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Archives - May 2002

May 31, 2002

"WTC Rescuers Not Exposed to Toxics" - "Worker exposures to air contaminants at the World Trade Center disaster site generally did not exceed safety standards, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the good news may not put the kibosh on threatened lawsuits from rescue workers." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Organic farming not 'Earth-friendly'" - "Swiss researchers reported this week that conventional farming produces greater yields that organic farming. That’s no surprise. But the researchers added that organic farming "more than made up the difference in ecological benefits." Hmmm… watch out for that pile of manure." (Steven Milloy, JunkScience.com) | Organic Farms Reap Many Benefits (ScienceNOW) | Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming (Science)

"Natural Mistake" - "Warning: if you are a chemophobic individual who eats only high-priced organic fruits and vegetables in your quest for a pesticide-free existence, don’t read the following or you’ll become severely depressed. If not, read on and learn why organic food is a waste of money with no health benefits." (Alex A. Avery, Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues)

"Organic foods in Germany contaminated by pesticide" - "BERLIN - The latest German food scare has hit the organic food industry, often described as the last refuge for confused consumers not sure what is safe to eat. Traces of a weed killer have been found in some organic animal products such as eggs, chicken, milk and meats. The source appears to be animal feed. Levels of the suspected carcinogen Nitrofen at levels up to 18 times the European Union permitted maximum have been found in several egg and chicken samples, prompting the largest supermarket chains in Germany to empty their shelves of many, and in some cases all, organic products." (Reuters Health)

"Obesity...by choice" - "New study suggests we may choose obesity by consuming available and unhealthy foods and ignoring the best instincts of our body" (American Physiological Society)

"Children are 'eating themselves sick' with junk food" - "An entire generation of children is "eating themselves sick" with a diet of fat and salt-saturated junk food that will lead to obesity and serious health problems in adulthood, nutritionists warned yesterday. A forum of health and education professionals was told that urgent action was needed to correct the diets of the young or the nation risked creating a generation that was less healthy than those brought up during post-war rationing. Research has found more than two-thirds of pre-school children eat an unhealthy diet heavily reliant on white bread, chips, crisps and sweets, according to research by the Institute of Child Health." (Independent)

"Cruise Industry's Pollution Assailed (washingtonpost.com)" - "A report by an ocean advocacy group portrays the burgeoning cruise industry as a floating environmental menace, with luxury ships free to dump millions of gallons of untreated waste and toxic chemicals into the ocean. Environmental groups have complained about lax government rules and enforcement, and they are threatening new legal action to press the Bush administration to crack down."

"Urgent calls for sheep dip survey" - "A switch to synthetic pyrethroids has proved more lethal to fish and raised pollution concerns. THE Scottish Environment Protection Agency has been urged to carry out a sheep dip survey as soon as possible to make farmers aware of the potentially lethal affect of synthetic pyrethroids on water courses. The urging came from Judith Nicol, director of the Tweed Foundation, after Allan Virtue, in charge of SEPA’s Borders operation, told a conference this week that sheep dipping, as part of the total problem of diffuse pollution from agriculture, was the biggest single threat to upland waters." (The Scotsman)

"Wildflowers study gives clear evidence of global warming" - "When Richard Fitter began his exhaustive annual note of the date wild flowers first bloomed in rural Oxfordshire, it was almost half a century ago, and nobody knew future generations would be overshadowed by global warming. Mr Fitter could not have known that his son, Alastair, would grow up to become a professor of biology at York University, or that today a paper father and son jointly wrote for the US journal Science would offer the most powerful picture yet of a Britain heating unnaturally quickly." (The Guardian)

"Red mullet point to climate change" - "Plankton species have moved 600 miles north, red mullet are now caught in Scottish waters and 200 British plants are flowering 15 days earlier than in the 1980s - three separate signs of advancing climate change, scientists said yesterday. Three different studies published in the journal Science add up to some of the clearest evidence yet that the rising temperatures which have been documented over the past decade are causing major changes in the natural world." (Telegraph)

"Global warming definitely caused by humans: CSIRO" - "The CSIRO says the evidence is overwhelming that global warming is the result of human activity, and will continue to accelerate if nothing is done. Climatologist John Church has told a conference on renewable energy at Coffs Harbour, that the 1990s was the hottest decade of the warmest century in 1,000 years." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

World Climate Report, Volume 7, Number 19, June 3, 2002 (GES)

"Greek parliament ratifies Kyoto global warming pact" - "ATHENS, Greece - Greece's parliament on Thursday ratified the Kyoto Protocol for reducing air pollution, one day before a deadline set by the European Union for its 15 members to formally approve the climate control treaty. Greece's 300-member unicameral parliament ratified the protocol by a majority vote, with the governing socialist party, the main opposition conservative party and the left-wing coalition all voting in favor. Only the communist party voted against, describing the protocol as a "farce" and claiming the agreement allows powerful nations to continue emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming." (AP)

"New climate study challenges thinking on large-scale, global climate change" - "A study of past climate changes in the South American tropics has challenged traditional understanding of the mechanisms that triggered the advance and retreat of glaciers during the last ice age. The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study was published in this week's issue of Science." (NSF)

"New study challenges traditional notions of global climate change" - "A team of researchers from Syracuse University, Duke University, Union College, the University of Nebraska and Stanford University have found that glaciers in the tropical Andes Mountains retreated several thousand years earlier than North American glaciers during a period of wet climate conditions, indicating that temperature change was probably the ultimate cause of glacial retreat in the Andes. The National Science Foundation-funded study was published in the May 31 issue of Science." (Syracuse University)

"Venter tackles global warming" - "Having sequenced the human genome, Craig Venter now has his sights set on another great scientific task: tackling global warming. One of his post-genome aims is to scour the deep-ocean trenches to look for bacteria that could convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into useful products like starches and sugars." (BBC News Online)

"Soil's love affair with carbon viewed with millimeter resolution" - "Promoting the love affair between farmlands and carbon while substantially reducing harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be facilitated through super-sharp analysis of tiny soil-core samples made possible by a portable, carbon-measuring laser system developed by a research team at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory." (DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory)

"Hot polymer catches carbon dioxide better" - "A new and economical technology for the separation and capture of carbon dioxide from industrial processes could lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions to the atmosphere. Scientists at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing a new high-temperature polymer membrane to separate and capture carbon dioxide, preventing its escape into the atmosphere." (DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory)

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Underground coal fires offer 'cleaner' gas" - "Engineers plan to set fire to a coal seam deep underground in the first in a series of subterranean blazes around Britain that, they claim, will provide clean fossil fuel energy for generations. There are fears that the technology, which has only ever been used on a large scale in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, will lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions and could poison fresh water. Underground coal gasification (UCG) involves drilling two shafts down to a coal seam and igniting the coal. Oxygen and water are then pumped down one shaft, causing the coal to burn in such a way that gas that can be used as fuel streams out through the other shaft. In June a government-funded environmental review of UCG will begin, prior to the choice of a site for the first UK trial. This follows Department of Trade and Industry funding of a trial in Spain."

"NY acid rain rules seen tightening energy supplies" - "NEW YORK - Stricter New York power plant emission regulations would tighten energy supplies and increase wholesale costs over several years while offering limited environmental benefits, a business group said this week." (Reuters)

"Just How Far Can Trading of Emissions Be Extended?" - "The Congress and Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the acid rain program back in 1990 would be 5 to 10 times more expensive than it has been," said S. William Becker, executive director of an organization of state and local air pollution officials, who called the program one of the most effective pieces of environmental legislation ever put in place.

Now the White House wants to expand that approach, replacing existing air quality controls and applying "emissions trading" to other pollutants." (New York Times)

"Czech nuclear plant second reactor approved" - "PRAGUE - The Czech nuclear watchdog approved yesterday the launch of the second reactor at the controversial Soviet-designed nuclear power station Temelin, the plants owner CEZ said." (Reuters)

"Serious Solar Power" - "It has become increasingly clear that solar power can play only a limited role in solving the world's energy problems - if the solar energy is collected on Earth. But there is an alternative that has received less attention than it deserves, including (indeed especially) from environmentalists. That alternative is space solar power, in which the sun's energy is collected by satellites or on the moon and then transmitted for use on Earth." (Kenneth Silber, TCS)

Hmm... wouldn't the metal underwear crowd carry on about EMR when they figure out that getting clean solar-generated electrickery to Earth means microwave transmission - could become quite entertaining if we live long enough to see any of these schemes implemented.

"Charlotte Observer | 05 31 2002 | Plan would put optional $4 toward `green' electricity" - "North Carolina today will step toward becoming the first state allowing virtually all electric customers to buy energy made from the sun, wind or other renewable sources. Plans to be filed with the N.C. Utilities Commission would let customers pay an extra $4 a month for each block of "green" electricity. Utilities would buy power from N.C. renewable-energy producers, such as small hydroelectric plants."

"FEATURE - Diesel's European future safe as drivers go green" - "FRANKFURT - One rainy day in mid-April drivers on the road to Hamburg may have been distracted by an unusual capsule-shaped car cruising up the German motorway. The driver was Ferdinand Piech, outgoing chief executive of Europe's biggest car maker, Volkswagen AG, on the way to his last official engagement. The car was a prototype which uses one litre of diesel fuel every 100 km (62 miles), making it about six times more efficient than many new European cars. "I wouldn't have been here any quicker in a Bugatti with that traffic jam," Piech said on arrival. (Reuters)

"Errors in BBC anti-GM thriller" - "The BBC was yesterday accused by one of its advisers of inflaming the hysteria surrounding genetically modified crops with factual errors and bad science." (Telegraph) | BBC drama 'peddles ludicrous lies on GM' | It has more in common with Day of the Triffids | Fiction and fact (The Times)

"BBC defends upcoming drama about potential dangers of GM crops" - "The producers of a BBC drama about the potential dangers of genetically modified crops last night defended the programme in the face of criticism from its scientific adviser. Mark Tester, a GM crops expert at Cambridge University, said yesterday that the scenario that was outlined in Fields of Gold was unlikely to happen in real life. But the BBC said the drama, co-written by the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and the novelist Ronan Bennett, was a legitimate portrayal of a theory that Mr Tester had originally advised was possible. Fields of Gold, to be shown on BBC1 on June 8 and 9, stars Anna Friel as a newspaper photographer who uncovers a conspiracy between a pharmaceutical giant and the government to cover up dangers associated with a GM crop trial." (The Guardian)

"Biotech firm cracks making drugs in chicken eggs" - "LONDON - A small biotechnology firm said on Thursday it had successfully produced monoclonal antibodies, the basis of many new medicines, in the eggs of genetically modified chickens. The breakthrough could pave the way for the cheap manufacture of complex drugs for treating rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions in the egg white, or albumen, of specially bred birds. TranXenoGen Inc., which is based in Massachusetts but lists its shares in London, said it believed its scientists were the first in the world to make antibodies in transgenic chicken eggs." (Reuters)

May 30, 2002

"Killers of the Consumer Movement" - "Our recent brush with anthrax-tainted mail, and the well-publicized use of irradiation to disinfect it, has had one salutary effect: Americans now realize that irradiation can safeguard not only their mail but their food supply as well. After long being leery of food irradiation, people are demanding it - which could mean far fewer illnesses and deaths from E. coli, Salmonella and other foodborne microbes.

In 2000, a national survey by the public-relations firm Porter-Novelli found that only 11 percent of consumers said they would buy irradiated foods. But in a follow-up national survey last November, shortly after the anthrax mailings, 52 percent of consumers said that the federal government should require irradiation to help protect the food supply." (Larry Katzenstein)

ABC airs CSPI's 'not meat' bigotry: "Good Enough to Eat?; Controversial Meat Substitute Raises Safety Concerns" - "May 28 — Are you ready for fungus in your food? The Food and Drug Administration says you are. And the maker of the fungus in question promises you'll love it. But not everyone is convinced it's ready for consumer palates, or that it's even safe. Quorn, a fungus-based foodstuff, is made by Britain's Marlow Foods. Introduced in the British market in the late 1980s, Quorn is used in a wide range of faux meat products: burgers, sausages, cold cuts, and chunks suitable for stews and other dishes." (ABCNews.com)

"Newsday.com - Health Department begins follow-up study on breast cancer" - "ALBANY, N.Y. -- For the third time in 16 years, Geri Barish must undergo radiation treatment for breast cancer. Like many Long Island women, she worries that chemicals dumped into the ocean and pesticides sprayed to keep lawns green are contributing to her illness. But after years of asking questions and pushing for more research, Barish, who survived breast cancer in 1986 and 1987, still doesn't have any definitive answers. "The bottom line is, we still don't know why there's so much breast cancer here," said Barish, president of the advocacy group One in Nine, a Long Island breast cancer coalition. "Mortality rates are improving, but that's still not acceptable."

"The Seattle Times: Local News: State will continue ban on potent weed killer" - "OLYMPIA — Washington state will continue to ban the use of a potent herbicide on residential and commercial lawns and turf to prevent contaminating compost, the Department of Agriculture said yesterday. The ban on products containing clopyralid — used to kill dandelions, clover and thistles — took effect March 1 and originally was scheduled to remain in place for only 120 days. The weed killer can taint compost and kill certain flowers and vegetable plants."

"BBC News | SCOTLAND | Sheep dip case to go to court" - "A farmer who alleges he was poisoned by sheep dip is to be given a chance to argue his case in court. Farquhar Forbes is part of a group attempting to sue the chemical manufacturers who put organophosphates (OP) in sheep dip. The UK Government's scientific advisers have said that there is no proven link between OP dip and the crippling illness Mr Forbes and many others have suffered."

"€1m study of cancer levels in chemical workers" - "THE US chemical company Du Pont is to carry out a €1m study into possible links between the chemical Chloroprene and the level of cancer among former members of its Derry workforce, writes George Jackson. The year long study will involve 5,500 people who have worked at Du Pont's chemical site at Campsie in Derry since 1962. Chloroprene, which was used in Du Pont's manufacturing process at the Campsie plant until 1998, is not on a sixty-six long blacklist of chemicals known to cause cancer in humans. However the US Human Services National Toxicology Program described Chloroprene as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." (Irish Independent)

"Canadian industrial pollutants up, NAFTA agency says" - "MONTREAL - Four big Canadian and U.S. industries produced just about the same amount of toxic chemcial waste in 1999 as they did five years earlier, the NAFTA environmental agency reports. But the raw statistic – 3.4 million tonnes of chemicals recycled, dumped, spilled or emitted into the air in 1999, down just three per cent from 1995 – obscures some big changes in the way manufacturing, electric utilities, coal mining and hazardous waste management companies are dealing with their garbage." (CBC News)

"Too much mercury in tuna, swordfish: Health Canada" - "OTTAWA - Health Canada has sent out a warning to consumers to limit their intake of certain types of fish because of high mercury levels in them. The department had previously warned consumers last year about eating shark, swordfish and fresh and frozen tuna. A news release from the department says it just wants to reiterate that advice." (CBC News)

"Fears over nuclear pollutant cancer risk" - "People may be exposed to twice the level of a carcinogenic nuclear pollutant than previously thought, experts have admitted. Tritium - a variation, or isotope, of hydrogen - is produced by hydrogen bomb tests and nuclear plants and factories. Despite their revised estimates, experts say the health risks are still low because even the higher dose is well within international safety limits." (BBC News Online)

"Brazil's 'extinct' bird still alive" - "A small bird thought to have become extinct years ago has been rediscovered in Brazil. The bird, the golden-crowned manakin, was first found in 1957 - also the year it was last seen. Ornithologists say its reappearance means there is more hope of finding other species lost for decades." (BBC News Online)

"Warming temperatures may freeze North American timber industry" - "Global warming trends may seriously harm North America's stronghold on the timber production industry, a recent study suggests. But rising temperatures could mean an economic boom for the timber industry in regions with subtropical climates, such as South America, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Global warming may cause forest growth patterns to slowly change." (Ohio State University)

"Respiratory Diseases and CO2: A Third Perspective" - "Summary: People calling for reductions in anthropogenic CO2 emissions because experiments have demonstrated that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 enhance the production of pollen in certain plants known to be responsible for allergies in many people fail to see the bigger picture that refutes their myopic reasoning ... again!" (co2science.org)

"DECLINE OF WORLD'S GLACIERS EXPECTED TO HAVE GLOBAL IMPACTS OVER THIS CENTURY" - "The great majority of the world's glaciers appear to be declining at rates equal to or greater than long-established trends, according to early results from a joint NASA and United States Geological Survey (USGS) project designed to provide a global assessment of glaciers. At the same time, a small minority of glaciers are advancing." (NASA/GSFC)

"Holocene (Regional -- Europe)" - "Summary: Is the current climatic status of the earth in anyway unusual? Is it really hotter than it's been for a thousand years, as climate alarmists like to tell us it is? What about the past two thousand years? Or the past ten thousand years? We here review what some recent studies in Europe reveal about these questions ... and their answers." (co2science.org)

"An Introduced Warming Bias in the USHCN Temperature Database" - "Summary: Is it possible that various adjustments designed to improve the "correctness" of the USHCN temperature database are in actuality degrading it? Is there a way to confidently answer this question? Does the answer impact our view of the world? Geophysical Research Letters 10.1029/2002GL014825." (co2science.org)

"Measuring Changes in Sea Level: A Status Report" - "Summary: Much remains to be learned about this complex subject. What is known, however, seems to suggest that the observed rise in mean global sea level over the past century and a half has not been driven by the concomitant rise in the air's CO2 content. Physics Today 55: 35-40." (co2science.org)

"A 400-Year Climatic History of the Western Himalayan Region of India" - "Summary: The more proxy temperature data one can obtain, the more confident one can be in the story they tell. As progress is made in this field, our confidence in the "hockey stick" temperature history of Mann et al. continues to decline - even further (if that is possible). Quaternary Research 57: 299-305." (co2science.org)

Hmm... "Climate Policy After the Marrakesh Accords - From Legislation to Implementation" (PDF) - "The adoption of the Marrakesh Accords mark for the author of this brief and comprehensive overview paper the end of an era in climate negotiations: "the end of the legislative phase and the beginning of a phase of implementation." The summary describes the constellation in Bonn and Marrakesh that lead to the "biggest victories for international environmental policy ever" and lists more detailed the issues that were negotiated here: Kyoto Mechanisms, compliance, land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and developing countries. Other issues commented are the considerable scaling down of the reduction effects and the qualitative improvement and growing complexity of the legal regime. If ratification is reached in the course of this year and the Protocol enters into force, the implementation phase will be firmly established and Marrakesh might advance to be the symbol for successful future multilateral diplomacy." (Wuppertal Institute)

"Alberta pushes the merits of its Kyoto alternative" - "EDMONTON - Stung by a lack of visible support for his alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, Alberta's Environment Minister says he is willing to travel to every province to explain the plan in key federal-provincial consultations. Lorne Taylor has already begun contacting his counterparts in other provinces in hopes of getting Alberta's strategy for greenhouse-gas reduction on the table when Ottawa begins talks with individual provinces next week." (National Post)

"Time to Rethink Kyoto" - "The Kyoto Protocol for the reduction of greenhouse gases to avoid climate change was unachievable when it was adopted in 1997, according to distinguished economist Thomas Schelling, and more recent negotiations and modifications to the treaty have done nothing to change that. Since the Senate, prior to the Kyoto negotiations, had gone on record as rejecting any treaty that did not include full participation by developing countries, and the Kyoto Protocol did not require such participation, neither President Clinton nor President Bush submitted the treaty to the Senate for ratification." (NCPA)

"ExxonMobil Shareholders Power Up Renewables Drive" - "DALLAS, Texas, May 29, 2002 – A broad coalition of ExxonMobil investors has won more votes than ever before for a resolution asking the corporation to adopt a renewable energy resources plan. While the resolution was not passed, it was approved by 20.3 percent of current shareholders, representing more than $55 billion worth of stock. The level of support was more than twice the 8.9 percent the same resolution achieved in 2001. It was intended as a challenge to the company’s longstanding denial of the effects of global warming which is linked to emissions from the burning of oil, gas and coal - all ExxonMobil products." (Environmental News Service)

"Shareholders Handily Reject Controversial Proposals at Annual Meeting" - "AUSTIN , Texas -- Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Lee Raymond defended his company's environmental record during opening comments at its annual shareholders meeting, even as he cast doubt on the current body of scientific evidence surrounding global warming. Meanwhile, shareholders rejected all proposals put forth by their peers, including ones regarding renewable energy, human rights and sexual discrimination. "There continues to be substantial and well-documented gaps in climate science," Mr. Raymond said at the end of his opening comments at the Dallas meeting, which was broadcast over the Internet. Still, he acknowledged there is a risk of human-induced climate change that "may be significant," and that Exxon Mobil has taken major steps to reduce its own emissions and will continue to do so." (Dow Jones Newswires)

George is s till looking for black helicopters: "Corporate phantoms; The web of deceit over GM food has now drawn in the PM's speechwriters" - "Tony Blair's speech to the Royal Society last Thursday was a wonderful jumble of misconceptions and logical elisions. He managed to confuse science with its technological products. GM crops are no more "science" than cars, computers or washing machines, and those opposing them are no more "anti-science" than people who don't like the Millennium Dome are "anti-architecture". He suggested that in the poor world people welcome genetic engineering. It was unfortunate that the example he chose was the biotech industry in Bangalore in south-west India. Bangalore happens to be the centre of the world's most effective protests against GM crops, the capital of a state in which anti-GM campaigners outnumber those in the UK by 1,000 to one. Like most biotech enthusiasts, he ignored the key concern of the activists: the corporate takeover of the food chain, and its devastating consequences for food security. But it would be wrong to blame Blair alone for these misconstructions. The prime minister was simply repeating a suite of arguments formulated elsewhere. Over the past month, activists have slowly been discovering where that "elsewhere" may be." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

"AUSTRALIA: New guide helps shoppers avoid GE food with tri-colour rating" - "Australian food expert Margaret Fulton today [Wednesday] launched a new publication designed to give Australian shoppers control over their food. The True Food Guide reveals which food companies may be using genetically engineered (GE) ingredients in their products and which are not. Greenpeace also released new market research today, which it claims shows that 68% of Australians would be less likely to buy a food if they knew it was GE." (just-food.com)

"Finnie rejects GM freeze" - "ROSS Finnie, the environment and rural development minister, insisted yesterday that genetically modified crop trials were safe and would go ahead on a "step-by-step" basis. He rejected a call by the SNP for an immediate moratorium on GM crops, in view of a report from the European Environmental Agency (EEA) describing the trial of genetically modified oilseed rape as "high-risk". Mr Finnie said everyone wanted Scotland to be at the forefront of science, but he stressed that the Scottish Executive would never promote science on a careless basis. He said European directives required decisions to be made on scientific evidence and he would continue to go to independent bodies like the advisory committee on releases to the environment for advice on whether there was likely to be any serious harm to human health. He added: "That is an entirely reasonable process, and given the way in which the legislative framework is written, I believe that is also a responsible basis on which to proceed. It allows us to progress with science but never ever puts at risk human health or our environment." (The Scotsman)

May 29, 2002

Budget time again? "Found it! Ice on Mars" - "Instruments on board NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft have revealed more underground ice on the Red Planet than scientists expected." (Science @ NASA) | NASA Finds Water, Water Everywhere on Mars (Reuters) | Mars ice could flood planet (BBC News Online)

"Post-Gazette - Clean-water rules criticized" - "New state regulations require water utilities to speed up notification to their customers when drinking water supplies are contaminated with especially dangerous pathogens that pose a grave risk to public health. But those same regulations give the water companies more time to report contamination by other pollutants -- such as arsenic, pesticides and dioxins. And that, say more than 60 environmental and health groups, just doesn't hold water."

"Biocontrol backfires again" - "Biocontrol advocates claim that releasing non-native insects to control non-native plants is safe for native species -- but the number of "exceptions" keeps growing. The latest is a weevil intended to control a non-native thistle. New research shows that the weevil prefers a native thistle and can reduce its seed set by 98%." (Society for Conservation Biology)

So, um... chemicals should always be used?

"Environmental Group Protests Mosquito Controls in Suffolk" - "Environmental advocates are suing Suffolk County to stop insecticide spraying and the digging of drainage ditches in the effort to control mosquitoes, charging that those techniques are illegal and harmful to nature. Spraying to destroy mosquitoes resulted in fish kills in 2000 and 2001, according to the lawsuit announced yesterday by the Peconic Baykeeper, a nonprofit advocacy and education group based in Riverhead, N.Y., where the case was filed Friday in State Supreme Court. The Peconic River flows through Riverhead into a series of bays, federally designated as an environmentally sensitive estuary, that separate the north and south forks of Long Island's East End." (New York Times)

"Fewer toxic chemicals sully the environment" - "ASHLAND, ORE. – Advocates of political change often say of those they're trying to influence: "If they won't see the light, then make them feel the heat." The light – and the heat – of public exposure has been a key reason why the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment continues to decline. According to new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures, such pollution dropped 8 percent in 2000 (the most recent data)." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Study Touts Broccoli to Fight Ulcers, Cancer (washingtonpost.com)" - "Bad news for those who can't stomach broccoli: New research suggests that broccoli is especially good for the stomach. A compound found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts appears to be more effective than modern antibiotics against the bacteria that cause peptic ulcers. Moreover, tests in mice suggest the compound offers formidable protection against stomach cancer -- the second most common form of cancer worldwide. If upcoming human tests confirm the findings, a daily snack of tangy broccoli sprouts could become a medically indicated staple -- especially in Asia, where the ulcer bacteria and stomach cancer occur in epidemic proportions."

"'Irresponsible Activism' on the Part of Religious Environmental Activists Threatens Necessary Economic Development -- Acton Inst." - "GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 28 -- The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty stated today that "disastrous effects" would be the result of irresponsible social and environmental activism on the part of the religious environmental movement. A number of religious groups allied with the radical environmental movement plan to participate in Exxon Mobile's annual shareholders meeting, set to take place tomorrow in Dallas, Texas.

A number of these religious groups have put forward shareholder resolutions calling for a range of items tied to dubious social and environmental concerns. Such items include the linking of executive compensation to vaguely defined social and environmental criteria and calling for the increased use of renewable energy sources without reference to sound scientific research." (U.S. Newswire)

"Expert proposes world eco-cops to guard resources" - "LONDON - An advisor to the European Union on illegal logging called yesterday for the creation of a specialist group of international environment police to catch criminals plundering the Earth's resources. "What is really needed is an efficient Environmental Crime Intelligence Unit set up with an international basis," Frank Madsen told a seminar." (Reuters)

"Tigers and Rhinos and Pandas, Oh My!" - "There's a reason the World Wildlife Fund uses a Giant Panda as its symbol. An endangered, attractive mammal is a magnet for sympathy. They would never think of using a burrowing insect or a slimy mould, however endangered they were.

So it is not surprising that media the world over found the claim that a quarter of the world's mammal species faced extinction the most important aspect of the United Nations Environment Program's (UNEP) new report on the outlook for the environment over the next 30 years. The Associated Press began its story with the claim "A quarter of the world's mammal species -- from tigers to rhinos -- could face extinction within 30 years," while The Independent of London argued that this was evidence of a "sixth wave of mass extinction." These extravagant claims, however, are hard to back up with hard data." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Unless we change our ways ...
... the world faces a future where things look pretty darn good"
- "... Now, in 2002, with enough oil for a century and a half, the planet awash in cut-price minerals, and less global famine, starvation and malnutrition than ever before, the end of the world has had to be rescheduled. The latest estimated time of arrival for the apocalypse is 2032. Last week, the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook predicted "the destruction of 70% of the natural world in 30 years, mass extinction of species, and the collapse of human society in many countries ... More than half the world will be afflicted by water shortages, with 95% of people in the Middle East with severe problems ... 25% of all species of mammals and 10% of birds will be extinct ..." Etc., etc., for 450 pages. But let's cut to the chase: As The Guardian's headline writer put it, "Unless We Change Our Ways, The World Faces Disaster."

Ah, yes. The end of the world's nighness is endlessly deferred but the blame rests where it always has. With us -- with what the UN calls "the current 'markets first' approach." Klaus Toepfer, the UN Environment Program executive director, believes that "under the 'markets first' scenario the environment and humans did not fare well." (Mark Steyn, National Post)

"People linked to new sea otter diseases" - "The California sea otter is in trouble and people may inadvertently be part of the problem. Nearly half of sea otter deaths are associated with infectious diseases and several of these may be indirectly caused by people." (Society for Conservation Biology)

"NEW METHOD LINKS RAINFALL PATTERNS TO DEVELOPING EL NIÑOS" - "NASA researchers have created a tool that can predict El Niño events months before they occur, by linking variations in rainfall patterns over the Indian Ocean with developing El Niños. Scott Curtis of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's (UMBC) Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), and Robert Adler of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., developed an El Niño Prediction Index (PI) formula that uses satellite-based rainfall data." (NASA/GSFC)

"Ozone losses may be speeding up at higher latitudes, according to U. of Colorado study" - "New findings by University of Colorado at Boulder researchers indicate ozone losses due to the breakdown of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, occur much faster than previously believed at higher latitudes roughly 10 miles above Earth." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"A WARM POLAR WINTER WAS EASIER ON ARCTIC OZONE" - "A NASA researcher has found unusually high levels of protective upper atmospheric ozone in the Arctic as a result of a rare sudden warming during the early winter of 1998. "There are several factors that control polar ozone including air temperature in the stratosphere, the presence of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs), and the timing and strength of large atmospheric waves that bring ozone to the poles from the tropics," said Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and author of a paper being presented at the American Geophysical Union's spring meeting in Washington." (NASA/GSFC)

"Ozone hole will close: Japanese team" - "The hole in the ozone layer will be mostly gone by around 2040 due to restrictions placed on chlorofluorocarbons, a Japanese research team said Tuesday. In the 1980s, the ozone layer, which protects animals and plants from dangerous ultraviolet rays, started to deplete above the South Pole. CFCs are efficient at eating away the ozone layer. "What influences the South Pole is not global warming, but chlorine in the atmosphere that mostly originates from CFCs," said Tatsuya Nagashima of the National Institute for Environmental Studies. The study was carried out by Nagashima and Masaaki Takahashi, a professor at the Center for Climate System Research at the University of Tokyo. It will soon be published in the academic journal American Geophysical Union." (Japan Times)

"Uncertainty in West African climate models addressed" - "Plans to meet the outcome of global climate change are underway worldwide, but nowhere is that planning more difficult than in West Africa where the climate has some of the largest signals of change and the climate models have the greatest level of uncertainty, according to Penn State meteorologists." (Penn State)

"Trap door to Kyoto -- The Washington Times" - "While there's been much carping about the pork-laden, recently enacted farm bill, it turns out to be small fry compared to current energy legislation. If passed intact, HR 4, the "Energy Policy Act of 2002," will begin the stealth enactment of the infamous Kyoto Protocol on global warming, wisely canned by President Bush a year ago."

"Energy security overlooked in "Earth Summit 2" - IEA" - "PARIS - The United Nations has overlooked energy security in its preparation for an August summit that aims to cut poverty while saving the environment, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday. The West's energy watchdog said it will take its message that there can be no sustainable development without a secure energy supply to the Indonesian island of Bali, where the U.N. is holding final preparatory meetings for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, opening in August in South Africa." (Reuters)

"Danish wise men say wind power now profitable" - "COPENHAGEN - Denmark's independent Economic Council, known as the wise men, said yesterday the installation of wind turbines is now profitable due to new technology following 10 years of losses for the society." (Reuters)

"Extinct Tasmanian tiger one step closer to cloning" - "SYDNEY — Australian scientists announced on Tuesday a breakthrough in efforts to clone the extinct Tasmanian tiger, saying they had replicated some of the animal's genes using DNA extracted from preserved male and female pups. The scientists from the Australian Museum in Sydney said they hoped to clone a Tasmanian tiger in 10 years if they were successful in constructing large quantities of all the genes of the Tasmanian tiger and sequencing sections of the genome to create a genetic library of Tasmanian tiger DNA." (Reuters)

May 28, 2002

"New Drug for Malaria Pits U.S. Against Africa" - "GENEVA — With resistance to old malaria drugs spreading, African officials want to start using a relatively new Chinese remedy so powerful that some experts consider it a miracle drug. Because more than 2,000 African children die of malaria each day, doctors there are clamoring for the drug, and the World Health Organization recommends it.

But the United States generally opposes using it in Africa yet.

An adviser to the Agency for International Development in Washington, Dennis Carroll, said the medicine, artemisinin, probably represented "the best long-term option." But, he added, the drug is expensive and hard for poorly educated people to take correctly. It needs, he said, more testing in infants and is "not ready for prime time." (New York Times)

"World leaders non-committal on Earth summit" - "The United Nation's World Summit on Sustainable Development, which begins in three months in Johannesburg, has been touted as the biggest, most important environmental gathering ever, the one that will produce a solid plan to save the planet.

It has also quietly been dubbed a dead duck even by those who badly want it to succeed. That's because hardly any world leaders are slated to attend so far, a sign that has observers wondering whether the worsening state of the environment has slipped under the international political radar screen.

The concerns are so sharp that some summit strategists are engaged these days in an anxious counting game. Their question: Just how many world leaders must Johannesburg attract to be technically called a summit?

So far, only a single leader from outside the host country of South Africa has officially pledged to attend -- Britain's Tony Blair." (Globe and Mail)

"The force of nature" - "It may come as a surprise to learn the 1990s were declared the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. The disasters just kept coming. In 1999, there were 707 catastrophic events such as floods, droughts and windstorms, three times as many as 30 years earlier, according to a new report from the United Nations Environmental Program. The price tag on these natural disasters was more than $100-billion (U.S.), the second highest total on record for a single year." (Globe and Mail editorial)

"Key talks on 'Earth Summit 2' kick off in Indonesia" - "JAKARTA - The United Nations yesterday opened a vital meeting in Indonesia where 6,000 delegates will try to bridge differences before an August summit that aims to cut poverty while saving the environment." (Reuters)

"German eco-farming hit by tainted poultry feed" - "BERLIN - German ecological farming, favored after recent scandals over mad cow and foot and mouth diseases, was under scrutiny yesterday after it emerged that tainted poultry feed had been used at chicken farms.

"Ecological farming has lost its innocence," said Lower Saxony agriculture minister Uwe Bartels, adding that the government should not continue to promote alternative farming methods above others as it has done since recent food scares." (Reuters)

"Common pesticide ending up in semen of farmers" - "OTTAWA - A common pesticide used to spray lawns and golf courses often ends up in the semen of the men who spray it, according to a new Health Canada study. 2,4-D has been used for almost 40 years. According to a study of 97 male Ontario farmers, about half had detectable levels of pesticide. The study's authors express concern about pesticides in semen because there's a possibility the chemicals could end up in the fetus. But they emphasize that the levels of 2, 4-D found were "trace levels." (CBC News)

"All clear for aspartame" - "France's food safety authority AFSSA has evaluated the scientific credibility of rumours about aspartame circulating on the Internet and in the media and concluded that they are without foundation, reports the Aspartame Information website [Click here to download the full text (PDF) of the AFSSA report]. The report addresses in detail allegations concerning neurological effects of the sweetener.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is also reviewing allegations about aspartame, following its own Internet search, and the AFSSA report will form part of this review. AFSSA said that the dietary components produced when aspartame is digested are also produced during the digestion of other foods which form part of the daily diet, and that since aspartame is a minor source of these components compared with other foodstuffs, any adverse effects cannot be attributed to aspartame." (FoodNavigator.com) [Complete]

"Contra Costa Times | 05 25 2002 | County to study dioxin levels on some roads" - "MARTINEZ - Contra Costa health officials will study DuPont's contention that trace amounts of dioxin percolating to the surface in some East Contra Costa roads pose no public health threat.

DuPont and county officials met Friday with leaders of Antioch, Pittsburg, Oakley and Brentwood to tell them that small amounts of dioxin, a chemical compound that may cause cancer or other health problems in high dosages, are coming to the surface of roadways built with a DuPont product known as Sierra-Crete.

DuPont officials said Friday that they recently discovered that Sierra-Crete, used as a base course below roadway surfaces, contains small amounts of the potentially toxic compounds."

"Politicians wade warily into Kyoto water" - "IN THE early '90s, the Meech Lake accord became the defining line of Canadian politics. Those who were against the terms negotiated in 1987 to entice Quebec to formally sign on to the Constitution generally went on to bigger things in public life. Most of the architects of the accord paid dearly for its failure.

Although Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was clearly in the first category, the experience was divisive enough to convince him to steer clear of grand federal-provincial schemes.

That was until the Kyoto accord came along. If Chrétien wants to live up to Canada's commitment to ratify the protocol on climate change, he is going to have to break his own rule.

Already, the Kyoto debate has acquired most of the features that Chrétien despises about high-profile public policy moves." (Toronto Star)

"Is Kyoto a bright move for Canada?" - "YES: A global problem needs a global cure, says federal Environment Minister DAVID ANDERSON. -- Climate change is happening here in Canada and elsewhere. Sea levels are rising. The permafrost is melting. Northern buildings and roads are subsiding. The best estimates of climate-change scientists are that we will see more severe weather events, not fewer. We will see more people affected by floods or drought in this country. We will see more impacts on agriculture and our forests." (Globe and Mail)

"Is Kyoto a bright move for Canada?" - "NO: We need to do what's best for Canadians, says Alberta Environment Minister LORNE TAYLOR. -- The nature of Canada's discussions on climate change has shifted substantially in the past week. But not the way people may have been led to believe. Alberta is not opposed to taking action on climate change, nor are we walking away from working with other provinces, territories and Ottawa to come up with a made-in-Canada approach to climate change." (Globe and Mail)

"Nuke dump in the neighborhood? Let's make a deal" - "LAS VEGAS – There aren't any "Yucca Yes" yard signs popping up beside the "Dump the Dump" posters, and few Nevadans are actually excited about the prospect of becoming neighbors to hazardous material that takes 10,000 years to decay. Yet as state and local leaders continue to divert millions of dollars from other priorities to stop Yucca Mountain from becoming the national nuclear-waste dump, the public's fervor on the issue may be hitting its half-life – and even morphing into a what's-in-it-for-us bargaining spirit." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Swedish minister unsure of Barseback closure date" - "STOCKHOLM - Sweden's energy minister said yesterday he will keep Sweden's promise to close the Barseback 2 nuclear reactor as part of the country's nuclear phase-out, but could not give a firm deadline." (Reuters)

"Sweden wants full-scale green certificate trading" - "STOCKHOLM - Sweden's energy minister said yesterday he would demand that all energy suppliers sell green certificates together with electricity from 2003 to help promote a shift to renewable energy sources." (Reuters)

"Genetic manipulation is quickly becoming fact" - "Super algae designed to suck pollution out of Lake Erie. Fish that flash fluorescent red and green when exposed to toxic chemicals. And last week, scientists unveiled malaria-free mosquitoes. Increasingly, science is turning to genetic engineering to solve complex environmental and public-health problems with imaginative applications that could have broad commercial appeal. From bacteria that help detect land mines to bananas that carry the hepatitis B vaccine to the revival of the American chestnut tree, genetically modified organisms in the pipeline are targeting not just farmers but the public and the planet." (Chicago Tribune)

"GM virus restores fertility to male mice" - "A GENETICALLY modified virus has been used to correct a form of infertility in male mice. Scientists in the United States and Japan used the gene therapy to replace faulty DNA in testicle cells that nurture sperm, allowing previously sterile mice to produce viable sperm that could fertilise eggs in a test tube. The findings indicate that it should be possible to treat some types of male infertility with similar methods. Between 70 and 90 per cent of cases of male infertility are caused by problems with sperm production of the sort that could potentially be corrected by gene therapy, researchers said." (The Times)

"Why ‘a GM-free Scotland’ is an intellectual fraud" - "ON WEDNESDAY, the Scottish parliament will be in Aberdeen debating an anti-GM foods motion put down by the Scottish National Party. The SNP wants to see ``a GM-free Scotland``, no ifs, no buts. It is not alone. Opposition to even testing the safety of human designed genetic modifications to crops is rife in the north of Scotland, where trial plantings are regularly trashed.

The SNP’s position is an intellectual fraud (and I say this as a nationalist). It is a transparently populist move that sadly plays on natural fears for political effect. Is the SNP in principle against any genetic modification of crops or human DNA at all times and in all circumstances? If so, why? If not, then the political argument must surely be about assuaging popular worries by establishing rigorous testing methods." (The Scotsman)

"[Australian] States set own GM-free zones" - "CONSUMER confidence in the integrity of foods marketed as free of genetic modifications has been boosted by a landmark agreement between the commonwealth and states that allows the establishment of GM-free agriculture zones.

A meeting on Friday of the Gene Technology Ministerial Council agreed to issue a policy principle allowing the states and territories to pass laws to establish zones in which genetically modified crops cannot be grown. Zones in which only GM crops can be grown can also be established. The zones will allow producers to market produce labelled GM-free or organic knowing their crops have not been contaminated by GM-crops nearby, a spokeswoman for the council said yesterday.

Both South Australia and Victoria have established legislation to create the zones, and all other state and territory governments are committed to following suit.

Tasmania has declared the entire state GM-free." (Sunday Times)

May 27, 2002

"UN Misses the Forest for the Trees" - "Habitat destruction from human encroachment has been the primary factor in the endangerment of 80 to 90 percent of threatened species on the planet, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). In all, over 11,000 species of plants and animals are known to face a high risk of extinction, including 24 percent of all known mammals.

The huge impact from habitat destruction at the hands of man is exactly the reason why in less than three weeks from it’s unveiling, more than 450 scientists, environmentalists, and conservationists from over 50 countries have signed onto the High-Yield Conservation Declaration hosted by the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues (www.HighYieldConservation.org)." (Alex A. Avery, CGFI)

"Who's Kidding W.H.O.? Strange Doings" - "What in the world are the folks at the World Health Organization thinking these days? They're supposed to be devoting their energies, expertise, and considerable budget to...world health, I believe. You remember: poverty, famine, disease? Yet only a week ago their director general, Gro Harlem Brundtland, announced that the world's most important health challenges now include "junk food," cholesterol, and alcohol. What happened to malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS?" (Dr. Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Duluth News Tribune | 05 26 2002 | Some scientists alarmed by effort to alter mosquitoes' genetic makeup" - "Scientists in Cleveland have created the first genetically engineered mosquitoes that have a reduced capacity to transmit malaria. The feat points to the possibility of disrupting the scourge by releasing gene-altered insects in Asia and Africa, where the disease kills an estimated 2 million people every year, most of them children younger than 5. But that prospect has alarmed some scientists and others who fear that such a program could trigger ecological disruption and ultimately increase, rather than decrease, the global burden of disease."

The precautionary principle in action: never attempt any improvement for people because something might not produce a perfect outcome from every perspective. Sheesh!

"World Trade Centre syndrome" - "I was at a medical meeting recently, which involved the usual stuff - thousands of doctors, lectures, symposia, posters, its own TV channel, receptions, and so on. The meeting was geared towards public health, and the theme was infectious disease.

In a year in which 2million people died of AIDS, 2million died of TB and 2million died of malaria, it is right that a major meeting of the world's public health doctors should be geared towards infectious diseases. But what was the main topic of conversation, and dominated the sessions?

Anthrax." (Simon Wessely, sp!ked)

"This Just In: Sugar Is a Chemical!" - "The new sugar substitute Splenda is growing in popularity, reported the May 21 Wall Street Journal, in part because of lingering (albeit unjustified) health concerns about older substitutes such as Sweet'N Low and Nutrasweet, and in part because of enthusiastic customers such as Gloria Cross, a retired medical technician, who swears by Splenda. When her friends use other sweeteners, Cross tells them, "No, no, you don't understand. Those are chemicals and Splenda is not a chemical."

Well, it's certainly true that there is a prevailing prejudice against new chemicals created by humans — even when there is no evidence those chemicals are dangerous — but the truth is that all of nature is made out of chemicals (some far more dangerous than the ones humans make). Splenda, contrary to Cross's belief, is a chemical. It's made from sucralose, a slight variation on sucrose (sugar)." (Ruth Kava, Ph.D., R.D. and Todd Seavey, ACSH)

"Post-Gazette - Fluoride from the faucet" - "Decades after the cavity fighter was first added to public water, the debate continues.

It's either one of the greatest public health achievements of the last century or a prime example of government intrusion into a private decision.

It depends on whom you ask.

Adding fluoride to public water began in some places more than 50 years ago, but the debate over whether it should be done continues today.

Studies conducted in the last 50 years have shown that children who live in areas with fluoridated water have significantly fewer dental cavities than those who don't. And experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that fluoride in the amount that is added to most water systems is safe. No verifiable link between fluoridated water and any illness has ever been established, according to the CDC."

"The Macon Telegraph | 05 24 2002 | Commission waiting on public hearing to decide malathion's fate" - "Although Bibb County commissioners have indicated they will probably end mosquito spraying in the county, the Macon-Bibb County Health Department is still asking for $154,770 to control mosquitoes and ticks in 2003. More than half that total would go toward spraying mosquitoes with a pesticide, but the money could be removed from the budget if the County Commission votes to permanently discontinue spraying after a public hearing June 5. Commissioner Charles Bishop said his vote will depend on the results of the hearing. But Commissioner Calder Clay III said, "All the input from the community has been against spraying of any type, and unless I hear differently, I'll honor the community's request."

"Ames Laboratory researchers discover solvent-free organic chemistry" - "AMES, Iowa - When chemists want to combine two or more organic materials, ordinarily they use a solvent to carry out a reaction that results in the desired compound. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have found a way to combine organic materials in solid state without the use of solvents. This revolutionary solvent-free process means that environmentally harmful solvents, such as benzene, dichloromethane and others, could be removed from many of the chemical processes used to produce millions of consumer and industrial products."

"Newsday.com - Toxin Report Cites Rock Mining, Coal" - "WASHINGTON -- Hard-rock mining companies and coal-burning power plants are America's largest toxic polluters, responsible for nearly two-thirds of the poisonous contaminants in the nation's air and water, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday."

"statesman.com | Metro & State | EPA: Texas plants are major mercury polluters" - "Power plants are the biggest source of airborne mercury pollution in Texas and account for nearly 10 percent of the toxic metal released into the air by utilities nationwide, according to government data released Thursday. The annual Toxics Release Inventory of waste generated by 23,500 facilities nationwide included information about mercury pollution for the first time. That data from 2000, the most recent available, confirmed that coal-fired power plants are a major source of mercury that finds its way into lakes, where it can contaminate fish at levels harmful for human consumption."

"EPA Reports Decline in Pollution (washingtonpost.com)" - "Toxic chemical releases into the environment posing serious health risks declined by eight percent in 2000, part of a decade-long improvement in industrial pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency reported yesterday."

"Associated Press - Tiny pollutants have global reach" - "LOS ANGELES — Atop Hawaii's Mauna Loa, thrust 13,677 feet into the sky, one would expect nothing but the freshest air, save the occasional gaseous burp from the volcano. But environmental monitoring stations crowding the peak find arsenic, copper and zinc that was kicked into the atmosphere five to 10 days earlier from smelting in China, thousands of miles distant. When industrial pollution first showed up at Mauna Loa a few years ago, scientists were startled. Now, after intense study, they know that the pollution that dirties the world's largest cities affects the whole Earth."

"NATIONAL POST ONLINE | Firefighters win battle for cancer compensation" - "Manitoba firefighters who develop certain cancers will now automatically qualify for compensation, and their disease will be assumed to be work-related, under groundbreaking legislation passed yesterday that could ripple across the country. The bill, passed unanimously, marks the first time a province has recognized cancer as an occupational hazard for firefighters, who now join Newfoundland miners as the only groups for whom such legislation exists."

"Newsday.com - State renews warning against eating crabs from Newark Bay" - "TRENTON, N.J. -- The public should not catch or eat blue claw crabs from Newark Bay because their dioxin contamination poses a serious risk of cancer, according to a state report released Friday. The report draws together previous research on dioxin levels in the bay and nearby waterways, crab consumption by area residents and the federal government's estimates of the chemical's danger."

"San Francisco Chronicle - Limits lowered on copper in bay Standards loosened south of Dumbarton" - "Water quality regulators have loosened restrictions on copper and nickel in San Francisco Bay, saying that the current levels don't appear to be toxic enough to harm fish and other organisms. The move was welcomed by municipal sewage treatment plants and other big dischargers as well as Bay Area cities, which must control polluted runoff from their streets. They say meeting the costs of the stricter standards would cost millions of dollars."

"Court Rejects Parts of EPA Haze Plan" - "A federal appeals court yesterday struck down portions of an Environmental Protection Agency plan designed to reduce air pollution and haze in some of the nation's most celebrated national parks. While upholding the basic thrust of the so-called regional haze plan for improving air quality and visibility in national parks -- including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Shenandoah -- the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that the plan would improperly force power plants and factories to install expensive pollution control equipment without "any empirical evidence" they were contributing to the problem." (Washington Post)

"News24.com - Pollution war rages in FS" - "Sasolburg - President Thabo Mbeki has been given a high-power petition protesting against the building of a chemical-waste incineration plant adjacent to Sasol Infrachem in Sasolburg. The petition has been signed by 45 countries and more than 100 organisations that belong to a worldwide movement against the incineration of waste. Bobby Peek, a director of the environmental organisation GroundWork, said on Wednesday night that Infrachem with its natural-gas project promised cleaner air for the Vaal Triangle and environs while Peacock Bay Environmental Services (PBES) planned to erect a chemical-waste incineration plant in the town. "It's unacceptable. If President Mbeki does not put a stop to the waste-disposal plant it would constitute a contravention of the Stockholm protocol which South Africa signed last year. The protocol was signed by countries committing themselves to combating chemical pollution in the air."

"Cramped airline seats are 'safer'" - "GIVING passengers more legroom on flights puts them at greater risk of being trapped on a burning aircraft, a British study has found. The research is to be used by airlines to justify leaving passengers in cramped seats, undermining a consumer campaign for greater comfort on long-haul flights." (The Times)

"Bleach damage creating Great Barren Reef - smh.com.au" - "Up to 90 per cent of coral in some parts of the Great Barrier Reef has been destroyed by bleaching, with nearly 60 per cent of the entire marine park affected to some extent. A survey of more than 640 reefs, from the northern to southern-most points of the park, found that bleaching, which is caused by high water temperatures, was at its highest levels ever and could soon become even worse. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Co-operative Research Centre for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage pooled their resources to carry out the study, the world's most comprehensive research into coral bleaching. Paul Marshall, who led the underwater surveys for the authority, said that although "most reefs will recover with only minor death of corals" the areas that had suffered the highest levels of bleaching were "devastated, with 50 per cent and 90 per cent of coral dead at some sites."

"Hoover's Online - Govt must keep up momentum on Kyoto" - "The Kyoto Protocol is the first international agreement in human history to stipulate concrete reduction requirements for greenhouse gas emissions to address global warming. The House of Representatives approved at a plenary session Tuesday the government's proposal to ratify the pact and passed bills to revise the law designed to help meet the pact's requirements. This means that Japan has fulfilled its duties in the international community. However, the long and winding road toward tackling global warming will be bumpy because the government's measures to protect the environment have to be compatible with economic growth. Also, it will not be easy either to persuade the United States, which has withdrawn from the protocol, to return to the fold, or to encourage developing countries to join the club."

"The Japan Times Online - Kyoto Protocol to be ratified by Cabinet on June 4: Oki" - "The Cabinet will ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming on June 4, Environment Minister Hiroshi Oki said Friday. The government will submit the necessary documentation to the German-based secretariat by June 6, he added. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved a government proposal to ratify the pact and a bill stipulating measures to achieve Japan's goals under the accord. The government hopes the House of Councilors will approve both measures next week."

"New Zealand News - Business - Raising the next generation of power brokers" - "Last year, Tauranga-based TrustPower invited customers to pay an extra $2 a week on their power bills to help finance a wind farm high in the Tararua Range near Palmerston North. It was an appeal to pure altruism. The sole benefit would have been cutting New Zealand's carbon dioxide emissions by 83,500 tonnes a year, or 0.3 per cent. Carbon dioxide emissions are believed to be a major factor in pushing up average world temperatures by 0.6C over the past 100 years. TrustPower's strategic business development manager, Peter Calderwood, needed 16,100 people to pay $2 extra a week to justify the $60 million to $70 million cost of a new wind farm. He advertised the project widely. Dramatic pictures on TrustPower's website showed the impact of predicted increased flooding, storms, droughts and a rise in sea levels if global warming continued. The result was a flop. Fewer than 200 people signed up."

"Fury at wind farm on 'lost' parkland" - "Approval was given to build the biggest onshore wind farm in Britain yesterday, outraging campaigners who say it will ruin a "lost" national park. Work to construct 39 turbines 330ft high at Cefn Croes in the Cambrian mountains of mid-Wales will start this summer after the Energy minister Brian Wilson rejected calls for a public inquiry. Campaigners say the £35m wind farm below Plynlimon mountain will destroy an unspoilt area that the Countryside Commission designated as a national park in the Seventies, although the Government never formally approved the decision." (Independent)

"Finland to build controversial nuclear plant" - "HELSINKI - Finland has decided to build the first new nuclear reactor in Western Europe in more than a decade to meet rising energy demands despite bitter opposition from environmentalists. Parliament backed by 107 votes to 92 the coalition government's controversial proposal to construct a fifth atomic reactor to guarantee long-term energy supplies, cut its dependence on Russia and meet greenhouse gas targets. It will be the first such plant since 1991 when France authorised the construction of a new reactor." (Reuters) | NEWS.scotsman.com - International - Finns to build nuclear plant despite fears

"Mahyco conducts trials on more GM seeds - The Times of India" - "MUMBAI: India's Mahyco, the first company allowed to sell genetically modified seeds in the country, said it was conducting field trials on more transgenic cotton hybrids containing technology from US giant Monsanto. Earlier this year, the government permitted Mahyco or Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, which is 26-per cent owned by Monsanto's unlisted Indian arm, Monsanto Holdings Private Limited, to produce and sell three varieties of genetically modified (GM) cotton hybrids. GM technology could help boost abysmally low farm yields in a country of more than a billion people, agricultural scientists say."

"Silent protest in GM fields" - "PROTESTERS silently stood hand in hand yesterday against genetically modified food during the latest demonstration at a farm in the Black Isle. About 350 people stood in line in a field at Roskill Farm, Munlochy, among a GM crop of oil seed rape, before marching off. The protest organised by the Stand Quiet to be Heard Group, came a few days after the Prime Minister mounted a robust defence of the scientists who develop GM crops and condemned the activists who took direct action against them. It also followed an attack on the farm’s crops last Tuesday." (The Scotsman)

"GM 'could kill off ' organic farms" - "Organic farming in Britain could be doomed if the Government approves the cultivation of genetically modified crops, according to a European Union report warning that it is 'virtually impossible' to stop cross-contamination. Ministers are considering plans to declare swaths of countryside 'GM free' - reserving other regions for the controversial crops. The move is likely to divide farmers and trigger local resistance aimed at safeguarding non-GM food." (The Observer)

"GM experiments on animals to rise" - "Britain is facing an increase in the number of animals being genetically altered for medical and agricultural research after a decision by government advisers not to tighten regulations. The Agriculture and Environmental Biotechnological Committee is to reject calls for a statutory watchdog to control the booming industry." (The Observer)

May 24, 2002

"Don't Hold the Pizza Just Yet" - "Anti-fun food activists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest just delivered another junk science-fueled scare. Pizza is the new laugh-out-loud hazard, an act of dietary terrorism apparently perpetrated to sell CSPI’s new anti-restaurant book." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Court victory for sick Gulf War veteran" - "A soldier denied an army pension despite claiming that his Gulf War service made him ill has won a landmark legal victory. An appeal court ruled that Gulf War syndrome did exist - and was caused by active service. Many veterans claiming to have the sickness - which can manifest a wide variety of symptoms, including fatigue, nausea and fevers - have been turned down for army pensions because Ministry of Defence doctors told them there was no such disease." (BBC News Online)

"Gulf veterans win recognition for syndrome" - "MINISTRY of Defence lawyers are urgently studying the implications of a pensions tribunal ruling which has confirmed for the first time that Gulf War syndrome should now be recognised as an official disease. Since the 1991 Gulf War, after which thousands of servicemen began suffering from a range of debilitating illnesses, the MoD has refused to accept that their symptoms could be related to their involvement in the conflict." (The Times)

Another civil fiction? "The Miami Herald | 05 23 2002 | Big gun takes on Wingate" - "Jan Schlichtmann, the attorney portrayed by John Travolta in the movie A Civil Action, has joined the fight over Fort Lauderdale's Wingate landfill. The Beverly, Mass., attorney won $8 million in 1986 for families who alleged that their children died of leukemia due to pollutants dumped in the Boston suburb of Woburn, Mass. Now, Schlichtmann and at least eight other attorneys have filed papers to form a new local law firm that will try to prove a link between toxic chemicals buried at the Wingate landfill and high rates of disease around it, primarily in the 33311 and 33313 ZIP codes. The firm, the Environmental Justice Project, will seek damages from the city of Fort Lauderdale and at least 38 companies that allegedly dumped toxic waste there."

"Pollution effects 'need more research'" - "Billions of pounds of taxpayers' money is due to be spent on cutting air pollution when not enough is known about what is needed, says an influential committee of MPs. The Public Accounts Committee says there are major gaps in what is known about the health effects of cancer-causing pollutants. More work is needed by the government to look at what size of dust particles are the most harmful, say the MPs. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) should also examine whether there is a safe upper level of concentration of ozone, says their report." (BBC News Online)

"Link between stress and heart disease may be premature" - "It has often been claimed that psychological stress is an important cause of heart disease, but a study in this week’s BMJ shows that previous research may have been misleading." (BMJ)

"Vaccine for diabetes 'virus'" - "British scientists have found strong evidence that childhood diabetes might be caused by a common virus, raising hopes that a vaccine could be developed to prevent the illness." (Telegraph)

"Fatal Cases Of CJD Linked To Human Growth Hormone" - "Further cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD) disease could arise as a result of human growth hormone treatment even after low doses, suggests research in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry." (UniSci)

"Long life proves a mixed blessing" - "We many be living longer, but many of us will spend those extra years in the grip of ill-health. Women, who outlive the men in their life, are shown to fare badly by the first survey of “healthy life expectancy” (The Times)

"Euro MPs vote to ban cosmetics tested on animals" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union should ban the sale of new cosmetics tested on animals within five years, wherever in the world they are made or tested, a key EU parliament committee voted yesterday. The legislation aims to cut down on the thousands of animals killed each year in experiments many consumers consider cruel and unnecessary. But some EU lawmakers fear the law may fall foul of international trade rules." (Reuters)

"BBC News | SCI TECH | Poverty is 'real pollution'" - "The United Nations report on the state of the planet paints a grim picture (in the main) of the Earth's future. The Global Environment Outlook-3 (Geo-3), the work of more than 1,000 authors, says the human "footprint" is having an increasingly adverse impact, especially in poor countries. It suggests, for example, that almost a quarter of the world's mammals could be extinct within 30 years. But this is a picture of our immediate future that is repudiated by many scientists who have found a standard bearer in the form of Bjorn Lomborg, the head of the Institute for Environmental Evaluation in Aarhus in Denmark. Dr Lomborg has angered the green lobby by daring to challenge certain "truths" about environmental decline. He has accused the greens of exaggerating problems and of ignoring the facts."

"Nature spills most oil in North American oceans, study finds" - "WASHINGTON - A new study says most of the oil that ends up in North American oceans comes from Mother Nature and ordinary consumers, not tanker spills or pipeline leaks. The report comes from Washington's National Research Council, an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences. The report was sponsored by U.S. government agencies, and the oil and marine industries. The single largest source of petroleum in the waters off North America is the nearly 180 million litres that seep from natural cracks in the sea floor every year." (CBC News)

"Urban sprawl up, air pollution down in EU - report" - "BRUSSELS - Overfishing, urban sprawl and increased energy consumption are some of the main dangers facing the European Union's environment, a report published yesterday by the EU's environment agency showed." (Reuters)

"Huge Antarctic icebergs break away near NSF research hub" - "Two new and very large icebergs broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica earlier this month in a natural “calving” process that returned the edge of the shelf to its pre-exploration position of the early 1900’s, researchers say." (NSF)

"How Canada can get from here to Kyoto" - "The truth about the Kyoto Protocol, as even its proponents admit, is that it will not stop the Earth from warming. The 1997 international agreement on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions is a few drops in the bucket next to what needs to be done. Canada's contribution? A drop in the drop. It is not worth tearing ourselves apart over this." (Globe and Mail editorial)

"Alberta blasts Anderson for Kyoto switch" - "CALGARY and CHARLOTTETOWN - The federal government blindsided Alberta at the Charlottetown meeting on climate change when the province's alternative plan to the Kyoto Protocol was rejected, Lorne Taylor, Alberta's Environment Minister, charged yesterday. "Quite frankly, in public [David Anderson, the federal Environment Minister] said one thing in Calgary ... and inside the meeting [on Monday] he flat out said they are not willing to have any other options as part of a national discussion," said Mr. Taylor, who repeated his government's warning that Alberta is prepared to go as far as the Supreme Court of Canada to fight Kyoto." (National Post)

"Alberta urges provinces to abandon Kyoto accord" - "CHARLOTTETOWN -- The Alberta government has launched a guerrilla lobby of sorts against the Kyoto Protocol after splitting with Ottawa over the deal -- and is petitioning other provinces to officially consider not ratifying it. Alberta formally broke ranks with the rest of Canada on Tuesday after the province's attempt to have its alternative included in nationwide public consultations on the accord was shot down by Ottawa and Quebec during a Charlottetown meeting. Alberta Environment Minister Lorne Taylor said his government will take it upon itself to ask other provinces if they'll offer their citizens Alberta's non-Kyoto option for Canada as another official choice." (Globe and Mail)

"Global warming: a heretic's view" - "On Victoria Day, as snowflakes settled on my freshly planted asters, a traitorous thought crossed my mind. Maybe global warming won't be such a bad thing after all. I didn't share this thought. Some things you just can't say in public. People will think you don't care about the environment. Worse, they'll think you're in bed with Ralph Klein, George W. Bush, Big Oil, and other deviants." (Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail)

"Mixed reaction: Japan's plan to ratify the Kyoto Protocol draws cheers and outrage from various industries" - "The head of a powerful business leaders' group welcomed Japan's plan to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, but companies likely to be hit hardest by the accord say the government made a big mistake. One prominent figure in favor of the Lower House's approval Tuesday to ratify the accord is Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of Nikkeiren (Japan Federation of Employers' Associations)." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"New Zealand Herald - Kyoto makes sense, farmers told" - "Farmers calling for the Government to hold off on its planned ratification of the Kyoto Protocol this year have been told by Energy Minister Pete Hodgson the costs of inaction would start out "huge". And because global warming was a cumulative effect of greenhouse gas emissions, the problem would get bigger the longer it was left. He told the North Canterbury Federated Farmers annual conference in Christchurch yesterday that they should get behind Government policy of ratifying the protocol, because it was the right thing to do and made economic sense."

And he knows this to be true because a doorknocking fundraiser for the Greens told him so.

"Executive: 'Big Coal' Swayed Bush (washingtonpost.com)" - "A member of a government advisory committee on coal charged last year that President Bush's decision to reverse himself on a campaign pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions was a "monumental mistake" that resulted from vigorous coal industry pressure, newly disclosed documents show.

Jane Hughes Turnbull, an executive of a California renewable energy concern, made the assertions in a March 16, 2001, letter to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham explaining her decision to resign from the National Coal Council, the advisory group. Bush had announced three days earlier that he had abandoned his campaign promise to reduce power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that many scientists say is to blame for global warming."

"San Francisco Chronicle - Bill to cut greenhouse gases idles in Assembly: Support ebbs for vehicle limits" - "Sacramento -- Landmark legislation that would make California the first state in the nation to curb greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles is stalled in the state Assembly, where several lawmakers who offered early support for the measure have changed their minds. After successfully killing a federal attempt to strengthen fuel efficiency standards earlier this year, the auto industry has mounted a furious media and lobbying blitz in Sacramento over a bill they say could force California motorists to give up their sport utility vehicles."

"UK approves its biggest onshore wind farm" - "LONDON - Britain gave the go-ahead yesterday for what will be its largest onshore wind farm at Cefn Croes in central Wales. Energy Minister Brian Wilson said he had granted consent for the 58.5 megawatt scheme proposed by the Renewable Development Company despite some local opposition." (Reuters)

"Arable farmers reluctant to go organic" - "AS ALMOST 98 per cent of Scotland’s registered organic land is extensive hill for grazing, the challenge now is to get more organic lowland crop growers, it was claimed this week. Speaking at an open day near Perth, David Younie, the Scottish Agricultural College’s organic specialist, said that there had been a big swing towards organic production in Scotland in recent years. "But the majority of converts have been hill livestock units where management changes needed to comply with organic standards have been small." (The Scotsman)

"The Nando Times: American Indians concerned about mapping of wild rice genome" - "MINNEAPOLIS (May 22, 2002 10:45 a.m. EDT) - As University of Minnesota researchers map the wild rice genome, they are hoping the information could lead to more nutritious, disease-resistant crops that help feed the world. But decoding the genome has upset many American Indians, who say they have been shut out of the research and warn that manmade alteration of the plant is "cultural and spiritual genocide." "The sustainability of our rice is contingent on its diversity," said Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe and a former Green Party vice presidential candidate. "It's central to our cultural well-being, spiritually as well as economically."

"EU proposals on GM food labels unworkable - UK report" - "LONDON - Consumers need clear information about genetically modified food, but tough European Commission proposals planning compulsory labels for all food products made from gene-crops are unworkable, a UK parliamentary report said. The report, published yesterday by the European Union select committee in the British parliament's House of Lords, provoked criticism from consumer and environment groups after finding that the detailed plans would not be practical." (Reuters)

"Biotech Foods No Riskier Than Other Foods - Study" - "WASHINGTON - Genetically modified foods pose no greater health risk than conventional foods, but the U.S. government should scrutinize more closely the safety of new biotech products, the investigative arm of Congress said on Thursday." (Reuters)

May 23, 2002

"GM mosquito new weapon in fight against malaria" - "LONDON - Scientists have created a genetically modified mosquito in the first step of a bold plan to alter an entire species to wipe out malaria. They inserted a synthetic gene that blocks the development of the malaria parasite in the mosquitoes, making it difficult for them to transmit it to humans. The gene, called SM1, is integrated into the mosquito and passed from one generation to the next. "This introduces a completely new approach against malaria and the more approaches we have to fight the disease the better," Professor Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena said in an interview yesterday." (Reuters) | 'Nature' report: Researchers genetically alter mosquitoes to impair malaria transmission CWRU) | GM mosquito resistant to malaria parasites (New Scientist)

"BBC News | HEALTH | Childhood malaria in UK 'nearly triples'" - "Doctors are warning of an increase in the number of British school children contracting malaria. They say cases are spiralling due to increased travel to tropical countries.

Malaria, which is caught by a bite from an infected mosquito, kills more than a million people each year, most of them children."

Hmm... "Malaria killing 2.7 million a year" - "The human death toll caused by malaria could be more than double previous estimates and more than 75 per cent of victims are African children. A study by the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria has found that up to 2.7 million people die annually from the disease, compared with the broad estimate of "more than one million" cited by scientists and journalists for the last 50 years." (Canberra Times)

Oddly, this announcement seems to have come as a considerable shock, at least to journalists used to parroting anti-chemical activist propaganda. The 2.7 million estimate has actually been in use for some time, in fact it is the figure used in the Malaria Clock along with a conservative 400 million annual morbidity. While we extracted the 2.7m figure from WHO documents, Malaria.org and ESEF in 1999, the WHO apparently still persists in using the much lower 1950s estimate on their web site. Go figure.

"Anomalies in mice linked to substance in soy" - "In a result that has been highly controversial even before its formal publication, researchers in the United States reported yesterday finding gross physical deformities in laboratory animals fed an important component of soy." (Globe and Mail)

"Hunger hormone may be key in weight loss" - "Thousands of obese Americans know firsthand that gastric bypass surgery can achieve long-term weight loss when dieting, exercise and medications have failed. The reason for the difference may hinge on a recently discovered appetite-stimulating hormone, according to an article in the May 23 New England Journal of Medicine." (VA Research Communications Service)

"Similar Graphs Raised Suspicions on Bell Labs Research" - "What had been hailed a few months ago as a breakthrough in molecule-size electronics is now in doubt, and a rising star at Bell Laboratories is under suspicion of improperly manipulating data in research papers published in prestigious scientific journals." (New York Times)

"Newsday.com - Residents, DuPont spar over damage from chemical contamination" - "PATERSON, N.J. -- Attorneys for hundreds of Pompton Lakes residents urged a jury Tuesday to punish chemical giant DuPont for decades of contamination the homeowners say has made them and their families sick. But the company says there's no proof that any of the plaintiffs got sick from DuPont chemicals."

"Newsday.com - Vermont Senator a Year After Switch" - "MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Pilloried and praised in almost equal measure for turning the Senate from Republican to Democratic control, Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont says he's at peace in the center of a still-raging storm a year later.

It's been a year of incredible change for Jeffords, who spent 26 years in Congress as a relative unknown who shunned cameras, news conferences and the Sunday talk shows before his declaration of independence thrust him into the spotlight. He's been on the cover of Newsweek, profiled in Rolling Stone and had a beer named for him. He signed a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster; the first book came out in November and a second one will be out this fall. Susan Boardman Russ, his chief of staff, says his invitations to give keynotes speeches have increased 20 to 30 fold.

In the switch, Jeffords gave up the chairmanship of the Senate committee that handles health, education and labor issues to chair its Environment and Public Works Committee. Jeffords says he used his new chairmanship as pulpit for countering Bush administration policies on carbon dioxide emissions, power plant pollution and toxic chemicals but he's yet to manage a major piece of environmental legislation on the Senate floor."

"Hug a Logger, Not a Tree" - "The idea first hit Bruce Vincent as he was walking out of a Montana middle school in 1997.

Mr. Vincent, president of the League of Rural Voters, had just finished giving a talk to a class about logging, forestry and the possibilities for smart, long-term use of our natural resources. As he was leaving, a teacher thanked him and explained that the next day the class would be hearing from an environmentalist, who would arrange for them to adopt a wolf.

"Right there, I wondered if everything I'd told those kids was out the window," said Mr. Vincent. "If they were told that logging would hurt Alfred the Wolf, they'd forget everything I said." Still, it got Mr. Vincent thinking. What could he bring to class that could possibly rival charismatic megafauna? "Then it hit me," he says. "The only thing even more interesting than an animal is a human." (The Wall Street Journal)

"No such thing as natural -- The Washington Times" - "... Most environmentalists and conservationists would have you believe that alien species are always bad for the environment because the natural world is a finely tuned and balanced mechanism. That's why, for example, activists have tried to stifle the news that the foreign-born zebra mussel, which the United States has spent billions trying to eradicate, is responsible for radically improving the water quality of the Great Lakes, according to the U.S. Geologic Survey."

"Planet faces tough environmental challenges, UN report warns" - "Unless urgent action is taken to protect land worldwide, over 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface could be affected by roads, mining, cities and other infrastructure developments in the next 30 years, according to a major new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Global Environment Outlook-3 report, which examines policies and environmental impacts of the past 30 years and outlines approaches for the coming three decades, says the planet is at a “crucial crossroads with the choices made today critical for the forests, oceans, rivers, mountains, wildlife and other life support systems upon which current and future generations depend.” (UN News)

"Planet at the crossroads" - "The choices this generation makes will be crucial for our descendants, according to a United Nations report. Published by the UN Environment Programme (Unep), established 30 years ago, the report details some real improvements since then. But it says the overall trend is adverse, especially in poor countries." (BBC News Online)

"NEW ON-LINE TOOL TAILORS CLIMATE FORECASTS TO FIT RESOURCE MANAGERS' NEEDS" - "A soon-to-be-released online tool, developed through NASA funding, provides "Consumer Reports" type evaluations of seasonal forecasts for water, land and agricultural managers. By helping users determine what forecasts are right for their needs, this tool could help users make multi-million dollar decisions. Seasonal forecasts predict whether temperatures and precipitation in an area will be above average or below average for an upcoming season. This tool tells users how accurate these predictions have been in the past." (NASA/GSFC)

"Farmers want more time for chemical phaseout" - "PALMETTO -- Bob Spencer said his cost of producing tomatoes rose 10 percent last year because of increases in the price of a soil fumigant called methyl bromide. Prices of the chemical -- used to suffocate root-eating nematodes, choke weeds and thwart soil-borne diseases -- have skyrocketed because of government regulations and a sharp drop in supply. Under the Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol, farmers must gradually phase out the use of methyl bromide over a 10-year period that ends January 2005. Manufacturers have already responded to the restrictions by cutting production, and that has forced up prices. "Methyl bromide represents our single biggest cost increase," said Spencer, sales manager for West Coast Tomato in Palmetto." (Herald-Tribune)

"Radio Netherlands: Arctic Ice: in Meltdown?" - "With many scientists predicting global climate warming, what can Arctic glaciers and icebergs tell us about possible changes in sea level? Scientists from all over the world gathered in The Netherlands recently to compare notes at the ‘Arctic Science Summit Week'."

"Ottawa contributes $260-million to develop wind energy" - "Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal announced a $260-million investment to develop wind energy across the country on Wednesday. The Minister's announcement in Prince Edward Island came one day after Federal Environment Minister David Anderson met his provincial counterparts in Charlottetown in an attempt to bridge some of the vast differences over the approach Canada should take to the Kyoto Protocol, which was signed five years ago but not ratified. The meeting ended with a split between Ottawa and the country's largest energy-producing province." (Globe and Mail)

"Alberta splits from Ottawa on Kyoto deal" - "CHARLOTTETOWN -- Energy-rich Alberta broke ranks with Ottawa over the Kyoto Protocol yesterday, saying it has lost faith in the federal approach to the deal and will forge ahead with its own plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions outside the accord." (Globe and Mail)

"Alberta quits Kyoto negotiation" - "CHARLOTTETOWN - Alberta, the source of most of the country's oil and gas wealth, has angrily withdrawn from the federal government's Kyoto Protocol consultation after its alternative plan was rejected. Lorne Taylor, Alberta's Environment Minister, told a packed hall of delegates that Ottawa's attempt at a national consultation has instead turned into an effort by the federal government to get the Kyoto Protocol ratified." (National Post)

"Alberta Won't OK Kyoto, May Take Ottawa to Court" - "CALGARY, Alberta - Alberta, which pumps the lion's share of Canada's oil and gas, will refuse to implement the Kyoto treaty on global warming and may take the federal government to court to fight its case if Ottawa ratifies the pact, a senior minister said on Wednesday. Reinforcing Alberta's staunch opposition to the treaty and perhaps further cutting the odds that Ottawa will sign it, Alberta environment minister Lorne Taylor said the province will not cooperate if Ottawa ratifies the Kyoto pact." (Reuters)

"Kyoto shield could cost taxpayers millions" - "Shielding farmers from the cost of burping livestock under the Kyoto protocol could cost taxpayers more than $125 million a year, ministerial climate change group convener Pete Hodgson said yesterday. In return, the Government expected the agricultural sector to invest in the research required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cattle and sheep, he told the North Canterbury Federated Farmers annual meeting. Playing down the prospect of an enforced research levy, Mr Hodgson said farmers stood to gain commercially from reducing greenhouse emissions. "You are not being asked to sacrifice money to research. You are being asked - and forcefully, for which I make no apology - to invest in research." (The Dominion)

"A slight chill in the air" - "LAKE ST. LOUIS, MO. – A shadow hangs over the booming solar industry that no one can quite explain. Big corporations have moved into the business. Homeowners, homebuilders, schools, even city halls are snapping up the technology. So why does fast-growing, progressive Oregon have fewer solar-heated homes today than in 1990? No one knows for sure. Next door, Washington State saw its total of solar-heated homes fall by half between 1990 and 2000, according to new census data. So did Kansas and New Hampshire, with Illinois (down 32 percent) and Nevada (down 42 percent) not far behind. Of the 22 states for which the Census Bureau has released data, only three saw an increase. Even there, gains were minimal.

The decline suggests two trends. First, today's designers are using solar heating as a savvy complement to other fuels rather than as a replacement. Second, solar's first boom, fueled by federal tax incentives in the late 1970s and early '80s, proved to be an unsustainable fad." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Newsday.com - EPA Accuses TVA of Breaking the Law" - "ATLANTA -- Lawyers for the Environmental Protection agency argued Tuesday that the Tennessee Valley Authority broke the law by failing to install pollution control equipment at its older coal-burning power plants. The case could have far-reaching effects for utilities, which say they should be able to conduct maintenance at the older plants without making the expensive improvements."

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Sir Ken fuels nuclear row" - "Sir Ken Jackson will today trigger a storm of protest from within his own ranks by calling on government to give the go ahead to a new generation of nuclear plants. The joint leader of Amicus is due to give his union's response to the government's energy review when speaking to a gathering of energy industry professionals and shop stewards in London. He will tell the meeting: "If the government is committed to meeting its Kyoto targets it must rebuild Britain's nuclear power industry."

"Finland set to boost atomic power against EU trend" - "HELSINKI - Finland looks set to become the first west European country in over a decade to approve the construction of a new nuclear reactor in a move aimed at meeting future energy needs and greenhouse gas targets. Parliament is expected to pass by a very slim majority on Friday the five-party coalition government's proposal to build a fifth nuclear power station, but as some members are undecided it is not yet a done deal, according to recent opinion polls." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - Swedes sweep nuclear power under carpet before vote" - "STOCKHOLM - Sweden's ruling Social Democrats, leading in polls ahead of September elections, are keen to avoid tough discussion on phasing out nuclear power because an open debate could cost them votes, analysts said. Yet the issue may surface when the parliament in Sweden's neighbour Finland votes on Friday whether to allow the construction of a new nuclear power plant. In Sweden, which makes almost half of its electricity in nuclear power stations, no political party wants more nuclear power, but opinion is split whether to keep the current plants or not." (Reuters)

"Wave power pioneer turns to rain-making" - "LONDON - A British scientist who pioneered wave power 30 years ago is now turning his talents to making rain with floating wind turbines. Stephen Salter, an engineer at the University of Edinburgh, believes his invention will not only create rain but could prevent deserts from spreading, improve soil quality, save rainforests and lessen the impact of climate change. He proposes using floating wind turbines to spray water vapour high into the air to increase evaporation from the ocean and precipitation over land." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace to benchmark corporates" - "GREENPEACE, the most strident of all environmental groups, now wants to tackle the corporates by using their terminology. In a world first, the Australian arm of Greenpeace has developed benchmarks to monitor the way businesses handle green issues. The benchmarks focus on how companies stand on environmental policies and reporting, climate change, ancient forests protection, genetic engineering, nuclear threat, ocean biodiversity and fisheries and toxic waste disposal and production. Greenpeace's foray into benchmarking was yesterday condemned by the Minerals Council of Australia, which said the campaign group was trying to have it both ways." (The West Australian)

"Blair to Warn Off GM, Animal Rights Protesters" - "LONDON - British Prime Minister Tony Blair will use a speech about science on Thursday to warn protest groups they will not sway government policy over controversial issues like genetically modified food and cloning. Blair will tell an audience of academics and scientists that important research will go abroad if activists opposed to animal testing, GM crops or cloning of human cells were allowed to get their way. "The prime minister believes we need to have a debate based on argument rather than the actions of a few individuals," his official spokesman said." (Reuters) | Blair defends GM development (The Scotsman)

"Pioneer Press | 05 22 2002 | Genetic altering creates 'foods for health'" - "Advances in genetic engineering and the success of "functional" foods, such as calcium-fortified juice, are spawning a new, exotic generation of agricultural products: bananas that produce a cholera vaccine, vegetables containing bonus vitamins, and many more. Experts in agriculture, nutrition and public health, meeting for a three-day "foods for health" conference that concluded Tuesday at the University of Minnesota, said the new products will blur the distinction between the kitchen cupboard and the medicine cabinet."

"Greens threaten rebellion over GM line" - "The Greens raised the pre-election temperature yesterday, threatening to bring down a future government that did not toe the green line on genetic modification. In a staged protest, the party's seven MPs walked out of Parliament's debating chamber as the final reading was given to legislation to control genetic engineering, including a temporary moratorium on field trials. Standing outside Parliament as the bill passed into law, Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said voters had to decide whether to give the Greens the balance of power that would enable them to stop field trials when the moratorium was due to end in October. The threat ironically strengthened Prime Minister Helen Clark's resolve to win a majority government, which looks increasingly likely with Labour polling at or above 50 per cent. (The Dominion)

"Nebraska governor leads biotech meeting with European leaders" - "LINCOLN, Nebraska - European leaders have been getting an earful this week from a delegation of farm state officials trying open markets for genetically engineered crops. Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns is leading a delegation of state agriculture directors attending meetings in Brussels, Belgium, with European Union parliament leaders, ag producer groups, and consumer and environmental groups." (AP)

May 22, 2002

"Rebuild It Big!" - "The World Trade Center is not a memory, but an aspiration." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Newsday.com - Target: Cancer Cluster" - "Three years after it began mapping cancer rates across New York, the state Health Department said it would launch its first follow-up investigation, focusing on the unusually high breast cancer rate in seven ZIP codes in northwest Brookhaven. "This was the only place in the state where we saw a 50 percent excess [over the expected rate] in breast cancer, department spokeswoman Kris Smith said of the area encompassing Coram, Port Jefferson Station, Setauket, Miller Place, Mount Sinai, Port Jefferson and Sound Beach."

"Newsday.com - Jury finds for Boeing Co., Honeywell in toxic fumes lawsuit" - "SEATTLE -- A jury decided Monday that aircraft builder Boeing Co. and aerospace parts manufacturer Honeywell Inc. are not liable for health problems suffered by 26 current and former Alaska Airlines flight attendants. The attendants alleged that faulty aircraft and parts designs allowed toxic fumes into the aircraft cabins."

"And the Latest Food Scare Is...Pizza!" - "Pizza can be a source of goodly amounts of a variety of benficial ingredients, according to scientists and physicians associated with the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). Despite this, the self-styled consumer group, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is attacking this American favorite because it can also contain substantial amounts of fat and calories." (ACSH)

"Resistant Bacteria Common in Grocery Store Chicken" - "SALT LAKE CITY - Most raw chicken on grocery store shelves is contaminated with at least some fecal bacteria, according to the results of an Alabama study presented here Monday. And most of these bacteria--many of which can make people sick--showed resistance to antibiotics commonly used to treat human illness, Sulaiman G. Gbadamosi and M. Edith Powell of Tuskegee University in Alabama report. They presented their findings at the American Society for Microbiology's annual meeting." (Reuters Health)

Natural can be dangerous? Imagine that... "Farming news Ireland - By-product can be lethal to humans and to animals" - "OF ALL the potential hazards on the farm, none are more dangerous than slurry and the various activities associated with its handling and spreading, according to Teagasc Health and Safety Officer, Frank Laffey. Gas released during agitation of animal slurry is lethal to humans and animals and, with slurry being spread on many farms over the coming weeks, he warned farmers to take caution, particularly during agitation."

"The Unhealthy Relationship Between Celebrities and Public Health Funding" - "Jeff Stier Says Research Money Should Be Allocated on the Merits, not the Quality of Star a Cause Attracts" (ACSH)

"York County Loses Weapon vs. Mosquitoes" - "YORKTOWN -- Until this year, York County used a chemical to kill mosquito larvae in water before those larvae got old enough to fly. But the larvae are also food for two rare species in a natural preserve, so the county will no longer use the chemical there. That means more mosquitoes this year in the southeastern Virginia county. ``I would imagine it will be probably twice as bad as it normally gets,'' said Jim Rindfleisch, a biologist who works in the county's mosquito-control office. County officials also are concerned about diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis, Rindfleisch said. So far, county officials have not found evidence of either disease." (AP)

"Wendy's sandwich "exploded" says woman in lawsuit" - "Mitzi Pumphrey was in court last weekend to demand no less than US$25,000 in compensation from Wendy’s quick service restaurant chain, claiming that she suffered severe burns when a chicken sandwich purchased at the company “exploded” onto her face and hands." (just-food.com)

It's a fowl deed when they use explosive chooks!

"Stone the crows! The chough breeds again" - "Not since King Arthur's spirit supposedly passed from his body into an obscure member of the crow family on a battlefield 1,400 years ago has the chough caused such excitement in Cornwall.

Yesterday, conservationists confirmed that the emblematic bird was once more breeding in England after half a century. A pair of the rare birds have hatched four chicks at a secret sea cave in west Cornwall after a 10-year project to reintroduce it.

Choughs are among Britain's rarest birds, with little more than 300 pairs in Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and now a cliff in England's southernmost county. The chough's decline began when much of its cliff-top habitat was wiped out by the reduction in livestock and pit ponies, whose grazing exposed the insects on which choughs fed." (Independent)

"DNA testing identifies suspect bacteria in coral reef disease" - "Using molecular microbiology techniques, scientists are a significant step closer to understanding and identifying the deadly microbes responsible for the mysterious black band disease that is destroying the world’s coral reef ecosystems." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Demise of Carbon Sequestration "Free Ride" Greatly Exaggerated" - "Summary: A new paper in Nature and a press release from Duke University predict the imminent end of the ability of the biosphere to sequester increasingly greater amounts of carbon as the air's CO2 content rises. Both are dead wrong." (co2science)

"Holocene (Regional - Asia)" - "Summary: The Holocene records from Asia that we have reviewed reveal a picture of millennial-scale oscillatory climatic behavior, the last three nodes of which are the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and Modern Warm Period. These records indicate there is nothing about our current climatic status, i.e., the Modern Warm Period, to indicate that it is any different from any other such period of warmth that has occurred during the current interglacial." (co2science)

"Malaria and Climate Change" - "Summary: Is global warming leading to increases in malaria in East African highlands? Of course not. What's more, it's not even warming there! Nature 415: 905-909." (co2science)

"Great Basin Butterflies" - "Summary: Without even thinking about it, one inherently knows that climate alarmists predict catastrophic consequences for butterflies nearly everywhere, including the U.S. Great Basin, in the face of predicted global warming. When one does think about it, however, as the authors of this important study did, some very different conclusions are reached. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74: 501-515." (co2science)

"Alberta hinders Ottawa's efforts to reach consensus on Kyoto" - "CHARLOTTETOWN -- Alberta Environment Minister Lorne Taylor says his government will not bend in its opposition to the Kyoto Protocol during a key federal-provincial meeting in Charlottetown today. "We will not accept a Kyoto time line. I cannot make it any clearer than that," Mr. Taylor said in an interview yesterday. "Alberta will never accept a Kyoto time line." Alberta's staunch opposition to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions within timetables established by the controversial Kyoto accord throws a wrench in Ottawa's effort to find a Canadian consensus that will allow it to ratify and implement the international deal." (Globe and Mail)

"NATIONAL POST ONLINE | Ottawa could ratify Kyoto accord alone" - "OTTAWA - In the runup to a key federal-provincial meeting on climate change, David Anderson, the federal Environment Minister, insisted yesterday that Ottawa can ratify the Kyoto Protocol without provincial consent. "We could and we may," he said. But, he added, "We would obviously prefer to carry on with discussions with the provinces."

"NATIONAL POST ONLINE | Kyoto support a world away" - "OTTAWA - It was last November in Dallas, during a high-profile trade mission, that Jean Chrétien and Ralph Klein first banged heads over the Kyoto Protocol. Mr. Chrétien stated unequivocally that Canada would sign the international treaty on climate change. But then Mr. Klein ambled to the microphone and set down his challenge. "We cannot agree to the Kyoto Protocol as it now stands." Mr. Klein has not backed off his position. Kyoto, he has explained, will be devastating for his province, which causes one-third of Canada's carbon dioxide emissions. As for Mr. Chrétien, that day in November was likely the last time his resolve was so steadfast. The Prime Minister has been wavering under a battery of criticism from business, industry and key economic Cabinet ministers who are telling their colleagues the treaty is unworkable and dangerous for Canada. The attempt to bring the nations of the world together to deal with the dangers of global warming has gone from being a key pledge in the Liberal Red Book to something the Prime Minister may ratify "some day." How did something that started with such high hopes and good intentions founder so quickly?"

"Alberta minister steps down as co-chair of Kyoto process" - "CHARLOTTETOWN - Alberta's environment minister presented his counterparts on Tuesday with a made-in-Edmonton plan for dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, without ratifying the Kyoto accord." (CBC News)

"Liberals offer $800M for Kyoto sweetener" - "CHARLOTTETOWN - David Anderson, the Environment Minister, said yesterday he will agree to grant federal assistance to provinces for technology that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a day after threatening to implement the controversial Kyoto Protocol without the provinces' approval. Alberta, which generates approximately one-third of Canada's greenhouse gases, has asked the federal government to match the province's $800-million plan to nurture gas-reduction research and development. "We entirely agree with Alberta on technology and we're willing to put up the money Alberta has recommended," Mr. Anderson said. "In fact, we think we should go further." (National Post)

"Lower House approves ratification of Kyoto pact" - "The Lower House on Tuesday approved the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, bringing Japan closer to ratifying the pact on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The chamber also approved a bill to revise the Law Concerning the Promotion of Measures to Cope with Global Warming, and both items were sent to the House of Councilors. The Upper House will debate the two documents next week, and its approval to revise the domestic law will allow Japan to achieve its goal of ratifying the protocol before June 6 so that it can go into force by the conclusion of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg that begins Aug. 26." (Japan Times)

"Little Kyoto; Sacramento lawmakers want to sock it to California motorists" - "California wouldn't seem like a very good political role model for anybody these days. The state is running a $20 billion deficit--bigger than the budgets of many states. And on energy issues in particular there has been a wide gap between rhetoric and reality." (Thomas Bray, The Wall Street Journal)

"Landmark Californian greenhouse emissions bill on hold" - "SACRAMENTO - A controversial bill that seeks to make California the first state in the nation to regulate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions has been put on indefinite hold as supporters seek to rally enough backers to pass it, its author said." (Reuters)

"GAO warns MTBE fuel leaks in water more widespread" - "WASHINGTON - Contamination of water supplies by MTBE is more widespread in local communities than previously thought, because the gasoline fuel additive has leaked from pipelines across the United States, the General Accounting Office warned Congress yesterday." (Reuters)

"Newsday.com - State to require new, expensive gas cans" - "ALBANY, N.Y. -- Old rusty or plastic gasoline cans stored in garages and basements would eventually give way to more environmentally sound _ and expensive _ gas containers under new state regulations. In January 2003, New York is expected to be the latest state to require the no-spill portable gas cans and spouts first adopted a year ago in California. New York's hearings begin in June." | Newsday.com - Gas can spills, evaporation pose environment concern

"Solar Delusions" - "Solar power proponents tout sunlight as an energy source that is abundant, free of noxious pollutants and carbon dioxide emission. They claim that if only sunlight were harnessed, plenty of clean, inexpensive and abundant energy would be available to improve the human condition while preventing environmental degradation. When asked why the fantastical promise of solar power over the last several decades has not led to very much of it -- less than 0.1% of total energy supplied in the United States -- Ralph Nader in an interview could only explain, "Because Exxon doesn't own the sun." Nader and I agree on one implication of his statement: capitalism works. Beyond that, Nader ignores some down-to-earth realities about converting the sun's energy for human use." (Dr Sallie Baliunas, Tech Central Station)

"INTERVIEW - Finland says nuke energy only growth option" - "HELSINKI - Finland, defying a Western European trend, needs to build another nuclear reactor to keep the economy growing and meet its Kyoto greenhouse targets, the Trade and Industry Minister said yesterday." (Reuters)

May 21, 2002

"Bad Science Never Dies" - "Splashy science news reports draw eyeballs and move policy, but sometimes the scientific heart of the news comes up short. Worse, it can be dead wrong. So what happens in the news when a study is found to be faulty or false and ends up being retracted or thrown out?

Not much, usually. Science news revolves around news -- new studies, discoveries and achievements. The discovery that previous research has been dis-proven or shown to be worth less than the paper it was printed on just does not register as news to most journalists, no matter how said research was originally hyped to the public." (Howard Fienberg, TCS)

"Lab Study: Problem With Soy Chemical" - "WASHINGTON -- An ingredient in soy-based infant formula tends to weaken the immune system of laboratory mice, but researchers said they were uncertain if the chemical would have the same effect in humans.

Paul S. Cooke, a researcher at the University of Illinois, Urbana, said the chemical, genistein, is found in soy-based baby formula. A study being released Tuesday says genistein caused the thymus gland in young mice to shrink and the animals to lose white blood cells.

``What we have done does not prove there is a human problem,'' said Cooke, senior author of the study. ``But when you are in a situation where all of the nutrition comes from something like soy formula, the potential for something to happen that is deleterious is there.'' (AP) | A Closer Look at Soy and Babies (New York Times)

"UBC warns of cancer path: from sewage to farms to you" - "VANCOUVER - Health officials are being urged to stop using treated human sewage on grazing land because of the danger of cancer-causing toxins getting into the food chain." | Fields of sewage (National Post)

"EMF: Electric and Magnetic Fears" - "Last month, a jury rejected arguments by two National Security Agency workers who claimed that their brain diseases were caused by a magnetic tape-erasing system they used in the course of their work. The judge dismissed some of the plaintiffs' arguments as junk science and the jury rejected the rest, to the delight of the defendant, Electro-Matic Products Co., manufacturer of the tape-erasing system. This was a victory for science and the legal system, which have both been abused in recent decades by people stoking fear of electric and magnetic fields.

There is no convincing evidence that low-level electric and magnetic fields (EMF), such as those surrounding power lines, have any effect on human health, despite what you may hear from activists, a few researchers, and more than a few journalists." (Todd Seavey, Health Facts and Fears)

"Quarter of mammals faced with extinction" - "Almost a quarter of the world's mammals face extinction within 30 years, a United Nations study on the state of the global environment will announce tomorrow." | How one creature drives so many species to extinction (Independent)

"New Jellyfish Problem Means Jellyfish Are Not the Only Problem" - "In many places around the world, jellyfish populations are sharply increasing, stinging more people and wreaking economic damage. While in some areas the increase appears to be part of a natural cycle (jellyfish populations are declining in some other areas), scientists have noticed an overall upward trend. And they suspect that human activity is to blame." (New York Times)

"Britain's biggest children's museum goes green" - "HALIFAX - Eureka Children's Museum, the biggest of its kind in Britain, is opening a gallery which it says will take it into the new age of environmental awareness." (Reuters)

"Whaling Debate/Getting real: Environmental groups see their Japan branches rethink their absolute anti-whaling stance" - "SHIMONOSEKI-While the usual confrontation between the pro- and anti-whaling camps looks certain to dominate this week's meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), there are signs of a change that may help break the 20-year stalemate. The difference from previous years is an apparent shift in attitude on the part of Japanese branches of big-name nongovernmental organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and Greenpeace." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"The Limitations of Climate Models" - "The General Circulation Models and Global Climate Models (GCMs) that world leaders are using to make critical decisions regarding global climate change are limited in important ways, including the inability to reproduce important atmospheric phenomena, and accurately represent complex natural interconnections." (National Center for Policy Analysis)

"Anderson shoots down Alberta's suggestion for extending Kyoto deadline" - "CHARLOTTETOWN -- Federal Environment Minister David Anderson is giving short shrift to Alberta's proposal for a 10-year delay in meeting the Kyoto target for cutting greenhouse gases. As Canada's energy and environment ministers gathered for a key meeting on the international climate treaty Monday, Anderson said it is not feasible to delay the Kyoto target until 2020, as suggested in the Alberta plan which was leaked to the media last week." (CP)

"Greenhouse tops list for Australian energy review" - "MELBOURNE - The reduction of greenhouse emissions and regulation are the main issues facing the Australian energy industry, PricewaterhouseCoopers said today. A review by the consultancy firm of the 116 public submissions to the Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) energy market review also identified market design, transmission and demand side participation as key issues." (Reuters)

"Cowpat-fired power station turns on the gas" - "Britain's first cowpat-fired power station will begin producing electricity before the end of the month, bringing a new meaning to the concept of wind power." (The Times)

"Indian minister says not against GM food imports" - "NEW DELHI - India's Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh said yesterday he did not oppose the import of genetically modified soyoil and other foods but the country had first to develop regulatory procedures." (Reuters)

May 20, 2002

"Earth Summit risks ridicule over grandiose preparations" - "Delegates will dine on fresh lobster and champagne and stay at some of the smartest hotels in the world. The views over the surrounding city will be spectacular as they are ferried by limousine to and from a myriad of meetings. But yesterday the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in South Africa at the end of August, was facing ridicule because of the sheer enormity of the operation which will be staged next door to the poverty of the black townships of Alexandra and Soweto. The first ever 'mega-summit' will be the largest single meeting organised by the UN, with 65,000 delegates from around the world. It is costing the South African authorities 551 million rand (£40 million) to stage." (Kamal Ahmed, political editor, The Observer)

"Why the earth summit matters" - "Instead of worrying about the trivia of hotel bills and travel arrangements, we should recognise that one of the most important global summits of the decade risks being wrecked by the rich north." (Ian Willmore, The Observer) [Ian Willmore is Media Coordinator of Friends of the Earth]

"Newsday.com - Hundreds of workers cleaned potentially hazardous trade center dust without standard protections" - "NEW YORK - From Latin American day laborers to Southern Baptist volunteers, hundreds of people cleaned potentially hazardous dust from buildings around the World Trade Center site without standard safety gear. The cleanup continued for months after Sept. 11 as public agencies issued confusing and often reassuring assessments of risks posed by the dust, according to public documents and dozens of interviews."

"Testosterone levels may cause autism" - "Excess amounts of testosterone in mothers' wombs may cause their babies to suffer autism in later life. This startling theory has been put forward by Cambridge scientists who have discovered that the hormone - which is primarily found in men, but also in low levels in women - is linked to children's abilities to communicate and empathise with others." (The Observer)

"FEATURE - Animals have rights too, says legal eagle" - "LOS ANGELES - Steven Wise has represented a dolphin in court, got vicious dogs off death row and was the first person to teach an animal rights course at a U.S. law school. But then he realized that it wasn't enough to save the lives of a few hundred dogs, an occasional deer, or the odd ape. So he set about the ambitious task of trying to change the law so that entire species - notably dolphins, chimpanzees and gorillas - could be granted basic legal rights." (Reuters) | Germany acts to give animals constitutional rights (Reuters)

"Blair condemns protesters who thwart science" - "Mr Blair gave warning that research work would be lost to Britain and Europe and go elsewhere in the world if animal welfare activists were allowed to get away with stopping projects that could save lives." (The Times)

"Judge rules tribal whale hunt may proceed" - "SEATTLE - A federal judge has lifted a temporary restraining order barring Makah Indians from hunting gray whales, an ancient tradition that has sparked fierce opposition in recent years. Earlier this month, Judge Franklin Burgess in Tacoma imposed a 10-day order temporarily halting the hunt. But on Friday he ruled that the opponents' suit does not have a "substantial likelihood" of success. Opponents, he ruled, have not shown that "irreparable injury" will occur if the hunts proceed. A spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Fund for Animals said the activists' litigation would continue." (AP)

"Warming up to global warming" - "It's disconcerting to consider, but having a hotter Canada does have its benefits. As the debate over the Kyoto Protocol heats up, STEPHEN STRAUSS lists some advantages of milder weather." (Globe and Mail)

"Ottawa can ratify Kyoto alone: Anderson" - "OTTAWA — Environment Minister David Anderson says the Kyoto climate treaty can and may be ratified, even if the provinces oppose it. "We could, and we may (ratify the treaty), but we obviously prefer to carry on with discussions with the provinces," Anderson said Sunday on CTV's Question Period. He admitted that without agreement from the provinces, the costs of implementing the environmental treaty would be higher and Canada would end up with a less effective system of reducing greenhouse gases." (CP)

"If Kyoto deal found wanting, Alberta ready to opt out" - "OTTAWA -- Alberta Environment Minister Lorne Taylor says his government would opt out of the Kyoto Protocol should Ottawa ratify it without provincial consent." (Globe and Mail)

"It'll Cost Ya'" - "When serious people examine problems, they usually look at it from all angles. Many leaders on the world scene probably figured they had all the angles covered when 100 nations agreed last fall to implement a program to reduce emissions of so-called greenhouse gases. But recent studies demonstrate they missed a big one -- economics." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Duluth News Tribune | 05 19 2002 | States cracking down on pollution" - "WASHINGTON -- A growing number of states are cracking down on power plants that emit gases that cause global warming, enacting tough laws that go beyond what the Bush administration advocates. The biggest global warming showdown may occur as early as Monday in California, where the Legislature is set to vote on a proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions from cars -- a proposal other states are considering copying. Earlier this month, New Hampshire's governor signed a Republican-written law ordering fossil fuel power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Last year, Massachusetts' Republican governor ordered cuts in greenhouse gas pollution from its six large coal-fired power plants. In Oregon, lawmakers limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants and are considering applying the rule to existing ones. North Carolina's legislature is debating a bill to limit utilities' greenhouse gas emissions."

"New study adds fodder to ANWR drilling debate" - "WASHINGTON - New and higher oil estimates for a government-owned Alaskan reserve were released by the U.S. Geological Survey, adding more tinder to the politically charged debate over drilling for oil in a nearby Alaskan wildlife refuge. The U.S. Geological Survey increased its estimate of crude oil lying beneath the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska to 9.3 billion barrels from 2.1 billion barrels in 1980, when it conducted its last study." (Reuters)

"Finland nuclear power expansion gains in poll" - "HELSINKI - More than half of Finns now support a plan to build a new nuclear reactor to meet rising energy demand and reduce dependence on imports, particularly from Russia, a survey showed on the weekend. The Gallup poll, published less than a week before the parliament votes on the issue, showed that 54 percent approved construction of a fifth reactor, as long as other energy sources were also expanded." (Reuters)

"EU says farmers face extra costs to stay GM-free" - "BRUSSELS - Organic and conventional farmers will face extra costs keeping their produce "GM-free" once genetically modified crops become more common in Europe, the European Commission said last week.

But the European Union executive played down the significance of a new EU report, leaked ahead of publication by environmentalist group Greenpeace, which said some farmers could face a cost hike of up to 41 percent.

"In order to keep GM and non-GM crops separate would induce certain costs...(but) there are solutions to these problems," EU agriculture spokesman Gregor Kreuzhuber told a news briefing.

"It does not by any means mean that conventional or organic farmers have to go out of business because you use GM crops in Europe. This is the slant Greenpeace has given and it is not supported by this study or other studies." (Reuters)

"GM crop protesters to be silenced" - "Secret plans are being prepared to stop Britons challenging the safety of GM crops at public hearings, a confidential document seen by The Independent on Sunday reveals. The internal memorandum circulating in the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, proposes an "urgent" change in the law by November to crack down on objections to the crops, before they are grown in Britain. The disclosure comes as public hearings open in London tomorrow over corn developed by Aventis, the first GM variety grown commercially here." (Independent)

"GM canola looms" - "TWO giant chemical companies are poised to apply for an Australian licence to release genetically modified canola – a move that could mean the nation's first commercial crop will be sown next year. The companies, Monsanto and Aventis Cropscience, are finishing their applications for the commercial release of herbicide-resistant GM canola. Both hope to submit their plans to Gene Technology Regulator Sue Meeks within four weeks. The move comes despite the fears of many Australian farmers that export markets could be damaged and a new breed of herbicide-resistant super weeds could be unleashed." (The Australian)

May 19, 2002

"UK's FSA study confirms some acrylamide in food" - "A study of cooked foods by the UK's food watchdog the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has found that acrylamide - a potentially cancer causing chemical - is likely to be formed in a wide range of foods when they are fried or baked. This confirms the findings of a Swedish National Food Authority study, published on 24 April, showing that acrylamide is present in a wide range of foods. The FSA commissioned its own study to see if the findings could be replicated. Acrylamide in food appears to be formed naturally in the cooking process and is likely to have been present since these cooking methods have been used. The chemistry by which it is formed in food is not understood and there is little scientific knowledge on its possible effects on people's health through consumption of food." (just-food.com)

"Mystery over food cancer chemical" - "Tests have revealed traces of a chemical linked with cancer in a variety of foods - but experts say that people should not change their diets." (BBC News Online)

"UK Food Standards Agency's Recommendation that Dietary Changes Are Not Necessary Based on Acrylamide Studies "Is Sound, Science-Based Advice," Says NFPA" - "(Washington, D.C.) - Changes to either diet or cooking methods are not recommended as a result of recent scientific findings that acrylamide is produced by some cooking methods, according to the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency (FSA). "This is sound , science-based advice that should be reassuring to consumers about the safety of foods they purchase and enjoy," said Dr. Rhona Applebaum, Executive Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the National Food Processors Association (NFPA)." (media release)

"Obesity emerges as problem in Third World; Perverse symptom of economic progress" - "UNITED NATIONS - Obesity has become a major problem for many children in developing countries, the World Health Organization says. In many Third World urban centres, an increasing number of children are growing up in homes where higher incomes allow a better standard of living -- but at the price of less healthy eating habits and reduced activity. The problem has reached near epidemic proportions, say WHO officials, who are developing plans to head off a global explosion of fat-related diseases that a new generation of Latin Americans, Asians and even some Africans could face." (National Post)

"Facelift for organic standards" - "The UK Soil Association announced this week that organic standards have had a major facelift, for the first time in 10 years. According to a statement released by the agency the standards have been completely redesigned and re-written in a clearer language and are now available in ready-to-file chapters. Guidance notes have been added to aid interpretation or explain the reasons for certain standards. In addition a number of new standards and sections have been incorporated. Clear distinctions have been made in the text between the standards (which are obligatory) and recommended best practice." (FoodNavigator)

"Organic farmers demand better controls over labelling" - "TORONTO - Organic farmers are calling on the government to provide stricter regulations for their industry. Early this week, Statistics Canada showed that organic food makes up one per cent of the country's farms. It's one of the fastest growing sectors in Canadian agriculture. But no federal government law specifies what can be labelled organic. And no government agency checks to see if food labelled organic actually meets any standards." (CBC News)

"Organic foods are the fastest growing items in America's grocery carts" - "LITTLE MARAIS, Minn. - Organic foods are the fastest growing items in America's grocery carts. Ten million households, comprising 30 million people, are now buying organic foods on a regular basis. At the current rate of growth, 24 percent annually, or roughly 10 times the rate of growth of conventional foods, the nation's $10 billion organic food industry will become the dominant form of American agriculture by the year 2020." (RONNIE CUMMINS, Knight Ridder/Tribune) [Ronnie Cummins is the national director of the Organic Consumers Association]

"Organic foods: Dangerous for human consumption?" - "WASHINGTON - A folk singer named Raffi recently got a headline in the Toronto Globe and Mail by asserting, "We're poisoning our children. ... Today's produce is full of toxic residue, and our children are most at risk." I agree that we are needlessly poisoning our children, but not with pesticide residues. We're poisoning too many of our kids with virulent new strains of such food-borne bacteria as E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. Every year millions of American kids are sickened, thousands hospitalized and dozens killed by food-borne bacteria. Recently, a team of Danish veterinarians reported that all 22 organic broiler flocks they investigated were infected with Campylobacter, one of the most common causes of food poisoning in Europe." (DENNIS T. AVERY, Knight Ridder/Tribune) [Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute and was a senior agricultural expert for the U.S. Department of State]

"The Nando Times: BETSY HART: An unnatural attachment" - "What is so great about nature? Since the beginning of time, mankind's quest has been one of overcoming the ravages of nature. To find heat where there was cold, food where there was hunger, shelter where there was only exposure to the elements.

Later, man looked to medicine to cure or alleviate the ravages of injury and disease, and education to overcome our natural ignorance. The industrial age led to mechanization so that the natural limits of man's labor and his ability to travel great distances increased exponentially, and the technological age has done the same for the mind.

Man's eternal striving to conquer or at least tame nature means that today people are living lives twice as long as they did just 100 years ago, and except in the darkest recesses of the world those lives aren't just longer but healthier, better-fed, and more prosperous.

So why is "natural" back?"

"The Nando Times: ANITA CREAMER: Big Chocolate" - "Bitter news out of Los Angeles last week: Chocolate - the nation's favorite comfort food, the treat without which millions of women couldn't make it through the month - could be toxic. Oh, dear heavens. Denying us chocolate could mark the end of life as we know it. People, you haven't seen toxicity until you've seen untold millions of crazed chocoholics trying to deal with the pressures of daily life without access to their sweet of choice. The toxic-chocolate charges come to us from the American Environmental Safety Institute, which has sued the nation's top chocolate manufacturers under Proposition 65 to force them to use labels warning consumers about what the institute calls potentially dangerous levels of cadmium and lead in their products. Great. Now the attorneys and interest groups are lining up for battle. (Toxicity alert: Quick, let's slap a warning label on them, too.)"

Letter of the moment: "Death by Regulation (washingtonpost.com)" - "What critics deride as John Graham's slavish devotion to "cost-benefit analysis" or to "economic efficiency" is comparative risk assessment, a basic tenet of the scientific discipline of risk analysis ["For Bush's Regulatory 'Czar,' the Equation Is Persuasion," news story, May 10]. Such comparisons are what we do routinely when we decide, for example, whether to buy food from street vendors in Mexico or whether to choose medicines or surgery for heart disease.

Without these comparisons by government officials, the regulation of small risks can, as Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has written, "cause more harm to health than it prevents." Justice Breyer offers examples: "Sometimes risk estimates leave out important countervailing lethal effects, such as the effect of floating asbestos fibers on passersby or on asbestos-removal workers . . . [or fail to] take account of offsetting consumer behavior, as, for example, when a farmer, deprived of his small-cancer-risk artificial pesticide, grows a new, hardier crop variety that contains more 'natural pesticides' which may be equally or more carcinogenic."

Mr. Graham's approach also recognizes that expenditures for implementation of and compliance with any governmental regulation exert an income-related effect that illustrates the correlation of wealth and health. Unwise, expensive regulation deprives us of wealth -- and health. The term "regulatory overkill" is not mere rhetoric. -- Henry I. Miller"

"Power Plant Study Raises Concern (washingtonpost.com)" - "Pollution from five power plants within 50 miles of Washington contributes to more than 260 premature deaths and thousands of respiratory illnesses each year, according to research cited yesterday by local officials and members of Congress campaigning for tougher clean air laws. The study was viewed skeptically by the electricity industry."

"Mayor Drops Incinerator Plan" - "The use of high-tech incinerators to help solve the city's mounting trash disposal problems is unlikely, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday, backing away from the administration's earlier stance. "The technology is there," he said on his weekly Friday morning radio program, "but the politics are such that it would be phenomenally difficult to site incinerators in the New York City area, and other places don't want to have it either." (New York Times)

"I'll drink to that: rats show taste for marathon benders" - "Science has wheeled out alcoholic rodents to show that those who play hard party hard. John Huxley reports. Just when joggers thought it was safe to venture out on to the streets again, those pesky lab rats have struck again. This time a crack squad of marathon-running rodents has teamed up with Swedish scientists to establish a surprisingly strong link between jogging and boozing. The endorphin rush enjoyed by runners - thousands of whom are now in training for next weekend's Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon - has been well-documented. So, too, has the synergy between excessive bouts of exercise and excessive amounts of alcohol." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Forest Service to Recommend Opening Alaska Forest Area" - "WASHINGTON, May 16 — In its first major decision on wilderness protection, the Bush administration plans to recommend that nine million acres of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska be opened for logging, mining and road building, while 1.4 million acres of the state's Chugach National Forest receive the highest designation of protection." (New York Times)

"Insulting the Tongass" - "The administration has flunked the first big test of its pledge to protect roadless areas of the national forest system from logging and other commercial development. It decided yesterday to leave fragile parts of Alaska's Tongass National Forest unprotected. This is unsettling news for the future of President Bill Clinton's roadless policy and for the old-growth trees of the Tongass, a splendid forest of talismanic significance for environmentalists." (New York Times)

"Greenpeace boat rams French yacht" - "A motor boat belonging to the environmentalist group Greenpeace has collided with the French yacht due to compete in next year's Americas Cup. Greenpeace was protesting against one of the boat's sponsors, the Areva group, a world leader in the nuclear energy sector. Saturday's collision damaged the yacht's carbon-fibre hull, forcing the cancellation of sea trials. Qualifying for the 2003 Americas Cup starts on 1 October. "This is in every way similar to an act of terrorism," French team leader Pierre Mas said in remarks broadcast on French La Chaine Info TV." (BBC News Online) | French America's Cup yacht holed in Greenpeace protest (Sunday Telegraph)

"ScienceDaily Magazine -- Tropical "Runaway Greenhouse" Provides Insight To Venus" - " A region in the western tropical Pacific Ocean may help scientists understand how Venus lost all of its water and became a 900-degree inferno. The study of this local phenomenon by NASA scientists also should help researchers understand what conditions on Earth might lead to a similar fate here."

"Reuters Wire | 05 17 2002 | New Antarctic Iceberg Split No Threat - Scientist" - "SYDNEY - The latest ice split from the Antarctic, forming an iceberg bigger than Luxembourg, was likely to be the last big break from the Ross Ice Shelf for some time, an Australian scientist said on Friday.

The latest breakoff from the Ross Shelf, known as C-19, is 200 kilometers long by 31 kilometers wide and covers an area of almost 3,900 square kilometers.

"It almost completes the breakoff of the ice between Roosevelt Island and McMurdo. That takes it (the shelf) back a lot closer to where the 1902 edge was. It's like a 100 year event," Bill Budd, Professor of Meteorology at the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) told Reuters from Hobart.

The latest iceberg and another smaller iceberg about half its size which split from the Ross Shelf a week earlier both resulted from normal "calving," as thick layers of ice gradually slide down the high Antarctic plateau."

"Iceberg may hold answers to global warming" - "The recent splitting of a massive iceberg off the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica will help scientists further understand global warming. Known as C-19, the iceberg measures 200 kilometres by 31 kilometres is the second longest iceberg seen by scientists at the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre. A glaciologist at the centre, Neal Young says the calving of icebergs is a natural process which allows the ice-shelf to maintain a normal size." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"BBC News | SCI TECH | Climate chief defends independence" - "The new head of the world panel assessing the nature of climate change has rejected charges that his appointment is a victory for oil firms. "If you go back to the record, I have been very critical of some elements of the oil industry," Indian engineer and economist Dr Rajendra Pachauri told the BBC. He defends the Kyoto Protocol - designed to reduce human influence on the global climate - as being better than nothing, and says the panel's job is to provide compelling evidence for the need for countries to make new commitments to fight global warming."

"STATEMENT - Joint statement by Ministers Anderson and Dhaliwal on the release of the Discussion Paper on Canada's Contribution to addressing Climate Change" - "OTTAWA, May 15 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada hears from Canadians every day who are concerned about climate change. It affects each and everyone of us daily. The impacts are real and Canadians expect the federal government to act. They want us to take action to protect the quality of life, health and the future of our children and our grandchildren. Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. In 1992, at the Earth Summit, nations of the world committed to long-term stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations to levels that would prevent human induced interference with the climate system. Canada has signed and ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 1997, the world negotiated the Kyoto Protocol, setting the international framework for greenhouse gas reductions. The question is not if Canada should act, it's how we act. Today, the Government of Canada is releasing a discussion paper that identifies a range of options and issues that will lay a foundation for discussion with Canadians about just that - what road will we take?"

" Edmonton Journal - Alberta softens targets for pollution cuts; No impediments to economic growth" - "The Alberta government's plan to slow global warming will allow the provincial economy to grow at full speed while cutting carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2020. Carbon dioxide is the major component in greenhouse gas pollution. The Alberta strategy would make clean energy technology a priority and would use incentives to pull industry onboard, according to an executive summary of the plan that went out to all energy and environment ministers across Canada Thursday. The provincial strategy mirrors the U.S. model announced by President George Bush in February, which targets the concentration of carbon dioxide in emissions, rather than the overall amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere."

"Canada behind U.S. in climate change action" - "OTTAWA, May 17 /CNW/ - U.S. initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions far outstrip Canada's efforts, according to a report released today by the Pembina Institute and World Wildlife Fund. "Canadian Premiers and Cabinet Ministers should not use U.S. inaction as an excuse for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Although the Bush Administration has abandoned leadership on climate change, states, cities and companies are responding to public demand for climate change solutions" said Katherine Silverthorne, Senior Policy Officer in Washington for WWF-US. "The US is not living up to its responsibility on climate change but Canada is at risk of lagging even farther behind."

"U.S. doing more to cut emissions - report" - "Ottawa - While Canada debates ratification of the Kyoto protocol, the United States is doing more to cut greenhouse emissions, says a report by the Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank. Even though U.S. President George W. Bush has withdrawn from the climate treaty, his government and numerous state governments are pushing ahead with emissions-cutting programs, says the report released Friday. (The Canadian Press)

"Liberals' plan means they are abandoning Kyoto: Greenpeace "The Liberals are breaking the most important promise they ever made" - "OTTAWA, May 15 /CNW/ - Greenpeace says the Liberals' Kyoto plan, to be unveiled today, means Canada won't ratify the climate change treaty. "Jean Chrétien has no intention of ratifying Kyoto. Ten years after promising to cut pollution, Canada's going to break its promise," said Greenpeace climate change campaigner Steven Guilbeault. "The Liberals are breaking the most important promise they ever made."

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Planet is running out of time, says Meacher" - "Britain will today [May 16] launch its strongest attack on George Bush's rejection of the Kyoto climate protocol, as the government warns that Washington's actions threaten to make the planet "uninhabitable". Angered by the US government's decision to rule out signing up to Kyoto for the next 10 years, the environment minister, Michael Meacher, writes in today's Guardian that the world is running out of time. "We do not have much time and we do not have any serious option. If we do not act quickly to minimise runaway feedback effects [from global warming] we run the risk of making this planet, our home, uninhabitable."

"HS Home 17.5.2002 - WWF: climatic change has altered Finnish flora and fauna" - "The World Wide Fund for Nature says that global warming is having a discernible impact on Finnish plant and animal life. According to a WWF report published on Friday, global warming has lengthened Finland's growing season, brought about earlier migration by birds, and extended the habitat of butterflies."

"ExxonMobil launches eco-friendly strategy" - "ExxonMobil, the US oil giant, has belatedly climbed aboard the corporate social responsibility bandwagon by launching a research programme worth up to $500m to help fight global warming. The group, which will announce the programme within the next few months, hopes to work with universities across the globe to develop ways of producing, using and storing energy which will minimise the emission of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. The plans have been disclosed amid a growing campaign against ExxonMobil by environmental lobby groups, which accuse the company of actively attempting to fight action against global warming." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Lexington Herald-Leader | 05 17 2002 | going green; Energy companies tap alternative power sources" - "It's not easy being green in a state powered by black gold. But alternative fuels with premium price tags are beginning to carve a small niche in Kentucky, where the ready availability of coal helps make electricity rates the cheapest in the nation."

"New Zealand Herald - Diesel drivers get cleaner fuel but some face added costs" - "Owners of old diesel vehicles will have to upgrade parts of their engines when the Government introduces cleaner fuel in 2004. Levels of sulphur, a pollutant and natural ingredient of crude oil, in diesel will be slashed from 3000 parts per million to 500ppm by then and to 50ppm by 2006. The new fuel may wear down parts of engines, mainly rubber seals, designed for the stronger sulphur levels. Older vehicles, especially Japanese cars and old buses, may need parts upgraded for the new fuel. Associate Energy Minister Paul Swain said the Government was not sure how many vehicles would be affected, how old they would be and how much upgrades would cost."

"Chelsea to showcase plant power" - "Scientists are to use the Chelsea Flower Show to show how genetically modified plants can be used to make medicines. The team of scientists from Guys, King's and St Thomas' Dental Institute and King's College, London, have already developed a vaccine against tooth decay from a genetically modified tobacco plant." (BBC News Online)

May 17, 2002

"What is WHO Doing?" - "The World Health Organization reported last week that 5,500 children die every day from consumption of food and water contaminated with bacteria. So why is the WHO worrying about obesity, French fries, cell phones, "economy class syndrome" and - worst of all - augmenting its own bureaucratic sprawl?" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"OBESITY: Report At World Health Assembly Indicates Global Epidemic" - "A report released yesterday at the World Health Organization's World Health Assembly session in Geneva indicates obesity has become a serious problem in rich countries and is now spreading to the developing world." (UN Wire)

"EU launches study on "gender bending" chemicals" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission announced a 20 million euro ($18.07 million) research programme yesterday on hormone-mimicking chemicals which stand accused of attacking animal and human reproductive systems." (Reuters)

"Government orders an inquiry into pesticide links to Parkinson's Disease" - "A study into links between pesticides and Parkinson's disease is to be commissioned to examine fears that chemicals used by gardeners and farmers can bring on the degenerative neurological illness. The Government's advisers on pesticides are so concerned about a possible link that they plan to pay experts to review the evidence on whether herbicides and fertilisers can lead to the condition. Scientists say commonly-used products such as paraquat, which is used to clear garden paths of weeds, can act as a nerve toxin which may lead to the onset of Parkinson's if the exposure is prolonged or of a high enough concentration." (Independent)

"BW Online | May 20, 2002 | Commentary: How Drugmakers Should Handle a Cautious FDA" - "On Apr. 25, AstraZeneca PLC announced that the Food & Drug Administration was taking longer than expected to review its new cholesterol-lowering drug, Crestor. Five days later, Eli Lilly & Co. delivered similar bad news about its much-publicized erectile-dysfunction product, Cialis. Many other drug companies have been in the same predicament. Now, they're howling that the FDA--lacking a Commissioner since President Bush took office--has grown excessively cautious on new-drug approvals."

"Acne drug 'should be banned'" - "An acne drug which has been linked to teenagers' deaths should be banned in the UK, campaigners will tell health officials on Friday. Families will tell the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) they believe the drug Roaccutane caused mental and physical harm to their children and ask for its UK licence to be withdrawn, pending further research. MCA statistics show 15 young people have committed suicide in Britain while taking the drug. But pharmaceutical company Roche which makes the drug rejects the suggestion that the drug is in any way to blame for the suicides or depression and insist the drug is safe." (BBC News Online)

"Study suggests why colon can't cope with high-fat diet" - "DALLAS - Researchers may have found a biochemical explanation for the link between high-fat diets and an increased risk of colon cancer. The finding shows our bodies aren't designed to handle the toxic by-products of a high-fat diet. "The rate of colorectal cancer is much higher in the United States – where a high-fat diet is common – than in Japan, where people don't eat a lot of fat and colorectal cancer is almost nonexistent," said David Mangelsdorf, a pharmacology professor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Dallas. "But no one has understood why that is." (CBC News)

"American kids’ poor food choices: Fewer than 15 percent eat recommended fruits and vegetables" - "Both with snacks and meals, the majority of America’s two million elementary school-age kids are not getting a nutrient bang for their calorie buck because fewer than 15 percent eat the recommended five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables. This dismal discovery from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey means that a majority of U.S. children are at increased risk for obesity and numerous chronic diseases—unless they learn to make more healthful food choices." (Porter Novelli)

"Denying the Danger of Obesity" - "Call it pathetic; call it frustrating; but definitely call it deadly. Every year Americans grow ever fatter; every year research pours in explaining how and why it's killing us. Yet the obesity epidemic naysayers lash out at anybody who points out the obvious as a doomsayer – or an outright liar." (Michael Fumento)

"Second Reading; The debate over the right to keep and bear arms is only beginning" - "Did Attorney General John Ashcroft provide ammunition to a Taliban fighter? That is the thrust of a story that appeared in The New York Times on May 16 under the headline, "Lindh Wants Charge Dropped Using Justice Dept. Argument." John Walker Lindh's lawyers argue that punishing him for carrying a gun in Afghanistan would violate his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. They note that the Justice Department has taken the position that the amendment applies to individuals. But Lindh's lawyers also argue that charging him with supporting foreign terrorist organizations violates his First Amendment right to freedom of association. Oddly, the headline in the Times did not read, "Lindh Wants Charges Dropped Using ACLU Argument." (Jacob Sullum, Reason)

"Newsday.com - Congress wants invasive species laws modeled after Great Lakes law" - "WASHINGTON -- Congressional lawmakers expressed frustration Wednesday that the Coast Guard has not moved faster to limit the spread of invasive species in U.S. waters. "What's the hangup here? This is a dire emergency," Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., asked Coast Guard officials during a House Transportation Committee hearing. "We bring in one more thing like the zebra mussel and we're talking about billions and billions of dollars in damage."

"Indianapolis Star - Frog hunt snags valuable data" - "Indian Creek Elementary School students got to be real scientists this spring when they participated in national research on frog malformations. Third-grade students spent time this month up to their knees in ponds at Eagle Creek Park capturing, measuring and observing frogs before releasing them back into the wild. They also recorded the water temperature and provided descriptions of the environment where the amphibians are found, teachers said. "It's a chance for them to be true researchers," said teacher Diane Muench. The children's findings were recorded and submitted via Internet to the North American Center for Amphibian Malformation."

"Newsday.com - EPA Touts Pollution Trading Program" - "WASHINGTON -- Polluters that exceed federal clean water standards are getting an alternative to reducing discharges or installing new controls: buying credits from others polluting below their legal limits. The idea "offers greater flexibility and incentives to states, tribes and companies to comply with the Clean Water Act," Environmental Protection Agency chief Christie Whitman said Wednesday as she announced the proposal."

"Coal-fired plants making kids sick, new study finds - The Tennessean - Wednesday, 05 15 02" - "The electrical power infrastructure whose advent brought Tennessee into the 20th century is sickening many of its children in the 21st, according to a study released yesterday by four varied public advocacy groups. One in five Tennessee children lives ''in the shadow'' - within 30 miles - of coal-fired power plants, and 49,941 of them suffer from asthma, reported representatives of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the American Lung Association of Tennessee, the Tennessee Environmental Council and the Black Children's Institute of Tennessee in a Capitol Hill press conference."

"Industry still failing on environment, says U.N. report - 5 16 2002 - ENN.com" - "PARIS — Despite the best efforts of a minority of firms, world industry as a whole is failing to pull its weight on protecting the environment, a United Nations report concluded on Wednesday. Advances in the recycling of key materials and in car efficiency were still being outweighed by the effects of increased consumption, including a trend toward disposable products, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found."

"Associated Press - Drought-stricken Santa Fe tries freeze-dried trees" - "SANTA FE, N.M. - From the drought-stricken Southwest city that brought you painted grass comes another agricultural oddity: freeze-dried trees.

Lynn Olmen, a buyer for the business, said the trees are grown in California, cut after eight years of careful trimming, then freeze-dried in a "highly technical but nontoxic process" that ensures they will hold their shape for up to 10 years."

"CHANGES IN RAINFALL PATTERNS SPUR PLANT GROWTH, CARBON ABSORPTION ACROSS U.S." - "A NASA-funded study finds that changing rainfall patterns over much of the United States in the last century have allowed plants to grow more vigorously and absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere." (NASA/GSFC)

World Climate Report Volume 7, Number 18, May 20, 2002

"Guardian Unlimited | Michael Meacher | The global warning Bush must heed" - "The latest scientific evidence already suggests that the impact of climate change on the UK could be sharper and faster than was previously thought. Already 1.8m residential properties in England and Wales are currently at risk from flooding, as are 1.4m hectares of agricultural land. And if we don't build climate change into our flood defence plans, we can expect a 65% increase in river flooding and a four-fold increase in coastal flooding in the second half of this century. But what is not realised is that the process of climate change may turn out to be much more unpredictable and unstable, with potentially catastrophic consequences in the long run. Many people imagine that temperatures will rise slowly but evenly, so that Britain will gradually take on the same warm temperatures as the Côte d'Azur - Manchester on the Riviera. It may well turn out to be disastrously different." [Michael Meacher is UK's environment minister]

"No easy road to Kyoto; Oil-producing provinces big losers under any scenario" - "OTTAWA - An outline of Canada's plans to fight climate change indicates that it would force Alberta, British Columbia and Newfoundland to bear too great an economic burden, making it all but impossible for the federal government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change this year. Under the four scenarios for meeting the Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gases, unveiled yesterday by David Anderson, the Environment Minister, the three energy-rich provinces face the brunt of the costs. Mr. Anderson repeated the government's goal of finding a "workable approach to addressing climate change that places no unreasonable burden on any region of the country." Ottawa is now pinning its strategy on convincing the other countries that have signed the treaty to allow Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by taking credit for the sale of natural gas and hydro-electricity to the United States." (National Post)

"Ottawa unveils Kyoto plan, hints at withdrawal - 5 16 2002 - ENN.com" - "OTTAWA — Canada unveiled proposals Wednesday on how to ratify the Kyoto climate change protocol without crippling the economy and dropped a large hint that it could follow Washington's lead and abandon the treaty."

"Did I hear someone say Kyoto?; Its eulogy was sprinkled through the report" - "OTTAWA - The feds floated four trial balloons above Kyoto on Wednesday -- adrift, filled with hot air and full of holes." (Don Martin, Calgary Herald)

"Globe and Mail | Kyoto exit strategy revealed, critics say"space - "OTTAWA -- A preliminary Canadian Kyoto Protocol plan unveiled yesterday is the clearest sign yet that Ottawa plans to walk away from the international accord, environmental groups charged Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace Canada said the federal government has set itself up for Kyoto failure because the 54-page paper favours an option for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions that is based on an unlikely premise."

"Danish parliament ratifies Kyoto protocol" - "COPENHAGEN - The Danish parliament voted with a big majority yesterday to ratify the Kyoto climate treaty which will oblige the country to sharply cut by 2012 its emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - Europe targets aviation industry for pollution levy" - "LONDON - Europe is moving towards slapping charges on jet fuel, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, ending the fuel's tax-free status and raising the cost of air travel." (Reuters)

but: "Post Sept.11 skies show how jet trails may affect climate" - "PORTLAND, ORE. - The trails left by commercial jet liners may keep the Earth cooler, a new study suggests." (CBC News)

"The Jerusalem Post Newspaper : Rely on Science! Not on purposeful environmental hysteria" - Reprint of The John Birch Society Bulletin for August 1992. Obviously not much has changed in a decade since hysterical misinformation still rules.

"Human activity raises level of sulfur gas that affects ozone layer, researchers say" - "The most abundant sulfur gas in the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere is carbonyl sulfide. While it is formed naturally, it is also produced through a chemical reaction involving carbon disulfide, a chemical produced by industrial processes. Human-produced carbonyl sulfide has attracted attention as a possible source of increased levels of sulfate particles, or aerosols, in the atmosphere, which have been linked to depletion of the ozone layer." (AGU)

"U.S. Weighs Pollution Cases Against Big Utilities (washingtonpost.com)" - "The Bush administration is considering a new round of legal action against several utility companies as part of a counteroffensive against criticism that it has tried to undermine enforcement of the Clean Air Act. Beginning with an Earth Day event last month in New York's Adirondack Mountains, President Bush, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and other officials have repeatedly stressed their commitment to tough measures to clean up the air, even as they consider rules changes that would substantially reduce the amount of enforcement litigation brought against utility polluters."

"US sees 9.3 bln barrels oil in Alaska Reserve" - "WASHINGTON - About 9.3 billion barrels of undiscovered crude oil lies in the federal government's Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, sharply higher than previously thought, the U.S. Geological Survey said yesterday." (Reuters)

"USGS revises estimates of undiscovered oil & gas resources in NPRA" - "U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists have completed a four-year re-assessment of the undiscovered oil and gas resources of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA). The re-assessment includes an economic analysis of the undiscovered oil in the NPRA and shows that the federal part of NPRA contains significant volumes of technically recoverable oil and gas resources spread over a vast area." (USGA)

"Restarting Reactor Could Boost Nuclear Power Industry (washingtonpost.com)" - "The U.S. nuclear power industry, in a holding pattern for years because of concerns about safety and costs, could get a strong boost today when the Tennessee Valley Authority takes up a $1.7 billion proposal to restart a reactor that has been shut down for 17 years. There have been strong indications that the TVA's three-member board supports the plan to revive the 1,280-megawatt unit at the Browns Ferry plant in Decatur, Ala. An ultimate decision to restart the unit -- where the target date is 2006 -- would mark the first go-ahead for bringing a U.S. nuclear reactor on line in well over a decade. Browns Ferry's Unit 1 was mothballed in 1985, during a broad reassessment of nuclear power by the federal government, which owns the TVA. Its resurrection could signal that nuclear power is beginning to emerge from its status as the pariah of the U.S. energy industry."

"The Nando Times: Honda wants to develop home-based hydrogen vehicle refuel station" - "DETROIT - The research arm of Honda Motor Co. and a Latham, N.Y., firm that produces electric generators announced Tuesday that they will work together to tackle one of the peskiest obstacles to mass production of fuel-cell vehicles. Honda R&D Co. and Plug Power Inc. said they will collaborate on research into home-based hydrogen vehicle refueling stations. The refueling stations they will work on will provide heat, hot water and electricity to a home while also producing hydrogen for a fuel-cell vehicle. The stations will be fueled with natural gas. Home refueling units could help speed public acceptance of fuel-cell vehicles, further building a case for automakers to build them, said Mark Sperry, Plug Power vice president."

"U of Minnesota study: Adult bone marrow stem cells can become liver cells" - "MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL--Researchers at the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute (SCI) have demonstrated, for the first time, the ability of adult bone marrow stem cells to differentiate in vitro as hepatocytes (liver cells) with hepatocyte phenotype and function. The findings will be published in the May 15, 2002 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The paper can be found at www.jci.org."

"EU suppressed GM study, Greenpeace claims" - "Greenpeace has claimed that a study showing that farmers would face additional production costs if genetically-modified (GM) crops were grown commercially has been suppressed by European Union officials. The study was commissioned in May 2000 and delivered to the EU Commission in January 2002 with the recommendation that it not be made public, Greenpeace said in a statement. "The European Commission has tried to keep this study secret because it was afraid of its political implications. The question is, if the introduction of GM crops on a commercial scale in Europe increases costs of production for all farmers, makes them more dependent on the big seed companies, and require complicated and costly measures to avoid contamination, why should we accept GE cultivation in the first place?" said Lorenzo Consoli, Greenpeace EU policy advisor." (FoodNavigator) [Complete] | Brussels tried to cover up GM report (Telegraph)

"Canadian anti-GMO farmer rejoins Monsanto battle" - "WINNIPEG, Manitoba - A Canadian farm crusader against genetically modified crops was set to resume his David and Goliath court battle against Monsanto Co. yesterday to appeal a decision that he infringed on the biotech giant's Roundup Ready patent." (Reuters)

May 16, 2002

Oh dear... "Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Police forbid politically incorrect phrases" - "Politically incorrect phrases that could lead to police officers facing disciplinary action include "nitty gritty" and "good egg", a conference was told yesterday. The issue was raised when Home Office minister, John Denham, used nitty gritty during a question session with delegates from the Police Federation of England and Wales."

So, now we must order bacon and poultry ova? And the perennial favourite picnic game now becomes an ovum-and-liquid-manipulation-device race? Oh puh-lease!

"Boozy Rats Offer Clues About Alcoholism - Magazine" - "LONDON - Learning ability and certain behavior patterns could be possible risk factors for alcoholism, if results from animal studies are anything to go by, New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday. Brian Smith and scientists at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada have discovered that intelligent rats who learned to navigate a maze easily also developed into heavy drinkers. Clever rats drank more alcohol when they were given it over a five-day period that the less intelligent rodents." (Reuters)

"Purple is the new orange as carrots return to their roots" - "THE carrot is to return to its roots and will go on sale this summer in its original colour — purple. Generations of people in the West have grown up believing that carrots are always orange. But as long ago as 2000BC temple drawings from Egypt show a plant believed to be a purple carrot. It is also identified in the garden of the Egyptian King Merodach-Baladan in the eighth century BC. In Roman times carrots were purple or white. By the 10th century purple carrots were grown in Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern Iran. Purple, white and yellow carrots were imported to southern Europe in the 14th century.

Black, red and green carrots were also grown but carrots have been orange in the West since Dutch growers decided in the 16th century that the patriotic colour was preferable. Experts believe Dutch breeders used a yellow mutant seed from North Africa to develop the orange variety and then stuck to it through breeding. Their colour comes from beta carotene with some alpha carotene, a pigment the body converts to Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin and vision in dim light. Dutch breeders recently studied the health qualities of purple carrots and believe they give us extra protection against various forms of cancer and heart disease. They contain purple pigments called anthocyanins, and act as anti-oxidants that protect the body." (The Times)

But where's the data proving that they're safe to eat or were these 'unnatural' products really the cause of the fall of advanced Egyptian and Roman civilisations? Have adequate trials been performed to rule out any environmental danger? Will the greens protest purple carrots that should rightly be orange? Can even they protect us from these Franken-veggies?

"Feds Thinning Out Buffalo Herds" - "MEADE, Colo. — The proud American buffalo, whose numbers were dwindling a century ago, has made such a strong comeback that the federal government is now spending millions to get rid of some of them." (FoxNews.com)

"The true cost of salmon recovery" - "We're finally getting some real information about salmon recovery: what a hatchery salmon really costs and how many wild salmon must be swimming in a river before that species can be declared saved. Both numbers are daunting. But they should promote more clear-eyed decisions about salmon recovery." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"The Seattle Times: Local News: Trust fund to cover costs of upkeep on trust lands suggested by state official" - "People love to play on state-owned lands such as Tiger Mountain, Capitol State Forest and Tahuya State Forest. But the state is struggling to pay for maintenance and upkeep, and these popular sites are in danger of being loved to death by the public. Yesterday, Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland announced plans to create a new trust fund to cover the costs of recreation on state trust lands. He wants the state to buy 50,000 to 100,000 acres of private timber land and harvest the trees, using the proceeds to pay for maintaining public access to public lands."

"End of 'free ride' on ecosystem CO2 absorption" - "According to a new study, the world may soon see the end of the "free ride," in which carbon absorption by natural ecosystems ameliorates the rise in atmospheric CO2 due to fossil fuel burning and loss of forest." (Duke University)

"Global warming good for Venice" - "LONDON, May 15 — Global warming threatens to cause havoc with temperatures and disrupt weather patterns but could be good news for Venice. The historic, slowly-sinking lagoon city is vulnerable to high waters, but British scientists have found that climate change could reduce the risk of flooding." (Reuters) | Fears over Venice dams recede (New Scientist)

"New Zealand Herald - Global warming's first victims?" - "Polar bears will become extinct in the wild within 60 years as a result of global warming, a new report will reveal this week. By 2060 climate experts believe Arctic pack ice will have melted to such an extent that all of the existing population of 22,000 polar bears will starve as the animals they feed on, such as seals, become harder to find. Twenty years after that, in 2080, forecasters from the Norwegian Polar Institute believe that the last of the Arctic pack ice will disappear completely. The forecasts make gloomy reading for groups such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), which drew attention to the bears' plight in 1999."

"Global Warming Models Labeled ''Fairy Tale'' By Team of Scientists - Crosswalk.com News Channel" - "Washington (CNSNews.com) - A team of international scientists Monday said climate models showing global warming are based on a "fairy tale" of computer projections. The scientists met on Capitol Hill to expose what they see as a dearth of scientific evidence about global warming."

"New Zealand Herald - Plan to bury global warming" - "New Zealand scientists are working on a novel solution to global warming - pumping carbon dioxide underground. A team from Crown-owned Industrial Research Ltd and the Coal Association's CRL Energy (formerly Coal Research Ltd) plans to extract hydrogen from coal to provide fuel for fuel cells, then bury the leftover carbon dioxide. The plan could slow global warming in two ways: clean-burning hydrogen fuel cells would replace petrol, and burying carbon dioxide would help remove one of the main contributors to the "greenhouse effect."

"Global Warming Spat Mars Ottawa's Kyoto Proposals" - "OTTAWA - Canada unveiled proposals on Wednesday on how to ratify the Kyoto climate change protocol without crippling the economy, but the occasion was marred by the country's natural resources minister, who suggested global warming might actually be beneficial. The remarks by Herb Dhaliwal reflect the deep divisions over Kyoto inside the federal government, which is under heavy pressure from energy producers and business groups to ditch what they say would be a ruinously expensive treaty. Ottawa has already abandoned plans to ratify Kyoto this year and is now pressing to be given credit under the scheme for the clean energy it exports to the United States, which walked away from the protocol last year." (Reuters)

"NATIONAL POST ONLINE | Don't be tied to Kyoto, Liberals say; Too many unknowns for Canada, caucus report says" - "OTTAWA - A Liberal caucus committee says Canada cannot sign the Kyoto treaty on climate change without knowing its social and economic impact, and without having Parliament's input into something that will profoundly shape the future. "There are too many unknowns in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol for Canada to have people fully support ratification at this point," wrote Tony Valeri, chairman of the caucus economic development committee, in a report to be distributed to all Liberal MPs this week. "We should not be tied to any sort of artificial deadline or timetable. We should not be pressured by the EU [European Union] or others that this has to be ratified in 2002."

"Public consultations coming for Kyoto ratification" - "EDMONTON - The minister of the environment Wednesday presented the country with a series of options for meeting its global warming commitments without gutting the economy. "The question is no longer should Canada act, but how Canada should act," David Anderson said. "We can't afford the status quo." The plan, called "A Discussion Paper on Canada's Contribution to Addressing Climate Change," lists four broad policy options, each of which Anderson said would allow Canada to meet its obligations under the Kyoto protocol on climate change." (CBC News)

"Plan for emission cuts follows Kyoto protocol" - "Ottawa - A preliminary plan for curbing greenhouse gas emissions suggests the federal government still plans to ratify the Kyoto protocol despite strong criticism of the deal from many quarters. The government document, to be made public today, contains four options, but no proposal for a "made-in-Canada" plan outside the Kyoto framework. "If there's one overriding point to make, it's that all four options are Kyoto implementation options," Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based think tank, said in an interview Tuesday." (CP)

"BIO office to focus on climate change" - "Ratifying the Kyoto protocol is not the only way to tackle the intricacies of climate change, says federal Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal. "The federal government is already taking action on climate change," he said Tuesday in Dartmouth. "In fact, we're not waiting to sign an agreement." (The Halifax Herald)

"ABC News - ACF critical of funding cuts to climate control programs" - "The Australian Conservation Fund (AFC) says the Treasurer, Peter Costello, is wrong to cut funds for climate control programs."

"Post Sept.11 skies show how jet trails may affect climate" - "PORTLAND, ORE. - The trails left by commercial jet liners may keep the Earth cooler, a new study suggests. For three days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, all commercial air traffic was grounded in the United States as airports stepped up security measures. The ban on air traffic allowed researchers to study the effects of a planeless sky on the earth's climate. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater atmospheric scientist David Travis led the study of temperature data from more than 4,000 weather stations across the continental U.S." (CBC News)

"Power Giants Have Trouble Raising Cash for Plants" - "Companies that generate much of the nation's electricity are finding it nearly impossible to raise money for new plants, raising the risk of future power shortages." (New York Times)

"Anchorage Daily News | Nuclear lobby likes Murkowski" - "Washington -- Sen. Frank Murkowski has received $144,000 in campaign contributions from the nuclear power lobby since 1997, making him "the indisputable Nuclear PAC Man," according to Public Citizen. The consumer advocacy group analyzed the contributions of the nuclear power industry's political action committees and concluded that Murkowski received more of their money than did any other senator or Senate candidate. "He's the No. 1 friend of the nuclear power industry," said Lisa Gue, a policy analyst for Public Citizen."

"Mercury News | 05 14 2002 | Two votes key to bill on state emissions" - "A landmark bill that would make California the first state in the country to regulate greenhouse gases from cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans is heading for a final, make-or-break vote this week in the Legislature -- and last-minute vote-switching may kill it. Amid the flurry of lobbying in Sacramento from environmentalists and automakers, the bill's fate may rest with two Bay Area lawmakers -- from districts with an auto plant and oil refineries -- who have supported it for months but now are on the verge of switching their votes."

"Los Angeles Times - EPA to Watch Farm Smog" - "A loophole that allowed California farms to escape federal air pollution controls has been closed as part of a legal settlement Tuesday that will cause the state's agriculture to be regulated the same way it is in the rest of the country. Although agriculture is a major source of air pollution in California, the state Legislature in 1976 granted farmers an exemption from federal Clean Air Act requirements to secure permits before operating or expanding. While California pioneered many air pollution controls, it was alone among the states in granting agriculture, its largest industry, a waiver from federal air quality regulations."

"Treasury questions 'green' farm fund" - "THE Treasury is questioning the benefits of switching farm handouts from food production to environmental schemes. Margaret Beckett, the Rural Affairs Secretary, has been told that she must prove there will be public advantages before Gordon Brown will approve a request for £500 million over three years to fund this shift in agricultural policy. The need to promote greener farming was the central plank of the recent policy commission on food and farming, chaired by Sir Don Curry, and reformers now fear the change could be in jeopardy." (The Times)

"Taxpayers to fund ailing Welsh organics?" - "The organic food industry in Wales might need taxpayer funding if it is to reach its target of 10 per cent of total food production in the principality by 2007. Members of the Welsh Assembly are considering giving the industry up to £15 million a year to help it meet the goals. Welsh organic farmers have already received a pledge of £52 million over the next five years to help compensate them for the higher costs of working organically rather than conventionally." (FoodNavigator) [Complete]

"Swiss organic association targets growth" - "The Swiss organic food association Bio Suisse said it was aiming for a 5 to 10 per cent share of total food sales in Switzerland by 2005, compared to just 2.2 per cent at present. A study from 1998 but only recently published by the Swiss Federal Statistics Office shows that 44 per cent of organic consumption is effected by just 1 per cent of the population. German-speaking Swiss spend more money on organic products than the members of other language groups in Switzerland." (FoodNavigator) [Complete]

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Revealed: the 582,000 animals that are genetically modified in Britain's labs" - "British scientists are genetically modifying and cloning hundreds of thousands of animals a year with little health or commercial advantage, according to a report by genetics monitoring group GeneWatch. The great majority of the 582,000 animals genetically altered in Britain in 2000 for medical or agricultural research were mice, but increasingly sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, rabbits, birds, poultry and cats are being used. The scale of the genetic experimentation on animals was previously unknown and shocked the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups. But the report, which drew on peer-reviewed scientific studies and patent applications made by companies, was condemned by leading scientists as "irresponsible".

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Pesticide company in data test case" - "A pesticide manufacturer is taking the government to the high court today to try to stop it releasing company data on the environmental effects of a weedkiller, in a test case on freedom of information. Aventis Crop Science and the pesticides industry's trade body, the Crop Protection Association, are challenging a decision by the pesticide safety directorate, part of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to pass information to Friends of the Earth."

May 15, 2002

'A Short Course on "Junk Science Judo"' - "Junk science" is faulty scientific data and analysis used to used to further a special agenda. The junk science "mob" includes:


In this short course, you will learn about what junk science is, how to recognize it and what you can do about it. The course is computer-driven and should take you no more than 15-20 minutes to complete."

"Allergies can be a disability for airline passengers: CTA" - "OTTAWA - The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled allergies can be considered a disability for airline passengers. The agency will investigate seven complaints against Air Canada by passengers who had allergic reactions to dogs, cats, flowers and paint. Pending the investigation, the CTA could issue a directive to remove "undue obstacles" for the disabled. This could mean restrictions on what passengers can bring on a flight or even the kind of perfume a person can wear." (CBC News)

"Studies agree: cellphones are bad for drivers" - "MONTREAL - More research is mounting against the use of cellphones while driving. New evidence is being presented at a conference in Montreal linking cellphone use by drivers to accident rates. Delegates from 100 countries are attending the World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control, sponsored by the World Health Organization. At least six presentations deal with cellphone use and driving." (CBC News)

"WHO to Probe 'Economy-Class Syndrome'" - "GENEVA - The World Health Organization Tuesday launched a four-year probe into a possible link between potentially fatal blood clots and air travel. Funding for a first phase of the research, examining cases of deep vein thrombosis among frequent flyers, was secured after Britain said it would donate $1.63 million, a statement said." (Reuters)

"Air Testing After Sept. 11 Is Both Perplexing and Reassuring" - "The ground-level atmosphere of Lower Manhattan has become one of the most intensely studied and sampled environments on the planet. Air monitors have been hung from trees and strapped to the belts of truck drivers. At least 11,000 people who worked at ground zero have had chest X-rays. Thousands more have been interviewed by researchers. What has been learned, scientists say, will have a far-reaching effect on urban disasters in the future. Whether the Sept. 11 attack continues to have serious repercussions on the environment and public health, though, remains an open question as the cleanup of the World Trade Center site nears completion." (New York Times)

"Housework does you a fat lot of good" - "HOUSEWORK is not the new gym workout after all. Despite claims by exercise gurus that women get nearly all the exercise they need from dusting, polishing and vacuuming, a study by Bristol University doctors has shown that while it may make their homes sparkle, it will not subtract an inch from their circumference." (The Times)

"Perils of kissing revealed" - "Doctors have revealed a rare medical peril - being allergic to your husband's kiss. The strange case came to light when an Italian woman went to hospital with swollen lips. Medics found that a passionate clinch with her husband half an hour earlier was to blame." (BBC News Online)

"US cancer rate falls but numbers set to rise" - "WASHINGTON - Cancer rates continue to fall in the United States, but the actual number of cancer patients will double by 2050 because the population is aging, the American Cancer Society said on Tuesday. Since 1993, cancer death rates have declined steadily and the incidence rates--the numbers of people newly diagnosed with cancer--have been stable. But cancer is a disease of older people for the most part, and as the population increases and grows older, more and more people will develop cancer, the society said in its Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. "The median age at diagnosis is 68," the society, a nonprofit group, which writes the report with the help of the US National Cancer Institute, said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Mining sector aims to be kinder, gentler, greener" - "TORONTO - The mining industry moved to put another nail in the coffin of its swashbuckling past on Monday, opening a major conference designed give it a kinder, gentler and greener face - even starting the event with an Ojibwa prayer to the new day, delivered by a member of the Mississauga Indian nation. About 570 members of the world's mining elite, and some of their harshest critics, started a three-day meeting in Toronto that will try to shine up what the sector now willingly admits is a tarnished social and environmental reputation. The meeting is being held ahead of the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August." (Reuters)

"Ukraine: digging for black gold" - "Illegal mining is one of the most dangerous professions in the world, but that doesn't stop several thousand men, women, and children as young as 11 from making their living this way in eastern Ukraine. "The Ukrainian government has abandoned us," Aleksandr says. "I know our mines are illegal, but I don't feel like a criminal. This is honest work. When the government returns its services to us, I will be happy to follow its laws and pay its taxes." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"statesman.com | What's killing the salamanders? As more die, scientists are baffled" - "It first seemed little more than a curiosity when Austin biologist Jennifer Thompson lifted a rock in upper Barton Springs and spotted a salamander with blister-like bubbles on its tail. Her initial suspicion that January day -- some sort of injury -- didn't hold up in the months that followed as other salamanders were found bloated with gas and floating helplessly. Today, with 11 of the endangered Barton Springs salamanders confirmed dead and six sickened, Thompson and her colleagues find themselves immersed in a mystery that is confounding some of the nation's top aquatic scientists and holds potentially ominous consequences for Austin's touchstone species. The apparent cause of the salamander deaths, gas bubble disease, is seen in fish and some other aquatic animals living in water highly saturated with air, such as some rivers with hydroelectric dams and fish hatcheries that aerate water."

"Honeybees in a Mite More Than Trouble (washingtonpost.com)" - "In recent years, two tiny spider-like parasites have been weakening and killing bee populations across the United States. While the mass media have played up the threat of Africanized"killer" bees in the Southwest, the rest of the country has been losing 80 percent or more of its wild honeybee populations."

"Tallahassee Democrat | 05 14 2002 | Gov. Bush urged to veto bill" - "Some of the state's largest environmental groups are at odds over whether Gov. Jeb Bush should sign an Everglades funding bill. The Sierra Club's Florida chapter and more than 90 groups are urging the governor to veto HB 813 because it also would limit public challenges to state-permitting decisions. Some other environmental groups, including the Audubon of Florida, are urging the governor to support the bill because they say it is needed to pay for Everglades restoration."

"Sandstorm-swept China to spend billions on trees" - "BEIJING - China will spend several hundred billion yuan in the next 10 years to protect forests and plant green belts as it combats blinding sandstorms, illegal logging and rapid soil erosion, a top forestry official said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Extreme climate variance sped extinction of local butterfly populations, researchers say" - "The last two Jasper Ridge populations of Bay checkerspot butterflies, subspecies Euphydryas editha bayensis, went extinct in 1991 and 1998. Examining 70 years of rainfall and population data, researchers now conclude that extreme swings in regional climate hastened extinction of the Bay Area butterflies." (Stanford University)

Making it's annual reappearance: "Arctic Warming Imperils Polar Bears, Report Says" - "WASHINGTON - A reduction caused by global warming in the massive sheets of Arctic sea ice that polar bears prowl for their prey could have devastating consequences for the world's largest land predator, a leading conservation group said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Glacials and Interglacials: What They Can Tell Us About Potential Global Warming" - "Summary: New studies of these alternating cold and warm periods of earth's history are providing new insights into what causes climate change and, perhaps even more importantly, what doesn't." (co2science.org)

"Holocene (Global)" - "Summary: A brief review of what we know about earth's climate since the end of the last great ice age indicates that - compared with what happens naturally - man's impact on the global climate is not yet of any significance." (co2science.org)

"Carbon Sequestration in Africa: A Well-Kept Secret" - "Summary: Is it positive? Negative? Amenable to human manipulation? The answers might surprise you." (co2science.org)

"The Atlantic Hurricane Activity Transition of 1994/95" - "Summary: When Atlantic hurricanes returned with a vengeance after several years of ultra-low activity, climate alarmists began to claim that their increased presence was due to CO2-induced global warming. Scientists who studied the transition refute this contention. Monthly Weather Review 126: 1174-1193." (co2science.org)

"Antarctic Temperature Trends" - "Summary: Whether warming or cooling, man is now being blamed for both phenomena. Science 296: 895-899." (co2science.org)

"Urban Heat Islands in Australia" - "Summary: Like urban heat islands in Europe and North America, they tell a tale of substantial temperature impacts caused by aggregations of very small numbers of people. Australian Meteorological Magazine 50: 1-13." (co2science.org)

"Green Alert - May 13, 2002 Vol. 1, No. 29" - "Biological activity generally increases as temperature increases. This happens especially when the initial temperature is below the freezing point of water. As a consequence, it is not unreasonable to expect that global warming could enhance the rate of microbial respiration in soils. If true, this would lead to increased release of carbon dioxide from soil into the air. However, as Neilsen et al. (2001) note, "Overwinter processes account for a significant portion (20-70%) of annual ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycling and soil-atmosphere trace gas fluxes." It’s not readily apparent what would be the consequences of warming-induced reductions in the frequency and severity of freezing. Neilsen et al. conducted an experiment to learn more." (GES)

"ABC News - Dry weather causes NZ glaciers to shrink" - "A stretch of dry weather in New Zealand has left the famed South Island glaciers with one of their biggest annual losses of ice mass in 25 years."

"FT.com | US looks to technical solutions on global warming" - "Future international efforts to tackle global warming will depend more upon finding technical and economic solutions than further scientific investigation, the main US negotiator on climate change said on Monday. Harlan Watson, addressing a London press conference, defended the successful US-backed move last month to replace the outspoken chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Robert Watson."

"US dashes hopes for climate deal" - "It is wishful thinking to believe that the United States will "trash its economy" in order to take action on climate change and there is no chance of the Bush administration reconsidering its position on the Kyoto protocol, America's senior climate negotiator has said. Harlan Watson told a briefing in London yesterday that the White House would not return to negotiations for the next review of greenhouse gas reductions, due under the Kyoto protocol in 2005: "We want no part of that ... The next time we take stock on climate change has been set by the president at 2012." (The Guardian)

"Independent News - Forget Kyoto deal for another 10 years, says Bush adviser" - "The United States has in effect ruled out any possibility of taking part in the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gases for at least another 10 years, its senior climate negotiator said yesterday. Even though the Kyoto agreement is due to be renegotiated in 2005, America will take no part in those talks and is unlikely to have anything to do with the treaty before 2012, said Harlan Watson, one of President George Bush's most trusted advisers. Dr Watson, who is in London to attend a government conference on the environment, said that America intended to go its own way in curbing its greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that would not jeopardise the country's jobs or its economy."

"ExxonMobil recommended climate chief" - "President Bush's chief negotiator on climate change was recommended to the White House by ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, according to a leaked memorandum seen by The Telegraph."

"Activists arrested in Canadian gas-pump protests" - "CALGARY - Canadian police arrested several people yesterday after activists in three cities chained themselves to gasoline pumps owned by Exxon Mobil Corp.'s affiliate to protest the oil major's opposition to the Kyoto accord on global warming." (Reuters)

"U.S. Plans to End Exemption of California Farmers From Air Pollution Standards" - "LOS ANGELES, May 14 — Under pressure from a lawsuit, the Environmental Protection Agency agreed today to end an exemption that California farmers enjoyed from the Clean Air Act, a step that could have a major impact on some of the most polluted regions of the country. A number of environmental groups sued the federal agency in January, contending that it had improperly allowed farmers in the state to operate without complying with the air quality requirements of the act, which limits emissions from heavy machinery and the like." (New York Times)

"Landmark California auto emissions bill may stall" - "SACRAMENTO — A landmark bill that would make California the first state in the nation to regulate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions may run out of gas this week as a number of lawmakers drop support for the measure, officials said Tuesday.

The bill, which would set new emissions standards that auto industry representatives say could drive sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, and minivans off the road, is expected to go to the state Assembly for a final vote Thursday — its last stop before heading to Gov. Gray Davis, who has not taken a position on it.

But the bill, which is being closely watched across the country because of its potential impact on mileage standards, auto costs, and greenhouse gas emissions, has already run into trouble from critics who say it is overbroad and could send prices for SUVs and pick-up trucks soaring. "It is tough. We are fighting for votes," said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, a lobbyist with the American Lung Association, which has joined environmental groups, city governments, and senior Democratic politicians in backing the bill. "We probably have a list of six or eight (legislators) that we are really targeting and hoping to keep their support." (Reuters)

"Italy grid warns of need for more power plants" - "ROME - Italy, which saw an unexpected surge in electiricty demand last winter, could face power shortages if new generating plants are not built soon, the head of the national grid said. "Peak electricity consumption shot up to a new high last winter and new plants are needed to cope with the rising demand," Pier Luigi Parcu of the Gestore Rete Trasmissione Nazionale (GRTN) told a conference." (Reuters)

"UK to produce energy policy plans around year-end" - "LONDON - The British government launched a prolonged consultation process over its energy strategy yesterday and pledged to produce a policy White Paper by the end of the year or early next. A government-commissioned report, released in February, said Britain should raise its target for energy supplied by renewable sources to 20 percent by 2020 but also keep open the option to invest anew in nuclear power." (Reuters)

"N-power challenge on carbon emissions" - "The Government reopened the nuclear debate yesterday as it published a consultation paper which questions whether Britain will meet its carbon emissions targets without building new nuclear stations." (Telegraph)

"TVA considers restarting mothballed Alabama nuke" - "NEW YORK - The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), one of the nation's largest power producers, will this week consider restarting its 1,065 megawatt Browns Ferry nuclear power unit 1 in Alabama, which has been mothballed for 15 years, the company said." (Reuters)

"F.A.Z. - English Version - Reversing the Phaseout: Nuclear Power Regains Respectability" - "According to Fritz Vahrenholt, former head of the German division of the Dutch oil company Shell, such inexhaustible energy sources as sunlight, wind and water will meet no more than 20 percent of Germany's energy needs when the last of the country's 19 nuclear power plants closes by 2020.

Germany will then have three options. It could operate more power plants with gas, thus increasing the carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming. And by that time, the gas price might be higher. Second, it could import electricity produced by foreign nuclear power plants. France, the Czech Republic or Ukraine would probably be the cheapest suppliers. Third, it could extend -- quietly, if at all possible -- its own nuclear power plants' lifetimes, which were shortened in 2000 after protracted political debate."

"War on tsetse could boost Africa food output - FAO" - "ROME - The United Nations is backing a campaign to wipe out the deadly tsetse fly from nearly 10 million square kilometres of sub-Saharan Africa which could then be reclaimed for food production." (Reuters)

"We can feed the world - here's how" - "Norman Borlaug writes in the Wall Street Journal - Thirty-two years ago, I was chosen to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, representing the thousands of researchers who created the higher crop yields of the Green Revolution. The extra food created saved perhaps a billion people from starving in the 1960s.

Today, we are faced with another, equally enormous task. We must learn to produce nearly three times as much food for the more populous and more prosperous world of 2050, and from the farmland we are already using, in order to save the planet's wildlands. That's why I am one of the signers of a new declaration in support of protecting nature with high-yield farming and forestry. (Co-signatories include former Sen. George McGovern and Per Pinstrup-Andersen, the winner of the 2001 World Food Prize.)" (Wall Street Journal)

"Scientists’ fears at growing resistance to weed herbicides" - "SCIENTISTS are concerned by an increase in the number of herbicide resistant weeds, formerly confined to England but now spreading into some areas of Scotland. As a result, a top level meeting has been called for tomorrow at the Institute for Arable Crops Research (IACR) in Hertfordshire to thrash out a policy for dealing with this threat." (The Scotsman)

"Africa 'needs GM crops to survive'" - "Many African scientists believe genetically modified (GM) crops offer the only hope of avoiding mass starvation on the continent. The claim is made in a TV programme. It says that in dozens of African countries, "biotechnology has sparked a mood of optimism". The programme recognises the long-term fears of anti-GM campaigners, but says Africa's dilemma is acute. And it says many people in Africa think biotechnology can offer better health and prosperity as well. The programme is The High-Tech Harvest, made by Television Trust For The Environment (TVE). It is part of TVE's Earth Report series, shown on BBC World." [Click here to watch BBC World and its report on GM crops in Africa.] (BBC News Online)

"GM technology must benefit all - book" - "If penicillin and vaccine therapy had been subject to precautionary measures as strict as those applied to genetic plant engineering, they would never have been accepted. That’s the low down from philosopher and Professor Arno Victor Nielsen to freelance journalist Joergen Lund." (The Life Sciences Network)

Poor George... "The Guardian | George Monbiot | The fake persuaders" - "Persuasion works best when it's invisible. The most effective marketing worms its way into our consciousness, leaving intact the perception that we have reached our opinions and made our choices independently. As old as humankind itself, over the past few years this approach has been refined, with the help of the internet, into a technique called "viral marketing". Last month, the viruses appear to have murdered their host. One of the world's foremost scientific journals was persuaded to do something it had never done before, and retract a paper it had published."

At least he didn't rant about contrails and black helicopters...

"China ministry clarifies GMO rules for soybeans" - "SHANGHAI - China's Ministry of Health said yesterday recently issued rules on gene-spliced food apply only to soybeans imported for human consumption and not those imported for crushing, which are fast running out." (Reuters)

"Altered Algae Eat More Metal To Clean Up Lake Erie" - "Bioremediation researchers supported by Ohio Sea Grant funding are further enhancing genetically altered algae to maximize its ability to pick up trace metals. Metals such as mercury, cadmium and zinc from area industry accumulate in Lake Erie sediment and eventually pose a human health risk. The algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, is a unicellular algae that is widely available, can be genetically engineered easily, and grows quickly in high volumes. Previous research by Ohio State University researcher Richard Sayre found the algae to be more effective, less costly and safer than using chemical extraction methods. Now, Sayre and his team have found further ways of altering the algae to increase the algae's ability to attach itself to heavy metals in Lake Erie sediment. They used three approaches of genetic alteration, and found that each enhanced the cell's ability to bind with the metals." (UniSci)

"U of Minnesota study: Adult bone marrow stem cells can become liver cells" - "Researchers at the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute (SCI) have demonstrated, for the first time, the ability of adult bone marrow stem cells to differentiate in vitro as hepatocytes (liver cells) with hepatocyte phenotype and function." (University of Minnesota)

"Gene linked to reproductive cloning problems" - "PHILADELPHIA - The activity of a single gene may help explain why mammalian cloning is so inefficient, scientists say. The researchers looked at the activity of the gene Oct4 in cloned mouse embryos. Embryos cannot survive without Oct4, and if the levels aren't exactly right, they will die." (CBC News) | Why is cloning so hard? (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)

"The Yuck Factor; Activists try to patent fear" - "The opponents of medical biotechnology are nothing if not fiendishly creative. Leading anti-biotech activist Jeremy Rifkin, the head of the Foundation on Economic Trends, working with New York Medical College biologist Stuart Newman, a member of the activist group the Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG), has concocted a scheme aimed at making Americans queasy about biomedical progress -- patenting the Humouse (a hypothetical human-mouse combination) and other human-animal chimeras." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

May 14, 2002

"FDA-FCC Cellular Phone and RadioFrequency Energy Website Posted for Public Use and Comment" - "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have established a joint web site, Cell Phone Facts, to provide consumer information regarding cellular phones and radiofrequency (RF) energy. This web site provides the public with information from both government agencies involved in the regulation of cell phones (also known as wireless, mobile, or PCS phones) and their base stations. It provides a review of how cell phones work and answers questions raised about their safety. It also includes a link to the FCC's web site that contains additional information about radiofrequency safety as it relates to other sources of RF energy." (FCC)

"More evidence refutes HIV link to polio vaccine" - "NEW YORK - Scientists have provided further evidence to refute the claim that HIV originated from an oral polio vaccine that contained the chimp form of the virus. The researchers, based at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, report that oral polio vaccines contain fragments of one type of genetic material from macaque monkeys, not chimpanzees. This finding helps confirm that the vaccine developers used cells from macaques, which do not carry a form of HIV called the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)." (Reuters Health)

"Parkinson's `Clusters' Getting a Closer Look" - "Michael J. Fox's celebrity can do more than raise money for Parkinson's research. It may also help open an avenue of research that scientists have long wanted to explore.

Mr. Fox, it turns out, was one of four people who worked on a production crew at a television studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the late 1970's and developed Parkinson's disease. Given that only 125 people worked on the crew in those years — including actors, directors, writers, production people and technicians — the number of cases seems extraordinary." (New York Times)

"'Just Sprinkle A Little Kiddy-Cocaine On Your Child's Applesauce'; CCHR Condemns FDA Irresponsibility In War On Drugs" - "LOS ANGELES, May 13 -- Just when you thought it safe to have your kids eat at the dinner table, along comes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving stimulants with applesauce! The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) today condemned the irresponsible attitude the FDA has taken about America's child drugging epidemic when it approved revised labeling for a stimulant to include the option of sprinkling the drug onto a tablespoon of applesauce." (U.S. Newswire)

"Dietary pills boost learning" - "FOOD supplements may help children with learning difficulties to make big improvements, preliminary results of a new trial suggest. Children at 13 primary schools across Co Durham are being given dietary supplements containing the fatty acids known as omega 3 (found in fish) and omega 6 (found in plants). The trial is due to last six months, but after just half that time the county council educational psychologist responsible for the scheme, Dr Madelaine Portwood, believes that improvements are detectable. One child’s reading skills improved by the equivalent of four years after just 12 weeks. In other cases, learning ability was boosted by two years in the same 12-week period." (The Times)

"Beaver Dams Halt Fish Ladder Project" - "SOUTH WINDSOR -- After years of preparation, environmental officials were looking forward to June, when work would begin on a $200,000 project designed to foster interest in preserving anadromous fish, which return from the sea each year and swim upriver to spawn.

But a problem no one expected arose.

Beavers. Dozens of busy beavers.

The state had pooled money from state, local and private sources to build a fish ladder and viewing area on a dam along the Podunk River, next to a popular restaurant. More than 100,000 people each year were expected to watch blueback herring, alewives, American shad and other anadromous fish swim up the ladder to their spawning grounds.

Just as construction was to begin, officials discovered that beavers had built about 30 dams, some higher than 5 feet, along the river.

The cost of removing the dams, let alone the yearly work of keeping the stream free of dams and open to migrating fish, would be too costly, the officials determined.

With no practical recourse, they decided to kill the fish ladder project." (The Hartford Courant)

Well go-o-lee! You mean, in some places, dams is natchural?

"UK fails to meet recycling target" - "Britain has failed to meet Europe-wide targets for recycling millions of tons of packaging from businesses, raising fresh concerns over the Government's environmental commitments. New EU regulations require that bottles, cans, cardboard boxes and other waste products must be recycled or disposed of in a way that creates heat or energy, or another useful by-product. But ministers will admit today that the targets for "recovering" 9 million tons of waste generated in Britain have been missed." (Independent)

"I'm waiting for a can of organic beer" - "I am full of beans, but it's not what you're thinking.

No, the reason I am full of beans -- and beet root juice, and eggless tofu, and Andean lupin seed, and fig extract, and lentil spread -- is that on Friday I attended the All Things Organic convention at the Austin Convention Center.

"Don't you airheads have any Doritos?" I was thinking." (John Kelso, Austin American-Statesman)

"Eco-warriors of the WI turn heat on ExxonMobil" - "The Women's Institute, often associated with genteel garden parties and jam making, has again demonstrated its radical political credentials by joining the fight against ExxonMobil and global warming. The organisation has given its support to the StopEsso campaign which yesterday began a week of protest against the biggest oil company in the world." (The Guardian)

"Team of climbers to investigate Himalayan environment, UN announces" - "A team of expert climbers is on its way to the Himalayas to gather first-hand accounts from monks, local people and other travelers on the state of the environment of the world's most famous mountain range, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today. The expedition, led by the veteran climber and broadcaster Ian McNaught-Davis and Roger Payne, a senior official with the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA), will also visit Island Peak to film and record the dramatic impacts that global warming is having on glaciers world-wide, UNEP said in a statement." (UN News)

"INTERVIEW - Expert warns world is warming faster than forecast" - "LONDON - Planet earth is warming up faster than previously expected, the head of a leading climate research institute said yesterday. Dying forests, expanding deserts and rising sea levels would wreak havoc to human and animal lives sooner than anticipated as global warming was accelerating, said Geoff Jenkins, head of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. "It looks like it will be warmer by the end of the century than what we have predicted," he told Reuters in an interview." (Reuters)

Gasp! "Scientists Find New Antarctic Ice Shelf Break" - "MADISON, Wis. - Another massive iceberg has broken off the Ross Ice Shelf, reducing the Antarctic formation to about the size it was in 1911 when explorer Robert Scott's team first mapped it, scientists said on Monday." (Reuters)

What can we do? Who can we telephone? The RIS has returned to about what it was almost a century ago! Who'd a thought the world was suffering so much from enhanced greenhouse warming way back then - when we didn't even have enhanced greenhouse?

Sigh... "Antarctic ice melt poses worldwide threat" - "HOBART - The Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves are cracking up and, on the face of things, it is the most serious thaw since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago. The break-up of the ice shelves in itself is a natural process of renewal, but the size and rate of production of icebergs -- some the size of major cities -- is alarming scientists, who blame global warming." (Reuters)

Another rarely acknowledged Kyoto cost, curtesy of Chicken Littles and ubiquitous grant- and donation-trawls: "'Flood peril' county puts agency in the dock" - "THE Environment Agency faces a humiliating court battle after being accused of providing inaccurate and alarmist data on flood risks to businesses and homeowners.

The agency has designated hundreds of square miles of England and Wales as at risk of flooding, driving away investment and hitting property prices.

Lincolnshire is the worst affected part of the country, with almost half the region described as at risk. Other areas where there is deep anxiety include London, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Extra costs to incorporate flood protection measures at new buildings are being incurred across the country and the insurance industry, which uses Environment Agency data, has raised premiums by up to 50 per cent in two years and turned away potential customers as uninsurable.

Eight local authorities in Lincolnshire have begun legal action against the agency to force it to drop a flood plain map from the Internet and stop using the “flawed” data it is based upon for judging development proposals. Infuriated officials, who want a judicial review of the map’s publication and accuracy, believe that by creating a false fear of flooding, the agency has driven away investment. Inquiries from firms hoping to relocate to the region have slumped by 40 per cent." (The Times)

"Global warming" is a phantom menace simultaneously older and significantly more expensive than the first Star Wars prequel and yet manages to be even less entertaining.

"Canada mulls Kyoto pull-out" - "There is an intense debate in Canada between senior federal and provincial politicians over whether the country should follow its southern neighbour, the United States, and abandon the Kyoto protocol. In recent months senior ministers at both national and provincial level have become increasingly critical of crucial sections of the treaty." (BBC News Online)

"Los Angeles Times - California, Acting Globally" - "The state Legislature can strike a modest, reasonable blow against global warming by passing the final version of a program for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide from autos, pickups and sport utility vehicles. Carbon dioxide is the chief greenhouse gas implicated in global warming."

"Greenhouse Road to Ruin; Bad regulations in Cali" - "A bill careening down the legislative turnpike in California threatens Americans' freedom of mobility everywhere.

Assembly Bill 1058 has passed both houses of the California legislature and is back in the assembly for a final vote. If it becomes law, California's Air Resources Board (CARB) will be required to mandate "maximum feasible" reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars and light trucks. Proponents claim the bill is needed to protect California from global warming, allegedly caused by manmade emissions of CO2 and other "greenhouse" gases.

Opponents — who include all the auto companies, the autoworkers union, and the California farm bureau — warn that AB 1058 is a regulatory sneak attack on America's best-selling vehicles: sedans, pickups, minivans, and, especially, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). They are right." (Marlo Lewis Jr., National Review)

"Idemitsu may sell coal with emissions rights" - "TOKYO - Unlisted Japanese oil company Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd said yesterday it was considering selling coal that grants carbon dioxide emission rights to buyers. The move will be backed by Idemitsu's reforestation project in Australia where the firm started to plant eucalyptus trees in April at a coal mine that it owns, a company spokesman said. It would be the first move by a Japanese oil firm to sell fuel linked to greenhouse gas emission rights." (Reuters)

May 13, 2002

"The Nando Times: Doctors still seeking cause of Gulf War illness" - "To veterans it is a cruel mystery: Which of the countless pesticides, pollutants, microbes and poisons they encountered during the Persian Gulf War has left one in seven of them sick with a debilitating and persistent illness?

On Capitol Hill it is an outrage: Why, after spending more than $200 million on hundreds of studies, can't the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs determine what pollutant or microbe is causing the panoply of symptoms known as Gulf War illness?

Most scientists who have studied the chronic health problems of Gulf War veterans say they have the answers to both questions: There is no environmental toxin or infectious agent to blame. A decade of research overwhelmingly points to another cause - stress."

"'Soap and warm homes' causing rise in eczema" - "One in five children develops eczema because of the increasing use of soaps and detergents, and because homes have become warmer and less well-ventilated, a study suggests today." (Independent)

"Iodine health campaign success" - "Experts say that illness caused by a lack of iodine in the diet will be virtually eliminated worldwide within three years. Iodine is a vital micronutrient, and the leading cause of preventable mental and developmental disabilities worldwide. Millions of children are born each year with a reduced ability to learn because their mothers did not have enough iodine in their diets during pregnancy." (BBC Online)

"People and fire at Florida's wildland-urban interface" - "A study from the recently published Proceedings of the Eleventh Biennial Southern Silviculture Research Conference illustrates some of the problems related to prescribed burning in an increasingly populated fire-prone landscape. Conducted by Forest Service researchers David Butry, John Pye and Jeffrey Prestemon from the SRS Economics of Forest Protection and Management unit in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, the study describes Florida’s wildland-urban interface as a complex mix of people, development and wildlands." (Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service)

"World Renowned Climate Science Experts To Ask And Answer: 'Whatever Happened to Global Warming?'" - "WHO: -- Frontiers of Freedom, a non-profit, non-partisan educational institute (Sen. Malcolm Wallop, ret., chairman) -- The Science and Environmental Policy Project and The Cooler Heads Coalition -- Dr. John Daly, climate scientist from Australia -- Dr. S. Fred Singer, climate scientist from United States

WHAT: Question and answer with world renowned climate science experts
John Daly from Australia, Fred Singer from the United States, and
others. Panelists will address why climate science does not support
the Kyoto Protocol.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 14, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: National Press Club, Washington, D.C., First Amendment Room 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor - Washington, D.C." (U.S. Newswire)

"Climate change faults and fears" - "Environmentalists' forte is fearmongering. Scaring the public with apocalyptic environmental horror stories in order to raise funds for their lobbying efforts. The most popular of the environmental bugaboos is global warming. As with many persistent horror tales, global warming theory is based in reality — or at least reality as simulated in various models of the global climate. Yet two papers were recently brought to my attention that clearly, and lucidly, detail the significant weaknesses inherent in these models. Their authors argue, that since the models are flawed, their predictions of climate catastrophe can't be trusted." (Pete du Pont, Washington Times)

"The Nenana Ice Classic 2002 or How to Lose Money Gambling on Global Warming" - "The Nenana Ice Classic results are in and if you bet on global warming this year you lost. Last year, in the October 26, 2001 issue of Science, a much acclaimed article by Raphael Sagarin and Fiorenza Micheli, asserted that "warmer climate would be expected to advance the time of breakup through both thermal effects and dynamic effects, due to thinning ice and increased snowmelt runoff into rivers". At the time of its publication the paper was widely heralded as yet another indicator of global warming. Dr. Sagarin's advice for the 2002 Ice Classic was: "I wouldn't enter a date that's too late in the year" (Miceal O'Ronain, Number Watch)

The Number Watch Site has been quiet of late, due, apparently, to a domestic relocation. John must have found a few new shreds and patches to restore some working order to his old desk top machine for he's back haranguing those who macerate numbers once more.

"Guardian Unlimited Observer | Travel | Save the planet... stay on the ground" - "So you recycle your newspapers and carrier bags, take buses and trains wherever possible and harangue the authorities to switch to wind power. You're green, you care about the environment... and you are furious that we're melting the planet while George Bush thinks that Kyoto should stick to being a tourist destination. And then you blow it all by jumping on that cheap flight to Thailand or America. You've just used up all your 'carbon credits', or environmental Brownie points, in one go. The average jet pumps around a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every passenger it carries from London to New York. One return flight to, say, Miami, and you're responsible for more carbon dioxide production than a year's motoring. Air transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions but has so far sparked relatively little concern among governments and international bodies. When the Earth Summit convened in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, aviation was barely an issue for those gathering to 'save the planet'."

"US to seek ratification of marine pollution accord" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration will ask the U.S. Senate to ratify a 1997 agreement limiting the emission of pollutants by the engines of ships, the U.S. State Department said. The agreement, known as MARPOL Annex VI, limits emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides at sea and prohibits the emission of gases which deplete the ozone layer." (Reuters)

"Anchorage Daily News | Senate votes out oil waste ruling" - "Juneau -- The state Senate voted 15-3 Friday to undo last week's Alaska Supreme Court decision on permitting requirements for the discharge of oil drilling wastes in Cook Inlet. The measure was tacked on as a last-minute amendment to a bill exempting military bases from state waste disposal permitting requirements. Both measures, sponsored by Sen. Gene Therriault, R-North Pole, take aim at lawsuits filed by environmental groups."

"NewsOK.com - City buses to burn soybean mix during conference" - "OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City will burn a soybean oil mix called biodiesel in 14 city buses this week to show its support for an alternative fuels conference that's coming to town. Robert Skinner, a spokesman for the Massachusetts company that makes the fuel, says the city's buses will use a mix of 80 percent diesel fuel and 20 percent vegetable oil. Skinner of World Energy Alternatives said the mixture will reduce soot in the buses' exhaust by 25 percent. He said unburned hydrocarbons which form smog will also be cut by 30 percent. The fuel mixture costs about 15 to 20 cents more per gallon than conventional diesel."

"FEATURE - US Senate ethanol plan stirs conflicting reactions" - "CHICAGO - Environmentalists and oil companies often find themselves on the opposite sides of the fence when Washington tackles a major legislative issue.

But that was not the case with a bill passed by the U.S. Senate on April 25 that would triple the use of ethanol as a gasoline additive over the next decade. Both environmentalists and Big Oil - not to mention farmers - have been celebrating the legislation as a landmark in the country's evolution toward cleaner energy produced from domestic, renewable sources like corn or sugar.
"This is a huge win for corn growers and the coalition of agriculture, oil, ethanol and environmental groups that came together to forge this historic agreement," Tim Hume, president of the National Corn Growers Association, said after the vote.

But ethanol - a cleaner burning alternative to MTBE, an additive some states banned due to ground water contamination - has not won universal support." (Reuters)

"ABC News - Pollution killing thousands of Russians annually: ecologist" - "Between 250,000 and 350,000 Russians do not reach the term of their natural life each year because of pollution, the head of a Russian environmental group has told Moscow's Echo radio."

"Greenpeace nudes have toxic effect on feminists" - "AN environmental group has hit upon a controversial method of highlighting global scourges such as toxic waste and deforestation. In an unusual departure for eco-activism, the Spanish branch of Greenpeace is raising funds with a sexy desktop diary in which some of the world’s top models have posed naked. Feminists are appalled at what they regard as a noble cause’s descent into sexist advertising and are urging Greenpeace supporters to complain." (The Times)

May 12, 2002

"Newsday.com - State attorney general appeals dismissal of lawsuit against gun makers" - "NEW YORK -- State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer took the highly unusual step on Friday of making his own arguments before an appeals panel in an effort to have a case against gun makers reinstated."

"LINDA SEEBACH: A new take on Second Amendment" - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." - Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday asked the Supreme Court not to hear two cases claiming federal firearms law violates the Second Amendment.

One case involved a man who deliberately invited arrest for the possession of two machine guns; the other, a man who had a gun although he was under a domestic-violence restraining order.

In briefs filed by Solicitor General Theodore Olson, the department argued that both cases concerned "reasonable restrictions" on the right to bear arms - to keep guns out of the hands of people unfit to have them, or to limit possession of certain kinds of guns particularly liable to misuse.

What has sent gun-control advocates into shock is that Olson explicitly stated the rule to which these are reasonable exceptions: The Second Amendment broadly protects the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms, whether or not they are members of an organized militia." (Rocky Mountain News)

"Italy: Report reopens Vatican antenna controversy" - "FLORENCE, Italy - Vatican Radio's forest of antennas north of Rome could be causing leukaemia with the high levels of electromagnetic radiation they emit, a report conducted for a public prosecutor said on Thursday. The findings, released by the Green party, reopened controversy over the antennas that began 2 years ago, when reports showed an increased incidence of leukaemia in the nearby town of Cesano." (Reuters Health)

"Mobile radiation makes waves" - "DEBATE over the safety of mobile phones is back on the agenda, with the Australian Democrats challenging a federal Government decision to relax standards in relation to radiation emission. A new standard that lifts the limits on human exposure to radiofrequency radiation to accommodate new 3G technologies was released this week by the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency. But Democrats telecoms spokesperson Lyn Allison says the new standard was not backed by the CSIRO and puts health at risk. Senator Allison, who chaired the Senate Inquiry into Electromagnetic Radiation last year, said studies were still emerging that show radiation emitted by mobile phones can affect human health." (The Australian)

"Verdict on mobile phone shields" - "Hands-free kits are the best way of protecting mobile phone users against potentially harmful radiation, though shield devices do have some effect, experts say. A report published on Friday looked at four types of shields that can be used, but its author said hands-free devices - which had been examined in a previous study - still came out on top." (BBC News Online)

Don't know why people muck around with shields & such, if worried, wrap yourself in metal foil before using your mobile phone - sure won't be phone radiation that does you in. Anyway, it's not the phones themselves but the batteries that cause any potential trouble - try it, take the battery out of your mobile and the radiation will drop to minuscule levels (may not even be detectable) - guaranteed.

"Killer bugs rampage through NHS" - "DEADLY superbugs are spreading among hospital patients at a more alarming rate than doctors had imagined, new figures obtained by The Times show today. Detailed checks brought in by ministers last year have revealed hundreds more cases of infection with the fatal bug MRSA than expected, despite a crackdown on cleanliness. Hygiene experts claim in The Times today that the spread of superbugs that are impervious to common antibiotics has been fuelled by the Government’s NHS targets. Overcrowded hospitals are under pressure to admit patients fast, operate on them quickly, and discharge them as soon as possible, they say." (The Times)

"Disease link to antibiotics in pregnancy" - "Children are much more at risk of getting asthma if their mothers take antibiotics during pregnancy, a major new study suggests. The finding will increase suspicions that modern lifestyles and medicines are closely linked to the significant increase in the disease among children. The number of children with asthma has grown six-fold in the last 25 years and it now affects 1.6m children in Britain ­ mirroring a surge in the use of antibiotics, household disinfectants and microbiological cleaners." (Independent)

Oh dear! "Autism 'doubles' in young children" - "Teachers have reported a significant increase in the numbers of young children with autism. A survey of primary school teachers by the National Autistic Society has uncovered much higher rates among young school children than previously thought, with one child in 80 diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. That figure is almost double the rate of autism claimed last year by the Medical Research Council, at one in 166 for children, and is significantly higher than the rates among secondary school children." (Independent)

Interesting place, this 'England'. So, how many years med school are done by teachers in England? What percentage could even define 'autism'? And these are the diagnosticians relied upon by the NAS?

"Eczema rise is blamed on bath gels" - "Scientists trace surge in child skin disease cases to chemicals in the creature comforts of modern life" - "Jamie Brown was a few months old when his parents noticed a red patch on his arm. Despite careful wiping and cleaning, the rash spread until it covered a large area of skin with blisters and 'weeping' tissue. A health visitor diagnosed eczema.

Jamie joined several hundred thousand UK children who have been diagnosed with this painful condition. From a level of only 3 per cent in the 1950s, the disease affects more than one in five children today, and numbers continue to rise.

Now a leading group of UK dermatologists has traced the origins of eczema to many of the 'wonders' of modern life. These include bubble baths, baby wipes, deep carpets and central heating.

And unless parents like John and Tracey Brown learn to moderate the use of such commodities before their children are born, eczema is destined to continue to spread and cause misery, the scientists say in a paper to be published in Dermatology in Practice this month." (The Observer)

Hmm... as in 'lack of ventilation' (a.k.a. 'energy efficient housing')? Perhaps - certainly the greenie mantra of 'leave no footprint' (or surviving human?) has much to answer for - then again, much of the 'blame' for this could simply be that modern medicine allows so many more to survive and breed successfully that sensitivities (genetic 'flaws'?) proliferate through the community in ways not previously possible. Either way, it appears to have more to do with people and their manipulated environment than it does with the availability of so-called 'synthetic' compounds.

Ohferchrissakes! "The Nando Times: Lawmaker proposes boosting funds for hormone-disruption research" - "Pointing to mounting evidence that hormone-disrupting chemicals used in millions of everyday products may be affecting the health of people and wildlife, a New York congresswoman has proposed a major new federal research effort. A bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat, would authorize the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to spend $500 million over five years on hormone-disruption research. "It is essential that we fund necessary research to protect vulnerable mothers and children from harmful chemicals," Slaughter said. "We know some of these chemicals may be harmful, but we do not have the scientific information that would allow us to draw solid conclusions." A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate. Currently, the government spends about $40 million a year on the issue, about half of which is research funded through the environmental health sciences institute."

"Newsday.com - Battling Beetle With Chemicals" - "With the Asian long-horned beetle primed to begin its tree-eating season, Suffolk County gave the United States Department of Agriculture the go-ahead yesterday to chemically battle the bug. Though the county has begun a phase-out of the use of pesticides, the Health Department's community advisory committee yesterday voted to grant the USDA a special exemption to inject hardwood trees on county property with imidacloprid, a proven beetle killer. The action marked the first time the county has granted an exemption since new pesticide restrictions began last year. On private property, the agency will have to secure permission from property owners."

Here we go again: "Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Mercury alert over swordfish" - "Millions of young women, and children under 16, were yesterday advised not to eat shark, swordfish or marlin because the fish might contain potentially dangerous levels of mercury. Other adults should eat no more than one portion a week, said the government's food standards agency, which has also asked for a further opinion on tuna, although it believes consumers can continue to eat it safely." | Fish 'a danger' to pregnant women and children | Why families should weigh benefits against the risks (The Times)

Doh!... "Grey wolves stalk Germany's farms" - "GREY wolves, heralded by conservationists when they reappeared in Germany for the first time in 150 years a few months ago, are wreaking havoc among sheep in Saxony, where they are legally protected from being shot." (Telegraph)

"Short's department accused of hypocrisy after using tropical wood for offices" - "A second Whitehall office has been refurbished using uncertified wood from an African rainforest, the Government admitted last night.

Environmental groups reacted with dismay after Clare Short's Department for International Development, which has championed a clampdown on the illicit timber trade, said it had used tropical sapele wood in a Westminster building.

The department insisted it was forced to use the wood to comply with rules governing the refurbishment of historic buildings. Sapele, which comes from endangered tropical forests in Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon, is often used as a substitute for mahogany despite protests from environmentalists that it cannot be accurately sourced." (Independent)

Regrettably, it's 'heritage' and other bizarre sentimental notions that prevent market forces prevailing with best available, most cost-effective materials being used. This, of course, in no way excuses the ludicrous and disastrously racist for-profit fund-raising activities of frauds such as Greenpeace et al inhibiting  impoverished peoples utilising their sole resource to raise capital for infrastructure development, health care and poverty reduction - social and environmental good that is being decimated in the name of lining the pockets of misanthropic anti-environment ratbags masquerading as Gaia-saviours. The great pity of the entire farce being that a well-meaning but woefully ignorant public is all too susceptible to their scam.

"Blair could be bitten by the hands that feed him" - "Mr Blair doesn't want to annoy the supermarkets or the frozen burger eaters. Mr Blair may think the animal rights groups are cute and containable, but they've got savage teeth and shouldn't be petted." (Alice Thompson, Daily Telegraph)

"Protection for frog not expected to threaten development" - "To most people, the relict leopard frog looks unremarkable -- a brown, spotted amphibian as long as your little finger. But to scientists and environmentalists, the frog is a harbinger of widespread habitat change, signaled by the animal's virtual extinction in the Southwest. Environmentalists have launched a campaign to secure federal protection for the frog, whose last known habitats are in a handful of springs around Lake Mead. Two groups -- the California-based Center for Biological Diversity and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance -- are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put the frog on the list of formally "endangered" species. Government officials say even if the frog is listed as endangered, it would not necessarily stop development in the area." (Las Vegas Sun)

"Deliberate fires 'set Africa ablaze'" - "An African wildlife expert says fires started deliberately in remote areas have become a serious problem across the continent. He says the damage caused by the fires is putting severe strain on entire ecosystems. The problem, he argues, is often worsened by the regional warming associated with climate change." (BBC News Online)

"Reuters - UK Experts Say Glacier Fall Not Climate Related" - "LONDON - The collapse of a giant glacier 10 times the size of Manhattan near Antarctica is a natural occurrence and has not been induced by global warming, the British Atlantic Survey (BAS) said on Friday."

"1990s ended with US surge in greenhouse gas emissions" - "US greenhouse gas emissions increased at a faster rate during 1999-2000 than the average annual rate throughout the 1990s, according to the latest official US figures under the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report attributed the 2000 increase in growth of 2.5%, compared with previous average rates of 1.5%, to robust economic growth in 2000, leading to increased demand for electricity and transportation fuels; cooler winter conditions compared to the previous two years; and decreased output from hydroelectric dams.

This is reflected in the doubling in 2000 to 3.2%, of the average annual rate of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion, the largest source of US greenhouse gas emissions. This was the second highest annual increase – it was 3.6% in 1995-96. Throughout the nineties fossil fuel combustion accounted for a nearly constant 79% of global warming potential (GWP) weighted emissions. The annual global increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations is currently 0.4% per year." (Edie.net)

Interesting more for noting that global carbon dioxide (CO2) increase averages 0.4% per annum rather than the IPCC's fanciful 1.0% (merely one of the plethora of magnifiers incorporated in their blatantly ridiculous GCM runs used to generate the "story lines" of disastrous anthropogenic-induced "enhanced greenhouse warming"). Similarly, atmospheric methane (CH4 - a potent greenhouse gas [GHG] indeed and of far greater enhanced greenhouse interest than carbon dioxide [CO2]) increase has virtually disappeared although the IPCC modellers insist on using increment values that existed only briefly in the 1980s and have never been observed since.

Such a stupid game is this "global warming" farce.

"New Scientist - Canada set to reject Kyoto protocol" - "Canada seems set to join the US in reneging on the Kyoto protocol on climate change - unless it is granted key concessions that the European Union adamantly opposes.

The EU is adamantly opposed to further concessions. An aide to environment commissioner Margot Wallstrom told reporters: "We are totally fed up with the games the Canadians are playing." It could be brinkmanship, but Greenpeace claims Canada is looking for an excuse to pull out of the protocol.

That would not necessarily spell the end for the protocol, even if Australia, another waverer, refused to sign. To come into force, it requires the ratification of countries responsible for 55 per cent of the emissions of all industrialised nations. The EU, which will ratify in June, plus Japan, Russia, Ukraine and Poland would be enough.

But many argue that if another major industrial nation follows the US in rejecting the protocol then it could, politically speaking, be dead in the water."

"Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | NASA improves knowledge of ozone depletion" - "Scientists have unraveled a mystery about hydrogen peroxide that may lead to a more accurate way of measuring a gas that contributes to depletion of Earth's protective ozone layer. Scientists have long known that reactive hydrogen gases destroy stratospheric ozone. Too little ozone may lead to unwelcome changes in climate and to more ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth's surface. Ideally, atmospheric scientists would like to make global maps of the distribution of these gases, because there is increasing concern that their abundances may be rising due to increases in stratospheric humidity. These gases - comprising hydroxyl (OH) and hydroperoxyl (HO2) -- cannot be easily measured from space, but a product of their reaction, hydrogen peroxide, is detectable."

"Charlotte Observer | 05 11 2002 | Laws could help clear air, Southern study says" - "Legislation that targets multiple pollutants from power plants would go a long way toward relieving the ozone, haze and fine particles that cloak the South, state environmental officials said Friday.

The governors, in an agreement signed last year, asked their advisers to recommend regional air-quality strategies. The response, delivered Friday: Support legislation to reduce sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxides and mercury from power plants. Make cleaner-burning fuels more widely available. Create alternatives to car travel, such as rail lines. Boost energy efficiency and renewable sources."

"billingsgazette.com - State says studies show snowmobiles quieter" - "CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Newer models of snowmobiles are quieter and pollute less than snowcoaches, according to two studies released by state officials Friday. A state-commissioned study by consulting firm Jackson Hole Scientific Investigations showed that newer models have lower decibel levels than the family dishwasher or an acoustic guitar, the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources said. State officials said information compiled by Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio also showed that snowcoach emissions are nearly six times higher than carbon monoxide emissions from the new generation of snowmobiles. The state will submit the reports as part of the draft supplemental environmental impact statement on winter use of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks."

"San Francisco Chronicle - Permits proposed for server farms" - "The dot-com boom in San Francisco has gone belly-up, but the Internet is here to stay -- and is expected to grow as more and more homes and businesses go online. This week, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell persuaded the Board of Supervisors to place controls on Internet server farms -- facilities that house computer servers and networking equipment for dot-coms and other data-intensive businesses."

"Carrots modified to contain hepatitis B vaccine" - "BERLIN - German scientists have grown genetically modified carrots that contain the vaccine against hepatitis B, which they say could dramatically cut the costs of preventing the disease. Development has reached the stage where the carrots are ready to begin pre-clinical trials and researchers say that carrot-sourced vaccines could be a reality within about 3 years. The current vaccine against hepatitis B is expensive to produce and is administered via three injections, which further increases costs and strains health services. But now plant specialists and virologists from Giessen University in Germany have successfully inserted the gene for the hepatitis B surface antigen normally used in the vaccine into carrots, and have been growing the vegetables in the thousands. "We can make 100,000 or so plants in 2 weeks and within 3 months they are ready to eat," said Dr. Jafargholi Imani from the research group at Giessen University." (Reuters Health)

May 10, 2002

"Mercury Ban Promotes Lawsuits, Not Health" - "Junk science has united quite the political odd couple - Reps. Diane Watson, D-Calif., and Dan Burton, R-Ind. They recently co-sponsored a bill to end the use of mercury in dental fillings." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"The Accutane Blame Game: Dissatisfying Answers" - "Is this a great country or what? Bad things that happen to us or to those around us are never our fault. Moreover, repeatedly it turns out that the responsible party is a huge corporation with deep pockets for suing!" (Michael Fumento, National Review Online)

"Researchers probe depleted uranium, cancer link" - "FLORENCE, Italy - A link between depleted uranium and Hodgkin's disease could be biologically proven by the end of the year, according to researchers at Modena's Policlinico Hospital in Italy." (Reuters Health)

"No risk from microwave radiation, radar: report" - "NEW YORK - Korean War Navy veterans exposed to high levels of microwave radiation emitted from radar equipment were no more likely than other men to develop most forms of cancer--including lung, brain and testicular cancers--over a 40-year period, according to a recent report." (Reuters Health)

"US govt. sets up website on cell phone safety" - "NEW YORK - Two US federal agencies announced Thursday they have set up a website aimed at providing a wary--but phone-loving--public with the latest facts on the safety of cellular phones. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees the safety of foods, drugs and medical devices, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), charged with regulating the nation's communications industry, are collaborating on the "Cell Phone Facts" website, located at either www.fda.gov/cellphones or www.fcc.gov/cellphones." (Reuters Health)

"Job Exposure to Lead Linked to Lou Gehrig's Disease" - "NEW YORK - People with a history of on-the-job exposure to the heavy metal lead may be at twice the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which strikes about 1 or 2 in every 100,000 people in the United States. ALS is often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease (news - web sites), after the famed New York Yankees baseball player who died from the disease in 1941 at the age of 38.

Previous research has suggested a possible association between exposure to heavy metals, particularly lead, and ALS, but a true cause-and-effect relationship remains unclear, according to Dr. Freya Kamel of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and colleagues." (Reuters Health)

"Pollution-related diseases pose deadly threat to children, UN agencies warn" - "9 May – Young people around the world are the greatest victims of environmental degradation, with 5,500 children dying each day from diseases caused by water and food polluted with bacteria, according to a new study released today by three United Nations agencies. (UN News)

Hmm... that's half the WHO's estimated rate of 1996. We can only conclude that things have dramatically improved in a very short time; the earlier figure was a significant overstatement; the current figure is an understatement or; some combination of the preceding is true. Regrettably, the graphic in this piece does not suggest a 50% reduction in infant mortality in the third world over the period 1990-2000.

Regardless of which is true, poor water quality is a killer and sanitation, water treatment and reticulation infrastructure is urgently required. Interference with the provision of these critical facilities is nothing short of a crime against humanity and must be treated as such. Aiding and abetting these heinous actions (as in providing funds and/or assistance/press coverage to misanthropic organizations that typically put the interests of bugs, weeds and Gaia worship above that of impoverished peoples) should be considered conspiracy and treated likewise. Now there's a use for International Criminal Courts.

"Study: Higher energy intake, obesity affects all age groups, not just youths" - "Between 1977 and 1996, all age groups across the country -- not just children and young adults -- boosted their energy intake by eating higher energy foods such as soft drinks and pizza, a trend responsible for the growing obesity epidemic, authors of a new study say. When combined with less physical activity than in decades past, the greater energy consumption significantly raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and other health threats, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers say." (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

"Food Fight" - "What do a fat-accepting aerobics instructor and a fact-rejecting psychology professor have in common? Jennifer Portnick and Kelly Brownell do not seem to have much in common. One pushes "fat acceptance," the other fat rejection. But they are alike in their determination to impose their visions on the rest of us." (Jacob Sullum, Reason)

"Unfit to Bear Arms" - "Justice leaves a loophole in Second Amendment" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Gun laws don't reduce crime" - " Should we treat the Second Amendment like the rest of the Bill of Rights and assume it protects Americans against an over-intrusive government, as the Bush administration now argues? While the question whether people have a right to protect their own lives and the lives of loved ones is important, for most the bottom line is simpler: Do gun laws reduce violent crime?" (John R. Lott Jr., USA Today)

"Democrats tone down gun-control stance" - "After years of pushing restrictions, they're on a new quest to capture southern votes." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"The Nando Times: Some creatures may be excluded from Animal Welfare Act" - "WASHINGTON - Federal law protects cats, dogs and rabbits used in biomedical research, but Congress is unlikely to extend those protections to rats, birds and mice. In 2000, the Agriculture Department agreed to write rules that, for the first time, would have applied the Animal Welfare Act to rats, birds and mice, who make up 95 percent of research animals. The rules sought to ensure they had adequate space, air, food, water and clean cages and felt as little pain as necessary. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., immediately blocked the USDA from implementing new rules for a year. Then three months ago, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., won passage of an amendment to the farm bill that changes the Animal Welfare Act's definition of "animal" to exclude rats, birds and mice. The Senate takes up the farm bill this week; it has already passed the House."

"Boys 'shorten mums' lives'" - "Having sons cut mothers' lives short, according to researchers looking at families 200 years ago. The pattern might still be seen in developing countries today, they suggested. The team from the UK and Finland looked at church records for the Sanu people ('Lapps), who lived in Scandinavia between the 17th and 19th centuries. The Sanu depended on reindeer herding, fishing and hunting for their livelihood and lacked advanced medical care. The researchers found that, compared to daughters, having sons significantly shortened the life span of mothers." (BBC News Online)

"Life expectancy to soar" - "People are set to live increasingly long lives, and reaching 100 will soon be "commonplace", say experts. They say that although there is no prospect of immortality, the trend for living increasingly long lives looked set to continue. Centenarians - 100-year-olds - will become unexceptional within the lifetimes of people alive today, according to Jim Oeppen, from Cambridge University, and Dr James Vaupel, from the Max Plank Institute for Demography in Rostock, Germany. They said there was no sign there was a natural limit, as some experts have predicted. Each time one has been suggested, it has been exceeded within five years." (BBC News Online) | Study indicates no natural limit to life expectancy (Duke University)

"Anchorage Daily News | Military pushes bird bill" - "Washington -- The U.S. House of Representatives is about to take up a bill that would exempt the military from certain environmental laws, including the ban on accidentally killing migratory birds. Supporters say ever-increasing limitations on when and where troops may train, even on Department of Defense land set aside for training, makes exercises less realistic and threatens military readiness. Environmentalists and House Democrats say the laws already allow exemptions in the name of national security. They say the Bush administration is using the war on terrorism as an excuse to roll back environmental laws."

"Australia's kangaroo leather and meat industry thrives" - "But a generation who grew up with 'Skippy,' a Lassie-like show about kangaroos, is fighting to protect them." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Actually not, just a few noisy flakes sporadically make a fuss while pointedly ignoring campaign inconveniences - like there being so many more kangaroos over a vastly extended range since European settlement and the provision of stock watering points and pasture improvement. Also ignored is the harsh truth of boom-bust Australia, where kangaroos are ideally adapted to massive population increase to exploit the resource following flooding rains and highly durable remnant population carryover during the inevitable subsequent drought (the bulk of the population dying off from thirst and/or starvation). Harvesting a few merely saves a pathetically small proportion from such a lingering, miserable death - always provided the 'libbers don't 'save' them from being shot, of course.

"University joins global warming study" - "Experts at Plymouth University have been awarded a share of £180,000 to study the effects of global warming around the UK coastline. The three-year project will be used to draw up plans to combat coastal erosion and flooding." (BBC News Online)

"The Daily Camera - City backs Kyoto-style goals" - "Boulder is going where the federal government has feared to tread — applying clean air standards from the proposed international 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement. Over the next eight years, the city government will try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by Boulder to 7 percent below 1990 levels. The standards mirror those suggested in the international pact on global warming developed in Kyoto, Japan. The United States last year refused to ratify the treaty, judging that enforcement of the proposal could send the nation's economy into a tailspin. On Tuesday, the Boulder City Council unanimously backed setting Kyoto-style goals locally."

"Chrétien pitches Kyoto deal to Europe; Spanish President reserved on further break on greenhouse-gas-emission cuts" - "MADRID -- Prime Minister Jean Chrétien took a hard line with European leaders on the Kyoto accord yesterday, suggesting Canada can't ratify the deal until it gets recognition for its role in producing clean-burning fuel. Mr. Chrétien made the comments after a day of meetings with the European Union, as well as Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, where he made a strong pitch for a break on greenhouse-gas-emission cuts before Canada signs the accord. The federal government is being pressed by the provinces to cut the costs of complying with the Kyoto accord and has been lobbying other accord signatories to give it credit for selling clean energy, such as natural gas and hydroelectricity, to the United States. "It will be very useful for us to have these credits," Mr. Chrétien said. "For us, we're not in a position to ratify until some of these elements are clarified." (Globe and Mail) | Kyoto still open for debate: PM (CBC News) | PM threatens to delay ratifying Kyoto deal (Toronto Star)

"Plan B had better be good" - "Prime Minister Jean Chrétien has instructed his officials to be sure that no industry and no region suffer unduly from the Kyoto agreement. Good luck! Kyoto is aimed directly at reducing the emission of carbon-based fuels into the atmosphere. That means three hydrocarbon-producing provinces -- Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador -- are bound to be the hardest hit. That means heavy carbon consumers, such as operators of SUVs, would pay a higher price than others. And that means the politics of Kyoto would be even trickier than the economics, as Canadians will see when Ottawa goes public with its options paper next week." (Globe and Mail)

"Newsday.com - Power company gets second-largest air pollution fine from state" - "TRENTON, N.J. -- The state slapped a $2 million fine on a utility company that serves southern New Jersey, saying its power plant emissions cause smog. The settlement with Conectiv Atlantic Generation, announced Wednesday, is the second-largest for air pollution in state history, said Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Elaine Makatura. Under the agreement, Conectiv can reduce the fine by half by spending $1 million to plant trees in the state's urban areas."

"Diesel Particles In Air Slow Kids' Lung Development" - "An Austrian study covering almost 900 schoolchildren, whose results are published in the latest issue of the European Respiratory Journal (ERJ) shows that exposure to particulate matter such as that emitted during diesel combustion impacts adversely on respiratory pathway development in children. The article's authors estimate that 35,000 avoidable asthma attacks are caused by this effect every year in Austria alone." (UniSci)

"US clean air rules blamed for high rural power costs" - "WASHINGTON - Targeting utilities for enforcement under federal clean air laws hurts struggling rural communities, where a larger amount of electricity is generated by coal compared to the power supplied to urban areas, according to a report released yesterday." (Reuters)

"ExxonMobil wants U.S. gas subsidy bill stopped" - "CALGARY - ExxonMobil Corp., the top natural gas reserve owner in Alaska, says it disagrees with U.S. government subsidies to support building of a natural gas pipeline along the Alaska Highway and favours a smaller project from Canada's Mackenzie Delta." (Financial Post)

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Shell green fuel in pipeline" - "Oil group Shell is considering a £100m plan to build a revolutionary plant to turn wood shavings and other farm waste into a "green" fuel for British motorists. The Anglo-Dutch group has invested £20m in a renewable energy company, which has already built the first prototype bioethanol facility and now wants to construct a commercial one. A rural area of Britain is the favourite location over other European sites. Bioethanol - produced by fermenting sugars from plant fibres - produces 90% less in greenhouse emissions than traditional hydrocarbon-based gasoline. The environmentally friendly fuel can also be mixed successfully with petrol so that cars could use it without needing to have their engines modified. Shell said it was too early to say when bioethanol would be available at the pumps but added: "We believe it could be commercially viable."

"BATTLING HUNGER WITH BIOTECHNOLOGY" - "Needless restrictions on agricultural biotechnology would harm the world's ability to battle hunger in the 21st century, say Gregory Conko and C.S. Prakash, co-founders of the AgBioWorld Foundation. They say that the concerns of anti-biotechnology campaigners simply are not supported by the scores of peer-reviewed scientific reports or data from tens of thousands of field trials." (Economic Perspectives, Vol. 7, No. 2, May 2002)

"Beating the 'Frankenfood' Rap" - "Wh-wh-wh-what happened? That's what anti-biotech activists must be asking themselves in light of a new Agriculture Department survey showing that more transgenic crops are being planted in this country than ever. Just two years ago, a gleeful scholar at the Worldwatch Institute declared in an International Herald-Tribune op-ed that, "After four years of supercharged growth, American farmers are expected to reduce their planting of genetically engineered seeds by as much as 25 percent in 2000 as spreading public resistance staggers the once high-flying biotech industry." Margaret Mellon of the anti-biotech Union of Concerned Scientists gloated that the year "probably represents a turning point for the technology." Better spray some Windex on that crystal ball, folks. Biotech plantings actually increased in 2000 and like a certain pink bunny, they just keep on going." (Michael Fumento, The Washington Times)

May 9, 2002

"Burned by a Recall; Safety Watchdog Gave Defective Gifts" - "The guardian of consumers has been caught off guard. Consumer Reports, the magazine that tests and rates products for quality and safety, acknowledged yesterday that it mailed two defective and potentially dangerous products to new subscribers as part of a promotional campaign." (Washington Post)

Gasp! "Cosmic catastrophe 'a certainty'" - "Sooner or later, a catastrophe from space will wipe out almost all life on Earth. According to Dr Arnon Dar, of the Technion Space Research Institute, Israel, a particular type of exploding star going off anywhere in our region of the Universe would devastate our planet. Using the latest statistics and calculations, he argues that a supermassive star collapsing at the end of its lifetime would form a black hole and send out a beam of destructive radiation and particles that would sterilise any planet in its path. The odds are that any planet in our galaxy would be affected about once every one hundred million years. "It is a certainty; the timescales are comparable to mass extinctions seen in Earth's geological record," Dr Dar told BBC News Online.

"BBC News | UK | Concern over church phone masts" - "Controversial plans by the Church of England to help parishes strike deals with mobile phone firms wanting to site masts on church steeples are due to be unveiled within days. Church authorities are finalising the details of a national framework to help parishes negotiate agreements with phone companies. But the scheme has sparked opposition from people who believe masts should be banned from churches for both health and ethical reasons. Some anti-mobile phone mast campaigners fear the radiowaves the emit are linked to ill health."

"ABC Sci-Tech - 08 05 02 : Mobile phone radiation could be doubled, company says" - "The Federal Government has been advised by its radiation and nuclear safety body to increase the amount of radiation mobile phones are allowed to emit. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has released a new set of guidelines which sets limits on human exposure to radio-frequency radiation. The guidelines are aimed at protecting people from the known health effects of radiation emitted from things like mobile phones, telecommunications towers and industrial welders. Agency chief John Loy says after extensive research the agency has recommended the limit on mobile phone emissions be doubled. "With the new standard the temperature rise that that would cause in somebody's brain is less than 0.1 of a degree, so it's very small indeed and far below the levels of which we know harm could be caused," he said."

"Genetics and race: Researchers explore why rates of diseases vary from one population to another" - "Tobago is a small part of a tiny nation, a tropical Caribbean isle with an area of just 116 square miles located northeast of its larger partner, Trinidad. But when it comes to prostate cancer, Tobago looms big. Men of African descent on Tobago have a rate of prostate cancer that, as best as can be estimated, is three or four times higher than that of white Americans and maybe twice as high as African Americans."

From the wacky world: "Chocolate makers sued for lead content of products" - "LOS ANGELES, May 8 - Claiming that chocolate contains enough toxic metals like lead to pose a health risk, especially for children, a California watchdog group on Wednesday launched a lawsuit against major chocolate makers for failing to warn consumers of the alleged danger.

The American Environmental Safety Institute said it is suing chocolate makers, including Hershey and Mars, for not disclosing their products contain enough lead and cadmium to pose a serious health risk -- a disclosure required by California law, if true.

But the Grocery Manufacturers of America said the FDA and other health authorities have found that the tiny traces of naturally occurring lead in food do not present a health risk.

"Creating false health scares about food that is safe does not protect anyone -- it is just misinformation," Dr. Doug Archer, professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Florida and food safety consultant for the food manufacturers trade group, said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Call to action on organic low pesticide claims" - "This call to action from Tom DeGregori talks about the error in not recognizing organic pesticides as pesticides and the studies that, as a consequence, find lower levels of pesticides on organic foods." (The Life Sciences Network)

"Newsday.com - Bush Asks Senate to Ratify Treaty" - "WASHINGTON -- President Bush asked the Senate on Tuesday to ratify a treaty phasing out a dozen highly toxic chemicals, but Democrats complained that legislation the White House favors lack a means to eliminate future pollutants. Most pollutants among the group commonly referred to as the "dirty dozen" -- PCBs, dioxins and furans, along with DDT and other pesticides -- no longer are used in industrialized countries such as the United States but are widely used in poor countries. Production and use of nine of the 12 chemicals would be banned when the treaty takes effect, which would take at least several years. About 25 countries would be allowed to use DDT to combat malaria in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines, pending development of safer solutions."

"Newsday.com - Legislature approves bill to reduce mercury in environment" - "HARTFORD, Conn. -- Thermometers and other household items that contain mercury would be slowly phased out under a bill given final legislative approval Monday by the state Senate. Supporters say the bill, approved unanimously, is intended to reduce the levels of the toxic material in the environment."

"Pioneer Press | 05 08 2002 | FISHING OPENER: State issues guidelines on eating fish" - "With the Minnesota fishing opener this weekend, the state Health Department is again warning people to be careful how much fish they consume. The agency Tuesday released its annual fish-consumption advisory, which gives recommendations about how much fish people can safely eat, depending on its size, species and where it was caught. For the second year, the agency is releasing a streamlined version, in this case an eight-page brochure called "Eat Fish Often?'' that gives general advice on selecting, preparing and eating fish taken from lakes and rivers or purchased in stores. Separate recommendations are included for the public and for people, such as pregnant women or people under 15 years of age, who are most vulnerable to pollutants such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls."

"New Zealand Herald - Dialogue - Brian Rudman: Keep taking the pill, Waikato water won't do it" - "The Greens can be a contrary lot. One of their core faiths has always been the redeeming qualities of recycling - plastic, paper, glass, bodily wastes. According to the Green good book, the road to Earth's salvation is paved with bricks of the aforementioned. And setting a shining example is co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, who proudly composts her own sewage, then dines on the plump veges that flourish on her reprocessed goodness. Why then, you might ask, is she - and her off-offsider, Nandor Tanczos - joining in the latest scaremongering about recycling Waikato River water for use in the Auckland water supply. Surely using this water is a wonderful example of a large community practising the message the Greens have long preached. The only difference between the two methods of recycling as far as I can see is that the scientific processes being used in the water reprocessing are much less hit and miss than what goes on in Fitzsimons' Coromandel manure heap. Still, this is the same politician who believes you can rid the country of possums by spraying them with the ground-up bits and pieces of some of their unfortunate in-laws. Fitzsimons argues that Auckland doesn't need to increase its water supply. She also worries about overseas reports that river water, used further upstream for water and sewage disposal, carries female hormones from the urine of contraceptive pill users."

"No looking back for the farmer happy to be a lab rat - smh.com.au" - "Laurie Don has no regrets about turning part of his farm into a giant open-air laboratory for the benefit of the local mineral sands processing plant. The bonus, as he sees it, is that he is getting free a fertiliser that could have cost him a lot of money. Over three years Mr Don has allowed TiWest, a joint venture between the giant United States firm Kerr McGee Chemical Corporation and Australian-based Ticor Resources, to pour about 55,000 litres of treated industrial waste over his land in the belief that it will make crops of lucerne [alfalfa] grow better."

"smh.com.au - Toxic imports put food in danger" - "Toxic waste from China and other countries is being imported and used as a raw ingredient by some Australian fertiliser manufacturers and distributors. The wastes - from steelworks, electric-arc furnaces and zinc smelters - are being made into products that have shown heavy-metal levels up to 110,000 times higher than those which prompt NSW consumer warnings. They are being sold to unwitting farmers, mainly in Queensland and Western Australia, as zinc sulphate micronutrients to grow root vegetables destined for supermarkets. The federal Department of the Environment confirmed yesterday it had intercepted two recent shipments of the material after being tipped off to the practice. The department tested the material and classed it as hazardous waste under Australian law."

"smh.com.au - Industrial waste in fertilisers: Greens demand inquiry" - "The leader of the Australian Greens has called for a national inquiry on the use of industrial waste in agriculture, and warned of parliamentary action if the Government doesn't respond."

"The Nando Times: Discarded cell phones a growing pollution concern" - "WASHINGTON - There's a new kind of cell phone pollution - and this one is silent. Within three years, Americans will discard about 130 million cellular telephones a year, and that means 65,000 tons of trash, including toxic metals and other health hazards, a study says. "Because these devices are so small, their environmental impacts might appear to be minimal," says Bette Fishbein, a researcher at Inform, an environmental research organization, who wrote the report. But, she says, the growth in cell phone use has been so rapid and enormous "that the environmental and public health impacts of the waste they create are a significant concern."

"New Zealand Herald - Turtles more common as Northland's climate warms" - "A Northland woman who found a coconut on the beach one day and a washed-up dead turtle the next thought she must have gone tropical. Kathy Wedge of Ruakaka, south of Whangarei, was amazed at her finds on Ruakaka Beach recently. "Have the weather patterns changed, or is there a weird tidal flow? What's going on that we get a coconut and a turtle a day apart?" Northland marine expert Wade Doak is convinced New Zealand's climate is becoming increasingly tropical. Mr Doak said global warming had made Northland's waters an attractive option for several tropical species, both marine and insect. Turtles, although endangered animals, were becoming more common."

Yeah... the coconut magically and spontaneously evolved there overnight because 'the climate has changed' and the turtle did likewise (although it did not survive less-than-tropical New Zealand climes). Could it be that some unknown (to humans) quirk of ocean currents delivered these tropical denizens to New Zealand shores?

"Scientists recover North Pole mooring from 2½ miles deep in ocean" - "A team led by University of Washington scientists is just back from the North Pole after recovering 3,500 pounds of instruments and equipment from a mooring anchored to the seafloor for a full year, eight times longer than the only previous mooring at the pole. The recovery was part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory program, a 5-year $3.9 million project taking the year-round pulse of the Arctic Ocean." (University of Washington)

"Globe and Mail | Kyoto: Lost in rhetorical smog" - It's hard deciding whether to laugh or cry when considering the Chretien government's environmental policies.Even Liberal members of Parliament are starting to express concern over the government's lack of environmental commitment on global warming and on achieving its goal under Kyoto to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 per cent from 1990 levels by 2012."

"Globe and Mail | Dhaliwal backs call for Kyoto alternatives" - "OTTAWA -- Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal has joined the call for a backup plan to fight climate change should Canada eventually decide not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming."

"Canada seeks Kyoto protocol emissions reduction credits for clean fuel exports to United States" - "WHISTLER, British Columbia - Canada is seeking credit for nearly 30 percent of its planned emissions reductions under the Kyoto protocol due to clean-burning natural gas and hydroelectricity it exports to the United States. The proposal, made public Wednesday at a U.N.-sponsored workshop on climate change, comes as Canada's giant energy industry rallies opposition to the Kyoto agreement that requires nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Prime Minister Jean Chretien's government is divided over whether Canada should ratify the protocol, which has been rejected by the United States as harmful to the economy." (AP)

"Scientists debate wisdom of plan to save Venice from flooding" - "The Italian government recently decided to move forward with planning for the construction of underwater, mobile floodgates to mitigate flooding in Venice. The soundness of the plan is discussed by several scientists in Eos, published by AGU. Some critics are skeptical as to whether the gates will actually prevent flooding. Scientists who worked on the design and assessment of the plan insist that the gates will indeed be effective barriers to flooding." (AGU)

Whacko Bob's at it again: "Fines for NSW power retailers greenhouse failures" - "MELBOURNE - Electricity retailers will be fined if they fail to meet greenhouse emission benchmarks over the next five years, the New South Wales state government announced yesterday. "This decision will add little or no extra cost to household power bills," NSW premier Bob Carr said. "Introducing these benchmarks means electricity retailers will need to reduce emissions by five percent on a per capita basis compared to 1989-90 emission levels by 2007." (Reuters)

"FT.com | Shell and Elsam in first pollution permit swap" - "Royal Dutch/Shell and Elsam, Denmark's largest electricity generator, have swapped carbon pollution permits, establishing the first trading link between the only two government-backed emission trading schemes in the world. Trading of carbon emissions is seen as the best of way of minimising the cost of reducing greenhouse gases that add to global warming. Under the innovative swap, Shell has taken Danish allowances from Elsam in return for UK allowances given to the Danish company. "It is not a huge deal in volume or financial reward," said Albrecht von Ruffer of Natsource-Tullett in London which brokered the deal. "But it is significant because it proves there will be trans-frontier deals even in the absence of allowances being formally interchangeable between national schemes."

"Los Angeles Times - State's Auto Emissions Bill Is Just So Much Gas" - "It's easy to be a "leader" when others have to pay the price. The latest manifestation of such cheap posturing is the current effort in the California Legislature to regulate "greenhouse gas" (that is, carbon dioxide) emissions from autos."

"Heed Hillary's Herald" - "Will Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) intercede with Sacramento politicians to protect the California marketplace for pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs?

Senator Feinstein is not widely known for her devotion to free market economics and opposition to big-government mandates. Neither is Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). But in the ongoing clash over national energy policy, Senators Feinstein and Clinton have staked out an anti-corporate welfare position that's to the right of President George Bush." (Marlo Lewis, TCS)

"AP Wire | 05 08 2002 | Plant clean-up initiative seen as way to clear Southeast air" - "BELEWS CREEK, N.C. - Duke Power Co.'s largest coal-fired power plant in North Carolina is almost completely screened from view by the Piedmont's rolling hills until a visitor is nearly right on top of it. It's quite a feat, given the size of the massive plant and its twin 603-tall gray smokestacks. Built in 1974, the Belew's Creek Steam Station burns 19,000 tons of coal a day in its two units when it operates at peak capacity, churning out 2,400 megawatts of electric power. Like the 13 other coal-fired power plants in North Carolina owned by Duke Power, a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Duke Energy, and Raleigh-based Progress Energy Inc., the plant is also generating another kind of heat. North Carolina environmental groups have made it the poster child of aging and polluting power plants that need immediate attention to clear the air."

"Coalbed methane permits could be in jeopardy" - "DENVER - Wyoming coalbed methane drilling permits could be challenged by environmentalists if mid-1980s land use plans, under which some leases were granted, did not specifically mention coalbed methane, a U.S. official said." (Reuters)

"Activists lose first round in German gas plant row" - "FRANKFURT - Environmentalists vowed yesterday to keep up a long-drawn out battle against a planned gas-fired power plant in eastern Germany's Lubmin after suffering a setback in court." (Reuters)

"Thigh, not stem cells, give heart a leg-up" - "Muscle cells extracted from the thigh have been cultured in the laboratory and used to restore function to the damaged heart tissue of five patients, a European doctor revealed in Sydney yesterday. The technique, which could offer an alternative to using adult or embryonic stem cells, has proved a great success." (The Life Sciences Network)

"Nature's medicine maker decoded" - "British scientists have decoded the genetic make-up of the bacterium that makes most of the world's antibiotics. The information will be used to develop more powerful medicines to fight superbugs and even cancer. The bacterium, known as Streptomyces coelicolor, is found in the soil. It is a natural antibiotic factory, making drugs that fight infection. Together with other members of the same family, the bug produces two-thirds of all natural antibiotics." (BBC Online)

"Gene warfare to be waged on invasive fish" - "For the first time, biologists are planning to genetically modify an invasive species with the express purpose of killing it off. The target is a European species of carp that has taken over many Australian rivers and streams.

Researchers are planning to use gene technology to stop the fish producing female offspring, forcing the population to crash. But before that can happen, the scientists will have to show that the strategy, which has already been shown to work in lab fish, will not create more problems than it solves.

Ron Thresher of the CSIRO, Australia's national research organisation, and his team hope to introduce multiple copies of a gene called daughterless into carp which would be periodically released into the wild. Copies of the gene are carried by the males, ensuring that it spreads though the population. "If you turn everything into a male, sooner or later the population collapses," says Thresher." (New Scientist)

"Holy Cow! Gene Doctors Are Set To Send In The Clones" - "Cloned bulls and cows will transform the beef and dairy industries, writes Robin Robertson. Commercialisation of the latest animal breeding technologies may be just around the corner as scientists overcome one hurdle after another in their quest for the perfect clone. But the biggest hurdle they will meet is consumer resistance." (Australian Financial Review)

"Green war fought on Highland battlefield" - "ANTHONY JACKSON left his tent on the front line of Scotland’s eco-battle to open a new line of attack in Edinburgh yesterday. He returned disappointed but determined to his temporary home of eight months, overlooking the oilseed rape that has become the focus of an escalating conflict over the future of genetically modified crops in Britain. Campaigners have been holding a vigil opposite the sprawling 35-acre trial site at Roskill Farm, near Munlochy, Highland, and dozens of protesters have been arrested trying to destroy the crop before it is ready for harvest. The anti-GM protest began as a local crusade but has gathered cross-party support from politicians and backing from all sections of the community, from eco-warriors to a dowager countess. At stake is the future of GM trials in Britain." (The Times)

May 8, 2002

"U.S., in a Shift, Tells Justices Citizens Have a Right to Guns" - "WASHINGTON, May 7 — Reversing decades of official government policy on the meaning of the Second Amendment, the Justice Department told the Supreme Court for the first time late Monday that the Constitution "broadly protects the rights of individuals" to own firearms.

The position, expressed in a footnote in each of two briefs filed by Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, incorporated the view that Attorney General John Ashcroft expressed a year ago in a letter to the National Rifle Association. Mr. Ashcroft said that in contrast to the view that the amendment protected only a collective right of the states to organize and maintain militias, he "unequivocally" believed that "the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms." (New York Times)

A response to & defense of "Zero Risk Fiction & Anti-technology Rhetoric Won't Feed World" (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"Opinions: DAVID YOUNT: A shift in population trends" - "In the beginning, God blessed his creatures and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number" - a commandment people happily obeyed for ages without regard for the consequences. But in 1798 Thomas Malthus warned that population growth, left unchecked, would outstrip the resources needed to feed, house and employ the world's peoples.

A century earlier Thomas Hobbes depicted such an overpopulated world, with its "continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." The soaring birth rate and Third World squalor during subsequent centuries seemed to bear out the dire predictions.

Now, unexpectedly, there is no longer a population explosion, but implosion instead, and it is worldwide. The United Nations now predicts that within a decade or so most of the world's women will be having fewer than two children and by mid-century the world's population will be shrinking for the first time since the Black Death in the 14th century." (Scripps Howard News Service)

promo: www.AndrewSullivan.com is hosting a book club chat for Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist. Lomborg will participate by answering readers' questions. Sallie Baliunas and others will jump in on the debate as well. The link is http://www.andrewsullivan.com/book_club.php

"Opinions: DALE McFEATTERS: The rights of dead animals" - "The Bush administration's obsession with secrecy is well known but now it seems to have permeated the government to a bizarre extent. According to The Washington Post, the capital's National Zoo refused to give one of its reporters the autopsy records on the death of a popular giraffe because it would violate the dead giraffe's right to privacy and the confidentiality of the veterinarian-animal relationship." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Fortuyn suspect is animal rights activist - source" - "AMSTERDAM - The suspected killer of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn is a vegan animal rights activist who declares on the Internet that "protecting animals is civilising people", a source close to Fortuyn's party said yesterday." (Reuters) | Fortuyn suspect is animal rights activist (Independent) | Assassin is militant green activist (Telegraph) | An animal lover assassinated by a vegan ...a nationalist, he will be buried abroad (The Times)

"One-quarter of organic produce contains pesticides, study finds" - "WASHINGTON — Think organic fruits and vegetables are free of pesticides? Think again. Almost one-fourth of the organic produce in grocery stores could contain traces of pesticides, including long-banned chemicals like DDT, scientists say. A Consumers Union–led study of government-collected data found pesticide residue on 23 percent of organic fruits and vegetables and on nearly 75 percent of conventionally grown produce. The findings don't mean that any of the produce is unsafe. The residues are seldom even close to the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency." (AP)

but, from the EWG spinmeisters: Major Study of Pesticide Residues Shows Organic Food Is Safer; Statement of Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook (U.S. Newswire)

"Nursery school linked to lower leukemia risk" - "LONDON - Children's immune systems, as well as their minds, are being stimulated at nursery schools, and it could help reduce their risk of developing leukemia, researchers said Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Opinions: PAUL CAMPOS: The fight over fat" - "In September of 1995, JoAnn Manson and her colleagues at the Harvard Medical School issued a press release regarding the results of a study of the health risks associated with being fat.

The press release claimed that the data the authors had collected from the Nurses Health Study provided compelling evidence for the proposition that "even mild to moderate overweight is associated with a substantial increase of premature death." This claim drew an enormous amount of attention. Indeed over the next five years, the Nurses Health Study became the most commonly cited piece of evidence in the mass media for the claim that fat kills.

The most charitable way of characterizing this statement is that it was a gross distortion of the data the study had collected. A more accurate characterization would be that it was a lie. In fact, Manson's study had found no statistically significant increased risk of mortality associated with (let alone caused by) mild to moderate obesity, as she herself later admitted when pressed on the point." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"The Fat Lady Stings" - "In most parts of America, not to mention the world, a 200-pound-plus woman who was suing after being turned down as a dance-fitness instructor would not be thought to have a strong case. But most of America remains well behind San Francisco, whose increasingly numerous laws include a new one protecting the horizontally and vertically challenged from job discrimination." (The Wall Street Journal)

"More warnings needed about 'economy-class syndrome': insurance company" - "LONDON - An insurance company in Britain is urging airlines to provide more education to pregnant women and others who are at high risk of developing blood clots when they travel. For the first time, an insurer has issued a report about deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as "economy-class syndrome" and travellers' thrombosis." (CBC News)

"Ships return to the southern ocean to enhance understanding of food chain" - "Two National Science Foundation (NSF) research vessels have sailed from Chile toward the wintry waters off the Antarctic Peninsula, where they will examine the interlocking links of a food chain. Tiny shrimp-like animals called krill anchor that food chain, feeding on microscopic plants and animals and forming the basis of a living web that supports some of Earth’s largest marine mammals." (NSF)

"Camera Is Left Behind to Zoom In on North Pole's Weather" - "An important question is whether the changes are related to a 50-year global warming trend that scientists say is mostly caused by emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from smokestacks and tailpipes. There is enough natural variability in the region — and such a paucity of data — that the question cannot be answered so far, said Dr. James H. Morison, the University of Washington oceanographer directing the project." (New York Times)

"Alaska's oil 'melts its ice'" - "Scientists say the average winter temperature in Alaska has risen by 4 Celsius in the last 40 years. This rate is about 10 times faster than most of the rest of the world. Many Alaskans say the state itself is partly to blame, because they believe its own oil resources are helping to drive climate change. They say the ice is melting and the weather warming, with disastrous results. The claims come in a film made by Television Trust for the Environment (TVE) as part of its Earth Report series." (BBC News Online)

But wait - there's more: April continues to be the cruelest month (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

"400,000 Years of Atmospheric CO2, Methane and Temperature Data: What Can They Tell Us?" - "Summary: They can tell us a lot, and it's all very comforting, scientifically speaking. In terms of the politics of the day, however, it's downright depressing." (co2science.org)

"Antarctica (Sea Ice)" - "Summary: How has the area of sea ice around Antarctica varied over the past few decades of what climate alarmists call unprecedented global warming? Since polar regions are supposed to lead the way in manifesting this phenomenon, according to climate models, sea ice should be rapidly disappearing in this region of the world. Is it?" (co2science.org)

"A 1300-Year Climatic History of Western Central Asia" - "Summary: When good tree-ring data span a long enough period of time, it is readily evident that the Modern Warm Period does not even hold a candle to the Medieval Warm Period of a thousand years ago ... even far removed from the North Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border near China and India. The Holocene 12: 267-277." (co2science.org)

"Half a Billion Years of CO2 and Climate" - "Summary: Five hundred million years is a long time to look for a cause-and-effect relationship between the atmosphere's CO2 concentration and the planet's mean global air temperature. Did the author find one? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99: 4167-4171." (co2science.org)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT; May 6, 2002 Vol. 3, No. 15" - "Energy legislation passed last week by the U.S. Senate looks suspiciously like a wish-list for global warming enthusiasts. The House-passed bill is significantly different. When (and if) provisions of the two bills eventually are reconciled in Conference Committee, who knows what may be cut and what will remain.

Back when World Climate Report and its predecessor World Climate Review were conceived, part of the motivation was what appeared to be a pattern of predestined, major stories that would appear in mainstream media outlets to bolster the climate apocalysts’ views at critical junctures in the policy-making process. As a result, we hardly were surprised at the timing of recent coverage in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times that builds upon a paper in Science magazine attempting to explain away a major embarrassment that results from a documented cooling of Antarctica over recent decades. The lobbying logic appears to be: If we can explain away this little Antarctic anomaly then all’s right with the vision of global warming apocalypse – what is needed are expensive policies (U.S. House and Senate energy bill conferees please take note).

Further bolstering the case it what is alleged to be to blame for the Antarctic cooling. It’s people, of course. It’s the ozone hole. Things really are looking up!" (GES)

"New Zealand's belching animals" - "Trials carried out by New Zealand scientists have shown how changing pastures can directly reduce the emissions of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - from sheep and cattle. The researchers say it all comes down to the tannins, the yellow-brown chemicals found in many plants. The scientists at New Zealand's agricultural research institute, AgResearch Grasslands, tested the legume lotus and found that its natural condensed tannin compounds reduced the methane emissions from ruminant animals by as much as 16%. The country is keen to find ways of reducing the impact of its belching sheep and cows so that it can meet targets for reducing those gases thought to be accelerating the warming of the planet." (BBC News Online)

"Green Alert; May 6, 2002 Vol. 1, No. 28" - "Soil organic carbon (SOC) is the largest reservoir of organic carbon in the terrestrial biosphere," write Cardon et al. (2001) in the introduction to their report on an experimental study of the potential effects of the ongoing rise in the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration on the vast store of material that once was the "C" (carbon) in the atmosphere’s CO2. As CO2, the carbon freely wafted about before it was assimilated by plants and sequestered in earth’s soils.

Soil organic carbon plays a pivotal role in earth’s carbon cycle. As a consequence, SOC is of extreme interest to scientists who worry about its stability. Among other things, they want to know if more CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere by humans’ use of fossil fuels will lead to more carbon being sequestered in the soil or if it will lead to a reduction in what already is there. The former is a logical hypothesis; the latter somewhat less so, but a possibility that cannot be ignored given concern about the effect of the rising CO2 concentration on the world’s climate." (GES)

"Worldwide weather watchers wanted" - "Net users will soon get the chance to take part in a grand experiment to work out how global climate could change over the next 50 years. Scientists have developed software that simulates 100 years of worldwide weather patterns in order to refine predictions about global warming and its effect on climate. Climatologists already have some ideas about climate change over the next 50 years, but they need the help of thousands of people running the simulation to find out the full breadth of potential outcomes. The 100-year simulation software is expected to be ready in late summer and those downloading it must be prepared to let the model run for at least eight months." (BBC News Online)

"US gov't seeks to improve greenhouse gas reporting" - "WASHINGTON - The Energy Department asked for public comments this week on ways to improve its voluntary reporting program to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for warming the atmosphere." (Reuters)

"Ottawa casts more doubt on Kyoto ratification" - "OTTAWA - More doubt was cast on Canada's wavering commitment to the Kyoto Protocol to tackle global warming with the release yesterday of a letter from Industry Minister Allan Rock stating that Ottawa should develop its own plan." (Reuters)

"Californians Call Enron Documents the Smoking Gun" - "The disclosure that Enron manipulated the California power market appeared to vindicate state officials who are seeking to recover billions of dollars in damages." | How Enron Got California to Buy Power It Didn't Need (New York Times)

"Rocky Mountain methane opens new US energy fight" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Environmentalists and the U.S. energy industry are pitching their tents over Rocky Mountain gas fields, each camp preparing for the next battle over where to secure the nation's energy supplies." (Reuters)

"EPA probing emissions from ethanol industry - WSJ" - "NEW YORK - Federal regulators are investigating emissions produced by the nation's ethanol industry over concerns it may be violating the Clean Air Act, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition yesterday." (Reuters)

"EU still far from deal on energy taxation" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission gave a lukewarm reception to a Spanish attempt to revive plans for a European Union-wide energy tax, saying its proposals to allow a long list of exemptions would undermine the whole idea." (Reuters)

"Opinions: JAY AMBROSE: Time for new nuclear plants" - "Anti-nuclear activists have been telling reporters lately that nuclear power is now and will be forever a scary proposition, and express particular concern in one published report about damage discovered in reactors last year and earlier this year. They are right that the damage is nothing to scoff at, but if the thought is that nuclear power should therefore be scotched, they are as wrong as can be.

The fact is - and this is hardly news - nuclear power is clean and has never killed one soul in this country. Coal-generated electricity pollutes heavily and coal mining has killed thousands. The problems detected in the reactors were in fact detected, and if they had not been and water had poured from the reactors, there were backup systems that would have kicked in to prevent disasters. The main thing to keep in mind is that these nuclear plants are aging, and one clear way around a recurrence of such problems is to build new plants employing new technology that would make a repeat of this problem next to impossible." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"British Energy, BNFL huddle for warmth" - "LONDON - Nuclear power producer British Energy confirmed yesterday that it was talking to state-controlled British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) about a range of co-operation issues including a management contract for BNFL's Magnox power stations." (Reuters)

"Finnish parliament nudges nuclear project ahead" - "HELSINKI - A key committee of the Finnish parliament yesterday supported a government proposal to allow industry to build a new nuclear power plant, paving the way for a final vote by the full house later this month." (Reuters)

Hmm... "Trade war fear as public resists GM food" - "Public resistance to genetically modified food in the UK continues despite the increasing threat of a trade war between the EU and US over the issue of labelling, according to an opinion poll today. The vast majority of people believe that labelling of GM food is essential and parents remain adamant they would prefer not to feed it to their children. The poll, carried out by Mori for Greenpeace, shows continued suspicion of GM food and crops despite claims from the bio-tech industry that both are gaining increased public acceptability." (The Guardian)

"Philippines imposes risk tests on GM imports" - "MANILA, May 6 - All genetically modified organism (GMO) imports in the Philippines would have undergo safety tests and risk assessment, the agriculture department said Monday. Under President Gloria Arroyo's administrative order, all GMOs will undergo safety tests by the Department of Agriculture's regulatory agencies which will identify risks and potential harm towards humans and the environment, it said in a statement." (Agence France-Presse)

May 7, 2002

REMINDER: Corn Rootworm Registration Form

To send your comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency simply fill out the information [at http://www.corn-comments.org/commentsform.html]. You may submit the provided text in its current form, or edit it to reflect your personal views and/or any additional information. When you are finished, click the submit button at the bottom of the page.

Rootworm-protected corn, developed through biotechnology, will help save farmers hundreds of millions of dollars yearly and will reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Your input will help ensure that regulators get a wide range of input from consumers, farmers, academics and other important stakeholders as part of their decision-making process. (Corn-Comments.org)

"Asthma in British youngsters found to be worst in the world" - "British Teenagers suffer the highest rate of asthma symptoms in the world yet the distressing and often debilitating condition is still not receiving the priority it deserves, the country's leading campaign group warns today.

Today's audit of childhood asthma, published by the NAC, shows that those aged 13 or 14 in Britain have the highest prevalence of severe wheeze (or breathing problems that cause disturbed sleep, coughing fits or speech limitations) out of 56 countries.

More than half of the youngsters also reported symptoms of eczema or hayfever, which suggests a strong link between respiratory and allergic conditions. But contrary to popular belief, international studies provide little evidence that air pollution causes asthma, although smog is known to exacerbate it.

Some regions with the lowest rates of air pollution, such as New Zealand and Canada, have high rates of asthma and Hong Kong, China and parts of Europe have much lower rates. Scientists say the high incidence of asthma in English- speaking nations suggests an important risk factor for the disease is genetic disposition, but the role of environmental factors is still unclear." (Independent)

"UCLA study shows many parents not getting antibiotic message" - "A new UCLA study shows efforts to teach parents that antibiotics are not necessary to treat their child's cold are failing to reach the Latino and Asian communities, and that educational campaigns need to be revamped to connect with these groups. It also shows that despite current educational efforts, physicians continue to prescribe antibiotics if they feel pressure from parents." (University of California - Los Angeles)

"Ozone Could Sanitize Foods Better Than Washes Do" - "Ozone, the gas that protects the Earth from ultraviolet radiation, may soon give U.S. food shoppers better protection from harmful bacteria. Retailers could sanitize fruits and vegetables by exposing them to ozone before they go on sale, said Gary Rodrick, a professor with the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. In Europe, ozone has been used for decades to sanitize water and food products. "With a 99.9 percent kill rate, it's far more effective than current sanitizing methods, such as commercial fruit and vegetable washes," Rodrick said. "The Food and Drug Administration recently gave the go-ahead to use it commercially in U.S. supermarkets and food-processing facilities. It also will be more acceptable than food irradiation, which has raised fears among some consumers." (UniSci)

"US study uncovers thermometer disposal dilemma" - "CHICAGO - There is no consistent advice available on how to dispose of mercury fever thermometers, devices which have come into disfavor as possible health and environmental hazards, a report said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Study on mobiles 'diluted'" - "A LONG awaited report into devices to protect against mobile phone radiation has been diluted so that it will be of limited value to consumers when it is published this week, critics said yesterday." (Telegraph)

"What’s Killing the Frogs?" - "Scientists are finding that even low levels of pollutants can harm amphibians—and possibly people." (Fred Guterl, NEWSWEEK)

"Duluth News Tribune | 05 06 2002 | Study reports parasitic worms cause frog deformities" - "GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- After slogging through 101 ponds and wetlands in five western states, scientists on the trail of a mysterious outbreak of deformities in frogs have settled on a microscopic parasitic flatworm as the prime suspect. Linked with existing laboratory studies showing that the trematode known as Ribeiroia ondatrae can cause the frogs to sprout extra legs, the new field work closes the loop by showing a direct correlation between the prevalence of the parasite and the number of deformed frogs, scientists said."

"Biologists Sought a Treaty; Now They Fault It" - "A treaty enacted nine years ago to conserve and exploit the diversity of species on earth is seriously impeding biologists' efforts to catalog and comprehend that same natural bounty, many scientists say. They say the treaty has spawned paralyzing biological bureaucracies built on the widespread belief that any scientist collecting samples — whether for a drug company or a dissertation — is bent on stealing genetic material and making a fortune. As a result, biologists say, in many tropical regions it is easier to cut a forest than to study it." (New York Times)

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From the 'getalifeitis' files: "National Zoo Cites Privacy Concerns in Its Refusal to Release Animal's Medical Records (washingtonpost.com)" - "Thousands of people have peered in on the National Zoo's PandaCam to see Tian Tian and Mei Xiang cavorting. They have surfed to the zoo Web site's ElephantCam to watch the most intimate moments between Shanti and the pachyderm's newborn calf. And they have tuned into the Naked Mole-Rat Cam to follow the subterranean rodent's tubular meanderings. But don't ask to see their medical records. You won't get them. The Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo has taken the position that viewing animal medical records would violate the animal's right to privacy and be an intrusion into the zookeeper-animal relationship."

"The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Maverick scientist tackles climate next" - "WASHINGTON — J. Craig Venter, the maverick scientist who altered history when he chose to compile a human genetic map with private money, has settled on his next project: tackling global warming."

"Develop alternatives to Kyoto, Rock says" - "OTTAWA -- Industry Minister Allan Rock, in a confidential letter to cabinet colleagues, is urging ministers to consider a made-in-Canada plan for fighting climate change that could serve as an alternative to the controversial Kyoto Protocol. "We should develop scenarios for a Canadian plan that takes action on climate change and considers our unique position in the North American context while leaving open the Kyoto target as a possible step along the way," he wrote." (Globe and Mail)

"Can we afford to back Kyoto without Bush?" - "Here's how the thinning ranks of federal proponents of the Kyoto agreement spin the competitiveness issue that has bedevilled them ever since George W. Bush declared some weeks back, "Not on my watch. Not in my patch." They employ the age-old trick of trying to turn a negative into a positive: Having the U.S. outside the treaty, they maintain, actually has its silver lining. Sure, there's the problem of investment. The next time a European cement-manufacturing giant chooses where to locate a plant, it may well decide that the U.S. side of the 49th parallel is a more prudent choice than Kyoto Canada. The same may be true for any other industrial interest likely to be energy intensive." (Globe and Mail)

"Scientific Goring" - "Part of Al Gore's makeup is a moralistic streak that makes it hard to have a diversity of viewpoints."

So said James Blumstein, one of the former vice president's professors. Blumstein is right about one thing - Gore is a moralist. But Blumstein is profoundly wrong about another. Gore is actually amazingly capable of entertaining a diversity of viewpoints, some of them mutually exclusive and sometimes even about the same person.

Consider Gore's view of Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. Pachauri, or "Pachy" as he is known to his friends and acquaintances, was recently selected to head the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC). This is the scientific panel that monitors issues relating to the alleged threat of 'global warming' and Pachauri, as its new head, is someone who will wield considerable influence over global climate change policies." (Nick Schulz, TCS)

"Reuters Wire | 05 05 2002 | Biofuel May Clean Up as World Farm Prices Flounder" - "SINGAPORE - Fuel ethanol distilled from crops such as corn and rapeseed could be the solution for countries seeking an outlet for huge agricultural surpluses. Biofuels can help raise farmer income, cut large bills for oil imports, improve energy security and combat air pollution and groundwater contamination, said experts gathered in Singapore for an international conference. Although these fuels are far more expensive than fossil fuels, interest is picking up as agricultural commodities prices flounder at historic lows and concerns about global warming grow."

"Enron Forced Up California Energy Prices, Documents Show" - "WASHINGTON, May 6 — Electricity traders at Enron drove up prices during the California power crisis through questionable techniques that company lawyers said "may have contributed" to severe power shortages, according to internal Enron documents released today by federal regulators. Within Enron, the documents show, traders used strategies code-named Fat Boy, Ricochet, Get Shorty, Load Shift and Death Star to increase Enron's profits from trading power in the state — techniques that added to electricity costs and congestion on transmission lines. The documents — memorandums written in December 2000 by lawyers at Enron to another lawyer at the company — also describe "dummied-up" power-delivery schedules, the submission of "false information" to the state, and the effective increasing of costs to all market participants by "knowingly increasing the congestion costs." (New York Times)

"US gov't urged to set emission rules for coal - study" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. coal-fired utilities are pushing the federal government to set emissions standards before they will invest in new technology to cut pollution, a study by a government advisory council said yesterday." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - EU coal, diesel subsidies clash with green ideals" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union is committed to reducing the pollution blamed for causing global warming, so why is it pumping vast subsidies into fossil fuels such as coal and diesel which are the main sources of greenhouse gases?" (Reuters)

"The Kids Are All Nuked?" - "The public has a (usually quiet) fear of nuclear power, fed by the threat of war during the Cold War, the accident at Three Mile Island and even movies like the China Syndrome.

On April 30, the Radiation Public Health Project (RPHP) provided another reason for concern. They did not shout "fire" from the rafters and warn Americans that they all were going to die from radiation poisoning. By contrast, they strove to show a tangible health benefit from eliminating nuclear power plants -- specifically, decreased infant mortality. The RPHP claimed to have found large declines in infant mortality in surrounding communities for up to six years after these communities' nuclear power plants were closed.

Faced with this perplexing study, New York Times environment reporter Andrew C. Revkin took a skeptical stance and consulted an authoritative scientist to conclude his coverage. Dr. John Boice Jr., an epidemiologist with the National Cancer Institute, directed a major study of disease patterns around nuclear facilities in 1991. He studied more than 900,000 cancer deaths in all groups between 1950 and 1984 in counties near nuclear facilities. Not only was there no evidence of increased cancer risk, but the rate of childhood leukemia was actually found to be higher before the plants began operating." (Howard Fienberg, TCS)

"South Korea KEPCO unit to build 8 new nuclear power plants" - "SEOUL - The nuclear unit of state-run power monopoly Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) said yesterday it planned to build eight new nuclear power plants by 2014 on growing power demand." (Reuters)

"New research could spearhead permanent nuclear waste storage" - "Researchers armed with a laser are closer to knowing how to prepare millions of gallons of highly radioactive nuclear waste for permanent storage." (Purdue University)

"Mouse code laid bare" - "The genetic make-up of the mouse has been laid bare by a publicly funded team of international scientists. The information will prove crucial to researchers investigating the human genome, the complete set of biochemical instructions used by cells to build and maintain our bodies." (BBC News Online)

"Frankenstein fish will glow in the bowl" - "A TAIWANESE company has created a genetically modified zebra fish that will glow in the dark, raising fears among environmentalists and the aquarium industry that the fish will start a trend for bio-engineered "Frankenstein pets". The modified fish are expected to be imported into Britain later in the year." (Telegraph)

"New Zealand Herald - Big cash win for biotechnology" - "Biotechnology is the big winner in a long-awaited $110 million batch of research contracts approved by the taxpayer-funded Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. The foundation has allocated almost $22 million to plant gene technologies, almost $20 million to naturally occurring "bioactives" and $1 million to studying the risks of modified genes infecting other organisms and New Zealanders' attitudes to genetic modification."

"Three arrested over GM raids" - "Three men have been arrested following raids on genetically-modified crop trials in the Highlands. More than 100 protesters turned up at Tullich Farm near Munlochy on the Black Isle. About 12 entered the field and a land rover was driven through a section of the GM oilseed rape. The three men are due to appear at Dingwall Sheriff Court on Tuesday in connection with the incident." (BBC News Online)

"No grounds for GM coffee, Swiss retailers agree" - "Swissaid and the Bern Declaration, presenting the results of a seven-month campaign, said some of Switzerland’s biggest coffee importers – Coop, Migros, Mövenpick, Merkur and Starbucks – shared their concerns about the GM coffee and would not stock it. But this is no storm in a coffee cup. The two Swiss NGOs say the livelihoods of millions of poor farmers in the developing world are at stake. Big threat “Genetically modified crops don’t only have environmental implications. They can also have an impact on the daily lives of thousands of coffee farmers,” says François Meienberg of the Bern Declaration. “This GM coffee represents a big threat to poor coffee-producing countries like Colombia and Ethiopia.” (SwissInfo)

"GM Products Raise Food Costs" - "Genetically modified (GM) foods contribute to the inflationary trend in the cost of food to South Africans, according to Glenn Ashton, a prominent anti-GM product campaigner. The issue was raised at the third annual food and beverage safety compliance conference in Rosebank, Johannesburg, held earlier this week under the auspices of the Institute of International Research. Concerns were also raised about the lack of consultation over the introduction of GM foods and crops in South Africa." (Mail & Guardian)

May 6, 2002

"The Nando Times: Separate studies delve into suicide, Accutane link" - "WASHINGTON - Two separate studies are under way to determine whether the popular prescription acne medicine Accutane causes suicide, their backers said Thursday. Doctors who believe Accutane causes suicide are expected to announce in Birmingham, Ala., next week a study to establish whether the cause-and-effect relationship exists, according to doctors set to conduct that study."

" Vancouver Sun - Poverty really is a killer, study says" - "OTTAWA -- Poverty is a killer, according to a new study that argues the physical deprivation and sociological stresses from living on a low income are a greater threat to the health and lives of Canadians than their lifestyles, including smoking or a poor diet. Low income is responsible for more than 6,000 unnecessary deaths every year in Canada from heart disease alone, says the study being released today by the Centre for Social Justice, a Toronto-based non-profit social research group."

"Chlorinated water increases cancer risk - The Times of India" - "WASHINGTON: Public health experts suspect that certain chemicals in chlorine water may boost the risk of cancer and contribute to reproductive problems such as miscarriage, according to a report in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Byproducts of chlorine, such as trihalomethanes (THMs), increases significantly in the bloodstream after showering, which in turn increases risk of cancer. Chlorine is used to disinfect water and organic matter found in raw water. "Chlorination of tap water was one of the most important improvements made in public health and it saves countless lives each year by reducing risk from bacterial contamination. Despite its obvious benefits, if chlorination creates its own lesser but significant risks it needs to be studied further", said primary author Amy M Miles, an environmental engineer at Research Triangle Institute."

"Risk tripled for breast cancer twins" - "Identical twins of women with breast cancer have triple the risk of getting the disease themselves, according to new research. Leading cancer expert Professor Julian Peto told a cancer conference in Dublin that when one twin developed breast cancer the other was at very high risk. He said this showed that inherited problems were more important than previously thought and could help experts track potential sufferers." (BBC News Online)

"Chronic fatigue 'not a disease'" - "AUSTRALIAN doctors are being advised in a new set of national guidelines that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is not a disease. However, the guidelines, published in tomorrow's Medical Journal of Australia, acknowledge that people with CFS are genuinely ill and can experience significant disabilities." (AAP)

"PVC cleans up image, but fears EU regulation" - "BRUSSELS - One of Europe's biggest plastics industries, PVC, faces months of uncertainty before it knows whether it will face tough new environmental restrictions, European Union sources said." (Reuters)

"Pesticide May Kill Anthrax" - "JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A common pest-control agent used to kill termites and fumigate citrus for shipment overseas could also be used to clean anthrax spores out of buildings, a researcher says. The chemical, methyl bromide, would be more effective and cheaper than current methods used for anthrax decontamination of spaces inside buildings, said Rudolf Scheffrahn, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. ``Tests indicate the fumigant used for more than 50 years to control insect pests in buildings, grain elevators and fresh fruit is a better option than current treatments, such as chlorine dioxide, for killing anthrax and other bacterial spores,'' Scheffrahn said." (AP)

"BBC News | HEALTH | Africa gets malaria early warning system" - "Experts from the UK are helping African countries to develop the world's first early warning system to prevent malaria epidemics. Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Oxford University have developed the scheme together with health chiefs in Kenya and Uganda. The scheme is aimed at giving officials enough time to take preventative measures to stop a mass outbreak of the disease."

The world according to E.O.: "What is nature worth? There's a powerful economic argument for preserving our living natural environment" - "We, Homo sapiens, have arrived and marked our territory well. Winners of the Darwinian lottery, bulge-headed paragons of organic evolution, industrious bipedal apes with opposable thumbs, we are chipping away the ivory- billed woodpeckers and other miracles around us." (E.O. Wilson, San Francisco Chronicle)

"FEATURE - From top secret to top rank, Antarctic aces plot future" - "CAMBRIDGE, England - What began as a top secret World War Two spying mission and evolved into a respected pool of polar explorers and scientists, is now aiming to build its role as a world centre of expertise on climate change." (Reuters)

"NEWS.scotsman.com - Sci-Tech - Hi-tech seals to discover secrets of global warming" - "SEALS are being pressed into service as mobile marine laboratories, with scientists gluing instruments to their backs in an attempt to find out more about global warming. Scientists at the University of St Andrews are part of an international team looking to use Hooded Seals to uncover the secrets of the Gulf Stream, which flows across the Atlantic, warming the coast of western Europe. The researchers are planning to attach their instruments to the seals who will carry them across the Atlantic during their annual migration between Greenland and Scotland."

"Australia has hottest April on record - bureau" - "SYDNEY - Australia had its hottest April on record, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on the weekend." (Reuters)

"Valley tipped to be biggest reservoir" - "A BEAUTIFUL valley full of rare wildlife could be turned into Europe’s largest man-made reservoir as part of Britain’s attempts to combat global climate change. The whole of Craig Goch, in central Wales, has long been designated a nature reserve because it is home to some of Britain’s rarest wildlife, including red kites and golden plovers. However, the water companies behind the plan to turn the site into a giant reservoir say that the valley offers southern Britain its best hope of staving off future droughts." (Sunday Times)

"New Scientist - Ozone hole causes mixed Antarctic message" - "Recent conflicting reports about whether Antarctica is warming or cooling can now at least be explained - it is all the fault of the ozone hole."

"NATIONAL POST ONLINE | Hamm weighs Klein's Kyoto alternative" - "John Hamm, Premier of Nova Scotia, has been critical of the Kyoto Protocol, saying energy-producing provinces will be penalized if the treaty is ratified by Ottawa. He is showing interest in Alberta's plan to offer an alternative to the accord, but has yet to throw his full support behind it."

"California Cleans Up" - "Trendy but smoggy California keeps zooming into the future, this time toward cleaner fuel-burning, more-efficient vehicles. The state Senate passed a bill (already passed by the state Assembly in January) that would put a lid on the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses that cars and SUVs can emit." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"The Nando Times: Bush nuclear waste plan courts disaster, Nevada lawmaker says" - "WASHINGTON - A Nevada congresswoman said Saturday that the Bush administration is risking environmental disaster and setting up a fat target for terrorists with its plan to store the nation's nuclear wastes in her home state. Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, in her party's weekly radio address, said the only method of nuclear waste disposal ever seriously studied by Washington is "sweeping it under the carpet near my hometown of Las Vegas."

"Las Vegas SUN: Editorial: Consistency missing in Yucca plan" - "If President Bush would apply a consistent definition to "sound science," Nevada could be spared the selection of Yucca Mountain as the site for nuclear waste and 42 other states could be spared the dangers of transporting the toxic material through their borders. In a Washington Post article last week, it was pointed out that the president used the sound-science argument to pull the United States out of the 1997 Kyoto treaty on global warming. The treaty called for the country to reduce its greenhouse gasses -- mostly emitted from vehicles and industrial plants and which linger below the atmosphere, trapping heat before it can escape into space -- to 7 percent below 1990 levels. In a February speech, Bush said that if "sound science" by 2012 justifies further action, the U.S. would act then, implying that current science is not convincing."

"Science used as tool for politics Bush camp accused of making studies fit agenda" - "Washington -- President Bush, in pulling out of an international global warming treaty last year, said he wasn't convinced by scientific research that the problem was all that serious. Similarly, the president and senior aides cited conflicting scientific studies for their decisions to postpone adoption of tough new standards for arsenic in drinking water, oppose increased fuel efficiency standards for automobiles and suggest a relaxation of a proposed ban on snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park. On these and many other environmental and energy-related issues, the president has said his commitment to "sound science" justified his generally industry-friendly policies. "When we make decisions, we want to make sure we do so on sound science," Bush said recently. "Not what sounds good, but what is real." The Bush administration's approach to science policy has become increasingly controversial, however." (Eric Pianin, Washington Post)

"The Seattle Times: Local News: Dirty diesel emerging as big threat to area's air" - "Twenty-five years ago, testers working for the Environmental Protection Agency sat in trailers and sniffed diesel exhaust through funnels to evaluate the stench. More than a decade after the EPA had moved to reduce lead in gasoline, the agency's biggest concern with diesel was merely its smell. "Nobody really seemed bent out of shape about health impacts," said Dave Kircher, a former EPA official now with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in Seattle. "It was just a nuisance." Today, the emerging science of air toxics — particularly the thousands of chemicals and fine particulate matter associated with diesel exhaust — reveals what one chemist advising the EPA called a "sleeping horror." Diesel exhaust in ambient air is now linked to a host of health problems including lung, bladder and kidney cancers, heart disease and asthma."

"Canada probe draws blank on GM-tainted seed" - "LONDON - A Canadian inquiry has failed to reach any conclusion as to how rapeseed shipped to Europe two years ago became tainted with genetically modified material, a government report shows." (Reuters)

May 5, 2002

"Of monkeys and men" - "An ebullient Italian researcher and a button-down American believe a virus in polio vaccines of the 1950s and early 1960s may make millions susceptible to cancer caused by asbestos." (National Post)

"UCSF finding offers provocative insight into what drives cancer" - "In a finding that calls into question a prevailing belief about the way in which cancers develop and progress, researchers led by a UCSF scientist report that it may take only two interlocking genetic steps to cause tumors to develop."

Promo: "smh.com.au - Paranoid and proud of it" - "What was healthy and fun is now dangerous. What was meant to be dangerous is now safe. Risk-free living, writes Frank Furedi, has become society's Holy Grail. Just how did we become so scared?"

"San Francisco Chronicle - Evictions may be tied to mold woes D.A. wants to know if lawyers were trying to skirt problem" - "Sonoma -- The Sonoma County district attorney's office is investigating whether a law firm that handled mass evictions of hundreds of families in Sacramento and Santa Rosa was trying to avoid dealing with mold problems in the renters' houses, prosecutors said."

"Brain link to fatigue syndrome - smh.com.au" - "An area of the brain that controls the stomach receives substantially less blood in some people with chronic fatigue syndrome, a study shows."

"Heavy petting" - "A 'bill of rights' for animals, proposed by the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has been greeted with some degree of ridicule. However, when UK animal welfare minister Elliot Morley called for new laws to protect animals kept by farmers, circuses, zoos and pet-owners after a government consultation exercise, it was welcomed with open arms. But while the idea of an animal 'bill of rights' is clearly ludicrous, in substance it is little different to the apparently moderate proposal for more stringent animal welfare legislation. Both proposals betray an unhealthy sentimentality towards animals, and a degraded view of people." (Helene Guldberg, spiked-online.com)

"Associated Press - Judge grants restraining order against whale hunt" - "TACOMA, Wash. - A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order Friday barring the Makah Tribe from hunting gray whales. U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess in Tacoma issued the 10-day order requested by whaling opponents, said Michael Markarian, vice president of the New York-based Fund for Animals. The organization also requested a hearing for a preliminary injunction, which would last longer than a temporary restraining order. It seeks to prevent the Makah from hunting whales while a lawsuit challenging the tribe's right to whale makes its way through the courts."

Makah Nation site

"Newsday.com - US Detains Brazil Mahogany Shipments" - "WASHINGTON -- Toppling global trade in illegal logging has become a Bush administration environmental priority, starting with help for Brazil's fight to preserve its Amazon big leaf mahogany forests. "Everyone's on alert looking for illegal importation of mahogany," says Assistant Attorney General Tom Sansonetti, who heads the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. Over the past several months, Agriculture Department inspectors and Customs Service agents at U.S. ports have stopped 15 shipments of Brazil's prized tropical hardwood bound for U.S. furniture and casket makers. The Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Department also are involved."

"The Nando Times: Climate experts watching El Nino pattern in Pacific" - "A strong El Nino pattern in the Pacific this summer could help ease drought in the Southwest, but also could make dry conditions in the Northeast persist, climate experts say. "If a full-blown El Nino occurs, it will be good news for the Southwest, since El Nino typically brings wetter-than-normal conditions for that region," said Martyn Clark, a researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder."

"Los Angeles Times - Wind Theory May Clear Up Warming Mysteries" - "It is one of the biggest climate mysteries today: If the Earth is getting warmer, why are vast parts of Antarctica getting colder? For the last decade, the behavior of Antarctica has become increasingly inexplicable. And the inability of scientists to figure out what they were seeing has been one of the most troubling gaps in explanations for why the Earth seems to be warming--one repeatedly pointed to by global warming skeptics."

Trouble is, warming advocates refuse to believe their own lying eyes. Increasing urbanisation has hopelessly corrupted the surface record amalgam and the apparent answer is that the world is not genuinely suffering any unusual warming episode - hence the massive 'mystery' of 'anomalous' Antarctic cooling when enhanced greenhouse dogma insists it should be demonstrating the greatest warming. Anomaly or uncorrupted record? No one's ever likely to know since the probability is very high that we'll be in the next ice age long before any 'catastrophic warming' should occur.

"A chilling climate for science" - "'Art was made to disturb, science reassures.' Like all the best quotes, this one from cubist painter Georges Braque makes you think, but it doesn't quite ring true.

Both science and art have the capacity to disturb and reassure. Scientific breakthroughs - like the discovery that the Earth is not the centre of the Universe, or Darwin's theory of natural selection - can upset the same social orthodoxies that some art, produced for the purposes of religious and political propaganda, seeks to uphold.

But Braque had a point. In general, science tries to explain the world, and the better something is understood, the less frightening it becomes. Art, by contrast, seeks new, unconventional ways of looking at anything and everything - asking more questions than it answers.

How times have changed. While art seems to be increasingly concerned with the trivial and the mundane, scientific knowledge has become a major source of disturbance in the Western world - nuclear power, genetic modification and embryo transfer technologies spring to mind, as does the science of climate change." (Stuart Blackman, spiked-online.com)

"Globe and Mail | Environment | Bad evolution" - "For the first time, a major study has catalogued the beginning of the slippery slope to the collapse of Earth's ecosystems. Because of global warming, animals and plants are changing in unpredictable ways. ALANNA MITCHELL reports"

"Globe and Mail | Environment | Looking for a way out of Kyoto? You're getting warmer" -- We Canadians should congratulate our Kyoto negotiators for their exceptional work. These selfless men and women, shuttling incessantly from Bonn to New Delhi, from The Hague to Marrakesh, have been so successful in representing the interests of their home side that it is conceivable Canada could meet its stringent Kyoto treaty commitments with hardly any impact on our emissions of greenhouse gases."

"ExxonMobil rubbishes green investor report" - "LONDON, May 3 - ExxonMobil Corp, the world's biggest oil company, labelled as "ridiculous" a report by a group of dissident investors that the company's stance on global warming hurt shareholder value. The report, written by Mark Mansley of Claros Consulting, said the oil giant's approach to climate change could cost the company dearly in the future if it failed to diversify into renewable energy and end its dependence on big oil." (Reuters)

"Newsday.com - Rowland signs into law bill to cut power plant emissions" - "NORWALK, Conn. -- Ending a five-year legislative battle, Gov. John G. Rowland on Thursday signed into law a bill designed to force the cleanup the state's six oldest and dirtiest power plants. Rowland, who signed the bill at the Norwalk Aquarium, called the legislation a compromise that will substantially reduce air pollution without jeopardizing the reliability of energy."

"Newsday.com - Court Upholds Tougher Diesel Rules" - "WASHINGTON -- A federal court rejected industry challenges Friday and upheld an Environmental Protection Agency program to cut pollution from tractor-trailer rigs and other large trucks and buses. The ruling was praised by environmentalists who view the tougher truck tailpipe rules and a requirement for low-sulfur diesel fuel as key to tackling a major source of dirty air."

"The Nando Times: Automakers pan California CO2 legislation" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California lawmakers' plans to impose the nation's first restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks has left automakers fuming. Global auto manufacturers say the latest restrictions could filter to other states, hampering supplies and sales nationally of popular sport utility vehicles and light trucks."

"Newsday.com - Ethanol Plants Said Releasing Toxins" - "WASHINGTON -- Factories that convert corn into the gasoline additive ethanol are releasing carbon monoxide, methanol and some carcinogens at levels "many times greater" than they promised, the government says."

"From Fields to Factories; Plant-Based Materials Replace Oil-Based Plastics, Polyesters" - "When Patrick Gruber, chief technology officer at Cargill Dow LLC, peers into the future, he sees a world made of corn. Not gaudy structures like South Dakota's Corn Palace, whose exterior is decorated with thousands of painted corn cobs, but the stuff of everyday life: T-shirts, socks, milk bottles and auto parts. Gruber's future may soon be reality. Cargill Dow's new factory in Blair, Neb., which converts field corn into a biodegradable substance it calls NatureWorks PLA, is shipping the material in bulk to produce packaging materials, clothing and bedding products. Coca-Cola Co. is using it to make soft-drink cups, McDonald's for salad containers and Pacific Coast Feather Co. to fill pillows and comforters. Cargill Dow executives said the corn-derived polymer will compete directly with petroleum-based plastics and polyesters on price and performance. "It's all about sustainability," Gruber said. "Would you rather buy a product made from corn from the Midwest or petroleum from the Middle East?" (Washington Post)

May 3, 2002

"Allergy Drug Scare Unfounded" - "Swedish "researchers" are at it again. Last week, they targeted potato chips and french fries for a health scare. This week, it’s Claritin — the most widely used allergy medicine in the U.S. and one of the most widely used in the world. The nature and timing of the Claritin scare seem somewhat suspicious." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"VA says Gulf nerve gas study wrong" - "WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledged today that it erroneously concluded that Gulf War veterans who escaped exposure to nerve gas were dying at a higher rate than those who were exposed. A VA analysis released in February compared death rates among soldiers who were and were not exposed to nerve gas when a chemical weapons depot at Khamisiyah, in southern Iraq, was destroyed in 1991. The study concluded that soldiers who escaped exposure were dying at a rate 10 times higher than those thought to have been exposed to low levels of toxic gas. But the VA said today the findings were skewed because 1,050 deaths of exposed soldiers were not counted and an additional 563 deaths of exposed soldiers were counted as being among soldiers who escaped exposure, the VA said. VA Secretary Anthony Principi ordered the investigation of the analysis, which had caused alarm among some veterans groups. "In this instance, some information was released before being properly scrutinized and scientifically validated," Principi said in a statement. "The bottom line is that Khamisiyah veterans have death rates similar to their non-exposed counterparts and less than half the rate of their civilian counterparts," Principi said." (AP)

"Cancer hair test theory cut short" - "Hopes that doctors might be able to detect breast cancer by simply scanning a single hair have been dashed by further research. At present, breast cancer is detected by x-rays which can hopefully spot the difference between healthy tissue and denser tumours. Research in 1999, published in the journal Nature, suggested that another type of x-ray scanning could reveal subtle molecular changes in hair strands. This small angle x-ray scattering produces a distinctive pattern depending on the molecular structures encountered. It claimed that breast cancer patients experienced these changes in their hair - and they could be detected. However, since the original Australian research projects, no teams have managed to reproduce this result." (BBC News Online)

"Study: Showering boosts concentrations of potentially hazardous trihalomethanes" - "Trihalomethanes -- byproducts of interaction between chlorine used to disinfect water and organic matter found in raw water -- increase significantly in the bloodstream after showering, a new study shows. Public health experts suspect the chemicals may boost the risk of cancer and contribute to reproductive problems such as miscarriage." (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

"BBC News | HEALTH | Chickenpox jab 'could hurt adults'" - "Vaccinating children against chickenpox - an idea gaining favour in many countries - could lead to the millions of cases of shingles in older people, say UK researchers. In America, most children are vaccinated. A vaccine is also available in Canada. Australia is considering the idea. In Europe, there is little vaccination as chickenpox is seen as fairly harmless. But in Britain earlier this year, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline submitted a vaccine combining chickenpox and the controversial triple measles, mumps and rubella vaccine for approval. After having chickenpox, people retain the virus within their sensory nerves. It lies dormant there until a fall in immunity - which usually occurs after the age of 60 - allows it to flare up again as shingles (herpes zoster)."

"The Nando Times: Medical group warns about concussions and youth soccer" - "WASHINGTON - Parents who worry about the dangers of football sometimes encourage their children to play soccer. But in terms of serious head injuries, it's no safer, researchers say. Players can get concussions from heading the ball, colliding, running into goal posts or hitting their heads on the ground. A player who sustains a second concussion before recovering from the first may suffer brain swelling that could lead to brain damage and death."

"Measuring The Effects Of Mobile Phones On Ear, Eye" - "Researchers in the Netherlands have developed a new technique to look at the effect of radiation from mobile phones on complex structures such as the inner ear and the eye. The technique, called "quasistatic zooming," will help researchers calculate the amount of radiation from mobile phones absorbed by human tissue on scales of less than one millimeter." (UniSci)

Another 'population crisis' Paul? "Study suggests global extinction crisis more serious than previously thought" - "Singling out vulnerable species for protection has been an important conservation tool for nearly 30 years. Now two prominent ecologists – Stanford Professor Paul R. Ehrlich and Gerardo Ceballos of the University of Mexico (UNAM) – are calling for a broader approach to wildlife preservation." (Stanford University)

"Compost confusion threatens recycling" - "CONFUSION over composting could cause the collapse of the Government's plans to increase recycling, and lead to more waste being incinerated, councils said yesterday." (Telegraph)

"Thunderstorms are affected by pollution" - "A NASA-funded researcher has discovered that tiny airborne particles of pollution may modify developing thunderclouds by increasing the quantity and reducing the size of ice crystals within them. These modifications may affect the cloud’s impact on the "radiation budget," the amount of radiation that enters and leaves the Earth." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Ozone Hole Is Now Seen as a Cause for Antarctic Cooling" - "Most scientists blame people, at least in part, for global warming. Now, some researchers say people may be partly to blame for the cooling of Antarctica as well." (New York Times) | A Single Climate Mover for Antarctica [PDF] (Science) | Interpretation of Recent Southern Hemisphere Climate Change [PDF] (Science)

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Global warming makes oil the 'new tobacco'" - "Oil companies could find themselves facing multi-billion pound legal suits - similar to those facing tobacco firms - if they ignore the potential consequences of global warming, a report claimed yesterday. ExxonMobil, the biggest oil group in the world, compares badly with its peers Shell and BP for its hardline stance on global warming, argues the study by Claros Consulting. The report was released by Campaign ExxonMobil - a religious shareholder group trying to build a coalition of opposition ahead of the oil group's annual general meeting on May 29. Faith groups and environmentalists in the US say they have amassed support from 8.6% of shareholders for a motion calling for a change of its environmental policy. They were in London this week in an attempt to win over British investors such as Barclays Global Investors, the biggest single shareholder in ExxonMobil."

"New Zealand Herald - Dialogue - A step out of the hothouse" - "The Government's global warming policy should be greeted with cautious optimism, not only because of what the policy contains but also what is behind it. In an attempt to sweeten the pill for a reticent public, the Government has prescribed only the lowest possible dose of medicine needed for the future. The unmentioned background, which is not contained in the policy, is the way New Zealand has changed its stance in the world negotiations over climate change."

"WORLD BANK: New facilities to address climate change partnership signed between the Netherlands and the World Bank Group" - "The IBRD and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), both members of the World Bank Group, announced today agreements with the Netherlands establishing two facilities to purchase greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction credits. The IBRD and IFC Facilities, signed with the Netherlands' Ministry of Environment, Housing and Spatial Planning (VROM), will support projects in developing countries in exchange for emission credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) established by the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change."

"Japan, NZ agree to push for climate change pact" - "WELLINGTON - Japan and New Zealand yesterday affirmed their commitment to the Kyoto climate change pact aimed at cutting the emission of greenhouse gases, but saw little hope of agreement on whaling or a two-way trade deal." (Reuters)

"Toothless global-warming bill" - "Domestic global-warming debate is heating up as the Diet discusses a bill to revise the nation's global-warming prevention law and prepares to approve the Kyoto climate accord for ratification. The centerpiece of this law will be a new national scheme -- a Kyoto Objective Achievement Plan -- to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with Japan's Kyoto Protocol target, 6 percent of 1990 levels during the period 2008 to 2012." (Japan Times)

"Car-Emissions Curb Gains in California" - "SACRAMENTO, May 2 — The California Senate, in a bow to environmental activists and fears of global warming, today passed the first bill in the nation to propose limiting carbon dioxide emissions from vehicle exhaust. Senate Democrats prevailed, 22 to 13, in a vote to override fierce objections of global carmakers and auto dealers who called the bill a backdoor attempt to make them sell smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles." (AP)

"Newsday.com - GM demonstrates gasoline-fed fuel cell vehicle" - "HONEOYE FALLS, N.Y. -- General Motors Corp. demonstrated Wednesday what it believes is the world's first drivable fuel cell vehicle that extracts hydrogen from gasoline to produce electricity. The demonstration of the fuel cell-powered Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck took place on a road course in this community south of Rochester. "This vehicle and the reforming technology in it move us closer to a hydrogen economy," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development and planning. The S-10 pickup being demonstrated was equipped with a fuel processor that reforms low sulfur gasoline though a series of chemical reactions. The fuel is mixed with air and water and passed over a series of catalysts that separate the hydrogen from the carbon. The hydrogen is sent to the fuel cell stack where it is combined with oxygen from the air to produce electricity."

"UK 'neglects' nuclear waste science" - "The UK's premier independent scientific body has published a stinging indictment of nuclear waste disposal policy. The Royal Society says the problem of disposing of existing waste is "serious and urgent". It says "the relevant scientific and technological research base has been seriously diminished". And the institutions and processes set up to deal with nuclear waste disposal "do not command public confidence". The society, Britain's national academy of sciences, makes the criticisms in a report, Developing UK Policy For The Management Of Radioactive Waste." (BBC News Online)

"Drilling moratorium can be lifted, B.C. panel; No legal, scientific reason for ban on oil exploration offshore" - "VANCOUVER - Development of British Columbia's offshore oil and gas reserves moved a step closer to reality yesterday after the provincial government unveiled a report that found there is no scientific or legal reason to keep a moratorium on energy development. The scientific panel, which was created by the B.C. Liberal government, also said a 1972 moratorium that has blocked drilling was never legally enacted by either the province or Ottawa, and has been maintained only as an informal policy. "This is a huge step towards lifting the moratorium," said Richard Neufeld, B.C.'s Minister of Energy and Mines. "They [the panel] say, and I agree, there are no moratoriums; they are only in people's minds. The potential for safe, scientifically sound exploration has been confirmed." (Financial Post)

"US wind power outlook hits Danish turbine makers" - "COPENHAGEN - The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said yesterday installed wind power capacity in the U.S. would total around 20,000 megawatts by 2010, significantly below most analysts' estimates. The news deflated shares in Danish wind turbine manufacturers NEG Micon and Vestas , which have risen sharply in recent weeks on expectations of strong demand for wind power in the U.S." (Reuters)

"UK wind farm fights govt ban in court" - "LONDON - A British court will hear an appeal from renewable energy company Ecogen against a government ruling blocking its plans to build an onshore wind farm in northern England. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) blocked the 80 megawatt wind farm at Kielder last year after objections from the Defence Ministry (MoD) that the farm's turbines would interfere with radar defence systems." (Reuters)

"StarLink stigma begins to fade for US corn" - "CHICAGO - U.S. corn is shedding the stigma of StarLink, the unapproved transgenic variety that slipped into the food chain in late 2000, but grain companies are not letting their guard down just yet against the rogue crop." (Reuters)

"UK village takes on government over gene crop test" - "LONDON - The people of a village in southeast England flexed their muscles against the British government this week with a vote rejecting plans for a trial of genetically modified maize in their backyard." (Reuters)

May 2, 2002

Signatories wanted: "Declaration in Support of Protecting Nature With High-yield Farming and Forestry" - "It is clear that modern high-yield farming - the Green Revolution - has been a significant environmental and humanitarian triumph. Since the 1960's it has led to better lives and prevented the malnourishment of billions of people.

Additionally, the Green Revolution's higher yields made it unnecessary to clear millions of square miles for food production, thereby saving large amounts of natural habitat and biodiversity from the plow. In short, producing more food per hectare helped save large areas of land for nature.

Conservation and biodiversity is similarly enhanced by high yield practices being applied to forestry. High-yield plantation forestry meets human demands for forest products with significantly fewer hectares, allowing for far wider conservation of natural forests and the rich array of flora and fauna within those forests." (HighYieldConservation.org)

"Newsday.com - Pataki's river task force draws criticism from both sides" - "WASHINGTON -- Gov. George Pataki's newly minted Hudson River task force is drawing criticism from both sides of the PCB dredging debate. Environmentalists said the task force Pataki announced Sunday was stacked with opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency's dredging plan. But some opponents maintained they had been excluded. The 14-member panel contains three members of the Pataki administration, six people opposed to dredging, three who support it and two academics. The chairwoman is state environmental commissioner Erin Crotty. Pataki has endorsed the removing PCBs from the river."

"Keep the Pentagon Green" - "Military preparedness and environmental protection can often seem at odds. How do you hold live-fire exercises on a beach and not ruin a habitat? That question and others are being raised by the Pentagon as it seeks an exemption from some federal environmental laws. A bill to provide such a national- security exemption has been introduced in Congress, and its backers are likely to get a sympathetic hearing. The nation, after all, is at war. But lawmakers shouldn't be too quick to grant the armed services extensive freedom from compliance with laws designed to remove hazardous wastes, clean the air, and protect endangered species." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Compost criminals risk £5,000 fine" - "Alan Titchmarsh, the nation's favourite gardener, is in danger of turning his fans into criminals. This week, as part of national compost week, he is encouraging Britons to throw vegetable peelings on compost heaps and spread compost in their back gardens. But the environment agency says the age old practice of gardeners recycling waste to grow next year's crops is a danger to the public. Fungal spores produced as the compost breaks down could infect the neighbours, the agency has decided. Regulations require compost heaps to have a licence and an environmental risk assessment if the compost heap is within 250 metres of a dwelling or workplace. The penalty for failing to get a licence is a £5,000 fine." (The Guardian)

"The end of poverty? One finance expert argues the world is indeed getting richer – and that the path to prosperity is clear" - "WELLESLEY, MASS. – John Edmunds has seen the future – and it's wealthy. This will be news to many – certainly to all those antiglobalization protesters who now force the world's economic leaders into retreat behind concrete wherever they gather. And many people are used to thinking of the developing world only in terms of dire, and worsening, poverty. But Dr. Edmunds, a professor at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is adamant. "The economic problem is now solved," he says. "For thousands of years, mankind struggled to achieve freedom from poverty. The solution is now here and is rapidly transforming everyone's economic possibilities everywhere." (Christian Science Monitor)

"DEET brain effects in animals warrant caution" - "A Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist is recommending caution when using the insecticide DEET, after his animal studies last year found the chemical causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats after frequent and prolonged use." (Duke University Medical Center)

"Animal lobby makes Novartis wary on UK investment" - "LONDON - Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG is wary of increasing investment in Britain because of problems with animal rights activists, Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel Vasella said in an interview published yesterday." (Reuters)

"Cellphone exposure on trains" - "Here's another reason to get annoyed with mobile phones and other wireless gadgets in train carriages. According to Japanese researchers, microwaves from cellphones used in trains bounce around inside the carriage, resulting in a level of electro-magnetic radiation that exceeds those levels recommended under international guidelines." (New Scientist)

The May edition of "Environment & Climate News" is now online (Heartland Institute)

Letter of the moment: "Gore on Climate Change" - "Re "The Selling of an Energy Policy," by Al Gore (Op-Ed, April 21): Mr. Gore's derogatory statements about me reflect deep disappointment at my election as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, with 76 votes for me against 49 for his protégé, Dr. Robert T. Watson.

In a 1991 speech, Mr. Gore, referring to my "commitment," "vision" and "dedication," said: "Pachy is the one person in the world who could bring us all here. . . . He is known all over the community of concerned men and women as someone with the intellect and the heart."

In "Earth in the Balance," Mr. Gore acknowledged me "among the other scientists who have been helpful in giving me advice during the writing of this book."

Would the real Al Gore stand up? Does what he says today hold no value tomorrow?" (R. K. PACHAURI, New Delhi, April 27, 2002, New York Times)

World Climate Report Volume 7, Number 17, May 6, 2002 (Greening Earth Society)

"GIGO Modeling Climate at Warp Speed" - "Two new NASA technologies have squeezed 10 times more power out of climate-modeling supercomputers." (Science @ NASA)

"Australia urged to take lead on environmental policy" - "Australia needs to stop "blindly following the US", and take the lead in policy decisions, according to international environment crusader Dr Roger Rosenblatt. Presenting a paper on the necessity of nurturing the environment to sustain global health at the World Rural Health Conference in Melbourne today, Dr Rosenblatt said there was no reason Australia could not become a world leader in environmental and industrial policy. "To blindly follow the US is a recipe for disaster," he said." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Gee Rog., Australia is helping to lead on environmental policy - specifically by helping lead the world away from self- and environmentally- destructive economic suicide on the strength of empirically unsupported and unsupportable fright features.

"Climate change could have wide effect on South Asian agriculture: UNEP" - "1 May – Changes in the global climate could negatively impact South Asian agriculture and the region's millions of people who depend on it, the top United Nations environment official said today. Klaus Toepfer, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said the weather phenomenon could affect the region's crop yields, soil fertility and agricultural zones. Speaking at a workshop in New Delhi on adaptation to climate change for agricultural, Mr. Toepfer stressed the need to develop long-term polices and measures to anticipate and protect the well-being of the millions of people in the region whose survival is based on agriculture and related activities." (UN)

"Venetians should start learning the backstroke" - "Venice is dying. That's the sober message of John Keahey's new book, "Venice Against the Sea." The city is slowly sinking, Venetians are fleeing, oceans are rising, and the Adriatic's waves are lapping at the bricks like a ticking clock." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Australia resists Japan's call to join climate pact" - "CANBERRA - Australia resisted a call by Japan yesterday to ratify the Kyoto pact on climate change that is designed to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming." (Reuters)

"Independent Review of Australian Greenhouse Office" - "Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced the commencement of an independent review of the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO). This fulfils a commitment to a 2002 review, made when the AGO became an Executive Agency two years ago.

Dr Kemp announced that the Hon. Warwick Smith, an Executive Director with Macquarie Bank, is conducting the review. Mr Smith, a former Federal Minister and Shadow Minister for Science and Energy, has considerable experience in parliamentary inquiries on public policy issues. He will report his findings to the Government by 30 June this year." (media release)

"New Zealand Herald - Both Kyoto factions need reality check" - "A dispiriting feature of the debate about the Kyoto Protocol is the way the two sides - business and the green camp - tend to talk past each other, neither seeing any merit in the other's position. The Government cannot afford the tunnel vision of the advocates. It has had to strike a balance and make a decision."

Actually, we still need to know whether there is anything to address, then establish whether anything useful could be done to either preempt or mitigate...

"Britain launches 66 million pound biomass scheme" - "LONDON - Britain launched a 66 million pound ($96.16 million) scheme this week to boost its biomass industry and the use of renewable energy." (Reuters)

"Muddy Statistics Dirty Air" - "According to "State of the Air 2002," a report released today by the American Lung Association (ALA), "more than 142 million Americans live in areas where the air they breathe puts them at risk." If that were true, air pollution would be one of the most serious health challenges in the United States. Fortunately, it's not. "State of the Air" vastly exaggerates Americans' exposure to air pollution, and misleads the public into believing that air pollution is getting worse, when in fact it has been improving." (Joel Schwartz, TCS)

"U.S. proposes limited restrictions on air pollution from oceangoing ships" - "WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the first federal limits on air pollution from large oceangoing ships, but environmentalists said the proposal would provide little improvement over existing voluntary standards." (AP)

"Here come the ratbots" - "Guided rats - so-called ratbots - controlled through implants in their brains could one day be used to search for landmines or buried victims of earthquakes, scientists say. The extraordinary experiment involves researchers steering five rats through an obstacle course by remote control. Writing in the journal Nature, they say the ratbots could reach places inaccessible to humans or machines." (BBC Online News)

"Don't ban genetically improved fish" - "For years scientists have worked to modify the genes of salmon and other fish to increase their viability for commercial production. These genetically improved, or transgenic, lines of commercial fish have the potential to provide tremendous benefits to the business of aquaculture, to the ocean environment and to the world's food supply.

Next week, separate committees of the Legislature will consider two pieces of legislation that prematurely establish unnecessary and overburdensome restrictions on transgenic fish and transgenic fish products in California. Both pieces of legislation will ultimately hurt California's economy. On a broader scale, the proposals so poorly define what constitutes genetic alteration, they could seriously impede scientific efforts to improve food production in the years ahead." (Joseph D. Panetta, San Diego Union-Tribune)

"Farmer must pay court costs" - "SASKATOON -- The judge who ruled last year that Percy Schmeiser knowingly violated Monsanto's patent on its Roundup Ready gene in 1998 has now ruled the Bruno farmer should pay Monsanto court costs of $153,000." (Regina Leader Post)

"Genetic Gains Unlikely to Help World's Poor, Report Predicts" - "The flood of new knowledge from genetic research is likely to worsen inequalities in health between rich and poor countries unless money, training and technical assistance are provided to help developing countries benefit from new discoveries, according to a report issued yesterday by the World Health Organization. "Frankly, in a time frame of three to five years, there can be quite considerable breakthroughs," said WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland. "And at that moment, it is important who is going to be able to benefit from those breakthroughs." New vaccines and drugs for major killers such as malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis are being developed through genetic research, but mechanisms are needed to ensure that the victims of such diseases, most of whom live in poor countries, will have access to such treatments, according to the report, "Genomics and World Health." (Washington Post)

May 1, 2002

"Gun Control Misfires in Europe" - "Sixteen people were killed during Friday's school shooting in Germany. This follows the killing of 14 regional legislators in Zug, a Swiss canton, last September, and the massacre of eight city council members in a Paris suburb last month. The three worst public shootings in the Western world during the past year all occurred in Europe, whose gun laws are exactly what gun-control advocates want the U.S. to adopt. Indeed, all three occurred in gun-free "safe zones." (Wall Street Journal Europe)

"Doctors should think twice before prescribing new drugs: study" - "HALIFAX - New drugs are approved so quickly in the U.S. that dangerous side effects can slip by, researchers say. They concluded doctors should avoid prescribing new drugs when older, equally effective ones are available." (CBC)

"FDA Too Slow To Approve New Medical Drugs And Devices; Public Interest Group Releases Poll of Cancer Specialists" - "Washington, DC, April 30, 2002—A new nationwide poll of cancer specialists sponsored by the Competitive Enterprise Institute finds many of them believe the FDA is too slow in approving new medical drugs and devices. CEI’s poll is being released as the agency’s drug approval process once again becomes the subject of much debate, with some arguing that drugs are being approved too quickly, while others believe skyrocketing costs and regulatory barriers are affecting drug development. The recent controversy over the FDA’s rule for testing pediatric drugs may add another regulatory hurdle to the process." (Competitive Enterprise Institute)

"Scientists Cautious on Report of Cancer From Starchy Foods" - "Many experts say that a rising furor over a new report that many starchy foods, including breads, cereals and French fries, are laced with a chemical that could cause cancer is overblown. The chemical is acrylamide, which, Swedish scientists reported last week, is produced when certain carbohydrates are baked or fried at high temperatures. The scientists have not published a paper on their small study. Instead, they made their announcement at a news conference last week. Shortly afterward, the World Health Organization announced it would "organize an expert consultation as soon as possible to determine the full extent of the public health risk from acrylamide in food." But many experts said yesterday that it made no sense to be alarmed over unpublished data on a chemical that was very unlikely to have a measurable impact on cancer rates. "It's just dumb, dumb, dumb," Dr. Stephen Safe, a professor of toxicology at Texas A&M University. "There are carcinogens in everything you eat. Maybe they'll just ban food." Others agreed." (New York Times)

"New Zealand Herald - Cancer-scare health study clears paper mills" - "Researchers studying New Zealand pulp and paper mill workers have found no overall increase in deaths from cancer or other causes."

"Most Americans breathe polluted air - survey" - "WASHINGTON - More than half of all Americans breathe polluted air that can damage their health because the government doesn't fully enforce clean air laws, the American Lung Association said today." (Reuters)

"Extreme Measures" - "The good news from the most recent EPA National Air Quality 2000's report issued September 2001 is that "national air quality levels measured at thousands of monitoring stations across the country have shown improvements over the past 20 years." This is especially positive news considering that the nation's gross domestic product has increased 158% and vehicle miles traveled rose by 143%. Meanwhile the population grew by 36% since the 1970s and energy use a mere 45%.

But do we appreciate the good news? Many worry that even minute traces of "hazardous" emissions or even nontoxic ones such as carbon dioxide (CO2) damage our environment or overheat the Earth." (Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"Clearing the Polluted Sky" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — President Bush has called his Clear Skies initiative "the most aggressive initiative in American history to cut power plant emissions." It is unfortunate that many environmentalists and some legislators have opposed this plan. It provides for a huge reduction in emissions and uses innovative strategies to fight air pollution. Mr. Bush's initiative has yet to be put in legislative form. But it would expand the use of the cap-and-trade approach to pollution control and it would seem to remove, although the administration has yet to make this clear, an outdated and obstructive feature of the Clean Air Act of 1970, namely the distinction between old and new sources of pollution. Beyond some small programs aimed at reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, the Clear Skies initiative does not address global warming. Neither, however, does the Clean Air Act. The president's plan is a proposal to reform the Clean Air Act to deal more effectively with traditional sources of pollution." (New York Times)

"Pool staff in asthma link" - "People working in indoor swimming pools could be at risk of developing asthma, researchers suggest. A study by Birmingham doctors suggests chemicals called chloramines could cause occupational asthma. The paper, published in the European Respiratory Journal (ERJ), suggests regular swimmers could also be at risk." (BBC News Online)

"Study: infections do not protect against allergy" - "LONDON, Apr 30 - Early childhood infections such as measles, chicken pox and mumps may not protect youngsters from developing allergies, Danish doctors said Tuesday. In a study that contradicts earlier research suggesting common childhood illnesses could help to prevent allergies and asthma later in life, scientists at the Danish Epidemiology Science Center in Copenhagen found they may actually increase the risk." (Reuters)

"Pentagon Seeks Release From Environment Laws (washingtonpost.com)" - "The Defense Department is pressing Congress for exemptions from many of the nation's most important environmental laws, arguing that the restrictions seriously hamper military readiness and training after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. If the Pentagon prevails, many training and bombing exercises would be exempt from an array of laws governing endangered species, marine mammals, migratory birds, clean air and hazardous-waste cleanup."

"House bill would increase emphasis on science in EPA decision-making" - "WASHINGTON - The House moved Tuesday to give scientists a bigger say at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been assailed by industry and environmental groups for not giving enough weight to science in its rulings.

"Science should be at the beginning, middle and end of the agency's decision-making process," said Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., a former university physics teacher who sponsored the legislation. He said that people currently seeking either more or fewer environmental rules doubt that the EPA uses science appropriately.

The legislation, passed by voice vote, creates a new deputy director for science and technology to coordinate scientific research at the agency. It also gives the head of the EPA Office of Research and Development the additional title of "chief scientist," and gives that official a five-year term to ensure the continuity of scientific work across administrations." (AP)

"Study: Science Literacy Poor in US" - "WASHINGTON - Few Americans understand the scientific process and many believe in mysterious psychic powers and may be quick to accept phony science reports, according to a national survey.

The survey, part of the National Science Foundation's biennial report on the state of science understanding, research, education and investment, found that the belief in "pseudoscience" is common in America. The study found that science literacy has improved only slightly since the previous survey and that 70 percent of American adults do not understand the scientific process.

America continues to lead the world, the study found, in scientific investment, in research and development and in technology advances. But it found weakness in some levels of scientific education and noted that the U.S. continues to depend heavily on foreign-born scientists and now faces increased competition from steadily improving scientific enterprises abroad.

In the survey of American attitudes toward science, the study found that doctors and scientists were the most respected of the professions, but it also found that "belief in pseudoscience is relatively widespread and growing." (AP)

"Cellphones to be out of bounds for Newfoundland drivers" - "ST. JOHN'S, NFLD. - Drivers in Newfoundland and Labrador might soon have to curb their cellphone use – literally. The province introduced a bill on Tuesday that would ban the use of hand-held phones while driving. Under the legislation, drivers would only be allowed to talk on cellphones while their cars are parked." (CBC)

Groan... "Diseased deer may pose risk to humans; Experts investigate link between infected venison and deadly brain illness" - "... No one is saying that Boss got Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from eating infected venison. In fact, such a case has never been established in medical science. But the emergence of chronic wasting disease in deer in Wisconsin and other states has raised questions about whether eating meat from infected deer can cause deadly brain illness in people. It's an area that scientists now are actively investigating. Already, several red flags have been raised. A variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has been linked to the large-scale outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, in cattle herds in Europe. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy has been tied to the deaths of more than 100 people since 1995. It is believed that those people became ill after eating beef from infected cattle. Could a similar story be unfolding with deer meat and people?" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

"Los Angeles Times - Disease Researchers Neglecting World Poor" - "Of the 300 or so candidates seeking doctorates in molecular biology at Harvard Medical School, only two are studying malaria, a disease that kills at least one African every 30 seconds. Unfortunately, the paltry level of interest expressed by today's young scientists in curing diseases that affect the poorest of the poor is not surprising. Each year, only about 5% of the $60 billion spent worldwide on biomedical research targets the illnesses that most affect 95% of the world's poorest populations, according to Nature magazine."

?!! "The Guardian | George Monbiot | Stealing our clothes" - "The far right is trying to hijack the green and anti-globalisation agenda."

"March Of Crimes" - "The March of Dimes courageously takes on birth defects -- but now, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is taking on the March of Dimes.

PCRM seems to think the March of Dimes's efforts to end polio and decrease infant mortality do not qualify as "responsible medicine." PCRM activists are "targeting the March of Dimes fundraiser, WalkAmerica," believing that stopping medical experimentation on animals is more important than saving the lives of human infants.

Of course, PCRM is nothing more than an animal-rights front group, funded through a foundation controlled by PETA. PCRM has even tacitly endorsed violence against medical testers: PCRM's Neal Barnard recently engineered a letter-writing campaign with Kevin Jonas of the violent animal rights group SHAC, which has beaten employees of a medical testing firm with baseball bats, sprayed them with chemicals, issued death threats, firebombed cars, and more. Jonas is a former spokesman for the FBI-labeled terrorist Animal Liberation Front (ALF) -- whose sister group, the Earth Liberation Front, has received direct funding from PETA." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Colorado U-NOAA scientists say El Nino may rescue parched Southwest" - "Boulder researchers at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration anticipate an emerging El Niño event may reduce the severity of drought conditions in the Southwest United States this summer." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"NASA LOOKS A HURRICANE’S TEMPERATURE IN THE EYE" - "Last year, NASA researchers took the temperature of the eye of Hurricane Erin to determine how a hurricane’s warm center fuels the strength of storms. The new data is helping scientists understand the inner workings of hurricanes at very high altitudes, and will improve future hurricane forecasts." (NASA/GSFC)

"Atlantic Hurricane Responses to Rising Global Temperatures: An Update" - "Summary: We continue to explore the effects of global temperature increases on the frequency and intensity of Atlantic basin hurricanes in light of complaints about our treatment of the subject put forth by Mike MacCracken." (co2science.org)

"Hurricanes (Pacific Ocean)" - "Summary: As is found for practically every other place on earth, when the planet has warmed in the past, the frequency and intensity of hurricane-type storms have either remained the same or have decreased. This behavior strongly contradicts the climate-alarmist claim that any global warming in the future will exacerbate these storm characteristics." (co2science.org)

"The Color of Carbon" - "Summary: Some say it's black, as in coal and oil. Others say it's invisible, as in natural gas and atmospheric CO2. We biological types, however, say it's green, as in the leaves and needles of earth's trees, which remove CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester its carbon in their tissues and the soils that support them." (co2science.org)

"Reconstructing Past Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations from Stomatal Density Measurements of Leaf Macrofossils" -"Summary: This biological-based technique is beginning to yield much finer-scale time resolutions of proxy-derived atmospheric CO2 histories that are providing new insights into the CO2-climate connection. Doubly exciting is the fact that these insights are not what the world's climate alarmists want you to believe. The truth, however, cannot be suppressed forever. Journal of Quaternary Science 17: 21-29." (co2science.org)

"Great Basin Mammals" - "Summary: To further their political causes, climate alarmists frequently resort to claiming that global warming will lead to massive extinctions of both plants and animals as rising temperatures push the climatic zones to which they are currently best adapted ever upward and poleward. Many studies are beginning to indicate, however, that such is simply not the case. Journal of Mammalogy 79: 111-1130." (co2science.org)

"Water Level History of the U.S. Great Lakes" - "Summary: If the warming of the past century was truly the most dramatic of the past millennium, and if the warming of the last decades of the past century was truly unprecedented, and if global warming is supposed to lead to enhanced lake evaporation, as climate alarmists are wont to claim, the Great Lakes must be mere puddles by now. But are they? The authors of a comprehensive review paper tiptoe into their waters to find out. Journal of Great Lakes Research 27: 518-546." (co2science.org)

New Scientist discovers the 'cure' for 'global warming': "Smog "protects" India against global warming" - "Black smogs are reversing the effects of global warming in India, a new study concludes. Pollution across the Indian subcontinent is shielding the sun and depressing the winter temperature by about 0.3°C. The scientists say the smog particles are cooling the land by absorbing solar radiation before it reaches the surface. But the bad news is that the particles could be redistributing the heat round the globe - warming adjacent regions of Asia and beyond." (NewScientist.com news service)

We're 'saved' - all we gotta do is smog up the planet by burning more coal and oil, apparently. NS demonstrates yet another Kyoto risk - The Protocol would cause planetary warming! Fight global warming - burn down Kyoto (and anything else you can lay hands on, if you're really worried about big, bad GW). What a silly game this all is.

"New Zealand Herald - Carbon tax part of Government policy under Kyoto Protocol" - "The Government intends imposing a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions but it will not be introduced before 2007, Energy Minister Pete Hodgson announced today. It is part of the Government's policy to meet the targets of the Kyoto Protocol, which it expects to ratify in August."

"Carbon tax: the emission from your wallet" - "A new carbon tax would add up to $5 a week – $260 a year – to a typical household's electricity and petrol bill from 2008 under the Government's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

However, the long-awaited preferred policy framework for meeting the protocol's greenhouse gas emission targets would shield farmers and energy-intensive industries facing a competitive squeeze in world markets from paying the full price for their emissions.

For the first time, government advisers have put a figure on the likely cost to consumers of New Zealand ratifying the controversial protocol, which has sparked opposition from business, farming and union groups, who fear it will cost jobs and leave key industries uncompetitive." (The Dominion)

"Govt's Kyoto protocol policy 'too early, too much'" - "New Zealand businesses are accusing the Government of moving too far, too fast on its Kyoto Protocol policy announced today." (NZPA)

"Kyoto policy 'a big sellout'" - "For business, the Government's long-awaited policy on climate change has a deep sugar coating around what at this stage is a small pill. It gets most of what it wanted, short of having the country walk away from the Kyoto Protocol like the Americans and, most likely, Australians. That was never on, because of the Government's conviction that global warming is a long-term risk to the climatic foundations of the economy and that New Zealand therefore has a vital interest in the preservation of the protocol as at least a start on effective international action. Climate Change Minister Pete Hodgson concedes that Kyoto's current provisions will do little. But they are an essential first step, a binding international agreement, if limited in scope." (New Zealand Herald)

"Kyoto plans for forests feared" - "Government plans to control carbon sink credits and liabilities under the Kyoto Protocol amounted to nationalisation of a key forestry asset, Forest Industries Council chief executive James Griffths said last night. And despite signs that the Government had listened to the industry's concerns about the impact of New Zealand's ratifying the protocol on climate change this year, its preferred policies for meeting greenhouse emission targets remained negative, he said." (The Dominion)

"Gore's Grossing" - "When former Vice President Al Gore takes pen to paper - or computer to email - he seemingly can't avoid engaging in hyperbole. Thus, it is no surprise the man who wrote that we live in "a dysfunctional civilization" in Earth in the Balance would claim in a column to The New York Times April 21 that the administration that replaced his was in the pocket of special interests. But as the Danish mathematician, Bjorn Lomborg, pointed out in The Skeptical Environmentalist, to characterize as "dysfunctional" a civilization that has produced "more leisure time, greater security, fewer accidents, more education, more amenities, higher incomes, fewer starving, more food and healthier and longer life," is "quite simply immoral." And to complain, as Gore did in his column that "Exxon Mobil has been allowed to veto the United States government's selection of who will head the prestigious scientific panel that monitor's global warming" is pure nonsense." (Ken Adelman, TCS)

"Battle of Yucca Mountain (washingtonpost.com)" - "CONGRESS made its first moves last week toward approval of the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository site; the full House is expected to take up the question soon. Opponents are fighting the designation on two main grounds: the potential dangers in transporting highly radioactive waste across the country to Nevada, and concerns about the mountain's suitability for safely storing the waste for thousands of years. They raise questions that should be confronted, but in the end their arguments fall short."

"Nuclear Power Opponents Cite Link to Infant Death Rates" - "Antinuclear campaigners plan to announce today that a new study shows that infant death rates downwind of eight American nuclear power plants dropped significantly after they were shut down. Some plan to use the findings to support calls for closing the nuclear reactors at Indian Point, the plant closest to New York City, in Westchester County. But federal officials, some radiation experts and representatives of the nuclear power industry said that there was no evidence to link illness and proximity to nuclear plants and that minute, occasional releases from such plants were much lower than natural radiation levels. The new statistical study, which is being published in the next issue of The Archives of Environmental Health, was conducted by a group of scientists who for many years have purported to show a link between mortality and illness and low levels of radiation from power plants, bomb tests and other sources. But their past work has never been replicated by federal health researchers, and the statistical analysis they used in some earlier studies has been challenged by the National Cancer Institute." (New York Times)

"Study Says Closing Atomic Plant Would Raise Energy Costs" - "WHITE PLAINS, April 29 — An economic study of the Indian Point nuclear power plant released today concludes that shutting down the plant would increase the likelihood of rolling blackouts and cost consumers an estimated $3.4 billion over the next four years to replace that lost electricity through other sources. The study was commissioned by the plant's owner, the Entergy Corporation, and completed jointly over the past three months by two independent research groups, National Economic Research Associates and General Electric Power Systems Energy Consulting. Two economists who helped prepare the study, accompanied by Entergy officials, presented their findings this afternoon to a committee of the Westchester County Board of Legislators." (New York Times)

"BW Online | May 6, 2002 | A Thousand-Year Plan for Nuclear Waste" - "The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is home to North America's worst witch's brew of hazardous waste. The 560-square-mile site in eastern Washington, which produced plutonium for nuclear warheads from 1943 to 1989, houses 53 million gallons of plutonium, uranium, iodine, mercury, and countless other contaminants known to cause cancer, thyroid disease, and other illnesses. One million gallons have already leaked into the soil and are oozing toward the Columbia River, threatening a million residents in the vicinity. When it comes to environmental disaster areas, "Three Mile Island doesn't even begin to compare," says Dirk A. Dunning, a nuclear specialist for Oregon's Office of Energy."

"Finns divided over more nuclear power plants - poll" - "HELSINKI - Finns stand divided over controversial plans to build a fifth nuclear power plant just one month before parliament is due to vote on the issue, a poll released yesterday showed." (Reuters)

"Interior Dept. Ruling on Methane Could Undermine Bush Proposal" - "WASHINGTON, April 29 — In a decision that could hinder President Bush's call for a vast expansion of methane gas production in the West, the Interior Department has ruled that three coal bed methane leases, on 2,500 acres in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, are illegal. The decision could also halt the drilling of thousands of other methane gas wells." (New York Times)

"INTERVIEW - IEA backs Bush on Alaskan oil drilling" - "PARIS - The International Energy Agency said yesterday it supported U.S. President George W. Bush's plan to allow oil and gas drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge as a means of reducing U.S. dependence on oil imports." (Reuters)

"Calif. Senate committee OKs new emissions bill" - "SACRAMENTO - A California state Senate committee approved a bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a key step forward for a measure which auto makers say could drive sport utility vehicles off the road with tighter fuel economy standards." (Reuters)

"High Yield Heroes" - "A remarkably broad coalition of international heroes -- including two Nobel Peace Prize laureates - is calling for sustainably higher yields of crops and forest products in the crucial 50 years just ahead.

The coalition kicked off their effort at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Its members say that we cannot save the forests and wild species, let alone end global hunger, if we rely on low-yield production of food and wood. They recommend no particular technologies, but note world harvests of food and forest products must double by 2050

I call the coalition members heroes because they're willing to put their enormous reputations behind politically incorrect strategies. They argue for intensive farming and tree plantations. They are concerned about traditional, low-yield farming systems, and letting trees burn instead of becoming timber. Most of all, they agree that high yields are vital for humanity and the planet." (Dennis Avery, Center for Global Food Issues)

Oops!: "Bull clone stumps Brazil scientists expecting cow" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil, Apr 30 - A healthy bull calf born on a ranch in southeast Brazil astonished scientists who were expecting a female cloned from an adult cow. Although not Brazil's first cloned calf, it was hoped to be the first cloned from somatic or adult, rather than embryo, cells. And scientists have yet to explain how they got a bull from ear cells of a cow." (Reuters)

"Experimental therapy stops allergic reactions in mice" - "Scientists supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have devised a new, experimental approach to treating allergic diseases. In mice, the scientists used a genetically engineered molecule to connect two receptors on the key immune system cells that cause allergic reactions. Cross-linking these receptor molecules short-circuited the type of allergic reaction that leads to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and even the potentially deadly anaphylaxis caused by food allergy." (NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

"Coming soon: Genetically engineered potato - The Times of India" - "HYDERABAD: After cotton farmers, it is the turn of tobacco and potato growers to reap benefits from biotechnology. Two months ago Centre had allowed farmers to grow a genetically modified variety of cotton that is bollworm-attack resistant. Now plant biologists at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai, using a technique called "coat protein mediated protection", have created tobacco plants that are resistant to its deadliest enemy-a virus called "potato virus Y" or PVY. The tiny helical shaped virus got this name because it also infects potato, "causing 30 to 40 per cent crop loss and even some times total crop failure," according to V A Bapat one of the BARC biotechnologists involved in the project. In case of tabacco, infection with PVY "severely reduces leaf yield and quality." Control of this virus in the field, according to BARC scientists, is difficult and the only effective approach is growing PVY resistant varieties. The work by Bapat and his colleagues S B Ghosh, L H S Nagi, T R Ganapathi and S M Paul Khurana reported in Current Science may eventually enable Indian farmers cultivate PVY resistant potato and tobacco. Their work is still in laboratory stage."