Junk science?     Junkman?       Feedback       E-mail List        Archives & Links

Archives - October 2005

October 31, 2005

"Gas price madness" - "The gas price roller-coaster is proving to be a little too much for some to handle." (Steven Milloy, The Washington Times)

"Fighting Malaria" - "The Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now coalition develops the battle plan to stop the scourge of malaria which claims millions of lives every year. The plan is simple: Kill the mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite before they kill you." (AFM)

"Malaria, poverty a fatal pair for African children" - "Though malaria can be easily treated, many Africans can't afford that treatment." (Austin American-Statesman)

"Bill Gates gives $258m to world battle against malaria" - "Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates last night gave $258m (£145m) to the fight against malaria, branding the rich world's efforts in tackling the disease "a disgrace". The grant is equivalent to more than three-quarters of global spending on research into the disease last year, according to a report published simultaneously by the Malaria Research and Development Alliance. Malaria causes an estimated 500m bouts of illness a year, kills an African child every 30 seconds, and costs an estimated $12bn a year in lost income." (The Guardian)

"Drugs watchdog linked to pesticide company" - "Britain’s top drugs safety watchdog has been forced to declare an interest in one of the world’s largest pesticide companies, following an investigation by the Sunday Herald. Sir Alasdair Breckenridge, the chairman of the UK government’s Medicines and Health Care products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), decided late last week to formally register his involvement with Swiss agrochemical giant, Syngenta. This was despite previously saying that there was no need to declare his interest. He changed his mind only after responding to a series of allegations about potential conflicts of interest. The Sunday Herald can reveal that Breckenridge has been chairman of Syngenta’s ethics committee for the last five years. The committee is responsible for approving company arrangements for testing toxic pesticides on human volunteers, a controversial and secretive practice. The revelation has prompted fierce criticism from health and pesticides campaigners." (Sunday Herald)

Ponder that last sentence for a moment. Arguably the greatest health advance in human history has been the advent of cheap and effective pesticides. Pesticides protect our health by reducing our exposure to disease vectors and facilitate our plentiful, affordable food supply. It is doubtful, however, that the above-mentioned "health and pesticides campaigners" are campaigning for more pesticides for health.

"African Nations Pressure EU Over Chemicals Bill" - "BRUSSELS - African nations are stepping up pressure on the European Union to change draft legislation on dangerous substances, which they say would hurt their key mining industries and crimp development." (Reuters)

"Stop Labeling Lies Coalition Welcomes Efforts of the Center for Science in the Public Interest" - "WASHINGTON, DC--Oct 29, 2005 -- The following is a statement being issued by Stop Labeling Lies Coalition. The Stop Labeling Lies Coalition welcomes the efforts of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who announced this week a "Crackdown" on fraudulent labeling claims. But it is important to note that our coalition has identified a long line of offenders who exaggerate the absence of ingredients in order to mislead consumers. The Stop Labeling Lies Coalition is currently waiting for responses from five state agencies, a similar number of corporations and from the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration on complaints about false and misleading labels that confuse consumers." (MARKET WIRE)

Correspondence received: "17 bugs?" - "The Center for Biological Diversity has recently sued the US Fish and Wildlife service to answer a petition to list 17 species that exist in the Imperial Sand Dunes in Imperial County. So what you might say? The CBD successfully closed over 75 square miles of these dunes to off-highway vehicles back in 2000 because they said a small plant called the Pierson’s Milk Vetch was being killed off by off-roaders. The science was spotty to non-existent but they succeeded any way.

My group, the American Sand Association was formed in response to this action. We currently have 22,000 members. We have funded studies of the PMV since 2001. Our botanist Dr. Arthur Phillips finding conclusively find that this plant is not threatened, in fact is thriving with tens of thousands of plants counted in the open areas of the dunes. This year the BLM conducted a one million dollar study of this plant and the results are exasperating. During the BLM’s 3 month study they counted 1.8 MILLION plants and 1.3 flowering plants in the dunes. You tell me does this sound like it should be a Federally listed plant? Our petition to delist the PMV is currently under consideration by the FWS. Check out this video...

There is much more information on our website as well: www.asasand.org

This all leads up to our bugs. 17 of them. 1 (Andrews Scarab Beetle) has some small amount of science, but that is it. Zero on the others. I thought you might find our fight as frustrating as some listed on your site and perhaps can help us mainstream the fight against extreme environmentalism that uses conjecture and emotion to keep us all off our lands and believing we’re all wrong doers." (Name and contact supplied)

"The Eco-Cowboys: Big land buys signal greens are moving into ranching" - "The two environmental organizations last month completed the purchase of the two ranches, and the accompanying Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service grazing allotments, from Californian David Gelbaum for $4.5 million. In terms of acreage, it may be the largest single purchase of land by conservationists in U.S. history. In that sense, it also may mark the biggest splash for free-market environmentalism, a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is approach to conservation that is gaining converts in an arena that is otherwise marked by polarization, litigation and gridlock." (Salt Lake Tribune)

"Paul stars in case of Prescotts vs Greenpeace" - "Environmental activists who stormed the roof of the Deputy Prime Minister's home as a protest will now face his wife in court." (London Independent)

Activists think being prosecuted for their actions an "over the top response" - wonder what they'd make of some of their number being shot storming the Deputy Prime Minister's home in these somewhat more terrorist-alert times?

"Study: Arctic undergoing holistic climate-change response" - "Fairbanks, Alaska – From glaciers to caribou, rivers to roads, Arctic climate change is having a broad effect on almost every aspect of life in the North. That's the conclusion University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers and others outline in a paper to be published in the October 2005 issue of the journal "Climatic Change." (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

"Polar bears at risk, group says" - "An environmental group is pressing ahead with efforts to declare Alaska's polar bears threatened under the Endangered Species Act, with the larger agenda of forcing the Bush administration to confront global warming." (Associated Press)

However did these poor creatures survive the roughly four-fifths of the current interglacial period when temperatures were warmer and there were no luvvies suing to protect the poor beasts from warm weather?

Much in the UK press on Blair and climate. To actually understand the political reality see most especially: "Mr. Blair and climate-change politics" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Get real on climate change" - "This week is a potentially crucial week in the fight against climate change. On Tuesday, the UK hosts the first meeting under the new Gleneagles dialogue between the G8 and China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. I want to explain why this is important and why I believe the difficulties with the current climate change debate is the trouble with so much international politics: a reluctance to face up to reality and the practical action needed to tackle problems. We know climate change is a major threat. And worries over security of energy supply and rising oil prices are pushing energy policy to the top of the agenda. But we must understand that neither issue can realistically be dealt with unless the US, the EU, Russia, Japan, China and India work together." (Tony Blair, The Observer)

"PM pessimistic on climate treaty" - "The Kyoto protocol on climate change cannot work in its current form, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said. Most of the developed world - except the US - has signed up to the agreement. But Mr Blair, writing in the Observer, said cuts in greenhouse gas emissions can only be achieved by establishing an initiative that includes the US. His comments come ahead of a conference on climate change in London on Tuesday, chaired by Mr Blair." (BBC)

"Bush 'light years behind' on climate" - "President Bush is "light years" behind the rest of the world on tackling climate change, a leading environmentalist has claimed. Sir Jonathan Porritt, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, condemned the president for refusing to sign up to the Kyoto protocol." (Press Association)

Frequent visitors will have noticed that Greenland and the only really significant land borne ice shield in the northern hemisphere gets plenty of mentions in the global warming mantra - everything from looming meltdown to being the 'thermostat of the north'. They will recognise also that mainly European thermometer temperature records against which we benchmark current temperature cover basically the last century and almost nothing beyond 350 years. Given that only the Norwegian Sea (or southern Greenland Sea, if you prefer) lies between Greenland and Europe it is at least intuitively reasonable to assume that there is some similarity in temperature trends to the east and west. Greenland ice core data shows us that our benchmark period of thermometer readings is drawn form the coldest sustained period in central Greenland since the Younger Dryas event. You can see an expansion of the last ~1100 years here and recent history here.

As we have so often said, Earth appears warmer now than when it was cooler and cooler then than when it was warmer but no information currently available tells us what might be the 'correct' temperature for the planet or whether the current apparent rise is anything novel or merely a recovery from an unusually cold and harsh period within the Holocene (current interglacial). The only certainty is that we cannot twiddle a few knobs, tweak a few trace gas emissions and thermostatically control our world - the risk is as great 'doing something' as 'doing nothing', if not greater due to misdirection of societal effort and wealth.

"Australia rules out new post-Kyoto limits" - "CANBERRA - Australia said on Monday negotiating new greenhouse gas emission levels for the Kyoto Protocol is a waste of time, dampening hopes a major environment meeting in Canada will set new targets beyond 2012. Australia's Environment Minister Ian Campbell said most countries would fail to meet their Kyoto targets and trying to negotiate new limits at an upcoming meeting in Montreal would achieve nothing." (Reuters)

Sigh... cold is a danger - and it's warming's fault, apparently: "Plants and animals are in danger from behaving as if winter is already over" - "MOTHER Nature is suffering a nervous breakdown. Bizarre and wildly fluctuating weather patterns have confused - and could yet kill - plants and animals across the country. Botanists, twitchers and wildlife-watchers in Scotland say last week's record-breaking heatwave fooled numerous species into believing winter had already passed. They now fear animals and plants will perish in their tens of thousands if, as predicted by some experts, the UK suffers its coldest winter for years with temperatures as low as minus 27°C." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Heavier rainfall tied to global warming" - "Japan and other areas of East Asia can expect a heightened frequency of heavy rain, a trend that may be linked to global warming, the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a report Friday. It was the first time the agency has mentioned global warming as a possible factor in rainfall trends. According to the agency's analysis of Japan's rainfall since 1901, the first three decades of the 20th century saw an average 25.18 days per year in which rainfall of 100 millimeters or more was measured. But the number of these wet days has been 29.95 in each of the last 30 years. In addition, the first 30 years of the 20th century in Japan experienced 2.08 days of rainfall a year of at least 200 mm. The number has grown to 3.05 days a year in the last three decades." (Asahi Shimbun)

Whadda Charlie... "Prince Charles: Climate change is 'terrifying'" - "LONDON, England -- Prince Charles says he believes the pace of climate change is terrifying and people are becoming too dependent on technology. In a rare TV interview ahead of his official tour of the United States next week, Charles expressed concern that economic progress is "upsetting the whole balance of nature." "You know, if you look at the latest figures on climate change and global warming ... they're terrifying, terrifying," Charles told CBS's "60 Minutes" in the interview aired Sunday." (AP)

"Climate: Italians want to mend ways" - "Rome, October 28 - An overwhelming majority of Italians accept that human activity is causing climate change and are willing to alter their lifestyles to stop it happening, according to a new poll. Some 94.1% of Italians have no doubts that man-made pollution is the main cause of global warming, the survey by Doxa-Dnv revealed. What's more, 89.8% said they were willing to take concrete measures in their everyday lives to prevent the situation deteriorating." (ANSA)

Lest you should think that hurricanes are linked to 'global warming' (EnviroSpin Watch)

"N-power is renewable, Sainsbury tells Lords" - "Nuclear power is a renewable source of energy and new stations are needed if Britain is to make headway in cutting greenhouse gases over the next 15 years, the science minister has asserted." (Financial Times)

"German Parties Wage War Over Nuclear Power" - "BERLIN - Germany's potential government partners are bracing for a showdown over the emotive topic of nuclear power, according to various newspaper interviews released on Saturday." (Reuters)

"Blair pushes for 'eco-friendly' petrol and cleaner, greener cars" - "It smells of popcorn, can be made from chip fat, and may just help save the planet. Every motorist in Britain will shortly be filling their tanks with eco-friendly petrol under government plans to tackle climate change. The nation's cars will switch to using a mix of ordinary diesel or petrol with 'biofuel', a cleaner alternative made from plant oils, by 2010, in an attempt to reduce harmful emissions from traffic." (The Observer)

"Developers join climate of change" - "The Mayor of London has seen the city's future, and it's green. Ken Livingstone's radical energy strategy, which requires all planning applications for developments referrable to him to generate at least 10 per cent of their energy needs from renewable sources, is having a far-reaching impact on property developers as they are forced to get up to speed with wind turbines, solar panels and borehole cooling - and take the cost of installing the new technologies on the chin." (The Observer)

"Fill 'er Up with Oils Sands!" - "It was a tenet of the late great economist Julian Simon that we'll never run out of any commodity. That's because before we do the increasing scarcity of that resource will drive up the price and force us to adopt alternatives. For example, as firewood grew scarce people turned to coal, and as the whale oil supply dwindled 'twas petroleum that saved the whales." (Michael Fumento, TCS)

Ah! The left coast... "Utah coal could go begging: California's decision to shun 'dirty' power will hit entire West" - "Intent on sending a strong market signal to those who would build coal-fired power plants and sell electricity to California, that state's Public Utilities Commission says the Golden State isn't interested in pumping more global-warming related pollutants into the atmosphere. In an Oct. 6 policy statement, the commission laid out plans to impose new standards for carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions for investor-owned utilities in California, which purchases about 20 percent of its electricity from generating plants around the West, including Utah." (Salt Lake Tribune)

"China's Next Big Boom Could Be the Foul Air" - "China, it seems, has reached a tipping point familiar to many developed countries, including the United States, that have raced headlong after economic development only to look up suddenly and see the environmental carnage. The difference with China, as is so often the case, is that the potential problems are much bigger, have happened much faster and could pose greater concerns for the entire world." (New York Times)

"Study establishes link between air pollution, ischemic strokes" - "BOSTON -- The risk of ischemic stroke – which results when a blood clot travels to the brain – increases with a rise in particulate air pollution, according to a study in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the findings are described in the October 27, 2005 on-line rapid access issue of the journal." (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center)

"Nano could be a huge future health crisis" - "IT IS microscopically tiny and most agree that it could one day revolutionise medicine, manufacturing, energy production and life in the 21st century. But the ultra-fine particles created for cosmetic, industrial and high-technology uses could prove to be as deadly in future as asbestos is today, according to groups calling for a moratorium on "nanotechnology." (The Age)

"Scientists aim to beat flu with genetically modified chickens" - "THE long-term threat of an avian flu pandemic could be greatly reduced by a project to produce genetically modified chickens that can resist lethal strains of the virus." (Mark Henderson, London Times)

"DNA Could Speed Flu Vaccines" - "SAN FRANCISCO -- The flu vaccine-making system that serves as the best available protection against a pandemic relies on millions of chicken eggs, takes nine months to produce each year's flu shots and has changed little since the 18th century. This creaky system poses a big problem if a new, deadly strain emerges once the annual and inflexible production process begins. Several biotechnology companies are at work on a new and quicker way of making a flu vaccine they hope can replace one that requires people to be inoculated with the entire influenza virus. Their technique: extract just a few genes from the virus and inject it into people." (Associated Press)

?!! "Sustainable agriculture: Canadian institute offers definition, recommends path" - "A landmark discussion paper, published by the Agricultural Institute of Canada, proposes that the GST or some other levy be applied to groceries to help achieve sustainable agriculture and staunch a potentially disastrous collapse of smaller sized farms. The paper (online at www.aic.ca/issues/AIC_discussion_paper_Final_ENG.pdf), commissioned by Canada's foremost agricultural institute to help catalyze a national roadmap to sustainable agriculture, also calls for governments to use immigration policies to bolster declining rural farming communities." (Agricultural Institute of Canada)

If smaller sized farms are sustainable, why do they need a levy to, uh, sustain them?

"GM soy affects posterity, or misuse of science?" - "Earlier this week, a Russian scientist disclosed non-peer-reviewed claims about feeding studies with genetically modified soybeans. Dr. Christopher Preston, from the University of Adelaide, Australia, exams the claims and compares them with past peer-reviewed scientific publications." (CheckBiotech.org)

"INTERVIEW - Philippines Faces Hurdles in Transgenic Rice Push" - "SINGAPORE - A plan by the Philippines to become one of the first nations to introduce genetically modified rice may be delayed by several years, despite an aggressive start." (Reuters)

October 28, 2005

Action Alert from the American Policy Center: Strike a Blow for Free Enterprise! - Max Keiser is a new kind of terrorist. He uses the Internet and boycotts to manipulate stock prices. In that way, he forces corporations to comply with his brand of radical environmentalism and Sustainable Development. He puts his hands around corporate throats and squeezes. Max Keiser and his ilk hate business and they hate free enterprise and are using these tactics to redistribute wealth and cause chaos in the market place.

"DDT Is Only Real Weapon to Combat Malaria" - "During the few minutes you spend reading this column, malaria will kill six Africans and sicken about 3,000 more, mostly children and pregnant women -- a rate of more than one million deaths and 500 million illnesses annually among the 2.2 billion people who live in malarial regions like Africa." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Is America's Environmental Movement Based On Hype And Fear?" - "The environmental movement has largely had one mission for more than a century, that is we must change how we treat the earth. But now one prominent environmentalist is urging those same people to change their thinking and accept that things may not be so bad." (ABC News)

"Animal rights activist: 'Kill the researchers'" - "WASHINGTON – A radical animal rights activist shocked members of the U.S. Senate this week by advocating the murder of those conducting medical research. Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that killing medical researchers was "morally justified" to save laboratory animals." (WorldNetDaily.com)

"Warning sent on Med Mal 'Report'" (.pdf) - "The Academy's Medical Malpractice subcommittee released a statement critical of a report about medical malpractice insurance written by Jay Agnoff for the Center for Justice and Democracy. The report was "incomplete, actuarially unsound, and misleading," said the subcommittee members." (American Academy of Actuaries) | Statement (.pdf)

"US House passes crackdown on 'junk' lawsuits" - "WASHINGTON, Oct 27 - The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a crackdown on frivolous lawsuits that includes mandatory penalties for those who file them. "This will make a lawyer think twice before filing a frivolous suit," said Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and sponsor of the legislation. "Today, almost any party can bring any suit in any jurisdiction," Smith said in arguing for the bill. "All they want is for the defendant to settle. This is legalized extortion." (Reuters)

"Air pollution tied to increased risk of strokes" - "NEW YORK - Increases in particles polluting the air are associated with an increase in the number of strokes caused by a blood clot in the brain -- but not the type caused by an artery rupture in the brain -- new research shows. Previous reports have shown a link between air pollution and overall risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, but the specific effect on stroke risk has not been well studied, lead author Dr. Gregory A. Wellenius, from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told Reuters Health. "Our study is the first large study in the US to address this topic," he said" (Reuters Health)

"Big bangs theory blames lava fields for mass extinctions" - "Vast sheets of prehistoric lava that oozed across the land millions of years ago were probably caused by meteorites slamming into the Earth's crust, scientists say. The lava sheets, 10 of which have been discovered around the world, coincide with mass extinctions, suggesting the huge volumes of magma caused global changes in climate that made Earth inhospitable to all but the hardiest species." (The Guardian)

"Rise seen in winter deaths toll" - "The number of winter deaths in England and Wales last year were the highest since 2000, official figures show." (BBC)

Granted, cold is not people-friendly but nothing should be read into a single year's anomalous figure.

Look out! It's a nice day! (In the UK, at least) "The hottest October 27 ever. A reason to be cheerful? Hardly" - "Sun worshippers took to Brighton beach in their hundreds yesterday, where the temperature hit 18.1C. In Kinlochewe on the far north-west coast of Scotland, it was a balmy 22.4C. Just four days before Hallowe'en, Britain was enjoying the warmest 27 October since records began in 1880. As the UK basked in the freakish heat, it seemed almost churlish to seek an explanation. But these days, in the shadow of global warming, extreme weather patterns come with a health warning attached. Why was it so warm?" (London Independent) | Others are a tad less fortunate: Winter makes its presence known early (Roanoke Times)

Funny the excitement generated by weather anomalies these days. Some people like to follow our little "real-time global thermometer" readings above and they'll know that, on a global scale, the UK's warm day went largely unnoticed. Checking the northern hemisphere summer's track leads to a feeling of inevitability about cooler days looming, no? Oh well, at least the East Anglia Daily Times did a better job with: Temperatures soar - but cold on its way (EADT)

Oh dear! Confusion reigns: "Climate change hits home" - "The good news about climate change for Northwest forests is that carbon dioxide is like a fertilizer for trees, increasing growth in some species by up to 50 percent. But then again, there's plenty of bad news. Like the fact that bark beetles reproduce more quickly and devastate huge swaths of trees. Or that forest fires will be more severe as the ecosystem dries out. Those were some of the specific, local concerns about global warming as outlined by University of Washington scientists Thursday at the Climate Change Conference in Seattle. A capacity crowd of 700 people attended the Qwest Field event hosted by King County. The unmistakable political theme running through the conference was this: The federal government isn't doing much to address climate change, so cities, counties and states should be preparing to go it alone." (Seattle Times)

Aerial fertilisation is a fact and trees can prosper from enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide might be associated with climate change. Enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide might even prove to be driving climate change to some extent. Enhanced aerial fertilisation is not climate change. Reduced local precipitation is climate change (at least locally). Enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide helps many plant varieties cope with the stress of reduce moisture availability. There is no known cause and effect relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and local drought phase. It is very common to see such non sequiturs strung together in these increasingly superstitious times.

The federal government isn't doing much to address climate change because, well, there's nothing sensible that can be done that would knowingly and predictably alter the climate - all that can be done is be ready to react to whatever does occur. The best that can be said about "cities, counties and states should be preparing to go it alone" is that at least they can do little harm beyond their local economies. What a sad commentary on our effete and tedious society.

Just getting sillier... "Climate study shows Europe risks" - "Mediterranean and mountain regions of Europe will be hardest hit by the changes set to affect the continent's natural resources this century." (BBC) | Global warming threatens drought for Mediterranean (London Independent)

Climate models are process models having about the same prognostic prowess as chicken entrails.

"Not quite as green as one could be" - "THE Prince of Wales has warned the world about the dangers of climate change and global warming, with supporters insisting that he is backing his words with deeds. But yesterday the environment world was divided about whether Prince Charles should be making such statements, given his love of petrol-guzzling cars and the number of miles he travels each year by air, often in specially chartered aircraft." (The Scotsman) | How green is Charles? (The Guardian) | Prince in row with US over climate change (London Telegraph) | One must win over the U.S. press (New York Times)

"Lawmakers move to block state emissions rule" - "HARRISBURG, Pa. — An effort by the administration of Gov. Ed Rendell to adopt tougher automobile emission standards has sparked fast-moving legislation that would block such a move." (Associated Press)

Well now we'll be saved... "DiCaprio Takes Global Warming Warning To TV" - "LEONARDO DiCAPRIO joined environmentalists to give Americans a pre-Hallowe'en scare on OPRAH WINFREY's chat show in the US yesterday (27OCT05), when he warned about the dangers of global warming." (Contactmusic.com)

"Japan's average temperature expected to rise 2-3 C in next 100 years" - "The average temperature in Japan is expected to rise by 2-3 degrees Celsius (3.6-5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) within the next 100 years, Japan's Meteorological Agency said in a report Friday." (AP)

"Japan wants all nations in post-Kyoto deal" - "TOKYO - Japan, whose former capital gave its name to the Kyoto Protocol, wants all nations -- including the United States and especially China -- to be bound by the next framework aimed at fighting global warming, Environment Minister Yuriko Koike said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Officials contradict minister on global warming" - "FEDERAL Environment Minister Ian Campbell's view that global warming presents a "serious threat to Australia" is at odds with the stance taken by his own bureaucrats, who are talking down the impact of climate change in a Federal Court case." (The Australian)

"Agency cites global warming for predicted increase in rainfall" - "Japan and other areas of East Asia can expect a heightened frequency of heavy rain, a trend that may be linked to global warming, the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a report Friday. It was the first time the agency has mentioned global warming as a possible factor in rainfall trends. According to the agency's analysis of Japan's rainfall since 1901, the first three decades of the 20th century saw an average 25.18 days per year in which rainfall of 100 millimeters or more was measured. But the number of these wet days has been 29.95 in each of the last 30 years. In addition, the first 30 years of the 20th century in Japan experienced 2.08 days of rainfall a year of at least 200 mm. The number has grown to 3.05 days a year in the last three decades." (The Asahi Shimbun)

Role of Land-Surface Changes in Arctic Summer Warming (Science, published online 22 September 2005 in Science Express Reports) [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]

Perspective: Tipping Points in the Tundra (Jonathan A. Foley, Science) [Summary] [Full Text] [PDF]

"EPA Studies Ways to Cut Warming Pollution" - "WASHINGTON - Government studies released Thursday show a broad range of potential costs if the United States were to regulate carbon dioxide to curb global warming, from relatively cheap to expensive. The Environmental Protection Agency said its analyses show the superiority of President Bush's plan for cutting air pollution from the nation's 600 coal-burning power plants. But Bush's plan, which wouldn't regulate carbon dioxide at all, has been stalled in Congress since its introduction in 2002. Nonetheless, EPA compared it with current regulations as well as competing legislative proposals by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and James Jeffords, I-Vt. None of the proposals is expected to come up for consideration until next year at the earliest." (Associated Press) | E.P.A. Backs Bush Plan to Cut Air Pollution by Power Plants (New York Times)

"The EU could move unilaterally to curb airline emissions" - "International airlines may no longer get a free pass for their emissions under a proposal laid out by the European Commission." (ES&T)

"Air travel rationing in future?" - "IT MAY be a worst-case scenario, but it could take only five years before your holiday plans run into serious turbulence with current climate changes restricting the frequency of travel. That is the possibility painted by global futurist Rohit Talwar if the world does not deal with issues such as the build-up of greenhouse gases and global warming." (Today online)

"Virtue for sale: How to persuade people to go green" - "LAST month British Airways (BA) announced it would give passengers the chance to do their bit for the planet by letting them pay a few pounds extra on every ticket and use the money to offset the carbon emissions from their trip. Last week the airline admitted that, so far, hardly anybody seems interested, with fewer than 1 in 200 passengers willing to cough up. That sits oddly with people's professed anxiety in polls about climate change.

BA points out that the scheme is new. Greens accuse it of failing to do enough advertising. Economists spy an example of what they call revealed preferences—the idea that talk is cheap and actions provide the best guide to somebody's beliefs. The cost of cutting carbon emissions is immediate but benefits are deferred and thinly spread. Appeals to people's better natures tend to fall flat if they involve demands on their wallets." (The Economist)

Dan Yergin on Energy Prices and Policies (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Alternate energy not in cards at ExxonMobil" - "ExxonMobil, which stunned Americans on Thursday by reporting nearly $10 billion in profit for the third quarter, says it has no plans to invest any of those earnings in developing alternative or renewable energy — something other oil companies do. "We're an oil and gas company. In times past, when we tried to get into other businesses, we didn't do it well. We'd rather re-invest in what we know," says Exxon spokesman Dave Gardner." (USA TODAY)

"Environmentalists Make Last Stand On Alaskan Drilling" - "A coalition of environmental groups is targeting about 30 members of the House and a handful of senators in a final push to win swing votes to defeat proposed drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In a vigorous lobbying campaign, the environmentalists are trying to rally opposition in the districts of lawmakers whose votes they say are uncertain. As proposed drilling moves closer to becoming law, the environmentalists are scrambling to find enough votes to derail legislation that has seemed headed for passage. Supporters maintain they will have the votes to open the refuge." (Washington Post)

"Better to have nuclear power than a blot on the landscape" - "Romney Marsh is to be sacrificed in pursuit of renewable energy, but it does not make any sense." (The Guardian)

Simon Jenkins and wind farm vandalism: common sense at last in The Guardian (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Hydrogen researchers step on the gas" - "Despite urgency to replace fossil fuels, major scientific hurdles remain" (MSNBC)

"Biotech Insects Can Improve Health, Farming, Researchers Say" - "The following article appears in the October 2005 issue of the State Department's electronic journal Economic Perspectives. It is based on materials produced by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, including September 2004 conference papers on biotech insects. The complete issue, titled The Promise of Biotechnology, can be viewed on the USINFO Web site." (USINFO)

"UK growers impressed by Spain's GM experience" - "UK farmers are losing out by not having GM crops, claim two NFU members who have recently been on a study tour in Spain, where 11% of the country’s 550,000ha (1.36m acre) maize crop is genetically modified. “Ironically as WTO negotiations continue to bring down trade barriers, we are denied access to cropping tools that could be the key to European farming survival in the face of increasingly tough competition,” said Paul Temple, vice-chairman of the combinable crops board and a Farmers Weekly barometer farmer." (Farmers Weekly)

October 27, 2005

"Gas Price Madness" - "The gas price roller-coaster is proving to be a little too much for some to handle." (Steve Milloy, JunkScience.com)

"Sounding the Alarm With a Fuzzy Stat" - "In a report issued earlier this month, the National Academies called for the U.S. government and universities to strengthen scientific competitiveness, in part by creating tens of thousands of scholarships for scientists and engineers." (WSJ)

"Popular insecticide detected in suburban stream beds" - "For the first time, researchers have detected high concentrations of a popular insecticide in suburban stream sediments, raising concerns about its effects on aquatic life. Pyrethroids, the active ingredient used in most home and garden insecticides, have been on the market for years. Although the compounds are considered potentially less harmful to humans than other insecticides, surprisingly little information is available about their long-term impact on the environment, according to Donald Weston, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of ecotoxicology at the University of California, Berkeley." (American Chemical Society)

"The Challenges to America's Resilience" - "Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the Gulf Coast will raise the price of commodities from cosmetics to crude oil, gasoline to grain. How could one storm score a hit on every wallet in the country? And what connection is there between Katrina and a possible avian flu pandemic?

The answer is that as a society we lack sufficient resilience, the ability to prevent, recover from or adapt to adversity. In the gulf states, we permitted a situation to arise in which a huge proportion of the nation's energy-production infrastructure became concentrated in one region -- a region prone to hurricane-related catastrophes, no less. (The impacts would have been even worse, had Rita hit closer to Houston and its oil refineries.)

In both the private and public sectors, resilience is crucial. The buggy-whip manufacturers had to adapt to supplying automobile components to Henry Ford's assembly line, or die; and the federal government achieved an historic success in World War II's Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bombs that ended the war." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

According to 'peas: "Asda caught out over exploited fish" - "SHOPPERS are being sold endangered and threatened varieties of fish by nearly all major supermarkets, according to a report published today. Asda has the worst seafood policies of the nine food chains included in a study by campaign group Greenpeace into sales of fish including Atlantic cod, swordfish, Dover sole and haddock. At least 13 species sold by the US-owned chain are on the Greenpeace danger list of fish which are over-exploited or destructively caught. The Recipe for Disaster report awards the supermarket just one point out of 20 for its seafood policies." (The Scotsman)

Asda is not appeasing the 'peas? Excellent!

Right... "Wild herds may stampede across Britain under plan for huge reserves" - "About 800,000 hectares of Britain have been identified as places where traditional farming could be replaced over time by wilderness nature reserves, possibly inhabited by vanished species such as elk, moose, beaver and wild horse." (The Guardian)

Earlier this week we learned (human) populations should be stack-packed and toy-restricted:

Rising living standards are bad... "Rural homes 'the most polluting'" - "Rural homes are often twice as polluting as those in towns and cities, new figures will show. A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) study has found that high-occupancy blocks of flats are more fuel efficient. Detached houses leak heat and people can afford more gadgets, contributing to the greenhouse effect, it suggests." (BBC)

Hmm... "Home luxuries may be history within 15 years" - "IF you enjoy long hot baths while sipping chilled white wine, you may be in for a disappointment. Many of such energy-intensive luxuries could become a thing of the past by 2020, according to a report which claimed yesterday that unless action is taken to reduce greenhouse emissions, households in Britain will have to return to a back-to-basics 1940s lifestyle." (The Herald)

And now we find that's so the place can be given to, uh, critters. So, off you go then, back to the dreaded tenements so your space and desired standard of living can be given to, oh, most anything else.

"Insurers grapple with costs of weather-related damage" - "HARTFORD, Conn. -- Even before a trio of hurricanes whipsawed the Gulf Coast and Florida this year, the U.S. insurance industry was reeling from other natural disasters. Homeowner insurance premiums doubled in Texas after rising water-related mold claims in 2002, a prolonged drought in the Midwest led to rising crop insurance losses and wildfires in the West are now twice as damaging compared with those in the 1970s, according to a report commissioned by Ceres, a coalition of institutional investors and environmentalists." (AP)

"Many people moving into path of disaster" - "Specialists in weather and geophysics say too many people are moving to locations worldwide that put them at increased risk for disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides. "One of the main reasons" so many people are being hurt and killed by natural disasters today is that the "population is rapidly growing" and "more people are moving into harm's way," says Tim Kusky, a professor of natural sciences at Saint Louis University in Missouri. "In other words, more of them are moving along the coastlines, onto the slopes, and into river valleys and flood plains," said Mr. Kusky." (Joyce Howard Price, The Washington Times)

Hmm... "Lake algae confirm global warming link" - "ALGAL growth in remote Arctic lakes is confirming what ecologists suspected all along - that entire freshwater ecosystems are altering in response to climate change. Neal Michelutti and his colleagues at the University of Alberta in Edmonton collected 30-centimetre core samples from the bottom of six lakes on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. From levels of chlorophyll a in the sediment, which they measured using a technique called reflectance spectroscopy, they deduced that plant life in the lakes began to increase 150 years ago and is now growing almost exponentially year by year." (New Scientist)

I wonder why? According to CDIAC data, atmospheric CO2 was near enough still at what we might call "origin," at least for the late Holocene (<285ppmv) and therefore not a particularly good candidate for sudden stimulation of lake algal growth. Earth does appear to have had at least two warming periods in the last century and a half, each of about three decades duration and each greater in amplitude than the preceding three decades of nothing or even mild cooling. In fact, since the end of the Little Ice Age C1880, Earth's temperature seems to be oscillating on roughly a 30-year cycle and atmospheric CO2 would appear an independent variable. Curious.

"Tropical cloud 'dust' could hold the key to climate change" - "Scientists at the University of Manchester will set off for Australia this week to undertake an in-depth study of tropical clouds and the particles sucked up into them to gain further insight into climate change and the depletion of the ozone layer." (University of Manchester)

"A rapid warm-up for the Northwest" - "Climate change conferences are convening in Seattle and British Columbia this week." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Canada gets hotter: Who says the environment can't change for the best?" - "WARM ME UP, SCOTTY

You think Toronto has a waterfront problem now? What happens in a few decades when the rim around Lake Ontario becomes the best suntanning beach in the world? Daniel Scott holds the Canada research chair in global change and tourism at the University of Waterloo. He doesn't use the term "futurist" when describing what he does ? instead, he is a researcher and professor at the university who focuses on the future. What the sophisticated climate models and data from weather stations around the world tell him might come as a surprise. "I'll use the time frame of 50 years," Scott says. "From the evidence we have so far, I would think Canada's tourism will benefit from global climate change." (Toronto Star)

"Global warming: help or hindrance?" - "Global warming, which according to a warning this week is making the world's poor even worse off, is also creating fresh wealth." (BBC)

Back to basics: "Tackling climate change" (EnviroSpin watch)

"Quebec's frustration over Kyoto compliance fuels personal attack on Dion" - "OTTAWA - A long-simmering dispute over how to share the costs of Kyoto compliance burst into the open Wednesday, with Quebec Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair saying Quebec won't pay for cutting emissions in Alberta. Stephane Dion, the federal environment minister, insisted that negotiations on how to implement the climate treaty are going well, but Mulcair said they are totally blocked." (CP)

"EU lawmakers back cutting greenhouse gases in cars" - "STRASBOURG, FRANCE - The European Parliament on Wednesday backed revised proposals to clamp down on environmentally harmful fluorinated gases in items as diverse as shoes and cars." (Reuters)

Now we know it's alright: "Prince's plea over climate change" - "Prince Charles says climate change should be seen as the 'greatest challenge to face man' and treated as a much bigger priority in the UK." (BBC)

"Marine park useless if greenhouse grief continues" - "Efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef by developing a marine park around it could come to nothing if the Australian Government doesn't also help protect it from greenhouse gases, according to a prominent biologist visiting Australia this week. Dr Thomas Lovejoy, who brought the problems of tropical forests to public attention in the 1980s and coined the term "biodiversity", has now turned his sights on the threat posed to sea life and coral reefs from rising acidity levels in oceans." (Sydney Morning Herald)

He's been reading Flannery: "Australia: Minister warms to greenhouse theory" - "AUSTRALIANS must accept that humans contribute to global warming and adapt their behaviour to save the planet, a senior Federal Government minister said." (The Australian) | This one with a purdy picture:Debate over, it's time to save the planet (The Australian)

More ferals: "Carr takes up lobbyist role" - "FORMER NSW premier Bob Carr will chair an advisory council for the newly formed Climate Institute, which has been established with a $10 million grant from a philanthropic group, the Poola Charitable Foundation." (AAP)

"Howard slams Carr over Kyoto" - "PRIME Minister John Howard has rejected a call by former New South Wales premier Bob Carr for the Federal Government to sign the Kyoto Protocol saying it would cost Australian jobs. Mr Carr is chairman of the advisory council of the new Climate Institute, which will lobby governments to take drastic action to address climate change. Mr Howard said the Government would be selling out the interests of Australian industry and jobs if it signed the climate change protocol in its current form." (AAP)

"Statoil CEO Lund sees UK-Norway collaboration on carbon dioxide capture" - "OSLO - Statoil ASA chief executive Helge Lund sees a potential for collaboration between the oil and gas industries in Norway and Britain in using carbon dioxide for improved oil recovery (IOR)." (AFX)

"Wilson attacks Executive's 'stone age tactic'" - "FORMER UK energy minister Brian Wilson yesterday opened a conference on the energy needs of the Scottish economy with a scathing attack on the Executive's "stone age" attitude to nuclear power. In a strongly-worded speech, Wilson poured scorn on the Labour-Liberal Democrat policy of delaying renewal of Scotland's nuclear power capacity until the issue of waste had been resolved: "Frankly it is not a policy, it is a tactic. Dealing with the waste issue can be postponed indefinitely to ensure the precondition is never met. It's a game that should now come to an end." (The Scotsman)

"Modifications render carbon nanotubes nontoxic" - "HOUSTON, Oct. 26, 2005 -- In follow-on work to last year's groundbreaking toxicological study on water-soluble buckyballs, researchers at Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) find that water-soluble carbon nanotubes are significantly less toxic to begin with. Moreover, the research finds that nanotubes, like buckyballs, can be rendered nontoxic with minor chemical modifications." (Rice University)

Hmm... "Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists’ studies" - "On October 10, during the symposium over genetic modification, organized by the National Association for Genetic Security (NAGS), Doctor of Biology Irina Ermakova made public the results of the research led by her at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). This is the first research that determined clear dependence between eating genetically modified soy and the posterity of living creatures." (REGNUM News Agency) | People eating genetically modified food may have rat-short lifespan (Pravda.ru)

October 26, 2005

"Where the Money Goes" - "The $1.6 trillion nonprofit sector behaves (and misbehaves) more and more like big business." (Newsweek)

"Alarm over bird flu has focused attention on preparing for a human version" - "HOWEVER much fear there is over bird flu spreading in Asia and Europe, at present the disease tends to make birds sick and not humans. This may change, and some countries are preparing for a pandemic of human influenza. This is wise, given the huge costs of having a significant fraction of the workforce off sick or nursing relatives. But the best way of preventing a human pandemic might be to monitor and limit the spread of bird flu." (The Economist)

"Even low levels of common toxins may be a danger" - "NEW YORK - There is no clearly safe level of exposure to four of the most common environmental toxins in the world, and more should be done to protect the public, researchers argue in a new report. The toxins in question -- lead, radon, tobacco smoke and byproducts of drinking-water disinfection -- are ubiquitous, and there is growing evidence that even low-level exposure can have health consequences, according to the report, published in the medical journal PloS Medicine. "Emerging evidence indicates that exposures must be virtually eliminated to protect human health," conclude Dr. Donald Wigle, of the University of Ottawa in Canada, and Dr. Bruce Lanphear, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio." (Reuters Health)

Despite all these "subtle" (imaginary?) effects from ubiquitous "no known safe level" alleged "toxins" human life spans are still increasing - curious.

"Pending animal measure threatens U.S. research, AAAS says in letter to Congressional committee" - "A measure designed to restrict colleges, universities and research institutions from purchasing laboratory animals from some suppliers could have a "very serious" impact on health and agricultural research and on the U.S. economy, AAAS said Tuesday in a letter to Congress." (AAAS)

"Heavy rains can make more dust in Earth's driest spots" - "Typically we think of rainfall as cleaning the air by removing dust as it falls through the atmosphere and helping plants grow that protect and hold the soil. But a new NASA-funded study looking at some of the world's dustiest areas shows that heavy downpours can eventually lead to more dust being released into the atmosphere." (NASA/GSFC)

"Radiative effect of surface albedo change from biomass burning" - "Abstract: The radiative impact of burn scars from biomass is investigated. Changes in surface albedo derived from satellite observations over the African continent are used as a first order indication of this impact. Because the direct radiative effect of aerosols from biomass burning is dependent on the underlying surface albedo, we investigate the interaction of the direct radiative effect due to biomass burning aerosols with the change in surface reflection due to the burn scars. The radiative effect of reduced surface albedo from burn scars is estimated to be close to 0.1 Wm−2 over a region covering the African continent." (AGU)

"Lawmaker hurricane talks turn turbulent" - "WASHINGTON - A congressional briefing on global warming and hurricanes by scientists from Georgia Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came to a stormy end Tuesday when a Senate staff member charged that their presentation was "one-sided." "You people are espousing minority views that a vast majority of scientists dispute," John Shanahan, an aide to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told scientists Judith Curry of Georgia Tech and Kerry Emanuel of MIT. He then accused the American Meterological Society, which sponsored the briefing, of rigging it to exclude climate-change skeptics." (Cox News Service)

"Global-Warming Skeptics Under Fire" - "Two global-warming skeptics who questioned an influential climate study and prompted a congressional inquiry are now facing critics of their own, as a pair of new research papers take issue with their results. The new findings are the latest round in a politically charged dispute over the "hockey stick," a widely publicized graphic showing that temperatures during the late 20th century were likely higher than at any time in the past 1,000 years. The hockey stick, so-called because global temperatures show a sharp blade-like rise in recent decades, was prominently featured in a 2001 United Nations report that said the burning of fossil fuels is the cause of global warming. A dispute erupted earlier this year when oil and minerals consultant Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick, both Canadians, published a scientific study detailing possible mathematical errors in the hockey-stick result." (The Wall Street Journal)

Steve McIntyre writes at Climate Audit: VZ and Huybers Comment and Reply: The von Storch and Zorita Comment and the Huybers Comment, together with our replies, were published by GRL this week. I previously posted up on VZ here and on Huybers here, here and here and have nothing to add at this time. Original copies of VZ is here; our Reply is here; Huybers’ comment is here (http://web.mit.edu/~phuybers/www/Hockey/Huybers_Comment.pdf ?) and our Reply here. All rights reserved to AGU and not to reproduced without permission. VZ issued a press statement here. ...

"Climatologist Explains A Different Viewpoint" - "BRIDGEWATER — Ironically, the man who’s out to debunk the theory of global warming is also doing his part to prevent it. Patrick Michaels, climatologist for the University of Virginia, spoke on Tuesday night at Bridgewater College. He said that whenever he can, he drives his Honda Insight, a specialty car that gets about 60 miles to a gallon of gasoline. Michaels said consumer choices like these can help reduce the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. However, he said these very greenhouse gases have little effect on "global warming" — a phenomenon often blamed for an especially intense hurricane season this year. Michaels, the author of "The Satanic Gases," "Meltdown" and other books on global warming, conceded that the Earth is warming due to human activity. But the effects are far less dire than scientists predict, he said. And efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions will have less of an effect on the earth’s temperature than most scientific models show." (Daily News Record)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

More Evidence That Rising CO 2 Concentrations May Be Causing "Biological Spring" to Occur Days Earlier Than in Decades Past: Climate alarmists would have one believe that only rising temperatures could cause the annual commencement of plant photosynthetic activity (and the animal activity that accompanies it) to begin increasingly earlier with each passing year.  However, two new studies add to the evidence that direct physiological effects of atmospheric CO 2 enrichment may play a role in this phenomenon as well.

Subject Index Summaries:
Little Ice Age (Regional - Asia: India/Pakistan): What do proxy temperature data from the India/Pakistan region of Asia tell us about the climate-alarmist claim that the Little Ice Age was only a North Atlantic phenomenon?

Coral Reefs (Calcification): Will rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations consign corals to the ash heap of history by destroying their ability to construct calcareous skeletons?

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: Japanese Red Pine, Rice (two separate studies), and Spring Wheat.

Journal Reviews:
Oceanic Transport of Heat: Deep vs. Shallow Circulation: Which predominates?  And why is the answer important?

The Canadian Arctic's Recovery from the Little Ice Age: It's still a work in progress, having only just begun.

Climate Change in Svalbard: Riding the Rollercoaster: Do the temperature and glacial histories of Svalbard look anything like what climate models suggest they should in light of the historical rise in the air's CO 2 concentration?

Soybean Pod Yield: Positive CO 2 Effect vs. Negative O 3 Effect: Which is most powerful?

Health Implications of Asian Dust Storms for People of Taiwan: What are they?  And what does the atmosphere's CO 2 concentration have to do with them? (co2science.org)

"Reduced CO2 emissions coming" - "Environmental groups are eagerly awaiting the release of proposed rules that cut power plant emissions in New York and eight other Northeastern states by 10 percent by 2020, a move advocates say could be an important example for the rest of the U.S. and other nations concerned about global warming. The heads of environmental and public utility agencies in the nine states will hold a conference call on Friday to determine whether they are all on board with the recommendation and details. If they are and if the governors in those states agree, each state would begin the process of making the recommendations law." (The Journal News)

"Japan: New carbon tax plan limits levy - Ministry excludes several fuels due to high price of oil" - "The Environment Ministry on Tuesday released a revised version of its carbon tax plan, aimed at discouraging fossil fuel use so Japan can fulfill its Kyoto Protocol obligation to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. The ministry had submitted an environment tax proposal last year to the Tax Commission but discussion was postponed mainly due to strong opposition from the business community. What differentiates the new proposal from the previous one is the levy would not be imposed on gasoline, light oil and jet fuel for the time being, given the current high price of crude oil, according to the ministry." (Japan Times) | 370 billion yen tax hike to chill global warming (The Asahi Shimbun)

"Nuclear energy: Phantom menace?" - "If climate change is the greatest threat facing mankind, then why hasn’t Kyoto ‘gone nuclear’, argues Chris Horner." (EUPolitix)

Swedish pro-nuke sentiment: "Restart Barsebäck 1 and 2!" - "On 31 May of this year, 2005, scandalously, disastrously and unlawfully also the second of the two highly modern and excellently well-functioning nuclear power reactors in Barsebäck in southern Sweden was shut down, by a government decision. Still today, both Barsebäck 1 and Barsebäck 2 remain out of commission.

This is a madness technically, industrially and economically. It contributes towards increasing further the unemployment in this country. It means that the electricity provisioning now cannot even be maintained if there is a somewhat cold winter. It also goes straight against what it is well-known that at least 80-90% of all people living in Sweden wish, and straight against the vocal protests of many, among others those of the people working in many electricity-intensive industries in the whole country. Their workplaces in particular are being acutely threatened by the electricity price rises.

Both Barsebäck 2 and also Barsebäck 1, which was likewise scandalously shut down in 1999, must be restarted!" (Statement by the Committee Save Barsebäck)

"Task force urges £20m grants for green fuel boilers" - "Boilers that burn wood, straw and sewage sludge instead of coal, oil and gas could reduce Britain's carbon dioxide emissions by 3m tonnes a year, experts said yesterday. The government's biomass taskforce criticised ministers' approach to the technology and, in a new report, urged them to release up to £20m a year as grants to help schools, hospitals, local authorities and companies pay for boilers and combined heat and power plants that run on green fuels." (The Guardian)

"Biomass energy report criticised" - "Biomass, which sees crops grown for use as environmentally friendly fuels, should be used to generate heat, a year-long task force study concluded. But critics say the recommendations do not go far enough as energy suppliers are not required to source a percentage of heating fuel from renewable sources." (BBC)

"A banana bank is safeguarding the future of the crop" - "BANANAS, like their cousins, the tropical staples cassava and taro, have a characteristic that makes them ideal food. They have no seeds. Unfortunately, the same characteristic means that it is fiendishly difficult to breed better bananas. This is an important task, as bananas are threatened by new kinds of pests and diseases. Furthermore, because bananas are clones, whole plantations could be devastated by such an attack." (The Economist)

"Measure to ban genetically altered crops splits voters - Farmers, ranchers and grape growers have a lot at stake" - "From one end of Sonoma County to the other, Measure M -- a ballot measure to ban genetically engineered crops for 10 years -- is deeply dividing farmers and ranchers whose agriculture production is valued at more than $525 million a year. If voters approve the measure Nov. 8, Sonoma County would become the fourth county in California, after Marin, Mendocino and Trinity counties, to outlaw the use of genetically altered seeds and other organisms." (SF Chronicle)

October 25, 2005

"World Bank President Invited to Speak at Alternative Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility" - "WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 -- World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz was today invited to speak at the CSR Reconsidered 2005 Conference, sponsored by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Free Enterprise Education Institute, and the National Legal and Policy Center. The CSR Reconsidered 2005 Conference will be held Wednesday, November 2 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, in Washington, DC from 9am to 12pm. Mr. Wolfowitz is scheduled to speak at the Business for Social Responsibility 2005 Conference later that same day." (U.S. Newswire)

"Malaria gene 'defends mosquitoes'" - "A gene may explain why mosquitoes do not develop malaria even though they carry the disease, say US scientists." (BBC)

"Terror laws will apply to animal rights lobby" - "ANIMAL rights activists who glorify militant acts against economic targets and laboratories are to face prosecution under terror laws aimed at al-Qaeda supporters. The move, confirmed last night by Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, means that extremists convicted under the new legislation could be jailed for seven years and suspects held without charge for up to three months." (London Times)

"New discovery: If it weren't for this enzyme, decomposing pesticide would take millennia" - "CHAPEL HILL – An enzyme inside a bacterium that grows in the soil of potato fields can -- in a split second -- break down residues of a common powerful pesticide used for killing worms on potatoes, researchers have found. That may be expensive for farmers but lucky for the environment because University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists have now discovered that if that particular enzyme weren't there, it would take 10,000 years for just half of the widely used pesticide to decompose. And the chemical would remain in the soil of the potato fields where it is now used in colossal amounts, contaminating groundwater and posing a threat to human and animal health." (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

"Canada: environmental bad boy" - "'Sluggish, asleep at the wheel, haywire and incontinent.' A leading green country a decade ago is found severely wanting in a new report, writes Anne McIlroy." (The Guardian)

"Air pollution taking a heavy toll in China, experts say" - "BEIJING - A toxic cloud of smog over China's cities caused by exhaust from millions of new cars and belching coal-fired power plants is exacting a major public health toll, experts said Monday. "About one-fifth of urban Chinese now breathe heavily polluted air," said Zhang Lijun, vice minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration." (Knight Ridder)

Here they go, again: "No Escape: Thaw Gains Momentum" - "Many scientists have concluded that the momentum behind human-caused warming, combined with the region's tendency to amplify change, has put the familiar Arctic past the point of no return." (New York Times)

Well, they're persistent, at least. Whether we are seeing anything new, however, is conjectural because the Arctic was certainly as warm about seven decades ago. Same story for the High Arctic and Central Greenland. There appears to have been a phase shift prior to 1920 associated with some relatively impressive warming and the suggestion that warming was underway even before that. In the time that Arctic temperatures rose so dramatically global atmospheric carbon dioxide rose about 10ppmv and during the subsequent Arctic cooling global atmospheric carbon dioxide also rose about 10ppmv. That's one weird cause and effect relationship.

"EUROPE: New Satellite for Measuring Polar Ice Melt" - "PARIS - The failed launch of the European CryoSat II satellite earlier this month is an incalculable loss for climate change research, which requires the latest information about the melting of the polar ice caps caused by global warming, said scientists interviewed by Tierramérica." (IPS)

"Alaska: unsettling hot times" - "ANCHORAGE – Alaska simmered through one of its warmest summers ever in 2005, according to new data issued last week. Above-average temperatures at 20 main weather stations may have furthered the case for global warming, while the state saw forest fires, seabird die-offs, strange monstrous fish and pretty good gardening. Wildfires burned an area larger than the state of Hawaii, many triggered by some of the 100,000 lightning strikes, double the seasonal average." (Anchorage Daily News)

Can Regional Models Be Used To Obtain Skillful Higher Spatial Resolution Climate Forecasts Decades Into The Future? (Climate Science)

"Japan: Government wants to levy 2,400 yen per ton of carbon as environmental tax" - "The Environment Ministry proposes levying an environmental tax of 2,400 yen per ton of carbon contained in fossil fuels, excluding gasoline and diesel, beginning fiscal 2006 in a proposal unveiled Tuesday. The tax would generate 350 billion yen annually to help implement anti-global warming measures outlined in the Kyoto Protocol." (Kyodo)

"Europe adopts free-market strategy on global warming" - "ROME - Seven months after the Kyoto global warming accord took effect, Europeans are transforming their economies to meet the treaty's requirement of curbs in greenhouse gas emissions. And central to that effort is an American-backed, free-market approach that Europe initially resisted: Buying and selling the right to pollute." (Knight Ridder)

"EU must do more to fight climate change -Dimas" - "BRUSSELS, Oct 24 - The European Union must do more to fight climate change and meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol international environmental treaty, the bloc's environment commissioner said on Monday." (Reuters)

"CLIMATE CHANGE: Cut More Emissions, Build a Stronger EU - Activists" - "BRUSSELS - As the European Union launched a new programme to investigate ways to curb its greenhouse emissions, environment groups stressed that the bloc could do more to address the challenges of climate change and reap economic and social benefits at the same time." (IPS)

"Almost A Third Of CO2 From Housing - Defra" - "The result of a project Defra commissioned to develop experimental statistics of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for all UK local authorities for 2003 have been published, and show that almost a third of CO2 now comes from housing. Defra say the results should be treated with caution, as they are experimental statistics under development and there are known limitations in the estimates." (Green Building Press)

Miffed moonbat: "The chief scientific adviser has become a government spin doctor" - "The man who told the truth about climate change is now selling nuclear power for his political masters." (George Monbiot, The Guardian) | Chief scientist backs nuclear power revival (The Guardian, Oct 21)

Hey George! Why don't you give the Met Office a call? Some of the nice people at the Hadley Centre can tell you about their nifty Central England Temperature record dating from 1659. They might even tell you about the period 1695 through 1733, when annual mean temperatures rose from 7.25 °C to 10.47 °C (Whoa! +3.22 °C in less than 40 years - just imagine the pandemonium if that happened today!). Who knows? They might even point out that the recent chart-toppers of 10.63 °C of 1990 and 1999 are a scant 0.16 °C higher than that wonderful soft time more than two and a half centuries ago. If they're really patient they might even try to tell you how that rise occurred in the absence of any known rise in greenhouse gases and that people, crops and wildlife all thrived in that less-cold era. They'd likely even agree with you that "global warming" and "enhanced greenhouse" are no reasons to switch to nuclear power (because carbon dioxide is not the enemy but that's beside the point) but you'd probably think that's just political spin.

"Toyota Gets Bitten by Environmental Group" - "NEW YORK -- Toyota has been pushing a green image with its Hybrid-Synergy drive ad effort, but the company is now getting heat from a division of Friends of the Earth for opposing emissions standards in California. Bluewater Network, San Francisco, will launch print and Internet ads in Mother Jones, and then in The New York Times, suggesting the company's greening is mostly PR. Specifically, the group is criticizing Toyota for suing to overturn California's new regulations to reduce smog and global warming pollution from vehicles. California's efforts counter the loosening of federal CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) fuel mileage standards recently. The group is also spotlighting Toyota for actually having worse fuel mileage this year than in 1990, hybrid cars and trucks notwithstanding." (BrandWeek)

"Closemouthed on the conservation wave" - "For years, politicians and environmental groups have been pushing for new laws to encourage conservation. Measures such as higher fuel economy standards, tax credits for alternative fuels, and an increase in the gasoline tax are designed to get people to conserve gas, pollute less, take public transportation, and buy more fuel-efficient cars. And by cutting down on the use of fossil fuels, many say, such measures would combat global warming." (Patrick Chisholm, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Rice-producing nations stress importance of developing new crop varieties" - "Bali, Indonesia – The world's major rice-producing countries – including the two most populous nations, China and India – have emphasized the importance of continuing to develop new rice varieties to guarantee Asia's food security and support the region's economic development. Rice helps feed almost half Earth's population on a daily basis, and just as important provides vital employment and income for billions of poor people, most of them in Asia. But, at a recent meeting in Indonesia of the region's main rice-producing nations, the challenges facing rice production were highlighted and discussed with a focus on finding solutions through science and technology." (International Rice Research Institute)

"EU ministers clash over modified Monsanto maize" - "LUXEMBOURG - EU agriculture ministers clashed on Monday over approving two genetically modified (GMO) maize types, failing to agree over allowing imports and again revealing their differences over biotech foods, officials said." (Reuters)

"Report cites global benefits from move to biotech crops" - "At about the same time world farmers were harvesting the one billionth acre of biotech crops, a British research firm was releasing a study showing that since their introduction in 1996, genetically modified varieties have meant an extra $27.5 billion in farm income. And the report, offering the first quantifiable global look at the impact of biotech crop production, noted significant environmental benefits: a 6 percent reduction in the volume of pesticide use, reduced fuel use as a result of more minimum tillage, and a decline in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture." (Delta Farm Press)

October 24, 2005

Oh dear! The Old Gray Lady's editorial scribes sure have a bee in their collective bonnet: "Gas Taxes: Lesser Evil, Greater Good" - "There's no serious disagreement that two major crises of our time are terrorism and global warming." (New York Times)

Yet again NYT has made sweeping statements regarding the 'crisis' of global warming and claims this is unequivocally due to carbon dioxide emission (principally from fossil fuel use). Well, perhaps we should metaphorically check under the hood and kick the tires of their claims. The NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) makes global mean temperature data available and CDIAC (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center) stores CO2 data and we've plotted these together here. Absolute temperatures plotted with a narrow amplitude make the situation about as clear as mud so perhaps we should check the anomaly plot. Hmm... pretty hard to see any cause and effect relationship from those but, well, NCDC is an American data repository - maybe if we look at a cooperative effort between the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit here - no, still no joy. Even the Goddard Institute for Space Studies GISTEMP plot fails to support their case.

NYT's had rather a lot to say about greenhouse and Arctic meltdown too, so how well does the region of super dry, super cold atmosphere track atmospheric carbon dioxide? After all, polar regions are where this is supposed to be obvious - except neither the Arctic, nor the Antarctic plot as models insist they must with warming predating significant change in atmospheric CO2. Same story for the High Arctic and Central Greenland. With a short record the Antarctic Peninsula appears to be behaving according to Hoyle but the rest of the Antarctic record suggests this is merely coincidental. On planetary timescales these records are miniscule, one of the longest we have being the Central England Temperature record from the Hadley Centre. Note the warming in that record around three centuries ago, when greenhouse gas levels are thought to have been quite stable.

The shrieking and drumbeating over atmospheric carbon dioxide as a main driver of global temperature has far overrun the data and no matter how the data is tortured and forced into models and alluded to in journals the fact remains that the world has made no clear reaction to recent increases in the atmospheric trace gas CO2. Whatever is the actual cause of apparent warming, and however much warming there proves to be prior to the inevitable cooling, the constant assertion of global emissions equalling global heating disaster are unwarranted. All the data is linked and readily available via our "Global Warming at a glance" page, along with lots more charts - help yourselves (who knows, perhaps some of the staff at The Times might even chance a look at the real-world data).

"Kill or Be Killed" - "The World discusses malaria and the new Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now coalition that has just been launched. Malaria takes one child every 30 seconds and costs billions to combat; but unless the mosquitoes die . . . they will find a way in." (AFM)

"Deadly mosquito standoff" - "Congress is about to appropriate $105 million for malaria control, and the money will be wasted -- yet again. european interests threaten poor African countries that use the best method to prevent malaria -- indoor DDT spraying. While the EU action is marginally more odious, Congress will act like the European champagne socialists by throwing money at a problem regardless how it is spent." (Roger Bate, The Washington Times)

Rising living standards are bad... "Rural homes 'the most polluting'" - "Rural homes are often twice as polluting as those in towns and cities, new figures will show. A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) study has found that high-occupancy blocks of flats are more fuel efficient. Detached houses leak heat and people can afford more gadgets, contributing to the greenhouse effect, it suggests." (BBC)

There you have it, populations should be stack-packed and toy-restricted.

Hmm... "Home luxuries may be history within 15 years" - "IF you enjoy long hot baths while sipping chilled white wine, you may be in for a disappointment. Many of such energy-intensive luxuries could become a thing of the past by 2020, according to a report which claimed yesterday that unless action is taken to reduce greenhouse emissions, households in Britain will have to return to a back-to-basics 1940s lifestyle." (The Herald)

Has there been a global re-release of Blade Runner or something?

"Otters return to Thames in London" - "The otter, once driven to near-extinction by pollution, hunting and destruction of its habitat, is making a return to the heart of London." (London Independent)

"Navy Moves Forward on Sonar Facility Despite Concerns About Whales" - "The Navy is moving ahead with plans to build a 500-square-mile sonar training range off the coast of North Carolina, officials said last week. The project has sparked fierce opposition from environmentalists, who say some of the world's most endangered whales and sea turtles pass through the area." (Washington Post)

"Store Posts Mercury Warnings at Fish Counter" - "Oct. 21--Health warnings about mercury in seafood have been placed at Safeway seafood counters across the nation, including South Sound. The health advisories posted by the nation's fifth largest grocery store chain are patterned after what state and federal health officials have been saying for some time: Pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers and young children should avoid eating large predator fish such as swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tilefish. The advisory, which is both posted and available as a fact sheet, also recommends that people in those groups limit their consumption of albacore "white" tuna to no more than 6 ounces per week. The voluntary mercury warnings follow a similar advisory the grocery chain was required by state law to post in California stores, beginning in 2003." (The Olympian)

"Eating Fish During Pregnancy Boosts Baby's Brainpower" - "Researchers worried that government warnings about mercury discourage practice." (Harvard Medical School)

So, if you have a dumb kid, sue the mercury freaks. Oh, and the chain stores that posted spurious warnings, the administration that failed to protect people from ridiculous warnings and most everybody who failed to tell the fruit loops where to get off...

"Accuracy of Lake and Stream Temperatures Estimated From Thermal Infrared Images" - "ABSTRACT: Emitted thermal infrared radiation (TIR, λ = 8 to 14 m) can be used to measure surface water temperatures (top approximately 100 m). This study evaluates the accuracy of stream (50 to 500 m wide) and lake (300 to 5,000 m wide) radiant temperatures (15 to 22C) derived from airborne (MASTER, 5 to 15 m) and satellite (ASTER 90 m, Landsat ETM+ 60 m) TIR images. Applied atmospheric compensations changed water temperatures by -0.2 to +2.0C. Atmospheric compensation depended primarily on atmospheric water vapor and temperature, sensor viewing geometry, and water temperature. Agreement between multiple TIR bands (MASTER - 10 bands, ASTER - 5 bands) provided an independent check on recovered temperatures. Compensations improved agreement between image and in situ surface temperatures (from 2.0 to 1.1C average deviation); however, compensations did not improve agreement between river image temperatures and loggers installed at the stream bed (from 0.6 to 1.6C average deviation). Analysis of field temperatures suggests that vertical thermal stratification may have caused a systematic difference between instream gage temperatures and corrected image temperatures. As a result, agreement between image temperatures and instream temperatures did not imply that accurate TIR temperatures were recovered. Based on these analyses, practical accuracies for corrected TIR lake and stream surface temperatures are around 1C." (JAWRA via Red Nova)

"Hurricane season will be one for record books" - "Katrina. Rita. Wilma. Three of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded have all swept across the Gulf of Mexico this year. No question about it, 2005 will be one for the record books. With Wilma, 2005 has tied the record for the most storms in one year." (Star Tribune)

"Wilma grew from perfect storm-making conditions" - "If there's one thing hurricane Wilma has been it's a record-setter. It roared to Category 5 status faster than any storm in history; it briefly set the record as the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, based on barometric pressure; and it became the Atlantic hurricane season's 21st named storm, tying the record set in 1933. So what has made this hurricane so powerful? Meteorologists say that Wilma is getting a boost from some unique weather patterns." (CTV.ca)

"Banner year for monster hurricanes stirs up debate" - "As Wilma hurtles toward Florida, 2005 has already hit the history books as the year of the monster hurricane. But another storm is gathering in the scientific world over exactly why. Most scientists agree that the United States is in the midst of a cycle of fierce hurricanes, but unknowns remain about the storms' intensity, forecasting, frequency, and duration. The lack of long-term hurricane data and the politics surrounding global warming has compounded the problem." (Boston Globe)

"Lawyers aim to pin blame on big business" - "Plenty of people have been blamed for the devastation of the US Gulf coast after Hurricane Katrina - but most of them cannot be sued.

Suing the federal government, or the much-maligned Federal Emergency Management Agency, is very difficult. So now enterprising lawyers - many of whom hail from the south - are trying to hold insurance companies, oil companies and mortgage lenders responsible.

Post-disaster lawsuits are a fixture of modern American life: many were also filed in the aftermath of September 11, and many get nowhere. But the US Chamber of Commerce says post-Katrina suits are hampering the relief effort. It is pushing for legislation to protect companies involved in relief and reconstruction efforts from liability.

Big oil companies such as Shell, ChevronTexaco and Exxon Mobil are being sued on the grounds that their refining and production activities in the Gulf cause global warming, which in turn caused Katrina. Lawyers are trying to turn that lawsuit into a Mississippi-wide class action." (Financial Times)

"Investigators Link Levee Failures to Design Flaws" - "NEW ORLEANS -- Within a space of 15 hours on Aug. 29, three massive, concrete floodwalls in separate parts of the city suddenly fractured and burst under the weight of surging waters from Hurricane Katrina. The breaches unleashed a wall of water that swept entire buildings from their foundations and transformed what might have been a routine hurricane into the costliest storm in U.S. history. Today, exactly eight weeks after the storm, all three breaches are looking less like acts of God and more like failures of engineering that could have been anticipated and very likely prevented." (Washington Post)

"South Park beavers away at 'global warming'" - "Oh me! Oh my! Where would we be without South Park, without Stan and Cartman? On October 19, the latest release took on 'global warming'." (EnviroSpin Watch)

While we are having a chuckle: "Halloween anthem reworded, travels the web as Bush-bashing Climate Mash" - "TORONTO - For 44 years his deep voice has been doing the Monster Mash with ghoulish gusto every October. Now the co-creator and singer of what's perhaps the biggest Halloween anthem to date has turned the corny song on its side to make an appeal to stop global warming." (CP)

"Climate surprise over storms" - "Blame Sydney's urban sprawl for some of the summer thunderstorms that lash the city.

The changing landscape is also responsible for increasing the violence of some storms, say two Macquarie University researchers who have spent more than a year using a supercomputer to model the impact that two centuries of clearing Sydney's vegetation has had on severe weather.

Andy Pitman, a professor at Macquarie's physical geography department, said he and his student colleague, Anna Gero, were not surprised to find the growth of the city's sprawl had made some storms more intense.

But the discovery that land clearing was to blame for creating some storms was a surprise. "I don't think anyone expected that," Professor Pitman said. He estimates land clearing plays a role creating about 5 per cent of Sydney's thunderstorms." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Is Climate Prediction Sensitive To Initial Conditions? (Climate Science)

"A terrible legacy to leave our children" - "Without a serious change in the amount of energy we use, we are not going to meet our Kyoto targets, says Glen Murray." (Toronto Star)

Ever more hysterical: "Global warming is a killer" - "Johannesburg - Deadly epidemics. Ruined crops. The extinction of some of Africa's legendary wildlife. The potential consequences of global warming could be devastating for the world's poorest continent, yet its nations are among the least equipped to cope." (News 24)

"Africa aid to be eaten by climate change-scientist" - "LONDON, Oct 24 - Extra aid to help dig Africa out of poverty agreed in July by leaders of the world's main industrial nations could be eaten up by global warming unless urgent action is taken, a British scientist said on Monday. In an open letter to environment and energy ministers of the Group of Eight (G8), Lord May of Oxford, president of the Royal Society scientific think-tank, said the deal struck at the G8 summit in Gleneagles was flawed." (Reuters) | Climate change 'could ruin drive to eradicate poverty' (London Independent) | Warning on droughts eating up aid to Africa (The Guardian)

"The bottom line on global warming" - "A new report shows the Northwest must change with its warming climate or its economy will wither." (The Oregonian)

"Salmon Tell The Story: In The Sub-Arctic, A Worrisome Warming Trend" - "Alaska is a much warmer place than it used to be, even if warm in winter means 30 below zero and not 60 below zero, and that change in weather is affecting everything from Alaskan vegetation to the health of the salmon.

Climate change, whether caused by civilization's fuel-burning excesses or a natural shift in climate, is happening here on a scale not yet seen in the rest of the country. Even Alaskans who are not ready to blame the industrialized world for global warming agree that the Alaskan weather is heating up." (The Hartford Courant)

"Fertilizing forests can slow greenhouse effect" - "Experiments with intensive fertilization show that a spruce forest in Västerbotten, northern Sweden, can more than triple its growth if the trees have access to all plant nutrients. This favorably affects the function of the forest as a carbon sink. In other words, fertilizing forests can help slow down global warming." (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU))

"Japan CO2 emissions inch down, but far from target" - "TOKYO - Japan made some progress in cutting greenhouse gases last fiscal year mainly due to increased use of nuclear power, but the country fell well short of its target for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the government said. Japan's Environment Ministry said in a preliminary report on Friday that the country emitted 1.329 billion tonnes of gases blamed for global warming in the fiscal year to March 31, 2005, down 0.8 percent from the previous year." (Reuters)

"Atomic energy industry set to cash in on climate change" - "Sellafield, England - The nuclear power industry is quietly confident that the world is about to beat a path to its door in an increasingly desperate search for "clean" energy that doesn't heat up the planet. Soaring oil prices and new data on global warming have heated up the nuclear debate and outraged the environmental lobby, which says nuclear power is not the answer." (Business Report)

"Fission Returns to Fashion" - "As global warming concerns put burning fossil fuels in question, nuclear power makes a comeback." (Time)

"India: Most rubber estates may not get carbon credit" - "Kochi: Even as the natural rubber industry prepares itself to pitch for trading in carbon reduction under the Kyoto Protocol, most of the existing rubber plantations in the country are unlikely to qualify for trading in certified emission reduction (CER)." (Sify)

"Climate change: start of the second European Climate Change Programme" - "On Monday, 24 October, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will launch the second European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II) at a stakeholder conference in Brussels. In view of the magnitude of the climate change threat, ECCP II will focus on new cost-effective measures and technologies that will allow the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years and to adapt to the climate change effects that are inevitable. The ECCP, which was initiated in 2000, is the umbrella under which the European Commission and stakeholders discuss and prepare measures to fight climate change." (Moldova.org) | EU’s second climate change programme to put onus on technology (EurActiv)

Al must've bitten Joe too! "Senator takes stand on global warming" - "During his keynote address Friday at a conference highlighting global warming, Sen. Joseph Lieberman '64 LAW '67 took a strong stand in the debate on the origins of the planet's rising heat, identifying humans as the culprits. "The theory of global warming is one of those ideas that has been debated for over a century," Lieberman said. "But the evidence is in, and global warming is real and is significantly the result of human activities." (Yale Daily)

Perhaps not, maybe Joe just gets his info from the NYT. (See above)

"Lieberman proposal: Hybrid autos to combat manmade global warming" - "NEW HAVEN -- Within two years, 10 percent of new autos sold in the United States would have to be hybrid electric-gasoline vehicles under proposed legislation by U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman." (The Bristol Press)

"Scotland's emissions higher than England's" - "NEW government figures show that carbon dioxide emissions - seen as a major cause of climate change - are almost one tonne per person per year higher in Scotland than in England. That suggests the Scottish Executive and local authorities are not doing enough to combat change, said Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth." (The Scotsman)

Oh boy... "Further Action Needed To Cut Emmissions (sic) Across Europe, Morley Tells European Commission Conference" - "Climate Change and Environment Minister Elliot Morley today (Mon) urged EU member states to take greater action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While accepting that some progress had been made in recent years, Mr Morley said it was clear that more work was needed if the EU was to meet its targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to eight per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012." (Defra)

"Call for carbon rationing" - "A GREEN MEP yesterday called for people to be given a special swipe card to ration the amount of carbon they use in transport and household energy in a bid to tackle climate change." (Belfast Telegraph)

"Wind power: it's just like letting your money blow away in the breeze" - "A new report from EEF, the leading manufacturer's group in the UK, demonstrates all to starkly the economic folly of supporting wind energy. It really shouldn't even be a starter." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"The answer is not written in the wind" - "Remember the three-day week? It was such a long time ago that Tony Blair was an Oxford undergraduate and the Tory Tony Blair - David Cameron - was seven. Industry, though, is worried that we could be heading right back to 1973-74 because a tough winter will lead to such severe shortages of power that the only way the government will be able to ensure the public keeps warm is by pulling the plug on business." (The Guardian)

Sacrifice (Number Watch)

"Soaring energy costs to hit dirty laundry baskets" - "NEW YORK - The cost of airing your dirty laundry in public is about to go up. It is not only the motorist who has been socked in the wallet by soaring energy prices -- people who use Laundromats will also feel like they have been taken to the cleaners this winter. Natural gas, propane and electricity prices continue their march to new heights, and with those higher prices come higher utility bills for retail laundry centers -- much, much higher." (Reuters)

"Coal is Back" - "Long dismissed as backwards and dirty, some new (and not-so-new) technologies are turning the rock into black gold." (Time)

"Japan utility nearly doubles CO2 credit purchases" - "TOKYO, Oct 24 - Chugoku Electric Power Co. , one of Japan's smallest utilities, said on Monday it had nearly doubled its purchases of carbon credits to curb emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Chugoku Electric increased its credit purchases from Canadian brokerage Natsource LLC to 6.6 million tonnes worth of carbon dioxide (CO2) credit by 2012 from 3.6 million tonnes earlier, Chugoku said." (Reuters)

"Nanotechnology's Big Question: Safety - Some Say Micromaterials Are Coming to Market Without Adequate Controls" - "With little fanfare, the Environmental Protection Agency has for the first time ruled on a manufacturer's application to make a product composed of nanomaterials, the new and invisibly small particles that could transform the nation's engineering, industrial and medical sectors." (Washington Post)

"The big idea: Accelerated Bioremediation" - "Genetically engineering bacteria or plants to eat our most toxic Superfund sites for dinner." (Checkbiotech.org)

"The ideas interview: Gordon Conway" - "Are we facing a future of death and famine? No, but we must learn to love GM foods, hears John Sutherland." (The Guardian)

"Consider future cost of altering plant genetics" - "The oatmeal I ate this morning contained a healthy dose of compounds called antioxidants. Nutritionists tell us antioxidants help protect our bodies from damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals. What if a future oats farmer were able to provide us with oats that contained even higher amounts of antioxidants? That scenario is the in the realm of researchers and plant breeders studying and splicing genes." (Walter Nelson, Star-Gazette)

"Kenya: Group threatens Kari with court action over GMOs" - "KENYA Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) has been threatened with a court action if it fails to divulge information regarding Genetically Modified Organisms. Yesterday, Africa Nature Stream — a non governmental organisation opposed to the introduction of genetically modified organisms in the country — gave KARI seven days to respond to questions regarding the GMOs and their impact on human life." (Kenya Times)

October 21, 2005

‘Why Are the Leaders of the Socially Responsible Investment Industry Stonewalling Target of Violent Hate Speech?’ - So-called "socially responsible investors" refuse to take a stand against one of their own who urged that the Junkman be "knifed."

Threat of the Day: Fatwa Issued Against Those Who Fight Junk Science? Check out the banner for Corporate Watch's web site:

"The earth isn't dying, it is being killed and those who are killing it have names and addresses."
Not too threatening, huh?

"Wilma Is Not Global Warming" - "It’s shaping up as an “extreme” week for global warming junk science. On Monday, the media reported about a new global warming study with headlines like UPI’s “More Extreme Weather Predicted.” By Wednesday, Hurricane Wilma was labeled as the “strongest Atlantic hurricane ever reported,” which no doubt will fuel claims that global warming is causing more intense hurricanes. We can, however, weather such global warming alarmism with the pertinent facts." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Watch out! There's less storms about! "Dutch windmills at risk from climate change" - "DE BILT, Netherlands - Windmills, one of the Netherlands' trademarks, may go idle because of less wind as a result of climate change, Dutch scientists predict. New research shows scientists could have been wrong when they forecast years ago that global warming would cause more storms and wind in northwestern Europe, Albert Klein Tank of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) told Reuters. "We said that 10-15 years ago and what we see in the observations is that the climate is warming but the number of storms is actually decreasing," said Klein Tank, who leads a team making climate scenarios for the Netherlands." (Reuters)

Yes, you read that right. First warming was a problem because it would increase storminess and now, as observations show that to be incorrect, warming is a problem because it is reducing storminess.

Once people looked upon change as a challenge - the very stuff of life, to be met with enthusiasm and exhilaration - now it's a disaster to be met with fear and trepidation. What an effete and tedious society we have become.

If you are in Vancouver today: "Media Advisory - Dr. Tim Ball to speak on 'The Unusual Weather: More Usual Than Unusual?'" - "VANCOUVER, Oct. 20 - Dr. Tim Ball, climatologist and author, will speak on Friday, October 21, at a Fraser Institute event in Vancouver, on "The Unusual Weather: More Usual Than Unusual?" Just twenty years ago, the scientific consensus was that we were headed into another ice age. Now computer climate models are predicting devastating global warming, and any scientist who dares to question the theory is branded as a skeptic. Dr. Ball will explain the long-term natural variability of climate and will provide the side of the global warming argument rarely heard." (CNW)

Upcoming Handwringerfest: "Invitation for the media: Hubert Reeves and David Suzuki in Montreal for Equiterre's Alerte Climatique conference" - "MONTREAL, Oct. 20 - On Wednesday, October 26th, 3,400 people will attend one of the biggest environmental conferences ever held in North America. During this conference, which will take place at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, Mr. Hubert Reeves and Dr. David Suzuki will speak about the urgent issue of climate change. Indeed, with the United Nations Conference on Climate Change being only a few weeks away, Canada's two greatest environmental communicators will share their expertise on the subject and invite citizens and their leaders to step into action to fight climate change." (CNW Telbec)

Is Global Warming the Same as Climate Change? (Climate Science)

"Is this proof of global warming?" - "A quarter of a century ago, America's last frontier would have been frozen. Now the glaciers are shrinking - and local people know why. Andrew Buncombe toured Alaska to see the evidence" (London Independent)

"Breakup of glaciers raising sea level concern" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – The rapid structural breakdown of some important parts of the ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica is possible, has happened in the distant past, and some "startling changes" on the margin of these ice masses has been observed in recent years – raising disturbing concerns about sea level rise. In a new report to be released Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Oregon State University and four other institutions in the U.S. and Europe outline dynamic mechanisms of glacial change that appear to be under way, could significantly speed up the melting of major ice sheets, and have not been considered in current projections for sea level rise." (Oregon State University) | Ice-Sheet and Sea-Level Changes (Science) [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

"Greenland icecap thickens slightly despite warming" - "OSLO - Greenland's ice-cap has thickened slightly in recent years despite wide predictions of a thaw triggered by global warming, a team of scientists said on Thursday. The 3,000-meter (9,842-feet) thick ice-cap is a key concern in debates about climate change because a total melt would raise world sea levels by about 7 meters. And a runaway thaw might slow the Gulf Stream that keeps the North Atlantic region warm. But satellite measurements showed that more snowfall was falling and thickening the ice-cap, especially at high altitudes, according to the report in the journal Science." (Reuters) | Recent Ice-Sheet Growth in the Interior of Greenland (Science Express Reports) [Abstract] [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]

Confronting the Bogeyman of the Climate System (Richard A. Kerr, Science) [Summary] [Full Text] [PDF]

Hedging Your Climate-Change Bets (Richard A. Kerr, Science) [Summary] [Full Text] [PDF]

"UK: Chief scientist backs nuclear power revival" - "The government's chief scientific adviser has sent his clearest signal that Britain will need to revive its nuclear power industry in the face of a looming energy crisis and the threat of global warming. In an interview with the Guardian, Sir David King said there were economic as well as environmental reasons for a new generation of reactors." (The Guardian)

"Battle stations over Trafalgar wind turbines plan" - "As Britain celebrates the bicentenary of the battle of Trafalgar today, a new battle is being fought by local people determined to stop the scene of Nelson's historic naval victory from being turned into the world's biggest maritime wind-power park. A group of wind-power companies, backed by local environmentalists, want to plant 500 giant wind turbines in the shallow, rocky seabed some three miles off the southern Spanish coast between Cape Trafalgar and the town of Conil de la Frontera." (The Guardian)

"Scientists Synthesize Cheap, Easy-to-Make Ultra-Thin Photovoltaic Films" - "Imagine a future in which the rooftops of residential homes and commercial buildings can be laminated with inexpensive, ultra-thin films of nano-sized semiconductors that will efficiently convert sunlight into electrical power and provide virtually all of our electricity needs. This future is a step closer to being realized, thanks to a scientific milestone achieved at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)." (AZoNano)

"INTERVIEW - Fuel Use Spreads Vegoil too Thin for Margarine Firms" - "AMSTERDAM - Fierce competition over rapeseed oil for use either in biodiesel fuels or foods has margarine makers worried about a shortage for the spread people put on their bread. Big European food makers like Anglo-Dutch Unilever are concerned about getting enough rape oil as soaring crude oil prices prompt biofuel producers to ratchet up production, an industry association said." (Reuters)

"TechCentralStation.com Launches Special Report on Bird Flu" - "WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 -- Today the free market web magazine http://www.TechCentralStation.com announced the launch of a new website: http://www.BirdFluSpecialReport.com. The new website will be devoted to providing news and analysis about Avian Influenza (or bird flu) -- specifically what is and isn't being done to prevent a global pandemic." (PRNewswire)

"Bird Flu: Threat or Menace?" - "Why avian sniffles need not ruffle our feathers... too much." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Plain soap just fine to kill germs: experts" - "WASHINGTON - Proper washing with regular soap and water works just fine to prevent the spread of germs and there is no clear evidence that antibacterial soaps, wipes and other products are any better, scientists told a U.S. advisory panel on Thursday. U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists and other experts said studies showed clear benefits from hand washing with plain soap, especially when people are taught when and how long to wash. Data on antibacterial soap are limited, they said. "There is a lack of evidence that antiseptic soaps provide a benefit beyond plain soap in (the) community setting," said University of Michigan epidemiologist Allison Aiello. The panel is weighing the risks of such products for consumers and whether the FDA should curb their use because they may help create drug-resistant bacteria." (Reuters)

Panel Finds No Proof That Phthalates Harm Infant Reproductive Systems (Science) [Summary] [Full Text] [PDF]

"Some humans may be immune to vCJD" - "People could have an immunity to vCJD and similar diseases after persistent exposure to milder strains of the agent that causes them, scientists suggest. Experts at Yale University and Nagasaki University medical schools carried out studies on cells. Writing in Science magazine, they said regular doses of the weaker infection appeared to offer protection. A UK expert said further understanding of how the effect works could lead to a preventative therapy being developed. It might also help to explain why fewer people than predicted have died from vCJD." (BBC) | Reciprocal Interference Between Specific CJD and Scrapie Agents in Neural Cell Cultures (Science) [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]

"Satellite images reveal Amazon forest shrinking faster" - "Brazil's Amazon rain forest - one of the most biologically productive regions on the planet - is disappearing twice as fast as scientists previously estimated. That is the stark conclusion ecologist Gregory Asner and his colleagues reached after developing a new way to analyze satellite images to track logging there." (The Christian Science Monitor) | Selective Logging in the Brazilian Amazon (Science) [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]

Presumably they equate selective logging with complete removal - the rainforest being no longer "pristine" - but then it hasn't been for thousands of years and has long nurtured significant human populations, complex societies, road systems, mining, quarrying, agriculture and wasn't "pristine" at any time during the modern calendar. The Amazon forests have probably been influenced by more generations of people than eco-worriers have had tofu dinners (and doesn't tofu consumption support the agro-industrial plundering of the forests to grow the soy?).

"ECO-FRIEND OR NATIONAL FOE? A Gringo Buys South America One Ranch at a Time" - "Douglas Tompkins made his fortune by starting North Face and Esprit. He's now spending it by buying vast quantities of ranch and farmland in Chile and Argentina and returning it to nature. In doing so, however, he has raised the hackles of the state. His national park in Patagonia now splits Chile in two." (Der Spiegel)

"Between Jam and Jelly: Regulation as the Default State of Affairs" - "There was a time when regulation was an institution whose purpose was to put limits on an otherwise boundless liberty. But there's a worrying movement toward reversal of that natural order. In the minds of many, regulation has slowly become the default state of affairs. To this way of seeing things, the absence of regulation does not amount to freedom, but to moral and legal limbo: we are to await the regulating bodies' decision whether or not to grant us the freedom in question. Uriah Kriegel explains." (Tech Central Station)

"Borlaug: biotech critical to feeding growing, hungry world" - "Biotechnology is the key to feeding a world population expected to grow 30 percent larger in the next 25 years, one of the world’s leading scientists said last week. Dr. Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the World Food Prize, was the keynote speaker at the fourth annual International Biotech Conference in Des Moines. The conference brought nearly 100 top policy makers from more than 40 countries to Iowa during the peak of harvest season, allowing them to see first-hand biotech and non-biotech corn production and handling." (IA Farm Bureau Spokesman)

"Data Tells the Truth" - "“Money isn’t everything,” billionaire industrialist J. Paul Getty once quipped. “But it sure keeps you in touch with your children.”

I’m a father and a family farmer – we understand the importance of money. Farms are businesses, and businesses are all about the bottom line. While important, money isn’t the only reason why we’ve embraced genetically improved crops. Agricultural biotechnology continues to prove it is good for the environment. Compelling new data confirms what we have experienced and observed.

This year we’re celebrating two notable ‘biotech’ milestones. It’s the tenth year genetically-improved crops have been planted for commercial purposes. Even more meaningfully, as of this month, farmers have harvested more than a billion acres of them." (Dean Kleckner, Truth About Trade & Technology)

October 20, 2005

"The Andromeda Strategy" - "How much of a threat is the avian flu? We don't really know. The future is like that: it's unpredictable in its specifics. But the future is completely predictable at a more general level. Bad things happen. The good times no longer roll. Night must fall. That's a truth as old as Aesop; nothing will ever repeal the need to be vigilant and to be prepared. And right now, we are not prepared, for the current epidemic, or for the epidemic next time." (James Pinkerton, TCS)

"New risk analysis study shows school soft drink consumption has no impact on adolescent obesity" - "WASHINGTON, D.C.--A first-of-its-kind peer-reviewed study applying risk analysis methodology to nutrition policy shows that consumption of carbonated soft drinks from school vending machines has virtually no impact on adolescent obesity." (Strategic Communications)

"Tuna Canners Take Attorney General to Task" - "SAN FRANCISCO--Oct. 19, 2005--Opening statements were presented this morning in a landmark case that could shape the face of healthy eating in California. The lead attorney representing three canned tuna companies forcefully laid out their case to San Francisco Superior Court Judge Robert Dondero, demonstrating how Attorney General Bill Lockyer's lawsuit calling for Proposition 65 warnings on canned tuna would create harm for Californians by discouraging consumption of a healthy and safe food." (BUSINESS WIRE)

"International Council for Science launches International Polar Year 2007-8, an historical endeavour" - "Suzhou, China (19 October 2005)--Sparking a sense of urgency, enthusiasm and unity of purpose in the scientific community reminiscent of galvanizing endeavors such as man's ventures into space and the Human Genome Project, the International Council for Science (ICSU) today formally launched an ambitious global program for polar research that already has attracted more than 1000 research proposals submitted by scientists from around the world." (International Council for Science)

Hmm... another NYT Arctic meltdown piece: "Old Ways of Life Are Fading as the Arctic Thaws" (New York Times)

NYT seems to like these pieces, they do such a lot of them, but whether the Arctic is hitting any novel contemporary temperatures is a moot point. GISTEMP says not, as does the Hadley CRU collaboration, nor Greenland and the UAH MSU data, albeit a very short series, appears to have captured the end of the cooling and the uptick of the recovery evident in the other series. Note: these graphs are auto-scaled and greatly magnify apparent temperature change - check the Y-scale and see "A word on scale" for more information.

Junkman Steve Milloy wrote this just last week.

"Wilma a record-setter, but records scanty -experts" - "MIAMI, Oct 19 - The 2005 hurricane season has spawned three of the most intense Atlantic storms on record with Katrina, Rita and now Wilma, fueling the debate over global warming's impact on hurricanes. Yet even weather experts convinced that global warming is a serious threat caution against blaming climate change." (Reuters)

Here we go, again: "Malaria, climate change link" - "The increase in malaria cases in some parts of the world has been linked to climate change, delegates attending the Climate Change conference heard." (BuaNews)

"Hotter sun may affect global warming" - "Despite old evidence suggesting that greenhouse gases and pollution cause global warming, new research by two Duke physicists indicates that the sun may simply be getting hotter. Inspired by research from Columbia University indicating that current data on solar output was erroneous, Nicola Scafetta, research associate in Duke’s physics department, and Bruce West, adjunct physics professor, examined solar changes over the past 22 years to determine the sun’s direct role in global warming. What they found contradicted previous thoughts and studies regarding global warming trends. Since the 1980s scientists have believed that global warming was not influenced by increased heating from the sun." (The Chronicle Online)

Maybe Al bit him? Beware the curse of the werewarmer...  "Clinton issues Alberta a global warming warning" - "CALGARY — Former U.S. president Bill Clinton had a stern message for oil-rich Alberta about the effects of global warming when he ventured into the heart of Canada's energy industry Wednesday." (Canadian Press)

If he's such an AGW handwringer, why did he subject the Kyoto Protocol to a hip pocket veto? Why never even bother sending the article to the Senate for ratification, if only to force Senators to place their votes on record? The only difference between W's position on The Protocol, "No," while actually meaning "No" and Slick Willy's "Yes," while actually meaning "No" is the accuracy of their respective statements.

"Eight States and New York City Appeal Global Warming Dismissal" - "NEW YORK - Eight states and the city of New York have appealed last month's dismissal of their global warming lawsuit against five of the largest US utilities." (Reuters)

"UK to Pass Foreign CO2 Credit Rules Next Month" - "LONDON - Britain will pass rules next month allowing firms to invest in environmental projects abroad and use the credits in the European Union's carbon dioxide emissions trading scheme, the government said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Avast, ye swabs! Further Tales from Ruritania (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Hydrogen’s slow lane to reality" - "It is unfortunate that the mayor of Columbia and several influential professors at USC have been snookered into believing there is a future in hydrogen fuel cells. A lot of starry-eyed futurists have been telling us for the past 30 years that hydrogen fuel cells are the way of the future, but the science is not on their side." (David Doty, The State)

"Renewable. Rechargeable. Remarkable." - "Flow batteries can turn intermittent wind power from a utility manager's headache to a green and reliable energy source. It is sometimes harder to tell which is stronger: the public's love affair with clean energy, or the headaches that utility planners experience when they contemplate integrating these relatively new energy sources into their already-stressed grids." (Mechanical Engineering)

"Biotech cotton 8: Bugs 0" - "Biotech cotton has beaten back pink bollworm eight years running, reports a team of scientists from The University of Arizona in Tucson. The surprising finding is good news for the environment. Arizona farmers who plant the biotech cotton known as Bt cotton use substantially less chemical insecticides than in the past. Insect pests sometimes evolve resistance to such chemicals in just a few years, a fate that was predicted for biotech crops genetically altered to produce Bt toxin, a naturally occurring insecticide. "This is the most complete study to date for monitoring resistance to Bt crops," said team leader Bruce E. Tabashnik, the head of UA's department of entomology, a member of UA's BIO5 Institute and an expert in insect resistance to insecticides. "We found no net increase in insect resistance to Bt. If anything, resistance decreased. This is the opposite of what experts predicted when these crops were first commercialized." He added, "I'm definitely surprised." (University of Arizona)

October 19, 2005

"Cochrane Library publishes the most thorough survey of MMR vaccination data" - "There was no credible evidence behind claims of harm from the MMR vaccination. This is the conclusion drawn by the Cochrane Review Authors, an international team of researchers, after carefully drawing together all of the evidence found in 31 high quality studies from around the world. They also highlight that the policy of encouraging mass use of MMR has eliminated the scourge of measles, mumps and rubella from many countries." (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

"Anti-malaria mutations 'cancel each other out'" - "Scientists have begun investigations into two genetic mutations that, individually, can protect people from malaria. However, if inherited simultaneously they cancel each others' protective effect." (AFM)

"Fish is good – fish is bad. Balancing health risks and benefits" - "Fish has been a staple of human nutrition in many cultures, but there has been some controversy recently about the benefits and risks of fish consumption. For example, fish supplies polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), substances that might protect against coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. On the other hand, fish supplies methyl mercury (MeHg), a compound implicated in impairment of cognitive development and IQ. How can the consumer decide whether to increase or decrease consumption? What steps should governments, public health authorities and commercial fishing industries take in response to these conflicting facts?" (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)

Not all hand-wringing, at least: "Study finds government advisories on fish consumption & mercury may do more harm than good" - "Boston, MA – A comparison of the risks and benefits of fish consumption suggests that government advisories warning women of childbearing age about mercury exposure should be issued with caution. The study warns that if advisories cause fish consumption in the general public to drop out of fear about the effects of mercury, substantial nutritional benefits could be lost. The study will appear as a series of five articles in the November issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Trans fats a worry for restaurant patrons: study" - "VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Limiting artery-clogging trans fatty acids has surpassed curbing carbohydrates as a key concern for restaurant goers, according to a U.S. survey released on Monday. But the survey also found that while U.S. consumers want more nutritional information about the meals they eat away from home, health is often not their primary concern in making a choice until after they have medical problems." (Reuters)

"Owls of Protest" - "VICTORIA, British Columbia -- Dean Hurn slides into a couch here in the famous Fairmont Empress hotel and begins a story that has become all too familiar in the Northwest. In 1990, he was the owner of a successful family shake and shingle business, operating six mills and employing 200 people around Washington state. By 1993 it was all gone, the last mill closed, his people unemployed, all thanks to a little predator known as the Northern spotted owl.

... The first is the growing evidence that this was a terrible mistake, and that it wasn't necessarily logging that landed the owl on the endangered species list. The second is the news, belated but hopeful, that Congress is finally taking steps to reform the species law to make sure such costly errors don't recur.

... According to a congressional committee, the spotted owl protections resulted in at least 130,000 lost jobs, after more than 900 sawmills, pulp mills and paper mills closed in the mid-'90s. Many of these were family businesses and the effect on small communities was severe. Divorce rates shot up; men committed suicide.

But at least we have the owls, right? Wrong. Scientists are struggling to explain why, more than 10 years after a halt of logging on the "old growth" trees in which spotted owls are supposed to thrive, the bird's population has continued to plummet -- declining by 7% a year in Washington. The answer, biologists are beginning to admit, is … another owl. Barred owls migrated into spotted owl territory decades ago, and have a nasty habit of killing the smaller birds, driving them out of their homes, or mating with them -- producing impure offspring. "We're seeing two species duke it out. It's too early to tell if [spotted owls] will survive," federal wildlife biologist Eric Forsman was quoted as saying last year." (Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal)

"Millenarianism 21st Century style" - "Now we all know about Michel de Nostredame. But here, for Our Own Dark Times, from Our Very Own Nostradami, are: The Prophecies of Indyamus, or The Gloomiad de Islington." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Antarctic ozone hole may have peaked, UN agency says" - "GENEVA - Depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica, caused by emissions of industrial chemicals, seems to have peaked, indicating that global environmental pacts were working, U.N. scientists said on Tuesday. The seasonal hole above the South Pole and Antarctica is now shrinking after falling short of the record years of 2003 and 2000, the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its latest bulletin." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Polar Regions Take Centre Stage in Climate Crisis" - "LONDON - World scientists are aiming to spell out in graphic detail the threat of flooding faced by millions of people from America to Asia as global warming melts the polar ice caps. A major coordinated study of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets intends not only to lay the bald facts before world leaders but offer courses of action. "We want to be more prescriptive," said David Carlson, head of International Polar Year (IPY) starting in March 2007. The two year study, announced on Wednesday by the International Council for Science (ICSU), will be the first coordinated probe in 50 years of the ice-bound ends of the earth under the onslaught of climate change." (Reuters)

"Bushmen's quiver tree threatened by climate change" - "JOHANNESBURG - A famed desert tree used for generations by Africa's bushmen to make quivers for their arrows is threatened by global warming, a conference heard on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Climate change to eat into global rice yields" - "Los Banos. Phillipines - Climate change resulting from human activity is likely to lead to reduced rice yields and the problem may only be manageable if action is taken starting right now, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) experts said Tuesday. Emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, were likely to double over time and this would "drive yields down by 0.15 tonnes per hectare (2.47 acres) in 50 years," said John Sheehy, a senior IRRI scientist. He said this would come on top of the pressure from a rapidly-growing population and increased competition for water, land and other resources needed to grow the staple food of nearly half the human race." (AFP)

"Global warming takes toll on Africa's coral reefs" - "JOHANNESBURG - Global warming is taking a toll on coral reefs off east Africa, which will likely be killed off in a few decades if sea surface temperatures continue to rise, a leading researcher warned on Tuesday. "Dangerous climate change has already happened for coral reefs," Dr David Obura told a conference on climate change science in Johannesburg." (Reuters)

"Ocean warming threatens Antarctic wildlife" - "Scientists working in Antarctica have discovered an alarming rise in sea temperature that threatens to disrupt populations of penguins, whales, seals and a host of smaller creatures within a few decades. The new study shows the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by more than a degree since the 1960s - confounding computer models and experts who believed that a combination of ice, winds and currents would keep the water cool and shield fragile marine creatures from the effects of climate change. This is the first evidence that the key Southern Ocean is getting warmer: a finding with potentially severe implications for wildlife." (The Guardian)

A New Paper on the Role of Vegetation Dynamics in the Climate System (Climate Science)

"EU calls for 'global carbon market' after 2012" - "In Short: With only one month to go before the COP-11 meeting in Montreal, EU environment ministers have been trying to boost the EU's chances of bringing more countries into global talks to take action on global warming." (EurActiv)

"Poor nations unready for Kyoto cap: S. Africa" - "JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's environment minister said on Tuesday it was too soon to set targets for the developing world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Poorer countries are exempt from the emission caps under the Kyoto Protocol. Most developed nations have agreed to cut their emissions of heat-trapping gases by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2008-12 and a U.N. conference in Montreal next month will begin discussions on the post-2012 steps. "It's much too early to start talking about targets for developing countries," Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk told Reuters in an interview." (Reuters)

"The Pollution Trade" - "ROME - Seven months after the Kyoto global-warming accord took effect, Europeans are transforming their economies to meet the treaty's requirement of curbs in greenhouse-gas emissions. And central to that effort is an American-backed, free-market approach that Europe initially resisted: Buying and selling the right to pollute.

In the late 1990s, when the United States was negotiating the Kyoto global-warming treaty, the Clinton administration demanded that the rest of the world embrace a system known as "cap and trade." Under the arrangement, which had been used successfully to fight acid rain in the United States, companies and governments are given a choice of either reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, or paying someone else to do so.

Trading emissions is designed to factor the social cost of fighting climate change into economic decision-making, rewarding investments in cleaner technology but letting the market decide how best to reduce pollution. European leaders were not thrilled with the idea - they preferred government regulatory solutions - but they had no choice but to go along." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Just one itty-bitty problem... doing so is pointless and money spent to no purpose is not an effective response to anything. Wigley (Geophys. Res. Lett. 25, 2285-2288) wrote that "the climate simulations lead to the conclusion that the Kyoto reductions will have little effect in the 21st century" and "... the earth’s temperature in 2050 will be 0.07°C lower as a result." Not to be outdone, it's claimed "'thirty Kyotos' may be needed to reduce warming to an acceptable level" (Malakoff, Science 278, 2048). These estimates date from the days when it was assumed Al Gore would drive the US economy over a cliff and enforce The Protocol with quasi-religious zeal. Now, of course, The Protocol is basically composed of a few environment ministers holding hands and hopefully chanting "We built it and they will come!" in between junkets and thus an immeasurably small "saving" has become unachievable.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Europe... "UK begins legal action over CO2 emissions" - "The UK has started legal action against the European Commission in a bid to get its carbon allowance raised." (EUobserver)

"Governor adds carbon dioxide to pollutant list" - "Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey officially classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant yesterday, enabling the state to impose caps on the global-warming gas in the future." (Star-Ledger)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

Managing Agricultural Fields to Maximize Their Ability to Sequester Carbon in a CO 2 -Enriched World of the Future: What's good for conservation of soil and water resources and for maximizing agricultural production is also good for maximizing the transfer of carbon from earth's atmosphere to its soils.

Subject Index Summaries:
Little Ice Age (Regional - Asia: China): Contrary to climate-alarmist claims that the Little Ice Age was basically a North Atlantic phenomenon of little global significance, many studies describe its influential presence in China.

Agriculture (Species: Peanut): How might the productivity of this important agricultural crop be affected if current climate model predictions come to pass?

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: Bald Cypress, Eastern Cottonwood, Goldenclub, and Sweetgum.

Journal Reviews:
Global Warming and Sea Level: How has the thermal expansion of sea water impacted sea level over the past half-century?

Sea Surface Temperature Trends at Monterey Bay, USA: How much information can an 82-year record reveal about climate?

Plant Fatty Acids Beneficial to Human Health Are Enhanced by Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment: How extensive is the evidence for the effect?

The Agroclimate of Alberta, Canada: How did it vary over the course of the 20th century?  And what are the implications of the changes that occurred?

The Fate of Fish in a High-CO 2 World: How horrible will it be? (co2science.org)

"ANALYSIS - Britain at Energy Crossroads as CO2 Emissions Rise" - "LONDON - Rising greenhouse gas emissions are forcing Britain to rethink its energy policy, with tough choices looming over the future of nuclear power and how best to curb the country's use of electricity and fuel." (Reuters)

"Green energy targets in jeopardy, report warns" - "A dearth of scientists and engineers could thwart the government's drive to meet its renewable energy targets, a leading professional body warned in a new report published today. The Institute of Physics said the promise of renewable energy would only be fulfilled if there was sufficient investment in research and development." (The Guardian)

"UK says Offshore Wind Power Progress Disappoints" - "CARDIFF - Britain's drive to build dozens of wind farms offshore has made "disappointing" progress with few projects coming on stream and costs too high, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Oil Shale Looking Feasible for Future" - "Dismissed as a pipe dream for decades, the crude oil locked inside oil shale and sands in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming -- not to mention vast reserves in Alberta, Canada, just to the north -- could, within decades, establish North America as the world's pre- eminent oil producer. And that, said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, will result in a "profound geopolitical shift . . . over the next decade or two as the supply of conventional oil begins to dwindle in the Middle East and the commercial production of our unconventional resources takes off in North America. "And as this scenario unfolds, I believe the United States and Canada will emerge as the dominant energy powers in the world," he added." (Deseret Morning News)

Not such a healthy way to raise birds? "Farmers warned free range poultry may be barred" - "Free range poultry farmers in Britain are being warned to make emergency preparations to house millions of runaround birds indoors as UK authorities remain on high alert to the spread of avian flu." (The Guardian)

"India Seen Okaying GMO Mustard and Rice in Next Two Years" - "JOHANNESBURG - India, where genetically modified (GM) cotton has been a big hit with farmers, is expected to approve transgenic mustard and rice crops within the next few years, a biotech expert said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

October 18, 2005

Revealing Quote of the Day:

Ethical Concerns of Minorities Not Important to NY Times - The New York Times concludes today's lead editorial on embryonic stem cell research by stating:

It would be great if some way could be found to produce embryonic stem cells of high scientific value without raising ethical objections. But until that day comes, it would be foolish to abandon proven techniques just to meet the ethical objections of a minority. [Emphasis added]

I wonder if the Times would be willing to apply that sort of standard to, say, law enforcement profiling or traditional business practices?

With respect to profiling, we've all seen and been frustrated by the excessive airport security procedures for screening the elderly, small children and others who are highly unlikely to be engaged in terrorist activity. But because it's politically incorrect to profile the sort of young men and women who more typically might be involved in terrorism, the government wastes everyone's time and money looking up grandma's dress and finding nothing.

With respect to business, the Times is an advocate of so-called "corporate social responsibility" (CSR), in which the ethics of the extreme-Left are exalted over conventional business conduct and free enterprise principles, both of which have made the U.S. the freeest nation, and the society with the highest standard of living in the history of mankind. The socialist ethos of the extreme-Left, in contrast, has a long track record of oppression, poverty and misery. What's so socially responsible about that?

What on earth does 'H5N1' mean? A simple guide (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Experts say threat from virus is unprecedented" - "The bird flu virus that has arrived in Europe poses an unprecedented threat, with experts warning that the number of human infections reported in Asia could be just a small proportion of the actual figure." (London Independent)

"Health warning: take avian flu scare stories with a pinch of salt (about 6g)" - "DEATH COMES FROM the East in a flapping of wings. “It’s like a combination of global warming and HIV/Aids ten times faster than it’s running at the moment,” the UN’s co-ordinator for avian and human influenza, Dr David Nabarro, told the world, adding: “The range of deaths could be anything between 5 million and 150 million.” At the weekend Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, forecast that a strain of avian flu could be expected here quite soon, that the likely British death toll was about 50,000, but that it was “not impossible” that fatalities could reach three quarters of a million." (David Aaronovitch, London Times)

"NIH Panel Unable to Validate Key Finding in Swan Phthalate Baby Study" - "Independent experts find no correlation between phthalates and biomarkers for reproduction." (STATS)

Hmm... "Even very low levels of environmental toxins can damage health" - "Four of the most widespread environmental toxins--lead, trihalomethanes (found in drinking water), ionizing radiation from indoor radon gas, and tobacco smoke--can cause serious damage to health even at very low levels, say researchers in the international medical journal PLoS Medicine. What this means, say the researchers Donald Wigle of the University of Ottawa and Bruce Lanphear of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, is that there are simply no safe levels of exposure to these toxins and they must be "virtually eliminated to protect human health." (Public Library of Science)

Wonder if such bizarre sweeping statements are influenced by this association: Journalists who are looking for environmental health experts to comment on this article in PLoS Medicine can contact Environmental Media Services. Environmental Media Services of 1320 18th Street NW 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20036? Funnily enough, that address is familiar because it just happens to be the same address as nonsense scare peddlers, Fenton Communications. Can't quite place them? Think 'Alar,' as just one notorious example.

"Air pollution cuts male birth rate, says study" - "Air pollution decreases the proportion of babies born male, according to a study suggesting that the level of pollution in many cities is high enough to alter the natural sex ratio." (The Guardian)

"No Fizzy Drinks, Please..." - "It isn't often that the Labour Party finds its policy template in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's California, but British Education Secretary Ruth Kelly's recent announcement that foods high in fat, salt or sugar are to be banned from school vending machines and meals from next autumn comes straight from the Terminator. Schwarzenegger has just signed legislation that restricts the sugar and fat content of foods in California schools, as well as bans the sale of all fizzy drinks. The trouble with Kelly's policy is that despite its California pedigree it is very much at odds with the most recent science on the link between children, "junk food" and obesity." (John Luik, TCS)

"MEXICO: Forests and the Battle of Statistics" - "MEXICO CITY, Oct 17 - Mexico has reversed the destruction of its forests, and in five years could reduce its deforestation rate to zero, say government authorities. But environmental activists and civil society groups refute that notion. Some even say that if the situation isn't changed, the country's area covered by forests and jungles today would disappear in just over a century. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the highest global authority on deforestation, approved the latest studies by the Mexican government on the forests and went so far as to congratulate it for its achievements." (Tierramérica)

"NRL scientists detect 'milky sea' phenomena" - "Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory's Marine Meteorology Division in Monterey, CA, (NRL-Monterey), working with researchers from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the National Geophysical Data Center, presented the first satellite detection of a phenomenon known as the "milky sea." The satellite observations were corroborated by a ship-based account. This research was published in the October 4, 2005, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)." (Naval Research Laboratory)

"Seafloor creatures destroyed by ice action during ice ages" - "The ice ages made massive changes to the Earth's landscape. But what was happening below the ice in the oceans? Research by marine scientists reveals that it was a time of mass destruction as whole communities of animals were wiped out by ice sheets scouring the sea floor. In the past it has been thought that these ecosystems somehow dodged extinction by recolonising from nearby habitats that escaped obliteration. But researchers at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOC) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) reveal a bleaker scenario." (British Antarctic Survey)

"Storm record equalled in Atlantic" - "A new tropical storm has formed in the Caribbean, equalling a 70-year-old record for the highest number of storms in the Atlantic in a single season. Tropical Storm Wilma is expected to become a hurricane before heading to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and the US Gulf coast by the end of the week. These areas are still recovering from the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Stan. Wilma is the 21st named storm of the 2005 season. The only other time that as many storms formed since record keeping began 154 years ago was in 1933." (BBC)

"Hurricane Katrina Technical Report" - "Hurricane Katrina appears to be the most costly natural disaster to strike the United States ever, and the deadliest since the Lake Okeechobee disaster (hurricane) of September, 1928. In addition, Katrina was one of the strongest storms to impact the coast of the United States during the last 100 years. At landfall, sustained winds were 140 mph (a strong Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale), and the minimum central pressure was the third lowest on record (920 mb). Katrina caused widespread, massive devastation along the central Gulf Coast states of the U.S." (.pdf) (NCDC)

Oh boy... "Scientists: Mission to Venus could help beat global warming" - "Europe's first space mission to the planet Venus will shed new light on the greenhouse effect here on Earth, scientists said yesterday. The Venus Express spacecraft is scheduled for launch next week, and one of its primary goals is to understand the nature of the intense greenhouse effect heating Venus. Scientists involved in the £140m mission said that studying the extreme environment of Venus, which has been called Earth's "evil twin", will help climate researchers to make better predictions about global warming caused by changes to our own atmosphere." (London Independent)

"Will 2005 Be The Hottest Year On Record?" - "The short answer is that, through September, it certainly is at least among the warmest when we evaluate the 2005 tropospheric and ocean heat anomalies. However, it is not yet distinctly the warmest on record with respect to the tropospheric data that is discussed below." (Climate Science)

"A warmer world might not be a wetter one" - "A NASA study is offering new insight into how the Earth's water cycle might be influenced by global change. In recent years, scientists have warned that the water cycle may be affected by temperature changes, as warmer temperatures can increase the moisture-holding capacity of air. The global water cycle involves the transfer of water molecules between the Earth's land masses, cryosphere, oceans and atmosphere. It's a gigantic system powered by the sun, fueling a continuous exchange of moisture between the oceans, atmosphere and land. Most climate models have shown that that a warmer climate will increase global evaporation and precipitation, but the atmospheric storage of water vapor has not yet been well studied." (GSFC)

Virtually: "Climate model predicts dramatic changes over next 100 years" - "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The most comprehensive climate model to date of the continental United States predicts more extreme temperatures throughout the country and more extreme precipitation along the Gulf Coast, in the Pacific Northwest and east of the Mississippi.

The climate model, run on supercomputers at Purdue University, takes into account a large number of factors that have been incompletely incorporated in past studies, such as the effects of snow reflecting solar energy back into space and of high mountain ranges blocking weather fronts from traveling across them, said Noah S. Diffenbaugh, the team's lead scientist. Diffenbaugh said a better understanding of these factors - coupled with a more powerful computer system on which to run the analysis - allowed the team to generate a far more coherent image of what weather we can expect to encounter in the continental United States for the next century. Those expectations, he said, paint a very different climate picture for most parts of the country." (Purdue University)

Actually: "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. "This could lead to an increase in food production and population, but this will be bad if it suddenly goes into another cycle of drought which cannot support all of the additional people and livestock," he said. "It has cycles of boom and bust." (Reuters)

"A Season a Tad Off Color, and Here's Why" - "Scientists at the University of New Hampshire project that shifts in the climate caused by global warming will progressively dull the leaves throughout southern New England and New York over the next century. Maples will move north and the remaining oaks and hickories will change colors later and with less verve, they say. If the projections are correct, leaf-peepers may be forced as far north as Canada to for their fix of foliage. Indeed, one scientist says autumn in the region has already lost its brilliance." (New York Times)

"Chilly Winter Forecast for US Northeast - Earthsat" - "NEW YORK - US households should brace for a frosty winter, particularly in the Northeast which is the biggest consumer of heating oil around, private forecaster EarthSat predicted on Monday. "The current winter outlook is colder than last year and much closer to the 30-year normal for the national average expectation," EarthSat said in its revised outlook." (Reuters)

"Antarctic ice melts as sea warms but cause unknown" - "LONDON, Oct 17 - Antarctica is melting, adding to the inexorable rise in global sea levels, endangering millions of lives and whole economies, leading scientists said on Monday. But while the effect is well known after years of monitoring from land and space, the reasons for the sea warming are not." (Reuters)

"Coastal retreat in face of rising sea levels found to be influenced by wildfires" - "NORFOLK, Va. -- The retreat of coastlines due to rising sea levels may be accelerated by wildfires, a Duke University researcher has discovered. In the absence of such fires, forests can slow the encroachment, he found. At such fire scenes, though, finger-like patches of marshlands can extend into former forest by as much as several hundred yards. The result is a "punctuated" near-shoreline landscape, the scientist said. Such punctuated advance of the sea is in sharp contrast to the widespread belief that coastal change would be gradual due to sea-level rise." (Duke University)

"Antarctic expedition to study rising methane levels" - "A better understanding of the sources of Earth's current rising methane levels may be on the horizon. The information is being sought by a team of Australian scientists, who leave for Antarctica today to collect ice cores and analyse the methane in trapped air bubbles." (New Zealand Herald)

Have Methane Levels Stabilised? (.pdf) (Australian Greenhouse Office) | Atmospheric Levels of Methane Stabilizing, NOAA Finds (.pdf) | Atmospheric Concentration (US EPA) | Cool evidence confirms unnatural rise in methane (ECOS)

"Small Africa farmers seen vulnerable to climate change" - "JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's environment minister said on Monday that climate change would have its gravest impact on small farmers and many would have to switch their crops and livestock to adapt." (Reuters)

"NZ: Kyoto goals not attainable without crushing the economy" - "Time to hook up with the Americans, Aussies on climate strategy" (National Business Review)

"Blowing in the Wind" - "Green Mountain Energy Co. has a deal for you." (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"The latest investor in green energy - the CIA" - "Within hours, solar and wind energy units can be up and running in war or disaster zones." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Analysis: Is nuclear power the answer?" - "With Prime Minister Tony Blair calling for an "open-minded" debate on the future of nuclear power in the UK, the BBC's Alex Kirby explores the pros and cons of atomic energy." (BBC)

"Campaign ahead of GM vote heats up" - "A committee of centre-right and rightwing parliamentarians has called on voters to reject a moratorium on genetically modified products. But the environmental group Greenpeace Switzerland said that traditional farming methods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cannot co-exist in agriculture. The Swiss electorate is being asked on November 27 whether to accept a five-year moratorium on GMOs." (Swissinfo)

October 17, 2005

"How Not to Roll Back Malaria" - "Seven years ago, with much fanfare, international health and development agencies unveiled the Roll Back Malaria campaign, which was supposed to cut malaria deaths in half by 2010. Yet progress has been worse than sluggish: there are actually indications that more people are suffering from malaria now than when the campaign started. This is simply unacceptable. We know what needs to be done to control malaria. What is lacking is the drive and resourcefulness to do it." (New York Times)

The Old Gray lady would like to see action on malaria - great! Pity their editorial neglects to mention the single most effective and cheapest of protections, indoor residual spraying with DDT.

"Elusive trail of AIDS funds to NGOs in Africa" - "JOHANNESBURG - Where have the billions of dollars poured into Africa to fight AIDS gone? A lot of this money is channelled through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) mainly to pay for life-prolonging drugs and education campaigns on a continent where many national healthcare systems are broke and in tatters. Donors increasingly prefer to fund NGOs rather than African governments, many of which are seen as corrupt. But because the NGOs number in the thousands, it is unclear how much money they have received or how it was used. "The trail of donor money is as clear as mud," said Annabel Kanabus, director of UK AIDS charity Avert." (Reuters)

"Waiting for the lights to go out" - "We've taken the past 200 years of prosperity for granted. Humanity's progress is stalling, we are facing a new era of decay, and nobody is clever enough to fix it. Is the future really that black, asks Bryan Appleyard" (Times Online)

"The future of the Earth: Is this the end of the world?" - "Is this the end of the world? The earth shakes in Asia and a generation of children is lost. The wind flails America and a city is destroyed. A giant wave rises in the Indian Ocean and whole islands are drowned along with swathes of coastland. The sea is turning to acid, the air is choking us, the polar ice caps are melting. Famine, pestilence and plague used to be dread words from the Bible; now they are reasons for compassion fatigue. Bird flu threatens to sweep across the globe, killing millions of people." (London Independent)

"As scientists predict scientific disaster, others foresee Apocalypse" - "TSUNAMI, HURRICANE, DROUGHT AND now earthquake and flood. In a single year, the Earth has buckled and lashed out, piling calamity on catastrophe to the point where humanity inevitably asks whether the catalogue of disasters is natural, in the sense of random and routine, or whether these are evidence of a pattern: either global warming, government failure, or God’s wrath." (Times Online)

"The top human killers" - "With natural, and semi-natural, disasters having become such a staple of our rolling 24-hour News, I thought it might be helpful to provide, from historical evidence, a 'Premier League Table of Deaths from Natural and Semi-natural Causes' (other than old age) so that current events may be seen in historical context and the real level of risk evaluated:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Pandemic preparation" - "I have a long and intimate relationship with influenza virus. More than 30 years ago, I co-discovered one of the viral enzymes essential for the virus to duplicate and proliferate. Later, my medical training taught me respect for this pathogen. Real influenza -- as opposed to a garden-variety cold -- is a serious illness. Its victims don't soon forget the fever, headache, muscle aches and profound weakness. In an average year -- despite usually at least moderately effective vaccines -- it kills tens of thousands in this country. It seems the flu virus is now poised to repeat a several-times-a-century metamorphosis into something far worse." (Henry I. Miller, The Washington Times)

"An Epidemic of Fear" - "THIS PAST WEEK, my patients seemed more nervous than usual. In addition to concerns about chest pain, coughs and fevers, there were also the sudden, uneasy questions about bird flu. "Should I be taking Tamiflu?" several asked. "Can you prescribe it so I have a supply on hand just in case?" My answer was always the same. "No. Tamiflu is an antiviral drug that has not yet been proved effective against bird flu. And even if it worked, there's still no bird flu to treat." The difficulty with informing the public about a potential pandemic is that the uncertainty about when or if it could occur breeds fear. Scared people over-personalize the news, and their worries increase. Fear is a warning system intended to alert us to impending danger. The bird flu, though a potential large-scale danger, is not impending." (Marc Siegel, Los Angeles Times)

"Brits asked to count common frogs" - "The charity Froglife is asking Britons to count the common frog to find out how seriously it is being affected by two key diseases. Chytridiomycosis and ranavirus may prove as devastating in the UK as they have globally, with a third of species facing extinction." (BBC)

"Not just a backdrop to history: Natural forces, from storms to insects, exert a huge influence" - "For more than a generation, those of us working in the field of environmental history have asserted that natural forces must figure more prominently in our interpretation of the past. We argue for moving nature out of the background and reckoning with the ways in which it actively shapes how things turn out on the historical stage. The natural world, it is our point, imposes limits on what is humanly possible." (Ted Steinberg, Newsday)

"Will 2005 Set a Record For Warmth? Does It Matter?" - "According to David Rind from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), 2005 is going to set the all-time record for global warmth. He told Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post (October 13, 2005) only a major volcanic eruption could intervene. But Eilperin also interviewed Oregon State Climatologist George Taylor, who told her that Goddard's findings were "mighty preliminary."

That's because there's more than one history of global temperature. Three receive the most citations. NASA's record begins in 1880, as does another history from the U.S. Department of Commerce, developed at the Department's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). But the most widely referenced history (and the one primarily used by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is compiled by the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at England's University of East Anglia. It goes back to 1856." (Patrick Michaels, TCS)

"2005 globally 2nd or 3rd hottest year -MetOffice" - "LONDON - 2005 will be the second or third warmest year on record globally, Britain's national weather service said on Friday, as climate concerns build among people in polar and low-lying areas and in the insurance and utility industries. "Whether it is second or third depends on how Siberia reacts between now and the end of the year," said Wayne Elliott, Met Office spokesman. "1998 was the warmest ever, 2005 is looking at being second. It will be another very warm year generally, which is in line with global climate change research." (Reuters)

"Outlook for the Queensland Tropical Cyclone Season 2005-06" - "The Regional Director of the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland, Mr. Jim Davidson, said today that, based on the best available and most recent information, there was no sound meteorological basis for predicting how active the cyclone season in the Coral Sea will be.

Key indicators from the tropical Pacific confirm the continuation of a neutral climate pattern into the New Year, which is quite likely to persist through the cyclone season. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is fluctuating around the long-term mean, neither El Nino nor El Nina.

Some recent studies show an increase in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, especially in the northern hemisphere. At present, it is not possible to attribute the cause to either climate change or natural cyclic variability. An additional consideration in this region is the fact that the number of cyclones during any particular season is influenced by the phase of the SOI." (Bureau of Meteorology, Australia)

UHIE? What UHIE? "Something to sweat about" - "A NEW university study has shown that temperature differences between Singapore's urban core and its greener suburbs are significantly higher than previously believed. And with the urban sprawl spreading, much of Singapore may end up as a concrete cauldron – unless measures are taken soon to reduce the heat, say the researchers. The study found that night temperatures in downtown Orchard Road were up to 7°C higher than those in Lim Chu Kang, the closest Singapore has to a rural hinterland. The maximum temperature in Orchard Road was 30°C, while it was 23°C in Lim Chu Kang. Previous studies done in the early 1980s, 1996 and 2002 had put the maximum temperature difference at between four and 5°C." (The Straits Times/Asia News Network)

"Simulated and Observed Preindustrial to Modern Vegetation and Climate Changes" - "ABSTRACT: Rising levels of carbon dioxide since the preindustrial era have likely contributed to an observed warming of the global surface, and observations show global greening and an expansion of boreal forests. This study reproduces observed climate and vegetation trends associated with rising CO2 using a fully coupled atmosphere- ocean-land surface GCM with dynamic vegetation and decomposes the effects into physiological and radiative components. The simulated warming trend, strongest at high latitudes, was dominated by the radiative effect, although the physiological effect of CO2 on vegetation (CO2 fertilization) contributed to significant wintertime warming over northern Europe and central and eastern Asia. The net global greening of the model was primarily due to the physiological effect of increasing CO2, while the radiative and physiological effects combined to produce a poleward expansion of the boreal forests. Observed and simulated trends in tree ring width are consistent with the enhancement of vegetation growth by the physiological effect of rising CO2." (Journal of Climate)

Hmm... let's just repeat that: "Observed and simulated trends in tree ring width are consistent with the enhancement of vegetation growth by the physiological effect of rising CO2." No argument there, tree ring width is affected by growing conditions. Temperature, however, is only one parameter affecting growing conditions so what does this say about dendochronolgy as a climate proxy?

"Century of droughts predicted - Boulder team sees intense storms but drier summers" - "Coloradans are in for a century of summer droughts if a model of worldwide climate change brought on by global warming proves true." (Rocky Mountain News)

Mighty big if though. Climate models are process models of dubious predictive merit.

"Global meltdown hits skiing" - "With Alps and Northwest warming, are Rockies next?" (Denver Post)

"Delaware's precious coastline gives way to the sea" - "Global warming or not, rising water reshapes the landscape and threatens coastal homes and businesses." (The News Journal)

Model world still getting a hiding: "Research warms up to climatic shift theory" - "Some of the newest, most detailed computer simulations of this country's future climate have sobering news for the Texas Gulf Coast, including the Houston region. Assuming little is done to slow the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Houston in 2100 would be a less comfortable place to live, one computer model suggests." (Houston Chronicle)

"Climate change to hit UK insurance premiums" - "The cost of home insurance in Britain could soar in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, insurance companies are warning. The Association of British Insurers said its members were concerned that the hurricane was part of a pattern of global climate change in which incidents of severe weather would become more common, both at home and abroad." (London Independent)

Oh brother... "Climate climbs on board - Cool game gives lessons on a warming world" - "The temperature is rising fast, hurricanes have wiped out the US economy, and the OPEC countries are going bankrupt. Just when things look as if they cannot get any worse, disease strikes Libya's livestock. But then world leaders pull together a research fund for clean technologies in the developing world, prompting the US president (a woman, for once) to sigh and say: "We're really turning things around here".

Sound like a news report from 2050? It's actually a scenario that emerged when six science reporters got together to play an eerily prescient board game called Keep Cool: Gambling with the Climate! It kept us entertained for hours, even as the climate collapsed and nations went bankrupt around us." (Nature)

Endless indoctrination.

"Australia Urged to Review Stance on Carbon Trading" - "MELBOURNE - As one of the globe's most intensive emitters of greenhouse gases, Australia needs to review its reluctance to establish a national system for trading carbon credits, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday." (Reuters)

On a positive note: "A stake in the Kyoto Protocol's and the IPCC's heart" - "Another stake has just been driven into the heart of the monstrous Kyoto Vampire:" (EnviroSpin Watch)

Obit: "UN climate change official Joke Waller-Hunter dies at 58" - "14 October 2005 – Joke Waller-Hunter, the Executive Secretary of the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and a passionate champion of sustainable development, passed away today at the age of 58 in Bonn, Germany." (UN News)

No matter how misguided in our opinion Waller-Hunter was certainly passionate and dedicated and UNFCCC will likely bleed focus and energy with her passing.

"Canada: Ex-energy industry exec to head fund to reduce greenhouse gas: sources" - "OTTAWA - The federal government will name a former energy industry executive from Alberta to manage its $1-billion Clean Fund, the biggest single element in its Kyoto implementation strategy, The Canadian Press has learned. Allan Amey has worked in the oil, gas and electric sector for more than 20 years, and currently heads Climate Change Central, an agency created by Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, a long-time foe of the Kyoto accord." (CP)

"NZ: Checking out the impact of carbon" - "It started with academics in the 1980s, then made its way through governments and then into the boardrooms of big industry. Now, with the possibility of a carbon tax looming, small and medium-sized businesses are turning to consultants and environmental engineers to figure out how it will hit their bottom line. The carbon tax is set to start in April 2007, with fuel and electricity prices increasing. The Government has said the impact of the tax on the average household will be about $4 a week." (New Zealand Herald)

"NZ: Kyoto targets impossible with growth" - "A report on climate change says it will be impossible for New Zealand to achieve its Kyoto Protocol targets and continue to have economic growth." (One News) | See Castalia Greenhouse Report (41pp, 809Kb .pdf)

"NZ: Greenhouse gas problem - new model needed" - "The Kyoto Protocol looks unlikely to last after 2012 and New Zealand should investigate other approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Business NZ Chief Executive Phil O'Reilly says very few of the Kyoto countries will be able to meet their targets for emission reductions by the 2012 deadline." (Press Release: Business New Zealand)

"EU seeks line for post-Kyoto climate talks" - "In Short: Environment ministers are meeting today (17 October) in Luxembourg to define an EU negotiation strategy for the COP-11 meeting in Montreal later this year. New targets for 2050 are on the agenda." (EurActiv)

"Koizumi urges greenhouse action" - "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Saturday urged major greenhouse gas-emitting countries that are not members of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change to take action to save the world from the threats of global warming." (Japan Times)

"The Homecoming for 'Global Warming' policy in the UK, or the Death of a Salesman" - "While Sir David King is going walkabout in Australia rabbiting on about 'global warming', back here in the UK, the Government is quietly, and with Blairite cleverness, sidelining the Kyoto Protocol, refocusing the whole debate on the contentious economics of climate-change policy. The process has been a slow boil, but things are now clearing through the steam, and I suspect that poor Sir David may, like Celia Johnson, be getting a bit of soot in the eye before his Brief Encounter with the rough world of politics comes to an end. The 'global warming' train is leaving Platform 9.75 on the track for Azkaban. Oh dear! Are we about to witness the Death of a Salesman? For..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Economist Claims Americans Are Paying Less for Energy" - "Oct. 14--CHAMPAIGN -- If rising gasoline prices and hurricanes have you down, maybe William Strauss can cheer you up. Strauss, a senior economist and economic adviser for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, says Americans are actually paying less for energy as a share of total consumption than they did 40 years ago." (News-Gazette)

"Calls for green tax on energy" - "TWO senior government figures have called for the introduction of a green tax system to force individuals and firms to cut energy consumption. Sir David King, the chief scientist, and Elliot Morley, an environment minister, want to introduce personal energy quotas, fossil fuel rationing and surcharges on flights." (Times Online)

"Canada: Putting a price on greenhouse gas" - "New Brunswick industries await federal decision on carbon credit trading as a means to meet Kyoto Accord targets." (Telegraph-Journal)

"Don't wait for Washington - New York and neighboring states can cut power plant emissions, clean air" - "In the face of White House inaction on greenhouse gas emissions, the effort of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to address the issue at the regional level is immensely significant. Gov. George Pataki deserves praise for his leadership in creating the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Now that there's an actual plan on the table, he must lead in getting it adopted soon. We cannot miss this chance." (Newsday)

"The climate change we need" - "NEW ENGLAND has the highest electricity costs in the nation, 52 percent above the national average. These contribute significantly to the high overall costs of living and doing business that discourage opportunity and kill family dreams in Massachusetts." (Richard C. Lord, Boston Globe)

"German poll result hinders nuclear revival" - "This was meant to be party time for Germany's nuclear power industry. After seven years of a centre-left government that was proud to be anti-nuclear, industry executives had hoped last month's election would provide a new lease of life for atomic power. The reality is turning out otherwise. Angela Merkel, the conservative leader, failed to win the decisive victory that had been predicted, and that would have been necessary for her to implement her manifesto pledge to lengthen the operational life of the country's 18 nuclear power plants beyond 2020, when they are due to be shut down under a law adopted by the government of the outgoing chancellor, Gerhard Schröder. Ms Merkel is due on Monday to open coalition policy negotiations with Mr Schröder's Social Democrats, with the latter under pressure to give ground on nuclear power. Yet Sigmar Gabriel, who is expected to become the next environment minister stressed last week, that the SPD “would not accept” the need for a review of nuclear policy." (Financial Times)

"Sands rich in deposits seen as a cost-effective source to satiate U.S." - "Rising prices have finally brought economic viability to 175 billion barrels of thick oil laced through a Florida-sized area in northern Alberta. It costs $12 to $18 a barrel to make crude oil out of the sands. Today, oil sells for more than $60 a barrel." (The Dallas Morning News)

"Tire Burns Meet Air Standards - A Cement Company in Louisville Would Use Scrap Tires for 20 Percent of Its Fuel If a Permit is Issued" - "Ash Grove Cement Co. could begin burning tires for fuel by late next year, now that tests show the plant would continue to meet state and federal air pollution limits. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality said Friday that results from trial burns showed significant decreases in some pollutants and insignificant increases in others." (Omaha World - Herald)

"Unexpected Downside of Wind Power" - "Thousands of aging turbines stud the brown rolling hills of the Altamont Pass on I-580 east of San Francisco Bay, a testament to one of the nation's oldest and best-known experiments in green energy. Next month, hundreds of those blades will spin to a stop, in what appears to be a wind-energy first: Facing legal threats from environmentalists, the operators of the Altamont wind farm have agreed to shut down half of their windmills for two months starting Nov. 1; in January, they will be restarted and the other half will be shut down for two months." (Wired News)

"Scramble to build wind farms slows" - "THE SCOTTISH wind farm rush may be over, according to the industry's own trade body. The amount of electricity which could be produced by prospective wind farms fell from 4,156 to 4,008 megawatts between June and September, indicating that operators are no longer actively seeking as many sites. The reduction in activity will be welcomed by pressure groups campaigning against an over-proliferation of wind farms in the Scottish countryside. The Scottish Executive has encouraged wind farm companies to build the power plants north of the Border to meet government targets on reducing climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions." (Scotland on Sunday)

"New tissue 'grown within minutes'" - "UK scientists say they can cut the time it takes to grow new tissue from days to minutes." (BBC)

"Rounding up all the benefits of biotech" - "For a man of science, Jerry Caulder is blessed with a healthy dose of missionary zeal. With a burning belief in the positive power of genetic engineering, he has a vision of a world where food is designed to be cheaper, more abundant, healthier and safer." (New Zealand Herald)

"African Journalists Pledge More Balanced GM Coverage" - "Journalists in east and southern Africa have pledged to make their coverage of biotechnology-related issues more balanced, accurate and analytical. The group issued a declaration outlining their resolve on 7 October in the Zambian capital Lusaka. This states that with growing pressure on African nations to accept genetically modified (GM) crops, journalists have a critical role to play in educating the public about biotechnology. Acknowledging that biotechnology is a divisive area dominated by strong pro- and anti-GM viewpoints, the journalists committed themselves to "accurate and truthful" reporting and to "learning and interpreting the science of genetic engineering for the benefit of the public." (SciDev.Net)

"Genetically modified rice faces strong protests in Asia" - "Farmers and different organizations from Asian countries are protesting against the introduction of genetically engineered rice in to Asia and they wanted to have ban on these genetically engineered rice. The protests are collectively organized by 17 Asian organizations. Farmers health and agricultural sustainability civil societies are not happy with this genetically engineered crops as they feel that these crops will have an adverse impact on the environment and moreover there is no guarantee that the same vigor and quality of rice production will be maintained by the genetically engineered rice." (Indo-Asian News Service)

October 14, 2005

AFL-CIO Pressures Dupont on Teflon Ingredient -- JunkScience.com has learned that a major labor union may be using the junk science-fueled scare about perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA), which is used to make Teflon, to pressure Dupont into new labor negotiations.

In a recent letter to Dupont, the AFL-CIO called on Dupont to establish an environmental policy to address the manufacture and use of PFOA. The AFL-CIO also wants to “help” Dupont formulate the policy and wants the company to meet with “other concerned institutional investors as part of this process.”

The controversy apparently was started by the DuPont Council, a coalition representing 1,800 workers at six DuPont plants that attempted to get negotiations with Dupont started by embarrassing it through an advertisement campaign.

That effort having failed, the workers have now brought in the AFL-CIO, which, in turn, is trying to bring left-leaning institutional investor pressure to bear on Dupont. Will Dupont management cave-in to this pressure? Stay tuned for developments...

For more on the junk science of the PFOA scare, check out Doug Bandow's Claims Against Teflon Simply Don't Stick."

Concerned about CEOs appeasing labor unions?
Here's what can you do about it!

"What Arctic Warming?" - "The New York Times appeared to try a new tactic in its campaign to convince the public that global warming is real. But don’t let the Times’ Oct. 10 report on the economic upside of Arctic melting confuse you -- there still isn’t any evidence that human activity is melting the polar regions." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Beneficial effects of no-till farming depend upon future climate change" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- By storing carbon in their fields through no-till farming practice, farmers can help countries meet targeted reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and reduce the harmful effects of global warming." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Link between tropical warming and greenhouse gases stronger than ever, say scientists" - "New evidence from climate records of the past provides some of the strongest indications yet of a direct link between tropical warmth and higher greenhouse gas levels, say scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The present steady rise in tropical temperatures due to global warming will have a major impact on global climate and could intensify destructive hurricanes like Katrina and Rita." (University of California - Santa Barbara) | The Mid-Pleistocene Transition in the Tropical Pacific (Science Express) [Abstract] [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]

Model world: "Warmer seas, wetter air make harder rains" - "BOULDER -- Storms will dump heavier rain and snow around the world as Earth's climate warms over the coming century, according to several leading computer models. Now a study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) explains how and where warmer oceans and atmosphere will produce more intense precipitation. The findings recently appeared in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. The greatest increases will occur over land in the tropics, according to the study. Heavier rain or snow will also fall in northwestern and northeastern North America, northern Europe, northern Asia, the east coast of Asia, southwestern Australia, and parts of south-central South America during the 21st century." (NCAR/UCAR)

"Oil spills and climate change double the mortality rate of British seabirds" - "New research from the University of Sheffield has shown that major oil spills and a changing climate have had a far greater impact on populations of British sea birds than was previously thought.

A team led by Professor Tim Birkhead from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, shows for the first time that major oil spills double the mortality rate of adult guillemots in Britain, even though the pollution occurs hundreds of miles from the birds' breeding grounds. The research, which is to be published in the November issue of Ecology Letters also shows a direct link between a warmer climate in the North Atlantic and a higher mortality rate among British guillemots." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"UK climate change envoy cool on Australian pact" - "AUSTRALIA'S much-trumpeted new climate change pact — with six other nations — will not achieve any real progress, Britain's chief scientist Sir David King warns. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair's roving ambassador on climate change, Sir David is meeting senior Howard Government ministers during his visit, hoping to sway Australia towards more urgent action on global warming. The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, signed in August by Australia, the US, China, Japan, India and South Korea, was heralded by Prime Minister John Howard as more effective than the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to cut global-warming emissions. The countries in the Asia-Pacific pact account for half of the world's greenhouse gases." (The Age) | Australia 'must rethink Kyoto' (AAP)

Earth to Sir David! Please call home - even your own boss has declared The Protocol toast. Meanwhile, look who's got the boss's ear now: Adviser to the Government on the economics of climate change and development. And look at this: Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change: Terms of reference and call for evidence announced. Hat tip Benny Peiser via his excellent CCNet.

"German SPD Sticking by Nuclear Phase Out - Minister" - "BERLIN - Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) remain committed to phasing out nuclear power, the country's designated environment minister said on Thursday. Asked if he was prepared to accept a review of the policy in the country's planned grand coalition government under Angela Merkel, Sigmar Gabriel said: "That won't happen with the SPD." Merkel's conservatives had proposed extending the operating life of safe nuclear power plants if utilities agreed not to hike prices for industrial customers." (Reuters)

"UK: DTI 'damaging' green power sector" - "Problems with a government grant programme are damaging the UK's renewable power industry. That is the claim made by a number of companies and trade bodies working with solar, biomass and wind energy." (BBC)

There's hope: "Has the Green dream wilted?" - "Only half a decade ago the future of Europe looked greener than ever before. Green parties were part of the governments of five European countries, pushing the environment closer to the forefront of policy-making. "Some had the impression that a luminous sunflower was hanging in the grey sky," wrote Juan Behrend, the former secretary general of the Green federation in the European parliament. But that era is now over." (BBC)

"UGANDA: US launches programme to control malaria" - "The US government is to raise US$10 million for a malaria initiative in Uganda. The initiative includes distribution of long-lasting ITN's, indoor residual spraying and provision of curative and preventative treatment." (AFM)

"The End of Old Regulatory Rituals" - "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is soooo 20th Century! The dawning era of medicines developed especially for you means that the model the FDA has used for more than 50 years needs to change." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Fearing, the Worst" - "The improbably named Jennifer Fearing recently penned a tirade against animal cloning. The rant was stimulated by the announcement from South Korean scientists of the first cloned dog, an adorable puppy called Snuppy who is genetically identical to a sweet Afghan hound named Tai. Mistrusting scientific progress that uses animals, Fearing finds the development dark and unsettling. I would say the same thing about her point of view -- and add ignorant and paternalistic for good measure." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"US scientists to clone Tassie tiger" - "US researchers are involved in a renewed effort to bring the Tasmanian tiger back to life through cloning. Professor Mike Archer, dean of science at the University of New South Wales, today confirmed he was developing a new team to revive the project, which was dumped in February by the Australian Museum in Sydney. Prof Archer said public interest in the concept was still strong and researchers from several Australian institutions had expressed interest in teaming up on the project." (AAP)

"Farmer in GMO case backs ban" - "Percy Schmeiser, the controversial Canadian farmer whose legal fight with Monsanto Corp. catapulted him to superstar status in the anti-GMO movement, is urging Sonoma County voters to ban genetically modified crops." (Press Democrat)

"GM coconut oil with high lauric acid to rival canola" - "12/10/2005 - The Philippines is developing a genetically modified (GM) coconut with at least as much lauric acid as canola to allow it to hold onto its leading share of the world’s vegetable oil market." (FoodNavigator.com)

"Expert touts bio-tech crops" - "DES MOINES -- A U.S. Department of State trade policy adviser said he hopes developing countries will come on board with crop biotechnology to help end hunger and poverty around the world. Jack Bobo said biotech crops may not solve problems such as starvation and malnutrition, but can be a major tool in combatting them." (Associated Press)

October 13, 2005

"The Constant Killer" - "In Africa, more than a million children die every year from a completely preventable and curable disease - malaria. This scandalous situation persists not only because malaria has long played second fiddle to other diseases like HIV/AIDS, but because what international funds are available for malaria control, are spent badly. And not only that, some governments actively frustrate effective malaria control, with the connivance and support of vested interests in the commercial sector. In July President Bush announced a $1.2billion boost for malaria control, and many other political leaders at the G8 meeting and recent UN summit spoke in grand terms about diseases like malaria. But without widespread reforms that $1.2billion will be wasted and the world's leaders' words will remain empty rhetoric." (Richard Tren, Campaign for Fighting Diseases)

"Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now! Ask Congress to save African lives" (MS Word format) - "450,000,000 Africans get malaria every year. Up to 2,000,000 die. Most are children. Victims are often so weakened they cannot work or attend school for weeks on end. Many are left with permanent brain damage – and immune systems so enfeebled that they die of AIDS, typhus, dysentery, tuberculosis or other diseases. Malaria costs an already impoverished Africa $12 billion in lost productivity every year." (AFM)

"Will The West Nile Virus Save Us from Malaria" - "Sylvia Pasquier notes that the concerns about WNV in the US has re-opened the debate on DDT and how useful it is in disease control." (AFM)

"Property Rights Vs. Environment: ; New Chief Justice's First Big Decision May Be Landmark" - "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court set the stage Tuesday for what could be a landmark ruling on government authority to regulate wetlands and control pollution, giving new Chief Justice John Roberts his first chance to limit federal regulation of property rights." (Charleston Gazette)

"Greenpeace at war" - "Once a byword for the power of the people, the definitive pressure group is now just another bloated corporation, argues John Castel. The former 'Rainbow Warrior' captain reveals what went wrong." (London Independent)

Some obviously have fond illusions about the 'peas and their ilk although I've always considered them a bunch of naive and misguided souls that devolved into an organised mob of fear-mongering extortionists. Eye of the beholder thing, I guess.

Uh-oh! Tree-huggers will not like this: "Logging: No impact on big floods" - "Deforestation and logging do not increase the risk of major floods, according to a new report. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Center for International Forestry Research (Cifor) say the evidence shows no link." (BBC)

Or this: "Cattle grazing may help rather than hurt endangered species" - "An article published in the latest issue of Conservation Biology finds that cattle grazing plays an important role in maintaining wetland habitat necessary for some endangered species. Removing cattle from grazing lands in the Central Valley of California could, inadvertently, degrade the vernal pool habitat of fairy shrimp and tiger salamanders. Cattle grazing influences the rates of evaporation which work together with climate to determine the depth and duration of wetland flooding. Cattle have been grazing in the land for roughly 150 years and have become a naturalized part of the ecosystem. "In practical terms, this means that grazing may help sustain the kinds of aquatic environments endangered fairy shrimps need to survive," author Christopher R. Pyke states." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Activists plan to sue U.S. to protect polar bears - They tie shrinking ice to global warming, demand CO2 reductions" - "Having not heard back from the Interior Department on their initial request, three environmental groups on Wednesday filed a notice to sue the Bush administration in order to get polar bears listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act." (MSNBC)

Overreaching headline of the day: "Pollutants 'damage sperm quality'" - "Pollutant chemicals called PCBs damage sperm but do not appear to have a dramatic impact on male fertility, scientists say. However, they warn damage from PCBs could be enough to render infertile men whose sperm is already of less than optimum quality." (BBC) | EU research suggests that PCBs damage sperm – but finds no dramatic effect on male fertility (European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology)

"In Birth Defect Study, No Pesticides Link" - "TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A state health review of birth defects in the children of migrant workers found that deformities in three babies are so different that it's unlikely their defects can be linked to pesticide use." (Associated Press)

Hmm... "Prehistoric global warming may have contributed to fossil preservation - Mass kills of fish, insects and plants could have saved Earth from greenhouse sterilization" - "SALT LAKE CITY--(Oct. 16, 2005)--Prehistoric global warming episodes from massive atmospheric pollution involving carbon dioxide and methane could have created and preserved "mass kills" of wildlife, according to a University of Oregon study presented at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting." (University of Oregon)

My first thought is that I'm dubious about mass die-offs resulting in sufficient near-instantaneous carbon sequestration to halt "runaway greenhouse."

My second thought is that "runaway greenhouse" has never really been likely on Earth anyway, since Earth would need to be heated to somewhere near the boiling point of water to transform that liquid into a greenhouse gas and for that you'd need to inject a lot of energy into the system (say, by moving Earth into a Solar orbit similar to that of Venus).

"World Temperatures Keep Rising With a Hot 2005" - "New international climate data show that 2005 is on track to be the hottest year on record, continuing a 25-year trend of rising global temperatures. Climatologists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies calculated the record-breaking global average temperature, which now surpasses 1998's record by a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, from readings taken at 7,200 weather stations scattered around the world." (Washington Post)

"My clouds could beat global warming, says pioneer" - "FIRST he pioneered wave power. Then he came up with a plan to make rain fall on the desert. Now Stephen Salter, an Edinburgh University professor, believes he can help save the planet from global warming by spraying water into the sky to form clouds. The idea is to increase the whiteness of low-altitude clouds so that they reflect sunlight back into space and counter rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gases. In a report to be presented to a climate change conference in Edinburgh, Professor Salter proposes the construction of massive chimneys mounted on a flotilla of 500 unmanned sprayer yachts." (The Herald)

"The tropics play a more active role than was thought in controlling the Earth's climate" - "Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Durham University (UK) have discovered that a million years ago, global climate changes occurred due to changes in tropical circulation in the Pacific similar to those caused by El Niño today. Changes in atmospheric circulation caused variations in heat fluxes and moisture transport, triggering a large expansion of the polar ice sheets and a reorganisation of the Earth's climate. The discovery, published in Geology, shows that local climate changes in the tropics can create more global climate changes, and emphasises the hypothesis that the tropics play a more active role than was thought in controlling the Earth's climate." (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

"Climate change will stress stormwater drainage systems" - "The storm that dropped over 10 inches of rain on the Keene, NH area this past weekend will be a more frequent phenomenon due to climate change, according to two New Hampshire researchers. Michael Simpson and Latham Stack headed a research team within the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, NH. Their recently completed study is groundbreaking because it is the first to identify the specific costs required to prepare for the more intense storms induced by climate change." (Antioch New England Graduate School)

"German Pot (Gleefully) Calls the American Kettle Black" - "In a Parthian shot at President Bush, soon to be (thankfully) ex-Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, is quoted as saying in a speech to trade unionists, "I can think of a recent disaster that shows what happens when a country neglects its duties of state towards its people... My post as chancellor, which I still hold, does not allow me to name that country but you all know that I am talking about America." Schroeder's remarks were reportedly greeted with laughter and applause (perhaps tinged with Schadenfreude?)." (The Commons)

Here's a wild piece: "Chilling Effects of Climate Change in the Antarctic" - "SANTIAGO, Oct 12 - Climate change, which the scientific community links to the increased intensity of tropical storms and other extreme weather phenomena, is also making itself felt in Antarctica, where the "hole" in the ozone layer continues to grow and the increasing break-up of the ice shelves could have played a role in the recent deaths of Argentine and Chilean scientists and members of the military." (IPS)

In fairness, it does eventually admit there's neither increase in surface UV nor any danger to residents of cities in southern Argentina and Chile.

"Norm and Ollie, or 'Another fine mess you've got me into'" - "Did I hear aright on this morning's Today programme? Or was it the fag end of some overheated nightmare? Oliver Letwin of the Conservatives (MP for West Dorset) and Norman Baker of the Liberal Democrats (MP for Lewes) are going to try to form some unholy alliance to deal with climate change - "because it is so serious"! Oh dear! Oh my! Has it dawned on these gentle souls that, even if they could do something about climate change which would work predictably (which they can't), their economic and political approaches are Hayeks apart?" (EnviroSpin Watch)

Alas, poor Kyoto... "Blair appoints Treasury mandarin as climate tsar" - "Tony Blair has appointed one of the most senior civil servants as climate change tsar. Sir Nicholas Stern, currently second permanent secretary at the Treasury, will report directing to Mr Blair on the economic implications of cutting greenhouse gases." (Independent)

"Ireland facing €600m bill for failing to meet Kyoto greenhouse gas limits" - "IRELAND could face a total bill of between €500 million and €600m for failing to meet its greenhouse gas limits under the Kyoto Protocol. But the Government yesterday said it would only have to pay €280m once a series of gas-cutting measures were introduced. A report commissioned by the Department of Environment found Ireland significantly in breach of its limits under the Kyoto agreement." (Irish Examiner)

"ANALYSIS - Rising Japan CO2 Emissions to Benefit Trading Firms" - "TOKYO - Japanese trading houses are scouring the globe to buy cheap carbon dioxide credits and for clean power investments, hoping to capitalise on the country's limited efforts so far to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"EPA backs effort to cut drilling haze" - "The federal Environmental Protection Agency is calling for slower development in one of the West's most lucrative gas fields, unless companies can cut air pollution from wells by 80 percent. The cut is necessary to protect Wyoming wilderness areas and Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks from being blanketed by haze, according to a federal Bureau of Land Management analysis." (Denver Post)

"Climate: MEPs give F-gas bill a 'green boost'" - "In Short: Tough new measures to control and ban greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning are on their way if EU lawmakers follow the opinion of the Parliament’s environment committee." (EurActiv)

"Why do we need a law to make us buy ethanol?" - "If ethanol - an alcohol fuel made from corn - is such a great product, why do we need a law to make us buy it?" (CEI)

"Brown allies say coal must be at core of fuel policy" - "Two young MPs tipped for promotion in a Gordon Brown cabinet yesterday joined a plea for British coal to be given a central role in a diversified energy strategy." (The Guardian)

Guess they're not too fussed about trees either: "E.ON to build wood-burning Scottish generator" - "The British subsidiary of E.ON, the German utility stalking ScottishPower, yesterday gave the go-ahead for the UK's largest biomass power station - in Scotland." (The Guardian)

"Fungi 'antibiotics' for superbugs" - "Scientists believe they may have found powerful new antibiotics in fungi that could fight drug-resistant bacteria. The protein compound or peptide which lives in a fungus found in northern European pine forests is as powerful as penicillin and vancomycin, they say." (BBC) | New class of antibiotics effective against drug-resistant bacteria discovered in fungi (University of California, Los Angeles)

"First rice harvest performed by Ventria officials" - "Concerns over whether rice could be grown in northwest Missouri have subsided for now. The first year of test growing came to an end this week with the harvest of rice being tested in three different spots in northern Missouri. Originally, Ventria Biosciences who makes pharmaceuticals from genetically modified plants, planned on growing rice in southern Missouri, currently the sixth largest producer of rice in the United States. Concerns were raised over cross- pollination of genetically modified rice with rice grown for consumption." (The Northwest Missourian)

October 12, 2005

"Cash plea to fight Africa's forgotten diseases that kill 500,000 a year" - "Scientists have called for a more balanced approach in distributing the billions of pounds available for controlling tropical diseases. In a paper published today, they said that a focus by governments and charities on the big three tropical diseases - HIV, malaria and tuberculosis - had left millions of the poorest people in Africa without treatment for a range of illnesses. The neglected diseases, which include schistosomiasis, river blindness, ascariasis, elephantiasis and trachoma, affect more than 750 million people and kill at least 500,000 every year." (The Guardian)

"The War Over the Robber Barons" - "During the "robber baron" years, the United States outstripped other nations by far when it came to growth in per capita income, industrial production, and rising values generally. As well, the Gilded Age saw, for the first time, full economic participation by numerous previously disenfranchised constituencies. Historians are rethinking this era. It's about time." (Edward J. Renehan Jr., TCS)

"Quietly, Invisibly, Ominously Getting Healthier and Healthier" - "Modern life has buffered us from so many of the constant dangers of pre-modern life that few of us fear them. Unfortunately, the removal of the constant threat of disease and starvation seems to cause us to fill in the vacuum with new fears. Instead of fear-mongering, though, the happy story of the last half-century should be told in terms of the cancer epidemics or other dark, unseen forces that didn't strike us." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"The Worst-Case Best Seller" - "We have seen the future, and it wants to kill us. That's how it looks, anyhow, thanks to the increasingly popular view of the past as a chronicle of disasters unforetold but colorfully retold in a string of ubiquitous books. It's an indication of society's new catastrophe consciousness that we instinctively refer to the publishing trend as a "flood" of disaster books or, last year, as a "tsunami," which seemed a metaphor both more dramatic and timelier, until New Orleans." (Seattle Weekly)

"£9.6m food allergy study begins" - "A study into why people are allergic to peanuts, and not their close relative peas, could help improve the quality of food allergy tests, scientists believe." (BBC)

"Fat muscles' may explain obesity" - "People who are overweight may be able to partly blame their muscles for storing too much fat, a study suggests." (BBC)

"Slippery Teflon Charges Won't Stick" - "The uncanny ability of President Ronald Reagan to deflect public criticism won him the nickname, "The Teflon President." Ironically, now it is Teflon itself that is facing the heat, as anti-chemical groups and trial attorneys have joined forces to cook up controversy over a product that has become one of America's most trusted consumer icons, as well as an integral part of our language, like Thermos and Kleenex.

The radical Environmental Working Group has charged that the billions of meals worldwide prepared every day on Teflon cookware are being contaminated with "Teflon toxins," and two Florida-based law firms have filed a $5 billion class-action suit in eight states against the manufacturer, DuPont, for "failing" to warn consumers about the product's alleged dangers.

But, like many product-safety scares these days, these charges are bogus. And that really fries us." (Gregory Conko and Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"Floodwater Not as Toxic As Feared, Experts Say" - "The floodwater that covered New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was not unusually toxic and was "typical of storm water runoff in the region," according to a study published yesterday." (Washington Post)

"Animal rights group threatens builders over new Oxford labs" - "Nearly 30 builders and decorators have received threatening letters from animal rights activists warning them not to work for Oxford University." (Daily Telegraph)

Another unhappy bunny: "The Fight Is Never Over" - "Frances Beinecke, the incoming head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, shares her thoughts on new environmental solutions and challenges." (Newsweek)

"Court to Rule on Federal Regulation of Wetlands" - "The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will decide how extensively government can regulate the nation's wetlands, a key source of contention among environmentalists and property owners." (Washington Post)

"Supreme Court Takes Up 2 Cases Challenging Powers of U.S. Regulators to Protect Wetlands" - "The Supreme Court accepted two cases on the federal regulation of wetlands, bringing the court's federalism revolution into the heartland of environmental policy." (New York Times)

"Scientists Say More Progress Needed to Slow Amazon Deforestation" - "Washington - Occupying 5 percent of the planet's land, the Amazon is the largest forest in the world. It has 50 percent of the world's biodiversity and 20 percent of its drinking water. Brazil's environmental minister said that about 12 percent of the Amazon forest has been destroyed, although one scientist estimates the loss is as high as 20 percent. But the good news is that new programs appear to have slowed the rate of deforestation, even as scientists say they still don't know exactly what effects deforestation will have on the world." (AXcess News)

"Next: A War Against Nature" - "THE rest of the world and even quite a few Americans are uncomfortable with the globe-trotting United States military. But in future years they will see much more of it. The causes will be more related to the natural environment than to terrorism. Just ask the earthquake victims in northern Pakistan, where eight American military helicopters have now arrived with relief supplies - the start of an aid effort by the military's Central Command that will include airborne reconnaissance and heavy-lifting equipment." (Robert D Kaplan, New York Times)

"50m environmental refugees by end of decade, UN warns" - "Rising sea levels, desertification and shrinking freshwater supplies will create up to 50 million environmental refugees by the end of the decade, experts warn today. Janos Bogardi, director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University in Bonn, said creeping environmental deterioration already displaced up to 10 million people a year, and the situation would get worse." (The Guardian)

"Deaths are down to over-heating" - "Air pollution is wrongly blamed for many of the deaths that occur during spells of hot weather, research suggests. A study by University College London found the more fundamental problem is that too many people fail to keep themselves cool during a hot snap. The researchers found that long runs of successive hot days were particularly associated with higher death rates. The study is published online in the journal Environmental Research." (BBC)

"Flood Plain Developers Dare Nature" - "Oct. 11--CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- The longest outdoor strip mall in America starts with Target and, more than a mile later, finishes with Home Depot and a 14-theater multiplex, all on farmland that in 1993 was under 15 feet of brown Missouri River water. On the strength of a new levee and a fervent belief that disaster will not strike again, the retail franchise nirvana known as Chesterfield Commons lies in the flood plain, practically daring the Missouri to give the reinforced levee its best shot." (Chicago Tribune)

"China: Gore paints picture of environment crisis" - "It was a vivid picture of the consequences of global warming: melting glaciers, rising sea levels, dying lakes and increasing numbers of floods and droughts. The painter was Al Gore, the former vice-president of the United States and also the author of "Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit." He was invited to give a speech on global climate changes to about 700 Tsinghua University students yesterday in Beijing at a Tsinghua Forum. "Many people in the US believe that Hurricane Katrina marks the beginning of consequences," Gore said, adding that all people in the world are facing a huge global environmental crisis." (China Daily)0

"Africa Heats Up -- climate change threatens future of the continent" - "Global warming has become an increasingly pervasive topic of discussion and concern for the scientific community. From fears over oceanic inundation of low-lying island nations such as the Maldives to glacial melting in the Arctic, higher temperatures around the globe have put experts on edge about the future of the world's health and balance. Nowhere has the phenomenon become more immediate than for the African continent. A series of recent studies have revealed a sobering future for the majority of Africa, a future predicated by undeniable and significant climate change. The threat traverses all levels of the environmental, social, political and economic spheres, from heightened socio-economic disparity to dwindling fish populations, from civil strife to desperate hunger." (Tina Butler, mongabay.com)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

Variability of Insolation at Earth's Surface: The Other Sun-Climate Connection: The sun itself need not be variable to find a variable receipt of solar radiation at the planet's surface driving climate change.

Subject Index Summaries:
Health Effects (Temperature - Hot vs. Cold: Global): For the world as a whole, how does the yearly number of heat-related deaths compare with the number of cold-related deaths?

Range Expansion (Animals): Will CO 2 -induced global warming be so fast and furious that hosts of earth's animals will not be able to migrate far enough and fast enough to avoid extinction?

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: Bald Cypress, Eastern Cottonwood, Goldenclub, and Loblolly Pine.

Journal Reviews:
Recent Changes in the South Indian Ocean Thermocline: Is anthropogenic global warming responsible for them?

A 213-Year Temperature Record Derived from a Guam Coral: How does the temperature history of this tropical region of the Northern Hemisphere compare with that of the Northern Hemisphere's extratropical area over the last two centuries of the past millennium?

Millennial-Scale Climate Variation at Chesapeake Bay, USA: What does it tell us about natural climate variability in this part of the world over the past 10,000 years?

Global Terrestrial Carbon Uptake in the 1980s and 90s: How did it change, and what was responsible for the change?

Effects of Elevated CO 2 and O 3 on Phenolic Compounds in Birch Leaves: Which trace gas has the most effects?  Which trace gas has the strongest effects?  Which trace gas's effects prevail when the atmospheric concentrations of each of them are doubled? (co2science.org)

"Opposition parties demand action on climate change" - "Britain's main opposition parties are uniting today to call for a tough new policy for tackling climate change. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are seeking cross-party consensus on countering global warming and new measures to cut greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide which cause it." (London Independent)

Put people out of work and reduce living standards... and they think these are election-winning strategies? Wonder why they're in opposition.

Meanwhile, back in the real world: "UK: Coldest winter for decade could spark energy crisis" - "THE Government has summoned industrialists and generating companies to an emergency meeting next month amid fears of an energy crisis if Britain suffers a harsh winter. Long-distance forecasters are predicting that the country is facing its coldest weather for a decade, putting lives at risk and forcing businesses to lay off workers." (London Times)

Banzhaf wannabe? "Take greenhouse polluters to the cleaners" - "Forget Kyoto. New Scientist spoke to Myles Allen, the University of Oxford academic who believes the only way to turn around global warming is to sue the pants off the oil companies." (Fred Pearce, New Scientist)

"£10m to study how to regrow damaged limbs" - "British scientists have been awarded £10m to develop genetic treatments that could enable humans to regrow limbs damaged by accidents or surgery and allow patients to recover from wounds without scarring." (The Guardian)

Oh dear... "Zim, Zambia Stance On GMO Food Hailed" - "INTERNATIONAL scientists, including those from the United States, have praised Zimbabwe and Zambia for rejecting genetically-modified food donations from the West to feed scores of their rural folk facing drought-induced food shortages. By standing firm against GMOs, said the scientists, the two governments avoided manipulation and deception, which could have resulted in their vulnerable poor being used as guinea pigs." (The Herald (Harare))

"Biotech crops boost global farm income - study" - "WASHINGTON, Oct 11 - Biotech crops have boosted global farm income by nearly $28 billion and reduced the use of pesticides that can damage the environment, according to a study of genetically modified crops released on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Biotech Crops Reduce Pesticide Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Planting of these crops generates additional US$27.5 billion in global farm income" - "LONDON (Oct. 12, 2005) — After just nine years of commercialisation, biotech crops have made a significant, positive impact on the global economy and environment, decreasing pesticide spraying and reducing the environmental footprint associated with pesticide use by 14 percent, according to a study released today." (PG Economics)

"Modified-algae project halted" - "HILO, Hawai'i — A Big Island judge yesterday reversed state approval of a project to grow genetically engineered algae in outdoor tanks at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai'i in Kona, ruling an environmental assessment must be done before the project can proceed." (Honolulu Advertiser)

"No go on GMO moratorium" - "LAKEPORT -- A proposed ordinance to place a moratorium on the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa was defeated in a vote by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday." (Record-Bee)

October 11, 2005

Is violent hate speech socially responsible? "Free Enterprise Action Fund Calls on Calvert Investments and KLD Research to Withdraw Sponsorship of ‘Socially Responsible’ Conference Featuring Speaker Who Advocated Violence Against Fund Managers " - "We are appalled that anyone would advocate violence against us simply because we hold an opposing view, said Steven Milloy..." (PR Web)

"Look Who's Ignoring Science Now" - Washington Post columnist Sebastan Mallaby rehabilitates DDT.

Check out JunkScience.com's 100 Things You Should Know About DDT.

"Glowing insects 'to cut malaria'" - "A protein that makes the sex glands and sperm of male mosquitoes glow could help reduce malaria infection rates, UK scientists say. They used the protein to tag male mosquito larvae, the genes of which can be manipulated to make them infertile. As malaria is spread only by female mosquitoes, the scientists hope sending such sterile males into the wild could help kill off infective populations." (BBC) | New GM mosquito sexing technique is step towards malaria control, report scientists (Imperial College London)

"New book shows precautionary principle will ‘wreak havoc’ in Europe" - "The precautionary principle is a policy concept that tries to avoid risk, both real and imagined. It has been used to justify European Union regulation and laws, but because it is an ill-defined concept, it has lead to arbitrary decisions, creating problems for future case law and jurisprudence. It is used most often in cases dealing with environment, technology, safety and health policy issues." (IPN)

Oh boy... "Finding agreement about global warming" - "Global warming is a hot-button issue, and today's special report on the subject is likely to be inflammatory for some readers. Titled "The truth about global warming," the report concludes that "scientists overwhelming agree: the Earth is getting warmer at an alarming pace, and humans are the cause — no matter what the skeptics say." (Mike Fancher, Seattle Times executive editor) | Is warming making hurricanes more ferocious? (Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times)

Actually, their statement "Earth is getting warmer at an alarming pace" is irrefutable. Why? Firstly because Earth is undoubtedly warmer than it was a century ago and appears to be continuing that trend and secondly, because some people are obviously alarmed at the pace of said warming. We aren't alarmed because we view said warming as a recovery from a distressingly cool period but, as they indicate, it doesn't matter what we nasty sceptics say.

Fortunately, historical revisions such as the infamous "hockey stick" graph (a.k.a. "hokey stick," "crockey stick" and "Crok-ed stick" graph) have come under increased scrutiny and science journalism covering that scrutiny suitably rewarded:

Congratulations indeed: "Article on M&M Wins Dutch Science Journalism Award" - "Marcel Crok’s article on M&M in the Dutch science magazine Natuurwetenschap & Techniek, published in their February 1, 2005 issue, has won a prestigious Dutch prize for science journalism from the Free University (VU) in Amsterdam, together with the VU Medical Center and Hogeschool Hindesheim. The shortlist of three finalists all consisted of investigative journalistic articles (one about food and health; one criticizing an article in The Lancet about the number of civilian victims in Iraq.) Congratulations to Marcel." (Climate Audit)

As published in two parts by the Financial Post: "Breaking the hockey stick" - "The famous graph that supposedly shows that recent temperatures are the highest in a thousand years has now been shown by careful analysis to have been based on faulty data." (Marcel Crok, Financial Post)

"The lone Gaspe cedar" - "This is the second of our two-part series on the flawed science behind the famous "Hockey Stick" chart of historic global temperatures that forms the basis for claims that the world climate is in the midst of unprecedented warming." (Marcel Crok, Financial Post)

Also fortunate is that even staunch Kyoto advocates such as UK Prime Minister Tony Blair now realise it's a non-starter: "... and I would say probably I’m changing my thinking about this in the past two or three years. I think if we are going to get action on this, we have got to start from the brutal honesty about the politics of how we deal with it. The truth is no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem." Let's Be Brutally Honest: There Won't Be Any More Kyoto Treaties (.pdf) (Clinton Global Inititative)

No wonder 'Green Bunnies' will always be 'Unhappy Bunnies' (EnviroSpin Watch)

NYT's at it again: "As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound" - "CHURCHILL, Manitoba - It seems harsh to say that bad news for polar bears is good for Pat Broe. Mr. Broe, a Denver entrepreneur, is no more to blame than anyone else for a meltdown at the top of the world that threatens Arctic mammals and ancient traditions and lends credibility to dark visions of global warming." (New York Times) | See also: Earth - melting in the heat? (BBC)

There are some known facts and some apparent facts such as that we don't appear to descending into an ice age just at present but Arctic meltdown does not fit into these categories (data deficient would be the snappy term for it). As far as the imminent drowning of cities goes, as Luboš Motl points out, current glacial contribution to sea level rise is estimated at 0.42mm/year, so the postulated 80m rise in sea level will only take about one hundred and ninety thousand years (190,000 years) at current rates. That kind of extrapolation strikes us as a tad ambitious and the risk of total melt-down so minute as to be nonexistent.

Arctic1880-2004_1.gif (26365 bytes) So, what actual information (as opposed the make-believe of model-generated virtual worlds) can we look at to get some idea of what is happening? Well, earlier this year we generated a series of graphics from NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies zonal temperature record (GISTEMP). Note: subsequent to NASA's server upgrade the correct URL for zonal temperature anomalies is: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/ZonAnn.Ts.txt rather than the address embedded in the graphics. The unadorned annual track is at right.

Since 1880 the Arctic region is believed to have warmed to a peak in 1938, subsequently cooled 'til 1966 and since almost returned to temps seen nearly seven decades earlier. Let's have a closer look at those changing trends:
Arctic1880-2004_2.gif (33746 bytes) This next graphic shows the very same data with split trends and shading to highlight the warming trend 1880 through 1938 (the warmest year in the series). Had the pre-1938 trend continued there would certainly be some Arctic warming to talk about. Arctic1880-2004_3.gif (32211 bytes) We would be remiss if we did not point out the most significant warming in the series.
Arctic1880-2004_4.gif (36673 bytes) And now, trends 1918-1938 and 1966-2003 compared (yes, we know data is available in the series to include 2004 but the region's annual mean temperature fell two-thirds of one degree C from the partial series maximum value of 2003). Arctic1880-2004_5.gif (30718 bytes) Finally, let's look at the low-high trend values for the warming periods before and after the cooling demonstrated 1938 - 1966.
Enhanced greenhouse appears to have had zero effect on the Arctic's recovery from the LIA.

Antarctic1903-2004.gif (34129 bytes) While the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis insists the Antarctic should demonstrate the most dramatic response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels due to its cold, dry atmosphere, the simple fact is the Antarctic is not cooperating.

South Polar air samples record atmospheric CO2 rising from 328 ppmv to 373 ppmv subsequent to the 1949-1974 temperature increase - almost 15% increase apparently without affecting Polar temperatures, while startling temperature changes of ~4 °C (+ve and -ve) are recorded in periods when we know atmospheric CO2 was increasing at a more leisurely rate.

A treasured hypothesis insists increasing atmospheric CO2 should lead to increasing temperature and the South Polar super-cold, super-dry air mass should respond dramatically. Well, we looked for the CO2 increment and it is obvious. We looked for the temperature increment and... found nothing.

We are in the process of renovating the "Global Warming at a glance" section of the site and will be providing monthly updates of "satellite era" near-surface and lower troposphere temperature anomalies globally and regionally. Here's a sample of the new script-generated format:
UAHMSUNPol.png (26805 bytes) UAHMSUSPol.png (26702 bytes)
Arctic75N.png (32143 bytes) AntA65-90.png (32448 bytes)

We don't specify how regions are split, we simply take them as provided in the source files. The series start of December, 1978 is used to match available MSU lower troposphere data (consequently series are short and trends should not be inferred). Longer annual series will be produced where data is available. Readers should also note that graphs are auto-scaled and vary to match data extremes to the plot area. Limitations notwithstanding they should provide entertaining near-real-time information on what the planet's temperature is doing and where.

"Sea Level Rise: How High?" - "Global sea level rise figures prominently in most climate doom and gloom stories. And, not surprisingly, good news is either ignored or mis-reported." (World Climate Report)

"People of Tuvalu face uphill battle" - "Tuvalu is picked to be the first nation to be submerged. This will create environmental refugees - many of whom will come to New Zealand." | Forecast for the future (New Zealand Herald)

SPacSeaLevels.gif (60944 bytes) Another "Tuvalu's about to drown" piece. Fortunately there appears little truth to the allegation. Linked from the thumbnail graphic at right is the chart from the South Pacific Sea Level & Climate Monitoring Project (by Australia's National Tidal Centre, Bureau of Meteorology), this one extracted from the August 2005 monthly report (latest available).

Notable features of the chart are the distortions in sea surface associated with ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) phase. In Tuvalu's case this means severe high water during La Niña (cold phase) and severely depressed sea levels during El Niño (warm phase). Effect varies with location and this is particularly obvious if you check out Australian coastal sea level trends (available from the same site).

Despite excessive extraction of ground water inducing subsidence and erosion following the removal of coral for building material, current sea level around Tuvalu is lower than it was a decade ago.

The Week That Was Oct. 8, 2005 (SEPP)

Would've expected better from a professor of geography: "There's no disguising it -- global warming's no put-on" - Mounting evidence has forced an end to any serious scientific debate on whether humans are causing global warming. This is an event of historical significance, but one obscured from public view by the arcane technical literature and the noise generated by perpetual partisans. Fortunately, public attention is focused on the environment and the possibilities of climate change after this summer's devastating hurricanes and reports of disappearing Arctic Ocean ice." (Kurt M. Cuffey, SF Chronicle)

Lest we forget: climate crisis - 1975 style (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Hot debate: Global warming's storm role" - "Did global warming turn Hurricane Katrina into such a powerful killer? Did it cause the four hurricanes that pummeled Florida last year? Do these catastrophic storms offer a glimpse of the havoc that a warming Earth will inflict in coming decades? Or is this speculation just a lot of air?" (Palm Beach Post)

"Cycle of natural disaster is cresting: Experts predict more monster storms, quakes" - "Have we seen America's future through the eyes of hurricanes Katrina and Rita? Monster storms drowning cities and obliterating coastlines. Jobs vanishing and prices rising as ports and pipelines close. Millions fleeing, but many are trapped and die. Chaos reigns, paralyzing government and leaving the world's wealthiest society humbled and frightened. Natural disaster in the United States has morphed to a dangerous new level. Some experts say the nation can expect to be pummeled by more of these mega-catastrophes over the next 20 or 30 years in a nasty conspiracy of unfavorable weather patterns, changing demographics and political denial. It's not clear how the United States will play the new hand that nature has apparently dealt." (Associated Press)

"World Helpless Against Assaults of Nature" - "WASHINGTON -- In a more hopeful time, buoyed by the promise of science, it was thought hurricanes could be tricked into dispersing, earthquakes could be disarmed by nuclear explosions and floodwaters held at bay by great mounds of dirt. Such conceits are another victim of a year of destruction. The planet's controlling forces romp over dreams like those. Usually the best that can be done is to see the danger coming long enough to run." (Associated Press)

Might be time to pause for breath: "I Read the News Today, Oh Boy" - "In 'A Day in the Life,' John Lennon captured the sense of resignation generated by the daily diet of doom and gloom fed to us by broadcasters and newspapers. He and his Beatles collaborator Paul McCartney wrote it all off with comic inanities: 'Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.'

Yet it's hard to shrug off earthquakes, fires, floods, bombings, warfare and all the other images that flood in on us thanks to the miracle of modern communications. We not only hear of the event but the often-terrible stories the survivors have to tell, the accounts of officials, and the instant commentary on what it all means. When an event can be predicted, weather forecasters and emergency-preparedness officials predict the worst to avoid accusations later of criminal complacency.

If there is any comfort in all this, it sometimes can be found by sharply discounting apocalyptic theories, including breathless predictions of economic collapse, massive social disorder, energy shortages or pandemics. More often than not, over-the-top forecasts are the product of the innate need in all of us to get attention, a need that can now be gratified through access to microphones and TV cameras that transmit words and images instantly to a world-wide audience.

Especially in need of attention are those of us in the news media. Our jobs and the fate of our enterprises depend on it -- hence, the occasional temptation to exaggerate. For government officials, no problem means no appropriation from the legislature -- so make it as big as you can. All those non-governmental organizations (NGOs) need to attract donations.

In all cases, there's a penalty for being wrong -- the loss of reputation -- but tomorrow's massive news budget will blot from the collective consciousness most of the nonsense uttered today. If you write a best-selling book that predicts hard times in, say, five years, you will have banked your royalties well before anyone knows if you were right or wrong." (George Melloan, The Wall Street Journal)

Darn... "Europe ice mission lost in ocean" - "The European Space Agency has confirmed that its ice mission, Cryosat, has been lost off the Russian coast. The satellite fell into the Arctic Ocean minutes after lift-off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The £90m (135m euro) craft was designed to monitor how the Earth's ice masses are responding to climate change. Scientists said the crash was a "tragedy" and it would be years before they could launch a similar mission, even if more funding were available." (BBC)

"North Sea efficient sink for carbon dioxide" - "A relatively large number of algae grow in the North Sea. These form the basis for a much richer food chain than that found in the Atlantic Ocean. Dutch-sponsored researcher Yann Bozec calculated that coastal seas such as the North Sea remove about three times as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than would be expected on the basis of their small surface area." (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)

"Underlying cause of massive pinyon pine die-off revealed" - "The high heat that accompanied the recent drought was the underlying cause of death for millions of pinyon pines throughout the Southwest, according to new research. The resulting landscape change will affect the ecosystem for decades. Hotter temperatures coupled with drought are the type of event predicted by global climate change models. The new finding suggests big, fast changes in ecosystems may result from global climate change." (University of Arizona)

Given we believe the region has been subject to much longer droughts and hotter periods in the past this is not perhaps particularly revelatory.

"Indian eddies supply Atlantic Ocean with warm water" - "Water from the Indian Ocean does not reach the South Atlantic Ocean continuously, but in separate packages. These are called Agulhas eddies, after the current along the east coast of Southern Africa where they originate from. Dutch researcher Astrid van Veldhoven characterised the fate of these rapidly rotating, three hundred kilometre wide and five kilometres deep, warm eddies during their journey to the Atlantic Ocean." (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)

Diddums terrorists: "Ports refuse dock access to Greenpeace ship: Coast Guard boards vessel, searches boxes, crew luggage" - "A long and frustrating weekend spilled into Monday for Greenpeace activists who were in South Florida to warn about global warming." (Sun-Sentinel)

Evwyone say "Ohhh" for poah ickles gweenpeace - dey just finded out the world doesn't wevolve awound dem...

Fancy the Coast Guard doing their job, eh? Everyone knows the 'peas are pirates and terrorists above the law! Must be some kind of Evil Empire plot to ruin their current cycle of fear-mongering for fun and profit.

"Australia Develops Web-Based Weather Prediction Tool" - "SYDNEY - Australian scientists have developed an Internet-based rainfall prediction tool they say is a world leader in formulating quick weather answers for farmers from masses of complex data. The tool, unveiled on Monday, is based on 115 years of Australian Bureau of Meteorology weather records, intertwined by complex computer mathematics using a stream of data on sea temperatures from the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Greg Laughlin, a scientist with Australia's Bureau of Rural Sciences, said the tool will be easy to use for the farmer. "You could literally peruse it in one to two minutes and then go back to the tractor ... The number-crunching that goes on behind the scenes is unbelievable," he told Reuters. Covering 3,300 sites across Australia, predictions are made for 13 weeks into the future. A range of background information and predictions are provided for each site, which are updated weekly. "In a perfect world we could predict a couple of seasons out. But we're not there yet," Laughlin said. "We are trying to basically predict the season once it gets underway, or just before it, to say this is how it's tracking." (Reuters)

"Plan to cut auto emissions spurs debate" - "AUGUSTA — Representatives of the auto industry clashed with environmentalists, physicians and even a car dealer Thursday during a public hearing on proposed pollution and fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks. At issue is the Baldacci administration's plan to join California and five other states and require new cars and trucks sold in Maine to release 30 percent less greenhouse gas pollution by 2016. The pollution, primarily carbon dioxide coming out of tailpipes, can trap heat in the earth's atmosphere and contribute to warming temperatures and climate changes." (Portland Press Herald)

Gee Dave, don't reckon Tony's taking your advice mate: "World needs Kyoto climate pact: scientist" - "SINGAPORE - The world must stick with the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions and the United States needs to show leadership in limiting climate change instead of being an obstacle, a top British scientist said on Monday." (Reuters)

"'Green' Britain breaks pollution rules and forgets promises" - "Britain is dragging its feet over three separate European laws on global warming, undermining Tony Blair's claim to be leading the world on fighting climate change, a new report shows." (London Independent)

"Waste and hot air as MPs fail green audit" - "MPs are renowned for emitting hot air in the Commons. But when it comes to conserving energy, their record is feeble. A green audit of the Palace of Westminster has found MPs' performance on recycling, waste disposal and cutting electricity use fails totally to live up to their rhetoric on the environment." (London Independent)

"SUV protesters cite global warming in defence" - "Greenpeace will attempt to turn a prosecution of four of its environmental campaigners to its advantage next month by using the trial to justify attacks on gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicles. Lawyers for four Greenpeace protesters arrested for handcuffing themselves to Land Rover sports utility vehicles in London will present expert evidence on global warming and argue the action was aimed at preventing an environmental catastrophe, and they should go free." (Financial Times)

Being misguided is a defence? Sheesh!

"Duck hunting: Outdoorsman disputes global warming impact" - "Reader and outdoorsman Robert McKenzie Jr. of Fort Smith passed along some comments after a recent article on the National Wildlife Federation's global warming report. The report tagged global warming as a major factor impacting ducks in North America. McKenzie disagrees. Other factors are a larger influence on our declining duck-hunting situation, he says, and he brings out some significant points." (Arkansas News Bureau)

"Flood risk for London is 'not being taken seriously enough'" - "The risk of major flooding in London is not being taken "seriously enough" according to a report. The London Assembly has warned that the threat of natural disaster, and its disastrous consequences as seen last month in New Orleans, should not be ignored." (London Independent)

Just as Philip Stott predicted before the UK election: "Blair gives green light to new nuclear power plants" - "TONY BLAIR has decided to back new nuclear power stations, which would be built on the sites of existing plants and presented to the public and his party as a job-creating answer to climate change." (Scotland on Sunday)

"FEATURE - Clean Coal Isn't Climate-Friendly Yet" - "NEW YORK - The world's first substantially cleaner coal plants are being planned in the United States, but they may do little to cut global warming risks until the US forms climate regulations, experts said." (Reuters)

"China says survey shows Everest shorter" - "BEIJING - China now thinks Everest, the world's highest peak, is about 3.7 meters shorter than its own past estimates after conducting a new survey of the mountain this year, state media reported on Sunday." (Reuters)

"Forest Service, bowing to court, embraces Scrooge" - "A federal court ruling in favor of environmentalists is forcing the Forest Service to suspend more than 1,500 permits for activities ranging from fire prevention to Boy Scout meetings and also is threatening to delay cutting of the Capitol's Christmas tree until after the new year." (The Washington Times)

"The Right to Know-nothingism Law" - "Proposition 65 deserves to be renamed "the law of mythological food fears." It's the California act of 1986 which "requires businesses to provide clear and reasonable warning if their products expose any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity." Couched by many as the "right to know law," it has increased the number of carcinogens and reproductive toxicants subject to government regulations -- with resultant warning labels on everything -- to 367 and 179, respectively. But it's done so at the expense of regulatory relevance and sound science. Instead, it's become the vehicle used by activists to terrify us about our food -- namely "unnatural" or processed "junk" food -- by not giving consumers the full story." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Eating fish associated with slower cognitive decline" - "CHICAGO – Consuming fish at least once a week was associated with a 10 percent per year slower rate of cognitive decline in elderly people, according to a new study posted online today from Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The study will be published in the December print edition of the journal." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

Wonder how long before hysterics claim its due to mercury-based preservative effect?

Random number of the moment: "Salt campaign targets ready meals" - "A food watchdog is urging people to cut their daily salt intake by choosing healthier ready meals. The Food Standards Agency is launching a media campaign advising people to cut salt consumption to 6g a day." (BBC)

"Fatty foods fight inflammation" - "Take two cheeseburgers and call me in the morning," may sound like far-fetched medical advice. After all, high fat foods can worsen blockages in blood vessels. But a new study in the October 17 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine shows that high fat foods can, at least in the gut, soothe inflammation. This action may stop immune cells from attacking food as a foreign invader." (Journal of Experimental Medicine)

"Midlife obesity may be associated with risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease" - "CHICAGO – Individuals who were obese at midlife had an increased risk for dementia later in life compared to individuals of normal weight, according to an article in the October issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Obesity is on the rise all over the world and is related to vascular diseases, which may be linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to background information in the article. However, the link between obesity and dementia risk has not been extensively studied and long-term follow-up studies performed thus far have yielded somewhat conflicting results." (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Fetal exposure to toxins could be behind rise in asthma" - "Most studies assessing health effects of environmental toxins like lead, mercury and dioxin as well as new drugs examine how these substances impact adult animals, while the real dangers may occur when developing immune systems of fetuses and newborns are exposed to toxins, according to Cornell University researcher Rod Dietert." (Cornell University News Service)

And just about everything's to blame, too! "Low fertility: The daddy of all problems" - "Millions of men suffer from low fertility - and many have no idea. But cutting down on fast food and avoiding tight pants can help revive your sperm count." (London Independent)

"Pet rodents 'a salmonella risk'" - "People who keep rodents as pets should take care not to catch salmonella, experts advise. The American Centers for Disease Control has reports of 28 people, including seven young children, who have caught strains of the bacteria carried by pet rats, mice and hamsters." (BBC)

"Badger cull 'must be considered'" - "The humane culling of badgers to control bovine TB should be urgently considered by the government, the British Veterinary Association says. It warns tuberculosis costs the farming industry millions of pounds a year and must be eradicated." (BBC)

"Ireland: Warning over genetically-modified animal feed" - "Anti-GM campaigners are waging a battle to keep a newly-approved, genetically-modified animal feed, which they warn is a huge threat to the environment and farmers, out of Ireland. Protesters claim the new oilseed rape feed, which is the first live genetically modified seed to be introduced into the country, will inevitably escape into the wider environment and contaminate crops." (Ireland Online)

"Misuse of gene-altered crops can cause problem" - "Two Missouri farmers are providing Monsanto Co. and a University of Missouri scientist with a cautionary tale: Misuse Monsanto's Roundup Ready weed-control system, and you're likely to create a stronger weed. On two separate soybean fields in the northwest part of the state, scientists have found common waterhemp, also known as pigweed, that shows signs of resisting glyphosate herbicide. Creve Coeur-based Monsanto sells glyphosate as Roundup. It is one of the most effective, relatively safe and commonly used agricultural weedkillers." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Should read: "Misuse of herbicide" but, oh well...

"Bollworm pest remains beaten: Genetic study confirms insects are still not resistant to Bt toxin" - "Cotton that has been genetically engineered to be toxic to pests remains effective after nearly a decade in the field, scientists have announced, defying predictions that insects would evolve to tolerate them. Widespread planting of genetically modified (GM) cotton across the southern United States has not increased the incidence of resistance in the major insect pest, pink bollworm." (Nature)

"Biotech lectures focus on food" - "CORVALLIS — The Outreach in Biotechnology program at Oregon State University will sponsor a lecture series this fall titled “Food for Thought,” featuring three prominent leaders in agriculture, genetic engineering and ecology who will discuss the potential, benefits and risks of this evolving science." (OSU News Service)

October 7, 2005

"Anti-Biotech Film a 'Crockumentary'" - "The biotech scare is back – or, at least, a new movie is trying to bring it back. Playing in small movie houses, “The Future of Food” dusts off, and presents in ominous fashion, all the Greens’ long-discredited arguments against agricultural biotechnology." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Kill Malaria Mosquitoes Now - Declaration" - "A new coalition to improve malaria control - Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now is launched - see the declaration now and join the movement." (AFM)

Congratulations indeed: "Article on M&M Wins Dutch Science Journalism Award" - "Marcel Crok’s article on M&M in the Dutch science magazine Natuurwetenschap & Techniek, published in their February 1, 2005 issue, has won a prestigious Dutch prize for science journalism from the Free University (VU) in Amsterdam, together with the VU Medical Center and Hogeschool Hindesheim. The shortlist of three finalists all consisted of investigative journalistic articles (one about food and health; one criticizing an article in The Lancet about the number of civilian victims in Iraq.) Congratulations to Marcel." (Climate Audit)

As published in two parts by the Financial Post: "Breaking the hockey stick" - "The famous graph that supposedly shows that recent temperatures are the highest in a thousand years has now been shown by careful analysis to have been based on faulty data." (Marcel Crok, Financial Post)

"The lone Gaspe cedar" - "This is the second of our two-part series on the flawed science behind the famous "Hockey Stick" chart of historic global temperatures that forms the basis for claims that the world climate is in the midst of unprecedented warming." (Marcel Crok, Financial Post)

Lester... "China: Reject US Path to Ecological Disaster" - "Lester Brown, who scared the world by asking "Who will feed China" in 1994, said today that, "the United States has become the greatest threat to world energy." Brown, president and founder of the Earth Policy Institute, based in the United States, called for the China to give up its model of economic development, which evolved in the United States and is characterized by inefficiency and pollution. "The fossil-fuel based, auto-centered economy of the United States threatens not only the world energy supply, but also the climate," said Brown, during his stay in Beijing to attend the "Twenty First Forum," in an exclusive interview with Xinhua which sharply criticized US energy policy." (Xinhuanet)

"Weather Cycle Seen Reaching Limit in Dry Amazon" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Drought in the Amazon rain forest, normally one of the world's wettest regions, shows the weather cycle is swinging to one extreme rather than signaling climate change, local meteorologists said Thursday. Water levels on two major Amazon tributaries -- Madeira and Solimoes -- dropped to record- and 38-year lows respectively, creating long delays in river traffic, the main form of regional transport. Dry weather also fanned huge forest fires, notably in the remote western state of Acre. But weather forecasters added that elsewhere in continental sized Brazil, seasonal spring rains had started in the south and were spreading northwards through Brazil's major coffee belt and gradually into soybean areas in the center-west. "The Amazon drought shows extreme climate variability, not climatic change," said Jose Marengo, researcher at the Weather Forecasting and Climatic Studies Center (CPTEC), part of the National Institute of Space Research (INPE)." (Reuters)

"Jim Knight: 'Climate change is real and happening now'" - "From a speech by the Minister for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity to a meeting of EU Nature Directors in Aviemore, Scotland" (London Independent)

Nothing new under the sun? "Global warming seen as spur to build ancient road" - "Archaeologists have unearthed the prehistoric equivalent of the M1, apparently built in a hurry across flooding peat bogs during global warming around 5000BC." (The Guardian)

What is the Butterfly Effect? (Climate Science)

"Scientists Investigate Ocean's Role In Carbon Cycle, Global Warming" - "With concerns about global warming on the rise, a team of scientists from the University of Rhode Island and the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in Greece are trying to improve the current understanding of the ocean's role in transferring carbon dioxide from the surface to the deep sea." (SPX)

"Scientists report further evidence of global warming" - "MIAMI - Scientists analyzing two decades of satellite data have confirmed an atmospheric spike in a prime fuel behind global warming, according to a study to be published Friday in Science magazine. The finding is important because it used real-world readings to verify what computer simulations have predicted is happening in a key zone of earth's atmosphere, said Brian Soden, a University of Miami scientist and lead author of the study. It's getting wetter up there, which means it's getting hotter down here." (Knight Ridder Newspapers) | The Radiative Signature of Upper Tropospheric Moistening (Science Express Reports) [Abstract] [PDF] [Supporting Online Material]

That'd be right: "Global warming, please rise for verdict" - "Global warming, how do you plead to the charge of causing the nation's most destructive natural catastrophe in Hurricane Katrina? Or to the lesser charge of being a conspirator in the disaster?" (The Roanoke Times)

Here's the verdict, oh, and by the way, how do you plead? It'd be really funny - if it didn't so accurately reflect current so-called climate debate.

fall_temps.gif (36682 bytes) Ooh! "N. Dakota gets snow as high as 2 feet" - "BISMARCK, North Dakota -- Roads reopened and the lights came back on for thousands of customers Thursday as the northern Plains recovered from a storm that blasted in from the Rockies." (AP)

We usually avoid linking mere weather events, unusual or otherwise, but lots of correspondents thought this worth bringing to our attention. As can be seen in our hourly global mean temperature graphic, reflecting temperatures measured at airports around the world since we restarted harvesting with less elderly equipment, there's more than one interpretation for the seasonal name "Fall" (it's currently Spring in the Southern Hemisphere). Another reason I'm very pleased I live in Queensland.

"Nations yet to agree on climate change meeting date" - "The Federal Government has admitted a date is yet to be set for the first meeting of nations under a new partnership on climate change. Two months ago, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced that the newly formed Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate would hold its inaugural meeting in Adelaide in November. Mr Downer said it would be attended by senior ministers from the United States, Japan, China, India and South Korea. But Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell says the governments are yet to agree on a date for the talks." (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

"Kyoto? Mamma Mia! The real problem is eco-doomsayers" - "ROME -- The devastating hurricanes that hit the U.S. recently offered "eco-doomsayers" -- who like to blame human activities, preferably of the industrial kind, for all sorts of natural disasters -- yet another chance to lash out at the Bush administration. America's "failure" to ratify the Kyoto Protocol -- regularly held responsible for extreme weather conditions around the globe -- was quickly found guilty of the destruction brought about by Katrina and Rita. As usual, the eco-doomsayers care very little for the small fact that their sweeping accusations have absolutely no basis in modern science." (Antonio Martino, The Wall Street Journal via Instituto Bruno Leoni)

"Big business urged to help tackle climate change" - "International industry leaders have been told to help turn the ambition of a 'low carbon' future into reality. At a special climate change conference in London, hosted jointly by Defra, DTI and the Climate Group, trade chiefs were urged to 'build on the Gleneagles momentum'." (number-10.gov.uk)

"build on the Gleneagles momentum..." Dead before it begins then.

"Business is getting acclimatised to trading in carbon emissions" - "Europe has managed to embrace a most Anglo-Saxon solution to the problem of global warming: a market that allows businesses to trade emissions of carbon dioxide. Yesterday the EU's top environmental official, Catherine Day, was trumpeting the success of the emissions trading system (ETS), launched at the start of this year, at a conference in London. "We have begun a chain reaction which is changing business culture.... Carbon dioxide has moved out of the domain of the environmental officer at a company to the boardroom and the chief financial officer and the chief executive officer," Ms Day, the European Commission's director-general for environment, said." (London Independent)

Um... hasn't the EU made such trading a legal requirement? So, obeying the laws of the land is a new 'acclimatisation' for EU businesses?

"Regulate us, please: The difficulties of a policy on climate change" - "IT IS not often that businesses clamour for more government regulation. But that was exactly what happened this week when a group of bosses met ministers to discuss climate change." (The Economist)

Actually, it's not uncommon at all, the big guys regularly do so in order to stifle competition.

Twaddle: "Insurers forecast global warming" - "With predictions of rising premiums as higher temperatures create stronger storms and change climate patterns, skeptics should pay heed." (The Roanoke Times)

Insurance companies know full-well that their changing risk comes from where people put higher-value assets, which is fine so long as they gather sufficient premium income to cover accepted risks.

"Nuclear power quietly confident in energy debate" - "SELLAFIELD - The nuclear power industry is quietly confident that the world is about to beat a path to its door in an increasingly desperate search for "clean" energy that doesn't heat up the planet. Soaring oil prices and new data on global warming -- brought into sharp focus by devastating hurricanes in the United States -- have heated up the nuclear debate and outraged the environmental lobby, which says nuclear power is not the answer." (Reuters)

"Green bills await governor" - "Most of the attention in California politics this year has focused on battles between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats over unions, gay marriage and school spending. But lost amid the cacophony is a green surprise: More than a dozen significant bills that would toughen environmental protections -- from global warming to chemicals in cosmetics -- have made it to the governor's desk with little public notice. Schwarzenegger has nine days left to sign or veto them. It's unclear what he'll do." (Mercury News)

Might we suggest, Governator, that if you say "Hasta la vista" to misanthropic, anti-business bills you'll also be saying, somewhat presciently, "I'll be back!"

Update: What could'a bin. Hasta luego Girlie-gov: Governor signs series of environmental bills (Associated Press)

"Thousands of chemicals headed for further testing" - "The European Parliament's environment committee passed judgement on a bill for chemical testing on Tuesday, producing a relatively environmentalist suggestion for how the final bill should look. The suggestions of the environment committee, which is in charge of the legislation, has left animal-rights activists jubilant, but industrial lobbyists horrified. The battle is far from over, however. This is just an early step in a long legislative process, and groups will have time to lobby further for changes before the bill becomes law in 2007. The next stage is a full parliamentary vote in mid-November, when it is due to have its first reading." (Nature)

"For Trans Fat, It's Time for Show and Tell" - "Oct. 6--Have you started checking grocery shelves to see which packaged foods contain "trans fat" - the kind reviled by some nutritionists as the worst of the bad fats? Many packages don't yet say. But come January, manufacturers of packaged food will have to list the amount of trans fat their products contain. In anticipation of this change in federal labeling rules, some food companies have been trying for two years to score points with consumers by highlighting snacks and baked goods that contain zero trans fat. Philadelphia's Tasty Baking Co., however, this year became one of the first to list trans fat amounts on the labels of some products that actually contain them." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Experts Give Scientists Roadmap on Nanotechnology Research" - "Little is known so far about whether materials being invented by nanotechnology researchers can be hazardous to humans and if so, under what conditions. But at least toxicologists studying such questions now have a broad roadmap from a government-sponsored panel of experts on how to proceed." (New York Times)

"Hungry for Biotechnology: How Europe starves the world's poor" - "The European Union and fellow traveling anti-biotech activists may well succeed in bottling up the next wave of genetically improved crops that aim directly at helping poor farmers in the developing world. How? Anti-biotech European regulations are spooking the governments of poor countries into preventing their farmers from growing the new genetically enhanced crops. And that’s a shame, because researchers in laboratories and plant breeding stations around the world are endowing new biotech crop varieties with traits like disease resistance and improved nutritional value." (Ronald Bailey, Reason: August 31, 2005)

"Defeating the 'superpests'" - "Scientists have developed a new technique that makes pesticides more effective by removing insects' ability to exhibit resistance. Their research will extend the effective life of current pesticides, significantly reduce the amount that needs to be sprayed and remove the need for farmers to move to stronger and more harmful chemicals." (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

"Is cloned food destined for menu?" - "The cloning of barnyard animals has become so commonplace and mechanized that ViaGen says it's more than ready to efficiently produce juicier steaks and tastier chops through cloning. It now looks like federal regulators will endorse the company's plan to bring cloned animal products to America's dinner tables. No law prevents cloned food, but ViaGen has voluntarily withheld its products pending a ruling from the Food and Drug Administration." (AP)

October 6, 2005

"Knifing" of Junkman urged in anti-globalization activist podcast! - In case you're wondering what we're up against in the fight for sound science and free enterprise, listen to the first 10 minutes of this Podcast (mp3 format).

The podcast features anti-business activist Max Keiser who:

  • Urges the children of Steve Milloy and Tom Borelli to "knife" them.
  • Calls Milton Friedman a "financial terrorist."
  • Calls Al-Qaeda "chumps" compared to "corporate terrorism."
  • Compares corporations to Pol Pot and Stalin.
  • Calls George Bush and Tony Blair mass murderers.
  • Claims that investment banks are trying to recreate feudalism.

[Update: It appears that Keiser has removed the podcast from his web site. Fortunately, we saved a copy!]

Keiser and partner Zak Goldsmith (scion of the late famed British Raider Sir James Goldsmith) are anti-globalization activists who claim to run a hedge fund trying to profit by destroying company reputations while simultaneously short selling the stocks.

"UK: Charge under animal research law" - "A man has been charged with breaching new laws designed to combat groups which target companies using animals in research work, police have said." (BBC)

"Deadly 1918 Epidemic Linked to Bird Flu, Scientists Say" - "Two teams of federal and university scientists announced today that they had resurrected the 1918 influenza virus, the cause of one of history's most deadly epidemics, and had found that unlike the viruses that caused more recent flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968, the 1918 virus was actually a bird flu that jumped directly to humans." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"First big influenza genome study reveals flu evolution" - "Rockville, Md.--On the eve of the 2005-06 flu season, scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) have captured influenza evolution in action. In a study published in this week's journal Nature, the researchers report the first large-scale project to sequence the influenza virus. The study offers a unique snapshot of the rapidly evolving flu virus in a human population--and a new strategy for surveillance." (The Institute for Genomic Research)

"Reconstructed 1918 flu virus providing insights for potential pandemics" - "For the first time, this deadly 1918 Spanish flue virus has been reconstructed and characterized. This research, reported in this week's issue of Science, is part of a larger research initiative being led by Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Peter Palese, PhD, Professor and Chairman of Microbiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Their goal is to gain a greater understanding of this virus in order to use this knowledge to predict future pandemics and develop novel vaccines and treatments." (The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

"The Warning Label We Need" - "FDA believes that warning language for acrylamide in foods could confuse consumers, by creating unnecessary public alarm about the safety of the food supply and by diluting overall messages about healthy eating. -- Food and Drug Administration Letter to California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), May, 2005" ( John Luik, TCS) [Editor's note: This is the final article in a series on the alleged link between acrylamide in food and cancer in humans. See part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.]

"Charles study to back therapies" - "Complementary therapies should be given a greater role in the NHS, a report commissioned by the Prince of Wales is expected to say." (BBC)

Small wonder the English are so fervent when they say "Long may She reign!"

"Environmentalists and Industry Head for Clash on New EU Chemicals Law" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium — Environmentalists claimed victory in a key European Parliament vote on a new chemicals law Tuesday, paving the way for a clash with pro-business groups at a full legislative ballot next month. The Parliament's environment committee voted to strengthen controls on hazardous chemicals and force firms to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. The so-called REACH bill has pitted industry leaders against environmentalists in a battle over jobs versus health and environmental concerns. Before it can become law, the proposal also must be approved by EU governments." (Associated Press)

"Push to reform chemical rules clears hurdle" - "Ambitious plans to overhaul European Union regulations for the chemicals industry cleared a significant legislative hurdle on Tuesday, but a separate proposal to liberalise the services sector suffered a delay." (Financial Times)

"Wall Street Journal Gives Skewed Account of Risk From Phthalates" - "Lack of critical reporting on study methods leads readers to believe chemicals are threat to reproductive health." (Rebecca Goldin, STATS)

Not noxious after all? "UK: Pupils 'healthier on school food'" - "Pupils who eat school dinners are just as healthy, if not healthier, than those who eat meals brought in from home, research suggests." (BBC) | Pupils who eat school dinners just as healthy, if not healthier, than those who don't (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Something's very fishy about our environment" - "OILY fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, anchovies, pilchards and eel - all good for you, right? Well, that rather depends on the source, quality and the way you eat it. In days gone by, it was enough to remember to eat a few portions of oily fish a week to ensure you and your family were getting your fill of healthful fish oils, but with the rise of both water pollution and fish farming, it's no longer quite so straightforward." (The Scotsman)

No need to stress out there Jo, it's really very simple, eating oily fish is a health plus - end of story.

"States take on feds over environment - Some 27 states are involved in a dozen initiatives or lawsuits" - "Just days before leaving office, President Clinton put almost one-third of old-growth national forests off bounds to road construction. The Bush administration reversed that "roadless rule" last summer, citing a need for forest fire protection and states' rights. Then something unexpected happened: California, Oregon, and New Mexico rebelled. In August the trio - one quarter of the states most affected - sued the US Forest Service to prevent road building and logging in 90,000 square miles of virgin forest. This mini-mutiny by itself might seem minor, but it's only one of the latest bubbles in a national groundswell of state-led lawsuits and environmental initiatives that some say represents what could be the start of a long-term shift in US environmental regulation and enforcement from the federal government to states." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"The muskox suffered a loss of genetic diversity at the Pleistocene/Holocene transition" - "The tundra muskox, one of the few large northern mammals to have survived to the present day, saw its genetic diversity decrease greatly at the end of the Pleistocene period, around 10,000 years ago. A study published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology reveals that the muskox (Ovibus moschatus) was genetically much more diverse before the Pleistocene/Holocene transition, the period that witnessed the extinction of other great mammals such as the mammoth." (BioMed Central)

Greening Earth, evidently: "Is shrub growth adding to climate change in the Arctic?" - "In 1999, Matthew Sturm of the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Alaska discovered a stack of Cold War-era reconnaissance photos of Alaska's North Slope, about to be discarded by his agency's Anchorage office. Sturm had them shipped to Fairbanks and gave them to Kenneth Tape, a graduate student at the University of Alaska. The photos were eye-catching partly because they were huge: 9-by-18-inch prints taken with a 100-pound camera. But they were also keys to understanding how the Arctic landscape has changed in the years since they were made. On the North Slope, there are no hurricanes, fires, glacial advances and retreats, or other disturbances that might cause plant communities to shift over time. That meant that any changes in the vegetation couldn't simply be due to regrowth on previously disturbed land. They had to be due to something else operating on a large scale, presumably climate." (Union-Tribune)

"Mother-earthism infects climate change debate" - "Many Australians are worried, rightly, by the possibility that avian flu might infect the nation. They should be just as concerned about the disease of “mother earthism”.

“Mother earthism” has already penetrated our shores, and is now reaching epidemic status. One of its most virulent strains is called “Hansenism”, after James Hansen, the high-profile NASA scientist who started the global warming scare campaign running back in 1988.

These diseases attack people who venture public opinions on matters of environmental concern. Transmitted through green agents provocateurs, the infection has reached nearly all Australian media commentators and newsrooms. However, its most worrisome recent manifestation is in two alarmist books on climate change by popular science writers Ian Lowe (Living in the Hothouse) and Tim Flannery (The Weather Makers)." (Bob Carter, Sydney Morning Herald)

Oh boy... "Climate change and pollution are killing millions, says study" - "Almost a fifth of all ill health in poor countries and millions of deaths can be attributed to environmental factors, including climate change and pollution, according to a report from the World Bank.

Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene as well as indoor and outdoor air pollution are all said to be killing people and preventing economic development. In addition, says the bank, increasing soil pollution, pesticides, hazardous waste and chemicals in food are significantly affecting health and economies.

More controversially, the report, released yesterday in New York, links cancers to environmental conditions and says global warming has a major impact on health. "For almost all forms of cancer, the risk of contracting this disease can be reduced if physical environments are safe for human habitation and food items are safe for consumption," says the report.

It also cites the spread of malaria and dengue fever as climate change intensifies. Global warming, says the report, is leading to lower yields of some crops and the salination of coastal areas." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

While there are genuine and very serious problems here Vidal manages to abrogate any potential benefit from raising the issue by including long-debunked climate change/malaria hand-wringing. Sadly, Vidal has something of a mania where "global warming" is concerned and an apparent disregard for humanity, especially those unfortunate denizens of underdeveloped regions.

There is undoubtedly a discernable hand of man in the proliferation of malaria and dengue and it most assuredly involves environmental change, however, climate has no significant role. After all, malaria was endemic to the Arctic Circle when the planet's mean temperature is believed to have been somewhat cooler so, if you want to make simplistic global temperature/malarial zone associations you would conclude that a warming planet reduces malarial zones (not a serious assertion since the two are not directly correlated). Just as humans reduced malarial zones by draining malarial swamps and targeting vectors with pesticides, we have increased suitable vector habitat in some places with dams and crop irrigation while simultaneously reducing anti-vector pesticide applications. Coupled with increased global travel and trade (not to mention restriction of the most useful cargo fumigants such as methyl bromide), these irrigation areas, varying in scale from smallholding to regional schemes, have seen localised increases in malaria and dengue and the introduction of these maladies to areas where they were not previously endemic. The 'fault,' if we might apply such a term, lies not with climate but rather with inadequate vector control. If 'blame' must be applied, perhaps we should look rather more closely at pesticide hysterics, no?

In fact, the World Bank press release reads:

Burden Of Disease Increased By Environmental Degradation
‘Environment Matters 2005’ highlights trend in developing countries

WASHINGTON, October 5, 2005―Close to one-fifth of the burden of disease in developing countries can be attributed to environmental risks – with unsafe water, poor sanitation, and poor hygiene as leading risk factors, causing 1.7 million premature deaths per year; and urban air pollution estimated to cause about 800,000 premature deaths annually, according to the World Bank’s annual publication, Environment Matters, released today.

[See this page to access Environment Matters: Annual Review, 2005 and previous editions]

The actual problems we are looking at here, unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene as well as indoor and outdoor air pollution, are actually symptoms of a lack of development - the very thing our ever-more errant Vidal seeks to suppress with a fixation on the irrelevance of "global warming," anthropogenic or otherwise.

In fairness, the WB release did continue:

“Poor people are the first to suffer from a polluted environment,” said Warren Evans, Director of the Bank’s Environment Department. “Environmental health risks – such as polluted water and insufficient sanitation, indoor and outdoor air pollution, chemicals exposure, and the impacts of climate change – significantly influence the well-being of million of poor people.”

So the old chestnut of 'climate change' did get a late toss-in but it sure wasn't the headliner Vidal would like to pretend. Importantly, Vidal seems to have completely missed the significance of:

An annual review of the World Bank’s environmental work, this year’s Environment Matters focuses on the strong links between environment and health. It also points out the direct connection to economic growth.

Economic growth is critical to the health and welfare of billions of disadvantaged people and climate hysteria is incompatible with economic growth and the welfare of those most in need.

Humanity to John Vidal: Please, please do your homework prior to typing your misanthropic tripe - you are becoming an increasingly dangerous dill!

Red Ken... "It’s hard to be a saint in the city" - "The world’s cities share a particular responsibility – and an opportunity – to curb emissions, London Mayor Ken Livingstone said yesterday. His comments came at a summit on climate change, which brought together representatives from cities including Beijing, Delhi, Sao Paulo, Stockholm and Kingston." (Local Government International Bureau)

"Warning on climate change red tape" - "Business leaders have signalled their willingness to make a "significant" contribution to tackling climate change but warned against extra red tape for companies. Confederation of British Industry president John Sunderland said Government and business must develop practical policies to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. But he said EU and UK policies should not increase the regulatory burden on industry. He was speaking at the opening of a two-day conference in central London hosted by the Government on the business contribution to tackling greenhouse gases." (PA News)

"Big Business Buy-in Sought For Low Carbon Future" - "International business leaders gathered in London were today (Oct 5) told to waste no time in translating the Gleneagles ambition for a low carbon future into reality. The "Climate Change: The Business Forecast" conference, hosted jointly by Defra, DTI and the Climate Group, will explore the frameworks needed by business to encourage far-sighted energy efficient investment as well as the business opportunities in a low carbon economy." (Department of Trade & Industry and the Climate Group)

"Business attacks government's short-term target on global warming" - "Business has criticised the government's flagship short-term target on global warming, warning it will be "very difficult" to meet and could distort energy policy." (Financial Times)

"Climate fears for UK small firms" - "Small and medium-sized firms are excited, confused and nervous about the possibilities and challenges in an economy increasingly concerned about climate change, a new survey suggests." (BBC)

"Envoy: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Growth Slowing" - "WASHINGTON Oct 5, 2005 — The chief U.S. negotiator on global warming acknowledged Wednesday the nation's glacial pace in reducing greenhouse gases and said even that might not continue in the future. "One can argue whether it's slowing down fast enough, but it is slowing down," Harlan Watson, a State Department special envoy, told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "We're doing better than business as usual. That's the president's goal." (Associated Press)

"Finland plans help industry meet Kyoto targets" - "HELSINKI - Finland's government plans to buy millions of pollution credits to help the country's industry meet Kyoto Protocol targets on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, Trade and Industry Minister Mauri Pekkarinen said on Tuesday. The government plans to acquire enough credits to cover about a quarter of the estimated 10 million tonnes a year of extra carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions industry will have to achieve under Kyoto in the period 2008-2012, he said. Meeting the Kyoto targets would cost Finnish industry slightly over one billion euros in 2008-2012, he said." (Reuters)

"UK sees no major accord at Montreal climate talks" - "LONDON - Britain on Wednesday played down hopes of a breakthrough when environmental officials from 150 nations meet in Canada next month to discuss taking the Kyoto climate deal beyond 2012. The Kyoto agreement on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide finally came into effect in February, but there is already deep disagreement about where to go after its first phase ends in seven years time." (Reuters)

"Global warming could create all-female turtle populations: scientists" - "LONDON - Global warming could have devastating effects on migratory species, including the possible disappearance of male sea turtles, a study warned. A research team led by the British Trust for Ornithology said climate change could disrupt migration and breeding for many animals, with dire consequences for vulnerable species like the marine turtle. Warmer climates could result in exclusively female turtle populations because the gender of hatchlings is affected by water temperature, the study said. In addition, a third of turtle nesting sites in the Caribbean could be destroyed by rising seas, it warned." (AFP) | Animals 'hit by global warming' (BBC) | Global warming to hit migratory and static species (Reuters)

Seven years, according to Jim: "Scientist's global warning" - "AN eminent environmental scientist has delivered a stark warning on global warming during a talk at the North Devon District Hospital. Professor James Lovelock gave a fascinating, if worrying, talk as the guest speaker at the annual Doris Dibble Lecture on Thursday." (North Devon Gazette)

"Climate change summit postponed" - "The first meeting of the Asia-Pacific climate pact, scheduled to take place in November in Australia, has been postponed, the BBC has learned. Announced in July, the pact of six nations aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through technology and voluntary partnerships." (BBC)

"Ecological Agnostics and The Great Arctic Melt" - "Environmental experts and scientists specialising in global warming have been warning the world for decades that planet earth is careening toward environmental disaster at an ever-increasing rate but until recently, the warnings have been dismissed as hysterical rhetoric from a group of excitable geeks and nerds. While more enlightened nations on the European continent heeded the warnings to a certain extent, other nations around the globe especially highly industrialised countries such as the United States have completely ignored the scientific experts maintaining that the idea of a melting Arctic was unfounded and simply could not be proven. Let's call the naysayers 'Ecological Agnostics'(EA)." (D.L. McCracken, Halifax Live)

Was the Arctic 2005 Summer the Warmest in 400 Years? (Climate Science)

RAN amok: Corporate reform campaign targets Wells Fargo - San Francisco – The Global Finance Campaign today announced that organizers would begin activating its grassroots network to prepare for a sustained campaign to reform Wells Fargo. Over one hundred environmental and social justice activists launched the effort by marching backwards at noon through San Francisco’s financial district to the bank’s landmark Montgomery Street branch and unfurling a giant third story-banner reading “Wells Fargo: Lootin’ and Pollutin’ since 1852” to draw attention to the out-dated practices of “America’s most backwards bank.” (Press Release)

"Minister raises stakes in debate on nuclear energy" - "The chances of a new generation of nuclear plants being built in Britain appeared to increase last night after environment secretary Margaret Beckett insisted she was open-minded on the issue and had been wrongly perceived as an opponent." (The Guardian)

"The potential and limits of renewable energy technology" - "Following a vote by the European Parliament in support of increasing the deployment of renewable energy sources, the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency Jacqueline McGlade has outlined the role that new technologies can play, but also their limits." (Cordis)

"Fuel cells 'need political push'" - "The world must actively push for alternative energy technologies such as fuel cells, says Sir David King, the UK government's chief scientific advisor. But there needs to be a cultural shift in energy production, he told delegates at a fuel cell symposium in London." (BBC)

"Fuel Cell Sector Revenues Slipped in 2004 - Survey" - "VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Revenues for companies trying to develop fuel cells into a viable, environmentally friendly power source slipped last year, according to a survey released Tuesday. The PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 20 publicly traded firms focused on developing fuel cells and related technology said the sector had a net loss of $465 million in 2004, up from $387 million in 2003." (Reuters)

From the rubber room: "Terminator: The Return" - "Terminator technology is not yesterday’s news – it is a serious and immediate threat to crop diversity and food sovereignty worldwide. Governments are drafting proposals to permit the field-testing and commercialisation of Terminator seeds. The International Seed Federation now openly endorses Terminator and is working hand-in-hand with industry-friendly governments to dismantle the United Nations’ de facto moratorium. An all-out ban is the only defence against suicide seeds." (Corporate Watch)

"Russia lacks transparency on GM products - Greenpeace" - "MOSCOW - Environmental campaigning group Greenpeace called on the Russian authorities to be more transparent on genetically-modified products, noting that the state body in charge of food refuses to provide a list of companies using GM products." (AFX)

"Regions not allowed to ban GMOs, court rules" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission won a legal battle on GMOs on Wednesday (5 October), as the Austrian region of Upper Austria was prohibited by the EU Court to ban the growing of genetically modified crops." (EUObserver)

"Importation of GMOs comes under scrutiny" - "In December this year, Tanzania will launch the National Biosafety Regulations (NBR) to control the import of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) products." (IPP Media)

"Russian Environmentalists Sound Alarm Over GM Foods" - "Environmental group Greenpeace has lodged a complaint with a Russian court demanding that the government provide data on genetically modified foods produced in the country, Interfax reported citing a statement obtained by the agency on Wednesday." (MosNews)

Greenpeace? Who gives a rat's about Greenpeace?

October 5, 2005

"A New Worry for Insurers Firms Looking at Whether Climate Change Could Affect Their Bottom Lines" - "Some of the industry's largest companies have sided with environmental groups in recent years to argue that global warming exists and that man-made causes are adding to the severity and cost of natural catastrophes." (Washington Post)

The article quotes the Junkman. Check it out!

"Medicine price controls and the Constitutional Court decision" - "Eustace Davie of the Free Market Foundation of Southern Africa discusses the Constitutional Court decision on the SA Government's drug pricing regulations. He concludes that competition is a far better way of controlling prices than regulations." (AFM)

"NGOs on Drugs" - "It is in the nature of governments to overreach themselves without considering the consequences of their actions. And, as philosopher Edmund Burke observed back in the 18th century, "the greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse." True to form, some governments and NGOs are using supranational bureaucracies to undermine private property rights, one of the pillars of the free society, global growth and prosperity.

One such campaign goes as follows: Millions of people throughout poor countries suffer and die from preventable or easily treated diseases; some of the medicines needed to treat those diseases are expensive; because medicines are essential, they should be sold at cost; if patentees will not lower their prices, governments should use "compulsory licenses" to break patents and authorize local production as "generics." Such a chain of reasoning would surely have Burke spinning in his grave." (The Wall Street Journal)

Perceptions of neocolonialism (EnviroSpin Watch)

Hot Stott: "Not a grey area" - "The spread of the introduced grey squirrel in Britain is a national disaster. It carries the deadly squirrel pox virus, which mercilessly kills the native red in the most horrible fashion. In some habitats, the grey also outcompetes the smaller native red, and it destroys both trees, as in the Forest of Dean, and gardens.

The failure of national and local authorities to face up to this ecological calamity reflects political cowardice in the face of popular sentimentality and the 'Happy Bunny' lobby. While it is probably no longer an option to control the grey squirrel in our urban parks, it is now vital that the last refuges of our native reds are defended vigorously by the targeted removal of the grey. Where is the kindness in exposing our native red squirrels to skin ulcers, lesions and scabs, with swelling and discharge around the eyes, mouth, feet and genitals? Ecology often demands hard political decisions and action.

Philip, furious that, while we witter on about the mythical 'dangers' of things like GM crops, introduced species are allowed to run amok with such devastating results." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"COMMENTARY - The Globalization of Human Pathogens" - "GLOBALIZATION, in the minds of many, is a recent phenomenon made notable by such happenings as the outsourcing of American jobs to India, the making of U.S. flags in China, the assembling of Toyota automobiles in Alabama, and the importing of professional basketball players from Serbia. These are indeed some of the many recent consequences of a global market economy that has surmounted many of the problems of transportation, communication, and tariffs.

The elements of globalization, however, were operative eons ago - - long before the word globalization, or indeed any word, had been contrived. Man migrated, step by step, from his arboreal home in the Rift Valley of Africa to Asia, Europe, the Americas, Australia, and, by boat, eventually to the remote islands of the Indian and Pacific oceans. Man himself was therefore the first globally exportable product in the burgeoning process euphemistically called civilization.

Government leaders have warned Americans to accept the economic realities of globalization. Communicable diseases, heretofore confined to the tropics, are now another incontestable globalization reality." (Stanley M. Aronson, Providence Journal)

"Annual report to the nation finds cancer death rates still on the decline" - "The nation's leading cancer organizations report that Americans' risk of dying from cancer continues to decline and that the rate of new cancers is holding steady." (NIH/National Cancer Institute)

"Proposal would require warnings about mercury dangers in fish" - "The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a proposed ordinance Monday that would require restaurants and markets to post warnings about mercury in fish." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"EU Lawmakers Ease Chemicals Rules, Fight Looms" - "BRUSSELS - European Union lawmakers agreed on Tuesday to reduce the amount of safety data that low-volume chemical manufactures and importers must submit under controversial new rules being debated in the EU parliament." (Reuters)

"The idiot box" - "Watching TV may damage children's brain development, leading to increased anti-social behaviour, new research claims. There is also a correlation between the amount of TV children watch and the degree of educational damage they suffer, according to the report by Aric Sigman, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. And significant long-term damage occurs even at so-called modest levels of viewing - between one and two hours a day - the report, Remotely Controlled, says." (Press Association)

"Percentage of overweight Americans stable" - "A new survey shows that about 62% of adults and 34% of children are overweight or obese, a percentage that has been virtually the same since 2001." (USA Today)

"Obesity rates in Canadian children double - study" - "TORONTO - Children in the Canadian province of Ontario may be the first generation to die younger than their parents, doctors said on Tuesday. A report released by the Ontario Medical Association found obesity rates in children across Canada nearly doubled between 1981 and 1996. The percentage of overweight boys between 2 and 16 increased to 29 percent from 15 percent, while overweight girls in the same age group rose to 24 percent from 15 percent." (Reuters)

"How to let your children run free" - "With childhood obesity on the increase, the physical benefits of outdoor play are obvious. What's more remarkable is the growing evidence that children's mental health and emotional well-being is enhanced by contact with the outdoors." (London Independent)

"A space station view on giant lightning" - "Do giant flashes of lightning striking upwards from thunder clouds merely pose an extraordinarily spectacular view? Or do they actually alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere, playing a role in ozone depletion and the climate on Earth? This is the key question that may be answered by specially designed cameras, which ESA proposes to place on board the International Space Station." (ESA)

"Earth sinks three inches under weight of flooded Amazon" - "As the Amazon River floods every year, a sizeable portion of South America sinks several inches because of the extra weight – and then rises again as the waters recede, a study has found. This annual rise and fall of earth's crust is the largest ever detected, and it may one day help scientists tally the total amount of water on Earth." (Ohio State University)

"Warm waters await next Gulf storm" - "The deep whirlpools of warm water that revved up hurricanes Katrina and Rita remain in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, there now appear to be more of these giant eddies in the gulf than before." (Cox News Service)

"Did Humans Create Rita and Katrina?" - "Following the destruction of hurricanes Rita and Katrina, political pressure is mounting on US President Bush to finally recognize the dangers of global warming. But the storms are incredibly complex, and even the scientific community is unsure about what role CO2 emissions may have played in New Orleans." (Der Spiegel)

"Katrina may have been a Category 3 hurricane, not 4, when it struck New Orleans" - "Hurricane Katrina might have battered New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as a considerably weaker system than the Category 4 tempest initially reported." (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel)

"Is a richer-but-warmer world better than poorer-but-cooler worlds?" (.pdf) - "At the 25th Annual North American Conference of the US Association for Energy Economics, in Denver (Sept. 21, 2005), Indur Goklany asked the question — "Is a richer-but-warmer world better than poorer-but-cooler worlds?”. Drawing upon the results of a series of UK Government-sponsored studies which employed the IPCC’s emissions scenarios to project future climate change between 1990 and 2100 and its global impacts on various climate-sensitive determinants of human and environmental well-being (such as malaria, hunger, water shortage, coastal flooding, and habitat loss), he found that notwithstanding climate change, through much of this century, human well-being is likely to be highest in the richest-but-warmest world and lower in poorer-but-cooler worlds. With respect to environmental well-being, matters may be best under the former world for some critical environmental indicators through 2085-2100, but not necessarily for others. This conclusion casts doubt on a key premise implicit in all calls to take actions now that would go beyond “no-regret” policies in order to reduce GHG emissions in the near term, namely, a richer-but-warmer world will, before too long, necessarily be worse for the globe than a poorer-but-cooler world." (Indur M. Goklany)

"Good and bad ahead in the warming of eastern Ontario" - "Eastern Ontario will become warmer in the coming years and some of the consequences will be good, and others, not so good, say experts in the field. "It's not all doom and gloom," said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada. Phillips said Canadians are likely appreciate some of the effects of global warming over the next 25 years. "What kills us in Canada is the cold, not the warm," he said. For instance, he said people in this country may be able to save up to 60 per cent on heating costs." (Brockville Recorder & Times)

Uh-huh... "Inuit translators, elders meet to develop Inuktitut words for climate change" - "They may have 20 words for snow, but they're short of terms for ozone layer and greenhouse gas." (Canadian Press)

So, how are they fixed for Inuktitut terms for "telecommunications," "air travel," "flash RAM," "indigenous rights conference," "social security," "snowmobile," "electricity," "chemistry," "metallurgy," "motor," "wheel"  ... ?

"Warmer temperatures have Kenai drying up" - "Warming temperatures over the past half-century have been slowly drying out the Kenai Peninsula, transforming wetlands into forests and shrinking ponds, according to a study that analyzed vegetation change at more than 1,100 locations." (Anchorage Daily News)

"Asia-Pacific 'to face more disease' as planet warms" - "A report on climate change warns that rising world temperatures could threaten human health and increase the number of displaced people in the Asia-Pacific region. The report, released on 22 September by the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Conservation Foundation, warns that by 2100, as well as causing more droughts, floods and typhoons, climate change could also increase the incidence of malaria, dengue fever and cholera." (SciDev.Net)

"Climate doesn't swing to the rhythm of the sun" - "A study of Irish bogs has thrown doubt on claims that global warming is being caused by increased solar activity." (New Scientist)

Gotta love this one: "The research, which is a fresh blow to climate sceptics, shows that while there are cyclical changes in both climate and the sun's activity, there is no obvious link between the two." Fair enough. What about the global cooling of the 1940s through 1970s? Atmospheric greenhouse gases were increasing in that period, as they are now, which means increasing atmospheric GHGs are associated with both warming and cooling periods over little more than a half-century. Are we to assume lack of direct correlation between GHGs and global temperature trend deals a blow to New Scientist's AGW advocacy?

"Overlooked Issues in Prior IPCC Reports and the Current IPCC Report Process: Is There a Change From the Past?" - "Unfortunately, the answer is No." (Climate Science)

"Cities offer hope for cleaner world" - "Representatives of more than 20 world cities have gathered in London to trade ideas on how to address climate change. The summit is the first to bring together city leaders, rather than national governments, to discuss attempts at reducing greenhouse emissions." (Nature)

"Climate change strategy meeting" - "Ministers are set to meet UK business leaders in a bid to refine Britain's strategy on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The heads of some top companies want clear targets from government to cut emissions, whereas some small firms fear such a move could prove a burden." (BBC)

"Environmentalists want greenhouse gas data made public" - "Almost 40 environmental organizations have appealed to federal Environment Minister Stephane Dion to ignore requests from companies that want to keep their data on greenhouse-gas emissions confidential." (Edmonton Journal)

"Australia: Green light to probe corporate carbon emissions" - "INSTITUTIONAL investors will start prodding the biggest companies in Australia and New Zealand to reveal carbon emissions and policies from next year. But if figures from the world's biggest companies are any guide, it remains to be seen whether this will force them to reduce output." (The Age)

"EU launches climate change project in Russia" - "The European Union is launching a Russian project which aims to build the capacity of the Russian Federation to implement the Kyoto Protocol. The project is estimated at EUR 2 million, the European Commission’s delegation to Russia said today. The principal goal of this project is to help the Russian government implement the Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The main implementing partner for the project is Russia's economy ministry." (RBC.ru)

"How do volcanoes affect world climate?" - "In 1784, Benjamin Franklin made what may have been the first connection between volcanoes and global climate." (Scientific American)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

The Impact of Anthropogenic CO 2 Emissions on Calcifying Marine Organisms: Will a continuation of the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content lead to the demise of earth's corals and calcifying plankton?

Subject Index Summaries:
Health Effects (Temperature - Hot vs. Cold: North America): What effect does outdoor temperature have on mortality in North America?

Phenolics (Woody Species): How do phenolic concentrations of woody plants respond to increases in the air's CO 2 content, and what do the responses portend about the future?

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: Eastern Cottonwood, Red Kidney Bean, Silky Prairie-Clover, and Swiss Lowland Deciduous Forest.

Journal Reviews:
A Multi-Proxy Holocene Climate Study of Temperate Eastern Australia: What can this study tell us about natural climate variability over the past 10,000 years in this part of the world?

3600 Years of Scandinavian Summer Temperature Variability: This multi-millennial tree-ring record yields important information about the uniqueness of late 20th-century climate.

Coral Calcification vs. pH and Aragonite Saturation State: Living corals appear to be immune to the physical-chemical constraints climate alarmists keep trying to impose upon them.

Acquiring Extra Plant Nitrogen in a CO 2 -Enriched World: Where will plants get the extra nitrogen they need to support the extra growth that is typically observed in CO 2 -enriched air?

Effects of CO 2 and Drought on Isoprene Emissions from Agriforest Cottonwood Plantations: What are they?  Why are they important?  And do they amplify or nullify each other? (co2science.org)

"Business Groups Blast Pollution Proposal" - "A coalition of business organizations lashed out yesterday at a proposal to curb carbon dioxide emissions at power plants across the Northeast. The Boston-based New England Council, Associated Industries of Massachusetts and groups from several states sent a letter to the region's governors, asking them to rework a regional pollution control proposal set to be discussed next week. The letter says the proposal would likely drive up power costs and deter companies from building new plants in New England, an area where experts say demand could exceed generating capacity by sometime in 2008." (Patriot Ledger)

Still can't make up their minds whether they're talking about "pollution" or "carbon dioxide" - time to face it fellas, carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant, despite misanthropist attempts to reclassify it so.

"Japan: 32% oppose green tax, topping those in favor" - "More people oppose an environmental tax to curb global warming than support it, according to a recent government survey. The Cabinet Office poll found that 32.4 percent of respondents are against such a tax, compared with 24.8 percent who said they are in favor. The biggest group was made of those who have yet to form an opinion, at 35.5 percent." (Japan Times)

"Sic Transit Maria Landrieu" - "When Sen. Mary Landrieu (D.-La.) appeared on Fox News Sunday on September 11, she blamed the fact that so many people were left behind in New Orleans on the administration's transportation policies: "In other words, this administration did not believe in mass transit. They won't even get people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out." This characterization displays a profound ignorance of the realities of urban transportation. Mass transit would not have helped; only increased automobility would have." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Study: Nanotech processing 'greener' than oil refining" - "Using a method for assessing the premiums that companies pay for insurance, a team of scientists and insurance experts have concluded that the manufacturing processes for five, near-market nanomaterials -- including quantum dots, carbon nanotubes and buckyballs -- present fewer risks to the environment than some common industrial processes like oil refining. For two of the nanomaterials – nanotubes and alumoxane nanoparticles -- manufacturing risks were comparable with those of making wine or aspirin." (Rice University)

"EU Green Farm Subsidies Lack Control - Auditor" - "BRUSSELS - EU authorities have failed to check properly whether farmers, including organic growers, correctly spend billions of euros each year in subsidies, the European Union's financial watchdog said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"A scientific and ethical discussion regarding genetic modification of plants" - "Mankind has during many thousands of years changed the genetic setup of plants in order to achieve better harvests. Modern genetic methods are an extension of traditional breeding methods, which enable us to create new varieties of plants that have improved resistance against vermin, produce enhanced harvests, are more nutritious and reduce the strain of agriculture on the land. Plant improvement via modern genetic methods means that a few genes are altered under laboratory circumstances and intensive studies are performed on the new breed of the plant. In contrast, traditional plant improvement mingles or mutates thousands of genes in order to achieve a positive result by chance. The moral arguments that man cannot play God are built upon a misunderstanding of natural science. Genes are modified constantly in nature via biological processes.

Although many millions of people have eaten genetically modified food for many years, there is still no indication that it would be harmful to the consumer. Still, both consumers and politicians in the EU are very skeptical towards genetic modification of plants. This is in large parts due to myths spread by various groups that oppose these technologies, either because they have economic interests to defend or because they have a dogmatic view on nature and science.

This report by the Eudoxa think tank, written by Nima Sanandaji and Tomas Brandberg, considers the debate regarding genetic modification of plants from both a scientific and ethical perspective. We hope that this report shows that altering the genetic content of plants is nothing mystical or abnormal." (Eudoxa)

"India: Cotton exports likely to double" - "UNI Mumbai Oct 4: India is expected to nearly double its cotton exports in the current season, because of a record crop and lower prices, traders of the East India Cotton Association said.

The country’s cotton crop, prone to pest attacks like bollworm, had remained largely free of pests this year because of more use of pest-resistant genetically modified cotton, traders added." (Navhind Times)

"Gene specialists come out against moratorium" - "A group of Swiss scientists has warned that if voters accept a moratorium on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, research could suffer." (swissinfo)

October 4, 2005

"KwaZulu-Natal's successful fight against malaria" - "A new drug is demonstrating impressive results in the fight against malaria, according to a forthcoming paper in the open access journal PLoS Medicine. The study of a malaria control program in South Africa shows how hospital admissions for malaria were dramatically reduced following the introduction of an antimalarial combination called artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and the partial reintroduction of the insecticide DDT. The malaria epidemic has been particularly resurgent in recent years as the parasites transmitting the disease have developed resistance to many of the existing drugs. Approximately a million people are killed by malaria every year, predominantly in Africa. KwaZulu-Natal was the first Ministry of Health in Africa to introduce an artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) malaria treatment policy." (Public Library of Science)

"Disease with a cure" - "This FT editorial makes some important points. But is misses one crucial one - that WHO and its partners are failing to control malaria - largely because they ignore IRS with DDT. If there were fewer cases to treat, poor governments would be in a better position to roll out the new expensive therapies." (AFM)

"Serious Riders, Your Bicycle Seat May Affect Your Love Life" - "A raft of new studies suggest that cyclists, particularly men, should be careful which bicycle seats they choose. The studies add to earlier evidence that traditional bicycle saddles, the kind with a narrow rear and pointy nose, play a role in sexual impotence." (New York Times)

Here we go again... "Are EDCs blurring issues of gender?" - "The debate about endocrine disruption today centers on the idea that low-dose fetal exposure in people can have profound, permanent impacts. If confirmed, it would force changes in regulatory approaches and some common chemicals would likely disappear from the market." (Environmental Health Perspectives)

"Safety Issues Arise From Common Chemical" - "A common chemical used in cosmetics, toys and pills has triggered a fresh debate over industrial chemicals and safety. At issue is whether phthalates might affect sexual development in humans." (The Wall Street Journal)

"EU To Halve 1.6 Million Fish Used in Chemical Tests" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission said on Friday it had developed new tests to halve the 1.6 million fish used each year in the testing of toxic chemicals in Europe." (Reuters)

"REACH Retreat" - "Few seem to grasp the consequences of the EU's proposed chemicals policy, also known as REACH, due to its sheer complexity and overwhelming ambition. But there are signs that EU officials and politicians have finally woken up to the fact that the legislation will end up doing far more harm than good. The proposal would require all enterprises using a chemical exceeding one ton in volume to have it registered and evaluated. This process is bureaucratic, cumbersome, expensive and harmful for small & medium sized enterprises." (Waldemar Ingdahl, TCS)

"Damming the flow of drugs into drinking water" - "Roughly 100 pharmaceuticals have now been identified in rivers, lakes, and coastal waters throughout Europe and the United States. While as yet there is no evidence of adverse human effects, there are disturbing ecosystem changes." (Environmental Health Perspectives)

"Sick of mold? Maybe not." - "Now a medical review of 50 cases of illness due to mold exposure that ended up in court shows little evidence to support the claims." (Greensboro WFMY TV)

"Antibiotic linked to tooth damage" - "Infants who are given the antibiotic amoxicillin are at an increased risk of dental problems later in life, University of Iowa researchers suggest. They said the drug appears to be linked to enamel damage in permanent teeth. The more children took the drug, the more teeth were affected, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine study found.

But a UK expert said it was more likely the diseases themselves had caused the damage, rather than the drug." (BBC)

"Vast majority of adults at risk of becoming overweight or obese" - "A large, community-based study -- considered the first study to assess the long-term risk of developing overweight and obesity in adults -- found that over 30 years, nine out of 10 men and seven out of 10 women were overweight or became overweight. In addition, more than one in three were obese or became obese. The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)." (NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

"Processed foods?" - "Read this, France says. France is preparing to become the first country to impose mandatory health messages on all television and radio advertisements that promote processed food next year - to the consternation of a complex circle of advertisers, manufacturers and media companies." (International Herald Tribune)

Green legacy: "Amazonian Paranoia" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - Nine out of 10 Brazilians surveyed believe that a conspiracy is under way to internationalise the Amazon forests through foreign occupation or some type of international control, says Senator Jefferson Peres." (Tierramérica)

"Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Bad" - "... One must suspect that some of the contenders who fly the banner of environmentalism have a more personal agenda not always defensible on its own merits.

In the half century since the first Sputnik roared into space, activists flying the banner of "environmentalism" have run roughshod over other important values, such as property rights, job creation or the elevation of the living standards of the world's poorest peoples. Political actors who claim their concern for the "environment" overrides all other considerations need to be subjected to frequent challenges, lest their religiosity become a costly liability to society as a whole.

Quite possibly, such challenges are beginning to get some traction. One burden activist environmentalists carry is that their "solutions" usually involve awarding more power to the state. Where there is power to be had, you usually find supranational organizations on the prowl as well. The United Nations Secretariat -- and particularly its shadowy promoter of "global governance," Maurice Strong, saw the possibilities of environmentalism long ago. The U.N.-sponsored Kyoto Treaty was a masterpiece of employing an invented "threat to the planet," global warming, to enhance U.N. influence over national policies." (George Melloan, The Wall Street Journal)

"The Katrina House Tax" - "Will homeowners in 2112 still be paying fees on their mortgages to cover the clean up costs of Hurricane Katrina as telephone users are still paying the "temporary tax" to pay for the Spanish-American War?" (Duane D. Freese, TCS)

"Unsafe harbor" - "Katrina was one salvo in a continuing war being waged across much of the U.S., with human activities threatening the natural barriers that should be shielding them." (Time Magazine)

Uncommon sense: "Forced Marsh" - "IN the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, there has been much talk of rebuilding Louisiana's coastal wetlands and barrier islands. This proposal, which could cost an estimated $15 billion, has been advocated by Louisiana scientists, engineers, politicians and environmentalists alike, who explain that the state is suffering the highest rate of land loss in the nation and imply that restoring this land would reduce the damage from future storms. As coastal scientists, we are excited to see the idea of wetlands restoration so widely discussed. Yet we think the Louisiana plan is ill conceived." (Robert S. Young and David M. Bush, New York Times)

"Many theories on root of strong hurricanes" - "Scientists are confident that an era of super-hurricanes is unfolding in the Atlantic, and has been at least since the mid-1990s." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Forecaster at Colorado State University Predicts Above-Average Hurricane Activity in October" - "FORT COLLINS, Colo. Oct 3, 2005 — Hurricane researcher William Gray on Monday forecast two hurricanes, one of them one major, for the rest of October nearly double the long-term average for the month. Gray and fellow researcher Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University said the likelihood of a major hurricane crossing the U.S. coastline is 15 percent, more than double the long-term average of 6 percent. "Unfortunately, the very active season we have seen to this point is not yet over," Gray said." (AP)

"Gulf warm-water eddies intensify hurricane changes" - "Scientists monitoring ocean heat and circulation in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have a new understanding of how these tropical storms can gain intensity so quickly: The Gulf of Mexico's "Loop Current" is likely intensifying hurricanes that pass over eddies of warm water that spin off the main current. "A positive outcome of a hurricane season like this is that we've been able to learn more about the Loop Current and its associated warm-water eddies, which are basically hurricane intensity engines," said Nick Shay, a University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) meteorologist and physical oceanographer. The Loop Current is a horseshoe-shaped feature that flows clockwise, transferring warm subtropical waters from the Caribbean Sea through the Yucatan Straits into the Gulf of Mexico." (National Science Foundation)

"Some Experts Say It's Time to Evacuate the Coast (for Good)" - "PENSACOLA, Fla. - As the Gulf Coast reels from two catastrophic storms in a month, and the Carolinas and Florida deal with damage and debris from hurricanes this year and last, even some supporters of coastal development are starting to ask a previously unthinkable question: is it time to consider retreat from the coast?" (New York Times)

"EU to launch second climate change programme" - "In Short: During a stakeholder conference on 24 October, the Commission will start a new phase of its climate change strategy. The accent of the new programme seems to have shifted to technology." (EurActiv)

"Arctic Ice Declines: A few things that got left out" - "As shown on the front page of the September 29 New York Times, NASA has pronounced that the September, 2005 coverage of Arctic sea ice is the lowest since their satellite record began in 1979. We offer a more measured reaction: ho-hum. Summer (that’s when ice melts) Arctic temperatures in the late 1970s were at their lowest levels since the mid-1920’s. Since then, they have risen to slightly exceed the previous 100-year high point of the late 1930s. Read that again. From roughly 1925 through 1940, a 15 year period, Arctic summer temperatures rose just about as much as they have from 1979 through 2005, a 25 year period. If sea-ice wasn’t near or at its end-of-summer lows this year, something would be wrong with a very basic physical theory: warm temperatures melt ice." (World Climate Report)

"Satellite set to survey Earth's poles" - "The first satellite to accurately measure how fast the Earth's polar ice caps are shrinking will launch on 8 October. Unlike previous radar satellites, CryoSat carries twin radar antennae that give it three-dimensional vision, so it can see not only how much of the planet's surface is covered with ice, but also how thick the ice is. The satellite should be able to detect changes in thickness of just a few centimetres, and can even see through thick cloud. The result is the most precise radar system ever sent into space, according to the chief scientist on the project, Duncan Wingham of University College London." (Nature)

"Assessment of Coldest Northern and Southern Hemisphere 500 hPa Temperatures" - "We published two papers on the trends in the area of the coldest 500 hPa temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere (equal to or less than -40C) and the reason why the temperatures do not become colder than just below -40C. ...

We found no long-term trend in the area covered by the coldest 500 hPa temperatures between 1950 and 1998. In response to the claims by the media and some scientists that the arctic climate is undergoing rapid climate change, the weblink listed below, prepared by Ben Herman and Mike Leuthold of the University of Arizona is particularly valuable.

If the Arctic climate is changing, in parallel with the reduction in the area of Arctic sea ice, we should see evidence of this in the time of onset, maximum area achieved, and end time in the spring of the area of the coldest temperatures in the mid-troposphere." (Climate Science)

"Scientists Investigate Ocean’s Role in Carbon Cycle, Global Warming" - "With concerns about global warming on the rise, a team of scientists is trying to improve the current understanding of the ocean’s role in transferring carbon dioxide from the surface to the deep sea." (Newswise)

"Climate to increase British flies" - "Fly populations in Britain could soar this century because of climate change, according to a new study. Houseflies and bluebottles reproduce more quickly in warmer temperatures. Using computer models, researchers at Southampton University calculated that fly and bluebottle populations could rise by nearly 250% by the year 2080." (BBC)

"Provinces inconsistent over climate change" - "TORONTO -- The efforts of Canadian provinces to deal with climate change have been inconsistent, and in some cases non-existent, despite the best efforts of Ottawa to engage them on the issue, an environmental watchdog said Monday." (Canadian Press)

Testimony of Michael Crichton before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works September 28, 2005. (MichaelCrichton.com)

"Back to the future" - "Nuclear power was dead in the water - wildly expensive, deeply unpopular and a nightmare to clean up. But now the government is talking about a new generation of reactors. Can it really be the green answer to our energy needs? James Meek reports" (The Guardian)

"Mugabe: Africa vulnerable to unsafe food imports" - "HARARE, Oct 3 - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, which is in need of food aid, urged Africans on Monday to monitor imports to prevent poor quality or unwanted foodstuffs from being dumped on the continent. Some African leaders including Mugabe oppose the use of genetically modified foods in aid because of concerns about their environmental impact and possible effect on human health." (Reuters)

"Fury as Mugabe uses UN food talks to defend seizure of land" - "PRESIDENT MUGABE provoked outrage yesterday when he hosted a UN conference on “food safety” in Africa and used the occasion to defend his policy of land seizure. Speaking before 170 representatives from 47 African countries, the President of Zimbabwe blamed African food shortages on droughts and “weak food safety control systems”. He also accused the West of dumping genetically modified crops on the developing world." (London Times)

"Switzerland: Government recommends a "no" and a "yes" - "The government is advising voters to reject a people's initiative calling for a five-year moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Switzerland." (swissinfo)

October 3, 2005

"UK: Anti-science lessons" - "UK schools’ new dumbed-down, issues-led science curriculum will inculcate students with suspicion about scientific endeavour." (Sandy Starr, sp!ked)

"I Smell a Rat" - "According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (or as some toxicologists refer to it, the Center for Sorcery in the Public Interest, given its record of bad science), "dietary acrylamide causes an estimated 8,900 cancers" and "thousands of deaths" annually in the United States. The crucial question is: just who are these people and where do they live?" (John Luik, TCS) [Editor's note: This article is the third in a series on the alleged link between acrylamide intake and cancer in humans. To read part I, click here. To read part II, click here.]

"Officials at odds over the long-term effects of cell phone use" - "Government agencies and expert panels in several European countries have cautioned against routine use of the phones by children because of health questions raised by recent studies." (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel)

"So what?" du jour: "Pesticides in a third of foods" - "A third of the foods we eat contain traces of pesticides, government-backed tests reveal, but most fall within legal limits." (BBC)

"World Health Agency Tones Down Alarm on Possible Flu Pandemic" - "GENEVA, Sept. 30 - The World Health Organization moved Friday to drastically revise downward what it considered alarming predictions that a possible pandemic from the avian influenza virus ravaging parts of Asia could kill as many as 150 million people." (AP)

"TV daily limits call unrealistic" - "A call for imposed recommended daily allowances on television is unworkable and unrealistic, say experts." (BBC)

"These are terrorists, not animal lovers" - "It is unusual for the staff of children's nurseries to harbour fears for their personal safety at work, unless they risk injury from stray chunks of flying Play-Doh. But last week it emerged that the Animal Liberation Front had threatened Leapfrog Day Nurseries with serious "consequences" if the company continued with its childcare voucher scheme for the employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences, the animal research company." (London Telegraph)

"House Votes for New Limits on Endangered Species Act" - "WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 - By a vote of 229 to 193, the House of Representatives moved Thursday to undo some of the central provisions of the 32-year-old Endangered Species Act and to require that agencies enforcing the law reimburse property owners if the law's impact reduces the value of their land. Environmental groups expressed dismay at the measure, which, if enacted, would represent one of the most far-reaching reversals of environmental policy in more than a decade. Leading House Democrats also said it created an unlimited financial entitlement for landowners." (New York Times)

Oh boy... "Organizing Ecological Revolution" - "My subject—organizing ecological revolution—has as its initial premise that we are in the midst of a global environmental crisis of such enormity that the web of life of the entire planet is threatened and with it the future of civilization." (John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review)

"Future: 'Are we prepared to lose a major city every year?'" - "Natural disaster in the United States has morphed to a dangerous new level. Some experts say the nation can expect to be pummeled by more of these mega-catastrophes over the next 20 or 30 years." (Associated Press)

"T.R. Fehrenbach: No controlling Mother Earth" - "In recent days I have had some debates (friendly) with old friends about man's ability to control the environment. These have done nothing for the environment but have produced interesting viewpoints and ideas. Actually, human beings, unlike other forms of life, began controlling their environment very long ago, by wearing clothing and building shelters. Eventually, this allowed people to live both in Arizona and Alaska. Man is the only animal who can survive without biological adaptation to change. Now, with both air conditioning and heating, we pretty much have summer and winter knocked. For many people in many places, there's no real difference, since we've largely moved off the land. We've made cultural and technological adaptations that animals can't. They have to change, move or die when confronted with hostile environments." (San Antonio Express-News)

"Mid-Holocene emergence of southern Tunisian coasts" - "Abstract: We present new sea-level data from the coasts of southern Tunisia, between the Gulf of Gabès and the Libyan border. The work tests, previously, published evidence on Holocene shorelines, and confirmed that a distinct emergence has occurred in this area during this time. The emergence peak lies at least 186 ± 11 cm above present and is inferred from: (1) AMS radiocarbon dates of subtidal vermetids and boring shells collected in growth position, and (2) careful assessment of tidal heights. Maximum emergence took place between about 6000 and 5000 14C years BP; it cannot be ascribed to tectonics and is probably related to post-glacial hydro-isostatic effects. It challenges the inference of a 3-m global sea-level rise since 6000 years BP due to residual Antarctic melting." (Marine Geology)

Researchers at the University of New England (among others) have been highlighting less than stable sea levels for some time: Sea level changes give us an urgent message | "blast from the past": Scientists crack the climate and sea level code near a Sydney beach (UNE)

"Sun's direct role in global warming may be underestimated, Duke physicists report" - "DURHAM, N.C. -- At least 10 to 30 percent of global warming measured during the past two decades may be due to increased solar output rather than factors such as increased heat-absorbing carbon dioxide gas released by various human activities, two Duke University physicists report.

The physicists said that their findings indicate that climate models of global warming need to be corrected for the effects of changes in solar activity. However, they emphasized that their findings do not argue against the basic theory that significant global warming is occurring because of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases." (Duke University) | Estimated solar contribution to the global surface warming using the ACRIM TSI satellite composite [.pdf] (GRL)

Another UNE "blast form the past": Sunspot 'switch' linked to global warming

"Poll: Belief in climate change holds steady" - "WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans believe the Earth's atmosphere is heating up, but they doubt that global warming is to blame for the deadly storms that have struck the United States this hurricane season, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. The survey found that 56 percent believe that global warming is occurring, whereas 40 percent say they are not convinced. That is unchanged from a poll conducted in April, before the hurricane season, which suggests that hurricanes Katrina and Rita did not substantially alter the public's view on climate change." (Washington Post)

"Is the Current Era of Hurricane Activity Unprecedented?" - "In the age of instant media, the pictures coming from the southeastern United States of the damage wrought by the one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have triggered a generous response from our nation to those hurt the most by these storms. But even as Katrina was cutting a swath of destruction across the southeast part of our country, there were those who were content to wag their finger and put the blame for all the devastation squarely on the shoulders of us all by saying that Katrina, and then Rita, were products of man-made global warming." (Anthony Lupo, TCS)

"Amazon dries out as worst ever drought hits rainforest" - "Large parts of the Amazon rainforest are at their driest in living memory, a direct consequence, scientists say, of the severe hurricane season off the US Gulf coast." (The Guardian)

"Melting Planet" - "Species are dying out faster than we have dared recognise, scientists will warn this week. The erosion of polar ice is the first break in a fragile chain of life extending across the planet, from bears in the north to penguins in the far south." (London Independent)

"Glimmerings of sanity in the Donner und Blitzen world of 'global warming' hype" - "Here, for your Sunday 'edification' (as my father would intone), is a suite of encouraging reports, all bringing a little sanity to bear on Global Warming Inc.:" (Philip Stott, EnviroSpin Watch)

Uh-oh... that model world's in worse trouble than ever: "Climate change more rapid than ever" - "According to the calculations of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, over the next century the climate will change more quickly than it ever has in the recent history of the earth. These results come from the latest climate model calculations from the German High Performance Computing Centre for Climate and Earth System Research." (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft)

The Week That Was Oct. 1, 2005 (SEPP)

"Blair takes heat for global-warming remarks" - "WHENEVER a political leader speaks the truth about the Kyoto global-warming treaty, the chattering classes treat him as if he were that upstart kid who said the emperor has no clothes. So pundits and politicians have derided British Prime Minister Tony Blair for saying he had been "changing his thinking" about the global-warming pact." (Debra J. Saunders, SF Chronicle)

"Stehr and von Storch on Climate Policy" - "Nico Stehr and Hans von Storch have collaborated on another brilliant essay on climate policy. We are happy to provide an English translation of their most recent collaboration below, which first appeared in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 21 September 2005. Your comments are encouraged. Read the whole thing." (Prometheus)

Right... "Preparing for Global Warming - Our government can do something about the weather" - "When I set out on a monthlong trip to Asia this summer, I wasn't prepared for time travel. My journey turned out to be a tour of catastrophic weather-related disasters: devastating floods in Bombay; vast drought-related fires and smoke in Sumatra; and, upon my return, Hurricane Katrina. Most climate scientists have been predicting that global warming would spawn an increasing number of these events in the future. Seeing all three catastrophes at once led me to one conclusion: That future is now." (Carl Pope, SF Chronicle)

Presumably Carl walked/swam to his various destinations and didn't exhale at all.

"High time for an energy fix" - "Katrina and Rita are the latest crises to show us that we need new sources of energy - soon. Oliver Morgan reports" (The Observer)

Hand-ringer about, um, hand-ringers, actually: "Warming will affect water supply, scientists warn Seattle officials" - "Earlier this year, Seattle water managers wrung their hands over the dismal snowpack in the mountains. The city urged residents to start conserving water and warned of mandatory water restrictions if the situation didn't improve. Expect that to happen more in the future because of global warming, according to the findings of University of Washington scientists. While late-spring rains helped pull Seattle from the brink this year, the city could expect droughts to come more frequently in the future, the scientists predicted." (Seattle Times)

Small wonder most of the public seem to have tuned out with modern seers busily vying to "out disaster" each other and grab a few sound bites or column inches...

"Tar Sands Make Canada Energy Powerhouse" - "The smell of oil hangs in the air over the Muskeg River Mine, a vast open pit the size of several dozen city blocks. Fed by enormous hydraulic shovels, huge dump trucks carry black, sticky sand that will eventually be turned into crude oil. "That smell? That's hydrocarbons," said Chris Jones, chief operating officer of the Albian Sands Energy Inc. "It smells like money." Lots of money." (Associated Press)

"Last stand in the Arctic" - "The Gwitchin tribe digs in against U.S. plans to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. At stake: The dwindling herd of caribou and the tribe's way of life." (Chicago Tribune)

Kyoto kills forests? "Biofuels threaten rainforests as important European Commission decision lies ahead: Action Alert from Forests.org" - "Dr. Glenn Barry, the activist behind Forests.org and ClimateArk, sent out an Action Alert calling for the European Commission to reject a plan to use biofuels that contribute to rainforest destruction, notably palm oil and soybean oil. His message, displayed below, asks for readers to send an email message to the Director General of Energy and Transport for the European Commission." (Mongabay.com)

Actually not Kyoto (that silly document, too, is a symptom, not a cause) but warming hysteria generally that has costs such as so warping economics via fuel taxes that it subsidises cropping on what would otherwise remain wildlands. To some extent Barry is right but it is manufactured fear of change that is the main risk.

"Labour readies ground for new wave of nuclear stations" - "The government is preparing to win the 'hearts and minds' of MPs and the public over new nuclear power stations, according the minister who is heading a cross-departmental review into energy policy. Malcolm Wicks, who was appointed energy minister after the election, believes the public and MPs have become more open-minded on the highly controversial question and may be open to persuasion." (The Observer)

"Power firms remain coy over levels of nuclear energy use" - "THE nuclear industry stands accused of being “economical with the truth” by downplaying the amount of electricity it provides to domestic consumers. An investigation by the Sunday Herald has revealed that power companies are systematically underestimating the proportion of nuclear electricity they supply to households. This is because they are worried about their customers switching to other suppliers, say energy and environmental groups. Under new regulations, which came into force yesterday, all power companies are obliged to tell their consumers how polluting their electricity is. They have to say how much pollution is generated by coal, gas, nuclear and renewables, and how much carbon dioxide and nuclear waste results. But none of the companies is admitting to how much nuclear electricity they really use. Although half of the electricity generated in Scotland is from nuclear power, and 21% throughout the UK as a whole, the highest proportion the industry says is supplied to domestic consumers is 16% by Scottish Gas." (Sunday Herald)

The silliest part is that they should have to try to tell consumers where their electrons come from: "Quick! Grab that one! It's green and addressed to the Forthington-Smythes - and make sure none of those grubby little coal-fired lot tag along..."

"Scientists try for year-long Frankengrass" - "Drought-tolerant types wouldn't need scalping, thereby helping air quality." (The Desert Sun)

"FDA may OK sale of cloned-cow goods" - "WASHINGTON — The federal government is nearing a decision to allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned cows and their offspring, according to officials from government, industry and consumer groups. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to take a major step toward approval soon by proposing to permit the sales, subject to 60 days of public comment and some additional review." (Baltimore Sun)