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Archives - October 2006

October 31, 2006

Stern jumped the gun -- today is Halloween: "Publication of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate change" - "The most comprehensive review ever carried out on the economics of climate change was published today. The Review, which reports to the Prime Minister and Chancellor, was commissioned by the Chancellor in July last year. It has been carried out by Sir Nicholas Stern, Head of the Government Economic Service and former World Bank Chief Economist. Sir Nicholas said today:

“The conclusion of the Review is essentially optimistic. There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we act now and act internationally. Governments, businesses and individuals all need to work together to respond to the challenge. Strong, deliberate policy choices by governments are essential to motivate change.

But the task is urgent. Delaying action, even by a decade or two, will take us into dangerous territory. We must not let this window of opportunity close.”

The first half of the Review focuses on the impacts and risks arising from uncontrolled climate change, and on the costs and opportunities associated with action to tackle it. A sound understanding of the economics of risk is critical here. The Review emphasises that economic models over timescales of centuries do not offer precise forecasts – but they are an important way to illustrate the scale of effects we might see." (Press release)

Comment: Take a look at the complete report -- the scenarios appear deliberately chosen to achieve this result.

One particularly disturbing facet of this whole brouhaha is the media's glaring lack of understanding -- obviously they know zip about the scenarios sourced from the IPCC's TAR (Third Assessment Report), so flawed as to be patently ridiculous and which Stern then bizarrely selects to formulate an economic model that bears no obvious relation to planet Earth. That hasn't stopped the media becoming frenzied over this Halloween gift. Wonder if The Indy's association of climate with a picture of the sun is a Freudian slip (Fehlleistung or parapraxis)?

Some of the media seem impressed by statements along the lines of "Temperatures are expected to rise by between 2 C and 5 C — an increase on the same scale as the last Ice Age — though the increase could be as high as 10 C by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels." Is that a reasonable scenario? It's based on a guesstimate by James Hansen: Global climate forcing was about 6 1/2 W/m2 less than in the current interglacial period. This forcing maintained a planet 5 °C colder than today, implying a climate sensitivity of 3/4 ± 1/4 °C per W/m2. So, look up Stefan's Constant and calculate it out -- Hansen's out by more than 300% (the workings are all laid out for reporters and any other science/math challenged individuals here).

On the whole it appears Stern has done the world a favor with this cherry-picked, way over the top piece of overt propaganda since it will likely cause more people to actually look at the data to ascertain how "bad" things really are (or aren't). Certainly most people are likely to reject the massive reduction in living standards Stern apparently wishes to impose.

The UK Government seems to be playing the usual devious hand by threatening punitive taxation and penalties, which, when only onerous ones materialize, the population will consider they've gotten off lightly (the government hopes). Not convinced it will work this time though -- see the following Parliamentary Sketch from the venerable London Times.

"UK: Hot-air production and emissions of gobbledygook reach a new high" - "I HAVE often wondered how the Government would react if the world was faced with apocalypse now (or at least apocalypse sooner than expected), and now I know. First, they hold a press conference at which the press aren’t allowed to ask questions (those apocalypse stories can be so gloomy).

Then they get the Environment Secretary to come to the Commons and say that it is absolutely vital that we do something (our future depends on it) and he’ll tell us what it is as soon as he finds out himself.

David Miliband gave what became known instantly as the Hot Air statement. I have to say that, in terms of actual production of thermal air, it was impressive. We must find a way to harness this abundant natural resource." (Ann Treneman, London Times)

"Climate action consensus elusive" - "Governments around the world welcomed the findings of the Stern review on the economics of climate change on Monday. But an international consensus behind its recommendations still appeared elusive, as few countries seemed willing to promise concrete action to curb emissions." (Financial Times)

"Climate change fight 'can't wait'" - "The world cannot afford to wait before tackling climate change, the UK prime minister has warned. A report by economist Sir Nicholas Stern suggests that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%. But taking action now would cost just 1% of global gross domestic product, the 700-page study says. Tony Blair said the Stern Review showed that scientific evidence of global warming was "overwhelming" and its consequences "disastrous." (BBC)

"Climate change appeal fails to silence sceptics" - "The report by Stern, the British government's chief economist, earned a sceptical response from some fellow economists.

At the core of the report was the message that urgent action now would cost up to 20 times less than doing nothing. "Telling people that this (action on global warming) will cost quite a trivial sum is giving the wrong kind of direction," said Dieter Helm, an economics fellow at New College, Oxford. "I think 1 percent of GDP is probably quite low."

Others were unimpressed by Stern's cost estimate of doing nothing.

"It assumes that society will never get used to higher temperatures, changed rainfall patterns, or higher sea levels. This is a rather dim view of human ingenuity," said Richard Tol, senior research officer at Ireland's Economic and Social Research Institute. "The Stern Review can therefore be dismissed as alarmist and incompetent." (Reuters)

Stern’s Cherry Picking on Disasters and Climate Change (Prometheus)

"The pain, and the profit, of $500bn market in tackling global warming" - "Sir Nicholas in effect abandoned hope of stabilising emissions at current levels." (London Independent)

"From economics to airconomics" - "This is literally making money out of thin air. Surreal, or what? Our Chancellor is taking us from economics to airconomics. The biggest business opportunity of the century may make the South Sea Bubble look like the acme of prudence. The great satirist Jonathan Swift mocked scientists by inventing a scheme by which they made sunbeams out of cucumbers. Making money out of the air, on the back of a scientifically unproven panic, would surely defy even the powers of a Swift to invent a more preposterous fiction." (Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail)

"Australia: PM defiant over global warming" - "JOHN Howard has dug in over coal-fired power, nuclear energy and refusing to sign the Kyoto protocol in the face of an international report predicting a catastrophic economic cost of $9 trillion if nothing is done to stop global warming." (The Australian)

Inevitable Moonbattery: "Drastic action on climate change is needed now - and here's the plan" - "The government must go further, and much faster, in its response to the moral question of the 21st century." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Doh! "Greenhouse gas emissions rising" - "The UN has released new data showing an upward trend in emission of greenhouse gases, and called for urgent action from rich countries. The data showed a 2.4% total increase in emissions across 41 industrialised countries between 2000 and 2004." (BBC)

"FACTBOX - Emissions of Greenhouse Gases" - "Following is a ranking of industrialised nations by their rises in greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2004, issued by the UN climate change secretariat on Monday." (Reuters)

"UK: Brown makes global warming pledge" - "Chancellor Gordon Brown has pledged to put Britain at the head of international efforts to tackle climate change as the Government published its long awaited assessment of the economic impact of global warming." (Press Association)

"Damning truth about Brown and green taxes" - "Gordon Brown's claim to be leading the global battle against climate change were undermined last night by the disclosure that so-called green taxes have actually slumped while he has been Chancellor. Official figures also show that ordinary families have borne the brunt of environmental taxes and households are paying almost four times more than businesses for every ounce of pollution they create. And to compound Mr Brown's problems, environmental campaigners warned that he was likely to go into the next election with UK carbon emission levels higher than they were when Labour came to power in 1997." (Daily Telegraph)

"Just another excuse for higher taxes" - "Green taxes can be mightily unpopular, as shown by the fuel protests of September 2000. Perhaps the Government feels that, by emphasising the moral case for saving the planet, this will sweeten people's attitudes. I'm not so sure, says Ruth Lea." (London Telegraph)

"Why governments can't save the planet" - "Politicians are trying to control global warming by reaching for the blunt and simplistic weapon of higher taxes. They should think again. This is a complex problem that requires complex solutions — not a knee-jerk hike in taxation." (London Telegraph)

Actually we're a long way from figuring whether a problem even exists. Stupid game...

"Amber alert over green taxes" - "The Institute of Directors has warned that Britain’s competitiveness will suffer if the country tries to address climate change unilaterally. Responding to the Stern Review on global warning, Miles Templeman, director-general of the IoD, said: “Without countries like the US, China or India making decisive commitments, UK competitiveness will undoubtedly suffer if we act alone. This would be bad for business, bad for the economy and ultimately bad for our climate.” (London Telegraph) | Business backs Stern but warns of 'penalising' taxation burden (London Independent)

"Airlines fear brunt of penalties" - "SIR RICHARD BRANSON is calling a meeting of leaders of the aviation industry today amid fears that airlines could become the “whipping boys” of the environmental movement, The Times has learnt. The airline industry is under particular scrutiny because of the rapid growth in air transport. Aircraft now account for 3 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, but this is forecast to rise to 6 per cent by 2050. While nearly every other industry, from power generation to automobiles will cut its share of CO2 emissions by 2050, aviation is growing too rapidly to achieve this." (London Times)

So, Sir Dick, how's all the media posturing & razzle-dazzle about "global warming" & other myths looking now?

"Canada: Federal government wants to go back to basics on Kyoto Protocol" - "OTTAWA - Canada wants to go back to the drawing board on plans for dealing with global warming when countries that have signed the Kyoto Protocol open new talks in Africa next week. The federal government will seek a "comprehensive review" of the 1997 treaty when negotiators from 165 countries meet in Nairobi, Kenya, federal officials told a background briefing Monday. Canada wants to focus on "the longer term," said officials, who cannot be identified under the rules of the briefing. But critics say federal strategists are actually looking for a way to escape existing promises and stall progress." (CP)

A couple of readers doubted... "Senators to Exxon: Stop the Denial" - "WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2006 — ExxonMobil should stop funding groups that have spread the idea that global warming is a myth and that try to influence policymakers to adopt that view, two senators said today in a letter to the oil company. In their letter to ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., appealed to Exxon's sense of corporate responsibility, asking the company to "come clean about its past denial activities." (ABC News)

... well, sorry, here's a copy of the letter. Don't know what inspires these senators but this is a tactic that Reichstag members most probably employed in 1933, no?

Climate Science Summary (Climate Science)

Following their news popularity of the last couple of years Alaskans must be feeling somewhat forgotten -- here's why: "Alaska Weather - Summer 2006" - "Unlike the previous two record-setting warm and dry summers, the summer of 2006 brought cooler and wetter than normal weather to much of Alaska. Below normal temperatures were felt for the southeast panhandle, southwest and west coast, as well as much of the interior. Dry conditions occurred down the Bering Sea coast to the Aleutians, parts of the eastern interior, and extreme southern panhandle. There was above average precipitation for much of the state's mid-section. This cooler and wetter than normal weather for the interior helped to make for a quiet wildfire season in which 305 fires burned a total area of 270,540 acres statewide, well below average and a far cry from the 2004 and 05 seasonal totals." (Alaska Climate Research Center)

No lack of pollinators in a warmer world then... "Insect population growth likely accelerated by warmer climate" - "Insects have proven to be highly adaptable organisms, able through evolution to cope with a variety of environmental changes, including relatively recent changes in the world's climate. But like something out of a scary Halloween tale, new University of Washington research suggests insects' ability to adapt to warmer temperatures carries an unexpected consequence – more insects." (University of Washington)

"EU chief backs nuclear energy to fight climate change" - "LISBON- Wider use of nuclear energy must be considered among reforms of Europe's energy sector aimed at cutting carbon emissions and fighting climate change, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.  Barroso said the commission would present a road map for the energy sector in January that included recommended measures to increase energy efficiency and broaden the use of renewable energy sources, clean hydrocarbons and, "for those who want it", nuclear energy." (AFP)

"Slaughtering the cow of nuclear taboo" - "Czech President Václav Klaus said at the Oct. 20 EU summit in Finland that opting out of nuclear power would be a great mistake. Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said the basically the same at the Prague Energy Forum a few days later.

As for the president, it would be surprising if he didn’t use such a golden opportunity to taunt ecologists. The prime minister showed more courage. Recently, he has formed an informal coalition with the Green Party (ZS), which is adamantly opposed to nuclear power — and this alliance is supposed to last beyond the next election.

For the Greens, nuclear energy must be the hardest dilemma. Almost all of them support the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges signatories to significantly cut harmful emissions. But if people don’t reduce energy usage, the only efficient way to stick to Kyoto is to go nuclear. Renewable wind or solar energy is, particularly in the Czech Republic, just a noble dream. Nuclear reactors, on the other hand, meet 40 percent of Czech electric demand. So the sound of mind would probably think that ecologists would embrace, or at least discuss, the atom. But this isn’t the case." (Czech Business Weekly)

"Transatlantic technology gap grows" - "Despite all the talk in Europe about the need to increase investment in research and development in order to catch up with the US and remain ahead of Asia on industrial innovation, corporate R&D spending in Europe rose only 5.8% between 2005 and 2006, compared with 8.2% in the US, 10.7% in China and 25.1% in India, according to the Department of Trade and Industry's 2006 R&D Scoreboard, published on 30 October 2006." (EurActiv)

"Uganda: DDT Will Not Hinder Exports to EU" - "THE European Union has described as 'unfounded,' recent allegations that Ugandan products would be totally banned from the market as soon as the decision to use DDT is implemented. "These accusations are entirely unfounded and ignore the reality of the EU's intensive efforts in the fight against malaria across the African continent," a statement from the European Commission Press Officer in Brussels, Mr Norbert Sagstetter, said recently. The pronouncement comes as a breather to exporters and producers in Uganda, most of whom have been worrying over the fate of their products. Earlier reports had insinuated that agricultural products risked being banned from the EU market once Uganda starts using DDT, because of Europe's zero tolerance for it." (The Monitor)

"When Journalism Becomes a Health Hazard: Star Tribune Advocates “Self Education” on Consumer Safety, Chemical Risk" - "Environmentalists dominate media coverage on supposed risks from cosmetics. Call for European Union-style ban on chemicals. Why shouldn't Americans enjoy same protection? But leading scientists say environmentalists mislead public over the risks." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Modern urban planning is no child's play" - "REMEMBER back to that secret place the neighbourhood children would meet at to begin the afternoon's fun. A spot beside the local creek, perhaps. A hidden cubby house in the bush up the hill or behind the estate. Parents yelling at dusk for their kids to come home for dinner. Fast-forward to today, where the notion of city children playing unsupervised in an untamed public space, or even wandering up to the local shops, is often too frightening for parents to contemplate. Not that there is the available public land to run around in, given skyrocketing property values." (The Australian)

"Inventor helps grasslands go native" - "Montana rancher and inventor Lee Arbuckle may soon change the nation's market for native grass seed, a tricky-to-harvest crop worth hundreds of millions and vital to restoring wildlands." (Montana State University)

"New cost-benefit model will aid efforts to conserve wilderness: UBC researcher" - "A new conservation model that measures the value of ecosystem services benefiting humans – ranging from flood control to crop pollination – can foster more win-win solutions between wilderness advocates and landowners, according to University of British Columbia researcher Kai Chan." (University of British Columbia)

"Deadly hypoxic event finally concludes" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – The longest, largest and most devastating hypoxic event ever observed in marine waters off the Oregon Coast has finally ended, researchers at Oregon State University say. During mid-October, a normal shift arrived from summer southward-blowing winds to fall and winter northward-blowing winds, resulting in the end of the upwelling season and a rise in dissolved oxygen to levels that can generally support marine life, scientists said. The oxygen levels should continue to increase throughout the next month." (Oregon State University)

"World 'failing on hunger pledges'" - "Little progress has been made in tackling world hunger despite pledges by leaders to halve the number who are underfed, the UN's food agency says. Some 820m people in the developing world were hungry in 2001-2003, only 3m fewer than 1990-1992, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said." (BBC)

"Frustrations Vented Over Questionable Milk Marketing Practices" - "SCHAEFFERSTOWN, Pa. – Opinions without fact. Decision points without understanding. “We can scare consumers in a 30-second sound-bite, but we can’t educate them in 30 seconds,” said Dr. Terry Etherton, department head and distinguished professor of animal nutrition at Penn State University’s Department of Dairy and Animal Sciences. “Processors and cooperatives need to stand in the light of public understanding with some accountability. The “rBST-free” labeling (and the push to get producers to sign papers) is nothing but smoke and mirrors.” (Farmshine)

"Romania Harvests Trouble With Its GM Crops" - "BUCHAREST, Romania, October 30, 2006 - Romania may find itself excluded from the European Union markets and even have difficulties selling its genetically modified products locally, because of delays in complying with European food traceability and labeling regulations. Experts say its increasing use of genetically modified crops also hinders organic agriculture, an area in which Romania has the potential to be competitive in the EU market." (ENS)

"DEFRA's 'flawed' genetically modified crop proposals under fire from campaigners" - "DEFRA proposals to prevent genetically modified crops contaminating conventional and organic crops are "legally and fundamentally flawed", according to anti-GM campaigners. In a joint response to the government's coexistence consultation, which closed on Friday 20 October, Friends of the Earth, the Soil Association and GM Freeze claimed some DEFRA proposals breached European law. "The proposals are a thinly veiled attempt to introduce GM crops through the back door," said FoE spokeswoman Clare Oxborrow." (Farmers Weekly)

October 30, 2006

With today's release of the much-leaked Stern Review there's much ado about 'global warming' -- all based on the output of models which, as oracles go, aren't worth the electricity to run them. Check out JunkScience.com's analysis of model-generated scares.

You don't have to trust Big [Oil / Warming / Corporate / Government] or any version of your favored 'Evil Empire' -- you can check long-established constants online, you can check the journal papers (we've made the relevant papers available from our analysis as .pdf) and you can check the underlying assumptions. Although most will find it mildly tedious anyone with grade 8 and higher schooling can check the math for themselves (if you are comfortable with (32/2)1/4 = 2 and 5.67x10-8 = 0.0000000567 then you can do this without raising a sweat).

Carbon dioxide-driven 'catastrophic warming' is a nonsense. Poor Sir Nicholas has had to base his review on completely unfounded assumptions of risk but you don't have to do that.

The big question is, aren't there any MSM reporters capable of handling grade 8 math and science who are prepared to spend perhaps an hour to check and understand even a single basic flaw that completely invalidates model-generated claims of crisis?

And what about AGW advocates? Surely they want to prove nasty skeptics wrong. Well, our workings and assumptions are only a link click away and, as Wilbur reputedly said to his brother on that historic day at Kitty Hawk, "Let 'er rip, Orville!"

"British government says scientific debate on global warming 'now closed,' action needed" - "LONDON Global warming is now a reality and the debate about its existence is over, Britain's environment minister said Sunday, before the release of a report on the economic cost of climate change." (Associated Press)

Here's an interesting juxtaposition -- press officer: "This is more rapid than at any time since last ice age" - "Yes, global warming is a real threat, says Philip Eden, weather correspondent of The Sunday Telegraph and press officer of the Royal Meteorological Society." (Philip Eden, Sunday Telegraph)

vs. climate scientist: "The temperature is as likely to go down as up" - "No, global warming isn't a real threat, says Richard Lindzen, Arthur P Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology." (Richard Lindzen, Sunday Telegraph)

"UK: Ministers rush out green initiatives ahead of Stern report" - "Ministers rushed out announcements of new initiatives to combat climate change yesterday, ahead of Monday's publication of a report that is expected to have a worldwide impact on the way business leaders think about the future of the planet." (London Independent) | Sir Nicholas to read the riot act in new report on climate change (London Independent)

"Too Stern a view of climate change" - "Today, Sir Nicholas Stern has published his review of the economic implications of modelled climate change. Not surprisingly, his conclusions are those which the government wanted: high levels of expenditure now will prevent much greater economic damage arising from the projected influence of Mankind on the global climate.

The Scientific Alliance believes that Sir Nicholas’s talents have been misused. His calculations are based on the output of complex computer models, all constructed on the assumption that average global temperatures are directly linked to atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases – in particular carbon dioxide. His estimates are doubtless correct for the scenarios presented, but we question the validity of the starting point." (Press Release)

"UK: Green tax plans to hit drivers and air travellers" - "ENVIRONMENT Secretary David Miliband has drawn up a wide-ranging package of green taxes designed to change people's behaviour in a bid to offset global warming. His proposals, in a leaked letter to Gordon Brown, include hikes on fuel and air passenger duty and higher road tax for the most polluting vehicles." (Scotland on Sunday) | Miliband urges higher cost of motoring (The Guardian) | You'll pay for days like this (London Telegraph)

"Stern will transform British politics. That's the easy bit" - "If there's one thing Gordon Brown loves, it's an inquiry. During the row over tuition fees, Charles Clarke, the then education secretary, told me that the clash between himself and the Chancellor hinged on Clarke's refusal to launch a long investigation into the problem of higher education finance on the model of Derek Wanless's NHS report. On this basis, at least, Mr Brown will be very happy with Sir Nicholas Stern's inquiry on the economics of climate change due to be published tomorrow, and reported to weigh in at a forest-clearing 700 pages. According to the Tories, Mr Brown's present preoccupation with climate change, a subject that was central to his conference speech in Manchester, is entirely political, a response to David Cameron's tireless green campaigning since he became leader." (London Telegraph)

"Climate threat 'justifies urgent action'" - "A GROUND-breaking report due on Monday will say that the impact of global poverty, conflict and mass migration due to climate change far outweighs the costs of taking urgent action to counter global warming. The report by chief British government economist Nicholas Stern will underpin efforts to reach a new global deal to combat climate change when the current Kyoto Protocol agreement ends in 2012." (Reuters) | FACTBOX-UK Stern report on climate change costs (Reuters)

"This is civilisation's biggest challenge" - "The Government's chief scientific adviser says he supports the findings of the Stern review which warns that ignoring global warming could lead to economic upheaval on the scale of the 1930s Depression. Prof Sir David King said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph: "Dangerous climate change is going to happen. Catastrophic climate change is what we have to avoid." (London Telegraph)

"Sceptics scorn climate report prediction of global chaos" - "Study warns of economic crash over CO2 emissions - Doubters rubbish findings even before publication." (James Randerson, The Guardian)

Oh, James? That's "Steven Milloy", not "Stephen" (typical Guardian-quality research).

"Ten years to save the planet from mankind" - "The Stern Report will tomorrow reveal that if governments do nothing, climate change will cost more than both world wars and render swathes of the planet uninhabitable. Can the world find the will to act? Gaby Hinsliff reports." (The Observer)

"Spend, spend, spend plan to tackle warming" - "Line up all of the world's economists end to end, the old joke goes, and they would still fail to reach a conclusion. By Monday afternoon the gag could sound a little hollow. Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist with the World Bank, may not speak for all of his colleagues across the globe, but he appears to have reached a startling conclusion: climate change could tip the world economy into a terrible recession and we must start spending serious money to stop it." (The Guardian)

How quickly they forget... "£3.68 trillion: The price of failing to act on climate change" - "Britons face the prospect of a welter of new green taxes to tackle climate change, as the most authoritative report on global warming warns it will cost the world up to £3.68 trillion unless it is tackled within a decade." (Gaby Hinsliff, The Observer)

... last year the cost of acting was much higher than that:

"Cost of ending global warming 'too high'" - "BRINGING global warming to an end would cost almost half global GDP - €13,000bn - at least, one London analyst has calculated. Charles Dumas of Lombard Street Research says this is many times the cost of dealing with the damaging effects of global warming." (Unison.ie) | EDITOR'S NOTE: Full report available at http://www.lombardstreetresearch.com/Content/Home.asp | Global warming's £10 trillion cost (The Scotsman)

So, ignore Stern and save £6.32 trillion eh?

"Climate Change Lemmings Jump Off The Cliff" - "California signs onto Kyoto Protocol just as it falls apart." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Figures reveal Europe falling far short of climate targets" - "The European Union, self-styled global champion in the battle against climate change, is falling woefully short of its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and will need to take radical measures to achieve them, new projections have shown." (The Guardian)

"EC critical of Ireland over carbon" - "The European Commission has criticised Ireland for not being on target to reduce carbon emissions. It says Ireland ranks amongst the worst performers in the EU, at fourth from the bottom in terms of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Kyoto Protocols, Ireland is committed to reducing the rise in carbon emissions to 13% by 2010. However, the Commission says that without additional measures, Ireland's carbon usage will increase by closer to 30%." (RTE News)

"ANALYSIS - Japan Needs Policy Overhaul to Avoid Kyoto Failure" - "TOKYO - Japan faces a stark choice in the next five years -- impose mandatory emissions curbs on industry and hike government spending on emissions cuts overseas -- or risk sinking the Kyoto Protocol on climate change." (Reuters)

"UK: Secret green tax blitz" - "Secret plans for a multi-billion-pound package of stealth taxes on fuel, cars, air travel and consumer goods have been drawn up by the Government to combat global warming. The proposals, leaked to The Mail on Sunday, show that the Government is considering introducing a raft of hard-hitting 'eco-taxes' that will have a devastating effect on the cost of living." (Mail on Sunday)

"This arsenal of facts brings Brown's big green chance" - "The Stern report on climate change equips the chancellor with the case for a radical new approach to taxation" (The Guardian)

Already putting in a claim for some of the spoils: "If the climate change message is to hit home, we will all need more support" - "Being able to bank on long-term government help is crucial to energy-saving." (The Guardian)

"Green taxes are not the solution to a better world" - "Having exhausted stealth taxes, the Government is reaching for green taxes: levies on flying, driving and household appliances. The beauty of eco-taxes, from Gordon Brown's point of view, is that people won't want to be seen to be against them. Those who dispute their efficacy – including this newspaper – will be dismissed as having fallen for tendentious science, or being in the pay of the oil companies, or simply not caring about the viability of the planet. A few seconds' thought should reveal how asinine these accusations are. Surely we can take it as read that everyone is in favour of life on Earth." (London Telegraph)

"UK: Business to fight green taxes" - "British business is this weekend fighting off calls for a raft of new green taxes that it fears will follow the publication of an influential government report tomorrow. The Stern Review is expected to warn that failure to address climate change could slash global economic growth by up to 20 per cent a year – a controversial view that will turn conventional thinking on climate change on its head. Businesses are worried that the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, will use the report by Sir Nicholas Stern, the respected economist, as an excuse to introduce a range of new anti-business pollution taxes." (London Telegraph)

"UK: Guilt-edged profits" - "Almost every day produces another doom-filled warning about global warming: a report tomorrow predicts a worldwide recession as a result of climate change. But, as Ross Clark reports, where there is anxiety, there's also business opportunity… and taxes, of course." (Ross Clark, Sunday Telegraph)

Really? "Australia: UK to push us into carbon trading" - "BRITAIN will pressure Australia and other countries to join an expanded EU carbon trading market on the back of a new report warning of the dire economic consequences of global warming." (The Australian)

I doubt the Poms could push us into a shady bar on a hot day but I guess that won't stop 'em trying.

Desperate to find enough dummies to buy hot air... "Britain to admit Kyoto refuseniks into carbon trading market" - "Confidence in the emerging market for carbon emission permits was given a double boost yesterday as the bank Morgan Stanley unveiled a $3bn (£1.6bn) investment and the UK said it would enable companies from non-Kyoto signatory countries to trade through Britain." (London Independent)

... and heat up their carbon scam... "Campaign to publish UK firms' carbon use" - "Green campaigners are calling for firms that float on the London Stock Exchange to be forced to reveal their carbon emissions, as the government prepares to publish a hard-hitting report on the devastating cost of failing to tackle climate change. The Stern review, to be released tomorrow, will argue for putting a market price on carbon, as a way of forcing polluters to pay, and rewarding businesses that cut down on their emissions or design new, clean technologies." (The Observer)

... with advice from Ozone Man: "Brown to back more emissions trading" - "Gordon Brown will on Monday throw his weight behind a massive expansion of carbon trading to tackle global warming, rather than raising billions of pounds in green taxes. The chancellor, flanked by Tony Blair, will use Monday’s release of a report by Sir Nicholas Stern, former World Bank chief economist and a senior UK civil servant, to propose a sweeping overhaul of Europe’s fledgling emissions trading scheme, arguing that climate change is “a global challenge that requires a global solution”. And, in an effort to push climate change up the international agenda, the chancellor will appoint Al Gore, former US vice-president and an environmental campaigner, as an adviser on green issues." (Financial Times)

"UK signs Gore to sell climate case in US" - "Washington sceptical as landmark report warns of economic disaster." (The Guardian)

"Verification Problems May Delay '07 Kyoto Projects" - "BEIJING - Projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions and channel funds to poor nations from rich ones under the Kyoto pact may be backlogged in 2007 due to mistaken applications and an overworked evaluation team, an official said." (Reuters)

"Britain Calls for Post-Kyoto Climate Cuts by 2008-09" - "BEIJING - Britain called on Friday for world powers to agree to a framework by 2009 to cut greenhouse gas emissions before the first phase of the UN's Kyoto Protocol ends, and urged China to sign up to any new deal." (Reuters)

"China Hopes for Post-2012 Kyoto Deal Within 2 Years" - "BEIJING - China would like the world to agree a new framework for trading and investment in reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by 2008, and to see a longer-lasting commitment period, top policy officials said on Friday." (Reuters)

We're sure China would just love to have someone, anyone, else pay for their energy infrastructure.

"For a World of Woes, We Blame Cookie Monsters" - "FIRST we said they were ruining their health with their bad habit, and they should just quit. Then we said they were repulsive and we didn’t want to be around them. Then we said they were costing us loads of money — maybe they should pay extra taxes. Other Americans, after all, do not share their dissolute ways. Cigarette smokers? No, the obese. Last week the list of ills attributable to obesity grew: fat people cause global warming." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

The latest in Moonbattery: "How sport is killing the planet" - "One of the reasons why so little has been done to stop climate change is that everyone makes an exception for themselves. We can all agree, for example, that there are too many cars on the roads, while insisting that we cannot possibly leave ours at home. The same problem applies to businesses: the people who run them might agree that collective action urgently needs to be taken, but unfortunately their sector is just too important and its requirements too demanding. This seems to be the prevailing ethos at the moment in sport." (George Monbiot, Observer Sport Monthly)

"Global warming: litigation to soon heat up" - "New research analysing the grounds of potential legal liability of companies and governments for their roles in global warming warns that law suits are likely to increase and have high prospects of success in the near future. Small island states are primary candidates for bringing such actions as they become increasingly affected by rising sea levels and their citizens are put at risk of being made environmental refugees. The research on climate change litigation is authored by Dr. Joseph Smith and Professor David Shearman of the University of Adelaide, South Australia. The work, launched Tuesday this week, reviews the legal basis of potential legal claims and the current state of scientific evidence supporting these actions." (Antigua Sun)

"Suits over greenhouse gas emissions predicted" - "OTTAWA — It's only a matter of time before Canadian corporations are sued over their greenhouse emissions, say experts in the investment field. Just as tobacco companies have been sued for the health effects of smoking, the argument runs, polluters could be held responsible for contributing to global warming." (CP)

Eye roller: "Senators to Exxon: Stop the Denial" - "WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2006 — ExxonMobil should stop funding groups that have spread the idea that global warming is a myth and that try to influence policymakers to adopt that view, two senators said today in a letter to the oil company. In their letter to ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., appealed to Exxon's sense of corporate responsibility, asking the company to "come clean about its past denial activities." (ABC News)

And what do these dopey senators expect Exxon to do -- repeal the Stefan-Boltzmann Constant?

"Climate Negotiators Eye 2008 Elections" - "Delegates flying to Kenya next week for a global conference on climate are watching the turn of U.S. election seasons as much as the rise in temperatures in their effort to cool planetary warming. Talks to extend the Kyoto Protocol's caps on greenhouse-gas emissions beyond 2012 have been marking time while governments try to draw the Bush administration, which rejects Kyoto, into the process. The Nov. 7 U.S. congressional elections may help their cause, but the diplomat presiding over the talks says 2008 will be the watershed." (AP)

Do you suppose Jim's angling for a career in politics? "Leahy: President censored warming research" - "BURLINGTON — U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., joined the world's leading researcher on global warming Saturday to charge that the Bush administration's use of censorship to foil terrorism is hurting the fight against climate change and other environmental threats.

"If you have information that points out a problem, the only way you're going to make a correction is if you find out about it," Leahy said. "I have never seen an administration, either Republican or Democratic, as secretive as this one. It has become absolutely farcical, except that the country has been damaged by it."

Leahy, speaking in Burlington, punctuated his point by sitting beside top NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who alleged in January that the government was trying to stop him from speaking out after he called for prompt reductions in pollution emissions linked to global warming.

"There's a huge gap between what is understood by scientists and what is known by the public and policymakers," Hansen said Saturday. "I think people are unaware how close we are to the tipping point. That's not speculation. The science is clear." (Times Argus)

Check out our comments under Jim's "Planet in peril" hand-wringer, October 26. Do you suppose Jim told reporters and sympathetic politicians how badly his model screws up? Maybe that's been censored by the administration.

"Melting of Greenland's ice sheet 'is the turning point'" - "The world's target for stopping global warming should be based on the point at which the melting of the great Greenland ice sheet becomes irreversible, says the Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King." (London Independent)

"Greenland's glaciers have been shrinking for 100 years: study" - "Greenland's glaciers have been shrinking for the past century, according to a Danish study published on Monday, suggesting that the ice melt is not a recent phenomenon caused by global warming.

Danish researchers from Aarhus University studied glaciers on Disko island, in western Greenland in the Atlantic, from the end of the 19th century until the present day. "This study, which covers 247 of 350 glaciers on Disko, is the most comprehensive ever conducted on the movements of Greenland's glaciers," glaciologist Jacob Clement Yde, who carried out the study with Niels Tvis Knudsen, told AFP.

Using maps from the 19th century and current satellite observations, the scientists were able to conclude that "70 percent of the glaciers have been shrinking regularly since the end of the 1880s at a rate of around eight meters per year," Yde said. "We studied 95 percent of the area covered by glaciers in Disko and everything indicates that our results are also valid for the glaciers along the coasts of the rest of Greenland," he said. The biggest reduction was observed between 1964 and 1985." (AFP)

"Australia: No such thing as climate change refugees: Vanstone" - "Immigration Minister Senator Amanda Vanstone says her Department has not made any plans to deal with so-called "climate change" refugees. Senator Vanstone says she is not aware of requests from Pacific nations to look at the issue of people whose homes are under threat from rising sea levels. She has told a Senate Estimates Committee the term "refugee" is being wrongly used. "There's no such thing as a climate [change] refugee," she said. "... In my view it diminishes the importance the international community should put on refugees to call everyone else who might need to be relocated for humanitarian reasons a refugee." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

"Where are the sinking Pacific Island evacuees, Mr Gore?" - "The New Zealand Super Fund has been challenged to ask Al Gore, when he visits the country next month, for the whereabouts of the Pacific Islanders that Gore says in his film have been evacuated to New Zealand because their islands are drowning.

This challenge has been issued by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, through Owen McShane, chairman of its policy panel. The coalition also wants to know who is paying for the visit. The challenge follows the announcement at the Labour Party conference that Al Gore is to visit New Zealand on 14 November for a private meeting with the Super Fund board, invited MPs and business leaders – but no media." (Press Release: New Zealand Climate Science Coalition)

Today's joke: "INTERVIEW - UN Sees 'Far More Robust' Global Warming Evidence" - "GENEVA - Scientific evidence that human activity is heating the Earth has become "far more robust" in the last five years, the head of the United Nations climate change panel said." (Reuters)

Weird collection of misstatements: "The free market got us into this mess, but is it equipped to get us out?" - "'WE are sleepwalking to catastrophe' said environment secretary David Miliband last week in the latest dire warning about climate change. He is wrong. We aren’t sleepwalking; we are walking towards catastrophe fully awake, with our eyes wide open. There is no longer any significant dispute about the scientific evidence for global warming. Even the last of the climate-change sceptics, the Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg, now accepts that climate change is happening, that we are responsible for it and that the worst impact will be felt in the developing countries." (Iain Macwhirter, Sunday Herald)

For a start catastrophic climate change driven by carbon dioxide emissions is computer-generated twaddle, which anyone with a high school education and a calculator can prove for themselves and Lomborg has always stated he believes in 'global warming' -- just not with it being humanity's most pressing problem.

"Adapting to global warming" - "Barely a week goes by when one does not read, view or hear a news report on global warming. And with good reason: After decades of debate, scientists and environmentalists now largely agree - some high-profile dissenters notwithstanding - that global warming is indeed rearing its ugly head." (John Zayac, Rocky Mountain News)

Actually John, people like you and articles like this are the reason barely a week goes by. That doesn't make it factual, however.

A small start: "Canada excludes environmentalists, industry from UN conference" - "OTTAWA — The federal government, for the first time in the 14-year history of the UN treaty on climate change, is excluding environmental and industry groups from its official delegation for international negotiations." (CanWest News Service)

Even better: "TV GM bans global warming news" - "BANGOR, Maine, Oct. 30 -- The general manager of two TV stations in Maine has ordered his news department to stop covering global warming until "Bar Harbor is underwater." Michael Palmer told the joint news staff of WVII and WFVX in an e-mail that global warming stories are like "'the killer African bee scare' from the 1970s or, more recently, the Y2K scare when everyone's computer was going to self-destruct." (UPI)

"Jeremy Warner's Outlook: It makes good business sense to cut emissions. Most companies are starting to wake up to it" - "Oh for the days when all the chief executive had to do was worry about the bottom line. The social and environmental bit was for governments to deal with. Profit was the only god the chief executive was answerable to. If business leaders didn't like the regulatory and tax burden imposed by the state, they could always vote with their feet and go somewhere else instead." (London Independent)

It only makes sense if there's economic value in it. Not if it merely averts fraudulent levies to avert a mythical monster, where the correct answer is to get rid of the levies.

"Can pollution cure global warming?" - "If global warming is indeed a threat, there is more than one way to attack it - something you won’t learn from “the sky-is-falling-reduce-carbon-dioxide-emissions-yesterday” crowd. Growing forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It may be possible to speed up the oceans’ absorption of carbon dioxide. And a researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research has shown how deliberate pollution of the atmosphere can cool the Earth. This approach, he argues, could stabilize global temperature and greatly reduce the needed cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, or substantially extend the time over which they would have to be made. This notion could drive die-hard environmentalists into a frenzy as awareness of it spreads. But if the threat is as serious as they say, they should not rule out any promising ideas." (Boston Herald)

"Budgets Falling in Race to Fight Global Warming" - "Though experts agree the world faces a daunting challenge in finding nonpolluting energy sources, research into new technology has declined." (New York Times)

"New Culprit in Climate Change? Try Airlines" - "Eco-campaigners say air travel is one of the fastest-growing producers of emissions linked to global warming." (New York Times)

Probably not what the antis had in mind: "CAA: 'Relax airline ownership rules to reduce air fares'" - "Air fares would come down if the current highly restrictive rules governing the ownership and control of national airlines were scrapped, the UK's aviation regulator said yesterday." (London Independent)

"Airlines are not main GHG culprits" - "British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett says her government is considering a tax - from #5 to #50 (that's $10.60 to $106) - on every airplane ticket, as a way of fighting greenhouse-gas-induced climate change. Because Europe has so many dirt-cheap excursion air fares, Britons quickly started calling this a "tax on holidays." The idea, reasonable in one way but ridiculous in another, demonstrates the problems we all face as the world begins to think about slowing down the greenhouse-gas emissions that are inexorably changing the climate." (Montreal Gazette)

The Consequences of Nonlinearities in the Earth’s Climate System (Climate Science)

"Put blame on El Niño, expert says"  -"LONGMONT - The storm that dropped up to 20 inches of snow on Colorado's mountains Thursday is typical of the warm, wet autumn snowfalls that hit the state during El Niño years, a University of Colorado climatologist said Thursday. If history is a guide, the north-central mountains could see more such storms through November, before a drying trend sets in, Klaus Wolter said at the 17th annual South Platte Forum. "This whole wet fall is consistent with El Niño," he said. "And this warm, wet storm, which pulled in subtropical moisture, is typical." (Rocky Mountain News)

"UK: Swans deliver a climate change warning" - "For decades, the arrival of the first V-shaped flights of Bewick's swans in Britain's wetlands after a 2,000-mile journey from Siberia heralded the arrival of winter. This year, a dramatic decline in numbers of the distinctive yellow-billed swans skidding into their winter feeding grounds could be the harbinger of a more dramatic shift in weather patterns: global warming. Ornithologists at the main reserves that host the birds, the smallest of Britain's swans, said only a handful had appeared on lakes and water courses. Normally, there would be several hundred. The latest arrival in a decade of Britain's seasonal influx of 8,000 Bewick's swans throws into sharp relief the debate on the effects of climate change as it enters a crucial week." (London Independent)

Latest in a decade, eh? Well, that surely proves it.

Oh boy... "African apocalypse: The continent burning into a desert" - "Nowhere is the effect of global warming more dangerous than in Somalia, where the worst drought in 40 years is affecting the lives of 1.8 million people." (London Independent) | Rich nations urged to act as continent faces food crisis (The Guardian)

... so it was this bad in the 1960s? Like, when the world was cooling and there were rumblings about the looming ice age? Actually, much longer than that -- check out the American Meteorological Society's Monthly Weather Review article: The Desiccation of Africa, there's a link to the .pdf but no abstracts are available for reprints from The Geographical Journal, Feb., 1919, vol. 53, pp. 122-123.

"Africa ‘faces catastrophe’ unless West acts on climate change" - "Africa will go “up in smoke” unless the international community acts to curb climate change. A coalition of the UK’s leading development and environment agencies argue that global warming is already having a serious impact on Africa and will get much worse unless urgent action is taken now. The group has released a report in the run-up to the next major United Nations conference on climate change, in Nairobi, Kenya, and the publication of the Treasury’s Stern Review on the economics of the problem. Entitled Africa – Up In Smoke 2, the report is based on the latest available scientific research and evidence from those living on the front line of global warming. Africa is already on average 0.5˚C warmer than it was 100 years ago, which is putting more strain on water resources. According to the UK’s Hadley Centre for Climate Change, future temperature increases over many areas of Africa will see double the global average increase, and drought patterns stand to worsen catastrophically." (Sunday Herald)

One local who specializes in studying this is WJR Alexander, Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria. See Climate change - there is no need for concern, Science in Africa, April, 2004.

Regarding Africa is already on average 0.5˚C warmer than it was 100 years ago, well golly, gee whiz, we happen to think the world has done likewise since the unfriendly cold of the 19th Century and earlier or, as the IPCC puts it: 0.6 ± 0.2 °C from about 1880 to 2000.

"ARGENTINA: Agriculture, Both Victim and Villain in Climate Change" - "BUENOS AIRES - The Argentine government is concerned about the effect of climate change on agricultural and stock-raising activities, the pillar of the country's economy. But it turns out that the countryside itself, while generously producing grains, legumes and cattle, also contributes enormously to global warming." (IPS)

"Tempest erupts over hurricanes" - "BOULDER - The planet may be warming, but what started out as a polite discussion about hurricane trends turned plain hot here Wednesday. At issue was the role - if any - that global warming plays in fueling monster storms. But illustrating the volatile nature of the debate, the scientific conference descended into name calling. Colorado State University's William Gray, one of the nation's preeminent hurricane forecasters, called noted Boulder climate researcher Kevin Trenberth an opportunist and a Svengali who "sold his soul to the devil to get (global warming) research funding." Trenberth countered that Gray is not a credible scientist." (Rocky Mountain News)

"Reverse Spin on Tropical Cyclones" - "Look at any popular presentation on the threat of global warming, and it is highly likely you will be led to believe that the buildup of greenhouse gases and the accompanying rise in planetary temperature will surely increase hurricane activity in the years to come. Who could ever forget the drumbeat during and after Katrina from the global warming crowd; Al Gore was all over this concept in his movie. Somewhat surprisingly to most, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in the Summary for Policymakers “Changes globally in tropical and extra-tropical storm intensity and frequency are dominated by inter-decadal and multi-decadal variations, with no significant trends evident over the 20th century.” (WCR)

"After Some Mean Seasons, a Quieter One" - "After the devastation of 2004 and 2005, the 2006 hurricane season has come as a relief." (New York Times)

"Petrobras closer to its two million barrels pd target" - "Brazil’s oil company Petrobras reached the record production of 1,912,733 barrels of oil in Brazil on Monday October 23rd. The record improved 30.000 barrels on its previous record of 1,882,000 barrels achieved last May." (MercoPress)

"Brazil plans to build seven nuclear reactors" - "Brazil announced the construction of seven nuclear plants by 2025 to ensure energy sufficiency with economic efficiency." (MercoPress)

"Australia: Nuclear power will 'worsen drought'" - "AUSTRALIA'S crippling drought will worsen if the Howard government succeeds in its push for nuclear power, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has told a conference." (AAP)

"Richard Tren: Adopting a continent" - "There's much more Westerners can do to help the children of Africa." (Dallas News)

"DDT could contaminate crops, says BAT" - "DAVID MALINGHA DOYA reports that while BAT has been accused of opposing a plan to spray Ugandan homes with a weak DDT solution, the tobacco firm says it only advocates caution. British American Tobacco Uganda has denied accusations that is opposing the use of DDT in a malaria eradication campaign in the country. "We only call for caution while spraying, and want assurances that farmers' produce will not be contaminated by DDT," said Jimmy Kiberu, BAT Equatorial Africa's corporate and regulatory manager. "In fact, we would like to partner with the government to ensure this." (East African)

"Pediatrics study shows no link between juice and children's weight" - "ATLANTA (October 27, 2006) -- Drinking a glass of 100 percent fruit juice has long been thought of as a healthy habit for both adults and children. Recently, however, people have been confused about juice -- how much to drink, how much to serve their children -- partly because of the natural sweet taste of fruit juice." (Kellen Communications)

"NY: City May Ask Restaurants to List Calories" - "The New York City Board of Health is weighing a plan that would require some of New York’s 20,000 restaurants to list calories on menus." (New York Times)

"NYC Considering Ban on Trans Fat" - "NEW YORK -- There are plenty of things in Kentucky Fried Chicken that are bad for your health -- cholesterol, saturated fat and salt, to name a few. But only one has the potential to get the colonel's recipe banned in New York City." (AP)

"KFC Plans to Reduce Trans Fat in Its Food" - "KFC will unveil plans to reduce artery-clogging trans fat in its fast food, swapping solid shortening for liquefied cooking oil in its kitchens." (Wall Street Journal)

Eco-toffs... "Cameron 'backed rules that put jobs at risk'" - "David Cameron pressurised his party's representatives in the European Parliament to vote in favour of sweeping new environmental regulations, despite the MEPs' concerns about the impact on British business and jobs." (London Telegraph)

"Bush Appointee Said to Reject Advice on Endangered Species" - "A senior Bush political appointee at the Interior Department has rejected staff scientists' recommendations to protect imperiled animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act at least six times in the past three years, documents show." (Washington Post)

"Hunting 'has conservation role'" - "Rifle-toting tourists hunting exotic animals could actually help protect Africa's vulnerable species, a leading conservationist has suggested. Elephant populations had benefited from a permit system that allowed sport hunters to kill a limited number of the beasts, according to Eugene Lapointe. Mr Lapointe was head of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) between 1982-90. Animal welfare campaigners rejected the idea as "morally unjustifiable." (BBC) | Hunting for conservation solutions (Eugene Lapointe, BBC)

Right. Animal "welfare" campaigners would rather the poor critters died out than a few were hunted to fund preservation of the species. Yeah, that'll help...

"GM organisms safe, says regulator" - "AUSTRALIA'S gene technology watchdog has moved to alleviate fears about leaks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment." (AAP)

"Mexico Shuts the Door on GM Maize" - "MEXICO CITY - Ending the reason for protests by environmental activists, and much to the frustration of some scientists and multinational corporations, Mexico has moved to ban experimental fields of genetically modified (GM) maize. But the gateway into Mexico of transgenic maize, in the form of unlabeled grain imports, remains ajar." (IPS)

"GM variety may spell trouble for Indian rice" - "New Delhi, Oct 30.: Commercial cultivation of genetically modified variety of rice in India could lead to restrictions being imposed by the European Union on the country's grain export to the region, the industry has warned." (PTI)

"BKU torches GM rice test field in Karnal" - "CHANDIGARH, OCTOBER 29 : In a serious setback for field tests of genetically modified (GM) rice, activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) have torched the sole field in Haryana where tests for the modified rice variety were being carried out." (Indian Express)

October 27, 2006

"Bad Climate Science Yields Worse Economics" - "The British government is preparing to fire a new round of global warming alarmism at the U.S. next week. Her Majesty’s Treasury is scheduled to release the “Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change,” as it’s called, on Oct. 30." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Like this: "Climate change: US economist's grim warning to Blair's Cabinet" - "The stark findings of Nicholas Stern's report yesterday increased the pressure on the PM to act." (London Independent)

The most vulnerable: "UK: Cold comfort for the fuel poor" - "For people on low incomes, winter can mean a struggle between keeping warm and paying bills. Allan Asher, head of consumer watchdog energywatch explains why fuel poverty is still a problem in Britain today." (BBC)

In Britain and perhaps in much of the northern latitudes, more people die during the winter than in other seasons (see, e.g., Kelly and Lawes 1999). According to provisional statistics published by the UK Office of National Statistics (2005), during the winter of 2004/2005 (December-March) there were about 31,600 more deaths in England and Wales compared with the average number of deaths during the non-winter period." [Source: IM Goklany, 2nd Round of Comments to the Stern Review, March 17, 2006.]

Oops! "Canberra's go-slow slammed" - "THE Howard Government's stance on climate change was "unrealistic and unreasonable", with the latest scientific evidence showing global warming was having an impact faster than previously expected, a leading international expert has warned. The chief economist with the British Government-backed Carbon Trust, Michael Grubb, slammed Canberra's go-slow policy response as "hard to understand, because it is so clearly not a position which can lead to any credible solutions."

Grubb needs to take a look at our analysis of climate model-generated "global warming" estimates. The inescapable conclusion is that climate models are programmed to overstate potential warming response to enhanced greenhouse forcing by a huge margin. Current state-of-the-art climate models simply are not suitable prognostic tools. How should we go about developing "credible solutions" when there's no credible "climate emergency" to address?

Great but... "Ocean array acts as climate alert" - "Measurements from a network of monitors stretching across the Atlantic Ocean could offer an early warning of "sudden climate change", scientists have said. Underwater instruments measuring the temperature and salinity of seawater will detect any change to currents that regulate Europe's climate, they said." (BBC)

... this contains the same old myth about meridional overturning regulating Europe's climate, which is just plain wrong.

Seager, et al, "Is the Gulf Stream responsible for Europe's mild winters?" [.pdf] Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 128(586): 2563-2586).

"Gulf Stream safe if wind blows and Earth turns" - "Sir - Your News story "Gulf Stream probed for early warnings of system failure" (Nature 427, 769 (2004)) discusses what the climate in the south of England would be like "without the Gulf Stream." Sadly, this phrase has been seen far too often, usually in newspapers concerned with the unlikely possibility of a new iceage in Britain triggered by the loss of the Gulf Stream.

European readers should be reassured that the Gulf Stream's existence is a consequence of the large-scale wind system over the North Atlantic Ocean, and of the nature of fluid motion on a rotating planet. The only way to produce an ocean circulation without a Gulf Stream is either to turn off the wind system, or to stop the Earth's rotation, or both.

Real questions exist about conceivable changes in the ocean circulation and its climate consequences. However, such discussions are not helped by hyperbole and alarmism. The occurrence of a climate state without the Gulf Stream anytime soon - within tens of millions of years - has a probability of little more than zero.

Carl Wunsch
Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology" (Nature 428, 601, April 8, 2004)

"A model intercomparison of changes in the Atlantic thermohaline circulation in response to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration" (.pdf) - "Abstract: In an experiment coordinated as part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, integrations with a common design have been undertaken with eleven different climate models to compare the response of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) to time-dependent climate change caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. Over 140 years, during which the CO2 concentration quadruples, the circulation strength declines gradually in all models, by between 10 and 50%. This weakening is consistent with the expected effect of reduced heat loss and increased net freshwater input in the north Atlantic. No model shows a rapid or complete collapse. The models having the strongest overturning in the control climate tend to show the largest THC reductions. Despite the reduced ocean heat transport, no model shows a cooling anywhere, because the greenhouse warming is dominant. In all the models, the THC weakening is caused more by changes in surface heat flux than by changes in surface water flux." (Geophysical Research Letters)

"Ice growth in the greenhouse: a seductive paradox but unrealistic scenario" - "ABSTRACT: The recent IPCC (2001) assessment stated that

"Most models show weakening of the Northern Hemisphere Thermohaline Circulation (THC), which contributes to a reduction of surface warming in the northern North Atlantic. Even in models where the THC weakens, there is still a warming over Europe due to increased greenhouse gases."

However, there is still a widespread misunderstanding of the possible consequence of climate change on the Atlantic Ocean Meridional Overturning. In particular, it is often touted, especially in the media, that a possible consequence of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is: "the onset of the next ice age". Here we document the history of this misconception and quantitatively show how it is impossible for an ice age to ensue as a consequence of global warming. Through analysis of the paleoclimate record as well as a number of climate model simulations, we also suggest that it is very unlikely that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning will cease to be active in the near future. We further suggest that a region where intermediate water formation may shut down is in the Labrador Sea, although this has more minor consequences for climate than if deep water formation in the Nordic Seas were to cease." (Geoscience Canada)

Will Freshening Of The North Atlantic Ocean Slow The Gulf Stream And Cool Europe? (CO2 Science Magazine)

Oh boy... "Written answers: Wednesday, 25 October 2006 -- International Development: Africa (Climate Change)" - "Mark Durkan (Foyle, Social Democratic and Labour Party) -- To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who are at risk from diseases directly attributable to climate change." (TheyWorkForYou.com) -- Hat tip Dennis Ambler.

... but: Relief for Africa (WCR)

"Dryness as usual" - "ANDREW Bolt writes: Panic merchants claiming this cyclical dry period proves global warming mask the Government's failure to prepare for inevitable drought. The merchants of global warming panic are wrong. Again. No, this is not the worst drought ever recorded. No, it is not so unprecedented that it proves man-made global warming is real. In fact, this may not even be a drought at all. Rainfall figures show we may be simply going back to the just-as-dry weather of the not-so-distant past. And those who shriek that global warming is now frying us like never before are peddling green hype, rather than the cool science we need to keep ourselves well-watered." (Herald Sun)

"Windmills are not a solution to this drought" - "Is the current drought another sign of climate change? Is renewable energy a real solution? The rainfall record has a few clues, and it is also worth considering how land and water management practices have changed over the last 100 years including in the Murray Darling Basin - the food bowl of Australia." (Jennifer Marohasy, Online Opinion)

"UGA scientists discover bacterial 'switch gene' that regulates oceans' sulfur emissions into the air" - "The number of plankton in the seas is almost beyond comprehension. A single teaspoonful of ocean water holds several million of these microscopic drifters, and in recent years, scientists have discovered plankton are involved with everything from the health of the water to global warming.

Now, a team of researchers, led by marine microbial ecologist Mary Ann Moran at the University of Georgia, has discovered a bacterial "switch gene" in two groups of plankton. This gene helps determine whether certain marine bacterioplankton convert a sulfur compound to one that rises into the atmosphere and affects the earth's temperature or remains climatically inactive in the seas." (University of Georgia)

"Climate change cannot be stopped" - "Climate change cannot be stopped, so the government needs to develop realistic policies that will slow it down, according to one expert. Speaking at the Tenant Farmers Association’s 25th anniversary conference this week, the University of London’s Emeritus Philip Stott said media-hype and the lack of a robust energy policy over the past 30 years had been major problems. “We are walking into danger if we think we can stop climate change – we can’t, but we can mess up the British economy. Energy security for Britain is a very serious issue and we need a realistic policy that will slow down climate change. But let’s not be conned that we can stop it.” (FWi)

"Feinstein focusing on global warming" - "U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein delivered a lengthy, impassioned speech Wednesday about the need for this country, other nations and every individual to step up the fight against global warming. Then she drove off in a gas-guzzling Lincoln Town Car." (LA Times)

Oh my! "Ice experts add their voices to warming concern" - "Global warming is no longer considered theory; it has become real science. Hurricane Katrina helped change opinions. NBC’s Bob Bazell reports.

BOULDER, Colo. - For Americans it was the summer of 2005 with Katrina and all the other hurricanes — along with record heat. For Europeans it was the heat wave of 2003 that killed 20,000 people. "Sometimes it takes a triggering event like that to really get people's attention," says Jerry Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. That attention is a major reason why so many people now accept the idea that carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases are heating up the planet far faster than nature could." (CNBC)

Look what they say here:

A big factor is that scientists at facilities like the one here in Boulder are now much more confident about their predictions. Computer models now accurately explain past climate and give an ever more certain forecast of the future.

How true is that statement? We suppose that depends on how you quantify "more accurately" and "ever more certain" because our analysis indicates climate models are wildly inaccurate and completely useless for forecasting the future.

We don't recommend you take anyone's word for it -- look up Stefan's Constant and Hansen's claimed ice age forcings (available both in and via links embedded in our analysis). Either Stefan's Constant is wrong or Hansen's model is -- you do the math.

"Arctic haze pollution thickens despite Russia cuts" - "OSLO - Haze polluting the Arctic has thickened in the past decade despite lower emissions by Russian factories, perhaps because of more forest fires or pollution from Asia, an international report said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Sequestration project will now look at carbon dioxide injection" - "Illinois, western Indiana and western Kentucky alone are responsible for more that 255milliontonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from stationary sources in the USA every year. Such sources include electric power plants, refineries, cement plants, and other industrial facilities. In an effort to find a solution to this the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) was created. Today it is one of seven regional carbon sequestration partnerships funded by the US Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)." (Engineer Live)

"ANALYSIS - New Kyoto Emissions Trade Begins Minus Main Player" - "LONDON - A UN deal which launches on Thursday and allows rich countries to buy rights to emit greenhouse gases from former communist states comes too soon for the necessary legal framework in Russia, the biggest market." (Reuters)

"India gains ground on China in market for carbon credits" - "China is becoming less dominant in the market for carbon credits as investors pour money into helping India clean up its industry instead, a World Bank report said Thursday. China made up 60 percent of volumes for project-based carbon credits - generated from investments such as new equipment that lowers greenhouse gas emissions at power plants - in the first nine months of the year, down from 73 percent a year earlier. But India's share of market volumes surged to 15 percent in the same period from 3 percent in the same period last year, the World Bank said." (Hong Kong Standard)

That's the only tolerable part of this stupid game, at least some less developed regions are getting more reliable power supplies.

"Climate change also brings opportunities" - "There are two ways to look at the expenditures that will be required if the world is to make a serious attempt to curb global warming. Pessimists see a huge cost: one that some think means it is not even worth trying to take on the challenge. Optimists see perhaps the greatest business opportunity of the century. As always in the analysis of climate change, there are enormous uncertainties, both about the science and the economics. But calculations set out in a report from Shell Springboard, Royal Dutch Shell’s environmental awards scheme for small and medium businesses, give some rough idea of the scale of both the challenge and the opportunity." (Financial Times)

But since we have no way of predicting future climate we have no way of knowing whether these are "opportunities" or not, do we?

"Morgan Stanley to Invest in $3bn of Emissions Reduction Credits and Other Related Initiatives" - "LONDON, October 26 - Morgan Stanley announced today that it plans to invest in approximately $3 billion of carbon/emissions credits, projects and other initiatives related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction over the next five years." (CNW)

"Canada: Businesses need to lead climate change fight, former U.S. official says" - "OTTAWA - A former member of the Bush administration offered some sobering advice about the Harper government's made-in-Canada green approach and the Kyoto protocol on Wednesday, as he urged the business community to start leading the way to fight climate change.

Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ruled out shipping Canadian money overseas to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gases, former U.S. treasury secretary Paul O'Neill said the issue of climate change should be viewed as a global problem that countries must tackle together." (CanWest News Service)

"Germany considering revival of atomic power" - "PARIS - Germany will rethink its energy mix, including a possible revival of its nuclear programme which the previous government decided to phase out, a senior government official said on Thursday. "We have to talk again of the use of nuclear," said Joachim Wuermeling, Secretary of State at the German Economy and Technology Ministry. Germany's previous government aimed to end nuclear power production by around 2020 but Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week it was a mistake for the country to turn off nuclear power plants, even though her coalition government was committed to the plan. Nuclear currently supplies a third of German power." (Reuters)

"Rigs on the Skyline and Gas Far Below" - "A natural gas drilling boom in Fort Worth is bringing with it hopes of wealth, and fears of pitfalls." (New York Times)

"BRAZIL: Biodiesel Lubricates Social Inclusion" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - The physic nut tree, which has a lifespan of over 40 years, is resistant to drought and benefits small farmers, is a potential source of biodiesel in Brazil, as is the babassu, a coconut palm from the eastern Amazonian region." (IPS)

"US: Promise of Biofuels Boom Is Overrated, Report Says" - "WASHINGTON - Despite an explosion of private investment in the U.S. liquid biofuels industry, taxpayers are contributing around seven billion dollars a year in subsidies which could be better used for other energy- and environment-saving technologies, according to a major new report released here Wednesday." (IPS)

"Scientists Eye Ethanol Boost For Gasoline Engines" - "BOSTON - Injecting small quantities of ethanol into car engines at moments of peak demand -- such as accelerating sharply or climbing a steep hill -- could improve the fuel economy of gasoline engines by 20 percent to 30 percent, a scientist said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Ethanol Could Corrode Pumps, Testers Say" - "BP said it would delay the expansion of ethanol at its U.S. gasoline outlets until laboratories certified a dispensing system." (New York Times)

"Business Bankrolling of the Left" - "Big business primarily supports right-wing advocacy groups, right? Think again. A recent report from the Capital Research Center shows Fortune 100 corporate foundations give overwhelmingly to liberal groups. In fact, in the sample year studied (2001), these corporate foundations gave 14 times more money to liberal causes than business-friendly ones. Even more surprising, environmental causes got the most funding, approximately 75 percent of the $60 million from 53 corporate foundations." (Angela Logomasini, CNS News)

"A conservative alternative to liberal environmentalism" - "The midterm elections are approaching fast, and as usual the environment is considered a Democratic issue. I had no problem with that when I was fighting strip mines in Ohio in 1973; environmentalism was synonymous with leftist politics. In the early '80s, when a friend told me someone named Dave Foreman was forming an environmental group named EarthFirst, I was among the first to become involved. Now that I'm older, I've come to believe that an automatic identification between the left and the environmental movement is neither good for the environment nor for environmentalism. The main reason for this change of mind and heart is that I've become convinced that the private sector is more effective than government at producing just about anything, healthy ecosystems included." (Dan Dagget, Salt Lake Tribune)

'Brazil denies that Amazon forest cut for soy, beef" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazil on Wednesday rejected international criticism that it was sacrificing the Amazon rain forest to produce soy and beef. Agriculture Minister Luis Carlos Guedes Pinto said that only 0.27 percent of Brazil's soybean crop is grown in the Amazon region. Brazil produced a record 53.4 million tonnes of soybeans in 2005/05 (Oct/Sept). "Regarding Brazil's beef exports, less than 1.5 percent of production comes from the Amazon," Guedes said at the opening of Biofach America Latina organic food products fair in Sao Paulo. Guedes said that Brazil farmed 62 million hectares (153 million acres) and could cultivate an extra 50 million hectares by using degraded pasture without "cutting down a single tree." (Reuters)

"Wealthy 'amenity' ranchers taking over the West" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. -- A new study suggests that in many parts of the American West, the grizzled, leathery rancher riding the range to take care of his cattle and make a buck is being replaced by wealthy "amenity" owners who fly in on weekends, fish in their private trout ponds, and often prefer roaming elk to Herefords. They don't much care whether or not the ranch turns a profit.

And many of them think that wolves are neat.

In a 10-year survey of ranchland ownership change on private lands around Yellowstone National Park, scientists found only 26 percent of the large ranches that changed hands went to traditional ranchers, while "amenity buyers" snapped up 39 percent of the properties, and another 26 percent went to investors, developers or part-time ranchers." (Oregon State University)

"Lessons From the Lavender Boys" - "Researchers have finally found the first confirmed gender-bending consumer products: natural lavender oil, natural tea tree oil, and natural soybeans. The findings strongly say consumers should stop worrying over insignificant traces of man-made chemicals and be more wary of unregulated natural products." (CGFI)

"New genetic analysis forces re-draw of insect family tree" - "The family tree covering almost half the animal species on the planet has been re-drawn following a genetic analysis which has revealed new relationships between four major groups of insects. Scientists have found that flies and moths are most closely related to beetles and more distantly related to bees and wasps, contrary to previous theory." (University of Bath)

"New study has important implications for flu surveillance: Vaccine formulation research shines light on virus's evolution" - "Researchers are reporting results of a study that substantially alters the existing understanding of how the influenza virus evolves and that could have important implications for monitoring changes to the virus and predicting which strains should be used for flu vaccine. The study, which will be published in the online journal Biology Direct Oct. 26, 2006, was conducted by researchers from the National Library of Medicine's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and Fogarty International Center, both part of the National Institutes of Health." (NIH/National Library of Medicine)

"Are influenza vaccines worth the effort?" - "Each year enormous effort goes into producing influenza vaccines and delivering them to appropriate sections of the population. But a review of the evidence in this week's BMJ suggests that they may not be as effective as we think." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Mark Wiesner: Making Nanotechnology Safe" - "Durham, NC -- Mark Wiesner wants to save the planet, one molecule at a time. A nanotechnology expert who joined Duke this semester as a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering, Wiesner is committed to managing the environmental risks of a growing industrial revolution before any damage is done.

Wiesner was among the first people to call attention to the way that production and use of new nanomaterials -- which are measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter -- could potentially harm human health and the environment. For example, there's mixed evidence on whether carbon-based nanomaterials known as fullerenes -- popularly called "buckyballs" because of their shape and in homage of Buckminster Fuller, their discoverer -- might hold unexpected health threats. Nanoparticles are so tiny they could slip through protective filters, whether in the human respiratory system or a water treatment system. And that, some scientists argue, could possibly cause problems." (Duke News)

"USA Rice blasts European Commission’s GMO rice decision" - "The European Commission’s decision to require testing of all imports of U.S. long grain rice is an “overreaction” that will only result in the denial of a safe product to Northern European rice millers, USA Rice Federation officials said." (Western Farm Press)

October 26, 2006

"BP warns boom times over for oil" - "BP warned that the boom times for the oil industry were over yesterday as it revealed profits and production growth had stalled in the past three months." (London Independent)

Oil? Not likely. BP, traipsing off on an eco-fantasy tour with Browne at the wheel, is another story altogether.

Wow! "Kellogg's puts extra sugar and salt in UK cereals" - "Kellogg, the global breakfast cereal company, has been selling some of its most famous brands in Britain with higher salt and sugar levels than in its native US. Health campaigners have discovered that leading "health" cereals such as All-Bran and Special K have levels up to three times higher than in America." (London Independent)

Gosh, what'll they do next, change the blend of teas to suit local water conditions? All companies tweak products to suit local conditions and culture if they want to actually succeed selling said products.

"Investigating Alternative Medicine not Worth the Bother?" - "If people aren’t willing to believe it, says NBC, why spend money checking quackery out?" (Rebecca Goldin, STATS)

"Exposure to sunlight could reduce asthma" - "Australian researchers have found that exposure to measured doses of ultraviolet light, such as sunlight, could reduce asthma. The research team at Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, through funding provided by the Asthma Foundation of WA, studied the effect of ultraviolet light on the development of asthma-like symptoms in mice, such as inflamed airways and lungs." (Research Australia)

"Western Fires: Made in Washington, D.C." - "This contrast between public mismanagement and private stewardship recurs across the West. The enormous fires that routinely engulf millions of acres from the Rockies to the Pacific tend to devour federal lands. Washington, D.C. owns, for instance, 29.9 percent of Montana, 45.3 percent of California, and 84.5 percent of Nevada. Excluding Alaska and Hawaii, 54.1 percent of America’s West is federal property.

Actively maintained, private forests usually enjoy health and fire resistance, thanks to deadwood clearance, controlled burns, and selective harvesting.

Southern California’s Day Fire roared from Labor Day through last Monday, charring an area the size of Chicago. Most of these 254 square miles were in the Los Padres National Forest. Years of piled-up kindling, insufficient prescribed fires, and a lack of tree sales fueled California’s fifth largest fire, ever. The bitter irony is that ecologists’ objections to sensible fire prevention fed an inferno that destroyed trees, birds, and butterflies, while choking the atmosphere with tons of the environmentalists’ newest enemies: carbon dioxide and other pesky greenhouse gases." (Deroy Murdock, Human Events)

Subjective quantification... interesting concept and not remotely falsifiable: "Yale journal identifies products that cause greatest environmental damage" - "New Haven, Conn. -- Cutting-edge research identifying the types of products that cause the greatest environmental damage is the focus of a special issue of Yale's Journal of Industrial Ecology. Seventy percent to 80 percent of the total environmental impact is from automobiles, air transport, food (meat and dairy, chief among them), home and related energy use, including heating, cooling and energy-using appliances." (Yale University)

"The Lamprey in the Garden of Eden" - "Central to the mythology of the Christian World is the tale of the perfect Garden of Eden being despoiled by the original sin of mankind. And although radical environmentalists would cough up a Gaia-shaped mound of vegan pellets upon hearing it, I believe that this part of the Christian creation myth forms the essential motif of modern environmentalism. The roots of the tree may be from a seed planted in Eden, but the trunk grows straight up through Rousseau and Muir to feed the leaves of the modern green movement.

In every case study and fund-raising letter the greenies issue, the key elements of the Eden story are all there: perfect nature, complex and harmonious in its timeless innocence, is ruined forever by the interloper, man, who brings pain and discord to the world, because that’s simply his flawed nature. It’s just Adam and Eve all over again.

Except in the modern Eco-Genesis, man’s original sin is not disobedience, but economic development—at least development on the Western industrial model." (Mac Johnson, Human Events)

"NASA satellite finds the world's most intense thunderstorms" - "A summer thunderstorm often provides much-needed rainfall and heat wave relief, but others bring large hail, destructive winds, and tornadoes. Now with the help of NASA satellite data, scientists are gaining insight into the distribution of such storms around much of the world." (NASA/GSFC)

"NASA looks at sea level rise, hurricane risks to New York City" - "New York City has been an area of concern during hurricane season for many years because of the large population and logistics. More than 8 million people live in the city, and it has hundreds of miles of coastline that are vulnerable to hurricane threats. Using computer climate models, scientists at NASA have looked at rising sea levels and hurricane storm surge and will report on them at a science meeting this week." (NASA/GSFC)

Getting a tad carried away here Jim? "The Planet in Peril – Part I" - "The evidence on global warming is overwhelming. Ongoing scientific research reveals that human-induced climate change will contribute to dangerous new weather patterns and rising sea levels that will gradually swamp many coastal cities, displacing millions of people over the next century.

The globe experienced abrupt temperature changes in the distant past, and Jim Hansen, director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, offers a reminder that those changes resulted in mass extinctions and the evolution of new species. Meanwhile, the changes caused by modern human activities dwarf any natural events recorded during the prehistoric era. Unless humans take action soon, by restraining activities that contribute to global warming, they can anticipate adapting to a transformed planet." (Jim Hansen, Newropeans Magazine)

Comments below 2nd part.

and here: "The Planet in Peril – Part II" - "People have some measure of control over how much the climate will change, explains Jim Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. In the second of a two-part series, he makes specific recommendations that do require some sacrifice: Humans must end their reliance on fossil fuels; governments can impose carbon taxes in a way that provides incentives to decrease fuel consumption and changes human behavior; industries and universities can make development of renewable energy sources a top priority. Public awareness is growing about the impending dangers, including species extinction, violent weather patterns and the washing away of coastal cities, displacing millions. Nations and industries that take early steps to end or manage global warming will have a competitive advantage. Global warming is not just an environmental or health or economic concern – reversing the trend is a matter of human survival." (Jim Hansen, Global Politician)

Most people seem to be under the impression climate models are pretty good and that they provide a fair idea of what the climate will likely do. Let's take a quick peek under the hood and maybe kick a few tires:

In a pending paper, under “Principal Model Deficiencies” we find the following text regarding GISS Model E, fairly described as a state-of-the-art climate model:

ModelE [2005] compares the atmospheric model climatology with observations. Model shortcomings include ~25% regional deficiency of summer stratus cloud cover off the west coast of the continents with resulting excessive absorption of solar radiation by as much as 50 W/m2, deficiency in absorbed solar radiation and net radiation over other tropical regions by typically 20 W/m2, sea level pressure too high by 4-8 hPa in the winter in the Arctic and 2-4 hPa too low in all seasons in the tropics, ~20% deficiency of rainfall over the Amazon basin, ~25% deficiency in summer cloud cover in the western United States and central Asia with a corresponding ~5 °C excessive summer warmth in these regions...

The IPCC estimate for increased radiative forcing from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide is ~3.7 Wm-2. Yes, you read that right, that’s about three point seven Watts per meter squared, which is comparatively tiny when the model is known to be out by up to 50 Wm-2 over the ocean in bands west of the continents, 20 Wm-2 in tropical regions and “a corresponding ~5 °C excessive summer warmth” in the western United States and central Asia.

Now, before anyone accuses me of singling out Hansen and GISS Model E, there is nothing particularly unusual about wildly varying results from climate models. Here’s a list of model estimates compiled by Kacholia and Reck, published in Climatic Change. Note that estimates for temperature change resulting from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide range from 0.2 °C to 8.7 °C and cover just about all points between.

Undoubtedly there are those who would argue that discrepancy between models does not matter, as long as the model is internally consistent it will tell us about the response to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases, right? If only…

In Earth's Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications Hansen, et al, state: Our climate model, driven mainly by increasing human-made greenhouse gases and aerosols, among other forcings, calculates that Earth is now absorbing 0.85 ± 0.15 watts per square meter more energy from the Sun than it is emitting to space. This imbalance is confirmed by precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years. The associated media release is entitled "Earth’s Energy Out of Balance: The Smoking Gun for Global Warming"

When that paper was written the model output was a fair wiggle-fit with Willis (2004) and Levitus (2004). So, Hansen's model is dumping heat into the oceans at roughly 0.8 Wm-2 and the bulk ocean heat rise mid-1993  mid-2003 sort of matched that. Like all happy accidents, however, this good thing came to an end, too.

In Recent cooling of the upper ocean, using updated data from the same source, Lyman et al (2006), show that the period 2003-2005 involves a sudden ocean cooling at a rate of -1.0 ± 0.3 Wm-2 over the period (sufficient to halve the global warming rate over the entire 13 year record). This means Hansen's model is calculating wrongly in both magnitude and sign. Incorrectly dumping heat into the oceans at a rate of more than 0.8 Wm-2 when it should have been removing it at 1.0 Wm-2 (making net error of 1.8 Wm-2 over more than 70% of the planet) yields excess global forcing of about 1.25 Wm-2 for at least the period 2003-2005 -- pretty impressive considering total increase in CO2 forcing from 1880-2000 is listed as 1.4 Wm-2. Seems the "smoking gun" was only firing blanks after all but the media never bothered to correct prior mistaken claims.

As to whether climate models produce realistic outcomes, we’d have to say, if they do, it’s mostly by accident for we still have a great deal to learn about the atmosphere and climate. We'll look more closely climate forcing calculations tomorrow.

Should we wreck the global engines of wealth, starve them of affordable energy just as Earth’s human population approaches its peak, just when so many need opportunity, employment and hope? That would be drastic action indeed. To do so merely on the output of computer games that seemingly can get nothing right? That would be criminally stupid.

Say what? "Appalachian Mountains, carbon dioxide caused long-ago global cooling" - "PHILADELPHIA -- The rise of the Appalachian Mountains may have caused a major ice age approximately 450 million years ago, an Ohio State University study has found. The weathering of the mountains pulled carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, causing the opposite of a greenhouse effect -- an "icehouse" effect. Scientists have suspected that our current ice age, which began 40 million years ago, was caused by the rise of the Himalayas. This new study links a much earlier major ice age --one that occurred during the Ordovician period -- to the uplift of the early Appalachians. It also reinforces the notion that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are a major driver of Earth's climate." (Ohio State University)

An ice age, caused by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 8-20 times current values? And this is supposedly strong support for atmospheric carbon dioxide being a major driver of global mean temperature? Right...

Oh dear... "Tackle climate change or face deep recession, world's leaders warned" - "Climate change could tilt the world's economy into the worst global recession in recent history, a report will warn next week.

Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist with the World Bank, will warn that governments need to tackle the problem head-on by cutting emissions or face economic ruin. The findings, due to be released on Monday, will turn economic argument about global warming on its head by insisting that fighting global warming will save industrial nations money. The US refused to join the Kyoto protocol, the international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions, because George Bush said it would harm the economy." (The Guardian)

... why do you suppose people believe carbon dioxide to be responsible for catastrophic warming when they are told draconian energy rationing measures to restrict carbon dioxide emissions will have negligible impact on net temperature? As far as we know not even Al "Ozone Man" Gore believes NCAR Senior Scientist Tom Wigley to be a subversive agent of Big Oil:

Tom Wigley in 1998 reported research showing that adherence to the Kyoto Protocol alone, without subsequent action, would have a minimal impact on global warming (The effect of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming). Wigley concluded that the impact on projected temperature increases, with all countries doing only what is required under Kyoto [which we all know they are not achieving, but never mind] and then continuing with business as usual, would be a scant 0.06 to 0.11 °C (0.11 to 0.20 °F) shaved off the total warming, roughly a 3% reduction. Even a "constant compliance" scenario would shave just 0.11 to 0.21 degrees Celsius (0.20–0.38 degrees Fahrenheit) off global average temperatures by 2100. Stated another way, instead of heating up by 2.5 °C (4.5 °F), a midpoint in the range of projections of global warming, Earth would warm approximately 6% less.

These figures assume the trivial warming induced by doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide will be magnified by ~300% due to "positive feedbacks" (amplifiers within the climate system) even though we have no evidence this will or even can happen. We'd never know whether we achieved any of this result, of course, because our precision measuring the Earth's near-surface temperature is roughly ± 0.7 °C.

"Black cloud reappears over Cairo" - "For the seventh year running, a mysterious black cloud has appeared over Cairo, triggering serious health concerns for the polluted city's 16 million residents. Emissions of nitrogen dioxide, which cause serious health risks above certain levels, have reached record heights in the city, from the banks of the Nile, past the industrial suburbs of the delta and even in the desert areas." (Middle East Online)

"Indonesian forest fires may fuel global warming: experts" - "SINGAPORE - The annual recurrence of carbon-rich haze caused by illegal fires in Indonesia's vast tropical peatlands may help fuel global warming if left unchecked, experts warn. Saying there are no easy solutions, they called for an international effort to combat the problem, ranging from fire-fighting to prevention. They also said authorities must address the social and economic issues that prompt people to use the cheap but destructive method to clear land for their crops." (AFP)

2006 SORCE Science Meeting Overview (Climate Science)

"NASA Funding Eurasian Climate Change Studies" - "Scientists in the United States and Russia are planning to undertake new studies of climate change across northern Europe and Asia. The hope is that their research will enable more accurate forecasting and prediction of Earth's weather patterns. NASA is funding the studies, which are expected to take three years." (UPI)

Um... no. "Scientists say world's coral reefs in danger; global warming likely to blame" - "CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands — Researchers fear more than half the world's coral reefs could die in less than 25 years and say global warming may at least partly to blame. Sea temperatures are rising, weakening the reefs' resistance to increased pollutants, such as runoff from construction sites and toxins from boat paints." (AP)

Sea temperatures were rising, before giving up one-fifth of the warmth accumulated since 1955 in just 3 years. Links to respective papers are available above, in the comments under Hansen's "Planet in peril".

"Blair condemned for 'toothless' approach to climate legislation" - "Tony Blair was under intense pressure last night to commit the Government to statutory annual targets for cutting harmful CO2 emissions as part of the first legislation specifically aimed at combating climate change." (London Independent)

Uh-huh... "Climate change: Our green paper" - "Tony Blair says global warming is among the biggest threats of our age. But are his plans for a Climate Bill ambitious enough? Here, we offer a more radical manifesto." (London Independent)

"Blair under fire on two fronts over climate change" - "TONY Blair, the Prime Minister, has come under simultaneous attack by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats over climate change, even as he hinted at a new government bill aimed at addressing the problem." (The Scotsman)

Eco-toffs... "Cameron urges climate change law" - "The Conservatives have called for a "proper" climate change bill to be included in the Queen's Speech. Launching a campaign for annual binding targets on cutting carbon emissions, Tory leader David Cameron said it was vital any bill was not "watered down". But Prime Minister Tony Blair would not comment on next month's speech, and said annual targets would be "very, very difficult to deliver." (BBC)

"States’ Global Warming Case Flawed, New Amicus Brief Argues Anti-Alarmist Scientists Weigh In on Supreme Court Case" - "Washington, D.C., October 25, 2006—The Competitive Enterprise Institute yesterday filed an amicus brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. The amicus brief, filed on behalf of eight scientists with expertise in climate sciences, disputes claims of global warming catastrophe being made by Massachusetts and other states in their challenge to EPA." (CEI)

"Manufactured Global Warming Continues to Unravel" - "This was another bad week for the global warmers." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

"INTERVIEW - Post-Kyoto Climate Cuts Needed by 2009 - Finland" - "HELSINKI - The world must agree long-term cuts in greenhouse gases by the end of 2009 to give businesses time to adapt to new rules beyond the UN's Kyoto Protocol running to 2012, Finland's environment minister said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Oops! A dose of reality -- how did that happen? "Australia: Boss queries climate change action" - "AT least one member of the expert panel helping to direct hundreds of millions of government money into new low-emission technologies is unsure how effective they will be in fighting climate change.

As the Government yesterday began dishing out money from its $500 million Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund, business leader John Ralph warned it was possible little could be done to halt climate change because it might not be the result of human activity.

"We have to be careful that (efforts to cut emissions) don't lead to a situation where people expect there will be large changes by what we do," the former boss of mining giant CRA told The Australian yesterday.

Mr Ralph said that while he backed moves to try to "ameliorate" the effects of climate change by reducing emissions, it was possible climate change might be occurring naturally, rather than being primarily driven by human activities." (The Australian)

The indoctrination channel? "Gore and Murdoch join forces in TV deal" - "Mr Murdoch, who has claimed that BSkyB was the first media company in the world to go carbon neutral, and Mr Gore share their passion for the environment. Mr Murdoch invited Mr Gore to the gathering of News Corp’s executives at Pebble Beach, California, this summer. At Pebble Beach Rupert Murdoch, News Corp chief executive, urged News Corp officials to follow his son James’ lead and to try and tackle climate change issues." (Financial Times)

"Most car brands 'failing on CO2'" - "Three-quarters of Europe's car brands are failing to improve fuel efficiency fast enough to meet a key European emissions target, a study has claimed." (BBC)

"UK: 4x4 drivers face £300 bill to park outside home" - "Millions of drivers of sports cars and 4x4s face hefty charges to park outside their own homes under a scheme being pioneered by a local council. Town hall chiefs across the country were said last night to be closely watching a move by Liberal Democrats in Richmond upon Thames, south-west London, to target the owners of so-called "gas-guzzlers". The borough wants to introduce a sliding scale of charges for residents' parking linked to the emissions of the vehicle. Owners of electric cars would pay nothing, but someone driving a people carrier or high-performance vehicle would have to hand over £300." (London Telegraph)

Pie in the sky... "Australia: Kyoto denial costs farmers $2.5b in carbon trade cash" - "DURING the worst drought on record, farmers are losing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of potential income because of the Federal Government's refusal to take part in carbon trading schemes, a climate change report says. Current prices for carbon mean reductions in land clearing could provide farmers with income worth $1.8 billion between 2008-2012 under the Kyoto Protocol, analysis by the Climate Institute says. Domestic emissions trading could have provided a further $700 million to $900 million over the same period for farmers keeping carbon in forests, according to a report commissioned by the National Farmers Federation earlier this year." (Sydney Morning Herald)

But first you need to find someone stupid enough to buy hot air, at your price and that can actually afford to do so. Following the crash of the EU market that is increasingly unlikely.

... here's a vast pool of "credits" at 3rd world prices: "China Studies Storing Carbon"  -"BEIJING -- China's vast coal reserves, aging oil fields and army of power stations belching pollutants make it a prime candidate to popularize a technology that has the potential to put the brakes on climate change.

Accordingly, China is taking a hard look at carbon sequestration, which involves capturing greenhouse gases and storing them underground. That would allow China to guarantee its energy security by extending the life of key oil fields while at the same time improving air quality.

"If we can establish the ability to broadly deploy carbon capture and storage within China, [then] that has tremendous potential economic value," said research firm Battelle, in a presentation to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum." (Wall Street Journal)

"EU Proposes New Nuclear Decommissioning Rules" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission proposed new rules on Tuesday for financing the decommissioning of nuclear power stations which the EU's energy chief said would make atomic energy more safe and secure across the bloc." (Reuters)

"Nevada Terawatt Facility makes important advancement in unraveling mysteries of fusion energy" - "RENO, Nev. -- Unraveling one of most grandiose and heady problems in physics -- the creation of controlled fusion energy -- is still decades away. But thanks to research done recently on a smaller, less grandiose scale at the Nevada Terawatt Facility at the University of Nevada, Reno and in the University's College of Science, an important step has been made in the understanding of some fundamental processes required to achieve fusion energy." (University of Nevada, Reno)

"Not So Big Oil" - "Our favorite headline this week has to be "Big Worries for Big Oil," reporting that oil company profits are under pressure as oil prices decline. Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and other members of the vast energy conspiracy may have a hard time keeping their run of profit growth going now that oil prices have fallen to $60 or so a barrel from upwards of $80.

Imagine that: Oil companies are subject to market forces. They may make big profits when the price of oil rises, but those profits invariably fall back down to Earth when oil prices decline. This is also what happened in the 1990s, as oil crashed below $20 a barrel after the heights reached in the 1970s. The companies and their shareholders swallowed those declines, as they should have.

This cycle is typical of commodity markets, and is part of the risk of doing business. The run-up in oil prices over the past couple of years was rooted in worries about supply related to hurricanes, Middle East tensions and low stockpiles, as well as growing demand in a strong global economy and the Federal Reserve's easy money policy. As supply fears and demand have ebbed and the Fed has tightened, prices have fallen back down, albeit still to higher levels than a decade ago.

The recent price decline is also proof of the folly of a "windfall profits" tax or similar punitive measures against Big Oil favored by so many politicians. Only this week, however, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi repeated her pledge to soak the oil companies if her party takes over the House next month.

Her policy seems to be that when oil prices decline, oil company shareholders must absorb all the market risk and the lower profits. But when oil prices rise, the companies must hand over a cut of their profits to Members of Congress to spend as they like. The only "windfall" is for the political class." (Wall Street Journal)

"North American Clean Technology Spending Hits Record" - "NEW YORK - Investment by North American venture capitalists in renewable fuels and other so-called clean technologies hit a record $933 million in the third quarter, according to industry group Cleantech Venture Network LLC." (Reuters)

"Alternative fuel plans remain strong despite falling oil prices" - "The cost of a barrel of crude oil has fallen fast in recent weeks. Will interest in finding alternatives to petroleum tumble with the price? It has in the past. But a number of observers believe the quest for alternatives has more staying power this time." (Scripps News)

"INTERVIEW – Total Sets Deadlines for Solar, Wind to be Viable" - "PARIS - French oil company Total believes wind energy must prove it is competitive by 2020 and solar power must do the same by 2050 if they are to avoid being sidelined, it said on Tuesday.

In France, Total aims to spend 500 million euros ($627 million) by 2010 on renewable energy sources, including 100 million euros in research and development partnerships." (Reuters)

"More wind power viable: Study" - "A study released yesterday by Ontario's electricity authorities says wind power could represent nearly 20 per cent of the province's power-generation capacity with little compromise to system reliability. Critics say the numbers are suspiciously high." (Toronto Star)

"Official Says Tibet Water Diversion Not Feasible" - "HONG KONG - A controversial scheme to channel water from Tibet to the parched Yellow River in western China is unnecessary and anyway not feasible, China's top water resources minister said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Farmers, agriculture experts embracing new methods, technologies to deal with global warming" - "DES MOINES, Iowa - Gary Larsen, who grows corn and soybeans in western Iowa, is among a growing number of farmers who are concerned about the potential effects of global warming. Like Larsen, many in the agriculture industry are developing or adopting new technologies and farming methods to brace for the possibility of widespread drought and crop-pounding storms. The industry has been especially aggressive in breeding and developing crops that more efficiently use soil moisture and nutrients and developing pest-resistant and drought-tolerant crops." (Associated Press)

Water efficient crops is good. Fear of "climate change" is not an intelligent driver though, nor is it any guide for direction.

"Pollinators help one-third of the world's food crop production" - "Berkeley -- Pollinators such as bees, birds and bats affect 35 percent of the world's food crop production, increasing the output of 87 of the leading crops worldwide, finds a new study published today (Wednesday, Oct. 25), in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences and co-authored by a conservation biologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

The study is the first global estimate of food crop production that is reliant upon animal pollination. It comes one week after a National Research Council (NRC) report detailed the troubling decline in populations of key North American pollinators, which help spread the pollen needed for fertilization of such food crops as fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices and oilseed." (University of California - Berkeley)

"Eggs-pose: Tales of abuse not always what they're cracked up to be" - "Try as I might, I couldn't spot much intelligence behind the darting eyes of three hens caged in a massive barn along with 36,000 feathered friends. It's all part of an enormous egg-producing complex known in this part of the world as Burnbrae Farms, but more simply to me as my source of breakfast protein." (Ron Eade, CanWest News Service)

"EU farm chief signals flexibility on organic labels" - "LUXEMBOURG - Europe's organic farmers may gain more flexibility for marketing their products after the EU's farm chief indicated on Wednesday she would consider less restrictive labeling for food ingredients and additives. At present, the European Union has two labeling categories for organic farm produce: a "gold standard" where an item contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients, and "emphasized labeling" where there is at least 70 percent. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, had wanted to simplify this to just the 95 percent category, where the entire product would be labeled organic. Below that level, there would be no labeling of specific organic ingredients. But several countries have objected, saying that instead there should be a third category added for products containing less than 70 percent of organic ingredients, so their organic sectors can develop and become more flexible." (Reuters)

"Little GM food makes it onto European plates, says EU" - "BRUSSELS - Little genetically modified food ends up on consumers' plates in Europe, the European Commission said in a review of the regulation of GM products in the European Union. "There are currently few GM foods products on the EU market and this is linked to factors such as consumer demand and availability rather than the new EU legislation," the commission said. Since new authorisation rules were introduced in 2004, about 10 GM strains have been cleared for the EU market, mainly for maize destined for human or animal consumption." (AFP)

"Greenpeace sues Thailand over genetically modified papaya" - "Greenpeace sued the Department of Agriculture (DOA) Wednesday for what it described as widespread contamination of Thai farms by genetically engineered papaya. The environmental group is seeking punishment of officials who allowed the illegal distribution of genetically modified (GMO) papaya seeds to farmers across Thailand. "We decided to sue DOA because we have been waiting for more than two years for them to do their duties," said Patwajee Srisuwan, a genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia." (The Nation)

October 25, 2006

"Righting a wrong on property rights" - "Threaten hearth and home, as a Supreme Court ruling on property rights did last year, and Americans will run to bar the door. Since the "Kelo" ruling, 30 states have passed laws to better protect property owners. Now the issue is on a dozen state ballots, making it the No. 1 initiative topic in the US. The speed with which the states reacted is breathtaking - an expression of the outrage Americans felt when the High Court ruled in June 2005 that it was OK for New London, Conn., to take the home of Susette Kelo to make way for a private commercial project that would produce jobs and tax revenue." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Taking Land or Just Borrowing It With Interest?" - "Why are environmentalists in favor of compensating voluntary land use restrictions but not involuntary ones?" (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"New, hands-on science demos teach young students how volcanoes 'blow their tops,' spew lava" - "NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. – A popular volcano demonstration in grade school science class rivets students' attention as it spews bubbly liquid over a tabletop, but it comes up short in explaining all the ways that volcanoes form and evolve. The demonstration – mixing vinegar and baking soda in a clay model of a volcano – is certainly a catchy visual. Nevertheless, such traditional demos are giving way to hands-on activities that can depict the actual forces that caused Washington's Mt. St. Helens to blow or Hawaii's Kilauea to spew red-hot rivers of lava. These new methods still captivate kids, while giving them a better foundation for studying earth science in high school." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

Aha! "Anti-depressants 'cause reduction in sperm count'" - "Drugs taken by millions of people in the UK for treating depression could also be damaging male fertility, researchers warn." (London Independent)

So all population-panicking, global warming-worrying misanthropes need do is call each other (on mobile phones) to share the woe, increasing their depression and their birthrate should decline as they eventually [fail to] breed themselves out of existence -- et voila, all will be right with the world.

"EU Eyes Criminal Sanctions for Environmental Breaches" - "LUXEMBOURG - The European Union needs new criminal sanctions against companies flouting environmental rules, the EU executive said on Monday, after a Dutch-chartered ship released waste blamed for killing 10 people in Ivory Coast." (Reuters)

"Climate change 'will threaten Britain's water supply'" - "Britain's water supplies, health, ecosystem, planning system and tourist industry are likely to be severely hit by climate change, a government report has warned." (London Independent)

Drought due to climate change, eh? Flashback Jan. 2003: FLOOD ALERT - IT'S CLIMATE CHANGE - With much of the country affected by flood alerts and more rain and snow on the way, Friends of the Earth today warned that Britain should expect more of the same as a result of man-made climate change. (FoE)

but wait -- there's more... "Beckett warns that climate change will increase risk of war" - "FAILING to tackle climate change will increase the risk of fragile states falling into civil war and chaos, Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, said yesterday. An unstable climate would place huge additional strains on the tensions caused by overpopulation and scarcity of resources. In many cases they were already at breaking-point and climate change had the potential to stretch them far beyond it, she said in a speech calling for emissions charges to be placed on flights as soon as possible." (London Times)

"Ignore the doomsday prophets" - "Environmental alarmist Paul Ehrlich has been wrong before and he'll be wrong again, writes economics editor Alan Wood." (The Australian)

What Does the Historical Relationship of Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature and U.S. Hurricane Damage Portend for the Future? (Prometheus)

Atlantic SSTs vs. U.S. Hurricane Damage - Part 2 (Prometheus)

Atlantic SSTs vs. US Hurricane Damage, Part 3 (Prometheus)

"Newsweek Changes Media Climate 31 Years after Global Cooling Story" - "Magazine admits first article was 'wrong,' but still wasn't 'inaccurate' journalistically." (Dan Gainor, Business & Media Institute)

A New Dataset for Improved Land-Surface Representation for Climate Studies by Dev Niyogi (Climate Science)

For Peat’s Sake: Warmer is Better (WCR)

"Rare Russian CO2 Data Shows 11 Pct Rise Since 1999" - "MOSCOW - Russia's greenhouse gas emissions rose by nearly 11 percent between 1999 and 2004, an official document submitted by the Russian environmental monitoring agency to the United Nations showed on Monday. This is the first time in half a decade that Russia -- the world's third largest polluter -- has submitted greenhouse gas emission data essential for measuring its impact on climate." (Reuters)

Actually, the data is only "essential" to the nutters desperate to seize control of world energy supplies. Atmospheric levels are empirically measured, no country need submit emission data to derive this information. The effect on global temperature is known (small and declining per unit), only the marvelous magical magnifiers used in "climate models" attempt to make it interesting. Silly beat up.

Don't laugh... "Planet's future worthy election issue" - "Results of a poll earlier this year indicate that about one in every five Canadians believe global warming will lead to the destruction of the planet. The Leger Marketing survey found that 62 per cent of respondents believed global warming can be curbed, while 23 per cent said it will trigger a disaster that will destroy Earth." (Toronto Star)

... 51st Staters are not alone in the gullibility stakes.

"In emissions battle, US cities vie to be 'greenest'" - "More than 300 mayors pledge to reduce greenhouse gases." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Not just cities...

"Schwarzenegger Steals Thunder from Democrats" - "California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has once again reinvented himself. While his fellow Republicans suffer from the president's decline in popularity, Schwarzenegger is billing himself as a savior of the environment. Voters trust him, and his name has now become just as closely associated with politics as it once was with bodybuilding and acting." (Der Spiegel)

"Global warming? More information needed" - “No matter who you are or where you live, global warming is real.” Statements like this have become more common lately. You may have heard it on a television weather channel, in a movie theater or read it in a newspaper. With statements like this, it sounds like we are in big trouble. In our professional opinions, there is not enough information to make a conclusive decision whether global warming is real or not." (Globe Gazette)

Oops!... "Climate change, fungal disease threatening frogs" - "LONDON, Oct 25 - A deadly fungal disease linked to climate change is wiping out huge numbers of amphibians in Spain and could push some species to the brink of extinction, researchers said on Wednesday. The infectious illness that has already killed entire populations of frogs in Central and South America has now been spotted in Europe. "We have found an association between increasing temperatures and amphibian disease in a mountain region in Spain," said Dr Matthew Fisher of Imperial College in London." (Reuters)

... indications are that the chytrid fungus is spread by eco-tourists and amphibian researchers themselves. Comically convoluted attempts to associate chytridosis with local temperature trends have failed miserably but that doesn't stop the media and release writers tossing the current hot-button of "climate change" (a.k.a. "global warming") to increase the likelihood the item will be picked up by news networks.

Oh boy... "UK: Defra announces results from cross-regional research climate change projects" - "Results from a range of climate change adaptation projects have shown that the costs from climate change will hit across a large number of sectors, including water, health, ecosystems, planning and infrastructure.

The projects - announced by Defra and the devolved administrations in 2004 - looked at a range of specific interests, including tourism; planning, land use and the built environment; business; water resources and the countryside and rural economy. Two other projects were methodological in nature and looked at quantifying the costs of climate change impacts and at reviewing adaptation options and strategies." (Defra)

... more virtual world nonsense.

The misanthropists are winning: "UK: Ministers bow to pressure for climate bill" - "The government will today agree plans for a climate change bill setting new long-term targets to cut carbon emissions in Britain in response to intense pressure from environmental campaigners." (The Guardian)

"EU 'behind' on climate change" - "Emissions charges should be imposed on flights as soon as possible as part of efforts to avert "climate chaos", says Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett." (BBC)

Too late... "EU Emissions Scheme Risks Becoming 'Pointless'" - "The EU's innovative emissions trading scheme risks becoming "pointless" because members are giving more pollution permits than industrial plants need, the EU environment commissioner said Monday. "If member states put more allowances into the market than are needed to cover real emissions, the scheme will become pointless and it will be difficult to meet our Kyoto targets," commissioner Stavros Dimas told journalists in Luxembourg." (AFP)

... they've never been anything but.

"Brussels Wants Deeper CO2 Cuts from EU Countries" - "LUXEMBOURG - The European Commission attacked European Union states over their emissions plans on Monday, demanding cuts in the number of pollution permits proposed for the 2008-2012 period of the bloc's trading scheme." (Reuters)

Same recycled nonsense: "Rising tide of global warming threatens Pacific island states" - "While rich nations tinker with policies that may shave their carbon dioxide emissions, low-lying South Pacific nations such as Kiribati are sinking beneath the waves." (London Independent)

Makes a nifty story, perhaps, but there's no indicating of acceleration in the ongoing rise in sea levels, one that has been occurring since the end of the last great glaciation.

"Bush Administration to File Brief in Supreme Court Today Seeking to Prevent Meaningful Action on Global Warming" - "(24 October 2006 – Washington, D.C.) Today is the deadline for the United States Government to file a major legal brief in a historic Supreme Court case about global warming (Massachusetts, et al. v. EPA, et al., No. 05-1120). We expect the Bush administration, based on its prior briefs, will argue that global warming pollution may not be addressed under the nation’s clean air laws, taking a position opposite 18 states, leading climate scientists, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, several former EPA administrators, including Carol Browner, William Reilly, Douglas Costle, Russell Train, the National Council of Churches of Christ, Entergy and Calpine Corporation, and numerous health and conservation organizations." (media release)

Not possible. "Bush Administration to file Brief in Supreme Court seeking to prevent Meaningless Action on Global Warming," however, we would believe and appreciate.

"Amici Curiae Brief of Climatologists and Scientists Sallie Baliunas, John R. Christy, Chris De Freitas, David Legates, Anthony Lupo, Patrick Michaels, Joel Schwartz, and Roy W. Spencer in Support of Respondents." - "The Brief of Amici Curiae Climate Scientists David Battisti, et al., in Support of Petitioners (“CS Brief”) is founded upon the unsupported notion that the net effect of increasing greenhouse gases on human health and welfare is negative. It argues that greenhouse gas emissions “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare,” requiring “prompt regulatory action to restrain emissions of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.” (CEI) View PDF

Hmm... "The Hidden Life of Paper and Its Impact on the Environment" - "After publishing numerous articles on global warming in recent years, large publishers have started thinking about their own impact on the environment." (New York Times)

Granted, media has much to answer for when it comes to global warming hysterics but we're not too sure paper use figures high on the list.

"When it comes to global warming, market rule poses a mortal danger" - "Gentle regulation will simply not suffice for a problem this big. Governments must act - swiftly and substantially." (Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian)

But Jonathan, global warming hysterics are the only identifiable danger...

More from the misguided: "Where's the will to break energy status quo?" - "Berating the Kyoto Protocol for failing to cut greenhouse-gas emissions is a bit like kicking the dog at a party when someone passes wind. Sure, it's nice to skirt the blame, but don't fault the Kyoto accord for society's flatulence. We have the technology and capital to make the dramatic cuts in global-warming gases that are needed to limit human-generated climate change. We also know that the economic, social and environmental benefits of taking action greatly outweigh the costs." (Stephen Hesse, Japan Times)

Actually not, Stephen, in fact it's not at all clear that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide has a downside.

"Team hopes to drill its way to global warming solution" - "Scientists want to see if keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by injecting it deep under California's Central Valley is feasible." (LA Times)

From CO2 Science this week:

Growth Response of Ponderosa Pines to 20th-Century CO 2 Rise: Have real-world increases in the atmosphere's CO 2 concentration led to real-world increases in the growth of ponderosa pine trees?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Heal Lake, Vancouver Island, Canada and Hole Bog and Minden Bog in Minnesota and Michigan, USA, respectively. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Temperature (Borehole Data): What do they tell us about climate-alarmist claims that anthropogenic CO 2 emissions are responsible for producing what they call "unprecedented" 20th-century global warming?

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: Bahiagrass, Black Spruce, California Annual Grassland, and Florigraze Peanut.

Journal Reviews:
Surface Mass Balance of Antarctica: Is it positive or negative?

Extreme Tropical Cyclone Trends: Can they be reliably detected?

Five Centuries of Drought and Famine in Central Mexico: How has the "unprecedented" global warming of the 20th-century affected the problem?

Pollen Production by Loblolly Pines in CO 2 -Enriched Air: Is it increased or decreased? ... and what are some of the ramifications of the result?

Winter Dust Activity off the Coast of West Africa: How may it be impacted by the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content? ... and what are some of the implications of the relationship? (co2science.org)

"UK: Foreign secretary calls for 'global warming' tax on holidaymakers" - "Holidaymakers could be hit with a "global warming' tax of up to £50 under plans aimed at forcing airlines to reduce gas emissions. Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said the new charges should be imposed by as early as 2008 or Britain will be thrown into "climate chaos".In a keynote speech, Mrs Beckett urged Brussels to speed up plans to enforce the levy on airlines to encourage them to fly more fuel-effecient planes and deter people from travelling by air. The cost is almost certain to be passed on to holidaymakers as budget airlines would be worst affected by what the aviation industry describes as a "tax on holidays." (Evening Standard)

No? Duh! "Airlines could quit EU over CO2 rules" - "Airlines could relocate out of the European Union if the European Commission decides to include aviation emissions in Europe's carbon emissions trading scheme, the European Regions Airline Association warned Tuesday. The emissions scheme, which charges industry for emitting carbon dioxide, should apply to non-EU as well as EU airlines in order to prevent EU airlines from being placed at a competitive disadvantage, the ERAA said in a report. But ERAA spokesman Simon McNamara said that for legal reasons the scheme would be difficult for the Commission to impose on companies based outside the EU flying in Europe, which might encourage airlines to relocate outside of Europe." (AP)

"For Solar Energy Firms, Future May Be Brighter" - "HONG KONG, Oct. 24 -- Now may be a good time for investors to soak up some sun. Shares of solar energy companies in the United States and Asia have fallen about 25 to 50 percent in recent months as declining oil prices have cooled interest in renewable-energy stocks. But analysts who see long-term growth potential in the $10 billion global solar equipment industry say the recent pullback is creating a buying opportunity." (Wall Street Journal)

"Never mind altruism: 'Saving the earth' can mean big bucks" - "Some $1 trillion in 'green' business opportunities await creative entrepreneurs, a report finds." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Unfortunately, most of the profits available are from subsidy farming -- not wealth generation but merely wealth misallocation and a net loss to society. There are a few exceptions, such as Australia's "solar tower"...

"Australia: PM turns up heat on solar power" - "A PROPOSED $400 million solar plant that could deliver 154 megawatts of power will be the cornerstone of the Howard Government's fight against climate change." (The Australian)

"Solar power limited, Howard says" - "SOLAR energy did not make a significant contribution to power generation in Australia, Prime Minister John Howard said today. Mr Howard made the comment after the Government today announced two energy projects in Victoria, including a solar concentrator, to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "The problem with solar power is all the information I've seen is that, like wind power, it is not, in the Australian context, going to make a big contribution to the general of base load power," he said in Nadi, where he is attending a Pacific regional forum. "Base load power is only going to be generated using fossil fuel or, in the long run, nuclear (power)." (AAP)

Highlighting the desperate need for affordable baseload electricity: "Soot from wood stoves in developing world impacts global warming more than expected" - "New measurements of soot produced by traditional cook stoves used in developing countries suggest that these stoves emit more harmful smoke particles and could have a much greater impact on global climate change than previously thought, according to a study scheduled to appear in the Nov. 1 issue of the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Perhaps as many as 400 million of these stoves, fueled by wood or crop residue, are used daily for cooking and heating by more than 2 billion people worldwide, according to the study's lead authors, Tami Bond, Ph.D., and doctoral candidate Chris Roden of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In a field test in Honduras, the researchers found that cook stoves there, which are similar to those used in other developing nations, produce two times more smoke particles than expected, based on previous laboratory studies. These dark, sooty particles, which are darker than those produced by grassland or forest fires, have a climate warming effect because they absorb solar energy and heat the atmosphere, according to Roden.

In earlier work, Bond estimated that burning firewood -- the principal fuel for cook stoves in the developing world -- produces 800,000 metric tons of soot worldwide each year. In comparison, diesel cars and trucks generate about 890,000 metric tons of soot annually. These two sources each account for about 10 percent of the soot emitted into the world's atmosphere each year, she said.

In addition to its environmental effects, smoke from cook stove fires is a major cause of respiratory problems, eye infections and tuberculosis, according to the researchers." (American Chemical Society)

"Canada Doubles Wind Energy Projects From 2005" - "WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Wind farm construction in Canada doubled in 2006 from a year ago, enabling it to power 370,000 homes with the renewable energy, Canadian Wind Energy Association President Robert Hornung said Monday." (Reuters)

"China 'Methane to Markets' Project Nears Completion" - "BEIJING - China is nearing completion on a "methane to markets" project aimed at capturing emissions of the greenhouse gas and channelling it into power generation, a US environment official said on Monday. The project at the Jincheng coal mine in China's northern province of Shanxi will produce 120 megawatts of electricity and reduce 40 million metric tonnes of carbon equivalent over its 20-year lifetime." (Reuters)

Paper or plastic? "A Field Trip Guzzling Gas, Among the Environmentalists" - "IT’S hard to be inconspicuous in a banana-yellow Hummer H2, especially in this politically correct suburb of Washington. Takoma Park was one of the first cities in America to declare itself nuclear-free, and its churches have held screenings of “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s documentary on the perils of climate change caused by the reckless burning of fossil fuels.

So it was particularly difficult for Dan Becker, the director of the Sierra Club’s global warming program, to be seen high up in the H2 cab as we rumbled through the leafy lanes here, past compost piles, rainbow flags and recycling bins.

“This is where I should put a bag over my head,” Mr. Becker said as we crossed the city’s border, pausing from a rapid-fire monologue on the role of the automobile industry, and the sport-utility vehicle in particular, in the heating of the planet." (New York Times)

"New theory for mass extinctions" - "A new theory on just what causes Earth's worst mass extinctions may help settle the endless scientific dust-up on the matter. Whether you favor meteor impacts, volcanic eruptions, cosmic rays, epidemics, or some other cause for the worst mass extinction events in Earth's history, no single cause has ever satisfied all scientists all the time for any extinction event. That may be because big extinctions aren't simple events." (Geological Society of America)

"Cougar predation key to ecosystem health" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The general disappearance of cougars from a portion of Zion National Park in the past 70 years has allowed deer populations to dramatically increase, leading to severe ecological damage, loss of cottonwood trees, eroding streambanks, and declining biodiversity. This "trophic cascade" of environmental degradation, all linked to the decline of a major predator, has been shown in a new study to affect a broad range of terrestrial and aquatic species, according to scientists from Oregon State University." (Oregon State University)

"Consumer groups attack move to milk cloned cows" - "Consumer groups in the US have united against government plans to allow milk and meat from cloned animals into the food chain, highlighting a potential dilemma for dairy firms interested in the technology." (Dairy Reporter)

"GM crops, DDT and Frankenstein foods: Exaggerating the risks" - "Campaigners against GM crops and foods appear to be making the same mistake exaggerating the risks and ignoring the considerable advantages. Opponents of GM crops and foods are almost completely silent on their advantages and the food industry has been remarkably unsuccessful in explaining that GM crops will lead to many advantages." (Daily Reckoning)

"Elitism about biotech keeps food from hungry" - "In 1965 and 1966, crop failures created massive food shortages in my native India, which produced only about 10 million metric tons of wheat annually. Only emergency shipments of American grain prevented widespread famine.

In 2006, India is a net exporter of food, producing 73 million metric tons of wheat. This is thanks in large measure to Iowa's Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution he championed of new crop varieties and farming practices, including pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.

This week, as the World Food Prize honors those who have fed millions globally, famine still threatens several parts of the world - on a scale that emergency shipments cannot hope to solve." (C.S. Prakash, Des Moines Register)

"Mexico GMO commercial corn seen years away" - "MEXICO CITY, Oct 24 - Mexico is unlikely to see the commercial production of genetically modified corn for years, even though it will soon let companies plant GMO corn test crops, biotech firm Monsanto said on Tuesday. The agriculture ministry said last week Mexico will establish rules within two weeks allowing biotech companies to grow GMO corn test crops. But the experiments will take time and Mexico would still need rules allowing the commercial production and sale of GMO corn, Monsanto executive Jesus Perez told Reuters. "In the best case scenario, it will be at least three years before this biotechnology becomes available to the Mexican grower," Perez said." (Reuters)

October 24, 2006

"Australia: Buyback has no effect on murder rate" - "HALF a billion dollars spent buying back hundreds of thousands of guns after the Port Arthur massacre had no effect on the homicide rate, says a study published in an influential British journal.

The report by two Australian academics, published in the British Journal of Criminology, said statistics gathered in the decade since Port Arthur showed gun deaths had been declining well before 1996 and the buyback of more than 600,000 mainly semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns had made no difference in the rate of decline." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Medical Views of 9/11’s Dust Show Big Gaps" - "In 2004, Kenneth R. Feinberg, special master of the federal Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, awarded $2.6 million to the family of a downtown office worker who died from a rare lung disease five months after fleeing from the dust cloud released when the twin towers fell. That decision made the worker, Felicia Dunn-Jones, a 42-year-old lawyer, the first official fatality of the dust, and one of only two deaths to be formally linked to the toxic air at ground zero.

The New York City medical examiner’s office, however, has refused to put her on its official list of 9/11 victims, saying that by its standards there was insufficient medical evidence to link her death to the dust.

Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s case shows how difficult it can be to prove a causal connection with any scientific certainty — and how even government agencies can disagree. With thousands of people now seeking compensation and treatment for dust exposure, the debate about the relationship between the toxic particles and disease will be a central issue in the flood of Sept. 11-related lawsuits. Health experts are starting to document the connections, but any firm conclusion is still years away." (New York Times)

"Genetic disorder linked to rapid lung function decline in some World Trade Center rescue workers" - "A rare genetic disorder known as alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency may predispose patients to developing lung conditions, but a new rapid-response test could help identify patients with the deficiency before significant lung damage has occurred." (American College of Chest Physicians)

"USA Today: Room for Worry in New Study on College Weight Gain" - "The 'Freshman 15' reported more like the 'Freshman 8,' but reporter Nanci Hellmich focused on complaints from nutritionists about foods offered in college dining halls." (Ken Shepherd, Business & Media Institute)

So, it's true! "Warning to male mobile phone users: chatting too long may cut sperm count" - "Men who use mobile phones for long periods at a time may be at risk of damaging their sperm, according to research by American scientists." (The Guardian)

You are less likely to get pregnant from phone sex.

"NIH-funded researcher begins jail term" - "One need not allege scientific fraud to be concerned over documented -- even confessed -- evidence that NIH-funded researchers have cooked the books on major research that supports the policy direction favored by the government. An investigative report in today's New York Times Magazine, "An Unwelcome Discovery" by Jeneen Interlandi, reports the scientific fraud perpetrated by Dr. Eric Poehlman of the University of Vermont in his studies on hormone replacement therapy after menopause, supported by the National Institutes of Health with results confirming that agency's policy choices. Dr. Poehlman is now in jail.

Given that the media regularly give government-funded researchers a free pass on conflict of interest and virtually indict researchers for receipt of drug company or food company funding, the case is instructive. I'd note that the Salt Institute has no horse in this race; we report on peer-reviewed science, but we do not fund the research." (Salt Sensibility)

"To Stop Dust Bowl, Mongolia Builds 'Great Wall' of Trees" - "DALANZADGAD, Mongolia -- The great Gobi Desert has camels with two humps, a rare breed of desert bear, and some of Asia's last remaining nomads. One thing it doesn't have is shade. Batchuluun Doorov is trying to change that. Each morning, he travels by motorcycle to a remote desert outpost, rouses his assistants, and begins watering thousands of scraggly trees rising up from the sand. Workers planted the trees months ago, and now they form a thin green line across the horizon in one of the most barren places on earth." (Wall Street Journal)

"UCF professor drives scientific stake into the heart of ghost, vampire myths" - "As the weather cools and Halloween approaches, chilling creaks in the stairs, bloodcurdling screams from the attic and other paranormal activity become more believable -- but not to UCF physics professor Costas Efthimiou. The laws of physics and math debunk popular myths about ghosts and vampires, according to a paper published by Efthimiou and Sohang Gandhi, a UCF graduate now studying at Cornell University." (University of Central Florida)

He forgot "global warming"...

Uh-oh... Observational Estimates of Radiative Forcing due to Land Use Change in Southwest Australia (Climate Science)

... another major 'oops!' for models and the virtual world clique. What's so significant about this? Well, a significant portion of the world's land surface is at least 30% cropland and models are apparently undervaluing albedo (reflectance) by a good couple of Watts per meter squared. Is that much? The total flux increase for all added atmospheric carbon dioxide since the Industrial Revolution is viewed as ~1.5 Wm-2 and for all GHGs combined it's ~2.5 Wm-2. Given that models employ absurdly high conversion ratios, typically 0.5 - 1.0 K / Wm-2, undervaluing albedo to this extent makes a huge difference calculating surface temperatures from alleged radiative imbalance.

We're sorry fellas, we know how modelers feel about their expensive computer games and carefully crafted virtual realms but the simple fact is they are not ready to "predict" anything about future climate states and have no hope of being so until we find out a lot more about the system you are trying to model. Process models are great learning tools helping us to understand a complex, chaotic system -- it's their strength, stick to that -- as prognosticators, they're worse than useless.

"Carbon trade 'to save' rainforest" - "Carbon trading can be used to protect endangered rainforests by compensating nations that avoid deforestation, the World Bank has said." (BBC)

But not if you're worried about global warming, because all those nasty trees absorb way too much incoming solar radiation while cropland reflects it more efficiently (see above). Take your pick, hug trees or "cool the planet" (stupid game, innit?).

"Global Warming May Be Mother of All Finance Woes" - "Global warming is challenging celebrity worship as the latest obsession in worldwide media. Magazines from Newsweek to Scientific American have devoted issues to this threatening phenomenon. If global warming triggers devastating climate change and disrupts world agriculture, financial markets will also react severely. It will be ``the mother of all market corrections,'' according to David Korten in his book ``The Great Turning.'' (John F. Wasik, Bloomberg)

Obsession it most assuredly is, genuine threat it most likely is not.

There's a fascinating chain of highly dubious assumptions used to create the hypothetical risk: the modelers justify their values by pointing out that positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds amplify the small direct effect of increased CO2. The IPCC TAR acknowledges that these feedbacks are highly uncertain. The modelers then deal with the exaggeration of the observed warming (even assuming rather implausibly that it is all due to man) by claiming that about two thirds of the warming is cancelled by aerosols. The aerosol experts note that they don't actually know that aerosols are capable of doing this. Hansen has even argued that aerosols like soot act to warm rather than cool. Modelers use ridiculously high surface thermal sensitivity to changes in downwelling LWR and then apply "masking effects" or claim the "missing" heating to be hiding in the world's oceans when the world fails to comply -- despite evidence the oceans are in fact dumping heat to the atmosphere even faster than models claim they are absorbing it. Talk about propagation of error...

The bottom line is that fear of global warming may be mother of all finance woes.

"Tropical Seas Sink Hockey Stick" - "Defending the “Hockey Stick” depiction of hemispheric or global temperature for the past 1,000 years just got a lot tougher. The “Hockey Stick” curiously wipes out the “Medieval Warm Period” of 1,000 years ago and the “Little Ice Age” that began 450 years ago and ended around 1900. We are supposed to look at the blade of the stick and conclude that the warming of the past 100 years is completely unlike anything seen for at least 1,000 years. It comes as no surprise that the “Hockey Stick” is prominently presented in many of the documents of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Defenders of the “Hockey Stick” make claims that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were confined to the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and not felt throughout the rest of the world. This always seemed odd to us at World Climate Report given that variations of solar output seem to explain the higher temperatures 1,000 years ago and the colder temperatures of the Little Ice Age." (WCR)

"Ian Goldin: Think global" - "End poverty, reverse climate change, eliminate infectious diseases, stop global conflict. It sounds like a Miss World contestant's wish-list. But when Oxford University's latest baby has these aspirations as its stated goals, you have to take them rather more seriously." (The Guardian)

Reverse climate change? You mean, from the current interglacial to a full-on glacial period? Reckon we'll pass.

"Remember Global Cooling?" - "Why scientists find climate change so hard to predict." (Jerry Adler, Newsweek)

Obligatory eye-roller: "Global warming and your health" - "Global warming could do more to hurt your health than simply threaten summertime heat stroke, says a public health physician. Although heat related illnesses and deaths will increase with the temperatures, climate change is expected to also attack human health with dirtier air and water, more flood-related accidents and injuries, threats to food supplies, hundreds of millions of environmental refugees, and stress on and possible collapse of many ecosystems that now purify our air and water." (Geological Society of America)

Right... "Environmental protesters climb ledge at NOAA headquarters, say agency covers up global warming" - "SILVER SPRING, Md. - Two environmentalists scaled a ladder Monday and sat on a ledge above an entrance to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to protest what they said is the agency's suppression of information on global warming." (AP)

"U.S. and EU hold climate talks despite Kyoto rift" - "HELSINKI - The United States and the European Union meet in Helsinki on Tuesday to seek common ground on ways to curb greenhouse gases despite a deep rift over the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol." (Reuters)

"Beckett to warn climate change threatens security" - "LONDON - Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett will warn Europe on Tuesday to tackle climate change or risk terrorists seizing on famine, water shortages and failing energy infrastructures to threaten global security." (Reuters)

"NASA sun satellites, with UNH sensors aboard, poised to launch"  -"DURHAM, N.H. -- NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) mission will dramatically improve understanding of the powerful solar eruptions that can send more than a billion tons of the sun's outer atmosphere hurtling into space. The twin STEREO spacecraft each carry an instrument designed and built by scientists at the University of New Hampshire in collaboration with several other institutions." (University of New Hampshire)

"New experiment to investigate the effect of galactic cosmic rays on clouds and climate" - "A novel experiment, known as CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets), begins taking its first data today with a prototype detector in a particle beam at CERN , the world's largest laboratory for particle physics. The goal of the experiment is to investigate the possible influence of galactic cosmic rays on Earth's clouds and climate. This represents the first time a high energy physics accelerator has been used for atmospheric and climate science." (CERN)

"Australia launches climate plans" - "The Australian government is launching a major new initiative aimed at preventing global warming. Prime Minister John Howard announced an investment of A$500m (US$379m) in clean technology, much of which will look at reducing carbon emissions from coal. Australia, one of the world's biggest exporters in coal, has not signed the 1997 Kyoto agreement saying it would damage its domestic economy." (BBC)

Torquay on Caribbean? "Hotel goes bananas over new crop" - "A Devon hotel has successfully grown bananas, olives and oranges during the mild autumn. Paul and Linda Garwood, who took over the Cary Court Hotel in Torquay three years ago, said it was "like being in the Caribbean." (BBC)

"Gulf bay double whammy: Rising seas, dammed rivers: Oceanographers find dramatic 'flooding events' are norm, not exception" - "PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 23, 2006 -- New research finds that every U.S Gulf Coast bay in Texas and Louisiana is vulnerable to significant flooding and expansion within the coming century due to a combination of rising seas and reduced silt flowing from dammed up rivers.

"Looking back over the past 10,000 years, we find the evolution of each of these bays is punctuated by rapid flooding events that result in landward shifts in bay environments of tens of kilometers and increases in bay area up to 30 percent within a century or two," said John Anderson, the W. Maurice Ewing Chair in Oceanography and professor of earth science at Rice University in Houston. "These flooding events can be triggered by either a rapid increase in sea level or a rapid decrease in the amount of silt flowing into the bay, and there's ample evidence to suggest that both of those will occur in each of these bays during the coming century." (Rice University)

"California: Governor accused of 'overstepping authority'" - "The leader of the state Senate on Monday accused Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of overstepping his authority in implementing California's pioneering plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (Sacramento Bee)

"Climate shifts on global-warming law" - "A Senate leader accuses Gov. Schwarzenegger of undermining the landmark legislation." (LA Times)

"Geologists make better estimates of rock ages, study global climate change" - "PHILADELPHIA -- Ohio State University geologists have found that important rocks from Niagara Gorge -- rock formations that are used to judge the ages of rocks and fossils around North America -- formed five times faster than previously thought. The finding means that scientists will have to re-examine studies of sedimentary rock deposited across North America during the Silurian period, from 416 to 443 million years ago. Ultimately, the geologists hope to perform similar studies of rock from other time periods, to better pinpoint periods of global climate change in Earth's history. Just as tree rings, coral reefs, and ice cores contain chemical records of Earth's history, sedimentary rocks such as limestone vary in composition according to the climate in which they formed." (Ohio State University)

"Steep oxygen decline halted first land colonization by Earth's sea creatures" - "Vertebrate creatures first began moving from the world's oceans to land about 415 million years ago, then all but disappeared by 360 million years ago. The fossil record contains few examples of animals with backbones for the next 15 million years, and then suddenly vertebrates show up again, this time for good. The mysterious lull in vertebrate colonization of land is known as Romer's Gap, named for the Yale University paleontologist, Alfred Romer, who first recognized it. But the term has typically been applied only to pre-dinosaur amphibians, and there has been little understanding of why the gap occurred. Now a team of scientists led by University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward has found a similar gap during the same period among non-marine arthropods, largely insects and spiders, and they believe a precipitous drop in the oxygen content of Earth's atmosphere is responsible." (University of Washington)

"Far more than a meteor killed dinos" - "There's growing evidence that the dinosaurs and most their contemporaries were not wiped out by the famed Chicxulub meteor impact, according to a paleontologist who says multiple meteor impacts, massive volcanism in India, and climate changes culminated in the end of the Cretaceous Period." (Geological Society of America)

"Researchers report initial success in promising approach to prevent tooth decay" - "Preventing cavities could one day involve the dental equivalent of a military surgical strike. A team of researchers supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research report they have created a new smart anti-microbial treatment that can be chemically programmed in the laboratory to seek out and kill a specific cavity-causing species of bacteria, leaving the good bacteria untouched." (NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research)

"Sunflower speciation highlights roles for transposable elements in evolution" - "In a finding that furthers our understanding of how hybridization may contribute to genome changes and the evolution of new species, researchers have found that the genomes of three sunflower species that arose in evolution as hybrids of the same two parental types have undergone a massive proliferation of genetic entities known as transposable elements." (Cell Press)

"Researchers Developing Purple Tomatoes" - "SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon State University researchers are fine-tuning a purple tomato, a new blend of colors and nutrients. The skin is as dark as an eggplant. But it doesn't just look cool, it could be better for you. The novel pigment contains the same phytochemical found in blueberries that is thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Six years in the making, the purple hybrid could hit salad plates in two years. Genetic origins are not at issue. The purple tomato traces its roots to a wild species in South America, not a petri dish." (Associated Press)

October 23, 2006

Deservedly: "BP boss Browne takes a beating" - "American politicians and the green lobby are having a field day knocking the oil giant, writes Grant Ringshaw." (Sunday Times)

"Press Release: Marathon and Project Partners Announce Lifesaving Results From Bioko Island Malaria Control Project in Equatorial Guinea" - "Given the substantial success the BIMCP has had in reducing malaria transmissions on Bioko Island, the Government of Equatorial Guinea through its National Malaria Control Program is seeking to extend this malaria control strategy to the mainland of Equatorial Guinea. Marathon was instrumental in supporting a successful Equatorial Guinea application to the Global Fund to secure a multi-year commitment totaling $26 million for this program expansion." (AFM)

"The Population Boom" - "More people means more prosperity." (Opinion Journal)

"Fear of too many babies is hard to bear" - "Last Tuesday morning, in a maternity ward somewhere in the United States, the 300 millionth American arrived. He or she got a marginally warmer welcome than Mark Foley turning up to hand out the prizes at junior high. One could have predicted the appalled editorials from European newspapers aghast at yet another addition to the swollen cohort of excess Americans consuming ever more of the planet's dwindling resources. And, when Canada's National Post announced "'Frightening' Surge Brings US To 300m People," you can appreciate their terror: the millions of Democrats who declared they were moving north after Bush's re-election must have placed incredible strain on Canada's highways, schools, trauma counselors, etc.

But the wee bairn might have expected a warmer welcome from his or her compatriots. Alas not. "Three hundred million seems to be greeted more with hand-wringing ambivalence than chest-thumping pride," observed the Washington Post, which inclines toward the former even on the best of days." (Mark Steyn, Sun-Times)

"An Unwelcome Discovery" - "Walter DeNino was a young lab technician who analyzed data for his mentor, Eric Poehlman. What he found was that Poehlman was not the scientist he appeared to be." (New York Times)

"Setting science back by decades" - "Experimentation, not politics and polemics, is the only way to truly resolve scientific debates. Those that think otherwise shouldn't be believed - even if they're scientists." (Elizabeth Finkel, Cosmos Online)

"'Ghost ship' do-gooders don't help business or environment" - "If you want to see an example of the schizophrenic attitude of our do-gooder authorities towards British business, look no further than the case of Peter Stephenson, who runs a shipbreakers' yard on the Tees." (London Telegraph)

"Mass extinction's cause: 'Sick Earth'" - "What really caused the largest mass extinction in Earth's history? USC earth scientists will reveal new clues at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Philadelphia Oct. 22-25. The Permian-Triassic extinction, as it is called, is not the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. Nor does the cause appear to have been a meteorite strike, as in that famous event. The most likely explanation for the disappearance of up to 90 percent of species 250 million years ago, said David Bottjer, is that "the earth got sick." (University of Southern California)

"The real climate change catastrophe: CSR must recognize how misguided energy policies will affect the world’s poor" - "Every snowstorm, hurricane, deluge or drought generates headlines, horror movies and television specials, demanding action to avoid imminent climate catastrophe. Skeptics are pilloried, labeled “climate criminals,” and threatened with “Nuremberg-style war crimes trials.”

Britain’s Royal Society has demanded that ExxonMobil stop funding researchers who say global warming is primarily the result of natural forces. Meanwhile, scientist James Hansen received $250,000 from Teresa Heinz-Kerry for insisting that warming is due to humans, and “socially responsible” investor services refuse to list or recommend corporations they deem insufficiently sensitive on the subject.

Not surprisingly, companies from Wal-Mart to BP, GE and JP Morgan have brought climate activists into their board rooms, lobbied Congress for climate and ethanol legislation, and retooled to produce new product lines intended to boost tax subsidies, favorable PR and profits.

But are these actions socially responsible or in the best interests of society as a whole?" (Paul Driessen, Townhall)

"Scientists: Nenana Ice Classic indicator of climate change" - "FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Geophysicists are now betting on the Nenana Ice Classic; not for $2.50 a ticket, but as an indicator of climate change in Alaska." (AP)

The late John Daly had a look at this a few years ago.

"Cracking up: Ice turning to water, glaciers on the move - and a planet in peril" - "A new study proves it was global warming that sent an Antarctic ice shelf larger than Luxembourg crashing into the ocean. Geoffrey Lean reports" (London Independent)

Um... No Geoffrey, a computer model tortured numbers in such a fashion that guessed-at anthropogenic forces might be culpable in the retreat of ice shelves not actually within the Antarctic but on the peninsula protruding northwards towards South America. We realize the facts are much less entertaining than the way you spin it but never let that get in the way of a good yarn, eh?

Again? "New global warming projection predicts 'wild ride' of droughts, heavy rainfall, heat waves for certain regions" - "WASHINGTON The world — especially the Mediterranean region, Brazil and the Western United States — will likely suffer more extended droughts, heavy rainfalls and longer heat waves over the next century because of global warming, a new study forecasts. But the prediction of a future of nasty extreme weather also includes fewer freezes and a longer growing season. In a preview of a major international multiyear report on climate change that comes out next year, a study out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research details what nine of the world's top computer models predict for the lurching of climate at its most extreme." (Associated Press)

This is just the latest incarnation of the thoroughly inappropriate use of process models.

and yet more wild guesses: "The future's a no-snow zone" - "As Scotland's snowfall is predicted to drop by up to 90 per cent, wildlife and tourism chiefs are preparing for a change of scene." (The Observer)

"CANADA: Critics Say New Environment Policy Ignores Science" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - Canada has officially turned its back on the Kyoto Protocol and climate change in its new "green plan" introduced Thursday, environmentalists say." (IPS)

"Bill signals Kyoto is dead for Canada — and so are unrealistic emission targets, says Rondi Adamson" - "Canadians are emotionally attached to the idea of the Kyoto Protocol. It plays to our belief that we are international team-players. Whether Kyoto is workable doesn't seem to concern us. The fact that the United States, without signing on to Kyoto, has been more effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions than Canada does not enter people's minds. Kyoto is like the Bill Clinton of accords: No matter what it does, most Canadians like it, and are hostile to anyone who questions it, or what comes after it." (Toronto Star)

"`Axis of Oil' more important to Prime Minister than health of planet, says Linda McQuaig" - "Exxon, the world's richest and mightiest corporation, was the leading force behind a massive 10-year campaign to block the Kyoto accord and ensure the world remains hooked on oil. This was no easy battle, even for Exxon. Lined up against it was the scientific world — and most of the world community. In the end, not even Exxon was able to block the signing of the historic Kyoto Protocol, as the world came together in 1997 in a far-reaching bid to shake its planet-endangering oil addiction." (Toronto Star)

"Where have all the leaders gone?" - "Consumer choice is not going to deliver the goods to combat climate change, argues Dr Matt Prescott. In this week's Green Room, he says the world needs strong political leadership, not just market forces, because there is no sale-or-return guarantee for the planet." (Matt Prescott, BBC)

Scares are getting serious now... "Global threat to Scotland's golf links" - "OF ALL the current concerns surrounding the state of Scottish golf, there is one that it appears no amount of investigation or national action plans can ultimately reverse. Global warming, and in particular coastal erosion, is set to change the face not just of Scottish golf but of links courses everywhere." (The Scotsman)

Is the weather over-hyped? Yes: Weather Channel is the master of disaster (Charleston Gazette)

Is the weather over-hyped? No: Media downplay link to eco-disasters (Charleston Gazette)

"The Weather Channel's 'One Degree' of Propaganda" - "Web site advances global warming activism including 'causes' and 'solutions.'" (Julia A. Seymour, Business & Media Institute)

"Diatom Diatribe" - "If you have followed World Climate Report over the past few years, you are aware that we have taken countless swings at the “Hockey Stick” depiction of planetary temperature. The “Stick” is popular with the global warming crowd for it wipes out the “Medieval Warm Period” of 1,000 years ago and the “Little Ice Age” that began 450 years ago and thankfully ended around 1900. The “Stick” makes the warming of the 20th century look incredible, disturbing, and completely unmatched over the past 1,000 years. The only explanation for the recent warming must be the dreaded buildup of greenhouse gases." (WCR)

"Australia: Academics press Howard on climate change" - "A GROUP of academics and professionals concerned about climate change has taken out ads in major newspapers urging the Federal Government to press for reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The advertising, funded by the Climate Institute, comes as the Government prepares to announce new measures to tackle climate change." (AAP)

Said "climate institute" is a nut-job front chaired by former State Premier, anti-development, population-panicking, Suzuki-acolyte Bob Carr. He's the same neo-Malthusian twit most responsible for Sydney's lack of water storage and infrastructure and the extraordinary housing shortage flowing from housing land developments strangled in a morass of idiotic bureaucracy and "green" red tape. That Carr disapproves of the policies and direction of the Howard Federal Government is high accolade indeed.

"Climate Change Forces Farming Innovation" - "Hybrids aren't replacing one-ton pickups in mid-America, but many in the agriculture industry are reacting to the potential effects of global warming, developing new technology and farming methods to brace for the possibility of widespread drought and crop-pounding storms.

In the past century, the Earth's surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit and could climb another 5 to 10 degrees over the next century, according to government officials. The Environmental Protection Agency has blamed human activities for most of the warming over the last 50 years, including the buildup of greenhouse gases that trap heat." (AP)

"Protesters stage 'die-in' to challenge climate change sceptics" - "Environmental campaigners will hold a "die-in" today outside the offices of a research organisation which claims science has failed to prove human activity is the cause of climate change." (London Independent)

Nice of 'em to give IPN some free publicity.

"Warning of climate change catastrophe" - "Tens of billions of dollars will have to be pumped from the world's richest countries and big industrial polluters into tackling climate change, says a government-commissioned review that warns of an impending catastrophe. The report by Sir Nicholas Stern, former World Bank chief economist and a senior British civil servant, proposes a massive expansion of fledgling markets in trade-able greenhouse gas permits to cut carbon dioxide emissions and promote spending by poorer countries on cleaner fuels and energy." (Financial Times)

"Global Warming: Here Come The Lawyers" - "It's the next wave of litigation -- after tobacco, guns, and junk food. Why Detroit, Big Oil, and utilities should worry." (Business Week)

"INTERVIEW - Denmark Seeks EU Renewable Energy Trading Scheme" - "LAHTI, Finland - The European Union should adopt binding energy savings targets and look into launching a new trading scheme to encourage businesses to use renewable energy sources, Denmark's prime minister said on Friday." (Reuters)

Principled hot air selling? Right... "Is the carbon-trade business really 'green'?" - "System for combating greenhouse-gas emissions has forsaken its principles, critics say." (AP)

"Power Execs Foresee Carbon Emission Caps" - "When Duke Energy Corp. CEO James E. Rogers considers global warming, he sees more than a costly quagmire for the U.S. power industry; he sees grand monuments. Notre Dame in Paris, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Rogers has adopted what he calls "cathedral thinking," a view that tackling climate change is a chance for the industry to leave a proud environmental legacy for future generations." (AP)

He sure seems to have got religion on the global warming front, at least.

"Golly!" of the moment: "CO2 levels 'are highest since 1997'" - "Carbon dioxide emissions have risen to their highest level since Labour came to power, a Friends of the Earth analysis of the Government's latest energy figures has found." (London Independent)

"Britons accused of wasting more energy than anyone else in Europe" - "British people waste more energy than the inhabitants of any other major western European nation, hastening climate change and adding £2.5bn to annual fuel bills, according to research. A poll of 5,000 Europeans by the Energy Saving Trust found the average Briton admitted to 32 bad habits such as leaving lights on in empty rooms, more than twice as many as the most energy conscious nation." (London Independent)

Translation: Brits don't tell as many fibs in surveys.

"Interview: Ciaran Hancock: Ballsbridge’s Big Oil ambassador" - "Chevron’s chairman and chief executive, Dave O’Reilly – a Blackrock College boy – says there’s plenty of liquid gold to go round. It simply has to be found." (Sunday Times)

"King Coal's return raises new fears" - "WASHINGTON -- Thanks to the high prices of oil and natural gas, the electricity industry is turning back to coal, America's oldest and most abundant fossil fuel, to drive a new generation of power plants. The upshot is that even as politicians take the threat of global warming more seriously, the problem may get much worse." (McClatchy Newspapers)

"A Reason to Drill in the Gulf" - "It is time to make a serious effort to save the vanishing wetlands and barrier islands along the coast of Louisiana. The best chance is a bill passed by the Senate that would guarantee Louisiana and three other coastal states a share of oil and gas revenues from drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The states would be expected to use the proceeds largely for coastal restoration and related projects. The House should adopt this measure in its present form during the coming lame-duck session, and President Bush should sign it." (New York Times)

"California's Bottomless Tax Well" - "California already ranks as one of America's five most taxing states, but if liberal activists have their way the Golden State will soon be competing for Number One. Having voted to raise the top income tax rate on the rich two years ago, Californians are this year being confronted with a slate of new ballot propositions to raise levies on motorists, smokers and property owners.

The jewel in this liberal crown is Proposition 87, which would raise taxes on oil extracted from California by 1.5% to 6%, depending on the price per barrel -- all in the name of reducing energy consumption and dependency on foreign oil. Let us run that by you again: The idea here is to tax California oil in order to get Californians to use less Saudi oil. Brilliant." (Wall Street Journal)

"Campaigners call for windfall tax on North Sea oil firms"  -"BP and Shell caused almost $50bn (£27bn) of environmental and social damage last year - double the amount of profits they made in the past 12 months - according to green campaigners, who urged the Government to slap a windfall tax on the oil and gas industry." (London Independent)

Just like they were calling for relief for oil firms all the while oil languished at under $20/barrel? What? You don't recall that?

"Klaus stresses nuclear energy, challenges global warming" - "Lahti, Finland, Oct 20 - Czech President Vaclav Klaus stressed the need to develop further sources of energy, including nuclear, at the current informal EU summit, and dismissed warnings against global warming." (CTK)

"Analysis: Democrats, greens nuclear fans?" - "WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 -- Democrats from Iowa to powerful members of Congress are endorsing more nuclear power in the United States, often to combat climate change or dependence on oil, but critics say it's a shortsighted venture." (UPI)

"Sunny Side Up" - "General Motors liked the idea of using the sun to power its buildings. But until recently, one immutable economic fact held G.M. back: The upfront costs were simply too high to justify the ultimate payoff. G.M. is not alone. Even solar energy’s biggest fans concede that the high investment costs have kept companies from pursuing what is arguably the cleanest, most renewable and least politically sensitive energy source around." (New York Times)

"Biggest wind power project is blown off course as residents fight back" - "Scheme that would provide 25% of London's power is bogged down in planning." (The Guardian)

"BOLIVIA: Challenge Blocks Amazon Dams" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - Bolivia's charge of potential harm to its national territory from the construction of two dams in the Brazilian Amazon could delay work on the mega-projects, whose environmental impact studies will be debated in November." (IPS)

"Discovery about evolution of fungi has implications for humans, says U of M researcher" - "As early fungi made the evolutionary journey from water to land and branched off from animals, they shed tail-like flagella that propelled them through their aquatic environment and evolved a variety of new mechanisms (including explosive volleys and fragrances) to disperse their spores and reproduce in a terrestrial setting." (University of Minnesota)

"Pacific Island Gives Clues to Tropical Biodiversity"  -"PARIS - Since early September, 170 scientists from 25 countries are conducting a first-ever in-depth exploration of the island of Espiritu Santo, in the Oceania archipelago of Vanuatu, to produce an inventory of tropical biodiversity. The biological wealth of this island region is so great that in about a month they have catalogued a hundred new species." (IPS)

"Food fight on a tiny scale" - "Food companies are exploring the use of nanotechnology. It could trigger a GM-style war." (London Times)

"Three out of four Italians see GMOs as health threat" - "CERNOBBIO, Italy - Three quarters of Italians see genetically modified (GMO) foods as a health hazard, according to research published on Friday. European consumers are known for being wary of GMO foods, but the biotech industry says its products are perfectly safe and no different to conventional foods. But a study conducted by Italy's major farm body Coldiretti and research center ISPO showed 74 percent of Italians believed GMOs could damage human health." (Reuters)

"South Africa: Local demand for genetically modified crops rises" - "Durban - Local demand for genetically modified (GM) crops is increasing fast, with American seed producer Monsanto reporting that its GM maize seed for the next season is already sold out. Figures indicate that GM maize is expected to account for 600 000ha in the year ahead." (Business Report)

"South Africa: GM grapes earn wrath of growers" - "AN EFFORT to produce South Africa’s first genetically modified Chardonnay wine has sparked ferment among top winemakers, who want the country’s wines to remain “pure”. The “super-grapes”, already in incubation inside a greenhouse at the University of Stellenbosch, are due to be grown at the university’s experimental farm. But the trial first needs the go-ahead from the government’s Executive Council on Genetically Modified Organisms, which will debate the matter next month amid a chorus of opposition from wine authorities, including premier estates such as Spier, Lanzerac and Distell." (Sunday Times)

"GM peanut is enriched with vitamins" - "ANDHRA PRADESH, India — A genetically-modified (GM) peanut will no longer merely be protein-rich but also pro-Vitamin A-rich with betacarotene genes from corn now being embedded into it by a Filipino-headed international research agency." (Manila Bulletin)

October 20, 2006

"Fishy Dietary Advice" - "Researchers announced this week that the health benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks. But as far as the data indicate, the scales are empty – there appear to be no special health benefits or risks to weigh." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Never had much of a grip on his trolley but... "Blue-tongue blizzard at Oz"  -"WHEN David Suzuki launched into an impassioned plea for Australia to combat climate change no one was safe yesterday, not even the chef who cooked his lunch." (Alison Rehn, Herald Sun)

"Malaria in the Middle East -- New study reveals worrying trend" - "Malaria is not usually thought of as a major disease in the Middle East, but a study from Yemen in this week's BMJ reveals worryingly high levels of severe malaria in children. In fact, the figures show that as many as 4 out of 10 children attending hospital with severe illness could be affected during the peak season. This is comparable to many areas of Africa." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Over 700,000 children die needlessly every year in the Eastern Mediterranean" - "Over 700,000 babies and children could be saved every year in the Eastern Mediterranean region if countries adopted some simple low cost health measures, say researchers in this week's BMJ. The Eastern Mediterranean region accounts for 1.4 million deaths among children under 5 every year. Most of these occur in just seven countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Yemen) where mortality exceeds 50 for every 1,000 live births." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"Politics of Environmentalism" - "The pursuit of science historically has been quite straight forward for the most part. Hypotheses are put forward, experiments are devised, data are collected, then the key question Can the hypothesis explain the data? Additional tests are made, peers are consulted, criticisms offered, replications attempted. It is the first obligation of the honest scientist to try to prove he wrong. It is no disgrace that improvements are made. Some notable exceptions are known historically, but still these principles were largely followed." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

"No Test Tubes? Questions Arise On Virtual High School Science" - "A dispute has flared over how far the Internet can go in displacing the brick-and-mortar laboratory." (New York Times)

"Governments pitch for 'European MIT'" - "The 25 EU heads of government will tomorrow give the go-ahead for the grandiose project to create a European Institute of Technology that would match the proven success of Boston's MIT in combining research and the development of commercial spin-offs - and companies." (Guardian Unlimited)

"NASA and NOAA announce Antarctic ozone hole is a double record breaker" - "NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists report this year's ozone hole in the polar region of the Southern Hemisphere has broken records for area and depth." (NASA/GSFC)

See! We're "fixing" it.

"Metop weather satellite lifts off " - "Metop, Europe's most sophisticated weather and climate satellite, has launched successfully from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The satellite should improve weather forecasts, and give scientists the data they need to refine climate models." (BBC) | European weather satellite enters orbit (AFP)

"Chances of killer Atlantic hurricane dimming" - "MIAMI - The 2006 hurricane season is not over yet, but the chances that a calamitous storm like Katrina could form in the Atlantic are fizzling, the head of the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Thursday. Max Mayfield, the man who warned the Bush administration of a catastrophe as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans, said the El Nino weather phenomenon had suppressed storm activity this year." (Reuters)

"New Experiment to Investigate the Effect of Galactic Cosmic Rays on Clouds and Climate" - "Geneva, 19 October 2006. A novel experiment, known as CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets), begins taking its first data today with a prototype detector in a particle beam at CERN1, the world's largest laboratory for particle physics. The goal of the experiment is to investigate the possible influence of galactic cosmic rays on Earth's clouds and climate. This represents the first time a high energy physics accelerator has been used for atmospheric and climate science." (CERN)

"Something to sing about as bird decline is halted at last" - "A THIRTY-FIVE year slump in the number of farmland birds has been halted and there are signs that woodland species are staging a recovery. The breakthrough was disclosed yesterday when figures showed that the number of birds breeding in Britain has risen 6 per cent since 1995 and 10 per cent since 1970. The biggest rises were in garden, wetland and sea birds. Populations of farmland birds are about 60 per cent lower than in 1970 but, to the relief of conservationists, numbers appear to have stabilised. There are 10 per cent fewer woodland species than in 1970 but their numbers have risen 6 per cent since 2002. Specialist birds in woods, gardens and farmland give most cause for concern as they are less able to cope with habitat change." (London Times)

Ma'vlous wot some warm wevver can do, innit?

A Global Warming Currency (Climate Science)

Bogged Down in Soil Moisture (WCR)

Virtually: "Expect a warmer, wetter world this century, computer models agree" - "BOULDER -- Recent episodes of deadly heat in the United States and Europe, long dry spells across the U.S. West, and heavy bursts of rain and snow across much of North America and Eurasia hint at longer-term changes to come, according to a new study based on several of the world's most advanced climate models. Much of the world will face an enhanced risk of heat waves, intense precipitation, and other weather extremes, conclude scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Texas Tech University, and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre. The new study, "Going to the Extremes," will appear in the December issue of the journal Climatic Change." (NCAR/UCAR) | Computer Models: More Temperature Extremes, Dramatic Precipitation in Our Future (Texas Tech University)

Irrespective of the model flavor used, from the most basic to the multipartite coupled models utilizing each other's output as dynamic input, all models are by necessity overly simplistic and inadequate to represent the chaotic, nonlinear coupled system we call climate. While the average of model representations of global climate suggests Earth's mean temperature is about 14 °C (287 K), the 16 most trusted and 'stable' models tested in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) (see original .pdf) are not well able to reproduce this result.

The above graphic represents the unforced control runs for the "ensemble" (IPCC-speak for "haven't got a clue if any of these actually represent reality -- throw 'em all together and say the errors average out"). The range starts out guessing mean Earth surface temperature as anything from 11.5 to 16.5 °C (roughly 285-290 K) and ends -- without messing with carbon dioxide levels or anything else -- with the guesses even further apart. If they can't agree where they should start in a 5 °C range how are they supposed to figure out trends an order of magnitude smaller?

"California Emissions Law Spurs Reform" - "California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Oct. 17 announced a compact with seven northeastern states to fight global warming. Schwarzenegger's endorsement of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative marks his latest attempt to burnish his environmental credentials by promoting efforts to control carbon dioxide emissions. California's decision to regulate emissions could stimulate similar legislation in other states." (Oxford Analytica)

Rapid recycling: "Greenland ice sheet on a downward slide" - "For the first time NASA scientists have analyzed data from direct, detailed satellite measurements to show that ice losses now far surpass ice gains in the shrinking Greenland ice sheet. Using a novel technique that reveals regional changes in the weight of the massive ice sheet across the entire continent, scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., report that Greenland's low coastal regions lost 155 gigatons (41 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2003 and 2005 from excess melting and icebergs, while the high-elevation interior gained 54 gigatons (14 cubic miles) annually from excess snowfall. The study appears in Science Express, the advance edition of Science, on Oct. 19." (NASA/GSFC)

This from August 11, 2006

Hmm... "Greenland's ice loss accelerating rapidly, gravity-measuring satellites reveal" - "A new analysis of data from twin satellites has revealed that the melting of Greenland's ice sheet has increased dramatically in the past few years, with much of the loss occurring primarily along one shoreline potentially affecting weather in Western Europe. The loss of ice has been occurring about five times faster from Greenland's southeastern region in the past two years than in the previous year and a half. The dramatic changes were documented during a University of Texas at Austin study of Greenland's mass between 2002 and 2005." (University of Texas at Austin)

... more hyper-short-term claims from GRACE. Are their PGR models any good? Don't know but we do note with raised eyebrow that a patch of open sea in the North Atlantic also "got shorter" with an anomaly of -90Km3/year in the region around 52N, 40W (areas in the Davis Strait & the Norwegian Sea also showed "losses" of -40Km3/year and -50Km3/year, respectively) while the North Sea south of Reykjavik actually got taller (+40Km3/year). Some mighty funny goings on in the North Atlantic -- or not.

Meanwhile: "Study shows snowfall hasn't increased over Antarctica in last 50 years: Findings dispute assumptions in some climate change models" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio – An international effort to determine the variability of recent snowfall over Antarctica shows that there has been no real increase in precipitation over the southernmost continent in the last half-century. The results are important since most accepted computer models assessing global climate change call for an increase in Antarctic precipitation as atmospheric temperatures rise. The findings also suggest that the slow-but-steady rise in global sea levels isn't being slowed by a thickening of Antarctica 's massive ice sheets, as some climate-change critics have argued." (Ohio State University) | Overall Antarctic snowfall hasn't changed in 50 years: Large variations make establishing trends difficult (National Science Foundation) | Predictably: Antarctic snow may hide climate shock (ABC Science Online)

The more we study, the more we realize we just don't know. Funny that the Australian Broadcasting Corp. had to dig up the conclusion there might be catastrophe looming due to "Antarctic lag". The simpler scenario and obvious conclusion is that there has been little genuine warming for the world and specifically Antarctica to respond to over the past 50 years, firstly because the period 1940s through 1970s suggested cooling on a global scale and secondly because the allegedly alarming near-surface warming since being concurrent with the closure of rural recording sites and actually an artifact of that same urbanization of the record -- i.e., we are confusing urban heat island with global trends. Whichever way you look at it, the lack of apparent change in a key indicator like Antarctic snowfall provides far greater support for the "situation normal" scenario than it does of radical and catastrophic change.

Didn't fit with this too well either, August 22, 2006:

"Greenland's glaciers have been shrinking for 100 years: study" - "Greenland's glaciers have been shrinking for the past century, according to a Danish study published on Monday, suggesting that the ice melt is not a recent phenomenon caused by global warming. Danish researchers from Aarhus University studied glaciers on Disko island, in western Greenland in the Atlantic, from the end of the 19th century until the present day.

Using maps from the 19th century and current satellite observations, the scientists were able to conclude that "70 percent of the glaciers have been shrinking regularly since the end of the 1880s at a rate of around eight meters per year," Yde said. "We studied 95 percent of the area covered by glaciers in Disko and everything indicates that our results are also valid for the glaciers along the coasts of the rest of Greenland," he said. The biggest reduction was observed between 1964 and 1985." (AFP)

Hmm... according to HadCRUT2v, Greenland experienced a significant warming through the 1920s and 1930s. If the mid-60s through mid-80s increased melt rate is the delayed response to that warming then we can expect a response to "the hottest decade of the hottest century of the millennium" by 2020 or even a little earlier.

"Blair urges climate change action" - "The world is close to a "catastrophic tipping point" on climate change, Tony Blair has warned in advance of a summit of EU leaders. Climate change and energy security are linked and urgent action is needed, the prime minister warns in a joint letter with his Dutch counterpart. They say Europe needs to lead the world in changing to a low carbon economy and developing other energy sources." (BBC)

The world, however, suggests politicians are tripping.

Oh boy... "Climate changes seasons" - "Harvest has now been underway for about a week in WA and already one key port zone has taken delivery of 12,000 tonnes of grain. While there is nothing terribly unusual about those figures for mid to late October the fact that harvest started and is continuing to crank up in Esperance before anywhere else is. The usual location of the first cut of the season, Geraldton, has so far taken delivery of 11 tonnes of canola. This almost total inversion of the usual WA harvest progression has those in the industry scratching their heads. One CBH employee said the company had been caught on the hop with farmer meetings on the South Coast with numbers well down as farmers got their harvest programs underway. Those looking for answers as to exactly how the standard climate map of WA could be so dramatically turned on its head have been advised to see Al Gore’s climate change documentary." (The West Australian)

... a one year anomaly is not climate change, ya dopey galahs! (Sure to mystify non-Australian readers "dopey galah" is a colloquialism referring to a grain farmer with seemingly less than alacritous mental acuity)

II: "Finally, the penny drops" - "A hot Adelaide day helped change the Government's views on climate, writes Peter Hartcher." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Global warming splits churches" - "WASHINGTON -- A growing movement to define reduction of global warming as a religious duty has touched off a spirited debate over whether the welfare of poor people would be served -- or damaged -- by limits on greenhouse gases." (Cox News Service)

"Brazil to call for global fund to save rainforests and cut climate change" - "Plans for a global fund to help contain rainforest destruction and slash carbon emissions will be unveiled next month by the Brazilian government. The project, by which rich nations would offer financial incentives to developing countries that combat deforestation, will be announced at a November convention on climate change in Nairobi." (Guardian Unlimited)

Well, if affluent developed worlders want to keep adornments for the planet it's only right they should pay for the privilege. How that might help impoverished local populations remains to be seen.

"MacAyeal team connects event in Alaska’s Gulf to one in Antarctica" - "Oceanographers have known for decades that ocean swells can travel half way around the world, but the results of the new study Douglas MacAyeal and Emile Okal released at the beginning of the month and published in the October issue of Geophysical Research Letters, has raised the possibility that an increase in storms driven by climate change could affect far-flung parts of the globe." (Chronicle)

"Refugees, disease big risk from global warming -U.N." - "BEIJING - The world is not doing enough to combat global warming which, left unchecked, could trigger a mass movement of people and have serious consequences for security, the United Nation's environment chief said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"For those of us who look at the science and look at the indicators" the whole carbon dioxide drives temperature drives catastrophe is a nonsense. The metric of global mean near-surface air temperature is dubious, our ability to measure it doubtful and it's significance seems mostly overstated.

"US election: Showdown for Capitol Hill" - "Can science influence politics in the forthcoming US elections? Nature investigates how Democrats and Republicans are striving to win the hearts of voters." (Nature)

"Political science, Round II" - "As the mid-term election approaches, a group of scientists and engineers is organizing to suggest that science and technology have something to offer to politicians, and that it would be smart to involve scientists and engineers in politics. This does sound odd -- when was the last time a chemist or a biochemist or a geochemist rang your doorbell asking for your vote?" (Why Files)

So are the political-science times a-'changin'? (Why Files)

Global warming: The "worst case" of political manipulation of science? (Why Files)

Pioneering climatologist: "Climate models are bunk. Show me the data." (Why Files)

Adding it up: Is science more political than ever? (Why Files)

More trippin': "Global warming a 'top worry'" - "Canadians today are more concerned than ever about global warming, but feel the issue is largely out of their control, says the author of a report on Canadians' attitudes to the environment over the last 15 years.

"There is more pessimism," John Wright, senior vice-president with pollster Ipsos Reid, said in an interview Friday from Toronto. "Canadians say they are doing their part, but the issue may be bigger than they can influence."

Wright, who has been tracking environmental trends since he joined Ipsos Reid in 1989, says top-of-mind environmental issues have changed over the years from "rocks, wood, water" and guilt-driven personal actions such as recycling to global issues that are outside an individual's control." (Vancouver Sun)

"Canada sets new greenhouse gases reduction target for 2050" - "OTTAWA, Oct 19 -- Canada will aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming by 45-65 percent by 2050, meanwhile ignoring its more stringent Kyoto Protocol commitment, according to a proposed clean air act. The Conservative government's proposal immediately drew the ire of environmentalists and the Liberal opposition." (AFP)

"Canada: Tories accused of abandoning Kyoto" - "Canada's government introduced legislation Thursday that would cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, a target date that prompted critics to declare that Ottawa effectively has abandoned the international Kyoto accord on climate change." (Associated Press)

"Ottawa's emissions stance gets thumbs-up"  -"OTTAWA -- Canada's auto industry has its own solution for reducing pollution from the tailpipe: Have governments offer incentives to consumers to get their old clunkers off the road and buy new cars. Environment Minister Rona Ambrose didn't go quite that far yesterday, but she did table new legislation that would force industry -- including car makers -- after 2010 to reduce emissions that cause smog and climate change. After making threatening noises about a get-tough approach, the Conservative government sounded conciliatory yesterday, saying it would consult various industry sectors before setting specific emission targets three years from now." (Globe and Mail)

"Clean Air Act appears doomed as opposition parties unite in anger" - "OTTAWA - The Clean Air Act that the Conservatives hoped would revive their flagging electoral fortunes appears to be dead on arrival. Opposition parties and environmental groups slammed the proposed legislation Thursday, dismissing it as a "dirty air act" and a "hot air plan." All three opposition parties in the House of Commons said they will vote against the bill, meaning it has no chance of passing into law in the current minority Parliament." (CP)

If only we really had such forecasting ability... "Germany Prepares for Weather Extremes" - "Heat waves, flooding, millions of euros in property damage and many deaths: A new study warns that the shifting global climate will bring massive change to Germany in the next few decades. But the government has a plan." (Der Spiegel)

"Climate water threat to millions" - "Climate change threatens supplies of water for millions of people in poorer countries, warns a new report from the Christian development agency Tearfund." (BBC)

"Japan Voluntary Emissions Scheme Sees First Trade" - "TOKYO - Carbon credits traded between domestic companies for the first time in Japan in a voluntary emissions scheme, an effort to help meet the country's Kyoto Protocol target to cut pollution, companies said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Brussels examines post-Kyoto options" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission is looking into ways to continue cutting greenhouse gasses post-Kyoto by improving the bloc's main tool in the fight against climate change - the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS). "We have to keep the ETS simple and predictable," said Mogens Peter Carl, the head of the commission's environment department." (EUobserver)

"EU sets 'ambitious' energy goals" - "An action plan to cut Europe's energy consumption by 20% before 2020 has been outlined by the European Commission. More than 75 "ambitious" measures include tougher energy standards for electrical goods, a low-energy building strategy and more fuel efficient cars." (BBC) | Saving 20% by 2020: European Commission unveils its Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (Europa)

"EU sees new export in energy plan" - "PARIS The European Union on Thursday called on governments, companies and citizens to create more efficient gadgets, buildings, and cars to increase the region's technological know-how while curbing the waste of energy. Andris Piebalgs, the EU energy commissioner, said Europe could increase exports of new energy-efficient technologies as part of efforts to address climate change and dependence on imports of fossil fuels. About one million new jobs could be created, the EU said." (International Herald Tribune)

"Energy saving laws not working" - "Recent changes to EU and UK legislation over emissions and energy efficiency are having little impact, according to a survey of IT heads. The survey by American Power Corporation (APC) found significant gaps in awareness among those responsible for running data centres of new laws designed to penalise inefficient energy use. The result is that the legislation is have little or no impact." (Techworld)

"More nations clamor for nuclear energy" - "VIENNA, Austria - When more than 100 ambassadors gathered at the United Nations nuclear agency to mark its 50th year of juggling global arms and energy demands, organizers were surprised by the ambitious agenda that the envoys had in mind: More countries than ever wanted the International Atomic Energy Agency to back their desires for nuclear power." (Chicago Tribune)

"Australia: Howard told nuclear dream too expensive to come true" - "The head of the Federal Government’s inquiry into nuclear energy, Ziggy Switkowski, has dashed the Prime Minister’s hopes for the future of nuclear power by saying it is not economically viable. Dr Switkowski said yesterday that Australia had so much cheap coal that “any comparison will be unfavourable for every alternative source”, including nuclear power, unless new taxes were imposed on coal. Ministers, including Treasurer Peter Costello, have ruled out new taxes on coal or carbon emissions." (The West Australian)

"Despite popular belief, the world is not running out of oil, UW scientist says" - "PHILADELPHIA – If you think the world is on the verge of running out of oil or other mineral resources, you've been taken in by the foremost of seven myths about resource geology, according to a University of Washington economic geologist." (University of Washington)

"Permits issued for coal plants" - "TXU's effort to build 11 coal-fired power plants in Texas received a boost Wednesday when the state's environmental agency issued draft permits for six plants." (Dallas Morning News)

"France Takes a Dubiously Clean Road" - "PARIS - France got into first gear for a clean drive this month with the opening of a bio fuel pump. But barely after the start, environmentalists are saying that the ecological balance sheet from using this green fuel may still be negative." (IPS)

"Water Scarcity Seen Dampening Case for Biofuel" - "GENEVA - Water scarcity harms the case for using food crops to make biofuels, a leading environmental author and journalist said on Thursday. "The downside of growing food for fuel is water," said Fred Pearce, author of the book "When the Rivers Run Dry". Surging crude oil prices have strengthened the argument for green energy created by cultivating food crops such as sugar cane to make ethanol fuel and vegetable oils to make biodiesel. The politics of water will become critical as demand for water from rising populations and the needs of industry increase, said Pearce, editor of Britain's New Scientist magazine." (Reuters)

"UN says number of ocean 'dead zones' rising fast" - "NAIROBI, Oct 19 - The number of "dead zones" in the world's oceans may have increased by a third in just two years, threatening fish stocks and the people who depend on them, the U.N. Environment Programme said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Beaked whales perform extreme dives to hunt deepwater prey" - "A study of ten beaked whales of two poorly understood species shows their foraging dives are deeper and longer than those reported for any other air-breathing species. This extreme deep-diving behavior is of particular interest since beaked whales stranded during naval sonar exercises have been reported to have symptoms of decompression sickness. One goal of the study was to explore whether the extreme diving behavior of beaked whales puts them at a special risk from naval sonar exercises." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"Panama Wrestles over Canal's Future" - "With container ships getting bigger and bigger, Panama wants to widen its often clogged canal. The planned expansion has triggered a dispute over the benefits and beneficiaries of global trade in a country where 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line." (Der Spiegel)

"Otherworldly bacteria discovered two miles down" - "Washington, D.C.–Researchers have discovered an isolated, self-sustaining, bacterial community living under extreme conditions almost two miles deep beneath the surface in a South African gold mine. It is the first microbial community demonstrated to be exclusively dependent on geologically produced sulfur and hydrogen and one of the few ecosystems found on Earth that does not depend on energy from the Sun in any way. The discovery, appearing in the October 20 issue of Science, raises the possibility that similar bacteria could live beneath the surface of other worlds, such as Mars or Jupiter's moon Europa." (Carnegie Institution) | Bacteria that use radiated water as food (Indiana University)

Vandana Shiva... "Food Expert Calls For Reform" - "Internationally renowned activist Vandana Shiva criticized global methods of providing food to different countries in a speech on Thursday, calling the way people eat a political act." (Emory Wheel)

"The Man for All Seasons" - "Life really can imitate art. Leon Hesser's straightforward yet gripping biography of Norman Borlaug, the plant breeder known as the Father of the Green Revolution ("The Man Who Fed the World," Durban House Press, 2006, $24.95), portrays the kind of nobility and idealism shown by Jimmy Stewart in the title role of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." If the Borlaug story were a movie, this week's presentation in Des Moines of the 2006 World Food Prize, first envisioned by and spurred by Borlaug, would be the denouement.

Borlaug's life has been one of extraordinary paradoxes: a child of the Iowa prairie during the Great Depression who attended a one-room school, aspired to become a high school science teacher, flunked the university entrance exam - but went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for averting malnutrition, famine and the death of millions." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Transgenic tomatoes could cut allergic reactions" - " Tomatoes, genetically modified to produce 90 per cent less of the allergen, profilin, represents "a future trend in allergen avoidance," said the German researchers behind a new study.

But despite this offering an alternative approach, one of the main challenges of this approach will not be technical but consumer attitudes and regulations regarding genetically modified organisms (GMO), particularly in Europe. (Food Navigator)

"EU suggests testing all U.S. long-grain rice imports for illegal GM content" - "BRUSSELS, Belgium The European Commission said Thursday that all U.S. long-grain rice imports should be tested to check that they are not unauthorized genetically modified varieties. It said it would ask food safety experts from the EU's 25 nations on Monday to support mandatory testing. If they do, the tests will go ahead." (Associated Press)

?!! "Genetically modified food may be behind Americans' obesity - Russian scientist" - "MOSCOW. Oct 19 - Genetically modified food could cause cancer, leading researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology Institute Irina Yermakova said at a Thursday roundtable in Moscow. "An outbreak of cancerous diseases is underway in the United States, where people have been eating genetically modified food for 20 years. American's obesity may also be caused by genetically modified food," she said." (Interfax)

But vodka is a health food and baby formula replacement, right?

"Southern Africa: Have GMOs Infiltrated Namibia's Borders?" - "Namibia and four other countries in SADC will know by mid-November whether or not Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have infiltrated their borders. The Biotechnology Trust of Zimbabwe (BTZ) is conducting research on the spread of (GMOs) in Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to inform policy-makers on the spread of GMOs to enable them to take it into consideration when formulating their Biosafety policies." (New Era (Windhoek))

October 19, 2006

"The Green-Big Tobacco Death Alliance" - "It isn’t everyday that the environmental leftists gang up with an international tobacco conglomerate to advocate policies that are responsible for the deaths of millions of pregnant mothers and small children throughout the Third World over the past 30 years, so the occasion is worth noting." (Patrick Poole, FrontPageMagazine.com)

"New Microscope Reveals Deadly Secret Life Of Malaria Parasites Inside Human Cells" - "Scientists at Georgetown University are describing the first use of a new microscope technology to capture images of live malaria parasites inside human red blood cells. They say the advance could be important in efforts to understand the malaria parasite's deadly tendency to become resistant to anti-malaria drugs and in developing new drugs and vaccines for the disease." (Science Daily)

"Seeking Modern Refuge From Modern Life" - "Caryl Schonbrun’s sensitivity to chemicals has left local officials and neighbors grappling with just how much responsibility they all have in coping with one woman’s ailment." (New York Times)

Infrared detoxification... Somebody's been sniffin' somethin'.

World Wide Font of nonsense back on the bending trail: "'Gender-bending' chemicals linked to breast cancer rise" - "Chemical pollutants that mimic the female hormone oestrogen may play a part in the development of breast cancer and could account for the increase in cases, a scientist said yesterday. The "gender-bending" chemicals are found in a host of common products, from scented candles and air fresheners to plastics used for babies' bottles and the casings of mobile phones." (London Telegraph)

"MALAYSIA: Return of Paraquat - Activists Aghast" - "PENANG - The Malaysian government has stunned activists by ‘‘temporarily lifting'' a ban on the toxic weed-killer paraquat so that ‘‘an extensive study'' can be carried out." (IPS)

"Increased risk of cancer for computer factory workers, large study shows" - "Workers at computer factories are at increased risk of dying of cancer. The largest study of its kind published today in the open access journal Environmental Health (http://www.ehjournal.net/) looks at over 30,000 deaths of workers who had been employed at IBM factories in the USA. The study reveals that IBM factory workers were more likely to have died of cancer, including brain, kidney or breast cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, than the rest of the population. The author of the study cannot link these deaths to any specific chemicals or other toxic exposures. The current study confirms previous, smaller studies and highlights clear health risks for workers in computer factories across the world." (BioMed Central)

Stick with education: "Reality cures economic hypochondria" - "WASHINGTON - Recently Bill Clinton, at the British Labor Party's annual conference, delivered what the Times of London described as a ``relaxed, almost rambling'' and ``easy anecdotal'' speech to an enthralled audience of leftists eager for evidence of American disappointments. Never a connoisseur of understatement, the former president said America is ``now outsourcing college-education jobs to India.''

But Clinton-as-Cassandra should not persuade college students to abandon their quest for diplomas: The unemployment rate among college graduates is 2 percent.

Clinton is always a leading indicator of ``progressive'' fashions in rhetoric. And every election year -- meaning every other year -- brings an epidemic of dubious economic analysis, as members of the party out of power discern lead linings on silver clouds." (George F. Will, Mercury News)

"Shorter nightly sleep in childhood may help explain obesity epidemic" - "Soaring levels of obesity might be linked to children sleeping fewer hours at night than they used to, claims a researcher in the Archives of Disease in Childhood." (BMJ Specialty Journals)

"David Burchell: Exaggeration won't save Iraqis" - "The new claims about the civilian death toll in Iraq are vastly overstated." (The Australian)

"Getting colder: climate change and America's elections" - "Climate change, the defining issue of 21st-century politics, barely registers in the United States's pre-election debate. The reason lies in the current grain of American politics, argues James Crabtree." (openDemocracy)

Hmm... as far as we can see it's Crabtree who has things upside down -- "global warming" is purely a political issue.

"The consensus view is frequently very wrong indeed" - "One of the most misguided ideas in any debate is the idea that the consensus view is usually, if not always, right. All too frequently the accepted wisdom has been completely and comprehensively wrong." (Ruth Lea, London Telegraph)

Further Evidence On The Need To Expand The Climate Metrics Beyond A Focus On the Global Average Surface Temperature Trend (Climate Science)

Tread Carefully on Snow Cover (WCR)

"The Snows Of Mount Kilimanjaro" - "The cause of climate change remains unknown. So, let us be cautious. By Claude Allegre, L'Express" (US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)

"Seabed Microbes Munch Methane, Curb Warming - Study" - "OSLO - Exotic microbes living around mud volcanoes on the seabed are helping to offset global warming by munching heat-trapping methane seeping from the depths, scientists said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

That virtual world again? "Very long-term forecast: Northwest winters will be even wetter" - "If you think Pacific Northwest winters are gray and rainy now, just wait. By the end of this century winter storms are likely to be much more pronounced, particularly west of the Cascade Range, according to new University of Washington research." (PhysOrg)

"Germany Puts Global Warming Prevention Plan in Gear" - "German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned of the unexpectedly fast pace of global warming and said the country needs to follow a unified plan to protect itself from increasing environment change." (Deutsche Welle)

You bewdy! "Australia: Greenhouse Office budget 'underspent'" - "Labor claims the government's Greenhouse Office is not doing its job because it has underspent its budget by $362 million. Labor's public accountability spokesman Kelvin Thomson said Australia may have been first to set up a Greenhouse Office but its renewable energy performance is abysmal compared to the rest of the world. "The Australian Greenhouse Office has systematically underspent its budget every year since its establishment," he said. Mr Thomson said in both 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 the office spent just $81 million of the approximately $230 million it was allocated. He said the government tackled the problem by slashing the office's budget to between $110 million and $125 million in subsequent years, and it continues to underspend. "In the eight years since it was established, the Australian Greenhouse Office underspend has been $362,475,000," Mr Thomson said." (AAP)

Finally! Waste minimization from a government department. Gladdens the heart, doesn't it?

"UN to talk on climate adaptation" - "There is an "urgent need" to help developing countries adapt to impacts of climate change, UK Climate Change Minister Ian Pearson has said. Nations were experiencing environmental changes as a result of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, he told MPs. He said he was hopeful that an action plan and funding would be agreed at a climate summit in Africa next month. But Mr Pearson added that the talks on the Kyoto Protocol were unlikely to deliver new global emission targets." (BBC)

"Converting Climate Skeptics: Churches and Environmentalists Spread the Word about Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON - October 18 - A coalition of over thirty-five religious and environmental groups will issue a united statement and call to action tomorrow as part of a national movement to make environmental stewardship and creation care a top policy priority, especially in response to global warming. Centered on the new film The Great Warming, this movement will reach people from all walks of life encouraging good environmental stewardship and immediate action to address climate change." (Wet Dreams)

Guys... if you want to try presenting some science, OK -- but dopey films and rhetoric? Puh-lease!

Hey lookit! Kids are revolting: Children's Revolution Kids' Bloc May Lead the March for Climate Justice... (Indymedia)

Climate justice, forsooth. So, will the revolting justice-seekers be busily burning and blowing things up the following night (Guy Fawkes, a.k.a. "cracker night"), merrily adding to the atmosphere's combustion byproduct load? I see Moonbat's to be speaking -- he'll want to watch out he doesn't end up adorning a bonfire, what with all his recent admissions of flying about, contributing to the problem against which these youngsters revolt.

"Kyoto CO2 Trade not Ready for Formal Terms - Traders" - "LONDON - Investment bank Barclays Capital has sparked a debate on how greenhouse gas emissions are traded between rich and poor nations and how to account for the fact that key infrastructure is not yet in place." (Reuters)

"Kyoto paying off for Ukraine" - "Nearly one year after a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions went into effect, Ukrainian enterprises have begun implementing modernization projects to bring their operations in line with international environmental standards, while cashing in on so-called emission reduction credits in the process.

Vitaly Kononov, the leader of Ukraine’s Green Party, who lobbied for Ukraine to become a signatory of the Kyoto protocol, was skeptical about the usefulness of trading emission quotas and units, but agrees that Ukraine can obtain some advantage from it. “From the point of view of sober thinking, this scheme [quotas and emission reduction unit trading] doesn’t change anything,” Kononov told the Post. “The emission trading will not lessen pressure on the atmosphere … but it is a chance for poor countries like Ukraine to make its industries more environmentally friendly,” Kononov said. According to Kononov, Ukrainian officials think only in terms of profits from quota sales, which “will immediately vanish in someone’s pockets, like everything else.” (Kyiv Post)

At least Ukrainian Greens are aware of one thing -- hot air trading will not do anything but line a few pockets.

"Pew Center Releases Comprehensive Guide to Developing Climate Change Related Business Strategies" - "Washington, DC October 18, 2006 -- The Pew Center on Global Climate Change today released, "Getting Ahead of the Curve: Corporate Strategies That Address Climate Change," a "how to" guide for corporate decision makers as they navigate rapidly changing global markets. The report presents an in-depth look at the development and implementation of corporate business strategies that take into account global climate change-related risks and opportunities." (PRWEB)

Funny how they never notice the biggest risks are climate hysterics.

"US Businesses See Greenhouse Laws by 2015 - Survey" - "WASHINGTON - Major multinational businesses believe US standards to limit greenhouse gas emissions are imminent, and most think regulations will be in place before 2015, a new survey reported on Wednesday." (Reuters)

From the rubber room: "How close is runaway climate change?" - "In an extract from his new book on global warming, Paul Brown looks at how close the planet is to irreversible damage." (Guardian Unlimited)

Relax Paul, the world's already shown us this is not going to happen.

Mad Margot & her mates: "Brussels to defend 'core' of EU constitution in treaty talks" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission is starting to take a position in the expected re-negotiations of the EU constitution, with communication commissioner Margot Wallstrom saying the "core" of the current text should be the "departure point."

Ms Wallstrom expressed sympathy for Mr Duff's proposal to include the fight against climate change as a policy goal into the constitution, but she rejected the idea of a voluntary "Protocol on a Social Union" – only for those member states wishing to further harmonise their social policies." (EUobserver)

"EU: Call to speed up airlines pollution scheme" - "Britain will on Thursday lead a charge to bring forward the timetable for making the world’s major airlines pay for the cost of their pollution by arguing for their inclusion in the European Union’s greenhouse gas trading scheme within two years. Senior UK ministers are expected to propose on Thursday that flights leaving airports in EU member states, including those on long-haul routes, should begin paying for their carbon dioxide emissions in 2008 or as soon as is practically possible." (Financial Times)

"People want to fly. You cannot restrict flying." - "In the wake of an Oxford University report which said the government would not meet its targets on carbon dioxide emissions unless it takes action to curb air travel, Jon Snow was joined in the studio by two guests - Tom Burke, environmental policy adviser to Rio Tinto and visiting professor at Imperial College London; and Paul Charles, director of corporate communications for Virgin Atlantic." (Channel 4)

"Will energy efficiency plan lead to less energy use?" - "In Short: The energy action plan, set to be adopted on 19 October, foresees more than 75 actions to achieve a 20% reduction of Europe's energy consumption by 2020. But several energy experts question whether more efficiency automatically leads to less energy consumption." (EurActiv)

"China: Nation ready to join US FutureGen power project" - "China is poised to join FutureGen, an initiative by US President George W. Bush to build a giant emission-free power plant. Shang Yong, vice-minister of science and technology, said the government will soon begin negotiations with the US about possible rights and obligations for participation in the Government Steering Committee. The plan was announced yesterday at the ongoing 12th US-China Joint Commission Meeting on Scientific and Technological Co-operation." (China Daily)

"Coal creates burning dilemma" - "DALLAS - A building boom that would add scores of coal- fired power plants to the nation's power grid is creating a new dilemma for politicians, environmentalists and utility companies across the United States. Should power companies be permitted to build new plants that pollute more but are reliable and less expensive? Or should regulators push utilities toward cleaner burning coal plants, even if it means they will cost more and are based on newer, yet still unproven, technology?" (Associated Press)

"Making fire from ice: a new fuel for the 21st century" - "Beneath our seas, reserves of frozen methane hold more energy than all other fossil fuels put together. But can we get at them without causing environmental meltdown? Ed Caesar reports." (London Independent)

"UK: Buying a wind turbine should be as easy as buying a sofa - Minister" - "The public should be able to buy their own wind turbines on the never-never, according to the Government Minister responsible for climate change issues, to take the financial sting out of installing microgenerators." (Edie)

Today's misanthropy: "Greenpeace Asks Romania to Halt National Road Plan" - "BUCHAREST - Environment group Greenpeace on Wednesday asked Romania's centrist government to halt works on a national road through the Carpathian mountains, which they say would harm some of Europe's last unspoilt forest landscapes." (Reuters)

"Greens rubbish recycling prosecution" - "Environmentalists yesterday criticised a council for prosecuting a man who put the wrong kind of rubbish into a recycling bag. Friends of the Earth said the case of Michael Reeves, who has been ordered to pay £200 for putting a single sheet of paper in a bag reserved for glass and tin, could put others off recycling." (The Guardian)

"Earliest fungi may have found multiple solutions to propagation on land, new study infers" - "DURHAM. N.C. -- In the latest installment of a major international effort to probe the origins of species, a team of scientists has reconstructed the early evolution of fungi, the biological kingdom now believed to be animals' closest relatives." (Duke University)

"Commercial fishing causes dangerous fluctuations in fish populations" - "Commercial fishing causes serious fluctuations in fish populations leaving them in danger of total collapse, says new research published today. These fluctuations mean current measures in place to control fish stocks may not be sufficient to ensure their sustainability." (Imperial College London) | Ocean data confirms fishing puts targeted species in 'double jeopardy' (University of California - San Diego)

"Organic Farming Has Little, If Any, Effect On Nutritional Content Of Wheat, Study Concludes" - "Organically grown wheat may have different labeling and a higher price in stores, but it contains essentially the same profile of amino acids, sugars and other metabolic substances as wheat grown with conventional farming." (Science Daily)

"Organic lobby concedes GM-coexistence is inevitable" - "Organic farming and genetically modified cropping will co-exist, two of organic farming’s staunchest defenders admitted at a public debate in London as DEFRA’s consultation on co-existence draws to a close this week. But DEFRA proposals for keeping the crops separate are too weak, they insisted. Wider separation distances, a lower limit for GM contamination of organic seed, a compulsory register of fields growing GM crops and improved liability rules are all needed, they said." (Farmers Weekly)

"Eliminating hunger is today's moral imperative" - "Occasionally, an issue arises that presents a moral imperative to act. Ending slavery was one such issue, as were extending suffrage to all citizens and opposing Hitler in the 1940s. Today, we face a moral challenge to eliminate the ongoing tragedy of world hunger." (Des Moines Register)

"Canada: Irrigation up for debate: 'We need to take some of that water back'" - "Irrigation farming may no longer be sustainable in Alberta, say water advocates, who point to lower water levels across the province due to receding glaciers and less snow in the mountains. About 70 per cent of the surface water used in Alberta every year is used for irrigating crops. Less water and more demand for it could spell the end for some farms in Southern Alberta." (CBC News)

"Mexico's rejection of biotech corn planting draws mixed reaction" - "MEXICO CITY Mexico has refused requests from several multinational companies seeking to start experimental planting of genetically modified corn, a move praised by environmentalists but criticized by biotech supporters. Environmentalists said the government's decision is a step toward preventing biotech corn contaminating native varieties in Mexico, the birthplace of corn and still a storehouse of genetically valuable native species." (Associated Press)

"Mexico to Set up GMO Rules Within Two Weeks" - "MEXICO CITY - Mexico will establish rules within two weeks allowing biotech companies to plant test crops of genetically modified, or GMO, corn seeds, the government said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Genetically enhanced flavonoid tomatoes could reduce cardiovascular disease" - "Tomatoes, genetically modified to contain a higher level of flavonoids, have in a recent study shown to substantially reduce a protein, the so-called C-reactive protein (CRP), in mice. CRP is linked to inflammatory processes in mice as well as human beings and is associated with a higher risk of heart and vascular diseases as well as type-2 diabetes. Flavonoids are plant metabolites known for their anti-oxidant activity." (BASF)

"Brazil commission to discuss new biotech corn, cotton types" - "SAO PAULO -- Brazil's biosafety commission will review technical studies on three corn and three cotton transgenic plants on Wednesday following pressure from farmers and seed companies who said the commission was moving too slow to approve GMO studies for both field tests and commercial use." (MarketWatch)

October 18, 2006

"DDT Ban Makes Sense -- Only If You're Rich: Andrew Ferguson" - "Al Gore is on the airwaves in California this campaign season, though not as a candidate. He's filmed an advertisement for Proposition 87, which would raise taxes on crude oil and, through one of those complicated carom shots environmental activists are always hoping to set up, reduce global warming. I thought of Gore's crusade the other day when an announcement crossed my desk about DDT. If you're a person of a certain age, an announcement like this is sure to bring you up short." (Bloomberg)

"Vaccine against early-stage malaria shows real potential, review finds" - "An experimental vaccine that attacks the malaria parasite in its early stages prevents a significant number of malaria cases, and should move closer to licensing and widespread use, according to a new review of recent studies. Among children in Mozambique, where malaria is common, the new vaccine -- called RTS,S -- reduced the number of clinical malaria episodes by 26 percent for up to 18 months after vaccination. There were 58 percent fewer severe episodes among the children over the same time period." (Center for the Advancement of Health)

"655,000 War Dead?" - "After doing survey research in Iraq for nearly two years, I was surprised to read that a study by a group from Johns Hopkins University claims that 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war. Don't get me wrong, there have been far too many deaths in Iraq by anyone's measure; some of them have been friends of mine. But the Johns Hopkins tally is wildly at odds with any numbers I have seen in that country. Survey results frequently have a margin of error of plus or minus 3% or 5% -- not 1200%." (Steven E Moore, Wall Street Journal)

"New MUHC study adds more evidence to clear measles mumps rubella vaccine as a risk factor for autism" - "A new MUHC study provides conclusive evidence that the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine is not associated with the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The study, published in the scientific journal Pediatrics, reveals fundamental errors in previous molecular studies that falsely implicated the MMR vaccine as a risk factor for autism. This study arose from a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Dr Brian Ward, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the MUHC, and Dr Eric Fombonne, Director of Pediatric Psychiatry at the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC." (McGill University)

"Gene linked to autism in families with more than one affected child" - "A version of a gene has been linked to autism in families that have more than one child with the disorder. Inheriting two copies of this version more than doubled a child's risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder. People with autism spectrum disorders were more likely than others to have inherited a tiny variation in the part of the gene that turns it on and off that cuts gene expression by half." (NIH/National Institute of Mental Health)

More sensible than usual: "Society urged to accept more risk in life" - "Society needs to be more willing to live with risk, and understand it better, if red tape is not to stifle innovation and self-reliance, says the government's independent Better Regulation Commission. In its first report since taking over from the Better Regulation Task Force, the commission said the growing demand for risk to be "purged from our lives" was a driver of seemingly ever expanding regulation. The government must "explode the myth that [it] can and should manage all risk", said the commission yesterday. It must admit "that zero risk is unachievable, unattainable and undesirable." (Financial Times)

"How much influence do medical publications have on your doctor? A great deal, says new SLU research" - "ST. LOUIS – New research by Saint Louis University in today's Journal of the American Medical Association asks two intriguing questions: How much impact do articles in prominent medical journals really have on how doctors treat patients, and how fast does that impact affect clinical practice? The answers? Quite a bit, and very quickly – if the news is negative." (Saint Louis University)

"Benefits of eating fish outweigh risks: report" - "NEW YORK - Despite the threat of mercury and other contaminants, the health benefits of eating fish exceed the potential risks, according to a report published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This holds even for women who are or who may become pregnant and nursing mothers, with the exception of some specific species of fish." (Reuters Health) | New study shows the benefits of eating fish greatly outweigh the risks (Harvard School of Public Health)

"Holy Mackerel! Fish Is Good" - "Health-conscious consumers have long been vexed by whether the health benefits of seafood outweigh the risks from toxic substances, such as mercury. Now, two large federally-funded studies have weighed the evidence and reached a definitive conclusion: Eat fish." (Elizabeth Bernstein, Wall Street Journal)

"Glorious Food? English Schoolchildren Think Not" - "Many British schools are learning that you can lead a child to a healthy lunch, but you can’t make him eat." (New York Times)

"Green groups donate cash to governor races" - "NEW YORK - U.S. environmental groups say they see states taking more aggressive action than the federal government on environment issues and are stepping up donations to gubernatorial campaigns this autumn." (Reuters)

Ah! The evil green empire purchasing influence and subverting the political process -- or at least that's the kind of thing they like to claim about business donations.

"Study Finds Stronger Link Between Human Activity And Particulate Pollution" - "Air pollutants mainly from cars, trucks and industrial activity are contributing significantly more to the formation of urban haze than previously thought, according to a new study." (University of Colorado)

"Canada: An ecological scofflaw?" - "These are troubled times for Canadians clinging to the myth that Canada is an environmental leader. Our dismal domestic record on issues ranging from climate change to endangered species has been comprehensively criticized by many commentators, ranging from David Suzuki to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

However, Canada's role in sabotaging and opposing international environmental agreements has, until now, largely escaped notice.

The many areas in which Canada is deliberately undermining international efforts to protect the environment include critical issues such as climate change, bottom trawling in the oceans, trade in toxic substances, and the human right to clean water." (Toronto Star)

Hmm... as I recall humans have exactly those rights their society is prepared to bestow upon them -- no more, no less.

More unreality TV... "DiCaprio going green with 'E-topia' TV series" - "LOS ANGELES - Leonardo DiCaprio is helping to develop a reality TV series focusing on the environment. "E-topia" will chronicle the eco-friendly reconstruction of an American town as it is transformed into a "'green' utopia of tomorrow." The project, being shopped to broadcast networks, will document the monthslong endeavor in a town yet to be determined as teams of construction workers and laborers unaccustomed to the demands of a "green" lifestyle work with passionate eco-idealists, planners and architects." (Hollywood Reporter)

"Restoration lags in charred forests" - "On one side of the property line, a new forest is taking root -- a glassy-green sea of waist-high pine planted by a timber company after a massive wildfire swept through six years ago. On the other side, on public land managed by the Lassen National Forest, dense mats of brush cling to a landscape dominated by charred dead trees, some standing, others not. "Nobody on the Lassen is proud of that land line," said Duane Nelson, who manages reforestation for the Forest Service in California. "We actually refer to it as our wall of shame." (Sacramento Bee)

"Brazil tells foreigners Amazon 'not for sale'" - "BRASILIA, Brazil, Oct 17 - Brazil on Tuesday rejected a foreign proposal to buy and preserve land in the endangered Amazon and asked former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to support a home-grown rainforest-protection plan. Gore, who has become a prominent green campaigner since leaving office, is in Brazil to promote the Portuguese-language version of his new book on climate change, "An Inconvenient Truth." (Reuters)

Oops! "Himalayan Glaciers Resist Melting - Chinese Scientist" - "BEIJING - Glaciers in the Himalayas have not drastically shrunk despite global warming and are unlikely to melt away in coming decades, a Chinese scientist said. Zhang Wenjing, glacier expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, discounted previous forecasts that glaciers across western China could disappear in decades or the Himalayan glaciers could melt away 50 years, Xinhua news agency reported. "Those predictions may be excessively pessimistic," he said. "So far glaciers in the middle and eastern part of the Himalayas have not shrunk on any large scale." (Reuters)

"Censoring ideas" - "The silencers are at work in the marketplace of ideas, using hook or crook to smother opinions they dislike. The lust to censor is as powerful as ever. If only liberty's defenders were equally vigilant." (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

Summary Perspective By Professor William R. Cotton On The Subject of Climate Variability And Change (Climate Science)

"Decorated Scientist Defects From Belief in Global Warming – Caps Year of Vindication for Skeptics" - "Washington DC - One of the most decorated French geophysicists has converted from a believer in manmade catastrophic global warming to a climate skeptic. This latest defector from the global warming camp caps a year in which numerous scientific studies have bolstered the claims of climate skeptics. Scientific studies that debunk the dire predictions of human-caused global warming have continued to accumulate and many believe the new science is shattering the media-promoted scientific “consensus” on climate alarmism." (US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)

Another Swipe at the Hockey Stick (WCR)

Essex warming, at least: "Global warming in Essex as wild grapes are found growing by rail lines" - "For railway passengers used to curling sandwiches and tepid tea, it is a vision that has got many mouths watering. Just a few feet from tracks leading into Westcliff-on-Sea station in Essex a wild vine has taken root and is groaning under the weight of dozens of bunches of juicy black grapes. The 15ft tall vine has threaded its way through a wire fence and elderberry bush that back onto a busy road at the top of an embankment. Horticultural experts believe it was sown by a passenger who threw a half eaten bunch out of a window as they approached their stop." (Evening Standard)

"Japan Wants to Avoid 'Hot Air' CO2 Deals for Kyoto" - "TOKYO - Japan, far short of goals to slash greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol, has begun purchasing emissions credits from overseas but wants to avoid buying so-called "hot air" rights to pollute, officials said on Monday." (Reuters)

Here's some sad news for you -- all deals made to comply with the Kyoto Protocol are hot air deals.

Neo-dot.bombers not doing too well: "Carbon Trade Profit Limited by Lack of Big Projects" - "TOKYO - The carbon trading business may offer limited profits for traders because projects that offer large credits with relatively small investments have shrunk, a Japanese environmental analyst said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Carbon Market Needs Longer-Term Rules - Investors" - "AMSTERDAM - Developing markets in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), aimed at fighting global warming, need more long-term regulatory stability if they are to flourish, investors said on Monday." (Reuters)

"World urgently needs post-Kyoto climate deal-UN" - "AMSTERDAM, Oct 17 - The world urgently needs a long-term post-Kyoto agreement to fight global warming to provide security for investors and raise more funding, the U.N. top climate official said on Tuesday. Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told a conference in Amsterdam that governments had so far failed to generate enough funding to tackle climate change, especially in poor countries. "To guarantee continuity for investments, a post 2012 agreement is urgently needed," de Boer said. "At present, the financial resources provided to developing countries do not suffice to meet the needs for mitigation and adaptation as required by ... the Kyoto protocol." (Reuters)

The world doesn't need it, only gravy train riders do.

From The Onion:) "Richard Branson's Global-Warming Donation Nearly As Much As Cost Of Failed Balloon Trips" - "LONDON—Analysts are predicting that the $3 billion Sir Richard Branson has pledged for developing energy sources to combat global warming, could come close to matching the amount the entrepreneur, adventurer, and Virgin CEO has already spent on elaborate balloon-based excursions.

"This unprecedented and extremely generous investment rivals the amounts Branson spent on his many, many failed attempts to circumnavigate the Earth in a balloon," Wall Street stock analyst Madeleine Brauner said. "He's setting a wonderful example for ultrarich environmentalists everywhere."

Branson also reportedly plans to invest billions more on a time machine that would enable him to prevent the creation of Virgin Airways, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by some four percent worldwide." (The Onion)

Wishful thinking of the wannabe social engineers: "The Kyoto Protocol: A Brazilian Opportunity? Part 1" - "'The USA didn't sign so we shouldn't do anything.' This is the response that I most commonly encounter when discussing the Kyoto Protocol with the average Brazilian businessman. It is a fact that Mr Bush's petroleum fuelled political regime did not endorse the International agreement but for Brazilians to present this as reason for their non-involvement in the process is to misinterpret the aim of the protocol." (Tim Cowman, Gringoes)

"The Kyoto Protocol: A Brazilian Opportunity? Part 2" - "CDM in Brazi -- The UNFCCC defines CDM as: "a mechanism to assist developing countries (non-annex) to achieve sustainable development and contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction under the Kyoto protocol"

Through financial investment and the transfer of innovative technology ANNEX 1 countries aim to reduce GHG emissions in non-Annex countries. These reductions generated through the implementation of CDM projects result in the issuing of Certified Emissions Reductions (CER‘s), one variety of the commonly referred to carbon credits. These credits, certified by the UNFCCC, are then made available for purchasing by those ANNEX 1 countries looking to reach their Kyoto targets." (Tim Cowman, Gringoes)

From CO2 Science this week:

Two Hundred Years of Global Sea Level Data: Do they reveal the signature of the supposedly unprecedented and CO 2 -induced global warming of the late 20th century?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Dome C, Antarctica and Lake Chichancanab, Mexico. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Aquatic Plants (Freshwater - Algae): Does atmospheric CO 2 enrichment benefit freshwater algae?

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: Black Spruce, Loblolly Pine, Soybean, and Timothy.

Journal Reviews:
Precipitation in the Netherlands: 1906-2002: Did it change over time in the way the world's climate alarmists predict precipitation should change in response to global warming?

Organic Aerosols: Their Roles in Global Climate Change: How important are they? ... and how well do we understand what they do?

Medieval vs. Current Warm Period: Iceberg Lake, Alaska: How do they compare in terms of their peak warmth?

The Net Effect of Elevated CO 2 and the Earlier Occurrence of Biological Spring on Production of Allergenic Ragweed Pollen: Does the earlier occurrence of spring in a warmer world amplify or reduce the tendency for atmospheric CO 2 enrichment to enhance the production of allergenic ragweed pollen?

Down-Regulation of Photosynthesis in Fast-Growing Poplar Trees: It apparently doesn't have to occur; and in this study, it didn't. (co2science.org)

"Science rises to the challenge of global warming" - "In the north of Scotland, preparations are getting under way for a new power station that will test the limits of science in attempting to tackle global warming.

The plant, planned by BP and Scottish and Southern Energy, the UK energy companies, would convert natural gas into carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Electricity can be generated from the hydrogen using a new innovative technique, while the carbon dioxide can be stored under the North Sea in the Miller oilfield. If successful, the power plant could produce more carbon-free electricity than all of the UK’s existing wind farms.

It would be one of the first of a pioneering range of installations that remove carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and place it in storage deep underground where it should stay for millennia." (Financial Times)

"Talk of Raising Gas Tax Is Just That" - "There might be a simple way to trim U.S. oil imports, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, encourage alternatives to petroleum and ease world energy shortages. The method: raising taxes on gasoline or crude oil. Economists and policy experts across the political spectrum think it's a good idea. And with gasoline prices falling, now might be the perfect time to do it without eliciting cries of pain from U.S. drivers who have become somewhat accustomed to high fuel prices. But on the long road to a new energy policy, the idea of a higher gasoline or crude-oil tax is just another bit of roadkill." (Washington Post)

"No, We Don't Need a Manhattan Project for Energy" - "As a nation that has built a vibrant economy through market-driven innovation, the United States should not underestimate its diverse network of profit-seeking research organizations." (Martin Fridson, TCS Daily)

EUreaucracy running amok: "EU aims to save £67bn a year on energy bill" - "The European Commission is to attempt to make electrical appliances more energy efficient and save Europe up to £67 billion in bills each year. The EU energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will unveil an "action plan" tomorrow intended to reduce the amount of energy used in the EU by 20 per cent. Under the plan, the Commission will begin issuing a stream of directives next year setting out "minimum energy performance standards", or "eco-design requirements" for 14 priority product groups. They will include boilers, water heaters, consumer electronics, copying machines, televisions, standby modes, chargers, lighting, electric motors and other products. The commission also plans "EU minimum performance requirements" for new and renovated buildings, based on energy used to heat, cool and light them. The car industry is also warned that if it fails to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it will face binding EU regulations, setting a tough target of 120g of carbon dioxide emitted per kilometre travelled. The new regulatory blitz will need to be approved by national governments." (London Telegraph)

"Solar economically viable soon" - "SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 18 -- The conventional wisdom is that solar energy needs tax breaks to be as cheap as fossil fuel electricity, but many industry experts are saying that simply isn't true. "I'm not asking for subsidies, I'm saying we'll compete," Vinod Khosla, a major solar investor widely considered to be one of the most successful venture capitalists in the world, told the Solar Power 2006 conference in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday. "The solar industry is poised for breakaway growth, not because it's cleaner (in terms of carbon emissions), but because it's cheaper," Khosla said. The president of the Solar Energy Industries Association feels the same way: "Solar will be the lowest-cost option at the retail level in 10 years," Rhone Resch told United Press International on Monday evening." (UPI)

"The Next Wave in Clean, Green Power" - "SAN DIEGO, California - Oregon's spectacular coastline could become the United States' centre for wave energy development in coming years, with plans underway to install power buoys in locations with enough potential to meet the state's future energy needs." (IPS/IFEJ)

"ANALYSIS - Japan Lags in Global Biofuel Race but May Catch up" - "TOKYO - Japan is a laggard in the global shift to biofuels because of short supplies of the necessary farm produce, but it may yet emerge as a major user of renewable fuels as it steps up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Japan Brewer Pursues 'Monster Cane' Ethanol Dream" - "IE ISLAND, Japan - It is three metres tall and productive even in poor soil, it holds up in droughts and typhoons, and it yields twice as many stems as most sugarcane. No wonder they call it "Monster Cane"." (Reuters)

"More Than a Meteor Likely Killed Dinosaurs 65 Million Years Ago" - "Growing evidence shows that the dinosaurs and their contemporaries were not wiped out by the famed Chicxulub meteor impact alone, according to a paleontologist who says multiple meteor impacts, massive volcanism in India and climate changes culminated in the end of the Cretaceous Period." (NSF)

"The too dry state" - "Andrew Bolt writes: MELBOURNE is running out of water so fast it may be too late to avert disaster." (Herald Sun)

"GM crops seen as way farmers can beat drought" - "The impact of drought on WA farmers would be reduced if commercial genetically modified crops were allowed, a major farming group claims. Western Graingrowers, a division of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association which represents 1200 grain farms and about 20 per cent of WA’s grain production, wants the State Government to lift its moratorium on GM crops. The ban prevents the commercial release of all GM crops in WA until at least 2008." (West Australian)

"GM bugs may boost biofuel production" - "Genetically modified microorganisms could one day make it easier and cheaper to produce biofuels, experts say. A symposium convened by the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology in Canberra this week will hear about future directions in biofuel technology and ways of meeting national biofuel targets." (ABC Science Online)

"CHILE: Keep Chiloé Free of Transgenics, Say Activists" - "SANTIAGO - Environmentalists are demanding that Chilean authorities declare the southern archipelago of Chiloé -- 1,190 km south of Santiago -- a transgenic-free zone, and recognise it as a birthplace of the potato (Solanum tuberosum), alongside Bolivia and Peru." (IPS)

October 17, 2006

"Killing our babies" - "Anti-pesticide activists are perpetuating malaria and killing Africans

At long last, the World Health Organization and Uganda’s Health Ministry are again emphasizing DDT and other insecticides to control a disease that kills 110,000 Ugandans every year.

But instead of applauding the decision, anti-pesticide activists are attacking it with scare stories and lies. Every day that Paul Saoke, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pesticide Action Network and their allies keep our health officials from ending malaria, another 300 babies and mothers go to their graves. It’s like sending a jetliner filled with children and mothers crashing into the Rwenzori Mountains every day.

Even Environmental Defense, which started the anti-DDT war four decades ago, now says this chemical keeps mosquitoes out of homes and should be used for malaria control. But attacking insecticides is the reason PSR and PAN exist. It’s their key to fund raising and job security. So they haven’t budged – and poor Africans are paying the price.

Africans need to know the truth, and activists need to stop lying and killing our babies." (Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes, American Daily)

Well hello! Nice of you to join us: "Chemical campaigns 'misleading'" - "Leading toxicologists have warned green groups are "misleading" the public with chemical contamination campaigns. They said they are deliberately and unfairly scaring the public. In particular, they criticised a WWF campaign that has highlighted the presence of chemicals in blood, food and in babies' umbilical cords. The scientists said the minute levels detected did not warrant the group's focus on health dangers, but WWF has denied it was scare-mongering." (BBC)

Certainly better late than never.

"The silence over new MMR research" - "Think back into the mists of MMR: in 2002, John O'Leary's group in Dublin reported finding measles virus in the intestine of children with autism and bowel problems. The anti-MMR movement were almost delirious with excitement, and so were the media. Andrew Wakefield, working with Kawashima et al in Japan, had already reported finding measles virus in blood cells in similar children.

What if they were mistaken? How would you know? Well, a major paper published in the leading academic journal Pediatrics this month strongly suggests that these earlier results were in error, false positives. This study has been ignored by the media: it has been covered, by my reckoning, in one Reuters piece, and in one post on the lead researcher's boyfriend's blog." (Ben Goldacre, The Guardian)

"Value of Cholesterol Targets Is Disputed" - "A provocative paper has raised questions about aggressive cholesterol-lowering recommendations." (New York Times)

"Asthma linked to soot from diesel trucks in Bronx" - "NEW YORK, October 16, 2006 – Soot particles spewing from the exhaust of diesel trucks constitute a major contributor to the alarmingly high rates of asthma symptoms among school-aged children in the South Bronx, according to the results of a five-year study by researchers at New York University's School of Medicine and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service." (New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine)

"U.S. Has Cooler September After Near Record Warm Summer, Global September Temperature Fourth Warmest On Record" - "Oct. 16, 2006 — September 2006 was cooler than average for the continental U.S., providing relief from the second-warmest summer on record, according to scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. September was the first cooler-than-average month for the continental U.S. since May 2005. Drought conditions also improved in some areas of the nation, with nationally averaged precipitation above average during September. The global temperature remained well above average." (NOAA News)

"Scotland: It could be the warmest autumn" - "LEAVE your winter woollies in storage. After the longest, hottest summer on record, weather experts predicted yesterday that Scotland could be heading for its warmest autumn ever." (The Scotsman)

"Radar opens new window into the ice for Antarctic scientists" - "Scientists are getting their first glimpse into the inner secrets of an ice shelf, thanks to the innovative application of a new radar technique developed by British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Getting a clearer view of how ice behaves is important because it will help scientists predict more accurately how the ice sheet will respond to future climate change. The results are published this week in the Journal of Glaciology." (British Antarctic Survey)

"World needs climate change action now to pay less" - "AMSTERDAM - Actions to fight global warming now and introduce environmentally clean and efficient energy technologies will cost the world less than doing nothing, an international conference heard on Monday. "The cost of action is much less than the cost of inaction," the World Bank's Chief Scientist Robert Watson told the conference "Make markets work for climate" in Amsterdam. "It is not a question of do we adapt or do we mitigate. We clearly need to do both," he said." (Reuters)

They mean ex-IPCC Chairman Bob Watson? Like a dog with a Frisbee isn't he? Just can't let a good scare go...

"Action on climate change particularly urgent, Annan tells environmental seminar" - "With the growing number of ratifications of major environmental agreements suggesting that more countries are committed to addressing global ecological issues, the true test remains implementation and enforcement, especially with regard to greenhouse gases, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned today." (UN News)

"Canada: Climate-change 'skeptics' hopeful PM accepts view" - "OTTAWA -- Canada's top climate-change "skeptics" say they're encouraged by a recent statement raising questions about global-warming science by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government will table this week legislation to reduce smog and the greenhouse gasses that cause global warming. But groups such as the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute say it's too soon to know if the Harper government will accept their view that the dangers of climate change are grossly exaggerated. Harper, in a recent French-language interview with Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, raised doubts about global climate-change research. "It's a complicated subject that is evolving," he said. "We have difficulties in predicting the weather in one week or even tomorrow." (CanWest News Service)

A couple of mentions of Svensmark are beginning to appear: "Look to the sun" - "An experiment by Danish scientists offers convincing evidence linking global warming to an increase in cosmic radiation." (Ian Douglas Clark, Financial Post) | Also here as .pdf in case it's no longer online.

"Evidence that cosmic activity influences temperatures on Earth detected" - "Adding another ingredient to the recipe for global warming, Danish researches have published findings indicating that cosmic rays play a role cloud formation, which in turn influences ground temperatures. The results were first published in the UK’s Proceedings of the Royal Society A." (European Research)

Well... "New evidence climate change melting Antarctic ice shelf, say scientists" - "OSLO - Scientists believe they have found the first direct evidence linking the collapse of an ice shelf in Antarctica to global warming widely blamed on human activities. Shifts in winds whipping around the southern Ocean, tied to human emissions of greenhouse gases, had warmed the Antarctic peninsula jutting up toward South America and contributed to the break-up of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002, they said." (Reuters) | First direct evidence that human activity is linked to Antarctic Ice Shelf collapse (British Antarctic Survey)

... possibly the winds affecting the anomalous warming on the tiny fraction protruding north of the Antarctic Circle toward South America, at least. Of course, this assumes the computer models are correct and we understand circumpolar winds adequately.

"Japan's greenhouse gas further from Kyoto target" - "TOKYO, Oct 17 - Japan's greenhouse gas emissions rose 0.6 percent in the fiscal year that ended in March, reversing a modest decline in the previous year and taking it further from its Kyoto Protocol target to cut pollution, the government said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Obligatory eye-roller: "Rock tours damaging environment, says Radiohead singer" - "The boredom caused by endless hours on the tour bus and a succession of anonymous hotel rooms are well known problems, but rock stars on tour now have something else to grumble about: the environmental impact. Thom Yorke, singer with Radiohead, yesterday hit out at the "ridiculous" use of energy by such events, and threatened to stop playing far-flung destinations if steps were not taken to reduce carbon emissions." (The Guardian)

II: "Global warming may be behind leap in UK infectious diseases" - "The first deaths from infectious disease attributed to global warming have occurred in Britain, official figures suggest." (London Independent)

III: "UK 'must act' on plane emissions" - "Britain will not be able to meet its goals on climate change without curbing the demand for air travel, according to an Oxford University report." (BBC)

From the Left Coast: "Money Fuels Oil Tax Fight in California" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif. Oct 16, 2006— In any other year, a $60 million opposition campaign fueled by a deep-pockets industry would almost certainly spell doom for a California ballot initiative. But the infusion of $40 million by a Hollywood producer has given environmentalists pushing Proposition 87, an oil-production tax, plenty of financial firepower against the petroleum companies that oppose it." (AP)

"PG&E seeks exception to nation’s strictest global-warming law" - "As California’s leaders celebrate their passage of the nation’s most ambitious global warming bill, the painful back-and-forth that must occur between business and regulators to make the law a reality has begun. For business groups, the question of how to implement AB 32’s broad mandate to drastically cut carbon emissions by 2020 weighs heavy as it could have far-reaching impact on the state’s economy." (San Jose Mercury News)

"Nuclear energy growth not a weapons risk - summit" - "SYDNEY, Oct 16 - The global expansion of nuclear energy is not a threat to the non-proliferation regime, but the greatest risk is from terrorists who could build a dirty bomb with nuclear waste from a medical facility, industry experts said." (Reuters)

"SOUTH AMERICA: Debate on Infrastructure Mega-Projects Finally Begins" - "BUENOS AIRES - Rather late and somewhat quietly, civil society organisations have begun to discuss the impact of the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), launched by the region's governments in 2000, which is planning 335 major projects." (IPS)

"Learning to live with oxygen on early Earth" - "Washington, D.C. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution and Penn State University* have discovered evidence showing that microbes adapted to living with oxygen 2.72 billion years ago, at least 300 million years before the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere. The finding is the first concrete validation of a long-held hypothesis that oxygen was being produced and consumed by that time and that the transition to an oxygenated atmosphere was long term. The results are published in the on-line early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, to appear the week of October 16th." (Carnegie Institution)

"Analyst sees big future for nano" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Nanomaterials will result in stunning product breakthroughs and even keep Moore's Law alive for another 30 years, but the "nano" term will fade away within a decade, an analyst predicted Monday." (CNET News.com)

"Milk shoppers get a new choice - kinda organic" - "STARKSBORO, VT. – It "does a body good" and can leave a funny white mustache. But few shoppers invest much thought into milk beyond whole, low-fat, or skim. That's changing. A new choice is hitting shelves: milk from cows not injected with artificial growth hormones. This option - long a selling point for organic labels - is increasingly offered by mainstream brands." (Christian Science Monitor)

Organic Milk Industry Reveals Hypocrisy

"Hunger Due to Injustice, Not Lack of Food" - "MADRID, Oct 16 - Millions of people die of hunger-related causes every year. However, that is not because of actual shortages of food, but is a result of social injustice and political, social and economic exclusion, argue non-governmental organisations that launched a campaign in Spain on World Food Day Monday." (IPS)

And the answer is not trying to get people in affluent regions to lower their standard of living (it wouldn't leave more to give away anyway -- it just wouldn't be produced) but to increase productivity in regions of insufficiency -- which is why we simply cannot understand how NGOs can constantly obstruct virtually every useful advance, from cheap fertilizers for Africa to biotech for everybody. Doesn't matter what it is they're agin it.

"South Africa: Protests at Stellenbosch transgenic grapevine experiment" - "As Grape previously reported, the first plantings of genetically modified grapevines into the South African vineyard were announced a few weeks ago by Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Wine Biotechnology (IWB). Now the African Centre for Biosafety and Earthlife Africa Ethekwini have called on the government to reject the Institute’s application to conduct its open-air field trials involving genetically modified (GM) vines." (Grape)

"EU set to decide on compulsory tests for GMO rice" - "BRUSSELS - EU regulators will decide this week whether to force testing of all U.S. long-grain rice imports to prove the absence of a genetically modified (GMO) strain not allowed in Europe, an official said on Monday. Earlier this month, the European Commission set a 15-day period for negotiating a common sampling protocol with U.S. authorities to detect the GMO rice strain, which has turned up in the food chains of at least nine EU countries since August. That deadline expires on Thursday. If no deal is reached, the EU-25 is expected to order compulsory testing of U.S. rice cargoes that arrive at any EU port -- at the exporter's cost." (Reuters)

October 16, 2006

"Chemist's killer of a cure" - "THE 2006 Nobel laureates are in the spotlight, but a recent piece of news -- an announcement from the World Health Organization -- calls to mind a Nobel laureate of an earlier era. When the Swiss chemist Paul Muller was awarded the prize in medicine in 1948, he was hailed ``as a benefactor of mankind of such stature" that he would require ``the humility of a saint" to inoculate himself against hubris. Fortunately, Muller was not given to arrogance. He described his great discovery as merely ``a first foundation stone" in the ``puzzling and apparently endless domain" of pest-borne plague. It had come as a surprise to him, he said modestly, to have discovered a chemical formula ``so useful in the fight against diseases in human beings." ``Useful" hardly began to describe it. As Time magazine noted, Muller's chemical ``kills the mosquitoes that carry malaria, the flies that carry cholera, the lice that carry typhus, the fleas that carry the plague, the sand flies that carry kalaazar and other tropical disease." The name of this miracle formula? Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane -- better known as DDT." (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

Poor ol' NYT: "Science Ignored, Again" - "The Bush administration loves to talk about the virtues of “sound science,” by which it usually means science that buttresses its own political agenda. But when some truly independent science comes along to threaten that agenda, the administration often ignores or minimizes it. The latest example involves the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reject the recommendations of experts inside and outside the government who had urged a significant tightening of federal standards regulating the amount of soot in the air." (New York Times)

Forever at least pretending to misunderstand. "Science" and scientists constantly proffer reams of often conflicting advice without regard for consequence or collateral damage, worrying only about their narrow specialty or worldview. From this politicians have to try to steer the least damaging course, keep the economy more or less on track and assure most supply to erratic and frequently vindictive voters.

On the same day Times columnist John Tierney writes The Kids Are Alright

"In 1968, the year after the U.S. population reached 200 million, Linus Pauling, Jonas Salk and other scientific luminaries signed their names to a full-page advertisement. It pictured a beatific baby in diapers who was labeled, in large letters, “Threat to Peace.”

“It is only being realistic,” the scientists warned, “to say that skyrocketing population growth may doom the world we live in.” They shared the concerns of Paul Ehrlich, who was on the best-seller lists warning of unprecedented famines overseas in the 1970’s and food riots on the streets of America in the 1980’s.

On Tuesday morning, when the 300 millionth American is born, the parents will not be worrying about a national shortage of food. If anything, they’ll worry about their child becoming obese. There is more food available per person — in America and the rest of the world — than ever imagined by the 1960’s doomsayers, Malthus or the ancient Greek philosophers who discussed the need for population control." (John Tierney, New York Times)

Now, the NYT is trying to get a buck by hiding such useful commentary behind a subscription barrier, their prerogative surely, but such is the contrast between one of their remaining rational commentators and their editorial waffling that we are providing an alternate link this one time.

Oddly, for the Guardian stable: "Let's take a little risk for the sake of science" - "It is common to berate modern society for its obsessions with risk aversion and to blame our preoccupation with health and safety for producing a generation of physically timid individuals. But, as we make clear in our report, there is more to the problem than merely letting children play robustly. By protecting them from everyday scrapes and knocks, we also jeopardise their intellectual development." (The Observer)

In this case The Observer has it right -- society has degenerated to a collective wimp and a reign of terror can be held with a balloon on a stick. Since they apparently recognize this it is doubly disappointing the Guardian stable of publications so remorselessly exploits the populations fear of that which they can not control -- specifically the weather -- via the "global warming" scare.

Scam, scam, scam and scam (Number Watch)

"Asbestos Kept Off Global List of Toxic Substances" - "GENEVA - Chrysotile asbestos, a known human carcinogen, will remain off a global "watch list" of toxic substances for at least two more years after countries led by Canada blocked consensus in United Nations talks on Friday." (Reuters)

"The New Old Eco-Pessimism" - "The release of Al Gore’s environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth — and its attendant criticism that our heating planet arises out of Western pathology — harkens back to a long tradition of gloom and doom in Western thought and art." (Victor Davis Hanson, The American Spectator)

"Time to celebrate growth" - "At about 7:46 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Census Bureau, the population of the United States will hit 300 million. We’ve marked our calendar with a reminder to give a cheer. When the country hit 200 million in 1967, President Johnson made a speech and cheers erupted in the lobby where the Census Bureau keeps the ‘‘population clock,” now adding one person about every 11 seconds. The bureau’s recent announcement mentioned no plans for any celebrations." (Boston Herald)

"Canadians Agree On Plan to Create Vast National Park" - "TORONTO, Oct. 13 -- The government and native groups agreed Friday to move forward to preserve an area almost four times the size of Yellowstone Park in far northern Canada, and said they would study making other areas off-limits to burgeoning diamond and uranium mining interests there." (Washington Post)

"How we have lost 200,000 miles of hedge in 60 years" - "Staggering loss of rich wildlife habitat is part of wholesale destruction of the countryside." (London Independent)

Is the UK a bizarre hedge-dwelling biome or did people originally establish said hedges? If so, are they composed of native species or exotics and ferals? Presumably the UK must be a naturally hedged land or removal of said hedges would be lauded by (even demanded by) enviros, who'd likely make getting rid of these nasty, unnatural habitats a high priority.

"Extreme environment changes fish appearance" - "The world of the Devils Hole pupfish is a small place. The entire species lives in one rocky pool, 20 meters long and three meters wide, in a cave entrance in Death Valley, Calif. But their environment is not only cramped: it also has a profound effect on the fishes' appearance, raising questions about how rare species can be protected from extinction.

In 1976, the inch-long fish was at the center of a legal battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservationists had established the fish in refuges elsewhere in case Devil's Hole became too dry. But the refuge-bred fish began to look different, with deeper bodies and smaller heads, although all the fish are pretty much the same genetically." (University of California - Davis)

Does it really matter? They are adaptable to environmental change, good for them.

Morons of the moment: "Raiders Set Free Minks on Spanish Fur Farms" - "MADRID - Night-time raiders freed more than 17,000 minks on fur farms in northern Spain, police said on Sunday." (Reuters)

"Canada: Leaked draft suggests gaping holes in Clean Air Act" - "OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to crack down on smog and fight climate change would weaken federal powers to regulate greenhouse gases and toxic substances such as mercury, a leaked draft of the government's Clean Air Act suggests. The draft, produced in August and leaked to environmentalists, proposes to shuffle the substances from a list of toxins that can now be regulated under existing laws to a list of "pollutants" that would be vulnerable to legal challenges from industry." (CanWest News Service)

Removing things from the exclusive edicts of enviros? Darn.

Appeasement never works... "Going, Going, Trying to Go Green" - "DUPONT this week announced a “sustainability” initiative, making it the latest big company to jump on the green bandwagon. DuPont, of course, “is not exactly beloved of environmentalists,” as the Gristmill blog (gristmill.grist.org) notes. It has been drawing the wrath of environmentalists since the 1930’s." (New York Times)

"PBS's Moyers Attacks Big Business on His Environmental Crusade: 'Is God Green?' should be titled 'Is God Anti-Business?'" - “Support Environmentalists With a Rope.” On the October 11 “Moyers on America” show, titled “Is God Green?” Rocky Barker used these five words to sum up Republican sentiment towards environmentalists. Barker, environmental reporter for the Idaho Statesman, quoted the bumper sticker, which he had seen in a bar, and said conservatives were “only mildly joking.” And the bias didn’t stop there. “Is God Green?” was advertised as an hour-long Bill Moyers documentary on the growing political importance of conservative evangelical environmentalists. But it wasn’t long before the show degenerated into an attack on big business." (Rachel Waters, Business & Media Institute)

Speaking of political nonsense: "Schwarzenegger Takes Green Roadshow to New York" - "LOS ANGELES - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will go to New York on Monday to discuss his landmark law on global warming with fellow Republicans as pressure builds on US President George W. Bush to take a tougher stance on greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"Technological provincialism" - "Many Americans believe President Bush pushed the price of gasoline down to help Republicans in the upcoming election. Congress believes it can ban Americans from gambling on the Internet. And the state of California believes it can change the temperature of the globe through government regulation. What all such beliefs have in common is technological provincialism -- the naive notion that global commerce can easily be compelled to dance to the tune of national or local politicians." (Alan Reynolds, Washington Times)

"Climate change is expensive. Does that help?" - "An influential report out this month concludes that it will be cheaper to act on global warming now than to wait, but campaigners doubt whether the government will respond." (The Observer)

In a word: No. The problem with this and all climate claims is that it's built from dodgy info and computer games. "Global warming," also known as "enhanced greenhouse" will not cause catastrophe, which the world has already shown us but the global warming industry refuses to acknowledge.

A single dollar wasted fighting the phantom menace is a dollar wasted and that is just too damn expensive when it should be working to the benefit of impoverished peoples -- which it does as part of the global economy, even if not directly spent for the purpose. Blowing a trillion bucks in an effort to wreck the economy just to appease "people must be bad" Gaia-worshipping nitwits is nothing short of criminal.

"UK: Ministers 'looking carefully' at climate change bill" - "The government has indicated it may introduce a climate change bill in the Queen's speech next month." (Politics.co.uk)

And after the careful look one might give a rabid dog they should back away as quickly as prudence allows.

Really? "Fires and worst drought in 100 years wake Australia up to the reality of climate change" - "Australia is confronting its worst drought in a century with rampant fires devastating agricultural areas, rivers drying up, crops failing, and farmers forced to sell off their livestock." (London Independent)

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Regional Rainfall Trends page opens with the statement: Australia's annual mean rainfall has increased slightly over the last century. If that's climate change then Australians will likely say: Bring it on! Why would Australians want change? Dorothea MacKellar (1885 - 1968) said it so well in "My Country" - here's a few pertinent verses:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror-
This wide brown land for me.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We watch the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze

Much of Australia only gets about one 'good' year in seven (depending on the phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation) and so 'threatening' our rainfall is a great way to get attention. Data from the Met Bureau, however, suggests the above-linked article is simply offering scary and rather unlikely speculation. After all, wasn't the Twentieth Century allegedly the 'hottest' in a millennium? The Met Office's opening statement again: Australia's annual mean rainfall has increased slightly over the last century.

What a stupid and thoroughly irritating game this global warming thing is.

Foolishly, however: "Australia: Labor would 'sign Kyoto to fight drought'" - "LABOR would tackle climate change as a long-term solution to Australia's water shortages if it wins the next election, Opposition leader Kim Beazley said." (AAP)

Another Paper Which Documents The Role of Land Surface Processes On Climate (Climate Science)

New Paper Which Further Documents The Role of Biomass Burning In The Amazon On Clouds and Precipitation. (Climate Science)

"Marine life stirs ocean enough to affect climate, says FSU study" - "TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Oceanographers worldwide pay close attention to phytoplankton and with good reason. The microscopic plants that form the vast foundation of the marine food chain generate a staggering amount of power, and now a groundbreaking study led by Florida State University has calculated just how much –– about five times the annual total power consumption of the human world.

Physical and biological oceanographers led by FSU Professor William Dewar put the yearly amount of chemical power stored by phytoplankton in the form of new organic matter at roughly 63 terawatts, and that's a lot of juice: Just one terawatt equals a trillion watts. In 2001, humans collectively consumed a comparatively measly 13.5 terawatts." (Florida State University)

Overturning Ocean Hype (WCR)

Where are the Droughts? (WCR)

"Counting the “Arbitrary” Costs of Global Warming" - "The bill is in on doing nothing about global warming – but how accurate can Tufts' study be?" (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Inhofe, The Apostate" - "Global warming is a religion, not science. That's why acolytes in the media attack global-warming critics not with scientific arguments, but for their apostasy. Then they laud global-warming believers not for reducing greenhouse gases, but simply for believing global warming is a coming catastrophe caused by man. The important thing is to have faith in those who warn: The end is near." (Debra J. Saunders, Townhall)

"High-speed rail link ‘could wreck climate’" - "A NEW high-speed rail link between Scotland and England could help wreck the climate, not save it, as it would increase pollution by encouraging more people to travel." (Sunday Herald)

Um... "The butterfly effect proves that the heat is on" - "ITS sudden appearance in the gardens of the Central Belt has brought delight to the nation's entomologists. But experts are warning that the delicate brown and yellow spotted wings of the speckled wood butterfly are not a cause for celebration. They say that the butterfly's arrival in the Lothians from England after an absence of 200 years is a clear sign our climate is overheating." (The Scotsman)

"... an absence of 200 years"? Implied then the blasted things were comfy in the Lothians a couple of centuries ago -- but now they're a sign our climate is overheating?

UK gets lucky with a summer -- and it's a 'disaster'... "UK: Official: this summer is the longest, hottest ever" - "This summer was the longest continuous period of hot weather experienced in this country since records began. A study for the Met Office found that the five months from May to September were warmer than any equivalent summer since 1659. Figures, based on the Central England Temperature records that date back 350 years, show that the average temperature from May to September was 16.2C. This is two degrees higher than the average for this time of year. The previous record of 15.9C was set in 1947." (The Observer)

Managed to edge out 1947, eh? Well, there's a trend...

"UK: Season of mists? How autumn lost its cool" - "It's the longest, hottest summer on record, says the Met Office, and it simply refuses to end. We've got soaring temperatures, lush grass and never-ending hosepipe bans. And the pattern is here to stay." (The Observer)

Autumn 2000 and 2001 -- that was when the UK and Europe were having floods wasn't it? And they were blamed on... global warming.

Berliners are raving, apparently: "Gore's Movie Gets Raves in Berlin, Yawns in Bangkok" - "WASHINGTON - US critics swooned over "An Inconvenient Truth," the documentary film about global warming starring ex-Vice President Al Gore, but international response has ranged from raves in Oslo to yawns in Bangkok." (Reuters)

"Almost all Kyoto-pact nations falling far short of reductions: Data supports U.S. position that estimates were too optimistic" - "STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- With few exceptions, the world's big industrialized nations are struggling to meet the greenhouse-gas reductions they committed to in the Kyoto pact on climate change. Europe is veering off course, Japan is still far from its target, and Canada has given up." (AP)

"Canada: Is PM up to the task on climate change?" - "The Harper government has the chance to do something significant for future generations when it unveils its climate change strategy this week. But will it?" (Toronto Star)

Sorry David, neither Harper nor anyone else is going to change the climate for you -- like the rest of us you'll just have to cope with what you get.

"Citing Heavenly Injunctions to Fight Earthly Warming" - "A Michigan priest has organized congregations across his state to reduce energy use and emissions of carbon dioxide." (New York Times)

As I recall there are spiritual injunctions against idolatry and false gods -- pretty sure Gaia would be similarly enjoined.

"Coal: Boon or bane?" - "DALLAS – A building boom that would add scores of new coal-fired power plants to the nation's power grid is creating a new dilemma for politicians, environmentalists and utility companies across the United States." (Associated Press)

Meanwhile: "A Power-Grid Report Suggests Some Dark Days Ahead" - "Companies are not building power plants and power lines fast enough to meet growing demand, according to the report." (New York Times)

"Put the Brakes on Global-Warming Lawsuit" - "California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's decision to sue six automakers on the grounds that their vehicles contribute to global warming was announced last month to much derision. Even green editorial pages called it a huge stretch to argue that legal vehicle emissions subject to careful federal regulation amounted to an illegal public nuisance. GOP critics depicted the lawsuit as a publicity stunt related to Lockyer's run for state treasurer. We have good news for critics in each camp: Neither of the candidates to succeed Lockyer as attorney general thinks much of his lawsuit." (Red Orbit)

The new dot.bombs: "Low carbon investment company goes public" - "A UK company which will invest in low carbon products and technologies has been floated on the London Stock Exchange, raising £44.5 million from the sale of its shares." (Edie)

"INTERVIEW - Clocks Tick for CO2 Trade in Energy Business" - "NEW YORK - The Kyoto Protocol has sparked carbon emission markets into action but governments must adopt broader carbon rules quickly if trade is to snowball through the global energy business, the president of carbon asset management company Natsource LLC said in an interview." (Reuters)

The hot air trade is collapsing and rightly so.

"Study finds oilsands could mitigate climate change" - "OTTAWA -- It has been blamed as one of the big villains causing global warming, but a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers has concluded that Alberta's oilsands could play a key role in saving the planet from the devastating effects of climate change. The consulting firm suggests Canada and other G-7 countries must take the lead to tackle global warming through various strategies to improve energy efficiency, increase use of renewable fuels and developing carbon capture and storage technology." (CanWest News Service)

You-beaut carbon abatement scheme -- just doesn't abate carbon...  "Lightbulb giveaway is switched off" - "A SCHEME to cut greenhouse gases by giving away millions of low-energy lightbulbs and shower heads has been shut down after households installed less than half of the products." (The Australia)

"EDF offers customers chance to join the carbon offset set" - "EDF has become the latest domestic energy supplier to offer its customers the chance to become carbon neutral. The move comes amid growing disquiet among environmentalists about carbon offsetting and just days after a competitor was ordered to stop using a leaflet promoting a similar scheme because it misled consumers." (The Guardian)

Dozy blighters, such schemes can do nothing but defraud consumers.

Doh! "UK: Cash for renewable energy turns out to be recycled" - "David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, was accused yesterday of running a "brazen" spin operation, after it emerged that his promise of more money for clean energy sources will mean less money for energy-saving projects." (London Independent)

Gasp, shock etc.: "UK: Trouble in the air: How Government flights pumped out 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide" - "The inevitable head-on collision between Britain's climate change and aviation policies moves a step closer today with figures showing the total distance flown by the Government's own ministers and senior officials last year alone is equivalent to 14 return trips to the Moon. Tony Blair, his cabinet colleagues and their officials clocked up 6.5 million air miles, according to the Cabinet Office's list of flights during the 2005-2006 financial year - and in doing so pumped almost 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, analysis shows." (London Independent)

"More are hungry despite world leaders' pledge" - "Today should have been a day for a celebratory feast. Exactly 10 years ago 176 world leaders at the World Food Summit pledged to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015. Instead it is a day for commiseration and recrimination. More than 850 million are still hungry - some 18 million more than in 1996. And while issues such as debt forgiveness, a better trade deal for Africa and climate change have grabbed the headlines, food has been left off the menu." (London Independent)

Guess what? The more people flock to "biofuels" in an effort to address the phantom menace of Anthropogenic Global Warming, the worse this situation will become as more previously surplus grain is converted to offerings sacrificed on the altar of Gaia-nuttery. The greenhouse delusion is not harmless.

Right idea, anyway: "Hunger vs. the Arts" - "Today's philanthropists want to fight disease and poverty -- shortchanging operas and museums. How high culture is fighting for its share of the charity dollar." (Wall Street Journal)

"Ethical food spending heads towards £2bn" - "A third of British shoppers are prepared to spend more on "ethical" foods, and this year they will spend more than £2bn on Fairtrade, free range, local or organic produce." (The Guardian)

What's that saying about someone and their money soon parted?

"Scientists fighting malaria bite by bite" - "WASHINGTON —Blood stains the walls of the cage where the deadly creatures are kept. They look agitated and eager to escape, but they've just been fed, and David O'Brochta figures it's safe to stick his hand inside. Normally they would bite. Especially if you're a human. Put yourself in a room full of cows, and these things will single you out, O'Brochta said. Not on this day, however, and not in this new University of Maryland biotech laboratory in suburban Rockville, Md. At the moment, the hundreds of captive Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the kind that most often infect people with deadly malaria parasites, are not hungry." (Washington Post)

"Burn ban proposal reignites old fight" - "A Eugene legislator’s proposal to ban field burning would be a “breach of good faith” between grass seed producers and the state, according to mid-valley farmer George Pugh. Pugh farms about 2,800 acres near Shedd. Some of the land has been in his family since 1851. “I think the grass seed industry has negotiated in good faith over the years to come up with a minimal amount of field burning allowed,” Pugh said. “It’s enough to address problems, but to have an out and out ban, I don’t think the technology is available to meet that kind of demand at this time.”

A ban may be sought by state Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene. “The economic benefit of field burning does not outweigh the huge cost to public health, not to mention global warming,” the Associated Press quoted Holvey. If burning is banned, farmers would have to use more herbicides and pesticides, Pugh said, noting the public doesn’t like that option either." (Albany Democrat-Herald)

"Don't deny crop-starved Africa a gene revolution" - "Iowa native Norman Borlaug is often called the father of the Green Revolution. Now it appears that Bill Gates wants to become its son." (Des Moines Register)

"Delhi University to conduct field trials of transgenic mustard" - "NEW DELHI, OCT 13: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed Delhi University to conduct limited field trials of its transgenic mustard crop. Making field trials of transgenic mustard an exceptional case, the apex court said its previous month’s interim verdict of not allowing further field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops till further orders, still holds good." (Financial Express)

October 13, 2006

"New Research Adds Twist to Global Warming Debate" - "A new study provides experimental evidence that cosmic rays may be a major factor in causing the Earth's climate to change. Given the stakes in the current debate over global warming, the research may very well turn out to be one of the most important climate experiments of our time -- if only the media would report the story." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

A New Paper That Evaluates the Accuracy Of The IPCC Models to Assess Regional Weather Patterns (Climate Science)

"NASA'S live tropical sea surface temperature Web site gives climate, hurricane clues" - "Sea surface temperatures give scientists information about ocean currents, climate, climate change and how a hurricane may evolve. Now, NASA has a web page that provides frequent updates on changing ocean temperatures." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

"Hurricane chances slim: Experts say season seems to be over early" - "WASHINGTON - Though hurricane season is still six weeks from being officially over, it appears the Gulf Coast can breathe a collective sigh of relief, according to hurricane experts. "It looks like the season's over," said Dr. William Gray, a Colorado State University climatologist, during a presentation sponsored by the George C. Marshall Institute, a science and public policy think tank here. Gray said he and his colleagues at the Tropical Meteorology Project at the university "didn't do so well this season" because they predicted much more hurricane damage to the U.S. in 2006 than actually occurred." (Sun Herald)

"Shrinking ponds signal warmer, dryer Alaska" - "FAIRBANKS, Alaska--A first-of-its kind analysis of fifty years of remotely sensed imagery from the 1950s to 2002 shows a dramatic reduction in the size and number of more than 10,000 ponds in Alaska. The analysis, by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists and published this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research, indicates that these landscape-level changes in arctic ponds are associated with recent climate warming in Alaska and may have profound effects on climate and wildlife.

Over the past 50 years, Alaska has experienced a warming climate with longer growing seasons, increased permafrost thawing, an increase in water loss due to evaporation from open water and transpiration from vegetation, and yet no substantial change in precipitation." (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Alaska is a fascinating study, demonstrating warming almost exclusively in 1976.

"Northern bogs may have helped kick-start past global warming" - "Methane gas released by peat bogs in the northern-most third of the globe probably helped fuel the last major round of global warming, which drew the ice age to a close between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago, UCLA and Russian Academy of Sciences scientists have concluded. But the new information in no way lets human sources of greenhouse gases off the hook for the present round of global warming, warn the team of researchers whose findings appear in the Oct. 13 issue of Science." (University of California - Los Angeles)

Of course they do... letting people off the hook kills the grant stream.

"Tackling UK's gassy cows problem" - "Number 128 is a jersey cow, she has beautiful brown eyes and cannot resist having a nibble of my microphone. " - "As she stares at me she is constantly chewing... and burping. She could be producing as much as 500 litres of methane per day. There are more than two million more like her across the UK. They are the UK's biggest single source of methane - a gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming. In fact cattle are responsible for about 3% of all Britain's greenhouse gases. Reduce that and experts say you not only make farming greener and more efficient, it could help Britain achieve its commitments under the Kyoto agreement." (BBC)

"Why Isn't The Atmosphere Warming Like The Earth's Surface?" - "The Greenhouse Theory says the atmosphere above us should warm faster than the Earth’s surface around us. But this doesn’t seem to be happening. For example, compare California temperatures in the state’s central farming valleys with the readings on the Sierra Nevada Mountains just above them." (CGFI)

"Inhofe Responds To Critical New York Times Editorial" - "Washington DC – Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee responded to today’s October 12, 2006 New York Times global warming editorial titled, “Doubting Inhofe.” In the past few weeks, Senator Inhofe has raised numerous questions regarding the media's coverage of global warming in two Senate Floor speeches, first on September 25, “Hot & Cold Media Spin: A Challenge To Journalists Who Cover Global Warming” and a follow-up speech on September 29 titled, “America Reacts To Speech Debunking Media Global Warming Alarmism.” (US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)

"Dr Alan Kendall: 'Science never used to have a consensus'" - "Dr Alan Kendall is a senior lecturer in geology at the University of East Anglia who teaches a class in fossil fuels and climate change. He has vigorously opposed the Royal Society and George Monbiot's denunciation of research that is funded by oil companies. The Royal Society is using the power of authority rather than reason and judgement when they condemn the research funded by oil companies. Science never used to have a consensus. I hope I teach my students to exercise their own judgement. There are schools of thought in different subjects but as far as possible they should be given free rein to reach their own conclusions." (London Independent)

"Al Gore’s movie meets its match in Stockholm" - "Al Gore’s recent visits to Australia and Scandinavia to publicise the launch of his movie, An Uncertain Truth, jollied up - but regrettably did not materially illuminate - public discussion of the global warming issue. Mr Gore arrived in Scandinavia, by chance, at the same time that a technical meeting on climate change was in progress in Sweden. The science discussed at the meeting did nothing to reinforce the apocalyptic climate message contained in Mr Gore’s film, but rather mostly directly contradicted it." (Bob Carter, Online Opinion)

Funny how we are still superstitious enough to equate unremembered weather with people and evil. Benny Peiser, via the ever-excellent CCNet, reminds us of "Climatic Change and Witch Hunting", Wolfgang Behringer, 1999 (I was unable to access the original link but did find "Weather, Hunger and Fear: Origins of the European Witch-Hunts in Climate, Society and Mentality [10Mb, 27pp .pdf document image -- translated by David Lederer], alternate source here). Biofuels were a big deal in the 16th and 17th Centuries and people would burn just about anything to keep warm in the depths of the Little Ice Age -- including other people unfortunate enough to be accused of witchcraft. How sad that we have progressed so little that those of us skeptical of "climate emergencies" driven by trivial changes in the availability of essential trace gases are still viewed as heretical, with extremist calls for us to be tried for our "crimes". Plus ça change...

"Report sponsored by Shell sees British economic opportunities in combating global warming" - "LONDON Combating global warming won't bankrupt Britain's economy and could be worth billions for business, says an oil company-sponsored report released Thursday." (Associated Press)

So, if it's sponsored by oil companies it must be lies, right?

From the rubber room: "Climate change inaction 'will cost trillions'" - "LONDON - Failing to fight global warming now will cost trillions of dollars by the end of the century even without counting biodiversity loss or unpredictable events like the Gulf Stream shutting down, a study said today. But acting now will avoid some of the massive damage and cost relatively little, said the study commissioned by Friends of the Earth from the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University in the United States." (Reuters)

Stupid is as stupid does... "UK planning law on climate change" - "A climate change bill which could see regular targets put in place to cut UK carbon dioxide emissions is being considered by the government. An independent system to gauge progress in reducing greenhouse gases is also likely to be included, BBC political editor Nick Robinson said. The move follows a campaign by Friends of the Earth - supported by the Tories and Liberal Democrats - for such a law." (BBC)

At least Canute was demonstrating to silly courtiers that he couldn't command the seas...

Only one-third of the month down... "UK: Balmy autumn temperatures look set to be the hottest on record" - "With bright sunny mornings and balmy afternoons, this year's autumnal weather has been more typical of Greece or Spain. The average daily temperature has climbed to 13.3C, two degrees warmer than usual, and is on course to be the hottest October on record." (London Independent)

... pretty keen to stake a claim here, guys.

Neo-Malthusians sure have adopted 'global warming': "Climate change 'threatens civilisation'" - "Climate change is one of the biggest menaces facing humankind and threatens to breed terrorism, war and the collapse of civilisation, a global health expert says. Dr Colin Butler of Deakin University painted a grim picture of the catastrophic consequence of global warming as communities worldwide competed for scarce resources." (AAP)

Butler flies his misanthropic colors attacking the Catholic Church's 'pro-natalism'.

"Group warns mountains will lose ice caps" - "NAIROBI, Kenya - Africa's two highest mountains — Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya — will lose their ice cover within 25 to 50 years if deforestation and industrial pollution are not stopped, environmentalists warned Thursday. Kilimanjaro has already lost 82 percent of its ice cover over 80 years, said Fredrick Njau of the Kenyan Green Belt Movement. Mount Kenya, one of the few places near the equator with permanent glaciers, has lost 92 percent over the past 100 years.

"This is a major issue because declining ice caps mean the water tap is effectively going to be turned off and that is a major concern," said Nick Nuttall from the U.N.'s Environment Program. All the evidence shows climate change is underway and Africa is the must vulnerable continent to this, he said, adding that foreign aid must address the threat of climate change. Industrial nations also need to step up support to help poor nations adapt to global warming with drought and heat resistant crops and alternative energy sources so people do not cut down trees for fuel, Nuttall said. African forests, he added, are soaking up pollution from industrialized nations for free and should reap some kind of reward or benefit for that." (Associated Press)

Hmm... we'd advise great caution with these "service claims," they're apt to backfire very badly. Assume, for a moment, that "ownership" is allocated for carbon dioxide emitted to atmosphere (a necessary precondition for claiming "clean up service" fees by absorbers from emitters) -- having now converted said "pollution" into a commodity, how long before counter claims are lodged for aerial fertilization of food crops, timber, etc.? Lawyers and traders will naturally prosper under the ensuing increased bureaucracy but it is guaranteed that poor Africans will not.

Insurance scam? "New combatant against global warming: insurance industry" - "The world's second-largest industry, worried about losses related to climate change, offers incentives to 'go green.'" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Norway to Build World's Biggest CO2 Capture Facility" - "OSLO - Norway's centre-left government said on Thursday it would finance the bulk of a pioneering project, carried out with oil company Statoil, to build the world's biggest facility to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions." (Reuters)

"Environmentalists demand Ontario pollution review" - "TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's retreat from a campaign pledge to close the province's coal-burning electricity-generating plants came back to haunt him yesterday when a group of environmental advocates demanded a review of his government's air pollution policies. The Sierra Legal Defence Fund filed a formal petition with the province's Environmental Commissioner the same day Ontario was identified as the country's second-largest polluter, after Alberta." (Globe and Mail)

"Emissions to rise in short term -- but slowly, Ambrose says" - "OTTAWA -- Greenhouse gas emissions will be allowed to grow under the Conservative environmental plan, but at a slower pace, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose asserted yesterday. Canada's position as a growing energy exporter means emissions will also be on the rise for the short term, she said, but the government's long-term plan is to reduce them through new technology and the use of "intensity-based" targets." (Globe and Mail)

Emission targets to be looser for energy sector: Ambrose" - "Canada's oil and gas producers might face a less strict type of greenhouse gas target than other industries will have to meet, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said yesterday. Ottawa might impose absolute caps on industries that emit chemicals that create smog, while allowing "intensity-based" targets for the energy industry, including Alberta's oil sands, that can grow as production expands, Ambrose told reporters in Yellowknife." (Toronto Star)

"NZ: Kyoto Protocol taxpayer liability more than doubles to $656 million" - "The taxpayer's liability under the Kyoto Protocol has risen to $656 million, after the Treasury revised up the international carbon price on which the liability is based in the Government's books. A year ago it was put at $313 million." (New Zealand Herald)

Particularly impressive considering there are only about 4 million New Zealanders and they have no manufacturing or heavy industry to speak of.

Someone's off message: "Bush Worried Low Pump Prices May Slow New Fuels" - "ST LOUIS - US President George W. Bush on Thursday said that falling gasoline prices are "good news" for consumers, but said he was worried that lower pump costs would stunt development of alternative energy fuels." (Reuters)

II: "Bush Says Lower Oil Prices Won’t Blunt New-Fuel Push" - "President Bush suggested that the push to wean America from its oil addiction would be a priority of the last two years of his presidency." (New York Times)

"Powergen plans £1bn 'super' coal-fired station" - "Powergen, the energy supplier owned by E.ON of Germany, unveiled plans yesterday to invest £1bn in the UK's first "super" coal-fired power station to try to curb carbon emissions." (London Independent)

"PG&E in Deal for Cow Gas to Fuel Power Plants" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said Thursday it will purchase natural gas from cow manure produced at dairy farms in California to fuel power plants." (Reuters)

"COLOMBIA: Harvesting Sunshine for Biofuels" - "PUERTO LÓPEZ, Colombia - The sun generates energy; sugar cane, cassava, African oil palm, beets and potatoes store it; and Colombians are determined to transform the energy concentrated in these crops into biofuels." (IPS)

"Selling snake oil with the bio-fuels" - "President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has apologized to his neighbors for the smoke that has been choking them. But perhaps apologies are owed from others too – the boosters of bio-fuels, including western environmentalists and palm oil companies owned by investors in Malaysia and Singapore.

There is of course nothing new about the Indonesian government’s failure to control forest and scrub burning in Kalimantan and Sumatra, whether for clearance by corporate loggers or by local farmers.

What is new is the global passion for bio-diesel on the alleged grounds that it will be a major contributor to reduction in greenhouse gases and global warming. As palm oil is probably the most cost-efficient way of producing bio-diesel, it stands to reason that Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s two major palm oil producers and both of whom have large acreages which can be converted from forest to plantation, are keen to promote the concept." (Asia Sentinel)

Not an appropriate climate cycle in which to squander grain reserves on stupid subsidy farming-schemes: "Grain stockpiles at lowest for 25 years" - "The world’s stockpiles of wheat are at their lowest level in more than a quarter century, according to the US Department of Agriculture, which on Thursday slashed its forecasts for global wheat and corn production. The lower forecasts were largely attributable to the severe drought in Australia, where the forecast for this year’s wheat crop was cut by 8.5m tons to 11m. That is less than half of the 24m produced last year, of which about 17m went to exports. As a result of the low Australian crop, AWB, the country’s main wheat exporter, said it would suspend exports from the country’s east coast due to the poor crop and review its export requirements." (Financial Times)

"Turn on the lights" - "HERE'S a test for those protesters – backed by churchmen, academics, Age journalists and the dad's-cash rich – who are planning next month's big Melbourne rally against capitalism. Check this picture of North Korea by night, deep in darkness. And see also, just below, the lights of South Korea blazing so warmly. Question: Which of those two Korean countries do you think decided to follow America and go capitalist? And which do you think decided to follow advice of people just like you -- yes, you in the Che Guevara T-shirt? As the satellite picture shows, bright ideas can have black consequences. Communist North Korea might be able to build a nuclear bomb, but its people are now so poor and starved that many are reportedly driven to eat the bark off trees. Here is a reminder that some ideas are so dopey that those pushing them should not be encouraged -- and especially not by people who should well know how we got so rich and free. And well-lit." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"Satellites help ensure safe sunning" - "Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation is responsible for up to 60 000 deaths a year worldwide, according to a report released this summer by the World Health Organisation. Many of those deaths, however, could be avoided through simple preventive measures such as seeking shade when the UV Index is high, the report says." (European Space Agency)

"How Malaria Underdevelops Sub-Saharan Africa" - "Malaria continues to wreak havoc on the living conditions of the majority of Africans and the disease is partly responsible for the perpetual dismal GDP of most sub-Saharan African countries." (AFM)

"Nigeria battles Malaria with insecticide, drugs" - "Lagos, Nigeria, 10/12 - The Nigerian government has acquired chemicals and spray pumps in preparation for a nationwide, house-to-house and outdoor spraying to kill mosquitoes and reduce malaria-related deaths in the country, President Olusegun Obasanjo announced Wednesday." (Angola Press)

"Africa: DDT - Panacea to Malaria Scourge" - "THE re-introduction of controversial insecticide DDT for malaria control in Africa has sparked fresh debate between environmentalists who are against its use and public health experts who see it as an effective tool in the fight against the third biggest killer disease on the continent." (The Herald)

"A new approach to the treatment of malaria in pregnant women in West Africa" - "A new approach to treatment for pregnant women suffering from malaria in west Africa has been found to be both safe and effective, following a randomised trial carried out by a team based in Ghana and at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Treating women with the drug amodiaquine, either alone or in combination with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), was found to almost completely eliminate the malaria parasite and to cause no serious side-effects in the women being treated." (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

"EU Parliamentary Committee Approves New Chemical Regulations" - "Washington, D.C., October 12, 2006—U.S. and European firms were unsuccessful in an attempt to make the proposed European policy on chemical regulation more affordable during recent committee consideration of the bill in the EU Parliament. “Even if business had succeeded in reducing paperwork costs, the policy would still have adverse effects around the world,” noted Angela Logomasini, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s director of risk and environmental policy and author of a study on the topic published by the Brussels-based Hayek Institute." (CEI)

'So what?' of the day: "BANNED chemical DDT has been found in eel tissue in a Berwickshire river." - "Water watchdog SEPA found the chemical in the Whiteadder during routine monitoring even though DDT has been banned from use in the UK for 30 years. A shocked environment expert this week warned that young children and pregnant women should not eat the eels - and said the chemical could also be present in salmon and trout." (Berwickshire Today)

Typically, a nitwit from WWF is trotted out for the "Ooh! Chemical!" quote. Traces of DDT or its metabolites will not harm consumers.

Again with terrorizing pregnant women: "Pregnant women 'oily fish alert'" - "Eating too much oily fish during pregnancy may increase the risk of delivering the baby too early, scientists believe. The researchers told New Scientist magazine the harm is probably caused by high mercury levels in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines. But experts warn it is important for pregnant women, and indeed everyone, to eat enough fish to keep healthy. Pregnant women should eat fish twice a week, says the Food Standards Agency." (BBC)

"Antique whale oil provides insights to origin of pre-industrial chemicals" - "One of the last remaining New England whaling ships has provided unexpected insights into the origin of halogenated organic compounds (HOCs) that have chemical and physical properties similar to toxic PCBs and the pesticide DDT. HOCs are found everywhere and degrade slowly, but some are naturally produced and others are produced by humans.

While large scale industrial production of HOCs did not begin until the late 1920s, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts say naturally produced HOCs were bioaccumulating in marine mammals before major chemical companies like Monsanto, Dupont, and 3M were making HOCs for industrial uses. Their findings are reported in the online version of the journal Environmental Pollution." (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

"University of Penn chemists reinvent the science and industry of making plastics" - "PHILADELPHIA -– Chemists at the University of Pennsylvania have created a new process for free radical polymerization, the chemical reaction responsible for creating an enormous array of everyday plastic products, from Styrofoam cups to PVC tubing to car parts. Unlike the "traditional" method for living polymerization, which has been around for more than 50 years, this method takes place at room temperature, uses less metal catalyst to drive the reaction and requires a very short reaction time." (University of Pennsylvania)

"Your Unlucky Day: The religious roots of triskaidekaphobia." - "Feeling unlucky today? If so, you're in the minority but certainly not alone: About 9% of Americans believe that Friday the 13th is jinxed, according to a 1990 Gallup poll. It's one of our more prevalent star-crossed superstitions, running a little behind a black cat crossing your path (which worries 14%) and walking beneath a ladder (12%) and a little ahead of breaking a mirror (4%)." (John J Miller, Opinion Journal)

"Mayo Clinic study could lead to safer pesticides" - "ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Each year millions of dollars in crops are lost to two insects notorious for devastating farms: the greenbug (Schizaphis graminum) and the English grain aphid (Sitobion avenae). Although these tiny green insects are 1/16th of an inch long, they are heavyweights in the farm industry. In 2005, the Department of Agriculture reported that $100 million in crops were lost in six states to these pests." (Mayo Clinic)

"Uganda 'needs biotech law' to save banana sector" - "An official in Uganda's agriculture ministry has expressed concern that policymakers are not keeping pace with scientific efforts to control a disease threatening the country's main cash crop." (AND)

The usual suspects: "Groups Say FDA Should Ban Sale of Food From Clones" - "WASHINGTON - Citing public health, ethical and animal cruelty concerns, consumer and religious groups on Thursday urged federal regulators to issue a moratorium on the introduction of food made from cloned animals." (Reuters)

"India: Field trials of indigenously developed GM Gold Rice soon" - "NEW DELHI, OCT 12: India is not lagging behind in developing its versions of the genetically modified (GM) Golden Rice. Director-general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Mangla Rai said, “We would possibly go for largescale field trials of our Golden Rice within a year.” (Financial Express)

October 12, 2006

"DDT: Hippocratic Oath Turned Hypocritical?" - "Dr. Arata Kochi recently announced that the World Health Organization is again emphasizing DDT in malaria control. Other methods had been dismal failures and millions of people are dying every year, 90 percent in Africa. DDT is safe, effective and essential, he pointed out, if the world is to prevent this mosquito-carried disease. Ever since, Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and other radical groups have been attacking Dr. Kochi, WHO and DDT." (The Africa Executive)

In a lucid moment: "Foolish Vaccine Exemptions" - "States that make it easy for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children are suffering increased disease rates as a consequence, according to an article published yesterday in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings should be a warning to all parents and state officials who think they can let their guards down on immunizations that are needed to protect both the children and the communities in which they live." (New York Times)

"San Francisco Chronicle’s Cosmetic Scare" - "The San Francisco Chronicle’s one-sided reporting about phthalates in cosmetics has continued the media's obsession with the supposedly harmful effects of beauty products. Armed with little more than the websites of special interest groups, the Chronicle is scaring the pants –make that the face – off of women (and some men) who use make-up across the country." (Rebecca Goldin, STATS)

"Lead paint, cigarettes: Are trans fats next?" - "New York City's Health Department wants to ban trans fats from the menus of the city's restaurants." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Study of NYC transit system noise levels finds daily rides can result in hearing loss" - "In a new survey of noise levels of the New York City transit system, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that exposure to noise levels in subways have the potential to exceed recommended guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the research, as little as 30 minutes of exposure to decibel levels measured in the New York City transit system per day has the potential to result in hearing loss. The findings have just been published in the September issue of the Journal of Urban Health, a publication of the New York Academy of Medicine." (Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health)

"Political science" - "Credit the newsmaking scientists at Johns Hopkins with this: They know a political opportunity when they see one. This latest Iraq war-death estimate -- 655,000, four times higher than anyone else's -- is released a few weeks before Election 2006, just like their last Lancet study, which appeared right before the 2004 election. Here we are again, watching science meet anti-war politics." (Washington Times)

"A secular version of Kingdom Come" - "Environmental polemicist George Monbiot's new book asks why people do not act on their fears of climate change. Good question." (James Heartfield, sp!ked)

"Insurers Enjoy Strong Quarter" - "CHICAGO — For property/casualty insurers and reinsurers, 2006's third quarter can be summed up in two words: no hurricanes. After a record-breaking hurricane season last year drove down earnings for many insurers, widespread predictions of an active hurricane season this year, fueled by global warming, simply failed to materialize. No hurricane-strength storms made landfall in the United States through the end of the third quarter. (Dow Jones Newswires)

Ah, 'puter models... A bit late, mate! (Number Watch)

No surprises here for regular readers: "Carnage from a computer" - "WE ARE USED to politicians suppressing the truth. When scientists do it as well, we are in trouble. Not one of the Government’s senior advisers, from Sir David King, the chief scientist, downwards, has yet dared to confirm in public what most experts in private now accept, that the mass slaughter of farm animals in the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak was not only unnecessary and inhumane, but was also based on false statistics, bad science and wrong deductions." (Magnus Linklater, London Times)

Terrible place, that virtual world -- bugger of a climate, too.

"The Little Ice Age affected the tropics" - "The cooling period between about 1400 and 1850 A.D., known as the Little Ice Age, was one of the most extreme events recorded in many regions since the Last Glacial Maximum, 20,000 years ago. Though Little Ice Age climatic changes have been reconstructed from a number of high latitude locations, few studies show definitive proof for Little Ice Age effects within the tropics. Newton et al, analyzed a sediment core collected from Makassar Strait, Indonesia, a location that underlies the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, one of the warmest regions in the modern ocean. Through sea surface temperature and salinity reconstructions, based on magnesium/calcium and oxygen isotope ratios within microfossils, the authors found a significant cooling and freshening trend within the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool that matches the time period of the Little Ice Age. The authors hypothesize that the changes in the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool were caused by a southern displacement of the Inter-Tropical Convergent Zone, which delivered more rain to the tropical Pacific, freshening waters and decreasing temperatures. Title: Climate and hydrographic variability in the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool during the last millennium." (Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2006GL027234, 2006)

Hmm... "Doubting Inhofe" - "In a recent speech in the Senate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma called himself “the senator who has spent more time educating about the actual facts about global warming.” Too bad he is not the senator who has spent more time educating himself. His speech, one in a series on global warming, was a brisk survey of the way the news media have covered climatic predictions over the past century. Cooling, warming — we never get it right." (New York Times)

Considering that, where "global warming" is concerned, the Old Gray Lady has declined to the Senile Old Bat, this attack on Inhofe is a bit rich. NYT apparently has long since made the decision "global warming" is purely a manifestation of Man's evil and is just plain, well, bad. Their belief system has led them to some embarrassing predicaments (who could forget The Times trumpeting the "first open water at the North Pole for, like, a million years, dude!", only to quietly retract in the face of pictures of three submarines surfaced in open water at the North Pole in the 1950s?). Additionally, The Times has chosen to ignore tremendously important climate research published by no less a champion of anthropogenic global warming than the Royal Society, (obvious front for the carbon conspiracy, we suppose). This research demonstrates how small variations in solar activity are reinforced by feedback effects and are thus more than sufficient to account for all estimated warming absent assistance from anthropogenic activity. Granted, most of the mainstream media has ignored it but currently it's NYT trying to claim to be a better angel.

Regarding Hansen's recent temperature claims we said:

Gosh! "Heed This Warning" - "The problem of climate change has become a crisis that no responsible politician can ignore." (Washington Post)

Did The Post not bother to look at the PNAS article (2.34Mb .pdf, 7pp including cover) or just not understand any of it? It is not even certain they read or got a handle on the rather breathless press release. This is just wrong on so many levels. Let's look at a few of the apparently dodgy claims presented:

Firstly, can a couple of proxy sites be used to extrapolate global mean temperatures? In this case, apparently not since the listed Eastern and Western Equatorial Pacific sites show differences of opposing signs wrt 1870-1900 means (fig. 3.B). Two Eastern Equatorial Pacific sites (just north of the Galapagos Islands) demonstrate significant disparity over the last 100K years, somewhat unlikely for sea surface temperatures at sites within a couple of hundred miles of the equator, no?

Hansen and GISS generally produce temperature anomalies with reference to (wrt) 1951-1980 but here use 1870-1900. Why recalculate to a new reference period unless perhaps to include warming predating significant change in atmospheric trace gas levels? The effect of this recalculation is to double estimated warming and greatly inflate the apparent 2001-2005 anomaly.

Comparing a five-year running mean with 1,000-year averages? (The caption Fig. 5. reads: Modern sea surface temperatures (5, 6) in the WEP compared with paleoclimate proxy data (28). Modern data are the 5-year running mean, while the paleoclimate data has a resolution of the order of 1,000 years.) What do you suppose is the value of that?

Then there's "The paleoclimate SST, based on Mg content of foraminifera shells, provides accuracy to ≈ 1°C (29)."

Really? "The analysis of foraminifera suggests an interlaboratory variance of about ±8% (%RSD) for Mg/Ca measurements, which translates to reproducibility of about ±2–3°C. The relatively large range in the reproducibility of foraminiferal analysis is primarily due to relatively poor intralaboratory repeatability (about ±1–2°C) and a bias (about 1°C) due to the application of different cleaning methods by different laboratories." -- Rosenthal (2004) (1.92Mb .pdf, 29pp).

Hansen states "It seems safe to assume that the SST will not decline this century, given continued increases of GHGs, so in a practical sense the WEP temperature is at or near its highest level in the Holocene." Well, that may not be a "safe" assumption given the recently observed ocean cooling (3.33Mb .pdf, 15pp), a cooling not predicted by any climate model (nor climate researcher of which we are aware) and which will be of unknown duration.

Actually, the paper is littered with unsupported muses, rambling semi-editorializing and a rehashing of recycled papers, all accompanied by odd conclusions making it all the more surprising PNAS published it.

Whatever, this collation of responses to Hansen's somewhat bizarre claim has been forwarded and we make it available unvetted (about 3Mb .pdf).

Oddly enough, NYT does publish items like this: "Study Links Extinction Cycles to Changes in Earth’s Orbit and Tilt" - "If rodents in Spain are any guide, periodic changes in Earth’s orbit may account for the apparent regularity with which new species of mammals emerge and then go extinct, scientists are reporting today. It so happens, the paleontologists say, that variations in the course Earth travels around the Sun and in the tilt of its axis are associated with episodes of global cooling. Their new research on the fossil record shows that the cyclical pattern of these phenomena corresponds to species turnover in rodents and probably other mammal groups as well. In a report appearing today in the journal Nature, Dutch and Spanish scientists led by Jan A. van Dam of Utrecht University in the Netherlands say the “astronomical hypothesis for species turnover provides a crucial missing piece in the puzzle of mammal species- and genus-level evolution.” (New York Times)

International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme Report Which Illustrates The Complexity Of The Climate System (Climate Science)

"That Other Greenhouse Gas: Somewhat mysteriously, the rise in atmospheric methane levels has ceased" - "Worry over the effects of fossil-fuel carbon dioxide in the air has become a familiar theme in public discourse about climate change. But news accounts (and movies by former Vice Presidents) that focus exclusively on CO2 in discussing global warming neglect an inconvenient truth: Other gaseous emissions add substantially to the atmosphere's ability to trap heat. In particular, methane (CH4) produces a climate forcing that is more than a third of that produced by carbon dioxide. The concentrations of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have both risen dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution, but unlike its more familiar greenhouse-gas cousin, atmospheric methane has recently stopped increasing in abundance.

This happy development wasn't entirely unanticipated, given that the rate of increase has been slowing for at least a quarter-century. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicated many of its conclusions on scenarios in which methane concentrations would continue growing for decades to come. Thus the recent stabilization of methane levels is something that some scientists are trying very hard to explain." (David Schneider, American Scientist)

"Antarctic Ice Sheet (and the Plot) Thickens" - "Glaciers the size of Rhode Island breaking off and floating away…grass growing along the periphery of Antarctica…coastal inundation from rising sea levels…even a forecast that Europe will freeze solid the “day after tomorrow.” These are a few of the doomsday portraits painted by a politicized few that are clamoring to have a full-throated voice in the great global climate change debate." (WCR)

Twaddle: "Why the Frogs Are Dying" - "Climate change is no longer merely a matter of numbers from a computer model. With startling swiftness, it is reordering the natural world." (Newsweek International)

It appears to have much more to do with chytrid fungus (helpfully spread by eco-tourism, not to mention field researchers), the introduction of feral critters and, of course, habitat alteration. What it does not appear to be associated with is the globe's trivial warming of the past couple of hundred years. See also: A load of hot air? (BBC) -- Hat tip Dennis A.

Annual leaf-peeping scare... "Report: Global warming threatens rich fall colors" - "New England's iconic autumn foliage, spectacular in its color, may one day fade permanently rather than just annually. Some climate scientists say that even if steps are taken now to limit global warming, temperatures in New England will rise enough over the next half-century that the source of much of that rich fall color, the sugar maples, will disappear from most of the region. Healthy stands of sugar maples may be found eventually no farther south than Canada and northern Maine." (The Republican)

"Environmentalists, scientists wary about green-plan consultations" - "OTTAWA - The federal government is promising consultations on key aspects of its green agenda, but environmentalists and scientists want to know who is being consulted about what. They say formal consultations on smog and climate change have been going on since at least 1990 and the opinions of virtually all industry players are well known, while activists and researchers aren't being heard. University of Alberta professor David Schindler, one of Canada's most prominent environmental scientists, said no one in government has requested his views. "It doesn't seem as though they're interested in talking to us," Schindler said in an interview Wednesday. "I just this morning reviewed the CO2 (greenhouse) emissions and, boy, they're pretty disgusting. We've got to get down to business and do something about it. They're making an international laughingstock of us." (CP)

Not being heard? "Evil fossil fuels and profligate people are cooking the planet -- we're all gonna die!" See? We heard everything you guys have to say already. What we are looking for is a whole lot less noise from the peanut gallery while we figure out whether a genuine problem exists and whether anything could be done about it if we eventually decided we really wanted to.

"Is global warming debate really 'over'?" - "Over the past week, activists, scientists and politicians have taken to the airwaves to declare the debate on global warming over. The established position is that global warming is clearly occurring and it is also clearly caused by human activities. But what does it really mean for a scientific debate to be "over." Scientifically, what this means is that all available data (or very nearly all available data) relating to the subject of the debate have been collected, analyzed and interpreted, the result of which yields one single, inescapable conclusion. Some other scientific ideas for which the debate is "over" include: gravity (at least the physical phenomenon on planet Earth), the Laws of Thermodynamics (again, at least here on Earth) and the Ideal Gas Law (PV=nRT). Add to this list Human-caused Global Warming!" (Michael J. Shaughnessy Jr., WND)

"Nuremberg-style Trials Proposed For Global Warming Skeptics" - "A U.S. based environmental magazine that both former Vice President Al Gore and PBS newsman Bill Moyers, for his October 11th global warming edition of “Moyers on America” titled “Is God Green?” have deemed respectable enough to grant one-on-one interviews to promote their projects, is now advocating Nuremberg-style war crimes trials for skeptics of human caused catastrophic global warming. Grist Magazine’s staff writer David Roberts called for the Nuremberg-style trials for the “bastards” who were members of what he termed the global warming “denial industry.” (Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)

Another kid-scarer: "ICanStopGlobalWarming.com Will Focus on Educating the Public on How Everyone Can Help Stop Global Warming" - "Merrimack, NH October 11, 2006 - Internet Travel company www.WeGoPlaces.com launched it’s new subsidiary www.ICanStopGlobalWarming.com in an effort teach everyone how they can learn about and help stop Global Warming." (PRWEB)

"Canada: PM plans 'intensity' alternative to Kyoto" - "Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday that greenhouse-gas targets in the federal government's new environmental policy will be “intensity-based,” a system that effectively scuttles Canada's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol." (Globe and Mail)

"Canada: Emissions to rise in short term — but slowly, Ambrose says" - "OTTAWA — Greenhouse gas emissions will be allowed to grow under the Conservative environmental plan, but at a slower pace, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose asserted Wednesday." (Globe and Mail)

Doh! "Cashing In On 'Carbon Trade': Abuse Possible In Rich Nations' Swap Of Emissions Credits With Poorer Nations'" - "As the world grows warmer, poorer nations are helping the rich by reining in heat-trapping gases in a multibillion-dollar "carbon trade" that is outrunning its U.N. overseers and founding principles, and spawning conflicts of interest and possible abuse. Even pig manure has gone from a hot commodity to a controversial one in the 2-year-old "CDM" market, in which industrial countries obliged by treaty to cut greenhouse-gas emissions can get credit for reductions in the developing world. Less is achieved than is asserted, critics say." (Associated Press)

"Brussels to take legal action against EU states on lack of CO2 plans" - "Brussels is set to take legal action against nine EU member states for having failed to present the European Commission with plans on how they will cut their greenhouse gasses between 2008 and 2012 – an important part of the EU strategy to reach its Kyoto commitments." (EUobserver)

"Post-Kyoto climate talks may last to 2010: expert" - "OSLO - Talks on extending a UN-led fight against global warming beyond 2012 may last until 2010 to allow a wider US role after President George W. Bush steps down, a UN expert said today. Many environmentalists, and some governments, want a new pact on cutting greenhouse emissions agreed by 2008 to give businesses and investors time to adapt to new rules after the UN Kyoto Protocol's first period ends in 2012. "I sense in the rhetoric that people are talking more about 2009 (than 2008)", said Michael Zammit Cutajar, a climate expert from Malta who leads a UN group looking at how to extend Kyoto." (Reuters)

Failed economic theory to go with failed social engineering scam... "EU moots border tax to offset costs of climate action" - "In Short: A paper drafted for the Commission suggests taxing goods imported from countries that do not impose a CO2 cap on their industry as a way to compensate for the costs of climate- change measures." (EurActiv)

"Environmentalists demand action from European carmakers" - "PARIS, France - The European media in general and British TV and Radio in particular believe that humans are warming the climate and that Earth will perish unless we curb emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by foreswearing the automobile and aeroplane, among other things." (Neil Winton, Detroit News)

Sacré bleu! "Global warming cuts no ice with Europe's air travellers" - "Europe’s business and leisure travellers are largely unmoved by the howls of political protest against the aviation industry’s contribution to global warming, latest figures from aviation analysts OAG suggest. Demand for air travel is at its highest October level since 9/11. Worldwide, the number of flights timetabled for this month is three per cent higher than in October last year. However, the number of air services to and from Europe is up nine per cent – airlines plan to operate nearly 7,300 more flights than in October 2005." (Travel Daily News)

"Big homes may have to meet energy rules" - "County officials decided Tuesday to study whether builders of large homes should be forced to meet new energy standards in the face of concerns over limited power resources. The Board of Supervisors asked planners to study the alternatives, including a Marin County law requiring large new homes to consume no more energy than a 3,500-square-foot home does." (Ventura County Star)

"In Ontario, Making 'Clean Energy' Pay" - "TORONTO -- Leonard Allen, who runs a small solar panel company here, finally has something good to tell callers, he says. For the first time, he can promise it won't take 50 years to recoup the money they spend on a rooftop solar system. Canada's Ontario province has ordered local utility companies to pay homeowners or businesses for any electricity they generate from small solar, wind, water or other renewable energy projects, beginning next month." (Washington Post)

"New technology needed to cut pollution-World Bank" - "WASHINGTON, Oct 11 - The world's top polluting nations agreed new energy-generating technologies are needed to curb global warming and developing countries asked rich states for training and know-how, a World Bank official said on Wednesday. "All participants agreed on the urgency and the issue of technology," World Bank energy director Jamal Saghir said. Energy and environment ministers from the 20 biggest polluting countries met behind closed doors for two days last week and vowed to work faster to control greenhouse gases as scientists told them each year wasted would cost them dearly." (Reuters)

"MALAYSIA: Surplus Electricity - But Bigger Dams Planned" - "KUALA LUMPUR - Even before the problem-ridden Bakun Dam in eastern Sarawak can be completed, officials are talking of plans to build two more hydroelectric dams in the state, one of which could make Bakun look puny by comparison." (IPS)

"Harvesting machine driving mesquite-to-ethanol potential" - "Knocking down mesquite hasn't been a problem in the past. Picking it up and getting it off the land has, said a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher. That will change with a new mesquite harvester for use in wood-to-ethanol production, said Dr. Jim Ansley, Experiment Station rangeland ecologist. The only one of these machines in existence was demonstrated at the 2006 Range and Wildlife Field Day on Oct. 5 in Vernon. But Ansley said it won't be the only one for long with commercial production expected soon.

A combination of the U.S.'s dependency on foreign oil and a growing problem for producers with brush encroachment, which reduces grasses and production and water availability, has driven his recent work. "We're emphasizing mesquite and we're targeting ethanol conversion, although there are other bioconversions that could take place," Ansley said. He said there are an estimated 51 million acres of mesquite in Texas, with 30 million acres of moderate to dense mesquite in Central Texas.

Mesquite is drought hardy, fixes its own nitrogen, requires no seeding, fertilization or irrigation, resprouts vigorously after topkill and grows on dry, nutrient-poor soils, he said. Finding a profitable use for it is a win-win situation." (Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications)

"CHILE: Exposing the Salmon Industry" - "SANTIAGO - More than 30 environmental and consumer organisations in six countries that produce farmed salmon, including Chile, have launched a global week of action to raise awareness on abusive practices by the salmon industry." (IPS)

"Let’s Force-Feed Activists Some Social Responsibility" - "If you have read my columns about the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement or have heard me speak, then you already know that I think the corporate Neville Chamberlains who buy into this socialist claptrap should be held accountable at the next shareholders meeting and issued a one-way ticket to the unemployment office. That said, I must admit that I recently experienced an epiphany about social responsibility thanks to Spinacia oleracea—that dark green, leafy vegetable that Popeye made famous." (Nick Nichols, Townhall)

"Only hype makes organic food 'healthier'" - "Thanks to multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, the consumer believes that organic food is healthier for you. The organic and natural food craze teaches John Q. Public that organic foods are somehow safer and more nutritious. Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth." (Judi McLeod, Canada Free Press)

"Stalk-Raving Mad: French Farmers, Activists Battle Over Rise in Genetically Altered Corn" - "MARMANDE, France -- In a country with strong and often romantic ties to food and the land, and amid this bucolic landscape of neat vineyards and village butchers, U.S. biotech companies have found an unlikely ally in their battle to bring genetically modified crops to Europe -- French farmers.

More French farmers are sowing the one genetically modified seed permitted in the European Union, called transgenic corn, saying they want cheaper, better protection from pests. But that's produced another kind of annoyance, a minor ground war with environmental activists and fire from politicians in Paris." (Wall Street Journal)

October 11, 2006

"Sound Science or Sound Bite?" - "I direct a journalism program at a science-oriented university where my colleagues are modern-day alchemists, turning corn into fuel, conjuring twisters in wind tunnels, or morphing visitors at our virtual reality lab into plant cells during photosynthesis. These professors rank among the most ingenious, passionate people I have ever met. Put some of them in front of a reporter, however, and all bets are off." (Michael Bugeja, Inside Higher Ed)

"UK: Science teaching 'back to front'" - "The new GCSE science curriculum has been branded "soundbite science" which takes a back-to-front approach. Sir Richard Sykes, rector of Imperial College London, is among the scientists to attack the core qualification, where pupils debate scientific issues. "Science should inform the news agenda, not the other way round," he said in a report from the Institute of Ideas think tank." (BBC)

"Q: Is Bush Science’s Nemesis? A: No" - "Kudos to Richard Gallagher & Alison McCook from The Scientist for being gutsy enough to do an even-handed piece on President Bush’s record on science, and for asking the question in Gallagher’s editorial, “Is Bush Science’s Nemesis?” in more than the conventional rhetorical fashion. McCook’s piece “Sizing Up Bush on Science" answers with a resounding “no,” or at least no more than past presidents, including Bill Clinton." (Center for Science & Culture)

"Vaccine exemptions may boost whooping cough cases" - "NEW YORK - State laws that make it easy for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children may be contributing to outbreaks of whooping cough, researchers reported Tuesday. In an analysis of U.S. vaccine-exemption laws, investigators found higher rates of whooping cough in states where parents can refuse to vaccinate their child due to "personal beliefs." (Reuters Health) | States that easily grant immunization exemptions have higher incidence of whooping cough (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"Trans fat labels risk giving dairy a bad name" - "AMSTERDAM - Labelling the content of trans fats that occur naturally in dairy products could mislead consumers and give milk and cheese a bad name, an expert on the health effects of fats said on Tuesday. Dutch Professor Ronald Mensink, who together with a colleague proved in 1990 that artificial trans fats raise bad cholesterol levels, told Reuters the world lacked information about the health impact of naturally occurring trans fats. A move to introduce labels in Europe displaying the levels of trans fat in foods should distinguish between the artificial and naturally occurring forms of the fat, Mensink said. Otherwise, the image of products in which trans fats occur naturally, such as milk, cheese and the meat from ruminants, could be damaged, he said." (Reuters)

"Seduced by Snacks? No, Not You" - "According to Prof. Brian Wansink’s research, people make over 200 food decisions a day — and are outwitted at every turn." (New York Times)

"Study: Modern Hatcheries Aid Wild Salmon" - "GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- New research confirms that steelhead raised for generations in hatcheries do poorly when they try to reproduce in the wild, but the first generation of fish raised from wild parents in hatcheries are as successful at reproducing in their native rivers as their wild cousins.

The results of genetically testing some 15,000 steelhead returning to the Hood River in Oregon over the past 15 years offer support for federal policies using hatcheries to bolster threatened and endangered wild runs of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin." (AP)

"US Faces Warmer-than-Normal Winter - Government" - "WASHINGTON - Many Americans could see lower home heating bills this winter with milder-than-normal temperatures expected from the West to the Northeast, US government weather forecasters said Tuesday. A year after the contiguous United States experienced its fifth warmest winter on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the El Nino weather anomaly should keep most of the frigid cold air in Canada." (Reuters)

"Predicting winter's heating costs as uncertain as forecasting the weather" - "A year after Hurricane Katrina knocked out a fifth of the nation's natural gas production and prices jumped 29 percent, the U.S Energy Department is predicting heating bills should be much lower for most Americans this winter, by as much as 13 percent. In a report released almost at the same time, Minnesota's largest energy company predicted its customers will pay MORE than last year to heat their homes with natural gas. Confused? Here's one reason why. Both projections are based on a less than exact tool: weather forecasting." (Minnesota Public Radio)

"Central American fires impact US air quality and climate" - "Scientists using NASA satellites and computer models have shown that pollutants from Central American biomass burning can influence air quality and climate in the United States." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

Insurance panda-ing : "Global Warming Seen Pushing up Insurance Costs" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming will push up insurance premiums in high-risk areas like coastal Florida and other hurricane-prone parts of the United States, an insurance company official said on Tuesday. "That it will cost more, there's no question; we can put that on the table right at the beginning," said Clem Booth, a board member of Allianz Group. "The pricing of an insurance portfolio in a coastal region is a matter of the number of incidents to be expected within a given time and the size of incidents at certain levels." (Reuters) | Insurers urged to adapt to global warming (Financial Times)

That premiums must reflect risk is both true and reasonable. What is highly dubious is "global warming" as a driver of risk. Take US land-falling hurricanes, for example: this year has seen numerous claims of hottest ever recorded monthly mean temperatures over the northern summer, guaranteed to boost global mean temperature to among the top something-or-other over some arbitrary period and yet the peak hurricane months have passed without incident. If "global warming" = more and more severe hurricanes then the relatively warm globe this year should have seen a whopping hurricane season but such simplistic associations do not hold.

Of course, such misguided waffle is much more understandable when you know the World Wide Font of nonsense (WWF) is coconspirator in this "report".

Comments on the Economist Article “The Heat is On” (Climate Science)

"Water for millions at risk as glaciers melt away" - "The world's glaciers and ice caps are now in terminal decline because of global warming, scientists have discovered. A survey has revealed that the rate of melting across the world has sharply accelerated in recent years, placing even previously stable glaciers in jeopardy. The loss of glaciers in South America and Asia will threaten the water supplies of millions of people within a few decades, the experts warn." (The Guardian)

And now we have a much clearer idea why this might be so, since glacier advance and retreat is but loosely associated with temperature but strongly with cloudiness and precipitation. Strangely, very few media outlets are mentioning the new research though. Kudos to New Scientist for running the following:

"Cosmic rays before seven, clouds by eleven" - "Subatomic debris created when high energy cosmic rays collide with the atmosphere could be behind some of Earth's cloud cover." (Nigel Calder, New Scientist)

Granted, we frequently give NS a backhander for crappy coverage of global warming and related issues and granted, too, that this piece may be something of an exception since Calder is coauthor with Svensmark in a book on this very topic, due out in about 6 months (I think). Nonetheless, if it's good enough for Moonbat to run attack pieces about a "denial industry" in order to plug his book then we see nothing wrong with Calder potentially benefiting from publicity about this important research.

"Raining on Greenhouse Predictions" - "Every school child in our country has heard that burning fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and that this extra CO2 will act like an extra blanket covering the Earth thereby causing temperatures to increase. The story is a bit more complex, and could go something like this: burning fossil fuels indeed emits CO2 into the atmosphere, and the CO2 alone should cause the temperature to rise a bit if all else is held equal. As the temperature creeps upward, evaporation will increase worldwide, and the atmosphere will increase its water vapor content as well. Water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas, and the increase water vapor is far more important to the resulting temperature rise than the extra molecules of CO2.

The climate models all include this water vapor feedback, otherwise, the projected temperature rise would seem insignificant and not worthy of policy actions or funding of scientific research into global warming. To say the least, the water vapor feedback is important!" (WCR)

"Senator says warming by humans just a hoax" - "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the debate whether humans are changing the climate is over. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, says the science linking human activity to global warming is overwhelming.

President Bush recently called global warming "a serious problem." He said there is still uncertainty over how much of the warming is natural and how much man-made, but he added that it was time to "get beyond the debate" and deploy new technologies to curb greenhouse gases.

But in the U.S. Senate, one prominent lawmaker isn't buying it.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has argued repeatedly that the idea that humans are warming the climate is a hoax. In a speech on the Senate floor last month, he declared that the "greatest climate threat we face may be coming from alarmist computer models." (SF Chronicle)

"Inhofe correct on global warming" - "Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe has been taking a lot of heat lately for his skeptical stance on global warming. He's been called a "social dinosaur" for his failure to accept the politically correct view. But in my opinion, Sen. Inhofe is absolutely correct to be skeptical. As the Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot said, "skepticism is the first step towards truth." (David Deming, The Norman Transcript)

"Australia: Nagged by green Labor" - "RELIGIOUS bigots are dangerous in politics. Just see what federal Labor frontbenchers Kelvin Thomson and Anthony Albanese will do in the name of their green faith." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Hmm... even the Royal Society published a new paper devastating to the AGW hypothesis (albeit rather quietly). Wonder what Australia's federal opposition make of that?

The latest from Ozone Man: "EU and US could unite on post-Kyoto treaty, says Al Gore" - "BRUSSELS - US ex-vice president Al Gore has said he understands Europe's frustration over his country's reluctance to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change - but insisted that both superpowers could still unite over the issue as support for green goals is rising across the US." (EU Observer)

& associates: "US Senator Dianne Feinstein to Announce Legislative Agenda to Combat Global Warming" - "LOS ANGELES, CA--Oct 10, 2006 -- Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will speak with Town Hall Los Angeles on October 25, 2006, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Her address, "Global Warming: A Time to Act," details initiatives to combat the effects of global warming while keeping the US economy strong." (MARKET WIRE)

"Canada: Tories change story on Grit Kyoto plan: $100M didn't buy carbon credits" - "OTTAWA — Environment Minister Rona Ambrose misled a Commons committee and should be called back to clear the air on climate change, says a New Democrat MP. “We’re going to call her back to committee and get her to clarify and correct the record,” Nathan Cullen said in an interview Tuesday. “This stuff’s too important to leave so many inconsistencies out in the public.”

"Pro-Kyoto nations struggle to keep pact" - "STOCKHOLM, Sweden - With few exceptions, the world’s big industrialized nations are struggling to meet the greenhouse gas reductions they committed to in the embattled Kyoto pact on climate change. Europe is veering off course, Japan is still far from its target and Canada has given up." (Associated Press)

"EU to Start Legal Action over Late Emission Plans" - "HELSINKI - The European Union will start legal action within days against member states that have failed to submit their plans for greenhouse gas emissions in 2008-2012, Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

From CO2 Science this week:

Aggrading Ecosystems Require More Nitrogen ... and Find It: Do the low soil nitrogen contents of various ecosystems constrain the degree to which productivity-enhancing phenomena can be expected to be maintained in the long-term?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from the Mexican Highlands and Peruvian Shelf. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Droughts (North America: Canada): How much worse have Canadian droughts become in response to the supposedly unprecedented global warming of the 20th century?

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: Black Poplar, Robusta Poplar, Spider Lily, and White Poplar.

Journal Reviews:
Climate Change in Alaska: What a Difference a Year Makes!: How 1976 changed the climate of Alaska and led to all sorts of political posturing over the state's significance to the global warming debate.

The Urban Heat Island of San Juan, Puerto Rico: How high can it go?

The Little Medieval Warm Period in Northern Fennoscandia: Perhaps "little" is the wrong appellation to attach to this intriguing climatic interval.

Butterfly Biodiversity in Britain: Has it increased or decreased in response to historical warming?

Woody-Plant Invasions of a California (USA) Grassland: How does the shrub invasion of grasslands impact their productivity and potential for carbon sequestration, especially in regions where nitrogen is a major limiting factor? (co2science.org)

"Russia to boost German gas supply" - "Russia plans to double exports of natural gas to Germany, making it the major European distribution hub, President Vladimir Putin has said. Moscow wants to divert up to 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Germany each year on top of the 40 billion cubic meters it already exports there. The gas will come from Russia's huge reserves under the Barents Sea. Mr Putin also said that foreign firms may be awarded contracts to help develop the massive Shtokman gas field." (BBC)

"Eco-Kremlin: Russia targets energy giants" - "Three big foreign-run projects are under fire for violating environmental standards. What's Moscow really after?" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Idaho Falls may buy coal-fired power from Utah" - "IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Last winter, Idaho lawmakers banned new coal-fired power plants for two years. But the law does not prevent cities, like Idaho Falls, from buying coal power from across the Utah border. Many officials in this mid-sized eastern Idaho city are pushing voters to say yes to a ballot question that would authorize Idaho Falls to issue $58 million in bonds to buy into Intermountain Power Project Unit No. 3, a generating station at a coal plant slated for construction near Delta, Utah." (Associated Press)

Overdoing the hallucinogens a bit? "Linde Sees 6 Million Hydrogen Cars in Europe by 2020" - "AACHEN, Germany - The chief executive of Germany's Linde Group sees more than 6 million hydrogen-powered cars on Europe's roads by the end of the next decade as consumers seek to cut pollution and avoid high oil prices." (Reuters)

At least it's natural... "Botulism-tainted juice paralyzes two in Canada" - "TORONTO - Two people are paralyzed after drinking botulism-contaminated carrot juice, some of which was still found on store shelves 10 days after a Canada-wide recall, a Toronto health spokesperson said on Tuesday. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Sept. 30 warned consumers not to drink Bolthouse Farms 100 percent Carrot Juice, Earthbound Farm Organic Carrot Juice and President's Choice Organics 100 percent Pure Carrot Juice, all of U.S. origin, "due to botulism concerns." (Reuters)

"On-Farm Benefits of Plant Biotechnology Also Benefit Society" - "ST. LOUIS October 10, 2006 -- In 2005, Canadian growers planted approximately 14.5 million acres (5.8 million hectares) of genetically modified (GM) canola, corn and soybeans. The majority of plant biotechnology in Canada enables farmers to adopt conservation tillage – a reduction or complete elimination of plowing the soil to eliminate weeds and prepare fields for planting. The benefits range from soil erosion control to a reduction in green house gas emission." (PRWEB)

October 10, 2006

No: "Nations rally to air travel 'medicines' tax" - "GENEVA - Countries around the globe are rallying to the idea of taxing air travel to fund provision of cheaper drugs to poor countries fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, France's foreign minister said on Monday." (Reuters)

A UN tax? Never!

"Breaking the Cycle" - "The U.S. Army and its partners have been trying to develop a malaria vaccine for decades. But given a disease that has thwarted man for centuries and gets scant attention from the West, is this a battle they can win?" (Washington Post)

"A $3 Water Purifier That Could Save Lives" - "Lifestraw, a plastic tube with seven filters, is meant to render dangerous water drinkable." (New York Times)

Don't tell the anti-capitalists but: "Dynamic Capitalism" - "Entrepreneurship is lucrative--and just." (Edmund S Phelps, Opinion Journal) | American Wins Nobel in Economics (New York Times)

More collateral damage from Madison Avenue thinking: "Child workers put on street by law to get them in school" - "NAZIM MOHAMMED does not know what he should do today. Neither, it seems, does the Indian Government. For the past two years the 12-year-old has worked at the Imran Khan Food Corner in Delhi, cleaning dishes and chopping meat to help to pay for the education of his five siblings back home in Bengal. But under a new ban that came into force at midnight, children under 14 can no longer be employed in private households, hotels, restaurants, cafes and tea-shops. “What can I do? I will just have to find another job somewhere illegally,” Nazim said. “Things are not so good at home, so I have to work to support myself and my family.” (London Times)

Lots of readers have sent links to this & related items... "Planet enters 'ecological debt'" - "Rising consumption of natural resources means that humans began "eating the planet" on 9 October, a study suggests. The date symbolised the day of the year when people's demands exceeded the Earth's ability to supply resources and absorb the demands placed upon it. The figures' authors said the world first "ecological debt day" fell on 19 December 1987, but economic growth had seen it fall earlier each year. The data was produced by a US-based think-tank, Global Footprint Network. The New Economics Foundation (Nef), a UK think-tank that helped compile the report, had published a study that said Britain's "ecological debt day" in 2006 fell on 16 April." (BBC)

... all apparently waiting to see what we are going to say. And the answer is... not very much. Mostly because we don't find neo-Malthusian twaddle very interesting. As always these dills show themselves completely clueless about technological advance and the greatest natural capital of all -- humans and their ingenuity. When humans were totally reliant on small-band hunter-gatherer existence the planet supported perhaps a few hundreds of thousands of us. Through agriculture and industry we have increased the "carrying capacity" of the planet exponentially and resources are much more abundant now there are billions of us than when there were only millions. Frankly, we don't pay much attention to misanthropic nitwits.

"The Turtle War" - "Environmental socialism keeps some animals scarce." (Freedom Works)

Oops! "Ethnic diversity 'breeds mistrust'" - "ETHNIC diversity seriously undermines the trust and social bonds within a community, according to important new research that casts a gloomy shadow over optimistic theories about the benefits of the social melting pot in immigrant societies such as Australia. The worrying findings about the effects of ethnic diversity were developed by Robert Putnam, a Harvard University political scientist whose previous research on community dynamics has been highly influential among policymakers in the US and cited by Australian prime ministerial aspirants Peter Costello and Mark Latham. Professor Putnam has delayed releasing the results of his research for fear of the impact it could have on politicians and other policymakers, but he revealed its thrust yesterday in an interview with London's Financial Times newspaper. His extensive research found that the more diverse a community, the less likely were its inhabitants to trust anyone, from their next-door neighbour to their local government." (The Australian)

"U.S. government to study autism" - "WASHINGTON - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced a $5.9 million study in six states to try to find the causes of autism." (Reuters)

"Rethinking Recess" - "As more schools trim breaks, new research points to value of unstructured playtime" (Wall Street Journal)

"A Dangerous Fat and Its Risky Alternatives" - "Trans fats aren’t good for you, but whether banning them is a necessary — or even highly beneficial — solution is a subject of some debate." (New York Times)

Amazing extrapolation of the moment: "Walnuts can reduce effects of fatty meals, say scientists" - "Walnuts may soon become the next great health food following a study showing that they can boost the body's ability to withstand the effects of a fatty diet." (London Independent)

"The research, funded by the California Walnut Commission and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, involved 24 adults."

"EU Lawmakers Seek Safe Chemicals in Draft Law Vote" - "BRUSSELS - Companies seeking to produce or import hazardous chemicals in the European Union will have to use safer alternative substances when available under rules expected to be endorsed by EU lawmakers on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Like a weed, pesticide issue won't go away" - "Moments after a second motion to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides failed last autumn, Mayor Bob Chiarelli pledged to challenge councillors on the controversial proposal and make it an election issue. One year later, Ottawa does not have a bylaw banning pesticides on private property, leaving it on the outside of a growing group of communities across the country." (The Ottawa Citizen)

Indicating that Ottawans are not as dopey and gullible as some others?

Not entirely fair... "Blame the Weatherman: Hurricane Warnings Led to Bad Market Bets" - "The weatherman got it wrong again, and this time he disrupted more than a picnic.

In May, U.S. government and private forecasters warned of another dire Atlantic hurricane season. Coming on the heels of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the forecasts kept oil prices near a record for months. They scared away some insurance investors in a year the companies may end up turning in higher profits. And hedge funds like Amaranth Advisors LLC gambled big that natural gas prices would climb -- and lost.

No hurricanes have struck the U.S. coast so far this year, deflating natural gas prices. This week, one of the most closely watched forecasters, Colorado State University, said it had overstated the hurricane risk. The bungled forecasts shed light on what happens when energy traders, investors and, in some cases, the news media, rely too heavily on an inexact science." (Bloomberg)

... since media and activists had much of the population primed to anticipate the worst. Forecasters did their best with the tools available -- including our limited understanding of the drivers of hurricanes, weather and climate. It is not the fault of forecasters that investors have been excessively sensitized to hysterical nonsense.

"Dust may dampen hurricane fury" - "MADISON - After more than a dozen hurricanes battered the Atlantic Ocean last year, scientists are wondering what - if anything - might be causing stronger and more frequent storms.

Some have pointed to rising ocean temperatures, brought on by global warming. Others say the upswing is simply part of a natural cycle in which hurricanes get worse for a decade or two before dying down again.

Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have put forward an intriguing theory that introduces a whole new dimension to the debate.

Writing today (Oct. 10, 2006) in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists discuss a surprising link between hurricane frequency in the Atlantic and thick clouds of dust that periodically rise from the Sahara Desert and blow off Africa's western coast. Lead author Amato Evan, a researcher at UW-Madison's Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), pored over 25 years of satellite data - dating from 1981 to 2006 - and noticed the correlation. During periods of intense hurricane activity, he found, dust was relatively scarce in the atmosphere. In years when stronger dust storms rose up, on the other hand, fewer hurricanes swept through the Atlantic." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"'Trapped wave' caused unexpected Dennis surge, scientists say FSU" - "TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- When Hurricane Dennis passed North Florida on July 10, 2005, it caused a 10-foot storm surge in some areas along Apalachee Bay -- about 3 to 4 feet more than forecasted-- that couldn't be explained only by the local winds that conventionally drive storm surge.

Now, scientists at Florida State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have found that the surge in Apalachee Bay was amplified by a "trapped wave" that originated off the southwest Florida coast. The discovery of this previously undocumented storm surge phenomenon has changed how NOAA's National Hurricane Center prepares storm surge models for the Gulf of Mexico. New modeling procedures will help improve the accuracy of storm surge forecasts for the entire Gulf coast from Florida to Texas." (Florida State University)

"Surprises in a New Tally of Areas Vulnerable to Hurricanes" - "Researchers have compiled a list of East Coast and Gulf Coast areas most vulnerable to loss of life and property damage in hurricanes." (New York Times)

Influence of wildfire induced land-cover changes on clouds and precipitation in Interior Alaska — A case study (Climate Science)

Buying 'consensus'? "Groups take aim at climate change; $500,000 in grants offered to local scientists; museum plans lecture series" - "SAN DIEGO -- Regional organizations on Monday launched a campaign designed to fan flames of enthusiasm for fighting climate change in San Diego County. Dubbed "Climate Smart: You can change the forecast," the campaign will feature several workshops that aim to heighten awareness of the threats posed by climate change, group members said. And one of the groups, The San Diego Foundation, is making $500,000 available to local scientists who study the phenomenon." (North County Times)

Isn't it odd? Don't reckon this will raise a howl like the collective media moan over Pat Michaels getting a promise of $150,000 to support his research, do you? No less than the Royal Society wants to cut off any vestige of funding for skeptics and yet the above is but a tiny fraction of the multi-billion-dollar stream available to those on the 'approved' side.

"Weather extremes to increase" - "Rising sea levels, more localised flooding, storms and droughts are in store for New Zealand unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, a Wellington scientist predicts. Victoria University environmental economist Ralph Chapman says the country will face an increased number of extreme weather events over the next 100 years and beyond." (New Zealand Herald)

Only if the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis and imaginative unmitigated positive feedbacks prove to be correct, something which looks increasingly preposterous.

Dennis A. reminds us of a time when the BBC was reporting a little more objectively...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/sci_tech/2000/climate_change/1017204.stm 14 November, 2000

There is a growing movement that argues that the Sun is a more significant factor in climate change than the rising load of man-made heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere. It has been suggested that the solar wind and the Sun's magnetic field can limit the number of cosmic rays (high-energy particles) that enter the Earth's atmosphere. The cosmic rays are said to collide with air molecules to produce secondary particles that seed the cloud types that act to cool the Earth.

In other words, increased solar activity means fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and more warming. Some greenhouse sceptics argue that this correlation between Earth temperature and solar activity is better and smoother than for any correlation with CO2.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1045327.stm  28 November, 2000

Scientists at Armagh Observatory claim a unique weather record could show that the Sun has been the main contributor to global warming over the past two centuries.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/953353.stm 3 October, 2000

Paul Brekke is the deputy project scientist for the Esa's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory satellite, Soho. He told BBC News Online: "The Sun may explain up to 20% of global warming over the last 30 years, if you look only at irradiance.

"But if you include other, indirect effects, including cosmic rays and their influence on cloud cover, that percentage could rise. "The pattern of systematic change in the global climate over recorded history seems to follow the observed changes in cosmic ray flux. "It is consistent with the explanation that a low flux corresponds to fewer clouds and a warmer climate, and vice versa."


16 November, 2000 Viewpoint: Get off warming bandwagon
By Professor William M Gray of Colorado State University

Human kind has little or nothing to do with the recent temperature changes. We are not that influential. There is a negative or complementary nature to human-induced greenhouse gas increases, in comparison with the dominant natural greenhouse gas of water vapour and its cloud derivatives.

It has been assumed by the human-induced global warming advocates that as anthropogenic greenhouse gases increase that water vapour and upper-level cloudiness will also rise and lead to accelerated warming - a positive feedback loop. It is not the human-induced greenhouse gases themselves which cause significant warming but the assumed extra water vapour and cloudiness that some scientists hypothesise.

Negative feedback The global general circulation models which simulate significant amounts of human-induced warming are incorrectly structured to give this positive feedback loop. Their internal model assumptions are thus not realistic. As human-induced greenhouse gases rise, global-averaged upper-level atmospheric water vapour and thin cirrus should be expected to decrease not increase.

Water vapour and cirrus cloudiness should be thought of as a negative rather than a positive feedback to human-induced - or anthropogenic greenhouse gas increases. No significant human-induced greenhouse gas warming can occur with such a negative feedback loop.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1022872.stm 14 November, 2000 Looking for the greenhouse signal

Our knowledge of many important climate processes is incomplete. Descriptions of cloud formation, for example, are approximate at best. If we get more of one type of cloud, the climate could cool because sunlight will be reflected back into space. On the other hand, more of another type of cloud could raise temperatures by trapping heat trying to escape from the planet.

And clouds are but one part of a highly interconnected system. Ice cover, ocean currents, volcanic aerosols, soil moisture, vegetation - all have an influence on our daily weather and long-term climate. Some feed back on the system to accelerate cooling; others work the other way.

The media are generally very bad at conveying these complexities. Climate has been presented as a sort of constant. The impression has been created that the Earth has always been a temperate world. This is far from the case. The Earth has been much hotter and much colder than it is now. The current atmosphere that blankets the planet helps to keep the globally averaged surface temperature up to about 15 degrees Celsius.

But there is geological evidence that this figure has been down to about 7 deg C and possibly as high as 27 deg C. We are currently in a not-so-cold phase of an ice age - The Quaternary Ice Age.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2333133.stm 19 October, 2002 Cosmic rays 'linked to clouds

German scientists have found a significant piece of evidence linking cosmic rays to climate change. They have detected charged particle clusters in the lower atmosphere that were probably caused by the space radiation. They say the clusters can lead to the condensed nuclei which form into dense clouds.

Clouds play a major, but as yet not fully understood, role in the dynamics of the climate, with some types acting to cool the planet and others warming it up. The amount of cosmic rays reaching Earth is largely controlled by the Sun, and many solar scientists believe the star's indirect influence on Earth's global climate has been underestimated.

Some think a significant part of the global warming recorded in 20th Century may in fact have its origin in changes in solar activity - not just in the increase in fossil-fuel-produced greenhouse gases.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2173295.stm Cosmic rays 'explain climate conundrum' 6 August, 2002

Many scientists agree that the Earth's surface appears to be warming, while low atmosphere temperatures remain unchanged.

Fangqun Yu, of the State University of New York-Albany, suggests the answer may lie in cosmic rays. He argues the rays may cause changes in cloud cover which could explain the temperature conundrum.

Writing in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics, published by the American Geophysical Union, Yu suggests the rays may have height-dependent effects on the Earth's cloudiness. The discrepancy in temperatures has led some scientists to argue that the case for human-induced climate change is weak, because our forcing should presumably show a uniform temperature rise from the surface up through the atmosphere.

Theory 'unnecessary' David Viner's contribution to scientific enquiry:

Dr David Viner, of the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, UK, is not convinced by Yu's work. Dr Viner told BBC News Online: "He puts forward a useful hypothesis, but he doesn't define any mechanism by which cosmic rays could affect any component of the atmosphere. "The warming we've seen over the last 50 or 100 years is not all down to human activities. Solar activity does play a part.

 "But we can explain the temperature discrepancy between the surface and the low atmosphere without recourse to this proposal."

"Kilimanjaro Glaciers Exit the Debate" - "Snow cover and sea ice extent have long been thought of as monitors of climate change, and so it is no surprise that the global warming crusade has promoted any signal of glacial decline as clear evidence of global warming. The simplicity of the concept that “warming means less ice” makes a decline in snow and ice an appealing piece of ammunition for their cause. However, wielding this with a narrow view of the issue makes it dangerous ammunition, or useless, as appears to be the case for one set of tropical glaciers that are widely referenced in the global warming debate." (WCR)

"Antarctic holds clues to future" - "How much and how quickly will the ice shelves in Antarctica melt as the global warming noose tightens, and with what consequences? These are the core questions that a New Zealand-led group of 50 scientists leaving for the icy continent tomorrow hopes to answer. The team, co-led by GNS scientist Tim Naish, will use a Wellington-developed drill rig to tap into Antarctica's 100m-thick Ross Ice Shelf, to retrieve a 1000m-long core of sediment and rock from beneath the seabed. "The reason is to find out how the ice sheets behaved in the past, and particularly during times when global temperatures - and Antarctic temperatures - were a few degrees more than they are today, times similar to where we're heading with global warming," Dr Naish said." (New Zealand Herald)

Good -- as far as it goes. Such a shame the old "global warming" chestnut has to be thrown in to get grants or media attention.

"Bush Pushes Environment Moves, but Still Draws Ire" - "WASHINGTON - He's set up the world's largest protected marine reserve, raised air pollution standards and pledged to end damaging fishing, but US President George W. Bush still draws environmentalists' ire for his stance on global warming." (Reuters)

Don't go wobbly George -- doing right can be a tough row to hoe and there is absolutely nothing to be gained by destroying the global economy just so the Europeans don't have to compete in real markets. Carbon caps can not make a discernable difference in global mean temperature.

"Global warming lark" - "Elected state attorneys general should be disparaged for contriving preposterous lawsuits to advance their vaulting political ambitions. The global warming litigating lark of California's Bill Lockyer is symptomatic. The state attorney general craves higher office. He knows global warming awakens popular alarm. If he can be perceived to be slaying global warming dragons, voters will rally to his political banner. Thus was born the clownish case of People of the State of California, ex rel. Bill Lockyer, Attorney General v. General Motors Corp., et al., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Sept. 20. 2006)." (Bruce Fein, Washington Times)

"Tony Jackson: Climate change challenges fund managers" - "Later this week, a body calling itself the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) will hold a conference in Paris. Similar groups exist in the US and Australia. The aim here is to sign up institutions across Europe. For some, this kind of thing looks rather warm and fuzzy. Indeed, the group’s official statement has its soft edges, with talk about ensuring a more stable climate for future generations and so forth. These are legitimate concerns for citizens, but not – you could argue – for fund managers as such." (Financial Times)

Dead wrong -- see the "Svensmark Effect" and realize we can't tweak climate to suit ourselves. We're along for the ride so get used to it and work around it.

"Commission proposes €100 million global risk capital fund for developing countries to boost energy efficiency and renewables" - "The European Commission today proposed creating a global risk capital fund to mobilise private investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in developing countries and economies in transition. The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF) will accelerate the transfer, development and deployment of environmentally sound technologies and thereby help to bring secure energy supplies to people in poorer regions of the world. These projects will also combat climate change and air pollution. The Commission intends to kick-start the fund with a contribution of up to €80 million over the next four years, and expects that financing from other public and private sources will take funding to at least €100 million. This means that it will contribute to the financing of investment projects of a value up to 1 billion euro." (European Commission)

"Report - EU overzealous in seeking CO2 cuts abroad" - "In Short: EU member states are planning to make such widespread use of carbon-reduction projects in the developing world that they could abandon cutting emissions at home, according to research." (EurActiv)

Big surprise... "EU states accused over 'permits to pollute' system" - "THE future of Europe’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) hangs in the balance as officials in Brussels prepare to do battle this month with member states to uphold the credibility of a market in permits to pollute. The market stands accused of generating billions of euros in windfall profits for utilities at the expense of consumers." (London Times)

"Rhodia, SOCGEN Form Carbon Trading Joint Venture" - "LONDON - French companies Rhodia and Societe Generale announced on Monday a 50-50 joint venture to handle all their carbon trading interests, building on past joint deals trading pollution cuts in the form of carbon credits." (Reuters)

Or, alternatively headlined: "Dodgy chemical company now deals hot air".

"Italy Decrees Energy-Saving Rules for Buildings" - "MILAN - Italy's government has decreed that, starting from July 2007, new and old buildings being put on sale will need an energy saving certificate to cut energy use and carbon emissions, the Economic Development Ministry said." (Reuters)

Which basically means "devoid of ventilation" -- stand by for an upsurge in Italian "sick building syndrome".

"Fifty flights an hour forecast as airport expansions spark climate change anger" - "SCOTLAND'S major airports have put themselves on a collision course with environmentalists after finalising a 25-year expansion plan that could double the number of flights." (The Scotsman)

"Continental Divide" - "Don Quixote would have a fit if he could see what has become of his native Spain.

In recent years, Spain, as well as Germany and Denmark, have leapt to the forefront of renewable energy technology. In Spain, that means windmills. Lots of them. Some provinces of northern Spain now produce as much as 50% of their electricity supply by farming the wind.

With good reason. Spain this year will get 87% of its energy from oil, gas and coal--up 4.6% since 2004--2% more than the United States. More than 50% of Spain's energy is imported, comparable with the 60% the U.S. relies on.

But while the problems faced on either side of the Atlantic are much the same, America and Europe have taken different paths toward finding solutions. Neither side can claim victory. Despite a host of initiatives, new technologies and regulations, alternative energy remains a patchwork affair that has done little to offset needs. Increasingly, both sides are looking to the other to see what can be learned." (Forbes)

"It's The Consumption, Stupid" - "Quiz question: How much of the world's energy supply does oil account for?

Four-fifths? Two-thirds? A half?

With all the attention that the seven-year bull run in oil prices (and the recent decline) has gotten, you could be forgiven for guessing a high number. In fact, the answer is barely one-third. What's more, oil's share of the global energy market is down from almost 50% at the time of the oil shock of 1973." (Forbes)

This ought to help kill it off: "California: Prop. 87 in the balance? Al Gore in TV ad supporting tax on oil producers for alternative fuel development" - "The Yes on Prop. 87 campaign has a new face. It's Al Gore, the former vice president of the United States whose latest venture includes a new film about the dangers of global warming.

A new 30-second television spot featuring Gore is the latest salvo by the initiative's supporters in the ongoing media blitz to influence the vote on Nov. 7. The opponents haven't been sitting idle, financed mainly by oil giants, the No on 87 campaign has been arguing that a new oil severance tax to help pay for research and development, and production of alternative fuels will result in higher prices at the gas pump." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Elephant Overpopulation Keeps Cull Debate Simmering" - "HARARE - Precious Nyoni, 35, resident of the Gokwe district in southwest Zimbabwe, surveys his garden. The vegetable and sugarcane stalks are flattened, and half-eaten crops lie all around. This was his only livelihood, and in one night, it is all gone." (IPS/IFEJ)

"A new vision for International Rice Research attacks the roots of poverty" - "New Delhi, India – More income for the world's millions of poor rice farmers and consumers is the first goal of a major new revamp to the agenda of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) – the largest and most successful international agricultural research institute in Asia." (International Rice Research Institute)

"Austria's GMO Bans Come Under EU Spotlight Again" - "BRUSSELS - EU environment ministers should consider later this year whether to order Austria to lift its bans on two genetically modified (GMO) maize types: restrictions that were attacked this year by the World Trade Organisation." (Reuters)

"India must balance GM fears with food security: PM" - "NEW DELHI - India's prime minister said on Monday any possible health and environmental dangers from the development of new genetically modified rice varieties had to be balanced with the need to feed more than one billion people. "We need to strike a balance between using the potential of biotechnology to meet the requirements of hungry people, while addressing ethical concerns about interfering with nature," Manmohan Singh told an international rice conference. By 2025, the Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates global demand for rice will have risen to 800 million tonnes a year against current output of 600 million tonnes." (Reuters)

"GM crops blossom in SA" - "Johannesburg - The area of land under genetically modified crops in South Africa rose about 92 percent in the past season with maize at 29 percent and soyabeans at 59 percent, a report released at the weekend by the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service has shown." (Business Report)

"ICRISAT to come out with 'BT' Chickpea, Pigeonpea" - "Hyderabad, Oct 10. (UNI): The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will soon come out with transgenic Chickpea and Pigeonpea varieties resistant to pod-borers, its Director General William D Dar said on Monday. "We are working on BT Chickpea and Pigeonpea. I hope that by the time I retire (2009), the Institute will be able to come with BT varieties", he said, while participating in the Farmers Day celebrations organized by the ICRISAT. It was also working on genetically-modified groundnut varieties resistant to Indian peanut clump virus and 'Rosesette' virus in Sub-Saharan Africa, he said." (The Hindu)

"Washington growers plant modified safflower for Canadian drug firm" - "WATERVILLE, Wash. -- Farmers in north-central Washington have grown a genetically modified safflower plant the past two years for a Canadian biotechnical pharmaceutical company searching for a cheaper way to produce insulin." (AP)

"Engineering Food at Level of Molecules" - "The first generation of nanotechnology-based food industry products has entered the market, raising new issues for the Food and Drug Administration." (New York Times)

October 9, 2006

Important research virtually ignored: "Exploding Stars Influence Climate Of Earth" - "Copenhagen, Denmark, Oct 06, 2006 -- A team at the Danish National Space Center has discovered how cosmic rays from exploding stars can help to make clouds in the atmosphere. The results support the theory that cosmic rays influence Earth's climate. An essential role for remote stars in everyday weather on Earth has been revealed by an experiment at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen." (SPX)

The subheading here could have been "Royal Society position suffers severe collateral damage" in reference to the unfortunate (and very badly timed) "Royal Society tells Exxon: stop funding climate change denial".

So, who had the temerity to publish a paper so devastating to the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis and the Royal Society's edict?

Um, well, actually it was published online in "Proceedings of the Royal Society A", October 3rd., under the title: "Experimental Evidence for the role of Ions in Particle Nucleation under Atmospheric Conditions". Persons lacking access to the original publication and with a desperate need for the full paper can request a copy here although "all you need to know and were keen to ask" can be found in the media release and two publicly accessible files: Description of the SKY-experiment (38Kb .pdf, 3pp) and Background article on "Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth's climate" (617Kb .pdf, 5pp).

Also available are some pretty nice animations:

These animations illustrate the physical process which the theory about the cosmic connection to Earth's climate proposes: 1) A giant star explodes in a supernova explosion and emits cosmic rays, 2) cosmic rays enter Earth's atmosphere, 3) rays release free electrons which act a catalysts for the building blocks for cloud condensation nuclei, 4) on which water vapour condenses into clouds.

Uncompressed AVI-animation (97 MB) or Compressed AVI-animation (41 MB) Note: we found the animation files very slow to download so, if you can't get them we have local copies here for the uncompressed and here for the compressed version. Naturally we prefer you get them direct from the source.

Now, some will fail to read the linked or provided documents or simply fail to understand the significance of this work so let's expand on this somewhat.

Firstly, this new work is a severe blow to proponents of the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis and advocates of Anthropogenic Global Warming who have worked so hard to deny solar influence on global climate. Recall that we had this in September of this year:

<chuckle> Now they're turning down the sun: "Study acquits sun of climate change, blames humans" - "OSLO - The sun's energy output has barely varied over the past 1,000 years, raising chances that global warming has human rather than celestial causes, a study showed on Wednesday. Researchers from Germany, Switzerland and the United States found that the sun's brightness varied by only 0.07 percent over 11-year sunspot cycles, far too little to account for the rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution." (Reuters) | Changes in solar brightness too weak to explain global warming (NCAR/UCAR)

Such claims of solar variation insufficiency survive because indications of feedback mechanisms were supported only by historical records and statistical associations but were not empirically demonstrated (never mind that situation applies particularly to the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis, the simple fact is that hypothesis is currently politically correct and hence requires no evidentiary support). This situation has now changed because Svensmark and the team at the Danish National Space Center have experimentally demonstrated the very mechanism they proposed a decade ago.

How big a deal is this indirect cloud effect? Huge, actually. In just 5 years it was responsible for a 2% decrease in low clouds (the kind that reflect incoming solar radiation by day) which, in turn, equates to an increase in surface warming of 1.2 Wm-2 from incident radiation -- equivalent to some 85% of the IPCC's estimate for the effect of all carbon dioxide increase since the Industrial Revolution.

Significantly, the "Svensmark Effect" only operates in the lower troposphere because there is always more than sufficient cosmic ray penetration of the upper atmosphere to ensure no shortage of cloud nuclei. This is important since high, thin clouds do not reflect incoming sunlight and are a net warming influence while the reverse is true of low, bright clouds. The effect then directly influences cooling cloud cover.

Note that this is only part of the story since, as far as we are aware, no one has yet investigated a counterintuitive parallel effect -- condensation and precipitation will likely reduce the total lower atmospheric concentration of that ubiquitous greenhouse gas, water vapor, so increasing clear sky radiative cooling. It's true that clouds account for roughly one-fifth of the greenhouse effect but gaseous water vapor accounts for more than one-half of the total effect. Reduced condensation then would leave an increased proportion of gaseous water vapor with corresponding increase in clear sky greenhouse effect.

Of course, Svensmark et al are not alone in associating solar activity and cloudiness, see for example, Influence of Solar Activity on State of Wheat Market in Medieval England (Pustilnik, 2003), a seemingly radical hypothesis dating from British astronomer William Herschel, who suggested a link between sunspots and wheat prices in 1801.

So, now we know that the more active sun warms the planet directly with increased incident radiation and indirectly both by reducing low cloud and likely by elevating the proportion of gaseous water -- the most important greenhouse gas.

This is precisely the kind of feedback hypothesized for enhanced greenhouse except this now has a demonstrated physical mechanism and is of such importance we should walk through its function just to be clear.

Increased solar activity acts directly on the Earth with a small increase in radiation, a small heating effect and an associated increase in evaporation. This same increase in activity suppresses cosmic ray penetration of Earth's atmosphere, thus reducing available low cloud condensation nuclei. This sequence of events increases clear sky and incoming radiation while increasing the already dominant clear sky greenhouse effect from gaseous water vapor.

The reverse effect of a more quiescent sun reduces direct solar warming and, by permitting the penetration of cosmic rays, facilitates low cloud formation, which increases reflection of already reduced solar radiation, reduces clear sky, reduces evaporation and simultaneously reduces the availability of the most important greenhouse gas, water vapor, through condensation and precipitation.

Thus solar activity has associated positive feedback when more active and negative feedback when less active, dramatically magnifying Earth's thermal response to changes in solar activity and explaining how fractions of Wm-2 change in direct solar radiation translate to many Wm-2 effect between positive and negative phases of relative solar activity.

Good cloud data is in short supply and covers only the recent decades but we can derive cosmic ray intensity and deduce there has been a general reduction in cloud cover during the 20th Century. While we are hesitant to extrapolate from very short data series (always a dubious procedure) it is entirely plausible that reduction in low cloud over the period could conservatively be estimated to have increased heating at Earth's surface by 5-10 Wm-2, an amount more than sufficient to account for all the estimated warming over the period.

Additionally, the mechanism described by Svensmark et al explains observed drought response to the recently more active sun and the reduction in cloudiness, probably coupled with snowfield discoloration from dust, soot and other particulates goes a long way toward explaining a disproportionate Arctic response, one apparently lacking in the Antarctic where such pigments are in relatively short supply, leaving snowfield albedo relatively unchanged.

This puts anthropogenic emissions in an interesting light. Since solar effects, both direct and indirect, are more than sufficient to account for net estimated temperature change over the period of significant fossil fuel usage, have humans been warming or cooling the planet? We know there are effects from land use change and we know we have added to atmospheric backscatter of solar radiation from particulates (sulfate aerosols, dust from agriculture...) but we are no longer certain of the net sign of anthropogenic temperature change.

The one thing we are reasonably sure of is that twiddling about with emissions of carbon dioxide will have no discernable effect on global mean temperature.

If you think the above is really quite significant in the "greenhouse debate" then you are right, which is probably why the mainstream media seem to have completely ignored it. The hazards of excessive investment in the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis, we suppose.

Looks like there's nothing new under the sun after all.

GIGO: "100,000 PCs Involved In Climate Predicting Experiment" - "Early results from climateprediction.net suggest that the climate could be a lot more sensitive to greenhouse gases and could warm a lot more than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has previously suggested. These and future results will form part of the UK's contribution to the fourth report of the IPCC due in 2007. 'Better assessment of the uncertainties in climate forecasts is a priority for the Met Office and the Government. The climateprediction.net experiment should give policy-makers a better scientific basis for addressing one of the biggest potential global problems of the twenty-first century', says Mat Collins of the Met Office." (CCNmag)

"Global warming: the chilling effect on free speech" - "The demonisation of 'climate change denial' is an affront to open and rational debate." (sp!ked)

The Movement (Number Watch)

Two Research Questions On Climate Change (Climate Science)

"Global warming tug of war" - "The Bush administration rejected Kyoto. But a vocal body of Americans are determined to make the world's biggest polluter start reckoning more seriously." (AP)

"Can planting trees really give you a clear carbon conscience?" - "Land Rover, British Gas and Coldplay are all doing it, but experts warn that the benefits of carbon offsetting may be overstated." (The Guardian)

Well, no, but probably not for the reasons this lot would be interested in. The bottom line is that carbon dioxide emissions are not now and never have been a "problem" people need concern themselves about.

Lord luv 'em -- 'climate change month'... "We’ll go green: just give us the incentive" - "THIS is climate-change month, and not just because of the October storms. The Tory conference in Bournemouth had a green tinge. Before the end of the month the government will publish an important review, led by Sir Nick Stern, on the economics of climate change." (Sunday Times)

Eye-roller du jour: "All can play part in beating global warming -expert" - "LONDON, Oct 6 - Everyone has a part to play in combating global warming -- whether simply turning off lights in an empty room or making their own electricity from the wind and sun, experts said on Friday." (Reuters)

Phantom menace creates 'refugees'? "Report warns of 'mass exodus'" - "RISING sea levels caused by global warming could force the mass exodus of millions of Pacific Islanders as "environmental refugees." (Courier-Mail)

"Australia 'unlikely' to take enviro refugees" - "AUSTRALIA has a responsibility to help its poorer neighbours reduce the effects of global warming but is unlikely to take environmental refugees, Environment Minister Ian Campbell said today. A CSIRO report has raised concerns that millions of people will be left homeless in Asia-Pacific nations in the next 40 years due to climate change." (The Australian)

"Comment: Jenny Hjul: Climate change could be good for us" - "Sea levels are rising, the stratospheric ozone layer is falling, the hooded crow and meadow pipit are declining while non-native species are encroaching, the smog in summer (in those years that we have summer) is engulfing and, if that weren’t enough to frighten you, the daffs are flowering three weeks early. Scotland’s environment has been put on red alert and if we don’t do something double quick we’re all doomed." (Sunday Times)

"ANALYSIS - Carbon Capture: Climate Saviour?" - "LONDON/OSLO - Burying greenhouse gases underground is emerging as humanity's number one weapon to fight global warming, hailed by the oil and coal industry and even cautiously welcomed by environmentalists." (Reuters)

If it's the most economical way to boost oil recovery then it may be useful, beyond that...

"With Cheap Gas, Venezuelans Buy Big SUVs" - "CARACAS, Venezuela -- The car show is filled with men who gravitate to the sport utility vehicles, peering through their windows and slipping into their leather seats. Many say they're looking for a powerful engine, but no one asks about gas mileage. In oil-rich Venezuela, gasoline costs as little as 12 cents a gallon due to government subsidies -- and SUVs are selling briskly. "Everyone wants to buy a 4x4," said Jose Moreno, a 49-year-old businessman examining Fords at the show on Saturday. "And since gasoline is cheap, you don't think twice about spending on that." Venezuelans see cheap fuel as a birthright. Filling up an SUV's tank with high-octane gasoline costs roughly $3 -- less than two jugs of drinking water. And as oil exports have boosted the economy, the country has experienced a boom in auto sales, including large four-wheel drives that have lost appeal elsewhere as fuel costs have soared." (Associated Press)

Maybe Arnie was onto something: "2006 HUMMER H1 ALPHA Road Test" - "Politically Incorrect and Lovin It" (American Auto Press)

"Germany Aims to Slash Energy Consumption by 2020" - "BERLIN - Ministers will examine ways to slash Germany's consumption of coal, gas and oil by a fifth by 2020 when they meet utility and industry group chiefs on Monday, government sources said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Nuclear sector calls for new agency" - "The nuclear industry is calling for the government to establish a new energy agency - independent of political influence - to oversee nuclear power if a second generation of atomic stations is to be built." (The Guardian)

"Analysis: Climate change a pro-nuke tool" - "WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 -- Nuclear power is promoted as a safer, more reliable source of energy as the push to build more plants grows in the United States, but its billing as a nonpolluting alternative to fossil fuels is garnering more support." (UPI)

"A Bet on Ethanol, With a Convert at the Helm" - "Only in the last few years has this clear, colorless fuel — a form of ethyl alcohol — finally begun to catch on." (New York Times)

"Landfills stink of energy, money" - "Anyone who's been to or even by a landfill knows it can have a certain aroma. Lately, though, some of Maryland's landfills have begun to smell like money." (Baltimore Sun)

"Oil Giants Put Energy Into Other Resources" - "Firms are dabbling in a diverse range of projects, including one in which microbes eat grease to help produce electricity." (LA Times)

"Irving Oil looks for partner in $7b project planned for Saint John" - "SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Irving Oil of New Brunswick is seeking a partner to help it build a $7-billion oil refinery in the Saint John that will supply the energy-hungry northeastern United States." (Canadian Press)

"Greenspan says U.S. trusts Alberta to deliver on oil exports" - "CALGARY - Alberta's oilsands will allow the province to become a superpower energy producer, retired U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told an audience of business and energy leaders on Friday." (CP)

"Raise the Gasoline Tax? Funny, It Doesn’t Sound Republican" - "For nearly two decades, Alan Greenspan was hardly a proponent of raising taxes on energy to encourage conservation. Until now." (New York Times)

"Critics light coal fire under PacifiCorp" - "Electricity - The utility says a decision on whether to build traditional power plants is far off, but activists are steaming." (The Oregonian)

"UK: Work begins on largest wind farm" - "Work is set to begin on constructing what will become the largest onshore wind farm in Europe. The £300m Whitelee project will see 140 turbines built on the Eaglesham Moor, south of Glasgow." (BBC)

"Care has to be taken when placing windmills across state" - "The growing opposition to and concern in Pennsylvania for the placement of huge windmills, especially on ridge tops, highlights the need for thoughtful, science-based statewide siting regulations. It also shows that "alternative energy" sources aren't necessarily environmentally benign. While the impact of extracting and burning fossil fuels raises serious environmental issues -- from acid-mine drainage to global warming -- windmills come with a different set of environmental challenges." (Pattriot-News)

"Insurance Coverage Cut After Disasters" - "Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina are sending insurance premiums through whatever is left of the roof. Insurance companies, faced with unprecedented payouts because of devastating back-to-back hurricane seasons, are restricting coverage in a growing number of areas, especially along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from Texas to Maine." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Neo-Malthusians: "Earth's ecological debt crisis: mankind's 'borrowing' from nature hits new record" - "Today is a bleak day for the environment, the day of the year when mankind over-exploits the world's resources - the day when we start living beyond our ecological means." (London Independent)

"Focus: The new Swampy" - "Green campaigners have a new champion. Ten years after Swampy’s retirement, a former teen pin-up is emerging as a leading radical – and he does not like planes. Jonathan Leake reports." (Sunday Times)

JunkScience.com understands the Met is hiring marksmen, if anyone is interested...

The latest in hindering development: "Log on to buy a bit of the Amazon" - "IT’S the new way to save the rainforest: buy it. Frank Field, the former government minister, is joining forces with a Tory benefactor to sell plots of rainforest over the internet. Under the scheme that Field has devised with Johan Eliasch, the millionaire businessman, the public will be offered the chance to pay for small plots of the rainforest. They will then be able to impose a ban on logging which contributes to global warming. Writing in News Review this weekend, Field says the project, called Cool Earth, will give people the chance to “leapfrog the clanking machinery of government." | How you can save the rainforest (Sunday Times)

"If the gold mine doesn't happen, our village will die" - "Kirk Leech reports from Rosia Montana in Romania, where green NGOs are trying to halt the building of a mine that locals desperately want." (sp!ked)

"Should Everest be closed?" - "Tourism is turning the world's highest peak into its biggest rubbish dump, claim conservationists, who are pressing for controls on climbing. But will this cost sherpas their livelihood? Dan McDougall in Kathmandu reports on the campaign. (The Observer)

"Tobacco giant sparks malaria row" - "Cigarette firm BAT is criticised for promoting anti-DDT policy to maximise crops in Uganda" (The Observer)

"Kenya: Mothers-to-Be Set to Receive a Million Nets" - "The Government will distribute one million treated mosquito nets to all pregnant women attending public hospitals from next year to curb malaria infections. The nets, popularly known as "long lasting", remain effective for five years unlike other conventional ones in the market, which require re-treatment after every six months, the Medical Services director James Nyikal said yesterday. "The programme to distribute the free nets will run for four years," he said." (The Nation)

"Producers Agree to Send Healthier Foods to Schools"  -"Five of the country’s largest snack food producers said they would start providing more nutritious foods to schools in an effort to fight childhood obesity." (New York Times)

"Mums who sell junk food? Arrest them" - "In London last night, mayor Ken Livingstone outlined his radical agenda for punishing parents who dare to eat 'unethical food'." (sp!ked)

"Young children need more exercise" - "Nursery children need more physical exercise to burn off their energy and stave off the threat of obesity, experts warn." (BBC)

"Consuming cola may up osteoporosis risk for older women" - "Boston -- According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 55 percent of Americans, mostly women, are at risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease of porous and brittle bones that causes higher susceptibility to bone fractures. Now, Katherine Tucker, PhD, director of the Epidemiology and Dietary Assessment Program at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and colleagues have reported findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that cola, a popular beverage for many Americans, may contribute to lower bone mineral density in older women, a condition which increases risk for osteoporosis." (Tufts University)

"Swiss drag knuckles accepting evolution" - "One in three Swiss thinks it is "definitely false" that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to an international survey on evolution. How seriously should we take the news that only Austria is less enlightened among "old" European countries? Is it simply a reflection of Switzerland's religious history and dislike of change – or a serious failure of the education system?" (Swissinfo)

"Rearing an army to save wheat" - "With wheat stem sawfly natural enemies in demand, Montana State University entomologists are investigating ways of increasing their availability. This fall, the entomologists are concluding a two-year study that involved mass-rearing parasitic wasps that attack wheat stem sawfly larvae that tunnel the interior of developing wheat plants. The team includes entomologists David Weaver, master's graduate Godshen Pallipparambil-Robert and undergraduate Melissa Frazier of Kalispell." (Montana State University)

"Vermont: Ag chief backs milk hormone ban" - "Vermont Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr added his voice this week to the growing chorus urging Vermont farmers to stop giving their dairy cows the synthetic hormone rBST. Kerr, speaking to the Vermont Dairy Industry Association's annual meeting in Burlington on Thursday, said it makes sense for Vermont's dairy farmers to stop using rBST, especially after the two largest milk processors in New England have said they no longer will accept milk from cows given the synthetic hormone. Last month, both Dean Foods and H.P. Hood Inc., said consumer demand was growing substantially for organic milk and at the same their customers were demanding milk be hormone-free." (Rutland Herald)

Organic Milk Industry Reveals Hypocrisy

"UK: Stores told to remove GM rice from shelves" - "The government's food watchdog has changed its advice to retailers about genetically modified rice. Stores must remove any rice known to contain GM strains from their shelves, the Food Standards Agency said. The move follows ongoing concerns over the presence of GM strains in batches of long-grain rice from the US." (Press Association)

"Canada approves GM yeast that combats cancer compound" - "Environment Canada has approved the import and manufacture of a genetically modified yeast variety that is designed to reduce the levels of the carcinogen ethyl carbamate, a compound that can naturally occur in fermented foods and beverages, such as wine, beer and bread." (Food Navigator)

"India: Benefit of doubt" - "The Supreme Court's directive staying fresh field trials of genetically modified crops is a corrective measure that could not have been more timely. Especially so when the establishment has committed itself to usher in the second green revolution riding on biotechnology." (Times of India)

October 6, 2006

"Organic Milk Industry Reveals Hypocrisy" - "Farm Aid benefit concerts are supposed to be about raising money to help family farmers. Last week's Farm Aid event, however, seems to have had more to do with benefiting the multibillion dollar organic milk industry -- at the expense of those same family farmers and the environment." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

The hazards of European ecochondria: "Kenya: Director of Medical Services warns against use of DDT" - "The ban on DDT is still on, the Ministry of Health has announced. The Director of Medical Services, Dr James Nyikal, on Thursday cautioned that if Kenya starts using the chemical, then it would not export horticultural crops to Europe, which has banned its use." (The Standard)

"Fruit juice intake among preschool children not associated with weight" - "Consumption of 100 percent fruit juices is not linked with preschoolers being overweight, finds a new research study published this week in the October issue of Pediatrics, the leading scientific research journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This latest analysis of the largest government database on food consumption (NHANES - National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey 1999-2002) finds no connection between 100 percent fruit juice consumption and weight status among preschool children ages 2 to 5." (Kellen Communications)

"Physical exercise has little impact on obesity in young children" - "Physical activity is unlikely to have a significant effect in reducing levels of obesity amongst pre-school children, but could lay the foundations for a healthier future, a BMJ study reveals today." (BMJ-British Medical Journal)

"WHO Issues Air Quality Guidelines to Reduce Deaths" - "GENEVA - The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that drastically reducing air pollution in cities could prevent 120,000 deaths a year from respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer." (Reuters)

QL PODCAST: Pluto New Horizons Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern - This is a QuantumLimit.com Podcast featuring Pluto New Horizons Mission Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern. The Podcast features an in depth look at the recent decision by the IAU to remove Pluto from the Solar System’s planetary roster and the firestorm it has caused. (QuantumLimit.com)

Hmm... "Coral reef conservation by means of the global network of Marine Protected Areas" - "Coral reefs count among the world's most severely threatened ecosystems. The pressure of human activities, including overfishing and pollution, is leading to a decline in their biological diversity. The effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for conserving the coral biodiversity has been the subject of many specific studies at local level. Nonetheless, a world-scale assessment remains necessary in order to check if the conservation objectives laid down by the international bodies, which require that 20 to 30% of the world's coral reefs must be under official protection by 2012, are complied with and justified." (Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement)

... the last time I discussed MPAs with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) their idea of an ideal size the GBRMP protected area was the western half of the Pacific Ocean and all land catchments draining into same.

"Under the Microscope: When science and politics become worlds in collision." - "This was a banner week for American science. The Nobel Prizes for medicine, physics and chemistry all went to Americans. The awards underline the universally acknowledged fact that the U.S. is the world leader not only in its aggregation of talent but in its ability to nurture that talent. First-class universities, along with copious private and federal funding for research, are often cited as key enablers. But few would deny that money can't buy the most important element: a society that encourages independent thinking, open debate and an unbounded spirit of inquiry.

That is one reason why it is always dismaying when scientists--of all people--suggest that on some subjects there must be no questioning because debate is closed. And on one level, at least, this would seem to be the implicit message of the newly formed 527 political organization called Scientists and Engineers for America, or SEA.

In announcing its launch last week, the group said that it is concerned about how the Bush administration has "compromised the integrity of science" with, among other things, its policies on global warming and stem-cell research and its (alleged) support for nonscientific "intelligent design" theories of evolution. SEA members have also cited a delay in making the "morning-after" pill, sold under the name Plan B, readily available over-the-counter as another example of a sustained government "assault" on science and scientists." (Opinion Journal)

"Battle for the boardroom" - "After over 200 years of independence, the British are still trying to direct U.S. public policy. The Royal Society – the British equivalent of the National Academy of Sciences – recently admonished Exxon Mobil for supporting organizations that question the link between man-made greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Notwithstanding the offensive nature of a prestigious organization attempting to silence scientific debate, the Royal Society’s letter sheds light on the larger effort employed by agents of the Left to shut-down corporate support for pro-growth political organizations, politicians and policies. By cutting-off the financial supply lines for free-market thought and policies, these agents – labor unions, NGOs, the media – hope to dominate public debate and control public opinion. As these tactics continue to meet with success, liberal policies and politicians will gain a huge strategic advantage." (Tom Borelli, Town Hall)

Isn't it funny... "Fossils pinpoint tropics as Earth's most fruitful biodiversity spawning ground" - "A team of scientists has completed a study that explains why the tropics are so much richer in biodiversity than higher latitudes. And they say that their work highlights the importance of preserving those species against extinction. "If you came from outer space and you started randomly observing life on Earth, at least before people were here, the first thing you'd see was this incredible profusion of life in the tropics," said the report's lead author, David Jablonski, the William Kenan Jr. Professor in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. "This is the single most dramatic biodiversity pattern on this planet." (University of Chicago) | Tropics source of much of world's biodiversity (University of California - Berkeley)

... how people fear warmth and solar irradiation (except when seeking holiday destinations?) but we see time and again how life thrives in the tropics where it's warm and UV bombardment is vastly higher, and ozone levels lower, than temperate and polar regions. What a peculiar disconnect between fact and fear.

"Controversy over the great flood hypotheses in the Black Sea in light of geological, paleontological, and archaeological evidence" - "Abstract: This paper attempts to determine whether the preponderance of existing evidence sustains support for these Great Floods in the evolution of the Black Sea. Based upon established geological and paleontological data, it finds that the Late Pleistocene inundation was intense and substantial whereas the Early Holocene sea-level rise was not." (Quaternary International)

Three Hypotheses On The Role of Human-Climate Forcings In The Climate System (Climate Science)

Do I detect the first tiny rumblings of a paradigm shift in climate-change science? (EnviroSpin Watch)

"NASA data captures El Niño's return in the Pacific" - "NASA satellite data indicates El Niño has returned to the tropical Pacific Ocean, although in a relatively weak condition that may not persist and is currently much less intense than the last major El Niño episode in 1997-1998.

Over the past several weeks, NASA's Aqua and Jason satellites have observed a general warming of ocean temperatures and a rise in sea surface heights in the central and eastern Pacific along the equator, both indicators of El Niño development.

"The present conditions indicate that the intensity of this El Niño is too weak to have a major influence on current weather patterns," said Bill Patzert, oceanographer and climatologist at the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "But, if the ocean waters continue to warm and spread eastward, this event would likely strengthen, perhaps bringing much-needed rainfall to the southwestern and southeastern United States this winter." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

"El Niño is Back" - "Don’t look now but it appears an El Niño event is brewing-up in the Pacific and by Christmas of this coming year, we could be feeling the effect of this oceanic phenomenon. Imagine the potential here – pictures of floods in the Southwest, avalanches in the Rockies, mudslides in California, fires in Australia, and calamities from throughout the world. Every event will be blamed on El Niño and like clockwork, global warming will get mixed into the story." (WCR)

"Hurricane-Happy Media Not Interested When Forecast Downgraded" - "The media have relied on the threat of hurricanes to keep the audience’s anxiety level high. Whether it’s promoting the theory that global warming is causing stronger hurricanes, or warning that we’re just “a hurricane away” from higher gas prices, reporters haven’t let us forget the devastation of 2005. But now that a leading hurricane forecaster has severely scaled back his predictions about the remainder of this season, the TV news airwaves have been largely silent." (News Busters)

"Alaska study offers strategies to mitigate climate warming" - "FAIRBANKS, Alaska--Using Interior Alaska's boreal forests as a case study, a team of scientists led by University of Alaska Fairbanks ecologist F. Stuart (Terry) Chapin III recently offered four policy strategies for sustaining people and the environment as both face a dramatically warming climate." (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Maybe... but Alaska's warming basically occurred in 1976, suggesting more a phase shift than anything else.

"Kenya hosts Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol Meetings" - "Kenya will host the second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Nairobi in conjunction with the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention, from 6-17 November 2006. The conference will also include the twenty-fifth sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies for Scientific and Technical Advice and for Implementation, and the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol." (ENB)

"Blair hails progress on G8 climate change bid" - "The whole world finally recognises the scale of the threat of climate change, Tony Blair said yesterday after the latest session of a round of negotiations between the biggest polluting countries, which he instigated last year at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in Scotland. But even as he spoke, his Environment Secretary David Miliband was telling the world that more investment needed to take place in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (London Independent)

"Mixed outcomes at climate talks" - "Climate talks between the world's top 20 polluters have ended with an unusual level of agreement on the urgent need to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. But delegates at the Mexico talks also stressed the massive gap between the politics and science of climate change. Several said they had never known such a positive atmosphere. Nobody doubted the reality of climate science anymore." (BBC)

Reality, yes... understanding, no -- and that is a very serious problem. It is also the reason politicians can be fooled into believing there's a desperate need to "do something".

"Global Warming Challenge To French Winegrowers" - "Received Friday, 6 October 2006 02:33:00 GMT
PARIS, Oct 6, 2006 - After New World producers Australia and Chile, French winegrowers could soon face new competition from Britain, as global warming helps grapes take root in milder cross-Channel climes, scientists say. Commonly found on the British Isles from the Roman occupation until the 13th century, vineyards all but disappeared during the so-called Little Ice Age, a cooler period that lasted from the mid-14th to mid-19th centuries. Now the climate clock seems set to reverse." (AFP)

"Government insists climate change costs won't fall on business" - "Climate Change Minister David Parker says New Zealand would continue to act to protect the environment but stressed business would not be expected to bear the full brunt of the costs. Mr Parker said the Government would have to consider charging for emissions in future but no decisions had been made." (NZPA) | The Government says every New Zealander will have to share the cost of dealing with climate change. (Radio New Zealand)

As always, consumers will pay for politicians' gullibility. Not willingly though...

Well gosh! "Public less keen on climate steps if too costly" - "Most New Zealanders want the Government to do more to deal with climate change but aren't so keen if it costs them money or impacts on their quality of life." (NZPA)

"Daniel Weintraub: Air board will do the real work on global warming" - "The legislation California enacted last month to seize for itself a leading role in the fight against global warming is only the beginning of what will likely be five years of intense, behind-the-scenes battles over just how to reduce greenhouse gases to the level emitted in 1990, when California's population and its economy were much smaller than they are today." (Sacramento Bee)

"Bush Emissions Plan May Not Be Enough" - "When it comes to global warming, the Bush administration puts its faith in volunteerism and new energy technologies to scale back America's Everest of heat-trapping gases. But government studies say the results are at best uncertain." (AP)

"Climate change vote steps up pressure on Tories" - "OTTAWA - The minority Conservative government suffered a significant defeat at the hands of the opposition on Wednesday over legislation calling for the implementation of the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Although Conservative MPs gave Environment Minister Rona Ambrose a warm round of applause as she rose to vote against the legislation, the Liberals, Bloc Quebecois and NDP teamed up to defeat the government in a 152 to 115 vote. The legislation could force the government to deliver a plan that would honour Canada's Kyoto commitments even though the Conservatives have called those targets unrealistic." (CanWest News Service)

"Ambrose mum on 'green plan' specifics" - "OTTAWA — Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has vowed to cut emissions that cause climate change and smog, but she’s not saying when or by how much." (CP)

"Canada says won't rush to set emissions targets" - "OTTAWA, Oct 5 - Although Canada cannot meet its obligations for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocol, the government will not rush to set new targets of its own, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said on Thursday. Critics said her remarks showed the governing Conservatives -- who since winning a January election have repeatedly said Kyoto will not work -- plan to drag their feet on addressing the problem of climate change." (Reuters)

"Editorial: Join bandwagon on auto emissions" - "The federal government made its first tentative move on global warming when it kicked off talks this week with Ontario's major automakers on its goal of reducing vehicle emissions starting in 2010. While no details were discussed, the two sides have set in motion the long and arduous consultative process needed to develop meaningful emission targets and to find the best way of achieving them." (Toronto Star)

"Ontario fears clean-air fallout" - "TORONTO, OTTAWA -- The federal government cannot tackle greenhouse-gas emissions simply by cracking down on the country's auto sector, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says.

"The water-cooler talk around the Western world these days is not about auto emissions," he said yesterday. "It's about climate change and global warming. That's the real meat of the discussion."

Mr. McGuinty is worried that the auto sector, the engine of Ontario's economy, will be expected to carry the brunt of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's clean-air initiative. He said he looks forward to the day when the federal government "steps up to the plate" by unveiling a plan for reducing greenhouse gases that goes beyond the auto sector." (Globe and Mail)

"NZ To Seek Links With Non-Kyoto Climate Group" - "The New Zealand government wants to get closer to the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. The partnership - known as AP6 - was launched in Sydney on January 12 this year when ministers from the six countries outlined what they described as a new model of private-public taskforces to address climate change, energy security and air pollution. Members are China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the United States." (NewsRoom)

"Study finds plenty of carbon dioxide storage capacity underground in Kentucky" - "As concern has grown over the effects of the human release of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas into the atmosphere, so too has research into technologies to manage CO2. One such research project, overseen by geologist Brandon Nuttall at the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky, has investigated the option for geologic sequestration of captured CO2 in Devonian black shales, organic-rich rocks found beneath about two thirds of Kentucky." (University of Kentucky)

"UK Sees EU-Wide Carbon Capture Incentive from 2008" - "LONDON - European power plants that use a novel anti-climate change method, burying greenhouse gases underground, will win some exemption from European pollution caps from 2008, a UK ministry official said on Thursday." (Reuters)

From the Tyndall Centre for Climate Propaganda: "Clampdown on air travel 'a must' for Britain to meet climate target" - "A severe clampdown on air travel will be necessary for the government to meet its stringent target to cut greenhouse gas emissions, climate experts warned yesterday. Calculations by researchers at the prestigious Tyndall Centre for Climate Change in Manchester reveal the number of flights will have to be frozen at today's levels or lower to avoid warming that could trigger catastrophic damage to ecosystems." (The Guardian)

Now they've come out and said it, they want to stop you flying and reduce your standard of living.

"UK Favours Carbon Trading Over Jet Fuel Tax" - "LONDON - Britain wants to curb rising aviation greenhouse gas emissions through a European trading scheme and possibly a tax on passengers, rather than a British tax on jet fuel, climate change minister Ian Pearson said." (Reuters)

"UCD researchers a step closer to finding a new way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" - "Greenhouse gas emissions are widely believed to contribute to climate change and global warming. Under the Kyoto Protocol Ireland agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 13% above the 1990 levels by 2008 to 2012. However, the EPA reported that emissions in 2004 were 23% above the 1990 levels, indicating that Ireland is a long way from meeting the target." (Innovations Report)

Looking for legislated advantage over cheaper energy: "PG&E chief calls for U.S. law on carbon emissions" - "IRVING, Texas - The head of a large California natural gas and electric utility on Thursday called for national legislation to cap greenhouse gap emissions." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace Take UK Government to Court Over Nuclear" - "LONDON - Environment group Greenpeace on Thursday began a legal challenge to the British government's bid to push ahead with a new nuclear power programme.

The government said in its energy review in July it was vital to renew the country's ageing nuclear power stations both to combat global warming from burning fossil fuels and to reduce rising dependence on imported energy supplies." (Reuters)

"Greenpeace challenges 'flawed' energy review" - "Greenpeace has launched a court action claiming the government's recent energy review, which backed a new generation of nuclear power plants, was 'legally flawed'." (The Guardian)

"German Energy Summit: Nuclear the Elephant in the Room" - "FRANKFURT - German politicians are set to steer clear of raising the crucial issue of the planned closure of nuclear power plants when they meet utilities and industry bosses on Monday, to avoid a split in the ruling coalition." (Reuters)

"Biofuels will not leave people hungry" - "British farmers can meet the nation's demand for both food and fuel crops, argues Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers' Union. In this week's Green Room, he says UK agriculture already has enough capacity to fill fuel tanks and dining tables." (BBC)

All very well for regions where there is no food deficit, what about those regions that chronically require food aid? If the world's major food producing regions divert "surplus" capacity to biofuels who will be stockpiling food grains against regional shortfalls? Even if this is new capacity, is it a better use of space than wildlife habitat? Biofuels from say, effluent, is one thing but biofuels from croplands are a very different prospect.

"'Monster' fossil find in Arctic" - "Norwegian scientists have discovered a "treasure trove" of fossils belonging to giant sea reptiles that roamed the seas at the time of the dinosaurs. The 150 million-year-old fossils were uncovered on the Arctic island chain of Svalbard - about halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. The finds belong to two groups of extinct marine reptiles - the plesiosaurs and the ichthyosaurs." (BBC)

"The Organic Myth" - "Pastoral ideals are getting trampled as organic food goes mass market." (Business Week)

"Comparing apples -- with apples: Humans cultivate tiny wild thing into luscious fruit for the table" - "Anyone who is concerned about eating genetically modified food should put down the nearest apple and walk away. Of course that would be a shame because apples represent a great nutritional package and they can go anywhere. That compact source of energy wasn't always as we know it now. You have to look no farther than the nearest crab apple tree to get a glimpse of apples past." (Anchorage Daily News)

"Discovery of the first resistance gene to rice yellow mottle virus" - "Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) was first identified in 1966 in Kenya. It has since been reported in most African countries where rice is grown. The disease is characterized by the appearance of mottling and then tissue death on the leaves. The fertility and development of seeds are affected, which causes considerable yield losses at harvest." (Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement)

October 5, 2006

"The Revival of a Notorious Solution to a Notorious Scourge" - "Of all the wars in Africa, the most deadly is between humans and mosquitoes. More than a million Africans die of malaria every year, the vast majority of them small children. Malaria shrinks the economies of countries where it is endemic by 20 percent over 15 years. One reason the mosquitoes are winning is that the world had essentially discarded its single most effective weapon, DDT.

But Washington recently resumed financing the use of DDT overseas, and the dynamic new malaria chief of the World Health Organization, Arata Kochi, has said that the W.H.O., too, endorses widespread indoor house spraying with DDT.

This is excellent news for the humans in Africa." (Tina Rosenberg, New York Times)

"Uganda: BAT Opposes Use of DDT in Uganda" - "BRITISH American Tobacco (BAT) Plc has strongly opposed the use of the highly effective public health insecticide, DDT as a means of malaria control in Uganda. DDT has been endorsed and supported for malaria control by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is being used for malaria control by many countries. However, BAT opposed the use of DDT, claiming that its use in malaria control would harm its exports." (The Post (Lusaka))

"Are Bad Drugs Coming to a Pharmacy Near You?" - "In 'The Third Man,' the brilliant, shadowy, 1949 film, Orson Welles' character, Harry Lime, is a morally bankrupt, cynical racketeer and dealer of black-market, diluted penicillin. Purveyors of fake or diluted drugs are no less detestable today than they were six decades ago, but the business has grown to frightening proportions. The highly professional and widespread counterfeiting of drugs increasingly casts doubt on what will actually be in your next vial of pills, especially if you buy them from abroad over the Internet." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Ice Age North Atlantic temperatures, tropical oceans linked" - "Sudden shifts in temperature over Greenland and tropical rainfall patterns during the last ice age have been linked for the first time to rapid changes in the salinity of the north Atlantic Ocean, according to research published Oct. 5 in the journal Nature. The results provide further evidence that climate change can have a direct and rapid impact on ocean circulation and chemistry." (University of California - Davis)

We'd be a lot more comfortable with these studies if they didn't repeat the old myth about Europe's relatively mild climate. It's be known since the 1950s that the Meridional Overturning Current loses its tropical heat to the atmosphere long before it can have significant impact on Europe's climate. See Seager's "The Source of Europe's Mild Climate" - "The notion that the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping Europe anomalously warm turns out to be a myth." (American Scientist)

Human-Input of Aerosols and Their Effect On Precipitation (Climate Science)

Hmm... "Arctic sea ice declines again in 2006, say University of Colorado researchers" - "While cool August temperatures prevented sea ice in the Arctic from reaching its lowest summer extent on record, 2006 continued a pattern of sharp annual decreases due to rising temperatures probably caused by greenhouse warming, according to University of Colorado at Boulder researchers.

The latest measurements indicate the Arctic sea ice minimum reached on Sept. 14 was the fourth lowest on record in 29 years of satellite record-keeping, said CU-Boulder Research Professor Mark Serreze of the CU-Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center. The ice has been declining at about 8.6 percent per decade, or at about 23 million square miles per year -- an area more than half the size of Ohio, he said." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

... if Arctic sea ice extent is strictly related to temperature (plausible but simplistic) why is this year only fourth lowest in 29 years when there's so much noise about "hottest summer" and "hottest September" on record? And why is it "probably caused by greenhouse warming" when the southern hemisphere is virtually trendless and Antarctica actually cooling? According to the hypothesis Antarctica is the most enhanced greenhouse-vulnerable region of the planet and certainly where it should show first and most strongly.

"Continued warming of the Arctic Ocean" - "Several days ago, the 'Maria S Merian' returned from her second Arctic expedition with data confirming trends of Arctic warming.

"Compared to last summer, the water that flows from the Norwegian Sea to the Arctic has been an average 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer this summer," says expedition leader Dr Ursula Schauer of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. "This is in addition to the last two years already having been warmer than the previous 20 from which we have regular measurements. Over the Yermak Plateau, an oceanic ridge, the oceanographers documented water of more than four degrees Celsius moving up to 81º 20' northern latitude," according to Schauer. During the expedition, biologists discovered zooplankton species from the Norwegian Sea which were previously unrecorded from the northern latitudes that they had reached via the warm waters." (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research)

That poor virtual world... "Rising temperatures will lead to loss of trout habitat in the southern Appalachians" - "USDA Forest Service (FS) research projects that between 53 and 97 percent of natural trout populations in the Southern Appalachians could disappear due to the warmer temperatures predicted under two different global climate circulation models. In an article published October 2 in the online version of the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, Patricia Flebbe, research biologist at the FS Southern Research Station unit in Blacksburg, VA, maps out trout habitat in a future, warmer climate." (Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service)

"Global Warming Will Alter Character of the Northeast" - "A group of leading scientists find that unless steps are taken to slow global warming, several states in the Northeast could have climates similar to those of the modern-day South." (Newswise) | Global warming study grim for Northeast (AP)

Might be interesting except that it's by the misnamed "Union of Concerned Scientists".

Parenthetically, I was going to sign up Nicky da Mutt (pictured) to UCS membership (they take anyone, no qualifications required) but I was not prepared to subsidize such a nuisance organization to the tune of $20.

"Climate change threat 'daunting'" - "One of the world's most prominent business leaders has expressed his fears over the "daunting" challenge of preventing dangerous climate change. Rick Samans, head of the Davos-based World Economic Forum, said the global effort to tackle the problem was beginning 10-15 years late. He said politicians had to act fast and set targets to cut CO2 emissions." (BBC)

Uh-huh... people used to hang on the words of Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling too, especially as they were great promoters of Kyoto and looming climate disaster -- Enron management was positively salivating over that particular scam.

"Flunking Science 101" - "We fear that the venerable Royal Society of London, the world's oldest science academy, has succumbed to global warming fever. Having maintained for several years that the science of global warming is "settled," it now tries to stifle debate. A letter to the British branch of Exxon Mobil found its way to the Guardian newspaper, which quotes from it:

"It is now more crucial than ever that we have a debate which is properly informed by the science. For people to be still producing information that misleads people about climate change is unhelpful. The next IPCC report should give people the final push that they need to take action and we can't have people trying to undermine it."

Ironically, the Royal Society letter calls for debate while trying to close it off. It doesn't identify the objectionable class of "people," but presumably they are the same ones that Al Gore refers to as "deniers." (Washington Times)

David King... "Get Ready for Freak Weather, World's Polluters Told" - "MONTERREY, Mexico - The world's top polluting nations were told on Wednesday to prepare for decades of weather turmoil, even if they act now to curb emissions and pursue green energy sources. Environment and energy ministers meeting in the Mexican city of Monterrey vowed to work faster to control global warming as scientists told them each year wasted in curbing greenhouse gas emissions would cost them dearly. Yet even if countries froze emission levels tomorrow, the world still faces 30 years of floods, heatwaves, hurricanes and coastal erosion, the British government's chief scientific advisor David King, said." (Reuters)

Better off not freezing emissions then, especially if you're so convinced disaster looms (we'll need the global economy cranking along in warp drive to meet the costs of adverse events, won't we).

"EU CO2 Scheme In Jeopardy If EU OKs Current Proposals-WWF" - "LONDON -- The European Emissions Trading Scheme may fail to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions at home if the European Union approves current proposals for E.U. member-state emissions quotas, a study sponsored by environmental group WWF showed Wednesday. Preliminary findings from an independent report produced by consultancy group Ecoyfs show that E.U. member states are setting very generous caps on industries that participate in the scheme. The European Commission must take action to ensure the scheme delivers significant emissions reductions in Europe, WWF said in a statement." (Dow Jones)

And people should care about this because... ?

"Norway CO2 cuts of up to 80 pct 'dead cheap': study" - "OSLO - Norway can axe emissions of greenhouse gases by up to 80 percent by 2050 without constraining economic growth in the world's number three oil exporter, a government-appointed commission said on Wednesday.

"Cutting emissions ... is important, it's feasible and it's dead cheap," Joergen Randers, a professor of economics at the Norwegian School of Management who led the commission, told a news conference with Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoy.

The report urged Norway to fight global warming to 2050 mainly by saving energy and by capturing and burying carbon dioxide emitted by gas-fired power plants. The gases would be piped offshore and entombed in porous rocks." (Reuters)

This suffers the same problem as do the other economic wonder studies -- they rely on the assumption model output reflects reality. Models, in turn, rely on assumptions made with literally dozens of tunable parameters to sometimes produce recognizable numbers, imaginatively called "projections".

"Wacky ways to save the planet" - "PHILIP SHERWELL in New York reports on the futuristic environmental schemes that were once dismissed as the work of crackpots." (Unison)

And will be again, most likely.

"Get ready for an El Niño winter: Odds favor dry climate conditions, UW forecasters agree" - "KELSO, COWLITZ COUNTY – Remember last winter when water-logged Puget Sounders wondered whether the rain would ever stop? When we nearly beat historical records for consecutive days of rainfall?

Don’t expect a repeat this year, says the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group.

In fact, drought is possible, particularly in the Cascade Mountains, where a lack of winter snow could affect skiing, future hydropower generation, municipal water supplies and fish. The odds favor a dry fall and a dry winter, UW atmospheric scientist Nate Mantua said Tuesday.

“It’s the polar opposite of what was experienced last winter,” he said." (The News Tribune)

"Cosmic rays linked to global warming" - "A Danish research team has concluded that cosmic rays from exploding stars can adversely affect the earth's climate

The Danish National Space Centre has determined that cosmic rays from stars that reach the earth's atmosphere affect the climate. Scientists at the centre used information about supernovas as the basis for their work. The project, called 'SKY', showed that particles released from a star's activity act as catalysts to initiate the formation of clouds in the earth's atmosphere. 'This is a completely new result within climate science,' said Henrik Svensmark, director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research, the driving force behind the project." (The Copenhagen Post)

"Fever: From floods to fires, drought to disease, climate is changing Canada" - "Drought in British Columbia’s rain forest. Prairie rivers running dry. Storms leaving trails of multi-million-dollar damage in Eastern Canada. The climate has changed. The insurance industry knows it. So do savvy municipal managers and scientists amassing evidence showing temperatures are rising and impacting everything from ski conditions to wheat harvests. “Climate change affects every Canadian and every activity we’re engaged in, there’s not one activity that’s immune,” says Don MacIver, Environment Canada’s director of adaptation and impact research." (CanWest News Service)

Less easily panicked? "Canadian companies not reporting on climate risks: report" - "OTTAWA - Canadian companies are not keeping up with international competition in disclosing exposure to climate risk, says the Conference Board of Canada. Only 28 per cent of Canadian companies answered a questionnaire about potential climate impacts on their operations, the lowest rate of any country in the global survey, says the Conference Board report. "We lag the pack," David Greenall, author of the report, said in an interview Tuesday. "It does raise eyebrows." (CP)

"Canada legislators urge Ottawa to stick to Kyoto" - "OTTAWA, Oct 4 - Canadian legislators tentatively urged the Conservative government on Wednesday to stick to emissions targets laid out by the Kyoto protocol on global warming -- targets that Ottawa says cannot be met. The House of Commons voted 152-115 to back a draft bill presented by a Liberal legislator, which would force the government to meet its Kyoto targets. However, the way Parliament works means the chances of the bill ever becoming law are slim." (Reuters)

"McGuinty blasts emissions plan" - 'TORONTO, OTTAWA -- Auto makers will be forced to do more to stop global warming by selling cars and trucks that emit fewer greenhouse gases starting in 2010, Conservative cabinet ministers told industry CEOs last night.

Just hours earlier, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty warned Prime Minister Stephen Harper not to hurt the province's auto sector by imposing new emission standards on Canadian vehicles. He also put Ottawa on notice that he will not have Ontario carry the brunt of the federal government's clean-air initiative." (Globe and Mail)

"EL SALVADOR: Carbon Is the Biz" - "SAN SALVADOR - El Salvador is studying the Kyoto Protocol carefully, not because it has to cut its emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, but because this international agreement opens a way to earn profits and encourages investment for development." (IPS)

"Green Hypocrisy at 30,000 Feet" - "They sit in economy class occasionally wiping their clammy hands. Their eyes dart furtively about. They wonder whether the stewardess or passenger next to them might have become suspicious. Some even grow moustaches or beards - to cover the 'giveaway' sweating top lip.

But they are not terrorists. At least not in the modern sense of wanting to blow up the airplanes they travel in. Far from it, for they love nothing more the sense of self-importance international jetsetting offers. Travelling that delivers them in far-flung destinations where they can evangelize their ascetic ordinances to thousands of fellow worshippers. But while travelling their chief fear is that they will be found out. Who they are, what they preach - and expose their moralistic hypocritical behaviour.

They are the Green Bigots, leading environmentalists, those at the vanguard of the fight to change our lifestyles, restrict our foreign flights, who insist we do our 'bit' to cut greenhouse gas emissions while they rack up thousands of airmiles on business and pleasure trips." (Peter C. Glover, TCS Daily)

"Is wind power just hot air?" - "There is not much heat or light being generated by the debate over green energy. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, might have won permission to put a wind turbine on his roof, but few of us are following his lead.

Less than 100,000 properties in the UK have some form of microgeneration system, such as solar panels, wind turbines and heat pumps. In comparison, German householders installed more than 75,000 solar generation systems alone last year.

The difference between here and Germany is that the German Government pays people to generate their own electricity. Germans can make a handsome profit on the 35p a unit they are paid for solar electricity fed into the National Grid, which is more than double the normal price.

The harsh truth is that money, rather than worries over global warming, is the only thing that will tempt the British to use alternative fuels en masse. And for the most part, the sums do not add up." (London Times)

"Flex-fuel dilemma: Putting pumps where the cars are" - "Few service stations are selling ethanol-blended fuel in the states where most of the flexible-fuel vehicles have been sold." (Star Tribune)

"ANALYSIS - Can Biofuels Become the Next Petroleum?" - "AMSTERDAM - From Rio de Janeiro to Amsterdam, biofuels are all the rage but can "green fuel" take on oil to become a long-term viable alternative to fossil fuels? Analysts say production of biofuels -- made from sugars, cereals and vegetable oils -- cannot be scaled up substantially to reduce global dependence on oil because of limited raw materials, high cost, lack of a global market and uncertainty over government policies. A second generation of biofuels, based on non-food crops, stands a better chance but only as part of a broader strategy to reduce energy use in transportation and in combination with strict land-use laws to avoid environmental damage, they say.

"U.N. Says Sewage Growing Coastal Problem" - "Untreated sewage pouring into the world's seas and oceans is polluting their water and coastlines and endangering the health and welfare of the people and animals that inhabit them, according to a bleak new U.N. report released Wednesday on the threats to the world's marine environments." (AP)

"Identifying the 'nuclear' in nuclear medicine as high benefit" - "RESTON, Va. -- Say the word nuclear and it conjures up mistaken ideas about radiation, an invisible, odorless and intangible force that allows doctors to non-invasively see into the body. Say the words nuclear medicine, and its powerful reality is that it is highly beneficial to life, said Jonathan M. Links, former SNM president, who has written an overview on understanding radiological and nuclear terrorism in the October issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine." (Society of Nuclear Medicine)

"'Failed' experiment yields a biocontrol agent that doesn't trigger antibiotic resistance" - "MADISON - A failed experiment turned out to be anything but for bacteriologist Marcin Filutowicz. As he was puzzling out why what should have been a routine procedure wouldn't work, he made a discovery that led to the creation of a new biological tool for destroying bacterial pathogens - one that doesn't appear to trigger antibiotic resistance. The discovery also led to the startup of a promising new biotechnology firm that has already brought Wisconsin a dozen new, high-paying, highly skilled jobs. Filutowicz is a professor of bacteriology in the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Supermarkets accused over organic foods" - "Supermarkets are putting pressure on organic food watchdogs to lower standards so they can fully exploit a billion-pound industry which is growing by 30% a year, according to leading figures in the movement.

Fears that organic farming is falling victim to commercial pressures to abandon key principles have led to disputes in the Soil Association, the gold standard of the groups that certify "green" products.

Lawrence Woodward, a pioneer of the organic movement and a former head of the association, told the Guardian many producers were taking advantage of grey areas in the regulations for organic farming, and the public were being conned." (The Guardian)

No, duh! Everyone buying organic is being conned.

"Study suggests earlier crop plantings could curb future yields" - "MADISON--In an ongoing bid to grow more corn, farmers in the U.S. Corn Belt are planting seeds much earlier today than they did 30 years ago, a new study has found.

Poring over three decades of agricultural records, Christopher Kucharik, an associate scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, discovered that farmers in 12 U.S. states now put corn in the ground around two weeks earlier than they did during the late 1970s. His findings appear in the current issue of the Agronomy Journal.

Earlier plantings-which mean longer growing seasons--have likely contributed to the increasing corn yields of recent decades. But Kucharik, a terrestrial ecologist at the UW-Madison's Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, warns the trend can only continue for so long.

"Earlier plantings really can't continue forever because ultimately, farmers will have to contend with wintertime conditions and frozen soils," says Kucharik. "Several decades from now we might see an unexpected drop in annual yield increases when this trend plateaus, which could then increase the threat to our food supply." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"East Africa goes bananas over biotech" - "Entebbe - Genetically modified crops have passed their laboratory tests in East Africa and are now being closely monitored in confined field trials. Uganda, for example, is preparing a field test of bananas genetically modified to resist black sigatoka disease." (The Star)

"EU seeks joint testing with U.S. to prevent illegal GM rice imports" - "The European Union said Wednesday it would try to set up joint tests and controls with the United States to prevent genetically modified U.S. long grain rice from entering the 25-nation bloc." (AP)

"GM bacteria could naturally sweeten dairy" - "By adding a novel genetically engineered bacterial strain to dairy, the fermentation process is limited to converting lactose to glucose, a technique that could remove the need to add sweeteners to dairy products." (NutraIngredients)

October 4, 2006

"WHO’s Thumbs-up" - "DDT will spare millions from malaria." (Deroy Murdock, NRO)

"Hooray for DDT's life-saving comeback" - "Who says there's never any good news? After more than 30 years and tens of millions dead -- mostly children -- the World Health Organization (WHO) has ended its ban on DDT. DDT is the most effective anti-mosquito, anti-malaria pesticide known. But thanks to the worldwide environmental movement and politically correct bureaucrats in the United States and at the United Nations, the use of this benign chemical has been discouraged in Africa and elsewhere, permitting killer mosquitoes to spread death. I don't expect any apologies from the people who permitted this to happen. But I am thankful this nightmare is ending." (John Stossel, Townhall)

Well DUH! "Salt in branded foods 'varies around world'" - "Salt levels in the same branded foods vary hugely around the world, a group of medical experts said yesterday. Kellogg's All Bran sold in Britain and Ireland has about three times as much salt as that sold in America, while McDonald's Filet-O-Fish has more than twice as much salt in Britain as in South Africa, the campaign group said. World Action on Salt and Health (Wash), a new group of 194 medical professionals, also found that a KFC Twister sold in Britain had 34 per cent more salt than the same product in France." (London Telegraph)

Recipes are always tuned to local palate, even the hardness of local water supplies -- what do these guys expect?

"Overeating 'like drug addiction'" - "For obese people overeating is akin to drug addiction, research suggests." (BBC)

"Promising antiobesity drug fails to produce clinically meaningful weight loss" - "A drug designed to target a powerful hunger-stimulating factor that has long been considered a prime target for antiobesity therapy failed to produce clinically meaningful weight loss in obese people in a long-term clinical trial. People taking the drug known as MK-0557 for a year consistently lost about three pounds more than those taking a placebo." (Cell Press)

"Jury out on impact of sugary juice on kid's weight" - "NEW YORK - Results of a new study do not support current thinking that a high consumption of 100 percent fruit juice and sweetened fruit drinks contributes to the rising number of overweight and obese children." (Reuters Health)

"CBS Cornball on Obesity" - "High fructose corn syrup is addictive to journalists covering obesity." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Scientists Question US Govt Air Pollution Decision" - "WASHINGTON - Pollution experts have "serious scientific concerns" that newly unveiled US air quality standards may pose risks to human health and welfare, according to a letter made public on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Treatment 'to neutralise all flu'" - "Scientists say they are developing an entirely new way of providing instant protection against flu. In preliminary tests, it was found to protect animals against various strains of the virus - and may also protect against future pandemic strains. Warwick University researchers took a flu virus and genetically modified it. This, they say, created a "protecting virus" which slows down the rate of infection so much that the flu virus effectively becomes its own vaccine." (BBC)

Creating gullible nitwits: "Syllabus breeds activists" - "THE syllabus for a Queensland school geography course encourages political activism, aiming to provide students with values of social justice, "economic sustainability" and peace. While geographers describe their discipline as the study of the physical world and human interaction with the environment, geography curriculums advocate that students take action to achieve social justice and environmental sustainability." (The Australian)

"Hurricanes Hardly Happen" - "Call it the hurricane season that wasn't. Forecasters had predicted that this year would witness one of the most severe Atlantic storm seasons in history, a follow-up punch after a record-setting autumn last year that witnessed 28 named storms. Now the same prognosticators say this season will likely end with only 11 tropical storms on the books, of which only six will have attained hurricane strength. None have threatened the American coast with wide-scale destruction.

Which means President Bush deserves an apology. After Katrina hit, the left lined up to blame Mr. Bush on the theory that the global warming that was supposedly driving more and stronger hurricanes was caused by (wait for it) Mr. Bush's refusal to endorse to the Kyoto Protocol on carbon dioxide emissions, which President Clinton signed but never submitted to the Senate for ratification. The New York Times worked itself into a typhoon on the supposed connection between global warming and hurricane intensity. Germany's environment minister at the time, Juergen Tritten, opined that "by neglecting environmental protection, America's president shuts his eyes to the economic and human damage that natural catastrophes like Katrina inflict on his country and the world's economy."

Well, the global climate turns out to be not nearly so simple." (New York Sun Editorial)

"It's Not That Hot" - "Environment: Remember the breathless warnings that global warming was going to bring more and stronger hurricanes? We sure do. But Mother Earth apparently forgot that she had a role to play. 'The global warming influence provides a new background level that increases the risk of future enhancements in hurricane activity," Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research said in June. Trenberth got a large share of exposure for his theory, but he is not alone in his assessment. Other scientists have decided that human-induced global warming is going to kick up more lethal hurricanes. Even that renowned scientist Robert Kennedy Jr. has made the connection between global warming and hurricanes, blaming Mississippi's Republican governor, Haley Barbour, for his role in "in derailing the Kyoto Protocol." All this, and the current hurricane season, is fading without a cataclysm. Does this indicate we're now in a global cooling period?" (IBD)

"NASA satellite data helps assess the health of Florida's coral reef" - "NASA satellite data was used to help monitor the health of Florida's coral reef as part of a field research effort completed this August and September. The project was the first comprehensive assessment of the resiliency of reefs along the entire National Marine Sanctuary that stretches about 300 miles from Martin County to the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys. Scientists are trying to determine why some reefs are resilient to environmental changes and impacts. The work may also identify ways to care for reefs worldwide." (NASA/GSFC)

"Details of solar particles penetrating the Earth's environment revealed" - "Co-ordinated efforts by China/ESA's Double Star and ESA's Cluster spacecraft have allowed scientists to zero in on an area where energetic particles from the Sun are blasting their way through the Earth's magnetic shield. Solar material penetrating the Earth's magnetic shield can represent a hazard to both astronauts and satellites." (European Space Agency)

"Senator Inhofe & CNN Anchor In Heated Exchange Over Global Warming Coverage" - "CNN Anchor Cited Fictional Hollywood Global Warming Movie, The Day After Tomorrow, to Defend His Science Reporting." (US Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)

Overview of The 4th Annual SORCE Meeting: Earth’s Radiative Budget - Part III (Climate Science)

"Cosmic rays may solve global warming problem" - "Cosmic events could help soften the impact of global warming by triggering cloud formations, suggests research published yesterday. A team of Danish scientists concluded in the Proceedings of the Royal Society that making clouds is plausible, using the Sun's magnetic field. The Sun has been at its strongest for more than 60 years and a period of high solar activity could be approaching its end. "This would produce a cooling effect that could counter part of the global warming predicted for the next century," said Dr Jens Olaf Pedersen, of the Danish National Space Centre." (London Telegraph)

"Investors take the lead to help save the planet" - "Climate change is one of the most serious issues facing the planet. Scientific evidence shows that temperature changes are likely to have profoundly negative consequences for human society, the global economy and the world’s natural systems. This poses risks and opportunities to which investors and companies must respond.

Tackling climate change will hinge on the investment decisions made by institutional investors. Pension funds, insurance companies and other institutional investors hold approximately half of the shares listed on the London Stock Exchange. Other big markets around the world have similar concentrations of ownership.

How quickly these institutions move their investments from high-carbon to low-carbon companies will, to a large extent, determine our success in mitigating global warming. These investors’ decisions will turn on assessments of the longevity of oil and gas fields; the ownership and control of energy supplies; the effectiveness of any regulations to control carbon emissions; the profitability of emerging low-carbon technologies and carbon capture techniques; and the willingness of consumers to change their lifestyles." (Douglas Ferrans and Peter Scales, Financial Times)

Actually, by the IPCC's estimate, "The global average surface temperature has increased by 0.6 ± 0.2°C since the late 19th century." This is smaller than the error margin estimating the global mean temperature of 14 ± 0.7 °C, a metric devoid of specification. Ignoring the question of whether such a small warming since the Little Ice Age is in any way harmful, I was moved to ask the following:

"Why should investors believe the small warming possible from human emissions of greenhouse gases will cause massive positive feedback and large, catastrophic warming when much greater warming such as the 1997/98 El Niño event did not? The National Climatic Data Center annual means (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/anomalies/anomalies.html#means) show the world as warming 3.8 °C from January to July every year (11.6 °C for land surface measures) -- a warming in excess of the IPCC median scenario of 3 °C by 2100 -- without any indication of the warming feedback mechanisms supposedly due from the 0.25 °C warming physically possible from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Please tell us why we should spend any money or avoid any profit to supposedly address a 'problem' the world demonstrates that it ignores each and every year."

It will be interesting to see if they have an answer. Perhaps you'd like to ask them a question too? -- Ed.

"Climate costs top summit's agenda" - "Energy and environment ministers from the world's top 20 polluting nations are meeting in Mexico to consider the economic impact of climate change." (BBC)

Not the kind you look up: "Study warns of stark costs of failing to counter climate change as leaders meet" - "Gordon Brown is about to publish a ground-breaking study which will warn the world that it faces paying multi-trillion pound economic costs if it does not move urgently to act on climate change." (The Guardian)

Beckett's error in this piece is not understanding her own statement: "It is sound economic sense to respond to climate change and economic nonsense not to." Exactly! We should respond to climate change by adaptation. What we most assuredly should not do is squander vast resources vainly attempting to tweak the global thermostat -- something we cannot knowingly and predictable do.

"Cut emissions now or pay, UK tells climate talks" - "MONTERREY, Mexico, Oct 3 - Britain told the world's worst polluting nations on Tuesday that acting now to cut emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases would be vastly cheaper in the long run than doing nothing." (Reuters)

But only if assumptions about warming and carbon dioxide emissions match those of climate models, which are patently ridiculous.

"Overturning the Gulf Stream Myth" - "Do you recall seeing the classic film Day After Tomorrow? The theme of the movie was that humans warmed the earth, the global hydrological cycle was severely disrupted, fresh water began flowing into the North Atlantic, the Gulf Stream slowed rather suddenly, and Europe, and then the rest of the world, plunged into a glacial state. If you did not get the message in that film, Al Gore raised the possibility in his recent thriller." (WCR)

Sigh... "Extreme droughts will spread, warn forecasters" - "Nearly a third of the world's land surface may be at risk of extreme drought by the end of the century, wreaking havoc on farmland and water resources and leading to mass migrations of "environmental refugees", climate experts warned yesterday. Predictions based on historical trends in rainfall and surface temperatures dating back to the 1950s reveal that regions blighted by moderate droughts are set to double by the end of the century, with tentative data suggesting areas struck by extreme droughts may soar from 1% today to 30% in 2100." (The Guardian)

... and this will be in response to the increased water vapor in the atmosphere from the slight warming due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide -- the same increase in water vapor that will cause more warming, more evaporation and hence more water vapor (the enhanced greenhouse positive feedback hypothesis) and all this additional water vapor and soggy atmosphere will lead to... severe drought. You know, we pay these dipsticks money to make this stuff up.

"Ottawa puts car emissions on agenda" - "OTTAWA—Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has summoned car makers to a meeting today, when government and industry sources say she will lay out plans for Canada's first stab at regulating car emissions. The move is a major component of the Conservative government's promised environmental plan. It marks the first time car makers will face regulations. To date, Canada has either had a written voluntary agreement with the industry to meet emissions goals or an understanding that car makers would follow United States standards. The ultimate goal, say insiders, is to bring Canada in line with U.S. standards after 2010, which will mean most jurisdictions adopting California's pioneering clean-air laws." (CP)

"New study shows Arctic ice coverage lowest-ever, decline accelerating" - "The ocean area covered by Arctic sea ice last summer was as low as it's ever been, according to a newly released study. And the rate of melting gets faster every year, suggesting that a self-perpetuating warming cycle predicted by climate change models is already at work, said the data released by the main American centre for ice studies." (CP)

"Scientists to study global warming process in Indian Ocean" - "Top scientists from different continents gathered on Tuesday in Panaji to exchange information on global warming, with reference to the Indian Ocean region and its consequent impact on the rim countries." (UNI)

"Climate Change: What Are The Corporate Risks and Opportunities?" - "PARIS, Oct. 3 -- AXA and ADEME (Agence De l'Environnement et de la Maitrise de l'Energie) present the findings of the Carbon Disclosure Project FT500 and SBF 120. The request for information involving the SBF 120, which was conducted for the first time in France this year on a sample of the country's 120 biggest corporations, assesses the corporate risks and opportunities associated with climate change and global warming. The inaugural 2006 results confirm that, although awareness of the stakes of climate change has risen among French businesses, a number of key industries remain to be convinced." (PRNewswire-FirstCall)

"ANALYSIS - EU Seeks Second Chance for Carbon Market from 2008" - "LONDON - The European Union's executive will try in the coming weeks to revive its floundering carbon trading scheme from 2008, after a miscalculation on targets last year capsized its concept of driving emissions cuts." (Reuters)

"'No strategy' for climate change" - "Several powerful windstorms this summer that left tens of thousands of residents without power are proof climate change is already impacting Ontario and the Liberal government is not prepared for the consequences, the province’s environmental watchdog warned today." (CP)

From CO2 Science this week:

Antarctic Temperatures of the Past Two Centuries: What do they imply about the supposedly unprecedented global warming of the latter part of the 20th century?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from the Aleutian Islands and Austrian Alps. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Growth Response to Very High CO 2 Concentrations (Terrestrial Plants): How high can the air's CO 2 content rise and its effects on terrestrial plants still be positive?

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 Honeysuckle, Common Ragweed, Scots Pine, and Soybean.

Journal Reviews:
Solar Activity and Precipitation in Newfoundland Over the Course of the Holocene: What does the relationship between them imply about greenhouse-gas forcing of climate?

Six Thousand Years of Climate Change in China: The sun rules!

Winter Night CO 2 Concentrations in a Suburb of Tokyo: What are their characteristics? ... and what causes them?

Elevated CO 2 Thwarts Thermal Death of a Floating Aquatic Plant: Yes, atmospheric CO 2 enrichment can sometimes mean the difference between life and death, even for plants with a non-limiting supply of water and nutrients.

The Growth Response of a Submersed Aquatic Plant to Elevated CO 2 in the Air Above It: How does the response compare with that of most terrestrial plants directly immersed in CO 2 -enriched air? (co2science.org)

"The Real Market for Fuel Efficiency" - "Detroit is talking up small cars again, but Americans haven't gotten any smaller since the 1970s.

You've heard the statistics: Nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight, and 31% are obese. In the late 1990s, the so-called Civilian American and European Surface Anthropometry Resource began cataloging body shapes and sizes, and auto makers discovered that a substantial chunk of the car-buying public couldn't fit its tummies behind the wheel while still reaching the pedals. They also found that demand for pickups and SUVs was partly related to taller cabs -- no bending over and scrunching down was required to get aboard. Some child safety seats now are designed to accommodate a 100-pound toddler.

To wit, growing vehicle size over the past two decades is a function of more than just the price of gasoline. Add the fact that commutes have been getting longer as Americans choose to live farther from town. They spend more time in their cars. And their cars also must hold more stuff: DVD players, airbags, and if Washington has it way, mandatory stability control by 2012.

The thing to notice about fuel economy is that it steadily improved relative to the growing weight of the average vehicle. People want fuel-efficient cars so they can afford to drive bigger cars and drive them more miles." (Wall Street Journal)

"LATIN AMERICA: Nuclear Energy Reborn" - "MEXICO CITY - Just 3.1 percent of Latin America's electricity comes from nuclear sources, but if expansion plans in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico succeed, that proportion could more than double in a decade -- much to the annoyance of environmentalists." (IPS/IFEJ)

"Montana Announces Coal-to-Liquids Plant" - "SALMON, Idaho - Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and a consortium of energy and technology companies Monday announced the state will be home to one of the nation's first coal-to-liquids energy plants." (Reuters)

"A Big Bet on Natural Gas" - "Three new liquefied natural gas terminals in Louisiana would double the nation's capacity to import natural gas." (New York Times)

Dopey buggers: "NZ urged to take lead in biofuels field" - "The country's top energy experts have recommended that fossil fuels be largely phased out in 14 years. A report by the Royal Society of New Zealand's Energy Panel says not enough is being done to secure energy supply, and recommends that the country move to a low or zero-carbon system for energy and transportation. The report, 2020: Energy Opportunities, warns that pricing on greenhouse gas emissions is inevitable, and New Zealand should be prepared." (New Zealand Herald)

"CHINA: Afflicted by Automobile Addiction" - "BEIJING - On a recent 'Car Free Day' in Beijing, the capital was clogged with vehicles and the sky a drab shade of grey. The sheer number of cars on the roads had made a mockery of the city initiative to make dwellers ride their bicycles or use the public transport." (IPS/IFEJ)

"Report challenges common ecological hypothesis about species abundance" - "DURHAM, N.C. -- A new report finds little empirical evidence to support a widely held ecological assumption that species are most abundant near the centers of their geographic ranges and decline in abundance near the ranges' edges." (Duke University)

"British cattle give TB to badgers, finds UC Davis expert" - "The controversial practice of killing wild badgers to prevent tuberculosis in cattle is unlikely to succeed, according to a new study led by Rosie Woodroffe, an ecologist at the University of California, Davis, and a member of Britain's Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB." (University of California - Davis)

"Triple threat: World fin trade may harvest up to 73 million sharks per year" - "The first real-data study of sharks harvested for their valuable fins estimates as few as 26 million and as many as 73 million sharks are killed each year worldwide--three times higher than was reported originally by the United Nations, according to a paper published as the cover story in the October 2006 edition of Ecology Letters." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Fisheries linked to decline in galapagos waved albatross population" - "Fishermen caught and killed about 1 percent of the world's waved albatrosses in a year, according to a new study by Wake Forest University biologists. "If that happens every year, that is not sustainable," said Jill Awkerman, a Wake Forest graduate student who is the lead author of the study published online Sept. 26 in the journal Biological Conservation. "In a matter of decades, you could be talking about extinction." Awkerman's research shows the waved albatrosses are unintentionally killed when caught in fishing nets or on fishing hooks, but are also intentionally harvested for human consumption." (Wake Forest University)

"A Bad Time For Organic Believers" - "It’s a bad moment for believers in the mystical wonders of organic and natural foods. Deadly E. coli bacteria, lurking in spinach from one of the biggest organic farms in America, just killed one woman and hospitalized at least 29 other people with kidney failure. In all, the contaminated spinach sickened nearly 200, in at least 23 states and Canada. Meanwhile, several California kids are on kidney dialysis with permanent organ damage from the same virulent strain of E. coli O157: H7 after consuming raw, un-pasteurized milk or colostrum from the Organic Pastures Dairy of Fresno. Tragically, the victims were all seeking greater food safety and the promised health benefits of vegetables and milk produced the “old-fashioned way.” (CGFI)

"Genome archaeology illuminates the genetic engineering debate" - "NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Genome Research's cover story for Oct. 2 tells a tale of "genome archaeology" by genetic researchers who dug deeply into the long history of maize and rice. Their resulting insights into plant genomic evolution may well fuel the fires of the genetically modified organism (GMO) controversy. "Our findings elucidate an active evolutionary process in which nature inserts genes much like modern biotechnologists do. Now we must reassess the allegations that biotechnologists perform 'unnatural acts,' thereby creating 'Frankenfoods,'" said Professor Joachim Messing, project leader and director of the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey." (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

"Monsanto says new corn could produce bumper crops" - "Monsanto Co., the world's largest developer of genetically modified crops, said an experimental corn seed that produces drought-tolerant plants may boost yields in dry parts of the U.S. by 40 percent in the next decade.

Monsanto plans to engineer as many as six benefits into corn by the end of the decade, up from three currently. The new seeds will contain genes that provide ethanol makers with more-nutritious animal feed after extracting the fuel, Fraley said." (Bloomberg News)

October 3, 2006

"Kenya: Prevention And Awareness Can Tame Malaria" - "The Ministry of Health deserves praise for distributing mosquito nets in a national campaign launched on September 25, targeting children under the age of five. This is a worthwhile venture, considering the grim statistics on malaria. In many communities, besides the high mortality among children, many productive hours are lost due to the disease. By giving out the nets, the ministry is keen to see a reversal of this sad trend. However, giving out nets alone may not be the solution. In malaria surveys, it has been established that if communities are given nets by donors without being educated on the significance of using them, they tuck them away safely in their boxes. The few who use them only do so irregularly, while others reserve them for visitors. In other communities, the vulnerable groups (children under five years and pregnant women) may not sleep under the net when the "breadwinner" (the father) does not." (The Nation (Nairobi))

Join us as we celebrate WHO's somewhat belated return to rationality and show your support for safe, effective health care. Get your DDTee™ at the special price of just $14.99 and stand with us against the fear mongers whose nonsense claims have killed so many.

The ignorant still scream loudly: "Nigeria: The Return of DDT" - "DDT, the much dreaded agro-chemical often used as a pesticide, is about to make a huge return according to the World Health Organization (WHO) which recently fully endorsed wider use of the insecticide across Africa to exterminate and repel the mosquitoes that bear and transmit the malaria parasite. An article published in the New York Times quoted Dr. Arata Kochi, Head of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, as saying that DDT posed no health risk when sprayed in small amounts on the inner walls of people's homes. These comments greatly irked the scientific community as well as many professional staff of the WHO Malaria Programme and prompted the resignation of many senior members of the team; in fact half the professional staff were said to have resigned their positions already. The DDT debate, once thought to be dead and buried, was thus re-incarnated for a fresh round of discourse hopefully with the same amount of passion and fury against its use that the earlier debates witnessed." (This Day (Lagos))

"Africans Face Crisis Because Aid Wasted" - "NAIROBI, Kenya -- Millions of Africans face food shortages that could lead to starvation because much of the $5.6 billion in aid spent each year to help them is wasted, a humanitarian aid organization said Tuesday. International aid arrives too late, is targeted at the wrong things and is usually only a short-term measure that doesn't tackle the root cause of hunger, CARE International UK said in a new report." (Associated Press)

"300,000,000" - "The Census Bureau tells us that some time in the weeks ahead the U.S. population will reach 300 million. This means that there will be roughly three times as many people as there were a century ago, and twice as many as in 1950. Americans have been bringing a new baby into the world roughly every eight seconds and a new immigrant arrives every 30 seconds -- the equivalent of a new Chicago every year.

This demographic milestone is not cause for alarm -- as some prophets of doom would have it. Rather, it is cause for celebration. We 300 million Americans are on balance healthier and wealthier and freer than any population ever: We breathe cleaner air, drink cleaner water, earn higher incomes, have more leisure time, and live in less crowded housing. Every natural resource we depend on -- water, food, copper and, yes, even oil -- is far more abundant today measured by affordability than when our population was 100 million or even 30 million.

Thanks to the rapid pace of technological progress, there's every reason to believe these resources will be still more abundant when our population reaches 400 million -- which should happen about 40 years from now. As the late economist Julian Simon reminded us, thanks to our free market capitalist system, the history of America is one of leaving the storehouse for every successive generation more endowed with wealth, knowledge and natural resources." (Wall Street Journal)

"Web Journals Threaten Peer-Review System" - "LOS ANGELES -- Scientists frustrated by the iron grip that academic journals hold over their research can now pursue another path to fame by taking their research straight to the public online. Instead of having a group of hand-picked scholars review research in secret before publication, a growing number of Internet-based journals are publishing studies with little or no scrutiny by the authors' peers. It's then up to rank-and-file researchers to debate the value of the work in cyberspace. The Web journals are threatening to turn on its head the traditional peer-review system that for decades has been the established way to pick apart research before it's made public." (AP)

Desperate dredge of the day... "Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies" - "The consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced rate of coronary heart disease (CHD) in observational cohorts. The purpose of this study was to assess the strength of this association in a meta-analysis. Cohort studies were selected if they reported relative risks (RRs) and 95% CI for coronary heart disease or mortality and if they presented a quantitative assessment of fruit and vegetable intake. The pooled RRs were calculated for each additional portion of fruit and/or vegetables consumed per day, and the linearity of the associations were examined. Nine studies were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis that consisted of 91,379 men, 129,701 women, and 5,007 CHD events. The risk of CHD was decreased by 4% [RR (95% CI): 0.96 (0.93–0.99), P = 0.0027] for each additional portion per day of fruit and vegetable intake and by 7% [0.93 (0.89–0.96), P < 0.0001] for fruit intake. The association between vegetable intake and CHD risk was heterogeneous (P = 0.0043), more marked for cardiovascular mortality [0.74 (0.75–0.84), P < 0.0001] than for fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction [0.95 (0.92–0.99), P = 0.0058]. Visual inspection of the funnel plot suggested a publication bias, although not statistically significant. Therefore, the reported RRs are probably overestimated. This meta-analysis of cohort studies shows that fruit and vegetable consumption is inversely associated with the risk of CHD. The causal mechanism of this association, however, remains to be demonstrated." (J. Nutr. 136:2588-2593, October 2006)

... -4% -- and that's likely an overestimate. Restated for real-world significance, there's no support for ramming more fruits and vegetables down the throats of unwilling consumers. Well, there's justification for all the tax dollars poured into promoting silly pyramids.

"Editorial: No excuse for trans fats" - "New York and Chicago are sizzling with the news that their health departments are considering a total ban on restaurant foods that contain artery-clogging trans fats. But why stop at restaurant food? Canada would become a world leader in nutrition if the federal government acts on the report of its own task force that called in June for a sharp reduction in trans fats in all foods, including grocery products." (Toronto Star)

"How low should we go? Researchers find no clear evidence for ultra-low cholesterol targets" - "ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Americans have been trying to get their cholesterol levels down for decades, ever since studies showed a strong link between high cholesterol and heart disease. But in recent years, experts have suggested that some people should aim even lower, recently recommending very low levels of the type of cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein for some high-risk people -- even if it means they had to take multiple medications to get there. Not so fast, says a team of researchers from the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the University of Michigan Health System in a new paper in the October Annals of Internal Medicine." (University of Michigan Health System)

"Schwarzenegger OKs Chemical Exposure Research" - "SACRAMENTO - California will become the first US state to try to measure how its residents are absorbing chemicals from common products under a "bio-monitoring" bill signed on Friday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger." (Reuters)

Arnie seems to be trying to be king of the fruitloop appeasers.

"Childhood lead exposure linked to increased injuries as teens" - "CINCINNATI -- Teenagers who experienced high blood-lead levels during childhood appear to suffer more accidental injuries than those who had lower lead exposure, according to new research conducted by University of Cincinnati (UC) environmental health experts. The UC team reports these findings in the October 2006 edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health. The researchers surveyed 212 teens (with a 42 percent response rate) from the Cincinnati Lead Study, a group of children from neighborhoods with high lead concentrations who were exposed to the substance at various levels." (University of Cincinnati)

They know this from 89 survey responses.

"Plastic bagging" - "Bans on useful shopping bags are wasteful and pointless, writes Matthew Warren." (The Australian)

If you go down to the woods today... you better watch where you step? "Wildlife Waste Is Major Water Polluter, Studies Say" - "Does a bear leave its waste in the woods? Of course. So do geese, deer, muskrats, raccoons and other wild animals. And now, such states as Virginia and Maryland have determined that this plays a significant role in water pollution. Scientists have run high-tech tests on harmful bacteria in local rivers and streams and found that many of the germs -- and in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, a majority of them -- come from wildlife dung. The strange proposition that nature is apparently polluting itself has created a serious conundrum for government officials charged with cleaning up the rivers." (Washington Post)

But it can't be "pollution" because it's natural (and non-human!), therefore it must be good. What strange concepts urbanized humans have of "nature" that they are shocked "nature is apparently polluting itself" (it's called nutrient cycling in the real world).

"Record ozone loss during 2006 over South Pole" - "Ozone measurements made by ESA's Envisat satellite have revealed the ozone loss of 40 million tons on 2 October 2006 has exceeded the record ozone loss of about 39 million tons for 2000.

Ozone loss is derived by measuring the area and the depth of the ozone hole. The size of this year's ozone hole is 28 million square km, nearly as large as the record ozone hole extension during 2000, and the depth of the ozone hole is around 100 Dobson Units, rivalling the record low ozone values in 1998. This year's record ozone loss was reached because these two measurements occurred during the same time period. (A Dobson unit is a unit of measurement that describes the thickness of the ozone layer in a column directly above the location being measured.)

"Such significant ozone loss requires very low temperatures in the stratosphere combined with sunlight. This year's extreme loss of ozone can be explained by the temperatures above Antarctica reaching the lowest recorded in the area since 1979," ESA Atmospheric Engineer Claus Zehner said." (European Space Agency)

Don't worry -- they're from the government and they're going to "fix" it.

Hurricane Data Not Cooperating (WCR)

Video of TV taking head: John Hodgman - Hurricanes (YouTube)

"Alaskan storm cracks giant iceberg to pieces in faraway Antarctica" - "A severe storm that occurred in the Gulf of Alaska in October 2005 generated an ocean swell that six days later broke apart a giant iceberg floating near the coast of Antarctica, more than 8,300 miles away. A team of scientists led by Professors Douglas MacAyeal at the University of Chicago and Emile Okal at Northwestern University present evidence connecting the two events in the October issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters." (University of Chicago)

What Is The “Surface Temperature” In The Multi-decadal Global Climate Models As Referred To In the Hansen et al 2006 PNAS Paper? (Climate Science)

"Senators Request Inquiry Into White House Global Warming Activities" - "WASHINGTON, DC, October 2, 2006 - A group of 14 senators has called for an investigation of allegations the Bush administration has repeatedly interfered with federal scientists who have tried to publish research or speak to the media about the reality and impacts of global warming. The senators sent letters Friday to the inspector generals of NASA and the U.S. Commerce Department, which oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), requesting formal investigations into the claims." (ENS)

Wonder if they're going to investigate the Royal Society too?

Gotta hand it to activists... "Top 20 polluters gather in Mexico" - "Ministers from the world's top 20 polluting nations are gathering in Mexico for talks on climate change. The delegates will discuss possible ways to meet future energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern is also expected to present findings from his review into the economic impacts of climate change." (BBC)

... they've made "greenhouse gas" synonymous with "pollution" in the media and public mind, which is an outstanding achievement in view of its absurdity.

"Group pushing towns to adopt global warming initiatives" - "CONCORD, N.H. --A bipartisan coalition of environmental groups and individuals hopes to get communities around the state to support national efforts to halt global warming, with an eye toward making climate change an issue in the 2008 presidential primaries for both parties. The Carbon Coalition: New Hampshire Citizens for a Responsible Energy Policy hopes to get its non-binding resolution on next spring's Town Meeting agendas and municipal ballots." (Associated Press)

"Campaign Seeks 'Religious Response to Global Warming'" - "In an effort to mobilize a "religious response to global warming," thousands of congregations are meeting in churches, mosques, synagogues and other halls of worship around the nation during the first week of October for an unprecedented number of inter-religious screenings and discussions of films about climate change. However, a religious leader who disagrees with the effort to pin the blame for global warming on humans told Cybercast News Service that "it is a sad day when Americans turn to the movies to learn science for public policy." (CNSNews.com)

So concerned about 'creation care' they're going to kill trees to do it: "Church looks to the sun - It will fell tree to go solar" - "PRINCETON BOROUGH -- Feeling the heat from a local church's push to install a solar panel, the borough council has granted the church's appeal to remove a large pin oak tree on its property." (Trenton Times)

"Canadians expect failure on climate change" - "Nearly two-thirds of Canadians believe the Conservative government will fail to take adequate steps to fight global warming, and blame the oil and gas industry for making matters worse. And a similar number -- 63 per cent -- are "desperately concerned" that the "world may not last much longer than another couple of generations" if drastic action isn't taken immediately." (Mike De Souza, The Ottawa Citizen)

"US on Track With Greenhouse Goals, But too Easy?" - "OSLO - Washington is sticking to goals for curbing greenhouse gases under a yardstick shunned by most of its allies as too easy. President George W. Bush said he has no plans to toughen the targets -- trimming the amount of heat-trapping gas emitted per dollar of economic output -- despite speculation that he was considering a revision because of worries about global warming." (Reuters)

"Environment ‘cool off’" - "Once again, Bahamas is embarrassed at the United Nations. Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell appears to be speaking for other “small island nations” on Global Warming inviting them to join the Bahamas in pressuring the United States into signing onto Kyoto. Signing the Kyoto Accord is one thing, implementing it another. Few of the industrialized nations have or will implement the accords in any way likely to damage their economies." (The Nassau Institute)

"Climate Report Seen Setting Out Scary Scenarios" - "LONDON - Climate campaigners said on Tuesday they expected a British government report on the global costs of climate change to make it clear that major concerted action was needed now. The full report, an outline of which will be presented by former World Bank chief economist Nick Stern to a closed-door meeting of G8 environment ministers in Mexico later on Tuesday, is expected to be published later this month." (Reuters)

"Red alert as climate change takes its toll on Scotland" - "Climate change is leading to changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, snow cover, wind and storm events, flooding and coastal erosion. All of these could have significant impact on Scotland's environment, economy and people." (The Scotsman)

"EU Energy Saving Plan Delayed, Finland Concerned" - "BRUSSELS - An action plan laying out ways for the European Union to cut its energy use has been put on hold by the European Commission, drawing fire from environmentalists and from Finland, holder of the EU presidency." (Reuters)

"Co-op in 'carbon neutral' scheme" - "Co-op travel firm Travelcare is the first high street firm offering customers the chance to counter the environmental impact of their flights. Customers will be able to invest in overseas schemes, run by Climate Care, aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Such "offset" schemes, whereby the amount invested can vary to reflect the the flight's emission levels, have only been available on the internet." (BBC)

"UK: Cheap flights vote is blow to green plans" - "Conservative activists yesterday snubbed ambitious green tax plans put forward by David Cameron's advisers, by voting in favour of budget flights despite their environmental impact. John Gummer, the former environment secretary and head of the party's quality of life policy taskforce, said carbon taxes would undoubtedly be imposed. Zac Goldsmith, the environmentalist and fellow taskforce member, urged the Tories to shift taxes "away from good things like labour to bad things like pollution", while the author and eco-campaigner Jeanette Winterson encouraged the Tories to become the party of the land again." (The Guardian)

"UK: A flying tax would damage the economy, says BAA" - "The owner of Heathrow airport, BAA, put aside months of hostilities with the airline industry yesterday to warn that a flying tax would damage the economy." (The Guardian)

Buying Midwestern votes? "US Ethanol Industry Confident of Bush Support" - "WASHINGTON - Ethanol producers expect the Bush administration to push for more research money to make biofuels cheaper and more widely available to drivers, the industry's main trade group said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Australia to lose ANU solar breakthrough" - "Australia is set to lose a revolutionary solar technology developed by researchers at the Australian National University to overseas commercial investors. The world-first solar sliver cells technology has won five major national science awards in the past two years and is tipped to make solar energy cost-competitive with coal within less than a decade. Origin Energy has confirmed commercial manufacture of ANU's solar sliver cell technology is poised to go offshore, possibly to Germany or the United States, to capitalise on government investment incentives for solar energy in those countries." (The Canberra Times)

Let taxpayers elsewhere be bilked for development of "maybe -- in ten years" technology? Works for me.

Um... why? "A plan for reintroducing megafauna to North America" - "Dozens of megafauna (large animals over 100 pounds) – such as giant tortoises, horses, elephants, and cheetah – went extinct in North America13,000 years ago during the end of the Pleistocene. As is the case today in Africa and Asia, these megafauna likely played keystone ecological roles via predation, herbivory, and other processes. What are the consequences of losing such important components of America's natural heritage?" (University of Chicago Press Journals)

"Home, home on the range: How much space does an animal really need?" - "Instead of wandering around aimlessly, most animals tend to stay in a certain area –known as their home range. Understanding an animal's home range has been a central focus of ecological research since Darwin's time. But while explaining why different sized species need different amounts of space is relatively easy, a study from the October issue of The American Naturalist tackles a much more complex question: what determines differences in home range size among individuals of one species?" (University of Chicago Press Journals)

"Salmon farms kill wild fish, study shows" - "New research confirms that sea lice from fish farms kill wild salmon. Up to 95 per cent of the wild juvenile salmon that migrate past fish farms die as a result of sea lice infestation from the farms. The results of the research have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America." (University of Alberta)

"Fly Away Home" - "The 4,000-mile round trip made by millions of monarch butterflies holds a central mystery that entomologists are trying to solve." (New York Times)

"New study explains why hotter is better for insects" - "Organisms have been able to adapt to environments ranging from cold polar oceans to hot thermal vents. However, University of Washington researchers have discovered a limit to the powerful forces of natural selection, at least when it comes to the adaptation of insects to cold temperatures." (University of Chicago Press Journals)

"Unique gene regulation gives chilly bugs survival advantage at bottom of the world" - "COLUMBUS , Ohio -- The larvae of Antarctic midges never stop producing special proteins that minimize environmental stress, allowing them to withstand a range of intense environmental conditions in one of the world's harshest environments." (Ohio State University)

"New wood-plastic composites to boost industry, help use waste products" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. – Wood science researchers in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University have developed new wood-plastic composites that are stronger and less expensive than any similar products now available – a major breakthrough for this growing industry. Wood-plastic composites, often used for such things as outdoor decking, are one of the fastest growing components of the wood composites industry. Some projections have suggested that these products, which were used for less than 1 percent of decking in the mid-1990s, may capture 20 percent of that market by 2010." (Oregon State University)

"Foodborne pathogens hard to remove from produce, research is ongoing" - "URBANA – Will you ever feel comfortable eating fresh spinach again? All raw agricultural products carry a minimal risk of contamination, said a University of Illinois scientist whose research focuses on keeping foodborne pathogens, including the strain of E. coli found recently on spinach, out of the food supply.

Martin's research is focused on finding ways to eliminate the biofilms that attach to produce and cause illness. "Once the pathogenic organism gets on the product, no amount of washing will remove it. The microbes attach to the surface of produce in a sticky biofilm, and washing just isn't very effective," he said.

"Another problem with this pathogen is that it has a very low infective dose. It only takes between 10 and 100 cells to cause an infection, so it's impossible to achieve a safe level of the pathogen once it gets on the product. At this point, we need to concentrate on avoiding a crop's exposure to the pathogen as the produce is being grown," he said.

Martin said the California spinach outbreak appears to have been caused by contaminated cow manure used by organic producers. "A very low percentage of cattle are always infected by this strain of E. coli. If fresh manure from those cattle is used as fertilizer, there's an outbreak in the making." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Towards an open dialogue on the benefits and risks of nanotechnologies"  -"A European project has developed a set of tools to help support a dialogue between scientists, policy makers and the public about the benefits and potential impacts of nanosciences and nanotechnologies. As the public's ongoing rejection of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) shows, when public trust in a new technology is lost, regaining it is incredibly difficult. Nanotechnologies offer the promise of exciting new advances in a range of fields, from energy and the environment to textiles and medicine, yet there are also questions about the safety of these new technologies. The aim of Nanologue, a project funded under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), is to promote an open and honest dialogue between scientists, policy makers and the public about both the potential benefits and pitfalls of nanotechnologies. The project is now drawing to a close." (Cordis)

October 2, 2006

"New treatment for severe malaria" - "The most dangerous form of malaria is difficult to treat and claims two million lives a year. Now, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed a powerful new weapon against the disease." (Karolinska Institutet)

"Battle over DDT" - "The reintroduction of a controversial pesticide to control malaria has drawn sharp reactions from many quarters but there could be more to the issue than meets the eye, writes Dann Okoth." (East African Standard)

"UK: Doctor who used 'junk science' in court faces GMC hearing" - "A doctor accused by a senior judge of peddling "junk science" as an expert witness in a court case is facing action by the General Medical Council which could strip her of the right to practise. Jane Donegan, a GP and homeopath, gave evidence for two mothers who were fighting attempts by their former partners to have their children given childhood immunisations. The mothers opposed immunisation altogether, believing it unnecessary and possibly dangerous." (The Guardian)

"Common cold may be just a fingertip away due to environmental contamination" - "PARSIPPANY, N.J., Sept. 29 -- A common cold can be just a fingertip away thanks to the high rate of viral contamination of environmental surfaces that a cold sufferer can leave behind, according to a study in hotel rooms by investigators from the University of Virginia (UVa) and Reckitt-Benckiser (LON: RB), the world's number one household cleaning company (excluding laundry). The study was presented today in an oral session at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), in San Francisco, California." (Porter Novelli)

"Obesity linked to too little sleep, again" - "NEW YORK - The amount of time people spend sleeping may affect their weight, study results suggest. The study looked at people living in rural areas. Previous studies conducted in urban and suburban areas have had similar results, which suggests that sleep loss may play a role in the increasing rates of obesity in the US. Researchers have proposed that shorter sleep duration may affect levels of two weight-control hormones: reduced levels of leptin, a hormone associated with satiety, and increased levels of ghrelin, associated with hunger." (Reuters Health)

"Lean times ahead for the fatty firms" - "Companies producing 'unhealthy' foods have been added to the musts-to-avoid for responsible investors. Tony Levene reports." (The Guardian)

"NYC Trans Fat Ban Could Spark Food Fight" - "NEW YORK -- A city proposal to ban restaurants from selling food containing an unhealthy artificial fat could open a new front in a national fight over the safety of America's food supply, legal experts said." (AP)

"Big Brother Is Weight Watching: New York City bans trans fats and tracks down diabetics." - "Big Brother," "Orwellian," "Nanny state"--all those words were on the lips of New Yorkers this week after the local Board of Health proposed banning most so-called trans fats from the city's more than 20,000 eateries. The targeted fatty acids are produced when vegetable oil is solidified with hydrogen--for frying foods or making baked goods, among other things. They can raise levels of "bad" cholesterol. Even health officials can't honestly claim that trans fats are a major cause of heart and artery problems. They are the demon du jour, however, and the overlords of New York seem bent on saving us from them." (Opinion Journal)

"Sugar linked with mental problems in Norway study" - "WASHINGTON - Oslo teens who drink the most sugary soft drinks also have more mental health problems such as hyperactivity and distress, Norwegian researchers reported on Thursday. Their study of more than 5,000 Norwegian 15- and 16-year-olds showed a clear and direct association between soft drink intake and hyperactivity, and a more complex link with other mental and behavioral disorders. They surveyed the students, asking them how many fizzy soft drinks with sugar they had a day, and then questions from a standard questionnaire used to assess mental health." (Reuters)

Hmm... Mind-altering drugs: does legal mean safe? (New Scientist)

... given the crap New Scientist is prone to publishing, especially on the dreaded "global warming", we suspect the entire staff might have been researching this piece for some considerable time.

"Humanity's Greatest Achievement" - "Think for a moment about what this morning would have looked like if it were 150 years ago. You wouldn't have had electric light, running water or indoor sanitation. You couldn't have gone to work by car, bus or train. You couldn't have used a computer, which performs calculations in seconds that would take decades with pen and paper. In short, you would probably not have found this morning very comfortable or enjoyable -- if you had been alive to experience it. Back then, the global average for life expectancy was around 30 years.

We tend to take our opportunities for granted, but our ancestors could not have imagined what we now have. In the last 100 years, we have created more wealth than in the 100,000 years before that, and not because we work more. To the contrary: In the last century, work hours have been halved in the Western world. It is because new ideas have made it possible for us to work smarter and find easier ways to satisfy our needs and demands.

The people we should thank are the innovators and entrepreneurs, the individuals who see new opportunities and risk exploring them -- the people who find new markets, create new products, think out new ways to handle commodities commercially, organize work in new ways, design new technology or transfer capital to more productive uses." (Johan Norberg, Wall Street Journal)

"Carbon dioxide from rain forests may be contributing to climate change" - "In the middle of Terry McGlynn's lab at the University of San Diego sits a seemingly incongruous object for a biologist dedicated to teasing out secrets about how tropical rain forests work. It's a brown metallic Singer sewing machine that looks to be decades old. Around it are neatly sewn bags about the size of McGlynn's hand and remnants of mesh materials from which the bags are made. The concept is in textbooks and economic models: Central and South American woodlands are reservoirs that absorb and store carbon dioxide. Is it time to rewrite the scenario?" (Paramus Post News)

Oh boy... "Miliband promotes plan to buy rainforests" - "Ministers are proposing an extraordinary scheme to tackle climate change in which the Amazon rainforest would be turned into an international trust and its trees sold to individuals and groups. Plans for the wholesale "privatisation" of the rainforest will be raised by David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, at a summit in Mexico this week." (London Telegraph)

"Jungles Of The Mind: The Invention Of The 'Tropical Rain Forest'" - "Philip Stott unravels the emergence of myths about the tropical rain forests." (History Today)

"Report: Better Hurricane Research Needed" - "Hurricanes cost taxpayers billions of dollars, but the government has not invested enough money in understanding them, according to a federal report released Friday that calls for more coordinated research." (AP)

The Lyman et al Paper “Recent Cooling In the Upper Ocean” Has Been Published (Climate Science)

"Suddenly, California Hates the Car" - "California's attorney general is going after one of the mainstays of life in a way that is so confused, so terrifying an abuse of state power, that it begs for redress." (New York Times)

"Clean Air, Murky Precedent" - "ON Wednesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California signed a bold bill pledging the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020. It was refreshing to hear a politician of national stature explain, with an air of true conviction, why global warming is an urgent problem. “It creeps up on you,” he told ABC News, the day he said he would sign the bill. “And then all of a sudden, it is too late to do something about it. ... We don’t want to go there.” (New York Times)

No, we wouldn't want to go there... nor could we even if we did want to.

Calculated increased downwelling infrared radiation from a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide indicate increased surface temperature in the range 0.2 to 0.25 kelvin.

Climate models (GCMs) haven't really progressed much in the last decade or so, still magnifying the effect to 0.5 to 1.2 K mentioned in Houghton et al 1990, 1992. On top of this 3-5 times inflation GCMs add a further 300% warming for "positive feedbacks", mainly due to increases in the most important greenhouse gas, water vapor, from increased evaporation from the trivial warming induced by additional carbon dioxide, which is where the old IPCC guesstimate of 1.5 to 4.5 K warming is founded (According to the Third Assessment Report [TAR]: This estimate is unchanged from the first IPCC Assessment Report in 1990 and the SAR [1995]).

How reasonable are these models? Actually, not at all. Since people have seriously been trying to take the globe's temperature, around the end of the Little Ice Age, warming attributable to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is between 0.1 and 0.17 K (for the most generous estimates), just about perfectly centered on the +0.14 K calculated in the absence of unmitigated feedback mechanisms. Alongside this we have 0.3 K from increased solar activity and about 0.15 K due to changes in albedo (from land use change, soot discoloration of snowfields...) and increases in other minor greenhouse gases (methane, ozone...). Cumulatively, these match the IPCC estimate of warming since the late 19th Century of 0.6 ± 0.2 °C about as neatly as you are ever likely to get, leaving the model output way out in fantasy territory.

Regarding the range of model output, the range cited by the IPCC is only part of the story. We have a table of comparisons between 108 model guess-timations for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide compiled by Kacholia and Reck, published in 1997 : Global mean surface air temperature change simulations for a doubling of CO2, which covers the range 0.2 °C to 8.7 °C and the situation hasn't improved too much with recent IPCC ruminations about an upper bound estimate of 5.8 °C.

That the range of output estimates is so large is no surprise since the models are largely a collection of "tunable" parameters and fudge-factors ("flux adjustments" in the parlance -- means arbitrary "fixes" of calculated values heading off into fairyland), without which no model generates anything close to measured reality. As an example of how much twisting these knobs and dials affects results note that Washington and Meehl show published listings of 1.3 °C; 1.4 °C–3.5 °C; 1.6 °C; 4.0 °C and back to 1.6 °C for a doubling of pre-IR atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Also note that these do not indicate what the net mean surface temperature would be because the models used in the comparison project produced a range of roughly 11.5-16.5 °C for the unforced basis runs. That the model ensemble do not agree on surface mean temperature beyond 14 ± 2.5 °C does not seem to trouble the climate modeling clique.

In virtually any other field, any model which required constant adjustment to stop it falling over would be recognized as broken since boundary conditions and calculated response to input are being constantly and arbitrarily overridden and changed. Such kludge boxes would either be rewritten to correct the errors or scrapped as fatally flawed but apparently this does not happen in the parallel universe of climate modeling.

Should we manage to increase global atmospheric carbon dioxide to about 600 ppmv, and there's no reason that should be unachievable, we can anticipate a further warming of approximately 0.1 kelvin from that source in the absence of postulated unmitigated positive feedback mechanisms.

It should be apparent that modeled unmitigated positive feedback mechanisms are basically imaginative from the way the real world actually behaves.

If a small atmospheric warming from any other source were to cause increased evaporation and a self-perpetuating cycle of more water vapor causing more warming and yet more evaporation and still more water vapor-driven warming, this should be readily apparent during and following El Niño events but this does not happen (the last big one pushed atmospheric temperatures up by more than 0.5 kelvin, only to see temperature promptly fall again).

Even more tellingly, every year sees an increase of ~3.8 K from January to July as the greater land mass in the northern hemisphere receives more incident solar radiation and still the hypothesized unmitigated positive feedbacks do not kick in.

There is no reason to suspect the GCM 5-20 fold multipliers have any basis in fact or science.

Consequently, there is no reason to suspect carbon constraint will have any noticeable effect on anything but the economy.

"$1,000,000,000,000: the cost of capping greenhouse gas emissions" - "The cost of curbing the soaring emissions of harmful gases that are blamed for causing global warming has been estimated at $1 trillion by a major study of the cost of climate change. The volume of emissions of the gases that cause global warming will double by 2050 unless rich countries agree to take significant policy steps to cut energy use, it shows." (London Independent)

All this for no measurable result... what a stupid game this remains.

"Cooling Down The Climate Scare" - "Environment: The country is drowning in wild alarums warning of impending doom due to global warming. Yet there has risen -- from the U.S. Senate, of all places -- a lone voice of rational dissent.

While Al Gore drifts into deeper darkness on the other side of the moon, propelled by such revelations as cigarette smoking is a "significant contributor to global warming," Sen. James Inhofe is becoming a one-man myth-wrecking crew." (IBD)

"Evangelical Leaders Exploited by Global Warming--Population Control Lobby" - "WASHINGTON and GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 29 -- Why would a pro-abortion foundation want to fund an Evangelical Christian initiative to fight global warming? That question is raised in “From Climate Control to Population Control: Troubling Background on the “Evangelical Climate Initiative,” a new paper jointly released by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty and the Institute on Religion and Democracy." (Christian Newswire)

Sigh... "Science and action on climate change diverging: UK" - "LONDON - The gap between what countries are doing to address climate change and what scientists say they should be doing is widening, Britain's Environment Minister David Miliband, said on Friday." (Reuters)

... part of this so-called "gap" between perceived need for action and actual physical action comes from the impression gained by passive receivers of mainstream media (MSM). There has been almost no mention recent ocean cooling in the MSM, although the surprise "loss" of roughly one-fifth of accumulated warming of the last half-century in just a couple of years is certainly significant. Where did all that heat go? We don't know but the suspicion is that it was lost to space. The how and why this could have happened is a mystery and serves to underline just how much we don't understand about global climate. It is possible that we are observing an increase in ocean atmosphere flux (the atmosphere has been a little warmer over the same period but the atmosphere doesn't retain this energy for long before losing it to space. The implication of that would be that we are heading for a cooling, which would be unfortunate since a warmer world makes it easier to feed and nurture our population. Coupled with the strong indications of a looming quiescent sun phase we could experience a repeat of Little Ice Age conditions -- a most unpleasant prospect.

UK seems to have got lucky with the weather, for now: "September temperature records tumble" - "This September looks set to be the warmest on record in the United Kingdom. The average UK temperature has been 15.4 °C, which is 3.1 °C above the long-term average. The previous record of 14.7 °C was set in 1949. Historical climate records for the UK are kept at the Met Office in Exeter, and these show that all areas of the UK are on course to break their September temperature record. Night-time minimum temperatures, in particular, are high, with the UK value of 11.5 °C — nearly 1°C above the previous record of 10.6 °C, set in 1949. Although there are still two days of the month to go (the above values are as of 9 a.m. GMT on 29 September 2006), climate experts at the Met Office are confident that records will be broken around the country, in many cases by some margin." (Met Office)

and they are not alone: "Norway: Warmest September on record" - "It's official: Oslo residents just experienced their warmest September in recorded history. Meteorologists confirmed over the weekend that average temperatures last month were fully 4.2 degrees centigrade higher than normal.

Meteorologists attribute the balmy temperatures recently "four-fifths to the weather itself and one-fifth to climate change," according to Sondell. "There's been a lot of high-pressure systems in the east... and we've had a lot of warm air from the continent," he said." (Aftenposten)

"Weathering the storm of climate change" - "When scientists first began describing evidence of global climate change in the late 1980s, it was easy for corporations and the investment establishment to dismiss it as a fringe idea. But as extreme weather events have multiplied - from the destructive force of Hurricane Katrina to the wild temperature swings in Europe and the United States - many have begun to consider not only that climate change might be real, but that it might have significant economic consequences." (International Herald Tribune)

About that "stable climate" everyone's on about... "Delving deep into Britain's past" - "Scientists are to begin work on the second phase of a project aimed at piecing together the history of human colonisation in Britain.

A see-sawing climate and the presence of intermittent land access between Britain and what is now continental Europe allowed only stuttering waves of immigration. Humans came to try to live in Britain eight times and on at least seven occasions they failed - beaten back by freezing conditions." (BBC)

"A green snag they emitted to mention..." - "THEY are the green jetsetters — environmental campaigners who are leading the fight to restrict aviation and cut greenhouse gas emissions, but who also clock up hundreds of thousands of miles flying around the world on business and pleasure. In the past year the directors and chief executives of groups such as WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Soil Association have crisscrossed the globe, visiting the Falklands, Japan, Africa and Brazil. All are running high-profile campaigns to persuade people to change their lifestyles and cut emissions of carbon dioxide." (Sunday Times)

"Profusion of toxic algae linked to global warming" - "Global warming has been blamed for extreme weather, holes in the ozone layer and melting polar ice caps. Now it's being linked to blue-green algae, the microscopic plants that are contaminating Quebec lakes and rivers. The warmer temperatures experienced during the past decade are the likely X factor behind the profusion of the algae, Quebec government biologist Sylvie Blais said this week." (Montreal Gazette)

"Canada: Green law to target energy industry" - "OTTAWA - The Conservative government plans to get tough with the oil and gas industry along with other large greenhouse-gas emitters when it unveils its long-awaited green plan next month, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said Friday.

"It's time for us stop politely asking industry to do the right thing and we need to move on with legislation," the Edmonton-Spruce Grove MP said in an interview. "That will provide us with not only the accountability through increased auditing, increased reporting, increased monitoring, it will allow us as a federal government to show progress both in the reduction of greenhouse gases, but also in addressing air pollution." (CanWest News Service)

"Emissions trading plan in holding pattern" - "The Montreal Exchange could start its planned emissions trading by year-end if the federal government soon brings in the required environmental framework, president and chief executive Luc Bertrand said." (Reuters)

"Governments And Climate Change; The Case For A New Approach" - "Professor David Henderson, of UK, has updated his Stockholm speech, with comments on the IPCC process. He concludes: "The built-in procedures of peer review, which the IPCC and member governments view as a guarantee of quality and reliability, do not adequately serve this purpose. "The IPCC process, which is widely taken to be objective, representative and authoritative, is in fact deeply flawed: despite its scale, pretensions and reputation, it if professionally not up to the mark." (David Henderson, E&E)

"Greens 'aid destruction of planet'" - "A leading scientist has warned that opposition to nuclear power by environmental campaigners is irrational as well as dangerously misguided." (London Times)

"UK: Farmers urged to grow biofuels" - "BRITAIN’S farmers should switch from growing food to providing the next generation of eco-friendly energy, according to Tony Blair’s new countryside czar. Stuart Burgess, who formally takes up his position as Blair’s rural advocate this week, believes the countryside should be used to grow “biofuels”." (Sunday Times)

"Will green power fizzle if oil prices keep slumping?" - "The first oil shock of the 21st century has eased since the summer's highs, allowing motorists and businessmen to breathe a little more easily. But that's not the case for those in renewable energy, whose fortunes have waxed and waned with the price of oil. Will those stocks fare better this time around? To find out, the Monitor's Laurent Belsie sat down with two Boston-based experts on green energy: Jack Robinson, founder of the Winslow Green Growth Fund, and Eric Becker, portfolio manager of Trillium Asset Management. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation:" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"How Bush Looks to Define Energy-Policy Focus" - "HOOVER, Ala. -- President Bush said he would speed up his alternative-energy push during the remainder of his term with new spending focused on easing bottlenecks that are slowing the spread of ethanol in the market.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on a swing through Alabama, Mr. Bush said he is seeking ways to overcome difficulties in transporting the fuel, and to increase the number of stations selling it. "I envision more money being spent to accelerate" availability of ethanol and other alternative fuels. He pointed to a federally funded project to build fueling stations along the highway from Indiana to the Gulf Coast as an example. (Read the full interview.)

The president also damped speculation that his administration is exploring a major shift in global-warming policy and may soon embrace some kind of formal government-imposed limits. Though Mr. Bush did imply that a shift could happen in the unlikely event that the modest voluntary goals set by his administration to reduce so-called greenhouse-gas emissions were failing." (Wall Street Journal)

"Ireland: Government rules out use of nuclear power" - "THE Government has firmly ruled out nuclear power as an option to meet Ireland’s future energy needs, despite acknowledging that we are overly reliant on fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal." (Irish Examiner)

"India Digs Deeper, but Wells Are Drying Up" - "The country is running through its groundwater so fast that scarcity could threaten whole regions like this one, drive people off the land and ultimately stunt the country’s ability to farm and feed its people." (New York Times)

"In Teeming India, Water Crisis Means Dry Pipes and Foul Sludge" - "The crisis, decades in the making, has grown as fast as India in recent years. A soaring population, the warp-speed sprawl of cities, and a vast and thirsty farm belt have all put new strains on a feeble, ill-kept public water and sanitation network." (New York Times)

"Often Parched, India Struggles to Tap the Monsoon" - "A puzzle is crucial to securing India’s future: how to harness and hold on to its rich but capricious rains." (New York Times)

"Water Scarcity Crossing National Borders" - "WASHINGTON - Historically, water scarcity was a local issue. It was up to national governments to balance water supply and demand. Now this is changing as scarcity crosses national boundaries via the international grain trade." (Lester R. Brown, IPS)

"Will the organic dream turn sour?" - "Sales of organic food are booming. Once it was the preserve of specialist shops but now every major supermarket wants a slice of the action. To meet demand superstores are air-freighting organics into the UK and encouraging the type of industrial-scale production it was meant to replace. Is organics still green?" (The Observer)

Who cares? At best "organics" are a risky illusion.

"The power of information - closing the knowledge gap" - "27 September 2006, Rome – Over 100 of the world’s poorest countries will now be able to access leading food and agriculture journals for little or no cost with the launch of the second phase of the Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) initiative, FAO announced today." (FAO Press Release)

?!! "No Winners In GM Trade War As WTO Makes Ruling Public" - "Friends of the Earth has today called for alternative ways to deal with environmental trade disputes. The call comes as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) publishes its final ruling on the transatlantic trade dispute on genetically modified (GM) foods the longest in WTO history." (Press Release)

"WTO Finds EU's Five-Year Biotech-Seed Ban Was Illegal" - "Sept. 29 -- World Trade Organization judges said a European Union ban on new gene-altered seeds was illegal and backed off their earlier conclusion that the bloc's five- year moratorium on new products has ended." (Bloomberg)

WTO GMO Ruling Favors Canada, United States & Argentina

"EU told to speed up GM approvals" - "The US has urged the European Union to speed up its process for approving new genetically modified (GM) products. The call came after the World Trade Organisation publicly released its ruling that the EU acted illegally in banning GM imports from 1999 to 2004." (BBC)

"Tests may help answer questions about GMOs and allergies" - "EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The potential of genetically engineered foods to cause allergic reactions in humans is a big reason for opposition to such crops. Although protocols are in place to ask questions about the allergy-causing possibilities, there has been no test that offers definitive answers.

But all of that could change as a Michigan State University researcher has developed the first animal model to test whether genetically engineered foods could cause human allergic reactions. Venu Gangur, MSU assistant professor of food science and human nutrition, has received a $447,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to validate the test." (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)

"Spain's Ebro suspended U.S. rice imports in August" - "MADRID, Sept 29 - Spain's Ebro Puleva , one of the world's biggest rice processors, said on Friday it suspended rice imports from the United States in August after detecting genetically modified grain in a shipment." (Reuters)

"Bio Firm Plans Factory for Rice in Kansas" - "JUNCTION CITY, Kan. -- A California company that has been criticized for its genetically engineered rice is planning to open a processing plant here and contract with area farmers to grow the crop. State and local officials have embraced Ventria Bioscience's project, and they and the Sacramento, Calif.-based firm's leader are touting it as a major boost to Kansas' emerging biosciences industry." (Associated Press)