - "Public opinion can be such a weird thing. Today comes word of a new poll in which Americans were asked which of four dangers really worries them. Roughly the same proportion that believed global warming "could happen" in their lifetimes believed a collision between the Earth and an asteroid "could happen" before they die." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Actually, from the poll the results were: One-quarter (25%) believe asteroid collisions with the earth could happen and roughly the same amount of respondents (24%) believe global warming causing devastating climate changes could happen. However, voters are more likely to believe (23%) global warming will happen in their lifetime versus asteroid collisions (6% will happen in their lifetime). This would suggest somewhat more than half of Americans are chilling out over global warming.

Give survey respondents credit though, their plausibility barometer isn't bad:

  1. Terrorist attack is certainly a plausible disaster scenario.
  2. Pandemics have happened before and almost certainly will again.
  3. "Devastating climate change" is a given -- sooner or later the Earth will enter another ice age.
  4. Major asteroid strike? Yep, one due sometime in the next 65 million years, or thereabouts.

Must be quite disheartening for Big Warming and the disaster industry but Joe Sixpack would seem to have a pretty good handle on the relative likelihood of a limited selection of potential disasters.

From CO2 Science this week:

Earth's Terrestrial Environment is Becoming "More Like a Gardener's Greenhouse": Decades of data from many places in the Northern Hemisphere, and now also Australia, indicate that the planet's terrestrial environment is becoming less arid and, therefore, more conducive to productive plant growth.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 1 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Central Scandinavian Mountains of Sweden.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Medieval Warm Period (Solar Influence - Other): Many different types of measurements testify to the reality of the Medieval Warm Period and the role of variable solar activity in both its genesis and demise.

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, Robusta Poplar, Sugar Maple, and White Poplar.

Journal Reviews:
Solar-Induced Warming Over the 20th Century: How great was it?

Trends in Daily Temperature Extremes: 1951-2003: How do changes in daily minimums compare with changes in daily maximums? And what are the implications of the comparison?

Climatic Fluctuations Recorded in a Southeastern France Coastal Lagoon: Do they reveal anything about the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age?

The Common Lizard's Response to Predictions of Impending Mass Extinctions Due to Habitat Changes Driven by Global Warming: Via an amazing suite of physical adaptations, the lowly lizard shows its contempt for the politically-correct orthodoxy.

Responses of Three Generations of Cotton Bollworms Feeding on Wheat Grown in Air of Ambient and Double-Ambient CO 2 Concentration: What are the responses? ... and how do they change from one generation to the next? (co2science.org)

Well D U H ! "Carbon Costs Menace Investment in Europe - Analysts" - "MILAN - The rising costs of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by smokestack industries may trigger a shift in major investments in such sectors from Europe to countries where carbon controls are less strict, analysts said." (Reuters)

Doh! "Green cars: How green is your conscience?" - "Despite all the publicity and some high-profile champions of greener motoring, hybrid cars and other ecologically sound vehicles are just too pricey for most consumers, discovers Transport Editor Barrie Clement." (London Independent)

"Judge strikes down voters' ban on Hanford waste shipments" - "A federal judge struck down a voter-approved initiative Monday that barred the government from sending radioactive waste to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, ruling that the measure infringes on federal authority over nuclear waste and interstate commerce." (AP)

"Accept nukes, McGuinty says" - "Premier Dalton McGuinty says Ontarians have no choice but to accept the new nuclear power reactors his government will announce this morning." (Toronto Star)

What's in a name? "Carbon pricing to encourage new nuclear power stations" - "The British nuclear industry will build new nuclear power stations without direct state subsidies so long as the government sets a high price on carbon-polluting electricity, Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, said yesterday. He said a proposed carbon pricing framework will encourage use of all non-carbon electricity sources including renewable energy, nuclear and even micro wind turbines for home supply." (The Guardian)

Indirect subsidy by artificially inflating the competitors' costs -- and they get to blame someone else for taxing your energy. They call it a "carbon levy," consumers call it "price gouging," "extortion" and we call it "misanthropy" and "pointless stupidity." No one with a working understanding of carbon's role in global mean temperature could be accused of believing developed world carbon constraint can or will make a meaningful or even measurable difference in global mean temperature now or a century from now. Ripping off consumers via additional energy taxes has exactly nothing to do with global mean temperature.

"Plugging in to Nuclear" - "As some greens learn to love atomic power, Australia weighs whether to use its abundant uranium at home." (Time)

Highly unlikely, Australia has abundant and very cheaply accessible coal reserves, nuclear power is not going to be cost-competitive here for many decades, if not centuries to come.

"Shell to Pick a Renewable Energy Source, Not Yet" - "ROTTERDAM, Netherlands - Royal Dutch Shell will pick a renewable energy source for commercial production but it is much too early to tell which one, its Chief Executive said on Friday. "We don't know which form of energy will win, and we don't know how quickly we will know," Jeroen van der Veer said at a meeting of Dutch business leaders." (Reuters)

"A risk to radar? New wind farms may be delayed" - "The military is studying whether the turbines interfere with its radar systems. Some say the study is politically motivated." (Star Tribune)

"The oil price bubble" - "The U.S. retail price of gasoline has been more than $2 a gallon since March of last year, and peaked over $3 last September. Fortunately, geological evidence indicates current oil prices are unsustainable. Barring any significant geopolitical disruption, that means cheaper prices at the pump for the American consumer." (David Deming, Washington Times)

"FEATURE - Canada Wrests Oil From Sands, But at What Cost?" - "AURORA MINE, Alberta - Canada's vast oil sands, the biggest source of oil outside Saudi Arabia, don't give up their riches easily." (Reuters)

"Coal industry urges UK to embrace clean technology" - "LONDON - The coal industry, with backing from trade unions and government officials, on Wednesday stepped up its fight to stay at the heart of UK energy policy with a bullish assessment of the potential of clean-coal technology. The Clean Coal Task Group told Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks the technology has the potential to compete with gas-fired power plants as well as curbing emissions and helping secure energy supplies." (Reuters)

"ESF task force for clean solar energy" - "The European Union and its member states are being urged by leading scientists to make a major multimillion Euro commitment to solar driven production of environmentally clean electricity, hydrogen and other fuels, as the only sustainable long-term solution for global energy needs." (European Science Foundation)

"Compact tidal generator could reduce the cost of producing electricity from flowing water" - "What happens if you run an electric motor backwards? That is exactly what researchers Dr Steve Turnock and Dr Suleiman Abu-Sharkh from the University of Southampton asked themselves after they had successfully built an electric motor for tethered underwater vehicles, using funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The well-known answer to this question is that it stops being a motor and becomes a generator. Instead of using electricity to turn a propeller and drive the vehicle along, the flow of water turns the propeller, generating electricity. What's new about the Southampton design is its simplicity. "This is a compact design that does away with many of the moving parts found in current marine turbines. It's a new take on tidal energy generation," says Turnock." (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

"Mycotoxins in food 'an emerging risk'" - "South Africa’s Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research has released a report on genetically modified foods which identifies mycotoxins as emerging risks. The report also deals with food safety communication and environmental issues regarding genetically modified organisms." (ANDnetwork)

"Africa Seeks 'Green Revolution' To Help End Hunger" - "ABUJA - African leaders and international donors launched an ambitious attempt on Friday to foster a "Green Revolution" in farming, based on increased fertiliser use, that would help end hunger in the poorest continent." (Reuters)

June 13, 2006

Must read of the day: Treasury Nominee Hank Paulson Needs to Answer Some Questions - "Treasury Secretary nominee Henry Paulson is the Manchurian Capitalist. The Senate Finance Committee needs to get to the bottom of his "environmental" shenanigans during his confirmation hearings." (Steven Milloy, Human Events)

Sillier by the day: "Scottish Widows tops green investment survey" - "LONDON - Scottish Widows funds topped 44 fund managers ranked by the amount of greenhouse gas emissions their current holdings were responsible for. Investors are increasingly concerned over the impact on global wealth of climate change which scientists say could see rising sea levels and more extreme weather and Monday's report by environmental research company Trucost shifts the focus from polluting companies to where they get their money from. "This is the next generation of issues," said Nick Robins, Head of SRI (socially responsible investment) funds at Henderson Global Investors. "Quite rightly we've been looking at corporates, but we also need to start constraining access to capital for carbon-intensive companies." (Reuters) [em added]

Municipal utilities, airlines, transport (transit, freight, shipping, rail), resource industries, construction, automotive... are these the kind of employers and essential services and industries they think need to be starved of capital? How do they suppose any form of economy will survive without them? Neither carbon-intensive nor low-carbon enterprises exist in a vacuum, they are all part of the economy and they all require capital -- just as we require all of them.

If carbon dioxide were the great driver of global mean temperature change current mythology would have it, then warming should theoretically manifest itself most strongly south of the equator simply because carbon dioxide is well mixed in the atmosphere (there's negligible difference between hemispheres) but the south has significantly less population and specifically sulphate-producing industry (thus has much reduced aerosol load "masking" warming). Data from satellite-mounted MSUs, however, show the reverse to be true with trivial warming trend south of the equator compared to 3-4 times the southern rate evident in the northern hemisphere. This demonstrates rather bluntly that sulphate aerosols are not, in fact, "hiding" carbon dioxide-driven warming since warming is greatest where sulphate aerosol loads are higher and least (actually negative) over southern polar regions where the super-cold dry atmosphere should exhibit greatest sensitivity to carbon dioxide radiative forcing.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is a small component in the global temperature forcing stakes, one whose influence is rapidly waning as its infrared absorption bandwidths approach saturation. This absurd carbon bigotry has got to stop!

His own clergy? "Gore to train 1,000 to spread word about climate" - "NEW YORK - Al Gore hopes to train 1,000 messengers he hopes will spread out across the country and present a slide show about global warming that captures the essence of his Hollywood documentary and book." (Reuters)

"Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe" - "Scientists have an independent obligation to respect and present the truth as they see it," Al Gore sensibly asserts in his film "An Inconvenient Truth", showing at Cumberland 4 Cinemas in Toronto since Jun 2. With that outlook in mind, what do world climate experts actually think about the science of his movie?" (Tom Harris, CFP)

"Friends Of Science Critiques The Evidence For Man-Made Climate Change" - "Most of us have a natural inclination to trust scientists. Few people take the trouble to really assess the research that's gone into climate change to date," Loughead says. "When you do evaluate that research, however, it's shocking to realize how inconclusive the evidence is that human activity is causing global warming. That's what prompted us to form our group in the first place -- people needed to be much more aware of what's going on." (DOB)

New Christy and Spencer Report on Satellite Temperature Data (Climate Science)

On the subject of temperature data, we have now updated the global temperature data page to incorporate the new HadCRUT3 series. This series replaces HadCRUT2(v), which had indicated a slightly faster warming trend than that of the GHCN merged ERSST dataset (0.05 °C/decade as opposed 0.04 °C/decade). HadCRUT3 extends the series back to 1850 and now shows the same 0.04 °/decade trend as the shorter GHCN-ERSST series (1880 - current, series will take 20-40 seconds to construct via NCDC's Global Climate at a Glance portal).

As one wag has already commented, 20% of 'global warming' has been cured simply by updating datasets.

Curse of the phenologists (Number Watch)

"As the World Warms: A Glacial Archive That Documents a Melting Landscape" - "Glaciers grow or fade at such a stately, truly glacial pace that it has long been possible to appreciate their dynamics only over the course of more than one lifetime. Several research centers around the world have been amassing images taken by generations of glaciologists to build a picture of frozen places as the world warms. One archive of before-and-after photographs of Alaskan glaciers has just been published at nsidc.org/data/glacier_photo by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo." (New York Times)

"Coral death results from bacteria fed by algae" - "(Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- Bacteria and algae are combining to kill coral -- and human activities are compounding the problem. Scientists have discovered an indirect microbial mechanism whereby bacteria kill coral with the help of algae. Human activities are contributing to the growth of algae on coral reefs, setting the stage for the long-term continued decline of coral." (University of California - Santa Barbara)

"Polar bears may be turning to cannibalism" - "ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea may be turning to cannibalism because longer seasons without ice keep them from getting to their natural food, a new study by American and Canadian scientists has found." (Associated Press)

"Today's forecast: hot, with rising levels of smog, asthma and hay fever" - "Soaring temperatures have prompted a rash of medical alerts, amid fears that smog will choke British cities this summer. As the country recorded its hottest 12 June for more than 80 years, people were warned by both the Met Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) - the government department responsible for monitoring air quality - to take "sensible precautions" against smog, such as avoiding outdoor exercise in the afternoon, and cutting unnecessary car journeys." (London Independent)

Hmm... wonder if they can get a record for the month of June? I seem to recall the warmest June in the Central England Temperature record as being in the year 1775 but I could be wrong.

"Tory Kyoto policy spooks federal scientists" - "Some federal government scientists are reconsidering their career options now that the Conservative government is backing away from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, according to their union leader." (CBC News)

We did warn you that hitching your wagon to the CO2 myth wasn't a good career move.

"Living with Climate Variability and Change: Understanding the Uncertainties and Managing the Risks" - "Recognizing the urgent need to integrate climate data and forecasting into humanitarian and development strategies, the Living with Climate Variability and Change conference from July 17 to 21, 2006, in Espoo, Finland, will bring together stakeholders from around the world to discuss opportunities and constraints in integrating climate risks and uncertainties into decision-making at international, national and local levels." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Government pledges 'green' targets" - "LONDON - The government, under fire for missing its own targets on combating global warming, set itself a new goal on Monday, pledging to ensure that within six years its own offices would not add to the climate crisis." (Reuters)

"Taiwan: Officials back Kyoto Protocol alternative for emissions plan" - "High-ranking officials yesterday said that the government would prefer to develop a carbon emissions reduction strategy in accordance with the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP), rather than with the Kyoto Protocol -- a measure lauded by anti-Kyoto Protocol countries but condemned by environmentalists." (Taipei Times)

Moonbat corner: "Behind the spin, the oil giants are more dangerous than ever" - "The green rebranding of Shell and BP is a fraud. Far from switching to biofuels, it's drilling and devastation as usual." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

So, uh, George, do you suppose people using plastics and products made from hydrocarbon feedstocks, people using energy sourced from oil and gas, needing and wanting products made and transported using some of that energy or even people just getting to work and play, then home again, have anything at all to do with nasty oil companies drilling and extracting such icky, nasty gunk? You don't suppose they might be engaging in these, uh, terrible activities for and on behalf of us all? Would you really be happy if these companies levelled the forests harvesting cellulose to produce ethanol? Do you really want to see marginal lands diverted to carbohydrate production for the same purpose rather than have it revert to wildlife habitat? Are you sure you want to see grain surpluses eliminated for energy rather than stockpiled for aid during inevitable periodic crop deficits in the third world? Careful what you wish for, George, lest some dill think you mean it.

"The Forest Killers" - "Now the green-energy crowd is touting cellulosic ethanol. This is a blunder, one they will regret more than any of their previous blunders. It will level forests, destroy wetlands and disrupt ecosystems all around the globe. Or at least it will if the enabling technology ever becomes economical. And it might. Even a Republican President, in a State of the Union address, resolved to develop the technology "for producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switchgrass." (Peter Huber, Forbes -- via Greenie Watch)

"Scotland to hit green energy target three years early" - "SCOTLAND will meet its renewable energy targets three years earlier than planned as a string of controversial wind farm projects comes on stream, according to a report." (The Scotsman)

"Stricter adherence to standards/codes, storm surge recognition keys to minimizing hurricane damage" - "GAITHERSBURG, Md.--Stricter adherence to existing building standards, model building codes and good building practices, and a greater recognition of the risks posed by storm surge, could minimize the kind of structural damage experienced in the Gulf Coast states hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year, the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced on June 9, 2006." (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST))

Slick Willy says: "Clinton Links GOP Policies to More Storms" - "As Tropical Storm Alberto threatened to strengthen into the ninth hurricane in 22 months to affect Florida, former President Clinton predicted Monday that Republican environmental policies will lead to more severe storms. "It is now generally recognized that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming," Clinton said at a fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party. "It's a serious problem. It's going to lead to more hurricanes." (Associated Press)

"New satellite set to collect most-detailed data yet about atmospheric particles" - "A new satellite that last week began gathering data from the Earth's atmosphere could be a key tool in unraveling just how much effect the reflectivity of clouds and tiny particles called aerosols are having on the planet's changing climate." (University of Washington)

"Uganda: Makerere Scientists Okay DDT" - "INDIGENOUS scientists and researchers have endorsed the use of DDT to fight malaria through indoor residual spraying. The position has been taken after the scientists carried out a study early this year in the Kigezi region in Western Uganda where DDT was sprayed in 1960s. According to the researchers from Makerere University, there were no signs of its alleged perilous effects on the locals of which some still exist. "We found out that locals' agro products are still sold to the European Union market," said Prof. Gabriel S. Bimenya of Makerere University Pathology Department who headed the team." (The Monitor (Kampala))

"New environment chief targets poverty" - "There must be world citizens by the thousand whose interest in environmental issues started with a childhood spent outdoors in the countryside, fascinated by the ways of nature. Achim Steiner, the man about to take control of the world's most powerful environment agency, is not one of them, despite his rural origins." (BBC)

Addressing poverty is good. Presumably that means Steiner will be working to remove impediments to development and thus likely to come into conflict with enviros. We wish him every success.

This, however, is less promising than threatening: "UN environment chief calls for 'new era'" - "The new executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme has called for a 'new era' beyond campaigning in which environmental concerns are integrated fully into economic market regulations." (Financial Times)

"Trans fat leads to weight gain even on same total calories, animal study shows" - "WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The "apple" body shape that increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease may be accelerated by eating trans fat such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, according to new animal research at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "Diets rich in trans fat cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen and lead to a higher body weight even when the total dietary calories are controlled," said Lawrence L. Rudel, Ph.D., professor of pathology and biochemistry and head of the Lipid Sciences Research Program. "What it says is that trans fat is worse than anticipated," Rudel said. "I was surprised." (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

"Doctors fear drug pollution poses risk to fish, people" - "Doctors are drawing attention to an emerging environmental worry -- pollution of lakes and rivers by drugs flushed down toilets. A Baylor University study found trace amounts of Prozac in fish downstream from a sewage treatment plant in Texas. And the U.S. Geological Survey found pharmaceuticals and other organic chemicals in 80 percent of 139 streams sampled in 30 states." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"Autism activists watch bill" - "Parents of autistic children in Massachusetts will be looking to Beacon Hill this week as the House takes up legislation that would ban the use of mercury in children's vaccines. Advocates of the legislation say they are optimistic their efforts will bear fruit this year in a battle that pits them against the bulk of the nation's medical establishment." (Telegram & Gazette)

The drug scene (Number Watch)

"Pollen proves beneficial for northern lakes" - "Mention the word pollen to most people and it triggers thoughts of their battle against allergic reactions. However, a University of Alberta researcher has found an important spin-off for this fine yellow dust-like powder." (University of Alberta)

"GM hybrid peppers developed in Israel" - "JERUSALEM, June 12 -- Israeli researchers have produced genetically modified hybrid peppers that can be raised with minimal protection under moderate winter conditions. The robust pepper varieties were developed by a research team headed by Yonatan Elkind of the Robert Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem." (UPI)

"New variety of potato finds few takers" - "The genetically modified potato would soon take root in the market, say the growers of the new breed.

Despite being high in carbohydrates, potatoes often lose out to green vegetables in terms of providing complete nutritional value, but some ingenious potato farmers of Agra have found a solution to this problem by genetically engineering a new breed of potato that contains significant levels of Erythrosine and Beta Carotinoids to increase their nutritional value.

But though the newly developed potato breed has attracted a lot of scientific attention from all over the country, the potato consumers are yet to develop a taste for a potato variety that has a red-violet tinge to its insides and has is slightly higher priced than the ordinary potatoes." (Business Standard)

June 12, 2006

"CSR for thee, but not for me?" - "It's time for NGOs to practice what they preach - and emulate what a company is doing in Peru." (Paul Driessen, Townhall)

"In the dock: the man who caused the MMR scare" - "The doctor who sparked a scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine is to be charged with serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council." (London Independent)

"Kids' food allergies skyrocket" - "Medical personnel, from school nurses to chiefs of hospital pediatric departments say such near fatal allergic reactions are becoming more common in children. So three Chicago medical institutions said on Wednesday they will collaborate on an extensive study to determine the cause of the increase and will plead for more federal research funding." (Chicago Tribune)

"Call to scrap diabetes treat food" - "Retailers are being urged to withdraw diabetes treat food and drinks. Charity Diabetes UK is arguing the concept of diabetes-friendly biscuits and chocolate is outdated and encourages over-indulgence." (BBC)

"Health risk from bad food hygiene" - "Britons are putting themselves and their families at risk of food poisoning because of bad habits in the kitchen, a survey suggests." (BBC)

Sam Epstein's still at it: "Cancer-causing agents found in everyday items, says expert" - "OTTAWA -- It's the little things in your life that will hurt you, says a medical professor from Chicago: your shampoo, your cologne, the baby's powder, the stuff on your garden, or on your neighbour's. Maybe even your milk." (Ottawa Citizen)

"Sunscreen thyroid effect concerns" - "Fears have been raised about the potential of sunscreens to disrupt the balance of thyroid hormones." (BBC)

Hope for Canberra after all? "Greens outraged ACT scrapped Environment Dept" - "ACT Greens MLA Deb Foskey says many Canberrans will be angry there is no longer a separate department for the environment." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

While there are plenty of well-meaning -- though thoroughly misguided -- souls in "environment departments," they really do need both a life and a real job. No matter how enlightened, educated and intelligent these fowls happen to be, the entire concept of "environmental protection" is a nonsense. The purpose of these departments, stated or otherwise, is a quixotic mission to prevent all change in highly dynamic systems. It is not possible. It is not sensible. It is not even desirable and yet billions are squandered and development delayed in the name of the impossible mission.

"The environment" is the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded and they change over time -- with or without human assistance or interference -- and the only useful response is to adapt with the changes or, better yet, actively guide those changes for human benefit. Gaia nuts and natural Earth worshippers consider humans a cancer upon the Earth. If you look beyond the propaganda, "environment organisations/departments" are pathogens upon the societal organism.

For thousands of years human societies have prospered by making their environment people-friendly -- now misanthropes want to reverse the paradigm to make people environment-friendly. One model seeks to advantage people, the other disadvantage. Think about it.

"Cull is set to return for seals in the protected Antarctic" - "ANTARCTIC fur seals could be hunted for their pelts for the first time in a century if a major international conference in Edinburgh this week agrees to remove their legal protection. Scientific advisers to the 45-nation Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting are recommending that fur seals be 'delisted' because they are no longer endangered. But the proposal has been condemned as 'a big strategic mistake' by environmental groups worldwide." (Sunday Herald)

If they're not endangered then they shouldn't be listed as being endangered.

"CloudSat System Offers Views of Storms" - "FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The first images from a $217 million satellite project to measure the moisture content of clouds provided breathtaking views of storms on Earth, scientists said." (AP)

"Warming to a Candidacy?" - "Less than 10 years." That, Gore warns, is all the time that "leading scientists" say we may have "before we cross a point of no return" -- unless we make a "really good start toward dramatic changes" to combat global warming. Ten years from now will be the last year of the second term of the next president, if he or she is reelected." (George F. Will, Washington Post)

"The gods are laughing" - "Albert Einstein once said, "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." While the gods must consider An Inconvenient Truth the ultimate comedy, real climate scientists are crying over Al Gore's new film. This is not just because the ex-vice-president commits numerous basic science mistakes. They are also concerned that many in the media and public will fail to realize that this film amounts to little more than science fiction." (Tom Harris, National Post)

"Global warming: Some inconvenient glaciers" - "Al Gore says the world's glaciers are melting because humanity has emitted too much CO2. However, a new peer-reviewed study shows that in South America's Andes Mountains the glaciers' advances and retreats have not been governed by CO2, but by small variations in the sun's intensity. The study, led by P.J. Polissar of the University of Massachusetts, found that Andean glaciers expanded only four times during the 600 years of the Little Ice Age, which lasted from 1250 AD to 1850. Each of those glacier advances occurred during a solar minimum, when the sun's lowered activity apparently dropped the mountain-top temperatures by 2-4 degrees C and increased precipitation by about 20 percent. The Polissar team's report, "Solar Modulation of Little Ice Age Climate in the Tropical Andes," was recently published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (Dennis Avery, ESR)

"Inconvenient truth, a sequel: Weigh the costs and benefits" - "Al Gore was in Denver last month to promote his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which features the former vice president and opened here Friday. Unfortunately, as Gore jets around the world promoting his movie, he continues to argue that central planning on an international scale is the only appropriate response to rising temperatures. And he downplays or ignores the high cost and uncertain payoff of such an approach." (Rocky Mountain News) | The effect of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming (Tom M.L. Wigley, Senior Scientist, NCAR)

The Week That Was June 10, 2006 (SEPP)

Wow! Animals evolve in response to climate change... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Christopher Pearson: Rising tide of bad science" - "DURING the past fortnight the reportage of the debate on greenhouse gases has come close to what the climate-change industry is apt to call a tipping point, the point of no return. Almost every day, it seems, true believers in catastrophist science have been coming out with fresh claims that the debate is over and all the world now acknowledges the gravity of the matter." (The Australian)

Letter of the moment: "Ethical Demands on Judges and Lawyers" - "Eric Schaeffer ["Junketing Judges: A Case of Bad Science," Outlook, June 4] accuses two judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit of impropriety for sitting in judgment on an appeal of an Environmental Protection Agency decision regarding the Clean Air Act after they attended educational seminars dealing with global warming issues." (Washington Post)

"Western Governors Take Aim at Global Warming" - "Bipartisan group passes a resolution calling on states and cities to reduce human-caused emissions. But it fails to detail specific action." (LA Times)

"Kyoto conundrum" - "No matter how "green" its thinking may be, Canada says there's no way it can meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment. And that has markedly raised the temperature of the debate." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

"Global warming: The climate of opinion and government accountability" - "Terence, the Roman dramatist, observed: 'There are as many opinions as there are people.' While opinions continue to differ on the subject of global warming, popular belief that climate change is a threat to the future of the planet shows two trends. It is consolidating and growing." (EthicalCorp.com)

Popular belief responds to propaganda. It has no bearing on the facts, nor does it respond to them.

"Climate change a bigger security threat than terrorism, says report" - "The government's obsession with the "war on terror" is counterproductive and distracting politicians from more fundamental threats to global security, a leading UK thinktank warns today. The most likely causes of future conflict are climate change, competition for natural resources, social and economic marginalisation and militarisation, it says." (The Guardian)

"Ministers told to fund urgent Arctic research" - "BRITAIN must establish a network of research bases around the North Pole and Arctic to monitor and predict the impact of climate change, leading scientists are to tell ministers." (The Sunday Times)

Oh brother... "If Blair can't save the world for us, then business will" - "The world's gone upside down. First, there's David Cameron championing the public sector ethos and suggesting there's more to politics than economic growth; then last week 14 of the UK's corporate great and good, including establishment firms such as Shell, Tesco, B&Q and Standard Chartered Bank, trooped along to Downing Street to lobby the government for tougher targets on greenhouse gases. Something wrong, surely. Shouldn't it be the government that's the guardian of the greater good, while business resists any limitation on its ability to make profits?" (Simon Caulkin, The Observer) | Blue chips see the green light (The Guardian)

As it happens, business is already a great good but there's only tears to be had trying to "control" the planet's temperature by tweaking a few minor variables. This is especially true since that attempt involves serious misdirection of effort and finance that could and should address lack of potable water, sanitation and affordable energy in less developed regions.

"Industry warns against tougher carbon targets" - "INDUSTRY has reacted with dismay to proposals by a number of Britain's leading companies for the government to set tougher targets for carbon emissions." (The Sunday Times)

"Can business be cool?" - "Why a growing number of firms are taking global warming seriously." (The Economist)

Mostly because they believe, probably correctly, that people and politicians can be manoeuvred into padding the profits and hampering the competition of said firms.

"Gardeners can slow climate change" - "Britain's gardeners are being asked to open up their borders, lawns and shrubs to help tackle the world's greatest environmental threat: climate change." (Juliette Jowit, The Observer)

"The next green battlefield" - "Pollution wars may take to the skies to curb, or tax, airplane emissions." (The Economist)

"Airline plan to pay for emissions is blocked by Germans" - "GERMANY'S biggest airline is blocking a British plan to make passengers pay for the environmental damage caused by their flights. Lufthansa has rejected proposals put forward by British Airways for an emissions-trading scheme, under which airlines would buy permits to cover their production of carbon dioxide. Britain strongly supports the scheme and, with the backing of France and the Scandinavian countries, hopes to introduce it within Europe by 2008." (London Times)

Featured scam: "Save money and protect the planet" - "Environmentally conscious consumers are being invited to offset their carbon dioxide "footprint" by a gas and electricity company in a bid to reduce climate change." (The Guardian)

"Pollution From Chinese Coal Casts a Global Shadow" - "HANJING, China -- One of China's lesser-known exports is a dangerous brew of soot, toxic chemicals and climate-changing gases from the smokestacks of coal-burning power plants. In early April, a dense cloud of pollutants over Northern China sailed to nearby Seoul, sweeping along dust and desert sand before wafting across the Pacific. An American satellite spotted the cloud as it crossed the West Coast." (New York Times)

"U.N. scheme to save 1 bln tonnes of greenhouse gas" - "OSLO - A U.N. scheme to promote renewable energy use in poor nations is growing sharply and will axe emissions of greenhouse gases by more than a billion tonnes by 2012, the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Mediocrity reigns supreme" - "In 1774, Irish statesman Edmund Burke told voters, "Your representative owes you not his industry only but his good judgment. And he betrays instead of serves you if he sacrifices his judgment to your opinion." Two hundred years later, US Senator Roman Hruska argued, "There are a lot of mediocre people. They're entitled to a little representation, aren't they?" (Paul Driessen, ESR)

"Jeffrey J. Brown: Has oil peaked?: Yes" - "The world has used half its reserves and is headed for shortages." (Dallas Morning News)

"Ronald Bailey: Has oil peaked?: Not yet" - "We have at least 30 more years to find alternatives to petroleum." (Dallas Morning News)

"Estimates of Ontario's electricity reserves 'miscalculated': sources" - "TORONTO - Ontario will have much less electricity available this summer than previously thought and will have to continue using its smog-contributing coal plants longer than expected because the province's power system monitor "miscalculated" its forecasts, sources said Thursday." (CP)

"'Clean coal' may be fuel of future" - "BRITAIN'S coalmines could be revived and become a primary source of fuel for generating electricity. The government's forthcoming energy review will suggest that 'clean coal' - a technique for burning coal that releases a minimum of carbon dioxide - is now among the most promising technologies for meeting Britain's energy needs. The review, due to be published next month, is attracting huge attention because it will make recommendations on new nuclear power stations." (The Sunday Times)

"France and UK boost nuclear ties" - "France and the UK are to set up a joint nuclear energy forum, French President Jacques Chirac has announced at a summit with Tony Blair in Paris." (BBC)

Atomic moonbat: "A few more nukes!" - "Environmentalists need to face the fact that nuclear power is less dangerous than fossil-fired global warming." (George Monbiot, LA Times)

"Wind-Power Projects Halted" - "CHICAGO -- More than 130 wind turbines are proposed for the hilltops of central Wisconsin, but that project and at least 11 others have been halted by the Defense Department as it studies whether the projects could interfere with military radar." (Washington Post)

"Damned if you do, or don't" - "FIRST, green groups tell us dams are so evil we must not even think of building one. But now they're crying for a dam they say is so "iconic" that it is "part of the glue that binds us". How mad we're becoming." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"Kenya: Group Launches Campaign Against GMOs" - "A Non-governmental organisation says Kenyans are increasingly consuming genetically modified food without their knowledge. Consequently, Africa Nature Stream (ANS) said it had launched a campaign to sensitise Kenyans on dangers of consuming Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Mr Masoa Muindi, the chairman of ANS, said several multinational seed manufacturers were supplying genetically modified seeds to local peasants, who plant them unknowingly. "Most of these multinationals have been fined and thrown out of other countries for bribing government officials to accept planting of GMOs in open fields," he said." (East African Standard)

June 9, 2006

"Canned Tuna Pregnancy Scare Smells Fishy" - "Self-styled consumer watchdog Consumer Reports issued a 'new' warning about the safety of canned tuna this week. It's too bad the magazine didn't also include a warning to readers about its long-standing agenda of junk science-based food fearmongering." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"US-funded program fights against malaria in Tanzania" - "KAMBINI, Tanzania -- During the rainy season on Pemba Island, bright-green rice plants shoot up, and breezes carry the sweet scent of cloves. But trouble brews in the muddy puddles -- by a nocturnal species of mosquitoes that multiplies and carries malaria." (Boston Globe)

"Kenya: The benefits and risks in the use of DDT" - "The December meeting, where experts will discuss the benefits and risks of spraying DDT in Kenyan houses to fight the killer malaria disease, is eagerly awaited by both scientists and environmentalists alike. The fate of many Kenyans hangs in the balance before it is eventually determined whether the 1988 ban is lifted or the status quo maintained in the utilisation of DDT. Malaria, a leading killer reportedly claims 34,000 lives a year and accounts for 20 percent of all hospital admissions in the country. As such, the government has the mandate to shoulder the role of facilitating a nationwide civic education and sensitisation programme on the advantages and disadvantages on the use of DDT." (Kenya Times)

"Mr President, DDT will end malaria" - "DEAR Mr President, in recent days the business community has written to you and even taken out newspaper ads opposing your carefully considered decision to fight malaria using indoor residual spraying with DDT. We are deeply concerned that this could undo years of hard work, undermine new USAID policies and programs, and result in needless deaths." (Fiona Kobusingye, New Vision)

"Gleneagles 'has not reduced infant mortality'" - "One child has died from poverty, conflict or disease every three seconds since the leaders of the world's richest nations met 11 months ago in Gleneagles, under pressure to make poverty history. The statistic has remained unaltered since the famous "click" commercials over a year ago, when celebrities such as Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue and Brad Pitt lined up to click their fingers every three seconds, to mark the death of another child." (London Independent)

"Important study facts often missing in media reports about medical research" - "WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT/HANOVER, NH -- News stories about medical research, often based on initial findings presented at professional conferences, frequently omit basic facts about the study and fail to highlight important limitations, warn Dartmouth researchers in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia. Such omissions can mislead the public and distort the actual significance of the research, they caution." (Dartmouth Medical School)

"US, Others Press EU to Re-Think Chemicals Bill" - "LUXEMBOURG - Thirteen of the European Union's top trading partners, including the United States, Australia and Japan, urged the EU on Thursday to re-think legislation designed to protect people from toxic chemicals." (Reuters)

"Are antibiotics being used for too long?" - "Taking antibiotics for three days is just as effective for community acquired pneumonia as continuing treatment for the recommended 7-10 days, finds a study in this week's BMJ. Shorter treatment can also help contain growing resistance rates." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Feds would rule on food labels" - "WASHINGTON - There's a proposal in Congress that some people say could affect the safety of hush puppies, oysters, bean sprouts and other foods served in North Carolina and across the nation. Others say it would simplify food regulation without compromising safety." (News & Observer)

"Infants' food allergies rarer than parents believe" - "NEW YORK - Parents are more likely to think their infant is allergic to certain foods than is actually the case, according to a new study from the UK. Dr. Taraneh Dean of the University of Portsmouth and her colleagues found that 54 percent of a group of one-year-olds were avoiding some foods, because their parents perceived them to have had reactions to items such as cow's milk, wheat, eggs or additives. Overall, however, only 2 percent to 6 percent of the infants had clinically confirmed food hypersensitivity, the researchers report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology." (Reuters Health)

Increasingly bizarre: "Board bans chemicals that may harm infants" - "San Francisco's Board of Supervisors gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would make the city the first in the nation to ban the use of certain chemicals in the manufacture of plastic baby bottles, pacifiers and toys on the grounds that they could harm young children." (SF Chronicle)

"Human Experimentation: A Rule Gone Awry?" - "The U.S. EPA's new Protections for Subjects in Human Research rule, which came into force on 7 April 2006, was born of a need to tighten the ethical guidelines controlling nonmedical human experimentation. The rule was ostensibly designed to offer people greater protection in pesticide toxicity experiments. But just two weeks after its coming into force, a coalition of labor and environmental interest groups filed suit against the EPA, challenging the rule's legality and ethics. Against a backdrop of claims of industry influence, financial interests, and bipartisan rhetoric, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City must now determine whether this rule safeguards Americans against unethical experimentation or sells them out to big business." (EHP)

"More aid won't stop more AIDS" - "Much of the spectacle at the recent UNAIDS forum came from battles between self-proclaimed progressives or conservatives over references to prostitutes and drug addicts in the final declaration. These semantic tussles aside, the real issue for the global AIDS industry is how to keep the cash flowing." (Philip Stevens, CFD)

"Public Library of Science announces PLoS ONE: A new approach to open-access publishing" - "San Francisco, CA; June 7, 2006 - The Internet-fueled reinvention of the scientific journal took an important step forward with the announcement of PLoS ONE, a pioneering system for the publication and creative use of scientific and medical knowledge. PLoS ONE is the latest innovation from the Public Library of Science, a non-profit organization making the world's research literature a freely available public resource. PLoS ONE will return control over scholarly publishing to the research community by bringing together research from all areas of biology and medicine, offering authors an efficient and highly effective means to communicate their results and ideas, and providing the community with powerful new tools for navigating and adding value to the published research literature." (Public Library of Science)

"New study shows much of the world emerged from last Ice Age together" - "The end of the recurring, 100,000-year glacial cycles is one of the most prominent and readily identifiable features in records of the Earth's recent climate history. Yet one of the most puzzling questions in climate science has been why different parts of the world, most notably Greenland, appear to have warmed at different times and at different rates after the end of the last Ice Age." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

Comparison of North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperatures Between 2005 and 2006 (Climate Science)

Say what? "Poor salmon runs feared due to warming Pacific" - "VANCOUVER - The Pacific Ocean off British Columbia's coast was warmer and drier than normal last year, leading to an increased number of exotic species such as tropical squid, and a reduced growth rate in salmon, according to a new federal study." (Globe and Mail)

Parsing the above statement, the Pacific Ocean must be drying up, which could eventually be problematic, especially for fish. Still, it should go some way to allaying fears of flooding due to rising seas, though, eh?

This might provide a clearer picture of what they actually meant: "DFO report: Warming seas hard on salmon" - "Salmon and herring populations off southwest Vancouver Island will suffer next year and the year after because of the persistence of unusually warm temperatures in the ocean, warns a State of the Oceans report, released Wednesday by Fisheries and Oceans Canada." (Times Colonist)

Obituary: "Yoram Kaufman; NASA Scientist Studied Atmosphere, Warming" - "Yoram Kaufman, a leading scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center whose research has led to greater understanding of global warming, died May 31 at Prince George's Hospital Center. He was seriously injured May 26 when he was struck by an automobile while riding his bicycle near the Goddard center's campus in Greenbelt. He died one day before his 58th birthday." (Washington Post)

"A Mixed Bag -- Scientific community remains inconclusive about effects of global warming" - "MCAllen, Texas - A recent cover story in Time magazine said we should be 'very worried.' But should we?" (Travis M. Whitehead, The McAllen Monitor)

Everybody wants to get into the act: "Health professionals must help tackle climate change" - "Climate change is a major public health threat which health professionals must help to tackle, argues an expert in this week's BMJ. The most feasible policy for tackling global warming is contraction and convergence - a carbon cap and trade policy designed to stabilise and then reduce global carbon dioxide emissions, writes Dr Robin Stott." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

Could be MDs should tend to their own knitting.

How likely is it that significant change in global mean temperature can be manipulated by capping and trading anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions? Let's look:

According to the IPCC, Earth has warmed 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since about 1880. Also according to the IPCC and Mike's Magic Hockey Stick, virtually all warming in the last millennium or two as occurred in the same timeframe. Assuming Earth's temperature of 288 K is correct, it has warmed ~0.2% (0.6/288 x 100 = ~0.2).

Going by Evolution of the Sun's Spectral Irradiance Since the Maunder Minimum, (Lean, 2000, click link for data), solar irradiance has increased 0.2% since 1675.

If the IPCC and Mikey's Magic Stick are right then solar irradiance and Earth's mean temperature exhibit virtually identical change and we need look no further for esoteric cause and effect -- it's the big radiator in the sky.

If, on the other hand, we take a more realistic look at past temperature trends and include only concurrent solar variance, ~0.2% Earth temperature change occurred with 0.14% solar brightening -- suggesting only about seven-tenths (0.42 °C) is explained by increased irradiance, leaving about 0.18 °C (0.6 C x 30%) potentially from increased carbon dioxide and other forcings.

Professor Roger Pielke, Sr., suggests a figure of 26.5%-28% of contemporary warming is attributable to atmospheric carbon dioxide, a figure which is quite similar to Professor Richard Lindzen's calculation, roughly 0.17 °C.

As a broad thumbnail then, the changes in solar brightness and enhanced greenhouse forcing by atmospheric carbon dioxide are a sufficient explanation for the small estimated warming believed to have occurred.

Either way, capping and trading carbon dioxide emissions at any achievable level have roughly zero potential for making a discernable difference in global mean temperature.

Hopefully the good doctor's understanding of medicine is significantly greater than his understanding of the physics of climate change.

"Recent, rapid climate change is driving evolution of animal species" - "Rapid climate changes over the past several decades have led to heritable, genetic changes in animals as diverse as squirrels, birds and mosquitoes, according to University of Oregon evolutionary geneticists. Writing in the "Perspectives" section of the June 9 issue of SCIENCE, William E. Bradshaw, professor of biology, and Christina Holzapfel, biology research associate, show that diverse animal populations have changed genetically in response to rapid climate change. These genetic changes are in response to altered seasonal events and not to the expected direct effects of increased summer temperatures. Global warming is proceeding fastest at the most northern latitudes, resulting in longer growing seasons while simultaneously alleviating winter cold stress without imposing summer heat stress. In short, northern climates are becoming more like those in the south." (University of Oregon)

"West's emissions 'fuelling destruction of Heritage Sites'" - "The United Nations is facing pressure from scientists and campaigners to acknowledge the potentially devastating effect of climate change on the world's most precious ecological sites. Environmental activists, who are concerned that poorer countries with low greenhouse gas emissions are being saddled with the damage wreaked by richer countries' soaring emission levels, are pressing the UN World Heritage Sites Committee to admit that five of its most important sites are being damaged, perhaps irrevocably, by climate change. The barrier reefs of Belize and Australia and glacier parks in Nepal, Peru and the Rockies are supposed to be among the best-protected areas in the world, but are already showing clear signs of the effects of global warming." (London Independent)

"Global warming might affect Hawaii area" - "HONOLULU, June 8 -- Scientists say many Northwestern Hawaiian Islands might be submerged by 2100 because of global warming, National Geographic News reported." (UPI)

"How Melting Glaciers Alter Earth's Surface, Spur Quakes, Volcanoes" - "Imagine the surface of Earth as a giant trampoline that accumulated a slab of ice over the winter, and you can get a sense of what a growing number of scientists say is in store for the planet as glaciers keep melting. Once the trampoline's ice turns to water that drips over the edges in the warm days of spring, the concave elastic slowly rebounds to its original flat shape. That's how Earth responds as glaciers retreat, and the consequences promise to be ... interesting." (Wall Street Journal)

"Temperature rise may turn earth's clock back 4m years" - "GLOBAL warming could be returning the world to the way it was four million years ago when sea levels were 80ft higher than they are today, scientists say. The forecast suggests that a climatic "switch" may soon be thrown, resulting in a seismic geothermal shift. If the prediction is correct, later generations could find themselves living in a climate similar to that of the early Pliocene epoch. Even though at that time the greenhouse effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide was no greater than it is today, average global temperatures were at least 3C warmer." (The Scotsman)

Wishful thinking versus the petrolheads... (EnviroSpin Watch)

Self destruct (Number Watch)

"UK: Fury as green car grant scheme is ditched" - "The motor industry reacted with fury last night after the Government announced that it would not be proceeding with a scheme offering grants of up to '1,000 towards the cost of buying environmentally friendly cars." (London Independent)

"Renewables: 25% of energy use in '25?" - "A broad coalition of politicos, activists, and businesses united this week to try to put greener energy on a fast track." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"In oil crisis, bio-energies are only part of the answer" - "In Short: Biomass and biofuels are set to cover an ever-increasing share of the EU's future transport and heating needs. But it is certainly not the magical solution, according EU environment chief Stavros Dimas." (EurActiv)

"Bio-energy: dream or nightmare for biodiversity?" - "Bio-energy is a term used to describe energy derived from organic materials-living plants and plant components. Crops grown for bio-energy include traditional crops such as wheat and oilseed rape, but also dedicated energy crops, like short-rotation willow-coppice, unusual grasses and forestry products. The production of bio-energy is gathering more and more attention as a feasible way of reducing dependence on imported oil and gas and is even being hailed as one of the potential key weapons in the battle against global warming." (Birdlife International)

"House hopes bill will give way to more oil refineries" - "WASHINGTON - The House approved legislation Wednesday that supporters said will make it easier for oil companies to build or expand refineries, although opponents said it could lead to more pollution and less local involvement in the siting of refineries." (AP)

"Rethinking ground-level ozone regulations" - "Attempts to regulate ground-level ozone are complicated by the transport of ozone precursors across states and even countries." (ES&T)

"Organics pricier than conventional but not any more nutritious" - "They don't look healthier. Mind you, judging by the price tag, they ought to be. According to dietitian Lois Ferguson and home economist Mary Wiley, organic fruit and vegetables cost about 40 per cent more than regular ones but are zero per cent more nutritious. During a recent visit to Hamilton, they bought $9 worth of organics and $9 worth of conventionally grown vegetables at a local grocery store. The result? The organic pile was half as high. The price difference has health professionals concerned. "We're worried about moms who think organic produce is better for their families so they buy it, but because they're on a budget, they buy less," says Ferguson. "The result is their children don't end up getting the five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables recommended daily by the Canada Food Guide." (Canadian Press)

"Consumers have to weigh risks against advantages" - "Modern science, filtered through industry, agriculture and the products we buy, fills our world with chemicals. It's modern science that permits us to know how many of those chemicals have taken up residence in our bodies. That number can be useful, but it only has meaning in context.

Manganese, for example, is a naturally occurring substance. In small amounts, it's a nutrient. In large amounts, it's a toxin. We make negative assumptions about the word "chemical" and positive assumptions about the word "organic," which may mislead our perceptions of the harmfulness or the benign nature of a certain compound." (Ottawa Citizen)

"Andhra guns for GM" - "India is the new battleground for the fight against genetically modified (GM) crops. And this time it is the Andhra Pradesh government, and not just NGOs, to have taken the lead." (Hindustan Times)

June 8, 2006

"Critics blast Ottawa over leaked research" - "Health Canada's objectivity is questioned after findings on herbicide safety were e-mailed out, posted on Web." (Globe and Mail)

Health Canada shouldn't tell anyone it has no safety concerns with this product?

"Panel faults U.S. science policy" - "National Science Board finds lack of consistent policy for exchange of government research." (The Scientist)

"House of Lords says scientific evidence does not support public smoking ban" - "MPs voted in February by a huge margin to ban smoking from all pubs and private members' clubs in England. The proposed ban is based on the premise that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or so-called 'passive smoking' is a risk to health. In an interesting turn of events the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has just published a report on the Government's Policy on the Management of Risk. The report has reached the conclusion that environmental tobacco smoke is not the risk it is purported to be and does not justify such a ban." (Medical News Today)

"Policy makers draw up list of 'top 100' ecological questions" - "Environmental policy makers have come up with a list of the "top 100" ecological questions most in need of an answer. The list, published online in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, is the result of an innovative experiment involving more than 600 environmental policy makers and academics, and includes crucial questions such as which UK habitats and species might be lost completely due to climate change, and what are the comparative biodiversity impacts of newly emerging types of renewable energy? The list should help bridge the gap between science and policy that exists in many disciplines - including ecology - and could therefore have a major impact on future ecological research and its funding." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Pollution Can Change Sex Ratio Among Fish - Study" - "HONG KONG - A lack of oxygen in highly polluted waters can sharply alter the sex ratio among fish, resulting in far more males than females, a study has found, which could result in the extinction of a species." (Reuters)

"Scientists Set Out to Discover How Dodo Died" - "PLAINE MAGNIEN, Mauritius - How did the dodo die out? Scientists in Mauritius launched a project on Wednesday to discover why the giant bird became extinct." (Reuters)

Oops! "Greenpeace Just Kidding About Armageddon" - "The environmental activist group Greenpeace wanted to be prepared to counter President Bush's visit last week to Pennsylvania to promote his nuclear energy policy. "This volatile and dangerous source of energy" is no answer to the country's energy needs, shouted a Greenpeace fact sheet, decrying the "threat" posed by the reactors Bush visited in Limerick. But after that assertion, the Greenpeace authors were apparently stumped while searching for the ideal menacing metaphor. "In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world's worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE]," the sheet said. The Greenpeace spokesman who issued the memo, Steve Smith, told the Web site that a colleague was making a joke in a draft that was then mistakenly released. The final version did not mention Armageddon; instead it warned of plane crashes and reactor meltdowns." (Philly.com) -- Hat tip everyone who sent this in.

"Media dupes warm to film" - "The most casual knowledge of the debate over global warming would establish his survey as nonsense." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

"Rachel Goreson" - "Al Gore's new movie, An Inconvenient Truth is a powerful visual rendering of a variety of natural events that are claimed to prove that manmade global warming is upon us and rapidly getting worse. We all know that a well-done film can have a powerful emotional impact. This is a well-done film." (Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

Reading from the same script? "Researcher alleges climate cover-up" - "BOULDER - The American public is not hearing the full story on global warming because Bush administration officials are muzzling government scientists, a top climate researcher said Wednesday. Warren Washington, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, said that Bush appointees are suppressing information about climate change, restricting journalists' access to federal scientists and rewriting agency news releases to stress global warming uncertainties." (Rocky Mountain News)

"Animals lose sleep over environment: Shorter hibernations among effects of climate change" - "Rome, June 7 - Animals are losing sleep and shedding pounds over climate change, according to a new study by Italian scientists. The authors of the research, Mauro Cristaldi and Germana Szpunar, say shorter hibernations and weight loss are just some of the alarming symptoms of the onset of the greenhouse effect in animals." (ANSA)

D U H ! "Rich and poor countries at loggerheads over Kyoto, says Ambrose" - "OTTAWA - Rich and poor countries are at an impasse over how to proceed in the battle to curb climate change, says Environment Minister Rona Ambrose. Ambrose, chair of the conference of parties to the Kyoto Protocol, gave her first assessment Wednesday of efforts to extend the climate treaty. Talks in Bonn last month failed to bridge the gap between developed countries who have emissions-cutting targets and developing nations who don't, she said in a speech to the Canadian Club. She portrayed the two sides as entrenched in their positions." (CP)

In the UK, just another day of carbon claptrap... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Britain to appoint climate envoy" - "Britain is to appoint an international envoy on climate, the BBC has learned." (BBC)

The gravy train stops over in Paris: "Paris Conference to Discuss Climate Change, Rising Oceans" - "Some of the world's leading experts on oceans and climate change are meeting in Paris this week to discuss why oceans are rising, and where to channel scarce research funds to study the phenomenon." (VOA)

"Polish CO2 Permits Surplus in '05 Not Big - Sources" - "WARSAW - Poland is unlikely to show a big surplus of CO2 emissions permits for 2005 and could allow installations to keep part of such surpluses for the second phase of the EU trading scheme from 2008, sources close to the registry said. The EU market depends on a shortage of pollution permits for heavy industry, forcing businesses either to clean up their greenhouse gas emissions or buy extra permits. Poland's emissions plan is one of the largest in the 25-member European Union and the carbon market is eagerly awaiting its 2005 data, especially as most other countries reported their emissions last month." (Reuters)

Still trying to talk up a hot air market: "Climate Change Call Could Boost Ethical Funds" - "LONDON - UK investors could see tidy returns from backing environmentally conscious companies after the call for tougher action on climate change from some of the country's biggest corporate names. But financial experts are warning investors to check the green credentials of funds before they buy." (Reuters)

Revolution! Britain embraces the bicycle (London Independent)

With declining disposable income and living standards it's small wonder revolution is in the air!

"Carmakers Say Combustion Engines Here For Years" - "MUNICH - Internal combustion engines will rule the roost in the automotive world for decades to come despite the gradual rise of hydrogen-powered fuel cells that emit only water, industry experts say." (Reuters)

"Canada: Energy minister dismisses clean coal idea" - "Coal remains a dirty word to Ontario's energy minister, who said Tuesday he won't revisit plans to close the province's coal-fired electricity generators as he prepares to unveil details of Ontario's future energy strategy, possibly next week." (CP)

"GM R&D Chief Sees Fuel Cell Boost From Ethanol Push" - "MUNICH - The United States' sudden love affair with ethanol fuel will boost prospects for embracing hydrogen-powered fuel cells later, General Motors' research and development chief Lawrence Burns said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"EU to Convert 'Wine Lake' to Energy" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union has opened tenders to sell off wine surpluses in France and Italy to make biofuel or industrial alcohol at a cost of 131 million euros (US$168 million), the European Commission said on Wednesday. France would distil a maximum of 1.5 million hectolitres of table wine and the same amount of quality wine, while Italy would distil 2.5 million hectolitres of table wine and 100,000 hectolitres of quality wine, it said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Biofuels Have Risks if Not Managed Right - Report" - "NEW YORK - Biofuels have the potential to replace growing amounts of oil, but can cause agricultural and ecological damage if not not developed carefully, a report released on Wednesday said." (Reuters)

"Biofuel policy will give 'negligible' carbon cuts" - "The promotion of bio-fuels will not deliver carbon cuts if not accompanied by new sustainability safeguards, environmental groups have warned on the eve of key EU discussions." (Edie)

"U.S. Science Panel Sees Big Problems if Indian Point Reactors Are Closed" - "WASHINGTON, June 6 — Closing the Indian Point nuclear reactors would make electricity more expensive, leave New York more vulnerable to natural gas shortages and add to pollution that causes global warming, according to a report released on Tuesday by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences." (New York Times)

"Gorbachev puts anti-nuclear case to Blair" - "Nuclear power is neither an answer to energy problems nor a panacea for climate change, Mikhail Gorbachev told Tony Blair." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

Another whacky assault on agriculture: "So who's really to blame for bird flu?" - "According to experts, wild birds are spreading the deadly H5N1 virus that's wiping out poultry worldwide. But are they really to blame? Or is the disease not only a direct result of intensive farming - but actually being spread by the industry? Joanna Blythman reports." (The Guardian)

"New Technique to Create Genetically Modified Chickens" - "LONDON - A US biotechnology firm said on Wednesday it had developed a new technique to produce genetically modified chickens that could be used to produce treatments for human diseases." (Reuters)

"Consumer Group Sues FDA Over Biotech Foods" - "WASHINGTON - A lawsuit filed on Wednesday seeks to force the US government to conduct mandatory reviews of genetically engineered foods and require labeling of such foods once they are approved. The Center for Food Safety's suit against the Food and Drug Administration comes after years of lobbying by environmental and consumer groups for more stringent regulation and labeling of biotech crops, which biotech opponents fear can harm human health." (Reuters)

Today's meaching: "Crushed by well-heeled global boots" - "The poorest countries need tariff walls to protect them from international competition." (Michael Meacher, London Times)

June 7, 2006

This is how affluent Western eco-chondriacs kill the world's poorest people: "Uganda: Exporters Petition Govt Against DDT Use" - "Uganda's agricultural exporters have petitioned President Yoweri Museveni to stop the government's planned use of DDT in the fight against malaria. The exporters are arguing that the controversial chemical will turn buyers against their products. In an open letter to the president dated April 25, the exporters argue that a government plan to spray DDT only indoors to ensure that it does not get into the food chain, is not enough to assuage the fears of consumers in the West." (The East African)

Help defeat malaria.

"No to a nanny state" - "There is no obvious reward for governments in being reckless about risk. From food standards to workplace injury prevention, the pressure on policymaking is towards adopting stringent measures to reduce dangers. But this safety first approach brings its own problems, through sometimes disproportionate solutions and an inflated view of what a government can achieve. A parliamentary report published today identifies flaws in how the government manages risk assessment. The economic affairs committee of the House of Lords says that the civil service is incentivised to be too cautious and that policymaking should take formal account of whether new laws curtail individual liberty." (Financial Times)

"Bird flu could catch firms cold" - "The federal government is spending $3.8 billion to prepare for a potential avian flu pandemic which could kill up to 2 million Americans, but many local companies either have not started preparing emergency plans for avian flu or are relying on general plans that are not specific to a flu pandemic. But what would they do if the worst case scenario hit and 40 percent of their employees didn't show up for work?" (Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal)

"Study says lung cancer overdiagnosis a result of screening" - "Screening may lead to overdiagnosis of lung cancer, a study reports in the June 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Screening for cancer can find tumors that might not otherwise have been diagnosed in a person's lifetime, a situation called overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis wastes health care resources. Tests and treatment resulting from overdiagnosis can lead to substantial toxicity and even premature death in patients." (Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

"Why we all need a little sunshine in our lives" - "Sunshine doesn't just lift your mood - it can help prevent all kinds of illnesses, including cancer. Roger Dobson reports." (London Independent)

"3G phone masts safe says Dutch health ministry" - "AMSTERDAM - There is no evidence that radiation from third-generation UMTS cellphone masts is harmful to people, the Dutch health ministry said on the basis of a new Swiss study on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Avoid canned tuna, magazine tells pregnant women" - "WASHINGTON - Pregnant women should not eat canned tuna because it may contain harmful levels of mercury, Consumer Reports magazine said on Monday, taking a more cautious approach than that recommended by the U.S. government." (Reuters)

"Science, Medical Authorities Dispute Magazine Findings on Tuna" - "WASHINGTON, June 6 -- A story in Consumer Reports magazine attacking the health attributes of canned tuna fish ignores decades of serious research by scientists, medical authorities, research organizations and key government agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The unsigned Consumer Reports story takes a radical departure from widely accepted health standards in its advice to pregnant women and others on tuna consumption. Citing unnamed "experts" and refusing to publicly reveal its research methodologies, the magazine is needlessly confusing the public and potentially frightening people from including this important, low-cost, low- fat protein source in their diets." (PRNewswire)

"Consumer Reports Rated Worst Science" - "The world according to Consumer Reports (CR) magazine is generally a happy place full of "best buy" cars and top-rated toasters -- until you turn the page and discover the food section. Where your dinner is concerned, the Consumers Union of the United States (CR's parent organization) becomes nearly as meddlesome and negative as the Center for Science in the Public Interest -- and just as frequently wrong. Recent Consumers Union scares about mad cow disease, genetically modified food, and acrylamide in fried potatoes have proven baseless. The July CR feature, which needlessly warns Americans about trace amounts of mercury in canned tuna, will likely pan out the same way." (Center for Consumer Freedom)

"Politics weighs in: Obesity dominates in the former Soviet bloc" - "ST. LOUIS -- Obesity is more prevalent in Central and Eastern European countries that formerly comprised the Soviet bloc than in Western European countries, a new Saint Louis University School of Public Health found. The research – believed to be among the first studies to focus on environmental risk factors for obesity in Europe – was published in the June 2006 issue of the European Journal of Public Health." (Saint Louis University)

Socialism is good because it keeps people impoverished and starving from becoming obese?

"Race to halt global amphibian crisis boosted by rediscovery of endangered Colombian frogs" - "The rediscovery of two frog species feared extinct has made a new Colombian protected area the focal point for efforts to save amphibians from a deadly fungus decimating their populations in Central and South America." (Conservation International)

"No Free Ride for Climate Scientists" - "Researchers eager to hitchhike on a military/civilian weather satellite mission had their hopes dashed today. The Department of Defense has dropped a number of climate sensors from a satellite program as part of a restructuring of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). The program had suffered schedule delays and billions in cost overruns, and the Pentagon says the overall changes will help save about $2.4 billion." (ScienceNOW Daily News)

Al bad for vintage? "Chilly Weather Puts Freeze on Grape Crops" - "Grape growers in Ohio, Michigan and New York are struggling to recover from a rare run of cold nights that may have destroyed up to 90 percent of farmers' crops in some places, agriculture officials say. The chilly spell has caused so much damage, officials say, farmers can't recall a comparable cold snap in recent memory." (AP) -- Hat tip Mike O.

We know, we don't normally run too much on mere weather events but USA Today made such a deal out of this.

"The Media Adapt" - "The cover story of the June 5th US News and World Report is about global warming, but the story is not quite the usual doom and gloom (as seen recently, for instance, in the Time cover story, "Be Worried. Be Very Worried.")" (Iain Murray, TCS Daily)

"Global Warming Threatens Coastal Fishing" - "Many of Florida’s coastal bays and estuaries will be inundated by 2100 due to sea-level rise from global warming, making the “Fishing Capital of the World” uninhabitable by some of Florida’s most prized game fish, a new study reveals." (National Wildlife Federation)

"Survey: Most sportsmen fear global warming" - "RESTON, Va., June 6 -- A National Wildlife Federation survey of U.S. sportsmen shows most say global warming is an urgent problem that needs immediate action. The first comprehensive nationwide survey of licensed hunters and anglers about attitudes on global warming revealed about 76 percent of those asked agree that global warming is occurring, and the same percentage say they've observed climate change." (UPI)

"Climate change could crush wheat yields" - "Soaring temperatures and declining rainfalls caused by climate change could wipe a billion dollars a year off Australia's wheat industry within 30 years, a study suggests." (AAP)

Nice of 'em to be so free... with your money: "Business chiefs press for tougher curbs on greenhouse gases" - "Business leaders yesterday urged Tony Blair to impose tougher limits on greenhouse gas emissions from UK industry. The senior figures from 14 top British companies, including Tesco, Shell and B&Q, told the prime minister that government curbs on carbon dioxide emissions were needed to drive the development of clean technologies. They called for stiff targets in the next round of the European carbon trading scheme and regulations to improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses." (The Guardian)

From CO2 Science this week:

A 1500-Year Climate History of Northern Eurasia: A synthesis of the results of a large number of paleoclimate studies conducted within the region reveals the existence of both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, as well the modern era of warming.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 3 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Sierra Nevada and White Mountains of California.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Ozone (Effects on Plants -- Tree Species: Beech): What are the effects? How bad are they? And how are they impacted by increases in the air's CO 2 content?

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, Microalgae, Sugar Maple, and White Poplar.

Journal Reviews:
Hurricane Activity of the Past Two Decades: How has it responded to the concomitant warming of the global ocean?

The Medieval Warm Period in the Tropical Andes of South America: A study of the Little Ice Age in the Venezuelan Andes reveals much about the antecedent Medieval Warm Period.

More on the Greening of the Sahel: As the phenomenon continues, the evidence for it grows ever stronger and more abundant.

African Microbes: Riding the Wind to America: Do many survive the journey? What are the consequences? How might things change in the future?

The Deleterious Effects of Increases in Atmospheric CO 2 on the Growth and Development of Blue Mussels: How long will it be before they are completely exterminated? (co2science.org)

"Australia: N-inquiry considers coal tax" - "A CARBON tax on coal will be considered as part of John Howard's inquiry into nuclear energy that could lead to more uranium mines and the introduction of nuclear power plants." (The Australian)

"Australia: Eco-dream ends with whimper" - "The Rocky Point power plant has been sold for one-twelfth of what it has cost the publicly-owned Stanwell Corporation to keep it running." (The Courier-Mail)

"Iberdrola to Keep Exceeding CO2 Emissions Quota" - "CANNES, France - Spain's second-biggest utility, Iberdrola, will keep exceeding its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions target in 2008-2012 and buy permits for the excess under the EU carbon trading scheme, a senior executive said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Duke wants to add coal-fired units" - "Duke Energy Carolinas has filed a state application for two 800-megawatt units at its Cliffside coal-fired power plant in Rutherford and Cleveland counties. The units would come on line as soon as 2011, Duke said Friday in asking the N.C. Utilities Commission for a "certificate of public convenience and necessity." Four 1940s-vintage Cliffside units with a capacity of 160 megawatts will be retired. Duke says it won't use an emerging technology that is designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the new units." (Charlotte Observer)

"Technology can make coal clean, Klein says after industry meeting" - "CALGARY—Alberta Premier Ralph Klein believes Ontario's plans to eliminate its coal-fired power plants are "short-sighted," and says affordable, clean coal-burning technologies are inevitable." (CP)

"Work Starts on World's Largest Solar Power Plant" - "LISBON - Construction of the world's largest solar energy plant started on Tuesday in Portugal's southern Alentejo region, General Electric said." (Reuters)

"Turtle Power Threatens Chevron's Gorgon Gas Project" - "SYDNEY - Environment officials seeking to protect nesting turtles called for a block on Chevron's A$11 billion (US$8 billion) Western Australia gas project on Tuesday, but the state's leader said he remained a strong supporter." (Reuters)

"Nanoops!" - "Danger, Will Robinson -- toxic nanotechnology! Er, except without the nanotechnology part, as it turns out." (Glenn Harlan Reynolds, TCS Daily)

"More than drought affecting wheat yields" - "AMARILLO – Wheat producers have more than the drought cutting into their yields this year, said two Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researchers. Dr. Tom Allen, Experiment Station assistant research scientist and plant disease diagnostician, saw more than 150 wheat samples sent to the Great Plains Diagnostic Network lab this growing season, in addition to 400-plus samples the plant pathology staff gathered across the Panhandle. Ninety-five percent of these samples were diagnosed with the wheat streak mosaic virus. In addition, 50 percent of the samples contained maize red stripe virus, more commonly known as High Plains virus. Both diseases are vectored by the wheat curl mite, Allen said. And so far, there's no treatment for either the viruses or the mite." (Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications)

"Cuban Scientists Obtain First Monoclonal Antibody from Transgenic Plants" - "Havana, Jun 6 The first ever monoclonal antibody obtained starting from transgenic plants with the purpose of purifying a human vaccine was registered in Cuba by the State Center for the Control of Medication Quality (CECMED), the regulating authority in charge of the control of medical drugs of the Ministry of Public Health." (ACN)

"GM-free victory as trials are scrapped" - "THE world's largest chemicals company BASF has scrapped controversial plans to conduct trials of genetically modified potatoes in Ireland." (Western Mail)

"Gene boost lets plant tolerate low boron in soil" - "Researchers have genetically modified a plant to make it tolerate low levels of boron, a nutrient often lacking from soils, especially in southeast China and Pakistan. The researchers say it is likely that a similar approach could be used in crop species to provide a cheap alternative to using boron fertiliser which can cause pollution." (SciDev.Net)

June 6, 2006

"Disciplinarian parents have fat kids: study" - "CHICAGO - Parents who are strict disciplinarians are far more likely to wind up with children who are fat by age six, perhaps because the youngsters over-eat as a reaction to stress, a study said on Monday. The report from Boston University School of Medicine also found that the fewest weight problems occur among children whose parents are "authoritative" -- having high expectations for self control but respectful of a child's opinions and who set clear boundaries. The study also found that children of parents who are permissive, defined as indulgent and without discipline, also have weight problems but not to the degree of the offspring of strict disciplinarians with low levels of sensitivity, the study said." (Reuters)

"60pc of teenage girls want to lose weight. Only 15pc need to" - "The lives of thousands of teenage school girls are being blighted by unfounded worries about their weight, according to the most comprehensive health education survey, published yesterday. Nearly 60 per cent of girls aged 12 to 15 described themselves as overweight when only 15 per cent met the medical criteria for excess body fat. The findings prompted the Schools Health Education Unit, which carries out the annual survey, to issue an appeal for an end to the "obsession" with skeletal body shapes in the media and fashion industry." (London Telegraph)

"Continuing Decline in Scientific Debates" - "For those never trained or employed in scientific endeavors, the subject of science can be confusing and intimidating. More recently the problem has been made much more difficult to understand scientific issues for a more recent reason. Over the past 35 years or so, science itself has become extremely politicized. Global warming is but one of the subjects so politicized." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

"Hazards in the home" - "Chemicals oozing from a variety of everyday products and materials in the home may harm our health." (Sun Media)

Much of the apparent problem is lack of ventilation (a.k.a. "energy saving thermal efficiency").

"Future Hurricane Disasters May Become More Costly" - "As the 2006 hurricane season gets under way, nationally known hurricane impact researcher Rob Young, associate professor of geosciences at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C, says the manner in which the federal government responded to last year's hurricane disasters will make future disasters even more costly. That's why Young, who has been conducting post-storm coastal reconnaissance for nearly 20 years, has become a vocal advocate for new federal policy that would encourage a retreat from the nation's most vulnerable sections of coastline." (SPX)

Clarification to the June 5 2006 Denver Post Column Entitled “Chill out over global warming” (Climate Science)

A Perspective on the Role of Aerosols in the Climate System (Climate Science)

"Same species responds differently to same warming, depending on location" - "Based on current trends for both air and water temperatures, by 2100 the body temperatures of California mussels -- found along thousands of miles of coast in the northeast Pacific Ocean and not just in California - could increase between about 2 degrees F and 6.5 F depending on where they live. For areas where mussels already are living close to the edge, chances are that increases of 6.5 F will kill them, researchers say." (University of Washington)

"Venice: After the flood" - "Nearly 30 years after the great flood that brought home to the world the fact that Venice could go under the waves, the Italians are still trying to decide what to do about it. With the advantage of hindsight, we can see the disaster of 4 November 1966 as the first warning rumble of global warming, nature clearing its throat prior to telling us loud and clear that the whole planet was in dire trouble. And Venice, built on millions of wooden piles in the lagoon barely above water level, was the canary in the coal mine: the first European victim." (London Independent)

Not to rain on The Indy's parade or anything but, according to data from the cooperative effort between the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), Venice's great flood occurred during a period of global cooling.

Models don't agree? Imagine that... "Wet or dry? Sahel's uncertain future" - "Climate change in Africa's Sahel region challenges researchers and policymakers because the best models around predict opposite outcomes, reports Catherine Brahic." (SciDev.net)

"An even grayer Seattle from global warming?" - "For those harboring the guilty hope that global warming will transform Seattle into a sun lovers' paradise on par with the Côte d'Azur, meteorologist Cliff Mass has some bad news: It might actually get cloudier. Mass and his colleagues at the University of Washington recently completed the most detailed computer simulation ever conducted of the region's future weather. Among the surprises was a big boost in cloud cover in March, April and May. "The spring is going to be gunkier — if you believe this — under global warming," he said." (Seattle Times)

"Lloyd's tells members climate change could destroy insurers" - "Lloyd's of London, the oldest insurance market in the world, yesterday urged its members to start taking global warming more seriously, by increasing prices to avoid being "swept away" in a sea of future financial claims." (The Guardian)

That premiums should reflect risk is perfectly true, just as inexperienced drivers pay significantly higher rates for insurance cover so should those who build in earthquake, flood or cyclone prone areas, to name a few. This is not the same as jacking up everyone's risk cover cost on the strength of an estimated 0.2% increase in global mean temperature and some dubious scare stories.

"Dead wood provides clues to climate change" - "An academic from Guangdong Province with a forest of ideas in a number of branches of science certainly cannot be accused of being unable to see the wood for the trees. Li Pingri, 75, a geographer from Guangdong Academy of Sciences, believes that clues to the pattern of global climate change can be found in ancient trees. "My long-term research on ancient trees found that the increasingly hot global climate is a result not only of the greenhouse effect, but also the cyclical order of nature," Li told China Daily. "Through the study of ancient trees, I discovered the temperature throughout history has risen and fallen in a rough but regular way, in a cycle of about 400 years," Li said." (People's Daily)

"Tycoons urging Blair to curb CO2" - "Thirteen business leaders are set to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair to urge tougher action on climate change." (BBC)

Carbon scams proliferating: "Credits offer polluters peace of mind: New service targets eco-minded drivers" - "Feeling guilty about driving your SUV through the crowded streets of the city while a grey pall of smog sits on the horizon? Now you can assuage your guilt by doing what some of the biggest industrial polluters do: buy "carbon credits" to offset your personal greenhouse gas emissions. Companies are springing up across North America to help arrange these transactions. They'll calculate the annual emissions from your car, and sell you a credit that means someone else's pollution-cutting efforts have balanced off your greenhouse gas creation." (Globe and Mail)

Check out their value here.

"Coal launches 'nuclear attack'" - "THE coal industry believes power stations that do not produce greenhouse gases could be operating across Australia in the same time it takes to establish nuclear power stations. Fighting back against the push towards nuclear power, the industry claims the rapidly developing methods of making coal cleaner and more valuable would make nuclear power plants obsolete." (The Australian)

"EDF, E.ON Will Have More Costs as Globe Warms, Met Office Says" - "Electricite de France, E.ON AG and other power companies will see their costs rise as global warming takes hold, according to a study by the Met Office, the U.K. weather forecaster. Warmer temperatures and higher air density may restrict how much power can be sent on overhead transmission lines, said Barry Gromett, a Met Office spokesman, citing the report. Combined-cycle gas turbines operate less efficiently at higher temperatures, potentially requiring the companies to build more generation capacity, Gromett said by telephone." (Bloomberg)

"Branching out for fuel: Georgia an early leader in quest to produce ethanol from timber" - "Timber, once viewed as a source of heating fuel, could be used to fuel Georgia's cars one day as the state tries to develop a new market for pulpwood in the face of a weakening paper industry." (Macon Telegraph)

"Corn Yields Set to Rise to Meet Ethanol Needs" - "DALLAS - Improved technologies and genetics are helping to boost corn yields and raise the amount of ethanol the grain produces, lifting prospects for the alternative fuel, an industry official said Monday." (Reuters)

"Russia: 'Era of cheap fuel is over'" - "Russia has served a double warning over the price of oil and intervention to block attempts by its energy firms to move into EU markets." (London Telegraph)

"Debate Over Wind Power Creates Environmental Rift" - "OAKLAND, Md. — Dan Boone has no doubt that his crusade against wind energy is the right way to protect the Allegheny highlands he loves. Let other environmentalists call him deluded at best, traitorous at worst. He remains undeterred. For four years or more, Mr. Boone has traveled across the mid-Atlantic to make every argument he can muster against local wind-power projects: they kill birds and bats; they are too noisy; they are inefficient, making no more than a symbolic contribution to energy needs." (New York Times)

"China looks to harness wind power" - "ZHANGBEI, China - With a steady wind blowing from the north, Yang Xuhua looks out at his wind turbines on the rolling plains of Zhangbei county and waxes optimistic over China's potential for clean energy." (AFP)

"Beaver dams create healthy downstream ecosystems" - "WASHINGTON -- Beavers, long known for their beneficial effects on the environment near their dams, are also critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems downstream. Researchers have found that ponds created by beaver dams raised downstream groundwater levels in the Colorado River valley, keeping soil water levels high and providing moisture to plants in the otherwise dry valley bottom. The results will be published 8 June in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union." (American Geophysical Union)

"A Rain-Forest Census Takes Shape, Tree by Tree" - "A six-square-mile island in Panama is serving as a prototype for measuring diversity around the world." (New York Times)

"A Global Advocate for the Meal That Cannot Speak for Itself" - "Elizabeth Bennett mobilizes governments and citizens against what she claims is growing international commerce in wild animal parts, skins and meat." (New York Times)

"To Stem Widespread Extinction, Scientists Airlift Frogs in Carry-On Bags" - "A waterborne fungus is threatening frogs in Panama, and scientists have airlifted hundreds of the animals in an effort to protect them." (New York Times)

"The Grass-Fed Revolution" - "Beef raised wholly on pasture, rather than grain-fed in feedlots, may be better for your health--and for the planet." (Time)

"Organic Matter" - "University of California at Berkeley journalism professor Michael Pollan argues in the New York Times Sunday Magazine that, by attempting to make organic foods -- now derided by many as an elitist luxury -- cheap enough for the masses to afford, Wal-Mart may be undermining the very things that make organics desirable in the first place." (James H. Joyner Jr., TCS Daily)

"Vegan-organic lifestyle doesn't help Earth, isn't necessarily best" - "Breeding fears of a changing climate and food raised "unnaturally," promoters of vegetarianism and organic foods argue that we should go vegan, or eat "organic" to save the planet. Now there might be reasons to go vegan or organic, whether for ethical or individual metabolic reasons, but saving the Earth isn't among them." (Kenneth P. Green, Arizona Daily Star)

"FEATURE - Organic Coffee Loses Appeal for Nicaragua Growers" - "ARANJUEZ DE MATAGALPA, Nicaragua - Organic coffee farmer Ventura Rodriguez has spent much of the last month preparing 270,000 coffee seedlings for a new farm to be planted near here this year. Rodriguez says he will keep planting organic coffee, which boomed in Nicaragua in the 1990s, even though it doesn't offer the high premiums it did a few years back when prices for regular beans slumped. But coffee officials in this region say farmers like Rodriguez may become scarce, as a drop in the premiums roasters pay for organic over regular coffee has made the lower yields of chemical-free beans harder to sustain." (Reuters)

"Plant diseases threaten chocolate production worldwide" - "St. Paul, MN (June 5, 2006) - Chocolate lovers, beware. Each year 20 percent of the cacao beans that are used to make chocolate are lost to plant diseases, but even greater losses would occur if important diseases spread." (American Phytopathological Society)

"Females to be wiped out" - "SCIENTISTS hoping to stop the inexorable march of the cane toad are working on a gene that would ensure all the pest's offspring are male - wiping out future egg-laying mothers. The University of Queensland's Peter Koopman has been developing a "daughterless gene" that would limit the toad's population by eradicating females, which are able to lay tens of thousands of eggs at time. "I am hoping to engineer a strain of toads where the male offspring stay male and the female offspring become male," Professor Koopman said at yesterday's national cane toad conference in Brisbane." (The Australian)

"In Ethical Defense of Patenting Life" - "On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the Brazilian government has embarked on a project to transform the slime of a poisonous tree frog into a pharmaceutical compound for possible treatment of hypertension and strokes. The frog's habitat lies in a remote region of the western Amazon and the remedy is said to be the property of an indigenous tribe." (Michael Rosen, TCSDaily)

"Changes to novel foods law aim to simplify application process" - "Proposed changes to the EU's regulation on novel foods would boost product innovation in the industry, and make cross-border trading easier, the European Commission says in a consultative document." (Food Production Daily)

"Debate on 'Genetically Modified Organisms' rages on in Kenya" - "Participants at a biotechnology workshop in Nairobi witnessed a heated discussion where both opponents and proponents of Genetic Modification exchanged heated words." (ANDNetwork)

"Biotech Food Tears Rifts in Europe" - "ATHENS — In this famously fractious country, there is one thing on which almost all Greeks agree: They do not want genetically modified crops grown, sold or eaten here." (New York Times)

June 5, 2006

"On Wings Of DDT" - "We hear so much about the toll that AIDS has taken in Africa that we forget about malaria, which is also ravaging the continent. But there's new hope." (IBD)

"Science Journals Artfully Try To Boost Their Rankings" - "John B. West has had his share of requests, suggestions and demands from the scientific journals where he submits his research papers, but this one stopped him cold." (Wall Street Journal)

"Absolutely Horrifying" - "Exposure to environmental toxins left thousands of 9/11 responders suffering from more severe health problems than officials anticipated. Will it get worse?" (Newsweek)

"Deadly Quackery" - "H.I.V. causes AIDS. This is not a controversial claim but an established fact, based on more than 20 years of solid science. It is as certain as the descent of humans from apes and the falling of dropped objects to the ground. So why reiterate the obvious? Because lately, a bizarre theory has gained ground — one that claims that H.I.V. is harmless, and that the antiretroviral drugs that curb the growth of the virus cause rather than treat AIDS. Such talk sounds to most of us like quackery, but the theory has emerged as a genuine menace to public health in the United States and, particularly, in South Africa." (New York Times)

"Testing on apes 'might be needed'" - "Ministers should not rule out the possibility of allowing apes to be used in experiments, the head of the UK's Medical Research Council has said." (BBC)

"Report claims experiments on monkeys are vital" - "Experiments on non-human primates are the only option for some areas of medicine, according to a report published by the UK’s Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust on Friday. The report lists medical advances that they claim would have been impossible without experiments on monkeys." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Supervisors to consider ban of certain plastics: 2 chemicals target of ordinance meant to protect children" - "San Francisco supervisors are set to adopt the nation's first ban on some chemicals in plastic baby bottles, pacifiers and toys that may harm young children, a move that comes after a similar measure failed to pass in the California Legislature." (SF Chronicle)

"Flavoring perils get harder look" - "A federal health agency says it is "greatly expanding" an investigation of the potential hazards of diacetyl and other flavoring chemicals that have been linked to nearly 200 cases of lung disease among factory workers who make or use the chemicals." (Baltimore Sun)

"FDA report looks to eateries to help reduce obesity in US" - "WASHINGTON -- Those heaping portions at restaurants -- and doggie bags for the leftovers -- may be a thing of the past, if health officials get their way. The government is trying to enlist the help of the nation's eateries in fighting obesity. One of the first things on their list: cutting portion sizes." (Associated Press)

Eric Schaeffer would rather scientifically illiterate judges? "Junketing Judges: A Case of Bad Science" - "Just how far will corporate lobbyists go to tilt governmental decisions in their favor? Last fall, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Clean Air Act does not require regulating carbon dioxide emissions that are heating up the planet at an unprecedented rate. It turns out that two of the jurists who helped decide the case -- Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg and Judge David B. Sentelle -- attended a six-day global warming seminar at Yellowstone National Park sponsored by a free-market foundation and featuring presentations from companies with a clear financial interest in limiting regulation." (Washington Post)

"Does cleaner air make hurricanes worse?" - "Some scientists say pollution levels play role in storm intensity." (Live Science)

Big hole in "warming kills" hypothesis? "Big crater seen beneath ice sheet" - "What appears to be a 480km-wide (300 miles) crater has been detected under the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. The scientists behind the discovery say it could have been made by a massive meteorite strike 250 million years ago. The feature at Wilkes Land was found by Nasa satellites that are mapping subtle differences in the Earth's gravity. "This Wilkes Land impact is much bigger than the impact that killed the dinosaurs," said Prof Ralph von Frese, from Ohio State University, in the US. If the crater really was formed at the time von Frese and colleagues believe, it will raise interest as a possible cause of the "great dying" - the biggest of all the Earth's mass extinctions when 95% of all marine life and 70% of all land species disappeared." (BBC)

World still misbehaving, fails to conform to models: "Balmy Arctic Stymies Climate Modelers" - "Fifty million years ago, with nary an iceberg in sight, the Arctic Ocean was just right for a warm swim, according to a study of sediments extracted from the seafloor. That conclusion has climate modelers stumped, and it also provides support for the idea that a boost in hurricane activity may exacerbate warming." (ScienceNOW Daily News)

The Week That Was June 3, 2006 (SEPP)

A Missed Opportunity To Highlight The Vulnerability Perspective (Climate Science)

"Chill out over global warming" - "You'll often hear the left lecture about the importance of dissent in a free society. Why not give it a whirl?" (David Harsanyi, Denver Post)

"Going to extremes to fight global warming" - "It may be hard to imagine the world getting so hot that scientists and engineers would design a fleet of 55,000 mirrors, each bigger than Manhattan, and send them into space to deflect sunlight away from Earth. Or that they would mimic a major volcanic eruption in order to cool the melting Arctic, shooting dust and other particles into the upper atmosphere where they would scatter the sun's light away from Earth. Using geoengineering, the large-scale manipulation of the environment, to combat global warming has been proposed by scientists like Lowell Wood at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California." (Globe and Mail)

Dennis A. reminds us there is nothing new under the sun, pointing to this extract from the book “Omega – Murder of the Eco-system and the Suicide of Man", Paul K. Anderson, 1971 (.pdf, hosted by Number Watch).

"British-Irish Council Summit: Environment Ministers Agree To Improve Links On Climate Change Impacts And Adaptation" - "UK Environment Minister Ian Pearson and his Irish counterpart Dick Roche today focussed on the critical issues of climate change and how the two nations can best adapt to its unavoidable impacts across the British-Irish Council region." (Defra)

Not 'global warming' but still bad people: "Acid rain causing decline in sugar maples, say researchers" - "Acid rain, the environmental consequence of burning fossil fuels, running factories and driving cars, has altered soils and reduced the number of sugar maple trees growing in the Northeast, according to a new study led by Cornell University researchers. The sugar maple is the most economically valuable tree species in the eastern United States because of its high-priced lumber, syrup and tourist-attracting fall colors. The study, whose lead author, Stephanie Juice '04, was an undergraduate when the research was conducted, suggests that because acid rain makes the soil more acidic, unfavorable conditions are created for sugar maples. In acidic soils, sugar maples produce fewer seedlings that survive and mature, and more adult trees die, the researchers found. They drew these conclusions after adding nutrients to soil in a test plot and reproducing the favorable soil conditions that existed prior to 20th century industrial pollution. The result: Sugar maples on the plot rebounded dramatically." (Cornell University News Service)

"Welcome to the Great Green North: Space satellites show Arctic awash in grass and flowers" - "It’s true: the Arctic is more green in summer — although this greening may be a sign that global warming will hit the world more quickly and harder than previously forecast. Anyone looking around last summer in Iqaluit saw an amazing carpet of soft green grasses and thousands of colourful flowers. This sight is even visible from space, where satellites circling the polar regions have picked up an increasing amount of vegetation in the higher latitudes during the summer." (Nunatsiaq News)

"Bare mountains anticipated soon" - "UVic geography professor warns that glaciers are disappearing at rapid rate." (Victoria News)

"Mayors warn they'll push prime minister to meet Kyoto targets" - "Canada's mayors will not let Prime Minister Stephen Harper walk away from this country's international commitments on climate change without a fight. Like their counterparts in the United States, the mayors intend to work toward the goals of the Kyoto Protocol with or without their federal government's help." (Montreal Gazette)

"Climate change policy in Canada: are the scientific assumptions sound?" - "Canadian scientists among worldwide experts throwing cold water on theories of climate catastrophe." (CFP)

Obligatory eye-rollers: "Doctors urged to explain climate change" - "Doctors should take the lead in Australia's fight against global warming by informing the nation about the health consequences of climate change, a new report urges." (The Age)

"Scotland ‘a refuge from rising seas’" - "MORE than two billion people could see their homes disappear under water when pollution melts the polar ice caps, creating the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen. That is the alarming prediction made by British climate change experts in a new report obtained by the Sunday Herald. Rising sea levels will force millions to leave low-lying coastal areas and seek higher ground." (Sunday Herald)

"Brussels calls in Bob the Builder to fix global warming" - "Bob the Builder will be called on this week to "fix" climate change, having been recruited as the latest weapon in the European Union's battle to convince children to help to save the world from global warming." (London Telegraph)

"Now you can save the planet even after you've died" - "Using energy-saving light-bulbs and abandoning gas-guzzling cars are among the lifestyle changes adopted to combat climate change. Now the environmentally conscious are being asked to go one step further and help save the planet after death. The new target in the fight to cut emissions is funerals. Cremation, the choice of almost three-quarters of UK families and once applauded as the most environmentally friendly funeral option, is being criticised as a source of damaging greenhouse gases." (London Independent)

"Globe Confronts Warming As Emissions Grow" - "Britain and Sweden are on target for reducing global-warming gases, but other countries will have to toughen policies and rely on "carbon trading" to achieve their Kyoto Protocol goals by 2012, says a new U.N. report." (AP)

Still trolling for marks: "Where there is carbon emissions muck, there's brass" - "THE need to cut carbon dioxide emissions around the globe is creating a new opportunity for investors. Countries across the EU have already embarked on a scheme to deliver emissions reductions in the most cost-effective way, by creating an emissions trading scheme. This is seen by many as the start of a global carbon trading market which is forecast to grow rapidly. Many of the companies involved in this market are UK-listed and will be held not just in environmental funds, but in funds within the UK all-companies sector. The global carbon emissions trading market could easily exceed £20bn by 2010, based on a forecast of actual carbon credits traded." (The Scotsman)

"Rich nations failing to cut greenhouse gas" - "MANY rich nations will fail to meet Kyoto targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases. Few of the 33 governments who submitted figures to the UN Climate Secretariat in Bonn will cut emissions from power plants, factories and cars by 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-12." (The Scotsman)

"Insurers must act on climate change, says Lloyd's" - "LONDON - Insurers must do more to understand the implications of climate change on their businesses or risk going out of business, Lloyd's of London said in a report released on Monday." (Reuters)

"Energy firms plan how to cope as climate alters" - "LONDON - Three of Britain's biggest power utilities have joined forces to draw up a strategy to cope with climate change as analysts warn extreme weather poses a growing threat to power stations and grids, the firms said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Gas fuels new cold war in the Arctic" - "ON A small island off the coast of the world's most northerly town, workers are putting the finishing touches to a vast structure that will transform the politics of the Arctic. Soon gas will flow from nearly 100 miles out at sea, and the great rush to exploit virgin territory that is estimated to contain 25% of the world's undiscovered petroleum resources will have begun." (Scotland on Sunday)

"The next big thing or a risky gamble: Shell looks to turn sand into oil" - "Canada's energy reserves: It only makes sense if the oil price is high - yet it needs lots of cheap energy" (The Guardian)

"Oil shale enthusiasm resurfaces in the West" - "There is no dispute that a thousand feet below the isolated ranch country here on Colorado's western slope lie almost unimaginable oil riches. It's locked in sedimentary rock — essentially immature oil that given a few million years under heat and pressure would produce pools of oil easy to extract. The Energy Department and private industry estimate that a trillion barrels are here in Colorado — about the same amount as the entire world's known reserves of conventional oil. The entire Green River Formation might hold as much as 2 trillion barrels." (USA TODAY)

"Nuke fusion reactor gives nation a headstart" - "A nuclear fusion device will be built in the country by the end of the year, which will help scientists try to come to grips with the new source of power before the rest of the world. The device will allow Chinese scientists involved in an international project to build a giant experimental fusion reactor in France to begin work before the latter is ready, Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua said recently. The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, or EAST, will be the first of its kind in the world and is quite similar to but much smaller than the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), which is not expected to be fully operational for a decade." (China Daily)

"Uncertainty Surrounds Plans for New Nuclear Reactors" - "WASHINGTON, June 3 — The nuclear industry is poised to receive the first new orders for reactors in three decades, but what remains unclear is whether the smartest buyers will be those at the head of the line or a little farther back. The industry expects orders for a dozen or so new reactors. Since the last completed order was placed in 1973, much has changed. There are new designs, a new licensing system, new federal financial incentives, new costs and new risks, and no one is sure how the changes will play out as orders, or requests to build, are filed." (New York Times)

"The shape of things to come" - "How tomorrow's nuclear power stations will differ from today's" (The Economist)

Pot-Porritt wants me eliminated (Jeremy Clarkson, Sunday Times)

"China "World Leader" in Artificial Rain - Xinhua" - "BEIJING - Drought-plagued China has used an arsenal of rockets, artillery and aircraft to seed clouds and produce enough artificial rain to fill one of the country's biggest rivers four times over, Xinhua said on Sunday." (Reuters)

"U.S. Strategy Addresses Water Issues in Developing Countries" - "Effort targets affordable, equitable access to safe water, sanitation." (Washington File)

"Politicians: hands off our water" - "On Thursday, David Miliband MP, the new head of Defra, met with water industry "stakeholders" - in scenes not dissimilar to the 1970s beer-and-sandwiches lunches between union bosses and Cabinet ministers - to address (cue foreboding music)… "the water crisis". But is there indeed a "water crisis"? If so, what has caused it - and what is the solution?" (Kendra Okonski, London Telegraph)

"Electric fish in Africa could be example of evolution in action" - "Avoiding quicksand along the banks of the Ivindo River in Gabon, Cornell neurobiologists armed with oscilloscopes search for shapes and patterns of electricity created by fish in the water. They know from their previous research that the various groups of local electric fish have different DNA, different communication patterns and won't mate with each other. However, they now have found a case where two types of electric signals come from fish that have the same DNA. The researchers' conclusion: The fish appear to be on the verge of forming two separate species." (Cornell University News Service)

"Go-ahead for 'pharmed' goat drug" - "The first medicine produced from a genetically modified animal has been recommended for use in Europe. The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has reversed an earlier decision not to issue a licence for the drug, ATryn, after taking further expert advice." (BBC)

"Hong Kong: Officials seek rice labeling" - "The Consumer Council is to discuss with rice suppliers the setting up of standards for grading rice sold in the market and labeling the place of origin." (The Standard)

"Biotech boss slams GM-free Wales" - "ONE of the world's leading figures in biotechnology has poured scorn on the aim of Welsh politicians to have a nation free of genetically-modified crops." (Western Mail)

June 2, 2006

"Does Manure Make a Farm a Superfund Site?" - "Environmental activists are teaming up with state attorneys general and trial lawyers to bankrupt the nation’s livestock farmers – in the name of saving the environment.

If the situation wasn’t so serious, it would be hilarious." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"VACCINE-PHOBIA: Get Wild at a Measles Party" - "Imagine being invited to a party where the sole purpose is to infect your child with measles. It's actually not all that uncommon in Germany. But then, many in the country are afraid of vaccines." (Der Spiegel)

"The Bogus Benzene Scare" - "Another day, another exaggerated scare story about the dangers of soft drinks. If it weren't enough that the fat police have targeted fizzy drinks in their crusade to slenderize the world, now Coca-Cola and Cadbury-Schweppes have been added to a Florida suit already involving Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Polar Beverages and In zone Brands. The suit alleges that the benzene in their drink products exceeds the one part per billion standard established in Florida* -- a standard that is one fifth the federal level set for US drinking water -- and this constitutes a carcinogenic hazard. Benzene at certain levels is associated with leukemia in humans." (John Luik, TCS Daily)

Marla's still blathering on: "Chemical in Plastics Is Tied to Prostate Cancer" - "Bisphenol A, found in baby bottles and microwave cookware, permanently altered genes in newborn lab rats, a study finds." (Marla Cone, LA Times)

"Health Canada to start tracking toxins in humans" - "OTTAWA -- Health Canada plans a national program next year to track the levels of toxic substances in the bodies of Canadians, amid rising concern about the health effects of industrial chemicals." (Canadian Press)

51st Staters must lack national identity or something since they seem to trying to emulate the land of fruits and nuts. Here's a little tip for you guys: English Bay will never be Huntington Beach, warming or no warming.

"Bug-busters" - "Farmers once fought off insects with sulfur, arsenic and mercury compounds. Today, the buzzing, crawling critters are held at bay with advanced insecticides meant to protect vegetation without harming anything, or anyone, else. If only it were that simple. Because there's no free lunch in science, researchers are working continually on ways to improve the efficacy of insecticides while minimizing their impact on the environment -- and its inhabitants." (Christian Toto, Washington Times)

"Unions Seek Tougher Pesticide Rules" - "Letter to EPA administrator claims political pressure on agency scientists." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Africa Marks Malaria Day; U.S. Rethinking DDT" - "Every year, Africa Malaria Day--April 25--is marked by promises to bring malaria under control. But every year the calls for action turn out to be mere bombast, as health care agencies refuse to go beyond bed nets and "capacity building;" radical greens continue to obstruct proven solutions; and disease and death rates climb. This year, however, Africa Malaria Day proved changes may finally be coming." (Roy Innis, Environment News)

AngloGold fights malaria to boost Ghana efficiency (Reuters)

"Down the Drain and Into Your Food" - "An antimicrobial agent in household soap accumulates in the sludge produced by wastewater treatment plants, environmental engineers report. Farmers apply the sludge on fields. High doses of this compound, the antiseptic triclocarban, or TCC, impair reproduction in rats and may cause cancer in humans, but it's not clear whether the concentrations in fields--and presumably in food--are dangerous." (ScienceNOW Daily News)

"In 'docu-ganda' films, balance is not the objective" - "LOS ANGELES – In "An Inconvenient Truth," now playing in theaters, former Vice President Al Gore asserts that global warming may soon eliminate one of the world's great natural vistas: the snows of Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro.

In the forthcoming film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" celebrities such as Mel Gibson and Ed Begley Jr. lament the "murder" of General Motor's EV1 electric car and the loss of California's "most radical smog-fighting mandate since the catalytic converter."

These two follow in the footsteps of other recent movies in the same nonfiction genre: last year's "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," "Sir! No Sir!" (about the G.I. antiwar movement during Vietnam), "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," and 2003's "Super Size Me" (about obesity and fast food).

All deliver on the promise to tell an "untold" story, but is theirs the full story? Or even the true story?" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Celebs turn the spotlight on global warming" - "Perched on a metal chair in a coffee shop two blocks from the Capitol, in between meetings with senators, Laurie David considers the difference between finding fresh comedians for David Letterman and finding fresh ways to enlist people in the fight against global warming." (Dan Vergano, USA TODAY)

"Wine regions feel the heat" - "In another 50 or so years, the world may be a much different place for wine aficionados, courtesy of global warming. Famed wine-producing areas such as California's Napa Valley and France's Burgundy region may relinquish their supremacy to other lands, experts say, as higher temperatures redefine wine country." (Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)

Right... "Downhill slide ahead?" - "DENVER — Like most Colorado mountain resorts, the Aspen Skiing Co. had a memorable winter this year: 21% more snow than average and ringing cash registers from late fall to spring." (Tom Kenworthy, USA TODAY)

Culminating a year the House of Hansen labelled the warmest on record, high snow packs and a financially buoyant ski industry lead to hand-wringing over global warming reducing snow packs and decimating the ski industry...

"Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow..." - "Much attention has been paid to the disappearance of ice and snow in the Polar Regions and mid-latitudes in the Northern hemisphere in recent years attributed to global greenhouse gas warming. Of course in the summer, the snow and ice cover retreats to the highest latitudes. Satellite (NOAA CPC) data suggest that the summer levels of polar ice have been at unusually low levels in recent years, perhaps the lowest since the 1930s and 1940s (Polyakov, 2004). Regardless of the changes in the summer season, the snow and ice have come roaring back each year in the early fall, and winter levels of ice and snow across many parts of the hemisphere are higher than they have been in many years and in some places in over a century." (Joseph D'Aleo, TCS Daily)

"The 2006 hurricane season begins today — Is everyone ready?" - "Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, says people have to wake up. "People who get hit by a couple of hurricanes still tend to chalk it up to bad luck or a fluke and don't think it can happen again," he says." (Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY)

"A New Category for Super Hurricanes?" - "LAKELAND -- Before the monstrous Hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana and Mississippi last year, it strengthened into a jaw-dropping Category 5 -- the benchmark for the most destructive hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson rating scale." (The Ledger)

"US Hurricanes May Wipe Out 20-40 Insurers - AM Best" - "NEW YORK - The US hurricane season kicked off Thursday with another gloomy prediction: major storms could cause US$100 billion worth of property loss, and wipe out 20 to 40 insurers." (Reuters)

"Storm forecasters reject warming link" - "Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University on Wednesday affirmed predictions that hurricane activity this year will be nearly double that of a normal year --- and insisted, despite another new climate study, that the flurry of storms in recent years is unrelated to global warming." (AJC)

Cherrypicking at the New York Times (Prometheus)

A Science Reality Check on the May 31, 2006 NY Times article on Hurricanes and Global Warming (Climate Science)

Ten Things You Can Do To Save The Planet - An Iowahawk Action Alert-o-Gram™ (David Burge, Iowahawk)

Hat tip -- everyone who forwarded this piece.

"Aerosols, Clouds, and Climate" - "The chemical composition of aerosol particles is much less important than their size in determining their ability to nucleate clouds, a result that will clarify aerosol effects on climate." | Full Text | PDF (Science)

Here's some wriggle room for you: "Analysis rates Oregon risks if oceans rise" - "If a market existed for 'global warming insurance,' the private sector in Oregon would be willing to pay on the order of half-a-million to 3 billion dollars to avoid the risk" of catastrophe, their report says." (The Oregonian)

Pick a number between 0.5 and 3,000 and you have the number of millions the private sector might be willing to pay to avoid an admittedly negligible risk.

At least it contains rebuttals from Taylor and Legates: "Experts: Global warming puts heat on polar bears" - "Polar bears seem cute and cuddly -- think of the Coca-Cola critters that slide down snow hills at Christmas. But in the zoo world, these animals are considered the most dangerous in their care." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"Where climate is made in a greenhouse world" - "New scientific results for the Late Cretaceous greenhouse indicate radically different climatic mechanisms operating about 75-90 million years ago compared to the ones that control today's climate. The study, published on 29 May 2006 in "Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology" as part of a special issue on "Causes and Consequence of Marine Organic Carbon Burial Through Time" by Sascha Floegel from the IFM-GEOMAR in Kiel/Germany and Thomas Wagner from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne/UK aims to identify the main 'climate kitchen' in a world with about 5-9°C warmer global temperatures than today." (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

"China beats Canada on Kyoto, Strong says" - "Renowned environmentalist and businessman Maurice Strong, considered by many as the lead architect of the Kyoto Protocol, says Canadians are misguided if they believe their country is more progressive than China in tackling pollution and global climate change." (Toronto Star)

That name seem familiar to you? It should: "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" -- Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations. We would describe Strong as a misanthrope of some renown.

Worried about the gravy train? "Canada: Experts rebuke Tory Kyoto stand" - "The country's climate science "brains trust" yesterday urged Canada and other countries to make cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that go "far beyond" the Kyoto Protocol." (Toronto Star)

Varied coverage -- simply reported... "Climate change: Arctic went from greenhouse to icehouse" - "Dramatic shifts in Earth's climate system drove the sea at the North Pole from sub-tropical temperatures to icy chill in the relatively brief span of 10 million years, a series of studies published on Thursday says." (AFP)

... and spun with AGW: "North Pole's ancient past holds lessons for future global warming" - "New Haven, Conn. -- Detailed information on greenhouse gasses and a subtropical heat wave at the North Pole 55 million years ago is providing information about the Earth's past as well as a portent for its future, according to reports in the June 1 issue of Nature." (Yale University)

"Hints of Oil Bonanzas Beneath Arctic Ocean" - "The studies on Arctic sediment that appear today in the journal Nature tell a dramatic story of polar warming and cooling over millions of years. But what they tell petroleum geologists may be just as striking. Though there is little mention of it in the papers, some scientists involved in the work said the huge amounts of organic material from dead algae and plants embedded in the ancient sedimentary layers suggested that the center of the Arctic Ocean could hold vast oil deposits." (New York Times)

"ExxonMobil Rejects Protesters' Complaints" - "Exxon-Mobil, the world's largest oil company, Wednesday shrugged off the complaints of more than 50 sign-waving protesters who accused the company of contributing to "global warming" and profiting from the war in Iraq. When the company's annual shareholders' meeting was over, its board of directors had been re-elected to serve a one-year term.

"Interest in our industry is very high today with the rise in commodity prices, concerns about energy supplies and the focus on our company's earnings," said Rex Tillerson, who will continue as chairman of the company's board as a result of Wednesday's vote. Nevertheless, "the level of misinformation only makes it more important to discuss the massive scale of our industry and the meaningful alternatives available in the foreseeable future," Tillerson added." (CNSNews.com)

"Large carbon sequestration project planned to enhance oil recovery" - "Statoil and Shell have proposed the largest project yet to inject CO2 captured from a gas-fired power plant into Norway’s offshore oil fields." (E&ST)

"Oil Sands' Natural Gas Demand Expected to Triple" - "CALGARY, Alberta - A massive rise in crude production from Canada's oil sands region over the next decade will nearly triple the area's call on strained natural gas supplies, Canada's national energy regulator said Thursday." (Reuters)

"US Government Sees 'Smooth Transition' to Cleaner Diesel" - "WASHINGTON - US oil refiners and fuel importers should not have problems meeting new federal clean air rules that kicked in on Thursday requiring a much lower sulfur content in diesel fuel, the Environmental Protection Agency said. Sulfur in diesel fuel will have to be cut by 97 percent, from an average 500 parts per million to just 15. That should reduce air pollution which the EPA estimates could help prevent up to 8,300 premature deaths a year from asthma and other breathing problems." (Reuters)

What, no howl about reduced sulphate particulate load "unmasking" previously hidden "global warming" going to cook us all the quicker? Maybe that's next week's version of the never ending scare story.

"Nuclear inclusion in emissions trading would shift goalposts" - "EDF Energy chief Vincent de Rivaz has stated that financial backing for new nuclear build would require nuclear power to be classified as a non-carbon-emitting form of generation within the European emissions trading scheme (ETS). However this would then amount to a subsidy of nuclear by fossil-fuelled power plants." (EBR)

"Oil giant Chevron gives biofuel a try" - "New business unit explores ethanol, biodiesel, as environmentalists warn of 'greenwashing'." (SF Chronicle)

"Radical turbine aims to take wind power to towns and cities" - "Wind turbines are tall white objects with three long blades and they sit on hilltops spinning around to generate electricity, right? Wrong. In the first radical redesign of the turbine for many years, a small engineering firm has linked up with aerospace designers to devise a wind generator uniquely for urban areas." (The Guardian)

Conspiracy! "The plot to kill the green machine" - "These days we see them everywhere, but if it had been up to the motoring bigwigs, electric cars would have been run off the road long ago. Andrew Gumbel reports on an eco-conspiracy." (London Independent)

"ENVIRONMENTALISM: How the Great Barrier Reef is mismanaged" - "Australia's fishing industry is under threat, not from depleted fish stocks but from government-financed and sanctioned extreme environmentalism and crippling bureaucratic controls." (Professor Walter Starck, News Weekly) -- Hat tip Mick R.

"Unknown creatures found in cave" - "Eight previously unknown invertebrate creatures have been discovered in an underwater cave in central Israel." (BBC)

"Tamed 11,400 years ago, figs were likely first domesticated crop" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Archaeobotanists have found evidence that the dawn of agriculture may have come with the domestication of fig trees in the Near East some 11,400 years ago, roughly a thousand years before such staples as wheat, barley, and legumes were domesticated in the region. The discovery dates domesticated figs to a period some 5,000 years earlier than previously thought, making the fruit trees the oldest known domesticated crop." (Harvard University)

"Nanotechology: Keeping good wood good" - "HOUGHTON, Mich., May 31 -- Untreated wood rots and pressure-treated wood can pose health and environmental hazards, so U.S. scientists are now turning to nanotechnology." (UPI)

June 1, 2006

"The shame of our silence" - "Instead of being cowed by activists, scientists should trumpet the virtues of animal testing." (Robert Winston, The Guardian)

"Americans support free access to research: Poll results show overwhelming majority believes federally funded research should be publicly available" - "Washington, DC – May 31, 2006 – In an online survey of public attitudes conducted recently and released today by Harris Interactive®, 8 out of 10 (82%) adults polled said they believe that "if tax dollars pay for scientific research, people should have free access to the results of the research on the Internet." (SPARC)

"Watching the Pollsters" - "Sixty years after its founding, a key association of professional pollsters is dismayed with all the bad survey numbers in the press. In an overdue response, the group is seeking new ways to curtail coverage of faulty research." (Wall Street Journal)

"Mis-lead" - "Water utility managers and public-health officials may be getting the wrong message about what happened during Washington, D.C.’s drinking-water crisis." (ES&T)

"Countries under-report bird flu" - "China, Indonesia and Africa are under-reporting incidences of bird flu, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)." (BBC)

"Wild bird role in flu 'unclear'" - "The role of swans and other wild birds in spreading bird flu is still unclear and uncertain, according to scientists. Many of the assumptions being made about the part played in the spread of the disease by wild birds simply do not stand up to analysis, they say. International researchers are in Rome for a two-day conference to discuss the spread of avian flu." (BBC)

"Report calls for more emphasis on obesity reduction than food safety" - "Regulators should give greater weight to reducing obesity rates in comparison to increasing food safety, according to a new report." (Food Production Daily)

"Damaged Iraq marshes show renewed signs of life" - "The marshes of southern Iraq, devastated in recent decades by Saddam Hussein's regime, are showing a "remarkable" recovery, according to an ecological survey team led by scientists at Duke University and the University of Basrah. In their latest and most thorough evaluation of the marshes -- claimed in some quarters to be the site of the biblical Garden of Eden -- the researchers found that populations of many native fish, invertebrate animals, birds and plants are well on their way to recovery." (Duke University)

"2006 Hurricane Season Forecast: Expect Cat 5 Reporting" - "(New York City) With the stormy 2005 hurricane season still fresh on people's minds, and dark clouds of fear gathering all along America's hurricane-prone coastlines as the 2006 hurricane season arrives, the disaster devouring media are anxiously awaiting their next chance to further hone their expository literary and oratorical skills, disclosing the imminent devastation that will rain down upon the victims of governmental ineptitude." (ecoEnquirer)

"New Orleans Had Major Subsidence Before Katrina" - "LONDON - Parts of New Orleans experienced major subsidence in the three years before Hurricane Katrina struck last summer, scientists said on Wednesday." (Reuters) | Sinking levees (University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science)

"Earth's ozone shield is poised for recovery" - "Two new studies credit a 1987 international agreement, which phased out harmful gases, for the improvement." (The Christian Science Monitor)

We don't know what it's "normal" might be, we don't know it's broken, we don't know what might represent "repaired" but we're "fixing" it...

Speaking of Ozone Man: "MSNBC's Unger Ludicrously Claims Al Gore a Victim of 'Swift-Boating'" - "Citing one comment from a meteorologist quoted on the ninth page (78th paragraph) of a Washington Post Magazine story, remarks by an unnamed “pundit” and an unidentified “Fox News analyst,” as well as a gentle TV ad campaign with the hardly threatening tag line of “Carbon dioxide. They call it pollution. We call it life," fill-in MSNBC host Brian Unger ludicrously devoted a segment of Tuesday's Countdown to the “Swift-Boating of Al Gore.” Unger gushed about how "Gore wants to do something admirable like save the planet” and then fretted: “And what do critics call him? Hitler. The 'Swift-Boating' of Al Gore already in full swing." (News Busters)

"Protest decries 'global-warming cover-up'" - "Calls for resignation of agency heads who see 'natural cycle' in severe storms." (WroldNetDaily)

"Arctic's tropical past uncovered" - "Fifty-five million years ago the North Pole was an ice-free zone with tropical temperatures, according to research." (BBC) | Ocean-drilling scientists cite history of Arctic climate change (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International) | Climate history rewritten: Arctic ice an early arrival (Brown University) | Humble ferns that saved the planet (The Scotsman) | Studies Portray Tropical Arctic in Distant Past (New York Times)

"Sun's past strength took toll on tropical glaciers, worsens today's outlook"- "Variations in the strength of the sun have played a major role in glacial fluctuations in the tropical Andes for hundreds of years, and combined with current greenhouse gases generated by humans, paint an alarming picture for tropical glaciers in the near future. A study conducted in part by the University of Alberta in Edmonton, along with the universities of Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Barcelona and Caracas, shows that even modest natural variations of solar radiation in the Venezuelan Andes during the last 1,500 years affected the region's highly sensitive glaciers." (University of Alberta)

"Temperature Trends In The Lower Atmosphere" (.pdf) - "SUMMARY: A new publication by NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) claims to have removed the previously evident discrepancies between mean global temperature anomalies measured on the surface and those measured in the lower troposphere. It claims that a combination of attention to inaccuracies and the use of linear regression equations on selected climate sequences have removed these discrepancies.

This paper shows that these claims are untrue. The apparent agreement of the two sets of records for the chosen sequences is dependent on the enhanced influence of volcanoes and El Niño events in the lower troposphere, compared with an additional warming factor on the surface. If a temperature sequence comparatively free from these influences, (1979 -1997) is chosen, there is no detectable warming in the lower atmosphere for six of the seven records, and for the seventh, no warming between 1988 and 1997, whereas warming still prevails on the surface over these periods. The supposed enhanced greenhouse effect is thus currently undetectable in the lower atmosphere, where it is supposed to be most prominent, so the warming on the surface must have some other cause." (Vincent Gray, ClimateScience)

"Industrial CO2 emissions as a proxy for anthropogenic influence on lower tropospheric temperature trends" (.pdf) "Abstract: Surface temperature trends during the last two decades show a significant increase which appears to be anthropogenic in origin. We investigate global temperature changes using surface as well as satellite measurements and show that lower tropospheric temperature trends for the period 1979–2001 are spatially correlated to anthropogenic surface CO2 emissions, which we use as a measure of industrialization. Furthermore, temperature trends for the regions not spatially correlated with these CO2 emissions are considerably smaller or even negligible for some of the satellite data. We also show, using the same measure, that two important climate models do not reproduce the geographical climate response to all known forcings as found in the observed temperature trends. We speculate that the observed surface temperature changes might be a result of local surface heating processes and not related to radiative greenhouse gas forcing." (Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 31, L05204, doi:10.1029/2003GL019024)

"Netherlands must boost flood defences" - "Dutch authorities will have to boost their already significant flood protection measures to cope with increasingly warmer, wetter winters and summer droughts, according to forecasts released Tuesday. Four possible future climate scenarios for 2050 presented by the official Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) show global warming continuing apace and sea levels rising. For the Netherlands, the next four and a half decades will bring milder but wetter winters and drier summers interspersed with sudden extreme rainfall. Already the Netherlands has one of the world's highest standards of flood protection, enough to withstand a storm of a magnitude that statisticians say occurs only once every 10,000 years." (AFP)

"Global warming threatens Baltic Sea marine life" - "OSLO - Global warming is adding new threats to marine life in the almost land-locked Baltic Sea, where fish are already struggling in polluted, brackish waters, a leading expert said on Wednesday. "The Baltic Sea is already in bad shape ... life there is in a very delicate balance," Hans von Storch, a professor at the Institute of Coastal Research in Germany who chairs a group of 80 scientists from 12 nations studying the Baltic, told Reuters. Higher temperatures are likely to mean more rain and snow in the Baltic region, from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg and where 85 million people live. That might make the sea ever less salty and add to a polluting runoff of fertilisers from farmland." (Reuters)

Global warming = biodiversity? "Taking evolution's temperature: Researchers pinpoint the energy it takes to make a species" - "GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Comfortable living is not why so many different life forms seem to converge at the warmer areas of the planet. Writing this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say higher temperatures near the equator speed up the metabolisms of the inhabitants, fueling genetic changes that actually lead to the creation of new species." (University of Florida)

Carbon Neutral - 21st Century Twinkie Defense (QuantumLimit.com)

New Valuable Professional Journal (Climate Science)

"Temperature Rising" - "Feeling a bit warm? You may just have to live with it." (US News & World Report)

"Corporate America warms to fight against global warming" - "WASHINGTON — Corporate leaders don't normally invite the federal government to raise their taxes. But that's exactly what Paul Anderson is doing. Anderson, the chairman of Charlotte-based Duke Energy, wants the federal government to fight global warming by taxing companies based on the "greenhouse gases" they pump into the atmosphere — just the sort of big-government remedy the Bush administration says would hobble the economy." (David J. Lynch, USA TODAY)

USA Today has this partly right -- there's all sorts of scammers jockeying to tap the public purse or contrive legislation that will disadvantage their competitors. None of this will alter the planet's temperature.

"Green gambit: Carbon-trading programs help underwrite renewable energy" - "For consumers feeling overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of global warming but not quite up to biking to work or buying a new car with better gas mileage, there is an easier alternative — carbon offsets." (Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)

Click here to calculate the value to the planet of these schemes or here for the background data.

Doh! "Insurers May Cash In on Climate Change" - "Climate change isn't just a crisis. It's a business opportunity--at least in the view of insurance industry leaders, who are mapping out a strategy that could force the rest of the economy to grapple with global warming as never before." (US News & World Report)

There's nothing new about insurers wanting to offload liability onto the public purse, nor wanting to maximise premium income while minimising risk.

"Ottawa airs credit plan for climate change" - "OTTAWA, QUEBEC -- Canadian companies could end up buying greenhouse gas credits on the European carbon market as part of the Conservative government's made-in-Canada plan for the environment, says Environment Minister Rona Ambrose. However, it is not clear whether companies would be forced to take part in such a system." (Globe and Mail)

"Turn down heating to help hit Kyoto targets, households told" - "European households will be urged to turn down their heating and switch off electrical appliances as part of an official drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet Kyoto protocol targets." (Financial Times)

Well, it will make people's immediate environment cooler, the world, on the other hand...

The world according to The Indy: "An immovable obstacle to action on climate change" - "If you had to pick one company in America as the ultimate corporate villain, you might be hard pressed to find a better candidate than ExxonMobil. At a time of soaring petrol prices and growing public anger over the cost of filling up cars and trucks, ExxonMobil is not only making money hand over fist at an increasing rate - it is actually making more money than any other oil company in the world." | Anger at oil chief's $400m retirement package (London Independent)

Well, now you know -- this global warming thing would be licked but for a solitary oil company...

"INTERVIEW - Fear of CO2 Regime Helps Spur US Coal Rush" - "NEW YORK - US power companies are rushing to build coal-fired plants, in part because they are hoping to get them on the books ahead of potential US regulations on greenhouse gases, the author of a book on the coal industry said in an interview." (Reuters)

"Energy firm explores greener way of using coal" - "Scottish and Southern Energy is planning to harness the latest in coal-fired power generation with a slice of Britain's industrial heritage in a move to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (The Guardian)

"For Venezuela, a Treasure in Oil Sludge" - "PUERTO LA CRUZ, Venezuela — The sludge in the glass jar on David Nelson's bookshelf here is thicker than molasses and was once thought worthless. But the Chevron Corporation, whose operations he runs in eastern Venezuela, has spent about $1 billion turning what was once called liquid coal into oil, helping transform a swath of scrub grass into a great frontier for oil production." (New York Times)

"FAA takes the wind out of wind farms: Critics blame politics after agency suspends projects in Midwest" - "The federal government has stopped work on more than a dozen wind farms planned across the Midwest, saying research is needed on whether the giant turbines could interfere with military radar. But backers of wind power say the action has little to do with national security. The real issue, they say, is a group of wealthy vacationers who think a proposed wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts would spoil the view at their summer homes. Opponents of the Cape Wind project include several influential members of Congress. Critics say their latest attempt to thwart the planting of 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound has led to a moratorium on new wind farms hundreds of miles away in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota." (Chicago Tribune)

"FEATURE - Wind Farms, Biologists Join Kansas Chicken Study" - "SAN FRANCISCO - The greater prairie-chicken's courtship season, when the males launch loud and colorful displays to woo mates, attracts naturalists and bird watchers from around the world. These days, the prairie-chicken, which makes its home on the Kansas plains, is also getting much scrutiny from energy companies, biologists, wildlife groups and government agencies." (Reuters)

"Germany's wind farms challenged" - "Germany is the world's biggest user of wind power, and it has ambitious plans to build even more wind turbines. It has decided that generating nuclear power is not the way forward, and it has decided eventually to close all the country's existing nuclear power stations. The country's great hope for is for a future of green energy, and in particular wind power. However, some observers are now questioning whether all the investment in wind power makes economic sense." (BBC)

"ANALYSIS - Hot Summer May Stoke China Oil Demand Rebound" - "BEIJING - The unusually hot weather forecast for China this summer may put extra strain on its power grid, helping extend a recent surge in domestic demand for oil despite new plants and topped-up hydropower reservoirs." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Spain Opens Door to Prolonging Life of Nuclear Plants" - "MADRID - Spain's Socialist government will not set dates for the country's eight nuclear reactors to close down and could prolong their lives if there is not enough renewable energy available to replace them, a senior party official said." (Reuters)

"Solar power - seriously souped up" - "Make solar cells as small as a molecule, and you get twice as much as you bargained for - could this be the route to limitless free power?" (New Scientist)

"Biodiversity key to sustainable biofuel according to University of Minn. researcher's findings" - "Ecosystems containing many different plant species are not only more productive, they are also better able to withstand and recover from climate extremes, pests and disease over long periods of time." (University of Minnesota) | Ecosystems with many plant species produce more and survive threats better (NSF)

"Address water scarcity, water quality issues around the world now, Sandia/CSIS report says" - "ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Now is the time to address the devastating effects of increasing water scarcity and declining water quality around the world, according to a recently released white paper written jointly by Sandia National Laboratories and the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)." (DOE/Sandia National Laboratories)

Far more intelligent (and useful) application of human endeavor than silly schemes attempting to tweak the planet's thermostat.

"Colorful, rare-patterned male guppies have survival advantage in the wild" - "Any owner of a freshwater aquarium likely has had guppies (Poecilia reticulata), those small brightly colored fish with a propensity for breeding. Now guppy populations manipulated in natural habitats in Trinidad have taught researchers an evolutionary lesson on the survival of a rare genetic trait." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Discovery may speed forest biotechnology" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers have discovered the genetic controls which cause trees to stop growing and go dormant in the fall, as well as the mechanism that causes them to begin flowering and produce seeds – a major step forward in understanding the basic genetics of tree growth." (Oregon State University)

"For I Was Hungry and You Fed Me: Ag-biotech and Hunger" - "To well-fed (sometimes overfed) people in Western countries, it is certainly odd to think of food as a life-saving medicine. But for those suffering from chronic hunger and malnutrition, the idea is a reality. It is repeated over and over again that the amount of food produced in the world is enough to feed all the hungry people in the world; hence, the solution to hunger is not to increase production but to improve distribution of what is already being produced. As sensible this statement might seem, it is of no help to the hungry." (Piero Morandini, Acton Institute)

"East Africa: Region Seeks Common Ground On GM Crops" - "The impact of genetically modified foods on food production and trade in East Africa, will be high on the agenda of a meeting convened by an association of African biotechnologists that opens in Nairobi this week." (The East African)