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Archives - March 2003

March 31, 2003

"Chemical Might Pose Health Risk to Younger Women and Girls" - "A common industrial chemical used to produce Teflon might pose health risks for young girls and women of childbearing age, an internal report by the Environmental Protection Agency has found.

Agency scientists are concerned because the chemical, ammonium perfluorooctanoate, accumulates in human blood and demonstrates toxic properties. In September, the agency initiated a priority review under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which can be invoked to ban chemicals that pose significant risk of cancer, gene mutations or health defects." (New York Times)

"Recycling 'risks binmen's lungs'" - "More recycling could be putting binmen at risk, with long periods between collections allowing dangerous emissions to build-up. As the push for better recycling grows more people are being encouraged to sort their waste, potentially putting, paper, glass, metals, plastics and vegetable matter for compost in separate sections. But Scandinavian scientists have found that the organic waste was causing problems as the fortnightly collections allowed it to degrade and putrify. They noticed that during the working week the respiratory tracts (windpipe) of the refuse collectors were much more inflamed than after they had rested for the weekend." (BBC News Online)

"Storm Front" - "Does the greenhouse effect really work like a greenhouse? Does the average global temperature provide any meaningful climatic information? Is there even a theory of climate? These are some of the questions asked and answered in a new book, Taken by Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming, written by Christopher Essex, a professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario, and Ross McKitrick, an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Guelph." (Paul Georgia, TCS)

"Diesel Murder" - "Rudolf Diesel, who invented the diesel engine, probably was bumped off by the German secret service. His turn-of-the-century engine was key to the new German weapon, the U-boat. In 1913 he headed for England to talk business with the British admiralty. He got on the Channel ferry but he did not get off. His body was never found. Is there a message here for us today?" (Forbes)

"UK offshore wind power faces grid, finance hurdles" - "LONDON - The future of Britain's offshore wind power industry, key to the government's green energy goals, depends on upgrading the grid and persuading banks to back new schemes, say officials and executives." (Reuters)

"Mimicking Nature to Eat Well" - "Environmentalists have long contended that sustainable farming must give up “unstable” monoculture crops and mimic natural eco-systems more closely. They offer the ultra-diverse plant life of tropical forests as the ecological model for agriculture." (Dennis Avery, CGFI)

"GM Pays the Bills" - "Seven of every 10 South African cotton farmers have switched to genetically modified (GM) varieties. The others still plant conventional cotton and use pesticides and chemical fertilisers. South Africa has no market for organic cotton. The GM farmers produced 25 130 tonnes of cotton in the 2001/02 growing season. (Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg))

"Benefits of biotech crops have fueled rapid growth in Canada" - "Farmers have embraced biotechnology because it allows them to preserve soil moisture and reduce erosion. Ravaged by drought in the summer of 2002, many western Canadian growers struggled to maintain their crops in soil with little moisture. However, growers who chose to plant biotech crops, particularly herbicide tolerant (HT) varieties of canola, had a saving grace amongst harsh conditions. Herbicide tolerance allows growers to reduce herbicide applications, but also to utilize no-till planting techniques - a practice that preserves the topsoil and soil nutrients. Moisture loss and erosion are thus prevented, holding the soil in place unlike the drought conditions of the dirty '30s." (SeedQuest)

"Insects thrive on GM 'pest-killing' crops" - "Genetically modified crops specially engineered to kill pests in fact nourish them, startling new research has revealed. The research – which has taken even the most ardent opponents of GM crops by surprise – radically undermines one of the key benefits claimed for them. And it suggests that they may be an even greater threat to organic farming than has been envisaged." (Independent)

March 28, 2003

"Environmentalists AWOL on Saddam" - "Saddam Hussein has committed some of the biggest environmental crimes of all time. He may still commit even bigger ones. So environmentalists are leading — or at least supporting — the charge to oust Saddam, right? Wrong." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Super-Pneumonia" or Super Scare?" - "It is the worst medical disaster I have ever seen," the Dean of Medicine at the Chinese University in Hong Kong told a prominent Asian newspaper. This irresistible quote was then shot 'round the world by other media, seeking desperately to hype the "mysterious killer pneumonia" or "super-pneumonia." But a bit of knowledge and perspective will kill this panic." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Europe’s population has developed new tendency to shrink, Science study reports" - "Europe's population has aged to such a degree that it will likely continue to shrink, even if birthrates rebound to a one-for-one replacement level, a new study suggests. A major part of this trend is due to the fact that women have been postponing childbirth for increasing lengths of time, the authors have found." (AAAS)

"To control climate change, alternative energy technologies must be developed" - "Uncertainty in the climate sensitivity to growing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been a stumbling block to policy makers addressing the climate change issue. A new study, however, concludes that huge reductions in fossil-fuel carbon emissions will be required by the middle of this century -- regardless of the likely climate sensitivity." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

World Climate Report Volume 8, Number 14, March 24, 2002 (GES)

"California regulators mull shift from pollution-free electric cars to low-pollution hybrids" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California's Air Resources Board has reached a crossroads in its long-running effort to solve the state's vexing smog problem, the worst in the country.

The board, which was to meet Thursday, was expected to vote by Friday on a plan to soften regulations requiring battery-powered, pollution-free cars in the state. Under the proposal, auto makers could produce hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars and low-pollution hybrid vehicles to satisfy much of the state's clean-air requirement." (Associated Press)

"French law to slow wind power growth - government official" - "PARIS - France, one of the smallest wind energy producers in Europe, will slow wind power development with a recent law limiting sites and setting tougher planning rules, an industry ministry official said." (Reuters)

"Climbing the helical staircase" - "Biotechnology has its troubles, but in the long term it may change the world, says Geoffrey Carr" (The Economist)

"U.S. Leaders Push Europe to Allow Biotech Crops" - "WASHINGTON, DC, March 27, 2003 - U.S. lawmakers are urging the Bush administration to formally challenge the European Union's moratorium on new genetically modified crops. Official World Trade Organization (WTO) action is the "only course that would send a clear and convincing message to the world that prohibitive policies on biotechnology, which are not based on sound science, are illegal," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican from Illinois, told the House Agriculture Committee at a hearing Wednesday." (ENS)

"Green group says UK gene crop trials flawed" - "LONDON - Britain's farm trials of genetically modified (GM) crops are flawed and will fail to offer conclusive evidence of what harm such plants might do to farmland life, a report released this week said. The report from environmental group Friends of the Earth, based on information from researchers who worked on the four-year trial programme, said ecologically significant differences between GM and non-GM crops might be missed." (Reuters)

"'Europeans and biotechnology' survey of public perception" - "The Eurobarometer 2002 survey on "Europeans and biotechnology" shows that 43% of Europeans are optimistic about biotechnology, 17% pessimistic, 12% said it would make no difference and as many as 27% said "don't know". In the period 1999-2002, optimism in biotechnology has increased to the level seen in the early 1990s after a decade of continuously decline. Europeans continue to distinguish between medical applications, for which support is clear, and agricultural and food applications, which are not widely supported." (European Commission's Research Directorate-General)

"Brazil GM soy move sparks green fury, farmer doubt" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Environmental activists reacted angrily Thursday to a Brazilian government measure allowing the sale of genetically modified soybeans, while farmers were worried about its terms and temporary nature. Traders said the measure dispelled uncertainty about marketing of this year's record harvest and would boost trade in Rio Grande do Sul, the No.3 soy producer state in Brazil, which is the world's second largest soy producer and exporter." (Reuters)

March 27, 2003

"Gulf war syndrome research reveals present danger" - "A week into the invasion of Iraq and news networks are beaming home images of American and British soldiers donning gas masks and body suits to protect themselves from potential chemical weapons attack.

The troops have practised the drills, and are carrying the best high-tech chemical detectors an army can buy. The US marines even have a brand new piece of kit: pigeons, which act like canaries in a 19th-century coal mine. The birds are so sensitive to nerve agents such as sarin and VX that they fall ill at a whiff of danger.

What the soldiers have not been told is that about one in 10 of them are almost as sensitive to nerve agents as the pigeons. There is now mounting evidence that exposure to minuscule amounts of these chemicals can cause permanent brain damage in susceptible people, and that is exactly what happened 12 years ago when thousands of troops returning from Kuwait started to complain of debilitating symptoms." (New Scientist)

"New study shows drivers using cell phones twice as likely to cause rear-end collisions" - "Drivers talking on cell phones are nearly twice as likely as other drivers involved in crashes to have rear-end collisions, according to a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study. Crashes involving cell phone use, however, are less likely to result in fatalities or serious injuries than crashes not involving the devices." (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

"Rising clouds leave forests high and dry" - "The base of clouds that form over the north-eastern states of the US have been getting ever higher over the past 30 years. It is a change that could severely disrupt forests in the Appalachian Mountains.

Rising cloud ceilings have been spotted before in other parts of the world. In 1999, scientists found that clouds in the Monteverde cloud forests of Costa Rica were not forming as far down the mountains as they once did.

This effect was initially attributed to rising sea temperatures in the Caribbean, caused by global warming, but in 2001 Robert Lawton of the University of Alabama in Huntsville reported that the main driving force behind the change was warmer, drier air moving up from the lowlands, which had been cleared of trees. The rising cloud ceiling has seriously damaged the cloud forest ecology, causing an alarming decline in populations of toads and frogs." (New Scientist)

"Global warming threatens Snowdonian plant" - "When the Snowdon lily was first spotted around 1696 by the Welsh botanist Edward Lhwyd it was already rare.

A remnant of the ice age, it had clung on to life on the northern slopes of the highest peaks in Wales for 10,000 years, still finding Snowdonia cold enough for its liking.

But gradually as the weather has got warmer, the habitat for the Snowdon lily (Lloydia serotina) has shrunk so much that ecologists believe it will soon become extinct in Britain. Only five tiny patches of the plant survive below the peaks of Snowdon, Glyders and Carneddaw, and with no higher mountains to migrate to the future looks bleak. Climate change scientists believe it will be the first British plant to disappear because of global warming." (The Guardian)

"DNA And Reductionist Science" - "Not everyone is celebrating this year's fiftieth anniversary Watson and Crick's achievement: the deciphering of the double helix structure of DNA. To some, the molecular biology of DNA is a symbol of the much-despised, modern, Western, reductionist science that is blamed for every conceivable ill from imperialism and male domination of women to environmental degradation." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"Key GM crop experiment 'lacks statistical power'" - "After four turbulent years, the largest experiment on genetically modified crops in the world is all but over, with the fieldwork done and research papers written. However, the scientists may get little chance of a breather. Opponents of Britain's farm-scale trials have chosen the lull before the first findings are published in a few month's time to mount the most detailed attack on the science yet. The trials were set up to address fears that the broad-spectrum herbicides used with many GM varieties would harm farmland wildlife. But a 47-page dossier of arguments and allegations, seen in advance by New Scientist, claims the multimillion-pound experiment cannot succeed in delivering a definitive answer." (New Scientist)

March 26, 2003

"Gulf War veterans suffer more, but no evidence of syndrome" - "Australian veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War have more nerve problems such as numbness, weakness or tingling than their contemporaries who did not go to the Gulf, a major study has found.

The veterans were also more likely to have suffered mental health and respiratory problems, says a report by a Monash University occupational health specialist, Malcolm Sim.

But although they were generally less healthy than their peers, there was no cluster of symptoms that suggested they were suffering from a particular Gulf War syndrome, he concluded." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"The Michael Fumento Interview" (Right Wing News)

Just in case anyone has been left wondering about Fumento's opinion on anything...

"Depleted uranium still haunts Balkans" - "Depleted uranium (DU) ammunition used by Nato in the mid-1990s in Bosnia-Herzegovina is still polluting air and water there, the UN reports." (BBC News Online)

"Climate change linked to migratory bird decrease" - "Biologists believe that climate change is affecting living things worldwide, and the latest evidence suggests that warmer winters may mean fewer migratory birds. New research shows that as winter temperatures have risen in central Europe, the number of migratory birds has dropped. Ultimately, this may also decrease the number of migratory bird species there." (Society for Conservation Biology)

"The Origin of Modern Coral Susceptibility to Bleaching" - "Summary: Does it reside in the global warming of the 20th century? Or does it spring from a host of more localized anthropogenic assaults upon the waters in which the periodically affected corals grow?" (co2science.org)

"Lakes" - "Summary: What can the study of lakes tell us about real-world climate and the virtual world of model-based climate?" (co2science.org)

"Salinity Effects (Plants)" - "Summary: A brief review of some of the pertinent scientific literature indicates that future increases in the air's CO2 concentration will likely allow plants to better deal with the growth-retarding influence of high soil salinity." (co2science.org)

"Earth's Temperature Response to Variations in Solar Irradiance" - "Summary: Can it account for 20th century global warming? Geophysical Research Letters 29: 10.1029/2002GL015345." (co2science.org)

"Record Minimum Arctic Sea Ice in 2002" - "Summary: What does it portend for the future? Geophysical Research Letters 30: 10.1029/2002GL016406" (co2science.org)

"Sulfur Dioxide Pollution of Russian Forests" - "Summary: What can be done to turn back the damage? Isvestiya, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics 38: S84-S98." (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO2 on Fine Roots in an Oak-Palmetto Scrub Ecosystem" - "Summary: It is sometimes claimed that plants will not respond positively to increases in the air's CO2 content when soil nutrients and moisture limit growth under current ambient CO2 concentrations. This study investigates this question as it pertains to fine root growth in a nutrient-poor and often water-limited oak-palmetto scrub ecosystem. Global Change Biology 2: 143-148." (co2science.org)

"Winter Wheat Yield Response to Anticipated CO2 and Climate Changes in Central Europe" - "Summary: How will future CO2 and climate changes impact winter wheat production in Central Europe? Using a crop growth model driven by experimentally derived data on growth response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment and climatic data obtained from five different GCMs, the authors of this paper feel they have found the answer. Ecology and Economics 52: 199-212." (co2science.org)

"Minister claims greenhouse gain" - "The government today hails signs that its climate change strategy is producing results, with carbon dioxide emissions falling 3.5% over the past 12 months after rises over the previous two years. That appears to put Britain on target for cutting greenhouse gases ahead of the timetable agreed at Kyoto. The figure will be announced by energy minister Brian Wilson alongside £82m of public money for wind projects. The minister is likely to disappoint a meeting of the British Wind Energy Association by suggesting that money to build a new national electricity infrastructure capable of meeting the needs of renewables must come from the private sector. He will urge regulator Ofgem to do more to make this happen." (The Guardian)

"Dirty Political Air" - "Covering the environment in Washington, one thing quickly becomes clear: Environmental battles are almost never about the environment or anything close to it." (David Mastio, TCS)

"Oil execs say volatile gasoline prices due to ethanol" - "SAN ANTONIO - California's increasingly volatile gasoline market may be a glimpse of what other U.S. states will face if they switch to ethanol-blended gasoline to cut pollution, refining executives said. California is seen as a bellwether as it this year began to transition to the use of gasoline mixed with ethanol, an alcohol made from grain, to help cut smog-forming vehicle emissions. But in the past month, wholesale prices for California's gasoline-ethanol blend shot up as much as 30 cents a gallon as refiners reported problems in their gasoline production systems, leading traders to fear a shortage." (Reuters)

"Green power blueprint unveiled" - "A £2m investment in wave power has been announced as the Scottish Executive promised to adopt targets for increasing green energy. Environment Minister Ross Finnie confirmed plans to produce 40% of the country's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. He also announced the creation of a group which will aim to make the target a reality. And he stressed the importance of wave and tidal power in meeting Scotland's energy needs." (BBC News Online)

"EdF to decide future of oil, coal generation in June" - "PARIS - State-owned Electricite de France will decide the future of its oil and coal power plants in June, but has committed to spend 250 million euros as from 2004 to upgrade the units, the CGT union said. France relies on nuclear generation for most of its electricity but has about 20 oil and coal plants which account for around 10 percent of EdF's total generating capacity." (Reuters)

"Southern Africa ponders safety of gene-altered crops" - "GABORONE - Gene-altered crops pose a more immediate risk to the environment than to humans, says a study conducted by southern African countries where a debate has raged over the safety of biotech food aid." (Reuters)

March 25, 2003

"In Search of a Gulf War With No Gulf War Illness" - "Officials are coordinating their efforts - intense monitoring and measurement of the health of the troops - to forestall another outbreak of symptoms." (New York Times)

"Study of insecticide neurotoxicity yields clues to onset of Parkinson's Disease" - "Some insecticides may cause a cascade of chemical events in the brain that could lead to Parkinson's Disease." (Virginia Tech)

"Vaccines and Autism, Beyond the Fear Factors" - "The overwhelming body of evidence so far suggests that thimerosal poses no significant threat to the developing brain." (New York Times)

"Exposure to Pesticides Is Lowered When Young Children Go Organic" - "Preschool children are famously voracious herbivores, putting away huge quantities of fruits, juice and vegetables day after day. In fact, so large are the amounts they eat relative to their small size that many parents — and researchers — have wondered whether feeding children organic versus conventionally farmed produce makes any difference to their health.

A study reported recently by scientists at the University of Washington does not answer the question. But it did find that children fed predominantly organic produce and juice had only one-sixth the level of pesticide byproducts in their urine compared with children who ate conventionally farmed foods.

Because preschoolers are so small and spend much time rolling on lawns and floors, and sucking on thumbs and toys — all of them possibly increasing their contacts with pesticides — researchers have long wondered about the relative importance of different routes of exposure.

But researchers said in the current study that the use of pesticides in the home did not appear to play a significant role in the levels of exposures of these children." (New York Times)

"In Medicine, Nature Plays Dirty Tricks" - "Natural" alternatives are not always inexpensive, nor are they always gentle, effective or safe." (New York Times)

"$6.1 Million Men" - "Unnoticed in the media feeding frenzy surrounding the war has been a decision by the White House to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the value it puts on a human life. The EPA has decided that each human life is worth $6.1 million. This may seem cold or unfeeling, but it is a central question in the murky science of cost/benefit analysis. The Bush administration now says that the value is too high. This has plenty of implications for environmental policy, and the administration is probably right." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Is the Arctic Melting?" - "Reliable information for the public about changes in the Arctic's climate is hard to come by. Different newspaper and media reports, even when quoting the same scientific studies, can tell different stories. Worse, reports about the state of the Arctic give contradictory pictures of what has actually happened to the Arctic's sea ice, ocean, air pressure and temperature." (Willie Soon, TCS)

"General Assembly President urges cooperation to offset effects of climate change" - "24 March – The President of the United Nations General Assembly has urged global meteorological experts to pool their specialized skills and technical know-how to help offset the alarming effects of climate change which, if left unchecked, will undoubtedly have catastrophic environmental, economic and social repercussions." (UN News)

"Global Warming: It's no hot topic" - "Most scientists agree that the Earth is getting warmer because of a buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. A new regional model predicts that within 50 years, the Central Coast will be an average of 2 to 3 degrees warmer.

California could lose as much as 20 to 30 percent of its water supply. And for the first time, the Department of Water Resources is incorporating climate-change scenarios into its 2003 update to the California Water Plan.

For farmers in the Salinas Valley, a lot is at stake, but they don't seem worried. Bob Martin, general manager of Rio Farms in King City, said this last week: "Global warming? I think it's a myth." (The Californian)

"Government May Alter Line Between a Car and a Truck" - "DETROIT, March 24 — As it develops a plan to overhaul federal fuel economy standards, the Bush administration is weighing proposals that could redraw the line between what the government considers a car and what it defines as a light truck, an official said today. The definition is important — and politically charged — because regulations let vehicles classified as light trucks use far more gas than do passenger cars." (New York Times)

March 24, 2003

"Killing Plants that Cure" - "Could you ever have imagined that the "yucky" spinach you shoved aside on your plate as a child would one day be used to develop an anthrax vaccine? Or would you have believed that potatoes, tomatoes and carrots would be genetically engineered to prevent hepatitis B infection; that tomatoes could protect against rabies; and that bananas could prevent a type of diarrhea that kills up to three million children yearly in poorer nations? Texas-based ProdiGene, Inc. is developing an HIV vaccine that may cost pennies a dose.

Yet these miracle medicines may become endangered species. After a couple of minor crop contamination mishaps, the Agriculture Department has proposed severe restrictions on crops producing "biopharmed" medicine that some experts believe could cripple the nascent technology." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Invoking War to Ease Rules" - "The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has begun a campaign it calls, portentously, "Operation End Extremism." The purpose is to expose "the increasing burden U.S. soldiers face on military training bases because of irrational enforcement of environmental laws." The whole thing might be dismissed as another ideological stunt from the committee's reactionary chairman, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, were it not for the fact that the Pentagon is trying to do the same thing. With White House backing, the Defense Department has asked Congress to approve a program it calls the "Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative," which would broadly exempt military bases and some operations from environmental regulation." (New York Times editorial)

"No environmentalists in a foxhole" - "We hope that our soldiers are as well-prepared as possible now that they are in combat in Iraq. But, thanks to the environmental strictures that have impaired — sometimes dramatically — the realistic training so needed before battle, proper training of our forces has been made more difficult than is necessary." (Washington Times editorial)

AP Wire | 03 22 2003 | Researchers find flame-retardant chemical in mothers' blood" - "BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University researchers have found a common chemical flame retardant in the blood of mothers and their newborn infants. Levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether, or PBDE, in Indiana women and infants tested 20 times higher than levels reported in Sweden and Norway, where a ban on the chemical was slated to go into effect this year. The study was published this week in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives. A companion study in California, also published this week, found similar levels of the chemical that is commonly used in foam furniture padding."

"The Turmoil Over Mold in Buildings" - "It is a slimy, sticky, black, brownish or sometimes orangey organism that mostly comes in knobby, though sometimes hairy, microscopic ovals — half a million or more spores fitting on the face of a dime.

Mold, in some of its myriad forms, has long been known to cause serious damage to some people's pulmonary systems. But over the last five years, for a mix of reasons, the literally creepy substance has also exerted increasing strains on the real estate industry, the insurance industry, the court system and architectural and construction practices.

Yet, given that fungus (its more scientific appellation) has inhabited the planet for millions of years, there are those caught up in the current concern who contend that, however legitimate in some cases, that worry has also been exaggerated." (New York Times)

"Trying Again to Make Gun Makers Liable for Shootings"- " Jury selection is to begin in Brooklyn federal court in a lawsuit that gun control advocates say could bring a landmark ruling against the firearms industry." (New York Times)

"New NCAR analysis sheds light on the northern hemisphere's springtime ozone peak" - "Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and colleagues at universities and NASA have clarified the process by which ozone--an essential shield in the stratosphere, but a pollutant at lower levels--reaches its peak abundance across North America each spring." (NCAR/UCAR)

"FIRE FREQUENCY DETERMINES FOREST CARBON STORAGE" - "Scientists studying trees ranging from saplings to 130 years old in Canada’s northern forests have discovered that the period since a fire last swept through an area determines how much carbon the forest can store. Twenty to forty year old stands absorb more carbon than those 70 years old and older, despite being smaller and having less biomass or plant material." (NASA/GSFC)

"Sun's Output Increasing in Possible Trend Fueling Global Warming" - "The increase would only be significant to Earth's climate if it has been going on for a century or more, said study leader Richard Willson, a Columbia University researcher also affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The Sun's increasing output has only been monitored with precision since satellite technology allowed necessary observations. Willson is not sure if the trend extends further back in time, but other studies suggest it does.

The recent trend of a .05 percent per decade increase in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) in watts per meter squared, or the amount of solar energy that falls upon a square meter outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The trend was measured between successive solar minima that occur approximately every 11 years. At the bottom, the timeline of the many different datasets that contributed to this finding, from 1978 to present.

"This trend is important because, if sustained over many decades, it could cause significant climate change," Willson said."

"The Australian: Things hotting up, says gas man [March 22, 2003]" - "AMID all the uncertainties of climate and global warming, Australia's pre-eminent meteorologist yesterday declared two certainties.

Most of Australia would get hotter, and the greenhouse effect of a doubling in carbon dioxide concentration would cause global mean temperatures to rise by 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius.

John Zillman, outgoing director of the Bureau of Meteorology and leader for the past decade of Australia's delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the scientific evidence of global warming was consistent and unarguable, despite the distortions of environmentalists and business."

"smh.com.au - Ruminating cow ... no naked flames" - "In the war against global warming, bovine and ovine flatulence does not immediately spring to mind as an obvious battlefront. But cows and sheep are responsible for a quarter of Britain's methane emissions.

Now scientists in the Scottish city of Aberdeen are embarking on research into how best to cut the amount of harmful gas emitted by Britain's ruminants each year.

By cutting the amount of methane produced - a single dairy cow produces about 400 litres of the gas each day - scientists at the Rowett Research Institute believe they can significantly reduce Britain's contribution to global warming. They have developed an animal feed additive that cuts gas and have been given a government grant to find ways of making it commercially available.

Jamie Newbold, who is leading the research, said: "Although there are other greenhouse gases, methane is a significant one, so whatever we can do to cut this will help us meet requirements to reduce emissions."

"European wind power firms helped by Danish report" - "MADRID - Shares in Europe's biggest quoted wind turbine companies Vestas Wind Systems, NEG Micon and Gamesa rose last week thanks to a report estimating the global wind power market would grow by 11 percent a year between now and 2007." (Reuters)

"Brazil farmers draw line in field over GMO soy" - "PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - Brazilian farmers in the No. 3 soy state of Rio Grande do Sul faced off last week over one of the most hotly contested agricultural safety issues in the country and the world - genetically modified crops.

Although Brazil bans the commercial planting of GM crops, Rio Grande do Sul is unofficially estimated to have sown 80 percent of its soy crop with illegal GM soy seeds smuggled from across the border in Argentina, where they are widely planted.

Growers in the soy region of Alto Jacui and larger land owners in the state, many of whom have been planting GM soy for three years, drove over 1,000 tractors into the main plaza of the town Nao-Me-Toque, an important soy center for the northeast region of the state, to demand an end to the ban." (Reuters)

"Critic of biotech corn fears UC won't give him tenure; Junior professor fought school's ties with industry" - "In a flap that raises new questions about corporate ties to universities, some academics are wondering whether the junior UC Berkeley professor who has become a leading biotech industry critic can get a fair hearing in a tenure review that has already gone twice as long as usual.

The squabble, which offers a rare peek at the secretive tenure process, revolves around Ignacio Chapela, who in 1998 led a fight against a controversial research partnership between the biotech firm Novartis and Berkeley's Department of Plant and Microbial Biology.

Chapela, a critic of biotech agriculture, also co-wrote a journal article in 2001 in which he reported finding gene fragments from bioengineered corn in the genomes of native Mexican maize.

The startling finding suggested that bioengineered crops could contaminate regular crops and might reduce biodiversity. The journal later backed away from the study after pro-biotech scientists criticized Chapela's methods." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"GM Crops: Industry 0 - Protesters 1" - "Europe's biotech firms have cancelled millions of pounds worth of research into genetically modified crops, sending the industry into a steep slump, a new study has found.

The European Commission has admitted that nearly two thirds of the EU's biotech companies have cancelled GM research projects over the past four years, mainly because of the controversy over the safety and labelling of GM crops, and continuing consumer resistance." (Independent)

March 21, 2003

"Anthrax Mass Bioterror: More Fret Than Threat" - "Monday’s elevation of the terror alert level was followed by Tuesday’s scary headlines: "Anthrax attack could cost 100,000+ lives" and "Modeling of bio-attack on large city predicts mass casualties with prior distribution of antibiotics." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Anthrax vaccine 'safe'" - "Anthrax jabs declined by thousands of British troops serving in the war on Iraq are safe and cause only mild side-effects, research has found. Ministry of Defence figures show that up to 12 March, almost half the servicemen and women sent to the Gulf had refused the jab amid fears of a repeat of Gulf War syndrome. But the latest study suggests just 11% of military personnel immunised against anthrax develop reactions and in most cases these are confined to soreness or swelling around the site of injection. Researchers say this means the anthrax jab has a better safety profile than other routine vaccines." (BBC News Online)

"Our Only Certainty" - "Change is our only certainty. How we handle it is important. Some risks can be reduced or insured against, such as illness, auto wrecks, and fires. But many risks offer opportunities. Progress implies change and change implies risk. But when considering our environment, many would avoid all risks. Instead they defer to the "precautionary principle." One popular version, the Wingspan Declaration, states: "When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically." This may initially sound reasonable, but it collapses when examined." (John Downen, TCS)

"Fat kids: it's not their glands, it's their stupid parents" - "Our “have your cake and eat it” society is finally getting its come-uppance, or should we say its just desserts. A British Medical Journal report says that British teenagers are putting on weight even faster than had been thought, partly because researchers have been measuring body mass (height and weight) rather than waistlines. And boy, are those waistlines expanding. A third of teenagers are overweight, and more than 10 per cent are obese." (Camilla Cavendish, The Times)

"NASA study finds increasing solar trend that can change climate" - "Since the late 1970s, the amount of solar radiation the sun emits, during times of quiet sunspot activity, has increased by nearly .05 percent per decade, according to a NASA funded study." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Fuel Economy Regulations Could be Revised" - "DETROIT, March 20 — The Bush administration is considering changes to fuel economy regulations that would encourage manufacturers to offer more large cars, station wagons and smaller sport utility vehicles that are built more like cars.

The idea behind the changes is that such vehicles are safer than both small cars and sport utility vehicles and pickups, and that if more people drove them, fewer people would die in crashes. Producing more such vehicles and fewer very small or very large vehicles would reduce the increasing disparity among American vehicles, both in weight and how high they ride." (New York Times)

March 20, 2003

"SPECIAL REPORT: Eco-Terror Leader Declares War On America" - " Craig Rosebraugh, the enigmatic environmental anarchist whose tenure as the public face of the terrorist Earth Liberation Front (ELF) was marked by millions of dollars in violent property destruction, a sizable financial gift from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and a penchant for hiding behind the Fifth Amendment, has declared war on America." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Climate may spell end of line for fishing" - "Anglers may face a much gloomier future. The Environmental Agency said yesterday that Britain’s favourite pastime is threatened by global warming. Research by the agency suggests that wetter winters and warmer summers could so upset the life-cycle of some of Britain’s freshwater fish that they are likely to be threatened with extinction. Climate change is also expected to throw the reduction in pollution in Britain’s rivers into reverse, with pollution levels rising as rivers start running increasingly dry." (The Times)

Delusion apparently pays well... "Environmentalist wins $1m religious prize" - "Professor Holmes Rolston III, a philosopher leading the international debate on environmental ethics, has been awarded the one-million-dollar Templeton Prize.

Professor Rolston has criticised the US Government for paying too much attention to Iraq while failing to address the bigger problem of global warming. "Global warming is a bigger threat to the world than Saddam Hussein," he said." (BBC News Online)

"EU CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY AIDS DEVELOPING NATIONS" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 18, 2003 - The European Commission has adopted a strategy to help developing countries meet the challenges posed by climate change. In a communication document issued today, the Commission proposes a European Union action plan aimed at integrating climate change concerns into EU development cooperation activities. Partner countries will receive support for adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change." (ENS)

"Atmospheric pressure: Climate change in the air" - "Human activity, in the shape of greenhouse gas and tropospheric sulphate aerosol emissions, is thought to have increased temperatures in the oceans and at low and stratospheric levels in the atmosphere. Now comes evidence that climate change is also influencing atmospheric pressure. Data for the years 1948–98 reveal a decreasing trend in mean atmospheric pressure at sea-level over the Arctic, Antarctic and North Pacific. Above the North Atlantic, southern Europe and North Africa, pressure has increased. Current climate predictions may therefore be unreliable as they fail to take account of regional circulation trends caused by these changes." (Nature) | Study suggests greenhouse gases affect atmospheric pressure (AP)

"World Water Forum Reveals Some Shocking Facts" - "This week in Kyoto, Japan, the World Water Forum is addressing the problems which claim the lives of one child every 10 seconds and have been the cause of some of the most bitter confrontations of the late twentieth century. By 2050, Droughts, Floods and pollution brought on by global warming, and population growth, could affect as many as seven billion people out of a projected world population 9.3 billion." (SRI Media)

"African Food Security: The Need for a 'Doubly Green Revolution'" - "Summary: All of our best efforts will be insufficient to avert a massive food shortfall in Africa in the decades ahead without the indispensable help we can freely receive from what the world's climate alarmists ironically claim to be the biosphere's worst enemy." (co2science.org)

"Growth Response to Very High CO2 Concentrations" - "Summary: Nearly all plants exhibit increases in photosynthesis and biomass production in response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment; but too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad, for both people and plants. Is this the case with carbon dioxide?" (co2science.org)

"Solar Climatic Effects (Recent Influence)" - "Summary: There are many. They are complex. Some are small and subtle. Others are obvious and huge. The ultimate climatic consequences of their simultaneous operations have yet to be conclusively determined. Until this feat is accomplished, the role of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in driving climatic change cannot be accurately assessed." (co2science.org)

"Current Carbon Sequestration Commentary: Hurricanes and Oceanic Carbon Sequestration: Another Negative Feedback Process to Slow Global Warming" - "Summary: Rising temperatures may reduce hurricane frequency and intensity, thereby lowering the sea-to-air flux of CO2 and reducing the rate at which CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere." (co2science.org)

"Millennial-Scale Shifting of Moisture Regimes in Western Canada" - "Summary: What can they tell us about natural climate change? Much more than climate alarmists would like us to know. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 99: 16,117-16,121." (co2science.org)

"A 2000-Year Tibetan Temperature History" - "Summary: What does it tell us about the natural variability of earth's climate? How does that knowledge help us identify the cause of the global warming of the past century and a half? Science in China (Series D 45: 1068-1074." (co2science.org)

"Decadal to Millennial Climate Cyclicity: A Response to Solar Activity or Tidal Action?" - "Summary: There's hardly room anymore to consider the possibility of climate modification by atmospheric CO2 enrichment or depletion, so strong is the evidence for the external forcing of climate across a whole spectrum of time scales. Global and Planetary Change 34: 313-325." (co2science.org)

"Study shows lightning adds to ozone level" - "Lightning may be Mother Nature's greatest show on Earth, but scientists now know it can produce significant amounts of ozone and other gases that affect air chemistry. It can be responsible for as much as 90 percent of the nitrogen oxides in the summer and at the same time increase ozone levels as much as 30 percent in the free troposphere, the area that extends 3-8 miles above the Earth's surface." (Texas A&M University)

"Air pollution spurs asthma, allergies" - "March 19 — In cities across America allergies and asthma seem to be worsening. It’s not that more plants are pollinating, experts say. Rather, it’s the high levels of diesel fumes and ozone polluting the air." (MSNBC)

"Sweden says aims to close Barseback n-plant in '04" - "STOCKHOLM - Sweden aims to shut the 600-megawatt (MW) unit number 2 at the Barseback nuclear power plant next year, Trade and Industry Minister Leif Pagrotsky said. "I think and I hope that it will happen during 2004 and I am quite optimistic that we will see it through," Pagrotsky told a news conference. "Nuclear power is not an energy source for the future. It must be dismantled and we shall transfer to renewable energy production." (Reuters)

"Corporations Help African Green Revolution" - "Four of the world’s largest agribusiness corporations are joining with the Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development in a major new effort to create a Green Revolution for hungry Africa. Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, and DowAgrosciences say they will donate research tools seed varieties, patent rights, laboratory techniques free to African scientists through the new African Agriculture Technology Foundation being established in Kenya. It’s about time we cut through the First World’s welter of anti-corporate and anti-technology sentiment to refocus on real human and conservation progress." (Dennis Avery, CGFI)

"Brussels will have final say on GM crops" - "LAST week, the Scottish Executive rejected criticism by the parliamentary health committee about the way it had conducted genetically modified crop trials. It seemed that did not auger well for public debate this summer on whether GM crops might be grown commercially in Britain within a few years. But almost lost in the rejection, reaction from the slighted health committee and renewed protests from anti-GM campaigners, was the fact that the commercial GM decision will be made in Brussels. In effect, any decision made in Scotland, Wales or England will be irrelevant. That was confirmed this week by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which said that the UK government can vote on an approval application but has no power to ban a GM crop approved by the European Commission." (The Scotsman)

"Lost in a Maize" - "In the topsy-turvy, sometimes near-Orwellian world of EU politics, something that appears to be bad news can often be good, and vice versa. Consider recent developments in European policy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)." (Craig Winneker, TCS)

March 18, 2003

"Today's Topic: Acrylamide Prevents Cancer - Part 1" - "How's that for provocation? Acrylamide is a chemical with many industrial and research purposes. It is known to cause nerve damage in people and cancer in rodents. Bad stuff. And the food world went into panic mode in April 2002 when Swedish scientists announced that acrylamide was formed in foods when they were cooked, especially high-starch foods cooked at high temperatures like potato chips, cereals, breads, even coffee.

A new Swedish study looked at acrylamide levels in the diets of about 1,000 cancer patients and 500 controls. No association between acrylamide and cancers of the bladder or kidney were found. Surprisingly, there was a statistically significant reduction in colon cancer risk in people who consumed more acrylamide! The study was published in the January 2003 issue of the British Journal of Cancer.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: None of us wants chemicals in our food. But chemicals are what foods are made from. Okay, we don't want man-made chemicals in our food. But almost half of us take man-made supplements daily. The same week this study was published, the German government got food makers to lower the temperature they use to cook potato chips. This episode points out that panicking before the facts are in is not in the public interest." (Nutrition News Focus)

"Environmental groups want to ban wooden playground equipment treated with arsenic" - "BETHESDA, Md. -- Environmental groups asked the government Monday to ban the use of an arsenic-based pesticide on wooden playground equipment because they say it can increase children's risk of cancer.

Wood preservative manufacturers say treated play sets are not dangerous. They also say a ban is unnecessary because an agreement between the industry and the Environmental Protection Agency will stop the chemical from being used in most consumer products by January." (AP)

"Agreement Reached on Use of a Pesticide" - "BETHESDA, Md., March 17 — An accord between manufacturers of wood preservative and the Environmental Protection Agency was approved today to halt the use of an arsenic-based pesticide in most consumer products by January." (AP)

"Genetic link may tie together pesticides, ADHD, Gulf War syndrome and other disorders" - "La Jolla, Calif.-Research at the Salk Institute has identified a gene that may link certain pesticides and chemical weaponry to a number of neurological disorders, including the elusive Gulf War syndrome and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)." (Salk Institute)

"A Dangerous Obsession" - "In a little-noticed interview with MTV on March 12, Blix revealed far too much about where his true sentiments lie. He doesn't think that Saddam Hussein is such a terrible threat. In fact, his real nightmare is not the unleashing of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. It's climate change.

"I'm more worried about global warming," he told MTV, "than I am of any major military conflict."

Blix is hardly alone. The danger of warming has long been a cult belief among many Europeans. But, thanks to opposition from the U.S., Australia and developing nations, there is little chance that measures like the Kyoto Protocol will wreak damage on the world economy - and especially on the poor - from an abrupt and irresponsible reduction in energy use.

But now the real danger of the climate-change obsession is emerging: To Blix and other Europeans, it crowds out other threats. Saddam, Osama bin Laden, North Korea. These are no big deal compared with global warming. Climate change is the main act; Iraq is a sideshow." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT, March 12, 2003 Vol. 4, No.5" - "We note with wry amusement (not a smirk) that climate change alarmists have a dickens of a time agreeing on precisely how global warming will discomfit us – or at least those few unfortunate millions who live in the northeastern United States. During the throes of last winter’s unseasonable warmth, it was going to be “the fire next time,” but now, as the Northeast emerges from a cooler-than-normal winter, global warming supposedly will cause everyone to “freeze in the darkness at noon. “ Your confusion is excusable, theirs isn’t." (GES)

"Weather simulations predict major landscape change in 40 to 60 years for Western Canada due to more severe forest fires under climate change. Eastern Canada affected too -- but later" - "EDMONTON, March 17 - Forest fire simulations extending to the 2040 to 2060 time period predict a major change in the western Canadian landscape as a result of climate change say a team of researchers working with the Sustainable Forest Management Network. The eastern Canadian landscape, say team members, will also be affected, but the impacts may take longer." /CNW/

"Global Warming Could Trigger Cascade Of Climatic Changes" - "Global warming and the partial melting of polar ice sheets can dramatically affect not only sea levels but also Earth's climate, in ways that may be complex, rapid and difficult to adjust to, scientists say in a new study to be published Friday in the journal Science." (SpaceDaily.com)

"Clean Air Politics Enrage Environmentalists" - "WASHINGTON, DC, March 17, 2003 - Clean air groups attacked the environmental voting records and industry ties of six Congressmen from Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas last week, legislators they believe represent a serious threat to the nation's clean air laws.

A coalition of local and national clean air groups issued a report targeting the six lawmakers, including the chairs of Congressional committees with direct oversight of clean air policy.

The report, titled "Smoke From the Toxic Triangle: How Big Industry's Pet Politicians Are Choking Our Clean Air Laws," finds that these lawmakers have influential positions that give them the ability to guide legislation through Congress that many environmentalists believe will be damaging to the nation's clean air laws and to public health." (ENS)

"Japan power firms' Feb crude consumption up 79 pct" - "TOKYO - Crude consumption at Japanese power utilities jumped 79.4 percent year-on-year in February as thermal power plants worked to cover the shortfall from nuclear reactor closures, industry figures showed." (Reuters)

"BBC NEWS | Science Nature | Dams stir water arguments" - "Already the topic of dam construction is stirring strong emotions at the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan. The debate, as ever, is centred on the seemingly polarised conflict between the needs for a clean source of energy and the massive social and environmental damage that dams can cause. But the short history of the Salto Caxias dam in Brazil suggests that this need not always be the case."

"Death By Public Policy" - "Germany is unwilling, for once, to go to war. French President Jacques Chirac sputters that Eastern European nations' support of America over Iraq "is not well-brought-up behavior." More Europeans think George Bush is a threat to world peace than Saddam Hussein.

About the only thing more ludicrous in this global theater of the absurd is permitting technophobic extremists to be the arbiters of science and ethics. Yet, that is exactly what's happening." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

March 17, 2003

"The Siege of Beverly Hills High" - "Can you believe a California high school has suffered a shark attack? How so? These sharks wear suits. Their names: paralegal Erin Brockovich and attorney Ed Masry. No, these aren't the crusaders for "The Little People" depicted in the film "Erin Brockovich." The real Ed and Erin care for naught but profit and publicity." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

Scripps Howard News Service has begun distributing columns by Michael Fumento.

Besides featuring regularly on this site, Fumento is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, a journalist, an attorney and an author specializing in science and health issues. His books include "The Fat of the Land" and "Science Under Siege." A book on biotechnology will be published later this year by Encounter Books of San Francisco.

He has lectured on science and health issues throughout the nation and the world. He has served as an editorial writer for the Rocky Mountain News, a national issues reporter for Investor's Business Daily, a legal writer for the Washington Times and a science correspondent for Reason magazine. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Republic, Readers' Digest, The Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times.

"Animal activists expand campaign against HSL" - "The animal rights protestors who have come near to closing down Huntingdon Life Sciences, the drug and chemical testing company, are attempting to export their intimidating brand of protest to Japan. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty is planning to launch a campaign against HLS's Japanese customers in an attempt to [drive] the struggling company into liquidation.

Shac, which has fought a bitter campaign of intimidation against HLS's backers in the US and UK, says it obtained a list of hundreds of drug and chemical testing contracts from an insider at the company. And in a worrying sign that Shac is preparing to widen its campaign to include other drug testing companies it claims to have infiltrated an activist into Covance, a US-listed contract research organisation." (Financial Times)

"MMR: the truth?" - "In a three-part series of articles published in the UK Daily Mail this week, Melanie Phillips provides a comprehensive endorsement of the campaign against the MMR vaccine that has been sponsored by the former Royal Free hospital gastroenterologist, Dr Andrew Wakefield.

Relying on Dr Wakefield himself and the same handful of his campaign supporters who figure in earlier - remarkably similar - articles, Phillips' account falls short of her own standards.

Phillips' encouragement for the increasingly irrational and irresponsible anti-MMR campaign is likely to compound the unwarranted anxieties of parents whose infants are due to be immunised and result in a further decline in vaccine uptake. It will also intensify the distress of parents of autistic children, whose burden is now increased by feelings of guilt for having them immunised." (Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, sp!ked)

"Lonely hearts are broken by disease" - "Depression and loneliness cause as much heart disease as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure do, the National Heart Foundation says. It challenges the conventional image of heart disease as a purely physical condition and concludes that people with heart disease have a higher chance of dying from it if they are depressed or socially isolated. It confirms that severe stress from personal events, such as bereavement, or external events, such as earthquakes, can trigger heart attacks. But there was no consistent evidence that anxiety or work-related stress caused heart disease, or that aggressive, high-achieving personalities were more likely to develop it, according to the paper, published yesterday in the Medical Journal of Australia." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Hmm... wonder if they meant that to read as though happy smokers/drinkers have reduced CV risk?

"Drink up, it's all for science" - " WANTED: Volunteers to drink red wine for scientific study. Wine supplied. Perth researchers want to find out whether a regular tipple of red improves health, and are looking for wine drinkers to help them out. The aim is to test the "French Paradox" – the fact that France, with heavy consumption of red wine, has low rates of heart disease." (Sunday Times)

"Tears for Fears" - "In 1989, "60 Minutes" produced a panicky story alleging the chemical Alar (used to retard the rotting of apples) greatly increased the risk of childhood cancers. Across America, parents poured apple juice down the drain and stores pulled apple products from shelves.

The Washington Post described the event as "one of several food scares that turned out to be baseless." Science editorialized that the incident resulted from a "clearly dubious report...by a special interest group [the Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC]...without the most simple checks on its reliability...." The EPA noted the claims NRDC made against Alar had been rejected in 1985 by an independent congressional scientific advisory board." (Pete Geddes, TCS)

Moving the goalposts: "1.7 billion - the numbers of obese worldwide" - "17/03/03 - Calls for urgent action to treat obesity are again in the headlines, following a new assessment that up to 1.7 billion people worldwide could be overweight or obese.

Prof Philip James, chairman of the London-based International Obesity TaskForce, said the revised figure – 50 per cent higher than earlier estimates - meant that most governments were simply ignoring one of the biggest risks to health affecting the world's population.

The updated estimate takes into account a new recommendation from a WHO expert group, which concluded that obesity-related health risks increase among Asians from a lower body mass index threshold (23.3 rather than 30 for the general population) because of their special vulnerability to weight-related disorders. If the proposal were adopted as a new benchmark, it could add another half billion to current estimates of the world’s overweight population." (FoodAndDrinkEurope.com)

"AP Wire | 03 17 2003 | Newspaper: Draft report says EPA erred in saying Ground Zero air safe" - " Ground Zero tests by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the days immediately after the World Trade Center collapse did not support the agency's own statements the air around the site was safe to breathe, a newspaper reported. A report by the EPA's Office of Inspector General said the agency reached its conclusion on the safety of the air using a cancer risk level 100 times greater than what it normally considers acceptable for public exposure to toxic contaminants."

"HHS STUDY FINDS LIFE EXPECTANCY IN THE U.S. ROSE TO 77.2 YEARS IN 2001" - "Americans' life expectancy hit an all-time high in 2001, while age-adjusted deaths hit an all-time low, according to a new report released today by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.

The report from HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents that the national age-adjusted death rate decreased slightly from 869 deaths per 100,000 population in 2000 to 855 deaths per 100,000 in 2001. There were declines in mortality among most racial, ethnic and gender groups.

Meanwhile, life expectancy hit a new high of 77.2 years in 2001, up from 77 in 2000, and increased for both men and women as well as whites and blacks. For men, life expectancy increased from 74.3 years in 2000 to 74.4 years in 2001; for women, life expectancy increased from 79.7 years to 79.8 years. Record high life expectancies were observed for white men and for both black men and women." (HHS press release)

Numbers, numbers... "Photos show 65,000 at peak of S.F. rally; Aerial study casts doubt on estimates of 200,000" - "San Francisco -- A survey using sophisticated aerial photography of [Feb 16]'s anti-war march and rally in San Francisco has produced results that indicate a far smaller crowd than the 200,000 protesters estimated by police and event organizers.

The results of the independent survey, commissioned by The Chronicle and SFGate.com, cast doubt on traditional counting methods and contradict the crowd estimate of 200,000, which was reported in this newspaper and news media around the world. Crowd size in a demonstration is important because organizers tend to use it as evidence of support for their cause." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Environmental Word Games" - "Whenever the Republicans find themselves in trouble on environmental issues, the call goes out for Frank Luntz, a respected party strategist. Back in 1995, Mr. Luntz urged the party to soften its language when it became clear that the Gingrich revolution had gone too far in its attacks on environmental law. Mr. Luntz is now making the same point. In a memorandum recently described by The Times's Jennifer 8. Lee, he warns that after two years of regulatory rollbacks, environmental issues have become "the single biggest vulnerability for the Republicans and especially for George Bush."

Mr. Luntz's remedy is not to change the policy, but to dress it up with warm and fuzzy words. As in 1995, he says that the problem is one of communication, and that what must be done is to start using comforting words like "balance," "common sense," "safer," "cleaner" and "healthier." (New York Times editorial)

"IndyStar.com - Bills pit economy vs. environment" - "Steel mills in Gary. Fiberglass manufacturers in Elkhart. Coal-fired power plants sprinkled throughout the state. They're some of Indiana's biggest environmental challenges. They're also woven into the fabric of a state economy that has been hit hard by the loss of more than 180,000 manufacturing jobs. Those dual challenges are butting heads this year in the General Assembly, where lawmakers have introduced several bills that could ease environmental law enforcement in the name of economic development. At issue is whether the Indiana Department of Environmental Management should enforce standards tougher than those established by the federal government."

"Rare Arizona Owl (All 7 Inches of It) Is in Habitat Furor" - "TUCSON, March 13 — At last count, the greater Tucson area was home to about 900,000 people and 18 pygmy owls. Under federal law, that ratio is a mismatch.

To protect the owls, an endangered species, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed in November that 1.2 million acres in and around the city be set aside as "critical habitat" for the birds, or about 67,000 acres per owl. The designation, issued under a court order, imposes obstacles to development, so developers in this fast-growing community are fighting back, calling it patently unfair." (New York Times)

"Globalisation damaging environment - experts" - "Globalisation is irreparably damaging the environment, threatening the future survival of mankind itself, Gulf Cooperation Council-based environmental experts warned. "While the industrial revolution caused an imbalance in the environment, today's economic globalisation is taking this imbalance so far that it today poses a grave threat to man's very existence on this planet," asserted Dr Omar Abdulaziz, head of Research and Studies at the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA)." (Gulf News Online)

"World meets to tackle water crisis" - "The 10,000-plus delegates to the World Water Forum in Japan have a challenging week ahead. They must work out how to reach the UN target of halving the numbers of people without clean water by 2015. They will have to tackle drought, floods, climate change, and the prospect of conflict over water." (BBC News Online)

"FAO : No global water crisis - but many developing countries will face water scarcity" - "Agriculture in developing countries will need to produce more crop per litre of water, promote equitable access to water and conserve precious water resources, FAO said today. At the same time, farmers in developing countries will face increasing competition for scarce freshwater resources from industry and domestic users, FAO said in a new study (Unlocking the water potential of agriculture) published on the eve of the World Water Forum in Kyoto (16-23 March 2003). "While there is no global water crisis, the serious water and food security problems in some developing countries and regions need to be urgently addressed," FAO said."

"ARE ECO WASHERS TO BLAME FOR ECZEMA?" - "A FEARED link between energy-efficient washing machines and the rising incidence of eczema is being investigated. New eco-friendly washers take less than half the amount of water that traditional models use. As a result, it is believed, detergent residue is being left on clothes - causing skin irritation. Detergent is known to trigger eczema, which has trebled in 30 years and affects up to a fifth of all school-age children." (The Mirror)

"Fiery future in store for forests if climate warms" - "EDMONTON - Last summer a team of Canadian scientists set out for the Cypress Hills in southern Alberta to determine how an island forest in a great plains environment might fare if the climate continues to warm over the next century.

Their prognosis for Cypress Hills, and other similar forest oases like the Sweet Grass Hills of Montana, Moose Mountain in Saskatchewan and Spruce Woods in Manitoba is grim.

If a catastrophic fire doesn't get them, says Ted Hogg, a research scientist with the federal government's Canadian Forest Service (CFS) in Edmonton, then these oases of trees are likely to suffer a slow death from disease, insect infestation and arid conditions." (The Edmonton Journal)

"Newsday.com - Report: Warmer Adirondacks means more Lyme disease, air ``sewer'' for hikers" - "ALBANY, N.Y. -- Global warming in the Adirondacks, regardless of the severity of this winter, is underway and is bringing a greater Lyme disease threat and an "atmospheric sewer" ringing the peaks most popular with hikers, according to a report scheduled for presentation to the Adirondack Park Agency. "Global warming isn't something that will happen 100 years from now, it's happening now," said Barrett Rock, a professor and researcher with the University of New Hampshire in an interview. He was to present the study Thursday. "It will change the character of things."

"The New View of Natural Climate Variation" (PDF) "The New View of Natural Climate Variation:" by David E. Wojick, the basis for his presentation to the Climate Change Task Force on January 14, 2003." (NAM) [51pp, 280kb]

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Airlines face 75% green tax rise" - "The government is preparing to slap a tax increase of as much as 75% on airlines for the harm aircraft cause to the environment. In a consultation paper published yesterday, the Treasury and the Department for Transport put the "national cost" of global warming caused by air travel at £1.4bn a year, rising to £4.8bn by 2030."

Click here to see Monte Hieb's GHGs and human contribution graphics.

"The Globe and Mail - Hydrogen: inside the future" - " The key to hydrogen's success, says GEOFFREY BALLARD, will be to educate Canadians about the real benefits and safety of nuclear-generated electricity."

"German Veto Threat Undermines Euratom Loan Plans" - "BERLIN, Germany, March 14, 2003 - European Union proposals to broaden the scope of loans under the Euratom nuclear power treaty and increase its ceiling from four to six billion euros were dealt a blow this week after German MPs voted overwhelmingly in favor of vetoing the plan at forthcoming Council of Ministers meetings. The vote in the Bundestag was supported by the Social Democratic Party in alliance with the Greens. The move to raise the loan maximum amount for the financing of nuclear power stations comes at a time when the future of the 1957 treaty is being thrown open at the EU level. Both the convention currently discussing a new constitution for the European Union and the European Parliament are discussing options for reform next week. Environmental groups are campaigning for Euratom's abolition." (ENS)

"The Seattle Times: Editorials & Opinion: Seattle's power decisions: dumb but green" - "The disaster at City Light — an increase of $700 million in ratepayer debt and 60 percent in residential rates in two and a half years — is traceable directly to the policies put in effect by Gary Zarker. It is no surprise that the superintendent was shown the door. But as City Light power dispatcher Megan Cornish told the Seattle City Council last week, the responsibility lies in "the people who made those policies, which is you." In Seattle, council members are all Democrats — Seattle Democrats, which means environmentalists. In 2000, when the power crisis began, council members Peter Steinbrueck, Nick Licata, Judy Nicastro, Richard Conlin and Heidi Wills were, in addition, publicly declared members of the Green Party, the party of environment first."

"Putting out the fires" - "Canada's coal-fired power plants are in the pollution big-leagues, writes MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT, spewing out a witches' brew of contaminants that clog the air and cause acid rain. Activists want them shut, but others say they can clean up their act." (Globe and Mail)

"The Advertiser: Revised plan for wind farm [16mar03]" - " NEW efforts to appease concern about a $60 million wind farm proposed for Myponga go public this week with the release of a document outlining its environmental impact. Developers TrustPower say they have made significant modifications, including relocating several huge turbines along the ridge of the scenic Sellicks Hill Range, between Mt Terrible and Heatherdale Hill. The original proposal for 70 turbines previously had been reduced to 20 following concerns ranging from visual pollution to noise."

"Bone Marrow Found to Have Cells to Repair the Pancreas" - "Following on the heels of an operation in Michigan in which doctors treated a boy's failing heart with cells from his bone marrow, researchers have discovered that bone marrow also harbors cells that can repair the pancreas and produce insulin.

The discovery, made by Dr. Mehboob A. Hussain and colleagues at the New York University School of Medicine, emerged from experiments with mice but the same is very likely to be true of people, too, Dr. Hussain said. It raises the possibility of treating diabetics with stem cells from their own bone marrow, relieving them from the chore of regular insulin injections." (New York Times)

"New Zealand Herald - GE fan voted NZ's top scientist" - "A biologist who wants to genetically modify new plants to improve the world's environment has been elected president of the Royal Society of New Zealand - officially our top scientist. Dr Jim Watson, chief executive of Auckland firm Genesis Research and Development, says New Zealanders can become "the environmental engineers of the world".

"GM facts" - "Not only is there no intention to authorise commercial growing of GM crops before the debate on GM issues is under way, but the UK has no powers to do so (GM licensing gets go-ahead, March 11). There is no "UK licensing process"; authorisations for GM products are done at an EU level, and these 18 proposals, (most of which are not ours and not new) are before or in the pipeline to the European commission. It will be member states, collectively with the European commission, which will take the final decisions. You appear to quote concern expressed by the Scottish executive and the Welsh assembly. Both my ministerial colleagues will be aware of the authorisation process and know that the Defra position could not be as described in the article." (Margaret Beckett MP, The Guardian) [Complete]

March 14, 2003

"Iraqi Oil Well Fires Not a Major Health Threat" - "Virtually all published studies of people exposed to the pollution from the Gulf War fires haven’t reported significant health effects." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"'Shaken baby syndrome' doubts" - "Doctors have found evidence to suggest some parents and carers may be falsely accused of violently shaking babies. Senior doctors from across the UK say they now believe some baby brain injuries, which are blamed on suspected violent adults may have much less sinister explanations." (BBC News Online)

"A More Militant Way" - "Less than a month after round one of the Pelman v McDonald's "aren't-cheeseburgers-really-carrot-sticks" lawsuit was thrown out of court, the trial lawyers have re-filed. This food fight is set to drag on for many more rounds. At the heart of the trial lawyers case is the notion that McDonald's has misled consumers to believe that its products are healthier than they are. But the real case is about whether trial lawyers have a new industry to milk, and one with far deeper pockets than even big tobacco." (Roger Bate, TCS)

"Pentagon Says Green Laws Hamper Training for War" - "WASHINGTON - Angering environmentalists, U.S. defense officials on Thursday argued in Congress for an exemption from environmental laws they said hindered training, including for a possible war against Iraq. Officials from the Pentagon and regulatory agencies told lawmakers some environmental laws had led to lengthy legal challenges and this jeopardized training for the fight against terrorism and as well as a looming attack on Baghdad. But environmentalists, some of whom accused the Pentagon of using war as an excuse to erode these laws, countered that the exemptions would give the military a green light to dump spent munitions, poison the seas and endanger protected wildlife." (Reuters)

Well, unless you can envisage some means of usefully deploying the assembly of gnatcatchers, newts, bugs and other critters that radical greens array against the military then it would appear that it still falls on the armed forces to protect America and its citizens. This would suggest that America's defence relies rather more on training military forces than it does on avoiding the habitat of the Slightly Rusty VW Beetle, or whatever happens to be fashionable this week.

"Bush's critics berate Friday environmental policy changes" - "Environmental groups and Democrats who oppose President George W. Bush's environmental policies pay especially close attention on Friday nights. "With the Bush administration, Friday is the worst day of the week for the environment," said Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut senator seeking the Democrat nomination to challenge Mr Bush in 2004. "They show their shame over their harmful environmental policies by unveiling them only when the press is least likely to take note. But our climate, forests, and waterways can't be fooled by the administration's cleverness." (Financial Times)

"Pines recycle pollutants, study finds; Coniferous forests may produce more smog components than traffic does, calculations suggest" - "Maybe Ronald Reagan was right after all about trees being big polluters. A new study suggests the Scotch pine and other northern evergreens may emit more nitrogen oxides -- key components of smog -- than all the cars and industrial plants on the planet." (Globe and Mail)

Gasp! Environmentally friendly, politically incorrect 'greenhouse gas' freezes bugs! "In Sweden, a ploy to use carbon dioxide snow to kill bugs" - "STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Two Swedish scientists have developed an environmentally friendly way of killing insects: Freezing them to death without poison. A Swedish company, Sinterkil AB, received a U.S. patent in December 2002 for the process. Field testing of the method, which uses carbon dioxide snow to kill harmful insects and their eggs, began Monday by Anticimex, a Swedish-based international pest control company, in the capital, Stockholm, and in Goteborg in southwestern Sweden." (Associated Press)

"Climate change 'wiped out Mayans'" - "Climate change was largely to blame for the collapse of the Mayan civilisation in Central America more than 1,000 years ago, research suggests. By the middle of the 8th Century there were up to 13 million people in the Mayan population, but within 200 years their cities lay abandoned. There has long been speculation that the whole population was wiped out by drought, and research published in the journal Science now suggests climate change was probably a major factor." (BBC News Online)

"Clouds mitigate effects of warming on arctic" - "Cloudy weather may dampen the human spirit, but it also may dampen the effects of global warming on the Arctic, according to new study published in the March 14 issue of the journal Science." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Uh-oh! "Bubbles prompt climate-change rethink; Argon traces hint that carbon dioxide did not lead life out of the freezer, but followed" - "Carbon dioxide certainly warms our planet, but it might not turn on the heat, reveals a new analysis of ancient Antarctic ice. "Our data suggest that the warming came first, then carbon dioxide increased," says Jean Jouzel of the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute in Gif-sur-Yvette, France. Something else — probably extraterrestrial — got the warming going, his team concludes. Aside from clouds, carbon dioxide is the major warming influence on our planet. But it's hard to work out which comes first: a rise in carbon dioxide levels or a slight warming. Why? Because even a slight temperature hike increases atmospheric carbon dioxide, through its effects on forests and oceans." (NSU)

Oh dear! Another study indicating that rising atmospheric CO2 is an effect rather than a cause of rising global temperature. The global warming industry won't like that! Not to worry though, a new scary scenario (or "story line") of 'could's and 'might's is just keystrokes away.

"Global warming could trigger cascade of climatic changes" - "Global warming and the partial melting of polar ice sheets can dramatically affect not only sea level but also Earth's climate, in ways that may be complex, rapid and difficult to adjust to." (Oregon State University)

"How cold is it? It's so cold, it's warming!" - "A whole town is frozen solid in Newfoundland, the Great Lakes are sheets of ice, snow is still piled up on Toronto streets, Britain has been caught in a deep freeze, Europeans shivered through January, thousands died in Russia from the cold, rice paddies have turned into skating rinks in Southeast Asia, people are dying from the cold in Bangladesh, parts of China's Yellow River have frozen over.

What's going on? Nothing much, actually. It's just the weather. But these days the weather, hot and cold, is a political issue, and that means you can't let erratic weather go by without running it through the filter of climate change." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Climate change could bring colder winters" - "TORONTO - Global climate change could result not only in warmer summers over the long term but also colder winters, according to some climate models. The reason is average surface temperatures of the Earth are increasing, but it isn't happening uniformly. In some places, such as Eastern Canada, temperatures have actually been dropping, climatologists say." (CBC News)

"Oil giants lead push for Kyoto" - "BP AND Shell head a list of eight leading Australian companies calling on the Federal Government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The two oil giants outlined their support in an unofficial survey of Business Council of Australia members released by Greenpeace yesterday. Of the 54 companies who returned the survey, eight were in favour of ratification and seven - including WA companies Woodside Petroleum and Western Power - said they did not support a change in the council's position, which at the time of the survey was opposed to ratification." (The West Australian)

"EPA: Shoot First, Ask Later" - "Surely their hearts are in the right place. A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "America’s Children and the Environment," argues for a cleaner world.

Specifically, it states that children of women with a blood mercury concentration of 5.8 parts per billion "are at some increased risk of adverse health effects." That’s about 8 percent of American women of childbearing age. And that concentration is about 10 times less than the minimum recommended in the scientific literature. No one has documented epidemiological evidence for damage at such levels. But, oh well, what’s wrong with a little caution when we’re concerned about "the children"?

A lot. The EPA, and everyone else around Washington, knows how these stories play. They’re used as the excuse to bang Congress into policy -- policies that can hurt and even kill." (Patrick J. Michaels, FoxNews.com)

"Finland's greenhouse gas emissions surge in 2002" - "HELSINKI - The level of Finland's greenhouse gas emissions rose to a record high in 2002, partly due to a dry summer and autumn which reduced the use of hydropower, Statistics Finland (SF) said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Chinese wind farm makes Kyoto profits from Dutch" - "BEIJING - A wind farm in Inner Mongolia yesterday became the first Chinese renewable energy project to be selected by the Dutch government to help reduce the world's air pollution under the 1997 United Nations Kyoto Protocol. By producing electricity without emitting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, then selling the credit it gets for keeping the air clean to the Dutch, the Huitengxile wind farm, northwest of Beijing, will pay for its own expansion." (Reuters)

"Dutch announce first CO2 trading projects for Kyoto" - "AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands yesterday approved the first overseas sustainable energy projects it will fund in order to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocol. The Dutch will purchase emission credits through the 18 projects, which aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 16 megatonnes, the environment ministry said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Norway upholds new wind park concession" - "OSLO - Norway's energy authorities yesterday upheld a decision to grant a concession to a regional utility to build a windmill park with yearly production of up to 160 gigawatt hours (GWh), officials said. Production of that size would roughly quadruple the amount of wind power generated in Norway in 2002. The oil and energy ministry said it rejected an appeal to block the building by Nord-Troendelag Elektrisitetsverk (NTE) of the Hundhammerfjellet wind park at Naeroy in the county of Nord-Troendelag on Norway's west coast." (Reuters)

"United States, Argentina consult on WTO biotech case versus E.U." - "WASHINGTON — Top U.S. and Argentine trade officials said Thursday they held talks on the possibility of taking joint legal action against the European Union for blocking imports of genetically modified food. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier and Argentine Vice Minister of Foreign Relations Martin Redrado said the two countries shared a strong interest in making sure world markets remain open to the new biotech food products. "We have consulted on what is the best way for us and other like-minded countries to move this issue forward to a satisfactory resolution," Allgeier told reporters. "We're not in a position today to make an announcement about specific measures in the WTO, but we both look at this matter in a similar light." (Reuters)

"Consumer groups say UK food watchdog is GM biased" - "LONDON - Consumer groups yesterday called for Britain's food-safety watchdog to re-write its website, saying it turned a blind eye to the potential hazards of gene-splicing technology. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has already come under attack from a major trade union and an influential women's lobby who accused them of favouring genetically modified (GM) food. Three consumer groups said they wrote FSA demanding a broader range GM views on its website." (Reuters)

"EU: Commission warns on falling investment into biotech" - "Concern has been raised by the European Commission about a fall in European investment into biotechnology, which has matched the declining confidence of EU consumers in GM food. Brussels' first progress report on the action plan for European life sciences says that "urgent action" is needed to reverse this trend." (just-food.com)

"Syngenta applies for GM wheat trials in Germany" - "HAMBURG - Swiss agribusiness group Syngenta AG has applied to German authorities for permission to start trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat crops in Germany, a company spokesman said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Italy gene corn ban may be legal - EU court adviser" - "LUXEMBOURG - A top EU court official said yesterday states were entitled to ban gene-modified (GM) foods if they had reason to fear possible health or environmental risks. Many European Union governments are resisting the introduction of GM products, dubbed Frankenstein foods by some critics. A European Court of Justice adviser said Italy did have the right to ban GM maize, which had been approved before an EU-wide moratorium, if the government had evidence of risks." (Reuters)

March 13, 2003

"Vaccines not linked to crib death, study says" - "WASHINGTON - There is no evidence of a link between crib death - known as sudden infant death syndrome - and multiple vaccines given in infancy, a study concludes. Many parents became concerned about vaccines after an Australian researcher in the 1980s argued that there was a connection. But an Institute of Medicine report released Wednesday reinforces previous studies that found no relationship between the vaccines and SIDS." (Associated Press)

Always knew all that bra-burning in the land of fruits and nuts would come to no good: "Dangerous chemical found in women's breasts; Bay Area levels higher than Europe, Japan" - "Bay Area women have three to 10 times greater amounts of a chemical flame retardant in their breasts than either European or Japanese women, says a study by California scientists published Tuesday." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Repent or meet thy doom!" - "Sorry to bother you again, dear diary, but it is No Smoking Day and the propaganda is everywhere. The one light in all the gloom is a piece by The Times’ licensed jester, Mick Hume, This is your last warning. Oh dear, despite all the warnings from corrupt international organisations such as the UN and the EU, it appears that there are still people who refuse to live the good life and achieve their just reward." (NumberWatch)

Scroll down to the next story to see where NSD meets the Tooth Fairy.

"Shouldn’t All Organizations Have to Tell the Truth?" - "BP, a huge international oil company once known as British Petroleum, now says BP stands for “beyond petroleum.” It invested $200 million in solar during the past year or so. But BP produces only enough solar electricity to light the city of Boise, Idaho. Meanwhile, BP is investing 75 times as much to drill deeper oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

That doesn’t make BP evil; just a little too clever about trying to take advantage of public concern over the much-hyped global warming. BP is a large, responsible oil company delivering energy that virtually everybody wants, at competitive prices." (Dennis Avery, CGFI)

"CPCB doubts UN findings on India's water quality" - "Thursday, March 13, 2003 (New Delhi): A UN report on water quality and water availability ranks India among the worst in the world. This report will be formally presented to the International community on March 22 during the World Water Forum in Kyoto. The Central Pollution Control Board has questioned the UN report on India's mineral water and its methods for ranking India's water quality as the third worst in the world." (NDTV)

"THE 1991 MT. PINATUBO ERUPTION PROVIDES A NATURAL TEST FOR THE INFLUENCE OF ARCTIC CIRCULATION ON CLIMATE" - "A recent NASA-funded study has linked the 1991 eruption of the Mount Pinatubo to a strengthening of a climate pattern called the Arctic Oscillation. For two years following the volcanic eruption, the Arctic Oscillation caused winter warming over land areas in the high and middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, despite a cooling effect from volcanic particles that blocked sunlight." (NASA/GSFC)

"Shell chairman says companies can reverse global warming" - "HOUSTON - Royal/Dutch Shell chairman Sir Philip Watts told a conference Wednesday that energy companies can take action to reverse global warming now without damaging their business prospects. Watts, speaking at the inaugural conference of the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University, acknowledged evidence that the burning of fossil fuels causes atmospheric changes likely to affect the climate." (Associated Press)

"Whitman's Opportunity" - "Does the Clean Air Act impose a "mandatory duty" on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas targeted by the Kyoto Protocol?

That's what the Attorneys General (AGs) of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington assert in two recent notices of intent to sue EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman. In effect, the AGs claim Whitman must implement the Kyoto Protocol—a non-ratified treaty.

Far from it being EPA's duty to regulate CO2, EPA has no authority to do so. The plain language, structure, and legislative history of the Clean Air Act demonstrate that Congress never delegated such power to EPA." (Marlo Lewis, Jr., TCS)

"Germans experiment with emissions trading, prices" - "WIESBADEN, Germany - German companies are experimenting with emissions certificate trading ahead of the launch of a Europe-wide scheme in 2005, organisers of a pilot project said." (Reuters)

"Fishy fodder can stifle release of greenhouse gas" - "LONDON - Fish oil could be the answer to stifling the release of the greenhouse gas methane from belching farm animals." (Reuters)

"Realistic rules: Board backs away from electric car mandate" - "'What we are doing is being realistic. The electric cars we were talking about in 1990 when we first adopted the rule just haven't happened." So said Jerry Martin, a spokesman for California Air Resources Board, explaining a proposed change in the board's zero-emissions vehicle program that would allow automakers to sell gasoline-electric hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles instead of purely battery-powered electric cars. The board had mandated that electric cars make up 2 percent of the new car fleet – down from 10 percent it originally ordered in 1990 – starting with the 2003 model year." (Union-Tribune Editorial)

"EU assembly urges more biofuels in road transport" - "STRASBOURG, France - EU lawmakers agreed yesterday that more plant-based biofuels should be used in road transport across the bloc over the next few years to help reduce dependence on conventional gasoline and diesel." (Reuters)

"Minister puts his energy into green power" - "Energy minister Brian Wilson has started to bang on doors in the City of London in a desperate attempt to drum up support for renewable energy and convince City sceptics they should back new schemes." (The Guardian)

"Cancer risk clouds gene cures" - "Despite its initial achievements, the first successful form of gene therapy - used to cure the immune disease called X-SCID - will for now only be used as a last resort due to the risk of cancer. And a further American study suggests that there may also be a potential problem with HIV and other related retroviruses, which gene therapists hope to use." (New Scientist)

"Report finds GM crops are good for environment" - "Genetically-modified crops might be better for the environment than the unmodified form, allowing insects and spiders to flourish around their edges and providing more food for birds, according to new research. The finding could hint at the results that will emerge from the farm-scale trials of GM crops now being carried out in Britain. Those will end this summer and be used by the Government to decide whether to allow commercial planting of GM crops, in which a key consideration is their effect on surrounding plant and animal life." (Independent)

"Could Bt transgenic crops have nutritionally favourable effects on insects?" - "An article published in Ecology Letters, March presents an idea that larvae of some resistant populations of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.), may be able to use Cry1Ac toxin derived from Bt as a supplementary food protein. Bt transgenic crops could therefore have unanticipated nutritionally favourable effects, increasing the fitness of resistant populations. This idea is discussed in the context of the evolution of resistance to Bt transgenic crops." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd)

"Biotech wheat may cut US exports in half - study" - "AMES, Iowa - There is a "high risk" that the U.S. wheat industry will lose 30 percent to 50 percent of its business with foreign markets for spring wheat if Monsanto Co. releases its controversial genetically modified wheat in the next few years, according to new research by an Iowa State University economics professor." (Reuters)

"GM crop trial blocked by Federal Court" - "Switzerland’s highest court has stopped an outdoor trial of genetically modified wheat due to go ahead later this month. Wednesday’s ruling by the Federal Court overturned a decision by the environment ministry in February giving the experiment the green light." (SwissInfo)

"Spain approves five new GMO maize varieties" - "LISBON - Spain, one of the few European Union countries to commercially grow genetically modified seeds, has approved five new strains of GM maize for non-human consumption." (Reuters)

March 12, 2003

"Baboon behavior offers clues in the all-too-human battle of the bulge" - "Lack of exercise - and not diet - causes obesity and diabetes among those who are predisposed to the conditions, suggests new research on wild baboons by Saint Louis University geriatricians published this month in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism." (Saint Louis University)

"There's More Than One Way to Protect Wetlands" - "WASHINGTON — Every year, the federal government and Americans across the country preserve, restore and enhance thousands of acres of wetlands through cooperative conservation efforts, partnerships and voluntary programs. Unfortunately, that's not the news that most Americans read about. Instead, the focus has been on the wetlands regulatory program." (Gale Norton and Ann Veneman, New York Times)

"Shell chief delivers global warming warning to Bush in his own back yard" - "Shell chairman Sir Philip Watts risks stirring up a controversy in America today when he calls for global warming sceptics to get off the fence and accept that action needs to be taken "before it is too late". At a presentation in Houston, the back yard of ExxonMobil, one of the most vocal antagonists to the Kyoto climate change treaty, the British oilman will say "we can't wait to answer all questions [on global warming] beyond reasonable doubt", adding "there is compelling evidence that climate change is a threat." (The Guardian)

It is, however, usually sound practice to determine if a threat exists prior to wasting massive effort on threat abatement. Given that tweaking a few minor variables in an enormously complex system will have no measurable effect, expending huge and expensive effort on said tweaking is too stupid for words. Given further that human effort is a finite resource, redirecting said effort from development of secure water supplies, sanitation and food self-sufficiency for populations in the least developed countries is a crime against humanity.

"Greenland cools as world warms" - "Greenland is significantly cooler now than it was 40 years ago. While scientists report warming trends in many parts of the globe, it seems this northern polar region has been moving in the other direction. The finding is based on an analysis of historical meteorological data collected by Danish researchers. It shows that during the period 1958 to 2001 average temperatures in the southern part of the island fell by 1.29 C. Sea-surface temperatures in the Labrador Sea also fell." (BBC News Online)

"Icy weather freezes surface of three Great Lakes" - "TORONTO - Three of North America's Great Lakes - Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Lake Erie - have frozen over for the first time in nearly a decade after icy weather lasting more than a month, experts at Environment Canada said yesterday.

A month of temperatures below minus 20 Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) has caused an ice blanket averaging as much as 60 cm (24 inches) on the lakes, creating problems for shipping companies and ferries.

"The large lakes freeze once every decade," said John Falkingham, chief of forecast operations, at the Canadian Ice Service, which is part of Environment Canada. "A sustained long, cold spell causes such an extensive ice cover." (Reuters)

"Water Transparency: The Neglected Factor in Coral Decline" - "Summary: As more and more CO2 makes its way into the atmosphere, climate alarmists claim it is killing coral reefs by causing global warming that induces coral bleaching. Perhaps they should be looking down at the water in which the corals grow ... and seeing how clear it looks." (co2science.org)

"Subject Index Summary: Glaciers (Global)" - "Summary: Are earth's glaciers melting away at an accelerating pace, as climate alarmists claim they are, in what they claim is a rapidly warming world, which they claim to be due to the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content?" (co2science.org)

"Glaciers and Sea Levels" - "Summary: What do we know about this dynamic duo? Not as much as we need to know to be able to accurately predict their future interactions. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 27: 1445-1454." (co2science.org)

"Diffuse-Light-Enhanced Photosynthesis Revisited" - "Summary: A massive study conducted by 33 scientists in 11 different countries corroborates one of the key elements of a negative feedback phenomenon -- described in our Editorial of 10 October 2001 -- that tends to counteract the greenhouse effect of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 113: 97-120." (co2science.org)

"Different Patterns of Climate Change in Eurasia and North America Prove Plants Like Higher Temperatures in a CO2-Accumulating Atmosphere" - "Summary: Would you believe that CO2-induced global warming would actually be good for the biosphere? Real-world growth of Northern Hemispheric vegetation over the past two decades make the case for this conclusion. Journal of Geophysical Research 107: 10.1029/2001JD001075." (co2science.org)

"Effect of Elevated CO2 on Photosynthesis and Growth in a Sunfleck Light Regime" - "Summary: Previous research has demonstrated that elevated CO2 can stimulate photosynthetic rates at low levels of irradiance in a number of species. In this paper, researchers investigate whether or not elevated CO2 stimulates photosynthesis and growth in an understory tropical rain forest seedling in an intermittent irradiance regime typical of sunflecks. Plant, Cell and Environment 25: 1701-1714." (co2science.org)

"The Carbon Balance of the Seas" - "Summary: A major new review assesses what we know and do not know about the production and decomposition of organic matter in the world's oceans. Nature 420: 379-384." (co2science.org)

"Fuel-cell car hopes played down" - "A 20-year plan to make hydrogen fuel cells a green alternative to conventional car engines is likely to fail, says a report. The research, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US, says that diesel and petrol hybrid vehicles will still be the best option at this point, despite "aggressive research" on hydrogen fuel." (BBC News Online)

"AFRICA: Agriculture Companies Back Technology Sharing Plan To Boost Food" - "Agriculture giants Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow have agreed to share technology free with African scientists in a bid to spur food production in Africa, the Washington Post reports.  Monsanto and DuPont control the leading U.S. seed producers and own most of the patented technologies African researchers may want to use under the initiative, the Post reports." (UN Wire)

"Groups Petition for Moratorium on Biotech Wheat" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A consortium of U.S. agricultural and environmental groups opposed to Monsanto Co.'s planned introduction of genetically modified wheat filed a legal petition on Tuesday with the USDA seeking a federal moratorium on the biotech wheat." (Reuters)

"Crop trial criticism rejected by Finnie" - "SCOTTISH Executive ministers have told MSPs who compiled a critical parliamentary committee report into GM crop trials that their findings ignored scientific advice and were fundamentally flawed. The Executive’s blunt response reflects a feeling among ministers that the committee was too easily swayed by opponents of GM crop trials.

The Executive continued: “The committee seems not to have had regard to oral and written evidence, as well as substantial volumes of peer-reviewed research, which confirm, as far as its scientifically possible, that current GM crops pose no greater risk to human health or the environment than comparable non-GM varieties.”

Members of the committee reacted furiously to the comments. Mary Scanlon, who is also the Conservative spokeswoman on health, accused them of acting with “unbelievable smugness and arrogance”. She added: “The committee took evidence based on trials with ten rats over a period of 14 days, and this led to the findings in our report. We were and still are deeply concerned about the longer-term effects on people’s health.” (The Times) [em added]

Well, that proves it, based on 20 rat life-weeks worth of study! That should show those 'muricans with their paltry 1,500,000,000-odd human life-years practical experience with biotech-derived foodstuffs to supplement a truly extraordinary food safety study regime!

March 11, 2003

"Chemicals sector calls on EU for lower-cost rules" - "BRUSSELS - New European Union environmental rules will cost the chemicals sector between two billion and seven billion euros, depending on how tough the proposals are, the industry said yesterday. Chemicals firms are trying to persuade the European Commission to scale down a bill, due to be published in July, that will force them to register safety data about thousands of products that are not currently regulated." (Reuters)

"Chemical in soy alters reproductive organs in male rats" - "Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health report that male rats whose mothers were fed diets containing genistein, a chemical found in soybeans, developed abnormal reproductive organs and experienced sexual dysfunction as adults." (Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions)

"Allergy to peanuts has 'skin cream link'" - "PEANUT allergy may be triggered by the use of skin creams containing peanut oil, a major study in the West of England has shown. The results of the study, commissioned by the Government, may help to explain the rapid growth of peanut allergy. It has tripled in frequency in the past decade, with as many as one in 70 children suffering from it. In most cases the reaction to peanuts is not life-threatening, but a minority may go into shock and die, even when exposed to only trace amounts." (The Times)

"High fat diet reduces seizure risk" - "A high-fat diet can dramatically reduce or end seizures in children with severe epilepsy, research has shown. Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital tested whether a high-fat, low carbohydrate regime known as a ketogenic diet could have more of an impact than taking drugs to control the condition." (BBC News Online)

"Oxygen deficiency is an endocrine disruptor in fish" - "A new study of carp suggests that hypoxia, or oxygen deficiency, is an endocrine disruptor in fish. The findings add a surprising member to the growing list of potential hormone-disturbing agents — a list that includes pesticides such as atrazine and DDT, various types of steroids and metals, and even ultraviolet light. And because it occurs across vast stretches of water around the world, hypoxia could be a greater concern than any of these." (ACS)

"A Pseudo Event" - "The National Academy of Sciences has just released a review of the Bush administration's draft climate science program strategic plan. Some news accounts of the Academy's review - in particular a front page story in the New York Times - created the impression that the review echoed criticism by environmental groups that the Bush administration lacks a serious commitment to address the climate change risk. In fact, the review commended the Administration's Climate Change Science Program (CCSSP) as a good first step and for "identifying exciting new directions for the program..." Readers of newspapers should expect first to get the facts and then the views of the writers. But, that does not happen as often as it should." (William O'Keefe, TCS)

"Climate Change For Europe's Utilities" - "Europe's plan to control the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming will probably lead to higher energy prices for both consumers and businesses and greatly accelerate the shift from coal to gas as the primary fuel used in power plants.

These are the main conclusions to be drawn from a McKinsey model of Europe's energy market as it would emerge under a European Commission scheme to cap the emissions of power and heavy industrial plants and make the individual caps allocated to plants tradable.

But the model also generated a paradoxical finding: Unless utility regulators intervene, many power producers could receive unexpected financial gains under the scheme, even though they include some of the fossil-fuel-burning generators that emit the largest amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), the greenhouse gas that the European Union is trying to control." (The McKinsey Quarterly)

"Debating Whether Oil Wells and Wilderness Mix" - "A panel of scientists, oil industry consultants and environmentalists measured the effects of 35 years of expanding seismic drilling." (New York Times)

"MIT study: Hydrogen car no environmental panacea" - "Even with aggressive research, the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will not be better than the diesel hybrid (a vehicle powered by a conventional engine supplemented by an electric motor) in terms of total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, says a study recently released by MIT's Laboratory for Energy and the Environment." (MIT)

"Mayo Clinic proves new heart muscle cells can come from bone marrow" - "Mayo Clinic researchers have proven for the first time that cells produced by the bone marrow can form new heart-muscle cells in adults, providing an important boost to research that could enable the body to replace heart muscle damaged by heart attack. The findings are now available online and will be published tomorrow in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association." (Mayo Clinic)

"Bacterial viruses make cheap easy vaccines" - "Genetically altered bacterial viruses appear to be more effective than naked DNA in eliciting an immune response and could be a new strategy for a next generation of vaccines that are easy to produce and store, say researchers from Moredun Research Institute in the United Kingdom." (ASM)

"AMA decries ‘lies’ vs biotech" - "The American Medical Association (AMA) has accused opponents of biotechnology and genetically modified food and plant products of capitalizing on public ignorance in the latter’s campaign to discredit the said products.

The AMA is on a direct collision course with the British Medical Association (BMA) in the global debate on biotechnology and GMOs. The BMA has warned of possible risks from the use of these products.

In a position paper, the AMA said "opponents of GM food understand that diminished understanding and lack of knowledge is the key to obstructing biotechnology."

The group lamented the results of a survey in Europe "which showed that many European consumers believe that eating GM foods would alter their own genes, while almost a half of the respondents believed that conventional breeding techniques are as effective as transgenic (biotechnology) techniques." (The Philippine Star)

"Modified Food-Aid Fears Slammed" - "A delegation of African scientists who attended a European Union (EU) conference on agriculture in the developing world has come out in support of the US complaint that EU policies put pressure on African governments to reject food aid containing genetically modified organisms." (Business Day)

"China farm minister says GMO rules won't disrupt trade" - "BEIJING - China's rules on genetically modified food imports will not affect the grains trade, including soybean imports worth more than $1 billion annually, Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin said yesterday." (Reuters)

March 10, 2003

"Gun Makers Will Not Face Trial, Judge Rules" - "A state judge in San Diego dismissed a lawsuit by 12 California cities and counties against the nation's gun manufacturers yesterday, though he said their suit against three gun wholesalers and two retail dealers could go to trial.

"This is a definitive victory for us," said Lawrence G. Keane, the general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry trade association, and a "devastating defeat" for the cities and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which had joined the suit.

Jonathan Lowy, a lawyer for the Brady Center, said, "We are happy with half of the decision, and disappointed with the other half."

The cities will probably appeal the decision by Judge Vincent P. DiFiglia of Superior Court to dismiss the suits against the gun makers, Mr. Lowy said. "We are hopeful it will be reversed on appeal," he said." (New York Times)

"Mobile-phone makers in US court victory" - "The mobile-phone industry has scored another victory against health-related litigation as a US judge dismissed five class-action lawsuits against handset makers.

The ruling by a Baltimore district court judge was the second significant courtroom win for mobile-phone companies in recent months. It follows last year's rejection of the scientific evidence underpinning the most advanced personal-injury case brought on behalf of a brain tumour victim.

The latest cluster of lawsuits to be thrown out was brought on behalf of healthy mobile phone users and alleged that the industry had been negligent by failing to supply free earpieces or hands-free kits with phones despite uncertainty over potential health risks." (Financial Times)

"Childhood exposure to media violence predicts young adult aggressive behavior" - "WASHINGTON -- Children's viewing of violent TV shows, their identification with aggressive same-sex TV characters, and their perceptions that TV violence is realistic are all linked to later aggression as young adults, for both males and females. That is the conclusion of a 15-year longitudinal study of 329 youth published in the March issue of Developmental Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). These findings hold true for any child from any family, regardless of the child's initial aggression levels, their intellectual capabilities, their social status as measured by their parents' education or occupation, their parents' aggressiveness, or the mother's and father's parenting style. (American Psychological Association)

"A Pot Belly of Gold" - "Two years ago, journalists - hot for a story - began calling John Banzhaf, the telegenic George Washington University law professor who led the anti-smoking legal crusade from its early stages. "Would tobacco-style lawsuits," he was asked, "now be aimed at food processors and restaurants?"

"Well, no," Banzhaf later recalled he said. "There are important differences."

There sure are. But that hasn't stopped America's voracious plaintiffs' bar. The lawsuits began last year." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"It Will Be a Smaller World After All" - "Remember the number 1.85. It is the lodestar of a new demography that will lead us to a different world. It should change the way we think about economics, geopolitics, the environment, culture — and about ourselves." (Ben J. Wattenberg, New York Times)

Sigh... "Suicide link to breast implant patients" - "Women with breast implants commit suicide three times as often as women who do not undergo the procedure, a study has found. But despite the results, Australian cosmetic surgeons have dismissed the idea of formal psychological screening of prospective patients. The study of more than 3500 Swedish women with breast implants is to be published in the British Medical Journal. It found that compared to national averages, five of the women would have been expected to commit suicide, yet 15 of the group had done so." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"No Recovery Soon for Lobstering in West Long Island Sound" - "A researcher who has been studying the effects of pesticides, which many lobstermen say is a prime suspect in the lobster deaths in 1999, said that preliminary research under laboratory conditions had shown that lobsters are far more susceptible to the chemicals than was thought.

The researcher, Sylvain De Guise, a professor of pathobiology at the University of Connecticut, said malathion, a pesticide widely used in 1999 to kill mosquitoes bearing the West Nile virus, could kill an adult lobster at a concentration of only 33 parts per billion. Twice that much, by contrast, is needed to kill a walleye, a fish previously considered one of the most vulnerable species. Pesticides in even smaller concentrations were shown to have effects on the immune system of lobsters.

"We're providing data that can't be brushed off," Professor De Guise said. He said the next part of the research would be to find the concentration of pesticides in the sound when they were applied and how the chemicals persist in the water amid the turbulence of weather and tides." (New York Times)

"Do your bit for the planet. Burn a newspaper" - "It is Ash Wednesday this week, when the faithful traditionally mark the start of Lent with a cross of ashes on their foreheads. In these more secular times, there are different ways to show that you number yourself among the righteous. You can wear the correct lapel ribbons, buy Ms Dynamite CDs — and recycle your household rubbish. A modern equivalent of that black mark between the eyes might be a black box outside the front door, supplied by the council so that good citizens can sort recyclable paper and glass from the rest of their garbage. (Although, as with other confessions, there is a temptation to keep something back; who wants the neighbours to see quite so many empty wine bottles?)" (Mick Hume, The Times)

"Chemicals in Home a Big Smog Source" - "Ordinary household products such as cleansers, cosmetics and paints are now the Los Angeles region's second-leading source of air pollution, after auto tailpipe emissions, air quality officials say. Regulators have long known that smog-forming chemicals escape with every squirt of antiperspirant, each bubble of detergent and every spritz of aerosol hair spray. And they have been controlling some products' emissions for years, with mixed success. But new research shows that products common in kitchens, bathrooms and garages contribute more to Southern California's smog problem than previously thought." (Los Angeles Times)

"Ancient Dunes vs. Exotic Trees" - "San Franciscans take their history and horticulture seriously. So it is probably not surprising that a philosophical tempest has erupted over a draft plan by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, now under review, that suggests removing 3,800 trees to re-establish the sand dunes that once blanketed the landscape. The dunes are immeasurably older than the trees and are home to an endangered species: the San Francisco lessingia, a delicate bell-shaped yellow flower that flourishes in wind-swept sand. Although large swaths of the city were once sand, the mere suggestion that dunes replace trees, even for an endangered species, has stirred deep emotions and pitted tree-hugger against sand-hugger, as the two camps call each other." (New York Times)

"New Berlin wall to be erected - for frogs" - "BERLIN - Cash-strapped Berlin is spending 430,000 euros ($474,200) to build a network of walls and tunnels to protect frogs crossing a busy road. The scheme has angered Berlin taxpayers because it coincides with closures of swimming pools, kindergartens and other public services as the city cuts costs." (Reuters)

"World sewage plans 'should be abandoned'" - "Plans to build sewage works for the 1.2 billion people in the world currently living without fresh water and sanitation should be abandoned, according to the incoming president of the World Water Association, Michael Rouse. Mr Rouse, a civil servant who is head of the UK's drinking water inspectorate, believes that sewage pipes are too expensive and too often drain into and pollute water courses. Instead, he says, the world should revert to using human solid waste as compost and fertiliser and allow liquids to drain into the ground." (The Guardian)

"Veto plan for World Heritage sites fuels fears of development" - "Large-scale development could proceed unchecked in Australia's World Heritage sites, including the Kakadu National Park and the Blue Mountains, under changes to guidelines proposed by the Federal Government. The changes, to be determined by an international committee in Paris next week, will give governments the power to veto global action to protect World Heritage sites." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Changes in jet stream, storm tracks, linked to prairie drought patterns, study finds" - "New findings from Queen's researchers will help experts better predict future drought patterns and water availability in the prairies." (Queen's University)

"Polar sea ice could be gone by the end of the century" - "Much of the Earth's frozen north will have defrosted by the end of the century, according to the latest study of the effect of global warming on the Arctic.

New measurements of the extent of sea ice around the entire North Pole show that it has reduced by about 4 per cent a decade on average over a 20-year period.

If the warming trend continues, Arctic sea ice could, within 100 years, disappear almost completely during the summer months, said Professor Ola Johannessen of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre in Bergen, Norway." (Independent)

"Cold Winter May Delay Shipping Season in Great Lakes" - "An unusually cold late winter has left 90 percent of Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie covered with ice, a condition that could threaten the start of the shipping season." (New York Times)

"Europe's Carmakers Sticking With Diesel" - "GENEVA, March 5 — Chalk it up to the widening gap in the way Europeans and Americans look at the world. Last week, General Motors brought its prototype of a hydrogen-powered car to the Geneva International Motor Show. The futuristic car, known as the Hy-Wire, had just gotten a nice lift from President Bush, who was photographed admiring it after announcing that the government would put $1.7 billion into researching hydrogen as a replacement for gasoline. In the salons of Geneva, however, the Hy-Wire sat forlornly next to a prototype of a monstrous Cadillac with a 16-cylinder engine. The crowds all but ignored the car, preferring to swarm around the latest Mini, which is made by the plucky English carmaker owned by BMW of Germany. What was the attraction? The new Mini has a diesel engine." (New York Times)

"EU, US sign hydrogen, nuclear energy research pact" - "BRUSSELS - The United States and the European Union sought to find common ground over global warming on Thursday by signing a pact to cooperate on research on new and potentially cleaner forms of power generation." (Reuters)

"Germany to cap green power subsidies paid by firms" - "FRANKFURT - Germany's environment and economy ministries have agreed to cap renewable energy subsidies paid by energy-intensive firms, a spokesman for the Green-party led environment ministry said." (Reuters)

"Italy, Germany face off over energy taxes as EU finance ministers meet" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium - Italy and Germany faced off again over energy taxes intended to help Europe meet its targets under the Kyoto protocol on climate change, as European Union finance ministers took up the long-debated package again Friday." (AP)

"Alkane quits UK over 'nonsense' energy policy" - "One of Britain's leading green energy companies is abandoning the UK, blaming the Government's "nonsense" energy policy. Alkane Energy, which specialises in extracting poisonous methane gases from disused coal mines, is moving its operations to Germany to take advantage of the country's favourable renewable energy laws. It is starting with an initial £1.3m investment to drill a borehole and build a plant in the north west of Germany." (Daily Telegraph)

"Gout on the increase" - "Gout, once dubbed the "disease of Kings", is now becoming more prevalent among the commoners." (BBC News Online)

"The Journal of Obvious Results" - "A new journal is needed. It should be titled The Journal of Obvious Results — and Unwarranted and Spectacular Conclusions. The readers of ACSH's webpages have by now seen headlines that read "Organically grown foods higher in cancer-fighting chemicals than conventionally grown foods." Like souls in a Hollywood hell, forced to sit through a bad movie for eternity, we will undoubtedly be having this "finding" thrust at us ad infinitum, as we are in the case of this latest article meant to prove the superiority of "organic" food." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"Scientists employ MRSA 'enemies'" - "Scientists in Glasgow believe they have found a way to beat the hospital superbug MRSA. Researchers at Strathclyde University have developed wound dressings and stitches containing waterborne viruses which kill the bacteria." (BBC News Online)

"The cancer revolution" - "When Sarah Allen, a mother of four, discovered she had a virulent form of breast cancer, she feared for her future. Two years on, she is the symbol of a biotechnological success that promises to change for ever our treatment of disease." | New cancer treatments offer hope of longer life (Jo Revill, The Observer)

"KwaZulu farmers boosted by GM cotton" - "The first genetically-modified crop to be grown commercially in sub-Saharan Africa has proven a great success, scientists have told New Scientist.

The GM cotton boosted the yields of black farmers in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province by between 50 and 89 per cent compared to its conventional counterpart, the researchers found. The yield per kilogramme of seed was even higher, with increases up to 129 per cent, as fewer seeds are needed for the GM variety. In addition, labour and pesticide poisonings were reduced.

"This was the first study in sub-Saharan Africa. It's not trial data, it's real farm data," says Stephen Morse, at the University of Reading, UK. "We were not expecting differences as big as this. The farmers were glowing, they were very happy." (NewScientist.com news service)

"EU: BAN ON GM CROPS WOULD VIOLATE FARMERS' LIBERTY" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 7, 2003 - There is little justification for European Union legislation to govern management of genetically modified crops, the European Commission said today in a communication on the "coexistence" of genetically modified crops with conventional and organic farming. This conclusion will be hard fought by Europe's environmental movement, which could have the backing of several governments." (ENS)

"Fury over spin on GM crops" - "A furious row has broken out between scientists and the Government over claims that Ministers have already decided to introduce genetically modified crops into Britain's countryside within the next 12 months. Scientists and advisors close to the study into whether GM crops should be commercialised in the UK have told The Observer of increasing fears that Ministers have embarked on a sophisticated campaign of manipulation designed to railroad Britons into accepting GM products." (The Observer)

March 7, 2003

"Nevada Cancer Scare Is Tree-Ring Circus" - "Public health officials know better than to fret over reports of higher cancer rates in particular geographic locations. Such "cancer clusters" virtually always turn out to be the result of pure chance. But that hasn’t stopped others from whipping up worry over a leukemia cluster in the small town of Fallon, Nev." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Researcher wants DDT reintroduced in malaria war" - "Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) director Davy Koech wants local medical authorities to consider reintroducing the DDT pesticide to fight malaria. Dr Koech said any drug that could reduce malaria deaths by 80 per cent should be "given another thought." Scientists could employ the latest technology and available data and address the environmental concerns raised by those against its use instead of condemning it wholesale, the Kemri boss added." (Daily Nation)

"High calorie intake tied to prostate cancer risk" - "NEW YORK - Men who take in lots of calories, regardless of what foods they eat or their body weight, may be more likely to develop prostate cancer, study findings suggest. Among 444 middle-aged and older men, those who reported the biggest calorie intake had a nearly four-fold higher chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, versus men who consumed the fewest calories. The results are based on a fairly small number of men with the disease; 46 had been diagnosed with prostate cancer before reporting their dietary habits, while 22 were diagnosed after. Still, researchers report in the journal Urology, the findings support the theory that a high-calorie lifestyle is associated with higher odds of prostate cancer." (Reuters Health)

"Money and happiness" - "When God died, GDP took over and economists became the new high priests. That has been the story of the last century, with prophets from Hayek to Keynes. The "dismal science" - economics - rules our lives and politics. So when one of the wizards of economics breaks ranks spectacularly and rips away the curtain of his own profession's mystique, it is time to take notice.

Lord (Richard) Layard, the LSE's director of the centre for economic performance, has this week delivered three startling lectures which question the supremacy of economics. It doesn't work. Economies grow, GDP swells, but once above abject poverty, it makes no difference to citizens' well-being. What is all this extra money for if it is now proved beyond doubt not to deliver greater happiness, nationally or individually? Happiness has not risen in western nations in the last 50 years, despite massive increases in wealth." (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian)

The 'logic' of this is quite extraordinary. People who succeed, who accumulate wealth, are not "more happy" than the collective unhappiness induced by the envy felt by the idle or incompetent unsuccessful - underachieving is apparently the fault of achievers. And the answer to this unhappy state of affairs? Take from the doers and give to the slackers, if I read this correctly:

"Rivalry in income makes those left behind more miserable that it confers extra happiness on the winners. In which case, he suggests, the winners deserve to be taxed more on the "polluter pays" principle: the rich are causing measurable unhappiness by getting out too far ahead of the rest, without doing themselves much good."

Sorry Polly, but achievement disincentives really are an air-headed watermelon aspiration.

People who put in the hard yards, who strive 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, to establish their businesses or make themselves so much more valuable to the enterprises that employ them, actually deserve a great deal more than those who merely clock their time, never extending themselves and always demanding more - and usually providing less.

Those who excel tend to do more than they get paid for (and sometimes get paid for more than they do by way of reward) but those who demand payment for more than they do are worth, well, bugger all actually.

Since when was say, toilet cleaning, worth the same hourly rate as that of executives responsible for the entire enterprise, all its employees and the mom & pop shareholders whose retirement nest egg depends on the enterprise turning a profit and actually increasing in value?

Why should the profits of risk-takers, often utilised in funding high-risk but only potentially high-profit ventures of aspirant achievers, be frittered away through distribution to deadbeats and under-achievers who couldn't be bothered doing anything for themselves?

Those who achieve are not to be penalised and certainly not to be despised for providing encouragement, leadership and incentive for the general populace surely? That is, however, the impression given by watermelons who want to reduce the world to a race to the bottom of minimal achievement. Should people aspire to achieve more, or less? According to Polly Toynbee, the lesser achievement is greater and aspiring to more is less. That would seem to be a fairly accurate description of the "green-on-the-outside-red-on-the-inside" philosophy of the left.

"Record cold may freeze over Lake Superior" - "THUNDER BAY - Record-breaking cold weather may freeze the entire surface of Lake Superior for the first time since 1979. The U.S. National Ice Center says 90 per cent of the lake is covered in ice. It's the greatest ice cover since 1996-1997. Lake Superior is by far the largest and deepest of the five Great Lakes. The much-shallower lakes Huron and Erie are already completely under ice-cover. The ice conditions have delayed the opening of the shipping season on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Welland Canal, Lake Ontario and Montreal sections will open March 31, six days later than scheduled." (CBC News)

Nah, don' tell me, lemme guess - this is the fault of human-induced global warming, right? And it's probably the 3rd warmest winter since, um... propeller hats were invented or something?

"Cold and Calculating" - "The entire northern hemisphere was recently hit by a cold snap that had many people longing for the good old days of global warming." (Paul Georgia, TCS)

"U. of Colorado researchers propose answer to basic atmospheric chemistry question" - "Scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder have proposed a long-sought answer to how atmospheric sulfate aerosols are formed in the stratosphere. The research shows how a fundamental molecular process driven by sunlight may play a significant role in determining the planet's energy budget." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Climate changes may increase extreme rain/snow events in California" - "Increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may lead to a rise in the number of annual extreme precipitation events in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which in turn could increase the frequency of flooding in California, a NASA-funded study finds." (NASA/GSFC)

"Antarctic Glaciers Surged After 1995 Ice-Shelf Collapse" - "When a huge floating shelf of ice hinged to the northern end of the Antarctic Peninsula disintegrated in January 1995, several glaciers that were backed up into it surged towards the sea, according to a pair of Argentinean researchers. The discovery marks the first positive evidence that glacial surge follows an ice shelf collapse. It may lead scientists to revive the previously discarded theory that ice shelves acts as dams that prevent inland glaciers from slipping into the seas." (National Geographic News)

"Study of Antarctic Points to Rising Sea Levels" - "New evidence from a rapidly warming part of Antarctica suggests that ice can flow into the sea much more readily than had been predicted." (New York Times)

"White House announces intent to build world's first zero-emissions power plant" - "Dr. Klaus Lackner, long-time advocate and designer of zero-emissions power plants, calls for an even larger and more sustainable path to providing affordable energy with zero-emissions." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Study finds hybrid cars greener than hydrogen cars" - "NEW YORK — Hybrid cars, which combine electric motors with small petroleum engines, will outpace the environmental benefits of hydrogen fuel cell cars until at least 2020, according to a university study. Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have low emissions and energy use on the road, but converting a hydrocarbon fuel such as natural gas or gasoline into hydrogen to fuel such vehicles uses substantial energy and emits greenhouse gases, the study said." (Reuters)

"EU, U.S. to Work on Alternative Fuels" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium - U.S. and European Union officials agreed Thursday to step up joint research on hydrogen fuel cell technology to reduce their dependence on foreign oil — a need highlighted by rocketing prices over supply fears in case of war in Iraq." (AP)

"Germany mulls cap in green power fees, regulator" - "FRANKFURT - German ministries will hold talks to seek a compromise on capping renewable energy subsidies paid by energy-intensive firms, which could pave the way to appoint a regulator for the German power market." (Reuters)

"Lobby groups say UK food watchdog favours biotech" - "LONDON - Several green organisations, joined by the powerful Women's Institute and a major trade union, this week accused Britain's Food Standards Agency of bias in favour of genetically modified (GM) food. "There is a strong consensus amongst consumer and environment organisations that the published views and statements of the FSA and its Chair (Sir John Krebs) are indistinguishable from those of the pro-GM lobby...," the groups said in a letter to the board of the UK's food watchdog." (Reuters)

Could it be because there's no sound scientific argument supporting the anti-GM lobby?

"Stricter Rules for Modified Crops" - "The Agriculture Department has announced stricter rules for crops that are genetically modified to produce pharmaceuticals or industrial chemicals." (New York Times)

March 6, 2003

"European study links food irradiation to cancer" - "05/03/03 - Chemical byproducts found in irradiated ground beef and many other foods 'treated' with radiation may increase the risks of colon cancer and DNA damage in people who eat these foods, according to new studies conducted in Europe.

Based on this evidence, the consumer groups Public Citizen and the Center for Food Safety have filed formal comments urging the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to deny five pending requests to irradiate additional food types, including "ready-to-eat" foods - such as packaged deli meats, frozen meals and snack foods - which currently comprise more than a third of the typical American's diet. The FDA is also considering legalising irradiation for shellfish and several other food classes." (FoodNavigator.com)

"Mad Cow Madness" - "Since the early nineties, British scientists have been awaiting a cataclysm. They theorized that "Mad Cow Disease," bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) had crossed the barrier that seemed to exist between species and had infected humans as a disease known as vCJD. If their theory was correct, it was only a matter of time before thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of Britons started dying from the disease. If ever there was anything that demonstrated the need for scientific precaution, they argued, this was it. The British taxpayer spent millions on remedial action. Even the American Red Cross decided to restrict who could give blood in a time of shortage based on the precautionary principle. Yet the entire sorry story of Mad Cow Disease seems best to demonstrate the dangers, rather than the benefits, of that principle." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"New study finds overweight linked to poor community environment" - "People who live in unsafe neighborhoods that lack outdoor recreation facilities are more likely to be overweight, according to new research by Saint Louis University School of Public Health and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The findings are in this month's issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion." (Saint Louis University)

"Simple safe-water system is cutting diarrheal disease in developing countries" - "WASHINGTON — For a few cents each month, families in poor countries are purifying drinking water by using diluted bleach and germ-resistant jugs as part of a program that is cutting in half the deadly cases of waterborne diarrheal diseases, U.S. health officials said Wednesday." (Associated Press)

Maybe it's because elements have atomic numbers or perhaps there's just some significance attached to the number 17 - I don't know but poor old chlorine (atomic number: 17) is certainly despised by so-called environmentalists. Then again, perhaps it's due to this wonderful element's value to humans, performing every service from rendering drinking water safe to facilitating much of our chemical and manufacturing industry.

"Military Seeks Exemptions on Harming Environment" - "WASHINGTON, March 5 — The Defense Department is asking for broad exemptions from environmental regulations in an expanded version of a bill that was defeated last year in the Senate.

The proposed legislation, introduced today by the White House, would give the military more discretion in activities that affect marine mammals and endangered species. In particular, the military is asking for exemptions from sections from the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which officials said would give needed flexibility to sonar and underwater bombing exercises." (New York Times)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT February 24, 2003 Vol. 4, No.4" - "It seems that each recent Washington, DC winter brings interesting weather to the Nation’s Capital and that every bit of interesting weather generates inevitable attribution to an enhanced greenhouse effect. Whether the winter is unusually warm, dry, wet, or cold – icy or snow-filled, or just plain wonderful – someone, somewhere trumpets “global warming” as its cause. What used to be considered “the hand of God” now is attributed to humankind’s misdeeds with regard to use of fossil fuels and driving of SUVs.

What might analysis of actual weather measurements by observers in or near downtown Washington since the late 1800s lead a reasonable person to conclude? Surely it should be easy to discern evidence in such a long historical record of how humans have altered the DC climate in a way that makes life more miserable." (GES)

"NASA-funded research looking at El Niño events to forecast western US snowfall" - "A NASA-funded study uses a computer model to understand an observed link between winter and spring snowfall in the Western U.S. and El Nino Southern Oscillation. Almost 75 to 85 percent of water resources in the Western U.S comes from snow that accumulates in the winter and early spring and melts as runoff in spring and summer. Understanding this connection and using it to predict future snowfall rates would greatly help both citizens and policy makers." (NASA/GSFC)

"Changes in the Earth's rotation are in the wind" - "Because of Earth's dynamic climate, winds and atmospheric pressure systems experience constant change. These fluctuations may affect how our planet rotates on its axis, according to NASA-funded research that used wind and satellite data." (NASA/GSFC)

"Global Warming Freezing Out Reindeers" - "LONDON - Reindeers, caribou and elks could be the latest victims of climate change. Increased rainfall on snow-covered pastures is causing ice crusts to form over the soil which make it difficult for animals living in permafrost areas such as Scandinavia, Siberia and Alaska to feed." (Reuters)

"CANADA: Harvest threatened by ongoing winter" - "Ontario's wine industry is bracing for a significant drop in harvest volumes this year after the coldest winter in nine years threatened to destroy large parts of the crop. According to reports in the country's press, Merlot is most seriously affected. Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc Pinot Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also under threat." (just-drinks.com)

"EU officials head for Moscow to urge action on ratifying Kyoto accord" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Union environmental officials traveled to Moscow Wednesday to encourage Russia to follow through on its pledge to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change. "The world is waiting for Russia to demonstrate that it is ready and willing to become a major player in the multilateral efforts to combat climate change," said EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom. "I trust that Russia will live up to its responsibilities and political commitments." (AP)

"Study doubts efficacy of emissions trading scheme" - "A study has cast doubt on the effectiveness of a pioneering greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme, which has been backed by £215m of government incentives. The emissions trading scheme allows companies to buy and sell emission allowances and is an important part of the government's climate change programme. But estimates of the emissions cuts that it will achieve may be too optimistic, according to Enviros, the consulting group. The survey showed that a "substantial proportion" of the 34 companies that volunteered for the scheme had been reducing their emissions anyway, as a result of declining business activity. It suggests that some of the expected cuts from the scheme will be "hot air", because they would have occurred anyway." (Financial Times)

"Wind's energy transfer to ocean quantified for first time" - "Scientists have finally been able to field-test theories about how wind transfers energy to ocean waves, a topic of debate since the 19th century that had previously proved impossible to settle experimentally." (Johns Hopkins University)

"UK power plants under threat as pollution laws bite" - "LONDON - Britain's coal-fired power stations, starved of cash by slumping electricity prices, face a deepening crisis as anti-pollution laws force them to spend millions on cutting greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Coal mine methane fails to ignite UK energy policy" - "LONDON - British pioneers of coal mine methane say by generating power from the potent greenhouse gas as it seeps from abandoned mines they could help the UK reach tough targets for cutting emissions. But they are battling against record-low power prices with no help from the government, which says coal mine methane (CMM) is not a renewable energy source." (Reuters)

"California Offers Change in Car Rules" - "SACRAMENTO, March 5 — California is seeking to compromise with automakers by dropping a requirement that they sell electric cars, the state's latest attempt to persuade carmakers to end their opposition to the program. The California Air Resources Board outlined proposed changes to the zero-emission vehicle program today that would let companies sell more gasoline-electric hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell autos instead of battery-powered cars starting with 2005 models, a spokesman, Dimitri Stanich, said." (New York Times)

"Are SUVs too dangerous for the road?" - "Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) may be popular in the US, but the US government's road safety chief has said that some SUVs are too dangerous - being prone to roll over in accidents - and is urgently calling for technologies to make them safer. So why is President Bush trying to encourage people to buy even more of these controversial vehicles?" (New Scientist)

"UN warns of future water crisis" - "The world's water crisis is so severe it could take almost 30 years to eradicate hunger, the United Nations says. It believes the goal of halving the proportion of hungry people by 2015 may be unattainable. By 2020, the average water supply per person worldwide is expected be a third smaller than now. The UN says political inaction and a lack of awareness are worsening the crisis." (BBC News Online)

"Pharmaceutical Crops Guidelines Expected" - "WASHINGTON - The Agriculture Department is expected to issue new guidelines this week restricting how biotech companies plant and harvest crops genetically modified to produce medicine, according to a department official." (Associated Press)

"Consumer groups to sue USDA on medicine crops" - "WASHINGTON - A coalition of U.S. environmental and consumer groups on Wednesday threatened to sue the U.S. Agriculture Department unless it temporarily halts planting of biotech crops engineered to produce medicinal and industrial products. At issue is the worry that some new kinds of bioengineered crops could inadvertently contaminate corn, soybeans and other nearby crops grown for human and livestock food. A coalition of 11 groups, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Center for Food Safety, accused the USDA of allowing the experimental crops to be planted without conducting required environmental risk assessments." (Reuters)

"EU Tables First Ideas on Crop Contamination Debate" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's farmers will soon see clear legal guidelines on how to grow genetically modified (GM) crops alongside traditional plants and still control the risk of cross-contamination, the European Commission said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

March 5, 2003

Chewin' the fat: "Michael Fumento’s March article Big Fat Fake is an exercise in vitriol rather than sound journalism" (Gary Taubes, Reason)

Michael Fumento's article "Big Fat Fake" in the March issue of Reason led Gary Taubes to make the linked response. Taubes is the author of the New York Times Magazine story "What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?," which Fumento examined in his Reason story. To read Fumento's reply to Taubes, click here."

"Europe Hacker Laws Could Make Protest a Crime" - "BRUSSELS, March 4 — The justice ministers of the European Union have agreed on laws intended to deter computer hacking and the spreading of computer viruses. But legal experts say the new measures could pose problems because the language could also outlaw people who organize protests online, as happened recently, en masse, with protests against a war in Iraq.

The agreement, reached last week, obliges all 15 member states to adopt a new criminal offense: illegal access to, and illegal interference with an information system. It calls on national courts to impose jail terms of at least two years in serious cases.

Critics from the legal profession say the agreement makes no legal distinction between an online protester and terrorists, hackers and spreaders of computer viruses that the new laws are intended to trap." (New York Times)

"GreenWar" - "Why does Greenpeace coddle the worst polluter the world has ever seen?" (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Judge's Ruling Protecting Habitat of Fish Could Set Back Several Projects" - "In a decision that could affect Southern California flood control, drinking water and sewage treatment projects, a federal judge has ruled that critical habitat must be set aside for the endangered Santa Ana sucker. San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge Susan Illston gave the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service a year to designate protected habitat for the fish. She also ruled that during that time, the agency cannot issue any permits for activity that would potentially harm the fish. That provision delighted environmentalists, but others said it could halt a variety of projects, including some designed to protect the fish." (Los Angeles Times)

"Marketing 'cool' lifestyles key to selling clean and green products" - "NAIROBI, Kenya — The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is enlisting psychologists and human behaviorists in a pioneering new initiative to save the planet. Experts believe that the traditional messages from governments and green groups, urging the public to adopt environmentally friendly lifestyles and purchasing habitats, need to be overhauled. There is concern that many of these messages are too "guilt-laden" and disapproving, and instead of "turning people on" to the environment, they are switching them off." (GreenBiz.com)

It's not the presentation of the message that's wrong but rather the message itself and people are finally realising that the misanthropic natur über alles mantra is a crock. Clean air, clean water and nice cities are a byproduct of wealth generation and the path to "saving" more of the planet in parklike condition is to assist poorer populations to generate the necessary wealth that makes such luxuries affordable - i.e., modernisation and development.

The single greatest step that could be taken to save wildlands and wildlife habitat would be to ban low-productivity farming - "organic," in other words, since it has far too great an ecological footprint for the meagre product return. Save the planet, save wildlife, insist on biotech-enhanced or high-intensity ("factory") farm product. [Howls of outrage from anti-technology/misanthropy crowd should be directed to coordinator@altgreen.com.au]

"Defense of the Draft" - "The Bush administration has proposed a common-sense review of the nation's climate research, one that could lead to a course correction for directing an area of scientific inquiry that has benefited from an infusion of over $20 billion in funding in the last ten years. Considerable progress has already been made toward understanding the complex system of climate change, but more remains to be done to eliminate critical gaps in our knowledge.

The administration issued a draft outline analyzing and proposing changes to the Climate Change Science Program and welcomed all stakeholders - from scientists to the public - to discuss the future of climate research. The process is intended to determine what areas of climate research are in need of greater funding and support.

The National Research Council organized a panel to review the draft. The panel was critical of the draft, but rather than clarify the existing state of climate science and research, the panel's members muddied the waters." (Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, TCS)

"Determining the Growth Response of Trees to Elevated CO2: The Need for Long-Term Experiments" - "Summary: How long must one run an experiment to determine the ultimate equilibrium response of long-lived woody plants to atmospheric CO2 enrichment? A month? A year? A decade?" (co2science.org)

"Subject Index Summary: Storms (North America)" - "Summary: Are storms in North America behaving as climate models say they should, i.e., becoming more frequent and more intense in response to the warming of the past century?" (co2science.org)

"Carbon Sequestration Commentary: Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Soils: A Comprehensive Review of Free-Air CO2 Enrichment Studies" - "Summary: As the air's CO2 content rises, it is our contention that progressively more organic matter will be stored in the ground beneath each unit area of the vegetated portion of the planet, due to the enhanced plant growth provided by the aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment. We here report the results of a major review of this subject that looks at free-air CO2 enrichment studies of agricultural soils." (co2science.org)

"Polar Amplification of Global Warming" - "Summary: It is one of the most fundamental of climate model predictions; yet it is found to be pure fiction in the world of nature. Geophysical Research Letters 29: 10.1029/2001GL011111." (co2science.org)

"Nutrient-Rich Subarctic Water Invades California Current" - "Summary: Is this phenomenon a harbinger of the Pacific regime shift from El Viejo to La Vieja conditions presaged by the study of Chavez et al. (2003), which we discussed in a Journal Review entitled Cooling on the Horizon? Geophysical Research Letters 30: 10.1029/2002GL016663" (co2science.org)

"The Climate of the Past Millennium" - "Summary: Do proxy climate records of the past thousand years reveal anything unusual about 20th century warming, which climate alarmists claim to have been "unprecedented" within that time span? Climate Research 23: 89-110." (co2science.org)

"Effects of Climate Change on Marine Biodiversity" - "Summary: How many coastal marine species will be driven to extinction by predicted global warming? How about none of them? Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 82: 847-850." (co2science.org)

"Net Primary Productivity of North America's Vegetation Rises Substantially from 1982 to 1998" - "Summary: Do the results provide evidence for the aerial fertilization effect of the increase in the air's CO2 content over that period? Global Biogeochemical Cycles 16: 10.1029/2001GB001550." (co2science.org)

"Flight of fancy" - "Last week, Tony Blair proposed that Britain cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050. John Vidal asks whether this is possible while airport expansion continues unhindered." (The Guardian)

"Scientists find mounting environmental, social, economic effects from oil drilling in Alaska" - "WASHINGTON — Oil drilling on Alaska's North Slope over 35 years has disturbed some endangered species and made whaling harder, but it has not caused significant oil spills or a large decline in caribou, a panel said Tuesday. Oil from the North Slope, primarily around Prudhoe Bay, still accounts for 15 percent of the nation's total production despite reduced output in recent years. The National Academy of Sciences panel said in a report requested by Congress that development of the reserve since 1968 has produced large social and economic effects — some positive, such as better schools and health care, and some negative, like increased diabetes and alcoholism." (Associated Press)

"GM and Shell to unveil hydrogen fuel pump" - "General Motors and Shell, the Anglo-Dutch energy group, will on Wednesday unveil plans for the first hydrogen fuel pump at a US retail petrol station. The facility, to be based in Washington DC, would allow the refilling of six demonstration fuel cell vehicles built by GM. Its location is aimed in part at familiarising federal policymakers with fuel cell vehicles." (Financial Times)

"Ontarians warned to cut back on hydro use" - "TORONTO - The province of Ontario plunged perilously close to a power shortage yesterday after record cold temperatures collided with artificially cheap electricity, forcing the agency overseeing the hydro industry to urge immediate conservation." (National Post)

"NZ govt to back wind farms with carbon credits" - "WELLINGTON - The New Zealand government said yesterday it will support the development of two proposed wind farms by giving them Kyoto Protocol climate change credits for the clean energy they will produce." (Reuters)

"Wind-power bodies say 2002 global use grew 28 pct" - "COPENHAGEN - Global installed wind-power capacity grew in 2002 by 28 percent, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said this week in a joint statement." (Reuters)

"World will be better fed by 2030 but hunger reduction will miss goal – UN report" - "4 March – The world's population will be better fed by 2030 and growth in food production will be higher than population growth, but hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will remain chronically hungry and the goal of halving the number of hungry by 2015 will not even be met by 2030, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.

"By the year 2015/2030 per capita food supplies will have increased and the incidence of undernourishment will have been further reduced in most developing regions,” FAO Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf writes in his foreword to “World agriculture: towards 2015/2030.” The Agency’s latest global assessment of the long-term outlook issued at its headquarters in Rome." (UN News)

"Staying Organic" - "If it weren't so dangerous, the chicken fight going on in Congress would be laughable. Representative Nathan Deal, a Georgia Republican, slipped a paragraph into a $397 billion spending bill that would allow farmers to give livestock nonorganic feed but call their meat, eggs and milk "organic" anyway. That would clearly violate the new United States Department of Agriculture standard. Specifically, the provision, which was suggested by a Georgia chicken farm that contributed to Mr. Deal's campaign, prohibits the government from requiring that organic livestock producers use organic feed." (New York Times editorial)

"Green Party should check its facts" - "The Green Party should check what it thinks are the facts before it starts quoting the statements of people who do not share its philosophy on gene technology, the Director of the University of California Biotechnology programme, Professor Martina Newell-McGloughlin, said today. “I am offended that New Zealand Green Party politicians should quote me incorrectly and selectively about bio-pharming." (Press Release)

"Australia state ban on GM canola to cost mkts - govt" - "CANBERRA - A ban on growing genetically modified canola in New South Wales state would harm Australia in competitive world markets, Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Germany To Loosen Rules on Genetically-Modified Products" - "In a major policy shift, the German government says it plans to open its markets to genetically-modified products and will support the lifting of the Europe-wide ban on GM food imports." (Deutsche Welle)

"EU Ban on Gene Modified Food Continues to October" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's unofficial ban on most genetically modified (GM) foods will remain at least until October, EU officials said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Green groups say EU plan would hurt non-GM farmers" - "BRUSSELS - Environmental groups this week condemned a European Commission proposal which they said force organic and traditional farmers to pay to prevent their crops from mixing with genetically modified organisms." (Reuters)

March 4, 2003

Still terrified of rubber duckies: "New Questions About Common Chemicals" - "Environmental and health groups are pushing to restrict the use of phthalates - compounds used in cosmetics, toys and medical devices" (David Kohn, Newsday)

But, For The Children™ "Government moving to protect infants and toddlers from environmental risks" - "WASHINGTON — Babies and toddlers have a 10 times greater cancer risk than adults when exposed to certain gene-damaging chemicals, the government said Monday, in proposing tougher environmental guidelines that would take into account the greater hazards to the very young." (Associated Press)

Meanwhile: "Brussels softens plans to track chemicals" - "The European Commission is planning to tone down legislative proposals to register thousands of chemicals for health and environmental reasons, after industry warned the measures could cost billions of euros and millions of jobs. But while welcoming the concessions, which would take account of how certain chemicals are used, European companies are still far from satisfied." (Financial Times)

"The Netherlands Rescinds Flame Retardant Ban" - "AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, March 3, 2003 - The Netherlands is lifting an emergency prohibition imposed 12 months ago on a brominated flame retardant, the environment ministry said on Friday. Even as it announced the decision of Environment Minister Pieter Van Geel that "the temporary ban of the production, trade and use of the flame retardant FR-720 shall not be prolonged," the Dutch environment ministry denied any change in policy." (ENS)

"Do vaccines cause asthma, allergies or other chronic diseases?" - "Large scientific studies do not support claims that vaccines may cause chronic diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis or arthritis. A nationally prominent vaccine expert reviews these studies and identifies flaws in proposed biological explanations of how vaccines could cause allergic or autoimmune diseases." (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

"Malarial Treatment for Chinese AIDS Patients Prompts Inquiry in U.S." - "The University of California at Los Angeles is investigating whether two of its researchers aided experiments in China in which H.I.V. patients were deliberately injected with malaria in an effort to kill the AIDS virus." (New York Times)

Even wannabe losers are winners? "Losing weight-or even just trying-boosts survival" - "NEW YORK - Overweight and obese people who try to lose weight may live longer than people who do not try to shed excess pounds, according to a new study, which also found that people who tried but failed to trim down were less likely to die than those who made no attempt. It may seem like a no-brainer that people who are carrying around extra pounds can prolong their lives by slimming down, but the scientific evidence is not so straightforward, according to the lead author of the study." (Reuters Health)

Maybe this is why: "Obese people more likely to die in car crashes" - "Heavier people are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in car accidents than lighter people, according to new research. That could mean car designers will have to build in new safety features to compensate for the extra hazards facing overweight passengers. In the US, car manufacturers have already had to redesign air bags so they inflate to lower pressures, making them less of a danger to smaller women and children. But no one yet knows what it is that puts overweight passengers at extra risk." (New Scientist)

Here's a worry, EAs undergoing a reality check: "Activists call recycling trash waste of time" - "A group of Swedish environmentalists -- convinced that recycling is a colossal waste of time and money -- is urging people to toss their blue boxes in the garbage. To the chagrin of fellow environmentalists in Canada and across the globe, the group said burning cardboard, plastics and other household trash is actually much better for the planet than any recycling program has turned out to be. In fact, the group contends the so-called benefits of recycling are all but nullified by the environmental damage associated with hauling the waste to and from the recycling facilities. Coupled with the overwhelming cost of collecting, sorting and reprocessing the material, the group is convinced that decades-old recycling initiatives are nothing short of a complete failure." (National Post)

"People Before Animals, UK's Short Tells Meeting" - "LONDON - Environmental experts must not focus on animals at the expense of people, Britain's outspoken International Development Secretary Clare Short said on Monday. Short was speaking to developed and developing world environmentalists meeting in London to discuss how promoting biodiversity fits in with the U.N.'s "Millennium Development Goals," for relieving world poverty. "People who care for nature and biodiversity have to care for humanity ... and focusing on the animals without the people is morally disgusting," Short said." (Reuters)

"Call for protection as auditors quit UK animal lab" - "LONDON - Britain's pharmaceuticals industry called for more legal protection on Monday after auditors to a leading drug-testing laboratory quit in the face of violent protests by animal rights activists. Deloitte & Touche announced at the weekend it would not stand for re-election as auditor of Huntingdon Life Sciences. The move follows harassment and violence towards its directors and staff. "This type of intimidation by animal extremists is entirely unacceptable," said Andrew Curl, deputy director general of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. "It is clearly time for a tightening of legislation to protect people and companies from the often violent and extreme activities of animal rights activists." (Reuters)

From schizophrenic Britain: "£60m aid for coal industry" - "The coal industry is to receive a £60m aid package from the government to stem further deep mine closures and safeguard jobs, Brian Wilson, energy minister, announced yesterday.

The money, to be spread over three years, will be available only to pits that have an economic future. Analysts said the package might help to save pits at Maltby and Harworth in South Yorkshire and at Ellington in Northumberland, but was unlikely to to stop UK Coal, the industry's biggest producer, closing four pits, with the loss of 2,000 jobs, at the Selby coalfield in Yorkshire." (Financial Times) [Complete]

While trying to kill coal (Kyoto and beyond), the Blair government is ... subsidising coal. Go figure!

"Organically grown foods higher in cancer-fighting chemicals than conventionally grown foods" - "Fruits and veggies grown organically show significantly higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventionally grown foods, according to a new study of corn, strawberries and marionberries. The research suggests that pesticides and herbicides actually thwart the production of phenolics — chemicals that act as a plant's natural defense and also happen to be good for our health." (American Chemical Society)

"FEATURE - Monsanto courts farmers on gene-altered wheat" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - When leaders of the U.S. wheat industry gathered for a recent conference in New Mexico, they toasted their partnership with Monsanto Co., developer of the world's first genetically engineered wheat." (Reuters)

"Australia state NSW vows 3-yr ban on GM food crops" - "SYDNEY - The Labor government of Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), vowed yesterday to impose a three-year ban on the commercial release of genetically modified food crops if it was re-elected this month. Premier Bob Carr said this would make NSW the second of Australia's six states to propose such laws following South Australia's lead, while Tasmania and Western Australia are considering declaring their entire states to be GM free." (Reuters)

"Japan Approves GM Varieties for Food" - "Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW), which is responsible for granting food safety approvals for biotech products, had approved 44 genetically modified varieties for food use, according to a USDA report. Legislation was introduced in 2000 to prevent the import of products for food use which contain GM varieties which are not yet approved in Japan.

To enforce this legislation, MHLW routinely samples and tests imported foodstuffs at ports of entry. Their testing has focused on biotech products which are in commercial production abroad but not yet approved in Japan. Foods found to contain unapproved GM varieties must be re-exported, destroyed or diverted to non-food use.

As a result of this testing and tests of retail food products by local government authorities, one unapproved GM variety of potatoes, two instances of unapproved papayas, and one incident of StarLink corn commingled with food-use corn have been discovered." (AgricultureLaw.com)

"Biotech companies try again to crack European market, but resistance remains" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium — Taking the European Union at its word that the biotech ban is about to end, seed companies like Monsanto and Bayer CropScience are testing the waters by submitting new applications for genetically modified corn, cotton, canola, and other plants. But prospects are murky. Even as some E.U. countries signal the 5-year-old moratorium — something Washington is threatening to challenge at the World Trade Organization — could be over in "a few months," others are raising new objections." (Associated Press)

"GM licensing gets go ahead" - "Government plans to press ahead with licensing commercial use of genetically modified crops, before the results of trials are known and a public debate on the issue has been held, yesterday angered both the Scottish executive and the Welsh assembly.

Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, has decided that 18 applications to the EU for growing and importing crops such as GM maize, oil seed rape, sugar beet and cotton are unstoppable and the British government has no alternative but to process them. In the past few weeks Bayer has applied directly to Mrs Beckett to plant and market GM oil seed rape, and Monsanto has applied to import GM maize." (The Guardian)

March 3, 2003

"UK: McDonald's picks fruit to meet changing consumer tastes" - "McDonald's, the burger chain, has bowed to changing consumer tastes and health concerns by introducing sliced fruit into its UK menus.

From next month, customers at its fast food outlets will be able to order a 59p bag of apple slices and seedless red grapes. The US company said the 80g servings would be equivalent to one of the "five-a-day" portions of fruit and vegetables recommended by the government. It will be possible to order the fruit bags as part of a "Happy Meal" instead of fries. No-added-sugar drinks will also be offered.

McDonald's has faced litigation in the US this year from teenagers seeking to blame the company for their obesity, raising the spectre of widespread lawsuits. However, it has also had to face the commercial reality that many consumers are becoming fussier about their fast food, favouring new and healthier products." (Financial Times)

"Study disputes welding, miscarriage link" - "FOZ DO IGUAÇU, Brazil - A new study by a Danish research team contradicts findings by the same researchers released in 2000 that suggested the partners of men exposed to welding fumes were more likely to have miscarriages.

Dr. Niels Hjollund and colleagues from the Aarhus and Copenhagen University hospitals presented their findings here Thursday at the 27th International Congress of Occupational Health. The researchers were unable to find any connection between miscarriages in test-tube or in-vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancies and paternal exposure to stainless steel welding." (Reuters Health)

"Campaigners force auditors to quit animal testing firm" - "Opponents of Huntingdon Life Sciences, the animal testing firm, have succeeded in forcing Deloitte & Touche to quit as auditors to the company, after a campaign of harassment and intimidation directed against Deloitte employees. A statement released last night by the firm's senior UK partner said that, having completed the audit for 2002, Deloittes will "not be offering ourselves for re-election" as the company's auditors. Deloitte & Touche has made no further comment on the move, but it is understood to be the direct result of a Europe-wide campaign by opponents of animal testing against the auditor's employees in Britain and abroad that began earlier this month." (The Guardian)

"CLIMATE CHANGE: Researchers Say U.K. Risks Missing Emissions Targets" - "Casting doubt on British Prime Minister Tony Blair's pledge Monday that the United Kingdom will go beyond Kyoto Protocol requirements by seeking to cut greenhouse gas emissions 60 percent by 2050, Cambridge Econometrics released a study today indicating the country is unlikely to meet its existing targets for cuts." (Un Wire)

From the NYT Center for Global Warming Hysteria: "Rebuked on Global Warming" - "Nothing so far has shamed President Bush into adopting a more aggressive policy toward the threat of global warming. He has been denounced by mainstream scientists, deserted by his progressive friends in industry and sued by seven states. Still he clings stubbornly to a voluntary policy aimed at merely slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, despite an overwhelming body of evidence that only binding targets and a firm timetable will do the job." (New York Times editorial)

"Cowabunga! Cutting cattle flatulence to save the planet" - "In the war against global warming, bovine and ovine flatulence does not immediately spring to mind as an obvious battlefront. But sheep and cows are responsible for a quarter of the UK's methane emissions." (The Guardian)

"Shell and Nuon in first European emissions trade" - "LONDON - Shell Trading and Dutch firm Nuon Energy Trade and Wholesale have done the first trade in carbon dioxide emissions rights to be allocated under Europe's planned emissions trading scheme, Shell said." (Reuters)

"A Wind Power Plan Stirs Debate in Massachusetts" - "BOSTON — NEW ENGLAND does not lack for wind. Stiff ocean breezes whip over the coastline. Rolling hills act as natural wind tunnels. So it is not surprising that companies interested in using wind as an energy source should be looking at New England's shores. At the moment, nearly a dozen wind-power projects are being considered in the region, but many face strong opposition from a variety of groups, especially those projects proposed for the scenic Massachusetts coast, near Cape Cod.

The proposal that is farthest along would create the nation's first offshore "wind farm," in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind Associates, a Boston company, recently scaled down its original proposal, somewhat, from 170 wind turbines to 130. But the $700 million project is still stirring opposition among groups ranging from fishermen and tourism interests to property owners and some environmental organizations." (New York Times)

"Brown faces green pressure" - "Gordon Brown is coming under pressure to announce new environmental taxes and allowances in his Budget later this month to help the government meet its ambitious energy efficiency targets." (The Guardian)

"How green are the valleys - for now?" - "Oliver Morgan reports on the political power plays behind last week's 'environment-friendly' energy White Paper" (The Observer)

"Does Democracy Avert Famine?" - "Few scholars have left more of a mark on the field of development economics than Amartya Sen.

The winner of the 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, Mr. Sen has changed the way economists think about such issues as collective decision-making, welfare economics and measuring poverty. He has pioneered the use of economic tools to highlight gender inequality, and he helped the United Nations devise its Human Development Index — today the most widely used measure of how well nations meet basic social needs.

More than anything, though, Mr. Sen is known for his work on famine." (New York Times)

I freely admit I didn't get very far with this article (first mention of Vandana Shiva is sufficient to have me jettison the file these days) and thus may do it serious injustice. Having said that I'll proceed anyway. Yes, Sen is widely recognised for his work on famine. Yes, Sen wrote that democracy averts famine since democratically elected politicians are highly motivated to ensure that their people don't starve because starving populations have a strong tendency to elect the opposition. No, Sen categorically did not claim that democracy does or is likely to eliminate hunger, which is an entirely different matter. That the two are confused is simply a case of media misunderstanding or outright misrepresentation. That hunger coexists with plenty has no particular relevance to Sen's thesis.

"AUSTRALIA: Tasmania introduces most rigorous GM controls in Oz" - "The state of Tasmania has put in place Australia’s most stringent restrictions on plantings of genetically modified food crops. Commercial plantings of genetically modified organisms have been banned for another five years, extending a moratorium which was due to end in June this year, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Primary industry minister Brian Green described the government’s policy as “cautious but balanced” and stressed that it was seeking to give the state a marketing advantage by keeping GMs firmly under control." (just-food.com)

"No easing of US stance on EU biotech policy - US aide" - "CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The chief U.S. agriculture negotiator last week assured American farmers the Bush administration had not eased on its campaign against the European Union's biotech policy." (Reuters)