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Archives - November 2000

November 30, 2000

HOT Story of the Day! Nature's Political Science - "A prestigious science journal is again using junk science to inappropriately insert itself into a political controversy. The British journal Nature is rushing to release a study by Canadian researchers reporting that the butterfly ballot used in Palm Beach County, Florida in the recent presidential election "appears to cause systematic errors in the casting of votes."

Worthy cause: "'Sign On, Save Children's Lives from Malaria!' Urges New Global Health Coalition" - "November 29 2000 -- Save Children from Malaria Campaign has launched a worldwide Internet petition drive (http://www.fightingmalaria.org) to help save children and pregnant women from the ravages of malaria through the limited use of DDT. According to the World Health Organization, malaria affects some 500 million people each year and kills up to 2.5 million annually, amounting to one child every 30 seconds. "Malaria is surging worldwide, killing children and their mothers in Africa, Asia and Latin America in skyrocketing numbers," said Dr. Roger Bate, chairman of the Save Children from Malaria Coalition. "We are asking that DDT continue to be used in homes to drive out mosquitoes and protect innocent lives." (FightingMalaria.org)

"Greens vs. the World's Poor" - "Limited use of DDT could save millions from malaria. So why are environmentalists and the U.N. hellbent on ending its production?" (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"DDT Still Has Role To Play In Fighting Malaria: WHO" - "DDT still has an important role to play in saving lives and reducing the burden of malaria in some of the world's poorest countries, states the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the international community considers phasing it out. More than 120 governments, inter-governmental and non-government agencies are meeting next week (December 4-9) in Johannesburg, South Africa, to finalize an international treaty to reduce and/or eliminate the production and use of 12 persistent organic pollutants, including DDT." (UniSci)

"Poor nations take lesser of two evils: DDT over malaria" - "A coalition of public health advocates is rallying on behalf of an unlikely cause: DDT, an environmental nemesis they say is the most effective weapon ever found in the war against malaria." (USA Today)

"Herbal products recalled because of kidney damage risk" - "WASHINGTON -- An Oregon company is recalling two brands of Chinese herbs because they may pose a serious health hazard: They were contaminated with a chemical that can destroy the kidneys. ... The Food and Drug Administration had ordered dietary supplement manufacturers to test botanical products for aristolochic acid, a highly toxic chemical that can be found in some Chinese herbs." (AP)

"Mobiles and cancer risk issue may never be resolved: expert" - "Scientists may never be able to prove whether or not using mobile phones can increase the risk of cancer, a public health expert said today. Southeast Sydney Public Health Unit Cancer Control Program head Bernard Stewart said evidence from studies around the world linking radiation from phones to cancer in animals was weak. But he said changes to the way mobile phones were made to restrict the amount of radiation they emitted was likely to come about as manufacturers responded to public fears, regardless of research findings." (AAP) [Churches cash in on phone boom (Telegraph)]

"GE sues to overturn Superfund law" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 —  The General Electric Co. asked a federal court Tuesday to declare the Superfund toxic waste cleanup law unconstitutional. An Environmental Protection Agency spokesman called the action “exceedingly curious” because it comes as the company faces up to $1 billion in cleanup costs for hazardous chemical spills along the Hudson River." (AP)

"'Hidden benefit' of stomach bacteria" - "Bacteria normally linked to stomach ulcers and even cancer may turn out to actually protect children from dangerous infections." (BBC Online)

"Group links nail polish to birth defects" - "WASHINGTON -- An environmental group Tuesday warned women of childbearing age to avoid using nail polish that contains a chemical that has been shown to cause birth defects in laboratory animals." (CNN)

Sigh... EWG (or is that 'Ee-ugh!'?) out to terrorise people with nonsense again. What a surprise.

"EC calls for new BSE safeguards" - "RISING continental panic has produced a European Commission proposal that anti-BSE measures used in Britain should apply throughout the European Union." (The Scotsman) (Reuters)

"Europe's Mad Cow Fight May Lead to New Food Scare" - "LONDON - European measures to combat the spread of mad cow disease could open the gates to a new food scare if genetically-modified soymeal replaces ground carcasses in animal feed, UK environmentalists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"The beauty and the horror of science" - "At a recent international biotechnology conference in Vancouver, an industry spokesperson made reference to the hundreds of protesters outside and suggested that biotechnologists had obviously done a poor job convincing the public about the benefits and safety of their products. Thus, she trivialized the opponents' concerns as based on ignorance and not deserving serious attention." (David Suzuki, Canoe)

Hmm... given that most of these 'concerns' are founded on activist misinformation rather than science, 'she' was largely correct about concerns based in ignorance (or misinformation). People queue for medication from doctors - but they have little or no understanding of the product, the content, or, the underlying science. Some current medications and many of the more promising pending ones are the product of biotechnology but people do not demonstrate against them nor organise consumer boycotts of the companies involved. What makes consumers leery of foodstuffs yet not of medications ingested or even injected, where they may bypass many of our bodies' defences? Certainly an illogical and irrational position and one which seems driven purely by activism. That 'she' considered protestors' concerns 'not deserving of serious attention' is moot - biotechnologists may have been blindsided by rabid activists' anti-biotech campaigns but they are fully aware of how vulnerable science is to irrational fear campaigns.

Suzuki wanders off into the opiate-fogged realms of Mary Shelly and mentions an early electro-neurologic experiment (of significance, incidentally, to the understanding and treatment of motor neuron disease and injury) but what does he add to the current debate? Two irrelevant horror stories, one by Shelly and one icky, nasty tale that the soft-hearted will relate to the purring lap-moggy they lavish so much attention upon. No mention of the 2-billion-odd humans in the rice belt who stand to have their lives and health so enhanced by the single biotech artifice of Golden Rice though. No mention of the potential to increase agricultural productivity while reducing inputs that offers more to impoverished Third World farmers than any other group or demography on the planet. No mention either of the benefits to the natural environment of reducing synthetic toxin application nor of the significant preservation of wildlands and wildlife habitat inherent in agricultural productivity boosts (from any source). Of particular concern to me is that the most obvious benefit of 'transgenics', the production of affordable, transportable and storable vaccines and medicines that can be grown in impoverished regions and simply administered by say, giving a kid a piece of fruit, doesn't rate a mention either.

Tell us again Dave, who is basing things in ignorance and not rendering deserved attention?

"Live recombinant vaccine protects against fungal disease" - "For the first time, scientists have used recombinant DNA technology to create a live vaccine that protects against a fungal infection in mice. This new vaccine is safer than live vaccines made without recombinant technology and more effective than "killed" vaccines. Many fungal diseases are on the rise in the United States, and this recombinant live vaccine approach could be used to protect against them." (NIH)

?!! "U.S. panel weighs whether GM corn StarLink is safe for people" - "WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators, now in the midst of the biggest biotech food fight in U.S. history, should not reward Aventis SA for illegally contaminating the nation's corn supply with a variety that may be linked to at least 35 illnesses, environmental groups said on Tuesday." [UPDATE - Japan seeks details on US StarLink illness cases] (Reuters)

11 reported cases may be related to food allergies but just which food, if any,  is unknown. Given the minuscule trace of Cry9C that could have been present in the taco shells then the probability is high that no cases are, or ever will be related to StarLink™ corn in the food supply.

"GM seeds won't wither without water" - "New Delhi - Indian scientists have developed genetically modified mustard seeds that can withstand drought and require much less water than ordinary seeds, reports said on Wednesday. Scientists of the National Research Institute on Plant Biotechnology (NRIPB) have genetically modified mustard seeds by introducing a gene from a weed with the botanical name of Arabidopsis Thanana, the Indian Express newspaper reported." (Sapa-DPA)

"US to Consider if Rule Needed to Separate Bio-Crops" - "WASHINGTON - Amid the debate over the bio-corn contamination that triggered the recall of hundreds of foods, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday it was mulling what new regulations might be needed to separate and monitor gene-spliced crops." (Reuters)

"Engineered potatoes said to fight off fungus" - "WASHINGTON - A borrowed alfalfa gene has helped potatoes fight off a fungus that causes one type of potato blight, researchers said yesterday. They said it was the first time a single gene had been shown to protect a plant as well as herbicides do, and said they hoped they had found a way to use genetic engineering to protect against a range of diseases." (Reuters)

"Plan for Use of Bioengineered Corn in Food Is Disputed" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 — Hoping to avoid further product recalls linked to a bioengineered corn, representatives of food, agriculture and biotechnology industries urged the Environmental Protection Agency today to approve the corn temporarily for human consumption. But critics said such a move would bail out the corn's developer and the food companies at consumers' expense." (NY Times)

"Biotechnology Global Update (November 2000)" (TKC)

"Govt Move To Ease Hybrid Seed Rules To Benefit MNCs" - "In a move that could boost multinational seed companies, the government is set to allow these companies to grow and process hybrid seeds on land owned or leased by them instead of entering into contracts with farmers and growers." (Economic Times)

"Laboratory Heralds Agricultural Revolution" (Summary) - "According to the Financial Times (UK), A host of African crops stand to benefit from biotechnology research now being undertaken at the University of Legon, Ghana." (TKC)

CoP6 rumbles on and on...

"Gore’s global warming ideas get thumped" - "... But the real message from the Hague is that an international agreement on global warming is probably doomed to the same fate as the late, unlamented Law of the Sea Conference: lots of visionary gab but no willingness to undertake the “wrenching changes” that Gore has demanded. It is long past time for a reconsideration of the subject." (Thomas J Bray, Detroit News)

"Multilateral thinking" - "After the failure of international nerve at the Hague, it is surely time to set up new global institutions" (says Larry Elliot in The Guardian)

"1,000 flee as sea begins to swallow up Pacific islands" - "As the world's wealthiest nations bickered about carbon dioxide credits in The Hague last weekend, the inhabitants of a remote group of coral atolls on the other side of the planet were watching the Pacific Ocean advance inexorably towards their homes. ... The islands, together with neighbouring atolls such as Takuu, home to a small community of "singing" Polynesians, are likely to be the first to be engulfed by the effects of global warming." (Independent)

Oh good grief! What utter nonsense! PacNews, echoed by at least the LA Times, ran the real reason last November. Under News Briefs, 11/11/99, sub-headed, "Sinking Islands", here's what the LA Times printed:

A group of islands in New Guinea is sinking into the Pacific at the rate of 4 to 6 inches a year, and a team of government scientists has recommended that their 20,000 residents be quickly relocated to a larger island. The Duke of York Islands are sinking not because of rising sea levels, but because of seismic activity. In 1994, two volcanoes on opposite sides of one of the islands erupted for four months. When the activity ceased, evacuees moved back, but the regional news service Pacnews now reports that further subsidence is forcing officials to move the inhabitants to the Gazelle Peninsula on New Britain. Many buildings on the islands are already under water.

Situated at the south-western end of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", these islands are not geologically stable and certainly do not make suitable platforms from which to measure mean sea level. Australia is geologically stable, has a huge Pacific shore and, according to National Tidal Facility data, struggles to find sea level change in the order of one-half of one inch per century. Tuvalu, further to the east and frequent howler about "sea level rise", displays no trend at the Funafuti tide gauge.

"The Mercury’s Rising" - "Dec. 4 issue — You might assume that “global warming” means what it says, involving nothing more complex than a rise in the world’s temperature. But notice the penguins. Over the last several months, hundreds of Magellanic penguins have been washing ashore near Rio de Janeiro, 2,000 miles north of their usual haunts. The wayward birds may be signs of a massive climate shift in the South Atlantic: warming may have altered ocean circulation so as to nudge the cold-water currents (which the penguins follow for chow) thousands of miles off course." (Newsweek)

Ah, the penguins are chillin' in Rio so we're going to have an ice age - caused by global warming - figures...

Couldn't have anything to do with the bitter southern winter just passed either eh? You might recall some mention of it - little things like people freezing to death in South Africa, Chile, Argentina... After enduring an Antarctic winter a few penguins drop by Rio for some sun and surf - obviously, not all penguins are bird brains.


November 29, 2000

"Negotiators Focus on 'Dirty Dozen' Pollutants" - "Industrialization and modern insect control have improved the quality of life around the globe, but they have also added some 100,000 chemical compounds that, some scientists worry, could affect the health of people and wildlife. These persistent organic pollutants, known as POP's, have gone virtually unregulated since they were developed more than 50 years ago. But now efforts are being made to control some of them. The final of five meetings to draft a global treaty to restrict production and use of 12 POP's is scheduled for next month in Johannesburg." (NY Times)

To a significant extent, most of the chemicals involved are no longer in production or use and it is largely irrelevant that anti-chemical zealots want them banned. The key exception, of course, is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane - DDT for short. Click here to see the human cost of excessive restriction of this critically needed compound.

"Study finds pollution, death link" - "A study proving a strong link between high air pollution and human mortality has been presented to an international air quality conference in Sydney today. The landmark US study tracked the lives of residents in six American cities over 15 years. (ABC News Online)

There's quite a history to the infamous "six cities study". See Show me the data; Scientists Challenge the Provision Opening Access to Research Data; Scientists Reject Call for Full Disclosure of Health Data on Particulates; Pollution Study Sparks Debate Over Secret Data; The Right to the Research; Medical Journals Give New Meaning To 'Political Science'; EPA's Case of the Missing Data; EPA's Peer-review Perversion; Clean Air Skepticism; Letter to the Lancet Editor

"Cancer breakthrough" - "IN A world-first, Sydney researchers have discovered a missing link in how cancer grows in the body. The research, published in Nature Genetics December issue, represents a major step in understanding how cancer cells avoid the normal controls on cell division. This will then allow the development of an effective treatment." (Sydney Daily Telegraph)

'Breakthrough' #54,791? Pardon my cynicism but we've been down these 'miracle' paths before - with remarkably little result. The majority of cancers are the natural result of aging and rates remain stubbornly consistent. Inevitably, in my view, biotechnology will enable humanity to overcome this affliction in time. Razzle-dazzle releases on 'breakthroughs' that 'will allow development of effective treatments', however, habitually collapse into cruel false promises. This does nothing good for either sufferers or science.

"'Fat-proof' mice yield new anti-obesity drug target" - "HOUSTON—(Nov. 28, 2000)—Forget the fountain of youth. Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine may have found something even more exciting--the secret to effortless weight loss. The key is outsmarting perilipin, a protein that acts as a “bodyguard” for fat cells." (BCM)

Another 'target'... so we can all now binge, confident in a 'cure' that may one day become available? Terrific...

"Leading Auto Insurer to Cut Rates for Drivers of Biggest Vehicles" - "State Farm, the nation's biggest auto insurer, plans today to announce a shift in its pricing policies that will cut rates for drivers of the biggest cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles, based on claims data showing them to be the safest for their occupants." (NY Times)

"Nicotine linked to lung cancer" - "Nicotine, the chemical which causes cigarette addiction, could be responsible for some lung cancers, suggest researchers. While this may concern people using nicotine patches to wean themselves off smoking, experts are keen to point out that the health benefits of giving up would still vastly outweigh the risks - even if the link was true." [emphasis added] (BBC Online)

"Oral contraceptive use does not affect bone mass" - "Hershey, Pa. --- New research from Penn State College of Medicine shows that oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use by healthy teenage females does not affect their peak bone mass, or their growth." (Penn State)

"Experts at odds over iron in pregnancy" - "Pregnant women should not be put off taking iron tablets, despite research linking high haemoglobin and stillbirth, a leading UK doctor has maintained. Doctors in Sweden have found that a high level of haemoglobin in early pregnancy may increase the risk of stillbirth by up to four times, compared with women who have lower levels of iron in their blood. But Dr Elizabeth Letsky, the UK's only consultant perinatal haemotologist says the levels of haemogolobin the researchers described were so high they would indicate that the mother had some underlying problem. "Most women are fighting some degree of iron deficiency all their lives - the levels described in this study are almost unheard of," she said." (BBC Online)

"Lords puncture myths of alternative medicine" - "THERE is scant evidence to prove that alternative health remedies work, a House of Lords report has found. Only osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture are backed by scientific evidence, the report says. The evidence on herbal medicine is mixed, and that on homoeopathy anecdotal." [Prince's plea for 'new age' medicine] (The Times)

Bound to be popular with at least half the population: "Have Sex to Reduce Disease Risk, Researcher Says" - "SYDNEY - Men can halve the risk of a major heart attack or stroke by having sex three or four times a week, a specialist in cardiovascular disease said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"UNESCO cleans house to invite the US back" - "One year into his term as head of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koġchiro Matsuura has begun to turn the deficit- and corruption-ridden agency around, but he is moving more slowly than his supporters would like, according to diplomatic sources here." (CSM)

Given that IPCC and UNEP, two of the worst offending anti-science organisations in the known world, operate under the UN umbrella, why would the US consider returning to foot the bill for another bunch of whackos?

"Country moose, city moose" - "... What's more, a study examining the levels of stress hormone in moose poop concluded that moose in Kincaid Park were the most anxiety-ridden of three groups studied in Anchorage. The least stressed, surprisingly, were the Midtown moose." (ADN) (Before anyone asks, this one's here simply because I felt anyone trying to determine if urban moose need prozac by examining stress hormone levels in moose poop deserves the exposure)

"Why "Frankenfood" Is Our Friend" - "Where's that talking chihuahua when you need him? There was no one to calm, much less charm, consumers when genetically altered corn approved for animals snuck into Taco Bell taco shells. The fear that StarLink corn would cause us humans terrible allergic reactions led to a major recall. So large grocery chains like Safeway, Kroger, Albertson's and Food Lion made their corn products disappear." (Michael Fumento, Forbes Magazine)

"Bio-Crop Giant to Heed Critics" - "WASHINGTON - Agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto Co., accused of being tone deaf about the marketing of its seeds, said Monday it supported more regulation of bio-crops and would never put human genes into plants used as food. The ``New Monsanto Pledge'' was unveiled by Hendrik Verfaillie, chief executive of Monsanto, an 85 percent owned subsidiary of Pharmacia Corp. He said Monsanto was, ''knowingly and deliberately taking a different path'' than in the past." (Reuters)

"Biotech Questions Lead Monsanto To Delay One Crop" - "WASHINGTON--Amid growing uneasiness about genetically engineered crops, a major biotechnology company announced Monday it would restrict plantings next year of a type of gene-altered corn and delay commercialization of another variety until 2002." (AP)

"Companies Seek Looser Rules on Labeling Genetically Altered Seed" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 — In wake of the latest incident of genetic crop contamination, American seed companies are renewing a push to establish standards that would allow a small amount of genetically engineered material in bags of seeds and still have those seeds considered free of modification." (NY Times)

"U.S. Panel Probes StarLink Bio-Corn on Allergies" - "WASHINGTON - A panel of independent physicians, biologists and other scientists was set to wade into the biggest biotech food fight in U.S. history on Tuesday and decide whether StarLink bio-corn is safe enough to allow in the human food supply." (Reuters)

"EPA Accused Of Rushing To Judgment On Biotech Corn Safety" - "WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency is rushing its judgment on whether a biotechnically engineered corn variety is safe for human consumption, a coalition of consumer groups charged Tuesday." (DJN)

"44 Americans claim StarLink corn made them ill" - "WASHINGTON, Nov 28 - Forty-four Americans have complained that they became ill after eating foods containing StarLink bio-corn, but investigators may never be able to pinpoint whether the genetically modified maize was to blame, federal officials said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"StarLink Critic Chides Farmers and Eager GM Marketers" - Exclusive coverage of the Farm Journal Forum for AgWeb.com

"Survey: U.S. Food Consumption Unaffected by StarLink Fiasco" - "A new survey conducted by a North Carolina State University sociologist concludes the StarLink corn fiasco – including numerous food recalls – has done little to change the way Americans choose their food. In fact, the author of the study says the more the public becomes aware of ag biotechnology, the fewer concerns they have." (AgWeb.com)

"UPDATE - Korea to require prior ok on GMO imports" - "SEOUL - South Korea would require importers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and processed foods containing them to receive prior government approval, the state-run Regulatory Reform Committee said yesterday." (Reuters)

"France to Allow Human Embryo Research" - "PARIS - French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said Tuesday his government was drawing up legislation to allow research on human embryos to help correct genetic birth defects and fight diseases." (Reuters)

Still we can't get clear of CoP6 ruminations and enhanced greenhouse hot air - some rational pieces appearing though:

"Forget Kyoto" - "THE HAGUE -- It was no surprise that negotiations broke down Saturday at the son-of-Kyoto conference on climate change, and it is just as well that they did. The evidence that the global warming recorded since the mid-1970s is anything more than cyclical and natural (rather than worsening and human-caused) remains inconclusive." (TCS)

"Sun's warming influence 'under-estimated'" - "Scientists at Armagh Observatory claim a unique weather record could show that the Sun has been the main contributor to global warming over the past two centuries. The weather observations, made almost daily since 1795, comprise the longest climate archive available for a single site in Ireland." (BBC Online)

"Cooling on warming" - "The latest international conference on global warming, held in The Hague, broke down on the weekend as diplomats bickered over who should bear the economic burden of cutting energy use. This impasse is good news for the world economy, and particularly good for energy-hungry countries, such as Canada, which, being both cold and big, has a greater need to burn fossil fuels than most others." (National Post)

"The good news on global warming" - "On Saturday, some good news finally arrived: The "global warming" talks in The Hague collapsed after bureaucrats working on enforcement mechanisms for the 1998 Kyoto Protocol found themselves unable to reach agreement on the means by which the United States and other countries would curtail their output of carbon dioxide and other so-called "greenhouse" gasses." (Washington Times)

"NO DEAL ON GLOBAL WARMING" - "Environmental activists called last weekend's failure to reach a binding treaty on global warming a tragedy. If so, it was one of their own making." (Chicago Tribune)

"Climate control goes down the sink" - "The collapse of the United Nation's climate change negotiations in The Hague is obviously a deep setback for the global warming crusade. Insults are flying, nations are being vilified, politicians are under attack. "The David Suzuki Foundation condemned Canada today for its role in the breakdown of talks," said a typical news release from Mr. Suzuki's organization. Britain blamed France, France blamed the United States, environmentalists blamed everybody but themselves." (Terence Corcoran, National Post)

"Norway to approve more CO2 from gas-fired power - reports" - "OSLO - Norway will approve construction on Wednesday of a new gas-fired power plant, putting Norway behind many nations in a drive to curb greenhouse gases, Norwegian media said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

November 28, 2000

"Updated Report: Scientific Evidence Fails to Halt Silicone Breast Implant Controversy" - "New York, NY—November 2000. The number of epidemiological studies that provide scientific evidence supporting the safety of silicone-gel breast implants continues to mount. Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration's moratorium has been in effect since 1992, prohibiting the sale and use of silicone-gel breast implants. The science has been ignored, however, according to the American Council on Science and Health." (ACSH)

"Fickle precaution" - "Ironically, perhaps, it is the Precautionary Principle itself which should come with a health warning - a large sticker which declares "This principle may set back the course of scientific progress to the extent that lives will be endangered, medical innovations will be postponed and reduction of famine word-wide will be delayed significantly." (Social Issues Research Centre)

"Radioactive "seed" treatment no threat to others" - "CHICAGO, Illinois -- Radioactive "seeds" used to treat prostate cancer in men pose no radiation risk to their wives or families, who would absorb more radiation simply living in the high-altitude city of Denver, researchers said Monday." (Reuters)

"Controversial Poison To Be Used Against Mossies In Mpumalanga" - "A controversial poison will be sprayed in rural homes in Mpumalanga this summer in a bid to kill the mosquito that transmits malaria, according to deputy director for vector-borne diseases in the national health department, Dr Rajendra Maharaj, on Monday. He said dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) was effective in killing the malaria-carrying mosquito, Anopheles Funestus, which transmits the disease all year round." (AENS) [100 Things You Should Know About DDT (Junkscience.com)] [African Scientists Meet on Malaria, Seek Vaccine (Reuters)]

Uh-oh! "Volunteers ingest pollutant for water study" - "SAN BERNARDINO, California -- Volunteers in a drinking water study are being paid $1,000 each to take pills containing an industrial pollutant found in rocket fuel. The experiment, designed to determine if a pollutant called perchlorate interferes with thyroid glands, will develop data that could influence the setting of national and state drinking-water standards, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Perchlorate is frequently found in drinking water." (AP)

EPA won't like this. They much prefer to throw out actual human data on the grounds the studies are 'unethical' (besides, it's so much more fun to beat up scares on the basis of extrapolated data from MTD [Maximum Tolerated Dose] rodent studies).

"Gulf War syndrome symptoms linked to brain damage" - "CHICAGO, Illinois -- Symptoms such as memory loss and dizziness suffered by U.S. veterans with Gulf War syndrome can be correlated to specific areas of the brain where cells have died, probably from chemical exposure, researchers said on Monday." (Reuters)

With all due respect to those who serve their countries, and I do respect them, GWS just doesn't cut it for me. Doubtless these people are suffering medical conditions but so do the rest of the population. The distinction between rates suffered by Gulf veterans and personnel who never set foot in the Gulf is simply not compelling. Mike Fumento has been following the issue for years, here's a list of his articles.

"A Hidden Health Hazard"  - "Sneezing and sniffling? Maybe the problem isn’t a cold but mold. It’s more dangerous than you think." (Newsweek)

"West Nile Side Effect: A Wealth of Data on Wildlife Death" - "... But what the examinations did not turn up is probably as revealing as what they did: in all the huge volume of specimens this year, relatively few animals, the lab found, died from accidental pesticide exposure." (NY times)

Parenthetically, the vast majority of 'evidence' of problems from synthetic pesticides is apocryphal and the bulk of the rest anecdotal. For sure there have been accidental (and deliberate) wildlife poisonings, human too, but nothing close to justifying Rachel Carson's bizarre "fable of tomorrow" about which she waxed so lyrical in Silent Spring. This is the first time we have really had significant wildlife mortality data and poisonings are relatively rare. In the past, wildlife toxicology has largely concentrated on mass poisonings in specific locales and has almost always proven to be either misapplication (contrary to manufacturers specification) or deliberate misuse (applied specifically at toxic levels) to curtail perceived threat from burgeoning wildlife competition. Quaint isn't it - so many laws, so much hysteria over 4 decades and now we are gathering some useful data on wildlife mortality.

Must be coming up Christmas: "Sound check in Toyland" - "WASHINGTON -- They beep, buzz and bleat. They chatter, chirp and chime. They rattle and ring. And now, reports say, when it comes to noise, many toys have way too much zing." (CNN)

PETA's latest wacky claim: "Feeding family burgers 'constitutes child abuse' - claim" - "Feeding burgers to young family members is equivalent to child abuse, animal rights campaigners have claimed." (Ananova)

"Air pollution victims win suit" - "NAGOYA-The Nagoya District Court this morning ordered 10 companies and the central government to pay a total of 308 million yen to residents suffering from diseases, including bronchial asthma, as a result of factory and vehicle emissions." (Asahi News)

"Clean Power: Measuring Costs" - "The utility industry was jolted recently by news of a $1.2 billion clean-up agreement negotiated between a Virginia power company and the Environmental Protection Agency. The settlement intensifies pressure on utilities in Michigan and other Midwest states. But for the sake of both ratepayers and shareholders, the utilities must balance costs as well as benefits as they confront regulators’ demands." (Detroit News)

"Low IQ 'linked to later dementia'" - "Lower childhood IQ may be linked to development of dementia later in life, Scottish researchers believe. A study based on school records of children born in 1921 has found that those with the lowest scores in intelligence tests are significantly more likely to develop dementia." (BBC Online)

"Who people trust - by profession" - "A new poll suggests that people esteem those seen to place others' needs above their own interests." (CSM)

Check out the least-trusted list - newspaper reporters are less-trusted than lawyers. Makes you wonder why people allow themselves to be manipulated by all the B.S. scares (e.g. 'global warming') doesn't it?

"A Matter Of Life Or Starvation" - "To ignore modern biotechnology as a possible solution to pressing food security challenges would be most unwise" (Bangkok Post)

"Biotech booming as world food source" - "WASHINGTON -- From a taco shell controversy to caterpillar experiments, genetically altered crops are under fire. The government, meanwhile, is increasing its spending on biotechnology -- not for food on American grocery store shelves or crops in American fields, but for battling hunger in developing nations." (AP)

"Monsanto Takes The Offensive In Addressing Biotechnology" - "ST. LOUIS -- Monsanto Co. (MON) has the science of agricultural biotechnology down pat and now the company is turning its attention to better explaining that technology and its benefits through its own initiatives and working with others, said Monsanto President and Chief Executive Hendrik A. Verfaillie." (DJN) [Monsanto Chief Says Company Fully Committed to Biotech (AgWeb.com)]

"More Firms Seen Adopting Bio-Food Labels" - "WASHINGTON - Regardless of how the StarLink bio-corn safety debate plays out, more U.S. foodmakers will likely begin voluntarily labeling products with gene-spliced ingredients to give consumers more information, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace Ready to Rally Against StarLink" - "Nov 27 - Tomorrow, in protest against Aventis’ request to approve StarLink corn for human consumption, Greenpeace is calling on activists to join together. The rally is planned from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn Hotel, in Arlington, Virginia." (AgWeb.com)

"Globalisation: it's all or nothing" - "The green lobby wants to curb the World Bank and the IMF yet expects the Hague climate summit to come up with solutions. You can't have it both ways, says economics editor Larry Elliott" (Guardian)

"Revival hopes for threatened bird species" - "The population of rare bird species resident in the UK has almost doubled over the last 30 years largely thanks to milder winters... " (Ananova)

So... it's not all doom when the world's not quite so cold?

Fallout from The Hague ... :

"A Collapse in The Hague" - "The U.N. conference on climate collapsed this weekend at The Hague because the ecological zealots who hold the French and German governments hostage rejected a desperate concession by the Clinton Administration. The world can breathe a deep sigh of relief." (WSJ)

"Climate Treaty Deadlock Shows Lack of Consensus and Common Sense" - "... From the start, the U.N.’s Sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties in The Hague was mostly about trying to make the United States look bad. For reasons of both politics and economics, not environment, Europe pursued remedies to the perceived risk of global warming that it knew from the start the United States was bound to reject." (TCS)

"Judge weighs jurisdiction over 'global warming' suit" - "CASPER, Wyo. - As a U.N. climate conference in the Netherlands collapsed without an agreement Saturday, a federal judge in Wyoming weighed whether he has jurisdiction over a lawsuit that could put the global warming issue on trial in the United States." (AP)

"Nuclear power? Yes, please" - "... Environmentalism is not about solving problems; it is about preaching problems from the pulpit. A failed summit enables everybody to go away and do a lot more posturing about the end of the world being nigh, and humankind's (especially America's) greed and arrogance being responsible. A done deal would have been a disaster for Europe's environment ministers." (Matt Ridley, The Daily Telegraph)

"Group’s summary overheats warming threat" - "... But the reported jump in predicted temperatures only appeared in the summary, not the underlying Assessment Report, and it only appeared in the last six months, long after the scientific review ended. Since the climate itself didn’t change radically in the last six months, what accounts for the sudden increase in the forecast?" (Ken Green, Detroit News)

"Rain until Christmas, but it is not global warming" - "RAIN until Christmas was forecast yesterday as experts declared this the wettest autumn since records began nearly 350 years ago. Even with temperatures expected to reach 63F (17C) today in some parts, the highest since 1979, a Meteorological Office spokesman said no one should blame global warming. He said: "Weather variations like this have never been uncommon. Records going right back, and anecdotal evidence before that, show there are extremes from time to time." (Telegraph)

Whoops! "South Pacific battered by global warming" - "South Pacific island nations have suffered more than US $1 billion in damages in the past 10 years from rising sea levels and tropical storms, the World Bank said in a report on the impact of global warming." (Reuters)

See 'The Little Nation That Cried "Wolf!"' or perhaps:

"Dr Wolfgang Scherer, director of the National Tidal Facility (NTF) of Flinders University, South Australia, which undertook the review, told BBC News Online that the much larger increases in global sea level predicted by some climate models were not apparent in their regional data. "There is no acceleration in sea level rise - none that we can discern, at all," he said." (BBC Online)

?!! "Leave US out of deal, propose greens" - "The complete collapse of climate talks at The Hague sent shock waves round the world yesterday and left all 160 nations which took part wondering how best to proceed when the only fact on which they appear united is that climate change remains the most serious threat facing mankind."

If "climate change remains the most serious threat facing mankind" then all is indeed right with the world. We are faced with two choices: adapt, as we have always done, to whatever climate we get, or; cease adapting to the world's restless climate, in which case we'll die. The one choice we most assuredly DO NOT HAVE is to change the climate.

and sundries:

November 27, 2000

"Expert witnesses 'pressured to change evidence'" - "One in 10 expert witnesses has been pressured by a lawyer into changing evidence before a case has gone to court, a survey has revealed. The finding supports what many people have suspected for a long time – that doctors, accountants and other professionals come under enormous duress to alter their opinions to help the side that is paying for them." (Independent)

"Experts gather in Perth to discuss impotence" - "International experts have predicted that in less than 50 years, more than $100 billion a year could be spent worldwide to treat an epidemic of male impotence." (ABC News Online)

"Tobacco settlement hasn't had the expected impact" - "Two years after states and tobacco companies reached the largest legal settlement in history, health advocates give the deal a decidedly mixed report card, expressing disappointment that it has not more radically changed cigarette marketing. ... "The settlement has made a difference, and its full impact hasn't been felt yet," says Matthew Myers, president of the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids. "But it's had nowhere near the impact that was hoped for." (Baltimore Sun)

"Computers 'could disable children'" - "Children learning to use computers are being put at risk of permanent injury, some health experts are warning. They say thousands of children have already been damaged by medical problems associated with computer use. These problems - neck, back and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) - have long been recognised as being linked to prolonged computer use and incorrect posture in adults." (BBC Online)

Hmm... funny how Australia's RSI 'epidemic' disappeared as soon as employers were found not liable for it.

"Epidemic feared as measles jab rate drops" - "London is facing a measles epidemic that could strike at any time because of the low level of immunisation among children in the capital." (Independent)

Never short of a scare, The Independent moves smoothly from global warming to "Mobile phones to carry government health warning" - "Mobile phones sold in the run-up to Christmas will carry a government health warning – despite the lack of definitive evidence that they are harmful. Officials confirmed yesterday that they were finalising a leaflet that would warn buyers about uncertainty over mobile phones' potential health risks." [No evidence of risk doesn't mean phones are safe] [Teenagers hooked by bright covers and 'texting' craze] [Lend an ear to government warnings on mobile phones] (Independent)

"Mad cow disease makes its way to Germany" - "A wave of anger hit Germany today over the arrival of mad cow disease, which political leaders and farm experts had long said could not spread across its borders." [EU Says Germany Made Mistakes on Mad Cow Disease] (Reuters)

"Pressure mounts for beef ban" - "Food safety experts will decide whether Britain should impose a ban on imports of French beef, Agriculture Minister Nick Brown has said." [Warning over BSE concessions] (BBC Online) [French butchers battle mad-cow fears (AP)]

"Public fears over genetic information" - "British people are keen to see genetic breakthroughs that will benefit health but do not want their employers or insurers to use the information against them." (BBC Online)

I want all the advantages (at minimal or no cost) but none of this downside stuff though... Good grief.

"Biotech Firm's Finger Joint in Landmark Transplant" - "FRANKFURT, Germany - Germany's BioTissue Technologies AG said Sunday that Freiburg University surgeons conducted the first ever finger-joint transplantation using a complete joint engineered by the biotech company. BioTissue, which seeks to list on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt for growth stocks on December 1, said the operation followed the four-week reproduction of cells taken from a patient's rib cartilage and hipbone." (Reuters)

"UNNECESSARY SETBACK FOR BIOTECH CORN" - "Why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offer any approval at all for StarLink corn if it thought the genetically engineered corn might trigger allergies? The potential for the corn to leak into human consumption was too great. It was a regulatory bungle." (Dennis T Avery, Bridge News)

"Tacogate: There Is Barely A Kernel of Truth" - "... With all the hue and cry, you`d think a dangerous, if not deadly, ingredient had been introduced into the U.S. and international food supply. But what`s the startling discovery the alarm-raisers have made? Hold onto your seats, folks: Our corn, it seems, has been contaminated by--corn!" (Washington Post)

"The "Golden Rice" Tale" - "Golden Rice" is, to date, a popular case – supported by the scientific community, the agbiotech industry, the media, the public, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), official developmental aid institutions, etc., but equally strongly opposed by the opponents of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)." (Turning Point Article)

"China Establishes Stem Cell Genetic Engineering Center" - "Work on a State stem cell genetic engineering center has begun recently in Tianjin, a municipality in north China. This is part of the country's effort to promote the genetic engineering industry." (People's Daily)

CoP6 recriminations, angst and the odd rational comment:

"Despite stalemate at Hague, talks no futile exercise" - "Climate talks wrapped up on Saturday without an agreement. But momentum builds for individual action." (CSM)

Now this is naïve. Even amongst those who pretend to believe the enhanced greenhouse hype, all jockeying is for political and commercial advantage. The EU, far too small and with too little available land for carbon credit schemes, is adamantly against their use because others profitably can. The US, Canada, Australia and Japan, on the other hand, either have sufficient room or can afford to buy them elsewhere and recognise that this would usefully disadvantage competing industrialised regions while minimising damage to their own industry base.

It is not because there is no physical problem extant but rather because no industrialised group will yield manufacturing and trade advantage to any other group that there will never be agreement on this foolish and redundant protocol. We all know it, so why continue the pantomime?

"France firm on no climate deal with US" - "THE French minister blamed by John Prescott for the failure of a compromise on trying to curb climate change said yesterday that offering America concessions would have been a mistake. Dominique Voynet, environment minister, the Green Party's sole representative in the socialist-led coalition cabinet, criticised the proposed agreement on harmful emissions, brokered by Britain, as "environmentally unacceptable". In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, she backed the decision to offer no concessions to America as one of the few successes of The Hague environment summit." (Telegraph)

Right Ms Voynet - but for all the wrong reasons. Humanity's restoration of previously sequestered carbon to the atmosphere is a significant net benefit to the biosphere - it is the Kyoto Protocol that endangers humanity and the environment.

"Try again on greenhouse" - "Enough heat to raise the global temperature another notch or two, but after a couple of hundred (highly polluting) jet plane journeys, dozens of hours of arguments and countless reams of paper, virtually no light has been shed on the most serious environmental problem facing the planet." (The Age editorial)

The Age still can't tell editorialising from proselyting. Enhanced greenhouse is an article of faith, not science. 'All science is numbers' and the numbers don't add up for the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis. The environmental risk comes not from enhanced greenhouse but from politician's belief that a problem exists or perhaps their pretence that it does in order to garner votes.

"Prescott's race to save deal on climate change" - "BRITAIN will make a desperate final attempt to salvage an international deal on climate change before President Clinton leaves office at the end of January. Amid recriminations yesterday about responsibility for the collapse of the talks in The Hague and the failure of a compromise brokered by John Prescott, there was speculation that the Deputy Prime Minister's position in Cabinet had been undermined. But Downing Street defended Mr Prescott. Michael Meacher, the environment minister, said that the talks ran out of time when ministers had been "inches away from a deal. It's all a muddle and a tragedy, but we will recover. The world's got to have a deal, the storms and floods are going to go on happening." (Telegraph)

Indeed, 'storms and floods are going to go on happening' - that has nothing to do with the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis though.

"A load of hot air" - "IT is, we are told, a disaster of global proportions. We have condemned our children's children to death by drowning, or possibly suffocation. The world's newspapers have almost all concluded that the failure of talks in The Hague threatens, as The Independent on Sunday reported, "a catastrophic change in the world's climate". Before we get too carried away, it is worth looking at the scope of the discussions." (Telegraph)

"Industry breathes easier, for now" - "Greens are calling it a disaster, but Australian resource and energy industries won a significant reprieve at COP6, the UN climate change conference. On the other hand, brokers and financial services companies will have to wait longer for their carbon-trading bonanza to materialise." (AFR)

"The Tree Trap: Envoys Could Not Agree on Value of Forests to World Environment" - "THE HAGUE, Nov. 25 — In the end, the negotiators got lost in the trees. After 11 days of draining and unwieldy bargaining by 170 countries over the rules for a proposed treaty to fight global warming, by this morning all the issues had been narrowed to just this one: How much credit should big forested countries get for all that photosynthesis?" (NY Times)

"Industry off hook as EU hardliners sink talks" - "Australian industry has won a reprieve against hard-line green demands at the UN climate change conference that would have added huge compliance costs over greenhouse emissions. "This is a major victory for Australia," said an industry observer as the conference broke up in acrimony after efforts to negotiate a deal on emission control collapsed. "The European Union's attempts to redefine the Kyoto Protocol have been rejected," said an Australian negotiator." (AFR)

Hmm... "Market warms to idea of global lead" - "WITH a plethora of newspapers pumping out forests-worth of newsprint on the perils of global warming, poll-watching politicians are keen to play up their green credentials these days. Summiteers working into the night at The Hague last week in search of a deal to agree a global plan to tackle the menace, clearly wanted to let the voters know they were taking the problem seriously. There were few obvious departures from the standard script in which smoke-belching businesses are seen as despoilers of an innocent planet." (The Scotsman)

Uh-huh... "Firm hopes drivers willing to pay to offset own greenhouse-gas emissions" - "VANCOUVER -- B.C. motorists, already steamed at the prospect of a new transit levy and possibly hefty gas-guzzler taxes, are being asked to voluntarily tax themselves to combat global warming." (CP)

"Britain's cars to get toughest MoT" - "MINISTERS are planning to introduce what could be the world's toughest MoT test for all new cars as part of the British commitment to reducing global warming gases" (The Sunday Times)

"GLOBAL-WARMING MEETING FAILS AFTER LAST-MINUTE DEAL CRUMBLES" - "... Shell-shocked delegates to the 180-nation United Nations World Climate Change Conference, many of whom have devoted years of work to the issue, agreed to try again to reach an accord when they meet at Bonn in May as scheduled." (Chicago Tribune)

November 26, 2000

"Scientist Raises New Mobile Phone Fears" - "LONDON - Children who use mobile phones risk suffering memory loss, sleeping disorders and headaches, according to research published in the medical journal The Lancet." (Reuters) [The Lancet: Physics and biology of mobile telephony; Epidemiological evidence on health risks of cellular telephones; Mobile phones and the illusory pursuit of safety; Mobile phones: blessing or curse?] [Disney dumps kids' mobiles (SMH)]

"Lawyers want to limit secret settlements" - "Spurred by reports that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. spent years negotiating secret settlements to wrongful-death lawsuits while its tires continued to cause fatal accidents, a national lawyers' group is pushing a new Massachusetts law banning legal confidentiality agreements in cases involving dangerous products, business practices, and other ''public hazards.'' (Boston Globe)

"HIV in 1700s is the missing ape-man link" - "Brussels - A predecessor of HIV may have been around in humans as early as the 17th century, according to international researchers. (Reuters)

"Germany sets emergency measures to fight BSE" - "German officials have agreed on emergency measures to fight mad cow disease, including an immediate ban on the use of meat and bone meal in all animal feed. The quick agreement came after the first two German-born cows tested positive this week for the disease. (Irish Times)

"EU Refuses to Take Blame for BSE in Germany" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union's health chief rejected accusations on Saturday that the EU was to blame for the spread of mad cow disease in Germany and countered that Berlin had been lax in adopting safety measures." (Reuters)

"French farmers under siege as BSE fears grip continent" - "Evidence that cows may have contracted BSE after controls to halt the disease were imposed has fuelled a growing sense of panic" (Observer)

"Brain Ages Well with Wine, Japan Research Says" - "TOKYO - Wisdom comes with age but the odd glass of wine may also give senior citizens a boost in brain power." (Reuters)

"Maryland Village Endorses a Ban on Outdoor Smoking" - "CHEVY CHASE, Md., Nov. 22 — Smoking outdoors will soon be outlawed in a small corner of Maryland, except on private property, if the local Village Council gets its way.  In Friendship Heights, a neighborhood of about 5,000 residents in Chevy Chase, just outside Washington, the Council is seeking county approval for a ban on smoking in all public spaces that are maintained by the village. Under the ban, smoking on sidewalks, streets, patches of grass or any other area owned by the village would be punished with a $100 fine. Anyone discarding tobacco products in those areas would also be subject to the fine." (NY Times)

"BNFL plans new nuclear power plants" - "British Nuclear Fuels is lobbying for permission to build a new generation of nuclear power stations which, it claims, would help fight climate change and cut the UK's plutonium stockpile." (Observer)

"Britain's flooding 'not caused by global warming', say scientists" - "CLAIMS by Government ministers and the media that Britain's recent spate of bad weather is caused by global warming will be dismissed as scientific nonsense this week by leading climate experts. An international conference of experts on the European climate will be told that the heavy rainfall and flooding of recent months is entirely consistent with a well-known weather system, and shows no signs of being linked to global warming." (Telegraph)

CoP6 wrap - crashed and burned:

The Kyoto Protocol is as dead as a Monte Python parrot:

It's not pinin'! It's passed on! This protocol is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the trees it'd be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now 'istory! It's off the twig! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PROTOCOL!! (With apologies to the Monte Python team)

Enough already!

"Hubris and nemesis" - "THE Hague conference on climate change, which broke up yesterday in disarray, was surely this year's most elaborate expression of both the vanity of politics and the hubris of science." (The Sunday Telegraph)

"Climate conference falls short of goal" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Resigned to failure in reaching a detailed deal to stem global warming, delegates at a U.N. conference closed themselves in a room overnight to negotiate a broad statement instead. Two weeks of talks fell far short of agreement on a document setting the guidelines on how nations may reach targets they accepted three years ago for reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases." (AP)

Oops! "Climate conference reaches greenhouse gas deal"  - "A deal to cut greenhouse gases causing global warming has been reached at the international conference at The Hague, Environment Minister Michael Meacher says." (Ananova) [Independent]

"Climate talks collapse without a deal" - "International talks to save the planet from the threat of climate change collapsed when European Union ministers failed to reach a deal with the US." (Ananova)

'A Realistic Definition of “Success”' - "Statement by Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Netherlands Congress Center, The Hague" (Pe-ugh! Center for Generating Climate Claptrap)

Trying for job security Eileen? Ever wonder how that sits with the people whose lives and  livelihoods you are trying to destroy with this nonsense or have you no shame at all?

Oh no! Not this rubbish again! "Takuu's singing islanders pay the price for global warming" - "The 400 inhabitants of the atoll off the coast of Papua New Guinea are likely to be the first people in the world to lose their homeland to global warming. The sea is inexorably rising around them, the gardens where they grow their food are being flooded, and their sand dunes are being swept away." (Independent)

See Tectonic Setting and Volcanoes of Papua New Guinea, New Britain, and the Solomon Islands for the real reason these islands are sinking, providing the illusion that sea levels are rising.

"Parties blame each other for failure of climate talks" - "THE HAGUE -- Two weeks of international talks on how to cut pollution that is warming the planet ended in failure Saturday, leaving some environmental lobbyists in tears and delegates promising to continue their work. Disappointed negotiators pledged to meet again. But deep divisions between the two main bargaining blocs -- the United States, Canada and Japan and the European Union -- cast doubt on the prospects for a later agreement." (AP-CP)

"Climate summit delegates support conference resumption in 2001" - "The Hague--Nov. 25--Delegates at the U.N. global climate summit on Saturday supported conference president Jan Pronk's suggestion that the negotiation round at The Hague should be considered suspended rather than ended. Delegates commended Pronk on his chairmanship and said they hoped he would continue to chair the conference in its next session, which will likely take place in May-June 2001 in Bonn, Germany." (Bridge News)

"Science takes a back seat" - "If you'd been wanting to learn more about the science of climate change, then The Hague this last week was certainly not the place to be." (BBC Online's Alex "Global Warming" Kirby, so expect an advocacy bent)


November 25, 2000

"So much for the precautionary principle?" - "Speed limits 'threaten rail safety'. Safety measures taken since the Hatfield train crash have actually made rail travel more dangerous, it has been claimed. Government ministers have been advised that speed restrictions imposed since the 17 October crash have disrupted drivers' routines and made errors more likely, according to The Economist. BBC." (Social Issues Research Centre) [Independent]

"Environmentalists seeks parties behind acid rain suit" - "ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmentalists offered a ''reward'' Friday for the first person to reveal the identity of groups behind a suit challenging restrictions imposed by New York on where some pollution credits can be sold." (AP)

"New curbs on mobile masts" - "Plans have been announced to tighten the regulations on siting mobile phone masts in Scotland." (BBC Online) [Tighter mast controls (The Times)]

"Easy to treat now, but not in 1900" - "... There is a simmering international debate about whether GPs should prescribe antibiotics for otitis media (the medical term for an infection behind the ear drum). ... Although better hygiene and nutrition may have played a part in eradicating chronic ear infections and their complications, it is also likely that the treatment of middle-ear infections with antibiotics had a big impact." (Independent)

"Rude health is found to be in very bad taste" - "MANY foods that taste bitter, acrid or astringent are good for you. Sprouts, grapefruit, cabbage, kale, greens, spinach, dark chocolates and red wine contain dietary "phyto-nutrients" linked with cancer prevention and other health benefits, according to a review published yesterday. However, because of the off-putting taste of these beneficial substances, the food industry has devoted much effort to removing them, said Prof Adam Drewnowski, director of the University of Washington Nutritional Sciences Programme in Seattle." (Telegraph)

"Fat lot of use, says food industry" - "Australia's food manufacturers will be required to reveal the percentage of the main ingredient and details of saturated fats and sugars in their products under new laws agreed to by Australian and New Zealand health ministers on Friday. The adoption of the new food labelling regime drew concern from the Federal Government, with the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Senator Grant Tambling, claiming the new rules would impose an "unjustified cost on industry"." (AFR) [Dow Jones] [The Australian]

"BSE panic spreads across Europe" - "First cases reported in Germany and Spain amid calls for UK ban on French beef" (Guardian) [Germans panic over cases of BSE and CJD (Telegraph)] [Germany hit by first CJD cases (The Times)]

"Blindness among Indian children often avoidable" - "DELHI: A large percentage of blindness among children attending schools for the blind in India are due to avoidable causes, according to a study from the province of Andhra Pradesh. ... Vitamin A deficiency was the major preventable cause, occurring in 19 per cent, while cataract and glaucoma were the most common treatable causes." (Times of India)

Odd that our 'caring and sharing' so-called environmentalists are so adamantly opposed to biotech-enhanced Golden Rice for example, which could do so much to address this tragedy.

"Biotech Foods Can Help Defeat World Hunger - US Official" - "ROME--If carefully regulated, the use of biotechnology and genetically modified organisms can help defeat world hunger, A U.S. agriculture official said Friday." (AP)

"GE inquiry told of mistrust" - "Failure to tell people that they were eating genetically modified food has resulted in a high degree of mistrust and that attitude will be difficult to change, says a visiting consumer scientist. Dr Lynn Frewer, a psychologist who heads the consumer science division of Britain's Institute for Food Research, gave evidence before the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification in Wellington." (NZ Herald)

"Study Says Bugs Don`t Develop Resistance to Insect-Proof Cotton" - "In a study sure to rekindle debate on genetically modified crops, University of Arizona researchers found that bugs didn`t develop widespread resistance to the biotechnology industry`s insect-proof cotton. The research, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was good news for the biotechnology industry because it proves wrong earlier projections that the genetically engineered plants might quickly become obsolete." (WSJ)

"Germany meets biotech firms on restricting GM food" - "BERLIN, Nov 24 - The German government held a second day of talks with senior biotechnology industry officials on Friday, hoping to forge an agreement on the planting of genetically modified (GM) crops until 2003, sources said." (Reuters)

"Company Says Tracing Problem Corn May Take Weeks" - "It might take weeks to figure out how the insect-killing trait in genetically altered StarLink corn migrated into a variety of corn that was not supposed to be genetically modified, according to the Garst Seed Company, the producer of the corn." (NY Times)

"The Coming Electric Power Crisis" - "Recent events, particularly in California, have made it all too clear that the U.S. power generating system is short of the reserve capacity needed to prevent blackouts, and perhaps more importantly, to provide for stable electricity prices under free market conditions. My estimate is that an increase in the reserve margin of at least 5 % is needed very badly." (W Kenneth Davis, former US Deputy Secretary of Energy)


"Everest is emigrating to China, say experts" - "Beijing - The world's tallest peak is moving into China at a speed of six to seven centimetres per year from its position on the Nepal-China border, Chinese scientists have found." (Sapa-DPA)

Perhaps not too surprising given that the Himalayas are the result of tectonic movement. Do you suppose this rather than claimed global warming might be responsible for the claimed slight change in total height of Mt Everest?

"Weirdest UK weather since 1766" - "London - Britain has been suffering the most abnormal weather since rainfall records began more than 200 years ago, the Met Office said on Thursday. A spokesman for the national forecasting body said the heavy rain that has caused the worst floods for 50 years was expected to lash the country into next week." (Reuters)

So the weather is changing like the, uh... weather? If these are the worst floods for 50 years but records go back roughly 250 years they've experienced these events before then? Notably, before significant use of fossil fuels could have changed atmospheric CO2 constituents? Can't point the finger at enhanced greenhouse then can we. Interested in 'unusual' weather events? Try this link.

CoP6 & enhanced greenhouse wrap-up (hopefully):

"Global warming: the greens have the numbers" - "... COP6 has been a battleground between those who see climate change as an environmental problem with major economic implications, and those who see it as an opportunity to entrench green influence at the heart of "global governance", as the French President, Jacques Chirac, put it in his address to COP6 on Monday." (AFR)

"Viewpoint: The Sun and climate change" - "Natural processes involving changes in the Sun could have at least as powerful an effect on global temperature as increased emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)." (BBC Online)

"Global warming becomes storm in 229m teacups" - "TEA and coffee drinkers joined the Government's list of those responsible for global warming yesterday." (Telegraph)

"Tuvalu puts Fiji land purchase on hold" - "The plan to buy freehold land in Fiji was based on concerns about the impact of adverse climate change in Tuvalu and in particular, rising sea levels." (Radio Australia)

The stated reason is due to political instability in Fiji. A more likely reason is that claims of dramatic sea level rise have proven to be false. At the tidal facility in Funafuti no change can be discerned beyond ENSO variation (positive and negative). Nor have the IPCC's own contributing scientists been able to discern any acceleration in the normal, and very slow, rise in sea levels due to ongoing retreat of the last great glaciation. For a tiny country whose major income is derived from leasing their .tv internet domain suffix to television stations and porn sites, the capital cost of purchasing sufficient land to accommodate their 8,000-odd population elsewhere is an onerous burden on the national treasury.

"No Compromise on Warming" - "EU Delegates Say U.S. Compromise Would Subvert Integrity" (AP)

Uh-huh... "Firms Become 'Green' Advocates" - "THE HAGUE, Nov. 23 –– Many American corporations say they are now persuaded by the perils of greenhouse gases and have emerged as strong advocates of market-based solutions to cleanse the atmosphere of pollutants that trap heat and raise the Earth's temperature." (Washington Post)

"Negotiators mull energy compromise" - "THE HAGUE — Negotiators from 180 nations worked overnight to piece together an agreement on global warming with far-reaching consequences for the U.S. economy and environment. Any agreement coming out of the U.N. negotiations here, which are slated to end today, could require Americans to cut their energy use and emissions by as much as one-third by 2012." (Washington Times)

"Green light to increase emissions" - "AUSTRALIA'S alignment with the US in this week's climate change talks appeared to have reaped rewards last night after a draft agreement allowed a marginal increase in greenhouse gas emissions." (The Australian)

"Global warming bogeyman" - "European legends abound with tales of "changelings" wherein trolls and other mythical beings secretly steal newborn human offspring, exchanging them for misshapen, mentally inferior creatures. Now this ancient curse is afflicting our scientific and public policy processes, as political trolls replace careful analysis with grotesque, inferior substitutes. Four years ago, a single author secretly altered a peer-reviewed scientific summary by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He deleted important conclusions and added a baseless claim that there had been a "discernible human influence" on global climate." (Washington Times)

Additional coverage:

November 24, 2000

"Media, Activist Turkeys Ignore Butterfly Thanksgiving" - "The media missed some major biotech corn-Monarch butterfly news last week. A casual observer might conclude the media were too wrapped up in the butterfly ballot controversy in Florida. But a more likely explanation lies in the unfortunate media doctrine, 'good news isn’t news.'" (Steve Milloy at FoxNews.com)

Applying Ockham's Razor to human-induced global warming hypotheses
Special to Junkscience.com

"O'HARE POLLUTION ISN'T WORSE THAN AREA'S, ILLINOIS EPA SAYS" - "State environmental officials are finding that air pollution around O'Hare International Airport is little different from that in other parts of the city, midway through a six-month study. Wednesday's announcement by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency appeared to be at odds with a study released last summer by Park Ridge that called engine emissions from the airport a health hazard. While the suburban study, touted widely by opponents of airport expansion, included a controversial risk assessment, the state EPA project is focused on measuring four toxic compounds generated by combustion." (Chicago Tribune)

"One in three get cancer before turning 75" - "CANCER will strike a third of all Australians before they turn 75, new statistics reveal. In a snapshot of the nation's health, researchers say 80,000 Australians can expect to be diagnosed with cancer this year. Of those, more than 10,000 will develop the disease because they have smoked cigarettes." (Sydney Daily Telegraph)

Again... "Medical Experts Divided on Hazards of Mobile Phones" - "LONDON - It's no wonder that the public are confused about the health hazards of mobile phones. Even scientists are divided on how dangerous they may be." (Reuters)

This debate will continue in its undefined state for the simple reason that effects, if any, are so subtle that they cannot be defined. EMFs (Electro-Magnetic Fields) are certainly not new to humanity, in fact, as biological entities we generate and utilise weak EMFs ourselves. For at least a half-century, urban residents in developed regions have been liberally dosed with anthropogenic (human generated) EMFs and yet lifespans and quality of life are still increasing. This suggests, but does not prove, that effects are not of significant concern. As with all the potential hazards in life, you pays your money and you takes your chance. If mobiles are an important tool or convenience in your life then use them with confidence, if not, and you suspect they may do you harm, then don't. Either way, worrying about their potential hazard appears to be the greatest health-risk faced by users.

"Weight Extremes Influence Fertility - Study" - "LONDON - Women who want to get pregnant should watch their weight because being too thin or too fat could reduce their fertility, Australian doctors said on Friday. New research by scientists at the University of Adelaide shows that women with the best weight for their height and shape have a better chance of getting pregnant than women who are skinny or obese." (Reuters)

So, women who are fittest and healthiest have a better chance of conceiving... and someone got paid for this research?

"Warning on garlic pills in surgery" - "A woman almost went blind after haemorrhaging during a routine eye operation because she had taken blood-thinning garlic supplements, a conference was told yesterday. The case, believed to be the world's first report of garlic-induced bleeding during eye surgery, should serve as a warning to consumers of naturopathic products, opthalmologist Susan Carden said." (The Age)

"Pro-transgenic meet to propagate GM crops" - "CALCUTTA: Farmers, scientists and policy makers will get together in a pro-transgenic crops meet here on December 8 to deliberate on what is hindering the entry of genetically modified (GM) products into India and find ways to reach cutting-edge plant biotechnology to the masses." (PTI)

"NZ veterinarians warn against going GM - free" - "WELLINGTON - New Zealand farming will suffer if the country goes GM (genetically modified) free, the NZ Veterinary Association said yesterday. New Zealand is currently holding a Royal Commission on Genetic Modification and the Veterinary Association comments stemmed from its submission to the inquiry." (Reuters)

"Editorial: Non-Thanksgiving Turkey" - "Corn -- or maize as the Indians called it -- has been part of Thanksgiving traditions since the beginning. But this year, many Americans have found that processed corn products, such as cornmeal for stuffing or chips for dip, are difficult to find. They have a regulatory turkey from federal regulators to thank. This completely wrong-headed policy has three parts:" (Henry I. Miller, M.D., American Council on Science and Health)

Speaking of turkeys, here's a beaut: "Thanksgiving turkey? Think twice about the entree" (from ENN, apparently sponsored by HSUS)

and what happens when animals are overprotected? This AP piece offers a clue.

'Scientists developing artificial "plants"' - "Australian researchers are developing revolutionary technology that may help to combat the Greenhouse Effect and create food and an alternative source of fuel at the same time."

Apparently nothing has a hope of attracting research funds unless 'greenhouse' is worked into the application somehow.

CoP6, enhanced greenhouse ad nauseam ...

Oh dear! "Climate change will bankrupt the world" - "Leading insurance expert warns conference that the cost of damage caused by global warming will exceed all resources by 2065" (Independent) [BBC Online]

Oldest (and shoddiest) subterfuge in the book. Using fiscal value of storm damage provides no indication of the relative severity of weather events. All that increasing damage claims tells you is that a wealthier society is placing a greater value of structure/property in high-risk regions - waterfront condos or whatever - because it is (usually) a pleasant location and people who can afford to do so choose to live in pleasant seaside or river valley locations (people like living near water). The downside, of course, is that higher than average water levels cause significant property damage and that is to be expected. After all, the water is there because that is the natural drainage lie of the land.

Some events demonstrate greater destructive force due to changes in land use and paving causing greater runoff rates than traditionally occurred, that isn't an artefact of climate but rather poor planning and engineering.

This sort of nonsense is easily countered by analysis of wind strength and precipitation during extreme weather events, which has shown a general slight, but statistically significant, decline during the twentieth century. Some seasons will locally (or even globally) demonstrate 1 in 10-, 1 in 50-, 100- or even 500-year events but these are to be expected because the geologic record tells that they do occur, albeit irregularly, in that locale. Just because say, York, records flood levels last recorded in 16-something doesn't indicate a major shift in climatic conditions, merely it's a case of "Wow! Look at that! we've recorded another instance of something that happened before."

With both the Pacific Decadal and North Atlantic Oscillations apparently entering cool phases we could be in for some extreme weather (cold conditions generally equate to greater severity of weather events than do warm) but this would fit with global cooling rather than warming.

"Protest And Pollution: Climate Summit in The Balance" - "THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, November 23, 2000 - Strategic climate policies could prevent eight million deaths over the next two decades, according to the World Health Organisation. Food for thought, as delegates enter the last 24 hours of the 6th Conference of Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 6)." (ENS)

Really? How many lives will be lost due to economic suppression slashing development aid availability, health programs, subsidised sanitation and reticulated water infrastructure, medical and food aid... Factor in loss of available surplus finance and effort beyond simple societal support and it should be fairly obvious that any attempt to implement Kyoto, to not address a problem that doesn't exist outside the virtual world of computer models, would be an unmitigated disaster for humanity and the environment.

The SOLE demonstrated physical effect of elevating atmospheric CO2 is increased phyto-productivity, a net benefit for the entire biosphere. For this we should destroy the global economy and and slash living standards? Oh puh-lease!

"It's the worst weather since..." - "Today's weather isn't quite what you think" (National Post)

"How UN agenda drives The Hague" - "Despite uncertain science, the politics of climate change guarantees developed nations will pay a big price for global warming" (David Wojick, National Post)

"Movement Seen at Climate Conference" (AP)

I don't doubt that - it's certainly giving me the s**ts!

"Bid to break climate talks impasse" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The United States and European Union are poring over a last-ditch compromise proposal as the deadline for an accord at U.N. talks on climate change rapidly approaches." (Reuters)

Sigh... will this farce never end? "Deadlocked UN climate talks go into extra time" - "THE HAGUE - - Negotiators facing the spectre of failure at UN climate talks agreed to extend the parlay by a day in hopes of clearing a thicket of disputes entangling an agreement on fighting global warming. The negotiations on implementation of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming had been scheduled to wrap up on Friday after a three-year marathon. But the deadline was pushed back by a day after late-night haggling failed to resolve the most bitterly-fought disputes over how to reduce the levels of so-called greenhouse gases that lead to global warming." (AFP)

"Compromised global warming treaty favours US" - "Efforts to broker a deal on the United Nation's treaty on global warming have gathered pace, with a proposed compromise by conference organisers that appears to offer significant ground to the United States. ... But as delegations discuss the document, environmental groups have decried it as a sellout, urging the European Union to block it." (ABC News Online)

"Climate Talks May Be Moot Amid Green Power Advances" - "NEW YORK - Judging from the sound and fury emanating from the global climate talks in the Hague this week, the world's politicians may be living up to their reputation for being ten years behind the times. While their concerns about global warming are justified, advances by private business in making fuel cells and other green technologies financially viable could make all the political hand-wringing redundant before too long, analysts say." (Reuters)

Usual wildly fanciful piece generated by RMI.

"Gas guzzlers face $4,000 penalty" - "VICTORIA -- The provincial government is floating the idea of a stiff new tax that could add up to $4,000 to the cost of vans, large pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles." (Vancouver Sun)


November 23, 2000

"Early puberty: early obesity a likely cause" - "This letter was written in response to an article Time published on October 30, 2000 that discussed early puberty in girls and linked it to a variety of possible causes. The condition of accelerated puberty in girls is more of a hypothesis than a widely observed phenomenon—in spite of anecdotal reports. Your article seemed to emphasize the vague possibility that a host of chemicals, those found in the environment or in foods, could initiate early puberty. But the only scientifically documented cause is the increase in childhood obesity, and the demonstrated involvement of fat cell-derived leptin in initiating pubertal events. Next time, I hope you will do your readers a favor by presenting such stories in a more realistic context, rather than alarming them on the basis of weak scientific evidence." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"Fat is not a sin but an organ vital to survival" - "BODY fat is good for the health, medical experts said yesterday. It boosts the immune systems, produces hormones, plays an important role in metabolism and is actually an organ performing vital bodily functions." (Telegraph)

"Coalition Says DDT Needed to Control Malaria" - "WASHINGTON - Tropical and subtropical nations facing a spiraling malaria crisis should be allowed to use DDT to control the spread of the disease, a renowned malaria researcher said here Tuesday. The press briefing was scheduled 2 weeks before a United Nations-sponsored conference considers whether to ban the pesticide worldwide. ``DDT should not be used on a large scale on the environment,'' Dr. Donald R. Roberts, professor of tropical public health in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, told Reuters Health. ``But DDT for malaria control is applied only to the inside of walls of houses and in very minute amounts.'' (Reuters Health) [Malaria toll]

"WHO Plans Better World Water Supply to Cut Disease" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes to halve the numbers of people without access to water supply and sanitation by 2015 and drastically cut the planet's annual death toll from water-borne diseases." (Reuters)

"Concerns Grow Over Reactions to Lyme Shots" - "Federal health authorities are investigating whether some people who received the vaccine against Lyme disease later developed severe cases of arthritis and even Lyme disease itself as a result." (NY Times)

"Mad cows, Bretons and manganese" - "The French cases of BSE may not have been spread from Britain" (Guardian [parenthetically, probably the least irrational thing Monbiot's ever written])

"Swiss Scientists Find New Way to Detect Mad Cow Disease" - "ZURICH - Swiss scientists have discovered a new way to detect the presence of mad cow disease or its human equivalent, which could be the basis for a cure and a way to purify donor blood, they said Wednesday." (Reuters) [New Scientist]

"Overreacting" - "Repeated food scares have led us to this: Waukesha, Wisconsin elementary schools are considering banning homemade treats and classroom cooking. The move comes in response to an E. coli outbreak that caused 30 illnesses earlier this year, which may have been caused by a sick child contaminating a food bar. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail and little Johnny will be able to bring in a homemade sandwich and some of grandma's cookies. As University of Wisconsin-Madison food safety scientist Michael Pariza puts it, "Kids have been doing this for years, and the risks are pretty darn low." (GuestChoice.com)

"Do models really cause anorexia?" - "Popular science links eating disorders to the fashion for thin models. But new research suggests otherwise: genes, trauma and even religion may play a part" [Eating disorders: the latest theories] (Independent)

"Hospital infections kill 5,000 every year" - "Infections caught while in hospital kill about 5,000 people a year and affect at least 100,000 people, a damning report by MPs warned yesterday." (Independent) [BBC Online]

Is it just my sloppy arithmetic or do mortalities attributed to pollutants (e.g., vehicle emissions), smoking (voluntary and "second hand"), hospitals (cross infection, "super-bugs", poor treatment... ), "environmentally-induced cancer" (if any such entity exists) etc., etc. actually exceed total mortalities? With a mean life expectancy of 72 years you would expect a mortality rate of roughly 1.4% of the population per annum and yet a quick review of the last year's scares and releases suggests a UK rate of more than 2% from unnatural causes. Doesn't anybody die of what used to be called 'natural causes' anymore?

"City levels of pollution lower than Euro average" - "LEVELS of cancer-causing pollution in the capital are lower than other major European capitals according to the initial findings of new research. This is despite a recent OECD report which warned that air pollution is far higher in Ireland than the Euro average." (Irish Independent)

"Peers warn of fatal blood clots on long journeys" - "Long-distance travellers – whether by coach to Carlisle or by jumbo jet to Johannesburg – should take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in their legs, a report said yesterday." [Airlines rapped over passenger health] (Independent) [Perils of cheap flights may force up prices (Guardian)] [Health warnings may be included on international flight tickets (ABC News Online)]

"Gene Therapy Used to Cure Rodents with Diabetes" - "LONDON - Scientists said on Wednesday they have used a new type of gene therapy to cure diabetes in mice and rats which could pave the way for new treatments for millions of people with the disease." (Reuters) [New Scientist]

"Gene Increases Risk of Late-Onset Alzheimer's" - "NEW YORK - Several genes have been identified that increase the risk of early-onset Alzheimer's disease, but now scientists have identified a gene that may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease later in life." (Reuters Health)

"Organic is 'good', even when the GM version is better" - "EARLIER this month, scientists in Atlanta announced that a pesticide called Rotenone, which is used by organic farmers and gardeners, can cause the equivalent of Parkinson's disease in rats. That organic farmers use pesticides at all might surprise some people. But how exactly is organic food defined?" (Telegraph)

"Lack Of Antioxidants Behind Third World Kwashiorkor" - "Mainstream America has been bombarded in recent years with advertisements touting the health benefits of antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta carotene. But a new study from the University of Florida and Washington University in St. Louis suggests that they may be far more important to children in other parts of the world who have a severe form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor." (UniSci)

Tell me again why Potrykus' Golden Rice is such a bad thing.

"Sheep thriving in GMO feeding trial" - "Increased wool growth and live weight gain in Merino sheep are the results of a recent CSIRO feeding trial using genetically modified lupins. The trial explored nutritional benefits of lupin seeds genetically modified to incorporate a sunflower gene that stimulates the production of a highly nutritious protein." (CSIRO)

"Consumers, Industry At Odds Over Benefits Of Bio-Sugar" - "LONDON -- European consumers can`t see the benefits of genetically modified sugar, and are calling for better labeling and clearer information, a European consumers group officer said Tuesday." (Dow Jones)

"Public opinion 'not a good GM guide'" - "A United States bioethicist told the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification in Wellington yesterday that public opinion should not be the basis of society's ethical decisions. Gary Comstock, Iowa State University bioethics programme co-ordinator, had been asked by Greenpeace cross-examiner Duncan Currie whether people should have the right, if they wished, to be able to avoid genetically modified products. "One hundred and fifty years ago, people said women shouldn't hold property or vote. This was a view held even by women. "They were wrong. The fact that people have an opinion is totally irrelevant to ethics." (NZ Herald)

"Drugs on tap from morning dew" - "THE "sweat" of plants could in future yield a rich harvest of drugs and chemicals. That is the hope of researchers who have created tobacco plants that ooze foreign proteins from their leaves each morning." (New Scientist)

"Corn leaving bad taste in world markets as GMO worries build" - "NEW YORK, Nov 22 - Corn, as American as apple pie, is leaving a bad taste in many countries and opening up a new front in the war over so-called Frankenstein food." (Reuters)

"Genetically Altered Protein Found in Still More Corn" - "A controversial genetically modified corn protein that isn`t approved for human consumption has turned up in more corn than just the StarLink version, indicating the exposure may be wider than previously known." (Dow Jones) [AP] [Washington Post]

"Farm groups want Aventis held liable for bio-corn" - "WASHINGTON, Nov 21 - A grassroots coalition of farmers worried about the costs of StarLink corn contamination said Tuesday it wants state attorneys general to push for legislation to make seed companies liable for any financial losses from gene-altered crops." (Reuters)

Hmm... wanna make them beneficiaries of any profits too?

"Dismay at official backing for GM crop trials" - "The Government's interdepartmental committee on biotechnology favours developing the controversial technology here and recommends that genetically modified crop trials continue and that Government agencies encourage cultivation of GM crops." (Irish Times)

CoP6, enhanced greenhouse, fraudulent climate scaremongering...

Wackier by the day: "Melting ice sheets 'would threaten millions'"  - "Large areas of the Earth's most densely population regions could be washed off the map by future sea level rises, according to a report by climate scientists. The process, partly caused by the melting of Greenland's ice sheet, may take 1,000 years or more but once under way will be "irreversible", it is claimed." (Ananova) [New Scientist]

Remember Conway & Hall's research published in Science last year? The WAIS (West Antarctic Ice Sheet) has been melting at a fairly consistent pace for at least 7,000 years and, in just another 7,000 (without the onset of another ice age), could be gone completely. There's no sign of that process accelerating though.

How about the position statement released by the Antarctic Cooperative Research Center, predicting little change even under the scenario of a tripling of atmospheric CO2?

There's also the equally-valid hypothesis that, should the world warm, increased evaporation and polar precipitation would actually slow the inexorable sea level rise occurring due to Earth's recovery from the last major glaciation. Claims of a drowning world due to enhanced greenhouse are pure propaganda, devoid of sound scientific basis.

"U.S. in Dock at Climate Talks, Small States Fret" - "THE HAGUE - Small islands threatened by rising sea levels are watching in dismay as U.N. climate talks on global warming make tortuous progress ahead of a Friday night deadline for sealing an agreement." (Reuters)

"'No acceleration' in Pacific sea rise" - "If the burning of fossil fuels is forcing the Earth to warm up, the rapid rise in sea levels that some expect from the thermal expansion of the oceans has yet to show itself clearly. ... Dr Wolfgang Scherer, director of the National Tidal Facility (NTF) of Flinders University, South Australia, which undertook the review, told BBC News Online that the much larger increases in global sea level predicted by some climate models were not apparent in their regional data. "There is no acceleration in sea level rise - none that we can discern, at all," he said.' (BBC Online)

"World 'has not got any warmer since 1940'" - "THE world has not warmed since 1940, according to tree rings, coral reef and ice core boreholes, one of the world's leading "global warming" sceptics told a meeting at the climate change conference. Prof Fred Singer, a meteorologist at the University of Virginia, used temperature data assembled by James Hanson of Nasa, who first highlighted the problem of climate change, to challenge the findings of the Inter-governmental Panel on the subject which underpin the Kyoto climate treaty." (Telegraph)

"Science Not Seated at Climate Conference" - "THE HAGUE, The Netherlands – The assumption here at COP 6, the big United Nations climate change conference, is that the science is settled. The planet is warming, humans are at fault and the way to arrest an impending disaster is by reducing the production of greenhouse gases by industry and individuals. ... But is the science settled?" (TCS)

Groan... "Global warming shrinking Mount Everest" - "Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, was shrinking as a result of global warming, China's Xinhua news agency reported today. Researchers at the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping discovered that the thickness of snow on Everest's peak had decreased during the last 30 years, the agency said." (AFP)

"U.S. global warming stance prompts pie in the face" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The top U.S. diplomat at a U.N. climate conference was hit in the face with a pie on Wednesday, as activists and delegates alike expressed frustration over unproductive talks meant to curb fossil fuel emissions." (CNN) [Protests fail to derail climate talks (BBC Online)]

About as rational discourse as can be expected at a circus. Wisely, NET issued: U.S. Environmental Groups Decry "Pieing" of Official

"The Kyoto myth" - "... Under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, Americans would have to curtail their use of energy sufficiently that an overall reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 5-7 percent below 1990 levels is achieved. The reduction in industrial/economic activity needed to get to this goal would entail massive new energy taxes or draconian rationing schemes; there is simply no other means by which a reduction in CO2 of the magnitude demanded by the Kyoto Protocol could be achieved. A reduction of economic/industrial activity of that massive can be described simply, in one word — depression." (Washington Times editorial)

"Uncertainty renders Kyoto a COP-out" - "Australia's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will stall unless there was agreement on the implementation of the Kyoto protocol, the Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, has warned." (AFR)

What the world really needs is a CoP-out campaign - period.

"Warming treaty ratification in limbo" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Clinton administration has abandoned efforts to comply with a key demand of the Senate that developing countries be included in the global-warming treaty, top Clinton officials said here yesterday. Senate aides said the administration's decision to stop lobbying developing countries to submit to stringent emissions reductions like those required of the United States under the treaty further jeopardizes prospects for ratification in the Senate. "They'll have nothing to present to the Senate" if the treaty emerges from negotiations this week without Third World countries on board, said Deb Fiddelke, spokesman for Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican and a Senate observer at the negotiations." (Washington Times)

"US bubbly over carbon trade" - "At The Hague climate conference this week, some envision a $500 billion market. Others see flaws." (CSM)

"Axworthy goes to bat for Canada on climate" - "Tells summit at The Hague that damaging effects of change already being felt as northern ice melts, polar bears starve" (GAM)

"CO2 emissions to soar" - "Carbon dioxide emissions, which are thought by scientists to contribute to global warming, are set to increase by 60 per cent by 2020, a new study by the Paris-based International Energy Agency has found. The IEA's annual World Energy Outlook, published on Tuesday, says energy demand will grow by a steady 2 per cent a year, swelling carbon dioxide emissions by 2.1 per cent annually - one third from power generation." (Financial Times)

"Chretien hints feds may 'squeeze' greenhouse gas emission firms" - "PRESCOTT, ONT - Oil and gas companies and other private sectors involved in greenhouse gas emissions could start feeling the federal squeeze to clean up their act, Prime Minister Jean Chretien hinted yesterday." (Canoe)

Yeah, big deal... "Global Energy Demand and Emissions on the Rise" - "THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, November 22, 2000 - Renewable energy will be the fastest growing source of power over the next 20 years, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The bad news is that the combined share of the energy mix from solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sites will rise to only three percent by 2020 from its current level of two percent." (ENS)

"Poor countries lash out at rich" - "The Hague - Poorer countries that will bear the brunt of climate change took the lash to prosperous nations at the global warming talks on Tuesday, accusing them of hypocrisy and selfishness that had placed the world in peril. Efforts to build a UN treaty to tackle atmospheric warming have been crippled by rich, polluting countries which had caused the problem but were fighting desperately to avoid paying the bill, they charged." (Sapa-AFP)

CoP6 sundries:

November 22, 2000

Much of the world's media seems transfixed by the possibility of the next US president being chosen by 'pregnant chads,' (the result of people having a vote but not penetrating), despite there being no controlling legal pregnancy.

Must be US Thanksgiving time:

"Holiday Repast Contains Many Chemicals: Natural Ones" - "For the past few decades, Americans have been manifesting a chronic condition best described as "chemicalphobia." All around us, ads brag that products are "100% natural" or "organic" or chemical free." Many consumers think that "chemical" is the opposite of "natural"—and the opposite of "good." Viewed in this context, the 100-percent natural Holiday Dinner Menu that the American Council on Science and Health publishes each year comes as quite an eye-opener." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"Organic Turkey Doesn't Fly" - "Would you pay up to $4 a pound for a turkey that is no safer to eat and no tastier than one you could get for less than a dollar a pound? That's what you'll be doing if you buy into nanny hype and end up buying an "organic" turkey this Thanksgiving." (GuestChoice.com)

"Make food safety a holiday tradition"- "The same holiday tables that groan with delightful treats also may harbor disease-causing bacteria. But there are lots of strategies available to keep the celebration from leaving the dining room for the hospital emergency room." (CNN)

"The good bugs" - "Mounting evidence that some bacteria are good for our health gives rise to a whole new kind of food" (Boston Globe)

Recycled B.S. scare du jour: "Asbestos traces raise crayon concern" - "A best-selling brand of children's crayons have been found to contain minute traces of asbestos by independent tests. Officials in both Denmark and Norway have expressed concern about the crayons, while the US authorities have already asked for the product to be reformulated." (BBC Online)

Curse of the Killer Crayons - "... Asbestos has proved to be a powerful carcinogen when inhaled in massive amounts over a period of years by people whose job it was to install it, mine it, or weave it into cloth. Even then, non-smokers had far less risk. But neither the CPSC nor a separate lab hired by the crayon makers was able to find a single asbestos fiber released from using crayons with asbestos in them. "I don't think you could force a fiber from a crayon into the air if you wanted to," says Lamb, who also sits on the Toxic Advisory Board for the Art and Creative Materials Institute. Don't kids eat crayons, though? Sure. But there is no evidence that any amount of ingested asbestos is harmful. While the EPA gives inhaled asbestos its highest cancer rating, it has no rating at all for ingested asbestos. That said, by law the EPA must set a limit on how much asbestos we can be exposed to in drinking water. That amount, according to Lamb, "is about equal to what a child would get from consuming 3,500 asbestos-containing crayons a year." If your kid is eating that many crayons, asbestos is the least of your worries." (Michael Fumento)

"Malaria Rising As DDT Use Falls, Scientist Says" - "WASHINGTON - Malaria rates are climbing in poor countries that have stopped using the pesticide DDT to control the deadly disease, a tropical diseases expert warned on Tuesday." (Reuters)

100 things you should know about DDT; Facts Versus Fears: DDT

Mercury mania seems to be building to self-sustaining panic pitch: "Mercury thermometers taking heat for toxic risks" - "Once the talisman of fretful parents and a tool of kids seeking a reprieve from school, the mercury thermometer is being legislated out of existence in Boston and elsewhere by environmentalists, health groups and government officials concerned about the potentially lethal mercury contained within the thin glass rods." (USA Today)

"ANALYSIS - Batteries drive lead as environment fears recede" - "LONDON - Batteries will remain the driving force behind lead demand, but the threat of substitution, due to environmental concerns, has largely receded, analysts and industry sources said." (Reuters)

"U.S. study finds mentally ill are twice as likely to smoke" - "CHICAGO, Illinois -- A report from the Harvard Medical School released Tuesday estimated that people with diagnosable mental illness account for nearly 45 percent of the total cigarette market in the United States." (Reuters) [Smoking and Mental Illness (JAMA) "Conclusions: Persons with mental illness are about twice as likely to smoke as other persons but have substantial quit rates."]

So, people of sound mind are less easily coerced to quit? Submitted comment: "Is there any hypothesis about smoking that's so absurd it won't get funded? Didn't think so." Actually Anne, I think that's a given.

"Breast-feeding may protect against asthma" - "NEW YORK: Breast-fed children are less likely than others to have asthma or wheezing disorders, results of a study of more than 5,000 Brazilian schoolchildren indicate." (Reuters)

"Scientist who faked data loses funding" - "Dr. Evan Dreyer, a former Boston vision researcher, has been slapped with a 10-year cutoff of federal research funds for faking data in 1996 at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. The penalty is one of the heaviest levied by the federal Office of Research Integrity, its director, Christopher Pascal, said yesterday." (Boston Globe)

"Results of Yale study confirm aspirin helpful in preventing a first heart attack" - "New Haven, Conn. – An overview by a Yale researcher of four studies examining the use of aspirin and the reduction of heart attacks in persons with no previous history of cardiovascular disease shows aspirin remains a good preventive measure." (YU)

"Flight syndrome 'affects all'" - "AIR passengers who travel first class are in just as much danger as those in the cheap seats from the condition misleadingly called "economy-class syndrome", according to the first official investigation into the problem, published today." (Telegraph)

"Airlines must warn of flight health risks" - "AIRLINES will be told today to issue health warnings with long-haul tickets, telling passengers about the danger of blood clots from cramped conditions." (The Times)

"Snacking, moving can decrease risk of flight-related blood clots" - "NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- Take your next airplane flight with a little food and drink, doctors advise. A snack or small meal and non-alcoholic beverage may decrease the risk of what is being called "economy class syndrome," or clot formation in the deep leg veins." (CNN)

"Addicted to bodybuilding" - "Bodybuilders are particularly vulnerable of becoming addicted to their sport - and the atmosphere in the gym may be to blame." (BBC Online)

"Golden Rice in a Grenade-Proof Greenhouse" - "ZURICH — In a quiet village on the outskirts of Zurich, a genetically engineered strain of rice that its creator says could save millions of children's lives is locked up in a grenade-proof greenhouse as if it were the Frankenstein monster that some critics contend it is." (NY Times)

"Some Grain Companies Dissuade Farmers From Using Biotech Seed" - "Bruised by recalls of food containing Starlink corn, some giant grain processors are discouraging Midwest farmers from raising some other types of bioengineered crops. The resistance from the processors, coming as the seed-selling season is just ramping up, could hurt the crop biotechnology industry." (WSJ)

"Pest Resistance To Genetically Modified Cotton Not Seen" - "Results of a new study published in today's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may diminish fears about one of the potential pitfalls of genetically modified crops. Bt cotton has a gene transferred from the bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) that lets plants produce a natural insecticide, thus reducing reliance on sprays of chemical insecticides. A major concern is that pests could quickly evolve resistance to the Bt toxin in genetically modified cotton. According to the new study, this has not happened." (UniSci)

"Blair Warns Against Anti-science Attitude" (Summary) - "The Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Times of London and the Independent have all recently reported that Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned GM food protestors, including the Prince of Wales, against an anti-science agenda. During a speech made at the European Bioscience Conference in London, Blair attacked "anti-science attitudes" and warned that the Government would not allow blackmail and physical assault to stand in the way of research. He also warned the public of the dangers of slipping into "anti-science" attitudes which could deprive Britain of the benefits of cutting-edge research and technology." [To read Tony Blair's speech, click here] (TKC)

"FOOD BIOTECHNOLOGY: Promising Havoc or Hope for the Poor?" - "Despite its tremendous potential for safer and more nutritious foods, biotechnology has become a major source of international contention." (Proteus)

"For The Children" - "Golden Rice" is genetically engineered to deliver vitamin A, a lack of which the World Health Organization says causes about 500,000 children to go blind and 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 to die each year. "There are 3,500 children dying every day. I think we should not delay one day," says Dr. Ingo Potrykus, commenting on the release of Golden Rice. Nonetheless, anti-choice groups like Greenpeace, Chefs Collaborative, and the Organic Consumers Association continue to oppose genetically engineered food and play a part in preventing the release and widespread use of this life-saving technology." (GuestChoice.com)

"Consumers, industry spar over GM sugar benefits" - "LONDON - European consumer resistance to genetically modified (GM) sugar and other food is growing due to concern over potential risks to human health and the environment, a European consumer food lobbyist said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Japan, US finalise testing of food corn shipments" - "TOKYO - The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Japan's Health Ministry have finalised details of an agreement for testing corn shipped to Japan as food to ensure it does not contain the genetically modified StarLink strain of grain, a US official said yesterday." (Reuters)

CoP(6) this: "Chirac: Kyoto 'First Step Toward Global Governance'" - "The Hague, Netherlands, November 20, 2000 – French President Jacques Chirac electrified this Sixth Conference of the Parties to the UN framework treaty on global warming, praising that agreement as “the first step toward global governance.” (Chris Horner, CEI)

Certainly there's no surer path to world domination than seizing control of the energy supply.

"The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men ..." - "As representatives of the nations of the earth strive to hammer out an agreement to limit CO2 emissions to the atmosphere (ostensibly for the purpose of halting global warming), great opportunities for wrecking economic and ecological havoc - both unanticipated and, in some cases, actually planned - invariably raise their ugly heads.  Why invariably?  Because money and power tend to corrupt even the best of us; for we are, after all, only human.  And when we're talking about the global economy and the power to regulate human activity on a planet-wide basis, one can be almost assured that the best interests of the biosphere - including ours! - may not be well served." (co2science.org)

"Scientists Continue To Assail Climate Treaty" - "THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS — In the midst of negotiations on how to significantly reduce emissions from energy use, "dissident" scientists are vocally objecting to the premise that individual and industrial human activities influence Nature's dynamic processes, and the absence of a critical debate." (Chris Horner, Cooler Heads Counsel)

"It's official, America is full of hot air" - "Each American emits three times more greenhouse gases than a Frenchman," the French President, Mr Jacques Chirac, said on Monday." (AFR) [Chirac targeting of US seen as unproductive by Senators (Earth Times)]

Good coverage of CoP6 available at Tech Central Station - see ‘Walk Away’ From ‘Useless Process’ at Hague, Says Rep. Emerson and an interview with Sen Chuck Hagel - "The fact is, if you go back and review the Byrd-Hagel resolution, which passed 95-0, and it is very clear, very simple, very direct and it did such two things. The United States Senate would not ratify any protocol, any treaty that did not, number 1, include all nations of the world under the same kind of mandatory, legally binding conditions as Europe or the United States. Number two, we would not ratify any treaty that will do economic harm to the United States. Right now, of course, the first condition of the Byrd-Hagel resolution is not even close to being complied with. And as far as ratifying it, no industrialized nation has ratified the treaty yet, and not one of the 134 developing countries have even indicated any willingness to voluntarily abide by any of the protocols of nations’ stipulations." (TCS)

"Urban Heat Islands of Small Towns" - "... Consequently, there is ample opportunity for very large errors to occur in attempts to reconstruct true non-urban temperature trends, as towns with as few as 1,000 inhabitants create a warming of the air within them that is over twice as great as the increase in mean global air temperature believed to have occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age. This fact casts a pall of uncertainty over claims that the globe has warmed by even a fraction of a degree over the past century, and especially over the last two decades." (co2science.org)

"CO2 emissions seen rising well above targets - IEA" - "LONDON - Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which contribute to unwanted climate change will grow at a rate of about two percent a year from now to 2020, despite efforts to reduce them, the International Energy Agency said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Heading for meltdown?" - "The Antarctic is shrinking, the Arctic is thinning and the glaciers are melting. Are we all about to be swamped?" (SMH)

"Nations in standoff over issues at global warming conference" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Delegates at a U.N. climate change conference deadlocked Tuesday over commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as industrial nations sparred with one another and developing countries complained of being ignored." (Reuters)

"Commentary: U.S. negotiators say agreement on climate details is important, but not at any cost" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov. 21 -- Relations grew more strained between American negotiators and their constituents amid allegations the U.S. team gave up too much, too fast during negotiations on limiting emissions from energy consumption. As the first of two weeks of bargaining lurched toward a belated finish, concerns emerged about how the U.S. could regain any strength in the negotiating position with which it entered the session." (UPI)

"US rebuff hots up climate talks" - "The political temperature of the climate change talks at The Hague rose on Tuesday after the European Union emphatically rejected a compromise proposal put forward by the US on one of the most contentious issues in the negotiations." (Financial Times)

"Europe pressures U.S. to cut emissions" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The United States and Europe clashed yesterday over how to carry out the global-warming treaty, with two Republican senators warning that the pact is endangered by European attempts to box the United States into deep energy cuts." (Washington Times)

"Canada called environmental dinosaur" - "Canada is being labelled a dinosaur, and has captured three fossil-of-the-day awards from world environment groups, for its stand as the climate summit goes into its second, critical week in The Hague. That makes Canada one of the three least green of the 160 governments attending the summit, in the view of the international environmental community. The worst offender is Japan, followed by Canada and the United States third." (GAM)

"Canberra 'blocking Kyoto progress'" - "AUSTRALIA is blocking progress in negotiations at the UN climate change conference in The Netherlands and searching for loopholes, a senior European official has claimed." (The Australian)

It's you, no, it's them, oh my goodness - it's us! Haven't just seen Lesotho or Haiti blamed yet, but then, CoP6 doesn't end 'till Friday.

"Pakistan minister calls for financial burden of global warming to be borne by industrialised nations" - "ISLAMABAD (November 21) : Omar Asghar Khan, Federal Minister for Environment, said here on Monday that Pakistan, being an agricultural country, was contributing marginally to green house gas emission, but suffered disproportionately from the ill-effects of global climate change." (Business Recorder)

"Saudi hits out at economic consequences of climate pact" - "THE HAGUE - Saudi Arabia hit out yesterday at what it said was potential damage to its economy from a United Nations pact to stop climate change under negotiation this week." (Reuters)

"US firms worried climate talks could limit options" - "THE HAGUE - Several US firms said yesterday they were worried that climate change negotiators will scrap market-based mechanisms to stop global warming laid out by a three-year-old international pact." (Reuters)

"No climate magic bullet" - "With record floods across Europe (and NSW) and the signatories to the Kyoto Protocol meeting at the Hague, global warming is enjoying a good run in the media. Closer to home, the perennial issue of how much it would cost Australia to meet its emissions target under the Protocol is now the cause for spirited debate." (AFR)

"Reporter's Notebook: Veterans of Kyoto 97' feel at home in the Hague" - "... If nothing else, there is a refreshing honesty at The Hague. It's interesting to see realism impose a different code of conduct. At Kyoto, there were rumors that vice-president Gore would fly in and save the day. He did just that, telling the US negotiating team to show "more flexibility," which everyone correctly understood to mean cave in to get a deal. They got the deal, but transforming it into reality has been a different kettle of fish. With things stalemated again, we are now told that President Clinton might stop by The Hague on his return flight from Vietnam and give the talks a needed boost. Another school of thought has it that Al Gore, fresh from his victory or defeat in Florida (we still don't know which) will do at The Hague what he did at Kyoto." (Bonner Cohen, Earth Times)

"If you can't stand the heat, better stay inside" - "Weather: Forecasts to warn of high temperatures that can kill" (Guardian)

Hypocrisy of the day: in the following list of sundry enhanced greenhouse items you will find several items of British scaremongering, floods caused by enhanced greenhouse type of thing... Meanwhile, despite demanding everyone else reduce CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use and knowing that jet aircraft are prodigious users of fossil fuel (and emitters of CO2), the Brits are promoting: "Cheaper flights hope" - "The UK Government has announced moves which could lead to lower fares for flights to the US. The change in pricing policy will mean that regional airports like Aberdeen and Manchester could offer reduced transatlantic fares for passengers." (BBC Online)

November 21, 2000

"The Results Are Finally In" - "The media may want to demand a recount. As the spectacle of dueling news conferences, photo-ops and legal filings has turned the Florida mess into the latest television miniseries, one verdict in the endless presidential race is already in. Journalists, as judged by the court of public opinion, are guilty of poor coverage and irresponsible behavior." (Washington Times)

"Child Respiratory Infection Has Genetic Link" - "LONDON - Babies and small children who develop severe respiratory infections in winter probably have a genetic susceptibility to the illness, British researchers said on Monday." (Reuters) [BMJ release]

"Parasitic infection may protect children from allergies" - "A growing body of research suggests that infections early in life reduce the risk of allergies later on. However, most studies have focused on the role of viral and bacterial infections, and not the parasitic infections that are endemic in Africa, Asia and South America. But a new study of 520 children in Gabon shows that Schistosoma parasites may indeed ward off allergies." (Reuters)

"Genes Predispose Women to Cervical Cancers" - "NEW YORK - While most cases of cervical cancer are linked to the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), growing evidence shows that genes play an important role in cervical cancer risk." (Reuters Health)

"Air crew 'cancer risk'" - "The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for further research into cancer risks and flying after a new US cancer study." (BBC Online)

"Formerly Flawed Cancer Treatment Is Now Resurrected" - "Last spring, researchers who had been advancing a promising cancer treatment for years found a new obstacle looming when the international journal Nature Medicine published a study that identified a fatal flaw: The anti-cancer protein used in the treatment destroys healthy human liver cells. Now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered a solution to that crucial problem, re-opening what the lead scientist in Penn's efforts calls "a window of opportunity" for using this powerful treatment against colon, breast, lung, ovarian and esophageal cancers." (UniSci)

"An assessment of yourself as rich and powerful may keep you healthy, according to a UCSF study" - "Scientists have known for decades that poverty leads to higher rates of illness and mortality. More recent research led by UCSF faculty has shown that these effects don't end at the poverty line. In fact, health improves at each step of the social ladder." (UCSF) [APA release]

"Mouse Studies Shed Light on Obesity And Liver Disease" - "NEW YORK - Obese people are at greater risk of liver disease and this may be due to naturally-produced alcohol generated by bacteria in the intestines, according to results of a study in mice." (Reuters Health)

"Economic penalty of extra pounds" - "WASHINGTON, D.C.---Extra pounds can be expensive for middle-aged women, according to University of Michigan researchers analyzing data on more than 7,000 men and women in their 50s and 60s." (UM) [Fatter women end up with thinner wallets (USA Today)]

"Women couch potatoes risk heart attack" - "Almost two out of five deaths from heart disease in women is due to lack of exercise, new figures reveal." (BBC Online)

"Low doses of aspirin-like drugs cut Alzheimer's risk" - "NEW YORK: Even at low doses, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs may stave off Alzheimer's disease in the elderly, Australian researchers have found." (Reuters)

"More study is needed on DWP (driving while phoning)" - "THERE IS a lesson in the decision by Brookline to ban cell phones while driving. We do not write to criticize their decision. We are neither for nor against a ban on cell phones while driving. We write to point out this example of how we often make risk policy decisions based on an intuitive sense of precaution before we have enough information to know how best to protect ourselves." (Boston Globe)

"France seeks EU action to quell mad cow fears" - "France was set to urge its European Union partners today to take joint action against mad cow disease as it seeks to avoid isolation within the bloc and quell mounting consumer panic at home." (Reuters)

"French government tries to convince consumers to eat beef" - "PARIS - The French government, caught in a growing crisis over mad-cow disease, has launched a public relations campaign aimed at swaying consumers to start eating beef again." (AFP)

"CJD fears could lead to blood donor ban" - "The NHS is considering banning anyone who has received blood transfusions from giving blood themselves amid rising concerns that they may unknowingly pass on the fatal human variant of BSE. Such a move could cut Britain's 1.9m volunteer donors by up to 10% and create such huge shortages that transfusion services would struggle to meet demand." (Guardian)

"Blair pressed to ban unsafe French beef"  - "TONY BLAIR was under pressure last night to ban French beef products after a senior Cabinet minister warned him that BSE-infected beef from France could have disappeared into the food chain. " (The Times)

"SENSATION SEEKERS MAY BE AT INCREASED RISK FOR BECOMING SMOKERS DUE TO GREATER INITIAL SENSITIVITY TO NICOTINE, NEW STUDY FINDS" - "Washington - The personality characteristic of sensation seeking (the tendency to seek varied, novel, complex and intense sensations and experiences) is associated with a greater risk of smoking, and a new study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) provides evidence that this may be due to greater initial sensitivity to nicotine." (APA)

"Mild cigarettes deceptively dangerous" - "TORONTO -- A former tobacco executive was back in court Monday for the start of his David-and-Goliath trial against cigarette giant Imperial Tobacco that alleges mild cigarettes are deceptively dangerous." (CP)

"Consumer group targets genetically modified food" - "DURBAN Consumers International, the world consumer watchdog body, has decided to advocate accessible health care and strengthen its resolve against patents and genetically modified food." (Business Day)

"Monsanto Says Farmers Still Supportive of Biotech Crops in 2001" - "Responding to a Wall Street Journal article today that states Roundup Ready corn is causing a headache for Monsanto, Carl Casale, Monsanto Vice President of North American Markets, says there's growing confusion regarding the differences between StarLink and Roundup Ready corn. In addition, Casale agrees with Hugh Grant, Monsanto chief operating officer, who said in the article their own market research suggests an increasing number of biotech crop acres in 2001." (AgWeb.com)

The things you see when you haven't got your fowling-piece: "Fowl play triumphs in dockside stunt" - "Greenpeace operation springs a surprise on soya bean importers as lifesize 'Rhode Island reds' mix it with disgruntled guards" (Guardian) [The Times] [AFP]

"Science Be Damned" - "Under pressure from activists, McDonald's last week agreed to stop using genetically modified animal feed in seven European countries. This move comes despite the fact that the Federation of Animal Science Societies, a federation comprising over 10,000 animal, dairy and poultry scientists, has found all legitimate "research results conclusively indicate that there is no effect of feeding biotech crops to livestock and poultry on the nutritional value or safety of meat, milk and eggs." (GuestChoice.com)

"Aussie gene put in Indian wheat to resist weed killer" - "HYDERABAD: India's three highest yielding wheat varieties have been genetically modified using a gene brought from Australia to make them tolerant to herbicide, scientists have reported. After the Indian cotton that was made pest resistant by introducing the Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) gene from Monsanto Corporation of the US, wheat is the major crop that has been genetically modified." (Times of India)

"NZ Dairy Board: High Costs Of Ignoring GMO Opportunities" - "WELLINGTON--There would be high costs to the New Zealand dairy sector if the country turns its back on the opportunities offered by genetic modification organism technologies, the Dairy Board said Monday. "If the dairy industry is prevented from utilizing the opportunities bioscience offers, it will lose its crucial efficiency advantage in low-cost production," Dairy Board chief executive Warren Larsen told the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification. (Dow Jones)

"Bt Corn Monarch Fears Overblown: Risks Low to Butterflies According to New Research" - "Fears that genetically modified (GM) corn is killing monarch butterflies are not supported by new research, scientists reported this week at a national meeting in which they shared results of their long-awaited studies." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"Genetically modified corn supplies require strict control" - "The ministry revealed a complete lack of any sense of responsibility as the body in charge of keeping such unapproved imports out of Japan." (Asahi Shimbun editorial)

"Wild anti-GMO claims continue" - "11/20/00 - The No More Scares effort and responsible journalism have succeeded in thwarting attempts by anti-GMO activists and especially Fenton Communications to exploit a children's holiday, Halloween, and stir up unfounded fears about conventional foods produced using biotechnology. Untrue claims of fish, rat and insect genes in our foods by Fenton's Genetically Engineered Food Alert (GEFA) campaign failed to generate the threatened "viral" marketing and media impact. However, the cheap, wild claims continue. Activist groups have launched yet another effort to scare the public and raise money for themselves with an ad campaign -- including TV and newspaper ads, highway billboards, supermarket fliers and the Internet -- that abuses the popular "Got Milk?" ad concept." (NoMoreScares.com)

"Despite Starlink woes, Glickman sees GMO seed growth" - "WICHITA, Kan. - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said Monday he did not think the current controversy over Starlink corn would have a long-term negative impact on the use of bio-engineered grain seed in the U.S." (Reuters)

"Cautious optimism for US corn sales to Japan" - "CHICAGO - Grains analysts Monday were cautiously optimistic that US corn sales to Japan would continue uninterrupted despite the current StarLink corn controversy." (Reuters)

"Destructive precaution" - "Variants of the precautionary principle (PP) -- that "no human technology should be used until it is proven harmless to humans and the environment" -- have been incorporated into legislation in Europe and North America, and into more than 12 international treaties, including the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the 1992 Climate Change Convention. But, while it may sound reasonable in theory, this principle would be disastrous in practice. One cannot prove a negative. Every food, product and tool poses some risk. Without the use of fire, automobiles, antibiotics, coffee, water, salt and chlorine, human life would be brutish and short. Yet none of these existing "threats" to human health and the environment passes the precautionary principle's standard." (National Post)

"Calls to curb global warming may throw caution to the wind" (PDF) - "ST. LOUIS — November 10, 2000 — As the delegates to the Sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change assemble in the Hague on November 13-24, they will focus on making the Kyoto Treaty acceptable to the United States and the other developed nations. They will be urged to follow a "precautionary" approach of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regardless of how well the predictions of global calamity are established scientifically. But a report just released by the Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University in St. Louis finds that focusing scarce human and capital resources on aggressive GHG reductions might slow economic growth and technological development, which might retard improvements in life expectancy and mortality reduction, especially in developing nations." (CSAB) [Report (PDF)]

Naturally, enhanced greenhouse proselytisers have seized on Australia's current rains as 'proof' of enhanced greenhouse-driven disaster, so, today's CoP6/greenhouse coverage opens with comments from CBM chief forecaster, John Zillman:

"Torrential rain to be expected" - "The nations' most senior weather forecaster says the torrential rain across much of eastern Australia is simply a reflection of the natural variability in climate. The Director of the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, Dr John Zillman says climate events like El Nino and La Nina will continue to have a far greater influence than the greenhouse effect, which isn't to blame for the current variation of drought in the west and floods in the east. Dr John Zillman: No I don't think it has. I think it really is just a reflection of the very large natural variability of climate we're subject to, the impact here of El Nino and La Nina, and it's a natural variability which is huge and we have to expect these sorts of weather systems. Over the long term greenhouse may cause some areas to get a little wetter or a little dryer or a little hotter or a little colder but no, the extreme events are not a direct reflection of greenhouse at all." (ABC News Online)

not everyone is talking about a "warming world" however: "Energy crisis threatens a winter of discontent" - "THE wheels are about to come off the international oil and gas juggernaut, threatening to pitch the world into an energy crisis on a scale that has never been seen before, and the US and Europe will suffer most. This dire prediction comes from an American banker, one of the most respected on the circuit today. But few are listening to Matt Simmons, who claims the oil and gas industry is in such a mess that it has lost the ability to keep ahead of global demand." (The Scotsman)

For those who are inclined to believe the weather forecasts for 50-100 years' time, check out this item: "After November's washout, get ready for the January whiteout" - "... The Met Office declared that the website's forecast, stretching more than 45 days into the future, owed more to gambling than science. "We know a guess when we see one," sniffed the spokesman. "We would love to forecast that far ahead, but the weather is literally chaotic." (Independent) 'nough said?

"Commentary: Science not hot agenda item at climate summit" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov. 20 -- Before an advance phalanx of the several thousand delegates and other participants in the Netherlands Congress Center, the leader of the United Nations panel studying global warming sternly concluded Nov. 15 that recent severe weather events are in some way attributable to Man's activities, and more is to come. Completing his speech and with no questions from delegates permitted, Dr. Robert Watson departed the forum, held in cavernous "Plenary 1," and billed in various quarters as a "hearing" on the relevant science. Thus ended the "science" portion of this 12-day conference, alternately labeled as either the "final step" in, or "last chance" for, negotiations hammering out details filling in the broad parameters agreed to by most of the world's nations in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997." (UPI)

"Climate Change Participants Don’t Listen to Reasons for Uncertainty" - " ... But many American observers are wondering exactly what all the delegates are doing here. Is this a public relations exercise, a chance to moralize and vent Luddite passions, or a real substantive discussion on the future of the planet?" (James K Glassman, Reason)

"Forecasters Say El Nino 2001 Storms Possible" - "QUITO, Ecuador - Heavy storms called El Nino, that swirl out of the cyclical warming of ocean waters, could pound South America's Pacific coast again in 2001, an oceanographer said on Monday." (Reuters)

Hmm... maybe and such an event gets more likely with each passing year because the ENSO cycle is in the range of 2-7 years (mean frequency about 5 years at present). The SOI (Southern Oscillation Index), however, has wandered firmly back into positive measure (La Niña pattern), suggesting an El Niño event is unlikely in the short-term. Good background and tracking graphs here.

"US drops demand for 'get-out' on carbon emissions" - "The United States made a dramatic gesture last night to try and break the international deadlock over how to tackle global warming at the International Climate conference in the Hague. It slashed its demands for forests and farmland to be used as "sinks" to soak up the principal greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, which European countries, including Britain, have seen as a get-out clause for the Americans, allowing them to do much less in their own industrial and transport sectors." (Independent)

"White House Official Tells Tech Central Station COP-6 Environment Summit Will Not Reach Passable Treaty" - "The current U.N. meeting on climate change will not reach an accord the U.S. Senate could ratify, a White House official and several members of Congress acknowledged today. The statements came in interviews with James K. Glassman at the Sixth U.N. Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (known as "COP 6") in The Hague, Holland. The interviews are webcast at www.TechCentralStation.com." (Business Wire)

"Axworthy confident of emissions deal" - "Greenhouse gas meeting to set 'basis for different kind of society' With the environment of the planet at stake, this week's conference on global warming in The Hague will be a turning point in world history, says the head of the Canadian delegation." (Ottawa Citizen)

And that should tell you all you need to know about the flakes and zealots involved in this circus. If you're interested in a little more, see the new Stop Press items dated Nov. 20-21 here.

"An unlikely threesome" - "Strictly speaking, COP6 is not one, but three happenings: one official, one green, and one business." (AFR)

"Life’s still a gas for the eco-warrior superstars" - "THE environmental white knights of showbusiness, the rock stars and actors who are prepared to do their bit to crusade for the planet, are among the worst polluters, with their use of jet travel." (The Scotsman)

Like - so what man? The PC publicity is really great and it pushes sales through the roof to support our compulsive consumerism that you shouldn't indulge in.

"Row mars launch of online market" - "The world's largest online marketplace for the trading of greenhouse gas "permits" opens for business today amid a fierce row between Europe and the US over whether this is the best way to combat global warming." (Independent) [BBC Online]

"Business warns on emission protocols" - "Australian business is pressuring federal government negotiators at the UN climate conference in the Netherlands to resist moves to change protocols governing greenhouse emissions." (AFR)

Sundry climate hand-wringing, greenhouse items and whacko coverage by media groups:

November 20, 2000

"Herbal remedies: overlooked cause of medical emergencies?" - "Emergency-room physician Timothy Erickson has more to worry about these days than patients with asthma, broken bones, gunshot wounds and heart attacks. The Chicago doctor now sees occasional patients whose persistent headaches appear to be connected to too much gingko or whose rapid heart rates may be due to ephedra combined with caffeine. Once in a while, he said, the side effects of herbal remedies have been life-threatening - such as the 15-year-old girl who went into liver failure after drinking a tea made with pennyroyal." (Knight Ridder)

"Scientists search for food link in memory lapse" - "Mid-life memory lapses could be linked to the foods people eat, scientists said today. South Australian researchers have begun recruiting volunteers for a study examining whether there was a relationship between food, health and psychological well-being, including memory and concentration." (AAP)

"X-rays may contribute to mental disorders" - "Subjecting unborn babies to radiation during medical x-rays or intercontinental flights may increase their risk of developing mental illness later in life, according to German researchers." (NY Times)

"What happens if cure is worse than disease?" - "WASHINGTON - Can bacteria make meat safer? Scientists say the answer is yes - by using good bacteria to drive out bad bacteria from the guts of food animals. To biologists, the process is known as competitive exclusion. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, is not quite so sure that two bacteria products designed to reduce the incidence of salmonella, the leading cause of food poisoning, in chickens are harmless." (AP)

"Stomach ulcers fight off antibiotics" - "Stomach ulcers are developing increasing resistance to the antibiotics most commonly used to treat them. A study by West Australian researchers published in the Medical Journal of Australia today reveals that a third of patients are now resistant to metronidazole, once the most frequently used antibiotic. One in 10 patients are resistant to clarithromycin, a commonly prescribed treatment." (SMH)

"Frequent weight loss and gain may lead to heart ailments" - "NEW DELHI: Women who repeatedly gain and lose weight, especially those who are obese, have lower levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol, posing a significant risk for coronary artery disease, a research has suggested." (PTI)

"Hope for risk-free hormone therapy"  - "A FORM of hormone replacement therapy that does not raise the risk of breast cancer could be possible after an advance in understanding the female hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen must bind with one of two receptors for the hormone, known as ERa and ERb. An overactive ERa receptor appears to be the reason why oestrogen can raise the risk of contracting cancers. Oestrogen drugs that target only the ERb receptors may eliminate many of the risks." (The Times)

"The pill 40 years on: safe, effective, with unexpected benefits" - "The oral contraceptive has proven to be a remarkably effective and safe drug for long-term use by women without heart conditions, according to one of Sydney's leading hospital professors." (AAP)

"Scientists close in on 'Alzheimer's gene', leading to underclass fears" - "Scientists are close to identifying a gene that predisposes people to develop Alzheimer's disease in later life, it will be announced today. The team of geneticists, led by Professor Mike Owen of the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff, will reveal the results of a study on 429 pairs of siblings aged over 65 who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's." (Independent)

"Marine pests offer help for human life" - "A SLIMY marine pest can offer scientists a way of studying human infertility while avoiding many controversial embryo experiments, British researchers have discovered. The eggs, sperm and embryos of the sea squirt, an invertebrate so common in British waters that it is regarded as a pest, are so similar to those of people that they can be substituted for human samples in many laboratory experiments." (The Times)

"Call for debate over engineering humans" - "A leading British fertility expert is calling for public debate over whether scientists should be allowed to genetically engineer humans." (BBC Online)

"France fights 'mad cow' fear with ads, hotlines" - "PARIS: The French government launched an offensive against fears of "mad cow" meat on Sunday, publishing a full-page newspaper advertisement and a free advice line number that received over 600 calls by midday. But it was a difficult day to assuage consumer panic, with media reports of another case of the human form of the deadly brain-wasting bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)." (Reuters)

"McDonald's bans use of meat from GM-fed animals" - "McDonald's, the fast food chain, announced yesterday that it was phasing out the use of meat fed on genetically modified feed." (Independent) [BBC Online] [The Times]

"Centre's no to genetically modified food till proved safe" - "CALCUTTA: Union agriculture minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday asserted that genetically-modified seeds and food would not be allowed into the country till their safety was scientifically proved." (Times of India)

With massive effort underway to curtail fossil fuels it may be interesting to see what else is going on in the energy sector:

"Japan may re-open controversial reactor-media" - "TOKYO - Japan's science agency chief will visit a closed fast-breeder reactor once seen as the cornerstone for future fuel supply in the energy-poor nation to pave the way for possibly re-opening the plant, local media said on Saturday." (Reuters)

"Finnish PM urges Greens to stick with government" - "HELSINKI - Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen on Sunday rebuked the Green Party for threatening to leave the government if a motion to build a new nuclear power plant were accepted in parliament." (Reuters)

"Nuclear power unsustainable, EU Commissioner says" - "HELSINKI - Increasing nuclear power is not a viable solution to reducing world-wide greenhouse gas emissions, European Union Commissioner for environmental affairs Margot Wallstrom said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Chernobyl workers set to close plant, reluctantly" - "CHERNOBYL, Ukraine - Shift master Viktor Kuchinsky pointed at a large white button on a huge control panel. In a month's time, on December 15, a worker will press it, and shut down the infamous Chernobyl power station for good." (Reuters)

"E.Europe power faces German scrutiny under new law" - "FRANKFURT - Germany's economics ministry may block electricity and natural gas flows from eastern European countries if they originate from plants believed to be sub-standard, a ministry spokesman said." (Reuters)

"Global growth in oil set for dramatic surge" - "OIL companies are poised for decades of growth as global demand for oil surges by 50% over the next 20 years despite recent price rises." (The Scotsman)

CoP6 & enhanced greenhouse items:

"Viewpoint: Get off the global warming bandwagon" -  (William M Gray, Colorado State University)

"Climate talks fail to close rift with US" - "There is a "huge distance" between the US and the European Union after the first week of talks .... Jan Pronk, the Dutch environment minister and president of the conference, said: "We have made no progress in the first week. The only good thing to say is we are no further apart." (Guardian)

"Hot climate issue: Who pays?" - "In their second week, negotiators at a conference in the Netherlands push hard political bargains." (CSM)

"US Proposals Rebuffed At Global Warming Negotiations" - "THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS — Just one month after the European Parliament effectively condemned the United States Senate for not doing something it in fact lacks the legal authority to do, European Union negotiators at COP-6 very publicly slammed a door in the face of US officials." (CEI)

"UN talks turn heat on auto industry" - "WASHINGTON -- As world officials meet this week at the first major negotiation on a global warming treaty since the 1997 Kyoto protocol, the stakes are rising for an increasingly green auto industry." (Detroit News)

"Climate conference will generate a lot of hot air" - "... In short, the Hague agenda is largely false. Part of the blame for this must lie with a largely silent, but surprisingly large, group of "greenhouse sceptic" climatologists like myself. We have allowed the debate to be hijacked by computer modellers unwilling to recognise that natural processes they cannot model might be important in driving climate change and by simple wishful thinking by the green lobby." (Professor David J Unwin, Letters, Guardian)

"U.S. Senators Wary of Greenhouse Gas Pact" - "THE HAGUE - Global warming is a serious issue, but the United States will not accept any mandate to cut its greenhouse gas emissions that does not include action by developing nations, two U.S. senators said Sunday. Republican Senators Chuck Hagel from Nebraska and Larry Craig from Idaho also stressed that any emission cuts in greenhouse gases ... must not damage the U.S. economy." [Interview] (Reuters)

Accusations fly at CoP6:

Talk of 'deadlock':

November 19, 2000

"'Dirty' bugs in fight on allergies" - "An "anti-clean" bacterial vaccine to counteract the harmful effects of the modern obsession with hygiene is to be tested on 100 asthma sufferers in the UK." (Independent)

"Germ-free childhood increases cancer risk" - "A GERM-FREE childhood in a small family could expose young people to a higher than average risk of cancer, according to new research" (Sunday Times)

"Television chefs battered for setting unhygienic example" - "TELEVISION chefs display an "irresponsible" attitude to food safety that sets a bad example to viewers, the country's hygiene watchdog will warn the BBC in a formal complaint." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Mad cow mania in Europe" - "ROME -- Italy on Friday banned most beef imports from France, a measure intended to prevent so-called mad cow disease from spreading in the country. The decision comes after a European Union meeting last week failed to take action against the spread of the fatal, brain-wasting ailment. Italy has been lobbying for tighter EU controls." (AP)

"Brain drug reverses chronic Alzheimer's" - "The brain of a 70-year-old woman suffering from severe Alzheimer's disease has been brought back to life by a new drug, leading scientists to believe that the illness could be reversible." (Observer) [Sunday Times]

"Study backs blood clot fears" - "Air passengers may be at a greater risk of suffering a fatal blood clot during a flight than first thought." (BBC Online)

"Mercury thermometers condemned as dangerous" - "Traditional mercury thermometers, for decades the parents' standby, are being banned in the US as dangerous to children and the environment. Several states and cities are prohibiting their sale and the country's hospitals are beginning to phase them out." (Independent)

"Battle Lines Drawn Over Ergonomic Rules; Business Pitted Against Washington" - "Washington wants American business to be ergonomically correct, but it will have a big fight on its hands. After a decade in which many workers complained of suffering back sprains, wrist pain and other injuries from repetitive workplace tasks, the Clinton Administration issued one of the most far-reaching set of labor regulations ever last week, saying the rules would prevent 460,000 injuries a year." (NY Times)

"Heart disease 'hits poor hardest'" - "People from the lower socio-economic classes are more likely to suffer heart disease in their thirties, researchers have found." (BBC Online)

"GM taco corn in Canada; US reconsiders ban" - "HALIFAX - The taco controversy in the United States has crossed the border. Last month, some U.S. tacos were recalled because they contained corn intended for animal feed. The taco shells were made by the food giant Kraft for Taco Bell fast food restaurants. The shells contained a yellow corn called Starlink. It`s genetically modified to be resistant to pests. The corn has only been approved as animal feed. It was never meant for human consumption because of concerns that it could cause allergic reactions. ... The United States government has shifted gears and is now considering approving the corn for human consumption." (CBC News)

"ConAgra Pulled Some Items Last Month Due to Possible Presence of Starlink Corn" - "ConAgra Foods Inc. has quietly pulled from distribution some flour, meal and other commercial baking ingredients because they might contain Starlink corn, the genetically modified crop unapproved for human consumption." (WSJ)

"Paraguay adopts GM labelling" - "Brazil`s rejection of a shipment of Paraguayan corn on suspicion that it contained some GM corn has led Paraguay to adopt a labelling program for its corn and cereal exports." (Justfood.com)

CoP6, climate...

"Why the IPCC has an Agenda" - "Question - How many scientists are on the IPCC? Answer - none - it's a trick question." (David Wojick)

This essay by David Wojick should be required reading by anyone who still believes that the IPCC Summary for Policymakers is a scientific document or expresses a consensus of the scientists who worked on the IPCC report itself. And, as we have pointed out many times, Article 2 of FCCC (expressing the ultimate goal of the Treaty) has never been defined. Nobody can tell whether a higher or lower level of atmospheric GH gases is more (or less) likely to produce "dangerous interference with the climate system." -- S. Fred Singer

"Global warming exiles native species" - "As temperatures rise, many familiar plants and birds are disappearing. Meanwhile, Britain is becoming home to exotic newcomers from southern Europe." (Independent)

There's been a series of items on 'new'/'returned' wildlife in various regions and a lot featuring the UK and Europe over the past few years. These range from changes in bird populations to fungi not seen for a half-century, unexpected surges in fish populations in the North-east Pacific to runs of massive bluefin tuna west of Ireland to jellyfish and basking sharks in the Celtic Sea. These items pique my interest because the general theme appears to be 'last seen' or 'most common' in the 1930s-1950s. I haven't yet collated the material and so haven't determined whether these 'bio-indicators' may serve as a useful proxy for climate variation - there is, however, a correlation between sunspots, climate and herring blooms (bio-productivity). The timing is interesting because the period cited is the last time global temperatures were similar to current and both the North Atlantic and Pacific Decadal Oscillations were in the same phase as they appear to be entering now. It may be pure coincidence or it may be that these events can give us a clue about the current climate cycle. Anyway - it's time we had another 'ice age cometh' scare, this 'global warming' nonsense is getting really boring.

"'Too late' to halt global warming" - "John Prescott has warned that international efforts to curb greenhouse gases may only have a marginal effect on global warming." (Observer)

That complete implementation of Kyoto can make no discernible difference is true, it's just not news. Maximum potential 'saving' has long been estimated at an irrelevant -0.07°C over 50 years. Powerful lot of pain for absolutely no gain against a purely hypothetical problem.

"U.S. clash on global warming" - "Nov. 17, 2000 | For the past few days, people attending a United Nations conference on global warming in the Hague have been approaching scientist Marilyn Brown. They want her to explain one thing: the curious timing of her pivotal new Department of Energy report, which was released on Wednesday." (Salon)

"Why carbon sinks make sense" - "It has been a tough week at the Hague. Canada and the United States are doing their darnedest to get innovative ideas on to the table at the United Nations conference on climate change, but the usual crew of enviro-sorts aren't interested in being argued with." (Paul Kedrosky, National Post)

"Environmentalists lay siege to talks" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov. 18 —  Thousands of environmentalists laid siege to climate change talks on Saturday to push for curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, building a sandbag wall at the venue to warn of the risk of flooding posed by global warming." (Reuters) [AFP]

"Article on climate change was error-riddled, alarmist propaganda" - "I am writing to express my dismay at the publication of an error-filled commentary ("Climate uncontrol: Britain's floods are a symptom of global changes that need to be tackled urgently" by Celia Brayfield, Nov. 14) presented in the guise of a news article." (Prof Timothy Patterson, letters, Ottawa Citizen)

"US plays dirty as planet chokes" - "Squabbles as America fights to avoid reducing emissions" (Robin McKie, Observer [same McKie who won the "Big J" junk science reporting award October 22-23 (see archives) for thinking enhanced greenhouse caused the volcanic activity and subsequent meltdown of Breidamerkurjökull glacier])

November 18, 2000

Editorial comment

This week I've been featuring a series of links to purported statistical analyses - some good, some blatantly partisan and some truly shoddy. A few people have written wondering why some of these items and supplementary commentary appeared on Junkscience.com. To quote John Daly, "All science is numbers but not all numbers is science." I led the series with a piece from Fienberg & Murray (STATS), currently refeatured by Detroit News, Beware dubious data dredging in Florida, warning people to treat 'statistics' with care and scepticism. Data mining is an old trick of activists and junk scientists - dredge data sufficiently and you will always find "cancer clusters" or whatever - the significance is moot. As an example of just how startling can be the result of 'shifting the goalposts' (or redefining the data points) check this out (carefully selected to have nothing to do with risk, hazard, partisanship, corporate culpability or advocacy):

"Norway gains thousands of miles" - "OSLO, Norway -- Norway's already long coastline just expanded by about 16,000 miles." (AP)

A 45% increase in total coastline may sound a lot but merely reflects finer definition and the ability to process many more data points, rather like the circumference of a circular saw blade may be say, 3 feet measured at the extremity of the saw teeth, while the actual peripheral measure will be significantly different when tracing the tooth profile.

I'm also honest enough to state categorically that I view Vice President Albert Gore as a major proponent of junk science - as an Aussie I can't vote in US elections but surely I fear for science should Ozone Al become president of the world's greatest democracy and most powerful economy. Having said that, I can't think for Junkscience.com users, that's your problem. All I can do is present news items here that I find noteworthy, interesting or even amusing. Some readers undoubtedly miss Steve Milloy's presentation and analysis - fear not, he will resume editorial duties shortly. In the interim, items selected for posting reflect my view of what may be interesting to some (according to strength of e-mail feedback) and a desire to provide broad-spectrum coverage so that there is something here for most users - including junk, cutting-edge science, items of simple interest or amusement and the simply bizarre.

Do my selections reflect bias/belief? Naturally. For example, I'm appalled by the current enhanced greenhouse circus. The enhanced greenhouse hypothesis postulates potential surface warming in response to an atmosphere warmed by increase in the minor so-called greenhouse gas constituents. Given that the atmosphere is demonstrably not responding as modelled, despite a combined increase in the minor greenhouse gases of more than 50% beyond the pre-industrial-age levels, then I conclude that the models are faulty, not that the world is so. By extension, both the models and the CoP6 circus are junk and should be scrapped, not subsidised to the tune of billions of dollars. Similarly, I look at the increasing life-span and quality-of-life of populations in the industrialised world and the claims of horrendous risk from synthesised chemical compounds, food supply, air and water quality etc. ad nauseam and conclude that the risks are actually diminishing, it is the claims of risk that are overstated. I make no secret of my position - I'm a sceptic and, frankly, I despise misanthropes who extort donations by terrorising the less-informed while acting against the best interests of humanity and the environment. Consequently, I feature authors who, in my view, seek the facts rather than the sensation.

Biased? I certainly am - I don't like flakes and frauds. -- Barry Hearn

Cartoon of the day: "Henry Payne's electoral comment"

"A new look at cancer treatments" - "... Researchers, gathered here for an international conference, predicted that gentler, more sharply aimed new drugs such as Endostatin and a host of others in early human testing might be safe enough to take for years - perhaps for a lifetime - enabling patients to live in peaceful co-existence with their cancer." (Boston Globe)

"France to Fight Risk of EU Isolation Over BSE" - "BRUSSELS - France will urge its EU partners in tough talks next week to take unified steps against "mad cow disease" and avoid unilateral moves that risk isolating the country, a senior French government source said."[French Authorities Deny Patient Suffering nvCJD]  (Reuters)

"French may charge the Tories over CJD deaths" - "French families have filed a ground-breaking lawsuit in Paris which, in part, accuses British Conservatives of spreading BSE" (Independent) [AP]

"French victims of CJD sue Britain, France and the EU" - "FRANCE: As France's scare over mad cow disease intensified yesterday, the families of two victims of the human version, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), filed suit against Britain, France and the EU for failing to take steps to contain the epidemic." (Irish Times) [French Lawsuit Filed As Mad Cow Scare Grips (Reuters)]

"German Experts Call for British Blood Donor Ban" - "BERLIN - Experts have advised Germany's Healt Ministry to bar people who have lived in Britain from donating blood and plasma because of the threat posed by mad cow disease, the ministry said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Worried Greeks Mull Ban on French Beef" - "ATHENS - Greece might ban the import of French beef if the European Union does not take satisfactory measures to protect consumers from mad cow disease, officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Blair tells violent eco-warriors they can't stop science" - "Tony Blair has sent a stark signal to animal welfare and environmental groups that he will not allow "intimidation" to stand in the way of scientific progress. The Prime Minister attacked "anti-science attitudes" and warned that the Government would not allow blackmail and physical assault to stand in the way of research." [Lab workers live in fear of 'direct action' through the letterbox] (Independent)

"CHINA EMBRACES GM CROPS AS OTHERS DEBATE AND HESITATE" - "Gene-modified crops are not terrifying," a headline in a Chinese newspaper that focuses on science, technology and education said. The article extolled the miraculous new crops as a viable shortcut to stable food supplies and national prosperity for a country that struggles to feed a fifth of the world's population on one-seventh of the world's arable land. The aim of such proclamation is not to gather public support, as it may seem, but to demonstrate China's positive outlook on genetic crops." (AgWeb.com)

"Conference wants moratorium on genetically modified foods" - "DURBAN, South Africa, Nov 17 - Delegates at the 16th World Congress of Consumers International here Friday called for a moratorium on growing and marketing genetically modified (GM) foods until they are subject to stricter safety checks." (AFP)

"GM protesters are 'no heroes'" - "Tony Blair has warned anti-GM food and animal rights protesters that the government will not tolerate "blackmail and intimidation". (BBC Online) [The Times]

"Britain could lose out because of 'anti-science' fears, warns Blair" - "Tony Blair today warned that "anti–science" attitudes could rob Britain of the huge benefits of new cutting–edge research and technology. He told the European Bioscience Conference in London that there were "legitimate concerns" about new technologies such as genetically modified foods, but these should not prevent scientists carrying out research in these areas." (Independent) [BBC Online] [Telegraph]

"Britain’s Anti-Biotech Food Lobby Loses Some Bite" - "Those campaigning in Britain against genetically engineered food could be forgiven for expecting the American Starlink corn episode to further their cause. The incident, however, seems to have been of limited value to them." (Bridge News)

'Biotech' is new darling of the stockmarket - "BRITAIN’S biotechnology industry has a brief and erratic history, punctuated in turn by the tremendous promise of scientific discovery and the disappointment of clinical failure. There is only a small chance of an innovative idea for a new drug succeeding in clinical trials and becoming a commercial product. But even so the British biotechnology industry, which is little more than ten years old, is finally beginning to deliver wonder drugs." (The Times)

"No Health Risk From Unauthorised Gm Ingredients In Tortilla Chips - Investigation Continues" - "The Food Standards Agency announced today that the levels of GM contamination alleged by Friends of the Earth to be present in tortilla chips are far too low to pose a danger to human health. The FSA made its announcement after receiving advice from its independent advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP)." (UG)

"UK's Blair Backs Biotech Industry on Stem Cells" - "LONDON - Prime Minister Tony Blair waded into the ethical minefield of stem cell research on Friday, backing the technology and vowing he would push for Britain to keep its position as Europe's leader in biotechnology." (Reuters)

"Meat, Milk And Eggs Are Safe From Livestock And Poultry Fed Biotech Crops, U.S. Scientists Say" - "Are the meat, milk and eggs from livestock and poultry fed genetically modified or biotech feeds, safe to eat? Yes, says the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS), a federation comprising over 10,000 animal, dairy and poultry scientists. FASS scientists have reviewed all of the data available worldwide from research studies in which results have been published in refereed, peer-reviewed journal articles. These research results conclusively indicate that there is no effect of feeding biotech crops to livestock and poultry on the nutritional value or safety of meat, milk and eggs." (FASS)

"Soybeans May Play a Role in Swine Odor Mitigation" - "A new patented product— named Barrier— has been introduced to pork producers as a mitigation aid to offensive odors associated with swine production facilities. And it is based on new technology that relies on soybean byproducts. It is marketed as a "soybean activated odor mitigation aid." (AgWeb.com)

More miraculous claims for soy product? Actually no, the name gives a clue, they're using soy by-product as an anaerobic seal on sludge pits.

"Norway Blocks Scientists' Antarctic Kill Plan" - "TROMSO, Norway, November 17, 2000 - A Norwegian plan to kill 80 seals and 90 seabirds in Antarctica this summer to study their livers for the presence of pollutants has been scrapped, apparently because of international pressure." (ENS)

"More Fish Stories" - "Fenton Communications starts a new campaign to push people away from eating commercially harvested fish. (See our headlines from the 15th) The next day, the Los Angeles Time features a story on a new American Fisheries Society report calling for commercial fishing restrictions. Coincidence? Maybe, but the American Fisheries Society has contributed information to Fenton's SeaWeb project (the group behind the unnecessary "Give Swordfish A Break Campaign") and was a participant in a Fenton produced press conference last year. (FNS Daybook, 4/12/99)" (GuestChoice.com)

See also NoMoreScares.com for more on Fenton's machinations.

"Soda-Drinking Children End Up Lacking Nutrients" - "Children and adolescents who drink large quantities of soda may be selling themselves short of several important vitamins and minerals, results of a survey suggest." (Reuters)

"Rainforest deal that Greenpeace rejects" - "Sir David Attenborough's new television series urges us to care more about the extinction of wildlife through the loss of tropical forest. The problem is, caring is easy; acting is hard. Many of us wish rainforests were not cut down. But does anyone in the West actually send cash to Brazil to buy a piece of forest for a native tribe? No. When Sting did exactly that, it had the opposite effect: the tribe sold the forest to loggers and bought a plane with the proceeds." (The Age [actually it's an echo of Matt Ridley's column in The Telegraph but who's counting?)]

Enhanced greenhouse, Cop6, climate panic & posturing:

"Nature Cops to Hague Parley" - "When the United Nations held its second meeting of the "Conference of the Parties" (COP-2) in Geneva in July 1996, the big question was whether or not our models of climate change were good enough to support eventual restrictions on the combustion of fossil fuel. Four days before the meeting began, the prestigious journal Nature published a bombshell paper by federal scientist Ben Santer purporting that the newest breed of climate models—which combined greenhouse effect warming and sulfate cooling—indeed tracked the climate of a long period, from 1963 through 1987. At that meeting, Santer's paper was everywhere. Anyone who objected was heckled down. The official U.S. representative to COP-2, Timothy Wirth (now head of Ted Turner's global warming foundation), took the impolite step of slamming U.S. citizens who disagreed with him from an international podium. Six months later, Nature published a paper showing that if Santer had used all the available data, his results would have fallen apart." (GES)

"No Global Rip-Off" - "The United Nations is holding talks in the Hague, Netherlands, to finalize the Kyoto Treaty. If implemented, the treaty would require nations to take costly steps to cut global greenhouse gas emissions during the next decade. But the demand of some countries that the West give them monetary compensation in return for ratification of the treaty is likely to torpedo any final agreement. And that may be just as well given that the treaty is shaping into a giant scheme for the redistribution of global wealth." (Detroit News editorial)

"Hurricane Drop Detected" - "A science reporter's ominous voice intones, "Global warming imminent..."as a parched desert landscape fills the screen. "Industrial pollutants the cause of..."says the voice in verb-deficient mediaspeak over footage of smokestacks spewing clouds of particulate and water vapor (remember, CO2 is invisible). "...more severe storms, droughts, floods..."it continues, as we see hurricanes crash into coastal homes. Scary? Sure. True? Hardly. Hurricanes will not overwhelm the greenhouse-warmed world. There is no trend toward more or more severe hurricanes in the North Atlantic, and in fact published reports show wind speeds from landfalling storms have significantly declined over time." (GES)

"Nuclear Back on Europe's Energy Agenda" - "HELSINKI, Finland, November 17, 2000 - Finnish energy firm TVO has applied for permission to build a new nuclear power station, marking the first solid proposal for new nuclear capacity in western Europe since the mid-1980s. In its announcement Thursday - very likely timed to influence opinion at the ongoing international climate talks in The Hague - the company stressed the need for nuclear power to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (ENS)

"Gore made flip-flop on nuclear power use" - "Vice President Al Gore made a last-minute concession to environmentalists just before the election to oppose any increased use of nuclear power to comply with the global-warming treaty. The change appears aimed not only at appeasing environmentalists, but bridging differences with European nations who oppose the use of nuclear power to comply with the treaty, which Mr. Gore was instrumental in drafting in Kyoto, Japan, three years ago. Yet, by taking away one major option for American companies to meet the stiff emissions cuts required under the treaty, Senate aides say the move will only harden opposition to the treaty in the Senate, where ratification has long been in doubt." (Washington Times)

"UPDATE 1-Climate talks stall over carbon 'sinks'" - "THE HAGUE, Nov 17 - Negotiators worked down to the wire late on Friday in a frantic bid to lay the groundwork for an agreement on how to fight the threat of global warming. Officials from some 180 countries remained sharply divided after a week of talks at a United Nations-sponsored climate change conference in The Hague." (Reuters)

"CO2 Packs Tropical Punch" - "Ask anybody what environmental issues they hear most about and many people will say "global warming." If not, they might mention "the rain forests." Often, they'll utter both phrases in the same breath. Burning Tarzan's trees not only releases greenhouse gases in the process, they tell us, but also results in eliminating a great greenhouse gas sink that takes up carbon dioxide and helps to keep our global ecosystem in balance." (GES)

"Negotiators Get Proposal Extension" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands — With debate still raging at a critical U.N. Climate Conference, negotiators Friday got one more day — but no more — to draft proposals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (AP)

"Sideshows Outnumber Ministers at Hague Summit" - "THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, November 17, 2000 - Hundreds of delegates are in The Hague to negotiate the world's response to climate change and global warming, with more government ministers expected to arrive today for the serious bargaining that begins next week. Since the city is home to many of Europe's non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the International Court of Justice, other United Nations institutions and Dutch Royalty and government, it has long been the center of the continent's lobby circuit." (ENS)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT #40" - "Sad to say, we’ve come to expect the annual "hottest year on record" pronouncement even before twelve months of data are available. But the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its climatic offspring – the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) – have gone one better, this year." (GES)

November 17, 2000

"Global Warming COP-Out" - "President Clinton remains the cheerleader-in-chief for taking global warming seriously. But the Clinton administration’s position at COP-6 exposes the scare as a bunch of hot air." (Steve Milloy at FoxNews.com)

"The Equal-Protection Clause: A Field Day For Misleading Statistics" - "... First, some background. Hand counting always increases the number of votes counted, because the human being will accept more ballots than the machine accepts. For example, the chad in the punch card may not be completely punched out, but the human eye will see that and count it. The hand count increases the total for both candidates, but in a way that is statistically proportional to the machine votes already cast. So it doesn't change the results, it only gives Gov. Bush (who won the machine count) slightly more votes if there is a complete, statewide human hand count." (CATO commentary)

"Statistics point to more than random error in Florida vote" - "Economics professor Tom Carroll began running statistical equations Thursday on the net gains both Gore, who gained more than 2,200 votes, and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who added about 700 votes, have made in the recount. He found that the statistical chances for such large and different totals to occur as a result of random glitches was less than infinitesimal. "The probability of being struck by lightning is about one in a million," Carroll said. "The same person would have to be hit by lightning 30 times to compare with what we've seen in this recount." (Las Vegas Sun)

"Explicit statistical evidence of massive ballot tampering in Palm Beach, Fl" - "... In 50 out of 67 counties in FL, the actual change in the recount was 5-7 votes, and in 63 out of 67 counties, the total change was less than 30 votes either way. Further, in 63 out of 67 counties the "changes" were somewhat evenly divided between ALL the candidates, in rough proportion to the original number of votes. This is the statistically expected result, and represents a true and legal recount of the ballots without any change in the ballots themselves. This means that Palm Beach FL had an error rate in favor of Gore more than 120 TIMES greater than any other county" (Robert A. Cook)

"What's the Story? Drug-Supplement Interaction" - "At least 40% of all Americans take some type of dietary supplement. Although people usually take supplements in an effort to improve their health, some people may actually endanger their health by using these products-especially if they also take medicines." (ACSH)

"The Jury's still out on soy" - ROCHESTER, MINN-- Despite studies that indicate benefits of soy isoflavones, a report published by Mayo Clinic physicians in the November edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds insufficient data to draw any definitive conclusions in the use of soy isoflavones as an alternative to estrogen for hormone replacement in postmenopausal women." (Mayo Clinic)

"Food left out overnight is poisonous" - "Leaving takeaway food out overnight can take bacteria levels to 64 times the safe level, new research has revealed. According to the Food Safety Information Council, this dramatically increased the risk of potentially fatal food poisoning, with symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting and kidney disease." (AAP)

"Report: Mechanics at Risk From Asbestos in Brakes" - "SEATTLE - Millions of brakes used in cars and trucks contain cancer-causing asbestos that puts thousands of mechanics at risk of disease, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Smoking Ups Gene Defect in Colon Cancer" - "NEW YORK - Heavy smokers appear to be at increased risk of developing a genetic defect associated with colon cancer, researchers report." (Reuters Health)

"OSHA's bad timing" - "Nov. 16, 2000 - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration picked a bad time to release sweeping new workplace regulations involving repetitive motion injuries. The agency issued 1,600 pages of new regulations Monday that will affect perhaps 100 million workers and six million employers. By the agency's estimate, the new regulations may cost employers $4.5 billion per year. Employer groups dispute the estimate, calculating the cost at between $90 and $125 billion per year." (Denver Post editorial)

More mercury mania: "Boston bans thermometers containing mercury" - "BOSTON - Joining a nationwide push to remove mercury thermometers as a threat to lakes and streams, the Boston City Council voted Wednesday to prohibit their sale." (AP)

Oh no! Theo Ree takes HAA mania travelling as a roadshow! "Chemicals a threat to future generations" - "Theo Colborn, a U.S. scientist known for her pioneering hypothesis about the threat endocrine disruptors pose to organisms, recently visited Japan and argued that it is necessary to study what she calls the "inner space" of the bodies of pregnant women as a factor that may greatly affect their fetuses." (Daily Yomiuri)

Click here or on the "Our Swollen Future" icon on the main page to see Milloy's parody on this garbage. I admire his enthusiasm - it's a damn-site more than I reckon this B.S. chemophobia and blatant fear-mongering is worth.

"Virginia utility agrees to cut emissions" - "A Virginia power company will spend $1.2 billion to cut emissions from eight coal-burning plants by 70 percent to settle government lawsuits alleging the utility contributed to air pollution in the Northeast, The New York Times reported today." (AP)

"90% of deaths caused by air pollution take place in developing states" - "Tehran, Nov 15, IRNA -- Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region, Dr. Hussein Gezairy said here on Tuesday that out of the estimated three million deaths due to air pollution worldwide each year, developing countries account for some 90 percent. In his message to the first regional workshop on air pollution and health, read by WHO representative in Iran, he stressed that out of the total number, 2.8 million are related to indoor exposure and only 0.2 million to outdoor exposure." (IRNA)

"FDA framing new regulations for genetically-engineered foods" - "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to update its approach to genetically modified food products but much work remains to be done to address concerns over whether recent developments in biotechnology and genetically modified organisms are leading to unsafe foods, according to a panel of experts who discussed the topic Wednesday in a forum at Cornell University." (UPI)

"StarLink Scare Causes Japan To Cut Corn Purchases in Half" - "TOKYO -- Japanese companies, the biggest customer of American corn farmers, said they are delaying purchasing corn from the U.S. because of lingering concerns over genetically altered StarLink corn." (WSJ)

"US Exports Hurt by StarLink Bio-Corn Chaos" - "WASHINGTON - American corn exports are feeling a backlash from overseas buyers who fear shipments may be contaminated with an unapproved variety of biotech corn, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"The StarLink™ Event: Can It Help Us Better Understand Broader GMO Issues?" - "There’s a really good chance you’re aware that the gene-altered corn called StarLink™ was detected in certain taco shells and other yellow corn products even though this corn is not approved for food use. Recent media attention to this issue has fallen just short of presidential candidate coverage." (JustFood.com)

"Aventis Plans to Split Off Crop Unit In Deal That Could Fetch $6.86 Billion" - "Shrugging off the threat of potential legal battles in the U.S. over controversial StarLink corn, Aventis SA of France unveiled plans to divest its crop-protection division in a strategic overhaul that could fetch as much as eight billion euros ($6.86 billion)." (WSJ)

"McDonald's asks suppliers to stop using GM feeds" - "LONDON - The British arm of McDonald's Corp., the world's number one restaurant group, said yesterday it had asked its suppliers to find sources of animal feed that did not contain genetically modified products." (Reuters)

"CANADA: Mcdonald`s stops using Genetically Engineered animal food in some European countries - Canada calls for similar action" - "Responding to pressure from Greenpeace, McDonald`s today announced that by April 2001 all its restaurants in Germany, Denmark and Sweden will serve only chicken raised on feed free of genetically modified (GM) ingredients." (JustFood.com) [Greenpeace Pressures Canadian McDonald's to Reject Biotech (AgWeb.com)] [McDonald's Urged to Extend GM-Free Pledge (ENS)]

"Troublemakers" - "The same people who caused so much trouble during last year's World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle are planning now to disrupt the Biotechnology Industry Organization's meeting next year in San Diego. The Ruckus Society is calling on members of the Genetic Engineering Action Network (which includes Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and the Mothers for Natural Law, and a host of other anti-choice nannies) to sponsor a "biotech-specific Action Camp" to train activists in "confrontational campaigning" in preparation for the meeting. Whatever support Ruckus gets will be in addition to the over $115,000 Ted Turner's foundation has given it in the last 4 years." (GuestChoice.com) [Corporate Saboteurs (Forbes)]

"Patenting the painful price of saving lives" - "... SO WE have to make a choice. If we want a cure for cancer, a general cure that will actually work against the big killers of today, someone is going to have to do the research and produce the drugs. They aren't going to do this unless they can smell the profits at the end. If genes - by which we really mean the processes used to isolate and copy these genes - cannot be patented, then no one will do the work." (Daily Express)

"Scientists Shed Light on a Genetic Engine of Cancer" - "PHILADELPHIA - HATs and tails may sound more like formal wear than the stuff of cutting-edge genetic research. But scientists on Thursday said both are critical to deciphering the genetic secrets of certain cancers." (Reuters) [Winstar Institute release]

"Stem Cells Replace Damaged Liver Cells in Mice" - "NEW YORK - Stem cells collected from bone marrow can be naturally transformed into healthy liver cells that have the ability to repopulate damaged areas of the liver, according to results of a study in mice." (Reuters Health)

"UK's Blair to Tackle Stem Cell Dilemma" - "LONDON - Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to wade into the ethical minefield of stem cell research Friday in a keynote speech to a biotechnology conference, industry sources said." (Reuters)

"Genetic Marker For Esophageal Cancer Found" - "TUESDAY, Nov. 14 -- Scientists have identified a genetic marker that points to the recurrence of esophageal cancer, an aggressive and often deadly disease." (HealthScout)

"Americans Uneasy About 'Designer' Kids" - "NEW YORK - The prospect of expectant parents being able to choose between fertilized eggs to have a baby who is intelligent, good-looking and talented leaves most of the US public feeling uncomfortable, results of a new Harris Poll show." (Reuters Health)

CoP6 & enhanced greenhouse items:

"Pacific sea level hardly rising atoll" - "This week's global warming conference in The Hague, Holland, has lost one of its most colourful and emotive elements. The scattered populations of the Pacific's atolls have received some encouraging news: they're not going to drown any time soon. ... "Personnel familiar with sea- level work were cautious to accept the findings of the early numerical climate models, which triggered much of the anxiety among coastal dwellers over the last two decades. "The hard facts of sea level observations serve to confirm a more moderate view of trends." (AFR)

"Climate plague in The Hague" - "The United Nations conference on global warming lumbered into session this week in The Hague, the greatest massing of junk science, politics and economics in world history, or at least since ecclesiastical experts gathered in 1616 to condemn Copernicus's planetary theories and banish Galileo. The sun revolves around the Earth, they declared in 1616 -- the equivalent of the UN's declarations that man is the cause of Hell, fire, global warming and killer mosquitoes." (National Post)

"Hot air from the Hague" - "... At this very moment, world bureaucrats are beavering away in the Dutch capital of The Hague — working out the "implementation mechanisms" of the global warming treaty negotiated at Kyoto, Japan in 1997. The so-called Kyoto Protocol establishes "targets" for the reduction of so-called "greenhouse" gasses, principally carbon dioxide, that are thought to be warming up the planet. The question remains, however, as to whether the warming is a natural trend — as many climate scientists believe it to be — or whether man-made sources of carbon dioxide are a significant factor in relation to the much larger outpouring of natural sources of this otherwise harmless, inert gas." (Washington Times editorial)

"Cracking the Hockey Stick" - "A theory called the 'Hockey Stick' has given the climate change community new 'proof' of man-made global warming. But history and science show the theory is offside, writes John L. Daly" (National Post) [To access the complete report complete with graphs and references click here]

"Minister backs new diesel after 'dirty' report" - "The Government has backed ultra low sulphur diesel despite research that shows it may cause more damage to the environment than traditional diesel. A report by scientists and engineers from the University of Ulster, commissioned by the Road Haulage Association, found ULSD produced up to 20 times more carbon dioxide than the fuel it replaced." (Ananova)

"Colour nuclear power green" - "As the world's leaders debate climate change this week in The Hague, they must consider nuclear power, says OECD secretary-general DONALD JOHNSTON" (GAM)

"Most top UK firms doing nothing on global warming" - "LONDON - Four in five leading UK companies are doing almost nothing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, according to a survey published yesterday. The survey by Business in the Environment (BiE) showed that 80 percent of all leading UK-listed companies had either set no reduction targets at all or had targets which were unspecified or very low." (Reuters)

"Only market forces can save the climate" - "... In The Hague this week, conflict is being fomented on a global scale. Use of fossil fuels has become a flank in the supposed class war between rich and poor nations. America is cast as villain: it churns out the most per head of greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming, and about a quarter of the total. Europe and Japan hide behind America. The Netherlands, green-hued host of the conference, is really Europe’s main offender. Developing nations pose as victims. Oil exporters seek compensation. It is a depressing sight." (The Times)

"Climate conference delegates scorn bicycles" - "An offer of free bicycles was not enough to lure UN climate conference delegates onto a pollution-free mode of transportation. Only six out of 2,000 conference negotiators had made use by Thursday of one of 200 free bikes offered by the city of The Hague for the two-week meeting on global warming, which began on Monday." (Ananova)

November 16, 2000

Oh my! "Missing Voting Mechanism Recovered" - "Nov. 15 — Several days after presidential votes were tallied in what has become the hotbed of Florida’s post-election confusion, police in Palm Beach County confiscated a ballot-box mechanism from the car of a well-known local Democrat. The mechanism, called a “Votamatic,” did not contain any ballots. It’s a device used on some types of ballot boxes to punch votes through ballot cards, which are then tallied by computers. According to a police report filed at the Palm Beach County sheriff’s office and obtained by ABCNEWS, Irving Slosberg, 53, pulled the mechanism from his car and handed it over to police on Nov. 11 after denying to a county government employee that he had it." (ABCNEWS)

"The Great Defender" - "It's a tossup as to what is most revolting about Al Gore's determination to vote-rig his way into the White House. You could argue that it is the daylight-brazenness; decent people know that this sort of thing is done under cover--that's how Boss Daley, father of Gore's campaign chief, Bill Daley, always did it. Then there is the utterly reckless selfishness; the price of a Gore presidency will be a constitutional crisis, a divided nation and a taint on the presidency. But we've been there before, and as Gore's boss said at that time, the important thing is just to win." (Washington post)

"Victory for finality in a Florida court" - "Like a Florida swamp on a hot summer's day, there is an air of damp decay around these last desperate attempts to steal this presidential election for Al Gore. Things didn't go Gore's way yesterday - not in at least two different Florida courts and most certainly not in the court of public opinion." (Boston Herald editorial) [Henry Payne's comment]

"Dubious Data Dredging in Palm Beach" - "Countless data dredgers have weighed in on the Presidential vote in Florida. Unfortunately, many of these analyses were published and circulated online, from where they quickly made their way into the spinning heads of sleep-deprived journalists and pundits. Numbers can be remarkably pliable in crucial times like these, and not all statistical analysis is created equal. So let’s consider two statistical questions: was the original vote count in Florida biased in favor of George Bush and just how unlikely was the number of votes received by Pat Buchanan in Palm Beach?" (STATS)

"Election night tough on media" - "Maybe NBC’s Tom Brokaw had the best line on the media’s head-spinning call, miscall and no-call of the presidential election. “We don’t just have egg on our face,” the veteran anchorman observed, “we have an omelet.” Jokes aside, this is a time for some sober reflection on the performance of television, radio and newspapers in the dash to be first with the news of whether George W. Bush or Vice-President Al Gore would be the next president of the United States." (Luther Keith, Detroit News) [Queensland's Sunday Mail comment]

"You think this is rough? If U.S. directly elected presidents, most counts would be nightmarish" - "The presidential vote count started as a bad dream and has morphed into a recurring nightmare -- kind of like the movies Groundhog Day and Friday the 13th combined. Not surprisingly, it has led all kinds of observers and actors to blame the Electoral College and call for its repeal -- among the latest being Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton. As America moved in the mid-20th century more and more toward expanded suffrage and democracy, calls for the repeal of the Electoral College expanded as well. Every time we get a close election, especially one in which the popular-vote margin is narrow and the possibility rises that the Electoral College winner will be the popular-vote loser, repeal proponents renew their appeals." (USA Today)

"How green issues fared with voters" - "Two high-profile initiatives intended to defeat urban sprawl in Arizona and Colorado failed at the polls." (MSNBC)

"Last-Minute Land Grab" - "... To some, the action -- which covers an area the size of Oregon -- is historic. To others, the proposal is unreasonable, skirts the authority of Congress, and could put thousands of Westerners out of a job. "I don't think [the Clinton administration] cares how many jobs are lost," says Mark Rey, a senior staffer for Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) who works with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "The economic impacts will be much greater than it anticipates." [Hillary Clinton vs. James Madison] (Cato Institute)

"Forest Service to ban all logging in roadless national forest areas" - "The Clinton administration wants to ban all commercial logging on nearly 60 million acres of roadless forest land, including parts of the country's largest forest, Alaska's Tongass National Forest." (Seattle Times)

"Oregon ski resort plan may melt to protect roadless areas" - "Snow fell across the Klamath Basin on Monday but, barring Congressional action, downhill skiers likely will never get a chance to schuss down the Klamath County, Oregon, slopes. As expected, the U.S. Forest Service's proposal to protect roadless areas includes no exception for the 5,200 acres on Pelican Butte where Klamath Falls-based Jeld-Wen Inc. hoped to develop a $37 million ski resort." (The Oregonian)

"Report Blasts Decision to Cancel Tongass Logging Contract" - "WASHINGTON, DC, November 15, 2000 - A 1994 federal decision to cancel a 50 year long Alaskan timber contract was an unwise "political" move that will cost U.S. taxpayers some $750 million, concludes a Congressional report released last week. The report accuses the Clinton Administration of siding with "radical environmental groups" in terminating the contract." (ENS)

Eco-myth deflation of the moment: "I am able to heat my home with either fuel oil or wood. Which one is better for the environment?" - "Under most circumstances, burning fossil fuel is better for the environment than firing up your wood stove, says John Kinsey of the EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory." (ENN)

"U.S. energy chief says world needs more crude oil" - "U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Tuesday that world markets needed more crude oil, despite OPEC's decision not to increase oil production. "We still think there's a supply problem," Richardson said in an interview on CNBC news network. "We do think that more oil is needed on the market." Richardson said current oil prices around $34 a barrel are too high, and the Clinton administration would prefer crude to drop to the $20 to $25 price range. He disagreed with OPEC's position that there is enough oil in the market to meet demand. "We do think there is a supply problem still," Richardson said." (Reuters)

"EC backs fuel tax breaks for truckers with limits" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission gave its qualified blessing yesterday to diesel tax cuts offered by some European Union governments to truckers to end recent price protests, saying they should be limited to two years." (Reuters)

"Ergonomics Rules Kill Jobs" - "The Clinton administration issued new workplace standards on Monday to reduce so-called repetitive motion injuries. Costly, complex and entirely untested, the rules represent the worst in regulatory excess. They ought to be abolished by Congress." (Detroit News)

"Ergonomics, schmergonomics" - "In its death throes, the outgoing Clinton administration has issued new workplace "ergonomics" requirements through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that will cost American businesses at least $4.5 billion — by OSHA's own estimation. Business groups, however, estimate the eventual cost could top $90 billion annually." (Washington Times)

"Most Canadians ignoring cancer fears" - "TORONTO -- Nearly two thirds of Canadians are worried about getting cancer and many know preventative strategies like healthy diets and exercise. But knowing and doing doesn't always go hand in hand." (CP)

"Don't get mad, get funny" - "One of the best ways to protect yourself against a heart attack is to laugh often and exuberantly - even in situations that many people would find unfunny or irritating - according to a study presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2000 meeting. The study is the first to document that laughter and an active sense of humor may help influence heart and artery disease." (AHA) [Laughter is good for your heart, according to a new University of Maryland Medical Center study]

Further to yesterday's 'shonky chefs' item, the Guest Choice network have done their homework a little more thoroughly than I did: "There's Something Fishy Here" - "Fenton Communications, the group that brought you the thoroughly debunked Alar-on-apples scare and the unnecessary "Give Swordfish A Break!" campaign, is at it again. Fenton has brought together several of his clients to push people away from eating commercially harvested fish. As we told you a couple weeks ago, Chefs Collaborative and Environmental Defense (Fenton clients - see contact in their press release) have released a guide to "responsible fish procurement" written by Francine Stephens (member of Mothers & Others - a Fenton created group) and funded by the Packard Foundation (a Fenton client). The direct beneficiary of the campaign seems to be a company called EcoFish (a sponsor of the new seafood guide). EcoFish, which has 6 Chefs Collaborative members and several other Fenton clients on its advisory board, promises, "Now fine chefs from around the country can have premium quality sustainably harvested seafood delivered direct to their restaurant's door within 24 hours!" (That's an interesting idea considering Chefs Collaborative insists people should use only local products.) Three Chefs Collaborative board members, Ann Cooper, Stan Frankenthaler, and Nora Pouillon even endorse the company in its press release!" (GuestChoice.com)

"30 year fear for CJD" - "The long-term risk of developing vCJD may be higher than thought, according to research among a Papua New Guinea tribe. Scientists hope that only a few people with a particular genetic makeup may be susceptible to the infectious agent, or prion, which is thought to be the cause of the vCJD illness." (BBC Online) [BSE crisis (New Scientist)]

"Fear of Diseased Beef Deepens in France's Supermarket Aisles" - "LIMOGES, France, Nov. 13 — At lunch time in a city-owned slaughterhouse here, employees began spraying hot water and disinfectant across the bloodstained cement floors, putting lids on the containers of identification tags taken from cows as they were killed and sharpening knives so that work could begin again in the afternoon. But for the last two weeks, an afternoon shift has not always been needed. Orders at the slaughterhouse are down by 30 percent. At the Paris wholesale meat market, business has been worse, with sales of beef dropping by nearly 50 percent on some days. Television crews have shown farmers returning home with their prize-winning cows, unable to sell them at any price."" (NY times)

"UPDATE - Byrne rules out EU meat/ bone meal ban for now" - "STRASBOURG, France - Europe's food safety chief David Byrne said yesterday he believed a total EU-wide ban on using meat and bone meal in animal feed would not offer a magic solution to the mad cow disease problem." (Reuters)

"Risk of breast cancer higher for tall and slim" - "Heavy women and short women are less likely than lighter and taller ones to develop breast cancer before menopause, while having a first baby briefly but substantially increases breast cancer risk, according to new Australian research." (SMH)

"Questions Arise About Internet's Public Records" - "MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — As more individuals build their own Web sites, some privacy advocates now question requirements that the site owners disclose their personal contact information." (Fox News)

"Another reason why chocolate is better than sex" - "Girls in Norway think chocolate is better than sex during the long winter months, but in spring it's a different story, a study has found." (AAP)

"The kindest cut?" - "More evidence that circumcision could be protecting men from HIV infection is revealed in the BBC's Horizon programme. Laboratory experiments appear to demonstrate how the foreskin appear to be especially vulnerable to attack by the virus, which has killed millions in sub-Saharan Africa alone. While some argue that encouraging circumcision in populations which have no historic tradition of the procedure amounts to mutilation, many scientists are convinced that many lives could be saved this way." (BBC Online)

"Polio on the loose" - "FEARS that polio vaccination might be stopped too soon have been heightened by the discovery of suspected wild-type polio in sewage in the French city of Strasbourg." (New Scientist)

?! "Ruckus Society leader vindicated" - "Nov. 15, 2000 | PHILADELPHIA -- A prominent activist said he felt vindicated after prosecutors dropped charges against him for allegedly leading hundreds of demonstrators on a night of mayhem during the Republican National Convention." (AP)

Biotech news:

"Physicians, biologists on EPA panel analyzing bio-corn" - "WASHINGTON, Nov 15 - The Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday that Stephen Roberts, a University of Florida toxicologist, would head a 15-member science advisory panel that will analyze whether StarLink bio-corn can cause allergic reactions in people." (Reuters)

"Aventis Urges To Compensate Farmers" - "DES MOINES, Iowa - Sixteen state attorneys general are pressing a genetically modified corn producer to do more to compensate farmers and grain elevators hurt when the strain showed up in the food supply." (AP) [Suggest that should read "Aventis urged" rather than "Urges" UPI]

"GREENPEACE SAYS MCDONALDS TO END GMO USE IN GERMANY" - "The McDonalds fast food chain in Germany will from April 2001 no longer permit poultry it purchases to be fed with genetically modified feed, the German branch of environmentalist group Greenpeace said. Greenpeace said it has received a letter from the German McDondalds headquarters confirming this." (AgWeb.com)

"Japan Group Reviews Corn Screening" - "TOKYO - A Japanese consumer group met with U.S. Embassy officials Wednesday to demand better screening to prevent shipments of a gene-altered corn from entering Japan." (AP)

"Green group criticises UK agency over gene ruling" - "LONDON - Environmentalists criticised Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) yesterday, describing as dangerous a ruling that people were not endangered by small amounts of gene-modified material in tortilla chips. The FSA said on Tuesday it had researched claims by Friends of the Earth that gene-modified (GM) ingredients were used in tortilla chips on sale at supermarkets in Britain, where officials are still testing whether to grow GM crops." (Reuters)

"Gene patents get tougher" - "WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is about to announce new rules aimed at making it more difficult for researchers and biotech firms to obtain patents on human and non-human genes. The new rules have been eagerly awaited by the growing, $22 billion-a-year biotechnology industry, which already has developed dozens of tests for cancer and other diseases based on gene patents." (USA Today)

"Embryo cloning for research is "premature," warns EU ethics panel" - "PARIS, Nov 14 - Cloning embryos for research into stem-cell transplants, one of the most ambitious yet controversial issues in medical science, would be "premature," a European Union (EU) ethics panel warned Tuesday. The recommendation coincides with a national debate in Britain about whether to authorise so-called therapeutic cloning, something viewed with horror by the Roman Catholic church and other moral groups." (AFP)

"First French genetic baby born" - "The first French baby selected genetically to be exempt from an incurable disease has been born at Clamart, a southern suburb of Paris, the daily Le Parisien reported today. Monday's birth was the result of pre-implantatory diagnosis, or genetic analysis and selection of embryos." (AAP)

"Lab Accident: Line Of Skin Cells That Just Won't Die" - "From a routine study of the life span of human skin cells, a University of Wisconsin-Madison research project gave rise to an astonishing accident: A line of skin cells that simply wouldn't die. The research team witnessed a rare "spontaneous mutation" when a small cluster of cells in a petri dish continued to actively divide. The amazed scientists continued to grow this unique cell line over the course of a year without the cells showing any signs of slowing down. Today, this laboratory anomaly has proven to be more than skin deep. The effort has grown into a patented product, a full-fledged commercial venture and a series of new medical research pursuits." (UniSci)

A few notable items from CoP6 and the day's enhanced greenhouse hysteria, fanciful items & general garbage list:

"Third World refuses to make greenhouse cuts" - "Developing countries have moved swiftly to rule out any chance that COP6, the United Nations climate change conference in The Hague, could require them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries "categorically reject any move by developed countries to engage in a dialogue to expand participation of developing countries - which means new commitments in one form or another", said the chairman of the G77 & China group, Mr Sani Zangon Daura from Nigeria." [Business wants retrospective green credits] (AFR)

November 15, 2000

"Why He Won't Quit" - "... As an environmental scientist specializing in climatology, I have studied Gore intensively for two decades. Along the way he has trashed the careers and reputations of dozens of scientists who, by his logic, are “evil” and obstruct his vision of a “wrenching transformation of society.” It was only a select few of us who had personally witnessed his malignant ego. Now it is the entire world. But it is nothing new. He told us all about himself in his book, published nine years ago." (Pat Michaels, Cato Institute) [Henry Payne's comment]

"A run that fizzled – or a promising start?" - "Does the Green Party and its - take your pick - exalted or reviled leader Ralph Nader have a political future in the United States? Will Greens be in a position to wield power as the nation's third-largest party, or will they slip back into their traditionally fractured and marginal position?" (CSM)

Didn't do near well enough Ralph - should've kicked Al's butt.

Jury pool irrevocably poisoned by Disney? "Jurors Negative About Business" - "To in-house lawyers and outside defense counsel, the 2000 NLJ-DecisionQuest Annual Juror Survey holds some disquieting results. Many of the potential jurors polled sound like people who have just come from a double feature of "The Insider" and "Erin Brockovich." In other words, they're not exactly inclined to trust corporations. To start with, 76 percent of the 1,000 potential jurors polled agreed either strongly (43 percent) or somewhat (33 percent) with the statement, "Executives of big companies often try to cover up the harm they do" -- a slight decrease from the responses to the same question in 1999, but still sizable." (Law.com)

"Greens turn protest tables on truck drivers" - "Fuel demonstrators in London have found themselves the subject of protests by green campaigners. Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas and supporters are at Hyde Park brandishing yellow umbrellas bearing the slogan "Stop climate change now". She said: "It's the height of irresponsibility for these drivers to demand fuel price cuts when the country is being inundated by the worst floods in 50 years. Calling for lower fuel prices is like turkeys calling for Christmas." (Ananova)

Uh... how much room would be left for wildlife if we went back to the horse-and-cart era with our current population? It takes a lot of land to provide forage for all those beasts of burden. See The importance of high farm yields to wildlife conservation.

People wanting a living margin from their enterprise rather than giving it all to the highest fuel-taxing regime in Europe is like 'turkeys calling for Christmas.' Okay...

"US concerns on nuclear power's role in climate" - "THE HAGUE - The nuclear power industry's hopes for a major new role in combating global warming were shaken yesterday by the distribution of comments by US Vice President Al Gore that he opposed such a move. In a letter dated November 3 Gore, who is still awaiting the result of the US presidential election that could put him in the White House, said nuclear should not be used as a means of cutting "greenhouse gases". (Reuters)

"Tough talk expected at climate conference" - "THE HAGUE A crucial UN conference opened in the Netherlands yesterday, hoping to bridge sharp differences on how to reduce greenhouse gases that threaten to force cataclysmic changes in the earth's climate. Under the imperative banner "Work it out", about 10,000 government bureaucrats, scientists, environmentalists and members of the business community from 150 countries began two weeks of meetings, lobbying and tough negotiations over how to comply with an international treaty to roll back emissions of heat-trapping gases to less than they were 10 years ago." (Business Day)

10,000 bureaucrats, assorted lobbyists and mixed nuts along with a similar number of media and hangers-on - quite a circus isn't it?

"Diplomats warn that climate change should not be ignored" - "HE HAGUE--Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk warned Monday that unless the international community acted speedily to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, there would be an unprecedented planetary crisis of soaring temperatures, rising sea levels and vast human suffering." (Earth Times)

Soaring temperatures... Since all the climate models indicate the high latitudes and polar regions should warm the most (little or no warming is predicted for tropical regions because the tropical atmosphere is at or near saturation), and since all greenhouse gases combined are 50% higher than pre-industrial levels, it is clear that these regions should show strong positive signs of a greenhouse-induced warming by now. Since 1957, scientists have been recording the temperature at Amundsen-Scott base (South Pole): cooling; the most northerly permanently occupied outpost is Alert Base (Ellesmere Island, Canada): "Analysis of half a century of temperature readings collected since Alert's weather station opened in the spring of 1950 show barely any changes in recorded temperatures, said Henry Hengeveld, the science adviser on climate change for Environment Canada, a federal government ministry based in Ottawa. Alert, he added, appeared to be on a climatic fault line between the western Arctic, where recorded temperatures rose slightly in the late 20th century, and the eastern Arctic, where they fell slightly." You can see a lot of remote region temperature tracks here - no warming though. According to Serreze et al, (Climatic Change 46, 159-207) northern high-latitude temperatures are the same now as they were in the 1930s. While the heavily-corrupted (by urban heat island effect) 'surface record' suggests a warming trend, neither the balloon sonde nor the satellite MSU record demonstrate such an effect on the free atmosphere.

Rising sea levels... South Pacific sea levels seen needing more study - "TARAWA, Kiribati Sea levels may be rising but there is no evidence yet to suggest this is being accelerated by global warming, the director of an environmental monitoring project for South Pacific islands said on Saturday. ... Scherer said he was confident a report by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due for release in February, would also show no acceleration in sea change. "It will recognise that on the historical data, even on a global basis, there is no evidence of accelerations," he told Reuters following the briefing, adding that as a contributor he had seen some sections of the report." Also: Testing the Waters: A Report on Sea Levels; The `Isle of the Dead': Zero Point of the Sea?

Vast human suffering... that I believe - if any attempt is made to implement Kyoto, probably the greatest collective folly in the history of humanity.

Oh good grief! "Famous golf links 'threatened by rising sea levels'" - "SOME of Britain's most famous golf courses, including part of the home of golf at St Andrews and two courses which host the Open, are at risk from rising sea levels because of global warming, says a report for the insurance industry." (Telegraph)

"Dispute burns over cure for hot air" - "... In the current Science, Smith and colleagues release an analysis challenging a new ''alternative scenario,'' a theory that many think threatens environmentalist emphasis on cutting atmospheric carbon dioxide. The gas, released by burning fossil fuels, absorbs sunlight and heats the atmosphere." (USA Today)

"Republicans say US will not ratify Kyoto" - "Leading American Republicans came out strongly against the US's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol as COP6, a conference on the UN climate change treaty, got under way in the Hague.  "Under no conditions do I see this Kyoto Protocol - and I think [US Democratic presidential candidate] Mr Al Gore would agree with this - even come close to getting 67 votes in the US Senate," Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel said on Monday." (AFR)

"The world's virtual greenhouse" - "The global warming issues being negotiated this week in The Hague depend on computer simulations" (National post)

Hmm... "The problem, say climatologists, is that CO2 molecules are particularly good at trapping heat in the atmosphere, much as glass in a greenhouse traps the sun's warmth." Oops - no climatologist worthy of their parchment would say such a patently ridiculous thing. The glass in a greenhouse does not significantly absorb infrared radiation (IR) but works by allowing infrared to pass through while interrupting convection (atmospheric mixing). So-called greenhouse gases (GHGs), on the other hand, do not interrupt mixing but do absorb IR. If the glass on a greenhouse worked as do GHGs then the 'greenhouse' would become a shade house and actively cool the volume so shaded. The misnamed 'greenhouse effect' does exist and slows thermal dissipation to space but categorically does not limit atmospheric mixing.

Herein lies the problem for enhanced greenhouse advocates. In order to precipitate warming of the globe's surface, the atmosphere must warm and be warmer than the surface but it patently is not warming. Some have difficulty with this concept so just imagine trying to heat your coffee to 75°C in a convection oven that is thermostatically controlled at 50°C - regardless of the energy expended to maintain that 50°C in the oven, your coffee will never absorb greater energy to rise above the ambient temperature - end of story. So it is with the planet and atmosphere - in theory, a warmer atmosphere could cause planetary warming - but first you need a warmer atmosphere. If the atmosphere is sufficiently sensitive that it reacts to the recent slight change in minor greenhouse gas constituents then the response is immeasurably small and we have not been able to detect it. If the planet is warming - and that is a matter of some conjecture since the observed change appears to be measurement error - then we must look to other causal mechanisms than atmospheric warming for we have independent and mutually validating measures that show that not to be occurring.

"Cracks emerge in climate talks" - "Cracks emerged between the United States and Europe Monday over how to check global warming, threatening U.N.-sponsored talks aimed at implementing a 1997 deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"Big Business Faces Bigger Challenges At Environment Conference" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Big business faced a seemingly insurmountable task at the outset of a critical U.N. climate conference: combining earnings and environmental protection." (AP)

"Greenhouse: the real costs" - "How can economic modellers get it so wrong for so long? The Business Council of Australia and the National Farmers Federation are in a state of high agitation over greenhouse policy because they believe the modellers' claims that cutting emissions will be economically crippling." (Clive Hamilton, AFR)

Ol' Clive's at it again. Ostensibly of the 'Australia Institute' (never heard of any other members besides Clive), he's our principal anti-Australian who wants the country returned at least to its pre-European settlement state and the last one out to erase all trace of human presence. He also seems to think humans should never have discovered fire, let alone any serious energy use. He recently quit as honorary chief whacko for the Australian Democrats (fringe party not to be confused with a mainstream party like the Democrats in America) - apparently they weren't loopy enough. Rumour has it that he won't play with the Australian Conservation Foundation any more for the same reason - and they're clinging to the left extremity of a flat Earth by their fingernails.

"Unsuspected Urban-Induced Warming" - "The putative warming of non-urbanized areas of the planet over the past century is believed to be less than 1°C.  Urban-induced heating in large cities, on the other hand, may be as great as 10°C.  Hence, since nearly all long-term temperature records have been obtained from sensors located in towns and cities that have experienced significant growth over this time period, it is extremely important that urbanization-induced warming - which can be a full order of magnitude greater than the background trend being sought - be removed from the original temperature records when attempting to accurately assess the true warming (or cooling!) of the natural non-urban environment." (co2science.org)

"U.S., Europe battle at climate talks" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov. 14 —  The United States charged ahead Tuesday with a plan that would help it meet targets for cutting greenhouse gases but deepen its rift with the European Union over how to check global warming. The United States, backed to some degree by business, wants to rely on emission credits that could be traded. Europe, backed by environmentalists, would rely more on government policies, not market mechanisms." (MSNBC)

"New video documents climate change impacts on High Arctic" - "Mosquitoes find their way to the Arctic Circle; The permafrost is melting; A traditional way of life is at risk" (International Institute for Sustainable Development)

When didn't mosquitos burgeon in the summer Arctic? Prior to drainage schemes and chemical suppression MALARIA was endemic to the Artic Circle. Sheeeesh!

"Arctic thunderstorms seen as latest signal of climate change" - "OTTAWA -- Canada's Inuit are seeing something unknown in their oral history -- thunder and lightning. Electric storms in the High Arctic are among the evidence of climate change being reported in a new study by the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development." (CP)

Don't laugh - because their instruments don't show the modelled warming the UK's looking to birdies and butterflies, and why not? After all, Prince Charlie asks his flowers.

"U.S. Position Threatens to Derail Climate Change Negotiations" - "THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, November 14, 2000 - The United States has taken a tough stance regarding the compromises it is willing to make in this week's international climate change negotiations in the Netherlands. The U.S. position threatens to alienate the support of some environmental groups, which could be crucial to the successful implementation of the agreement." (ENS)

Way to go Guys!

"Canada's game: climate charade" - "This week at The Hague, Ottawa is quietly trying to gut international mechanisms to halt air pollution, says environmental lawyer CHRIS ROLFE" (GAM)

"Climate talks 'critical' for US" - "This week's United Nations meeting on climate change at The Hague will be crucial in determining whether the United States meets its future targets for reducing emissions, the leader of the country's delegation has said. David Sandolow told the BBC that the meeting was a critical opportunity for countries to come together and make real progress in the "environmental struggle" (BBC Online)

"The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in Switzerland" - "For some time now the climate alarmists have been claiming that temperatures during the latter part of the 20th century were the warmest of the past thousand years.  According to the authors of this paper, however, that claim is false.  Not only do their data indicate that this is so, but those of others do as well. Citing Keigwin (1996), for example, they note that "sea surface temperature (SST) reconstructions show that SST was ca. 1°C cooler than today about 400 years ago and ca. 1°C warmer than today during the MWP."  And citing Bond et al. (1997), they note that the MWP and LIA are just the most recent manifestations of "a pervasive millennial-scale coupled atmosphere-ocean climate oscillation" that has absolutely nothing to do with variations in the air's CO2 content." (co2science)

From The Guardian's pet whackos: "Confronting the perils of global warming in a vanishing landscape" - "... It is now nearly a decade since the IPCC accepted that human activities were changing the world's climate. At that time it was assumed the world had 50-100 years to prepare. But already there are telltale signs; the time frames are changing rapidly. We are perhaps a generation away from some of the worst predictions." (Guardian)

Again: "Welcome to the new world" - "Floods in Yorkshire. Millions facing drought in China. Permafrost melting in Russia. Malaria spreading across Africa. And that's just the start. Guardian writers on how global warming is wreaking havoc around the world." (Guardian)

"Experts discuss world climate at UN conference" - "NETHERLANDS: Weather experts gathered yesterday in The Hague to discuss how to stop man-made gases affecting world climate just days after widespread flooding, blamed on global warming, hit Europe. Underlining the passions stirred by debate on so-called "greenhouse gases", 20 people were arrested for trying to stage a demonstration in the grounds of the conference, police said." (Irish Times)

"US, EU in forestry tangle as climate talks get down to business" - "THE HAGUE - - European Union (EU) and US negotiators were locking horns over the role of forests in combatting global warming, one of the toughest areas of the still-unratified Kyoto Protocol." (AFP)

"Scientists back El Niño network in Indian Ocean"

"Better climate prediction for the nations around the Indian Ocean would improve the lives of billions of people," says the Chief of CSIRO Marine Research, Dr Nan Bray. Patterns in the Indian Ocean which influence the strength of regional rainfall have an impact on two thirds of the world's population, according to climate researchers meeting in Perth, who are calling for an international monitoring system." (CSIRO)

"Global Warming Spawns New Business" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands — In Canada, a company spews heat-trapping gas from its smokestack. In Finland, a power company switches to a fuel that produces fewer greenhouse gases. Thus, the stage is set for a deal — not of power, but of pollution credits. Efforts to check global warming have created a new commodity: pollution — or the lack of it — that is being traded on the market like sugar or equities. And it is producing a new breed of businessman, the pollution trader." (AP)

Just one teeny-weeny little problem with this idea - CO2 isn't 'pollution' but a highly advantageous, actually essential, trace gas that supports the entire biosphere. A 'pollutant' increase that provides more than 10% of human food needs and simultaneously preserves forests, wildlands and wildlife habitat isn't such a bad thing really.

"The Neglected Issue of the Global Change Debate: Food Security" - "In the October 2000 issue of Plant Physiology, Norman Borlaug - father of the Green Revolution and 1970 Nobel Prize Laureate for Peace - has an important Editor's Choice article entitled "Ending World Hunger: The Promise of Biotechnology and the Threat of Antiscience Zealotry."  In it, he describes the very real problem of potential food shortages that could be faced by the world in the not too distant future." (co2science.org)

"Biotechnology Could Solve Africa`s Food Problems" - "The Deputy Under-secretary in the US Department of Agriculture, James Schroeder, has said that Washington would support African scientists to use biotechnology to achieve food security and reduce poverty." (PANA)

"Sri Lanka calls for ban on pork insulin" - "Colombo - Sri Lanka's health authorities have been asked by a senior muslim minister to ban the import of pork insulin that is administered to diabetic patients, officials said on Tuesday." (Sapa-AFP)

Hmm... don't get these problems with biotech product.

"Patenting genes can be the best way to help us all" - "Patenting "life", or at least gene sequences, has been widely criticised and equally widely misunderstood. Some say it is morally repugnant, others argue that it allows only the rich to benefit from the fruits of nature. A more realistic criticism is that patenting can be too broadly applied, stifling innovation by discouraging others from working in an area already tied up in patents. The decision of Rosgen – the British licensee of two important breast cancer tests – not to charge royalties to the National Health Service provides an example of how such fears can be abated." (Independent)

"American GM corn continues to flood into the nation" - "Two-thirds of samples of imported U.S.-grown corn used as animal feed tested positive to a genetically modified species (GM) known as "Starlink" which is not authorized in the nation, the farm ministry announced on Monday." (Mainichi Daily News)

"EPA: Biotech corn poses low risk" - "WASHINGTON - The chance of consumers eating an unapproved variety of biotech corn is "extremely low," but unresolved questions remain about the possibility that it might cause allergic reactions, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday." (AP)

"Court clears Greenpeace activists" - "Athens - A court in eastern Greece found 13 Greenpeace activists innocent on Monday of charges of forcing their way into and occupying a factory which the environmental group accused of importing genetically-modified soya." (Sapa-AFP)

"Why GM food theatrics don't fool the crowd" - "They were all there Friday night in Vancouver, a Who's Who of the big-is-bad bunch, offering up warnings about the perils of genetically engineered foods in a so-called teach-in, a sidelight to a biotech conference that's on this week. The same tactics have been tried before, at home and abroad, but as the public discussion matures to consider risks and benefits, these social actors are becoming irrelevant, increasingly focused on theatrics rather than meaningful input." (National post)

"Stormy weather for northern spotted owl" - "... And now comes word from the Pacific Northwest that, even if enough prime forest habitat is saved for the threatened northern spotted owl, extreme weather conditions could lead to a catastrophic population crash." (ENN)

Oh well - might as well get on with the logging then eh?  If they're threatened by everything from weather to hiccoughs they're cactus anyway, so we might as well stop waiting for the inevitable and get on with getting the timber out.

"Of Soot, Birds, and the Law" - "Federal and state laws to clean up the nation's air and water have been on the books for decades, and they've been remarkably effective. But do these federal laws rest on constitutionally shaky grounds?" (CSM editorial)

The Christian Science Monitor suggests that EPA should be trusted since science runs in front of Congress and legislation - which would possibly be acceptable if EPA used science or even listened to its own scientific advisory committees. Since it patently does neither and is an agency run amok it should be reined in or dismantled - there is no place in a democracy for Ozone Al's dictatorial misanthropy brigade.

"Gas prices act as brake on family budgets" - "Lean fuel supplies have kept prices high, so consumers must cut back elsewhere." (CSM)

"Floods bring cheap power to Scandinavians" - "OSLO - As Britain attempts to recover from its worst flooding more than 50 years, many Scandinavians have seen a direct benefit from the deluge which has swept across northwest Europe in their cut-price electricity bills." (Reuters)

"Electricity 'does not cause child cancer'" - "UK researchers say electrical power supplies are not linked to childhood cancer. The UK Childhood Cancer Survey has looked at the effect of living close to all kinds of electrical supply equipment, not just overhead power lines. It found no association between living close to underground cables, electrical substations and high-voltage lines and the development of cancers such as leukaemia. The study reinforces research published by the group a year ago which provided evidence that electromagnetic fields are not a cancer risk." (BBC Online)

"FEATURE - Agent Orange seen a threat to US-Vietnam harmony" - "HO CHI MINH CITY - Bill Clinton becomes the first US president to visit Vietnam since the height of the Vietnam War this week and many hope he can help lay to rest the legacy of a conflict that poisoned relations for decades. But if there is an issue that could threaten the harmony, it is the question of Agent Orange, a defoliant used by US forces and blamed by Hanoi for causing huge numbers of birth defects and illnesses." (Reuters)

"AMA business venture questioned" - "CHICAGO (November 13, 2000 5:47 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - An American Medical Association business deal that sets up an online physician database for marketers is being criticized as a way for pharmaceutical companies to target specific doctors for advertising pitches. The AMA's joint venture with Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock, Ark., was announced earlier this fall. A new Web-based business, HealthCarePro Connect, combines Acxiom's software expertise in customer profiling and the AMA's master list of 650,000-some physicians." (AP)

"Research suggests tea might be good for the heart" - "NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- A nice cup of tea might just be good for the heart, a study sponsored by the tea industry suggests." (AP)

Hmm... "In last days, Clinton begins environmental offensive" - "With the clock ticking down on his presidency, Bill Clinton ordered that nearly one-third of America's national forests be made off limits to logging, mining, and road-building." (CSM)

Uh-huh... "Environmental Defense Spins Off Private Firm" - "BERKELEY — Environmental Defense, a leading US non-profit advocacy organization, today announced its spin-off of LocusPocus (www.locuspocus.com), a for-profit internet services company. LocusPocus will help membership-based organizations recruit, engage, and retain members, and will enable them to leverage the power of their constituencies for online advocacy." (ED)

Today's shonky chefs item: "EcoFish Launches Restaurant Direct Program as Nation's Top Chefs Join EcoFish in Support of Sustainable Seafood" - "PORTSMOUTH, NH — Today EcoFish launched its Restaurant Direct Program, as eight of the nation's top chefs who are leading proponents of sustainable food practices, have joined EcoFish's Chefs Advisory Board. Now fine chefs from around the country can have premium quality sustainably harvested seafood delivered direct to their restaurant's door within 24 hours!" (EcoFish)

Swordfish revisited? Reprise

"Canada's PCB Export Ban Could Cost Taxpayer Dear" - "OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada, November 14, 2000 - A Canadian government ban on exports of polychlorinated biphenyl waste breached international investment rules and could cost the country US$20 million, according to a tribunal's decision this week." (ENS)

B.S. bans come at a price? You don't say...

"High cholesterol hinders the effectiveness of aspirin" - "A daily dose of aspirin reduces the risk of a heart attack in 75 percent of people with heart disease, but in about 25 percent of patients using it, aspirin offers no protection. Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore now think they know why some of the people who take aspirin are not protected. Their study, presented at the 73rd Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association in New Orleans on November 14, shows that in those patients, high cholesterol is hindering the effectiveness of the aspirin." (UMMC)

"Study links heavy meals, heart attacks" - "NEW ORLEANS - Looking forward to a huge Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe you should think about some dietary downsizing. A study released Tuesday suggests that an unusually heavy meal increases the risk of a heart attack." (AP)

"Women more vulnerable to effects of cigarette smoke than men" - "Women seem to be more vulnerable to the damaging effects of cigarette smoke than men, shows new research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Over 65,000 people aged 20 and over were surveyed about their respiratory health between 1995 and 1997. The survey was part of a larger health study in the Nord-Trøndelag area of Norway." (BMJ)

"Mispackaging Science" - "Not long ago, we told you about Jeffrey Armour Nelson, of the Armour meatpackers, who now makes his living bashing meat and promoting vegetarianism. At that time, Nelson was attempting to incite fear by erroneously linking meat and dairy consumption to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Now Armour is trying to tell us that the organic pesticide Rotenone, which has been linked to Parkinson's disease, is NOT used in organic farming. However, according to published reports, Rotenone is used in "680 compounds marketed as organic garden pesticides." Once again, Armour is using misinformation to promote his organic, anti-meat agenda." (GuestChoice.com)

"Filtered coffee may increase heart disease risk" - "NEW YORK: People who enjoy several cups of filtered coffee each day may be putting themselves at increased risk of heart disease, preliminary study findings suggest. Daily consumption of a liter of paper-filtered coffee was associated with a roughly 20% increase in homocysteine levels after 2 weeks, according to the report published in the November issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." (Times of India)

"France bans animal-based feed, T-bone steaks" - "PARIS - France announced Tuesday that it was suspending animal-based feed for all livestock and banning T-bone steaks as part of a series of measures to reduce the spread of mad-cow disease. Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said the temporary ban on the use of animal-based feeds for all livestock - including fish, chicken and pork - would take effect Wednesday." (AP)

"Panic over BSE spreads to Italy" - "NORMALLY impervious to the fear sweeping Europe over “mad cow” disease, Italy was gripped by sudden panic yesterday as the Government ordered “immediate tests” on all beef cattle more than two years old." (/the Times)

November 14, 2000

"Hand counts will only deepen crisis" - "THE BRAZENNESS of the Gore people is a wonder to behold. Before the election they were spending millions of dollars to confuse Florida's voters. Bush wants to gut Social Security! Gore will cover your prescription drugs! Now they are demanding that tens of thousands of ballots in four heavily Democratic counties be recounted by hand and examined one at a time because some Florida voters may have been - confused." (Welcome back Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

"She held up the ballot and she saw the light" - "One vote counts and it belongs to Theresa LePore, a Democrat" (Mark Steyn, National Post)

"Bush wins - now what?" - "The clock is ticking for the president-elect. With a pending 327 vote margin of victory in Florida, and likely support from overseas absentee ballots, probable President-elect George W. Bush is losing valuable time each day the outcome is in limbo. ... The longer the Democrats stimulate and prolong the controversy of the Florida vote, the greater the difficulties they impose on Mr. Bush to implement the policy proposals on which he ran. And that may be the point." (Michael Warder, Washington Times)

"The liberal elite's plan for a second civil war" - "... Well, now we know. Mr Gore is the sort of person who is prepared to set fire to the stadium because he has lost the game." (Janet Daley, Telegraph)

"Mountain-front reservoirs control cycles of Great Salt Lake" - "Reno, Nev. -- Major cycles in the size and depth of Utah's Great Salt Lake are known from as far back as the 19th century, but now a Penn State researcher suggests an explanation for the seemingly odd behavior of the lake. "In the 1980s, the Great Salt Lake was very high," said Dr. Christopher J. Duffy, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. "Twenty years earlier, in the 1960s, the lake was so low that there was talk of it drying up." (Penn State)

"Eco-park evacuated after blade scare" - "A LEADING Northern Ireland tourist facility had to be evacuated over fears that a massive blade could plunge to the ground from a wind turbine, it emerged today. Staff at the £10m Ecos Millennium Park in Ballymena shut down the centre because the turbine, built to be powered by wind, became unstable on a windy day." (Belfast Telegraph)

"OPEC freezes oil output, sees prices easing" - "OPEC today ratified an agreement on unchanged supply that will provide cold comfort for consumers fretting over high fuel bills this winter." (Reuters)

"Sellafield link to births dismissed" - "CLAIMS that there was a link between radioactive fall-out from a fire at the Sellafield nuclear installation and the birth of Down's Syndrome children in the Republic of Ireland were dismissed by a report published yesterday." (Telegraph)

"DOE Squandered Billions on Useless Nuclear Waste Technologies" - "WASHINGTON, DC, November 13, 2000 - The U.S. Department of Energy has "squandered hundreds of millions of dollars" since the end of the Cold War trying to develop innovative technologies for cleaning up the nation's contaminated nuclear weapons sites, concludes a Congressional report unveiled last week." (ENS)

"New hope for heart failure patients" - "HOUSTON, Texas -- A genetically engineered protein called Enbrel, approved last year for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, is continuing to show promise against another threat -- congestive heart failure." (CNN)

"Biotechnology’s Greatest Challenge" - "Can the great potentials of biotechnology be directed towards ensuring food security and economic development in the developing world?" (Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy)

"Study Finds Biotech Plant Kills Bollworms, Spares Other Pests, Yields Better Health, And Economic Benefits" - "The second trial of biotech giant Monsanto's Bt cotton has confirmed the first study's results that the crop was effective in killing bollworms but ineffective in fighting other pests. The cotton's ability to kill bollworms also reduced the need for pesticides, leading to higher counts of natural predators in Bt cotton than the normally grown Sri Samrong 60 variety." (Bangkok Post)

"Biotech in Brief" (TKC)

"EPA Not Convinced on StarLink Bio-Corn Safety" - "WASHINGTON - New scientific data submitted by the maker of StarLink corn does not dispel government scientists' concerns that the gene-altered crop may cause allergic reactions in humans, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday." (Reuters)

"EPA Outlines Bio-Corn Science Questions That Need Answers" - "WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday laid out a half-dozen questions that a science advisory panel will analyze in determining if StarLink bio-corn can cause allergic reactions in some people." (Reuters)

"Heirloom gardeners outline GE risk to seeds" - "A group of pipe-playing gardeners bearing flax baskets has urged the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification to ban gene experiments before it is too late." (NZ Herald)

"What’s the biggest threat to economic growth?" - "It’s not higher oil prices, or turmoil in the Middle East, or monetary problems with Europe’s new currency, the Euro, or even the divisions arising from the recent election. The biggest cause for concern is politicians and regulators clinging to 19th and early 20th Century models of how the economy ought to work and how it needs to be regulated." (James K Glassman, Reason Online)

"Judge rules on breast-implant settlement" - "DETROIT - A federal judge on Monday ruled that women opposed to a $3.2 billion settlement over silicone breast implants may not sue Dow Corning Corp.'s corporate parents." (AP)

"Advisory: U-M statement regarding book 'Darkness in El Dorado'" - "Following is a statement from University of Michigan Provost Nancy Cantor on the book, "Darkness in El Dorado," by Patrick Tierney, published by W.W. Norton & Co. The supporting research was conducted by the offices of the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, Vice President for Research, and General Counsel, and by the Medical School and Department of Anthropology." (U-M)

"Attacking the nation's No. 1 killer: statin and niacin treatment reduces risk of heart attack by 70 percent, can reverse arterial buildup" - "NEW ORLEANS (Nov. 13) -- Treatment with a combination of statin and niacin can slash the risk of hospitalization for chest pain or a heart attack by 70 percent among patients who are likely to suffer heart attacks and/or death from cardiovascular problems, according to a study presented here by researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine." (UW)

"Moderate Drinking Gives Only 'Slight' Heart Help" - "NEW ORLEANS - Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, previously reported to help people's hearts, only slightly reduces the odds of having a deadly heart attack, Finnish researchers reported on Monday. More noteworthy heart benefits occurred when people had three to seven drinks per day, but doctors advise against that because heavy drinking is associated with a host of problems, from liver damage to impaired fertility." (Reuters)

"Smoking mothers' kids prone to maladjustment" - "HEIDELBERG, Germany: Children of women who smoke regularly tend to be more difficult to manage and often resort to violence in adulthood, according to NEG studies released by the German National Cancer Centre in Heidelberg." (Times of India)

"Tackling teen smoking" - "Attleboro has started ticketing underage smokers. And despite the grumbling from local teens, it's a policy that could save lives. Attleboro is one of three Massachusetts communities to take this step. Kids caught smoking, or in possession of tobacco products, will be ticketed and fined - $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second and $100 for a third." (Boston Herald editorial)

but: "Relationship between smoking, alcohol and coffee consumption and Parkinson’s disease may identify new risk factor" - "A new Mayo Clinic study shows that the same underlying factors that cause people to seek out the behaviors of coffee or alcohol consumption or smoking may also make them less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease." (Mayo Clinic)

"Study ties coffee use with lowered Parkinson's risk" - "ST. PAUL, MN - Drinking coffee may reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the November 14 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology." (AAN)

Hmm... "Research sheds light on heart valve disease caused by fen-phen" - "Philadelphia, Pa. — The diet drug combination fenfluramine-phentermine, better known as fen-phen, was removed from the marketplace in 1997 because it was associated with acquired heart valve abnormalities. Now a research team led by a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia physician has uncovered some of the cellular events, apparently triggered by the neurotransmitter serotonin, that may help explain the disease mechanisms that are involved." (CHP)

"Fat as a target of antidiabetic drugs" - "Obesity is well known as a risk factor for diabetes mellitus, but curiously, the complete absence of adipose tissue is not protective, but actually causes diabetes. In humans with lipoatrophy, as well as in mouse models of this condition, blood glucose is abnormally high and physiological responses to insulin are blunted." (JCI)

"Heart Association Recommends Eating More Soy" - "NEW ORLEANS - It's official -- the American Heart Association wants you to eat soy. The giant non-profit, which has for years preached the gospel of healthy diet and exercise, says the scientific studies have shown that eating soy can lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease." (Reuters)

"High blood pressure gene also linked to obesity" - "NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 13 – A natural gene variation that is already linked to high blood pressure may also predispose those who inherit it to obesity, according to a study reported today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2000." (AHA)

"Obese Kids at Higher Risk of Insulin Syndrome" - "NEW ORLEANS - Obese children are 53 times more likely to have insulin resistance, a syndrome that often precedes development of so-called "adult-onset" Type II diabetes, according to a study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill." (Reuters)

"Molecular clue to Alzheimer's mystery found" - "In cell biology studies, researchers report "strong evidence" that a molecule called ubiquilin controls levels of certain proteins that are central to the early development of Alzheimer's disease." (UMBI)

"France to announce mad cow measures" - "French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin will announce a series of food safety measures on Tuesday in an effort to ease public anxiety over the spread of mad cow disease, a spokesman said today." (Reuters) [Telegraph]

"France to Study Blood-Mad Cow Connection" - "PARIS - France has asked scientists to study the possibility that mad cow disease can be transmitted by blood transfusions or by red meat, the food safety agency Afssa said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Mercury in Lake Linked to Climate Change" - "USGS scientist N. Terence Edgar will present evidence from a sediment core taken from Lake Tulane, Florida, by the University of Maine, Orono, that shows a natural variation in mercury levels that appears to correlate with changes in global climate. Mercury accumulation appears to correspond to temperature proxies from cores drilled in ice sheets in Greenland and Canada. It also appears to correspond to periods of dryness around Lake Tulane as indicated by variations in oak and pine pollen incorporated in the lake sediment thousands of years ago. A possible source of the mercury is dust blown across the Atlantic from North Africa. If so, then the dust may also be the source of mercury in the Everglades." (USGS)

"Helping to Make Minnesota Mercury-Free: Hundreds of Mercury Thermometers Collected in North Minneapolis" - "MINNEAPOLIS, MN — The "Mercury Thermometers and Family Health in Minnesota" project got off to a phenomenal start today with more than 800 thermometers collected even before the thermometer exchange officially began." (Health Care Without Shame)

Alright, I've put it off as long as I can - here's the CoP6-generated crapola, scare pieces, hand-wringing and the odd rational piece thrown in for a novelty - enjoy.

"Pivotal world conference on climate change gets under way" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- How much should forests count when it comes to helping the Earth keep its cool? Should a country be able to make up for its greenhouse gas emissions by paying to clean up pollution overseas? Delegates from about 180 countries will meet this week in The Hague to try and answer the many big questions raised by the Kyoto Protocol negotiated in Japan in 1997. Right now, it's the only worldwide strategy for dealing with global warming." (CNN) [ENN]

What global warming?

Hmm... "Introducing Science Into Discourse On Climate Change" - "To date, the debate over climate change has generated much more heat than light. But science may enter the discourse as a result of the international meeting that opens today in The Hague. Experts in global climate change research will participate in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP-6) in The Hague, Netherlands, today through Nov. 24. Playing a unique role, the scientists are part of a formal nongovernmental organization (NGO) accredited to the negotiations process to provide objective science input and to act as "honest brokers" in addressing scientific questions that may arise within national delegations, media groups and other participating organizations." (UniSci)

Who are these 'honest brokers'? They're certainly pretty coy about their identities and position when it comes to perusing the linked web sites. About the only thing revealed is that they are dubious about carbon sinks and believe substantial emission cuts would be required. That doesn't sound like 'honest broking' to me - it sounds like believers, advocates and pro-Kyoto lobbyists trying to dress themselves up as 'neutral umpires.' 'Honest brokers' would surely highlight the discrepancy between atmospheric temperature (not reacting to altered CO2 levels) and apparent surface temperature (purportedly reacting violently) - along with the reasons for believing the surface record seriously compromised - didn't see anything of that. Didn't see anything about the dearth of evidential support for the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis either. Hmm... again.

Pick of the current scare-piece crop: "Crunch meeting on global warming" - "... The problem they are tackling is stark: cars, factories and power plants are pumping so much heat-trapping gas into the air that it's changing the world's climate, causing severe storms and droughts. New weather patterns threaten to wipe out animal species, submerge coastal areas and low islands, and dramatically change people's way of life." (Irish Independent)

Note the closing quote from Jennifer Morgan (WWF) about The Protocol having to be in place by 2002. No it doesn't - ratified in 1997 or 2007 makes no difference, "emission limits" kick in between 2008-2012. The real reason anti-energy freaks are in a panic to get the deal stitched up now is that 2001 sees a recalculation of the 30-year global mean - the benchmark against which trends are measured. It is this mean that appears as the zero line on anomaly charts, currently it is the global mean 1961-1990. As of 2001we'll be using the mean temperature from 1971-2000, which includes the anomalous 1997/98 El Niño event and will be a warmer reference point against which to measure trends. How much warmer depends on the record used for calculation - use a well-maintained record such as the continental US and there will be little change, however, use of the heavily-corrupted global met composite would see the benchmark rise by more than +0.2°C. Given that the current global mean temperature is just below the 1961-1990 mean, use of a warmer benchmark will show the world as cooling (at least statistically) - most embarrassing if you are trying to claim catastrophic global warming. And THAT is what makes COP6 "the last chance," for warming advocates anyway.

"Warming world faces crunch time" - "... Michael Meacher, the British Environment Minister, warns that rich countries may have to cut pollution by about three-quarters - about 15 times greater than the world is planning. "The Kyoto protocol is only the first, rather modest, step," he said at the weekend. "Much, much deeper cuts in emissions will be needed in future. The political implications are mind-blowing." (The Age)

"Conflict on the Agenda at Global Climate Meeting" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Participants in a United Nations conference on global warming opening today are vowing to "work it out" in the face of conflicts, controversy and a 3-year-old unratified treaty." (Fox News)

"Climate summit strives to turn treaty into action" - "Diplomats from more than 150 countries meet in The Hague, Netherlands, today for talks that will play a major role in determining whether the world slows global warming this decade -- and what the effort might cost U.S. consumers in the form of higher gas, heating oil and electricity prices." (USA Today)

"Britain seeks U.S. commitment on gas emissions" - "Britain urged the United States today to commit itself to cutting greenhouse gas emissions at an international meeting on climate change. Environment Secretary Michael Meacher, speaking before the start of talks in The Hague today to hammer out policies to curb global warming, said the world's economic superpower must set an example." (Reuters)

So it must - tell 'em all to stop being so foolish and go home.

"Europe may seek emissions cuts without American cooperation" - "WASHINGTON -- As officials from around the world gather today to figure out how to fight global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a somewhat reluctant and definitely conflicted United States could end up left out." (Miami Herald)

"Climate convention seeks wide backing" - "The Hague conference is a make-or-break opportunity for climate change treaties,'' said Michael Zammit Cutajar, the convention's executive secretary." (BBC Online)

The Beeb's better at this than they know - check the graphic in this piece showing that 'polluting' ... water vapour rising from cooling towers. Well, they're right - water vapour accounts for nine-tenths of the so-called greenhouse effect. Should we install atmosphere driers to cool the planet?

"Changes to climate are not being ignored" - "INTERNATIONAL climate change negotiations are resuming in The Hague today, and most environment ministers from around the globe will be present to continue to press for effective action. I, with my EU colleagues, will press for an environmentally sound outcome so we can ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, and certainly before 2002, the 10th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit when the first climate agreement was reached." (Noel Dempsey, Irish Minister for the Environment and Local Government) [Statement by Environment Minister David Anderson in support of Canada's participation at the Sixth Conference of the Parties (CoP 6) in The Hague, November 13-24, 2000]

"Pressure to Ratify Kyoto Protocol Mounts" - "... It has been signed by representatives of more than 100 countries, including the United States, but cannot take effect until a substantial number of the industrial nations ratify it. So far, none have done so. Most important would be the approval of the United States, far and away the world's largest producer of heat-trapping gases, and without whose participation, specialists say, the effort is bound to falter. ... In a Cato Institute book, "The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming," Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling Jr. explain why global warming is vastly overrated as an environmental threat. ... The first and fifth chapters of the book can be read online. In "Kyoto's Chilling Effects," Michaels writes that the protocol has poor chances of being ratified by the United States as "both Democrats and Republicans can agree that Kyoto will wreck our economy, according to just about every credible study that uses realistic policy assumptions." Director of Natural Resource Studies Jerry Taylor agrees in "Hot Air in Kyoto," stating that "impoverishing society today to avoid a very uncertain problem tomorrow would harm, not help, future generations." (Cato Institute)

Oh dear: "World's Response to Climate Change Depends on Hague Summit" - "THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, November 13, 2000 - "The evidence is mounting. The greenhouse gases we produce are having a visible impact on the environment." (ENS)

"The Hague Conference" - "Another exotic city, another talkfest, the usual shrill cries that "it's much worse than we previously thought". The Greenhouse hyperbole has gone into overdrive in the last 3 months with not a shred of new physical evidence to underpin any of it. But will the Kyoto Protocol make any difference to climate if implemented in full? According to Greame Pearman, Australia's senior climate scientist and head of it's climate research effort, not much. On ABC `7.30 Report' last night (13th) he concluded - DR GRAEME PEARMAN: The reality of the protocol as it is at the moment, is even if all of the nations were able to achieve those targets, it would hardly make any difference." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse) [7:30 Report transcript]

"Green taxes urged at all costs" - "The Federal Government has been urged to implement more reforms to the taxation system designed to protect the environment, including measures that would increase the cost of fuel." (AFR)

"U.S. Accused at Climate Meeting" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Environmental groups accused the United States on Monday of seeking loopholes to avoid cutting pollution, as a U.N. conference opened to set rules for reducing harmful gases released into the atmosphere." (AP)

"Climate talks told of 'mounting evidence'" - "The Americans in this area are very much the villains of the piece. They've not gone along with Kyoto and yet they are unquestionably the largest polluter with 4% of the world's population and 25% of greenhouse gas emissions." (BBC Online)

"U.S., Europe clash over pollution rules" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium - A bitter clash between the United States and Europe threatens to block agreement on how to comply with an international treaty on global warming when representatives from more than 150 countries gather today in The Hague." (Washington Post)

"EU's Targets May Not Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions" - "Carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by Member States of the European Union could rise if a Directive on the promotion of renewable energy technologies is adopted in its present form. That's the conclusion of a report published today by the British Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering." (UniSci)

"OCTOBER TEMPERATURES ABOVE NORMAL IN MUCH OF U.S., NOAA REPORTS" - "The average October temperature, based on preliminary reports, was 55.8 F, which is 1.0 F warmer than the 106-year average, making it the 25th warmest October since records began in 1895. Temperatures were near normal for the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, and West while the rest of the country experienced above normal temperatures." (NOAA)

The 25th warmest eh? Imagine that... Is there any truth in the rumour that fully half of the record is at or above/below the  average?

"Climate Experts Seek to Check Global Warming" - "THE HAGUE - Cracks emerged between the United States and Europe on Monday over how to check global warming, threatening U.N.-sponsored talks aimed at implementing a 1997 deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"Climate change 'worse' for poor nations" - "Poor countries which bear least responsibility for global warming may end up suffering most from the problem, a new study says. The study, published to coincide with an international climate change meeting, which opened on Monday in the Netherlands, says temperatures will rise more in some countries than others." (BBC Online)

Almost right - Kyoto worse for poor nations.

"Islands Face Ruin Unless Global Warming Addressed" - "THE HAGUE - The world's small islands, predicting a grim future of rising seas, hurricanes and typhoons, called on industrialized nations on Monday to accept their moral duty to cut emissions of greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"Emissions credits: Case for trees isn't clear-cut" - "The global solution to combat climate change is far from being clear-cut. As 180 nations gather to finalize a global climate change treaty in The Hague, Netherlands, in the next two weeks, a controversial question will accompany them: Should forests be used — and credited — for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by absorbing carbon dioxide?" (ENN)

"Scientists count carbon in global-warming fight; state trees may hold keys to pollution credits" (Seattle Times)

"Gas Flaring May Cause Health Problems In Niger Delta - Minister" - "... The address which was made available to THISDAY, noted that gas flaring which is associated with climatic change and related warming, deforestation and acid rain with attendant impact on agriculture and other physical infrastructure, heat and noxious gases may contribute to environmental health problems in the Niger Delta region." (THISDAY)

?!! "The Hague Talks to Tackle El Nino Weather Phenomenon" - "Ministers and diplomats from 160 countries are beginning Monday in the Dutch city of the Hague a meeting whose objective is to expedite global action on greenhouse gas emissions and to be better prepared for the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon." (PANA)

"As the climate warms, rivers and lakes may flood even in wintertime" - "Finnish scientists, government officials, and power companies are preparing for global climate warming." (Helsingin Sanomat)

"New WRI Study Reveals Potential Benefits of Climate Protection Policies for U.S. Farmers" - "WASHINGTON--Nov. 13, 2000--A new report released today at the start of global negotiations on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) finds that implementing policies to address climate change will benefit U.S. farmers." (BUSINESS WIRE)

WRI says Kyoto is really cool - imagine that...

For a little perspective: "10 die of hypothermia in Moscow" - "MOSCOW - Ten people died of hypothermia in the Russian capital last week, bringing the number of people who have frozen to death this fall to 21, an emergency services official said Monday." (AP)

November 13, 2000

"Gore, Hungry for Power" - "So the Clinton-Gore era culminates with an election as stained as the blue dress, a Democratic chorus complaining that the Constitution should not be the controlling legal authority, and Clinton's understudy dispatching lawyers to litigate this: "It depends on what the meaning of 'vote' is." (George F Will, Washington Post)

"Al Gore: Constitution is a technicality" - "Perhaps by the time this appears, cooler heads will have prevailed. But Al Gore appears determined to press the Florida vote situation to the wall. What a sad contrast to the events Richard Nixon described in his memoirs after the 1960 election:" (Thomas J Bray) [Henry Payne comment] [Nolan Finley] (Detroit News)

"The law will prevail - and Mr Bush will go to Washington" - "IN the end, George W Bush will prevail. He will prevail not because of any outbreak of statesmanship on the part of Vice-President Al Gore or the Democratic Party - on the contrary, it is alarming how few Democrats have been willing to say for the record that the Florida result should be respected even if it goes against them - but because of the solidity of the American legal and constitutional system." (David Frum, this time appearing in The Daily Telegraph)

"Can Black Gold Ever Flow Green?"- "As ridged as crocodile skin, the marshy coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge stretches 110 miles from the Canning River in the west to Alaska's border with Canada in the east. ... The fate of this hushed span of tundra, like many other matters, may hang on the outcome of the presidential election. If Gov. George W. Bush of Texas is the new president, this plain and the oil deposits it covers may become an unlikely proving ground for the kind of company BP Amoco is and what it aspires to be: an oil company that is also a protector of the environment." (NY Times hand-wringing over the ANWR)

"Precocious Heart Attack and Coronary Disease Associated With Discovery of Novel Family of Gene Mutation" - "CLEVELAND, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A novel family of gene mutations in thrombospondin, a protein that plays a role in blood vessel structure and function, indicates a significant association with precocious heart attack and coronary disease, according to a study to be presented at the American Heart Association by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic." (Cleveland Clinic Foundation)

Back on the trans fat trail: "Trans fats losers in fat fight" - "NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 12 – A new study sheds light on whether a dietary fat called trans fat, found in many baked goods and fried foods, increases a person’s risk of heart disease, according to researchers who presented their results at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2000." (AHA)

"Cancer cases predicted to double in next decade" - "A specialist predicts the number of less serious skin cancer cases will double within the next ten years. The Cancer Society has released figures which show 67,000 cases of non melanoma skin cancers were reported last year. Dermatologist Dr Marius Rademaker says most skin cancers occur from exposure in early childhood and it takes another 40 years for the damage to show up. He says it is going to be around ten years before the real benefits of better sun protection start occuring." (NZ Herald)

"New research finds link between gum disease, acute heart attacks" - "CHAPEL HILL -- Heart attack survivors who suffer advanced gum disease show significantly higher levels of a protein in their blood called C-reactive protein (CRP) than such patients without gum disease, new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill research indicates." (UNC-CH)

"¡Ciao! down: Mediterranean diet after a heart attack adds years to life" - "NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 12 – For individuals who have already had a heart attack, a “Mediterranean” style diet – rich in olive oil, fruit, vegetables and fish – might be one of the best prescriptions for a longer life, researchers report today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2000." (AHA)

"Obscure Gene Family Linked to Early Heart Disease" - "NEW ORLEANS - Researchers on Sunday said they had identified mutations in three related genes that significantly increase the odds of a person getting heart attacks and developing diseased coronary arteries before age 50." (Reuters)

"Cell treatment could help doctors make old hearts young again" - "NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- People suffering heart problems associated with old age and heart attacks may soon get relief with a new cell therapy that may rejuvenate damaged hearts. Several new reports on the treatment were presented Sunday at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association." (CNN) [AHA release 1] [AHA release 2] [BBC Online]

"Doctor: U.S. Restores Heart Gene Therapy Trials" - "NEW ORLEANS - Gene therapy trials suspended in a government crackdown after a teen-age patient died have been allowed to start again and will be up and running next week, the researcher in charge said on Sunday. Dr. Jeffrey Isner of Tufts University and St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston, who had been conducting three separate gene therapy trials aimed at helping patients grow new blood vessels to alleviate diseases of the heart and artery, said he hoped to re-start them this week." (Reuters)

"Testicle tissue could halt stroke damage" - "Transplanting cells from the testicles into the brain could help some patients recover from strokes, say researchers." (BBC Online)

"Pope warns biotechnology may upset 'healthy balance'' - "VATICAN CITY - On a day he dedicated to the world's farmers, Pope John Paul II on Sunday urged developers of new biotechnologies to keep a "healthy balance" with nature and avoid putting people's lives at risk." (AP)

"Bangalore scientists make fruit-based rabies vaccine" - "BANGALORE: Two Bangalore-based scientists have achieved a rare feat of germinating the rabies vaccine in a muskmelon. The scientists claim that this would open up possibilities of administering various vaccines into the human body through fruit." (Times of India)

"Bid to Grow Harmful GM Crop in South Africa" - "Aventis, which has been denied entry of its products into Europe by the EU, has applied to grow its genetically modified crop in South Africa. A company that has had to remove about 300 food products from United States supermarket shelves because they contain a genetically engineered maize that may cause human allergies now wants to grow the crop in South Africa." (Mail and Guardian)

"South Korea's StarLink recall said 'unnecessary'" - "CHICAGO - South Korea jumped the gun with its recall of tortillas believed to be contaminated with an unapproved gene-altered corn - the chips were made from wheat flour, the US supplier said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Poor nations can't afford debate on gene-altered crops" - "Recent world conferences on agricultural biotechnology have made it unmistakably clear that if governments foil the growth of this technology, mankind will be denied solutions to a host of problems that plague many nations, particularly in the developing world." (CSM)

Back in 1997, we had the question posed: "Will Government's Crusade Against Tobacco Work?" - "Federal, state, and local governments are crusading against tobacco." (CSAB) Perhaps we now have an answer: "Anti-smoking campaign failing, so cool it" - "The spirited crusade to discourage smoking by young Americans is working just as research has indicated it would. There has been a dramatic increase in U.S. teen-age smoking. That's right. A recent analysis by the National Bureau of Economic Research says the proportion of teen smokers has risen by one-third since a 15-year period of decline ended in 1991. "We are in the alarming position of having a youth smoking rate...roughly 50 percent greater than the (adult) smoking rate," say the study's authors, Jonathan Gruber and Jonathan Zinman." (Jerry Heaster, The Star)

"Andro may raise risk of health problems in older men" - "WASHINGTON - Men who are past their prime muscle-building years cannot rely on androstenedione to help them develop muscle, researchers say. The scientists also say the supplement raises the risk of health problems." (AP)

"Florida farmers look for alternatives to banned pesticide" - "Methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting pesticide popular in the farming industry, must be phased out by 2005. While the elimination of the chemical from regular use may have positive effects on the environment, questions loom about what will be used instead. With that in mind, about 140 agricultural researchers, chemical and plastics company representatives and scientists toured a Manatee County research facility Thursday, the last day of a four-day conference on methyl bromide. The 2000 annual International Research Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reductions started Monday in Orlando." (The Bradenton Herald)

Sieg Heil! Nature über alles! "Court defines criteria for protected lands" - "LUXEMBOURG - The European Court of Justice handed a victory to environmentalists this week when it told European Union nations that a decision to identify land as part of a pan-European wildlife habitat must be based on environmental criteria and not economic concerns. "Member states may not take economic, social or cultural requirements or regional or local characteristics into account in order to delete sites of ecological interest at national level from the list of proposed sites which they transmit to the European Commission, whose task it is to create a coherent European ecological network," the court ruled." (Reuters)

"Reactor monitors may be key to solving red tide mystery" - "Microscopic algae in the ocean need iron and normally don't receive an ample supply, but the African dust is rich in iron and when it falls into the ocean it causes the plants to bloom, Betzer said. "It actually does seem that their occurrence is, in fact, tied to the arrival of the dust," Betzer said, adding that the air samplers can serve as an early warning for onset of African dust storms." (AP)

"Epicures blanch at vegetarian caviar" - "It is black, comes in a jar, and one whiff is enough to send food purists into a dead faint. After two years of secret development, Cavi*Art, the first vegetarian caviar, has been unveiled, to derision and applause in equal measures." (Guardian)

"Japan power firms plan own MOX processing by 2009" - "TOKYO - Japan's major electric power companies decided on Friday to go ahead with plans for Japan's first processing plant for plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, aiming to start operations by 2009, an industry group said." (Reuters)

WOW!! Here's an imaginative piece of all-encompassing fear-mongering! "U.S. IN HOT SEAT AS EXPERTS MEET FOR GLOBAL-WARMING TALKS" - "LONDON -- The polar ice cap is melting. Glaciers around the world are retreating by up to 5 miles. The ice sheet that covers Greenland is gradually disappearing. Ocean levels are rising. In northern European waters, fish native to the region are under threat because of rising sea temperatures. Millions of trees in Alaska are turning a deathly gray or brown, killed by a pest that can only live in warm weather. Malaria has made a comeback in Italy. Sensitive to temperature changes that kill the algae on which they feed, coral reef are dying. Long a subject of debate, global warming is no longer a threat. It is a reality, with dire consequences for the world that are becoming increasingly apparent. The four horsemen of this global Apocalypse are Thaw, Drought, Storms and Floods, carrying in their wake hunger, disease, devastation and death." (Chicago Tribune)

REALITY CHECK: sorry fellas, the world is no warmer now than it was back in the 1930s. co2science.org says no warming for 70 years, SEPP says the climate hasn't warmed for 60 years - either way, humanity has been tracking slight increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1959, during which period the planet has cooled and recovered (without plunging into the 'impending' ice age that caused so much angst back in the '70s). Significantly, the last step warming in planetary temperature occurred from about 1890-1930 - before the period of significant fossil fuel use - and has demonstrated no net warming during the 'age of oil.' The European 250-year and the US 120-year records both show warming to the early 1930s, although there has been negligible warming since. And what about the infamous 'Hockey Stick' graph purporting to show a near-stable climate until mid-20th century? I'm glad you asked:

"The `Hockey Stick': A New Low in Climate Science" - "... In 1999, a new paper published in `Geophysical Research Letters' altered the whole landscape of how past climate history was to be interpreted by the greenhouse sciences. It stood in stark contrast to the challenge posed by the solar scientists. The infamous `Hockey Stick' was unveiled for the first time." (John L Daly, Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"U.S. heads to climate talks, despite election mess" - "The uncertain outcome of presidential election will not affect the negotiating stance of the United States at international climate change talks starting Monday in The Hague, where 180 nations meet to finalize a treaty for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, White House officials say." (Reuters)

"The Next Round on Warming" - "AS U.S. negotiators head to The Hague for a critical round of talks on global warming, they still don't know for sure whether the next administration will be headed by a president who opposes the Kyoto protocol or one who helped to draft it. But that doesn't alter the challenge before them, which is to make sure that the talks produce enough progress to sustain the international momentum for addressing climate change." (Washington Post editorial)

"Clinton Seeks to Regulate Common Gas to Clean Air" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 — President Clinton called today for new federal regulations limiting power plants' emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas thought to cause global climate change, through a system similar to the rules now in place for pollutants that cause smog and acid rain. It would be the first time that federal regulations specifically controlled emissions of carbon dioxide, the main so-called greenhouse gas." (NY Times)

"Too little, too late" - "Britain’s floods are a symptom of global changes that need to be tackled urgently, says Celia Brayfield" (The Times)

"Old springs revived by rising waters" - "SPRINGS and streams that have been dry for decades are flowing again as water levels continue to rise, with Britain facing the prospect of repeated flooding until April." (The Times)

Uh... if these springs and streams used to flow then presumably the place used to be about as wet as it is now - so much for 'unprecedented.'

"Hague Talks Make-Or-Break for Kyoto Climate Goal" - "THE HAGUE - Diplomats and interest groups kick off two weeks of talks in The Hague on Monday to hammer out clear policies intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions agreed to in Kyoto three years ago." (Reuters)

For the sake of the environment and humanity it has to be 'break.' Only wealthy societies can indulge in such luxuries as environmentalism and Kyoto will destroy that ability.

"Greenhouse Gases Focus of Conference" - "THE HAGUE, Netherlands - As some 10,000 people open a major U.N. conference to draft rules on slowing global warming, differences remain vast on greenhouse gas emissions and there are concerns that everything the parties have agreed to so far could unravel." (AP)

"Greens flex their muscles at 'last chance' climate summit" - "Green activists have threatened to picket the world climate change talks in the Netherlands, which some environmentalists describe as "the last chance to save the planet". (SMH)

Another flight of fancy: "Climate crisis: All change in the UK?" - "As ministers, environmentalists and lobbyists from 180 countries gather in the Hague for the UN Climate Change conference, BBC News Online looks at how global warming could affect the UK." (BBC Online)

"All together in the greenhouse" - "Scientists have finally agreed upon what many of us have long suspected: global warming is already upon us, the greenhouse effect is not a bogey of the future but a phenomenon that is affecting us now. A summary of a 1000-page final draft of new research by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - a United Nations-sponsored group composed of 2500 leading atmosphere scientists - was sent to governments in late October." (The Age editorial)

Well, not exactly:


Oops! "Pointing the finger at the main villain" - "Most scientists now accept that global warming is not a natural phenomenon, writes Deborah Smith, but they remain divided about how best to tackle it." (SMH)

Deborah Smith apparently believes 'most scientists' think Earth's emergence from the last great glaciation is 'not a natural phenomenon.' Sorry Deb, but both global warming and global cooling are 100%, all singing, all dancing, all natural events that have been occurring for as long as the planet has had an atmosphere and is one way we define aeons. What Ms Smith means is the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis, something for which no one can find any evidence of its validity.

"A meeting to adjust the world's thermostat" - "Diplomats begin talks Monday as evidence grows that average temperatures may rise 10 degrees this century." [Carbon 'Sinks' That Swim] (CSM)

"Time for more than just words" - "A string of natural disasters has given added urgency to this week's international talks on tackling the greenhouse effect. However, writes Michael Millett, many developed countries, including Australia, are reluctant to make the necessary sacrifices." (SMH)

Necessary? Try 'pointless,' 'irrelevant' or perhaps 'ludicrous' but there is no environmental gain to be had by committing economic suicide.

Oh dear! "Clergy brings global warming to the pulpit" - "Add a new lesson to Sunday school in Oregon: global warming." (ENN)

"Should polluters save the Amazon?" - "Brazilian environmentalists are at odds with with their headquarters in the United States and Europe over a proposal to use trade in pollution credits to save the Amazon, albeit by allowing firms in industrialized countries to pollute more at home." (Reuters)

Fascinating how far the indoctrination has progressed - an essential trace gas, carbon dioxide is now commonly called a "pollutant" when it most categorically is not. The biosphere literally booms with higher atmospheric levels and declines with lesser levels. All carbon liberated by the combustion of fossil fuels originally came from the atmosphere and was sequestered by biological activity - thus denying its availability to the biosphere and reducing biological viability. By restoring some of the carbon to an available state we are actually encouraging and actively supporting the biosphere. Strangely, the nature über alles brigade never seem to mention that.

Chicken counting of the day: "Aust Plantation, IBJ in carbon credit plan" - "SYDNEY - Australian Plantation Timber Ltd (APT) said on Friday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Industrial Bank of Japan's Australian unit to develop a carbon credit trade structure for international carbon emitters." (Reuters)

Hot air sale of the day: "Fortum sells CO2 emission credits to Canadian firm" - "HELSINKI - Finnish energy group Fortum said on Friday it had agreed to sell Canadian EPCOR Utilities Inc 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reduction credits for an undisclosed sum." (Reuters)

"Cabinet finalises greenhouse stand" - "The Federal Cabinet will fine-tune its position on a global emissions trading regime on Monday, as crucial United Nations greenhouse talks get under way in The Hague. The review of Australia's negotiating position on carbon credits comes as environmental groups prepare to launch a stinging attack on the nation's record, accusing the Government of using "smoke and mirrors" to achieve its greenhouse target under the Kyoto Protocol." (AFR)

"Green groups slam Fed Govt's greenhouse policy" - "The Australian Government's policy to force developing nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been slammed by environmentalists. Environment Minister Robert Hill is representing Australia at a meeting in the Hague, which aims to develop global rules for meeting greenhouse gas targets set in Kyoto three years ago. Australia will push for countries like China, India and Brazil to be included in any agreement to lower emissions." (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

"Square up for carbon deals" - "Business often presents itself as a champion of globalisation. But many in business are resisting the imposition of a global cost on greenhouse gases, otherwise known as "carbon", by the Kyoto Protocol. COP6, the United Nations conference on the protocol in The Hague this week, will give Australia a better indication of that cost. Those resisting a cost on carbon have a point - in fact, several points." (AFR)

November 12, 2000

"TIME FOR SOME ORDER FROM THE COURT" - "A judge's authority in the courtroom is considerable, but there are times when those wielding the gavel seem to mistake it for a sledgehammer. For example, there's DuPage County Associate Judge Edmund Bart, who has taken extreme offense to Traffic Court visitors who allow cellular phones or pagers to ring when court is in session. He has dealt with them extremely--by throwing those visitors behind bars." (Chicago Tribune)

"Challenges expected to new work rules on ergonomics" - "WASHINGTON - More than 100 million Americans in all kinds of jobs would get extended protections for work-related injuries caused by repetitive motion under government standards to be issued Monday. The rules, more than a decade in the making, are stridently opposed by the business community and are so contentious they helped derail final budget negotiations between the White House and GOP lawmakers. Industry groups promise to challenge the standard in court." (AP)

Interesting, Australia long ago decided that RSI, as we call it, didn't exist and our 'epidemic' disappeared as soon as employers were not liable for it.

Book review: "Inside the navel academy" - "Well, did they? Did Adam and Eve have bellybuttons, that is? This is the topic of the lead article in science writer Martin Gardner's latest delightful collection of essays debunking pseudo-science, exposing scientific charlatans, and generally defending human rationality from all those who prefer comforting half-truths, quarter-truths and no truth at all." (GAM)

"Alzheimer's: A disease of the young?" - "Figures suggest that more and more young people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease." (BBC Online)

"Cholesterol drugs may protect from dementia" - "Drugs commonly used to treat patients at risk from heart disease could help stave off dementia as well. Statins reduce the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream, thereby helping keeping vital blood vessels unclogged." (BBC Online)

"Bridge playing may boost health" - "The complex thought required to play contract bridge may increase the number of useful immune cells in the body, say researchers. The card game is the latest - and most bizarre - lifestyle change to be advocated by immune system experts as a way of improving health." (BBC Online)

"French BSE crisis worsens" - "FEARS over the safety of French beef rose again this weekend after the country's most senior scientific adviser on BSE confirmed that large amounts of infected meat were still likely to be entering the human food chain, putting anyone eating beef at risk of developing variant CJD." (Sunday Times)

"Scientists to recreate flu virus that killed 40m people" - "SCIENTISTS are proposing to recreate the lethal 1918 flu virus in the laboratory, a move that has divided the academic community. Those in favour of rebuilding the virus, which killed 40m people worldwide in a single year, argue that it would provide vital information that could prevent a similar catastrophe. They fear that, without such research, the world is at risk of the recurrence of an equally virulent strain, which could occur at any time." (Sunday Times)

"Smoking may cause hearing loss" - "NEW YORK: It is common knowledge that smoking is harmful to the lungs. Now researchers in Japan report that smoking may damage hearing as well." (Times of India)

It doesn't say whether this loss was assumed because smokers ignored the shrill warnings of anti-choice nannies or even if it could have been caused by said shrill warnings.

Sigh... "Using radon risk to motivate smoking reduction: evaluation of written materials and brief telephone counselling" - "OBJECTIVE - Radon and cigarette smoking have synergistic effects on lung cancer, even when radon concentrations are relatively low. Working through an electric utility company, we sought to reach smoking households with low radon concentrations and motivate smoking cessation or prohibiting smoking in the home." (BMJ)

Just what no one needs - a junk science-fuelled radon scare to intimidate smokers. Here's a series of articles Michael Fumento did on radon non-science beating up a non-hazard: The EPA (Again) Turns a Blind Eye to the Radon Data; Radon's Real Threat is to the EPA; Radon Redux; Time to Overthrow the Radonistas; The Cancer Institute's Ridiculous Radon Redux; The Radon Scare: When Scientists Oppose Science

"Hot coffee, tea may raise cancer risk" - "NEW YORK: People who prefer their lattes piping hot may have more to worry about than burning their mouth. According to recent study findings, drinking very hot tea or coffee with milk appears to raise the risk of esophageal cancer. The study in the November-15 issue of the International Journal of Cancer found that drinking these beverages raised the risk of cancer by as much as four times." (Times of India)

"Pacific musicians get top billing at Climate Change Conference" - "AUCKLAND - - This week's Climate Change Conference in The Hague is to be entertained by Pacific Island music group Te Vaka, whose members hail from some of the most far-flung islands on the planet." (AFP)

Great - the circus flies in its own entertainment to go with their specially crafted IMAX movie, 1st-class air travel, all expenses paid accommodation and knees-up. Some 20,000 of them are descending on The Hague to determine how to lower our standards of living. Makes you proud doesn't it?

What's wrong with this picture? "Greenpeace activists board Australian ship" - "Some 10 Greenpeace activists have boarded an Australian ship carrying charcoal in Rotterdam to draw attention to global climate changes. "Charcoal is the fuel responsible for the most carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere, and that is why we have chosen a ship carrying charcoal," spokeswoman Annette Cornelissen told AFP." (AFP)

But... charcoal is a biofuel isn't it? Aren't Greenpeace et al always exhorting the use of biofuels to reduce the dreaded emission of beneficent CO2, the gas that enables growth of forests and food crops? Isn't their argument that biofuels don't introduce "new" carbon into the atmosphere but merely recycle that which the plants took from the atmosphere during growth? (Actually, so do fossil fuels but that carbon has been out of circulation a little longer.)

"Sermons on science from a royal soapbox" - "... The difference between William Blake and Prince Charles is that Blake was denouncing the scientific principle per se and not, as the Prince and Mr Porritt are doing, suggesting bogus science as an alternative to true science - and delivering their pronouncements from the unanswerable heights of Highgrove. Meanwhile, Prince Charles continues to annoy the inhabitants of Kensington by chugga-chugga-chuggaing everywhere in his gas-guzzling helicopter." (Sunday Telegraph)

Slick Willie does a Charlie: "Clinton warns of global warming dangers" - "WASHINGTON -- Continued global increases in greenhouse gas emissions could raise temperatures in the United States from five to nine degrees, a newly released U.S. government report said Saturday. President Bill Clinton, who unveiled the report during an Internet Webcast, said such temperature changes have not occurred since the end of the last Ice Age. The congressionally mandated three-year report was conducted by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and assessed ways climate change might affect the United States." (CNN) [AP] [BBC Online]

Said "new report" is better known as "the national scare" about which Christy said: "I read the Executive Summary and the following sections through page 9 -- 'Looking at America's Climate.' I stopped at that point thinking, 'This must be some kind of joke.' It seemed to me that this document was written by a committee of Greenpeace, Ted Turner, Al Gore and Stephen King (for the horror lines). I saw no attempt at scientific objectivity. This document is an evangelistic statement about a coming apocalypse, not a scientific statement about the evolution of a complicated system with significant uncertainties. As is, the document will be easily dismissed by anyone with access to information about the uncertainties of the issue." See Wojic's report on What the Experts Say about the USGCRP National Assessment report "Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change": Not A Pretty Picture

"Global Warming Treaty Dispute Heats Up" - "BRUSSELS, Nov. 11 – A bitter clash between the United States and Europe threatens to block agreement on how to comply with an international treaty on global warming when representatives from more than 150 countries gather Monday in The Hague. ... In response to critics who say Clinton has failed to live up to his promises of waging an aggressive crusade against global warming, White House officials say $2.4 billion has been allocated in the 2001 budget to combat global climate change – an increase of 43 percent." (Washington Post)

"Scientists claim nothing will stop climate change" - "SCIENTISTS have warned thousands of government officials and politicians gathering for international climate talks in the Hague that the rise in global temperatures is irreversible, and that the best they can hope for is to slow it down by a fraction of a degree. Their research shows that even if delegates implement all the proposals before them in full, this will cut only about six-hundredths of a degree from a temperature rise that could be as much as 5C by 2100." (Sunday Times)

"Carbon trappers in new trade" - "... Some economists believe that a fully fledged carbon emissions trade could channel billions of dollars each year from the industrialised world to the poor, and its proponents see it as a weapon in the war on global warming. Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels, are thought to be causing a rise in temperatures. Forests soak up carbon, goes the thinking, so let's use them to mop up the pollution." (Financial Times)

Interesting both in it's adherence to the current surreptitious reclassification of the essential trace gas, CO2, as a 'pollutant' and the obvious move to 'transfer' current wealth from regions where living standards are adequate to regions where they are low. Rather than taking from the 'haves' and nominally redistributing to the 'have nots,' we should be assisting the 'have nots' to generate new wealth. Unfortunately, trashing developed world standards of living is the whole reason for existence of the enhanced greenhouse bogeyman. Sound like right-wing paranoia? Check out this quote: "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" -- Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations [Source: The Environmentalists' Little Green Book].

"This hysteria about global warming leaves me cold" - "Last August The New York Times ran a story on its front page which in breathless tones told its readers that visitors to the North Pole had found near-irrefutable evidence of global warming. This was picked up by media the world over as though it were the gospel truth." (David Quinn, Sunday Times)

Here's a junk science-fuelled doomsday trilogy from The Independent on Sunday:

beginning with a prize-winning panic piece:  "The most critical day yet for the world's climate" - "Rainforests will dry up; the polar icecap will melt. The latest predictions for global warming are the direst yet" (Independent)

... which was the lead for: "Ecological disaster looms but how green will the politicians ever be?" - "Unfortunately, there are so many vested interests that whatever action is taken it will never go far enough" (Independent)

and just in case you haven't got the eco-doom message: "North Sea cod and sole stricken by sunburn" - "Fish in the seas around Britain are suffering sunburn and blisters caused by the thinning ozone layer, symptoms of a drastic change in environment that threatens to wipe out species once common to our shores." (Independent)

We'll all be ru'ned... slight problems with the scenario in that the atmosphere is not responding to increased CO2 as the models insist it should and no one has found a measurable increase in net UV energy arriving at the surface but never let facts get in the way of a good circulation-boosting scare.

Social re-engineering news: "'Massive' pollution cuts needed" - "With the UN climate conference delegates assembling in The Hague, a UK Government minister says rich countries may have to cut pollution by around three-quarters. Environment Minister Michael Meacher said this would probably be necessary to allow the developing countries to raise living standards. His forecast, which he himself described as "mind-blowing", would mean cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases about 15 times deeper than the world is planning." (BBC Online)

Presumably, the '15 times deeper' cuts needed is to make it seem like a good deal signing up to Kyoto in it's current form.

"CLIMATE IS NOT WARMING - HAS NOT WARMED IN 60 YEARS" - "Scientific conclusions below follow mainly from our analysis of the draft Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the UN- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as the National Assessment of Climate Change (NACC) produced by the US Global Climate Research Program (USGCRP)." (SEPP)

"Leaders To Argue on Warming Costs" - "WASHINGTON — On the eve of critical negotiations on global warming, the Clinton administration is preparing to argue that measures to curb greenhouse gases must be cost-effective if a climate agreement reached three years ago is to survive." (AP)

"Canada's 'Gentle Giants' Await Vanishing Winter" - "CHURCHILL, Manitoba — Polar bears, their white coats tinged with yellow after a summer of fasting on the tundra, are gathering here on the western shores of the Hudson Bay, waiting for sea ice that once again will free them from land, allowing them to hunt seals. Almost imperceptibly, this timeless tableau on treeless salt marshes is changing: the "Lords of the Arctic," North America's largest land carnivores, are 10 percent thinner and have 10 percent fewer cubs than they did 20 years ago. The culprit, scientists and residents here said, is climate change." (NY Times)

Uh.. how did "Canada's 'Gentle Giants'" manage through the Medieval Climate Optimum if the last 20 years' non-event is supposedly reducing their population? The Holocene (current interglacial period) has seen sustained periods much warmer than now and yet the species is still here. Churchill is about the same North latitude as Aberdeen (Scotland - no wild polar bear population there though) - maybe the bears only penetrated so far south with the LIA (Little Ice Age) and are due to withdraw from this extended range as we get further from that unusually cool period.

"Blowing hot & cold" - "If you thought this week's floods were bad, wait until you see what global warming could have in store for us. Myles McWeeney on a nightmare vision of a new Irish Ice Age" (Irish Independent)

"The Week That Was November 11, 2000 brought to you by SEPP" - "With COP-6 about to begin, we bring you two views about Kyoto: one soft, the other hard. Kind of makes us look reasonable." (SEPP)

"Trees Create Carbon ‘Sink’" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 — Letting forests grow on abandoned farmland and logging grounds may do more than beautify the countryside — they may be soaking up greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, scientists said on Thursday." (Reuters)

Not too bad but neglects to mention that the cited 6 billion tonnes refers strictly to anthropogenic emissions and ignores the 90-odd billion tonnes each emitted by forests and oceans plus the, as yet, unknown volume produced by volcanic fumaroles, natural weathering of the crust... Humanity actually liberates a very small percentage of this essential trace gas.

"Threat to global warming talks" - "CRUNCH talks to save the planet from global warming are under threat from the American presidential election chaos. Negotiations between 180 nations start tomorrow in The Hague, with most representatives desperate for Democrat Al Gore to win. He claims to be an environ-mentalist, while Republican George W. Bush is a former oilman who has declared his opposition to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol - the deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions struck by John Prescott in 1997. ... The prospect of neither Bush nor Gore being declared president before the end of the week means that the U.S. negotiating team at the Hague will operate in a political no-man's land, unsure what sort of deal will be acceptable back home." (Daily Express)

"Scientific Debate on Global Warming Heats Up" - "LONDON - World governments will meet this month to try to thrash out an agreement to cut greenhouse gases, but not all scientists are convinced they are the cause of global warming." (Reuters)

"OPEC warns of 2001 oil supply glut" - "OPEC ministers have warned that an oil glut could swamp the market early next year, sparking a collapse in prices and forcing the 11-nation grouping to slash production. Gathering in Vienna on the eve of a one-day meeting, oil ministers from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries said they were worried that the market could be swamped with excess supply next year, bringing prices tumbling down from current levels well above $US30 a barrel." (AFP)

"Cutting fuel by 10p in four (fairly) easy steps" - "Serious trouble lurks. According to one version, favoured particularly by cyclists with PhDs, it goes like this" (Observer)

November 11, 2000

"No Media Skepticism of Fla. Ballot Challengers" - "Are the plaintiffs demanding an unprecedented re-run of the presidential election in Florida’s Palm Beach county really befuddled oldsters who were confused by a two-column ballot? Or are they really sophisticated local activists who assume that their protests against the election’s integrity is Al Gore’s last, best chance to be awarded the White House? The national media have repeatedly relayed citizens’ complaints about the supposedly baffling ballot, but the networks haven’t looked at the backgrounds of the three plaintiffs who have put their names on the lawsuit hanging over the presidential election. A Nexis search of Florida newspapers shows all three plaintiffs — Abigail McCarthy, Lillian Gaines and Andre Fladell — are savvy activists with political experience, not the sort of voters who’d be stymied by a ballot layout." (Media Reality Check)

"Changing the rules after the game" - "Last week, when the final pre-election polls showed a possible Gore win in the Electoral College and a Bush win in the popular vote, the editor of the opinion page of a major American newspaper received more than a dozen op-ed articles from prominent Democrats who argued that the outcome should be decided according to the same rules by which it had been fought. When the news arrived that the result was exactly the opposite of what had been expected -- that Gore had (probably) won the popular vote while Bush had (apparently) won the electoral vote -- every single one of the writers suddenly telephoned demanding that his or her piece be yanked. About face! is today's marching order for U.S. Democrats. Last week the Electoral College was the finest achievement of the founders' wisdom. Today it is an anachronism to which no respect need be paid -- "an unfair system," Yale law professor Akhil Reed Amar called it in yesterday's New York Times." (David Frum, National Post)

"Mosquito repellents may not be safe" - "HYDERABAD: Mosquito repellents such as mats, liquids and even coils may not be safe. Though promoted as safe products, they use a group of chemicals called pyrethroids that can cause health problems. "Lots of people who have used pyrethroid based mosquito repellent mats, liquids and coils have complained of irritation and allergic reactions," Dr K Venu, superintendent of the Government Chest Hospital told The Times of India." (Times of India)

"Endostatin shown safely suspending growth of tumors" - "AMSTERDAM - The hype surrounding the world's most talked-about cancer-fighting drug gave way to the first real human test results yesterday, as researchers revealed that Endostatin has halted some advanced cancers for awhile, and it seems free of the side effects that make other treatments so debilitating." (Boston Globe)

"Norway puts tobacco industry on trial" - "OSLO, Norway - A Norwegian court ruled Friday the tobacco industry could not be held responsible for a smoker's terminal cancer in the country's first tobacco compensation lawsuit. The Orkdal District Court said the smoker, Robert Lund, continued to smoke even after the dangers of smoking "became broadly known and accepted" and said tobacco's addictiveness did not free him from responsibility for continuing to smoke." (AP)

"Negotiations Are Stalled in New York Smoking Suit, Lawyers Say" - "Negotiations between smokers' lawyers and two major tobacco companies to resolve a federal case in New York have stalled and may fall apart, lawyers representing both sides said yesterday." (NY Times)

"Study: Nicotine causes selective damage in brain" - "ATLANTA, Georgia -- Scientists say cigarettes' most addictive component -- nicotine -- may also lead to degeneration in a region of the brain that affects emotional control, sexual arousal, REM sleep and seizures." (CNN)

"Estimating the Numbers of Smoking-Related Deaths" - Exchange between Levy and Thun in JAMA's letters section (JAMA)

"So-Called Soft Drug Ecstasy Damages Everyday Memory" - "People who take ecstasy on a regular basis are damaging their cognitive health, new research carried out at the University of Northumbria has shown." (UniSci)

"No Cheeseburgers In Paradise" - "Food choices around the world are needlessly imperiled because of nannies' successful scare campaigns. Italians are shaken to the point that they've declared only organic food can be served in school cafeterias (see our headlines from yesterday). Now the Italian Catholic church seems to be caught up in the hysteria. In a full-page ad in the church bishops' newspaper, the church said that by eating fast food, Italians have abandoned respect for "the holiness of food." Eating fast food, wrote the newspaper, "is not Catholic." (GuestChoice.com) [Daily Express]

"Urgent appeal over French BSE outbreak" - "An urgent appeal went out to European governments yesterday to step up testing for BSE because of concern about "disturbing" levels of the disease in France. A plea from David Byrne, the European commissioner for health and consumer protection, advised member states to speed up the introduction of random testing." (Independent)

"Adverts 'pose little threat to children'" - "Television advertisements aimed at children are not a threat and do not need further regulation, it was claimed yesterday. Despite multi-million pound campaigns by advertisers, parents have far more influence over a child's attitude to spending money, a new study suggests. Adrian Furnham, a professor at University College London, says in his new book,Children & Advertising: The Allegations and the Evidence, that there is no evidence to support calls for stricter controls on the advertising of sweets, toys, music and other goods aimed at children." (Independent)

"Amazon vaccine claims disputed" - "An influential body of US scientists has disputed claims that one of its members killed hundreds of Yanomami Indians during experiments with a measles vaccine. The allegations are contained in a book published this month." (BBC Online)

"Don't blame high gasoline prices on SUVs" - "U.S. car drivers concerned that gasoline-guzzling sport utility vehicles are pushing up fuel prices and making the nation more dependent on foreign oil, might want to suppress the urge to give SUV drivers a dirty look. The United States would save an almost negligible 170,000 barrels a day of imported crude oil if SUV drivers switched overnight to higher-mileage sedans, according to a study by a researcher at Rice University in Houston." (Reuters)

"IEA lowers estimated Q4 demand for Opec crude" - "The International Energy Agency has lowered its fourth-quarter estimate of demand for crude produced by members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries by 600,000 barrels a day, to 28.5m b/d. With October production by Opec estimated at 29.52m b/d, the figures may suggest the oil market is heading back towards a surplus faster than previously thought." (Financial Times)

With COP6 due to kick off in a couple of days at The Hague there's truckloads of global warming hype, myth and hysteria to wade through - sorry. There are some good rebuttals amongst them though:

"Global warming summit billed as 'last chance' effort" - "LONDON - More than 20,000 representatives from 180 countries will gather next week in The Hague for a conference billed as the make-or-break battle in the war against global warming." (National Post)

Quote of the day: "Cold shoulder for global warming pact" - "The Kyoto Protocol on gas emissions is in danger of losing support" (The Times)

"African harvest of woe from West's greenhouse" - "Nairobi - African countries, which do least to fuel global warming but will feel its effects the most, must be given special consideration at next week's climate change summit, a senior United Nations official said yesterday. Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), said the meeting in the Hague must look at ways to help African nations deal with new weather conditions." (IOL)

Uh... just what "new" weather conditions would they be Klaus?

"Fossil fuels addiction 'more lethal than crack'" - "A leading economist is warning that the global economy's addiction to fossil fuels is "more lethal than crack cocaine"." (Ananova)

"2000 Olympics-inspired "Greening" Riffs" - "... In the process of generating, tuning, and testing their crop model, Alexandrov and Hoogenboom assembled daily and monthly temperature records from 130 stations across Bulgaria. Almost lost in the shuffle is their summation, "In this study, we did not find a significant change in the mean annual temperature in Bulgaria during the 20th century." We decided to crosscheck their findings with Bulgarian temperature data for the same time period (1901-1997) as provided by a different international "referee" – the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These data are provided as monthly temperature anomalies (departures from normal) for the two 5° latitude by 5° longitude grid boxes that encompass Bulgaria. As seen in Figure 1, the widely used IPCC temperature data reveal a statistically significant warming of 0.48°C (0.86°F) over the 97-year period. As we frequently have discovered, there is a discrepancy between what researchers find when they conduct an intensive temperature analysis of a particular part of the world and how that area’s temperature trend is represented by the IPCC database. Much has been made of the discrepancy between satellite and ground temperature data. Here’s a new frontier for climate research: How to explain when local climate experts analyzing the best data available to them find no warming in their study area, while the IPCC temperature data for the same area and the same time period show significant warming?" (Robert C Balling Jr., GES)

"Importing out-of-season fruit adds to global warming" - "THE growing fashion for flying in kiwi fruit from New Zealand, sugar snap peas from Kenya and strawberries from South America is undermining the worldwide effort to curb global warming, a report claims." (The Times)

"Nuclear hopes for boost from Hague climate talks" - "BRUSSELS, Nov 10 - Nuclear power, which has fallen from grace since it was considered the 20th century's energy miracle, may win a reprieve at a ``climate summit'' next week. ... While oil companies and auto makers fear possible anti-pollution measures that could come out of the talks, the nuclear lobby sees a great opportunity." (Reuters)

"Freight 'cancelling out' warming curbs" - "International trade growth, with more use of aircraft and lorries, is making a mockery of attempts by world leaders to curb global warming, according to economists. A report published today reveals uncontrolled growth of greenhouse gas emissions from international freight. According to the report, entitled Collision Course, emissions from the transport sector will cancel out the benefits of reducing green house gas emissions by more efficient use of fossil fuels elsewhere." (Guardian)

"Scientific Debate on Global Warming Heats Up" - "LONDON - World governments will meet this month to try to thrash out an agreement to cut greenhouse gases, but not all scientists are convinced they are the cause of global warming. As negotiators converge on the Hague for the U.N. climate change conference on Monday, scientific opinion is still split on whether carbon dioxide (CO2) and other so-called "greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere are behind global warming." (Reuters)

"Panel bids to cut transport pollution" - "An international business organization working on sustainable development has launched a $10 million project to find solutions to environmental problems resulting from air, land, and sea transport by 2003, the group announced Thursday." (Japan Times)

"Trade in filth may give business key climate role" - "BRUSSELS, Nov 10 - Business is learning to love the profit potential of an unlovely idea -- buying or selling the right to spew out filthy air. A successful market in greenhouse gases would help rich countries curb air pollution and eventually draw poor countries into the war against global warming, its advocates say." (Reuters)

"Carbon-trading in Bolivia" - "... A large section of forest next to the Noel Kempff National Park was being worked by logging companies before a consortium of two big American power corporations and the oil giant BP stepped in. They have paid nearly $10m to buy out the loggers, and incorporate the area into the park, giving it legal protection. In return, the corporations want to be able to claim credits for the carbon dioxide which the rescued trees will absorb from the atmosphere, and use them to achieve part of their targets for reducing emissions if and when the Kyoto agreement comes into force." (BBC Online)

"Historic Deal Is Based on Trees' Value in Environment" - "In a landmark--though mostly symbolic--deal announced Thursday, a Northern California conservation group has sold the air-cleansing capacity of trees on 5,000 acres to a Texas energy company. The aim of the sale is to help deter global warming and to win some public relations points for clean energy and old-growth forests." (LA Times)

"Ontario expands fight against smog and climate change" - "TORONTO, Nov. 10 /CNW/ - Environment Minister Dan Newman today issued for consultation a new draft regulation that would require the mandatory tracking of 358 airborne pollutants. The regulation would make Ontario the first jurisdiction in the world to require monitoring and reporting of a full suite of key greenhouse gases." (Ontario Ministry of The Environment)

Pick nonsense of the day: "Science and politics expected to clash at COP6" - "Scientists agree that the Earth's atmosphere is getting warmer. There is consensus too that this warming will be the paramount environmental threat in the next century, as predictions see oceans swallowing beaches, tropical diseases spreading north and more species facing extinction." (Japan Times)

"U.S. Discusses World Climate Treaty" - "WASHINGTON — Preparing for critical and probably contentious global warming talks, the Clinton administration is warning that the world treaty on climate change it agreed to three years ago may fall apart if the costs of reducing so-called ``greenhouse'' gases are not contained. ... ``If we don't have significant progress, ... we will have set back substantially the ability of the nations of the world to meet their (Kyoto emission) targets,'' Undersecretary of State Frank Loy, who will head the U.S. delegation, said in an interview." (AP)

Oh dear! "Scientist Predicts Rise in Climate-Related Deaths" - "LONDON - More people in Britain will die from heat waves, food poisoning and flood-related illness as rising temperatures cause extreme weather patterns, a British scientist warned on Friday. Professor Graham Bentham, of the Centre for Environmental Risk at the University of East Anglia, told a medical conference Britain will face severe health problems due to climate change. Instead of a heat wave every 230 years, Britain could have one every four years if predictions of global warming are right." (Reuters)

"Japan's stance could hurt talks: campaigner" - "In the runup to crucial climate change talks that open Monday in The Hague, nongovernmental organizations have repeatedly slammed Japan's position on a number of issues." (Japan Times)

"Climate change glossary" - BBC Online's own "G. W." (for "global warming") Alex Kirby, perhaps the world's leading enhanced greenhouse dunce and hand-wringer extraordinaire, tries his hand at a glossary for the even less informed (assuming there are any). A quick glance shows the omission of the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis; no understanding that climate change is the natural state of the planet while stasis would be abnormal; no mention that water vapour is the major so-called greenhouse gas, accounting for nine-tenths of the effect; no mention that "global warming" has been occurring since the depths of the last major glaciation and; no mention whatsoever of the MSU record, our only near-global atmospheric temperature record and one which, significantly, shows no abnormal warming. Tut, tut Alex - you still haven't done your homework. D-minus.

"Japan urged to take lead at COP6 meet" - "Japan's position is incredibly important," said Lars Georg Jensen, international coordinator of the climate change campaign at World Wide Fund For Nature in Tokyo. "We expect Japan, as the host of COP3, to be more interested than anyone else in making this conference a successful one." (Daily Yomiuri)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT #38" - "The Dumb People Scenario" is how Natural Research Council plant physiologist Paul Waggoner describes the all-too-frequent assumption in the climate change debate that people won’t adapt to slow changes in climate. We dummkopfs are soon to be at it again when it comes to desert wildfires, it appears from Washington Post coverage of a paper by Stanley Smith and several co-authors in the November 2nd edition of Nature." (GES)

"Poll reveals ignorance over global warming causes"  - "Mobile phones and aerosol sprays are among the things blamed for causing climate change, according to a study for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The RSPB found that three-quarters of those interviewed believe they and their families will be affected by global warming over the next few decades, but there is still widespread ignorance about the reasons for the problem." (Ananova)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT #39" - "His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, blames "mankind’s arrogant disregard for the balance of nature" as a source of storms battering the United Kingdom and Europe, and the outbreak of mad cow disease – according to an Environmental News Service report datelined London, November 7th. His royal proclamation is perfectly timed, if errant." (GES)

"Use of coal is the burning issue at Moneypoint" - "The State's largest electricity generating station, at Moneypoint, Co Clare, will pursue all avenues to make it more environmentally friendly, its manager has said. A recent Government report includes a recommendation to cease burning coal at the plant. The National Climate Change Strategy, produced by the Department of the Environment, says "measures supportive of ceasing coal-firing in Moneypoint by 2008" will be put in place." (Irish Times)

November 10, 2000

"Is the FDA's PPA Scare BS?" - "Ready, fire... aim" must be the Food and Drug Administration’s motto. The FDA again is using premature science to force from the market popular consumer health care products. The targets this time are cold medicines and appetite suppressants -- including such brand names as Acutrim, Alka-Seltzer, Comtrex, Contac,Dexatrim, Dimetapp, Robitussin CF and Triaminic -- that contain phenylpropanolamine (PPA). The move follows a new study by Yale University researchers reporting a slightly increased risk of stroke among young women who used PPA-containing products. But "plop-plop, fizz-fizz," oh what junk it is..." (Steve Milloy at FoxNews.com)

"Six hours that defined a president"- "... Well, on the evidence of yesterday's performance, Mr Bush appears effortlessly presidential: he calmly summoned the cameras to his residence on Tuesday night to tell the voters that he didn't believe the Florida exit polls. Thus he encouraged his campaign team and stopped the Republican turn-out from collapsing on the West Coast. By contrast, Al Gore fluffed his first great post-election test. Believing that the pollsters and the American television networks could never tell a lie, he followed his staffers' advice, conceded too early, then had to retract. Not very presidential; not very smart." "Gore finds a loophole" - "WELL, here's another first. Al Gore is the first presidential candidate to rescind his concession. He now refuses to concede that he ever conceded. It all depends what the definition of the word "loser" is." (Daily Telegraph opinion pieces, Nov 9) [Trigger-happy election calls (CSM editorial)]

Gore et al should have read Howard Fienberg and Iain Murray on the dangers of placing too much faith in exit polls - for those who missed it: Last Voter Out, Please Turn Off the TV (Statistical Assessment Service) There's a topical update here (JWR)

"Gore campaign to fight election result in Florida" - "Democrat Al Gore decided today to fight the results of Tuesday's presidential election in Florida with campaign officials announcing a legal challenge and demanding a recount by hand of ballots in four counties." (Reuters) [Gore's choice (Daily Telegraph leader)]

"Urban myth of the jungle" - "Despite its image, Amazonia has been shaped by humans for centuries, writes Henry Gee" (Guardian)

"Doctors baffled by 50% cancer rise since 1971" - "... Part of the rise is because of the ageing of the population and to improved data collection. Cancer is mainly a disease of the old and their numbers have grown sharply since 1971. Only 6 per cent of cancers among men and 9 per cent among women are in people under 45. However, when the effect of the ageing population is taken into account, the figures show a real rise in the incidence of cancer of 20 per cent among men and 30 per cent among women since 1971, which remains unexplained. Most of the increase has been in the elderly – there has been little change in incidence in men under 65 and women under 55." (Independent) [BBC Online]

"Cancer risk linked to life in poverty" - "A strong link between poverty and cancer was shown by government statisticians yesterday in a study of how the disease grew over the past 50 years to become the biggest cause of death in England and Wales. The office for national statistics said people in the more deprived areas were at much greater risk of developing and dying from 10 of the main cancers, including those of the lung, stomach, oesophagus and bladder." (Guardian)

There's a strong link between poverty and a plethora of health risks, which is why Kyoto is such a danger to humanity - particularly already impoverished regions - because it will destroy wealth creation. It takes lots of spare finance to afford a healthy society and a healthy environment.

"Treaty now, say EU ministers" - "The European Union and environment groups are stepping up their campaign to limit the role of greenhouse "sinks", including carbon credits from trees, in the emerging global carbon market before the COP6 UN conference on climate change at the Hague next week." (AFR)

"Bush could sink global warming treaty" - "Paris - European environmentalists feared on Wednesday that a win by George W Bush in the US presidential elections would wreck a marathon effort to build a treaty to stave off global warming. UN talks resume next week in the aim of constructing the machinery of the Kyoto Protocol, the most ambitious and arduously-fought environmental agreement ever conceived. But Bush, an oilman like his running mate Dick Cheney, has already declared his opposition to the protocol - a position unlikely to be challenged by a re-elected Republican-majority Senate, in charge of ratifying any deal." (Sapa-AFP)

"UK Scientists: Global Warming Underestimated" - "LONDON—Global warming is likely to make the world significantly hotter than current estimates predict, as carbon dioxide is emitted from land, a team of British scientists warns in the journal Nature on Wednesday, ahead of the United Nations conference on climate to be held in The Hague from Monday." (National Geographic)

and "Forests Could Accelerate Global Warming" - "LONDON, United Kingdom, November 9, 2000 - Two reports released yesterday warn against relying on carbon "sinks" to ward off climate change. Relying on forest plantations to store carbon pollution from the atmosphere and combat climate change could accelerate the destruction of old growth native forest around the world, according to a report commissioned by Greenpeace and Worldwide Fund for Nature." (ENS)

Uh-huh... and "Study: Forests May Help Counteract Greenhouse Gas" - "WASHINGTON - Letting forests grow on abandoned farmland and logging grounds may do more than beautify the countryside -- they may be soaking up greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, scientists said on Thursday." (Reuters) [Princeton University release]

"Warming world's winners and losers" - "UK scientists claim they can predict how climate change will affect almost every country in the world this century." (BBC Online)

Yup, just don't ask 'em what the weather is going to be like a week from Tuesday. We don't even know what the oceans temperatures are now, let alone what their trends are (or could be expected to be). Oceans cover about 70% of Earth's surface and are hugely important factors in weather modification. We're supposed to believe that their you-beaut computer model can deliver long-term localised projections without knowing anything of the bulk of the globe. Oh puh-lease!

"Greenpeace mobilizes youth for climate change conference" - "Greenpeace is sending some 200 young US students to an international conference on global warming in The Hague November 13 through 24th to pressure US delegates and generally keep an eye on negotiations, spokesmen said Wednesday." (Earth Times)

"Kyoto Greenhouse Gas Goals Face Tough Test in Hague" - "THE HAGUE - Three years after the Kyoto agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions, negotiators will begin talks next week on how to give it some teeth. ... The Kyoto Protocol calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions was agreed in 1997. But only about 30 states have ratified the protocol in their own governments, and no major industrialized nation has legally bound itself to the targets." (Reuters)

"Rising seas imperil Pacific island nations" - "This month's global conference on climate change in the Netherlands could be too little too late for tiny Pacific islands and coral atolls at risk from rising sea levels." (Reuters)

Twaddle! South Pacific sea levels seen needing more study - "TARAWA, Kiribati Sea levels may be rising but there is no evidence yet to suggest this is being accelerated by global warming, the director of an environmental monitoring project for South Pacific islands said on Saturday. ... Scherer said he was confident a report by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due for release in February, would also show no acceleration in sea change. "It will recognise that on the historical data, even on a global basis, there is no evidence of accelerations," he told Reuters following the briefing, adding that as a contributor he had seen some sections of the report." Also:

See the latest sea level results as measured by the TOPEX-Poseidon satellite system. (When the `AVISO' page opens, select the "Mean Sea Level Monitoring" linked item to see the latest MSL chart.)

It currently runs from 1993 to June 2000. Sea levels globally are today hardly different to what they were at the start of the satellite monitoring. The 1997-98 El Niño caused a temporary rise in sea levels of about 2 centimetres (the TOPEX-Poseidon scientists themselves attribute this temporary rise to El Niño), but MSL has since fallen back to pre-El Niño levels. However, due to the El Niño anomaly over such a short data period, the linear average for the period is +0.7 mm/year, well short of the +1 to +2.5 mm/yr claimed by the IPCC for the whole of the 20th century, and even more at odds with the +4.5 mm/yr which the IPCC predicts will characterise the 21st century.  The truth is out there. (John Daly, Still Waiting for Greenhouse)

"Global warming threat to dolphins" - "Global warming has been blamed for the increasing number of dolphins found stranded on beaches in Ireland. Warm water species of dolphin which were rarely sighted in the Irish Sea and north Atlantic, have been turning up with increasing frequency, according to experts." [A fish out of African water] (BBC Online)

I wonder if occurred to anyone that warmer tropical surface water during and subsequent to the 1997/98 El Niño may have had some influence on the North Atlantic conveyor, the warm water stream that prevents Western Europe from suffering the low temperatures found at similar latitudes in Asia and Canada? It is very likely that water temperatures are a little higher in the North Atlantic and that species preferring that temperature band are travelling with it.

"More Kilowatts, Please" - "THINK OF YOUR BRAIN AS A 1,400-WATT BULB THAT never sleeps. Averaged out per capita and around the clock, that's how much it takes to power our homes and businesses. Peak loads are higher, but most dumb electrical devices are switched off much of the time." (Peter Huber, Forbes)

"Low-Dose Aspirin Carries Risk of Stomach Bleed-Study" - "LONDON - People taking low-dose aspirin to prevent heart problems still have an increased risk of stomach bleeding, British doctors said Friday. Aspirin, the 100-year-old wonder drug used to relieve a range of ailments, has been shown to reduce the risk of a heart attack and stroke in highly susceptible people. Taking low-dose aspirins was thought to minimize serious side effects, including stomach bleeding. But researchers at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford said neither the dose nor modified release formulations cut the chance of internal bleeding." (Reuters)

"Research spells out Pill risks" - "The Pill scare in the mid-1990s saved a handful of women from dangerous blood clots, researchers have found. But the thousands of extra unwanted pregnancies due to women stopping taking their contraceptives put many more at risk, say experts." (BBC Online)

"More evidence of flying risk" - "Tests on volunteers exposed to the same conditions as air passengers may help explain why some get dangerous blood clots. The experiments, described in The Lancet medical journal, suggest the sudden change in air pressure experienced within the cabin may be partly to blame." (BBC Online)

"Forlorn Thanksgiving Feast" - "Thanksgiving without turkey and with only organic, locally grown, in-season vegetables? That's what some anti-choice activists like EarthSave's Howard Lyman, the Organic Consumer's Association's Ronnie Cummins, and Sustain's Jim Slama want you to have. They'll be discussing their plans for you in Chicago on November 18th, one day after a Washington press conference where the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Caroline Smith-DeWaal will tell us how much "danger" we're in when we eat our favorite holiday bird." (GuestChoice.com)

"ACSH HOLIDAY DINNER MENU" - "The holiday season is a good time to remember that the American food supply is by far the best in the world—and the best it has been in the history of this country. It is the best not only in terms of its abundance and variety, but also in terms of its safety. Our diet—like diets around the world—is made up of water; macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats); micronutrients (vitamins and minerals); and tens of thousands of other naturally occurring chemicals." (ACSH)

"SEAFOOD INDUSTRY WANT PERMISSION TO USE IRRADIATION" - "ARLINGTON, Virginia, November 9, 2000 - The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and others have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow for the voluntary use of irradiation treatment for crustacean seafood products, including shrimp, crab, lobster and crawfish. "The use of irradiation to control food pathogens has widespread scientific acceptance, and both consumers and producers would benefit if it were available to use on crustaceans" said Richard Gutting Jr., NFI's president. "Consumers should have the option of choosing products that have an additional measure of safety if they so desire."  (ENS)

"French officials insist meat is safe" - "PARIS - France's consumer affairs minister said Thursday there is no scientific evidence to justify the widening alarm gripping the country over mad cow disease. "Never was meat as safe as today," Minister Francois Patriat declared. Health Minister Dominique Gillot echoed the claim, saying that France's strict rules for meat production were ample protection against the illness. "Nothing indicates that red meat presents a risk to human health," she told LCI radio." [Officials fear possible French beef panic] (AP)

The French still maintain a ban on British beef though don't they?

"Fat Chance" - "YOU KNOW A HEALTH CRAZE HAS gone too far when Johnson & Johnson rolls out a cholesterol-reducing margarine that sounds more like an antihistamine than a spread." (Kelly Barron, Forbes)

"Lid comes off organic oil scandal" - "The Australian Financial Review has learned that the organic food industry was rocked internally in 1998 by evidence suggesting more than 10,000 litres of olive oil destined for both domestic and export markets may have been falsely sold as organic." (AFR)

"The Spaghetti Incident" - (GuestChoice.com) "Anti-choice activists have so needlessly scared the Italian public that the government has decreed only organic food can be served in Italy's schools. The Italian Agriculture Minister said the decision was designed to keep "genetically-modified foodstuffs from school meals." ("Italian schools must introduce organic food," Agence France Presse, 11/8/00)

Actually, Italian ag science is in deep trouble - here's an appeal from an Italian scientist seeking your help.

"Aventis Says Cost of StarLink Recall Will Be Lower Than Original Reports" - "PARIS -- Aventis CropScience, the agrochemicals unit of life-sciences company Aventis SA, said Thursday that the financial impact of the recall of StarLink genetically modified corn in the U.S. will be significantly lower than the $1 billion recently reported in the press." (WSJ)

"Taiwan buys U.S. corn as usual despite StarLink" - "TAIPEI - Taiwan's grain importers said yesterday they will continue to buy U.S. corn for livestock feed despite recent controversy over StarLink biotech corn banned for human consumption but found in food products." (Reuters)

"U.S. corn sales to Japan down, StarLink blamed" - "CHICAGO, Nov 9 - Top customer Japan continues to buy U.S. corn but concerns that the genetically modified StarLink variety could slip into shipments appears to have that country buying less than in previous years, analysts said." (Reuters)

"US Corn Exports Unaffected by StarLink" - "WASHINGTON - Despite market jitters over the controversy surrounding StarLink gene-spliced corn, U.S. corn exports for 2000/01 were unchanged from last month's projection of 57.79 million tons, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Church Calls For Moratorium On Genetically Engineered Food" - "Cape Town, South Africa -- The Southern African Catholic Bishops` Conference Wednesday expressed its concern over the utilisation of Genetic Engineering or GE technologies in agriculture and food production. Tens of thousands of hectares in South Africa have been planted with GE crops." (PANA)

"Fighting Famine With Biotechnology" - "George McGovern, former U.S. senator and current ambassador to the U.S. Mission of the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome (also a big Guest Choice supporter), says genetically improved foods "must not be stymied by voices raised against the hypothetical, while real disease and starvation threaten millions of people." (GuestChoice.com)

"Gene modified cotton use seen growing dramatically" - "CAIRNS - Genetically modified (GM) cotton crops were likely to increase dramatically to 50 percent of the world crop in five to seven years, the International Cotton Advisory Council (ICAC) plenary meetings were told." (Reuters)

"Where new tobacco shops could go up in smoke" - "They've been booted out of the workplace, restaurants, and bars. Now, smokers in San Francisco are facing new restrictions not only on where they can light up, but where they can buy tobacco in the first place. This city is weighing a new ordinance that would, in effect, prevent any new tobacco retail outlets in the city." (CSM)

November 9, 2000

"It goes to your head" - "... This week there is more confusion over whether hands-free accessories increase or decrease the amount of radiation entering the head, and whether that radiation can be easily blocked (see p 7). Let's get some proper national and international standards quickly, please. Just remember all those "no evidence that . . ." statements at the beginning of the BSE epidemic." (New Scientist editorial)

"EPA bans many toxins in Great Lakes" - "The Great Lakes could be spared up to 70,000 pounds of toxic chemicals each year because of new regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The federal agency has banned the disposal of hazardous substances like dioxin, PCPs and pesticides through so-called "mixing zones." (CNN)

"U.S. power generation expected to keep pace with demand" - "There are enough power plant projects on the drawing board to satisfy the growing demand for electricity in the United States, but according to a report released Monday, a lack of new high-voltage transmission lines could make it difficult to get the power to consumers." (UPI)

"Stash or burn" - "BRITAIN should abandon its de facto moratorium on nuclear power and build two reactors to "burn" its growing stockpile of surplus plutonium, says the nuclear industry. Such a move would buck the trend among most Western nations of turning away from nuclear power, and would be bitterly opposed by environmentalists." (New Scientist)

"Court Wary of Clean-Air Rules' Cost" - "WASHINGTON - Supreme Court justices voiced skepticism Tuesday about ordering the federal government to change decades of clean-air policy and begin considering compliance costs - not just health benefits - in setting nationwide air quality standards." (AP) [Washington Post & editorial] [Washington Times]

"Rein In the Regulators" - "Congress and the Presidency may be up for grabs today, but over at the third branch of government, it's business as usual. Well, not that usual, for the business that the Supreme Court is conducting this Election Day doesn't come before it very often. The Justices are looking at an important Constitutional issue that they rarely take up: bureaucrats who grab power and legislators who let them get away with it. Under our system of government, they aren't supposed to do that. Constitutional scholars know this as the "non-delegation doctrine." To the rest of us, it's the Way Washington Works." (WSJ, Nov 7)

"Jonathon Porritt" - "He is our tree hugger in chief, a self-righteous prophet who now finds himself at the centre of things [and environment advisor to British PM Tony Blair]. Sweet are the uses of environmental adversity. There may be stormy weather ahead. Perhaps climate changes will enforce a grim nemesis and later generations be forced to pay a price for their forebears' heedlessness. Rainforests certainly totter and GM crops undoubtedly sway on land where sheep had better graze sceptically - or not at all. But, Praise the Lord and pass the New Environmentalist's Handbook. There are careers to be made out of all this, sermons to preach and hours of broadcasting time to fill." (New Statesman)

"Foreign Office creates its own environment policy unit" - "Robin Cook, the UK foreign secretary, will on Wednesday launch an environment policy unit at the Foreign Office, in a move reflecting the subject's growing importance in international affairs. The environment has risen sharply up the foreign policy agenda as a result of concern over issues such as climate change, genetically modified crops and the large numbers of refugees fleeing natural disasters." (Financial Times)

"Environment groups warn on EU funds use in E.Europe" - "BRUSSELS - Two Green pressure groups warned yesterday that secretive management of European Union financial aid to central and east European countries raised risks it would be wasted on environmentally-unfriendly projects." (Reuters)

"'Moneybags' ministry under fire" - "A report that the Ministry of the Environment is unable to spend all its funds has caused uproar from opposition politicians." (Copenhagen Post)

"Greenpeace accused of fouling harbour" - "Nelson, New Zealand - Greenpeace got a warning from New Zealand officials who said the environmental group's flagship released polluted water into a city harbour. The Nelson City Council gave Greenpeace an official warning after the Rainbow Warrior discharged sewage while docked at the city's port." (Sapa-AP)

"British greens slam Brown budget" - "LONDON - British environmentalists accused Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown yesterday of caving in to fuel tax protesters in his pre-Budget report." (Reuters)

"Brown backs down" - "HE blinked. Right up to the last minute, we were told that Gordon Brown could not possibly give way to the fuel protesters. Schools and hospitals would close, ministers intoned; interest rates would soar; and pensioners be left to shiver if fuel taxes were cut. And then, hey presto, yesterday afternoon the Iron Chancellor suddenly found that he could afford not just to match the Conservatives' suggestion of a 3p a litre cut in petrol duty, but to go a penny better. For the hauliers who humiliated the Government in September, there will be tax cuts equivalent, or so Mr Brown claimed, to a total of 8p off a litre of diesel. So much for never giving way to pressure." (Daily Telegraph)

"Brits to cut fuel taxes" - "LONDON -- The British government, hoping to head off a repetition of September's countrywide fuel blockades, announced Wednesday it would cut taxes on cars, trucks and some grades of fuel." (AP)

"Greenhouse madhouse" - "Floods and other outlandish weather in Europe are finally driving home the message about global warming--just as the besuited delegates from 180-odd countries meet for next week's global warming conference in The Hague. But the well-intentioned hordes are in for a shock: the protesters who ransacked Seattle, trashed burger joints and coffee shops, and lit up Prague like nobody since the '89 revolution are planning to join in." (New Scientist)

"Downer calls for workable rules in Kyoto protocol" - "The Federal Government will push strongly for carbon sinks and emissions trading to be included in any agreement on the implementation of the Kyoto protocol." (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

"Australia won't take unfair greenhouse burden - govt" - "CANBERRA - Australia would not carry an unfair share of the burden to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday ahead of key international talks in The Netherlands." (Reuters)

"Environment groups criticise Tasmanian forestry practices" - "Environment groups in Europe claim forestry practices in the Australian state of Tasmania have revealed a giant loophole in the proposed Kyoto protocol to reduce global warming." (Radio Australia)

"Carbon sinks unacceptable" - "A top environmental agency does not want "carbon sinks", where forests absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide, endorsed under a UN convention on climate change. Saksit Tridech, secretary-general of the Office of Environmental Policy and Planning (OEPP), said the time was not right to back carbon sinks because of the ambiguity of forest science." (Bangkok Post)

"EC official says no to Japan’s CO2 sequestering plan" - "Unacceptable! That is what a senior official of the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, said of Japan’s plan to factor in forest absorption to attain up to 3.7% of its 6% Kyoto carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction target." (Pollution Online)

"US and EU at odds over climate change treaty" - "The UN climate conference in The Hague is shaping up to be a Ryder Cup match between the Americans and Europe--but in this case politicians can change the score in the last round, and the bookies aren’t looking for a winner. The awkwardly named Sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, shortened to COP6, is supposed to bring to life the eight-year-old Rio convention on climate and pollution and its three-year-old Kyoto Protocol. “Unlikely,” says the normally diplomatic Nitin Desai, the UN Under Secretary General whose Department of Economic and Social Affairs would look after implementation of any agreement." (Earth Times)

"Hague meet on climate change faces tense negotiations" - "NEW DELHI: With barely a week to go for the start of the sixth conference of parties (CoP-6) to the Kyoto protocol on climate change, the government is fine-tuning its stand even as concerns are raised from a number of quarters about the outcome of the meet." (Times of India)

"Death ritual goes environmental" - "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. At the end of the day, we're all compost. When the time comes, most Canadians prefer to assist the process through cremation. In Britain, however, environmentalists are opting for an emission-reduced exit." (Vancouver Sun)

"Global warming business group cools its message" - "NEW YORK - The Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a business group dedicated to questioning claims that humans cause global warming, has softened its tone ahead of a global meeting on the issue later this month in The Hague." (Reuters)

"Scientists look to oceans for weather data" - "To forecast tomorrow's weather, meteorologists look at the sky. To figure out what the next six months will be like, it's better to look at the ocean. The 70 percent of the globe that's covered with water is the primary engine driving long-term climate trends, scientists say. But because there is no worldwide network to monitor the oceans, there's still a lot of mystery about the way water and air interact to create the planet's intricate — and often destructive — climate patterns." (News Tribune)

Despite having sailed over the oceans for centuries we have virtually no data about their temperature trends and cycles - which is why climate models don't work and won't for decades while we gather some of the missing data. Even when we have decades of data we still won't know what to call a baseline because we don't know what phases they're in at the moment or what phases they will naturally undergo during the cycles we know must exist. This means it will be a very long time before we will be able to tell 'natural' change from anthropogenic (induced by humans) - always assuming that such a thing exists at all.

"The Global Case For Tree-Hugging" - "There's more going on this month than elections. Next week a conference begins at the Hague at which one of the most important decisions ever made about the global environment will be taken. The parties to the Convention on Climate Change will decide to what extent trees and forests can be used to offset the growing concentrations of greenhouse gases." (Washington Post)

"Growth factor" - "A new climate model that incorporates realistic plant life suggests much faster global warming than previously predicted." (New Scientist)

Oh, so that explains why the planet cooled into the Little Ice Age with the massive European and North American deforestation of the 14th through 19th centuries then - plants cause global warming. Right...

"Not convinced about global warming" - "... Even if we don't ask why global warming isn't happening now, when we are burning more fossil fuels every year, one fact won't go away. Carbon dioxide is a plant food. Every plant in the world, including the ones we eat, uses more carbon dioxide to grow than any other nutrient. So animals that eat plants are just as dependent on it." (Indianapolis Star)

"Brazil launches defense program for Amazon jungle" - "BRASILIA - Brazil announced yesterday a far-reaching, $435 million program to free the Amazon jungle from the grip of drug traffickers, loggers and miners operating deep in the world's largest rainforest." (Reuters)

Of elections and hurricanes, floods and things, Alan Caruba's "Warning Signs"

"Don't blame the climate" - "Recent media reports of flooding in south-east England have linked it to climate change. While there may be an element of exceptional rainfall, new developments on floodplains have clearly contributed to the catalogue of damage. Floodplains are meant to store water not to be cluttered with houses." (Guardian)

"Intensive farming blamed for swollen rivers" - "Farmers, green groups, academics and the environment agency waded deeper into the flood debate yesterday - pinning much of the damage of the past few weeks on intensive farming and offering new ideas on how to avoid the same problems happening again." (Guardian) [New Scientist] [The Times]

"A searing future" - "THE Silk Road to Samarkand is hot and dusty--and the devastating droughts and searing heat of this part of central Asia are almost certain to get worse. In a blistering new analysis of global warming's winners and losers, climate scientists warn that temperatures in the region, which now regularly exceed 40 °C, are due for some of the biggest increases in the coming century." (New Scientist proselytising about CCCR's guesswork)

"Warming 'to melt Arctic ice by 2080'" - "GLOBAL warming may suddenly accelerate over the coming decades, pushing temperatures across the planet far higher than had previously been supposed, British scientists said yesterday." (The Times)

"Brute force and sandbags" - "SEVEN years ago it was people living along the Mississippi who saw floods sweeping through their homes. Earlier this year it was Mozambique, then the European Alps and Vietnam. Now it's Britain's turn to see normally placid rivers in full spate, reclaiming their flood plains from the high streets and car parks and backyards. But what is the cause?" (New Scientist editorial on climate change)

"Autumn is set to be wettest for centuries" - "Figures from The Met Office showed that by November 5, with three and a half weeks of the autumn season still to go, 14.4in (356mm) of rain had fallen in England and Wales, just 5in short of the highest ever autumn rainfall recorded in 1852. Since records began in 1766, the average for the season, which runs from the start of September to the end of November, is 10in (253mm)." (The Times)

"On Charles, the preaching prince" - "... In recent days the optimists' hope - that once the prince has taken on the formal role for which he has so long been waiting, he will finally abandon his preaching career - has grown increasingly forlorn." (Catherine Bennett, Guardian) [Scotsman]

"Tonsil warning" - "... We work out that if there are 10,000 people in Britain incubating [vCJD], then half the tonsilectomy sets are already contaminated," says John Collinge, at the Medical Research Council's Prion Unit at Imperial College School of Medicine in London." (New Scientist)

"No answer found on CJD cluster" - "Doctors and health officials investigating a cluster of five deaths from the human form of BSE have as yet been unable to formulate a theory to link all the cases." (Guardian)

"BSE crisis" - "France is gripped by fear as health minister predicts dozens of people will die" (New Scientist)

"Voluntary GM Labeling Introduced in Hong Kong" - "The Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has proposed guidelines on voluntary labeling of Genetically Modified (GM) foods which have been passed onto the Hong Kong Retail Management Association for comments." (AgWeb.com)

"Battle over gene-altered foods set to escalate" - "The biotechnology industry is bracing for a renewed campaign by consumer activists next year to restrict the movement toward genetically modified foods. Biotech leaders anticipate the pressure could begin when Congress reconvenes in January and could extend to the US Food and Drug Administration. The issue in Congress will be whether to require labeling of bioengineered foods, while the FDA will be asked to give greater scrutiny to gene-altered food." (Boston Globe)

"Public Funding For GM Crop Research Urged" - "New public sector efforts are required for creating transgenic crops that benefit poor farmers in developing nations and improving their access to food through employment, according to a report prepared under the auspices of the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Indian Science Academy, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the Third World Academy of Sciences." (Hindu Business Line)

"Various Firms Are Beginning To Utilize Biotechnology" - "There's another biotech revolution going on. For most of its 20-year history, biotechnology has focused on the workings of genes and proteins to cure and treat diseases. But the same tools used to slice and dice DNA in the search for new drugs are being adopted by all sorts of industries." (Knight Ridder)

"Myriad finds 6 proteins linked to heart disease" - "NEW YORK, Nov 7 - Myriad Genetics Inc. on Tuesday said it has discovered six proteins associated with a gene linked to heart disease and hopes to develop a new generation of heart medicines by controlling the way the proteins interact." (Reuters)

"Brazil researchers find rice makes nice cement" - "SAO PAULO - Rice may soon become the preferred staple of the world's civil engineers, say Brazilian researchers who are patenting a process for using the grain's husks to make the highest quality cement." (Reuters)

"Anxiety Seen in Teenagers Who Smoke" - "Contrary to the popular belief that teenagers who smoke are nervous children who use tobacco to calm down, a new study suggests that heavy smoking may have the opposite effect, and actually increase their risk of developing certain anxiety disorders in late adolescence or early adulthood." (NY Times)

"Super rats pose threat to Britain" - "GROWING fat on junk food litter, a new breed of super rats which are immune to modern poisons is threatening Britain, pest controllers said yesterday." (Telegraph)

November 8, 2000

"Press bias exposed online" - "Some time today, when the result of the US presidential election is known, Al Gore might regret ever inventing that damned internet." (AFR)

"Gore says will form green alliance with Blair" - "LONDON - US Vice President Al Gore was quoted as saying he would form a green alliance with British Prime Minister Tony Blair if he won yesterday's presidential election." (Reuters)

"Justices study compliance costs for clean-air rules" - "WASHINGTON -- Hearing arguments in a major clean-air case, several Supreme Court justices expressed doubts Tuesday about requiring the government to consider compliance costs -- and not just health benefits -- in setting air-quality limits." (AP)

"Clean Air at Any Cost?" - "Nationwide clean-air standards are at stake in a major environmental case that asks the Supreme Court whether the government must consider compliance costs - and not just health benefits - in setting air-quality limits, according to the Associated Press. Industry groups are asking the justices to rule that the Environmental Protection Agency must weigh the cost of reducing harmful emissions against the benefits of improved air quality. The Clinton administration argues that the EPA is not supposed to consider costs in setting the national air-quality standard. The government wants the justices to reverse a lower court ruling that said the EPA went too far in adopting tougher clean-air standards in 1997. In "The EPA's Clean Air-ogance," Steven J. Milloy and Michael Gough, commenting on air standards, show how "a close inspection of the EPA proposal shows that it lacks a sound basis in science." In "Time to Reopen the Clean Air Act: Clearing Away the Regulatory Smog," K.H. Jones and Jonathan Adler make the case for revisiting the Clean Air Act to reduce EPA regulations such as "mandatory carpooling and enhanced inspection and maintenance programs to technology standards for factory emissions and new emissions controls on lawn mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, and the like." (Cato Institute)

"Parkinstein Food?" - "A study published in Nature Neuroscience and reported in some British newspapers has caused the organic food movement some considerable distress. We well remember that when Arpad Pusztai announced the results of his flawed and non-peer reviewed study on the effects of genetically modified potatoes on rats, there was an immediate media frenzy of sensational scare-mongering about so-called Frankenstein foods, led in great part by the champions of 'natural' agricultural methods. Now, however, research reported in a highly prestigious scientific journal suggests that a pesticide recommended by the Soil Association for use on organic crops may have the potential to cause Parkinson's disease." (Social Issues Research Centre)

"Pesticides and Parkinson's Disease in Rats A valuable study, overinterpreted." - "Some scientists and environmentalists used this report to attack pesticides, and environmental chemicals in general, as a cause of PD. The facts do not so indicate, by any means." (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"French mad cow disease food scare widens" - "President Jacques Chirac urged drastic new precautions against mad cow disease today and a top health official predicted more people would die as France's proud culinary tradition took a hammering." (Reuters)

"UPDATE - Chirac, Jospin at odds over meat/bone meal ban" - "PARIS - Prime Minister Lionel Jospin yesterday rejected President Jacques Chirac's call to suspend the use of meat and bone meal in animal feed amid growing fears about the spread of mad cow disease." (Reuters)

"State Beefing Up Vehicle Emission Curbs in 2004" - "The Pataki administration adopted new emissions standards yesterday, giving New York some of the most stringent vehicle pollution controls in the nation. The regulations, approved by the state Environmental Board, are aimed at cutting pollution levels generated by new cars and trucks offered for sale in the state beginning with model year 2004." (New York Daily)

"Fla. Decision Hurts Deal on Tobacco Suits" - "A proposed $8 billion nationwide deal with two tobacco companies to settle punitive damages in class action, sick-smoker lawsuits could be in jeopardy after a federal judge sent a $145 billion Florida jury award back to a state judge who upheld the massive award." (Washington Post)

"Europeans Suing Big Tobacco in U.S." - "PARIS, Nov. 6 — The European Commission said today that it had filed a civil lawsuit in the United States against the Philip Morris Company and the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company seeking damages for what it called their involvement with organized crime in smuggling cigarettes into Europe." (NY Times)

"Saudi hospital to sue tobacco firms for $2.6 bn" - "RIYADH: A leading hospital in Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it was preparing to sue international tobacco companies for, at least, 10 billion riyals ($2.6 billion) to compensate it for the cost of treating smoking-related illnesses." (Times of India)

"Study: Virus linked to coronaries" - "People over 65 infected with the virus that causes cold sores have twice the risk of a heart attack or death from coronary heart disease, according to a study by University of Washington researchers. "Most people who have an infection will not develop heart attacks," said Dr. David Siscovick, a UW professor of medicine and epidemiology. "But in the presence of other factors, it may increase risk." (Seattle Times)

"United Nations, World Bank approve environment grants" - "WASHINGTON - The United Nations and World Bank's Global Environment Facility (GEF) yesterday said it has approved $153.7 million in grants for 14 environmental projects ranging from assessing the impact of climate change to harnessing wind power in China." (Reuters)

"Schroeder sees slow German change to green energy" - "BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in a speech yesterday the country's planned transition towards new, cleaner energy sources would not be quick. The country's present fuel mix, with hard coal, lignite and nuclear energy each contributing major shares towards energy generation, was here to stay for some time, he said during an event organised by carmaker DaimlerChrysler." (Reuters)

"Sanyo may face criminal charge in solar cell issue" - "TOKYO - Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is considering filing a criminal complaint against Sanyo Electric Co Ltd for allegedly falsifying labels on its solar cell panels, the national Kyodo news agency said yesterday." (Reuters)

"UPDATE - De Palacio wants energy policy shift to EU level" - "BRUSSELS - EU Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio said yesterday energy policy decisions should be taken at European Community level in the long term rather than by individual member states." (Reuters)

"Opposition calls for action on global warming" - "The Opposition parties are calling on the Minister for the Environment, Mr Dempsey, to act quickly in relation to global warming in the light of the current bad weather and flooding. The Labour Party environment spokesman, Mr Eamon Gilmore, said the Minister should draw up a national strategy to cope with the threat of climate change." (Irish Times) along with some raving from the Irish Independent: We ignore these weather warnings at our peril & Why scientists are warning that we're now living in the era of the super storm.

"The IPCC Does it Again" - "It happened again. Just like in 1995, someone sneaked the New York Times some dramatic revelations from a draft version of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) as yet unapproved final assessment of the state of global warming science. The report, which the IPCC produces every five years, has this time dramatically increased the upper limit of its forecast of the 21st century's temperature increase, from 4.5°C to 6.0°C, the Times reveals. But the document the IPCC sent out for scientific peer review contained no such number." (GES)

"Report shows Aust has highest gas emissions in world" - "Australia's attempts to meet its Kyoto greenhouse gas targets have been slammed by a Senate committee. The environment committee's report on global warming says Australia has the highest emissions per capita in the world and is already well over the target set in Kyoto in 1997." (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

"Prince denounced as 'arrogant and ignorant'" - "THE Prince of Wales was branded “arrogant” and “ignorant” yesterday by a leading scientist over a speech in which he blamed mankind for the deadly storms and floods that have lashed Britain." (The Times)

"EU agrees tough stance before climate change talks" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union agreed yesterday to form a united front in demanding tough rules for compliance with a global agreement to cut greenhouse gases in high-level international talks that start next week." (Reuters)

"New Confirmation of Strong Solar Forcing of Climate" - "The IPCC stated in Climate Change 1995 that "forcing due to changes in the Sun's output over the past century has been considerably smaller than anthropogenic forcing." Estimates shown in a figure allotted about 10% to solar forcing and 90% to forcing due to human greenhouse gas contributions. IPCC's draft of the Third Assessment Report (TAR 2000) continues attributing to the Sun a minor role in climate change." (Dr Theodor Landscheidt, Schroeter Institute for Research in Cycles of Solar Activity)

"Kyoto Protocol must advance toward ratification of its goals" - "Carbon dioxide emissions cannot be drastically reduced quickly enough to meet the objectives of the protocol if protracted negotiations were to delay its adoption until just before the goal of 2008-2012 set by the developed nations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The effort to forestall global warming continues Monday, Nov. 13, with the opening of the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in The Hague to work out details of the protocol adopted three years ago in Kyoto." (Asahi Shimbun)

"CO2 as Antifreeze" - "Plants grow faster. Photosynthesis increases. Root systems improve. Yields jump. Water-use efficiency rises. Drought resistance becomes stronger. Countless stresses are minimized. An ideal biosphere? Maybe. An attainable one? You bet." (GES)

"Arctic Glaciers: Are They Succumbing to Global Warming?" - "... In fact, in the words of the authors, "there is no compelling indication of increasingly negative balance conditions which might, a priori, be expected from anthropogenically induced global warming."  Quite to the contrary, they report that "almost 80% of the mass balance time series also have a positive trend, toward a less negative mass balance."  Hence, although most Arctic glaciers continue to lose mass, as they have probably done since the end of the Little Ice Age, they are losing smaller amounts each year, in the mean, which is hardly what one would expect in the face of what climate alarmists call (falsely) the "unprecedented warming" of the latter part of the twentieth century." (co2science.org)

"The sky isn't falling!" - "Last week, scientists said a mysterious space object had a good chance of striking the Earth. Now, in a case of astronomic Chicken Little, they've taken back their warnings and say there is very little threat." (Fox News) [Much Ado about 2000 SG344 (NASA)]

"US firms sell corn to Japan despite biotech fears" - "WASHINGTON, Nov 7 - Japan, the single biggest buyer of American corn, resumed its purchases with a 127,000 tonnes order days after the U.S. government agreed to begin testing to prevent StarLink gene-spliced corn from tainting exports, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Bio-technology India 2000 to showcase breakthrough" - "NEW DELHI: The advances made in the field of bio-technology and related sciences and their applications in real life would be showcased during the three-day international exhibition-cum-conference starting here on November 29, a release said. The 2nd Bio-technology India, 2000 seeks to bring major industries like healthcare and bio-pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food sector under one umbrella with a view to promote India as the bio-technology investment destination." (Times of India)

"Monsanto Calls On Friends Of The Earth To Provide Test Data Results For Public Validation" - "ST. LOUIS (Nov. 7, 2000) - Monsanto Company today called on Friends of the Earth to make available for validation the data and test methods used by its contract laboratory in alleging unapproved varieties of corn were present in specific food products." (Monsanto)

"BRITISH STORES WARNED OF GM FOOD FINES" - "Britain's supermarkets have been reminded they face massive fines if they are found selling banned genetically modified foods. Store bosses have also been warned that anyone knowingly selling such outlawed foods risks up to two years in prison. The Food Standards Agency on Britain moved following claims that Safeway, Asda, Sainsbury and Tesco were all selling own- brand tortilla chips with banned GM maize. The big four deny this. The claims have now prompted the agency to remind retailers of their legal obligations." (AgWeb.com)

"Minister rules out entry of `terminator technology'" - "HYDERABAD: Union minister of state for agriculture Debendra Pradhan on Tuesday ruled out the entry of `terminator technology' into the country, saying that it would adversely affect the interest of the farmers. Inaugurating a two-day national seminar here on `Transgenic crops and foods,' he said the terminator technology, which triggered a major controversy among the farmers, would also check the private sector from getting more value for investment." (Times of India)

"British doctors defend embryo research" - "LONDON - Despite recent advances toward using adult cells to fight illness, embryos provide the only realistic hope for cell-based treatments in the near future, Britain's premier scientific organization said Tuesday. Up to 10 percent of the population could benefit from such therapy, but without research on embryos, development could be delayed an extra 20 years, said Richard Gardner, a professor of zoology at Oxford University and lead author of the report." (AP)

"Toad Conservation Complicates Tanzania's Energy Plans" - "Tanzania's large mining and tourism investments have pushed demand for power in the country to over 550 megawatts, but output on the national grid varies from 225 megawatts to 416 megawatts, so the Kihansi project is vital. Standing in its way is the rare one inch Kihansi spray toad, which needs waterfall spray to survive. The flow of water in the Kihansi river is just enough to turn the three turbines, while to thrive, the toad is thought to need seven cubic meters of water per second - enough to produce 52 megawatts of electricity." (ENS)

"Court upholds California's strict milk standards" - "SAN FRANCISCO - The state Supreme Court ruled on Monday that California's tough milk enrichment standards take precedence over federal guidelines. The top court upheld a $696,000 fine against Arizona-based Shamrock Foods Co. for selling 70,000 gallons of milk in California that met federal rules but fell below state requirements." (AP)

"Chinese policeman invents lockable knickers" - "A Chinese policeman, on a morality crusade, has invented a pair of lockable underpants. Authorities are now studying whether the design qualifies for a global patent." (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

November 7, 2000

Ben & Jerry's and Dioxin on ABC's 20/20! ABC's "20/20" news magazine report on dioxin in Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Friday, November 3, 2000 is available online: Scoops of Hypocrisy? RealVideo coverage is linked from the same page. (ABC News)

"US emissions deal troubles EU" - "The US and much of Latin America have struck a landmark deal to push for full-scale trading in greenhouse gas emissions as a solution to global warming. The alliance between the developed and developing world is the first of its kind and will put pressure on the European Union, which opposes emissions trading, at this month's climate change conference in The Hague. Fourteen Latin American countries will back the US bid to allow it to count the reduction of emissions in poorer countries and the use of carbon "sinks" - the planting or saving of forests - as part of its own quota under the 1997 Kyoto protocol." (Financial Times)

"European firms seek clear rules on climate agreement" - "BRUSSELS - The European employers' federation said yesterday governments should not ratify an international agreement to tackle climate change before the rules on how it will work are clarified." (Reuters)

"Hill wins flexibility in greenhouse talks" - "Cabinet yesterday stuck by its long-standing declaration that Australia would not agree to a global greenhouse regime which did not apply to its developing country competitors and therefore gave them an unfair economic advantage." (AFR)

"Cabinet puts off greenhouse deal" - "Australia will hold out on ratifying the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse emissions unless the agreement also applies to developing countries such as India and China." (The Age, Nov 6)

However, China stated a week ago: "Beijing will approach an international global warming conference in The Hague in November ready to torpedo any proposal which seeks to impose restrictions on developing countries' pollution emissions, as has been suggested by German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin. "The issue of cutting developing countries' carbon gas emissions should not be revived again," said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman." (Sapa-AFP)

This suggests that the 'flexibility' given to Hill to take to The Hague is the diplomatic equivalent of extending your middle finger and saying "Jam your stupid protocol!" - I didn't realise that was called 'flexibility' these days. Meanwhile, naturally:

"Green groups slam Kyoto stance" - "A row has broken out between environment groups and the Howard Government over its stance on developing countries and the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (The Age)

The featured Ms Reynolds, wearing her 'Climate Action Network' hat, has an interesting history of membership in and representative of all manner of incestuous little conservation fronts, 'North Queensland Conservation Council', 'Friends of Hinchinbrook', 'Save the Pink Elephants' (or something like that) - the list is long but none too distinguished. The common theme is 'Nature good - People bad'. Rumour has it that the total combined membership is something under a dozen.

Whoops! "Get serious on warming" - "Evidence that global climate change is accelerating is more compelling than ever. Last month a panel of hundreds of scientists sponsored by the United Nations said that over the next 100 years the planet could, at the present rate, heat up by as much as 6 degrees C - nearly twice the same group's prediction five years ago. The scientists also declared unambiguously that human activity has "contributed substantially" to this warming trend." (Montreal Gazette)

The Gazette can't tell the difference between a 'leaked' political 'summary' and the 1,000 page TAR 2000 to which it bears such little semblance. We do need to get serious about enhanced greenhouse - an hypothesis devoid of empirical support and never likely to advance to a theory. Derail the gravy train and put some effort to genuine problems - we do have some you know.

"Climate treaty 'robs the poor'" - "A UK climatologist has launched a scathing attack on the developed world's "self-serving ideology" in tackling climate change. The scientist, Dr Mick Kelly, accuses the rich of patronising the poor, and seeking to save the climate on their terms alone. He says they should be concerned with justice, not the free market. And he believes they ignore urgent problems today because they are obsessed with a "comparatively nebulous" future threat." (BBC Online)

"Ministers protest too much before the fuel campaign has even started" - "The message seems to be that these people embody all that is unacceptable in Britain today. They are fat, selfish smokers who abuse the Internet, are in league with the far Right and (far worse) the foxhunters, and are to blame for everything from BSE to the bad weather. The eco-crusaders’ latest allegation, that catastrophic climate change is nature’s revenge for the damage done by long distance lorries, sounds about as rational as the old moral crusaders’ cry about Aids being God’s punishment for promiscuity. Yet it has been entertained in serious liberal newspapers. We await the first “Global warming: the truckers’ plague” headline." (Mick Hume, The Times)

"In EPA case, court weighs power of agencies" - "Three years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency enacted tough air pollution standards to reduce the amount of soot and smog in the atmosphere. Instead of ushering in an era of cleaner air, it triggered an avalanche of legal challenges by industry groups, complaining of costs of up to $150 billion a year. They question whether the US Constitution permits unelected bureaucrats to wield the kind of discretionary power that could, in theory, bring American industry to its knees." (CSM) ['American Trucking' Puts Agency Power at Issue (Law.com)]

"Judge upholds $145 billion verdict against U.S. cigarette makers" - "Kaye issued a comprehensive, 68-page order Monday rejecting tobacco industry requests to reduce the award and conduct a new trial. Earlier in the day, a federal court ruled it did not have jurisdiction in the case. Smokers' attorney Stanley Rosenblatt said Monday's order means the tobacco companies will have to go to an appeals court to pursue the case. "This is terrific, and terrific he did it so quickly," Rosenblatt said." (CNN)

"Armed Virgin" - "VIRGIN, Utah, Nov. 6 — This tiny southern Utah town has enacted an ordinance requiring a gun and ammunition in every home for residents’ self-defense. Most of Virgin’s 350 residents already own firearms so the initiative has lots of support, Mayor Jay Lee said. The ordinance was passed June 15. Residents had expressed fear that their Second Amendment right to bear arms was under fire so the town council modeled a similar measure passed by a Georgia city about 12 years ago." (ABC News) [Crime, Self-Defense, and the Right to Carry a Handgun]

"Jab fears raise risk of measles" - "CHILDREN are growing up without protection against potentially fatal infections because of scares over MMR vaccine, the millennium medical conference in London was told yesterday." (The Times)

"FDA issues cold medicine warning" - "WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration warned Americans Monday not to use dozens of over-the-counter cold remedies or appetite suppressants until their makers replace an ingredient that could cause hemorrhagic strokes, especially in young women. The ingredient, called phenylpropanolamine or PPA, is found in products ranging from Dexatrim to Triaminic." (AP) [CNN]

"Scientists red flag popular supplement ephedra" - "ATLANTA, Georgia -- A study released Monday warned that popular dietary supplements containing the ingredient ephedra can pose severe health risks and even kill in some cases. Ephedra is found in many over-the-counter products designed to help people lose weight or increase their energy." (CNN) [BBC Online]

"Doctors fearful as bird virus jumps to pigs" - "Researchers believe they have found the first North American case of a bird virus crossing to another animal species, raising concerns about the prospect of it spreading to humans. A duck virus, for which there is no vaccine, has been found in pigs on a southern Ontario farm, according to a study in the Journal of Virology." (National Post)

A new twist on drowning in paper: "Scents or Nonsense?" - "... Smith and a small group of people claim that the product, familiar to anyone who has filled out an office form or signed a credit card slip, has ruined their health. And she has battled relentlessly to prove it." (Law.com)

"Antibiotic may help Alzheimer's disease, researcher says" - "NEW ORLEANS - A researcher says that an antibiotic tested on mice genetically designed to mimic the effects of Alzheimer's disease reduced and even eliminated protein deposits that are a major feature of the disease." (AP)

"Alzheimer's: how mice beat it" - "The ability of mice to resist the development of Alzheimer's disease could be harnessed to help humans fight the disease, say scientists." (BBC Online)

"Less meat for those brittle bones" - "Hormonal changes, calcium deficiency and a lack of exercise have all been implicated in the development of the disease, but now researchers point to a new alarming possibility — people’s bones are dissolving in a tide of acid produced by high-protein Western diets. Women who eat plenty of meat and cheese appeared to be particularly at risk from fractures. The unpublished research suggests that older women, the highest risk group for the disease, should seriously consider replacing some of their meat intake with fruit and vegetables." (The Times) [Emphasis added]

"Inside Track - UK organic craze brings in the bucks" - "LONDON - Chocolate, pizza, icecream, ketchup ... hardly the foods that spring to mind when you think organic but Britain's supermarkets are licking their lips at the prospect of taking the craze for organics even further. Not so long ago, the only organic food sold in Britain's supermarkets was a small selection of earth-dusted vegetables and fruit. A series of food scares later, and a marginal product has become the fastest-growing sector in the UK grocery market." (Reuters)

"Lord Melchett: The Payoff And The Hypocrisy" - "Well, now we know. After a vigorous few years attacking biotechnology, hiring anti-GMO/pro-organic "marketing campaigners", and spreading fear about conventional foods to help create a market for "organic" products, Lord Melchett is leaving Greenpeace to go to work for organic industry retail leader Iceland Foods. Consider the outcry and the claims of pay-offs from activists were an NGO leader who supports biotechnology (like Jimmy Carter or Norman Borlaug) to become a paid consultant to Novartis, or, God forbid, Monsanto or Aventis ... Yet not a peep from them or the media with the good Lord's new-found employment." (The Herald)

"Most British Consumers Believe Their Food Supply is Safe" - "In a recent survey of British citizens’ primary concerns, fears of BSE rank below road safety, medical negligence, pollution and cigarettes. When the international research group IGD examined how food safety compared to other, more general worries, the group found that 76 percent of UK consumers are “relatively to very confident” about the safety of their food." (AgWeb.com)

"Ministers face poison charge for French CJD" - "THE French State faced calls yesterday for a criminal investigation against past governments for their alleged failure to take adequate measures against BSE and for covering up the extent of the French epidemic. Demands for legal action came from José Bové, the leader of the small farmers’ union, and from the parents of a young victim of CreutzfeldtJakob disease (CJD), as fears continued to spread over the safety of French beef." (The Times)

"Prince blames floods on arrogance" - THE PRINCE OF WALES last night blamed “mankind’s arrogance” for the violent storms and floods which yesterday claimed two more lives and forced hundreds of people to flee their homes. In his most powerful attack yet on the effects of global warming, the Prince said that mankind needed to learn the lesson of the phenomenon so that “advances in technology do not just become the agents of our own destruction”." (The Times)

Not content with that, Charlie throws in:

"Prince Charles blames mankind for rain and BSE"  - " Mad cow disease and the storms lashing Britain can both be blamed on man's "arrogant disregard" for the balance of nature, the Prince of Wales said today." (The Times)

Hmm... see what Leanda de Lisle said about The Prince of Wails February 4.

"INTERVIEW - Brazil hopes cocoa genome will beat witch's broom" - "ITABUNA, Brazil - Brazil hopes to use genome mapping to find a solution to the witch's broom fungus that has hit cocoa output over the past decade." (Reuters)

"Dark Clouds With Silver Linings?" - "Cultivation and consumption of genetically modified organisms are already widespread in the US. Now the question is what's to stop Thailand going with the flow?" (Bangkok Post)

"Taiwan may give 5-yr grace period on GMO labelling" - "TAIPEI - Taiwan's health department said yesterday it may give food manufacturers a grace period of up to five years before requiring all products made from genetically modified organisms (GMO) to be labelled." (Reuters)

"Court to Decide on Online Stories" - "WASHINGTON –– Taking on an Internet-age dispute, the Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether The New York Times and other publications violate freelance contributors' copyrights by putting their articles in electronic databases." (Washington Post)

"Govt loosens control over genetic food trials" - "The commonwealth has loosened its controls over genetic food and plant trials by conceding the states and territories important opt-out rights. The Tasmanian government, which has been leading the push for stronger rights under the proposed federal Gene Technology Bill, said Monday the states and territories could now determine their own future on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)." (AAP)

Oh dear! "Living under the hole in the sky" - "The citizens of Punta Arenas, Chile, are the subjects of a potentially deadly experiment: What happens to people who live under the widening ozone hole?" (Salon)

Simple answer? Nothing. See maps of total ozone and UV levels on the day (yes, 'the' singular, October 11) Punta Arenas was under the 'depleted' ozone region. On one day the citizens of Punta Arenas experienced UV levels as high as residents of say, Washington do on any normal spring or autumn day. Considering that the day's maximum temperature was a searing 7.2°C (about 45°F) it isn't very likely that anyone was sunbathing - not that doing so is a very popular pastime at a latitude further south than the Falkland Islands and closer to the Antarctic Peninsula than Detroit is to Washington.

November 6, 2000

"Europe: global warming preview?" - "Shortly before a conference on climate change is due to convene at The Hague, Netherlands, Western Europe is receiving what some view as an early taste of global warming." (CSM)

From John Daly (Still Waiting For Greenhouse): British Weather "Just how unusual are the British floods and gales of recent days? According to history, not very.
1703 - (during the Little Ice Age) - `The Great Storm'. On record as the worst storm ever to hit Britain, with 123 people killed on land and 8,000 sailors killed at sea.
1865 - 22nd July, hottest temperature ever recorded in Britain (in Kent), a whopping 100.6°F or 38.1°C
1910 - Catastrophic floods all across Europe, including Britain, killing over 1,000.
1913 - 6 people killed in Glamorgan, Wales by the most deadly tornado ever to hit Britain.
1952 - 15th August, the disastrous Lynmouth flood, killing 34 people. ... These extreme events occurred in years which were both warm globally, and cold globally. ... As for 2000, the satellites show the free atmosphere to be about the same mean temperature as it was 21 years ago, so blaming `warming' on these recent storms is not supported by the data and is cited only for political expediency to justify the highest fuel prices in Europe.

Even The Guardian features the 1947 floods. Like they say - nothing new under the sun.

"Flood defence inadequate, ministers told months ago" - "The government was warned five months ago that it needed to increase by at least 50 per cent the amount spent annually on flood defence, The Independent has learnt. Without the extra money, the sort of chaos that is gripping much of Britain was inevitable, according to a report to ministers last June from Britain's leading flood experts. The report said the current level of annual expenditure of approximately £200m needed to be raised to between £300m and £340m. Without such an increase, annual flood damage would be likely to treble from £600m to £1.8bn." (Independent)

Uh-huh... "Irish beaches put heat on the Med" - "GLOBAL warming could turn Ireland into one of Europe's premier destinations for tourists in search of beach holidays with warm weather and balmy seas, a study has shown." (Sunday Times)

and on Saturday... "Warming up for the Ice Age" - "Floods, storms, late Autumns, no chance of a white Christmas ... that’s global warming, right? Wrong. We could soon be plunged into a long deep freeze." (The Times)

"THE CAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING" - "ABSTRACT: Three of the four methods of measuring global temperature show no signs of global warming: Proxy measurements (tree rings, sediments etc) for the past 1000 years; Weather balloons (radiosondes) for the past 44 years; Satellites (MSU Units) for the past 21 years. The fourth method, surface measurement at weather stations, gives an averaged mean global rise of a mere 0.6°C over 140 years, but is intermittent and irregular. Individual records are highly variable, regional, and sometimes, particularly in remote areas, show no change, or even a fall in temperature. It is concluded that temperature measurements carried out away from human influence show no evidence of global warming. The small and irregular rise shown by many surface stations must therefore be caused by changes in their thermal environment over long periods of time, such as better heating, larger buildings, darkening of surfaces, sealing of roads, increases in vehicles and aircraft, increased shielding from the atmosphere and deterioration of painted surfaces." (Vincent Gray)

"Get tough on greenhouse: NFF" - "Industry groups are urging the Federal Government to adopt tough national interest guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions at a crucial meeting on international climate change at The Hague this month. Federal Cabinet is to finalise Australia's negotiating position today and the National Farmers Federation has lodged a submission with the Government that seeks to protect Australia's economic interests." (Australian Financial Revue)

"Cabinet puts off greenhouse deal" - "Australia will hold out on ratifying the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse emissions unless the agreement also applies to developing countries such as India and China. Cabinet is today expected to finalise Australia's negotiating position to be taken by Environment Minister Robert Hill to a meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the Hague at the end of next week." (The Age)

"Brown will freeze duty on fuel" - "GORDON BROWN is to freeze the duty on fuel at present levels next year, and possibly the year after. In a gamble that risks a head-on clash with the fuel protesters the Chancellor and Tony Blair have decided against across-the-board cuts in fuel taxes in the Pre-Budget Report to be disclosed to MPs on Wednesday. The Times has learnt that Mr Brown will announce a cash freeze on fuel duties from April 2001 to April 2002 at a cost to the Government of £600 million. He will also pledge that if the world price of oil fails to fall as he expects he will order another year’s freeze from April 2002 to April 2003." (The Times)

"Budget: More for pensioners and inner cities, but Brown will not cut tax on petrol" - "Gordon Brown will pump £2bn into decaying inner cities and boost the incomes of pensioners this week but his drive to tackle social exclusion and pensioner poverty will leave no room for a cut in fuel prices." [Cutting tax on petrol would mean less cash for key services, says Blair] (Independent)

"UK 'could afford' fuel tax cut" - "The Confederation of British Industry has added its voice to calls for the chancellor to announce a reduction in fuel taxes in his pre-Budget statement on Wednesday. On the eve of the CBI conference in Birmingham, the organisation's director-general, Digby Jones, said the country could afford a £1.5bn cut, without putting the stability of the economy at risk." (BBC Online)

"Embarrassed by riches" - "Tony Blair insisted yesterday that no matter how large the projected Budget surplus might be, the Government would not “blow” the proceeds in pursuit of short-term popularity. Although Gordon Brown has done his best to dismiss some of the City experts’ more striking estimates of Treasury revenues, the figure that he announces in his Pre-Budget Report on Wednesday will still be a source of considerable political discomfort." (The Times)

"Big Oil smells gas in Pakistan wildlife park" - "Green groups in Pakistan are weighing legal action against transnational oil companies that enjoy full support of the Pakistani government in their efforts to plumb the country's largest wildlife national park for gas." (ENN)

"Junk food blamed for huge rise in diabetes" - "SCIENTISTS have blamed unhealthy Western lifestyles for an 11 per cent rise in diabetes sufferers over the past five years. The number of adults afflicted with the disease worldwide has risen to 151 million — five per cent of the total population. Experts are predicting that the figure could double by 2025 as Western eating habits and unhealthy living styles become fashionable around the globe." (The Times)

"'Energy' drinks may cut road deaths" - "ENERGY drinks could help cut the number of road deaths caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel, a study has found. Research showed that one can of an energy drink was effective in reducing sleepiness during the "2pm slump", between 2pm and 5pm, known to be a high-risk period for most drivers. Professor Jim Horne, of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, who led the study, used a car simulator to test the driving ability of volunteers before and after an energy drink. He found that one can of Red Bull, which contains 75mg of caffeine, equal to a medium-strength coffee, markedly reduced afternoon sleepiness for about an hour. Two cans almost eliminated the effects of sleepiness among the sleep-deprived participants for two hours." (Telegraph)

"Alert over 'GM tortillas'" - "Tests on supermarket own-brand tortilla chips suggest they may contain traces of genetically-modified maize." (BBC Online)

See also: Taco Terrorism

"Monsanto Commits Support For Food Companies and Farmers Following Activist Allegations" - "ST. LOUIS, Nov. 5 -- Monsanto Company today promised full support to European food companies and regulatory agencies in response to unproven activist allegations about the corn in taco chips and is acting to protect markets for farmers and their grain. Hugh Grant, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Monsanto, also urged food authorities in the United Kingdom to obtain the data and samples used by an anti-biotechnology activist group, the Friends of the Earth." (PRNewswire)

"US won't donate StarLink corn to poor nations - USDA" - "WASHINGTON - The tens of millions of bushels of StarLink biotech corn collected from American farmers will not be donated to foreign countries as part of federal food assistance programmes, a senior US Agriculture Department official told Reuters on Friday." (Reuters)

"The money pit: Drug costs rise from the depths of research, investments" - "... Why are drug costs so high? The cost of daily medication makes people nervous, and it should. But much of the political noisemaking ignores the elemental fact that these products are the result of a long process of science and business. The process is not cheap, and it cannot be made cheap and still yield the safe and effective drugs that people want." (Seattle Times)

"French in panic over 'smuggled' British cattle feed" - "FRENCH fears over the spread of “mad cow” disease grew amid weekend reports that more than 1,000 tonnes of British meat and bonemeal had been imported illegally in the 1990s. The claim fuelled concern that is gripping the country after a sharp rise in reported cases of BSE in cattle." (The Times)

"Benefits of e-commerce for environment still uncertain" - "Is shopping online better for the environment? Will discarded computers become another landfill problem? Will businesses ultimately save on gas if they network online? Will e-commerce lead to more consumption that impacts environment adversely? If more people are working from home, does that help reduce air pollution? Or is it changing society for the worse?" (Earth Times)

"Singapore seeks to control environment spending" - "SINGAPORE - Affluent Singapore, well known for being clean and green, has called on its citizens to maintain the environment, asserting it does not want to spend more than S$400 million ($230 million) a year from government coffers. "Even if we can afford to spend much more to collect and process waste, it may not be the best use of our limited manpower, land and money," acting environment minister Lim Swee Say said on Sunday." (Reuters)

"Bright lights, blighted cities" - "Human beings, like all animals, need habitat in which to live. Today, the most common human habitat is cities. Far more people in the developed world now live in urban rather than rural areas, and there's a rapid push toward urbanization in developing nations too. But cities displace existing ecosystems and remove habitat for other species." (Suzuki rant against sprawl)

"Experts meeting to discuss protection of oceans" - "Experts from 24 United Nations bodies and intergovernmental organizations are descending on Monaco next week to discuss how to better protect the world's oceans from the impacts of the nearly 70 percent of the world's population that live within 50 miles of major bodies of water." (Earth Times)

November 5, 2000

"The price of civilization" - "In the past decade the ``price of civilized society'' (as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once described taxes) climbed higher and higher. Americans now spend more for ``civilized society'' then on any other item in their family's budget. According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, this year's combined federal, state and local tax burden is $10,447 for every man woman and child in the United States." (Boston Herald editorial)

"Hague prelude: emissions permits in America?" - "An international community concerned about climate change and prepared to convene for a conference in the Netherlands appears to be waiting for the United States, the world's leader in carbon emissions, to come up with a plan to curb the crud." (ENN)

Contains a snazzy little graphic with the caption "Industrialized areas of the world create the bulk of carbon dioxide emissions from energy production, industrial processes and transportation." True? As far as it goes, yes - just neglects to mention that anthropogenic emissions amount to less than 4% of the global carbon budget and the rest is entirely 'natural'. Also misses the vital point about how much good the atmospheric carbon does by boosting crop yield and helping feed the world's human population while preserving wildlands and wildlife habitat. These used to be ideals to which humanity aspired - wonder what happened?

"Planned `green' auto tax plan is neither green nor taxing" - "It will not be easy to achieve the target set at the 1997 Kyoto conference on global warming. It is therefore especially urgent that automobile emissions be reduced." (Asahi News editorial)

"If we don't act now, it'll be too late" - "Global warming causes floods. And in a week's time the world's leaders have a last chance to do something about it" (so says Indy on Sunday's environment editor, Geoffrey Lean)

Too late for what Geoffrey? Could you mean too late to use enhanced greenhouse as an excuse to engage in massive social reengineering to suit the ultra-leftist worldview? That might be true for the Earth does appear to be re-entering a cooling phase - most unfortunate for anti-energy misanthropists and not particularly good news for life on Earth.

With an insignificant total potential 'saving' of -0.06°C over 50 years (assuming anthropogenic emissions do have the touted effect), Kyoto is completely irrelevant where world climate is concerned. It makes no difference to the world's weather regardless of whether industrialised countries ratify Kyoto this year, in 2005, 2010 or 2050. Why the panic to stampede countries into ratification of a completely useless protocol?

Again Geoffrey - too late for what?

"Winters to get 5 degrees warmer in the next century" - "For those who have been wondering at the obstinate refusal of the temperature in the south of the country to go below freezing yet, even at night, this news will come as no great surprise. According to a Swedish study, Finnish winters will be getting warmer by at least 5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. The change is not expected to be as drastic for the summer months: in Northern Finland temperatures will increase by over three degrees and in the southern parts between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius. The forecasts are based on the results of the Swedish Climate Modelling Programme (SweClim). "We are now able to present more precise interpretations of climate development", says Finnish researcher Markku Rummukainen, leader of the programme." (Helsingin Sanomat)

"In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-liner chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible." -- Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

"The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change." -- James Hansen, whose alarmist presentation to congress more than a decade ago set all this nonsense in train.

"The consensus is that major advances are needed in our modelling and interpretation of temperature profiles ... and their analysis by the scientific community worldwide." -- David Parker, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Berkshire.

"The heat is on for householders" - "'I think the world, for far too long, has simply treated this issue of climate change as not sufficiently important - well that's no longer an option,' Prime Minister Tony Blair said last Thursday when touring inundated Bewdley in Worcestershire. To attack the causes of climate change caused by global warming, Blair may well want to focus on the main cause of it - Britain's 23 million houses." (Observer)

"Are we to blame for this?" - "WHAT links the following: tornadoes in Sussex, the worst floods in England for more than half a century, and the highest global temperatures since records began? The Government at least seems in little doubt. John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, told the Commons that the devastating weather of the past few weeks is a "wake-up call to everyone" over global warming. ... No sooner had the Prime Minister voiced his suspicions, however, than climate scientists were warning of the dangers of seeing patterns in the British climate that don't exist. Researchers from the universities of Newcastle and Exeter unveiled a record of British rainfall dating back to the Norman Conquest. It showed that the bizarre weather of the past few years is entirely consistent with the natural variations in the climate that have taken place over the past 1,000 years." (Telegraph)

"Science tricked again on global warming" - "... The fact is, there are dozens of computer models for climate change that do not use silly "storylines" and other gimmicks. Those models predict warming of about 2°C over the coming century, a number very near the bottom limit of warming (1.5°C) predicted by the IPCC. On the other hand, to reach the alarming projections described in the report leaked to the Times, one has to be able to predict technological change better than anyone in human history, believe an argument about sulfate cooling that does not stand the test of reality, and trust a text altered after scientific review was complete." Pat Michaels, National Post)

"Flooded Britain: all down to the Ice Age?" - "Some scientists say man-made global warming is responsible for last week's downpours. Others pin the blame on nature's own long-term cycles. Robin McKie reports on a storm of controversy" (Observer)

Marginally better than the hash McKie made of the Breidamerkurjökull glacier story  - see "Big J" junk science reporting award, Oct 22.

"Mean Sea Level by Satellite" - "See the latest sea level results as measured by the TOPEX-Poseidon satellite system. (When the `AVISO' page opens, select the "Mean Sea Level Monitoring" linked item to see the latest MSL chart.) It currently runs from 1993 to June 2000. Sea levels globally are today hardly different to what they were at the start of the satellite monitoring. The 1997-98 El Niño caused a temporary rise in sea levels of about 2 centimetres (the TOPEX-Poseidon scientists themselves attribute this temporary rise to El Niño), but MSL has since fallen back to pre-El Niño levels. However, due to the El Niño anomaly over such a short data period, the linear average for the period is +0.7 mm/year, well short of the +1 to +2.5 mm/yr claimed by the IPCC for the whole of the 20th century, and even more at odds with the +4.5 mm/yr which the IPCC predicts will characterise the 21st century. The truth is out there." (John L. Daly, Still Waiting for Greenhouse)


"Early warning of April's fuel" - "This Wednesday, Gordon Brown will deliver his pre-Budget report, a half-term update on the state of the economy forewarning us of likely changes in next April's Budget. There are plenty of tax measures expected this time around, with finding a solution to the fuel crisis topping the agenda. This is easier said than done, as fuel protesters are well aware that the UK has the highest level of tax on fuel in Europe, made up of a fixed excise duty per litre plus VAT on the fuel cost, including the duty. So as oil prices rise, the Chancellor's VAT yield from fuel goes up. This means a litre of diesel sold for 83.9p includes 50.2p duty and 12.5p VAT." (Independent)

"Oil cartel threatens to cut output if prices drop" - "The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will not hesitate to cut production by as much as necessary if crude oil prices drop below $US22 per barrel, according to Rilwanu Lukman, secretary-general of the cartel. "If the prices fall below $US22 per barrel next year, there would be no magic involved and we will cut production," Lukman said at a press conference on the sidelines of an energy conference that opened Saturday in Tehran." (AAP)

"Panel seeks new legislation on diesel exhaust emissions" - "An Environment Agency advisory panel wants the government to revise legislation controlling nitrogen oxide emissions to include diesel exhaust particulate matter, according to a copy of a report obtained by Kyodo News on Saturday." (Japan Times)

Here's an interesting polling technique: "Journalists smell a Bush victory" - "You can still find journalists willing to speculate that Al Gore might yet win the presidency, but even the most intrepid of them is taking the precaution of booking his Election Night hotel room in Austin. The Four Seasons? Full. The Hyatt? Full. The Capitol Marriott? Full too. Radisson, Renaissance, Day's Inn, Doubletree, Holiday Inn? Full, full, full, full, full. There are plenty of rooms available in Nashville, though." (David Frum, National Post)

"CJD and eating beef 'not linked'" - "A study by leading BSE scientists into 51 sufferers of vCJD has reportedly failed to produce a positive link with eating beef. The report from the National CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh also found little evidence to support the theories that medical treatments or victims' occupations could be a factor in developing the disease." (BBC Online)

"GE could be organic boon hearing told" - "Organic food could one day be genetically engineered, the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification was told this week." (NZ Herald)

Myth subsidy of the day: "UK Funds Farmers Switching to Organic Production" - "LONDON, United Kingdom, November 3, 2000 - The United Kingdom's organic farming industry will receive a £20 million (US$29 million) a year boost from next January following a government announcement today. ... Administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Organic Farming Scheme is jointly funded by the ministry and the European Union. The Scheme seeks to increase the area devoted to organic farming because of the contribution that organic farming can make to environmentally sensitive food production." (ENS)

Urban Myths about Organic Agriculture

"There is a widespread belief that farming systems with lower yields and lower use of inputs are more friendly to the environment, and more sustainable than higher producing systems (10). Organic food is often viewed as healthier and benign. However the information below rarely finds its way into discussion on organic food but is essential for a critical assessment. Compared to efficient conventional farming conducted with good agricultural practices, organic farming has "no positive environmental aspects at all" (41) and least sustainability (44 )." (Professor Anthony Trewavas, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology)

"Pesticide Found to Produce Parkinson's Symptoms in Rats" - "NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 4 — An organic pesticide widely used on home-grown fruits and vegetables and for killing unwanted fish in the nation's lakes and rivers produces all the classic symptoms of Parkinson's disease in rats that receive steady amounts of the chemical in their bloodstreams, scientists said today." (NY Times)

"2 Nationwide Settlements Are Close in Smoking Cases" - "Negotiators for two major tobacco companies are close to reaching two nationwide settlements that would cover all individual smokers' claims for punitive damages against them, people familiar with the negotiations said last night. Together, the settlements could be worth $8 billion." (NY Times)

"Gulf War campaigners gather" - "Veterans have gathered in the latest stage of their campaign to seek recognition for so-called Gulf War Syndrome." (BBC Online)

"Government offers Korean vets Agent Orange testing" - "WASHINGTON - The government is offering to examine troops who served in Korea more than thirty years ago for possible exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange. In a little-publicized initiative, the Veterans Affairs Department expanded a program previously offered to Vietnam War veterans to include people who served in Korea in 1968-69." (AP)

"US acts to calm Japan fears of StarLink corn" - "WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - In a concession to the biggest buyer of American corn exports, the U.S. Agriculture Department will begin testing corn shipments bound for Japan to prevent StarLink bio-corn from contaminating the food supply there, a senior USDA official told Reuters on Friday." (Reuters) [AP]

"UK environmentalists doubt rigour of GM crop tests" - "LONDON, Nov 3 - Environmentalist group Friends of the Earth on Friday accused the British government of having agreed to trials of genetically-modified (GM) maize which had not been rigorously tested by scientists. The group quoted scientists as saying that tests of the GM maize -- Aventis's herbicide tolerant Chardon LL -- on chickens were inadequate and failed to investigate a "suspicious" higher death rate among some birds during research." (Reuters)

"Just so you know: an asteroid could hit Earth on 21 September 2030" - "For the first time ever, scientists are pinpointing the time of an impact that could unleash a force 100 times greater than Hiroshima, writes Robin McKie"

McKie again - figures...

"No asteroid impact in 2030" - "Astronomers say reports that the Earth could be struck by a small asteroid in 2030 are wildly exaggerated. Less than a day after sounding the alert about asteroid 2000SG344, a revised analysis of the space rock's orbit shows it will in fact miss the Earth by about five million kilometres (three million miles)." (BBC Online)

"Chicken soup really could be Rx against colds" - "Grandma may have been right. Chicken soup appears to have ingredients that fight the common cold. Specifically, the comfort-food staple seems to have an anti-inflammatory mechanism that could ease symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, researchers have found. Scientists at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha found that the soup inhibits white blood cells, which stimulate the runny noses and coughs characteristic of colds. They presented their findings in the current issue of the journal Chest, published by the American College of Chest Physicians." (Scripps Howard)

"Calcium vital during pregnancy" - "Scientists have uncovered evidence proving just how important it is for women to consume sufficient levels of calcium during pregnancy. A team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found pregnant women who do not consume enough calcium in their diets or through supplements run a risk that their bones will start to break down and release potentially harmful substances into the blood." (BBC Online)

"What makes us age?" - "Science is at last beginning to uncover some of the secrets of ageing and the pace of research is hotting up. You may be worried that research will produce a nightmare world in which we all linger longer in a state of advanced decrepitude. In fact, the goal of most of this research is to improve the quality of our later years. Already, we are living longer than ever before." (BBC Health)

"Citing Intolerance, Obese People Take Steps to Press Cause" - "Fat hatred is being taught to our children," said Miriam Berg, president of the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, a national nonprofit group. "I know from how children react to me: at age 1 1/2, babies love me and smile at me; you come to 2 1/2 and already they look at me with fear; it begins that young, unless they grow up in a household with people of different sizes." (NY Times)

November 4, 2000

20/20 Message Board: Dioxin in Ben & Jerry's - John Stossel reported on dioxin in Ben & Jerry's ice cream last night on ABC's 20/20. Post your comments on the 20/20 message board.

"Hamburger Report Not Well Done" - "Remember when Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists used to make bombs? Now, they just publish them." (Steven Milloy in Fox News)

"Heated row over global warming claims" - "SOME commentators blamed the spate of stormy weather earlier this week on global warning and once again accusing fingers were pointed at the motor car. This rather ignores the fact that the motor industry has dramatically reduced emissions from car exhausts in recent years by fitting catalytic converters to all new vehicles and other measures. But nothing beats an easy target and a quick story." (Belfast Telegraph)

"We must change our ways to save environment" - "The gales and rain in the south of England were similar to recent television coverage of extreme weather on the continent, and in other parts of the world. These increasingly extreme weather patterns have been directly linked to changes in our environment caused by manmade pollution. One of the greatest sources of this pollution is motor vehicles." (The Scotsman)

"A hard rain" - "Politicians and the public should not rush to judgment over the damage caused by rough weather in Britain this week" (The Economist)

"Consumer Awareness Key to Curbing Greenhouse Gas Emissions" - "ARLINGTON, Virginia, November 3, 2000 - Every time you open the refrigerator, you are contributing to global warming. That is because in the United States, major home appliances account for about one third of residential electricity consumption, a principal source of greenhouse gas emissions. A report released this week by the non-profit, non-partisan and independent Pew Center argues that given the right incentives, the public could play a much bigger role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (ENS)

PCGCC... that's the Pew Center for Generating Climate Claptrap isn't it? Granted some call it the Pew Center on Global Climate Change but that's still hardly 'non-partisan.' These people take enhanced greenhouse and catastrophe as a matter of faith. They are also the sponsors of Tom "Wriggly" Wigley's unreviewed 'report' incorporated into IPCC 'story lines.'

"Another October Climate Surprise" - "Every five years, the U. N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases its assessment of global warming science. In the fall of 1995, The New York Times published dramatic revelations from a draft version of the assessment that had yet to receive final approval. Last week the report was leaked again, and this time the big story is that the IPCC has increased the upper limit of its forecast for this century’s climate change from 4.5 C to 6.0 C, or 8.1 F to 10.8 F." (Pat Michaels, Cato Institute)

"Global Warming Threatens Indonesia's Islands, Says Expert" - "JAKARTA (Nov. 2) XINHUA via NewsEdge Corporation - Indonesia, with more than 17, 000 islands, could lose about 2,000 islands within 100 years if global warming is not halted, an environmentalist warned. Global warming also has the potential to put Indonesia's densely populated coastal areas underwater, the Indonesian Observer daily Thursday quoted Agus P. Sari, executive director of Pelangi, a non-governmental organization dealing with environmental affairs, as saying.

South Pacific sea levels seen needing more study

TARAWA, Kiribati Sea levels may be rising but there is no evidence yet to suggest this is being accelerated by global warming, the director of an environmental monitoring project for South Pacific islands said on Saturday. ... Scherer said he was confident a report by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due for release in February, would also show no acceleration in sea change. "It will recognise that on the historical data, even on a global basis, there is no evidence of accelerations," he told Reuters following the briefing, adding that as a contributor he had seen some sections of the report.

"Climate change may be down to farming" (Guardian) Extraordinary piece, this one. Begins with a human interest angle, then promotes the 'leaked' political summary (erroneously calling it the IPCC report [Third Assessment Report or TAR 2000] - which will not be available until next February) and finally getting around to changes in land use and sensible flood mitigation. Bizarre!

"One storm doesn't make global warming" - "We have to accept that every so often, with or without global warming, we will be hit hard." (Bill Burroughs, Independent)

"Heat, but no light, on global warming" - "Every time I pause to consider whether I have gone too far out on a limb, I look at the new facts that continue to pour in from around the world and conclude that I have not gone nearly far enough. -- Al Gore, 1992, Earth in the Balance" (The Age)

"Climate plan hard to bring in Earthwatch" - "The Celtic Tiger's "daily diet of massive amounts of high-emission fossil fuels" will make it very difficult for the Government to implement its climate-change strategy, according to Earth watch. The environmental group said the strategy would require a widespread public education programme." (Irish Times)

"public education"? read "indoctrination"

"Greens to stage rival action in favour of high taxes" - "Environmental groups are preparing to challenge the fuel protesters with counter demonstrations at fuel refineries and on motorways. Friends of the Earth are preparing to mount demonstrations with banners and placards to alert the public to the "green benefits" of fuel taxes." (Independent)

Interesting hypothesis. How 'green' are societies in deficit? What society can generate wealth in the face of oppressive and frankly stupid taxation? Since wealth is THE overriding prerequisite for environmental protection and repair then the corollary is that so-called 'green' taxes are anti-environment. Why do these flakes never look at the world? Why can they not see that poverty and environmental degradation are certain partners, as are wealth and environmental improvement? It appears they are less interested in environmental improvement than they are in human suppression.

"UK lashed by more rain as Blair warns of climate change" - "LONDON, Nov. 3 -- Britain braced for more rain-soaked misery and escalating householder losses as Prime Minister Tony Blair warned the worst floods in more than half a century highlighted risks posed by global warming." (UPI)

"Blair struggles to play down Brown's bounty" - "TONY BLAIR insisted yesterday that Labour’s multibillion-pound budget surplus would not be “blown” on tax cuts as he joined Gordon Brown in trying to dampen expectations of a giveaway next week." (The Times)

"Farmers seek compensation on emissions" - "The farming organisations warned yesterday that any attempt to cut livestock levels by 10 per cent over the next 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases will have to be accompanied by national and EU aid to the farming community." (Irish Times)

"Kyoto CO2 reduction goals must be adhered to: NGO" - "A Japanese nongovernmental organization called on Environment Agency officials Thursday to establish efficient domestic measures to meet reduction targets for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as stated in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, rather than exploiting potential loopholes in the agreement." (Japan Times)

Environment news from Heartland - Forest fires scorch seven million acres (related: A decade of ignored warnings; CRS backpedals on link between wildfires, logging; On the fire line); A report from Darby, Ohio; CFC treaty fuels black market; New York Times proves there's more to fear than global warming itself; Poll shows public doesn't fear global warming; Can England reach the twenty-first century with Charles in charge?; "Don't turn your back on science": An open letter from biologist Richard Dawkins to Prince Charles; Water: The lifeblood of healthy, productive communities; Anti-diesel rhetoric ignores scientific reality.

"White powder in Reichstag toilets, red faces in Berlin" - "How many of our politicians are drug addicts?" was the headline in Berlin tabloid BZ yesterday after traces of cocaine were discovered in toilets used by elected officials and civil servants in Berlin's Reichstag parliament building. It was more a case of red faces than white noses around the parliament yesterday after the revelation by television station SAT1 that 22 of 28 toilets tested were contaminated with cocaine." (Irish Times)

The Independent must feel that they are losing the public's interest with interminable global warming scares (few people are prepared to back the rhetoric with cash anyway and most sure aren't happy about the idea of freezing to death in the dark to marginally alleviate some one-in-so-many-trillion-off-chance that warming may really occur). Consequently, the Indy is resurrecting their 'save the small furry animal' rhetoric: The question for all dedicated followers of fashion: can they stomach the rage for fur?; How the leading designers fell for new adventures in the skin trade.

"The politics of risk: the case of BSE" - "... Ministers and officials were not wholly wrong in fearing an irrational reaction. Public attitudes towards risk are often confused.  Information about high risk activities may be ignored, as the case of smoking shows. Information about low risks may often lead to exaggerated responses. The way in which the media pounce on, and headline, risk is often unhelpful. The examples of oral contraceptives and measles vaccination show how easily - and damagingly - information about risk may be translated into overreactions." (Professor Rudolf Klein, BMJ)

"Corn-Recall Cost Could Reach Into the Hundreds of Millions" - "The recall of StarLink genetically modified corn could cost companies all along the food chain hundreds of millions of dollars as they attempt to find, retrieve and replace products that used the corn." (WSJ)

See Taco Terrorism

"Small California town worries about pollution and its health" - "Titus and others in this northern California town billed as "The Gateway to the Redwoods" believe a hydraulics plant that polluted the area for more than 40 years before going bankrupt in 1995 is to blame for their health problems." (AP)

Erin Brockovich - the sequel?

"Big Government Is Back" - "Vice President Gore continues to assault Gov. George W. Bush's $1.5 trillion tax cut plan on the grounds that it would "spend all the budget surplus." But Gore's own federal spending promises are more costly than Bush's tax cut, by a long shot." (Stephen Moore, Cato Institute)

"Media Promote Last-Minute Anti-Bush Hit Job" - "Erin Fehlau, a reporter at WPXT-TV Channel 51 in Portland, Maine, was last night’s featured guest on ABC’s Nightline. Earlier that evening, she triggered a feeding frenzy by disclosing that George W. Bush was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunk driving in 1976. Ted Koppel asked her to declare that her story wasn’t what it obviously was: a late-campaign Democratic smear plot. "The way you tell the story, it certainly sounds as though you just stumbled into something and were smart enough to follow up on it," Koppel assured Fehlau. "But you also heard Gov. Bush say several times, you know, he’s got his suspicions." "I’m confident I wasn’t set up," Fehlau obtusely replied, though she acknowledged her source was a lawyer who also was "a delegate to the Democratic convention." She added that "I feel like if I was being set up, he would probably have just handed me the information right off the bat." Fehlau refused to name her source, but he quickly stepped forward. Tom Connolly, the Democratic candidate for Governor in Maine’s last election, under-mined Fehlau’s claim that she wasn’t set up. He told Fox News on Friday that he hoped to plant the story with the Associated Press, and told CNN that Fehlau got it only because Gore’s fax machine was busy." (Media Research Center)

"Did Gore break environmental vow?" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 —  Vice President Al Gore, the self styled environmental candidate in this year’s U.S. presidential race, reneged on his well documented 1992 campaign promise to shut down a controversial hazardous waste incinerator in Ohio, according to sworn testimony given to a federal investigator." (MSNBC)

"Roving Burn 'Expert' Was False Witness" - "When he tried to testify in the case of a scalded child in Manassas in February 1999, Gary S. Stocco said he was an experienced burn investigator who was working on two degrees from a Louisiana college. Five months later, officials said, he took the stand in Ohio and told the court he was an expert in the epidemiology of burns with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from a university in London. From there, Stocco went on to tout credentials and opinions in courtrooms in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Indiana, testifying as the executive director of the National Burn Victim Foundation. He has worked to gain convictions in some cases and to help defendants go free in others. All for a fee." (Washington Post)

"U.S. FDA approves claim for fish oil supplements" - "WASHINGTON -- Makers of fish oil supplements can claim evidence "suggests" they might reduce the risk of heart disease, if the labels say the connection has not been confirmed, U.S. health officials said Thursday. The Food and Drug Administration approved a limited health claim for the products but rejected the industry's bid to advertise that the omega-3 fatty acids in the supplements could lower a person's likelihood to develop coronary heart disease." (Reuters)

"Lawsuit Challenges Constitutionality of New National Monuments" - "WASHINGTON, DC, November 3, 2000 (ENS) - A coalition of environmental groups has asked a judge for permission to come to the legal aid of President Bill Clinton, who is being sued for using the federal Antiquities Act to create five national monuments. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC earlier this year, alleges that Clinton's creation of the national monuments was unconstitutional." (ENS)

?!! "This is what revolution sounds like" - "A recent dot.com music deal spells the end of the market economy" (Guardian)

What can I say but the above from Jeremy Rifkin... The market economy stands or falls according to Napster. Right...

"Unidentified object could hit Earth in 2030" - "LOS ANGELES - Scientists have spotted a small asteroid or a piece of space debris that they say has a 1-in-500 chance of colliding with the Earth in 30 years - far greater odds than any similar object ever discovered." (AP) Comment

"Clinton Says if He Can't Run, Gore Is the `Next Best Thing'" Oh well - that oughtta help 'im!

"Only Bush offers a real cut in taxes" - "For the first time in decades, the federal government is collecting hundreds of billions of dollars more in revenue than it intends to spend. That makes this year the first time it is reasonable to ask for an across-the-board tax cut, not because of a need to stimulate the economy, but simply because the government has more money than it needs." (Seattle Times editorial)

November 3, 2000

Ben & Jerry's and Dioxin on ABC's 20/20! ABC's "20/20" news magazine is scheduled to report on dioxin in Ben & Jerry's ice cream Friday, November 3, 2000 at 10:00 pm EST. John Stossel will be the reporter.

Junkscience.com conducted the original research on dioxin in Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Ben & Jerry's marketed it's ice cream by claiming that there was no safe level of exposure to dioxin. Junkscience.com tests reported that a sample of Ben & Jerry's ice cream contained about 200 times the level of dioxin the EPA said was safe. The enviros like to say that dioxin is the most toxic manmade substance.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute and Citizens for the Integrity of Science filed a deceptive marketing complaint against Ben & Jerry's with the Federal Trade Commission, which has yet to rule.

Click for my FoxNews.com column, "A Scoop of Debunkey Monkey."

"TV Balances Liberals... with Ultra-Liberals" - "Does this sound balanced to you? Last week Al Gore trumpeted a leaked UN report on the alleged perils of global warming, so the CBS Evening News showed him pledging "to protect the environment with all my heart and soul." Balancing Gore on the October 26 newscast: Ralph Nader, the only other candidate who thinks global warming is a real threat requiring immediate government intervention in the free market. "Al Gore is suffering from election year delusion if he thinks his record on the environment is anything to be proud of," Nader twitted from Gore’s left. The only other on-camera source in John Roberts’ report: a Greenpeace spokesman, who said of Gore: "The promises are great, the rhetoric is great. Keeping the promises, doing what you say — that’s our concern." CBS never told viewers of skeptical scientists whose insistence on proof is plainly irritating to those who impatiently wish to start re-shaping American society right away. Instead, the pols, activists and journalists conducted a closed discussion that treated the UN paper as irrefutable." (Media Research Center)

And the predictable hysteria:

"Vicious cycle: Global warming feeds fire potential" - "Global warming may greatly accelerate the fire cycle in the desert ecosystem of North America, according to a study published today in the journal Nature." (ENN)

"The threat of global warming" - "There is growing scientific consensus on the reality of the threat posed by global warming. In the view of many reputable specialists, the ferocious storms of the past number of winters, which devastated large tracts of France and England and caused serious damage in this country, are clear evidence of the phenomenon. Yesterday, the Minister for the Environment, Mr Dempsey, said the situation was bad and becoming worse, with hurricanes and extensive flooding threatening communities from Central America to Europe and Asia. And he outlined a series of measures intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in this country by the year 2010." (Irish Times)

"Full-time flood warning for UK" - "SCIENTISTS warned last night that the flooding which is gripping large parts of Britain will be followed by further extreme weather caused by global warming." (The Scotsman)

"Climate change may switch off the Gulf Stream" - "Ireland's green fields may be replaced by frozen tundra with severe storms and extensive flooding, if predicted climate change takes place." (Irish Times)

"Irish Put Celtic Tiger on a Greener Diet" - "DUBLIN, Ireland, November 2, 2000 (ENS) - Already overseeing one of Europe's fastest growing economies, the Irish government today released a climate change strategy that it hopes will curb the country's insatiable appetite for high emission fossil fuels. "Business as usual is no longer an option for Ireland," said Environment Minister Noel Dempsey at the launch of Ireland's Climate Change Strategy." (ENS)

Odd, the planet greens with rising atmospheric CO2 and yet they consider CO2 reduction green.

"Drive to cut pollution will mean big hike in fuel taxes" - "CONSUMERS face higher taxes on petrol and home heating oil as part of a new Government plan to cut damaging emissions. New `green' taxes on fuels such as petrol, diesel and oil, which produce carbon dioxide emissions, will be introduced on a phased basis from 2002. The closure of the Moneypoint power station and a 10pc reduction in the national herd are also signalled in the National Climate Change Strategy." [Fuel taxes to hit consumer] [Cleaning up editorial] [Why we must act before it is too late] (Irish Independent)

Some politicians and elements of the press are certainly active in the propaganda stakes. Are they completely successful? Apparently not - here's a group of budding young skeptics who'd like to share their perspectives on the environment with you.

And these items seek a couple of good points despite fanciful claims of clairvoyance:

"Not all climate change bad, experts say" - "Southern and eastern Europeans are likely to suffer from climate changes predicted over the next century, while their northern neighbors are expected to reap advantages from the shifts brought by global warming, scientists said Wednesday." (AP)

"Britain 'will gain from global warming'" - "... Prof Parry said that the Kyoto climate agreement "would, if successful, only reduce the rise of up to two degrees in temperature by 2050 by around 0.06°C. So it is very likely that adaptation would be necessary." He called for major changes in European policy, to adapt to the climate change, including the reform of both the EU common agriculture and common fisheries policies." (Telegraph)

Meanwhile, the Earth is happily continuing with a mean temperature hovering around the 1961-1990 average, with no net warming since the 1930s.

"BSE link to scrapie just a scare story, says Thorley" - "CONSUMERS of lamb and mutton have nothing to fear, despite the claims by the Food Standards Agency that there could be a tenuous link between the sheep disease, scrapie, and BSE." (The Scotsman)

"As lambs to slaughter: Britain's BSE phobia shifts to sheep" - "Today, the more sensationalist media in Britain are amplifying a few officials' comments on the possibility that "millions" of Britain's 40 million sheep may be destroyed -- possibly a total eradication. "That's completely cockeyed," counters British organic dairyman Mark Purdey, who has personally researched the entire epic of the prion-involved bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) since the panic of 1996. Purdey was the first to show rational evidence that transmission by animal protein and bone meal hypothesis is only a presumption, with no significant evidence. The U.K. government's just-released inquiry formally acknowledges that for the first time, commending Purdey for his scholarly research." (AgWeb.com)

"Why the Government hates and fears the protesters" - "DAVID HANDLEY, chairman of the People's Fuel Lobby, described himself to a House of Commons committee yesterday as "a rat in a corner". The only thing a trapped rat can do, he said, is fight back. [Straw fuels the flames] (Daily Telegraph) [Straw: We'll use emergency powers to keep roads open (Independent)] [Telegraph] [The Financial Times thinks fuel protesters are "astonishingly arrogant"]

"UK green groups urge fuel tax protestors to quit" - "LONDON - Leading British green campaigners yesterday attacked plans for fresh fuel tax protests calling them selfish and misguided. Environmental group Friends of the Earth (FOE) called on fuel tax protesters to call off a five-day go-slow vehicle convoy from the northeast to London next week. "It is time for the fuel tax protesters to call off their plans for direct action," executive director Charles Secrett said in a statement." (Reuters)

According to Charlie Secrett, fuel tax protesters are to blame for the latest series of UK floods.

"Fuel tax clouded by greenhouse gas" - "So imagine the surprise when Mr Prescott told the House of Commons on Tuesday that climate change was, in fact, behind this week's storms – the worst to hit Britain in more than a decade. ... The Greens, of course, were delighted. Recognition at last! But more cynical souls wondered whether Two Jags had another agenda. Could it be that his boss, Tony Blair, was quite happy to have the perils of global warming talked up when the Government is facing expensive demands to reduce petrol tax?" (The Australian)

"German power consumers attack costly energy laws" - "BERLIN - The effects of energy laws and taxes are eating heavily into the savings offered to German electricity consumers through deregulation of the sector, the association of industrial power consumers (VIK) said. VIK chairman Horst Wolf at the association's annual press conference attacked Germany's red-green governmental coalition for what he called a "counterproductive and damaging energy policy." (Reuters)

"Are mobile phones reducing teenage smoking?" - "Is there a link between the sharp decline in teenage smoking since 1996 and the dramatic rise in mobile phone ownership among teenagers over the same period? A letter in this week's BMJ argues that mobile phones may be competing successfully with cigarettes to meet certain important teenage needs." (BMJ) [BBC Online] [AP]

"Hands-free phone safety questioned" - "The row over the safety of hands-free mobile phones has restarted, with further tests suggesting they may not protect the brain. There is no firm evidence that low-level radiowave radiation from phones can cause damage to the brain." (BBC Online) [Reuters]

"Hands-free phone warning is wrong, insists scientist" - "The debate over hands-free mobile phone kits intensified yesterday as a top scientist insisted that the Consumers' Association was wrong to claim that the kits can increase the radiation received in the brain. The Department of Trade and Industry also said it had "reservations" about the reiterated claims by the CA, which first said in April that hands-free antenna kits could actually act as an aerial and beam more energy into the brain than simply holding the phone in the hand beside the head." (Independent)

"Translating the language of risk" - "Perhaps one positive outcome of the most recent BSE 'crisis' is the sign of increasing awareness of the difference between scare stories and accurate information. There has been, understandably, anger at the failure of bureaucrats to communicate what scientists were saying about the risks posed by BSE in cattle. There have also been a lot of 'told you so's from the right-on, but largely unelected and unaccountable, champions of the 'consumer' and food correctness. But now there is also greater recognition that yes, the world can be a risky place, but we must make the best of it and get on with our lives." (Social Issues Research Centre)

"Dietary Guidelines Lawsuits" - "An animal rights group called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture twice over the 2000 revision of the Dietary Guidelines. This group claims over 100,000 members but fewer than 5,000 physicians. However, the name implies that it represents physicians only. The first lawsuit was based on the claim that the guidelines were racist because they said milk consumption was okay for your health. Because non-Caucasians have lower levels of lactase, the enzyme in the intestine that digests milk sugar, PCRM made this claim. It was thrown out by a judge. The second suit was based on the claim that USDA violated parts of the Freedom of Information Act in not releasing the names of all scientific experts who were considered for the panel. While many responsible nutritionists may differ with some of the points in the dietary guidelines, there seems to be no benefit in releasing names and credentials of those who were not chosen, and it may be an invasion of their privacy.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: PCRM has an agenda to eliminate the use of animals for any purpose: no animal foods, no pets, no zoos, no leather, and no animals in medical research. The Committee has not made progress by arguing science, so it may be trying to intimidate people who may become involved with the process in the future." (Nutritional News Focus)

"UK Group to Focus on Soaring Number of GM Animal Experiments" - "LONDON, United Kingdom, November 2, 2000 - A new government body has announced one of its first tasks will be to investigate the soaring number of animals used for experiments involving genetic modification." (ENS)

"300 taco, chip products recalled for gene-modified corn link" - "Nearly 300 kinds of taco shells, tortillas, chips and tostadas were recalled from U.S. grocery stores and restaurants because of suspected contamination with a biotech corn not approved for human consumption, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. In the most detailed list published to date, the FDA identified all the foods recalled by Mission Foods, a unit of Mexican company Gruma, which has been hit hard by the discovery of StarLink corn in its food products." (Reuters)

"CGA's views on food use of Starlink" - "The National Corn Growers Association released the following comments supporting the Aventis application for limited-time waiver on food use of StarLink corn:" (AgWeb.com)

"New biotech releases could fall victim to StarLink" - "The StarLink controversy is already having ripple effects on agriculture research, scientists and farm leaders say, and could delay the expected release of millions of dollars worth of new products." (AgWeb.com)

"StarLink lawsuit threat surfaces" - "Last month’s Kraft Foods and subsequent Mission Foods recalls of taco and tortilla products using Aventis Corp.’s genetically modified (GM) StarLink corn have spurred negative headlines; long lists of recalled products; calls for studies, laws, technology and grain segregation improvements…and at least one potential lawsuit." (Bakery Online)

"The Secrecy Legacy" - "WASHINGTON — President Clinton has until Saturday to sign or veto a stealth attack on American freedom. On his desk is a bill to prosecute any government whistle-blower who dares make public any corruption or abuses of power any official stamps "classified." (NY Times)

"Republicans say Energy Department wasted 3.4 billion" - "WASHINGTON - Much of the $3.4 billion the Energy Department has spent on new technology for nuclear weapons waste cleanup in the past 11 years has been wasted, according to a report of the House Commerce Committee's Republican majority. The report, released Wednesday, said the DOE's Office of Science and Technology has "squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on technologies that have not proved useful" in the massive cleanup effort." (AP)

"Translate this:" - "If you're planning on visiting the United States of America from an English-speaking country, here are some local phrases you may find useful over the next few days:" (Mark Steyn, National Post)

"Central Kenya Farmers Embrace Biotech Farming" - "The use of biotechnology to boost banana production is gradually gaining ground in Kenya's agricultural based economy. According to experts, biotechnology, which was little known a few years ago, is slowly revolutionising the future of banana farming in a small community about 75 km north of Nairobi, in the country's Central Province." (ANS)

"With Asthma, Environment May Matter" - "THURSDAY, Nov. 2 -- Urban doctors who see a lot of asthma patients may themselves be at high risk for the breathing disorder, New York researchers say. The findings suggest that environment, more than social or economic status, determines who develops the condition." (HealthScout)

"Overeating in pregnancy, entree to illness" - "WOMEN who "eat for two" during the first trimester of their pregnancy have babies prone to obesity, heart disease and diabetes in adulthood." (The Australian) [Dutch men and women exposed to famine in utero have poor lipid profiles (AJCN)]

"Age affects male fertility" - "A review of the scientific literature revealed as myth the belief that male fertility was not affected by age, a visiting expert said yesterday." (The Age)

"KENYA: IRIN Focus On Dangers of Deforestation" - "Population growth is the underlying cause behind deforestation in Kenya, according to the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI). It is a global phenomenon: 15 million hectares of forest are lost worldwide every year due to their clearing for agricultural reasons. In the 1980s, the Kenyan population grew at the rate of four percent a year, thereby putting pressure on rich forest lands favourable to crop cultivation." (AllAfrica.com)

"Malawi Plans Crocodile Management Programme" - "BLANTYRE, Malawi, November 2, 2000 - Crocodiles dwelling in Malawian lakes and rivers have become a bone of contention between the government and indigenous people who live near these water bodies. Both the people and their livestock regularly fall victim to crocodiles, but the government insists that it is determined to protect the crocodiles." (ENS)

"UC Irvine study determines levels of ozone-depleting gases emitted by rice paddies into atmosphere" - "Irvine, Calif. -- A UC Irvine study has determined that the world's rice paddies emit a small but significant amount of methyl halide gases that contribute to stratospheric ozone depletion, suggesting that agricultural sources also play a role in this atmospheric phenomena." (UCI) [Telegraph] [BBC Online apparently finds the greenhouse spin sexier]

"Seagulls are attacking whales, says expert " - "Seagulls are divebombing whales off the coast of Argentina and trying to eat them." (Ananova)

November 2, 2000

Pre-COP6 hype and posturing, mostly from unnamed 'experts':

"Global warming to cause more flooding in Britain" - "Temperatures will be too high in the Greek Islands for tourists to enjoy summer holidays in July and August according to a climate expert." (Ananova)

"Global warming 'will trigger more flooding'" - "Scientists say Britain and Europe can expect more flooding but may benefit from reduced energy needs as global warming takes hold of the climate." (Ananova)

"Climate Changes Affect Europeans" - "LONDON — Southern and eastern Europeans are likely to suffer from climate changes predicted over the next century, while their northern neighbors are expected to reap advantages from the shifts brought by global warming, scientists said Wednesday." (AP)

"Britain in grip of worst floods for 50 years" - "Under water: Widespread dismay as floods on a par with those of 1947" (Guardian)

"Europe told there is no choice but to adapt" - "Climate shift: Brussels report warns of deserts in south and storms in north" (Guardian)

"Forecast Europe in 2050" - "UK: Cairngorms ski industry disappears; Mild winters with heavy rain in bursts causing floods. Hot summers with droughts every three years. Vineyards, sunflowers, soya become staple crops in south. Fewer winter deaths from hypothermia and bronchitis." (Guardian)

"Scientists forecast a century of rising floods for Britain while southern Europe battles drought" - "Greek islands far too hot for holidaymakers to endure at the height of summer, southern Spain starting to resemble a desert, the salmon disappearing from France's River Loire – such will be Europe affected by global warming in the coming century, scientists said yesterday." (Independent)

"Europe's climate forecast: hot and wet" - "A report on how Europe's climate may change by 2100 suggests the impacts will vary starkly between regions." (BBC Online)

"Climate Change Poses New Challenges for EU-Report" - "LONDON - Northern Europe and Britain can expect more flooding and torrential rains in the years to come but southern Europe will bear the brunt of the impact of global warming with water shortages, forest fires and desertification." (Reuters)

"Flood alert" - "Rivers in northern Europe such as the Thames in Britain face a 20 per cent increase in peak flood flows. This is one of the warnings given in a major new study of the future climate in Europe released on Wednesday." (New Scientist)

"Too darn hot" - "IT IS now certain that coral reefs are being damaged by global climate change, the Bali meeting heard last week." (New Scientist)

"Flood crisis offers ideal chance to legislate for a changing climate" - "STARING out of an office window at the rain beating down on a wind-swept Glasgow, it is easy to accept Michael Meacher’s admonitions that climate change is here to stay. It is prudent to make pessimistic assumptions about trends over the next decade and to push flood protection to the top of the political agenda." (The Scotsman)

"Climate of change" - "Last week a symposium in Bali heard that more than half the world's coral reefs had either been destroyed or were threatened by global warming. And Greenpeace accused Australia of using last weekend's South Pacific Forum to undermine the Kyoto Protocol, the UN treaty limiting developed countries' emissions of the greenhouse gases - carbon - thought to be causing global warming. Industry predictions about the cost of responding to climate change are similarly disturbing. A recent study commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia concluded that complying with the Kyoto Protocol could cut Australia's GDP by 1.9 per cent and employment in some regions of Western Australia and Queensland by more than 10 per cent." (Nick Horden, Australian Financial Revue)

"EPA HONORS EFFORTS AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING, OZONE DEPLETION" - "WASHINGTON, DC, November 1, 2000 - Thirty-two individuals and organizations from around the world received awards Tuesday from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for helping to reduce the health and environmental risks of global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion." (ENS)

How'd they do that without spending any money? Didn't Congress set up some legal bar on EPA spending so much as a dime on global warming?

Rounded off with a couple of letters to The Daily Telegraph:

SIR - Am I being too facetious to mention that we now know the reason for Noah's flood: global warming?" (JV Gray)

SIR - Thomas Turner, a shopkeeper at East Hoathly, Sussex, wrote in his diary on Jan. 15, 1763: "I think to the best of my memory I never remember so wet a time as the present, there having been hardly 48 hours of fine weather for this two or three months past, it raining almost continually." Only a few years ago the weather experts were advising that the dried-up rivers would be unlikely to recover. There was even talk of constructing very expensive underground pipeworks from the wet North-West to the dry South. We should all be very careful before accepting the words of experts on the subject of weather patterns. It is just too complicated to make any far-reaching decisions on how to respond to extreme weather conditions, particularly if they would have a damaging effect on our economy." (DJ Steele)

Several correspondents have raised a query over constant claim (by warming advocates) that COP6 is 'the last chance' to get Kyoto ratified and made binding. In a sense they are quite correct in their claim.

Current LTA (Long Term Average) figures against which we benchmark global temperature trends are established by taking the global mean for the years 1961-1990 (it takes thirty years to establish a trend in climatic terms in order to eliminate short-term trends induced by temporary anomalies such as the 1997/98 El Niño). Each decade a new global mean (LTA) is calculated and, as of the year 2001, the mean will reflect the period 1971-2000. Thus, the 97/98 El Niño-induced warm spike will enter the average calculation while the decade 1961-70 (when the world was in it's latest cooling phase) will drop out of calculation. Looking at the US temperature record it is obvious that this will have some effect, although nowhere near as much as if you use the IPCC's selective urban data and resultant fanciful graph. Current Earth temperature is slightly below the 1961-1990 mean. Unless it rises by next year it will register as anomalously cool compared with the 1971-2000 mean.

Given that the 1997/98 El Niño aberration will remain in the mean calculation until 2030, and thus tend to inflate the global mean benchmark, the chances of claiming rising global temperature over the next three decades are somewhat diminished.

COP6 really is their last hurrah because, statistically, the world is about to cool - whether the temperature changes or not.

Britain's fuel tax fight:

"Keep on truckin', folks - you've already won" - "IT'S a judgment, yea, it's a judgment, say the eco-doomsters. If only we hadn't been so exorbitant as to fill up our tanks. If only we weren't so selfish as to drive to the supermarkets and to take our children to school by car! Because then the evil gases would not have plumed to the heavens and encircled the planet like a funeral winding sheet; then the temperature would not have risen over the past few years, the ice caps would not have melted, the storms would not have been unleashed over the Home Counties!" (Daily Telegraph)

"Brown's duty to cut" - "... The only obstacles to doing so are political - and party political at that. More than most chancellors, Gordon Brown regards the receipts in the Exchequer as his own, in the sense that how they are spent should be a matter for him, and him alone." (Daily Telegraph)

"Tax burden has reached a record high, says Hague" - "... The leader of the Opposition told Mr Blair: "Is it not now clear that you have given us the fastest rise in petrol prices, the biggest tax rise for the least well off, the highest tax burden in the history of the country?" (Independent)

"Fuel protesters demand 15p tax cut" - "Fuel protesters toughened their stance against the Government last night, insisting that help targeted at hauliers was not enough and enlisting the aid of fishermen to bring the country to a halt in protests planned for later this month." (Independent)

"Blair: 'I will not be held to ransom'" - "The Prime Minister has insisted that he will not allow fuel duty protestors to hold the country to ransom with further blockades." (Independent)

"Blair mounts fuel offensive" - "The government has stepped up its efforts to win the war of words on fuel tax as the 14 November deadline for action set by protesters approaches. Prime Minister Tony Blair told MPs that big cuts in fuel duty would see the worst-off suffer, while Tory leader William Hague accused the government of being responsible for the biggest rise in fuel taxes in UK history." (BBC Online)

"Arctic Drilling Proposal Sparks Heated Debate" - "WASHINGTON, DC, November 1, 2000 - The debate over opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development came to the National Press Club in Washington today, as a top Clinton Administration official and a powerful Republican Senator outlined two very different views of the contentious election year issue." (ENS)

"US senator says Alaska drilling will cut oil price" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. crude oil prices would plunge by at least $10 a barrel if the federal government decided to reverse course and allow exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Republican head of the Senate Energy committee said yesterday." (Reuters)

"WORLD BANK URGED TO BAR FOSSIL FUELS PROJECTS" - "WASHINGTON, DC, November 1, 2000 - In a letter to World Bank president James Wolfensohn sent Monday, Friends of the Earth (FoE) international chairman Ricardo Navarro called on Wolfensohn to declare a moratorium on World Bank support of fossil fuel and mining projects. Navarro's letter follows up on Wolfensohn's September pledge at the World Bank Annual Meetings in Prague to work with FoE to examine the negative impacts of Bank investments in fossil fuel and mining." (ENS)

"Australia govt seeks fast renewable energy deal" - "MELBOURNE - Australian Environment Minister Robert Hill said yesterday the government wanted to resolve a deadlock over renewable energy legislation before a mid-November international meeting on greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Household hazard" - "Exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields from computers and fridges is a cause of female infertility, according to an Italian research team. But the team's results have been rejected as "spurious" by UK Powerwatch, an independent EMF monitoring group." (New Scientist)

"'Key discovery' in nerve repair" - "Scientists have made a discovery that might one day allow the re-growth of damaged nerve cells such as those severed in spinal cord injuries." (BBC Online)

"Hepatitis antibody made from GM rice" - "A research team of the Science University of Tokyo has succeeded in using genetically modified rice plants to produce the hepatitis B antibody, which can be used to produce immunity to the virus, it was learned Monday. Until now, blood from hepatitis B carriers has been used to manufacture the products." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Corn Rises as Worries Ease Over StarLink in Exports" - "CHICAGO -- Corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade reached nearly two-week highs, with hopes that the controversy over Starlink corn won`t hinder exports to Japan, the No. 1 buyer of U.S. corn. Corn futures have been under pressure over the past week amid concerns Japan would shun the U.S. grain after discovering traces of StarLink, a genetically modified variety, in food products and animal feed." (WSJ)

Hmm... "EPA: Consumers complaining of reactions to biotech corn found in food supply" - "WASHINGTON -- Fourteen people have complained to federal officials of adverse reactions after eating food products made from StarLink, a form of bioengineered corn not approved for human consumption, an official at the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the "adverse event reports," said Susan Hazen, Deputy Director of EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs." (CNN)

"Transgenic Plants and Biosafety: Science, Misconceptions and Public Perceptions" - "ABSTRACT: One usually thinks of plant biology as a non-controversial topic, but the concerns raised over the biosafety of genetically modified (GM) plants have reached disproportionate levels relative to the actual risks. While the technology of changing the genome of plants has been gradually refined and increasingly implemented, the commercialization of GM crops has exploded. Concerns of ecological and food biosafety have escalated beyond scientific rationality. While several risks associated with GM crops and foods have been identified, the popular press, spurred by colorful protest groups, has left the general public with a sense of imminent danger. An estimated 2.5 x 1012 transgenic plants have been grown in the US in the past 12 years, with over one trillion being grown in 1999 alone. These large numbers and the absence of any negative reports of compromised biosafety indicate that genetic modification by biotechnology poses no immediate risks and that resulting food products from GM crops are as safe as foods from conventional varieties. We are increasingly convinced that scientists have a duty to not only conduct objective research, but also effectively communicate the results especially pertaining to relative risks and potential benefits." (BioTechniques 29:832-843)

"Urban Myths about Organic Agriculture"  - "There is a widespread belief that farming systems with lower yields and lower use of inputs are more friendly to the environment, and more sustainable than higher producing systems (10). Organic food is often viewed as healthier and benign. However the information below rarely finds its way into discussion on organic food but is essential for a critical assessment. Compared to efficient conventional farming conducted with good agricultural practices, organic farming has "no positive environmental aspects at all" (41) and least sustainability (44 )." (Anthony Trewavas, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology)

"One of Clinton's last stands: ergonomic injuries" - "WASHINGTON (November 1, 2000 7:17 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - Regulations that would cost employers from $5 billion to $80 billion a year to address hundreds of thousands of potentially disabling workplace injuries have emerged as one of President Clinton's last stands against a Republican Congress." (AP)

"DIOXIN REVIEW PANEL INCLUDES INDUSTRY SUPPORTED SCIENTISTS" - "WASHINGTON, DC, November 1, 2000 (ENS) - Farmers, Vietnam veterans, health and environmental groups issued a warning Tuesday that the dioxin industry is funding six members of the review panel scheduled to review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) reassessment of the chemical dioxin today and Thursday." (ENS)

Ben & Jerry's trying to bury the dioxin review?

"Federalism Debate at Heart of Environment Case Before Justices" - "WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 — The Supreme Court's great continuing federalism debate came to rest today in an unlikely place: the site of an abandoned strip mine in northeastern Illinois, dotted with dozens of small ponds where the earth was scooped out more than 50 years ago, that a consortium of suburban Chicago cities and towns proposes to use for a solid-waste landfill." (NY Times)

"Environmental Cases May Have Ripples" - "Commerce clause, nondelegation law could see big change" (law.com)

"Landowners will fight 'save hen harrier' controls" - "VAST areas of heather and grouse moor across Scotland and England are to fall under tough conservation controls to protect the hen harrier. Landowners stretching from the Yorkshire Dales up to Deeside in Scotland will be affected by government moves to designate their estates and farms Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Areas (SPA) under European laws. Seven new SPAs, covering a total of 230,000 hectares much of it privately owned, are awaiting approval by the Scottish Executive and the Department of the Environment." (The Times)

"TOO HOT TO HANDLE" - "TRANSMISSION speeds from new GPRS cellphones, due to be launched in Britain this year, will be held down to keep them within radiation absorption guidelines and to stop them overheating, New Scientist has discovered. Cellphone companies seem not to have learned from their massive over-hyping of WAP services, and risk crippling the fledgling market for GPRS by making hollow promises about speed. "We have known for ages about these limitations," says Rainer Lischetzki of phone maker Motorola. "We regret the sales talk and data rate exaggeration." (New Scientist)

"Marines warn parents of bad water" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 — The Marine Corps is trying to notify the parents of an estimated 10,000 children born at Camp Lejeune, N.C., between 1968 and 1985 that they may have consumed water contaminated with compounds that have been linked to birth defects and childhood cancers such as leukemia." (MSNBC)

"End of an era" - "... But despite the vast scale of the report it contains only one truly important message: secrecy and paternalism make for bad government and bad science." (New Scientist)

"Highly infectious: scare stories" - "Has the country lost its marbles? From the newspapers that have crossed my sickbed over the past 10 days (I have been recuperating from a minor op), there has been an overwhelming stench of fear. Meat (whether beef, lamb or French), vaccination (polio), rail travel (nationwide), air-travel (economy class) – all, allegedly, threaten life and limb. Not to mention cold remedies (containing an ingredient that causes strokes), electrical appliances (causing infertility) and herbal medicines (can aggravate asthma)." (Independent)

"Liar, liar" - "Perhaps the most persistent and outrageous media conceit that has increased the indecision of the public is that Mr. Bush is not smart enough to be president, while Mr. Gore is one of the nation's better minds. Reporters who are graduates of Palooka College make fun of Mr. Bush, who not only graduated from Yale, but gained a masters from Harvard Business School, while Mr. Gore flunked out of divinity school and dropped out of law school." (Tony Blankley, Washington Times)

"Emotional Attitude Unrelated to Heart Disease-Study" - "BOSTON - Feeling depressed? Lonely? Stressed? A new study finds those feelings won't affect your chance of having a heart attack." (Reuters)

"Doctor-drug conflicts of interests splashed across JAMA pages" - "ATLANTA, Georgia -- A public dispute has erupted between the manufacturer of an HIV medication and researchers who say the anti-HIV drug doesn't work. The fight, between The Immune Response Corp. (IRC) and doctors at the University of California at San Francisco, puts millions of dollars at stake." (CNN)

"How fat SLOBS can help human race" - "A group of genetically modified fat "SLOB" rats accidentally created by British researchers could hold clues to the mysteries of the human beer gut." (The Age)

"Canadians unlock cancer mystery" - "Canadian scientists have solved one of the biggest mysteries in cancer research, opening the way for a breakthrough in the treatment of the disease." (National Post)

"Moderate alcohol consumption increases bone mineral density in elderly women" - "In a study of 489 post-menopausal women, moderate drinkers had significantly higher bone mineral density (BMD) than their nondrinking counterparts, according to research by Rapuri et al. published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." (AJCN)

"500 million window blinds recalled over strangulation risk" - "WASHINGTON (November 1, 2000 3:03 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - In its largest-ever product recall, the government says some 500 million horizontal window blinds sold over the last decade need their cords repaired because 130 babies and young children have been strangled since 1991. It is the second such recall in the last five years." (AP)

"Don't burn your bra just yet" - "Are recent reports linking bras to breast cancer based on nothing more than a misunderstanding of the results of a study carried out at a Bristol hospital?" (Independent)

"Fruits and vegetables don't protect against some cancers, study finds" - "WASHINGTON (November 1, 2000 11:05 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps protect against heart disease and diabetes, but has no effect against colon and rectal cancer, a new study says. Harvard researchers report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that studies involving more than 136,000 health professionals who were repeatedly interviewed over 16 years found that eating fruits and vegetables had virtually no effect on the incidence of colon and rectal cancer. This finding, to be published Wednesday, is the opposite of dozens of studies over the last 20 years that reported some colorectal cancer protection from fruits and vegetables." (AP)

Sigh... "Flipping burgers cuts cancer risk" - "NEW YORK: While overcooking meat has long been linked to cancer risk, new research shows that flipping burgers may lower the odds. Frequently turning burgers on the frying pan seems to cut the production of possible cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs)." (Times of India)

"Halloween blasted as 'evil'" - "Roman Catholic priests in France have denounced Halloween as "devoted to Satan, ugliness and absolute evil". In the Riviera resort of St Raphael, priests organised a protest, saying the festival amounted to an attack on French culture." (The Age)

"Scientists to check on toppling penguins" - "British scientists are heading for the South Atlantic in an attempt to disprove claims that penguins fall over backwards when aircraft fly overhead." (The Age)

November 1, 2000

"North-east England hit hardest by the worst flooding in half a century" - "Yorkshire, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear and were the worst affected areas. They had largely escaped the worst of the weekend's storms but after 85mm of rain fell in 24 hours, six severe flood warnings were issued yesterday, with a total of 65 flood warnings and flood watches imposed." (Independent)

85mm (a little under 3.5") of rain in 24 hours. That's just over their record 30 minute total (1953), less than the 1 hour record (1901) and less than one-third of the 1955 24 hour top [UK Met Office: Extremes]. Since this is touted as the "worst in half a century" then the implication is that events have been less dramatic over the interim.  And this purportedly indicates increasing severe weather events due to global warming? Right... [NOAA RELEASES CENTURY'S TOP WEATHER, WATER AND CLIMATE EVENTS]

Charlie Clover, The Telegraph's environment reporter, recycled the pre-release of IPCC's political summary with Scientists give new greenhouse gases warning - he should have read what Ridley had in the same publication yesterday Weather and climate are different things: "Overall, there is no evidence that extreme weather events or climate variability has increased, in a global sense, through the 20th century," says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The evidence, says the World Meteorological Organisation, "points to an expectation of little or no change in global frequency [of cyclones]". Both these organisations believe the evidence for man-made global warming, but admit that the evidence for more extreme weather is not there." His comments regarding Kyoto are worth reading again too: The real cost of global warming

Is the globe really responding to changes in the minor greenhouse gas (GHG) constituents? Good question, one even NASA answered with a comprehensive shrug of the shoulders less than a fortnight ago: Earth's fidgeting climate. Meanwhile, Earth's tropospheric temperature demonstrates no clear correlation with GHG levels.

Ah, say proponents, but the models say that it will. Certainly Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said on Monday that confidence in projection of future climate was increasing, noting also "While the accuracy of climate models is impressive and increasing, the models still do not capture all the features of the real climate system because it is difficult to fully simulate the complexity of the real world climate system and build in extreme weather events such as heavy rainfalls and cyclones."

Does this mean we have increased confidence in the extreme scenarios mentioned by Revkin in his NYT article last week? In a word - no. Saltzman, et al, (GRL, v.27, no.21 p.3513, 1 Nov 2000) compared the 'predictions' of NCAR's CCM1 model (+3.5°C to 2125) with their more recent CCM3 (+1.6°C to 2125). Oops! See 'Models Not So Super' on Still Waiting For Greenhouse for more on this.

Oh dear! "Weather: 'action now essential'" - "Extreme weather events must now be regarded as normal in Britain as global warming takes hold, and the railways, power lines and flood defences must adapt to cope, John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, said yesterday." (Guardian) [Independent] More sensibly: UK's Prescott to curb building in flood areas (Reuters)

"Storms a 'wake-up call' for emergency plan" - "BRITAIN: Britain's worst storm in 13 years should act as a "wake-up call" to ensure the country's infrastructure is robust enough to withstand extreme weather, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr John Prescott, said yesterday. He spoke as robust tactics to counter the effects of global warming look likely to be written into emergency weather plans." [Report says flooding will increase] [Minister blames global warming for British storms] (Irish Times) [Even the normally rational Scotsman got into the act with Weather-proofing as a national priority] [Regular fight against floods is part of Britain's future (The Times)] [Global warming strains old sewers: insurance board (Ottawa Citizen)]

"Global warming vs plain old weather" - "Andy Yateman, of the Met Office, said: "The weekend storms were within the boundaries of our highly-changeable, British climate, even if at the extreme end. If over the next few decades we see more and more weather events outside these boundaries then you can start talking about blaming them on climate change." (Evening Standard)

"Will There Be Enough Food?" - "The authors determined that world population will likely be 51% greater in the year 2050 than it was in 1998, but that world food production will be only 37% greater if its enhanced productivity comes solely as a consequence of anticipated improvements in agricultural technology and expertise.  However, they further determined that the consequent shortfall in farm production can be overcome - but just barely - by the additional benefits anticipated to accrue from the aerial fertilization effect of the expected rise in the air's CO2 content, assuming no Kyoto-style cutbacks in anthropogenic CO2 emissions." (Idso & Idso on the net benefits of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels)

"Prudence Misapplied" - "In the 25 August 2000 issue of Science, Philip H. Abelson introduces his Editorial on "Limiting Atmospheric CO2" with the statement that "worldwide emissions of CO2 continue to increase, and prudence dictates that technologies be developed to help limit this trend," whereupon he launches into a detailed discussion of ways to achieve this goal.  Unfortunately, his entire analysis is moot." (co2science.org)

"Flatulent sheep cause global warming" - "Scientists in New Zealand are working to reduce the threat posed by one of the country's principle causes of global warming - flatulent sheep." (Ananova)

"US carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.3 pct in 1999-EIA" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, a major part of ++greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, increased 1.3 percent last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said yesterday." (Reuters)

"Environmental groups on blitz for Gore" - "SEATTLE, Oct. 31 —  Voters here and in other swing areas are getting hit with a last-week blitz by environmental groups stressing that supporters should vote for Democrat Al Gore, not the Green Party’s Ralph Nader. The push comes late in the campaign, but it’s strong enough to create a nasty dispute between Nader and three groups that once called him an ally." (MSNBC)

"Opec to give output a boost - but oil prices rise once again" - "OIL prices rose yesterday even after producers’ group Opec said it would increase output for the fourth time this year. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it would increase output by 500,000 barrels a day today, equivalent to about two per cent of its own production and about 0.7 per cent of world production. However, analysts say the amount of extra fuel that will be added as a result of yesterday’s announcement could be as little as 150,000 barrels a day." (The Scotsman)

"Environmentalists say UK should not cut fuel levy" - "LONDON - Britain should not cut fuel taxes in the pre-budget statement on November 8 as the levy is an essential tool in tackling climate change, environmental pressure group Transport 2000 said yesterday." (Reuters)

"U.S. voters feel pinch of high energy costs" - "WASHINGTON - While Americans are enjoying the strongest economy in a generation, it is hard to find a voter who doesn't feel pinched by high energy prices this election season. Indeed, the cost of a gallon of gas for the drive to the voting booth on Nov. 7 will cost 26 percent more than it did at the last presidential election. Consumers - from soccer moms to truck drivers - are certainly no better off at the gasoline pump than they were four, eight or even twelve years ago. Voters focusing on energy and environmental issues will have a clear choice between Democrat and Vice President Al Gore and Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush on policies to keep energy costs from busting the family budget." (Reuters)

"USDA announces $300 mil. biofuels effort" - "USDA today announced details of a new $300 million program to encourage expanded production of environmentally-friendly fuels made from corn, soybeans and other crops. The program will help expand markets for agricultural commodities and promote use of bio-fuels like ethanol and soy-based biodiesel." (AgWeb.com)

"Fallout widens over Arizona fuel fiasco" - "... Approved this year by the Legislature, the expanded program offered people large incentives to use cars that run on so-called clean fuels, such as natural gas or propane. It proved unexpectedly popular: So many residents rushed to take advantage of the tax breaks offered by the state that the program's costs have spiraled nearly out of control. Thousands of Arizonans poured into dealerships to buy or convert an estimated 22,000 vehicles, pushing the cost of the program to an estimated $483 million. It was supposed to cost about $3 million when legislators passed it earlier this year." (AP)

"Supreme Court case could chart the future of gasoline" - "The Supreme Court and the Clinton administration are being asked to make a decision soon in a case that hasn't drawn much attention, but that could have a profound effect on gas prices at the pump and on air quality. ... Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting the major oil companies. An appeals court decision "potentially allows (the California company) to monopolize the retail gasoline market, and significantly increase the price consumers pay for gasoline," the states told the justices." (UPI)

"Fight is on against pesticide tax" - "THE farming industry has introduced proposals to minimise the environmental impact of crop protection chemicals. The farmers’ aim is to prevent any moves towards introduction of a pesticide tax which could cost them an estimated £125 million a year." (The Scotsman)

"Checking Environmental Risk Factors And Breast Cancer" - "Science-based information on the relationships between breast cancer and environmental risk factors -- including pesticides and diet -- is offered at a Cornell University-based website. The URL is http://www.cfe.cornell.edu/bcerf/" (UniSci)

"Tobacco king's eco-award comes under fire" - "The World Wildlife Fund had shown contempt for "accepted standards" by presenting business magnate Anton Rupert with two special environment awards, says Ken Sheppard, an anti-smoking activist." (Sapa)

"Yo-yo dieters show lower levels of "good" cholesterol, could pose heart disease risk, say researchers from national W.I.S.E . study" - "PITTSBURGH, Oct. 31 -- Women who repeatedly gain and lose weight, especially if they are obese, have significantly lower levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol than do women who maintain their weight, putting the weight cyclers at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. These findings were published in the November issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology by researchers from four institutions conducting the Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (W.I.S.E.) study, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute." (UPMC)

"Missing Gene Prejudices Survival In Ovarian Cancer" - "Epithelial ovarian carcinoma is the most lethal malignancy of the female genital tract. Mortality trends in the U.S. have not exhibited any significant changes since 1979, with the rate remaining stable at 9.8 deaths per 100,000 women." (UniSci)

"Women Gain Weight at Puberty, Pregnancy, Menopause" - "LOS ANGELES - Several studies released on Tuesday show women are most vulnerable to putting on pounds at puberty, after pregnancy and after menopause, giving doctors new information to help reduce obesity among females." (Reuters)

"Welcome to the Fat Slob Way of Life" - "There are many reasons to take with an unhealthy pinch of salt the warning from Yvette Cooper, the minister for public health, that the life expectancy of today's children will be years lower than that of their parents. With a few exceptions - sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the Aids epidemic, and Russia which has its own reasons - there has not been a significant decline in life expectancy anywhere. Rather, the great majority of countries have seen a continuous increase in the lifespans of their populations for several decades. So what was the reasoning behind the health minister's statement?" (Theodore Dalrymple, New Statesman)

"Compounds also present in alcoholic beverages may explain chocolate cravings" - "A Spanish researcher has a new clue to what motivates "chocoholics": a group of chemicals that might contribute to the good feelings associated with binging on the tasty treat. The finding is reported in the current (October 16) issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a monthly peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society." (ACS)

"Chocolate a Health Food? Maybe, but Keep the Aspirin" - "Will chocolate be as intensely craved and taste as richly luscious if it is no longer viewed as a sinful treat, but, quite the contrary, a health food? Indeed, chocolate and cocoa drinks, it turns out, contain an abundant dose of flavonoids, potent antioxidants that have been found most notably in red wine, green tea and fruits and vegetables, and have been associated with a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke." (NY Times)

"NHS go-ahead for hyperactivity drug" - "The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has decided that a controversial drug should be prescribed on the NHS to children with serious hyperactivity problems." (BBC Online) [Ritalin becoming school yard hustlers' newest product (CSM)] [Making a Plus From the Deficit in A.D.D. (NY Times)]

"Castration Most Cost-Effective for Prostate-Study" - "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Surgical castration is the most cost-effective treatment for advanced prostate cancer, but it may be hard for many men to overcome their horror of it, researchers said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

'Consultant: GMO issues in Brazilian soybeans a "colossal mess"' - "The U.S. StarLink hassle isn't the world's only confusion over GMO issues. Consider Brazil, where RoundupReady beans were approved by the government, then blocked in the courts, yet openly black-marketed from across the border with Argentina and Paraguay. Two state ministers of agriculture in Brazil are adamantly anti-GMO, while neighboring states shrug while their farmers plant Roundup-Ready genetics. As we see it, importers who look to South America for "GMO-free" soybeans will probably face the same uncertainties as those trying to assure that corn from Iowa is "StarLink free." (AgWeb.com)

"EPA Pledges Review of Biotech Corn" - "WASHINGTON - Pledging to do a thorough review before allowing a variety of gene-altered corn in food, the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans Monday for a 30-day public comment period and formal consultations with scientists." (AP)

"Critics slam new Monarch Bt-corn data" - "The world`s media are, it seems, becoming immune to scare stories about the effects of GM crops on monarch butterfly populations. The latest research published in the German journal, Oecologia, following a two year study on small scale plots at Iowa State University, predicts that pollen from transgenic corn expressing toxin derived from Bacillus thuringiensis affects survival of monarch larval ``at least 10 metres`` from the field border. Although the work still falls well short of being a true field study, it is greatly more substantial than the preliminary laboratory experiment published in Nature last year by researchers at Cornell University (Nature 399, 214). Despite this, and despite the dearth of real news in the media`s traditional ``silly season`` of August, the Iowa work has attracted considerably less media attention than the earlier paper. Industry commentators and a number of entomologists involved with a broad international field survey to examine the effects of Bt corn on the monarch butterfly have leveled detailed criticism at the Iowa work." (Nature Biotechnology)

'Kellogg’s defiant despite growing concerns about dangers of "frankenfood."' - "BATTLE CREEK, MI — Dozens of costumed activists converged outside the headquarters of Kellogg’s today to denounce the cereal maker’s continued use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their food. Members of Michigan Resistance Against Genetic Engineering (MIRAGE) were joined by Greenpeace activists carrying a giant 25-foot ear of corn with a trick-or-treat bag that said, "Kellogg’s: Stop Using Scary Corn." (Greenpeace)

So, the `peas have trotted out their PVC pet again - want to have some fun with 'im? Name that nightmare or Caption this picture.

"Genetically Modified 'Super Salmon' Is No Fish Story" - "Salmon has become so popular among diners that raising the fish in captivity has become big business, and the only way to meet a growing dinner-table demand. Now an American-Canadian company has another fish to fry: a genetically engineered "super salmon" bred to grow twice as fast — 1.5 years instead of 3 — and at half the cost." (Fox News)

"Food Fears" - "A recent front-page story in The Post--" 'Frankenfish' or Tomorrow's Dinner?" [Oct. 17]--illustrated how much society has to gain from biotechnology and also just how much this valuable new food production tool is being put at risk by the biotechnology industry's business-as-usual attitude." (Washington Post)

"Newfound Protein Touches Off Race for New Therapies" - "A long-elusive protein that could have a serious impact in medicine has recently come to light because of the availability of the human genome sequence.  The protein stimulates the cells of the immune system to grow and divide and to churn out antibodies. The existence of such an agent has long been surmised, but until now it has escaped detection." (NY Times)

"Study Questions Ethics Rules for Research" - "CHICAGO - Ethics policies governing conflict of interest for research at U.S. universities tend to be vague, at a time when faculty members may be developing more complex ties to industry, according to studies published on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Patterns: When Counseling Makes Matters Worse" - "Counseling sessions known as debriefings, in which health professionals seek to lessen the effects of traumatic events by encouraging emotional expression, have been increasingly common. But an Australian study of the practice's effect on new mothers after surgically assisted childbirth found no benefit, and some evidence suggests that the debriefed mothers suffered slightly higher rates of depression later." (NY Times)

"FDA re-examines Lotronex after death reports" - "WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is again investigating Lotronex, a popular new treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, after receiving reports that five women have died after taking it. Although FDA officials warned it's too early to say if Lotronex was to blame for the deaths, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen urged the agency to pull the drug off the market." (CNN)

"Too many vaccines for kids? Survey finds 25% of parents think so" - "CHICAGO -- Roughly one-fourth of American parents have serious concerns over the safety of vaccinations their children receive, a survey out Monday shows. The findings ''are worrisome,'' says Vanderbilt University infectious-disease expert Bruce Gellin. ''A sizable minority holds misconceptions that have no basis in scientific fact.'' (USA Today)

"Millions of U.S. students home alone" - "WASHINGTON -- Call it a scare that working parents could do without this Halloween -- 2.4 million children under the age of 12 are home alone before or after school, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Census bureau." (CNN)

"Court hears broad challenge to federal authority in environmental case" - "WASHINGTON -- Hearing an environmental case that is nominally about ponds, birds and garbage, several U.S. Supreme Court justices quizzed a government lawyer Tuesday about the extent of federal control over matters that seem to be the concern of just one state. The dispute over some boggy land where local Illinois governments want to put a landfill could offer another opportunity for the Supreme Court's conservative majority to further curb federal power over states." (AP)

"Look for a growing budget surplus" - "The press has had some fun recently pointing to the scramble by members of Congress to dig into the federal pork barrel to finance various projects in their districts." (CSM)

"GRAY AREA: Beijing tightens air pollution controls, enacts skyline color scheme" - "(31 October 2000) Borrowing a page from Henry Ford’s popular Model T ad slogan: Beijing says you can have any color you want for a new construction’s exterior color—as long as it’s gray. The choice, an aesthetic one, would also camouflage the effects of the city’s rampant air pollution. But Beijing is not trying to conceal air pollution; it is also introducing aggressive new measures to combat air pollution this winter during the peak season of home heating, from Nov. 1 through the end of March, reports the Oct. 30 Zhongguo Xinwen She (China News Service)." (China Online)

"Cover-up claim on incinerators" - "Civil servants were yesterday accused by MPs of a cover-up, after they suppressed information on plans to tackle a predicted rise in deaths and pollution-related illness caused by a new generation of waste-burning incinerators." (Guardian)

"Scientists Urge Caution in Mars Exploration" - "As humanity is on the brink of establishing a continuous human presense in space, new concerns are arising regarding safety. And DHMO is at the center of the controversy. In a turn of events worthy of Orsen Welles and his famous 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast of H.G. Wells classic tale of the same name, scientists now fear that sub-surface Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) contamination of the "Red Planet" may be cause for concern in continued exploration." (DHMO.org)

"Sheep slaughter warning" - "A ban on eating British-reared lamb and the slaughter of the country's entire sheep population could be imposed after the food standards watchdog called for the monitoring of livestock other than cattle for BSE." (Guardian)

"Scientist Proposes Mad Cow Theory" - "LONDON - A veterinary scientist has proposed a new theory for the origin of mad cow disease, saying he believes it likely came from a wild animal commonly found outside Britain that was chopped up for cattle feed in England." (AP) [Biologists Say Hunters Should Beware of Brain Disease]