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Archives - November 2004

November 30, 2004

"DDT may cost $23m in exports" - "More nonsense about DDT use in Uganda. Reminder... in malaria control, DDT is sprayed inside houses, not on fields. Alarmism about lost exports will hamper the fight against this deadly disease." (AFM)

"Biting the Hand That Feeds You" - "Arusha, Tanzania: To confirm the massive international bias (especially within the media) against the United States, one has only to examine the headlines about the recent major AIDS meeting in Tanzania. Most nations have failed to live up to their international obligations, whereas the U.S. has delivered on them. Yet, by some odd twist, the U.S. is criticized and the rest are not. It's time for Americans to consider ignoring international forums (such as the Global Fund), partner with those who want to work with the U.S. (as they did in Iraq), and just save lives." (Roger Bate, NRO)

They don't say... "California's New Stem-Cell Initiative Is Already Raising Concerns" - "LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26 - As California moves to begin a lushly financed program of embryonic stem cell research, medical ethicists and other skeptics are concerned that the $3 billion that state voters approved for the endeavor could become a bonanza for private profiteers." (New York Times)

Where were they when Steve Milloy was pointing this out, before the fact - see: California's Stem Cell Scam (FoxNews.com) and Prop. 71: the stem-cell sham (Orange County Register)

The Salt Institute's suit as co-plaintiff with the US Chamber of Commerce on the Data Quality Act was tossed by the federal district court which ruled that the DQA was not subject to judicial review and that the plaintiffs had been unable to show injury (i.e. the government giving unsubstantiated dietary counsel is not injurious). They have 60 days to appeal. Click here to view the decision (PDF)

"Cognitive Disconnect" - "One of the world's most renowned scientists, Ancel Benjamin Keys, PhD., died last week at the age of 100. Dr. Keys did much more than invent K-rations -- those indestructible transportable foodstuffs of white crackers, greasy sausage, chocolate and candy -- that kept our soldiers alive during World War II. But the mainstream media has noted his passing by disregarding some of his greatest scientific contributions to our understanding of the human body and eating. Only information which maintains the accepted orthodoxy makes the news, so few Americans will learn that over half a century ago he conducted some of the soundest clinical studies ever done on the adverse effects of dieting. His findings, which have been replicated hundreds of millions of times since, proved that dieting can cause severe physiological and psychological harm and can result in people being fatter, lead to eating disorders, increase the risk for heart disease and shorten lives.

In memory of Dr. Keys life's work, here are some of his findings -- revolutionary at the time and have been built upon since then by some of the country's top researchers -- that deserve acknowledgement." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Study looks at mobile phone mast fears" - "A new laboratory is being officially opened today to enable scientists to research the possible side-effects of mobile phone masts." (London Guardian)

More gun control junk science: "Firearm related deaths: the impact of regulatory reform" - "Conclusion: Dramatic reductions in overall firearm related deaths and particularly suicides by firearms were achieved in the context of the implementation of strong regulatory reform." (Injury Prevention) | Responses | Additional response from James Lawson

A bit late: "The rush to judgement" - "Dr David Carpenter, one of the American scientists who composed the hugely-publicised, ­hugely-damaging “report” published at the beginning of this year, which claimed that farmed Scottish salmon “could cause cancer”, has been on the airwaves this week apologising to salmon producers for their loss of livelihood.

Dr Carpenter and his colleagues were employed to produce their findings by an American body known as the Pew Charitable Trust. Their allegations were so damaging and extreme that the West Highland Free Press researched the history of the Pew Charitable Trust. We discovered that, far from being an independent, un­committed organisation, Pew worked as publicists and financers for militant “green” groupings across the world. In January, it was the turn of the Scottish fish farming industry to be on the receiving end of their black propaganda.

Since then our revelations and our scepticism about Pew have been thoroughly vindicated. The level of incompetence involved in the research process was awesome — they did not know, it transpires, where the salmon they were testing came from. They did not even know whether it was wild or farmed." (West Highland Free Press editorial, September 10, 2004)

"Fears over the ‘new asbestos’" - "Two claims for damages have been lodged against the Irish government for alleged health damage as a result of exposure to toxic mold — a new type of “sick building” compensation claim that has led to thousands of lawsuits and multi-million-dollar awards in America." (London Times)

Hmm... "Smokers' lung cancer risk identified in CT screening study" - "For the first time, researchers can predict the lung cancer risk for social smokers as well as habitual smokers. Data presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) showed that a social smoker age 50 or older has a risk for developing lung cancer similar to that of a smoker under age 50 who smoked three packs a day for 20 years." (Radiological Society of North America)

Wonder if anyone pointed out to them that sub-50s who smoke extremely heavily for 20 years still have low risk of dying of lung cancer? Cancer is basically an age-related disorder - you usually have to survive all other potential mortalities for a long while for cancers to develop - lung cancer mortality (Michigan 2002 - note that incidence varies by geographic location, population mix...) under 50s: <4:100,000pop.; 50-74years: ~145:100,000pop.; >74years: ~355:100,000pop.. Real world mortalities, including those who smoked >400,000 cigarettes over 20 years (1 cigarette every 15 minutes during at least 15 waking hours, every day) yields lung cancer mortality of less than 4 per 100,000pop. for the under 50s and yet the proportion of smokers probably exceeds 20,000:100,000pop.. The all-age lung cancer mortality rate is ~500:100,000pop. so, assuming all such mortalities to be smokers (they're not) we get ~500:>20,000smokers (<1:40 - yes, we know that's almost a full order of magnitude fewer than the alleged toll but we're talking real-world rather than hypothetical bodies), more than 70% of whom will be aged 75 years or older. If deaths before age 75 are "premature" then ~1:135smokers will have their life "cut short" by lung cancer. This is not the story told by the anti-smoking industry s it. So, how much are we spending to "protect" smokers from themselves and how much is the largesse given to the anti-smoking industry "saving" society?

"Fine Particle Pollution is Cutting European Life Expectancy, Says U.N." - "GENEVA - The burning of fossil fuels and wood is cutting life expectancy in some parts of Europe by up to two years, despite a significant reduction in other pollutants, the United Nations said Monday. A series of agreements between European countries has already cut the amount of many pollutants such as sulfur, but fine particles -- which are narrower than a human hair -- have "escaped international control measures," the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe said." (Associated Press)

"Environment criminals face tougher fines" - "The government wants to change the law in the UK so that environmental crimes, such as flytipping or pollution, can be dealt with by civil courts able to impose larger financial penalties." (Financial Times)

"Experts puzzled over whale strandings" - "A MASSIVE rescue operation is under way off the southeast coast of Tasmania after two mysterious strandings of long-finned pilot whales and bottle-nosed dolphins within 24 hours of each other claimed the lives of 115 animals.

Scientists will begin today investigating the cause of the two incidents just a couple of hundred of kilometres apart. Some whale researchers believe the strandings are linked to a 10 to 12-year atmospheric cycle, which will peak this summer - raising fears of more beachings in the months ahead." (The Australian)

"Unnecessary fretting over climate change" - "WASHINGTON -- Environmental alarmists insist that global warming likely will bring massive famines to the Earth over the next hundred years. Yet tangible, recorded history, tells us the real threat of famine will arrive about 600 to 800 years from now. That's when the 1,500-year climate cycle turns cold again. So who's a worry-wart to trust? If you believe, as I do, that factual history beats computer models, the answer comes quickly." (Dennis T. Avery, The Tribune-Review)

"Stratosphere temperature data support scientists' proof for global warming" - "A new interpretation for temperature data from satellites, published earlier this year, raised controversy when its authors claimed it eliminated doubt that, on average, the lower atmosphere is getting warmer as fast as the Earth's surface. Now, in another study headed by the same researcher to be published Dec. 15 in the Journal of Climate, direct temperature data from other scientists has validated the satellite interpretation." (University of Washington)

Fu has a slight problem - direct measure by radiosonde balloons indicates significantly less atmospheric warming than indicated by satellite-mounted MSUs, which is a very long way from his 40%-70% inflationary reinterpretation. Regardless, the MSU decadal trend is +0.078 °C and thus Fu's 40%-70% inflation would make that in the order of +0.11 °C/decade - +0.13 °C/decade - extrapolating which gives a range of +1.1 °C/century - +1.3 °C/century. To put that another way, Fu's reinterpretation is still short of even the lowest guesstimate of the silly IPCC storylines and well within the realms of natural climate variability.

Trends: Radiosonde Balloon; Microwave Sounding Unit and four major datasets compared.
Data sources where not noted on graphics: Radiosonde "balloon" 850-300 mb (approx 1,000-10,000mtrs) from J. K. Angell, NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, September 2004 and MSU from Global Hydrology and Climate Center, University of Alabama - Huntsville, USA.

"Kyoto Re-Think Needed after U.S. Unmoved - Blair" - "The international community must find “a different way forward” to tackle climate change because the US will not change its mind over the Kyoto protocol, Tony Blair said today. The protocol will become a legally-binding treaty in February despite the US’s refusal to sign up. But Mr Blair said without US participation there was little hope of securing the action needed to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. “I think everybody accepts that the American position is not going to change on Kyoto,” he said." (PA News)

"Europe Looking Beyond Kyoto Climate Change Treaty; NCPA Says Kyoto Treaty Can't Be Improved Without Developing Nations' Participation" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 -- Skeptics of the theory that human activity is causing global climate change now have confirmation of their argument that the Kyoto Treaty -- the energy-rationing international treaty to cut greenhouse gases -- was not an end point but only a modest first step, according to an expert with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). The Associated Press reports today that delegates from European countries assembling in Buenos Aires next week as part of the annul international treaty conference will begin a push to find new ways to confront the presumed climate change." (U.S. Newswire)

"Experts differ about cause for increased hurricane activity" - "The hurricane season ending today – busy as it was – is just a sign of things to come.

Experts agree on that much.

The disagreement is why.

Bill Gray, the nation’s leading hurricane forecaster, who works with a team of researchers at Colorado State University, sounded the alarm more than a decade ago that we were in for a period of more than 30 years of increased activity.

He blames natural cycles of nature where shifts in deep Atlantic ocean currents and salinity yield alternating periods of warm and cold water. During some periods of two to three decades, that results in warmer surface waters in the tropical Atlantic." (The Virginian-Pilot)

"Fall foliage colors may shift north" - "As the fifth disappointing New England fall color display in as many years draws to a close, experts are warning that the region's once glorious autumnal forest leaf displays could disappear altogether in as little as 100 years if global warming continues on its current path." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"Caution: Road Hazard" - "Global climate change may open up a new sea route in the Canadian arctic with potential as an alternative transportation corridor, but this new mobility by sea may be offset by highway blockages and damage due to the same warming influence." (Newswise)

No, duh! "Arctic melt won't flood the Great Lakes" - "If you've been wondering whether rapidly melting ice in the Arctic will eventually flood Green Bay and Bayfield, stop worrying. You see, the Great Lakes are higher than the Atlantic Ocean, about 600 feet higher at Lake Superior, said Michael Donahue, president and chief executive of the Great Lakes Commission. So the water flows downhill to the ocean, not uphill to the lakes." (The Capital Times)

"Under all that ice, maybe oil" - "The ice-cloaked Arctic Ocean was once apparently a warm, biologically brewing basin so rich in sinking organic material that some scientists examining fresh evidence pulled from a submerged ridge near the North Pole say the seabed may now hold significant oil and gas deposits." (New York Times)

"Trying to stem 'the black gold rush'" - "WASHINGTON -- For two decades, Canada has been an uneasy bystander in the U.S. pitched battle over drilling for oil in a wild and remote patch of Alaska wilderness. But a renewed push to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration soon could force Ottawa to take a more strident position." (Globe and Mail)

"Expensive Free Trade" - "Before leaving office late last month, Pascal Lamy, the EU's outgoing trade commissioner, proposed to open European markets to imports from the developing world. It sounded good, but that proposal comes with strings attached: only those countries that adopt 27 international conventions on sustainable development and labor and environmental standards will be deemed worthy of greater access to Europe's common market.

Lamy's proposal is a negotiating ploy to split the small countries from more powerful members of the developing bloc, such as India, Brazil, and South Africa, that have stood up to rich countries. It is a con that may, if it goes forward, undermine developing world economies and prevent millions of people from escaping poverty." (Marian L. Tupy, Cato Institute)

"Bacteria Enlisted for New Trials on Dental Health" - "Can genetically engineered bacteria prevent tooth decay? A small biotechnology company is about to take the first step toward answering that question." (New York Times)

"The impact of test-tube trees on the woods" - "By altering genes, scientists create quick-growing fruit and pulp trees; but critics see 'Frankenforests.'" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Genetically engineered food is hope for millions" - "The number of people who die of starvation dwarfs the numbers who die from terrorism.

Last year, 625 people died from terrorism, 10 million from starvation. Every five seconds someone dies for lack of food; 25,000 people will die of hunger today. So just as we must explore every means to defeat terrorism, we must also explore every means to meet the most basic need of every human being - food." (Jim Nicholson, Rocky Mountain News)

"Can the planet feed us?" - "As part of Planet Under Pressure, a BBC News series looking at some of the biggest environmental problems facing humanity, Alex Kirby explores the challenge of feeding the world without destroying the planet." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"New study casts doubt on claims GM crops damage environment" - "THE controversial use of GM crops in farming was thrown into further confusion yesterday as a new study claimed they did not harm the environment, despite earlier warnings that they could." (The Scotsman)

"Environmentalists dispute study showing GM crops do not harm the countryside" - "A study of genetically modified crops has found no evidence to suggest they are harmful to the countryside, fuelling the debate about the environmental effects of the technology. Environmentalists were quick to dispute the research, published yesterday and jointly funded by the biotechnology industry and the Government." (Independent)

"Campaigners dismiss 'safe GM' report" - "Environmental organisations reacted angrily today to claims that a newly published study on genetically modified crops in Britain presented no evidence that they harm the environment." (The Guardian)

"EU Nations Cling to Biotech Bans on Monsanto, Bayer" - "Nov. 29 -- Monsanto Co., Syngenta AG and Bayer AG failed to win wider access to the European Union's biotechnology market when a demand that five nations lift bans on some gene-modified foods allowed elsewhere in the EU was blocked.

The European Commission today didn't persuade enough national environmental regulators to support its order against Germany, France, Austria, Greece and Luxembourg. National ministers now have about three months to rule on the request, which covers five corn and rapeseed products that won EU approval before health and environmental concerns triggered a 1998 bloc- wide moratorium on new authorizations." (Bloomberg)

November 29, 2004

"Global Fund Highlights Malaria" - "The Global Fund supports the use of DDT. Now if only the various UN bodies and donor agencies such as USAID could be as responsible." (AFM)

"Politicizing health harms patients" - "Bandow hits the nail on the head in this piece. Among other things he points out that "Unfortunately, like most UN agencies, the WHO's activities have long been captive to a highly political agenda." (AFM)

"Britain backs anti-malaria fight" - "Gordon Brown says the UK will back a multi-million pound battle to ensure poorest get a new malaria vaccine." (BBC)

"When Science is 'Pathological'" - "Chemistry Nobel Laureate Irving Langmuir related in a landmark 1953 speech his visit to the laboratory of J.B. Rhine at Duke University where Rhine was claiming results of ESP experiments that could not be predicted by chance, and which he ascribed to psychic phenomena. Langmuir discovered that Rhine was only selectively counting the data in his experiments, omitting the results from those he believed were guessing in order to humiliate him. The evidence? Rhine felt that some of the scores were too low to have occurred by chance, and that it would, therefore, actually be misleading to include them.

Langmuir dubbed this deviation from the principles of the scientific method "pathological science," the "science of things that aren't so." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"It isn't flab, it's just a scale that's off kilter" - "There is an overweight man in the White House - George W. Bush.

The president of the United States, known for his good health, is officially overweight, according to the standards of the National Institutes of Health. At 6 feet and 194 pounds, or 1.8 meters and 88 kilograms, his body mass index, or BMI, a measurement of height relative to weight, is 26.3.

Officially, a BMI of 25 or above is overweight for both sexes.

Bush joins about 65 percent of Americans who are officially overweight, a status derived from the body mass index dividing line of 25.

So does Bush's index level of 26.3 make much difference to his health?" (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Health Group Deserves Booby Prize" - "Pop quiz. For its November annual meeting, the American Public Health Association (APHA) chose as its keynote speaker: A) a top government health official; B) a Nobel Laureate scientist; or C) an activist and shark assistant who's 20 percent silicone and 80 percent hot air. The answer, demonstrating that the APHA has concerns beyond public health, was "C" – paralegal Erin Brockovich." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"U.S. gets new reprieve on pesticide" - "International negotiators ruled Friday that the United States can continue using methyl bromide, a pesticide set to be banned next year because it contributes to the destruction of the Earth's ozone layer." (Chicago Tribune)

From CSRwatch.com: "Blue-state pension funds act to balance GOP control in Washington" - "SACRAMENTO - On issues from global warming to corporate reform, public pension funds controlled by union officials and Democrats in states carried by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry increasingly see themselves as counterweights to Republican control of the nation's political agenda.

As Bush plans a second term, multibillion-dollar investment funds - especially in so-called "blue states" such as California, New York, Connecticut and Illinois - have already forged alternate agendas on clean energy, the environment, executive pay, even gay marriage rights that can run counter to "red state" values.

They also view themselves as an increasingly important check on corporate power under a Republican-dominated government that typically promotes fewer regulations on business and financial markets. Their muscle comes in the billions of dollars invested in corporate America." (Associated Press via CSRwatch.com)

It looks like an end-run around the policies of the democratically elected government of the land. It sounds like and end-run...

Tantrum of the moment: "Statistical deckchairs and the global Titanic" - "A random group of eight neo-liberal economists believes action on climate change should be bottom of a list of great global challenges. The group's convener was the professional contrarian statistician, Bjørn Lomborg. Rather like ducks on a village pond announcing they were the World Bird Council, they referred to themselves as internationally distinguished economists, latterly to be known as the "Copenhagen Consensus." (Andrew Simms, The Guardian)

Simms is from the bunch that want 'tobacco-style' warnings on SUVs - you can find them here.

"Camelot's Congenial Climate" - "It's true, it's true,/ The crown has made it clear/ The climate must be perfect all the year."
So sings the character King Arthur in the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical Camelot. It's a mythic tale, of course, but apparently the current British royal family and its prime minister, Tony Blair, take it as a statement of reality." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Greenhouse effect 'may benefit man'" - "Climate change is 'a myth', sea levels are not rising and Britain's chief scientist is 'an embarrassment' for believing catastrophe is inevitable. These are the controversial views of a new London-based think-tank that will publish a report tomorrow attacking the apocalyptic view that man-made greenhouse gases will destroy the planet.

The International Policy Network will publish its long-awaited study, claiming that the science warning of an environmental disaster caused by climate change is 'fatally flawed'. It will state that previous predictions of changes in sea level of a metre over the next 100 years were overestimates." (The Observer)

Here's an early version of the report online: The impacts of climate change: An appraisal for the future (PDF) (International Policy Press) - I don't know if there's likely to be any changes for the 'official' release today.

"The global warming sceptics" - "Most scientists say that global warming is not only real, but is already contributing to extreme droughts, floods and the melting of the polar ice caps. But a few scientists still insist the idea is bunk. With the Kyoto Protocol about to come into force, Melissa Fyfe investigates the doubters, their financial backers and whether they are worth listening to." (The Age)

"Arctic Countries Agree on Perils of Climate Change but Not Solution" - "The United States and the seven other countries with Arctic territory jointly expressed concern yesterday about profound changes in the Arctic climate and said they would consider new scientific findings concluding that heat-trapping emissions were the main cause. But they did not agree on a common strategy for curbing such emissions, to the disappointment of environmental groups and Arctic indigenous groups." (New York Times)

There's been no net Arctic warming since 1938. Alternate trend representations here, here and here.

The Week That Was Nov. 27, 2004 (SEPP)

"Arctic People Seek Tropical Team on Global Warming" - "REYKJAVIK - Arctic peoples aim to team up with tropical islanders in a campaign against global warming, arguing that polar bears and palm-fringed beaches stand to suffer most." (Reuters)

"Ancient climate switch could signify sharp increase in today’s global temperature" - "A paper published in today’s Nature suggests that global warming could rapidly accelerate due to a positive feedback mechanism caused by water vapour or rainfall. The paper, which examines a period of rapid climate change 55 million years ago, during the Paleocene and Eocene, offers a clear indication of how gradual global warming can rapidly speed up, causing catastrophic effects." (University of Sheffield)

Weekly Whipple: "Blue Planet Duck! The Sky Is Falling!" - "With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us in the United States, this might be a good time to remind everyone not to become too cheerful because, to listen to some, the sky is falling." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

"Getting Hot about Global Warming Bias" - "For several years, the news media have been warning us of the impending doom of global warming. Well, they almost got it right. Forget their reports that blame everything from hot weather to cold weather on global warming. The impending doom lurking just around the corner is the Kyoto Protocol - and Russia's decision to go along with this nonsense will make it a reality for a good bit of the globe. The U.S. is already under pressure to join in despite the potential price tag of more than $400 billion each year" (Herman Cain and Dan Gainor, CNSNews.com)

"Global warming appears to affect when Pennsylvania lakes freeze, thaw" - "Pennsylvania ice fishermen no longer know what to expect. Before the last couple of years, ice-fishing aficionados around the state had been complaining that Keystone State lakes were freezing later and thawing earlier than in the good old days, cutting down on the “hardwater” fishing season. But the last two frigid winters have made an already confusing scenario even more confounding." (Penn State)

"Asia Faces Living Nightmare From Climate Change" - "SINGAPORE - The weather predictions for Asia in 2050 read like a script from a doomsday movie. Except many climatologists and green groups fear they will come true unless there is a concerted global effort to rein in greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Climate change to ravage tropics" - "CYCLONES will increase along with dust storms, drought, fire and flood, while up to 20 species disappear from the rainforests as their habitats shrivel in the heat. Scientists at an environmental conference in Cairns this week said these were the likely impacts of global warming on north Queensland. Global warming had already helped bleach coral reefs and destroy animals in high-altitude "cloud" forests, they said." (The Courier-Mail)

"Global warming spurs disasters" - "GLOBAL warming was leading to an increased incidence of high-cost storms and floods across the globe, Insurance Australia Group chief executive Michael Hawker warned today. "Sea temperatures have been rising since 1975 and there is a very tight correlation between this and the incidence of natural catastrophes throughout the world," Mr Hawker told the second annual World Financial Services Conference in Sydney." (The Australian)

"Plankton: the fly in the climate change ointment" - "Weather forecasters may be less than reliable guides to what is heading our way, but their views on what has already happened are often worth taking seriously." (Telegraph)

"New World Conservation Boss Eyes Climate, Oceans" - "JOHANNESBURG - The newly elected president of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) said on Wednesday that global warming and the lack of protected marine zones were key challenges that needed to be hoisted high on the green agenda." (Reuters)

"Bi-Coastal Warming Plans Take Shape in Kyoto-Less US" - "NEW YORK - The United States, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will be left out of global warming decision making when the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol takes effect in February.

Or will it?

Experts say nascent regulatory developments in both East Coast and West Coast states that would limit emissions and form cap-and-trade carbon markets could one day force the federal government's hand in forming a national law regulating carbon." (Reuters)

"Canada, major backer of Kyoto accord failing to comply : Senator" - "OTTAWA - Canada, one of the major backers of the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse emissions, is failing to comply with the pact, a leading Canadian lawmaker said." (AFP)

"Australia: Farmers' $600m 'greenhouse load'" - "FARMERS are being forced to unfairly bear the brunt of national policies to reduce carbon emissions, with costs of lost production totalling more than $600 million. The Australian Farm Institute, a privately funded thinktank, has lashed out at the states, accusing them of hypocrisy for restricting farm operations while going ahead with carbon-producing coal-fired power stations. Executive director Mick Keogh says that under this "carbon theft", farmers are taking all the cuts without any recompense because the Government has failed to create a viable carbon trading system. "They (farmers) are the one sector of the Australian economy that has so far felt any real impact from climate change policies," he argues. Although Australia is not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, which would have capped carbon emissions at 108 per cent of the 1990 level, Mr Keogh said it was in the curious position of committing to meet that target." (The Australian)

"Japan: 34 sectors' CO 2 output up 1%: industry lobby" - "Carbon dioxide emissions from Japan's 34 major industrial sectors rose 1 percent in fiscal 2003 from the previous year to 502.39 million tons, for a second straight yearly rise, the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) said Friday." (Japan Times)

"Finland exceeded CO2 Kyoto target by 20 percent last year" - "HELSINKI - Finland emitted 20 percent more carbon dioxide last year than in 1990, making it difficult for the Nordic country to meet its discharge targets as set forth by the Kyoto Protocol, officials said." (AFP)

Oh boy... "Delegates seek ways to confront warming" - "The ice is melting and the heat is on for international delegates assembling in Buenos Aires next week to find new ways to confront global warming under the 194-nation treaty on climate change.

The treaty's Kyoto Protocol, requiring initial cuts in "greenhouse gas" emissions by 2012, finally comes into force in February, seven years after it was negotiated. Next, European governments want the annual treaty conference - Dec. 6-17 in the Argentine capital - to get down to talks on steps beyond 2012 to limit heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.

"We are, in fact, only at the beginning of what we need to do," Margot Wallstrom, the European Union's outgoing environment chief, recently told European Parliament members.

But the U.S. government, which rejects Kyoto and its mandatory controls, balks at that idea." (Associated Press)

"Global Warming Fight to Get Harder From 2012 - UN" - "REYKJAVIK - Fighting global warming will get tougher once the Kyoto protocol ends in 2012 and the world must try to get Washington involved in the long term, the head of the UN Environment Programme said on Wednesday.

He said countries should already start planning for what he said would be harder, deeper curbs on emissions of heat-trapping gases after Kyoto. The pact aims to cut emissions by developed nations by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12." (Reuters)

"New Take-Off Proposed for Kyoto" - "BRUSSELS, Nov 29 - The European Parliament has made a strong demand ahead of a conference on global warming next week to include aviation and shipping within the Kyoto Protocol. Airplanes and ships add significantly to global warming, but international transport remains excluded from the protocol agreed in Kyoto in Japan in 1997 to curb emissions that lead to global warming. Following ratification by Russia, the protocol takes effect Feb. 16 next year. The European Parliament is now backing moves to cut emissions from international flights and shipping -- with or without the United States. The United States is not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol." (IPS)

"Carbon Storage Comes to Disused Texas Oil Fields" - "HOUSTON - A short distance from Spindletop oil field, the site of the gusher that triggered the Texas oil rush more than a century ago, scientists have found a purpose for the long-disused underground reservoirs -- as storage for the pollution emitted by burning fossil fuels." (Reuters)

"Coal's global goal" - "THE DIRTY big secret about US energy production is that coal is about to play an even larger role. Already more than 50 percent of US electricity comes from plants burning coal, the fossil fuel that emits the greatest amount of the most common greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Coal's share in the power picture is projected to spike upward in coming years as utilities turn to coal as an alternative to increasingly scarce natural gas." (Boston Globe editorial)

"Labour to look again at nuclear power" - "Britain's nuclear lobby yesterday expressed confidence about the future - buoyed by the country's growing need for home-grown energy and a need to curb greenhouse gases." (The Guardian)

"Energy Bosses Urge EU to Back Nuclear Power" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's nuclear energy generators urged European Union policy makers on Thursday to include nuclear energy as a central part in the bloc's energy mix and future planning." (Reuters)

"Hydrogen Production Method Could Bolster Fuel Supplies" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 - Researchers at a government nuclear laboratory and a ceramics company in Salt Lake City say they have found a way to produce pure hydrogen with far less energy than other methods, raising the possibility of using nuclear power to indirectly wean the transportation system from its dependence on oil.

...Mr. Herring suggested another use, however: recovering usable fuel from the Athabasca Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada. The reserves there may hold the largest oil deposits in the world, but extracting them and converting them into a gasoline substitute requires copious amounts of steam and hydrogen, both products of the reactor." (New York Times)

"Spain Coal Emission Rights Seen Harmful to Endesa" - "MADRID - Spain on Friday proposed cutting emissions from coal-fired power plants 21 percent from 2005 to 2007 in a plan that the market saw as damaging to leading utility Endesa." (Reuters)

"Wind Industry Bids to Win Over Doubters" - "LONDON - The European wind energy industry, thriving as climate change tops the global agenda, says it could eventually supply all the continent's electricity, but must first overcome public resistance over eyesore turbines." (Reuters)

"Birds Not Being Killed By Wind Farms - Ecologist" - "LONDON - Two major offshore wind farms in Denmark are giving the lie to fears that birds are being killed by flying into the huge vanes of such installations, a conference heard on Thursday. In fact, not only were birds not dying, the Danish farms had actually benefitted the local environment, ecologist Charlotte Boesen of Denmark's Energi E2 energy trading and generation firm told the conference on wind energy." (Reuters)

"Good News About Poverty" - "I hate to be the bearer of good news, because only pessimists are regarded as intellectually serious, but we're in the 11th month of the most prosperous year in human history. Last week, the World Bank released a report showing that global growth "accelerated sharply" this year to a rate of about 4 percent." (David Brooks, New York Times)

"The Malthusian Trap" - "The Malthusian law is the basis of the environmental movement. Its application is often masked by the term "carrying capacity," which is the number of individuals that a unit of area can hold. And, more recently, "ecological footprint," which is a measure of how many units of area an individual uses—literally an inversion of carrying capacity. In practice, ecological footprints have very amusing results. For example, if we all wanted to live like Bill Gates, at current resource levels we would need multiple planet Earths." (Benjamin Marks, Mises.org)

"Team Uses Biotech to Build a Better Turkey" - "SAN FRANCISCO Nov 25, 2004 — Most of the turkeys gracing the nation's dinner tables Thursday have been selectively bred for their white meat for so many generations that simply walking can be a problem for many of the big-breasted birds and sex is no longer possible.

A small research team is hoping to come to the rescue, employing the latest in biotechnology to chart the genetic map of America's favorite Thanksgiving meal and eventually alleviate the breeding problems.

The idea is to identify specific genes that produce desirable traits such as salmonella resistance, strong leg muscles and, of course, big breasts. That would do away with much of the guesswork involved in traditional breeding methods as farmers try to match birds that appear to have the sought-after qualities." (Associated Press)

"Scientists start hunt for tomato's source" - "Multimillion-pound, three-year DNA project will improve understanding of some of world's most valuable crops." (The Guardian)

"EU to Tackle National GMO Bans From Moratorium Era" - "BRUSSELS - EU environment experts will touch on thorny issues of national sovereignty next week when they debate whether to order five countries to end their bans on gene crops and foods, officials said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"EU Food Safety Agency Attacked for Pro-GMO Bias" - "BRUSSELS - An environmental group accused Europe's top food safety agency on Monday of repeated bias in favor of genetically modified (GMO) foods and links with the biotech industry." (Reuters)

"Ducking the truth about Europe's GMO policy" - "TRENTON, New Jersey If something walks, quacks and swims like a duck, it probably is a duck. So the only thing surprising about a recent World Bank report is that otherwise reserved scholars minced no words in calling the European Commission's obsession with avoiding genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, blatant trade protectionism." (International Herald Tribune)

"Field management is 'key for GM'" - "A new UK study of a number of specific GM crops has found no evidence that they are more harmful to the environment than conventional varieties." (BBC)

"Germany Passes Strict Rules on GM Crop Cultivation" - "BERLIN - The German parliament on Friday passed a controversial law laying down strict rules on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) plants, winning praise from environmental groups but drawing complaints from farmers and biotech companies." (Reuters)

"EU to Debate Allowing in Monsanto GMO Maize" - "BRUSSELS - EU specialists vote next week on whether to allow imports of a gene-spliced maize variety, but face a re-run of a deadlocked September meeting that exposed the bloc's divisions over biotech policy." (Reuters)

"U.S: Crop Testing Rules Menace Food Supply, Say Critics" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - Proposed rules for experimental genetically engineered (GE) crops will allow contamination of the U.S. food supply, critics said this week, as a new poll reported Americans want stricter regulation of GE foods." (IPS)

"More heat than light shed on GM corn in Mexico" - “Genetically modified (GM) corn in Mexico poses a potential threat that should be limited or stopped.”

“Genetically modified corn is not likely to contaminate the Mexican countryside.”

Each of these contradictory statements is part of the lead sentence of separate stories on the same NAFTA research report about potential effects of imported GM corn on Mexican production. One is from The Associated Press, the other from The Washington Post.

Both go on to say the report urges caution and more research, but the difference in approach from two respected news agencies illustrates the complexity of the issue. It’s hard for us non-scientists to filter out the facts from the white noise." (Kenneth Emmond, mexidata.info)

"ALTERED CROPS NOT TAKING ROOT: Nation still rejecting genetically modified produce" - "NAGANUMA, Hokkaido-On one section of his Hokkaido farmland, Yoshimasa Miyai had envisioned planting a soybean variety known to be resistant to illnesses and herbicides. The 46-year-old farmer had expected to plant it next May and later harvest 12 tons of soybeans, with fewer production costs than his regular crops. Miyai gave up his dream this October, faced with fierce opposition from concerned consumers and angry local farmers." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"Biotech-crop firms seek to breach barriers" - "Europe's aggressive opposition to genetically modified crops is something the agricultural biotech industry can and will work around, an industry veteran explained in October at the Chicago Technology Forum.

The opposition surprised industry researchers and executives who thought their work would be praised instead of scorned, said Ronald Meeusen, research vice president for Indianapolis-based Dow AgroScience. By modifying seeds, biotech has reduced the need for spraying chemicals to control pests.

"Genetically modified crops came on the scene like gangbusters," said Meeusen. "We moved resources out of the $30 billion agricultural chemistry business and into the seed industry."

Meeusen said he and his colleagues thought environmentalists would welcome the development because "for years they said they preferred natural control of pests to chemical control." (Chicago Tribune)

November 26, 2004

"Obesity Turkey/Vioxx Over-Reaction" - "I want to start this week with a bit of you-heard-it-here-first news that may help you enjoy more of your holiday meals... Exploiting the controversy over the withdrawn arthritis drug Vioxx, the Journal of the American Medical Association urged this week in an editorial that Congress consider establishing an “independent drug safety board” to track the safety of drugs after they’ve been approved for general use. " (Steve Milloy, FoxNews.com)

November 24, 2004

"Disease outbreak kills hundreds" - "Indonesia could do with a bit of indoor residual spraying with insecticides as malaria and dengue fever - both spread by mosquitoes - has claimed the lives of at least 230 people in three provinces." (AFM)

"Diseases of poverty and the 10/90 gap" (PDF) - "A new report from the Campaign for Fighting Diseases explores the so-called "10/90 Gap" - the idea that only 10% of global health research is devoted to conditions accounting for 90% of the global disease burden. The report shows that the 10/90 Gap is a myth, and that is is often overbearing government that stands in the way of gaining access to essential medicines." (Philip Stevens, IPN)

"Data on Deaths From Obesity Is Inflated, U.S. Agency Says" - "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that its estimate that 400,000 Americans die each year from obesity was too high because of a calculation error." (New York Times)

"Soldiers 'exposed to sarin' in Gulf war" - "Soldiers in the Royal Scots regiment were exposed to a massive dust cloud contaminated with the deadly nerve agent sarin during the first Gulf war, a veterans group claimed yesterday." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Remembering a Berry Scary Thanksgiving" - "Forty-five years ago this week, in November, 1959, most Americans celebrated Thanksgiving sans cranberry sauce. Earlier that month, Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Arthur Fleming had announced that traces of the weed killer aminotriazole--a chemical that caused cancer in rodents--had been found in the cranberry crop." (Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, TCS)

Rightly: "Rich nations to seek delay on chemical ban" - "The world's richest nations including the US, Germany, Japan and the UK are expected to press this week for a delay in the phasing out of methyl bromide, an agricultural chemical that they had been due to abolish by the end of the year under a landmark environmental treaty to save the earth's protective ozone layer." (Financial Times)

If it ain't broke...

"Waste Britain" - "Two years after a change in European regulations saw a million unwanted refrigerators pile up around the country, Manchester has an unsightly addition to its skyline: 120,000 fridges." (London Independent)

"The Disappearing Environment" - "Green activists sought to make environmental protection a central issue in the 2004 presidential campaign. They spent millions on the effort, but have little to show for it. Environmental issues were scarcely discussed on the campaign trail, and President Bush was reelected. While marginally important in some local races, "the environment" did not even register as a national issue this year." (Jonathan H. Adler, NRO)

"Upcoming Events: CLIMATE ALARMISM: THE MISUSE OF 'SCIENCE'" - "When public policy issues become highly politicized, "science" all too often becomes a tool for support instead of illumination. Professor Richard Lindzen, MIT's Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, will discuss how the politicization of climate science has become a serious obstacle to real communication and understanding as well as a means for promoting unjustified alarmism. As a result, the debate over policy options has become divorced from a factual foundation and is characterized as a choice between action and inaction and a battle between skeptics and consensus scientists.

Professor Lindzen’s remarks will focus on what science does and does not tell us about the causes of global warming and on potential warming this century." (Marshall Institute)

"Schindler's delist" - "David W. Schindler, esteemed ecologist and crowned dean of Canada's environmental scientists, is no stranger to the cheap put-down. The University of Alberta biologist has called Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, "a joke." He seems to have no time for non-scientists on any subject, especially global warming. He described a critical column I wrote on Arctic climate change as "infantile prattle" and dismissed it as "the usual scientific conspiracy B.S.," the type of stuff one might expect from "journalists, big-oil shills, economists and anti-environmental activists."

In response to Mr. Schindler, FP Comment hereby declares this to be Arctic Climate Week, in which we review some of Mr. Schindler's points on climate science, call in a few scientists and explore the proposition that we should all "trust the scientists" on global warming." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Climate change IS economics" - "In his article "Usual Suspects in a Climate of Fear," (Nov. 10), Terence Corcoran cites, as an authority on climate change, Martin Agerup, the president of the Danish Academy of Future Studies. But a cursory search on the Web reveals that Mr. Agerup has no professional training in climate science. He holds an MA in European economics from the University of Exeter. Moreover, his "academy" appears to have no office, no phone and no staff other than Mr. Agerup himself. His sole qualification for citation in Mr. Corcoran's article seems to be his adamant apposition to the findings of mainstream climate scientists." (Thomas Homer-Dixon - with reply from Martin Agerup, Financial Post) | The impacts of climate change: An appraisal for the future (PDF) (International Policy Press) More 'responses to responses' (National Post) [Scroll down to 'Global Warming']

[Insert rolling of eyes here] "U.S.: States Steam Ahead on Climate Change" - "NEW YORK - The signs are subtle, but ominous. The spring thaw arrives in much of the United States about two weeks earlier than it did 50 years ago. Exotic tropical birds are nesting in Florida, and butterflies on the west coast are fleeing north to escape the heat." (IPS)

"U.S., not part of Kyoto pact, will still feel its effects" - "The first international treaty on global warming is likely to have a ripple effect on the USA, even though U.S. leaders have bowed out of the treaty to avoid its potential impacts on the economy." (USA Today)

"Enforcing the Kyoto Protocol" - "U.S., Australia were right not to ratify" (Steven Martinovich, The Washington Times)

"South Korea: Firms unprepared for Kyoto Protocol" - "Korean companies appear largely unprepared to bring down their greenhouse gas emissions and commit to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to combat global warming that was ratified in 1997. According to a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry of 200 companies that consume up to 2,000 metric tons of oil a year, 58.7 percent responded that they have not worked out how to conform to the environmental accord." (The Korea Herald)

New Jersey... "Environmentalists back emissions cap proposal" - "A state proposal to classify carbon dioxide as an air pollutant earned praise from a range of environmental organizations at a state hearing yesterday, while provoking objections from just one business group. The change would pave the way to capping smokestack emissions of the gas, which contributes to global warming. At least five groups, ranging from bird advocates to coastal watchdogs to a religious-environmental group, endorsed that approach." (The Star-Ledger)

"Russia lacks uniformity over treaty" - "Russian President Vladimir Putin may have reversed positions by recently embracing the controversial Kyoto Treaty designed to reduce global warming. But Putin's chief economic adviser was barnstorming through Boston and Cambridge yesterday pronouncing the treaty as bad for the world economy, bad for the environment and just all around, well, bad." (Boston Herald)

ArcticTrends1880-2003.GIF (60684 bytes) Time hysteria: "Meltdown!" - "After four years of intensive research by more than 250 scientists, a prestigious multinational body called the Arctic Council reported that the region has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the globe over the past 50 years." (Time Magazine)

What a silly game this is. The 'top' of the globe did warm quite rapidly over 2 decades - then cooled over 3 and recovered over 4 - but there has been no net warming since 1938. Zero net Arctic  region warming concurrent with an increase of ~60ppmv in atmospheric CO2 hardly seems supportive of the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis.

"Arctic nations to make scant promises to slow thaw" - "REYKJAVIK, Nov 23 - Eight Arctic countries will make scant promises to slow a rapid thaw of the region linked to global warming at a meeting in Iceland on Wednesday after U.S. opposition to firmer action, delegates said. A draft policy document to be adopted by foreign ministers at the Arctic Council makes no common call, for instance, to cut emissions of greenhouse gases widely blamed for warming the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the globe." (Reuters) | Marathon session ends with climate change consensus (CBC)

Oh dear... "Clean air act" - "Steps must be taken fast if climate change is to be tackled, warns David King, the government's chief scientific adviser." (The Guardian)

Arctic1880-2003.GIF (27403 bytes) Sir David is another promoter of the ACIA 'report', apparently unaware that it is a slick 'disasterlogue', devoid of science. How the media and various promoters of that glossy brochure managed to overlook such glaring flaws in the enhanced greenhouse scenario as zero net Arctic region warming over the same period as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose by approximately 60 parts per million (more than half the total increase since pre-industrial times) - in the very region where warming should be most evident (Antarctica is actually cooling but that's another problem for the global warming industry) - and simply regurgitate catastrophic warming dogma is absolutely astonishing!

Arctic1880-2003Split.GIF (49080 bytes) It doesn't matter how we look at the data (and by now readers must be getting somewhat tired of the varied representations of the GHCN 64N-90N annual mean temperature track for the period 1880-2003), we just can't see any rational reason for associating atmospheric CO2 levels with Arctic region temperature trends. Presented here are our final attempts at making the facts obvious even to the global warming industry - the ACIA 'report' and the media nonsense it has so far generated bear no apparent relationship to empirical data. Arctic warming is obviously very old news.

"Scientists watching growth of Yukon landslides" - "WHITEHORSE - A Yukon researcher say landslides are becoming bigger and more common in the territory's mountainous terrain as global warming melts permafrost, making the ground less stable." (CBC)

This is getting a great deal of media attention: "A Toast to 1380, a Very Warm Year" - "A toast, please, to the humble pinot noir grape, and its long service to the cause of science. French researchers have used records of the grape harvest to determine annual spring-summer temperatures in eastern France over the past six centuries. They show several warmer periods over the centuries, and a cool trend of nearly 300 years that ended when temperatures rose in the 1970's." (New York Times)

Phenology? Swell - as long as there has been no change in the subject, in this case Pinot Noir grapes. Claimed in the item: "It's known that pinot noir was used constantly in Burgundy since the Middle Ages," he said. "And it's always been the same vine type..." but is that sufficient? This from OSU: "Phylloxera are native to the eastern and southern U.S. The pest was inadvertently introduced to France from North America in 1860. It was identified in the mid-1800's and by the end of the nineteenth century had destroyed two-thirds of the vineyards on the European continent, all self-rooted Vitis vinifera." Did that destruction include the Burgundy region's pinot noir? Were they replaced with grafts on American phylloxera-resistant rootstock and did this make a difference? Did vignerons select for trait over the past 6 centuries and did this affect fruit ripening?

While it is good to see media mentioning past climate variability this is still only a proxy and subject to all the usual caveats.

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Western U.S. Drought-Climate Connection: A Testament to the Magnitude of the Medieval Warm Period?" - "A 1200-year history of drought in the western United States suggests that the Medieval Warm Period was significantly warmer than what the world's climate alarmists would have us believe." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Floods (North America)" - "Will floods become more severe and more frequent in response to greenhouse gas-induced global warming, as climate alarmists say they will?  We get a pretty good clue from another question that can be answered with real-world data: Has flooding in North America intensified in response to the post-Little Ice Age warming that climate alarmists claim is primarily due to that very cause?" (co2science.org)

"Carbon Based Secondary Compounds" - "How are their concentrations in plant tissues affected by atmospheric CO 2 enrichment?  And why do we care?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Hybrid Strawberry, Monterey Pine, Scots Pine and Winter Wheat." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Scandinavian Storminess" - "How has it varied over the past two centuries?" (co2science.org)

"A 380-Year History of Drought in Eastern Canada" - "What does it tell us about the end of the Little Ice Age and the Northern Hemispheric temperature history of Mann et al.?" (co2science.org)

"The "Beginning of the End" of the Little Ice Age: The Serin Speaks" - "A bird that was the object of the doctoral thesis of Ernst Mayr in 1926 reveals some important facts about the demise of the Little Ice Age in Europe." (co2science.org)

"CO 2 vs. Ozone: Responses of Norway Spruce and European Beech Trees" - "For these two staples of western European forests, which are stronger: the deleterious effects of a doubling of the tropospheric ozone concentration or the beneficial effects of an 80% increase in the air's CO 2 concentration?" (co2science.org)

"Danger in the Air: Desert Dust" - "What do we know about the long-range transport of plant, animal and human pathogens that travel around the world in clouds of dust swept up by winds over Africa and Asia?  And how might the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content impact this phenomenon?" (co2science.org)

"Hydrogen at gas pumps, but not customers" - "Brightly colored signs and pennants flapping in the breeze are all the grandness that the opening of a new filling station usually warrants, but knots of government officials attended elaborate ceremonies, in Los Angeles, Washington and Berlin, at three recent ribbon cuttings.

The reason for all the attention was that the stations are to distribute hydrogen, a substance that many scientists and policy-makers consider the most promising replacement for fossil fuels because it could eliminate pollutants from the tailpipes of cars and trucks.

No long lines of customers were waiting at the pumps to fill up with hydrogen, though, and there probably will not be any for years. The likely buyers would be drivers of fuel cell autos, but such vehicles are still research projects, not yet for sale to the public and at least a decade away even by optimistic estimates." (New York Times)

"High Oil Prices Push US to Look at Oil Shale" - "DENVER - The US government said Tuesday it was ready to resurrect oil shale drilling in the Rocky Mountains, a technology heralded 30 years ago to boost America's energy output until it failed financially." (Reuters)

"Coloradans Vote to Embrace Alternative Sources of Energy" - "Colorado voters approved a proposal this month mandating that 10 percent of the state's electricity must come from wind and solar power by 2015." (New York Times)

"Stem cells' repair skills might be link to cancer" - "Johns Hopkins researchers say there is growing evidence that stem cells gone awry in their efforts to repair tissue damage could help explain why long-term irritation, such as from alcohol or heartburn, can create a breeding ground for certain cancers." (Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions)

"Global Food Prices a Warning Beacon" - "MONTERREY, Mexico - Global demand for food will grow an estimated 60 percent by 2030 and, unless urgent action is taken, the crisis in the farming sector will push the world economy to the edge, warned experts from 60 countries gathered in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey." (IPS)

"GMOs release blocked at World Conservation Congress" - "BANGKOK, Nov. 23 -- The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has agreed to impose a moratorium on the further release of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in a bid to guard against its possible adverse effect on biological resources, local press reported here on Tuesday.

After discussion among 1,000 plus IUCN members, the congress approved the proposed resolution, which demanded a moratorium on further release of GMOs until it can be demonstrated posing no threat to biodiversity and human and animal health." (Xinhuanet)

"Anger Over Us Plans To Allow GM Contamination Of Food" -"Plans to allow contamination of human food crops with biotech or genetically modified (GM) experimental crops grown on `test' sites will be published tomorrow (Wednesday) by the US Government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If the proposal is accepted it could to lead to GM pollution of food consumed in Europe. It is impossible to test for the presence of experimental GM material in foods imported from or processed in the US, because over two-thirds of US experimental GM crops contain genes classified as confidential, and which therefore can't be detected." (FoE)

"GMO Hazards: Is India Turning Into The World's Junkyard?" - "Policies implemented by the Indian government to liberalise agricultural trade are killing our farmers and destroying our agriculture, writes Vandana Shiva, author and international campaigner for women and the environment who received the Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) in 1993." (IPS)

If you live in the developed world you probably shouldn't read this - comes with the tag: Not for publication in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Ireland, Poland, The United States and The United Kingdom.

November 23, 2004

"CDC Study Overstated Obesity as a Cause of Death" - "A widely quoted federal study that concluded obesity is poised to overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death inflated the impact of obesity on the annual death toll by tens of thousands due to statistical errors, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal." (Wall Street Journal)

The Junkman criticized CDC on this last March, when the report was issued, and in September when a report from the National Center for Health Statistics criticized the alleged obesity body count.

"With the Rains, Comes Malaria" - "BULAWAYO, Nov 22 - In the blistering summer heat, slow-gathering clouds that promise rain are welcomed by farmers in Zimbabwe and other water-scarce countries in Southern Africa. Yet the rains – when they come – also worsen the incidence of malaria." (IPS)

"New Tools And Increased Funds Will Beat Malaria, Say Global Leaders" - "ARUSHA, TANZANIA (November 17, 2004) -- New technologies for malaria prevention and treatment, combined with an increase in available funding, are fuelling optimism in the fight against malaria. Global leaders gathered in Arusha for the launch of the Olyset® Net at A to Z Textile Mills-the first factory in Africa to produce this long-lasting insecticidal mosquito net-agreed that conditions were right for a massive scale-up in the battle against the disease, which claims more than a million lives each year and hampers development, especially in Africa." (ScienceDaily)

Yeah? What about deploying tried, proven and affordable DDT?

"New Scientific Evidence Refutes Existence of Shaken Baby Syndrome" - "Hundreds of people are in jail based on unjust convictions for causing the so-called "shaken baby syndrome." New scientific work reveals that people convicted of causing the shaken baby syndrome are probably innocent. It turns out that the syndrome, strictly defined, is based on medical inferences recently proven faulty." (Robert J. Glueck, NewsMax.com)

"No Evidence Ozone Layer is Recovering, Scientists Say" - "PRAGUE, Czech Republic − Mexico's Nobel Prize-winning chemist Mario Molina said Friday that despite recent measures scientists still don't have evidence that the ozone layer is recovering.

"We need a big signal before we can tell unambiguously that the ozone layer ... is recovering," Molina told reporters ahead of the 16th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an annual event where politicians and scientists make adjustments to a global treaty requiring nations to stop using chemicals that destroy the ozone layer." (Associated Press)

And no evidence that it is broken either.

ArcticTrends1880-2003.GIF (60684 bytes) The weekly Whipple: "Global warming: Marshalling the facts" - "BOULDER, Colorado -- Evidence emerged at a Senate subcommittee hearing last week that climate skeptics are losing their rearguard action challenging the science of global warming. That evidence and the scientific consensus on the issue have become so compelling the skeptics might have to shift their emphasis to climate policy actions or risk losing their credibility." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

Ah, Dan? You might want to check this out - the data is from the Global Historical Climatology Network and not some 'industry-funded front group.' Interestingly, the data supports the Marshall Institute's position, not the ACIA report.

"Global warming's back, but so are the as-yet-unsilenced skeptics" - "So, "global warming" is back in the news again in a big way, because of a recent report that says the Arctic is melting and we all just have to do something about it! Well, maybe we do and maybe we don't, but I tend to trust the scientists who have made this field their life study and who say that the data are still too uncertain to bet the farm on just yet." (Portland Press Herald)

"Earth's Uncanned Crusaders: Will Sardines Save Our Skin?" - "Scientists working off the west coast of Africa have identified sardines as an unexpected factor in global warming." (New York Times)

"Research on warmer seawater runs hot and cold in California" - "As the world's climate continues warming, drastic changes are inevitable in the lives of plants and animals that live in the oceans and along their margins. Experiments modeling the impacts have yielded confusing and sometimes conflicting results." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Calpers to Be Asked to Push Car Makers on Emissions" - "Two leaders of the nation's biggest public pension fund are calling on the fund to use its financial muscle to pressure the auto industry to accept California's pending restrictions on global-warming emissions from vehicles." (Wall Street Journal) [Subscription Required]

"EU studies adding aviation to emissions scheme" - "LONDON, Nov 22 - The EU has started a study to see if it can curb aircraft pollution by including aviation in its new carbon dioxide emissions trading scheme, said Peter Vis, acting head of the industrial emissions unit at the European Commission on Monday. Britain has said it would use its presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2005 to press for aviation to brought within the scheme which will launch in January." (Reuters)

"Environmental rules create problems for exports to EU" - "South Korea is expected to face an export growth fear, particularly in the European Union, the nation's third largest export market in the world, with the enforcement of the Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming in February next year, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Monday." (Seoul Korea Times)

"Innovations to Overcome the Shortcomings of Biodiesel" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 22 - A frenzy of research, innovations and projects to develop biodiesel in Brazil has been dampened by the need for subsidies to make production of the new environmentally friendly fuel economically feasible." (IPS)

"Fuel for nought" - "The adoption of biofuels would be a humanitarian and environmental disaster." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

"Is 'hydrogen highway' the answer?" - "Hydrogen fueling stations are springing up in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. – and even Chula Vista. Public agencies are testing small fleets of hydrogen buses and delivery vehicles. But some leading environmentalists are still alarmed." (Copley News Service)

"Impact of safe water, sanitation on world's poor" - "Around the world, 1.1 billion people get their water from rivers and ponds, or from springs and wells open to the air and subject to contamination. More than twice as many -- 2.5 billion people in all -- use public latrines or the whole outdoors as their bathroom." (Washington Post)

"Technology is key to Africa’s fight to avoid food deficits" - "Despite the start of the short rains in parts of Kenya, many families are still threatened by starvation. It will take at least six months before much-needed staple crops of maize, sorghum and beans can be harvested.

This year’s hunger situation in Africa was particularly devastating. No less than 24 countries were haunted by famine. Yet after the rains arrive, crops are harvested and hunger is momentarily forgotten and yes, come the next drought the circle is repeated.

This is a cycle that must be broken if Africa is to achieve sustainable development. Modern technologies have yielded positive results in countries where they have been implemented." (The Standard)

"Focus: Golden wonder" - "A yellow genetically modified potato grown in Scotland is being hailed as the answer to Third World hunger and the nation’s poor health, writes Kenny Farquharson." (The Sunday Times)

"US makers of genetically modified products to conquer Russian market" - "The Russian State Duma gave the second reading to amendments to the law about the protection of consumer' rights. The approved amendments contain a requirement about the mandatory marking of food stuffs, which hold genetically modified ingredients. In addition, the bill extends the list of organizations that carry responsibility for the quality of goods and services. Russian consumers will have a right to set forth their claims against importers of foreign goods, Internet stores and catalogue companies. The draft law also stipulates punitive measures to be applied against those makers and sellers that do not mark genetically modified ingredients." (Pravda.Ru)

November 22, 2004

"More synergy needed in Africa's fight against malaria: expert" - "ARUSHA, Tanzania - Efforts to eradicate malaria in Africa, where it kills a child every 30 seconds, have suffered from a lack of coordination that must urgently be reversed, a leading expert on the disease said." (AFP)

What about DDT?

"Malaria: DDT is the Only Way Out" - "Pesticides are substances intended to prevent, destroy, or repel pests. Although most are synthetic chemicals, some are plant derivatives, inorganic dusts, or biological agents such as bacteria or their toxins. The term "pesticide" is usually further sub-divided into more specific terms such as fungicide (kills fungi), herbicide (kills plants), acaricide (kills mites and ticks), avicide (kills birds), insecticide (kills insects)." (Samson Kibende, New Vision (Kampala, Uganda))

"DDT not harmful - Museveni" - "We applaud President Museveni who "appealed to the Global Fund Board to think of DDT as an ideal weapon against malaria..." This is great news for Uganda and for malaria control in general." (AFM)

"No Aid for AIDS" - "Arusha, Tanzania — The great and the good of the health world, along with at least four African presidents, have descended on Tanzania for the United Nations' Global Fund meeting. The fund, established in 2000 to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, has so far received over $3 billion from the wealthy nations. But presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and Mwai Kibaki of Kenya have joined the Tanzanian president, Benjamin Mkapa, in saying that more funds are required.

But the greatest problem in Africa is the lack of political will to both combat disease and — equally important — provide the institutional conditions for growth. Without the former, disease will never be controlled; without the latter, it will always return." (Roger Bate, NRO)

"EPA Encouraging Use of Seven Chemicals to Replace More Dangerous Ones" - "WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency is lowering regulatory barriers to encourage broader commercial use of seven chemicals that previously were considered toxic, smog-forming or hazardous." (Associated Press)

"Chernobyl 'caused Sweden cancers'" - "More than 800 people in northern Sweden may have developed cancer as a result of the fallout of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, a new study says. Swedish scientists said the "Chernobyl effect" was the only likely explanation for 849 cancer cases they came across. But their findings met with scepticism from some other experts who think the radiation fallout in Sweden was not likely to cause such a rise in cases." (BBC)

"Concern rises over mercury in fish" - "OTTAWA -- Health Canada says it is reviewing data on mercury levels in fish that could mean changing guidelines on fish consumption by women of childbearing age, in the face of growing evidence that mercury contamination can damage fetal brain development." (Canadian Press)

"Farmed salmon and the food scare" - "When the journal Science published a research paper last January showing higher levels of contaminants in farmed salmon than wild salmon, its controversial findings made headlines around the world." (St. John Telegraph-Journal)

"Undetected, Unmeasured Disaster" - "When regulators began looking for traces of potentially-harmful substances to ban a half-century ago, scientists were capable of finding traces as small as parts per million. Unfortunately, activists continue to panic -- and make news -- each time science improves our ability to detect minuscule traces, even if there's no new evidence these smaller and smaller traces can harm us. Now that we can detect parts per quintillion, it isn't hard to find traces of virtually any substance on the planet in virtually any place on the planet, if that's your hobby. Given regulations banning the presence of any trace whatsoever of forbidden chemicals, this pursuit inevitably becomes a hobby for countless scientists who could be better employed studying other things." (Todd Seavey, ACSH)

"Passive smoking? It's all lies, damn lies and statistics" - "In the absence of proof, health campaigners use smoke and mirrors, writes Robert Matthews." (Daily Telegraph)

"Blowing smoke in the faces of the righteous" - "Promoting Scotland's "comprehensive ban" on public smoking on a television programme, Rhona Brankin, Scotland's deputy health minister, declared: "One in four of all deaths in Scotland is directly attributable to smoking." In a separate interview, she said: "One in four of all deaths is attributable to smoking. About 13 000 people die every year as a result of smoking." The most recent statistics reveal that 57 382 people died in Scotland in 2001. If one in four of them died for the reasons Brankin offers, that would give a smoking-related death toll of 14 345, not 13 000. So is the minister guilty of modest exaggeration in the service of a noble cause? The one-in-four statistic is more than that. It is an article of faith among anti-smoking campaigners, but it is not as straightforward as it sounds." (Sunday Independent)

"Church air is 'threat to health'" - "Air inside churches may be a bigger health risk than that beside major roads, research suggests. Church air was found to be considerably higher in carcinogenic polycyclic hydrocarbons than air beside roads travelled by 45,000 vehicles daily. It also had levels of tiny solid pollutants (PM10s) up to 20 times the European limits. The study, by Holland's Maastricht University, is published in the European Respiratory Journal." (BBC)

"1954 v 2004 No contest: we are cleaner, healthier and better off (but men still won't do the housework)" - "So you think you work harder and live in more polluted times than your grandparents? A major survey shows why we've never had it so good." (Independent on Sunday)

"New mobile phone link to cancer" - "MOBILE phone users were last night advised to cut their use of handsets - particularly in areas with poor reception - after new research found evidence they can cause cell damage. Researchers exposed cells in glass dishes to mobile phone signals and discovered that the low-power microwaves they emit can damage DNA, potentially causing cancer and other illnesses." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Conservationists Rethink Global Poverty" - "BANGKOK, Nov 21 - The world's poor may soon find a new ally stepping into their communities with a sympathetic ear to help lift them out of poverty - the global conservation movement. Such a prospect has emerged at a major environmental conference, here, in the wake of intense interest displayed by conservationists to link poverty alleviation with the drive to save the planet." (IPS)

Good to see the IUCN's upcoming book accepting that 'conservation' is a significant part of the problem of global poverty - they even mention 'development.' We can but hope they'll see the error of past 'natur über alles' campaigns and the destruction and human misery they have wrought.

The Week That Was Nov. 20, 2004 (SEPP)

Oh boy... "Capricious weather? Get used to it" - "More tornadoes, more frequent spring flooding, unnatural summer frosts and late-November green lawns in Minnesota.

What is going on?

America's weather has never been more volatile, adversely affecting more people than ever before. At the same time, Minnesotans have been experiencing a run of unseasonably mild weather that will persist and bring with it wilder swings in the climate.

That means it's a good bet that when it comes to the state of our agitated weather, we'll continue to have plenty to talk about. Just this year we've felt August windchill and seen frost in the Arrowhead, with tornadoes touching down as late as Oct. 29 in central Minnesota.

We had our 10th-warmest autumn, following the 14th-coolest summer in modern-day records, which began in 1891. Minnesotans detected 58 tornadoes in 2004, second only to 2001, when a record 74 were observed.

Never has the weather been so capricious and unpredictable." (The Star Tribune)

"Climate change puts skiing at risk" - "Global warming is proceeding at such a rate in the Alps that flash floods and landslides could become commonplace and some popular summer-ski areas disappear within 15 years, according to a new report. Swiss scientists surveyed 938 glaciers in the Alps as part of a study by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

"What is happening is nothing short of catastrophic," said Dr Frank Paul of Zurich University, who led the team. "It is astounding how much ice has already been lost." (Telegraph)

"Alaska congressional delegation doubts scientists' conclusions" - "WASHINGTON -- All three members of Alaska's congressional delegation dispute the conclusion of leading scientists that human activity is causing the rapid warming of the Arctic that is wrecking villages and melting glaciers. Alaska's lone congressman, Republican Rep. Don Young, went so far as dismissing the major new report on Arctic climate change. He called it ammunition for fearmongers." (The Anchorage Daily News)

There's a good chance they're right, too. Examination of the northern, high latitude record clearly indicates rapid warming - it's just that it occurred more than 65 years ago.

"What's Going on with the Arctic?" - "Recently the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report was recently released by the Arctic Council, a self-described "high-level intergovernmental forum that provides a mechanism to address the common concerns and challenges faced by the Arctic governments and the people of the Arctic." The report received significant press attention (New York Times "As the Arctic Warms", Washington Post "Study Says Polar Bears Could Face Extinction"). The report documents significant ecosystem response to surface temperature warming trends that occurred in some areas since the mid-19th century and in the last thirty years." (George H. Taylor, TCS)

"Scientists See Hope Amid Coral Doom and Gloom" - "BANGKOK - Even though nearly two thirds of coral reefs are now officially endangered, some are bouncing back despite warmer oceans and pollution, giving hope the marine marvels are not completely doomed, scientists said on Friday.

In particular, researchers are encouraged by the recovery of coral reefs in remote or well-protected areas from the devastating coral "bleaching" effect of the 1998 El Nino weather phenomenon, during which sea surface temperatures rose well above normal.

Described as a "one in a thousand year event," the bleaching, which killed off vast swathes of reefs across the globe, has not been repeated to anything like the same extent in the past six years." (Reuters)

"Global warming can be bad or good news – it depends on what you want to see" - "The Maldives are Exhibit A in the catalogue of catastrophes which the global warming doomsters have compiled. The equation is simple: global warming will melt the Arctic ice cap and raise sea levels, so bye-bye Maldives, hotly followed by low-lying areas of Bangladesh, the world's coastal cities and much of the Home Counties. Millions of people die.

Yet the Maldives pit canary is resolutely refusing to keel over." (Neil Collins, Daily Telegraph)

"Kyoto ratification: pressure rises on US, China, India" - "Delight that the UN's global-warming pact will finally see daylight mixed with veiled demands on Thursday that major polluters United States, China and India also step up their fight on climate change." (AFP)

Hmm... maybe the pressure's really on to sort this out.

"Bush's slapdown for Blair on climate change" - "President Bush has reprimanded Tony Blair for sounding the alarm over global warming and pressing for international action to combat it, senior Washington sources say. They report that the White House has objected to the Prime Minister placing the issue at the top of the agenda when he heads the G8 group of the world's most powerful nations next year, and to the strong tone of his recent speeches warning of climate change." (Independent on Sunday)

"John McCain's 'Global Warming' Hearings Blasted by Climatologist" - "Washington - Recent U.S. Senate hearings into alleged global warming, chaired by Arizona Republican John McCain, were among the "most biased" that a noted climatologist has ever seen - "much less balanced than anything I saw in the Clinton administration," he said.

Patrick J. Michaels is the author of a new book "Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media." He is an environmental sciences professor at the University of Virginia who believes that claims of human-caused "global warming" are scientifically unfounded." (CNSNews.com)

"Canada will be champion of Kyoto, Dion vows" - "Now that the world has a formal date for the Kyoto Protocol to come into force -- Feb. 16, 2005 -- Canada's Environment Minister is determined that this country will be a leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

"A priority for me is to be sure that Canada will be a champion," Stéphane Dion said in an interview yesterday, adding that tackling global climate change is "the top issue for our quality of life." (Globe and Mail)

"Cost of Kyoto 'five times above EU estimate'" - "Implementing the Kyoto Protocol might hit the EU economy five times as hard as predicted by the European Commission, according to research presented by pan-industry lobby group Unice on Thursday. The group called for a radical change in the EU's climate change policy." (Point Carbon)

"Japan: Environment tax may be headed toward pension fund" - "The government's new tax for environmental protection, the so-called "environmental tax," will be put into effect as of January, 2006. The government is claiming officially that the new tax is to provide funding for measures aimed at preventing global warming. However, a confidential document of the Ministry of Environment (MOE) indicates that the new tax revenue will be used to make up the shortfall in the National Pension fund. Without knowing this, the major Japanese news outlets are reporting in favor of the new tax." (Japan Today)

"Scientist's plan could bury global warming" - "A New Zealand economist is promoting a massive worldwide programme of planting crops and burying charcoal to avoid catastrophic global warming. Dr Peter Read, a researcher at Massey University, has just convened a workshop sponsored by international agencies in Paris to stave off what he calls "the mother of all catastrophes". He told the New Zealand Sustainable Energy Forum in Wellington on Saturday that the Earth's climate had warmed suddenly by 5C in only a decade or so several times in the past 400,000 years, when gradual processes tripped into abrupt climate changes. He said the Kyoto Protocol, which requires most developed countries to cut back their emissions of global-warming "greenhouse gases" to slightly below 1990 levels, might be too modest to avoid disaster." (New Zealand Herald)

"Forget the tiger. Put some mushrooms in your tank" - "Where there's muck, there's gas. Scientists have created genetically modified yeasts and fungi that can turn agricultural waste into fuel for cars and trucks. In future we may take to the roads in vehicles powered by left over plant remains.

The technology - created with European Union money - uses corn stubble and other farm waste as basic ingredients for making ethanol. This can then be used as a substitute for petrol.

This project has been hailed by researchers and politicians because it could help Europe make major cuts in its massive oil import bill. Apart from North Sea oil, which is now drying up, nearly all the Continent's oil and petrol is imported." (The Observer)

And they want to use the Kyoto Protocol to get everyone else to fund alternatives development for them - nice if you can con people into it, eh?

"Fusion power faces big crunch" - "Europe poised to decide whether to go it alone on £3bn trial reactor." (The Guardian)

"Fuel of the Future? Some Say Coal" - "The electricity industry's back-to-the-future approach to coal is soon expected to pit dozens of communities around the country against energy companies that are planning coal-based expansion strategies in their midst." (New York Times)

"'Hydrogen highway' bad route, group says" - "Alternative fuel championed by governor flawed, but proponents say give it more time." (The Oakland Tribune)

"Rice institute warns of possible rice shortage" - "LOS BANOS, Laguna -- The time will come when people around the world, especially in Asian countries, will suffer from rice shortage if we do not address the threat now, said Director General Dr. Ronald Cantrell of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Cantrell made this revelation during the celebration of the International Year of Rice held at IRRI campus, University of the Philippines (U.P.), Los BaÑos, Laguna Thursday.

Statistics show that there are about 8.5 billion people worldwide who depend on rice as their staple food. As population grows, rice demand increases which could eventually lead to its shortage in due time." (PNA) [em added]

Guess that proves what they say about statistics...

"Frankenstein food is good for you and other toxic shocks" - "Don't touch the organic carrots, Michael Pragnell of GM food producer Syngenta tells Rosie Murray-West." (Daily Telegraph)

"Biotech firm moving away" - "Sacramento biotech company Ventria Bioscience is moving its headquarters and controversial field trials of genetically engineered plants to Missouri. Officials at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville said the move could help turn the school into a center for plant-made pharmaceutical production. Ventria has been looking to move for months, partly because of the hostile reception and regulatory hurdles it faced earlier this year in California when it tried to expand field trials of rice that contains common human proteins." (Sacramento Bee)

"GM firms finally give up on planting in Britain" - "Industry has dropped its last attempts to get GM seeds approved for growing in Britain, in a final surrender of its dream to spread modified crops rapidly across the country." (Independent on Sunday)

"New GM rice resistant to bacteria" - "A genetically modified (GM) rice that can resist the destructive bacterial leaf blight (BLB) is being developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PRRI) that is seen to cut 60 percent loss from BLB that festers even high-yielding hybrid rice varieties." (Manila Bulletin)

November 19, 2004

"Smoggy Statistics" - "“Increases in air pollution caused by cars, power plants and industry can be directly linked to higher death rates in U.S. cities, a study said,” reported Reuters this week.

But had the reporter been able to go beyond simple regurgitation of the study’s press release, Reuters’ might well have reported “Researchers tried to scare public with statistical malpractice.”" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Don’t Kill The Pharmaceutical Golden Goose: Tort Litigation Against Merck Can Destroy New Drugs – and Lives" - "“Now Vioxx is gone - will the whole company soon follow? Once in court, plaintiffs' attorneys will attack not only Merck, but the FDA for not using the oldest medical instrument, the only one guaranteed to be always right: the 20/20 retrospectroscope.”" (Gil Ross, MedicalProgressToday.com)

"USAID in the Hot Seat -- Again" - "Senator Brownback (R-Kansas) is concerned that even though in the past five years US-funded malaria control efforts -- through the offices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) -- have increased several-fold, global malaria rates have skyrocketed -- increasing 10% at least.

Asia, the Near East and Africa account for ninety-six percent of deaths caused by malaria. Indeed, "conditions in many Asian countries are far worse today than they were decades ago when insecticides were sprayed on house walls to combat malaria" argued Dr. Donald Roberts, a malaria expert testifying last month before Senator Brownback, chairman of the Senate International Relations subcommittee on East Asia.

Testifying alongside Dr. Roberts was Dr. Robert Desowitz, tropical diseases expert and Emeritus Professor at the University of Hawaii and Dr. Anne Peterson of USAID. It was left to Dr. Peterson, Assistant Administrator for Global Health to defend why USAID is not providing DDT and other insecticides as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy." (Roger Bate, Samantha Dovey and Emma Morrison, TCS)

"Deadly disease fight 'underfunded'" - "More funds would be useful - but first, donors need to start spending the existing funds better and African governments need to start facing up to their own responsibilities and failures in this regard. Giving more money to governments that spend more of their own money on the military than on healthcare would be a waste." (AFM)

"A feverish response" - "A Chinese herbal medicine is effective against malaria. But there is not enough of it to go round." (The Economist)

"Grey Matter" - "Many people have seen the pharmaceutical company Merck's recent recall of Vioxx (rofecoxib) as confirmation of Merck's dysfunctional or dishonest management. Others see it as evidence of the FDA's dysfunction. But what the Vioxx case really highlights is the absurdity of the belief that drug safety can be guaranteed. The expected flood of lawsuits is strong evidence indeed that the American public believes Merck to have willfully and knowingly hawked a dangerous drug." (David R. Henderson and Charles L. Hooper, TCS)

"Scientists Warn of Undetected, Unmeasured Toxins in World's Fish" - "SETE, France − Each day at 4 p.m., the trawlers come back, alive with giant bass, mackerel and squirming eels, at the end of a food chain that links family dinner tables to poisons in the sea. Besides mercury which can damage the brains of fetuses and young children and can affect healthy adults, there are PCBs, dioxins and flame retardants with unknown long-term effects." (Associated Press)

"'Economic Sabotage' Crime To Hit Animal Rights Extremists" - "In an attempt to make the UK a beacon for life science firms, Tony Blair promised on Wednesday to introduce legislation to combat actions by animal rights extremists, with the mooted new criminal offence to cover so-called "economic sabotage", by the small band of anti-vivisectionists who target companies." (Reuters)

Sir David is leaving? "Blair vows to make UK world leader on science" - "TONY BLAIR today pledged action to make Britain the world capital of science." (Evening News)

"October Edition of CEI's Monthly Planet" - "Featured in this month's edition are articles by Henry Miller & Gregory Conko, Fred Smith, and Iain Murray." (CEI)

Finally: "Trace gases are key to halting global warming" - "Columbia University researchers suggest that reductions of trace gases may allow stabilization of climate so that additional global warming would be less than 1° C." (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

Hansen and Sato are actually talking about trace gases other than CO2 here and that's where it becomes interesting. Essentially, the 'father of global warming,' James Hansen, admits that near-doubling atmospheric CO2 will have negligible effect on global climate - an increment of <1 °C. So, after all this time and money, he now agrees with Michaels? What a silly game this is.

"Sunspot activity impacts on crop success" - "The mysterious sunspot cycle has a subtle influence on crop success, a study of wheat prices in the US suggests.

In 2003, astrophysicist Lev Pustilnik of Tel Aviv University and Gregory Yom Din, an agricultural economist at Haifa University, both in Israel, showed that wheat prices in 17th-century England were influenced by the solar cycle - whereby sunspot numbers rise and fall over a period of about 11 years (New Scientist print edition, 20 December 2003).

Periods of low sunspot activity corresponded to peaks in the price of wheat, indicating a lower crop yield. This backs the idea that the solar cycle affects climate and crop yields on Earth, possibly by changing levels of cloud cover." (New Scientist) | Space Climate Manifestation in Earth Prices - from Medieval England Up to Modern USA (Astrophysics)

"After seven-year gestation, Kyoto Protocol set to be born" - "NAIROBI - The Kyoto Protocol, the UN's long-troubled pact for combatting global warming, finally got the green light, with February 16 announced as the date when it will become a binding treaty. Bedevilled for years by bitter negotiations and a US walkout, Kyoto will take effect just under three months from now, after Russia, in a ceremony in Nairobi, handed the UN legal instruments declaring it had ratified the accord." (AFP) | Kyoto Protocol to Enter into Force 16 February 2005 (UNEP)

"Greens declare war on Blair for 'failures' over climate change" - "Britain's leading environmental organisation withdrew support from Tony Blair yesterday over climate change, saying he could not be trusted to reduce global warming." (Independent)

"Climate change action 'needed now'" - "Chancellor Gordon Brown was urged to introduce a range of measures to combat global warming in his pre-Budget statement next month. Environmental group Friends of the Earth called for higher taxes on "gas guzzling" vehicles, cash incentives for motorists to buy greener cars and more help for householders to be energy efficient." (Press Association)

"Greens Paint Grim Picture of Future, Warmer World" - "BANGKOK - Environmentalists forecast a grim future for planet Earth on Thursday, predicting that droughts, heatwaves and hurricanes will become increasingly common and more severe if global warming is allowed to continue unchecked." (Reuters)

"Stevens cool to conclusion of global warming study" - "U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, says he disagrees with a new scientific study's conclusion that the burning of fossil fuels is a major factor in climate change." (Associated Press)

"Canada Sets Goal to Cut Car Emissions" - "OTTAWA, Nov. 17 - Two top Canadian ministers said Wednesday that they had resolved to cut global-warming emissions of cars and trucks sold in Canada by 25 percent by the end of the decade. The commitment means that the auto industry faces steep cuts in greenhouse gases in Canada as well as in California and the Northeastern United States, a geographic expanse that encompasses nearly one-third of the cars and trucks sold in North America." (New York Times)

"NZ scientists see way to replace oil" - "New Zealand scientists have found a breakthrough method of purifying hydrogen, using ironsands, which may help the world to develop a clean-burning replacement for oil. The process uses the North Island west coast's unique volcanic ironsands to help to extract pure hydrogen from water. The hydrogen could eventually replace oil in both cars and electricity generation, eliminating carbon dioxide emissions that are blamed for global warming. The process of splitting water to extract the hydrogen needs a lot of energy, but the scientists at state-owned Industrial Research Ltd (IRL) believe the energy could be supplied by sawdust and other biomass wastes from the forestry industry." (New Zealand Herald)

"Is organic food any healthier than conventional food?" - "It depends who you talk to. A report this week has shown that sales of organic food in Britain have increased by 10% over the last year. If people buy organic food because they think it is better for them, is there any evidence to prove it is the healthier option?" (The Guardian)

Short answer: No. Long answer: N-n-n-o-o-o-o-o! Food produced by organic mythology is potentially more hazardous.

"Researchers discover new way to boost grain crops' drought tolerance" - "Researchers at the University of California, Riverside report the development of technology that increases the tolerance of grains crops to drought by decreasing the amount of an enzyme that is responsible for producing the plant hormone ethylene." (University of California - Riverside)

"Column: Anti-biotech crowd takes behind woodshed whipping" - "The huge victories in defeating county anti-biotech initiatives in 3 of 4 California counties in the general election was a behind-the-woodshed whipping.

There is no other way to describe the wide margins of victory in defeating anti-biotech initiatives in Butte and San Luis Obispo counties. Humboldt County’s rejection was also a victory, even though the anti-GE crowd there admitted at the last minute that approving a law that would call for arresting dairymen who grow herbicide-resistant corn was not a good idea. They asked voters to reject the initiative. Nevertheless, 28 percent of the voters supported the ban. Humboldt’s anti-biotechers have said they will come back with a non-flawed initiative. After Nov. 2, that likely would be a flawed effort.

The anti-biotech radicals had the momentum early on, swaggering from their "big" victory last spring in Mendocino. Farmers and ranchers in Butte and San Luis Obispo were playing catch-up from the start of the campaign." (Harry Cline, Western Farm Press)

"Brazil and China are set to legalise genetically modified crops" - "A DOUBLE blow is coming for the opponents of genetically modified (GM) foods, from two of the world's big farming nations. China, where many farmers already grow GM cotton, is likely soon to authorise commercial growing of GM rice. And Brazil is close to setting up a mechanism that could legalise all GM crops." (The Economist)

November 18, 2004

From CSRwatch.com: "Ford gives award to global warming researcher" - It's a good thing the researcher and his global warming believing-ilk weren't around at the beginning of the industrial revolution -- there would have been no Ford Motor Company. (CSRwire, via CSRwatch.com)

"Gulf war syndrome is genuine says law lords' inquiry" - "Veterans of the 1991 Iraq conflict were jubilant yesterday as the head of an inquiry into illnesses among them agreed that they were victims of Gulf war syndrome and censured the government for having dismissed their plight.

Lord Lloyd, a former appeal court judge, said veterans' feelings of being let down and rejected by the government were justified. The damage to their health of having served in the first Gulf war was "indisputable" and the government should seek reconciliation by beginning negotiations over one-off payments to up to 6,000 troops.

The findings, though without official status, could prove politically difficult for the government which has consistently refused a public inquiry, saying scientific research should come first. It has always rejected the notion of a syndrome, while recognising some veterans who were ill believed "this ill health is unusual and related to their Gulf experience." (The Guardian)

"Cape women to see toxin study results" - "One hundred Cape Cod women who opened their homes to Silent Spring Institute researchers two years ago to test for the presence of toxic chemicals will learn today the kinds and levels of chemicals that were found." (Cape Cod Times)

Twaddle: "What evidence is there that passive smoking kills?" - "Well, common sense for a start. But that won't normally do for scientists. So how about a worldwide review of research in the field, pulled together and published by 40 epidemiologists for the World Health Organisation in June, that concluded that secondhand smoke increased the risk of lung cancer by 25%?" (The Guardian)

"EU chemicals law sparks job fears" - "EU plans to tightly regulate chemicals found in many household items will put many companies out of business, an industry spokesman has warned." (BBC)

Chicken and egg: "Study Links Sleep Deprivation, Obesity" - "LAS VEGAS - Weight-loss experts have a novel prescription for people who want to shed pounds: Get some sleep. A very large study has found a surprisingly strong link between the amount of shut-eye people get and their risk of becoming obese.

Those who got less than four hours of sleep a night were 73 percent more likely to be obese than those who got the recommended seven to nine hours of rest, scientists discovered. Those who averaged five hours of sleep had 50 percent greater risk, and those who got six hours had 23 percent more." (AP)

Really? Sure it's not that fat people sleep poorly?

"Rollback of Wild Land Protection Gets Support" - "Bush plan would let states decide whether to open roadless acreage to development." (Los Angeles Times)

"Climate change sceptics 'wrong'" - "One of the main arguments used by people sceptical of climate change has been undermined by a new scientific study from the UK Meteorological Office. The argument is that measurements of temperature are inherently unreliable because of where weather instruments are situated. Most are in or near cities, which produce their own heat; so the warming they have measured over the last century or so could be down to increasing urbanisation rather than global warming. But a new analysis by Dr David Parker from the Met Office in Exeter shows this 'urban heat island' hypothesis is wrong. Using data for the last fifty years, Dr Parker has created two separate graphs; one plots temperatures observed on calm nights, the other on windy nights." (BBC)

Sorry Dr. Parker, don't agree. Comparing datasets is a great idea - we do it all the time - but directly comparing the datasets looks like this. Clearly, the near-surface amalgam is racing ahead of the measures of the well-mixed atmosphere, which is exactly opposite to what we would expect from enhanced greenhouse, where the atmosphere should warm and the near-surface measure should follow.

While this looks a superficially attractive means of testing for UHIE in the near-surface amalgam record it is apparently flawed (UHIE is well-established as fact, we're only looking at how to remove it from global trend analysis). The bottom line is that purely rural recording stations don't show significant warming (many indicate cooling) and yet urban stations do - the only available hypothesis for this discrepancy being UHIE. Given the magnitude of weather effect observed for cities it is not particularly surprising that windy nights could provide n degrees cooling in both urban and rural environs while leaving intact quite similar if not identical warming curves in the record.

How well does wind "blow away excess heat" from built up areas? Apparently not well enough.

"Predictable Distortion" - "You can be forgiven for believing global climate is triggering a high-latitude horror show. First The Los Angeles Times swallowed a Nature report concerning the massive die-off of krill in the Antarctic, with dire consequences for penguins, seals, and whales (see www.co2andclimate.org/wca/2004/wca_27a.html). Now comes the slickly formatted Impacts of a Warming Arctic the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) group in the fine tradition of the infamous U.S. National Assessment (USNA) of global warming — a report pulled from public distribution because it failed to meet Federal standards of scientific accuracy.

"Global warming won't cause extinction, just civilisation's end" - "The winner of one of New Zealand's top science medals, Professor Peter Barrett, has backed off a controversial claim that humanity faces extinction within 100 years because of global warming." (New Zealand Herald)

"Vintage Wine Records Trace Climate Change to 1300s" - "Connoisseurs may pore over grape-harvest records in search of the perfect vintage of wine. But a team of French scientists and historians is toasting the same records for the insights they yield on past climate.

In Burgundy, France, as in other parts of Europe, the first officially decreed day of grape harvesting has been carefully noted in parish and municipal archives for at least 600 years.

Using a scientific method known as phenology—in which the onset of various stages of plant growth are correlated with climate—the team was able to reconstruct spring and summer temperatures in Burgundy from 1370 to 2003. The findings are based on the harvest dates of pinot noir grapes.

According to the reconstructed temperature record, warm summers like those of the 1990s have occurred several times in Burgundy since the 14th century. The heat wave of summer 2003, however, was the hottest ever for western Europe." (National Geographic New)

?!! "China: Gov't moves to comply with Kyoto" - "The international accord designed to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and eventually slow down the pace of global warming is finally expected to come into effect after a long time of brewing and trade-offs.

The Kyoto Protocol becomes effective 90 days after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on November 5 and handed the document to the United Nations, despite opposition to it from the United States, said Lu Xuedu, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Successful implementation of the protocol will have a great impact on climate change, while more is said to be in the pipeline to cut greenhouse gas even further." (China Daily)

"Successful implementation of the protocol will have a great impact on climate change... "? A fraction of one degree over many decades is "a great impact" now?

"New findings from Arctic Coring Expedition decipher Arctic climate puzzles" - "Ocean-drilling scientists from ten countries gathered over the last two weeks to analyze sediment cores taken from 430 meters beneath the Arctic Ocean seafloor. Gathered by the Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX) science party, the core samples are the first retrieved from the Arctic Ocean (ACEX) to reveal the past 55 million years of climate history. Expedition findings more narrowly define the timetable of Arctic warming and freezing." (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program)

"Plankton cool the southern hemisphere" - "Dutch research has shown that marine plankton have the greatest effect on the climate in the southern hemisphere, even though the majority of plankton are found in oceans in the northern hemisphere." (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)

"Andean Nations Clash with U.S. on Patenting Life Forms" - "BOGOTA - Access to genetic resources in South America's Andean region, which holds a quarter of the planet's biodiversity, is a point of discord in the free trade agreement that the United States has been negotiating with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru since May." (Tierramérica)

"Making the Desert Bloom" - "There is big news from the Middle East that is unusual in several ways: It's positive, involves a scientific advance, and comes from a developing country. Researchers at Cairo's Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute have shown that by transferring a single gene from barley to wheat, the plants can tolerate less watering for a longer period of time before their leaves wilt. This new, drought-resistant variety requires only one-eighth as much irrigation as conventional wheat, and actually can be cultivated with rainfall alone in some desert areas. It could literally make the desert bloom." (Henry I. Miller And Gregory Conko, The Wall Street Journal)

November 17, 2004

"Vaccine Target for Malaria in Pregnancy Identified" - "Researchers have identified a promising target for a vaccine against malaria in pregnant women. A team of researchers led by Ali Salanti, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, found that women who are normally immune to malaria are made vulnerable to it during pregnancy by a molecule that is made by the placenta." (SciDev.Net)

"AIDS policy in shambles" - "The strategy of fighting AIDS in Africa with questionable generic drugs made in developing countries now lies in shambles as an Indian company withdrew its medicines last week because it can't guarantee they are potent enough." (James K. Glassman, The Washington Times)

For some blatant promotion of 'one of our own': "Now for Philip's other academic life..." - "Apologies for some blatant self-publicity, but my latest book is published this week, first in Thailand, and then in London. This book derives from my 'other academic life', from my long-standing interest in the historical geography of Southeast Asia, especially of Thailand. But this is a rather special book, not because of me, I must add, but because it introduces to the world 17 quite wonderful early-19th Century Siamese maps of Southeast Asia first discovered in The Grand Palace, Bangkok, in 1996. The task of bringing these to the world has, somewhat dauntingly, been allotted to a Thai geographer, Dr Santanee Phasuk, and to yours truly by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.

If you love maps, this book is a must, simply because of the exquisite illustrations of these extraordinary and immensely rare examples of Siamese cartography. It has been a privilege to have been able to have worked with Dr. Santanee on such treasures and on the book, which has been lovingly put together by the dedicated publisher." (Philip Stott, EnviroSpin Watch)

"Debating the evidence on Gulf War illnesses" - "When a Department of Veterans Affairs panel produced a provocative report last week on the illnesses of veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf war, it stepped into a treacherous territory where patients' suffering meets scientists' skepticism." (New York Times)

"City deaths rise with ozone levels" - "Short-term increases in ozone pollution lead to higher death rates in cities, according to the largest ozone mortality study ever carried out. The study could be an important influence on future policy decisions regarding ozone standards." (New Scientist)

"Tobacco smoke not lone cause of lung cancer" - "Most people associate lung cancer with smoking and those billion dollar lawsuits charging tobacco companies with making us all ill. Few realize, however, that there are other causes of lung cancer - though smoking is the biggest culprit." (Cox News Service)

"Antibiotics get new lease of life" - "Drug-resistant bacteria can be forced to eject their protective DNA." (News @ Nature)

"Fish, birds might be best choice 'pesticide'" - "Harris County health officials raised concerns last week when they suggested pesticides that are safe enough to spray in residential neighborhoods might no longer kill mosquitoes within a decade." (Houston Chronicle)

"Conservative Legal Group Challenges Endangered Species Protection" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. − A conservative legal group is threatening to sue the federal government over its plans to protect four dozen endangered species ranging from Peninsular bighorn sheep to the tiny robust spineflower.

The Pacific Legal Foundation on Monday notified the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service that it would file suit in 60 days, claiming the agencies failed to meet federal requirements when they set out to protect 16 animal and 32 plant species. Advance notice is required before filing endangered species lawsuits." (Associated Press)

"PETA Campaign Pitches Fish As Smart" - "NEW YORK -- Touting tofu chowder and vegetarian sushi as alternatives, animal-rights activists have launched a novel campaign arguing that fish -- contrary to stereotype -- are intelligent, sensitive animals no more deserving of being eaten than a pet dog or cat.

Called the Fish Empathy Project, the campaign reflects a strategy shift by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as it challenges a diet component widely viewed as nutritious and uncontroversial." (AP)

If "smart" is what defines something as unsuitable for consumption are PETA-ites afraid of being eaten?

Mandatory garbology? "Rule to prohibit mixing recyclables and trash" - "Seattle is getting serious about recycling. An ordinance goes into effect Jan. 1 prohibiting paper and cardboard from being mixed in with garbage. Yard waste, which is already excluded from residential garbage, will also be banned from commercial garbage." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"Human extinction within 100 years warns scientist" - "A top New Zealand researcher is using a prestigious award ceremony in Christchurch to warn that humans face extinction by the end of the century. Professor Peter Barrett will be presented with the Marsden Medal tonight for his 40-year contribution to Antarctic research, latterly focusing on climate change. The director of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre expects to use his acceptance speech to warn climate change was a major threat to the planet." (The Press)

"Meltdown!" - "The Arctic is warming up even faster than scientists feared. That could spell doom for the polar bear." (Michael D. Lemonick, Time Magazine)


"McCain Pledges To Reintroduce Greenhouse Gas Legislation" - "NEW YORK-Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., pledged Tuesday to reintroduce legislation to limit carbon dioxide pollution while incorporating new ideas advocated by British Prime Minister Tony Blair on how to limit emissions and slow the earth's warming.

The Bush administration, however, reasserted its opposition to mandatory controls on the production of carbon dioxide gases, believed to be the main cause of global warming, making it unlikely that McCain's legislation would be enacted unless the administration shows a change of heart." (Dow Jones Newswires)

"Climate Experts Respond to Arctic Climate Impact Assessment" - "Recent Warming Trend is Unexceptional Compared to Natural Variability in Centuries Past" (PRNewswire)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Idaho Forest Fire-Climate Connection: A Testament to the Magnitude of the Medieval Warm Period?" - "A multi-millennial fire history from central Idaho, USA, seems to suggest that the Medieval Warm Period was quite a bit warmer than what the world's climate alarmists would have us believe.  So how did it ever get published?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Floods (Europe)" - "Climate alarmists are always claiming we will see more and larger floods in a warmer world.  We here review some papers describing relevant studies in Europe to see if this claim has any merit." (co2science.org)

"Biodiversity (Grasslands)" - "Will the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content, either directly or indirectly (via a possible CO 2 -induced increase in air temperature), lead to a reduction in the biodiversity of earth's grasslands?" (co2science.org)

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

Journal Reviews:
"The 20th-Century Wasting of Kilimanjaro's Ice Cap" - "Was it caused by warming attributable to the historical increase in the air's CO 2 content?" (co2science.org)

"Little Ice Age Famines of Japan" - "Historical documents and lake sediment-core pollen analysis reveal the serious human consequences of the Little Ice Age in Japan (and other parts of the world)." (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated CO 2 on the Quantity and Quality of Strawberry Fruit" - "Enriching the air with CO 2 almost always increases the productivity of all agricultural crops.  But what about the quality of what is produced, i.e., the flavor and aroma of the harvested food products?  Here's what's just been learned about strawberries in this regard." (co2science.org)

"CO 2 Effects on Wood Density of Norway Spruce Trees" - "How would a doubling of the air's CO 2 content impact the wood density of Norway spruce trees growing under otherwise normal conditions?" (co2science.org)

"Corals Killed by Cooling" - "One hears a lot nowadays about coral bleaching caused by warming; but corals can also be killed by cooling.  It's happened in times past, even during the high-temperature regime of the Holocene Climatic Optimum; and it's happening today as well." (co2science.org)

"Climate Report Counters Alarmist Hearings" - "Unscientific, misleading climate assessment unveiled by alarmists in Congress." (CEI)

"Launching the Counter-Offensive: A Sensible Sense of Congress Resolution on Climate Change" - "Senators who rejected the claims of climate alarmists in the 108th Congress must remain vigilant in the next session." (CEI)

"Probably Anti-Housewarming, Too" - "Myron Ebell has angered climate alarmists by decrying scare tactics of Britain's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King. But now, the British House of Commons has decided to enter the fray." (CEI)

"Everest Needs UNESCO Status as Glaciers Melt-Greens" - "LONDON - Mount Everest should be put on a United Nations danger list as global warming threatens the Himalayan region, environmentalists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"U.S. Signs Agreement Targeting Methane" - "WASHINGTON - Seeking to bolster its credentials on global warming, the United States signed an agreement Tuesday with 13 other nations that calls for investing up to $53 million in companies that will profitably control emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas." (Associated Press)

"Global Surge in Use of Coal Alters Energy Equation" - "A world-wide surge in the mining and use of coal, most notably in China and India, is helping offset some of the economic strains of rising oil demand and marks an important shift in energy consumption with long-term consequences for the global energy equation and the environment." (Wall Street Journal)

"SCOPE: IAEA: Feeding the world using nuclear technology" - "The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is featured prominently in the news media for its the ongoing struggle against nuclear proliferation. But the IAEA's work is not restricted to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons -- for 40 years the IAEA has been cooperating with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on how to implement nuclear techniques and related biotechnologies to improve the living conditions of people in impoverished regions of the world." (Kyodo)

"Author: Modern farming techniques to blame for global famine" - "BLOOMINGTON - Richard Manning is used to two different reactions when he speaks. "There's one group that's in agreement and understands and another that tells me I'm crazy," said Manning, author of "Against the Grain: How Agriculture Hijacked Civilization." Manning, a Montana resident, brought his message to the heartland last week. What he suggests is that agriculture - with all its sprawling science and biotechnological breakthroughs - has spawned a system that has led to inequality, famine and environmental devastation." (Journal Star)

November 16, 2004

From CSRwatch.com: "MERCK takes CSR, suffers major stroke" - "As Merck CEO Raymond Gilmartin steers his pharmaceutical giant through the Vioxx crisis, fending off trial lawyers, securities investigators, the media, the FDA, and a hang 'em high Congressional encounter later this week, the rest of us can do little but witness with amazement another colossal corporate meltdown... The question is not what CSR can do for Merck now, but what CSR did to Merck." (Financial Post, via CSRwatch.com)

"Safety of bismuth bullets questioned: Study" - "Bismuth bullets, which became the primary form of bullets sold in Canada after lead shot was incrementally banned for environmental reasons between 1991 and 1999, may not be as non-toxic as originally thought, according to a new study." (University of Toronto)

"Smoke screen" - "There's never been more pressure on Britons to stub out their fags. But the anti-tobacco lobby exaggerates how dangerous cigarettes really are, says Tim Luckhurst" (Independent)

"Scientists are in dispute over acrylamide" - "The highest levels of acrylamide are found in starchy foods that are fried or deep-fried, such as french fries, which Americans eat in large quantities -- about 24 lbs per person per year. Acrylamides may be linked to cancer and reproductive problems." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Australia backyards, not beach, higher cancer risk" - "SYDNEY - Australians are more at risk of contracting deadly skin cancer in their home backyards gardening, barbecuing or simply hanging out the washing than on the beach.

A national skin cancer survey, "From beach burns to backyard scorchings," found Australians were twice as likely to get sunburned in the backyard as on the beach, the Cancer Council of Australia said on Monday." (Reuters)

Oppenheimer, et al: "Delays in cutting greenhouse gasses could harm environment" - "Successful efforts to stabilize the level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere could still result in serious ecological damage if the cutbacks do not begin soon enough, according to a new analysis." (Princeton University)

"GM, DuPont Adapt to Kyoto Environmental Standards" - "U.S. companies including General Motors Corp., DuPont Co. and Xerox Corp. are cutting carbon dioxide emissions to remain competitive in European countries that have adopted Kyoto Protocol limits rejected by President George W. Bush.

U.S. manufacturers are concerned they may lose their ability to operate factories or sell products in countries that have ratified the treaty, said Richard Sandor, chairman of Chicago Climate Exchange, which certifies companies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So far, 126 countries have accepted the Kyoto agreement, including all 25 members of the European Union." (Bloomberg)

"Alasdair Thompson: The costly fallout of Kyoto Protocol" - "Mixed messages are drowning out reason and understanding over climate change and global warming, for businesses and the public alike. The Government is leading the charge with its confusing messages: on the one hand, it has praised Solid Energy, appropriately, with a Trade and Enterprise Export Award for increasing sales of coal overseas; on the other, it signals that the local use of coal will soon be subject to a carbon tax. This, despite forecast shortages of energy, which electricity from coal generation could do much to assuage. Also, a number of of Solid Energy's exports go to China, which won't face carbon regulations. The anomalies arising from the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty New Zealand has signed obliging us to reduce our carbon emissions below 1990 levels before 2008 or suffer financial consequences, do not end there. In fact, the Kyoto process is vastly wasteful of the resources globally that its proponents want to conserve." (New Zealand Herald)

Kyoto's schizophrenia stems from being a political artifice masquerading as an environmental white knight.

"Melting Swiss Glaciers Threaten Alps" - "ZURICH - Switzerland's glaciers are melting faster than expected, shrinking by as much as one-fifth of their size over the 1985-2000 period alone, scientists at Zurich University said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Spectacular colours may be due to global warming " - "The colourful leaf displays that herald the arrival of autumn and have inspired legions of poets could be portents of something far more sinister, a nature charity has warned. According to the Tree Council, some areas of southern England have seen the most spectacular leaf displays in their history in recent years as a result of global warming." (The Guardian)

Oh boy... "Global warming alert: no-go zones coming" - "Parts of populated Australia would become uninhabitable unless urgent action was taken to reduce greenhouse gases, the director of a leading think tank said today." (Australian Associated Press)

Yeah, sure... Warwick Hughes has been keeping an eye on Australia's temperature predictive ability (three months ahead forecast) - see how well the bureau's models do here. Having seen the results for just 3 months ahead you can make up your own mind about the hysterical pieces below.

"Australia Faces Weather Blitz from Warming-CSIRO" - "SYDNEY - Australia could expect more frequent droughts, heatwaves, rainstorms and strong winds because of greenhouse gas-induced climate change, the country's main science research body warned on Monday." (Reuters)

"Transcript: ABC Radio 'PM' - Climate change taskforce warns of dangerous warming" - "MARK COLVIN: The scientific consensus seems to be growing that global warming is not just coming, it's upon us. An international climate change taskforce is meeting in Sydney this week to discuss ways of avoiding the worst effects of global warming, once the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gases expires. Taskforce members were shown a report by the CSIRO that warns of the serious dangers and inhospitable climate that Australia faces. Anne Barker reports." (ABC Online)

"Climate task force discusses how to curb global warming after Kyoto Protocol" - "Ignoring global warming could render new parts of the Earth uninhabitable, warned climate experts at a meeting Monday on how to fight greenhouse emissions once Kyoto Protocol obligations expire in 2012. Representatives of three think tanks met in Sydney to finish a report to be sent to government leaders early next year, when talks are expected to start on what happens after Kyoto." (The Associated Press)

Anyone every heard of any member of the (anti?) Australia Institute besides Clive Hamilton? Me neither...

"Carr fired up over coal power critics" - "The Premier yesterday defended the possible construction of a new coal-fired power station in NSW before hosting a meeting of international experts to discuss ways to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. Environment groups gathered outside NSW Government House where Bob Carr addressed the International Climate Change Taskforce. They protested against the state's reliance on coal as a power source and the expansion of the coal industry in NSW." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"China faces cold winter as fuel grows scarce" - "Some 200 million people could be left out in the cold in China this winter, the state-run media warned yesterday, as energy shortages threatened the traditional switching on of the nation's centrally planned central heating system." (London Guardian)

"Viewpoints: Powering the planet" - "According to the International Energy Agency the world will need almost 60% more energy in 2030 than in 2002. But is it possible to meet this growing demand without causing catastrophic damage to the environment? BBC News asked a range of experts if - and how - our ballooning thirst for energy can be catered for." (BBC News Online)

"Transgenes Invade Mexico -- So What?" - "First, a mea culpa -- nearly two years ago I criticized activist scientist Ignacio Chapela for trying to alarm Mexican farmers about transgenic "pollution" of their local varieties of maize. At the time, I asked two questions -- is he right and does it matter?

A new report issued by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) under North American Free Trade Agreement points out that genes from genetically modified corn (maize) have been found in traditional varieties grown by Mexican farmers. The transgenes evidently came from corn genetically enhanced for insect resistance that has been imported from the United States. Instead of eating the corn, some Mexican farmers planted it and it crossbred with local varieties. So Chapela was right.

Now we turn to the question, does it matter?" (Ronald Bailey, TCS)

"Row over GM papaya to surface at environment meeting" - "Thailand's most popular fruit, the papaya, is the subject of a heated debate in Bangkok on genetically modified crops." (Inter Press Service)

"Greenpeace Hails Bayer India GM Pullout" - "LONDON - Environment pressure group Greenpeace said on Monday it welcomed news that leading crop technology company Bayer had pulled out of genetic modification trials in India to focus on conventional plant breeding. But Bayer -- which earlier this year ended development trials of GM maize and oilseed rape in Britain and Australia -- countered that it had ended the Indian trials of GM cabbage, cauliflower, aubergine, tomato and mustard seed some time ago." (Reuters)

November 15, 2004

"V.A. to Study Toxins' Effects From 1991 Gulf War" - "The government will spend $15 million over the next year for research on the illnesses of veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf war, focusing on chemical exposures including Iraqi nerve gas, an antidote, and pesticides instead of stress." (New York Times)

"US study links more than 200 diseases to pollution" - "Pollution has been linked to about 200 different diseases, ranging from cerebral palsy to testicular atrophy, as well as more than 37 kinds of cancer, startling US research shows." (London Independent)

"Animal rights activists force drug firm to rethink UK role" - "Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, has warned that its investments in Britain are at risk because animals rights campaigners are threatening the safety of its scientists." (The Guardian)

"Junk food ads banned to fight fat epidemic" - "Junk food adverts during children's programmes will be banned and unhealthy foods issued with warning labels under a 'traffic light' scheme to help tackle Britain's obesity crisis." (London Observer)

"Risk and Precaution — A U.S. Perspective" - "Everybody knows that Europe and the United States disagree on the environment. But few people realize that another big battle is brewing across the Atlantic over the "precaution" principle. The OMB's John Graham tries to find some middle ground on how to balance proper caution and scientific and technological progress." (John D. Graham, The Globalist)

"Why is the liberal elite European left so unsophisticated over climate change?" - "The culture wars between America and Europe, so well analysed by a thoughtful Ohio resident in an e-mail to Melanie Phillips [now posted on her online Diary (November 10) and very much worth the read), are in many ways encapsulated by the eternal wranglings over the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The unthinking, and rather unsophisticated, arrogance of the liberal European 'elite' over Kyoto, however, does not stand up to close philosophical scrutiny." (EnviroSpin watch)

"Krill the Messenger" - "The Los Angeles Times reports a decline in krill stock in the southwest Atlantic off Antarctica could doom whales, seals, and penguins. Global warming is suspected, but a close examination of the evidence exonerates everyone’s favorite ‘perp.’” (co2andclimate.org)

"Concern on 'islands in the sun'" - "Melbourne's planned "activity centres" will become unpleasant during summer if action is not taken to reduce the city's urban heat island effect. A Monash University study on high and low-density areas of Melbourne has shown that suburban activity centres - a key plank of the planning blueprint Melbourne 2030 - will be hotter than other areas as they gradually build up. This is a concentration of the urban heat island effect. Cities, with their warmth-absorbing concrete and lack of vegetation, produce and hold heat more than country areas. Depending on conditions, Melbourne is usually between two and three degrees hotter than regional areas. The central business district can be seven degrees hotter on extreme days." (The Age)

The temperatures they are using here are in  °C. "The urban heat island effect would be intensified with global warming, Mr Coutts said." - mmmaybe... It could equally be that UHIE is all that we have been measuring with the increasing urbanization of the near-surface record. As the comparison shows, GISTEMP (near-surface amalgam) is racing away from the other datasets where "warming" is concerned. See the "Global Warming at a glance" section above for more on this.

"Scientists agree planet is warmer, disagree on effect on weather" - "Global warming is widely feared for its long-term effects on the planet. But concerns that it's affecting our weather today remain controversial." (Baltimore Sun)

Want the real reason islanders cling to the 'global warming' hypothesis? "Pacific islands under threat from mountains of waste" - "The low-lying atoll islets of Micronesia are the worst hit." (The Guardian)

"2100 will be a good year for Côte d'Ecosse" - "At last some good news from global warming after a leading geologist predicted that if the planet continues to heat up at its present rate, vineyards will be sprouting in Scotland by the end of the century." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Kyoto pressures Korea for action" - "Russia's approval of the Kyoto Protocol this month released the brakes for an agreement that has been under international negotiations since 1997. It will pressure advanced nations, including Korea, that emit greenhouse gases but have not yet signed the global treaty to submit." (Seoul Korea Herald)

"Experts see states as force in fighting global warming" - "NEW YORK -- With the re-election of President Bush, state governments and big business will likely be the biggest forces pushing policies and developing innovative technologies aimed at reducing U.S. emissions of the gases scientists say are causing global warming.

That forecast by leaders in the environmental and business communities is based on the Bush administration's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement that seeks to cut the amount of so-called greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere, where they trap heat." (Chicago Tribune)

"It's time for U.S. action on global warming" - "The Bush administration would like to throw cold water on the idea of doing anything substantive about global warming. But the heat should be on the president until the United States limits emissions of greenhouse gases." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial)

"Air Board’s Greenhouse Rule: Raw Deal for Dealers" - "On September 24, California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a plan to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new cars and trucks starting in 2009. To sell cars in California, automakers will have to reduce fleet average GHG emissions by 22 percent in 2012 and 30 percent in 2016. CARB’s rulemaking is a raw deal for auto dealers in California and any other state that mimics California’s plan." (Marlo Lewis, CEI)

"Carbon dioxide trading breathes life into futures markets" - "LONDON - Trading in quotas of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, to officially begin on the world's first carbon market in the new year, promises to be lucrative for a number of financial institutions, experts say." (AFP)

"A Seashore Fight to Harness the Wind" - "FALMOUTH, Mass., Nov. 13 - Nantucket Sound lies between Cape Cod, Nantucket Island and Martha's Vineyard, some of the nation's best-known vacation spots. Now a private company is proposing to build the world's largest offshore wind power plant right in the middle of it. Depending on who is talking, the results would be either a hideous blot on the landscape or a significant step toward clean power and energy independence." (New York Times)

"American Icon: Big, Bad S.U.V.'s Are Spreading to Europe" - "Even as more people in Europe are attracted by their heft and machismo, a countermovement is developing of those who believe that S.U.V.'s are not only pollution-spewing monstrosities, but also unwieldy symbols of American-style excess." (New York Times)

"Fill it up with hydrogen" - "Drivers in Berlin can fill up their cars with hydrogen at the world's largest service station for fuel cell vehicles. Opened on Friday, the project paves the way for widespread use of alternative energy." (Deutsche Welle)

"Poppies' growing role as nature's pharmacy" - "Genetically modified opium poppies could "grow" their own drugs to fight cancer and malaria, say Australian scientists. A team led by Dr Philip Larkin from CSIRO Plant Industry reports its research online ahead of print publication in the December issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology." (ABC Science Online)

"The importance of biotechnology" - "Recently, Colorado was ranked among the top 10 states for the impact its biotech and pharmaceutical industries have on the state's economy. The Milken Institute recognized Colorado for its strength in biotech research and development, building blocks of the biotech revolution." (Jeff Cheek, Richard Spritz and Jack Burns, The Denver Post)

"Report: Biotech helps farmers, environment" - "A new study by the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy says the widespread adoption of six biotechnology-derived crops has increased farmers' yields and income while reducing their use of pesticides.

The study also found that biotechnology is helping the environment by spurring greater use of no-till farming." (The Wichita Eagle)

"Sterile male potatoes 'make GM field trials safe'" - "A genetically modified (GM) variety of potato able to resist a major crop pest does not threaten other organisms, and — because the plants produce no viable pollen — is unlikely to pass genes to related varieties, according to research published yesterday (11 November) in Nature." (SciDev.Net)

"Italy accepts biotech crops but allows regions to ban them" - "ROME - The Italian government gave the green light for genetically modified (GMO) crops but said regions were free to ban them if their citizens wished. Already 13 of the country's 20 regions, 27 provinces and nearly 1,500 towns and communities have proclaimed themselves "GMO-free zones" and they will be able to continue doing so." (AFP)

November 12, 2004

"Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice" - "Global warming could cause polar bears to go extinct by the end of the century by eroding the sea ice that sustains them, is the dire warning contained in a new report from an international group of 'researchers' called the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com) | Impacts of a Warming Arctic

"Two Sides to Global Warming" - "Is it proven fact, or just conventional wisdom?" (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Inuit Seek to Pressure U.S. to Slow Arctic Thaw" - "REYKJAVIK - Inuit hunters threatened by an accelerating thaw of the Arctic want to amend a U.N. convention to put pressure on Washington to do more to slow global warming, an Inuit leader said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Climate change: A canary in the coal mine" - "The Arctic seems to be getting warmer. So what?" (The Economist)

The Economist seems to have forgotten the all-important "... warmer - relative to... ."Here's the Northern high-latitude annual mean temperature anomaly track 1880-2003.

"Global warming and malaria" - "OSLO -- Malaria-carrying mosquitoes were once a scourge of Shakespeare's chilly England and even Arctic regions of the Soviet Union.

With malaria's history of surviving in the cold, experts are at odds about how far modern global warming may spread one of the planet's most deadly diseases which kills a million people a year in poor countries.

United Nations reports say rising temperatures linked to human burning of fossil fuels are likely to widen malaria's range in the tropics because mosquitoes and the parasite they pass on when sucking human blood thrive best in hot, wet climates.

But some insect experts swat those reports as simplistic." (Business World Online)

"One plus one equals three" - "I admit it; I’m a news junkie. I’ve bookmarked The Drudge Report in my internet browser and when Matt posted results of early morning exit polling on November 2, 2004 showing Sen. John Kerry to be way ahead in every battleground state except Iowa, I very nearly didn’t bother voting. I changed my mind, but how many other eligible voters became discouraged and didn’t? “Alright, Pat, what does this have to do with global warming?” you ask. Plenty! It demonstrates anew how the authoritative mantle we drape around science (and statistics) can be misused to promote a political agenda." (Patrick J. Michaels, co2andclimate.org)

"Cooling Blair's Climate Crusade" - "Tony Blair is, in a way, as polarizing a figure in the United Kingdom as President George W. Bush is in the United States -- with one crucial difference. While President Bush has his Republican critics, he incurs nothing like the venomous hatred hurled at Blair from the left wing of his own Labor Party, a party he has led to successive landslide election victories.

Americans may be about to see why. Blair, having been the president's chief ally in Iraq, may soon become his chief antagonist over the issue of climate change -- and his likely tactics will cause his supposed friends no end of pain." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"US states defy Bush over greenhouse gases" - "Individual American states are putting together a system to cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions, despite the Bush administration's opposition to the Kyoto protocol on global warming. Such a measure was backed by John Kerry during the recent election campaign." (Independent)

"Japan: Industry opposed to green tax" - "TOKYO — The Environment Ministry is determined to introduce an environment tax on fossil fuels in fiscal 2005 to help prevent global warming, but Japanese industry is strongly opposed, saying it will adversely affect the recovering economy." (Japan Today)

"China's dirty energy takes its toll" - "China's breakneck economic growth and soaring energy demand are becoming key factors in global energy use. Louisa Lim explores the human impact of the country's dependence on coal products, as part of the BBC's Planet Under Pressure series." (BBC News Online)

"China ends 'bicycle kingdom' as embracing cars" - "China is signalling the beginning of the end of its status as the world's "bicycle kingdom" as an emerging middle class increasingly forgoes the clean and energy efficient transport in favour of the car." (China Daily)

"Would Wind Farms Hurt Food Farms?" - "A new simulation finds serious and previously unrecognized environmental threats from massive wind farms in the American Great Plains.

A recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research by scientists from Princeton and Duke Universities indicates massive wind farms would significantly increase local surface drying and soil heating, which in turn would impact agricultural or range use on or near the wind farm." (Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, TCS)

"New variety of biotech corn paid off in a variety of ways" - "A new variety of biotech corn paid off in a variety of ways for Plainview, Neb. farmer Dell Kroeger this past season. Monsanto's YieldGuard Plus controlled his rootworm and corn borer problems. And, Kroeger's yields increased by as much as 20 percent per acre in the areas where he planted the new variety." (Sioux City Journal)

"Benefits the path to GM ingredient acceptance?" - "11/11/2004 - Food formlators working in Europe will steer away from using GM ingredients in their recipes as long as consumer sceptism towards biotech foodstuffs continues but at a meeting herded by Europe’s food agency this week attendees hear that finding the balance between risk and benefits could be the path to acceptance." (FoodNavigator.com)

"Safety of new flame retardant questioned" - "The EPA may be sacrificing public health and safety by moving too quickly to approve a new fire retardant to replace chemicals being taken off the market, scientists told a public health conference this week." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Humans may get different forms of BSE" - "Humans are likely to catch more than one form of mad cow disease, experiments in mice suggest. But the good news is that some people may have a genetic make-up that protects them against the disease." (NewScientist.com news service)

November 11, 2004

"DDT Spraying Put On Hold" - "The Ugandan Ministry of Health has been ordered to put on hold its plans to spray DDT, in a bid to undertake inquiries to establish its full effects." (New Vision)

"This is Your WHO on Drugs" - "Where's the Congressional Black Caucus when you really need it?

The self-described "conscience of Congress" has always taken an interest in issues related to Africa. Well, this week a continuing scandal should get its attention. On the heels of its oil for food debacle, the United Nations is now responsible for more malfeasance. This time, the victims are poor Africans. And American taxpayers are, unwittingly and indirectly, contributing to the problem." (Nick Schulz, TCS)

"Pressure treating of wood is questioned" - "This year's change in the composition of pressure-treated lumber is raising concerns about more rapid corrosion in the metal brackets and fasteners used to connect the wood in foundations, decks and other outdoor structures." (Sacramento Bee)

Now we'll wait and see how long before hysterical anti-chemical campaigns begin killing real people via structural failure.

"EPA Suspends Study on Kids And Pesticides" - "The EPA has suspended a controversial study aimed at exploring how infants and toddlers absorb pesticides and other household chemicals, officials said yesterday." (Washington Post)

"The $3bn Bush bypass" - "American scientists wanted Kerry to win the election. What do they do now, asks Ian Sample" (The Guardian)

How do they know? They asked Michael Oppenheimer!

A matter of perspective: "Groups score Bush on environment" - "The Bush administration's environmental enforcement record is the worst in 15 years and promises to get poorer during a second term, according to environmental organizations that analyzed US EPA civil lawsuits and penalties." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"Environment Officials See a Chance to Shape Regulations" - "WASHINGTON — Emboldened by President Bush's victory, the nation's top environmental officials are claiming a broad mandate to refashion the regulation of air and water pollution and wildlife protection in ways that will promote energy production and economic development.

"The election was a validation of the philosophy and the agenda," said Mike Leavitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Environmental protections, he said, must be done "in a way that maintains the economic competitiveness of the country." (Los Angeles Times)

"Peddling a “Cure” Worse than the Disease" - "The 2004 election is over and defeated liberals are urging President Bush to pander to them, not the conservative majority that re-elected him. One issue liberal activists have pushed since Election Day is global warming, and network reporters are again ringing alarm bells about the climate catastrophe that supposedly awaits." (MRC)

"Bringing the media to task over sloppy climate-change language..." - "We hear them in nearly every broadcast, or read them in nearly every report on 'global warming' - phrases that make no sense scientifically. Yet, these have become the mythical language of the age, especially in the UK and Europe. This little blog, then, is a wake-up call for everyone to be ready to carp and to complain about sloppy climate-change journalism whenever and wherever it is encountered, across the airwaves or on the published page. May I encourage you to telephone, or to write, in to editors and producers if you ever have to suffer one of the following climate-change examples of mediaese:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Launching the Counter-Offensive: A Sensible Sense of Congress Resolution on Climate Change" - "How should the next session of Congress approach the climate change issue? CEI's Marlo Lewis offers a commonsense plan." (CEI)

"More study of climate change needed: scientist" - "Studying the ozone layer is essential to curbing global warming, says a U.S scientist who has just been awarded the 2004 Blue Planet Prize." (Japan Times)

"Himalaya glaciers melt unnoticed" - "Environmentalists are warning that the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas could spell disaster for millions of people living in the region. They claim the situation is not being adequately monitored; the last studies having been done in the 1990s." (BBC News Online)

"Local science station helps study rainforest role in global warming" - "Campbell River has an important role to play in helping scientists learn about climate change and global warming.

Dr. Nigel Livingston is a scientist at the University of Victoria's Centre for Forest Biology. He is currently involved in studies trying to solve a mystery of global proportions - what's happened to two gigatons of carbon missing from the earth's climate system?" (Campbell River Mirror)

"Energy: Meeting soaring demand" - "The BBC's Alex Kirby looks at the challenge of providing the world with energy without damaging the environment, as part of Planet Under Pressure, a BBC series on environmental issues." (BBC Online)

"Environmental impacts of gas flaring, venting add up" - "The natural gas regularly burned and released into the atmosphere during the production of oil and gas amounts to a double whammy against the environment—wasted resources and additional greenhouse gas emissions. To combat this, the World Bank launched a voluntary global standard earlier this year to provide more incentives for getting this gas to market, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, where most flaring and venting occurs. As of this fall, countries accounting for more than 70% of flaring and venting globally had signed on to the partnership." (ES&T)

"Warning Over Over GM Food Bid Across EU" - "The European Commission "is intent on allowing GM foods to be grown in EU Member States", Sinn Fein MEP, Bairbre de Brun, has claimed. The comments came after it emerged that the European Commission said that Ireland would not be able to ban GM crops within its boundaries." (Farming Life)

"South Africa: Activists angry at genetically modified food changes" - "CAPE TOWN Activists opposed to genetically modified crops have criticised government's proposed changes to the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Act, saying they fail to address safety issues and they ease the hurdles facing biotechnology companies wanting to market these products." (Business Day)

November 10, 2004

"WHO sends malaria drug warning" - "The World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning that some countries are likely to face a shortage of malaria drugs because of a sharp increase in demand. The medicines - derived from a Chinese herb - are used to treat the deadliest form of the disease. The WHO says 40 countries who now use artemisinin derived drugs as first-line malaria treatment could be affected until March next year. It says that availability of second-line treatments should be increased." (BBC Online)

"EPA Science Chief Stepped Down After Election to Avoid 'Spin'" - "Paul Gilman said he waited until last Wednesday to announce his resignation as top scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency because he didn't want to be part of "somebody else's spin" in the presidential campaign." (Wall Street Journal) [Subscription Required]

"Consumers duped for a lack of general science knowledge" - "The news media -- particularly the Internet -- is responsible for a lot of misinformation about science, but most Canadians find it difficult to determine what’s fact and what’s myth because they lack a science-based knowledge, says a McGill University chemistry professor." (Chatham This Week)

"Germs, Germs Everywhere. Are You Worried? Get Over It." - "The fantasy of a germ-free home is not only absurd, but it is also largely pointless. Unless you share your home with someone very old, very young (under 6 months) or very ill, the few hundred bacteria on a countertop, doorknob or spoon pose no threat. The bacteria that cause food poisoning, the only significant rational bacterial worry in the average home, need to multiply into the thousands or millions before they can overwhelm your immune system and cause symptoms.

The only way common food poisoning bacteria can manage this is to spend four or five hours reproducing at room temperature in something moist that you then eat. If you are worried about food poisoning, the best defense is the refrigerator. If you don't make a habit of eating perishable food that has been left out too long, don't worry about bacteria." (Mary Roach, New York Times)

"Respiratory infections, not air pollution, pose winter health threat for children with asthma" - "Although particulate air pollution has been blamed for a wide variety of negative health effects, a three-year study of asthmatic children in Denver indicates that it does not lead to significant worsening of asthma during the pollution-heavy winter months. Upper respiratory infections, however, were associated with a significant decline in lung function, asthma symptoms and asthma exacerbations." (National Jewish Medical and Research Center)

"SEC 'glitch' hampers child vaccine" - "The national stockpile of vaccines for children, planned as a cushion against shortages or emergencies, is seriously understocked, health officials say. The problem appears to be a Securities and Exchange Commission accounting regulation that bars vaccine makers from claiming sales to the stockpile program as revenue until they're delivered to the customer — in this case, the CDC." (USA Today)

"More rain, but in all the wrong places" - "The country is getting wetter, despite ravaging droughts in some areas. In the past 100 years, western, central and northern Australia have received above-normal rain, making for a wetter nation when averaged out across the continent." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"IPCC-22 HIGHLIGHTS" - "The 22nd session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) opened on Tuesday in New Delhi, India. In the morning, delegates heard opening addresses, approved the IPCC-21 draft report, and listened to Working Group (WG) progress reports on their contributions to AR4. In the afternoon, delegates heard updates on work on the Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System, on the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, on the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, and of the Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA). They also began discussions on scope and content of, and the process for, an AR4 Synthesis Report (SYR). Contact groups on outreach and on the IPCC programme budget also met." (IISD)

"Russian Approval Of Kyoto Pact First Step In Slowing Growth Of Greenhouse Gases – Annan" - "Russia’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, enabling the treaty to go into effect, is a significant first step in slowing down growth in harmful greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, according to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan." (Press Release)

"GLOBAL WARMING: So much hot air" - "Some scientists are convinced warmer global temperatures played a big role in spawning the four hurricanes that whacked Florida this year.

But not so fast, other scientists say, noting that stormy and calm periods of hurricane activity have been a predictable part of Florida in decades past.

In some respects, the differing views on global warming's role in the recent hurricane season capture the whole issue in a nutshell: Both sides have arguments that can sway reasonable people." (Florida Times-Union)

"Editorial: Act now on global warming" - "Congress certainly already had reason enough to approve the measure - it offers a reasonable approach that would reduce emissions without seriously damaging the economy - but the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment should give pause to even the most skeptical critics of the global warming hypothesis." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Hmm... at least the Journal Sentinel got one thing right - anthropogenic enhanced greenhouse-forced 'global warming' remains strictly hypothetical. Northern high latitudes do not seem to be any warmer now than 65 years ago, making these Artic warming stories somewhat dubious.

"Arctic Council: 'Day after Tomorrow' Is Today" - "Not only has it moved beyond the realm of science fiction, but the Arctic ice cap's melting has been much faster than anyone has suspected," according to an editorial in today's Washington Post. "That is one of the important conclusions of a report published yesterday at the behest of the Arctic Council, a forum composed of eight nations with Arctic territories, including the United States."

In the Cato Institute book Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media, Senior Fellow Patrick J. Michaels argues that scientists, politicians, and the media too often exaggerate their claims about the environment, especially with regard to global warming. He documents hundreds of exaggerations, misstatements, and errors that have appeared in major peer-reviewed scientific journals and media outlets, and explains why the gap between perception and reality persists.

On November 18, Cato will host a book forum on Meltdown featuring Michaels." (Cato)

"China in for extreme weather as climate change felt" - "China can expect more droughts, floods and other extreme weather as it struggles to balance rapid development with environmental concerns, a report on climate change released on Tuesday said." (Reuters)

"China reveals official greenhouse gas emission figures for first time" - "China on Tuesday officially revealed for the first time the amount of greenhouse gases it emits, as a UN official warned it could be the source of even more harmful emissions with its rapid development." (AFP)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Mature Sweetgum Trees: Much More Than Meets the Eye" - "It's sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees; but it's even harder to see the forest for the ground that hides its roots." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Arctic (Sea Ice - Thickness)" - "Have historical observations of the thickness of sea-ice in the Arctic shown any indications of the CO 2 -induced global warming that global climate models indicate, and climate alarmists claim, should be evident there?" (co2science.org)

"Health Effects (Temperature - Hot Weather)" - "The heat is on, and it is killing us, according to many climate alarmists.  In reality, however, if the planet is indeed still warming, the rising temperatures are saving lives." (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Hybrid Strawberry, Oilseed Rape, Turnip, and White Mustard." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"A 1200-Year History of Aridity in the Western United States" - "It tells us some important things about the past, as well as some important things about the future." (co2science.org)

"Medieval Drought in Peru (and Elsewhere): What Does It Tell Us about El Niños and Medieval Temperatures?" - "It tells us something about the relationship between El Niños and global warming, as well as something about the Mann et al. hockeystick temperature curve, both of which things must be unsettling to climate alarmists." (co2science.org)

"The Biological Production of Marine Aerosols" - "The process is extremely significant; but it has yet to be incorporated into the state-of-the-art climate models that are relied upon to guide policy development in the area of global climate change." (co2science.org)

"The Fate of Earth's Trees in a Rapidly Warming World" - "If the earth were to experience a warming of the rate and magnitude predicted by climate models, would many of the planet's trees be driven to extinction, as climate alarmists generally claim?  Or would most of them be able to "take the heat" and successfully adapt to it?" (co2science.org)

"Windborne Fungal Spores" - "What do they have to do with the spread of disease?  And how is this relationship affected by the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content?" (co2science.org)

"Environmentalism's Dangerous Campaign for 'Safety'" - "The environmentalists' proclamations of danger and doom are not honest errors--they are a dishonest scare-tactic to make their anti-industrial policies appealing." (Alex Epstein, Ayn Rand Institute)

"Wind power not all pleasant breezes" - "A cool if not quite cold wind is blowing over the ballyhooed environmental benefits of a big shift to wind power.

A group of Canadian and U.S. scientists reported Tuesday that computer simulations show that a large-scale use of wind farms to generate electrical power could create a significant temperature change over Earth's land masses.

While the precise tradeoff between the climate changes from wind farms versus that from carbon-based power systems is still a matter of contention, the fact that wind power isn't climate neutral leaps out of the simulations." (Globe and Mail) | PNAS study (pdf file)

"Nuclear-Power Industry Sees Signs of a U.S. Revival" - "The nuclear-power industry is laying the groundwork to build new plants in the U.S. for the first time in more than two decades." (Wall Street Journal) [Subscription Required]

"Aviation key in climate change battle - UK report" - "LONDON, Nov 10 - Britain's Tony Blair must make aircraft pollution a priority in his drive to confront the problems of climate change, an expert parliamentary committee of peers said on Wednesday.

The House of Lords' European Union sub-committee on the environment said aviation's impact on the environment could be "immense" and should be rapidly included in the EU's emissions trading scheme, which is about to begin." (Reuters)

"EU Renews Beef-Hormone Battle" - "European fears of American food grown with a little help from technology face a fresh test at the World Trade Organization, with the European Union about to launch a case arguing it has scientific evidence to back up its controversial ban on hormone-treated beef." (Wall Street Journal) [Subscription Required]

"U.S. Says NAFTA Report on Genetically Modified Corn is "Flawed" - "The U.S. government says a report by an environmental commission of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) regarding genetically modified maize (corn) is "fundamentally flawed and unscientific."

In a November 8 joint statement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the two agencies said key recommendations in the report are "not based on sound science, and are contradicted by the report's own scientific findings." (Washington File)

"Italy's Leading Oncologist Steps Into GMO Debate" - "Italy's leading oncologist Umberto Veronesi said today that die-hard attempts to defend traditional Italian agriculture from the encroachment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were unscientific. The former health minister said that if given a choice he "would always opt to eat GMO maize" rather than traditionally-grown varieties which may contain potentially-risky toxins.

Activists against GMOs are taking an "ideological" and "demonising" stance without basing their convictions on sound scientific basis. Veronesi made his remarks at a news conference to present a document on behalf of the Italian Toxicology Society (SITOX) and 18 other scientific associations backing GMOs." (AgBioView)

November 9, 2004

"Seeking toxic causes of breast cancer" - "More and more, doctors are struggling to answer a disturbing question: Do exposures to toxic substances in the environment cause or contribute to breast cancer?" (San Francisco Chronicle)

"S.F. and Marin top charts of high breast cancer rates" - "White women in the Bay Area continue to have some of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Hmm... wonder what the correlation might be for organic consumption, tofu munchin'...

"Trouble in the air" - "First it was smoking, now US cities are banning artificial fragrances in public places, but could our love of perfumes really be making us sick?" (London Independent)

"Thousands flock to Japan for radon therapy" - "It has been singled out as the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, right behind smoking. But to Shiro Umeda, sprightly at 74, radon is the best thing since aspirin." (Associated Press)

"Ban isn't end for pesticide diazinon" - "Horticulturists who work with gardeners worry that recent Internet activity indicates there's a burgeoning black market for diazinon, once sold under the trade names Ortho, Real Kill and Spectracide." (Denver Post)

"Pollution, cold snaps linked with heart death" - "Cold snaps and air pollution can trigger heart deaths, and breathing dirty air day in and day out may help heart disease develop in the first place, researchers said on Sunday." (Reuters)

"State Obesity" - "The French parliament, in an effort to fight what it calls the "obesity epidemic", is now taxing food producers and forbidding vending machines in schools.

Wait a minute. An epidemic? Not exactly. Genetic problems can cause obesity, but there is no virus or bacteria, and you do not catch it by shaking hands or sneezing. The only epidemic that exists may lie in bad education - or no education at all - concerning food, or worse, lack of individual responsibility." (Sylvain Charat, TCS)

"UK government 'obstructing' open-access publishing" - "The UK government has rejected calls from an influential committee of MPs to alter radically the way scientific papers are published. The government published its response to the UK Science and Technology Committee’s report on open-access scientific publishing on Monday." (NewScientist.com news service)

"TRMM satellite proves El Nino holds the reins on global rains" - "NASA scientists recently found the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the main driver of the change in rain patterns all around the world." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Russia Takes "Final" Step, Again, But Not Really" - "For the third time in a month and fifth time in just over two years, media are breathless with Russia's purported ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. While this act seems likely to ultimately consummate as soon even as next spring, Russia continues to withhold what is in fact the only relevant step in determining whether it ratifies the "global warming" treaty covering about 35 countries." (Christopher C. Horner, EU Reporter)

This silliness is everywhere: "Global warming severest in Arctic: four-year, eight-country scientific study" - "EDMONTON - Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic as anywhere else and could cause everything from the extinction of polar bears to the flooding of large parts of Florida, says a report released Monday. The report, the most extensive ever done on climate change in the North, calls for immediate action on greenhouse gases." (CP)

Also prevalent is: Global Warming Exposes Arctic to Oil, Gas Drilling (Reuters) [We could wish] and all these are based on: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) and their really pretty graphics - it's such a shame they're projections and modeled fantasy but you have to admire the way the atmospheric CO2 representation has been fitted to and overlaid on the 'hockey stick' temperature 'track' - apparently quite wrong but very impressive. Chartsmanship lives!

The thumbnail (right) links to a graphic of the annual mean temperature track for the zone 64North-90North taken from here (both links open in a new browser window). Rather obviously there was a significant warming to ~1940 (series max 1938, prior to any significant atmospheric CO2 increase), followed by a cooling persisting into the 1970s (great global cooling scare) and a subsequent recovery to temps similar to those seen 65 years previously. Total zonal warming over 65 years? -0.06 °C

"Climate change claims flawed, says study" - "A team of scientists has condemned claims of climate catastrophe as "fatally flawed" in a report released today.

Martin Agerup, president of the Danish Academy for Future Studies and colleagues from Stockholm, Canada, Iceland and Britain say in their report that predictions of "extreme impacts" based on greenhouse emissions employed "faulty science, faulty logic and faulty economics." (The Guardian)

"A Melting Glacier in Tibet Serves as an Example and a Warning" - "The glacier, named Zepu, has lost more than 100 yards of thickness, all in the last three decades, largely because of rising temperatures in the region. And it is hardly unique. Working with scientists from Ohio State University, Dr. Yao has documented similar losses all over Tibet, the largest and loftiest highlands on earth, and home to the biggest concentration of alpine glaciers anywhere." (New York Times)

"Climate: Earth Losing Ice In Every Form" - "Earth appears to be losing its ice in virtually every form, from glacial peaks to the permafrost frozen deep below ground. Suspicion naturally falls on greenhouse gases and global warming as the cause, but there are a few other candidates for the honor." (UPI)

"Look at past sea-level rise points to troubling future" - "New research presented at this week's annual meeting of the Geological Society of America shows that rising sea levels of as little as a half-meter per century have been sufficient to dramatically change the shoreline of the U.S. Gulf Coast within the past 10,000 years. The findings are significant because half-meter increases are within the moderate range of predictions for the Gulf Coast during this century, according to an expert at Rice University in Houston." (Rice University)

"Global warming's impact on US plants, animals determined from review of dozens of studies" - "Global warming has forced U.S. plants and animals to change behavior in recent decades in sometimes harmful ways, a new report for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change finds. Camille Parmesan from The University of Texas at Austin and Hector Galbraith of Galbraith Environmental Services reviewed more than 40 studies in the continental U.S. and Alaska. More than half provided strong evidence of a direct link between global warming and behavioral changes in species." (University of Texas at Austin)

"Energy Policy or Anti-Energy Policy?" - "There was a lot a campaign talk about our nation's energy policy, and Bush and Kerry offered their own competing energy plans. With Bush's victory and increased Republican majorities in Congress, the long-stalled energy bill may finally reach passage. But in truth, we don't really need a new national energy policy so much as we need to end our current anti-energy policy.

Too many politicians and far too many regulators believe the federal government's duty is to oppose energy infrastructure. Goaded by environmental activists and like-minded media, they have treated oil and natural gas wells, pipelines, refineries, electric power plants, transmission lines and the like as bad things that need to be stopped, or at least severely limited." (Ben Lieberman, TCS)

"States curb reliance on fossil fuels" - "In a growing trend, more than a dozen state governments are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to promote power production from wind, sun and other renewable sources. Some states are even requiring residents to help pay for it." (USA Today)

"Genetically Engineered Corn Poses No Immediate Threat to Mexican Crops" - "Genetically modified corn won't threaten native corn species in Mexico, according to a new report issued by the North American Free Trade Association. Some 30 percent of the corn that Mexico imports from the United States may be genetically modified." (Newswise)

November 8, 2004

"Poverty, Hunger Key Issues In Worldwide Poll" - "Nov. 7, 2004 – The fight against poverty and hunger should be the key priority for the world, according to the Voice of the People survey released by Gallup International. 44 per cent of all respondents believe the two topics are important global objectives." (CPOD) | Full Report (PDF)

Interesting survey, more than half of those surveyed want to address hunger and poverty ('Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger' (44%); 'Develop a global partnership to help poor and underdeveloped' (12%) and since one can't happen without the other that's a single item 56%).

Languishing down the list is the warm and fuzzy lip-service item: 'Ensure environmental sustainability' (10%) - a misguided 'no change' wish for what, the 'good old days'? It is likely that such navel-gazers are unaware that 'the environment' is in a constant state of flux, always changing, usually hostile and never 'sustainable' in the sense of being captured in stasis as some kind of museum exhibit. Possibly what is really desired is a retreat to a privileged childhood without risk or responsibility when carers took awestruck children fishing, hunting or just looking at the pretty scenery - sorry guys, you've gotten older and your memories cannot be placed under glass to be 'sustained'.

Even more distressing is that meaningless nostalgia trips like 'environmental sustainability' rank as highly as 'Combat AIDS-HIV, Malaria, etc.' (10%); 'Achieve universal primary education' (10%) and far above 'Reduce child mortality' (4%).

"Beyond parody... " - "If you ever thought that The Observer was a serious left-leaning newspaper, then think again. Today, its two colour supplement magazines - OM ('The Observer Magazine') and The Observer Food Monthly are beyond parody. I have just spent (wasted!) an hour creased up in incredulous fits of wide-eyed mirth. The paper should be re-styled The Trustafarian Times forthwith. The pages are laced with impeccable young ladies, mainly in impeccable little black numbers, with impeccable socialite credentials, mouthing impeccably-PC recycled rubbish about food and the environment. It is all way beyond my own limited powers of parody. I will thus append a glorious catalogue of quotations for your delectation:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Q&A with Don D'Cruz" (PDF) - "CEI recently interviewed Don D’Cruz, a Research Fellow at Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs (www.ipa.org.au), who is a leading authority on the international NGO movement. D’Cruz holds a B.A. in politics from Monash University and a M.A. in strategic studies from the Australian National University. He is currently completing a Ph.D in communications at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He has also worked as a political media adviser and as a public relations and political consultant. He has written extensively on NGOs, focusing on their governance, finances, organizational structure, and strategy and tactics." (Monthly Planet)

"G.O.P. Plans to Give Environment Rules a Free-Market Tilt" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 - With the elections over, Congress and the Bush administration are moving ahead with ambitious environmental agendas that include revamping signature laws on air pollution and endangered species and reviving a moribund energy bill that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration.

In addition, the administration intends to accelerate conservation efforts by distributing billions of dollars to private landowners for the preservation of wetlands and wildlife habitats. The White House also plans to announce next month a new effort to clean up the Great Lakes." (New York Times)

"A long wait for Love Canal health study that promises no answers" - "A state Health Department study of birth defects, cancer rates and deaths among former Love Canal residents has stretched into a seventh year and cost at least $3 million. Some former Love Canal residents -- even some working on the study -- are expressing doubts about its reliability and wondering aloud whether it has been worth the time and money." (New York Newsday)

Because there's nothing to find.

"Virginia high court throws out lawsuit claiming Chesapeake city water caused miscarriages" - "Virginia's Supreme Court on Friday threw out a lawsuit filed by one of more than 200 women who claimed that drinking contaminated Chesapeake city tap water caused miscarriages or birth defects." (Associated Press)

"Peer Reviewers and Publishers of Scholarly Book Get Subpoenas in Lawsuit" - "Lawyers representing more than 20 chemical companies have taken the unusual step of issuing subpoenas to five peer reviewers of a scholarly book--Deceipt and Denial-- as part of litigation over the alleged health risks of a widely used chemical compound." (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Oh... so that's what's wrong with tofurky gobblers: "Hidden soya in fast food 'cutting men's fertility'" - "Britons' love of convenience food packed full of 'invisible' soya is a cause of declining sperm counts and a host of fertility problems, new research into its impact on Western diets reveals. Many healthy foods such as soya milk and soya yogurt are also implicated." (The Observer)

"After the French paradox comes the Italian enigma" - "Frequent consumers of Italian pizza had less than half the risk of an acute myocardial infarction compared with those eating pizza only occasionally, says a research article in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004:58;1543-6). Even those who ate fewer than four portions a month seemed to gain some protection." (BMJ)

The grand illusion (Number Watch) | Wheatstone Discussion Meeting and Lecture 2004

"UK: Humphrys pulls out of debate on passive smoking" - "Broadcaster John Humphrys spoke of his disappointment last night after he had to pull out of a controversial seminar on the risks of passive smoking because it 'lacked balance'.

Speakers at the conference suggested there was insufficient evidence to back up claims that passive smoking - or Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) as it is dubbed by the industry - causes serious diseases among non-smokers.

Peter Lee, described as an independent expert in epidemiology, discussed his review of some 60 studies that had looked at the risk of lung cancer among non-smokers exposed to smokers either at home, at work or in social situations.

'The evidence taken as a whole does not actually demonstrate any true lung cancer risk from exposure to ETS at all,' Lee said." (The Observer)

"Honeybees defy dino-killing 'nuclear winter'" - "The humble tropical honeybee may challenge the idea that a post-asteroid impact "nuclear winter" was a big player in the decimation of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Somehow the tropical honeybee, Cretotrigona prisca, survived the end-Cretaceous extinction event, despite what many researchers believe was a years-long period of darkness and frigid temperatures caused by sunlight-blocking dust and smoke from the asteroid impact at Chicxulub." (Geological Society of America)

The Week That Was Nov. 6, 2004 (SEPP)

"Is Global Warming Always Bad?" - "Have you ever read anything good about global warming? Why is all the news always bad?

Objectively speaking, any environmental change should have both positive benefits and negative effects. For example, theory predicts and observations confirm that human-induced warming takes place primarily in winter, lengthening the growing season. Satellite measurements now show that the planet is greener than it was before it warmed. There are literally thousands of experiments reported in the scientific literature demonstrating that higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations -- cause by human activity -- dramatically increase food production. So why do we only hear one side about global warming?

Perhaps because there's little incentive for scientists to do anything but emphasize the negative and the destructive. Alarming news often leads to government funding, funding generates research, and research is the key to scientists' professional advancement. Good news threatens that arrangement." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute)

"The One Percent Solution" - "Many of the scientific papers that have contributed to global warming alarmism over recent weeks (such as the study that predicted the ruin of California’s wine industry or the more recent study predicting stronger hurricanes by 2080) have depended on models that assume atmospheric increases of carbon dioxide concentrations by one percent per year from 1990 to the end of the century." (Iain Murray, EU Reporter Online)

"Bush Stands by Rejection of Kyoto Treaty" - "President Bush is holding fast to his rejection of mandatory curbs on greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming, despite a fresh report from 300 scientists in the United States and seven other nations that shows Arctic temperatures are rising." (Associated Press)

"Editorial: Kyoto Ratification" - "FOLLOWING RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin's long-awaited signature yesterday, the Kyoto Protocol on climate change will finally go into effect. Mr. Putin has not decided to ratify the treaty because his compatriots suddenly saw the light and decided to become environmentalists, although some will try to portray it that way. In fact, the Russians bargained hard, winning European endorsement for World Trade Organization membership in exchange for their signature. Moreover, Russia will gain financially from the treaty, because it is based on a requirement that signatories reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels. Russia's industrial output has collapsed since then, along with greenhouse gas emissions. No regulation, taxes or pollution controls are necessary." (The Washington Post)

"Kyoto can't do the job alone says expert" - "One of the world's top thinkers on climate change, Eileen Claussen, says more than just the Kyoto Protocol is needed to tackle the issue." (New Zealand Herald)

"Japan now has to get serious about greenhouse gases" - "With Russia signing Kyoto, the protocol comes into force in February. Japan will now have to redouble its efforts to meet its pledge of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. This is becoming an increasingly tall order to fill." (Japan Times) | Approval of Kyoto pact brings new challenges (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Ministry proposes 2,400 yen per ton carbon tax plan" - "The Environment Ministry unveiled a carbon tax Friday to discourage use of fossil fuels and promote the use of energy-saving appliances so Japan can meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Who exactly will pay for the "environment tax," however, would depend on the type of fuel, according to the plan. Processors and importers of such fuels as gasoline, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas, for example, would have to pay 2,400 yen per ton of carbon contained in the fuel -- a burden they are expected to pass on in the retail price." (Japan Times)

Sir David... "Global warming 'will redraw map of world'" - "Maps of the world will have to be redrawn, as global warming melts the Greenland ice-cap inundating coasts and major cities, the Government's chief scientific adviser warned last week.

Sir David King told ministers, senior officials and leaders of industry at a top-level conference on climate change in Berlin that there was a "real risk" the ice sheet would not survive and that "humanity had better be prepared for a complete realignment of the coastal zones, where most of the world's major cities are sited." (Independent)

"Storm Scan" - "With winter drawing near, what better time to examine how a greenhouse gas-warmed world might alter winter storminess? Severe winter storms have real economic and social impacts. Will future cyclones become more frequent and intense — or less so — as the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increases? The answer to the question is not at all straightforward." (GES)

"Climate change 'big threat'" - "Farmers received a warning from across the Tasman last week about the likely impact of climate change on agriculture. At the Climate Change and Business conference in Auckland, Garry English, of the Western Australia Farmers Federation, urged farmers to "wake up". "Of all the threats to our industry, this is the biggest," he said. After his workshop on land use and resource economics, English said too many farmers dismissed global warming as an environmental issue, rather than a serious issue facing the industry." (New Zealand Herald)

Perhaps they have better things to do than play Chicken Little?

"Financial world goes green as climate change treaty gets Russian boost" - "Some 200 business actors at a meeting in Switzerland, organised by the reinsurance giant Swiss Re, toasted Russia's key ratification of the emissions-cutting Kyoto treaty on Friday with champagne. Barely a few years ago such a greeting would hardly have been imaginable." (Agence France-Presse)

"Flood sweat and tears" - "We can't say we haven't been warned - rising temperatures, disappearing coastlines and dire predictions that climate change poses a greater threat than global terror ... Yet still we fly, drive, consume and pollute like never before." (London Observer)

"Britain's record on reducing pollution attacked" - "Labour has done virtually nothing to cut the pollution that causes global warming, despite repeated claims by Tony Blair to be "leading the world" in combating the climate change, says a new report. The findings will be deeply embarrassing to the Prime Minister." (London Independent)

"Labour 'has caved in' on green tax" - "The government is putting the interests of business before tackling climate change, according to the think-tank with most influence in Downing Street." (London Observer) | Appeal to hit firms in fight on pollution (Scotland on Sunday)

"Customers are slow to adopt 'green' power" - "Like Kermit the Frog, Massachusetts is learning it's not easy being green.

For the past year, electricity customers in MetroWest and elsewhere have been able to buy into a renewable energy program offered by Massachusetts Electric, a power distributor based in Westborough. The company's "GreenUp" plan provides consumers several options to generate between 50 percent and 100 percent of their electricity via renewable energy sources.

But only 2,600 Mass Electric customers have opted for the plan since it started in September 2003. Those environmentally conscious consumers, who generally see a $6.75 to $12 premium on their monthly electric bills, represent less than 1 percent of Mass Electric's network of 1.2 million customers in the commonwealth." (Westborough News)

"Canada considers curbs on emissions" - "Some officials want the nation to follow California limits on car and truck exhaust." (Detroit News)

"Air pollution link to heart disease" - "Researchers report a link between long-term air pollution and the early stages of artery disease in people long before they showed obvious symptoms. Induced changes begin a long process that leads to a hardening of the arteries, then heart disease and stroke." (London Guardian)

"EPA Director Hangs Back on Ordering Mercury Studies" - "Despite an earlier promise, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency hasn't yet ordered new studies to help resolve a controversy over controlling mercury emissions." (Los Angeles Times)

"Blood Mercury Levels in Young Children and Childbearing-Aged Women --- United States, 1999--2002" - "Exposure to high levels of mercury (Hg) can cause neurologic and kidney disorders. Because methylated Hg (methyl-Hg) in the aquatic environment accumulates in animal tissues up the food chain, persons in the United States can be exposed by eating freshwater fish, seafood, and shellfish. Exposure of childbearing-aged women is of particular concern because of the potential adverse neurologic effects of Hg in fetuses. To determine levels of total blood Hg in childbearing-aged women and in children aged 1--5 years in the United States, CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) began measuring blood Hg levels in these populations in 1999. This report summarizes NHANES results for 1999--2002 and updates previously published information. The findings confirmed that blood Hg levels in young children and women of childbearing age usually are below levels of concern. However, approximately 6% of childbearing-aged women had levels at or above a reference dose, an estimated level assumed to be without appreciable harm (>5.8 µg/L). Women who are pregnant or who intend to become pregnant should follow federal and state advisories on consumption of fish." (MMWR)

"Organic farming: facts and fallacies" - "ORGANIC FARMING is being touted as the panacea for a whole range of maladies afflicting third world rural society. These range from low agricultural output to wasteful dumping of massive doses of farm chemical on cultivated lands as to reach toxic levels. It is cited as being the viable relief from the fatigue of Green Revolution besides heralding holistic solutions to rural poverty alleviation providing employment opportunities to rural women. And it includes claims that organic foods are healthier for human and animal consumption." (The Hindu)

"Column: It has been a blast being a 'Biotech Bully'" - "You are having a blast with this thing!" remarked a friend not long ago about my tirades and harassment of the anti-biotech crowd in this space over the past few months." (Harry Cline, Western Farm Press)

"Paraguayan GMO approval seen as market milestone" - "Paraguay’s nod for biotech soybean production is seen as “a good symbolic move” that could boost global GMO acceptance and help close Latin America’s biotech black market.

Paraguay’s ag minister last week OK’d four soybean varieties that contain Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide resistance for commercial planting. Meanwhile, a Paraguayan industry group has approved a framework for a GMO royalty collection system designed to serve the same function as up-front “tech fees” U.S. growers pay to plant Roundup Ready beans." (FarmWeek)

"Bt cotton helps boost India's cotton output to record level" - "New Delhi, Nov 5 : Monsanto's Bt cotton has been a significant contributor to India's record cotton production this season, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said here Friday. "The Bt cotton yield was definitely better in quality and quantity, boosting production by 30-35 percent in areas it was sown. Gujarat has benefited the most from higher production," Pawar told IANS on the sidelines of the annual Social Editors' Conference here." (India News)

November 5, 2004

"Sex, Not Science, Featured at Public Health Meeting" - "The American Public Health Association has made (ahem) a rather revealing choice for a keynote speaker at its annual meeting next week." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Lawyers Organizing for Mass Suits Over Vioxx" - "Hundreds of lawyers who claim that people were injured or killed by the painkiller Vioxx plan to lay groundwork for a legal assault against the drug's maker, Merck." (New York Times)

"Devil or Angel: Will the Real Merck Please Stand Up?" - "It's been quite a rollercoaster six weeks for old-line pharmaceutical company Merck, based in New Jersey. As September ended, the company announced the voluntary withdrawal of its blockbuster anti-arthritis COX-2 inhibitor drug, Vioxx, due to cardiovascular toxicity. Subsequently, Merck has been embroiled in charges of a cover-up involving what they knew about Vioxx's side effects and when they knew it. The company faces legions of litigants led by tort-lawyer centurions, while TV and newspaper ads implore those "injured by Vioxx" to call for a free consultation. If internal memos are found to support charges of intentional malfeasance, it will merely add punitive damages to the billions that may soon be paid (mainly to attorneys).

But the bad news about Vioxx comes at the same time as a medical breakthrough -- an effective cancer vaccine -- and it's also a Merck product. It is to be hoped that the pending litigation about Vioxx doesn't threaten the development of this new product." (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"What is safe, what isn't?" - "The media constantly bombard us with reports of things that supposedly are good or bad for our health. Increasingly, they seem to rely on the unsubstantiated warnings of activists, or on anecdotes, which only reinforces the news organizations' credo, "If it bleeds, it leads." (Henry I. Miller, The Washington Times)

"Is salmon good or bad?" - "Eat salmon, we're urged. Eat salmon only sparingly, we're warned." (Miami Herald)

"Iraqi Deaths Report Is Merely Poor Propaganda" - "The Bush campaign survived three October Surprise attacks from abroad. The alleged missing munitions allegation has deservedly died, and The Osama bin Laden Show probably actually helped the President. But the third attack, malicious and false though it be, may survive to be used by both Iraqi rebels and war opponents. That's the report in the British medical journal The Lancet claiming the U.S. has killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians since the invasion." (Michael Fumento, Scripps Howard News Service)

"Elections and the New Media" - "It was a make-or-break election for the Old Media. And they broke." (Glenn Harlan Reynolds, TCS)

"MoD dismisses reports on 'Gulf War Syndrome'" - "The Ministry of Defence yesterday dismissed evidence from a number of scientific studies suggesting that troops who fought in the 1991 Gulf war were suffering from illnesses caused by their service." (Daily Telegraph)

"Time to Burn the Heretic" - "If one is going to commit a heresy, it would help to get the facts straight." (Radley Balko, TCS)

"West's Wildfires Linked to Global Warming" - "A study contradicts the belief that such blazes are unnatural, citing similar outbreaks during a drought in the Middle Ages." (Los Angeles Times)

I admit I admire the flexibility of eco-theists. Western wildfires are not the result of forest mismanagement - they're perfectly natural and occurred during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) too. The very same period of higher temperatures that is argued not to exist when discussing climate change because they believe change must be bad and everything bad must be caused by humanity.

"World 'will act on climate gases'" - "International action on tackling climate change will eventually come, one of the UK's leading environmental thinkers says." (BBC Online)

Sir Crispin Tickell eh? What a surprise... check out Global Warming: How It All Began by Richard Courtney.

Ever wondered why Europe was pro Kyoto? "Damning report on EU economic ambitions under fire" - "BRUSSELS - European Union leaders got a wake up call this week as a high-level report warned the bloc must run just to stand still in global competitiveness rankings." (Reuters)

"EU Trade Bait" - "It is now European mantra that the US does not support multilateral institutions, like the Kyoto Protocol. In possibly his last act as European Trade Commissioner, Pascal Lamy has shown that the EU is now prepared to "entice" countries to follow its environmental policies. He called it "Soft Power". It is trade bait for poor countries and that is bad news for them. People are right to wonder who and what is next.

At a press conference in Brussels on 20 October, Lamy announced that the EU would give preferential access to its markets if poor countries passed an EU test. They had to accede to a set of international conventions on environment, labor and human rights nominated by the EU. He highlighted the Kyoto Protocol.

Journalists will see the "Soft Power" claim as yet another effort by the EU to differentiate itself from US 'Hard Power' (unilateralism). But it looks like a Freudian slip. The real contrast is with the EU's own brand of hard unilateralism on trade and environment which it has been practicing, unannounced, for some time." (Alan Oxley, TCS)

[Alan Oxley is a former Ambassador to the GATT, predecessor of the WTO.]

"Putin Signs Kyoto Protocol" - "MOSCOW -- President Vladimir Putin has signed the Kyoto Protocol, giving the final stamp of approval that would bring the global climate pact into force early next year, the Kremlin said Friday." (Associated Press)

"Global Warming: Britain and Germany Chart the Way Forward" - "In an unprecedented show of leadership between the two nations, a range of innovative recommendations are to be presented to Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, aimed at delivering a low carbon, less energy intensive world." (UNEP)

"Government scientist accused of 'alarmism' over climate change" - "One of US President George Bush’s top climate change advisers launched an attack on the Government’s chief scientist Sir David King today, accusing him of being “alarmist” and knowing “nothing about climate science.” (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Kyoto tree planting credits won't be much help" - "Predicted gains from selling surplus carbon credits globally is a pipe dream, writes Chris de Freitas" (NBR)

"Beckett upbeat on climate change" - "There is a chance America could change its stance on global warming despite George Bush's re-election, the UK environment secretary has said. Margaret Beckett said public opinion was bringing change regardless of who had won the presidential election." (BBC Online)

He's ba-ack... "Climate change, Kyoto, and the Republican tornado..." - "I have deliberately entitled this 'the Republican tornado' rather than 'the Bush victory'. Even though the British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, may wish to cast off his image as a pliant poodle licking George W. Bush's Texan spurs by trying to extract some concessions on climate change and the Kyoto Protocol from his Washington buddy, the fact that, in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Republicans have been returned with strengthened majorities means that any measures that are seen to hinder economic recovery will be regarded with cold contempt. It is often forgotten that, even under the Clinton-Gore administration, the Kyoto Protocol on climate change was dismissed out-of-hand." (EnviroSpin Watch) | Kyoto will be rained on (Philip Stott, The Times)

"UK to push Bush on global warming" - "BERLIN - The government hopes it can exert influence on reelected President George W. Bush and push the United States to do more to combat climate change, the government's chief scientist says." (Reuters)

"A Smart Consensus" - "In politics, as Tuesday's election results confirmed, there is no consensus of opinion about who would be the best U.S. president for the next for years. But at least on one thing, President Bush and his challenger John Kerry agreed, that the international political consensus forged on global warming as represented by the so-called Kyoto protocol is wrongheaded." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Is it global warming?" - "Americans sat transfixed as three big hurricanes in a row pounded in from the Gulf of Mexico.

Is it due to global warming?

The computerized global climate models predict we’ll get more and bigger storms as the planet warms. The Worldwatch Institute says “heat in the atmosphere is the fuel that leads to stormy weather,” and “weather disasters are occurring with ever-greater intensity and frequency around the world.”

Not exactly." (Dennis Avery, FarmWeek)

"Icecaps Melt, Costner Redeemed" - "Thaw of the Arctic icecap is accelerating because of global warming but nations in the region including the United States are more concerned about a mandatory apology to Kevin Costner for the universal bashing of his sci-fi flop, Waterworld." (The Spoof!)

"Enough study, now act" - "The evidence of global warming is everywhere, from the top of the globe to the bottom. People must decide what to do. It's a question for the entire world. But it is also a particular responsibility for Americans, since we are leading contributors to the phenomenon." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board)

"Scientists find acid rain an unlikely ally in the battle against a greenhouse gas" - "Depending on how you look at it, something good can always come out of something bad. That's actually the case in a new study on greenhouse gases by NASA scientists and others. The researchers discovered that acid rain inhibits a wetland bacteria from producing methane, a greenhouse gas." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Controversial results downplay power plant mercury emissions" - "Mercury emissions from power plants may have minimal regional impacts, according to data and analysis presented by scientists funded by the electricity generating industry and the U.S. Department of Energy." (Environmental Science & Technology)

"Big wind-farm plan faces lengthy battle" - "Conservation groups and energy companies face a battle over plans to build the world’s biggest on-shore wind farm." (Edinburgh Scotsman)

"Wind farms stunt growth of property value" - "Arguments that wind farms are a blot on the landscape will be fuelled by new research showing they cause the value of nearby homes to fall." (The Guardian)

"Africa Must Boost Use of Water Resources to Combat Food Shortages and Poverty, Says U.N." - "Africa needs to step up the use of its abundant water resources to boost farm productivity and combat persistent poverty and food shortages, a United Nations official said Thursday." (Associated Press)

"Genomics predicted to transform world economies" - "Nations that do not embrace the new "language" of genetics will end up backward and poor, warns a renowned economist and author who visited London yesterday. Juan Enriquez is the author of As the Future Catches You , an influential book which predicts that advances in genomics will soon transform the world economy." (London Free Press)

"Biotech tide turns: Three defeats undercut ban momentum" - "CHICO - California farmers woke up Wednesday to a possible high-tech future - and more battles ahead over genetically engineered crops. Voters in Butte, San Luis Obispo and Humboldt counties rejected bans on biotech crops, a serious setback for a national movement that wants to stop genetic engineering over safety and social concerns. Only Marin County adopted a ban in Tuesday's election." (Sacramento Bee)

November 4, 2004

"Science Loses Some Friends" - "The scientific world lost three important figures in recent weeks, as Francis Crick, Thomas Gold and Philip Abelson have all passed away. In their careers, each demonstrated the best that science has to offer humanity. Their loss illustrates how much worse off the state of science is today than during their glory years." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Sarin 'Gulf war syndrome cause'" - "Gulf war syndrome may have been caused by exposure to the nerve gas sarin, according to reports." (BBC Online)

"Chemical chaos" - "What's keeping food fresh and looking good as it travels increasing distances from farm to market? In Canada, more than 400 food additives are approved for use. Unintentional additives are also served up from pesticide residues, hormones and antibiotics in animal products." (London Free Press)

"In some nations, the rise of 'shortgevity'" - "While 24 nations have seen life spans fall in the past 30 years, some of these are seeing a turnaround." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Snappy solution to a serious shortage" - "Scientists are one step closer to making synthetic human blood - thanks to the amazing properties of crocodile haemoglobin. Emma Young reports" (The Guardian)

"When ecotourism kills" - "Watching whales, bears, and turtles can harm them, sometimes fatally." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Food shortages threaten Antarctic wildlife" - "Antarctic whales, seals and penguins could be threatened by food shortages in the Southern Ocean. Numbers of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), a shrimp-like crustacean at the heart of the food chain, are declining. The most likely explanation is a dramatic decline in sea-ice. The results are published this week in the journal Nature." (British Antarctic Survey)

Wonder if it's all those extra whales munching on previously excessive krill populations? Back in the '70s whale populations had been severely depressed, with some populations commercially extinct. Since then populations have significantly recovered (southern humpbacks wintering along Australia's east coast are believed at least as prolific as pre-whaling times) and they are again predating on their natural food sources. Could it be that the 1970s 'baseline' krill numbers were unnaturally high due to reduced predation and are returning to near-'normal' levels now? Data deficient (snazzier term than shrugging shoulders but means the same). Penguin numbers are likely down at present - had a dreadfully hard couple of breeding seasons because major Antarctic rookeries were ice-bound and brood birds faced enormous hardship trekking over ice for days to reach clear water and unable to relieve incubating partners before they had to return to the sea to feed. Hatchings were apparently small and chick survival appalling.

Conditions in the Antarctic have apparently been somewhat trying, especially sea ice conditions. Since 2000: the NSF has been dispatching 2 ice breakers rather than the usual 1 to assist with base resupply; Australia's supply ship has been trapped in unusually heavy ice conditions and required rescue and; the BAS Shackleton expedition failed to reenact that famous explorers voyage due to - you guessed it - heavy ice conditions. Krill, however, have been blessed with lots of sea ice to graze under.

"Massive peat burn is speeding climate change" - "The recent surge in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which made front-page headlines around the world last month, may have been caused in part by smouldering peat bogs in Borneo.

This is the claim of a UK expert on the bogs, who says that further fires will accelerate global warming. “Burning peat could be a major contributor to the as yet unexplained accelerating build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1998,” says Jack Rieley of the University of Nottingham in the UK. His warning comes as peat bogs in Indonesia began burning again last month." (New Scientist)

Sigh... Obviously just about everybody wants to get into the act. The fact is that the "surge" in atmospheric CO2 was really a fairly localized non-event, an anomaly which this year's as yet incomplete data already indicates is behind us. What a lot of kafuffle about absolutely zip.

"Russia Keen to Link Emission Trade to EU, North America" - "MOSCOW - Russia is keen to link its emissions trading to the European and North American markets to help its firms make money from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, a government official told Reuters.

Russia has almost finished ratifying Kyoto, which aims to stabilize emissions of greenhouse gases and awaits President Vladimir Putin's signature to come into force worldwide, and must now develop the mechanisms necessary to implement the pact." (Reuters)

"Climate: A Turning Point For Kyoto?" - "There was a giddy alcoholic theme to the announcement the Russian Duma has ratified the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Margot Wallstrom, the European Union's commissioner for the environment broke out the champagne. In tribute to the Russian national beverage, Greenpeace headlined its news release on the topic, Vodka today, for Monday we go to work on the climate." (UPI)

"Russia's Kyoto move rings the alarm in Tokyo" - "When Russia agreed to ratify the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions last month, one might have expected popping Champagne corks in Japan. After all, Russia's move meant the treaty, signed seven years ago in Japan's ancient capital, would now come into force rather than fading into oblivion.

Yet, according to diplomats and private-sector observers, the reaction instead has been closer to panic.

The reason is that Japan is far behind on its Kyoto obligations. In the treaty, it pledged to cut emissions by 6 per cent from 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. At last count, in 2002, it was 7.6 per cent above 1990 levels, a figure expected to exceed 8 per cent when fresh data are published." (Financial Times)

"U.S. Wants No Warming Proposal - Administration Aims to Prevent Arctic Council Suggestions" - "The Bush administration has been working for months to keep an upcoming eight-nation report from endorsing broad policies aimed at curbing global warming, according to domestic and foreign participants, despite the group's conclusion that Arctic latitudes are facing historic increases in temperature, glacial melting and abrupt weather changes.

State Department representatives have argued that the group, which has spent four years examining Arctic climate fluctuations, lacks the evidence to prepare detailed policy proposals. But several participants in the negotiations, all of whom requested anonymity for fear of derailing the Nov. 24 report, said officials from the eight nations and six indigenous tribes involved in the effort had ample science on which to draft policy." (Washington Post)

This is another curious claim. Last I heard Greenland's temperatures were falling rather than rising, Siberia has suffered some truly vicious cold spells, gray whales were being iced out of their Bering Sea feeding grounds (remember the havoc with King Crab fishing with ice down to St. Paul Island?) and Iceland was expressing concern about sea ice cutting off their sea lanes, all in the last few years. Sure doesn't give the impression of dramatic warming.

"Answers to burning questions" - "One of the most important questions scientists will ever have to answer is due to be considered at a conference in February. The question is fundamental: how much global warming can earth stand?" (The Guardian)

"A Tale of Two Records" - "SciencExpress (the rush-to-release version of Science magazine) published a report on October 7, 2004, claiming a trend toward warmer temperatures could lead to “a serious long-term increase in aridity over western North America.” The team of paleoclimate researchers led by Edward Cook uses a large collection of tree-ring data from the region to analyze 1,200 years and reconstruct drought conditions in the American West." (co2andclimate.org)

"Blowing One’s Own Whistle" - "There is it was, one week before the 2004 Presidential election and a prominent scientist on the federal payroll attacked a sitting President in a crucible of campaign political action (Iowa). It wasn’t just any scientist, either, but none other than NASA’s James Hansen, the beneficiary of a 2001 Heinz Award, a $250,000 prize awarded by a foundation run by the wife of the Democratic nominee, Theresa Heinz Kerry. But there’s no significance in that, we’re assured. Hansen was speaking out as a private citizen. He paid his own way to the battle ground state. It was entirely a coincidence that his charges echoed the rhetoric emerging late in the campaign." (co2andclimate.org)

"Weather hots up under wind turbines" - "Wind farms have a significant effect on the climate, according to US researchers who modelled a hypothetical wind farm. The model suggests that at night the turbines bring down to ground level the warm night air, increasing the temperature underneath the turbines by around 2 °C. The findings are also backed by real observations from a wind farm in California." (New Scientist)

"California group sues wind companies over bird deaths" - "SAN FRANCISCO - A California environmental group has sued to force the operators of one of North America's largest windmill farms to take steps to reduce the number of birds killed in the turbines' propellers, court papers showed." (Reuters)

"Australia: Plan end a blow for wind farms" - "There will be no more wind farms developed in Tasmania after 2008 because of the Federal Government's decision not to extend the Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets scheme, Hydro Tasmania said yesterday. Hydro chairman David Crean said that with the MRET scheme due to expire in 2020, wind farms that were not in operation by 2008 would not be viable. In a swipe at the Federal Government's decision not to extend the scheme, Dr Crean said Hydro Tasmania was disappointed. He said wind farms needed 12 years of financial incentives to make them competitive, so any developed after 2008 would not make economic sense." (The Examiner)

"Just one Calif. county votes in ban on gen-mod crops" - "SAN FRANCISCO — Agriculture biotechnology made a comeback in California on Tuesday, months after Mendocino County voters passed the nation's first ban of genetically modified crops. Voters in Humboldt, San Luis Obispo and Butte counties rejected similar ballot measures Tuesday. Meanwhile, voters in Marin County, a mostly suburban region just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, did enact their own ban of genetically modified crops. With 100% of the precincts reporting, the ban led 61% to 39%." (Associated Press)

"The Crops of Wrath" - "Left" and "Right" may be useful concepts in many respects, but not as far as the debate over genetically modified crops is concerned, at least in Italy. While the general public is ill-informed about the issue, in the political realm we have a strong anti-GM lobby." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

November 3, 2004

"WHO: Africa needs 10-fold more cash to fight malaria" - "BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo - Africa needs up to $2.5 billion a year to fight malaria, or 10 times the donor funds pledged for a campaign against the disease, the World Health Organization said Tuesday." (Reuters)

Actually, Africa could have unobstructed access to DDT at the stroke of a pen, saving millions of lives and with cash to spare.

"Kenya: MP Thanks Minister for 'Useless' Reply" - "Instead of using DDT, the Kenyan government prefers: "safe insecticides, biological control, and environmental management" No wonder then that malaria cases and deaths continue to rise." (AFM)

"Green MSP walks out after organic farming is savaged" - "Good for Jock Stewart, who supports the use of DDT to save lives - irritating a Green Party MP is a price well worth paying to ensure that malaria is better controlled." (AFM)

"Child obesity linked to schools' deals with food vendors" - "Juvenile obesity may begin at home, but thousands of U.S. schools have signed contracts that feed the growing problem. Over half of all high schools and junior high schools nationwide have struck deals with soft-drink companies or vendors, giving them exclusive marketing rights to their students, according to the Institute of Medicine, a health-policy adviser to Congress." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"WHO 'buried' report to please food industry" - "The World Health Organisation was yesterday accused of burying a report recommending that curbs on junk food advertising be incorporated into global food standards. Activists say hiding the report, which also calls for tough limits on sugar, salt and fat, comes after pressure from the food industry and its US backers." (The Guardian)

"Study questions cancer claims for 5-a-day diet" - "US researchers have questioned whether eating plenty of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of developing cancer, a central claim in official health advice. A study led by the Harvard school of public health in Boston analysed data from more than 100,000 health professionals over 14 years and concluded such a diet led to a "modest" overall reduction in chronic disease, largely because of the impact on preventing heart disease and strokes." (The Guardian)

"Ratification Of Kyoto Protocol To Bring Russia Political Gain" - "MOSCOW, November 1 - Ratification of the Kyoto protocol will bring Russia political but not economic gains, Moscow State University teacher Anna Kashirova, economic science candidate, head of the research group Russia and the Kyoto Protocol, told RIA Novosti Monday." (RIA Novosti)

"EDITORIAL: Adopt environment tax" - "Energy efficiency creates new business opportunities.

With the Kyoto Protocol on global warming likely to come into force soon, discussion on implementing an environment tax has gone into high gear. European nations already have such a tax, but Japan postponed adopting one even though the issue was the subject of considerable debate over the past few years. We earnestly hope serious consideration will be given to it this time around.

The environment tax, also known as carbon tax, is a levy to be imposed on the consumption of electricity and gas as well as fossil fuels such as oil and coal in proportion to the quantity of the carbon dioxide they emit." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Climate gas cuts 'are affordable'" - "The world can ward off a dangerous rise in temperature much more cheaply than many people think, a UK scientist says. Professor John Schellnhuber, of the University of East Anglia, believes the cost of averting runaway climate change could be as low as 0.3% of global GDP." (Alex Kirby, BBC News website)

Just couldn't resist the oh-so-apt accompanying graphic, with the caption: Friendlier farming is one way to tackle climate change.

Wonder if these clods have any idea how much land was freed from grain and fodder production when the internal combustion engine displaced draught animals, how much has returned to wildlife habitat and how much more land would be required with these low-productivity farming methods just to provide subsistence rations to the world's population. 'Friendlier farming'? Friendlier to what - starvation, famine, pestilence? Their romantic rural idyll is in fact a recipe for malnutrition and the short, brutal lives of drudgery the historically ignorant call 'the good old days.' No thanks.

"Britain, Germany Seek Lead on Climate Change" - "LONDON, Nov 1 - Britain and Germany will seek to take joint lead on initiatives to contain climate change at a conference in Berlin this week." (IPS)

"CLIMATE: Conflicting claims" - "Those who see the end of the world looming ahead should get their stories straight. Is it global warming, or a new Ice Age that should make us tremble? Will the Kyoto Treaty save us, or is it a waste of time?" (Florida Times-Union)

"Wild is weather's way" - "IS it a record?" is the inevitable cry after a day of unusually hot or cold weather, after a big storm or a heartbreakingly dry period. Weather records are there to be broken." (The Australian)

"Do we have the political will to save the planet?" - "ANOTHER day, another environmental doomsday scenario predicting the demise of the planet and the ultimate extinction of the human race. And no prizes for guessing the culprit either. Climate change caused by global warming is again in the news, this time responsible for melting the Arctic ice-cap at an unprecedented rate with potentially catastrophic consequences." (The Scotsman)

"Global warming 'will leave Arctic ice-free'" - "Global warming is causing the Arctic ice-cap to melt at such an unprecedented rate that by the summer of 2070 it may have no ice at all, according to the most comprehensive study carried out on global climate change in the region." | And yet it melts (The Guardian)

"Does El Nino hail milder winter?" - "Although a Siberian cold front sent mercury plunging as much as 8 C in northern China last week, the country is expecting another warm winter. The relatively warm conditions are expected to occur with El Nino returning, meteorologists with the Chinese National Meteorological Administration said yesterday." (China Daily)

Is El Niño returning?

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Millennial-Scale Oscillation of Climate Seen in History of Patagonian Glaciers" - "With many mountain glaciers around the world continuing to recede as the earth recovers from the inclement weather of the Little Ice Age, climate alarmists see this phenomenon as a sign of CO 2 -induced global warming.  Others, however, deem it a manifestation of a well-known natural oscillation of climate that is totally independent of rising greenhouse-gas concentrations." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Arctic (Sea Ice - Extent)" - "For the part of the earth that is supposed to act as a "canary in a coal mine" in revealing the first and most dramatic signs of CO 2 -induced global warming, the Arctic is a region of confusion when it comes to the subject of sea ice extent." (co2science.org)

"Marine Biota" - "How does sea life, and especially those organisms at the bottom of the marine food chain, respond to increases in air temperature and atmospheric CO 2 concentration?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Chinese Broccoli and Marrow Stem Kale." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Tropical Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures" - "How have they behaved over the past few decades?  And why?" (co2science.org)

"Twentieth-Century Climate Change in Iceland" - "Has global warming dominated Iceland's recent climate?  Were the 1990s truly "unprecedented" in terms of their warmth?  You may, or may not, be surprised by the results of this new study." (co2science.org)

"Elevated CO 2 Concentrations More Than Alleviate Heat Stress in Cotton" - "It's truly amazing what a quadrupling of the air's CO 2 concentration can do for plants." (co2science.org)

"Rising Atmospheric CO 2 Concentrations Help Sequester Potentially Toxic Elements" - "Recent research demonstrates that the benefits will likely be huge and experienced throughout all terrestrial ecosystems." (co2science.org)

"Coral Reef Resiliency: How Strong or Weak Is It?" - "The results of this study may surprise you, in light of what one often hears from climate alarmists on the subject." (co2science.org)

"Pump Up CO2 Debate" - "If auto makers can’t convince the Republican Gov. of California to rescind carbon dioxide legislation, the legal wrangling is likely to come down to whether carbon dioxide is indeed a pollutant." (WardsAuto.com)

"Emissions impossible?" - "Industry has much to do when it comes to improving energy efficiency. Louise Tickle on the good, the bad and the indifferent." (The Guardian)

"Catch the Wind, Change the Weather" - "Wind turbines have been hailed as an environmentally friendly way to reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels. But a wind farm with hundreds or even thousands of large turbines removes an enormous amount of energy from the air. So is wind power really benign?" (New York Times)

"Kyoto makes UK energy policy all wind" - "THE Prime Minister recently announced that climate change will be a key theme of Britain's forthcoming presidency of the G8 group of rich countries. There are indeed issues to be addressed, and unsuitable policies could have serious implications for the rural economy. The Government's approach has not been reassuring. Its enthusiasm for cost-inefficient and unsightly wind turbines seems curious when less obtrusive technologies are available." (Western Mail)

"Solar eclipse" - "A lack of state backing is causing Britain to fall behind in the race to draw power from the sun's rays. Martin Hodgson on the slow take-up of PV technology." (The Guardian)

"Activists Take Fire at CGIAR" - "MEXICO CITY - Environmentalists and farm activists in Mexico are criticising the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) for allegedly distancing itself from small farmers and pandering to transnational biotech corporations that produce transgenic seeds." (IPS)

November 2, 2004

"Chemical stew on your plate" - "It's a critical necessity for life, but food has not been treated the same as air or water by federal regulators, says Rod MacRae, a Toronto food policy consultant and food security instructor at Ryerson University." (Winnipeg Sun)

"Fussy can be dangerous" - "Orthorexia – an obsessional interest in the quality and purity of food – can lead to severe weight loss and social isolation, writes Raj Persaud" (Daily Telegraph)

"Do lead bullets continue to be a hazard after they land?" - "There were 20 million metric tons of lead bullets fired in the United States in the 20th century. Is that lead having an environmental impact?" (Virginia Tech)

"Lancet Civilian Death Report Kills the Truth" - "The once-respectable British medical journal The Lancet has produced a report claiming we're destroying Iraq to save it. It says that about 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed by coalition forces since the invasion began, most from airstrikes. The journal even admitted its findings were an October Surprise, pre-released online to sway the election across The Pond. But its conclusion will surely be employed by war opponents and Iraqi insurrectionists long after the November dust settles." (Michael Fumento, TCS)

"Climate uncertainty with CO2 rise due to uncertainty about aerosols" - "In a paper to be published in the November issue of the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, an atmospheric scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, argues that much of the reason for the present uncertainty in the climatic effect of increased CO2 arises from uncertainty about the influence of atmospheric aerosols." (DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory)

"Scientists Reconstructed the Sun's Activity Over the Last 11 Millennia" - "The activity of the Sun over the last 11,400 years, i.e., back to the end of the last ice age on Earth, has now for the first time been reconstructed quantitatively by an international group of researchers led by Sami K. Solanki from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany). The scientists have analyzed the radioactive isotopes in trees that lived thousands of years ago. As the scientists from Germany, Finland, and Switzerland report in the current issue of the science journal "Nature" from October 28, one needs to go back over 8,000 years in order to find a time when the Sun was, on average, as active as in the last 60 years. Based on a statistical study of earlier periods of increased solar activity, the researchers predict that the current level of high solar activity will probably continue only for a few more decades." (PhysOrg.com)

"Poor nations get tough on climate change" - "[DAR ES SALAAM] Some of the world’s poorest countries are planning to demand that developed countries adhere to the 'polluter-pays principle' at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Argentina next month.

Meeting in Tanzania last week, the group – comprising 25 of the least developed countries (LDCs) – drew up an agreement designed to galvanise the industrialised world into taking responsibility for its relatively high emissions of greenhouse gases by helping LDCs reduce their own emissions and prepare for impacts of climate change." (SciDev.Net)

"Weather study a focus of Sino-Canadian co-operation" - "The recent ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by Russia's Duma has drawn applause from Canadian and Chinese officials, saying the long-awaited approval is encouraging closer efforts to tackle global weather change." (China Daily)

"Climate fuelling fires - Increase in forest blazes linked to greenhouse gases" - "OTTAWA—Canadian climate researchers have found compelling evidence linking the rise in severe forest fires across the country to higher summer temperatures from greenhouse gas warming. "When the temperature goes up, the area burned goes up," said University of Victoria climate researcher Nathan Gillette, the study's lead author. Higher summer temperatures boost evaporation and lower moisture, leaving tinder-dry forests easy to set ablaze by lightning strikes or human carelessness." (Toronto Star)

Brush burns better when it's hot and dry? How do they do it...

"Protesters' anger over wind farms campaign" - "OPPONENTS of wind farms in Scotland yesterday lambasted a new campaign by the industry, claiming it was "littered with inaccuracies". The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) launched the next phase of its multi-million- pound Embrace scheme, unveiling more than 100 billboards across Scotland to counter mounting opposition to the rapidly expanding method of electricity generation." (The Scotsman)

"URUGUAY: Referendum Gives Resounding 'No' to the Privatisation of Water" - "MONTEVIDEO - Uruguayan voters not only made a dramatic shift to the left in the presidential and parliamentary elections Sunday, but also approved a constitutional reform that defines water as a public good and guarantees civil society participation at every level of management of the country's water resources." (IPS)

"Nestle Loses Suit Over GM Food Claim" - "Swiss food giant Nestle on Monday lost a lawsuit it had filed against the Moscow-based National Association for Genetic Safety, which claimed earlier this year that the company's children's food products sold in Russia contained heavy doses of genetically modified additives.

A judge at the Moscow Arbitration Court rejected Nestle's claim that a report released by the association in June damaged Nestle's business reputation, Interfax reported. The judge also turned down Nestle's appeal for an independent laboratory test to be conducted on its products, the news agency said." (The Moscow Times)

November 1, 2004

"The Lancet: A Casualty of Politics" - "There is a report out today in The Lancet (discussed here in the Guardian) which attempts to measure the number of deaths from coalition actions in Iraq." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

"Obesity hits Third World, taking global toll to 300m" - "The global obesity epidemic is out of control, with more than 300 million overweight adults worldwide, specialists told the first international obesity conference in Sun City, South Africa, which ended yesterday.

The conference focused on the growing number of obese people across the developing world and stressed that many suffered from weight-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Professor Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force, said the chronic diseases linked to obesity could halt economic progress in many developing countries." (Independent)

"Flu Fables" - "Did you know that the government's claim that flu annually kills 36,000 Americans is "a crock, a lie, and a sham; a conspiracy to generate fear and stampede people to use a vaccine of questionable effectiveness to the benefit of pro-immunization bureaucrats, and big pharma?" So wrote John Keller in a recent column at the highly-trafficked LewRockwell.com website, over which other vaccine-conspiracy websites and some bloggers are going wild." (Michael Fumento, National Review Online)

Imagine that... "Tidal wave threat 'over-hyped'" - "Geologists say the risk of a landslide in the Canary Islands causing a tidal wave able to cross the Atlantic is vastly overstated." (BBC Online)

"ENVIRONMENT-EUROPE: Chemical Industry Fights Regulation" - "PARIS - The industrial lobby is putting the brakes on European Parliament debate of a bill for regulating and ultimately eliminating certain toxic chemicals. The U.S. government also opposes the initiative." (IPS)

"The coming war" - "Terrorism, climate change and world poverty are inextricably linked. We must conquer them before they destroy us, argues broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby" (The Observer)

Freudian slip showing? "Warming could imperil West Severe drought possible, global study indicates" - "Global warming could help spur severe drought in the Western United States, according to a new study co-authored by a tree-ring researcher at the University of Arizona.

Scientists who examined the width of tree rings over the past 1,200 years found that temperatures were unusually high during "megadroughts" between 900 A.D. and 1300 A.D. The era, known as the "medieval warm period," may be a harbinger of what's to come for the West as the planet keeps getting hotter, the study said." (The Arizona Daily Star)

Hmm... Scientists who examined the width of tree rings over the past 1,200 years found that temperatures were unusually high during "megadroughts" between 900 A.D. and 1300 A.D. The era, known as the "medieval warm period," may be a harbinger of what's to come for the West as the planet keeps getting hotter, the study said. So, an admission that we have yet to reach comparable temperatures to those of the MWP (the period that um... fell off the "hockey stick")? That will not be well received in the industry.

So far the Medieval Climate Optimum has been: renamed the medieval warm period; declared specifically localized to northern Europe and; declared not to exist at all - despite leaving a signature on every continent and in marine deposits around the world as well as being noted in the social writings and agriculture records of the era.

There is a very good reason that global warmers want the warm period expunged from history - people weren't affecting the atmospheric trace gas content to any measurable extent and thus the warm temperatures must have been [gasp!] ... natural. Simply won't do at all!

"Editorial: Subverting Science" - "The Bush administration's well-deserved reputation for tailoring scientific information to fit its political agenda was reinforced last week when James Hansen, the government's pre-eminent climatologist, said that he had been instructed by Sean O'Keefe, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, not to discuss publicly the human contribution to global warming. The charge came as part of a broader indictment, delivered in a speech in Iowa, of the administration's refusal to confront the consequences of climate change or to do anything meaningful about reducing the industrial emissions that contribute to it." (New York Times)

Hmm... if Hansen had not invested his entire career in the global warming scare, would he have stuck his head above the parapet now? Posing the question Qui bono? (who benefits?) elicits two answers: 1) the Earth and all its denizens, from Hansen's altruistic self-sacrifice; 2) the global warming industry, who can expect significantly more finance and power from a Kerry Administration than they can from the Bush Administration. Hansen, sometimes called the 'father of global warming,' might consider his career prospects somewhat diminished under a Bush Administration anyway and thus has nothing to lose. The New York Times prefers to paint him as risking all to 'save the planet.'

"Earth Reveals Its Sensitive Side" - "A new look at climate conditions 55 million years ago shows that the Earth is more sensitive to small changes than previously believed. This finding suggests that the Earth's response to current atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, higher than they have been in 430,000 years and rising, will be more like a high-strung poodle than a laid-back hound dog." (Wired)

Uh-huh... "Killer heatwaves to blight developed world" - "Killer heatwaves will take a greater toll as the population grows older and the climate warms, according to a major study on global disasters. The developed world can expect to suffer the devastating effects of even hotter summers than the one last year in Europe, which is estimated to have killed up to 35,000 people. A report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warns that more extreme heatwaves can be added to the long list of natural and man-made disasters that will affect the world in the coming decades." (Independent)

"UK to pump greenhouse gas under sea" - "Proposals to store tens of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide under the seabed are to be unveiled by ministers tomorrow in a dramatic attempt to tackle global warming.

Elliot Morley, the environment minister, will ask the world's leading industrial nations to support a plan to develop underground reservoirs of carbon dioxide around the globe by using disused oil fields and old water sources in the surface of the earth." (Independent)

Must've been listening to Charlie too much: "US must act over climate says Queen" - "The Queen has made a rare intervention in world politics to warn Tony Blair of her grave concerns over the White House's stance on global warming.

She is understood to have asked Downing Street to lobby the US after observing the alarming impact of Britain's changing weather on her estates at Balmoral in Scotland and Sandringham in Norfolk. The revelation gives an unusual glimpse into the mind of the monarch, who normally strives to stay above politics.

Further evidence of the Queen's views on global warming will be seen this week when she opens one of the most high-profile conferences ever staged in Europe on the issue. She is keen for this to be interpreted as a symbolic and political statement." (The Observer)
| The Green Queen: HM gives royal approval to fight global warming (Independent)

Elizabeth II must be slipping a little, the last English monarch to try to tell Americans what to do (and at considerable expense) was George III wasn't it?

"Big Arctic Perils Seen in Warming, Survey Finds" - "A comprehensive four-year study of warming in the Arctic shows that heat-trapping gases from tailpipes and smokestacks around the world are contributing to profound environmental changes, including sharp retreats of glaciers and sea ice, thawing of permafrost and shifts in the weather, the oceans and the atmosphere." (New York Times)

The Week That Was Oct. 30, 2004 (SEPP)

"More gas about global warming" - "With gas prices running around $2 per gallon, our economy is performing a wonderful natural experiment on global warming policy." (Patrick J. Michaels, The Washington Times)

"Scientists revive 'weather control' dreams" - "IMAGINE a world where microwave beams, a biodegradable oil slick or a shower of silver iodide from a plane would be enough to weaken or deflect a hurricane, saving thousands of lives." (AP)

"To quench our thirst it will cost 255,500 tonnes of greenhouse gases" - "A desalination plant may help solve Sydney's water shortage but it would produce about the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as more than 50,000 extra cars on the road each year." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Greenhouse rule puts lid on energy projects" - "Large energy projects in Victoria could be jeopardised by a ruling that a coal-burning power station cannot expand until the extra greenhouse gases it will produce are considered." (Sydney Australian)

"Proposed New Appeals Process for Dams Angers Several Groups" - "A proposal to create a unique appeals process for hydropower companies seeking relief from regulations intended to protect fish and other wildlife is prompting criticism." (New York Times)

"Australia's GM free status a 'polite fiction'" - "Concerns have been raised about genetically modified (GM) cottonseed oil being included in food products in Australia. Indefinite or temporary bans are in place in most Australian states to prevent the growing of GM food crops. Entomology expert Rick Roush, from the University of California, says the fact GM cottonseed oil is used in fast food preparation and sold as vegetable oil makes a mockery of the GM-free claims of some states." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)