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Archives - May 2006

May 31, 2006

Eco-Manchurian Candidate Nominated for Treasury Secretary Treasury Nominee Is Ideologically, Ethically Challenged - The Senate should reject President Bush’s nomination of Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson for Treasury secretary. Under Paulson’s leadership, Goldman Sachs participated in ethically, and perhaps legally, questionable business practices. Paulson also supports the economy-killing Kyoto Protocol and has demonstrated little respect for private property rights. (Steven Milloy, Human Events)

"Trouble at Treasury: Paulson Wrong Choice for Secretary" - "The White House made an unfortunate mistake in nominating Henry M. Paulson, Jr. to be the next Secretary of the Treasury, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The Goldman Sachs chairman's other role as chairman of the board of the Nature Conservancy, which is under investigation for financial misdealings that benefited some of its officers and donors, should automatically disqualify him for the top Treasury job." (CEI)

"No link between leukemia risk and nuclear plants" - "NEW YORK - Children living near nuclear plants in France do not have an increased risk of leukemia, a new study confirms." (Reuters Health)

"You Dirty Rats!" - "EU says animal cancer tests on aspartame are flawed." (Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, TCS Daily)

"Toward a Diet of Common Sense and Technology" - "Inevitably, when hysteria about an alleged health hazard reaches a fever pitch -- as it has recently on the topic of food and childhood obesity -- there is a backlash. And it happened this morning, in the form of a New York Times commentary by Harriet Brown. Brown argues that the concern about children's diets and the fear of obesity has reached the level of obsession, with policies emerging to "protect" kids by denying them soda, cupcakes, ice cream, and second helpings of pizza. Instead of promoting good nutrition and health, these restrictive policies --- which dichotomize food as "good" or "bad" -- may be imperiling our young people by making them feel self-conscious and guilty about eating, and morbidly anxious about their body image." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"Heavy metals may be implicated in autism" - "URINE samples from hundreds of French children have yielded evidence for a link between autism and exposure to heavy metals. If validated, the findings might mean some cases of autism could be treated with drugs that purge the body of heavy metals." (New Scientist)

"Dust Storms Threaten Snow Packs" - "The Colorado Rockies have been blasted by six dust storms since last December. That's the worst it has been in at least two decades. And dust doesn't just make the snow look bad. It makes the snow melt faster. That can spell trouble for farmers, power companies and others who rely on the water from the melting snow." (NPR)

NEWSFLASH! Anthropogenic emissions selectively affect Atlantic Basin storms! "Climate change responsible for increased hurricanes" - "Human induced climate change, rather than naturally occurring ocean cycles, may be responsible for the recent increases in frequency and strength of North Atlantic hurricanes, according to Penn State and Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers. "Anthropogenic factors are likely responsible for long-term trends in tropical Atlantic warmth and tropical cyclone activity," the researchers report in an upcoming issue of the American Geophysical Society's EOS." (Penn State) | 2 Studies Link Global Warming to Greater Power of Hurricanes (New York Times)

Well, granted that isn't precisely how Mann and Emanuel expressed it but that is the implication of their virtual world result. Additionally, their selective model parameterization neglects the previous active storm cycle observed in the Atlantic when sulfate particulates from coal combustion were relatively high but there had been little change in atmospheric carbon dioxide, what caused that if not phase shifts in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation? Their model only fits if you ignore previous active storm periods and regions other than the Atlantic Basin, which does indicate human activity -- specifically the human effect of cherry picking data to suit a desired outcome.

Check out US land falling hurricanes by decade and you can see the period 1961-2000 was unusually quiet while the 1940s was a pretty tough period for the Atlantic coast. Even the period 1851-1900 was a more active Atlantic storm period than the century-later 1951-2000 and yet there was trivial human perturbation of the atmosphere to that time. Can their model reproduce that without the AMO too? Before anyone asks, we use land falling hurricane data because it's the most consistent record -- there were no satellites recording mid-Atlantic storms until relatively recently.

"Cool it over global warming, Tories told" - "A climate scientist is warning Alberta politicians not to get caught up in the hysteria over global warming. Timothy Ball likens the furor over climate change to the apprehension over the Y2K problem, which turned out to be a costly dud. The former University of Winnipeg professor told an all-Tory legislature committee yesterday that dramatic climate changes are common in history and they shouldn't get too excited about the greenhouse gases being blamed for global warming." (Edmonton Sun)

"Breaking faith with the cult of Kyoto" - "Environmentalists embraced Kyoto with religious fevour. Now it's time to start looking for a real solution." (Steve Maich, Macleans)

Despite the tabloid vitriol, in the real world Bjørn Lomborg is winning... (EnviroSpin watch)

"Warmed Over" - "It's only been out a week, but audiences seem not to have poured forth from Al Gore's movie and, in an unprecedented reversal of political polarity, demanded higher gasoline prices.

This is bad news for Republicans, who will bear the burden of high gas prices to the polls in November. Not that Mr. Gore's movie advocates higher gasoline prices. It reportedly doesn't advocate any policy that would actually relieve the fears of climate worriers. When he last sought the White House in 2000, recall, it was Mr. Gore who persuaded President Clinton to open up the strategic reserve to provide consumers with cheaper gas, harm to the climate be darned.

Here's a test. What if science showed conclusively that global warming is produced by natural forces, with all the same theorized ill effects for humanity, but that human action could forestall natural change? Or what if man-made warming were real, but offsetting the arrival of a natural ice age? Would Mr. Gore tell us meekly to submit to whatever nature metes out because it's "natural?" (Holman W Jenkins Jr., Opinion Journal)

It's not political though... "Gore: Bush is 'renegade rightwing extremist'" - "Al Gore has made his sharpest attack yet on the George Bush presidency, describing the current US administration as "a renegade band of rightwing extremists". In an interview with the Guardian today, the former vice-president calls himself a "recovering politician", but launches into the political fray more explicitly than he has previously done during his high-profile campaigning on the threat of global warming." | Born again (The Guardian)

Now you know: "UN Kyoto chief judges climate change options" - "LONDON, May 30 - Huge green investment into developing countries, planned under a Kyoto Protocol scheme, should tick quality of life, clean energy and climate change boxes, the UN-appointed overseer of such projects told Reuters. The United Nations and World Bank have high hopes for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is seen levering some $100 billion investment into developing countries by 2012. The idea is that rich nations which are lagging their greenhouse gas emissions targets can meet part of these goals by investing in clean energy projects in developing countries. But projects should span a range of goals, delivering jobs and long-term clean energy as well as cuts in greenhouse gases, said Jose Miguez, appointed this year chairman of the UN body which decides which types of CDM project are eligible." (Reuters)

This is where the wannabe social engineers have it all wrong. Kyoto and 'global warming' are their excuse for massive wealth transfers, which they think will solve problems. The concept of generating wealth and improving things for everybody is completely beyond them, their solution is to take what has already been created and give it to someone else. It is also where Americans have it so right -- in the US the goal is to make money, not take money -- capitalists are out to create wealth where socialists seemingly are out to stifle development and destroy wealth. Defeating poverty globally can not be achieved by destroying the wealth-creating engines of the global economy.

"INTERVIEW - US Has Easy Ride Under Kyoto - UN Official" - "LONDON - Washington is having an easy ride in UN talks to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the world may have to wait until after 2008 for greater US involvement, the chair of a main UN climate group said." (Reuters)

"Asia-Pacific Partnership outpolls Kyoto Accord" - "Business leaders prefer the Asia Pacific Partnership over the Kyoto accord by a margin of two to one, according to a a National Post/COMPAS Inc. survey. Fifty-two per cent said they support the Asia-Pacific Partnership, which has voluntary emissions targets aimed at controlling global warming, while 24% of those surveyed said they support Kyoto. The balance of respondents did not support either plan or said they had no opinion on the matter." (Barbara Shecter, Financial Post)

"Provinces can pay Kyoto tab, PM says" - "OTTAWA — Provinces are free to pay for it themselves if they want to meet Kyoto's greenhouse-gas reduction targets, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the House of Commons yesterday in an apparent rejection of Quebec's $328-million request for a provincial Kyoto plan." (Globe and Mail)

"Lies and statistics" - "Don't bother arguing the facts of climate change with "global warming" zealots. They simply make up the facts to support their theory. Of course, that wouldn't be so bad if these lies were questioned, challenged, even considered against common sense by a media elite all too willing to conclude the world is heating up as a result of industrialization, capitalism and man's avarice and activity on the planet. An amazing example of this phenomenon – I call it the "global warming media meltdown theory" – took place yesterday in one of the nation's largest newspapers, USA Today." (Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily.com)

"Sports offers a new arena for climate change concerns" - "If you're among the estimated 86 million people who will visit a U.S. beach this summer, the impact of climate change on sports and recreation is becoming very apparent. Hurricanes are increasing in number and strength, beach erosion is wiping out dunes and waves are becoming too big for surfing and sport fishing, some climate experts say." (Sal Ruibal, USA TODAY)

"Sea change coming for the Everglades" - "FLAMINGO, Fla. — The road to Paradise Prairie, site of a grand plan to develop cheap land in a drained Everglades, was supposed to go through this former fishing village. That plan went bust decades ago, and the future here looks very, very soggy. Now, Flamingo stands as the gateway to a more likely destiny: the coming century of global warming, one that climate researchers warn will bring higher temperatures, extreme weather and sea levels rising high enough to doom this toehold on the tip of South Florida." (Dan Vergano, USA TODAY)

"It happens like a boat tipping" - "Hollywood had its shot at global warming's most unlikely outcome in 2004's The Day After Tomorrow. Scientists and movie critics alike branded a future ice-encrusted New York nonsense. But behind the silver screen imaginings, ancient geologic evidence of the climate going haywire, such as a sudden increase in sea level of 5 feet or more, yearly 11°F jumps in temperatures and steamy swamps covering the North Pole, raise real concerns, says geologist Harold Wanless of the University of Miami." (Dan Vergano, USA TODAY)

"Animals scramble as climate warms" - "Alarming anecdotes — such as polar bears drowning as they swim farther in search of scarce Arctic sea ice — dramatize the issue. But a recent flurry of scientific reports, field observations and official actions suggests nature's struggle with rising temperatures is well underway: As Earth and its atmosphere grow warmer, the planet's wild inhabitants take cover where they can: cooler waters, deeper forests and canyons, higher slopes or nearer the poles, north and south." (Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY)

From CO2 Science this week:

Real-World Growth Response of Ponderosa Pines to Post-1950 Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment: Where has it potentially been detected? And how strong is the evidence for it?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 2 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Lake Sugann, located in the northeastern region of the Tibetan Plateau.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Medieval Warm Period (Solar Influence - Temperature): Was there a solar-induced Medieval Warm Period that was as warm as (or even warmer than) the Current Warm Period?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Carrizo Citrange, Common Microalga, Marine Coccolithophorid, and Spring Barley.

Journal Reviews:
Sea Surface Temperatures and Atlantic Hurricanes: Do Atlantic basin tropical cyclones become more severe as the globe warms and sea surface temperatures rise?

Effects of Antarctic Cooling on Diatoms in Glacial Meltwater Streams: What are they? Why should we be worried about them? And what can be done about the situation?

Effect of Global Warming on Winter Forest-Soil Respiration: Do rising temperatures stimulate or stifle soil respiration in montane forests in winter?

Nitrogen Mineralization in the Long-Term Swiss FACE Study: Has it declined over time, reducing the strength of the aerial CO 2 fertilization effect, as so many pessimists have long declared it would?

Prospects for Carbon Sequestration in Chaparral Ecosystems: Is there much hope for significant carbon sequestration in the world's nitrogen-limited and arid-region shrublands? (co2science.org)

Chuckle: "Scourge of the greens: Clarkson branded 'a bigoted petrolhead'" - "He has insisted there is almost certainly no such thing as global warming, threatened to run down cyclists who get in his way and vowed to keep his patio heater lit 24 hours a day, just to annoy Greenpeace. But the environmentalists are no longer prepared to put up with Jeremy Clarkson's car-loving agenda. Sir Jonathon Porritt, whose feud with Mr Clarkson dates back several years, has launched his most scathing attack yet on the presenter of the BBC2 motoring show Top Gear, branding him an "outstandingly bigoted petrolhead." (London Independent)

Anyone annoying Porritt to this extent is definitely a societal asset.

"Liveris Tells It Like It Is" - "Dow Chemical CEO is alternately engaging, decisive, and combative as he outlines his firm's energy, research, and strategic options." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Consider responsible drilling on US soil" - "SEATTLE – Facts are stubborn things. So are cherished beliefs - especially when they're shared by adversaries who, for reasons of their own, find them too convenient to shed. And among the greatest of our shared delusions is the belief that high oil prices accomplish something. They don't. Fortunately, there is a way to ease the crisis: BRAC it. However, before explaining what the Pentagon's Base Closure and Realignment Act has to do with the price of gas, it's necessary to define, then shred, the wrong idea that "the market" has much to do with fixing this mess." (Philip Gold, Christian Science Monitor)

"Technology stokes bullishness about future of Illinois coal" - "CARBONDALE, Ill. - Once shunned as a high-sulfur polluter, Illinois coal is enjoying a comeback fueled by the proliferation of cleaner-burning power plants. But it's the future of the sooty black rock that has John Mead stoked. The chief of Southern Illinois University's Coal Research Center here has seen applications of coal prove surprisingly utilitarian: Technology can turn it into synthetic natural gas that, with a bit more refining, can create what could power tomorrow's big-rig trucks or pollution-free cars." (Associated Press)

"FirstEnergy plant selected for study on greenhouse gases" - "AKRON, Ohio - The U.S. Department of Energy has picked an eastern Ohio coal-fired power plant as a test site to determine whether carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by injecting the emissions far below the ground." (Associated Press)

"Germany Breaks Ground on First Non-Polluting Coal Power Plant" - "As global energy demands increase, the need for clean sources of power has become crucial. On Monday in eastern Germany, ground was broken on a coal-fired plant that will emit no greenhouse gases." (Deutsche Welle)

"Top scientist gives up on creationists" - "A leading British scientist said yesterday that he had given up trying to persuade creationists that Darwin's theory is correct after repeatedly being misrepresented and, he said, branded a liar." (The Guardian)

Do you have to be rich to eat organic? (The Oregonian)

Nope, just misguided or deceived. High productivity intensive agriculture leaves the maximum wild space and wildlife habitat -- it has the minimum footprint, in other words and isn't that supposed to be the Earth-friendly thing? 'Organic' is purely a marketing scam.

From the land of lower-productivity fruits and nuts? "State to Target Pesticide Pollution" - "Officials are seeking the reformulation of hundreds of products and plan stricter rules on soil fumigants to cut smog-causing emissions." (LA Times)

"Discovery May Speed Tree Breeding, Biotechnology" - "CORVALLIS, Ore., May 30 -- Researchers have discovered the genetic controls which cause trees to stop growing and go dormant in the fall, as well as the mechanism that causes them to begin flowering and produce seeds - a major step forward in understanding the basic genetics of tree growth." (AScribe Newswire)

May 30, 2006

"Malaria's Toll Fuels the Case for DDT Use in Africa" - "Officials argue for spraying the widely banned pesticide to fight a deadly epidemic. But doing so may threaten trade with some Western nations." (Edmund Sanders, LA Times)

DDT: A Weapon of Mass Survival; Support the campaign against malaria.

"DDT last hope against malaria" - "Leaders in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania say the ability of DDT to kill mosquitoes is their last hope to stem the continent's No. 1 killer: malaria. Malaria kills one million Africans annually, and the toll is rising. One African child dies every 30 seconds from malaria, three times Africa's toll from AIDS. "DDT is the answer to our problems," said Dr. John Rwakimari, head of the national malaria program in Uganda, where malaria rates over the last 15 years have increased fivefold." (The Hamilton Spectator)

DDT FAQ; Malaria Clock; 3 billion and counting

Dry English humor? "Water fights are banned, drought police tell clowns" - "Circus clowns have been warned to stop throwing water at each other or risk violating a drought order. The entertainers, who work for Zippo's Circus, typically get through 20 buckets of water during their slapstick "slosh" shows. The circus is in Wallington, Surrey, this weekend and Martin Burton, who is in charge, has been warned that the routines violate the drought order issued by Sutton and East Surrey Water." (London Telegraph)

"Water pumps one possibility for unprecedented delta fish decline" - "TRACY – Giant pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are the heart of the state's massive water system, sending water from it where it is most plentiful in Northern California to cities in the south and farm fields in the Central Valley. Scientists are studying whether the pumps that are so essential to Californians' everyday existence also may be one of the main culprits in an unprecedented die-off of fish species that are considered indicators of the delta's environmental health. “This is the lifeblood of billions of dollars worth of agriculture and urban water,” said Jeff McCracken, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the agency that operates the federal system. The state and federal pumps solve a fundamental water imbalance, where 70 percent of river water is north of Sacramento but 80 percent of demand is south of the capital." (AP)

"Iraq's marshes show progress toward recovery: Native species have returned to reflooded marshes devastated by Hussein regime" - "Reflooding of Iraq's destroyed Mesopotamian marshes since 2003 has resulted in a "remarkable rate of reestablishment" of native invertebrates, plants, fish, and birds, according to an article in the June issue of BioScience. Curtis J. Richardson of Duke University and Najah A. Hussain of the University of Basrah, writing about fieldwork conducted over the past two years in four large marshes in southern Iraq, note that water inflow from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers has been greater than expected because of record snowpack melts, which has kept salinity levels low. The incoming water quality has been better than predicted, too, with toxin levels lower than had been feared. As a result, many native species have returned, including some rare bird species, although their numbers have not rebounded to historical levels." (American Institute of Biological Sciences)

"Terror or error: is humanity on the eve of destruction?" - "Humanity has reached a "defining moment" in our dominion over the planet and our ability to destroy it, according to the head of the Royal Society, Britain's premier scientific institution. "The 21st century is the first in the Earth's history where one species has our planet's future in its hands and could jeopardise life's immense potential," Lord Rees told an audience at the Hay festival yesterday." (The Guardian)

"Fatty diet does not increase risk of skin cancer" - "Eating fatty food does not appear to increase the risk of skin cancer. A study published today in the open access journal BMC Cancer contradicts previous research that showed a link between high fat intake and certain types of skin cancer. The results of this latest study suggest that high fat intake might even play a protective role in the development of non-melanoma skin cancer." (BioMed Central)

"Well-Intentioned Food Police May Create Havoc With Children's Diets" - "In fighting the "obesity epidemic," maybe some schools are going too far." (Harriet Brown, New York Times)

"To non-stick, say ‘non, merci', group urges" - "When it comes to reducing exposures to the chemicals used in non-stick and stain-resistant products, Health Canada doesn't recommend taking any actions, in part because scientists have yet to determine how the contaminants are getting into people. But the Environmental Working Group, a Washington activist group that has been pressing for regulatory action on these compounds, known as perfluorochemicals, isn't waiting for researchers to figure out the puzzle." (Globe and Mail)

"Coming to terms with perils of non-stick products" - "Toxic Shock, Part 2: After nearly five decades of use, some chemicals behind popular non-stick products linked to cancers, even deaths, in lab animals." (Globe and Mail)

The Rhetoric of the Environmental Movement (Ronald Hamowy, Ludwig von Mises Institute)

"Rising sea is future threat" - "In a hundred years, South Florida's beaches could be smaller, bays deeper, marshes saltier and fish fewer, according to a sea-level-rise study by conservation groups." (Miami Herald)

Seas have been rising since the end of the last great glacial advance and life has prospered on Earth. Why should a continuation of the process threaten the future?

"An Autopsy of Katrina: Four Storms, Not Just One" - "Experts say the flood protection system in New Orleans was flawed from the start because the model storm it was designed to stop was simplistic." (New York Times)

"Canes 101: USF students study storms" - "The University of South Florida's new class on hurricanes is stirring up interest among students." (Associated Press)

"Eminence Grise of Hurricane Forecasting" - "William Gray, 76, is a climatology pioneer as well as a throwback, using historical data to predict the severity of future seasons." (LA Times)

Here's why he thinks AGW is a crock (.pdf)

"Gore's 'Truth' splits hurricane scientists" - "Al Gore's new movie on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens with scenes from Hurricane Katrina slamming into New Orleans. The former vice president says unequivocally that because of global warming, it is all but certain that future hurricanes will be more violent and destructive than those in the past. Inconvenient or not, the nation's top hurricane scientists are divided on whether it's the truth." (Tom Carter, Washington Times)

"Gore's plea on climate change wins ovation" - "We're running the planet like a company in liquidation," the former US vice-president Al Gore told an audience at the Hay festival, in an impassioned plea to act on climate change before it is too late." (The Guardian)

By his own mouth condemned? Al Revere Q. There's a lot of debate right now over the best way to communicate about global warming and get people motivated. Do you scare people or give them hope? What's the right mix?

A. I think the answer to that depends on where your audience's head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

Over time that mix will change. As the country comes to more accept the reality of the crisis, there's going to be much more receptivity to a full-blown discussion of the solutions. (Grist, May 9) [em added]

Al's certainly right about no one being interested in solutions to problems that don't exist. That is why his desperately negotiated, horrendously expensive non-solution to a non-problem, Kyoto, gains no traction. Regardless of any anthropogenic climate forcing or whether it genuinely constitutes a problem, Kyoto is a useless instrument. Precisely what constitutes "an over-representation of factual presentations" is unclear but it sounds suspiciously like admitting being prepared to lie to generate fear. Perhaps that's why our graphic of Al's head in the clouds, blowing smoke and spinning emissions into a problem has proven so popular, feel free to get your copy from here.

Are Multi-Decadal Global Climate Simulations Hypotheses? Have They Been Tested, and, If So, Have the Hypotheses As Represented By the Models, Been Falsified? (Climate Science)

Is the EU totally Cnutters?... (EnviroSpin Watch)

?!! "Climate change: Tearing the Earth apart?" - "Never mind the weather, climate change could rip up the very fabric of our planet, says Bill McGuire" (New Scientist)

Not even close: "The Greener Guys" - "Scientists, economists, environmentalists and a growing rank of business leaders warn that corporate America needs to move more quickly or it will face the consequences: higher energy prices, a potential cost for carbon pollution and, eventually, products that will have trouble competing globally because other countries are reducing emissions. The United States is responsible for a quarter of all the carbon dioxide sent into the atmosphere each year. It has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty on climate change that went into effect last year for more than three dozen countries in Europe and elsewhere, that set targets and timetables for cutting emissions." (New York Times)

Same old misinformation. The IPCC gives the figures for natural and human perturbation of global carbon cycle here (the numbers are in Petagrams of carbon. 1 Pg = 1 Gigaton, denoted Gt. 1 Gt = 1 Pg = 109 metric ton). Human perturbation = ~5.2GtC emissions and the natural cycle roughly 210GtC emission. Humans collectively account for 5.2/210 or a shade short of 2.5%. Of this, the US can account for a little under a quarter or something under 0.6% of global carbon emissions.

You can see the atmospheric carbon accumulation numbers here. Information on the greenhouse effect is here.

Woohoo! "Alaska the 'poster state' for climate concerns" - "FAIRBANKS, Alaska — To the untrained eye, Bonanza Creek forest is breathtaking, a vibrant place alive with butterflies and birds, with evidence of moose and bear at every turn. But look through forest ecologist Glenn Juday's eyes, and you see a dying landscape. Since the 1970s, climate change has doubled the growing season in some places and raised state temperatures 6 degrees in the winter and 3.5 on average annually since 1950, says Juday, a professor at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks." (Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)

Not just "since the 1970s but actually in 1976 with the shift in the PDO phase. Click on the graphic for more from the Alaska Climate Research Center.

How atmospheric greenhouse gas might cause a leap in local temperatures in one year but not in the preceding or subsequent years is unexplained but that apparently hasn't troubled USA Today. I must admit, I admire the audacity of their "Making sense of global warming. See how the Earth's surface temperature has changed over the last 2,000 years" interactive graphic. Earth's surface temperature in 1,000AD? No problem, 56.7968 °F apparently. 1650AD? 56.5376 °F. Guess such precision must be like cement making eh? (Something only relatively recently rediscovered after about a thousand years of it being a lost art.) What is our current precision estimating the globe's surface temperature? About 20,000 times worse, it seems, at ±1 °F. In the beginning of March this year the national Academy of Sciences convened the Committee on Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the past 1,000-2,000 Years: Synthesis of Current Understanding and Challenges for the Future, where one thing most presenters were asked was whether they could reconstruct temperatures 1,000 years ago to within 0.5 °C (0.9 °F), apparently all said "no" with the exception of Mike "Hockey Stick" Mann, who claimed a precision of 0.2 °C (0.36 °F). Wonder why we are wasting all this money on climate scientists and paleoclimate research when USA Today can tell us to within one ten-thousandths of a degree Fahrenheit?

"A warmer world may, or may not, be wetter" - "DENVER — As Earth warms, melting glaciers and polar ice release more water. Thus, a wetter world for everyone, right? That will depend, climate scientists say, on the complexities of rising temperatures and the hydrologic cycle, water's circular journey between liquid and vapor." (Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY)

That's the hypothesis, anyway. Warmer world, increased evaporation and intensification of the hydrologic cycle. We haven't found any indication this is actually occurring. That doesn't prove the hypothesis wrong since the warming believed to have occurred so far is within the error bounds of our ability to measure it. Similarly, there is no guarantee we are not simply measuring urban heating since atmospheric measures over the past quarter century show net warming, perhaps, in the years 2000, 2001 with the rest virtually trendless.

"Study: Global Warming Boosts Poison Ivy" - "WASHINGTON -- Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy. The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report Monday." (Associated Press)

Ivy is like... a plant. Plants generally grow better when the atmosphere's currently inadequate carbon dioxide levels are supplemented. It's some sort of revelation that plants other than people's preferred options also benefit from more adequate carbon dioxide levels? Sheesh!

"Poll shows Canadians in the dark about Kyoto" - "OTTAWA - It may be one of the most politically charged topics of today, but more than two-thirds of Canadians say they know nothing about the international Kyoto agreement on climate change, a new opinion survey has revealed." (CanWest News Service)

Who should we believe in the hyped up climate change file? [image format] (Tim Ball, The Hill Times)

"Ottawa's Kyoto plan wins backers in Bonn" - "OTTAWA - Conclusions by a top-level gathering on Kyoto indicate Canada has much greater backing for its stand on the climate-change accord than reported, with wide support for Ottawa's refusal to set new emissions targets until current pollution-reduction efforts have been assessed. Ottawa won the unanimous support of developed countries at the conference in Bonn, Germany, for its reluctance to set new targets for the post-2012 period. It also received backing from several countries in arguing there should be no new commitments for countries like Canada until major polluters such as China and India sign up for their own targets." (John Ivison, National Post)

Moonbattery: "Strange but true: shoddy building work in Exeter kills people in Ethiopia" - "George Monbiot: Housing inspectors could make a huge impact on climate change - by enforcing the laws on energy efficiency." (The Guardian)

Oh boy... "CO2 project may help save the world" - "In Canada, the Weyburn project and one injecting a million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year under the North Sea are held up internationally as evidence that carbon storage, or sequestration, can work." (CanWest News Service)

If these are an economical means of boosting oil production then great, otherwise, forget it. 'Saving' the world from an essential trace gas is about as silly a mission as humans can set themselves.

"The carbon calculator" - "Several companies now offer a carbon offset service with a carbon calculator to help you work out your emissions." (Herald & Times)

Uh-huh... and when you've done that check out the calculated offset's planetary value.

Quaint: "Subsidies or Kyoto essential for nuclear power" - "HEAVY taxpayer subsidies would be required to get privately owned nuclear power into operation in Australia unless the Government joins the Kyoto Protocol. A report prepared for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation finds the Government would have to foot 21.4 per cent of electricity bills for the first 12 years and contribute to the cost of building the plant. "If the owner takes the entire financial risk, then the nuclear station produces electricity at a cost that is significantly higher than would a new coal-fired or gas turbine power station," it says." (The Australian)

Kyoto would make nuclear power comparatively cheaper -- by artificially inflating energy costs by more than a fifth.

"China Says It's Slowing Rate of Desertification" - "BEIJING - China, with desert covering one third of its landmass, is slowing the rate at which desertification is eating up arable and other land but the problem remains serious, a government official said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Poisonous Tree Frog Could Bring Wealth to Tribe in Brazilian Amazon" - "The Brazilian government believes an Amazonian remedy holds promise for the global pharmaceutical industry." (New York Times)

May 29, 2006

"Global health gains offset by AIDS, malaria: report" - "NEW YORK - Although child mortality has dropped in many regions of the world over the past decade, these gains were offset by increasing number of deaths due to HIV/AIDS and malaria, as well as setbacks in adult mortality in countries of the former Soviet Union, according to results of the 2001 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study." (Reuters Health)

"Quashing West Nile carriers: Officials urge using a bug repellent as mosquitoes return" - "Admit it: Heading outside in summer, you grab sunscreen, sunglasses, maybe even a hat, but often leave behind bug repellent -- assuming you have any around. In the age of West Nile virus, public health messages urging everyone to wear repellent have become as common as reminders to wear sunscreen. Doing it is another matter." (Sacramento Bee)

"Oxford lab injunction tightened" - "Oxford University has been granted an extension to its existing injunction against animal rights activists." (BBC)

"Public turns on animal terrorists" - "The proportion of people who approve of animal testing is at an all-time high." (London Telegraph)

"Britons report 'psychic powers'" - "More than half of Britons believe in psychic powers such as mind-reading and premonitions, a survey suggests." (BBC)

A lot of people can probably tell what I'm thinking now...

Here we go again: "Autism link to MMR" - "The measles virus has been found in the guts of children with a form of autism, renewing fears over the safety of the MMR jab." (London Telegraph)

You have to read the entire article to find they have "a handful of results," which, in the real world, means they are wildly extrapolating -- again.

"Canada's Chemical Reaction" - "A review by federal regulators has determined that chemicals once thought to be benign are potentially dangerous for the physical health of Canadians. Environment reporter Martin Mittelstaedt investigates." (Globe and Mail)

"The bottle that heralds a plastic revolution" - "The first biodegradable bottle has gone on sale in Britain, raising hopes we may one day stop adding to the mountain of plastic packaging accumulating in landfill sites." (London Independent)

"Fire on the Mountain" - "Misguided environmentalists may be the greatest threat to America's forests." (James Thayer, Weekly Standard)

"Voracious grey squirrel 'is greatest threat to songbirds'" - "The grey squirrel and the domestic cat are preventing the recovery of Britain's songbirds, which were devastated by intensive farming and the removal of hedges in the post-war years, says a new report. Of the two introduced predators, the grey squirrel kills more young songbirds than the cat. The findings of the report, commissioned by the charity, SongBird Survival, are likely to challenge the received wisdom about the decline in songbird populations since the 1950s and what has prevented many from recovering over the past 15 years when farmers have been using fewer chemicals and participating in green farming schemes." (London Telegraph)

"New law aimed at protecting ocean from fish-farming risks" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday signed into law new rules giving California the toughest ocean fish-farming regulations in the United States. The measure, written by state Sen. Joseph Simitian, D-Palo Alto, is designed to reduce the risk of pollution and harm to marine wildlife from giant floating pens of tuna, halibut or other species that could result if the aquaculture industry expands to the California coast." (Mercury News)

"The dead sea that sprang to life" - "The Aral Sea was one of the world's biggest inland bodies of water - until Soviet engineers destroyed it in the 1960s. Now, thanks to a new dam, it's coming back. Geoffrey Lean reports." (London Independent)

Flood directive: "Dutch told to return land they won from the sea" - "In the name of European Union environmental directives, [the de Feijters'] farm is earmarked for flooding - the first time in Holland's centuries-long battle against water that a substantial piece of land is to be deliberately returned to the sea.

Oh boy... "With each hurricane, nature slower to mend" - "Scientists fear next storms could cause major changes in ecosystem." (Baltimore Sun)

Storms and "nature" have been shaping ecosystems since before there were critters to exploit them. The "nature slower to mend" bit is really fanciful twaddle -- there is no normative or "healthy" state to experience repair or "healing," merely niches exploited with varying success by opportunistic organisms. Storms modify local environs, this has been true as long as there has been weather on the planet, which is different now than it was yesterday, last year, a hundred years ago, a thousand.... When will people get the idea that change is the normal state while stasis, albeit temporary, represents human interference?

"Mission to target highest clouds" - "A Nasa satellite mission will be launched this year to study the highest and most mysterious clouds on Earth. Noctilucent, or "night-shining", clouds appear as thin bands in twilight skies, some 80km (50miles) above the surface. Recent records suggest they have become brighter, more frequent and are being seen at lower latitudes than usual. Scientists cannot say for sure but they suspect human activity may be altering the conditions in the mesosphere that drive the clouds' formation." (BBC)

"Bear Hunting Caught in Global Warming Debate" - "As its icy environs shrink, the polar bear has become the new poster face of Arctic vulnerability." (New York Times)

"Drowning Polar Bears" - "We are in the midst of a major effort by environmental activists, sympathetic scientists, and supporters in the media to hammer home to the American public the reality and dangers of global warming. The extent and intensity of this campaign is breathtaking, with just about every major print and broadcast news outlet running stories on climate change. Time magazine offered up a “Special Report on Global Warming”; the cover featured a forlorn polar bear surrounded by melting ice and the words “Be Worried. Be Very Worried.” Vanity Fair put celebrities like Julia Roberts and George Clooney on its cover in goofy green outfits to show how it’s oh-so trendy to be eco-friendly. “Green is the new black,” the magazine tells us, while its ads try to sell us SUVs." (New Atlantis)

"Global warming won’t hurt polar bears, Government of Nunavut says" - "Climate change is not pushing polar bears to the brink of extinction and polar bears and people will adapt to a warmer Arctic, says a wildlife director with the Government of Nunavut." (Nunatsiaq News)

"Gore Uses Religion to Attract 'Global Warming' Converts" - "New York - Former Vice President Al Gore used religious references Thursday night in New York City in an attempt to convince a "town hall" meeting that human-caused catastrophic climate change is real." (CNSNews.com)

"Gore goes from bad joke to great white hope" - "The speed of the new consensus is perhaps the most remarkable thing about it. All it took was a new movie on global warming, fresh doubts about Hillary, and a growing desire to expunge George W Bush from the national memory banks . . . and suddenly Al Gore is anointed by the chattering classes as the next Democratic nominee." (Andrew Sullivan, Sunday Times)

"Would you buy a used White House ticket from this man?" - "Al Gore once cherished the illusion that he and his future wife “Tipper” were prototypes for the romantic couple in Erich Segal’s novel Love Story. When the author begged to demur, Gore was left with egg all over his face. This public humiliation seems emblematic of Gore’s life. The mantle of the most powerful man in the world might have descended on Vice-President Gore’s shoulders in 1998 if Bill Clinton had been forced to resign over the Monica Lewinsky affair. But “Slick Willy” wriggled out of it. Even Gore’s best jokes seemed to backfire. In a quip about his perceived woodenness he said: “They opened up my leg and found termites.” It merely set up a New York comic’s gag that Clinton’s dog, Buddy, mistook him for a tree." (Sunday Times)

"Censoring Scientists? Lessons of the James Hansen Affair" - "The latest high-profile controversy over the proper relationship between science and politics involves James Edward Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, who claims he was muzzled by the Bush administration. Hansen is a respected climate researcher, one of the world’s top experts. He is regularly published in leading scientific journals and is a mainstay at conferences on climate change. He attained international renown after testifying on global warming before Congress in 1988, telling legislators that “it’s time to stop waffling so much and say the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.” He has been widely and routinely quoted in the news media ever since." (New Atlantis)

"The Tempest" - "As evidence mounts that humans are causing dangerous changes in Earth's climate, a handful of skeptics are providing some serious blowback." (Joel Achenbach, Washington Post)

"CHILE: Clean Air Plan for Santiago a Flop" - "SANTIAGO, May 27 - The failure of the plan proposed in 2000 to clean up the air in the Chilean capital, home to five million people, is one of the biggest challenges facing new President Michelle Bachelet, who took office in March." (Tierramérica)

Sometimes we guess some little activist group or discussion board posts what they feel to be a killer argument and we get a small flurry of similar e-mail challenges. One such recently is assumed to be an alleged globally warmed predisposition toward the El Niño phase of ENSO despite evidence suggesting that a warmer world tends toward ENSO neutrality.

Suppose, for the sake of their argument, such a relationship existed -- would that necessarily be a bad thing?

For sure denizens of the Chilean capital wouldn't mind because the cold, dry spells associated with La Niña exacerbate their pollution problems, just see the linked article above. Similarly, eastern coastal residents of North and Central America, along with Caribbean Islanders would likely be less than distressed since El Niño conditions suppress tropical cyclones (hurricanes) in the Atlantic Basin. La Niña is also associated with drought in North, Central and South America, along with Central Asia and with floods in Southern Asia, Indonesia and Southern Africa.

A predisposition toward cooler conditions would be disastrous for at least as many people as are allegedly at risk of warmer conditions and there is absolutely nothing to say any particular globally averaged temperature is the "right" one. Whichever way it goes change benefits some while disadvantaging others but a warmer, wetter world will be much easier to adapt to than a cooler, drier one if for no other reason than it being much easier to produce sufficient food for the global population. That said there is no "this way good, that way bad" change scenario simply because what is good for some is less so for others. We must therefore remain flexible and adjust to prevailing conditions, whatever they may be.

To return to our little e-mail cluster, for heaven's sake people, think! Even if a global warming El Niño predisposition were a fact, and the evidence suggests it is not, that would be neither good nor bad in and of itself, merely different. Climate stasis is a mythical state which has not been perturbed by people nor will it be created by people at any time in the foreseeable future. Get over it.

"La Nina Threatens Thailand With More Rains, Floods" - "BANGKOK - An expected La Nina wet weather pattern is likely to bring worse than usual floods to Thailand this year, a top disaster official said on Friday after the worst deluge in 60 years killed at least 62 people in the north." (Reuters)

"Farmers Get Ready as Bangladesh Sees Early Monsoon" - "DHAKA - Heavy rain sweeping across Bangladesh over the past two days has raised hopes for an early monsoon that weather experts say will boost agriculture." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Toepfer Warns Climate Change Could Destabilise World" - "BERLIN - Global warming is hitting the poor the hardest and climate change could cause worldwide destabilisation if solutions are not found, one of the world's leading environmentalists said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Global warming causes dry spells in north, stormy weather in south" - "BEIJING, May 28 -- Chinese government should pay due attention to the effect of global warming, which led many parts of northern China to suffer the worst dry spells for 50 years with its southern part hit by typhoons and tropical storms, an expert on disaster reduction said. "Nearly one third of China's land area has had dry spells this year, while southern China is hit by typhoons and storms at the meantime," said Shi Peijun, an expert with the office of China National Committee for Natural Disaster Reduction, "The contradictory phenomena epitomizes an extreme representation of global warming." Since early this year, the worst drought over half a century has affected many parts of northern China, including Hebei province, and Beijing and Tianjin municipalities and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region." (Xinhua)

"Drought" must have a different meaning down-under... "Monsoon season dampens bank holiday sunshine hopes" - "It destroys summery hope, laying waste to dreams of sunshine and ice creams. And the "European monsoon" that has condemned much of the country to a wet and miserable two weeks will continue over the bank holiday weekend." (The Guardian)

"UK Beaches Cleaner Than Ever After Dry Weather" - "LONDON - A record number of UK beaches have been recommended for their water quality after the driest weather in a decade sharply reduced storm pollution." (Reuters)

Even the campaign name is a lie: "Europeans urged to act on climate" - "A campaign to convince Europeans they can help stop climate change is being launched by the European Commission. The campaign is called "You Control Climate Change" and is aimed at showing how everyday actions can lead to cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions." (BBC)

According to the IPCC, we have low understanding of stratospheric water vapor, the direct effect of aerosols and contrail cirrus, not to mention very low understanding of indirect cloud albedo effect and land surface albedo. The IPCC quantifies low understanding as 20% chance of being correct and very low understanding as <10%. People, singly or collectively, can not knowingly and predictably control climate or climate change when we do not sufficiently understand the system and there's a very high likelihood we still will not be able to predictably manipulate a non-linear chaotic system even if we get it worked out.

"Why Should I Be Good?" - "If the world is to slow global warming, individuals need a helping hand." (Jim Ledbetter, Time)

"Global warming might not be so bad, if we keep our cool" - "All panics are equal. But some are more equal than others. Present-day government warns us to be very, very afraid, successively of Aids, Saddam Hussein, BSE, terrorists, Sars, bird flu and now global warming. Rulers were once elected to free us from fear, not to increase it. Now they cry wolf every day and use it to demand more power and money into the bargain." (Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times)

Hurricane/Global Warming Linkage Takes Another Hit (World Climate Report)

Is global warming powering hurricanes? YES: Act now to turn the tide, or turn Florida over to the alligators. (Palm Beach Post)

Is global warming powering hurricanes? NO: Not much we can do now, so focus investment on future power technology. (Palm Beach Post)

Fundamental Global Warming Conclusions (Climate Science)

"Environment meeting closed to stop 'rhetoric'" - "WASHINGTON - Senate environment committee chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has called global warming a hoax, held a roundtable on greenhouse gases behind closed doors yesterday - in part to muzzle Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and other green Democrats, aides said. "When we open it up, there are certain people, you know, who want to use rhetoric as opposed to fact," said a GOP staffer, who included Clinton among the Democrats who "grandstanded" on the issue. "We want to gather facts, not hear rhetoric, and this is the best way to do it." On Wednesday, Inhofe told Inside EPA, a trade publication, that he had closed the meeting because "certain senators do act differently" when the media and public were present." (Newsday)

The Week That Was May 27, 2006 (SEPP)

"Emissions reality check" - "Kyoto pollution targets can't be met, the government says but Ottawa's own figures suggest that may not be the case. (Toronto Star)

No? Duh! "Canada: Liberal plan to cut greenhouse emissions was a dud, researchers say" - "OTTAWA - The Liberals' $12-billion plan to implement the Kyoto Protocol over seven years would have been largely ineffective, says an as-yet unpublished report by the C.D. Howe Institute. The report, marked "do not cite or circulate," was written before the current government axed Project Green, as the plan was dubbed, and may have been a factor in the Conservatives' decision to scrap it. Project Green largely relied on voluntary measures and incentives which have been shown not to work, says the study, which sarcastically calls the package "Project Dream." "This policy approach will fail dramatically to meet national objectives and yet will entail a substantial cost," says the report, whose lead author is Mark Jaccard of Simon Fraser University." (CP)

"Canada agrees to next step in Kyoto despite doubts about emission targets" - "OTTAWA - Canada has agreed to negotiate a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, dispelling concerns that the Conservative government would try to block progress at a major climate conference in Bonn. Richard Kinley, acting head of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, hailed the international consensus at a final news conference Friday from Germany. "The group agreed last night on an ambitious agenda for their negotiating process which should result in the adoption of new emissions-reduction targets for industrialized countries within the next few years," he said." (Canadian Press)

"Alberta vows to introduce stiff emissions regulations" - "Province won't meet its Kyoto targets, but says new laws will be toughest yet." (Globe and Mail)

"Margo Thorning: Greenhouse gases very painful to curb" - "AL GORE'S MOVIE, An Inconvenient Truth, premiered last Wednesday and, not surprisingly, the movie is already making waves. Lately, you cannot pick up a newspaper or watch the news without some headline about greenhouse gases, global warming or efforts to combat it. Despite many questions, governments around the globe all seem to be in a frenzy to respond now to a public that seems to want something done, and to growing pressure from green groups that demand that something be done." (Providence Journal)

"Energy groups seek green light to pump carbon under the sea" - "Standing on the roof of Scottish and Southern Energy's power station just outside Peterhead, on the Scottish coast, it's hard to imagine this could become the launch pad of an environmental revolution." (London Independent)

"Shell and Statoil seek partner for new 'clean energy' project" - "Shell and Norwegian oil company Statoil are seeking a partner for their revolutionary $1.5bn (£800m) project to take millions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from a new power station and pump it under the sea. The two companies, which announced plans for the carbon sequestration project in March, want a third company to build and operate the power station." (London Independent)

"A toxic love affair" - "Once heralded as an engineering marvel, the automobile is now becoming a menace." (Vancouver Sun)

"Tut-tut, Ms. Ambrose: A 5-per-cent solution won't get us 'massive' emission reductions" - "Federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose this week repeated her government's election promise to replace 5 per cent of the fuel at the pumps with renewable fuels (ethanol and biodiesel) by 2010. The question is: How much will this actually benefit the environment?" (Globe and Mail)

Since their concern appears to be greenhouse gases the definitive answer is: "not one bit" regardless of emission constraint achieved.

"Poll: 51 percent of Floridians OK drilling 100 miles from shore" - "TALLAHASSEE -- Floridians support lifting a ban on oil drilling 100 miles or more from the state's Gulf Coast beaches by a 51 to 42 percent majority, and many say rising gasoline prices have influenced their approval, a poll released Thursday showed." (Associated Press)

"2 Industry Leaders Bet on Coal but Split on Cleaner Approach" - "Coal is poised to once again become the nation's favorite fuel, but its role in global warming causes concern." (New York Times)

"Call for new nuclear plants to create 30% of UK's energy" - "BRITAIN'S nuclear capacity should be increased by 20 new nuclear power stations so it can provide a third of the country's energy needs, Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, claimed yesterday. But Sir David rejected suggestions new taxes would be needed to pay for a fresh generation of nuclear power stations, insisting it would be for the money markets to decide if they want to invest in them." (The Scotsman)

"Australia: N-power 'viable, economical'" - "NUCLEAR power makes economic sense for Australia and is viable even without government support. Science Minister Julie Bishop said a report commissioned by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation showed that a nuclear power station would be competitive with a newly built coal-fired station. "It found there are significant health risks associated with coal energy production but minimal risks with nuclear power," Ms Bishop said." (The Australian)

"Henceforth, all objections are overruled" - "An ever-increasing number of people can remember those moments of shock when they realised the scale of the devastation that Tony Blair's Government is wreaking on the foundations of our democracy and the rule of law. For me, such a moment came last week when I read the report of a Government inspector giving the go-ahead to a giant wind turbine on the Mendip hills in Somerset, where I live. It made clear just how ruthlessly the Government will ram through its wind energy programme, regardless of planning rules or the wishes of local communities." (London Telegraph)

"Energy Access, Security, Key to Reducing Poverty" - "May 28, 2006—What would it take for 1.6 billion people to be able to turn on a light in their own homes? How can hundreds of millions of people stop polluting their own indoor air with cooking and heating fuel that damages lungs and threatens the lives of children? When will cleaner, more efficient, and renewable energy replace increasingly expensive greenhouse gas-producing fuels that taint our atmosphere and wreak havoc on the earth’s climate?" (World Bank)

Apart from the obligatory greenhouse waffle these are matters to be addressed urgently.

"Trial could signal new attitude in W.Va. to logging, mining" - "CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The jury verdict in the first trial to determine liability for severe 2001 floods in southern West Virginia might be the opening scene of a nightmare for the state's logging and mining industries. Neither is used to being found liable for damages linked to cutting timber or unearthing coal, but that's precisely what happened in the first of a series of lawsuits stemming from floods that hit southern West Virginia on July 8, 2001. Now the likes of coal giants Peabody Energy Corp. and Massey Energy Co., as well as timber owners and logging companies, face a potential shift in West Virginia's attitude toward once all-powerful industries." (Associated Press)

"EU Subsidies Fatten the Rich" - "The European Union can't always see where its own money goes after it has been doled out to member nations. But a look into British dairy subsidies shows the need for more transparency. Even Queen Elizabeth gets help from Europe." (Der Spiegel)

"Their animals are dead. These people are next" - "Drought is set to plunge East Africa into a famine after the rains failed. Tracy McVeigh reports from northern Turkana in Kenya where neither charities nor governments are prepared to save nomadic tribes from starvation." (The Observer)

"Greenpeace Invades Big Island, Chops Papaya Trees" - "Its happening. Anti-technology activists who describe themselves as environmentalists are on the Big Island chopping down papaya trees. Big Island farmers may be at risk of eco-terrorism as part of a Greenpeace anti-genetic modification (GM) campaign focused on events half a world away -- in Thailand." (Andrew Walden, Hawaii Free Press)

"Norman Borlaug calls for Gene Revolution in India" - "Manila, May 29 India's crop management systems and harvesting patterns need to undergo a major transformation to meet the daunting food needs in the years ahead, according to the man behind the Green Revolution - the 1970 Nobel laureate, Norman E. Borlaug. Speaking at the Asian Development Bank here, as part of its Distinguished Speakers programme, the 92-year old scientist, who helped uplift food grain production dramatically in hunger-struck countries like Mexico, India, Pakistan, China and others, said the pattern must change especially in irrigated areas, while precision farming practices are needed in the high potential areas. The way forward, he suggested, is to move from the Green Revolution - rapid development in agriculture through use of artificial fertilisers and high-yielding plant strains - to the Gene Revolution. He rejected the concern about genetically modified crops and the polemic over chemical fertilizer vs organic fertilizer." (Indo-Asian News Service)

"NZ: GM research project targets cost and safety" - "Agriculture, forestry and horticulture are set to benefit from a $4.6 million research project on the environmental impact of new agricultural biotechnologies, such as genetically modified (GM) plants. There is said to be a "major knowledge gap" in New Zealand on the subject. The research, over four years, involves AgResearch, HortResearch and the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, and is designed to help avoid any costly mistakes from releasing "harmful technologies." (New Zealand Herald)

May 26, 2006

"Global Warming Skeptic Claims Environmental Conversion" - "Al Gore’s new global warming movie is apparently causing some to think that a major turning point in the debate is at hand.

The ranks of the so-called global warming “skeptics” were supposedly thinned this week when prominent environmental commentator Gregg Easterbrook announced his defection in a May 24 New York Times op-ed." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Gregg, Welcome to the NSH Club! (Prometheus)

The problem here is that, a) there has never been any real contention about Earth's mean temperature changing, b) the issue of causation is highly contentious, c) the "consensus" position that atmospheric carbon dioxide is a major driver of global mean temperature is not supported by science and, d) the notion that tweaking a couple of minor variables -- specifically and principally carbon dioxide emission from fossil fuel use -- will have significant predictable effect on global climate is patently wrong.

"Al Gore Wins American Climate Idol Competition" - "(Los Angeles, California) While 200 million of the world's imperiled inhabitants watched last night, the two finalists in the American Climate Idol competition battled it out. Rachel Carson, perennial songbird with a flair for heart-wrenching ballads since her arrival on the eco-pop music scene in the 1960's, seemed to meet her match with the hot virtuoso performances provided by the former-next-President of the United States, Al Gore, Jr." (ecoEnquirer)

"PowerPoint Politics" - "It's hard to argue with a good PowerPoint. Jim Pinkerton on what's good and bad about politics by PowerPoint." (James Pinkerton, TCS Daily)

"Inconvenient Truths for Al Gore: Remember Kyoto?" - "With Al Gore’s new movie opening this week, there are some inconvenient truths its maker should consider: Gore himself has done incalculable harm to the cause of combating global warming. His efforts to call attention to the dangers of climate change may prove prescient but his policy prescriptions have been nothing short of disastrous." (Samuel Thernstrom, NRO)

Quote of the moment: "Fate of world climate lies with U.S., China" - "If energy and economic trends persist, scientists say, two nations are likely to decide the climate for the whole planet. So far, the United States and China are meeting energy demands by allowing unfettered construction of coal-fired electricity plants that will release billions of tons of carbon dioxide, a heat that traps gas." (Ian Hoffman, Daily Review) [em added]

Perhaps you'd like to let Ian know how he muffed it. If you don't get it you really need to read this.

"Historic Colorado River streamflows reconstructed back to 1490" - "A new tree-ring-based reconstruction of 508 years of Colorado River streamflow confirms that droughts more severe than the 2000-2004 drought occurred before stream gages were installed on the river. The new research also confirms that using stream gage records alone may overestimate the average amount of water in the river because the last 100-year period was wetter than the average for the last five centuries." (University of Arizona)

What is the Difference Between A Multi-Decadal Climate Projection and a Multi-Decadal Climate Prediction? (Climate Science)

"The tropics may be expanding: Scientists don't know if global warming is responsible" - "Atmospheric temperature measurements by U.S. weather satellites indicate Earth's hot, tropical zone has expanded farther from the equator since 1979, says a study by scientists from the University of Utah and University of Washington. Researchers say the apparent north-south widening of the tropics amounts to 2 degrees of latitude or 140 miles. But they do not know yet if the tropical expansion was triggered by natural climate variation or by human-caused phenomena such as depletion of the atmosphere's ozone layer or global warming due to the greenhouse effect." (University of Utah) | Enhanced Mid-Latitude Tropospheric Warming in Satellite Measurements | Full Text | PDF | Figures Only | Supporting Online Material (Science)

"Faster atmospheric warming in subtropics pushes jet streams toward poles" - "The atmosphere is warming faster in subtropical areas, around 30 degrees north and south latitude, than it is elsewhere, University of Washington-led research shows. But scientists examining more than 25 years of satellite data also found that each hemisphere's jet stream has moved toward the pole by about 1 degree of latitude, or 70 miles. That could widen the tropics and expand some of the world's driest regions, they say." (University of Washington)

Readers frequently ask so, to save everyone e-mailing: No, we don't really have an opinion yet because all this data comes from the latest of four obvious phases since people have been trying to determine temperature on a regular basis, with phases 2 and 4 (roughly 1910-1945 & 1976-?) exhibiting warming. Did something similar occur in phase 2? No one knows, nor do we know whether a reverse shift in jet streams occurred in phases 1 & 3. We'll just have to wait and see.

"More Evidence of Arctic Warmth (a long time ago)" - "There are a lot of folks running around shouting that recent Arctic warming is, to use a favorite alarmist word, “unprecedented”—which means, to them at least, that we are approaching “dangerous” levels of climate change. It seems a bit odd to equate “unprecedented” with “dangerous,” since the former implies something that is novel, while the latter implies something that is known. So, for instance, since we know that for a good 90% of the past 400,000 years the earth was locked into ice age conditions, it would seem that a “precedented” cooling would be perceived to be far more “dangerous” than an “unprecedented” warming, wouldn’t it? But we digress." (World Climate Report)

"Kyoto countries agree to discuss post-2012 targets" - "BONN - Signatories to the Kyoto Protocol agreed early on Friday on a roadmap to set new targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions beyond 2012, but tabled no timetable for deciding the level of those cuts." (Reuters)

"PM takes aim at Charest over Kyoto" - "OTTAWA, QUEBEC, LONDON, ONT. -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper is shooting back at his Kyoto critics, including Quebec Premier Jean Charest, saying actions are more important than words on reducing greenhouse gases. "There's lot of people around the world who have bold and ambitious statements about limiting greenhouse gases, but I am more interested to see what actual effective actions are undertaken," Mr. Harper said." (Globe and Mail)

"London looks to count its carbon" - "London could soon have a network of scientific stations to monitor the great city's carbon "footprint." (BBC)

And when they have they can check here for how much it doesn't affect global mean temperature.

Price Crash Rattles Europe's CO2 Reduction Scheme | Full Text | PDF (Science)

"Funding Deficit Threatens Kyoto CO2 Trade - UN Body" - "BONN - A lack of funding could stall a key plank in the Kyoto Protocol helping Western countries to meet their greenhouse gas emission targets, UN officials overseeing the process said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"The United Nations in your wallet" - "In spite of some pretty torrid scandals in recent years, the United Nations (U.N.) is far from finished. In fact, Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the U.N., is leading the gambit for perhaps its biggest power-grab yet – independent tax-raising powers or globo-taxation.

In fact, the U.N. is deeply committed to establishing this ‘sovereign’ power for itself – independent of the scrutiny and direction of its large aid donors (namely the United States). It wraps this concept up in the intentionally boring globo-speak of ‘enhanced dialogues on tax co-operation’ and ‘new innovative funding mechanisms,’ but that is just intended to put a pretty bow on top of a very ugly concept – the removal of the exclusive sovereign power of nation states to levy taxes on its citizenry." (Sally McNamara, Townhall)

"Farmers group offers credit for conservation" - "FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota farmers have the chance to get paid for conservation practices that keep carbon dioxide in the ground. The North Dakota Farmers Union on Wednesday unveiled a program that would pool carbon credits for sale at a private agency that trades greenhouse gases and pollutants, much like other exchanges trade commodities." (Associated Press)

"Swapping upgrades for offsets" - "Fed up with not being able to use your frequent flier miles? An airline is considering a plan to allow them to be cashed in to offset carbon dioxide emissions. But is it really going to make a difference?" (London Times)

Nope, no measurable difference -- ever. See why here.

"Energy producers are getting greener - shame about the public" - "Want to reduce pollution? Stop blaming the emission problem on the energy industry, says Paul Golby." (The Guardian)

"2.4 billion people suffer from silent crisis of ‘energy poverty’: UNDP" - "Worldwide 2.4 billion people worldwide who lack any access to modern energy services and 1.6 billion people lack any electricity at home, according to the United Nations. Because of this, in parts of the developing world simple tasks like preparing a meal or warming a home are fraught with health risks. Each year, 1.4 million people die from respiratory diseases related to breathing in smoky air caused by burning biomass fuels." (One World South Asia)

"Anglo American, Shell Form Clean Coal Alliance" - "LONDON - Global miner Anglo American Plc said on Thursday it had formed an alliance with Shell Gas & Power International in converting coal to clean energy." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - Spanish Nuclear Industry Hopes for Reprieve" - "MADRID - Spain's nuclear sector, which provides a fifth of the country's electricity, is hoping for hints next week of a reprieve from an anti-nuclear government committed to cutting back the industry." (Reuters)

"New wind farm storm gathers" - "FAIRHAVEN -- Gail Isaksen, a lifelong Fairhaven resident, was not surprised that this hard-working fishing village on Buzzards Bay has suddenly emerged as the latest target for an offshore wind farm, after a proposal to build one off swankier Nantucket hit resistance in Congress and among local politicians." (Boston Globe)

"The greens want to do right, but they are so wrong" - "Meet the Sixties black civil rights activist who now thinks that environmentalism is one of the greatest threats to Africa." (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

"Migrating birds suffer huge loss" - "Migratory birds have suffered a dramatic decline in numbers, according to a study. Species that migrate thousands of miles from Africa to the UK have been the worst hit over the last 30 years. The researchers say the cause of the decline remains a "mystery", but could be linked to climate change, habitat destruction or pesticide use." (BBC) | Mystery shrouds loss of migrant birds (Birdlife International)

"HIV origin 'found in wild chimps'" - "The origin of HIV has been found in wild chimpanzees living in southern Cameroon, researchers report. A virus called SIVcpz (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus from chimps) was thought to be the source, but had only been found in a few captive animals. Now, an international team of scientists has identified a natural reservoir of SIVcpz in animals living in the wild." (BBC)

"Bridge to Nowhere, Meet Research to Nowhere" - "Perhaps you've heard of the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young's effort to allocate $315 million in federal funds to connect one tiny island in his state with an even tinier island of only 50 people. Well, he's now been joined by Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. She has allotted a massive $75 million from taxpayers into the Veteran's Administration (VA) budget, with the dictate that every cent go to a Texas advocacy scientist and his institution to study a non-existent illness." (Michael Fumento, TCS Daily)

"Innocuous intestinal bacteria may be reservoir for resistance" - "ORLANDO – May 25, 2006 – "Harmless" bacteria in the digestive tracts of dairy cows, may not be so harmless after all. They may be a reservoir for antibiotic resistance genes that can be transferred to more harmful, disease-causing bacteria, according to research presented today at the 106th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Orlando, Florida." (American Society for Microbiology)

"EPA Scientists Cite Pressure In Pesticide Study" - "WASHINGTON -- Union leaders representing Environmental Protection Agency scientists and other specialists assert that agency managers and pesticide-industry officials are exerting "political pressure" to allow continued use of a family of pesticides that might be harmful to children, infants and fetuses." (Wall Street Journal)

"Forsyth issues imperative for a vaccine against cavities" - "Boston--Researchers at The Forsyth Institute have made significant advances in research to develop a vaccine against cavities. The research team of Martin Taubman, DDS, PhD and Daniel J. Smith PhD, has discovered key molecules that can stimulate a human immune response and has successfully conducted immunization trials in animal models. The global epidemic of dental caries (cavities) highlights the growing imperative to develop a vaccine to prevent cavities." (Forsyth Institute)

"The truth about whole milk" - "Does it contribute to child obesity or will banning it put our children's health at risk?" (London Telegraph)

Hmm... "It's official - the British diet is getting healthier" - "It might be every child's favourite treat, but ice cream is officially on the slide. Yet wholemeal bread is definitely back in vogue - poised to become more popular than sliced white loaves - according to an annual survey that provides a snapshot of the nation's weekly shopping basket." (The Guardian)

... while becoming a nation of butterballs? Gee, might need to stay away from that 'healthy' stuff then.

"China's Xiwang Orders US GMO Corn, Seeks More" - "HONG KONG/BEIJING - Xiwang Sugar Holdings Co., one of China's top corn processors, said on Thursday it had bought 50,000 tonnes of corn from the United States, marking the country's first major import of the grain in years." (Reuters)

"No label required" - "Requiring labels for genetically modified foods would be difficult, expensive and would offer no health protection for consumers" (Robert Wager, Ottawa Citizen)

May 25, 2006

"Novartis launches anti-malaria alliance" - "Novartis, Wellcome Trust, MMV & Singapore Economic Development Board announce a new public private partnership to develop new malaria medicines. These partnerships are crucial, but as Novartis's Daniel Vasella points out "We can contribute, but we can't solve the problems of education and supply. Governments must make sure treatments go to the right people." (AFM)

"Flu scare over poultry meat overdone: analysts" - "LONDON - The scare over poultry meat sparked by bird flu has been overdone, particularly in low-risk areas such as Europe, and farmers have paid a very heavy price, analysts and industry officials said on Wednesday. "The shock we are seeing is way out of proportion to the risk. Consumers are not very much at risk from this disease," said Anni McLeod of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. "The people least at risk are causing a large proportion of the problem," she told World Poultry 2006, a conference organized by Agra Informa, an agricultural publishing group." (Reuters)

"Genes discovered that allow gum disease bacterium to invade arteries" - "ORLANDO – May 24, 2006 -- Researchers have identified the genes in gum-disease bacteria that allow them to invade and infect human arterial cells, offering one possible explanation for a perceived connection between gum disease and heart disease. Scientists from the University of Florida, Gainesville, present their findings today at the 106th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Orlando, Florida." (American Society for Microbiology)

"Microbes hitchhike across Atlantic on desert dust" - "ORLANDO – May 24, 2006 -- Bacteria and fungi, some with the potential to cause disease in plants or animals, may be finding their way from Africa to the Americas by hitchhiking on microscopic dust particles kicked up by storms in the Sahara, according to research presented today at the 106th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Orlando, Florida." (American Society for Microbiology)

"Why India insists on fumigation with the banned chemical" - "The Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 has a stipulation that all imports of agricultural produce be fumigated with methyl bromide." (Hindu Business Line)

India is right to use a great fumigant. The developed world is phasing or has phased out its use under the Montreal Protocol on allegedly ozone depleting substances which only goes to prove how gullible politicians really are.

"Many cleaners, air fresheners may pose health risks when used indoors" - "Berkeley – When used indoors under certain conditions, many common household cleaners and air fresheners emit toxic pollutants at levels that may lead to health risks, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory." (University of California - Berkeley)

"Study: Super-sizing your food takes a hidden toll on your pocketbook" - "MADISON -- From a soft drink in a mega-size cup to a jumbo order of fries, many fast food restaurants let you upsize your meal for pennies -- seemingly a great value." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Bullfrog linked to fungus spread" - "An invasive frog species may be implicated in the spread of a fungus linked to global amphibian decline, research indicates." (BBC)

"No spot for this owl: U.S. Fish and Wildlife finds bird undeserving of endangered status" - "The federal government again has decided not to protect the California spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act. After almost a year of study, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied a petition by environmental groups to list the owl, saying population numbers don't warrant such a shield. It was the second time in three years the wildlife service has said Endangered Species Act protection is unnecessary. "The current population of the spotted owl is stable or increasing" in the state, said Steve Thompson, manager of the wildlife service's California and Nevada Operations office." (Record Searchlight)

"ANALYSIS - Money Grows on French Trees, but Slowly" - "PARIS - The area in France covered by forest has grown by a third in the last 50 years, partly due to to private investors who have funded reforestation programmes as part of long-term, tax-efficient investment plans." (Reuters)

"UCF, Georgia researchers: New Orleans faces 3-in-10 chance of hurricane winds" - "Still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Gulf Coast faces the highest probability of any area in the country of getting struck by hurricane-force winds during the 2006 hurricane season, a University of Central Florida professor and his Georgia colleague said Wednesday." (University of Central Florida)

Say what? "World fire maps now available online in near-real time" - "For a decade now, ESA satellites have been continuously surveying fires burning across the Earth's surface. Worldwide fire maps based on this data are now available to users online in near real time through ESA's ATSR World Fire Atlas." (European Space Agency)

Hopefully there's a lot more to it than the simplistic statement "Temperatures exceeding 312º K (38.85 ºC) are classed as burning fires by ATSR/AATSR..." since much of central Australia exceeds that threshold throughout the southern summer.

"Monsoon gloom strikes South Asia" - "A POPULATION of a billion and a half depends on this rain," says Veerabhadran Ramanathan. Unfortunately, the South Asia monsoon that brings this rain may be losing strength thanks to global warming and the brown haze of pollution that hangs over the Indian Ocean." (New Scientist)

Curious they forgot to mention the Asian Brown Cloud is largely a result of lack of development -- specifically a lack of affordable baseload electricity requiring the use of biomass and dung fires for cooking and lack of mechanized, chemical assisted low-till agriculture requiring crop trash burning and field clearing. Guess they figure everybody knows that already.

"Scientists look to B.C. glaciers for climate change answers" - "In the largest research project of its kind, a group of Canadian and U.S. scientists plan to probe glaciers from B.C. and Alberta in a new effort to determine the effects of climate change over the past 400 years. They hope to discover whether knowledge of a glacier's past can help predict its future, said University of Northern B.C. geography professor Brian Menounos with the newly formed Western Canada Cryospheric Network." (CBC News)

sky_falling.jpg (56350 bytes) "Gore's `Truth' turns up the heat" - "Several factors benefit timing of film on warming." (Rick Klein, Boston Globe)

Hmm... what's your favorite Al Gore cartoon? Payne neatly captured the way I view Al in this now somewhat dated moment featuring Ozone Al and JunkScience Joe.

Feel free to send links or graphics to us here and we'll consider posting a feature page -- maybe the JunkScience.com ozone layer?

"Inconvenient Truths Indeed" - "'An Inconvenient Truth' is billed as the scariest movie you'll ever see. As you sit through the film, consider the following inconvenient truths." (Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr., TCS Daily)

"Does Al Gore Need to Go on an Energy Diet?" - "As former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary on global warming fears debuts today, a new video from the Competitive Enterprise Institute tracks Gore’s own “carbon footprint.” CEI’s 70-second video points out that Gore himself is a big user of the hydrocarbon fuels that produce carbon dioxide when combusted." (CEI)

Questions for Al Gore (Dr. Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

"Same Al Gore, different day" - "Democrats hyping his comeback should remember we've been here before." (Jonah Goldberg, LA Times)

Is CO2 a Pollutant? Part II (Climate Science)

Sigh... "The world is ready for climate change action"  - "The tide has turned and both the business community and governments are waking up to the urgent need for action to address climate change." (Edie.net)

Has there been some sort of breakthrough in the last 24 hours allowing us to knowingly and predictably manipulate the globe's climate? We sure as heck couldn't do so yesterday and, the way myth and superstition is currently displacing science in this field, it seems highly unlikely we'll get it worked out in the next century or two.

"The Media's Know-Nothings" - "Has the Bush administration done nothing to curb greenhouse gases? If so, that's a whole lotta nothing. Duane Freese explains." (Duane D. Freese, TCS Daily)

Climate Chaos (BBC)

'The BBC plans climate chaos??'... | 'Your Auntie Beeb NEEDS YOU!'... (EnviroSpin Watch)

Silly theatrics of the moment: "Scientists see new signs of dangerous warming" - "OTTAWA—Even stronger scientific evidence of dangerous climate change has emerged just when the federal government is opposing tougher measures to curb global greenhouse gas emissions at a post-Kyoto meeting in Germany. A draft report from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by the Toronto Star, warns that the global average temperature will likely climb by around three degrees Celsius by 2100 if atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas continue rising." (Toronto Star)

"Obtained by the Toronto Star" and anyone else with a mind to access it from the US Climate Science Office -- remember this from May 3rd?

Uh-huh... "3C hotter. Earth's danger point. Now scientists say it is going to happen" - "THE world will warm by 3C (5.4F) even under emissions projections for 2050 that leading scientists consider optimistic, the United Nations group that studies global warming has said. The increase, which would cause drought and famine for 400 million people and devastate wildlife, is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its most confident assessment yet of how greenhouse gases are affecting global temperatures." (London Times) | Global warming fastest for 20,000 years - and it is mankind's fault (London Independent)

This is the response to the plea: PLEASE DO NOT CITE, QUOTE, OR DISTRIBUTE THE DRAFT REPORT is it?

Most of the reports on this appear to have drawn their information from lines 25-27, page 3 of 15 of the Draft Summary for Policymakers (AR4), despite every page bearing the injunction "Do Not Cite or Quote". There's the best part of 1100 pages in the 11 chapters and 2 summaries so reporters might be skimming a little.

Curiously, our injunction-challenged journalists appear to have missed the meat in the sandwich, so to speak, with a strange silence regarding scientific understanding of radiative forcing that is included in the draft SPM AR4 document they've been quoting from. We think we have high understanding only for carbon dioxide and methane, medium for ozone and solar forcing, low understanding of stratospheric water vapor, the direct effect of aerosols and contrail cirrus, not to mention very low understanding of indirect cloud albedo effect and land surface albedo. This they could have discovered from the Third Assessment Report (TAR).

Update: we've had some emails wanting to know what the various confidence terms actually mean -- high: 80% chance of being correct; medium: 50%; low: 20%; very low: <10% (adapted from the technical summary) -- no parameters are viewed with very high confidence (90%) in our understanding.

How anyone expects useful prognostication from climate models when our assessed chances of being correct in our understanding of how the planet's clouds and surface reflect incoming solar radiation and how that might or might not change in response to anthropogenic activity is less than 10% remains a mystery. What a very silly game this is.

For those interested in the draft, go here, review comments are due May 9.

Not only is The Star three weeks behind on this non-story but even with additional time they still haven't understood that the only real message is that we don't know enough about the climate system to make useful guesses about future trends.

"World to be even hotter by century's end" - "Berkeley -- If Earth's past cycles of warming and cooling are any indication, temperatures by the end of the century will be even hotter than current climate models predict, according to a report by University of California, Berkeley, researchers. The scientists based their conclusion on a study of Antarctic ice cores containing a 360,000-year record of global temperature and levels of carbon dioxide and methane - two of the major greenhouse gases implicated in global warming. They found that during periods of warming, greenhouse gas levels rose and created significantly higher temperatures than would be expected solely from the increased intensity of sunlight that triggered these warm periods. Though the ice core data do not point to specific processes that amplify the warming, the researchers suspect that it is due to warmer soils and oceans giving off more CO2 and methane, which add to the greenhouse effect of CO2 from fossil fuel burning and other human activities." (University of California - Berkeley)

See comments under "Fun with numbers" May 23.

Once more with feeling: "Situation in sinking Tuvalu scary, says PM" - "TOKYO, May 25 - Low-lying nations such as Tuvalu are slowing slipping under the waves and only dramatic steps, such as legal action against big polluter the United States, might stem the tide, Tuvalu Prime Minister Maatia Toafa said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Climate Change And Biodiversity In Europe" - "A report published today by Environment Secretary David Miliband concludes that climate change poses an immediate challenge to the European Union target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010. The study found that there is already strong scientific evidence of the impact of climate change on wild plants and animals in Europe. During the 21st Century rapidly shifting climate zones and rising sea levels will put increasing pressure on species already under threat for other reasons." (Defra)

"Climate change blamed for fall of mountain bird" - "Global warming is claiming its first real victim in Britain's wildlife - the blackbird of the mountains. Research is linking a sharp decline in the population of the ring ouzel, a close blackbird-relative which lives on cool mountain tops and high moors, to rising atmospheric temperatures." (London Independent)

From the rubber room: "Rather than face up to climate change and do what can be done, humanity may opt to let it happen" - "All shades of opinion are in denial about the magnitude of the environmental challenge facing us. Our need to be comfortable may be stronger than our will to survive, argues John Gray." (New Statesman)

"Ottawa right to question Kyoto Accord: N.B. minister" - "Trevor Holder says federal counterpart has shown leadership on the issue of greenhouse gas emissions reduction." (Telegraph-Journal)

"Taiwan: Officials back Kyoto Protocol alternative for emissions plan" - "High-ranking officials yesterday said that the government would prefer to develop a carbon emissions reduction strategy in accordance with the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP), rather than with the Kyoto Protocol -- a measure lauded by anti-Kyoto Protocol countries but condemned by environmentalists." (Taipei Times)

"US Needs Both Alaska Pipeline, LNG Terminals - FERC" - "New York - US demand for natural gas will be strong enough in the future to support both a planned pipeline to bring Alaskan gas to the lower 48 states and the many liquefied natural gas import terminals that will be built, a top federal energy regulator said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Enough coal on hand to keep US cool?" - "Utilities that rely on coal give cautious assurances they can meet electricity demand of a hot summer." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Bad idea... "Solution to Greenhouse Gases Is New Nuclear Plants, Bush Says" - "Let's quit the debate about whether greenhouse gases are caused by mankind or by natural causes; let's just focus on technologies that deal with the issue," the president said in Pennsylvania." (New York Times)

Of all the reasons for using nuclear power 'global warming' isn't one of them. Regardless of what the globe's temperature is or how it might change the bottom line is that carbon dioxide is not a controlling variable. Pretending that we can knowingly and predictably adjust the planet's thermostat by tweaking a few minor variables is nothing short of stupid.

"Tory ethanol plan waste of money — and energy" - "Was Stephen Harper a corn farmer in a past life? You'd have to think so, given the trained economist's sudden interest in ethanol, a supposedly eco-friendly gasoline additive derived mostly from corn, one of North America's most heavily subsidized crops." (Toronto Star)

"Giant grass to get larger role in energy supply" - "LONDON - Fields of swaying giant grass and patchwork patterns of willow plantations could become common sights in Britain as the country turns to crops for heating and electricity to tackle the effects of global warming." (Reuters)

"For the future hydrogen economy, a tiny, self-powered sensor" - "GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Hydrogen has been called "the fuel of the future." But the gas is invisible, odorless and explosive at high concentrations, posing a safety problem for hydrogen-powered cars, filling stations and other aspects of the so-called hydrogen economy." (University of Florida)

"French Energy Saving Scheme to Boost Power Prices" - "PARIS - France plans to launch an energy efficiency certificate scheme from July 1 to cut the country's energy use while boosting power prices to finance investment in the sector. The introduction of the trading scheme, which will also limit sales by suppliers, is likely to pass on costs to consumers as it will remove electricity supply equivalent to the output of one nuclear power plant, power traders said." (Reuters)

"EU seeks gas assurance in Russia" - "European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso visits Russia on Thursday at a time of unusual prickliness in East-West relations." (BBC)

"Cold dark future for Europe – Illarionov" - "A ‘chilly war’ has already begun, says Putin’s former advisor, in which the very basic pillars of Western society are at stake." (IPN)

"Why G8 could jeopardise the fate of democracy in Russia" - "Russia meets only one criterion for membership of the Group of Eight of the leading industrialised democracies: the size of its economy." (Andrei Illarionov, London Telegraph)

"As Oil Enriches Russia, Tensions Surface in Europe" - "On July 15, the leaders of the world's eight great industrial nations will convene in St. Petersburg, Russia, to discuss the future of the global economy. Chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, it will mark the culmination of Moscow's 20-year transformation from the spiritual home of communism into a major capitalist power." (Sacha Kumaria, Human Events)

"World Bank's IFC to Back China's Clean Coal Plants" - "WASHINGTON - The World Bank's private-sector arm is preparing the groundwork to invest in a number of power plants in China, from hydro-electric to clean coal facilities, International Finance Corp. executive vice president Lars Thunell said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"For Stanford scientists, RNAi gene therapy takes two steps forward, one step back" - "STANFORD, Calif. - Three years ago Mark Kay, MD, PhD, published the first results showing that a hot new biological phenomenon called RNA interference was an effective gene-therapy technique in mice. That finding kicked off an RNAi gene therapy research flurry amongst both academic and industry research groups." (Stanford University Medical Center)

"GM organic contamination stokes EU controversy" - "The threshold for the contamination of organic products with genetically modified organisms (GMO) was one of the most controversial issues discussed by EU agriculture ministers this week." (Food Navigator)

"Super-sized cassava plants may help fight hunger in Africa" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a recent study, genetically modified cassava plants produced roots that were more than two-and-a-half times the size of normal cassava roots. The findings could help ease hunger in many countries where people rely heavily on the cassava plant (Manihot esculenta) as a primary food source, said Richard Sayre, the study's lead author and a professor of plant cellular and molecular biology at Ohio State University." (Ohio State University)

"Protein rich maize developed" - "Kenya's soya beans and fishmeal producers now face competition from newly developed high protein maize, bred by local and international scientists. Soya beans and fishmeal have been used by millers to fortify human and animal food products with proteins. The Quality Protein Maize (QPM) has higher levels of lysine and tryptophan, essential for protein synthesis in humans." (Daily Nation)

May 24, 2006

"Drug delusions at the WHO" - "In Geneva on May 22 to 27, Brazil and Kenya will ask representatives of most of the World’s governments to set up a new “Global Framework on Essential Health Research and Development.” They claim too little money is being invested in drugs for the diseases of poverty: their scheme would make sure this myth became reality." (CFD)

"Americans Growing Less Confident In FDA's Job on Safety, Poll Shows" - "Americans have become less confident in the Food and Drug Administration's ability to ensure the safety and efficacy of new prescription drugs." (Wall Street Journal)

"'Tested on animals' labels urged" - "Labels marked "tested on animals" should be placed on medicines to educate users about the value of scientific research, a Lib Dem MP says. Evan Harris, a former hospital doctor, says he believes the tags would counter the claims of animal rights protesters. The pharmaceutical industry says this could put people off taking medicine. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) says the move would only confuse people and would not prove animal tests were needed." (BBC)

Maybe this'd do the trick?

"Cotton industry running down myths and misinformation" - "The numbers didn’t look right, but there it was in black and white. A Web site for a major U.S. retailer stating that 200,000 garments made from organic cotton saved enough pesticide to fill two jumbo jets. Could that be right?" (Delta Farm Press)

"EU Issues Plan to Fight Plant, Animal Extinctions" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union laid out a plan on Monday to halt losses of plant and animal species by 2010 as part of a global drive to slow what could be the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs were wiped out." (Reuters)

The Tinkerbell vote... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Active hurricane season forecast, but who listens?" - "A recent poll finds that fewer than half of coastal residents are prepared." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"India's Monsoon Moves Rapidly Towards Kerala Coast" - "NEW DELHI - India's southwest monsoon has been progressing fast and is expected to hit the Kerala coast a few days ahead of the scheduled date of June 1, a top weather department official said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

New Research On the First Order Climate Forcings of Aerosols (Climate Science)

"Rash of fires in Siberian woodland accelerates global warming" - "Tokyo - A rash of fires has transformed a wooded region of Siberia from being a place where carbon dioxide is absorbed and oxygen released to being a "supporter" of global warming. "Suddenly, since 2000, fires have occurred frequently" in the tanga coniferous forest in Siberia, Masami Fukuda, a Hokkaido University professor of snow ice science, told Kyodo. The forest accounts for one fifth of the world's woodland, totaling slightly less than 4 billion hectares." (ANTARA News)

Recent converts: "Attenborough: Climate change is the major challenge facing the world" - "I was sceptical about climate change. I was cautious about crying wolf. I am always cautious about crying wolf. I think conservationists have to be careful in saying things are catastrophic when, in fact, they are less than catastrophic." (David Attenborough, London Independent)

II: "Finally Feeling the Heat" - "TODAY "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's movie about the greenhouse effect, opens in New York and California. Many who already believe global warming is a menace will flock to the film; many who scoff at the notion will opt for Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks. But has anything happened in recent years that should cause a reasonable person to switch sides in the global-warming debate? Yes: the science has changed from ambiguous to near-unanimous. As an environmental commentator, I have a long record of opposing alarmism. But based on the data I'm now switching sides regarding global warming, from skeptic to convert." (Gregg Easterbrook, New York Times)

Have they got a disaster for you! "Australian Study Says Global Warming Speeding Up" - "CANBERRA - Global warming could be happening faster than scientists had previously thought and weather extremes such as heatwaves could become common, an Australian government report said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

3 times as much! "Climate alert spurs nuclear debate" - "GLOBAL temperatures will rise by three times as much as many scientists had estimated, resulting in irrevocable changes for life on Earth, according to advice to the Howard Government - arming it with new ammunition to support a nuclear power industry for Australia." (Sydney Morning Herald)

I love these, whatever the bid is, they treble it! Meanwhile, back in the physical world, some people realize that the temperature effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic and limited by radiative window saturation -- once a radiative waveband is fully absorbed adding more absorbers has zero effect.

We've shown you before but some people obviously missed it (see here and here for refreshers), so, using three common estimates of cooling attributable to a hypothetical cloudless, carbon dioxide-free atmosphere -- that is, how much cooler would the world be relative to a pre-Industrial Revolution level of 300 ppmv if there was 0 ppmv carbon dioxide -- Charnock & Shine: 12 °C; Kondratjew & Moskalenko: 7.2 °C and; Lindzen: 5.3 °C -- we calculate what it would take to avoid 1 °C warming from now .

Using Charnock & Shine's impossibly large sensitivity, 1 °C warming could be 'saved' by preventing about 490 Gt (Gt = 109 metric ton) atmospheric carbon accumulation (remembering that less than 40% of anthropogenic emission actually accumulates in the atmosphere) -- making the necessary constraint 1,246 Gt carbon emission or about 4,570 Gt CO2 emission -- at current rates the equivalent of nearly 150 years total human contribution.

Kondratjew & Moskalenko's estimate gives us 916 Gt accumulation, 2,329 Gt carbon emission and 8,540 Gt CO2 emission -- call it 250 years worth at current rate.

Approximating from Lindzen's numbers, those we found most reasonable in our previous investigation, we get 1,620 Gt carbon accumulation, 4,116 Gt carbon emission and 15,095 Gt CO2 emission -- meaning that if we go from our current emissions to zero right now and never emit another gram of carbon, in about 450 years we will have 'saved' 1 °C of hypothetical warming.

So there you have it, assuming all estimated warming since 1880 to be attributable to atmospheric carbon accumulation from human activity, using the land surface warming rate to avoid ocean heat take-up 'masking' the global rate and further assuming a linear temperature response, it would take 70 years of zero emissions to 'save' 1 °C. Using the more realistic logarithmic response and ridiculously high sensitivity blows that out to about 150 years while the realistic response to the most likely sensitivity suggests something over 450 years of zero emission are required -- all for just 1 °C!

Remember we are using wildly excessive numbers for temperature forcing by carbon dioxide and yet we'd need to avoid all anthropogenic emissions for a minimum of 70 years just to 'save' our hypothetical 1 °C -- so how far would we have to push atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to achieve the +6 °C relative to pre-IR temps these turkeys are gobbling about?

Our calculators seem popular so here's one emulating Charnock & Shine's impressive sensitivity for you to play with -- and yes, we do know calculating at C&S rates means carbon dioxide must preferentially absorb long wave radiation at rates at least triple that of water vapor and clouds in wavebands of overlapping absorbency and that this is physically nonsensical, just go with the hypothetical for the sake of the exercise.

Parenthetically, if carbon dioxide is a major driver of global temperature and ice core records indicate that atmospheric carbon dioxide fell to about 200 ppmv during the last major glaciation, entering 200 ppmv into the C&S emulating calculator below should produce a number at least heading towards -9 °C since that is roughly how much cooler the global mean temperature was thought to be, no? How low would you need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to achieve ice age temperatures if it was the sole driver of global mean temperature? The calculator below will accept any concentration down to 1 ppmv and there's no charge for using it -- try as many guess-timations as you like.

"Gore's inconvenient lie" - "The word's out: Puffing up global warming is scientifically acceptable, a legitimate activity required to get people's attention on this important issue." (Patrick J. Michaels, Washington Times)

"By 2020, kiss the snows of Kilimanjaro goodbye" - "BERKELEY, Calif.--There are a lot of projections about global warming, and almost all of them are scary." (CNET News.com)

Not so fragile: "New model of reef-island evolution: Maldives, Indian Ocean" - "A new model of reef-island evolution, based on detailed morphostratigraphic analysis and radiometric dating of three islands in South Maalhosmadulu Atoll, Maldives, is presented. Islands initially formed on a foundation of lagoonal sediments between 5500 and 4500 yr B.P. when the reef surface was as much as 2.5 m below modern sea level. Islands accumulated rapidly during the following 1500 yr, effectively reaching their current dimensions by 4000 yr B.P. Since then the high circum-island peripheral ridge has been subject to seasonal and longer-term shoreline changes, while the outer reef has grown upward, reducing the energy window and confining the islands. This new model has far-reaching implications for island stability during a period of global warming and raised sea level, which will partially reactivate the energy window, although it is not expected to inhibit upward reef growth or compromise island stability." (Geology)

"A multi-proxy lacustrine record of Holocene climate change on northeastern Baffin Island, Arctic Canada" - "Abstract: Reconstructions of past environmental changes are critical for understanding the natural variability of Earth's climate system and for providing a context for present and future global change. Radiocarbon-dated lake sediments from Lake CF3, northeastern Baffin Island, Arctic Canada, are used to reconstruct past environmental conditions over the last 11,200 years. Numerous proxies, including chironomid-inferred July air temperatures, diatom-inferred lakewater pH, and sediment organic matter, reveal a pronounced Holocene thermal maximum as much as 5 °C warmer than historic summer temperatures from ~10,000 to 8500 cal yr B.P. Following rapid cooling ~8500 cal yr B.P., Lake CF3 proxies indicate cooling through the late Holocene. At many sites in northeastern Canada, the Holocene thermal maximum occurred later than at Lake CF3; this late onset of Holocene warmth is generally attributed to the impacts of the decaying Laurentide Ice Sheet on early Holocene temperatures in northeastern Canada. However, the lacustrine proxies in Lake CF3 apparently responded to insolation-driven warmth, despite the proximity of Lake CF3 to the Laurentide Ice Sheet and its meltwater. The magnitude and timing of the Holocene thermal maximum at Lake CF3 indicate that temperatures and environmental conditions at this site are highly sensitive to changes in radiative forcing." (Quaternary Research)

"The vicious cycle of rainforest destruction" - "Rainforests and savannas contain 70% of the world’s plants and are critical to the health of our planet. A new £1.6m international project involving researchers from the Leeds Earth and Biosphere Institute is looking at the impact of global warming on these sensitive areas. The researchers think we may be at the start of a vicious cycle, where global warming causes the rainforests to shrink, so increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, raising the earth’s temperature and magnifying the impact on the rainforests." (University of Leeds)

"Bury carbon emissions, report says" - "Canada could help bury its image as one of the world's worst polluters by pumping millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide underground, a new federal report says. The report calls for immediate action on carbon capture and storage using a network of pipelines to collect the carbon dioxide spewing from factories and energy plants and inject it deep into underground disposal sites." (CanWest News Service)

"INTERVIEW - EU CO2 Market May Yield More Windfall Profits - S&P" - "LONDON - Power firms could continue to make windfall profits from the EU's carbon market, even if proposed changes mean they get fewer pollution permits, Peter Kernan, Head of European Utilities at Standard & Poor's, said." (Reuters)

"China's new big export: pollution" - "Although China is doing many of the right things, it's inevitable its pollution levels will rise says a leading energy consultant." (Finance Asia)

"Government 'lagging on climate'" - "The UK government is a "climate laggard" when it comes to policies on tackling global warming, MPs say. A report for the all-party environment group of MPs says current efforts are failing to curb emissions from businesses, transport and homes. It says ministers have failed to "turn reality into rhetoric" when it comes to delivering plans to reduce emissions." (BBC)

Bad Ireland! "Celtic Tiger blamed for global warming pollution" - "THE Government last night blamed Ireland’s soaring levels of pollution leading to global warming on the Celtic Tiger boom, as the Greens warned the country is facing fines of over €1 billion for flouting international energy agreements." (Irish Examiner)

Climbing from basket case to booming economy like that! Bad Ireland!

"Quebec Premier Jean Charest says province ready to go it alone on Kyoto" - "LAVAL, Que. - Quebec Premier Jean Charest says he's ready to act alone to respect the Kyoto accord if the federal government reneges on its commitments. "The Quebec government is resolutely committed to Kyoto and we intend to soon announce our policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Charest said Tuesday." (CP)

From CO2 Science this week:

Hurricanes and Global Warming: Is There a Connection?: Whether there is or there isn't is essentially immaterial to the magnitude of the societal impacts of these monstrous storms, both now and in the future.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 3 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Upper Gunnison Basin of Colorado, USA.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Carbon Sequestration (Peatlands): How are rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations and global warming impacting the carbon balance of earth's peatlands?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Chaparral Ecosystem, Mandarin Orange, New Zealand Grassland, and Rice.

Journal Reviews:
The 2005 Hurricane Season: Many people have claimed it was unusually harsh, likely a result of CO 2 -induced global warming. How well founded is this two-part claim?

A 2300-Year Record of Drought in the USA's Northern Great Plains: Climate alarmists tell us that droughts should be getting more frequent, more intense and longer as a result of CO 2 -induced global warming. Is this the case in the USA's Northern Great Plains?

Effects of Elevated CO 2 on a Desertification-Fighting Shrub: Do they help or hinder the shrub from doing its important work?

Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Nicotine Content and Spread of Potato Virus Y in Tobacco Plants: A new study reveals two more ways in which the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 concentration may benefit both human and plant health.

Effect of Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment on the Photosynthetic Rate of a Non-Calcifying Marine Coccolithophorid: Is it analogous to that experienced by terrestrial plants? (co2science.org)

"State experts seeking input on energy choices" - "NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Global warming could potentially raise sea levels and inundate New Jersey's coast by the end of the century, so state experts want ideas now on how to reduce climate-threatening emissions while ensuring that residents and industry have a steady supply of affordable energy. "We have to work to mitigate the effect of global warming and we have to adapt," said Randall Solomon, executive director of the New Jersey Sustainable State Institute, a state-funded nonprofit which sponsored a conference on energy Tuesday." (Associated Press)

"Cement plant wants tires for fuel" - "Plan would mean using less coal. Province to rule on contentious issue." (Toronto Star)

"Environmental group sues in Calif. court over gas mileage rules" - "WASHINGTON - An environmental group sued the Bush administration in California on Tuesday over new rules to boost gas mileage requirements for sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, saying the regulations do not go far enough." (Associated Press)

"Canada to Require Gasoline Contain 5% Renewable Fuel by 2010" - "May 23 -- Canada will require that gasoline and diesel contain an average of 5 percent renewable energy by 2010 to cut pollution and bolster domestic corn and grain farming. The target, 10 times higher than current levels, includes fuels such as ethanol made from corn or wheat, and bio-diesel created from recycled cooking oil or slaughterhouse waste, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said today." (Bloomberg)

"Sweet success for pioneering hydrogen energy project" - "Bacteria that can munch through confectionery could be a valuable source of non-polluting energy in the years ahead, new research has shown. In a feasibility study funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, bioscientists at the University of Birmingham have demonstrated that these bacteria give off hydrogen gas as they consume high-sugar waste produced by the confectionery industry." (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

"Where the dream of harnessing the sun's power could come true" - "This, according to some physicists, is the solution to the energy crisis - a future with cheap, reliable, safe and nearly waste-free power. Today, after years of false starts and political wrangling dating from the cold war, they will get their chance to make that dream a reality. A €10bn (£7bn) project, called Iter, to build a prototype nuclear fusion reactor will be signed off in Brussels by the EU, Japan, China, South Korea, India and the US." (The Guardian)

"Three Gorges Dam Holds Lessons for Green Activists" - "BEIJING, May 23 - As the last loads of concrete are poured into the wall of the world's largest dam and the waters behind rise, the long battle against the Three Gorges Dam -- spanning generations of Chinese leaders -- is considered lost." (IPS)

"Desalination plant necessary to tackle London's water shortage, supplier says" - "Britain's image will suffer badly if a £200m plant to turn salt water into drinking water is not built in London in the next few years, a public inquiry has been told." (The Guardian)

"Israeli researchers stem the tide of desertification" - "As the planet heats up, the population grows and natural resources are exploited, drylands - over half of the world's productive land - are becoming increasingly infertile and uninhabitable. This process - called desertification - is a direct cause of famine in third world countries. But it is not just an African or Asian problem: desertification affects over two thirds of the drylands in the US. Israeli scientists, using know-how gained from decades of 'making the desert bloom', are at the forefront of the global effort to find new technologies that take the pressure off of our valuable drylands." (Israel21c)

"Beyond the hype and the scare stories, how safe are nanoparticles?" - "Oxford, UK– The May issue of Nano Today (www.nanotoday.com) launches a dedicated forum for debate on the effects of nanoparticles on human health. In "Nanotechnology: assessing the risks", Andrew Maynard of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars calls for a strategic approach to research on potential risks to ensure the development of safe, publicly acceptable nanotechnology products." (Elsevier)

"Media hype threatens research" - "The public loves stories about science and health care, and news reports about the latest advances in genetic research are no exception. Barely a day goes by without a fresh news story trumpeting the latest development in our understanding of human genetics — from the way our genes influence the chronic diseases we suffer or give rise to our personality traits, including characteristics like aggression and shyness. But is all this media coverage accurate? What impact is it having on how Canadians view genetics?" (Toronto Star)

"Synthetic biologists reject controversial guidelines" - "Researchers in the new field of synthetic biology have pledged to develop better tools to identify anyone trying to order the DNA needed to make deadly pathogens. But at the Synthetic Biology 2.0 meeting in Berkeley, California, they decided against adopting a controversial code of conduct intended to prevent their technologies being used to make new bioweapons." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Genetics moves Corn Belt" - "Modified row crops can grow in colder climates, changing the grain trade." (Knight Ridder News Service)

"Biopharm Thrilla in Manila" - "MANILA -- Fruits and flowers are not the only things blooming in the tropics. At the invitation of the U.S. State Department, I presented a series of lectures and briefings in the Philippines about an exciting advance in agricultural biotechnology: "biopharming" -- the programming of plants to produce pharmaceuticals that can be purified, or that might even be delivered by eating the plant material itself." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"In EU, front lines in food war" - "ATHENS In this famously fractious country, there is one thing on which almost all Greeks agree: They do not want genetically modified crops grown, sold or eaten here. In 2004, the Parliament passed a national ban, but the European Union rejected it as an illegal trade barrier. Since then, all 54 Greek prefectures have passed local bans, testing international regulations and patience. "All political parties are opposed to GMOs, which is odd because we disagree on everything else," said Theodore Koliopanos, a legislator and former deputy environment minister." (Elisabeth Rosenthal, International Herald Tribune)

"German firm may abandon planned GM potato trials" - "The German chemical firm that received permission to grow genetically modified potatoes in Co Meath is reportedly considering abandoning the trials. The Environmental Protection Agency decided earlier this year to let the trials to ahead on a farm in Arodstown, despite intense opposition to GM food in Ireland." (Unison.ie)

May 23, 2006

"DDT use starts in July" - "UGANDA is set to start spraying homes countrywide with DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) against malaria in July, the Government has announced." (New Vision)

"EA weighs effects of DDT use" - "The three East African countries are in a quandary over the re-introduction of the use of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), as an alternative in the fight against malaria. Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda want to use DDT as a first measure in combating the disease that kills millions of people annually, many of them children. But they are also wary of the consequences of the use of the pesticide on international trade." (The East African)

"Kenya: Pyrethrum Board Boss Opposed to Use of DDT" - "The Government has been told to promote the use of pyrethrum in the fight against malaria instead of re-introducing the DDT pesticide. Mr Samuel Kihiu, the director of Pyrethrum Board of Kenya, said yesterday that use of the banned DDT would lead to the collapse of the pyrethrum industry. More than 100,000 small-scale farmers are said to live off the industry with an estimated turnover of Sh2 billion every year. Kenya accounts for close to 80 per cent of the world's production of pyrethrum." (The Nation (Nairobi))

"Taming malaria" - "IT TOOK THE DEATH OF ONE OF their own for black American journalists to appreciate the magnitude of malaria damage in Africa. Akila Amapindi, a young student working on the Student Radio Project at the 2005 NABJ Convention in Atlanta, died of the disease after a trip to Africa last year. "We didn’t know that malaria kills this many. We were not aware of this," said Bryan Monroe, president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)." (The East African)

"U.N. worried about uncontrolled Nigeria polio" - "GENEVA - Far too few children are being vaccinated for polio in Nigeria, the world's last hotspot for the crippling virus whose infection rate has more than tripled this year, a top United Nations health official said. David Heymann, who heads the World Health Organisation's (WHO) polio eradication unit, said he was worried by a surge in Nigerian polio cases to 250 since the start of the year, compared to just 78 in the same period in 2005." (Reuters)

"Bangladeshi villagers take fight over arsenic poisoning to Lords" - "An unprecedented legal attempt began yesterday to hold British scientists responsible for what the World Health Organisation has called the "largest mass poisoning of a population in history." (The Guardian)

"Slovak doctor says solar flares could raise strokes" - "BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Human beings may be at higher risk of strokes in years when the explosions on the sun peak, according to a neurologist who studied the records of 6,100 patients in Slovakia. Dr. Michal Kovac said he found a spike in strokes and brain hemorrhages in the town of Nove Zamky in southern Slovakia in years when solar flares -- bursts of energy stronger than a million nuclear bombs combined -- are most abundant. Kovac says his work, recently published in the Bratislava Medical Journal, builds on studies that show parts of the human body respond to fluctuations in the earth's geomagnetic field caused by sun storms." (Reuters)

"Toad die-off: Klondike toads have fungus among them" - "A lethal fungus may a culprit in the virtual disappearance of Dyea's Western toads, national park officials announced last week. In April, five out of nine Western toads from the Dyea area of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park tested positively for the lethal chytrid fungus. This is the first such diagnosis of the exotic chytrid fungus in an Alaska toad. Additional testing is planned this summer at the Klondike and elsewhere in the Panhandle." (Juneau Empire)

"A New Theory to Explain the Frog Declines?" - "Scientists around the world are worried about frogs. Many frog populations are in decline, and we don’t know why. We’ve found some small clues: something called the ranovirus is hampering efforts to restore leopard frog populations in Alberta, Canada, where they were once abundant. The chytrid fungus, which has caused frog die-offs in Australia, Africa, and Central America, has also been found in the United States." (Dennis and Alex T. Avery, ChronWatch)

"Wild Bear Causes Chaos in Bavaria" - "Wildlife officials were initially excited about the first brown bear sighting in Germany in 170 years. But after the furry beast began ripping up sheep, smashing into chicken coops and robbing beekeepers of honey, many Bavarians aren't so sure anymore." (Der Spiegel)

"Save Your Whale and Eat It, Too" - "WHEN the International Whaling Commission convenes tomorrow, its worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling will be under attack. It should be. The time has come for regulations that recognize that whaling, handled right and in moderation, can be sustainable." (New York Times)

Bound to be unpopular but certainly correct in that the Whaling Commission's function is managing sustainable harvest of a resource.

Uncommon sense: "Ditching plastic bags 'no real use'" - "IT is believed to be one of the simplest ways people can help the environment, but scrapping the plastic shopping bag might not be worth the effort. The Federal Government's economic advisory body has recommended ditching plans to wipe out more than five billion plastic bags a year, saying the costs may outweigh the benefits. The plan is supposed to save marine wildlife and reduce litter, but the Productivity Commission argues that not only is the plastic bag not a serious threat to wildlife, but governments have not taken into account the food-safety benefits of plastic bags or their typical re-use as liners for the garbage bin." (The Australian)

Canada starts to change the "upholstery buttons"... (EnviroSpin Watch)

"'Above normal' hurricanes in 2006" - "This year's Atlantic hurricane season will be "above normal", according to the US climate agency. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) predicts there will be 13-16 named storms, four of which will be "major storms". But it says 2006 will be less active than last year's record-breaking season which saw Hurricane Katrina cause widespread devastation." (BBC) | Forecasters Predict Active Hurricane Season (New York Times)

Two New Papers in Hurricane Intensity Trend Research (Climate Science)

Still discovering how much we don't know: "Tropical forests leak nitrogen back into atmosphere, say scientists" - "Princeton, N.J. – In findings that could influence our understanding of climate change, a Princeton research team has learned that tropical forests return to the atmosphere up to half the nitrogen they receive each year, thanks to a particular type of bacteria that lives in those forests.

The bacteria, referred to as "denitrifiers," exist in forest soil, where they live by converting the nitrates fed upon by tree roots back into nitrogen gas, which is lost to the atmosphere. The researchers who recently discovered this behavior say the findings are important for our understanding of how tropical forests fit into the earth's climate system.

"Tropical forests play a major role in regulating the planet's climate, and these findings indicate that we are still working on our basic understanding of the nitrogen cycle," said Lars Hedin, a researcher on the team and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton. "That a group of bacteria can have such a dramatic impact on forest nutrition debunks our previous theories about how nitrogen behaves in forests, and shows us that these microorganisms affect soil nutrients and forest growth." (Princeton University)

Fox News Documentary “Global Warming: The Debate Continues.” (Climate Science)

Ever further from reality? "Politician Gore appears at Cannes" - "Former US vice-president Al Gore, who is at the Cannes Film Festival, has warned the world is facing a "planetary emergency" due to global warming. A documentary based on the politician's environmental campaigning is being screened at the festival. Mr Gore said the world faced a stark choice between the end of civilisation and a future for its children." (BBC)

"The Whole Truth behind Al Gore's Latest Campaign; Climate Experts Expose the Facts Missing from 'An Inconvenient Truth'" - "WASHINGTON, May 22 -- "An Inconvenient Truth," the Al Gore documentary on climate change, enters theaters this week and is sure to fan the debate over the causes of global warming. Expert climatologists who are members of the TCS Daily Science Roundtable recently screened the film and conclude that many of the points made by Gore are based on exaggerated facts and scientific results that lack consensus or have been refuted." (U.S. Newswire)

"Don't Be Very Worried" - "The truth about "global warming" is much less dire than Al Gore wants you to think." (Pete du Pont, Opinion Journal)

Fun with numbers: "Global warming predictions are underestimated say scientists" - "Climate change models have dramatically underestimated the extent to which global warming will raise temperatures, scientists warned yesterday. The flaw means existing predictions for temperature rises are inaccurate and will have to be revised upwards by as much as 2C, suggesting the world could experience a hike of up to 7.7C by the year 3000." (The Guardian)

+7.7 °C over a little more than 99 decades (994 years) is just short of 0.078 °C/decade and one heck of an extrapolation! Could (does) the world cope with an average temperature rise of <0.008 °C per year? Undoubtedly, since we get much greater variation than that from year to year. Is it likely that such a trend would continue uninterrupted for a thousand years? The obvious answer is "No".

Assuming Sample meant by the year 2100, which is the more usual but still totally unrealistic prognostication period from climate models, the globe needs to be warming at almost twenty times the rate the IPCC claims for the Twentieth Century and needs to do so for the next 94 years. Realistic? No. Particularly since there is already more than enough greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to warm the planet far beyond current temperatures -- something that has been true since before humans discovered fire -- and the temperature effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic, meaning there is a diminishing effect as more is added to the atmosphere. Greenhouse is only part of Earth's climate story and trace levels of carbon dioxide a relatively trivial part of greenhouse. This has become far too silly for words.

Those who don't yet see why tinkering with trace gases in an attempt to "control" the planet's temperature is completely pointless really need to read our Greenhouse Primer.

Hmm... "Greenhouse gas/temperature feedback mechanism may raise warming beyond previous estimates" - "WASHINGTON - A team of European scientists reports that climate change estimates for the next century may have substantially underestimated the potential magnitude of global warming. They say that actual warming due to human fossil fuel emissions may be 15-to-78 percent higher than warming estimates that do not take into account the feedback mechanism involving carbon dioxide and Earth's temperature." (American Geophysical Union)

... this probably won't be well received by Big Warming since it breaks two taboos -- warming-induced GHG increase (mustn't "confuse" the populace with chicken and egg scenarios or they'll question the current carefully constructed effect and cause carbon dioxide/warming hysteria) and cooler globe due to solar-induced Little Ice Age (must keep repeating it's only human action, not natural solar variation). Could get interesting -- if the press realize the ramifications.

"Climate Science: Climate Change and Its Impacts" - "Scientific debate continues regarding the extent to which human activities contribute to global warming and what the potential impact on the environment might be. Importantly, much of the scientific evidence contradicts assertions that substantial global warming is likely to occur soon and that the predicted warming will harm the Earth's biosphere." (David R. Legates, NCPA)

"How to cut your carbon footprint" - "YOU don't have to be a recycling devotee or a member of the Green Party to feel like sending up a small prayer for the planet's environmental health. Most of us do when we see a power station billowing smoke into the sky or when we hear that the ozone layer has gained another hole. But while throwing our hands up in despair isn't much use, there is much we can do to limit our own impact on the environment - particularly by reducing the size of our individual "carbon footprint". Carbon footprint is the term environmentalists use to describe the impact our personal actions have on the climate. For many of us, ours may as well be size 11 steel toe-capped boot." (The Scotsman)

Yeah, sure -- then, before you buy into the great carbon offset scam, see our calculator to find out what difference you can make to global mean temperature and how long we would need to avoid all anthropogenic carbon emissions to 'save' one degree of warming in your chosen scale.

"Canada grows cool on climate treaty" - "Canada’s minority Conservative government has signalled a waning commitment to the Kyoto protocol on climate change, on the grounds that the treaty does not include some of the world’s heaviest polluters." (Financial Times)

"Kyoto backslide sparks furor" - "OTTAWA AND TORONTO -- Environment Minister Rona Ambrose defended her government yesterday against domestic and international charges of abandoning the fight against global warming, saying Prime Minister Stephen Harper is willing to commit to future targets if other nations do as well." (Globe and Mail)

"Pullout anger tech firms" - "Putting climate program in limbo not only hurts progress but also innovation, say companies that were working on solutions." (Toronto Star)

"Environmentalists say Canada undermines Kyoto" - "BRUSSELS/OSLO - The European Union urged Canada to respect goals for slowing global warming under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol on Monday as environmentalists accused Ottawa of seeking to scupper the pact." (Reuters)

"TV ad sparks MU scientist's anger" - "Among the many things a University of Missouri at Columbia professor and a Libertarian public policy institute in Washington disagree on is just who is misrepresenting whom." (Post-Dispatch)

"CEI Responds to Scientist's Criticism of Global Warming Ad Campaign" - "In a recent University of Missouri news release, Professor Curt Davis criticizes CEI’s global warming ads for “selectively using only parts of my research” and accuses CEI of “not telling the entire story to the public.” In fact, it is Professor Davis who is misrepresenting our ads." (CEI)

"EU's Dimas: CO2 Over-Allocation Won't be Accepted" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission will not accept an over-allocation of carbon dioxide (CO2) credits in the second phase of the EU emissions trading scheme, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Saudi Oil Firm Aramco Says Backs Greenhouse Gas Cut" - "DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, signalled on Monday it would help the fight against global warming through research on cutting carbon dioxide emissions in the oil and gas industry." (Reuters)

Ah Polly... "Forget drought: first we have to end this cowardice" - "Our early brush with climate change shows what an unequivocal scandal the privatisation of water represents." (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian)

How do they do it? "Money Key Driver in Changing Consumer Attitudes to Energy" - "New research from LogicaCMG reveals that while European consumers are environmentally conscious, financial cost is even more important when it comes to managing energy consumption. The study shows that the threat of higher energy prices is the most important factor influencing people in taking steps to reduce the amount of energy they consume at home. Overall, a combination of financial costs, environmental concerns and better information - enabled by the right technology - would lead to a change in energy consumer behaviour." (PRNewswire)

"End ethanol subsidies now" - "There's no reason to artificially prop up energy prices." (LA Times editorial)

There you have it, in the Left-Coast Times' own editorial, "There's no reason to artificially prop up energy prices." Somehow we suspect they'll need reminding that they don't support artificial energy price inflation but they are right in that ethanol support is purely a gift to the farming lobby.

"Critics cry foul over drilling-study process" - "Oil and gas companies will pick a contractor to examine the use of Colorado land. The BLM says the deal is fair." (Denver Post)

Odd, isn't it? Not that long ago enviros used to howl and insist nasty businesses foot the bill for enviro-mandated studies. Industry said: "Fair enough, we'll pay ticket" and enviros howl about that, too -- go figure!

"MIT studies undersea channels for oil recovery: Work could withdraw millions of additional barrels of oil" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Work in an MIT lab may help energy companies withdraw millions of additional barrels of oil from beneath the sea floor. Typically, companies recover only 30 percent to 40 percent of the oil in a given reservoir. Since a single reservoir may contain a billion barrels total, increasing that "recovery efficiency" by even a single percentage point would mean a lot of additional oil." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"MIT revamps energy system for more fuel-efficient cars: Technique involves converting light into electricity" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--MIT researchers are trying to unleash the promise of an old idea by converting light into electricity more efficiently than ever before. The research is applying new materials, new technologies and new ideas to radically improve an old concept -- thermophotovoltaic (TPV) conversion of light into electricity. Rather than using the engine to turn a generator or alternator in a car, for example, the new TPV system would burn a little fuel to create super-bright light. Efficient photo diodes (which are similar to solar cells) would then harvest the energy and send the electricity off to run the various lighting, electrical and electronic systems in the car." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Nuclear energy is cheaper than gas, and needs no taxpayers' subsidy" - "Modern reactors, unlike the old ones, are built with decommissioning in mind, says Robert Davies." (The Guardian)

"Research highlights how bacteria produce energy" - "ORLANDO – May 22, 2006 -- The world's smallest life forms could be the answer to one of today's biggest problems: providing sustainable, renewable energy for the future. Using a variety of natural food sources, bacteria can be used to create electricity, produce alternative fuels like ethanol and even boost the output of existing oil wells, according to research being presented this week at the 106th General Meeting of the (ASM) American Society for Microbiology in Orlando, Florida." (American Society for Microbiology)

"Here comes the sun: New solutions for world's energy woes: FSU research could bring electricity to millions who now have none at all" - "TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The number is staggering: Approximately 2 billion of the world's people -- nearly one-third of the human population -- have no access to electricity. Consequently, they do without many of the amenities that people in the developed world take for granted -- everything from air conditioning and refrigeration to television, indoor lighting, and pumps that supply drinking water. And without electricity to power factory operations or other commercial endeavors, those 2 billion people remain mired in an endless cycle of poverty." (Florida State University)

"EU nations divided over organic food rules" - "MAY. 22 12:22 P.M. ET European Union agriculture ministers were divided over plans Monday to set up new EU-wide labeling of organic and bio-produced foods." (AP)

"Bananas under threat" - "The most popular type of banana, the Cavendish, is under threat from a new strain of Panama fungus, responsible for wiping out the Gros Michel variety in the 1950's." (London Telegraph)

May 22, 2006

"Corporate Social Responsibility cuts both ways" - "Corporate America is traveling down a one-way road that can only hurt profits. A recent BusinessWeek article pretty much says it all. The article opens by describing the buying habits of two women who seemingly have nothing in common, especially their politics. They do share one common value however: they boycott companies whose political donations conflict with their own personal values.

It is tiresome to note that Americans are divided politically. Despite this fact, companies are becoming ever-more entrenched in political issues. Not just any issues mind you; contentious issues that have already driven a wedge through our country’s political institutions. Precisely because of the inability for our elected representatives to resolve these issues, they should be decided by the elected representatives of the people." (Wayne Winegarden, Town Hall)

"Euro Trash" - "Is recycling worth the trouble? How much time does it take you?" (Tim Worstall, TCS Daily)

"Less Is More" - "When it comes to government spending, less is more. Less government spending and involvement in the economy - both in terms of regulatory interference and taxation burden - are associated with higher rates of economic growth, better productivity and more diverse markets for products. This is supported by country-specific evidence and several long-running international indices ranking economic environments." (Constantin Gurdgiev, TCS Daily)

"If You've Got a Pulse, You're Sick" - "For a nation that spends more than any other on health, the United States certainly doesn't seem very healthy." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"UK: Schools check for obesity" - "Primary schoolchildren are to be weighed regularly and their parents told if they are too fat under a Government drive to reduce obesity." (London Telegraph)

"'Healthy' Foods a Pitfall for Dieters" - "ALBANY, N.Y. -- On a mission to whip herself into shape, Kate Kowalczyk tossed out the junk food and stocked up on her idea of good-for-you staples like yogurt and low-fat cookies. Despite her persistence, the 35 pounds she was trying to shake wouldn't budge. It turns out those ''healthy'' foods were just as fattening as the chips and soda they replaced: The yogurt was filled with Reese's Pieces and the low-fat cookies were brimming with sugar that kept her hunger on razor's edge. As concerns grow over rising obesity rates, so does confusion about the difference between what is healthy and what aids weight loss -- with many believing the two are interchangeable." (AP)

"Benzene found in some soft drinks, U.S. FDA says" - "WASHINGTON, May 19 - Government testing found the cancer-causing chemical benzene in some soft drinks but not at high enough levels to cause harm, U.S. regulators said on Friday. Five out of more than 100 beverages tested had benzene in amounts exceeding the limit set for U.S. drinking water - 5 parts per billion, the Food and Drug Administration said. The agency said it asked manufacturers to minimize or eliminate benzene levels in their products. All of the makers contacted have reformulated the drinks or are in the process of doing so, FDA officials said." (Reuters)

"UC Report on Levees Sees Institutional Failings in Corps" - "The failure of New Orleans' levees during Hurricane Katrina reflected decades of technical and institutional problems in the Army Corps of Engineers' efforts to protect the city, according to investigators who will publish their findings Monday." (LA Times)

"Flood Control: Depoliticize the Corps"-  "Hurricane Katrina exposed a dangerously inadequate national flood-control system that actually increases damage over time by encouraging development where it never should have occurred." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Activists: Government filters are curbing citizen suits" - "Environmentalists say federal agencies are limiting public's access to needed information." (Gannett News Service)

"'Extinct' frog comes back to life" - "Scientists have sighted a spectacular South American frog which had been feared extinct for a decade. The painted frog is found only in a small remote region of Colombia, and the last sighting dates back to 1995. Conservationists believed it had gone extinct, principally due to a fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, which has caused enormous harm to many species. The team behind the rediscovery say it gives hope that other amphibians may be able to survive fungal attack. Chytridiomycosis is the main reason behind the worldwide decline in amphibians, which sees about one third of all species threatened with extinction." (BBC)

Too wet for fish: "Gigantic fish kill" - "State confronts a new threat in gas-charged water blamed for Nimbus fingerling deaths." (Sacramento Bee)

"How a Global Warming Satirist Breaks the Ice" - "Witness the headlines: "Pristine Alaskan Glacier Turns Into Tropical Wasteland." "More Polar Bears Suffering Heat Exhaustion." And "Dolphins Discovered Fleeing Warming Tropical Waters." Global warming warnings intended to give you the shivers. But upon further clicking and reading, visitors to EcoEnquirer.com might think, hmm: Is the Smithsonian Institution really buying up virgin arctic sea ice on the black market? Did attention-weary penguins actually chase bewildered researchers back onto their ships? And what's this about the EPA mandating a reduction in emissions from . . . volcanoes?" (Washington Post)

Global Warming: The Debate Continues (FNC) has now aired, from what we hear so far AGW hand-wringers will be (or should be) reasonably happy since carbon dioxide is still declared a 'pollutant' (which we'd dispute) and 'global warming' real (which is pretty much as we've always said except they don't specify compared to when). Even Gerry Meehl was less than bombastic regarding the ability of climate models to 'predict' the future (which they patently can not). It was pointed out that carbon dioxide is but one of myriad variables and likely a very small component in climate forcing. Under current circumstances probably about as good a climate feature as anyone could hope for -- which probably means Big Warming will likely be pretty upset by it.

"'An Inconvenient Truth': Al Gore's Fight Against Global Warming" - "Opinions on the prospects of a new documentary about former Vice President Al Gore's quest to spur action against global warming range from hopeful to scornful." (New York Times)

He can't handle the truth.

"INTERVIEW-Gore in movie campaign to protect Earth" - "WASHINGTON, May 18 - Al Gore brushes aside talk of another run for the U.S. presidency and wages a new campaign to protect the Earth that he says must be won." (Reuters)

Funny, he brushes aside any chance to facilitate discussion on the science, too.

Easily deceived? "Turned Off by Global Warming" - "BY now, only someone who has been hiding under a rock would need to see the new Al Gore movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," to learn that global warming is real. Even Time magazine caught up to the degree of the threat last month, with its cover story urging us to be "very worried." Many of us have also winced at the slick new television ad, co-sponsored by the national nonprofit group Environmental Defense, that depicts global warming as a speeding train headed straight for a little girl standing on the tracks." (New York Times)

Katherine Ellison obviously needs to read our Greenhouse Primer.

What Level of Skill of Multi-Decadal Global Climate Prediction Can Be Concluded From The CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”? (Climate Science)

BBC's 'Climate Chaos': mark the Series out of 50... (EnviroSpin Watch)

The Week That Was May 20, 2006 (SEPP)

"Ottawa now wants Kyoto deal scrapped" - "OTTAWA -- Canada will not support attempts by other countries to set deeper emission-reduction targets for the Kyoto Protocol's second phase, according to private instructions to Canadian negotiators in Bonn, Germany. The instructions obtained by The Globe and Mail also show that Canada wants the climate-change accord phased out in favour of a separate, voluntary deal." (Globe and Mail)

"Door left ajar for Canada to join Kyoto alternative" - "OTTAWA -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard opened the door for Canada to become the seventh country in the Asia-Pacific Partnership, telling Parliament that the two countries should work together on the issue of climate change." (Globe and Mail)

"Canada's PM expresses interest in climate change partnership" - "Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he wants his country to join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on climate change. The partnership is a non-binding alternative to the Kyoto Protocol that has been criticised by environmentalists." (AFP)

"Kyoto target impossible for region, says GVRD" - "A new 30-cent-a-litre tax on gasoline. A 25% tax on fuel use by industry. An end to free parking throughout Greater Vancouver. And the imposition of road pricing at a rate of five to 10 cents per kilometre depending on time of day. It’s a recipe for commuter revolt. And those are just a few of the punishing measures on a Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) list of what the region would have to do if it’s determined to meet the Kyoto Accord target for greenhouse gas emission cuts by 2010. GVRD staff say it’s impossible." (Black Press)

"Fire and Ice" - "Journalists have warned of climate change for 100 years, but can’t decide weather we face an ice age or warming" (R. Warren Anderson and Dan Gainor, BMI)

"It's serious – Attenborough says stop climate change" - "Long a sceptic, David Attenborough tells Stuart Wavell why he is now certain the planet is warming up and issues a call to arms." (London Times)

"Rising Ocean Temperatures Threaten Florida's Coral Reef" - "KEY LARGO, Fla., May 21 — If global warming summons images of polar bears clinging to shrinking ice floes, this is its face in the Florida Keys: a sun-dappled stretch of shallows along the turquoise reef line, where scientists painstakingly attach russet polyps of regenerated coral to damaged reefs." (New York Times)

Really? Last we heard the problem was largely one of water quality, with excessive nutrients from runoff and sewage, coupled with overfishing, particularly the reduced population of macroalgae grazers, leading to reef choking and turbidity.

Wishful thinking: "EU says US, China open to global emissions trade" - "EISENSTADT, Austria - The European Union's environment chief said on Friday the United States was open to discussing a global greenhouse gas emissions market, but the U.S. government said it remained opposed to mandatory caps on emissions as called for by the Kyoto Protocol." (Reuters)

"Going up in smoke" - "The EU's carbon credit trading system is in crisis. Edward Simpkins reports on its pitfalls and how they might be rectified." (London Telegraph)

"What next? Carbon markets and clean development" - "The European Union announced last week that in 2005 it had emitted about 60 million tonnes of greenhouse gases — or 3.3 per cent — less than projected. Although this may seem positive, it is potentially bad news for the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which has helped to fund hundreds of 'green' projects in the South." (SciDev.Net)

"EU's Dimas Says States Allocated too Much CO2 in '05" - "EISENSTADT, Austria - European Union states allocated too many rights to emit carbon dioxide (CO2) to industry in 2005 and must take that into account when planning for the next emissions trading phase, the EU environment chief said on Friday." (Reuters)

"EU Nations Say Scarcity Essential for CO2 Market" - "EISENSTADT, Austria - European Union countries are not concerned about recent developments in the carbon dioxide (CO2) trading market and believe that scarcity is essential for the scheme to work properly, EU ministers said." (Reuters)

"Polish CO2 Emissions Could be Below Cap - Ministry" - "WARSAW - Poland has emissions reports from only 30 percent of its firms in the EU carbon dioxide trading scheme but data so far suggest its 2005 emissions could be below its allocated quota, the environment ministry said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Germany to Stick by CO2 Plan Despite Price Falls" - "ILLMITZ, Austria - Germany intends to stick with its 2008-2012 carbon dioxide emissions trading plan, despite the recent fall in carbon prices, Germany's environment minister said on Saturday." (Reuters)

"Spain: Global Warming Hurts Spain's Vineyards, Forces Vintners to Move" - "May 22 -- Global warming is killing vineyards in southern Spain, threatening a 2 billion-euro ($2.4 billion) wine industry and forcing grape growers to move to cooler climes of the Pyrenees. Winemakers from Europe's largest grape-growing nation are shading vineyards, developing heat-resistance crops and moving to mountainside locations. Temperatures may rise 7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, said Jose Manuel Moreno, professor of climatology at the University of Castilla La Mancha." (Bloomberg)

Eye-roller: "Where have all the icebergs gone?" - "The British-funded Ice Patrol is usually busy in May, protecting shipping from rogue bergs. But it's all gone alarmingly quiet this year, as Michael Park discovers." (London Independent)

"Scientists note stunning loss of Arctic ice, snow" - "Climatologists studying satellite weather maps say they're amazed and alarmed by how quickly spring is coming to the Arctic this year." (CBC)

"More salmon being caught in waters of North Slope" - "Alaskans are heading into another summer of salmon plenty, and by the time commercial fishermen haul in their last gillnet and sportsmen cast their final hook, the catch is expected to top 160 million fish. Nearly all will be taken along the state's historic salmon belt, the southern coastline from Ketchikan to Cordova to Kenai to Kodiak to Bristol Bay. In recent years, however, salmon have seemed to turn up more and more in an odd place -- the Arctic Ocean, which laps the top of the state." (Anchorage Daily News)

Your house is doing it: "Today's Housing Model Is Unsustainable for the Long Haul" - "Ask most home builders these days what they sell, and they will say a lifestyle. In most cases, that means a house on the outer fringes of suburbia with a yard for the kids and a garden for the folks. The house has plenty of room to pursue hobbies, entertain friends, bond with the family and get away from it all in a spacious master suite." (Washington Post)

"Rebels call nuke the new green" - "They are so focused on their obsession to close nuclear plants that they no longer appreciate the environmental advantages," said Steets, a spokesman for the Indian Point nuclear power station in Westchester County. Riverkeeper, he said, is ignoring science "in favor of an agenda that is out of date." There was a time when Steets' accusations would have proved a public relations nightmare for a nuclear industry spokesman. Think Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. But with oil and natural gas prices rising and traditional power sources like coal taking the heat for increased global temperatures, nuclear energy is winning support from an unlikely group: environmentalists." (Times Herald-Record)

"How Finland fell back in love with nuclear power" - "With its road signs warning motorists to beware of elk crossing out of the forest, Olkiluoto island in western Finland feels more like a Nordic nature reserve than a nuclear power facility. The pine-scented air is bracingly fresh, the rocky undergrowth is covered in lime-coloured moss and, in the swamps along the Baltic coastline, flocks of swans forage among the reeds. The only sign of any unnatural environmental impact is the conspicuous success of local anglers, who catch the unusually large salmon that thrive in the warm waters released by the nuclear reactor's cooling plants. The fact that they then serve the fish up to their children is just one sign of how Finland - almost uniquely among the Green-hued nations of northern Europe - has now largely shed any lingering mistrust of nuclear power." (London Telegraph)

"How Blair made nuclear power green" - "Ever the salesman, Tony Blair pushed the nuclear button last week, citing the need to lower CO2 emissions. Jonathan Leake tells how nuclear power got sexy again." (London Times)

"Nuclear Power Splits EU Despite Common-Policy Bid" - "EISENSTADT, Austria - While the European Union attempts to form a common energy policy, one subject continues to divide: nuclear power." (Reuters)

"The nuclear power debate - handle with care" - "There is nothing more emotive than nuclear power. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island cast long shadows over the debate, as do the leakages and pollution from Sizewell B. Nuclear energy may seem cheap, modern and offer escape from dependence on fossil fuels (and their negative environmental and geopolitical impacts), but one mistake and the consequences could be fatal. Include the costs of decommissioning nuclear power stations at the end of their life and on some assumptions (though not all), nuclear energy moves from being cheap to expensive." (The Observer)

"Climate change policy is as clear as good old London fog" - "The Prime Minister announced last week that nuclear power had to be part of Britain's energy future, for which he should be applauded. He cited two reasons for this decision. The first was to curb carbon emissions to back up Government policies and Kyoto commitments on "preventing" global warming. The second was to improve the security of energy sources for electricity generation. The second was profoundly sensible, the first very dubious." (Ruth Lea, London Telegraph)

"Australia: PM keen on nuclear power" - "Prime Minister John Howard has intensified speculation that his government is considering nuclear power generation, saying global warming and high oil prices are making it inevitable. He said today the government may have to review its 18-month-old energy policy, with its heavy focus on fossil fuels for power generation, to take nuclear power into account." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Meanwhile, another unfashionable fuel is ready for comeback" - "As Tony Blair's nuclear embrace appears to be reviving one of Britain's ageing energy industries, another is waiting in the wings, poised for an equally unlikely comeback. Advocates of "clean coal" - until recently a laughable misnomer - are gaining political clout and serious investment." (The Guardian)

"Seems they CAN teach an old fuel new tricks" - "TUSCOLA, Ill. -- The old Murdock coal mine outside town has been shut for 15 years, but the future of the Illinois coal industry and the nation's quest for clean and plentiful energy could lie more than a mile beneath the cornfields here. Tuscola, 160 miles south of Chicago, this month was placed on a short list to be the site of what the Bush administration is billing as the world's first virtually pollution-free, coal-fired electric generating plant. The plan even seeks to solve the problem of greenhouse-gas emissions that aggravate global warming. The trick is to turn the smokestacks upside down and bury the gas in the ground." (Chicago Tribune)

"Drilling ban upheld - barely" - "After Florida marshals other coastal states, the House votes, 217-203, to preserve a ban on drilling offshore for natural gas." (St Petersburg Times)

"New offshore drilling = more oil and fish" - "That clique of noisy, well-heeled and politically powerful south Florida voters is at it again. And as usual, Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Mel Martinez are pandering shamelessly. Never mind the national interest. This cantankerous group's archaic prejudices still prevail. Never mind simple logic. Their emotions still guide our national policy to the frustration of the rest of the nation, to the detriment of our economic well-being and to the bitter amusement of much of the world." (Humberto Fontova, BrookesNews.Com)

"Coal-based liquid fuel seen promising" - "WASHINGTON -- Mad about high gas prices? How about driving your car with coal? Two scientists at Columbia University say liquid fuels derived from coal may free the world from its addiction to expensive oil." (UPI)

"Three Gorges dam is environmental catastrophe: Friends of the Earth" - "China's Three Gorges dam, which will be officially completed on Saturday, is a social and environmental disaster, the green pressure group Friends of the Earth (FoE) said on Friday." (AFP)

Is this the same dam producing sufficient electricity to avoid burning 50 million tons of dirty, icky coal? The stuff FoE says we positively, absolutely mustn't burn? Maybe it's a catastrophe from FoE's fundraising perspective.

"Tilting at Windmills" - "A project to put 130 wind turbines on 26 square miles off Nantucket Sound has generated a lot of hot air in Massachusetts -- and Washington. Contained in the arguments pro and con are partial facts, misconceptions, outright lies and hysteria. What we're not getting is a rational analysis of the Cape Wind project's effects on the supply of and demand for electricity in New England." (William Koch, Wall Street Journal)

Frew-frew finds... a conspiracy! "Campaign to discredit wind blows to NSW" - "A VICTORIAN campaign aimed at discrediting wind power that has links to prominent climate change deniers and the British nuclear industry has spread to NSW." (Wendy Frew, Sydney Morning Herald)

And the big bad gummint won't give all the free taxpayers' money to starving subsidy farmers! "It's an ill wind …" - "Enemies in high places and activists with nuclear links have taken the puff out of clean energy, writes Wendy Frew." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Automakers Drop Lawsuit on New York's Emissions Rule" - "ALBANY, May 19 — The auto industry has dropped a lawsuit against New York State over strict new regulations governing global warming emissions, but will still continue to fight the rules. The suit, which was filed last year, was dropped on Tuesday, according to court documents. The move represents a tactical shift for the automobile industry in a broad legal fight against California and states like New York that seek to mimic its global warming regulation requiring automakers to improve the fuel economy of their cars." (New York Times)

"Big 3 Leaders Lobby on the Hill" - "Leaders of Detroit's Big Three automakers came together on Capitol Hill yesterday in an uncharacteristic display of unity to build support for ethanol fuel and to rally legislators behind the financially strapped industry." (Washington Post)

"Prospects for ethanol are mixed" - "Interest in the fuel is high, but it won't replace gasoline soon. One big problem is creating a distribution system." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Brazil leads field in alternative fuel race" - "As use of ethanol fuel increases, George Bush is looking to his South American neighbour for lessons in energy self-sufficiency. Nick Mathiason reports." (The Observer)

Import from Brazil ex-tariff would be a good start -- Brazil is well placed through comparatively high incident radiation and rainfall to exploit sugarcane, from which alcohols are more easily and cheaply fermented.

"Corn Laws for the 21st Century" - "President Bush's recent proposal to suspend the tariff on imported ethanol was dead on arrival in the House of Representatives. Ethanol is an important ingredient in gasoline and an alternative fuel in its own right; in the United States, it is made almost exclusively from corn. Farm-state legislators refused last week to even allow the tariff issue on the House agenda." (New York Times)

"Company explores crop-growing niche far from sun's warmth" - "MARENGO, Ind. - In the chilled blackness of a cave-like chamber carved deep into a southern Indiana cliff, Doug Ausenbaugh is raising corn and tomatoes as vibrant as anything that might grow in a sun-drenched field. Regardless of the weather outside - flood, drought or blizzard - crops thrive in the blindingly bright growth chambers Controlled Pharming Ventures LLC has erected 160 feet below ground in one corner of a vast maze carved from limestone. Ausenbaugh started his company in 2003 with the dream of tapping into the emerging field of crops genetically modified to produce drugs or vaccines. Because pollen from altered plants can mix with other crops or native plants - with unknown results - Controlled Pharming would instead grow those crops in underground chambers equipped with special filtration systems to remove that pollen." (Associated Press)

"FEATURE - Seminis Monsanto-Tie Fuels 'Super Vegetables'" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - At Seminis Inc., the world's largest fruit and vegetable seed company, carrots come in a rainbow of colors and flavors, lettuce grows perfectly sandwich-sized, and a menu of "super vegetables" such as cancer-fighting broccoli are in development." (Reuters)

"South Africa not to be overloaded with GM products" - "Importers of South African foodstuffs will not be swamped with genetically modified products. The National Assembly has accepted a draft bill to make the country compliant with international requirements on the treatment of genetically modified organisms. In five years time, half of South Africa's maize crop will consist of genetically modified mealies. SA is also one of a few countries where GM-maize is produced for human consumption." (SABC)

May 21, 2006

Fox with the other side of the 'debate' Tonight: "Global Warming: The Debate Continues" - "Sunday, 10pm / 1am ET: Rising temperatures, melting ice caps, monster hurricanes — Is it scientific reality or politically-motivated hysteria? FNC takes you inside the climate change debate. | Climate Contention | It's Not So Simple (FoxNews.com)

Predictably: "In new global warming special, Fox News interviews scientists with industry ties, records of misinformation" - "Summary: On May 21, Fox News will air a one-hour special, Global Warming: The Debate Continues, in which host David Asman will "speak with scientists who are skeptical of what they view as alarmist fears about climate change." Among the roster of contributors are several global warming skeptics with ties to the energy industry and records of misinformation on the issue." (Media Matters)

After crowing about Fox allegedly 'seeing the light' with their previous 'global warming' foray, The Heat Is On, MM appear somewhat miffed at FNC's incomplete conversion to the Church of AGW.

co2vsTemp.gif (22044 bytes) The fixation with CO2's relation to global mean temperature is really somewhat bizarre given how poorly correlated the two appear.

For longer records see also the Central England Temperature plotted against CO2, imagine if we had current warming to the extent experienced in Central England late 17th, early 18th Centuries -- what a panic there'd be!

All this fuss and contemporary temperature change is barely discernable -- the absolute surface air temperature is reckoned as being ~14 °C ± 0.7 °C. The IPCC says the globe has warmed by 0.6 °C ± 0.2 °C during the Twentieth Century (see GHCN-ERSST [century total 0.5 °C] and HadCRUT2v [0.6 °C]).

The following echoed from our Carbon Footprint analysis:

Discovering that the global temperature trend and net increment is so low frequently causes great confusion because everyone has been subjected to media bombardment with claims about dramatic warming at outrageous rates (specified over ridiculously short periods), complete with disaster prognostication and images of a red-tinted planet. Such claims are pure theater since, while there is a loose association between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising global mean temperature, association is not causation.

Following the Industrial Revolution atmospheric carbon has increased steadily in what might be considered two phases, pre and post World War II, in the first phase about 0.1% per year will produce a fair approximation and in the subsequent era of serious reconstruction and development it has been pushed up to around 0.4% per year. Earth's temperature, however, has varied in four distinct phases of roughly three decades each, two of warming (2nd & 4th) and two not (1st & 3rd).

Below we present time series from the merged land air & sea surface temperature dataset (GHCN-ERSST) and the slightly longer gridded land & ocean dataset developed at the Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom (HadCRUTv2). While they have trivial disagreements, such as whether 1908 or 1909 was the coolest year of the early Twentieth Century, they are in close agreement with the greatest discrepancy attributable to different record commencement dates:

gcag1880-1909.png (5336 bytes) gcag1909-1944.png (5080 bytes)
GHCN-ERSST Data Set -- Trend: -0.04 °C/decade
Time series: Temperature January-December, 1880 - 1909

Selected Region: Longitude: -180.0 to 180.0 Latitude: 90.0 to -90.0

HadCRUT2v Data Set -- Trend: -0.01 °C/decade
Time series: Temperature January-December, 1870 - 1908
GHCN-ERSST Data Set -- Trend: 0.13 °C/decade
Time series: Temperature January-December, 1909 - 1944

Selected Region: Longitude: -180.0 to 180.0 Latitude: 90.0 to -90.0

HadCRUT2v Data Set -- Trend: 0.13 °C/decade
Time series: Temperature January-December, 1908 - 1944
gcag1944-1976.png (4904 bytes) gcag1976-2005.png (5067 bytes)
GHCN-ERSST Data Set -- Trend: -0.00 °C/decade
Time series: Temperature January-December, 1944 - 1976

Selected Region: Longitude: -180.0 to 180.0 Latitude: 90.0 to -90.0

HadCRUT2v Data Set -- Trend: -0.02 °C/decade
Time series: Temperature January-December, 1944 - 1976
GHCN-ERSST Data Set -- Trend: 0.17 °C/decade
Time series: Temperature January-December, 1976 - 2005

Selected Region: Longitude: -180.0 to 180.0 Latitude: 90.0 to -90.0

HadCRUT2v Data Set -- Trend: 0.18 °C/decade
Time series: Temperature January-December, 1976 - 2005

On examination of more complete series than the "since the seventies" or "over the last three decades" presented by the media and pressure groups doing science-by-press-release, the simplistic association of increased atmospheric carbon and global mean temperature becomes much more problematic. The physics of atmospheric carbon compounds do not change at roughly three-decadal intervals so the obvious conclusion is that some other influence is affecting or creating the apparent trends. We know this to be true because these four phases are superimposed over a background of two sets of near-linear atmospheric carbon increase and we know carbon compounds do not alter their properties according to calendar year. If atmospheric carbon were the principal driver of global temperature change we would expect to detect a consistent logarithmic temperature increment but this has not occurred.

Additionally, our reference or temperature baseline is coming from a time of uncomfortable cold, at least in Europe where many of the longer thermometric records are based, a time of hardship and poor crops. Why such a temperature range should be deemed exceptionally desirable is a mystery but we have no means of determining the mean temperature of that period as being either "normal" or optimal.

Given the number of genuine problems demanding our attention the current obsession with carbon dioxide is really quite foolish.

May 19, 2006

"JPMorgan Chase agrees to discuss global warming lobbying with mutual fund " - Why would a bank prioritize lobbying for global warming regulations over lawsuit reform?

"U.S. Indictment for Big Law Firm in Class Actions" - "The nation's leading class-action securities law firm, Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, and two of its partners were charged yesterday with making more than $11 million in secret payments to three individuals who served as plaintiffs in more than 150 lawsuits." (New York Times)

"Congress Overlooks Stem Cell Fraud and Futility" - "The Senate is preparing to vote this summer on a bill restoring funding to embryonic stem cell research. It’s a situation that should make you wonder whether our elected representatives pay any attention at all to current events." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Kenya: DDT holds the key to malaria control" - "Malaria is still the leading killer disease in the world. Statistics show that in Africa, a person dies every 30 seconds from the disease. The challenge to many countries, including Kenya, has been prevention and treatment of the disease. Several initiatives have been mooted in vain, with the incidence growing by the day. Mid-last month, the Government introduced artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) as the first-line treatment for malaria to replace sulphur-based drugs that have lost potency against the parasite. Although this was a positive step, there is need to invest in other intervention measures to wipe out mosquitoes. One of the best ways of controlling malaria is to use DDT, the insecticide that most environmentalists love to hate." (The Standard)

"Kenya: Use of DDT Ruled Out in War to Roll Back Malaria" - "Kenya has no plans to reintroduce a banned pesticide to control mosquitoes that cause malaria. The country would continue using alternatives to DDT, banned in the country since 1988 for its adverse effects on the environment and animal health, the head of international health at the Ministry of Health, Dr Ahmed Ogwel, said yesterday. "The Ministry of Health position is that the substance remains banned until we get further advice from our researchers," said Dr Ogwel. The announcement comes a few days after Health assistant minister Enock Kibunguchy said a meeting would be held before the end of the year on whether or not to reintroduce the pesticide." (The Nation)

"Kenya: Govt at a crossroads over use of DDT" - "Almost two decades after the country banned the use of DDT, the Government is under pressure to lift the ban as one of the effective ways of controlling the spread of malaria. At the same time, there is pressure on the Government not to lift the ban on the insecticide, which remains banned in many countries in the world. The pressure comes in the wake of the heads of state conference in Abuja, which passed a resolution to put emphasis on and promote the use of indoor residual spraying to help fight the malaria vector." (The Standard)

"Uganda: Use Of DDT Is The Only Sure Way To Control Malaria In Uganda" - "In the debate for and against the use of DDT to control Malaria in Uganda, both sides have got convincing reasons." (New Vision)

Same dubious claims recycled: "Halcyon days for the marsh harrier" - "There are now more marsh harriers in Britain than at any time since the 18th century, the RSPB said yesterday. Scientists attribute the resurgence of this large bird of prey to the gradual disappearance of farm pesticides. Farmers have been persuaded not to shoot or poison them and wetland habitat has been reconstructed, all good news for the marsh harrier." (London Telegraph)

See why they are so dubious here.

"Healthcare in the Developing World: Obstacles and Opportunities" - "In the run-up to next week's World Health Assembly in Geneva, a recent report from the Commission on Intellectual Property and Health (CIPIH), appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO), claims to show that a high standard of protection for intellectual property in pharmaceuticals is hurting healthcare in the developing world." (John Gardner, TCS Daily)

"Germany warns of alarming rise in measles infections" - "BERLIN - German health officials warned on Thursday of an alarming increase in measles infections, a childhood disease that can occasionally be deadly, and urged citizens to make sure children are vaccinated against the virus. The Robert Koch Institute, a state agency specializing in infectious diseases and public health, said the number of German cases of measles has jumped by tenfold to over 1,200 cases so far this year up from a total of 121 in 2004 and 778 in 2005." (Reuters)

"Call for debate on public health" - "Experts are calling for a debate about what restrictions and measures should be taken to protect public health. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has launched a four-month consultation on the ethical issues which would be thrown up by a more robust approach. Senior scientists heading the project said there were contradictions in the government's tough stance on smoking and liberal approach to alcohol. Compulsory vaccination and restricting access to care will also be considered." (BBC)

"Fears increase on transmitting human form of BSE" - "Scientists' concerns about preventing an epidemic of the human form of BSE passed on between people through blood transfusions and contaminated surgical instruments strengthened last night as evidence grew that far more people than once thought are prone to infection." (The Guardian)

"Don't blame job stress for high blood pressure" - "NEW YORK - The notion that being stressed out on the job causes high blood pressure doesn't hold up, according to a new analysis of studies involving more than 100,000 people. "There's no doubt that in the moment stress raises blood pressure," the study's author, Dr. Samuel J. Mann of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, told Reuters Health. But there's virtually no evidence, he said, that such stress leads to chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension. "They've been trying to prove that for 40 years." (Reuters Health)

"Happily Burying Bentham" - "At TCS, we've seen more than one article come across our desks about so-called "happiness research" and the efforts of some to use results of the result to push for public policies designed to increase happiness." (Max Borders, TCS Daily)

"Panel Finds Conflicting Data on Multivitamin Benefit" - "A federal panel concluded yesterday that there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against use of multivitamins and minerals -- the popular dietary supplements taken by more than half of American adults in the hope of preventing heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses." (Washington Post)

"Portuguese school children suffer soap opera virus" - "LISBON - An illness that medical officials are calling the "Strawberries with Sugar Virus" is sweeping Portuguese schools as children complain of symptoms similar to those suffered by characters in a television soap opera. More than 300 children have complained of symptoms including rashes, breathing difficulties and dizziness at 14 schools in different parts of the country. Some schools have been forced to close." (Reuters)

"Scientists scuttle claims that 'Hobbit' fossil from Flores, Indonesia, is a new hominid" - "CHICAGO--When scientists found 18,000-year-old bones of a small, humanlike creature on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, they concluded that the bones represented a new species in the human family tree that they named Homo floresiensis. Their interpretation was widely accepted by the scientific community and heralded by the popular press around the world. Because of its very short stature, H. floresiensis was soon dubbed the "Hobbit." (Field Museum)

"Scientists develop first comprehensive theory explaining Madagascar's rich biodiversity" - "CHICAGO--An international team of scientists has developed an explanation for why Madagascar has such a wealth of animals found only on this island. Their findings will help sort out the evolutionary history of these animals and prioritize conservation efforts in the limited remaining natural forests of Madagascar, the most biodiverse landmass in the world." (Field Museum)

"Colombian frog believed extinct found alive: Discovery shows some species can survive fungus decimating amphibians" - "Researchers exploring a Colombian mountain range found surviving members of a species of Harlequin frog believed extinct due to a killer fungus wiping out amphibian populations in Central and South America. The discovery of what could be the last population of the painted frog (Atelopus ebenoides marinkellei) indicates the species has survived the fungus, providing hope that other species also might avoid elimination from the epidemic caused by a pathogenic fungus of unknown origin." (Conservation International)

"Rare Woodpecker Elusive as Search Season Ends" - "WASHINGTON - The search for the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker in the swamps of Arkansas has ended for the season with no confirmed sighting, wildlife experts said on Thursday, but they plan to start looking again in late autumn." (Reuters)

Hmm... probably won't stop shameless fundraising exploitation though -- the following images were forwarded to us by a ruffled reader who took less than kindly to this scam: NC1; NC2; NC3; NC4.

"The Bear Facts" - "The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has just put the polar bear on the endangered species list because it is supposedly "facing extinction" -- mainly, it claims, as a result of global warming. But statistics show the polar bear is not facing extinction, not by a long shot." (Theo Richel, TCS Daily)

"Polar bear worries unproven, expert says" - "Polar bears are becoming the poster-species for "doomsday prophets" of climate change, even though groups pushing for higher protection for the animals don't have the evidence to prove their case, Nunavut's manager of wildlife says." (CBC News)

"Linking Climate Change Across Time Scales" - "WOODS HOLE, Mass., May 18 -- What do month-to-month changes in temperature have to do with century-to-century changes in temperature? At first it might seem like not much. But in a report published in this week's Nature, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found some unifying themes in the global variations of temperature at time scales ranging from a single season to hundreds of thousands of years. These findings help place climate observed at individual places and times into a larger global and temporal context." (AScribe Newswire)

The Final Meeting Information on “The Earth’s Radiative Energy Budget Related to SORCE” Conference Has Been Posted (Climate Science)

"Pick Your Poison: Smog or Global Warming?" - "May 18, 2006 — A study of the strange climate changes in the Indian Ocean has uncovered a frightening climatic dilemma: By cleaning up smog, we could accelerate global warming. Extensive air monitoring with unmanned aircrafts along with satellite and sea surface temperature data are showing that the brown clouds of polluted air from India have been absorbing sunlight before it reaches the northern Indian Ocean surface -- thereby "masking" global warming there and causing the waters to cool. When the cooling effect is strong enough, it repels the Indian Monsoon, causing deadly droughts in the world’s most populated region." (Discovery News)

Virtually: "New century of thirst for world's mountains" - "RICHLAND, Wash. – By the century's end, the Andes in South America will have less than half their current winter snowpack, mountain ranges in Europe and the U.S. West will have lost nearly half of their snow-bound water, and snow on New Zealand's picturesque snowcapped peaks will all but have vanished." (DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

"China Faces Rising Temperatures, Shrinking Crops" - "BEIJING - China's average temperature may rise by 2.8 degrees Celsius by 2030 and its crop production could tumble by 10 percent as global warming throws the climate into disarray, a senior Chinese climate official said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Poor States Seen Escaping Kyoto Climate Caps" - "BONN, Germany - Poor nations are seeking aid and technology to combat global warming with no expectation at UN climate talks that they will be forced to join rich nations and cut emissions of heat-trapping gases." (Reuters)

"Australian PM courts Canadian support in rare address" - "OTTAWA — Australian Prime Minister John Howard made a pitch for his country and Canada to work together in facing the challenges of globalization and climate change as he made a special address to members of Parliament and senators in the House of Commons on Thursday." (CanWest News Service)

"Australian PM seeks cooperation with Canada on climate change" - "OTTAWA - Australian Prime Minister John Howard, during his first official visit to Ottawa, urged Canada to work with his country on climate change, much to the horror of environmentalists." (AFP)

"Australia to lead climate change talks" - "Australia will play a major role in developing a new international climate change deal to come into force after 2012. Australia and South Africa will co-chair the development of the new climate change deal, which is intended to apply to almost 200 countries." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"CO2: We Call it Life" - "The Competitive Enterprise Institute has produced two 60-second television spots focusing on the alleged global warming crisis and the calls by some environmental groups and politicians for reduced energy use. The ads are airing in 14 U.S. cities from May 18 to May 28, 2006." (CEI)

While we are posting links to audio-visuals, here's a link to a Power Point slide show sent to us, oh, about a month ago (approx file size 3Mb). We haven't reviewed the item beyond paging through and noting no egregious errors, it is simply one of the myriad unsolicited items that turns up in our mailboxes daily. Our apologies to all who put such effort into submissions but, unfortunately, we simply do not have either time or funds to review everything sent in. Apparently this item has backing music (I wouldn't know, I work with all sound muted) and has references on the final screen. Helpfully included with the attachment was a link to Microsoft's free power point viewer for those lacking the software. Enjoy.

Carbon claptrap attains new heights of madness (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Volatility, confusion after EU emissions data published" - "London, 18 May: Prices for EU carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances once more surprised market participants this week, defying expectations that they would crash following the release by the European Commission of verified figures for 2005 emissions. The data – released officially on Monday, but leaked on Friday – confirmed market expectations that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is awash with surplus allowances. However EU allowance (EUA) prices rallied, due to a lack of supply in the market. "There's a mismatch in supply and demand," says Gerhard Mulder, an emissions specialist in investment bank ABN Amro's commodity derivatives team. "Theoretically, the price should be 10 cents, but the supply is with industrial companies who only come to the market sporadically." (Environmental Finance)

"ETS figures show Europe's flagship in danger of running aground" - "The EU has published figures showing who is producing the most carbon and who is doing what to offset their emissions, under its continent-wide trading scheme." (Edie.net)

Chuckle... talk about self-delusion: "Give emissions trading scheme a fair chance" - "The performance of the European Union’s flagship scheme to tackle climate change received more brickbats than bouquets following its first formal progress report this week. Those people seriously expecting a hitch-free introduction to a scheme described at its inception as “the biggest piece of environmental legislation in human history”, however, were deluding themselves. It is no surprise that the birth of such an ambitious scheme has been followed by teething problems. The EU emissions trading scheme involves the co-ordinated efforts and, some would say, conflicting interests of 25 member state governments, a host of different industries reporting on emissions from 9,400 separate factories and power stations and, of course, the machinery of the EU itself. Given that background, the progress today is very encouraging." (Financial Times)

Andrew Duff is chief executive of RWE npower, one of the wannabe profiteers (at your expense) while hiding behind 'global warming' as a cover. 'Progress' would logically be measured as some advance toward reducing 'global warming' -- that, after all, is the stated purpose of hot air trading. The ETS, however, has precisely zero potential for making a measurable difference in world temperature over the next half-century and probably over any time span. It does, on the other hand, have significant potential to do harm by distorting energy markets, increasing costs and reducing wealth generation. This may be affordable in the short term but current indications are that solar cycle 25 (min 2018, max 2023) will be weak and when our great solar heater in the sky enters a quiet phase life on Earth gets very much harder. If you think energy is expensive now just imagine what it'll be like if we suffer a repeat of Maunder Minimum conditions.

"US Senator Enrolls Farm in Chicago Climate Mart" - "NEW YORK - A US senator has become the first politician to enroll personal property in a Chicago-based market in which members voluntarily trade emissions of heat-trapping gases, his office said Thursday. Senator Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, enlisted his 600-acre corn and soybean farm in the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). "I want to encourage farmers to explore this new opportunity to increase their farm income by using carbon-absorbing environmental practices," Lugar said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Bay State could rejoin greenhouse gas coalition" - "In December, Gov. Mitt Romney pulled the Bay State out of a regional coalition that aims to curb greenhouse gases, saying it would raise utility bills for Massachusetts customers. This month, state lawmakers are attempting to get the state back into the pact, saying it could cut those utility bills." (Cape Cod Times)

"Uncertainty Threatens China Kyoto Funds - Investor" - "BEIJING - Frequent changes to rules governing green energy projects funded under the Kyoto Protocol in China are creating a climate of uncertainty that could deter foreign funds, a European investor warned on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Power: A Changing Game" - "Five of Wisconsin's largest utility companies are either building, paying for or planning major new coal-burning power plants - even as the industry anticipates new environmental regulations that could dramatically increase the cost to ratepayers." (Wisconsin State Journal)

"Algae tested to fight warming, grow fuel" - "New York state, two partners will capture carbon dioxide, make biofuel." (MSNBC)

"US States, Investors Attack Exxon on Global Warming" - "NEW YORK - A group of pension funds and institutional investors Thursday accused Exxon Mobil Corp. of failing to act on global warming concerns and demanded a meeting with the company's board over the issue." (Reuters)

"Under fire, Exxon Mobil touts environmental record" - "NEW YORK, May 18 - Exxon Mobil Corp. in a report said it cut oil and other spills by 20 percent last year to the lowest level in its history, touting its environmental record as it works to shake off its corporate villain image. In a lengthy report released on Thursday detailing the company's efforts to support the environment and the communities it operates in, Exxon said it spent more than $3 billion last year on expenses related to the environment. About half of that was in the area of air quality, it said. The world's largest public company also defended its stance on global warming in the report, saying it is responding to the issue by improving energy efficiency and cutting greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Lib Dems plan a £2,000 road tax" - "The owners of cars which generate the most pollution would face annual road taxes of £2,000 under Liberal Democrat plans to tackle climate change. The figure - 10 times the current rate - would cover high-end cars such as BMW's 7 series, Bentley Continentals and the four-by-four Porsche Cayenne. It would apply only to new cars, with exemptions for "essential" vehicles. Airlines would also be taxed per flight rather than by passenger, to penalise companies operating half-full planes. The party's environmental spokesman Chris Huhne said it was vital "to use green taxes as a lever in order to make our behaviour sustainable." (BBC)

"Scientists back plug-in hybrids" - "WASHINGTON — A group of scientists urged Congress on Wednesday to fund research for plug-in hybrid vehicles, touting the technology as another way to reduce the nation's dependence on oil through the help of a simple electrical socket." (Associated Press)

"Political Posturing on Gas Prices Mostly Hot Air" - "Three gas station owners report for their first day in prison. The prison guard asks one of them, "What are you in for?" He replies, "The government says I charged customers more for my gasoline than other gas stations. I'm in for price gouging." The guard looks at the second man. "And you?" He answers, "I charged less for my gasoline than everyone else. I'm in for anti-competitive pricing." The guard looks to the third. "And you?" He shrugs. "I charged the same price for my gasoline as all the other gas stations. I'm in for collusion." (Radley Balko, FoxNews.com)

"House Vote Preserves Offshore Drilling Ban" - "The House rejected an attempt Thursday to lift a quarter-century congressional ban on offshore oil drilling in coastal waters outside the western Gulf of Mexico amid arguments that new supplies are needed to lower energy prices. A proposal to end the long-standing moratoria as it applies only to pumping natural gas was expected to be voted on later in the evening as lawmakers moved toward late-night approval of a $25.9 billion Interior Department spending bill. The proposal to allow oil drilling in waters off both coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico — areas off limits to energy companies since 1981 — was rejected by a 279-141 vote. It had been offered by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who called the drilling ban "an outdated policy" when the country wants to reduce its dependence on imports." (AP)

"GE Energy Building Plant To Develop Nuclear Reactors" - "WILMINGTON, N.C. -- GE Energy, which moved its nuclear business from California to Wilmington three years ago, has broken ground here on a plant that will focus on developing a new line of nuclear reactors for the international market. The high price of oil is one trigger behind the rush to tap the fast-growing market overseas, especially in China and India, GE officials said." (Associated Press)

"Australian Nuclear Power Is Inevitable, Howard Says" - "May 19 -- Australia, the holder of the world's largest-known uranium reserves, will eventually build a nuclear power industry, Prime Minister John Howard said." (Bloomberg)

"BRAZIL: Activists Challenge Garbage Burning" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - The "Usina Verde" project seeks to generate energy in Brazil while eliminating urban waste and helping to curb global warming. But its good intentions have not won over environmental groups because the plan involves burning the garbage." (IPS)

May 18, 2006

"Keeping the Edge" - "As the Congress debates the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, illegal immigration often shapes public debate. But there is another face in the debate about immigration -- the legal immigration of scientists. According to a 2003 National Science Board (NSB) report, "It is beyond dispute that society is -- and will become even more -- dependent on science and technology," and therefore must "depend on a cadre of individuals with a high level of scientific training and education." (Clint Parks, TCS Daily)

"Activists deter drug firms" - "Animal rights activists could deprive Britain of much-needed investment in medical research, Jean-Pierre Garnier, the chief executive of the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, has said." (London Telegraph)

"Oxford seeks animal protests ban" - "Oxford University is seeking an injunction against animal rights protesters who campaign against its biomedical research centre. The university says since building of the £20m centre resumed last November, threats and criminal damage have risen. Oxford is now returning to the High Court to try to extend the exclusion zone around the building site." (BBC)

"Time to Vaccinate a Panic" - "Does thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines, cause childhood autism?" (John Luik, TCS Daily)

"Pesticide fears are way over the top" - "Jack Layton and the NDP are hoping to protect us all from pesticides "linked to cancer, birth defects and other devastating illnesses." Layton is introducing a motion in the House of Commons that if passed would ban the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes around homes and on any private or public land used for recreation or entertainment. "We've known for some time the serious, long-term, and harmful effects that exposure to these chemicals and carcinogens have on people," says Layton in a news release. The sad part is that many people suffer under these misconceptions. Despite the industry being heavily regulated and despite countless millions in testing to ensure that products are not harmful given the minute level of exposure, zealots are not satisfied." (Kevin Hursh, Leader-Post)

"Worst cholera outbreak in Angola" - "A cholera epidemic in Angola has now killed more than 1,200 people in the past three months - the worst outbreak ever recorded in the country." (BBC)

No? Duh! "The junk food smugglers" - "The drive to promote healthy eating in schools is giving rise to an unexpected black market in junk food among children who are refusing to change their eating habits." (BBC)

"Flak Over 'Fast Food Nation'" - "As "Fast Food Nation" a fictionalized movie based on Eric Schlosser's book, is set to have its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival tomorrow, an array of U.S. food companies are sharpening a campaign to rebut the allegations in the film and a new book that fast-food chains contribute to the nation's obesity epidemic and other problems." (Wall Street Journal)

"'Pinball protons' created by ultraviolet rays and other causes can lead to DNA damage" - "Researchers have known for years that damaged DNA can lead to human diseases such as cancer, but how damage occurs--and what causes it--has remained less clear." (University of Georgia)

"Researchers assess risks associated with living in low-lying coastal areas" - "For many, sea-level rise is a remote and distant threat faced by people like the residents of the Tuvalu Islands in the South Pacific, where the highest point of land is only 5 meters (15 feet) above sea level and tidal floods occasionally cover their crops in seawater. Now, however, a recently published study by researchers from The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the International Institute for Environment and Development suggests that as much as 10 percent of the world's population is vulnerable. In particular, the authors have found that many large cities face risks posed by rising sea level and increased storm intensity." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Hurricane Debate Rages On" - "Two new hurricane/climate change articles just hit the street, in the form of a back-and- forth discussion in the May 2006 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society (BAMS). While both agree that our coastal population continues to become more vulnerable to the impacts of tropical cyclones, the papers cite dramatically different causes." (World Climate Report)

Uh-oh... "Long Range Solar Forecast" - "Solar Cycle 25 peaking around 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries." (NASA)

This is not good news. Despite all the arm waving and hysteria over 'global warming' the bottom line is that it is much easier to feed and shelter a large human population when it is warmer rather than colder. As a general rule of thumb the world is cooler and drier when the sun is less active and that is climate change worthy of concern.

"Using satellite observations to study photosynthetic trends in northern circumpolar high latitudes" - "Using time series analyses of a 22-year record of satellite observations across the northern circumpolar high latitudes, scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center are assessing trends in vegetation photosynthetic activity. The results indicate that tundra areas consistently and predominantly show greening trends while forested areas show browning, indicating that the boreal forest biome might be responding to climate change in previously unexpected ways. This research is highlighted in the current issue of Earth Interactions." (Woods Hole Research Center)

"Water shortages in Northeast linked to human activity" - "With the summer approaching, new research has shown that recent water emergencies in the Northeast have resulted from more than just dry weather. Instead, researchers from The Earth Institute at Columbia University found droughts had more direct, human causes. The result is a condition known as demand-driven drought that may catch more water managers and residents off-guard in coming years." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

Further Documentation of the Drought Threat in the Western United States (Climate Science)

"Climate Expert to Lead Talks on Extending Kyoto Deal" - "BONN, Germany - A UN conference picked a veteran Maltese climate expert on Wednesday to lead talks about how to overcome deep policy splits on global warming and extend the UN's Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012." (Reuters)

"'Carbon Dioxide... We Call It Life,' US TV Ads Say" - "WASHINGTON - A little girl blows away dandelion fluff as an announcer says, "Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution; we call it life," in an advertisement targeting global warming "alarmists," especially Al Gore." (Reuters)

Doh! "Power tool" - "European energy groups involved in carbon trading are manipulating the scheme for profit, not principle, writes David Gow." (The Guardian)

"Carbon's Kindergarten Cop" - "I don't know what you'd call an investor who puts lots of money into "investments" that offer no benefits, but "Schwarzenegger" might be a good label." (Kenneth Green, TCS Daily)

"INTERVIEW - Transport a Black Spot for Global Warming - UN" - "BONN - Transport is the worst offender for releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and governments must do more to cut emissions from cars and trucks, the UN's climate change chief said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Canadian Oil Production Seen Doubling by 2020" - "CALGARY, Alberta - Canada's oil production could double by 2020 as new projects in the country's oil sands more than replace declining conventional output, the Canadian oil industry's biggest lobby group said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Are Storm Clouds Massing? These Traders Need to Know" - "CURT A. KAMINER starts his day as any other hedge fund manager would, checking on how his holdings are trading and taking stock of the market forces that are buffeting or bolstering them." (New York Times)

"Nuclear industry urged to win over EU public" - "The nuclear energy industry needs to work harder if it is to persuade the public of the benefits of building new plants, Europe’s top energy official believes." (Financial Times)

"Cabinet split over cost of nuclear energy" - "Tony Blair was last night facing cabinet-level opposition over his plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations following Treasury predictions of "eye-wateringly large" costs." (The Guardian)

"New reactors can be ready by 2017, says industry" - "The nuclear industry promised last night to have new reactors up and running in Britain by 2017 - as long as the planning process is streamlined and a final decision is made on long-term waste storage." (The Guardian)

"Foreigners will power UK's next nuclear age" - "If Britain is to build more nuclear power stations it will have to look abroad for expertise because it no longer has the skills to build reactors, writes Russell Hotten." (London Telegraph)

"Temporary Nuclear Storage May Be Needed" - "The Bush administration says it is willing to store temporarily nuclear power plant waste somewhere other than the delayed Yucca Mountain project in Nevada but needs congressional approval to do so." (AP)

"They Tilt and Whirl While Spinning Off Cash" - "THE town of Weatherford, Okla., is proud of many things, and one thing it is proudest of is its wind turbines." (New York Times)

"Global Food Supply Near the Breaking Point" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - The world is now eating more food than farmers grow, pushing global grain stocks to their lowest level in 30 years." (IPS)

"Argentina Will Sue Monsanto in Spain Over GMO Soy" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentina will sue US biotech giant Monsanto Co. in Spain and possibly France for the company's detention of Argentine soy shipments in Europe, stemming from a conflict over biotech soy royalties, an Argentine official said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

May 17, 2006

"Cape cancer study finds carcinogens unabated" - "HYANNIS - The high levels of dangerous chemicals breast cancer researchers found in some Cape Cod homes five years ago have not lessened over time, a follow-up study has found." (Cape Cod Times)

Despite the inappropriate use of "high levels" and "dangerous" the bottom line is that researchers found no association between these trace exposures and breast cancers.

"Researchers find no signs of 'Iraq War Syndrome'" - "LONDON - British soldiers who served in Iraq are showing few signs of the 'Iraq War Syndrome' that troubled veterans of the Gulf War in the early 1990s, scientists said on Tuesday. They examined whether there had been an increase in ill health in soldiers returning from Iraq and compared the mental and physical health of forces who had been deployed and those who had not. They found only slight increases in symptoms but reserve forces experienced more mental health problems than regular forces." (Reuters)

"The Sweetener Lowdown" - "High-fructose corn syrup has been singled out as a unique contributor to the obesity epidemic. But is it?" (Dr. Ruth Kava, TCS Daily)

"Doubt cast over DVT flying risk" - "Reduced air pressure and oxygen levels on planes do not increase the risk of blood clots in the legs, a study says." (BBC) | No link between low air-pressure on long-haul flights and DVT says new study (University of Leicester)

"Italians unleash smog-eating cement" - "Milan, May 16 - An Italian company is releasing a revolutionary 'smog-eating' cement product capable of reducing urban pollution by over 40%. After 10 years of research, development and testing, Italcementi is putting TX Active on the market. It can be applied to road surfaces or building exteriors." (ANSA)

"NASA looks at hurricane cloud tops for windy clues" - "Scientists at NASA are finding that with hurricanes, they can look at the cloud tops for clues about the behavior of winds below the hurricane on the Earth's surface. By looking at how high up the rain is forming within clouds, scientists can estimate whether the hurricane's surface winds will strengthen or weaken. They have found that if rain is falling from clouds that extend up to 9 miles high, and that rain continues for at least one out of three hours, a hurricane's surface winds are likely going to get stronger." (NASA/GSFC)

"What’s behind the late salmon return? We don’t know" - "This year’s odd spring Chinook salmon run is finally on its way to a probable happy ending, with the count at Bonneville climbing well above 60,000 last week. With daily counts sometimes surging past 7,000 recently, it’s beginning to seem the pre-season forecast of 88,000 may not be out of reach.

No matter the eventual total, it is interesting and worrisome that we now have seen two years in a row with abnormally late spring Chinook runs. Top scientists can do little more than offer speculations about why this might be. One suggestion is that high water flows from this winter’s abundant snow pack have discouraged upstream migration. But there have been many high-flow years in the past without a corresponding alteration in salmon behavior.

It is tempting to blame climate change; salmon are sensitive to ocean water temperatures, as are the small species on which they fatten before heading to spawning grounds. However, at this point there is little to support this guess." (Daily Astorian)

"Coral reef reveals history of fickle weather in the central Pacific" - "For more than five decades, archaeologists, geographers, and other researchers studying the Pacific Islands have used a model of late Holocene climate change based largely on other regions of the world. However, in a new study from the June issue of Current Anthropology, Melinda Allen (University of Auckland, New Zealand) uses evidence from the long-lived Pacific corals to suggest that the climate in the Pacific diverged from the rest of the world during two major climate periods: the "Little Ice Age" and the "Medieval Warm Period." (University of Chicago Press Journals)

Policymakers Need to Move Beyond the Global Average Surface Temperature Trend as the Primary Climate Change Metric (Climate Science)

Scooped -- again:) "Speculators Push Arctic Sea Ice to $20 per Ton" - "As sea ice concentrations continue their historic decline, commodities speculators have pushed the price of virgin Arctic sea ice to $20/ton, and the Smithsonian Institution is buying up much of what is left on the black market." (ecoEnquirer)

True: "India Says Poverty a Worse Problem Than Climate" - "BONN, Germany - India said on Tuesday that poor nations had to give priority to ending poverty rather than fighting global warming at 189-nation UN climate talks criticised by environmentalists as a rambling talk shop." (Reuters)

This week we have posted a series of "Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Calculators" for you to play with and below we present the final in the current series. Yesterday's version implausibly delivers in excess of 10 °C cooling for 10 ppbv (0.01 ppmv) with the implication that atmospheric carbon dioxide preferentially absorbs greater than 30% of upwelling longwave radiation. Today's version more closely emulates Lindzen's estimated cloud-free CO2 sensitivity and likely still seriously overstates carbon's significance in global climate (see the Greenhouse Primer if you are not up to speed yet). Off all the things we could be worrying about on this planet -- and surely there are plenty -- carbon dioxide simply does not belong on the list. The great climate carbon fetish is guaranteed to end in tears.

New entry in the propaganda stakes: "Why Aren't Americans 'Very Worried' About the Climate?" - "It was barely six weeks ago that Time magazine warned us to "Be Worried. Be Very Worried" about climate change. The planet's climate, said the magazine, is "booby-trapped with tipping points and feedback loops, thresholds past which the slow creep of environmental decay gives way to sudden and self-perpetuating collapse." And those tipping points may well be upon us. So, why aren't Americans worried enough to take action?" (World Changing)

"AIG Adopts First Policy on Global Climate Change" - "NEW YORK - American International Group Inc. this week became the first major US insurer to adopt a policy on climate change, saying it would develop projects to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. The policy doesn't use the controversial term "global warming," but AIG, the world's largest insurer, said scientific consensus showed "human activities" are the likely cause of greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

Yes, people are likely having a significant bearing on trace gas levels in the atmosphere. What's lacking is apparent effect.

The calculated mean temperature expected for the planet, in the absence of anthropogenic enhanced greenhouse, is 288K (15 °C) and, while there are a few quibbles over hundredths or even tenths of a degree, global estimates for 2005 are clustered around 287.5K (14.5 °C), which makes global warming hand-wringing a particularly bizarre (pre-)occupation. For all the time and effort expended poring over records from the last century or so and attempting to derive a measured global mean temperature it is doubtful we have ever recorded a year as warm as the expected average. It has not been a recent disaster that we have been cooler than anticipated, nor will it be a disaster if we should find the planet a little warmer than anticipated average. Obsessing over a few hundredths of a degree and extrapolating whopping long-term trends in a non-linear chaotic system is simply foolish.

Gas pains: "Data Leaks Shake Up Carbon Trade" - "LONDON, May 15 — It had a promising start, hailed by traders, policy makers and environmentalists as a way to curb global warming with the craft of capitalism. After a banner first year, though, the carbon trading market has suffered a bout of nose dives, missteps and misreadings, leading now to a clamor for major change. It may be just growing pains. But it could point to big problems ahead in carrying out the dictates of the Kyoto Protocol, which many countries are counting on to manage climate change." (New York Times)

"ANALYSIS - EU's Gyrating CO2 Mart Teaches US About Balance" - "NEW YORK - The delicate balance between supply and demand is the lesson the United States, the world's leading emitter of heat-trapping gases, can learn from the European Union's roller coaster ride on its nascent carbon dioxide market, experts said." (Reuters)

Here's a better lesson -- carbon constraint has virtually zero potential for adjusting the planet's thermostat.

"Carbon trading's real colours" - "There are no shortage of nightmare consequences that could result from rampant global warming: starvation, failing crops, extinct species, droughts, diseases - all are chilling scenarios. So its all the more worrying that cracks are already appearing in one of the industrialised world's most publicised weapons for fighting climate change." (BBC)

Poor naïf. Carbon trading is not a 'weapon for fighting climate change' -- it has zero potential for knowingly and predictably adjusting global climate -- it's a scheme for next generation dot.bombers to help themselves to your money.

"Anger over shortfall on carbon emissions" - "ANGER at the Government’s handling of a controversial European emissions trading scheme (ETS) was mounting last night as British energy companies prepared to pay for a 33 million tonne shortfall in carbon allocations. British generators, which will bear the brunt of the shortfall, will have to buy carbon permits to cover the fact that they produced emissions that were 15 per cent higher than their “free” allocation. Inevitably, the cost of the permits will be passed on to customers in higher bills." (London Times)

"Canada's role at climate talks draws fire" - "Bonn meeting tackles emissions limits and the push for technology." (Nature)

Not doable: "Opposition parties to force Tories to meet Kyoto targets" - "OTTAWA -- The three opposition parties will join forces today to pass a motion aimed at embarrassing the Conservatives over their position on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change." (Globe and Mail)

Better than Kyoto -- not that that's saying much... "INTERVIEW - Canada, Others Interested in US Climate Pact" - "BONN, Germany - Countries including Canada are expressing interest in a US-led six-nation scheme to combat global warming set up after Washington rejected the UN's Kyoto Protocol, a US official said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Seattle's big role in fight on global warming" - "The city of Seattle, a group of Alaska Natives and some of the nation's top climate scientists — including two from the University of Washington — thrust themselves into a high-profile legal battle Monday, hoping to resolve a stalemate over global warming. The group is fronting an orchestrated, national campaign to convince the Supreme Court that the federal government's failure to regulate automobile emissions is already causing harm, from shrinking mountain snowpack to ecological changes in Arctic Alaska. And in so doing, they are stepping onto the front lines of a dispute that has already divided the country." (Seattle Times)

From CO2 Science this week:

3500 Years of West-Central European Climate History: Archaeological and historical sources, plus tree-ring and radiocarbon data, reveal the existence and likely driving force of the millennial-scale oscillation of climate that has produced our modern warm period.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 1 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from off the coast of the Peruvian Shelf.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Little Ice Age (Solar Influence - Other): Multiple globally-distributed data sets comprised of many-parameter proxies combine to confirm that the Little Ice Age was created and sustained by a low level of solar activity.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Carrizo Citrange, Hybrid Poplar, Potato, and Rice.

Journal Reviews:
North and South Polar Sea Ice Extents: What do the most up-to-date satellite data show?

A UK Modeler's Personal Perspective on the Status of Climate Modeling: A practitioner of the trade makes some rather candid assessments of where the enterprise stands today.

The Paleoenvironment of Petaluma Marsh, Northern California, USA: How has it changed over the past seven centuries?

What Rising CO 2 Concentrations May Be Saving Us From: The first-ever long-term free-air ozone fumigation experiment to be conducted on a semi-natural grassland community reveals some ominous consequences of the ubiquitous air pollutant.

Carbon Sequestration by a New Zealand Pasture in Slightly CO 2 -Enriched Air: Once again, increases in soil carbon content are found to follow increases in the air's CO 2 content. And soil nitrogen contents may be increasing too. (co2science.org)

Appeasement never works: "Shell's critics come back with a vengeance" - The young man in the checked yellow shirt, khaki shorts and climbing boots stood out from the army of grey-haired and smartly dressed pensioners who made up the bulk of the Shell investors. But his message to the oil company at its annual meeting yesterday - that it was "astonishingly hypocritical" - was far from unique.

A procession of speakers took the podium in The Hague and via video link in London to berate the chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, for what they saw as his failure to live up to his promises.

"You said, Mr van der Veer, that you take care of biodiversity. Perhaps that is in the way that the mafia 'takes care' of its enemies: gets rid of them," said the yellow-shirted Mark Brown, from the campaign group Rising Tide.

More than 400 million people from the world's poorest communities could lose their lives as a result of climate change, Mr Brown said, and yet Shell was investing most of its cash into making things worse by producing more oil. (The Guardian)

Shell is an oil company and should proudly do what it does best to make profits for its shareholders. The great carbon climate fetish is dying a slow, inevitable death and is best ignored. If people don't want to invest in oil that's their prerogative but they do not have to be pandered to.

"Blair backs nuclear power plans" - "Prime Minister Tony Blair has given his strongest signal yet that he backs the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK. The prime minister told the CBI annual dinner that the issue was "back on the agenda with a vengeance." (BBC)

"Blair backs the nuclear option to deal with power crisis" - "A new generation of nuclear power stations will have to be built to meet energy needs and avoid dependence on foreign imports, Tony Blair told business leaders last night." (London Telegraph)

"Second winter of gas shortages looms" - "Britain could face a second winter of serious gas shortages if the launch of new import projects is delayed, Ofgem the energy regulator, warned yesterday. This could see big industrial users facing cuts in their power in order to balance supply and demand. Ofgem highlighted a growing problem for the UK, which became a net energy importer two years ago, at least during winter when demand is highest." (The Guardian)

"Chevron May Invest in Ethanol Distilleries" - "Chevron Corp. is exploring investments in ethanol plants to guarantee steady supplies of the gasoline additive for its refineries. Chevron is examining whether larger ethanol distilleries could be built to lower production costs, Donald Paul, the company's chief technology officer, said in a telephone interview Monday. Chevron would be the first major oil company in 26 years to invest in U.S. production of the grain-based additive." (Bloomberg News)

"1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill still a threat: study" - "WASHINGTON - Oil spilled 17 years ago by the tanker Exxon Valdez still threatens wildlife around Alaska's Prince William Sound, scientists reported on Tuesday, a finding that could add $100 million to cleanup costs for Exxon Mobil Corp." (Reuters)

"Justices Back States in Clean Water Act Ruling" - "WASHINGTON, May 15 — The Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that states have broad authority to regulate their streams under the federal Clean Water Act, even in situations that do not involve control of "pollution" in the strict sense of the word." (New York Times)

"Supreme Court to decide when best pollution controls required" - "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide how tough the government can be on 17,000 industrial plants and when it can force improvements in unhealthy air breathed by 160 million Americans. The closely watched case involving Duke Energy Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., will test the Bush and Clinton administrations' competing legal approaches for cutting air pollution. Federal appeals courts have issued contradictory rulings on the issue." (Associated Press)

The Post pretends to misunderstand: "The Court and Clean Air" - "When is an increase in pollution not an increase in pollution? Ask the EPA." (Washington Post)

"Groups Want Nanotech Sunscreens Pulled" - "WASHINGTON -- Sunscreens made with submicroscopic particles pose a health hazard and should be recalled, environmental groups said Tuesday in asking the government to increase regulation of growing uses of the science of nanotechnology. The petition asked the Food and Drug Administration to strengthen its regulation of sunscreens that contain nano-sized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, saying particles of those minute dimensions pose health and environmental risks, including possible inflammatory and immune responses in the human body. Eight groups, including the International Center for Technology Assessment, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, filed the petition." (AP)

"Frankencotton, the Shirt: Coming Soon to a Wardrobe Near You" - "Genetically modified foods have caused no end of anxiety and distrust. But not genetically modified shirts. Why?" (New York Times)

"Australia: Draft dairy report recommends support for GM crops" - "The dairy industry has been embarrassed by the leaking of a draft report that recommends it join other agricultural industries in supporting genetically modified (GM) crops. Until now state governments have had the backing of the dairy industry in banning commercial GM crops." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

May 16, 2006

"US and EU rule out new food laws to fight obesity" - "BRUSSELS - European and U.S. health chiefs on Monday ruled out imposing new regulations on the food industry to fight obesity, in spite of concern that the problem is becoming a serious threat to health worldwide." (Reuters)

"English Coast Stays Abreast of Possible Perils of Global Warming" - "Shoreline to the northeast of London has dispelled some of the concern caused by research that predicts that sea levels have risen and will continue to rise to a degree that will threaten human and wildlife communities. Evidence from a new study indicates that relatively little change in shoreline position has occurred since World War II. The study is published in the latest issue of Journal of Coastal Research." (Newswise)

Wall Street Journal Quotes on Climate Change Attribution-A Missed Opportunity for Balanced Reporting (Climate Science)

"How to Think Sensibly, or Ridiculously, about Global Warming" - "The crusade to fight global warming with tough reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions has entered its war-room phase. Already we are seeing the fruits of a multi-million dollar PR campaign: lavish cover stories in Time magazine (“Be Worried, Be Very Worried”), Vanity Fair, and Wired; multiple global-warming scare specials on PBS, HBO, and the network news; and, finally, the imminent release of Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Soon the Ad Council will begin airing TV spots pulling on the usual heartstrings: We have to stop global warming for the children! One of these ads--featuring a montage of kids counting down “tick, tick, tick”--is reminiscent of the infamous 1964 anti-Goldwater ad." (Steven F. Hayward, AEI)

"CEI To Launch National Global Warming Ad Campaign" - "The Competitive Enterprise Institute will unveil a national global warming ad campaign at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at noon." (CEI)

Oh boy... "Global warming may have damaged coral reefs forever" - "Global warming has had a more devastating effect on some of the world's finest coral reefs than previously assumed, suggests the first report to show the long-term impact of sea temperature rise on reef coral and fish communities. Large sections of coral reefs and much of the marine life they support may be wiped out for good, say the international team of researchers, who surveyed 21 sites and over 50,000 square metres of coral reefs in the inner islands of the Seychelles in 1994 and 2005." (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

50,000 square metres? They mean 5ha or about a dozen acres? Out of the 28,430,000ha (68,232,000ac) estimated global coral reef area? Quick! Call 911!

More seriously people shouldn't let this put them off their planned diving holiday as the 'disaster' is confined to a piddling patch of inner shallows -- by all reports the diving is marvelous.

"Global warming turns pristine coral into rubble" - "Miles of unblemished coral reefs have been turned to slime-covered rubble because of rising sea temperatures caused by global warming." (London Independent)

Uh-huh... also says the Great Barrier Reef suffered its most extensive bleaching in 700 years (as though anyone was looking/recording even 50 years ago) yet the GBR is doing fine, even according to professional 'global warming' hand-wringers.

"Fabled equatorial African icecaps to disappear" - "WASHINGTON - Fabled equatorial icecaps will disappear within two decades, because of global warming, a study British and Ugandan scientists has found. In a paper to be published 17 May in Geophysical Research Letters, they report results from the first survey in a decade of glaciers in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa. An increase in air temperature over the last four decades has contributed to a substantial reduction in glacial cover, they say." (American Geophysical Union)

Yesterday we posted a little calculator that incorporated the function: 1.5(1-exp[-(concentration-278)/200 ppm]) Celsius -- which, if you were paying attention, you noticed came from this posting Climate sensitivity and editorial policies by Luboš Motl on his blog: The Reference Frame (even if you didn't notice, it still did). A few readers have queried its relatively narrow emulation band and wanted to know why we haven't continued release of log function calculators building on the concept we introduced in the Greenhouse Primer (nice to know some of you are paying attention, at least).

For those of you in a hurry then, here's the next stage incorporating the function loge(n) - loge(278) where n is your entered CO2 in ppmv from a minimum value of 0.01 and the constant 278 is the pre-IR atmospheric CO2 in ppmv. And yes, we do have an ulterior motive for allowing you to test hypothetical concentrations down to 10 ppbv. Those familiar with the Greenhouse Primer can probably already see where we are going with this but, for those who don't get it, play with this version and see the effect of changing atmospheric CO2 concentrations for now and tomorrow we'll bring you another toy that more accurately reflects the physical properties of our planet's atmosphere and further explanation of why even the following overstates our climate's sensitivity to atmospheric CO2.

"Greenpeace slammed for 'underhanded' internet tactics" - "Greenpeace has been accused of 'underhanded tactics' in attempting to divert internet users away from a new website established recently to challenge current assumptions about climate change." (Press Release)

Desperately seeking justification? "EEA Report Says 'Tackling Climate Change' Will Save Lives, $15 Billion" - "A brief status report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) notes that "tackling climate change will improve Europe's air quality, cut premature deaths and could save €12 billion [$15.4 billion] annually in air pollution control costs by 2030." (Insurance Journal)

"Emission failure" - "Anne McIlroy reports on Canada's less than enthusiastic efforts to meet its climate change commitments." (The Guardian)

"U.S. denies post-2012 emissions discussion with EU" - "BRUSSELS - The United States on Monday denied it had discussed with the European Commission plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions after the Kyoto Protocol runs out on 2012. Earlier, a spokeswoman for the Commission said Stephen Johnson, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, showed interest in plans for curbing emissions after 2012 in a meeting with European Environment Commission Stavros Dimoas. But an EPA spokeswoman said the discussion had instead touched on U.S. targets for renewable fuel use by the same date." (Reuters)

Much angst in the hot air market: "In theory, only the virtuous are rewarded" - "The European emissions trading scheme was meant to be a market-based solution to a thorny problem: how to cut the amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere by some 12,000 big industrial polluters across the EU between 2005 and 2007 without driving those industries out of the EU or out of business. The European commission claimed the scheme would halve the cost of meeting the bloc's Kyoto targets - to cut greenhouse gases by 8% by 2010 - to about €3.4bn (£2.3bn) a year. Yesterday the scheme was under fire for failing to deliver on Kyoto and handing big windfall gains to power generators through over-generous allowances." (The Guardian)

"Emissions-Trading Profits in Europe Plunge as Data Questioned" - "May 15 -- Europe's market to trade carbon dioxide almost doubled to 205 billion euros ($265 billion) in a year. More than two-thirds of it vanished in the past three weeks." (Bloomberg)

Protean capitalism 'sequesters' carbon as only it can (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Europe fails on carbon limits" - "Industry emitted less than allowed in 2005; but that isn't good news." (Nature)

"EU 2005 CO2 emissions 44 mln tonnes below quota" - "BRUSSELS - EU emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in 2005 were 44 million tonnes below a quota of 1.829 billion tonnes under the European Union's carbon trading scheme, the European Commission said on Monday. The figures confirmed a Reuters report on Friday that most EU members undershot their limits for greenhouse gas emissions, suggesting the bloc had been far too generous in handing out permits to pollute." (Reuters)

"Auction of CO2 permits considered" - "Companies are likely to have to buy some of their permits to pollute rather than be given them under revisions to the European Union's greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme being considered by ministers." (Financial Times)

"Permit glut undermines EU carbon scheme" - "Carbon dioxide prices rose unexpectedly on Monday after the European Union revealed that a serious oversupply of permits to pollute had undermined its fledgling scheme to combat climate change." (Financial Times)

"Carbon Trading Scheme Challenged" - "BRUSSELS - European Union governments are abusing the bloc's emissions trading scheme by allowing their industries to produce as much carbon dioxide as they wish at no cost, environmental organisations are warning." (IPS)

"New figures reveal scale of industry's impact on climate" - "Five biggest polluters in UK produce more CO2 than all motorists combined." (The Guardian)

"EU Emissions Trading Scheme Will Cause Power Price Increases Of Up To 40% By 2010" - "Waltham, MA, May 4, 2004, Global Insight, Inc., the private company that brought together DRI and WEFA, the world's most respected economic analysis, forecasting and financial information companies, today announced the release of its annual European Power Price Report. The report found that the impact of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), while increasing electricity prices in all major European markets, will be materially different across these countries due to their very different mixes of generating plants." (Press Release)

"Peak Oil Debate Digresses Into Global Warming Argument" - "St. LOUIS -- Petroleum engineer Michael Economides and Stephen Leeb, Editor of “The Complete Investor,” battled wits at the New York Hard Assets Investor Conference today in a heated debate on ‘peak oil.’ But the discussion took a bit of a turn. Economides told listeners not to confuse “science with opinion” concerning global warming. Leeb accused Economides of telling fairy tales, and to look at “the facts.” And so it began." (ResourceInvestor.com)

"GM Cassava Has 'Super Size' Roots" - "Scientists who have genetically modified cassava plants to produce dramatically bigger roots say their research could help alleviate hunger in developing countries. The starchy roots of cassava are a staple food for about 600 million people in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Lead researcher Richard Sayre of Ohio State University in the United States told SciDev.Net that he hopes there will be interest in releasing the plants to Africa free of charge." (SciDev.Net)

"Shareholders' proposals on GMO risks have limited success"  -"NEW YORK -- Shareholder proposals asking companies to evaluate "Frankenfood" scenarios as a financial risk are having limited success - despite their new, financially savvy vocabulary." (MarketWatch)

"Monsanto Statement Regarding Bt Cotton Leaves and Sheep Death In India" - "Our attention has been drawn to some press statements issued by various groups alleging that sheep have died after consuming Bt cotton leaves." (Press Release)

May 15, 2006

Climate sensitivity and editorial policies (The Reference Frame)

ABC News and Bias in Climate Science (Climate Science)

Are the Ocean Sea Surface Temperatures Above Average Almost Everywhere? (Climate Science)

"190 nations seek to bridge policy gaps on climate" - "OSLO - About 190 nations meet in Germany next week to try to bridge vast policy gaps between the United States and its main allies over how to combat climate change amid growing evidence that the world is warming." (Reuters)

This focus on atmospheric carbon dioxide is getting quite out of hand but the bottom line is that the radiative forcing properties of this trace gas are moderately well understood and the potential enhanced greenhouse forcing really quite limited.

We are often asked: "What temperature increment would result from n ppmv CO2?" While we would much prefer people took the time to read and understand documents like our Greenhouse Primer at the very least, it is obvious many are looking for a quick number.

Here you are then, simply enter a number, greater than 278, and click "Go". The calculator will return an approximate difference relative to the pre-Industrial Revolution base of 278 ppmv with the assumptions that all observed change to date is due to atmospheric CO2 increment and that altitude is irrelevant (not true but close enough for a quick answer) -- knock yourselves out:

The Week That Was May 13, 2006 (SEPP)

Oh boy... "Africa climate change 'could kill millions'" - "Developing countries must wean themselves off oil and fossil fuels and turn as quickly as possible to solar, wind and water power if they are to avoid disastrous climate change effects and continue to develop, says Christian Aid in a report. The development group argues that a shift from fossil fuels to clean energy could result in more jobs and better health and education, and reduce pressure on resources. But if the world's dependence on oil continues, it says, climate change will devastate poor countries." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

These warmer, wetter conditions -- are they during the 'global warming'-induced droughts allegedly threatening the same region?

"Polar bears on thin ice?" - "Polar bears are cute. Just ask the marketing executives at Coca-Cola which used animated polar bears to hawk their wares in recent years. Bears, pandas, lions and elephants are "charismatic megafauna" -- meaning basically cute animals that people care about. If you want to sell a product, or a cause, just tie it to one of these animals and you've got the attention of millions of people; kids and adults alike. Thus, environmental alarmists have made much of research claiming the Arctic's great white bear faces extinction from human-caused global warming. Snails, snakes and spiders withering in the sun just don't pack the same emotional punch as a cuddly, furry polar bear slipping beneath the melting ice. Fortunately, a new study by David Legates, director of the University of Delaware's Center for Climatic Research, throws cold water on the claim global warming threatens polar bears survival." (H. Sterling Burnett, Washington Times)

"The Battle for the North Pole" - "The melting Arctic ice cap may be bad news for polar bears, but it is prompting a frantic scramble for territory and resources. What's at stake?" (The Week)

Containing the inset box: A passage across the Arctic -- For hundreds of years, European explorers tried to open up new trade routes to China and Japan by using the fabled Northwest Passage through the polar coast of Canada. British mariner Martin Frobisher tried three times to get to Cathay the cold way. On his third voyage, in 1578, he sailed into Hudson Strait between the Canadian mainland and Baffin Island and ran into “a sudden and terrible tempest, whereby the ice began marvelously to gather about us.” Frobisher returned to Britain defeated. The Northwest Passage claimed its most famous victim in 1845 when Sir John Franklin and 134 men, in his ships Erebus and Terror, were spotted by the crew of a whaler entering Baffin Bay. They were never seen alive again. Finally, in 1906, Norwegian Roald Amundsen managed to sail right through. Learning from Franklin’s fatal error, he realized the Arctic regions could not support large crews, and accomplished the feat with just six companions in a small, 47-ton fishing boat. Since then only a few, specially strengthened ships have made it through the mighty ice barriers that block the route even in summer. That all may soon change, as the ice melts into an open, wind-swept sea.

So enlighten we poor empiricists -- if Roald Amundsen and six companions in a 47-ton fishing boat sailed the passage one hundred years ago, what is so special about a few sat-nav assisted, aerial route-mapped trips now?

"Meltdown fear as Arctic ice cover falls to record winter low" - "Record amounts of the Arctic ocean failed to freeze during the recent winter, new figures show, spelling disaster for wildlife and strengthening concerns that the region is locked into a destructive cycle of irreversible climate change." (The Guardian)

"Why global warming is to blame for Britain's hay fever epidemic" - "Global warming is to blame for the rising numbers of Britons suffering from hay fever, in the first direct impact of climate change on human health in this country." (London Independent)

"Short winter driving season gets even shorter" - "Vital northern ice road closes early. A warmer winter gets the blame." (Toronto Star)

"The Great Coral Reef disaster" - "Global warming is killing coral reefs, the Bush administration has formally admitted. And the admission means that, under US law, it will finally be obliged to take action to reduce the pollution that causes climate change." (London Independent)

"Vital bay grass can't take heat" - "Experts say the Chesapeake's plant life couldn't stand another summer of temperatures near record highs." (Baltimore Sun)

"INTERVIEW - World Bank Seeks New Crops in Global Warming Fight" - "COLOGNE, Germany - The world should do more to develop drought-resistant crops or new flood controls as part of a drive to ease the damaging impact of climate change, the Head of Environment at the World Bank said." (Reuters)

"EC threat to sue on emissions" - "The European Commission has threatened to sue the British Government over the controversial carbon emissions trading scheme. The looming legal standoff threatens to plunge the European scheme further into farce." (London Independent)

"EU C02 Emissions Below Quota, Carbon Price Falls" - "COLOGNE, Germany - The European Union's 2005 carbon dioxide emissions fell far short of a limit set by the bloc's pollution trading scheme, sending carbon prices to a one-year low on Friday." (Reuters)

"EU undershoots emissions cap that critics call lax" - "COLOGNE, Germany, May 12 - Most EU members undershot their limits for greenhouse gas emissions last year, accidentally leaked data showed on Friday, suggesting the bloc had been far too generous in handing out permits to pollute. The numbers, inadvertently placed on an EU Website before their scheduled release on Monday, sent the price of credits sliding to their lowest levels for a year on Europe's new market for trading carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Prices have slumped 70 percent since mid-April." (Reuters)

"Five British firms to sue EC over CO2 allowances as price falls" - "The EU's carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) hit renewed turbulence yesterday when CO2 prices fell to a fresh one-year low and it emerged that five UK energy groups are suing the European commission over cuts in their allowances. Brussels, meanwhile, is planning new legal action against Britain." (The Guardian)

"Kyoto Project Financing Demand Seen Robust to 2012" - "COLOGNE - Demand from rich nations to buy pollution cuts from developing countries will stay robust despite a sharp drop in the cost to pollute in Europe, investors say, playing down possible bearish influences." (Reuters)

"Japan rated as No. 1 buyer of carbon credits" - "Japan bought 38 percent of the carbon dioxide credits offered worldwide between January 2005 and last March, making it the world's largest buyer, according to a tally by the World Bank. The closest competitor was Britain at 15 percent." (Japan Times)

"Eastern premiers vow to stick to greenhouse gas emission targets" - "NEWPORT, R.I. - Canada's eastern premiers said Friday they're willing to take a leadership role when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The premiers, during an annual meeting in Newport with governors from the New England states, said they're sticking to their previously stated target of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2010. "A lot of us are trying to take a leadership role there, and hope our federal partners will come along," said P.E.I. Premier Pat Binns, the meeting's co-chair." (CP)

What is the Kyoto Protocol? (Reuters)

Ooh! ooh! We know! It's the most expensive way possible to not address a non-problem! Whaddawewin?

"Time to confront the monopoly on climate change wisdom" - "The IPCC's analysis, on which major international policy makers depend, is quite simply inadequate. And its position as monopoly supplier of official climate change wisdom must be challenged by individual governments. More rigorous analysis is needed. It's time to "call time" on the IPCC." (Ruth Lea, London Telegraph)

"Withdrawing from Kyoto will damage our credibility: briefing" - "OTTAWA -- Canada would lose international credibility and the ability to influence future climate-change negotiations if it withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, say briefing documents prepared for Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay." (Canadian Press)

But he said it wouldn't hurt... "Kyoto protocol will extend to Falklands" - "THE Falkland Islands is going to join the UK in ratifying the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. Before agreeing to do so, the government sought clarification of the implications of such a decision from the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). His Excellency the Governor reported, “Having been reassured by DEFRA that ratification will not place any significant burdens on FIG, Executive Council agreed that the UK Government should now be informed that the Falkland Islands wishes to be included in ratification of these international treaties.” (MercoPress)

"Long haul breaks spell bad news for the climate" - "After the Filofax, the mobile phone, the laptop, the iPod, the taste for sushi and the 4x4, here comes the latest must-have for Britain's affluent young professional class: the weekend far away." (London Independent)

"Expert: Three Gorges project expected to save 50 mln tons of coal annually" - "WUHAN, May 14 -- As a clean energy project, operation of the Three Gorges Project, the world's largest hydropower project, will help China reduce consumption of 50 million tons of coal per year, thus benefiting the environment in China and its neighboring countries." (Xinhua)

"Utilities Consider Coal Technology To Limit Greenhouse Gases" - "In light of increasing odds that federal or state governments will place limits on emissions of carbon dioxide in the next several years, some electric utilities seem to be leaning toward coal technologies that may offer the cheapest way to limit greenhouse gases. Electric generators are the largest single source of CO2 emissions, surpassing motor vehicles." (Wall Street Journal)

"Ministers 'are failing to live up to their green rhetoric'" - "Tony Blair has been accused of presiding over a "yawning gap" between rhetoric and reality on green energy after a survey of the major Whitehall departments showed they were spending little or nothing generating their own environmentally friendly power." (London Independent)

And if they did the papers would be after them for wasting public funds and rightly so.

"The Greening of Nuclear Power" - "Not so many years ago, nuclear energy was a hobgoblin to environmentalists, who feared the potential for catastrophic accidents and long-term radiation contamination. But this is a new era, dominated by fears of tight energy supplies and global warming. Suddenly nuclear power is looking better." (New York Times)

"New UK environment minister says nuclear an option" - "LONDON - Britain's new environment minister David Miliband said on Friday nuclear power had to remain an option as the country studied how to meet its international obligations to tackle global warming. It was Miliband's first public statement on the contentious issue since his appointment in last week' cabinet reshuffle, which saw his predecessor Margaret Beckett, a nuclear power skeptic, promoted to foreign secretary." (Reuters)

"Revealed: minister's links to nuclear lobby" - "DAVID MILIBAND, the new environment secretary, is embroiled in a sleaze row this weekend over his links to a nuclear industry lobbyist." (Sunday Times)

"A Storm Blows In Along With the Wind" - "The fight over Cape Wind -- a 130-turbine wind farm that would span 24 square miles of federal waters off the Massachusetts coast -- highlights how development of alternative energy remains a complex and often contentious business." (Washington Post)

"Solution or Distraction? An Ethanol Reality Check" - "ETHANOL is on a roll, increasingly promoted as a homegrown alternative to oil from the Middle East. But is ethanol really the fuel of the future, or is it destined to remain a niche product in the Midwest, subsidized by Congress for the benefit of farm-state politicians?" (New York Times)

Competing with food aid: "Ethanol, Biodiesel Eats Into US Corn Stockpiles" - "WASHINGTON - The booming ethanol industry will consume 20 percent of this year's US corn crop, the government forecast on Friday, and soy-based biodiesel also is taking off. Biofuels will bolster corn and soybean prices, the Agriculture Department said in its first look at this year's crop harvest. Voracious demand for corn from ethanol makers will help cut the corn (maize) surplus in half by fall 2007, or 1.14 billion bushels." (Reuters)

"S.F. power plant must prove pumps cause Bay no harm" - "OAKLAND — The operator of a controversial power plant that draws 226 million gallons of water a day from the San Francisco Bay to cool its turbines has 2 1/2 years to either prove its pumps cause no harm to the Bay or shut them down. The compromise decision, handed down Wednesday by the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, pleased activists and the power plant's operator, Mirant California LLC. Activists are certain Mirant will never prove that such a massive draw from the Bay — 26,000 gallons in the time it takes to read this sentence — causes no harm to the Bay's environment or wildlife. Mirant, however, was happy to get its permit — and confident that studies under way would show that the impact is minimal." (Oakland Tribune)

"Oil Tax Is Likely to Appear on Ballot" - "Supporters of a ballot initiative that would slap a $400-million-a-year extraction tax on California oil producers submitted almost 1.2 million signatures to state election officials Friday, virtually assuring that the measure would go before voters in November. Winning a place on the ballot for the proposed tax — which is designed to raise money for research and development of alternative fuels — could set the stage for one of the more costly initiative campaigns in state history. The initiative needs 598,105 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot." (LA Times)

"How gas price controls sparked '70s shortages" - "Proposals to control gasoline prices and tax producers' windfall profits were popular ideas that were tried -- without much success -- during the oil shocks of the 1970s and 1980s." (Patrice Hill, Washington Times)

"Brent Batten: Ban drilling? Natural gas pollution is no reason" - "The debate over natural gas rigs off the coast of Florida is about many things — politics, power, precedent, appearances. But one thing it is not about is pollution. Environmental groups are quick to equate the mention of offshore rigs with fouled shorelines and goo-covered wildlife. But the reality of offshore drilling, especially drilling for natural gas as proposed in legislation now before Congress, doesn’t support the claims." (Naples Daily News)

"China's 3 Gorges Raises Questions for Future Dams" - "BEIJING - Construction on China's Three Gorges Dam is set to finish next week but its critics warn the lessons about the environmental consequences of the world's largest hydropower project have yet to be learned." (Reuters)

"19 million Tanzanians suffer from malaria annually: UNDP" - "Up to 19 million people in Tanzania suffer from malaria each year with about 100,000 deaths of mostly children and pregnant women, according to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report. The UNDP office in Dar es Salaam said in a statement, available on Friday, that the majority of the 100,000 people who die of malaria are young children and pregnant women." (Xinhua)

"Tanzania: Information gap challenges Zanzibar's antimalaria campaign" - "Stone Town, Zanzibar, 12 May 2006 - Although Zanzibar's Kataa Malaria initiative has reduced the malaria caseload on the island, misinformation about the safety of insecticide-treated bed nets - a cornerstone of the programme - has left many people exposed to the disease, which kills one million people around the world each year." (IRIN)

"Kenya: Talks on using DDT in malaria drive planned" - "A meeting to decide whether to re-introduce a banned pesticide used to control mosquitoes will be held before December. Experts at the meeting will discuss the benefits and risks of using DDT, which was banned in 1988 because of its negative effects on the environment. Re-introducing the pesticide is expected to boost the war on malaria." (ANDnetwork)

"Drug-makers to withdraw single-drug malaria treatment" - "Thirteen pharmaceutical companies have agreed to phase out a single-drug treatment for malaria in a bid to control rates of drug-resistance in the disease. The companies, which represent some of the main producers of the drug artemisinin, bowed to pressure from the World Health Organization. They will instead focus on treatments that combine artemisinin with other anti-malarial compounds, such as lumefantrine." (NewScientist.com news service)

Some sense at last: "Warning on Tuna Cans Is Rejected" - "In a decision that state officials called "devastating" for public health, a Superior Court judge has ruled that tuna companies don't have to warn consumers about the mercury in canned fish under Proposition 65, California's law requiring companies to warn consumers of products containing hazardous ingredients." (LA Times)

"Environmentalists' Quest to Ban Life-Saving Flame-Retardants" - "The nation's most outspoken environmentalists -- along with our public servants at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- have for decades represented themselves as the protectors of human life and health. But just recently they have removed their masks and revealed their true identity. What is now coming into clear focus is a band of anti-chemical advocates who have no concern that their agenda is contributing to the human death toll around the world." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

Get a real job: "Losses lead to Greenpeace job cuts" - "CONSERVATION giant Greenpeace Australia Pacific has posted its third operating loss in as many years and culled staff numbers." (The Australian)

"Butterfly is back from the brink" - "Species that seemed doomed to extinction are flourishing once again giving hope to environmentalists." (London Times)

"Blair backs secrecy law to thwart animal activists" - "Companies with links to animal testing might be allowed to hide the identities of their shareholders, Tony Blair said yesterday as he moved to reinforce what he believes is a hardening of public attitudes against the anti-vivisection lobby. The prime minister took the rare step of promising to sign up to the online "People's petition" which declares: "Medical research using animals, carried out to the highest standards of care and welfare, and where there is no alternative available, should continue in the UK." (The Guardian)

"Testing times" - "The pressure must be kept up on animal rights extremists." (London Times)

"Soda Pop Myopia" - "The United States Government and Health Establishment were clearly elated recently with the announcement of the latest major public health breakthrough. Former president Bill Clinton called it a "bold step forward in the struggle to help America's kids live healthier lives." Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the breakthrough would address one of the most critical challenges facing our nation. American Heart Association President Robert Eckel, MD, called it "groundbreaking."

So, what could be so wonderful, so groundbreaking, such a bold step forward for the public health? A successful hydrogen-powered car to clean up the environment? Legislation to guarantee health insurance for the millions of American children who have none? A cure for AIDS?" (Dr. Jonathan Robison, TCS Daily)

"Tenured Radical No More" - "As university professors, we value academic freedom, acknowledging -- as did the authors of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)'s influential 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure -- that liberty has meaning only in relation to its being "fundamental to the advancement of truth." Alas, the reaction of many of our colleagues when confronted with the uncomfortable truth of Sami Al-Arian causes us to wonder if they have not lost sight of the raison d'être of our privileges." (J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss, TCS Daily)

"UN food agency deputy resigns over leader's 'culture of silence'" - "The United Nations body which combats world hunger was in turmoil last night after one of its most senior officials resigned, claiming that her boss ruled through 'silence, rumour and fear'.

Louise Fresco, assistant director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), handed in her notice last week, angered at the way the agency was being run by its Senegalese director-general, Dr Jacques Diouf. In a scathing letter of resignation, which has been leaked to The Observer, she criticises him for the direction of the agency and its inability to offer the poorest countries proper advice on agriculture." (The Observer)

"Biotech Firm Raises Furor With Rice Plan" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- A tiny biosciences company is developing a promising drug to fight diarrhea, a scourge among babies in the developing world, but it has made an astonishing number of powerful enemies because it grows the experimental drug in rice genetically engineered with a human gene. Environmental groups, corporate food interests and thousands of farmers across the country have succeeded in chasing Ventria Bioscience's rice farms out of two states. And critics continue to complain that Ventria is recklessly plowing ahead with a mostly untested technology that threatens the safety of conventional crops grown for food." (AP)

"AstraZeneca Is in Talks to Acquire Biotechnology Firm" - "AstraZeneca is negotiating to buy Cambridge Antibody Technology, in another sign that traditional pharmaceutical companies are moving further into biotechnology." (New York Times)

May 12, 2006

"What's Your Real 'Carbon Footprint'?" - "What’s your carbon footprint? If you’ve tried to find out what that means, chances are you’ve only gotten half the story." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Because you asked for it: here's a link direct to The Real Carbon Footprint Calculator support data without having to actually perform a calculation.

From the surge in early e-mails it's apparent there are plenty of curious souls who are burning to know how the logarithmic figures rough out and we can give you approximations from the same range we used in our Greenhouse Primer (drawn from discussion of sensitivity calculations in a hypothetical cloud-free atmosphere and consequently overstating carbon dioxide's role, consult that document for details).

Using Charnock & Shine's impossibly large sensitivity, 1 °C warming could be 'saved' by preventing about 490 Gt (Gt = 109 metric ton) atmospheric carbon accumulation -- meaning 1,246 Gt carbon emission or about 4,570 Gt CO2 emission -- at current rates the equivalent of nearly 150 years total human contribution.

Kondratjew & Moskalenko's estimate gives us 916 Gt accumulation, 2,329 Gt carbon emission and 8,540 Gt CO2 emission, call it 250 years worth at current rate.

Approximating from Lindzen's numbers, those we found most reasonable in our previous investigation, we get 1,620 Gt carbon accumulation, 4,116 Gt carbon emission and 15,095 Gt CO2 emission -- meaning that if we go from our current emissions to zero right now and never emit another gram of carbon, in about 450 years we will have 'saved' 1 °C of hypothetical warming.

So there you have it, assuming all estimated warming since 1880 to be attributable to atmospheric carbon accumulation from human activity, using the land surface warming rate to avoid ocean heat take-up 'masking' the global rate and further assuming a linear temperature response, it would take 70 years of zero emissions to 'save' 1 °C. Using the more realistic logarithmic response and ridiculously high sensitivity blows that out to about 150 years while the realistic response to the most likely sensitivity suggests something over 450 years of zero emission are required -- all for just 1 °C!

Tell us again what the EU's hot air trading market is supposed to be 'saving' us from.

Uncertainty Identified in GCMs With Respect to Predicting Global Albedos (Climate Science)

"Setting the Record Straight" - "Laurie David, the primary force behind HBO’s recent global warming “documentary” as well as a recent Fox News special (see here for our review), has seen fit to comment on Dr. Patrick Michaels’ publication record in her May 10, 2006 entry on Arianna Huffington’s blog site. For some reason, Ms. David decides to attack Dr. Michaels’ credentials to comment about the results of his own peer-reviewed scientific paper he just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on Atlantic basin tropical cyclones and their possible behavioral changes resulting from rising temperatures (see here for more details of the results)." (World Climate Report)

Unfortunately only partly right: "Scientists Explain How They Attribute Climate-Change Data" - "For laypeople, one of the toughest things about science isn't understanding what science knows, but grasping how it knows what it knows. The process seems like a black box. Questions go in one end, answers mysteriously emerge from the other.

Case in point: climate change.

Earth has warmed 1.4° Fahrenheit over the past 100 years. Skeptics concede that. But they scoff at the claim that the warming is caused by greenhouse gases from, in particular, the burning of coal, oil and gas, contending that it is more likely due to the climate system's natural variability or to natural "forcings," such as a hotter sun. After all, glaciers and arctic sea ice melted long before the first smokestack or tailpipe existed." (Wall Street Journal)

Begley goes on to quote Santer and the old cooling stratosphere chestnut, unfortunately, in the absence of major explosive volcanic events the stratosphere is particularly obstinate regarding cooling -- or rather, lack of cooling -- since it exhibits minimal trends of the wrong sign:

UAHMSUls0603.gif (25394 bytes) While the assertion that there has been an observed stratospheric cooling is technically correct, it has not true to say it is consistent with the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis. Under enhanced greenhouse, as the optical depth of the lower troposphere increases with additional greenhouse gases there should be a warming of the troposphere and associated cooling of the stratosphere. Indeed there has been an overall stratospheric cooling -- in stepwise fashion following major explosive volcanic events -- but the trend since 1993 has been a slight warming, as it was between the major eruptions evident as warming spikes in the record and is thus of the wrong sign to support the hypothesis.

Then there's the little matter of near-surface warming -- is it real or is it an artifact of Urban Heat Island Effect? Even defining precisely what we mean by the absolute surface air temperature is challenging and we don't know the planet's temperature within ±0.7 °C anyway, yet the IPCC claims Twentieth Century warming of 0.6 ± 0.2 °C. The late John L. Daly explored the problem in a report to the Greening Earth Society "The Surface Record: ‘Global Mean Temperature’ and how it is determined at surface level." See also: Davey, C.A., and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2005: “Microclimate exposures of surface-based weather stations - implications for the assessment of long-term temperature trends”. (.pdf)

Dick Kerr wishes: "No Doubt About It, the World Is Warming" - "Global warming contrarians can cross out one of their last talking points. A report released last week settles the debate over how the atmosphere has been warming the past 35 years." | Full Text | PDF (Richard A. Kerr, Science)

Indoctrination campaign: "Nine Young Climate Change Champions For England Unveiled" - "England's nine new youth climate change champions will meet Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chief Scientist Sir David King today (Thur) The champions are at the start of a year in which they will aim to communicate about climate change in the regions and the role that young people can have in tackling it. They will also have a number of engagements throughout the year, including a fact-finding tour to Switzerland to witness the visual effects of climate change at the Gurschen glacier." (GNN)

"Investors Urge World Bank to Focus Beyond Kyoto" - "COLOGNE, Germany - The World Bank and other public funds should retreat from the market for financing clean energy projects under the Kyoto Protocol, and focus on building confidence in the post-Kyoto period, brokers and private investors said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Ottawa wants Kyoto softened" - "OTTAWA — In its first official statement to the world on climate change, the Conservative government has signalled it is willing to keep Canada in the Kyoto Protocol after 2012, but only if it gets breaks on meeting the targets. A Canadian report to the United Nations says the second phase of the Kyoto accord should be more lenient, with longer deadlines, voluntary targets and exceptions for Canada's resource-based economy." (Globe and Mail)

"Ambrose wants realistic, results-oriented approach to climate change" - "OTTAWA, May 11 - Environment Minister Rona Ambrose speaking today in the House of Commons outlined measures her department has taken and will take to deal with harmful emissions. "The record left by the Liberal government is shameful," said Minister Ambrose. "For all their talk of commitment to Kyoto goals in 2004, emissions are 35% above the Kyoto target negotiated on their watch." (CNW Telbec)

"Minister critical of Kyoto protocol to chair UN climate change talks" - "OTTAWA — Environment Minister Rona Ambros, critical of the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gasses, will be in Germany next week as chair of UN discussions on climate change in Germany. Ambrose insisted other countries understand Canada can’t meet the protocol’s requirements." (CanWest News Service)

"Industry would buy emissions credits" - "OTTAWA - The Conservative government yesterday gave some clues about its "made in Canada" plan to reduce environmental greenhouse gases -- including the establishment of an emissions trading system -- as it came under sustained fire in the House of Commons from opposition parties for saying that it could not meet targets negotiated under the Kyoto Protocol." (John Ivison, National Post)

"Emissions trading: a recipe for waste" - "The concept of emissions trading has always represented a market in hot air, both literally and metaphorically. Over the past couple of weeks, that fact has become more glaringly obvious as the price of European carbon "credits" under the European Trading System (ETS) has plunged. This should come as no surprise. The system is an open invitation to cook the books. This fiasco should also provide a lesson for the Conservatives as they consider emissions trading as part of their "made-in-Canada" response to the Liberals' rash commitments under Kyoto -- as suggested yesterday by Environment Minister Rona Ambrose." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

"Canada's infrastructure at risk of failure due to climate change, says report" - "OTTAWA - Canada's bridges, sewers, roads and buildings are at risk of failure because of climate change over the next 50 years, says a new study by Environment Canada." (CP)

Bob Watson's still at it: "INTERVIEW - Climate Change Evidence Stronger - Wbank Scientist" - "COLOGNE, Germany - Global temperatures may be increasing more quickly than first thought, and evidence is stronger that humans are causing the rise, the World Bank's Chief Scientist Robert Watson told Reuters on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Global Dimming: A New Perspective on Climate Change" - "Increasing evidence indicates human activity is the major culprit in global climate change. But the world’s not just getting hotter. Recent discoveries reveal that human pollutants may have sparked a global dimming phenomenon that resulted in lower temperature averages in the mid-20th century. Ironically, the identification of this global cooling reveals more than ever the need for international reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming.

Thirty years ago, it was not melting ice caps but rather speculations of an emerging ice age that fostered public anxiety. In 1975, Newsweek even ran an article on the topic, “The Cooling World.” The hype drew energy from observations that the world’s average surface temperature had been gradually decreasing for three decades. In the 1980’s, long range studies of world climate showed as much as a 10% reduction in sunlight in some areas of the U.S. and as much as 30% in parts of Russia from the 1950’s to 1980’s. Consequently, the world’s surface had received about .23 - .32% less solar energy each year from 1958-1992, cooling the overall temperature of the earth." (Tayler Cox, Stanford Review)

"Australia, S. Africa sign climate pact" - "Australia and South Africa have agreed to set up a climate change pact concentrating on biodiversity and broad-acre agriculture. Environment Minister Ian Campbell said the collaboration would foster the exchange of experience and lessons learned in implementing climate change policies and programs. The partnership adds to Australia's involvement with five other regional nations in the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate which met for the first time in January." (AAP)

"Pollution, greenhouse gases and climate clash in South Asia, Scripps study shows" - "Pollution clouds in region appear to ‘mask’ aspects of South Asian climate, leading to drought and other impacts. A new analysis by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has produced surprising results showing how air pollution, global warming-producing greenhouse gases and natural fluctuations in the climate may have a range of significant consequences on the world's most populous region." (University of California - San Diego)

"Record air pollution above the Arctic" - "Last week Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research observed the highest air pollution on record since measurements began in Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard. Monitoring instruments displayed significantly increased aerosol concentrations compared to those generally found. Aerosols from eastern Europe have been transported into the Arctic atmosphere due to a particular large-scale weather situation." (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research)

"U.S. energy research is declining: Conference here shows other nations way ahead" - "Given the decades-long warnings about a looming world energy crisis - punctuated by the recent spike in crude oil prices - you'd assume the U.S. has been ramping up its research and development spending on energy. Think again. Since 1980, energy research has fallen from 10 percent to 2 percent of total R&D spending." (Capital Times)

"Rising price of oil highlights affordable energy alternatives" - "The Earth Institute at Columbia University -- With oil prices reaching near near-record highs in recent weeks, calls have grown louder for the U.S. to develop new sources of affordable, domestic energy. Work by experts from The Earth Institute at Columbia University suggests that relatively low-cost alternatives already exist to meet the country's' growing energy demand that would at the same time reduce the need to rely on oil supplies from the Middle East and Latin America.

A report published by Klaus S. Lackner and Jeffrey D. Sachs of The Earth Institute at Columbia University that appears in the most recent issue of Brookings Papers on Economic Activity states that coal alone could satisfy the country's energy needs of the twenty-first century. In particular, coal liquefaction, or the process of deriving liquid fuels from coal, is already being used in places and with expanded infrastructure could provide gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel at levels well below current prices. Moreover, they argue that environmental constraints such as increased carbon dioxide emissions arising from greater use of coal and other fossil fuels could be avoided for less than 1 percent of gross world product by 2050." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

"Corn lobby's tall tale of a gas substitute" - "America is swooning over ethanol, the renewable fuel which, in the US, is derived from corn. President Bush predicts ethanol will replace gasoline. Congress has mandated nearly doubling its production. But so far, ethanol is more politics than promise. Over the next five years, $5.7 billion in federal tax credits will support the ethanol market - a boon to Midwest corn growers who are certainly no hayseeds when it comes to lobbying members of Congress." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"EU extends hydrogen push after city bus success" - "FRANKFURT - A pilot program has shown hydrogen-powered city buses work well without polluting the environment, the European Commission said on Thursday, extending its push to promote emission-free vehicles. Twenty-seven public buses running in nine European cities since mid-2003 have carried more than 4 million people and clocked up more than 1 million km without incident, it noted. "The question is no longer whether this technology works, but when will it be competitive," EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said in a statement." (Reuters)

"New Nuclear Power Plants Not Needed In Britain Says WWF" - "Britain can meet its future energy needs and reduce polluting emissions without building nuclear power stations, said a report for WWF out Tuesday as the government considers its options." (AFP)

"How bad is malaria anemia? It may depend on your genes" - "Cell and animal studies conducted jointly by scientists at Johns Hopkins, Yale and other institutions have uncovered at least one important contributor to the severe anemia that kills almost half of the 2 million people worldwide who die each year of malaria. The culprit is a protein cells make in response to inflammation called MIF, which appears to suppress red blood cell production in people whose red blood cells already are infected by malaria parasites." (Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions)

"Food Fight" - "It only took 20 years, but in March the House of Representatives passed something called the "National Uniformity in Food Act." To listen to certain activists and politicians, that vote was an affront to "states rights" and health standards. A more accurate description is that Congress is belatedly attempting to rescue consumers from a California law that has been raising food prices across the country." (Wall Street Journal)

"The Higher Cost of Breathing" - "A federally mandated shift to a more ozone-friendly version of inhalers used to quell asthma attacks is creating spot shortages of the devices and higher prices." (New York Times)

"China Paper Demand Consuming Forests - Study" - "HONG KONG/JAKARTA - China's huge appetite for paper is fueling pulp mill expansions and accelerating the loss of forests in countries such as Indonesia, a global research institute said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Flood warning over house building" - "Councils are ignoring advice of the government's own environment experts and allowing new homes to be built on flood plains, a committee of MPs warned today." (The Guardian)

"Ideas to stop storms called all wet" - "Here's an idea -- stop thinking about destroying hurricanes, scientists say, and spend more time preparing for them." (Miami Herald)

"Search for cancer genes unlikely to succeed, say experts" - "The hunt to find common genes that are associated with cancer is unlikely to be successful, say experts in this week's BMJ. Huge resources are being invested in the search for common inherited genetic variants that increase susceptibility to cancer. One US project, for example, will cost $14m. But devoting a large research effort to searching for common cancer susceptibility genes has several problems, write authors Stuart Baker and Jaakko Kaprio." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Massive duplication of genes may solve Darwin's 'abominable mystery' about flowering plants" - "Researchers from the Floral Genome Project at Penn State University, with an international team of collaborators, have proposed an answer to Charles Darwin's "abominable mystery:" the inexplicably rapid evolution of flowering plants immediately after their first appearance some 140 million years ago. By developing new statistical methods to analyze incomplete DNA sequences from thirteen strategically selected plant species, the researchers uncovered a previously hidden "paleopolyploidy" event, an ancient whole-genome duplication that preceded the appearance of the ancestral flowering plant. The results will appear in the June issue of Genome Research." (Penn State)

May 11, 2006

"Fasting against Malaria" - "In 2005, 20,600 children in New York City were stricken by malaria, a readily preventable disease that is spread by mosquitoes. More than 80 died, as environmentalists opposed the use of chemicals to control the killer insects, and healthcare officials caved in to their demands. This didn’t really happen. If it had, American parents would have been in the streets, courtrooms, legislative chambers and health agency offices-- demanding that every weapon known to man be employed to end the epidemic, immediately." (Paul Driessen, Canada Free Press)

"Bird Flu in America: fiction, not fact" - "Movie about a future pandemic in the United States has ruffled some feathers." (Nature)

"Fatal TV-Sweeps Hype: Bird Flu Comes to ABC" - "What's the greatest threat to Americans today? Not terrorism, not nuclear attack. It's us! Or so the folks at ABC would have us believe -- infectious disease spread from neighbor to neighbor, parent to child. Bird flu is here -- on TV, anyway. Last night's melodrama on ABC television, purportedly about bird flu (avian influenza), was a cynical attempt to exploit bird flu hysteria, which, thanks to this show, may actually come to America, even if bird flu itself never does." (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

Viewer's Guide For Flu Pandemic Movie From US Health Department (Via Medical News Today)

"Caution urged over science errors" - "Mistakes in science research have distorted the public perception of such scientific issues as the MMR vaccine and GM crops, senior UK scientists say. The Royal Society called for scientists to consider the public interest when deciding whether to talk about their research results." (BBC)

How's the appeasement going, Bill? "Green activists target Ford" - "Activists plan to use the Ford Motor Co.'s annual shareholders meeting this week to press the company for changes in its environmental policies and practices." (Oakland Press)

"Worker gets DVT sitting at desk" - "An IT worker who collapsed with a blood clot after sitting at his desk for hours has warned of the danger of DVT." (BBC)

"Allergy theory rethought" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Allergy season is in full swing. Blooming shrubs and sprouting grass, stirred up by gusty winds, have brought on runny noses, reddened eyes and plenty of misery for allergy sufferers running to doctors and drugstores for relief. Why so many feel so lousy is a matter of considerable debate -- guesses include everything from global warming to worsening pollution. But one seemingly counter-intuitive theory is gaining ground: Our obsession with cleanliness and fighting bacteria may be making us sick." (Sacramento Bee)

"60 Minutes Does it Again - Rave on Ms. Stahl" - "One of the 60 Minute segments of April 30, 2006, dealt with the Hanford Reservation in Eastern Washington State. This at one time was the secret location of many nuclear facilities which made the plutonium for the U.S. weapons programs including the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. It continued to make plutonium into the early '70s. Part of the process required the production of high level liquid wastes containing large amounts of radioactivity. Since the late '40s these wastes have been stored in huge steel tanks, often of 1 million gallons each. This liquid and the solid salt cake and sludge contained within the tanks have been the subject of scare stories for decades." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

"Groups tout tailpipe filters that trap soot, clean up diesel exhaust" - "It wasn't a white-glove test, but it came close. Dr. Bruce Hill, senior scientist with the Clean Air Task Force, used a white handkerchief yesterday to prove how little soot puffed from tailpipes of 23 Plum Borough School District buses retrofitted with diesel particulate filters." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"Mortality rate would plunge without passive smoking" - "NEW YORK - Eliminating exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke could reduce the number of deaths related to heart disease in the United States by more than 500,000 over the next 25 years, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. The risk from passive smoking is currently estimated to be equivalent to actively smoking one cigarette per day, Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo told attendees of the American Heart Association's 7th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research, being held this week in Washington, DC." (Reuters Health)

"Glasgow's bad health 'inherited'" - "A major new study has found that lifestyle factors such as smoking and a poor diet are not enough to explain Glasgow's bad health record. Research by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health suggests that housing, poverty and a family history of deprivation can also play a role." (BBC)

"Scientists reveal fate of Earth's oceans" - "Scientists at The University of Manchester have uncovered the first evidence of seawater deep inside the Earth shedding new light on the fate of the planet's oceans, according to research published in Nature (May 11, 2006). For years geologists have debated whether seawater is subducted (absorbed) into the deep Earth or whether there is a 'subduction barrier' blocking its absorption. For the first time scientists at The University of Manchester have positively identified seawater in volcanic gas samples originating from the Earth's mantle - the region just below the crust and extending all the way down to the core – supporting the theory that seawater is subducted deep into the Earth and enabling them to test this theory further." (University of Manchester)

"Climate Killed Off Mammoths, Not Humans - Scientist" - "LONDON - Climate shifts were probably responsible for the extinction of the mammoth and other species more than 10,000 years ago, not over-hunting by humans, according to new research published on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Salmon stocks dive as 'climate change bites'" - "WALES has long been regarded as a heartland of salmon but our nation's stock is dwindling, it is revealed today. We have more rivers with salmon than at any point since the Industrial Revolution, after the closure of heavy industries and the clean-up of the Rivers Taff, Rhymney, Tawe, Ogmore and Ebbw, in South Wales. Their abundance has declined dramatically, however, in such strongholds as the River Wye in Mid Wales and the River Dee in North Wales." (Western Mail)

"Yellow sand not entirely bad phenomenon" - "The season of yellow sand has begun. This natural phenomenon has disrupted transport in China and South Korea, where many people blame bronchial disorders on yellow sand, borne on the wind from deserts far to the west. Its environmental fallout in Japan is becoming more and more apparent. Scientists have recently discovered, however, that yellow sand can neutralize acid rain and has beneficial effects on the marine environment. In fairness, we should not say, "Yellow sand is bad. Period." We should rather acknowledge that Mother Nature works in mysterious ways, as we are gradually coming to realize." (Daily Yomiuri)

"China Expecting Hot and Stormy Summer - Report" - "BEIJING - China's summer could be hotter and stormier than normal and the country could be hit up to nine typhoons from June, state media said on Wednesday, citing the country's top meteorologists." (Reuters)

"New York warned to prepare for hurricanes" - "NEW YORK - A hurricane with only moderate intensity could wreak havoc in New York City because it has been years since the nation's financial center faced severe weather, government forecasters warned on Tuesday. "The first time we get hit here with a Category 2, it's going to be disastrous," said meteorologist Michael Wyllie of the National Weather Service, referring to the scale used to rate hurricane strength." (Reuters)

"Monster hurricanes: Study questions linkage between severe hurricanes and global warming" - "New research calls into question the linkage between major Atlantic hurricanes and global warming. That is one of the conclusions from a University of Virginia study to appear in the May 10, 2006 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters." (University of Virginia)

"Major Hurricanes: More, but not Stronger" - "We have a new paper in Geophysical Research Letters in which we find that it is plausible that a future rise in sea surface temperatures (SST) in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean will lead to a greater number of major hurricanes (categories 3 through 5), but that it should not lead to an increased intensity of these storms (Michaels et al., 2006)." (World Climate Report)

"India? No, Arizona, and That's a Monsoon" - "It may sound like a science fiction project designed for a dystopian future climate, but the North American Monsoon Experiment is going on now. Monsoons are often associated with the Indian Ocean, but they occur around the world, including North America. They are storms caused by seasonal shifts in winds, and the North American ones, which occur from July to September, are a critical element in the climate and the environment of the American Southwest and northwestern Mexico." (New York Times)

"Al Gore Is Playing On Our Fears" - "While very few people would accuse Al Gore of having a sense of humor, occasionally he can actually be side-splittingly funny. Some of the best examples take place when he puts on his angry face and goes into preacher mode, lowering his voice and mimicking the intonation of a southern minister." (Richard Levine, Post Chronicle)

"Just take it all with a drop of Bundy" - "I HAVE so often caught out Tim Flannery exaggerating the effects of global warming that I shouldn't be surprised by anything he says. But I still couldn't believe that last month he trotted out the old "polar bears will become extinct" scare. How desperate is he? Learn the lesson: if even Australia's most famous global warming alarmist can't take the facts for an answer, how much of this green gospel is for real? Even before this bear-scare, it seemed Flannery, the award-winning head of the South Australian Museum and author of best-seller The Future Eaters, had caught a bad case of our most fashionable faith." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"Getting Warmer" - "True, it needs close reading; and true, it comes from an obscure and mostly powerless institution. But it's possible to detect subtle shifts in the EU's position on the Kyoto Protocol." (Hans H.J. Labohm, TCS Daily)

More on the Relative Importance of the Radiative Forcing of CO2 (Climate Science)

Another non-CO2 effect: "Pollutant haze heats the Arctic" - "Arctic climate already is known to be particularly prone to global warming caused by industrial and automotive emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Now, a University of Utah study finds a surprising new way society's pollutants warm the far north: the Arctic's well-known haze – made of particulate pollution from mid-latitude cities – mixes with thin clouds, making them better able to trap heat. The effect makes the Arctic 2 degrees to 3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer during polluted, cloudy episodes than it would be if the air was clean, concludes the study by Tim Garrett, an assistant professor of meteorology, and Chuanfeng Zhao, a doctoral student in meteorology." (University of Utah)

"Canada's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Far Above Target" - "OTTAWA - Canada's emissions of greenhouse gases are now 35 percent above the level it promised to reach under the Kyoto climate change accord and the country would have to ground every train, plane and car to meet its target, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Canada Must Quit as Chair of Kyoto Process - Greens" - "OTTAWA - Green groups across Canada united on Wednesday to demand Environment Minister Rona Ambrose step down as chairwoman of international talks looking into ways to strengthen the Kyoto protocol on climate change." (Reuters)

Global tax dollars at work? "Kyoto Gives Poor Countries US$2.7 Billion Boost" - "COLOGNE, Germany - Rich nations' funding of clean energy projects in developing countries reached US$2.7 billion in 2005, through deals allowed under the global Kyoto treaty to tackle climate change, the World Bank said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Carbon Market Grows 10 Fold, Needs Openness – World Bank" - "COLOGNE, Germany - The global carbon emissions market reached a value of US$11 billion in 2005 on the back of Europe's pioneering trading scheme but it needs to be more transparent, the World Bank said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Volatile Gases" - "The European emissions trading scheme (ETS) was launched with great fanfare last year. The idea was to require certain energy-intensive industries to have a permit for each ton of greenhouse gases they emitted. Each industry would be allocated a certain number of permits. If they needed more, they would have to buy them; if they were able to cut emissions below their allocation, they would be able to sell them. The idea seemed wonderful in theory -- a "market-based" way to reduce emissions. In practice, the market has been a roller-coaster, reaching record highs of over €30 per ton before collapsing to just €11 last week." (Iain Murray, TCS Daily)

"EU 'needs to report carbon emissions quarterly'" - "Companies in the European Union's greenhouse gas trading scheme must prepare to report their carbon emissions quarterly if the scheme is to work properly, according to the World Bank." (Financial Times)

"A cracking alternative to cement" - "Alternative cement products make good environmental sense, writes Sean Dodson, especially if Britain is to meet its ambitious targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions." (The Guardian)

"Bush Seeks More Offshore Drilling, Lawmakers Act" - "WASHINGTON - A House committee voted Wednesday to allow natural gas drilling in more federal waters after President Bush said he was open to proposals in Congress to expand offshore oil and natural gas leasing provided it was at least 100 miles from the coastline." (Reuters)

Price versus Affordability for Gasoline, 1949-1st Quarter, 2006 (The Commons)

"New Coal Technology Could Help Climate - US Expert" - "OSLO - A Norwegian firm's technology for cheaply removing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants is likely to appeal to countries from China to the United States, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"ADM to Build 275-Million Gallon Ethanol Facility" - "CHICAGO - Agribusiness company Archer Daniels Midland Co. on Wednesday said it will build an ethanol plant with 275-million gallon annual capacity in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as it looks to expand production of the alternative fuel." (Reuters)

"EU Biodiesel Output Seen Growing 20 Pct a Year" - "SEVILLE, Spain - European Union output of biodiesel, a clean oilseed-based renewable fuel, will grow by at least 20 percent a year and will largely be made from rapeseed, the CEO of France's leading producer Diester Industrie said late on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Crop Shortages Could Curb European Biofuel Growth" - "SEVILLE, Spain - Shortages of suitable nationally grown crops could slow European moves to replace contaminating transport fuel with clean-burning, plant-based alternatives, industry sources said at a conference on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Study provides new understanding of spontaneous hybridization" - "Plant and animal breeders have long used hybridization to transfer useful traits between species. But does the same process happen without human aid? In a new study in the June issue of American Naturalist, Kenneth D. Whitney (Indiana University and Rice University), Rebecca A. Randell (Indiana University), and Loren H. Rieseberg (Indiana University), explore how spontaneous hybridization – known as adaptive trait introgression – has a vital impact on adaptation and evolutionary diversification." (University of Chicago Press Journals)

"WTO confirms ruling against EU GMO moratorium" - "GENEVA - The World Trade Organization (WTO) confirmed in a final ruling that the European Union broke trade rules with its six-year moratorium on approving genetically-modified (GMO) foods, diplomats said on Thursday." (Reuters)

May 10, 2006

"Increase in thyroid cancer in US attributed to improved early detection" - "Although the incidence of thyroid cancer has more than doubled in the past 30 years, the rise is being attributed to improved diagnostic techniques of previously undetected disease, rather than a true increase in the occurrence of thyroid cancer, according to a study in the May 10 issue of JAMA." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Hello Trial Lawyers, Goodbye Teflon" - "Warning to America's lazy chefs: Better stock up on Teflon while it lasts." (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Of Penises and Pesticides" - "Are synthetic chemicals responsible for male shortcomings?" (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Glaxo wins injunction over threat" - "GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has obtained an emergency injunction against animal rights extremists who sent threatening letters to the drug group's investors." (BBC)

"Plankton blooms linked to quakes" - "Concentrations of the natural pigment chlorophyll in coastal waters have been shown to rise prior to earthquakes." (BBC)

"Summer sun safety: Research reveals significant link to melanoma" - "Santa Monica, CA – May 09, 2006 – Fifty years of medical studies show that sun exposure is a primary component in the development of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, report leading dermatologists in the April 2006 issue of Dermatology Surgery.

"Though genetics may play a role in the development of some melanomas, there's overwhelming evidence that shows sun exposure adversely affects patients both with and without genetic predisposition to melanoma," said Elisabeth K. Shim, M.D., an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Keck USC Medical School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA.

It's not clear what pattern of sun exposure causes melanoma or whether it's short, intense intermittent or cumulative. Further more, it's not clear if ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, or both are responsible for causing melanoma. "Regardless, the sun acts as an initiating and promoting agent in causing melanoma, and causes immunosuppression," noted Dr. Shim.

With summer quickly approaching, it's necessary to protect yourself by using sunscreen and sun protective measures to prevent melanoma, and other skin cancers, despite current controversy." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Scientists change estimate for spring chinook run" - "PORTLAND, Ore. — Fisheries scientists, counting fewer fish than expected, have changed their official estimate of this year's tardy run of spring chinook salmon in the Columbia River. The previous estimate of 88,000 has been changed by a technical advisory committee to a range, 65,000 to 88,000, and the run will be managed on that basis, Craig Bartlett of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday. For reasons that are not clear, the run is late in arriving at Bonneville Dam for the second year in a row." (Associated Press)

"Tibet provides passage for chemicals to reach the stratosphere" - "NASA and university researchers have found that thunderstorms over Tibet provide a main pathway for water vapor and chemicals to travel from the lower atmosphere, where human activity directly affects atmospheric composition, into the stratosphere, where the protective ozone layer resides. Learning how water vapor reaches the stratosphere can help improve climate prediction models. Similarly, understanding the pathways that ozone-depleting chemicals can take to reach the stratosphere is essential for understanding future threats to the ozone layer, which shields Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays." (Georgia Institute of Technology)

"Politics of fear to fill EU constitution vacuum" - "Terrorism, crime and environment scares will be key to EU moves to boost Brussels powers in the absence of a European constitution. Leaked internal documents and recent speeches indicate that widespread public fears over eco-crises and crime will be harnessed in a bid to overcome the EU institutional vacuum. Existing European treaties allow key decision making areas to be transferred to the EU – if governments agree. The European commission, in a document to be unveiled on May 10, is to recommend that such bridging clauses are triggered." (EUPolitix)

"I'm Doing My Inconsequential Part For The Environment" - "As human beings continue to wreak havoc on the ecosystem, with seemingly no awareness of the long-term effects of our shortsighted actions, we seriously jeopardize the fragile balance of life on this big blue marble we call Spaceship Earth. Now is the time to take steps toward creating a cleaner environment, however insignificant and useless those steps may be. That's why I'm doing my own laughably inconsequential part to end pollution, limit damage to our precious ecosystem, and preserve what remains of our planet's biodiversity for future generations." (Peter Keim, The Onion)

"New Zealand: $13m revamp for eco-education" - "School students will learn about global warming, energy and pollution through a new $13 million injection into environmental education. The money, said a pre-Budget announcement yesterday, will be used to train teachers, rewrite the curriculum and develop resources to boost learning about the environment. The funding is part of a deal between Labour and the Greens, negotiated after last year's election." (New Zealand Herald)

Joseph would be proud.

"Global Warming Will Be Core Focus Of Gore-Led Group" - "An educational group that former Vice President Al Gore is helping to launch intends to spend millions of dollars convincing Americans that global warming is an urgent problem. The U.S. hasn't enacted mandatory limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, a situation many environmentalists attribute to slim public awareness of the consequences of rising temperatures. The group, which yesterday adopted the name Alliance for Climate Protection, plans to use advertising and grass-roots organizing to try to raise awareness, particularly among labor groups, hunters, evangelicals and conservatives in general." (Wall Street Journal)

"Illinois professor to address global warming at book launching" - "Michael Schlesinger, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will participate in news conferences in New York City on May 9, and Washington, D.C., on May 10, publicizing the U.S. debut of the book "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change." Published by Cambridge University Press, the book builds upon scientific findings presented at the "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" conference held in Exeter, England, in February last year. The conference was sponsored by the United Kingdom Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"UK, US Climate Scientists Urge Action on Global Warming" - "NEW YORK, May 9 -- The most dangerous impacts of global warming can still be avoided if immediate action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with existing technologies, according to a new book released today at a climate science conference in New York." (PRNewswire) | Launch Of The "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change Book In The US" (GNN)

Funny thing that, the ridiculous claims about global warming will be avoided whether people take action or not.

"Challenge of climate change to be Beckett's top priority" - "Margaret Beckett indicated last night that the environment would be the big new theme of her tenure as Foreign Secretary, saying that combating climate change was to become a top priority of British foreign policy." (London Telegraph)

Why Has Global Warming Become The Focus Of The Environmental Movement? (Climate Science)

"Monster Hurricanes: Study Questions Linkage Between Severe Hurricanes, Global Warming" - "CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., May 9 -- New research calls into question the linkage between major Atlantic hurricanes and global warming. That is one of the conclusions from a University of Virginia study to appear in the May 10, 2006 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. In recent years, a large number of severe Atlantic hurricanes have fueled a debate as to whether global warming is responsible. Because high sea-surface temperatures fuel tropical cyclones, this linkage seems logical. In fact, within the past year, several hurricane researchers have correlated basin-wide warming trends with increasing hurricane severity and have implicated a greenhouse-warming cause." (AScribe Newswire)

"Audit to show waste in environment plans" - "OTTAWA - Canada's climate change programs are expected to come under strong criticism from the Auditor-General's department this fall for failing to justify their hefty price-tags with effective results." (John Ivison, National Post)

"China, India lead 15-percent rise in CO2 emissions: World Bank" - "UNITED NATIONS - Fast-growing China and India helped to drive up global greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent over 1992-2002, fuelling the effects of climate change, the World Bank said. In its annual "Little Green Data Book", the World Bank said industrialised nations led by the United States continue to be the worst offenders for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). But developing nations, particularly China and India, are producing an ever-greater share of CO2 emissions and so contributing to the trapping of heat-retaining gases in the Earth's atmosphere." (AFP)

Hmm... we'll leave alone the somewhat absurd "trapping of heat-retaining gases" thing since we can guess what they were trying to say. Curiously, this piece switches to quoting carbon dioxide rather than carbon emissions, citing 24 billion tonnes (billion metric tons, Gt [Gigaton] or Pg [Petagram]), so, how does that translate to the carbon figures people are used to hearing? It's easy, just use the atomic weights of the elements and it's snap: Carbon = 12 and Oxygen = 16, thus CO2 = C + O + O = 12 + 16 + 16 = 44. To extract the carbon portion just multiply your figure by 12/44 or, in this case, 24 x 12/44 = 6.54r. Since we've already shown you the IPCC's natural and human carbon cycle contribution graphics (see our Greenhouse Primer if you aren't up to speed on that), you already know that total anthropogenic contribution is a shade over 3%.

From CO2 Science this week:

Global Warming and El Niños: How are they related? And what do they portend about the future?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 2 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from Gorner Glacier, Alps of Valais, Switzerland.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Moss (Response to Elevated CO 2 ): Is it similar to that of higher plants?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Barley, Mandarin Orange, Potato, and Quaking Aspen.

Journal Reviews:
River Discharge to the Arctic Ocean: 1964-2000: How did it change? And what are the ramifications of the change?

Two Millennia of Japanese Temperature Fluctuations: Do they provide any evidence for the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age?

Zooxanthellae Responses to Bleaching in Great Barrier Reef Corals: More hints of "symbiont shuffling" as a means of adapting to higher temperatures come from post-bleaching assessments of phylogenetic clades of zooxanthellae in surviving coral colonies.

CO 2 Enrichment of Potatoes at Fairbanks, Alaska, USA: How do they respond in a cool subarctic environment?

A FACE Study of Paddy Rice Culture in Japan: How was the crop's water use efficiency impacted by a 200-ppm increase in the air's CO 2 concentration? (co2science.org)

"New method confirms importance of fungi in Arctic nitrogen cycle" - "WOODS HOLE, MA--A new method to calculate the transfer of nitrogen from Arctic mushrooms to plants is shedding light on how fungi living symbiotically on plant roots transfer vital nutrients to their hosts. The analytical technique, developed by John E. Hobbie, MBL Distinguished Scientist and co-director of the laboratory's Ecosystems Center and his son, Erik A. Hobbie of the University of New Hampshire, may be applied to nearly all conifers, oaks, beeches, birch and shrubs such as blueberry and cranberry--all nitrogen-poor ecosystems--and will be an important tool for future studies of plant nitrogen supply." (Marine Biological Laboratory)

"US farm economy revs up ethanol-fueled engines" - "CHICAGO - The burgeoning ethanol industry is changing the economic landscape of rural America, as companies pour billions of dollars into production plants in a race to meet demand and ease America's addiction to gasoline. Ethanol backers foresee vast vistas of corn fields churning out feedstock for the clean burning fuel additive running millions of cars in the United States, the world's largest consumer of energy." (Reuters)

"Biomass Movement" - "President Bush has made the welcome point that the U.S. needs "to move beyond a petroleum-based economy," and has lent his support to the need to develop energy from biomass, which refers to all bulk plant material. This is popular with the public and also enjoys significant support in Congress. Unfortunately, congressional subsidies for biomass are driven by farm-state politics rather than by a technology-development effort that might offer a practical liquid fuel alternative to oil. Meanwhile, major oil and chemical companies are evaluating biomass and investors are chasing biomass investment opportunities. But how much of this is practicable?" (John Deutch, Wall Street Journal)

"Do We Need Ethanol More Than Topsoil?" - "I cringe when the urban newspapers casually say that we can make “lots of our auto fuel” such as ethanol from cornstalks and wheat straw. It ain’t so." (Dennis Avery, ChronWatch)

"Ethanol fumes" - "It seems like an easy fix. Oil prices have hit record highs. Ethanol, a gasoline additive, can both stretch our supplies of oil and ease air pollution. And best of all, it's a corn-based product. Although America imports nearly two-thirds of its oil, it grows all the corn it needs and more. So all lawmakers have to do is require that gasoline contain a given percentage of ethanol, and our gas-price problems won't be as bad. Or so the theory goes. The problem is, we've been doing this for years, and it's not working so well. In fact, it's part of the reason gasoline prices are so high." (Ben Lieberman, Washington Times)

"US group to make power conservation a commodity" - "NEW YORK - U.S. companies and organizations that conserve electricity by switching to more efficient lighting or by moderating heating and cooling will earn a credit they can trade or bank. That's the hope of Sterling Planet, a Georgia-based company that has created "white tags," or tradable certificates that are similar to "green tags," or tradable credits for creating and delivering renewable energy, such as solar and wind." (Reuters)

"Fears for environment as China plans 48 new airports" - "China plans to build 48 new airports over the next five years in an aviation spending splurge that will delight architects and plane makers but heighten concerns among environmentalists." (The Guardian)

"It's in the air: Euro-wide wind farms network plan is mooted" - "Irish renewable energy company Airtricity has unveiled an ambitious plan to create a European-wide network of offshore wind farms. The company said the so-called Supergrid project would help Europe reduce its reliance on oil, and also avoid the necessity for nuclear power." (Belfast Telegraph)

"Clash over claims at Navan anti-GM meeting" - "A CLAIM that there was not one single document linking genetically modified foods to issues of ill-health led to an angry clash between the chief executive of the Monsanto company and the chairman of a meeting in Navan last week called to protest at a pending decision to allow a test crop of GM potatoes in Meath. The meeting drew an attendance from a wide range of interests, including the organic growing industry, farming, councillors, environmental campaigners, Green Party members, a chef and a herbalist." (Meath Chronicle)

Vandana Shiva - again: "GM cotton belt is suicide belt" - "New Delhi, May 9: A large number of suicides by farmers in India are “intimately connected” to the high cost of production of genetically modified (GM) cotton and other capital-intensive crops, a non-government organisation has claimed." (Calcutta Telegraph)

May 9, 2006

"TANZANIA: Gov't to lift DDT ban to fight malaria" - "DAR ES SALAAM, 8 May 2006 - In its effort to reduce the number people contracting malaria in Tanzanian the government said on Monday it planned to lift its ban on the use of the pesticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane as DDT." (IRIN)

"Mosquito offensive" -"How West Nile virus will affect us this summer is still anyone's guess, but hundreds of people already are seeking help battling its carriers and the standing water that breeds them." (Sacramento Bee)

"Electronic smog" - "The curse of the mobile phone age: around your home there are countless gadgets whose electrical fields, scientists now warn, are linked to depression, miscarriage and cancer." (London Independent)

"Another Crazy Columbia Alcohol Study" - "Columbia University research riddled with substantial errors; wildly overestimates underage drinking, abuse, benefit to drinks industry." (Rebecca Goldin, STATS)

"Animal Rights Activists Target Glaxo Shareholders" - "LONDON - Shareholders in GlaxoSmithKline Plc have received menacing letters from an animal rights group demanding they sell their shares in the company or face having their names made public within the next 14 days." (Reuters)

"Stop these extremists' beastly behaviour" - "THERE IS just one appropriate response to the animal rights people terrorising shareholders in GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceuticals giant. They should be told to get lost." (London Times)

"Laboratory scientists study soot in megacity pollution" - "LOS ALAMOS, N.M., May 8, 2006 - A team of Los Alamos scientists recently returned from a month-long data-gathering trip to Mexico City as part of an international, multi-agency environmental science collaboration. The March campaign was designed to examine the chemical and physical transformations of gases and aerosols in the polluted outflow from the Mexico City metropolitan area. With a population of 25 million, Mexico City is North America's largest city, what scientists are calling a megacity. As such, it provides an excellent testing ground for understanding the regional and global impacts of increasing urbanization." (DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory)

"Learning the lessons of the world's oldest ecological experiment" - "Ecologists are getting ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the world's oldest ecological experiment. The Park Grass Experiment was set up at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire in 1856 – three years before Darwin published Origin of Species – to answer crucial agricultural questions of the day but has since proved an invaluable resource for studying natural selection and biodiversity." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Where have all the butterflies gone?" - "Cold, wet conditions early in the year mean that 2006 is shaping up as the worst year for California's butterflies in almost four decades, according to Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis." (University of California - Davis)

From the ecoEnquirer:) "Weather Wars and Area 51 (Parts 1 & 2)" - "In our exclusive interview of an Area 51 electrical engineer, a remarkable 'weather generator' war between the U.S. and Russia is revealed. Russia's 2005 hurricane attack on the U.S., and the U.S. retaliatory cold wave attack of this past winter on Russia, both represent the first large scale successes in a secret weather war that the public is being led to believe is simply 'global warming'." (ecoEnquirer)

Global warming on Jupiter (The Reference Frame)

Evidence of Unrecognized Complexity in the Direct Aerosol Climate Forcing (Climate Science)

"The EU and the fight against climate change" - "In his speech to the Seminar on climate change, organised by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki, EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas, responsible for Environment set out the priorities of EU in order to fight against climate change. The Commissioner focused his speech on the European Union's single most important measure for reducing greenhouse gas emissions - the Emissions Trading Scheme and on some of the other environment policy priorities that will be dealt with during Finland's presidency." (European Business Guide)

"INTERVIEW - EU Carbon Market Likely in Surplus, Bearish - Barcap" - "LONDON - Europe next week will likely reveal a key flaw in its flagship strategy to tackle climate change -- a net surplus of pollution permits, says Louis Redshaw, Head of Environmental Markets at Barclays Capital. The price of permits -- or carbon credits -- could then fall as low as 5 euros, having already collapsed to 12 euros on Monday from a peak of 31 euros three weeks ago, Redshaw said. Such a price fall would almost certainly trigger further drops in power prices across Europe." (Reuters)

"Kyoto Carbon Trading on Track, UN Body Says" - "LONDON - Carbon trading under the global Kyoto treaty is on track to kick off in April 2007, allowing developed countries to buy pollution permits from poorer states, the United Nations climate change body said on Monday. The Kyoto Protocol ties some 40 industrialised countries to targets on cutting emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), widely blamed for climate change." (Reuters)

"Wake Up And Smell The CAFE" - "Energy Policy: Ten states are suing to strengthen fuel economy standards for SUVs and light trucks — standards that have failed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and have killed more Americans than terrorism." (IBD)

"EPA Still Looking at Easing Summer Gasoline Rules" - "WASHINGTON - Six US states, concerned about summer gasoline supplies, have asked federal officials about possible waivers from clean fuel rules, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday." (Reuters)

"Profits of Doom?" - "Americans should be happy that oil companies are making money." (Brendan Miniter, Opinion Journal)

"CANADA: Turning sludge into black gold" - "In February, engineers from French oil giant Total fired up colossal drum boilers to generate steam that will be pumped to a depth of 300 feet under the frozen ground here. If all goes well, by May, the steam will marinate a tar-like mix of oil and sand until the crude begins to flow." (Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal)

"Nuclear power 'not needed' for UK" - "The UK can meet its future energy needs and reduce climate polluting emissions, without resorting to nuclear power, according to a new report." (Press Association)

"WWF boss to push N-power at meeting" - "THE outspoken chief of environment group WWF Australia has gone to London to lobby the international organisation to overturn its anti-nuclear stance. Greg Bourne flew out on Friday, a day after he rocked the environment movement by declaring Australia was "destined" to expand uranium mining. Mr Bourne will attend a WWF International global energy taskforce meeting this week with senior managers of one of the world's biggest and most influential conservation groups." (The Australian)

"Three Gorges Dam 'built by May'" - "Construction of China's Three Gorges Dam is likely to be finished by 20 May, nine months ahead of schedule, according to state media reports. But several generators will still have to be installed and the dam is expected to become fully operational in 2009. Once completed the dam, begun in 1993, will become the world's largest hydroelectric power project." (BBC)

"Greenpeace urges ADB to stop funding fossil fuel projects" - "HYDERABAD, India - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) can boost the fight against climate change by curbing funds for fossil fuel projects and supporting renewable energy, environmental watchdog Greenpeace International says." (AFP)

"Environmental community split over wind farm" - "Some want renewable energy fast; others want to slow down to check on birds." (Austin American-Statesman)

"Koizumi plans eco-drive for G-8 summit" - "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will call on major countries at the Group of Eight summit meeting in July to use the top-runner system--under which the most energy-efficient products become the benchmark for their industries--to help conserve energy, government sources said Monday. Koizumi also will extol a new environmentally friendly technology that reduces emissions produced through the burning of coal and pledge to help countries that introduce the technology, the sources said." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"White blood cells from cancer-resistant mice cure cancers in ordinary mice" - "WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – White blood cells from a strain of cancer-resistant mice cured advanced cancers in ordinary laboratory mice, researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine reported today. "Even highly aggressive forms of malignancy with extremely large tumors were eradicated," Zheng Cui, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues reported in this week's on-line edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The transplanted white blood cells not only killed existing cancers, but also protected normal mice from what should have been lethal doses of highly aggressive new cancers." (Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

"EU authorizes Polish ban on biotech corn seeds" - "European Union officials on Monday authorized a Polish ban on the use of around 700 types of maize seed, including 16 genetically modified varieties, which had been cleared for sale throughout the EU. The European Commission said the Polish ban was justified because the corn varieties had a long growing cycle that would prevent the crop ripening in the Polish climate." (Associated Press)

"Hong Kong: Row over baby food heats up" - "The government and environmental group Greenpeace have locked horns over whether baby food sold in Hong Kong contains illegal genetically modified rice." (The Standard)

"Biotechnology Contributes to Significant Decrease in Plowing" - "ST. LOUIS, MO May 8, 2006 – Since the introduction of biotech crops in 1996, farmers have reduced – and, in some cases, completely stopped – plowing or tilling the soil to eliminate weeds and prepare fields for planting. The benefits of conservation tillage range from less erosion to improved wildlife habitat to a reduction in greenhouse gases and fuel use." (PRWEB via PR Web Direct)

May 8, 2006

"Corporate McSocial Responsibility" - Fast-food gadfly Eric Schlosser has a new book out. Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food is Fast Food Nation for middle school students. An excerpt has Schlosser arguing that Big Fast Food seeks to control human behavior by advertising to children, that it ruthlessly replicates its business practices across all restaurants, and that McDonald’s—owing to its size—is the major culprit." (Isaac Post, Townhall)

"States come to terms with 'dirty dozen'" - "A Swiss proposal to improve coordination in the fight against dangerous chemicals has failed to win enough support at an international conference in Geneva." (Swissinfo)

"Bird flu vaccine hurdles" - "A bird flu pandemic that hits the United States could trigger 40 percent absenteeism rates among the U.S. workforce and kill 2 million Americans, according to a just-released White House report. The Bush administration has asked Congress for $2.3 billion this year to fund the next phase of its pandemic preparedness effort, including a plan to create the domestic capacity to produce and stockpile pandemic vaccine. Will it be enough? Fortunately, we live in a country that develops up to 70 percent of the world's new medications. The pharmaceutical industry spends $39 billion a year on research and development -- a sum greater than the entire operating budget of the National Institute of Health, and 19 times more than the research and development budget of 1980. But the people we rely on to bring us the medicines and vaccines that will protect us from emerging global epidemics are now contending with an even bigger threat to the public health: lawsuits." (Steven B. Hantler, Washington Times)

"Lessons from the MMR debacle" - "Patrick Cockburn's recently published memoir of the Cork polio epidemic of 1956 - which left him with substantial disabilities - is a forceful reminder of the devastating impact of infectious disease within living memory. There were around 500 confirmed cases of polio in Ireland in 1956, leaving 20 dead and many more with life-long paralysis. Today the terror that was once inspired by polio has receded and parents are now more concerned about the risks arising from vaccines than the dangers of the diseases they protect against." (Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, Irish Health)

"Mark Steyn: New coalition of willing needed in Darfur" - "I SEE George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have discovered Darfur and are now demanding "action". Good for them. Hollywood hasn't shown this much interest in indigenous groups of the Sudan since John Payne and Jerry Colonna sang The Girlfriend of the Whirling Dervish in Garden of the Moon (1938). I wish the celebs well. Those of us who wanted action on Darfur years ago will hope their advocacy produces more results than ours did. Clooney's concern for the people of the region appears to be genuine and serious. But unless he's also serious about backing the only forces in the world with the capability and will to act in Sudan, he's just another showboating pretty boy of no use to anyone. Here's the lesson of the past three years: The UN kills." (The Australian)

"Our allergies, ourselves" - "Are we allergic because of pollution? Because we wash our hands too much? There's a surprising lack of consensus as to why allergies are on the rise, but some scientists suggest we have only ourselves to blame." (Boston Globe)

"Puppy fat 'myth' risking health" - "Puppy fat" can have lifelong health implications and should not be dismissed as a temporary childhood problem, experts warn." (BBC)

"Why ice-cream vans face total meltdown" - "FOR 60 years the tinny jingle of Greensleeves that announced the arrival of the ice-cream van has been an indelible memory of childhood, but that sound may soon be removed from suburban streets. Health lobbyists have decided that ice-creams are too much of a danger to children’s health." (London Times)

"EU food body dismisses food sweetener cancer fears" - "ROME - The European Union's food safety agency said on Friday there was no cancer risk from foods and drinks containing the food sweetener aspartame, rejecting a scientific study that said the additive was hazardous. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) dismissed recent findings by an Italian cancer research body which found the sweetener -- widely used in diet foods, soft drinks and as a sugar substitute -- increased cancers in rats. EFSA said its review of the Ramazzini Institute study found no conclusive evidence that aspartame was responsible for increased cancers and that although the additive did cause damage to the rats' kidneys, this would not happen to humans." (Reuters)

"Tap water may raise bladder cancer risk: study" - "NEW YORK - Pooled data from six case-control studies suggest that higher consumption of tap water-based drinks may slightly increase the risk of bladder cancer among men." (Reuters Health)

"UFO study finds no sign of aliens" - "A confidential Ministry of Defence report on Unidentified Flying Objects has concluded that there is no proof of alien life forms. In spite of the secrecy surrounding the UFO study, it seems citizens of planet Earth have little to worry about." (BBC)

"13 Ways of Looking at an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker" - "On the endless, hopeful, well-financed, full-body-camouflaged and possibly quixotic trail of the most-sought-after bird alive (or not)." (New York Times)

"Ice-capped roof of world turns to desert" - "Scientists warn of ecological catastrophe across Asia as glaciers melt and continent's great rivers dry up." (London Independent)

We checked and the regional trend doesn't appear to be much, 0.04 °C/decade with an interesting phase shift during the period 1996-98, perhaps. Interestingly, the region appears trendless prior to then. No doubt the alleged meltdown is due to all that additional insulation from the massive increase in Central Asian snowfall over the Twentieth Century we were told about a week or so ago?

"New climate research yields good and bad news" - "PARIS - New studies into climate change hold out contrasting news, confirming that the greenhouse effect has disrupted the global water cycle over the past century but also suggesting some coral species may adapt to the warming threat. Swiss weather researcher Kerstin Treydte and colleagues say they discovered that the last century saw the biggest increase in snowfall in central Asia than at any time over the previous millennium. The precipitation started to surge around 150 years ago, coinciding with the start of the Industrial Revolution powered by coal, gas and oil -- the biggest culprits for greenhouse gases." (AFP)

"Everest weather's ups and downs" - "Already experiencing melting glaciers and a receding snowline, the Everest region of Nepal has seen some unusual weather patterns these past few months." (BBC)

"Artificial Rain Washes Dust From Chinese Capital" - "BEIJING - Chinese technicians have artificially generated heavy rainfall to wash a layer of sand and dust off Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Cloud scientists plumb some cirrus mysteries" - "Photos of Earth's atmosphere, taken from space, often serve as icons for the fragile balance of conditions that support life on the planet. Graeme Stephens points to a slimmer icon - the amount of water in clouds. Stretch that water evenly around the planet, he explains, and it would form a wispy layer less than a tenth of a millimeter thick. Yet that sliver "is absolutely crucial for life on the planet," says the Colorado State University atmospheric scientist. By helping to generate rain and snow, it "represents the renewable part of the fresh water cycle," and the clouds it forms help regulate how much heat the atmosphere keeps." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Relative Roles of CO2 and Water Vapor in Radiative Forcing (Climate Science)

John thinks the IPCC is 'ultra-conservative': "What will happen if Britain becomes 3C warmer?" - "If someone mentions the Three Degrees these days, they probably don't mean the 1960s soul group, but the increase in world temperature that most atmosphere scientists now believe will take place over the next century. New reports suggest an even higher figure, but 3C is slap in the middle of the range that the ultra-conservative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says is most likely. A draft of their report, leaked by the US government, says greenhouse gas levels are at their highest for 650,000 years. So it's official. Climate change is here: a man-made phenomenon." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

Actually John, this is textbook stuff -- you can look it up and we'll quote Lindzen here:

We know that doubling carbon dioxide should lead to a heating of about 3.7 Watts per square meter (Wm-2), and that man made greenhouse heating is already about 2.7 Wm-2. Thus, we have seen less warming than would be predicted by any model showing more than about 0.8 °C warming for a doubling of carbon dioxide. This is consistent with independent identifications of negative feedbacks.

It is relatively easy to show that a doubling of CO2 which leads to radiative forcing of about 3.7 Wm-2 should produce about 1 °C of warming in the absence of feedbacks. In the absence of an infrared absorbing atmosphere, this change would refer to the surface, but in the presence of such an atmosphere, it refers to some characteristic emission level for infrared radiation. For the earth’s atmosphere, this is typically in the neighborhood of 5 km. The question of what happens at the surface is actually somewhat complex, but, in general, the change there should be somewhat less (Schneider et al, 1999). Thus, the observed warming could be consistent with this calculation, though it is likely to be somewhat less.

So you see John, the 'projections' of 'likely' temperature increase put out by your 'ultra-conservative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)' are not at all conservative, in fact, they are rather flamboyant. The only way such significant warming can be derived is via the models' inclusion of 'positive feedbacks' whose very existence is uncertain and whose net sign is unknown.

Another biologist sounding the climate alarm: "Wake up while you can still smell the roses" - "The proof of climate change is convincing, writes Peter Doherty. Now we owe it to ourselves to learn more, and do more, about it." (Sydney Morning Herald)

What's the matter Pete, can't get people excited about chook 'flu?

Funny thing is, of all the potential beneficiaries of Kyoto, (think Enron, methane/propane sellers, hopeless energy schemes dependent on public subsidy and guaranteed market, dictatorships with basket case economies needing CDM-provided generating facilities...), there's nothing in it for the planet.

Does anyone remember what Kyoto was supposed to be about? That seems to have gone quiet now that everyone knows there is no possibility of Kyoto making any measurable difference to the planet's temperature or climate.

Stop and think about it for a minute -- with all the people screaming about Kyoto, is there a single supporting enterprise that does not expect to gain financially or steal market share from competitors? Is anyone howling about it who does not expect to benefit, at least in publicity exposure and popularity stakes, if not directly from book sales and speaking tours?

Where does the planet fit into the picture and why would you endorse such a pointless exercise as the Kyoto Protocol if you really thought you could tweak the planet's thermostat?

There is something seriously wrong with this picture.

"Climate for change: Forests will play vital role in state emission reductions" - "ARCATA -- Northern California's forests will be crucial in meeting new state goals to fight climate change, a panel of experts said at Humboldt State University on Thursday. It was the first of five forums held on the state's Climate Action Report, which calls for drastic reductions in emissions by 2050. Some of the greatest opportunities to meet the ambitious goals are through forestry, said state Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman. ”We want to make sure in this effort that California forests are part of the solution,” Chrisman said." (The Times-Standard)

"Ottawa pulls pollution funds for Ontario: Millions pledged by Liberals off the table" - "TORONTO and QUEBEC — The federal government has pulled the plug on hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding that was supposed to help Ontario phase out its high-polluting, coal-fired power plants while it concentrates on its "made-in-Canada" approach to fighting emissions that cause climate change." (Globe and Mail)

"A clean-air plan of our own" - "Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose were both severe critics of the Kyoto Protocol when they sat on the opposition benches. It was, they suggested, not simply a bunch of hot air but a sledgehammer hanging over our nation's economy. That was no exaggeration. Even to try to meet the Kyoto targets, Canada would have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of closing down every manufacturing plant in the nation as well as taking every car and bus off the road and every plane out of the sky. Basically, shut the country down and we'd still be 17 megatonnes short of reaching our Kyoto commitment." (Winnipeg Sun)

"Kyoto gets some surprising support from Canadian industry" - "OTTAWA -- The Kyoto Protocol is getting some surprising endorsements from Canadian industry leaders who are growing impatient with the uncertainty surrounding the new Conservative government's approach to climate change. Shell Canada President and CEO Clive Mather, who supported the previous government's plan to implement Canada's commitments under the international agreement on climate change, is urging political and industry leaders to accept Kyoto, despite opposition from the United States." (CanWest News Service)

Bound to help the hot air market: "Finland 2005 Emissions Below Quota, Official Says" - "HELSINKI - Finland's carbon dioxide emissions were lower last year than its allowance in the first phase of the European Union's emissions trading scheme, a Trade and Industry Ministry official said on Friday. "That's correct, but we are not going to publish the data until May 15," ministry counsellor Paivi Janka told Reuters, when asked if Finland's CO2 output in 2005 was below its quota. "The basic message is right, but we have ... decided we are not going to publish the figures until that date." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Spain Likely to Tighten CO2 Emissions in 2008-12" - "MADRID - Spain is likely to give its contaminating industries lower carbon dioxide emission permits in the future, despite them having overshot their limits in 2005, a senior Environment Ministry official said on Friday. European Union countries have placed limits on highly polluting industries' output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to force them to clean up as a key part of the first phase of the Kyoto protocol to curb global warming. National governments are now preparing their emissions allocation plans for the second phase, which runs from 2008-12." (Reuters)

The Week That Was May 6, 2006 (SEPP)

"What cost climate change?" - "State team will try to assess the pros and cons." (Seattle P-I)

First things first, we still don't understand climate sufficiently to determine what it is currently doing, far less what it might do.

"Bye Bye Birdies" - "Populations of many migratory species have plummeted--and, in some cases, global warming seems to be at fault." (Time)

"Tackling the 'kitchen killer' – solid fuel" - "Investment in curbing one of the biggest causes of death in the world – smoke from unclean cooking fuels – would pay itself back seven times over. That is the conclusion of a new report from the World Health Organization, which calculates that an annual investment of $13 billion could halve the number of people cooking with such fuels by 2015." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Global growth saps oil supply, lifts gas prices" - "WASHINGTON — High oil prices, which have led to soaring U.S. gasoline costs, are the direct result of the narrowing of the gap between worldwide supply and demand, experts told Congress Thursday. Strong worldwide economic growth, notably in the USA, China and India, have led to large increases in demand for energy, Energy Information Administration head Guy Caruso said at a congressional hearing." (USA TODAY)

"Federal Recipe for Gasoline Helped Drive Up the Price" - "WASHINGTON, May 5 — Nine months after Congress passed major energy legislation, one provision affecting gasoline formulas is helping to drive the price of gas up much faster than the rising price of crude oil." (New York Times)

"Gas-guzzling 4x4s go forth and multiply" - "THEY'RE big, brash and for many motorists they're beautiful. To others they are the scourge of our towns and cities - gas-guzzling giants that pollute the environment, contribute to global warming and are more likely to kill if they are involved in a collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian. We're talking sports utility vehicles, or SUVs for short. Popular in America for decades, sales in the UK have more than doubled over the past 10 years." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Row takes off over Heathrow runway claims" - "Plans for a third runway at Heathrow were put back on the agenda yesterday after air quality tests carried out at the airport showed that EU pollution limits in surrounding areas are not being breached." (London Independent)

"Nuclear Gaining Favor as Clean Energy Source for World" - "Alternatives unlikely to meet demand for large-scale power, experts say." (Washington File)

Glowing Green? "Green group accepts uranium mines" - "ONE of the nation's largest environment groups, WWF Australia, has accepted the federal Government's push to expand uranium mining and exports. WWF chief executive Greg Bourne, former boss of BP Australasia, told The Australian yesterday the nation was "destined under all governments to be mining uranium and exporting it to a growing world market". "We have been mining uranium and exporting it for many years and we're doing more because demand is going up, whether people like it or not," he said. "The key issues are if we're going to be a nation exporting uranium, we have to know absolutely it's only being used for peaceful purposes and waste products are being stored safely." The move is likely to drive a wedge through the environment movement, which is fighting to make the Government's planned uranium exports to China - and the nuclear power debate - a federal election issue next year." (The Australian)

"Beware the big green political monster" - "LAST week saw the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Environmental groups continue to use this as part of their irrational campaign against nuclear energy. In truth, Chernobyl was caused by communist managerial incompetence, not nuclear technology. France went nuclear in 1974, has had no significant accidents and today has 78 per cent of its power coming from nuclear plants. Its energy is almost the cheapest and its air probably the cleanest in Europe." (Michael Duffy, Sydney Morning Herald)

"End debate on N-power: Flannery" - "PROMINENT scientist Tim Flannery has called for an end to the uranium debate, saying all alternative energy sources to fossil fuels must be considered in the fight against climate change." (The Australian)

With his "Future Eaters" and global warming hand-wringing, Tim appears to be trying to emulate Al -- wonder if he knows Australia doesn't have a president he can "used to be the next one of"?

Reality slowly crawling back into Australian politics: "Power struggle raises fears over green credentials" - "THE NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, has eschewed the art works available to ministers and has adorned his office walls instead with striking photographs of power stations. As Minister for the Hunter, coal-fired power stations and the mines that supply them are important parts of his portfolio. But it is also Costa's personal statement about what matters. Costa, a former union official and hard man of the labour movement, has little truck with the green side of politics. He's far more interested in "the real issues": economic growth, taxes, work conditions, the cost of living and delivery of efficient services. When the Labor Party debates nuclear power, as it inevitably will in the next round of party conferences, there's no doubt which side he'll be on. When the Herald interviewed him last month, he said he'd like to see a picture of an Australian nuclear power plant among his photos." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"It's the climate, stupid" - "Building hybrid cars is missing the point, says this year's Donner Prize winner. Global warming is killing the planet, and only clean energy systems can save us." (Toronto Star)

"LATIN AMERICA: Wave of Opposition Hits Hydroelectric Dams" - "MEXICO CITY - A wave of opposition is rising in Latin America against the construction of hydroelectric dams. In Guatemala, activists and residents recently blocked a multi-million-dollar project, while in Brazil, El Salvador, Chile, Honduras and Mexico, the fuse of conflict has been lit." (Tierramérica)

"Senators clash over wind farm" - "WASHINGTON // The Bush administration and two influential senators weighed in Friday against a provision that would block a 130-turbine wind farm off Cape Cod, where some of Washington's most powerful have vacation retreats." (Associated Press)

"H to go" - "Ohio State unveils hydrogen-refueling station as it revs up for fuel-cell-car test" (The Columbus Dispatch)

"Alternative energy index to launch" - "A new index tracking the performance of a portfolio of US alternative energy stocks is set to be launched on Friday, among the first to focus on the relatively young and fast-growing sector." (Financial Times)

"INTERVIEW - Ethanol Future Seen Tied to Incentives" - "LONDON - Soaring crude oil prices are boosting the commercial viability of alternative fuel ethanol, but policy incentives will be needed to promote the biofuel, a senior commodities economist said." (Reuters)

"EU Proposals on WTO Challenged" - "BRUSSELS, May 5 - European Union plans to push for a new fast track court to settle trade disputes within the World Trade Organisation could undermine democracy and development, leading civil society groups say. Friends of the Earth Europe (FoE Europe) says the proposals to allow trade experts to resolve disputes without the involvement of other parties could threaten standards worldwide." (IPS)

Whose standards? The WTO is supposed to be about trade, not "other parties".

"A rice future for Asia" - "Los Baños, Philippines, and Bangkok, Thailand – The young people of Asia are being encouraged to consider a future in rice. Whether it's rice farming or rice research, very few of Asia's best and brightest young people are interested in a career in an industry that has been a foundation of the Asian way of life for generations. Few rice farmers want their children to be rice farmers, and even fewer young Asians are choosing careers in rice science, despite its vital importance to the region. However, an innovative project being launched this week in Thailand and the Philippines marks the start of a major new effort to encourage young Asians to consider a future in rice." (International Rice Research Institute)

"No-mow grass may be coming to your yard soon" - "For anyone tethered to a lawnmower, the Holy Grail of horticultural accomplishment would be grass that never grows but is always green. Now, that vision of suburban bliss -- and more -- seems plausible as scientists have mapped a critical hormone signaling pathway that regulates the stature of plants. In addition to lawns that rarely require mowing, the finding could also enable the development of sturdier, more fruitful crop plants such as rice, wheat, soybeans, and corn." (Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

"EPA approves controversial GM potato trials in Meath" - "The Environmental Protection Agency has approved controversial plans to grow genetically modified potatoes in Co Meath. The five-year trials by the German chemical firm BASF are due to take place in Arodstown, near the Teagasc research centre in Summerhill. The potatoes will not be allowed on the market as this would require further consent and approval at EU level." | GM opponents slam decision to allow Co Meath trials (Unison.ie)

"Anti-GMO Groups Enter French Monsanto Factory" - "PARIS - Around 100 environmental activists entered a factory belonging to US biotech giant Monsanto in southwest France on Friday aiming to destroy any genetically modified (GMO) seeds, officials said. The protest ended after a few hours with no damage caused. It came a day after Monsanto vowed to press on with GMO tests despite France's top court cancelling two field trial licences, saying it had not given enough information on their location." (Reuters)

"Nanotechnology expert analysis: Huge impacts from tiny tech" - "NEW YORK, NY – May 8, 2006 – The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) today announced the continuation of its first series of original essays in which industry experts predict profound impacts of nanotechnology on society. Eleven new articles by members of CRN's Global Task Force appear in the latest issue of the journal Nanotechnology Perceptions, published today, complementing the previous issue's collection. Covering topics from commerce to criminology, from ethics to economics, and from our remote past to our distant future, this new collection illustrates the profound transformation that nanotechnology will have on every aspect of human society." (Center for Responsible Nanotechnology)

"Researchers looking at modified plants to help locate landmines" - "OTTAWA - Researchers working for the Canadian and U.S. militaries are making progress in developing genetically modified plants that could help people around the world avoid death and injury from landmines." (CP)

"WA producers face delayed access to GM salt & wheat" - "Western Australian grain growers may face delayed access to new genetically modified salt and frost tolerant wheat varieties developed locally by Grain Biotech Australia. Western Graingrowers Committee of the Pastoralists and Graziers' Association chairman Leon Bradley said that a WA moratorium on GM crops imposed by Agriculture Minister Kim Chance until 2008 would force GBA to market its new salt and frost tolerant wheat varieties overseas. "It is incredible that the state with one of the biggest saltland problems in the world, has a minister who is prepared to hinder the technological advances that can help to make salt affected country productive again," Mr Bradley said." (WA Business News)

May 5, 2006

"DDT: A Weapon of Mass Survival" - "The U.S. Government has finally begun to reverse policy on the insecticide DDT. Let’s hope that this policy shift represents the beginning of the end of what can only be called a crime against humanity: the decades-old withholding of the world’s most effective anti-malarial weapon from billions of adults and children at risk of dying from the disease." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Help debunk the myths about DDT -- and look great at the same time. Get your DDTee now!

"Save Africans, kill mosquitoes" - "The yawn that greeted the announcement this week -- reported on by Joyce Howard Price -- that officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development are now vigorously endorsing and funding the use of DDT in Africa is representative of the world community's general lack of concern over the hundreds of millions of people who suffer from malaria every year. We applaud USAID's decision, even if we regret how long it's taken to reach it." (Washington Times)

"The World Bank and Disease Control: A Bad Combination" - "For the lack of decent sanitation and health care thousands of the poorest children die unnecessarily every day. While their governments have primary responsibility for them, the international agencies, notably the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank, are not as effective at improving survival rates as they should be because they do not stick to their respective missions nor fulfill them. The WHO has disease expertise but poor management and has weakened its disease-control programs by becoming involved in health-care delivery. The Bank, with expertise in health systems development and health financing, has become involved in disease control where it has little institutional knowledge. The result of this bilateral mission creep is overlapping authority, lack of focus and accountability." (Roger Bate, AEI)

"New strategy developed to combat West Nile Virus" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – The spread of West Nile Virus appears to be triggered by a complex interaction of mosquitoes, nesting birds and specific weather patterns, scientists say, which leads to "amplification" of the virus within mosquito populations." (Oregon State University)

"Beware Europe's unknown viral nasties" - "A VERITABLE zoo of nasty new viruses is circulating in Europe and could be killing people without even being suspected. In a study commissioned by the British government on the risk of insect-borne and other arthropod-borne viruses emerging in the UK, Ernie Gould of the University of Oxford warns that these diseases may be going unrecognised simply because no one is looking for them." (New Scientist)

"First US national survey shows autism very common" - "WASHINGTON - The first national surveys of autism show the condition is very common among U.S. children -- with up to 1 in every 175 with the disorder, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Cellphone masts can measure rainfall" - "Cellphone masts could provide a cheap yet accurate way for weather forecasters to get live rainfall information. Monitoring the way rain interferes with the signals routinely sent between phone masts provides an accurate picture of rainfall over an area, say Israeli researchers. The same technique could one day also be used to measure pollution, they suggest." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Diverse sea 'bugs' revealed on landmark Atlantic cruise to census zooplankton" - "Census of Marine Life scientists trawled rarely explored tropical ocean depths between the southeast US coast and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to inventory and photograph the variety and abundance of zooplankton – small sea "bugs" that form a vital link in the ocean food chain – and other life forms. Though relatively few in number compared with the uppermost ocean layer, scientists were amazed by the variety of tiny animals found at depths of 1 to 5 km (0.6 to 3 miles). Among thousands captured, 500 species have been catalogued, 220 of them DNA sequenced at sea revealing a number of new species." (Census of Marine Life)

"Watchdog Group NLPC Says Radical, Anti-Meat Groups Behind Florida Businessman's Calls for McDonald's Boycott" - "WASHINGTON, May 4 -- The National Legal and Policy Center today charged that recent allegations made by Jody Gorran, that McDonald's employs sex offenders at its restaurants, appear to be the result of a long history of collaboration between Gorran and radical anti-meat groups like PETA and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine." (PRNewswire)

"Man may have caused pre-historic extinctions" - "New research shows that pre-historic horses in Alaska may have been hunted into extinction by man, rather than by climate change as previously thought." (University of East Anglia)

"La Nina will have no effect on 2006 Atlantic hurricanes" - "NASA oceanographers agree that the recent La Niña in the eastern Pacific Ocean is not expected to have an effect on the Atlantic hurricane season this year. That's good news, because normally a La Niña tends to increase Atlantic hurricane activity and decrease Pacific Ocean hurricanes." (NASA/GSFC)

"A Tempestuous Birth for Hurricane Climatology" - "MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA--Launching a new field of science is always tricky, but starting up the study of hurricane behavior over the decades--in the wake of Katrina--has proved challenging indeed." | Full Text | PDF (Richard A. Kerr, Science)

"Winds of Change?" - "Big news is coming out of Nature magazine that there has been a weakening of the atmospheric circulation over the tropical Pacific Ocean—and it is caused by anthropogenic changes to the earth’s greenhouse effect (of course). What effect might this have on the climate? According to an AP story, “It’s not clear what climate changes might arise in the area or possibly beyond, but the long-term effect might resemble some aspects of an El Nino event, a study author said.”

Hmmm. This sounds like an open door for anything. To paraphrase “We’re not sure what might happen, so anything bad that does happen anywhere might be related to this. So go for it!” (World Climate Report)

"An Army of Climate Davids" - "Something stunningly sensible has just occurred in the field of climate change research. But what might actually induce gasps of amazement is that that something has been done by the US Government. And it is already causing shock and dismay among tree huggers and Gaia worshippers everywhere, however simple, elegant and even desirable this something is." (Tim Worstall, TCS Daily)

Important Meeting In India That Reported on the Complexity of Climate Science (Climate Science)

"Purveyors of 'Truth' are thinking globally" - "LOS ANGELES - "An Inconvenient Truth" is no ordinary documentary. Nor are the people behind it marketing it in the usual way. Along with the film's star, former Vice President Al Gore, they are on a mission to make sure that as many people see the movie as possible. That's not because they want to make gobs of money -- though that would be nice. No, they believe that this movie can save the planet." (Hollywood Reporter)

Why give 'em "gobs of money"? You can see "The Real Inconvenient Truth" here for free.

"Group hopes to overhaul nation's laws on pollution" - "WASHINGTON — A bipartisan coalition hopes to overhaul the nation's pollution laws to reduce the amount of smog, ozone, mercury and carbon dioxide pumping out of power plants. Power plants produce an estimated 40 percent of the nation's emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas believed to be responsible for global warming." (Gannett News Service)

"Jupiter sports new spot" - "Jupiter's Great Red Spot suddenly has a sibling, an enormous new spot that some planetary scientists think could be evidence of climate change sweeping the gaseous planet." (Los Angeles Times)

Venus, Earth, Mars... and now Jupiter too? This climate change thing is getting quite out of hand. Who knew human despoilers had such reach?

Chuckle: "RFK Jr. Attacks Corporate Media, Environmental Problems" - "MILWAUKEE -- The multitude of problems facing the United States, particularly environmental issues and corporate cronyism, can be traced back to the Regan Administration’s repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1988 and the media landscape it spawned, lawyer and radio host Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told a crowd at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Thursday night.

Kennedy said the elimination of the doctrine allowed for control of the U.S. media to be put under the control of five multinational corporations. The Fairness Doctrine had required television and radio networks to report news of public import and present stories from both sides of the aisle. The deregulation of the industry has created a disinterested and ill-informed public, Kennedy said.

Conservatives have credited the change with creating new avenues of communicating information outside traditional media.

“We have the best entertained and the least informed people on Earth,” Kennedy said. “We know more about Brad and Jen than we do about global warming. We have an obligation to educate this country and get them the truth.” (WisPolitics)

What an interesting metaphor, I wonder if Kennedy realizes how apt it really is? In truth, we probably know a great deal more about Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, their likely response to stimuli, chemicals etc., and their temperature, than the world collectively knows about global climate. In particular, clouds with reference to Brad and Jen have been much more intensively studied and are much better understood than are clouds in the atmosphere. Despite the billions thrown into frenzied study, confidence in our understanding of indirect cloud albedo, for example, is next to zip and we understand little more about total aerosols. Unusually, this time I'm with Bobby, we do know a lot more about Brad and Jen than we do about 'global warming'.

"Reconciliation…" - "By and large, the much-touted new report by U. S. Climate Change Science Program (USCCSP) titled Temperature trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences, amounts to little more than throwing water on a fire that has, for the most part, already gone out." (World Climate Report)

"Beyond Kyoto" - "According to the European Environment Agency, the European Union will not be able to meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, all else being equal the Eu will achieve just a 1.6 percent reduction of greenhouse gases emissions under baseline year, to be compared with an 8 percent reduction goal. ‘Failure’ is just a delicate euphemism to describe the situation. Despite the rising criticism from member states – that are eventually realizing that the climate treaty is not without cost – and the several steps forward taken by the international community, Brussels keeps waving the Kyoto flag. So, why?" (Carlo Stagnaro, IBL)

Oh boy... "Climate predictions for Africa 'too remote'" - "Climate change modellers must make their research more relevant to farmers and policymakers in Africa by making predictions just a few years ahead." (Catherine Brahic, SciDev.Net)

... someone sure doesn't get climate modelling. First rule of climate 'prediction': select target date at least a decade after expected retirement date, generate output to suit. Second rule: never generate prognostications that can be invalidated by empirical measure.

"Poor will feel greatest impact of climate change, scientist tells UN commission" - "4 May 2006 – Changes in weather patterns and extreme weather events due to climate change will have the greatest impact on the world's poorest people, the head of the of the leading scientific panel on the issue told the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in New York today. R.K. Pachauri, the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, noted that so far the emphasis in confronting climate change has focused solely on mitigating the causes that have been responsible for a warm-up of the earth's atmosphere. But he said far more must be done to support technological advances - such as the development crops that can withstand droughts or floods, use less water, and withstand greater salinity - that would allow the poor to adapt to the effects of climate change." (UN News)

"As Climates Warm, Diseases Infiltrate" - "Global warming -- with an accompanying rise in floods and droughts -- is fueling the spread of epidemics in areas unprepared for the diseases, say many health experts worldwide. Mosquitoes, ticks, mice and other carriers are surviving warmer winters and expanding their range, bringing health threats with them." (Washington Post)

Back in February we brought you this item:

"Spinning Temperature Out of Control: “The social construction of a quasi-reality”" (.pdf) - "The following extracts from a Tyndall Centre working paper provide an interesting insight into the work carried out from the public purse, to promote global warming in the public perception. It is revealing that that the authors highlight the uncertainty and contention surrounding climate change and yet the public presentation is that there is scientific consensus and no longer any doubt. This approach, coupled with extensive “feeding” of the media, is obviously effective." (Dennis Ambler, JunkScience.com contributor)

[Dennis Ambler is a retired lecturer in agriculture and biological sciences and an independent researcher into Science, Politics and the Media]

Dennis now writes:

Referring back to my paper on The Tyndall Centre in February, this paragraph was quite potent.

"Moser and Dilling (2004: p.41) advocate the use of more relevant or ‘trusted messengers’ in order to improve credibility and legitimacy in the communication of climate change to lay audiences. They suggest that pioneering industry leaders will appear more legitimate or relevant to industry audiences, religious leaders more legitimate in providing the moral argument and (in the case of climate change) even using the skills of artists, story-tellers and musicians to popularise what is seen by many as a ‘dry’ scientific matter, as a “deeply human affair”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently said it was un-christian not to sign up to Kyoto. He was further interviewed on TV tonight after an address he gave in London about the morality of climate change.

When he gave the address there was a Tyndall Centre banner displayed behind him. It would have had no significance for me before I researched the paper and would have had no significance for the bulk of the audience who would have felt that Rowan Williams was very erudite. They are not making public statements themselves but they are putting their words into the mouths of churchmen and politicians. It is very insidious.

Well it certainly looks like an indoctrination campaign, doesn't it.

"An elemental battle - with only one winner" - "Poor old Torquay, capital of the English Riviera, setting for Fawlty Towers and home of Agatha Christie. This week the council closed its palm-lined promenade because part of the storm-battered structure is in danger of falling into the sea." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

Poor old John seems to think coastal erosion is a new phenomenon.

"Plan to limit supermarkets' CO2 emissions" - "Thousands of British companies and organisations could have to restrict the amount of carbon dioxide they emit under radical plans to cut UK pollution put before ministers today. Tesco and the BBC would be among those covered by the new plans, seen by the Guardian." (The Guardian)

"Czechs to Propose 100 Million Tonnes Per Year CO2 Cap" - "PRAGUE - The Czech Republic may propose an annual carbon dioxide emissions cap of around 100 million tonnes in a draft emissions plan for 2008-2012 to be sent to the European Commission, a government official said on Thursday. Vladislav Pazdera, head of the environmental energy department at the Industry Ministry, told Reuters the country would like to defend at least the current 2005-2007 annual emissions cap of 97.6 million tonnes, despite actual emissions reaching only 82-83 million last year." (Reuters)

Right... "Chicago Climate Market Books First Europe CO2 Deal" - "NEW YORK - A voluntary Chicago emissions market said on Thursday one of its members had executed the first transaction linking greenhouse gas emission trading systems in Europe and North America. Baxter Healthcare Corp. transferred 100 tonnes of its greenhouse gas allowances from the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme to Baxter's account in the voluntary Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). "The transfer effectively linked two global emissions markets, demonstrating additional flexibility for companies, such as Baxter, in meeting emission reduction commitments," the CCX said in a statement." (Reuters)

With the EU hot air ticket price diving like a dingo down its den this trade was worth, what - maybe $1,000? Yeah, that'll save the silly thing.

"U.S., EU agree on fluorinated greenhouse gas leaks" - "The global testing standards would apply to air conditioning systems in cars." (ES&T)

"Solid fuels kill 1.5 million people per year-UN" - "GENEVA - Half the world's population burns wood, coal, dung and other solid fuels to cook food and heat their homes, exposing them to dangerous smoke that kills 1.5 million people a year, the U.N. health agency said on Thursday." (Reuters)

?!! "Oil Companies at War With Consumers, Group Charges" - "Oil companies are winning a war with consumers and as a result have made $100 billion in "windfall profits" since the late 1990s, according to a study released Wednesday by a national consumer group. However, an energy expert for a conservative organization disagreed, stating that profits are essential for corporations in the risky oil industry." (CNSNews.com)

"USDOT: Size matters in fuel efficiency" - "WASHINGTON - Michigan lawmakers have long been eager to scrap the federal government's system for setting fuel economy standards for passenger cars, but they are undecided on whether they'll support a White House proposal to create a new, science-based system." (Lansing State Journal)

"U.S. Nuclear Power Industry Sees Expansion in Near Future" - "Rising energy demand, pollution concerns improve prospects, officials, industry say." (Washington File)

"Carnegie Mellon researchers say use of switchgrass could solve energy woes" - "PITTSBURGH-- Carnegie Mellon University researchers say the use of switchgrass could help break U.S. dependence on fossil fuels and curb costly transportation costs." (Carnegie Mellon University)

"Food industry urges caution on biofuel promotion plan" - "A plan to increase biofuel production could lead to an increase in prices for agricultural ingredients, in particular rapeseed, the bloc's food industry association warns in a position paper." (FoodNavigator.com)

"Kenya: Intrigues Behind Biosafety Bill" - "Local scientists have been unable to transfer GM crop research technology to farmers since there is no clear legal framework for their commercialisation. Research on genetically modified crops in Kenya has moved ahead of politicians and soon, scientists will either have to stop and wait, or see their work go down the drain. Although talk on biosafety has been on since the late 1990s, nothing solid has come of it, while research on transgenic maize, cotton and other products is almost complete. But the products and the research will be worthless since there is no policy or guideline for taking the crops to farmers for commercialisation. The country has four genetically modified crops- Bt maize, Bt cotton, transgenic cassava, transgenic sweet potatoes and a recombinant rinderpest vaccine at various stages of study." (African Woman and Child Feature Service (Nairobi))

Might have been interesting but it's Mae-Wan Ho: "GM: Mass Deaths in Sheep Grazing on Bt Cotton, notes Dr. Mae-Wan Ho" - "At least 1,800 sheep reported dead from severe toxicity after grazing on Bt cotton fields in just four villages in Andhra Pradesh India" (unobserver.com)

We used to waste a lot of time looking into Ho's claims, now we assume this will turn out to be something along the lines of: "cotton trunk runs into flock of sheep on road, 18 reported injured or killed."

"MSU Scientists producing cotton's next generation" - "STONEVILLE -- Mississippi State University is using genetically modified plants in its cotton breeding program to create better cotton varieties for producers. “We hope something great will come out of this to help the farmers,” said Peggy Thaxton, a cotton breeder at MSU’s Delta Research and Extension Center. Thaxton is using the pollen from a Mississippi State transgenic cotton line developed jointly by MSU cotton breeder Ted Wallace at the Starkville campus and Monsanto, a producer of genetically modified seed, to make crosses into public cotton breeding lines. Thaxton is primarily looking to increase the yield and fiber quality of MSU’s genetically modified, or transgenic, cotton line. “Fiber quality is very important to me and the program for the future of the farmers,” Thaxton said. “Hopefully we’ll get some very high quality transgenic cotton lines developed so we can be competitive in the global market.” (MSU)

"EU Executive Faces Pressure to Deal With GMO Laws" - "BRUSSELS - EU countries will soon demand more clarity on rules for separating traditional, organic and biotech crops, focusing on specific plant varieties to help farmers who want to grow GMOs to be better able to do so." (Reuters)

"Monsanto Continues French GMO Tests Despite Ruling" - "PARIS - The French arm of US biotech giant Monsanto said on Friday it would continue experiments on genetically modified (GMO) crops in France despite a court ruling stopping some of its tests." (Reuters)

May 4, 2006

"PanAfrica: Governments Make Us Sick" - "Yet another boring report on a boring topic sounds pretty boring. But the World Health Organization's study of drug patents distracts from the real health problems of the poor and will lead to yet more pointless rules and initiatives. For the poor, the real barriers to medicines and treatment are tariffs, bad infrastructure, government meddling and poverty." (Franklin Cudjoe, Ghanaian Chronicle)

"EU agrees battery recycling law" - "The European Union has agreed the text of a law that will make recycling of batteries obligatory from 2008." (BBC)

"It's Surfers vs. Turf as Long Beach Votes on Plan to Build New Dunes" - "LONG BEACH, N.Y., May 3 — Storm experts predict a turbulent season this year. They have also long warned that Long Island is overdue for another really "big one," like the devastating hurricane of 1938. Ground zero could well be this vulnerable barrier island that is home to 50,000 people, most of whom live in the city of Long Beach. Apartment towers along the ocean here have created the most densely populated waterfront on Long Island." (New York Times)

"Ozone recovering, but unlikely to stabilize at pre-1980 levels, says study" - "While Earth's ozone layer is slowly being replenished following an international 1987 agreement banning CFCs, the recovery is occurring in a changing atmosphere and is unlikely to stabilize at pre-1980 levels, says a new University of Colorado at Boulder study." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Really? What is the 'correct' level? Given the volatility of stratospheric ozone levels, what season should be used as a reference period? See how stable ozone levels are not here.

"Climate change forces migratory birds to fall behind in feeding" - "Climate change may harm populations of migrating birds by advancing the date when their food supply peaks." (CBC News)

"Polar bears sink deeper into danger" - "Global menace of climate change and pollution add to local hunting concerns." (Nature)

First CCSP Report Published With Further Evidence That It Is Biased (Climate Science)

NZ Climate Science Coalition Reply To Greenpeace (Press Release)

Uh-huh... "3C hotter. Earth's danger point. Now scientists say it is going to happen" - "THE world will warm by 3C (5.4F) even under emissions projections for 2050 that leading scientists consider optimistic, the United Nations group that studies global warming has said. The increase, which would cause drought and famine for 400 million people and devastate wildlife, is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its most confident assessment yet of how greenhouse gases are affecting global temperatures." (London Times) | Global warming fastest for 20,000 years - and it is mankind's fault (London Independent)

This is the response to the plea: PLEASE DO NOT CITE, QUOTE, OR DISTRIBUTE THE DRAFT REPORT is it?

Most of the reports on this appear to have drawn their information from lines 25-27, page 3 of 15 of the Draft Summary for Policymakers (AR4), despite every page bearing the injunction "Do Not Cite or Quote". There's the best part of 1100 pages in the 11 chapters and 2 summaries so reporters might be skimming a little.

Curiously, our injunction-challenged journalists appear to have missed the meat in the sandwich, so to speak, with a strange silence regarding scientific understanding of radiative forcing that is included in the draft SPM AR4 document they've been quoting from. We think we have high understanding only for carbon dioxide and methane, medium for ozone and solar forcing, low understanding of stratospheric water vapor, the direct effect of aerosols and contrail cirrus, not to mention very low understanding of indirect cloud albedo effect and land surface albedo. This they could have discovered from the Third Assessment Report (TAR).

Update: we've had some emails wanting to know what the various confidence terms actually mean -- high: 80% chance of being correct; medium: 50%; low: 20%; very low: <10% (adapted from the technical summary) -- no parameters are viewed with very high confidence (90%) in our understanding.

How anyone expects useful prognostication from climate models when our assessed chances of being correct in our understanding of how the planet's clouds and surface reflect incoming solar radiation and how that might or might not change in response to anthropogenic activity is less than 10% remains a mystery. What a very silly game this is.

For those interested in the draft, go here, review comments are due May 9.

"Secrecy breach by US officials steals thunder of climate change report" - "A confidential draft of a high-level international report on the state of climate change has been posted on the internet by US officials months before it was due to be made public. The move to effectively publish the findings of the influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has surprised experts, who say it could undermine the final report when it is released in February." (The Guardian)

Still in the virtual world: "No winner in future climate league" - "FLASH floods in the Mediterranean, more snow for north-eastern Europe and irregular weather patterns across eastern North America. That's the forecast for later this century, according to the most recent climate-change predictions." (New Scientist)

"Slowdown in tropical Pacific flow pinned on climate change" - "PRINCETON, N.J.– The vast loop of winds that drives climate and ocean behavior across the tropical Pacific has weakened by 3.5% since the mid-1800s, and it may weaken another 10% by 2100, according to a study led by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) scientist Gabriel Vecchi. The study indicates that the only plausible explanation for the slowdown is human-induced climate change. The findings appear in the May 4 issue of Nature.

The Walker circulation, which spans almost half the circumference of Earth, pushes the Pacific Ocean's trade winds from east to west, generates massive rains near Indonesia, and nourishes marine life across the equatorial Pacific and off the South American coast. Changes in the circulation, which varies in tandem with El Niño and La Niña events, can have far-reaching effects." (NOAA)

"Dan Walters: As weather warms, snowpack melts - a reminder of perpetual peril" - "Spring has finally sprung in California, a month later than usual, and with the abrupt change of seasons after a very wet winter, the immense mountain snowpack is beginning to melt rapidly. The Northern California snowpack is, state hydrologists say, nearly twice as heavy as its historic average. In the main, that's a good thing. It means, for instance, that the State Water Project can do something it can't do very often: deliver 100 percent of the water its customers seek. And that's largely true, as well, of federal dams and reservoirs." (Sacramento Bee)

Is it just us or is global warming reporting becoming increasingly bizarre? Amid reports of continued fossil fuel use by people, leading to inevitable 'highest ever recorded' atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (could that have anything to do with only recording since the Industrial Revolution, you think?) and the hysterical noise of 'global warming' we have lamentations of the inevitable decline in left coast snowpack (due to 'global warming'). Simultaneously we have the reports of a late spring and an unusually large left coast snowpack (global warming again?) containing embedded warnings that -- you guessed it -- 'global warming' will reduce the snowpack. By definition the greatest anthropogenic greenhouse forcing is now because we are contributing to a net accumulation of atmospheric greenhouse gases (regardless of whether the effect of is large, moderate or trivial). Does it not occur even to reporters that simplistic associations of humans emit greenhouse gases, humans record warmer temperatures and therefore snowpack must be smaller founders when the snowpack is, in fact, larger than average when human greenhouse forcing is by definition at its highest? And if they do appreciate such simplistic hypotheses are broken, why keep reiterating them?

"Brussels fails to halt slide in carbon dioxide permit prices" - "Prices for business permits to produce carbon dioxide slid to their lowest in more than a year on Tuesday, even as the European Commission tried to damp turmoil in the fledgling market in greenhouse gas emissions." (Financial Times)

"Carbon Slide Will Not Halt Kyoto Projects - UN" - "LONDON - Solar, wind and other green energy projects based in developing countries and funded under the Kyoto Protocol will survive the plunge in the European carbon market, which underpins project investment, the UN says." (Reuters)

"Japan to capture CO2 at Australian power plant: Report" - "A Japanese consortium hopes to capture carbon dioxide emissions at an Australian power plant by 2009 in a world first that would be a major step towards battling greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, a report said today. Under the plan, about 20 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by the plant in the north eastern state of Queensland would be trapped, liquefied then stored underground rather than released into the atmosphere." (Zee News)

"Ohio joins two other states to woo federal clean coal project" - "COLUMBUS – Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania said Tuesday they are pledging to unite their research resources to increase the region’s chances of landing a federal project for a $1 billion power plant with nearly pollution-free emissions. Ohio and Kentucky, both submitting sites for consideration, will create a research group with Pennsylvania in which universities and private technology companies would conduct the research that’s integral to the FutureGen project, according to an agreement signed Friday by the states’ governors. The agreement notes that the three states are rich in coal deposits." (AP)

"Turning coal into gas" - "WASHINGTON -- As energy prices continue to soar, a Senate hearing on Monday examined up-and-coming technologies that would turn coal into gas and the impact that federal incentives passed last summer have had on speeding the development of such gasification projects. The Senate Energy Committee delved into the economic and environmental aspects of converting coal into synthetic gas, which could then be used as a substitute for natural gas or to produce liquid fuels or electricity." (Star-Tribune)

"Wind turbines send wildlife diving for cover" - "NOISY wind farms in California are making squirrels edgy and prone to scurrying for cover. This change in behaviour could have knock-on effects on animals that depend upon the squirrel, such as the golden eagle, which feeds on the rodent, and the red-legged frog and California tiger salamander, which live in its burrows." (New Scientist)

"Green claims for hybrid cars fail to add up, says Which? survey" - "David Cameron has just got one, cabinet ministers Gordon Brown and John Prescott already own them, and the actor Nicole Kidman was an early pioneer. But new tests suggest that hybrid cars are not quite as green as buyers may have been led to believe. The consumer magazine Which? has put three of the most popular hybrid cars through their paces and yesterday published its results showing fuel consumption figures well short of those claimed by the manufacturers." (The Guardian)

"State control of resources raises oil costs" - "A principal reason fuel prices are high and likely to remain so is a trend worldwide toward state ownership and control of oil resources that is raising questions about how quickly large tracts of oil and gas will be developed and made available to consumers." (Patrice Hill, Washington Times)

"Double Forest Area Under Local Control, Group Says" - "OSLO, Norway - The world should double the area of forests under the control of local communities by 2015 as part of an effort to combat poverty, a new international group said on Wednesday. The Rights and Resources Initiative, backed by several governments and conservation groups, called for "an unprecedented effort to strengthen local rights to own and use forests and fight rural poverty, prevent illegal logging, and protect biodiversity." (Reuters)

"U.N. falling short of child nutrition goals" - "China has made huge strides in reducing malnutrition among children over the past 15 years, while India recorded only modest progress and eastern and southern Africa made no gains at all, according to a report released Tuesday by UNICEF." (New York Times)

"SPECIAL REPORT-PART I: A World Addicted to Hunger" - "ROME, May 3 - In Ethiopia, some 12.6 million people require food aid, up from 11.3 million... Donors have pledged enough to meet about 82 percent of food needs, but only 54 percent has been delivered... Sound familiar? This alert was issued three years ago by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, known as FEWS NET. Guess what? Ethiopia appeared again this year on FEWS NET's list of "current emergencies," alongside Somalia, Zimbabwe, and Chad." (IPS)

"SPECIAL REPORT-PART II: A World Addicted to Hunger" - "ROME, May 3 - Famines are almost a regular occurrence in many countries, especially in Africa, and recognisable signs of distress emerge well before people start to die. Why, then, is the response to food emergencies consistently slow?" (IPS)

"Biotech can fight disease - if only Europe will let it" - "As you read this, millions of Africans are threatened by famine and malnutrition. Failed crops and poor nourishment are a constant problem for many Africans, causing disease, affecting economic productivity and ruining lives.

However, barren fields could become green. Biotechnology, especially the promise of genetically modified (GM) crops, offers great hope. GM crops have the potential to be more dependable in difficult growing conditions, as well more nutritious through biofortification.

But all this is threatened by European caution. From the comfort of their western life-styles, anti-GM activists cite the 'precautionary principle,' a legal concept promoted by the EU and the UN. This principle stipulates that it is 'better to be safe than sorry,' which means that new technologies should not be used unless they have been shown to be absolutely safe." (Kristen Veblen, CFD)

"Toxic warning for nano industry" - "Nanotechnology companies need to do more to understand potential toxic effects of their products, a senior UK researcher has warned. Professor Anthony Seaton, of Aberdeen University, said "very little" was still known about the health impacts of particles engineered at small scales." (BBC)

May 3, 2006

Great News! "U.S. takes new view on DDT in Africa" - "U.S. government officials are enthusiastically endorsing and funding the use of DDT in sub-Saharan Africa after years of resisting calls from scientists who said the insecticide would be the best weapon for fighting malaria, despite lingering objections by some environmentalists." (Washington Times)

Help debunk the myths about DDT -- and look great at the same time. Get your DDTee now!

The misanthropists are at it again: "Environmentalists Urge Elimination of DDT for Malaria Control" - "Environmentalists are calling for the elimination of the toxic chemical, DDT, which is still used in large parts of Africa to combat malaria. The continued use of DDT is on the agenda of a week-long conference in Geneva aimed at strengthening measures to rid the world of some of its most dangerous chemicals." (VOA News)

"Uganda Defies EU, Begins DDT Program to Fight Malaria" - "The African nation of Uganda has announced it will defy European Union threats and begin indoor spraying of DDT to battle rampant malaria." (Paul Driessen, The Heartland Institute)

Oh boy... "Global warming differences resolved with corrections in readings" - "WASHINGTON --A nagging difference in temperature readings that had raised questions about global warming has been resolved, a panel of scientists reported Tuesday. "This significant discrepancy no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected," researchers said in the first of 21 assessment reports planned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program." (AP)

Not a new finding but a retread from last August. See our new and expanded response here.

Artificial dispute: "Niwa scientist disputes Auer's climate claims" - "The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) is disputing climate change figures from former MetService chief meteorologist Augie Auer. Professor Auer, a member of the newly-formed New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, said this week that 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect was water vapour. "Of that remaining 5 per cent, only about 3.6 per cent is governed by CO2 and when you break it down even further, studies have shown that the anthropogenic (man-made) contribution to CO2 versus the natural is about 3.2 per cent," Prof Auer said. But Niwa principal scientist David Wratt said the claim was wrong. "In fact, about 25 per cent of the current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere results from human activities," Dr Wratt said." (NZPA)

They're both right. How can this be? Simple - Professor Augie Auer is speaking in annual terms (see IPCC or WHRC) while Dr David Wratt argues a straw man 'error' by talking about net atmospheric carbon accumulation since the Industrial Revolution - Wratt's figures come from the calculation of atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and the difference since the Industrial Revolution (375 - 280 / 375 = ~25%). No argument, no dispute - just ignorant or dishonest reporting. The NZPA reporters obviously need to read our Greenhouse Primer.

Apt: "Campaign on climate gives Gore a new voice" - "When he arrives in Seattle today, for the second time in two months, the man who narrowly missed becoming president in 2000 is coming in a new role: elder statesman and itinerant preacher about the dangers of global warming." (Seattle Times)

That's Al, preacher in the church of global warming.

"Podesta, Clergy Label 'Global Warming' a 'Religious Issue'" - "The left-wing Center for American Progress (CAP) Tuesday enlisted the help of clergy members to argue that "global warming" is not just an environmental issue. "At its core, it's an ethical, moral and religious issue," said John Podesta, president of CAP and a former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton." (CNSNews.com)

Can Regional Vulnerability Be Accurately Assessed By Using Multi-Decadal Global Model Predictions? (Climate Science)

Uh-huh... "Climate Change: Tibet Glaciers Melting" - "So far this year, north China has met with 13 sandstorms. In mid April, one such storm covered Beijing with an estimated 330,000 tons of sand. More than 10 million people mainly in north China have been enduring a severe drought and lack of drinking water since mid April." (NewsFactor)

As I check the regional trend it doesn't appear to be much, 0.04 °C/decade with an interesting phase shift during the period 1996-98, perhaps. Interestingly, the region appears trendless prior to then. No doubt the alleged meltdown is due to all that additional insulation from the massive increase in Central Asian snowfall over the Twentieth Century we were told about last week?

"New climate research yields good and bad news" - "PARIS - New studies into climate change hold out contrasting news, confirming that the greenhouse effect has disrupted the global water cycle over the past century but also suggesting some coral species may adapt to the warming threat. Swiss weather researcher Kerstin Treydte and colleagues say they discovered that the last century saw the biggest increase in snowfall in central Asia than at any time over the previous millennium. The precipitation started to surge around 150 years ago, coinciding with the start of the Industrial Revolution powered by coal, gas and oil -- the biggest culprits for greenhouse gases." (AFP)

"Global warming weakens Pacific Ocean wind pattern" - "Global warming caused by human activity has begun to dampen an important wind circulation pattern over the Pacific Ocean , and that could alter climate and the marine food chain in that area, a new study suggests. It's not clear what climate changes might arise in the region or possibly beyond, but the long-term effect might resemble some aspects of an El Nino event, a study author said." (Pravda.ru)

"Tories want 'made-in-Canada' environmental program" - "OTTAWA - The Conservative government needs to chop more than $1 billion from existing climate change programs over the next five years so it can deliver on a key element of its “made-in-Canada” solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Tuesday." (CanWest News Service) | Canada Alters Course on Kyoto (Washington Post)

From CO2 Science this week:

The Role of Soil Nitrogen in Perennial Grassland Response to Elevated CO2: A new study has been touted as indicating that insufficient soil nitrogen around the globe will gradually suppress the growth stimulation of perennial plants that is produced by the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content. But is this claim correct?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Level 2 Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week is from the Amery Ice Shelf, Antarctica.  To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Little Ice Age (Solar Influence - Precipitation): Whereas lower solar activity, such as occurred during the Little Ice Age, generally results in lower temperatures, it can result in either lower or higher precipitation, depending on geographical location.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Annual Ragweed, Quaking Aspen, Sugar Beet, and Wheat.

Journal Reviews:
The Origin of Past (and Future?) Abrupt Climate Changes: Is the so-called "tipping point" for induction of rapid climate change a freshwater-induced reduction of North Atlantic Deep Water formation? Or is it something else?

A 56-Year History of Global Monsoon Precipitation: How does it jibe with what is suggested by climate model simulations of CO2-induced global warming?

Global Warming and Recent Debris-Flow Activity in Switzerland: Is there any relationship between the two phenomena?

Endangered Plants on the Road to Extinction?: How are they faring in the face of the late 20th-century's supposedly unprecedented increases in air temperature and CO2 concentration?

Elevated CO2 Alleviates Effects of Salt Stress in Citrus Trees: ... which is what it does for many other stresses as well. (co2science.org)

"10 States, in Challenge to U.S., Plan Suit to Force Better Mileage Rules for S.U.V.'s" - "ALBANY, May 1 — Ten states, including California and New York, plan to file suit this week to force the Bush administration to toughen mileage regulations for sport utility vehicles and other trucks." (New York Times)

"Transatlantic debate highlights energy security worries" - "In Short: Concerns about Russia dominated an energy security debate amongst influential American and EU politicians and business leaders during the first annual Brussels Forum on 30 April." (EurActiv)

"No Smog for the Fear Factory?" - "Ozone smog levels have plummeted during the last three years. Between 2003 and 2005, the fraction of the nation's ozone monitors violating the federal 8-hour ozone standard plunged from 43 percent down to a record-low 18 percent. The last three years were the three lowest-ozone years on record." (Joel Schwartz, TCS Daily)

"Bad bugs, few drugs" - "Even as we speculate about the likelihood of a pandemic of avian flu and anticipate the beginning of the season of West Nile virus infections, the United States is experiencing another perilous epidemic. As many as 2 million patients nationwide contract bacterial infections in hospitals each year, and 90,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate in such cases is alarmingly high not because the patients are initially very ill, but because hospital germs increasingly are resistant to multiple antibiotics. Thus, the infections are difficult to treat." (Henry I. Miller and David Longtin, Washington Times)

"Big new asteroid has slim chance of hitting Earth" - "The 800-metre-wide rock has a tiny probability of colliding in just two years' time, highlighting how little could be done in the event of a serious threat." (New Scientist)

"Taxpayer Alliance supports senate bill broadening access to federal research" - "Washington, DC – May 2, 2006 – The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) gives full support to the "Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006," introduced today by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). The bill requires federal agencies that fund over $100 million in annual external research to make electronic manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from their research publicly available via the Internet." (SPARC)

"Greening a Homeland Bureaucracy: Chemical Plant Security Issue Hijacked by Green Activists" - "Nearly five years after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C., Congress is still debating how to shore up security at the nation’s chemical plants. Legislation has languished because special interests have attempted to use the issue to pursue an unrelated agenda. In particular, environmental activists and their allies in Congress seek to use security needs as an excuse to reduce or phase out the use of so-called toxic chemicals—many of which provide important public health benefits. So it’s no surprise that it has taken five years to shift the debate in a more productive direction." (Angela Logomasini, CEI)

Funny about that affordability thing: "Japanese find it easier to be green" - "In a country that has often paved paradise, more citizens back taxes aimed at stemming environmental degradation." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Green.tv targets the corporate sector" - "A new broadband TV channel dedicated to showing films about the environment is offering companies a chance to broadcast their green-tinged messages - for nothing." (BBC)

"U.N. defends Annan over choice for environmental-programs job" - "UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations' incoming director of environmental programs was offered his job after serving on an international jury that awarded a $500,000 environmental prize to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.N. officials acknowledged Monday." (The Washington Post)

"Early obesity not linked to future heart disease" - "NEW YORK - A new study suggests people who are overweight or obese early in life may not be more likely to have heart disease or stroke as adults. However, the study's authors point out that the population data used in their analysis were collected many years ago, and more precise investigations in today's children are necessary to fully answer to the question of whether childhood obesity or being overweight increases the risk of future cardiovascular disease risk." (Reuters Health)

"Targeted virus compels cancer cells to eat themselves" - "HOUSTON -- An engineered virus tracks down and infects the most common and deadly form of brain cancer and then kills tumor cells by forcing them to devour themselves, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The modified adenovirus homed in on malignant glioma cells in mice and induced enough self-cannibalization among the cancer cells -- a process called autophagy -- to reduce tumor size and extend survival, says senior author Seiji Kondo, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at M. D. Anderson." (University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center)

"Do we still need the Cartagena Protocol?" - "Arnoldo Ventura argues that the international debate over the potential risks that GM crops pose to biodiversity is wasteful and unnecessary." (SciDev.Net)

May 2, 2006

"Swiss want united front on toxic chemicals" - "Switzerland is to push for closer cooperation in the fight against dangerous chemicals at an international conference in Geneva this week." (Swissinfo)

"EXCERPT: 'Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity'" - "John Stossel Digs Up the Truth Often Buried by the Press." (ABC News)

"For Science's Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap" - "Recent disclosures of fraudulent or flawed studies in medical and scientific journals have again called into question the merits of their peer-review system." (Lawrence K Altman, New York Times)

"Obesity levels in US are grossly underestimated" - "Boston, MA – The prevalence of obesity in the U.S. states has been greatly underestimated. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) analyzed data from health surveys, which are used to estimate obesity levels in states. Because people tend to provide incorrect information about their weight and height, especially in telephone surveys, the researchers concluded that estimates of obesity in individual states have been too low, by more than 50%. Their study, which corrects for misreporting in those surveys, appears in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Children living near major roads face higher asthma risk" - "LOS ANGELES, May 1, 2006 - Young children who live near a major road are significantly more likely to have asthma than children who live only blocks away, according to a study that appears in the May 1 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. The study found that children living within 75 meters (about 82 yards) of a major road had a 50 percent greater risk of having had asthma symptoms in the past year than were children who lived more than 300 meters (about 328 yards) away. Higher traffic volumes on the different roads were also related to increased rates of asthma." (University of Southern California)

?!! "Alcohol industry profits from underage drinking" - "NEW YORK - Underage drinking is worth nearly $23 billion a year to the alcohol industry, or 17.5 percent of all money spent on spirits in the US annually, researchers from New York's Columbia University report. And abusive drinking by both underage people and adults may account for nearly half of all money spent on alcohol each year." (Reuters Health)

Eye-roller of the moment: "Ministers urged to promote sustainable consumption" - "Ministers can no longer rely on a "heroic minority" of green shoppers and must take urgent action to widen the appeal of environmentally friendly goods and services, the government's own advisory body has said. The Sustainable Consumption Roundtable says radical steps were needed to clear damaging products from the shelves and to force businesses to admit their environmental impact. It wants smart electricity meters in all houses by 2012 and taxes introduced on domestic flights to "wake people up to the impact of flying." (The Guardian)

Scooped again:) "Weather Wars and Area 51 (Part 1)" - "In our exclusive interview of an Area 51 electrical engineer, a remarkable 'weather generator' war between the U.S. and Russia is revealed. Russia's 2005 hurricane attack on the U.S., and the U.S. retaliatory cold wave attack of this past winter on Russia, both represent the first large scale successes in a secret weather war that the public is being led to believe is simply 'global warming'." (ecoEnquirer)

"Area Where Hurricanes Develop Is Warmer, Say NOAA Scientists" - "May 1, 2006 — The region of the tropical Atlantic where many hurricanes originate has warmed by several tenths of a degree Celsius over the 20th century, and new climate model simulations suggest that human activity, such as increasing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, may contribute significantly to this warming. This new finding is one of several conclusions reported in a study by scientists at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J., published today in the Journal of Climate." (NOAA News)

"Let nature run its course" - "NEW ORLEANS — The fast-approaching 2006 hurricane season raises a troubling question: Is there any way to save not just New Orleans but the wider Gulf Coast from the ravages of more killer storms?" (Seattle Times)

"NOAA Issues Greenhouse Gas Index" - "May 1, 2006 — NOAA issued the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index today, its benchmark measurement of gases in the atmosphere that affect the Earth's climate. This year's AGGI reflects an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) but a leveling off of methane (CH4), and a decline in two chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), gases that contribute to the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole. Overall, the AGGI shows a continuing, steady rise in the amount of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere." (NOAA News)

"Violent storms lash Malaysia as the country becomes warmer: report" - "Rising temperatures from global warming are creating violent storms in Malaysia which have killed several people and set buildings ablaze, a report said Sunday. Malaysia has experienced an unusual run of wet weather in recent months, with almost daily thunderstorms triggering car alarms and lightning strikes setting buildings alight. The warmer weather is forcing more moisture into the air and leading to the storms, the Star daily quoted environmentalist Gurmit Singh as saying." (AFP)

Drought History in the Rocky Mountain West (Climate Science)

"Plants' role in global warming re-examined in ORNL Science paper" - "OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 1, 2006 -- Estimates of increased plant respiration in response to higher global temperatures may be somewhat overstated as they have not taken into account plants' ability to adjust to changing conditions, according to researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory." (DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

"UCSD study reveals how plants respond to elevated carbon dioxide" - "An important source of uncertainty in predictions about global warming is how plants will respond to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Now biologists at the University of California, San Diego have made significant advances toward understanding the mechanism plants use to regulate their carbon dioxide intake." (University of California - San Diego)

Researcher responds to Flannery's stupid statements: "Polar bears: Silly to predict their demise" - "Startling conclusion to say they will disappear within 25 years and surprise to many researchers." (Dr. Mitchell Taylor, Toronto Star)

"Climate 90 miss the point of debate" - "Judged by their Climate Manifesto, the Climate 90 signers are not scientists. That is the unavoidable conclusion of the Climate Manifesto's language." (Reuven Brenner, Financial Post)

"Canada to play merely "ceremonial" role at key climate negotiations" - "OTTAWA - Canada's role in UN negotiations on climate change appears to be shrinking in response to the Conservative government's mixed messages about the Kyoto Protocol. Environment Minister Rona Ambrose will officially serve as president of the UN Kyoto talks to take place May 15-26 in Bonn, but her role will be much reduced from that played by former environment minister Stephane Dion at the last round of Kyoto talks in Montreal. Unlike Dion, who spent a year rallying support for the Montreal climate conference last year and personally led the talks, Ambrose is expected to play an insignificant role in practical terms." (CP)

The EU wants to keep hot air a secret... this gets funnier all the time: "Carbon trading market fluctuates wildly after figures released early" - "The European commission is concerned about the early release of figures on greenhouse gas emission levels from a number of member states, which has caused sharp movements in the price of carbon permits. The commission is likely to look at the way information about whether states have over- or undershot their national allocation targets for the current year is released, according to a spokeswoman." (The Guardian)

"Sustainable Development Commission must tackle energy concerns – UN official" - "1 May 2006 – A senior United Nations official today called on officials from across the world attending the annual session of the Commission on Sustainable Development to address the needs of the 2.4 billion people who lack modern energy services as well as concerns over energy security exacerbated by high prices." (UN News)

"Hydrogen fuel far from ready for prime time" - "President Bush has pointed to hydrogen technology as the ultimate solution to the nation's fuel supply problems, but one big question waits to be answered: Where will all the hydrogen come from? Even if manufacturers can produce affordable hydrogen-powered vehicles that people will want to buy, energy experts say the nation's petroleum addiction -- a key source of carbon emissions contributing to global warming -- won't end until an environmentally sound hydrogen supply and distribution system is at hand." (SF Chronicle)

"A green case for nuclear power" - "In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That’s the conviction that inspired Greenpeace’s first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change." (Patrick Moore, The State)

"Alberta's heavy oil industry should pay for huge fresh-water use: report" - "EDMONTON - The heavy oil industry should pay for the huge volumes of fresh water it uses to tap Alberta's rich oilsands reserves, says a report by an environmental think-tank. The Pembina Institute report released Monday also calls for a moratorium on new oilsands mines until the Alberta government figures out how much fresh water the industry should be able to take in the face of climate change. If the province and corporations fail to act, Alberta could run out of fresh drinking water long before it runs out of oil, said Pembina spokeswoman Mary Griffiths." (CP)

"Children 'failed' over nutrition" - "The world is failing children by not ensuring they have enough to eat, says the UN Children's Fund (Unicef). It says the number of children under five who are underweight has remained virtually unchanged since 1990, despite a target to reduce the number affected." (BBC)

"Biotech cotton provides same yield with fewer pesticides" - "Arizona farmers receive the same yield/acre, use fewer chemical insecticides and maintain insect biodiversity when they plant the biotech cotton known as Bt cotton, according to new research. The finding comes from the first large-scale study that simultaneously examined how growing Bt cotton affects yield, pesticide use and biodiversity. It's good news for the environment." (University of Arizona)

According to CNN: "The food of the future? Controversy rages over genetically modified crops" - "While many scientists and environmental groups claim the cultivation of genetically modified organisms will have severe ecological and health consequences, advocates of the technology claim with equal vigor that genetically modified organisms (G.M.Os) will feed the world and improve human health and wellbeing." (CNN)

May 1, 2006

"Effective Malaria Medications Not Getting Through To People Who Need Them Most" - "Alarmingly few African patients with malaria are getting existing effective treatment that could cure them in a few days, says Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Four years after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a global recommendation for countries to switch from old malaria treatments to artemisinin-based combination therapies, or ACTs, and two years after the Global Fund decided to fund ACTs, MSF teams are witnessing government-run health facilities still giving patients old malaria medicines instead of a treatment that works." (Medical News Today)

"Planners vs. Searchers" - "The White Man's Burden is a rare book. Its author, William Easterly distills all of his considerable knowledge and experience about foreign aid into it, and never pulls punches in a subject noted for star-studded platitudes and uncritical thinking. Given how aid has failed so utterly in so many places to alleviate the suffering of the poorest people, The White Man's Burden could have been a depressing read. But Easterly's natural good humor and humility -- as well as his solid narrative abilities -- make it an inspirational work. Perhaps no one knows better than Easterly that you need a good sense of humor to work in foreign aid to begin with." (Roger Bate, TCS Daily)

"Clean Up the Cleaners" - "COPENHAGEN - Before anyone can clean up the earth and its atmosphere, an administrative clean-up might be necessary in the house of those tasked with the cleaning job, a leading environmentalist says." (IPS)

"Building a natural city" - "Can cities, with their teeming populations, concentrated industrial pollution, gritty slums, scores of cars, horizons of smog, and tons of waste in any way be considered "natural?" According to Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, the answer is an unequivocal — and ecological — "Yes." For Stefanovic, professor of philosophy and founding director of the University of Toronto's Centre for Environment, there is a pressing need "to rethink stereotypical notions that simplistically vilify cities and glorify pristine wilderness areas." (Toronto Star)

"Hippo joins 40,000 species in danger" - "NEARLY 40,000 species of animals, birds, plants and fish are at serious risk of extinction largely because of climate change and the activities of man, a study will warn this week. Polar bears, the common hippo and about 20% of sharks are among the thousands of species that have been added or moved up the so-called red list drawn up by the World Conservation Union (IUCN)." (London Independent)

"How green was my valley" - "Brazil struggles to put the brakes on rampant deforestation without throwing tens of thousands of loggers and farmers into poverty." (The Economist)

"New cod on the block" - "Five years ago, only a handful of cod were netted off the Shetlands. Now, their farmed, organic offspring - beloved of Pierece Brosnan and Demi Moore - number 2.5 million. Are they the bright saviour of our traditional fish-and-chip supper, asks Alex Renton, or simply the new battery chickens of the sea?" (The Observer)

"Indus cities dried up with monsoon - Study links fall of civilisation with changes in rain pattern" - "New Delhi, April 29: It wasn’t raiders from the north but a weakened monsoon that spelled doom for the Indus valley civilisation, suggests a study published this week. Geologist Anil Gupta at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and fellow Indian and American scientists have analysed monsoon behaviour over thousands of years through geological studies and connected it to archaeological findings. They say that changes in the Indian monsoon over the past 10,000 years may explain the spread of agriculture in the subcontinent as well as the rise and fall of the civilisation that produced Harrappa. “We see a clear connection between changes in the monsoon, the growth of agriculture and the movement of people across the subcontinent,” said Gupta, the lead author of the study published in the journal Current Science. “The correlation between the history of the monsoon and archaeology is striking.” (Calcutta Telegraph)

"Spacecraft seek climate clarity" - "Some of the gaping holes that exist in our understanding of the Earth's atmosphere will be answered by two new satellites launched on Friday. The Cloudsat and Calipso missions will study how clouds and aerosols (fine particles) form, evolve and affect our climate, the weather and air quality. Scientists say knowledge gaps in such areas severely hamper their ability to forecast future climate change." (BBC)

The Week That Was April 29, 2006 (SEPP)

"LEO Prize, for independent thinking" - "A new prize has been founded, the LEO Prize for independent thinking. This prize should reward independent research in natural sciences and medicine. Presently the prize sum amounts to 16,000 USD.

First prize winner, Richard S Lindzen, will receive the prize May 3, 2006.

Professor Lindzen has been selected as the first recipient of the LEO Price for showing scientific excellence in climate research, presenting a thoughtful and balanced view of our climate system and its development to great benefit for science and society. Richard S Lindzen holds a chair at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences.

Read more about Richard S Lindzen on: http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen.htm

Prof Lindzen will give a public lecture after the prize ceremony (Climate Alarm and Scientific Illiteracy, or The Revenge of Underappreciated Scientists)." | The Climate Issue (LeoPrize.org)

Congratulations Professor Lindzen! What a shame independent thought carries such a paltry prize compared with wealthy Green largess - didn't the Heinz Foundation give Jim Hansen $250K? And it sure don't pay like this.

"Scientists Group to Refute Global Warming Claims" - "A group of leading New Zealand climate scientists has announced today the formation of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, aimed at refuting what it believes are unfounded claims about anthropogenic (man-made) global warming." (Centre for Resource Management Studies) | Auer Explains Why He Backs Climate Science Coalition (NZPA)

And the group's new web site: http://www.climatescience.org.nz/

"The idea everyone agrees on climate change is a fallacy" - "As it is bank holiday Monday it seems appropriate to discuss the weather. In an age of, we are led to believe by assorted greens and eco-fundamentalists, unprecedented and potentially cataclysmic global warming, it does seem rather cool. Indeed last winter was one of the coldest for the best part of a decade and spring was a frogspawn-threatening two weeks behind schedule." (Ruth Lea, London Telegraph)

"At Some Point, Reality Has Its Day" - "Al Gore on why America—and even George Bush—is close to a tipping point on global warming." (Newsweek)

"Ad for climate film takes inconvenient tack" - "They're clever. I'll give them that. The producers of the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" are running a Web ad that starkly connects human behavior and climate change. It shows the swirl of a hurricane rising from towering smoke stacks." (Orange County Register)

Al Gore’s Bad Start and What Just Ain’t So (Prometheus)

Hmm... "Danube bursts its banks - Should we expect more flooding in Europe?" - "Is climate change to blame? Single events are notoriously difficult to attribute to shifting climate rather than random chance. This is particularly the case for natural disasters involving precipitation — rain and snowfall — which tends to fluctuate more capriciously than temperature. Nevertheless, some experts say that this is a sign of what's in store. "While no single event can be attributed to climate change, the Danube scenario represents the kind of event that is likely to become more frequent according to climate-change predictions," says David Crichton, a climate expert based in Inchture, Scotland." (Nature)

... but wait - there's more! "Less Snow and Drier Summers in German Forecast" - "New weather models predict arid summers and less time for winter sports in Germany if climate changed isn't turned around, according to a study released this week by the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology." (Deutsche Welle)

"Getting far too heated over global warming" - "VOTE Blue, Go Green. Vote Brown and, it seems, you’ll Go Green, too. Vote Orange, Liberal Democrat that is, and you’ll probably go a nice safe shade of magnolia. But they promise you’ll Go Green, too. Britain’s political establishment has signed up to global warming and the urgent need to stop it. David Cameron took the husky trail, hatless, to a Norwegian glacier to demonstrate his commitment to the cause. Gordon Brown used a trip to America to say last weekend that advanced economies have a “moral duty” to tackle climate change, and that everybody has a “personal and social responsibility” to act." (Sunday Times)

"Climate change students help CryoSat-2 Arctic campaign" - "In an unusual step, European scientists participating in the ESA CryoSat validation experiment on the Greenland ice sheet will soon be joined by six students from the Climate Change College. The students will be given an exciting opportunity to take part in the extensive programme of field experiments currently underway in preparation for the CryoSat-2 mission." (European Space Agency)

Climate change college...

Chuckle: "Hot times for Exxon’s Raymond" - "Lee Raymond, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, made $686 million over 13 years. But that’s not a reason to single him out for special excoriation. Executive compensation is out of control in corporate America as a whole, and unlike other grossly overpaid business leaders, Raymond can at least claim to have made money for his stockholders. There’s a better reason to excoriate Raymond: For the sake of his company’s bottom line, and perhaps his own personal enrichment, he turned Exxon Mobil into an enemy of the planet. To understand why Exxon Mobil is a worse environmental villain than other big oil companies, you need to know a bit about how the science and politics of climate change have shifted." (Paul Krugman via The Kansas City Star)

Actually Paul, the science hasn't really shifted and remains uncertain but you are right about the political part - that's heated up no end.

"Shell targets greenhouse gases - CEO calls for government funding" - "Shell Canada Ltd. CEO Clive Mather said Friday industry and governments must work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. Speaking to the company's annual meeting, Mather said Shell is seeking a leadership role in creating a domestic emissions trading market in conjunction with construction of "public infrastructure" to gather and store carbon dioxide in depleted oil reservoirs. Mather said that would involve some form of a pipeline network to gather carbon dioxide from industrial sources such as refineries and deliver it for use in applications such as enhanced oil recovery. "But such a project does not deliver commercial returns and we need government funding to invest in the creation of a CO2 market," he said. "It could help trigger other greenhouse gas reduction opportunities throughout Canada and be a technology showcase to the world. . . . It requires a collective effort." (Calgary Herald)

Translation: hiding under the illusion of enhanced greenhouse effect, these guys want everyone else to pay for enhanced oil recovery infrastructure.

"U.N. panel notes global warming may be causing climate change" - "A United Nations panel on climate change noted for the first time the likelihood that global warming resulting from human activities is causing heat waves and other abnormal weather phenomena as well as Arctic ice mass loss, according to a draft report seen by Kyodo News on Sunday. "It is very likely that greenhouse gas forcing has been the dominant cause of the observed warming of globally averaged temperatures in the last 50 years," says the draft fourth assessment report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Compared with the third assessment report in 2001, the latest report by a subpanel argues for clearer links between human activities and the warming." (Kyodo)

"UK: Government relents in emissions fight with EU" - "The government has called off its legal battle with the European commission over the level of greenhouse gases British industry can pump out under the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS). The decision to abandon the struggle, which began in late 2004, was greeted with disappointment by the organisation that represents many of Britain's power generators who bore the brunt of the additional 20m tonnes emission reduction." (The Guardian)

Hot air bubble: "Pollution fears as credits scheme falters" - "The price of carbon credits crashed by more than a half last week after European countries said their levels of pollution would be less than expected. The price of carbon dioxide fell from just over €30 (£21) per ton to close at €13.45 on Friday over market fears of a glut of unwanted carbon credits. If prices remain this low, companies will have less incentive to cut pollution levels. It would also threaten to render one of the cornerstones of the EU's policy to cut carbon dioxide emission levels almost impotent. The rout was sparked by the announcements from France, the Netherlands, Estonia and the Czech Republic that their heavy industry had polluted less than expected last year." (London Independent)

You might do better calling it what it really is fellas -- an essential trace gas -- because trying to relabel carbon dioxide a 'pollutant' just ain't cutting it.

"£1bn windfall for carbon trade firms" - "Power firms could make a £1bn windfall profit from the EU Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme, BBC News has learned. The windfall is likely because many firms have benefited from increases in electricity prices brought about by the scheme without needing to make any extra investment in return. Peter Bedson, from IPA Consulting, confirmed to the BBC that the unwarranted profit could reach around £1bn." (BBC)

"ANALYSIS - CO2 Price Crash Signals Tougher EU Pollution Goals" - "LONDON - A price crash which this week wiped nearly 40 billion euros (US$50.19 billion) off the value of Europe's greenhouse gas trading scheme will not endanger the market but is likely to make Brussels toughen pollution targets." (Reuters)

"Pulling CO2 out of thin air" - "Scientists know how to return carbon dioxide to the earth, but nothing may come of it." (Albany Democrat-Herald)

Why? "Majority of Britons Want New Environmental Law" - "LONDON - Three quarters of Britons would like to see a new law introduced forcing successive governments to commit to reducing carbon emissions, a survey showed on Monday. Environmental group Friends of the Earth, who commissioned the online poll, said 75 percent of those asked wanted governments to tackle climate change by making a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 3 percent each year." (Reuters)

"Are aviation pollution claims a flight of fancy?" - "A new report by the European Low Fares Airline Association concludes that aviation is being unfairly blamed for CO2 emissions. Airline bosses have been quick to respond with some strong words of their own. Ros Taylor reports ." (The Guardian)

"Pains at the Pump" - "Don't liberals like sky-high fuel prices?" (Opinion Journal)

"President Bush’s Call For Higher Fuel Economy Standards--A Lethal Regulatory Fix" - "The Competitive Enterprise Institute today called President Bush’s request for higher fuel economy standards a political ploy that would be irrelevant in the short run and lethal in the long run." (CEI)

"Hybrids get the thumbs down for efficiency" - "WHILE sluggish electric vehicles remain a minority taste, their hybrid cousins are fast becoming the favourite mode of transport for politicians and environmentally conscious celebrities. But they are not nearly as green as they claim to be, according to motoring experts. Staff at consumer magazine Which? have just completed a series of exhaustive tests on the latest hybrid models available in the UK with damning results." (Scotland on Sunday)

"UK: Now drivers have to pass green test" - "After surviving an emergency stop and three-point turn, driving test candidates will in future have to show they can save fuel as well. Fuel efficiency - or eco-driving - is to be made part of the driving test from 2008 in a move ministers hope will cut polluting emissions, save money on bills and make driving safer. Learner drivers will be taught tips such as accelerating and braking less strongly and changing gears sooner and be assessed on their abilities as part of the practical exam." (The Observer)

"Politicians Should Quit Grandstanding; Focus on Long-Term Energy Solutions" - "As public anger over soaring gas prices continues to build, members of Congress have noticed that their re-elect numbers continue to go down. And so they are scrambling to find someone or something to blame. Big oil companies are the favorite scapegoat, but the President, China, automakers, the Iraq War, and speculators are also popular targets." (CEI)

"Energy Policy for Idiots" - "Congress wants to treat American consumers like children, who should not have to deal with reality when it comes to the supply and demand for gasoline." (Arnold Kling, TCS Daily)

"Finland must build sixth nuke to reach Kyoto goals -Lipponen" - "Paavo Lipponen (soc dem), the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament, was quoted as saying in the Friday issue of Uutispäivä Demari, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) organ, that Finland must build a sixth nuclear power station. "Attaining the goals of the Kyoto protocol on climate change would not have been possible without the fifth nuclear power station. The goals that are to be set after 2012 cannot by reached without a sixth one," Mr Lipponen told the paper." (NewsRoom Finland)

"Taoiseach firmly rules out nuclear power option" - "TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern yesterday firmly ruled out any prospect of Ireland ever building a nuclear power plant. Despite dwindling oil supplies, Mr Ahern said he was "totally opposed" to nuclear power as a possibility for Ireland's future energy needs. While there had never been a national poll on the issue, the Taoiseach said he believed the vast majority of Irish people had concerns about nuclear energy." (Irish Independent)

"Wyoming leads race for high-tech coal" - "The Colorado legislature has dallied in preparing for clean coal operations." (The Denver Post)

"Natural Gas Economy Is Losing Steam" - "BOSTON -- On the brink of the 21st century, a group of energy experts peered into the future of natural gas, and what they saw was quite rosy - and quite wrong." (Associated Press)

"Green energy goal has been ‘fudged’" - "THE Scottish executive has been accused of deceiving the public over the potential for renewable sources to meet the nation’s energy needs. Politicians and scientists have reacted angrily to a government commissioned report which admits that the executive’s target of meeting 40% of energy needs from green sources by 2020 applies only to part of each year. The report reveals that, depending on the development of renewables, the target would apply for between one month and six months of each year. For the remaining time the country would rely on conventional sources of energy." (Sunday Times)

"House factions gird for battle on wind farm" - "A single amendment tucked into a massive Coast Guard bill has lawmakers nationwide taking sides on a divisive proposal to build a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod." (Cape Cod Times)

"Biggest wind farm gets go-ahead and will be able to power 280,000 homes" - "THE biggest onshore wind farm in Europe is to be built on a vast stretch of moorland near Glasgow and will open by the end of the decade, the Executive announced yesterday. Ministers consented to the 140-turbine farm, to be built on high ground to the south of East Kilbride. The farm will have a maximum output of 322Mw. That is enough, the Executive claimed, to power nearly every house in Glasgow - or 280,000 homes." (The Scotsman)

"Eurocrats could sink the Severn Barrage" - "AN ambitious scheme to build a £650m Severn Barrage between South Wales and Somerset is almost certain to break European law, a Welsh Euro-MP warned last night. Earlier this month plans for the project, which would supposedly generate up to 20% of the UK's energy needs, were welcomed enthusiastically by Welsh Secretary Peter Hain and backed by First Minister Rhodri Morgan. The Assembly Cabinet is asking for the barrage project to be considered as part of the UK Government's energy review." (Western Mail)

"Australia: Govt commits $850,000 to GM studies" - "The federal government has announced funding for eight major studies to determine the future role of genetically modified (GM) crops in Australia. Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran said the $850,000 in new funding would produce the studies to be publicly presented early next year." (AAP)

"Australia: Gene laws survive review" - "Calls for changes to the laws governing gene technology in Australia have been largely rejected in a new report, despite ongoing controversy over genetically modified crops." (ABC Science Online)

"Polish parliament bans sale of genetically modified seeds" - "WARSAW - Poland's parliament has passed a law which removes genetically modified seeds from a national register, effectively banning their sale." (AFP)

"Impacts of GM cotton" - "Genetically modified cotton that produces proteins toxic to specific insects may require less pesticide use but may not increase overall crop yields due to the effects of other harmful, unaffected insects." (CheckBiotech.org)