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Archives - November 2005

November 30, 2005

"Climate talks begin amid warnings from scientists, greens" - "Envoys from more than 180 nations on Monday held crucial talks here on the UN Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gases, amid warnings from scientists and environmentalists that climate change could have profound consequences." (AFP)

COP 11 and COP/MOP 1 Highlights (Earth Negotiations Bulletin)

"Doubters struggle to make voices heard: Not all scientists believe that global warming is occurring" - "OTTAWA - Roger Pocklington, Tim Ball and Chris de Freitas are sometimes called heretics by the global warming faithful. They prefer skeptics or critics.

Whatever the label, these Canadian climate experts believe carbon dioxide isn't the towering devil of global warming, that the evidence for any abnormal warming isn't convincing and that the projections of computer climate models can't be trusted.

For holding such unorthodox views, they've been publicly dismissed by other climate scientists as ill-informed or misguided. That's when those others deign to engage in debate. In private, hints are dropped about supposed links between the heretics and fossil fuel interests." (Toronto Star)

Hmm... "Science faces 'dangerous times'" - "Fundamentalism is hampering global efforts to tackle climate change, according to Britain's top scientist. In his final speech as president of the Royal Society, Lord May of Oxford is to warn that core scientific values are "under serious threat from resurgent fundamentalism, West and East". Scientists must speak out against the climate change "denial lobby", he says." (BBC)

The way the Beeb words this, Bob attacks a 'climate change "denial lobby"' as fundamentalists while, according to The Times (below), it is the greens to which he refers. Curious. Either way, Bob's conversion to the new religious orthodoxy of 'global warming' is evidence enough of a sad decline.

"Anti-nuclear lobby 'holding back fight on climate change'" - "GREEN lobby groups that oppose nuclear energy were accused of "fundamentalism" yesterday as the Government announced a review of whether to build a new generation of nuclear power stations. Lord May of Oxford, the outgoing president of the Royal Society, said that environmental campaigners risked holding back the fight against climate change with an absolutist approach that refused to consider nuclear power." (Greg Hurst, Mark Henderson and Christine Buckley, London Times)

"How Europe is choking itself - and the world" - "Europe's claim to the moral high ground over the environment has been comprehensively challenged in a devastating report on its failings in the battle against global warming and pollution. It says Europe is devouring the world's natural resources at twice the global rate." (London Independent)

"Korea Clings to Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reduction" - "South Korea plans to reaffirm its intention to stick to a voluntary and non-binding international greenhouse gas reduction scheme The Ministry of Environment said Tuesday that it will promote its stance on the Kyoto Protocol to encourage more developing countries to participate in voluntarily reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the 11th conference of the parties at the Climate Change Convention in Montreal." (Korea Times)

"U.S. rules out extra pledges on global warming" - "MONTREAL, Nov 29 - The United States ruled out making extra pledges to fight global warming beyond 2012 on Tuesday, angering environmentalists who accused Washington of blocking a 189-nation conference in Canada." (Reuters)

"U.S. Environmental Stance Draws Heat" - "MONTREAL -- The United States came under renewed criticism Tuesday as thousands of environmentalists and international officials hammered out rules for a global treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (Associated Press)

"U.S. takes hard line at post-Kyoto talks" - "MONTREAL--Canada began seeking a compromise yesterday to save the conference on climate change as the United States continued to reject any move that might commit it to pollution cuts and attempted to stall negotiations." (Toronto Star)

Wow! "U.S. noticeably absent from climate-change conference" - "MONTREAL -- The United States came under renewed criticism Tuesday as thousands of environmentalists and international officials hammered out rules for a global treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. comments that it would resist any binding commitment to curb global warming by capping industrial emissions infuriated environmentalists, who accused Washington of trying to derail the U.N. Climate Change Conference." (Associated Press)

The US can "obstruct", "delay" and/or "derail" this silly circus while being "noticeably absent"? Now there's powerful negotiators for you!

"New climate change deal to take years: U.N. chief" - "MONTREAL - Backers of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming may need 3-5 years from now to work out a successor to the pact that runs out in 2012, the U.N.'s climate change chief said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Australia says "son of Kyoto" deal not possible" - "CANBERRA, Nov 30 - A United Nations climate change meeting in Canada is unlikely to produce a "son of Kyoto" deal and setting new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not the answer, Australia said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Australia calls for new climate approach" - "Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell will call for a new approach to the global climate change effort at a United Nations climate conference next week. A proponent of technological solutions to curbing greenhouse gas emissions, he will call on countries to collaborate on practical actions in response to climate change." (AAP)

"New Technologies Take Center Stage at Montreal Summit" - "At the World Climate Summit in Montreal, politicians and environmentalists are discussing technical solutions for dealing with global warming. In initial pilot projects, engineers are attempting to capture the carbon dioxide emitted by power plants and burying it in rock beneath the surface or depositing it on the ocean floor." (Der Spiegel)

Sigh... "Editorial: Reverse course in climate talks" - "A major international conference on global warming has opened in Montreal, and we hope the conclave will put pressure on the United States and other industrialized nations to address the causes and consequences of climate change." (Denver Post)

Dopey opinion piece of the day: "Evidence Heating Up" - "The case against human-generated greenhouse gases is growing stronger by the day. No reasonable scientist or politician can deny the reality of global warming - a wealth of evidence demonstrates that it is real. The Arctic and Antarctic ice caps are melting, massive glaciers are receding, and the temperature of ocean waters is rising." (Winston-Salem Journal)

Granted, there are plenty of dopey opinions getting around as the 'global warming' gabfest begins to brew up - this one was just unlucky enough to cross my desk when I was irritated enough to respond.

Let's go over this again:

  • yes, the planet is warmer than when it's cooler;
  • yes, there has been a measurable increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide due to human liberation of previously sequestered carbon originally sourced from... the atmosphere;
  • yes, there does seem to be tight correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global temperature;
  • no, atmospheric carbon dioxide does not appear to drive global temperature - the reverse appears to be true as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased following rises in global temperature and fallen following global cooling - newly released results show this to have held true for at least the last 650K years although wrongly reported in the media as indicating otherwise (as it happens, CO2 Science Magazine editorialises on this very anomaly in today's issue, see here);
  • no, Antarctic and Greenland land borne ice shields are not shrinking, they are growing - Arctic sea ice is variable for reasons not well understood;
  • no, we don't really understand climate and its cycles;
  • no, the 'virtual worlds' of climate models can not 'predict' future climate - they are process models useful for trying to understand how some atmospheric processes function (or did when we were trying to observe them) but they have zero demonstrated predictive skill;
  • no, we don't know whether global temperature is a particularly useful metric and;
  • no, global mean temperature is of no particular relevance unless you happen to live at the mythical site of the global mean.

Now, if reporters and wannabe world tweakers can just just get in touch with reality, however briefly, they might realise there is absolutely no possibility of knowingly and predictably 'adjusting' the climate by playing with a few piddling and likely completely insignificant variables. If they manage to grasp that reality, no matter how unpleasant and undesirable the prospect might appear to them, then they will also realise this whole raggle-taggle mop-top thing is a complete and utter crock.

Eye-roller of the moment: "Forget U.S. on Kyoto, Kennedy advises - sue the 'criminals'" - "Delegates to the United Nations Climate Change Conference need not waste time trying to bring the U.S. onside in current discussions on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. urged yesterday." (The Gazette)

"'06 forecast: More stormy weather" - "WASHINGTON — The record-setting 2005 hurricane season, which officially ends today, could be a harbinger for 2006 and beyond, the nation's top weather officials said Tuesday. Optimal conditions for hurricane formation — warmer-than-normal ocean waters, absence of high-atmosphere winds and favorable winds from Africa — could continue for years. Past cycles have lasted 20 to 30 years. The current cycle began in 1995. “We're in a very active hurricane era,” said Gerry Bell, lead meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center. He discounted any link between global warming and the busy season: “We see absolutely no signal of that.”" (USA TODAY) | Record year for hurricanes part of a natural cycle (USA TODAY)

Virtual world: "Climate change 'will dry Africa'" - "Two new studies predict that climate change will make dry regions of Africa drier still in the near future. Computer models of the global climate show the Sahel region and southern Africa drying substantially over the course of this century. Sahel rainfall declined sharply in the late 20th Century, with droughts responsible for several million deaths." (BBC)

Real world: "Climate change may mean green Sahel" - "JOHANNESBURG, Oct 17 - Rainfall over parts of Africa's Sahel appears to be rising but its greening could prove a mixed blessing if the population surges as a result and drought follows, a leading ecologist said on Monday. "Climate change models suggest the Sahel should be getting drier but observations suggest it is currently getting wetter," Jon Lovett of the University of York in Britain told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference on climate change in Johannesburg." (Reuters)

"Fires from the past predict the vegetation of tomorrow" - "Climate warming is expected to induce forest expansion into the tundra of today. However, surprisingly little is known about the forests that can be expected in such locations. How vast can these forests become, and how dense? A recent study by Asselin and Payette in the journal Ecography uses a novel approach to estimate the density of the "palaeo-forests" that once covered the tundra. By using soil charcoal fragments, the authors convincingly show that the treeless hilltops at the northernmost limit of trees in northern Québec had previously been dominated by black spruce and had switched to dwarf birch-dominated tundra after a fire, about 1000 years ago. The identification of charcoal remains using wood anatomy characters was instrumental in their documentation of this vegetation change, allowing the authors to provide evidence for the presence or absence of a number of species and estimates of their cover. This work provides a major step towards understanding the likely trajectory of vegetation change under climate warming, by analogy with vegetation composition under a past, warmer climate." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

The tundra wasn't tundra about 1,000 years ago? And it was warmer then?

"Emissions 25% over 1990 level, says EEA" - "Ireland still faces a significant challenge in meeting its Kyoto Protocol target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the European Environment Agency. Although annual emissions were down for a second consecutive year in 2003, they remain 25% above the 1990 level." (RTE News)

"No one is immune from the effects of global warming" - "Europeans can be forgiven for thinking they will be cushioned from the worst impacts of climate change. It is indeed true that the richer developed nations of the North are not going to suffer in the same way as the poorer countries of the South, where drought, famine and severe coastal flooding are expected to cause incalculable damage and misery. But none of us in this global village of the 21st century is going to be immune from the effects of climate change." (London Independent)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

New Antarctic Ice Core CO 2 and Proxy Temperature Data: What do they tell us about the power of CO 2 as a climate-forcing factor?

Subject Index Summaries:
Little Ice Age (Europe: Mediterranean): What can we learn about the Little Ice Age from paleoclimate studies conducted in the Mediterranean region of Europe?

Insects (Aphids): How will the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 concentration tip the "balance of power" that exists between earth's many species of aphids and the plants upon which they feed?

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: European Beech, European Hornbeam, European White Birch, and Pedunculate Oak.

Journal Reviews:
A Half-Century of North American Snow Cover: How has it changed over the past fifty-plus years?

Drought Variability on Vancouver Island, Canada: How has it varied over the past 4,000 years?

Algal Symbiont Fluctuations in Response to Warming: Does it really occur in nature?

The Unique Impact of Elevated CO 2 on the Stomatal Conductances of Certain Pine Trees in China: What is it?

Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Canola Productivity in the Presence and Absence of UV-B Radiation: They're positive in both situations. (co2science.org)

"Nuclear protest hits Blair speech" - "Greenpeace protesters have disrupted a speech used by Tony Blair to launch an energy review which could lead to new nuclear power stations in the UK." (BBC)

"Blair Says Nuclear Option Will Be Considered in Energy Review" - "Nov. 29 -- U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair signaled his support for building a new generation of nuclear plants, saying the option will be considered in a new energy review." (Bloomberg)

"Speech to the CBI conference" - "Tony Blair addressed the Confederation of British Industry conference, where he announced a wide-ranging review of the UK's energy policy." (Direct Gov)

WHOA! "The Mother of All Coalitions" - "UNITED NATIONS, Nov 29 - The idea of a "World Coalition Government" has often been portrayed as sinister and authoritarian, but a group of scientists and scholars are trying to revive the concept as a dramatic alternative to the movement to "reform" the United Nations. At the second conference of the Organisation for Promoting Global Civilisation (OPGC) this month, participants from around the world argued that the United Nations is effectively hamstrung because it lacks political or military authority, and cannot even generate its own revenues." (IPS)

Short answer: HELL NO!

"Germany, EU States See Chemicals Pact in December" - "BRUSSELS - Germany and other European Union states moved closer to agreement on Tuesday on a new bill to regulate chemicals, after a version of the legislation was endorsed by lawmakers earlier this month." (Reuters)

"EU Chemicals Deal Out Of REACH" - "The European Parliament has approved a compromise position on the EU's proposed regulatory regime for chemicals--the REACH system--and the United Kingdom hopes to finalize a deal before its six-month rotating presidency of the EU ends at the end of 2005." (Oxford Analytica)

Dubious extrapolation of the moment: "Pollutants link to rise in diabetes cases" - "The dramatic rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes could be driven in part by exposure to pollutants as well as obesity, according to a study published yesterday. A link has emerged between the disease and exposure to high levels of persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs), which are most likely to come from eating fatty fish such as salmon and herring from the Baltic." (London Telegraph)

"Job exposure to pesticide may raise cancer risk" - "NEW YORK - Daily on-the-job exposure to the pesticide diazinon appears to increase the risk of lung cancer and possibly other cancers, according to new findings from the US government-sponsored Agricultural Health Study, a project begun in 1993 to investigate the health effects of pesticides on farm families in Iowa and North Carolina. By December 2002, 301 of 4,961 men with occupational exposure to diazinon had developed lung cancer compared with 968 of 18,145 with no occupational exposure to diazinon." (Reuters Health)

Granted I've only glanced at these numbers but that's what, RR~1.13? Nothing here to make me look any closer.

"A false Wikipedia ‘biography'" - "This is a story of how vandals, hiding behind federal privacy laws, can use the highly popular, free online encyclopedia to attack fellow citizens. It could happen to you." (John Seigenthaler, USA Today)

I had often wondered about people using a largely unregulated sandpit as a reference, mostly because items sent to me were just plain wrong. Seigenthaler's experience does nothing to inspire new confidence.

"Obese teens' liver damage warning" - "Liver diseases, including cirrhosis, are increasingly being seen in overweight teenagers, experts report." (BBC)

"Blagojevich flunks junk food" - "SPRINGFIELD -- Undeterred by a lopsided loss in the Legislature last year, Gov. Blagojevich took another crack Monday at prohibiting the sale of candy, soda pop and other junk food in Illinois schools." (Sun-Times) | Blagojevich trying to resurrect junk food ban in schools (Chicago Tribune)

"Coke Braces for Suit Akin to Tobacco Fight Lawyers Want Vending Banned from All Schools" - "They earned their reputations battling Joe Camel. Next target: The Real Thing. Having won major settlements against big tobacco, some of the same attorneys now are honing lawsuits against the soft drink industry.

Richard Daynard, a Massachusetts law professor who made his name working as a consultant on class actions against tobacco companies, is part of a broad effort by both private attorneys and nonprofit groups to sue Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and other soft drink companies for selling high-calorie drinks in schools.

Attorneys expect to file their first suit as soon as next month. The plaintiffs will be parents of schoolchildren. Part of the strategy is to claim that soft drink companies use caffeine, a mildly addictive substance, to hook children on a product that is dangerous because of its empty calories." (Beverage World)

"India: Greenpeace demands ban on genetically modified food trials" - "NEW DELHI: The Greenpeace-India on Tuesday demanded a ban on all field trials in genetically engineered food crops in the country and asked for all data on ongoing trials to be made public." (The Hindu)

"Biotech-gmo.com Brings Benefits of Agricultural Biotechnology to Life" - "St.Louis - A new multimedia website, Conversations about Plant Biotechnology at http://www.monsanto.com/biotech-gmo offers visitors a glimpse of the discussions taking place among farmers on the impact of genetically modified crops a decade since they were first introduced and after more than one billion acres of these crops have been harvested worldwide." (Business News)

November 29, 2005

"Steven Milloy Debunks Claims That Pueblo's Smoking Ban Helped Decrease Heart Attack Rates" - "Heart attack rates in Pueblo have declined significantly since 2003.A group of Colorado health researchers says it's no coincidence that the drop followed a citywide ban on smoking. But the country's No. 1 debunker of junk science - Steven Milloy - said controversy remains over whether mainstream smoking even causes heart disease." (Colorado Springs Business Journal via RedOrbit)

"Does Stress Cause Cancer? Probably Not, Research Finds" - "A new insight is changing the direction of research: it now appears that cancer cells make proteins that tell the immune system to leave them alone." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Media Sticks Poisonous Popcorn Bags to Teflon Chemical" - "Activist group plays media with whistleblowing claims. Is PFOA the new Alar - or is this the worst-reported science story of the year? Errors force ABC to change story, but rest of media fall for imaginary federal safety standard, health risks." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Poisonings From a Popular Pain Reliever Are on the Rise" - "Despite more than a decade's worth of research showing that taking too much of a popular pain reliever can ruin the liver, the number of severe, unintentional poisonings from the drug is on the rise, a new study reports. The drug, acetaminophen, is best known under the brand name Tylenol. But many consumers don't realize that it is also found in widely varying doses in several hundred common cold remedies and combination pain relievers." (New York Times)

"Nutrient pollution causes a long-term effect on Chesapeake Bay ecosystem" - "CAMBRIDGE, Md. (Nov. 27) – A team of scientists has determined that the growing worldwide problem of increased nutrient pollution, primarily nitrogen and phosphorous, on coastal waterways has altered the ecology of Chesapeake Bay as reported in the most recent issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series." (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science)

"The Coming $100 Laptop Tragedy" - "The earliest mistakes in any major project are typically the biggest mistakes. Early decisions are important because of all the downstream resources and actions that they commit you to. A case in point is the vaunted $100 laptop. In case you haven't heard, Nicholas Negroponte, the founding chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, is pushing ahead with his plan to make a $100 laptop that will be distributed to millions of young people in poor countries around the world. Few people admire Mr. Negroponte more than I do, but his plan for how to distribute the computers is a tragedy in the making." (David Henderson, TCS)

As anticipated: "Canada facing cold trip to the polls as Martin teeters on brink" - "A reluctant Canada pulls on its political snow-boots today and embarks on a gruelling mid-winter general election after the toppling of the government of Paul Martin in a no-confidence vote in parliament last night. Mr Martin, 57, whose minority Liberal Party government was swept away in a lopsided 171-to-133 vote, will declare parliament dissolved this morning and set a polling day for mid-January. It is the first time in quarter of a century that a Canadian government has been toppled by the opposition in parliament." (London Independent)

"More action, less gas" - "With the spotlight yesterday on the defeat of the Liberal government in Ottawa, another event drew far less attention in Montreal." (Toronto Star)

"World experts see sea ice as climate-change indicator" - "Sea ice responds very quickly to climate change, shrinking or expanding accordingly, so it is a critical climate-monitoring tool. The trouble is, no one has yet figured out a way to accurately measure the thickness of sea ice remotely by satellite. Just how to do this is one of the big questions confronting the International Glaciological Society’s symposium on sea ice, taking place at the University of Otago from 5 – 9 December. One hundred and thirty delegates from countries such as Finland, Russia, Japan and the United States will converge on Dunedin to discuss a range of issues about sea ice." (Press Release: University of Otago)

Is “Global Dimming” Really Global? (Climate Science)

Now to the mop-top cop thing - but first a comment on media coverage:

"The global warming joke" - "There's a joke going around Montreal, where the annual United Nations conclave on global warming began this week: With all the smoke from those thousands of burning cars in the rioting suburbs, the French have now completely blown their targets for carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

The only way out is to buy emissions credits from the Russians for billions of euros. And when the French economy collapses under that bill, the riots will be worse than ever.

It's a joke, but reality comes very close. Europe, home of the most moralizing advocates of the Kyoto Protocol, which requires draconian cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, is failing - by a wide margin - to achieve those cuts." (James K. Glassman, Scripps Howard News Service)

Hmm... "Ice warning after snow blizzard" - "The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning as snow coupled with overnight icy temperatures look set to leave driving conditions treacherous. It comes after police managed to free hundreds of motorists from their vehicles after heavy snowfall hit parts of the UK on Monday evening." (BBC) | Cars abandoned in UK snow chaos (Independent Online) | In pictures: Frozen Europe (BBC)

'Global warming' panic-fest, frozen Europe, earlier snows than recent average... warming, freezing... AHA! Cue:

"AGW Slows Atlantic Conveyor - Europe To Plunge Into New Ice Age! Dateline (some well known, touristy place): In breaking news we can tell you that a slowing of the Atlantic Conveyor, the warm current that previously kept Europe from suffering the Arctic conditions experienced by Hudson Bay, has been discovered. This devastating result of global warming will plunge Europe into a new ice age, causing havoc for suffering populations and destroying agriculture. Europe freezes as the planet is burned by Big Carbon and the Toxic Texan..."

How long before the warming has / will / might slow the AC items pop up, do you suppose? My guess is within days. This alleged localised freeze will not, of course, do anything to delay the meltdown of alpine glaciers or the the total loss of the Greenland ice cap (causing massive flooding, loss of life and property...).

Oh, and no calls please, we are well aware that Europe's weather differs from Hudson Bay mostly due to topography (mountain ranges deforming wind streams, etc.) but the media isn't, so just let it ride and see how long before such items / releases / new 'studies' turn up, eh?

"Climate research urged on eve of forum" - "MONTREAL--Canada's top climate scientists have sent Prime Minister Paul Martin a letter urging a crash program in climate research in order to protect the "security, sovereignty and livelihoods of Canadians." (Toronto Star)

Kyoto fetishisation and other topical charivari (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Walking the Talk on Global Warming" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - Canada is host and leader of the final push to put the Kyoto Protocol into action through talks on much deeper cuts to greenhouse gas emissions at a major U.N. meeting in Montreal this week." (IPS)

"EU missing greenhouse gas targets" - "The European Union is likely to miss its greenhouse gas targets by a wide margin, according to an official assessment of the Union's environment." (BBC)

"Dion: Climate change biggest environmental issue" - "MONTREAL - Climate change is the single most important environmental issue facing the world today, federal Environment Minister Stephane Dion said Monday as he kicked off an international conference. In his speech opening the United Nations conference on climate change, Dion called the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emissions "a major international achievement" even though the United States has not signed it." (CP)

"Global Warming Overkill" - "The best way to garner headlines in the global warming game is to generate scary scenarios. While many people view climate change as some esoteric concern of environmentalists, they still raise their eyebrows when they hear a phrase like "global warming deaths." (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute)

"Government of Canada makes steady progress toward the implementation of its climate change plan" - "OTTAWA, Nov. 28 - The Government of Canada today released a discussion draft of cross-cutting provisions of proposed regulations that will govern greenhouse gas emission reductions from large industrial facilities. The draft provisions are in keeping with commitments outlined in: "Moving Forward on Climate Change: A Plan for Honouring our Kyoto Commitment". Large Final Emitters (LFEs) - the oil and gas, thermal electricity, and mining and manufacturing sectors - are expected to achieve a 45 megatonne reduction between 2008 and 2012." (CNW Telbec)

"Widening Kyoto" - "It may seem a bit odd for countries to begin discussing in Montreal this week the future of the Kyoto treaty seven years before its current provisions run out in 2012. But climate change negotiations move at the pace of glaciers (remember them), and the first instalment of Kyoto took several years to negotiate. Moreover, the whole philosophy of Kyoto is based on the belief that the earlier international action is planned to curb greenhouse gases, the greater the chance for all to adjust smoothly." (Financial Times)

"Climate meeting to discuss 'son of Kyoto'" - "Formal talks have begun in Montreal, Canada on how to limit emissions of greenhouse gases after the Kyoto Protocol to curb climate change expires in 2012. Battle lines are hardening over whether to impose new Kyoto-style national emissions targets. European Union environment commissioner Stavros Dimas wants to “raise the bar” by calling on fast-industrialising countries like China to make commitments to limit emissions. But the US is now opposed to mandatory national targets, whether or not developing countries join in." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Why Kyoto will vanish into hot air" - "THE United Nations conference that began yesterday in Montreal and will stretch on for nearly two weeks will fail in its aim: to devise a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. That does not matter; in fact, it is the best outcome. Kyoto has been an extraordinary piece of work. A treaty that its most important signatories have found impossible to meet, and which has changed behaviour very little, has still become a resonant global symbol. The best way forward now is not a "successor" to Kyoto, which covers the years until 2012. Another treaty that attempted to set fixed targets for cutting emissions could be economically very damaging — in the unlikely event that countries ever reached agreement." (Bronwen Maddox, London Times)

"Climate change: Nothing but hot air?" - "The UK EU presidency is failing to exercise global leadership on tackling climate change, argues Caroline Lucas MEP. Current EU president Tony Blair is fond of reminding us that he is exercising global leadership on tackling climate change. Whether he’s calling for technical solutions in New York, pledging to lead negotiations on new international targets at the G8 summit or calling for more EU cooperation on reducing emissions, the message is the same: the UK accepts the urgency of tackling the looming climate crisis and is leading efforts to combat it." (EUPolitix)

"EU upbeat but realistic on UN climate change talks" - "The European Commission is playing down the significance of reaching an accord with the US on future climate change policy, at UN talks in Montreal starting on Monday. EU environment chief, Stavros Dimas is calling the Canadian talks, “The beginning and not the end” of the debate on future climate change." (EUPolitix)

"Global warming talks eye U.S." - "MONTREAL - Host Canada urged a wider fight against global warming at the start of 189-country talks on Monday that will try to enlist the United States and poor nations in U.N.-led schemes to fight climate change beyond 2012." (Reuters)

"U.S. Defends Decision Not to Join Kyoto Protocol As U.N. Climate Control Conference Begins" - "MONTREAL Nov 28, 2005 — The United States defended its decision not to sign the Kyoto Protocol on Monday, saying during the opening of a global summit on climate change that it is doing more than most countries to protect the earth's atmosphere." (Associated Press)

"U.S. says it won't play ball at conference on climate" - "MONTREAL--The United States appears determined to scuttle efforts here to agree on future measures to combat climate change. "We're going to resist it, obviously," said Harlan Watson, head of the U.S. delegation, of a proposed agreement across nations on the issue of climate change. His comments came before the official opening of the two-week United Nations conference." (Toronto Star)

"US resists climate change pressure at UN conference" - "Crucial talks aimed at combatting the threat of global warming opened in Montreal yesterday with the US government signalling that it will resist attempts to be drawn into a new international process to cut emissions." (The Guardian)

COP 11 And COP/MOP 1 Highlights: Monday, 28 November 2005 (Earth Negotiations Bulletin)

"Climate Policy Needs a Stern Review" - "Tony Blair's admission that any international climate change treaty to follow Kyoto is unlikely to be based on the same model is probably the best news this sterile debate has received in a long time. For too long now the debate over climate change has been about angels dancing on pinheads. Arguments have become futile, with neither climate alarmists nor economic realists willing to budge an inch. We have the debate over the hockey stick, which tells us far more about lax standards of peer review in climatology than it does about climate history (although for that reason it is valuable in itself), while on the other hand we are subjected to a vast propaganda campaign aimed at telling us that science now compels us to take certain specified policy actions now." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Germany to Push for Deeper Emissions Cuts - Minister" - "BERLIN - Germany's new government said on Monday it will push for an agreement setting out bigger reductions in emissions to take effect when the first period of the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012." (Reuters)

"Swiss turn up the heat at climate conference" - "Thomas Kolly, head of the international division at the Swiss environment agency, tells swissinfo about his hopes for a climate conference in Canada this week." (swissinfo)

"Impact of climate change 'can be likened to WMD'" - "Climate change can be likened in its destructive scale to the effects of using weapons of mass destruction, according to Britain's leading scientist. Lord May of Oxford, the president of the Royal Society, will say that the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina is an example of the sort of extreme weather event that climate change can trigger." (London Independent)

Serial reef demise prognosticator Hoegh-Guldberg is at it again: "Reef could be dead in 50yrs: expert" - "THE Great Barrier Reef could be wiped out by global warming in less than 50 years, sounding the death knell for Queensland's booming tourism industry, an expert has warned. Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the University of Queensland's Centre of Marine Studies, said today forecasts indicated global warming could heat the water wonderland and bleach and kill all its coral by 2050." (AAP)

"Rainforests brought back to life as 'carbon trading' takes off" - "New forests could blossom in tropical zones from Brazil to India as one of the more creative ideas produced by the Kyoto protocol begins to bear fruit. Someone has finally hit on a way to make money out of conservation." (London Independent)

Greenpeas with their obligatory gimmick: "Time is Running Out!" - "WASHINGTON - November 28 - Greenpeace today unveiled a four metres tall hourglass outside the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal to remind the arriving delegates that time is running out. The climate summit - the first since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force - opens today, beginning two weeks of crucial negotiations on climate protection." (Press Release)

"Fears of Energy Price Increase Delay 9-State Pollution Pact" - "With delegates from all over the world meeting in Montreal on an international treaty to cut greenhouse gases, negotiations for a separate pact among nine Northeastern states have been prolonged by worries that controls on emissions could drive up the price of energy. The nine states had planned to announce a final agreement on the plan this week, coinciding with the meeting in Montreal." (New York Times)

"Farmers warn over climate change" - "UK agriculture must adapt to climate change which could cause a global food shortage, farmers are warning." (BBC)

"Blair to unveil 'nuclear option'" - "Tony Blair is likely to use a speech to business leaders at the CBI to launch a review of UK energy policy which could lead to new nuclear power stations. Mr Blair is believed to view nuclear power as a way to improve the security of the UK's energy supply and also help the UK meet its greenhouse gas targets." (BBC)

Letter of the moment: "Greens are nuked" - "Sir - I feel sorry for the Greens - they didn't see it coming (Opinion, November 24). They hoped that their global warming hype would have us all happily going back to living in thatched cottages built of straw bales, with little wind farms on the roof and an organic patch by the side. Instead, we are witnessing the death of the Kyoto protocol and the resurgence of nuclear power." (Philip Stott, London Telegraph)

"Nuclear power 'back with a vengeance'" - "Tony Blair is today using a speech to business leaders to launch a six-month review of Britain's future energy policy, opening the way for a new fleet of civil nuclear power plants. In a speech to the CBI’s annual conference in London, the Prime Minister will describe "feverish rethinking" over energy policy around the world as countries attempt to meet obligations to reduce carbon emissions. Although the Government remains officially neutral on the outcome of the review, environment campaigners say that Mr Blair has become convinced that building new nuclear power stations is also the only way to secure future energy needs. The stance is a reversal of Labour's position of less than two years ago, in a 2003 white paper nuclear power described as an "unattractive option", instead promoting renewable sources." (London Times)

Nuclear power: We are heading for an energy gap, but what can fill it? (London Independent)

Nuclear power: Divided opinions (London Independent)

"It's clean, it's cheap - warming to the appeal of nuclear power" - "GENERATING electricity from nuclear reactors is as effective at combating global warming as any known form of renewable energy and is likely to remain so indefinitely. Nearly all studies of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released by different power sources show that atomic power stations rival hydroelectric dams and wind turbines in lifetime emissions per unit of electricity." (London Times)

"Oilsands to be promoted as ‘green fuel’ at global warming conference" - "Environment Minister Guy Boutilier will be promoting Alberta’s oilsands as a "green fuel" when he travels to Montreal later this week for a conference on global warming. He says he will be discussing a proposal to pump carbon dioxide into congested oil wells to squeeze out more fuel and get rid of excess carbon dioxide, one of the main components of greenhouse gasses." (Edmonton Journal)

The other kind of denial: "We must cut demand to have any hope of solving the energy crisis" - "Neither the nuclear evangelists nor the renewables enthusiasts can take comfort from my calculations" (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

'Denial' must be the green bunnies' and assorted moonbats' favourite word. On the one hand they constantly claim anyone who can't (or won't) see the green bunny / moonbat 'truth' to be in a state of 'denial' and on the other it is the state they so desperately wish to place everyone in - denial of cheap, abundant energy; denial of affordable road/air transport; denial of abundant, cheap, non-seasonal foods; denial of freedom of choice in where and how you live, work, eat, play...

"Congestion charge to be rolled out nationwide" - "CONGESTION charging is to be extended to towns and cities across England under government plans for a fundamental change in the way drivers pay for using the roads. Local authorities in seven areas were yesterday awarded £7 million to develop a model charging scheme that will be rolled out over the entire road network in the next 10-15 years." (London Times)

"EU ‘needs unified energy policy’ on climate change" - "The European Union needs a unified energy policy to replace member states’ individual energy strategies, in order to combat climate change and to improve the security of supply, says the head of the EU’s Environment Agency." (Financial Times)

"If winter is bitter, brace for a natural-gas crunch" - "From Maine to Florida, from Virginia to Missouri, as much as half the United States confronts the possibility that harshly cold weather will lead to restrictions of natural-gas supplies. In some places - areas heavily dependent on natural gas to produce electricity - the prospect of "rolling blackouts," or controlled power outages, is much higher than in previous winters. Any natural-gas cutoffs would primarily affect electric-power plants and factories fueled by gas, not homes, and be most likely in the Northeast." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Well, Well: Oil Rigs Return" - "They once ruled Southern California, staking claim to broad stretches of coastline and hillsides. Then, in the 1980s, they began vanishing — driven from their native habitat by tract houses, mini-malls and pesky environmentalists. By the time gasoline prices barreled into the stratosphere this year, local oil wells had become the industrial equivalent of an endangered species." (LA Times)

"BP looks 'beyond petroleum' with $8bn renewables spend" - "BP unveiled plans yesterday to double its investment in alternative and renewable energy sources, saying it will spend $8bn (£4.6bn) over the next decade. The company, which is promoting its green credentials in a high-profile advertising campaign tagged "beyond petroleum", will create a new business that supplies low-carbon electricity. BP will focus on four areas: wind power, solar energy, hydrogen and gas-fired power generation. The company also aims to be the leading trader in clean power and carbon dioxide credits. But Lord Browne of Madingley, the company's chief executive, admitted that BP plans to continue to raise, for years to come, its production of oil and gas." (London Independent)

"Waste not" - "It may not be for the squeamish, but it is a reality that a huge city like Tokyo must face every day--mass sewage treatment. Enough sewage is treated in Tokyo daily to fill the Tokyo Dome five times over. After water is removed, about 3,500 tons of sludge is produced and burned. Half of the burned sludge ash is used in cement, the other half buried as landfill in Tokyo Bay. But under pressure from environmental protocols, and with a little inspiration from Germany, the Tokyo metropolitan government has hit upon a better use for the sludge. Officials want to use it as fuel." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Plants reveal a secret and bring researchers nearer a cleaner future" - "Using sunlight to power our homes and offices is an unaccomplished dream due to the still inefficient technology for a better use of solar energy. The study of photosynthesis in plants could provide new clues by explaining how they absorb almost 100% of the sun-light reaching them, and how they transform it into other forms of energy. Researchers Michael Haumann and Holger Dau, from the Freie Universität Berlin, used the X-ray source of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) to investigate the kinetics of the photosynthesis process. They have confirmed the existence of a fifth step in the catalysis process of water into oxygen, and have published their results in Science." (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility)

"The downside of nanotechnology" - "NANOTECHNOLOGY -- the design and manipulation of materials at the atomic and molecular scale -- has great potential to deliver environmental and other benefits. Novel properties emerge as materials reach the nano-scale, opening the door to innovations in cleaner energy production, energy efficiency, water treatment, and environmental remediation." (Boston Globe)

"Australia Languishes in Biotech Crop Stakes" - "Third World nations are moving rapidly into the new age of biotech crops, and the portents for Australian agriculture look increasingly grim. Former CSIRO Plant Industry chief Jim Peacock, who pioneered biotech crop research in Australia, says millions of farmers in China, India and other developing nations are growing biotech crops such as soybeans and maize, while the EU, Britain and Australia continue to shun them. (Australia has grown GM cotton since 1996.) Dr Peacock, president of the Australian Academy of Science and a former winner of the Prime Minister's Science Prize, says biotech crops are making "an enormous difference" in developing nations. "Food is a very personal thing, like health and medicine. In the West we have a choice, but in the developing world there's really no choice - the prospect of a more reliable, healthier food supply means biotech crops are being accepted with open arms." (TAT&T)

"'GM-lite' scientists harness plant defence mechanism" - "A cheaper, safer and more productive alternative to genetically modified crops could soon be available. A team of scientists in Canberra has discovered a plant defence process that can silence certain genes to control specific plant features. Dr Peter Waterhouse, from the CSIRO, says by triggering the mechanism, plant productivity, disease resistance, even the colour of flowers can be made to order. He has dubbed the process "GM-lite" because no additional proteins from other organisms have to be added." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Report on consumer attitudes to GM" - "AUSTRALIAN Government agency Biotechnology Australia has released the report What you really need to know about what the public really thinks about GM foods aimed at increasing understanding of consumers’ complex attitudes towards genetically modified (GM) crops and food. Manager of public awareness for Biotechnology Australia, Craig Cormick, said many consumer attitude studies had been conducted that provided a simple understanding of public attitudes, such as the general question ‘will you eat GM foods’, but the reality of public attitudes was more complex." (Ferret)

"Austria to launch EU-wide GMO debate after Swiss referendum" - "EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Austria is planning to hold a pan-European debate about genetically-modified (GM) farming, following strong Swiss support for a five-year ban on gene technology in a referendum on Sunday (27 November). Vienna will take over the EU's six-month rotating presidency in January and aims to host a conference about GM crops on 4-5 April, the country's agriculture minister Josef Proell has announced. Austria is one of the staunchest opponents of GM technology in the EU and is sticking to its own ban on modified plants within its territory." (EUobserver)

November 28, 2005

"Market-Based Environmentalism Is An Oxymoron" - "Goldman Sachs is the latest business to surrender to the junk science-based, anti-people agenda of the radical Green movement." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

With CoP/MoP kicking off in Montreal this week, it's warming, Kyoto, disaster, Great Grand-nephew of Kyoto, looming disaster, flooding drought with cold heatwaves, the new Protocol named after someone who saw a travelogue on Kyoto, disasters most wished for by greens looking for justification for Kyoto and, well, you'll see. In view of the current iteration of the global doom-fest we thought we thought we'd begin the week with a smile:

Proof of Global Warming

The above graphic has been sent to us, well, lots of times actually,
but we do not know to whom it should be attributed. If you are aware
of the original source please drop us a line so we can cite it properly.

Ardent AGW handwringers are probably looking for the Official COP & COP / MOP Website and certainly they are unlikely to be comfortable here. Occasionally the question still arises as to why we are less than panicked by enhanced greenhouse so perhaps this is an appropriate time to restate the obvious (using temperature as a metric, although the efficacy of that approach is moot):

  • the climate is always changing, either cooling or warming;
  • from the perspective of humanity and the biosphere, warming is way better than cooling;
  • Earth currently appears to be in a warming trend;
  • Earth is currently warmer than when it is cooler(!);
  • whether current warming/temperature is unusual depends entirely on belief in the "hockey stick" version of contemporary climate history;
  • belief in the "hockey stick" version of contemporary climate history requires ignoring recorded history and the bulk of proxy paleoclimate reconstructions established to date (even AGW-believing researchers disagree with the lack of amplitude of past change suggested by the "hockey stick" version);
  • believing recorded history and proxies suggesting Earth is currently recovering from an unusually cool period of the Holocene [current interglacial] suggests recent change in minor atmospheric greenhouse gas constituents is a negligible to insignificant driver of climatic change;
  • plotting global/regional temperatures against changing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels provides further evidence of the climate's lack of sensitivity to changes in levels of the minor greenhouse gases;
  • examination of Arctic trends, where response to changing greenhouse forcing should be greatest, indicates no change of warming rate either side of the 1950s through 1970s cooling period despite the majority of atmospheric change occurring since 1950, indicating lack of climatic sensitivity to the these changes;
  • with little to no apparent sensitivity to perturbations in the minor gas levels the whole "carbon constraint" issue becomes an irrelevant distraction.

In short, this whole noisy circus is diverting attention and effort from real issues. Why?

Uh, no: "Active season doesn't settle global warming issue" - "For many, the 2005 hurricane season proves a point: Global climate change is real and the killer storms that raked Louisiana and elsewhere are proof positive. For others, the most active season on record -- a really short record of only about 150 years -- is not evidence of global warming. It is part of a decades-long active period that could last another 10-15 years. Most scientists believe that industrial and automotive emissions -- primarily carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels -- are acting like the glass in a greenhouse, trapping heat that would normally radiate back into space. That, in turn, makes Earth and its atmosphere warmer. The additional heat will change weather and climate patterns, these scientists say, producing more ferocious hurricanes." (The Advocate) [em added]

We certainly hope no 'scientist' so believes because the glass in a greenhouse acts as a physical barrier preventing convection - something greenhouse gases categorically do not do and which even Britannica's somewhat sloppy free online description would have so informed anyone who looked - even a journalist.

Typical misconception: "Editorial: Hot enough for you? Some still think not" - "There are people who do not believe in global warming, folks who feel that talk of greenhouse gases is just so much hot air.  They have been unmoved by the evidence that every reputable member of the scientific community knows to be true. So they will likely not pay any attention to the recent findings demonstrating clearly that the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher now than they were at any time in the past 650,000 years." (The Republican)

For a start, current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide may well be greater than at any time over the last n years / centuries / millennia but whether there is any relevance to this little snippet of information is unclear. Current levels are still low compared with almost any part of Earth's history. Earth has apparently had ice ages when levels have been a dozen times higher and much warmer periods when it has been similar to now. In short, atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a great global temperature proxy.

Additionally, scepticism over massive climate sensitivity to minor perturbations in atmospheric levels of minor gases and recognition of human impact on Earth's climate and environment are horses of very different colour, with neither position being exclusive.

So, let us be unequivocal, humans have a significant impact on our environment (we would be very disappointed if we did not given the effort we put into so doing). However, the impact of liberating some previously sequestered carbon does not appear to be a significant factor in said human impact - if anything it would appear something of a mitigating influence.

"Global warming 'equals WMDs'" - "THE impact of spiralling pollution on the planet posed a threat to civilisation just as catastrophic as much-vaunted weapons of mass destruction, Britain's top scientist warned today." (Agence France-Presse)

If that stood for "Warming More Desirable (than cooling)" then we'd agree but somehow we doubt it.

"Heating up the I.E. - Warming's effects expected to grow" - "Hot and stormy. That's the likely forecast for the Inland Empire and its coveted climate as the Earth heats up over the coming decades. Global warming has already turned up its burners on the planet, disintegrating up to 30 percent of the northern polar ice cap and causing the oceans to begin a slow and dangerous rise. Some blame the increasing numbers of Katrina-like killer hurricanes on the warming planet and its hotter oceans." (San Bernardino County Sun)

"Global warming stalks Yosemite" - "Retracing the steps of a meticulous early 20th century biologist, researchers find that some of the park’s tiniest residents have moved a startling distance uphill." (SF Chronicle)

"Study offers a dire prediction for waterfowl population" - "The wetlands that produce most of North America's ducks and other waterfowl could be lost to global warming in a few decades, says a new study." (Star Tribune)

"Outdoor hockey threatened by global warming" - "MONTREAL - Many Canadians go to their local outdoor hockey rink to skate and live the dream of scoring that winning Stanley Cup goal. But this quintessential slice of Canadian life in wintertime is slowly melting away because of global warming, says a collection of young environmentalists." (CP)

We know, we know - global blasted warming, right? "Snow brings chaos to Europe" - "Much of Europe was paralysed yesterday after heavy snow left tens of thousands of households without electricity and brought chaos to public transport." (The Guardian)

"The Gathering Winds" - "A rise in deadly storms since '95 has researchers worried about the future." (Washington Post)

"Warm water makes for hot season" - "Elevated ocean temperatures also helped guide long-range forecasters to greater accuracy." (Herald Tribune)

"Poorer nations tackle climate concerns" - "The struggles of developing countries in dealing with the causes and effects of global warming will come under the spotlight today at one of the biggest international meetings to be held on climate change." (Financial Times)

Panda-ism: "Governments attending Kyoto talks need to commit to lower greenhouse gas emissions" - "Montreal, Canada – Governments meeting in Montreal for the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol must start negotiations to set commitments for lower greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, says WWF." (Press release)

Montreal and Kyoto: more work for the undertaker (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Kyoto comes to Montreal" - "We face an election at a delicate time - just when the Prime Minister's attention is desperately needed to advance Canada's national interests on climate change." (Globe and Mail)

When I viewed the page it quaintly displayed an advertisement for a tidy looking V8 pickup truck, just below the by-line level. What are they trying to say?

"U.N. talks seek to ease global warming dispute" - "MONTREAL, Canada - A U.N. conference opening in Canada on Monday will try to step up a fight against global warming by drawing the United States and developing nations into U.N.-led agreements beyond 2012. About 10,000 delegates -- from 189 governments, environmental lobby groups and businesses -- will attend the November 28-December 9 talks meant to start mapping out what to do after the first period of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012." (Reuters) | Eleventh Conference Of The Parties To The UN Framework Convention On Climate Change And First Meeting Of The Parties To The Kyoto Protocol (Earth Negotiations Bulletin)

"Canada confident of progress at UN climate talks" - "MONTREAL, Canada - Host Canada expressed hopes of easing a dispute between the United States and most of its allies on ways to combat global warming at U.N. climate talks starting on Monday. Up to 10,000 delegates from 189 nations meeting in Montreal from November 28-December 9 will also look at ways to involve big developing nations like China and India in curbing emissions of heat-trapping gases blamed for heating the planet. Everybody understands the problem but there are big differences on the solutions," Canadian Environment Minister Stephane Dion said of global warming that is widely blamed on human activities and may trigger more storms, droughts and rising sea levels." (Reuters)

"Canada stresses green agenda, but emissions soar" - "OTTAWA - This should be a proud moment for Canada, where a major conference to find a successor to the Kyoto climate change treaty opens on Monday. Instead, the government is faced with an embarrassing predicament. How can a country that has campaigned vocally for the world to do more to combat climate change be doing so poorly when it comes to curbing emissions of its own greenhouse gases?" (Reuters)

"Environment summit's blushing host" - "The government of Canada persists in the fiction that it is serious about meeting this country's commitments to the Kyoto Accord. When the signatories of the environmental treaty gather in Montreal this week to begin advancing the Kyoto Accord to a new level, Environment Minister Stéphane Dion will preside over the assembly. This may have environmentally concerned Canadians blushing because Canada is hardly ready to embark on Kyoto II. Canada, in fact, has yet to even begin to meet the requirements of the original Kyoto deal." (Toronto Star)

Reality seeping in? "Post-Kyoto deal may fail, warns Beckett" - "An attempt to strike a new deal on climate change after the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012 is at risk of failing, the Secretary of State for the Environment warned. With 190 nations involved, it might be impossible to persuade the world community to commit to cutting the volume of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere, Margaret Beckett hinted before flying to Canada to head the EU negotiating team at the Montreal summit on climate change." (London Independent)

"Target practice: To talk about extending the Kyoto protocol is to miss the mark" - "In the company of thousands of activists, politicians from 150 countries gather in Montreal today for the portentously named 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In theory, they are there to “build on” the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The idea is to set ambitious new targets for the period after the “initial” phase of implementation ends in 2012, and to get poorer nations to join the richer 38 that are already bound to cut emissions. In practice, delegates will play for time." (London Times)

"In Montreal, delegates look at post-Kyoto world" - "Their focus will be on how to keep the environmental protocol moving after 2012." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"US to battle allies over global warming" - "MONTREAL, Canada - Washington will battle with its allies over how to slow climate change beyond 2012 at UN talks in Canada this week that will also test developing nations' willingness to do more to fight global warming." (Reuters)

"Political cloud over UN climate conference" - "OF ALL the days and of all the places to open an international conference on global warming, the world’s environmentalists could hardly have asked for a worse combination: today, in Montreal. In a perfect storm of bad timing and even worse luck, nearly 200 nations gather in the Canadian city hoping to devise a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. There is just one problem: the Government which is hosting the UN conference — that of Paul Martin, the Liberal Prime Minister — and which has been the driving force behind efforts to build a new international consensus on global warming, is expected to fall in a no-confidence vote." (London Times)

"Emissions trading is no solution to Amazon deforestation" - "Some say that emissions trading under the Kyoto Protocol should be used to preserve intact areas of the Amazon rainforest as well as to restore deforested regions. This is a commendable aim — but there are several reasons why it is unlikely to work in practice.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a key function of the Kyoto Protocol and is already being used in the emissions trading markets. It allows companies in developed countries to invest in certain projects in developing countries in return for emissions credits. For a project to be eligible for CDM credits, it must result in a net reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions. Carbon capture projects, including reforestation, do qualify for CDM credits, but conservation projects that would avoid trees being cut down in the first place do not." (SciDev.Net)

"Rain Forest Nations Seek Incentive to Conserve - Papua New Guinea and others suggest they be compensated for the benefits of green areas." - "Until recently, Michael Somare, the prime minister of Papua New Guinea, felt that global economic forces were pressuring him to cut down his country's lush tropical rain forest, the third-largest left in the world. But Somare believes he has found a financial incentive to save his nation's forests, one that should be far more valuable to the world than hardwood timber or coffee plantations. Forests serve as natural air filters that suck up the greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. Arguing that the rest of the world is benefiting from this natural wealth without sharing the cost, a bloc of developing countries led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica plans to make a novel proposition this week at a United Nations conference in Montreal on climate change: Pay us, and we will preserve our rain forests." (LA Times) | Joseph E Stiglitz: This is a bold initiative that could unite the whole world (London Independent)

Dangerous path, this pay for "services to the planet" thing. If you turn loose the accountants, how much will the developing world owe for aerial fertilisation of crops and forests by atmospheric carbon dioxide (plant food) freely given (so far) by industrialised nations?

"Green investors hope for new Kyoto rules post-2012" - "LONDON, Nov 27 - An international meeting this week on climate change should start setting rules governing cuts to greenhouse gas emissions once the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, industry and green investors said. Investors that help finance cuts in emission can earn so-called "carbon credits", which they then sell using schemes such as the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). However, they said they needed to know that the Protocol, and the carbon market, had a future after 2012 because without limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) limits there would be no reason to trade." (Reuters)

"Tougher vehicle emission rules eyed" - "Massachusetts is set to adopt tough new standards by the end of the year that would significantly reduce auto emissions linked to global warming, joining a growing list of states battling the auto industry to produce cleaner-burning cars." (Boston Globe)

"UK is threatened with an ‘energy timebomb’" - "BRITAIN is facing an “energy timebomb”, a leading think-tank is warning ahead of the British government’s energy review. In a report to be published on Monday, titled “The Energy Time-bomb – Will It Go Off In Labour’s Face?”, the Westminster Energy Forum, an independent research group, says growing dependency on energy imports and global competition for energy sources is putting Britain’s future energy supplies at risk." (The Business Online)

"Soaring prices and fears that gas supply will not meet demand fuel initiatives to create £500m mine and re-open old pits" - "Britain's coal industry could enjoy a resurgence with new mines created and existing pits re-opened in an effort to tackle the country's deepening energy crisis. A return to coal mining on a large scale has been put forward as a way of responding to Britain's growing demand for power and the soaring price of natural gas. The country's precarious energy provisions have been thrown into sharp relief this winter with fears that gas supply will not meet demand." (London Telegraph)

"Labour to ease pollution rules if gas runs short" - "Firms forced to resort to dirtier fuels will be treated with 'flexibility'." (The Observer)

"Airline, auto sectors ripe for carbon market: IEA" - "PARIS : Rapidly rising pollution by the aviation industry, which is not covered by targets in the Kyoto protocol to combat global warming, could be slashed through inclusion in the EU carbon market, an International Energy Agency report suggests." (Agence France Presse)

"The North Pole Heats Up" - "As global warming melts the Arctic pack ice, one of the world's most remote and potentially energy-rich regions is becoming more accessible. And the race to stake a claim to the icy wastes is picking up speed." (Newsweek International)

"Offshore drilling brings potential rewards, risks" - "Soaring natural-gas prices have reignited the debate about opening U.S. waters to drilling. The nation cannot quickly import its way out of a natural-gas shortage, as it does with oil and gasoline, large manufacturers and trade associations say, because it does not have the necessary pipelines or port facilities such as liquefied-natural-gas receiving terminals. They have been pushing to open the outer continental shelf, the U.S. waters from 3 to 200 miles offshore, saying it is the quickest way to boost natural-gas supplies and bring down prices. Government and experts and independent consultants in the petroleum industry say the underwater fields contain enough oil and natural gas to heat millions of homes for decades." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Is coal the answer?" - "High-energy fuel source makes a comeback in a state that has millions of tons of it." (Peoria Journal Star)

"How coal is cleaning up its act" - "Coal is back on the agenda as a serious player in meeting the world's future energy demands. After being pushed to one side in the "dash for gas" in the 1990s, attention is returning to the role of coal in the global energy mix because of its widespread availability and stable price. The recent volatility in the markets for oil and gas, combined with concern of an "energy gap" between rising demand and suppliers' struggle to provide the electricity, has positioned coal as a realistic option - both economically and politically." (BBC)

"Possible future with FutureGen to be discussed Monday" - "Criteria and timelines for nominating Deep East Texas as a FutureGen site will be discussed during a public meeting Monday at the Livingston Chamber of Commerce. FutureGen, a $1 billion project overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy, was initiated by President Bush in 2003. The coal-fired power plant is touted to be the world's first emissions-free plant." (Lufkin Daily News)

"No choice over nuclear - Beckett" - "Nuclear power may have to be embraced in a bid to combat climate change even though it is not a "sustainable" energy source, Margaret Beckett has admitted. The environment secretary said she was very reluctant to build new nuclear power stations, but that she had "accepted that it could happen". But Mrs Beckett said any investment in nuclear must not be at the expense of renewable energy sources." (BBC)

"Australia: Nuclear industry plan examined" - "THE Federal Government is building the case for a nuclear power industry in Australia, planning a high-level academic inquiry into its prospects. Science Minister Brendan Nelson and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have put a proposal for the inquiry, costed at less than $1 million, to Prime Minister John Howard. The proposal responds to Mr Howard's call earlier this year for a nuclear power debate." (The Australian)

"Wind farm plan rocks the Adirondacks - Division arises over protecting the scenic views" - "JOHNSBURG, N.Y. -- The views in the Adirondack mountains have inspired paintings, poetry, and songs for more than a century. Now, a debate over a proposed wind turbine project in the Adirondacks has divided conservationists over just how pristine those famous views should be." (Boston Globe)

Knowledge gatekeepers? "Keep science off web, says Royal Society" - "The Royal Society, Britain's national academy of science, yesterday joined the debate about so-called open access to scientific research, warning that making research freely available on the internet as it is published in scientific journals could harm scientific debate. The Royal Society fears it could lead to the demise of journals published by not-for-profit societies, which put out about a third of all journals. "Funders should remember that the primary aims should be to improve the exchange of knowledge between researchers and wider society," The Royal Society said." (The Guardian)

Making science open access demands a new mindset (University Affairs)

"U.S. Farmers Use Pesticide Despite Treaty" - "Methyl bromide's survival demonstrates the difficulty of banishing a powerful pesticide that helps deliver what both farmers and consumers want: abundant, pest-free and affordable produce. The Bush administration, at the urging of agriculture and manufacturing interests, is making plans to ensure that methyl bromide remains available at least through 2008 by seeking and winning treaty exemptions. Also, the administration will not commit to an end date." (AP)

"Report denies link between service in Iraq and ex-soldiers’ ill health" - "A GROUND-BREAKING study into UK Gulf war veterans who died after returning from Iraq has found no link between their deployment and their deaths. The controversial research, led by scientists from Aberdeen University, also concludes that the number of British soldiers who were exposed to depleted uranium and pesticides and who subsequently died of “disease-related causes”, such as cancers, was “not statistically significant”. The research is the first ever to examine possible links between the experiences of British troops in the 1991 Desert Storm conflict and their early death. It casts doubt on the existence of so-called Gulf war syndrome, which veterans claim has caused thousands of ex-soldiers to die or suffer from inexplicable illnesses. The report states: “Overall, mortality among Gulf war veterans is considerably lower than what would be expected based on age-sex mortality rates in the UK general population.” (Sunday Herald)

"A tough look at a key environmental law" - "A congressional group finishes public hearings on law that assesses impacts of federal projects." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Here's a few items on the joys of socialised health care:

"Fat patients 'may miss out on ops'" - "HEALTH chiefs have warned that overweight patients in Peterborough could end up last in line for operations in the future." (Peterborough Today)

"Help the obese: snigger" - "The NHS in east Suffolk has announced that it will no longer perform hip or knee replacements on people classed as “obese”. Never mind that the definition it uses for obesity — a body mass index of 30 or higher — is increasingly discredited, and that a much more reliable way of measuring healthy weight is waist-to-hip ratio. (It should be 0.9 or less in men, and 0.85 or less in women; you can check it on www.healthstatus.com/calculate/whr).

A greater objection to this denial of treatment to fatties on account of their self-inflicted fatness is: where on earth do you stop?

Should NHS dental treatment be denied to women who eat too much chocolate? Should the hugely expensive course of anti-retroviral drugs for HIV be denied to promiscuous homosexuals, or sex tourists recently returned from Pattaya Beach? For that matter, what about women who have dieted rather than gluttonised all their lives, neglecting their calcium intake and so risking osteoporosis in later life?" (Christopher Hart, London Sunday Times)

"Professor hits out at PCT cutbacks" - "A PROFESSOR at one of the world's top universities has condemned health bosses for introducing new clinical thresholds which deny obese patients hip and knee replacements. Stephen O'Rahilly, Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, accused health chiefs in east Suffolk of discrimination and described the decision as “systematic of a blame culture” towards the obese. He was speaking out following the announcement that hospital consultants and GPs working in east Suffolk had come up with a list of 10 conditions where surgery will not be considered unless it meets certain criteria." (EADT)

"Reassurance for heavy patients" - "Patients were reassured last night that moves in Suffolk to refuse NHS treatment if they were overweight will not be followed by neighbouring health trusts. Suffolk health officials have announced that people regarded as obese will not be entitled to some treatments, including hip and knee replacement surgery. The decision means those within the catchment area of three primary care trusts - Suffolk Coastal, Central Suffolk and Ipswich - will not be given the procedures on the NHS if their body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30. Under the controversial new guidelines, the surgery will not be performed unless: "The patient has a BMI below 30 and conservative means have failed to alleviate the patient's pain and disability. Pain and disability should be sufficiently significant to interfere with the patient's daily life and/or ability to sleep." (EDP24)

"Are we really getting fatter?" - "Seven years ago, 35 million Americans became overweight literally overnight. America suddenly became fatter when the federal government changed the definition of overweight, based on a calculation called body mass index." (Jim Ritter, Sun-Times)

"Being 'fat' may not be a health risk" - "PEOPLE who are officially classed as overweight are not necessarily putting their health at risk and going on a diet could be dangerous, according to new research. A row has been raging after a controversial US study earlier this year found that those deemed to be overweight - because of their high weight to height ratio - actually had a lower chance of dying prematurely than people whose weight was "normal". Now scientists are increasingly supporting the findings and casting doubt on the value of the body mass index (BMI) system of measuring whether someone is too heavy, according to New Scientist magazine." (The Scotsman)

In the remarkable land of Oz: "Doctors call for charity chocolate ban" - "THE Australian Medical Association (AMA) wants a ban on lolly and chocolate fundraisers and snack food vending machines in schools as a way to tackle an "obesity epidemic". The association also wants to put a stop to toys being given away with McHappy meals, in cereal boxes or with any food, the group says in its first policy statement on nutrition, a Sydney newspaper reported." (AAP)

"Fast food tells all" - "McDonald's has decided it's time to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the caloric content and nutritional value of the burgers, fries, chicken nuggets and other delectables they serve at 13,000 establishments around the country. Starting next spring, the leading fast-food chain will print in clear, basic language and symbols the fat, calorie, carbohydrate, and sodium count -- right on the wrapper." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, The Washington Times)

"Switzerland backs GM moratorium" - "Swiss voters have approved a five-year ban on the use of genetically modified crops, final results from Sunday's referendum suggest. A total of 55.7% of the electorate voted in favour of the moratorium across all the country's 26 cantons." (BBC) | Swiss consumers side with GM opponents (Swissinfo)

November 27, 2005

Big party: "Thousands meet in Montreal to discuss climate change" - "Stéphane Dion will be taking to the podium next week in Montreal to preside over the most challenging task he's likely to face as Canada's Environment Minister. He'll be in the spotlight as chairman of the first United Nations climate change conference since the Kyoto Protocol took effect last February, a fractious gathering expected to attract up to 10,000 officials, scientists and environmental activists from around the globe." (Globe and Mail)

Big party-pooper: "No-Confidence Vote on Canada's Government Threatens U.N. Climate Change Meeting" - "OTTAWA, Nov. 23 - Monday was supposed to be the day Canada took the reins of international environmental leadership, playing host to a United Nations climate change conference in Montreal to begin a critical round of negotiations to decide how the world will confront global warming in the coming decades. But now Monday is also the day that Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal Party government is expected to fall in a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons. Many of the Canadian cabinet ministers and other members of Parliament who were supposed to attend the conference will now be scurrying to the campaign trail instead. "It's the nightmare scenario that environmental activists around the world have been hoping would be avoided," said Elizabeth May, executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada." (New York Times)

"Climate change: Battle set for soul of Kyoto Protocol" - "Efforts to combat climate change face a crunch time next week at a conference on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the UN pact to curb global-warming gases." (AFP)

For those who don't know how we arrived at this sorry state, here's one of the architects: "Climate change expert urges Govt to adapt" - "A visiting climate change expert has warned Australia will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change over the next 15 years. Sir Crispin Tickell, who has been the Climate Change Adviser to successive British prime ministers, is in Australia urging industry and government leaders to adapt to the imminent effects of global warming." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Must be very gratifying for Sir Crispin, watching his Machiavellian mischief mature.

"In search of a softer, more inclusive Kyoto" - "Two things are clear about the massive conference on climate change that opens Monday in Montreal. First, the Kyoto Protocol, the foundation of the current effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, is history. The regime of strict targets and timetables for pollution cuts will limp along for another seven years, until the end of its initial phase. After that, all bets are off — the new buzzwords are "flexible" and "voluntary." Second, when the conference closes in two weeks, its success will be measured by just one thing: What kind of deal has been reached for negotiations on what, if anything, should follow the Protocol?" (Toronto Star)

Robin McKie with an inappropriate use of quotes: "'Loony' jibe at US policy over climate" - "Britain's most senior scientist warned last week that UK research is being stifled by an 'appalling, obsessive' bureaucracy. 'A bunch of academic apparatchiks' is threatening our scientific brilliance, said Lord May, retiring president of the Royal Society." (Robin McKie, The Observer)

"Revive Kyoto at Montreal" - "Too many acronyms and jargon tend to confound rather than inform; little wonder, then, why global warming is no big deal for most. Sample some of the gobbledygook: The forthcoming Cop-11, Mop-1, SBSTA-23 and SBI-23 sessions at the UNFCCC (UN framework convention on climate change) to be held at the Palais de Congres in Montreal between November 28 and December 9 will deliberate on issues concerning GHS emissions. What lies beneath the mumbo-jumbo?" (Times of India)

"World Leaders to Discuss Strategies for Climate Control - Bush Administration Shuns Conference On Strategies to Build on Kyoto Pact" - "The nations of the world will meet in Montreal this week to start discussing the next step in combating the global warming problem, hoping to devise a successor to the Kyoto Protocol that was scorned by the Bush administration in 2001. But the United States is saying it doesn't want to talk." (Washington Post)

"Climate Change: Warming to ideas" - "The world is looking ahead on the issue of climate change. Participants in an international conference in Montreal must watch their backs for attacks by the Bush administration." (Seattle P-I)

"U.S. won't accept any new 'constraints' at Kyoto talks" - "MONTREAL - Just ahead of the UN conference on global warming, a senior American official said Saturday that Washington would hold to its position that any new measures to protect the environment not limit economic development." (CP)

"Oil sands make Canada complicit in global warming" - "When it comes to being a laggard in tackling climate change, the United States is in a class of international recklessness all by itself. Its villainy is widely recognized. Meanwhile, Canada has largely managed to look like a responsible international citizen in the worldwide fight against global warming." (Toronto Star)

Stick with it, porcine aviators in holding pattern: "Climate talks - hoops and hot air" - "November 2005: the Kyoto Protocol has been in force for six years, emissions of greenhouse gases are falling fast, and all governments accept the message of urgency coming from mainstream climate science." (BBC)

Read further - Richard Black is well aware of opening with a fanciful statement.

"Global Warming: Scientists Argue About Need For Urgent Action" - "Scientists preparing for a climate-change conference in Canada next week are already arguing about the need for tougher international action to slow global warming. The 12-day conference follows a recent U.S. scientific report confirming that the Arctic ice cap is shrinking more rapidly than previously believed. Experts and government officials from about 190 countries are set to meet in Montreal starting on 28 November to will talk about how to replace the UN's Kyoto Protocol. That 1997 deal is seen as just a tiny first step toward curbing rising emissions of heat-trapping gasses from power plants, factories and cars." (RFE/RL)

"Years of intense storms likely" - "The official hurricane season is almost over, but the long-term crisis is just beginning, and more storms will threaten South Florida." (Miami Herald)

This week it was Science's turn to dump multiple handwringers in the prelude to the Montreal-hosted CoP/MoP shindig:

Tiny Bubbles Tell All - "Our knowledge of long-term human effects on greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere comes from air trapped in ice cores taken from polar ice sheets. These ice core samples allow researchers to place modern changes in the context of natural variations over hundreds of thousands of years. In his Perspective, Brook discusses results reported in the same issue by Siegenthaler et al. and by Spahni et al. based on new samples obtained by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA). The new long records of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide from EPICA extend the window on greenhouse gas levels to 650,000 years. The results confirm that the modern atmosphere is highly anomalous and reinforce the view that greenhouse gases and climate are intimately related." (Edward J. Brook, Science) Full Text | PDF

Stable Carbon Cycle–Climate Relationship During the Late Pleistocene - "CO2 levels, trapped deep in an Antarctic ice core, varied less between 650,000 and 400,000 years ago than they have since, consistent with that period's smaller temperature changes." (Siegenthaler, et al, Science) Abstract | Full Text | PDF | Supporting Online Material

Atmospheric Methane and Nitrous Oxide of the Late Pleistocene from Antarctic Ice Cores - "Methane levels varied less between 650,000 and 400,000 years ago than they have since; nitrous oxide levels also followed glacial climate swings, but in a more complex way." (Spahni, et al, Science) Abstract | Full Text | PDF | Supporting Online Material

The Phanerozoic Record of Global Sea-Level Change (Miller, et al, Science) Abstract | Full Text | PDF | Supporting Online Material

Ecosystem Service Supply and Vulnerability to Global Change in Europe - "Climate and social changes in Europe over the next 80 years are predicted to degrade ecosystems services such as biodiversity and fresh water, especially in the Mediterranean and mountainous regions." (Schröter, et al, Science, published online 27 October 2005 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1115233] in Science Express Reports) Abstract | Full Text | PDF | Supporting Online Material

Benefits of a Regional Climate Model (Lara M. Kueppers, Science) Full Text | PDF

The Week That Was Nov. 26, 2005 (SEPP)

The Week That Was Nov. 19, 2005 (SEPP)

"Young scientists sound alarm on climate change" - "A summit of young scientists meeting in the Swiss capital have issued the "Bern Manifesto" - a plan to reduce the impact of climate change." (swissinfo)

"An ironic twist to the Kyoto Protocol - Emission credits tagged as exploitive" - "On the eve of the United Nations climate change conference that opens on Monday in Montreal, I came across a troubling academic paper that suggests the emission trading system, to which Canada is committed, has been exploiting debt-ridden Third-World countries by "colonizing" their forests. The emission trading system allows polluters to achieve their emission reduction targets by paying for reductions — credits — achieved elsewhere. The paper suggests that paying to have Third-World forests protected, as a means of combating global warming, can result in hardship to families evicted from the forests." (Toronto Star)

"Court Lets EU Nations Ignore Pollution Quotas" - "BRUSSELS -- A European court ruled that European Union countries can ignore Brussels-imposed quotas on greenhouse gases, saying governments can increase the amount of emissions allowed to help support their industries. The decision by the European Court of First Instance could weaken Europe's role as a global leader in preventing pollution, climate-change experts said. It also could undermine Europe's innovative emissions-trading program that went into effect at the beginning of this year." (Dow Jones)

"No energy for climate change" - "Today, there is a must read - Roger Harrabin of the BBC rhetorically deconstructs Tony Blair on climate change: 'Q&A: Blair's climate strategy' (BBC Science/Nature News Online, November 24). I would simply highlight two key comments:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

About that energy thing... "Snow strikes as Europe prepares for early winter cold" - "Parts of Britain were returning to normal Saturday after snowstorms and freezing temperatures led to chaos, as France upped its weather alert in parts of the country after three people froze to death as Europe dug in for a long hard winter." (AFP) | Big freeze grips northern Europe (BBC)

"Winter comes to Mr Blair's la-la land and we're likely to be shivering for some time" - "Out of gas" is an American expression seldom heard on this side of the Atlantic, where cars run on petrol not gasoline. But could Britain nevertheless run out of gas this winter? Over the past eight years, Tony Blair and his colleagues have emitted a great deal of environmentally-friendly hot air on the subject of energy. But this winter they are at long last getting their come-uppance in the form of CH4, methane, the principal constituent of natural gas." (Niall Ferguson, London Telegraph)

"Q&A: Blair's climate strategy" - "The UK government's climate strategy due last Spring will almost certainly be delayed until the New Year, the BBC has learned. Even when it is eventually published, key details in several policy areas will be missing." (BBC)

"Expert View; It's better to go nuclear than ask people to be nice" - "The real world is pushing the politicians to adopt the US way." (Mark Tinker, London Independent)

"Chancellor 'will refuse to pay for new nuclear reactors'" - "Tony Blair is facing a fresh clash with Gordon Brown over his plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain. The Treasury is to warn Mr Blair that no taxpayers' money will be made available to build new reactors and that the Prime Minister must prove "the numbers add up" in return for the Chancellor's support. As the Government prepares to announce an official energy review this week, the Treasury has insisted that it examine the cost of different forms of energy - including nuclear - that could be used to combat climate change." (London Independent)

"Blair needs to power on and go nuclear" - "ENERGY policy in Britain has been a shambles, with disaster avoided thanks to lucky escapes rather than good stewardship, and a government choosing to turn a blind eye to repeated and increasingly desperate warnings over prices and supply." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Global warming scuppers Blair’s nuclear power plans" - "Prime Minister Tony Blair’s plans to build new nuclear power stations were thrown into doubt last night after a government agency warned that the preferred sites would be flooded or eroded by global warming. This week, Blair will announce an energy review, which is expected to back up to 10 nuclear stations at existing sites around the UK coast, but a study by nuclear waste agency Nirex reveals that most of them are threatened by climate change. If those sites are ruled out, reactors will have to be built inland on new, greenfield sites – some in Scotland – which will provoke a furious outcry." (Sunday Herald)

"Nuclear power? Don't dismiss it" - "We cannot afford to dither any longer about the impending energy crisis. All governments must act now." (Henry Porter, The Observer)

Twittering Polly: "Take the clean, green alternative over macho nuclear rod-waving" - "There are many energy sources that could provide efficient power supplies, if only they had government backing." (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian)

Meanwhile, following the yellowcake road: "Oz: Nelson proposes N-energy option study" - "Science Minister Brendan Nelson has proposed Prime Minister John Howard establish a $1 million academic study into the nuclear energy option for Australia. Dr Nelson said Australia, as a major uranium exporter, owed it to itself to thoroughly investigate nuclear energy in a time of rising energy demands." (AAP)

"Agencies faulted on gas emissions" - "MPs have accused the government of letting its own performance on reducing greenhouse gas emissions slide even while it is urging businesses to take action to cut their emissions. A report from the Commons environmental audit committee found that carbon dioxide emissions from government departments, excluding the Ministry of Defence, had increased by 11 per cent since 2000." (Financial Times)

Sure, why not? "'Global warming' culprit in chip fire?" - "A fire at a wood-chip farm that started the day before Thanksgiving was still smoldering Friday. A company co-owner blamed the blaze on the "global warming''-type weather that held sway over the Bay Area for much of the month." (SF Chronicle)

"Arctic booms as climate change melts polar ice cap" - "The global hunger for oil is fuelling a new gold rush. Alex Duval-Smith reports from Hammerfest, northern Norway." (The Observer)

Granted, improved technology and financial incentive means that resources will likely be extracted from the frigid zone to an increased extent. As far the ice cap melting goes, well, we can hope but the chances are pretty slim.

"How coal is cleaning up its act" - "Coal is back on the agenda as a serious player in meeting the world's future energy demands. After being pushed to one side in the "dash for gas" in the 1990s, attention is returning to the role of coal in the global energy mix because of its widespread availability and stable price." (BBC)

Today's 'No? Duh!': "A nation of careless travellers" - "Concerns about climate change and responsible tourism barely make an impact on most holidaymakers, according to a report published this week." (London Telegraph)

"Battle Lines Set as New York Acts to Cut Emissions" - "ALBANY, Nov. 23 - New York is adopting California's ambitious new regulations aimed at cutting automotive emissions of global warming gases, touching off a battle over rules that would sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions while forcing the auto industry to make vehicles more energy efficient over the next decade. The rules, passed this month by a unanimous vote of the State Environmental Board, are expected to be adopted across the Northeast and the West Coast. But the auto industry has already moved to block the rules in New York State, and plans to battle them in every other state that follows suit." (New York Times)

"Dear Bono, ..." - "...I am sorry to miss your concert in Ottawa tonight. What you are doing for the developing world is amazing. Frankly, you deserve to add the Nobel Peace Prize to your collection of Grammys." (Peter A. Singer, National Post)

Another case for DDT? "Just Try to Sleep Tight. The Bedbugs Are Back." - "They're the scourge of hobo encampments and hot-sheet motels. To impressionable children everywhere, they're a snippet of nursery rhyme, an abstract foe lurking beneath the covers that emerges when mommy shuts the door at night.

But bedbugs on Park Avenue? Ask the horrified matron who recently found her duplex teeming with the blood-sucking beasts. Or the tenants of a co-op on Riverside Drive who spent $200,000 earlier this month to purge their building of the pesky little thugs. The Helmsley Park Lane was sued two years ago by a welt-covered guest who blamed the hotel for harboring the critters. The suit was quietly settled last year.

And bedbugs, stealthy and fast-moving nocturnal creatures that were all but eradicated by DDT after World War II, have recently been found in hospital maternity wards, private schools and even a plastic surgeon's waiting room.

Bedbugs are back and spreading through New York City like a swarm of locusts on a lush field of wheat." (New York Times)

"PETA Tells Kids to Run From Daddy" - "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has begun a campaign to scare children into becoming vegetarians. The group, which formed to stop animal testing of consumer products but made its name by attacking women in fur coats with fake blood, is producing comic books that portray fathers as homicidal maniacs. The handout, titled "Your Daddy Kills Animals," features a grinning lunatic gutting a fish, and warns kids to keep their puppies and kittens away from Dad because he's "hooked on killing." (FoxNews.com)

"Environmentalists dish up GM food for thought" - "Voters in Switzerland have the final word on Sunday on a proposal to introduce a five-year ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture. Environmentalists managed to force a nationwide ballot on the issue by collecting the necessary signatures for a people's initiative." (swissinfo)

"Switzerland votes on GM crop ban" - "Switzerland is holding a vote on a proposal to ban all genetically modified crops for a five-year period. Supporters of the proposal, including many farmers, say a ban would allow more time to assess the possible risks of GM crops before introducing them. But the country's influential biotechnology industry has been campaigning hard against a ban. It says Switzerland must not turn away from new developments which could harm domestic scientific research." (BBC)

November 25, 2005

"CO2 'highest for 650,000 years'" - "Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the last 650,000 years. That is the conclusion of new European studies looking at ice taken from 3km below the surface of Antarctica." (BBC) | New evidence extends greenhouse gas record from ice cores by 50 percent, adding 210,000 years (AAAS)

Non sequitur of the moment: "The scientists say their research shows present day warming to be exceptional." These guys may well be right about atmospheric CO2 levels, after all, the Earth has been in an ice age for the last couple or three million years - we're very grateful for the current interglacial making the place much more life-friendly - however, just because atmospheric CO2 levels are currently recovering from their recent historic miniscule level does not a major driver of climate make.

"Global warming doubles rate of ocean rise" - "Global ocean levels are rising twice as fast today as they were 150 years ago, and human-induced warming appears to be the culprit, say scientists at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and collaborating institutions. While the speed at which the ocean is rising – almost two millimeters per year today compared to one millimeter annually for the past several thousand years – may not be fodder for the next disaster movie, it affirms scientific concerns of accelerated global warming." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

Is there a Warm Bias in the Nightime Land Surface Temperature Record? (Climate Science)

"Emissions trading 'key to climate change battle'" - "Greenhouse gas emissions trading should remain central to tackling climate change, the International Energy Agency said yesterday." (Financial Times)

"FEATURE-Europe's pollution trade scheme faces tough times" - "LONDON, Nov 25 - Business is booming in Europe's new market for trading pollution credits but doubts remain about the scheme's long-term ability to punch its weight in the fight against global warming." (Reuters)

Odd that there's any doubt - it's trade in hot air, which is less than weightless, so it would definitely appear to be punching its weight (that's OK though, it's only 'fighting' a phantom menace anyway).

"Deal to be signed on eve of UN meeting in Montreal sets gas-emission targets" - "QUEBEC CITY -- An agreement in principle has been reached between Ottawa and Quebec that would give the province $325-million to implement the Kyoto accord on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions." (Globe and Mail)

What 'stable climate'? "Forest report puts dollar value on clean water" - "EDMONTON - The clean water and stable climate provided by Canada's boreal forest are worth billions of dollars to the economy and can no longer go unrecognized, says a new report." (CP)

"Oz: Lobby group slams govt's climate pact" - "A federal government initiative to help combat global warming has been attacked by an environmental lobby group as just a smokescreen to cover up a lack of action. On the eve of a major international meeting on climate change in Canada, the Climate Institute says it is time the government lifted the cloud on what the Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate is actually doing." (AAP)

"Canada eyes joining U.S. on Kyoto plans - Would represent policy shift in Ottawa" - "OTTAWA—The United States intends to use next week's U.N. climate change conference in Montreal as part of a push to force the eventual elimination of the pollution caps that the Kyoto pact was specifically created to enforce. And Canada has made preliminary moves to join the American efforts. Under the proposed U.S. model, countries would rely on free-market mechanisms and the widespread introduction of new technologies to improve energy efficiency and slash pollution. The move would be a defeat for countries that have spent years fighting to impose legal limits on the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases countries pour into the atmosphere." (Toronto Star)

For Flannery fans and other assorted green bunnies: "Back to nature" - "The world's ecological clock it ticking. Scientists say unless we dramatically reduce greenhouse gases by 2050 we will reach what they call the "tipping point", where the damage to the earth's environment becomes irreversible." (The Age)

"UK demo on climate change 'to be biggest ever'" - "The London Climate March on Saturday 3 December will be many times bigger than any demonstration on the issue so far, say organisers, and will be part of the world’s first truly global protest on climate change as demonstrations and events around the world take place in more than thirty countries." (OneWorld UK)

The sky is indeed falling in on the Chicken Littles (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Nuclear power may get boost from U.K." - "LONDON-A British decision to back the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations would be a major boost to an industry that has been shunned by most Western European countries, a Canadian nuclear official says. The move would ring out as a political and commercial vote of confidence in a technology that faced a barren market in much of Europe since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, said Ala Alizadeh, a vice president at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd." (Toronto Star)

"Finland Raises Eyebrows with New Nuclear Reactor" - "Finland is alone among European countries in building a new nuclear reactor -- the world's most powerful. Almost no one in Finland is opposed to nuclear power, and both risks and economic objections are suppressed to the chagrin of other European countries. Will Finland become Europe's "nuclear park" as critics contend?" (Der Spiegel)

Surprisingly sensible NYT editorial: "The Million-Year Health Standard" - "The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed radiation standard for a planned nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada took a severe battering during a comment period that ended this week. The standard is supposed to protect future residents of the area from hazardous radiation doses for the next million years, but critics, led by the State of Nevada, skewered E.P.A.'s often sloppy justifications and complained bitterly that no other radiation standard now in force would allow the public to receive such high doses.

The proposed standard would indeed allow more radiation exposure to residents living near Yucca in far distant epochs than we would accept today. Even so, it passes a very important common-sense test. It would provide reasonable health protection without setting such tight restrictions that no waste repository could possibly be licensed." (New York Times)

"Most malaria affects 'unlucky few' - Some people are more susceptible because of their smell or location" - "Only 20% of people account for 80% of malaria infections. Some people attract mosquitoes more than others so if one can identify those people, one can target malaria control far better. However identifying those people will be very expensive - history shows us that indoor residual spraying is a very effective way of protecting everyone from malaria." (AFM)

"Exposure to PCB and p, p'-DDE in European and Inuit populations: impact on human sperm chromatin integrity" - "RESULTS: We found a strong and monotonically increasing DNA fragmentation index with increasing serum levels of CB-153 among European but not Inuit men, reaching a 60% higher average level in the highest exposure group. No significant associations were found between SCSA-derived parameters and p, p'-DDE serum concentrations.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that human dietary PCB exposure might have a negative impact on the sperm chromatin integrity of adult males but additional issues, including differences in the genetic background and lifestyle habits, still need to be elucidated." (Oxford Journals)

"Paediatricians Turn Spotlight on Environmental Risks" - "BUENOS AIRES - How many childhood respiratory problems are related to the fuel used in homes for cooking? How many cases of diarrhoea are the result of drinking contaminated water? How can we detect the relationship between potential exposure to lead and learning problems in school?" (Tierramérica)

"Liberté, égalité, obésité" - "Even the French are getting fat -- especially the young." (SF Chronicle)

"Europe's Turn to Wrestle With Obesity" - "BRUSSELS, Nov. 23 - Europe's food industry and consumer groups are to submit ideas to the European Union on Thursday on how to confront obesity, urging clear labeling of nutritional hazards and warning against aggressive marketing to children, but also allowing food producers to regulate themselves." (New York Times)

November 24, 2005

"Green? No, we're colour-blind" - "The doom-mongering of the environmental lobby is enough to put anyone off saving the planet." (Camilla Cavendish, London Times)

Actually Camilla, most people seem to have woken up to the fact that nature, red in tooth and claw, is no benign nurture figure and that change and development are actually really good things.

"UK Government forces EU CO2 rethink" - "The government has forced the EU to consider less stringent limits on UK industry greenhouse gas emissions. The European Court in Luxembourg ruled EU officials must consider the UK's proposal to increase its carbon dioxide limit by 20 million tonnes. Ministers said the original 736 million tonne limit under the EU emissions trading scheme had been miscalculated. Environmental groups said the government was trying to escape tough action against climate change." (BBC)

"UK victory rips hole in EU's pollution trading scheme" - "The EU's emissions trading scheme, cornerstone of Europe's effort to combat global warming, was thrown into chaos yesterday after Europe's second highest court ruled that Britain had the right to press for looser limits on polluting industries. The European commission fears that the judgment by the Court of First Instance will mean others of the EU's 25 member states will demand that Brussels allow them higher carbon emissions from factories and power stations." (The Guardian)

Don't know how they do it: "Deep probes unlock warming trend" - "Tree rings and deep holes in the ground give added support to warnings that Earth is warming fast. In a new study, geophysicists at Oregon State University and the University of Utah have found that average temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere have increased by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 500 years. They show that nearly three-quarters of that rise has come in the past 150 years, when the industrial revolution began spewing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-warming gases into the atmosphere." (The Oregonian)

Sure don't know how they do it - find reporters gullible enough to splash items like this as though they're either new or significant or both, that is. The simple fact is there are proxies from all over the world showing the descent into and recent recovery from the Little Ice Age and we've long known that the thermometer record only tracks the period of greatest recovery. We've plotted some of them for you here (check out the longer series and see how unremarkable Earth's temperature is at present). Ours is nowhere near a complete collection but a search on paleoclimate should yield ample data to keep even the most avid plotter busy over the holiday weekend.

"Can 'tipping points' accelerate global warming?" - "OSLO - Rising temperatures trigger a runaway melt of Greenland's ice sheet, raising sea levels and drowning Pacific islands and cities from New York to Tokyo. In Siberia, the permafrost thaws, releasing vast frozen stores of greenhouse gases that send temperatures even higher. In the tropics, the Amazon rainforest starts to die off because of a warmer, drier climate. Such scenarios may read like the script of a Hollywood disaster movie but many scientists say there are real risks of "tipping points" -- sudden, catastrophic changes triggered by human activities blamed for warming the planet." (Reuters)

"Environment Hurt by Canada's Oil Sands Boom - Report" - "CALGARY - The rush to develop Canada's vast oil sands resources has hampered the country's ability meet commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and shortchanged the public purse, an environmental group said in a report issued Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Fighting Global Warming While Helping The Bottom Line" - "NOVEMBER 2005 - In the past decade, 2.5 billion people in developing countries have been affected by climate disasters and the damage hits hardest those with the fewest resources to cope, write Warren Evans, Director for Environment at the World Bank, and Julie Fox Gorte, vice president and chief social investment strategist for the Calvert Group, Ltd." (IPS)

Apparently IPS really don't want Canadians reading this because it's /NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN CANADA, AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, CZECH REPUBLIC, IRELAND, POLAND, THE UNITED STATES, AND THE UNITED KINGDOM/ (END/2005) So, if you live in one of these places (or even a couple of them), please don't read the preceding item.

"Meacher criticises nuclear plan" - "Ex-environment minister Michael Meacher has told Tony Blair it was "patently untrue" that nuclear power was needed for the UK to meet emissions targets." (BBC)

And we're all likely to believe an ex-Environment Minister who couldn't (probably still can't) tell the difference between a tropical cyclone and an ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) event. Who could forget so memorable an exchange as this extract from the August 9, 2002, edition of London's Sunday Times:

Meacher: "I mean floods in Britain is one we are having to explain, rising sea levels, but in America quite serious things are happening, certainly stronger hurricanes on the east coast which are to do with, what is the name of that hurricane that comes every 2-3 years?"
Interviewer: "They call them different names."
Meacher: "No, no, there is a name which is the Spanish word for a young child, what is it called?"
Interviewer: "El Niño."
Meacher: "The El Niño is becoming more frequent and more violent…."

"Drift to Nuclear Power Angers UK Environmentalists" - "LONDON - British environmentalists expressed outrage on Wednesday at signs the government is moving towards approving a new generation of nuclear power stations." (Reuters)

"California decides against Wyoming coal plants" - "GILETTE, Wyo. - California regulators have approved new standards for energy production that preclude importing electricity generated in conventional coal-burning power plants in Wyoming." (Associated Press)

So, when do they take applications for the position of Electron Inspector? Won't want any coming from PinC generators, after all.

"Denmark may Compensate for GMO Contamination - EU" - "BRUSSELS - Denmark became the first European Union country on Wednesday to win EU permission to compensate farmers who have detected genetically modified (GMO) material in traditional or organic crops, the EU executive said." (Reuters)

"GM crops win ground on a global level" - "The commercial use of genetically modified (GM) crops is increasingly popular, but Swiss environmentalists want to impose a moratorium." (swissinfo)

"Public must have say in GMO rice debate" - "With its immense influence on the final approval by the Ministry of Agriculture of commercializing genetically modified (GMO) rice, the ongoing three-day meeting of the State Agricultural GMO Crop Biosafety Committee which began yesterday in Beijing deserves attention. It is reported that applications for the commercialization of four varieties of GMO rice have been submitted for the agricultural authorities' approval this year." (China Daily)

November 23, 2005

"Heavy antibiotic linked to increased lymphoma risk" - "NEW YORK - Using antibiotics more than 10 times during adulthood is associated with an increased likelihood of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a cancer that affects the body's lymphatic system, new research suggests. The researchers believe, however, that heavy antibiotic use is a marker of increased susceptibility to infection, and it is probably this rather than antibiotics themselves that gives rise to the increased lymphoma risk." (Reuters Health)

"'Toxic' Toys Not 'Toxic'" - "Naughty PIRG doesn't play nice with science; Europe banned phthalate in toys over objections of its own scientific advisory committee." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Rat Study Shows Cancer, Aspartame Link" - "A study in rats links the popular artificial sweetener aspartame to a wide range of cancers, but industry officials charge that the research is badly flawed." (FoxNews.com)

"New Project on Unintended Consequences" - "Unintended consequences abound in politics and government. Increased expenditures by school districts lead to no improvement in student achievement. High tax rates produce less revenue than lower rates. Higher spending on health care often correlates only to poorer health. The ban on DDT led to catastrophic increases in malaria deaths, and the Endangered Species Act has endangered rather than saved species." (The Heartland Institute)

"Hurricanes And Global Warming" (.pdf) - "An interdisciplinary team of researchers survey the peer-reviewed literature to assess the relationships between global warming, hurricanes, and hurricane impacts." (American Meteorological Society)

"MEPs 'scaremongered to vote no'" - "Manufacturers used scaremongering tactics to persuade MEPs to vote against banning harmful gases, a politician has complained." (BBC)

Avril's upset at not getting yet more bans through the  European Parliament.

"Nations set to feud over global warming" - "OSLO - About 190 nations meet in Canada next week to try to enlist the United States and such developing nations as China and India in the U.N.-led fight against global warming beyond 2012. Negotiators will meet in Montreal from November 28 to December 9 for talks on how to replace the U.N.'s 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a tiny first step to curb rising emissions of heat-trapping gases from power plants, factories and cars. Environment ministers from around the globe will attend the final three days in Montreal. Some predict the negotiations they launch may last 5 years." (Reuters)

"Global warming already hurting Europe, WWF says" - "Brussels — Global warming is making life more dangerous for people across Europe and even starting to hurt businesses, necessitating urgent action from the European Union, the WWF environmental group said Tuesday." (Associated Press)

"FEATURE-Islands battle rising seas for survival" - "SYDNEY, Nov 23 - The Carteret Islands are almost invisible on a map of the South Pacific, but the horseshoe scattering of atolls is on the front-line of climate change, as rising sea levels and storm surges eat away at their existence." (Reuters)

The Carteret Islands are sinking due to tectonic activity and associated volcanism because the Pacific Plate is sliding into the Bismarck and Solomon Plates, some of the islands in the associated Duke of York group are sinking 30 centimetres (11.8 inches) a year.

"Greenhouse gases to be under regulation for first time" - "OTTAWA - For the first time, greenhouse gases will be subject to regulation under federal law - despite objections from Alberta. Environment Minister Stephane Dion announced Tuesday that six greenhouse gases will be added on Nov. 30 to a list of substances subject to regulation under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. This will allow Ottawa to set limits on greenhouse emissions from big industrial facilities, which account for about half of Canada's greenhouse emissions. Alberta has filed an objection to the federal move, saying it wants to set up its own system for regulating greenhouse gases. No comment could be obtained from the Alberta government Tuesday." (CP)

Typical misinformation: "Nature: Up to one-third of US in compliance with Kyoto accords" - "Even though the United States does not participate in the Kyoto protocol, about one-quarter of the population lives in states, counties or cities that have adopted climate change policies similar to those of the global initiative, according to a Brief Communication published in the November 17 issue of Nature. Including regions classified as 'probable' and 'possible' adopters, which have pledged to reduce emissions, more than one-third of the U.S. population lives in such areas, say co-authors Brendan Fisher and Robert Costanza of the University of Vermont. Together, these regions contribute up to half of the US gross domestic product, equivalent of 16.9% of global GDP, a slightly larger share than Japan, the world's second largest economy. Although the numbers look promising, Fisher and Costanza caution that "compliance will be a challenge even for current adopters, who have on average increased their carbon dioxide emissions by 14% since 1990." There are no mechanisms to enforce such initiatives, they add. However, the local nature of these initiatives could make it possible to develop adaptable, site-specific plans for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The United States produces 24% of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions." (University of Vermont)

Read: US might emit 24% of anthropogenic fossil-fuel generated CO2 and equivalent gases - that is one heck of a long way from "24% of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions" - more than nine-tenths of which are water vapour and virtually all of which are all-singing, all-dancing, all-natural. Given that North America is a net carbon sink it is difficult to make the case that the US is "responsible" even for the fraction of a percent of the global greenhouse budget actually emitted there.

"EU Presses US on Gas Emissions and Global Warming" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union ramped up pressure on the United States on Tuesday to do more to control greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change, saying US reliance on new technology was not working." (Reuters)

"US greenhouse gas output falls" - "Emissions of greenhouse gases from the US fell for the first time in more than a decade between 2000 and 2003 following a shift in heavy manufacturing away from US shores to cheaper locations such as China. James Connaughton, chairman of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, said on Tuesday the decrease of 0.8 per cent in gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide had been unexpected: “This was not something we would have projected.” (Financial Times)

"US defends opposition to Kyoto, looks to next steps" - "President George W. Bush's top environmental aide defended Monday Washington's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, saying the world should already be mulling options for after the landmark pact runs out. In Brussels for talks with his European Union counterparts, James Connaughton said requirements of the 1997 protocol were simply too costly for the United States. Specifically he dismissed as "inappropriate" the option of trading in greenhouse gas emissions, a system launched by the European Union this year as a way of encouraging companies to cut their production of carbon dioxide." (AFP)

"Alberta will ignore Kyoto guidelines" - "Ottawa — Alberta will not be bound by federal regulations on greenhouse emissions, says a spokesman for the province's Environment Department. Robert Moyles said Tuesday that Alberta will introduce its own regulations to govern greenhouse emissions — and they will take precedence over federal rules. The comments open a gaping hole in the credibility of Ottawa's plan for achieving its commitments under the Kyoto protocol, with less than a week before a UN conference on climate change opens in Montreal." (Canadian Press)

"Overstating Health Impacts of Global Warming" - "The best way to garner headlines in the global warming game is to generate scary scenarios about how many people will die in its wake. While many people view global warming as some esoteric concern of environmentalists, it does at least raise one’s eyebrows when you hear a phrase like “global warming deaths.” (World Climate Report)

"Coral reefs may be adjusting to climate change" - "A coral bleaching expert says there are signs that some coral reefs are adapting to climate change." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Big surprise, considering corals have done so myriad times in the past.

Coral as a Component of the Climate System (Climate Science)

Yeah, sure... "Scientists use new techniques to narrow down impact of global warming on specific regions" - "People will soon be able to find out how vulnerable their own local area is to global warming, thanks to new techniques developed by scientists. The STARDEX project's seven European research teams, led by the University of East Anglia, narrowed down evidence of changing weather patterns to predict the occurrence of floods, heat waves and drought on even smaller regions across the UK and Europe." (University of East Anglia)

"North-west and south-east get floods and droughts warning" - "Towns and villages in the north-west and south-east of England can expect more severe winter flooding and lengthy droughts during the summer in coming decades, according to a report published by climate scientists today." (The Guardian)

"Aviation fuel to undermine pledge on global warming" - "The devastating cost in global warming of tax-free fuel for airlines is laid bare in an EU report being studied by MPs. Aviation fuel is untaxed, despite the growing evidence that it is undermining international efforts to reduce the damaging gases that cause global warming." (London Independent)

"Energy boom alarms Russian Greens" - "Do you know what is the brightest place on Earth in satellite images?" asks Aleksey Yablokov, leader of the new Green Russia party. "Not Los Angeles, not Tokyo. It's western Siberia." The vast expanses of this sparsely populated region are lit by the flares of associated gas burned at oil wells." (BBC)

Really? Well, not according to NASA's "Earth Lights" it isn't. We've only linked a small, fast-loading example but you can see more detailed shots here.

"California, 7 Other States May Sue Over U.S. Fuel-Economy Rules" - "California and seven other states may sue over proposed changes in U.S. auto fuel-economy rules that would let only federal authorities regulate carbon-dioxide exhaust, a spokesman for California's attorney general said." (Bloomberg)

"Plea to Blair on climate change" - "Prime Minister Tony Blair has been urged to be steadfast in supporting legally-binding targets to combat climate change and to champion the interests of poor people and nations who suffer most from the threat. The call from top scientists, politicians, environm

"UK: Council turns up the heat on energy wasters" - "Leicester city council is looking after the environment and residents by using a spy in the sky to spot energy-wasting homes." (The Guardian)entalists and policy-makers comes ahead of the United Nations summit in Montreal next week." (Press Association)

"At last Blair seems to see that our future is nuclear" - "The energy debate must move on now to give us any hope of getting near the government's target for emissions reduction." (Simon Jenkins, The Guardian)

"Forests paying the price for biofuels" - "THE drive for "green energy" in the developed world is having the perverse effect of encouraging the destruction of tropical rainforests. From the orang-utan reserves of Borneo to the Brazilian Amazon, virgin forest is being razed to grow palm oil and soybeans to fuel cars and power stations in Europe and North America. And surging prices are likely to accelerate the destruction." (NewScientist.com news service)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

Global Primary Productivity and Climate Change: Just how much power does the former exert over the latter?

Subject Index Summaries:
Little Ice Age (Europe: Central): What do we know about the Little Ice Age as it was expressed in Central Europe?  And what does that knowledge imply about past and current warmth?

Pathogens: Which way will the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content tip the "balance of power" between earth's plants and the pathogens that continually challenge them?

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: European Hornbeam, European White Birch, Scots Pine, and Silver Fir.

Journal Reviews:
Solar Irradiance and Arctic Temperatures: For years, climate alarmists have been telling us that rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations have been driving Arctic air temperatures ever higher.  A new study challenges this claim.

Pollution, Aerosols and Cloud-Top Temperatures: How are they related, and what do they have to do with global warming?

Medieval Drought in the USA's Central Great Plains: More evidence that the Medieval Warm Period was holding sway in North America a thousand years ago.

Carbon Dioxide and Cold-Weather Stress in a Tropical Tree: Do elevated levels of atmospheric CO 2 exacerbate or ameliorate the problem?

A Half-Century Forward Look at Agricultural Production in Canada's Atlantic Provinces: One might expect that global warming would have a positive impact on the agricultural production of a high northern-latitude country such as Canada; but just how large might that impact be? (co2science.org)

Too organic? "Vegetables and fruits cause more US food illnesses" - "WASHINGTON - Contaminated fruits and vegetables are causing more food-borne illness among Americans than raw chicken or eggs, consumer advocates said in a report released on Monday. Common sources of food illnesses include various bacteria such as salmonella and Escherichia coli that can infect humans and animals and then make their way into manure used to fertilize plants. The practice of using manure fertilizer is more common in Latin America, which has become a growing source of fresh produce for the United States." (Reuters)

"Hunger kills '6m children a year'" - "No developing region is on track to meet the international goal of reducing the number of hungry people by half, a UN agency has warned. Nearly six million children die from hunger or malnutrition every year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation says. Many deaths result from treatable diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, malaria and measles, the agency says. They would survive if they had proper nourishment, the agency says in a new report on world hunger." (BBC)

"ANALYSIS - China Slows GMO Rice Plan as Concerns Mount" - "HONG KONG - China is applying the brakes to its plan to produce the world's first genetically modified rice for human consumption as concerns mount over safety, especially with reports that illegal transgenic rice is already being sold in some provinces." (Reuters)

"Population boom may push Asia to accept GMO rice" - "MANILA - Opposition to genetically modified (GMO) rice in Asia is likely to dissipate in the next 5 to 7 years as the region struggles to feed its growing population, a senior scientist said. Gurdev Singh Khush, a consultant at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), said opposition by environmental groups and the tedious regulatory process of getting approvals for GM crops have delayed the release of GM rice in the region. But Khush said he expects GM rice to follow the path of GMO corn, which was eventually commercialized starting in the Philippines in 2002, despite protests by groups like Greenpeace." (Reuters)

November 22, 2005

"Hostile Takeover of Fox News" - "While Bob Woodward's belated acknowledgement of a secret source in the CIA leak case has attracted a lot of attention and criticism, another journalism scandal has come and seemingly gone involving the Fox News Channel (FNC). The "fair and balanced" network that usually gives conservatives a fair shake was taken over by radical environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr. and his liberal-left allies. Kennedy, a liberal lawyer and Democratic Party activist, became a "special correspondent" for an FNC special program on global warming that was so extreme as to be laughable. Kennedy was a star in the show." (Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media)

"FOX News Misled Viewers on Climate Science, Says CSPP" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 -- The Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says that before airing an hour-long special, titled "The Heat Is On: The Case of Global Warming," the FOX News Channel informed its viewers they were about to be misinformed on the science of global warming, and then proceeded to do just that." (PRNewswire)

"Some sea-level sanity" - "As we know, there is an awful lot of spume sprayed about over sea-level rise. If you would like to get some salty common sense on sea-levels, then you should read the following balanced review, just published:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

Big party: "Montréal Climate Change Conference 2005" - "From 28th November to 9th December 2005, Montréal, Canada hosts the first ever meeting of all the parties in the Kyoto Protocol. This is a truly historic event. With 8,000 delegates and 1000 journalists expected, the conference is the largest intergovernmental climate gathering since 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted." (BBC)

"Greens' ice globe highlights climate change" - "A melting ice sculpture of the globe was unveiled today to highlight the damage caused to the environment by greenhouse gasses. The Green Party also used the four-foot structure to announce details of a major seminar on climate change in Dublin’s Mansion House next month. The Civic Forum is timed to coincide with negotiations at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Montreal." (Ireland Online)

Ooh! Praying for a heat wave, eh guys? Unfortunate timing:

"'Snowstorms on way' for chilly UK" - "Severe wintry weather is being forecast for the UK, with as much as 20cm of snow causing disruption in some parts by the weekend, the Met Office says. Snow is most likely in Scotland and eastern England but south-east England, north Wales, the Midlands and Northern Ireland may also be hit from Thursday. Snow, sleet and hail will be coupled with gale force icy winds and wind chill temperatures as low as -10C." (BBC) | Arctic winds forecast to bring fog, ice and snow (London Times)

"Second phase of Kyoto faces battle" - "LONDON - Ministers face a battle when they meet next week to start talks on a new climate change treaty, European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said on Monday. The meeting of Environment Ministers from 189 nations in Montreal, Canada from November 28 to December 9 is supposed to agree to start talks on taking forward the Kyoto climate change protocol, the first phase of which expires in 2012. But Australia has dismissed the idea and the United States -- the world's biggest polluter -- is campaigning to kill off the existing Kyoto treaty let alone extend it. Both countries have refused to ratify Kyoto which came into effect in February and is aimed at cutting global greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. They say the target would mean economic suicide." (Reuters)

Imagine that, poor people want electricity, care nothing about wealthy greens' fearful imaginings: "FEATURE-Poor nations light their way without Kyoto caps" - "ZANDSPRUIT, South Africa, Nov 22 - Stanley Diphofa is happy to be hooked up to South Africa's power grid. And he's not worried by the fact that the massive coal-fired stations which power it emit large quantities of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change. "If you have no electricity, you have no business," he said outside his modest computer service centre -- housed in a corrugated iron shed -- on the edge of a crowded squatter camp just north of Johannesburg. One section of the camp has been hooked up to electricity; the other half desperately wants to be plugged in." (Reuters)

"UK delays new industry CO2 cut plan till early 2006" - "LONDON - Britain has delayed until the first quarter of next year proposals for more cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from industry to meet its Kyoto and domestic goals on curbing pollution, the government said on Monday." (Reuters)

"UK will embrace 'voluntary' Kyoto targets: Something entirely different is necessary" - "Interest groups on both sides of the Kyoto divide are calling remarks by Margaret Beckett, Prime Minster Tony Blair's Environment Secretary, the death of the protocol." (NBR)

"UK volte-face on EU climate change strategy" - "The UK has sparked condemnation and confusion after suggesting that mandatory EU targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions could be scrapped. Ahead of global climate change talks in Montreal next week, UK environment minister Margaret Beckett said that setting compulsory targets - the mainstay of the EU-backed Kyoto protocol strategy - was “utterly destructive to any kind of agreement”." (EUPolitix)

"EU hints at policy shift on climate change talks" - "Brussels has signalled that it is set to water down EU demands compelling developing countries to comply with strict climate change rules. EU environment chief Stavros Dimas hinted at a shift in EU climate change policy during a speech in London on Monday ahead of global climate change talks in Montreal next week." (EUPolitix)

"Greenhouse gas limits are called affordable" - "Reining in global warming won't melt your bank account. That's the conclusion of several new reports commissioned by New Jersey and eight other states considering a landmark plan to deal with global climate change." (NorthJersey.com)

Kyoto would cost a million Euro jobs, 80 billion euros by 2010 (NBR)

"Romney doubts seen delaying emissions pact" - "A group of Northeast states has postponed the announcement of a landmark agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants after Governor Mitt Romney raised objections to the pact late last week, two government sources familiar with the agreement said yesterday." (Boston Globe)

"Brussels targets CO2 emissions in maritime sector" - "The maritime industry is likely to follow the aviation industry in being brought within the remit of the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, the European Commission signalled on Monday." (Financial Times)

"Steeped in Greenhouse Gas, Pine Trees Deviate" - "From the air, they look like a cross between unexplained Midwestern crop circles and the megaliths of Stonehenge. But these tall structures loom out of a forest. Arranged in a loop, the 100-foot-high by 100-foot-wide assemblages are releasing carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless miasma that wafts through the loblolly pines they encircle. The 50-foot-tall pines, natives of the Deep South, are subjects in an experiment by scientists at Duke University who are using this engineered micro-climate as a kind of time machine to find out how these trees are likely to react as carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere and temperatures climb." (The Washington Post)

"Editorial: Industrialization threatens the Arctic" - "Drilling, mining, shipping will soar when summer ice is gone." (Star Tribune)

Rather like Mrs. Brown's rabbit pie recipe (first catch your rabbit), the essential ingredient here is the continued retreat of summer ice. We might be so lucky but I wouldn't hold your breath.

"To curb greenhouse gases, put them underground" - "DOHA, Qatar--Tony Espie, storage technology manager for BP Exploration, believes one of the primary tools for solving global warming lies beneath our feet. Storing carbon dioxide in underground caves that once held oil and gas is shaping up to be one of the more promising techniques for reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that get pumped into the atmosphere, he said during a presentation at the International Technology Petroleum Conference taking place here this week." (CNET News.com)

"'Global warming' = civil nuclear power" - "I do feel a tad sorry for the naiver 'Green' bunnies - they just didn't see it coming from their narrow burrows. They thought that their nice ecohype about 'global warming' would mean that we would all have to go back to living in thatched cottages built of straw bales with little wind farms on the roof and an organic patch by the side. Instead, they are witnessing the death of Kyoto and the rise of nuclear power." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"PM 'convinced' on nuclear future" - "Tony Blair is believed to be convinced over the need for nuclear power to tackle the UK energy crisis. The government is to announce a review of energy policy, including nuclear power, after being urged by business leaders to tackle the UK energy crisis. Concerns have been growing over future power supplies and rising gas costs." (BBC) | Blair to give his blessing to new nuclear reactors as only way to cut emissions (London Independent) | A no-brainer for some, but plans would divide country (Herald & Times)

Interesting terminology: "Plans to go nuclear cut no ice with old enemies" - "THE Prime Minister’s new enthusiasm for nuclear power met with hostility from environmental groups yesterday, even though it is the urgency of tackling global warming that has convinced him to reopen the issue." (London Times)

Granted, here at JunkScience.com we often perceive misanthropic, anti-development (and anti virtually anything else) enviros as something less than allies but it is interesting to see MSM labelling them "the old enemy." Sounds about right.

Mike! Just what this needs, a bit of meaching: "Meacher condemns pro-nuclear 'spin'" - "The former environment minister Michael Meacher today accused Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser of being a spin doctor for the nuclear industry amid reports that the prime minister plans to sanction a new generation of nuclear reactors." (The Guardian)

And some Porritt too! "Blair warned against 'own goal' in nuclear energy review" - "A KEY adviser to Tony Blair has warned the Prime Minister against taking short cuts in a review on energy after it emerged that the government wants to speed up the planning process for building new nuclear power stations on existing sites. Jonathon Porritt, who was appointed by Mr Blair to chair the Sustainable Development Commission, warned it would be "foolish" and a "very serious own goal" if the government rushed a review to restart its nuclear energy capabilities. He also told MPs that there was a conspiracy within Whitehall in favour of nuclear energy." (The Scotsman)

"Blair risks MPs' revolt over new nuclear stations" - "Tony Blair risked a fresh Labour revolt yesterday by signalling his support for new nuclear power stations." (London Telegraph)

"Nuclear cloud of indecision over European powers" - "FOR visitors to the green fields and sprawling chateaux of France's Loire Valley, there could be few more dislocating sights than the twin stacks of a nuclear power station belching grey-white clouds into the atmosphere. Yet in a country where the provincial idyll is considered an inviolable national heritage, the French have been remarkably tolerant of these imposing symbols of industry. That is, until the question arises of what to do with the waste generated by the 58 atomic power stations peppering the French landscape. As one of the largest consumers of nuclear energy, with local reactors contributing 78 per cent of its electricity supply, France never experienced the passionate anti-nuclear movement that existed in countries such as Germany, the US and even Australia." (The Australian)

"Australia To Consider Nuclear Power Options As Chinese Interest In Uranium Increases" - "SYDNEY, November 21, 2005 -- Australia, with 41% of global uranium reserves, will assess nuclear power development at the Australian National Forum on Nuclear Power Options, being held in Sydney over the 20th and 21st of February, 2006. The consideration comes at a time of rapidly increasing oil prices, uncertainty over international energy security and concerns about global warming. The Forum will be watched closely by industrial leaders such as the United States and Japan, nations hungry for energy resources." (MichNews.com)

"Sasol's Potential Climate Solution" - "SASOLBURG, South Africa -- During the Apartheid era, Sasol was the Afrikaner Parastatal synthetic fuel organization and a bastion of the nationalist state. Since it had no competition and was essentially pushing against the market, I was surprised to find that it has developed a viable partial solution to the carbon dioxide/climate conundrum, as well as providing some of the cleanest fuels on the market." (Roger Bate, TCS)

Hmm... "River 'fence' to harness tidal power of Mersey" - "It has been better known over the past 50 years for lumbering ferries and the leaping salmon which are returning in droves. But the river Mersey is now to be subjected to tests which environmentalists hope will make it the first river in Britain to generate electricity from its tides." (London Independent)

I seem to recall an attempt was made to do this before, only enviros created a howl and wanted to prevent it.

"Making Sense of Science: Peer review is the missing link for the public" - "Lemon juice may help beat AIDS; genetically modified crops will create superweeds; measles vaccine may be responsible for autism; and mobile phones can cut male fertility by a third. Such questionable science claims are part of a familiar litany that outrages scientists and prompts despairing comments about the sensationalist press and the outlandish world of science and medicine on the Internet." (The Scientist)

"Peter Wilby: We're eloquent on economics but silent on science" - "Climate change, nuclear power, GM foods: the need for informed debate is greater than ever. But you won't find it in the papers." (London Independent)

"U.S. Aid Agency Increases Efforts To Fight Malaria in Africa" - "$100 million award will fund major public health program of indoor spraying." (USINFO)

"A Model Fight Against Malaria" - "This month the rains come to southern Africa, and with them, death from malaria. In Zambia, though, where 30,000 people die a year of malaria, almost all of them children, things are about to change. With the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Zambia is embarking on a campaign to cut malaria deaths by 75 percent over three years." (New York Times)

It's that time of year again: ACSH Holiday Dinner Menu - "No human diet can be free of naturally occurring chemicals that are rodent carcinogens. Of the chemicals that people eat, 99.99% are natural." — Bruce Ames, Ph.D. and Lois Swirsky Gold, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

Menu analysis prepared by ACSH staff, directors, and scientific advisors, with technical assistance from Dr. Ruth Kava, Director of Nutrition, and Dr. Leonard Flynn, scientific consultant. (ACSH)

"Hungary urges amended chemicals proposal" - "The European Parliament has agreed to impose a stricter set of safety regulations on the European chemical market. The REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) protocol will enter into force as early as 2007, and producers of some 30,000 types of materials being used in the EU will be required to register their products for a fee through the year 2018.

According to industry experts, REACH might lead to changes of portfolio for a number of Hungarian chemical companies. And while Hungarian MEPs broadly support the initiative, they are also backing a raft of amendments to the original proposal." (Budapest Business Journal)

"Internal Federal Memo Casts Doubts on Hudson Cleanup" - "A federal conservation official has raised serious doubts about the recently approved plan to scrape hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of hazardous chemicals from the bottom of the Hudson River, and raised the possibility that the long-delayed cleanup may never be completed." (New York Times)

"'Get tough' on unhealthy - survey" - "Many people favour taking a tough line with those who fail to look after their health, a survey has found. A poll of more than 2,000 people by private health provider Bupa found 34% supported charges for treatment for people who smoke, drink or are obese. More than four out of 10 favoured some sort of penalty for people they considered to have self-inflicted health problems. And 8% said people who led an unhealthy lifestyle should be denied treatment." (BBC)

Oh, right... anyone who puts themselves at risk should be on their own, right? So, people playing sports, they put themselves at risk, eh? No treatment for sports injuries then. How about firemen and rescue personnel, they certainly put themselves at risk, they shouldn't be treated either? Meditate? Idly sitting around doing nothing isn't it? Definitely an unapproved lifestyle - no cover for you then...

"Not So Fast, '60 Minutes'" - "Five experts say the report on the demise of New Orleans is way off the water mark. "Rumors of New Orleans falling into the sea are greatly exaggerated." (Times-Picayune)

"GM pea study backs case-by-case risk assessment" - "Research by CSIRO to genetically modify peas to resist insect attack and reduce the use of chemical sprays has been discontinued because the GM peas did not satisfy all categories of a stringent risk assessment process." (Press Release) | Effective risk assessment of GM field peas (CSIRO)

"Iran, First to Plant GMO Rice, Hopes to Cut Imports" - "MANILA - Iran, which says it was the first country to commercialise genetically modified rice in 2004, hopes to cut its imports of about 1 million tonnes each year by developing higher-yielding varieties, a senior scientist said." (Reuters)

"The case for GM food" - "Lack of vitamin A causes the death of about 6,000 children a day, worldwide, from infectious disease. This is a tangible health hazard of vast scope that dwarfs any hypothetical hazard attributed to genetically modified (GM) foods.

Recently, an affluent Australian lawyer living in London told me his social set deliberately avoided buying GM food products because, as they are produced to meet the needs of developing countries, they are too “downmarket” for discerning people.

This incident neatly encapsulates the vastly different context of food safety and choices available in the developed world compared with the developing world. In the developed world consumers have the luxury of worrying about hypothetical fears, while in the developing world people suffer and die from very real, preventable food hazards. Satisfying the concerns of wealthy Western Europeans can interfere with the provision of better nutrition for the rural poor in countries like India, Brazil and Bangladesh." (David Tribe, Online Opinion)

November 21, 2005

"Battling Malaria in Africa, USAID Anticipates Nearly $100 Million Award for Widescale Spraying Program" - "WASHINGTON, DC - As part of the President's Malaria Initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development today announced that it is seeking input from interested organizations regarding their ability to implement a major public health program to fight malaria in Africa. The Request for Information, issued November 7, is in anticipation of an approximately $100 million award for indoor residual spraying - the organized, timely spraying of an insecticide on the inside walls of houses, designed to reduce and ideally interrupt malaria transmission from mosquitoes to people." (USAID)

"WHO must take side of malaria victims" - "AFTER years of wilful blindness and millions of avoidable deaths from malaria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has finally accepted the quick, simple, cheap and safe solution: DDT. But Africans still face a battle with environmentalists and trade blocs who oppose this demonised pesticide." (Philip Stevens, CFD)

"Scientists finding battle increasingly difficult against Malaria" - "DAKAR, Senegal – Scientists in past centuries called the sickness by the Italian phrase “mal aria” - or “bad air” - for the supposedly disease-bearing zephyrs wafting from swamps. These days, scientists know malaria is spread by mosquitos. But they describe ill winds buffeting their attempts to halt the spread of a malady that kills 1 million people a year, and more young African children than any other disease." (Citizen)

"Still a sting in the tail" - "MALIGNANT malaria. How apt the medical term. In two words it brutally describes the effects of the deadly malaria parasite, agent for the most dangerous disease in the world." (The Age)

"Malaria may raise mother-child HIV infection rate" - "YAOUNDE - Women who are HIV positive may be more likely to pass the virus to their children during pregnancy if they are also infected with malaria, scientists in Cameroon said on Friday. Tests carried out in Yaounde showed that malaria, which kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds, boosts production of a substance that could increase HIV replication in the placenta and prevent it fully protecting the fetus from infections." (Reuters)

"'Most controversial European law' wins parliamentary approval" - "The European Parliament approved a law yesterday that will force companies to test thousands of chemicals - many used in common household products like paint, cleaners, toys and furniture - for their effects on human health and the environment." (London Telegraph)

"EU passes new law on toxic chemicals: but is it enough?" - "Safety laws for 30,000 chemicals that are commonly found in household products have been approved by MEPs but campaigners claimed loopholes would allow many toxic substances to slip through the net." (London Independent)

"Greens See Red over Chemicals Bill" - "BRUSSELS, Nov 17 - Environmentalists and consumer groups are warning that a key European law on the control of chemicals could lead to huge risks to the environment and human health, following a crucial vote in the European Parliament Thursday." (IPS)

"Moves on to ban use of lindane - It could be listed as Persistent Organic Pollutants under Stockholm Convention" - "NEW DELHI: With the last Conference of Parties under the Stockholm Convention proposing to include lindane, a highly toxic chemical, in the list of 12 Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP), its use could be banned in the next two to three years. The POP Review Committee is studying this pesticide along with four other chemicals recommended to be included in the POP list. Lindane is widely produced and used in India and has been proved to have an adverse impact on the health and environment." (The Hindu)

"`Katrina Cough' may be nothing more than seasonal sniffles" - "NEW ORLEANS - Have a coughing fit in Nann Glade's neighborhood and you can pretty much expect what someone will say. "You've got it. You've got the Katrina Cough," Glade said. "Anytime someone coughs, it seems like that's what they say." References to "Katrina Cough" first appeared about two weeks ago in news reports about a rise in the number of people seeking medical help for respiratory illnesses after returning to their damaged homes. Since then, it has grown into a catch-all explanation for runny noses, sore throats and coughs all over New Orleans." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

"Three years to see if mobiles hurt kids" - "A world-first study will begin in Australia this week to find out if mobile phones are damaging the health of children. The study of 12- and 13-year-olds will measure if mobile-phone use affects factors such as hearing, memory, sleep and ability to concentrate. It follows recommendations by the World Health Organisation that more research be urgently done on whether children's central nervous systems are more vulnerable than adults' to the effects of electromagnetic radiation." (Sydney Morning Herald)

And you thought 'Save the Rusty VW Beetle' campaigns were bad... "Fairies stop developers' bulldozers in their tracks" - "VILLAGERS who protested that a new housing estate would “harm the fairies” living in their midst have forced a property company to scrap its building plans and start again." (London Times)

"Scientists study how to steer storms" - "Weather modification research gains attention after Katrina and Rita" (The Dallas Morning News)

"UK climate-change politics" - "Now, I can't often, as 'EnviroSpin' regulars know, stomach The ["We're All Doomed!"] Independent, but today the newspaper carries two articles which it is very much worthwhile your deconstructing and comparing, for they reveal, perhaps inadvertently, much about the politics of climate change in the UK." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Symbols play role at U.N. climate change gathering" - "How will you be able to tell there's a big environmental conference in Montreal next weekend? The city will smell like a giant chip truck, for one." (Toronto Star)

"Politics undercuts Kyoto conference" - "Next Monday, the day the opposition parties plan to bring down Prime Minister Paul Martin's government, a major United Nations conference on the Kyoto agreement and climate change is to begin in Montreal. As conference host, Ottawa will find itself in a most awkward spot. Participating countries that will be looking to Canada for leadership will be greeted instead by a caretaker government with no mandate to move the agenda forward on the planet's most pressing environmental problem." (Toronto Star)

Inevitably, here are the priming pieces for the Montreal CoP/MoP (CoP 11, MoP 1) money pump - all together now, wring hands:

"Climate Change Creating Millions of 'Eco Refugees,' UN Warns" - "Environmental degradation around the world is creating a new category of people known as "environmental refugees," a United Nations group says." (National Geographic News)

"Polar bears face up to warmer future" - "The waters of Hudson Bay - and many other northern seas - are beginning their annual freeze later each year. This November, local residents are saying that the waters are up to a month late in freezing up. Similarly, in spring the ice is breaking up earlier. The net result - polar bears have less time on the solid ice to hunt." (BBC)

Oh! The poor bears are hungry! They must be at risk of extinction, eh? But wait! Greenland ice core records tell us the temperature has been unusually low for perhaps 7 centuries compared with the rest of the Holocene (current interglacial) so, unless polar bears suddenly evolved in the last millennium, they must have managed during thousands of years of warmer climes. Whew! Perhaps they'll be alright after all. See the temperature reconstruction here.

"Climate change in Arctic studied for keys to Earth's warming" - "The permafrost on Alaska's northern reaches froze thousands of years ago and has acted as a year-round thermostat for the tundra's plants, animals and water systems. But in recent decades, temperatures have warmed in the Arctic, and the top layers of the permafrost have thawed. One longtime researcher predicts that half of interior Alaska's permafrost could be gone by the end of the century." (Billings Gazette)

True, to a point. The big "however" in this case is that virtually all warming in Alaska took place in 1976 (no, that's not a misprint, they experienced a phase-shift and there has been virtually no warming since 1977 - see Temperature Change in Alaska: 1949 - 2004 from the Alaska Climate Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks). It's a fair bet that the guys from Toolik are aware of this. It's also a fair bet they are "seeing more signs of warming" because they are funded to go looking for them. There has not been any net warming in the Arctic over roughly seven decades. Same story in the High Arctic. Looking at longer-term proxies around the Arctic: Yamal Peninsula summer temps suggest much of the last couple thousand years were warmer and certainly no unusual warming appears over the last 1,000-odd years; nothing dramatic in 650 years in Coastal Northern Norway either, nor the North Atlantic: West Greenland or Winter/Greenland or Baffin Island. These are certainly not the only temperature reconstructions about, just some that we have plotted so far but the general theme appears to be that warming is occurring relative only to very short time frames. From a longer perspective Central Greenland suggests the last 7 centuries have been an unusually cold period in the Holocene, making us wonder why some apparently wish to cling to "unnatural" chill.

"In Arctic, global warming evidence mounts" - "HARSTAD, Norway - Life is harsh on the freezing tundra of the Arctic Circle where Anna Prakhova lives. But it can be much harder when snows do not fall. In recent years, snows have failed to fall as normal across large parts of the barren land dotted with low birch and pines. "We are experiencing the reality of climate change," Prakhova, who leads a group representing indigenous people in Russia and the Nordic nations, said on a snow-free day in Harstad, a Norwegian Arctic port of about 15,000 people." (Reuters)

"The big thaw" - "Global disaster will follow if the ice cap on Greenland melts. Now scientists say it is vanishing far faster than even they expected. Geoffrey Lean reports." (London Independent)

Except the Greenland ice cap is growing - due to global warming, of course: Greenland’s ice sheets tell a climate-change story of their own (Europa)

"Millions face glacier catastrophe" - "Global warming hits Himalayas" (The Observer)

Really? Nepal actually shows a reduction in temperature variation with lower pre-monsoon (warm season) temperatures.

"Climate change could hit health" - "Warm and stormy winters and hotter, drier summers in the future will have a significant impact on the nation's health, says a report. The Environment Agency highlighted a long list of environmental factors - many which may fall beyond our control - which have the potential to affect the health and well-being of families and communities." (Press Association)

Whoa! Bet that hurt: "environmental factors ... beyond our control" - imagine that.

"Alarm over sharp rise in emissions" - "Australian greenhouse gas emissions have increased 23 per cent over the past 13 years, prompting environmental campaigners to call for urgent action. A report prepared by the Bonn-based United Nations Climate Change secretariat and released this week ahead of the international climate conference in Montreal later this month warned that the western world was losing its grip on the climate change problem." (Sydney Morning Herald)

The world 'losing its grip' part we believe but that has nothing to do with any 'climate change problem', only the illusion that we could knowingly and predictably adjust the climate.

"Climate needs 'decisive action'" - "A top UN advisor on climate science says world politicians are not acting fast enough to tackle global warming." (BBC)

The Age thinks so too, even if they don't know what to call it: "Climate change demands action" - "Understanding how human activity modifies the atmosphere and oceans governing our planet's weather is enormously difficult. The subject stretches some of our best scientific minds while the calculations to decipher the variables are so vast they have occupied some of the world's most powerful supercomputers for years. It is no wonder the public has trouble comprehending such a topic, especially when it goes under at least three different names: greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change." (The Age)

"Climate threat to holiday hot spots" - "The effects of global warming could threaten traditional beach and skiing holidays in Europe, meteorologists said this week. From the snow-capped Alps to Mediterranean resorts, popular tourist destinations were identified as vulnerable to the growing impact of global warming in a new study by Dr David Viner, of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia." (London Telegraph)

"Tony Blair: 'We must do more to beat climate change'" - "'We will cut our emissions by 2012 by almost twice the targets set by Kyoto'" (London Independent)

The view of the experts (London Independent)

The Indy with experts from... World Wide Font of nonsense; Greenpeas and; Fiends of the Earth. Innit ma'vlus?

"Climate target a 'bit optimistic'" - "The UK is unlikely to meet its 2010 target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, the government's chief scientific advisor has admitted." (BBC)

"U.S. won't try to undercut Kyoto climate treaty, official says" - "OTTAWA - The United States recognizes the threat of climate change and won't try to undercut the Kyoto protocol at a key international conference in Montreal this month, says a senior American official." (CP)

But wait, what's this? "Britain opens way for new climate deal" - "Margaret Beckett woos other nations by suggesting voluntary targets for cutting emissions as part of bid for a post-Kyoto agreement." (The Observer)

"UK signals u-turn on climate deal" - "British environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, has suggested a u-turn in climate policies, suggesting voluntary targets for cutting emissions when the Kyoto climate agreement ends in 2012. Environmentalists say that, without mandatory targets, the climate deal is effectively dead." (EUobserver)

"Plea over climate change targets" - "A leading environmentalist has warned of a "disaster" if developed countries opt for voluntary targets on greenhouse gas emissions." (Press Association)

Your taxes at work: "Greener offices campaign boosted" - "The campaign to help Northern Ireland businesses to reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions is being given a boost with £3.6m in government funding. The grant is being given to the Carbon Trust, set up by the government to help the UK meet climate change obligations." (BBC)

"N. Korea Joins Kyoto Protocol" - "North Korea agreed to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, last April, a South Korean government official said on Sunday." (Korea Times)

"NZ: Southern foresters want their carbon credits back" - "A group of South Island foresters is using a new study by primary industry expert Peter Sligh as the basis of an appeal to government over policies that they say treat forestry as part of the greenhouse gas emission problem, rather than seeing it as a key solution. According to the Southern Wood Council , the industry's impacts on climate are more than outweighed by its contributions but government policies are leading to a crisis of confidence in the plantation-forestry investor community, driving new plantings to zero." (NBR)

Now, for some genuine anthropogenic warming: "School allows beachwear in hot classrooms" - "Pupils at a German school were allowed to strip down to beachwear after the heating system stuck on full power. The piping hot radiators left classrooms sweltering in 30 degrees centigrade, even with all of the windows open." (Ananova)

"Tree rings open Yellowstone's past" - "There's a story hidden in the rings of some of the oldest trees in Yellowstone National Park. It's a glimpse of what life was like over the past 800 years or so, and also what the future may hold. In particular, the rings tell a tale about weather and climate that offers some perspective on today's drought and tomorrow's changing conditions. Scientists who studied the tree rings found large, rapid swings between long stretches of wet weather and dry weather, with few years in between that make up "average" conditions. The most recent drought doesn't seem unusual in the bigger picture of Yellowstone's climate, said Steve Gray, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher in Tucson, Ariz., who worked on the project. "Drought is really a normal fact of life in the western United States," Gray said. "There's been a tendency in our society to think of a drought as an unusual and cataclysmic event, but it's more like business as usual." (Billings Gazette)

"New hybrids offer more mean, less green" - "Newer hybrids are using the added boost from their gas-electric engines for more acceleration and power. But more mean equals less green. To attract drivers looking for large and luxurious vehicles, automakers such as Lexus and General Motors are building hybrids with the looks and size of regular cars. The focus on performance sacrifices the kind of jaw-dropping efficiency that got hybrids noticed in the first place." (Associated Press)

"Seeking Clean Fuel for a Nation, and a Rebirth for Small-Town Montana" - "HELENA, Mont., Nov. 15 - If the vast, empty plain of eastern Montana is the Saudi Arabia of coal, then Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a prairie populist with a bolo tie and an advanced degree in soil science, may be its Lawrence. Rarely a day goes by that he does not lash out against the "sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks" who control the world oil supply or the people he calls their political handmaidens, "the best Congress that Big Oil can buy." Governor Schweitzer, a Democrat, has a two-fisted idea for energy independence that he carries around with him. In one fist is a shank of Montana coal, black and hard. In the other fist is a vial of nearly odorless clear liquid - a synthetic fuel that came from the coal and could run cars, jets and trucks or heat homes without contributing to global warming or setting off a major fight with environmental groups, he said." (New York Times)

"Italians Accept Higher Bills Rather Than Let Enel Burn Coal" - "Enel SpA, Italy's largest utility, plans to burn more coal instead of oil and natural gas to reduce the highest electricity bills in Europe. Ratepayers say they'd rather pay than damage the environment." (Bloomberg)

"How a pledge on greenhouse gases made Blair go nuclear" - "A RASH promise made 11 years ago has forced the Government to embrace nuclear power. By undertaking to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent before 2010, the Labour Party, which was then in opposition, won plaudits from environmentalists. The pledge went far beyond the Kyoto commitment. Now it is plain that the target will be missed: Britain’s carbon emissions have risen two years running. Meeting future obligations will also be impossible unless the Government changes its course." | The nuclear nettle | Britain is ready to go nuclear | 'Nuclear stations could be built in ten years' | Never mind the fallout from Chernobyl, the Finns believe in the atom | Safety claim for new designs (London Times)

"Can Nuclear Power Become Just Another Business?" - "STAND among the pumpkins and purple mums in the gravel parking lot of Anna's Garden and Gift Center and you can glimpse beyond the trees a ghost that haunts the nuclear power industry. There hulk the twin cooling towers of Three Mile Island Unit 2, the nuclear reactor that had a partial meltdown in 1979. That event, paired with the Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine in 1986, halted the growth of the American nuclear power industry for a generation. No new plant has been ordered in the United States since the Three Mile Island accident. But existing plants have kept operating: the United States has 104 reactors, which make a fifth of its power." (New York Times)

"A whole new world in six easy steps" - "Our planet is dangerously unhealthy. But getting it back into shape needn’t be too painful, if you follow this simple diet plan. By Jeremy Leggett" (Sunday Herald)

"Ethanol isn’t worth the energy" - "Through the federal Ethanol Expansion Program and federal and provincial fuel exemptions, the governments of Canada have been promoting the use of ethanol as a fuel supplement to help meet their Kyoto targets. However, recent research indicates that using ethanol as a fuel supplement, effectively displacing some gasoline (petrol) consumption, may do little to help the environment as it takes more energy to produce ethanol than it contains." (Jeremy Brown, Online Opinion)

Clean, natural biofuels: "Wood heat costs less, but pollutes more: Air particles are concern as stove use grows" - "As soaring prices for oil and natural gas drive more Americans toward alternative fuels to stay warm this winter, environmental watchdogs are awakening to the unhealthy effects of the pollution from burning wood. Scientists have long known that wood smoke contains carbon monoxide and cancer-causing chemicals. New research shows wood smoke's major ingredient — tiny particles of soot and liquid pollution — also worsens heart disease and triggers asthma attacks. This "particle pollution," also emitted by diesel engines, kills thousands of Americans a year. Alarmed by such findings, and required by federal law to cut particle pollution, state officials across the nation are trying to reduce the smoke from the nation's 37 million home chimneys and 10 million wood stoves." (Poughkeepsie Journal)

"FEATURE - Warm Glow of Irish Peat Takes Edge off Oil Woes" - "KNOCKVICAR, Ireland - As an autumn gale assails his hilltop cottage, Pepijn Martius sits beside a peat-fired stove, savouring the earthy smell and glowing warmth that has cost him little more than a sore back." (Reuters)

Interesting for lots of little reasons - like the passing mention of deforestation of Europe from shipbuilding and agriculture, the historical shift from bio to fossil fuels and for the anticipation of enviro-angst over the "destruction of endangered peat bogs." It is amusing to ponder whether tall ships and the age of sail, coupled with organised agriculture, so changed Europe's albedo from dark forest to bright field that Europeans precipitated the Little Ice Age, from which we are only now recovering.

Life without fossil fuels: "Petroleum Greases the Deforestation Process" - "CARACAS, Nov 17 - In Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, rising oil prices have forced households and small businesses that used natural gas or kerosene for cooking to instead use charcoal or firewood, a mortal blow to a country that has almost no trees left." (Tierramérica)

"Eden Project team plans eco-rainforest in Lancashire" - "The team of architects behind the Eden Project in Cornwall is planning to turn a Lancashire rubbish dump into a tropical rainforest which would heat itself with decomposing garden and kitchen waste." (The Guardian)

Somehow we can't see 'recycled toilet tissue' being a big seller: "Bottom marks for Andrex in recycling study" - "The manufacturer of Andrex toilet paper and Kleenex tissues has been ranked bottom in an environmental survey assessing recycling and the impact on the world's forests. The study, conducted by WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund), estimates that every day the equivalent of 270,000 trees are flushed or thrown away." (The Guardian)

"Kill or cure: the smallest help must wait till we've conquered our fear of grey goo" - "Nanomaterials may have the power to save millions of lives, if scientists can manage the potential risks" (London Independent)

"Pea trial results spur anti-GM lobby" - "OPPONENTS of genetically modified food have jumped on CSIRO's admission that research into GM peas has ended because it made mice sick." (The Age)

"GM crop failure shows rules' force: CSIRO" - "Scientists say the failure of an expensive trial of genetically-modified crops proves the strength of Australia's gene technology rules." (AAP)

"Corn genetically engineered for animal feed ready to market" - "Renessen LLC, a joint venture in Illinois of Monsanto Co. and Cargill Inc., is preparing to market the first crop genetically engineered for animal feed. The product, corn that carries added lysine in each kernel, should reach poultry and swine producers in the United States and Argentina in 2007 or 2008, the company said. It is meant to replace synthetic supplements of lysine, an essential amino acid, that producers now buy and mix into feed. It also is the first big commercial launch for Renessen, which has digested nearly $444.5 million in investment from its co-owners but has yet to produce a return." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Swadeshi Bt seeds help Gujarat raise cotton production eight-fold" - "With the development of 'Swadeshi Bt' (indigenous) cotton seeds in Gujarat, the area under cultivation has risen by 24 per cent from 16.15 lakh hectares in 2000-01 to 20 lakh hectares in 2005-06, increasing the produce by a whopping 800 per cent from 11.61 lakh bales to 90 lakh bales over the same period. This was disclosed at a news conference here yesterday by the Confederation of Indian Farmers' Association." (WebIndia123.com)

"Scientists split over biotechnology" - "Scientists in Switzerland disagree over the benefits and risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for agriculture." (swissinfo)

"Patents rested with Cornell `from outset'" - "A US researcher who directed a genetically modified papaya research project insists agriculture officials knew from the outset that any benefits from the programme between Cornell University and Thai researchers would belong to the university. The issue of intellectual property rights (IPRs) on GM papaya emerged following the disclosure of illegal GM papaya growing in the country, which was prohibited under a government ban, by environmental activists last year." (Bangkok Post)

November 18, 2005

"U.S. Should Not Import European Laws" - "As globalization fosters economic growth around the world, Americans should be vigilant of an unintended consequence: the imposition on U.S. businesses and consumers of the non-science-based, environmentalist-promoted, European Union-embraced standard known as the 'precautionary principle.'" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Pueblo study is blowing smoke" - Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi does the new study alleging Pueblo, Co's smoking ban reduced the number of heart attacks.

"Are Your Cosmetics Killing You?" - "Deodorant, toys and textiles contain tens of thousands of chemicals, but we know almost nothing about how dangerous they are. Can the European Union's new chemicals regulation help improve the situation?" (Philip Bethke, Der Spiegel)

"Euro MPs back major chemicals law" - "The European Parliament has approved far-reaching legislation which will lead to the safety testing of thousands of chemicals used in everyday products." (BBC)

"Greens see red over new EU chemicals rules" - "EU lawmakers approved new rules Thursday on toxic chemicals, but environmental and consumer groups immediately voiced disappointment, warning that the regulations left huge risks to the environment and human health." (AFP)

"European Vote on Chemicals Policy to Have Repercussions on U.S. Businesses" - "The European Parliament today voted to implement a massive new chemical regulations policy, which the Competitive Enterprise Institute believes is unnecessary and too costly, with repercussions for businesses around the world." (CEI)

EWG worldview: "Papers: DuPont Hid Chemical Risk Studies" - "WASHINGTON -- DuPont Co. hid studies showing the risks of a Teflon-related chemical used to line candy wrappers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags and hundreds of other food containers, according to internal company documents and a former employee." (Associated Press)

"Top court backs pesticide ban" - "Environmentalists are hailing a Supreme Court decision that upholds Toronto's ban on pesticides. "It's an enormous victory," Gideon Forman, of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, said yesterday. "We hope other cities take strength from it and pass their own bylaws." The decision means the pesticide industry has exhausted all legal avenues in its attempts to strike down the city's bylaw, which restricts the use of pesticides on lawns and gardens. It also means that starting Sept. 1, 2007, Toronto homeowners who break the bylaw will face fines." (Toronto Star)

"Data Never Tell a Story; They Must Be Interpreted" - "One-third of patients with health problems in the U.S. report experiencing medical, medication, or test errors, the highest rate of any nation in a new Commonwealth Fund international survey." So reads the opening line of a November 3 press release from the Commonwealth Fund. When you read that, you would think that the U.S. health care system is seriously worse than any other country's health system, right? Read a little further, though, and you learn that "any" means any of five other countries surveyed: Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and Britain. More important, a close examination of all the survey data tells a very different story from the picture this press release paints. Actually, as the late statistician W. Allen Wallis often said, "Data never tell a story; they must be interpreted." And interpreting the survey's data leads to the conclusion that, in ways that are very important to patients, the U.S. health-care system is superior to that of the other countries surveyed." (David R. Henderson, TCS)

"Brody: Rachel Carson's legacy" - "This year marks the 40th anniversary of Rachel Carson's death. A courageous and outspoken woman, an extraordinary scientist and naturalist with a gift for lyricism about the mundane doings of insects, shellfish and birds, Carson died of breast cancer just two years after the 1962 publication of her book "Silent Spring" touched off the modern environmental movement. When she testified about the dangers of DDT just before her death, she wore a wig to hide her treatment as she forthrightly told Congress, "I hope this committee will give attention to the right of the citizen to be secure in his own home against the intrusion of poisons applied by other persons. This should be one of the basic human rights." (The Upper Cape Codder)

Just one problem - Carson was dead flat wrong and so is Brody, this is Carson's legacy.

"Rolling back Malaria" - "Every year, more than a half-a-billion people suffer because of malaria. Depending on whom you speak to, between a million and 1,5-million people die every year in Africa, mostly young children and pregnant women. An NGO representative wryly remarked recently that while he was very sorry for the 60 or so people who have died from bird flu, it seemed the world has forgotten about this entirely preventable and curable disease." (Matthew Burbidge, Mail&Guardian)

"New Research Reveals Progress but Also Many Obstacles to Boosting Use of Insecticide Treated Bed Nets to Control Malaria" - "Insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) are widely viewed as having great potential to dramatically reduce malaria infections in Africa and campaigns to boost their use are having some success. But issues ranging from simple lack of supply and funding to complex community attitudes about the threat and even role of mosquitoes in causing malaria are challenging efforts to give them a more prominent role in malaria control, according to new research findings being presented this week at the Fourth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Malaria Conference." (Press Release)

"Scientists Turn to Traditional Medicinal Plants to Find New Tools for Fighting Malaria" - "East African scientists have translated new findings regarding the anti-mosquito properties of indigenous African plants into a low-cost and effective mosquito repellent that could play a role in reducing malaria transmission. Their research, to be presented this week at the Fourth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Malaria Conference, is indicative of a surge of scientific interest in the anti-mosquito properties of indigenous plant life." (Press Release)

"New study finds malaria could play key role in mother-to-child transmission of HIV in pregnancy" - "Yaoundé, Cameroon (17 November 2005)--Malaria infections boost production of a substance that might significantly increase HIV replication in the placenta. This interaction could explain why mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV in Yaoundé increases following a rainy season, according to new findings presented at this week's Fourth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Malaria Conference." (MIM Pan-African Malaria Conferences)

"Vaccine Funding Tied to Liability" - "Legislation that would pour billions of dollars into the production of vaccines against avian flu and other pandemic diseases is threatened by the trial lawyers' lobby, which objects to proposed limits on lawsuits against drug manufacturers." (Washington Post)

"Pandemic Skeptics Warn Against Crying Wolf" - "As flu fears mount, a number of scientists are questioning just how likely it is that the avian strain H5N1 will trigger a deadly human outbreak." (Science)

"The Killer That Matters Most" - "A new study by a University of Wisconsin - Madison research group has concluded that global warming is causing the deaths of about 150,000 people each year. Part of the research draws upon World Health Organization (WHO) estimates from a few years ago that addressed warming-related increases in malaria, diarrhea, flood related fatalities, and drought-related malnutrition. Poor countries, especially those in Africa, are noted to be, by far, the most affected. This new study will likely be a hot topic at the next U.N. climate conference to be held in Montreal in early December, at which representatives from countries around the world will discuss future policy responses to increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases from the use of fossil fuels." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

New Procedure for Climate Model Parameterizations (Climate Science)

The pre-Montreal doom deluge continues:

"Climate Shift Tied To 150,000 Fatalities" - "Earth's warming climate is estimated to contribute to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses each year, according to the World Health Organization, a toll that could double by 2030." (Washington Post)

"Climate change will hit least polluting countries hardest" - "The world's poorest countries face a dramatic rise in deaths from disease and malnutrition as a direct result of climate change driven by wealthier, more polluting countries, scientists say today." (The Guardian)

"Human toll calculated for climate shift" - "MILWAUKEE —Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the World Health Organization have compiled a series of studies showing that people have been adversely affected by regional and global climate change." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

"Global warming study forecasts more water shortages - Climate change already affecting Sierra snowpack" - "A warmer world is virtually certain to be much thirstier, too, according to a new study by West Coast researchers of the impact of global warming on water supplies. Climate change experts led by Tim Barnett at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla (San Diego County) found that at least one-sixth of the world's population, including much of the industrial world and a quarter of global economic output, appeared vulnerable to water shortages brought about by climate change." (SF Chronicle)

"Snowmelt may dwindle" - "Report sees decline of up to 30% by 2050, cites warming" (Rocky Mountain News)

"Drought threat looms over Prairies' bounty" - "The Canadian Prairies are one of the world's breadbaskets, but their bountiful harvests could be at risk because of water shortages caused by global warming, a new research report warns." (Globe and Mail)

"Global warming to cause water shortage: study" - "LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16 -- Global warming will reduce glaciers and snowpack around the world, causing water shortages and other problems that will impact millions of people, US scientists warned on Wednesday." (Xinhuanet)

"Climate change threatens world fish stocks - WWF" - "GENEVA, Nov 18 - Climate change is warming oceans, rivers and lakes and threatening fish stocks already under pressure from overfishing, pollution and habitat loss, the environmentalist group WWF warned on Friday." (Reuters)

But catches decrease during relatively colder periods: "The use of historical catch data to trace the influence of climate on fish populations: examples from the White and Barents Sea fisheries in the 17th and 18th centuries" - "We analysed catch records of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), cod (Gadus morhua), and halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus and Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) from the 17th and 18th centuries from several locations of the Barents and White Seas areas. Historical records, found in Russian archives, allow analysis of long-term series of catches, and sometimes of the average weight of the fish. In total, we obtained data on catches of salmon for 51 years (for the period from 1615 to 1772) and of cod and halibut for 33 years (for the period from 1710 to 1793). These data are comparable with respect to fishing effort within the series. The data on Atlantic salmon are also comparable with statistical data for the period 1875–1915. We found notable fluctuations in catches and sometimes in the average weight of salmon. There was also fluctuation in catches of cod and halibut. Both observational comparison of catch series and temperature data and formal statistical analysis showed that catches tended to decrease during relatively colder periods." (ICES Journal of Marine Science)

"Last resort? Ski fields push warming warning" - "AUSTRALIA'S snow resorts are set to follow the American ski industry, with a campaign telling snowboarders and skiers that global warming will cut short their winter play time." (The Age)

"Coastal erosion may be worse than we think" - "Coastal planners around the world are underestimating how much beaches could erode when global warming raises sea levels, says an Australian scientist." (ABC Science Online)

"Canada's pollution record one of the worst" - "The pollution behind climate change has increased substantially in most parts of the world and will likely keep on growing, warns the first official emissions report in a decade from the United Nations." (Toronto Star)

Pretty silly game all this hand wringing over "Global Mean Temperatures" isn't it?

GDMT051118.gif (60324 bytes) For everyone's amusement we have been displaying our near real-time Global Thermometer. Granted, it only averages about a thousand sites, almost all on land, and that isn't really the global mean temperature. Then again, it is a reasonable facsimile of the mean temperature of where people live, work and grow crops.

And what would our temperature record suggest? Well, for a start it demonstrates that the mean of the inhabited regions cycles through much greater temperature change in a matter of months than even the most absurd virtual world guesstimates postulate for AGW over a century or more (our record basically only tracks the ascent into and descent from the northern hemisphere summer season so far). Could humanity and the natural world survive (prosper?) in a world a few degrees warmer? Heck yes, they do that and plenty more every year.

Get a grip people! Global Mean Temperature doesn't matter a rat's! What matters to everyone and everything is what the local temperature happens to be, not what some homogenised, pasteurised and flavoured conceptual abstract might be. Global mean temperatures might rise because the super cold air masses don't get quite so cold in winter but that will have exactly zero effect for most of the world despite mathematically raising the mean. Guess what? As the northern hemisphere experiences winter we can confidently predict declining temperature reports from our near real-time global thermometer and that will demonstrate an even larger range of experienced temperature change, perhaps as much as 20 °C over the full year, yet people and animals will continue as before, crops will grow and the world will persist - with or without hand wringing. What an utterly ridiculous game this all is.

"Canada: Business leaders call for climate change action" - "The leaders of a group of major Canadian corporations have called for urgent action on climate change, a major reversal of the business community's position on the Kyoto protocol. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the heads of Alcan, Bombardier, Shell Canada, Falconbridge, Home Depot Canada and Desjardins Group, among others, said Canada needs a 50-year strategy to deal with the fallout from climate change." (CBC News)

"The letter, obtained by the Canadian Press" presumably is this press release: Canadian business leaders issue call to action to Prime Minister in advance of Montreal Conference on Climate Change - Alcan more or less papered the place with such releases on multiple networks (wonder how CP found out about it?).

"Environmentalists delighted by corporate leaders' endorsement of Kyoto" - "OTTAWA - Environmentalists are delighted that some of Canada's top corporate executives endorse the Kyoto protocol, calling it a major shift in the attitude of the business community." (Canadian Press)

"The Alcan Manifesto" - "Only 10 days to go before the great Montreal climate change conference, which likely means 10 days of hysterical media agitprop on the looming global warming crisis and the need for massive action. Never in world history, outside the collective insanity marshalled behind Marxism through much of the last century, has a political movement required such an unrelenting flood of propaganda and media manipulation to stay afloat." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"Kyoto deal will transform Canada, Dion says" - "OTTAWA-Canadians likely won't recognize their country after economic and environmental changes sparked by the $10 billion Kyoto greenhouse gas plan, federal Environment Minister Stéphane Dion predicted yesterday." (Toronto Star)

"Canada, Japan, Europe failing on Kyoto greenhouse gas targets - UN" - "PARIS - Canada, Japan and the old 15-member European Union are falling short on their commitments to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol, according to a new UN report on global warming." (AFX)

"Climate change draws thousands to Montreal gathering" - "Over the next few weeks, expect to hear a lot of talk about climate change, more talk about new sources of energy, and perhaps less talk about the Kyoto Protocol, as the world looks for new ways to curb global warming. The pressure to reach a global consensus will build when more than 10,000 scientific experts, activists and delegates from nearly 200 governments meet in Montreal from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 to come up with a climate change strategy that works for everyone." (Nunatsiaq News)

Oh boy... "'Climate warrior' plots strategy on behalf of Inuit" - "Named one of the world's 'climate warriors' by Rolling Stone and Salon magazines, the president of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Iqaluit's Sheila Watt-Cloutier, will need to draw on all of her energy and all of her strong convictions during the upcoming UN climate change meeting in Montreal. Watt-Cloutier will send out a message of alarm, describing what global warming means to Arctic residents." (Nunatsiaq News)

"EU states lose grip on climate change targets" - "Further efforts are needed to tackle climate change, the UN has warned in a fresh report, with greenhouse gas emissions in many EU states rising instead of decreasing." (EUobserver)

"Global Warming, Global Governance" - "The European Parliament this week adopted a resolution on a report authored by one of its MEPs. Entitled, "Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change," it offers a new example of the institutionalized scare-mongering so characteristic of the current climate debate." (Hans Labohm, TCS)

"Climate change: Hot under the collar" - "Britain has had an easy ride on cutting carbon emissions. Not any more." (The Economist)

"'Culture change' on environment" - "Worldwide interest in the threat from greenhouse gases has undergone a "massive change", the government's chief scientific adviser has said." (BBC)

Right again, Dave! "Fear over climate change easing warns GG" - "Australia must continue to push for an effective international response to the problem of global warming, despite a waning interest in the issue in the community, Governor General Michael Jeffery has said. Major General Jeffery told a climate conference in Melbourne the impact of climate change is daunting, but people were now showing less concern than they had 10 years ago." (AAP)

"Environmental Degradation and Evangelicals" - "The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is no longer the organization it was only a few years ago. Its Washington office has been trending green. Risk Policy Report wrote on October 25 that NAE had been planning soon to release a policy statement on global warming that would call for mandatory greenhouse gas controls. There is now more reason to hope that reason and NAE traditional values – rather than unproven science -- will win the day." (Paul M. Weyrich, American Daily)

The state of climate science? "Triumph the Dog to Perform on TBS Special" - "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog doesn't just bark out zingers and smoke cigars - he worries about global warming. So the R-rated hand puppet will be one of the performers for TBS' two-hour "Earth to America" special 8 p.m. EST Sunday." (AP)

"Solar's Day in the Sun?" - "Ambitious plans to cover two big swaths of California desert with solar dishes could finally help the energy-producing technology make the leap to industrial-scale development." (The Wall Street Journal)

Gosh, I hope they've done all the environmental impact studies - shading large sections of the desert will surely have significant impact on the desert ecosystem. Perhaps it would be precautionary to just ban it?

"GM crop scrapped as mice made ill" - "CSIRO scientists have abandoned a decade-long GM crop project in its last stages of research, after learning that peas modified to resist insects caused adverse reactions in mice. It is only the second time in the world a GM project has been abandoned after a gene transfer from one crop to another, deputy chief of CSIRO Plant Industry T.J.Higgins said yesterday." (The Australian)

"Researchers upbeat about GM crop failure" - "The failure of an expensive trial of genetically-modified crops proves the strength of Australia's gene technology rules, scientists say. Despite being forced to end the $3 million, decade-long trial of GM field peas this year, the CSIRO says strict regulations forced testing which picked up the adverse reaction in mice." (AAP)

"Greenpeace blocks ship in Poland" - "GDYNIA, Poland  - Rough seas on Thursday forced Greenpeace activists to give up a blockade of a ship they say carried 25,000 tonnes of genetically modified (GMO) Argentinean soya to Poland. In part of a campaign for a wider ban on GMO crops, protestors tied themselves and a rubber dinghy to the ship's anchor chain after it moored, preventing it from docking. They were forced to call off the protest after five hours as the weather worsened in the Baltic coast port and temperatures plunged to below zero." (Reuters)

"Biotechnology advocates discuss benefits, business opportunities" - "Less than a week after the environmental activist group Greenpeace flew a giant balloon over Mexico City's center to protest transgenetic crops, biotechnology advocates gathered Thursday in the capital to discuss the potential benefits and future applications of the science in Mexico. "Biotechnology is of primary importance for our country," said Sen. Rafael Melgoza, noting that the field has important applications in agriculture and human health, as well as providing important opportunities for private initiative in research and development." (The Herald Mexico)

November 17, 2005

"Conservation Refugees: When Protecting Nature Means Kicking People Out" - "It's no secret that millions of native peoples around the world have been pushed off their land to make room for big oil, big metal, big timber, and big agriculture. But few people realize that the same thing has happened for a much nobler cause: land and wildlife conservation. Today the list of culture-wrecking institutions put forth by tribal leaders on almost every continent includes not only Shell, Texaco, Freeport, and Bechtel, but also more surprising names like Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Even the more culturally sensitive World Conservation Union (IUCN) might get a mention." (Mark Dowie, Orion)

Two 'Commentaries of the Month' (EnviroSpin Watch)

"The End of Pandemics: Bird flu could be the last super-plague" - "President George W. Bush announced his $7.1 billion strategy to fight a bird flu pandemic earlier this month, declaring, "Our country has been given fair warning of this danger to our homeland—and time to prepare." Right now, the H5N1 bird flu virus is spreading across Eurasia via flocks of wild birds; it recently reached Europe. The 124 people who are known to have been infected by the virus—half of whom have died—got it from close contact with poultry. Epidemiologists and virologists worry that the bird flu virus could mutate into a still deadlier form that is easily transmissible between people." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Scientists evaluate impact of preemptive malaria treatment for infants" - "Yaoundé, Cameroon (17 November 2005)--Administering malaria medicines preemptively to infants in malaria endemic regions has emerged as a potentially effective way to protect young children from the ravages of the disease. Children account for the majority of malaria deaths." (MIM Pan-African Malaria Conferences)

"Tainted polio vaccine found used outside U.S. until '80s" - "Contamination of oral polio vaccine with a monkey virus called SV40 was far more widespread than had been believed, new research shows, exposing hundreds of millions more people to a virus some scientists believe has been linked to cancer." (Chicago Tribune)

"Drinking decaffeinated coffee may be harmful to heart health" - "Decaffeinated -- not caffeinated -- coffee may cause an increase in harmful LDL cholesterol by increasing a specific type of blood fat linked to the metabolic syndrome, hints a new study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005." (American Heart Association)

"WHO Pushes Food Firms on Obesity Fight" - "The WHO urged the food and drink industry to improve the nutritional value of their products to help fight childhood obesity, saying efforts so far haven't been good enough." (AP via The Wall Street Journal)

Uh... food firms sell what people want to buy or go broke.

"A meaty, salty, starchy diet may impact chronic lung disease" - "A new study finds that eating mostly meat, refined starches, and sodium may increase the likelihood of developing chronic respiratory symptoms, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers found that individuals whose diets are rich in meat, refined starches and sodium are 1.43 times more likely to report new onset of persistent coughs with phlegm than those who consume a diet high in fruit and soy." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Environmental Play" - "Specialty chemical companies see a business opportunity in coming up with alternatives to products that face health or safety questions." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Dry Cleaning Dreams" - "Numerous contenders seek to unseat perchloroethylene as the top dry cleaning solvent." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Keeping Well-Preserved" - "Cosmetic preservatives makers offer alternatives as widely used parabens come under scrutiny." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Panel Ranks Risks of Common Phthalate" - "Additional research underscores concerns about DEHP that were first expressed in 2000 report." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Cutting Out Phthalates" - "Polyvinyl chloride applications haven't been flexible enough to accept alternatives to phthalate esters." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Vote expected on EU chemical law" - "The European Parliament is preparing to vote on far-reaching legislation which would lead to the safety testing of around 30,000 chemicals. The draft legislation is known as Reach - Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals. Environmentalists have criticised it, because they say key provisions have been watered down. But many business still fear Reach would impose an unmanageable burden of regulation." (BBC)

"EU Warned Not to Water Down Chemicals Rules" - "The EU is set to vote on a controversial reform bill for Europe's chemical industry that could cost the industry billions. Germany, which last week delayed the decision, may finally back it -- but at a price." (Deutsche Welle)

"EU Commission Backs Chemical Bill Compromise" - "STRASBOURG, France - Landmark new rules aimed at protecting Europeans from dangerous chemicals moved closer to reality on Tuesday after the EU Commission backed changes that would simplify testing requirements for many substances. The draft bill on Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) is scheduled for a vote in the European Parliament on Thursday after years of haggling and debate." (Rueters)

"Babbitt: Fate of New Orleans was sealed in 1935" - "PRINCETON BOROUGH - The flood-ravaged fate of New Orleans was sealed in 1935 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Fort Peck Dam and 12 more big dams that divert sediment from reinforcing the Mississippi Delta, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt said at Princeton University last night." (The Times)

In time for the Montreal climate circus, now rabid AGW promoters Nature are running a special on regional climate change.

FNC is echoing this: "Study: Greenland Glacier Shrinking at Surprising Rate" - "A new study reveals one of the largest glaciers in Greenland is shrinking and speeding to the sea faster than scientists expected. If it continues, Greenland itself could become much smaller during this century and global seas could rise as much as 3 feet." (LiveScience)

Peculiar emphasis, given recent studies:

"ERS altimeter survey shows growth of Greenland Ice Sheet interior" - "Researchers have utilised more than a decade's worth of data from radar altimeters on ESA's ERS satellites to produce the most detailed picture yet of thickness changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet. A Norwegian-led team used the ERS data to measure elevation changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2003, finding recent growth in the interior sections estimated at around six centimetres per year during the study period. The research is due to be published by Science Magazine in November, having been published in the online Science Express on 20 October." (European Space Agency)

Central Greenland apparently did exhibit step-warming - in the 1930s - but temperatures have gone nowhere in particular since that time and certainly demonstrate no correlation with atmospheric carbon dioxide, anthropogenic or otherwise. Even the fine resolution (monthly) view suggests the minor warming commenced about 1992 ran its course by '02 and current tendency is decline.

Worse, they're running this: "Deadly Effects of Future U.S. Heat Waves Predicted" - "In 2003, a summer heat wave killed between 22,000 and 35,000 people in five European countries. Temperatures soared to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in Paris, and London recorded its first triple-digit Fahrenheit temperature in history." (LiveScience)

Fair suck of the sauce bottle guys! This is based on Epstein's recycled nonsense, which completely ignores science and history to equate malaria with temperature (for those who don't know, malaria was endemic to the Arctic Circle and was defeated in the developed world through a combination of engineering works and pesticides as swamps were drained and vectors poisoned).

People in Europe died in a heatwave a couple of years back mainly because of neglect (no one gave a damn about the old and infirm during the holidays) and lack of modern amenities (no air conditioning, expensive electricity...). Strangely, the same temperatures do not even draw comment in Las Vegas, for example, and nor should they.

Regarding this allegedly toasting planet, if temperatures are rapidly escalating we would logically expect record high temperatures, no? So, what do record max temps tell us? Click here for a .pdf table of record highest temperatures by state from the National Climatic Data Center and you'll find two-thirds of record highs occurred prior to 1950. This is what the IPCC graphic looks like, suggesting all records should be post 1980, so why are 33 states failing to register news highs? A cursory look at the numbers suggest just 9 have set such records post 1980 despite urban heat island and massive development and that's 2 fewer than the number establishing new cold records over the same period.

Frankly, Epstein is a serial nitwit and having FNC blithely proliferating this garbage is rather alarming.

"PM re-iterates climate change determination" - "Tony Blair has said he remains keen to see 'binding agreements' put in place to deal with the problems the world faces from climate change. Speaking to MPs today during PMQs, he refuted suggestions that his 'resolve was weakening' on the issue, but said that any framework on emission targets needed to be agreed by everyone." (Directgov)

"Europe's Kyoto Bill" - "No matter how clear it becomes that the Kyoto Protocol will not work, the European Union will not admit that its climate policies will do nothing to affect global climate but will have a hugely negative effect on the global economy." (Carlo Stagnaro, TCS)

"Wanted: Climate for change" - "Later this month Canada will play host to the world's largest international policy conference on climate change, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Convention. For 12 days in Montreal, Canada will have the opportunity to shape international action to respond to the most pressing environmental issue of the 21st century. And we are about to fumble the ball." (Toronto Star)

Now here's an endorsement: "The world of bin Laden: no drinks, no gambling, no pictures of women" - "Osama bin Laden wants the United States to convert to Islam, ditch its constitution, abolish banks, jail homosexuals and sign the Kyoto climate change treaty." (London Telegraph)

"Dutch Propose Tighter CO2 Limits" - "AMSTERDAM - The Dutch government wants to tighten carbon dioxide pollution limits for industry to meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the environment ministry said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"US to Push at UN Meeting for Voluntary Carbon Plan" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration will use a United Nations climate change meeting in Canada to tout a voluntary plan to store heat-trapping gases underground, an Energy Department official said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Thin green line is bad science" - "There is a myth in the American media. It goes like this: The good scientists agree that global warming is human-induced and would be addressed if America ratified the Kyoto global warming pact, while bad, heretical scientists question climate models that predict Armageddon because they are venal and corrupted by oil money." (Debra Saunders, Townhall.com)

"Global Warming Poses Ethical Challenge - Scientists" - "LONDON - Global warming poses an enormous ethical challenge because countries that produce the least amount of greenhouse gases will suffer the most from climate change, scientists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

No? Duh! "India unlikely to agree to Kyoto caps" - "NEW DELHI - India is unlikely to agree to any emission caps in the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol because of its expanding energy-hungry economy, but analysts say developed nations will continue to pile pressure on the nation." (Reuters)

II: "Rich nations' greenhouse gas emissions may rise: UN" - "OSLO - Rich nations' emissions of gases blamed for global warming risk rebounding in coming years after falling overall since 1990 amid the collapse of Soviet-era industries, United Nations data showed on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Pew Center Report -- New Approaches to Global Warming for Major Economies" - "Washington, D.C. November 17, 2005 -- A new report offers recommendations for engaging major economies in efforts to address global warming. Released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the new report offers options and recommendations from senior policymakers and stakeholders from around the world." (PRWEB)

"Sir David tackles climate change" - "TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough is to take part in a season of BBC programmes looking at climate change. Veteran broadcaster Attenborough spoke about the forthcoming project at the launch of his new series Life in the Undergrowth, which begins next week. During filming of the new BBC One series, he said he saw the consequences of global warming "again and again". Details of the season of programmes across BBC television, radio and online are expected to emerge later this week." (BBC)

Understatement of the moment: "Global warming models 'biased'" - "The southern hemisphere cannot properly plan for the impacts of climate change as existing models have a northern hemisphere bias, Australian scientists say. But that's about to change, say scientists who are working on a new model to better account for factors specific to the south." (ABC Science Online)

Atmospheric Chemistry Within the Climate System (Climate Science)

"Regional sun–climate interaction" - "Abstract: It is a clear fact that the Earth's climate has been changing since the pre-industrial era, especially during the last three decades. This change is generally attributed to three main factors: greenhouse gases (GHGs), aerosols, and solar activity changes. However, these factors are not all-independent. Furthermore, contributions of the above-mentioned factors are still disputed.

We sought whether a parallelism between the solar activity variations and the changes in the Earth's climate can be established. For this, we compared the solar irradiance model data reconstructed by J. Lean to surface air temperature variations of two countries: USA and Japan. Comparison was carried out in two categories: correlations and periodicities. We utilized data from a total of 60 stations, 18 in USA and 42 in Japan. USA data range from 1900 to 1995, while Japan data range from 1900 to 1990.

Our analyses yielded a 42 per cent correlation for USA and a 79 per cent for Japan between the temperature and solar irradiance. Moreover, both data sets showed similar periodicities. Hence, our results indicate marked influence of solar activity variations on the Earth's climate." (Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics)

"Climate models help scientists understand global shifts in water availability" - "USGS scientists have a clearer picture of global shifts in water availability after examining a century of streamflow measurements from 165 locations around the world. Simulations from an ensemble of 12 global climate models compared favorably with the historical streamflow data. The scientists discovered that climate models have significant relevance in simulating historical long-term trends in streamflow around the world. That finding lends credibility to the same models' streamflow forecasts for the coming decades." (United States Geological Survey)

Precious naïfs: "City still waiting to plug into $100 million solar power bond: 2001 initiative's wording on cost slows program" - "In San Francisco, where the promise of sun is often broken by fog, the promise of bond money to install solar power panels is just as elusive. Voters in 2001 approved a $100 million revenue bond measure to pay for solar equipment on city-owned buildings, but to date San Francisco hasn't used any of that money. Voters also approved a second ballot measure enabling the Board of Supervisors to issue additional revenue bonds without going to the voters for permission. But they haven't done that either.

It turns out that Proposition B, the $100 million bond initiative, assumed that the cost of solar facilities would have dropped significantly by now. Prop. B says the city can issue the bonds only if the cost of a solar facility is less than or equivalent to the cost of a building continuing to receive electricity from the traditional power grid, according to Tony Winnicker, spokesman for the city's Public Utilities Commission. Commission officials are sure that solar panels will save the city money over time, but not from the start. That means the city needs to ask voters to rewrite the initiative or find a way around it." (SF Chronicle)

"When will the oil run out?" - "If there are 3 trillion barrels left, we should have the time to find alternatives to oil. If there are only 1 trillion, then we are in trouble." (Prospect Magazine)

"Senate Panel Approves Special Tax on Oil Profits" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 - In a telling sign of the political impact of soaring energy prices, the Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee voted on Tuesday to impose a $5 billion tax next year on the nation's biggest oil companies.

The measure amounts to a one-year windfall profits tax, a concept that most Republicans had until recently denounced as a discredited idea from the 1970's. It was added to a larger bill that would cut taxes by about $61 billion over the next five years.

Conservative Senate Republicans who support the oil industry bitterly protested the measure, noting that Congress had just approved billions in new tax breaks to encourage oil and gas exploration. But every Republican voted for the overall package, which passed the committee 14 to 8 and which the full Senate is expected to take up on Wednesday." (New York Times)

"Firms face closure after tax break is ended for fuel made from waste cooking oil" - "Businesses which make a diesel-type fuel from waste vegetable oil face closure after the rules governing biofuels were tightened, ending a tax break for some manufacturers." (The Guardian)

"Swiss to Vote November 27 on Five-Year GMO Ban" - "ZURICH - Swiss voters go to the polls on November 27 to review a measure that would impose one of the strictest bans in Europe on the use of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs." (Reuters)

"Wishing for a Calamity" - "Will Verboven writes that it has now been 10 years since the introduction of genetically modified food products into the North American diet, and in all those years, not a single person has gotten sick or died from eating any food that contains a genetically modified organism (GMO). In this case, no news is good news, but this positive situation has driven environmental and consumer groups to exasperation. They desperately need dead bodies or sick people to justify their mindless campaign against genetically modified foods." (Truth About Trade)

"Farmers divided over GM technology" - "Swiss farmers, at the heart of this month's nationwide vote on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, are divided on the issue." (swissinfo)

November 16, 2005

"DDT set to make a comeback as malaria control agent" - "AFTER remaining condemned for long, DDT is likely to win back its position as an effective mosquito control chemical for malaria eradication. It is not that health officials are rediscovering the potency of DDT to fight mosquito menace, but it is simply that no low-cost effective alternative has been found." (Hindu Business Line)

"New antimalarial combination confirms its potential use in treating drug-resistant malaria" - "Yaoundé, Cameroon, 15th November 2005 – Clinical results demonstrating the potential benefits of treating Plasmodium falciparum malaria with a new artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), chlorproguanil hydrochloride-dapsone-artesunate (CDA)1, were announced today at the 4th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Conference in Cameroon. CDA is being developed to meet the urgent need for new malaria treatments for Africa where drug resistance is contributing to an escalating health crisis. Dr. Arata Kochi, Director of the WHO Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Department stated, "The effort to develop CDA responds to RBM's call for fixed-dose artemisinin containing combinations." (MIM Pan-African Malaria Conferences)

"Scientists find more evidence of resistance to once effective malaria drugs" - "Yaoundé, Cameroon (15 November 2005)--Scientists are documenting increasing resistance to drugs that have been mainstays of malaria treatment in disease endemic regions of Africa, giving governments the evidence they need to switch to new, more effective treatments. New treatments such as ACT's are themselves being watched closely by scientists for signs of failure, according to discussions at this week's Fourth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Malaria Conference." (MIM Pan-African Malaria Conferences)

"Malaria jab's long-term promise" - "A malaria vaccine has been found to protect children in Africa from serious disease for at least 18 months. Researchers working in Mozambique found the jab cut the risk of clinical malaria by 35% and nearly halved the risk of serious malaria." (BBC)

"UK: Poor diets are more expensive than smoking" - "Obesity and unbalanced diets are costing the NHS £6 billion-a-year, around four times more than the cost of smoking." (ITV)

"Greens fear chemical law dilution" - "Environmentalists complained on Tuesday that a key European law on the control of chemicals is being watered down. The Reach chemicals regulation comes up for a vote on Thursday, a week after the parliament's main political groups agreed a business-friendly compromise." (BBC)

"Alarmed by 'Cycle of Anti-Environmentalism'" - "The environment has never faced greater political peril in America than it does today, says former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. "History, however, instructs us that the trajectory of environmental protection is moving ever upward over time, even as the trend line occasionally breaks downward," Babbitt asserts in his new book "Cities in the Wilderness." (Bruce Babbit, LA Times)

"Some Question Protective Role of Marshes" - "NEW ORLEANS - It is practically an article of faith in Louisiana that if the state's marshes had not been allowed to deteriorate over the years, New Orleans and other flooded areas would have been preserved from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Many people quote a rough rule of thumb that every mile of marsh reduces by a foot the height of a storm surge - the pulse of water that hurricanes push on shore. "The marshes are our first line of defense," people here say. But not all coastal scientists agree." (New York Times)

"'The Heat Is On' Fox News for 'Global Warming' Special" - "A climatologist Monday was quick to dismiss the Fox News special on "global warming," complaining that it featured "profoundly juvenile climate science." (CNSNews.com)

"U.S. pressed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as Montreal conference nears" - "WASHINGTON - American legislators and environmentalists are getting tougher on the U.S. administration in advance of an international climate change conference in Montreal this month. A bipartisan Senate resolution and a new report based on discussions that included Canada are calling for binding American commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists want new global talks to determine what happens after the Kyoto deal expires and they're pushing the U.S. government to get involved after refusing to sign the first reduction scheme." (CP)

This one contains the same old myth-speak of the US being responsible for 25% of greenhouse gases - utter rubbish! All humanity is 'responsible' for a paltry few percent of some minor greenhouse gases (when it comes to the biggie, water vapour, we didn't done it) and perhaps the US contributes about one-quarter of those minor greenhouse contributors. Big deal! The US is by far the world's largest economy, (heck, California alone ranks fifth in the world) and is a commensurate contributor of minor greenhouse gases. Well woohoo and whacko the turtle!

"ANALYSIS - Red Tape Slows Kyoto Pollution Credit Scheme" - "LONDON - Rich nations are scouring the globe for greenhouse gas credits to help them meet climate change targets, but red tape in one of the Kyoto Protocol's main markets is hampering their search. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), potentially a big source of cheap carbon dioxide reduction credits, is struggling to deliver as hundreds of climate-friendly projects in India, China and other developing countries wait in a queue for official approval to go ahead. Calls to streamline CDM, which allows rich nations to claim credits from projects in poor countries, will reach a crescendo at a major United Nations climate change conference in Montreal, Canada later this month, market sources said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Assistance for the developing world is great - all for it! Why are we hiding it behind compulsory taxation of energy users though? Why not get the heck out of the way and turn free enterprise loose to fund development and let everybody profit? All we have now is a stupid scare bleeding off billions that could be put to almost any other use more effectively and feeding an ever-growing gravy train (uh, bureaucracy) that actively impedes development. Sheesh!

Meow! "The politics of climate change: Should we trust a novelist on global warming?" - "Tonight at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, members of the Platinum Circle of the Independent Institute will have the privilege, at $10,000 per table, to hear a fiction writer talk about one of the pressing issues of our time: global warming. "State of Fear," the latest techno thriller by Michael Crichton, author of the science-fiction fantasy "Jurassic Park," inspired the theme of this evening's talk, "States of Fear: Science or Politics?"

If you belong to the Platinum Circle, or to the lesser Gold or Silver Circles -- or simply paid $25 as a member of the Independent Institute or World Affairs Council, co-sponsors of the event -- expect the author and a "panel of distinguished scientists" to lash out at the widely accepted notion among the vast majority of scientists that human activity is contributing to a warming planet, and that business as usual -- doing nothing about rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- will make things worse." (Sandy Tolan and John Harte, SF Chronicle)

"Hothouse 'good for farmers'" - "DESPITE doomsday predictions about global warming, some farmers will benefit from melting ice caps and increased winter rain. And despite overwhelming scientific evidence linking greenhouse gases with a rise in sea levels, science could not predict what would happen to the world's climate in the next century, the Greenhouse 2005 conference in Melbourne heard yesterday." (The Australian)

"Panel Calls for Flexible Climate Treaty" - "WASHINGTON -- An international panel including corporate and government officials who have been involved in climate-treaty negotiations has called for a broader version of the Kyoto Protocol, one that might include the Bush administration's voluntary approach to combating global warming." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Microbes in Marine Sediments React to Temperature Changes" - "Marine scientists from the University of Georgia have shown for the first time that temperature affects the biological activity of microbes that degrade organic carbon in marine sediments. Warming global temperatures could therefore cause shifts in the balance of organic carbon that is recycled into the atmosphere or buried in sediments that serve as reservoirs for the substance." (NSF)

"Princeton study puts up to 3% of state under water by 2100" - "The authors cited global warming and sinking land. Solutions include cutting emissions and some withdrawal from Shore." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Ocean levels rising faster" - "OCEANS levels are rising faster than previously thought, research has found. Scientists had previously wondered why the sea level rise did not seem to be accelerating, as their computer models predicted under climate change. But the Greenhouse 2005 conference will be told today that an acceleration has been detected by looking at a longer record of sea levels, between 1870 and 2004. The study, by the CSIRO's John Church and Neil White, is the first time researchers have reconstructed the sea level rise for such a long period. Over that time, the sea has risen almost 20 centimetres, with the rate increasing each year." (The Age)

Tasmanian Sea Levels: The `Isle of the Dead' Revisited by John L. Daly

Interesting quirk, France having trouble with rising seabed: "No island is an island?" - "Dropping seawater levels around Mont-Saint-Michel may turn the French abbey into a field of broken dreams." (Globe and Mail)

"France takes new steps to fight global warming" - "PARIS - France plans to boost the use of solar power with cash incentives and to hit motorists with higher taxes on the worst polluting cars as it beefs up the fight against global warming. Tighter rules on insulating houses to save energy will also be introduced, a step that could help to cut 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, said Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin at a climate presentation on Monday. Villepin said France would also back moves to curb greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2008-2012, the first period covered by the international Kyoto Protocol on climate change." (Herald News Daily)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

Not All Glaciers Lost Mass Over the Past Quarter-Century: Some, in fact, experienced growth rates that were unmatched since the Little Ice Age.

Subject Index Summaries:
War and Social Unrest: Are rising air temperatures and CO 2 concentrations more conducive to war or to peace?

Agriculture (Species - Soybean: CO 2 vs. Stress of Air Pollution): What happens when rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations help soybeans grow better and produce higher yields but rising concentrations of various air pollutants (chiefly ozone) do the opposite?

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: A C 4 South American Grass, Japanese Red Pine, Molassesgrass, and Soybean.

Journal Reviews:
Climate Model Cloud Simulations: How well are clouds represented in today's climate models?

Historic Streamflow of the Southern Uinta Mountains: How has it varied over the past 350 years?

Global Ocean Productivity: How has it changed over the past two decades?

A 100-Year Forward Look at Net Ecosystem Carbon Exchange of an Upland-Oak Forest: Will projected increases in atmospheric CO 2 and O 3 concentrations, air temperature, and winter precipitation lead to increases or decreases in forest productivity over the coming century?

Potato Prognosis for Mid-21st-Century Europe: Will it be touch-and-go or grow-and-grow? (co2science.org)

"Oil project stored 5 mln tons carbon dioxide" - "WASHINGTON - Five million tons of carbon dioxide, a gas linked to global warming, was successfully stored in a Canadian oilfield while doubling the field's crude oil recovery rate, the U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday. The promising technology in the multi-national project could be used to capture and store carbon dioxide in geologic formations, U.S. officials said. "By applying this technique to the oil fields of Western Canada, we would see billions of additional barrels of oil and a reduction in Co2 emissions equivalent to pulling more than 200 million cars off the road for a year," U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said in a statement." (Reuters)

"Pass the Whale Oil: Will Politicians Leave New England in the Dark?" - "One of the greatest features of our federal system is the ability of each state to act as a “laboratory of democracy”, to try its own approaches to various challenges. Every state can then learn from the successes and failures of others – and usually has more to learn from the mistakes.

One such mistake was California’s fantastically botched attempt to control retail energy costs, which led to their infamous rolling blackouts a few years ago by starving power suppliers of revenue. This monumental policy error also starved the electricity supply system of adequate investment. All those missed chances to improve generating capacity have culminated in system operators in southern California recently having to issue a Stage 1 power emergency (meaning an operating reserve shortfall will occur within two hours). That means the canary in the coalmine isn’t dead, but it’s starting to cough." (Christopher Horner, Competitive Enterprise Institute)

"Aus: Vic power plan gets the wind up" - "THE Victorian Government's new push to save the state's wind power industry would force up electricity prices, the Federal Government has warned. Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell attacked the state's plan to increase renewable energy in Victoria to 10 per cent by 2010, announced earlier this month. It is believed the plan could force energy retailers to buy electricity from renewable sources, particularly wind power. The Federal Government is winding down a similar scheme." (The Age)

"French activist Bove jailed for destroying GM crops" - "TOULOUSE, France - French anti-globalisation activist Jose Bove was handed a four-month jail sentence by an appeals court for destroying genetically modified (GM) crops." (AFP)

"Americans’ knowledge of genetically modified foods remains low" - "Americans’ knowledge of genetically modified (GM) foods and animals continues to remain low, and their opinions reflect that they are particularly uncomfortable with animal cloning, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. The survey also shows that religious and ethical concerns play a significant role in consumer attitudes towards cloning, and that a significant majority of consumers believe that the government should include ethical and moral considerations when making regulatory decisions about cloning and GM animals. Despite continuing concerns about GM foods, consumers do not support banning new uses of the technology, but rather seek an active role from regulators to ensure that new products are safe. When asked about importation of foreign GM products, consumers demonstrated little awareness but clearly favor U.S. regulation." (SeedQuest)

"Farmers get go-ahead to plant GM maize in UK" - "The biotechnology industry was told yesterday it must bear the cost of compensating UK farmers who suffer losses after contamination by the spread of genetically modified seeds. Margaret Beckett, Britain's environment secretary, made her long-expected announcement approving the planting of GM maize - the first transgenic crop to be permitted in the UK - but insisted neither the British taxpayer nor non-GM farmers should be expected to pick up the bill for commercial damage to farmers who lose their "non-GM" status." (Financial Times)

"Swiss to Vote Sunday on Five-Year GMO Ban" - "ZURICH - Swiss voters go to the polls on Sunday to review a measure that would impose one of the strictest bans in Europe on the use of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs." (Reuters)

"GM crops 'vital' for Africa's food supply" - "Africa will have a projected cereal crop shortfall of 88.7 million tons by 2025, but the population will have doubled to 1.5 billion in the same period, a University of Cape Town biotechnologist has warned. This was why biotechnical solutions involving genetic engineering to produce more and better crops were a vital part of efforts to achieve food security for Africa, Professor Iqbal Parker told parliament's agriculture committee yesterday." (Cape Argus)

November 15, 2005

JunkScience.com exclusive! "FOX Caves to the Global Warming Crowd" - "Forget “fair and balanced” on global warming. FOX News has caved to the global warming crowd, agreeing to air a “documentary” more one-sided than anything I’ve seen in the entire sad history of climate change journalism." (Patrick J. Michaels, JunkScience.com)

"The 'Oh, Really?' Factor" - "Junk Science: Has the "fair and balanced" network swallowed the spin on global warming? A Fox News special warns us the sky is falling, the seas are rising and your SUV is causing it all." (IBD)

"Fox News Sheds Balance in Climate Change Special" - "Network links global warming to everything from diseases to shark sightings in one-sided documentary." (FMP)

"Fox News Sells Out On Global Warming Debate" - "Fox News Reporter Rick Folbaum signed off at the end of the 60-minute special on "Global Warming" this Sunday Nov. 13, 2005, by repeating the Fox News mantra "We Report, You Decide". Folbaum and Fox News failed to provide any data upon which to make any decision." (Hawaii Reporter)

Why Does the Hockey Stick Debate Matter? (Post by Ross McKitrick, Prometheus)

Does the hockey stick “matter”? (Post by Steve McIntryre, Prometheus)

"Scientists reveal good and bad news on climate" - "THE atmosphere is showing a rapid rise in carbon dioxide levels, scientists at CSIRO warn. Carbon dioxide, the main global-warming gas, had reached 380 parts per million, growing at almost two parts per million a year, according to the latest figures." (The Age)

An overview book on why land surface processes are so important in climate science (Climate Science)

"Time of Observation Bias" - "When using a pair of min/max thermometers for daily temperature observations, the time of day at which the readings for the previous 24 hours are observed, and the thermometers are reset, will often cause a time of observation bias (TOB). If readings are taken near the times of daily highs, or daily lows, those highs, and lows, often affect the readings of two days. For those who may have some interest in such phenomena, an introductory review is available here." (Jerry Brennan, Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

Continuing the 'bad for good, good for bad' warming thing: "A Troubled Outlook for Parasites" - "You'd think that if anything could capitalize on global warming, a parasite would be it. After all, parasites are nature's ultimate opportunists. But no, at least not the ones that affect caterpillars - mainly tiny wasps that lay eggs inside them, leading to their deaths. According to a study by Lee A. Dyer of Tulane University in New Orleans and colleagues, global warming - specifically, the kinds of extreme weather like droughts and storms that are spawned by higher average temperatures - will lead to decreased parasitism in caterpillars.

Isn't it funny how 'threats' like increased herbivore survival rate a mention but the corollary of new (expanded?) niche available for exploitation by other species is ignored? There is a possibility that caterpillars might do better in an AGW world and the same possibility that caterpillar predators (endangered birdies, perhaps?) might thus prosper. Things change but that is not a disaster, just different.

"Climate change could spread plague: scientists" - "OSLO - Warmer, wetter weather brought on by global warming could increase outbreaks of the plague, which has killed millions down the ages and wiped out one third of Europe's population in the 14th century, academics said." (Reuters)

"Rapidly accelerating glaciers may increase how fast the sea level rises" - "SANTA CRUZ, CA--Satellite images show that, after decades of stability, a major glacier draining the Greenland ice sheet has dramatically increased its speed and retreated nearly five miles in recent years. These changes could contribute to rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet and cause the global sea level to rise faster than expected, according to researchers studying the glacier." (University of California - Santa Cruz)

"Breaking The Ice" - "TAMPA -- A pair of ships recently voyaged to the top of the world to study global climate change, the first to traverse a region of ice-covered sea between Alaska and the North Pole. The U.S. Coast Guard's Healy and the Swedish vessel Oden plowed through dense sheets of ice in their effort to better understand the Arctic's role in Earth's ocean and climate systems. While much of the research will take years to compile and publish, one thing was made immediately clear: The Arctic is slowly losing its chill." (Tampa Tribune)

Unamused by realism, apparently: "Green groups join forces to lambast Blair for 'back-sliding'" - "Tony Blair came under concerted attack from leading environmental groups yesterday as he was accused of appearing "indistinguishable" from George Bush on green issues." (London Independent)

"Blair under sustained attack over environment" - "LONDON - Environmental activists accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday of failing to tackle global warming despite many pledges of tough action." (Reuters)

"Professor David King: Climate change criticism unfair" - "The government's chief scientific advisor has described WWF's criticisms of Tony Blair's action on climate change as "grossly unfair". Environmentalists today accused the prime minister of failing to turn his international rhetoric about climate change into concrete action. But speaking on Today, Professor David King refuted the criticism, saying: "I think we achieved an enormous amount. "We have got a statement from the G8 saying that we will act with resolve and urgency now to meet our objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions." And he defended Mr Blair's recent comments that the economic effects of emission-cutting targets had to be taken into account. "The message needs to be got across that this isn't at the expense of growing economies. I don't think that any country is going to manage a process where the suspicion is that they will need to reduce their GDP growth," Professor King added." (politics.co.uk)

"Campaigners attack plans to 'buy way out' of CO2 goal" - "Environmental campaigners reacted angrily yesterday to government plans to "buy its way out" of a manifesto commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Guardian revealed that ministers were considering purchasing credits from abroad under the Kyoto protocol's carbon trading scheme and allowing them to count towards the UK's target to reduce carbon dioxide pollution by 20% by 2010. Stephen Tindale, the executive director of Greenpeace, said: "This would be the government buying its way out of broken promises." (The Guardian)

Actually not, Stephen, that would be "taxpayers buying the government's way out of stupid 'promises'".

"UK: CBI wants households to cut energy use" - "Cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will have to come largely from consumers as businesses are running out of scope to curb their carbon dioxide output, the CBI said yesterday." (Financial Times)

"Fruit yields not very peachy as global warming fallout rises" - "In what appears to be fallout from global warming, abnormal fruit, including grapes not turning red and peaches with brown flesh, are becoming nationwide occurrences, forcing producers to seek countermeasures." (Kyodo News)

"Reactor increase not needed to cut CO 2 drastically: research" - "Carbon dioxide emissions can be cut by 70 percent by 2050 in Japan even without adding nuclear power plants if the country improves energy efficiency and increases natural energy generation, a governmental environmental institute said. The government aims to build more nuclear plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions, but the alternatives are "worth trying for future generations' sake," Junichi Fujino, a researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, said last week." (Japan Times)

"UK 'has high-quality wind supply'" - "The UK's wind is better for generating electricity than that of its rivals, according to a government-backed study. Steady stiff breezes had meant a more reliable supply than the more extreme blusters of Denmark and Germany over the last 35 years, researchers found. UK turbines had produced 27% of their maximum possible energy, compared with 20% in Denmark and 15% in Germany, the Oxford University study said." (BBC)

"German Wind Lobby Hails Policy, Utilities Uneasy" - "FRANKFURT - German wind power lobby BWE said on Monday support for renewable energy in the new coalition deal would unleash huge investments but conventional producers said they were disappointed the status quo was left unaltered." (Reuters)

"Is a Windfall Profits Tax a Good Idea?" - "Many people are surprised that oil company profits in recent months have been so high. Some politicians, including even some Republicans, have threatened to impose windfall profits taxes on oil companies to take some of these profits for the government. Yet the higher profits oil companies have made in recent months are a totally predictable result of the standard workings of supply and demand, and allowing supply and demand to function has some very desirable results. Moreover, not only would the windfall profits taxes have bad results, but they also are unjust." (David R. Henderson, TCS)

"The Siren Song of Corporate Social Responsibility" - "When a businessman starts talking about how socially responsible his business has become, investors need to hang on to their wallets." (Stephen Bainbridge, TCS)

"America The Uneducated: A new study warns of a slide for the U.S. as the share of lower achievers grows" - "How did the U.S. become the world's largest economy? A key part of the answer is education. Some 85% of adult Americans have at least a high school degree today, up from just 25% in 1940. Similarly, 28% have a college degree, a fivefold gain over this period. Today's U.S. workforce is the most educated in the world.

But now, for the first time ever, America's educational gains are poised to stall because of growing demographic trends. If these trends continue, the share of the U.S. workforce with high school and college degrees may not only fail to keep rising over the next 15 years but could actually decline slightly, warns a report released on Nov. 9 by the National Center for Public Policy & Higher Education, a nonprofit group based in San Jose, Calif. The key reason: As highly educated baby boomers retire, they'll be replaced by mounting numbers of young Hispanics and African Americans, who are far less likely to earn degrees." (Business Week)

"Global Green USA Honors Industry Leaders in Financial Services, Real Estate and Media for Advancements to Environmental Challenges" - "President Mikhail Gorbachev's environmental organization recognizes Citigroup, The Hearst Corporation, Enterprise and The Weather Channel at 6th Annual 'Designing a Sustainable and Secure World' Awards." (PRNewswire)

Oh my giddy aunt! "The People vs Jeremy Clarkson" - "Is it just sandal-wearing, tree-hugging Lefties who have had enough of engine-revving, insult-throwing libertarian Jeremy Clarkson? No, says Oliver Bennett. Denouncements are coming from all directions." (London Independent)

Most extraordinary assault in The Indy. Who can this dreadful person be,  I wondered and thought to consult informed denizens of the land - with this result:

Jeremy C. is the bete noir of everything PC and of the wetter 'Greens'! He is highly intelligent. He has an enormous following which the Beeb cannot ignore - hence the fury of the 'Greens' and of the PC world! He is their ultimate loathing - a lad's lad who talks of cars, and everything about them, with great panache and knowledge. He has just received an Hon. Degree, I think, from one of our Universities, and he appears on sophisticated quiz shows like QI, etc.. He adds greatly to the gaiety of the nation. He will just devour The Independent's schoolboy attack - with relish.

Sounds like my kinda guy. Onya Jer! [colloquial Australian laudatory remark - ed.]

"Drug fakes damage malaria control" - "Anti-malaria drugs which save hundreds of thousands of lives every year are at risk of becoming useless, because of new counterfeiting tactics. Experts have discovered counterfeiters in South East Asia are producing dilute fake versions of the drugs - raising the risk of resistance. The drugs are based on compounds from the Chinese plant Artemesinin. They are the only cheap drugs to which the most deadly malaria parasite has not developed resistance." (BBC)

"Fungi 'new tool' against malaria" - "Fungi native to East Africa could be used as a new tool in the fight against malaria, recent studies suggest." (BBC)

"A Grain of Salt" - "For Susan Jebb, head of nutrition and health research for the UK's Medical Research Council, the problem and the solution is really quite simple: Reducing salt intake can reduce blood pressure and dramatically improve Britain's health. Commenting at a recent press conference launching the MRC's report on salt, Jebb noted that among "independent scientists, there is a clear consensus on the evidence of the link between health and blood pressure." While that's true of course, it is not at all the same thing as saying that there is a clear consensus on the evidence of a link between population-wide health benefits and reduced salt intake. This is the real question at the heart of the revived debate about salt." (John Luik, TCS)

"Sewage Altering Fish, Study Reports" - "Male fish with female characteristics have been discovered in ocean waters off Los Angeles and Orange counties, raising concerns that treated sewage released offshore contains hormone-disrupting compounds that are deforming the sex organs of marine life." (LA Times) | More plausibly: Pill blamed for sexually deformed male fish (Ian Sample, The Guardian)

"Deforestation slowing, UN says" - "The speed of global deforestation is showing signs of slowing down because of new planting and natural forest extension, according to new figures." (BBC)

"UK sites in acid rain 'recovery'" - "Some of the UK's most environmentally sensitive upland lakes and streams are recovering from the impact of acid rain, the government has said." (BBC)

Free range = unhealthy: "Farmers try to keep flu out by keeping turkeys in" - "Poultry growers like Klaphake, as well as government and industry officials, say they are confident the U.S. poultry industry is safe from dangerous strains of bird flu, such as H5N1, that have ravaged poultry in Asia and spread to parts of Europe. The biggest reason: The animals are kept in, and people and wild birds are kept out." (Associated Press)

"Scientists discover how crops use the length of the day to decide when to flower" - "Scientists at the John Innes Centre (JIC) in Norwich, UK, report today a breakthrough in understanding how crop plants use daylength to ensure they flower at the right time of year. In an article published in the international journal Science, they describe a gene that controls how barley reacts to the length of the day and thus controls when it flowers." (John Innes Centre)

"Setting the table for altered feed" - "Renessen LLC, a joint venture of Monsanto Co. and Cargill Inc., is preparing to market the first crop genetically engineered for animal feed. The product, corn that carries added lysine in each kernel, should reach poultry and swine producers in the U.S. and Argentina in 2007 or 2008, the company said. It is meant to replace synthetic supplements of lysine, an essential amino acid, that producers now buy and mix into feed." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

November 14, 2005

"Multilateral initiative on malaria seeks international effort" - "Yaoundé, Cameroon (14 November 2005)--Achieving victory over malaria in Africa, a disease that each year kills millions and imposes costs that cripple entire economies, requires a new internationally funded effort dedicated to training and supporting a critical mass of African malaria researchers, according to a new plan launched today by the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) at the Fourth MIM Pan-African Malaria Conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon." (MIM Pan-African Malaria Conferences)

"I'm Back! The History of Flu Pandemics" - "Top virologists have been appearing in Washington in recent weeks to sound the alarm about pandemic flu. All of them have said that predicting when the next pandemic will hit is impossible. Talk to them privately, however, and they may whisper their best guess. For some, the dreaded year is 2025. This prophecy was first made by Dr. Maurice R. Hilleman, a microbiologist who died in April at 85. Dr. Hilleman developed vaccines for mumps, measles, chickenpox, pneumonia, meningitis and other diseases, saving tens of millions of lives. In 2002, he wrote a paper in the journal Vaccine, which pointed out that the 10 pandemics that have occurred over the last 300 years seemed to have struck at regular intervals." (New York Times)

"Patent nonsense and avian flu" - "WITH all the hysteria surrounding the possible mutation of the avian flu virus into a strain that puts humans at risk, policy makers have subjected us to everything apart from, well, common sense." (Alec van Gelder, CFD)

"Fuss and Feathers: Pandemic Panic over the Avian Flu" - "The indication is that we will see a return of the 1918 flu virus that is the most virulent form of flu," warns America's top health official. "In 1918, half a million people died. The projections are that this virus will kill one million Americans . . . " (Michael Fumento, The Weekly Standard)

"The UN's War Against Innovation" - "The leadership of the United Nations is truly the gang that can't shoot straight. Even if the recent incidents of corruption and profiteering -- exemplified by the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal -- are anomalies, as defenders of the UN would have us believe, it is hard to explain away the anti-social outcomes of business as usual.

Secretary General Kofi Annan professed recently that he hoped concern for "intellectual property" wouldn't "get into the way" of producing and distributing drugs for a potential avian-flu pandemic. In other words, companies that make drugs and vaccines should abandon their intellectual property at Mr. Annan's whim. This kind of hostility to property rights, which is precisely the reason we now have a shortage of vaccines and drugs to confront the potential pandemic (as well as other epidemics that occur regularly), is only one manifestation of the inability of UN officials to understand the relationship between public policy and innovation." (Henry Miller, TCS)

"Groups Propose Alternative to E.P.A. Rules on Mercury" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 - Concerned that new federal standards on mercury emissions will not produce more immediate health benefits, two national groups of state and local air quality regulators have developed a plan to yield fewer emissions in less time. The groups say at least 20 states have shown interest in the plan, which was conceived in response to complaints from environmentalists and some Democrats in Congress over federal rules to eliminate significant amounts of mercury from air and water." (New York Times)

"Germany Secures Delay in EU Chemical Reform Deal" - "BRUSSELS - Germany succeeded on Friday in delaying a decision by European Union states on a landmark bill to test and register thousands of chemicals produced in and imported into the EU that could cost industry billions of euros." (Reuters)

"Governments ‘sell out’ to industry over toxin threat" - "Plan to phase out dangerous chemicals in everyday items is stymied." (Sunday Herald)

Mad Margot's monster shouldn't exist at all...

"EU: Civil Society Demands a Role in Monitoring Chemical Substances" - "MADRID, Nov 11 - Non-governmental organisations and trade unions are demanding the right to participate in the control of the manufacture and sale of chemical substances in the European Union alongside producers, government authorities and health experts." (IPS)

Misanthropist Luddites having more say in critical industries? Shudder.

"'Mum was right' say cold experts" - "If your mother always warned you to wrap up warm to avoid a cold, it seems she may have had a point. Welsh scientists say they have proof that there really is a link between getting cold and catching one." (BBC)

"Attenborough: people are our planet's big problem" - "The naturalist tells Juliette Jowit what he's learnt from getting up close to insects in a new TV series." (The Observer)

Humanity to misanthropists: Get over it! People are part of the system.

"Call for Murder of Scientists Shows Vicious Side of Animal Rights, say Medical Advocates " - "ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 13 -- The call to assassinate research scientists, heard on Sunday's 60 Minutes, is a call to action for Congress to give law enforcement the powers necessary to investigate and arrest those who would carry out such crimes, according to Americans for Medical Progress, a nonprofit organization that counters the animal rights threat to biomedical research." (PRNewswire)

Role reversal? "A rare conservative Hollywood moment" - "It was as if the left side of Alan Alda's brain had been taken over by Milton Friedman. One minute he was advocating school choice. The next he was mocking global warming hysterics and arguing in favor of drilling for oil in ANWR. On live TV, in front of nearly 10 million Americans last Sunday night, Alan Alda -- the card-carrying Hollywood liberal-humanist -- was saying wildly un-Democrat things like "I believe in the free market." And "I don't trust politicians to choose the right new energy sources." And "We don't want government doing things it does not know how to do, or things the private sector does better, or throwing more money at failed programs." (Tribune-Review)

Nah, just play acting. Don't know what's up with Fox News though...

"Fox News displays a green side" - "NEW YORK—It's no surprise that environmental activists Laurie David and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are involved in a new documentary about global warming airing this Sunday. But the fact that the special was produced by Fox News is more unexpected. The top-rated cable news channel has long rejected its reputation for having a conservative slant. Nevertheless, the network's involvement in the special has pleased environmentalists and piqued some conservatives, who have lobbed an unusual criticism of the network: that its program only offers a liberal viewpoint on the issue." (Los Angeles Times)

Well, it's aired and the verdict is... fairly unbalanced. Actually, it's pretty hard to see what the fuss is about. What we got was the activists' handwringer hour (less commercial breaks). Quick correction: "greenhouse doubled in 30 years" (who said that, was it Bruce Molina?), no matter, the fact is there's been about +33% change in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past few centuries. It might have been interesting had they pointed out that humans do have non-trivial effects on the environment against which anthropogenic CO2 emission is an irrelevant distraction but that didn't happen.

Presenter Rick Folbaum writes in Reporter's Notebook: The Heat Is On, "When I was asked to host a FOX News special on climate change and global warming, I knew I was going to have to really do my homework." What a pity that he did not do so. The exhortation to "Learn the facts about global warming, and decide for yourself what needs to be done about these new realities" at the end of the same file appears dreadfully misplaced on a propaganda piece.

The final program tag from Folbaum about FNC taking no position, "You decide" was pretty funny when attached to a blatant activist promo but hey, the whole non-issue relies on such selectivity.

Hope you and the crew enjoyed the trip, Rick, which involved travelling more than 23,000 miles around the globe according to the show's promotion, but as far as learning the facts about global warming is concerned, total bust mate.

"Greens Praise Fox News 'Global Warming' Documentary" - "The Fox News Channel's admittedly one-sided special on "global warming" is receiving praise from two prominent liberal environments. The hour-long special report, titled "The Heat Is On: The Case of Global Warming," is set to air Sunday night at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST, and it will feature a disclaimer warning viewers that only one side of the scientific debate is represented on the show. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised the documentary for "putting the conserve back into conservatism," a reference to the perception by liberals that Fox News Channel is a conservative news outlet." (CNSNews.com)

Oh boy... "Unhealthy Earth: Global Warming Takes Toll" - "In Montana's Glacier National Park, only 27 of the 150 mammoth ice glaciers that existed when the park was created in 1910 remain. These "jewels in the crown of the continent" took millions of years to form; they are expected to be gone in 20 years." (FoxNews.com)

Glaciers have basically been receding since the end of the Younger Dryas event, when there were relatively few people and no known fossil fuel use at all. Whatever, I don't know that we currently have any proxies posted for Montana, specifically, but we certainly do for temperature and precipitation in the north eastern and north central United States and for Colorado. You can access these from our proxies pages - here for the thumbnail gallery-containing but more bandwidth hungry page or here for the faster loading text version with links to desired graphics.

Meanwhile: "Fear over climate change easing warns GG" - "Australia must continue to push for an effective international response to the problem of global warming, despite a waning interest in the issue in the community, Governor General Michael Jeffery has said. Major General Jeffery told a climate conference in Melbourne the impact of climate change is daunting, but people were now showing less concern than they had 10 years ago." (AAP)

Oh dear, indoctrination campaigns not working out too well, eh?

"Hurricane horror mostly bad luck -- for now" - "The high-impact hurricanes that have hit the United States over the past couple years are, at least for now, more a function of bad luck than of climate change, said MIT Professor Kerry Emanuel during an Oct. 31 symposium." (PressZoom)

Must be a handwringers' convention on or something:

"Factor in climate change dangers, insurers told" - "CLIMATE change is to blame for the increasing number and severity of natural disasters and should be included in risk modelling for insurance companies, a conference of insurers has heard." (The Age)

"Arctic countries meet on threat of global warming" - "A group of countries which fringe the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea gathered in Norway on Thursday and heard that they must go beyond the UN's Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse emissions." (AFP)

"Author: Global warming is the biggest threat" - "The single greatest problem facing mankind in 5,000 years of civilization is not terrorism, but global warming. That’s the message Mark Hertsgaard just brought back from Europe, where he spent two months interviewing government officials, scientists and business leaders." (News & Advance)

algore... "Gore makes sustainable investment his business" - "As chairman of a British company, the former US vice-president still has global warming and long-term consequences on his mind, writes Peter Weekes." (The Age)

"Blair 'failing' over environment" - "Environmental charity WWF UK has severely criticised the government for what it says is a lack of action on climate change and the environment. It says the UK has wasted opportunities presented by its presidency of the EU and the G8 group of wealthy nations. And despite differences in rhetoric, there is little to choose between Tony Blair and US President George W Bush." (BBC)

"Canada faces climate crisis" - "OTTAWA-Canada is more vulnerable to climate change than any other industrialized nation but is dangerously unprepared to deal with the "unavoidable" impacts, warns a study specially commissioned by Prime Minister Paul Martin. The unpublished report lists damage to forestry, fishing and agriculture caused by higher temperatures and less reliable precipitation. Large swaths of Ontario's boreal forest are likely to die over the next century." (Toronto Star)

"The heat is on" - "Global warming is opening up the vast Arctic; now, Canada is trying to assert its claim over the land and protect its resources." (Beth Daley, Boston Globe)

"The Mediterranean: Too Hot To Holiday?" - "“As a result of increasing temperatures, most of the Mediterranean coastal areas will become unsuitable for tourism during the summer months.” This was the prediction made by climate change expert David Viner to European tour operators yesterday at the annual conference of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA)." (I-Newswire)

Just for fun: "Global warming and rise in sea-levels linked to obesity" - "British scientists have confirmed that recent rises in UK temperatures and sea levels are directly linked to the obesity rate and not to pollution levels as was originally thought." (Peter Gee, DeadBrain)

"Fish numbers plummet in warming Pacific" - "A catastrophic collapse in sea and bird life numbers along America's Northwest Pacific seaboard is raising fears that global warming is beginning to irreparably damage the health of the oceans." (London Independent)

Cooling crashes fish stocks? "The use of historical catch data to trace the influence of climate on fish populations: examples from the White and Barents Sea fisheries in the 17th and 18th centuries" - "We analysed catch records of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), cod (Gadus morhua), and halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus and Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) from the 17th and 18th centuries from several locations of the Barents and White Seas areas. Historical records, found in Russian archives, allow analysis of long-term series of catches, and sometimes of the average weight of the fish. In total, we obtained data on catches of salmon for 51 years (for the period from 1615 to 1772) and of cod and halibut for 33 years (for the period from 1710 to 1793). These data are comparable with respect to fishing effort within the series. The data on Atlantic salmon are also comparable with statistical data for the period 1875–1915. We found notable fluctuations in catches and sometimes in the average weight of salmon. There was also fluctuation in catches of cod and halibut. Both observational comparison of catch series and temperature data and formal statistical analysis showed that catches tended to decrease during relatively colder periods." (ICES Journal of Marine Science)

"Hottest year yet predicted" - "This year looks likely to be the hottest recorded in Australia. The past decade has been filled with unusually hot years, but the Bureau of Meteorology said the first 10 months of 2005 were the warmest since monthly records began in 1950, and would probably make it the hottest year since annual records began in 1910." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Time to put on the ol' "Woohoo!" hat, looks like the recovery from the Little Ice age continues, for now.

"‘We’re Not Talking About Sacrifice’" - "Larry David’s wife is on a crusade to save the planet—no matter how much it irritates her husband." (Newsweek)

"ESA: Satellites support Kyoto Protocol through forest mapping service" - " A prototype service utilising satellites for mapping forests to aid compliance with the Kyoto Protocol has been endorsed by end users from European countries – one environmental ministry representative called the baseline carbon stock information provided a "goldmine". ESA's Kyoto-Inventory service has been designed to produce information products on changing land use associated with carbon 'sinks' or 'sources' that can support national governments' reporting requirements to the Kyoto Protocol. This three-year demonstration service has now formally ended, but activities are set to continue under the banner of a broader project called GSE-Forest Monitoring." (noticias.info)

"CO2 Spike 55 Million Years Ago Caused Abrupt Climate Change" - "SYNOPSIS: The warming was caused by a gigantic release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that was comparable to the atmospheric effects expected from human burning of fossil fuels." (University of Florida)

"Lava rock could store carbon dioxide, researchers say" - "BEND, Ore. — The lava rock layers beneath much of the West, including Idaho, Oregon and Washington, could hold the key to the global warming puzzle, researchers say. Scientists from agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Idaho National Laboratory recently announced plans to test whether lava rocks can store man-produced carbon dioxide underground." (Associated Press)

The Week That Was Nov. 12, 2005 (SEPP)

Behave like terrorists... "Greenpeace urges global offices to denounce attack vs members" - "Global environment watchdog Greenpeace yesterday has urged all its offices worldwide to write the Philippine government and denounce the use of "excessive violence" on some of its members by armed guards of a coal-fired power plant in Masinloc, Zambales on Thursday. "The Philippine government and the National Power Corp. (Napocor) should be held accountable for the use of excessive violence against our members. So far, this is the worst to happen to our environment activists globally." (Manilla Bulletin)

Sorry guys, you've long since used up the free pass bestowed by French incompetence in New Zealand. You want to stuff up people's lives and livelihoods you have to expect to get a thumping for it. Duh!

Further public nuisance: "Greenpeace blockades Downing Street with tonnes of coal" - "Greenpeace volunteers have this morning blockaded three entrances to Downing Street with several tonnes of coal in protest against Tony Blair's failure to tackle global warming. The action comes as Tony Blair rows back on his commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. In a series of statements in recent weeks the Prime Minister has cast doubt on his long-term support for the global agreement, while British emissions of carbon-dioxide have risen since he came to power." ('peas press release)

The UK media: time to grow up over 'climate change' politics (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Industries taste sugarplum in trade of greenhouse gas emission" - "CHONGQING, Nov. 11 -- Some Chinese enterprises have found that greenhouse gas, identified as the chief cause of global warming, can also be profitable. But to make money from it, they have to cut the discharge of pollutant instead of seeking a high output. Six producers of steel, coal, gas and power in Chongqing, a metropolis in southwest China, will receive more than 420 million yuan (about 53 million US dollars) by 2012 under a recent agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emission signed with Britain-based EcoSecurities Group Ltd, a major greenhouse gas trader in the world. The six companies have to commit to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1.54 million tons annually. One precondition is that they must spend the money on clean production projects." (Xinhuanet)

"Windpower survey blows away myths from opponents" - "Wind power supporters have received a boost from a study that shows Britain has the best wind in Europe because it blows all year round and peaks when there is greatest demand for electricity. The first methodical investigation of Britain's wind resources has found that, despite claims to the contrary, there has never been a time over the past 35 years when the entire country has been "becalmed". The study also found that the wind tends to blow more strongly during the day and the winter months when energy demands from the national grid are greatest." (London Independent)

"Where energy policy is concerned, we should be playing Sibelius, not Elgar" - "The energy mix of every country is going to be slightly different, depending on its geography, its state of development, and its indigenous resources. For the next 50 or so years, however, the core suppliers of electricity in nearly all developed countries will have to comprise some mix of the following five sources of generation: clean coal; natural gas; nuclear power; and, where available in significant amounts, hydroelectric power and/or geothermal power. The so-called 'renewables', wind, wave, tide, and solar power, will be available in various mixes, but will be physically unavailable to many economies, and, even where they are available, they are unlikely to contribute more than 10%-15% of total supply because of a whole suite of technical limitations." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"DTI minister backs nuclear new-build" - "Building a new fleet of nuclear reactors is a "no brainer", according to a government minister with responsibility for global energy and climate change." (London Independent)

"Government sets out challenge for greener Britain" - "The government's climate change review offers a blueprint for a greener Britain and the government's last chance to meet its ambitious political pledge to slash emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by 20% by 2010." (The Guardian)

"Speed limit crackdown to cut emissions - Leak reveals climate change plans" - "Ministers are planning to crack down on motorists who speed on motorways in an attempt to meet government targets aimed at reducing Britain's emissions of greenhouse gases. Officials acknowledge that any move to force the 15 million motorists who currently exceed the 70 mph speed limit to slow down would be "politically sensitive", but they say it would save significant amounts of carbon dioxide pollution. Engine efficiency falls quickly beyond 70 mph." (The Guardian)

"UK: Ministers who campaign for greener roads are still driving 'gas-guzzlers'" - "The Government was accused of hypocrisy yesterday as ministers pleaded for greener vehicles while being chauffeur-driven in large "gas-guzzling" cars." (London Independent)

"CAFE is Bad for Your Health" - "We'll be killing fewer people in the future. This is the unstated message of the Department of Transportation's current proposal, open for public comment until Nov. 22, to reform its automotive fuel-economy program, known as CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy). There is a documented trade-off between fuel economy and vehicle crashworthiness -- larger, heavier cars get fewer miles per gallon, but also have lower death rates. DOT hopes to reduce that trade-off by making the standard more flexible (creating a larger set of vehicle categories) while raising overall mpg requirements.

CAFE will still be lethal, of course, but it might not become much more lethal than it already is. If you think that's a grisly stance for a federal agency, there are two things to keep in mind. First, this is the best that any administration has ever done to address CAFE's safety risks. Second, the alternative proposals that have popped up in the last few weeks are even deadlier." (Sam Kazman, The Wall Street Journal)

"The Hummer Lives!" - "Susan Docherty, head of General Motors' Hummer brand, knows all about those Web sites dedicated to dissing her product. The snarky www.FUH2.com site that warehouses dozens of pictures of people giving Hummers a decidedly non-regulation salute? "I visit that often," Ms. Docherty says. Also on her must-see list are the Sierra Club site and any others that pop up when she Googles "hummer" and "environment." "You need to know what your enemy's thinking," she says. At a time when sales of a lot of sport utility vehicles are stuck in a ditch, Hummer's critics might be wondering why U.S. Hummer sales are up 87% so far this year. What's more, Hummer is gearing up to expand sales in Europe and Asia -- countries where people take global warming (and gasoline that costs $4 to $5 a gallon) seriously." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Air travellers to be hit by EU emissions tax" - "The cost of flying could soar as early as next year under plans being proposed by the Government to include aviation in a controversial emissions trading scheme. If agreed, passengers will have to pay an extra charge to help offset the damage to the environment caused by the pollutants produced during flight. The charge, which could more than double the cost of many low-cost flights, will be used to pay for schemes elsewhere in the world that reduce carbon use such as tree planting. The Sunday Telegraph has learned that the Government plans to use the UK's presidency of the Council of the European Union, which runs until the end of this year, to introduce legislation forcing all airlines flying in Europe to pay a charge for emissions above a permitted level." (London Telegraph)

"Wind industry challenges report of farm bird deaths" - "A four-year study that estimated up to 1,300 birds of prey are killed each year by wind farms in the Altamont Pass is under fire from wind energy companies, which claim the study employed faulty methods that exaggerated the number of deaths. Debate over the study continues more than a year after it was published, in part because the California Energy Commission is now considering whether to use the methods employed in the Altamont Pass to study the problem of bird deaths at other wind farms throughout California — a move the wind industry opposes. The wind industry maintains that bird deaths are not as great a problem outside the Altamont Pass and opposes new obstacles to wind farm development." (Oakland Tribune)

"'Gasifier' Promoted As Energy Answer: Machine Designed To Run on Sewage And Garbage" - "D.C. Council member Marion Barry and comedian-activist Dick Gregory stood in a Southeast Washington parking lot yesterday to unveil a giant machine that they said has the power to transform the world. The contraption looked like something that would incite a call to 911. Metal pipes and wires led to a two-story-tall black metal chimney, which led to more metal pipes that were connected to electric motors and high-tech doodads and dials. The inventor, Simon Romana, called the machine a "gasifier" and said it can use garbage or sewage to create pollution-free electricity and drinking water." (Washington Post)

"Ethanol fuelling the future for public transport: experts" - "Cities choking in petrol and diesel fumes should follow Sweden's example and look to ethanol to fuel their buses, experts at a conference in Stockholm on environmentally-friendly vehicles and fuels said on Thursday." (AFP)

"Hidden cost in wood burning: Pollution - New popularity of stoves, fireplaces may be making air less healthy" - "As soaring prices for oil and natural gas drive more Americans toward alternative fuels to stay warm this winter, environmental watchdogs are awakening to the unhealthy effects of the pollution from burning wood in the home. Scientists have long known that wood smoke contains carbon monoxide and cancer-causing chemicals. But research shows that wood smoke's major ingredient — tiny particles of soot and liquid pollution — worsens heart disease and triggers asthma attacks. This “particle pollution,” also emitted by diesel engines, kills thousands of Americans a year. Alarmed by such findings, and required by federal law to cut particle pollution, officials across the USA are trying to reduce the smoke from the nation's 37 million home chimneys and 10 million wood stoves." (Traci Watson, USA TODAY)

"FEATURE-Australia pioneers energy from hot rocks" - "SYDNEY, Nov 14 - Electricity from the heat of ancient rocks buried deep below the red sands of the Australian outback? Spurred by high commodity prices and a drive to reduce Australia's reliance on coal, several companies are looking to harness hot rock temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius (570 Fahrenheit) to unleash green energy. A combination of nature's bounty, government support and entrepreneurial spirit may well help Australia win the race to generate electricity for commercial purposes from the rocks, which some say could produce more than the country's known oil or coal reserves." (Reuters)

"Bacteria modified to combat HIV" - "Although the research is still at an early stage, they hope it could eventually lead to a practical and cost effective new way to combat the virus." (BBC)

"U.S. envoy urges Vatican on biotech crops" - " The new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See urged the Vatican on Saturday to promote the potential of biotech crops, saying there was a "moral imperative" to investigate the possible benefits of agricultural technology to feed the world's hungry." (Associated Press)

"Roses are red, GM carnations are blue" - "A man-made blue carnation may become the first genetically modified product to overcome consumer mistrust of gene technology and be decreed safe by Parliament. Florigene, a gene engineering company, has applied to have its blue carnation placed on a register that would remove the need for dealings in the flower to be licensed and monitored." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Golden Rice to solve vitamin-A deficiency" - "New Delhi: Intense efforts are underway in India for commercial production of 'Golden Rice', an upgraded rice variety rich in vitamin-A to overcome high-level nutritional deficiency in most available varieties. Three agricultural institutes - Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARA), New Delhi, Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad, and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, have started research in this regard." (Sify)

"Activists float hot-air balloon over Mexico City in anti-genetically modified food campaign" - "Greenpeace on Sunday tethered a hot-air balloon over the sprawling, historic city center of Mexico's capital to grab the public's attention as part of an educational campaign about the use of transgenetic crops by major food producers. The green, red and white balloon hovered across from the national palace and near the country's cathedral in a public plaza that fills with visitors on weekends. The message "Transgenetics, not on my table!" was printed across the balloon, next to a depiction of a pair of hands holding a knife and fork." (Associated Press)

"Greenpeace releases shoppers' guide on GM" - "Coca-Cola has been named along with 106 brands in a Greenpeace guide of companies that have committed not to use GM (genetically modified) ingredients. The shoppers' guide was released by Greenpeace in Beijing yesterday." (China Daily)

"Eastern Europe's anti-GM food movement grows" - "Most Polish and Russian consumers do not want to eat food made from genetically modified ingredients, says new poll, as the anti-GM movement gathers pace in Eastern Europe." (Food Production Daily)

November 11, 2005

"Free Enterprise Action Fund Urges Business Roundtable to Defend Capitalism Against Congressional Overreaching" - "Washington DC November 10, 2005 – Action Fund Management LLC (AFM), investment adviser to the Free Enterprise Action Fund (www.FreeEnterpriseActionFund.com), invited the Business Roundtable (BRT) to join the Fund in vigorously defending capitalism and free enterprise against efforts in Congress to confiscate business earnings and shareholder assets." (PR WEB)

"Global Warming on the Cover of Rolling Stone" - "You may remember the 1970s song “On the Cover of Rolling Stone” by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, especially the catchy lyrics, “Wanna see my picture on the cover, Wanna buy five copies for my mother…”

Well I didn’t make the cover of the Nov. 17 Rolling Stone (Billie Joe Armstrong of the rock group Green Day did) but I did get my picture in a pretty exclusive gallery that also featured President Bush; ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond; author Michael Crichton; Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.); and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s global warming point man Myron Ebell." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

JunkScience.com Special! 'Warriors and Heroes' or 'Worriers and Zeroes'? - The new edition of Rolling Stone magazine spotlights global warming, including an article entitled, "Warriors and Heroes: Twenty-five Leaders Who Are Fighting To Stave Off Planetwide Catastophe".. or is it "Worriers and Zeroes: Twenty-five Phonies Who Are Fighting to Advance Planetwide Stupidty"? JunkScience.com let's you be the judge.

"Rolling Stone acts as Gore's soapbox" - "Rolling Stone issue 987 is filled with some pretty good little things and one big stupid thing." (Tribune-Review)

CEI experts pen letter to Fox News President Roger Ailes over an admittedly one-sided special on global warming.

"Fox Goes Native On Global Warming" - "Forget “Fair and Balanced” on global warming. Fox News has gone native, airing a “documentary” more one-sided than anything I have seen in the entire sad history of climate change journalism. How on earth did this happen? Apparently Fox’s Roger Ailes has been captured by—hope you are sitting down—Robert F Kennedy Jr., Al Gore, and eco-activist Laurie David." (World Climate Report)

"Global Warming Dramatically Changed Ancient Forests" - "Palmettos in Pennsylvania? Magnolias in Minnesota? The migration of subtropical plants to northern climates may not be too far-fetched if future global warming patterns mirror a monumental shift that took place in the past, new research by an international team of scientists suggests." (Newswise) | Rapid warming caused vegetation changes (Penn State)

"Possible solar origin of the 1,470-year glacial climate cycle demonstrated in a coupled model" - "Many palaeoclimate records from the North Atlantic region show a pattern of rapid climate oscillations, the so-called Dansgaard–Oeschger events, with a quasi-periodicity of 1,470 years for the late glacial period. Various hypotheses have been suggested to explain these rapid temperature shifts, including internal oscillations in the climate system and external forcing, possibly from the Sun. But whereas pronounced solar cycles of 87 and 210 years are well known, a 1,470-year solar cycle has not been detected. Here we show that an intermediate-complexity climate model with glacial climate conditions simulates rapid climate shifts similar to the Dansgaard–Oeschger events with a spacing of 1,470 years when forced by periodic freshwater input into the North Atlantic Ocean in cycles of 87 and 210 years. We attribute the robust 1,470-year response time to the superposition of the two shorter cycles, together with strongly nonlinear dynamics and the long characteristic timescale of the thermohaline circulation. For Holocene conditions, similar events do not occur. We conclude that the glacial 1,470-year climate cycles could have been triggered by solar forcing despite the absence of a 1,470-year solar cycle." (Nature)

"China unlikely to sign on to Kyoto emissions cuts" - "BEIJING, Nov 11 - China is unlikely to commit to cutting emissions in the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, fearing it would retard economic growth, but analysts say the government is waking up to the threat of climate change." (Reuters)

"Canada: Appointment of Climate Fund President Designate Marks Launch of New Agency" - "OTTAWA, November 10, 2005 – The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment today praised the appointment of Allan F. Amey to be the first President Designate of the Climate Fund Agency as of November 14. Mr. Amey’s appointment was announced earlier by Prime Minister Paul Martin. Mr. Amey will assume the role of President as of January 1st, 2006." (The Green Lane)

"Coastline faces a new enemy - climate change" - "Climate change has replaced pollution and overfishing as the biggest threat to the coasts of Britain, a study by the government's Environment Agency has found. Higher temperatures and rising sea levels have changed the nature of many of the fundamental problems faced by marine conservationists, said Barbara Young, the agency's chief executive. "The good news is that major historical issues such as sewage pollution are being addressed and their impact reduced," Baroness Young said." (London Independent)

"Efforts made to rescue climate records" - "ELEANOR HALL: To concerns from scientists about precious records on climate change being lost to decay in the Pacific. Generations' worth of weather information from some countries in the region is stored on paper that is deteriorating in the humid weather. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology is examining the weather records in an effort to understand climate change in the Asia Pacific region. But the Bureau says it's a race against time, with the condition of many paper records deteriorating as they age." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Lord May: 'a serial alarmist'" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"UK: Defra gets interested in climate change" - "The government is beginning a 12 week period of consultations with industry and some public sector institutions to find out exactly what is being done to prepare the UK for the effects of climate change. In a press notice issued today, the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) argues that the UK must adapt because some impact from climate change is inevitable "regardless of current and future action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (The Register)

"UK 'may lose climate influence'" - "The UK may lose influence in the debate on climate change because of its own poor performance in cutting greenhouse gasses, a top scientist has warned. Royal Society head Lord May said the UK risked missing its Kyoto targets after its emissions rose for two years. "It is very difficult to criticise other countries such as the US who will not meet their Kyoto targets if we are unable to meet commitments," he said. His statement came ahead of a climate change debate in the House of Lords." (BBC)

"The UK's energy gap (finally) understood" - "At last, the UK's gaping energy gap is being acknowledged, as is the continuing role of fossil fuels and the serious limitations of wind power." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Energy gap: the cultural roots" - "Other countries seem to find it so easy: Finland has committed itself to nuclear expansion, Germany is installing solar panels at the speed of light, and Iceland is exploiting its geothermal and hydropower resources beyond its own needs. So why is Britain - the world's fourth largest economy, a nuclear pioneer, blessed with wind, wave and tidal potential beyond the normal lot of nations, a once mighty coal producer, provider of innovators to the world, and with a generation's worth of North Sea booty to invest - facing an enormous shortfall in electricity provision while others are not?" (BBC)

"Biofuel rule for cars will cut greenhouse gases" - "Oil companies will have to sell all petrol and diesel with a mix of 5% renewable "biofuels" by 2010 in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport. The renewable transport fuel obligation announced by the transport secretary, Alistair Darling, will have the effect of taking 1m cars a year off the road. The initiative was welcomed by green and transport groups. The obligation is expected to encourage British farmers to grow more crops for biofuels, but the real beneficiaries will be developing countries, which will be able to export large quantities of oils derived from plants." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

But wait! There's more: "Green fuel plan 'will destroy rainforests'" - "The destruction of the world's rainforests will be hastened by a Government pledge to ensure that five per cent of fuel should come from "green" sources, conservationists said yesterday." (London Telegraph)

"The War Against the Car" - "A few years ago, I made a presentation to my second-grader's social studies class, asking the kids what was the worst invention in history. I was shocked when a number of them answered "the car." When I asked why, they replied that cars destroy the environment. Distressed by the Green indoctrination already visited upon seven-year-olds, I was at least reassured in knowing that once these youngsters got their drivers' licenses, their attitudes would change.

It's one thing for second-graders to hold such childish notions, but quite another for presumably educated adults to argue that automobiles are economically and environmentally unsustainable "axles of evil." But with higher gas prices, as well as Malthusian-sounding warnings about catastrophic global warming and the planet running out of oil, the tirade has taken on a new plausibility. Maybe Al Gore had it right all along when he warned that the car and the combustible engine are "a mortal threat . . . more deadly than any military enemy."

Welcome to the modern-day Luddite movement, which once raged against the machine, but now targets the automobile." (The Wall Street Journal)

"On Profit and Pump Prices: Oil Executives Make Their Case Before Senators" - "Five top oil company executives appeared at a Senate hearing yesterday to defend their high profits and spikes in gasoline prices and to beat back calls for punitive action." (Justin Blum and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Washington Post)

"Oil and Grilling Don't Mix" - "Senators struck a note of populist outrage when they ordered oil executives to appear before the Energy and Commerce committees to explain high fuel prices and record company profits. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), announcing the hearing, said it would expose "those who abuse the free-enterprise system to advantage themselves and their businesses at the expense of all Americans." But instead of calling oil executives on the carpet yesterday, senators gave them the red-carpet treatment." (Dana Milbank, The Washington Post)

Um... Dana? If you're looking for someone to blame for tight supplies and high(er) prices, you should probably look into the reasons for poor supply investment and failure to renew and replace refining capacity.

"Russia sees Arctic Oil Cooperation with Norway" - "HARSTAD - Russia predicted closer cooperation with Norway on Thursday in developing Arctic oil and gas as part of a drive to promote ties across the northern tip of Europe after the Cold War. Russia and Norway, the world’s number two and three oil exporters respectively behind Saudi Arabia, are both looking north for new finds. By some US estimates, the Arctic could hold a quarter of the world's undiscovered petroleum reserves." (Reuters)

"JOHN CRISP: Oil sands no magic bullet" - "Michael Fumento, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a columnist for Scripps Howard News Service, recently offered an optimistic picture of our petroleum supply, based primarily on the potential for Canadian oil sands to produce bitumen, a "tar-like goo" that can be refined into gasoline and other petroleum products. The Canadian deposits are enormous - more than a trillion barrels. Fumento reassures us that the petroleum doomsayers are wrong: At current rates of use, the oil sands could supply us with energy for another 500 years.

Of course, the worst prospect of all may be that Fumento is right. More efficient methods of petroleum extraction could extend the hydrocarbon age. But if the global warming alarmists are half right, could the earth withstand 500 more years of the greenhouse gas assault on its atmosphere? At best, Fumento's perspective encourages an unfortunate sense of complacency that distracts us from preparing for the post-hydrocarbon age with efficiency, conservation, and the development of alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and hydrogen. Counting on the development of safe and abundant petroleum resources nearby is whistling past the graveyard and wearing rose-colored glasses at the same time." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"ANALYSIS - Poor Energy Efficiency means Higher Asia Fuel Bills" - "SINGAPORE - Asia's belated efforts to improve energy efficiency look too meagre to stop it facing higher fuel bills next year, since much-needed overhauls of power, transport and manufacturing sectors will take years." (Reuters)

Yeah, it's called "development" and so-called green activists obstruct it at every turn. That is one reason we have negligible tolerance for misanthropic whackos and their "cause".

"Greenpeace says 4 Hurt in Philippines Coal Protest" - "MANILA - Security personnel at a coal-fired power plant in the northern Philippines broke up a Greenpeace protest with clubs and stones, injuring four activists, the environmental group said on Thursday. Police detained a dozen other activists, charging them with "illegal trespassing" for forcing their way into the plant compound during a climate change protest in Masinloc town, about 150 km (95 miles) northwest of Manila." (Reuters)

"WHO must take side of malaria victims" - "The WHO has finally recognised that an Indoor Residual Programme using DDT has the potential to save millions of lives..." (AFM)

"SCIENCE EXPERIMENT" - "Industries Are Using a Landmark Case and a 2001 Law to Block Regulation, Critics Say." (ABA Journal)

Why RR>2.0? (Number Watch)

"Bacteria emerge as important players in freshwater PCB contamination" - "A study in Lake Superior finds that bacteria may enhance accumulation of contaminants in freshwater food webs." (ES&T)

"Farming That Improves The Environment" - "All those dried up stalks, husks and cobs left in corn fields after every fall's harvest could be a key to enhancing the environment, say Iowa State University researchers. They say partially burning some of the residue left in corn fields produces products that can be used to improve soil fertility, boost in-soil storage of greenhouse gases and reduce the amount of natural gas used to produce anhydrous ammonia fertilizer." (SPX)

"A hunger eating up the world" - "China's insatiable demand for proteins as well as oil is turning Brazil into the takeaway for the workforce of the world. In the second part of our series, we reveal how the soya trade is creating a gold rush which is deforesting the Amazon " (The Guardian)

"Studies Show GM Crops Safe" - "Genetically improved crops are rigorously tested and proven safe, a panel of University of Nebraska agricultural researchers and professors told an audience of eastern Nebraska residents on August 20. The panel, which gathered at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, had invited dozens of randomly selected Nebraskans to hear about advances in biotechnology and ask any questions they might have about the genetic enhancement of crops. "There is no example of anyone in the world being hurt or [becoming] sick, no documented case," said Michael Fromm, director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Biotechnology. "The record is actually perfect." According to the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center and the Lincoln Journal Star, 60 percent of the corn and 92 percent of the soybeans planted in Nebraska are genetically enhanced. Worldwide, 25 percent of cultivated crops are genetically enhanced." (Truth About Trade)

"Backers of ban on bioengineered crops regroup after failure at polls" - "Supporters of the defeated ballot initiative to ban genetically engineered crops in Sonoma County vowed Wednesday to pursue additional strategies to block biotechnology's advances into farming." (SF Chronicle)

November 10, 2005

"How DDT can stop millions of malaria deaths" - "Every year, more than a half-a-billion people suffer agonising pains and fevers because of malaria, a disease that is entirely preventable and curable. In Africa, someone -- normally a child -- dies every 30 seconds from this disease, causing unimaginable grief, human suffering and economic stagnation." (Richard Tren and Philip Coticelli, Mail&Guardian)

"Ted Turner, George Soros, Bill Gates - What is Wrong With These Billionaires?" - "What’s with these billionaires? Ted Turner donates hundreds of millions to the United Nations, which is well known for its incredible corruption. The UN oversaw the diversion of tens of billions in the Iraqi Oil for Food Scandal. This literally took away food, shelter, and clothing from its own men, women and children. The highest UN officials oversaw the multi billion dollar scams. The UN "peace keepers" traded food for sexual favors in Africa. After some 17 resolutions demanding to bring Iraq into compliance, the UN still chose to subvert the formation of a democracy there.

And what’s with the socialist billionaire George Soros who donates tens of millions to some of the most virulent leftwing anti-American anti-capitalist groups to help subvert the duly elected Bush administration. Other billionaires such as Warren Buffett and Peter Lewis are joining in the attacks. One suspects that even these billionaires have not learned the lessons of history, namely, that without their despised capitalism, they would never have acquired their wealth in the first place." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

Eye-roller of the moment: "Harmful Toxic Chemicals Pollute Blood of Canadians" - "Ottawa, Ontario – A cocktail of harmful toxic chemicals has been found inside every person tested in a Canada-wide study, released today by Environmental Defence. Two volunteers were tested in British Columbia, one in Alberta, one in Manitoba, three in Ontario, three in Quebec and one in Newfoundland and Labrador.

They just forgot to mention that minute trace-presence of these compounds is irrelevant but, oh well...

"European doctors urge strong chemical rules - Ties to cancers raised as nations debate controversial legislation" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium - Europe’s leading medical associations on Tuesday called for a strict European Union legal framework for chemicals, arguing that bending to industry demands and watering down a proposed chemicals bill would further increase the incidence of cancer on the continent." (AP)

Europe’s Global REACH: Costly for the World; Suicidal for Europe

"EU Lawmakers Reach Compromise on Chemicals Bill" - "BRUSSELS - European Parliament leaders agreed a compromise on a major chemicals bill known as REACH, they said on Wednesday, paving the way for a key vote next week despite the incoming German government's bid to derail it." (Reuters)

"PETA Uses Bird Flu to Promote Cause" - "WASHINGTON -- Vegetarian groups are trying to use Asian bird flu to drive a wedge between people and the meat on their dinner plates. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) staged a small demonstration on Wednesday outside Agriculture Department headquarters with banners telling people, ''Bird Flu Kills: Go Vegetarian.'' Three protesters wearing only underwear and flowers lay in cardboard coffins while people in chicken and turkey suits offered vegetarian starter-kit brochures to passers-by. Vegetarian groups argue that meatless diets would help eliminate poultry farms where the disease spreads. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is offering a similar vegetarian starter kit on its Web site." (AP)

"Gravity tug to deflect asteroids" - "Two Nasa astronauts say they have devised a plan to stop an asteroid potentially colliding with Earth." (BBC)

"Phoenix Environmentalism" - "As readers will recall from their training in the classics (or Harry Potter), the phoenix is a bird that burns in old age, to be reborn from its ashes. Regarding environmentalism, a recent poll sponsored by Duke University speaks to the burning and old age: only 10% of those polled identified the environment as one of their top concerns, compared to 34% listing the economy and jobs. This would not be remarkable if we were in a recession, but it is quite significant given that the economy has been growing for a couple of years. Moreover, 79% claimed they favored stronger environmental standards, but only 22% said that environmental issues have played a major role in their recent voting. Judging by the almost total lack of environmental discussion in the last presidential election, even that 22% number is a gross overstatement of voter interest." (Brad Allenby, EarthVision.net)

Book review: "Do As I Say (Not As I Do)" - "It's one entertaining and enlightening book. And there's a bigger lesson here than embarrassing a few elitists who don't think the rules they want to impose on the rest of us apply to them. If they can't live within those rules, or choose not to, doesn't that strongly suggest their ideas are not worth the hot air that comes out of their mouths?" (Joseph Farah, World Net Daily)

More on the Limitations of Radiative Forcing as an Indicator of Climate Change (Climate Science)

Et tu, Fox? Et tu? "Fox News CEO Warms to Climate Change After Heat From Left" - "A Fox News Channel documentary on "global warming," set to air Sunday night, provides only the liberal take on the controversial issue and was approved after environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reportedly "dragged" Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes to a lecture by former Vice President Al Gore, "kicking and screaming."

Clay Rawson, the Fox News Channel producer of the hour-long special titled "The Heat Is On: The Case of Global Warming," told Cybercast News Service Tuesday that the project "was a little bit different for us.

"Often on Fox News Channel, we present both sides, according to our 'fair and balanced' motto, but this is the global warming story," Rawson said. "We do make it clear that this is one side of the issue through inclusion of a disclaimer," he added. The documentary is said to ignore scientific skeptics who believe that human activity is not responsible for catastrophic climate change." (CNSNews.com)

"Bush, GOP Must Take on Global Warming, Morris Says" - "For Republicans to regain the upper hand before next year's mid-term elections, President Bush needs to embrace a new agenda that includes "straight talk" to the American people about global warming, according to political columnist Dick Morris. A conservative analyst responded that Morris is wrong about climate change -- on political and scientific grounds." (CNSNews.com)

"UK 'losing authority' on global warming as emissions rise" - "The UK risks losing its international authority on climate change because of its failure to cut greenhouse gas pollution, according to a leading scientist. Bob May, president of the Royal Society, said new figures showing that UK emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases which contribute to global warming have risen for the last two years, made it difficult for British politicians to be taken seriously on the issue." (The Guardian)

"Japan backs climate pacts, struggles to meet targets" - "TOKYO - Foreign visitors to Japan last summer were surprised when their hosts, renowned for wearing suits no matter what, appeared at business meetings in short-sleeved shirts without jackets or ties. The occasion was "Cool Biz," a summer-long campaign encouraging office workers to dress down and while thermostats are turned up. The aim is to reduce energy use and boost Japan's lagging efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Officials say that despite such steps, Japan, host of the 1997 meeting that led to the Kyoto Protocol, is struggling to cut emissions, which have risen 8 percent since 1990 instead of dropping the pledged 6 percent. Many in the world's second-largest economy also chafe at the tough targets their nation is bound to meet under Kyoto when the world's largest polluter, the United States, has rejected it and booming nations such as China and India have no obligations to cut emissions for the present." (Reuters)

"Quebec wants as much money as Ontario under Kyoto-compliance plan" - "OTTAWA - Quebec expects more than $500 million from Ottawa for environmental projects to cut greenhouse-gas emissions - the same deal given to Ontario, provincial officials say." (CP)

Another report from planet virtual: "Wine suffers as planet warms" - "Connoisseurs of Australian wine may have to learn to love a less tasty drop as climate change takes its toll on grape growing regions, a greenhouse conference will hear. Leanne Webb, a PhD student with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research says based on her modelling Australia's wine growing regions will become warmer and in almost all cases drier. The bad news is that the flavour and aroma of grapes may suffer, resulting in poorer quality, less complex wines." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"If snow feeds your soul, savor it while you can" - "Six-foot base. Big, deep sigh. Of relief, that is. In these days of global warmth, a lot of us look at the early-season snow reports the way most people look at the bathroom scale: tentatively, with one eye open, hoping, if not for the best, for at least the lesser of the worst. Which is why the sight of a 72-inch base for opening day at Mount Baker earlier this week was so welcome in Escrow Heights. Even on the slopes of Mount Baker and Mount Rainier, where snow tends to fall faster and harder than anywhere else on the planet, such a bounty of early-season fluff is far from normal. Problem is, a lot of us can't decide what's normal anymore." (Seattle Times)

Demands? "WWF demands tighter EU carbon quotas for 2008-2012" - "Nov 9, 2005 — FRANKFURT, Nov 9 - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said on Wednesday that quotas restricting industrial carbon dioxide emissions in the European Union between 2008 and 2012 should be tightened to bring more effective climate protection. "WWF demands stricter caps for CO2 emissions and stronger incentives for the second phase of national allocation plans (NAPs) which have to be decided upon in 2006," it said in a study issued in Berlin." (Reuters)

Um... these guys tried 'demanding' too: "Greenpeace: Activists attacked in coal plant protest, 3 hospitalized" - "MANILA -- Workers beat up a German Greenpeace activist and pelted other protesters with stones, injuring two Filipinos, during a demonstration against global warming Thursday at a coal power plant outside Manila, the environmental group said. It was the second time in two weeks that Greenpeace found itself in trouble in the Philippines, after its flagship Rainbow Warrior accidentally struck a coral reef while on a mission to expose the impact of climate change in Asia. The group later apologized." (AP)

"NY state to cut greenhouse gases from cars" - "NEW YORK - Cars sold or registered in New York state must cut carbon dioxide emissions beginning in 2009, state officials said on Wednesday, in Republican Gov. George Pataki's latest break with the Bush Administration over steps to cut greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"Oil Executives Defend Profits Before a Critical Congress" - "Executives from five of the world's biggest oil companies defended their companies' high profits at a Senate hearing in Washington today as lawmakers pressed them to account for soaring gasoline, diesel and natural gas prices in the months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast. Later in the afternoon, senators heard from three state attorneys general about the relative effectiveness of state laws and the need for federal "price gouging" laws, while the head of the Federal Trade Commission told lawmakers that competition was more effective in controlling prices." (New York Times)

"Oil executives defend profits, high gas costs" - "Top oil company executives yesterday told Congress that their companies have little effect on the gas prices that consumers pay and said a new tax on their record-breaking profits would backfire by cutting domestic production." (Washington Times)

"Setting America Free or Shackling Us with Mandates?" - "In a recent speech at Georgetown University, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) outlined forthcoming legislation to "set America free" from "dependence" on imported oil. He wants to end both our pain at the pump and America's reliance on oil sheiks. But there's a catch. The bill would empower politicians to determine how much gasoline we may use and which types of cars we may buy. This is freedom?" (Marlo Lewis, TCS)

"Britain facing large energy gap" - "Britain is facing a shortfall in energy supply in the near future, according to a major report being launched today. Within a decade, the country may be generating only about 80% of the electricity it needs. A panel of 150 experts says fossil fuels will remain the mainstay of supply, with renewables expanding and nuclear power almost certainly needed." (BBC)

"How to plug the energy gap" - "Tomorrow (November 10, 2005) sees the publication of an authoritative, multidisciplinary report which aims to provide the Government with a coherent, feasible solution to the acknowledged problem of the UK's looming Energy Gap. The report, written by John Loughhead, (Executive Director, UK Energy Research Centre) is the result of a multidisciplinary consensus meeting between 150 scientific, technical, economic and sociological experts at Burlington House on October 12 and 13, under the auspices of The Geological Society of London." (Institute of Physics)

"Britain buys into next generation of nuclear power" - "Britain is investing millions of pounds in a US government project to develop a new generation of nuclear power stations, the Guardian has learned. The move restarts UK government funding for research into new nuclear reactor technology and gives its scientists access to international efforts to develop a "generation IV" nuclear power station by 2030." (The Guardian)

"UK wind power takes a battering" - "WIND power enthusiasts have been a little flustered this week. An energy analyst has claimed that the UK government's plans to derive a fifth of the nation's energy from renewable sources by 2020 are not feasible." (New Scientist)

"INTERVIEW - Farmers are "Tomorrow's Sheiks" Due Biofuel - Germany" - "HANNOVER - Demand in Germany for biofuel is soaring due to high oil prices and farmers stand to reap windfall profits from grain sold for energy use, Germany's deputy Agriculture Minister said on Wednesday

"FEATURE - China Battles 'Fire Dragons' Guzzling Precious Coal" - "LIUHANGGOU - Cai Zhongyong gestures across barren hills, where two stray camels graze on a few brown-green shrubs, and conjures up a medieval vision of hell. "This used to be a sea of fire. There were flames coming out of holes in the ground," said the mild-mannered engineer who has devoted his working life to putting out underground infernos." (Reuters)

"Public opinion flawed in GM debate" - "The GM Nation debate, held in the summer of 2003, failed in its primary objective of finding out what members of the general public actually thought of genetically modified crops, according to Rosie Hails, a committee member of the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission, which recommended the national debate." (Farmers Weekly)

November 9, 2005

"Corporate Social Responsibility: Another Cover for the Leftist Political Agenda" - "Representatives from companies such as Disney, the New York Times and Coca-Cola gathered at a conference dubbed “Business for Social Responsibility” earlier this month in Washington, D.C., to discuss corporate social responsibility—a phrase that may sound harmless, but is actually cleverly disguised rhetoric to promote a leftist political agenda." (Ivy Sellers, Human events Online)

"The EC’s NGO code of conduct - Unwelcome regulations" - "The European Commission has been severely criticised by NGOs and other members of civil society over a proposed code of conduct for the not-for-profit sector. This summer the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Freedom, Security and Justice published its draft recommendations for a proposed code of conduct for non-profit organisations (NPOs) with the aim to “promote transparency and accountability best practices”." (EthicalCorp.com)

Nah! Silly bureaucrats - NGOs want to regulate not be regulated.

"Let DDT take care of malaria scourge" - "THIS week, the Southern African Development Community commemorates malaria week and, coincidentally, the US congress is debating appropriations for malaria control to be spent by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Unless congress insists on wide-ranging changes to the way malaria control is conducted, most of the money appropriated will be wasted and Africans will continue to mourn their children, mothers and fathers for years to come." (Philip Coticelli & Richard Tren, Business Day)

"DDT Saves Lives" - "The Wall Street Journal runs an excellent and hard hitting editorial on the need for DDT to combat malaria. With regard to USAID's malaria control, program, they correctly conclude that " it's time for Congress to exercise some adult supervision." (AFM)

"WHO to push DDT use in new malaria fight" - "Roll Back Malaria seem to be endorsing DDT for malaria control, which seems like a step in the right direction. If you read their new strategic plan, their endorsement of DDT is very qualified. In any event, it remains to be seen whether the major donors, like USAID, will actually procure DDT." (AFM)

"H5N1 hysteria: Patent nonsense on avian flu" - "LONDON With all the hysteria surrounding the possible mutation of the avian flu virus into a form that puts humans at risk, policymakers have subjected us to everything - except common sense. There are no easy solutions to the outbreak that is predicted, and more deaths are likely. Misleading the public and ignoring the outcome of myopic actions is simply not acceptable with millions of lives at stake." (Alec van Gelder, The Boston Globe)

"CFD's response to Oxfam" - "Celine Charveriat (“Bird Flu Defense,” Letter, Nov. 5) misleads readers by alleging that “thousands of people die each day in poor countries because the patented drugs that could save their lives are too expensive.” It is true that far too few people have adequate access to medicines in Africa, but it is totally wide of the mark to blame this on intellectual property rights." (CFD)

"PIRG's Toxic Warnings on Trace Chemicals" - "EU finds common flame retardant poses no health risk; NIH panel pour cold water on PIRG's phthalate baby fears. Over the past year, there has been a steady stream of alarming stories about chemicals in nail polish, perfume, frying pans, paper bags, carpet, insulation wire, baby teethers, toothpaste, and anti-bacterial soap among other common household products. In each case, the quantity of chemicals is miniscule – often capable of being measured only in parts per billion. In each case the regulatory limits are stringent, incorporating extremely cautious safety factors, which if applied to a cup of coffee or your dinner would prevent you from consuming either." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Hair dye ingredient banned over fears it's a carcinogen" - "A key ingredient in products used by men to disguise their grey hair has been banned by Health Canada because it is suspected of being a carcinogen and reproductive toxin." (Ottawa Citizen)

"Cola not coffee may raise risk of high BP" - "NEW YORK - Habitual coffee drinking does not increase the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) in women, but consuming cola beverages might, according to the results of a study looking at the effects of various caffeine-containing products." (Reuters Health) | No link found between caffeine intake and development of hypertension in women (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Rat study helps scientists catch up with the Atkins diet" - "Finally, a scientific explanation for why eating endless steaks on the Atkins diet helps people lose weight: the masses of extra protein send messages to the brain to stop eating. "The current findings provide an answer to the question of how protein-enriched meals decrease hunger and reduce eating, unsolved up to now," said the researchers in a paper published today in Cell Metabolism." (The Guardian)

"Hamburgers cause asthma, NZ research says" - "Eating hamburgers more than once a week nearly doubles the risk of asthma attacks and wheezing in children, according to research carried out on 1300 New Zealand school pupils. Other takeaway food and fizzy drinks also increase the chances of getting asthma, doctors found." (NZPA)

"CSPI petition needs fact-checker: Salt Institute" - "Alexandria, VA (Nov. 8)….Salt Institute president Richard L. Hanneman issued the following statement in response to a petition to FDA today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

“This petition is basically an edit of CSPI’s February legal argument that was tossed out by the District Court. Even a cursory look at the petition shows CSPI still hasn’t used a fact-checker. The petition is riddled with errors on top of the egregious mischaracterization of several studies.

“As we said in February, whether dietary salt is a health risk is an important question that needs to be answered with medical evidence, not media soundbites. CSPI says salt is costing lives. Twelve medical studies have examined this question of salt intake and health outcomes and none can find evidence that populations with salt intakes like those in the U.S. are at risk. In fact, an analysis by the President of the International Society of Hypertension of the federal government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that Americans consuming low sodium diets have 20% greater mortality. Responding to this petition is as much a waste of taxpayer dollars as it is a transparent play for media attention.” (Press Release)

"Rude awakening" - "Sir Jonathon Porritt has spent more than three decades highlighting green issues, from the 'in-yer-face' days with Friends of the Earth to advising today's government. He tells John Vidal why, now, capitalism is the agent of change" (The Guardian)

"The Etonian environmentalist mafia exposed" - "So you want to know the roots of environmentalism in egalitarian Britain? Who pulls the 'Green' strings in the UK? Then look no further than the King's College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor - Eton College, or just plain old Eton to you and me (and all with a dash of Stowe School and Millfield)." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Software fills in missing data on satellite images" - "COLUMBUS, Ohio-- New software is helping scientists get a more complete view of the environment from satellites that orbit the earth. Maps that depict the thickness of the ozone layer, for instance, frequently contain blank spots where a satellite wasn't able to record data on a particular day, explained Noel Cressie, professor of statistics and director of the Program in Spatial Statistics and Environmental Sciences (SSES) at Ohio State University. He and his colleagues found a way to use data from the rest of a map as well as from previous days to fill in the blank spots. The same technique could be used in studies of agricultural data or even medical imaging." (Ohio State University)

Oh my! You couldn't make this up: "Professors Take on Bush Administration Over Global Warming" - "The Bush Administration shows little concern about global warming, an attitude that is a serious mistake according to a longtime University of Illinois at Chicago faculty member and his counterpart at DePaul University in Chicago." (Gazette Magazine)

This might be a tad more credible if it did not contain:

In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) projected an increase in average global temperature of 34.52°F (1.4°C) to 42.44° (5.8°C) between the years 1990 and 2100. The Kyoto Protocol predicts only a 32.04° F (.02°C) to 32.5° F (.28°C) increase, which is not enough to justify the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in the minds of some government officials.

Um... no. To begin with, 34.52 °F = 1.4 °C only as representing ambient temperature (remember that grade school thing about Fahrenheit representing the liquid state of water as 32-212 degrees while it's 0-100 Centigrade?) whereas an increment of 1.4 °C equates to 2.52 °F (you don't add the 32) and 5.8 °C is 10.44 °F (so you're only out by a factor of 4 on this one, better than ~14 on the first try - no worries, eh mate?). Secondly, the 0.02 °C (0.036 °F) is the guesstimated reduction in potential warming achieved rather than the amount of total warming.

Should really have had someone check before the press release went out, huh guys? On the assumption embarrassment will cause the original release to be removed we kept a .pdf copy here.

"Water vapor feedback is rapidly warming Europe" - "WASHINGTON -- A new report indicates that the vast majority of the rapid temperature increase recently observed in Europe is likely due to an unexpected greenhouse gas: water vapor. Elevated surface temperatures due to other greenhouse gases have enhanced water evaporation and contributed to a cycle that stimulates further surface temperature increases, according to a report in Geophysical Research Letters. The research could help to answer a long-debated Earth science question about whether the water cycle could strongly enhance greenhouse warming." (American Geophysical Union)

Hmm... Dijon is north of the Alps and, sure enough, they experienced warming in the post-1995 period cited (and before). What, we wonder, was the cause of their experiencing similar or greater warming episodes in the 14th, 15th, 16th,17th and 18th Centuries? In fact, it would appear that the 19th and 20th Centuries are notable for their paucity of such periods.

"Government warned over CO2 targets" - "The UK Government must place tougher curbs on carbon dioxide emissions through the carbon trading market to meet its climate change targets, according to a report. The WWF says the UK must cut CO2 emissions from industry by a further 8.5% from the Phase 1 level in the next phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) which starts in 2008. This is crucial if the UK Government is to meet its manifesto commitment to reduce emissions of CO2 by 2010." (Press Association)

"Fatty-fish food makes for brainier seabirds" - "Young seabirds which do not eat enough fat are slow learners and are less likely to grow into successful adult birds, according to a new study. The finding could explain some of the dramatic declines seen in seabird colonies during the past 30 years, where climate change or human interference has reduced the number of fatty fish for the birds to feed on." (The Guardian)

"Climate Change Only Partially to Blame" - "MEXICO CITY, Nov 8 - This year's record-breaking hurricane season in the North Atlantic, with storms like Katrina, Rita and Wilma wreaking unprecedented destruction, can only be partially attributed to global warming, according to scientists consulted by Tierramérica." (Tierramérica)

Yeah? Which part?

"Groups push Martin on global warming" - "Ottawa — Environmental groups say Canada needs to lead the way toward cutting global greenhouse gas emissions. The groups, from Canada and the United States, have asked Prime Minister Paul Martin to press other world leaders to negotiate deep reductions in emissions at the coming UN conference on climate change." (Canadian Press)

"Germany to Link Up with Mexico and Brazil on CO2" - "FRANKFURT- Germany hopes to sign partnership deals for greenhouse gas emission cuts with Mexico and Brazil at the United Nations climate change conference in Montreal later this month, a government official said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"USA warns over EU emission plan" - "Lawyers set to clash over contention that proposed European environmental charges would be illegal. Europe’s plans to extend its carbon dioxide emissions trading scheme (ETS) into all aviation could fall foul of international law if it applies to non-European Union carriers, US representatives have warned." (Flight International)

"Japan: Editorial/Environment tax" - "The Environment Ministry has drawn up a new blueprint for an environment tax that got shot down last year. The proposed environment tax, also known as the carbon tax, would place a levy on fuels that emit carbon dioxide. The dirtier the fuel, the higher the tax." (The Asahi Shimbun)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

Augmenting Coral Calcification: A Newly-Recognized But Age-Old Function of Symbiotic Algae: Climate alarmists tell us earth's corals will succumb to the deleterious consequences of the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 concentration.  Recent scientific discoveries provide an alternative perspective on the matter.

Subject Index Summaries:
Little Ice Age (Regional: Australia/New Zealand): Was the Little Ice Age experienced half a world away from the area where it was first determined to have occurred?

Agriculture (Species - Soybean: General): How does this important agricultural crop respond to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment under sometimes stressful but normal growing conditions?

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: European Beech, Pedunculate Oak, Rubber Tree, and Soybean.

Journal Reviews:
Drought in Equatorial East Africa: How has it varied over the past 5400 years?

Climate Models Inch Towards Acknowledging the Reality of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age: Really?  Yes, really!

Late Holocene Variability of Florida Current Surface Density: What was it like? ... and what was its likely cause?

Global Greening Trends: Do they reveal the dire consequences of the "twin evils" of rising temperature and atmospheric CO 2 concentration?

Effects of Elevated CO 2 on Competition Between a Native and an Invasive C 3 Grass: Is the invading grass helped or hindered by elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO 2 ? (co2science.org)

"Costly fuel cools ardour of Senate Republicans for the energy chiefs" - "The tough stance Senate Republicans are expected to take today against their traditional allies in the oil and gas industry is the clearest sign so far that high energy prices have become a potent political issue in the US." (Financial Times)

"Beltway Oil Drill" - "The CEOs of the world's biggest oil companies will be paraded before a pair of Congressional committees today, as political props to take the blame for high gasoline prices. Both parties will compete to throw the most stones. Meanwhile, the same Members will in their un-self-conscious wisdom claim to want the U.S. to become more energy "independent." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Global energy meet agrees roadmap on renewables" - "BEIJING - Environment officials from around the world agreed in Beijing on Tuesday to work to increase reliance on renewable sources of energy, underscoring a commitment to renewables after oil prices hit record highs. The draft statement stopped short of setting a firm goal but it recommended the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development consider the launch of a 10-year framework to "substantially increase the use of renewable energy." (Reuters)

"China Lifts Target for Renewable Energy Use" - "BEIJING - China on Monday raised its target for reliance on renewable energy but acknowledged that coal would remain its primary source for electricity for decades to come." (Reuters)

"New coal technology could help climate-German Steag" - "FRANKFURT, Nov 8 - Raising efficiency at coal-fired power plants to state-of-the-art levels could help the world meet climate protection targets, German coal-based generator Steag said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Oil Firms Said to Oppose Biofuel made from Rye" - "HANNOVER - Oil companies are hostile to use of bioethanol produced using German rye although the industry has huge potential, a leading German agricultural trade fair was told on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Exporting Precaution: How Europe’s Risk-Free Regulatory Agenda Threatens American Free Enterprise" - "By Lawrence A. Kogan, an international business, trade, and regulatory attorney who is CEO and Co-Director of the Institute for Trade, Standards and Sustainable Development, Inc. Foreword by The Honorable James C. Greenwood, President and CEO, Biotechnology Industry Organization. Introduction by William H. Lash, III, a professor at George Mason University School of Law. Preface by Graham Mather, an attorney and President of the European Policy Forum. Observations by Gary E. Marchant, a professor at The College of Law at Arizona State University. Monograph, November 2005, 185 pages" (Washington Legal Foundation) Download a PDF of the Publication | Download a PDF of the Executive Summary

"More Monarch Butterflies May Go to Mexico" - "MEXICO CITY -- As many as 200 million Monarch butterflies may migrate to Mexico this year -- a nearly tenfold increase over 2004, when unfavorable weather, pollution and deforestation caused a drastic decline in the population, environmental officials said Tuesday. Last year, fewer than 23 million butterflies survived long enough to leave habitats in the United States and Canada for sanctuaries in the state of Mexico, which borders Mexico City, and neighboring Michoacan state. That was at least 75 percent lower than expected, but should usher in a Monarch resurgence this year, officials said. ''In the past, very low numbers have recuperated and produced surprisingly high populations,'' Jose Bernal, director of inspection for Mexico's environmental protection agency, Profepa, said after a news conference to kick off Mexico's Monarch butterfly season. After especially cold weather reduced the butterfly population to 28 million during the 2000-2001 migration period, the number of Monarchs swelled to 93 million the following year, he said." (AP)

"Direct Dumb-ocracy: California Fruits and Nuts Against Agriculture" - "California's referendum process frequently leads to incredibly dumb issues appearing on the ballot -- and to some preposterous outcomes. Among the most egregious examples this year is Measure M, a Sonoma County anti-biotechnology proposal that would prohibit the cultivation of plants or seeds improved with state-of-the-art techniques. Its approval would be direct participatory democracy at its absolute worst, damaging the interests of all consumers, and of farmers in particular." (Henry Miller, TCS)

"Voters reject Sonoma ban on genetically modified crops" - "SANTA ROSA, Calif. - A proposed ban on planting or cultivating genetically altered crops was rejected by Sonoma County voters Tuesday night. With 68 percent of precincts reporting, Measure M lost 57 to 43 percent in one of the county's most expensive ballot fights ever. Supporters and opponents of the proposed 10-year ban spent a combined $850,000. Only three counties in the nation - all in California - ban genetically altered crops." (Associated Press)

"Biotech-Crop Battle Heats Up as Strains Mix With Others" - "HUESCA, Spain -- For 15 years Felix Ballarin labored to perfect a strain of organically grown red corn. He figured the crop could fetch twice the price of traditional yellow corn because local chicken farmers say it gives their meat and eggs a rosy color.

But when the ears first emerged late last year, the farmer made a horrifying discovery: Yellow kernels were mixed in with the red. As government scientists would later confirm with a DNA test, the kernels had been contaminated with a genetically modified strain. No longer considered "organic," Mr. Ballarin's corn lost its premium value and his decade and a half of careful breeding was down the drain. "Why me?" he asked, pointing out the field choked with weeds where the corn stood last year." (The Wall Street Journal)

November 8, 2005

"The Skeptics on the Global Warming Issue: The Distinguished Veterans" (.pdf) - "The objective of this essay is to put some faces on the skeptics on this issue. One way to do this is to categorize the skeptics and review these categories, one at a time. In this essay, the category is what I call the Distinguished Veterans. These are those scientists, perhaps retired, with incredible credentials and accomplishments to their credit. More on these scientists shortly." (Gerald T. Westbrook, pp14 - 19, IAEE Newsletter, Fourth Quater, 2005)

More Evidence On The Spatial Complexity Of Climate Forcings (Climate Science)

"Climate shift will breed new ills: Canada needs to prepare for tropical maladies" - "EDMONTON - Canadians get malaria shots when they travel to areas where it is constantly present such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America. But in as little as 10 years time, Canada could be on that list and getting a malaria shot could be as routine for Canadians as getting the flu shot. West Nile virus, hantavirus and Lyme disease could all become common health problems.

The reason is global warming, says Colin Soskolne, professor of epidemiology in the department of public health sciences at the University of Alberta. Scientists predict temperatures across the country will increase anywhere from two to 10 degrees celsius over the next 100 years making it a more hospitable environment for bugs such as malaria-carrying mosquitoes." (Edmonton Journal)

Um... guys? Malaria was endemic in Canada. See, for example: The return of swamp fever: malaria in Canadians. Check out "From Shakespeare to Defoe: Malaria in England in the Little Ice Age" (Paul Reiter, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for a little perspective on that malaria/temperature thing.

"Global warming treaty goes cold" - "Blair and others might be casting doubt on the Kyoto Protocol, but the broader consensus on global warming goes unchallenged." (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

What a novelty, 'peas protesting development: "Environment activists say ADB bankrolls climate change" - "Environment activists dressed as human smokestacks blockaded the gate of the Asian Development Bank on Tuesday to protest the bank's energy policy, which they claim fuels climate change." (Kyodo)

"ADB officials invite Greenpeace activists to discuss energy policy" - "The Asian Development Bank has invited Greenpeace International, the global environmental organization, to discuss an ADB study on energy efficiency as well as to put forward insights and strategies that may help ADB reshape its energy policy in the future. The invitation was extended following a small demonstration by the environmental group outside ADB's Manila Headquarters on Tuesday calling for stronger leadership from ADB on energy issues in the Asia-Pacific region." (UzReport.com)

I can think of more appropriate ways to engage antidevelopment activists.

"Charles in US climate change plea" - "Prince Charles has made an impassioned plea to US business leaders to take action on the "environmental crisis" threatening the world." (BBC)

"U.S. states say power bills won't soar on CO2 plan" - "NEW YORK, Nov 7 - Businesses who oppose a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in nine Northeastern U.S. states have overestimated how much the plan will raise electric bills, according to a study released by the states on Monday. The study sponsored by the Northeast states showed the plan by nine governors to cut greenhouse emissions would raise electricity rates only between 0.3 and 6.9 percent -- not by 23 percent, as a business group had contended. By the end of the year, the states hope to pass the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent by 2010." (Reuters)

They're from the gum'mint, they're here to help you...

Goodness! Even the Beeb noticed: "Kyoto to 'reduce Europe's growth'" - "Meeting Kyoto Protocol targets on greenhouse gas emissions will reduce European economic growth significantly." (BBC)

"UK seeks Chinese lead on climate change" - "LONDON, Nov 8 - Britain and China will seek this week to expand cooperation on cleaner technologies to tackle global warming during a state visit to London by Chinese President Hu Jintao. Beijing, like Washington, rejects targets-based approaches to climate change like the Kyoto pact and Prime Minister Tony Blair knows he must focus on developing less-polluting ways to burn coal and on pursuing alternative power sources with China. Blair wants to encourage China to take a lead among developing countries ahead of a United Nations climate change conference in December in Montreal, British officials said." (Reuters)

Unusually candid: "Climate change high on the agenda of Hobart meeting" - "International researchers are meeting in Hobart today to pool vital information about how the Southern Ocean is affecting climate change. The World Climate Research Program needs to gather the last amounts of information over a long period of time and will pick the brains of 10 of the Southern Ocean's leading climate modellers. Dr Stephen Griffies from the USA's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there are big implications. "We need to accumulate this data in both space and time to understand fully the climate system and to understand if the computer models that we are using are simulating the climate in a realistic fashion," he said." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Sadly, most people do not get to see the caveats concerning GCMs and consequently do not realise they are moderate to fair process models devoid of any demonstrated prognostic skill.

"Greenhouse gas 'to rise by 52%'" - "Global greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 52% by 2030, unless the world takes action to reduce energy consumption, a study has warned. The prediction comes from the latest annual World Energy Outlook report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that under current consumption trends, energy demand will also rise by more than 50% over the next 25 years. The IEA adds that oil prices will "substantially" rise unless there is extra investment in oil facilities. It says the world has seen "years of under-investment" in both oil production and the refinery sector." (BBC)

"Environmental elitism: I smell a class rat" - "Oh! I do like it when a tough, rough business 'person' punctures the PC platitudinousness of our more poncy PC environmentalists. And today's 'Quote of the Day' is a blinder in this respect." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Romney favors pact by states on emissions" - "Governor Mitt Romney signaled his support yesterday for a regional agreement among Northeastern states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite opposition from power companies and other business interests that have been lobbying the administration against the plan." (Boston Globe)

Another 'No? Duh!' moment: "Fewer days of ice on northern New England rivers in recent years" - "As the spectacular New England fall foliage gives way to another of the region's infamous winters, many wonder what this year will bring. Long-time residents think winter just isn't what it used to be in New England. And mounting evidence from a series of studies suggests they're right. The total number of days of ice on the region's rivers has declined significantly in recent decades and particularly in the spring, according to the latest U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research published in the journal Climatic Change." (United States Geological Survey)

We're pretty sure Earth has been on a warming trend for most (if not all) the time people have been trying to take its temperature, usually viewed as recovery from the Little Ice Age. There might be fewer river ice days? Just don't know how they do it.

"Greenland’s ice sheets tell a climate-change story of their own" - "A Norwegian-led team of scientists reports on an 11-year study of ice sheet growth in Greenland’s vast interior. The findings, planned for publication in a leading scientific journal, reveal a strong relationship between Greenland’s ice sheets and global warming." (Europa)

"Envisat shows behemoth B-15A iceberg breaking up" - "After five years of being the world's largest free-floating object, the B-15A iceberg has finally broken up off Antarctica's Cape Adare." (European Space Agency)

"Reef study to focus on carbon dioxide impact" - "A world-first study into the effects of carbon dioxide on the Great Barrier Reef has been announced. The Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation has been granted $1 million by mining company Comalco to investigate the impact of ocean acidification. The foundation's Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says ocean acidification is caused by high levels of carbon dioxide in the ocean but it is not yet known what effect it has on marine animals. He says it is time more industries came on board and supported reef research."  (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Gee Ove, should you really be taking their money to study something you reckon's already beyond hope?

Ever since Greenpeace paid Hoegh-Guldberg to drum up a "reef's gonna die" report a few years back the media has been happy to trot him out from time to time for a reprise. That report was basically his laptop-run model of the IPCC's most ridiculous warming storyline mapping regions where he estimates water temperatures too high for corals. Readers should be aware that serious Australian reef research is conducted at the Australian Institute of Marine Studies (AIMS) and the somewhat eco-theistic James Cook University (JCU) - both establishments located in the tropics and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef at Townsville, far removed from Hoegh-Guldberg and UQ languishing in the temperate zone.

"A New Epoch: Is Peak Oil Already in Progress?" - "Congress is getting ready to hold hearings on the high price of oil, but there is increasing amounts of data that suggests that oil could become a secondary source of oil within the next decade. If this happens, as it well could, it could once again be proof that Congressional Hearings are one of the best signs that a major top has come to one of the financial markets." (Rig Zone)

"Oil needs £9.7tr investment, says global watchdog" - "MORE than $17 trillion (£9.7tr) needs to be invested in the oil industry worldwide if it is to meet demand over the next 25 years. According to research by the International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy needs will surge 50 per cent by 2030 and prices will rocket if capacity is not significantly increased. Although there are sufficient oil and natural gas reserves to meet those needs, huge new investment is urgently needed to bring those supplies to the consumer market, the IEA warned in its 2005 World Energy Outlook yesterday." (The Scotsman)

"Making a Scapegoat out of a Windfall" - "Whenever prices rise, memories seem to fail. So it's no surprise that rising oil prices have revived calls for a new excise tax on the "windfall profits" of American oil companies -- although the last time we tried this, in the 1980s, it discouraged domestic investment and production and increased dependence on foreign imports." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Skip the gas profit tinkering" - "Congress is on the verge doing something stupid -- enacting a windfall profit tax (WPT) on oil industry profits. Even though pump prices for gasoline and the per-barrel price of oil are receding almost as fast as Katrina's floodwaters, it is popular to castigate "big oil" for daring to make a profit. Though many Americans seem to feel low gasoline and oil prices are their birthright, price controls are disingenuous and counterproductive, leading to reduced investment in oil and gas exploration and possibly gasoline shortages -- the exact opposite of what consumers and the country need." (H. Sterling Burnett/Christy G. Black, The Washington Times)

"China pledges to double reliance on renewable energy by 2020" - "China, the world's second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, announced plans yesterday to more than double its reliance on renewable energy by 2020, which could make it a leading player in the wind, solar and hydropower industries. But environmentalists said that Beijing's new target was still not ambitious enough to offset the climatic damage caused by its spectacular economic growth, which will continue to be predominantly fuelled by coal." (The Guardian)

"DDT Saves Lives" - "It's horrifying enough that malaria -- a preventable and curable disease -- claims one million lives every year and that most victims are Africa's pregnant women and children under five. Compounding this tragedy, however, is the global lobbying effort against the most effective method of combating the mosquito-borne illness: spraying outdoors and inside houses with the insecticide DDT." (The Wall Street Journal)

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

"The REACH of a European Chemicals Proposal: New Study Uncovers Emperor With no Clothes" - "A proposed program in Europe to massively expand chemical regulations would be too costly with no benefit, and also have worldwide effects, according to a new Hayek Institute study released today in Brussels. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s director of risk and environmental policy authored the study." (CEI)

"Chemical Rules Threaten EU Animal Testing Plan" - "BRUSSELS - Tests on animals could be cut by more than 2 million from nearly 11 million under a new plan but rules being introduced on the use of chemicals will counteract this initiative, the European Commission said on Monday. The Commission unveiled a partnership on Monday with industry to promote alternatives in the 25-nation bloc to animal testing, which has become a hot issue in some member states." (Reuters)

"Ads for SSRI antidepressants are misleading, say researchers" - "Consumer ads for a class of antidepressants called SSRIs often claim that depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that SSRIs correct this imbalance, but these claims are not supported by scientific evidence, say researchers in PLoS Medicine. Although scientists in the 1960s suggested that depression may be linked to low brain levels of the chemical serotonin (the so-called "serotonin hypothesis"), contemporary research has failed to confirm the hypothesis, they say." (Public Library of Science) | Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature (Jeffrey R. Lacasse and Jonathan Leo, PLoS)

"Nicotine users at risk for PTSD after trauma" - "NEW YORK - A new study shows that individuals who are addicted to cigarettes are at heightened risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing a traumatic event. According to Dr. Karestan C. Koenen who led the study, nicotine dependence that exists prior to trauma exposure increases the risk of developing PTSD following trauma by two-fold." (Reuters Health)

Right... and how did we decide that it is not a case of people with a higher propensity to PTSD who are more likely to be nicotine dependent?

"Increased suicide rate with possible link to nearby industry chemicals in second N.C. community" - "CHAPEL HILL -- Sustained elevation of the suicide rate in a North Carolina county may be linked to releases of hydrogen sulfide and other airborne chemicals from a nearby paper mill and possibly other industrial sites, a new study led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychiatrist indicates. The findings are being presented today (Nov. 7) to the 18th Annual U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress in Las Vegas." (University of North Carolina School of Medicine)

"Common viruses may cause cancer - Study implicates viral-mediated cell fusion as a possible engine of tumor formation" - "In some cases, the fusion of human cells is a normal process that leads, for instance, to the formation of muscle and bone. Viral infections can also cause cell fusion, but cells fused by viruses are widely considered to be harmless because they are generally believed to die without consequences for the host. According to a recent study, however, cell fusion triggered by viruses is a possible contributing factor in the development of human cancer. The study also raises concerns about the use fusogenic viruses as vectors for human gene therapy or in other clinical applications owing to the possibility that such viruses might cause cancer." (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)

"Some Rare Good News on the Obesity Front" - "Most days the headlines about fat, filled as they are with the latest "study" on the dangers of obesity or the newest crazy proposal about preventing it, rarely make for encouraging reading. That's because so much of what passes for obesity science has a large element of junk science in it, whether it's about the supposedly 400,000 Americans who die from being overweight each year (false) or the claim that consumers of French fries are likely to get cancer from acrylamide (false). So it's good to discover some "fat" stories that provide a bit of balance in understanding just what might be driving weight gain in Americans." (John Luik, TCS)

"Mosquito Expert Battles Spread of Dengue Fever" - "A UC Davis expert on insect-borne diseases will lead a research project on the feasibility of genetically modifying mosquitoes to reduce the incidence of dengue fever." (UC Davis News)

"Biotech-Crop Battle Heats Up" - "As genetically modified crops win a growing share of the world's farmland, they are increasingly altering the makeup of traditional crops. With billions of dollars in sales at stake, the issue is becoming a significant one globally." (The Wall Street Journal)

November 7, 2005

"Malaria kills 400 Ugandans daily" - "A RESEARCH report on the use of dichloro-diphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) to control malaria has said the disease kills about 400 Ugandans daily. “Malaria remains the number one killer disease in Uganda and consumes 10% or $34m (sh62b) of the Ministry of Health’s annual budget for drugs and services. It kills 400 Ugandans daily, most of whom are children aged below five and pregnant women,” it said. The report that examines the effects of DDT on humans and the environment, also recommends the controlled use of DDT in fighting malaria." (New Vision)

"DDT Saves Lives in Fight against Malaria" - "The President's decision in June to spend an additional $1.2 billion over five years to halve the cases of malaria around the world was very welcome. Sadly, this noble gesture may be worth less than it should be, due to excessive reliance on bad advice and continued trust in an agency with a poor record on malaria control." (Roger Bate and Richard Tren, CEI)

"Vatican: Don't Knock Science" - "VATICAN CITY - A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason. Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made the comments at a news conference on a Vatican project to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has long bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church and is part of the evolution debate in the United States." (Associated Press)

"Warning shot for green chemistry" - "Some solvents with an environmentally friendly reputation may kill fish." (Nature)

"Germany Seeks to Delay Key EU Chemicals Bill" - "BRUSSELS - Britain's hopes of clinching agreement this year on a major European Union law to test and register thousands of household chemicals took a dive on Friday when Germany sought to postpone a key vote due this month." (Reuters)

"Is plastic killing us? It's a chemical controversy" - "Few chemicals on the planet enjoy more use than bisphenol A. We come into contact with it every day in tin-can linings, CDs, electronics, sports equipment, cars and baby bottles, just to name a few products. More than six billion pounds of it are made each year." (Globe and Mail)

"When Everyday Chemicals Cause Illness" - "LAST year, Mary Lamielle, of Voorhees, N.J., traveled to Washington for a business meeting. Her room, at the Grand Hyatt, "was perfect," she recalled. But when she ventured into the conference area, she experienced vertigo and breathing problems, which she believed were caused by chlorinated water in the hotel's decorative pools. Within a day, she was so sick, she said, that she couldn't attend the session she had organized on healthy housing for people with disabilities. Ms. Lamielle, the executive director of the National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, an advocacy group, suffers from what doctors variously label multiple chemical sensitivities or environmental illness, an elusive malady that can make exposure to household and industrial chemicals debilitating." (New York Times)

"Obesity measure should be redefined to accurately assess heart attack risk" - "HAMILTON, ONTARIO--Waist-to-hip ratio, not body mass index (BMI), is the best obesity measure for assessing a person's risk of heart attack, concludes a global study published in this week's issue of The Lancet. If obesity is redefined using waist-to-hip ratio instead of BMI the proportion of people at risk of heart attack increases by threefold, calculate the authors." (McMaster University)

"Paying a heavy price" - "Each year we spend $1.6B on diet books and videos, $1.8B on weight loss centers and $15B on health clubs" (The Detroit News)

"BOOK REVIEW: 'Fat Politics': Healthy skepticism on obesity" - "Pima Indians living in southern Arizona today are among the heaviest people in the world. The average Pima woman weighs 200 pounds; men weigh more. Before the 1940s, most Pima sported lean, muscular physiques. As their agrarian culture and low-fat diet was transformed into the sedentary lifestyle and a diet of highly processed food common in mainstream America, the tribe's rates of obesity and diabetes skyrocketed.

Why have the Pima changed so much and what does it say about America's so-called obesity epidemic? First, obesity is not a disease, J. Eric Oliver asserts in "Fat Politics"; it is a symptom, not a cause of, the nation's health problems. Second, the University of Chicago political science professor contends, the "epidemic" is mostly a myth."

The skeptic resiles (Number Watch)

"Habitats May Shrink by Leaps, Bounds" - "A century and a half ago, California's red-legged frog graced the menus of gourmet restaurants in San Francisco and helped launch a young American writer named Mark Twain, who immortalized the leaping Gold Rush wonder in his first published short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Humans have not repaid the favor since, gobbling up not just the long-legged amphibian but nearly all of its wetland habitat for crops and homes, threatening it with extinction. On Thursday, as part of a continued, far-reaching rollback of protected landscapes for scores of imperiled species around the country, federal officials proposed cutting 82% of the celebrated frog's critical habitat. The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would eliminate federally protected critical habitat on 150 million acres of largely undeveloped public and private land. The Senate could act on the legislation by year's end." (LA Times)

"KENYA: Sustainability Collides With Poverty" - "MT KENYA - Visitors to Mbeere district in Kenya’s Central Province can hardly miss them: bags of charcoal laid on either side of the road. Those who sell the bags are far less visible, however. They hide in the surrounding dense vegetation, only appearing to make hurried sales." (IPS)

"WWF chief leaves dire warning for the planet" - "Many nations - including Switzerland - are too scared to "bite the bullet" over global warming, Claude Martin, outgoing head of WWF International, tells swissinfo. The Swiss, who has led the global conservation organisation for the past 12 years, says the failure to mitigate the effects of climate change will have devastating social, environmental and economic consequences." (Swissinfo)

"Jonathon Porritt: The constant ecowarrior" - "He's posh. He's nice. He's very well connected. He knows what it'll take to save the world. And that, he tells Marie Woolf, means Tony Blair not kowtowing to the US." (London Independent)

"Porritt warns greens to mend 'negative' ways" - "The movement's founder says it must scrap its 'dowdy, depressing' image or it will be sidelined, reports Juliette Jowit" (The Observer)

"Insurance warning over flood risk" - "UK homes and businesses could become uninsurable to flood risk in the future unless more money is spent on better defences, an insurance firm has warned. One key concern is around 200,000 new homes are planned for flood risk areas, particularly in south east England. More Than's report also warns defences being built now may not prove adequate in future and believes 3.5 million homes will then be at risk of flooding." (BBC)

"Weather Experts Offer Dire Storm Warnings for the East Coast" - "Amid all the death and destruction caused this year by hurricanes, national weather experts have this advice: Get used to it. "We have now entered a multi-decade cycle in which we expect hurricanes to be more intense and more frequent," said Nicholas K. Coch, a professor of geology at Queens College in New York who has spent years examining the history and dynamics of hurricanes. His studies have convinced him that the chances of a major hurricane striking the populous northern Atlantic coast, from Virginia through New England, are increasing." (Washington Post)

"Rolling Back the Creeping Sands" - "UNITED NATIONS, Nov 4 - More than 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, a process that has accelerated in recent years due to climate change and unsustainable human activities." (IPS)

"ERS altimeter survey shows growth of Greenland Ice Sheet interior" - "Researchers have utilised more than a decade's worth of data from radar altimeters on ESA's ERS satellites to produce the most detailed picture yet of thickness changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet. A Norwegian-led team used the ERS data to measure elevation changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2003, finding recent growth in the interior sections estimated at around six centimetres per year during the study period. The research is due to be published by Science Magazine in November, having been published in the online Science Express on 20 October." (European Space Agency)

"Global warming could help salmon in Norway-report" - "OSLO - Global warming may benefit salmon in Norwegian rivers by causing more rainfall that dilutes industrial acids blown from other parts of Europe, scientists said on Friday. In the past, a spring thaw used to wash out large amounts of poisonous nitrates accumulated in winter snows, according to a long-term study of rain, snow and river acidification by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA). But climate change in the past 20-30 years means that more precipitation falls as rain, washing nitrates more evenly around the year into rivers and curbing a spring surge when salmon smolt are most vulnerable to poisoning." (Reuters)

Grief! "High and dry on vanishing rivers" - "Environmental groups such as Greenpeace say the problems in Manaquiri and in the Amazon region are a direct result of deforestation and global warming. They blame the drought on warmer ocean temperatures, a possible result of global warming. They say changes in patterns of rainfall in the region is caused by warm air rising over the north Atlantic. 'If you compare the rainfall averages over the last five years, you see that there have been growing rain deficits each year,' said Greenpeace activist Carlos Rittl, who is based in the state capital Manaus. 'It will be extremely worrying if this becomes a tendency.'" (The Guardian)

Rainfall averages - over a whole 5 years? It'd be achingly funny if these dips didn't manage to terrorise the ignorant with such nonsense.

"The melting mountains" - "Joe Simpson, climber and author of 'Touching The Void', reveals how climate change is destroying the world's most spectacular landscapes." (London Independent)

Right... "Climate Change to Intensify Asia's Misery, Says Scientist" - "MANILA - November 4 - An explosive report released today by Greenpeace reveals how climate change will deepen the misery of Filipinos along with other Asians unless measures are taken to drastically cut the use of fossil fuels such as coal." ('peas release)

Had a close look at any coral lately fellas?

"World Tourism Faces Growing Climate-Change Risk, UN Agency Says" - "Nov. 7 -- The global tourism industry faces a growing risk from climate change because hotter weather may shorten ski areas' seasons and hurt seaside resorts by eroding coastlines and damaging coral reefs, the World Tourism Organization said. ``Climate change will constitute an increasing risk for tourism operations in many destinations,'' Francesco Frangialli, secretary-general of the Madrid-based United Nations agency, said in an e-mailed statement received today. ``Major changes in the pattern of tourism demand will lead to wider impacts on many areas of economic and social policy.'' (Bloomberg)

"Western states to host first test of carbon sequestration in lava rock" - "Below the plains of the Big Sky states, where the Columbia and Snake rivers wind their way to the Pacific, might lie a geologic answer to one of our most pressing environmental problems: too much carbon dioxide in the air. The greenhouse gas traps heat to contribute to a slow warming of the atmosphere. For humans, who have been pumping carbon out of the earth for the last 200 years, part of the solution might be to finally learn how to do the reverse." (DOE/Idaho National Laboratory)

Hmm... "When Cleaner Air Is a Biblical Obligation" - "WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 - In their long and frustrated efforts pushing Congress to pass legislation on global warming, environmentalists are gaining a new ally. With increasing vigor, evangelical groups that are part of the base of conservative support for leading Republicans are campaigning for laws that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists have linked with global warming." (New York Times)

Can't say I recall any mention of ice caps and freezing cold with reference to the biblical Garden of Eden. And wouldn't enhancement of atmospheric carbon dioxide, as commercial growers do in greenhouses, come under the heading of caring for and feeding the plant life of said garden? Sorry guys, we've had plenty of reports recently (peculiarly alarmist, we admit) about atmospheric carbon dioxide enhancement restoring shrubbery and trees to the tundra and it would be just as easy to cite Genesis, 2:15 as a requirement that we do so, after all, that is literally greening the Earth.

"Development, not climate control" - "Britain's international meeting on clean energy this week is surrounded by catastrophic predictions of climate change _ but no ideas at all for saving the poor from the real and present threats from the normal climate. The anti-growth tenor of the debate threatens to consign the poorest nations in the world to permanent suffering." (Kendra Okonski, Bangkok Post)

"Japan: Koike pledges to push carbon tax to meet goals under Kyoto Protocol" - "Japan needs to introduce a carbon tax to cut greenhouse gas emissions and achieve its target under the Kyoto Protocol, according to Environment Minister Yuriko Koike." (Japan Times)

"Too much hot air" - "'The evidence on climate change is getting stronger,' Tony Blair warned last week. It was a good start to an otherwise dismal speech to leaders of 13 of the biggest industrial nations of the world on how to tackle this global threat. But the Prime Minister went on to ignore his own forebodings with what appears to be a worrying shift in policy towards the Kyoto international treaty and, crucially, the treaty's binding targets of reducing carbon and other greenhouse gases, now universally accepted as the key contributor to global warming and climate change." (The Observer)

"Mr. Blair's Changing Climate" - "ACCORDING TO the British press, the Prince of Wales issued a "gentle rebuke" to President Bush last week. Speaking at a formal White House dinner, Prince Charles said that "many people throughout the world look to the U.S. for a lead on the most crucial issues that face our planet." That, apparently, was a coded challenge to the president to do more about climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions that cause it. But a less protocol-bound and more interesting challenge also emerged from Britain last week, in the form of a speech by Prime Minister Tony Blair." (The Washington Post)

"Elliot Morley: 'To deliver the 20pc target every government department has got to make its contribution'" - "The quiet, burly Scouser has progressed steadily with an unspectacular but very sure touch, until now, as No 2 to the Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, he has reaped the reward for such reliability: a very large political hot potato has been dumped in his lap.

They don't come much hotter than Labour's climate target. No government likes admitting that one of its key policies, the subject of endless pledges, seems destined to hit the rocks, especially when the policy is in an area that the Prime Minister has made his own; and with Tony Blair's high-profile campaign to fight climate change, that's just what is happening." (London Independent)

NYT - again: "Climate Signals" - "President Bush has long argued that a nationwide program of mandatory controls on carbon dioxide and other global warming gases would saddle the country with crippling electricity costs. He may be surprised to learn that his own Environmental Protection Agency no longer believes that to be the case." (New York Times)

Meanwhile: "Europe Risks Economic Damage from Kyoto - Study" - "Europe's push to meet pollution targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change could dent its economies and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs by 2010, according to research published on Monday.

Compliance with Kyoto's greenhouse gas reduction targets could hit gross domestic product in Germany, Britain, Spain and Italy as energy energy bills soar, said pro-business thinktank International Council for Capital Formation (ICCF).

"The findings of our research suggest that an alternative approach (to climate change) is urgently needed for both the developing and developed world," said Margo Thorning, Managing Director of the Brussels-based ICCF." (Reuters) | Go here to access the studies.

"Prime Minister to meet heads of green groups in run-up to climate talks" - "Prime Minister Paul Martin plans to meet with leaders of major U.S. environmental organizations next week to discuss Canada's strategy at the coming United Nations conference on climate change in Montreal. Directors of 19 major U.S.-based environmental groups wrote to Mr. Martin recently asking him to ignore the U.S. administration's refusal to act on climate change and to move forward on a new treaty to follow up on the Kyoto Protocol. "To try to appease the U.S. at all costs in Montreal would be a big mistake and runs the risk of causing the entire international process to collapse," said Gary Cook, director of the U.S. Climate Action Network, based in Washington, D.C. The conference is planned for Nov. 28 to Dec. 9." (National Post)

"The Kyoto Deal Is Changing Too" - "LONDON, Nov 5 - Like U.S. President George W. Bush, more and more leaders now hear 'money' and 'markets' when they hear 'climate change'. And they could be going the Bush way rather than bring Bush the other way around. Within the United States some states are introducing emission permit systems along the lines of emissions trading proposed under the Kyoto protocol, and under way in the European Union. But Americans could find several world leaders now joining the leader they are now turning their backs on." (IPS)

"Scrap UK pollution targets, says Brown" - "Gordon Brown and other senior cabinet ministers have been pushing for the Government to scrap its target for reducing emissions of the main pollutant that causes global warming, The Independent on Sunday can reveal." (London Independent)

"New Zealand: Carbon tax in 2007 'highly unlikely' claims Dunne" - "It is highly unlikely a carbon tax will come into force on the scheduled date of April 1, 2007, says Revenue Minister Peter Dunne. The proposed tax is the centrepiece of the Government's climate-change policy but it is opposed by both parties on which the Government relies for confidence and supply, New Zealand First and Dunne's United Future. The votes of both the Greens (likely) and the Maori Party (uncertain) would be needed. In its Government-forming deals with Dunne, Labour agreed that no legislation to introduce a carbon tax would be introduced until after a new cost/benefit analysis of the proposal was done." (New Zealand Herald)

Protocol? What protocol? "Bad winter may lead to EU emissions opt-out" - "British companies could take advantage of an opt-out clause in the European Union's emissions trading scheme if fears are realised of a harsh winter in the UK. But any such move could provoke a clash with the European Commission, which claims the clause should apply only in the event of severe emergencies." (Financial Times)

"Britons back new nuclear plants" - "The Government is being given encouragement to build a new generation of nuclear power stations by new research which shows the public now backs the expansion of nuclear power. The survey, carried out by Mori on behalf of EDF Energy, the UK arm of the French utility giant, revealed that a majority of people now believe nuclear power has a vital role to play in meeting Britain's energy requirements and in reducing carbon dioxide emissions." (London Telegraph)

"Leave California out of Pennsylvania’s auto-emissions destiny" - "Should Pennsylvania be governed by the legislators its citizens elect, or by a board of nonelected regulators in another state? It is a question that goes to the heart of the matter of state sovereignty. Never in the history of this commonwealth has Pennsylvania ceded its governmental authority to another state, let alone the most eccentric state in the union. Yet that is exactly what Pennsylvania would be doing if it adopted the “California standard” for automobile emissions." (The Tribune-Democrat)

"The Green of Green Government" - "The Financial Times recently carried an op-ed by Harvard professor John Quelch that gushed over corporations electing the "green" business model (or at least green rhetoric). This paean to the erstwhile "British Petroleum" -- now "BP: Beyond Petroleum" -- epitomizes the disconnect between academic idealizing and real-world truths." (Christopher Horner, TCS)

"Revolution at the petrol pumps as Government backs biofuels" - "Every British motorist will soon be driving on petrol made from sugar beet and diesel made from oilseed rape as part of the Government's fight against climate change. Biofuels, which are made from crops and do not add to the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) causing global." (London Independent)

"Concerns over new EU ethics panel" - "A fight has erupted over the composition of an influential European ethics panel that advises the government on science and technology, with some arguing that new nominations were based on political and religious considerations, not ability or experience. Scientists also raised concerns that the increasingly conservative body may place new limits on research." (The Scientist)

"Biotech plan said to help genetic disease sufferers" - "TIANJIN: People suffering from various infectious and genetic diseases may benefit from plans to support biotech medicine. In the next five years, the State will focus on developing new low-cost biotech medicines and vaccines, among other biotechnology initiatives, said Qi Chengyuan, director of the High and New Technology Department under the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC). The central government will also concentrate on schemes to screen people for genes that might cause diseases." (China Daily)

"Charities favour GM moratorium" - "The Swiss Alliance of Development Organisations has called on voters to accept a five-year moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture. But a survey commissioned by opponents of the moratorium claims that if it is accepted on November 27, thousands of jobs could be at risk in Switzerland. The alliance, a coalition of Swiss charities, says GM technology cannot overcome hunger in developing nations." (SwissInfo)

"Record-setting report: Company's efforts in genetically modified foods is again a topic" - "DECATUR - A group of shareholders asked for the same thing last year: a report disclosing what genetically modified foods are used by Archer Daniels Midland Co. And just as last year, the group didn't convince a large percentage of its peers to vote in favor of the proposal. At ADM's annual meeting Thursday, only 7 percent agreed a report was necessary, according to a preliminary count. As shareholder Martin Glotzer put it while defending his "no" vote, he likes to see "proposals that put money in our pockets immediately." But the issue is one getting attention from the company regardless." (Herald & Review)

Pusztai - still: "Are GM foods safe enough?" - "World over there is an ongoing debate about acceptance or rejection of foods having traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which is otherwise called GM foods. The advocates of transgenic technology say that there is no credible evidence either to substantiate that GM crops damage the environment or GM food can harm human and animal health. Some even say that as GM crops and foods are safe as their “substantially equivalent conventional counterparts”, they need no testing. They go to the extent of decrying the critics, who have logical and scientific arguments, as “obstructionists.”" (Financial Express)

November 4, 2005

"Flu Proposal Misguided" - "Faced with growing frenzy about the possibility of pandemic flu, President Bush reached back into the politician’s bag of traditional “solutions” this week and proposed that taxpayers pay an additional $7.1 billion to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Today's award for eloquent expression: "Electrical fields 'harmless'" - "There is no scientific evidence that exposure to electrical appliances causes illness, says a review published yesterday after claims that people had developed a sensitivity, suffering headaches, skin tingling and fatigue brought on by exposure to electrical fields.

John Adams, professor of risk at University College London, said: 'This is yet another example of the modern disease of compulsive risk assessment psychosis - otherwise known as crap. There is nothing in the [study] that provides a basis for precautionary action.'" (The Guardian)

A tour of the misguided? "Climate warriors and heroes" - "Meet the 28 leaders -- scientists, politicians, activists, celebrities and inventors -- who are fighting to stave off planetwide catastrophe." (A special Salon/Rolling Stone report)

"The time to act is now" - "The climate crisis and the need for leadership." (Al Gore, Salon)

Al hasn't changed a bit.

"Fear of pandemics, disasters have us asking: Is the sky really falling? Experts ponder our fears -- real and perceived" - "Avian flu. Global warming. Real estate bubble. World oil supply. After all the headlines, are we getting close to mass hysteria over theoretical doom or are we becoming so inured to apocalyptic warnings that we are turning a deaf ear to them?

If we keep ringing the alarm bell like Chicken Little did when she turned an acorn into a national crisis, when it comes time for a real emergency, people may not pay much attention, said Raj Dandage, chairman of the Chicago-based American Disaster Preparedness Foundation." (Florida Today)

"How the Prince who talks to his plants tried to turn Bush green" - "IT WAS veiled and it was no more than a gentle nudge. But given that the Prince of Wales said it directly to President Bush, it was surprisingly strong language. What might have been a bland toast of platitudes at a White House dinner in front of 130 guests became a direct appeal from the Prince for American tolerance of other races and religions, and for more attention to global warming from a country that has so far refused to sign up to the Kyoto accord. While the President, in his toast of welcome, confined himself to the generalities of Anglo-American relations and mutual support in the face of terrorism, the Prince delivered a more direct reply reflecting his campaign for a better understanding of Islam and his environmental concerns." (London Times) | Another Buncombe article: Bush escapes a royal roasting (London Independent)

God save the Queen! Long may She reign!

"Climate response risks to nature" - "Some animals are responding to climate change in ways which could threaten their survival, a new study finds." (BBC)

"Dramatic weather changes due to human activity, climate change" - "DARTMOUTH, N.S. - Canadians can expect to be living in a much different environment in the near future as the earth's temperature continues to rise and climate change becomes more linked to wild weather, says a senior climatologist. Dave Phillips of Environment Canada said forecasting models suggest the country will see everything from more rain, less snow, rising sea levels, disappearing lakes, stronger storms and the introduction of species more suited to warmer climes." (CP)

"How Much Ice in the Global Cocktail?" - "One of the great fears generated by global warming is that the ocean is about to rise and swallow our coasts. These concerns have been heightened by the substantial uptick in Atlantic hurricane activity that began in 1995. The frequency of really strong storms striking the U.S now resembles what it was in the 1940s and 50s, which few people (aging climatologists excepted) remember." (Patrick Michaels, TCS)

"Water Vapor Feedback in Climate Models" - "General circulation models (GCMs) are highly sophisticated computer tools for modeling climate change, and they incorporate a large number of physical processes and variables. One of the most important challenges is to properly account for water vapor (clouds and humidity) in climate warming. In his Perspective, Cess discusses results reported in the same issue by Soden et al. in which water vapor feedback effects are tested by studying moistening trends in the upper troposphere. Satellite observations of atmospheric water vapor are found to agree well with moisture predictions generated by one of the key GCMs, showing that these feedback effects are being properly handled in the model, which eliminates a major potential source of uncertainty." (Robert D. Cess, Science) [Full Text] [PDF]

The Radiative Signature of Upper Tropospheric Moistening (Science, Published online 6 October 2005 in Science Express Reports) [Full Text] [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]

Still confusing model output with data: "Model foresees carbonated planet" - "Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory predicted a significant increase in average air temperature over the long term - iceless polar regions, 40 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, and a 20-foot rise in ocean sea levels by the year 2300." (Los Alamos Monitor)

What is Meant by the “Global Surface-Averaged Temperature?” (Climate Science)

Revisiting Microclimate Exposure of Surface Air Temperature Monitoring Sites (Climate Science)

"Did volcano cause a sea level rebound?" - "WE CAN put away the life rafts for now. The near doubling in the rate of sea level rise during the 1990s was probably due in part to the delayed effects of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines - and not runaway melting of ice caps." (New Scientist)

"Long road ahead: Scientist Plans Lengthy Bike Trek To Warn About Global Warming" - "David Kroodsma -- an Ultimate Frisbee-playing, climate-studying scientist -- is out to improve the world, one bike ride at a time. On Saturday, Kroodsma will climb on his modified bike and begin cycling from Palo Alto down the length of California, then pass the dusty colonias of the Baja peninsula. He'll push on through Mexico, Central and South America, ending, an exhausting 14 months and 13,000 miles later, at the southern tip of Argentina." (Mercury News)

To raise awareness about 'global warming'? As good an excuse as any for an extended holiday, we suppose.

"Asleep in the deep: Model helps assess ocean-injection strategy for combating greenhouse effect" - "ANN ARBOR, Mich.---In searching for ways to counteract the greenhouse effect, some scientists have proposed capturing the culprit---carbon dioxide---as it is emitted from power plants, then liquefying the gas and injecting it into the ocean. But there are pitfalls in that plan. The carbon dioxide can rise toward the surface, turn into gas bubbles and vent to the atmosphere, defeating the purpose of the whole grand scheme. Even worse, if the liquid-to-gas conversion happens suddenly, the gas can bubble up in a plume and erupt---a potential hazard." (University of Michigan)

"Alberta challenging Kyoto plans" - "Alberta has filed a formal objection to the federal government's plans to implement the Kyoto accord and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The objection was filed under a public comment's process regarding changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act." (CBC News)

"Ripples of Global Warming Spread Outward" - "UNITED NATIONS, Nov 3 - Human health and the earth's ecosystems are increasingly threatened by climate change, warns a new study jointly released by three leading environmental organisations here this week." (IPS)

"Feverish analysis" - "Global warming may damage health and cause fatal disease. Perhaps" (The Economist)

In plain language: "EU seeks talks, not targets at UN climate meeting" - "BRUSSELS - A U.N. climate change summit is not expected to agree new targets for the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions when it convenes later this month in Canada, the European Union's environment chief said on Thursday. But EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said he hoped the Montreal meeting would lead to the start of talks to bring the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, when its first phase ends. "In Montreal of course we do no expect to have any specific agreement on reductions or targets," Dimas told reporters. "What we hope to achieve is an agreement to start negotiations for the after-2012 regime." (Reuters)

Well, there it is - CoP/MoP (CoP11, MoP1) is all about determining the next stops on the global gravy train (where should we party in ... ?). Make you proud to pay extra tax for your UN dues, does it?

"China copes with climate change through int'l technological co-op" - "BEIJING, Nov. 3 -- China is strengthening its efforts in combating climate change by participating actively in international projects, said an expert with the State Development and Reform Commission Thursday." (Xinhuanet)

"An oily slope" - "Governments should not seize companies' “excess” profits" (The Economist)

"EU to back renewables boost in developing world" - "The European Union (EU) is to support better international cooperation and technology transfer to developing countries on renewable energy, the European Commission (EC) said here on Thursday." (People's Daily)

"Wind power seen reducing need for US natgas" - "NEW YORK - Growth in U.S. wind power could reduce the amount of natural gas used to produce electricity by up to 5 percent at the end of the year, which could provide some relief to consumers from near record prices for the fossil fuel, an industry group said." (Reuters)

"Fuel's paradise? Power source that turns physics on its head" - "It seems too good to be true: a new source of near-limitless power that costs virtually nothing, uses tiny amounts of water as its fuel and produces next to no waste. If that does not sound radical enough, how about this: the principle behind the source turns modern physics on its head." (The Guardian)

That which sounds too good to be true almost invariably is.

"Greenpeace activists found guilty" - "Eight Greenpeace activists have been found guilty of public order offences in connection with a rooftop protest at the home of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott." (ITN)

"Tired of globalisation" - "But trade liberalisation and other forms of openness are needed more than ever" (The Economist)

"EU OKs Type of Genetically Modified Maize" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission on Thursday authorized imports into the European Union of a type of genetically modified maize for use in animal feed." (Associated Press)

November 3, 2005

"What Happened to That Cloud of Dust?" - "It remains one of the most powerful images of the day the twin towers fell - a towering cloud of angry gray dust that rose up from the debris and raged through the canyons of Lower Manhattan, blotting out the sun and choking everything, and everyone, in its way. For a time, the dust seemed to be everywhere, from the insides of downtown apartments to the very air that New Yorkers breathed. It is suspected of causing respiratory problems and may have long-term effects on health. Most of the dust was swept up long ago, but small amounts of it doubtless remain, tucked in nooks and corners. Federal environmental officials had planned to test living and working places in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn this year to make sure they are not still contaminated. But the project has been stalled in part because even though the dust was seen, smelled or inhaled by millions of New Yorkers four years ago, there is no consensus about how to identify it today." (New York Times)

"Rabid vampire bats kill in Brazil" - "Health authorities in northern Brazil are trying to cope with a wave of attacks on humans by vampire bats infected with the deadly rabies virus." (BBC)

"Researchers say levees had design flaws" - "NEW ORLEANS — The engineers who designed the floodwalls that collapsed during Hurricane Katrina did not fully consider the porousness of the Louisiana soil or make other calculations that would have pointed to the need for stronger levees with deeper pilings and wider bases, researchers say." (Associated Press)

What? "Volcanoes lower sea level" - "Volcanic eruptions can mask some of the effects of climate change by lowering sea levels, new research says. Australian marine and atmospheric scientist Dr John Church of the CSIRO says volcanoes spew particles into the stratosphere that reflect the Sun's radiation away from the Earth. This cools the oceans, allowing seawater to expand." (Judy Skatssoon, ABC Science Online) [my emphasis]

So, cooling oceans causes thermal expansion and this lowers sea levels? Great science reporting there Judy. (Oh, yeah, we did keep a .pdf copy, for posterity) Judy is not alone, however, and scientific comprehension is hardly endemic at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, here's their 'AM' program: Rapid rise of sea levels blamed on volcanoes (ABC AM) (Yup, kept a copy of that one, too)

What they should have said (kind of): "Volcanoes curb rise in sea levels" - "Violent volcanic eruptions help to combat some of the effects of global warming by cooling the Earth and keeping a check on rises in sea level, scientists have discovered." (Ian Sample, The Guardian)

If Church is correct and the alleged acceleration in sea level rise is merely transient rebound effect post cooling from volcanic shading then the always dubious disaster claims made by AGW hysterics are further undermined.

Challenging The IPCC Monopoly: The Way Ahead (David Henderson, CCNet)

"Tony Blair Aligns with Bush on Global Warming" - "The Competitive Enterprise Institute congratulates British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his recognition that the Kyoto Protocol is a dead end and that the approach first laid out by President George W. Bush in 2001 is a sensible way forward." (CEI)

"PM reflects on 'blunt truth' of climate change" - "Tony Blair has concluded an international conference on climate change, saying that the world needed to solve the problem 'on a sustainable basis'. The meeting took place under the new Gleneagles dialogue that includes the G8 countries as well as China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Mr Blair said the evidence of climate change was getting stronger and even those who doubted it accepted there were concerns over energy security and supply." (10 Downing Street) | Chairman's conclusions from climate change conference (10 Downing Street)

"Time for Finance to seize climate file" - "While post-Gomery dedication to fiscal integrity and noble budget principles reigns in Ottawa, how about taking on something that's really scary. Much bigger spending numbers and risks -- tens of billions of dollars plus incalculable economic upheaval -- are riding on a policy that has so far received no study by anyone in Ottawa, least of all by bureaucrats in finance: climate change.

Ottawa's climate strategy is by far the biggest and most dangerous economic policy in Canadian history. Over at Environment Canada, Stephane Dion is spending money by the cubic metre, little of it subject to review or producing any quantifiable results. Mr. Dion, in fact, recently told a Commons committee Ottawa has a "$10-billion budget" for climate change. The regulatory burden under construction alone would wipe out half a dozen developing countries." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

"NZ: Foresters warn of 'disastrous' planting season ahead" - "The Kyoto Forestry Association today blasted the government for policies that would see "another disastrous year for the plantation forestry industry" in 2006. “Poor government policy has contributed to new plantings plummeting from an annual 65,000 hectares in the mid-1990s to zero today,” said KFA spokesman Roger Dickie. The flow-through effects would eventually be felt in the harvesting and manufacturing industries, he said. “Our contacts through the forestry industry indicate 2006 will be another zero year." (National Business Review)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

Status of the Greenland Ice-Sheet: Is it shrinking or growing?  Or merely maintaining the status quo?

Subject Index Summaries:
Little Ice Age (Regional - Asia: Russia): Is the Little Ice Age evident in paleoclimate studies that have been conducted in Russia?  And if it is, what are the implications of that finding?

Tundra: Response to Elevated CO 2 , Nutrients and Warming: Will nitrogen deposition and warming (greenhouse-gas-induced or otherwise) enhance or reduce the productivity of earth's tundra ecosystems?

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, Rubber Tree, Soybean, and Spring Wheat.

Journal Reviews:
Greenland Ice Sheet: Going, Going ... Growing!: After all the hype associated with studies that have described mass wasting of the ice sheet's margins, a new study finally reveals what the much larger interior region of the ice sheet has been doing.

The Roman and Medieval Warm Periods in Spain: How do their temperatures compare with those of the last three decades of the 20th century?

Birds in Finland Respond to Global Warming: Are they moving closer to, or further from, extinction?

Global Warming and the Sachem Skipper Butterfly: How have rising temperatures impacted the size of its range?

Long-Term Leaf Responses of Populus Species to Elevated CO 2 : What are they?  And what do they suggest about the productivity of future forests? (co2science.org)

"Emission rule costs may not pencil out" - "As Oregon considers new standards, it's not clear if car buyers would come out even." (The Oregonian)

"Vermont adopts new rules to cut car CO2 emissions" - "MONTPELIER, Vt. --Vermont has become the first of several Northeastern states that are expected to adopt new rules that seek to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses from cars by improving their gas mileage. Final approval Wednesday by the Legislature's Administrative Rules Committee means that for the 2009 model year, cars sold in Vermont will need to adhere to strict new rules that seek to reduce emissions from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by increasing fuel efficiency." (Associated Press)

"GLOBE EDITORIAL: A good greenhouse pact" - "NINE NORTHEASTERN states from Maine to Delaware are poised to lead the nation in showing that the carbon dioxide emissions of power generators can be capped without hurting the region's economic growth. A successful cap-and-trade system here would give the lie to the Bush administration's position that the limits on carbon called for in the Kyoto treaty on global warming would damage the economy. But for the Northeastern agreement to reach its full potential, all nine states have to sign on, and some partner states are concerned that Governor Romney, whose administration called for a regional carbon cap a year ago, might be having second thoughts. Romney's spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said Monday, ''We're working through all the issues, as are the other states." (Boston globe)

"World powers agree to use clean energy" - "THE world's leading economic powers and emerging countries have agreed to use clean energy technology to combat climate change." (AFP)

Loada Porritt: "It's not a blot - it's the future of energy" - "Wind power is reliable and could soon prove to be cheaper than nuclear, says Jonathon Porritt" (The Guardian)

Our Ship of Fools (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Sea-Based Windmills could Blunt Eyesore Criticisms" - "OSLO - A novel windmill floating on the high seas is likely to generate electricity from 2007 in a shift from land-based turbines often denounced as eyesores, Norwegian energy group Norsk Hydro said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"UK: Call to tighten up pesticide guidelines farming" - "THERE are 18.4 million hectares of farmland in the UK, of which 4.6 million hectares are devoted to arable and horticultural crops. The use of pesticides is part of successful arable production, and the most recent figures suggests that more than 30,545 tonnes of these products are used each year, with the typical crop being sprayed five times in the course of the growing season. The total use of pesticides has decreased in recent years, but it seems likely that the government will seek to reduce that figure." (The Herald)

"Honolulu: Moloka'i hui protests genetic-crop research by Monsanto unit" - "A group of Moloka'i residents plans to protest the farming of genetically modified crops on the island during a community luncheon tomorrow sponsored by Monsanto subsidiary Hawaiian Research." (Honolulu Advertiser)

November 2, 2005

"Counter-Conference by Free Market Advocates to Challenge Leftist Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility; Competing Events at the Omni Shoreham Hotel Next Week" - "WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 -- The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), Free Enterprise Education Institute (FEEI), and Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) are sponsoring the CSR Reconsidered 2005 Conference, which will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

CSR Reconsidered 2005 is a counter-conference to the Leftist-dominated Business for Social Responsibility conference also being held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel that same day. Information on this conference can be found at http://www.bsr.org. The event is co-sponsored by the New York Times, Pfizer, General Electric, Chevron, Disney, Ford, Microsoft, Monsanto, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Intel and many other companies." (U.S. Newswire)

Don't just sit on your duff. Do something about CEOs appeasing social activists!

New report discounts link between global warming and insurance losses: Free Enterprise Action Fund Urges Insurers to Conduct Independent Analyses of Alleged Link Between Global Warming and Weather-Related Losses - FEAF’s request was spurred by a new report by the Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP) that concludes global warming is not responsible for increases in weather-related economic losses.

"Gates grants US$250m to help NGOs fight malaria" - "The Gates Foundation has pledged further money in the fight against malaria, so far the money has made significant in-roads in developing a vaccine. But in the interim why not use some of the money to fund the most effective control measure currently available - IRS using DDT?" (AFM)

"Chemical Warfare" - "Once again, the public is being bombarded with campaigns against chemicals. The World Wildlife Federation's recent "Generations X" biomonitoring campaign sends samples of blood or fatty tissue from volunteers to laboratories equipped to measure chemical traces so low they defy understanding. The tests detect traces of 30 to 80 synthetic chemicals. Using this information, the WWF argues that most chemicals should be banned or limited so much that the industry might as well close shop.

That synthetic chemicals come up in tests comes as no surprise. The traces of fire retardants (targeted by the WWF in its recent campaign) on my furniture and my television at least proves that these chemicals are doing their job -- protecting me. But WWF fails to provide the necessary information for the public to make a balanced judgment. Worse, a cardinal rule of toxicology is ignored: All chemicals are hazardous, depending on the dose. Drinking six pints of water quickly will kill the average adult from hyponatremia; an aspirin a day helps circulation but 40 stops it for good; you get the point.

So you'd need one million-fold higher amounts of brominated fire retardants than WWF found to disturb the thyroid. The group labels synthetic chemicals as carcinogens, teratogens (chemicals that damage the fetus), endocrine disrupters (which mimic estrogen), nerve toxins, or agents that induce sterility. All this is true, but only in rodents and only at doses hundreds of thousands times higher than people normally consume." (Anthony Trewavas, The Wall Street Journal)

"Clinical trials stopped early for benefit warrant skepticism from physicians" - "A review article in the November 2 issue of JAMA suggests clinicians ought to view with skepticism the results of randomized clinical trials stopped early because of apparent benefit. Victor M. Montori, M.D., M.Sc., from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, and colleagues conducted a review of the medical literature to identify randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of any intervention reported as having been stopped earlier than planned because of results favoring the experimental intervention." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"The California AG Continues His Junk Science Crusade" - "Apparently stung by the criticisms about his junk science crusade against acrylamide, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has come out swinging as only a trial lawyer turned politician can do -- by coupling a refusal to talk about the real scientific issue with a host of outright misrepresentations." (John Luik, TCS)

"Viral Theory on China Gender Gap" - "A Harvard economist finds a correlation between hepatitis B and the unusually high rate of male births." (LA Times)

"Scientists stand united against natural disasters" - "An international science body is calling for a rethink on the way science and society deals with natural disaster. The call comes hot on the tail of possibly one of the worst 12 months on record for natural disasters around the world, from floods and hurricanes to earthquakes and plagues." (EUROPA)

NYT sure is into recycling - quick turn around too! Climate Study Warns of Warming and Losses of Arctic Tundra By Andrew C. Revkin, Published: November 2, 2005 - not much difference from: New Climate Model Highlights Arctic's Vulnerability By Andrew C. Revkin, Published: October 31, 2005 (New York Times)

They pay you double for that Andy? You know, saying something twice doesn't make it any closer to the truth. The thing about atmospheric carbon dioxide increase is that it's more or less linear - Artic temperature change however, is anything but. Alaskans seem to pay close attention to temperature and suggest that warming certainly did occur with the shift in PDO phase in 1976 (you remember, the end of the cooling world thing?), with virtually nothing since. Something which would not surprise us very much since radiosonde balloon measures of the global mean lower tropospheric temperature show a distinct shift at that time. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels appear to have little to no effect that can be discerned against the huge amplitude of natural variability. How we would discern apparently very subtle effects is something of a mystery since the instrumental record (the 'blade' of the infamous 'hockey stick' graph), would appear to be wildly at odds with the proxy record.

Rank amateurs in the scare stakes, see below: "Study shows escalating climate change impacts" - "NEW YORK -The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, along with co-sponsors Swiss Re and the United Nations Development Programme, today released a study showing that climate change will significantly affect the health of humans and ecosystems and these impacts will have economic consequences. The study, entitled "Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions," surveys existing and future costs associated with climate change and the growing potential for abrupt, widespread impacts. The study reports that the insurance industry will be at the center of this issue, absorbing risk and helping society and business to adapt and reduce new risks." (Harvard Medical School)

Epstein must be getting tired, recycling tread-worn twaddle like this. Check out "From Shakespeare to Defoe: Malaria in England in the Little Ice Age" (Paul Reiter, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for a little perspective on that malaria thing.

Now this is a fanciful scare from the virtual world! "Modeling of long-term fossil fuel consumption shows 14.5 degree hike in temperature" - "LIVERMORE, Calif. – If humans continue to use fossil fuels in a business as usual manner for the next several centuries, the polar ice caps will be depleted, ocean sea levels will rise by seven meters and median air temperatures will soar 14.5 degrees warmer than current day. These are the stunning results of climate and carbon cycle model simulations conducted by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. By using a coupled climate and carbon cycle model to look at global climate and carbon cycle changes, the scientists found that the earth would warm by 8 degrees Celsius (14.5 degrees Fahrenheit) if humans use the entire planet's available fossil fuels by the year 2300." (DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

"Blair makes climate summit call" - "Technology and science will provide at least part of the solution to global warming, Tony Blair said as 20 nations held talks in London." (BBC)

"G8 seeks to heal climate change rift" - "Environment ministers from the Group of Eight industrialised nations met in London on Tuesday to discuss action to tackle climate change ahead of crucial negotiations on the future of the Kyoto protocol." (Financial Times)

"Britain calls for global approach to curb pollution" - "LONDON - Britain called on Tuesday for a broad international agreement to curb pollution amid signs that natural disasters may be linked to global warming." (Reuters)

Even the old Gloomiad's noticed: "Blair shift on global warming" - "Tony Blair last night signalled a new emphasis on ways of tackling climate change when he said "informal mechanisms" were needed to address global warming that were likely to include an increasing focus on the private sector. At the end of the first day of a two-day conference of environment ministers in London he said countries would not sacrifice economic growth for external agreements." (The Guardian)

The Guardian at last catches up with Mr. Blair (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Environmentalists tell PM: don't abandon global warming fight" - "Environmental campaigners demanded that Tony Blair clarify his comments on global warming last night after the prime minister appeared to signal a shift away from a target-based approach to cutting greenhouse gas emissions." (The Guardian)

Blair says science will solve climate change (London Independent)

"Blair seals technology consensus on climate change" - "In Short: Energy and environment ministers from the world's 20 most industrialised nations have ended a two-day conference in London by agreeing on a technology-driven approach to tackling climate change." (EurActiv)

"Leading by example" - "Tony Blair launched a new global dialogue to tackle climate change at yesterday's international ministerial meeting in London. He is good at that sort of thing - urging new initiatives on the rest of the world. Apart from anything else it distracts attention from the fact that his own record on curbing global warming in Britain is looking increasingly threadbare." (The Guardian)

"Kyoto is a far greater threat to the planet than global warming" - "I'm not a climate change denier. But its impact has been vastly exaggerated, says Myron Ebell." (The Guardian)

"Tough climate targets 'could mar progress'" - "THE government warned yesterday against too much "enthusiasm" for setting targets aimed at curbing global warming, as G8 energy and environment ministers met in London. Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett cautioned against yielding to pressure for tough timetables at this stage, saying they were "more likely to deter people" than encourage them to engage in discussions." (The Scotsman)

"Concepts for a low carbon future" - "On one side of London, the UK's environment secretary Margaret Beckett was outlining the threat of climate change to energy and environment ministers from a further 19 nations." (BBC)

Hot air trade: "European firms trade 'emission credits'" - "LONDON - Volumes in the European Union's new carbon dioxide emission trading scheme have soared with over 200 million tonnes of credits expected to change hands this year, a report from consultants Prospex said on Friday. Trade is expected to increase further next year as more companies, especially in southern and eastern Europe, enter the market." (Reuters)

What a wonderfully expensive way of achieving exactly nothing...

"The future of flying is batwing – and it's all to save the planet" - "AIRLINE passengers of the future will have to do without window seats and fly in giant “batwing” aircraft as a result of aviation industry proposals to tackle climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions from flights will continue to increase for at least another 20 years — even under the most optimistic timetable for introducing these new planes. But today the industry will present a vision for air travel of the future in which technology eventually solves the problem. The Greener by Design group, which includes Airbus, Rolls-Royce and the Department for Transport, believes that the new airliners will enter passenger service in 2025 and that, by 2055, they will make up a third of the world’s fleet, or more than 10,000 aircraft." (London Times)

"Indian businessmen set to earn $1 m through CDM" - "With Indian business houses set to earn over $1 billion through clean development mechanism (CDM) projects, the government is actively clearing them to enable the setting up of “green” projects in the country while allowing the overseas partner to earn carbon credits." (The Statesman)

"Making nuclear power more attractive" - "Increasing the safety and reliability of nuclear power as a solution for satisfying energy needs is the challenge addressed by a new initiative announced today. The £6.1 million Keeping the Nuclear Option Open programme will investigate how nuclear power can become a more appealing option for future energy production. The initiative was announced today at the launch of Imperial College London's Energy Futures Lab, which aims to play a major role in setting the energy agenda over the next 20 to 50 years." (Imperial College London)

"Nuclear power must be on agenda: govt" - "Politicians standing in the way of a nuclear power industry are guilty of "environmental vandalism", the environment minister has said. Senator Ian Campbell is representing Australia at a major environmental summit in London, comprising the G8 nations, burgeoning powers China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa plus other major nations such as Indonesia. He described it as "a turning point" in environmental history, with nations becoming increasingly urgent in attempts to curtail the starkly-evident acceleration in global warming. Prompting the urgency was the need to reduce carbon emissions while growing economies stoke up their burgeoning economies, with China alone to build 500 coal-fired power stations in the next 25 years." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"UK: Funds to promote renewable energy" - "A £30m funding package aimed at promoting renewable electricity sources and reducing carbon emissions is to be unveiled by the energy minister." (BBC)

"Enviros Need to Get With a Program" - "The Sierra Club, the country's leading grass-roots environmental organization, has spent a year trying to figure out what it thinks about liquefied natural gas, so far without success. And therein lies a parable about politics and policy that explains a lot about the current stalemate in national energy policy." (Steven Pearlstein, The Washington Post)

"Here We Go Again" - "Here we go again. Gasoline prices are dropping as usual with the end of the summer driving season. But oil companies are announcing huge quarterly profits, so the inevitable reaction has begun -- howls on Capitol Hill. Self-proclaimed friends of consumers want the profits refunded to "ease consumers' pain." They propose to do that through a "windfall profits tax," arguing that the government would make better use of the money than would the oil companies." (Jack Rafuse, TCS)

"Political 'Windfall'" - "Like bellbottoms and disco, all kinds of bad ideas from the 1970s are coming back with the surge in energy prices. Arguably the worst is a "windfall" profits tax on oil companies.

This not-so-golden oldie got a political boost last week when Exxon announced, almost apologetically, quarterly profits of nearly $10 billion -- the largest of any U.S. company in history. Apparently it's not enough that 35% of that profit will flow into the Treasury via the corporate income tax. Momentum is growing to raise $10 billion a year by slapping an extra 50% tax on all profits earned on oil above $40 a barrel.

The lead sponsors of the "windfall" levy are Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota. These two are well known foes of business for whom the phrase "windfall profits" is redundant. More surprising is that GOP leaders Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert are also calling for Congressional hearings on oil profits. Bill O'Reilly, the chief economist for Fox News, has also been drilling for "windfall" cable ratings by blaming Big Oil for making too much money.

They all need a history lesson. Back when Jimmy Carter signed the windfall profits tax during the last oil crisis, the results were the opposite of what the politicians intended. The first adverse result, as recently documented by the Congressional Research Service, was that oil companies reduced their U.S. domestic production by 1.5 million barrels a day, or by almost 6%. Exploration for new supplies slowed because the tax, by design, snatched as much as a third of the profit from these investments." (The Wall Street Journal)

November 1, 2005

CEI to Co-sponsor CSR Reconsidered 2005 - The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) would like to invite you to CSR Reconsidered 2005, a half-day conference that will bring together representatives of several organizations to offer a vision of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) based on free-market principles.

"Reagan was right about UNESCO" - "Led by France and Canada -- and strongly opposed by the United States -- an arm of the United Nations voted last week to enshrine a "right to cultural diversity" in international law. Like most UN gestures, this one is utterly incoherent, yet is clearly designed to diminish U.S. influence in the world." (Isaac Post, Ottawa Citizen)

"Miracle Cure, or Murky Research?" - "Herceptin, a therapeutic drug for breast cancer, was trumpeted across the news last week after a glowing report appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine." (Wendy McElroy, FoxNews.com)

"Contradicted and Initially Stronger Effects in Highly Cited Clinical Research" - "Context Controversy and uncertainty ensue when the results of clinical research on the effectiveness of interventions are subsequently contradicted. Controversies are most prominent when high-impact research is involved." (John P. A. Ioannidis, JAMA)

"Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" - "Summary: There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research." (John P. A. Ioannidis, PLoS)

"After wildfires, to log or not to log?" - "A report rejects US policy of logging after fires in national forests, arguing a hands-off approach yields better results." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Better results for what though? If you want timber and don't want to cut growing trees then fire salvage is for you. If your bag is the world managed for critters and are unenthusiastic about resources for people, hands off is for you. If you are a tad more realistic then absolutes one way or the other are probably not the answer.

"Rainforest conservation worth the cost, University of Alberta shows" - "The economic benefits of protecting a rainforest reserve outweigh the costs of preserving it, says University of Alberta research--the first of its kind to have conducted a cost-benefit analysis on the conservation of species diversity.

"The traditional moral and aesthetic arguments have been made about why we should conserve the biodiversity in rainforests, but little has been done that looks at whether it makes pure economic sense to do so," said Dr. Robin Naidoo, who did his PhD at the U of A in biological sciences and rural economy. "We provide some good evidence from a strict economic side, that yes, it does."

Naidoo, now with the World Wildlife Fund, and Dr. Wiktor Adamowicz, from the U of A's Department of Rural Economy, examined the costs and benefits of avian biodiversity at the Mabira Forest Reserve in southern Uganda. They wanted to see if it was economically viable to protect this forest in an area where an impoverished community is heavily dependent on the region's resources. Pressure on the forest is intense--harvesting timber, making charcoal, collecting fuelwood and agricultural development compete with rainforest conservation." (University of Alberta)

Great! By charging affluent elitists enough to visit an open-air zoo/adventure playground they can meet the costs of excluding people who were reliant on extracting resources from said playground. Um... how are the now-excluded people doing? What are their prospects of climbing from subsistence to a standard of living enjoyed by gawking tourists? What are the prospects of tourists supporting the enterprise if another facet of the misanthropic natur über alles campaign succeeds and air travel is restricted? To whom, exactly, is it "worth the cost"?

"Greenpeace fined for reef damage" - "GREENPEACE was to be fined after its flagship Rainbow Warrior II damaged a coral reef in the central Philippines during a climate change awareness campaign, marine park rangers said today." (AFP)

"Scripps scientists participate in historic first surface vessel voyage across Canada Basin" - "Two ships taking part in a recently completed research voyage investigating the oceanography, marine geology, geophysics and ice cover of the Arctic Ocean have become the first surface vessels to traverse the Canada Basin, the ice-covered sea between Alaska and the North Pole. The Swedish vessel Oden and the United States Coast Guard's Healy, both icebreaking vessels outfitted for oceanographic research, completed the historic south-to-north trek in September as part of a recently concluded expedition to explore the marine environment in this unknown region." (University of California - San Diego)

"Microfossils show promise in prospecting climate history" - "In 2004 and now in 2005, the hurricane seasons have been horrifyingly intense – so how bad is the long-range forecast? Based on a century of data, meteorologists currently believe that a 30-year lull in hurricane activity is over and we are at the beginning of a new multi-decade period of larger and more frequent storms. However, there is other data that suggests we may also be coming to the end of a thousand year period of greatly diminished hurricane activity, making the outlook even worse.

Or not -- Finding the answer may depend on the research of University of North Carolina at Charlotte environmental micropaleontologist Scott Hippensteel -- and on microscopic shells, barrier marshes and fiddler crabs.

The answer may be critical not just in weather forecasting, but in adjusting insurance rates, in preparing for future disasters and in guiding future environmental policy. Since climate science cannot yet accurately predict the future, the best way we can find these answers is to look at history (or "prehistory"). But how much history is there for us to look at?" (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

"Hurricanes and Global Warming: Do Not Believe the Hype" - "A series of prominent papers has been recently published claiming a link between global warming and increasing power of Atlantic hurricanes. These papers became very prominent largely because of the large number of strong hurricanes that have hit the United States in recent years. But, is global warming really the cause?" (World Climate Report)

"Greenhouse effect 'occurred' 5,000 years ago, archaeologists" - "It is common sense nowadays that excessive carbon dioxide in the air caused by excessive lumbering leads to global greenhouse effects. But a team of archaeologists from China and the United States is saying that the greenhouse effect started about 5,000 years ago, much earlier than people might expect. This is the conclusion reached by a group of Chinese and US archaeologists based on research on the relics excavated from the ruins of a Neolithic site in Rizhao City, east China's Shandong Province, over the past ten years." (Xinhua)

That virtual world again... "New Climate Model Highlights Arctic's Vulnerability" - "If emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at the current rate, there may be many centuries of warming and a near-total loss of Arctic tundra, according to a new climate study. Over all, the world would experience profound transformations, some potentially beneficial but many disruptive, and all at a pace rarely seen in nature, said the authors of the new study, which is being published on Tuesday in The Journal of Climate." (New York Times)

Hmm... ice core data from Greenland suggests the north has been at least a couple of degrees warmer than recent history for much of the current interglacial period and yet the world and denizens of the Arctic, and yes, even polar bears, are still here. While there have been obvious fluctuations in measured temperatures the relationship with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is unclear and there has been zero net increase in arctic mean annual temperature in six or seven decades, the period encompassing the majority of atmospheric carbon dioxide increment.

Another Problem With Using Surface Air Temperatures To Assess Long-Term Temperature Trends. Should Light Wind And Windy Nights Have The Same Temperature Trends At Individual Levels Even If The Boundary Layer Averaged Heat Content Change Is The Same? (Climate Science)

"Global warming — political football" - "Climate change is a political football, Dr. David Karoly told 15 environmental journalists and meteorologists from across the country participating in the National Press Foundation’s four-day “Understanding Violent Weather” program." (The Norman Transcript)

Karoly must've done a good job, this is unusually well reported.

And then there's: "Extreme weather will be 21st-century norm" - "Extreme temperatures. Drenching rain. It's all coming this century. The forecasts are being produced courtesy of what is being billed as "the most comprehensive climate model to date of the continental U.S." The climate model, a mathematical representation of reality that projects weather trends, was created by scientists at Purdue University." (Star-Ledger)

The latest from Leo, ace climate prognosticator: "Heading To The Front Line Of Climate Shifts" - "TO THE 50 percent of us on this planet who are urban dwellers, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma prove that our cities are not immune from seemingly faraway natural calamities. Clearly, the future of our urban centers and the global environment are inextricably linked. Nearly 150 million Americans live on the coasts, where rapid development has overwhelmed wetlands and other natural protections against tidal storm surge, leaving cities and towns more vulnerable to storms and natural disasters than ever. The scientific consensus is that global warming is causing sea levels to rise, increasing erosion, storm surges and flooding." (Leonardo DiCaprio & Matt Petersen, Daily News)

His Right Royal Hypocrite, the Prince of Wails (EnviroSpin Watch)

"FEATURE-Business faces pressure on climate change stance" - "LONDON, Nov 1 - Businesses are feeling the heat as the world warms up and investors demand to know what companies are doing to curb greenhouse gases -- adding a new element to financial risk that analysts say industry can no longer ignore. In Europe, some 12,000 factories and power plants already have to audit their output of one greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), under the European Union's emissions trading scheme (ETS), which charges firms if they exceed a CO2 quota. However, investors are pushing for better public disclosure of these emissions." (Reuters)

"Climate spiral feared in northern forests" - "Loss of trees would release gases -- and kill more trees: report." (Edmonton Journal)

"California's oak woodlands face a new threat: Climate change" - "SANTA CRUZ, CA--California's iconic oak woodlands have endured many assaults over the years--they've been cut for fuel, cleared for vineyards and housing developments, and their seedlings face intense grazing pressure and competition from invasive grasses. But the future will bring a new threat--climate change--which could drastically reduce the areas in which oaks can grow." (University of California - Santa Cruz)

"New push to create climate consensus" - "Ministers will today seek progress on a credible energy and environment policy to replace the Kyoto agreement on climate change. Representatives of more than 20 governments will meet in London to examine how a new deal on global warming can be found following July's Gleneagles summit." (ePolitix)

"Britain hosts energy summit while failing to meet its emission targets" - "Energy ministers from across the world gather in London today to begin the latest chapter in the increasingly urgent international battle against climate change." (London Independent)

"Blair Gets Real on Climate Change" - "Those who advocate stringent controls on carbon emissions have the mistaken notion that we can do something substantial about global warming in the near future. Well, we can't. With a continuing rise in demand for affordable energy, the global economy would simply collapse if we were to mandate reductions in carbon emissions by a sufficient amount to have any measurable affect on future global temperatures, no matter what you believe those temperatures will be." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"Response to Tony Blair’s climate change article in the Observer" - "The Observer this week carries and article from British Prime Minister Tony Blair on climate change. Friends of the Earth welcomes the Prime Minister's continuing efforts to elevate climate change on the political agenda, but is very concerned that words are still not matched by sufficient action to deal with the threat." (FoE press release)

See: Mr. Blair, Mr. Cameron, and climate-change politics (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Six-nation climate change meeting set for mid-Jan" - "CANBERRA, Nov 1 - The world's top polluting nations will meet in Australia in mid-January to try to work out ways of curbing greenhouse emissions without hurting their economies, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said. The inaugural Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, initially expected in November, groups Australia, the United States, Japan, India, South Korea and China. The nations account for about 50 percent of global energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and their meeting would come weeks after a major climate change gathering in Canada." (Reuters)

"Calculating climate change" - "The disappearance of sea ice and the effects it has on the people of the Far North is well documented. The problem is much more complex, though. Add just one more variable, anthropological archaeologist Anne Jensen said, and watch the problems grow. Add two and the results could cost millions of dollars. All along the Arctic Ocean coast, the combination of disappearing sea ice, increased storm activity and intensity, and melting permafrost is causing real and immediate problems. It is dramatic evidence of climate change, she said." (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Has The 2005 National Research Council Report “Radiative Forcing Of Climate Change: Expanding The Concept And Addressing Uncertainties” Been Reported In The Media? (Climate Science)

"Scientists gain new insights into 'frozen' methane beneath ocean floor" - "VICTORIA, British Columbia, Canada--An international team of scientists supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) has completed a unique research expedition aimed at recovering samples of gas hydrate, an ice-like substance hidden beneath the seafloor off Canada's western coast. Gas hydrate, a mixture of water and mostly methane, is believed to occur under the world's oceans in great abundance, but it quickly "melts" once removed from the high pressure and cold temperatures of its natural environment, making it very challenging to recover and analyze." (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International)

"Report slams World Bank role in clean energy" - "WASHINGTON, Oct 31 - The World Bank is lagging behind global efforts to promote clean energy instead of leading them and rarely considers climate change strategies when lending for projects in developing countries, a new report said on Monday. The report by environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth, urged the bank to rethink its role in promoting clean energy, amid booming energy demand in fast-growing developing nations." (Reuters)

"German Conservatives Soften Line on Nuclear Power" - "BERLIN - Germany's conservatives no longer regard extending the lifespan of the country's 17 nuclear power stations as a pre-condition for a power-sharing deal with the Social Democrats (SPD), a conservative paper showed on Monday." (Reuters)

"Edible rice vaccine possible for allergies" - "TOKYO, Oct. 31 -- Japanese scientists say an edible pollen-allergy vaccine based on genetically modified rice might lead to safer and cheaper allergy treatments." (UPI)