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Archives - March 2006

March 31, 2006

"Senate Sets Up Lopsided Global Warming ‘Debate’" - "The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will kick off a legislative effort to address global warming next week. Considering the agenda and witnesses scheduled to testify at the committee’s so-called “Bipartisan Climate Conference,” it appears that “the fix is in” for greenhouse gas regulation." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Hmm... "Unexpected warming in Antarctica" - "Winter air temperatures over Antarctica have risen by more than 2C in the last 30 years, a new study shows." (BBC) | Abstract | Full text | PDF | Figures Only (Science)

An undiscovered warming of significant magnitude... must admit that raised the eyebrows a tad, enough, in fact, to go looking under the hood.

First port of call, so to speak, is always to see what data is available so, GHCN-ERSST Data Set: Selected Region: Longitude: -180.0 to 180.0 Latitude: -45.0 to -90.0 Trend: 0.03 °C/decade - bit of a yawn, nothing dramatic. Let's try the southern hemisphere winter months of June, July and August: GHCN-ERSST Data Set: Selected Region: Longitude: -180.0 to 180.0 Latitude: -45.0 to -90.0: Trend: 0.04°C/decade - still under one-half degree per century. But wait, they did say the last 30 years: GHCN-ERSST Data Set: Selected Region: Longitude: -180.0 to 180.0 Latitude: -45.0 to -90.0: Trend: 0.00 °C/decade (oops!). Try just the winter months: GHCN-ERSST Data Set: Selected Region: Longitude: -180.0 to 180.0 Latitude: -45.0 to -90.0: Trend: 0.02 °C/decade.

Most curious, can't seem to find surface trends of more than about 5% of that they claim for the mid-troposphere. Granted, near surface records are sparse, let's try satellite data: here's UAH MSU Southern Polar since December 1979.

UAHMSUtrop.gif (34224 bytes) Since trends are often not clear in relatively short series of monthly data we've plotted both the lower and mid troposphere series with trend lines. There is little difference between the two, merely that the mid troposphere series shows slightly more cooling than does the lower troposphere.

While there is always the possibility that a slight difference in starting point may significantly influence trends we can't see much support for their reanalysis of radiosonde balloon data suggesting a significant warming trend over the last three decades or so. In fact, the more complete coverage of satellite data doesn't even suggest a trend of the same sign.

'The Druid' and 'global warming'... (EnviroSpin Watch)

A New Paper on the Importance of Regional Climate Forcings and Response (Climate Science)

"Climate change big threat to East Asia -World Bank" - "SINGAPORE - Climate change is likely to significantly affect economies in the Asia-Pacific region, threatening the increasingly industrialized coastal belt and hurting the region's poor, the World Bank said on Thursday. Rising sea levels, more intense storms and greater extremes of droughts and floods will probably cause greater loss of life and threaten the livelihoods of millions, the Bank said in a report." (Reuters) | East Asian emerging economies to grow 6.6% (Financial Times)

"Is Global Warming to Blame for Increased Hurricane Activity and More Powerful Storms? Leading Climate Scientists Remain Unconvinced" - "WASHINGTON, March 30 -- Coming off one of the most devastating hurricane seasons in recent memory, many are quick to blame the strength and frequency of these storms on global warming. Leading climate scientists, however, say there is no link between increased storm activity and a massive change in global climate." (PRNewswire)

"Caribbean Coral Suffers Record Death" - "A one-two punch of bleaching from record hot water followed by disease has killed ancient and delicate coral in the biggest loss of reefs scientists have ever seen in Caribbean waters." (AP)

"Fears fade on Barrier Reef bleaching disaster" - "THE Great Barrier Reef is far more resilient to rising water temperatures than scientists feared, with less than 1 per cent of its coral affected by bleaching after the hot summer. Scientists had predicted that as much as 60 per cent of the reef's coral might suffer bleaching, which occurs when warm temperatures rob the living coral of nutrition. But professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, from the University of Queensland's Centre for Marine Studies, said yesterday that samples he had collected from the various parts of the reef showed the fears were unfounded." (The Australian)

"UN decries biodiversity decline, climate change" - "NAIROBI - The outgoing chief of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) decried a steady decline in global biodiversity and lamented that the problem of climate change had yet to be taken seriously." (AFP)

"Does tropical biodiversity increase as rainforest area expands during global warming?" - "Plant diversity seems to increase when tropical forests cover large areas. Shrinking ecosystems may experience biodiversity loss lasting for millions of years." Carlos Jaramillo, at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), and colleagues seek explanations for the longest Central and South America pollen record, published in the March 31, 2006 issue of the journal Science." (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

"Something to Worry About" - "The alarm bells are ringing louder than ever in global warming circles. An impressive amount of ink has been spilled to scare you in to thinking that the planet is doomed if we don't do something about climate change, and soon. As alarmists flood the media with scare stories, however, they are distracting the public from the economic and practical realities that will determine planetary health. And they are doing so just as some less heralded news reports demonstrate that the alarmists' prescription for our ailing planet is failing badly." (Nick Schulz, TCS Daily)

Oh boy... "Global Warming Heats Up" - "The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame. Why the crisis will hit so soon—and what we can do about it." (Time cover story)

Not quite 32 years. That's how long since Time was running on the global cooling thing: Another Ice Age? (.pdf June 24, 1974). They were no orphans with their cooling hand-wringing of course, who could forget The Cooling World (.pdf Newsweek, April 28, 1975)?

So, what are we to make of Time's current suite of warming wails? Probably not much, as the climate oscillates so too does Time's looming désastre du jour. Should we "Be worried. Be very worried"? Doubt it, at least not until Time decides there's nothing to worry about anyway.

Update: Thanks to all who wrote, yes, Time has been promoting the concept of looming ice age much more recently than 1974. In fact, January 31, 1994, Michael D. Lemonick bylined "The Ice Age Cometh?" so they would appear to undergo a climate flip at Time on a roughly decadal half-cycle. If we can predict the periodicity of this periodical then new ice age hand-wringing should commence in approximately eight years.

Oh, hand-wring, hand-wring: "UK carbon emissions rise again" - "Britain's CO2 emissions have risen for a third successive year, according to government figures, though overall greenhouse emissions remained constant. The CO2 rise of about a quarter of a percent between 2004 and 2005 has met with dismay from environmental groups. The government says the rise was caused by increasing energy consumption and a switch from natural gas to coal." (BBC) | Provisional 2005 UK Climate Change Sustainable Development Indicator And 2004 Air Pollutant Emissions Final Figures (Defra)

"Cost of Kyoto set to double to $1b" - "The cost of meeting New Zealand's liability on greenhouse gas emissions is heading towards $1 billion. Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand is committed to reducing emissions; but will not meet its target and is set to buy carbon credits from countries which exceed theirs. The last estimate of the cost was $562 million but the average price of credits has since doubled; meaning New Zealand could be paying over $1b or more. Less than a year ago, it was thought that New Zealand would make money on emissions trading." (Radio New Zealand)

"Executive in pledge to cut greenhouse gas output by 2.7m tonnes" - "SCOTLAND yesterday set itself the goal of becoming the greenest nation in the UK, with a pledge to slash greenhouse gas emissions." (The Scotsman)

"Turn out the lights: Japan's environment ministry aims to save energy" - "Japan's Environment Ministry has a new rule aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions: lights out at 8 p.m. The new policy will be implemented at ministry headquarters beginning April 3. Those staying late will have to work together in a single conference room, said ministry official Masanori Shishido. Under the gun to meet obligations under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, Japanese ministries are trying to cut back on CO2 emissions from their offices by 7 percent from the 2001 level by March 2007. But the overall emissions caused by government offices increased 4.6 percent in fiscal 2004 ending in March 2005 from the 2001 level, and the Environment Ministry's own emissions increased 10.4 percent." (Mainichi)

World's worst idea? "Synergy Between the Rio Conventions" - "CURITIBA, Brazil, Mar 30 - The concept of promoting synergy between the three "Rio Conventions" on the environment gained strength at the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP8), which ends Friday in this city in southern Brazil. Ahmed Djoghlaf and Hama Arba Diallo, the executive secretaries of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), respectively, announced Thursday the intention of expanding joint programmes and extending them to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)." (IPS)

"Europe's protectionists add £10bn to our gas bill, says chancellor" - "Gordon Brown yesterday attacked other European Union countries for failing to liberalise many of their gas markets, saying the cost to British consumers of their inflexibility was now £10bn a year." (The Guardian)

"Report Revives Controversial Canadian Dam Plan" - "VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A proposal to flood parts of Canada's Peace River valley is one idea to consider in a bid to meet growing electricity demand in British Columbia, BC Hydro said in a report Wednesday." (Reuters)

"RWE Plans 1 Bln Euro Clean-Coal Power Plant" - "FRANKFURT - Utility RWE plans to invest a billion euros (US$1.20 billion) in the world's first large-scale power station based on clean-coal technology, Germany's biggest electricity producer said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Wind: Taking sides can be tricky" - "MONTPELIER — Commercial wind power in the state is putting environmentalists in a tough spot. On one hand, many of them support local renewable power projects that do not produce the pollution thought responsible for global warming. Wind power does that. But it can also result in the intrusion of roads and development into wilderness lands and onto wild ridgelines, which environmentalists have long fought to preserve. That dilemma was put into stark contrast this week, with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group taking one side and some of the state’s other environmentalist organizations lining up on the other." (Rutland Herald)

"New processing steps promise more economical ethanol production" - "Why isn't ethanol production growing by leaps and bounds in the face of higher gasoline prices? Ethanol production from cornstarch is a $10 billion dollar business in the United States and 4 billion gallons of ethanol will be produced in 2006. In his 2006 State of the Union address, President Bush called for doubling ethanol production by 2012, and replacing 75 percent of Middle Eastern oil with bioethanol from renewable materials by 2025." (Virginia Tech)

"Subsurface bacteria release phosphate to convert uranium contamination to immobile form" - "In research that could help control contamination from the radioactive element uranium, scientists have discovered that some bacteria found in the soil and subsurface can release phosphate that converts uranium contamination into an insoluble and immobile form." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

"NASA announces new policy to allow scientists more openness" - "WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Michael Griffin today announced a new policy on releasing information that allows top government scientists to speak out on such controversial issues as global warming. The new policy, which clarifies 15-year-old guidelines, "guarantees that NASA scientists may communicate their conclusions to the media, but requires that they draw a distinction between professional conclusions and personal views," Griffin said in a statement." (Orlando Sentinel)

"Life waxes and wanes with bobbing of the Solar System" - "The solar system's up-and-down motion across our galaxy's disc periodically exposes it to higher doses of dangerous cosmic rays, new calculations suggest. The effect could explain a mysterious dip in the Earth's biodiversity every 62 million years." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Study fails to link naval sonar with whale strandings" - "A year-long study has failed to explain why 36 whales stranded themselves along the North Carolina coast in January 2005. At the time the mass stranding attracted much media attention because of possible links to military sonar. Navy sonars used in offshore training exercises at the time had been the leading suspect in the stranding, the largest in North Carolina since the National Marine Fisheries Service began monitoring in 1992. However, detailed postmortems could not pinpoint a common cause behind the strandings." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Little movement on biodiversity benefits" - "Switzerland says some progress has been made at an international conference in Brazil on biodiversity, even if few measures were agreed." (swissinfo)

"Fewer Marshes + More Ponds = More Wetlands" - "Even at a time of continued marsh depletion, officials were able to announce the first increase in wetlands since 1954 because of a greater number of manmade ponds." (New York Times)

"Infections 'can double DVT risk'" - 'The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or blood clots in the lung doubles after infections, a study says." (BBC)

"New evidence questions the simple link between prion proteins and vCJD" - "While newly published research confirms that under laboratory circumstances prion-protein can be absorbed across the gut, it also shows that this is unlikely to occur in real life. In addition, the results show that the places in the gut that do take up these disease-associated proteins are different from the locations where infectivity is known to be amplified. The findings will be published in the Journal of Pathology. Since the outbreak of BSE in cattle and vCJD in humans, scientists have struggled to make sense of how an abnormal variation of a normal protein can trigger an infectious disease. Some are questioning whether this simple relationship exists at all. This paper adds new evidence that can inform the debate." (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

"Preventable Disease Blinds Poor in Third World" - "The W.H.O. estimates that 70 million people are infected with trachoma, and two million are blind because of it." (New York Times)

"A Warning from Dr. Norman Borlaug, 'Father of the Green Revolution'" - "Yesterday ACSH had a surprise visit from someone who might best be described as the person who has done more to alleviate hunger than anyone else alive today: Dr. Norman Borlaug. Known as the "Father of the Green Revolution," he received the Nobel Prize in 1970 for his work in creating a new strain of wheat and is a member of ACSH's Founders Circle." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"'Barren future' for Africa's soil" - "Africa's farmland is rapidly becoming barren and incapable of sustaining the continent's already hungry population, according to a report. The report shows that more than 80% of the farmland in Sub-Saharan Africa is plagued by severe degradation. This is a major cause of poverty and hunger in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in three people is undernourished. Population growth is leading to the overexploitation of farmland, depleting soil of nutrients, the report says. Farmers' inability to afford fertiliser is a major contributing factor, it adds. Deforestation, use of marginal lands, and poor agricultural practices also play a role." (BBC) | Global leaders launch effort to turn around Africa's failing agriculture

"Plants give pests sock in the gut" - "A novel enzyme in corn helps the plants defend themselves from voracious caterpillars by disrupting the insects' ability to digest food, and ultimately killing them, according to researchers. The enzyme could be used in tandem with other biological pesticides such as the Bt toxin to prevent the pests from developing resistance and making the toxin more effective." (Penn State)

"MSU researchers shake out basis for rice domestication" - "Michigan State University scientists have identified the genetic mutation that reduces grain shattering during rice domestication research that will improve production of the crop that feeds more than half of the world's population. In an article on the cover of the March 31 edition of Science Magazine, MSU scientists, led by Tao Sang, associate professor of plant biology, identify for the first time the genetic mutation for the reduction of shattering, a key step in the domestication of all cereal crops including corn and wheat." (Michigan State University)

Greenpeace again makes expensive false claims, causes major nuisance over nothing: "No GM ingredient detected in Henz baby cereal products: ministry" - "China's Ministry of Agriculture said Friday that latest tests show the baby cereal products manufactured by Henz contain no genetically-modified rice element. Fang Xiangdong, an official in charge of the biological safety office under the ministry, said the ministry arranged tests of 43 varieties of those products and their raw materials, and the results of the tests show no sign of genetically-engineered ingredients. Greenpeace, an international environmental protection organization, claimed earlier this month that those products contain genetically-engineered ingredients. Greenpeace notified Heinz China of its finding on March 1 and asked for an immediate recall of the products." (People's Daily)

March 30, 2006

From the virtual realm: "Sound science is not enough" - "The fight against climate change demands leadership and fresh thinking from politicians, writes Julian Hunt." (New Statesman)

Unfortunately, Lord Hunt confuses climate model output with real-world data - a common problem for virtual worlders - consequently he equates "storylines" with "sound science" and cannot understand why others do not quaver before fairy tales. Additionally he confuses "precautionary principle" with precipitous "action" when, in fact, the precautionary course would be to not squander protective development and wealth creation when we know carbon dioxide to be a bit player in anthropogenic effects on the environment.

Here are a few things of which apparently everyone needs to be reminded:

  • the temperature effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic, not exponential
  • the potential planetary warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide from pre-Industrial Revolution levels of ~280ppmv to 560ppmv (possible some time later this century - perhaps) is estimated at less than 1 °C
  • the guesses of significantly larger warming are dependent on "feedback" (supplementary) mechanisms whose existence is uncertain and the cumulative sign of which is unknown (they may add to warming from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide or, equally likely, might suppress it)
  • the total warming since measurements have been attempted is thought to be about six-tenths of one degree
  • at least half of the estimated temperature increment occurred prior to significant change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels
  • assuming the unlikely case that all the natural drivers of planetary temperature change ceased to operate at the time of measured atmospheric change then +30% increment in atmospheric carbon dioxide caused about one-third of one degree temperature increment since and thus provides empirical support for less than one degree increment due to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide
  • there is no linear relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide change and global mean temperature or global mean temperature trend - global mean temperature has both risen and fallen during the period atmospheric carbon dioxide has been rising
  • the natural world has tolerated more than one-degree fluctuations in mean temperature during the current interglacial and thus current changes are within the range of natural variation
  • other anthropogenic effects are vastly more important, at least on local and regional scales
  • fixation on atmospheric carbon dioxide is a distraction from these more important anthropogenic effects
  • despite attempts to label atmospheric carbon dioxide a "pollutant" it is, in fact, an essential trace gas, the increasing abundance of which is a bonus to the bulk of the biosphere
  • there is no reason to believe that slightly lower temperatures are somehow preferable to slightly higher temperatures - there is no known "optimal" nor any known means of knowingly and predictably adjusting some sort of planetary thermostat
  • fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide are of little relevance in the short to medium term (although should levels fall too low it could prove problematic in the longer-term)
  • activists and zealots constantly shrilling over atmospheric carbon dioxide are misdirecting attention and effort from real and potentially addressable local, regional and planetary problems

"Senate Shuts Out Dissent on Greenhouse Gas Limits" - "Next week’s scheduled Senate hearing on mandatory greenhouse gas emissions limits misses a valuable opportunity to present a representative view of the debate on the topic. Instead of soliciting testimony from a range of views, Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) have stacked the witness list with alarmist environmental activist groups and opportunistic corporations trying to profit from the artificial scarcity that would be imposed by caps on carbon emissions." (CEI)

Another UnderReported scoop:) Weather Scientist: "Tipping Point" Reached In Northern Hemisphere (UnderReported News)

daily_mean060330.gif (45126 bytes) Gasp! They're right - and we have captured this change in progress!

Click on the thumbnail at right to see the 'tipping point', identified here as January 21 of this year. See how the temperature has leapt 5.5 °C (almost 10 °F!) over the ensuing couple of months!

Everyone cling on for a wild ride as we anticipate spectacular changes in plant growth and animal behaviour - the temperature is predicted to rise almost twice as much again over the next 3-4 months. Take a good look around - take photos - because in a few scant months the Northern Hemisphere will not look as it does today and it's too late to stop it! Yes, the tipping point has been reached and this warming is inevitable.

Why, oh why didn't people listen? All that's left is to give it its name - Summer.

"Climate blamed for mass extinctions" - "MOST mass extinctions were caused by gradual climate change rather than catastrophic asteroid impacts. That's the controversial view of one palaeontologist, who says it could mean we are in the midst of a mass extinction now. Other palaeontologists disagree, and the dispute is turning into a full-scale academic brawl. "It's a shoot-out at the OK Corral," says Peter Ward of the University of Washington in Seattle, who aired his climate change theory at NASA's Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) in Washington DC last week." (New Scientist)

Is the Nightime Warming in Arizona Due to Global Warming? (Climate Science)

"Better estimates for future extreme precipitation in Europe" - "Researchers in Switzerland report that extreme rains in Europe may grow stronger and more frequent in the near future and have significant effects on the region's infrastructure and natural systems. They aggregated a number of regional European climate models to produce more refined estimates of increases in precipitation extremes over most of the continent by the late 21st century than were previously available. Their research was published on 24 March in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union." (American Geophysical Union)

Hmm... that's odd, doesn't really seem to fit the England and Wales experience.

The Mad Science of Global Warming (QuantumLimit)

Global Warming - When Politicians Become Rocket Scientists (QuantumLimit)

If I hear once more in the media... (EnviroSpin Watch)

Hot air and lawyers: "Legal teams clean up on emissions trading" - "It's not what most of us would call a fun weekend getaway, but then Sergey Brin isn't your typical sort of guy. The 32-year-old billionaire co-founder of Google Inc. took time off from his Internet day job in December to visit Montreal and wander the cavernous halls of the Palais des congrès for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. An avid environmentalist, Mr. Brin was accompanied at several of the group sessions by Dirk Forrister, a lawyer turned environmental executive, to show support for greenhouse gas emissions trading, a burgeoning business made possible by the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Analogous to the rise of commodities markets early in the 20th century, the development of emissions trading has become fertile ground not just for scientists and policy gnomes but also for corporate legal teams that combine expertise in such areas as securities, the environment, tax, regulatory law and international arbitration. "There's lots of work for lawyers all around it," said Mr. Forrister, managing partner of Natsource Europe, a unit of New York-based Natsource Asset Management Corp., the largest private buyer in the greenhouse gas emissions market." (Globe and Mail)

"Time Cover Story Offers No Evidence Of Human-Driven Warming" - "Time devotes its latest cover to the “near-certainty” that humans are causing dangerous global warming. However, Time offers evidence only of a warming, which could be either man-made or natural. Based on historic and geophysical evidence, Time’s new cover story is likely to be as wrong as its 1974 cover story touting global cooling! Newsweek did one the next year." (Dennis Avery, American Daily)

"Is Time Running Out?" - "Climate Change: If what Time magazine says about global warming is to be believed, you may not have to renew your subscription. Plague, pestilence and Al Gore can't be far behind. In this week's cover story, Time blames everything — from "the atmospheric bomb that was Cyclone Larry," which recently struck Australia's northeast coast, to "curtains of fire and dust (that) turned the skies of Indonesia orange," to "sections of ice the size of small states (that) calve from the disintegrating Arctic and Antarctic" — on man-made global warming. In fact, the article reads like the script from the apocalyptic movie, "The Day After Tomorrow." "By Any Measure, Earth Is At . . . The Tipping Point," Time says in a scare headline, adding just below: "The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame." For the record, none of these statements is true. But at least Time is not alone in an escalating flurry of apocalyptic prophecies." (IBD)

Greenies have heard the call for a positive message... "Earth forum hears dire warnings of environmental collapse" - "NEW YORK - The cataclysmic consequences of unsustainable development pose a challenge to the world that will make the war on terror seem a mere distraction, a global environmental conference heard. In a keynote speech opening the fourth biennial State of the Planet conference at New York's Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN Millennium Project, said ignorance, misplaced priorities and indifference were keeping the world firmly on a path to disaster." (AFP)

... they're positive the world is toast.

"The New Face of an Oil Giant" - "If Rex W. Tillerson has his way, Exxon Mobil will no longer be the oil company that environmentalists love to hate. Since taking over as Exxon's chairman three months ago from Lee R. Raymond, his abrasive predecessor who dismissed fears of global warming and branded environmental activists "extremists," Mr. Tillerson has gone out of his way to soften Exxon's public stance on climate change. "We recognize that climate change is a serious issue," Mr. Tillerson said during a 50-minute interview last week, pointing to a recent company report that acknowledged the link between the consumption of fossil fuels and rising global temperatures. "We recognize that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors affecting climate change." But despite the shift in style to a less adversarial tone, the substance of Exxon's position has not changed with the new chairman. The company said the recent report only clarified its long-held position on global warming. Indeed, Mr. Tillerson noted that he, like Mr. Raymond before him, remained convinced that there was "still significant uncertainty around all of the factors that affect climate change." (New York Times)

Uh-huh... "Fly and be damned" - "We could close every factory, lock away every car and turn off every light in the country, but it won't halt global warming if we carry on taking planes as often as we do. A voluntary no-flying movement offers the only hope, argues Mark Lynas." (New Statesman)

Actually Mark, grounding every plane wouldn't do what you expect either.

"Audubon review supports wind farm: Threat to birds is less than feared, group finds" - "The Massachusetts Audubon Society gave its preliminary blessing yesterday to a large-scale wind power project off Cape Cod, saying its studies show that turbine blades are not likely to cause significant harm to birds, as the group had once feared. Support from the environmental group, one of the most respected in the state, is important because the threat to birds has emerged as a controversial aspect of the five-year-old proposal to turn stiff sea breezes into a source of electricity." (Boston Globe)

"Home power plan 'disappointment'" - "There has been a lukewarm reaction to the government's strategy on microgeneration, launched Wednesday." (BBC)

"PM: nuclear power can save climate" - "A NEW generation of nuclear power plants will form part of the solution to combat climate change in Britain, according to Tony Blair. The Prime Minister gave his strongest signal to date that he would back a resumption of the nuclear industry as ministers were forced to admit they would fail to meet their target of cutting carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2010." (The Scotsman)

"DEVELOPMENT-INDIA: Last Ditch Try at Saving the Narmada River" - "NEW DELHI, Mar 29 - For 20 years, thousands of people living on the banks of the Narmada river have kept their faith in India's independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and used non-violence to protest the building of a mammoth dam that will submerge their homes." (IPS)

While it is easy to be sympathetic towards displaced villagers and certainly necessary that they should be compensated and/or suitable alternative provided for them, the sad fact is that they have mostly been deceived by anti-development ratbags. India needs power and secure water supplies and this scheme is part of providing both - the alternative is continuing the cycle of poverty and hunger.

"Snail Slows Down Pace of New Zealand Coal Mine" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - In the latest battle between big business and biodiversity, the fate of a unique small, brown snail that lives in a place called Happy Valley on the west coast of New Zealand hangs in the balance. The battle over the snail, believed to be a unique species which is threatened by extinction, has been holding up the mining of millions of dollars of coal in the region." (Reuters)

"Green Gold and Cargo Cults" - "If you ever wondered why efforts in the UN to protect the environment rarely succeed, you can find out why in Brazil." (Alan Oxley, TCS Daily)

"New Study Challenges Claims That States are Better Than Feds Recovering Endangered Species" - "WASHINGTON, March 29 -- The federal endangered species program is as good as or better at removing species from legal protection as a result of recovery efforts than similar programs operated by states, finds a new study by World Wildlife Fund. Congress is considering dramatic changes to the act. The principle champions for changing the act have long argued that the federal law is a failure since few species protected by the statute have recovered to a point where they have been removed from legal protection, or "delisted." (U.S. Newswire)

So, State ES laws are equally useless and we should scrap the lot? Works for me.

"A scourge of the '70s returns to Great Lakes" - "Algae blooms are back - perplexing researchers and grossing out beachgoers." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Ocean 'dead zones' trigger sex changes in fish, posing extinction threat" - "WASHINGTON, March 29 — Oxygen depletion in the world’s oceans, primarily caused by agricultural run-off and pollution, could spark the development of far more male fish than female, thereby threatening some species with extinction, according to a study published today on the Web site of the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology. The study is scheduled to appear in the May 1 print issue of the journal." (American Chemical Society)

"Tiny water purification packet helps save lives worldwide" - "ATLANTA, March 29 — Chemists have developed a powerful household water purification system that puts the cleansing power of an industrial water treatment plant into a container the size of a ketchup packet. The researchers have shown that the tiny packet, which acts as a chemical filter, can be added to highly contaminated water to dramatically reduce pathogen-induced diarrhea — the top killer of children in much of the developing world." (American Chemical Society)

"FDA Unafraid of Benzene in Soda" - "The FDA announced on Tuesday that the possible presence of benzene in soft drinks is not a cause for concern. In a response to a request for information by the Environmental Working Group, the FDA stated that benzene levels in the beverages sampled thus far are either well below the legal limit or below the level of detection." (Jeff Stier and Jaclyn Eisenberg, ACSH)

"Parents, don't fall for this pesticide/cancer scare story" - "The latest claims, based on archaic theories, ignore the scientific evidence, says Adam Wishart" (The Guardian)

"More evidence chicxulub was too early" - "A new study of melted rock ejected far from the Yucatan's Chicxulub impact crater bolsters the idea that the famed impact was too early to have caused the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. A careful geochemical fingerprinting of glass spherules found in multiple layers of sediments from northeast Mexico, Texas, Guatemala, Belize, and Haiti all point back to Chicxulub as their source. But the analysis places the impact at about 300,000 years before the infamous extinctions marking the boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, a.k.a. the K-T boundary." (Geological Society of America)

"Brazil Judge Says GMO Soy Can Ship From Paranagua" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Genetically modified soybeans are now permitted to pass through Brazil's main grain port of Paranagua, suspending a long-standing state ban on GMOs at the port, Federal Judge Giovanna Mayer said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Missouri Senate considers ban on local regulations for genetically modified crops" - "JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A two-year-old ordinance from a Northern California county has some Missouri lawmakers worried that local regulation of genetically modified crops could hamper agriculture's future in the state. Voters in Mendocino County, Calif., approved a first-in-the-nation measure to prohibit genetically modified plants and animals in March 2004. Since then, 14 states have barred local regulation of the types of seeds farmers can use, and another five -- including Missouri -- are considering bans." (AP)

March 29, 2006

"The CEO as Global Corporate Ambassador" - Alan Murray writes in today's Wall Street Journal "On Friday, Mr. Milloy plans to be at the annual meeting of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., to complain about CEO Hank Paulson's conflict of interest in chairing the board of the Nature Conservancy, an environmental activist group. A few weeks later, he'll be on hand for General Electric Co.'s annual meeting, pushing a shareholder resolution that calls on the conglomerate to show the science behind its decision to embrace antiglobal-warming measures." (WSJ subscription required)

"Time to clean house at Goldman Sachs" - "Questionable ethics and conflicts of interest abound Activist shareholder resolutions are now common at annual corporate meetings. When Goldman Sachs gathers in New York City on March 31, however, the fireworks will come from an atypical source: a free market public interest group and the first free market shareholder activist mutual fund.

The organizations are asking shareholders to support efforts to determine whether the company and chairman/CEO Henry Paulson have violated company policies and fundamental principles governing ethics, corporate social responsibility and conflicts of interest. By any fair and objective standard, recent actions raise serious questions.

How the shareholders respond will test whether supposed reforms – like Sarbanes-Oxley and the vaunted CSR movement – are more than merely air freshener to hide ugly odors." (Paul Driessen, American Daily)

"ABC Misleads Viewers on Journalist's Credentials" - "Starting off a week’s worth of 'in-depth' reporting on global warming, 'World News Tonight' falsely presented a liberal journalist and author as a Pulitzer Prize winner."

"Blood and Gore" - "Tuesday's Wall Street Journal features an antibusiness, anti-capitalism rant by former Vice President Al Gore and David Blood. Both are cofounders of Generation Investment Management, an "eco-predatory accounting" firm. Gore and his partner in crime call for companies to manage their "economic, social, environmental and ethical performance" because threats of "climate change, HIV/AIDS, water scarcity and poverty have reached a point where civil society is demanding a response from business and government." (Lisa De Pasquale, Human Events)

"The moral climate: Is consumption a sin? It’s not as simple as that" - "In the past 20 years, globalisation has lifted more people out of poverty than all the international aid programmes and good works of concerned churchmen put together and quadrupled. Tens of millions of people, particularly in Asia, owe their new-found wellbeing to that great engine of opportunity, capitalism. We have found few better ways of loving our neighbour than to trade with him. So when the Archbishop of Canterbury talks, as he did yesterday, about the dangers posed by climate change and the “huge moral imbalance in the world”, we need to look hard at where morality lies. The history of the Soviet Union, China and North Korea has shown just how degrading central planning is to the human soul — and to the environment." (London Times)

This is outrageous! "29 Panelists Invited To Present Details on Proposals At Energy Committee’s Bipartisan Climate Conference" - "Twenty-nine panelists have accepted the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee’s invitation to amplify on the proposals they submitted for the committee’s April 4 climate conference." (Committee on Energy and Natural Resources)

We're not too sure what's supposed to be 'bipartisan' about this panel - with the notable exception of the American Council for Capital Formation just who on this panel is not in thrall of (in bed with?) anti-energy, anti-capitalist, anti-free market whactivists? Look down the list. How many can you see who do not anticipate getting their snouts into your pockets and harming their competitors through anti-competitive legislation? How many have not already been snared by, or are actually anti-corporates flying the 'global warming crisis' banners?

Presumably this is 'bipartisan' on the grounds that Domenici is nominally a Republican but it is most assuredly is not 'bipartisan' in respect of representing both sides of business views, nor small and medium versus large business, and from the perspective of value of regulatory intervention, where are groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Cato, for example, did they not submit proposals? This doesn't look like a bipartisan conference, it looks more like a 28 member firing squad and the ACCF would seem to be the intended target.

We are shocked and appalled that such a skewed dog and pony show is being presented as anything other than a rigged rubber stamping exercise for an energy tax grab. Readers may wish to enquire of Senators Domenici (contact) and Bingaman (e-mail) or even the full Committee (contact) just why they believe taxpayers want to pay for stunts like this, let alone be railroaded into paying significantly more for energy for no good purpose. They may wish to specifically note the following:

"Gallup: Worries About Health Care Now Top Issue in U.S." - "NEW YORK A new Gallup Poll released Tuesday reveals that the issue cited by most Americans as the one they worry about the most is "the availability and affordability of healthcare." A total of 68% said they worried about this a "great deal." Coming in second is the social security system at 51%. Following close behind that were "availability and affordability of energy," drug use, crime and violence--and only then "the possibility of terrorist attacks in the U.S." (at 45%)." (Editor & Publisher) [emphasis added]

You can see what Junkman wrote here.

Consumers are not keen on price hikes: "U.K. Misses Its Own Climate Change Targets-What Next?" - "According to International Council for Capital Formation, Climate Change Goals Must Address Economic Impact

BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 28 -- As the U.K. today faces the reality that its official policy for fighting climate change has failed to deliver its own ambitious targets, it must acknowledge the harsh impact of cap and trade systems, which fail to protect the environment but instead have a damaging impact on energy prices, economic growth and jobs. The UK Government today announced that its Climate Change Programme Review, on which it has spent more than a year, will not deliver its key global warming target to cut CO2 emissions to 20 per cent less than 1990 levels by 2010." (PRNewswire)

II: "Michigan Gov. Backs off Pledge to Cut Mercury" - "Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) is pleasing consumers but angering environmental activists by refusing to implement stringent mercury reductions she had promised prior to her election in 2002.

"Granholm has backpedaled carefully from the aggressive posture that once characterized her approach" to environmental mercury, reported the Detroit Free Press on January 21. "Michigan's economic difficulties--cutting mercury almost certainly would mean higher electric rates--and her re-election bid this year may be factors in her cautious approach.

"The environmental benefits from mercury cuts would be years, maybe decades, away," the newspaper report continued. "But utility rate hikes--coal-burning power plants account for 57 percent of the state's mercury emissions--would be much more immediate, potentially triggering ratepayer anger and leaving Granholm open to attacks that she's a barrier to business growth." (James M. Taylor, Environment News)

?!! "Heat linked to rise in West Nile cases" - "A spike in West Nile virus cases in York Region last year was likely caused by the summer's unseasonably hot weather, a regional staff report says." (Toronto Star)

Those having trouble figuring out how this 'spike' (5 cases) relates to relative summer temperature probably shouldn't worry - we didn't get it either. Possibly you could say that people are more likely to be abroad at dusk on pleasant summer evenings and hence the pool of potential human mosquito bite victims is larger, one fifth (20%) of whom will suffer mild symptoms and one hundredth (1%) will suffer severe symptoms. West Nile virus is spreading, we know that and we know the vectors involved but it has precious little to do with interannual temperature variability.

Climate stasis? "Glacier, bay, glacier, bay, glacier, Glacier Bay" - "During the last 11,000 years, Glacier Bay has been filled with ice and has lost its ice at least three times, according to scientists who sample the remnants of ancient forests first identified by naturalist John Muir in Glacier Bay National Park." (Alaska Science Forum)

Changes in global monsoon precipitation over the past 56 years (Climate Science)

"States in US CO2 plan may aim at industrial plants" - "NEW YORK - U.S. states breaking with the Bush administration in forming a regional plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions at power plants could next aim for cutting emissions at industrial plants, officials from the states said." (Reuters)

"UK: Government set to miss own CO2 target" - "LONDON - The government said on Tuesday it was set to miss its own target to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a fifth by 2010, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Tony Blair's bid to lead global efforts to slow climate change." (Reuters)

Weathering the inevitable Green storm (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Blair to press case for clear goals on climate change" - "Tony Blair will argue on Wednesday that the world’s leading producers of greenhouse gases must establish clear goals by the end of this year to stabilise global warming and inject new momentum into the fight against climate change. Aiming to reconcile differences between the US and the rest of the world over climate change, the prime minister will steer clear of arguing for a concrete set of greenhouse gas reduction targets to be agreed after the Kyoto accord expires in 2012." (Financial Times)

"Businesses to feel the heat over greenhouse gas cuts" - "Businesses will bear the brunt of reductions required in greenhouse gas output under the government's plans to tackle climate change, set out yesterday." (Financial Times)

"No time to waste on climate change - PM" - "Nations across the world have to be "very bold" if they are to tackle the environmental problems facing us all, Tony Blair has stressed. Addressing a special conference in New Zealand, the PM said a new international framework, backed by technology, was needed to stabilise the carbon emissions which cause climate change. It would supersede the Kyoto Protocol when it expires at the end of 2012 and needed to be as "revolutionary almost as the internet was for information technology." (Number 10)

UK to sign onto AP6? "Blair in talks on climate deal" - "AUSTRALIA has held talks with Tony Blair on forging a post-Kyoto accord to cut carbon emissions, with the British Prime Minister calling for a "real dose of realism" in the debate over greenhouse gases. John Howard and senior government ministers yesterday discussed with Mr Blair a possible climate strategy involving the world's 20 biggest carbon emitters, including China, India, Australia, the US and Britain." (The Australian)

Wannabe energy rationers will not like this: "Britain's Blair endorses Asia-Pacific climate pact" - "CANBERRA, March 28 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday backed an Asia-Pacific climate partnership that includes India, China and the United States, saying it was not aimed at undermining the Kyoto protocol on cutting gas emissions. Blair said there were a number of climate-change initiatives around the world which could eventually be brought together to tackle greenhouse gas emissions globally, and encourage business to adopt greener technology and energy." (Reuters)

"Global Struggle To Meet Kyoto Commitments" - "Governments around the world are struggling to meet their commitments under the Kyoto protocol on climate change, writes Fiona Harvey. However, even countries that have rejected the protocol, such as the US and Australia, or are not covered by its requirements - rapidly developing countries such as China and Brazil - are taking steps to reduce greenhouse gases." (Financial Times)

Except they aren't "trying to meet Kyoto commitments" - just maximise profits and minimise costs through efficiency, as they always have and always will. The carbon intensity of production and transportation was falling long before Kyoto was thought of and will continue to do so long after it's forgotten. What a crock.

"Margaret Beckett: There is no magic solution to end carbon dependency" - "The evidence of dangerous climate change, as regularly reported in your newspaper, is becoming ever more stark. The devastating impacts that this could have on developing nations should encourage us all to step up our efforts, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, rightly said yesterday. As a government, we recognise that we have a leadership role in responding to this. We have played that role very successfully. I am immensely proud of the action that the UK has taken, internationally and at home." (London Independent)

Reality dawns: "Blair cooling on green targets for Kyoto successor" - "TONY BLAIR was accused last night of caving in to American pressure by proposing a watered-down replacement for the Kyoto Protocol that relies on new technology rather than binding greenhouse gas cuts as the solution to climate change." (London Times)

"A dose of cold reality on climate change" - "Tony Blair and his government have made a very big public issue of the need to combat global warming. The Financial Times believes this is right; for what could be worse than catastrophic climate change and more tragic if early action could have prevented it? But we have worried the government has been so busy preaching from various pulpits, such as its presidencies last year of the European Union and the Group of Eight, and setting itself exaggerated emission targets that it has not properly looked around to see if anyone is following its example. So it was good to see the government, as it yesterday set out its revised climate change programme, beginning to count the cost of competitiveness and eschewing any "masochistic" approach that would make UK business pay the price of moral leadership." (Financial Times)

Tantrums: "Anger over missed climate change target" - "Environmental campaigners today attacked the Government's "pathetic" plans to tackle climate change after ministers appeared to abandon a key target on cutting carbon emissions." (London Independent)

"Government accused of pitiful failure to meet target for greenhouse gas emissions" - "Scientists, environmental campaigners and opposition politicians yesterday issued a scathing response to the government's admission that it will fail to meet a key target to cut greenhouse gas pollution. They called the results of an 18-month review of climate change policies "pitiful" and accused ministers of lacking the political will to tackle global warming." (The Guardian)

"Blow for Britain's fight against climate change as emissions target is missed" - "Britain's credibility as a leader in the fight against climate change has suffered a massive blow with the Government being forced to announce it will not meet its flagship target for cutting the carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming." (London Independent)

"China: Nation sets emission reduction goal of 2020" - "China proposes to reduce emissions by millions of tons over the next 20 years in an effort to help reduce global warming through energy-saving technologies." (People's Daily)

Now Bush muzzling New Zealand scientists... no, wait - that'd be the Green-Left coalition Government is, or is it the New Zealand's Leftie Gov... never mind - Scientist shoots off mouth, hits self in foot: "Hodgson remark gets scientist into trouble" - "A Government scientist is understood to have been ordered to clear his desk and leave work after he publicly criticised climate change policy and said Climate Change Minister Pete Hodgson had "stuffed it up". Kevin Patterson, who models energy needs for the Ministry of Economic Development, was quoted in the Herald on Monday saying mistakes had been made in the projections for meeting Kyoto Protocol commitments. "Pete Hodgson stuffed it up ... he basically directed the staff to model the next target as if it had been accomplished." Dr Patterson said he was so disillusioned with climate change policy that he was considering joining the brain drain overseas. The Herald understands hours after the article was published on Monday, Dr Patterson was told to clear his desk. It is also understood that he no longer has access to the ministry building or his work computer." (New Zealand Herald)

Another ecoEnquirer scoop:) "'Operation Icelift' Launched to Save Antarctic Ice Sheet" - "(Los Angeles, CA) Bothered by the recent news reports of the Antarctic ice sheet losing ice due to global warming, several Hollywood actors and actresses have paid huge sums of money to have helicopters deliver replacement ice to the imperiled ice cap." (ecoEnquirer)

From CO2 Science this week:

Highly Over-Hyped: Greenland's and Antarctica's Impacts on Sea Level: As the public relations juggernaut to traumatize the world into believing in catastrophic CO 2 -induced global warming rises to new heights, it's spinning of real-world data sinks to new lows.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 3 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Gulf of Taranto, Ionian Sea.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Oceans (Storm Surges): Have storm-tossed seas been heaving themselves beyond their bounds of late, in response to what climate alarmists claim is the most dramatic warming of the past two millennia?

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: Purple Moorgrass, Rice, Soybean, and Sunflower.

Journal Reviews:
Trends of 20th-Century River Flow: Do they support model projections of increased flooding and drought due to global warming?

Urban Heat Islands of Cities in Tropical Mexico: Are they as significant and widespread as those in non-tropical parts of the planet?

Evidence for a Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in Central Japan: A lake sediment core tells the tale.

Initial Growth Stimulation of Sunflower Seedlings by Elevated CO 2 : The phenomenon is quite dramatic ... and very important for what happens later ... and for more than just sunflowers.

The Competing Effects of Rising Atmospheric CO 2 and O 3 Concentrations: What is the net outcome, and how does it vary among different species and mixtures of species? (co2science.org)

"Australia: Expand uranium mining, says MP Campbell" - "Environment Minister Ian Campbell says Australia should allow more mining of uranium to help tackle climate change." (AAP)

"Imports, legal delays may hamper EU biofuel output" - "PARIS - Output of biofuel in the European Union may be hit over the next few years as some countries delay implementing EU targets and import green fuels, sector experts said on Tuesday. Aiming to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, the EU wants biofuels to make up 5.75 percent transport fuels by 2010." (Reuters)

"Science fiction news slant" - "The end is near. As near as your remote control, at least. All you have to do is turn on, tune in and drop... any pretense of news. "CNN Presents," the network's "award-winning" weekly documentary, has done just that. It's given up just reporting the news of the day. Now it's predicted it three years into the future." (Dan Gainor, Washington Times)

"Public communications award recognizes malaria series" - "Four correspondents for Public Radio International's "The World," a 1-hour radio program devoted to international news and culture, have been named recipients of the 2006 ASM Public Communications Award. Their 4-part series, "The Forgotten Plague: Malaria," examined malaria's grip on the world's poorest regions and aired October 24-27, 2005." (American Society for Microbiology)

"Governments Restrict Access to Healthcare and Prevent Medicine Development: major new report" - "50 per cent of people in parts of Africa and Asia have no access to medicines due to harmful government policies, reports the Civil Society Report on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Health, released today. The document produced by 15 civil society organisations from around the world, is being released ahead of a report on a similar theme from the World Health Organisation." (IPN)

"No Safety Concerns With Soda Benzene Tests" - "WASHINGTON -- No safety concerns have arisen from tests for the cancer-causing chemical benzene in soft drinks, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday. Still, the agency is not ready to disclose its findings. The FDA started sampling soft drinks after a private study in November found small amounts of benzene in some beverages. In the vast majority of drinks sampled, benzene either was not found or was present at levels below the federal limit for drinking water. ''Although the results to date are preliminary, they do not suggest a safety concern,'' Robert E. Brackett, director of the agency's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, wrote in a letter released Tuesday." (AP)

Addicted to tanning? "Small study points to addictive effects of frequent tanning" - "Frequent users of tanning beds may be getting more out of the experience than darker skin, according to researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. New evidence suggests that ultraviolet light has "feel-good" effects that may be similar to those of some addictive drugs. "We had previously shown that ultraviolet light has an effect on mood that tanners value," said Mandeep Kaur, M.D., lead author. "Now, in this small study, we've shown that some tanners actually experience withdrawal symptoms when the 'feel-good' chemicals are blocked." (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

"Genes and environment interact to promote cancer" - "DURHAM, N.C. – In the granite-rich region of Western North Carolina, taking a daily shower could pose a risk of developing lung cancer. So could working from home every day. That's because granite emits a carcinogenic gas, radon. Houses that sit atop granite terrain are often contaminated with radon that has seeped into wells and indoor air." (Duke University Medical Center)

Not people? "Why Is New Orleans Sinking?" - "In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it's become widely known that New Orleans has been slowly sinking. Geologists have blamed oil drilling, groundwater pumping, and young, soft sediments for much of the region's subsidence, but a new study implicates another culprit. The deep shifting of tectonic plates may be causing the land to sink faster than the shallower manipulations of humans. That could mean more drastic measures need to be taken to protect New Orleans from another storm." (ScienceNOW Daily News)

"After Years of Doomsday Diatribes, Worldwatch Institute Finally Gets it Right" - "For many years, I have been reading the annual reports issued by The Worldwatch Institute on the state of the world's environment. With dismay and disgust, I have found them to be scaremongering doomsday diatribes filled with junk science, offering wrongheaded solutions to non-existent problems, and with socialist undertones not at all well-disguised.

This year's State of the World is different.

The book contains 10 chapters, all with different authors. Many exhibit exceptional talent in the careful enumeration of factual material, and an objective balance in drawing conclusions. Seven of the chapters are outstanding sources of knowledge on their subjects. That does not mean I agree with all their conclusions, but simply that they offer fair, comprehensive, and balanced presentations." (Jay Lehr, Environment News)

"Planet not up for quick sale: Kennedy" - "We must stop treating the planet as though it's a business in liquidation that's selling its assets for quick cash, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told a business conference in Toronto yesterday. "To me, environmental advocacy is not about just protecting the fish and the birds for their own sake. It's about recognizing that nature is the infrastructure of our communities," the environmental lawyer and activist said. "When we destroy nature, we diminish ourselves. We impoverish our children." (Toronto Star)

Environment: the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded. To most people in the developed world that means the built environment that shelters, supports and sustains them and the number of critters killing each other in the woods matters not a jot. While there's probably an emotional, even pseudo-spiritual attachment to the 'natural' (undeveloped?) world it is in no way a precondition for our children or theirs.

That said Kennedy is even wrong about 'protecting' nature since protection comes from property rights and assigned value while the socialist twaddle Kennedy espouses leads to the tragedy of the commons and devastation. Worse still, the twaddle he espouses is simply a cover for stealing the property rights of others and giving them to a self-selected elite seeking to grab huge nature parks for their private playgrounds and exclusive enjoyment. Take a hike, bozo, go get a real job.

"Scientists seek biotech answer to hunger" - "KANSAS CITY, Missouri - As he pores over plant tissue and petri dishes in a biotech seed lab in Johnston, Iowa, Luke Mehlo is half a world away from his home in South Africa. But though the corn fields of Iowa bear little resemblance to the arid plains of Africa, the research center where Mehlo toils has become home to a unique joint venture that is merging African agricultural interests with US money and technology." (Reuters)

March 28, 2006

"Goldman Sachs' Green CEO" - "The corporate sector has come under increasing -- and sometimes literal -- attack from well-funded radical environmentalists in recent years. All too often, companies have sought to appease their critics. Scarcely any business refuses these days to commit cravenly to open-ended principles of "corporate social responsibility" and "sustainable development." (Peter Foster, National Post)

"Report: Hurricane Rita not as strong as first thought" - "BEAUMONT, Texas – Most of the area affected by Hurricane Rita last September faced winds weaker than the 111-130 mph range seen with the Category 3 storm, according to a final report by the National Hurricane Center. The storm packed maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, classifying it as a Category 3 when it made landfall at 2:40 a.m. Sept. 24 between Johnson's Bayou, La., and Sabine Pass, according to the report. Hurricane-force winds extended 86 miles from the center the day before landfall. But the report also said many areas in extreme southeastern Texas and extreme southwestern Louisiana experienced Category 1 hurricane conditions (74-95 mph), and a few areas experienced Category 2 hurricane conditions (96-110 mph). It said Category 3 hurricane conditions were confined to a very small area east of the eye along the immediate coast of extreme southwestern Louisiana." (Associated Press)

Um... no: "Plan for forests threatens study, researcher says - Development could taint data collection" - "A research tower in rural Boone County could someday clarify how forests affect global warming. But a plan to sell national forest land around the tower could alter its readings and cloud conclusions, researchers say. The 106-foot-tall instrument measures how carbon dioxide and water vapor are exchanged in a several-kilometer radius around its base. It is one of 100 similar towers across North America that researchers hope will provide a continental picture of how different natural environments interact with the atmosphere. The experiment could help scientists better understand global warming, said Stephen Pallardy, professor of forestry at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the lead local researcher on the tower project." (Columbia Daily Tribune)

What changes in land use in the region would do would be to provide a gift parameter for these researchers - the observed effect of land use change on H2O and CO2 exchange, excellent since they have comparator towers elsewhere to provide rolling baseline information to help extricate the land use change component in Boone county. What a bonus!

Further Confirmation of the Robustness of the Kalnay and Cai (2004) Nature paper on the Importance of the Land Surface With Respect to the Surface Temperature Trend Assessments (Climate Science)

"Envisat making first direct measurements of ocean surface velocities" - "For more than a decade space-based radar instruments have been routinely observing ocean surface phenomena including wind, waves, oil slicks, even the eyes of hurricanes. Now – employing the same principle as police speed guns – satellite radar has also begun to enable direct measurements of the speed of the moving ocean surface itself." (European Space Agency)

Chuckle... "New beginning of 'natural spring' announced by UNH scientist, group" - "You could say the first day of spring came a week earlier this year: Monday, March 13th. That's what's indicated by a new report, Evidence of an Early Spring, that draws on research by University of New Hampshire (UNH) climate scientist Cameron Wake. The report, released by the group Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP), finds that over the last 150 years, scientific measurements show that events signifying the beginning of spring - including when plants bud, sap flows, ice breaks up, and the last frost and final 32-degree day occur - have all shifted. These events now happen a week earlier on average." (University of New Hampshire)

150 years of recovery from the frosty and life unfriendly Little Ice Age and relief from winter has advanced maybe a week... well, that's sure something to be frightened of, eh?

Arctic temperatures are topical and we've been discussing variability - here's another example:  "February 2006 Summary" - "In the Arctic, the month began very much on the cold side. On the 3rd, Point Lay set a new all time record of -56 °F (-49 °C), and the -55 °F at Barrow was just 1 ºF above the all time record there set in 1924. However, by the 5th southwest winds brought in significantly higher temperatures, which over the next two weeks rose 80 to 90 °F (44 to 50 °C), to around freezing in the 3rd week of the month. The continuation of this pattern of winds aloft brought overall February temperatures in the Arctic to an astonishing 6 to 20 °F (3 to 11 °C) above normal." (Alaska Climate Research Center) -- Hat tip Dennis A.

"Arizona temps on the rise in winter for last 70 years" - "Winter nights have warmed significantly across Arizona over 70 years, raising questions about whether human-caused global warming is part of the cause, said a University of Arizona researcher. From 1931 to 2001, average wintertime low temperatures rose by as little as 0.03 a of a degree per decade in Safford to as much as 1.11 degrees in Mesa, according to the UA-analyzed data. Tucson's average winter low rose by about 0.7 of a degree per decade — or nearly 5 degrees over 70 years. That placed it sixth among 25 cities and towns analyzed." (Arizona Daily Star)

Uh-huh... "Pinot impossible in Burgundy over next 50 years" - "The world is going to heat to such an extent that Burgundy may no longer be able to grow Pinot Noir, a conference heard last week. Wine character as we know it today is on the verge of radical change, world experts on global warming and vines told the first World Conference on Global Warming and Wine held in Barcelona on March 24-25. According to authoritative computer climate models..." (Decanter.com)

"authoritative computer climate models" Right...

"Climate change: The rice genome to the rescue" - "Los Baños, Philippines – New evidence is emerging that climate change could reduce not only the world's ability to produce food but also international efforts to cut poverty. However, the recent sequencing of the rice genome is already providing researchers with some of the tools they need to help poor rice farmers and consumers avoid the worst effects of the problem." (International Rice Research Institute)

"Britain's Blair endorses Asia-Pacific climate pact" - "CANBERRA, March 28 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday backed an Asia-Pacific climate partnership that includes India, China and the United States, saying it was not aimed at undermining the Kyoto protocol on cutting gas emissions. Blair said there were a number of climate-change initiatives around the world which could eventually be brought together to tackle greenhouse gas emissions globally, and encourage business to adopt greener technology and energy." (Reuters)

"After Kyoto: Alternative Mechanisms to Control Global Warming" - "Abstract: This paper reviews different approaches to the political and economic control of global public goods like global warming. It compares quantity-oriented control mechanisms like the Kyoto Protocol with price-type control mechanisms such as internationally harmonized carbon taxes. The pros and cons of the two approaches are compared, focusing on such issues as performance under conditions of uncertainty, volatility of the induced carbon prices, the excess burden of taxation and regulation, accounting finagling, corruption, and implementation. Although virtually all policies involving economic global public goods rely upon quantitative approaches, price-type approaches are likely to be more effective and more efficient." (William D. Nordhaus, FPIF)

"Kyoto? No Go. How to combat "global warming" without destroying the economy." - "Did the 1970s mark the beginning of an ice age? Scientists and the press thought so. In 1971 Global Ecology forecast the "continued rapid cooling of the earth." The New York Times reported in 1975 that "many signs" suggest that the "earth may be headed for another ice age," and Science magazine that this cooling could be the beginning of "a full-blown 10,000-year ice age." It seemed sensible because, as NASA data show, there was indeed a 30-year, 0.2-degree Celsius cooling trend from 1940 to 1970." (Pete DuPont, Opinion Journal)

"Iceland to experiment with safely storing greenhouse gases in the battle against global warming" - "REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Iceland has long been a pioneer in the battle against global warming, tapping its unique combination of volcanoes, geysers and thundering waterfalls to produce all the electricity, heat and hot water it needs while protecting the environment. But this remote island nation is now planning to test another natural resource - its basalt rocks - to see if they can be used to safely bury carbon dioxide gas emissions before they harm the atmosphere. And if the experiment works, it also could prove useful in much bigger countries that also have basalt, such as the United States, India, Brazil and Russia. "Action on global warming cannot be delayed," said Wallace S. Broecker, a professor at Columbia University who is joining Iceland scientists in the study." (Associated Press)

"Minister to admit failure on key climate change emissions target" - "The government will admit today that it will fail to meet its much repeated manifesto commitment on cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Labour had set a target of reducing CO2 levels by 20% by 2010, but Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, will say it is no longer possible. The totemic policy has been an important weapon in Tony Blair's claim to be a world leader willing to go further than others on climate change, and the admission is likely to provoke fury from environmentalists." (The Guardian)

Here we go: "Global warming: Your chance to change the climate" - "Four senior ministers will, this morning, make one of the most embarrassing admissions of the Labour Government's nine years in office - that the official policy for fighting climate change has failed.

Yet, as they do so, a group of MPs will offer a different way forward in the struggle to combat global warming, one which they think is the only alternative. It will mean turning established principles of British economic life upside down. It will mean sacrifices from everyone. Therefore, they say, it will have to be taken out of politics." (London Indepdent)

People thought we were either kidding or plain over the top when we raised warning flags about attempts to rations energy - sadly, we were right:

"Colin Challen: We must think the unthinkable, and take voters with us" - "Climate change means that business as usual is dead. It means that economic growth as usual is dead. But the politics of economic growth and business as usual live on. What needs to change to bring about a political tipping point? What is stopping us from taking the radical path we need to follow today if we are to avoid dangerous climate change tomorrow?" | 'Without changing our mindset, I don't see how the environmental issue can be tackled' (London Independent)

"States propose greenhouse gas curbs" - "Delaware's output of heat-trapping greenhouse gas would drop by 10 percent, or more than 700,000 tons yearly, under a rule proposed by a coalition of Northeastern states. The "Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative" -- criticized as too local by utilities and too little by environmental groups -- bypasses national climate-change policies. Seven states would instead set their own caps on emissions of carbon dioxide, a pollutant linked to rising global temperatures that have in turn been tied to changing weather and climate patterns. Participating states agreed last year to stabilize CO2 emissions at 1990 levels starting in 2009 through mandatory controls on power plants that produce more than 25 megawatts of electricity. Emissions would have to drop by 10 percent between 2015 and 2019." (The News Journal)

"The Gasoline Follies" - "Gasoline prices are rising again, and this time Iraq or hurricanes aren't to blame. Congress's energy policy mistakes are finally catching up with it, and American drivers are paying for the bungles.

The average U.S. retail pump price for gasoline has been hovering around $2.50 a gallon the past few weeks; prices are now at their highest since last October -- or back when the country was dealing with Katrina. The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) has warned this may only be the beginning, and parts of the country could see pump prices well over $3 a gallon going into summer. Happy Memorial Day.

Drivers can send their thank-you notes to Capitol Hill, which created the conditions for this mess last summer with its latest energy bill. That legislation contained a sop to Midwest corn farmers in the form of a huge new ethanol mandate that began this year and requires drivers to consume 7.5 billion gallons a year by 2012. At the same time, Congress refused to include liability protection for producers of MTBE, a rival oxygen fuel-additive that has become a tort lawyer target. So MTBE makers are pulling out, ethanol makers can't make up the difference quickly enough, and gas supplies are getting squeezed." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Coal-based jet fuel poised for next step" - "A jet fuel comparable to Jet A or military JP 8, but derived from at least 50 percent bituminous coal, has successfully powered a helicopter jet engine, according to a Penn State fuel scientist. "Because the fuel is 50 percent derived from coal, it could reduce our use of imported petroleum for this purpose by half," says Dr. Harold H. Schobert, professor of fuel science and director of Penn State's Energy Institute. "We have shown in tests that the mix can go to at least 75 percent coal." (Penn State)

"Schweitzer's Folly" - "Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer took George Stephanopoulos for a ride Sunday over Glacier National Park, and not just in a helicopter." (David Holman, The American Spectator)

"Environmental groups challenge assessment on Alta. oilsands project" - "EDMONTON - Several environmental groups are asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal that would broaden the federal government's environmental review of a massive oilsands project in northern Alberta." (CP)

"Planned Expansion Stirs Fury - Fearing Leaks, Washington Gas Fights Increase in Imports" - "Washington Gas has raised objections to a plan that would double the amount of liquefied natural gas shipped into a Southern Maryland terminal each year, saying the imported fuel could damage pipe fittings and lead to an increase in leaks that would in turn endanger homes. Officials with Dominion Cove Point, which operates the Calvert County import terminal, say that the utility's fears are baseless and that blocking the imported fuel will only exacerbate soaring energy prices." (Washington Post)

"Coal plant plan scrapped over emissions fears" - "A private sector plan to build a large-scale coal thermal power plant in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has been scrapped because of concern that it would produce too much carbon dioxide." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"AECL warns of energy shortfall: `Time running out' to replace nuclear plant" - "LONDON—Ontario could face an energy shortfall if the provincial government doesn't soon give the green light to build new nuclear plants, Canadian nuclear industry officials say. "Time is running out," said David Torgerson, senior vice-president and chief technology officer for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. Virtually all of Ontario's electrical power grid will have to be replaced or refurbished over the next 25 years, including nuclear plants that now produce about half of the province's power, he said. If approval for new nuclear plants doesn't come soon, they won't be ready in time to satisfy Ontario's energy needs, Torgerson said in an interview." (Toronto Star)

"France Makes a Big Nuclear Push" - "France's push into nuclear power and away from fossil fuel holds important lessons for other countries gripped by a fierce debate over how to break their dependency on Middle Eastern oil." (Wall Street Journal)

"Darling hints at major role for nuclear power stations" - "ALISTAIR Darling yesterday gave a clear hint that nuclear power would figure prominently in the government's energy review when he ruled out renewable forms of energy for all of Scotland's needs. Speaking at a conference organised by the Scottish Renewables Forum in Glasgow, the Scottish Secretary said the government continued to consider all forms of energy generation, including nuclear power." (The Scotsman)

"Nuclear reactions" - "Impetus within the EU for a revival of atomic energy is gathering pace, writes David Gow." (The Guardian)

"Fighting Malaria in Ghana" - "Here in Ghana, the authorities are failing to deal with the worsening malaria problem that is crippling our country and killing our people. After years of failure, it is time for a re-think. More than 17 million of Ghana's 20 million people are infected by malaria every year, costing the nation a colossal 850 million cedis (US$94 million) for treatment alone. These figures are probably an underestimate of the real burden, as many cases go unreported. Malaria also has a huge indirect cost on Ghana's economy due to lost productivity. Those infected by malaria are in and out of hospital and unable to work. Malaria takes an especially heavy toll on farmers. Swarms of mosquitoes make it impossible for farmers and their families to sleep indoors especially, during the rainy seasons when they are forced to sleep outdoors around bonfires." (Campaign for Fighting Diseases)

"Bed nets and malaria. A first hand view" - "The day we went to see our first clinic around the area of Mozambique is etched in my brain. The clinic itself was a one story, very rustic 3 room structure made of wood. The staff was very kind and very dedicated, but the building was not only missing screens on the windows, but some of the panes of glass where missing all together. We embarrassed the staff unduly when we asked them why there where no bed nets over the 4 or so hospital beds. It had not occurred to them to buy them because bed nets are very expensive relative to their other expenses and they simply could not afford them. And yet, malaria was one of the primary maladies they dealt with.

The reality is this, when we went out into the village, we were able to visit several homes. These homes, where quaint and well kept wood structures with dirt floors, impeccably cleaned and ordered. And all the beds we saw were neatly made with bed nets dutifully pulled over a large number of those that belonged to the children. But the nets for the most part where full of holes. Some of which had been sewn, most of which had not been. For me it raised many serious questions about bed nets. They are expensive to buy, even for a medical clinic, and they are hard to maintain, I imagine especially around the very children they are meant to protect.

It is so very hot in Mozambique and it can get dark as early as 6pm. When darkness falls the mosquitoes come out. How feasible is it really for children to stay in their beds under very hot bed nets? How long before those bed nets get holes? Would an American child be able to sit on their bed from 6pm until dawn the next day? Every day? Would there not be holes in the bed nets before long? How much time does a parent have to sew and re-sew those holes to the extent that a tiny mosquito cannot make its way through? What happens when a child needs to go to the bathroom?

Would an American child be able to stand this set up on a hot night with no air conditioning? This is what we are asking of an African child. This what some NGOs and other organizations are insisting is at least part (if not all) of the solution in fighting malaria. To be honest, it boggles my mind. I have to question this. Is this reasonable? What have I missed in the equation?

I am doing a documentary on Malaria presently and though I consider myself a die-hard environmentalist in many ways, (see 3billionandcounting.com) I cannot help question how it is, that these countries do not feel comfortable using DDT for fear of repercussions from having their exports banned in countries like the US? How can we feel good about encouraging them to spray their walls with it while on the other hand we threaten their economy with boycotts? What motivates this kind of strategy towards developing countries on the part of civilized countries? These are the questions that frequently come to mind." (Helene Udy, 3BillionAndCounting.com)

"32,000 Russians Killed by TB As Number of Cases Increases" - "Tuberculosis deaths in Russia increased in 2005 after a decline in numbers in recent years, the Ministry of Health has announced. “TB-related deaths have grown,” Health Ministry official Yekaterina Kakorina was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying in an announcement made to mark World TB Day on Friday. “In 2005, almost 32,000 people died. The death rate is 22.1 per 100,000 people, compared to 21.4 per 100,000 in 2004,” Kakorina said. A total of 120,000 TB cases were registered in Russia last year." (St. Petersburg Times)

Flu season at The Times? "How Serious Is the Risk of Avian Flu?" - "Researchers say a human pandemic caused by the bird flu virus is by no means inevitable." (New York Times)

"On the Front: A Pandemic Is Worrisome but 'Unlikely'" - "Having observed A(H5N1) for many years in Asia, Dr. Jeremy Farrar thinks it is unlikely that the virus is poised to jump species." (New York Times)

"At the U.N.: This Virus Has an Expert 'Quite Scared'" - "David Nabarro, chief avian flu coordinator for the United Nations, says that like early AIDS, avian flu has too many unanswered questions." (New York Times)

"Making a Ferret Sneeze for Hints to the Transmission of Bird Flu" - "Researchers are studying the transmission and virulence of bird flu in ferrets and mice, trying to answer questions about the A(H5N1) virus." (New York Times)

"From the Chickens' Perspective, the Sky Really Is Falling" - "Scientists are scratching their heads over how much of a threat the A(H5N1) influenza virus presents to the world's birds." (New York Times)

"The 1918 Flu Killed Millions. Does It Hold Clues for Today?" - "The 1918 pandemic reveals both a lot and not enough about what is happening with bird flu today." (New York Times)

"With Every Epidemic, Tough Choices" - "The A(H5N1) avian influenza virus has brought the classic dilemma in public health — to warn or not to warn — into sharp focus." (New York Times)

"LATIN AMERICA: Suez Packs Its Bags and Won't Be Back" - "MEXICO CITY, Mar 27 - The French water company Suez, the favorite villain of anti-privatisation activists, has entered the final stretch of its withdrawal from Argentina and Bolivia, where it has been packing for quite a while. And it could be a long time before it returns to Latin America." (Tierramérica)

"Environmentalists' 'marine reserve' proposals misguided, report suggests" - "Proposals by environmentalists to declare small areas of the North Sea as 'no-fishing' zones would not save our flagging fish stocks, suggests a new report by Newcastle University for the British Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. (DEFRA). Marine protected areas (MPAs) would need to be tens of thousands of square miles in size – at least as big as the size of Wales – and would need to be established for decades to restore levels of cod and haddock, says the report. Moreover, creating large MPAs would be likely to intensify fishing in the waters left open for business, so further measures to reduce activity would have to be brought in. However, the report's authors, a team of marine ecologists from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, suggest that these 'drastic' measures are unlikely to be feasible and would require a significant policy shift for them to be implemented. They also acknowledge that there is an 'information deficit' regarding the costs and benefits of MPAs, particularly in the case of the North Sea, and call for more research." (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

"Seagrass is in decline worldwide, says UNH researcher" - "DURHAM, N.H. – Around the world, seagrass beds – shallow-water ecosystems that are important habitats, food sources, and sediment stabilizers – are in decline, says Frederick Short, research professor of natural resources and marine science at the University of New Hampshire. And as these underwater meadows disappear, so do commercially valuable shellfish and fish, waterfowl and other wildlife, water quality, and erosion prevention." (University of New Hampshire)

"Sumatra megaquake defied theory" - "Boulder, Colo. - The risks of Sumatra-style mega-quakes around the world have been sorely misjudged, say earth scientists who are re-examining some of the pre-December 2004 assumptions scientists made about such rare events. For more than two decades geologists had thought that the largest quakes, of magnitude 9 and greater, happen when a young tectonic plate is subducted, or shoved quickly, under another plate. But the Great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 26 December 2004 didn't match that pattern at all. The Indian Plate is middle-aged and moving at a middling rate, which throws into question the estimated quake dangers at other similar quake-prone zones near Japan, in the Pacific Northwest, Chile, Alaska, and elsewhere." (Geological Society of America)

"Growing body of research links lead to osteoporosis" - "Bolstered by recent laboratory findings, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are embarking on a National Institutes of Health-funded clinical study to better understand the deceptive role environmental lead exposure plays in bone maturation and loss. The clinical trial is the latest in a growing body of research that is putting yet one more notch in the belt of diseases attributed to lead, and this time, researchers say, its target is older adults at risk for osteoporosis." (University of Rochester Medical Center)

"'Nanny state' targets barriers to healthy life" - "WITH the smoking ban marking a milestone in the effort to improve the country's health, public health experts are now examining what else can be done to help Scotland shrug off its tag as the sick man of Europe. Vices such as fat, sugar, alcohol, cars and even television viewing are all in the firing line as the government seeks to relieve pressure on the NHS by stopping diseases before they begin. But for some, this increasing intrusion of the state into personal lives is taking health improvement too far." (Scotland on Sunday)

"The Nature of Things: War-o-pedia Continues" - "Just for fun, I posit as an axiom that, in the very nature of things, things aren't always as they appear. This ought to arouse no controversy. But it is precisely in controversy that we need to be reminded of this simple but profound rule." (Robert McHenry, TCS Daily)

"GM: a case of good crop, bad crop" - "Genetically modified food has been planted in many parts of the world, but so have the seeds of fear, writes Wendy Frew." (Sydney Morning Herald)

March 27, 2006

"80–120 yr Long-term solar induced effects on the earth, past and predictions" - "Abstract: The 80–120 year solar Wolf-Gleissberg cycles have wide effects on the Earth’s environment. Studying past effects can throw light on future predictions of solar terrestrial relations at similar solar activity levels. Solar induced climate changes do happen at the turning points of such cycles when changes in solar spin rates occur. Reversing of North Atlantic Oscillations can be interpreted in terms of solar stimuli. The sudden abrupt rises of lakes levels and closed seas are solar forced. It is anticipated that the Aral and the Dead Sea will recover in the near future. Following drought conditions in African Equatorial lakes by the end of cycle 23 around 2008 ± 2 yr, cyclic rises and falls of lakes level are expected to be coherent with the weak cycles 24 to perhaps 26 when solar forcings will reverse or cease to exist. The Atlanto Canadian fish disappearance dilemma is a natural Wolf-Gleissberg cycle induced effect and is expected to recover in due time." (Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C)

Uh-huh... "Brighter sun adds to fears of climate change" - "THE amount of sunshine reaching earth is increasing, accelerating the pace of climate change, scientists have found. A series of independent studies around the world show a significant rise in the amount of sunshine penetrating the atmosphere to be absorbed by the earth’s surface and turned into heat." (The Sunday Times)

"Ice Cores Show Sun, Not Humans, Controlling Earth's Climate" - "Humans now control Earth’s climate, James Hansen of NASA told CBS’ “60 Minutes” last week. His evidence: the edges of the Greenland ice sheet are melting rapidly. Hansen says the speed of this melting proves that man-made greenhouse gases are responsible. Sorry, Dr. Hansen, but the melting edges of the Greenland ice sheet don’t prove your point. Melting around the edges is exactly what the Vikings saw on Greenland 1000 years ago when they named the island—for its green coastal meadows. They moved in with their cattle, and thrived for 300 years, during what we now call the Medieval Warming." (Dennis T. Avery, MichNews.com)

"The New Hot Zones" - "Books, films and a slick ad campaign make global warming the topic du jour." (Newsweek)

"The Environmentalists Are Trying To Frighten the Natives" - "In a manner reminiscent of witch doctors urging primitive people to sacrifice their sheep and goats in order to mollify the wrath of the gods, today’s environmentalists and their shills in the media and academe repeatedly urge the people of the United States and the rest of the modern world to sacrifice their use of energy and their standard of living in order to avoid the wrath of the Earth and its atmosphere. That wrath will allegedly take one form or another: a new ice age (recall the predictions of Paul Ehrlich) or, if not a new ice age, then global warming and a resulting rise in sea levels." (George Reisman, LewRockwell.com)

"Ad Council needs to be counseled" - "Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Advertising Council, says global warming is a nonpartisan political issue. Little wonder considering the only information she recalls seeing about the anything but nonpartisan political issue was provided by Environmental Defense, an organization so ultra-liberal that Teresa Heinz is on its board. The Ad Council, in conjunction with what was the Environmental Defense Fund, announced a public service campaign on Thursday to combat so-called "global warming." The council uses volunteer talent from advertising agencies and the media "to deliver critical messages to the American public." Drivel, too." (Dimitri Vassilaros, Tribune-Review)

"Is It Too Late to Stop the Warming? Scientists Talk of Possible 'Tipping Point'" - "March 26, 2006 — It was the summer of 1988, and strange things were happening: Repeated heat waves hit the eastern seaboard of the United States, while the Midwest was mired in massive drought. In some places, the waters of the Mississippi were so low that barges were stranded. Were these phenomena related? It was hard for scientists to say, but on one sweltering Washington morning, a Senate subcommittee called for testimony from a prominent climatologist named James Hansen." (ABC News)

"Poll: Public Concern on Warming Gains Intensity - Many See a Change in Weather Patterns" - "March 26, 2006 — The intensity of public concern about global warming has spiked sharply over the last decade, along with a change in personal experience: Half of Americans say weather patterns have grown more unstable and temperatures have risen where they live, and 70 percent think weather patterns globally have become more unsettled in recent years. A vast majority, 85 percent, believes global warming probably is occurring, up slightly from 80 percent in a 1998 poll. But fewer than four in 10 are very sure of it, a level of uncertainty that reflects broad and continued belief that scientists themselves disagree on whether or not it's happening." (ABC News)

"Was Confusion Over Global Warming a Con Job?" - "Some claim disinformation campaign attempted to create the impression scientists were broadly divided." (ABC News)

While climate change is a given 'global warming' is certainly a con job - the 'emergency' is a next to nothing change from unpleasantly cool.

The Week That Was March 25, 2006 (SEPP)

A Current Example of The Value of the Vulnerability [Paradigm] - Water Resources in the Western United States (Climate Science)

"Which Way Is Weather Going?" - "NO WONDER the weather is a talking point. It's not just been the coldest March for 20 years, but the South of England is burnt up through lack of rain and fast becoming easy fodder for fires. We have had hail and snow along with the cold, and anyone who has been out trying to judge the state of the soil - be it keen gardener or farmer - is well aware that it certainly isn't good growing weather." (Farming Life)

Wever's changin' like the wever, innit Major? Or, you could check Armagh Observatory's Calibrated Data page, where you can find a wealth of information regarding longer-term trends in (almost) rural Ireland (those simply looking for some quick temperature and precipitation data can find it here). The bottom line, for those too time poor to check the data, is there has been some oscillation evident though overall longer-term trends are small.

"Rivers indicate earlier snowmelt in eastern North America" - "Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have found evidence in eastern North America that the snow is melting and running off into rivers earlier than it did in the first half of the 20th century. According to a USGS study published in the most recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters, winter-spring flows in many rivers in the northern United States and Canada are occurring earlier by 5-10 days." (United States Geological Survey)

"Cyclone Larry saves reef from bleaching" - "Cyclone Larry has helped save the Great Barrier Reef from a major bleaching event by lowering the water temperatures, a marine specialist says. Category five cyclone Larry roared westwards across the reef and onto north Queensland on Monday, leaving wrecked homes, crops and businesses in its wake. Also this week, Cyclone Wati developed in the Coral Sea and moved south-east as a category three storm, parallel to the coast, and whipping up huge seas." (AAP)

Don't be green about the budget... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Britain set to drop emissions targets for business" - "The Government's plans for tackling climate change - to be announced on Tuesday - will be the "acid test" of whether it is really serious about protecting the environment, a leading campaigner claimed yesterday. The climate change review programme will set out how the Government proposes to deal with the problem that Britain is producing rising quantities of greenhouse gases. The review was ordered 15 months ago by the Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, as it became increasingly clear that the UK is way off course from its self-imposed target to reduce the emission of greenhouses by 20 per cent of the 1990 level by 2010." (London Independent)

"Climate change review still undecided - FT" - "LONDON - The government has not yet agreed on how much businesses should be forced to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to hit a self-imposed target to cut 20 percent by 2010, a newspaper reported on Friday." (Reuters)

"Tackling global warming 'is complicated'" - "The government is struggling to meet its targets on cutting carbon dioxide emissions, Margaret Beckett has admitted. Speaking on Sunday, the environment secretary said current policies had not got the government "where we would have hoped." (ePolitix)

"UK will meet emissions target, says Beckett" - "The UK could still meet the government's ambitious pledge to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 20% by the end of the decade, the environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, insisted yesterday." (The Guardian)

"The pollution gap" - "Report reveals how the world's poorer countries are forced to pay for the CO2 emissions of the developed nations." (London Independent)

"Brace yourselves: the perfect storm is coming your way" - "Gales, tidal surges, flooding and widespread havoc - but this time it's only a simulation." (The Guardian)

Letter of the moment: Finally, an open-minded report on climate change (The Ottawa Citizen)

"No News is Bad News" - "There is not much new in a collection of articles about global warming and sea level rise in the latest issue of Science. As such, it is mostly recycled and repackaged information that the head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Donald Kennedy, can take down from New York Avenue in DC to Capitol Hill, to scare politicians into doing what it wants, which is an immediate cap on U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide." (World Climate Report)

Still baying at the moon: "WMO sees link between global warming and hurricanes" - "GENEVA, March 24 - There is growing evidence of a link between global warming and natural disasters such as droughts and flooding, the head of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Friday. But Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the United Nations weather agency, said more research was needed into the links between global warming and extreme conditions like hurricanes." (Reuters)

"HOT OR NOT" - "Oregon's official weatherman has good news about global warming-it doesn't exist." (Willamette Week Online)

Parasites doing less well: "Earlier birds threaten the cuckoo" - "Cuckoos have inhabited rural Britain for thousands of years, but climate change is taking its toll on the bird that once dominated other flying species by stealing their nests. New figures to be released later this year by the RSPB and British Trust for Ornithology are expected to show a continuation of a marked decline that saw its numbers crash by 43 per cent from 1994 to 2004." (London Independent)

"Hot air for sale" - "New Mexico Senators Domenici and Bingaman are launching an initiative to create a Kyoto-style emissions trading scheme in the United States. This idea, conceived in the bowels of the United Nations, is designed to reduce the use of fossil fuel by limiting the emissions of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere. Proponents of the scheme claim that reduction of carbon dioxide emissions will reduce global warming." (Henry Lamb, ESR)

"Balance Costs Against Clean-Air Gains" - "The Maryland Senate and House are grappling with legislation to reduce emissions that contribute to smog and mercury pollution. Most of the regulatory requirements of the proposed Healthy Air Act (S.B. 154, H.B. 189) focus on emissions from electric power plants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. But one provision addresses greenhouse gases and requires Maryland to join the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that is proposed by seven states.

The administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has put forward its own rules to reduce emissions, and amendments to the act recently approved by a Senate committee move the bill closer to the governor's proposal. Unlike the Healthy Air Act, however, the governor's regulations would not force Maryland to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. There is wisdom in this course." (The Washington Post)

"Car wars: The green 4x4 is the car of the future. But it's no match for the Chelsea tractor. Why?" - "Because Gordon won't hit the gas-guzzlers where it hurts. Because drivers think big is beautiful. And because even the green fuels minister trashes Prius drivers as 'salad eaters'. Severin Carrell asks why environmentally friendly cars are gridlocked on the drawing board." (London Independent)

"Oil Giants Turn Sludge Into Gold" - "Oil sands were once dismissed as "unconventional" oil that couldn't be recovered economically. But as light, sweet crude gets scarce, Big Oil is turning its attention and resources to these extra-heavy crude deposits." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Methanol: The New Hydrogen" - "Advances in methanol synthesis, coupled with improved fuel cell technology, could make it a viable alternative to gasoline." (Technology Review)

"UK: Turn your home into a mini power station" - "Ministers will this week announce new measures to enable Britons to turn their homes into power stations, generating the electricity they need to run them and feeding the rest into the grid. The policies will make it easier for families to put mini-windmills and solar cells on their roofs, and oblige the electricity companies to buy their surplus power. The Government hopes Wednesday's announcement will mitigate disappointment at another set of measures - on fighting global warming - being unveiled the day before." (London Independent)

"Most EU leaders back reviving nuclear power" - "The overwhelming majority of leaders at last week's European Union summit, including Tony Blair, strongly backed a revival of nuclear power as the answer to Europe's growing dependence on overseas supplies and to combat climate change. Only Germany and Austria explicitly rejected the nuclear option in secret summit talks, according to senior German diplomats, who pointed out that Angela Merkel, the chancellor and a trained physicist, favoured it personally but was bound by her Social Democrat coalition partners to reject it." (The Guardian)

"Japan: Hosepipe ban? Here they must pay for using too little water" - "AS BRITAIN faces a miserable summer of hosepipe bans and drought, households in some of Japan’s most densely populated cities are to be “punished” for saving too much water. The national drive to cut down on water usage — galvanised by having the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on the environment signed on its doorstep — has been a catastrophic success. A drop in consumption of up to 10 per cent over the past five years has shocked even the water authorities and several plan to impose an emergency 20 per cent price rise next week to protect their revenues. Unlike Britain, Japanese water boards are tacitly hoping that the conservation trend reaches a plateau soon." (London Times)

"A Pandemic of Fear" - "Fear is a deeply rooted emotion -- one that can serve as a lifesaving response to imminent danger. But because we humans often magnify risk, fear can also cause us to overreact to remote threats, such as bird flu.

According to a significant study published in the prestigious British journal Nature recently, the H5N1 bird flu virus is at least two large mutations and two small mutations away from being the next human pandemic virus. This virus attaches deep in the lungs of birds but cannot adhere to the upper respiratory tract of humans. Since we can't transmit the virus to each other, it poses little immediate threat to us." (Marc Siegel, The Washington Post)

"Courts sift for 'junk' science" - "The Kentucky Supreme Court's decision to throw out forensic evidence in the Shane Ragland murder case underscored the challenges judges face in screening complicated evidence and ever-changing scientific opinions, legal scholars said yesterday. Judges act as gatekeepers for scientific evidence, charged with throwing out unreliable or "junk" science and accepting sound evidence that could help jurors. It's a task that's even more complicated than it sounds, given that judges must also comply with higher court precedents -- which, like the science they're evaluating, are complicated and ever changing." (Herald-Leader)

"Noisy environment may raise heart attack risk" - "NEW YORK - Living or working in noisy surroundings may raise a person's risk of suffering a heart attack, a new study suggests. Researchers in Germany found that urban middle-aged adults who lived near high-traffic roads were 46 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who lived in more peaceful neighborhoods. Similarly, men whose jobs exposed them to high noise levels were about one-third more likely to have a heart attack than their peers in quieter workplaces." (Reuters Health)

If even partly true then all the increased risk of living near busier roads attributed to particulates just went out the window, didn't' it.

"When a Disease Loses Its Most Potent Ally, Fear" - "Mad cow isn't the only disease in recent years to soar into high-flying panic and then collapse into the 'I wonder whatever happened to ... ?' category." (New York Times)

Well, in America maybe, see below:

Thousands to die... "Hidden CJD is new threat to thousands" - "THOUSANDS of people in Britain may be infected with variant CJD, the human equivalent of mad cow disease, without knowing it, research suggests. Experiments have confirmed that it is possible for a much wider group of people than had been assumed to be infected with the incurable brain condition. The presence in the population of undetected carriers of the infection has serious implications for the safety of the blood supply, and it increases the risk of passing on vCJD to others through infected surgical instruments. It could make it much harder to eliminate the human infection, even though cattle no longer carry it. Potentially it could linger for generations, or for ever. The team behind the research suggested that their finding represented a “significant public health issue”." (London Times)

"Oily fish on the menu despite doubts about benefits" - "LONDON - Heart experts urged consumers on Friday to continue eating oily fish and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids despite research showing they may have no clear health benefits. A review of 89 studies published online in the British Medical Journal showed no strong evidence that omega-3 fats reduced deaths from cardiovascular disease. But Dr Mike Knapton, of the British Heart Foundation, said more research is needed before people change their eating habits." (Reuters)

"Dose of Tenacity Wears Down a Horrific Disease" - "Thanks to a relentless campaign, Guinea worm is poised to become the first disease since smallpox to be pushed into oblivion." (New York Times)

"Wikipedia study 'fatally flawed'" - "A study on the accuracy of the free online resource Wikipedia by the prestigious journal Nature has been described as "fatally flawed". The report, published in December last year, compared the accuracy of online offerings from Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia. Nature found that both were about as accurate as each other on science. Encyclopaedia Britannica has hit back at the findings, calling for the paper to be retracted. In a document on its website, Encyclopaedia Britannica said that the Nature study contained "a pattern of sloppiness, indifference to basic scholarly standards, and flagrant errors so numerous they completely invalidated the results." (BBC)

"U.S. Cuts Funding to Key Environment Programme" - "CURITIBA, Brazil, Mar 24 - The United States' intention to partially withdraw its financial support for global efforts to protect the environment is worrying experts and policymakers attending a major international conference here on biodiversity. As negotiations over funding for the implementation of the U.N. Convention on Biodiversity continue this week, many fear that if the U.S. scales back its contribution to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), other donor countries might follow suit." (IPS)

"Farm Subsidies: Devastating the World's Poor and the Environment" - "Subsidized agriculture in the developed world is one of the greatest obstacles to economic growth in the developing world. In 2002, industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) spent a total of $300 billion on crop price supports, production payments and other farm programs. These subsidies encourage overproduction. Markets are flooded with surplus crops that are sold below the cost of production, depressing world prices. Countries with unsubsidized goods are essentially shut out of world markets, devastating their local economies. Moreover, farm subsidies lead to environmental harm in rich and poor nations alike." (Max Borders and H. Sterling Burnett, National Center for Policy Analysis)

"Does Globalization Help or Hurt the World's Poor?" - "Globalization and the attendant concerns about poverty and inequality have become a focus of discussion in a way that few other topics, except for international terrorism or global warming, have. Most people I know have a strong opinion on globalization, and all of them express an interest in the well-being of the world's poor. The financial press and influential international officials confidently assert that global free markets expand the horizons for the poor, whereas activist-protesters hold the opposite belief with equal intensity. Yet the strength of people's conviction is often in inverse proportion to the amount of robust factual evidence they have." (Pranab Bardhan, SciAm)

"Alpine air leaves dairy cows gasping" - "Too much fresh air can be a bad thing, especially if you're a cow grazing on alpine pastures – but the cheese made from this milk is healthier for humans. That is the conclusion of research by the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, which found that the cheese was packed with unsaturated fatty acids that can prevent heart disease." (swissinfo)

Swiss fascination with milk is always interesting to follow: "Lid lifted on organic milk" - "Despite its healthy image, the organic milk produced in Switzerland is no better than ordinary milk, Bern University researchers have found. What's more, they say, this type of dairy farming may be detrimental to the health of cattle. The findings could have implications for Switzerland's growing organic food sector, which is worth more than a billion francs a year." (swissinfo)

II: "Swiss cows banned from eating grass" - "Switzerland has banned the use of hemp as fodder for livestock over fears that traces of cannabis are finding their way into milk. But the move has provoked strong opposition from farmers using the plant, while some experts have cast doubt over the evidence used to enforce the ban." (swissinfo)

Demonstrating loopy schizophrenia: "NGOs Warn About Genetic Contamination" - "PARIS - The European Commission's (EC) most recent decisions on genetically modified crops have condemned the continent's farms to transgenic contamination, say environmental groups consulted by Tierramérica." (IPS)

but: "Terminator Seeds Suffer Defeat at Global Conference" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - Small farmers and activists celebrated a triumph against Terminator seeds in Brazil Friday, but said they would not let down their guard, and would continue to fight the seeds." (IPS)

"Greenpeace slams Australia for promoting GMO seeds" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - Environmental group Greenpeace criticized Australia on Friday for promoting the experimental use of highly controversial "terminator seeds" derived from genetically modified plants." (Reuters)

"Researchers create pigs that produce heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids" - "Researchers report they have created pigs that produce omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to improve heart function and help reduce the risks for heart disease, representing the first cloned transgenic livestock in the world that can make the beneficial compound. The research could be a boost to both farmers and health-conscious consumers seeking an alternative and safer source of omega-3 fatty acids. Currently, the only way for humans to realize the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is by taking dietary supplements or by eating certain types of fish that may also contain high levels of mercury." (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)

"Here comes Pharmaheit 9/11" - "Controversial film maker Michael Moore is targeting the drugs companies. Sylvia Pfeifer assesses their reaction." (London Telegraph)

March 24, 2006

"Ford's Appeasement Backfires" - "Environmental activists took a whack this week at Ford Motor Company CEO Bill Ford in a full-page ad in the New York Times. Bill Ford ought to be embarrassed – not because the enviros ridiculed him, but because the ad demonstrates that his strategy of appeasing environmentalists is backfiring." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Eco-child abuse: "The Advertising Council and Environmental Defense Launch National PSA Campaign To Combat Global Warming" - "NEW YORK, NY, (NAMC) - The Advertising Council, in partnership with Environmental Defense announced today the launch of a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to motivate Americans to participate in activities that will help combat global warming. Created pro bono by ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, New York, the PSAs are being distributed nationwide this week." (NAMC Newswire) | You can view the indoctrination campaign here.

Here we go again... "Arctic, Antarctic melting may raise sea levels faster than expected" - "Ice sheets across both the Arctic and Antarctic could melt more quickly than expected this century, according to two studies that blend computer modeling with paleoclimate records. The studies, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Arizona, show that Arctic summers by 2100 may be as warm as they were nearly 130,000 years ago, when sea levels eventually rose up to 20 feet (6 meters) higher than today." (NCAR/UCAR)

So, how did they come up with these numbers? (Cut it out, it's cheating to simply say "Plug numbers into a computer program written to produce warming.") Let's look at how this is quite simply achieved. The immediate giveaway is "assuming a 1% per year increase in CO2". How realistic is that? Looking at South Polar atmospheric CO2 levels, 1990 was a shade under 352ppmv so, with their assumed annual increment of 1% it should have been ~409ppmv in 2005 - oops! That's an overestimation of ~8.5% total atmospheric carbon dioxide in just 15 years. (Actually, we don't have the final figures yet but estimate ~376.5ppmv for the SP magic number 2005 - either way, the 1% increment guess was out by 30ppmv or ~8% too high in '04.)

Even though they are compounding imaginary CO2 increases at almost 2.5 times actual it still doesn't really explain how they come up with such fantastic temperature increases - the physical properties of carbon dioxide mean that it has a warming potential of <1 °C for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which, assuming no technological improvement this century [!] is a possibility (560ppmv c.2094). All greater figures are simply combinations of untested and probably imaginary "feedbacks" compounded in models to make them interesting.

A few points to ponder before getting too carried away with all this nonsense - from ~20K years ago to ~10K years ago polar temperatures rose by way more than these wild guesstimates and yet the ice shields are still there today. About 100K years before that it warmed significantly more and yet the ice shields are still here. In fact the records of several such episodes are evident in ice cores drilled from ice shields that are still here which demonstrates these sheets to be less than delicate and hardly hypersensitive to warm episodes lasting millennia. Finally, it might help to remember that temperature variations of 20-30 °C and sometimes much more occur during the course of any 'normal' year in polar regions without destroying the ice shields. (Since you should be sceptical, see, for example, monthly data from Amundsen-Scot, (90.0S, 0.0E), Halley Bay, (75.5S, 26.6W), Gmo Im.E.K. F, (77.7N, 104.3E), Cokurdah, (70.6N, 147.9E) and even extra-polar: Viljujsk, (63.8N, 121.6E) - basically only the tropics exhibit single digit variation throughout the year.)

Check out the suite assembled by Science this week, some of which has been rebutted in the last few weeks: Ice and History | A Worrying Trend of Less Ice, Higher Seas | Greenland Rumbles Louder as Glaciers Accelerate | Hitting the Ice Sheets Where It Hurts | Paleoclimatic Evidence for Future Ice-Sheet Instability and Rapid Sea-Level Rise | Simulating Arctic Climate Warmth and Icefield Retreat in the Last Interglaciation | Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity Show Mass Loss in Antarctica | Seasonality and Increasing Frequency of Greenland Glacial Earthquakes (Science)

New Paper on Recent Solar Variability as a Climate Forcing (Climate Science)

"Scientist Alleging Bush Censorship Helped Gore, Kerry" - "The scientist touted by CBS News' "60 Minutes" as arguably the "world's leading researcher on global warming" and spotlighted as a victim of the Bush administration's censorship on the issue, publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president and received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by Kerry's wife.

Scientist James Hansen has also admitted that he contributed to two recent Democratic presidential campaigns. Furthermore, he acted as a consultant in February to former Vice President Al Gore's slide show presentations on "global warming," which Gore presented around the country.

But Scott Pelley, the "60 Minutes" reporter who profiled Hansen and detailed his accusations of censorship on the March 19, edition of the newsmagazine, made no mention of Hansen's links to Kerry and Gore and none to the fact that Kerry's wife -- Teresa Heinz Kerry -- had been one of Hansen's benefactors." (CNSNews.com)

"Scientists can be blinded by politics" - "Taxpayers have an interest in knowing they are supporting sound, even-handed, agenda-free science. That’s true whether the question at hand is climate change or any other issue. If any member of Congress has reason to doubt this, inquiries are in order. Some are shocked, shocked by the suggestion that science can be corrupted or co-opted — that researchers are doing anything other than objective research. How dare anyone question the integrity of “science,” they huff. But that’s a willfully naive view, given the way science, policy, advocacy and big money intermingle in this society." (Jacksonville Daily News)

Somewhat confused? "Guest columnist: Mandatory best approach to global warming" - "WASHINGTON — The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, with its voluntary approach by participant nations on greenhouse gas emissions, is more like a mutual suicide pact than a serious attempt to stop and reverse the effects of man-made global warming. The Bush administration is nothing more than a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel and auto industries. It not only thumbed its nose at the Kyoto Treaty on Climate Change — which requires mandatory controls on greenhouse emission — but sought to wreck it as well by peeling off a group of Asia-Pacific nations (China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia) to back the voluntary APP. The nebulous APP is a toothless contrivance drawn up by the very same oil, coal and auto special interests that bought and paid for the Bush administration in two successive elections." (TCPalm.com)

Madsen continues: "Kyoto mandates reductions in six ozone-layer-depleting gases — carbon dioxide..." Now, I readily admit not having memorised the Class I and Class II ODS (Ozone depleting substance) Tables but I sure don't recall carbon dioxide making the lists. In fact, I seem to recall carbon dioxide being promoted as an ozone protective alternative for a number of uses. For an essential trace gas, carbon dioxide sure gets a bad rap.

"Guest columnist: Voluntary best approach to global warming" - "COLUMBIA, Mo. — In mid-2005, the prosperous and populous nations of Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States launched an ambitious research effort on global warming — the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. This partnership's mission was to encourage the development of clean technology; the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases, the strengthening of cooperative ties between nations; and the vital involvement by the private sector in finding solutions to the climate change issue. There is every reason to believe that this approach to examining the issue of climate change is superior to that of simply joining the Kyoto Treaty, which supporters saw as a first step by the international community at fighting man-made global warming." (TCPalm.com)

One of the reasons greenhouse fanatics annoy us so much: "Changes in agricultural practices in existing crops show cooling temperatures" - "Farmers who plant more crops, increase irrigation coverage and till the land less can have a profound effect on climate. Climate scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory found that models that included recent changes in agricultural practices, such as more irrigation, higher yielding crops, and less tillage, predicted lower temperatures than models that ignored these factors. "Nearly all models used to predict climate changes either ignore agriculture altogether or assume that farmers behave the same way through time," said David Lobell, the lead author on a paper appearing in the March 23 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. "In reality, farmers are changing rapidly in response to new technologies, growth in demand and other factors. This study suggests that these changes may have important cooling effects, especially at local scales." (DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

While we have approximately zero faith in the prognostic capabilities of climate models, these are, after all, purely process models, it is extremely good to see changes in land use examined. This is a major improvement over cringe-inducing "carbon dioxide = warmer and people involvement means it'll be magically magnified to something very bad".

"Ocean may be new CO2 dumping ground" - "Pumping carbon dioxide into the oceans may be one way to help save us from global warming, says a chemical engineer who admits the subject is "taboo". Professor Wolfgang Arlt, who has been visiting Australia's Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, says governments see this so-called ocean sequestration as too politically risky, compared to geosequestration, when CO2 emissions are buried underground. Since ocean sequestration was first proposed 20 years ago, Arlt says it has been the subject of relatively little research, and he is calling for more." (ABC Science Online)

"States in CO2 pact eye trees, methane at dumps" - "NEW YORK - Power plants in the U.S. Northeast who may face rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions could be allowed to save costs by methods such as planting trees and tapping landfills for methane, according to a draft plan by Northeastern states who have signed the country's first regional greenhouse gas plan." (Reuters)

"Bill calls for studies on cutting carbon dioxide" - "Colorado lawmakers are taking their first stab at confronting global warming with a proposal to study how the state can participate in efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions. A bill introduced this week by Sen. Ken Gordon, D-Denver, would require the state health department to spend $135,000 in grants for a trio of studies that would examine ways to reduce carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas that scientists believe is accumulating in the atmosphere and leading to rising global temperatures." (Rocky Mountain News)

Sadly plausible:) "New Board Game Craze Sweeping the Country" - "(West Palm Beach, Florida) Just as the stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting economic depression led to the invention of the wildly popular game 'Monopoly', a new game based upon the 2005 hurricane season is the current favorite among best-selling board games.

Different state editions of the 'Hurricane Blame Game' for each of the hurricane-prone states are offered, such as the Florida Edition (pictured in article). The players represent trial lawyers who compete to see whose law firm can collect the greatest wealth from filing lawsuits against 'Big Oil' companies, or against individual states that failed to respond to hurricane strikes." (ecoEnquirer)

"Utility officials ponder coal, nuclear plants" - "Facing a worsening crunch in the supply of electricity, soaring prices, and rolling blackouts, top New England utility officials are thinking about some once-unthinkable solutions: more coal and nuclear power." (Boston Globe)

"Industry joins drilling chorus" - "Floridians in Congress who are trying to keep rigs off the Gulf Coast must contend with an unusual alliance of American industrial and political forces, all seeking natural gas. Offshore drilling would appear to have little to do with the big CF Industries fertilizer factory in Plant City. But because natural gas is a key raw material for making nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, CF Industries has become a leading voice in favor of drilling for natural gas off the Gulf Coast of Florida. Natural gas prices have risen sharply in recent years, forcing some fertilizer makers to shutter plants or start joint-venture manufacturing operations in markets where gas costs are lower, such as Trinidad and Tobago." (St. Petersburg Times)

"EU leaders back common energy policy" - "BRUSSELS - EU leaders backed the launch of a common energy policy on Thursday but shied away from proposals for a single energy regulator in the 25-nation bloc. Three months after a dispute between Russia and Ukraine hit gas supplies to Europe, the head of the EU executive said the bloc's leaders endorsed a push for a joint approach to address rising import dependence, high oil prices and climate change." (Reuters)

"Doubts cast on oily fish benefits" - "There is no evidence of a clear benefit to health from fats which are commonly found in oily fish, researchers say. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is thought to protect against heart disease and UK guidelines advise eating four portions of oily fish a week. But the British Medical Journal review of 89 earlier studies looking at heart disease, cancer or strokes found no evidence the fats offered protection." (BBC) | Evidence for omega 3 fats less conclusive than we thought, say experts (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"'No one cause' for Gulf illness" - "There is no single cause for Gulf War illness, researchers have concluded. The journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society has published 16 papers outlining research into possible causes, such as exposure to chemicals. Researchers say effects on servicemen's health have been seen, but there is no direct scientific link between serving in the 1991 Gulf War and a syndrome." (BBC)

"Uganda: A New Malaria Cure in Sight" - "Following the failure of traditional drugs like Chroloquin, Fansidar and Quinine to treat malaria, hope seems to lie in a crop, which has been found to have vast natural insecticidal properties Malaria is the leading killer disease in Uganda and now the situation has worsened after the traditional malaria tablets of Chroloquin, Fansidar and Quinine failed to cure the disease because malaria parasites have become resistant to these drugs." (The Monitor (Kampala))

"Southern Africa: Food Security Concerns Pose GMO Challenges for Southern Africa" - "Southern Africa is projecting a maize surplus of more than two million tonnes during the 2005/06 agricultural season but divergent views on genetically modified crops raise interesting questions about the role of intra-regional trade in bridging shortfalls in some member states." (Southern African News Features)

March 23, 2006

Must Read of the Moment #1 Is CEO Jeff Immelt lobbying against GE's earnings? - Four pages on the global warming controversy that you won't want to miss.

Must Read of the Moment #2 Does CEO Hank Paulson run Goldman Sachs for himself or shareholders? - A better question might be, "Who runs Goldman Sachs?, CEO Hank Paulson or the Nature Conservancy?"

"Warning to chatroom users after libel award for man labelled a Nazi" - "High court orders lecturer to pay £10,000 damages - Lawyers say case confirms existing law applies on net." (The Guardian)

Goodness, considering what some of the, uh, interesting Left have been known to call me, perhaps I should play jackpot justice in the UK. Ed.

"Bird Flu Poses Fresh Threat to Endangered Species" - "JOHANNESBURG - The deadly bird flu virus may pose a fresh threat to endangered mammal species including big cats such as tigers and leopards, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Clue to slow human bird flu jump" - "Scientists believe they may have discovered a reason why the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus cannot yet jump easily between humans." (BBC)

"Studies Suggest Avian Flu Pandemic Isn't Imminent" - "Researchers say that the virus would need to mutate to spread from person to person via coughs and sneezes." (New York Times)

Must be disheartening:) "Public Health Official Becoming Fed-up With Bird Flu's Smug Attitude" - "Uppity disease apparently can't be bothered to decimate mankind by mutating on cue and spreading between humans, despite official's repeated and grave predictions of it." (UnderReported News)

"'Sick building syndrome' hallmark of job stress and lack of support, not unhealthy surroundings" - "'Sick building syndrome is a hallmark of job stress and lack of support rather than an unhealthy building, suggests research in Occupational and Environmental Medicine." (BMJ Specialty Journals)

Wild guess of the week: "Ozone hits sperm count as well as lungs -study" - "LONDON - Smog is not just bad for the lungs. It can hit a man's sperm count too, a Californian study revealed on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Really? And how were controls for say, alcohol consumption handled? What was the correlation for ozone and federal holidays? Were donations following long weekends included and were these among the lower count samples? Was partying, reduced sleep/rest, consumption of alcohol, change in diet or routine associated with ozone readings? What potential confounding factors were considered/excluded? How was actual exposure determined?

"Jay Ambrose: Anti-smoking zealotry is the new Puritanism" - "COLORADO IS joining 11 other states and Washington, D.C., in banning smoking in restaurants and bars, as if customers and workers couldn’t decide for themselves if they wanted to spend time where tobacco fumes reside, and as if the owners of these establishments were something less than American citizens whose freedoms should be respected." (Union Leader)

Modernised scam: "Me and the miracle machine" - "After years of puffing away on Marlboro Lights, Decca Aitkenhead was desperate to quit smoking. But was paying £250 to be strapped into a contraption resembling an electric chair really the answer?" (The Guardian)

Oh brother: "Salt reduction targets 'too soft'" - "Campaigners say revised targets set by a government watchdog for cutting salt in food do not go far enough. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published targets to cut salt in 85 types of food product by 2010. However, campaigners say the proposals have been watered down following pressure from the food industry." (BBC)

"Decline in migrating bird numbers" - "Birds which migrate long distances have suffered a population fall, the most extensive poll for 20 years has found." (BBC)

Maybe they just didn't bother going to the UK.

"Of Mice and Men: A tiny rodent is the hottest political issue in Colorado" - "DENVER--Here in Colorado, the hottest political issue of the day may not be the war in Iraq or the out-of-control federal budget, but rather the plight of a tiny mouse. Back in 1998, a frisky eight-inch rodent known as the Preble's meadow jumping mouse gained protective status under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA). What has Coloradans hot under the collar is that some 31,000 acres of local government and privately owned land in the state and stretching into Wyoming--an area larger than the District of Columbia--was essentially quarantined from all development so as not to disrupt the mouse's natural habitat. Even the Fish and Wildlife Service concedes that the cost to these land owners could reach $183 million." (Opinion Journal)

Virtual news: "The Amazon in 2050: Implementing the law could save a million square kilometers of rainforest" - "Economic and political forces are rapidly transforming the forests of the Amazon basin, precipitating one of the world's greatest environmental crises. Through an inter-discplinary modeling project known as Amazon Scenarios, scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), and the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (Brazil), with colleagues at several other institutions, are simulating future trends in deforestation, forest fire, rivers, fauna, and climate, providing glimpses of plausible futures for this region. A study of deforestation responses to different policies will be published in the March 23, 2006, issue of Nature. It shows that simply implementing existing laws and proposed protected areas would spare the Amazon one million square kilometers of deforestation (one fifth of the entire forest area), avoiding 17 billion tons of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, the elimination of several forest formations, and the degradation of several major watersheds." (Woods Hole Research Center)

"Climate change and the rise of atmospheric oxygen" - "Today's climate change pales in comparison with what happened as Earth gave birth to its oxygen-containing atmosphere billions of years ago. By analyzing clues contained in rocks, scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory have found that the initial rise of oxygen (O2) was transitory and that its final emergence may have been linked to volcanoes and catastrophic glaciations. The work is presented in several talks at NASA's Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2006 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., March 26-30. See http://abscicon2006.arc.nasa.gov/ for details." (Carnegie Institution)

"U.S. Winter Much Warmer Than Average" - "The 2005-2006 Winter season was the fifth warmest December-February period on record for the contiguous United States, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. During the same time, drought conditions worsened in the Southwest and southern Plains, while the Northwest endured heavier-than-average precipitation." (NOAA)

"NOAA Announces U.A. Spring Outlook" - "At a news conference today in Phoenix, Ariz., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in partnership with the National Interagency Fire Center, announced that despite periodic precipitation, NOAA’s U.S. Spring outlook supports the potential for a significant wildfire season in the Southwest and central and southern Plains." (NOAA)

"Salt and dust help unravel past climate change" - "Tiny amounts of salt and dust trapped in the Antarctic ice sheet for the last 740,000 years shed new light on changes to the Earth's climate. The results, published this week in the journal Nature, come from the team who extracted a 3 km long ice core from Dome C, high on East Antarctica's plateau - the oldest continuous climate record obtained from ice cores so far." (British Antarctic Survey)

Tipping Points- Where is the Scientific Evidence That We Are Approaching These Thresholds? (Climate Science)

"Political weather: The media drives the climate change debate. Having only a few decades of weather data makes for a bumpy ride" - "It may be getting even tougher to pick a winter holiday destination. If media reports are to be believed, we could soon add Regina and Thunder Bay to our list of winter fun spots, given the 3.9 C rise in temperature above the ostensible long-term average estimated by Environment Canada. Even if true, perhaps still not quite enough to make you crack open that tube of Coppertone. According to a recent story in The Globe and Mail, "Canada has experienced its warmest winter since modern record-keeping began." The corner where Alberta, Saskatchewan and the N.W.T. meet experienced the greatest deviation. But before you buy a time-share in Uranium City or Fort Smith, it's worth considering a few facts." (John Weissenberger and George Koch, Financial Post)

More Krupp: "Public service ads aim to raise awareness about global warming" - "PHILADELPHIA - Your favorite TV show has ended. You've just seen the ads for Lipitor and light beer, and here comes another:" (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

"Climate change review unveiling on Tuesday" - "LONDON - The government will unveil its long-awaited Climate Change Review on Tuesday, setting out how it will hit its self-imposed target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2010, green groups said on Wednesday. The Department of Environment declined to confirm the date, but a source said March 28 would be a good day to mark in the diary." (Reuters)

Just another tax... "Small firms' dismay at rise in climate change levy" - "SMALL companies reacted with dismay yesterday as the Chancellor pledged to raise the climate change levy - a fee based on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by businesses. Jim McPhee, of McPhee's Bakers in Glasgow, said the extra cost could amount to £1,500 a year but had no impact on his efforts to reduce emissions. "It's just another tax," he said. "It would be a very inept bakery who did not turn off its oven anyway, and equally it is not possible to buy an oven that does not use gas or electricity. We have looked at every opportunity to use less power, but can't avoid it." (The Scotsman)

"Switzerland: Carbon tax fuels heated debate in parliament" - "Parliament is due to consider a tax on carbon dioxide emissions in a bid to reach the targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol, aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. But opponents in the House of Representatives want to the government to introduce a voluntary levy on fuel instead of a mandatory CO2 tax." (swissinfo)

"Carbon cloud over a green fuel" - "An Iowa corn refinery, open since December, uses 300 tons of coal a day to make ethanol." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Clean Air Craziness" - "Last Friday the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a major plank of the Bush Administration's clean air strategy. The ruling is being cheered by Democrats and some self-styled environmentalists. But it's based on a bad reading of the law, and -- unless successfully challenged -- will lock the U.S. into an old-fashioned approach to regulation when better alternatives are available.

At issue is how to interpret a set of 1970s-era rules known as New Source Review (NSR). As the name itself suggests, the rules were intended to compel new power plants and refineries to install the latest in pollution-control technology. No less an authority than former Carter Energy Secretary Jim Schlesinger attests to this understanding, as do about 20 years of interpretive practice by the Environmental Protection Agency." (The Wall Street Journal)

"China From Red to Green" - "Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) arrive in China today to discuss the US-Chinese relationship. One area the Senators should address is the sustainability of China's growth. Financial and labor constraints may be the current focus of concern, but a far greater threat to China's long-term economic growth lies in its lack of attention to ecosystems." (Roger Bate, TCS Daily)

"Capitalism for Water Day" - "In the time it takes you to read this paragraph at least one child will die from an easily preventable disease. Two million a year, fifty-five hundred a day, some four a minute or one every 15 seconds are killed by diarrhea, something which the availability of simple clean water will almost certainly prevent from happening. That there are one billion of our fellow humans who do not have this basic necessity of life, that there are a further billion or more without sewage or sanitation services, well, don't you think that's an indictment of the modern world?" (Tim Worstall, TCS Daily)

"Soil erosion threatens environment and human health" - "Around the world, soil is being swept and washed away 10 to 40 times faster than it is being replenished, destroying cropland the size of Indiana every year, reports a new Cornell University study. Yet the need for food and other agricultural products continues to soar." (Cornell University News Service)

"Do plant species really exist? Why, yes, scientists say" - "Notoriously "promiscuous" plants like oaks and dandelions have led some biologists to conclude plants cannot be divided into species the same way animals are. That perception is wrong, say Indiana University Bloomington scientists in this week's Nature. Their analysis of 882 plant and animal species and 1,347 inter-species crossings -- the first large-scale comparison of species barriers in plants and animals -- showed that plant species are just as easily categorized as animal species. The study also yielded a surprise. The hybrid offspring of different animal species are more likely to be fertile than the hybrid offspring of plant species." (Indiana University)

"Scientists a step closer to protecting world's most important crop" - "Rice is the globe's most important crop but its production is constantly threatened by disease. Now scientists at the University of Exeter have shown for the first time, in a paper in the prestigious journal Nature, how the world's most destructive rice-killer hijacks its plant prey. In order to infect plants the fungus has to inject its proteins into the plant's own cells where they overcome the plant's defences allowing a full scale invasion by the fungus." (University of Exeter)

"Michigan Senate panel approves controversial farming bill" - "LANSING, Mich. — A divided Senate panel approved legislation Wednesday that would prevent local governments from barring the planting of genetically modified crops." (Associated Press)

"Thailand: New call to lift field trials ban" - "Thailand needs to further the study of genetically modified (GM) crops by lifting the ban on open field trials to better assess the likely environmental impact, the Department of Agriculture chief said yesterday. Cabinet imposed a ban on open field trials of GM crops because it is still unclear if there could be cross pollination between GM crops and non-GM plants." (Bangkok Post)

"Syngenta Appeals Brazil Fine, Farm Still Occupied" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Syngenta Seeds said on Wednesday it has appealed a fine of 1 million reais (US$462,000) set by Brazil's environmental agency for planting genetically modified crops too close to a national park." (Reuters)

"Agriculture: Peruvian Potato Farmers Protest Terminator Spud" - "LONDON, Mar. 22, 2006 -- Trouble is cooking over a move by international agribusiness giant Syngenta to introduce a genetically modified potato. The new strain has been dubbed the "terminator" because it cannot be grown from the sprouts of potatoes from the previous harvest. Critics say the potato's genetic modifications threaten more than 3,000 naturally grown varieties of potato. Indigenous farmers in Peru, the birthplace of the potato, have pleaded with Syngenta to publicly abandon its patent on potato "terminator" technology. This technology could be used to prevent the sprouting of potatoes unless they are treated with chemicals supplied by the patent owner." (IPS/GIN)

March 22, 2006

That's their story & they're sticking to it: "ENVIRONMENT: Saving Wildlife Also Saves Humans" - "WASHINGTON - Saving pandas, gorillas or tigers, often portrayed by critics of conservation as a trivial pursuit compared to the many other problems facing humanity, not only stops endangered species from going extinct but also helps reduce poverty and improves the lives of local communities in many parts of the world, says a new report by a leading environmental group." (IPS)

Sadly, it's dead flat wrong. What they omit from their calculations is that keeping people trapped in impoverished stasis like some kind of museum exhibit is not 'saving' them but preventing them developing and improving both quality of life and longevity. Consider a single action with two different purposes:

Scenario 1, impoverished peoples are relocated from a valley for the construction of a hydroelectric dam. While subsistence farmers will find some difficulty adjusting to a new regime of electric pumps and irrigated agriculture, schools for their children, paid employment opportunity rather than helping their parents eke a living from an unforgiving world - a culture shock to be sure - net societal benefit is a definite possibility, development enabled via available energy, more secure potable water supply, reduced vulnerability to drought for people and agriculture...

Scenario 2, impoverished peoples are relocated from a valley for a tiger reserve. Subsistence farmers will find some difficulty adjusting to the new regime of being thrown off their land so predators can kill other animals and each other without interference from people trying to survive. [*]huggers of varied ilk experience a warm and fuzzy glow knowing critters get to kill and die without pesky people getting in the way.

Which is better for people, development or nature, red in tooth and claw?

"Bush's Yard Sale - From PERC: It's time to get rid of National Forest junk land" - "The Bush administration proposed a novel idea recently: Sell off a tiny fraction of National Forest land to save money and raise funds for rural schools. Far from a revival of the Homestead Act signed up President Lincoln in 1862 and which distributed some 80 million federal acres over the following century, the idea is closer to holding a federal yard sale to clear out some of the junk that has accumulated over the years." (Holly L Fretwell, OpinionJournal)

Resource depletion:) "We Can No Longer Sustain This Level Of Interest In Current Events" - "America is a great nation, a proud nation rich in resources and ingenuity. But the same resources that have fueled the engine of its greatness are fast dwindling. For decades, the U.S. has led the world in its production of current events. Yet, as we enter the 21st century, we find that our national bleak-news tolerance reserves are dangerously close to running dry. And if we continue to ignore warnings, the consequences could be dire." (D. Edward Winston, The Onion)

"Rights group misled public over animal testing, watchdog says" - "The world's largest animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for misrepresenting the science behind animal experiments and unfairly denigrating scientists who use animals in their work. The ASA upheld five complaints by a pro-vivisection group, the Research Defence Society, about a leaflet issued by Peta, which featured "facts" on animal experiments and invited readers to fill in a questionnaire and donate money to the organisation." (The Guardian)

?!! "UK: Brown attacked over revenue fall from 'green' taxes" - "Gordon Brown's plan to present an environmentally friendly Budget today was undermined before it was presented when a group of MPs cast doubt on his green credentials. The MPs fired a shot across the Chancellor's bows by disclosing that revenue from environmental taxes has fallen to its lowest level for more than a decade. Its share of the total tax take dropped from a peak of 9.8 per cent in 1999 to 8.3 per cent in 2004." (London Independent)

Brown is grabbing ~£580 from every man, woman and child in the UK in environmental taxes alone:

"The ONS [Office of National Statistics] also revealed that the Government now takes £35billion in environmental taxes, compared with just under £20billion in 1993. That represents 8.6pc of the total tax take, and 3pc of gross domestic product." -- Hat tip Dennis A.

Sigh... mainstream medicine and the media conspire to create autistic kids, apparently: "The Age of Autism: Allergic responses" - "A plausible link is emerging between widely used childhood medicines and the risk of developing allergies and especially asthma. But you'd never know it from listening to federal health authorities or reading the mainstream press." (UPI)

"The role of evolutionary genomics in the development of autism" - "Scientists at the London School of Economics, UK and Simon Fraser University, Canada have described the first hypothesis grounded in evolutionary genomics explaining the development of autism." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Changes to in utero environment may alter onset of cancer, U of T study" - "Increase in vitamin E tied to fewer in utero deaths, but faster rates of cancer onset later in life." (University of Toronto)

"New Drug Demagoguery" - "Are Americans getting untested drugs? Are drug developers taking short-cuts, or worse?" (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"We Should Expect More from the EPA" - "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is right about one thing: the public should hold it accountable for how its programs work. The EPA said as much last month in a press release announcing its participation in ExpectMore.gov, which "provides the public with candid, easy to understand assessments of federal programs," including approximately forty-three from EPA. So why did this huge, wasteful federal agency stonewall a small, information-seeking consumer advocacy organization and flout the law in the process?" (Jeff Stier, Esq., ACSH)

"Consumption of risky foods declines" - "Americans are eating safer. The number of people who reported eating one or more foods associated with an increased risk of foodborne disease declined by a third from 1998 to 2002, according to survey results released today at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases." (American Society for Microbiology)

Oh boy... "Scientists warn parents on pesticides and plastics" - "Parents were yesterday warned by researchers that levels of pesticides previously thought to be harmless could cause cancers in babies and young children." (The Guardian)

better: "Doubt over pesticide cancer link" - "Experts have said people should not be alarmed by research claiming a link between pesticides in food and cancer. A team from Liverpool University reviewed studies carried out in the lab and on animals. The Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine study said it was feasible babies and young adults were at risk from the chemicals. But Professor John Toy of Cancer Research UK said the work did not offer "compelling" evidence of a link." (BBC)

"No Significant Malaria Increase Despite Rains" - "Rains could increase the incidence of malaria - but not in Botswana where good mosquito controls and ready access to effective drugs means that the increased precipitation does not pose a threat to human health. Other countries could learn from this small, stable African country." (AFM)

"Amazon rainforest greens up in the dry season" - "The Amazon rainforest puts on its biggest growth spurt during the dry season, according to new research. The finding surprised the researchers. "Most of the vegetation around the world follows a general pattern in which plants get green and lush during the rainy season and then during the dry season, leaves fall because there's not enough water in the soil to support plant growth," said lead researcher Alfredo R. Huete of The University of Arizona in Tucson. "What we found for a large section of the Amazon is the opposite. As soon as the rains stop and you start to enter a dry period, the Amazon becomes alive. New leaves spring out, there's a flush of green growth and the greening continues as the dry season progresses." (University of Arizona)

Oh, well that's alright then: "Sex study on squirrel no joke: McGuinty" - "Premier Dalton McGuinty defended his government's decision to fund research into the sex lives of flying squirrels, saying it's really about global warming." (Toronto Star)

"Comment on Scientific Issues in the Stern Review Papers" (.pdf) - "The scientific sections of the Review’s Discussion Paper (DP) and Technical Annex (TA), as well as Sir Nicholas Stern’s Oxonia Lecture (OL), contain serious gaps and errors. “The science” of climate change prediction is still in its infancy, and the account of it given in these three documents is questionable, misleading and biased. The problems reflect the bureaucratisation and politicisation of this scientific issue, and the narrowness of the professional milieu that now represents it." (The Lavoisier Group)

"Solar Warming?" - "Just when you were starting to believe that variations in the amount of energy coming from the sun weren’t responsible for much of the observed surface warming during the past 20 years, comes along a paper in Geophysical Research Letters from two researchers at Duke University, Nicola Scafetta and Bruce West, that concludes otherwise:" (World Climate Report)

What are the Most Useful Climate Metrics? (Climate Science)

Still trying to stampede the herd: "Global warming could melt your portfolio" - "A coalition of environmentalists and institutional investors lays out which companies will be better prepared for climate change." (Marc Gunther, FORTUNE) | US oil majors seen lagging in handling CO2 risk (Reuters)

Actually AGW activists represent the major threat to wealth generation. See also: Is CEO Jeff Immelt lobbying against GE's earnings?

"Feinstein takes aim at global warming" - "California's senior senator laid out a blueprint Monday for curbing global warming, the latest congressional proposal for turning greenhouse-gas pollution into a multibillion-dollar commodity in hope of doing away with it. Environmentalists gave generally good marks to Sen. Dianne Feinstein's new climate bill because they say it commits to immediate reductions in greenhouse gases, with an initial target of returning to 2006 levels of emissions by 2010 and making gentle but steady cuts totaling just more than 7 percent from then until 2020. Feinstein pointed to signs of warming through-out the world, from more severe storms to masses of ice flowing into the oceans at the poles." (insidebayarea.com)

"Northeast US clean air pact gets renewed push" - "BOSTON - A pact by northeastern U.S. states to control greenhouse gases is getting a renewed push in Massachusetts, whose governor rejected the historic plan three months ago because it would raise energy costs. Pamela Resor, a Democratic senator in the state Legislature and chair of a joint committee on the environment, natural resources and agriculture, said she was confident state lawmakers would overrule Republican Gov. Mitt Romney. In December, nine Northeast states were close to signing the pact, which would bypass U.S. President George W. Bush's refusal to place limits on carbon dioxide emissions. It would be the largest regional effort to limit power plant pollution. But after two years of work, Romney pulled out, citing concern that the initiative would raise energy costs for businesses and homeowners. Rhode Island also withdrew." (Reuters)

Don't you love how entertainers become qualified experts on everything? "Thom Yorke Turns Down Tony Blair" - "LONDON Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke says he turned down the chance to discuss climate change with Tony Blair because the British prime minister has 'no environmental credentials.'" (AP)

From CO2 Science this week:

El Niños: Good, Bad or Indifferent?: What do you think? What do you know?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 2 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Shashi-Limpopo Basin, Southern Africa.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Methane (Temperature Implications): What do past relationships between the atmosphere's temperature and its methane and CO 2 concentrations imply about climate-alarmist claims of impending catastrophic global warming?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: American Shoreweed, Holly Oak, Rice, and Scots Pine.

Journal Reviews:
The Significance of Long-Term-Persistence in Surface Air Temperature Data: The likely presence of this property in long temperature series puts a whole new face on the interpretation of 20th-century global warming.

The Dark Ages Cold Period in Pacific North America: Following on the heels of the Roman Warm Period, it was an integral part of a pervasive millennial-scale oscillation of climate that subsequently produced the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and Current Warm Period.

More Hope for Corals in a Warming World: Are they doomed to destruction by rising temperatures? Or is there some way they can just keep "shuffling along"?

Growth Response of a Submerged Aquatic Macrophyte to Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment: The observed productivity enhancement was found to rival that of most terrestrial plants.

CO 2 , Temperature and Soil Nitrogen Effects on Soybean Seed Isoflavone Concentrations: What do they imply about human health in a future high-CO 2 world? (co2science.org)

"Nuclear power provides reliable energy source" - "Nuclear power is making a comeback amid soaring oil prices and increasing public concern about global warming, and Korea is no exception to this global trend." (Korea Herald)

"Statue of Liberty to go all 'green' power" - "By the end of March, all electricity for the Old Lady in the Harbor and Ellis Island will be from wind power." (Christian Science Monitor)


"E.ON sends extra gas to ease supply squeeze" - "LONDON - German utility E.ON is sending extra gas to Britain from mainland Europe to help ease a supply squeeze in the market, the company's UK unit said on Monday. E.ON said it had shut down several gas-fired power stations in Germany to release to the UK market about a million therms of gas per day until Friday. The extra gas is enough to supply a town the size of Liverpool in northwest England. The move comes after spot gas prices surged to record highs last week as cold weather and a breakdown at the country's biggest storage site squeezed supply." (Reuters)

"Shaming 'Vampire States'" - "The trend in development has been to increase aid to the most corrupt countries in Africa. That may be about to change." (Marian Tupy, TCS Daily)

"Bottled water big for multinationals" - "MEXICO CITY - Violent protests have driven away corporate investment in desperately needed municipal water systems in developing nations. So the world's poor buy bottled water from Coke, Pepsi and other multinational companies." (Associated Press)

"Backstory: Tapping the world" - "Wednesday is World Water Day. Essential for life - and key to global politics and economies - clean water is an extremely scarce resource in much of the world. Here's a glimpse at global patterns of water access, value, and consumption." (Christian Science Monitor)

"WATER: New Technologies Do Not Suffice" - "MEXICO CITY - By replacing piston pumps with simple rope pumps, which are inexpensive and easy to install, rural water supply coverage in Nicaragua has risen 23 percent over the past decade, three times faster than in neighbouring countries." (IPS)

"That Phantom Menace" - "Do we need a new international convention to 'curb' biopiracy?" (Alan Oxley, TCS Daily)

"Cereal suppliers cautious over new GM trade rules" - "The adoption of detailed documentation requirements for genetically modified (GM) food in the international trade of agricultural commodities has been met with caution by grain and cereal importers." (FoodNavigator.com)

"The importance of explaining nanotechnology" - "The science of nanotechnology could founder on the same negative publicity that dogged genetics unless more is done to assess risks, a Swiss report warns." (Swissinfo)

March 21, 2006

"NLPC Shareholder Proposal Asks Goldman Sachs to Investigate CEO Henry Paulson Conflict-of-Interest" - "WASHINGTON, March 20 -- Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today described an apparent conflict-of-interest involving Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Henry Paulson and his relationship with the Nature Conservancy. Paulson is chairman of both Goldman Sachs and the Nature Conservancy. His wife is a former board member of the Nature Conservancy. At issue is the adoption in November 2005 by Goldman Sachs of an "Environmental Policy," which parallels the Nature Conservancy agenda. It includes several controversial positions related to global warming, logging, and the rights of indigenous peoples in the developing world. Additionally, Goldman Sachs transferred its ownership of a gargantuan tract of 680,000 acres in Chile to a Chilean group connected to the Nature Conservancy, called the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Paulson's daughter, Merritt Paulson, is on WCS' Board of Advisors." (U.S. Newswire)

"Malaria and DDT" - "Besides being a film producer, I have a preventive medicine practice in Los Angeles. As it happens, California is currently leading the Nation in West Nile virus and I was being asked about it more frequently by my patients. Meaning to only get up to speed on vector borne diseases, I found myself reading volumes upon volumes of studies on malaria and vector borne diseases. I was feeling like a budding Albert Switetzer MD, wondering what I could do to actually make a difference. Well, like Switzer, I could go there and work on one patient at a time, but from what I was finding, this would hardly be efficacious.

In February of 2005 I met with Dr. Art Robinson in San Francisco. He had once worked for many years with Dr. Linus Pauling and currently has his own laboratory where he conducts protein research among other studies. We talked at length about malaria, DDT and third world countries. I found him to be honest, forthright and willing to pour out what he knew. It was a lot. I inundated him with questions and he floored me with answers. He had to go check his messages and I sat there dazed and speechless. I had difficulty regaining my composure as I did not want my shock at what he had revealed to me to show when he returned. We said our goodbyes. On the evening flight back to LA everything seemed surreal. I knew somehow my life as I knew it had been discontinued. There was no turning it back either." (D Rutledge, American Daily) | 3Billionandcounting.com

"Rumor, Fear and Fatigue Hinder Final Push to End Polio" - "The polio campaign threatens to become a costly display of all that can conspire against ambitious efforts to eliminate a disease." (New York Times)

"Environmental chemicals implicated in cancer, say experts" - "New research at the University of Liverpool suggests that environmental contaminants, such as pesticides, are more influential in causing cancer than previously thought." (University of Liverpool)

Thought by whom? Is there some kind of ISO quantum for 'thought' with reference to 'environmental contaminants' and cancer causation?

"UC Davis study with mice links thimerosal with immune system dysfunction" - "A team of cell biologists, toxicologists and molecular bioscientists at UC Davis has published a study connecting thimerosal with disruptions in antigen-presenting cells known as dendritic cells obtained from mice. The study provides the first evidence that dendritic cells show unprecedented sensitivity to thimerosal, resulting in fundamental changes in the immune system's ability to respond to external factors. The study was published online today and will be available in the July print edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, the peer-reviewed scientific publication of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

"These findings should be interpreted cautiously. Although they suggest that thimerosal may affect dendritic cell function, the pathophysiological consequences of thimerosal remain unclear," said David A. Schwartz, a physician and director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Since cell functions can differ across organisms, Pessah will next study dendritic cells isolated from the blood of children with and without autism to confirm if the intercellular changes are the same in humans. The initial mouse study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute." (University of California, Davis - Health System)

"Archbishop: stop teaching creationism" - "The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has stepped into the controversy between religious fundamentalists and scientists by saying that he does not believe that creationism - the Bible-based account of the origins of the world - should be taught in schools." (The Guardian)

"Environmentalists decry Korean sea wall" - "South Korea's Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of continuing construction." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"BRAZIL: Private Sector Role in Amazon Triggers Doubts" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil's decision to authorise local companies to exploit 13 million hectares in the Amazon over the next decade keeps controversy simmering. Some experts are saying that instead of putting the brakes on deforestation, the concessions could make it worse." (IPS)

"German Named to Head UN Environment Agency" - "UNITED NATIONS, March 15 - Secretary-General Kofi Annan chose a German conservationist to head the UN Environment Program for a four-year term, a UN spokesman announced on Wednesday. Achim Steiner, now director-general of the World Conservation Union, will replace another German, Klaus Toepfer, as head of UNEP, based in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi." (Reuters)

"Life's diversity 'being depleted'" - "Virtually all indicators of the likely future for the diversity of life on Earth are heading in the wrong direction, a major new report says. The Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is published as national delegates gather in Brazil under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity." (BBC)

"The big branch names taking over woodlands" - "Britain's woodlands are becoming like our high streets, with the same old faces on display everywhere and no space for the traditional or the specialised, according to the biggest survey of bird populations for 20 years.

The survey said there was no evidence of an effect of climate change on bird populations and that the modern trend of designating woodlands as Sites of Special Scientific Interest or Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland has made no difference." (London Telegraph)

"Humans Spur Worst Extinctions Since Dinosaurs" - "OSLO - Humans are responsible for the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs and must make unprecedented extra efforts to reach a goal of slowing losses by 2010, a UN report said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Scientists use satellites to detect deep-ocean whirlpools" - "Move over, Superman, with your X-ray vision. Marine scientists have now figured out a way to "see through" the ocean's surface and detect what's below, with the help of satellites in space. Using sensor data from several U.S. and European satellites, researchers from the University of Delaware, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Ocean University of China have developed a method to detect super-salty, submerged eddies called "Meddies" that occur in the Atlantic Ocean off Spain and Portugal at depths of more than a half mile. These warm, deep-water whirlpools, part of the ocean's complex circulatory system, help drive the ocean currents that moderate Earth's climate. The research marks the first time scientists have been able to detect phenomena so deep in the ocean from space -- and using a new multi-sensor technique that can track changes in ocean salinity." (University of Delaware)

"NASA’s strategic communications problem" - "Speaking to the Goddard Symposium on Tuesday March 14th, NASA administrator Mike Griffin made the point that the agency’s scientists and engineers are not very good at explaining to the public why what they do is important. He mentioned Carl Sagan as a rare example of a scientist who did have the talent needed to communicate the wonder of astrophysics to the American people. He went on to say that there are plenty of people in New York who do have the skills needed to convince people that NASA’s goals are worthwhile, but that by law, he is not allowed to hire them." (Taylor Dinerman, The Space Review)

"Green budget challenge for Brown" - "LONDON - Chancellor Gordon Brown has a chance in Wednesday's budget to put his money where his mouth is after campaigning by the government has helped put global warming on the world's political agenda. But if past experience is anything to go by, he will duck the issue, according to environmentalists who accuse the government of letting pro-green taxation slide and failing to promote clean technologies like microgeneration. "Green taxes have fallen under Labour, despite promises to increase them when they came to power," said Tony Juniper, head of Friends of the Earth. "At the same time, UK carbon dioxide emissions have risen." (Reuters)

ecoEnquirer scoops enviros:) "Spring Snowstorm Blamed on Global Warming" - "(Washington, D.C.) The first day of spring arrived today with widespread cold and snow, an event that some say is just one more sign of global warming. "This is exactly in line with what we have been predicting for years," explained James Fearmonger, chief climate scientist at the newly formed Global Warming Prediction Center. "With global warming we have predicted that some areas will see more precipitation, some less precipitation, some will experience warmer weather, some colder. So this event can be fully explained by global warming." (ecoEnquirer)

Eek! Global chilling! "Spring starts today - a month late" - "Today is officially the first day of spring - but it's up to a month late. The enduring spell of cold and dull weather in Britain and parts of western Europe has substantially delayed the arrival of the new season." (London Independent)

Further comments from Indur Goklany on the Stern Review - It would be fair to say Goklany is impressed, just not favourably.

"The Holocene CO2 Rise: Anthropogenic or Natural?" (.pdf) - "In view of the wide attention received by the suggestion that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) over the last 8000 years is anthropogenic rather than natural in origin [Ruddiman, 2003], this claim should be carefully examined. The basis for the claim is that following each of the three preceding glacial terminations, the CO2 content of the atmosphere peaked early on and then underwent a steady decline. By contrast, following the end of the last glacial period, while it also peaked early, the decline bottomed out around 8000 years ago, and since then the atmospheric CO2 content has steadily risen." (Eos Vol. 87, No 3, pp. 27-28)

That virtual world again: "Small heat rise may offer big boost for malaria" - "Even small changes in temperature may contribute to the spread of malaria in the East African highlands, a new modelling study has found – a result sharply contrasting with previous research.

The latest work suggests populations of malarial mosquitoes could grow substantially with just a small rise in temperatures. For example, the mathematical models suggest a 3% rise in local temperature from one year to the next can mean a 30% to 40% increase in mosquito abundance. Experts note the new research also uses five more years of temperature data from Africa that previous work did not." (NewScientist.com news service) [my emphasis]

I admit being more than a little irritated by simplistic models and associated hand wringing because this is an issue of great importance and we know it to be far more complicated than simple temperature correlation. Malaria was endemic in Canada, for example, see: The return of swamp fever: malaria in Canadians. Also 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/temperature thing.

Note further that dwellings and living conditions are significant factors, recall this from a few months ago: "Malaria risk 'depends on house'" - "Living conditions may significantly increase a child's risk of malaria attacks, a study has suggested. Wellcome Trust researchers found household differences in a Kenyan village accounted for around a third of the variations in attack rates. In Public Library of Science they said practical measures, such as insecticide use, were more important than gene resistance. Malaria kills around two million people a year, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa." (BBC) | Malaria risk – it's not all in the genes (PLoS) | New malaria vaccine shows promise in early clinical trial (PLoS)

Paying attention to malaria is great, all for it - but throwing irrelevant temperature variation into the mix, particularly at a time when activists and advocates of varied ilk are throwing everything into the 'global warming' pot in the hope of cooking up a crisis, is a distraction that will do no one any good. For those who care about third world morbidity and mortality this is a distraction from useful measures to address the problem and for those who for whatever reason are less than enthusiastic about addressing the issue this is something else to hide behind with a fatalistic shrug and "Oh well, can't do anything about it because we have to 'fix' that warming thing first." Counterproductive trivia - very annoying. </rant>

"Aid workers: Climate change hurts poor nations" - "MEXICO CITY, Mexico -- Droughts, floods and rising sea levels sparked by climate change are threatening development efforts in the world's poorest countries, experts and aid workers said Monday at an international water forum. Regions including Africa and South Asia -- home to most of the 1.1 billion people who live without clean water -- could be hit hard by changing weather patterns, experts at the fourth World Water Forum said. "Droughts will worsen," said Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization. "We will see deforestation, forest fires, a loss of biodiversity and degradation of the environment." (AP)

With all these definite assertions you might wonder what empirical evidence there is for increasing droughts/floods, acceleration of sea level rise etc., the answer is... none. Zip, nada, nothing, say it how you like there is no evidence to support these assertions and to have such unfounded statements sourced from the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization is particularly troubling.

Good! No, wait... oh: "GAP Announces New Watchdog, “Climate Science Watch” Organization First to Solely Focus on Manipulation of Climate Science Reporting" - "WASHINGTON - March 20 - The Government Accountability Project (GAP) today announced its sponsorship of a new nonprofit watchdog organization, Climate Science Watch (CSW). CSW is an educational and advocacy project dedicated to holding public officials accountable for the ways they use climate science data in policymaking. It is the first organization to solely focus on the politicization of climate change and global warming science. GAP client Rick Piltz, who blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s manipulation of scientific reporting related to global warming last June, is the founder and Executive Director of CSW." (Press Release)

For a moment we allowed ourselves to imagine this was to focus on, like, actual science but now we see it to be just more AGW disaster promotion.

"Argentina's Floating Icebergs Worry Farmers Who Fear Flooding" - "March 21 -- The Argentina coast guard was astonished to find icebergs floating along the Atlantic coast. ``It's the first time icebergs of such size reached Buenos Aires,'' Miguel Angel Reyes, 44, chief of maritime traffic at the coast guard, said in an interview. ``The police escorted the icebergs until they were out of the danger zone.'' (Bloomberg)

Read: "first time that anyone here remembers..." - the Canadians could help them out a bit with their iceberg facts, listing bergs drifting into the tropics, both north and south.

"Climate change puts pressure on London defences" - "LONDON - London is mustering its flood defences more often as global warming raises sea levels, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, David King, told a Reuters conference on climate change and investment." (Reuters)

"Pacts complicate UK climate change targets: official" - "LONDON - Britain cannot ignore recent, international climate change agreements as it struggles to meet its domestic carbon emission targets, a government official told a Reuters conference on climate change and investment." (Reuters)

"“An end to sloppy thinking and hysterical persecution”: easyJet calls for a balanced debate on the environment" - "easyJet, Europe’s leading low-fares airline, today called for an end to the hysterical persecution of aviation by those seeking to place the blame for climate change solely at the door of aviation and called for a more balanced debate on the environmental impact of flying.

easyJet’s call follows the release of a report, undertaken by one of Europe’s leading economics consulting firms, Frontier Economics, for the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA), which provides an objective assessment of the economic issues related to proposals to include aviation in the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)." (noticias.info)

"Gov.'s Plan Divides Oil Firms" - "Schwarzenegger's initiative to reduce greenhouse gases has set off a culture clash between European and U.S. producers." (LA Times)

"Careful What You Wish For" - "If you wanted to lower electric energy prices in the US, what would you do? If you answered, "Cripple the domestic railroad industry," you'd be in surprisingly good company. That's precisely what, according to the Wall Street Journal, major electric utilities like American Electric Power want to do in their maneuverings to re-impose severe regulation on the railroads. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.) has agreed to help them by cosponsoring the Railroad Competition Act to roll back most of the reforms since the Staggers Act of 1980 that have gotten America's railroad back on its feet." (Iain Murray, TCS Daily)

"Almost half of capital's businesses support higher aviation taxes" - "Environmental concerns about air travel are changing attitudes in the boardroom, with almost half of businesses in the capital declaring themselves in favour of higher taxes on the cost of flights." (The Guardian)

"Grow Your Own Oil, U.S." - "Researchers hoping to ease America's oil addiction are turning sawdust and wood chips into bio-oil, a thick black liquid that could become a green substitute for many petroleum products. Bio-oil can be made from almost any organic material, including agricultural and forest waste like corn stalks and scraps of bark. Converting the raw biomass into bio-oil yields a product that is easy to transport and can be processed into higher-value fuels and chemicals." (Wired News)

"Energy companies count their chips among the debris" - "Six months after Hurricane Rita ravaged the East Texas piney woods, sawmills are stacked full with salvaged logs. But many communities are still littered with unsalvageable, splintered trees and waste wood from logging, such as branches and treetops. That's where Michael Bishop, owner of an alternative power company in Nacogdoches, comes in. He plans to collect the ruined wood and transform it into electricity for Europe." (Houston Chronicle)

"Can a bush solve rural energy needs?" - "An ancient tractor dumps a trailer load of plant material next to a battered looking shed. Surprising as it may seem, this unremarkable event may hold the key to ending chronic power shortages in rural India. Inside the shed is a noisy, little, green generator that runs on gas produced from rotting biomass. That is where the pile of plant matter dumped by the tractor comes in. The generator produces 100 kilowatts of electricity, enough to service the modest needs of four or five typical Indian villages. However in this particular case it drives a mini-industrial complex that currently provides 130 jobs in an area where employment is hard to find." (BBC)

"Huge spend urged on African water" - "Africa's water systems need annual investments of about $20bn over the next two decades, a United Nations report has concluded. The African Development Bank (ADB) says that only 3.8% of the continent's water resources are developed. About 300 million Africans lack access to safe drinking water, and the ADB says money also needs to be spent on irrigation and hydropower." (BBC)

"Is Whole Foods Wholesome?" - "The dark secrets of the organic-food movement." (Field Maloney, Slate)

"Is an organic future really sustainable?" - "Many people think organic farming will produce food that is healthier and better for the environment than that produced with nonorganic methods. Organic sales are increasing at 20 percent per year, and policymakers are directing taxpayer money toward organic. For example, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., recently announced a program to help dairy farmers in her state transition to organic, and Norway set a goal to get 10 percent of the managed area be organic by 2009. With this interest in organic food production, it is important to realize that some claims of organic food remain elusive whereas serious challenges are often ignored." (Centre Daily Times)

"Governments adopt international rules on trade in GMOs" - "The Third meeting of the 132 Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (MOP3) was concluded on 17 March in Curitiba, Brazil. It adopted a landmark decision on detailed documentation requirements for genetically modified organisms in the international trade of agricultural commodities. In the final hours of negotiations, trade implications of documentation requirements were the main focus of major players such as Mexico and Brazil. The final compromise would have not been possible without the political commitment of the Brazilian government to make MOP3 a success. The European Commission negotiated on behalf of the EU and played an important role in brokering the final compromise." (Press release)

March 20, 2006

The Eco-Jackboot on Our Energy Throat - No. 6, (3/20/06) - The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of environmentalists and Northeastern states last week in overturning the Bush administration's "New Source Review" rules, which would allow aging power plants to upgrade/modify under certain conditions without meeting the stringent and expensive standards that new plants must meet. Unless the ruling is successfully appealed at the Supreme Court level, electricity will cost more without commensurate benefits to the public health or the environment.

"Knowing our history is best way to gauge benefits of technology" - "This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the most innovative British engineers in history. Over the 200 years since Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born technological change has moved at a remarkably rapid pace. However, traditional ways of measuring the impact of new technologies on the economy could considerably underestimate their true benefit, according to a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It urges us instead to draw lessons from the past. A perspective from economic history can help us make better sense of technological developments, argues Professor Nicholas Crafts, who led the project at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). In particular, it can teach us not to over-react. Professor Crafts said: "Sadder but wiser investors who lost their savings in the dot.com boom, and protectionist politicians who still believe that off-shoring will undermine our prosperity, would all benefit from a good course in economic history." (Economic & Social Research Council)

Remember this?

"Knifing" of Junkman urged in anti-globalization activist podcast! - In case you're wondering what we're up against in the fight for sound science and free enterprise, listen to the first 10 minutes of this Podcast (mp3 format).

The podcast features anti-business activist Max Keiser who:

  • Urges the children of Steve Milloy and Tom Borelli to "knife" them.
  • Calls Milton Friedman a "financial terrorist."
  • Calls Al-Qaeda "chumps" compared to "corporate terrorism."
  • Compares corporations to Pol Pot and Stalin.
  • Calls George Bush and Tony Blair mass murderers.
  • Claims that investment banks are trying to recreate feudalism.

[Update: It appears that Keiser has removed the podcast from his web site. Fortunately, we saved a copy!]

Keiser and partner Zak Goldsmith (scion of the late famed British Raider Sir James Goldsmith) are anti-globalization activists who claim to run a hedge fund trying to profit by destroying company reputations while simultaneously short selling the stocks.

It seems Max might be mellowing a tad for he has apparently embraced democracy by running a vote on his site - granted his vote is on company boycotts but he has opened the door for you to show him democracy in action. Why not browse into KarmaBanque.com, scroll down a page or two and vote either for or against boycotts for each of the listed companies (we assume you can vote on each company). Go on, we'll wait here for you. Go offer Max a little encouragement by engaging in a display of democracy in action. Click here to show Max how much you want to destroy public companies and the engines of wealth creation.

This Essay Breaks the Law (Michael Crichton, New York Times)

"Wi-fi? Why Not?" - "Walking around a corner, one never knows what will appear. Yet in order to move forward, it's often necessary to turn corners anyway, despite some small degree of uncertainty. At Canada's Lakehead University, however, that uncertainty has become the basis for some troubling reasoning regarding wi-fi, a technology that allows Internet connectivity without the hassle of wires. Frozen stiff by a little known but influential idea known as the Precautionary Principle, the university has decided against implementing wi-fi for health reasons—despite no serious evidence of risk. Lakehead's net remains strictly landlocked." (Isaac Post and Peter Suderman, TCS Daily)

"No one has ever been poisoned by this instrument"  -"MOZART called it “the king of instruments”, and it has been one of the great glories of Western civilisation for at least 22 centuries. Its stentorian tones have accompanied feasts and funerals, weddings and coronations, silent films and icehockey matches, since time immemorial. All it seems, to no avail. According to the EU, the lead in pipe organs is a menace to public health, and the King of Instruments must therefore be silenced." (London Times)

"Food Industry a Target in Obesity Fight" - "It's tempting to blame big food companies for America's big obesity problem. After all, they're the folks who Supersized our fries, family-portioned our potato chips and Big Gulped our sodas. There's also the billions they've spent keeping their products ever on our minds and in our mouths. Likened by some to the way tobacco companies seduced smokers, such practices have made the food industry the target of lawsuits and legislation seeking to yank junk food from schools and curb advertising to children. But some experts say neither the problem nor the solution is nearly so simple." (AP)

"Eighth Conference Of The Parties To The Convention On Biological Diversity" - "The eighth Conference of the Parties (COP-8) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opens today in Curitiba, Brazil, immediately following the third Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP-3) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety." (IISD)

More eco-imperialism: "It's my rainforest now. No logging" - "WHEN millionaire businessman Johan Eliasch decides to head for his country estate, it involves a slightly longer trek than a drive to the Cotswolds. After leaving his office in London’s Mayfair, it is a 12-hour journey by air and road before he can view his 400,000-acre plot in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The estate is the size of Greater London. Eliasch, 43, a banker, film producer and chief executive of the Head sports equipment company, has bought it from a logging company to protect the plants and wildlife. He sees himself as a pioneer on the new frontier of climate change. Eliasch, who is also deputy treasurer of the Conservative party, is part of a growing trend towards “green colonialism”." (Sunday Times)

Nature doing what comes naturally: "Battling beetles: Insect outbreak killing millions of trees" - "They fly in the summer and do their killing in silence. Platoons of shiny-shelled bark beetles, each smaller than a grain of rice, have killed millions of trees in Montana, Wyoming and across the West in recent years. In the Shoshone National Forest of northwestern Wyoming, where Ben Case works, the native beetles have transformed vast tracts of lively green conifers into growing pockets of brittle trees cloaked in the familiar orange and gray tones of forest death." (The Billings Gazette)

Wonder when [*]huggers will figure it out - stopping people utilising a resource does not leave 'nature' as some kind of preserved museum exhibit but merely invites exploitation by something else. Pristine forests are under constant assault from herbivores of staggering variety and numbers, pathogens, parasites, the vagaries of weather and wildfire, not to mention competition for resources, inter- and intra-species warfare, crowding, landslip.... If you want to keep them as a young and vigorously growing garden then you have to tend and harvest them like a garden.

"Where the World Won't End in Fire" - "The Texas Panhandle was ablaze last week, with three large wildfires consuming more than 800,000 acres of rangeland. Wet weather at week's end helped firefighters get the major fires under control, but the damage had been done: at least 11 people dead, an estimated 10,000 cattle and horses lost, homes and other property destroyed. For the land itself, though, the fires were business as usual. The Great Plains have lived by fire for thousands of years." (New York Times)

"Unique weather radar to investigate snowfall" - "The Department of Physical Sciences at the University of Helsinki has acquired a state-of-the-art polarimetric weather radar. The new radar is reserved exclusively for research. Its most important meteorological research target is the physics of rain clouds, and scientists intend to focus on snow and sleet in particular. Snowfall and its polarimetric measurements have hardly been studied anywhere else in the world, although in the Finnish conditions, for instance, snowfall is one of the key weather elements." (University of Helsinki)

"Through a satellite darkly: Night views of European seas improve ESA ocean heat map" - "The Mediterranean looks better in the dark - at least in the view of an ESA-led effort to use satellites to take the daily temperature of Europe's seas. A switch to data acquired at night is one of several improvements undertaken to enhance reliability and reach of Medspiration project outputs." (European Space Agency)

"Scots terror team draws up plans for national disasters" - "A SERIES of dramatic terror scenarios facing Scotland has been drawn up by civil servants anxious that they have contingency plans in place to deal with disasters threatening the country. Fears that the changing face of global terrorism is putting Scotland at a greater risk has forced the move to give a top civil servant the task of thinking up the main catastrophes which could affect the country and devising plans and training to cope with them." (Scotland on Sunday)

Looks like Scotland has decided there are real things to worry about after all and there's no harm examining unlikely scenarios. Interesting that 'global warming' didn't rate a mention but then, invasion by space aliens didn't either.

You couldn't make this stuff up... "With a little bit of blooming luck..." - "TOKYO - Little is as important in the Japanese spring than knowing when cherry trees will bloom. Last year's prediction was off by several days, leaving forecasters at the Meteorological Agency red faced. Stung by a storm of criticism, the agency has revised its forecasting model to predict when the delicate pink flowers, a national obsession, will emerge. "It is true that last year our predictions for the cherries were off by about four days, and we got a lot of complaints," an agency spokeswoman said. Global warming, it seems, is to blame." (Reuters)

Japan Met. needs to work on a little more than cherry blossom models though "Last autumn, they said the winter just ending would be warmer than usual. Instead, it was the most severe since World War Two." Not that they can really be blamed for that, climate science generally can be considered newborn and regional forecasting a mere zygote.

"Secular Substitute for the Apocalypse" - "Last month, a group of 86 evangelical Christians, including some highly prominent and influential leaders, issued a statement endorsing the global warming myth and calling for economically crippling action. The tide of hysteria over this profane reworking of the Bible’s apocalyptic prophecies continues to rise, and it seems environmentalists and their media allies are succeeding in pulling more conservatively-inclined religious people into their doom-mongering orbit. This is not to say that there are no legitimate environmental concerns-but global warming isn’t one of them. Instead, it’s a cultural and political power grab by a Left disenfranchised by socialism’s discredit." (Joseph A. D'Agostino, Human Events)

The Word according to Jim: "Climate of dissent" - "James Hansen, a top NASA scientist and former Ridgewood resident, touched off a political ruckus in January when he told The New York Times that the Bush administration was trying to censor his public comments about global warming. Hansen has been warning about the catastrophic potential of climate change for three decades, often against the wishes of Republican White Houses that dismissed the problem or advocated a slower approach to reining in greenhouse gases." (Bergen Record)

"Rewriting The Science" - "As a government scientist, James Hansen is taking a risk. He says there are things the White House doesn't want you to hear but he's going to say them anyway. Hansen is arguably the world's leading researcher on global warming. He's the head of NASA's top institute studying the climate. But this imminent (sic) scientist tells correspondent Scott Pelley that the Bush administration is restricting who he can talk to and editing what he can say. Politicians, he says, are rewriting the science. But he didn't hold back speaking to Pelley, telling 60 Minutes what he knows." (CBS)

Hmm... descriptions vary and it may be more accurate to say "James Hansen is a media-savvy, self-promoting climate modeller inclined to treat computer game output as real-world data". Whatever description is applied and seasoned to taste, James "Father of Global Warming" Hansen is certainly no shrinking violet and surely never accused of being reticent about his favourite scare campaign and meal ticket.

Suppose there was some all-powerful administration in control, how would the 1984 version go...

"Rewriting The Script" - "As a computer gamer, Hames Jansen is talking up a storm. He says outrageous things activists want you to hear and he's going to say them for pay. Hansen is arguably the world's leading propagandist on global warming. He's the head of SANA's top institute playing computer games. But this eminent fantasist tells correspondent Bott Smelley that the Scrub administration is restricting who he can talk to and editing what he can say. Politicians, he says, are insisting on the science. But he didn't hold back speaking to Smelley, telling 43 Minuts (plus ad time) what he thinks." (SeeBS)

A Further Discussion of the Conflict of Interest on the CCSP Committee (Climate Science)

"Oklahoma Republican wants explanation of what Boulder center does" - "BOULDER — U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, an outspoken skeptic of global warming, is asking the leading federal climate change research center to explain its operations. The Okahoma Republican is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works which oversees Boulder's National Center for Atmospheric Research and its parent organization, the University Center for Atmospheric Research." (AP)

The Week That Was March 18, 2006 (SEPP)

"The Stern Review ‘Oxonia Papers’: A Critique" - "In this note we comment on the three related documents (the ‘Oxonia papers’) that were issued at the end of January 2006 as the first fruits of the Stern Review of the economics of climate change. These comprise a discussion paper entitled ‘What is the Economics of Climate Change?’, Sir Nicholas Stern’s Oxonia Lecture with the same title, and a short Technical Annex on ‘The science of climate change’. Except where otherwise indicated, the page references that follow are to the discussion paper." (Byatt et al, via CCNet)

Another Paper That Documents the Role of Aerosols on Surface Air Temperature (Climate Science)

Unusually rational closing: "Chilling proof that glacier meltdown is getting faster" - "Many of the world's mountain glaciers are melting at a faster rate than at any time in the past 150 years, according to the latest assessment by glaciologists." (London Independent)

"Emission trade to set economy ablaze" - "MUMBAI: The next big foreign exchange earner for the country could well be emission trading. With over 250 emission reduction projects cleared, India is emerging as a leader in emission saving projects, which entitle promoters to a huge quantity of tradable carbon credits." (Economic Times)

Make hay while the sun shines guys, Kyoto and hat air trading is something of a Norwegian Blue.

No reading of chicken entrails? "How to spot the signs of global warming in your back garden" - "Global warming doesn't only mean melting polar ice caps - it's changing the plants, birds and insects in your own back garden. Peter Marren reports." (London Independent)

"The Global Warming Scam" - "The media portrays a dramatic image of how the ice is melting in the polar regions as a consequence of global warming. We are warned that the North Pole might become icefree during the summer months at the end of this century and that the polar bears might become extinct due to this development." (Nima Sanandaji and Fred Goldberg, LewRockwell.com)

"Tiny 'cages' could trap carbon dioxide and help stop climate change" - "A natural physical process has been identified that could play a key role in secure sub-seabed storage of carbon dioxide produced by fossil-fuelled power stations. With EPSRC funding, a team at the Centre for Gas Hydrate Research, at Heriot-Watt University is investigating how, in some conditions, seawater and carbon dioxide could combine into ice-like compounds in which the water molecules form cavities that act as cages, trapping the carbon dioxide molecules. In the unlikely event of carbon dioxide starting to leak into the sea from an under-seabed disposal site (e.g. a depleted North Sea oil or gas reservoir), this process could add a second line of defence preventing its escape." (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

"Ireland: Limits on greenhouse gases to be set in effort to cut levels" - "The Government is to decide in the next month on setting new legally-binding limits for greenhouse gas emissions from industry, following advice in a new report recommending sharp cuts in the current levels. The decision could leave Irish firms facing a bill of between €500 million and € 1 billion between 2008 and 2012, as firms will be required to buy "carbon credits" under the emissions trading system if they want to continue with their current emission levels. The move is the first significant financial impact on the economy of the Kyoto protocol, which binds the Government to a series of measures aimed at reducing global warming." (Irish Times)

"Energy goals help 'cut global warming'" - "The country's commitment to reduce energy consumption and pollutant emissions was lauded yesterday by world-renowned economists and leading business executives, who said it would be a positive contribution to cut down global warming." (China Daily)

"Pentagon pushes for use of coal as a liquid fuel" - "DAYTON, Ohio - The Pentagon is trying to persuade investors and the energy industry to embrace an 80-year-old technology to turn coal into liquid fuel to power planes, tanks and other battlefield vehicles. Officials have been crisscrossing the country, meeting with energy companies and state government officials to sell them on the idea. At the same time, military researchers have been testing fuel produced by the process to make sure it is suitable for military vehicles, especially older ones. The military is worried that political pressure or terrorist acts could cut the flow of oil from the Middle East, or that hurricanes or terrorists could destroy U.S. refineries." (Associated Press)

"Judges Overturn Bush Bid to Ease Pollution Rules" - "WASHINGTON, March 17 — A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a clean-air regulation issued by the Bush administration that would have let many power plants, refineries and factories avoid installing costly new pollution controls to help offset any increased emissions caused by repairs and replacements of equipment.

Ruling in favor of a coalition of states and environmental advocacy groups, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the "plain language" of the law required a stricter approach. The court has primary jurisdiction in challenges to federal regulations." (New York Times) | Text of the Opinion (pdf)

"Nuclear power for India is good for us all" - "STANFORD, California If the deal to supply India with nuclear technologies goes through, future generations may remember it for quite different reasons than the debate over nuclear proliferation. Nuclear power emits no carbon dioxide, the leading cause of global warming. And India, like most developing countries, has not been anxious to spend money to control its emissions of this and other so- called greenhouse gases." (International Herald Tribune)

"A modern philosopher's stone" - "It may be possible to destroy much of the world's long-lived radioactive waste, if a new experiment in Japan proves successful." (The Economist)

"UK: Brown goes gunning for gas guzzler" - "GORDON BROWN will intensify the battle for Britain’s green voters with a range of new environmental taxes in this week’s budget, including a rise in road tax for “gas-guzzling” cars and large four-wheel-drive vehicles." (Sunday Times)

"Brown's budget blow for 'Chelsea tractors' leaves green campaigners unimpressed" - "Gordon Brown is planning to freeze fuel duty again in the budget on Wednesday, to the fury of environmental campaigners who accuse the government of "pathetic" inaction on climate change over the past nine years. The chancellor will also announce a rise in road tax for so-called "Chelsea tractor" 4x4s of about £30 to £200 a year, something Friends of the Earth says will do absolutely nothing to curb the use of gas-guzzling cars on Britain's crowded roads." (The Guardian)

"Oil Spill Raises Concerns Over Pipeline Maintenance" - "WASHINGTON, March 18 — An oil spill this month in Alaska, the largest ever on the North Slope, has raised new concerns among state and federal regulators about whether BP has been properly maintaining its aging network of wells, pumps and pipelines that crisscross the tundra." (New York Times)

"UK: Lottery throws £10m to the wind" - "THE government has been accused of raiding £10m of lottery money intended for good causes to subsidise the construction of a wind farm by a foreign energy company. The grant to a subsidiary of Elsam, a Danish energy giant that is being taken over by the Danish state, will help to pay for a wind farm four miles offshore in Liverpool Bay." (Sunday Times)

"U.S., India Collaborate on Deriving Clean Energy from Methane: Partners intend to capture, reuse landfill methane gas for energy purposes" - "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is helping India, the third-largest methane-emitting country in the world, develop clean energy sources that can yield substantial economic, environmental and health benefits for its citizens. EPA and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry are partnering with stakeholders from India's solid waste industry, finance community and national government to capture and reuse landfill methane gas under the multinational Methane to Markets Partnership." (U.S. Department of State)

"Standpipe dreams" - "Here in the parched south-east, we still don't know if one day it may just start bucketing again." (Peter Preston, The Guardian)

They think? "UK needs extra water reservoirs" - "OWNERS of usually well-tended lawns in London will be forgiven for letting them look a bit bare this summer. Thames Water’s hosepipe ban from 3 April, announced last week, will barely give them time to build up a springtime sheen. But they’re lucky compared with the owners of 20 properties in rural Oxfordshire, who should give up long-term gardening plans. Thames Water has determined that a strip of Oxfordshire, south-west of Abingdon, is to be the site for a £900m (E1.3bn, $1.6bn) reservoir that can store enough water to meet London’s growth. Properties there will be submerged." (The Business)

"Bureaucracy inflates cost of farming" - "SENIOR bureaucrats were increasing the cost of doing business in southern Africa’s agricultural sector and delaying regional integration of agricultural trade, the president of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions, Ajay Vashee, said yesterday." (Business Day)

"Ozone-resistant crops 'may be needed by 2050'" - "Research published this week suggests that rising levels of ozone at the Earth's surface could reduce soybean harvests. However, independent researchers say the findings should be treated with caution, as new crop varieties that tolerate higher levels of ozone could be available by then. Ozone forms when gases produced by cars and industrial processes react with sunlight. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a 23 per cent increase in surface ozone by 2050." (SciDev.Net)

"Mexico and Paraguay Block Agreement on Biosafety" - "CURITIBA, Brazil, Mar 17 - Mexico and Paraguay waited until Friday, the last day of the Third Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (MOP3), to present new proposals to modify the text that has been under negotiation since Monday, thus prolonging the five-day gathering." (IPS)

March 17, 2006

CEI Comments on the Domenici-Bingaman Climate Change Policy White Paper - The additional comments submitted are a collaborative effort and are submitted on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the Free Enterprise Action Fund.

"Hot Air Hysteria" - "Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are at record highs according to a new report from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization. The implication is that manmade greenhouse gas emissions and therefore, global warming, are spiraling out of control." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"The cost of environmental initiatives" - "We pay a price when the doom-and-gloom crowd exaggerates dangers and curbs progress." (Bill Tucker, Bergen Record)

"Chance discovery: Alaska Range glacier surges" - "There is evidence that the McGinnis Glacier, a little-known tongue of ice in the central Alaska Range, has surged. Assistant Professor of Physics Martin Truffer recently noticed the lower portion of the glacier was covered in cracks, crevasses, and pinnacles of ice--all telltale signs that the glacier has recently slid forward at higher than normal rates. It has not been determined whether the glacier continues to surge." (University of Alaska Fairbanks) | Image of the Day: Pinnacles of Ice (LiveScience.com)

"Research re-examines strong hurricane studies - Studies link strong storms with rising sea surface temperatures" - "Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have released a study supporting the findings of several studies last year linking an increase in the strength of hurricanes around the world to a global increase in sea surface temperature. The new study strengthens the link between the increase in hurricane intensity and the increase in tropical sea surface temperature. It found that while factors such as wind shear do affect the intensity of individual storms or storm seasons, they don't account for the global 35-year increase in the number of the most intense hurricanes. The study appears online in the March 16 edition of Science Express at www.scienceexpress.org." (Georgia Institute of Technology) | Deconvolution of the Factors Contributing to the Increase in Global Hurricane Intensity | PDF | Supporting Online Material (Science)

"Global Warming Not Featured in New Hurricane Study" - "The latest Science magazine features a paper linking increasing sea-surface temperatures to global increases in the most severe hurricanes, but it does NOT mention global warming as the cause. Think the newspapers won't?" (Dr. Patrick Michaels, TCS Daily)

"Cosmic rays set climate change on Earth, expert says: Scientist challenges greenhouse-gas theory" - "OTTAWA - Stars, not greenhouse gases, are heating up the Earth. So says prominent University of Ottawa science professor Jan Veizer. He knows challenging the accepted climate-change theory may lead to a nasty fight. It's a politically and economically loaded topic. Yet, he is speaking out about his published research. "Look, maybe I'm wrong," he said. "But I'm saying, at least let's look at this and discuss it. "Every one of these things (parts of his theory) has its problems. But so does every other model" of how Earth's climate behaves." (Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen)

Conflict of Interest in the CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences” (Climate Science)

"Annan short-lists candidates selected for top UN post monitoring climate change" - "16 March 2006 – Five candidates put forward by United Nations Member States for the post of Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been short-listed for interview, following a thorough review of all nominees by Secretary General Kofi Annan and his senior advisers, a UN spokesman said today.

The post of Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change, became vacant following the untimely death of Joke Waller-Hunter, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters." (UN News)

"Will global climate change worsen infectious diseases?" - "The growing body of research linking climate to the spread of human and animal infectious diseases includes some ominous predictions, but long-range forecasts remain uncertain." (ES&T)

Usual silly prattle. To begin with, 'global warming' is anything but global. Additionally, changes which may suit some vector/parasites/morbidities usually disadvantage others. About the only certainty is that warmer is more life-friendly than cooler so we hope the inevitable cooling is a long time coming.

"Federal Courts Tackle Climate Change Cases" - "The old environmental adage about thinking globally and acting locally may get one of its biggest tests in a bevy of lawsuits focusing on climate change. Attorneys attending the American Bar Association's environmental law conference in Keystone, Colorado last week got an update on several of the cases from key players, including New York Assistant Attorney General Jared Snyder, who talked about global warming in a compelling context. Comparing Colorado's powder-blanketed slopes with the warm and dry winter just ending back East, Snyder argued that state interests are being harmed by the absence of a federal regulatory scheme for greenhouse gas emissions. That lack of action at the federal level gives local authorities a legal basis for seeking a solution in court, Snyder said. "Action needs to be taken now to stop the damage from greenhouse gas emissions," he said." (New West)

"Bush Administration Opposes World Heritage Convention Action To Protect Glacier National Park And Other Sites" - "The U.S. government is strongly opposing efforts by the United Nations to protect some of the most vulnerable World Heritage Sites from the impacts of global warming. The move comes as a meeting of experts convened by UNESCO begins today in Paris in response to petitions to protect World Heritage Sites threatened by climate change, including Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (in the U.S. and Canada), on Mount Everest and the Peruvian Andes where glaciers are rapidly melting, and the Belize Reef and Great Barrier Reefs (in Australia) which are being damaged due to climate change." (Press Release)

"Swiss ski resort tries to cover up climate change" - "VERBIER, Switzerland - Global warming may be the last thing on the minds of extreme skiers speeding down the blustery cliff faces at Verbier-4 Vallees this winter. But looking down from the chic Swiss ski resort's 10,800-foot peak, Eric Balet, whose company runs the ski lifts, says climate change has become a business concern." (Reuters)

"UK Business Wants Carbon Price, Government Action" - "LONDON - Leading British businessmen called on the government on Wednesday to create the conditions for a viable long-term carbon market if the investment needed for vital low emission power plants was to start flowing." (Reuters)

"CLIMATE CHANGE: Emissions Scheme Improves Profits, Not Air" - "PARIS - The emissions trading scheme in Europe has brought enormous profits to many private firms since it was introduced Jan. 1 last year, while bringing only marginal reduction in gases damaging to the climate, some environmentalists say." (IPS)

Hello! Where were you? Kyoto sceptics have pointed out the problems with hot air trading all along, regardless of whether GHGs actually constitute a problem moving emissions to the third world is not a means of reducing total emission volume. Hot air trading is a scam.

"Turkey says not to sign Kyoto Protocol immediately" - "ANKARA, March 16 -- Turkish Environment and Forestry Minister Osman Pepe said on Thursday that Turkey can not sign the United Nations Kyoto Protocol on global warming immediately like some African countries. While addressing a meeting on climate change in Ankara, Pepe said that Turkey would not sign Kyoto Protocol now as Turkey was not responsible for the global warming, semi-official Anatolia News Agency reported." (Xinhuanet)

"US, Russia in nuclear power call" - "Russia and the US have spearheaded a call for increased nuclear power to provide a more secure energy supply for the world. The US called for "substantial rebirth" of nuclear power after a meeting of energy ministers of the powerful Group of Eight (G8) nations in Moscow." (BBC)

"Hydrogen Fuel Adherents see 2020 as Key Year" - "LONG BEACH, California - Hydrogen fuel proponents see 2020 as the year it all comes together. Not only will there be affordable zero-emissions hydrogen-fueled cars in every showroom but in 2020 a smattering of houses across the world will be lighted with electricity from hydrogen-powered home generators. So say the researchers, business people and government officials working to take hydrogen from an expensive experiment to an affordable alternative to petroleum and its polluting products, gasoline and diesel fuel. But to the average person, hydrogen seems closer to science fiction than a reality show." (Reuters)

"US Panel Endorses Strict Local Tailpipe Standards" - "WASHINGTON - The National Research Council on Thursday endorsed efforts by California and other states to set tougher standards for automobile tailpipe emissions than those set by the federal government." (Reuters)

"The dammed: Environmentalists watch and wait for opening of world's largest dam" - "The world's biggest dam is to open in May, months ahead of schedule. The Three Gorges dam is viewed by supporters with pride as a symbol of China's economic and social change but environmentalists believe it is a catastrophe waiting to happen." (London Independent)

"FEATURE - Brazil's Thirst for Energy to Flood Amazon Habitats" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazil's plans to dam two rivers in the Amazon basin to generate power threaten a treasure trove of animals and plants in a region with one of the world's richest arrays of wildlife, environmentalists say." (Reuters)

"WATER: Activists Share Reservations About Global Forum" - "MEXICO CITY - "Access to water is a basic right": while this is the message voiced by the organisers of the 4th World Water Forum, beginning Thursday in Mexico City, civil society activists take a dim view of this international event, as they believe it will promote the privatisation of water resources." (IPS)

"WATER: Foreign Corporations Backing Off" - "MEXICO CITY - Water rights groups say transnational corporations are increasingly sinking their teeth into Latin America's water services, but studies by the United Nations and other experts point to the contrary: these companies are backing off, and may not come back any time soon." (IPS)

"Group: Feds’ ‘mercury hype’ just fishy" - "The Center for Consumer Freedom has several targets in its cross hairs these days, including the long-debated federal guidelines for fish consumption." (Boston Herald)

"Uganda: NEMA told to speed up DDT assessment" - "THE Government has asked the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to expedite an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on DDT to allow the use of the chemical in the fight against malaria. Health minister Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi said the impact of malaria was overwhelming and could only be mitigated by DDT. “We have to kill malaria using DDT. The matter has been settled that DDT is not harmful to humans and if used for indoor residual spraying, it’s the most effective and cheapest way to fight malaria." (New Vision)

"LATIN AMERICA: Victims of Glyphosate" - "CURITIBA, Brazil, Mar 16 - The pain and suffering of victims of toxic agrochemicals invaded the international negotiations on biosafety in Curitiba, Brazil this week with the accounts of a Paraguayan mother whose son died from herbicide poisoning and local residents of a neighbourhood in Córdoba, Argentina facing a severe health crisis caused by the fumigation of surrounding fields." (IPS)

Glyphosate exhibits low mammalian toxicity, there's no mention in the cited case of transient cough expected from massive inhalation, nor of vomiting or diarrhoea from large volume ingestion, just nausea. Cutaneous haemorrhaging and paralysis are not associated with glyphosate either so this headline is extremely misleading. Nor is glyphosate considered a likely carcinogen, there's no evidence that it's a developmental or reproductive toxin and in fact no reason to consider people its 'victims'. These people are 'victims' but of poverty and lack of development, something that attacking largely benign compounds like glyphosate will not address.

"FEATURE - Brazil Grapples with Jungle Piracy Dilemma" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - In 1999, a young Brazilian botanist named Eliana Rodrigues dug through forests in an ambitious project with Krao Indians to collect and identify 400 tropical plants and berries they use as medicine. Proud of being socially conscious, she and her research partner, Dr Elisandro Carlini, signed agreements with three villages to share royalties from all commercial products and patents developed from the research. To help the tribal economy near the Amazon rainforest, they agreed to pay the Indians to cultivate some medicinal plants. The hope was to identify more of Brazil's vast but largely unknown biodiversity, and find cheap treatments for dozens of ills afflicting the world. But an employee at the federal Indian affairs agency accused them of biological piracy and got a court injunction halting their project." (Reuters)

"A Continent Splits Apart" - "Normally new rivers, seas and mountains are born in slow motion. The Afar Triangle near the Horn of Africa is another story. A new ocean is forming there with staggering speed -- at least by geological standards. Africa will eventually lose its horn." (Der Spiegel)

Seismic surveys? Naval sonar trials? Come on guys, surely misanthropists can find some anthropogenic cause to blame. We know! It must be AGW and changes to the hydrologic cycle, no?

"Gene crops merit cost-benefit analysis - report" - "LONDON - Regulators should assess possible environmental benefits of genetically modified crops (GMO) as well as their potential to cause damage, scientists who advise the government say." (Reuters)

"New Reports Highlight Need To Consider Environmental Impacts Of Changes To Farming Practices" - "The wider environmental impacts of changes to the way that crops are grown are considered in two new reports published today. The studies follow up the Farm Scale Evaluations (FSE) programme which examined the environmental effect of genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops." (Defra)

"Canada Missing Out By Not Being Able to Grow Genetically Modified Wheat" - "A University of California agricultural economist says North American farmers are missing out by not being able to grow genetically modified (GM) wheat. Research conducted by Colin Carter estimates the loss in Canada at $200 million a year. He says GM wheat has higher yields and better weed control, resulting in lower input costs." (CJWW News)

"EU Slaps Down Cyprus on Draft GMO Supermarket Law" - "BRUSSELS - Cyprus earned a stinging rebuff from European Union authorities on Wednesday for its bid to force supermarkets to display genetically modified (GMO) food on separate shelves from traditional and organic produce. Members of the Cypriot parliament floated the idea last year and quickly incurred the wrath of the United States, the world's leading GMO grower and exporter, which warned the assembly that its proposed law could harm ties between the two countries." (Reuters)

"Syngenta Brazil Denies Illegal Genetic Seed Tests" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Syngenta Seeds on Wednesday denied claims by a peasant group occupying its farm in southern Brazil that the biotechnology company's experiments with genetically modified organisms were illegal." (Reuters)

"Malnourished means obese as much as emaciated: UN" - "GENEVA - The overweight are just as malnourished as the starving, and nutritional programs in poor countries need to target rising obesity alongside hunger, a United Nations panel said on Thursday. "We need a new definition of malnutrition," said Catherine Bertini, chair of the U.N. Standing Committee on Nutrition. "Malnutrition means under- and over-nutrition. Malnutrition means emaciated and obese." Bertini said obesity, long linked to eating too much 'junk food' in the United States and other wealthy nations, is fast emerging in developing nations as more people move to cities, exercise less and eat cheap or processed food." (Reuters)

March 16, 2006

"CSR: Cigarettes and Scratched Records" - "In Monty Python's classic "Hungarian Phrasebook" sketch, a Hungarian tourist walks into a British tobacconist's shop, and, consulting a faulty phrasebook, tells the clerk, "I will not buy this record, it is scratched." The clerk, looking confused, responds, "Uh, no, no, no. This is a tobacconist's," and says "cigarettes" as he holds up a pack. "Ya! See-ga-rets! Ya!" responds the Hungarian customer. "My hovercraft is full of eels."

What does this have to do with anything? Quite simply, the debate over corporate social responsibility (CSR) has come to resemble this exchange. The rhetorical battle has been joined, but the two sides just can't seem to agree on what they're fighting over. In fact, they keep talking past each other." (Ivan Osorio, TCS Daily)

"Welcome to Indonesia" - In September 2004, police in Indonesia handcuffed and arrested six employees of the Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation, throwing them in jail for 32 days next to terrorists who had attacked the Australian embassy. So began a 15-month saga that is expected to reach its climax in the coming weeks. Newmont is alleged to have polluted the waters around its Indonesian gold mine -- near Buyat village, on the northern tip of Sulawesi Island -- with mercury. While the other employees of Newmont are out of legal jeopardy, Richard Ness, head of the mining operation, is on trial in Jakarta for criminal negligence in the alleged pollution. He faces a 10-year prison sentence if convicted.

The Newmont case has received worldwide publicity because it is regarded as part of an overall indictment by environmental groups against the mining industry in general. Press coverage has reported Newmont's denials mostly as an afterthought, if it has reported them at all. A review of the evidence raises serious questions about the case and the fairness of the legal proceedings -- as well as the potential impact of this dispute on the economic future of the world's fourth-most populous country." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Restoring Media Credibility in Science and Health Coverage" - "STATS' Trevor Butterworth proposes practical steps in Financial Times" (STATS)

"Happy 150th birthday: a new era looms for old age" - "OXFORD, England - Modern medicine is redefining old age and may soon allow people to live regularly beyond the current upper limit of 120 years, experts said on Wednesday. It used to be thought there was some inbuilt limit on lifespan, but a group of scientists meeting at Oxford University for a conference on life extension and enhancement dismissed that idea. Paul Hodge, director of the Harvard Generations Policy Program, said governments around the world - struggling with pension crises, greying workforces and rising healthcare costs - had to face up to the challenge now. "Life expectancy is going to grow significantly, and current policies are going to be proven totally inadequate," he predicted. Just how far and fast life expectancy will increase is open to debate, but the direction and the accelerating trend is clear." (Reuters)

"Evolution in action: Why some viruses jump species" - "Researchers studying strains of a lethal canine virus and a related human virus have determined why the canine virus was able to spread so quickly from cats to dogs, and then from sick dogs to healthy dogs. Their studies may lead to a new understanding of the critical molecular factors that permit viruses to jump from one species to another – information that could be helpful in assessing how much of a threat avian influenza is to humans." (Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

"Are sodas the new cigarettes?" - "Judging from recent media coverage, soda is quickly gaining on cigarettes for the title of No. 1 Public Health Threat." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, The Washington Times)

"'Glycemic index' questioned as diet tool" - "NEW YORK - Weight- and health-conscious eaters may not find much help in following the so-called low-GI diet, a new study suggests." (Reuters Health)

"No long-term cancer risk seen from breast implants" - "NEW YORK - Results of a study that followed women up to 30 years adds to evidence that silicone breast implants do not boost cancer risk. The study, of nearly 2,800 Danish women who got breast implants between 1973 and 1995, found that these women actually had a lower risk of breast cancer than a group of similar but implant-free women. Also, the implants were not tied to other types of cancer, according to findings published in the International Journal of Cancer. Women with breast implants did have a higher rate of non-melanoma skin cancers, the most common and least threatening forms of the disease. But it's possible that greater sun exposure explains that association, the study authors speculate." (Reuters Health)

"Drop in air pollution linked to reduced mortality" - "NEW YORK - Reductions in fine particulate air pollution do seem to translate into a survival benefit on a population level, researchers have shown. The drop in mortality "was observed specifically for deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory disease and not from lung cancer, a disease with a longer latency period and less reversibility," Dr. Francine Laden, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, explained in a statement. A direct link between death rates and small airborne particles 2.5 microns in diameter or less -- dubbed PM2.5 -- has been noted in numerous epidemiologic studies, but it was unclear if improvements in particle exposure would actually lead to better survival, according to a report by Laden and her colleagues." (Reuters Health)

But it didn't even control for smoking cessation...

"Misconceptions about mold exposure abound" - "NEW YORK - Illnesses resulting from mold-exposure are common and important, but a lot of what's currently being blamed on mold exposure is not supported by good medical evidence, researchers assert." (Reuters Health)

"Moon affects deadly radon levels in homes" - "Thousands of homeowners could be exposed to higher levels of the deadly gas radon than they realise because of a bizarre interaction with the moon. Scientists have discovered that natural levels of the radioactive gas, which is thought to kill up to 2,000 people in the UK each year, are affected by changes in the lunar cycle, because it alters the gravitational pull on the Earth." (The Guardian)

Hmm... maybe the moon exerts an even stronger influence on radon scare mongers?

"Study links lice to wild salmon" - "It's a lice theory, but will it hold water? The ongoing debate between the marine farming industry and various researchers, scientists and environmentalists over the impact of B.C. fish farms on wild salmon populations is about to be notched up to a new level with a new study claiming that it provides "direct evidence" that sea lice, which have been linked to fish farms, are killing juvenile migrating wild salmon in B.C.'s Broughton Archipelago." (The Province)

"Fur trade thrives despite protests" - "Britain is the biggest trader of fur in the world and plays a major role in the European trade in seal fur. According to the British Fur Trade Association (BFTA) the UK trade in animal furs is worth between £400m and £500m a year. Despite the attention of animals rights protesters, the trade body says the animal fur industry is thriving, with sales of fur garments and accessories up 30 per cent last year." (London Independent)

"Environment changes hit Europe's butterflies" - "Seven in 10 British butterfly species are declining dramatically as a result of intensive farming, habitat loss and climate change, the largest survey of Europe's butterflies has revealed." (The Guardian)

"Brazil to Press for Global Biodiversity Regime" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - Curbing the loss of biodiversity and achieving an international regime governing access to genetic resources will be the two top priorities of Brazil, which is hosting the eighth conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-8), Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva told IPS." (IPS)

"Study: Tsunamis Added Height to Maldives" - "March 15, 2006 — The low-lying Maldives island chain was right in the bulls-eye of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis, but the islands themselves suffered surprisingly little damage and some even grew taller as a result of the deadly waves, reports a New Zealand geologist." (Discovery News)

"Huge polar initiative announced" - "Next year, thousands of scientists from around the world will begin the most intensive period of research on the polar regions in half a century. International Polar Year (IPY) aims to provide a legacy of research into key environmental issues facing the Earth." (BBC)

"New test of snow's thickness may 'bear' results key to polar climate studies, wildlife habitat" - "A NASA-funded expedition to the Arctic to map the thickness of snow has a legion of unexpected furry fans hailing from one of the world's coldest regions: polar bears." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Radar altimetry revolutionises the study of the ocean" - "Imagine a space tool so revolutionary it can determine the impact of climate change, monitor the melting of glaciers, discover invisible waves, predict the strength of hurricanes, conserve fish stocks and measure river and lake levels worldwide, among other scientific applications. This instrument is not the subject of a science-fiction novel. In fact, four of them are already operating 800 kilometres above Earth." (European Space Agency)

"No News Is Bad News" - "A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) bulletin on Tuesday revealed some startling news: that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at an all time high(!) From the press it received, you would think it was the kind of evidence that put the final nail in the coffin of skepticism over climate catastrophe. In reality, this earth-shaking announcement could have been made last year... or the year before... or really, just about any year out of the last 50. And I predict that it will also be true of each future year for decades to come." (Dr. Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

We are used to the 'too hot, must be global warming - too cold, same answer' routine - now UnderReported News has taken 'climate science' to its logical conclusion.

Guaranteed to raise a howl: "Century of data shows intensification of water cycle but no increase in storms or floods" - "A review of the findings from more than 100 peer-reviewed studies shows that although many aspects of the global water cycle have intensified, including precipitation and evaporation, this trend has not consistently resulted in an increase in the frequency or intensity of tropical storms or floods over the past century. The USGS findings, which have implications on the effect of global climate change, are published today in the Journal of Hydrology." (United States Geological Survey)

Cue 'warming increasing hurricanes' stories, crank up volume...

"An Extreme View of Global Warming" - "The notion that human-induced climate change will make for more extreme weather has become writ large on the public consciousness. It makes for good headlines, so surely it must be true. Well, new analyses suggest it might be false (at least for the United States)." (World Climate Report)

"Cold weather stifles Welsh wildlife" - "THE Arctic cold gripping Wales has delayed spring and could have a devastating impact on the nation's wildlife, experts have warned. For the past five years spring has been arriving earlier than usual because of what is widely accepted as the effect of global warming and climate change. But 2006's freezing temperatures have led to a seasonal delay that is already confusing Wales' rich variety of flora and fauna. Migratory birds have usually arrived from the Sahara by now. So far they have failed to show up. Insects are yet to hatch, and the spring flowers they depend on, including daffodils, primroses and pussy willow, are late to flower. Now conservationists are worried about a lack of food for the nation's wildlife during the breeding season." (Sally Williams, Western Mail)

Well, yes, cold is kind of life unfriendly, what did anyone expect? The reason we have an 'average' for seasons to be either earlier or later than is because seasons don't arrive according to anyone's calendar.

New items on Number Watch 'Cheating'; 'The Beeb is best' (should that have been one heading?) and; 'The participation mystique'

Oh boy... "UN urged to save glaciers and reefs" - "United Nations experts will today hold an emergency meeting aimed at protecting some of the world's natural wonders from the escalating threat of climate change. Melting glaciers on Mount Everest and damage to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia have prompted calls for the UN to officially acknowledge that global warming poses a danger to some of its world heritage sites. A move to add these and other sites to the endangered list are to be discussed at a special summit meeting in Paris." (The Guardian)

"More Hot Air on Global Warming" - "As the first anniversary of the global warming treaty, also known as the Kyoto Protocol, has come and gone, a steady stream of stories from the mainstream media continues to reinforce the notion that global warming is indeed a real phenomenon that is significantly caused by human activity and exacerbated by U.S. refusal to sign on to Kyoto. Our media have let it be known in no uncertain terms that scientists who oppose this "consensus" are either bought and paid for by oil companies or ignorant of the facts and evidence. What's more, they are not worth paying any attention to." (Roger Aronoff, AIM)

"Indian Ocean coral may die in 50 years -researcher" - "VICTORIA - Rising sea temperatures caused by global warming could kill off the Indian Ocean's coral reefs in the next 50 years, threatening vital marine life, a marine researcher said on Wednesday. Vast ecosystems often called the nurseries of the sea, coral reefs are vital spawning grounds for many species of fish, help prevent coastal erosion and also draw tourist revenues. "Scientific reports are indicating we will have no corals left by 2050," Jude Bijoux, manager of the Seychelles Center for Marine Research and Technology, told Reuters." (Reuters)

Another Major Non-CO2 Climate Forcing of Global Warming (Climate Science)

Once more the eye-rollers: "Global warming reaches 'tipping point' - report" - "WASHINGTON - Human-fuelled global warming has reached a "tipping point," according to a new survey of scientific research that found warming would continue even if greenhouse gas emissions halted immediately." (Reuters)

or twice... "Climate threat to chemicals - report" - "LONDON - The bulk commodity chemicals and building materials sectors are the most exposed to climate change, a case study of 10 sectors sponsored by the government-funded Carbon Trust suggested on Thursday. The research highlighted the risk climate change poses to companies and their shareholders, whether from the costs of complying with mounting environmental red tape or the threat of physical damage from predicted increases in weather extremes." (Reuters)

"Climate: The great hockey stick debate" - "The crucial evidence for global warming is fatally flawed - or so we are told. Fred Pearce untangles the arguments." (New Scientist)

What debate? The hokey hockey stick's a crock, as any student of history has known all along.

Nuclear energy: With the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl Power Plant accident looming (it was April 26, 1986), readers might find ChernobylLegacy.com a particularly useful site for hosing down the hype and sorting fact from myth.

"German minister slams commission energy paper" - "German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel has sharply criticised the European Commission for focusing too heavily on energy security, while disregarding renewable energy and spending too much cash on nuclear power." (EUobserver)

So what? Gabriel's only an environment minister, the obligatory government ornament to garner a few fringe votes at election time and viewed with tolerant amusement the rest of the time.

"Mexico discovers 'huge' oil field" - "Mexican President Vicente Fox has announced the discovery of a new deep-water oil field, which is believed to contain 10bn barrels of crude. The field is in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mexico says it could be bigger than its largest oil field, Cantarell." (BBC)

"Australia: Coal industry to spend $300m on clean-up" - "The Australian black coal industry will commit $300 million over the next five years to advance technologies to cut greenhouse emissions. The package will involve the electricity generation industry demonstrating the effectiveness of a range of cutting edge technologies." (AAP)

"Europe Tests Carbon Capture at Coal-Fired Power Plant" - "ESBJERG, Denmark, March 15, 2006 - The world’s largest pilot plant for the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from a conventional power station was opened in Denmark today. It is the first installation in the world to capture the CO2 in the flue gases of a coal-fired power station." (ENS)

"AGRICULTURE-LATIN AMERICA: Transgenic Crops Make Their Mark" - "MONTEVIDEO - Genetically modified organisms are leaving an indelible mark on several Latin American countries, regardless of the standards for their use and the attempts to adopt an international regime governing their production and transportation." (IPS)

"Syngenta moves closer to launching GM wheat" - "Leading agribusiness Syngenta could be set to introduce the world’s first genetically modified wheat seed by early next decade, a move fully supported by American wheat industry organizations." (CheckBiotech)

Meaching: "Defra is sowing the seeds of poor farmers' destruction" - "The claim by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that it has not altered its policy on genetically modified terminator technology - used to sterilise farm-saved seeds, thereby protecting corporate seed sales - does not stand up to serious scrutiny." (Michael Meacher, The Guardian via CheckBiotech)

March 15, 2006

They don't say? "Shorter Lives Trouble Poorest Countries" - "BANGKOK, Mar 14 - At a time when people in the developed world are enjoying longer lives, citizens of the world's poorest countries (LDCs) are still expecting to live comparatively short lives." (IPS)

The truly disheartening thing is that misanthropes flying varied 'green' banners mount massive, well financed and well organised campaigns of deception and obstruction to 'protect' impoverished peoples from the development that will alleviate the bulk of their difficulties. The 'cure' for Least Developed Countries is to become developed countries and if the path to development lies directly over the obstructionists then so be it.

"Swedish plans to colonise space" - "Building a self-reliant moon colony is no longer science fiction, or a gimmick to promote the new James Bond film. It is indeed near-term reality. After the Apollo landings, the moon returned to its magnificent desolation, and has until recently received very little attention as a target of exploration, let alone settlement. Currently, the Swedish-made SMART-1 is the only spacecraft orbiting the moon. It is scheduled to impact in early 2007, but another Swedish effort is already being launched, designed to make a lasting impact on the way we perceive the moon." (Press Release)

"FEATURE-How many species inhabit the planet?" - "JOHANNESBURG, March 15 - Scientists and policy makers who want to slow the rate at which species are being lost face a conundrum: no one knows how many different plants and animals there are." (Reuters)

"Bang goes the 'harmful man' theory" - "Grouse moor owners are heroes not villains of conservation." (Magnus Linklater, London Times)

"Argentina glacier sheds huge chunks" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Huge chunks of ice have tumbled off Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier - a rare spectacle that prompted a vigil by hundreds of tourists. Argentine television stations interrupted regular programming with live coverage of the break-up of the glacier known as the "White Giant," which was caused by building water pressure in the lake that it extends across." (Reuters)

"GE vs. Keith Olbermann?" - "Olbermann, a former sports anchor, seems to be in left-field somewhere about what the head of his own parent company believes and has done on the critical matter of enforcing the U.N.'s dubious global warming treaty." (Cliff Kincaid, AIM)

"EDITORIAL: How green is Arnold?" - "WHEN IT COMES to climate change, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger needs to choose his leading role. Will he follow through on pledges to cut heat-trapping gases from industry smokestacks and vehicle tailpipes? Or will he fall back on sound-bites that won't dent the problem?" (SF Chronicle)

Upcoming Climate Meeting (Climate Science)

"Reactions to Searching for a Signal" - "I would love to be the first person to conclusively identify the signal of increasing greenhouse gases in the historical record of disaster losses. I have no doubt that such a study, scientifically solid and peer reviewed, would be widely cited, globally reported, and the author(s) would reach near rock star status in the climate science and advocacy communities. The problem is that I (and a number of colleagues) have been looking for such a signal for more than 10 years, recording our efforts in dozens of papers along the way, and so far the signal hasn’t been found." (Prometheus)

"Greenhouse-gas concentrations reached new highs in 2004" - "Globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in the Earth’s atmosphere reached their highest-ever recorded levels in 2004 according to the first annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin published by WMO on 14 March. CO2 was recorded at 377.1 parts per million (ppm), CH4 at 1783 parts per billion (ppb), and N2O at 318.6 ppb. These values supersede those of pre-industrial times by 35%, 155% and 18% respectively, an increased over the previous decade by 19ppm, 37ppb and 8ppb in absolute amounts." (WMO) | Global warming gases at highest levels ever: UN (Reuters) | Carbon Dioxide Hit Record in 2005 (Associated Press)

When the media blurt "highest ever" they must be assuming people will fill in "while people have been measuring" because most everyone knows current CO2 levels are near the lowest they've been for, oh, about 250 million years or thereabouts.

"Study links 'smog' to Arctic warming" - "NASA scientists have found that a major form of global air pollution involved in summertime 'smog' has also played a significant role in warming the Arctic." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Federal environment minister says Canada will not opt out of Kyoto" - "SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper's public misgivings about the Kyoto protocol on climate change, the federal environment minister says Canada will not opt out of the accord. Rona Ambrose said Tuesday the Conservative government will work within the protocol, but she said there is a need for a separate, made-in-Canada solution to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution." (Canadian Press)

"Australia: Beazley's tepid climate policy has failure written all over it" - "Labor's attachment to the Kyoto Protocol will please trendies but not the party's traditional voters, says Economics editor Alan Wood" (The Australian)

From CO2 Science this week:

Tropical Forest Productivity Trajectories: What do real-world data of the last few decades reveal about them?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 3 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Nile Drainage Basin, Kenya.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Agriculture (Species - Sorghum: Residue): Will the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content alter sorghum residue in ways that will reduce or enhance soil carbon sequestration?

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: Scots Pine, Soybean, Submerged Aquatic Macrophyte, and Wheat.

Journal Reviews:
Solar Activity, Cosmic Rays, Low Clouds and Climate Change: How are they believed by many to be related, and what has recently been learned about the linkages between them?

The Urban Heat Island of Barrow, Alaska: How strong is it in winter, and what are the meteorological factors that determine its strength?

Multi-Century Climatic Cycles of Equatorial Africa: How are they related to the 1500-year climate cycles of the North Atlantic?

Carbon Sequestration in Soil Supporting Chaparral Vegetation: How is it impacted by atmospheric CO 2 enrichment?

Nitrogen Cycling in Mojave Desert Soils: How is it affected by elevated CO 2 ? (co2science.org)

"Farmers Sign On to Energy Push" - "Farm groups are seeking federal incentives for forms of renewable energy, in an unlikely alliance with environmentalists and with the help of former farm-belt Senate majority leaders Tom Daschle and Bob Dole." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Railroads Struggle to Deliver More Coal" - "At a time of surging prices for petroleum and natural gas, coal more than ever is seen as the U.S.'s reliable ace in the hole. But the ability of railroads to get coal to power plants when it's needed is suddenly no sure thing." (The Wall Street Journal)

"EU Energy Council Greeted With Inflatable Dinosaur, Nuclear Plant" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 14, 2006 - Friends of the Earth Europe activists demonstrated against the energy policy of the European Union today by setting up a 10 meter (33 foot) high inflatable dinosaur symbolizing fossil fuels and an inflatable nuclear power station in front of the EU Council building. A banner read, "Dirty Fossil, Dangerous Nukes? The Future Is Renewable!" Activists distributed to officials entering the Council building edible mini-power stations made from pastry." (ENS)

Recycling tired old Greenpeas stunts doesn't seem very renewable does it? Wonder whatever happened to Cobzilla or whatever they called him - perhaps he met an untimely end with a gallon of butter and a pound of salt? Whatever, even the 'peas seem to have quietened down on campaigns consisting of inflatable toys although there's no word on whether that reflects advance to adolescence or simple lack of affordability.

"USGS assessment significantly increases Afghanistan petroleum resource base" - "The USGS and the Government of Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Industry have completed the first-ever assessment of Afghanistan's undiscovered petroleum resources and have determined that the resource base is significantly greater than previously understood. The assessment was conducted over the past two years, with funding provided by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. The estimates increase the oil resources by 18 times and more than triple the natural gas resources." (United States Geological Survey)

"Mexico plans nuclear expansion" - "MEXICO CITY, Mexico -- The Mexican government plans to expand the nation's long-stagnant nuclear power program to cope with rapidly growing energy needs, the head of the state electricity company said Tuesday." (AP)

"Why GM is Good for Us" - "Genetically modified foods may be greener than organic ones." (Lee Silver, Newsweek International)

"Brazil Still Has Doubts on Labelling of Transgenic Products" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - The third meeting of the parties to the global biosafety treaty kicked off Monday in this southern Brazilian city on a certain note of mystery: the 800 negotiators and observers from 116 countries still have no idea what the host country's position is on the most controversial issue to be negotiated at this gathering: the labelling of transgenic products." (IPS)

"Brazil backs stronger GMO export labeling -ministry" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazilian exports of genetically modified organisms, such as soybeans, will bear the label "contains GMOs" within four years, the environment ministry said late Monday. Brazil's support of the stronger labeling position marks a shift in its position from the weaker "may contain GMOs" -- as is called for by a U.N. treaty, the Cartagena Protocol." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace says illegal GMO rice in Heinz baby food" - "HONG KONG - Environmental activist Greenpeace said on Tuesday illegal Chinese GMO rice had been found in baby food made in China by U.S. food giant Heinz Co. In statements released in Beijing and Hong Kong, Greenpeace urged Heinz to recall the baby cereal containing insect-resistant genetically modified rice, which is still under field study in China for its food and environmental safety." (Reuters)

March 14, 2006

"SEC Blocks PepsiCo's Attempt to Exclude NLPC Shareholder Proposal on Charitable Contribution Disclosure" - "WASHINGTON, March 13 -- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has notified PepsiCo that the company may not exclude a shareholder resolution filed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) that requests a semi-annual report on PepsiCo's charitable giving, including the business rationale for such giving." (U.S. Newswire)

"Access to antiretrovirals unlikely to reduce HIV infection rates" - "A new study by Rebecca Baggaley, Neil Ferguson, and Geoff Garnett (of Imperial College London) suggests that the HIV epidemic in poor countries will not be controlled through antiretroviral drugs alone, even if universal access is achieved. As they demonstrate in an article in the open-access international medical journal PLoS Medicine, without additional prevention methods such as counseling patients and their communities about safe sex, access to drugs is likely to increase HIV/AIDS prevalence." (Public Library of Science)

"Public support for science and innovation: Productivity Commission report" - "In welcoming today's announcement of a Productivity Commission study into science and innovation, Medicines Australia can point to many examples where spending on innovation provides long-term rewards to the nation's economy and well-being." (Research Australia)

"Euro-MPs debate mercury crackdown" - "Tough measures to reduce the use of mercury in Europe are to be debated in the European parliament. A resolution from Cypriot MEP Marios Matsakis calls for a ban on EU mercury exports by 2010 and steps to extract and collect mercury from all waste. The resolution describes mercury as a "global threat", particularly harmful to babies as they develop in the womb." (BBC)

"Doubts cast on superstar woodpecker's return" - "The apparent rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker in 2005 – hailed as one of the great conservation triumphs of recent times – may be merely a case of mistaken identity, according to a new study." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Buyer Beware: Conservation Can Backfire" - "Buying land is a key strategy for conserving rare and endangered species. But the practice can do more harm than good if conservationists aren't mindful of economic and ecological realities, researchers report in the 13 March issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (ScienceNOW Daily News)

"The Campus Strikes Back" - "An article of faith for Europe's alternative mindset has been questioned recently, giving some hope that opposition to it is growing along with much-needed support for science over scare-mongering." (Jeremy Slater, TCS Daily)

"U.S. terror hunt targets animal activists" - "Kevin Kjonaas set up a website with details about businesses that use animals for research information, and now he and five other activists have been convicted of inciting terrorism." (Toronto Star)

"McCartney's seal campaign silly, Inuit say" - "IQALUIT, Nunavut — Two Inuit leaders say pop star Paul McCartney's recent campaign against the Canadian seal hunt is silly and disrespectful to wildlife. The ex-Beatle visited the East Coast region this month to stage a high-profile photo-op on the ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, calling for the end of the centuries-old commercial hunt. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the elected Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and Duane Smith, president of the conference, say in a news release issued today that Ottawa should reject McCartney's advice. They are urging a federally funded campaign in Europe and the United States to counter his message." (CP)

Gosh Sheila, you really can't go running around playing the media hype-queen over 'global warming' and then complaining about being out hyped over seals - it just isn't done. Now, if you genuinely want to go with reality we'll stand with you (metaphorically, at least, unless you want to move to the tropics) but that would mean climate reality too.

"ANALYSIS - Frigid Winter Sparks Japan Weather Derivatives" - "TOKYO - The shock of Japan's coldest winter in two decades has stoked demand for weather derivatives used to shield against the financial impact of Mother Nature, but growth may be tepid until an exchange is established." (Reuters)

Silly headline but interesting piece: "Greenhouse theory smashed by biggest stone" - "A new theory to explain global warming was revealed at a meeting at the University of Leicester (UK) and is being considered for publication in the journal "Science First Hand". The controversial theory has nothing to do with burning fossil fuels and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. According to Vladimir Shaidurov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the apparent rise in average global temperature recorded by scientists over the last hundred years or so could be due to atmospheric changes that are not connected to human emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of natural gas and oil. Shaidurov explained how changes in the amount of ice crystals at high altitude could damage the layer of thin, high altitude clouds found in the mesosphere that reduce the amount of warming solar radiation reaching the earth's surface." (University of Leicester) | Here's the original in .pdf: Atmospheric hypotheses of Earth’s global warming (Vladimir Shaidurov, arXiv)

My first take from a necessarily very brief view of this paper is that, while the timing for the early 20th Century warming does seem to fit the thermometer record, it lacks any greater explanatory power than the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis for the observed cooling 1950s-1970s and subsequent apparent reversal of trend (again) from the PDO phase shift of 1976 through to now, nuclear testing-generated dust screens notwithstanding. Neither hypothesis explains such things as Central England's recorded temperature rise in the late 17th, early 18th Centuries, for example and Armagh Observatory shows a rise in both minimum and maximum temperatures beginning roughly three decades prior to the Tunguska Event. That said it's a given that AGW advocates will react hysterically to this paper (not a tough call, AGW advocates react hysterically to most everything).

Is there Continued Stratosphere Cooling? (Climate Science)

"Understanding Common Climate Claims" (.pdf - This is a draft copy of a paper that will appear in the proceedings of the 2005 ERICE Meeting of the World Federation of Scientists on Global Emergencies) - "ABSTRACT: The issue of man induced climate change involves not the likelihood of dangerous consequences, but rather their remote possibility. The main areas of widespread agreement (namely that global mean temperature has risen rather irregularly about 0.6C over the past century, that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have increased about 30% over the past century, and that carbon dioxide by virtue of its infrared absorption bands should contribute to warming) do not imply dangerous warming. Indeed, we know that doubling carbon dioxide should lead to a heating of about 3.7 watts per square meter, and that man made greenhouse heating is already about 2.7 watts per square meter. Thus, we have seen less warming than would be predicted by any model showing more than about 0.8 degrees C warming for a doubling of carbon dioxide. This is consistent with independent identifications of negative feedbacks.

Alarming scenarios, on the other hand, are typically produced by models predicting 4 degrees C. After the fact, such models can only be made to simulate the observed warming by including numerous unknown factors which are chosen to cancel most of the warming to the present, while assuming that such cancellation will soon disappear.

Alarm is further promoted by such things as claiming that a warmer world will be stormier even though basic theory, observations, and even model outputs point to the opposite.

With respect to Kyoto, it is generally agreed that Kyoto will do virtually nothing about climate no matter what is assumed. Given that projected increases in carbon dioxide will only add incrementally to the greenhouse warming already present, it seems foolish to speak of avoiding dangerous thresholds. If one is concerned, the approach almost certainly is to maximize adaptability." (Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"WRI Review of Climate Science in 2005 Shows Current Impacts of Global Climate Change" - "WASHINGTON, DC, March 13, 2006 -- The World Resources Institute today released a review of last year’s major climate research. The studies indicate how changes due to human-induced climate change are already having quantifiable effects on the environment." (Press Release)

"DEEP THOUGHT: Climate of superstition" - "There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is generally adopted. -- Schopenhauer" (Nigel Lawson, The Spectator)

"Sharp rise in CO2 levels recorded" - "US climate scientists have recorded a significant rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, pushing it to a new record level. BBC News has learned the latest data shows CO2 levels now stand at 381 parts per million (ppm) - 100ppm above the pre-industrial average." (BBC)

"Past winter the warmest ever: Environment Canada" - "TORONTO - Canada is in the closing stretch of its warmest winter in recorded history, another upswing in an apparent warming trend that supports the notion that global warming is upon us, an Environment Canada climatologist said Monday. Between December and February, the country was 3.9 degrees above normal - the warmest winter season since temperatures were first recorded in 1948." (CP)

?!! "Climate change 'irreversible' as Arctic sea ice fails to re-form" - "Sea ice in the Arctic has failed to re-form for the second consecutive winter, raising fears that global warming may have tipped the polar regions in to irreversible climate change far sooner than predicted." (London Independent)

Short-termism strikes again? This would suggest only a few months aberration from the 1979-2000 mean for the Arctic Basin over the last year, this shows the variability during the year, while this would definitely suggest a decline, mainly in summer, since the 1950s. Whatever, here's some sites of interest for sea ice data: Sea Ice Index; Sea Ice Trends and Climatologies from SMMR and SSM/I

Check out the new slim line and fast loading "Climate Quick Pick" where you can access more than 150 views of global and regional climate - including temperature and precipitation - just choose your required graphic from simple link lists.

"A Port's Ice Is Thinning, and So Is Its Tourist Trade" - "MOMBETSU, Japan — The icebreaker Garinko II cast off one recent morning with an apology. The loudspeaker told the four tourists aboard the ship, large enough for 195 passengers, what they had already deduced. Regrettably, the drift ice that drew them here, which usually descends on Japan's northern face this time of the year, was nowhere in sight — a result, experts say, of warming waters in the Sea of Okhotsk." (New York Times)

"Warmer winters lift bug barrier: Decline of cold snaps allows rise of destructive pests" - "EDMONTON -- Edmonton's big chill, it seems, is losing its bite. While that may be good news for people who hate the cold, it may not be so good for gardeners, foresters and caretakers of city parks and trees. Cold snaps with daily high temperatures of -30 or less for at least seven straight days keep some crop-killing, tree-boring, leaf-eating insects in check. They also help stop or slow the spread of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as West Nile." (The Edmonton Journal)

It's all crawling out of the ooze today: "Ghostly coral bleachings haunt the world's reefs" - "SYDNEY - When marine scientist Ray Berkelmans went diving at Australia's Great Barrier Reef earlier this year, what he discovered shocked him -- a graveyard of coral stretching as far as he could see." (Reuters)

"Commentary: We're going over the climate cliff" - "WOODS HOLE, Mass. - We need leadership on climate change, and we're not getting it. Leaders would understand the issue and help educate us. Leaders would realize the magnitude of the problem and shape a commensurate response. Where we need focus, we get distractions. Where we need courageous and decisive action, we get ignorance, arrogance and denial. And time is not on our side." (John K. Bullard, Providence Journal)

"Business hijacks green agenda" - "As our own new Canadian government backs away from the Kyoto Accord and the Bush administration in the U.S. continues to call for more research into, rather than take action on, climate change, in the eyes of some observers it is the corporate world that has taken over the leadership in battling today’s environmental and a host of other global challenges." (Brandon Sun)

Is voluntary approach to global warming better?
Yes: It will produce far more gain with far less pain than Kyoto treaty
No: As melting glaciers jeopardize low-lying areas, action is needed (Knight Ridder/Tribune)

"Research lab closures to go ahead" - "Controversial plans to close four global warming research centres and cut scores of jobs have won approval. The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) sites at Dorset, Oxford, Monk's Wood in Cambridgeshire and Banchory, in Aberdeenshire, will shut. Managers at the Natural Environment Research Council say they will cut 160 jobs instead of the 200 proposed. Union Prospect said the decision was "tantamount to disarming the UK in the battle against global warming."

I might have been sympathetic but if these sites are actually dedicated to "the battle against global warming" then they serve no useful purpose and should be closed.

If you repeat it often enough? "Vanishing toads could portend extinction crisis" - "OSLO - Exotic frogs and toads are dying out in the jungles of Latin America, apparent victims of global warming in what might be a harbinger of one of the worst waves of extinction since the dinosaurs." (Reuters)

"UK: Gas warning: not enough to meet demand - Cold weather provokes supply crisis" - "The National Grid, responsible for running Britain's gas and electricity pipes and wires, yesterday issued an unprecedented warning that the country was in danger of not having enough gas to meet demand. It issued its first-ever "gas balancing alert" to the market, telling traders that gas demand might have to be reduced, initially for businesses. The move sent wholesale prices spiralling up fourfold." | Warnings were ignored of looming British gas crisis (The Guardian) | Gas prices hit all-time high as fears of energy crisis grow (London Independent)

"Russia defends supply record as G8 debates energy" - "Russia defended its record as a reliable energy supplier on Monday, as Group of Eight energy ministers and José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, prepared to gather in Moscow to discuss concerns about energy security." (Financial Times)

"Long-maligned oil platforms a haven for overfished species" - "SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Marine biologist Milton Love drives a hybrid car, displays a banner of leftist icon Che Guevara on his laboratory wall - and has backing from big oil. The reason is his finding that long-maligned oil platforms off California's Central Coast may be a haven for overfished stocks of groundfish. The research is good news to oil executives, who are looking for reasons not to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to remove the platforms once the oil stops flowing." (Associated Press)

Unlike Greens, the critters that make up the natural world have no pathological hatred of human artefacts - reef or wreck, makes no difference, it's just habitat to be exploited just as rare corals found a home on the Brent Spar (but were killed by Greenpeace lies in their infamous fundraising campaign). As soon as the rig foundation or mooring is installed it is part of the habitat - leave the poor critters their homes and quit this stupid "it's bad because people put it there" thing.

"Nuclear industry buffing its image" - "The television ads are striking. A cloudy sky gradually clearing to blue, the word "unclear" unscrambling to "nuclear" then "clean" and "breathe" and "please." A woman's voice tells you nuclear power is reliable, affordable and "best of all, keeps the air clean, so you can breathe easier." (Montreal Gazette)

"India wants Nuclear Energy included under CDM" - "India is actively participating in the CDM mechanism of the Protocol and till date have given Host Country Approval to 256 eligible projects, the largest number of approved projects by any country in the world." (IndiaPRwire.com)

"Spain says EU Emission Rules will hurt its Carmakers" - "MADRID - Spain's Industry Minister warned on Tuesday that proposed new European rules, designed to cut vehicle emissions, could hurt the Spanish car industry." (Reuters)

"Ultra-clean coal – Could the price now be right to help fight climate change?" - "A new chemical process for removing unwanted minerals from coal could lead to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations. There is already a way of burning coal in a cleaner, more efficient fashion that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions: this is where the coal is turned into a gas and used to drive a turbine. However, problems with cleaning the coal before it is burnt have made generating electricity in this way very expensive. This new chemical process could make it more commercially viable." (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

"Untrustworthy Indians" - "Can India trust the United States? "No", said 61 per cent Indians in a nationwide poll conducted by a Delhi based publication. The question is-has US ever betrayed India or broke a promise which she had had given to India? If not, then what makes a majority of Indians think that the 'US is untrustworthy'!" (Chandrabhan Prasad, The Pioneer (New Delhi, India))

"Do plants have the potential to vaccinate against HIV?" - "Plants have already been used to produce many types of vaccine molecules, but a consistent problem has been achieving adequate levels of protein expression in order to make them viable as bioreactors for vaccines." (Plant Biotechnology Journal)

"H.K. gov't gave GM papaya seeds to farmers: Greenpeace" - "Environmental group Greenpeace said Monday that papaya farmers in Hong Kong were notified by the government late last year that papaya seeds provided to them earlier were "very likely" genetically modified." (Kyodo)

"Duke queries genetic modifications" - "THE Duke of Edinburgh has questioned genetic modifications to food crops and agricultural sustainability during a visit to Australia's national science headquarters. In surprisingly candid comments, Prince Philip revealed his views while he toured the CSIRO in Canberra this morning. The Duke raised his concerns about genetically modified organisms during a presentation on the peak science organisation's agricultural research. The development of GM plants – a key plank of CSIRO's research – was a big issue in Europe, he said." (AAP)

March 13, 2006

"Overall blood pressure levels falling, study shows" - "LONDON - Blood pressure levels in the general population fell on average in 21 countries between the 1980s and 1990s but the drop was not due to medicines, researchers said on Friday. Scientists who worked on the World Health Organisation MONICA study are not sure what caused the small but significant decline but they believe it could be due to a variety of factors, such as eating less salt and more fruit and vegetables." (Reuters)

Nah! It's obesity obscuring pressure readings. Don't these guys know how to sustain a public health 'crisis'?

"Global measles deaths fall by nearly half" - "GENEVA - Worldwide measles deaths dropped 48 percent in six years as immunization efforts reached more children in sub-Saharan Africa, the United Nations said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Studies Suggest B Vitamins Don't Prevent Heart Attacks" - "Two studies found that while B vitamins did reduce the level of homocysteine, which was thought to be a risk factor, that did not cut the rate of heart attacks and strokes." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

Et tu Albion, et tu? "Creationism to be in GCSE papers" - "Creationist theories about how the world was made are to be debated in GCSE science lessons in mainstream secondary schools in England." (BBC)

"Biscuit Fire tests effectiveness of forest thinning and prescribed burning practices" - "A recently published study in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research indicates that fuel reduction treatments should simultaneously take place in the overstory, understory, and on the ground to adequately reduce fire severity. Thinning trees without treating surface fuels does not reduce mortality adequately because mortality can occur from hot fires on the ground, as well as fires that burn through the tree crowns." (USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station)

"Torturing the Truth" - "There is a line in Michael Mann's film The Insider that resonates with me as a long-time analyst of the news media. It is where the CBS 60 Minutes news bosses, who prided themselves on the highest journalistic standards, broadcast a story they knew to be less than true. The line is where they are accused of "betraying the legacy of Ed Murrow." (Peter C. Glover, TCS Daily)

"Groundbreaking atmospheric science experiment remains Earth-bound" - "Conceived in 1996, the Calipso satellite is to be a groundbreaking atmospheric science experiment le d by NASA Langley Research Center and Hampton University and partly funded by France. Yet nearly a year after the satellite was supposed to launch, it still sits in a hangar at Vandenberg Air Force Base." (The Virginian-Pilot)

"NASA Finds Stronger Storms Change Heat And Rainfall Worldwide" - "Studies have shown that over the last 40 years, a warming climate has been accompanied by fewer rain- and snow-producing storms in mid-latitudes around the world, but the storms that are happening are a little stronger with more precipitation." (SPX)

This is still rumbling around like a distant storm so perhaps we should have another look at it. This graph from The Storminess Record from Armagh Observatory, N. Ireland 1796-2002, also available in .pdf format, suggests storm peaks in the 1950s and 1980s with subsequent decline. If NASA's short-term study above were to hold for Armagh we would expect some change in the daily mean precipitation with increasing annual mean temperature (there has been slight increase in both) but there is no meaningful correlation.

While the association between temperature and rainfall is intuitively attractive (increased temperature leading to greater oceanic evaporation) the association does not appear to hold long-term - this from Precipitation at Armagh Observatory 1838-1997: "We note a roughly constant upward trend, with a slope of +0.0039 ±0.001mm/day/yr, in annual precipitation from the beginning of the series until approximately 1960. The only really significant departure from this trend is the dip in rainfall around 1890 close to, but possibly a little later than, a dip in mean air temperature. The generally upward trend in both mean air temperature and rainfall over the period 1890–1950 could be explained by the increased evaporation rate over the Atlantic as air temperature rises. A similar explanation would presumably be viable for the dip in temperature and precipitation around 1890. Between 1850 and 1880 the approximate correspondence between precipitation and temperature breaks down, with temperature around 1850 higher and rainfall lower than average. After 1970 the precipitation drops significantly and thereafter remains roughly at the level recorded at the beginning of the series."

So, precipitation at Armagh Observatory returned to the level of the early 19th Century at a time when the world is supposed to have undergone dramatic enhanced greenhouse warming. Armagh is a rural site in the Westerly Maritime Stream and so the absence of increased rainfall when there should theoretically be increased Atlantic evaporation feeding increased moisture over Armagh is something of a mystery. It is entirely likely there has been some northward drift in storm tracks but whether this is related to temperature or the phase of various oscillations is unclear. The alternative hypothesis is that the relationship between temperature and rainfall held but the world did not really warm since the 1970s (while possible that urbanisation has hopelessly corrupted the near-surface temperature record this is intuitively unreasonable since at least some warming is evident in the MSU Lower Troposphere record).

"Wine-makers raise a glass to global warming - Climate change may be making some wine tastier and more potent" - "Forget France. In the future, wine buffs may be praising the merits of a fine Canadian pinot noir, the subtleties of English chardonnay, or even the complexity of a world-class Pennsylvania cabernet sauvignon. The cause: climate change.

Some scientists believe that rising temperatures and longer growing seasons are already affecting wine, making vintages sweeter and stronger, and changing where grapes can be grown around the world. Previously unheralded German wines have gotten surprisingly better in the last two decades. The alcohol in California wine has risen - which can be both a good and bad thing - along with the temperatures. There have even been instances where English bubbly has thumped its French counterparts in blind taste tests conducted by the magazine Which?, the English equivalent of Consumer Reports." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

'Global warming' is "Good News" for US agricultural profits, while 'global warming' fundamentalism terrifies Europe (EnviroSpin Watch)

A Monday must read (and wash day)... (EnviroSpin Watch)

Global cooling? "So where have all the flowers gone?" - "The daffodils are tightly shut, the snowdrops still in full flush. After years of early springs and predictions that winter will all but disappear from our calendar, nature's showy season is late this year." (The Observer)

Actually not but had spring been 'early' you can guarantee there would have been plenty of hand wringing regarding 'ominous signs of warming'.

Say what? "Pollution soaring to crisis levels in Arctic" - "Researchers have uncovered compelling evidence that indicates Earth's most vulnerable regions - the North and South Poles - are poised on the brink of a climatic disaster. The scientists, at an atmospheric monitoring station in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, have found that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere near the North Pole are now rising at an unprecedented pace." (The Observer)

Granted localised and very transient concentrations are recorded (downwind of source points and even as a 'bubble' over cities) but where CO2 is concerned the atmosphere is well mixed. Are they really trying to suggest CO2 has begun maliciously concentrating near the North Pole? More likely they are sampling a volcanic emission plume. To suggest we are sceptical of malicious concentration would be an understatement.

"Climate Change Harming Bering Sea Mammals, Birds, Study Shows" - "The north Bering Sea, one of the world's richest feeding grounds for whales, walruses, and sea birds, is warming to the point where animals are being forced to adapt or suffer the consequences." (National Geographic News)

There's been a lot of coverage and conversation on Bering Sea change and perhaps there are some changes occurring with a regime shift. Then again, it's just four years since this item:

"Harsh winters blamed for drop in whale births" - "SAN FRANCISCO — Gray whales are migrating south along the West Coast this time of year, but with fewer calves in tow.

Perryman said three consecutive cold winters in Alaska have kept ice from thawing in feeding areas, where the gray whales eat ocean-floor-dwelling crustaceans known as amphipods. Perryman believes that's a factor in their low birthrates." (AP)

This was about the time we had concerns for the snow crab season with ice holding all the way down to St. Paul. If it's now too warm, just four winters after a series of three that were too cold, then this appears to be an exercise in short-termism rather than any trend. Whatever, here are links to some 'local' temperature records: Mys Uelen; Nome; Bethel... find more here. The mid-70s PDO phase shift would seem obvious but, beyond that...

"Profiteering from the Arctic Thaw" - "Global warming isn't necessarily the catastrophe it's made out to be -- at least not for multinational oil companies. Shrinking ice caps would reveal the Arctic's massive energy sources and shorten tanker routes by thousands of miles." (Der Spiegel)

Speaking of profiteering: "Scientist turns up heat on Australia's climate of folly" - "IT WAS a frenetic week for Tim Flannery. He spoke at three public meetings in London, met Sir Crispin Tickell and other climate change advisers to the Blair Government and launched a British edition of his book on global warming." (Sydney Morning Herald)

But it's nothing to do with scare-driven book sales though...

Jim's still at it: "NASA scientist has chilling global warming tale" - "The Earth is fast approaching a global warming "point of no return," a tipping point that could lead to lifeless poles and inundated coasts -- and even floodwaters that reach Ridgewood and Tenafly, a top NASA scientist warned Friday. James Hansen, the physicist whose clashes with the White House have made national headlines, warned a crowd of more than 300 in Paramus that the planet was already feeling the effects of overheating, though he said it still wasn't too late to avoid a crisis." (North Jersey)

"Climate changes melting tourism in Swiss Alps" - "BELALP and VERBIER, Switzerland -- Over the centuries, Swiss mountain communities such as these have proven resourceful in adapting to natural adversities, and in recent decades, they have turned the Alpine beauty into a cash cow by promoting winter sports. However, the fast pace of modern life is sending worrying signals in the form of dramatic changes in temperature and climatic conditions in the Alps that threaten the annual multimillion-dollar winter sports and tourism industry.

... Mr. Holzhauser, who has spent the last quarter-century monitoring and measuring the Aletsch glacier -- Europe's largest, with a length of more than 14 miles and a surface area covering 31 square miles -- says that since the glacier reached its maximum length from 1859 to 1860, the tongue of the glacier -- its downhill extremity -- has receded by more than 2 miles, more than 70 feet per year.

Mr. Holzhauser fears that in view of global warming, "It is highly probable that in the near future -- say, around 2050 -- the glacier may shrink to its smallest size since the late Bronze Age, or even less." From 1250 B.C. to 1050 B.C., the Aletsch glacier was at least 1,000 yards shorter than it is today, he said." (The Washington Times)

"World Heritage Sites Threatened by Climate Change - UNESCO experts hold urgent investigation" - "LONDON - March 10 - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is holding an urgent meeting in Paris on 16 and 17 March following growing recognition of the threat that climate changes poses to some of the most important World Heritage Sites across the world.

The UNESCO 'expert working group' has been convened following fears that climate change is already having a major impact on Mount Everest, the Peruvian Andes and the Waterton-International Peace Park (glaciers), and the Belize and Great Barrier Reefs (coral reefs).

The decision to hold the investigation was agreed at a UNESCO meeting in Durban, South Africa last year following petitioning by campaigners and lawyers about the damage that climate change is already causing to a number of sites across the world.." (Fiends of the Earth Release)

More Evidence of the First-Order Climate Forcing of Vegetation (Climate Science)

What? "Getting ready to face natural disasters" - "... Researchers have stated that global warming is also contributing to tsunamis by destabilising the ocean floor with excess water and this extra water is subsequently hived off by the sea onto land for regaining stability." (INAV)

Uh-huh... "Carbon Dioxide Promises Alternative for Air Conditioners, Refrigerators" - "Engineers developing technologies that use environmentally friendly carbon dioxide as a refrigerant instead of conventional, synthetic global-warming and ozone-depleting chemicals will meet at Purdue University in mid-March to discuss the latest research." (Purdue University)

So, carbon dioxide is 'environmentally friendly' except when it's 'pollution'?

"Jyoti Parikh: A rival to the Kyoto Protocol?" - "The Asia-Pacific-6 partnership is not as good a solution as Kyoto, but at least it has the US and Australia on board." (Business Standard)

But what, exactly, is the Kyoto Protocol good for? Nobody who knows anything about it thinks Kyoto will make any measurable difference so what purpose does it serve?

"Cleaner diesel seen cutting asthma attacks" - "NEW YORK - Maligned as the fuel behind surging rates of asthma and other diseases in the United States, diesel will get an overhaul this year that could save thousands of lives, experts say. New federal regulations, which take effect in June, will reduce the amount of sulfur in diesel to less than 15 parts per million (ppm) from 500 ppm, cutting tailpipe emissions from trucks, buses and cars that use the distillate fuel." (Reuters)

But, but... if we reduce sulphur particulates what will climate modellers use for an excuse then? (You know - the 'boy, if it wasn't for the cooling we'd see some warming!' thing)

"Government set for emissions battle with Brussels" - "The government looks set to provoke another damaging row with the European Commission over greenhouse gas emissions by deliberately missing the deadline for allocating emissions allowances to British businesses." (Financial Times)

"Should Britain go nuclear?" - "They are both environmentalists, but Zac Goldsmith and James Lovelock disagree on how to meet our energy needs. In the week a Government advisory body came down against a new generation of reactors, they debate the issue by email." (London Telegraph)

"Commodities: Demand for nuclear power keeps uranium rising" - "WELLINGTON A revival in demand for nuclear energy is benefiting uranium, which outperformed the metals market in 2005 and could do so again this year. Uranium is poised to climb 27 percent to $50 a pound in the next six months because "there's not a lot of uranium available," said Jean-François Tardif of the Sprott Opportunities Hedge Fund. Uranium gained 76 percent last year, beating all but one of the 19 commodities in the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index. Only sugar jumped more." (Bloomberg News)

"VIETNAM: Nuclear Power Among Non-fossil Options" - "Ho Chi Minh City - With oil prices rising, Vietnam has begun searching for alternate energy sources to feed its growing economy, and hydroelectric and atomic power are emerging as favourites." (IPS)

"IGCC: It kicks the soot out of coal" - "The energy industry has grappled for decades with a question: How does the nation use its vast coal resources to satisfy a growing appetite for electricity -- and in a way that doesn't foul the environment? Near the central Illinois town of Taylorville, a company from Louisville, Ky., is proposing a solution: a new breed of power plant that chemically converts sooty, black coal into a synthetic gas, stripping out most pollutants before the fuel is burned. Erora Group LLC expects its 770-megawatt plant to be completed by 2010. It is one of two power plants proposed in Illinois and about two dozen across the United States that will rely on integrated gasification combined cycle technology, or IGCC." (Post-Dispatch)

"Running Out of Oil? History, Technology and Abundance" - "Are we running out of oil? That's what the doomsayers say. We are past our (Hubbert's) peak and it's downhill from here. War, famine, pestilence, perhaps even extinction – those are the apocalyptic scenarios posited by folks predicting the oil age is over and the era of stringency is nigh." (Max Schulz, TCS Daily)

"Without its huge profits, Big Oil can't make huge investments to bring more oil and gas to market." - "Exxon Mobil, which racked up a record $36 billion in profits in 2005, has had to endure criticism that its earnings are undeserved, even obscene. True, the world's largest private energy company could have charged less for its oil, gasoline and natural gas, out of simple charity, but only one circumstance would have justified the charge that it had made too much money: a failure to reinvest." (Houston Chronicle)

"Rivers: a drying shame" - "We have used our engineering skills to harness the Earth's water systems. Now we are paying the price. By Geoffrey Lean" | Death of the world's rivers (London Independent)

"Hosepipe ban as UK water crisis deepens" - "Britain's biggest water company is expected to announce the first hosepipe ban of the year tomorrow as the country's drought reaches crisis levels. Four more suppliers are thought to be poised to introduce or extend bans, meaning 15 million people would face restrictions. Millions of Thames Water customers will be banned from using hosepipes and sprinklers, and 'non-essential uses' from fountains to the cleaning of trains could be next. Two dry winters have left levels of ground water, essential to keep rivers flowing, dangerously low. Although rain and snow fell across much of Britain this weekend, only one of the last 16 months had average rainfall. Last year was the third driest on record; drier than 1976, when water companies had to put standpipes in the streets. Parts of some smaller London rivers are dry, and the Environment Agency warned low flows could cause mass fish deaths and problems for boats getting up the Thames." (The Observer)

Ah! This is 'global warming' surely? Well, perhaps not. Over 240 years England and Wales have warmed (slightly) and precipitation has increased (very slightly), with a reduction in seasonality of precipitation.

"Corruption Plays Role In World Water Shortage: UN" - "Corruption plays a crucial yet nearly invisible role in depriving nearly a fifth of the world's population of access to safe drinking water, a new United Nations report on water and development said on Thursday, reports Reuters. While supplies of fresh water are adequate for the whole planet, mismanagement in its distribution helps explain why adequate drinking water is beyond the reach of 1.1 billion people, while 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation, said the report prepared by 24 UN agencies. Those affected are among the world's poorest, and according to the report, over half of them live in China or India." (noticias.info)

"UK: Councils set to fine for wrong rubbish in bins" - "Householders face fines of up to £2,500 for putting the 'wrong rubbish' in their bins. More than 10 councils have introduced penalties for those who put recyclable matter into general waste, or 'contaminate' recycling boxes with other rubbish." (The Observer)

"Agroecology Gaining Ground" - "PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - The convergence of views between promoters of small-scale farming and defenders of the environment was remarkable at the second International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD), which ended this Friday in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre." (IPS)

"EU threatens legal action against members that ban modified crops" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union threatened legal action Friday against member states that create biotech-free growing zones in their countries, warning that doing so would violate EU trade rules." (AP)

"Biotech Foods: David Versus Goliath - Developing countries fight with big business over safety laws" - "CURITIBA, Brazil - March 10 - The battle between the majority of developing countries and some of the world's biggest corporations will peak on March 13-17, 2006 in Brazil. United Nations talks on the global trade in genetically modified (GM), or biotech foods and crops will highlight the gap between countries demanding the right to regulate imports of GM products and the huge business interests that seek to benefit from weak rules." (Another FOE Release)

"May I Propose a High-Fiber Toast?" - "It's not just about being "regular," as those old supplement commercials euphemistically would tout. Over the past few years, researchers have shown in numerous studies that eating more dietary fiber can provide a host of other benefits. Fiber in foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can reduce colorectal cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and perhaps other ills." (Christen Brownlee, Science News Online)

"Stop GM foods" - "THE CONTROVERSY over Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) was re-ignited recently in Ireland. BASF, the world’s largest chemical and biotechnology company, have submitted an application to the EPA for permission to conduct open-air experimental field trials of genetically modified potatoes in Co Meath. BASF says the potatoes may provide greater resistance to late potato blight. The memory of the Great Famine of the 1840s still resonates in the nation’s consciousness and potato blight is an emotive issue, so it is no surprise that the biotech industry chose a potentially blight-resistant potato as a strategic spearhead to introduce GMO crops into Ireland." (Irish Examiner)

"Greens Slam EU Commission's Views on GMO Crop Law" - "BRUSSELS - Pro-biotech bullying by the European Commission - the EU executive - will lead to irreversible contamination from genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), green groups warned on Friday." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - World Treaty on GMO Trade Set to Spark New Tensions" - "BRUSSELS - Europe may be on a collision course with its major trading partners as debate heats up over a treaty to regulate the global flow of genetically modified (GMO) foods, largely rejected by Europeans." (Reuters)

"Strawberries by design" - "Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) and the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech have developed a new procedure for the efficient transfer of specific DNA sequences into the genome of strawberry. The scientists have used Agrobacterium tumefaciens, nature's genetic engineer, to introduce DNA into the woodland or alpine strawberry Fragaria vesca.

The method takes advantage of Agrobacterium's circular DNA molecule (T-DNA) to deliver DNA to the plant. By helping researchers establish the function of large numbers of strawberry genes, this method could, in the long term, be extremely useful in enhancing the nutritional value of these plants as well as the amount of health-enhancing antioxidants that they may contain." (Virginia Tech)

Book Review: Liberation Biology: The Scientific And Moral Case For The Biotech Revolution By Ronald Bailey (Steven Martinovich, ESR)

March 10, 2006

Junkman says "show us the data": Shareowner Proposal No. 6 – Report on Global Warming Science - "GE strives to base its public policy positions on sound facts, detailed analysis and consideration of competing values" says the GE 2005 Citizenship Report and so it should. How does this reconcile with GE’s 'ecomagination' initiative? At this time no one knows, including GE's own shareholders.

"EPA Whips Up Air Pollution Scare" - "The air pollution scare industry is at it again -- in a very timely manner to help the Environmental Protection Agency impose more dubious regulations on us." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"NASA scientists study pollution's origins and air quality impact" - "In Mexico City, a team of researchers from NASA and other institutions have kicked off the first phase of one of the most complex field campaigns ever undertaken in atmospheric chemistry. Researchers will use data from research satellites, aircraft and ground-based instruments to investigate the transformation of air pollution as it flows downwind from Mexico City and learn more about impacts of air pollution on human health and climate." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Mass extinctions – a threat from outer space or our own planet's detox?" - "Earth history has been punctuated by several mass extinctions rapidly wiping out nearly all life forms on our planet. What causes these catastrophic events? Are they really due to meteorite impacts? Current research suggests that the cause may come from within our own planet – the eruption of vast amounts of lava that brings a cocktail of gases from deep inside the Earth and vents them into the atmosphere." (University of Leicester)

And you thought only people altered their environment: "Leave it to salmon to leave no stone unturned" - "Like an armada of small rototillers, female salmon can industriously churn up entire stream beds from end to end, sometimes more than once, using just their tails. For decades ecologists have believed that salmon nest-digging triggered only local effects. But a University of Washington researcher writes in this month's BioScience journal that the silt, minerals and nutrients that are unleashed have ecosystemwide effects, causing changes in rivers and lakes far from the nests." (University of Washington)

"Scruffy is the new green" - "Caring for the environment should mean not caring how you look, our environment correspondent Richard Black argues in The Green Room." (BBC)

Well Dick, it could be indicative they have partly matured - now, if they'd just get a real job...

"Americans getting older and better, study finds" - "WASHINGTON - The face of America is changing and it is going to be considerably more wrinkled, according to a report issued on Thursday. The number of people 65 and older is expected to double within the next 25 years. By 2030, 72 million people, or nearly one out of every five Americans, will be 65 or older, according to the report from U.S. Census Bureau and the National Institute on Aging." (Reuters) | Dramatic changes in US aging highlighted in new census, NIH report (NIH/National Institute on Aging)

"For the first time: Longevity modulated without disrupting life-sustaining function" - "Within a hormone-triggered cascade of molecular signals that plays a crucial for a wide range of physiological functions, researchers for the very first time have identified a protein that functions specifically to extend lifespan and youthfulness -- without disrupting fertility, immunity or the organism's response to stress." (Salk Institute)

"Creation of antibiotic in test tube holds promise for better antibiotics" - "Scientists have made nisin, a natural antibiotic used for more than 40 years to preserve food, in a test tube for the first time using nature's toolbox. They also identified the structure of the enzyme that makes nisin and gives it its unique biological power." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Falling blood pressure not down to drugs, say experts" - "Blood pressure lowering drugs were not responsible for the population decline in blood pressure seen in many countries in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, concludes a study published online by the BMJ today." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"New air travel clot risk theory" - "Sitting still for long periods cannot alone explain why air passengers are at higher risk of potentially deadly blood clots, research suggests. The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis is thought to be raised by air travel - particularly long flights. But a Lancet study by Dutch researchers found chemicals indicating clotting in 71 volunteers were higher during eight hours on a flight than in the cinema. It suggests low air pressure and oxygen levels on a flight may play a role." (BBC)

"Bering Sea ecosystem responding to changes in Arctic climate" - "Physical changes--including rising air and seawater temperatures and decreasing seasonal ice cover--appear to be the cause of a series of biological changes in the northern Bering Sea ecosystem that could have long-range and irreversible effects on the animals that live there and on the people who depend on them for their livelihoods." (National Science Foundation) | A Major Ecosystem Shift in the Northern Bering Sea (Science)

Perhaps... then again, it could very well be simple regime shift since it apparently occurred with the PDO shift to warm (at the same time Alaska warmed), in which case we anticipate a reversal as part of natural cycles.

"Study previews ice sheet melting, rapid climate change" - "The behavior of a massive ice sheet that existed in northern Europe at the end of the last Ice Age has been outlined for the first time, and researchers believe it may provide a sneak preview of how major ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will act in the face of global warming.

The study, which will be published Friday in the journal Science by researchers from Oregon State University, shows that ice sheets can react quite differently depending on the climatic conditions at the time global warming occurs – sometimes actually growing larger and sometimes rapidly disappearing, depending on whether increased snow offsets melting effects, or not.

In this analysis of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet that existed as recently as 10,000 years ago, the study showed that it actually grew for a long period while the climate was warming but still very cold, and then rapidly disintegrated once the climate warmed even further.

OSU experts say those same forces are at work today, and probably mean that in the face of future global warming, the ice in large parts of Antarctica may actually increase, while the massive Greenland ice sheet – which exists in a slightly warmer setting – will almost certainly disappear." (Oregon State University) | The Last Deglaciation of the Southeastern Sector of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet (Science)

More on Impact of Climate Warming on Polar Ice Sheets Confirmed (NASA)

A lot of people have commented on this brief extract from the NASA release:

"The study indicates that the contribution of the ice sheets to recent sea-level rise during the decade studied was much smaller than expected, just two percent of the recent increase of nearly three millimeters a year," says Zwally. "Continuing research using NASA satellites and other data will narrow the uncertainties in this important issue."

Zwally et al is available here (1.4Mb .pdf). The usual caveats all apply, specifically that this is a very short time slice ('92-'02), has significant uncertainties and, while supposedly providing some support for modelled expectations, fails to explain much of what we think we see (2% of estimated see level rise). Since thermal expansion plus runoff do not explain estimated sea level rise we are left to conclude a.) the sea volume is nearer constant than supposed but the sea floor is rising, causing levels to rise at an accelerated rate or; b.) the continents are sinking, causing relative sea level rise or; c.) sea level rise is overestimated.

We concur with Zwally, continuing research will narrow the uncertainties on the issue - it can hardly do anything else given that uncertainty is almost all we have.

Is It the End of the Beginning in Climate Change Science? (Climate Science)

"NASA finds stronger storms change heat and rainfall worldwide" - "Studies have shown that over the last 40 years, a warming climate has been accompanied by fewer rain- and snow-producing storms in mid-latitudes around the world, but the storms that are happening are a little stronger with more precipitation. A new analysis of global satellite data suggests that these storm changes are affecting strongly the Earth's water cycle and air temperatures and creating contrasting cooling and warming effects in the atmosphere." (PhysOrg.com)

Hmm... a quick glance at global land precipitation data suggests it peaked ~1975 and then declined until recently. Just how that ties with the assertions in this piece is unclear.

"UK climate change demonstrable progress report published" - "The UK submitted its climate change report on demonstrable progress to the European Commission, and to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), today 9 March, meeting its obligation under the Kyoto Protocol." (Defra)

"Scientists say British greenhouse gas emissions now higher than in 1990" - "Britain's emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are now higher than they were in 1990, the benchmark year used in government targets to tackle the pollution which is driving climate change. A study by scientists at the Tyndall centre, at Manchester University, shows that soaring carbon emissions from the aviation and shipping industries have swamped attempts to reduce pollution from other UK sectors." (The Guardian)

Sigh... "carbon dioxide ... the pollution which is driving climate change" - there might be an association between CO2 and climate change although it certainly is not a major driver, neither is the stuff of life a "pollutant" but rather an essential trace gas.

Doh! "Canada, Kyoto Group Chair, May Miss Emission Target" - "March 9 -- Canada, leader of a United Nations committee formed to reduce pollution, probably won't meet its target to do so under the Kyoto Protocol, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said. ``My departmental officials tell me that it's more than likely not going to happen,'' she said in an interview yesterday. In 2002, Canada's Liberal government promised to cut emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide, which trap heat in the earth's atmosphere, 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2012." (Bloomberg)

No fresh air in these dwellings: "Stronger Code For Sustainable Homes As Government Implements New Building Standards To Tackle Climate Change" - "The Government announced today it will strengthen the Code for Sustainable Homes alongside the introduction of new tougher building regulations, in order to address climate change. Ministers have today approved new building regulations which set mandatory standards that every new home must meet. The regulations, which will be laid in Parliament next week and come into effect on 6 April, raise the energy efficiency of new buildings by 40 per cent compared to 2002. They will also improve compliance by introducing air pressure testing for new buildings. Ministers have decided to strengthen the Code for Sustainable Homes which sets higher standards for new homes to be rated against, in order to increase environmental sustainability and give home owners better information about the running costs of their homes." (GNN)

"Japan's 55th Nuclear Power Generator Set to Start" - "TOKYO - Japan's new nuclear power generator will start commercial operations next week, its owner Hokuriku Electric Power Co. said on Thursday, the 55th such unit in a domestic industry still recovering from a string of safety scandals." (Reuters)

"Safety gloves off: let nuclear war commence with decent arguments" - "SHOULD THE Government base the UK’s future energy policy on the plot of the 1970s Hollywood potboiler, Beneath the Planet of the Apes? That appears to be the implication of the influential new report on nuclear power by the Sustainable Development Commission, an independent government watchdog." (Mick Hume, London Times)

For another take on nuclear Greens: Beware of Greens Bearing Nukes (Gus Van Horn)

"No future for fusion power, says top scientist" - "Nuclear fusion will never be a practical source of electrical power, argues a prominent scientist in the journal Science. Even nuclear fusion’s staunchest advocates admit a power-producing fusion plant is still decades away at best, despite forty years of hard work and well over $20 billion spent on the research. But the new paper, personally backed by the journal’s editor, issues a strong challenge to the entire fusion programme, arguing that the whole massive endeavour is never likely to lead to anything practical or useful." (NewScientist.com news service) | Fusion Power: Will It Ever Come? (Science)

"Combination of processes results in cleaner petrol" - "One problem confronting the oil industry is that extracted mineral oil (due to increasing scarcity) is becoming heavier and 'dirtier'. This is reflected, for instance, in a higher content of aromatics (which among other things lead to soot emissions during combustion in diesel engines) and of sulphur (which among things causes acid rain). At the same time, the global ceilings for aromatics and sulphur content in fuels are becoming increasingly strict." (Delft University of Technology)

"EU Ministers Push for Tougher Car Pollution Rules" - "BRUSSELS - European Union environment ministers called on Thursday for the 25-nation bloc to impose stricter rules on new car emissions and improve air quality." (Reuters)

"Lean times for salmon fishermen" - "Federal officials are expected to shut down salmon fishing along a 700-mile stretch of Pacific Coast." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Worm hormone discovery may aid fight against parasitic disease" - "New research at UT Southwestern Medical Center shows that on a biochemical level, hormone-like molecules in tiny worms called nematodes work similarly to the way in which certain hormones work in humans – findings that one day may help eradicate worm infections that afflict a third of the world's population." (UT Southwestern Medical Center)

"Water policy 'fails world's poor'" - "Almost 20% of the world's population still lacks access to safe drinking water because of failed policies, an influential report has concluded. The UN World Water Development Report also blames a lack of resources and environmental changes for the problem." (BBC)

"Spain Set to Invest Heavily in Irrigation Upgrade" - "MADRID - Spanish ministers are about to approve a 2.3 billion euro ($2.75 billion) plan to improve the drought-hit country's irrigation systems and save millions of gallons of water a year, news agency Europa Press said on Thursday." (Reuters)

Never know what you'll get in 'organic': "Organic farmer fed friend's body to pigs to steal his pension" - "A GERMAN organic farmer has admitted to feeding a elderly friend who died while visiting him to his pigs in order to claim his pension. The pigs were then later eaten by people who bought the meat at local butchers' shops." (The Scotsman)

"Royal Lowness" - "The highly political and often dubious activities of Britain's Prince Charles — made public last week in a confidential memo from his former deputy private secretary — is a reminder of the major disadvantage of a monarchy. Unlike in a republic, the citizenry don't get to choose the head of state. Or more to the point, they don't get to reject a pompous git who, if he weren't a member of the royal family, would probably be selling insurance or maybe working as a maitre d'." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"EU Shows Split Over Biotech Foods as Worries Persist" - "March 9 -- European Union nations laid bare their divisions over genetically modified foods, highlighting the obstacles companies such as Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG face in gaining more access to the 25-nation market. Environment ministers from EU nations including Spain and Italy today demanded stricter European rules for approving gene- modified organisms. Ministers from other EU governments including Denmark and Ireland said the existing legislation was adequate to guard against risks to health and the environment." (Bloomberg)

"EU Ministers take Aim at Biotech Approvals Policy" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's policy on genetically modified (GMO) crops and foods came under fire on Thursday from EU environment ministers, many of whom complained of a lack of transparency and that their concerns were often ignored. Despite ending its unofficial moratorium on approving new GMO products in 2004, a de facto ban recently criticised at the World Trade Organization, the EU's pace of new GMO approvals has been painfully slow - some eight products in nearly two years." (Reuters)

Shiva, again: "Seeds Of Death vs. Seeds Of Life" - "MARCH 2006 - When the 8th Conference of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity takes place in Brazil (March 20-31), the homicidal seeds of the biotechnology industry will be at the top of the agenda, writes Vandana Shiva, author and international campaigner for women and the environment who received the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) in 1993." (Vandana Shiva, IPS)

March 9, 2006

"Putting Malaria on the Defensive" - "WASHINGTON, D.C.--A combination of subsidies and more aggressive drug cocktails is the most effective way to fight malaria, according to panelists at a global health policy meeting here yesterday sponsored by the journal Health Affairs." (ScienceNOW Daily News)

"Tamiflu or Tamifake?" - "Bird flu is on the wing in Asia, Africa and Europe. It is only a matter of time before it arrives in North America. Yet the supply of effective drugs everywhere is undermined by a plague of counterfeits for which governments are to blame." (Philip Stevens, The Washington Times)

They don't say? "Study: Local TV news covers health a lot, but not always well" - "Local television newscasts, where most Americans get most of their news, are packed with medical stories and health information. But the first-ever national study of that coverage finds many problems with it, and sees room for improvement by both TV stations and the health experts whose work fills the news." (University of Michigan Health System)

"Junk Taxes" - "If people like Indiana Representative Charlie Brown and the World Health Organization (WHO) have their way, your next bag of chips, candy bar or soda pop may cost a lot more." (John Luik)

"The future of old age" - "We're all living longer. But will this just mean more pain and immobility? Or could science cure the illnesses of old age? Alok Jha reports." (The Guardian)

"Mexico logging threat to butterflies" - "Illegal logging in Mexico's national parks continues to threaten millions of butterflies, despite a government crackdown, environmentalists warn." (BBC)

"Management of delta and wetlands contributed to problems after hurricanes" - "Baton Rouge, La. – March 8, 2006 – In a guest editorial published in the March-April issue of Ground Water, hydrologists in Louisiana suggest adoption of evolving management plans that recognize engineering, economic and hydrologic realities is key to sustainable development of the Louisiana coastline." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

Oh my! "Global warming threatens New Guinea paradise-report" - "OSLO, March 8 - Exotic species in a little-known "Garden of Eden" in the mountains of New Guinea island are under threat from global warming, New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday. "A paradise world of undiscovered species and tropical glaciers in the mountains of New Guinea is disappearing faster than it can be explored," the British-based magazine said. It quoted Michael Prentice, a climatologist at Plymouth State University, New Hampshire, as saying that temperatures in the highlands of the tropical island were rising far faster than previously thought. Climate records compiled since the 1970s by mission stations, coffee plantations and mining companies "show a real step change, with warming of 0.3C (0.5F) every decade," he said." (Reuters)

So this is like, totally unprecedented, short-term, localised warming in the records, right? Well, not exactly. Assuming ~3.5 decades (being generous 1970-2005, although it only says "since the 1970s" and doesn't tell us when it ended, could have been the peak El Niño year of 1998 for all we are told), anyway, on that assumption when was the earliest comparable regional trend we know of? Going to our longest continuous record, the CET, the very first rise of significance, 1695-1730 (we didn't include the even higher elements through 1733), we see a decadal trend of +0.35 °C/decade. No significant trend is believed to have been evident in greenhouse gases in the beginning of the 18th Century so we assume such transient temperature trends do occur naturally, even if purely localised. The CET warming trend evident three centuries ago did not last, of course, and the overall trend since 1659 is +0.024 °C/decade, which is an object lesson in not drawing conclusions nor extrapolating from short trends.

To return to the target region, temperature data is somewhat sparse but we do have a few longer records from places not too far away: here's Thursday Island (trend -0.032 °C/decade - what a difference a little longer history makes to perspective) and the rather more urbanised capital of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby (trend +0.023 °C/decade). These do not prove the mountains of PNG are not suffering a sudden, massive warming trend but they do rather put the kibosh on claims it may be driven by 'global warming' since there is no plausible mechanism for enhanced greenhouse to actively select remote mountain ranges while failing to act on the surrounding region.

They're at it again! Deluging the PR networks with: "NASA Survey Confirms Climate Warming Impact on Polar Ice Sheets" - "In the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of the massive ice sheets covering both Greenland and Antarctica, NASA scientists confirm climate warming is changing how much water remains locked in Earth's largest storehouses of ice and snow." (NASA)

I wrote about some of this Friday, see the March 3 lead here where you can see the contemporary temperature trends for the Antarctic, and so I'm inclined to post a few other responses to claims extrapolated from tiny data slices. Note that some of the methods behind these claims are untested and suspect. The Accelerated Disintegration of Greenland's Glaciers: What impact is it having on global sea level? Assessing Antarctica's Mass Balance Via Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity from Satellites: How good is the technique? Greenland and Antarctic Contributions to Sea Level Rise: Just how great - or miniscule - are they? -- these are all from this week's CO2 Science Magazine. See also Antarctic Ice: The Cold Truth (Dr. Patrick Michaels, TCS Daily)

Regarding Greenland temperature & trends: Godthab Nuuk; Angmagssalik; HadCRUT2v Central Greenland (we don't yet have the update including 2005 for this one) and GHCN-ERSST. The interesting thing in common through these different views is the apparent phase shifts with Greenland having been warmer in the 1930s and 1940s, cooling until recently and then 'stepping' again. This does not suggest the steady increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases could be causal, after all, no one we are aware of has yet suggested greenhouse gases hide somewhere only to maliciously accumulate in a given region to cause transient warming episodes. Since Greenland cooled through roughly four-fifths of atmospheric GHG increment we would be extremely hesitant to claim any response to 'global warming' so far.

"Woods Hole Research Center scientist furthering discussion of soil carbon decomposition" - "Significantly more carbon is stored in the world's soils than is present in the atmosphere. In a process called a "positive feedback," global warming may stimulate decomposition of soil organic matter, thus releasing heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere, possibly causing the rate of global warming to increase further. Disagreement exists, however, regarding the effects of climate change on global soil carbon stocks. Eric Davidson, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, has written a review paper that clarifies the issues regarding temperature sensitivity of decomposition within a framework that helps to focus the ensuing debate and research. Co-authored with Ivan Janssens of the University of Antwerpen (Belgium), the study is being published in an upcoming issue of Nature." (Woods Hole Research Center)

Yes and in a process called "negative feedback," 'global warming' may also stimulate increased biological sequestration and increase the soil organic carbon content. The problem for Davidson and Janssens (and everybody else) is that 'soil' is far from a universal constant and constraints on decomposition and sequestration vary by soil type, depth, moisture, season, altitude, latitude, biota, insolation... That they are furthering the discussion is excellent but this is a situation unlikely to be resolved any time in the near future - we wish them luck.

Important New Paper on the Role of Aerosols on Climate (Climate Science)

NOT THERE YET: Climate Change Ranks Last Among Public's Priorities for Bush Administration (Framing Science)

NOT THERE YET II: Environmental Concern Declines; Global Warming Ranks Last Among Enviro Problem Public Worries About (Framing Science)

By a strange coincidence... (Number Watch)

If carbon is actually a problem: "Reining in carbon dioxide levels imperative but possible" - "The Earth Institute at Columbia University – Implementing a plan to keep rising carbon dioxide levels from reaching potentially dangerous levels could cost less than 1 percent of gross world product as of 2050, a cost that is well within reach of developed and developing nations alike. Moreover, without simultaneous progress in the way energy is found, transformed, transported and used, the world is in danger of facing a severe energy crisis sometime within the next century. Those are the conclusions of a report by Klaus S. Lackner and Jeffrey D. Sachs of The Earth Institute that appears in the most recent issue of Brookings Papers on Economic Activity published by the Brookings Institute." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

Then again, if carbon is not really a problem we'd have squandered at least 1% of GWP that could have been used to help third world countries. We know that development and trade will help in the third world. We don't know that carbon constraint will do anything useful for anyone or anything.

"Carbon burial plan for North Sea" - "British and Norwegian oil companies have announced plans to bury carbon dioxide under the bed of the North Sea. Statoil and Shell plan to take CO2 from a power station in Norway and pipe it to an oil field, where it will be used to force oil to the surface. The $1.2bn-1.5bn scheme will require major investment from governments. The process of carbon sequestration is viewed by some as a partial solution to climate change, but can also help companies exploit oil reserves further." (BBC)

"China aims to convert coal into ultra-clean energy resource" - "BEIJING, March 8 -- China's central government, research institutions and enterprises are pitching in a joint effort to convert the country's rich coal reserves into a clean energy resource by using clean-coal technology." (Xinhuanet)

"University to Investigate Fusion Study" - "Purdue University said there were "extremely serious" concerns about research by a professor who said he had produced nuclear fusion in a tabletop experiment." (New York Times)

"Scientist Says He Stands by Fusion Data" - "A nuclear scientist at Purdue said that he would cooperate with the university's review of his research into tabletop fusion." (New York Times)

"Workers of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our airline tickets" - "AS I WRITE THIS, I am flying back from a two-day trip to New York, as a result of which I am responsible for creating 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Next week I will be making two return flights to Europe, adding another 0.2 tonnes, and the week after that, I will be taking my entire family on a holiday to the Caribbean, creating roughly six tonnes of CO2.

Am I a carbon criminal for creating 7.4 tonnes of pollution, thereby bringing forward the day of judgment when we will all get our just deserts by roasting in a technological, post-enlightenment version of Dante’s Inferno? Since none of my trips was strictly necessary for my survival, nor even for my ability to earn a decent living, I suspect that many readers will instinctively condemn me as a criminal, or at least a self-indulgent sinner. That certainly seems the gist of the moralistic debate in Britain about the contribution of air travel to climate change." (Anatole Kaletsky, London Times)

"US Senate Panel OK’s Florida Offshore Drilling Plan" - "WASHINGTON - The Senate Energy Committee voted Wednesday to open nearly three million acres of federal waters in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to energy exploration, bringing the contentious issue closer to reality." (Reuters)

"Exxon Mobil projects $20 billion capital spending" - "NEW YORK - Exxon Mobil Corp. will boost annual capital spending by about 13 percent to average $20 billion between 2007 and 2010, pushed up by investments in Qatar and chemical projects, the largest public oil company said on Wednesday. The higher spending comes as lawmakers and consumer advocates accuse oil companies of not pumping enough money into their operations to increase oil and gas production, leaving consumers with higher gasoline prices." (Reuters)

"Committee hold of urgency to harvest wave and wind power" - "CURRENTLY Ireland imports 90 per cent of its energy. Situated on the edge of Europe we have huge wave and wind energy potential but economic and political barriers stand in the way of making this country more energy efficient. That was the clear message given by Mr. Brendan Killeen of Mayo Energy Agency at a meeting of the Planning and Economic Strategic Policy Committee last week." (The Connaught Telegraph)

"FEATURE-Nuclear waste: bury it and forget?" - "SELLAFIELD, England, March 9 - It is the regular beeping that grates. But if it stops, prepare to be scared. The signal audible every second in every corridor of the high-level toxic nuclear waste plant on Britain's sprawling Sellafield site is a sign all the alarms are working. If it stops, or changes tone, something has gone very wrong. "The people who work here every day tell me they get used to it. But it tends to get on the nerves of everyone who visits the plant," Sellafield information officer Ben Chilton told Reuters on a tour of the site 480 km (300 miles) northwest of London." (Reuters)

"EC warns of €1,000bn power challenge" - "Commission threatens to act on climate change and rising prices." (The Guardian)

More energy scams: "A Magic Way to Make Billions" - "The wording is so bland and buried so deep within a 324-page budget document that almost no one would notice that a multibillion-dollar scam is going on. Not the members of Congress voting for it and certainly not the taxpayers who will get fleeced by it. And that is exactly the idea." (Time)

"KENYA: Is drought killing pastoralism?" - "NAIROBI, 8 Mar 2006 - Around the few deep boreholes dotted across Kenya’s arid empty north, villages of thatched huts are growing by the day. Dozens of families arrive, leading camel trains and herding the few bony cattle they have left, pushed by drought to the vast frontier bordering Somalia and Ethiopia." (IRIN)

"Genetically engineered mosquitoes show resistance to dengue fever virus" - "Irvine, Calif., March 8, 2006, Researchers have successfully created a genetically engineered mosquito that shows a high level of resistance against the most prevalent type of dengue fever virus, providing a powerful weapon against a disease that infects 50 million people each year." (University of California)

"To Help Malnourished People: Benefits of Golden Rice Not Yet Recognized" - "It could be another five years before farmers in developing countries can grow Golden Rice to help malnourished people, according to the German biochemist who started work on the project 15 years ago. "I'm hoping we can be effective in one or two countries by 2010, said Peter Beyer, professor from the University of Freiburg, Germany." (Delta Farm Press)

March 8, 2006

"Patients vs. Paternalism" - "Decisions about drug safety and efficacy are far from easy. Tysabri, a multiple sclerosis (MS) drug that was voluntarily withdrawn from the market last year after the appearance of a previously unknown side effect, illustrates some of the conundrums that exist in drug treatment. In advance of the publication of three critical new studies on Tysabri in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a major news organization recently asked me, as a physician and former FDA official, whether I knew of examples of prescription drugs that have "efficacy but [also] serious safety issues." That is the rule rather than the exception, I responded." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

Here we go again: "Aluminum salts may increase breast cancer risk" - "NEW YORK - A new report raises the possibility that the aluminum salts contained in many underarm deodorants could increase a woman's breast cancer risk.

Metals including aluminum salts and cadmium have recently been shown to exert estrogen-like effects, while some also promote the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory, Dr. Philippa D. Darby of the University of Reading in the UK notes in the Journal of Applied Toxicology. Darby's own research has shown that aluminum salts increase estrogen-related gene expression in human breast cancer cells grown in the laboratory.

Given the wide variety of other substances that can mimic estrogen, including certain pesticides, cosmetics and detergents, it is possible that aluminum salts and other inorganic estrogen-related compounds called "metalloestrogens" can further disrupt normal hormonal signaling within the breast, Darby says. "There is no doubt that the human breast is now subject to a wide range of environmental estrogenic insults," she writes." (Reuters Health)

"Exposure to fine particle air pollution linked with risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases" - "Being exposed to fine particle matter air pollution increases a person's risk for hospital admission for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, according to a study in the March 8 issue of JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Now What? The Lessons of Katrina" - "NO ONE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SURPRISED. Not the federal agencies tasked with preparing for catastrophes. Not the local officials responsible for aging levees and vulnerable populations. Least of all the residents themselves, who had been warned for decades that they lived on vulnerable terrain. But when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, it seemed as though the whole country was caught unawares. Accusations began to fly even before floodwaters receded. But facts take longer to surface. In the months since the storm, many of the first impressions conveyed by the media have turned out to be mistaken. And many of the most important lessons of Katrina have yet to be absorbed. But one thing is certain: More hurricanes will come. To cope with them we need to understand what really happened during modern America's worst natural disaster. POPULAR MECHANICS editors and reporters spent more than four months interviewing officials, scientists, first responders and victims. Here is our report." (Popular Mechanics)

"Science must regain public trust: expert" - "The western world must rekindle its trust in science to prosper, according to renowned fertility expert Lord Robert Winston. Lord Winston said society had become increasingly sceptical of science and traced the trend to inadequate science schooling. "As society gets more educated, it becomes more suspicious," said Lord Winston after a keynote speech to a fertility conference in Adelaide. "One of the key problems in our society, and I think it is true in Australia as well, is that we have not been very good at promulgating science in schools." (AAP)

Winston's right and a goodly part of the blame belongs to the introduction of eco-theism into classrooms. If it's 'truth' you are after, find it philosophy or theology class but don't confuse it with 'fact' for that is the realm of science and the two neither conflict nor overlap.

Since the 60s and 70s when boomers were entering adulthood and rebelling against the tensions of the Cold War, fears of Nuclear Winters, Population Bombs, chemistry, industry, structured society and religion - all things manufactured as a product of the 'old order' - we have surrendered the classroom to the teaching of pseudo-religious pap in the form of eco-theism. As was inevitable we now have a society replete with scientific illiterates whose faith dictates that that which is 'natural' must be 'good' while that tainted by humanity must be 'bad' (evil?). Apparently these pampered and clueless clods do not realise their world is safe solely due to the built environment and industries they decry. After all, small pox is a people-invented weapon, isn't it? And cholera, typhus, malaria, stuff like that - just right-wing propaganda.

So removed from reality are these converts that the natural environment is no longer viewed as an indifferent collection of competing organisms in a frequently hostile habitat but as a benevolent benefactor. 'Mother Nature', the new nurture figure, certainly has had a great publicist, transformed from 'red in tooth and claw' to the illusion of Utopia, in reach for the enlightened if only they could get rid of all anthropogenic influence.

Ironic, isn't it, that as 'Mommy' feels a little less malevolent and the killing cold recedes a tad, that's change and change is bad. It must be people doing it (that's worse!) and so we must make the world worse for people, for it'd be a great place - if only you weren't in it!

Oh dear... "The Planet Can't Wait: Climate Change Is Real and Must Be Addressed Now" - "The warnings are coming from frogs and beetles, from melting ice and changing ocean currents, and from scientists and responsible politicians around the world. And yet what is the U.S. government doing about global warming? Nothing. That should shock the conscience of Americans.

Actually, the Bush administration's policy is worse than doing nothing. It has resisted efforts by other nations to discuss new actions that could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide before the global climate reaches a disastrous tipping point. And it muzzles administration scientists to keep them from warning about the seriousness of the issue. The administration's position is that more research is needed -- and then, as evidence grows that humans are adding to global warming, it calls for still more research." (David Ignatius, The Washington Post)

Sorry David, but you're wrong on just about all counts. Are we certain the world is warming abnormally? The answer is definitely not.

Armagh_vs_CET.gif (22885 bytes) HadCET_an.png (23174 bytes) The Central England Temperature record dating from 1659 really doesn't suggest very much of a warming trend (+0.024 °C/decade) and even the (relatively) recent apparent warming may be overstated due to urbanisation, appearing too steep when we compare it with the rurally located Armagh Observatory series. Looking at Jones & Mann (2004) it would seem that the CET makes a reasonable proxy for the Northern Hemisphere and raises suspicion that very little genuine warming has occurred and just how much apparent warming is due to urbanisation of the record remains unknown.

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

So, not knowing if the world is genuinely warming or merely oscillating (despite centuries of development the CET has barely topped figures seen in the early 18th, 19th & 20th Centuries) we really do need a lot more information before embarking on radical restructuring of society, the economy and our energy supply in order to avert what is quite possibly a phantom menace.

"New technologies, ideas can help in bid counter global warming" - "WASHINGTON - New industrial technologies and novel financial ideas can help the fight against global warming by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, according to scientists and climate experts gathered here by the World Bank." (AFP)

Technological fix and clues about HAARP too:) "Weather Radars to Help Fight Global Warming" - "The National Weather Service (NWS) network of NEXRAD radars could soon be enlisted in the battle against global warming. The radars usual mode of operation is to broadcast microwave energy throughout the atmosphere, a small portion of which is reflected back to the radar if precipitation is present, leading to the familiar weather radar images we are used to seeing of TV and internet weather websites. But now the radars' unique ability to scan the atmosphere is being considered by NWS for an entirely new mission: weather control. Or, more specifically, temperature control." (ecoEnquirer)

"N.C. islands threatened by rising ocean levels, research says" - "RALEIGH, N.C. -- Rising sea levels mean an uncertain future for North Carolina's fragile barrier islands, especially if the development boom continues, a geologist told a legislative panel Tuesday.

The commission is examining if or how North Carolina should prepare for a warming planet and is working to provide recommendations to the General Assembly by November. Members and speakers differ starkly over whether the use of carbon-based fuels is to blame for increasing temperatures and if a dramatic reduction in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will steady Earth's climate." (Associated Press)

"Global warming may melt away fun, study says" - "Global warming over the next 40 years could severely reduce snowpack at Northwest ski resorts and eat into summertime water supplies, a new study released Tuesday says. The study, conducted by scientists at Oregon State University, looked at the impact on Northwest snowpack if temperatures warm about 3.5 degrees in the next four decades, as some global-climate models suggest. "This is a sensitivity study, not a prediction," said Anne Nolin, a professor in the Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University and an author of the study. "We looked at the potential vulnerability to change in winter precipitation." (Seattle Times)

From CO2 Science this week:

The Accelerated Disintegration of Greenland's Glaciers: What impact is it having on global sea level?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 3 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from Crescent Island Crater Lake, Kenya.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Oceans (Regime Shifts): Abrupt shifts in the state of earth's climate that occur at intervals of approximately 25 years and are superimposed upon centennial- and millennial-scale climatic variability may be responsible for making the warmth of the past quarter-century appear so unusual.

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: Harding Grass, Non-grazed Grassland, Pristine Prairie, and Red Fescue.

Journal Reviews:
Assessing Antarctica's Mass Balance Via Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity from Satellites: How good is the technique?

Greenland and Antarctic Contributions to Sea Level Rise: Just how great - or miniscule - are they?

Dying from Heat and Cold in King County, Washington, USA: The number of the county's heat-related deaths can't even begin to compare with the number of its cold-related deaths.

Effect of Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment on Nitrogen Fixation by Legumes: For practically every general rule there are exceptions; and in some cases, such as this one, other phenomena compensate for the exception.

Effect of Elevated CO 2 on Micronutrient Uptake by Wheat: Does atmospheric CO 2 enrichment increase or decrease the concentrations of important micronutrients found in the tissues of plants? (co2science.org)

"Virgin Atlantic to tackle environmental impact ... of its limousines" - "Environmentalists have accused Virgin Atlantic of double standards over an initiative to plant trees to compensate for the carbon dioxide emissions from limousines used to drive its customers to airports." (The Guardian)

If that's the price of winning the business of dips with more money than sense...

"Poor Face Unacceptable Lack Of Electricity: Wolfowitz" - "Too many of the world's poor still lack access to electricity, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said on Monday as he urged more investment in sustainable sources of energy in developing countries, reports Reuters. In a speech launching the World Bank's Energy Week, the lender's President said concern about soaring world demand for energy over the next 30 years should not obscure the huge numbers of the world's poor without power. "Current forecasts are that 30 years from now there will still be 1.4 billion people without electricity and there will still be many businesses, which lack sufficient and reliable energy services that could be providing jobs for the poor," Wolfowitz said. "That's just not satisfactory; we have to do better." Wolfowitz said a lack of energy affected basic human needs like education and disease prevention. Saying governments, development agencies and experts should focus on sustainable energy development to alleviate world poverty." (noticias.info)

"EU takes first step towards common energy policy" - "BRUSSELS, March 8 - The European Union takes its first step towards a common energy policy on Wednesday, aiming to speak with one voice to foreign suppliers while forging a competitive gas and electricity market within the bloc." (Reuters)

"Statoil, Shell to cooperate on gas power, CO2" - "OSLO, March 8 - Energy groups Statoil and Royal/Dutch Shell will announce a pioneering scheme on Wednesday to strip greenhouse gas emissions from a gas-fired power plant in Norway, industry sources said." (Reuters)

"The Anti-Environmentalist" - "They care more about the environment than we do. No, they really do. Anyone who has been following the story of Senator Ted Kennedy and the wind farm in Massachusetts was not surprised when recent reports surfaced that he is again at work trying to kill off this clean wind project. He tried the same thing back in 2004 when is good friend Senator John Warner tried to attach an amendment to a Department of Defense bill to kill the project. (who says the Pentagon isn't good for something?)" (Peter Schweizer, FrontPageMagazine.com)

"Cutting methane emissions 'will save 370,000 lives'" - "Reducing methane emissions by 20 per cent could prevent 370,000 deaths worldwide between 2010 and 2030, say researchers in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week (6 March)." (SciDev.Net)

"UN takes out world's first drought insurance" - "The United Nation's World Food Programme has taken out an insurance policy which will pay out if Ethiopia suffers a sever drought during this year's agricultural season." (Edie)

"Students create plant that glows when thirsty" - "SINGAPORE - Some people like to talk to their plants. Now, students at Singapore Polytechnic say they have created a plant that can communicate with people -- by glowing when it needs water." (Reuters)

"Poland opposed to cultivating GM crops" - "WARSAW - The Polish government said it was opposed to the cultivation of genetically modified crops in Poland, but in favor of importing genetically modified food under strict conditions." (AFP)

March 7, 2006

"No Beef in Meat Packaging Controversy" - "Yet another potential food scare is being manufactured out of thin air --- or rather out of carbon monoxide. Last November, with little fanfare, Michigan-based Kalsec, Inc. petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of carbon monoxide-based processes in meat packaging. Kalsec, the maker of a rival meat packaging technology, claims that the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging is unsafe and could lead to the consumption of spoiled meat that appears safe upon visual inspection." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Women's Day Dream" - "Every year, 250 million women and 125 million little girls are stricken by acute malaria. As many as 750,000 of these die. Fevers, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, delirium and unconsciousness leave victims unable to work, cultivate fields, attend school or care for their families, for weeks on end. Eight out of ten are in sub-Saharan Africa, where this terrible disease is one more nail in the coffin of hope for eventual economic prosperity. This year, there can be no better way to mark International Women's Day (March 8) than by resolving to control this disease – and confront those who help prolong the misery and early death of women and girls in so many poor countries." (Roy Innis, TCS Daily)

"Animal rights protest puts £375m aquatic centre at risk" - "The Mekong delta will sweep through vast aquatic biospheres along with the river Amazon. Its depths will be home to the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish, the largest freshwater fish in the world, and rare poisonous tree frogs will inhabit the treetops of tropical forests. That, at least, is the dream of the team behind a £375m plan to build a visitors' centre, huge aquariums for conserving rare, freshwater species and educational facilities on disused Bedfordshire claypits. But now the scheme is in jeopardy after opposition from animal rights groups." (The Guardian)

"Crackdown on animal-rights activists" - "New Jersey guilty verdict puts focus on extremists' tactics that Congress is trying to curb." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"TV may not cause kids' attention disorders: study" - "CHICAGO - In contrast to an earlier finding, it does not appear children who watch a lot of television wind up with behavior problems in school, researchers reported on Monday. If there is an association, it may be that the exhausted parents of already overly active children are more likely to let them watch TV to give themselves a break, and not that TV itself leads to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, the report from Texas Tech University in Lubbock said." (Reuters)

Precautionary Principle at work? "5,000 rare diseases need drugs, but Europe only approves a handful each year" - "Only seven per cent of drug applications for treating people with rare diseases were approved in Europe between 2000 and 2004, despite the fact that there are currently more than 5,000 conditions needing medication." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Flu in the subtropics" - "A new study shows that tropical and subtropical countries suffer far more illness and death during flu outbreaks than previously imagined, with both hospital admissions and deaths rising considerably during a flu outbreak." (Public Library of Science)

"Peanut butter 'did not kill girl'" - "A 15-year-old Canadian girl with a peanut allergy did not die because of kissing her boyfriend who had eaten peanut butter, a coroner has ruled. But Saguenay coroner Michel Miron did not reveal why Christina Desforges died last November because he has yet to make his final report. The coroner said he wanted to speak out so the case would not be used by the Canadian Association of Food Allergies. He said he believed the group wanted to use it in an education campaign. "I had to tell them the cause of death was different than first believed," he said." (BBC)

Vague indicator: "Prenatal pesticide exposure and high blood pressure and a decreased ability to copy shapes" - "Children in Ecuador whose mothers were exposed to pesticides while pregnant had increased blood pressure and diminished ability to copy geometric figures as compared to a control group, according to an epidemiological study in the March issue of Pediatrics. The results appear to be independent of current exposure to the chemicals. The mothers themselves were reported to be healthy.

A team of researchers led by Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH, analyzed data on 72 children aged seven or eight years old in the rural Tabacundo-Cayambe area in Northern Ecuador. The children were examined by a physician and were given a battery of standardized tests for neurobehavioral functions. Thirty-seven of the children had mothers whose self-described occupational histories indicated that the women had been exposed to pesticides during pregnancy, typically by working in greenhouses. Dose-response relationships and the exact timing of the exposures' impact were not established due to the nature of the study design." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Just Say No to The 'Bull Manure' Index" - "For some, "BMI" conjures up their version of the three main food groups: Burgers, Macaroni-and-cheese and Ice cream. The government, though, takes Body Mass Index seriously. It uses the measure of relative weight to height in clinical guidelines to identify, evaluate and treat overweight and obesity in adults. Generally, the higher your BMI, the higher your predisposition to health adversities such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, some cancers and premature death." (Jodi Peckich, TCS Daily)

Hmm... "You're a Good Man, Lester Brown" - "An interview with the founder of Worldwatch and Earth Policy Institute" (David Roberts, Grist)

Interesting title. Oddly enough, mention Lester Brown to us and we think of peanuts, too.

"In thrall to the green god" - "Environmentalism has become a religion, writes Martin Livermore in this week's Green Room; humans should take off their hair shirts, and enjoy the lifestyles which progress has created." (Martin Livermore, BBC)

Britain's scientists are revolting, apparently: "Scientists in revolt against cuts that will undermine Britain's climate research" - "A torrent of high-level opposition is building up to the proposals to scrap Britain's three leading wildlife research centres, which are due to be voted on tomorrow." (London Independent)

"Study of 2004 tsunami forces rethinking of giant earthquake theory" - "The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of Dec. 26, 2004, was one of the worst natural disasters in history, largely because of the devastating tsunami that followed. Now, scientists have discovered that regions of the earth previously thought to be immune to such events may actually be at high risk of experiencing them." (National Science Foundation)

"Mexico City field campaign to study megacity pollution" - "An international team of researchers has headed into the field for one of the most complex campaigns ever undertaken in atmospheric chemistry: a month-long investigation of air pollution as it flows downwind from Mexico City. The scientists expect that their assessment of the pollution's impact on regional and global air quality, climate and ecosystems will be applicable to megacities--cities with 10 million or more inhabitants--in locations around the world." (National Science Foundation)

"New NSF aircraft to probe hazardous atmospheric whirlwinds" - "Today, the nation's most-advanced research aircraft will take flight on its first science mission. Scientists aboard will study a severe type of atmospheric turbulence that forms near mountains and endangers planes flying in the vicinity. The mission will last two months, ending on April 30, 2006." (National Science Foundation)

"Rain Forest Gets Too Much Rain, and Animals Pay the Price" - "Several months of extreme rain and cold in Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park led to a lack of available food sources for many animals." (New York Times)

"Sun's Next 11-Year Cycle Could be 50 Percent Stronger" - "WASHINGTON - Sun-spawned cosmic storms that can play havoc with earthly power grids and orbiting satellites could be 50 percent stronger in the next 11-year solar cycle than in the last one, scientists said on Monday. Using a new model that takes into account what happens under the sun's surface and data about previous solar cycles, astronomers offered a long-range forecast for solar activity that could start as soon as this year or as late as 2008." (Reuters) | Scientists issue unprecedented forecast of next sunspot cycle (NCAR/UCAR)

Somewhat improved: "Heading for a 'roasted world'" - "Correction: Because of an editing error, a paragraph in this column on global warming by John Bullard should have read: Energy specialist John Holdren has said that the 3 to 8 degree Fahrenheit increase in global-average surface temperature predicted to result from a doubling of the pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide may be a best-case scenario. Without change, the world is headed for a quadrupling of carbon dioxide compared with pre-industrial levels, which would lead to a global-average temperature increase of 5 to 16 degrees Fahrenheit." (John K. Bullard, Boston Globe)

Yesterday I lambasted Bullard and incoming AAAS President John Holdren (See March 7) for airing simply preposterous scenarios for 2050, hence the 'correction' above. It is a relief to see such nonsense did not, in fact, emanate from Holdren. It remains a worry that The Globe's scribe and editors are so scientifically illiterate that they could print such crap to begin with.

Mea culpa: More of a worry is that I found it credible any scientist could/would make such ridiculous statements regarding 'global warming'. Such is the poisoned state of climate science and its reporting that outrageous misstatement and complete nonsense has become the norm and the most fantastic disaster prognosticators the new authority. Those of us who donate so much time to 'beating back the bull' must always guard against becoming as conditioned as Pavlov's dogs and the above suggests the time is fast approaching for me to take a break. -- Ed.

QED:) "Migrating Turtles Predict Global Warming" - "Global warming is expected to cause entire ecosystems to change, with a slow poleward migration of species. Now, researchers are finding that the slowest-moving species are providing the earliest signals of global warming." (ecoEnquirer)

?!! "Global warming evidence grows: UN expert" - "Evidence that humans are to blame for global warming is rising but governments are doing too little to counter the threat, the head of the UN climate panel said. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also said costs of braking climate change in coming decades might be less than forecast in the IPCC's last report in 2001." (AAP)

Well, the hysteria level has certainly been cranked up by an extraordinary number of wild assertions but, on balance, we'd have to conclude evidence of the human portion of greenhouse forcing is declining as other, natural sources are discovered or re-evaluated. Heck trees and sub-sea volcanic vents have just been brought to the table as significant methane contributors. Then we've had NAS empanel a committee to investigate what we know of past climate history (the last millennium or two), that report should be interesting but the immediate take-home message is that paleoclimatologists explicitly stated they could not determine MWP temperatures within ±0.5 °C. Will the "hockey stick" revision of history survive the panel's report, it would appear highly unlikely. If not then the IPCC would presumably revert to its 1995 view of contemporary climate history in that current temperatures are probably similar to the MWP although significantly less than the Holocene Maximum. A mortal wound for claims of current hottest decade/century and humans are responsible? We doubt it - but it will kick away a lot of 'support'.

"Failure to report on climate change in South" - "A survey of four developing countries says their media have a poor understanding of climate change, and place a low priority on reporting it." (SciDev.Net)

Maybe they have real issues to report/worry about.

Tragic glacial retreat:) "Pristine Alaskan Glacier Turns Into Tropical Wasteland" - "Few places on Earth have suffered the ravages of global warming more than Alaska. While recent news reports have highlighted accounts of the native Inuits' snowmobiles falling through the ice, threatening their traditional way of life, there are isolated parts of Alaska have been completely transformed by global warming." (ecoEnquirer)

Yesterday we had 'global fattening' poised as the replacement for the faltering 'global warming' campaign and, yes, thanks to all who wrote, I did miss the obvious. In what was to become the very next item we had sodas causing obesity - depending on where you are you might call these beverages 'pop', 'fizzy drinks' or something different but they are carbonated soft drinks - the obvious commonality between 'warming' and 'fattening' is CO2! Think how neatly these campaigns dovetail! (Aren't those greenies clever with scare recycling? They'll be able to reuse most of their evil carbon emission stuff just by changing 'warming' to 'fattening'!) So, soon we should see Al Gore, complete with a travelling power point slideshow, exhorting us to exhale deeply - get rid of that CO2 to lose weight! Maybe we can help them out with bumper stickers & stuff bearing some catchy slogan like "Enviros Really Blow" or something (we're sure you can do better). Family friendly Fat Earth jokes/puns/slogans/cartoons may be sent here, don't forget to explicitly state if/how you'd like them attributed - best may be published on this site.

"Yukon's Dawson City treading on thin ice" - "Melting permafrost poses a real danger to the northern outpost of 1,500 people. The town is built on a layer of frozen water -- and temperatures are rising." (The Globe and Mail)

"Chretien dismisses Tory claims that Kyoto targets unattainable" - "OTTAWA - The former prime minister who signed Canada onto the Kyoto accord is dismissing claims from the current government that its goals are unattainable." (Canadian Press)

"Governor, Chamber at Odds Over Emissions" - "SACRAMENTO — The California Chamber of Commerce, perhaps Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's closest political ally, may split with the governor over his commitment to drastically cut greenhouse-gas emissions. In an executive order signed last year, Schwarzenegger set firm targets for reducing carbon dioxide pollution beginning in 2010. At the same time, he asked the California Environmental Protection Agency to work with other government departments to develop strategies for meeting the goals. On Monday, the chamber denounced a draft report produced by the agency's "climate action team" as "not convincing" and a potential burden on the state's economy — especially proposals to levy a new tax on gasoline and diesel fuel sales and to cap carbon dioxide emissions, which are believed to cause global warming." (LA Times)

You know, he could be right... "Labor talks tough on greenhouse gas emissions" - "AUSTRALIA'S greenhouse gas emissions would be slashed by half by the middle of the century if a Federal Labor government came to power, the leader of the Opposition will announce today." (Sydney Morning Herald)

... traditionally Labor has destroyed the Australian economy, killed employment and plunged us into deep recession with massive national debt - promising deep emission cuts must mean 'same old, same old' from Australia's anti-just-about-everything Left. Really makes one appreciate the Howard Government.

"Russia to assess greenhouse gas emissions" - "Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has signed a decree to create a national system for the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions, in accordance with Russia’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the government’s press service said, noting that the new service will be a comprehensive one." (RBC)

"World's poor can have energy without more global warming: experts" - "WASHINGTON - Meeting the desperate need for energy of the world's poorest countries does not have to contribute to global warming, experts said at a conference sponsored by the World Bank." (AFP)

... and may have little effect on global temperature regardless of how it's done.

Kill rainforest to grow oil: "Join Brazil in planting oil" - "Only radical solutions will overcome the energy and environmental crises while promoting equality." (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, The Guardian)

Somehow, we can't see the enviro brigade thinking much of the idea.

"EU to issue warning on foreign energy use" - "BERLIN The European Commission will warn governments Wednesday that they are failing to adequately curb fuel consumption and develop alternative forms of energy, a trend that may push Europe's reliance on foreign energy sources to dangerously high levels in coming decades." (Judy Dempsey, International Herald Tribune)

"'No quick fix' from nuclear power" - "Building new nuclear plants is not the answer to tackling climate change or securing Britain's energy supply, a government advisory panel has reported." (BBC) | Plan for new nuclear programme approaches meltdown after report (London Independent) | Don't build nuclear plants, green advisers tell Blair (The Guardian)

By "government advisory panel" they mean green dipsticks headed by Porritt.

"Analysis: Porritt whispers in PM's ear with all the force he can muster" - "Listen to yesterday's Sustainable Development Commission report on nuclear power and you will hear something uncommon, fascinating and slightly awe-inspiring: the sound of a big beast in the environmental jungle, getting his retaliation in first. Jonathon Porritt has come a long way since he was one of the founders of the Ecology Party (which subsequently became the Green Party), and then leader of Friends of the Earth. Now, as chair of the SDC, and Tony Blair's official environmental adviser, he is part of the government establishment. But only to a degree. Sir Jonathon may be an Etonian by schooling and a baronet by title but he has remained radical in his green convictions, and one of those, which he shares with most other environmentalists, is that no good whatsoever can come of nuclear power." (London Independent)

... but he's only dangerous if people actually listen to him.

"Nuclear energy realistic solution" - "It is not credible for Elizabeth May, executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada to suggest the provincial government ignore the Ontario Power Authority's recommendation to invest in clean, safe, reliable nuclear energy. Instead, May states, "California experts should be brought to Queen's Park to share their economical and environmentally sound electricity strategies." (Dr. Patrick Moore, Toronto Star)

"Green Energy Sales Seen Quadrupling in Decade" - "NEW YORK - Global annual sales of renewable energies such as wind, solar and biofuels could more than quadruple in a decade to nearly $170 billion if oil prices remain high and technology costs fall, according to a study." (Reuters)

Four times not very much is...

"Many human genes evolved recently" - "Human genes involved in metabolism, skin pigmentation, brain function and reproduction have evolved in response to recent environmental changes, according to a new study of natural selection in the human genome. Researchers at the University of Chicago, US, developed a statistical test to find genomic regions that evolution has favoured over the last 15,000 years or so – when modern humans dealt with the end of the last ice age, the beginning of agriculture, and increased population densities." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Monsanto to reduce Bt-cotton seeds royalty" - "New Delhi, March 6 US seed major Monsanto Biotech and its Indian subsidiary Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) have agreed to reduce the technology cost they were charging on their genetically modified cotton seeds by 30 percent, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said here Monday. The high cost of Bt-cotton seeds, which promises protection from the bollworm menace, has led to proliferation of spurious seeds resulting in crop failures and distress to some farmers leading to even suicide, the minister told reporters." (Indo Asian News Service)

"Monsanto, Syngenta Shares Gain Even as EU Opposes GMO Seeds" - "Genetically modified food, shunned by consumers in Europe, is winning acceptance in emerging markets. Seedmakers such as Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG are reaping the rewards." (Bloomberg)

March 6, 2006

"Media 'sensationalising science'" - "A report by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), an independent research group, has accused the UK media of sensationalising science. It says irresponsible reporting can undermine public confidence in science and government, and on issues such as vaccination may even cost lives. The think-tank blames inaccurate reporting for the scare that led some parents to shun the MMR vaccine." (BBC)

"Pesticides Found in Most U.S. Rivers" - "Most of the nation's rivers and streams - and the fish in them - are contaminated with pesticides linked to cancer, birth defects and neurological disorders, but not at levels that can harm humans. Pesticides were found in almost all U.S. rivers and streams between 1992 and 2001, says a study released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey, although most drinking water supplies haven't been affected. "While the use of pesticides has resulted in a wide range of benefits to control weeds, insects and other pests, including increased food production and reduction of insect-borne disease, their use also raises questions about possible effects on the environment, including water quality," said Robert Hirsch, the USGS associate director for water." (AP) | Pesticides in the nation's streams and ground water (USGS)

"Finns to test mobile phone radiation on human skin" - "HELSINKI - Finland's radiation watchdog is to study the effects of mobile phones on human proteins by direct tests on people's skin, to see if handset transmissions affect their health. A pilot study, to be conducted next week, will expose a small area of skin on volunteers' arms to cellphone radiation for the duration of a long phone call, or for one hour, research professor Dariusz Leszczynski said on Friday." (Reuters)

"'No evidence' of mast health risk" - "Mobile phone masts and handsets are no more dangerous than television or radio transmitters, an expert has suggested. Communities often use health arguments to protest over their construction but Prof Anthony Barker said there was no proof they had an adverse effect. He said TV transmitters had a similar strength field but people did not question their construction. Residents often protest strongly over perceived health risks in positioning masts near homes and schools." (BBC)

Recycled scare of the week: "You are what you eat ... breathe ... scrub ... lather ... spray" - "Scientists testing humans for 'pollution' have discovered long lists of manmade toxins including DDT and PCBs." (Susan Allan, The Ottawa Citizen)

Pub quiz: "You have the opportunity to place your kids in a machine that will remove every chemical from them." Would you do it? What would be the result?

"The high percentages of depression have been greatly exaggerated" - "According to widely reported community-based research, almost half the U.S. population suffers from depression. But research by two sociologists indicates that percentage is greatly exaggerated or is a misrepresentation." (American Sociological Association)

Now we know: "Stark warning on childhood obesity problem" - "On every continent, child's waistlines are expanding, driven by low energy lifestyles and high energy foods. "Global fattening" poses an equal threat to global warming, according to obesity specialists. Estimates published today suggest that the proportion of school-age children in Europe who are obese has risen almost 50 per cent since the late 1990s and will nearly double to 6.4 million by 2010." (London Independent)

Finally explained, the replacement for the somewhat threadbare 'global warming' campaign - meet 'global fattening' (perhaps it's me, it just doesn't seem to have the same 'punch' as its predecessor - guess that shows 'punch' beats 'paunch' huh?). Maybe it's not too late for Al to edit his latest threatened Earth book - now he can reinvent the internal combustion engine as the cause of Fat Earth and he could call it "Earth on the Scales, sequel to Earth in the Balance" or something. It's early days yet, it could be that global fat will weigh heavily on the Earth (sorry!), a subject of some gravity (again!) and not just for Fat Earthers... Ooh! I can see legs developing here. Family friendly Fat Earth jokes/puns/cartoons may be sent here, don't forget to explicitly state if/how you'd like them attributed - best may be published on this site.

"Scientists make their case that soda causes obesity" - "In reports to be published in science journals this week, two groups of researchers hope to add evidence to the theory that soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks don't just go hand-in-hand with obesity - they actually cause it." (Associated Press) | Reducing teens' intake of sugary drinks (Children's Hospital Boston)

"Obesity fears carry weight with investors" - "Rising consumer concern about obesity and health could transform institutional investment in the food and drink industry." (Financial Times)

Book Review: "The War On Fun" - "The best book published in Canada lately (after mine of course!) is my friend Ezra Levant's The War on Fun. In it, Ezra clearly shows how big health lobbies, politicians, do-gooders, busybodies and lawyers are attacking personal liberties, destroying the long Canadian tradition of freedom, turning rational grown-up adults into children, wanting to replace parental responsibility by bureaucratic programs and creating a victimhood mentality. As far as do-gooders are concerned, people (i.e., you and me) don't know what's best for them and must rely on bureaucrats and politicians to tell them what to do." (Jasmin Guénette, Québécois Libre)

"New York is next target of animal rights group" - "ANIMAL rights activists targeting Oxford University are taking their campaign to America, where extremists were last week convicted of inciting terrorism. Protesters will single out clubs and restaurants hosting reunion events arranged by the Oxford Alumni Association of New York. It is the first time that Speak, a group opposed to the construction of a £20 million research facility at the university, has taken its protest abroad." (London Times)

"A mouse could save your life" - "The recent pro-vivisection demonstrations are prompting many in the green movement to rethink their stance on animal testing. Steve Connor argues that an intelligent debate is long overdue." (London Independent)

"Mice are key tool in quest for new drugs" - "BAR HARBOR, Maine — When it comes to the price of mice, you pay more for defects. A mouse with arthritis runs close to $200; two pairs of epileptic mice can cost 10 times that. You want three blind mice? That'll run you about $250. And for your own custom mouse, with the genetic modification of your choosing, expect to pay as much as $100,000. Always a mainstay of scientific research, mice have become a critical tool in the quest for new drugs and medical treatments. It turns out that a mouse's genes are so similar to a person's that with proper manipulation — either by man or nature — they can produce an animal with an ailment akin to virtually any human medical condition. Mice with Alzheimer's disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and countless other ailments are being used to study both the illnesses themselves and potential treatments." (Associated Press)

"USAID Helps Fight Against Malaria in Mozambique" - "USAID is increasing its funding for malaria control in Mozambique and is using PSI to distribute insecticide treated nets. We recognise that USAID is making real efforts to reform its malaria control program - but it isn't clear from this report if the nets are being sold or given away nor if any monitoring and evaluation is being conducted." (AFM)

"Vietnam plans to eliminate malaria by 2010" - "Good news for malaria sufferers in Vietnam. Vietnam has managed to reduce the malaria rate by 97% and the disease’s fatality rate by 89% over the past five years." (AFM)

"New Strategy to Attack HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria" - "Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Tropical Diseases at George Washington University calls for greater emphasis on the 'neglected diseases' as well as integration in treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and parasitic infections." (AFM)

"Fighting Malaria in the 1940s" - "Sada J Reddi gives a compelling history of malaria control in Mauritius which could be relevant for nearby Reunion which suffers from the mosquito borne disease Chikungunya." (AFM)

"New York Knickerbockers Fans To Help Set World Dunk Record" - "The New York Knickerbockers today announced a unique partnership with the charity Hedge Funds vs. Malaria to draw awareness and raise funds to assist in eradicating malaria." (AFM)

From the Eurosphere: Why are BBC Radio 2 presenters more balanced on the environment than their Radio 4 counterparts? (EnviroSpin Watch)

Oh my! "Attenborough defends 'wildlife porn'" - "New TV series ignores conservation in quest for global audience, say environmentalists." (London Independent)

Doesn't toe the global gloomsters' line? Might be worth watching then.

"BBC's wildlife archives released" - "Content from the BBC's Natural History Unit has been made available free of charge over the internet. The Open Earth Archive will include previously unseen clips from new wildlife series Planet Earth. Footage can be viewed, downloaded and edited into personal projects as part of the Creative Archive Licence. The scheme, which released the BBC's news archives earlier this year, allows the material to be used for non-profit programme-making in the UK." (BBC)

Uh-oh... "Envisat altimeter watches Pacific for cold tongue of La Niña" - "Satellite measurements of a steep difference in sea surface height between the western and eastern tropical Pacific support predictions that a La Niña event is in the offing. El Niño's chillier sister, La Niña is linked to opposing but equally wide-ranging shifts in weather patterns." (European Space Agency)

Stand by for a fresh rash of "Tuvalu sinking" claims - ENSO events distort the ocean surface leading to falling levels around Tuvalu during El Niños and rising levels during La Niñas.

"Himalayan melting risk surveyed" - "A new weather station is expected to show the extent of warming in the Himalayas, one of the world's biggest deposits of ice and a key source of fresh water." (BBC)

Sea Ice and Snow Cover Status (Climate Science)

The Week That Was March 4, 2006 (SEPP)

"People want to be seen helping the climate" - "The global climate can be thought of as a public good. But how can we encourage people to invest their energies altruistically in its maintenance? This question was addressed experimentally by researchers from the Max Planck Institutes of Limnology in Plãn, and Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany. The test subjects were given the choice of spending money on a magazine advertisement meant to inform the public about basic rules of climate preservation and the consequences of climate-unfriendly behaviour. The result: people are more likely to work toward common goals when they are well-informed and when they receive public recognition for their good deed - which can be of as much value to them as money (PNAS, February 28, 2006)." (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft)

Hmm... people "well informed" on global climate are generally very reluctant to spend money attempting to "control" climate for the simple reason we cannot knowingly and predictably adjust a chaotic system. That people will exchange fiscal reward for perceived status and recognition is hardly new.

Reading the rules of the game cynics would probably suggest the rules are loaded to coerce students misinformed about climate science to 'donate' to further indoctrination campaigns in the expectation of personal reward. That this translates to a generalisation that "people want to be seen helping the climate" is somewhat doubtful, especially if it actually cost people their own money. That people given genuine information regarding climate science and its uncertainties would pay their own money to print hysterical nonsense about climate would appear highly unlikely.

Regarding how well informed people are about climate, try a little experiment where you work/shop/play... ask people how accurately they believe we can estimate the global mean temperature - to the nearest thousandths of a degree; hundredth; tenth; ±0.1; ±0.3; nearest degree (±0.5); ±0.7 (if you work/think in °C this is the correct answer); ± whole degree (if you work/think in °F this is about right). If you find anyone who knows this then congratulations, you have been talking to a scientist with an interest in global climate or another JunkScience.com reader (possibly both simultaneously) - beyond these relatively select classes of individual your chances of finding people so informed are slim. This probably explains why the 'global warming' scare persists when the estimated net change from when things were uncomfortably cool is actually smaller than the error margin on our global mean temperature estimate (HadCRUT2v Data Set 1870-2005 Global Trend: 0.05 °C/decade or 13.5 decades x 0.05 °C = 0.675 °C; GHCN-ERSST Data Set 1880 - 2005 Global Trend: 0.04 °C/decade or 12.5 decades x 0.04 °C = 0.5 °C).

"Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Reports Highest Winter Temperature" - "Qinghai Province and Tibet Autonomous Region in northwest China has reported the highest winter temperature ever recorded. Some parts of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau reported average winter temperatures that were four to five degrees Celsius above norms for the period between the beginning of December and the end of February, according to China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Friday. Meteorologists around the world have their eye on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which is also known as the roof of the world, as it could reflect the beginnings of climate change." (Xinhua)

A soft winter is probably a blessing for them, a few years ago we had Red Cross/Red Crescent appeals because particularly harsh winters were wiping out livestock in the region and creating great hardship. Remember this?

Flashback: January 31, 2001: Charity appeal of the day: "United Nations launches appeal for Mongolia winter disaster" - "The United Nations launched an appeal for $11.8 million in aid for Mongolia on Tuesday to help hundreds of thousands of herders through the country's worst winter in memory. Thick snow over 90 percent of the country and temperatures as low as minus 58 Fahrenheit have killed 600,000 head of livestock since November — robbing herders of their only source of food, transport, shelter, fuel and income, the United Nations said." (Reuters)

The harsh Mongolian winter of 2000/2001 followed the 'Zud' (harsh winter following summer drought) a year earlier. Whether a record 'less colding' just 5 years later is indicative of looming disaster is a matter of some conjecture. Nonetheless, the long-term (well, longest we have) data shows a trivial annual warming trend of 0.04 °C/decade, half a degree over the entire 125 year record. Interesting that this landlocked and mainly rural region demonstrates barely more than half the global trend guesstimated from the GHCN Land Surface Data Set.

"Buffett links hurricane insurance to climate" - "Berkshire Hathaway, the investment group run by Warren Buffett, is pushing up the price of hurricane insurance as a precaution against the possible impact of climate change. Mr Buffett said it remained an open question whether 'atmospheric, oceanic or other causal factors have dramatically changed the frequency or intensity of hurricanes' but after the worst quarterly losses in industry history it was prudent to limit exposure." (Financial Times)

Well, not really. The 'Sage of Omaha' actually said it is an open question and so do a lot of researchers. If 'global warming' was a significant factor then tropical cyclones should pick up in number and severity in all tropical oceanic basins, which they have not. This suggests that the anticipated cyclical change in the Atlantic Basin is not being greatly influenced. What is true is that people have put a lot more dollar value at risk in hurricane prone regions and it is perfectly fair and reasonable that those accepting that risk should also accept the price of that exposure, which includes more expensive insurance premiums.

Whoa! "Heading for a 'roasted world'" - "...John Holdren, the incoming president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an energy specialist from the Kennedy School and the Woods Hole Research Center, has said that the 5-7 degree change predicted from a doubling of greenhouse gases by 2050 may be a best-case scenario. We are headed for a quadrupling of these gases, which would lead to a 20-degree change by mid-century. He calls this a ''roasted world." (John K. Bullard, Boston Globe)

The IPCC TAR (wildly) guesstimates1990 to 2050 increase in the range 0.8 °C to 2.6 °C under some pretty imaginative 'storylines' and that's bad enough but the incoming AAAS President throwing around figures like '20-degree change by midcentury', assuming he's talking °F that's >11 °C over just 45 years - a decadal trend of 2.5 °C (4-14 times the IPCC estimates at 35 times the observed GHCN Land Surface trend!).

Even if we could pump that much carbon into the atmosphere to double pre-industrial levels and reach 560ppmv in such a short time (4ppmv/year starting right now, quadrupling it to 1120ppmv requires >16ppmv/year - an impossible task for humans to achieve) and assuming all contemporary change to be enhanced greenhouse-driven, the world would still need to be an order of magnitude more sensitive to GHG-forcing than any period yet measured (GHCN Land Surface 1979-2005: 0.27 °C/decade). He calls this a ''roasted world"? We call him "Full of it".

"Avalanche! Skiers beware" - "As skiers flock to the French Alps, where 43 people have already died this season, experts say the risk of disaster is the highest ever." (London Independent)

Too much snow, too cold and warm, all due to global warming... Got it.

The Hysteria Grows (Number Watch)

While you are there, read on to In vino veritas

"Al Gore – fool, demagogue" - "Al Gore is at it, again. The politician turned media baron is building a new "coalition" to whip up more hysteria about global warming and is calling on his fellow press barons to provide "public service" time and space to the cause. As if the Big Media don't already do more than their part to spread the phony gospel of environmentalist extremism 24 hours a day. Isn't CNN officially the global warming network? Could it possibly provide any more support for such a campaign? How about the New York Times?" (Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily.com)

"Compliance body set up for Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gases" - "The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said today that a Compliance Committee for the Kyoto Protocol, the environmental treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, has begun operations, with an enforcement branch dealing with countries having difficulties meeting their commitments." (UN News Centre)

"States go to Supreme Court over car emissions: Suit seeks to force EPA to use Clean Air Act to restrict carbon dioxide" - "NEW YORK - A dozen U.S. states appealed to the Supreme Court Friday on a case that seeks to force the U.S. government to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks, an environmental group said. The states, three cities including New York, and several green groups had sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to regulate the car emissions most scientists link to global warming. Last August the full bench of the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., the nation’s second-highest court, denied a request to hear the case in a 4 to 3 decision." (Reuters)

"One is hated, one is feted, but which is greener?" - "Owners of hybrids, the eco dream machine, are beginning to have doubts, finds Emma Smith of The Sunday Times" (London Times)

"US says CO2 injection could quadruple oil reserves" - "NEW YORK - The United States, where oil production has been declining since the 1970s, has the potential to boost its oil reserves four-fold through advanced injection of carbon dioxide into depleted oilfields, the Department of Energy said on Friday. The United States, the world's top oil consumer, has been successfully pumping small amounts or carbon dioxide into depleted oil and natural gas fields for 30 years to push out hard-to-reach fossil fuels." (Reuters)

Sanctimonious drivel over the rejection of the Whinash wind farm proposal (EnviroSpin Watch) | A wind farm too far (London Times)

"Energy Green Paper: more of the same or new revolution?" - "In Short: On Wednesday 8 March, Commissioner Piebalgs will present the new Green Paper on European Energy Policy, outlining some major challenges for a future common European approach to questions related to security of energy supply and climate change." (EurActiv)

"Oops, we helped ruin the planet" - "They are the gurus of globetrotting, the men who built publishing empires from their adventures and wrote guidebooks encouraging millions to venture further afield than ever before. Now the founders of the Rough Guides and Lonely Planet books, troubled that they have helped spread a casual attitude towards air travel that could trigger devastating climate change, are uniting to urge tourists to fly less." (The Guardian) | Green skies thinking (London Telegraph)

"Stop this war on tourism" - "Flying doesn't kill. It helps us learn more about the world, which can only be a good thing, say Keith Jowett and Roger Wiltshire." (The Guardian)

"All the organic broccoli in the world won't be enough to save the planet" - "Adopting an ethical lifestyle is meaningless unless we carry its principles outside our own homes and gardens." (The Guardian)

Actually the planet's fine, society, on the other hand, would appear seriously afflicted with fruit-loopery.

Anti-factory farm rant: "A Load of Manure" - "TALK of reducing our dependence on foreign oil through alternative energy sources like biomass is everywhere these days — even on our president's lips. As a livestock farmer and environmental lawyer, I've paid particular attention to discussion about using manure as "green power." The idea sounds appealing, but power from manure turns out to be a poor source of energy. Unlike solar or wind, it can create more environmental problems than it solves. And it ends up subsidizing large agribusiness. That's why energy from manure should really be considered a form of "brown power." (New York Times)

"A French Firm Clones Horse Racing Champions" - "A French biotech firm has now cloned world-famous show horses. The French scientists say they were willing to break deep-seated taboos to preserve the genes of champions. Germany's breeding clubs may be outraged, but a top Belgian stud farm is already using the clones to breed what it hopes will be next-generation champions." (Der Spiegel)

"Compromise collapses on Vermont's modified-crops bill" - "MONTPELIER — An effort to make seed manufacturers financially liable for genetically modified crops was dealt a serious blow Thursday as a legislative compromise fell apart." (Rutland Herald)

"Monsanto rewards U.S. farmers" - "Monsanto Co., which sells products planted on nearly 90 percent of U.S. soybean acres, on Friday announced three initiatives to extend that market. The company, based in Creve Coeur, said its goal is to reward U.S. soybean growers, who have been early and aggressive adopters of its genetically modified seeds since they hit the market a decade ago." (Post-Dispatch)

"Britain gives the green light to GM terminator technology" - "THE government has abandoned its opposition to so-called “terminator technology”, a form of genetic modification that makes harvested seeds sterile, and has opened the door to testing such products. Terminator technology was developed by the biotech industry and is highly controversial because it prevents farmers from saving their own seeds to grow new crops, forcing them to buy seed each season. A global moratorium on the testing and commercialisation of terminator technology was established under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in 2000. However, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) recently stated that it will examine applications for terminator trials on a “case by case” basis." (Sunday Herald)

An unnecessarily emotional topic about which there is a lot of misinformation. When it comes to saving seed this effectively is no different from using conventional high-yield hybrids which do not breed true, so the hysteria regarding 'threat' to global agriculture and particularly the third world is quite silly. A system where seeds bred true but enhanced traits were enabled only by a licensed seed treatment or spray application would protect the development investment of seed companies while completely defusing the emotional non-issue of seed saving is technically possible but whether it would be worth the investment in time, effort and money to bring to market is another matter and the anti-technology whiners would still claim third world farmers were being disadvantaged by not being able to simply steal advanced technology developed at everyone else's expense.

"EU approves new type of genetically modified maize" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Friday authorised the marketing of a new type of genetically modified (GMO) maize, known as pioneer line 1507, despite a deadlock among EU member states. "The authorisation means that this maize type will now be allowed to be marketed in the EU as food, food ingredients or derived products, such as oil and starch," Commission spokesman for health and consumer protection Philip Tod told a briefing." (Reuters)

"Indian biotech grows up" - "The development of the biotech sector in India has been quite dramatic over the past decade. The country has developed homegrown genetically modified Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton crops and has brought a number of follow-on drugs to market. For example, The Serum Institute of India in New Delhi and Hyderabad's Shantha Biotechnics and Bharat Biotech all market generic versions of recombinant hepatitis B virus surface antigen vaccine. And more recently, New Delhi's Dr. Ranbaxy Laboratories received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA; Rockville, MD) for a generic version of the drug Retrovir (zidovudine), used for treating HIV infection, after the original patent expired in September 2005. What's more, the country has gone from strength-to-strength in developing its bioinformatics capabilities." (Nature)

March 3, 2006

Oops! 'Trends' from <3.5 years data? "Antarctica's Annual Melt Equals Water in Lake Tahoe, Study Says" - "Antarctica is melting at an annual rate equal to dumping Lake Tahoe into the ocean, causing global seawater to rise as much as 0.6 millimeters (0.02 inches) a year, according to a study published by Science. Researchers used two NASA satellites to measure the loss of the ice sheet on the Earth's fifth-largest continent between April 2002 and August 2005. The findings contradict an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment in 2001, which predicted the ice sheet would gain mass in the 21st century. ``We can now see Antarctica melting,'' said Isabella Velicogna, a member of the University of Colorado at Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences. ``We have a number for the ice sheet. It's a big step toward understanding how the sea level is going to change.'' (Bloomberg) | Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity Show Mass Loss in Antarctica | PDF (Science) | See Google News listing for lots of bad coverage of this.

Ooh! Bad headlines! Is Antarctica 'melting'? The definitive answer is 'No, not currently'.

How do we know this? Since 1979 we have had satellite coverage of the frozen continent and the UAH MSU data for the Southern Polar Region, displayed graphically here, shows a slight cooling trend of -0.01 °C/decade.

'Aha!' cry the hand-wringers, '"Unproven" satellite data must be wrong!'. Fair enough, ignoring the fact these headlines are generated from, ahem, just 3 years, 5 months satellite data, let's compare the MSU data with Goddard Institute of Space Studies (a.k.a. the "House of Hansen") data, displayed here. Their trend is different from that of the UAH MSU, indicating greater Antarctic cooling at -0.04 °C/decade for the period 1979-2005.

GHCN-ERSST plotted here for the region 66.33S - 90.00S over the same period gives a trend of -0.02 °C/decade.

The cooperative effort by the UK Met. Office's Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit dataset known as HadCRUT2v also provides regional splits and their data, shown here, for the Antarctic not including the peninsula protruding north of the Antarctic Circle, shows no trend (0.0 °C/decade) for the period 1979-2004 while the Antarctic Peninsula, here, shows an anomalous trend of +0.5 °C/decade. Their combined 65S - 90S (including part of the Southern Ocean), here, gives a trend of +0.1 °C/decade.

The Antarctic is not exactly over-serviced with historical temperature data and some extraordinary gyrations appear in what record we do have - probably as a result of measurement changes but possibly not. During the period of global cooling worry the Antarctic appears to have been warming although we cannot determine whether the changes around the 1950s are the result of some sort of phase shift or alterations in temperature recording and calculation. What we don't have is any indication of a warming trend within the Antarctic Circle during the period of allegedly alarming anthropogenic global warming (our so-called 'hottest decades' of the 'hottest century' for a millennium). And if the sub-zero south is not warming then it is not melting, is it?

Continental ice egress is not a smooth and steady procedure but seems to happen in fits and starts. Some of the reason for this is ice sheets adding significant resistance as they slowly grow out to sea until eventually stalling ice flow. Eventually tide and currents break off these extruded sheets, releasing back pressure and allowing temporary 'sprints' of ice streams to sea, slowly rebuilding the blocking sheets until the cycle repeats. Over the last decade we have seen ice shelves in several regions around Antarctica breaking back to levels last seen in the 1950s so if there is a net transient loss in progress no one would (or should) really be surprised.

What is perhaps more surprising is the number of distribution points utilised by NASA putting out their press release regarding just 3 years and 5 months data (April 2002 to August 2005), which is one reason the 'trend' confidence is ±50% - another is that 'corrections' of unknown efficacy have had to be applied to the signal in an attempt to use this technique to derive ice shield mass balance. What do you suppose would be the response if we used the same period of UAH MSU data to claim a global temperature 'trend'? For those who might be interested, under comparable trend guidelines as used by NASA above, the world is heading into a chill, with global cooling 'trend' of -0.013 °C/decade (can I get a place in Igloo Building 101?).

What an absurd beat up from almost non-extant data! Maybe NASA is getting in very early for April 1? And what an appalling media response with no one yet observed treating these claims with any degree of scepticism. Sheesh!

Update: 22:50 GMT - Pretty sad state of general media, so far we've only noted London Telegraph's Roger Highfield adding any caveat to this story while most of the majors have uncritically regurgitated this pap. On the plus side of the ledger TCS Daily is hosting Pat Michael's response: Antarctic Ice: The Cold Truth while The Commons Blog has Long Term Policy, Short Term Data — A Poor Fit.

If NASA proliferated somewhat suspect virtual snapshot data* as a test of the media's scientific literacy - and we sincerely hope that was NASA's motivation for swamping the PR networks with their breathless blurt - then the media failed the test and failed it big. If NASA has seriously released and promoted this as a conclusion securely based on thorough observation and robust science then we fear the instructions for the Shuttle's replacement may be something akin to "Ignite blue touch paper and stand clear..." Make no mistake, the underlying science is dazzling and may prove extraordinarily useful in time but the difference between a snapshot and a trend, at least in terms of planetary climate, is at least thirty years, something of which NASA is well aware.

* so labelled because it contradicts other longer-term satellite analyses with a 'series' so short it is analogous to having a child tell you whether a flashing light is working: "Yes it is, no it isn't, yes it is...".

Apparent contradictions explained:) "Antarctic Ice Increasing AND Decreasing" - "Seemingly contradictory research results, such as recent reports of both decreasing and increasing Antarctic ice, can be explained with a new metaphysical theory." (ecoEnquirer)

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed to point out that just 34 months data is involved and thus less than 3 years, which is true, however the span of the data is April 2002 to August 2005 and we assume the 'trend' refers to the maximum span.

Irresponsible Reporting of Climate Science (Climate Science)

Hmm... "Australia: Coast breaks summer records" - "NEW South Wales and Queensland sizzled through one of the states' hottest summers on record while western and southern Australia basked in more balmy conditions. Global warming and natural variation are among the factors blamed by the weather bureau for the scorching east coast temperatures." (AAP)

I must live in the wrong part of Queensland because we've had one of the mildest summers in living memory. Nonetheless, there is a warming trend evident in the record for Australia's eastern states 1880-2005 - a whopping 0.02 °C/decade, so all that development, land use change, population growth, etc. over the last 125 years has seen a mean annual temperature increment of 0.25 °C! Now there's a recovery from the Little Ice Age for you! Woohoo! A quarter of a degree! Who can we tell? Who can we telephone?

"IODP scientists acquire 'treasure trove' of climate records off Tahiti coast" - "An international team of scientists, supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, reunited at the University of Bremen to analyze a trove of coral fossil samples retrieved from Tahitian waters during October and November 2005. Two weeks ago, led by chief scientists from France and Japan, the science party started their year-long analysis of 632 meters of fossil material retrieved from 37 boreholes drilled beneath the seafloor. The initial conclusion is that the IODP Tahiti Sea Level Expedition has assembled the most accurate physical evidence available today of changes in sea level during the last deglaciation, including a full record of temperature and salinity changes in the southern Pacific." (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International)

"We are being sold a turkey on global warming" - "The climate change debate remains focused on mitigation strategies that seek to compel the whole atmosphere to do our bidding, writes Robert Matthews, visiting reader in science at Aston University, Birmingham." (Financial Times)

"Gore Asks for Ad Time to Fight Global Warming" - "Former [Vice] President Al Gore launched his keynote address at the Four As media conference in Orlando Thursday morning by promising not to do a commercial or his new cable network, Current TV. And he didn’t. Instead, he urged the media industry to contribute air time to an upcoming public service campaign alerting consumers to the dangers of global warming. Gore spent most of his twenty minute presentation detailing the heavy toll that global warming is taking on the earth’s ecosystem. He said that a new coalition, to be announced soon, comprised of environmental, labor, religious and other groups would be raising money to make “major ad buys over the next three years” to address global warming." (Steve McClellan, Adweek)

"Changes in Surface Water Supply Across Africa with Predicted Climate Change" - "Across Africa, perennial drainage density as a function of mean annual rainfall defines three regimes separated by threshold values of precipitation. This non-linear response of drainage to rainfall will most seriously affect regions in the intermediate, unstable, regime. A 10% decrease in precipitation in regions on the upper regime boundary (1000 mm/y) would reduce drainage by 17%, while in regions receiving 500 mm/y such a drop would cut 50% of surface drainage. Using predicted precipitation changes, we calculate that decrease in perennial drainage will significantly affect present surface water access across 25% of Africa by the end of this century." | PDF | Supporting Online Material (Science)

"Stormy Weather for 'The Weather Makers'" - "Climate alarmists show little respect for truth and evidence. Their attitude is similar to pop journalists and populist politicians where the rule of thumb is never to let a fact get in the way of a good story. Indeed, the hype from the global warming lobby is on the rise. In Australia, however, it received a temporary check in an unexpected quarter -- the market." (Alan Oxley, TCS Daily)

Another Flannery/Kolbert promo: "Cold comfort" - "Would global warming have been dealt with more decisively if man had been a temperate creature rather than a tropical one?" (The Economist)

Wrong question - could 'global warming' be 'dealt with' in the sense of changing any global temperature trend?

"National Legal and Policy Center Denounces 60 Minutes Global Warming Special as 'Unilateral' and 'Misleading'" - "WASHINGTON, March 2 -- Kenneth Boehm, Chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, denounced the February 19th 60 Minutes Special, "Dire Predictions on Global Warming" as "unilateral" and "misleading." In a letter to Louis J. Briskman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the CBS Corporation, Chairman Ken Boehm questioned the show's motivation for allowing such a piece to air." (PRNewswire)

Anthropogenic portion still diminishing: "Greenhouse gases from the deep sea" - "Methane from the bottom of the sea contributes more to global warming than previously assumed. Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research investigated a mud volcano located in the deep-sea between Norway und Svalbard." (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI))

"Forecasting the seas" - " Shipping companies can route ships more safely and efficiently. Ocean search-and-rescue can operate more effectively. Meteorologists and climatologists now have a tool to provide long-range weather prediction more accurately. Navies too can perform more accurate anti-submarine surveillance. And environmental managers now have a mechanism to track pollution, algal blooms, or emergent situations such as oil spills. And, this is all due to a unique three-dimensional ocean model that has been developed by Rosenstiel School researchers in collaboration with scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory." (University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science)

"Telescopes 'worthless' by 2050" - "Ground-based astronomy could be impossible in 40 years because of pollution from aircraft exhaust trails and climate change, an expert says. Aircraft condensation trails - known as contrails - can dissipate, becoming indistinguishable from other clouds. If trends in cheap air travel continue, says Professor Gerry Gilmore, the era of ground astronomy may come to an end much earlier than most had predicted. Aircraft along with climate change will contribute to increased cloud cover." (BBC)

"Pact with provinces needed on Kyoto, Tories say" - "QUEBEC -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government appears in no hurry to define a plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, saying that an agreement with the provinces must be reached first." (Globe and Mail)

"Car makers shout about green credentials" - "In a world where climate change is said to threaten the lives of future generations, the car industry is widely seen as the main villain. This general view prevails, despite its repeated insistence that it is here to help." (BBC)

"Giant wind farm plan thrown out" - "Plans to create England's largest wind farm in Cumbria have been rejected by the government." (BBC)

"'Hypocritical' ministers reject wind power plan" - "The role of wind power in the battle against climate change is in doubt after plans for England's biggest turbine development on the eastern fringe of the Lake District National Park were rejected by ministers. To the dismay of some environmentalists, who believe the decision shifts Britain closer to a new generation of nuclear power stations, the Energy minister, Malcolm Wicks, and the Rural Affairs minister, Jim Knight, ruled that a four-mile development of 27 turbines on an exposed ridge between the Borrowdale and Bretherdale valleys should not be built." (London Independent) | Climate campaigners outraged as wind farm plan is axed (The Guardian)

Praise from Stotty: Bravo the government: beauty wins over the beast (EnviroSpin Watch)

"US Government Plans Steps to Advance Nevada Nuclear Dump" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is planning steps to advance its long-stalled proposal to build a nuclear waste dump in the Nevada desert, officials told Congress Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Much Talk of a Nuclear Renaissance, but So Far Little Action" - "WASHINGTON, March 1 — With industry hopes rising for a revival in orders for nuclear power reactors, the sale last month of Westinghouse's former nuclear division to Toshiba might stand out as a landmark. But not necessarily because the industry seems ready to take off." (New York Times)

"California Governor's Hydrogen Initiative Faces Roadblocks" - "California's nonpartisan legislative analyst and a key state senator are trying to rein in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) spending on the California Hydrogen Highway Network initiative, charging that requests for more money are premature and that administration officials have not provided relevant progress reports." (California Hydrogen Business Council)

Should be banned - ForTheChildren™:) "Environmental Education Stressing American Students" - "Teaching of environmental subjects has apparently led to an increasing number of students suffering from anxiety disorders." (ecoEnquirer)

"The Lancet Pricks Itself" - "The term "medical journals" elicits automatic respect from most people. Not from me: I read them. I've found the editors to be increasingly hubristic and anti-business; and even worse, not to know what they don't know." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"UK: MMR jab take-up rates up to 85%" - "The number of children in the North East having the measles, mumps and rubella jab is higher than the national average, new research has revealed. Around 85% of eligible children in the region have had the vaccine compared to 81% nationwide - 95% is the target. But more than a third of parents are not convinced that there is no link between the jab and autism, according to a team from Durham University." (BBC)

"Medicare Says It Will Pay, but Patients Say 'No Thanks'" - "Medicare has agreed to pay for an operation for patients with advanced emphysema, but many patients and doctors lost their enthusiasm after seeing clinical trial results." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Future of cancer research in Europe under threat" - "A new European directive is threatening the future of cancer research in Europe, warn experts in this week's BMJ. The EU clinical trials directive, implemented in 2004, was intended to protect patients and improve research standards. But many investigators were worried that the labour intensive, bureaucratic, and expensive endeavour of running a clinical trial would become worse under the new rules. In particular, academic researchers funded by grants, who have so far performed most cancer trials, were worried that their resources might no longer suffice to meet the requirements of the new directive. An analysis of research since the directive suggests that many of those fears have been realised." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"School snack ban plans proposed" - "Measures which would see the sale of fizzy drinks and unhealthy snacks banned in schools have been set out by a nutrition advisory body. The Schools Foods Trust was established by ministers who said they wanted to see a junk food ban in English schools." (BBC)

"Malnutrition stunts poor nations' economies: study" - "WASHINGTON - Malnutrition, and not just a lack of food, costs poor countries up to 3 percent of annual economic output and must be tackled as a root cause of child mortality and stunted economic development, a World Bank report said on Thursday. Citing "shocking" figures showing nearly half the children in India's booming economy are undernourished, compared with a quarter of those in sub-Saharan Africa, the report said malnourished children are at risk of losing up to 10 percent of lifetime earnings and are more prone to HIV infection. The authors said international development groups and institutions, as well as developing country governments, had failed to tackle malnutrition adequately for decades and urged all involved to put nutrition "at the center of development." (Reuters)

"Hawaii: Lawmakers Push Limits on Crop Modification" - "State senators have advanced two bills putting limits on the genetic modification of taro and coffee, crops that are key to Hawaii's identity. The bills that passed out of a dual committee meeting Wednesday would ban until 2011 the field testing of strains of both plants that have been engineered or spliced with the genes of other organisms. The modified plants could, however, be grown in greenhouses." (Associated Press)

"Major funding for GM crop research in Vietnam" - "[HANOI] Vietnam's prime minister has approved plans to spend one trillion dong (US$63 million) over the next 15 years on agricultural biotechnology. Under the plans approved last month, Vietnam will research and develop vaccines and genetically modified (GM) crops and livestock." (SciDev.net)

"DuPont to launch genetically modified, herbicide-resistant seeds" - "DuPont today said it will launch its own brand of herbicide-resistant corn and soybean seeds in an effort to harvest a bigger share of the $8.5 billion seed and weed-killer market. Starting in 2009, company subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred will sell seeds with a genetic trait – named Optimum GAT by company marketers – that will be resistant to Roundup, the most common weed killer on the market, as well as several lesser-known herbicides that were developed by DuPont more than two decades ago, company officials said today. “It is about giving growers choices,” said Jim Collins, vice president and general manager of DuPont Crop Protection. “There has really only been one company out there doing this.” (The News Journal)

March 2, 2006

"EUROPE: Bird Flu Anxiety Soars" - "PARIS - The mushrooming of cases of wild birds infected with the avian flu virus in at least seven European Union countries is causing anxiety across the continent, with a dramatic decline in poultry consumption and numerous reports of dead birds." (Tierramérica)

"Accused of Aiding Animals by Making Prey of People" - "People affiliated with a company that runs an animal testing lab in New Jersey had their homes vandalized after their addresses were posted on an animal rights group's Web site." (New York Times)

"West Virginia watchdog group 'honors' radiologist for diagnoses" - "CHARLESTON, WV - There was no red carpet and no fancy dresses. Heck, there were no celebrities present unless you count a local TV reporter, Scott Saxton of WSAZ. The Academy Awards presentation happens Sunday, but West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse handed out what it called a "Hollywood-style" award Wednesday to a Bridgeport, West Va. radiologist for his role in what the group says were false diagnoses of thousands of asbestos and silica victims. Steve Cohen, executive director of the nonprofit citizen watchdog group, says Dr. Ray Harron is deserving of a "Best Film Editing" award for his role as a personal injury lawsuit doctor. The mock Oscar that Cohen had made for Harron read "Dr. Ray Harron, Science Fiction, WV CALA." (Madison County Record)

Politically incorrect? "Obesity and risk for death due to motor vehicle crashes" - "A team at the Injury Research Center of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee has found that being obese increases male drivers' risk of dying in a car crash, as does being very slim. However, being moderately overweight might help cushion the blow. They also found that obesity did not affect women's risk of death from such crashes." (Medical College of Wisconsin)

"Endangered, but on road to recovery" - "Is the Endangered Species Act really helping the piping plover, Delmarva Fox squirrel and more than 1,300 plants and animals on the protected list survive - or is it as critics argue - a costly failure? One of the nation's landmark environmental laws, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the focus of congressional overhaul legislation. Reformers say the act wastes taxpayers' money, spawns costly lawsuits, and does little to help endangered species. But a independent study released Tuesday suggests otherwise, showing populations of most listed species in the Northeast improved significantly under the ESA, the bald eagle most notably. Other species are stabilizing, the report said." (Christian Science Monitor)

Because a few huggers say so? Right...

"Cancer chemical found in drinks" - "Traces of a cancer-causing chemical have been found in British soft drinks at eight times the level permitted in drinking water, BBC News has learned. The Food Standards Agency watchdog says these do not pose an immediate health risk, but questions need answering. Benzene, which can cause certain cancers, is thought to be formed when two commonly used ingredients react." (BBC) | Soft drinks found to have high levels of cancer chemical (London Times)

"Advanced aircraft to probe hazardous atmospheric whirlwinds" - "The nation's newest and most advanced research aircraft will participate in its first major mission March 1 through April 30, when it will study a severe type of atmospheric turbulence that forms near mountains and endangers airplanes. The $81.5 million HIAPER aircraft, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), will fly over treacherous whirlwinds, known as rotors, as they form above California's Sierra Nevada mountain range." (National Center for Atmospheric Research)

Hmm... "White House spin reaches science research" - "The next time NASA hunts for fuel for new rockets, it might consider harnessing the explosive mix of science and politics. Over recent weeks, federally funded scientists in and out of government have touched off small firestorms for publishing research results or making public statements that run counter to Bush administration policies. And Congress is investigating allegations that federal agencies have punished them as a result. Political interference with science is nothing new, of course. But the flash points have become more intense of late." (Christian Science Monitor)

Frankly, I'm much more concerned about 'research spin' than I am about the conflict between research and spin. Everyone interested in science news would be aware of recent scandals regarding falsified research and there's no point rehashing it here. While outright fraud is certainly a major concern it isn't what I had in mind regarding 'research spin' - by that I mean the disturbing shift to 'science by press release' and excessive focus on short-term 'trends'.

Take, for example, estimated global mean temperatures. Much is made of extrapolating recent trends (or some multiple loosely based on recent trends) and coming up with major warming at some point in the future - here's some numbers from the satellite era:

GHCN-ERSST 1979-2005: 0.16 °C/decade
HadCRUT2v 1979-2005: 0.17 °C/decade
GHCN Land Surface 1979-2005: 0.27 °C/decade
UAH MSU LT5.2 [atmosphere] 1979-2005: 0.128 °C/decade

These numbers certainly make an impression and should the suggested trends continue for a century (highly unlikely but pretend, a little) then the planet would display an increment in the range of +1.3 °C to +2.7 °C over the next 100 years. The problem is that these numbers have all been derived from a very short period. The world hasn't exhibited constant positive trends for a century in any record we are aware of so it would seem prudent to look a little longer term:

GHCN-ERSST 1901-2000: 0.05 °C/decade
HadCRUT2v 1901-2000: 0.06 °C/decade
GHCN Land Surface 1901-2000: 0.07 °C/decade
CET (landlocked) 1901-2000: 0.068 °C/decade
Armagh Observatory (also landlocked) 1901-2000: 0.053 °C/decade

Over the Twentieth Century the rate of warming is much less impressive with datasets including sea temperatures and more-rural Armagh suggesting about one-half degree increment over a hundred years. Even our exclusively land surface dataset and the heavily urbanised Central England Temperature hint at less than three-fourths of one degree increment over the century. Over the entire available series the trends for the GHCN and HadCRUT2v datasets are actually even smaller as we have shown you before but they are not the longest of available sets - what do you suppose longer trends show?

Armagh Observatory 1844-2004 (all available): 0.036 °C/decade
CET 1659-2005 (all available): 0.024 °C/decade
CET 1701-2000: 0.017 °C/decade
CET 1801-2000: 0.038 °C/decade

Surprising, isn't it? Our heavily urbanised, landlocked Central England Temperature trend over almost three and one-half centuries, is a mere one-fourth of one degree per century. Shorten the sampled period to three centuries and the trend falls to one-sixth of a degree. Just for fun, let's check the first 100 years of the CET:

CET 1659-1758: 0.058 °C/decade

The first century of the Central England Temperature demonstrates almost precisely the average of available 20th Century trends. Remember that Law Dome ice core data suggests atmospheric carbon dioxide was the lowest throughout that century that it has been for 1,000 years, yet we find an equivalent warming trend at a time of much smaller population and in the age of sail - none of the 'usual suspects' of internal combustion engines or fossil fuelled industry to blame at all.

Certainly there were similar short-term trends in the CET set that would have excused alarmist claims of rapid warming with a very impressive 0.379 °C/decade at the beginning of the Eighteenth Century and a coarse mean temperature increment of 3.22 °C from 1695 to 1733 - kind of puts the recent GHCN Land Surface trend in the shade, doesn't it?

Regardless of probable Urban Heat Island influence on the CET due to population growth and development over the centuries it still suggests a net temperature increment from the mid-Seventeenth Century to now of less than one degree. How is it that we have allowed such a paltry increment over almost 350 years to be spun into a dire emergency? Why does a suspected change of between 0.5 °C and 1 °C from a period when history tells us Europe at least was cold and harsh cause such concern? Why do we assume a current century's trend to be differently driven than that of three centuries ago? Why do we assume it to be any less transient? Above all, why do we assume it constitutes any sort of problem, much less one requiring urgent and painful attention?

Viewed in the cold, hard light of day the empirical data, the actual measures of our world, are merely interesting observations. Following quite remarkable 'research spin' these interesting observations have been buried in a deluge of 'virtual data' generated by very expensive computer games called climate models which measure no physical world at all. Lost in all the theatrics and hand waving that accompanies this 'research spin' is the simple fact that the real world is demonstrating no metrics out of the ordinary and all the worlds at such hazard from rampant (and definitely human-induced) warming can have their warming stopped in an instant with a simple terminate procedure instruction - they do not exist. More importantly, the 'virtual data' generated by programs in which we have specified a warming response to pretend situations, which is what I meant by 'definitely human-induced' warming above, is a metric of exactly nothing and no one should lose sight of the fact that it is make-believe.

Unfortunately, 'research spin' misdirects societal effort and finance, frightens citizens at their breakfast, starves potentially useful research of funds and facilities and is ultimately detrimental to us all. As an example of 'research spin' the great 'global warming' debacle is an absolute gem.

"Consensus grows on climate change" - "The global scientific body on climate change will report soon that only greenhouse gas emissions can explain freak weather patterns. Simultaneous changes in sea ice, glaciers, droughts, floods, ecosystems, ocean acidification and wildlife migration are taking place. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had previously said gases such as CO2 were "probably" to blame." (BBC)

Number of the Month: February - scroll or browse your way to end of page (Number Watch)

Climate prognostications, by bunny-huggers... "Climate change 'will hit London'" - "A World Wildlife Fund report has found London is the most likely city in the UK to be damaged by the effects of climate change. The Stormy Europe report, predicts the number of Winter storms will increase by up to 25% in the UK, which could see 10 extra storms between 2071 and 2100." (BBC)

Looks like the Wandering Worriers Foundation has a disaster for everyone: "Scots will bear brunt of climate storms" - "SCOTLAND is likely to be hit by a huge increase in winter storm intensity and frequency as a result of global warming, a hard-hitting environmental report warned yesterday. By the end of the century, the entire UK will be hit by a 25 per cent increase in winter storms - the highest of seven Northern European countries whose weather patterns have been analysed. Scotland will bear the brunt of the worst weather, according to the environmental group WWF." (The Scotsman)

Oh boy... "A different form of carbon dating MPs take their turn to woo green activists" - "It was billed as speed dating for political ideas. Four hundred activists from green groups sitting at 50 tables in Methodist Central Hall, London, as 80 MPs rushed from one to another selling their ideas about how to tackle climate change." (The Guardian)

"Blair leaves campaigners wanting more on climate change" - "Dr Daleep Mukarji, Christian Aid’s director, along with other representatives of the Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) coalition, met with Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, today and told him that current UK policies fall far short of the necessary action to avert disaster. During the meeting, at which Chancellor Gordon Brown, Secretary of State for the Environment Margaret Beckett and Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn were also present, Tony Blair announced that the long-overdue Climate Change Programme Review would be published next month. While this review is welcome, the coalition can accept nothing less than a bold plan to reduce UK carbon emissions. In particular, the SCC is calling on the government to establish a UK ‘carbon budget' to deliver an average reduction in total UK carbon emissions of 3% per year." (Reuters)

You've seen dot.bombs - meet the hot air bubbles: "Climate change firms dazzle London equity market" - "COPENHAGEN - Equity investors are piling into small companies with exposure to a growing market for greenhouse gas credits that has sprung up around the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, bankers and fund managers said on Wednesday. London's junior stock market AIM is the focus for a surge of interest that has seen a string of share issues raise half a billion euros (340 million pounds) over the last 18 months, with more IPOs on the way." (Reuters)

"Any CO2 market should go beyond smokestacks: CERA" - "NEW YORK - Any market-based U.S. global warming gas reduction program might work best by regulating the entire energy cycle -- from mining to consumption -- rather than simply cutting emissions at power plants, the director of Cambridge Energy Research Associates said. Regulating everything from mining and refining fossil fuels to importing and consuming fuels could lead to better growth of energy efficiencies that cut greenhouse gas emissions, Robert LaCount, CERA's director, said in a telephone interview." (Reuters)

"EasyJet makes green claims as it heads to Africa and Turkey" - "EasyJet is an "environmentally friendly" airline, according to the new chief executive, Andy Harrison, who has used his first public comments to make a play for travellers who care about the world's future." (The Guardian)

"Yellow light for a 'green' energy source" - "Soaring on the wings of new wind-turbine technology, tax breaks, and rising fossil fuel costs, the US wind-power growth picture looks great - except to Edward Arnett, a wildlife biologist who sees a dead bat in it - many thousands of dead bats, actually. Swatted by wind-turbine blades perhaps 300 feet long and traveling up to 200 miles per hour at the tips, bats in some US regions may be killed by wind farms in greater numbers than previously thought, his industry-funded research shows." (Christian Science Monitor)

"FEATURE - Energy Project in Sakhalin Warms up to Icy Challenge" - "YUZHNO SAKHALINSK - Earthquakes, rare whales and bitter cold have presented Royal Dutch Shell with high hurdles for its giant Russian Sakhalin energy project." (Reuters)

"Satellite data used to warn oil industry of potentially dangerous eddy" - "Ocean FOCUS began issuing forecasts on 16 February 2006 – just in time to warn oil production operators of a new warm eddy that has formed in the oil and gas-producing region of the Gulf of Mexico." (European Space Agency)

"National Academies news: Managing coal combustion residues in mines" - "Filling mines with the residues of coal combustion is a viable way to dispose of these materials, provided they are placed so as to avoid adverse health and environmental effects, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies' National Research Council. The residues left after coal is burned to generate power - often referred to as coal ash - consist of noncombustible coal matter and material trapped by pollution control devices. Enforceable federal standards are needed to guide the placement of coal ash in mines to minimize health and environmental risks, the report says." (The National Academies)

"US issues new rules to cut benzene spewed by cars" - "WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday proposed new rules that would cut cancer-causing benzene spewed by U.S. passenger vehicles nearly in half by 2030. The proposed revision to U.S. mobile source air toxic rules would require U.S. refiners to make gasoline with an average benzene content of 0.62 percent beginning in 2011, down from about 0.97 percent currently. Benzene is a known carcinogen, and is also a component in smog, which is linked to respiratory problems like asthma. The EPA was under a court order to issue new rules." (Reuters)

"New Ethanol Gasoline Cuts Fuel Efficiency – Expert" - "NEW YORK - US drivers filling up cars this year with gasoline made with additive ethanol instead of MTBE may be forced to pay up more because the blendstock cuts fuel efficiency, according to an industry expert." (Reuters)

"We need nuclear power and a new generation of boffins" - "Boris Johnson is outraged that the birthplace of Newton, and Boyle, and J J Thomson can't even build its own nuclear reactors any more." (London Telegraph)

"Think solar not nuclear for the energy of the future, say scientists" - "Solar rather than nuclear energy should be the UK government's priority in planning future energy production, according to scientists writing today in the journal Nature Materials. Challenging advocates of the nuclear option, researchers from Imperial College London argue in their Commentary article that photovoltaics, the direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, could match and exceed the nuclear industry's current output before any new reactor could begin operating." (Imperial College London)

Why should it be exclusive?

"Organic baby food 'lacking in nutrients'" - "Organic baby food may not be as healthy as parents think, according to research by Which? magazine." (London Telegraph)

"Third Floor Perspectives... 'Stirring Public Fears Without A Valid Scientific Basis'" - "The United States has led the world in innovative plant science, as well as in developing technologies that ensure a safe, secure and relatively inexpensive food supply. Yet, this same American innovation is under attack, not only by those outside our country but also by assailants within the U.S. who deliberately exploit unfounded public fears." (Dr. Roger Beachy, Truth About Trade)

"United Nations Biosafety meeting to take place in Brazil" - "The five-day meeting of the treaty's governing body is scheduled to take a decision on the detailed documentation requirements for bulk shipments of genetically modified corn, soybean and other agricultural commodities that are intended for food, feed or processing." (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity)