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Archives - March 2002

March 31, 2002

"Researchers split over TV, violence ties" - "TORONTO - At least one Canadian researcher is panning a new U.S. study that links young people's television viewing habits with violent behaviour later in life." (CBC)

"TV violence link disputed" - "Children who watch more than an hour of television a day are more likely to be violent, claims a study. However, this finding is disputed by a UK expert, who describes the study as "flawed." (BBC Online)

"Los Angeles Times - New Soda Tax Idea Reignites an Old Debate" - "SACRAMENTO -- Citing California's huge budget shortfall and its growing number of overweight children, a state lawmaker is proposing a new tax on soda to fight childhood obesity. The idea is given little chance of passing, at least not in this election year, but it's reigniting an old debate at the Capitol about the proper role of tax policy as a social engineering tool. The California Soda Tax Act by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) is seen as the leading edge of a broader initiative to tax or levy fees on a variety of eating and drinking habits. One lawmaker, in fact, has introduced a bill to study taxing a wider range of junk food to finance health programs for children. Another may try to impose a fee on retail sales of alcoholic beverages to bolster trauma rooms."

Says it all, really: "Environmental News Network - Protest music for the new millennium - and Earth Day" - "With Earth Day fast approaching, it's time to start thinking about where we'll be celebrating this year, and what we'll be doing once we're there. Protest music has always been an important element of the environmental movement in general, and Earth Day in particular. Dr. Tom Hansen recently produced a free CD called "UFO Oil" calling attention to the urgent need for disclosure of classified technologies involving "zero point energy" and propulsion devices reverse-engineered from the wreckage of extraterrestrial spacecraft such as the one the US Air Force shot down over Roswell (among others)."

"Pentagon Seeks Exemption From Environmental Laws" - "WASHINGTON, March 29 — Concerned that several environmental laws are interfering with the military's ability to train soldiers and develop weapons, the Pentagon is seeking a Congressional exemption from an array of measures that have protected endangered species and their habitats for years. A draft of the exemption bill, circulating in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, seeks exemptions on national security grounds for bombing ranges, air bases and training grounds from sections of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Noise Control Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act." (New York Times)

Gasp! "Asteroid has a date with Earth, but not quite yet" - "SCIENTISTS have detected a huge asteroid which is on a collision course for Earth. But relax — it won’t arrive for another 878 years." (The Times on Sunday)

Oh well, might as well use up all the resources then eh? Since we know when there's like, going to be a 'planet killer' strike... (Wonder if Leake really believes we can measure the orbits so precisely, and that current 'puters have the mathematical precision to state with any confidence just where two bodies will be in 878 years time. We might approximate the positions - but not anything like Earth diameter precision.)

"Newsday.com - EPA OKs Herbicides Without Permits" - "WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it will allow farmers to use herbicides in irrigation canals without permits despite a federal appeals court ruling that permits are necessary. EPA said applying aquatic herbicides to maintain an irrigation system, if done according to the product's EPA-approved labeling, should be considered exempt from a requirement for a permit under the federal Clean Water Act. The agency expects its policy, based on language by Congress in the 1977 Clean Water Act amendments, to be challenged further in court."

"University of Florida research: methyl bromide more effective, economical for killing anthrax" - "FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.---As anthrax and other biological weapons continue to be worrisome threats, a University of Florida researcher has found a common pest control agent called methyl bromide is more effective and cheaper than current treatments in eradicating deadly bacterial spores from buildings."

Never mind it's a fantastically useful fumigant, methyl bromide is now politically incorrect, having been so decreed by the UN under the Montreal Protocol, child of the most bizarrely successful pseudo-science scare of the modern era - ozone depletion.

"Plastic Recycling Is a Work in Progress" - "At first glance, plastics recycling looks like an economic and environmental success story.

Yet few companies have achieved the economies of scale that could make recycling pay. Manufacturers say they cannot get a stream of high-quality material at a reasonable price. Recycling companies say they cannot guarantee such a stream until sales grow robust enough to drive down costs.

Virgin plastics are made from oil, recycled plastics from trash, so logic would suggest that recycled materials would be cheaper. But it is costly to collect, transport, sort and clean discarded plastics. And every time oil prices fall — and they fell by more than one-third last year — recycled plastic loses value." (New York Times)

"Blood ban to curb CJD" - "THOUSANDS of patients who have undergone operations could be barred from donating blood under plans being considered by the government to curb the spread of the human form of “mad cow” disease, writes Eben Black. The ban would affect anyone who has undergone operations, transfusions or any other procedure in which they have received blood or blood products. Health officials confirmed last night that the ban was under “active consideration” by Alan Milburn, the health secretary. An announcement is expected later this year after the health department appointed an outside adviser to look at the potential risks of contracting variant CJD. Government sources say their advice is that a “significant” risk of transmission could exist and there is little doubt that a ban will be brought in." (The Times on Sunday)

Oh dear! "Fear factor cuts back forests" - "IF YOU go down to the woods today, you are likely to come across a cleared path, a neatly manicured glen and a strategically placed water feature. Everything will be signposted and there will be few, if any, surprises. The British public’s fear of dark, imposing forests in which ghouls and goblins lurk has led the Forestry Commission to order a series of woodland makeovers. The commission is being advised by a team of psychologists who found that a legacy of folklore, fairy tales and films such as The Blair Witch Project, in which young campers are pursued and murdered, is causing tourists to steer clear of forests. The only remedy is to redesign them." (The Times on Sunday)

Uh-huh... people pay money to be frightened witless and then they're afraid of forests devoid of predators larger than a badger, venomous serpents of any description...

Makes this a worry, too: "Leafy London gets official 'forest' status" - "It's official. The nation's newest, officially recognised forest is – London. Tomorrow the Forestry Commission will get its first chief for the capital, which it describes as "the largest urban forest in the world". The appointment marks a dramatic shift for the commission – best known for planting vast blankets of conifers over the Scottish Highlands – towards promoting smaller woodlands near where people live. London is already remarkably heavily wooded. The commission says that there are some 65,000 woodlands and stands of trees in the city, covering over 17,500 acres, just under a fifth of the entire area of Greater London. Over 12,000 acres of this is made up of sizeable woods of at least 22 acres. And two-thirds of it is registered as ancient woodland, suggesting that it is part of the original forest which once covered the country." (The Independent)

"smh.com.au - The Sydney Morning Herald - Islanders face rising seas with nowhere to go" - "The sea level around these six remote atolls, 200 kilometres off the east coast of Bougainville, is rising steadily, and island leaders say people are dying of starvation because salt-invaded gardens have failed. In what could be the first forced displacement of people due to global warming, the relocation of the 1400 Carteret islanders is considered inevitable, but the PNG Government has no money to move them."

SMH didn't do their homework again. They could have simply searched news archives and come up with items like: "A group of islands in New Guinea is sinking into the Pacific at the rate of 4 to 6 inches a year, and a team of government scientists has recommended that their 20,000 residents be quickly relocated to a larger island. The Duke of York Islands are sinking not because of rising sea levels, but because of seismic activity. In 1994, two volcanoes on opposite sides of one of the islands erupted for four months. When the activity ceased, evacuees moved back, but the regional news service Pacnews now reports that further subsidence is forcing officials to move the inhabitants to the Gazelle Peninsula on New Britain. Many buildings on the islands are already under water." ("Sinking Islands," LA Times World Briefs, November 11, 1999) for example.

Better yet, they could actually have investigated the situation and found that the region is seismically unstable and they could have done so just by looking up Tectonic Setting and Volcanoes of Papua New Guinea, New Britain, and the Solomon Islands, readily and easily found on the web.

It may well be true that islanders are exacerbating the situation, causing local subsidence by over extraction of groundwater supplies and by destroying surrounding reef structures with explosive fishing or building material resource extraction. Nonetheless, the Pacific Ring of Fire is hardly a secret, nor is the tectonic activity that causes it and one would expect a major publication's editorial staff to at least look at a map and realise the significance of the location. It would appear they are either totally incompetent or engaged in advocacy-driven deception. Compare AFP's 'rising Pacific' piece below:

"Global warming isn't sinking Tuvalu, but its people are" - "International environmentalists might have it wrong -- global warming is not drowning the Pacific atoll nation of Tuvalu beneath a rising Pacific. Its fate may be much more prosaic and local: severe over-population, profound pollution and a World War II legacy.

Experts even believe that if the threatening El Niño event occurs in the next six months, the sea level around Tuvalu will actually fall a by a dramatic 30 centimetres (12 inches), as it did during the last big El Niño.

"The historical record shows no visual evidence of any acceleration in sea level trends," Australia's National Tidal Facility (NTF) said in a statement on Tuvalu this week.

Contrast that hard science with the emotional statement of Tuvalu Prime Minister Koloa Talake at last month's Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Australia. He announced there that Tuvalu, its neighbour Kiribati and the Maldives were planning legal action against Western nations who they say are creating the global warming that is raising the Pacific's level."

"Boston Globe Online Editorials Glacial progress" - "THE SENATE HAD already killed Senator John Kerry's higher car mileage standards and was whittling away at a proposal for more renewable energy in the nation's electric power mix when the word came from down under - way down under. A chunk of ice as big as Rhode Island had broken off the Antarctic Peninsula. Scientists cannot be certain it was global warming that caused the collapse of the ice shelf Larsen B, since ice nearer the center of the continent has been thickening. But the peninsula's 4.5 degree increase in temperature in the past 50 years has been much steeper than elsewhere on the globe, and there is no other explanation for the breakup."

A warming in 2% of Antarctica compared with cooling over 98% is a long way short of continental warming, let alone global.

Sigh... "IHT: Warmer seas menace world's coral" - "The Great Barrier Reef here is protected by one of the world's best-managed marine parks. Half the lagoons are off-limits to fishing trawlers, and guides usually accompany recreational divers to ensure that they do not touch or otherwise harm the fragile, living coral. But scientists worry that official vigilance and sound management are no help in guarding against a major threat that the reef faces in the future: the warming of the world's oceans as a result of climate change."

"Was El Niño unaffected by the Little Ice Age ?" - "El Niño events do not always occur with the same strength and the same frequency. The question raised is whether a climate change, cooling or warming, at the regional or planetary scale, can explain this variability. The coldest time (1701-1750) of what is known as the Little Ice Age (1400 to 1850 A.D.) expressed by a decrease in sea surface temperatures in the South-West Pacific, does not seem to have affected El Niño." (Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement)

"Daily Yomiuri On-Line - U.S. wants Kyoto dropped from U.N. meet agenda" - "The United States, having pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, is now objecting to its implementation in 2002 being mentioned as one of the goals for a global environmental agenda being drawn up at the United Nations. The United States has demanded that wording on bringing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming into effect in 2002 be excluded from the implementation documentation of a global environmental agenda being drawn up at the third session of the preparatory meeting of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), sources said Thursday."

"PM puts caveat on ratification of Kyoto treaty" - "OTTAWA - Jean Chrétien appeared to be softening his commitment to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol yesterday, telling Canadian manufacturers he agrees not enough is known about its impact on the economy. The Prime Minister told the president of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters that ratification would happen only when there is a working plan in place for Canada to meet its protocol targets. "I have stated that the government would like to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but we will only do so once we have a workable plan for meeting our target. Our goal is to make a ratification decision in 2002," Mr. Chrétien wrote in a letter to Perrin Beatty, president of the CME." (National Post)

"Canada won't buckle to Kyoto pressure: Minister" - "OTTAWA - Canada is facing international pressure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change but Cabinet won't be pushed to adopt a greenhouse gas reduction plan that is unrealistic, says Herb Dhaliwal, the Minister of Natural Resources.

But Mr. Dhaliwal said Canada should come to a decision on whether to ratify Kyoto this year.

His comments echo those of Jean Chrétien. In a letter to the Canadian Manufacturer's Association, reported in Thursday's National Post, the Prime Minister said signing Kyoto will not happen until a working plan is in place. "Our goal is to make a ratification decision in 2002." Previously, Mr. Chrétien said flatly Canada would sign this year. It was even expected Canada would ink the deal at the G7 summit in June, which is being held in Kananaskis, Alta." (Financial Post)

"Independent News - Carbon emissions rise for second year, putting green targets in doubt" - "Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have risen for the second successive year, prompting concern that the Government may not meet its targets for tackling climate change. Brian Wilson, the Energy minister, warned against complacency yesterday in the fight against global warming. The new statistics showed that CO2 emissions had gone up by at least 2m tons in each of the past two years."

"Lexington Herald-Leader | 03 30 2002 | Burning waste to produce energy denied permit" - "INEZ - A proposal to cook Martin County's garbage into an energy source has been taken off the stove, at least temporarily. The state Department of Environmental Protection this week denied a Floyd County company's bid to apply for waste-to-energy and air-quality permits, citing excessive emissions detected after a December test burn.

Opponents in Martin County welcomed the news -- "It renews your faith in state bureaucrats," said Mickey McCoy of Inez -- but an attorney for Recycling Solutions Technology of Allen said the project is far from dead. "There's somebody always attacking something that may change the world," said D.B. Kazee of Prestonsburg. "Actually, the system was a huge success."

"Emissions repair lost in fog of words -- The Washington Times" - "Media reaction to the Environmental Protection Agency's consideration of changes in an EPA enforcement program (sometimes referred to as New Source Review or "NSR") launched at the tail-end of the Clinton administration has approached levels of exaggeration that betray an unsettling ignorance about air-quality programs in the United States. The charge of the media, the environmentalists and Northeast attorneys general is that any change in the NSR enforcement program will perpetuate an exclusion from any emission controls for the nation's oldest power plants and will result in an explosion of pollution, especially in the Northeast. But the portrayal of hundreds of out-of-control plants poisoning our air bears absolutely no relation to reality."

"The Arizona Republic - Most of Valley's air would meet federal test" - "The Valley's Brown Cloud may not be as hazardous to people's health as it sometimes appears, new figures from the state Department of Environmental Quality suggest. Metropolitan Phoenix likely would meet tough new federal standards designed to protect people from tiny particles of air pollution linked this month to lung cancer and heart-lung disease. Readings taken at eight monitors throughout 2000 show that air quality in Tempe, central Phoenix, northwest Phoenix, Goodyear and Higley all fall well within the proposed standards."

"statesman.com | Austin area 1st for voluntary ozone controls" - "The five county Austin region today will become the first in the nation to gain federal approval for voluntary steps to reduce lung-damaging ozone pollution -- and thereby perhaps avoid tougher federal mandates. But the agreement doesn't resolve whether Central Texas -- where vehicles are the key source of ozone-producing pollutants -- can solve its ozone problem without some type of vehicle emission testing, as mandated in Houston, Dallas and El Paso."

"A Win for Clean Air (washingtonpost.com)" - "SAYING THAT existing standards weren't tough enough to protect the public health, the Environmental Protection Agency moved five years ago to reduce the amount of ozone and extremely fine soot particles in the nation's air. When it issued tighter new limits for both pollutants, opponents launched a legal battle that wound up last year in the Supreme Court. The EPA won that round, with the high court upholding the agency's authority to set the standards and to do so based on health considerations alone (rather than on health and cost considerations both). But a challenge to the specific limits themselves, which opponents said were set arbitrarily and capriciously, went back for a lower court to decide. On Tuesday a federal appeals panel rejected that challenge as well. This welcome decision clears the way for the EPA to move ahead. The agency should act aggressively to put its long-delayed standards in place."

"Study into air pollution deaths link" - "SCIENTISTS at Edinburgh University are to investigate why air pollution triggers potentially lethal heart attacks and strokes. The three-year project at the university’s respiratory medicine unit will examine how pollution can inflame lungs and cause blood clots and ultimately heart attacks and strokes. And it comes just weeks after an influential American report claimed air pollution is as dangerous as passive smoking." (Evening News)

"Study links rugs, carpets to higher asthma rates" - "NEW YORK, Mar 29 - Although an estimated 7.5% of children nationwide have asthma, the prevalence of asthma among students at many Baltimore schools ranges from 10% to 20%. New study findings suggest that this higher prevalence may be due to students' exposure to dust mites and other allergens trapped in their school's carpets and rugs." (Reuters Health)

Looks like a book promo, reads like a... "In search of indoor air pollution" - "Call it the case of the homicidal electrical outlet. Sure, outlets are dangerous - they're loaded with electricity. But what else lurks there? Home inspection expert Jeffrey C. May tells of a woman with life-threatening allergies who nearly stopped breathing on several occasions while she was at home. The mysterious incidents of anaphylactic shock always occurred while she was bathing her child in the bathtub. In desperation, the homeowner called May, president of a home-inspection company in Cambridge. This case proved a tough one, but May finally discovered that when he bumped against one wall, mold spores would puff out of the electrical socket, triggering the woman's allergic reaction." (Newhouse News Service)

"Poor diet in the womb raises risk of illness" - "Newborn babies could be at much greater risk of developing asthma if their mothers eat food which is low in vitamin E during pregnancy, a new study has discovered. The study, involving laboratory tests on the blood of 223 newborn babies, has added further weight to the theory that diet plays a very significant part in the development of asthma among children." (The Independent)

"Bush Energy Order Wording Mirrors Oil Lobby's Proposal (washingtonpost.com)" - "President Bush last year issued an order on energy policy that closely followed a proposed draft given to the administration two months earlier by oil lobbyists, according to documents released by the Energy Department under a court order. An official from the American Petroleum Institute sent an e-mail on March 20, 2001, to Joseph Kelliher, then a Department of Energy policy adviser, proposing language for a Bush policy on energy regulations. API called it "a suggested executive order to ensure that energy implications are considered and acted on in rule-makings and other executive actions."

"Greens had energy plan role -- The Washington Times" - "Environmentalists had easy access to top Bush officials, as the administration laid plans from the beginning to address environmental concerns in its energy plan, internal administration documents show. Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton wined and dined more than a dozen leading environmentalists at the Metropolitan Club on Feb. 20, 2001, as the administration sought to build bridges after the strenuous campaign the green groups had waged to defeat her nomination, taking out full-page attack ads in newspapers. Four days earlier, the White House's energy task force had completed the first draft of an environmental chapter to be included in its energy plan, emphasizing how government has a dual role of facilitating energy development while protecting the environment, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a government-watchdog group. The early attention to the environment and the courting of environmentalists by top Bush officials is significant. Environmental organizations have contended recently that the administration left them out or, at best, considered the environment only as an afterthought in drafting its energy plan. Press reports to the contrary notwithstanding, the Judicial Watch documents show that Mrs. Norton and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christie Whitman met every few weeks with environmentalists in "green group" sessions designed to air their concerns."

"Drilling Could Hurt Wildlife, Federal Study of Arctic Says" - "SEATTLE, March 29 — Undercutting the Bush administration's case for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, a federal study released today said that such drilling could harm caribou, snow geese, musk oxen and other wildlife. The report, by the United States Geological Survey, a branch of the Interior Department, comes just a week and a half before the Senate is scheduled to begin debating the White House's plan to allow drilling in the 19-million-acre refuge. Drilling was approved in an energy plan backed by the House, but opponents say they have the votes in the Democrat-controlled Senate to block it." (New York Times)

"White House Refutes Arctic Oil Report" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration acted Friday to repudiate a report by government biologists that concluded drilling for oil in an Alaskan wildlife refuge would pose substantial risks to the Porcupine caribou herd and other wildlife. Charles Groat, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, which issued the report, wrote Interior Secretary Gale Norton that he was asking scientists to re-evaluate their conclusions using drilling plans the administration contends would be less damaging to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "We're not looking at what the USGS studied," said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, who was with President Bush in Texas on Friday. "We are talking about exploring a very small part of ANWR." (AP)

"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Bill to fund atomic waste dump study" - "A controversial nuclear waste dump in Armstrong County is a step closer to cleanup because it poses a threat to the area's ground water and because it has earned the attention of U.S. Rep. John Murtha. Even though a recent Army Corps of Engineers assessment of the 40-acre Parks Township Shallow Landfill found "no substantial radiological exposure threat to human health" and concluded no site cleanup was necessary, a bill submitted by Murtha, D-Johnstown, mandates that the corps develop a cleanup plan."

"BBC News | ENGLAND | Nuclear power plant closes" - "A ceremony has been held to mark the closure of one of Britain's oldest nuclear power stations after 40 years in service. Bradwell power station on the Essex coast is to stop producing electricity over the Easter weekend, ready for a lengthy decommissioning process. The Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Lord Braybrooke, ceremoniously closed the British Nuclear Fuels site on Thursday by unveiling a plaque."

"Gene-tinkered chicken lays 'designer' eggs" - "NEW YORK, Mar 29 - A group of researchers say they've created a genetically engineered chicken that can consistently churn out a foreign protein in the eggs it lays. Such chickens are being explored as potential "drug factories" to mass-produce drugs, enzymes or other proteins used to treat human ailments. In the new study, researchers report that the chickens produce a biologically active version of a bacterial enzyme." (Reuters Health)

"Farmers move to block modified wheat" - "SPALDING, SASK. - Genetically-modified wheat won't be ready to plant for three years, but two organic farmers in Saskatchewan already fear it will kill their business. They're suing the bio-tech company Monsanto to prevent the introduction of the wheat. They say other modified crops have already harmed their businesses, and that modified wheat will be the final straw." (CBC)

"Corn Comments" - "Currently the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are soliciting public comments on the proposed use of rootworm-protected corn, developed through biotechnology. This product will help save farmers hundreds of millions of dollars yearly and will reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Your input will help ensure that regulators get a wide range of input from consumers, farmers, academics and other important stakeholders as part of their decision-making process.

Comments to US EPA must be submitted before April 12, 2002 and comments to USDA must be submitted before May 13, 2002.

This web site offers you the ability to provide your comments directly to USDA and EPA on-line." (Corn-Comments.org)

"Enter the GMs" - "It is good that India has finally opened its doors to genetically modified crops. The nod given to the commercial production of Bt cotton will help erase the spectre of failed crops from the minds of hapless farmers. It is just as well that the genetic engineering approval committee’s clearance of Bt cotton is not without riders, since these could act as safety latches on the infant technology." (Hindustan Times)

"Sow the seeds of progress" - "As the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee approved on the commercialisation of Bt cotton after six years of trials on Tuesday, my mind went back to the Sixties when the Green Revolution began.

For today’s younger generation, for whom eating out is a fad and who can walk into any fast-food outlet and order the food of their choice, it is instructive to go back to 1963-64 when the country’s population was 375 million and the then prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, gave a call to his countrymen to miss a meal a week, so that we could reduce our imports of foodgrains and save precious foreign exchange and feed the hungry.

There were many doomsayers then who predicted disaster for India on the food front. There were reputed organisations which predicted that in five years the population of India would outstrip the production of rice and wheat and the country would face a major calamity. Today, our population is approaching 1,100 million and we have a mountain of 72 million tonnes of foodgrains. True, there are still hungry people in our country. But no one can blame our farmers for that. They have delivered the goods." (Hindustan Times)

March 29, 2002

"TV & Violence: Strong Bond or Weak Link?" - "A new study reports more than one hour of television per day may make adolescents more prone to violence." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"New York Times | Citing Recent Crime Statistics, Jersey City Sues Gun Makers" - "JERSEY CITY, March 28 — Jersey City today became the 33rd governmental entity in the country since 1998 to sue the gun industry, charging that negligent sales practices have helped create a black market in weapons for criminals.

"We're going to keep shooting until we hit the gun manufacturers where it hurts," Mayor Cunningham said."

"New York Times | Towers Withstood Impact, but Fell to Fire, Report Says" - "An unchecked 2,000 degree blaze that generated heat equivalent to the energy output of a nuclear power plant caused the fall of the twin towers."

The article reports,

Whatever its thickness, much of the fireproofing was probably dislodged by the impact of the planes, the investigators concluded. One official knowledgeable about the fireproofing said the woolly, mineral-based material could be brushed away with the wipe of a finger.

Stripped of its fireproofing, a steel column heats up much more quickly in a fire. The hotter the steel, the less it is able to support loads, as it eventually becomes as soft as licorice.

Maybe the original wet-spray asbestos should have been left alone.

"BBC News | NORTHERN IRELAND | NI scientists' hormone pollution solution" - "The experts are still divided on whether the hormones being discharged into water courses and the sea are being effectively removed from drinking water supplies. But while it may take years to conclusively prove or disprove a risk, it seems certain that the presence of oestrogens in water being discharged from sewage treatment work is a real and growing problem. A group of Northern Ireland scientists have already been working on a way to combat it."

"ABC Sci-Tech - 28 03 02 : Study reveals repetitious work not the cause of nerve condition" - "A study into the science of a common painful nerve condition in the wrist called carpal tunnel syndrome has suggested that repetitious work is not the cause. The painful condition is associated with a large number of lost work days and workers' compensation claims."

"BMJ | Allergens and viruses act together to worsen asthma" - "Common allergens (such as dust mite and grass pollen) and viruses may act together to exacerbate asthma, concludes a study in this week’s BMJ."

"New York Times | California Dunes May Be Reopened to Off-Road Vehicles" - "Federal officials want to reopen areas off-limits to dune buggies in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area of California."

"USA Today | Logging deal might save forest" - "SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- Environmentalists eager to slow urban sprawl here have agreed to buy a chunk of timberland nearly twice the size of nearby Seattle for $185 million. And they'll pay for it by letting logging continue.

The unusual deal is one of many creative financial arrangements conservation groups across the nation are using to acquire open space, much of it large tracts owned by timber companies. The Seattle purchase hinges on whether the federal government approves the use of tax-exempt bonds for forest conservation. Bonds would be sold to buy the land, and timber revenue would pay them off."

"Common Sense and Sensibility" [Editor's Note: This article is the first of two parts] - "Economists are not well thought of these days by environmentalists. Or so it seems from accounts such as a recent Scientific American excerpt of Edward O. Wilson's book, The Future of Life. He characterizes economists as narrow, myopic environmental ignoramuses." (Arnold Kling, TCS)

Wishful thinking from the wannabe world gummint: "Reuters | Study: World Environment Agency Would Ease Chaos" - "UNITED NATIONS - A new world environment organization and an international environmental court would help make sense of the more than 500 environmental agreements and agencies now operating around the globe, researchers said on Thursday. Legal and environmental experts from the Tokyo-based U.N. University called on a U.N. development summit opening in Johannesburg in August to weigh creating a global body with powers over the environment similar to those of the World Trade Organization over international trade."

Here's a better idea: dismantle the entire parasitic structure and do something useful instead.

"BBC News | SCI/TECH | Asia's coral reefs under threat" - "Almost 90% of South-East Asia's coral reefs are slowly being destroyed by human activity, according to a report just released by an environmental research group, the World Resources Institute. It says over-fishing and pollution are putting unsustainable pressure on these ecosystems and that losing reefs would have significant economic consequences for the region."

What? Not one word on the dreaded 'global warming'? Will wonders never cease? No stopping Christie though:

"Chicago Tribune | EPA chief sounds alarm on water for U.S., world" - "WASHINGTON -- Threats to water quality and quantity pose the greatest environmental challenge to the United States, in large part because of climate change and antiquated and deteriorating water systems, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman warned Wednesday."

"Globe and Mail | Effects of warming 'clearly visible'" - "Many of the world's plants and animals are already experiencing extensive disruptions because of global warming, indicating the planet's environment is sensitive to even small climate fluctuations, according to ground-breaking scientific research. The Earth has warmed by only 0.6 degrees over the past century, an almost imperceptible amount by human standards, but enough to threaten coral reefs, spread malaria to new areas and cause shrubs to sprout in Alaska where the extreme cold used to freeze plants to death."

Martin Mittelstaedt faithfully parrots Nature's bizarre publication of dubious and even invalidated statements. Here's just a few:

How sad to witness a once-prestigious journal continue its precipitous decent toward the status of pop-science rag with their unbridled advocacy of a broken hypothesis.

"NATIONAL POST ONLINE | Hotter times on planet Earth, researchers find; Crust temperature rising: 'We can now say we truly have global warming'" - "A team of American and Canadian researchers has found evidence of real global warming: the temperature of the Earth's crust is increasing at a remarkable rate. "We can now say we truly have global warming," says Dr. Hugo Beltrami, a geophysicist at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Until now most data on global warming has been gleaned from the atmosphere, polar icecaps and oceans, but Dr. Beltrami's team looked at continental rocks, which cover about 30% of the planet's surface. The scientists studied 616 deep bore holes that had been drilled into rock formations from Africa to the Arctic and found evidence of a marked rise in temperature over the past 500 years."

As in, from the first half of the Little Ice Age 'til about now it's believed to have gotten warmer? Amazing! How do they do it?

Actually, it's not too hard when you deal with proxies as forgiving as boreholes: Another Boring Proxy; More on those Boreholes.

"Why Did Global Warming Take Hold As World Concern?" - "In the 1960s, scientists anticipated a New Ice Age. Later, they warned of humans triggering a Nuclear Winter. Now, it’s Global Warming. Why this change in emphasis? And why did it take 100 years for the theory behind Global Warming to take hold? New research by scientists from the University of Gloucestershire in the UK indicates that a remarkable combination of circumstances sparked widespread scientific interest in Global Warming in the later decades of the 20th Century." (UniSci)

Doh! "Daily Yomiuri On-Line | Russia may drag feet on Kyoto" - "Russia may delay ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming until after this autumn if Japan does not agree to buy emission credits, high-ranking Russian government officials said Tuesday.

The officials asked that Japan and European Union countries promise to buy carbon dioxide emission credits from Russia as a condition for its ratification of the treaty, suggesting Russia's concern it will not be able to sell its emission credits to the United States, as that country has already dropped out of the agreement."

"Financial Post | Alberta offers Kyoto alternative" - "OTTAWA - Alberta will propose a U.S.-style plan to reduce greenhouse gases in an attempt to stop Ottawa from ratifying the Kyoto treaty on climate change, says Lorne Taylor, the province's Environment Minister. The plan will be presented at a May meeting of provincial energy ministers at which Ottawa is expected to unveil its strategy for implementing Kyoto."

"BBC News | SCI/TECH | Greenhouse gases rise in UK" - "Britain's commitment to cut the gases blamed by many scientists for warming the planet is looking less convincing after the publication of new figures show carbon pollution is on the increase."

"Canberra Times | US deal does not rule out Kyoto signature" - "The Howard Government has pledged to work towards meeting its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Australia is also firmly of the belief that only a global response will yield effective results. And any successful approach must seek to minimise the costs and maximise the incentives for technological change.

One of the weaknesses of Kyoto in what is known as the first commitment period up to 2012 is the absence from the arrangements of the US and developing countries whose contributions of greenhouse gases during the next decade will be greater than those from developed countries. Even the Europeans accept that there will be no second-commitment period without the participation of the major developing countries. And without the US no approach can be genuinely global. All of us understand that technology will be crucial to meeting climate objectives in a way that is consistent with legitimate expectations about living standards around the world." (Australian Environment Minister, David Kemp)

"Corals In New Caledonia Enhance El Niño Forecasting" - "An extremely intense El Niño event in 1983 prompted an international surveillance program involving the deployment of moored or drift measurement buoys and observation satellites. This research effort is proving to be fruitful. The data obtained provide a key to understanding how the two components of the now-famous two-phase system El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) -- El Niño and its reverse counterpart La Niña -- are generated. Forecasting models for three months in advance are quite reliable. However, the knowledge acquired comes from observations which are limited in time and therefore cannot reveal any longer-term variability in the Pacific climate." (UniSci)

"Oregon State University | Antarctica key to sudden sea level rise in the past" - "A massive and unusually abrupt rise in sea level about 14,200 years ago was caused by the partial collapse of ice sheets in Antarctica, a new study has shown, in research that solves a mystery scientists have been analyzing for more than a decade."

"New Scientist | Methane prime suspect for greatest mass extinction" - "The release of massive clouds of methane from icy hydrates buried under shallow ocean floors is the leading suspect for the most devastating extinction in the fossil record, according to a new analysis. Methane best matches the unusual carbon-isotope fingerprints found at the scene of the crime, says Robert Berner of Yale University in Connecticut, US, though it cannot explain atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at the time."

"Reuters | Bush tapped solar energy funds to print energy plan" - "WASHINGTON — While environmentalists have slammed the White House national energy plan for not doing enough to promote renewable energy, the Bush administration found those government research programs useful in paying the bill for printing copies of the 170-page plan. The administration took money from the Energy Department's solar and renewable energy and energy conservation budgets to pay for the cost of printing its national energy plan."

They used the money to print the plan that will be most illuminating when burned as 'biomass' for generating 'renewable' energy - makes more sense than most 'renewables' expenditure.

"The Christian Science Monitor | Opinion | Energy security: It takes more than drilling" - "SNOWMASS, COLO. – THE savagery of Sept. 11 confirmed that both Mideast oil dependence and fragile infrastructure threaten national security. Replacing Mideast oil is vital, but not by substituting equally or more vulnerable domestic sources."

This time terrorism is the Lovins Borther's reason you shouldn't have that icky, nasty fossil- or atomic-generated electrickery. How's that infamous car project progressing fellas?

"USGS assessment: complex future for Appalachian coal" - "Coal provides more than half of our Nation's electrical energy needs. For more than three centuries, coal has been mined in the Appalachian Basin, one of the most important coal-producing regions in the world. This area includes parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Tennessee. Almost all of the coal now mined in the Appalachian Basin is used in eastern states to generate electricity."

"billingsgazette.com - EPA rejects portions of SO2 plan" - "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it is rejecting portions of Montana's plan to control sulfur dioxide pollution in the Billings/Laurel area and will prepare its own set of rules for the disapproved portions."

"New York Times | Vindication on Clean Air" - "In 1999 a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a hugely controversial decision that not only paralyzed the Clinton administration's clean-air strategy but challenged the government's basic regulatory architecture as well. On Tuesday the same panel ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency could proceed with regulations it had blocked in 1999. The decision brought full circle a tortured legal struggle that wound through the Supreme Court and the full D.C. Circuit. It delighted clean-air advocates, who have not had much to cheer about lately. And it imposes an obligation on Christie Whitman, the E.P.A. administrator, to move aggressively to enforce regulations that have been in legal limbo for too long."

"Gazette Online - State DEP jumps gun on federal air quality report" - "Federal regulators haven't released a new national report that estimates the public health risk from toxic air pollution. But on Wednesday, the Wise administration was already trying to downplay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study. State Department of Environmental Protection officials issued a news release that "cautioned" against reading too much into the EPA results."

"Stem-Cell Political Science: Nature's Agenda" - "Such a coincidence! With the U.S. Senate debating so-called "therapeutic cloning" to produce embryonic stem (ES) cells and other countries, such as Canada, suffering similar political agony, Nature magazine releases letters from two research teams saying that the alternative – so-called adult stem cells – may be worthless. Nature was so eager to get the news out that it even published the letters online, before the print edition. Both letters attack the "supposed flexibility" of NES cells, as one reporter put it. And the world media swallowed it like a starving mouse downing a chunk of cheddar." (Michael Fumento, National Review Online)

"Biotech Crops On The Dinner Table?" - "American farmers will plant more genetically engineered crops this year, including one-third of the corn on U.S. soil, shrugging off international resistance to biotech food. The farmers are expected to grow more than 79 million acres of genetically engineered corn and soybeans, the nation's two most widely planted commodities, a 13 percent increase from last year, according to the Agriculture Department's spring survey." (AP)

Shiva - again: "Asia Times: Delhi's GM decision seen as another slap in the face" - "NEW DELHI - When India's right-wing government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), granted approval for the commercial farming of genetically modified (GM) cotton on Tuesday, it was yet another sign of its readiness to ignore civil society at home and please transnational corporations and the West, critics say.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) under the Ministry of Environment cleared the cultivation of GM cotton, patented by the US seed giant Monsanto, in spite of demands by top international campaigners for better and more scientific testing. Vandana Shiva, who heads the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Environment, said the test conducted so far were "not adequate to establish the benefits nor fully assess the risks."

"Reuters | Indonesia to issue rule for GMO product labeling" - "JAKARTA, Mar 28 - Indonesia will issue new regulations on the labeling of genetically modified organism (GMO) products to ensure consumer protection, a senior government official said on Thursday. "The director general of food and drug supervision in the near future will issue a decree on a labeling system for GMO products," deputy head of the director general Dedi Fardiaz told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar in Jakarta. Fardiaz said the new regulation would require every food product with a GMO content higher than 5% to be labeled."

"Bt cotton a new trap for small farmers: NGOs" - "In a scathing attack, volunteer groups say the government has put transgenic cotton technology out of reach of the small farmers and defied any pretence of regulation by asking the private firm, which will sell these seeds, to monitor itself." (Times of India)

"Swiss Firm Plans to Share Rice Genome" - "One of the world's largest agricultural companies is putting finishing touches on a plan to make public huge amounts of genetic information about the rice plant, an effort to accelerate research aimed at improving one of mankind's most important crops. The plan by Syngenta International AG of Basel, Switzerland, is not final, and a scientist involved in negotiations with the company cautioned that it could still fall apart. But he said Syngenta executives were working hard on the plan, and an announcement could be made in Washington as soon as today." (Washington Post)

"The Times | Anger over rice DNA controls" - "The most significant genetic breakthrough made in agriculture sparked a major row yesterday after leading scientists attacked restrictions on access to the genetic code of rice."

March 28, 2002

"Short of Money, Boston Drops Lawsuit Against Gun Industry" - "BOSTON, March 27 — Citing financial concerns, the City of Boston today became the first city in the nation to drop its lawsuit against the gun industry voluntarily. The case was scheduled to go to trial in September, but Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the city's health commission called it off today, saying a trial would be too expensive, given the weak economy in the city. The case was expected to be the first to go to trial. The city sued gun manufacturers, distributors and trade groups in June 1999, saying they were responsible for gun violence." (AP)

"BBC News | HEALTH | Food advice move sparks row" - "Environment campaigners have criticised plans to modify government health advice on preparing fresh fruit and vegetables. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is advising consumers that there is now no need to wash and peel such fresh food to get rid of traces of pesticides before eating."

"Daily Telegraph | Oliver Walston | Organic food is no safer than the ordinary cheaper kind" - "THERE is no need to wash fruit to remove traces of pesticides, the Food Standards Agency told us yesterday. This has upset Friends of the Earth, who say that there are still "too many uncertainties about pesticides". Their response follows the set pattern of a marketing triumph that led to sales of organic food rising by a third last year.

A new breed of missionary-salesman frightens the public with nightmare visions of modern farming. Phrases like "drenching the land with poisons", "industrial farming" and "monoculture" are repeated in an endless mantra. These are reinforced whenever possible with food scares. Thus mad cow disease, foot and mouth, salmonella, listeria and e-coli have all been blamed exclusively on conventional agriculture."

"BBC News | HEALTH | Wind of change for bean-eaters" - "The flatulent follow-up to eating beans could be significantly reduced by blasting them with radioactive rays."

The beans or the consumers?

"Washington Post | Human Version of 'Mad Cow' on Rise" - "ATLANTA, March 27 -- The number of British cases of the rare and fatal human equivalent of "mad cow disease" is doubling every three years, even though measures to protect meat, the presumed source of the infecting agent, have been in place for nearly a decade. The continued growth of the epidemic of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) almost certainly reflects the long delay between infection and the appearance of symptoms, rather than representing new infections, a British scientist told a gathering of infectious disease specialists here."

"Gazette Online - Citizens can make a difference, Brockovich says" - "As a file clerk for a law firm, Erin Brockovich helped secure the nation's largest legal settlement for hundreds of California residents who for decades were exposed to toxic, cancer-causing water.

For those who only knew Brockovich as a Hollywood character portrayed by Julia Roberts, the real Brockovich offered a glimpse of her life and what led her to the discovery of the tainted water in Hinkley, Calif. More than 600 Hinkley residents eventually signed onto the lawsuit and shared in the $333 million settlement. "Through corporate America, this case was swept under the rug," Brockovich said."

Tinsel town crap! Try the next piece for a real world perspective:

"The Seattle Times: Editorials & Opinion: Bruce Ramsey | Arsenic and old waste: a cautionary tale" - "Let us now defend a corporate polluter.

Standing in court against the company is the state of Washington. Filing papers on the state's behalf are the Department of Justice, the city of Everett, the Washington Public Ports Association, the League of Women Voters, the Washington State Labor Council, the Washington Environmental Council, three Audubon societies, the Church Council of Greater Seattle and others.

Standing with the company is no one.

The company is Asarco, the American Smelting and Refining Co. In 1903 — the year the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk — Asarco bought a mill at Everett to refine lead and arsenic. Arsenic was used to promote the public health by killing rats. Compounds of arsenic were also contained in the mill's smoke, and floated to Earth mixed with smoke from other factories in "the city of smokestacks."

A West Virginia company, long gone, had been smelting lead and arsenic at Everett since 1893 or 1894. Asarco smelted from 1904 to 1908. Later, it sold the land, and people built houses there.

Eighty years after smelting ended, Washington voters passed by initiative the Model Toxics Control Act. It was written by environmentalists."

"BBC News | WORLD | Ecuador kicks out activists" - "The authorities in Ecuador say 14 foreign environmental protesters are to be deported from the country immediately. They were among a group of 17 activists arrested on Monday after trying to stop the construction of an oil pipeline through the Mindo nature reserve, northwest of the capital, Quito."

"The Miami Herald | 03 27 2002 | Dying sponges offer clues about the `blob'" - "A zone of dying sponges and coral off Key West has suddenly elevated the formation dubbed ''black water'' from scientific mystery to major environmental concern. In the first reliable underwater assessment of impact on marine life, a commercial diver documented enough damage to raise alarms that the baffling blob may have left a swath of unseen destruction in its wake as it slowly drifted from the Gulf of Mexico across Florida Bay over the last few months."

"Telegraph | Pollution bends the genders of song birds" - "THE nightingale that sings in Berkeley Square might be suffering from gender confusion. Scientists have discovered that sex hormone pollution is causing female birds, including nightingales, skylarks and sparrows, to sing along with their male counterparts."

Well, at least they didn't blame 'global warming' this time: "Guardian | Mosquito threat from used tyres" - "Colonies of aggressive, potentially disease carrying mosquitoes could have arrived in Britain in used car tyres without public health authorities knowing anything about it, scientists have warned. Unlike other European countries such as France and Italy, Britain has no system set up to monitor the health impact of used car tyre imports. The tyres are a favourite site for certain species of mosquito to lay their eggs."

"Weathering the pursuit of climate extremes - Patrick Michaels - The Washington Times" - "There's a big drought on in the Eastern United States, especially from Northern Virginia to southern New England. In other words, the epicenter lies along the Washington-New York axis. Everyone knows what this means: a drought more important than any other weather event in world history. The last time this region received a major weather whopper was the huge snowstorm of early January 1996. Of course, it was the most important snowstorm in history, and it prompted a cover of Newsweek, with the headline "Blizzards, floods and hurricanes: Blame global warming." The analogous cover for this drought, I predict, will appear in Time magazine within the next two months."

"BBC News | SCI/TECH | Living fossil in climate peril" - "Just a one degree rise in temperature could spell the end for a living fossil, New Zealand's tuatara, according to a university researcher. "One degree makes a difference between all female-producing and all male-producing temperatures," says researcher Nicky Nelson, who completed her doctoral study at Victoria University in December 2001. "The pivotal temperature is between 21 and 22 degrees Celsius," she told BBC News Online. The tuatara is the last representative of a reptile species that appeared at the same time as the dinosaurs."

So, if they can't handle one degree temperature change, how did they survive ice ages and intermittent warm periods?

"Global warming hits species all over world, says study" - "LONDON — From dying coral reefs to later autumns and endangered male painted turtles, global warming has started to affect plant and animal life across the planet, scientists said Wednesday. The world's mean temperature increased by around 0.6 degrees Celsius in the 20th century — most of the rise came in the last 30 years — and its impact is already being felt by flora and fauna from the equator to the poles." (Reuters)

"ENN - UNEP Launches New Ozone Compliance Assistance Programme" - "PARIS — The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has changed the way it does business in order to help developing countries meet their targets to phase-out use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances."

"BMJ | Sunlight prevents cancer, study says" - "Insufficient exposure to ultraviolet radiation may be an important risk factor for cancer in western Europe and North America, according to the author of a new study that directly contradicts official advice about sunlight."

"Green Machine" - "A former White House Chief of Staff is popping up everywhere of late. And, though John Podesta's activities are not always on the radar screen, they deserve a close look. Connecting the dots of Podesta's activities and influence presents an interesting mosaic of the left's anti-energy agenda." (Christopher C. Horner, TCS)

"Australian Financial Review | Kyoto Protocol non-ratification 'costing billions'" - "The Federal Government is coming under increasing pressure from Australian business, led by emerging industries in the environmental services sector, to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. While the Government and the Aluminium Council have argued that ratification could cost jobs and investment, other companies are considering moving offshore to take advantage of the Kyoto Protocol's opportunities. According to the executive director of the Australia Institute, Clive Hamilton, non-ratification of the protocol amounted to a betrayal of Australian business, with losses to be counted in the billions."

Inside baseball: Clive and his (anti-)Australia Institute (it's unclear whether the institute is composed of anyone besides Clive) are forever trying to inhibit Australia in particular and humanity generally. It's believed he resigned as adviser to the Australian Democrats (a fringe party, not to be confused with America's Democrats) because they were becoming too rational (something which also did not endure). Seems to operate in concert with the Australian Conservation Foundation, another completely misanthropic group who, in turn, fund the so-called 'Gene Ethics Network' (listed as 'a project of the ACF'), which is 'directed' by genetic hysteric Bob Phelps (I've never heard of any other GEN member and it is not at all clear with whom he 'networks'). Australia is in the bizarre position of having about a dozen hard core green psychotics encompass virtually all the office holders (and interleaved membership) of nine-tenths of the so-called environment/conservation/animal rights/wilderness/forest/green organizations in the country.

Kermit The Frog can probably teach him some appropriate lyrics: "New York Times | Talking Green vs. Making Green" - "DEARBORN, Mich. — Before he became chief executive of the Ford Motor Company, William Clay Ford Jr. made a point of joining the environmental camp. Global warming, he wrote in a citizenship report in 2001, "stands out from other environmental issues because of its potentially serious consequences and its direct relationship to our industry." Global warming? Auto executives talk about cars, golf and every tenth of a percentage point of market share. But they do not speak of global warming, unless prompted, and then often dismiss it as scientifically unproved. Such statements made Mr. Ford — a vegetarian, guitar-strumming black belt in tae kwon do — the Motor City's most outspoken executive on environmental issues. But since becoming chief executive and gaining operational control of the struggling company last October, Mr. Ford, 44, has muted his pronouncements on such issues and has made decisions that have bitterly disappointed environmentalists."

"Washington Times | Energy pile-on ignores the facts" - "Recent news coverage of President Bush's energy task force offered the conclusion that the White House left environmentalists and consumers out of its national energy policy equation. Yet most print and broadcast accounts ignored or buried the fact that administration officials actually contacted environmental groups for input — but were rebuffed — detailed in both an Energy Department letter and an e-mail included among documents released by the agency Monday."

"Washington Times | Green groups back off Energy panel complaints" - "Leading environmentalists yesterday backed off charges that the Bush administration did not consult them in drafting its energy plan, but continued to press their case for full disclosure of executive deliberations."

PIRG's fantastic figures du jour: "Chicago Tribune | Energy plan running on empty" - "For years, Illinois residents have literally been choking on the state's failure to invest in clean and more fuel-efficient forms of energy production. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is already responsible for 1,700 premature deaths and 33,000 asthma attacks in Illinois each year, according to an October 2000 Abt Associates study."

"U.S. Court Upholds Pollution Standards (washingtonpost.com)" - "A federal appeals court yesterday upheld the most stringent air pollution control standards in the nation's history, providing a victory for environmentalists and public health advocates and perhaps clearing the way for the five-year-old rules to finally be implemented. In a 3 to 0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency did not exceed its authority in issuing new guidelines for ozone levels and particle emissions in a 1997 set of additions to the Clean Air Act. The panel further affirmed that the new standards are neither arbitrary nor unreasonable."

"statesman.com | Study: Clean Air Act is stricter than Bush's plan" - "WASHINGTON -- An Energy Department analysis concludes that enforcement of current law would result in greater reduction of air pollution than President Bush says would be achieved by his proposed Clear Skies Initiative."

"MSNBC | Nevada bets millions to stop nuclear dump" - "Sensing that time is running out, Nevada’s U.S. senators are about to unveil a multimillion dollar media blitz aimed at getting a dozen or so Republicans to vote against putting the nation’s nuclear waste dump in Nevada. The strategy is simple: show those Republicans’ constituents that tons of nuclear waste would be shipped right past their doors as it heads to Nevada."

"Elephant grass seen as a UK fuel of the future" - "LONDON - It may look like an overgrown ornamental bamboo, but elephant grass is seen by Britain's government and agricultural bodies as a key to helping embattled farmers and generating green power." (Reuters)

"Uranium toxins found in Serbia" - "GENEVA - United Nations scientists say they have found widespread traces of depleted uranium from NATO munitions at five sites in Serbia and Montenegro but the level of contamination posed no immediate health threat." (Reuters)

"Australia produces cloned, GM dairy calves" - "SYDNEY - Scientists have created Australia's first cloned and genetically modified (GM) calves, putting the major dairy exporter on the path to becoming a commercial producer of GM milk. The United States, Europe and New Zealand are already cloning and genetically modifying cattle as scientists push toward revolutionising the world dairy market." (Reuters)

"Far Eastern Economic Review | The Promise of Food Security" - "Genetically modified food has got a bad rap for endangering the environment and human health, but without so much as a shred of scientific evidence as proof. In fact, for much of Asia, transgenics hold the key to increasing productivity and fighting hunger." | THE RESILIENCE OF RICE

"Financial Times | Gaining ground" - "Genetically modified crops are poised to make a breakthrough in two of the biggest agricultural economies. India on Tuesday approved the planting of genetically modified cotton and Brazil could well reverse its opposition to gene technology within weeks. The two moves together would herald a substantial shift in the future of world farming."

"UPDATE - India allows sowing of three gene cotton hybrids" - "NEW DELHI - India said yesterday it had allowed production of three genetically modified cotton hybrids by a private company which has U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto as its partner." (Reuters)

"BBC News | BUSINESS | Warning over India GM cotton plan" - "Environmentalists have attacked the Indian government for permitting the growth of genetically modified cotton. Critics said the government was working in the interests of multinational companies, not Indian farmers."

March 27, 2002

"Delayed childbirth may have long-term health consequences for mother" - "Women who delay childbirth until after the age of 35 may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, according to a new study. But later childbearing may also provide some health benefits, including slightly reduced risk of stroke and some protection against bone density loss, the study showed." (Center for the Advancement of Health)

"About 600 human 'mad cow' cases in UK predicted" - "ATLANTA, Mar 26 - French researchers estimate that less than 600 people in the UK will develop the human form of "mad cow" disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the fatal brain-wasting ailment that claimed its first victim in 1994. Researchers, led by Dr. Alain-Jacques Valleron from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris, have developed a mathematical model to determine the vCJD incubation period and make predictions about future cases of vCJD in the UK. The new results were based on 111 vCJD cases reported as of November 2001, according to the researchers, who presented findings here Tuesday at the 2002 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases. To date, almost all cases of vCJD have been reported in the UK with a handful in France or Ireland." (Reuters Health)

"How Swede It Is" - "Sweden is synonymous with greenness. As Europe's eco-leaders, the Swedes have driven first their own, and then the EU policies on environmental matters. Every month a steady stream of delegations from other nations arrive in Stockholm to learn more about the Swedish model for environmental protection." (Dr. Roger Bate, TCS)

"BBC News | HEALTH | Food advice move sparks row" - "Environment campaigners have criticised plans to modify government health advice on preparing fresh fruit and vegetables. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is advising consumers that there is now no need to wash and peel such fresh food to get rid of traces of pesticides before eating. It does say it might be commonsense to do so for hygiene reasons. But Friends of the Earth has attacked such advice as irresponsible. The campaigning group says official figures show that, for example, about three quarters of apples and pears on sale in the UK have shown detectable residue of various pesticides. But government scientists say the traces are so minute that they are highly unlikely to pose a risk to human health. The FSA wants to encourage not deter people, especially children, from eating a healthy diet. It has convinced government advisers on pesticide to recommend that official health warnings to wash and peel fruit and vegetables should be scrapped. Campaigners say this is premature because no-one knows what the long term cumulative effects of low level residues could be on human health."

"Organics form high percentage of CFIA recalls" - "Since October last year, organic or all-natural foods have accounted for about 14% of the total food safety recall actions initiated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). So far this month, ten out of the 21 Class 1 (serious) food recalls initiated by the CFIA have been for self-described organic or natural products." (just-food.com)

"BBC News | HEALTH | Prozac cancer 'scare' under attack" - "The scientist whose work sparked fears over a link between antidepressants and cancer has urged patients to keep taking their drugs. Professor John Gordon, from the University of Birmingham, says that no link has been proven."

"NIH/NIAID - Scientists reveal secrets of infectious childhood heart disease" - "Researchers have discovered important clues as to why a common bacterium can sometimes lead to a dangerous heart infection in children. The bacterium, group A Streptococcus (GAS), causes acute rheumatic fever, the most common infectious cause of childhood heart disease in the world. In the United States, it has appeared in several localized outbreaks, and in 1999 the infection and its subsequent heart damage were responsible for 3,600 deaths."

Shock, surprise... "The Nando Times: Kava link to liver damage investigated" - "WASHINGTON - The popular herbal supplement kava may be linked to serious liver injury, the Food and Drug Administration warned Monday, urging consumers to see a doctor at the first sign of symptoms."

Well gorsh... taking substances containing biologically active compounds may cause biological effects[!] - even "natural" compounds.

"AHA - Arsenic in well water related to atherosclerosis" - "DALLAS, March 26 - Long-term exposure to ingested arsenic - a contaminant in artesian well water in many parts of the world - has been linked to heart attacks, strokes and diseased arteries in the body's extremities, according to a study in today's rapid access Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association."

"Media Flunks College Math" - "The media is binging on a new report that claims "44 percent of students on college campuses can be classified as binge drinkers." The Washington Post, Time, CNN and others have lapped up the study. But what does it really say?

Harvard researcher Henry Wechsler's survey defines "binge drinking" as "five or more drinks on one occasion for a man or four or more drinks on one occasion for a woman." But "one occasion" is not defined -- nor is "drink." By Weschler's standard, a 135-pound female college senior who has four beers at a friend's six-hour-long graduation party is a "binge drinker" -- even though her blood alcohol content would be just .03% at the end of the party.

But this doesn't make copy that sells -- scary headlines like Time's "Women On A Binge" do. The magazine says "today's girls and young women [are] behaving more like boys in so many reckless ways." But it's Time that's being reckless. Putting sensationalism before science, Time even cites last month's thoroughly debunked youth-alcohol study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) -- a study so flawed that college alcohol researcher Professor David Hanson said of it: "If I were teaching a research class, I would use this CASA report as an example of what not to do." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Associated Press - Bats' diet possible source of brain ills" - "Scientists have long sought to understand a horrific brain disease that once devastated the native people of Guam. It had symptoms of Lou Gehrig's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Now two researchers have uncovered clues that suggest a Chamorro dietary tradition, eating a type of bat that feeds on neurotoxic plants, might be behind the mystery illness. It's circumstantial evidence so far. But if the new theory is proved right, it could be more than another dismal discovery that diet can wreck the human brain. Understanding the Guam disease may help uncover novel ways to treat regular Lou Gehrig's, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases."

The subliminal indoctrination continues: "Indianapolis Star - Pair of falcons perched Downtown once again" - "... But their population plummeted several decades ago due to the use of the pesticide DDT, and the falcons were placed on the endangered species list. The banning of DDT and reintroduction programs have led the population to rebound, and they are no longer listed by federal authorities as endangered."

Facts versus fears: DDT

"ENN - Animal Protectionists Charge Companies of Violating EPA Agreement with Excessive Animal Poisoning Tests" - "Washington, D.C.-A coalition of health, animal protection, and environmental organizations is accusing DuPont and Honeywell of unnecessary cruelty for planning to poison more than 1,000 animals in tests with cyclohexanol, a chemical used in nylon, plastic, and paint manufacturing. Long suspected of causing reproductive and other serious health problems, the toxic substance has already has undergone extensive tests. The newly proposed experiments violate an agreement the companies made with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the coalition in October 1999 to avoid duplicative animal testing. The coalition is headed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)."

'PETA In The "Crossfire"' - "PETA president Ingrid Newkirk appeared on CNN's "Crossfire" last week to promote the animal-rights movement's "Great American Meat-Out," which co-host Bill Press described as a day "when every true American eats strictly veggie, no beef, no chicken, no pork, no seafood and some would say, no fun."

When co-host Tucker Carlson asked why PETA's once-planned billboard mocking a 10-year-old boy's loss of an arm in a shark attack as "revenge" should not be considered "hate speech," Newkirk replied: "You have to get a sense of humor." (Carlson later told Newkirk, "You say you're pro-animal. It strikes me that you are anti-human.") But viewers may have missed the latest PETA deception.

Carlson said that at a circus last spring, a PETA demonstrator harassed his four-year-old son. Newkirk said she doubted that ever happened, and claimed, "everything we do is based at adults". Really? Last fall, PETA went to schools in Canada and distributed cards showing sickly children suffering ailments PETA claims are brought on by milk. Now the group is running an ad in a Wisconsin high school paper that alleges that dairy products cause acne.

Far worse, earlier this month PETA was denied permission to send an activist dressed as a corncob into a Houston elementary school to preach a medically dubious "vegan" diet to growing children. But PETA did not surrender. The group, which has given money to the FBI-certified terrorist group Earth Liberation Front, sent the school principal's name to its supporters, and organized a rally "just off campus after school" -- to shout propaganda at students as they leave school." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Los Angeles Times | Patrick Moore | Greens Don't See Forest for the Trees" - "It has become a principle of the environmental movement to insist that wood and paper products be certified as originating from sustained, managed forests. Movement members even created their own organization, the Forest Stewardship Council, to make the rules and hand out the certificates.

Lord help those who don't fall in line, as big-box retailers and builders discovered when Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network became their judge and jury--hanging corporate reputations from the rafters with the TV cameras rolling.

Many corporations felt compelled to accept restrictive buying policies for wood and paper products to demonstrate loyalty to the cause. This appears politically correct on the surface. Yet, as with so many environmental issues, it's not that simple, and the result may damage the environment rather than improve it. The environmental movement's campaign to force industry into accepting it as the only judge of sustainable forestry is pushing consumers away from renewable forest products and toward nonrenewable, energy-intensive materials such as steel, concrete and plastic."

"The Boston Orioles?" - "Sweden is synonymous with greenness. As Europe's eco-leaders, the Swedes have driven first their own, and then the EU policies on environmental matters. Every month a steady stream of delegations from other nations arrive in Stockholm to learn more about the Swedish model for environmental protection. You may now have heard from reports in the media that "songbirds sound alarm on global warming's effect" (Atlanta Journal Constitution). So serious is the potential effect of warming on birds that the Washington Post fretted about "a Baltimore without orioles" and that even the black-capped Chickadee in my own state of Massachusetts "[c]ould vanish." (Dr. Willie Soon, TCS)

"The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age: Their Untimely Demise and Welcome Resurrection" - "Summary: A new paper in Science - the significance of which can hardly be overstated - has breathed renewed life into two important periods of earth's climatic history that were consigned to oblivion just a few short years ago by the infamous "hockey stick" temperature history of Mann et al., which temporarily provided crucial empirical support for the political movement dedicated to mandating worldwide reductions in anthropogenic CO2 emissions when climate model predictions did not appear to be capable of carrying the day on their own." (co2science.org)

"More Evidence of Earth's Marine "Biothermostat" at Work" - "Summary: A study conducted on the northern coast of Crete reaffirms the reality of the initial stages of an important multi-step negative feedback phenomenon that is set in motion by changes in sea-surface temperature and acts to reduce the severity of the temperature change that initiated it. Atmospheric Environment 36: 929-938." (co2science.org)

"Sea Level Trends at Kolobrzeg, Poland" - "Summary: Annual mean sea level increased steadily over the past century, with no signs of any acceleration. Annual maximum sea level, however, did not increase, indicative of a possible decrease in storm surge intensity over the past century. Climate Research 18: 25-30." (co2science.org)

"Primary Productivity Dynamics in the Sulu Sea" - "Summary: Counts of coccolithophores in a deep-sea sediment core speak volumes about earth's past climate, help us understand current climate change, and enlighten us about what we can expect in the way of future climate. Paleoceanography 16: 1-12." (co2science.org)

"Radio Free Europe | Russia: New Satellite Experiment May Unlock Riddle Of Global Warming" - "In a scientific first yesterday, Russia launched twin German-U.S. satellites into orbit. The satellites, which will fly in tandem at a distance of 200 kilometers from each other, are designed to measure the Earth's gravitational field with unprecedented accuracy. Scientists hope this will yield new information on the effects of climate change, perhaps answering the riddle of whether global warming is happening -- or not."

"BBC News | SCI/TECH | Arctic ice 'melting from below'" - "Scientists believe they have identified a mechanism which can explain the thinning of the Arctic sea ice. They say the thinning, which in summer reaches more than 40% in some areas, has two causes. Rising air temperatures, possibly the consequence of global warming, are melting the ice from above. And warmer water is also rising from the depths to attack the ice from below."

Curtesy Brussels and Montreal: "Independent | Councils get £40m to dispose of 'fridge mountain'" - "Ministers are preparing an emergency programme worth up to £40m to tackle Britain's "fridge mountain". Local councils will be paid about £15 per machine to dispose of refrigerators in accordance with new European environmental rules or store them until specialist recycling centres become available. A stockpile of millions of disused fridges has grown because regulations ban authorities from dumping them in landfill sites. Instead, they have to be taken to recycling plants that can safely remove harmful CFC gases. Old machines are being sent to Germany to be dismantled because of the lack of facilities. The Government is on the verge of agreeing the emergency package after talks with local authorities and retailers."

Rule by guesstimate: "Court backs US air pollution fighting standards" - "WASHINGTON - In a big win for environmentalists, a U.S. appeals court yesterday rejected an attempt by business groups to overturn federal clean-air standards that would clamp down on pollution. The decision would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the public health by limiting pollution levels across the country for smog and fine, sooty particles - although other legal issues remain to be resolved. A coalition of business groups, led by the American Trucking Associations, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the EPA's 1997 pollution standards that would require ozone concentration levels not to exceed an average 0.08 part per million (PPM) during an eight-hour period and limit soot particles to 65 micrograms per 24-hour period." (Reuters)

"New York Times | Court Says Agency Can Tighten Smog Rules" - "WASHINGTON, March 26 — An appeals court ruled today that the Environmental Protection Agency could strengthen smog rules for the first time since 1979, and enforce the first-ever regulation of the smallest soot particles."

"Boston Globe Online - Editorials - Polluted policies" - "MASSACHUSETTS AND the rest of the Northeast breathe air at the end of an exhaust pipe of pollution from coal-burning power plants in the Midwest and South. A law intended to reduce the harmful substances emitted by these utilities (and carried northeastward by prevailing winds) is in the process of being gutted by the Bush administration."

Really? Odd that local studies indicate that locally generated compounds are the problem.

"New York Times | Documents Show Energy Official Met Only With Industry Leaders" - "The energy secretary did not meet with environmental organizations or consumer groups as he helped the Bush administration write its national energy report last year."

You want advice on manure, see organic gardeners. You want advice on energy...

"More world oil use, pollution seen by 2020 - US" - "WASHINGTON - World oil demand is expected to grow an average 2.2 percent annually over the next two decades, helping to spew an extra 3.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year into the atmosphere by 2020, a U.S. government energy agency said yesterday." (Reuters)

"UK makes 20 mln pounds available to grow solar power" - "LONDON - Britain yesterday said it was offering 20 million pounds ($28.47 million) to kick-start the installation of solar panels across the nation's rooftops in a bid to increase solar power by tenfold within three years. The government's move to encourage the use of solar cells or photovoltaics (PV) is part of its wider programme to lift renewable energy generation and to curb carbon emissions, blamed by many scientists for contributing to global warming." (Reuters)

"Baghdad holds meeting on depleted uranium impact" - "BAGHDAD - The Iraqi government opened a conference yesterday to examine the effects on health of depleted uranium munitions used by U.S.-led forces during the Gulf War, which it says have caused a rise in cancer in Iraq." (Reuters)

"Germany issues permits for trial GM maize crops" - "HAMBURG - Germany has issued licences for the experimental planting of 55 tonnes of genetically modified maize this year, the federal seeds agency BSA said yesterday. Germany bars commercial production of gene-modified organisms (GMOs) but issues licences each year for trial plantings by private companies." (Reuters)

"UPDATE - India approves gene cotton production" - "NEW DELHI - India yesterday approved commercial production of gene-modified cotton, and indicated it may later allow other transgenic crops previously barred because of worries about their impact on the environment." (Reuters)

"The Guardian | New Delhi opens door to GM crops" - "India, the world's largest grower of cotton, has opened its doors to genetically modified varieties after a four-year rearguard battle by academics and farmers' groups who fear that this will lead to hundreds of thousands of poor farmers being forced off the land."

March 26, 2002

"Hiroshima porcelain pieces provide insight into exposure levels" - "Scientists are still studying the after-effects of the nuclear disaster caused by an atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The amount of neutron fluence, for example, has been calculated from the site to establish what might be a safe level of exposure for humans. Scientists have recently realized that there are discrepancies in earlier estimates. According to the latest research, the standards for a safe level of exposure to humans might be too conservative." (Geological Society of America)

"Sentry of outer space; A NASA Web site keeps track of asteroids that could cross Earth's path" - "There's good news for anyone trying to calculate the end of the world. Earlier this month, NASA launched a Web site dedicated to reporting how many asteroids are in our planetary neighbourhood, how big they are, and how likely it is that one will crash into Earth." (National Post)

"San Francisco Chronicle - Unseen killer stalks Marin" - "It is a mystery that frustrates research scientists like Tina Clarke of the Northern California Cancer Center. There is no logical reason Marin County -- where women hike pristine trails, eat organic and see their doctors regularly -- has more breast cancer than almost any place on Earth. There is no reason that the numbers continue to climb. The breast cancer rate in Marin has increased 60 percent between 1991 and 1999."

Here's the clue: "Breast cancer disproportionately strikes white, affluent, college-educated women, and Marin County has a higher concentration of those than most places." Possibly because this demographic delays or completely avoids childbearing - a known risk enhancement for breast cancer. Marin County is being stalked by... affluence?

Definitely not recommended: "Delaying childbirth may lower cancer risk" - "LONDON: A study has given hope to those women who have been told that delaying motherhood may have increased their chances of contracting cancer. A group of scientists claim instead that putting off having children until later in life may actually lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer. The Swedish survey, which is at odds with much of existing medical opinion, suggests that a woman of 20 who is intending to have just one child reduces her chance of ovarian cancer by about 50 per cent if she delays pregnancy until the age of 45." (The Advertiser)

Coffee not too bad today: "Coffee drinking not linked to chronic hypertension" - "NEW YORK, Mar 25 - Drinking at least a cup of coffee a day may cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, but it is unlikely to lead to chronic hypertension, researchers report. "Coffee drinking did appear to have a small, long-term effect on blood pressure, but it did not materially raise the risk of developing hypertension," lead author Dr. Michael J. Klag, director of the division of general internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, told Reuters Health." (Reuters Health)

"Letters on Students' Weight Ruffle Parents" - "In the last 20 years, the incidence of overweight and obesity in children has doubled. The number of overweight adolescents has almost tripled in that time. The rise has been termed epidemic by health officials. Overweight children have a higher likelihood of becoming overweight adults and are at risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, among other chronic illnesses. Now, worried health officials and school administrators are pushing policies they hope will halt the increase. And a small number of school districts, including East Penn and another in Citrus County, Fla., have decided to recruit parents by letting them know that their children's weight is a potential health hazard. But the effort has met some resistance." (New York Times) Link

"Hunter-gatherers ate lean cuts" - "Wild meats gnawed by ancient hunters contain healthier fats than modern farmed cattle. This finding backs the idea that a palaeolithic diet is the key to good health. Fifteen thousand years ago, cheeseburgers and chicken wings weren't on the menu. Before the advent of agriculture, humans ate whatever meat and fish they could catch, plus seeds and plants that they gathered. Humans were healthier for it, claims Lauren Cordain of Colorado State University in Fort Collins." (NSU)

Um... people are sicker and lifespans are shorter now than 15,000 years ago?

"EU: Commission proposes new safety rules for feed additives, antibiotics as growth promoters" - "The European Commission has presented proposals to prohibit the use of antibiotics as growth-promoting feed additives. The four remaining authorised antibiotics currently used as growth-promoters in feed would have to be phased out as of January 2006. "This fulfils my commitment to the European Parliament in September 1999", health and consumer protection commissioner David Byrne stressed." (just-food.com)

"European Animals May Soon Eat Only Non-Polluting Diet" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 25, 2002 - Animal feed additive manufacturers will have to prove their products do not harm the environment before being allowed market access, the European Commission proposed today. In a draft regulation now to be considered by European Union governments and the European Parliament, the Commission recommends banning additives from feeds unless producers have "adequately and sufficiently demonstrated" that they present no risk to the environment or to animal and human health. Each additive would have to fulfil at least one of four conditions of "usefulness." One is that the additive must "favorably affect the environmental consequences of animal production." (ENS)

"'Doing A World of Good': Pesticide/Crop Tech Industry Refocuses on Benefits" - "WASHINGTON, March 25 -- When it comes to pests, Americans are spoiled. That's good news and bad news. The good news is we expect - and have been rewarded with - an abundant supply of nutritious, affordable food to eat in our insect-free backyards while we walk barefoot through the healthy green grass. The bad news is Americans don't realize that it's the judicious use of pesticides and crop biotechnology that brings the bounty of America's heartland to supermarket shelves and ultimately our dinner tables, while protecting and enhancing our health, homes, schools, rights of way and businesses. That's about to change." (U.S. Newswire)

Ah Nature, the mother-nurture figure: "Ugandan officials slaughter man-eating crocodiles" - "KAMPALA - Ugandan officials have killed four crocodiles blamed for killing at least 40 people after an outcry from frightened villagers, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Incendiary ecoterror" - "America has a burning problem with domestic terrorism. Just ask the residents of Vail, Colo., Medford, Ore. or Seattle. They have had property torched by members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Since 1996, ecoterrorists representing those organizations have committed more than 600 acts of arson and other mayhem and caused over $43 million worth of damage." (Washington Times editorial)

"Anchorage Daily News | Deadline approaches for phase-in of low-sulfur-fuel plan" - "Alaska will have to decide by the beginning of next month how a new ultra-low-sulfur rule for diesel fuel will be implemented in the state. The rule goes into effect nationwide in 2006, but Alaska can opt for a phase-in plan, David Rogers, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Air and Water Quality, told the Alaska Journal of Commerce. Rogers told a state legislative panel earlier this month that no matter what the state does, the EPA rule will raise the cost of diesel used by trucks and buses. Off-road construction equipment, stationary diesel generators used by power utilities and even marine vessels could be required to use the fuel, according to Ron King, head of the DEC's mobile air pollution control program."

"Powering Fantasies" - "Wind. Sun. Hydrogen. They are odorless, tasteless, invisible and abundant. And they can be harnessed to generate electricity, power cars and heat homes. So, hey, let's stop dallying! Replace those shameful fossil fuels with clean renewables. What is taking so long?

That was the gist of a series of passionate editorials in the Dallas Morning News during the past several weeks. Read them, and you might wonder what is wrong with those blockhead politicians and energy executives.

But there is a reason that renewables, despite a history of generous government subsidies stretching back to 1982, haven't made a dent in the dominance of oil, gas and coal - which together account for 85 percent of the energy used in this country. The reason is cost. As energy sources, wind, sun and hydrogen are hugely expensive and inefficient. Fossil fuels aren't." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"An Energy-Efficient Tax Code" - "Taxpayers struggling to figure out their 1040s by April 15th might have a few choice terms to describe this annual ordeal, but "efficiency enhancing" is probably not one of them. Congress, in contrast, sees things a little differently - both the Democratic and Republican energy bills have proposed to use the tax code to promote the efficient use of energy. However, if the track record is any guide, these measures may actually harm consumers taking advantage of them." (Ben Lieberman, TCS)

"U.S. 'Green' Energy Plan Threatens Canadian Power" - "WASHINGTON, Mar 25 - A Senate proposal to increase the use of energy from renewable sources threatens to spark trade disputes between the United States and Canada.

Last week, the Senate approved a Democratic plan that would require companies that provide electricity to the public to gradually increase their use of renewable forms of energy, like wind, solar and geothermal power, as a partial replacement for oil, gas and coal.

The amendment part of an energy bill that Senators are expected to vote on in April requires the percentage of electricity from renewable sources to increase until it reaches 10 percent in 2020. Currently, about two percent of the nation's electricity is produced from renewables.

Canada is worried about how the United States would define renewable energy. Its energy exporters rely heavily on hydroelectric dams and Canada contends that all power generated from large-scale hydropower projects is renewable. But many U.S. states that already impose a minimum level of renewable or "green" electricity use do not consider hydropower a green energy source." (IPS)

"statesman.com | Boom and bust in the wind patch" - "Walter Hornaday's Austin-based company helped to install 538 wind turbines in Texas last year. This year, Cielo Wind Power LLC might put up 10. The boom and bust rhythm that is a way of life in the oil industry applies as well to the wind-power industry. But unlike the geopolitics that shape the fortunes of oil, the young wind-power industry is affected by a federal tax credit that helps make the price of wind-generated electricity more competitive with power from traditional sources. The credit is important to getting financing for wind projects. But it's up for renewal every two years, and the moods of Congress are unpredictable."

Oh dear! "Life and breath decisions" - "THE BUSH administration is about to change how a 25-year-old environmental law is enforced. There's a lot more than clean air at stake. In the balance are scarce jobs in Southern Illinois, which is rich in high-sulfur coal. And utility rates, which could be increased. But most important, there are lives -- tens of thousands of people who will likely die prematurely unless toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants are curtailed." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

'German Greens want petrol tax "developed further"' - 'BERLIN - Germany's Green party, junior partners in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's coalition government, said yesterday they wanted ecology taxes "developed further" if they return to power after September's elections.' (Reuters)

"UC Berkeley chemists identify missing nitrogen oxide pollutant in atmosphere" - "Scientists have not had a clear picture of the fate of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that we spew into the atmosphere. Now, UC Berkeley chemists have found a significant part of that reservoir. The NO has reacted with hydrocarbons from trees or industrial plants to form alkyl nitrates, once thought to be a minor constituent of smog. The discovery will help scientists build better models of air pollution and make better predictions." (University of California - Berkeley)

All aboard! "Scientists to meet to discuss melting Antarctic ice" - "CLINTON, New York - Scientists will meet next week to discuss whether the recent melting of an Antarctic ice shelf is evidence of global warming that would eventually cause oceans to flood coastal lands." (AP)

Everybody's got to get into the act: "Scientist: Ice Shelves Face Breakup" - "WELLINGTON, New Zealand - The Antarctic's huge ice shelves may break up as the flow of ice across the frozen continent slows or even stops and the global climate warms, a New Zealand climate researcher warned." (AP)

"Crossing Alaska by snowmobile in search of climate-change clues" - "A group of scientists left Nome, Alaska late last week on a 35-day snowmobile traverse to scour the Alaskan tundra for clues to the role snow cover plays in climate change. The team also will analyze the chemistry and composition of snow along the route to determine the source of the snow, and how much it has been affected by arctic haze." (National Science Foundation)

"The Weakest Link, Goodbye" - "It is often said that a warming world will lead to greater epidemics of infectious diseases like West Nile and dengue. But the 10th International Congress on Infectious Diseases (March 11-14) did not talk much about climate change. In fact, when discussing common diseases like malaria, most attendees expressed concerns about the pricing of anti-malarial drugs and the growth of drug-resistance.

So why do infectious disease researchers appear so disinterested in global warming? Because their research does not indicate any simple link between global climate changes and the spread of infectious disease." (Howard Fienberg, TCS)

"Global weather changes discussed -DAWN - National; 24 March, 2002" - "KARACHI, March 23: Speakers at a seminar on world climatic changes on Saturday highlighted the causes and consequences of global weather changes. The programme was organized by the Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics (IMG) in connection with the World Meteorological Day at the Met Complex.

The meeting was informed that the majority of deaths around the world during the last decade were caused directly or indirectly due to weather extremes and Pakistan had also witnessed strange weather phenomena like cloud-burst in Islamabad, extensive fog in central Punjab and drought due to northward movement of monsoon.

Since rise in global temperature is the main reason of changing weather and climate phenomenon, speakers suggested to control heat and chemical emission causing damage to the atmosphere and restrict deforestation apart from exerting more efforts for tree plantation."

Gasp! Could this be a global warming-induced weather extreme? "Less Tornadoes Than Normal This Year" - "WASHINGTON - It's been a mild year for tornadoes so far, but the National Weather Service warned Monday there's still plenty of time for them to strike. The agency said that just 11 tornadoes have been reported so far this year, well below the 178 usually experienced by mid-March." (AP)

"Mild Winter Helps State Budgets" - "PHILADELPHIA -- A relatively mild winter in the Northeast has cities and states looking at a greener summer -- and not just because of the foliage. Governments across the region are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars on snow removal costs -- a welcome prospect during rocky economic times." (AP)

Enter the apologists: "Tree Rings Show a Period of Widespread Warming in Medieval Age" - "... They've kind of smoothed out of the record," Dr. Mann said. "It doesn't support the conclusion that the medieval warmth was comparable to the latter 20th century warmth."

Rather, the peak temperatures in the Medieval Warm Period are similar to those seen in the first half of the 20th century, and that warming, most scientists agree, was induced naturally, by a brightening of the sun." (New York Times)

So Mike, temperatures of the MWP and first half of the 20th Century were similar but the latter 20th Century was significantly different?


How you figure?

"'Erin go bragh'? Ireland shrinking" - "TEMPLEPATRICK, NORTHERN IRELAND - Ireland is shrinking because of global warming and poor coastal management, a researcher said at a conference on Monday." (CBC)

"3 EU states call on US to ratify Kyoto accord - The Times of India" - "FRANFURT: Germany, France and Belgium called on the United States to change its mind and ratify the Kyoto accord on fighting global warming, in a commentary to appear in the Frankfruter Rundschau newspaper Monday. "The door is still open for a return of the United States to the Kyoto accord, even after the presentation of America's plan for the environment," wrote German Environme