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Archives - March 2005

March 31, 2005

Transcript: Kudlow & Company - Steven Milloy of the Free Enterprise Action Fund discusses his organization's work against corporate social responsibility. (CNBC News Transcripts)

"Free Enterprise Mutual Fund Seeks to Counter Leftist Influence" - "Motivated by what it sees as a politically motivated left wing attack on big business, a new investment group has launched the Free Enterprise Action Fund. The mutual fund, which took nearly two years to prepare and officially opened for investment on March 1, was specifically designed to "promote ... our system of free enterprise," according to the fund's website.

Steve Milloy, advisor to the Free Enterprise Action Fund, told Cybercast News Service that the organization was formed out of "dismay at how corporations were attacked and doing a lousy job of defending themselves." (CNSNews.com)

"Pension Fund Blackmail" - "A notable sidelight to the Social Security debate has been Big Labor's battle to keep business from supporting reform. The specifics of that attack are worth examining in their own right (see below), but the bigger story here is the way the AFL-CIO and its friends are now using pension funds to advance their political agenda.

With their membership falling, union leaders are finding it harder to influence companies or politics from the factory floor. Their new approach is to use their control over large employee pension plans to insert themselves directly into the boardroom. The result is what one observer has termed "the new politics of capital," in which liberal activists attempt to turn entire corporations into lobbyists for their social and political goals, their campaigns all neatly disguised as "shareholder activism." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Leader: The ends of the Earth" - "Anyone wanting a vision of how the world might look in 50 years' time can today go and stand on the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. On the Dominican side they will see a lush, heavily wooded countryside, the result of careful conservation efforts and some brutal action taken against illegal loggers. On the Haitian side of the border, they will see an ecological disaster, of massive soil erosion and deforestation, the result of extreme poverty, government breakdown and the chaos that comes with protracted civil disturbance. The dichotomic starkness of the landscapes facing the viewer is similar to the choices we now face towards the world's environment, based on scenarios painted by a highly credible report issued yesterday under the auspices of the UN: the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment, the work of 1,300 scientists in 95 countries over the past four years." (The Guardian)

Curiously, the old 'Gloomy' promptly drops their (correct) theme that poverty is eco-destructive while wealth generation is eco-defensive and lumps this piece under "climate change" rather than calling for massively enhanced development to "save the planet" - go figure.

"Extra, Extra! The UN Embraces Free Markets!" - "A completely shocking report comes from the United Nations today, almost unbelievable in its implications for us as a species, the environment and the rest of the planet. Called the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment you will have seen it splashed across the newspapers, everybody from Xinghua to Al Jazeera weighing in, via the Washington Post, Guardian, Independent and, well, here's the Google News search, have a look yourself." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"Colorado Chafes Under Lynx Restrictions" - "DENVER -- Three decades after Colorado's native lynx disappeared, scores of the tufted-eared, long-haired cats are prowling across the western part of the state and roaming into Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. Citing the success of a six-year, $2.5 million state program to transplant the endangered lynx from Canada, state officials want the federal government to lift restrictions on construction and logging designed to protect lynx habitat. But so far, they've been disappointed and frustrated. ``There is still no guarantee that we will get out from under the Endangered Species Act,'' state Division of Wildlife lynx expert Rick Kahn told the Colorado Legislature Wednesday." (AP)

"Suits Challenge Protections for 42 Species" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A conservative legal foundation filed twin federal lawsuits Wednesday challenging federal protections for 42 species, 15 of which live only in shallow seasonal pools across much of California and in far southern Oregon. The Pacific Legal Foundation says the critical habitat designations that together cover 1.5 million acres in 42 counties drive up housing costs and taxes and harm private property rights without doing much to save species. The suits, filed simultaneously in Fresno and Sacramento federal courts on behalf of building and agriculture associations, also challenge critical habitat designations for 27 other species, 21 of which are rare plants." (AP)

Despite all the nanny interference and the cost: "Obesity weighs down progress in index of youth well-being" - "Despite drops in drug, alcohol and tobacco use, lower teen birth rates and lower rates of juvenile crime, the overall well-being of young people is barely better than it was nearly 30 years ago." (USA Today)

Shows just what value all those nosey, interfering, pains-in-the-butt aren't. Here's a thought - how about we stop all taxpayer funding of useless nanny groups and use the funds to put back the adventure playgrounds and "risky" objects where kids can go and have fun, risk a few scrapes, bruises and the odd broken bone as they test themselves against challenging environs and generally get some exercise, develop some physical ability and self esteem rather than being doped out of pretend "disabilities" or "syndromes" such as being an active kid. Being active and testing the limits of our abilities was not always considered a "condition" requiring medical intervention.

Hmm... "Public morally obliged to take part in scientific research, says leading ethicist" - "The public has a moral obligation to support and take part in scientific research, says a leading ethicist in the Journal of Medical Ethics." (BMJ Specialty Journals)

Good luck! As a society we can't even get a rational uptake of vaccines that are good for individuals and society as a whole.

"Vaccination Still Wise Despite Domestic Eradication of Rubella" - "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rubella, a virus notorious for causing birth defects, stillbirths, and miscarriages, has been eliminated from the United States. During its last major U.S. outbreak in the mid-60s, there were 12.5 million cases of rubella, resulting in 20,000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome, 11,600 babies born deaf, 11,250 fetal deaths, 2,100 newborn deaths, 3,580 babies born blind, and 1,800 more mentally handicapped. As a direct result of the nation's successful immunization program, incidence was down to only nine cases last year -- none of which originated domestically." (Aubrey Stimola, ACSH)

"Pandemic planners should focus on care: Expert" - "The man whose mathematical models provide the basis for U.S. and Canadian pandemic influenza planning is fed up with what he calls the "high noon" of competing projections of how many lives a pandemic might claim." (Canadian Press)

"It's the Alcohol!" - "Virtually everyone "knows" that red wine is the best type of alcoholic beverage to consume if you're concerned about health. After all, the French eat lots of cheese and other high fat foods, yet their rate of heart disease is lower than ours. This observation, known as the "French paradox," has been widely attributed to the red wine the French consume liberally. What is it about red wine that supposedly makes it superior to other alcoholic beverages? The benefits have been variously attributed to phenolic compounds like resveratrol, or to the antioxidants with which red wine supposedly is richly endowed. But, as with much other common knowledge, it's simply not true." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"How to make steelmaking 'green?' Add some plastic" - "SYDNEY – A trash bin is not the first place most people would search when hunting for ingredients to make steel. But to Veena Sahajwalla, plastic castoffs represent a potential "green" solution to some of the environmental problems that result when today's scrap metal is converted into tomorrow's girders. Where today's furnaces use coal, she envisions partially replacing it with waste plastic. Think of it as "beating" plastic grocery bags into plowshares." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Tipping the scales" - "Fish farmers in Florida hope they have a magic formula for raising a fast-growing harvest. Tim Radford investigates three cages moored deep in the open sea." (The Guardian)

"Report: it's a dangerous world for most" - "A new analysis of the most disaster-prone places on Earth suggests that more than half of the world's population lives in areas highly exposed to floods, droughts, earthquakes, cyclones, landslides or volcanoes." (New York Newsday)

It certainly is - "Mother Nature" is no nurture figure, being, at best, indifferent and largely homicidal. It's one of the reasons this site is vehemently against crackpot schemes like the Kyoto Protocol, the only function of which is to ration energy and reduce the wealth generation needed by impoverished peoples to defend themselves from a hostile environment.

"Within me lurks an inner caveman, the inner Bush" - "ONE NIGHT a few years ago, as I was struggling to nod off in the pitch darkness of the Tanzanian bush, I heard a lion. It was about three feet from my head. I was not best pleased by this. True, we were in a tent, the girlfriend and I, and the lion was not, but this was still a situation with which I was far from thrilled. I should think that I let out something of a wailing moan. I had malaria at the time, I should mention, as well as, most cruelly, that very special staring madness that you get from the pills designed to prevent you from getting malaria, and this was very much not how I wanted to be spending my holiday." (Hugo Rifkind, The Times)

Today's eye-roller: "Global Warming of Atlantic Could Hit Fish - Study" - "LONDON - The potential shutdown due to climate warming of the key Atlantic Conveyor current that warms northern Europe could have a major impact on fish stocks in the region, a scientist said on Wednesday. Oceanographers have predicted that the current that drags warm water from the south to the north could weaken or even come to a halt as global warming melts the Arctic polar icecap and dilutes the ocean's salinity. "A disruption of the Atlantic meridional overturning (AMO) circulation leads to a collapse of the North Atlantic plankton stocks to less than half their initial biomass," said Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State University." (Reuters)

II: "Climate Challenge Is Here, Now and Urgent" (.pdf) - "Graeme Pearman calls for a portfolio approach to global warming that draws more on science." (conSCIENCE)

'Well go-olly' release of the moment: "CO2 emissions reach record levels" - "Levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide have reached a new high, according to US researchers. The figures were gathered by a laboratory in Hawaii, regarded by experts as one of the most reliable in climate research. The rise in the past year is smaller than it was in the previous two years. But the trend remains upwards, as it has for every year since this set of measurements started near half a century ago. Scientists at the Mauna Loa volcano laboratory found an increase in CO2 to a record level of 378 parts per million (ppm). The research was carried out by the US government's Climate Monitoring Diagnostics Laboratory, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)." (BBC)

"Expert: Global Warming Not A Disaster" - "A special intergovernmental expert group comprising more than 1,000 scientists from different countries estimates that global temperatures rose by 0.6 degrees centigrade during the last 100 years. I serve as deputy chairman of this group that compiles detailed climate-change reports every five years.

One should say that 0.6 degrees centigrade is not very impressive. The planet has experienced ice ages and warming periods alike. In other words, the global climatic system can hardly be called stable. Instead of discussing global-warming trends of the last 25-30 years, we should try to find out why scientists have failed so far in explaining this process. Are natural factors or man's impact responsible for this? Is the global-warming process influenced by both factors? Or is man's impact on his environment the main culprit? This is the main problem.

All serious climate-related decisions, be it the 1992 UN Climate Change Convention or the Kyoto Protocol, cannot be called scientifically sound." (Yury Izrael for RIA Novosti)

"Conjecture vs. Science" - "A new paper published earlier this month by Science magazine reconstructs the temperature history of the earth for the past 400 years using data gathered from 169 glaciers from around the world. However, problems with the methodology used in this research undermine its conclusions concerning the character of the global temperature record during the past several centuries and its usefulness in adjudicating between surface and satellite-based temperature trend differences. Again, I must wonder what is happening to the peer-review process at our major scientific journals." (Pat Michaels, TCS)

"Liberals strive to explain amendment in budget bill" - "OTTAWA -- Hoping to avert an early election, government House Leader Tony Valeri said yesterday the opposition Conservatives have fallen victim to some "confused" thinking on an environmental law amendment that is tied to the federal budget." (Globe and Mail)

"Pure Gosplan" - "We face two weeks of noodling about whether the Conservatives will seek to bring down the Liberal government over Ottawa's back-door attempt to acquire a weapon of mass economic destruction (WMED). The Liberals should blink because they have been caught red-handed seeking unprecedented powers without public debate. But whatever happens, at least this brings Kyoto policy where it needs to be: under the spotlight of public scrutiny. Intriguingly, environmentalists appear less than happy about that prospect." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

"Canada: Firms face Kyoto setback" - "Environment Canada told the country's pipeline operators that deals they reached on reducing greenhouse gas emissions with the Natural Resources department -- in an effort to help Canada meet its targets under the Kyoto environmental protocol -- will no longer be honoured." (Paul Vieira, Financial Post)

"Canada: Feds water down emissions targets" - "The federal government has slashed its emissions-cutting targets for large industrial polluters by more than a third from the goal set out in Canada's original climate change plan, The Canadian Press has learned. But the whole effort to regulate greenhouse emissions from large facilities could crumble amid the current furor over Ottawa's attempt to include Kyoto-related measures in the budget implementation bill, sources say. The prime minister's office is furious with environmental groups who publicly opposed the government's approach in hope of convincing Ottawa to take a harder line against big polluters. Some of Prime Minister Paul Martin's most senior officials are telling environmentalists they may have destroyed the best plan they could hope for." (Canadian Press)

"Liberals rebel over Kyoto plan" - "The Liberal government is facing a growing revolt among its own party members over its plans to push environmental changes through the House of Commons." (Toronto Star)

"Canada's Liberals scramble to avert early election" - "Canada's minority Liberal government, scrambling to deflect the threat of an early election, said on Wednesday it would hold special talks with top opposition legislators next week over unpopular plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Japan: Kyoto pact plan avoids carbon tax; buying of emissions credits expected" - "The government unveiled a plan Tuesday for fulfilling Japan's obligations to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol but stopped short of including the contentious carbon tax. Although the Environment Ministry had insisted a carbon tax would be indispensable in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the plan only said the country needs to discuss the levy "in a serious and comprehensive manner." (Japan Times)

"Kyoto's threat to the essence of mauri" - "So much for protocols when a New Zealand river may fall victim to carbon credits, writes Miranda Devine." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Dopey blighters: "Australia: States agree to go it alone on carbon trading" - "STATE and territory leaders have agreed to establish their own carbon-trading system, overcoming last-minute differences that threatened to scuttle the plan. The system, outlined in a communiqué obtained by The Australian last night, defies the federal Government, which has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, and brings the states into line with European moves to stem global warming. "In the absence of commonwealth action, NSW and Victoria have spearheaded the development of a state and territory-based trading scheme," NSW Premier Bob Carr said." (The Australian)

Lead by Suzuki acolyte and population panicker, Bob Carr, Australia's Labor State Premiers prove once again they never saw a tax they didn't like.

"Ford to Study How Steps to Curb Global Warming Might Affect It" - Ford Motor Co., in the latest move by a big U.S. company to talk up the issue of global warming, is expected to announce today that it will produce a report on how the environmental issue could affect its global business.

Ford's move is a concession to shareholder activists who have been pressuring the auto maker for several years to do more to address global warming. Automobiles are a big source of carbon dioxide, a chief suspected global-warming gas. The main way to reduce automotive carbon-dioxide emissions is to improve the fuel economy of cars and trucks. (The Wall Street Journal)

We have to wonder if Bill Clay Junior suffers from learning difficulties. After all, he never seems to figure out that the more he yields to anti-corporate, anti-technology activists, the more these activists target that eponymic company. The worst of it is that the only real risks companies and shareholders face from enhanced greenhouse - the so-called global warming scare - are self-inflicted injuries attempting to "address" the phantom menace. Greenpeace, RAN and their cronies at jumpstartford.com must be salivating as they work on their next list of ever more extreme demands.

"U.S. to back hydrogen-car fuel stations" - "U.S. Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville, and other dignitaries at a Tuesday morning press conference, praised $5 million in federal funding that is coming to California to help establish a network of hydrogen fueling stations along a "Hydrogen Highway" designed to extend the mobility of emission-free vehicles." (Sacramento Bee)

"Shell's Russian LNG Project to Move Pipes For Whales" - "MOSCOW - Sakhalin Energy, a Shell-led liquefied natural gas project on Russia's Pacific coast, said on Wednesday it would reroute offshore pipelines to help protect an endangered species of grey whale. The pipelines, linking two production platforms in the Piltun-Astokhskoye field off Sakhalin Island to the shore, will be moved 20 km (12 miles) south of the original location, away from the whales' key feeding grounds. "Of the options, from a whale perspective anyway, this is the best," Sakhalin Energy's chief executive Ian Craig told Reuters. But environmentalist group Bankwatch said the announcement did not allay its concerns and called on the project's financiers, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to withhold funding." (Reuters)

March 30, 2005

Fred for Flat Earth! Hurry, winner announced in 2 days! Professor S. Fred Singer has been fighting the good fight for years and he would just love to have a chat with these guys while accepting this award. Voting may still be open so, if you haven't voted yet, why not give him a hand, or click, in the online vote here.

"Food Police Mobilizing Again" - "The food police are on the march again from coast to coast, so you can expect personal responsibility and individual choice to get trampled. The incoherence of their regulatory rationale can be well understood through two recent developments." (Nick Schulz, TCS)

Hmm... with this cast of players a careful review is required:  "Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon" - "A new study published in the March 30th edition of the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B (a publication of the UK's national academy of science) shows that the transfer of parasitic sea lice from salmon farms to wild salmon populations is much larger and more extensive than previously believed." (SeaWeb)

They needed a study for this? "Study finds liberals dominate faculties" - "Nearly three-quarters of faculty members at U.S. colleges and universities describe themselves as liberals, and at elite schools, the proportion is 87 percent, a survey has found." (The Washington Times)

"Most Ecosystems Threatened, Major Report Says" - "LONDON, Mar 30 - As many as 60 percent of life-supporting ecosystems are being degraded, says a major new report released Wednesday. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment carried out by 1,300 scientists in 95 countries warns that this degradation could get significantly worse over the next 50 years. The ecosystems most under threat are fresh water, fisheries, air and water regulation, and the regulation of regional climate, natural hazards and pests, the report says." (IPS) | Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up' (The Guardian)

Talk about disaster planning: "Britain's plan to save planet from quakes and asteroids" - "PLANS for an early warning system to protect the world against natural disasters ranging from earthquakes and tsunamis to asteroid strikes have been drawn up by the Government’s chief scientist on the orders of the Prime Minister. A panel headed by Professor Sir David King is recommending that Britain push for a global alarm network to reduce the potential devastation of events such as the Boxing Day tsunami, The Times has learnt.

Details of where money would best be spent would be worked out by an international committee modelled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which advises politicians on global warming." (Mark Henderson, The Times) [em added]

Marvellous, modelled on the disaster that brought us Kyoto.

"Changes in Earth's tilt control when glacial cycles end" - "Scientists have long debated what causes glacial/interglacial cycles, which have occurred most recently at intervals of about 100,000 years. A new study reported in the March 24 issue of Nature finds that these glacial cycles are paced by variations in the tilt of Earth's axis, and that glaciations end when Earth's tilt is large." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"Shaping the Future: Scientific uncertainty often becomes an excuse to ignore long-term problems, such as climate change. It doesn't have to be so" - "Last year a high-profile panel of experts known as the Copenhagen Consensus ranked the world's most pressing environmental, health and social problems in a prioritized list. Assembled by the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute under its then director, Bjørn Lomborg, the panel used cost-benefit analysis to evaluate where a limited amount of money would do the most good. It concluded that the highest priority should go to immediate concerns with relatively well understood cures, such as control of malaria. Long-term challenges such as climate change, where the path forward and even the scope of the threat remain unclear, ranked lower.

Usually each of these problems is treated in isolation, as though humanity had the luxury of dealing with its problems one by one. The Copenhagen Consensus used state-of-the-art techniques to try to bring a broader perspective. In so doing, however, it revealed how the state of the art fails to grapple with a simple fact: the future is uncertain. Attempts to predict it have a checkered history--from declarations that humans would never fly, to the doom-and-gloom economic and environmental forecasts of the 1970s, to claims that the "New Economy" would do away with economic ups and downs. Not surprisingly, those who make decisions tend to stay focused on the next fiscal quarter, the next year, the next election. Feeling unsure of their compass, they hug the familiar shore.

This understandable response to an uncertain future means, however, that the nation's and the world's long-term threats often get ignored altogether or are even made worse by shortsighted decisions. In everyday life, responsible people look out for the long term despite the needs of the here and now: we do homework, we save for retirement, we take out insurance. The same principles should surely apply to society as a whole. But how can leaders weigh the present against the future? How can they avoid being paralyzed by scientific uncertainty?" (Steven W. Popper, Robert J. Lempert and Steven C. Bankes, SciAm)

Well guys, since you ask - we can deal with enhanced greenhouse with absolute certainty. We are certain that wealthier societies suffer significantly less from the generally hostile forces of nature and that, the poorer the society, the more severe the impact from adverse events. Thus, the correct response to potentially adverse climate change, regardless of causation, is to maximise wealth generation to best defend the population. We can state with certainty that steering clear of energy rationing schemes of Kyoto ilk is the correct action. Since wealthy societies can and do afford finance and effort for such indulgences as environmentalism while the impoverished are trapped viewing their environ purely from the perspective of acquirable sustenance and fuel, maximising wealth generation is ultimately best for 'nature' too.

Oh boy... "Cinergy 2004 Annual Report Asks: Can We Find Common Ground On Global Warming?" - "CINCINNATI, March 29, 2005 — In its 2004 Annual Report, Cinergy Corp. has taken the unique approach of asking key stakeholders--from U.S. senators to former EPA administrators--how common ground can be found in shaping a response to global warming." (Press Release)

Some of their 'key stakeholders'? William Ruckelshaus, of DDT infamy and Joe Lieberman, who, along with McCain is trying to impose 'Kyoto Lite' on the U.S., apparently for no other reason than collecting misguided environmental voters.

From the 'recession is good for you' school of economics: "Even costlier oil would help U.S." - "The price of internationally traded oil rose to an all-time high recently, exceeding $57 a barrel before dropping slightly. The record price was bad news for the American consumer, for whom the price of gasoline has risen, with some brands in some places selling for more than $3 a gallon. It is bad news as well for the American economy, threatening a slowdown that could cost jobs, since high oil prices retard economic growth. Paradoxically, however, the long-term interests of the United States would be best served by an oil price that rose to an even higher level and stayed there. This would lower the American, and worldwide, consumption of oil in general and of imported oil in particular. That, in turn, would not only reduce the total amount of money that Americans spend on energy, it also would bring substantial political, economic and environmental benefits to the United States and other countries." (Michael Mandelbaum, Newsday)

Coming up Nenana time again: "Ice Classic followers betting on early breakup" - "John Walsh and his fellow researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks can't predict exactly when the tripod will fall in Nenana. But with 90 years of data, graphs and charts of Tanana River breakup trends and a little insider's knowledge on the ways of the natural world in the far north, he can narrow things down, thus increasing the odds of winning the Nenana Ice Classic just a bit. "If you were a betting person," Walsh recently told a crowd of big thinkers at the 11th annual Arctic Roundtable, "you might want to tilt the odds to the earlier dates." (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

The Nenana Ice Classic: Betting on Warming (John L. Daly)

"Half-Baked Alaska" - "The inexorable drumbeat of climate disaster stories goes on, but no one seems interested in checking the facts. The most recent assault on common sense comes from Alaska. There, Republican senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski are said to be favoring onerous climate change legislation sponsored by Arizona's John McCain." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato)

Uh-oh... the coral done it: "Researchers say Hawaii reefs contribute to global warming" - "HONOLULU Researchers at the University of Hawaii say coral reefs in Hawaii are contributing to global warming, producing carbon dioxide when they calcify by building skeletons." (Associated Press)

"Energy industry knocks latest Kyoto plan" - "The oil and gas sector is criticizing the federal Liberals for a back-door policy to enforce the Kyoto environmental accord, with some parts of the patch saying the approach has disturbing parallels to the still-loathed National Energy Program of the 1980s." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Liberals not budging in Kyoto row" - "The Liberals believe they have the public onside on Kyoto and are not planning to back down on the environmental provisions in the budget legislation despite Conservative threats to defeat the government, senior government officials said yesterday." (Toronto Star)

"Ottawa's Kyoto plan under fire on all sides" - "Canada's major environmental groups have turned against the federal government over a controversial Kyoto budget measure, increasing the pressure on the Liberals to back down and avoid a showdown with the Conservatives that could lead to a spring election." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

"Martin must avert unwanted election" - "Canadians do not want federal politicians in Ottawa to push the country into an election so soon after the one last June. And, at the same time, the majority of Canadians are anxious to start seeing some progress on the Kyoto accord on climate change. Based on those two facts alone, Prime Minister Paul Martin put a powerful, environmental policy instrument to cut greenhouse gas emissions smack dab in the middle of a bill to implement the February budget. He assumed the opposition parties would not dare to thwart the will of the people by defeating the bill and bringing his minority government down. But by appealing to "people" logic over the often mystifying logic that governs party politics on Parliament Hill, Martin showed himself to be either naïve or someone who is ready to gamble that voters would punish the opposition if they joined forces to defeat the bill, thus forcing an unwanted federal election this spring." (Toronto Star)

Still after your hearth and home: "Brave new world" - "The relentless progress of global warming can only be waylaid by redesigning the homes we live in and cutting emissions. Brenda Boardman looks ahead to a greener, cleaner 2050." (The Guardian)

"Japan: Govt draft calls for tough gas emissions measures" - "A government task force approved Tuesday a draft plan for measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that significantly strengthen existing measures for fighting global warming, aiming at fulfilling the nation's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"China Fuel Tax its Best Weapon to Check Oil Demand" - "SINGAPORE - China's energy planners are ready to take the bitter pill of an unpopular nationwide fuel tax to put the brakes on runaway fuel demand in the world's second-biggest oil consumer. Analysts say Beijing is likely to consider a 20-50 percent tax on retail gasoline and diesel prices, which are among the world's lowest, emulating western Europe's policy of using high taxes to promote energy conservation and protect the environment." (Reuters)

"Appetite for organic food spurs debate in India" - "MADRAS, INDIA – In a seven-acre plot of farmland south of the city, T. Mohan hunches over to weed the soil he recently planted with sesame. He just harvested his paddy crop, which - as it has for the past 30 years - had a good yield. In three decades, Mr. Mohan has gone from a struggling paddy farmer to a prosperous one - using methods that are now discouraged by proponents of organic farming." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"EU Seeks Advice on Long-Term Effects of GMO Crops" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission wants to know how genetically modified (GMO) crops might affect human and animal health in the longer term, eight years after the EU first allowed biotech crops, a document showed on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Oh dear... "Warning signs point to risks of GM foods" - "IN A study in the early 1990s rats were fed genetically modified (GM) tomatoes. Well actually, the rats refused to eat them. They were force-fed. Several of the rats developed stomach lesions and seven out of 40 died within two weeks. United States Federal Drugs Agency scientists who reviewed the study warned that GM foods in general might create unpredicted allergies, toxins, antibiotic-resistant diseases and nutritional problems. The safety studies conducted by the biotech industry are often dismissed by critics as superficial and designed to avoid finding problems. Tragically, scientists who voice their criticism, as well as those who have discovered incriminating evidence, have been threatened, stripped of responsibilities, denied funding or tenure, or fired." (Jeffrey M Smith, The Scotsman)

March 29, 2005

Fred for Flat Earth! "Vermont students launch 'flat earth' award" - "Rush Limbaugh is surely accustomed to accolades by now. Three times he has been named the syndicated radio personality of the year by the National Association of Broadcasters for his hugely popular radio program, "The Rush Limbaugh Show," which reaches about 20 million listeners each week. Soon, Limbaugh may need to find more room on the mantelpiece, because another less-coveted award may be coming his way: the Flat Earth Award." (Rutland Herald)

Professor S. Fred Singer has been fighting the good fight for years and he would just love to have a chat with these guys while accepting this award. Why not give him a hand, or click, in the online vote here.

"Scientists collaborate to assess health of global environment" - "For the first time, a group of scientists has accomplished the daunting task of evaluating the status of all of the ecosystems on Earth, and the outlook is troubling. Commissioned by the United Nations in 2001, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment program will issue its primary report on March 30 during press conferences in Washington and other cities around the world." (Stanford University)

"'You can't buy conservation,' suggests survey of Africa's rain forest parks" - "Economic assistance to areas surrounding Africa's rain forest parks does not, as currently applied, contribute to their health, suggests an extensive survey of park scientists and managers. Rather, the survey found the most successful parks are those with public support and strong law enforcement. The survey's authors also said that their findings indicate that careful ecological and compliance monitoring and stable long-term funding are key to park success." (Duke University)

Yogi was right... "Activists Gear Up to Fight Seal and Elephant Culls" - "JOHANNESBURG - Animal rights groups have begun fresh public campaigns timed for the start of the annual seal hunt off the coast of Canada this week and suggestions that South Africa may kill elephants for population control. Rights campaigners believe barbaric portrayals on film and still pictures of hunters clubbing fluffy, big-eyed seal pups or emotive images of elephants set alongside boycotts and public stunts will rally public opinion against such practices." (Reuters)

"Protecting children from industrial chemicals in the environment" - "An article published in the premier open-access journal PLoS Medicine argues that the existing requirements in the United States for toxicity testing and regulation of pesticides and industrial chemicals are inadequate to safeguard children." (Public Library of Science)

"Tide's toxins trouble lungs ashore" - "A massive red tide off the beaches of southwest Florida is causing an outbreak of wheezing and coughing among beachgoers, and new evidence suggests that the effects of an airborne neurotoxin the tide produces may be more harmful than health officials previously thought." (Boston Globe)

"Cancer fears limit Hong Kong air crews' New York trips" - "HONG KONG — Airline Cathay Pacific has limited air crews' flights on the non-stop Hong Kong-New York route after it was found the journey could increase the likelihood of cancer, a report said Sunday. Staff of the British-owned, Hong Kong-based airline say they have been limited to just two of the ultra long-haul flights per month since it was found the route exposed passengers and crew to high levels of cosmic radiation when they flew over the North Pole." (AFP)

"UK and Brussels clash over emissions" - "The government, already at loggerheads with Brussels over greenhouse gases, is on a collision course with the European commission over a second environmental directive. It is seeking EC clearance to allow the UK to adopt a "hybrid" version of the large combustion plants directive, which covers the emission of sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and dust from Britain's coal-fired power stations and from industrial plants that burn large quantities of coal." (The Guardian)

"New England's Hot Flashes" - "In its report entitled "Indicators of Climate Change in the Northeast 2005," the environmental advocacy group Clean Air-Cool Planet, in association with the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, claimed that recent climate changes in New England were caused by human activity. However, while evidence abounds showing considerable climate variability and change in the region, there's little if any relation to human influence from a changed greenhouse effect." (Pat Michaels, TCS)

Oh Canada! "Ottawa set to wield Kyoto blunt object" - "On Thursday, with everybody thinking about the Easter Bunny, the Liberals sought to slip through a monumentally significant amendment to the Environmental Protection Act that would effectively identify carbon dioxide as a "pollutant." This would give the government the club it needs to batter big industrial energy users into compliance under Kyoto. The problem -- or rather one of myriad problems -- is that these entities, known collectively as Large Final Emitters, or LFEs, have little or no idea with what they are meant to comply. A blunt instrument is not a plan." (Peter Foster, National Post)

"Global warming's silver lining" - "Some scientists now think global warming is irreversible. In light of this sobering view, certain economists and scientists are searching for a silver lining." (Wired News)

"The day after tomorrow" - "No, it's not a movie. This is a certainty. It will take billions to prevent it. Global warming is melting the ice cap. The sea is coming to get us, and when it does it won't even be worth fishing in" (Richard Girling, Sunday Times Magazine)

"Climate change will increasingly blow down Cumbria's trees" - "Following the January storms that brought down half a million trees in just ten minutes in Cumbria, forestry chiefs are re-thinking woodland design for the region with the anticipation that climate change will increase such events." (Environment Times)

"Expert outlines climate changes in plateau where China's two longest rivers originate" - "Chinese experts say the climate of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where the country's two longest rivers originate, has warmed and experienced slightly more rainfall during the past four decades. The headwaters of the Yangtze and the Yellow River in the central eastern parts of the Plateau experienced average temperature rises of 0.8 degree Celsius and 0.7 degree Celsius in a decade from 1971 to 2004, according to Yang Jianping, a noted expert with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Yang has led a team of researchers from CAS Institute of Environment and Engineering in Cold and Arid Region to conduct meteorological analysis and compare the region's climate changes with other parts of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China and elsewhere in the world. Researchers found the area where the Yangtze River originates became warmer in 1971, whereas the same phenomenon was not witnessed at the source of the Yellow River until 15 years later." (People's Daily)

"Australia - NSW: Slash gas emissions by 60%, state told" - "The Premier's specialist advisory body on greenhouse gases has recommended that NSW slash its emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, adopt aggressive demand management and defer a new coal-fired power station until technologies advance. The submission by the Greenhouse Advisory Panel, in response to the NSW energy green paper, makes it clear that commissioning a coal-fired power station now - one option in the paper - is incompatible with any meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in NSW. Citing CSIRO research on global warming commissioned by the Premier, Bob Carr, the panel says the time for action - preferably at a national level - is now if a 2 per cent increase in global temperature is to be avoided. The 60 per cent reduction is in line with the target adopted by the Blair Government in Britain." (Sydney Morning Herald)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The CO 2 Fertilization Effect" - "Does it occur in the real world?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries
"Medieval Warm Period (Regional - South America)" - "If the Medieval Warm Period was a minor perturbation of earth's climate restricted to countries bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, as climate alarmists claim, why have so many studies discovered evidence of its existence in far-away South America?" (co2science.org)

"Weeds (Non-Parasitic - Miscellaneous)" - "How do they respond to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Creosote Bush, Desert Eveningprimrose, Littleleaf Ratany and Yarrow." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Effects of Land Cover Change on Climate" - "A mesoscale modeling study reveals how historical changes in land cover may have altered temperature and precipitation patterns in southwest Western Australia." (co2science.org)

"Five Hundred Years of ENSO" - "Does the record reveal an increase in the frequency of ENSO events in response to 20th-century global warming?" (co2science.org)

"The Medieval and Roman Warm Periods in Scandinavia" - "Just how solid is the evidence for these two prior periods of non-CO 2 -induced warmth in this high northern-latitude region?" (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Aphid-Infested and Non-Infested Wheat" - "Both plant and insect growth are promoted by atmospheric CO 2 enrichment.  And the net effect is ..." (co2science.org)

"The Role of Earthworms in Sequestering Carbon in Soils" - "What is it?  And how is it affected by rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations?" (co2science.org)

"Idea would keep power going when the wind isn't blowing" - "When Martha Hewett thinks of wind power, she doesn't just see huge turbines set against Minnesota's landscape. She also pictures large pockets of compressed air deep below ground." (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

"GM food debate to flair as claim 79% of EU opposed" - "THE great public debate about the production of genetically modified crops and food is set to intensify in Ireland and Britain over the coming months." (Irish Examiner)

"Brazil's Lula Signs New Law to Legalize GMO Crops" - "BRASILIA - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday signed into law a bill that legalizes genetically modified crops and regulates the biotechnology sector including stem cell research, issues that prompted heated debates among farmers, environmentalists, scientists and religious groups." (Reuters)

March 28, 2005

"Coffee Chain's Whiskey Deal Angers Pax" - "Pax World Funds, a family of self-proclaimed socially responsible investment funds, announced last week it was divesting 375,000 shares of Starbucks, worth an estimated $23.4 million, because Starbucks refused to back out of a deal with whiskey-maker Jim Beam Brands to create and sell a coffee liqueur." (Steve Milloy, New York Sun)

"A Malaria Success" - "In 1998, the Australia-based mining company BHP Billiton began building a huge aluminum smelter outside Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The company knew that malaria plagued the region. It gave all its workers mosquito nets and free medicine, and sprayed the construction site and workers' houses with insecticide. Nevertheless, during the first two years of construction there were 6,000 cases of malaria, and at least 13 contractors died.

To deal with the problem, the company did something extraordinary. It joined an effort by South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland to eradicate malaria in a swath of the three countries measuring more than 40,000 square miles. The project is called the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative, after the mountains that define the region." (New York Times)

"Statistics, knowledge and progress" - “Nothing exists until it is measured”. This keen observation by the Danish physicist and Nobel laureate, Niels Bohr, has become something of a leitmotiv in the statistics world, but it bears some scrutiny.

After all, we are producing more statistical information than ever before. Indeed, many of us feel overwhelmed by it. In 2004, the US government alone spent nearly $5 billion for financing statistical programmes. All very well, but do we know what information we should pay attention to, and what to do with these measurements once we have them?" (Donald J. Johnston, Secretary-General of the OECD)

"Joy, and Danger, of Wilderness" - "It's called wilderness for a reason. Trails in wilderness areas are unpaved, and the mountain lions aren't animatronics that back off as soon as they've given us a scare. Only with this understanding, as well as full preparation, should humans enter ground where there's a chance of danger.

Now a lawsuit seeks to recover damages from taxpayers in the death of bicyclist Mark Reynolds, who was fatally attacked by a mountain lion in a sage-strewn corner of Orange County. Not long after, the lion attacked another bicyclist who rode along the same path in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, but she was saved by her biking companion. Authorities later killed the lion." (LA Times)

Sigh... "Ozone hole shrinking" - "In a slow but steady race against air pollution, the ozone layer is on its way to complete recovery. By 2070 the hole in the ozone, which reappears every year over the South Pole, will be healed." (Poughkeepsie Journal)

"Here comes the sun... so should we run for cover?" - "Yes, say experts, stay in the shade! No, say experts, get out there! Actually, the advice is as clear as a pair of shades smothered in sunblock." (London Independent)

The Week That Was March 26, 2005 (SEPP)

"Weak El Nino fuels storms" - "NEW ORLEANS - Expect more than six hurricanes this year, but don't blame global warming, the nation's best-known hurricane guru said." (Florida Today)

"Brighter Model For Global Warming: Some Pollutants Actually Slow Warming" - "Environmental chemist Scot Martin has made surprising findings on the effect of the particles responsible for acid rain on the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface. If his research is correct, ammonium sulfate particles in the atmosphere act as tiny mirrors, reflecting sunlight back into space." (Science Daily)

"Call for action on climate change" - "The UK government is not doing enough to tackle climate change, according to a report by a parliamentary committee. The Environmental Audit Committee attacked ministers for believing that new technology and market mechanisms will reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (BBC) | Blair 'fails to lead on global warming' (London Telegraph) | MPs chastise Blair over climate change (London Independent)

"Canada: Sparring officials jeopardize Kyoto plans" - "OTTAWA -- Environment Minister Stéphane Dion's effort to have a $10-billion Kyoto implementation plan in place by April 4 is in jeopardy because of a battle between his officials and those in Natural Resources Canada over the effectiveness of proposals to cut greenhouse gases." (Globe and Mail)

"Higher and higher: ski resorts in fight to survive global warming" - "Critics fear loss of last wildernesses as industry seeks fresh pistes." (The Guardian)

"Exxon May Face More Heat On Global Warming" - "Overruling objections from Exxon Mobil Corp., Securities and Exchange Commission officials said investor activists can ask Exxon shareholders to vote on two resolutions demanding that the oil giant disclose more information about its stance on global warming.

One of the resolutions SEC officials cleared to appear on Exxon's proxy asks the world's largest publicly traded oil company in terms of market value to report how it plans to reduce its emissions enough to comply with the Kyoto Protocol at Exxon facilities in countries where the treaty applies. The Kyoto pact mandates cuts in global-warming emissions from industrialized countries that have ratified it. The treaty has been rejected by the U.S. but has been endorsed throughout Europe and elsewhere.

The other resolution cleared by SEC staff asks Exxon to disclose the research data behind the company's "stated position on the science" about global warming.

The SEC staff's decisions show how prickly an issue global warming is becoming for the oil industry. Earlier this month ChevronTexaco Corp. and several smaller U.S. oil companies that faced similar global-warming-related shareholder resolutions got shareholders to withdraw those measures after the companies agreed to take more action on the environmental issue." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Carbon boom to hit energy bills" - "The price of pollution rocketed by almost 50% last week as one of the world's newest financial markets saw its first trading boom. The market, which allows energy companies to buy and sell 'rights' to generate carbon dioxide gas, is still in its infancy, but it is poised to become a key force in setting energy prices for British businesses and households." (London Evening Standard)

"Government seen extending nuclear power" - "LONDON - Britain is preparing the case for building nuclear power stations if the Labour government wins an election expected in May, the Independent on Sunday newspaper reports. The newspaper cited a senior civil servant as saying a small group of senior officials had made the case for constructing up to 10 new nuclear reactors. The group had carried out a study, known as "Future for Nuclear", on whether it was economically viable to build new plants, the paper said. Tony Blair's Downing Street office said it did not recognise the story and any decision to build new plants would be subject to public consultation." (Reuters)

"British Energy poised as government prepares go-ahead on nuclear power" - "BRITISH Energy is in talks with City institutions to raise funds for a new generation of nuclear power stations in anticipation of ministers swinging their support behind a massive construction programme after the election." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Wind energy endures a gale of hostility" - "Aaron Patrick asks whether expensive wind farms are the solution to our power needs - or part of the problem." (London Telegraph)

"Smog board wants to clear the air indoors" - "In a hefty report to the Legislature completed this month, the California Air Resources Board asserts that indoor air can be as polluted and dangerous to breathe as outdoor air, costing the state at least $45 billion a year in lost worker productivity, medical expenses and premature deaths." (Sacramento Bee)

"Best not to swallow this stuff" - "OUR GULLIBLE Prime Minister has again been fooled into backing a campaign with no evidence to support it. On Sunday he said: “We’ll soon announce details of the new School Food Trust . . . which will draw on the remarkable work of Jamie Oliver in schools, and of the Soil Association in encouraging the use of organic and local produce in school meals . . .”

The mullahs at the Soil Association must be delighted because they started “Food For Life” in 2003 with the aim that school meals should include at least 30 per cent of organic ingredients.

Taxpayers, however, should be groaning with dismay at this complete waste of their money. Fresh food may be desirable in schools but organic food is not. It costs significantly more than conventional food but is no better for anyone." (Geoffrey Hollis, London Times)

"GM golden rice boosts vitamin A" - "UK scientists have developed a new genetically-modified strain of "golden rice", producing more beta-carotene. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, and this strain produces around 20 times as much as previous varieties. It could help reduce vitamin A deficiency and childhood blindness in developing countries. The World Health Organisation estimates up to 500,000 children go blind each year because of vitamin A deficiency." (BBC)

"Golden Rice Humanitarian Board Statement on Development of New Golden Rice Strain with Higher Levels of Beta-Carotene" - "The Golden Rice Humanitarian Board welcomes the peer reviewed study published in the April issue of Nature Biotechnology detailing the development of a new variety of Golden Rice that contains approximately 23 times more beta-carotene or “pro-vitamin A” than the original Golden Rice variety.The human body converts beta-carotene to Vitamin A. " (Medical News Today)

"Science vs. Culture in Mexico's Corn Staple" - "After several years of study, a panel of international experts found that the risks to health, the environment and biodiversity from genetically modified corn were so far very limited. But after a public forum here in Oaxaca State, the panel gave special weight to social and cultural arguments about protecting corn. It recommended that Mexico reduce corn imports, clearly label transgenic corn and mill genetically modified corn as soon as it enters the country, to prevent farmers from planting it.

In the end, the Mexican government set aside the milling recommendation as too expensive, but the new law requires still unspecified labeling. Over all, imports of American corn, mostly for animal feed, have stayed steady." (New York Times)

"Agriculture Biotechnology: The answer to food shortages in Northeast India" - "Introduction: The world economy has seen significant growth in the last decade through increases in productivity, product quality, and export base diversification. These advances were mainly driven by the growth of traditional agricultural and industrial sectors. The application of agriculture biotechnology offers the opportunity to alleviate marginal and subsistence farmers to get out of their dependency on government assistance and to increase production. The introduction of new crop varieties with insect and herbicide resistant genes is quickly changing the landscape of agriculture in the US and many countries. Major pests can be eliminated with little or no spray of pesticides, as well as nasty weeds killed with the spray of herbicide in genetically engineered crop varieties. Genetically engineered crop varieties are environmental friendly with reduced chemical use as an added benefit.

Given the need to feed more people on the same land area while using less water and nutrients, the application of biotechnology to improve crop plants is fast becoming the only viable option for the teeming millions. Let me give a direct quote from Dr. Norman Borlaug, Noble Peace laureate, “the world need to double food production by 2050 if hunger were to be banished from the world and the ongoing 'gene revolution' can definitely play a part in this. You cannot build peace on empty stomachs. Only 8 per cent of countries with lower levels of hunger are mired in conflict". I might add, insurgency, the dominant menace of the region is eating up the resources and turning many vibrant and intelligent youths into dangerous thugs because there is not enough opportunities to go around. Many insurgency groups have sprang up as a result of hunger and a lack of opportunity rather than a genuine desire to leave the society in better shape than the one they currently inherit." (Dr. Chong Singsit, KanglaOnline)

March 25, 2005

"Bank Must Take Stand for Third World" - "Banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase is under pressure to condemn millions of people to perpetual poverty." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"French woman may have had vCJD in 1971" - " The brain of a French woman who died in 1971 shows evidence consistent with human mad cow disease, United Press International has learned, a finding that if confirmed would indicate the deadly disease began infecting people more than 20 years earlier than previously thought." (UPI)

"Improving access to healthy food has little effect on diet" - "Improving food shopping access for people living in deprived neighbourhoods has little effect on diet and health, says an editorial in this week's BMJ." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Let’s Clear the Air - The sky is not falling" - "Government regulation is sometimes like the old shell game, in which trying to guess where the pea is can be devilishly difficult. An example is the nation's first set of regulations to control mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants, announced last week by the EPA. The culmination of years of squabbling over different approaches, the rule imposes nationwide caps that will reduce emissions 70 percent by 2018, while conferring on individual power plants the flexibility to adopt new technology as it becomes available and to determine the best method for their facility to meet the new limits." (Sandy Szwarc & Henry I. Miller, NRO)

The world according to Lester: "Too much for Mother Earth" - "WASHINGTON - Even if per capita income in China grows at only 8% per year - lower than the red-hot pace of 9.5% at which it has grown since 1978 - it will still overtake the current per capita US income in just over 25 years, according to the latest analysis by the Earth Policy Institute (EPI)." (Asia Times)

What strange critters people are: "Hurricane warnings not heeded, study says" - "Leaders still have a long way to go in persuading residents to evacuate in advance of a major hurricane, even after a mandatory evacuation order is issued, according to new research conducted in the aftermath of Florida's busy 2004 hurricane season." (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

People seemingly run screaming from a minute hypothetical risk - contact with trace amounts of various chemicals, toasted Earth... - yet many are quite blasé when it comes to serious risk from phenomena about which we have moderate to fair understanding and some predictive ability. Go figure!

"New Study Finds No Link between Global Warming and Air Quality - Previous NRDC Study Used Scare Tactics & Misinformation to Push Legislative Agenda" - "WASHINGTON, March 24 -- A comprehensive new analysis by top air quality and climate experts refutes recent claims that global warming will lead to more bad air days in more than a dozen U.S. cities. The analysis shows that the air quality in Atlanta and throughout the U.S. has dramatically improved over the last thirty years and that there is no strong link between temperature and ozone. Regulation of greenhouse gas emissions will have no effect on air quality." (PRNewswire)

So, they're to blame... "Winners of Tyler Environmental prize announced: Honor recognizes two founding fathers of climate change research" - "Two pioneers whose discoveries built the foundation for the science of climate change will share the 2005 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. The award, which includes a $200,000 cash prize and gold medals, will go to Charles David Keeling, professor of oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and to Lonnie G. Thompson, University Professor of Geology at Ohio State University." (University of Southern California)

Professor Thorpe wants to make a believer of you: "Britain’s top climate scientist backs global warming claims" - "One of Britain’s leading climate change experts has thrown his weight behind the claim that global warming is being caused by human activity in a report published today by the Institute of Physics. The report by Professor Alan Thorpe, who takes up his post as chief of the Natural Environmental Research Council next month, aims to tackle sceptics who doubt the models scientists use to predict future climate change." (iop.org) | Climate Change Prediction: A challenging scientific problem (.pdf)

Parenthetically, a quick glance through the linked .pdf file shows yet another outing for Mann's infamous "Hockey Stick" graph - on page 12 we have it showing up in the IPCC's TAR storylines again. Funny how promoters, currently keen to claim that it doesn't matter that the "hockey stick" has proven to be a hokey stick, trot it out at every propagandizing event and opportunity. If this is what underpins professor Thorpe's faith in models then I'm going to leave the computer games where they belong - in the kid's playroom.

Oh dear... in an ACS publication, too: "Estimates of greenhouse warming double" - "Since 1991, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has predicted a 1.5–4.5 °C increase in average temperatures due to a doubling of CO2 levels. Now, new results from distributive computing projects suggest that the temperature increase could go as high as 11 °C. Although the IPCC has been reluctant to embrace these estimates, some scientists say that new developments make the wider temperature range nearly impossible for the panel to ignore." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Former oil executive defends industry" - "Dr. Lee Gerhard, a former oil industry executive and independent operator of a petroleum exploration company, spent two days at Indiana University Southeast last week to present data in support of his theory that Global Warming is not human induced and to build a case for expansion of oil drilling and exploration." (The Tribune)

"Warming climate a hazard to Far East ecology: experts" - "A rapidly warming climate would be a serious hazard for the unique ecology of Russia's Far East, experts from 11 national parks in the area warned Thursday." (Agence France-Presse)

"Canada: Kyoto-related changes included in budget bill" - "Opposition parties are warning they might vote against legislation implementing the federal budget if the Liberals include new Kyoto provisions - a move that could bring down the minority government." (Canadian Press)

"Harper accuses Liberals of hiding secret Kyoto agenda in budget bill" - "Conservative Leader Stephen Harper accused the Liberals yesterday of harbouring a hidden agenda when he was asked about a controversial environmental clause slipped into an omnibus budget-implementation bill to be introduced today." (Toronto Globe and Mail)

This might get a few yodelling: "Switzerland: Compromise solution to slash CO2 emissions" - "The Swiss government has decided to impose a tax on heating oil and raise a levy on petrol and diesel imports as of next year, to help cut CO2 emissions." (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Somebody musta told 'em: "Kyoto Protocol tough for emerging economies: Seoul" - "It will be impossible for emerging industrial powers such as China and South Korea ever to comply with the U.N. Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, South Korea's environment minister said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"What's Big, Guzzles Gas, and is Getting Faster?" - "The makers of SUVs, already under fire for poor gas mileage and safety issues, have a new strategy to reverse sagging sales: Putting bigger engines in them." (Wall Street Journal)

"Consumers Said They Would Buy Clean Energy In 2004 But Few Did - Where’s The Disconnect?" - "Last year, the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) conducted a major survey of Americans on the issue of climate change. They discovered, among other things, that 75 percent of Americans believe global warming is a real problem requiring action. A majority of Americans, moreover, believes the U. S. economy will benefit from steps taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And nearly 80 percent say President Bush should develop a plan to reduce such emissions.

On face value, it would seem that you could not ask for a more propitious time to be marketing clean energy; or a more receptive audience. But how Americans “feel” about clean energy and whether they are willing to support it with their wallets are two entirely different things.

One recent survey in a New England state produced findings that seemed entirely consistent with the PIPA findings. As many as 80 percent of residents, according to the survey, were favorably disposed to renewable energy and said they would prefer it over more traditional forms of power, even if it increased their monthly utility bill by $10 or more. More than half of that survey’s respondents said they would be willing to pony up an additional $20 monthly for clean energy. But, in practice, even though very successful clean energy marketing campaigns have been waged in multiple states, the actual number of residents signing up for clean energy has fallen far short of those projections." (Energy Pulse)

"Coal in a Nice Shade of Green" - "The combination of gasified coal plants and geologic storage can be our bridge to the clean energy of the 22nd century and beyond." (New York Times)

Uh-huh... "Power answers blowing in the wind" - "There is no doubt our dependence on fossil fuels will end. We will wean ourselves off oil and coal because they pose unacceptable environmental and security risks, or we will be forced to stop using them as reserves dwindle and climate change intensifies." (Stephen Hesse, Japan Times)

"What Happens Once the Oil Runs Out?" - "The controversy over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a side issue. The problem we need to face is the impending world oil shortage." (New York Times)

March 24, 2005

Bill Moyers on eco-theology? "Welcome to Doomsday" - "There are times when what we journalists see and intend to write about dispassionately sends a shiver down the spine, shaking us from our neutrality. This has been happening to me frequently of late as one story after another drives home the fact that the delusional is no longer marginal but has come in from the fringe to influence the seats of power. We are witnessing today a coupling of ideology and theology that threatens our ability to meet the growing ecological crisis. Theology asserts propositions that need not be proven true, while ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. The combination can make it impossible for a democracy to fashion real-world solutions to otherwise intractable challenges." (Bill Moyers, The New York Review of Books)

Actually not, although his opening paragraph would apply particularly well to eco-theology (the dogma of global warming; the juxtaposition of Mother Earth and Man, the anti-Gaia...) he is, in fact, galloping off on a tirade about faith and politics.

Sure sign of overregulation: "Cost of logging plans soars, university study finds" - "SACRAMENTO - The increasing cost of logging regulations may prompt more landowners to sell their timberland for development and other uses, particularly in areas where property values are rising, according to a new study. The California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, study released Wednesday finds the average cost of meeting the regulations has increased 1,200 percent over the last 30 years, and now tops $30,000. But the study also is triggering criticism of the researchers for accepting partial funding from the timber industry. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration, environmentalists and some state lawmakers have said the price of a timber harvest plan isn't high enough to cover the state's costs in regulating the timber industry." (Associated Press)

Activists are achieving their aim of strangling industry and, quite obviously, it has nothing to do with preserving forest cover - actually discouraging timberland maintenance.

"Anti-sealers have dubious motives" - "The International Fund for Animal Welfare discovered more than 30 years ago that by depicting sealers as brutal killers of "baby" seals, it could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars within months. Last year, the IFAW raised $77.5 million U.S. With huge amounts of money so easily available when you play on people's emotions — brutal men versus cuddly "baby" seals — and when you target people who can't fight back, other "charitable" organizations were quick to jump on the bandwagon. The Humane Society of the United States, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and Harpseals.org were among the many demonstrating against the seal hunt this week. As the Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing reported in 1986: "The anti-sealing campaign owes part of its success to the fact that it has been able to isolate as its target a small group of rural people whose way of life is far removed from the understanding of the urban people at whom the anti-sealing appeal has been aimed." (Toronto Star)

"Study says household dust holds dangerous chemicals" - "Common household dust contains a variety of hazardous chemicals originating from everyday consumer products, including phthalates, Teflon- related compounds, organotins and brominated flame retardants. The contaminants have been shown to cause reproductive, respiratory and other health problems in humans or test animals." (San Francisco Chronicle)

No, DUH! "Climate change poorly understood by US public, MIT survey finds" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Climate change and the threat of global warming are poorly understood by the U.S. public, and taking action to reduce their impact is not a high priority, according to a recent MIT survey.

These results suggest that change in U.S. climate policy will not be led by public opinion. Elected officials will have to provide leadership--a task they will find difficult because achieving significant reduction of the greenhouse gases linked to climate change may involve economic costs well above what the average consumer is willing to pay." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

How disappointing for wannabe social engineers that, despite all the histrionics, people recognise "catastrophic global warming" as being of no more consequence than any other computer game - they're interested in real-world problems.

Now they're after hearth and home: "UK: Call to demolish polluting homes" - "Eighty-thousand houses need to be demolished yearly for the next decade if the UK is to meet its climate change commitments, research suggests." (BBC)

"Malthusian Warming" - "Two science studies were published last week that advanced the view that, even if we stop producing greenhouse gases immediately, global temperatures will continue to increase for decades to come. This effect is attributed to the long time necessary for the Earth's climate, especially the deep ocean, to readjust to the radiative forcing from greenhouse gases we have already put into the atmosphere. The fundamental concept is not new. It has long been recognized that if the Earth allows a radiative imbalance to persist (an important distinction) that it will take decades for much of the resulting temperature change to be realized by the deep oceans." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"The global-warming hysteria" - "Did you catch the most recent hysteria about global warming?" (WorldNetDaily.com)

"Warming hole keeps Midwest cooler" - "AMES — While most climatologists talk about holes in the Earth's ozone layer, Iowa State University researcher Gene Takle talks more about the "warming hole" in the Upper Midwest. That's right, a warming hole. Although there is clear evidence of global warming, Takle says the result is not warmer conditions all the time everywhere. In this part of the world, things might even get a little colder, creating a sort of a hole in that global warming trend." (Iowa Farmer Today)

"Report: Global warming could make many rivers too warm for salmon" - "SEATTLE -- If current warming trends continue unchecked, more than 20 percent of the Pacific Northwest's rivers could become too warm for salmon, steelhead and trout by 2040, a new Northwest Wildlife Federation report says. The report predicts that rising regional temperatures could disturb the delicate balance of seasonal stream flows -- making spring flows happen earlier, reducing summer flows to a trickle, or rendering winter flows so high that gravel beds used as nesting sites could get scoured away." (Associated Press)

"NASA study finds soot may be changing the Arctic environment" - "NASA continues to explore the impact of black carbon or soot on the Earth's climate. NASA uses satellite data and computer models that recreate the climate. New findings show soot may be contributing to changes happening near the North Pole, such as accelerating melting of sea ice and snow and changing atmospheric temperatures." (NASA/GSFC)

"Ice core 'dipstick' indicates West Antarctic ice has thinned less than believed" - "New research using a thousand-meter ice core shows a key section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet probably never contained as much ice as scientists originally thought it did, so it couldn't have contributed as much as believed to higher sea levels 20,000 years ago." (University of Washington)

"New research indicates a 'troubled' greenhouse is brewing" - "Ancient soils are providing new insight about what to expect from global warming, according to a University of Oregon study published in the April issue of the journal Geology." (University of Oregon)

"U.S. to Start Tracking 'Greenhouse' Gases" - "WASHINGTON -- The government will start keeping track of all the ``greenhouse'' gases that farmers and foresters voluntarily reduce to help combat global warming. Officials in the Energy and Agriculture departments issued guidelines Wednesday for counting those efforts. They said the action indicates how seriously the Bush administration views the problem of gases that trap heat in the atmosphere like a greenhouse." (AP)

"EU drops 2050 emissions target" - "BRUSSELS - European Union leaders have backed a goal for ambitious cuts in greenhouse gases by 2020 but dropped a longer-term target for 2050, despite support from environment ministers earlier this month." (Reuters)

"UK: Energy price rises 'inevitable'" - "Further increases in energy prices are "inevitable", an influential committee of MPs has warned.

"It is now time for the government to re-examine the operation of the Climate Change Levy, and in particular to consider scope for reducing it to help UK industry," the report said, noting that previous price increases had already had a "significant" effect on UK consumers." (BBC)

"Europe nuclear revival depends on government aid" - "AMSTERDAM - Nuclear power is back in vogue but talk of a revival in Europe may be premature unless governments offer incentives to persuade companies to invest in new reactors, analysts say. Atomic plants are expensive to build and, despite producing almost no greenhouse gas emissions, face fierce opposition from environmentalists on safety grounds." (Reuters)

"Activists push for surcharge on gas-guzzlers" - "If you're going to plunk down $250,000 to buy a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, you probably won't blink at a $7,500 surcharge for the exhaust belching and gas guzzling that accompanies such a swanky machine. But if you plan to buy a new Ford Explorer for about $26,000, a state surcharge of $750 for its polluting capabilities may convince you to buy a greener, cleaner, cheaper car. That's the hope of the Connecticut Clean Car Alliance, which Tuesday introduced legislation at the General Assembly to encourage people to buy less polluting vehicles." (The News-Times Online)

"Canada Reaches Emissions Deal With Automakers" - "OTTAWA - Canada has agreed a voluntary deal with major carmakers to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming, Natural Resources Minister John Efford told Parliament Wednesday." (Reuters)

"A seaweed soaks up TNT - and may help clean oceans" - "Tucked away in Donald Cheney's office desk is a cookie tin containing six paper-thin sheets of dried porphyra - a type of seaweed commonly known as nori. It's the same stuff used to wrap sushi. But the real surprise lies down the hall, where Dr. Cheney, a research biologist at Northeastern University in Boston, has transformed the Japanese treat into a "super sponge." So far, it can sop up and neutralize TNT leaking from unexploded shells in coastal bombing ranges. But if Cheney and other researchers are right, the seaweed has the potential to scrub everything from polluted rivers to oceans. There's just one catch. The first edition of the cleanup seaweed is genetically engineered. Not only do current regulations prohibit its release into the environment, but some activists want to keep this version dry-docked." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"EU Says Unapproved Syngenta GMO Maize Sets No Risk" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union on Wednesday played down fears about the impact of an unauthorised strain of US genetically modified maize, saying it was similar to a type already approved." (Reuters)

March 23, 2005

"Warming Threatens Precious Wetlands" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Mar 22 - South America's giant Pantanal wetland could be destroyed should global temperatures rise three to four degrees C., as would 85 percent of the world's wetlands, according to a new report." (IPS)

"Innovative Study Will Measure Residential Carbon Sequestration" - "America’s residential areas are expanding fast. But, despite this, scientists know little about how well fixtures of American residential life, things like standard-issue turf lawns, shade trees, marigold gardens and the inevitable evergreen “foundation plantings,” draw climate-changing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere — a possibly significant oversight in national-scale estimates of carbon sequestration." (University Of Vermont)

"New EU water policies 'urgently needed' in light of climate change, says JRC" - "To mark the international observance of World Water Day on 22 March, the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a new report entitled 'climate change and the European water dimension'." (CORDIS)

"UK emissions rise 'within target'" - "Britain's emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, rose by 2.2% in the year 2002-2003, according to new government data just released. Environmental groups have accused ministers of failing to control greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions in 2003 were higher than when Labour came to power." (BBC)

About time they stopped running from the phantom menace: "A New Automaker Mantra: Emissions? What Emissions?" - "DETROIT, March 21 - Several automakers, among them Toyota, Ford Motor and BMW, are financing an advertising campaign aimed at politicians that asserts that automobiles are "virtually emission-free."

The campaign is part of an effort by a broad coalition of automakers to present their vehicles as environmentally benign at a time when the coalition is suing California to block a new regulation to curb global warming emissions and is continuing to lobby in Washington against tougher fuel economy regulations.

The ads have ignited a countercampaign by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group that says its efforts have generated 20,000 complaints asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the industry is making misleading claims.

While regulations have indeed forced automakers to act against emissions of smog-forming pollutants, the advertisements essentially ignore greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide as an automotive emission. Smog-forming emissions also remain a public health issue, according to environmental and consumer groups, as the number of vehicles on the road continues to increase with the population." (New York Times)

"Environmentalists tell German automakers to drop suit against California's proposed emissions law" - "A group of national environmental organizations on Monday urged German automakers to drop their lawsuit against California's proposed stricter clean air regulations, accusing the carmakers of double standards." (Associated Press)

Carmakers should tell misanthropes to take a hike.

Says it all... "Plane facts spell out disaster" - "The chairman of the Government’s Commission for Integrated Transport believes that strict limits must be imposed on how far we drive and fly in order to save the planet from catastrophic climate change. While he has not owned a car for 10 years, Begg is a frequent flyer and recently went to New Zealand. Ironically, he made the 24,000-mile trip to advise the Kiwis on “sustainable transport.” (London Times)

"Dozens of States Declare Support for Nuclear Power" - "PARIS - Nuclear power can play a key role in the 21st century in helping nations meet their energy needs and reduce the spread of greenhouse gases, a statement backed by nearly all 74 states at a nuclear conference said." (Reuters)

Uh-huh... "Film stars and businesses cancel out their existence" - "What do Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Jake Gyllenhaal have in common?" Emily Flynn had the answer in Newsweek: all have joined the "booming community" of people committed to living carbon-neutral lives. "This group is united by a vow to soak up as much greenhouse gas as they emit - rendering themselves noncontributors to global warming." (The Guardian)

Usually when people express a desire to cancel out their existence they are considered demented and placed on suicide watch.

... right... "Stars' backing gives lift to wind farms' cause" - "SCOTTISH celebrities including pop star Alex Kapranos, the actor Brian Cox, Magnus Magnusson, the broadcaster, and Anna Ryder Richardson, the Changing Rooms designer, have thrown their support behind a campaign to build wind farms." (The Scotsman)

As leaders of public policy they're rumoured to be entertaining.

... meanwhile: "Vestas Shares Plunge After Warning of 2004 Loss" - "COPENHAGEN - Shares in wind turbine maker Vestas fell as much as 13 percent on Tuesday after it warned late on Monday it would report a 2004 core loss next week after restructuring costs rose sharply.

"The 2004 profit downgrade is a blow to investor confidence, which was already low to begin with," said Jyske Bank analyst Brian Borsting, who retained his "sell" rating on the share.

Vestas also booked a 38 million euro charge for an offshore wind farm that has had key parts replaced. The Horns Reef project is important to its ability to win more offshore orders. Vestas is still negotiating with the customer, Elsam, over compensation for downtime." (Reuters)

People have been using windmills for centuries and they are still unreliable - and then there's the vagaries of the wind.

"Clear Foolishness" - "Almost since President Bush took office, his administration has been trying to pass environmental legislation known as Clear Skies. Clear Skies would have required large reductions in air pollution from coal-fired power plants, but in exchange would also have removed them from a Clean Air Act requirement known as New Source Review, which is sacred to environmentalists and environmental enforcement officials." (Joel Schwartz, TCS)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The Temperature History of Eastern China Over the Past Two Millennia" - "What does it reveal about the nature and possible cause(s) of late 20th-century warming?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Trends - Regional: Europe, Central)" - "What does the temperature history of Central Europe tell us about the nature of 20th-century warming there?" (co2science.org)

"Weeds (Non-Parasitic - Competitiveness)" - "How will the competitiveness of non-parasitic weeds be influenced by the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content in the years and decades ahead?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Curly Pondweed, Loblolly Pine, Sweetgum and White Burrobush." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Forty Years of Temperature Change in Argentina" - "As Argentina warmed over the last four decades of the 20th century, did its maximum and minimum temperatures become more variable or extreme?" (co2science.org)

"Chesapeake Bay, USA: A 2200-Year Temperature History" - "What does it tell us about the relative warmth of the Roman Warm Period, Medieval Warm Period and Modern Warm Period?" (co2science.org)

"Extending the CO 2 Dependency of Isoprene Emission by Vegetation from Current-and-Above to Pre-Industrial and Glacial CO 2 Concentrations" - "Does the trend established by this atmospheric CO 2 depletion experiment merge with the trend established by prior atmospheric CO 2 enrichment studies?  And why do we care?" (co2science.org)

"The Productivity of a Beijing Oak Forest" - " How do ecosystem process models suggest it will respond to a doubling of the atmosphere's CO 2 content plus 2 and 4°C increases in air temperature?" (co2science.org)

"DMS and DMSP Associated with Great Barrier Reef Corals" - "A substance produced by coral zooxanthellae and released to the marine environment may help to mute global warming." (co2science.org)

He's ba-ack: From the scaremongers' manual (Number Watch)

"Nature Mimics Industry" - "Who's to blame for carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, persistent dioxins, PCBs, vinyl chloride, perchlorates, elevated concentrations of nitrates in stream water throughout the world, and unusual fish kills? The initial knee-jerk reaction is to lay the blame on present-day humans (read: ourselves), endlessly accused of fouling our own nest, and there's some truth to this. No doubt we humans are responsible for many egregious environmental actions, but here's something new. Recent research has shown that some of the pollutants heretofore blamed on industrial activities can now also be laid at the doorstep of Mother Nature." (Jack W. Dini, ACSH)

"Experts fear soaring cancer rate" - "Annual rates of deadly skin cancers could treble by 2035, experts warn. Based on current trends, children could be three times more likely than their grandparents to develop malignant melanoma, says Cancer Research UK." (BBC)

Yesterday: "Too little sun causes harm, cancer specialists say" - "Cancer specialists around the world are rethinking their advice to cover up in the sun amid growing concern that staying in the shade may be causing harm." (London Independent)

"Environment is uniting left and right" - "Environmental issues, especially at the state and local levels, are bringing together conservatives and liberals who agree on little else, providing common ground in an increasingly polarized nation." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Canada Unveils Annual Seal Hunt, Slams Activists" - "OTTAWA - Canada said on Tuesday it would allow 320,000 young seals to be killed this year and launched an unusually strong attack on activists who promise to boycott Canadian seafood products in a bid to stop the hunt." (Reuters)

"Why going organic won’t do" - "The only agricultural scientist to win a Nobel peace prize, Norman E Borlaug, has said that we need to use, and extensively, all kinds of fertiliser, organic and inorganic, to enhance farm productivity which was vital to fight the problem of hunger in the world." (Indian Express Newspapers)

"Beware blind faith of food fundamentalists" - "WHEN I first became interested in the controversy about genetically modified crops, I had no bias for or against. But the more deeply I studied the issue, the more convinced I became of the case in their support." (Dick Taverne, The Scotsman)

Some of the nonsense dying down? "Biggest biotech crop test concludes" - "Herbicides, not genetic engineering, found to impact wildlife." (Reuters) | Latest Farm Scale Evaluation Results - New Evidence On GM Crops (Defra)

"EU to Push Approving GMOs, Could Come in Few Weeks" - "BRUSSELS - Europe will quietly press ahead with authorising more genetically modified (GMO) crops, if necessary without the blessing of EU governments or the majority of European consumers, the EU's executive said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Poland to Ban Monsanto GMO Maize Seed" - "WARSAW - Poland wants to ban the import and planting of 17 varieties of genetically modified (GMO) maize seed made by US biotech giant Monsanto for two years, a senior Farm Ministry official said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Syngenta Sold Some Unapproved Biotech Corn in US" - "WASHINGTON - Corn seeds developed by Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta AG were mistakenly contaminated during 2001 through 2004 with a strain of genetically modified corn that had not been approved for distribution, the company said Tuesday." (Reuters)

March 22, 2005

"Sustainable Development = Sustained Poverty" - "Critics are "lying about environmentalists" and "willfully representing facts" about them and their views, concerns and agendas. So says a recent commentary by Earth Island Institute and Environmental News Network." (Paul Driessen, CNSNews.com)

"Battling Insects, Parasites and Politics" - "SOMJI, Nigeria - The reason for all the excitement, one public health doctor after another trooping into her mud-walled room to have a look, was that Patience Solomon had correctly hung her new royal blue mosquito net over the bed she shared with her 2-year-old son, James." (New York Times)

"South America Wetlands May Be "Next Everglades" - Report" - "OSLO - Giant South American wetlands are under threat from farming and house building and could shrink like Florida's Everglades last century, a study by U.N. experts said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Shark death raises fears for future" - "THE fourth Australian in eight months to fall victim to giant sharks died at the weekend, raising fears that laws protecting sharks are endangering swimmers." (London Times)

"Traffic fumes linked to DNA damage" - "PARIS - Traffic fumes can damage DNA, according to a study of toll-booth workers at a busy highway in Taiwan. Researchers led by Lai Ching-Huang of Taiwan's National Defence Medical Centre took blood and urine samples from 47 workers at the First Highway toll station, located 10 kilometers (six miles) from the capital, Taipei. The samples were compared with those from a reference group comprising 27 female office workers." (AFP)

"Too little sun causes harm, cancer specialists say" - "Cancer specialists around the world are rethinking their advice to cover up in the sun amid growing concern that staying in the shade may be causing harm." (London Independent)

"World's largest rainforest drying experiment completes first phase" - "Scientists with The Woods Hole Research Center are analyzing the surprising results of the first phase of a drydown experiment occurring in the Amazonian rainforest.

From January 2000 to July 2004, rainfall was excluded from a one-hectare (2.2 acre) plot in the middle of the Tapajós National Forest, in Brazil. A total of 6 feet of rainfall was diverted with six thousand 2' by 6' clear plastic panels suspended 3 to 12 feet above the soil. The panels were removed during the five-month dry season each year. To sort out the forest responses to the "umbrellas" from the normal variation in tree growth, tree death, leaf production, and other aspects of forest behavior, researchers compared this dry plot of forest with a similar plot, from which rainfall was not excluded. These two forest plots were compared for a year prior to installation of the plastic panels to register any differences in behavior that already existed when we began the experiment.

According to Daniel C. Nepstad, a senior scientist with The Woods Hole Research Center, "This experiment provides researchers with a peek into the future of this majestic forest, a future that will most likely be drier because of global warming, El Niño episodes, and even the drying effects of rainforest clearing and burning itself." (Woods Hole Research Center)

"Cold weather slows maple syrup production" - "USA - If you're tired of these winter temperatures, you're not the only one. This month's below freezing nights and cold days means conditions for maple sugaring are less than ideal. Producers worry this could be the smallest syrup harvest in decades. Robert Leab's trees are tapped. But four weeks into the sugaring season and this is just Ioka Farm's second syrup run of the year. "It's usually the end of February when we start and here it is the middle of March and we're just getting going," Leab said." (WNYT-TV)

Flashback, October 29, 2004: "Experts: New England's Fall Colors Could Vanish in 100 Years Due to Unchecked Global Warming" (document expired) - "BOSTON, Oct. 28 -- As the fifth disappointing New England fall color display in as many years draws to a close, experts are warning that the region's once glorious autumnal forest leaf displays could disappear altogether in as little as 100 years if global warming continues on its current path. A University of New Hampshire professor said that climate- related factors already undercutting such traditional New England industries as maple syrup production also could end up making New England fall colors a thing of the past." (PRNewswire)

March 23, 2004: "Warming trend blamed for syrup season change" - "ACWORTH, N.H. -- The state's maple syrup producers say they can see the effects of global warming in their backyards: They are tapping their trees about a month earlier than their ancestors did. A giant chart on the wall of the Clark Sugar House in Acworth shows the maple syrup season began changing about 20 years ago. Since 1896, generations of Clarks attached their buckets in March, and almost never made syrup before then. But in the mid-1980s, they began tapping mostly in February, and March became the month for boiling and bottling." (Associated Press)

2001... "Global Warming's Bitter Harvest" - "Forrest Bartlett can vividly recall the days when he gathered sap in buckets and transported maple syrup by horse-drawn wagon. His family has been sugaring on his South Pomfret, VT, farm for three generations but "the sap doesn't run like it used to," says the 63-year old Bartlett. "If warming trends continue, Vermont's sugaring industry will dry up." (Environmental Defense)

"Global warming could trigger ant invasions" - "Global warming may lead to an unexpected threat from the insect world - swarming invasions of tiny ants - suggests new research." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Climate: A hard look at the long term" - "Boulder, CO, Mar. 21 -- One of the ironies of the global warming debate is that anyone on any side of the argument is likely to be around long enough to say, "I told you so." The climate changes under discussion mostly are gradual, occurring over a timeline of generations -- 50 years, 100 years or more. Consequently, the argument by climate skeptics that humanity will have time to adapt -- perhaps even adapt easily -- is difficult to disprove. Likewise, the counter argument -- that although humanity may be able to adapt, animals and plants may not -- remains to be seen." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Swiss Plan to Save Glacier from Global Warming" - "GENEVA -- Swiss technicians are to use a special insulating foam to wrap up a glacier that has been shrinking under the summer sun, an official from a resort whose clients ski down the ice-field said." (AFP)

"Clearing the Air about Cars and Trucks" - "The environmental activist group Union of Concerned Scientists has launched an attack on the auto industry blaming it for contributing to smog and "global warming pollution". As is so often the case, these concerned scientists seem to have no concern for science. Let's look at some facts." (Robert Balling, TCS)

"Britain Off Course on Domestic CO2 Emissions Targets" - "LONDON - Britain will miss its own target on cutting carbon dioxide emissions but meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments, according to projections released on Monday by the government." (Reuters)

"U.K. Says It Will Pursue Carbon Plan After Output Rose in 2003" - "March 21 -- The U.K. will pursue a plan to curb output of greenhouse gases linked to global warming, after its carbon dioxide emissions rose in 2003, Environment Minister Elliot Morley said." (Bloomberg)

"Twenty five million UK home makeovers needed to reach climate goals" - "Twenty-five million whole-house makeovers and a massive re-building programme are needed to match the Government's global warming goals, say researchers from Oxford University and a national centre for climate change." (Environment Times)

"Activists worried about EU climate change resolve" - "BRUSSELS - Environmental groups voiced concern on Monday that European leaders would water down proposals that seek sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by developed nations in the coming years." (Reuters)

"China to spend 780 million dollars to curb sulfur dioxide emissions" - "China plans to invest 6.43 billion yuan (780 million dollars) to curb sulfur dioxide emissions spewing from the coal-fired power plants that are fueling its economic growth, state media said Monday." (Agence France-Presse)

Really? Wonder if global warming handwringers will try to stop them reducing planetary albedo-increasing sulfur particulates? It is these particulates, after all, that have supposedly prevented  atmospheric warming that models insist would otherwise have occurred.

"Canada: Bruce Power Says Near Ontario Nuke Restart Deal" - "VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Bruce Power has reached a tentative agreement with an Ontario government negotiator on restarting two idled nuclear reactors, the province's largest independent generator of electricity said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Poland's nuclear age?" - "The European Commission is demanding that Poland reduce its plans for 2005-2007 CO2 emissions by 16.5 percent. This means that Poland needs to find sources of energy other than coal, which currently dominates the energy industry." (Warsaw Business Journal)

"Nuclear Energy May Be Back in Vogue - UN" - "PARIS - Expectations of a sharp rise in energy demand and the risk of climate change are pushing many countries to return to the idea of nuclear power, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Experts Discuss Nuclear Power As Energy" - "PARIS - Only by building more nuclear power stations can the world meet its soaring energy needs while averting environmental disaster, experts at an international conference said Monday.

Energy ministers and officials from 74 countries were in Paris for the two-day meeting on the future of nuclear energy, as concerns about global warming and fossil fuel supplies renew governments' interest in atomic power.

``It's clear that nuclear energy is regaining stature as a serious option,'' said Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency - the U.N. nuclear watchdog - which organized the conference." (AP)

"Last century's nuclear nightmare has no place in today's world" - "Twenty Greenpeace activists this morning blocked the entrance of the French Ministry of Economics, Finance and Industry, where the international conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency 'Nuclear in the 21st century' is being held through tomorrow. Activists unfurled a large banner that read: 'nuclear free future'. The environmental organisation wants to highlight that nuclear power is expensive, dangerous and proliferates nuclear weapons. It is counter-productive to combat climate change, and everyone genuinely concerned about the environment should reject it." (Greenpeace)

"Indonesia Wants Nuke Power, Aware of Terrorist Threat" - "PARIS - Indonesia is committed to developing nuclear power to meet its rising energy needs and has taken all the necessary steps to protect its facilities against terrorist attacks, an Indonesian official said on Monday." (Reuters)

"The ethanol equation" - "As the Minnesota Legislature debates whether to expand the use of ethanol in the state, old arguments against the fuel are resurfacing. One of the most contentious is this: it takes more energy to make the fuel than it produces." (Minnesota Public Radio)

"Distilling the real facts about ethanol" - "Spin, propaganda and borderline deception have all emerged during the decades long debate over whether ethanol is good for the country." (Argus Leader)

"GM study shows potential 'harm'" - "The fourth and final test of a GM crop grown under UK farm conditions has highlighted the detrimental effects the novel plants can have on wildlife. The tests of a winter-sown oilseed rape showed the management of the biotech crop could reduce the weeds and seeds available to some insects and birds." (BBC)

Wonder if anyone's noticed that excluding non-desired plants from the crop is exactly what we want crops to do?

After wading through some extraordinary and hysterical headlines: "Study Says Birds & Bees Impacted By Bioengineered Seed; But Cei Scholar Notes Important Data Was Omitted" - "Do birds and bees do better with natural "rapeseed" than bioengineered seed? A new study by British scientists claims the natural seed is better for birds and bees. But the study ignores many benefits of bioengineered seed, according to CEI Senior Fellow Gregory Conko, and was "narrowly tailored," examining only "whether fields planted with the engineered rapeseed (canola) had fewer weeds than the conventional variety, which is exactly what the engineered crop was designed to do." (CEI)

"EU States Overruled on GMOs by Own Deadlock - Greens" - "BRUSSELS - Europe could see a series of new biotech foods quietly approved with no influence from EU governments if they cannot escape from years of deadlock over genetically modified (GMO) foods, green groups warned on Monday." (Reuters)

"Tories go on attack over GM crops" - "The commercial planting of genetically modified crops should be banned until it can be proved they pose no threat to the environment, the Conservatives will say today in an attempt to tap into popular concern about the technology." (Financial Times)

March 21, 2005

"It's Decision Time for J.P. Morgan Chase's CEO" - "Living in gated communities may soon become a necessity rather than an option for corporate managers. Social activists are escalating their anti-business campaigns by taking them into management's own backyards - well, make that front yards." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

Professor S. Fred Singer would like your help:

The Flat Earth Award is running a vote between Michael Crichton, Rush Limbaugh and Fred Singer, one which Fred would dearly like to win. So, if it's not too much trouble, why not click along and give Fred the nod?

"UK: Louth cancer increase ‘is not linked to Sellafield nuclear plant’" - "Higher rates of cancer have been found in Co Louth but no evidence that they are connected to the Sellafield nuclear plant, according to a study by the National Cancer Registry, Ireland." (London Times)

"Mobile phones 'no threat' in petrol stations" - "Cutting off a phone call in mid-conversation as you pull in to buy petrol may not only be rude but also unnecessary, according to research. Signs banning the use of mobiles are posted in service stations across the country because it is commonly thought that they could ignite explosions. But Dr Adam Burgess, author of Cellular Phones, Public Fears and a Culture of Precaution, believes the ban should be lifted. 'The petrol station/mobile phone story crosses into the realm of urban legend,' he said." (The Observer)

"Australia: Pressure to ban termite pesticide" - "A PESTICIDE used extensively in homes and on crops could be banned as pressure builds on authorities to reconsider safety concerns about the chemical chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos is a key ingredient in 160 pesticide products in Australia and is used during construction to prevent termites." (The Australian)

"Britain's ozone levels near all-time low, scientists say" - "Arctic's record cold winter helps deplete radiation shield." (The Guardian)

"Envisat enables first global check of regional methane emissions" - "The SCIAMACHY sensor aboard Envisat has performed the first space-based measurements of the global distribution of near-surface methane, one of the most important greenhouse gases. As reported in Thursday's issue of Science Express, the results show larger than expected emissions across tropical land regions." (European Space Agency)

The Week That Was March 19, 2005 (SEPP)

"The biggest challenge of our time" - "The Kyoto treaty makes a step towards reducing greenhouse emissions, but it's far from enough." (London Independent)

Picture worth a thousand words - here's the "overwhelming public demand" for action on climate change.

"Rock dust grows extra-big vegetables (and might save us from global warming)" - "For years scientists have been warning of an apocalyptic future facing the world. With the prospect of an earth made infertile from over-production and mass reliance on chemicals, coupled with an atmosphere polluted by greenhouse gases there seems little to celebrate. But belief is growing that an answer to some of the earth's problems are not only at hand, but under our feet." (London Independent)

"After Kyoto" - "The Kyoto Protocol treaty has now entered into force for the 126 nations who have joined it so far. Now is the time to start thinking about how to engage all nations, including large emitters, in conversations about what to do after the treaty's expiration in 2012. This is exactly what the European Commission did recently by providing its first strategy for a post-Kyoto era, which will be discussed by the European Council next March." (Ian Johnson, Business World)

[Ian Johnson is World Bank vice-president for sustainable development]

We could wish: "Organized opposition to the Kyoto Protocol" - "A report from the International Policy Network (IPN) claims that restricting emissions of greenhouse gases in industrialized countries will hinder growth in developing countries. This is used as an argument against international agreements that restrict emissions. The report can be seen as urging Europe to follow the U.S. example in its climate policy." (Cicero)

"Kyoto Protocol off-target without U.S., China" - "With the Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming now in force, Japanese industries are poised to go all out to achieve their self-imposed targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"UK: Green households to get £600 tax breaks" - "Homeowners will get tax cuts of up to £600 for making their houses "green" and energy efficient, under official plans to combat global warming." (London Independent)

"Global warming threat to future of Scotland's lochs" - "GLOBAL warming will cause the bottom layers of Scotland’s deepest freshwater lochs to stagnate and rise in temperature, threatening their sensitive ecology, The Scotsman has learned." (The Scotsman)

"Greens call for sustainability criteria to be applied to hydrogen economy" - "As a source of energy from which the only waste emission is water, hydrogen is unquestionably a more environmentally friendly option that, say, diesel or natural gas. The problem, however, is that hydrogen is not a primary energy source, and therefore it must be produced using other forms of energy. If, as is most often the case today, those energy sources are fossil fuel based, then significant amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide will still be released into the atmosphere during hydrogen production." (EUbusiness)

"Fear of extremists kills off GM tests" - "Threat to dig up experimental crops drives British research overseas" (The Observer)

"Green groups 'deceive public to stop GM crops'" - "Aid agencies and environmentalists have deceived the public over genetically modified crops by deliberately ignoring scientific evidence that supports the technology, according to a new book. The March of Unreason, by Dick Taverne, the Liberal Democrat peer, accuses Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other green groups of turning their opposition to GM plants into a "religious crusade", based on "blind faith and deep bias" rather than serious research." (London Telegraph)

They're at it again: "Golden Rice: All glitter, no gold" - "It was a great sales pitch: adopt this genetically engineered rice, and it'll save millions of children from blindness! It will end Vitamin A deficiency. They called it "Golden Rice." But if you queried their claims, or had concerns about possible genetic contamination of a global staple food, you were an environmental extremist who cared more about trees than children. It was, and is, fool's gold." (Greenpeace)

"Marijan Jost: GMO Use is Madness" - "The participants in the debate “Does Croatia Need GMO Crops?”, held yesterday in Osijek, gave negative answer to that question. They also concluded that it is the ecological agricultural production that can bring great benefits for Croatia. The GMO seeds didn’t get the support of a single participant. To the contrary, the panel supported the initiative of the Osijek Greens and the Croatian Environmental Press Centre, the organizers of the debate, to declare the Osijek-Baranja District GMO free area. The debate was mediated by professor Marijan Jost, prominent Croatian scientist in the field of genetics and an outspoken opponent of genetically modified seeds and their use in Croatia." (OneWorld)

"GMOs ‘can cause food shortages’" - "Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) could lead to food shortages, stakeholders in the agricultural sector have warned. GMOs reduced small-scale farmers into slaves of big companies which monopolised the technology, thus laying the ground for diminished food production, the stakeholders said in a statement released in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Besides its adverse side effects on human and animal health and the environment, the technology was likely to impact on small-scale farming, thus worsening food scarcity instead of reducing it." (Guardian)

Meanwhile: "A late-blooming crop" - "Despite the high-profile resistance to genetically engineered products, biotech crops continue to sprout on more of the world's arable acreage every year. And despite its losses, Monsanto's financial forecasts for this year and next are rosy." (Associated Press)

"EU to push for GMO foods despite opposition -draft" - "BRUSSELS, March 18 - Europe should press ahead with authorising more genetically modified (GMO) foods despite overwhelming opposition among European consumers, a draft EU document showed on Friday." (Reuters)

"Brazil clears GMO cotton for first time" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil, March 18 - Brazil has approved planting of transgenic cotton for the first time in a move applauded by cost-conscious producers and attacked by environmentalists as a threat to native species. Monsanto Co.'s Bollgard variety of GMO cotton, which is resistant to insects, was approved by a government agency late on Thursday -- two weeks after Brazil's Congress lifted a ban on planting and sale of genetically-modified crops. Producers welcomed the decision, saying that it would help Brazil become a leading world cotton producer and exporter." (Reuters)

"GM Plants To Grow Vaccines Against Killer Diseases" - "Genetically modified (GM) plants are to be used to grow vaccines for use in the worldwide fight against HIV, tuberculosis, diabetes and rabies thanks to a grant of 12 million euros from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6)." (Medical News Today)

March 18, 2005

"Second Global Warming Treaty Makes Less Sense Than First"  - "Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., suggested last week that it’s time for a second global warming treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A new study out this week, however, seems to question the point of the existing global warming treaty." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

The Wigley Meehl show is back in town: "Climate change inevitable in 21st century" - "Even if all greenhouse gases had been stabilized in the year 2000, we would still be committed to a warmer Earth and greater sea level rise in the present century, according to a new study by a team of climate modelers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)." (NCAR/UCAR) | Oceans extend effects of climate change (Nature) | Ocean heat store makes climate change inevitable (New Scientist) | How to prepare a planet for global warming (The Christian Science Monitor)

"UK development aid fuels climate change and poverty, new report finds" - "UK aid money is creating an 'oil curse' for developing economies, according to Pumping Poverty, a new report, launched Thursday 17 March as G8 environment ministers meet in Derby to discuss the impact of climate change on Africa. Pumping Poverty finds that government aid is being spent on supporting energy projects which benefit UK and US oil companies, but which do little to help the countries where they are based." (Greenpeace promoting FoE hand-wringer)

"NZ: Comalco could quit over Kyoto" - "Comalco says the Government’s Kyoto protocol carbon tax could add about $60 million a year to its costs, possibly forcing it out of New Zealand." (NZPA)

"Solar companies fear grants fall" - "The UK's solar power industry fears the government is closing a very successful grants scheme that helps homeowners and others cover the cost of installations." (BBC)

"BA backs EU emissions scheme" - "LONDON - British Airways chief Rod Eddington has backed the inclusion of the aviation sector in the European Union's emissions trading scheme as the best way for the industry to help tackle climate change. Eddington said airlines risked being hit with extra fuel tax unless they worked together on effective environmental strategies like carbon dioxide trading to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "Our experience is that (emissions) trading is a workable approach and need not be excessively costly," Eddington told an aviation summit in Geneva, according to a BA statement. "A tax would not only be bad for the economics of our industry, it would also be bad environmental policy," he said." (Reuters)

"Transport measures 'fail to tackle pollution'" - "The Budget was more about winning the next election than tackling transport's growing contribution to global pollution, environmentalists said. Much to the annoyance of the green lobby, the Chancellor deferred the annual fuel duty rise for cars until 1 September, when drivers will pay an extra 1.2p a litre. He also froze company-car tax rates and said there would be no increase in the air passenger duty that travellers pay when they leave British airports." (London Independent)

"Dueling factions hail move to simplify controversial EU chemical legislation" - "An effort to simplify the EU’s contested Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) regulatory plan is drawing broad support in the European Parliament and from industry associations and environmentalists. Experts tracking the issue say the move could advance legislative approval of the measure." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Beauty, and the Beast" - "Because of birth defects and hormone disruption, the EU recently banned phthalates from cosmetics. Now, despite a huge outcry from the $35 billion cosmetics industry, some California lawmakers are trying to ban them in the US." (Hartford Advocate)

"Smearing Cosmetics" - "Cosmetics and fragrances have long been mixed with politics. Because most users are women, Marxists and some extreme feminists have declared them tools of female oppression. Conversely, dictatorships like Nazi Germany and the Taliban have banned cosmetics out of sheer misogyny. (Never mind the redundancy of forbidding mascara behind a burqa.)

Unsurprisingly, then, it's activism and not science that's behind the latest push to restrict access to cosmetics, with the activists targeting something called phthalates. (Pronounced "thal-lates.") Many of these ingredients are used in cosmetics. They can make perfume scents last longer, make nail polish more flexible, and keep hairspray from stiffening." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Obesity - diabetes link: much more than food?" - "17/03/2005 - As EU Commissioner Kyprianou launches a new platform involving the food industry and stakeholders to tackle rising obesity levels, new research finds influences on diabetes - obesity link could be much more than food, reports Lindsey Partos." (FoodNavigator.com)

Warped worldview of the day: "Will aid to poor put wildlife at risk?" - "Even a small increase in the wealth of poor, rural families in Gabon may cause a substantial increase in the consumption of bushmeat, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in a recent issue of Conservation Biology. The results of the study, the authors said, underline the importance of coordinating poverty alleviation efforts with conservation to avoid depleting natural resources in Central Africa, while still benefiting the rural poor." (Wildlife Conservation Society)

"Farmers Fail to Win Order Barring Animal Activists" - "LONDON - The owners of three farms that breed guinea pigs for medical research failed on Thursday to win a High Court order banning animal rights protesters from a 77-sq mile area around their premises. Mr Justice Owen ruled that the farms were adequately protected by an existing injunction limiting protests at the farms, near Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire. However, he warned activists, who include the Animal Liberation Front, that any future trouble would probably lead to the imposition of the requested no-go zone." (Reuters)

"Borlaug advocates gene revolution" - "Nobel laureate Norman E Borlaug, hailed as father of the green revolution, on Wednesday defended the use of genetically modified organisms and transgenic crops, maintaining that these could offer numerous new possibilities in future." (Rediff)

March 17, 2005

"U.N. Adviser Gloomy on Anti-Poverty Goals" - "UNITED NATIONS - In a poor village not far from Senegal's capital, representatives of rich donor countries spent three years trying to sell insecticide-treated bed nets to the 7,000 residents who suffer from malaria. But only 400 had enough money to buy the protective covers." (Associated Press)

"Believe in facts not fads" - "If we don't trust science, we risk putting our faith in something far more dangerous, argues Dick Taverne" (The Guardian)

Here we go again: "So durable, it's hard to get rid of" - "It's the white plastic pipe that carries away the water when you empty the bathtub. Maybe it's in your home's vinyl siding, your wallpaper, or the beachball your son plays with. The material is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), one of the world's most widely used plastics and, increasingly, one of its most controversial. The chemical properties that give it such flexibility and a long serviceable life also make it an environmental liability when it's produced and later when it's thrown out. At least, that's what environmentalists claim." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"CHILE: Rising Cell Phone Use Fuels Fears of Health Hazards from Antennas" - "SANTIAGO - Hundreds of Chileans are keeping watch day and night over lots next to their homes, to block plans to install mobile phone antennas, because they are worried about the possible effects they could have on human health." (IPS)

"PCB exposure tied to menstrual cycle length" - "NEW YORK - Exposure to PCBs, even at everyday environmental levels, may affect women's menstrual cycles, according to a new study. The findings support animal studies suggesting that low-level exposure to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) can alter menstrual function, lead investigator Dr. Glinda S. Cooper and colleagues report. Whether that translates into health effects, such as fertility problems, is unclear." (Reuters Health)

<1 day; might; may; somewhat... oh boy.

"Explosion of child obesity predicted to shorten US life expectancy" - "It's been assumed that U.S. life expectancy would rise indefinitely, but a new data analysis, published as a special report in the March 17 New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that this trend is about to reverse itself – due to the rapid rise in obesity, especially among children." (Children's Hospital Boston)

"Obesity higher in some European countries" - "At least seven European countries now challenge the United States in size - at least around the waistline. In a group of nations from Greece to Germany, the proportion of overweight or obese men is higher than in the U.S., experts said Tuesday in a major analysis of expanding girth on the European continent. (Associated Press)

"Fat In Diet More A Worry In UK Than Mad Cow - Survey" - "LONDON - Britons are more worried about salt, fat and sugar in their diet than they are of eating meat contaminated with mad cow disease, a new survey has found." (Reuters)

"Sermon on the Mount a global scare too far" - "The snows of Kilimanjaro may have melted, but the world is not ending." (George Kerevan, The Scotsman)

"Transcript: Fossil fuels could slow climate change: environment roundtable" - "TANYA NOLAN: The accepted logic is that fossil fuels are one of the biggest factors behind climate change. But the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitters are now proposing that fossil fuels could be part of the solution, and help slow climate change. Australia's Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, says that was the conclusion after two days of talks in London with other environment and energy ministers from around the world." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Wow! Even the Beeb's noticed: "Row over climate 'hockey stick'" - "A row has erupted over one of the most provocative symbols of global warming - the iconic "hockey stick" graph. This record of Northern Hemisphere temperature variation in the last 1,000 years shows a recent warming trend apparently linked to human activities. New work in the journal Geophysical Research Letters questions its validity, challenging the way it was originally put together." (BBC)

"US Oil Companies Move To Reduce Climate Change Risks" - "NEW YORK -- Leading U.S. oil companies have developed strategies to reduce the risk of global warming - in some cases agreeing to cap their emissions of greenhouse gases - in new arrangements with shareholders who have fought to make energy companies more responsive to the issue. The shareholders recently withdrew resolutions filed with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Apache Corp., ChevronTexaco Corp., Unocal Corp. and Tesoro Corp. because the companies have taken steps during the past two years to mitigate the effect that global warming and new greenhouse-gas regulations will have on their businesses. The agreements mark the first success activists have had in securing greenhouse-gas commitments from the U.S. oil and gas industry." (Dow Jones)

"Power Plants Wary of Loading Up On New Antipollution Equipment" - "The Bush administration's new regulations to curb power-plant pollution from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury emissions will create a $50 billion market for antipollution equipment over the next two decades, according to the EPA." (Wall Street Journal)

"Organic farming - a growing threat to the world?" - "A new book claims we have a duty to our planet to resist the tide of dangerous 'eco-fundamentalism' sweeping the globe. Damian Corless reports" (Irish Independent)

"Monsanto: Biotech Wheat Revival Unlikely" - "CHICAGO - Biotech crop pioneer Monsanto Co. said on Wednesday it was unlikely any time soon to resurrect its project to develop genetically modified wheat, which it suspended last May. The company instead would plow its resources into a conventionally bred variety of soybeans that will produce a cooking oil with a lower level of cholesterol-producing trans fatty acids. "We saw what's going on with food and trans fats, and we saw that resource we are putting in wheat is not nearly as valuable as putting it into the food and oil side," Monsanto Executive Vice President Jerry Steiner told the Reuters Food Summit in Chicago." (Reuters)

Oil bad, possible biotech... more bad? "Plastic Fantastic" - "Fantastic Kathleen Bader wants to save the world from polluting oil plastics with her healthy corn polymers.

Customers are skeptical that corn plastic, which degrades within weeks into water and carbon dioxide in the humid, 140-degree heat of a compressed landfill, can handle a Houston summer in a 7-Eleven storeroom. Even in benign storage conditions bottles made from oil-based polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, far outlast NatureWorks' bottles, which start to exhibit tiny dimples after eight months.

Nor are the tree huggers won over. Green clothier Patagonia has shunned Bader's corn plastic over fears that the corn in question might be genetically modified." (Elizabeth MacDonald, Forbes)

March 16, 2005

"Study shows acrylamide in baked and fried food does not increase risk of breast cancer in women" - "Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, have found no association between acrylamide intake in foods and risk of breast cancer among Swedish women. The findings appear in the March 16, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Compound to cut fatty food risk" - "It may be possible to add a compound to high-fat food that can cut the risk of an unhealthy diet leading to diabetes, say scientists. US Department of Agriculture chemists found the compound, a form of soluble cellulose, slowed down the rate of fat absorption." (BBC)

"Food Nannies Hawk the Hawkeye State" - "Like newspapers across the country, the Des Moines Register has published a special series addressing the "obesity crisis." The Register series, which began last Sunday, was entitled "The Losing Battle" -- appropriately named, just not in the way the newspaper believes." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

It's flying thick & fast at the moment: "Group links mercury to learning disabilities" - "No one can see mercury in a fish dinner with the naked eye, but Jane Browning, executive director of the Learning Disabilities Association of America, has seen its effects." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"EPA, environmentalists don't expect mercury guidelines to do much" - "The Bush administration's new limits on mercury pollution from the nation's power plants, which will be unveiled Tuesday, have provoked an unusual agreement: Neither the government nor environmentalists think they'll do much good." (Knight Ridder Newspaper)

"Health activists fan flames of protest against common fire-stopping chemicals" - "Montana's Legislature is in the middle of this debate with a resolution aimed at discouraging use of any of a family of chemicals called PBDEs, which stands for polybrominated diphenyl ethers." (Great Falls Tribune)

"To spray or not to spray? City considers using herbicides against invasive plants in hills" - "By reconsidering its 8-year-old ban on herbicides, Oakland has jumped into the global debate over the safety of using herbicides to fight invasive non-native plants from remote canyons to playgrounds and median strips." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Inoculating against fear" - "Doctors face parental concerns about the growing number of childhood vaccinations. About one-third of U.S. children were found to be under-vaccinated for more than six months." (New York Newsday)

"Banned: The pine in garden furniture" - "Treated pine in children's play equipment, garden furniture, picnic tables and decking will be banned in Australia after research found that a chemical in the wood was linked to an increased risk of childhood cancer." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Really? Sounds more like Aussie see, Aussie do. There's zero evidence of harm but it must be bad - the Americans banned it, quod erat demonstrandum.

"Bruce Ames Pulls It Together" - "Dr. Bruce Ames isn't afraid to stir up controversy. He relishes it. Ames has made a career out of challenging prevailing views in the scientific community. Most notably, Ames raised the ire of environmentalists and fellow scientists about 25 years ago when he challenged the procedures used to determine which chemicals cause cancer in humans. The standard procedure at the time was to subject rodents to high doses of chemicals. But Ames concluded that the tests were of little benefit in establishing whether those same chemicals would cause cancer in low doses -- levels people were actually exposed to in the real world. His research also showed that the possible cancer risk from traces of synthetic chemicals such as pesticide residues was tiny compared with that from natural chemicals in people's diets." (Patrick Seitz, IBD)

"Taiwan to fine pregnant women for smoking" - "TAIPEI - Taiwan will fine pregnant women for smoking in a bid to ensure healthier babies and curb the number of female smokers which is on the rise, health officials said." (AFP)

"Greens Clash Over South African Elephant Cull Question" - "JOHANNESBURG - A simmering battle over culling elephants has brought to light sharp divisions in the green movement over how to restrain a burgeoning population from outgrowing the confined wilderness of South Africa's parks." (Reuters)

Seems to be a lot of navel-gazing going on... "Green in Gridlock" - "While President Bush and many of today's Republican leaders seem to be out of step with the American public and much of their own party when it comes to environmental conservation, the tactics of some environmentalists also play a significant role in creating the political polarization and stalemate that have caused gridlock for more than a decade on environmental policy." (Paul W. Hansen, Washington Post)

... which is a major improvement over... "Environmental terrorists a growing movement in West" - "The Earth Liberation Front - the underground environmental network that has used sabotage, arson and vandalism to attack everything from logging equipment to genetically engineered crops and SUVs - has hit the foothills town of Auburn and fast-growing nearby communities." (San Jose Mercury News)

... and: "Environmentalists Call on World Bank to Abandon Laotian Dam Project" - "BANGKOK, Thailand — About 100 environmental activists and villagers burned an effigy of World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn in the Thai capital Monday, demanding that the bank scrap a US$1.3 billion (euro969 million) dam project in neighboring Laos. Construction of the Nam Theun 2 dam is set to begin if the World Bank's board of directors approves it next month. The protesters claimed it will ruin the lives of about 6,000 Laotian villagers who will be uprooted. The dam will generate 1,070 megawatts of electricity, 95 percent of which will be exported to Thailand, earning Laos a projected US$200 million (euro165 million) in annual revenue for 25 years." (Associated Press)

Showing distinctly more sense: "Environmental activist displays new colors" - "Patrick Moore, founding member of Greenpeace, spent 15 years being arrested for causes he felt strongly about, doing things he now labels environmental extremism." (Eureka Times-Standard)

Oh boy... "Tax gas-guzzlers off our roads" - "Climate change is already killing 150,000 people a year. If the government takes climate change as seriously as it says it does, Gordon Brown will tax gas-guzzlers off our roads tomorrow when he presents the budget." (Greenpeace)

"Global Warming Threat Central To Policy - Britain" - "LONDON - Britain told the world's biggest polluters including the United States on Tuesday that only by placing the environment at the heart of economic policy could they prevent a crisis caused by global warming." (Reuters)

"Economy 'needs healthy climate'" - "The UK Chancellor has urged countries to work together for a healthier climate to ensure economic prosperity." (BBC)

Um... like this Chancellor?

It's so profitable... "Mandelson rejects MEPs' call for 'Kyoto Tax'" - "EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has rejected calls for US exports to face increased border taxes to compensate EU firms for any transitional costs of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol. Green Party Euro-MP Caroline Lucas last week called on Mr Mandelson to raise the issue at the World Trade Organisation so European businesses aren't penalized by US failure to ratify the protocol - the world's first climate change treaty, which came into force last month." (Green Party)

Doh! It just gets worse and worse... "Climate Change Advances Rapid Spread Of Diseases" - "Scoop Report: Global warming and changes to the earth's environment are accelerating the spread of diseases. These facts have been revealed in the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) yearbook. “In the nineteen seventies the disease dengue fever was prevalent in nine countries. Today it is found in about 100 countries”, said Marion Cheatle, one of the authors of the yearbook. Also the spread of Malaria was closely connected with the intervention of mankind into the environment. Research has shown, six per cent of all Malaria cases of the past 25 years have been caused by climate change. A warmer climate encourages the multiplication of Malaria transmitting mosquitoes." (Marietta Gross, Scoop Media)

UNEP never heard of air travel? Never mind... Check out "From Shakespeare to Defoe: Malaria in England in the Little Ice Age" (Paul Reiter, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for a little perspective on that malaria thing.

"Dirty Little Secret" - "Why are we going through the Kyoto process? The question may seem trivial, but it isn't. The European Union and other developed countries are implementing policies that will have a significant impact on their economies. Of course the common answer to the question is: anthropogenic emissions are warming the planet to unprecedented temperatures, so we must do something to counter such a potentially harmful trend. Now, assuming that man-made emissions are the real cause of climate change and as a consequence climate will change for the worse (two assumptions that may be questionable), another question arises. Does Kyoto work? Indeed, if a kind of "cap & trade" strategy could lead to less emissions, thus less warming, the EU may be on the right track. A third question, one that will not taken into account, is whether Kyoto is the most efficient, or the least costly, method of curbing global warming; and, if not, which strategy should be followed?" (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"US firm on Kyoto treaty objection" - " The United States repeated its objection to the Kyoto climate change treaty, as ministers from 20 countries gathered in London for a conference on global warming. James Connaughton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol were "unreasonable." (AP)

"UK: Tax incentives plan to bury carbon dioxide emissions" - "Gordon Brown said yesterday he was considering tax incentives for firms to capture their carbon dioxide emissions and store them underground." (London Telegraph)

"No relief for Pacific Northwest drought" - "It does not appear there will be any major relief this spring or summer from the unusually dry weather that has recently hit the Pacific Northwest, according to new projections of drought severity and fire risk that are based on "general circulation" models that forecast global climate." (Oregon State University)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"A 400-Year Temperature History Derived from Glacial Data" - "What does it tell us about the IPCC-endorsed hockeystick temperature reconstructions of Mann and colleagues?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Streamflow (Natural Variability)" - "Has CO 2 -induced global warming had a significant impact on global streamflow properties?" (co2science.org)

"Oceans (Productivity)" - "How is the productivity of earth's oceans responding to the "twin evils" of the historical concomitant increases in the air's CO 2 content and temperature?" (co2science.org)

Book Review:
"Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate" - "Oregon State Climatologist and Certified Consulting Meteorologist, George Taylor, reviews an updated version of M. Mihkel Mathiesen's book." (co2science.org)

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

Journal Reviews
"Overdue Cooling?" - "Is the earth poised on the precipice of a steep decline in temperature?  New evidence from the bottom of the sea combined with ice core data from the top of the world suggests that all that separates the planet from such a fate may be the CO 2 humanity continues to emit to the atmosphere." (co2science.org)

"The Dark Ages Cold Period in the Central United States" - "In attempting to identify the Little Ice Age in their proxy temperature history of the Holocene, the authors of a study of carbon isotopes in soil organic matter actually find the Dark Ages Cold Period." (co2science.org)

"The Climatic History of the Phanerozoic" - "What does it tell us about the role of CO 2 as a greenhouse gas?" (co2science.org)

"The Water Use Efficiency of Northern Eurasian Conifers" - "How has it changed over the past century or more?  And why is this change so important?" (co2science.org)

"Return of the Giant Kelp Revisited" - "Another perspective on the "return" of the giant kelp forests of Baja California that were decimated by the 1997-98 El Niño is presented by the scientists who first documented the phenomenon." (co2science.org)

"Power producers seek latest models of nuclear reactors" - "Now after decades, four huge electric companies are expressing strong interest in new nuclear reactors, and they would like a new plant to reflect some of what has been learned of the operation." (New York Times)

"Probing the promise and perils of nanoparticles" - "For all its promise, the prospect of using nanoparticles in biomedical applications and consumer products has raised concerns about possible harmful effects of the miniscule materials. Scientists at the University of Michigan are addressing those concerns by investigating how certain kinds of nanoparticles damage cell membranes -- enough to cause cell death in some cases -- and how the damage can be prevented." (University of Michigan)

"Anti-GM Campaign Launched on Consumers Day" - "LONDON, Mar 15 - A renewed campaign was launched against GM foods to mark Consumers Day Tuesday. The campaign launched in many countries is focused on the demand for labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods. ''In about a third of countries some form of labelling is in place,'' David Cuming, GM campaigns manager with Consumers International told IPS. ''But other countries are still denying consumers the right to choose.'' (IPS)

"CHILE: Defending Consumers' Rights to Information and Choice on GM Products" - "SANTIAGO - Lilia Lizama, a 60-year-old homemaker in the capital of Chile, only learned about the existence of transgenic foods a few months ago. ”I was at my sister's house and the subject just happened to come up. They told me that there are foods that have been modified and could cause cancer,” she told IPS." (IPS)

"UK farms 'want to grow GM crops'" - "The president of US biotechnology giant Monsanto says genetically-modified crops could be grown in the UK within five to 10 years. Hugh Grant told Radio 4's Farming Today programme that his firm's research suggests the majority of UK farmers want the chance to grow GM crops." (BBC)

March 15, 2005

"A little pesticide does you good but 'organic' farming harms the world" - "Our health is threatened not by chemicals and GM crops but by the eco-fundamentalists and their crusade against intensive agriculture: in an extract from his new book, Dick Taverne demolishes the myths and pseudo science of the organic movement." (London Telegraph)

Today's eye-roller: "The body chemical" - "The ability to link body burden to harm remains just beyond the limits of science, for now. Exposures are fuzzy. We move from place to place. There are far too many variables. Epidemiology — the study of the incidence and prevalence of disease - has considerable limits. But these chemicals do take a toll, researchers suspect." (Oakland Tribune)

II: "Breast milk toxin study troubles nursing moms" - "Breast milk provides special nutrients that help infants ward off infections, allergies and childhood cancer, and even cavities, diabetes and multiple sclerosis later in life. Some studies suggest breast-feeding increases a child's confidence and IQ. That's why it's so painful to tell eager new mothers that breast milk also contains toxic chemicals." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Journalists Frightening Parents Away from Vaccines" - "The scare story about vaccines containing mercury and causing autism is still with us, as a recent story on Fox 5 news here in New York City -- and a new book on the topic from St. Martin's Press -- suggest. (Indeed, the Fox 5 story caused such an outpouring of fear from parents that Fox 5 decided...to run it again.)" (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Multi-center study shows direct link between residential radon exposure and lung cancer" - "University of Iowa researchers were part of a large multi-center study that provides direct evidence of an association between prolonged residential radon exposure and lung cancer risk." (University of Iowa)

"Chemical reform hampered by opposition" - "Later next year Europe will require vastly more information and precaution from chemical manufacturers. But internal memos uncovered by a House committee show the Bush administration is working with the nation's chemical industry to weaken Europe's new rules. And business interests have a near-perfect record in shooting down California reforms they consider "job killers." (Oakland Tribune)

"Mercury controls approved by Senate committee" - "Vermont's Senate Natural Resources Committee on Friday passed a bill limiting the sale and disposal of mercury-containing products." (The Times Argus)

"EPA issuing rules on power plant mercury" - "WASHINGTON — The Bush administration planned to issue the nation's first regulations to cut mercury pollution from electric utilities Tuesday, relying on a market trading system that gives companies 15 years to reduce it nearly by half." (AP)

"The environmental estrogen bisphenol-a inhibits estrogen-induced Hippocampal Synaptogenesis" - "Science Byte: Experiments with cells from a part of the brain important for memory formation reveal that levels of bisphenol A within the range to which many people are exposed inhibit the formation of neuronal synapses." (Environmental Health Perspectives)

"Tsunami victims' suit names NOAA" - "The agency that operates the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in 'Ewa Beach is being sued by Indian Ocean tsunami survivors and relatives of victims. The suit says the center and other defendants did not do enough to protect people from the December tsunami, which killed as many as 300,000 people. Workers at the center have said they tried to warn Indian Ocean nations but most of those nations have no warning mechanism in place. The lawsuit does not seek damages, but instead asks the court to preserve evidence for the plaintiffs so they can decide whether to pursue damages." (Honolulu Advertiser)

"Environmental crisis forging strange bedfellows" - "New partnerships bridging the boundaries between religion and science must be forged if the world is to avoid ecological collapse because of pollution and human interference, says a University of Toronto professor." (University of Toronto)

"Wetlands law mired in a bog" - "[Today] John Rapanos will stand before a federal judge for sentencing. The purported crime of this mid-Michigan builder is violating the federal Clean Water Act by moving sand in a cornfield he owns and had hoped to develop. Having investigated the scene of the "crime," I can attest that Mr. Rapanos' possible incarceration is absurd. Unfortunately, it is but one example of the current abuses of federal "wetlands" law." (Russ Harding, The Washington Times)

"Fossil records show biodiversity comes and goes" - "A detailed and extensive new analysis of the fossil records of marine animals over the past 542 million years has yielded a stunning surprise. Biodiversity appears to rise and fall in mysterious cycles of 62 million years for which science has no satisfactory explanation. The analysis, performed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley, has withstood thorough testing so that confidence in the results is above 99-percent." (DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

"Gray wolves maintain the food chain in winter" - "Research published in the open-access, freely-available online journal PLoS Biology reveals that reintroducing wolves can help ameliorate the negative effects of warmer winters on other species and can maintain intact food chains in the face of climate change." (Public Library of Science)

"Finnish GDP could gain from climate change -study" - "HELSINKI, March 14 - Global climate change will help the Finnish economy in coming decades mainly by boosting agriculture and timber production, but the overall effect will be small, a study published on Monday showed. Changes, including global warming, would boost Finnish agricultural output some 10 percent by 2050 and timber output by several percentage points as the arable land area will grow, while the energy sector will also benefit, the Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT) said." (Reuters)

"Kyoto costs ballooning, cabinet ministers warned" - "OTTAWA -- The full cost to Ottawa of meeting Canada's targets for fighting global warming under the controversial Kyoto accord could exceed $10-billion, senior federal cabinet ministers have been warned. That's twice what the federal government has budgeted so far for Kyoto." (Globe and Mail)

"Greenhouse Gases to Be Cut for Clean Air" - "The Ministry of Environment will set up a task force April 1 to reduce greenhouse gases for improvement of air quality, officials said Monday." (Seoul Korea Times)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: A grizzly evidence of warming?" - "Boulder, CO, Mar. 14 -- Scientists usually are reluctant to attribute major trends to anecdotal evidence. Still, some anecdotes contain so much metaphorical power it is difficult to dismiss them, and at some mysterious juncture in the consideration of scientific information, anecdotes become data points and when enough of them pile up, they become a data set." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Blair's international brainstorming to combat climate change" - "LONDON - Thirty Energy and Environment ministers from 20 industrialized and emerging countries will gather at the behest of the British government Tuesday and Wednesday to debate climate change and how to combat it." (AFP)

"Photos Show Climate Change; Ministers Meet in UK" - "LONDON - A photo of Mount Kilimanjaro stripped of its snowcap for the first time in 11,000 years will be used as dramatic testimony for action against global warming as ministers from the world's biggest polluters meet Tuesday. Gathering in London for a two-day brainstorming session on the environment agenda of Britain's presidency of the Group of Eight rich nations, the environment and energy ministers from 20 countries will be handed a book containing the stark image of Africa's tallest mountain, among others. "This is a wake-up call and an unequivocal message that a low-carbon global economy is necessary, achievable and affordable," said Steve Howard of the Climate Group charity which organized the book and an associated exhibition." (Reuters)

Odd... the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro seem to be increasing again - at least according to NASA's Earth Observatory photos.

"Emissions trading and Norwegian climate policy" - "In January, Norway initiated its emissions trading system for the period up to December 2007. Emissions trading is meant to be one of Norway’s most important climate policy instruments in meeting its Kyoto target. But the system will cover only 10 percent of Norway’s emissions, and no clear signals have been given about what instruments can be expected after 2007." (CICERO)

"Breaking the Oil Addiction" - "Our country is addicted to oil, and we are paying a fearful price. Our profligate use of petroleum contributes to air pollution, urban smog and global warming. Our addiction leaves us dependant on relatively unstable foreign sources of supply. And, it increases the pressure for oil and gas exploration in sensitive areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the front range of the Rockies." (Norman L. Dean, Fiends of the Earth)

"Strict curbs on vehicle emissions fuel debate" - "As Washington lawmakers debate whether to import California's tough new regulations curbing the chemicals that puff from new car tailpipes, the Golden State offers a glimpse into what the future may hold." (Seattle Times)

"UK urged to turn to wind power" - "Germany's Green party environment minister said yesterday that Britain should emulate Germany's example and build thousands more wind turbines if it wanted to prevent climate change. Speaking in an interview with the Guardian ahead of a meeting in London today of the G8's environment ministers, Jürgen Trittin said that Britain should consider expanding its wind farm programme." (The Guardian)

"Report doubts future of wind power" - "Wind farms are an expensive and inefficient way of generating sustainable energy, according to a study from Germany, the world's leading producer of wind energy. The report, which may have ramifications for the UK's rapidly growing wind farm industry, concludes that instead of spending billions on building new wind turbines, the emphasis should be on making houses more energy efficient. Drawn up by the German government's energy agency, it says that wind farms prove a costly form of reducing greenhouse gases. It costs €41-€77 (£28-£53) to avoid emitting a tonne of carbon dioxide by using wind energy, the report says." (The Guardian)

"Experts show official wind power claims are hot air" - "Controversial plans to build thousands of wind turbines across Scotland will make almost no difference to greenhouse gas levels, according to new research by leading environmental scientists." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"DEP sees conflicts in using ocean for turbines" - "Wind turbines off the New Jersey coast could conflict with commercial fishing, navigation and tourism, according to a state document released last week." (Asbury Park Press)

"Rules Are Killing Good Science" - "The National Institutes of Health has used a bazooka to kill a mosquito. And now the NIH is facing a revolt from its scientists, who are suffering collateral damage. The scientists are outraged by the draconian new NIH regulations that bar them from part-time consulting for biomedical companies (paid or unpaid), restrict their service on company boards, limit their acceptance of prizes, and prohibit senior staff members (and their families) from owning stock in drug, medical device or biotech companies." (Henry I. Miller, LA Times)

"Chinese more aware of dangers of genetically modified food: Greenpeace" - "BEIJING - Increasing numbers of Chinese are coming out against genetically modified (GM) crops as China moves towards using the technology to address its food security issues, a survey showed. "It is clear that Chinese consumers are becoming more cautious as they know more about GM food," said Greenpeace China campaigner Ma Tianjie. "Consumers cannot be fooled; GM food costs and tastes the same as non-GM food, so why take the risk?" (AFP)

"Kraft, Campbell Accused Of Using GM Ingredients On Chinese MKT" - "BEIJING, March 15 - Global environmental organization Greenpeace accused two world leading food producers, Kraft and Campbell, Monday of using genetically modified ingredients in their products sold in China. An inspection on 28 foods, which was commissioned by Greenpeace earlier this year, found that the Ritz biscuit of Kraft Foods Inc. and the corn soup of the Campbell's Soup Company contained generically engineered soybean ingredients." (Asia Pulse)

"Kraft CEO Sees Nutrition Role For Biotech Foods" - "CHICAGO - Kraft Foods Inc., which was at the center of a 2000 controversy over unapproved genetically modified corn finding its way into the food chain, on Monday said transgenic crops will gradually evolve to play an important role in nutrition and the environment." (Reuters)

March 14, 2005

"Anti-Business Activists Begin To Squirm" - "Anti-business activists are finding themselves on the defensive for a change - and they don't like it. After more than two decades of virtually unchallenged infiltration of corporate America under the banner of "corporate social responsibility," CSR, supporters of free enterprise and free markets are finally waking up and taking notice of this stealthy but well-organized campaign to steer America into a sharp left turn." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

Junk science junked: Metabolife Appeal Ruling (.pdf) - 11th Circuit opinion blasts trial court for abdicating its gatekeeper role (under Daubert) in keeping out expert testimony not based upon sound science.

"Doctor's testimony ignites legal storm" - "On March 4, a moving van operated by Ed the Mover pulled up to a Pascagoula strip mall and, empowered by a court order, hauled away the contents of 80 file cabinets from the office of N&M Inc. They were 1.5 million testing records for asbestos- and silicosis-related lung disease." (Mobile Register)

"The great experiment" - "Advances in synthetic chemistry have made our lives more comfortable and secure than possible even a generation ago. The downside of that transition is increasingly apparent: In the course of a generation, we have contaminated virtually all of Earth's biological systems." (Oakland Tribune)

"Consensus on childhood obesity recommends classification as disease" - "The consensus statement reflects the conclusions from an international summit held in Israel last year and includes a controversial recommendation to classify obesity as a disease. This landmark statement reviews the available research evidence on the diagnosis, prevalence, causes (including endocrine disorders), risks, prevention and treatment of childhood obesity." (Endocrine Society)

"US won't ban junk-food ads for kids, official says" - "WASHINGTON, March 11 - The U.S. government will not ban or limit junk-food advertising to children, but wants the industry to set new guidelines to promote healthy eating and minimize obesity, a top regulator said on Friday. Regulators will host a workshop this summer to help food makers and advertisers develop the guidelines, said Deborah Majoras, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission. "Let me make clear, this is not the first step toward new government regulations to ban or restrict children's food advertising and marketing. The FTC tried that approach in the 1970s and it failed," Majoras said at a Consumer Federation of America conference." (Reuters)

"Only four out of 10 Britons say they are informed about science" - "The British may not care for genetically modified crops, but we do care about science, according to research published today. A Mori report reveals that eight out of 10 Britons think science makes a good contribution to society. Paradoxically, only 40% consider themselves very or fairly well informed about science." (The Guardian)

"The BBC and the end of the world... before Thursday, of course" - "For BBC television, the apocalypse will have arrived at least nine times this week before Thursday. "You who watch, prepare to die" (especially, of course, if American):" (EnviroSpin)

"'I Have a Nightmare'" - "When environmentalists are writing tracts like "The Death of Environmentalism," you know the movement is in deep trouble.

That essay by two young environmentalists has been whirling around the Internet since last fall, provoking a civil war among tree-huggers for its assertion that "modern environmentalism, with all of its unexamined assumptions, outdated concepts and exhausted strategies, must die so that something new can live." Sadly, the authors, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, are right." (Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times)

Poor Kristof, still a believer. Wonder if he'd feel any better if he realised the other name for an "environmentalist" is "misanthropist"?

"AMERICAS: The Tuna Dispute - Environmentalism or Trade Protectionism?" - "CARACAS - The U.S. market is closed to tuna caught by Latin American fishing boats in the Pacific Ocean due to a 2004 judicial order aimed at protecting dolphins. The region's fishers, however, say the measure is an ''ecological mask'' for what they consider protectionist interests." (Tierramérica)

"Unique weather a factor in record 2004 Midwest crop yields" - "If farmers talk big about 2004 crops as they get ready to head out into the fields this spring, let them talk. Believe them. Last year's crop season saw record yields in every major crop amid the closest-to-perfect weather conditions of the last century, scientists say." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

But, but... 2004 was the 4th hottest year - NASA said so. Hot is B-A-D - bad! Haven't you heard? How dare anyone offer such divergent opinion as "the closest-to-perfect weather conditions of the last century"! At least some progress is being made.

We are rescued from optimism, however, by the ever-reliable WWF: "Water crisis looms as Himalayan glaciers retreat" - "Gland, Switzerland - Himalayan glaciers are among the fastest retreating glaciers globally due to the effects of global warming, and this will eventually result in water shortages for hundreds of millions of people who rely on glacier-dependent rivers in China, India and Nepal, warns WWF, the global conservation organization." (WWF release)

Such rotten luck they're having lately, what with the leakage of items like the following spoiling a good disaster and the like it's just getting so hard to terrorise people these days.

"Heavy snowfall augurs well for India's shrinking glaciers and snow-fed rivers" - "There's good news for the geologists and the environmental scientists who have been craving to assuage their anxieties over shrinking of glaciers and drying up of snow- fed rivers. Heavy snow in the higher regions of Himachal Pradesh this year have rejuvenated them all. The snowfall has given a fresh lease of life to both perennial and seasonal glaciers in the region. Snow deposit have been recorded maximum in the mountain ranges of Kinnaur, Lahaul Spiti, Chamba, Kangra and Shimla districts. The region has received its heaviest snowfall in over two decades this year. The environmentalists had been alarmed earlier at the melting of tropical glaciers due to global warming fearing a major climactic imbalance in nature. This year's snowfall would again load the glaciers with snow to their respite." (ANI via Insurance Digest)

"Kyoto Credits System Aids the Rich, Some Say" - "Sajida Khan, who has fought for years to close an apartheid-era dumpsite that she says has sickened many people in her predominantly brown and black community outside Durban, South Africa, was dismayed to learn recently that she faces a surprising new obstacle: the Kyoto global warming treaty.

Under the protocol's highly touted plan to encourage rich countries to invest in eco-friendly projects in poor nations, the site now stands to become a cash cow that generates income for South Africa while helping a wealthy European nation meet its obligations under the pact.

The project's sponsors at the World Bank call it a win-win situation; Khan calls it a disaster. She said her community's suffering is being prolonged so that a rich country will not have to make difficult cuts in greenhouse gas emissions at home.

"It is another form of colonialism," she said." (Washington Post)

"UK 'climbs down' over climate" - "The UK government has announced tougher limits on greenhouse gas emissions following pressure from the European Commission." (BBC)

"Industry fury as Beckett retreats over UK carbon allowances" - "The government was forced into a humiliating climbdown yesterday over the amount of carbon British industry will be allowed to produce under new European Union emission trading rules." (London Independent)

"Britain fights greenhouse gas cuts" - "The government damaged its leadership ambitions in the campaign to combat global warming by launching legal proceedings yesterday against the European commission over its decision to cut allowable greenhouse gas emissions by British industry." (The Guardian)

The Week That Was March 12, 2005 (SEPP)

Uh-huh... "Imagine: 500 Miles Per Gallon" - "There have been many calls for programs to fund research. Beneath the din lies a little-noticed reality—the solution is already with us." (Newsweek)

... and for an extra $29.95 you get the warp drive pack.

"Saudi Canadia?" - "People who fret over headlines such as "World's oil problems are only going to get worse" must be growing downright panicky over recent news reporting on oil reserves." (Adam S. Chamberlain, The Washington Times)

"Ex-BHP chief Anderson backs carbon tax" - "Paul Anderson, the chief executive of leading US electricity and gas utility Duke Energy Corp, has put his weight behind the introduction of a carbon tax. Mr Anderson, a former boss of BHP-Billiton Ltd, said the tax could replace the GST in Australia as a "no regrets" way of reducing global warming. He said in the future the world would either have to conserve and use less energy or rely on nuclear power because other clean energy fuels produced only a "small sliver" of power needs." (AAP)

"Nuclear giants team up to bid for UK reactor-building programme" - "Some of the world's leading nuclear companies are lining up UK partners to prepare bids for an £8bn reactor-building programme, which is expected to be announced after the election." (London Independent)

"How safe is nuclear?" - "It is in BHP Billiton's financial interest that the nuclear power industry grow safely and it has the intellectual and financial resources to help ensure that that does occur." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Nuclear industry shows signs of revival" - "After years of dormancy, the U.S. nuclear industry is stirring again, hoping that a friendly White House and Congress will provide the tax dollars it needs for its first expansion in years to build more plants in places like Clinton, Ill." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"World GMO Treaty Pits EU Against Its Trade Partners" - "BRUSSELS - Europe looks on course for another clash with its top trading partners over genetically modified (GMO) foods as negotiations get under way for the gradual enforcement of a treaty to control global GMO trade." (Reuters)

"Philippines Pushes Biotech Corn, Cautious On Rice" - "SINGAPORE/MANILA - The Philippines, the first Asian country to commercialise genetically modified corn, is now holding trials for biotech rice, but industry experts say approval for planting the food grain is at least two years away." (Reuters)

March 11, 2005

"Mercury Rises Over EPA Pollution Rules" - "As the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to announce next week final rules intended to reduce mercury emissions from power plants, EPA officials and the Bush administration are coming under heavy fire from the Government Accounting Office, Congressional Democrats, and environmentalists. But in reality, it’s another pointless Washington, D.C. political tug-of-war that we should all hope no one wins." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Hmm... "Row erupts over WHO's malaria 'miscalculation'" - "Has the World Health Organization underestimated the world's malaria problem? By as much as 50%, according to researchers in Kenya. Not true, the WHO itself insists. At stake is the credibility of the WHO's anti-malaria programmes.
A spokesman for Nature says: "We were simply unaware of [WHO's revised figures] and it didn't come up in the peer review."" (NewScientist.com news service)

... the reason for the alleged "row" is unclear. Certainly the WHO published the revised figures of 300 million - 500 million annual malaria cases in 2000 and JunkScience.com has been using them since inception of the Malaria Clock that same year. Where they do seem to woefully "underguesstimate" is in mortality figures - at least according to "The Intolerable Burden of Malaria: A New Look at the Numbers," - supplement to The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The supplement was published by the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) with support from MIM partners, including NIH, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GlaxoSmithKline, the Rockefeller Foundation, The United Kingdom Medical Research Council, The United Nations Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Wellcome Trust, and, you guessed it, the World Health Organization. The "new look" places the number of malaria mortalities in the order of 2.7 million and that is the figure utilised in the clock.

The great tragedy is that Nature and their peer reviewers are apparently blithely unaware of the magnitude of the malaria toll.

"Despotism and Disease" - "Africa Fighting Malaria releases a new report on the healthcare situation in Zimbabwe and its impact on the region." (AFM)

"Judge dismisses agent orange lawsuit" - "A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit charging that American chemical companies committed war crimes against Vietnamese citizens by making Agent Orange, the defoliant used during the Vietnam War that allegedly caused birth defects, miscarriages and cancer." (New York Newsday)

"Reuters and PCRM Bad for Bone Health" - "A March 8 Reuters article entitled "Milk Alone Not Best for Bones" reported on a study that concluded that milk and other dairy products do not promote bone health in children over age seven. What Reuters neglected to note was the fact that the study's sponsoring organization, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), has a blatant anti-dairy agenda. That doesn't mean their study shouldn't be evaluated on its merits, but such potential conflicts of interest would probably be quickly noted in the case of, say, a study that came to "pro-industry" conclusions." (Lynnea Mills, ACSH)

"Too much commerce 'harms science'" - "Lord Winston says science risks being tainted by commercialisation, in the week the UK government claimed it was essential to economic success." (BBC)

"Pain without Risk or Comfort with Risk" - "The New York Times in its March 4th editorial, "Experts and the Drug Industry," has it wrong. Recently, the FDA decided to allow the drugs Celebrex, Bextra, and Vioxx to be marketed despite research showing they seem to increase the risk of heart problems. The Times complains that this FDA decision is suspect because a "vast majority" of the scientists on the panel had financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and ten of the thirty-two panel members had consulted or received research support from the three drug companies involved in this judgment." (Dr. Marvin J. Schissel, ACSH)

"Mass extinction comes every 62 million years, UC physicists discover" - "With surprising and mysterious regularity, life on Earth has flourished and vanished in cycles of mass extinction every 62 million years, say two UC Berkeley scientists who discovered the pattern after a painstaking computer study of fossil records going back for more than 500 million years." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Australian scientists prove less trees, less rain" - "SYDNEY, March 10 - Australian scientists have found that deforestation along the Amazon River in South America was reducing rainfall and causing climate change in the region." (Reuters)

"Thawing permafrost poses hurdles for development" - "New data reveal that a warming climate is accelerating thawing of the permafrost—the concrete-like frozen ground found mostly in the far Northern Hemisphere. The rising ground temperature could spell trouble for the vast new energy developments proposed for the high northern latitudes, experts say." (Environmental Science & Technology)

Global warming kills Coral Sea cyclones? "West getting 'Queensland's cyclones'" - "WESTERN Australia may be getting more rain-producing cyclones at the expense of Queensland, a climate expert said today. The phenomenon could be a sign of global climate change, according to Queensland Department of Primary Industries science manager and climatologist Roger Stone." (AAP)

"No wind of change" - "What if Cyclone Ingrid, as powerful as Cyclone Tracy, had turned south and hit Cairns? Brick-veneer homes built at the northern beach suburbs might have been turned into roofless swimming pools. Would north Queenslanders have blamed global warming, or are severe cyclones a risk we should all plan for more seriously?" (Jennifer Marohasy, Courier-Mail)

"An interview with Miss Jenny Wren" -- Exclusive to EnviroSpin

"Britain calls for using more technology that cuts greenhouse gas emissions" - "The world economy must step up the introduction of technology that will reduce "greenhouse gas" emissions because fossil fuels will continue to dominate the market in the future, the British government said Thursday." (Agence France-Presse)

"Red Tape and Risk Frustrate Kyoto's CDM Scheme" - "One of the Kyoto Protocol's main tools for curbing greenhouse gas emissions is struggling to take off as projects get bogged down in red tape and investors worry about risky deals with developing countries." (Reuters)

"EU proposes new greenhouse gas targets" - "European Union environment ministers proposed Thursday that industrialised countries set new targets for reducing greenhouse gases after internationally-agreed rules expire in 2012. The ministers proposed that developed countries make plans for reducing emissions by 15 to 30 percent by 2020 and by 60 to 80 percent by 2050 from benchmark levels in 1990." (AFP)

"Japan: Growth in midsize cities to boost CO2 emissions in 2010, experts warn" - "A faster rise in the population of midsize cities will cause carbon dioxide emissions in those areas to rise more rapidly than in larger cities in 2010, according to researchers at a nonprofit organization." (Japan Times)

"Industry faces new green test" - "The nation's biggest energy users will be forced to reveal their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of a revamped national environmental program to be launched by the Howard Government today." (Sydney Australian)

"Quiet talk of drilling offshore" - "The powerful House Resources Committee, headed by a California Republican lawmaker, is quietly circulating what environmentalists call a "stealth strategy'' to overturn nearly a quarter-century of bans against new offshore oil and gas drilling along much of the U.S. coastline." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"IAEA Says Nuclear Energy Looks to Bounce Back" - "PARIS - Interest is growing in nuclear energy as a sustainable solution to soaring oil and gas prices and to fight global warming and poverty, the United Nations nuclear watchdog IAEA said on Thursday." (Reuters)

Practicing what they preach... "Don't waste energy on a risky source" - "CLIMATE change may well be the single greatest problem facing our generation. Globally, 150,000 people died in 2000 from the effects of climate change, according to the World Health Organisation, which expects the annual death toll to double by 2030. Insurers forecast global financial losses from climate change to exceed £78 billion a year within a decade." (Evening News)

... this lot recycle the same nonsense ad nauseam.

"Estrogens light up genetically modified fish" - "Japanese researchers have genetically engineered a fish, the medaka, to create the first transgenic fish capable of serving as a live environmental monitor. It fluoresces in response to environmental estrogens." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Illegal GM soybeans go legit in Brazil" - "Many Brazilian farmers have been illegally growing GM soybeans and selling them as non-GM produce. But legislation allowing the growth and sale of GM soya in Brazil is set for the statute books following approval by Brazil's parliament on 3 March. It will formally pass into law following the signature of the Brazilian president, expected within days." (New Scientist)

"India cautious on GMO crops, farmers see benefits" - "When India first allowed commercial use of genetically modified seeds three years ago, farmers hoped the new technology would quickly take root. But mired in field trials and political debate, farm-dependent India has made little headway in launching gene-altered seeds." (Reuters)

"Australia struggles to win support for GMO crops" - "SYDNEY - Consumer opposition in Australia last month forced its three biggest poultry producers to stop using imported, genetically modified feed to fatten the 450 million birds they put on the market each year. Inghams, Bartter-Steggles and Baiada changed course after thousands of letters, faxes and telephone calls from angry consumers in a campaign spearheaded by Greenpeace. It was a clear win for the anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) campaign." (Reuters)

March 10, 2005

"Malaria estimated at 515 million cases worldwide" - "LONDON - More than half a billion people, nearly double previous estimates, were affected by the deadliest form of malaria in 2002, scientists said on Wednesday. Most were in sub-Saharan Africa but nearly 25 percent occurred in southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. "The disease burden is 515 million clinical attacks a year on the planet. That is quite substantial," said Professor Bob Snow of the Kenyan Medical Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya. "We have taken a conservative approach to estimating how many attacks occur globally each year but even so the problem is far bigger than we previously thought," he told Reuters." (Reuters) | Malaria map paints stark picture (Nature)

Malaria Clock

"Timber trouble in Aceh" - CALANG, INDONESIA – To the thousands of homeless living here, the planks of wood piled high on the sandy dockside are a symbol of hope: new houses are on the way. But to the activists working to save Indonesia's vanishing tropical forests, the same planks spell trouble.

As Aceh begins to rebuild its battered coastal communities after the Dec. 26 tsunami that destroyed tens of thousands of homes, questions are being raised about the raw materials for reconstruction. Most pressing for environmentalists: Where will builders find the wood needed for new houses, schools, and fishing boats? (The Christian Science Monitor)

Social responsibility? We view "social" as "of, relating to, or occupied with matters affecting human welfare" but it seems activists do not. What kind of worldview creates an issue of whether a tree will be disaster-recovery construction material or fuel for Indonesia's perpetual forest fires? Let's think - housing, forest fire... it's a tough call (for some, apparently).

"NGOs: The Self-Appointed Altruists" - Their arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock. Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV's, sport $3000 laptops and PDA's. They earn a two figure multiple of the local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional altruists.

Always self-appointed, they answer to no constituency. Though unelected and ignorant of local realities, they confront the democratically chosen and those who voted them into office. A few of them are enmeshed in crime and corruption. They are the non-governmental organizations, or NGO's." (Sam Vaknin, globalpolitician.com)

"Risky Business" - "The French Parliament gathered last month to insert the so-called Environmental Charter into the French Constitution. As stated by Nicolas Hulot and Dominique Bourg in their article from the 28 February edition of Le Figaro, "the possible refusal to approve this text could only be a matter of stubborn indifference towards the accumulation of ecological problems".

The Environmental Charter, and especially Article 5, which imposes the precautionary principle, is billed as an efficient tool necessary to solving today's environmental challenges. The two authors mentioned above are "almost ashamed to have to remind here that the precautionary principle is neither an anti-science principle, nor an anti-progress principle." They should be completely ashamed, actually, as it is quite clear that this principle is the enemy of progress." (Cécile Philippe)

"iPod battery target of environmentalists" - "Environmentalists are targeting the iPod, Apple Computer's phenomenally successful digital music player, as a symbol of the growing problem of electronic waste." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Rare European cat in danger of extinction: study" - "LISBON - The Iberian lynx, a big cat found only in Spain and Portugal, remains "critically endangered" and is at risk of becoming the first large feline to become extinct since pre-historic times, a conservation group warned in a new study. There are as few as 100 to 120 of the leopard-spotted cats in the wild, including around dozen breeding-age females, from about 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, the report by SOS Lynx found. Hunting, road deaths, and most of all a sharp drop due to disease in the number of wild rabbits, the lynx's main prey, has led to the disappearance of the cat, it said. "It is not in Africa, Latin America or Asia where the first big cat extinction in modern times is likely to occur, but within the borders of the rich, supposedly 'developed' and environmentally-friendly European Union," wrote the report's author, British conservation consultant Dan Ward." (AFP)

"Getting your vitamins? Well, not for much longer . . ." - "The EU will ban 300 supplement ingredients this summer in a move that has angered some manufacturers - and consumers." (London Times)

"Are Our Athletes Really Fat?" - "A research report in the March 2 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) pointed out that many members of National Football League (NFL) teams (57%, to be exact) had Body Mass Indices (BMIs) over 30 -- numbers that would put them in the range of body weight considered obese. Similarly, the March 9 edition of the Kansas City Star had an article listing the BMIs of a number of National Basketball Association (NBA) players -- who also came in at or close to 30. So what gives? It's hard to believe that these men, elite athletes all, are really carrying around a lot of excess body fat, which is what a high BMI implies. Or does it?" (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"White House to Launch Push For Pro-Business Regulation" - "The Bush administration is expected to launch a push for business-friendly regulation, possibly including streamlined and more flexible pollution standards, chemical-handling rules, and workers' medical-leave protections." (Wall Street Journal)

"Oceans more vulnerable to agricultural runoff than previously thought, study finds" - "Researchers have long suspected that fertilizer runoff from big farms can trigger sudden explosions of marine algae capable of disrupting ocean ecosystems and even producing ''dead zones'' in the sea. Now a new study by Stanford University scientists presents the first direct evidence linking large-scale coastal farming to massive algal blooms in the sea. Writing in the journal Nature, the authors conclude that some highly productive regions of the ocean are much more vulnerable to agricultural runoff than was previously assumed." (Stanford University)

"Man-made wetland's effectiveness similar to natural marsh" - "Researchers who studied a man-made wetland in Ohio for two years concluded that the created wetland filtered and cleaned water as well as or better than would a natural marsh. The wetland, which was built in an agricultural area, reduced levels of phosphorus by nearly 60 percent and nitrates by 40 percent. Phosphorus and nitrates are prime ingredients in both fertilizers and in water pollution." (Ohio State University)

"NFL planting trees in Detroit to offset Super Bowl emissions" - "DETROIT -- The National Football League says it plans to plant acres of trees in metropolitan Detroit to offset carbon emissions caused by traffic generated by next year's Super Bowl." (AP)

"Viking sagas read through the lens of climate change" - "Ancient Icelandic sagas may be full of treachery, death and destruction, but the real villain behind all the foment could well have been climate change. According to a Canadian scientist, there's a direct link between changes in regional temperatures and the thematic content of the sagas.

The research is based on newly reconstructed temperature records gained from ocean sediment cores collected off the coast of Vestfirdir, the northwest peninsula of Iceland by scientists from the University of Colorado. Analysis of mollusc shells within these cores has provided an astounding, almost weekly, record of temperature changes in the region.

"The difficult social periods in the sagas and other histories correspond to periods when cooler winters were coupled with what were some of the coldest summers of the last 2,000 years," says Dr. William Patterson, an associate professor of geology at the University of Saskatchewan who is leading the research linking seasonal climate change and Norse sagas." (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council)

"Canada's shrinking ice caps" - "Recent research conducted by NASA scientists has revealed that Canada's ice caps and glaciers have important connections to Earth's changing climate, and they have a strong potential for contributing to sea level rise." (NASA/GSFC)

"Grizzlies set to invade high Arctic?" - "The telltale paw prints with huge 10 centimetre-long nails spoke volumes. But now definitive corroborating DNA evidence seals the case of the most northerly sighting of a grizzly bear. The discovery fuels mounting evidence that Canada's High Arctic is no longer the sole preserve of the polar bear – Nanuk is having to make room for its southern cousin.

The evidence of the barren ground grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) was discovered on Melville Island, an uninhabited part of the western Arctic archipelago 1,500 kilometres due north of Yellowknife, and 1,000 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

"We know grizzlies go out on the sea ice to hunt seals, but no one has ever seen one that far north," says Dr. John England a geology professor and the NSERC Northern Chair at the University of Alberta." (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council)

Some imaginative framing from Ms Bremer: "Mexico's Gulf Coast in Peril from Global Warming" - "ALVARADO, Mexico - In this sweaty Gulf of Mexico fishing village, poor families in dirt-floor homes dream, like millions of people around the world, of owning air-conditioned cars and refrigerators. Scraping out a living by fishing, and preoccupied by the constant threat of water contamination from factory waste and leaky oil pipelines, fishermen here have never heard of global warming. Yet their proximity to the sea, with waves lapping just footsteps from their doorways, means they are likely to be among the first victims of climate change in Mexico, their homes underwater by the time their grandchildren are old." (Catherine Bremer, Reuters)

"Evangelical Leaders Swing Influence Behind Effort to Combat Global Warming" - "A core group of influential evangelical leaders has put its considerable political power behind a cause that has barely registered on the evangelical agenda, fighting global warming." (New York Times)

"Global warming: Clear and present?" - "For many scientists, the question is no longer whether there is evidence of global warming, but how much the climate has changed, how the environment is being altered and how to persuade the public that dramatic changes are already happening in their own back yards and beaches." (New London Day)

"California: State tries to delay auto suit" - "Attorney General Bill Lockyer has asked a federal judge to delay or transfer the auto industry's challenge to California's unique global-warming law, which requires reduced greenhouse-gas emissions in new vehicles sold in the state beginning with the 2009 model year." (SF Chronicle)

"Utility Pollution Bill Stalls in Senate Committee" - "WASHINGTON - A Bush administration plan to cut air pollution from coal-fired power plants failed to pass the Senate Environment Committee on Wednesday, a setback for a bill that critics said favors the utility industry over public health. However, the Environmental Protection Agency faces a March 15 court deadline to issue its own rules, which will closely mirror the unsuccessful bill." (Reuters)

"Poland Weighing Legal Options on EU Emissions" - "WARSAW - Poland said on Wednesday it was considering all legal options in response to the European Union's rejection of its planned 2005-7 limit for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions under the bloc's trading scheme." (Reuters)

"Finding Oil Is Japan's New Priority" - "Japan's search for overseas energy sources has long been run by powerful bureaucrats who operated with little transparency or outside accountability. In four decades, they mostly found hundreds of dry oil and natural-gas wells -- and billions of dollars in red ink." (Wall Street Journal)

"From the cells up" - "Engineers of the future will swap their computers and spanners for viruses and DNA. Alok Jha introduces a brand-new science: biological engineering." (The Guardian)

"Possibility of growing new teeth envisioned" - "NEW YORK - We may not be very far away from a time when dentists offer to help people with damaged or missing teeth grow new ones, according to new research presented on Wednesday. A series of presentations at a dental meeting demonstrate that techniques using stem cells and gene therapy to regenerate teeth are producing promising results, suggesting this technique may not be far off. "I think it's looking like quite an exciting technology for the near future," said Dr. Tony Smith, editor of the Journal of Dental Research, who was not involved in any of the newest studies." (Reuters Health) | Growing your own replacement teeth? Not science fiction! (IAADR)

Lester in full "Club of Rome" mode: "China's Upward Mobility Strains World Resources" - "WASHINGTON, Mar 9 - If per capita income in China grows at eight percent per year -- a reduction from the red-hot pace of 9.5 percent it has grown since 1978 -- it will overtake the current per capita U.S. income in just over 25 years, according to the latest analysis by the Earth Policy Institute (EPI)." (IPS)

They seem a trifle miffed: "Not such a cuddly panda – WWF acts to make GM soya ‘sustainable’" - "The World Wide Fund for Nature (now known as WWF) continues its career as the thinking corporation’s greenwasher with a recent initative designed to extend the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) soya across much of Latin America. Food giants such as Unilever are getting together with soya producers in an upcoming Business Round Table on Sustainable Soy that will be convened by the WWF in Brazil, in March 2005. This round table discussion aims to get farmers, NGOs and corporate groups together to deal with the ongoing soya boom in a way that minimises damage to rainforest and wild habitats. However, minimal damage will still mean a massive amount of destruction, and, what is more, the WWF’s agenda seems to accept that monoculture cash crops, Monsanto’s GM soya, intense pesticide use and land poverty will always be a feature of South American rural society." (Corporate Watch)

"Bulgaria bans some genetically modified farm produce" - "SOFIA - The Bulgarian parliament reportedly banned a range of genetically modified agricultural produce in line with European Union regulations. The move was required for Bulgaria's admission to the EU in 2007." (AFP)

"Now, bioengineered trees are taking root" - "Transgenic poplars could make China a big player in lumber. But some experts worry about effects on nature." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"UK Firms Drop GMO Study, Seek to Boost Regular Seed" - "LONDON - Consumer fears of genetically modified (GMO) food have dealt a heavy blow to Britain's biotech industry, with many scientists leaving the sector and firms refocusing on conventional research, industry analysts said. "Most of the industry has left this country already. It's going to cost us hundreds of millions of pounds a year in lost revenue," said John Pidgeon, director of plant research body Broom's Barn, which is funded by private and government money." (Reuters)

"China Close to Production of "Safe" Genetic Rice" - "HONG KONG - As early as this year, China could start commercial production of a new breed of genetically engineered rice. If adopted, it would be the world's first large-scale plantation of a major transgenic food crop and, some scientists say, would provide an environmentally friendly answer to the food problems of the world's poor." (Reuters)

March 9, 2005

"This Should Go over Like a Lead Balloon" - "Brewing in Washington D.C. is a new public health scare that may soon reach beyond the beltway and into consumer and taxpayer pockets. At issue is the discovery of elevated levels of lead found in the district's drinking water, which has regulators poised to hike national drinking water regulations. While more stringent regulations won't improve public health much, they will cost some communities dearly." (Angela Logomasini, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Standards focus on outdoor air" - "Industries nationwide are spending billions of dollars so communities can meet national outdoor air standards for fine-particle pollutants -- the same pollution found in some Louisville bars and restaurants in high concentrations." (Louisville Courier-Journal)

"EPA Distorted Mercury Analysis, GAO Says" - "The EPA distorted the analysis of its controversial proposal to regulate mercury pollution from power plants, making it appear that the Bush administration's market-based approach was superior to a competing scheme supported by environmentalists, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said yesterday." (Washington Post)

"Extensive cancer study to be performed in Japan" - "In an unprecedented study, the daily habits of 100,000 people in Japan will be tracked for the next 20 years to determine whether a person's lifestyle and genetic makeup make him or her more susceptible to cancer, the nation's No. 1 killer." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Secondhand smoke causes breast cancer, study says" - "SAN FRANCISCO — Scientists at an influential California agency have concluded that secondhand smoke causes breast cancer, a finding that could have broad impact on cancer research and lead to even tougher anti-smoking regulations." (John Ritter, USA TODAY)

"Firestorm could be brewing" - "SAN FRANCISCO — Cancer scientists are split over whether smoking causes breast cancer, but they agree on one thing: The debate is far more complex than linking smoking to lung cancer or heart disease." (John Ritter, USA TODAY)

"Pervasive vitamin fortification could alter genes" - "The widespread practice of fortifying food with folic acid could be slowly changing the genetic make-up of the population - and perhaps creating future generations more vulnerable to fatal diseases." (News @ Nature)

"A Role For Government Fighting Obesity?" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent proposal to ban all sales of junk food in California schools, in addition to an array of new federal anti-obesity programs, has intensified the debate over whether government agencies should be in the business of telling Americans when and what to eat. CEI President Fred L. Smith, Jr. took on this issue Monday afternoon on CNN’s Crossfire with fellow guest, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. (CEI)

"Food firms given deadline to show healthiest options" - "Food companies are to be given 18 months to introduce a "traffic lights" system of labelling to help families identify healthy eating options or face legislation." (London Independent)

"McDonald's Says It's Time to Exercise" - "McDonald's introduced a marketing campaign on Tuesday promoting physical activity as part of a balanced life." (New York Times)

"So Much for Squeaky Clean Cookies" - "The Girl Scouts are fending off concerns that their cookies have high levels of unhealthy trans fats." (New York Times)

Oh well... "Fish Numbers Drop After Grand Canyon Flood" - "TUCSON, Ariz. — The number of juvenile endangered fish recovered in the Colorado River declined dramatically after officials flooded the Grand Canyon in an effort to aid them and their fragile ecosystem. But scientists aren't sure what the fish decline means or why it happened." (Associated Press)

This could make for some interesting WWFA meetings: "Mr Sustainability pours some oil on troubled waters" - "He was the president of a multinational oil company, an adviser to the former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, on energy policy and he remembers vividly the first time he saw a giant drill crunch its way through a coral reef in the tepid blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. Not so long ago, as BP Amoco's regional president, he defended the multinational's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska: "One thing we know we can do, is we can work up there and work up there extremely well." Greg Bourne an environmentalist? Well, yes, actually. Ensconced in the offices of the World Wildlife Fund Australia, the new chief executive is pouring himself a strong, freshly brewed black coffee, a beverage that will prove to be a portent of this corporate high-flyer's energetic personal style, but let's get something straight first: becoming an apostle of the conservation movement and taking a huge salary cut has nothing to do with "giving anything back". "A lot of people have said that to me, about this decision being something about giving something back. I say, 'I have never taken away'. We all do what we do." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"China Raises Environmental Bar For Heavy Industry" - "BEIJING - China is raising the environmental bar on the construction of heavily polluting factories and plants in a move that could bolster efforts to limit investment and cool the economy." (Reuters)

Irrelevant speculation piece of the day: "Super volcanoes will chill the world someday" - "There’s little that can be done, except to prepare for riding out global devastation, scientists say." (MSNBC) | Eruption that could wipe out millions (Mark Henderson, London Times) | It's the subject of a terrifying new TV drama. But could the supervolcano nightmare come true? (London Independent)

Uh-oh... "Polar history shows melting ice-cap may be a natural cycle" - " THE melting of sea ice at the North Pole may be the result of a centuries-old natural cycle and not an indicator of man-made global warming, Scottish scientists have found. After researching the log-books of Arctic explorers spanning the past 300 years, scientists believe that the outer edge of sea ice may expand and contract over regular periods of 60 to 80 years. This change corresponds roughly with known cyclical changes in atmospheric temperature. The finding opens the possibility that the recent worrying changes in Arctic sea ice are simply the result of standard cyclical movements, and not a harbinger of major climate change." (The Scotsman)

"How Green Was Their Folly?" - "Last month, after years of negotiations and dire warnings of impending environmental collapse, the much-awaited Kyoto Protocol became a part of the Euro-reality. With all the hype, it is easy to miss the main point: the Protocol is futile and costly - an example of well-intended political voodoo, discarded by the US for all the right reasons." (Constantin Gurdgiev, TCS)

"Kyoto Protocol to cost Japan Y14 trillion over 5 years" - "TOKYO — Japan will need about 14 trillion yen (~US$134 billion) to cut greenhouse gas emissions to meet a goal set in the Kyoto Protocol over five years starting April 2006, a governmental panel said Tuesday, urging the government to secure financial resources via a tax on fossil fuel consumption. The sum includes outlays by the central and local governments as well as the cost of voluntary measures by companies and households to abide by the protocol, which took effect last month, the Global Environment Committee of the Environment Ministry said." (Kyodo News)

"Canada: Martin takes direct role in effort to resolve impasse over Kyoto" - "OTTAWA - Impatient with the long delay in producing Canada's Kyoto implementation plan, Prime Minister Paul Martin has taken a direct role in an effort to break an impasse between two key ministers. Progress toward a plan has been slower than expected, and there is speculation it could be delayed until April. Many observers had expected it to be revealed when the treaty went into effect Feb. 16 or at the latest in the Feb. 23 budget." (CP)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Coral Reefs: Past, Present and Future" - "The authors of a recent review paper describe (1) what we know about past changes in coral reefs in relation to temperature, (2) what appears to be happening currently in this regard, and (3) what these observations portend about the future of earth's coral reefs." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Roman Warm Period (North America)" - "It is typically manifest in proxy evidences of warmer temperatures and reduced hydrologic activity." (co2science.org)

"Phytoplankton (Growth Response to CO 2 )" - "Will the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content enhance the productivity of marine and freshwater phytoplankton in the way it enhances the productivity of terrestrial plants?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Silver Birch, Small Burnet, Temperate Calcareous Grassland Community and Wheat." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"United States Thunderstorm Activity" - "How has it varied over the course of the 20th century?  And what do the results imply about its relationship to global warming?" (co2science.org)

"Summer Soil Moisture in the Ukraine" - "How have climate models suggested it should have varied over the past half century?  How has it really varied?" (co2science.org)

"The 'Greening' of North America" - "What's CO 2 got to do with it?" (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Growth and Water Relations of Sorghum" - "Will a C 4 crop like sorghum be benefited by rising atmospheric CO 2 concentration?  And if so, will the benefit be big enough to overcome the presumed negative consequences of a significant concomitant increase in air temperature?" (co2science.org)

"Mortality in London: Summer Heat vs. Winter Cold" - "Which extreme is most to be feared?" (co2science.org)

Yet more public subsidy... "UK Acts to Unlock Scottish Green Power Potential" - "LONDON - Britain on Tuesday acted to unlock Scotland's big potential as a centre for green power generation by capping transmission costs for wind farms and other renewable projects in remote areas." (Reuters)

"EU Demands Sharp Cut in Polish Emissions Plan" - "STRASBOURG - Poland must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions allowed in its national plan by 16.5 percent to be integrated into the European Union's trading scheme, the EU executive said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Brussels critical of call for higher carbon emissions" - "The UK's insistence on raising its carbon emissions levels under the European Union's greenhouse gas trading scheme has drawn plaudits from some sections of industry but fury from the European Commission. The Commission will decide within two weeks on whether to allow the revision but the answer is likely to be negative. If that is the case, the government will issue companies with their carbon dioxide emissions allowances in accordance with the original plan agreed with the Commission. However, it will also pursue legal action in parallel, a process that could take several years." (Financial Times)

"Power generators are split over how emission allowances should get divvied up" - "A divide pits owners of older, coal-fired stations against those who operate gas-fired, renewable, nuclear, or clean-coal plants. Each side is poised to gain—or lose—a great deal of money, depending on how the issue plays out. And the losers will fork over money to the winners. Billions of dollars a year are at stake." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Fair play" - "As Fairtrade Fortnight gets into its stride, John Vidal looks at how far the movement has travelled - and how far it has to go." (The Guardian)

"Facts v. Fears on Biotechnology" - "The Congress of Racial Equality's recent conference, video and commentary on agricultural biotechnology presented personal testimonials from African farmers whose lives have been improved by genetically modified (GM) crops, impressive data on progress, and a message of hope for poor, malnourished people in developing countries. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

But not from all quarters. Predictably, anti-GM zealots continue to offer a steady stream of unsupported and unsupportable invective. To hear them tell it, biotechnology is a "scourge" that will do nothing to save lives or reduce poverty and malnutrition. "Evil multinationals" like Monsanto are determined to impose "a new form of slavery" that will "displace" poor people from their lands." (Paul Driessen and Cyril Boynes, Jr., CNSNews.com) | Alternate Link (MichNews)

"Is AgBiotech Innovative Enough? If Not, Why Not?" - "Washington DC has a new baseball team, but the city's favorite pastime will surely remain "gotcha," a game in which it is possible to criticize someone for making the wrong decision, no matter what. (If the outcome is bad, he made the wrong choice; if the outcome is good, he was just lucky, or the price was too high.) Many politicians and columnists deserve membership in the Gotcha Hall of Fame." (Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, TCS)

"Safety Concerns Keep East Asia Consumers Off GMO Food" - "TOKYO/SEOUL - Nine years after the debut of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the world market, consumers in East Asia are still worried about eating GMO food, although the region uses grain from such crops for feed." (Reuters)

"Column: Concern over biotech crops unwarranted, Borlaug says " - "Since his youth on an Iowa farm, Norman Borlaug has spent a lot of years in Third World countries, received the Nobel Peace Prize, and garnered honors galore. All this has rewarded him with a bully pulpit that he doesn’t hesitate to use." (Delta Farm Press)

"German agriculture minister called a halt to studies into the safety of modified crops" - "Renate Künast, German minister for Agriculture and Consumer Protection, is facing allegations of exerting undue political influence on science this week after it emerged that she instructed government researchers to cancel at least two projects into genetically modified crops. Künast is a member of the Green Party, which forms a coalition government with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats. The party strongly opposes agro-biotechnology, arguing that it is unsafe and that risks cannot be properly assessed." (The Scientist)

Oh boy... "Greenpeace strikes out against GM milk" - "Greenpeace today launched a Wales-wide ballot on genetically-modified milk by parking a milk-float outside the Welsh Assembly. The group wants to draw attention to what it calls "the last loophole" in GM food regulations. It alleges some supermarkets stock milk produced by cows fed on imported GM feed." (icWales)

"Fishermen, lawmakers prepare for introduction of genetically modified salmon" - "JUNEAU, Alaska -- Producers of a genetically modified salmon that would speed the fish's growth to maturity expect their nine-year federal application to sell the fish in the United States to be decided within a year. That has renewed concern among commercial fishermen, who, competition aside, wonder what would happen if the genetically modified fish escaped their pens and mingled with wild salmon." (Associated Press)

"Transplant cures man of diabetes" - "A 61-year-old man has become the first person in the UK to be cured of type 1 diabetes thanks to a groundbreaking cell transplant technique." (BBC)

March 8, 2005

Need more pesticides? "Cockroach allergens have greatest impact on childhood asthma in many US cities" - "New results from a nationwide study on factors that affect asthma in inner-city children show that cockroach allergen appears to worsen asthma symptoms more than either dust mite or pet allergens." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Resuscitating FDA" - "The FDA is the nation's most ubiquitous regulatory agency. It oversees products that account for twenty-five cents of every consumer dollar, with a value of over a trillion dollars annually. The agency is also a perennial favorite target of critics, who variously accuse regulators of too cozy a relationship with the drug industry or of excessive risk-aversion and delay of approvals. Then-FDA Commissioner Frank E. Young once characterized his agency as "a slow-moving target that bleeds profusely when hit." (Henry Miller, TCS)

"Arctic Sea Ice -- Is it Disappearing?" - "It has long been recognized by climate modelers that CO2-induced global warming should be most noticeable in the polar regions. In most of the world, there is enough of the earth's dominant greenhouse gas -- water vapor -- to absorb the heat that radiates from the surface. Water vapor is scarcest where the air is coldest, however, because cold air can "hold" much less water vapor than warm air can. Since temperatures are coldest in the polar regions, the driest air on earth occurs there.

In those regions, the other greenhouse gases, especially CO2 and methane, take on a potentially much stronger role, and we would expect that increases in those gases would have their biggest impacts in those regions. As some scientists have said, the Arctic is "the canary in the coal mine" when it comes to global warming, and we should be watching there for early warnings of impending climate change." (George Taylor, TCS)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: Taking things one step at a time" - "Boulder, CO, Mar. 7 -- It does not require digging very deep in the debate over global warming before you find one faction accusing another of creating hysteria." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

Funny you should mention that Dan... "Report Shows Clear Warming in Trends across the Northeast" - "A new report, using data on a dozen physical and biological occurrences in the New York and New England, shows significant changes in the region’s climate in the past 100 years, with change accelerating in the last 30 years." (release by the same Fenton front that hosts realclimate.org) | Indicators of Climate Change in the Northeast (.pdf)

Really scraping the bottom of the barrel: "TRANSCRIPT: Journalist puts global warming sceptics under the spotlight" (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | ABC's idea of "balance" Debate continues over science of global warming (in fairness, a few weeks ago they did run: Russian adviser discusses climate change issues)

"'Frankenfood' or godsend?" - "Genetically modified foods may be the laboratory monster that saves the world" (Philip Manning, News & Observer)

"UK plans to spend £1bn on biotech" - "The UK government will spend £1bn on biotechnology by 2008, according to newly announced science spending plans." (BBC)

"EU experts delay vote on latest GMO application" - "BRUSSELS, March 7 - EU environment experts have delayed voting on whether to allow imports of a genetically modified (GMO) maize, saying they needed more clarifications on the product, a European Commission official said on Monday." (Reuters)

March 7, 2005

"TRUTH" - "Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long. -- Merchant of Venice

Every now and then comes along a book that throws a searchlight beam on the nonsense and iniquities of the age. Such was Le Fanu's account of the state of decline of scientific medicine in 2000. Now a highly authoritative book has appeared that puts a bomb under some of the most cherished tenets of the environmental movement. It is by a retired professor of organic chemistry from Wrocław. In telling the true story of a family of organic compounds, it exposes the chicanery, mendacity and sheer callous inhumanity of the quasi-religious orthodoxy that has seized control of the media and the political stage across the world.

It is destined to be ignored by officialdom, but all adherents of science and its methods should feel duty bound to read it and shout about it." (Number Watch)

"Bush names `ultimate technocrat' as new EPA chief" - "WASHINGTON - President Bush on Friday nominated a career agency insider who rose through the ranks in both Democratic and Republican administrations to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Stephen Johnson, 53, whom a former colleague praised as "the ultimate technocrat," has been the EPA's acting administrator since Michael Leavitt left to become health and human services secretary in January. He's the first career EPA employee to head the agency. His selection won bipartisan praise Friday. It even won praise from environmental and industry groups locked in battles over Bush administration policies that generally ease strict regulations in favor of industry-friendly policies." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

"Waiting to Inhale" - "Scientists studying asthma think the fetus or infant is somehow exposed to a critical dose of pollutants that causes the immune system to overreact, permanently narrowing the airways and making them more sensitive to irritants." (Newsweek)

"Internal Dissension Grows as CDC Faces Big Threats to Public Health" - "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being roiled by internal dissension as the nation's top public health agency is facing such unprecedented threats as bioterrorism, a potential flu pandemic and the obesity epidemic, say current and former officials and several outside experts." (Washington Post)

Obesity epidemic? So fat's, like, contagious?

From the UN's favorite hoot owl: "WHO says acrylamide levels in foods should be cut" - "GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that people should consume less acrylamide, a chemical associated with fried foods that has caused cancer in rats, because of a potential threat to health. It called on governments to urge their food industries to "lower significantly" the acrylamide content in foods such as French fries, potato crisps, coffee and cereal products including bread." (Reuters)

"PCRM Review Paper on Milk Products and Bone Health in Pediatrics - Statement by the National Dairy Council and the International Dairy Foods Association" - "WASHINGTON, March 7 -- The review paper by PCRM in the March issue of Pediatrics is an opinion piece by three representatives of an animal rights organization that has only a 5 percent physician membership. When conducting their review, PCRM authors chose to ignore decades of comprehensive research endorsing dairy's role in bone health." (PRNewswire)

"Schwarzenegger Wants School Junk Food Ban" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio -- At the bodybuilding event named for him, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Sunday that he wants to ban all sales of junk food in California schools and fill vending machines with fresh fruits, vegetables and milk. Schwarzenegger's comments came during a question-and-answer session with fans, when a questioner asked how he plans to combat youth obesity." (AP)

"Karuk Tribe seeks removal of dams to restore healthy salmon diet" - "The Karuk Tribe wants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to recognize that the high levels of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease can be blamed on the high-fat, high-sugar and high-sodium diet that replaced their lost salmon." (Associated Press)

"Environmentalism isn't dying, but a revolution is happening" - "Is environmentalism dead? That's the startling question posed by a pair of young environmentalists, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, who stirred a brouhaha at a meeting of the Environmental Grantmakers Association last fall by arguing that Americans are tuning out on the environment." (Thomas Bray, The Detroit News)

"Botswana Elephants Hit Namibia Crops, Environment" - "KATIMA MULILO - Botswana's burgeoning elephant population is increasingly thundering across the border into neighbouring Namibia and causing havoc, an environmental development group says. A crack down on poaching to boost tourism and years without culling and disease has allowed Botswana's elephant population to swell to over 100,000. But the group, a Namibian organisation backed by the World Wildlife Fund, says there are now too many." (Reuters)

"Ten theories on why scientists feel bruised" - "Public mistrust and “scientific integrity” were recurring themes at last month's annual meeting in Washington of the American Association for the Advancement of Science." (Kansas City Star)

Today's eye-roller: "'Denial lobby' turns up the heat" - "Worried about global warming, but not too worried? Quietly sceptical about the scientists' most apocalyptic claims? Then you've been duped, say environmentalists and political campaigners." (Conal Walsh, The Observer)

Sigh... used to have such respect for Bob May: "Bush accused of 'fiddling while world burns' by ignoring climate change" - "One of Britain's most eminent scientists has attacked President Bush for acting like a latter-day Nero who fiddles while the world burns because of global warming." (London Independent) | Analysis: May's attack shows anguish of scientists over Kyoto protocol (London Independent)

Is this really where Bob wants to go?

"We have no need of critical savants" - "I cannot recommend too highly this extremely important interview with Ray Evans of the Lavoisier Group, presented by Michael Duffy on Radio National's 'Counterpoint' (28 February): 'German Environmental Romanticism'." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Snow jobs on climate change" - "Want to raise the blood pressure of an entire region? If you're within a few hundred miles of Washington D.C., just say "snow" into a TV camera. But if you're more interested in planetary hypertension, simply substitute "global warming." (Patrick J. Michaels, The Washington Times)

"Siberians fear minus 30 is too warm for comfort" - "The afternoon high is a little below minus 30 degrees Celsius an hour outside the small Siberian settlement of Yuchyugay, even in the pale winter sun. But at this time of the year, locals say with a frown, it should be a steady minus 50." (London Daily Telegraph)

"Cold nights attributed to global warming" - "Global warming is causing the unusually cold nights that have gripped Metro Manila during the past days, the weather bureau said Sunday." (The Manila Times)

"How prehistoric farmers saved us from new Ice Age" - "Ancient man saved the world from a new Ice Age. That is the startling conclusion of climate researchers who say man-made global warming is not a modern phenomenon and has been going on for thousands of years." (London Observer)

Uh-huh... and progressively reducing the forests of Europe from about the 13th Century so increased Earth's albedo that farming and shipbuilding precipitated the Little Ice Age - otherwise the planet would have been pleasantly warm throughout, right?

"Denmark to Push for Ambitious EU Emissions Goals" - "COPENHAGEN - Denmark's environment minister will push for more ambitious European Union targets for lowering emissions of greenhouse gases after 2012, she said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Blasting particles and hanging curtains" - "If all else fails, there are fallback plans to defeat global warming. Blast some particles called aerosols across the stratosphere. Or hang a mesh curtain out in space. The idea is to deflect sunlight that otherwise might broil us in our own carbon dioxide. Edward Teller, father of the H-bomb, pitched such plans right up to his death at age 95 in 2003. Teller actually was more concerned about stopping the next Ice Age. To keep us toasty, he proposed a giant screen to refocus sunlight that normally misses Earth." (The Star-Ledger)

The Week That Was Mar. 5, 2005 (SEPP)

"Ozone layer could develop hole over Britain, scientists warn" - "Scientists will tomorrow fly a spy plane high into the world's protective ozone layer, amid increasing fears that it may be about to develop a hole over Britain and northern Europe." (London Independent)

"New York and Vermont have a burning issue: tires" - "NY-VT border wars are heating up again. In NY, International Paper Co. is seeking permission to burn inexpensive fuel made from recycled tires. Vermonters say the smoke from the tire fuel would create a hazard to the environment." (Boston Globe)

"Tilting at windmills" - "The massive wetland known as Horicon Marsh and the neighboring countryside are at the center of a controversy over plans to build one of the largest electric-generating wind farms east of the Mississippi River." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

"China Says Food Reserves Ample, but More Support Needed for Farmers" - "BEIJING -- China has more than enough grain reserves to cover its immediate needs, but farmers need more help if the country is to ensure future food supplies, officials said Sunday. The communist government has long regarded food self-sufficiency as a matter of national security and worries about its ability to feed its vast population of 1.3 billion people." (AP)

"Misnamed Activists Are Thorns In Rose Of Agbiotech Foods" - "In a spin-dominated world where activists claim—often on the flimsiest of data — that this, that or the other thing causes cancer or threatens the environment, yet another carping communiqué from a radical group is hardly news. But a recent report about the current state of agricultural biotechnology from the ironically misnamed Center for Science in the Public Interest is so hypocritical and disingenuous—and so typical of radical groups’ antitechnology screeds in general — that it deserves attention." (Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller, The Investor's Business Daily)

"Environmentalists fear Brazil's lifting of GMO ban" - "BRASILIA, Brazil - Brazil's move to lift a ban on the sale of genetically modified crops poses a serious threat to the country's endangered Amazon rain forest, environmentalists say. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defied his environment minister, much of his party and his own campaign promises this week when he won legislation to allow the sale and planting of GMO plants -- most notably soy for export." (Reuters)

"Seed makers battle for sales" - "St. Louis-based Monsanto has led the way in biotech seed traits, but now it's facing competition from other major seed companies working on their own traits." (Wilmington News Journal)

"Genetically modified foods gain a toe hold in EU" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's leading food safety agency gave a clean bill of health on Friday for the planting of a genetically modified (GMO) maize, the first step toward possible EU approval. While the EU has now lifted its 6-year ban on imports of new GMOs, there have no approvals since 1998 on any new gene-spliced crop that could be planted in Europe's fields -- and the EU's 25 governments are deeply divided on the issue." (Reuters)

"Soil food web found alive -- and so far well -- under modified corn" - "The 1995 release of corn varieties genetically modified to produce proteins formerly only manufactured by a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) introduced a new commodity into the root and soil border trade: insecticides. Ten years later, with few studies in hand, we are betting America's collective farm on the soil food web's ability to adapt to processing millions of acres of insecticidal corn." (Deborah K. Rich, SF Chronicle)

"India: Govt allows transgenic cotton in northern states" - "NEW DELHI - India, the world's third largest cotton producer, will let farmers in northern states grow genetically modified cotton, an official said on Saturday." (Reuters)

March 4, 2005

"NASCAR Knocked By Lead-Heads" - "Environmentalists have blown a gasket over the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing's continued use of leaded gasoline in its stock car races. Since NASCAR has science and safety on its side, I hope it has the good sense not to cave in to this eco-harassment." (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Cluster fluster: "CJD deaths linked to school meat" - "School dinners eaten by three young people in Wales may have resulted in their deaths from the human form of mad cow disease, a previously secret report has revealed." (Cardiff Western Mail)

"BSE 'may have entered baby food in 70s'" - "Scientists are to test a hypothesis that young people who have died from the human form of BSE were infected by contaminated baby foods as far back as 1970. The controversial idea supposes that some meat products were harmful to people 16 years before BSE in cows was even recognised, and 25 years before young adults began dying from its dreadful human equivalent." (The Guardian)

"U.S. seeking looser environmental laws" - "The Bush administration is asking Congress to amend three environmental laws to reduce their impact on military ranges after failing to win the changes last year." (Associated Press)

"Solar wind hammers the ozone layer" - "A stream of particles from the Sun, in combination with extreme weather conditions, caused an unprecedented thinning last year of the upper Arctic ozone layer."

Unprecedented? Are they saying there have never been such solar storms before? Or that it hasn't been really cold over the Arctic before?

"NASA satellite sees ocean plants increase, coasts greening" - "A few years ago, NASA researcher Watson Gregg published a study showing that tiny free-floating ocean plants called phytoplankton had declined in abundance globally by 6 percent between the 1980s and 1990s. A new study by Gregg and his co-authors suggests that trend may not be continuing, and new patterns are taking place. The researchers used NASA satellite data from 1998 to 2003 to show that phytoplankton amounts have increased globally by more than 4 percent." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

*&^%$#@ Kyoto! "'Big Chill' Hitting European Travel And Wallets" - "AMSTERDAM - Snow-covered palm trees in the Mediterranean, travel chaos on the continent and a rise in heating costs are the results of an unusual European cold snap." (Reuters)

"Extracting a Climate Signal from 169 Glacier Records" - "A temperature history for different parts of the world has been constructed from 169 glacier length records. Using a first-order theory of glacier dynamics, changes in glacier length were related to changes in temperature. The derived temperature histories are fully independent of proxy and instrumental data used in earlier reconstructions. Moderate global warming started in the middle of the 19th century. The reconstructed warming in the first half of the 20th century is 0.5 K. This warming was remarkably coherent over the globe. The warming signals from glaciers at low and high elevations appear to be very similar." (Johannes Hans Oerlemans, ScienceExpress)

Apparently the whole planet is recovering from the Little Ice Age.

"Cooking Linked to Possible Climate Changes" - "WASHINGTON - The major source of potentially climate-changing soot in the air over south Asia is home cooking fires, according to a team of Indian and American researchers. The burning of wood, agricultural waste and animal manure for cooking is the largest source of black carbon in the air in that region, according to the team led by C. Venkataraman of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. "We therefore suggest that the control of these emissions through cleaner cooking technologies, in addition to reducing health risks to several hundred million users, could be of crucial importance to climate change mitigation in south Asia," the researchers wrote in a paper appearing in Friday's issue of the journal Science." (Associated Press)

"Forest fires are wild cards in Kyoto greenhouse gas strategy" - "OTTAWA - Even if every Canadian met the government's "one-tonne challenge" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the whole effort could be wiped out by a few big forest fires, researchers say. In a bad year, forest fires in Canada can produce pollution equal to that generated by industry. The National Forest Strategy Coalition says such fires across the country can produce 150 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in a single year - five times what the one-tonne challenge program would save." (CP)

For UK readers - your taxes at work: "High-flyers' fund to fight climate change" - "The government is to promote clean energy in developing countries by paying into a fund every time a minister or civil servant travels by plane." (The Guardian)

"Green Energy Sector Should Stop Squabbling - Banker" - "LONDON - The green electricity sector must stop squabbling or risk being picked off piecemeal by the entrenched nuclear and fossil fuel industry, a leading investment banker said on Thursday. Tom Murley, director of HgCapital, told the second annual Wave and Tidal Energy Conference it was not so much about saving the planet from global warming as about market share." (Reuters)

"From Nasty Bacteria to Eco-Friendly Bugs" - "Microbiologist Kevin O'Connor aims to set a noxious breed called pseudomonas to work making biodegradable plastic from styrene." (Business Week)

"Ad watchdog raps organic claims" - "The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld two complaints against the Soil Association for describing organic as "healthy" and "more humane to animals." (BBC)

"BRAZIL: War Over Transgenics Returns to the Courts" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - The battle over transgenics will continue, because the biosafety bill recently passed by Brazil's lower house is unconstitutional, say organisations opposed to the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without prior studies into their environmental and human health impact." (IPS)

"Monsanto Brazil to Invest $20 Mln in New GMO Soy" - "BRASILIA - Monsanto Co.'s Brazilian unit plans to invest $20 million to develop a new genetically modified soybean resistant to pests, the director of corporate affairs said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace mount pressure on biotech cotton" - "Greenpeace urged the Indian government Thursday to scrap licenses for U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. to sell genetically modified cotton seeds, claiming they threaten the environment and had failed. St. Louis-based Monsanto's BT cotton is the only genetically modified crop allowed in India, a reluctant entrant into biotechnology. The company has faced stiff opposition from environmental groups in India since 2002, when it was granted licenses to sell three varieties of its seeds. A government committee is to decide Friday whether to extend the licenses -- which are due to expire this month -- and consider 10 others they have applied for." (Associated Press)

March 3, 2005

"The Subliminal Corporate Takeover" - "This column occasionally chronicles the overt and covert tactics employed by anti-business crusaders, many of whom object, at the most fundamental levels, to the very existence and mission of the modern corporation as we know it. Their fight is fought using protests, boycotts, shareholder resolutions, product disparagement, and such. But on combative occasions such as these, the other side's rhetoric is, at least, recognizable and debatable.

A far less defensible threat emerges, however, when one stops to consider the permeating influence of the crusaders' nomenclature that has taken hold within the walls of boardrooms everywhere in the form of widely-adopted buzzwords such as "stakeholder" and "sustainability" - the use of which makes the utterer, regardless of personal ideology, feel forward-looking and right-thinking." (Steven Milloy, New York Sun)

"How dangerous are peer review and consensus in science?" - "Although it is important never to sell science wholesale to the peddlers of postmodernist relativism, this does not mean that we should sacrifice our innate wariness with respect to the concepts of consensus and peer validation in science. Indeed, the whole history of science is one whereby consensus and peers are ultimately overthrown, or sidelined, or absorbed into a new construction of knowledge, or replaced in their significance by our opening new windows onto the world of Nature. This is the plate tectonics of science, which is itself a classic 500-year exemplar." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"No link between MMR and autism" - "Scientists say they have strong evidence that the MMR vaccination is not linked to a rise in autism. Researchers looked at the incidence of autism in a Japanese city before and after the withdrawal of the measles, mumps and rubella jab in 1993. New Scientist reports autism rates kept rising after MMR was withdrawn. Michael Rutter of the Institute of Psychiatry, who worked on the study, said it "rubbished" the link between MMR and a general rise in autism." (BBC) | Lingering fears of MMR-autism link dispelled (The Guardian)

Without testing a single one for actual exposure: "Passive smoking killing thousands" - "Passive smoking kills more than 11,000 a year in the UK - much higher than previously thought, a study shows. The British Medical Journal study also gives a figure for people dying from second-hand smoke in the workplace - 600 a year - for the first time." (BBC) | Estimate of deaths attributable to passive smoking among UK adults: database analysis (.pdf) (BMJ)

"State's mattress fire law sparks new worries over chemicals" - "A new law requiring mattresses sold in California to pass an open- flame ignition test is being criticized by the man who first pushed for it, and an effort to pass a federal standard is also raising questions about the toxicity of fire resistant chemicals manufacturers will be using." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Whales Contain Natural 'Flame Retardant' After All" - "Natural chemicals were found in whale blubber by three researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). After removing a beached whale, selecting a large sample of fat and then six months of lab work to remove various materials to get to the chemicals in their pure form, the researchers found what they were looking for. Emma Teuten, Li Xu, and Christopher Reddy found that these chemicals showed a detectable radiocarbon signal, only found in natural sources. That means that the chemicals were not the residual of manmade pollution." (Michal Raucher, ACSH)

"Hermaphrodite Frogs Linked to Pesticide Use" - "Scientists who compared frogs collected over the last 150 years have discovered a dramatic increase in hermaphrodites during the times when contamination from the pesticide DDT and other chlorinated compounds was widespread." (Los Angeles Times)

Time to recycle a couple of Fumento pieces: Truth Disrupters; Hormonally Challenged

"Gigantic solar storms slash ozone levels" - "The gigantic solar storms of November 2003 severely depleted the ozone layer above the Arctic for as long as eight months, suggest newly released satellite observations. Ozone levels had reduced to just 40% of normal spring levels in 2004." (New Scientist)

"Researcher downplays ozone hole risk" - "The reported risk of a hole in the ozone layer appearing over the Arctic this winter has been overstated, a Swedish researcher said Wednesday." (Associated Press)

As many of our readers have pointed out, that Kyoto thing must work really fast: "Deep freeze holds continent in icy grip" - "MUCH of Europe shivered under near record low temperatures yesterday, with the extreme weather killing five, while snow and ice created havoc on the roads and delayed air and rail services." (Agence France-Presse) | Swiss villages shiver as mercury records coldest night of year | Don't pack away the thermals - winter is back (China Daily) | Major snowstorm barrels up east coast Major snowstorm barrels up east coast (Boston Herald) | Snow Storms to Ease in U.S. Northeast, to Remain Cold (Bloomberg)

"Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel Chats with Grist about Climate Change" - "A possible GOP presidential contender in 2008, Nebraskan Sen. Chuck Hagel has lately sprung to the public stage as one of the leading Republican voices on climate change. In mid-February, he introduced three bills designed to be economic jumper cables that would boost the development of clean-energy technologies -- one focusing on international technology exchange and the other two cumulatively authorizing $4 billion in corporate loans and tax credits over five years to spur the domestic development of clean technologies. Hagel has been sounding off on the challenges of climate change at venues like the Brookings Institution, and late last year he met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss how to reengage the United States in international efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions." (Grist Magazine)

"UK Refuses To Budge in EU Spat Over Carbon Trade" - "LONDON - Britain says it would have a "strong legal case" against the European Commission if the two sides go to court over changes Britain made to its emissions trading scheme, UK environment chief Margaret Beckett said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Hmm... "India Eyes Role As Big Seller of Pollution Credits" - "AMSTERDAM - India can become one of the biggest sellers of greenhouse gas credits under the Kyoto Protocol, a government official said on Wednesday. "India has the potential to supply more than 30 percent of global demand for Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) under the Clean Development Mechanism," said S.K. Joshi, an offical at India's ministry of environment and forestry." (Reuters)

Do they mean provision of electricity to reduce to amount of soot generated by wood, dung and whatever "bio-fuel" fires going into the "Asian Brown Cloud"? Certainly there is room for provision of electricity (if people can afford the appliances to utilize it then it'd  be even better) but whether such generation and transmission projects could successfully run the gauntlet of anti-energy campaigns from misanthropic groups (Greenpeace, RAN...) is another matter entirely.

"A silent killer of rural women" - "Pollutants from biomass fuels used indoors are responsible for 1.6 million deaths in developing countries around the world, researchers estimate." (BBC)

"Global food trade 'not hurting climate'" - "Food transported long distances to the UK has only a "trivial" effect on the environment, according to an academic report on the cost of food shopping. But buying food locally and from organic farms could cut the environmental impact of food on the economy by more than £4bn." (Financial Times)

"Local food 'greener than organic'" - "Local food is usually more "green" than organic food, according to a report published in the journal Food Policy. The authors say people can help protect the environment by buying food produced within a 20km (12 miles) radius." (BBC)

"Attack of the Killer Crops?" - "Activists are again trying to frighten poor people in developing countries by claiming the U.S. is poisoning them with genetically modified food. Never mind that 280 million Americans have been eating biotech-enhanced crops for nearly a decade with zero evidence that it has caused anyone so much as a sniffle or a bellyache." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Hungary Producers Warn of Illegal GMO Maize Influx" - "BUDAPEST - Hungarian seed producers warned farmers on Wednesday about a suspected illegal inflow of genetically modified (GMO) maize seed from Romania and called for government measures to stem it." (Reuters)

"Brazil Seen Opening Door to GMO Crops in 2005" - "Brazil, with an agricultural potential rivalling the United States, is about to open its market in 2005 to genetically modified crops, 10 years after its government first tried to legalise them." (Reuters)

"Australia: Truss attacks state GM crop bans" - "Australian farmers were falling behind their competitors because "unscientific" bans by the states were denying them the benefits of gene technology, a federal minister said. The comments by Agriculture Minister Warren Truss came as a senior researcher said the genetic modification of crops was probably the fastest adapted agricultural technology ever and should be embraced by Australia." (AAP)

March 2, 2005

"US life expectancy up to 77.6 years; gender gap narrows" - "Declines in death rates from most major causes -- including heart disease and cancer -- have pushed Americans' life expectancy to a record 77.6 years. Women are still living longer than men, but the gap is narrowing." (Associated Press)

"Memo to the U.S. Surgeon General: When it Comes to Alcohol and Pregnancy, the Dose Makes the Poison" - "A quick search on Google or any Internet search machine for the topic "alcohol, pregnancy" will reveal that the precautionary principle is alive and well." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"Good fish, bad fish" - "State health officials are telling Alaskans they can eat more locally caught fish than federal health agencies advise. They're taking a stand on the issue in a prominent national forum this week with an article in the March issue of The American Journal of Public Health. A key concern in the federal advisories is mercury." (Anchorage Daily News)

"Give your body a break - read the Kit-Kat wrapper" - "Food group Nestlé, maker of brands ranging from Kit-Kat to Nescafé, Golden Grahams and Carnation, is to put the calorie content of its products on the front of packs as part of a drive to "make it easier for consumers to choose a healthy diet". Every bar of chocolate, packet of pasta, breakfast cereal and yoghurt produced by the world's biggest food group will carry the calorie information. The initiative, also featuring a "nutritional compass" detailing health information on the back of packets, is part of a global plan to promote "wellness." (The Guardian)

"Cheap Eats Needn't Mean Fatty Doom" - "Sally Squires' Washington Post article "The Cost of Compliance" (February 22) dished a healthy dose of reality to those who suggest that the obesity crisis in this country is the fault of big business trying to dump cheap, unhealthy foods on an all-too-susceptible public." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

Not above the law after all? "Judge refuses to throw out charges against Greenpeace" - "KETCHIKAN — Ketchikan District Court Judge Kevin Miller has denied motions to dismiss state charges that Greenpeace and ship agent Willem Beekman violated oil spill prevention laws last year. A trial is set for March 29. Greenpeace Inc. denied responsibility, saying it never owned, operated or had crew members aboard the Arctic Sunrise. State prosecutors replied that Greenpeace's motion amounted to "a corporate shell game designed to avoid the consequences of their actions." (Associated Press)

"Collateral damage" - "Peter Huck reports on claims that anti-terrorist legislation brought in by the US government since 9/11 is being used as a catch-all to harass and prosecute environmental protesters." (The Guardian)

What are they trying to say - that the varied flavors of terrorism makes a difference? Regardless of whether the brand is ecological or theological, a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist, no?

"Huge 2004 stratospheric ozone loss tied to solar storms, Arctic winds" - "A new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder indicates that two natural atmospheric processes in 2004 caused the largest decline in upper stratospheric ozone ever recorded over the far Northern Hemisphere." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Campaign to tackle climate change" - "LONDON - Britain has launched a campaign to tackle the global climate change crisis through the sharing of information between 100 cities in 60 countries from Argentina to Vietnam. The network includes cities of the world's biggest polluter the United States, which has rejected the Kyoto climate change treaty, as well as China which is not bound by the treaty and Russia which has signed up but dislikes it. The ZeroCarbonCity campaign is based on cities being the biggest consumers of electricity and therefore the main generators of greenhouse gases that are warming the world towards what many see as looming Armageddon. "Focusing activities on cities will generate fresh perspectives on the climate issue, building awareness of the challenges and of the potential solutions," Neil Kinnock, chairman of the British Council, said to launch the campaign on Tuesday. "ZeroCarbonCity shifts the emphasis of attention towards mitigation, adaptation and practical measures that can be taken," he added." (Reuters)

"Experts point the way ahead for Kyoto-II deal" - "German experts have tabled a blueprint for taking forward the Kyoto Protocol at global level after its first commitment period ends in 2012. The report, by consultancy Ecofys, will provide interesting reading for diplomats preparing for a UN seminar on future climate commitments in May." (Point Carbon)

"Global Warming Sparks Plankton Migration" - "Global warming is causing microscopic marine life in the seas around the UK to move north, in the biggest shift in the past 100 years and raising concerns that other marine species could follow, according to a Government report out today. Scientists working on the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey have found that the warm water plankton in the North Sea are migrating northwards while cold water plankton are moving even further north as seawater temperature rises." (PA News)

Sigh... "Insurers foot record bill in '04 top disaster year" - "ZURICH, March 1 - A deadly combination of global warming and a rapidly increasing world population made 2004 the most expensive year to date for insurers, a Swiss Re study published on Tuesday shows." (Reuters)

Readers have to reach the last line to get to the real reason for increased "losses": The damage was aggravated by growing populations with higher concentrations of assets in exposed coastal areas. Note that "losses" is in quotes because, despite their whinging, insurers seem to be reporting record profits.

"Norway's Glaciers Shrink a 4th Year on Warm Summer" - "March 1 -- Norwegian glaciers shrank for a fourth consecutive year in 2004 as below-average snowfall combined with warmer summers to melt the ice." (Bloomberg)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"The 1958-2000 Temperature History of the Tibetan Plateau" - "Does it display the "unprecedented" late 20th-century warming that climate alarmists use as a pretext for calling for unprecedented draconian actions to curtain anthropogenic CO2 emissions?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Trends - Regional: Asia, Russia)" - "The temperature history of much of Russia fails to support the climate-alarmist view of earth's thermal history (late 20th-century warming that is unprecedented over the past one to two millennia), most likely because that view is simply wrong." (co2science.org)

"Health Effects (Temperature - Cardiovascular)" - "Will global warming increase the likelihood of death in humans due to an increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Erect Brome, Heath Sedge, Introduced Sage and Wheat." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Oceanic Wave Height as a Proxy for Wind Speed and Storminess"
- "How has it varied over the past hundred years? Is it what would be expected from "unprecedented" late-20th-century global warming?" (co2science.org)

"Five 2000-Year Temperature Records from the Tibetan Plateau" - "What do they tell us about the uniqueness of the level of warmth experienced there in the last two decades of the 20th century?" (co2science.org)

"Corals at the Southern Extreme of China Reveal Temperatures of the Roman Warm Period" - "How do they compare with those of the last decade of the 20th century?" (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO2 on Plant Respiration" - "Does atmospheric CO2 enrichment alter the fraction of gross primary production that is ultimately respired by plant cells and vegetative canopies?" (co2science.org)

"A 'Marsh CO2 Pump' for Transferring Carbon from Air to Sea" - "It is of significant size, may be indicative of a grander "terrestrial CO2 pump," and is likely increasing in strength in response to the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content." (co2science.org)

"China approves renewable energy law to cut emissions" - " The Chinese legislature has approved a law to push the nation toward renewable energy, a move that could clean the air amid threats of more global warming and ease pressure on China's declining fossil fuel supplies." (Kyodo)

"Nuclear delusion" - "The case for a new atomic dawn to meet the carbon challenge is holed from stem to stern, argues Tom Burke" (The Guardian)

"UK must 'invest or risk power cuts'" - "The UK could face power cuts in the coming years unless it acts now to encourage companies to invest in more generating capacity, according to a leading industry executive. Andrew Duff, the chief executive of RWE npower, warned yesterday that Britain needed significant investment either in new capacity or to upgrade existing power stations before the end of the decade if shortages were to be avoided. But he told an Amicus-sponsored energy conference in London that investors would lack the certainty they needed unless the government took a clear line on European regulations governing emissions from fossil fuel power stations." (The Guardian)

"Solar power leaders are left in the dark" - "Grants for the development of solar power are to end prematurely this year despite Tony Blair's determination to make climate change a key issue in Britain's presidency of the G8 and the EU." (London Telegraph)

"The Right to Know, The Need to Know (about Biotech in Hawaii?)" - "The often-claimed "right to know" -- now being espoused by anti-biotech activists seeking the location of biotech testing areas -- cannot be fully understood without the related principle, the "need to know." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"Law on the Side of Transgenics?" - "MEXICO CITY, Mar 1 - If anyone manipulates or trades in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without authorisation, or uses them to make biological weapons, they will be hit with a fine of up to 127,600 dollars, according to a new Mexican law on biosecurity, one that could set the standard for all Latin America -- much to the chagrin of environmentalists." (Tierramérica)

March 1, 2005

"Taiwan helps Sao Tome eradicate malaria" - "An island help islands in this story about the effective use of aid dollars. Taiwan helps Sao Tome and Principe control its malaria problems by supporting an indoor residual spraying program. It's a shame about the prejudice against DDT. DDT properly used in an indoor residual spray program is one of the most effective anti-malarial insecticides there is and it does not harm the environment. Taiwan should know this, as DDT was the insecticide that eradicated malaria from its borders.

However, in it's decision to not use DDT, Taiwan shows that a responsible aid donor listen to the concerns of the country it's helping. Do you think aid donors will show similar courtesy to Uganda, which wants to use DDT in its IRS program?" (AFM)

Landrigan, who else? "Study: mercury costs billions in lost productivity" - "The diminished intelligence of children exposed to mercury contamination before birth costs the U.S. economy $8.7 billion a year in lost productivity, according to a study published Monday in a government science journal." (Scripps Howard News Service) | Public Health and Economic Consequences of Methylmercury Toxicity to the Developing Brain (PDF)

"Coffee Causes Cancer! Oops, This Just In! Coffee Prevents Cancer!" - "Recent headlines claimed that drinking coffee can reduce our risk of liver cancer. A study of some 90,000 Japanese found that people who drank coffee daily or nearly every day had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank coffee. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, TCS)

"Childhood leukaemia traced to womb" - "Most cases of childhood leukaemia begin in the womb, research has found. Paediatric cancer specialist David Ziegler said studies of babies' Guthrie card blood spots collected at birth had shown 70 per cent of children with the most common form of childhood leukaemia - acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) - had molecular evidence of their disease from day one. Although it is rare for foetuses to develop leukaemia, researchers have shown that pre-leukaemic cells are present at birth in most children diagnosed with ALL up to age 13. "It's established that a lot of it starts in-utero but we don't know why," said Dr Ziegler, of the Centre for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders in Sydney. He said some research had suggested marijuana use by both parents before and during pregnancy significantly increased the risk of leukaemia in their children." (AAP)

"EU Commission For Limited Animal Tests in Chemicals" - "BRUSSELS - The use of animal testing to carry out safety checks on 30,000 commonly used chemicals is necessary but should be limited, the EU executive Commission said on Monday, refusing to consider a ban on experiments. The EU will ban the use of animal testing in cosmetics from 2009 but is against a similar prohibition for chemicals. The bloc is overhauling its chemical laws and seeking to tighten safety by testing substances formerly exempt from monitoring." (Reuters)

"Critics assail NASCAR for burning leaded gas" - "NASCAR is under fire from environmentalists for using leaded gasoline more than six years after the Environmental Protection Agency asked the stock car racing industry to switch to unleaded." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Mad Cow's Stubborn Mystery" - "Nearly a decade ago, clusters of young people in Britain started suffering mysterious symptoms, eventually followed by death. Autopsies showed brains ravaged by a novel form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, which they contracted by eating infected beef." (Business Week)

Actually, we still don't know that it has anything to do with meat consumption.

"Father Knows Best?" - "If ever there was reason to reconsider the wisdom of having our healthcare and insurance under employment or government mandate, the "war on obesity" is it." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

Book Review: "Green War Gets Radical" - "This book is a reality check for those who still view the environmental movement through rose-tinted glasses." (R.J. Smith, New York Post)

"Anti-Sprawl Laws, Property Rights Collide in Oregon" - "The nation's strongest laws against sprawl are beginning to buckle here in Oregon under pressure from an even stronger, voter-approved law that trumps growth restrictions with property rights." (Washington Post)

"Micro-organisms in salt lakes produce chlorinated air pollutants" - "Salt lakes have a greater impact on climate change than was previously understood. This has been established by scientists from the UFZ Centre for Environmental Research (Umweltforschungszentrum Leipzig-Halle) together with colleagues from Austria, Russia and South Africa. They found evidence that bacteria in salt lakes produce substances which act as greenhouse gases and destroy the ozone layer. These substances are known as volatile halogenated hydrocarbons (VHHs). These spread world-wide through the atmosphere and also damage vegetation." (UFZ Centre for Environmental Research)

"Widespread Arctic warming crosses critical ecological thresholds, scientists warn" - "Unprecedented and maybe irreversible effects of Arctic warming, linked to human intervention, have been discovered by a team of international researchers led by Queen's University biologist John Smol and University of Alberta earth scientist Alexander Wolfe." (Queen's University) | Climate-driven regime shifts in the biological communities of arctic lakes (Will include link to PDF of article)

Really? If so, it did so prior to WWII.

"Modeled climate and land-use change threatens plant species" - "Proteas--plants with large, colorful flowers that are important in the floral trade--are under threat from land-use change and climate change. A study based on a fine-scaled multispecies modeling effort for over 300 proteas of the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa suggests that the protected range of proteas is expected to decrease by 36 to 60 percent by 2050 as a result of climate change." (American Institute of Biological Sciences)

Phew! Good thing proteas aren't grown in the virtual world then eh?

Big Warming won't like this one: "Industrial CO2 emissions as a proxy for anthropogenic influence on lower tropospheric temperature trends" (PDF) - "Surface temperature trends during the last two decades show a significant increase which appears to be anthropogenic in origin. We investigate global temperature changes using surface as well as satellite measurements and show that lower tropospheric temperature trends for the period 1979–2001 are spatially correlated to anthropogenic surface CO2 emissions, which we use as a measure of industrialization. Furthermore, temperature trends for the regions not spatially correlated with these CO2 emissions are considerably smaller or even negligible for some of the satellite data. We also show, using the same measure, that two important climate models do not reproduce the geographical climate response to all known forcings as found in the observed temperature trends. We speculate that the observed surface temperature changes might be a result of local surface heating processes and not related to radiative greenhouse gas forcing." (A. T. J. de Laat and A. N. Maurellis, National Institute for Space Research (SRON), Utrecht, Netherlands)

Weekly Whipple: "Climate: Open season on hockeysticks" - "Boulder, CO, Feb. 28 -- The National Hockey League season stalled this year, but it is nonetheless open season on hockey sticks. The hook-shaped instrument in this case, though, is the 1998 climate reconstruction graph calculated by University of Virginia environmental science professor Michael Mann and colleagues." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Kyoto relief hinted at for some industries" - "More breaks on emission reductions could be in store for the industries responsible for half the country's annual load of greenhouse gas, Environment Minister Stéphane Dion is hinting in post-budget speeches." (Toronto Star)

"Benefits of Cutting Emissions" - "Even as the Kyoto climate protocol becomes a binding international treaty, an astonishing number of otherwise savvy policymakers continue to think that incentives and programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions will cost too much, hamper competition and stifle economic growth. While such reasoning has kept the United States from mounting any serious response to global warming, others have not waited for political leadership to point the way. In fact, businesses and several governments have moved ahead, often aggressively, to constrain carbon dioxide releases, mostly by using energy more efficiently. In doing so, they are reaping enhanced profitability and robust growth." (Michael Northrop, The Washington Post)

The writer directs the global sustainable development grant-making program at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Actually Mike, these businesses are pursuing efficiency for the purpose of cost cutting (i.e., good business practice), which is entirely different from believing in the anthropogenic warming bogeyman and trying to artificially ration energy. Waving the green banner while doing so is only good PR under current circumstances.

"EU Carbon Market Spot Trading Delayed - Officials" - "BRUSSELS - Short-term or "spot" trading of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances in the European Union's emissions trading system has been delayed but will be running soon, officials at the EU executive Commission said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Nord Pool Says Has 7 Pct of European CO2 Trade" - "OSLO - Europe's biggest electricity exchange by volume, Oslo-based Nord Pool, estimated it captured seven percent of the European trade in carbon dioxide emissions permits since it listed CO2 contracts just over two weeks ago." (Reuters)

"Japan: Bill aims at keeping emissions in check" - "With the Kyoto Protocol up and running, the Japanese government is taking action to put more pressure on businesses to stick to their end of the deal in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.' (Asahi Shimbun)

"Exxon Mobil says energy demand will rise" - "DALLAS - Exxon Mobil Corp. said Monday that it expects global energy demand to rise 50 percent by 2030 with oil, natural gas and coal remaining dominant because they are the only fuels abundant and versatile enough to meet growing needs. Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. oil company, said it expected oil and gas to provide about 60 percent of the world's energy, while total fossil fuels, including coal, should remain around 80 percent." (Associated Press)

"Profile: Patrick Moore" - "Ex-Greenpeace activist turned biotech supporter believes that auditing the performance of biotech products is the only way to convince people of their value." (Nature Biotechnology)

"Gene Revolution Reaches The Poorest Farmers In India" - "It’s the news they have all been waiting for. After years of living under the threat of another devastating epidemic of downy mildew, a disease similar to that which caused the Irish potato famine, India’s poorest farmers have been offered a lifeline in the form of a new disease-resistant hybrid. The hybrid has been produced in record time using modern biotechnology techniques." (University of Wales Bangor)

"Spanish farmers, EU's lone GMO sowers, want more" - "Spain bucks a European trend by allowing its farmers to grow genetically modified crops for sale and while environmental groups fiercely oppose it, Spain's farmers want all the biotech they can lay their hands on." (Reuters)

"Lawmaking on Genetic (GMO) Food is Minefield For EU" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union remains deeply divided over genetically modified (GMO) foods, with the planting of biotech seeds a tremendously touchy area even though Brussels has resumed authorising GMO products after a break of nearly six years." (Reuters)

"New Powers to Europeans, If Only They Knew" - "LONDON, Feb 28 - Britain joined a group of European countries last week in ratifying an agreement that gives citizens an extraordinary say in environmental matters. But in Britain, as elsewhere, few people know of these rights. Thirty-four countries in Europe, including the 25 European Union (EU) members, have either ratified or acceded to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. More simply, this is called the Aarhus Convention. It was adopted Jun. 25, 1998 in the Danish city Aarhus, and came into force Oct. 30, 2001." (IPS)

"EU Warns of Bullying on GMOs Through WTO Case" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's opponents in the debate on genetically modified (GMO) foods should not use an international trade case to bully the EU into changing its views on biotechnology, the EU's food safety chief said on Monday." (Reuters)

"South Africa leads on GMO, other African states wary" - "South Africa is striding ahead with genetically modified maize and cotton but many other African countries shun GMO crops, fearful of environmental damage and reduced exports to Europe." (Reuters)

"China Seen Opening Door Soon to Biotech Rice" - "BRUSSELS - China could open the door to biotech rice within two years, paving the way for the GMO crop to enter the food stream across Asia, the head of a trade group said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Red Tape, Media Stop Russia Growing GMO Crops" - "MOSCOW - Red tape and aggressive media campaigns against genetically modified (GMO) products will keep Russia outside the group of GMO crop-growing countries in the near future, producers and scientists said." (Reuters)