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Archives - September 2002

September 30, 2002

He's back! The AntiEcohype site has been fully renovated.

"You Should Have Seen the Air in '53" - "A dry, wheezing, watery-eyed cough became common. The number of emergency room visits climbed, and the theaters in Times Square went dark for lack of business. Smoke and haze drifted across the region.

Lower Manhattan after Sept. 11? No. It was November 1953, in the middle of a six-day siege of air pollution that fouled the region with a ferocity unimaginable by the standards of today's far cleaner air. Through one bad week, a stagnant stew of soot and lead and who knows what else killed or hastened the death of 25 or 30 New Yorkers a day, according to an analysis conducted years later." (New York Times)

"Poor dying at a faster rate: report" - "Poor people continue to die at a greater rate than the rich, despite rapid advances in health care and almost two decades of universal medicare, Canadian health care experts say. Statistics Canada reported yesterday that the gap in life expectancy between high- and low-income Canadians is five years for men and two years for women. In 1971, it was six years for men and three years for women." (National Post)

"Fear-mongering Greens doom children to death" - "Mothers, your children are in danger! I will protect them. Vote for me." From burning witches in the Middle Ages down to Hitler's gas ovens, we can trace the overtly murderous variety of political fear-mongering. But even in apparently benign forms, scare stories can have dire consequences." (Denis Dutton, New Zealand Herald)

"Newsday.com - Sediment sampling to begin in massive PCB cleanup project" - "FORT EDWARD, N.Y. -- Technicians will pull 30,000 samples of sediment from the bottom of the Hudson in the most detailed testing project undertaken in more than two decades of PCB studies on the river. "We believe it's the most extensive sediment sampling ever done in the United States," said Mark Behan, a spokesman for General Electric Co. The $15 million sampling project, to be done by contractors hired by GE, will begin this week and continue until Nov. 1, Behan said. It will start again in the spring and conclude next October. The sediment will be tested for polychlorinated biphenyls as part of the design phase of a $500 million dredging project the Environmental Protection Agency has ordered GE to undertake on a 40-mile stretch of the river north of Albany. Dredging is scheduled to begin in 2005."

"Filthy rivers now teem with salmon" - "Britain's rivers, awash with untreated sewage and choked with industrial toxins, were for decades infamous as among the most poisoned in the Western world. The rivers of South Wales notoriously ran black with coal dust. Anyone falling into the Thames as late as the 1970s was told that they risked having their stomach pumped. But Britain's rivers are about to be declared cleaner than they have been for almost 200 years. Their transformation has even heralded a comeback for otters, salmon and the kingfisher to a number of waterways for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, according to new figures from the Environment Agency." (The Observer)

"A Protest Teach-in Spoiled by Facts" - "During the anti-World Bank demos in April 2000, an independent filmmaker saw an opportunity. He needed a crowd scene for his movie in which Stanko the Bulgarian pastry chef triggers the collapse of capitalism and gets feted in the streets. So he rigged up some Stanko placards and had his actors hold them up in front of the anti-globalization activists. Soon there was a buzz of interest. Before long the nearby protesters had quit denouncing the World Bank, turtle-killing fishing nets and sundry other enemies. "Stanko!" they screamed." (Sebastian Mallaby, The Washington Post)

"Newsday.com - Scientists Find Clue to Carcinogen" - "WASHINGTON -- Scientists have found a clue to the chemical reaction that may cause potato chips, french fries and other fried or baked starchy foods to build up high levels of a possible cancer-causing substance. The suspect is asparagine, a naturally occurring amino acid that, when heated with certain sugars such as glucose, leads to the formation of the worrisome substance acrylamide."

"ABCNEWS.com : Scientist Says Ice Meteors a Sign of Climate Change" - "MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish scientist says global warming may be to blame for giant blocks of ice which fall from clear skies and rip gaping holes in cars and houses. Jesus Martinez-Frias has spent the last two-and-a-half years investigating so-called megacryometeors -- ice meteors -- which tend to weigh more than 22 lb and have been known to leave five feet holes in houses. He fears the formation of these hailstone-like blocks on clear days could be a worrying symptom of climate change."

"Pioneer Press | 09 29 2002 | Fears growing for eastern maples" - "Government research has found statistical evidence that cold-loving maples yield less sap in warmer winters. In keeping with that data, an analysis of syrup production over the past eight decades shows a decline in every New England state except Maine — the only one to buck the warming trend. There is no definitive scientific proof yet that warmer temperatures take even part of the blame. But University of New Hampshire forester Rock Barrett, who oversaw the government report, fears it may already be too late for maple country. "I think the sugar maple industry is on its way out, and there isn't much you can do about that," he says."

"Ottawa pledges 'comprehensive' Kyoto plan" - "The federal government yesterday promised a "comprehensive" plan within weeks about how to implement the Kyoto protocol, but privately argued other countries have ratified the climate change treaty without one." (National Post)

"Kyoto could cost Alberta $4.2B project; Upgrader may go to U.S." - "BANFF, Alta. - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., one of Canada's largest oil and gas producers, said yesterday it may build a $4.2-billion oilsands upgrader in the United States rather than in Alberta if uncertainty continues over the Kyoto Accord." (Financial Post)

"How will Kyoto change our lives?" - "Canadians learned to wear seatbelts, stop smoking and recycle garbage. Now are we ready to curb our greedy energy habits and become Kyoto-compliant?" (Toronto Star)

"Business, transport in Canada ally against Kyoto" - "OTTAWA - Twenty-five business and trucking groups announced a new coalition last week to fight speedy Canadian ratification of the Kyoto protocol on climate change, arguing that it could destroy the country's economy." (Reuters)

"Doomsday for butterflies as Britain warms up" - "At least 30 of Britain's butterfly species face extinction or an alarming drop in numbers because they are failing to cope with the effects of global warming.

A team of seven biologists and ecologists has warned that the numbers of some internationally rare species, such as the Large Heath and Purple Emperor butterflies, will fall by up to 77 per cent. Eventually, they could be wiped out.

Their study, published by the Royal Society, is one of the most pessimistic assessments yet about the impact of climate change on Britain's butterfly population. It contradicts the widespread belief that native butterflies will prosper in a warmer climate, expanding their range northwards and enjoying much longer summers." (Independent)

"What's floods got to do with it?" - "As summer comes to an end, we can look back on yet another year of unusual weather. (Yes, every year seems to be unusual.) The biblical-scale floods across Europe, in which the Elbe River flowing across Germany rose half a metre higher than its previous 1845 record, and the flood in Putney High Street, London, which closed the cinema for a day, have receded. But the ensuing doom-mongering about global warming is unlikely to abate so quickly." (Peter Sammonds, sp!ked)

"Global warming report throws up chilling facts" - "Sept. 29. — The Sunderbans and other parts of South 24-Parganas in West Bengal as well as large parts of coastal India, including Goa, Mumbai, Orissa, the southern states and island territories, will be affected if global warming raises sea levels. A study on global warming warns of inundation of land, population displacement and economic losses. The report by the School of Environmental Sciences of Jawaharlal Nehru Uni-versity, New Delhi, shows that India could lose 0.16 per cent of its land area or 0.41 per cent of its coastal regions. This is 5,763 sq km." (The Statesman)

"Oxford boffins swat insects with sterile gene" - "LONDON - It beats a rolled up newspaper: British scientists have developed a new reed of sterile bugs that could slash insect numbers without the need for costly and environmentally damaging pesticides." (Reuters)

"Use biotech to help poor, not rich, scientists say" - "TORONTO - Using biotechnology to produce simple nutritional and hygienic improvements and cheap vaccines would do more to improve global health than the development of high-tech treatments, a survey of 28 leading scientists from around the world concludes." (Reuters)

"Spanish farmers seen reaping rewards from GM maize" - "LERIDA, Spain - Agriculture experts reckon Spanish farmer will benefit from a six-fold increase in genetically modified maize plantings, but farmers say they will proceed cautiously amid public concern about the technology." (Reuters)

"Despite Warnings, India Bent on Pursuing GM Crops" - "NEW DELHI, Sep 27 - Dire warnings by food security experts and crop failures have not deterred India from going ahead with plans to allow farmers to grow genetically modified (GM) food crops that are developed indigenously, as well as from seeds supplied by transnational firms. In March this year, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests cleared for commercial planting Bt cotton." (IPS)

September 27, 2002

"Clean-Up Confusion" - "A rocket fuel component has been detected in drinking water sources in 18 states. It’s a limited problem the Environmental Protection Agency’s junk science is about to make much worse." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Uh-huh... "Italy Plans to Incinerate More Waste" - "ROME, Italy, September 26, 2002 - The share of Italian waste being incinerated is too low and must be quadrupled for the country to comply with existing legislation, according to experts from industry, local authorities and the environment agency meeting in Milan last week. Despite making good progress in recycling and re-use, Italy is struggling to comply with self-imposed targets for reduction of waste landfilling. More than 70 percent of Italian waste is still being sent to landfill, in breach of national and European Union legislation." (ENS)

Meanwhile: "Report Attacks Bank for Backing Waste Incineration" - "WASHINGTON, Sep 25 - In spite of a global treaty that requires countries to minimise the use of waste incinerators that produce toxic pollutants, the World Bank and its affiliates continue to promote projects in developing countries that include incinerators, according to a coalition of international environmental and health groups.

In a report released here Wednesday, the Washington-based Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), a grouping of some 375 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 40 countries, and the Manila-based Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA), charge that the Bank Group has funded or recommended funding at least 156 projects that include incineration, in 68 countries, since 1993." (IPS)

Developed world OK, developing world not?

"Chemicals spark Arctic alert" - "Chemicals used to make household products fire-resistant are being discovered in several Arctic species. The chemicals, brominated flame retardants, appear to be concentrated in the Norwegian Arctic." (BBC News Online)

"Pesticide resistance warning after gene discovery" - "MELBOURNE — Scientists have raised concerns following the discovery of a single gene that gives vinegar flies resistance to a wide range of pesticides, including the banned DDT. Scientists are worried as this single mutation unexpectedly provides the fly (Drosophila sp) with resistance to a range of commonly available, but chemically unrelated, pesticides. Significant also, is this species is rarely targeted with pesticides and many of the chemicals it is resistant to, it has never been exposed to before." (The University of Melbourne)

"Great Barrier Reef faces new enemy in disease" - "SYDNEY - Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living organism, may be confronting a new enemy as an unknown disease spreads almost imperceptibly through its multi-hued coral." (Reuters)

"Worldwatch highlights risk of floods in New Orleans" - "TOKYO - A major hurricane could swamp downtown New Orleans in catastrophic flooding, the head of a global environment watchdog said this week, even as a tropical storm churned south of the city." (Reuters)

"Insurers warn flood cover could dry up" - "Tens of thousands of homes across the UK may become uninsurable - and therefore unmortgageable - because of flood risks, when an agreement between the Government and insurers expires at the end of this year. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said yesterday that it has identified 200,000 homes in the UK in locations where the risk of flooding is "unacceptably high". Where no improvements in flood defences are planned for the future, some of these properties now represent such a high risk that insurers say they cannot guarantee to maintain cover. The insurers added that it is up to the mortgage lenders how they deal with householders who cannot obtain cover." (Daily Telegraph)

"Black carbon contributes to droughts and floods in China" - "A new NASA climate study has found large amounts of black carbon (soot) particles and other pollutants are causing changes in precipitation and temperatures over China and may be at least partially responsible for the tendency toward increased floods and droughts in those regions over the last several decades." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Report assessing impact of soot on global warming could alter control strategies" - "A new report on the role that atmospheric soot particles may play in global warming suggests a new near-term control strategy, introduces a new element of uncertainty in climate models and shifts more responsibility for curbing pollution to developing nations such as China and India." (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

"U.S. cities have 10 more hot nights a year than 40 years ago" - "Sweating it out: U.S. cities now have 10 more hot nights than forty years ago, Cornell climate researchers discover." (Cornell University News Service)

"The Kyoto Protocol: Where's the plan?" - "The Kyoto Protocol on global warming would require Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012 -- a goal that would entail a huge, economically painful contraction in fossil fuel use. Yet Ottawa has no comprehensive plan for implementing Kyoto, and now admits it never will. Despite five years of meetings, minutes and draft reports, involving dozens of consultants and hundreds of business and environmental lobbyists -- at a cost well in excess of $100-million -- Ottawa now intends only to reveal its plans bit-by-bit over the next decade. The Kyoto planning directorate within the federal bureaucracy is reportedly in disarray, so there will be no detailed road map in advance of parliamentary ratification this fall. The only concrete strategy Ottawa has revealed is an attempt to cook the Kyoto books to make it appear as though we are meeting our emissions-reduction targets even as we intentionally undershoot them by as much as one-third." (National Post)

"Business, transport in Canada ally against Kyoto" - "OTTAWA, Canada -- Twenty-five business and trucking groups announced a new coalition Thursday to fight speedy Canadian ratification of the Kyoto protocol on climate change, arguing that it could destroy the country's economy.

"This coalition has a very, very serious doubt that we can as a country effectively meet those Kyoto targets and time-frames without destroying the economy," said Nancy Hughes Anthony, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, one of the new coalition members." (Reuters)

"Human gains from globalization" - "During the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings this week, the streets of Washington will provide the latest venue for antiglobalization protesters. And once again the Sturm and Drang over globalization will focus largely on whether it has made the rich richer and the poor poorer. But, as opponents of globalization often note, human well-being is not synonymous with wealth. The central issue is not whether income gaps are growing but whether globalization advances well-being. And if income gaps in well-being have expanded, whether that's because the rich have advanced at the expense of the poor." (Indur Goklany, Washington Times)

"Studies Say Poverty Shrinking Worldwide" - "Broad new studies suggest that the world has made extraordinary progress in slashing poverty in recent decades, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

In August, the Cato Institute released "The Globalization of Human Well-Being," by Indur M. Goklany. Goklany, author of The Precautionary Principle, argues that the gap in human well-being between rich and poor has dramatically decreased in the last 40 years.

Next month, the Cato Institute will release Bountiful Harvest: Technology, Food Safety, and the Environment by Thomas R. DeGregori, professor of economics at the University of Houston. DeGregori looks at how technology is raising living standards, food safety, life expectancy, and individual wealth." (cato.org)

"The IMF must now learn to be cruel to be kind" - "The truth is out at long last. The International Monetary Fund — accused by generations of professional do-gooders of uncaringly inflicting untold suffering on the world’s poor in the name of free market orthodoxy — is an old softie." (The Times)

"Organic sector a waste of money, conference hears" - "MORE Scottish Executive support for organic farming will be announced today, while on Tuesday Robin Harper, Green MSP, will try to further his organic targets programme. But yesterday Professor Anthony Trewavas, of Edinburgh University’s Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, claimed that organic farming was a waste of land, money and fossil fuel with no scientific support for claims that its products were healthier or safer. He was speaking at a conference at Battleby, Perth, organised by Linking Environment and Farming, an organisation which believes that integrated management of conventional farming is the way ahead. Many environmentalists claim that organic farming is the future, said Trewavas, and have attacked all other methods. But science says otherwise." (The Scotsman)

"Scientists grow pig teeth in rat intestines" - "BOSTON - US doctors have managed to grow pig teeth in rat intestines, a feat of bioengineering they said on Thursday could spark a dental revolution. Researchers at the Forsyth Institute said their successful experiment suggests the existence of dental stem cells, which could one day allow a person to replace a lost or missing tooth with an identical tooth grown from his or her own cells." (Reuters)

"Today's Topic: To Bt or Not to Bt" - "With humble apologies to William Shakespeare, there have been lots of questions about Bt which is short for Bacillus thuringiensis. This is a bacterium that has been used for 100 years to control insects that munch on many plants ranging from corn to trees. Bt is used by organic farmers in place of synthetic pesticides.

However, once the Bt gene was placed into commercial crops, a number of activists began raising many questions about its safety for the environment and for consumers. A report by the American Academy of Microbiology concluded recently that concerns for proper use of Bt merit continued attention on a case-by-case basis but that no present or proposed use of Bt has demonstrated any harm. The 22 page report can be found at http://www.asmusa.org/acasrc/pdfs/Btreport.pdf.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The report states it is essential for the public to understand that long-term environmental effects of Bt crops cannot be studied until after the products have been commercialized. You should know that Bt is the only insecticide for which there are no mandated tolerance limits in food because it has no effect on higher animals, only insects." (Nutrition News Focus)

"Parks could get modified crops; Genetically altered plants would be used to restore Boulder land" - "Two years after Boulder banned genetically-modified crops from its open space, the city parks department is considering them as a possible way to help the environment. On Monday, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will hear the department staff's idea to allow genetically modified crops to be used on park land — not to turn parks into farms, but to use engineered crops as a tool to rehabilitate eco-systems. The proposed policy would ban scientifically altered plants as cash crops on park land but allow them to be grown in projects to restore lands overcome by invasive, non-native weed species." (Boulder Daily Camera)

September 26, 2002

"California's Governor Signs Series of Anti-Gun Measures" - "Gov. Gray Davis of California signed a series of gun measures, including a bill to repeal the special immunity from liability suits granted to the firearms industry nearly 20 years ago." (New York Times)

"Panel Says Bell Labs Scientist Faked Discoveries" - "A series of extraordinary advances in physics claimed by scientists at Bell Labs relied on fraudulent data, a committee investigating the matter reported yesterday. The findings, in effect, dismiss as fiction results from 17 papers that had been promoted as major breakthroughs in physics, including claims last fall that Bell Labs had created molecular-scale transistors." (New York Times)

"The Seattle Times: Editorials & Opinion: Honor Rachel Carson by continuing her fight" - "Forty years ago tomorrow, Rachel Carson published her landmark book, "Silent Spring." Considered by many to be one of the most important books of the past 50 years, "Silent Spring" chronicled the devastating impact that DDT and other toxic pesticides were having on our wildlife. It told the story of how our reliance on chemicals was creating a silent spring in our communities, one in which birds and other wildlife were silenced by poisons. Carson's book rocked the nation when it was released, and unquestionably launched the modern environmental movement. Over the past four decades, we have made tremendous progress on a wide number of environmental fronts, including banning the villain of "Silent Spring," DDT, in the United States in 1973."

Carson was wrong then and carrying on the myth is worse now - get a life! Commemorating a misanthropic missive ultimately responsible for the disease deaths of millions of third world residents and the morbidity of hundreds of millions more - each year - is akin to awarding the Hitler/Amin/Pot memorial prize.

"Pesticide testing 'inadequate'" - "More food in Britain should be tested for pesticides, according to environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth. The group says the UK has a lower rate of testing than any other country in the European Union. It is especially worried about pesticides in children's food such as bananas and biscuits. The call came on the same day the government published its annual report into pesticides." (BBC News Online)

"Huge rise in breast cancer toll" - "THE number of women suffering from breast cancer in Scotland will increase by 28 per cent in the next ten years, a leading expert has warned. Dr Mike Dixon, a consultant surgeon at the Western General Hospital, in Edinburgh, blamed the widespread use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as one of three key factors behind the projected rise. He also highlighted the ageing population and the number of women starting families later for the surge in cases." (The Scotsman)

"Report Attacks Bank for Backing Waste Incineration" - "WASHINGTON, Sep 25 - In spite of a global treaty that requires countries to minimise the use of waste incinerators that produce toxic pollutants, the World Bank and its affiliates continue to promote projects in developing countries that include incinerators, according to a coalition of international environmental and health groups.

In a report released here Wednesday, the Washington-based Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), a grouping of some 375 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 40 countries, and the Manila-based Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA), charge that the Bank Group has funded or recommended funding at least 156 projects that include incineration, in 68 countries, since 1993." (IPS)

Health Scare Without Shame apparently prefer developing countries suffer genuine health hazard from rotting refuse than imaginary hazard from incineration, waste to energy schemes...

"EU: It's official - European sheep can't get BSE" - "It's official: in Europe, at least, sheep cannot develop BSE. Children with an expanded vocabulary will not be surprised, seeing as BSE is bovine spongiform encephalitis. But British scientists had claimed that an ovine form of the disease could and did exist. That was before it was discovered that these allegations were based on test errors, but the European Union has been double-checking anyway. Now its scientific steering committee has ruled that sheepmeat is BSE free and so "sheep casings should not be included in the list of specified risk materials in relation to BSE." It added that there is "no evidence that BSE is present in small ruminants under field conditions, and there is no indication that this could happen in the future." (just-food.com) [Complete]

"Global progress in slashing poverty" - "Broad new studies suggest that the world has made extraordinary progress in slashing poverty in recent decades. The magnitude of the change is the subject of strong debate. But the research suggests that the pace of economic progress has been rapid and sustained for decades, built on the foundations of relative political stability, rising trade, and economic liberalization in the postwar era." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Employment and Prosperity Affect Body Inflation" - "CLOSE to half the American population is estimated to be overweight, a condition that has serious economic consequences because of its impact on labor supply and health care. Body weight is itself influenced by economic variables, often in complex ways. For much of human history, poorer people were thinner than richer people. Even today, inhabitants of rich countries tend to be heavier than those of poor countries. But within countries, wealthier people often weigh less than others. What causes these differences?" (New York Times)

"In US, a rise of violent environmental tactics" - "ASHLAND, ORE. – A war on terrorism is escalating in the United States, but it's one that has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. This form of violence – which the FBI says is the most serious type of domestic terrorism in the country today – involves radical environmentalists and animal-rights activists, some of whom now vow that they "will no longer hesitate to pick up the gun to implement justice...." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Bush Anti-Environmental Policies Linked to Corporate Contributions; Polluting Industries Reap Rewards for Supporting Administration" - "WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 -- In a report released today, Earthjustice and Public Campaign established in detail for the first time the strong correlation between big corporate contributions to the Bush-Cheney campaign and Republican National Committee (RNC) and Bush administration policy paybacks that benefit these interests.

The report, which is available on the web (www.earthjustice.org and www.publicampaign.org), focuses on the investments made by timber, mining, oil and gas, coal-burning utilities, chemical, and other manufacturing interests. PAYBACKS shows how these investments resulted in handsome returns for polluting and resource extractive industries in the form of anti-environmental policy decisions, often facilitated by Bush administration political appointees who are former industry lawyers and lobbyists." (U.S. Newswire)

"Canada wildlife 'under threat'" - "Birds in wildlife areas and sanctuaries throughout Canada are threatened by industry, climate change and poaching, warn conservationists." (BBC News Online)

"Glacial Melting Takes Human Toll" - "The entombment of a Russian village under 3 million tons of ice and mud from a collapsing glacier is a sign of the gradual yet vast climatic changes sweeping the world's mountainous regions, scientists say." (Los Angeles Times)

"Into the cold?" - "Call it global warming's dirty little secret. Those much-publicized scenarios of how carbon-dioxide (CO2) pollution may gradually heat up the earth don't tell you another key fact: that climate has sometimes changed without warning. It can go from warm to cold – or cold to warm – in less than decade, and stay that way for centuries.

Water-circulation data from the North Atlantic now suggest the climate system may be approaching that kind of threshold. If man-made warming or natural causes push it over the edge, the system will chill down many temperate parts of North America and Europe, even while the planet as a whole continues to warm." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Kyoto implementation plan will be 10 years in the works: PM" - "OTTAWA - Despite calls for an implementation plan on the Kyoto protocol before a ratification vote, the prime minister said on Tuesday that plan will take ten years to develop." (CBC News)

"Kyoto's economic costs hidden from ministers: report" - "OTTAWA - Implementation of the Kyoto protocol could cost 200,000 jobs and as much as $16.5 billion, according to a published report. During a presentation Tuesday, cabinet ministers were told the economy would be in for a large hit, says a report in The Globe and Mail. But the report says the employment figures were omitted during the presentation." (CBC News) | Kyoto to Cut Canadian Growth And Jobs -Report (Reuters)

"Kyoto costs glossed over, sources say" - "OTTAWA, EDMONTON -- Prime Minister Jean Chretien shrugged off questions yesterday about the purging of Kyoto job-loss projections from a cabinet briefing document, saying Canadians must ratify the deal for their grandchildren" (Globe and Mail)

"Kyoto meltdown" - "The Canadian dollar dropped below 63 cents yesterday, days after a leading economist predicted the dollar would soon rise. Analysts are busy rummaging through their briefcases, looking for the usual explanations: a retail sales slump, stock index changes, global turmoil. They all seem plausible, but one explanation isn't getting enough attention: Ottawa's dark and cynical Kyoto program.

For almost five years now in this space we've ranted and railed about Kyoto. The abuse of science behind the 1997 United Nations protocol is one thing. What has always loomed over Canadians, however, is the gross abuse of process that has surrounded Kyoto from the beginning and the massive implications it holds for the economy. Kyoto represents the greatest threat to free-market economic development this country has ever seen." (Terence Corcoran, National Post)

"Canada Alberta province creates anti-Kyoto task force" - "MEXICO CITY - Ralph Klein, the premier of Canada's top oil and gas producing province, said this week his government has established a task force to examine if it can challenge an expected Canadian ratification of the Kyoto treaty on global warming." (Reuters)

"The real chill from Kyoto plan" - "Our Prime Minister talks about honouring international commitments. On the surface, ratifying Kyoto would do that. But take a closer look, and you'll see that Kyoto has turned into a stage for bickering among countries looking out only for their economic self-interests, rather than helping our global environment.

The European Union displays a holier-than-thou environmental image, but it signed Kyoto knowing that it would have a much easier time meeting its commitments than Canada or the United States, and that this would give it competitive advantage over us. Now that the United States and Australia have dropped out, the EU countries are worried that the jig is up. They're scrambling to make sure Canada ratifies so they can at least have a competitive advantage over our country." (Gwyn Morgan, National Post)

"Petrocan rethinks oil sands" - "CALGARY -- Petro-Canada may shelve its new oil sands projects because of the burdens of the Kyoto Protocol, spending those billions on international expansion instead, the company's chief executive officer said yesterday." (Globe and Mail)

"Taxpayers to Owe Billions for Nuclear Waste Storage" - "WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 — A federal appeals court has ruled that billions of dollars in damages that the Energy Department is likely to owe to nuclear reactor owners for its failure to store nuclear waste will have to come from taxpayers, not electricity consumers. The Energy Department signed contracts with reactor owners in the early 1980's promising to accept their wastes for burial beginning in January 1998, in exchange for payments from them based on electricity production. To date, reactor owners have paid more than $10.5 billion." (New York Times)

"Gone With the Wind" - "So-called renewable sources of electricity are being considered in this fall's energy legislation negotiations. One proposal, in Senate bill S. 517, mandates that renewable sources - for example, wind and solar but excluding new hydro - supply 10% of the electricity from most utilities by the year 2020. Some states have already imposed quotas for new, non-hydroelectric renewables on utilities. But wind and solar should be dubbed disrupters, rather than renewables. Why? As energy sources they devour the environment." (Sallie Baliunas)

"Stem Cell Research Is Slowed by Restrictions, Scientists Say" - "A parade of frustrated scientists told a Senate subcommittee that President Bush's restrictions on federal financing for stem cell research is causing a slowdown in the work." (New York Times)

"Celling Lies: More spurious stem-cell claims" - "Electricity Appears Worthless for Illumination." If you saw such a headline you'd be rather skeptical, wouldn't you? Yet here we go again with another massively publicized study purporting to show that adult stem cells don't work, notwithstanding that they've been saving lives for over a decade now." (Michael Fumento, NRO)

"Bye Bye Donor Card" - "It could have been part of a Jay Leno monologue. Perhaps it was. The latest miracle in biotechnology is a fully functional penis grown from an animal's own cells. But this isn't just good news for Lorena Bobbitt's next husband. No matter how you slice it, it's a breakthrough for anyone who will ever need any type of solid organ replaced. As chief researcher Anthony Atala explained to New Scientist magazine, "The penis is more complex than any of the organs we have engineered so far." (Michael Fumento, TCS)

"G-M-Oh, yeah…" - "More good news for those of us who are convinced that genetically improved foods are an important part of our future. The International Food Information Council (IFIC) has released survey numbers from last month showing that a whopping 71 percent of Americans say they “would be likely to buy produce that had been enhanced through biotechnology.” The survey also found that 61 percent of us “expect to benefit” personally from such foods.

And according to the Associated Press, the farm belt will come out a winner as well. A separate study released on Monday by the National Center for Food & Agricultural Policy found that farmers in Kansas and Missouri can expect to “significantly bolster their income” by growing biotech varieties.

In the face of this great news, food technology’s enemies are still banging the drum of 1950s agriculture. Percy Schmeiser, who has been found guilty in a Canadian court of stealing biotech seed from Monsanto, appeared Monday at the University of Missouri-Columbia, claiming that “there is no safe distance” from GMO grains.

Schmeiser’s speech was sponsored by the U.S. Green Party, whose political representatives came clean about something we’ve been saying all along. Green Party U.S. House candidate Keith Brekus told Schmeiser’s crowd that the fight against food technology is really “a struggle over corporate domination.”

Elsewhere, activists continue to fight against the “corporate” interests that want to feed the Third World. Impatient with Zambia’s continued foot-dragging on a GMO-heavy U.S. food aid package, The Detroit Free Press is asking why that country’s dictator would “worry about future trade economics when present needs are so severe.”

“Never mind,” says the Free Press, “that it’s the same stuff that 280 million Americans and 30 million Canadians eat.” (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"US says China may extend interim GMO rules" - "BEIJING - China may announce an extension of its interim rules for importing genetically modified soybeans before President Jiang Zemin and U.S. President George W. Bush meet next month, a senior U.S. official said." (Reuters)

"GMO rules unlikely to alter Taiwan grain buying" - "TAIPEI - Stricter regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are unlikely to alter Taiwan's appetite for U.S. crops as consumer opposition to gene-spliced grains appears light, traders said." (Reuters)

"New GM cotton type to boost GM crop in Australia" - "SYDNEY - Approval of a new two-gene genetically modified (GM) cotton variety was expected to produce a vast expansion of the GM crop in Australia, regulators and industry officials said" (Reuters)

"Supercrop thrives on saline soil" - "Saltwort, a perennial bush that colonises salt marshes around the world, has been found to be unexpectedly packed with nutritious proteins, oils and starches. Canadian researchers say saltwort could be a highly productive crop on arable land choked by salt, where ordinary crops fail to survive." (New Scientist)

September 25, 2002

"Body of evidence" - "Nicola Baird decided to have tests to find out the effects unavoidable exposure to man-made chemicals have on us. The scary results show that she, like the rest of us, is carrying a toxic timebomb" (The Guardian)

"No extra disease seen in chemical-exposed Gulf War veterans" - "Another study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that exposure to low levels of chemical warfare agents during the Gulf War has not led to increased illness among veterans of that conflict." (Center for the Advancement of Health)

"The Mad Activist" - "When unsubstantiated, activist-driven fears of mad cow disease began to surface in the United States, Doug McEwen was the darling of the lunatic fringe. (If you haven’t heard of him before, check out our 2001 report, Mad Cow: A New American Scare Campaign.) McEwen was a hunter who died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human brain-wasting disorder that, while tragic, has absolutely nothing to do with “mad cows” or eating meat.

But John Stauber, of the far, far left-leaning Center for Media & Democracy, is not one to let the truth get in the way of his agenda. Stauber and other disciples of Ralph Nader and noted technophobe Jeremy Rifkin (the Organic Consumers Association and the misnamed Center for Food Safety come to mind) would love nothing better than to see American consumers as paralyzed by mad-cow fears as their British counterparts. All the better for the “natural” and “organic” meat industries, which so far occupy just a niche market.

We thought we’d seen the last of Doug McEwen’s story, but he’s back. This time, John Stauber is using his tragic death as an excuse to frighten people about the supposed dangers of contracting mad-cow disease while giving blood. Speaking of mad cow disease in the Connecticut Post this weekend, Stauber claimed that “this might be the 21st century’s own AIDS epidemic, that’s how massive an epidemic we face.” The medical director of Connecticut’s Red Cross services, being motivated by good science rather than a good sound bite, declared that “there is simply no evidence that the disease can be transmitted through blood transfusion.”

Stauber’s agenda-driven hyperbole comes at a time when the rest of the civilized world is declaring “mad cow” to be a much, much smaller threat than previously believed. France’s food agency, once terrified of allowing British beef to cross the English Channel, is now talking about dropping its trade barriers entirely. British scientists searching for human tissue infected with mad cow disease admitted on Friday that they were only able to find one positive sample, out of the many thousands they’ve studied." (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Birds of a feather" - "Supporters of the Southern Poverty Law Center may be surprised when they read the latest SPLC Intelligence Report. The widely-admired quarterly journal, known for monitoring domestic terrorism and reporting on the activities of “hate groups,” has decided to profile animal-rights and environmental terrorists alongside reliable standbys like abortion-clinic bombers, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan.

In a remarkable article entitled “From Push To Shove,” Intelligence Report describes how radical “green” and animal zealots are no longer “drawing the line” at targeting humans. SPLC pays special attention to “SHAC,” a violent animal rights group dedicated to dismantling the medical research community one laboratory at a time. This criminal organization’s U.S. branch is run by a former leader of the FBI-certified “domestic terrorist” Animal Liberation Front (ALF).

In recent months, SHAC has apparently given up on efforts to maintain the illusion of separateness from ALF, blurring the line in a fashion that one can only describe as defiant. SHAC also has ties to PETA’s medical front group, the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

In a clear reference to Al Qaeda, The Waterbury (CT) Republican-American recently called ALF’s sister group, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), “the other terrorists.” The paper’s editorial writers also lambasted “mainstream” animal rights groups, saying that PETA and others “see eco-terrorism as a valuable weapon and look upon ELF operatives as heroes.”

In a separate rebuke, two members of Congress expressed their outrage in the pages of The Washington Times. California Rep. George Radanovich called ELF “as cowardly as Al Qaeda and as dangerous as the Taliban.” But Pennsylvania Rep. John Peterson may have summed it up best. “World terrorists are against our economic system,” he said, “and in reality, these people are, too.” (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"ASIA: Indian Scientists Blast UNEP Study On "Asian Brown Cloud" - "Indian scientists yesterday criticized a U.N.-backed report on air pollution in southern Asia, saying it exaggerates the situation and insisting that Asia is not the only source of pollution, Agence France-Presse reports. "The study has made sensational statements on the impact of pollution on monsoons and agriculture which are exaggerated and distorted," said Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences chairman J. Srinivasan. "It has come to conclusions without any scientific basis." (UN Wire)

"CO2, Temperature and Biodiversity" - "Summary: What are the principles that link them together?" (co2science.org)

"Antarctica (Temperature)" - "Summary: Are temperatures in Antarctica moving to the rhythm of the climate alarmist drummers?" (co2science.org)

"Water Use Efficiency (Grassland Species)" - "Summary: A review of the recent literature demonstrates that earth's grasslands will likely exhibit large increases in water-use efficiency as the air's CO2 content continues to rise, thereby enabling the plants that comprise them to better cope with drought stress and grow in regions that are currently too dry for them." (co2science.org)

"The Arctic Oscillation, ENSO and U.S. Winter Temperatures" - "Summary: How do the positive and negative phases of these two important modes of Northern Hemispheric climate variability affect the occurrence of extreme daily wintertime air temperatures throughout the United States? Journal of Climate 15: 1555-1572." (co2science.org)

"Two Thousand Years of Chinese Climate" - "Summary: Was 20th-century warming in China unprecedented? Was it preceded by a Little Ice Age, which was preceded by a Medieval Warm Period, which was preceded by a Dark Ages Cold Period, which was preceded by a Roman Warm Period? If so, one might be well advised to start thinking cyclical. Geophysical Research Letters 29: 10.1029/2001GL014485." (co2science.org)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT: September 24, 2002 Vol. 3, No. 28" - "Climate science has its own version of the "which came first, the chicken or the egg" conundrum. Is recent Arctic warming responsible for decreased Arctic sea ice or is the recent decrease in Arctic sea ice responsible for Arctic warming?" (GES)

"VIRTUAL CLIMATE ALERT: September 24, 2002 Vol. 3, No. 27" - "We recently heard from a frequent reader of World Climate Report Online who lives in Canada. We reprint their comments with permission:" (GES)

"Global warming belongs in U.S. energy bill, House bloc says" - "WASHINGTON, Sept 24 - One-fourth of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including its Democratic leaders, said on Tuesday the energy bill being assembled by House and Senate negotiators should address global climate change. In a letter to the four lawmakers in charge of the negotiations, 108 representatives said, "We believe prudent action is needed to address the environmental and economic impacts of climate change." (Reuters)

"PM's approach on Kyoto accord fuelling critics" - "Prime Minister Jean Chretien has played into the hands of his critics by declaring he will push through ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse-gas emissions before he lets the country in on the government's plans to implement it." (Globe and Mail)

"Ottawa pegs Kyoto job risk at 200,000" - "OTTAWA and EDMONTON -- The Kyoto Protocol could cost Canada 200,000 jobs and as much as $16.5-billion in lost economic growth, according to new draft documents prepared for cabinet by federal officials." (Globe and Mail)

"EnCana CEO takes anti-Kyoto pitch to Ontario; Says deal's fallout will hit East hardest" - "OTTAWA and CALGARY -- One of the Alberta oil patch's most powerful executives took his anti-Kyoto pitch to the heartland of industrial Ontario yesterday, warning that the economic fallout of the controversial deal will hit Central Canada hardest as jobs bleed south of the border." (Globe and Mail)

"China adopts Kyoto pact on environment" - "China will continue cutting greenhouse gas emissions in keeping with its Kyoto Protocol commitment, but it must be a gradual process that needs international support, suggests experts. Premier Zhu Rongji on September 3 announced China had approved the Kyoto Protocol. China days later filed its approval with the United Nations during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa." (China Daily)

"AUTOSHOW - Car industry struggles to ween drivers off oil" - "PARIS - Camera flashes will illuminate sleek new sheetmetal at the Paris auto show this week, but for most of the vehicles to be unveiled, the novelty will be only skin deep. Underneath the bold shapes, multiple air bags and satellite navigation aids, the car's basic principle - based on Karl Benz's internal combustion engine - is little changed after 117 years. They still need to burn oil to go anywhere. The hydrogen-based fuel cell, which emits only water and electricity to drive the vehicle, has long been the best hope for a "clean car" paradigm shift, but experts say such technologies are still a far-off dream for ordinary drivers." (Reuters)

"Ford Electric Car Plant May Close" - "DETROIT - In another sign of fading hopes for electric vehicles, Norway announced Tuesday that it could not meet demands from Ford Motor Co. to keep its Think auto plant open. In late August, the Dearborn-based automaker announced it would stop selling electric cars in the United States and also was prepared to withdraw from the Think Nordic plant that makes the Think City electric car." (AP)

"I Don't Care Where My Food Comes From - And neither should you" - "People should know where their food comes from," an organic farmer from Montana declared at a conference on agriculture and the environment I attended this past weekend, sponsored by the Political Economy Research Center. This notion is increasingly popular among political environmentalists. It is usually a shorthand way to express opposition to genetically enhanced crops and to convey approval for their organic equivalents. From a nutritional and ecological point of view, the idea is bunk." (Ronald Bailey)

"EU backs right to reject gene-modified imports" - "BRUSSELS - Countries must have the right to reject genetically modified organisms (GMOs), members of the European Parliament said on Tuesday. The European Union assembly voted to support legislation that will bring EU laws into line with the Cartagena Protocol, a global treaty on trading GMOs that requires exporters to seek permission from importer countries before shipping GMOs." (Reuters)

September 24, 2002

"Scientists to test food after carcinogen scare" - "Scientists are to test a wide range of British foods for the possibly cancer-causing chemical acrylamide in an attempt to assess the scale of the threat to human health. Experiments have already found the potential carcinogen in potatoes, crisps, chips, crispbreads, bread and breakfast cereals but the government's food standards agency is preparing a far more extensive research programme as part of a coordinated effort across the European Union." (The Guardian)

"Lack of exercise 'damages heart'" - "Failure to exercise is as bad for health as smoking a packet of cigarettes every day, experts have warned. The World Heart Federation said physical inactivity doubles the chances of developing heart disease and increases the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure." (BBC News Online)

"The North American Millers' Association Calculates Impact of Methyl Bromide Ban to Exceed $60 Million Annually" - "WASHINGTON----Sept. 23, 2002--The North American Millers' Association (NAMA) has presented an application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exempt NAMA members from a ban on methyl bromide (MB) fumigant.

MB is used by millers to keep grain mills clean, sanitary and free from insects. The NAMA exemption application calculated the cost of a MB ban to the grain milling industry at more than $60 million annually. The largest component of the impact was from lost revenues as a result of the additional downtime required to sanitize mills with potential alternatives, which are slower acting." (BUSINESS WIRE)

"The Seattle Times: Editorials & Opinion: State drops the ball on global warming" - " Over 70 percent of all Americans believe global warming is happening, it's serious, and they want something done about it. Why then does our state government propose to do exactly the opposite and allow enormous, new greenhouse-gas emissions in our state — for private profit — when it doesn't have to be this way? At least 15 fossil-fuel power plants, the single biggest sources of greenhouse gases and global warming, are proposed for this state. Each is an absolutely enormous greenhouse-gas polluter. One plant alone, such as Sumas 2 in Whatcom County, increases our gases as much as almost half a million more cars!"

"Ottawa studies $1,000 Kyoto rebates" - "OTTAWA -- Ottawa is eyeing a proposal to offer Canadians rebates of up to $1,000 if they retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient, federal officials say. The proposed plan would subsidize the cost of upgrades and tests to reduce home energy use. Upgrades that help boost energy efficiency include better insulation, sealing, weatherstripping, windows, ventilation and heating equipment. The incentives are being considered by federal officials as part of the consumer portion of Canada's draft plan to implement the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, a deal Ottawa hopes to ratify by the end of the year." (Globe and Mail)

"Canada's promise is more hot air" - "Jean Chretien's dismal record on environmental issues continues with an attempted sleight of hand over Kyoto targets, writes Anne McIlroy" (The Guardian)

"Fossil Fuel Burning Blamed for Parks Air Pollution" - "WASHINGTON, DC, September 23, 2002 - The air above five of America's most famous national parks is often more polluted than that of many urban areas, finds a new report released today by three conservation groups. The National Park Service countered with its own report, finding that the results of a 10 year study show that air quality is improving or remaining stable in more than half of the national parks monitored. Both reports blame fossil fuel burning power plants, industrial facilities and motor vehicles for generating the smog and haze that threatens the health and beauty of the nation's parks." (ENS)

"BW Online | September 30, 2002 | The Hydrogen Balm?" - "Author Jeremy Rifkin sees a better, post-petroleum world"

"Energy policy astray -- The Washington Times" - "Whether Americans will continue to enjoy abundant supplies of affordable energy in coming decades depends on negotiations in a House-Senate conference committee that will likely climax in the next fortnight. A serious policy debate will not determine the outcome. Instead, it all hinges on whether White House officials are so eager to get an energy bill — any energy bill — that they will cave in to the demands of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, and Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut."

"Ruining the planet? Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner" - "Londoners are harming the environment by leading indulgent lifestyles that use up too many of the Earth's resources, a scientific study suggests. The rate at which residents of the capital ate, drank, drove and produced rubbish was deemed "unsustainable" by a team of experts at London University." (Independent)

"Study: Breeding Could Avert Mad Cow" - "WASHINGTON -- In a study that could help develop cattle bred to resist mad cow disease, researchers showed in a laboratory experiment that a mutated protein may protect animals from the prion protein that causes the brain-destroying disorder. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, reported that they genetically altered a strain of mice so the animals made a mutated form of prions which then prevented the animals from becoming ill when injected with a form of prion that usually causes the brain disease. ``We found that the (genetically engineered) mouse became completely resistant to the prion disease,'' said Dr. Jiri G. Safar, a co-author of the study appearing this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (AP)

"Study: Biotech Crops May Aid Farmers" - "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A study on the impact of biotech crops indicated that Kansas and Missouri farmers could significantly bolster their income with such crops. The study by the National Center for Food & Agricultural Policy was based on 40 case studies of 27 crops across the United States, said Leonard Gianessi, program director for the center, who presented the findings Monday." (Associated Press)

"Green killers and pseudo-science" - "Green fundamentalists are killers. Their opposition to genetically modified foods is killing people in famine-hit Africa today, and could threaten Indians in the future too." (Times of India)

"Zambians loot GM maize" - "Lusaka - Zambian villagers have looted about 500 bags of genetically-modified (GM) relief maize, which was rejected by the Zambian government, the state-run Times of Zambia reported on Monday. The hungry villagers from Monze, a tiny town in Zambia's Southern province, looted a storeroom where the GM maize was being kept after the government rejected it over health concerns, the newspaper said." (Sapa-AFP)

"Want a moth gene with that?" - "Eaten a transgenic burger lately? Not likely. No genetically modified animals have been cleared for human consumption in the USA or anywhere else in the world. Of course, humans have been genetically modifying animals for tens of thousands of years, through selective breeding. But cloning and transgenics take it all one giant step further -- some say too far." | The farmer in the lab (USA Today)

"Asians are game to try GM foods" - "Unlike Westerners, they are not averse to genetically modified food, and in fact, tend to think it may be more nutritious.

BEIJING - Asians don't mind buying or eating genetically modified (GM) foods. In fact, they believe such foods have less chemical pesticide and last longer. They even think GM foods boast higher quality and nutritional value and would be prepared to try a snack that contains genetically modified ingredients if offered. This picture of the Asian consumer, in contrast to his Western counterpart who tends to be more sceptical about GM foods, has emerged from a March survey conducted by a Singapore-based non-profit organisation." (Straits Times)

September 23, 2002

Chewin' the fat: in "Wallowing with Willett" Junkman Steve Milloy once again responds to Walter Willet and the trans fatty acid non-issue. Junkman's response is embedded in Willet's letter to the Wall Street Journal.

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"Boreal forests called 'northern lungs of the world'" - "WINNIPEG - Boreal forests in Russia and Canada are among the world's biggest producers of oxygen and should be protected from industrialization, a Winnipeg conference was told Sunday. Don Sullivan, head of the North American Boreal Forest Network, said his goal as host of the three-day conference was to stress the importance of keeping boreal forests healthy." (CBC News)

Hmm... lungs take oxygen from the air and release CO2 and water vapour into it, don't they?

"Greenpeace pushes old answers" - "Groups such as Greenpeace are striving aggressively to place the burden for homeland security on the chemical and energy industries. The group's campaign reflects a cynical and myopic understanding of the terrorist threat. Greenpeace seems to be motivated less by the prevention of terrorist activity than by its longstanding effort to eliminate the production and use of certain highly beneficial chemicals." (Bonner R. Cohen, Washington Times)

"Newsday.com - Study: Pollution in Adirondack lakes decreasing" - "RAQUETTE LAKE, N.Y. (AP) - Acid-rain-causing compounds are decreasing in Adirondack lakes, lending further evidence that the region's waters are recovering from decades of acid rainfall, according to a state study."

"To beat West Nile, kill the carrier" - "It is common in Washington's parks these days to see mothers rubbing their children's arms, faces and legs with wipes pulled from brightly coloured plastic containers. Three years ago, these would have been anti-bacterial cleansers, which were then the latest thing. These days, however, the damp squares of fabric are saturated instead with bug repellent." ( National Post)

"Beastly concerns" - "One argument against animal experimentation is that it doesn't work. The other argument is that it is cruel. Both are wrong." (Stuart Derbyshire, sp!ked)

"Goodbye, hole in the sky" - "Scientists are quietly celebrating some good news about the global environment. Two studies published this week suggest that international action to protect the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere is working.

Atmospheric levels of ozone-destroying chemicals, which are being phased out by the 1987 Montreal protocol, are beginning to fall. And researchers predict that the ozone hole may have healed itself completely within 50 years.

Twenty years ago, when scientists working for the British Antarctic Survey detected a gaping hole in the ozone layer more than 10km above the earth's surface, the discovery shocked the scientific world. It meant that more ultraviolet radiation would reach the ground, threatening the health of humans, plants and animals and perhaps affecting climate too." (Financial Times)

Same nonsense, different day. The same seasonal (and localised) depletion was actually discovered in the 1950s and recognised as an interesting natural phenomenon (interest then was centred on the massive increase in ozone levels over the south pole in late spring, early summer as the massive high concentrations from the adjacent temperate regions penetrate the weakening polar vortex). In the misanthropic '80s it was given significant publicity and a character change - this time it was big, bad and (you guessed it) man-made while the parallel build up of ozone outside the polar vortex no longer rated a mention. Stratospheric ozone levels are volatile and seasonal, whether there has been any unusual change in ozone levels over the period is moot. There is only one certainty and that is that perceptions changed purely because the great ozone 'hole' got a new publicist.

"US lawmakers may deal on drilling, climate change" - "WASHINGTON - The chairman of the congressional committee trying to hammer out a final energy bill indicated that Republican House lawmakers might accept a climate change package if Senate Democrats agreed to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." (Reuters)

"PM shifts responsibility in bid to ease ratification" - "OTTAWA - The Kyoto agreement negotiations have been taken from the Environment department and handed to the Ministry of Natural Resources in an attempt to achieve an agreement with the gas and oil industries that will allow Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister, to ratify the accord before Christmas. George Anderson, a veteran public servant with extensive experience dealing with the oil sector, has been given the task of putting out the firestorm that has erupted between the government, industry and the provinces, particularly in Alberta where most of Canada's energy firms are based, over ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The Prime Minister announced Mr. Anderson's new position during a keynote speech defending the Kyoto accord on climate change Wednesday night in Calgary before a crowd of oilpatch executives." (National Post)

"Oilsands to take $10B Kyoto hit" - "CALGARY - Murray Smith, Alberta's Energy Minister, yesterday launched a scathing attack on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, saying it could cost the province up to $10-billion in future oilsands investment. In what has become an increasingly bitter feud between the province and Ottawa, Mr. Smith in a speech also fired a number of personal salvos at Jean Chrétien, even lamenting the duration of his 18-month resignation." (Financial Post)

"smh.com.au - NSW's livestock too flatulent for Kyoto, study reveals" - "The Premier, Bob Carr, is sitting on a dirty secret: Australia's sheep and cattle fart too much. So much, in fact, that farmers might have to swap their animals for vegetables to comply with greenhouse emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol. And Victorian Premier Steve Bracks is sitting in a dirty brown predicament of his own, which explains his restraint last week when Carr raced out to join the Kyoto lobby. Brown coal is Australia's worst greenhouse offender but Victoria's economy depends on it. Victoria's brown coal industry - and the electricity and minerals processing industries that it supports - could be crippled by Kyoto."

"Anti-Biotech NGO Helps Make Case for Bt Corn" - "Friends of the Earth (FoE), the avowed opponent of biotech-enhanced crops, appears to be on the right side of the Iowa sow pseudo-pregnancy issue for exactly the wrong reason." (IFCNR)

September 20, 2002

"Dirt-Asthma Link Needs Scrubbing" - "Cleanliness may be causing children to become asthmatic, researchers suggested this week. It’s a wacky idea that seems to be getting attention thanks to the oft-parroted factoid that childhood asthma has soared over the last 20 years." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Dirty Air Kills More People Than Car Crashes, Institute Says" - "Air pollution takes a heavy toll in lives worldwide, killing more people than traffic accidents do, the nongovernmental Earth Policy Institute said in an article published yesterday. Citing data from the World Health Organization, the institute said vehicle traffic and industry generate enough pollution to kill 3 million people a year through lung and heart illnesses.  In the United States, road accidents kill an average of 40,000 people annually, compared to 70,000 deaths attributed to pollution-related sickness." (UN Wire)

"London to ban vehicles with worst pollution" - "Highly polluting lorries, vans, buses and taxis are to be banned from the whole of London under plans drawn up by the Mayor Ken Livingstone. The Mayor of London will back proposals today for a so-called Low Emission Zone when he publishes his Air Quality Strategy for the capital. The strategy is intended to cut the 1,600 premature deaths caused every year in London by air pollution, chiefly particulates and nitrous oxides found in exhaust fumes." (Independent)

"Even low levels of radon may up lung cancer risks" - "NEW YORK - Long-term exposure to radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, can more than double a person's risk of developing lung cancer, even at levels below those thought to pose little harm, scientists in Spain have found." (Reuters Health)

Extraordinary extrapolation of the day: "Up to 7,000 may have caught CJD and not know it" - "ONE in 8,000 people in Britain may be carrying the agent responsible for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, experts have found. These results, they say, mean that a larger study should now be launched to establish more clearly the extent of infection by vCJD, the human equivalent of “mad cow” disease. The Department of Health yesterday agreed to set up such a study." (The Times)

This number brought to you by exactly one (1) positive result from the tissue tests conducted to date. The margin of error involved in the estimate puts the infection rate somewhere between 0 and the entire population of the UK less the number of samples that have so far tested negative - definitely worth a headline...

"MMR scare has led to huge slump in child immunisation" - "Parents are turning away from immunisation as a means of protecting their children against diseases after the scare over the MMR vaccine. Official figures published yesterday by the Department of Health show that national immunisation rates have fallen across the board as confidence in vaccination has ebbed away. For the first time in nine years, vaccination rates against diphtheria, tetanus and polio have dropped below the 95 per cent level judged necessary to provide "herd" immunity to the population." (Independent)

"Food sector told to cut down on toxins in chips, fries" - "OTTAWA - Canadian health authorities are cautioning the food industry to change the way starchy foods are processed. They want to minimize the creation of a toxic chemical called acrylamide. A letter from the Bureau of Chemical Safety — part of Health Canada — says changing techniques or switching to different varieties of potatoes for french fries and chips can reduce the presence of the substance." (CBC News)

"Right-wing governments 'increase suicide rates'" - "Right-wing governments may sap some people's will to live and result in more suicides, conclude studies in Britain and Australia. The researchers speculate that losers are more likely to kill themselves in the individualistic, "winner-takes-all" societies favoured by right wing governments, because they are left to fend for themselves. Wide disparities in wealth also sharpen any sense of hopelessness, the researchers argue." (NewScientist.com)

Ahem... they don't think people despair under left-wing governments?

"CLIMATE CHANGE: 50 YEARS PAST AND POSSIBLE FUTURES" - "A new NASA-funded study used a computer climate model to simulate the last 50 years of climate changes, projects warming over the next 50 years regardless of whether or not nations curb their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions soon. If no emission reductions are made and they continue to increase at the current rate, global temperatures may increase by 1-2° Celsius (1.8°-3.6° Fahrenheit). But if the growth rate of carbon dioxide does not exceed its current rate and if the growth of true air pollutants (things that are harmful to human health) is reversed, temperatures may rise by only 0.75C (1.35F)." (NASA/GSFC)

"Ducking on Warming" - "IN JUNE the Environmental Protection Agency put on its Web site a report acknowledging that human activity is contributing to rising temperatures that could have serious effects on the United States. Hardly radical stuff, but the head-in-the-sand crowd sharply criticized the report, with President Bush deriding it as a document produced by "the bureaucracy." So it's sad but not surprising that the next time the agency faced the subject, it unhesitatingly decided to dodge." (Washington Post editorial)

"Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ajc.com: OUR OPINIONS: Blinders can't eradicate reality of global warming" - "Ever since warnings of global climate change came to public attention in the mid-to-late '80s, skeptics have demanded proof. It's all theories and computer models, they claim --- mere best-guess projections of what might happen 50 years from now. It's tempting to wonder what would constitute proof for such people. Twenty years ago, scientists predicted that the planet would be warming significantly. Has time proved them right or wrong? Well, 2002 is projected to be the second warmest year on record, based on data going back a thousand years through ice-core samples. The warmest year on record was 1998. The third warmest was 2001. But maybe that's not proof enough. Maybe that was just chance."

"Alberta government ads warn of 'devastation'" - "EDMONTON - Convinced that Albertans who support Kyoto simply fail to grasp it, the provincial government has launched a $1.5-million advertising campaign explaining its opposition to the climate-change accord to its own voters." (National Post)

"Kyoto cited as oil-sands project put on ice" - "CALGARY and OTTAWA -- The first casualty of the Kyoto Protocol surfaced yesterday in the energy sector as the developer of an oil-sands megaproject said it will delay -- and perhaps kill -- its multibillion-dollar investment over fears of an onerous environmental burden." (Globe and Mail)

"UPDATE - US lawmakers agree to trim vehicle gasoline use" - "WASHINGTON - Senate and House negotiators working on a final energy bill agreed on Thursday to modestly trim the amount of gasoline burned by light trucks and sport utility vehicles by 5 billion gallons over 7 years." (Reuters)

"Researchers report big advance in fight against melanoma" - "Flooding the body with laboratory-engineered white blood cells shrivelled melanoma tumours in a small group of seriously ill patients, leaving some virtually free of the deadly skin cancer, researchers at the National Institutes of Health say." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Same hook, new bait" - "In the latest organized campaign to scare the bejeezus out of American consumers, a coalition of anti-technology activist groups is organizing a boycott against fish that have been improved through biotechnology. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the crusade against better fish is being led by:

CFS, whose organic food-industry contributions are paying for this smear campaign, has convinced 210 restaurants, seafood distributors, and grocers to eliminate all genetically-altered fish from their supply chains. But this is a curious “victory,” considering that no such product is even on the market yet.

Elliot Entis, the president of one enterprising company that’s trying to change this, told The New York Times yesterday that activist groups aren’t really trying to keep the food supply safe. “Their private agenda,” said Entis, “is to raise money for the organizations and misuse information to incite fears.”

Most of the restaurants volunteering for this biotech fish ban are captained by members of Chefs Collaborative, a “progressive” nonprofit that preaches strict adherence to organic-only menus in an attempt to permanently “change the way people make their food choices.” And aside from small, mom-and-pop retailers, the only sizable grocery company to sign on is, predictably, Whole Foods Market. This retailer already has a long history of backing environmental scare campaigns like the recent hysteria over Acrylamide in starchy foods.

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, columnist Collin Levy observes that this latest techno-phobic movement is being pushed “by the same fraidy-cats who recently convinced Zambia it would rather starve than eat biotech.” Describing an earlier collaboration of the same activist players, Levy notes that “even their most famous scare campaign, accusing biotech corn of perpetrating the mass slaughter of the monarch butterfly, was ultimately squashed. The EPA admitted last year that the concern was bogus from the beginning; the corn posed no health to man, plant, or butterfly.” (Center For Consumer Freedom)

"Let the facts speak for themselves" - "The contribution of agricultural crop biotechnology to American farming" (TomorrowsBounty.org)

"Better dead than GM-fed?; Europe's greens are helping to keep Africans hungry" - "SOUTHERN AFRICA'S food crisis is set to be the worst in a decade. Around 14.5m people are dangerously hungry, and many have been reduced to eating wild leaves and pig food. One might, then, expect food aid to be welcomed. But Zambia is refusing to accept American donations because much of its corn and soya is genetically modified (GM). Zambia's president, Levy Mwanawasa, calls the stuff “poison” and refuses to import it, despite a warning from the UN World Food Programme, on September 16th, that relief supplies in his country could run out in two weeks." (The Economist)

"Zambian president asks for patience over genetically modified food controversy" - "LUSAKA, Zambia - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who has refused donations of genetically modified corn to alleviate his country's hunger crisis, asked his people Thursday to remain patient as scientists investigate the issue." (Associated Press)

September 19, 2002

"Exposure to dust may protect against allergies: study" - "HALIFAX - Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but obsessing over hygiene may not be healthy practice, research suggests. A new European study looked at over 800 children age six to 13. Researchers found kids who lived in the dustiest environments were less likely to suffer from asthma and hay fever. Growing up on a farm and being exposed to animal dander, ragweed and dirt may protect the health of children, according to a scientific theory called the hygiene hypothesis." (CBC News)

"Canada to Mull Restrictions on Farm Antibiotics" - "TORONTO - Canada should put new curbs on drugs used for farm animals so people don't build up resistance to crucial antibiotics, the author of a report to the Canadian government said on Wednesday. The report, to be debated by government departments over the coming months, recommends the compulsory use of prescriptions for veterinary drugs like penicillin and tetracycline -- both used for people and animals. That is laxer than some European bans on using drugs that help animals grow faster, but tougher than U.S. regulations." (Reuters)

"Reports of Pesticide Poisoning Down" - "CHUALAR, Calif. - Reports of farmworkers poisoned by pesticides in California are declining, but labor advocates say tougher state laws and more enforcement are needed to protect the people picking and packing crops. "California's pesticide safety laws are simply not strict enough to protect the state's farmworkers, who get poisoned even when the laws are followed," said Margaret Reeves, a staff scientist at the Pesticide Action Network." (AP)

"Will global warming improve crop production?" - "Winter temperatures are expected to increase; however, survival of perennial crops over the winter months requires the right climatic conditions, according to a study published in Agronomy Journal. Scientists predict crops will be at a greater risk of winter damage in the future even though the climate will be warmer because the loss of snow cover will increase the exposure of plants to freezing temperatures." (American Society of Agronomy)

"Plants fighting back against African desert areas" - "LONDON - Plants are starting to reclaim African desert land in a new greening of the southern edge of the Sahara. An analysis of satellite photographs taken this summer show vegetation is edging out sand dunes in an area ranging from Mauritania to Eritrea in a trend that began in the 1980s. "Africa's deserts are in retreat," New Scientist magazine said yesterday." (Reuters)

"STUDY FINDS THICKER STORM CLOUDS OVER WARMER TROPICAL WATERS AFFECT CLIMATE" - "Over warmer ocean waters, tropical storm clouds become thicker, more extensive and reflect more sunlight back into space than they do over cooler waters, NASA researchers report." (NASA/GSFC)

"Living in a glass house: Ocean organism's novel dwelling helps Earth's atmosphere" - "Why live in a glass house? For diatoms -- tiny ocean-dwelling organisms that live in exquisitely ornate glass cases -- the benefit is enormous. Princeton University scientists have shown that diatoms probably depend on glass to survive because the material facilitates photosynthesis. However, their study suggests that this domestic arrangement has a bigger beneficiary: the entire planet, which owes its present-day, oxygen-rich and carbon-poor atmosphere in part to diatoms and their effective use of glass." (Princeton University)

"Migratory Birds and Animals Championed in Bonn" - "BONN, Germany, September 18, 2002 - Climate change is a "huge threat to migratory species," and we must do everything possible to limit this change, German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin told delegates from 80 countries and environmental groups at today's opening of a global conference on the conservation of migratory species." (ENS)

World Climate Report, Volume 8, Number 2, September 23, 2002 (GES)

"Rock expects consumers to cut energy use" - "CALGARY - Canadian consumers should expect to make big changes to their energy-burning ways if Canada is to meet its climate-change objectives, but they won't be hit with a carbon tax, says Allan Rock, the federal Minister of Industry." (National Post)

"Chrétien says Kyoto will cost consumers" - "CALGARY, OTTAWA -- Moving to placate the oil patch, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said last night that consumers will have to share with industry the burden of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Individuals will be responsible for about 10 per cent of Canada's emissions-reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol, senior government officials expect, with Ottawa eyeing both incentives and penalties to change consumer behaviour. Sources say these measures will likely target homes, transportation and renewable energy, including incentives to make homes more energy-efficient and to promote use of bio-ethanol and bio-diesel fuels." (Globe and Mail)

"Alberta launches campaign against Kyoto" - "EDMONTON - The Alberta government is spending $1.5 million to publicize its opposition to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. "It's a very aggressive defensive action," Alberta Premier Ralph Klein said Wednesday. Starting with newspaper, radio and TV ads in the province, the campaign will extend across the country this fall, Environment Minister Lorne Taylor said." (CBC News) | Alberta's anti-Kyoto campaign

"Britain launches study into greenhouse gas storage" - "LONDON - Britain said it was studying new technology for pumping carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants into depleted oil wells to combat a jump in greenhouse gas emissions as generators burn more fossil fuel. The technique, if successful, could cut emissions from coal-fired power stations by 80-90 percent, the Department of Trade and Industry said. So-called carbon dioxide capture and storage would also aid oil companies by boosting the amount of crude they can extract from older wells as the gas is injected into the wells, it said." (Reuters)

"Brazil genomists see GMOs protecting world forests" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazilian scientists touted the benefits of genetically modified crops this week, saying they may actually help the environment rather than hurt it, as its critics have charged. Fernando Reinach, director of Votorantim Ventures, a private equity fund that invests in Brazil's booming biotechnology sector, said genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could protect biodiversity at a moment when the world's growing population is stressing the food supply. "We have two choices - either we embrace bioengineered crops, which allow us to produce more on the same hectares, or we expand the world's arable land by cutting down more rain forest and plowing under more savanna," said Reinach." (Reuters)

"GM food debate on in South Africa" - "They may not be stocked in your market now but genetically modified foods are eaten every day by 280 million Americans and large agro-businesses think South Africans should too." (Business Day)

"Chefs Join Campaign Against Altered Fish" - "IN a pre-emptive strike against the newest genetically engineered food, 200 chefs, grocers and seafood distributors across 40 states plan to announce today that they have pledged not to purchase fish that have been altered through biotechnology. The campaign says it is concerned that if genetically engineered salmon are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, they could escape from the pens in which they are raised and interbreed with wild salmon, endangering some species." (New York Times)

September 18, 2002

"Cancer linked to measles and flu" - "Scientists have uncovered evidence suggesting childhood brain cancer may be linked to measles or flu infection around the time of birth." (BBC News Online)

"Childhood asthma starting to fall" - "The number of children who suffer from asthma and other allergies may be starting to fall, research suggests." (BBC News Online)

Gasp! "WHO: Bad Health Linked to Poverty" - "COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Poverty remains the single largest cause of bad health in Europe, the World Health Organization said Tuesday as it presented a snapshot of the health situation in its vast European region. The report covering 51 countries in the agency's European sphere and 870 million people concluded that while the overall levels of health are among the highest in the world, gaps were widening among the countries. ``All major determinants of health are linked to social and economic factors,'' said Marc Danzon, WHO's regional director as he presented the WHO's European Health Report, which is published every two years." (AP)

"Public strong on opinions – weaker on knowledge" - "The public's knowledge of topical science issues appears to be only slightly improved by either their education or their consumption of news media, according to interim findings from a research project at Cardiff University, UK." (Cardiff University)

"It's Everywhere; Tales About Rampant Toxic Mold Get Plenty of Attention, but Science Tells a Less Dramatic Story" - "In the fictitious horror movie "Attack of the Killer Mold," a creeping pathogen that starts out as a little dot in the corner of the utility room turns into a seething green-black slime that soon consumes the entire house. Hapless householders who breathe in the killer's spores collapse into paroxysms of wheezing and spend the rest of their shortened lives in intensive care.

Like most Hollywood creations, this is a story based more on hype and fantasy than fact. Nevertheless, it's playing in a courtroom near you." (Christopher Wanjek, The Washington Post)

"Boston Globe Online Metro | Region GE, EPA spar over river cleanup cost" - "PITTSFIELD - Federal regulators and General Electric Co. are squabbling over how to split the cost of dredging decades of PCB contamination from a section of the Housatonic River. Lawyers said the dispute could determine how much of the overall cleanup would be financed by taxpayers. Government regulators have estimated that the job could take a decade and cost up to $700 million."

"Hidden wheat can hinder weight loss" - "Consumers fighting weight-loss have been warned of the problem of hidden wheat in food ingredients, which can often reduce the effectiveness of a calorie-controlled diet, according to research work from a US food expert. "Common American foods like wheat and dairy cause many of these fattening urges because they aren't metabolised properly or they cause an allergy-like reaction in some people," said Dr Carol Fenster, an expert on food allergies relating to obesity." (FoodNavigator)

Last I heard, hiding from exercise was the problem...

"PETA's "Got Beer?" revived" - "MADISON, Wis. — In vogue with its efforts to curb dairy consumption across the country, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is once again advertising its "got beer?" campaign. The advertisement, which parodies the milk advertising slogan "got milk?" will soon be seen in campus newspapers in the Madison area, said Bruce Friedrich, director of vegan outreach for PETA. Friedrich, himself a vegan, said the campaign's primary aim is to persuade students that milk can be harmful to their health." (U-WIRE)

"UK pressurises Quorn into relabelling" - "17/09/02 - The campaign in the UK to ensure that the meat substitute Quorn is correctly labelled has moved one step closer to victory, encouraging news for the American organisation backing the campaign. After months of deliberation, the UK Advertising Standards Authority has persuaded advertising watchdogs to force Quorn producer Marlow Foods to either clarify the ingredient label 'mushroom protein' or else drop it from all advertising and packaging, a report in the Financial Times said." (FoodProductionDaily)

Today's joke: "Green groups hail ozone success" - "Peak environment groups say the success of an international protocol in reducing the level of ozone depleting chemicals in the atmosphere is further justification for Australia ratifying the Kyoto protocol on climate change." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Just couldn't resist this one. The 'healing' of the ozone layer is moot given that no one knows whether there has been any human effect on the seasonal Antarctic Ozone Anomaly anyway, it's existed as long as people have been measuring ozone levels in the region - but trashing use of one very useful class of gases is supposed to justify destroying the global economy by restricting energy use...

"Farming plays key role - both good and bad - in climate change, UN reports" - "17 September – Farming plays a key role in climate change - both as one of the sources of the problem and as a recipient of its impacts, according to a new study published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)." (UN News)

"The Effects of Temperature and CO2 Trends on the 1981-1999 Greening of North America and Eurasia" - "Summary: A controversy has recently developed over what was primarily responsible for the observed increases in annual vegetative biomass production throughout North America and Eurasia over the final two decades of the 20th century. We here resolve the issue." (co2science.org)

"Regional Precipitation Trends (Africa)" - "Summary: Is real-world precipitation in Africa doing what climate models say it should?" (co2science.org)

"Water Use Efficiency (Agricultural Species)" - "Summary: A review of the recent pertinent literature demonstrates that nearly all agricultural crops will exhibit increases in water-use efficiency as the air's CO2 content continues to rise. This phenomenon should enable them to better cope with drought stress and allow them to be grown in regions where they currently cannot survive to maturity due to limited soil moisture availability." (co2science.org)

"A Millennial Climate Record Emerges From the Swamps of New Zealand" - "Summary: And the "Swamp Thing" is making short shrift of the favorite claims of Climate Alarmists. Global and Planetary Change 33: 209-220." (co2science.org)

"U.S. Blizzard Statistics (1959-2000)" - "Summary: Do they show these destructive winter storms getting more frequent and stronger during the modest global warming of this period, as is typically predicted by climate alarmists for almost every type of destructive weather phenomenon on earth? Journal of Climate 15: 1765-1772." (co2science.org)

"Secrets of the Mediterranean Sea ... Revealed!" - "Summary: Many elements - biological, climatic and even extraterrestrial - combine to produce a unique delta13C record that tells a tale of increasing biological productivity in the Mediterranean Sea. Advances in Space Research 29: 1989-1994." (co2science.org)

"NASA scientists use satellites to distinguish human pollution from other atmospheric particles" - "Driven by precise new satellite measurements and sophisticated new computer models, a team of NASA researchers is now routinely producing the first global maps of fine aerosols that distinguish plumes of human-produced particulate pollution from natural aerosols." (NASA/GSFC)

"Duke engineers creating 'more refined' global climate model" - "Frustrated by the limitations of present numerical models that simulate how Earth's climate will be altered by factors such as pollution and landscape modification, Duke University engineers are creating a new model incorporating previously-missing regional and local processes." (Duke University)

"Kyoto and Kellogg-Briand" - "Seventy five years ago, a Frenchman sent a letter to an American. Of the trillions of letters sent in the three-quarters of a century since, none shed as much light on the proposed Kyoto Treaty." (Herbert Inhaber, TCS)

"Canada Under Pressure to Reverse Kyoto Pledge" - "OTTAWA, Sep 17 - Canada will have to abide by its prime minister's pledge to ratify the Kyoto agreement on global warming without changes, despite growing pressure from business groups, environmentalists say. The Canadian government is under intense pressure to back out of Prime Minister Jean Chretien's promise - made at last month's Earth Summit in Johannesburg - to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and abide by its existing rules, says John Bennett, director, atmosphere and energy, of the Sierra Club of Canada." (IPS)

"New Jersey to Nix Pollution Credit Scheme" - "WASHINGTON - New Jersey plans to abolish an experimental pollution trading scheme embraced by the Bush administration as a model for market-based, voluntary approaches to improving air quality. State officials said the program adopted first in New Jersey by then-Gov. Christie Whitman, the Republican who now heads the Environmental Protection Agency, is unworkable because any reductions in pollution can't be verified. "We think the program is deeply flawed," said Bradley Campbell, commissioner of the state's Department of Environmental Protection under Democratic Gov. James McGreevey." (Associated Press)

"Europe to Measure Pollution in Major Cities" - "LONDON - The impact of cancer-causing pollution in Europe is going to be tested in a project that will see 2,000 people fitted out with special pollution detectors, the European Union's executive body said on Tuesday. The first phase of the "PEOPLE" (Population Exposure to Air Pollutants in Europe) project will take place in Lisbon and Brussels, and will then roll-out to Bucharest, Budapest, Dublin, Krakow, Ljubljana, Madrid, Paris and Rome, the European Commission said." (Reuters Health)

"Africa's Hungry Aren't Picky" - "Despite ongoing controversy, genetically modified foods have won a firm place in farm fields and stores because of their benefits, such as high productivity and better resistance to pests." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Why Africans Are Starving" - "Green groups and European bureaucrats aren't conspiring to starve millions of sub-Saharan Africans, but according to Andrew Natsios of the U.S. Agency for International Development, they may as well be." (Wall Street Journal)

"Wonk's World: Better dead than biotech fed" - "How environmentalists let Africans die to make a point against genetic modification" (Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times)

"Green Activist Accused of Promoting Famine Wins Time Magazine Honor" - "Time Magazine's decision to honor an Indian organic farming activist for her opposition to genetically modified foods is drawing fire from critics around the world who accuse Vandana Shiva of advocating a return to the "days when people died like flies." (CNSNews.com)

"Conflicting reports on GM crops" - "The confusion and misconceptions surrounding GM agriculture were increased yesterday by authoritative reports from its supporters and opponents suggesting that the crops have dramatically helped US farmers and the environment in the worst drought for 50 years but have led to $12bn (£7.8bn) losses and forced a greater dependence on chemicals." (The Guardian)

September 17, 2002

"Deadly brain disease linked to bacteria" - "KANSAS CITY, Kan., Sept. 9 -- In a challenge to mainstream science, researchers at two American universities reported Monday the human version of madcow disease may be a micro-organism commonly found in insects. If that is the case, doctors may be able to prevent or slow the brain degeneration associated with the disease by using antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, said Jeanne Drisko, a physician of the University of Kansas and neuropathologist Frank Bastian of Tulane University. Drisko and Bastian are investigating the possibility that a bacterium called Spiroplasma mirum, or one of its relatives, may be the cause of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, one of a family of illnesses characterized by sponge-like holes in the brains of victims." (UPI)

"Against the grain" - "If you have a chronic illness - or are just feeling run down - the answer could lie in your bread bin. Jerome Burne reveals why more of us should steer clear of wheat" (The Guardian)

"High levels of chemicals in beef, pork: Montreal report" - "MONTREAL - Some samples of eggs, beef and pork sold in Canada contain dangerously high levels of chemicals, according to Montreal newspaper La Presse. The paper obtained an unpublished report from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency indicating eight out of 10 samples of pork, beef and cheese contained dioxins. The report says eggs imported from the U.S. showed levels 18 times higher than the internationally accepted limits of chemical by-products, such as PCBs." (CBC News)

"Pest sprays exceed safety levels" - "One in five winter lettuces contains pesticide residues that exceed safety guidelines, and 6% contain pesticides that are not even approved for use on the crop, a survey by the government's pesticides safety directorate has found." (The Guardian)

"Newsday.com - Trustees release plan for assessing harm of PCBs in Hudson" - "ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A group of state and federal officials released a plan Monday for comprehensive assessment of damage to natural resources from PCB pollution in the Hudson River. The state Department of Environmental Conservation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of the Interior united to form the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees. They began work in 1997. "The damage assessment plan is a roadmap for renewing the Hudson River and eliminating the contaminants," said NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher. Reports so far address fish, mammals, birds, snapping turtles and floodplain soil."

"Pollen link to asthma risk" - "Women exposed to high levels of pollen in the last third of pregnancy are much more likely to have asthmatic children, suggests research. It is thought that antibodies produced by the mother in response to pollen may cross into the foetus and make allergies more likely." (BBC Online)

"Smog Risk Found Higher for Children" - "A report by a Washington, D.C., environmental group says that children in California are at greater risk of contracting cancer from inhaling toxic air pollutants than adults. The study, which was to be released today and focused on five areas of the state, maintains that a 2-week-old baby in the Los Angeles region has already been exposed to more pollution than the federal government deems acceptable over a lifetime." (Los Angeles Times)

"Aerosol role cited in drought" - "An Australian scientist says that air pollution from far-off cities may be playing a role in the Sahel drought in northern Africa by preventing the northward movement of the tropical rain belt. The Sahel is an area that extends across Africa on the southern edge of the Sahara desert. Every year the desert moves scores of miles southward because of desertification and erosion, while the Sahel shrinks at an alarming rate. "The Sahelian drought may be due to a combination of natural variability and atmospheric aerosol. Cleaner air in the future will mean greater rainfall in this region," Leon Rotstayn, an Australian government researcher, said in a recent report." (The Washington Times)

"In drought-stricken New Mexico, battle brewing over water in Rio Grande" - "ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Rio Grande is drying up in drought-stricken New Mexico, putting an endangered fish and the water supply of the state's largest city in jeopardy. Environmentalists want a federal judge to release water owned by Albuquerque into the Rio Grande to prevent the river from going dry in an area where the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow lives. The targeted water would come from Heron Lake in northern New Mexico — water that Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez contends would come "from the mouths of our children." (Associated Press)

?!! "Alarm over ozone layer depletion" - "Ozone depletion has raised the level of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, increasing health hazards for humans and plants all over the world, said a senior official of the UAE Meteorology Department." (Gulf News)

"New Report Confirms Success of Montreal Protocol But Warns Ozone Layer Will Remain Vulnerable" - "PARIS/NAIROBI, September 16, 2002 - The executive summary of a new report by the world's leading ozone scientists warns that despite good signs of recovery, the ozone layer will remain particularly vulnerable during the next decade or so, even if countries comply with international agreements to protect it." (EarthVision Environmental News)

"Despite signs of recovery, UN warns ozone layer still vulnerable for next decade" - "16 September – Despite good signs of recovery, the ozone layer will remain vulnerable for the next decade or so, even if countries comply with international agreements to protect it, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)." (UN News)

"Reuters Wire | 09 17 2002 | Antarctic Ozone Hole Could Close by 2050-Scientist" - "SYDNEY - The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica may close within 50 years as the level of destructive ozone-depleting CFCs in the atmosphere is now declining, one of the world's leading atmospheric scientists said Tuesday."

Nature freebie: "Climate and water" - "This web focus encompasses a specially commissioned Insight on Climate and Water, together with a selection of recent articles handpicked from the pages of Nature, all of which illuminate the connections between climate and water in ice, oceans and atmosphere." (Nature)

"Year of the Rat" - "LOS ANGELES - The rat strutted on the velvet covering of the chain supporting the grand crystal chandelier that once resided in a cathedral in France but now illuminates the circular stairwell of my dear friends' home in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles. This summer is the invasion of the rats, Los Angeles style, meaning even the most elegant homes are affected. In this era of global warming panic, news stories blame invading rats on fossil fuel burning. Can a threat of bubonic plague be far behind in the propaganda that human-made global warming causes every harmful change to the ecosystem?" (Sallie Baliunas)

"Canada will keep Kyoto promise, officials say" - "OTTAWA -- Canada has no intention of shirking its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and will make promised reductions in the country's greenhouse-gas emissions if it can't win a break at international talks, federal officials said yesterday" (Globe and Mail)

"Australia Will Not Support Kyoto Without U.S. Ratification" - "Australia said today it would ratify the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases only if the United States also joined, according to a statement by Environment Minister David Kemp, who said any agreement would be meaningless without the United States and developing nations." (UN Wire)

"The Australian: Beattie backs Libs on Kyoto treaty [September 17, 2002]" - "PETER Beattie has given unexpected support to the Howard Government over its refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Responding to demands from Bob Carr to immediately ratify the deal, the Queensland Premier said doing so would hurt all states except NSW. Mr Beattie said his Labor counterpart in NSW was in ``the luxurious position'' of being able to immediately back the pact designed to curb global warming because "there is only one state in Australia that would be advantaged economically by the Kyoto Protocol and that's NSW – that's the reality."

"New Zealand Herald - Scientists investigate Outback dust in ocean" - "A team of New Zealand scientists is investigating whether dust storms in the Australian Outback are "fertilising" phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean with iron-rich dust. The scientists have been given $600,000 over the next three years from the Government's Marsden Fund to track Outback dust storms to see if winds are sweeping the iron towards New Zealand, to be carried from the Tasman Sea into the iron-deficient Southern Ocean. The extent to which the Southern Ocean receives iron "fertiliser" could prove to be an important environmental issue, because it makes up 15 per cent of the world's oceans but is naturally deficient in the iron necessary for phytoplankton growth."

"US farmers attack "myths" surrounding GM crops" - "LONDON - U.S. farmers yesterday made their case in favour of genetically-modified crops with the launch in Britain of a report aimed at dismissing commonly held misconceptions about the technology." (Reuters)

"New rice to benefit malnourished?" - "Rice grains with less phytic acid could mean improved nutrition for the world's malnourished, more nutritious animal feed and less potential for water pollution from manure, reports the US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) this week." (FoodNavigator)

"PHILIPPINES: Philrice will sell GM rice within three years" - "Philrice, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, is expecting to sell genetically modified rice within the next three years. The rice in question would be resistant to bacterial blithe, a type of bacteria prevalent in the Philippines. No multiple field tests have yet been carried out, but Dr Rhodora Aldemita, chief science research specialist at Philrice, said the research agency hopes to carry out field tests in seven areas next year. The Philippines has nine strains of the xanthomonas oxyzae bacteria, and sees combating this as a major goal. When bacterial blithe is present, it kills rice plants and can reduce yields by more than 70%, said Aldemita." (just-food.com) [Complete]

"Bove goes back to court for trashing French crops" - "TOULOUSE, France - Radical farmer Jose Bove will return to court this week alongside eight activists accused of destroying a field of genetically modified (GMO) oilseed plants in southwest France two years ago." (Reuters)

September 16, 2002

"The fat of the land; We're getting fatter because we've forgotten how to enjoy food" - "The girl on the StairMaster pounds the steps, her breath short and sharp, her face red with exertion. A sweaty T-shirt clings to her - and even through the cotton you can make out the ridges of her spine. She is emaciated. Dark hair covers every inch of her skeletal arms. It hurts to look at her.

Equally, it hurts to look at the man beside her. He too stands on the StairMaster, but the size of him means that you can hardly see the machine beneath his vast body. He breathes with difficulty, and sweat pours off him, soaking the rolls of T-shirt that encase his torso. As in my gym, so in life. While the alarm was raised this week about 75 per cent of Britons being obese by 2020, an epidemic of young women suffering from anorexia is also sweeping the land: one in 10 girls under 21 have been diagnosed with anorexia. Both trends reveal our unhealthy relationship with food." (Cristina Odone, The Observer)

"The price of eating what you like" - "There is nothing like a good medical scare story to start the day, and this week the world's specialists in obesity have served up some real crackers. Wednesday's papers told us that today's generation of children could die before their parents because so many of them are obese. Then we learnt that, within 15 years, "up to 75 per cent" of Britons will be overweight and obesity will overtake smoking as the country's top preventable killer." (Tom Utley, Daily Telegraph)

"A portion of toxic nonsense from food fanatics" - "Remember the overweight kid who got picked on at school? We are all fat boys now, and they are coming to get us.

One American war that Europe is keen to sign up to is the War on Fat. Last week the EU found time to stage a weighty summit where experts from something called the International Obesity Taskforce gave government ministers warning that the “epidemic” of obesity — which could apparently soon affect three quarters of Britons — is becoming the health problem of the century. They called on governments to treat the junk food industry the same as tobacco, with new regulations and bans on advertising." (Mick Hume, The Times)

"Diet industry blamed for obese society; Western guilt leads to eating disorders, claims Fat Is A Feminist Issue author" - "Fat Is A Feminist Issue author Susie Orbach has identified two main reasons for the Western world's obesity crisis ... a sense of guilt and the diet industry. Orbach is now looking for ways to take legal action against Weight Watchers, similar to that faced by the tobacco industry in America. 'We want to show that that organisation knows a huge proportion of diets fail,' she told the Sunday Herald. 'Its profits depend upon that, and the recidivism rate is absolutely crucial to them.' (Sunday Herald)

"Life gets longer in land of junk food" - "AMERICANS may be eating junk and getting fatter but they are living longer than ever before. Life expectancy in the United States has risen to a record 77 years and the gaps between the longevity of blacks and whites and men and women have narrowed, a US Government report says. The Health United States, 2002 survey examined trends in America over the past 50 years and found that in almost all areas Americans are healthier, despite a sharp increase in obesity." (The Times)

"billingsgazette.com - Truth vs. urban myth: Facts about pesticides" - "As a Montana state certified ornamental and turf applicator who has sprayed over 20,000 plants and has yet to kill one bird, I feel compelled to respond to the Billings Gazette (Aug. 15) front page headlines: "Mosquito Defenses Available." While I applaud the Gazette's timely information regarding the life cycle of this virus-carrying insect, which has now been confirmed in Montana, I am perplexed that a certified applicator was not interviewed in order to counter the myopic, contradictory and misinformed views regarding the use of chemicals in order to help control mosquito populations."

"Fluoride cut over damage to teeth" - "The level of fluoride in Irish drinking water is to be cut by 30 per cent in order to reduce dental fluorosis - a discolouration of tooth enamel that has risen sharply in recent years. The Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin, confirmed this weekend that he would be moving 'as soon as possible' to implement the recommendations of the Forum on Fluoridation which reported last week that fluoridated water was safe in all other respects." (The Observer)

"Today's Topic: Water Myth" - "Almost everyone has heard the rule that we need eight 8-ounce glasses (about two liters) of water daily, along with the other part of the rule that beverages containing caffeine or alcohol do not count. It turns out this rule has never been scientifically tested, and there is little evidence to support it.

Diet surveys of thousands of adults suggest that such a large amount of liquid is not needed because these people were healthy and did not consume this much fluid. Likewise, there are dozens of studies that show the precision of the system that regulates water balance. The evidence was summarized in a review published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism in August 2002.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Remember that most foods you eat are loaded with fluid. Uncooked meat is two-thirds water; most fruits are many vegetables are 90 percent water. Some people may need large amounts of fluids, especially those physically active in hot climates. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, that is they increase urine production, but much of the water in beverages that contain them does get used by the body." (Nutrition News Focus)

Not so cold this year: "This year's ozone hole expected to be smaller" - "The ozone hole seems to have shrunk but scientists say it's too soon to know how much smaller it is likely to be this year. The hole is slowly taking shape in the stratosphere and the region where it forms - the vortex - is the smallest for more than 20 years. For this time of year, the hole is about half the size it reached in the past two years, according to the World Meteorological Organisation, which reports there is also more ozone around this year." (The New Zealand Herald)

"Sunshine in Europe linked to Indian monsoon - The Times of India" - "LONDON: European holiday-makers may soon be waiting for the first monsoon clouds over India with almost as much impatience as Indians at home, now that scientists have declared that only a good monsoon for India can guarantee a bright summer for Europe. More crucially for India, the scientists pointed the finger of blame for this year’s failed monsoon at a separate but apparently linked global phenomenon, the growth of an El Nino, or unusual ocean current in the south Pacific. The British scientists, who reportedly expect to offer accurate monsoon forecasts to India within five years, added that a failed Indian monsoon means floods for Europe." | EI Nino behind monsoon failure: Scientists

"Pollution Report Omits Global Warming Section" - "For the first time in six years, the annual federal report on air pollution trends has no section on global warming, though President Bush has said that slowing the growth of emissions linked to warming is a priority for his administration." (New York Times)

"Liberals will wriggle out of Kyoto" - "Prime Minister Jean Chrétien intends to ratify the Kyoto climate change accord this autumn, but is still haggling over its terms -- which puts the cart before the horse. He wants Canada credited for selling clean-burning natural gas, and says it should therefore have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions ns by only 170 megatonnes rather than the 240 megatonnes originally agreed.

The PM knows CO2 is generated by economic activity, and cutting emissions will depress growth. His government used to lowball the damage estimate at half a per cent of GDP -- once, long ago, it even suggested Kyoto would actually turbo charge growth -- but such flights of fancy are over and Ottawa now says complying will cost about 2.6% of GDP. Ross McKitrick, associate professor of economics at Guelph University, who has written in this newspaper, puts the figure at 2.7%. So Ottawa and the "skeptics" are in the same ballpark." (Hugo Gurdon, National Post)

"Industry fears Kyoto will hurt oil sands" - "CALGARY -- The oil sands are the biggest hope of Canada's energy sector, and the source of its biggest fear.The hope is that extraction of synthetic crude from northern Alberta will take up the slack for the inevitable decline in conventional production, rescuing the oil patch from stagnation." (Globe and Mail)

"Kyoto could raise home energy costs; Accord outline calls for consumers 'to do their fair share' to reduce emissions" - "OTTAWA - Canadian consumers could be forced to pay higher energy costs as part of the federal government's plan to implement the Kyoto Protocol, sources say. Although no final decisions have been taken, government planners are considering whether consumers should bear more of the burden in reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the protocol." (National Post)

"The Kyoto ball is in Ontario's court" - "The Alberta government is finally admitting that the fate of the Kyoto Protocol lies in Ontario's hands.Ralph Klein's office announced late last week that cabinet ministers, and possibly the Premier himself, will soon migrate east to campaign in Toronto, Kitchener, Guelph, Windsor and throughout the province against signing the pact." (Globe and Mail)

"Cashing In on Kyoto No Easy Task" - "Writer Following Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's recent announcement that Russia will soon ratify the Kyoto Protocol, debate is raging over how participating in the pact can turn a profit. Before any money can be made from its unused emissions quotas, however, Russia will first need to invest into its energy sector -- but the mechanisms for such investment programs are yet to be created. Speaking after a seminar Thursday on the potential benefits of Kyoto for Russia, Oleg Pluzhnikov, deputy head of the Energy Ministry's ecological department, said that while the world has already began to invest in emission-cutting technologies, Russia lacks the means to run such projects. "Even if there are investors who want to invest in modernizing a power plant, they simply have nowhere to turn to," Pluzhnikov said." (The Moscow Times)

"Daily Yomiuri On-Line - Japan, Russia seeking deal on CO2" - "The government has started unofficial talks with Moscow aimed at helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Russia and thereby gain the right to emit more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, an attempt to fulfill the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Friday."

"Kyoto snub will hit economy: report" - "Australia stands to lose more economically in the next 10 years by rejecting the Kyoto protocol than it would by signing the international agreement on climate change, according to a report commissioned by the Federal Government.

The protocol will slow the global economy, resulting in less demand for Australia products, particularly coal and other fossil fuels, the report found.

Up until 2010, costs will be borne by Australia irrespective of whether it ratifies the protocol, the Australian National University economist Warwick McKibbin concluded.

But if Australia does ratify the agreement it could benefit by providing emission trading credits in the fledgling international carbon trading market. This allows polluting countries to meet their greenhouse gas emission targets by investing in "carbon sinks", such as forests or clean energy projects." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"To Russia With Love" - "The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), is a key economic modelling organisation, the Australian government being its main client. After the COP7 climate conference in Marrakech, ABARE undertook an analysis of the economic implications for Australia of the Kyoto Protocol, using three possible scenarios." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Embrace Kyoto ... or we will surely face a dry and dusty future" - "Australia will be hard-hit by global warming unless it acts now on environment protocols, writes Bob Carr." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"US summer of 2002 is hottest since 1930s Dust Bowl" - "WASHINGTON - With nearly half the country reeling from a blistering drought, this summer is the hottest since the depression-stricken "Dust Bowl" era of the 1930s, U.S. government weather experts said last week." (Reuters)

Oh... no net warming in 7 decades then...

"UK homes face huge new threat from floods" - "Homes and businesses worth £222bn in Britain are threatened by devastating flooding as global warming takes hold, a new official report concludes. It breaks new ground by recommending people will eventually have to give up their cars to avoid catastrophe.

The report which will be published by the Government's Energy Savings Trust later this week says some five million people living in 1.8 million homes – one in every 13 in the country – risk being inundated by rising seas and increased rainfall in the starkest official assessment yet of the human cost of climate change in Britain." (Independent on Sunday)

"Cars blamed for rising flood risk" - "The Government must encourage motorists to abandon their cars if it wants to make any impact on reducing the causes of global warming, a report said yesterday. The Energy Saving Trust describes global warming as "the greatest threat facing the world community" and says its effect will lead to more flooding." (Independent)

"Small island nations urge larger, industrial powers to limit pollutants threatening their existence" - "UNITED NATIONS - The major issues raised at this year's U.N. session will be irrelevant to many small island nations if global warming ( news - web sites) continues, as rising seas suck away their shores and eventually submerge them forever, island representatives told the General Assembly. "Efforts to ensure sustainable development, peace, security and long-term livelihood for the world will have no meaning to us in Tuvalu in the absence of serious actions to address the adverse and devastating effects of global warming," Tomasi Puapua, governor-general of that small South Pacific nation, which sits no more than three meters (10 feet) above sea level, said Saturday." (Associated Press)

"Green groups pour cold water on plan to bury carbon dioxide at sea" - "GREEN campaigners have condemned as a “dangerous distraction” a pioneering project by oil companies to fight global warming by burying carbon dioxide under the seabed. Esso and the Norwegian company Statoil have injected more than four million tonnes of carbon dioxide into porous sandstone deep beneath the North Sea bed at the Sleipner West natural gas field." (The Times)

"Green with Greed" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - "Green" groups do quite well for themselves courtesy of business and foundations derived from corporate wealth (Pew, Ford, Rockefeller, Heinz, MacArthur). Still, the green machine is not free from financial challenge. History has proven they cannot rely upon industrial mishaps despite their lucrative bombast in response. Revenue problems forced even the icon Greenpeace to merge with a fairly obscure rival.

At the World Summit on Sustainable Development earlier this month, however, industry and greens got even cozier in a desperate move to suppress the availability of energy. Some of these businesses merely continue the wildly unsuccessful pattern of seeking to apologize their way to acceptance. Others, like natural gas giant BP which spoke for industry in Jo'burg, seek to use "green" restrictions to defeat their competition. This coalition deserves further scrutiny." (Chris Horner, TCS)

"Global warming could cut Chinese harvests - paper" - "SHANGHAI - Global warming could cut China's harvests by up to 10 percent in coming decades, Friday's edition of the China Daily newspaper quoted a meteorological official as saying." (Reuters)

"State Takes Sharp Turn on Emissions" - "California set out boldly 12 years ago to fill the highways with smog-free, electric cars, but today air quality officials are quietly admitting failure and embarking on a new strategy to cut tailpipe emissions. The planned rollout date for the zero-emission vehicle is at hand. But the arrival of fully functional and affordable electric cars is nowhere in sight, as vacant battery-charging parking spaces at shopping centers attest." (Los Angeles Times)

"Snakehead in the Bathtub" - "A few years ago everybody's favorite technophobe, Jeremy Rifkin, coined the term "genetic pollution." He believed it was "going to gain currency very quickly." It didn't. But it may get a boost from a recent study by a National Academy of Sciences committee warning that genetically engineered animals may pose serious risks to the environment. Indeed, the escape of such animals into the wild could alter species or even wipe them out, it said." (Michael Fumento, TCS)

"GM crop taints honey two miles away, test reveals" - "EVIDENCE that genetically modified (GM) crops can contaminate food supplies for miles around has been revealed in independent tests commissioned by The Sunday Times. The tests found alien GM material in honey from beehives two miles from a site where GM crops were being grown under government supervision. It is believed to have been carried there by bees gathering pollen in the GM test sites. The disclosure, showing that GM organisms can enter the food chain without consumers — or even farmers — knowing they are present, will undermine assurances by Tony Blair and ministers that such crops can be tested in Britain without contaminating the food chain." (The Sunday Times) | GM benefits and hidden perils (The Sunday Times)

"This Food Contains GM Ingredients": Useful or Useless Info?" - "When picking up a box of corn flakes or a bag of tortilla chips at the local supermarket, most consumers don't realize that the bag or box in their hands probably contains genetically modified (GM) corn.

In fact, it is estimated that up to 70 percent of processed foods contain at least some GM ingredients. That figure is so high because most processed foods contain ingredients like corn syrup, corn starch, soybean oil, lecithin or cottonseed oil, which could be derived from GM corn, soybeans or cotton. Some groups are pressuring manufacturers to indicate on product labels if the foods contain any GM ingredients." | Is Labeling GM foods an Effective Means of Facilitating Choices for Consumers? (The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology)

"Putting Zambia through the mill" - "Zambia's decision to refuse food aid that contains GM crops at a time when much of its population is on the verge of starvation has angered and puzzled many people." (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

September 13, 2002

"What Makes an 'Expert' an Expert?" - "Columbine shooting survivor Mark Taylor is suing Solvay Pharmaceuticals alleging the anti-depressant drug Luvox made shooter Eric Harris psychotic and violent. U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Brimmer, hearing the case in Denver last week, ruled the lawsuit could proceed and Taylor's two scientific "experts" could testify." (Steven Milloy, Foxnews.com)

"Poor health of Gulf veterans not related to post-traumatic stress disorder" - "Most Gulf War veterans do not have a formal psychiatric disorder and rates of post-traumatic stress disorder amongst the group are low, finds a study in this weeks BMJ." (British Medical Journal)

"Obesity will 'become the norm'" - "Three-quarters of the UK population could be overweight within the next 10-15 years, top experts have warned. They say obesity will overtake smoking as Britain's top preventable killer. And they have accused the government of being too scared of the food and transport industries to tackle the problem properly." (BBC News Online)

"Experts outline cancer, diet evidence" - "LONDON (September 12, 2002 7:21 p.m. EDT) - Wading through 30 years of confusing and sometimes contradictory studies on cancer and diet, experts have summarized the state of scientific knowledge: alcohol is bad, obesity is bad and lots of fruits and vegetables are good." (Nando Times)

"Docs want European Union to limit junk-food ads" - "LONDON - To help trim growing obesity rates among the young, the European Union should ban advertisements for sugary drinks and junk foods that target children, experts said on Thursday. The International Obesity TaskForce and the European Association for the Study of Obesity said as many as one in four children in some parts of Europe are affected by obesity, largely because they eat too much high-sugar, high-fat food. At a summit organised in Copenhagen by the Danish ministry of health, Professor Philip James, chairman of the international taskforce, presented a report calling for immediate action." (Reuters Health)

A marginal advance on the metal underwear crowd... "'Anti-radiation' trousers fuel mobile phone debate" - "BRUSSELS - US jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. denied on Thursday it was playing on consumer fears by launching a line of trousers fitted with "anti-radiation" pockets for mobile phones. The trousers, with a lining that the makers say shields against radiation, are designed by Dockers, a brand name of Levi Strauss--famous for its classic "501" jeans. Retailers were currently viewing the new line, called Icon S-Fit, with an eye to sales from next spring, a Levi's spokesman said. "We're not implying in any way that mobile phones are dangerous," Levi's European communications manager Cedric Jungpeter told Reuters. "Our intention is not to cash in on consumer fears but provide the consumers with what they want," he said from Levi's European headquarters in Brussels." (Reuters)

"HHS ISSUES REPORT SHOWING DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENTS IN AMERICANS' HEALTH OVER PAST 50 YEARS; Infant Mortality at Record Low, Life Expectancy at Record High" - "HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today issued a new report showing how Americans' health has changed dramatically for the better over the past 50 years, with men and women both living longer, fewer babies dying in infancy and the gap between white and black life expectancy narrowing in the past decade.

"When you take the long view, you see clearly how far we've come in combating diseases, making workplaces safer and avoiding risks such as smoking," Secretary Thompson said. "As we take better care of ourselves and medical treatments continue to improve, the illnesses and behaviors that once cost us the lives of our grandparents will become even less threatening to the lives of our grandchildren." (HHS)

"Air pollution con game -- The Washington Times" - "The United States has achieved large declines in air pollution during the last few decades, yet polls show most Americans think air pollution has been getting worse. A misleading new report by the Public Interest Research Group helps explain why. PIRG cooked the pollution books to mislead Americans into thinking air pollution is bad and getting worse, when just the opposite is the case. PIRG's "Danger in the Air" is the latest in a series of recent activist group reports intended to scare Americans into believing they're seriously harmed by current air pollution levels, and that they should support more draconian and expensive regulations."

"FEATURE - Indian capital breathes easy after pollution checks" - "NEW DELHI - Five years ago, the Indian capital was rated as one of the most polluted cities in the world, continually shrouded in an eye-stinging smog of foul gas and noxious fumes. No longer. Pollution levels in the wheezing metropolis of about 13 million people have come down significantly since the government cracked down on exhaust-belching vehicles and closed down smoke-spewing factories in the late 1990s." (Reuters)

"Oil chiefs rap Ottawa over Kyoto; Accord would be 'one of the most damaging ever signed,' Gwyn Morgan tells PM" - "Gwyn Morgan, chief executive of EnCana Inc., North America's largest independent energy company, has written an eight-page letter to Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister, urging him not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change because it would sacrifice economic growth without helping the environment. In the letter, Mr. Morgan maintains that "signing the Kyoto Protocol would go down in history as one of the most damaging international agreements ever signed by a Canadian Prime Minister." His letter emerged on the same day Tim Hearn, chief executive at Imperial Oil Ltd., Canada's leading producer, lashed out at the accord and the "deep-thinkers" in Ottawa while speaking at the Peters & Co. energy conference in Toronto." (Tony Seskus, Financial Post)

"Can Kyoto pass this test?" - "Implementing Kyoto could do serious damage to the Canadian economy. So before Parliament ploughs ahead, here are four simple questions that must be answered" (Lorne Gunter, The Edmonton Journal)

"Interpreting a climate record from 10,000-year-old migrating waters" - "Scientists applied super computers to study the effect of climate on water movement through the soil from the surface to the water table, a section of the earth called the vadose zone. Since such waters began their underground migration at the time of the last ice age, they hold a scientific and historical record of global climate change. Their results were reported in Vadose Zone Journal published by the Soil Science Society of America." (American Society of Agronomy)

"Manchester rain blamed on Salford high-rise flats" - "Mancunians who bemoan their city's sogginess have been offered an unexpected scapegoat - the tower blocks down the road. The persistent drizzle is largely due to the multitude of high-rise blocks built in the neighbouring city of Salford during the 1970s, it was claimed yesterday.

According to Christopher Collier, a professor of environmental studies at Salford University who formerly worked for the Met Office, buildings can have as much impact on local weather as global warming; an urban development can make areas wetter or drier depending on how it affects temperature and air currents." (The Guardian)

September 12, 2002

"Public 'must allow scientists to take risks'" - "BRITAIN will miss many of the benefits of modern science unless the public learns that there is no such thing as a risk-free society, one of the country’s most senior academics said yesterday." (The Times)

"In 1905 ..." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Global warming models flawed" - "AUCKLAND, New Zealand — A discovery that it is much colder over the South Pole than believed has exposed a major flaw in the computer models used to predict global warming, a new scientific paper says." (AFP)

"On Shirking Our Real Environmental Duties" - "Summary: It is currently politically correct, although scientifically incorrect, to demonize the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content as the mother of all environmental disasters. In addition to being outright wrong, what is especially disturbing about the hype accorded this bogus threat to the biosphere is that it diverts our attention and resources away from many much more real, immediate and important threats to both humanity and nature." (co2science.org)

"Subject Index Summary: Regional Precipitation Trends (Europe)" - "Summary: Is real-world precipitation in Europe doing what climate models say it should?" (co2science.org)

"Storm Trends in the Southern Beaufort Sea" - "Summary: Once again, real-world evidence flies in the face of climate model predictions. Atmosphere-Ocean 40: 145-158." (co2science.org)

"Tree-Ring Widths in Brazil Respond to Solar Forcing of Climate" - "Summary: History repeats itself with another example of cyclically-recurring solar-induced climate change. Advances in Space Research 29: 1985-1988." (co2science.org)

"If You Build It, They Will Come" - "Which climate-related initiative poses the biggest threat to America's economic future? Is it (a) the Kyoto Protocol, with its growth-chilling restrictions on carbon-based energy use, (b) Senator Jim Jeffords' (VT-I) "Clean Power Act," which would impose Kyoto-like carbon dioxide (CO2) controls on the electric power industry, or (c) the recent Kyoto-inspired California law to regulate CO2 from automobiles?" (Marlo Lewis, Jr., TCS)

"Fanning the flames" - "On 27 July 2002, The Times (London) carried a major article on AEA Technology's claims that a quarter of Britain's energy needs could be met by building a complex of wind farms in the North Sea off East Anglia.

The scale of the proposal for the North Sea is staggering. Eight miles offshore, 40 wind farms would involve 15,000 turbines, each 300 feet tall. Whether the individual windmills would be mounted directly on the seabed or placed on one or more islands is unclear, as is the size of the area that will be occupied. If they are all put together, 500 feet apart, the total area might be something like 100 square miles. There would be an enormous environmental impact with clear implications for human and animal health. There could be a risk to bird flocks, which could either collide with the rotating vanes or be thrown off course by unexpected variations in wind patterns." (Vivian Moses, sp!ked)

"Green Misanthropy, (John) Gray Misanthropy" - "What are we to make of green activists who oppose electricity and want most of humanity to remain poor? What are we to make of green activists who would rather see Zambia face starvation than let people eat genetically-modified crops?" (Todd Seavey, ACSH)

"Poorer countries reject open WTO dispute hearings" - "GENEVA — Developing countries recently rejected a call from the United States to open World Trade Organization dispute meetings to the public, arguing that this would only favor rich powers. The U.S. proposal came in talks on reforming the system for solving trade rows — fiercely criticized by environmental and development groups based in the North who often portray the WTO as a secretive body working at the behest of big business. Trade sources present at the WTO discussions, part of the Doha Round of negotiations on lowering barriers to global commerce, said Malaysia and India both argued that allowing the public into hearings would result in a "trial by media." (Reuters)

"Drought-resistant rice can cut water usage by 50%" - "MUMBAI: Genetically modified rice with drought tolerance properties could bring down the crop’s water consumption by almost 50%. According to a study conducted jointly by the University of Marseilles, France, and Avesthagen, a Bangalore-based agri-biotech company, this could result in savings of Rs 77 crore to Rs 253 crore per year for Karnataka. “The objective of the study was to investigate the present rice sector situation in Karnataka and to project how the situation is likely to change through the use of a value-added rice variety,” says Villoo Patel, CEO of Avesthagen. Rice is one of the main consumers of water. For every kilo of rice produced, about 5,000 to 12,000 litres of water is consumed. Since its cultivation being the primary agricultural activity in Karnataka, a positive impact in terms of water would be significant." (Economic Times)

"P.E.I. Needs To Take Another Look At Genetically Modified Potatoes: The Technology Is There To Vastly Reduce The Need For Chemical Sprays" - "Agriculture is not natural. Growing more than 100,000 acres of potatoes on a small island is not natural. But Prince Edward Island has soil particularly suited for potatoes; and humans seem to want both the food and the $140-million annual income.

Golf courses aren't natural either. Neither are tourists flying, driving or boating to an Island retreat; neither are fish kills from pesticide runoff. And those french-fried potatoes probably aren't good for the collective North American girth (especially mine).

So where are the trade-offs? More importantly, where is Harrison McCain, or the leaders of the fast-food joints who deemed in 1999 that genetically engineered potatoes shalt not be grown on the Island? Both groups say they were responding to consumer demand, except that both groups never actually asked consumers anything.

Instead they capitulated to a few letters from unhappy customers, leaving an environmental mess on the Island and hypocrisy within the companies which still use genetically engineered soy, canola and corn products." (Jeff Wilson, The National Post)

"BBC NEWS | Scotland | Parliament launches GM inquiry" - "A full inquiry is to be made by the Scottish Parliament's health committee into the effect on humans of GM crop trials. The decision follows the presentation of a report by Scottish National Party MSP Nicola Sturgeon about the "dangers" to the environment and to human health. She said there were serious concerns over the toxic effect of the trials, possible allergies and their effect on antibiotic resistance. The committee inquiry will also examine the risk assessment procedures set up by the government and why there has been no health monitoring of the population around the trial sites."

"Zambia says won't feed refugees GM milled maize" - "LUSAKA - Zambia will not allow the U.N World Food Programme (WFP) to feed thousands of Angolan and Congolese refugees on its soil with genetically modified (GM) milled maize, a top official said this week. The comments from Home Affairs minister Lackson Mapushi appeared to contradict an announcement on Monday from WFP head James Morris, who said the Zambian government would allow the U.N. agency to feed 130,000 refugees with milled GM maize. "I want to make it clear that the government has not changed the position on GM foods," Mapushi said on state television." (Reuters)

"GM soya 'eliminates allergies'" - "The allergy inducing ingredients of soya have been successfully removed by scientists through genetic modification. They have hailed the move as an example of how GM technology can make food safer for people. Soya allergy mostly affects children under the age of five. However, a small proportion of adults are also affected." (BBC News Online)

September 10, 2002

"Democrats, Using Finesse, Try to Neutralize the Gun Lobby's Muscle" - " Across the country and across party lines, candidates — many of whom are running on a big day of primaries today — are supplicants to their pro-gun-rights constituents. " (New York Times)

"Cold left-overs ward off cancer" - "Cold potato, baked beans, rice and porridge may not sound appetising - but they might be just the thing to ward off cancer. Scientists have discovered that indigestible crystalline starch found in these types of types of cold food may have a protective effect. For years, people have been told that eating a high-fibre diet can reduce their chances of getting bowel cancer. But a leading scientist claims that this is a misconception based on the fact that bowel cancer rates are low in Africa, where fibre makes up a high proportion of the local diet." (BBC News Online)

"Activists shred paper retailers; Use of old growth trees stirs environmental protests" - "Environmentalists who a few years ago pressured lumber retailers to stop carrying wood harvested from ecologically rich ancient forests are aiming at a new industry — paper retailers." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Amazon rain forest may be doomed" - "The Amazon rain forest is facing a serious threat despite the commitment pledged at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

At the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which was recently held in Johannesburg as the 10-year follow-up to the landmark Brazil meeting, the World Bank and two leading environmental groups announced a plan to extend financial assistance to the Brazilian government for its initiative to give complete protection to 12 percent of the Amazon forest--the largest-ever tropical forest conservation plan.

Yet, as the previous Earth Summit failed to stop logging and burning of the Amazon, about 15 percent of the rain forest had disappeared by the end of last year." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Researchers sweat out global warming; Fast pace, regional variations make consensus difficult" - "Earth's polar regions are undergoing huge changes, and while the debate over global warming pits United States policymakers against the rest of the world, scientists probing the changes are trying to discern what's going on and why." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Antarctic animals feel the heat" - "Thousands of species living on the Antarctic seabed will become extinct if computer models predicting warmer waters in the region in the coming century are correct. Studies conducted by the British Antarctic Survey showed the many cold-blooded invertebrates which populate the edge of the icy continent will struggle to survive if the environment changes as expected. Professor Lloyd Peck and colleagues looked at how sea spiders, clams, isopods and other animals reacted when the temperature of their habit waters was raised in line with climatologists' forecasts. Every organism in the study died, Professor Peck told the British Association's festival of science in Leicester. "In this part of the world we have some of the most exotic animals on the planet. These groups are under threat." (BBC News Online)

"Accept it: Kyoto won't stop global warming" - "So Parliament will vote on the Kyoto Protocol before year's end. If Parliament assents, will it matter? Are efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions the best way to spend our money in the face of global warming? What's the logical, rather than ideological, landscape surrounding the issue?

If the world is indeed warming, we should expect it to happen about now, with or without humanity's influence. The Earth is still emerging from the last ice age, which ended about 12,000 years ago. With occasional lapses into cold periods (the Middle Ages), the Earth has been warming for most of recorded human history, but remains quite cool by geologic norms. Global warming at this point in the Earth's cycles should be expected." (William Thorsell, Globe and Mail)

"Kyoto plan irresponsible, says Campbell" - "VANCOUVER - Gordon Campbell, the B.C. Premier, has added his voice to the growing chorus of opposition to the federal government's handling of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, calling Ottawa irresponsible for saying it will ratify the deal without considering the potential fallout. "No one knows what's going on with Kyoto," Mr. Campbell said in an exclusive interview with the Financial Post, noting that in recent conversations with fellow premiers he found they were all in the dark about what ratification of the agreement on reduction of greenhouse gases will mean. "It's irresponsible to go ahead with a plan without knowing the impact ... Ottawa has not been straightforward about when and how they are planning [to sign the deal]", he said." (Financial Post)

"Acceptance limited for higher energy prices, poll says" - "OTTAWA - Canadians are willing to pay more for gasoline and household energy to combat climate change but only up to a point, says a poll on the Kyoto Protocol conducted for industry. The details of the climate change treaty and what it may mean for ordinary people are largely a mystery to Canadians, who want the federal government to spend more time investigating the cost and impact of the Kyoto Protocol before ratifying it in Parliament, the poll reveals." (National Post)

"Unsustainable Anti-Biotech Protests" - "As a development economist and student of John Dewey — who argued that ideas have consequences — I do not know of any idea more likely to keep people impoverished than the idea that resources are natural, fixed, and finite. Yet this was the operating assumption of many of the delegates to the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in South Africa and the overriding theme of the protests against the meetings. There may be resource constraints on development at any given time, but resources are not scarce in the sense in which that term is being used by the activists." (Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

"FDA addresses drugs, bioengineered plants" - "The Food and Drug Administration has released long-awaited guidelines listing what drug developers must do to prove the safety and effectiveness of drugs made from bioengineered pharmaceutical plants. Such plants have been manipulated by DNA technology to produce drug products. It's cheaper and easier than manufacturing them in factories. No drugs currently sold in the USA are produced this way, but several are being tested." (USA TODAY)

"Fury over new GM crop trials" - "MINISTERS were last night accused of forcing through genetically modified crop trials in Scotland - despite admitting public confidence had been dented by a contamination scare earlier this year. The oilseed rape trials will go ahead at sites in Daviot, Aberdeenshire and Newport-on-Tay, Fife. They will be conducted by Aventis, the biotech company which last month admitted rogue material had contaminated previous crop tests. Critics said they were "angry and dismayed" at the move, claiming it flew in the face of public concern. They accused the Executive of rubber-stamping a decision already taken at Westminster." (The Scotsman)

September 9, 2002

"McJunk Science" - "McDonald's just announced it will use a different cooking oil to reduce the amount of trans fatty acids in its fried foods. It sounds like an advance for corporate responsibility and public health. But it's actually a big fat mistake." (Steven Milloy, The Wall Street Journal)

"Public 'must allow scientists to take risks'" - "BRITAIN will miss many of the benefits of modern science unless the public learns that there is no such thing as a risk-free society, one of the country’s most senior academics said yesterday." (The Times)

"Sparks Fly at Hearing on Bush Fire Plan" - "WASHINGTON, DC, September 6, 2002 - Fire experts, environmentalists and politicians faced off today in House subcommittee hearings over newly introduced legislation to enact the president's so called "Healthy Forests Initiative." While nearly all the speakers agreed that some forest thinning will be needed to reduce the risk of devastating wildfires in the nation's forests, there was little agreement on how that thinning should be achieved." (ENS)

"Putting nature before people" - "Many commentators have denounced the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg for failing to discuss the environment adequately. Amid all the talk of poverty, development and trade, the environment hardly seemed to get a look in, they complain. In fact, the Summit's wide-ranging agenda reflects how environmental thinking now permeates the entire development discussion. You only have to look at the business world's high-profile presence at the Summit to see the advancing influence of green ideas. So why are groups like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, who previously saw the environment as a higher priority than poverty, now focusing on the poor? And why are corporations joining the greens' anti-corporate agenda?" (Joe Kaplinsky, sp!ked)

"Environmental 'Doomsday Prophecy' Debunked in New Study" - "Johannesburg - A "doomsday prophecy" that says mankind needs at least 1.2 more planet Earths to maintain its present standard of living is based on a weak scientific foundation, according to a new study. The 43-page analytical study, "Assessing the Ecological Footprint: A Look at the [World Wildlife Fund's] Living Planet Report 2002," was released by Bjorn Lomborg's Danish Environmental Assessment Institute, and it was timed to coincide with the Earth summit here. The report refutes computer models used in the "doomsday prophecy." Lomborg, the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, blames his conversion from a committed member of the Green movement to a skeptic on the Green's distortion of eco-science." (CNSNews.com)

"Floods 'not due to global warming'" - "THE devastating floods that struck Central Europe this summer were not a result of global warming, leading meteorologists said yesterday. Extreme summer rainfall of the sort that led to the inundation of cities such as Prague and Dresden is out of line with the way in which climate is predicted to change as the world warms, an international conference at Reading University heard. Far from being a global warming symptom, as observers such as Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, have suggested, the best models indicate that summers will get dryer, rather than wetter, over coming decades. Heavy flooding is expected to become a greater problem mainly in winter months." (The Times)

"Rich soil good for trapping carbon dioxide - study" - "WASHINGTON - A sticky protein shed by fungi living on plant roots is responsible for absorbing and storing sizable amounts of the carbon dioxide pollution linked to global warming, U.S. Agriculture Department scientists said." (Reuters)

"Asia Times - Tuvalu pushes greenhouse gas suit" - "SYDNEY - The tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu is stepping up its threat to sue Australia and the United States over their greenhouse gas emissions, saying these are bound to drown the island as warmer global temperatures send sea levels rising.

During the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) that ended in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Tuvalu was busy lobbying other island states around the world to help launch a World Court lawsuit against the two developed nations.

Australia is the biggest per capita producer of greenhouse gases, and the United States is the world's single biggest polluter of such gases. The two countries were isolated at the WSSD as the only two developed countries to refuse to sign the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that sets targets for them to cut emissions of greenhouse gases."

"smh.com.au - Kyoto: lies, hot air and hypocrisy" - "Perhaps I just spend too much time listening to ABC Radio, but I was appalled by the electronic media's reporting from the Johannesburg earth summit of the dog fight over ratification of the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions. The reporting was utterly unbalanced and highly misleading. It was little more than an extended propaganda opportunity for the Australian green groups. Where they weren't just handed the microphone, the reporters - some of them specialist environmental reporters - did their job for them. There was rarely the slightest hint that there might be two sides to the story. What was reported was not the debate but a Punch and Judy show. There was this apparently magic answer to the greenhouse problem, Kyoto, and the whole world had now swung its weight behind this God-ordained solution, with the exception of two bad guys of the blackest hue: the US and Australia."

"Business denies Kyoto split" - "THE Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has denied business is divided over the Kyoto treaty, and strongly endorsed the federal Government's refusal to sign.

The chamber says the climate change treaty is "flawed" and will "impair economic growth, infrastructure and technological development".

The strongly worded attack follows criticism of the Government's position by a handful of companies led by British multinational BP. BP last week said it might be forced to move some planned environmental projects overseas if the Government didn't ratify the treaty.

BHP Billiton also was claimed to support ratification of the treaty, but a company spokeswoman said that BHP had been misreported and did not support ratification." (The Advertiser)

"The Moscow Times - It's About Cleaner Air, Not Money" - "When you look out the window these days, much less walk down the street with your eyes and throat stinging, it's hard to appreciate Russia's decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. This may seem like reverse logic since the protocol would restrict the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases that even on a good day in Moscow make it unpleasant to take a deep breath. But for Russia, the Kyoto Protocol has not been about cleaner air. It has been about money."

"China to experience continuous "greenhouse effect" in next 50-100 years" - "CHENGDU, Sept. 7 -- China is expected to experience continuous warm weather during the next 50 to 100 years, and the weather in the north will become still drier, posing serious threats to the country's ecosystem and economy, warned a Chinese scientist.

Climate changes in China over the past century reflected the pattern of global warming seen around the world. This trend will continue for the next 50 to 100 years, said Qin Dahe, a leading Chinese glacier researcher and meteorologist.

Qin, also director of the China Meteorological Administration, predicts that the average temperature in China will rise 1.7 degrees centigrade between the years 2020 and 2030, and 2.2 degrees between 2030 and 2050. Northern areas may record warmer weather than the south." (Xinhuanet)

"Green fuel rules increase refinery emissions - Total" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - New environmental fuel specifications to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars risk simply increasing the same emissions from oil refineries, the head of the downstream division of European oil major TotalFinaElf said last week." (Reuters)

"Pollution making Great Smokies live up to their name" - "GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, Tenn. -- A slow procession of cars arcs around Cades Cove, a grassy valley so rich in wildlife that deer feed right next to the one-lane road. Not far from where a group of Illinois tourists has halted traffic to point video cameras at four wild hogs, a research scientist aims at a different target: the tailpipes of this ceaseless stream of vehicles.

The news is already known to be bad. The park, whose 9.5 million annual visitors make it the most-visited national park in the United States, also suffers the worst air pollution -- often worse than cities such as nearby Knoxville or Atlanta, 150 miles to the south. The mountains corral contaminants drifting from dozens of coal-burning power plants and factories in the region, and from fast-spreading cities and growing fleets of cars.

A 10-year study of air pollution in the southern Appalachians concluded late last month that most of the area's haze is produced locally, contradicting a long-held view that it comes from industrial states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. The study of pollution in eight states pinned blame mainly on power plants.

Still more pollution comes from the millions of vehicles circulating in the park." (Los Angeles Times)

"US agency seeks to keep energy plant info secret"- "WASHINGTON - Federal energy regulators last week proposed rules to prevent terror groups and the public from obtaining sensitive information about proposed U.S. power plants, large transmission lines, and oil and natural gas pipelines. The changes by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would expand the agency's policy after last year's Sept. 11 attacks to halt public access to certain documents on existing energy facilities, and also would keep secret information about proposed energy projects." (Reuters)

"statesman.com | 'A' Section | Drop in birds tied to acid rain" - "ATLANTA -- Until now, when they tried to explain the decreasing populations of North American songbirds, researchers focused on the human destruction of forests. A recent study, however, says another man-made factor in the environment -- acid rain -- appears to be a major cause of the birds' decline."

"Farmers lose out on retail sales" - "The National Farmers' Union is launching a campaign today to highlight how little farmers receive from the retail price of their food. A basket of farmed produce including beef, eggs, milk, bread, tomatoes and apples typically costs £37 in the shops but a farmer gets £11, or less than a third of its retail value. The NFU will be selling produce at the price farmers receive outside its London headquarters, before taking the campaign around the country. In some sectors, farmers get less than a quarter of the final price. Cereal farmers receive 8% of the price of a loaf of bread and pig farmers typically receive 14% of the final sale value of bacon." (The Guardian)

Farmers harvest loaves of bread now? Isn't technology wonderful (must be that biotech thing) - was a time grain cockies (cereal farmers) produced low-value inputs and relied on others to do the high-cost value adding processing to turn grain into bread.

"Rice code is 'greatest achievement'" - "Unravelling the blueprint of rice may be the most important breakthrough genetic science has achieved. According to Drs Kevin Livingstone and Loren Rieseberg, of the University of Indiana, US, the recent completion of the genomes of two closely related rice species will allow unprecedented insights into evolution. It will also provide crucial information that will allow rice to be genetically engineered to improve its protein content and to allow it to tolerate harsh conditions. Because rice is mankind's most important food crop - the staple diet for half of humanity - the researchers say reading its genome is of more importance than decoding mankind's own genetic code. "Because of the importance of rice and its status as a model for all grasses, these sequences will provide a basis for future genetic improvement of all cereal grains, our most important food resource," Dr Livingstone told BBC News Online." (BBC News Online)

"Genetically Modified Rice Research in China now World-class" - "In contrast with the normal rice paddy which has been plagued by pests, the genetically modified paddy looks freshly green and robust. These fields are part of the Experimental Program on Genetically Modified Paddies. This is a research project dedicated to large-scale GM cultivation, which is currently being conducted by the Fujian Provincial Academy of Agricultural Science in east China's Fujian Province." (People's Daily)

"Engineering Food for Africans" - "Genetically modified food is a contentious topic in Africa right now. Two countries where many people live on the verge of starvation, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have raised safety concerns about corn donated by the United States that was grown using scientific methods. Zambia has banned donated food that has been genetically modified. Zimbabwe was also reluctant to feed its people corn from the United States, which does not certify that it is free of modifications, but lately has dropped its objections.

But behind the protests, Africa has been developing genetically modified foods of its own, with the help of countries like the United States that see them as an important development tool. Scientists at the front lines of Africa's biotechnology revolution, in Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, say they believe that their lab work will eventually help develop heartier crops for a continent that has always been a difficult place to farm." (New York Times)

"GM debate needs focus: expert panel" - "Mixed messages from the federal government have been part of the problem as Canadian governments, industry and consumers struggle with how to regulate genetically modified food, says the co-chair of an expert committee that studied the issue and recommended government changes." (The Western Producer)

"Saskatchewan farmer violated patent, court rules" - "Saskatoon — The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that a Saskatchewan farmer violated a patent held by Monsanto on a herbicide-resistant canola. In March 2001, farmer Percy Schmeiser of Bruno, Sask., was ordered to pay $19,000 in damages for using Roundup Ready canola. He was also ordered to cover Monsanto's court costs of $153,000. Mr. Schmeiser had argued that either Roundup Ready canola seed blew into his field from a passing truck or his crop may have been contaminated by pollination. On Thursday, the three-judge appeal court panel unanimously ruled in Monsanto's favour, dismissing all of Mr. Schmeiser's 17 points of contention." (Canadian Press)

September 6, 2002

"Desperate Activists, Desperate Ads" - "Americans are focused on serious national security and economic issues. In the face of these real concerns, environmental activists sadly have geared up another myth-fueled, public relations effort to alarm us about chemicals." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Scientists challenge claims of steep rise in autism" - "The widely held view that autism is on the rise in Britain, and that the MMR vaccine may be to blame, is challenged today by a Telegraph survey of academics and doctors." (Telegraph)

"Senate Votes to Ban Mercury Fever Thermometers" - "WASHINGTON - The Senate voted on Thursday to ban the sale of mercury fever thermometers in order to curb a source of environmental contamination. On a voice vote and without dissent, the Senate sent The Mercury Reduction and Disposal Act to the U.S. House of Representatives for concurrence." (Reuters)

"Cat exposure increases asthma risk for children of asthmatic mothers" - "A study supported by NIH appearing in this weeks Lancet confirmed the protective effect of cat exposure for at-risk children in all but one situation: when the child's mother has asthma. If the mother has asthma, then a cat in the home actually triples the risk a child will develop persistent wheezing by age five." (NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

"Optimism could be key to prolonging life, study finds" - "Doctor's orders: Don't worry, be happy. Keeping a positive attitude about aging can extend life by seven and half years, which is longer than gains made by not smoking and exercising regularly, a study finds." (AP)

World Climate Report, Volume 7, Number 23, August 5, 2002 (GES)

"Canadian minister says Kyoto cost estimates on way" - "CALGARY, Alberta - Canada aims to have the costs of cutting emissions under the Kyoto accord hammered down next month as part of plans for meeting its commitments, the country's energy minister said this week ahead of a meeting with anxious oil executives." (Reuters)

"Triumvirate of bureaucrats driving plans for protocol" - "OTTAWA - Planning for the ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol has been taken over by a small group of senior bureaucrats reporting directly to the Prime Minister's Office, with even the Environment Minister being kept out of the loop." (National Post)

"Kyoto supporters puzzled by Canada's position on emissions treaty" - "OTTAWA -- Canada has no intention of meeting the conditions of the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse gas emissions even though the government hopes to ratify it this fall, Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal confirmed Thursday. The government's position flabbergasted other signatories to the 1997 accord, appalled environmentalists, puzzled opponents and left even some Liberals scratching their heads." (CP)

"Support for Kyoto appears to decline the more Canadians are told, says poll" - "MONTREAL -- Eight out of 10 Canadians strongly supported ratification of the Kyoto accord, even though more than half weren't aware of the environmental agreement, a new poll suggests. A CROP survey released Thursday said 81 per cent of respondents supported the international deal, while nine per cent disagreed. Ten per cent of respondents said they didn't know or refused to answer any of the pollster's questions. More than half of respondents (51 per cent) said they were not aware of the environmental deal. Westerners were most aware of the deal, while Atlantic Canadians were least informed." (CP)

"INTERVIEW - Insurer calls for tough rules on pollution" - "LONDON - A senior insurance figure said the industry had been frozen out of the Earth Summit in Johannesburg and called for tougher measures against climate changes which risk costing insurers billions of dollars." (Reuters)

"BassLink" - "After all the self-righteous grandstanding by environmental groups and third world dictators in Johannesburg, the world should be aware of a gross example of Green hypocrisy here in Australia, one which beggars belief, given their trumpeted support for `renewable energy' and crocodile tears over `climate change'." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Japan considers coal tax in greenhouse push" - "TOKYO/LONDON - Japan, one of the world's biggest coal importers, is considering a coal tax to encourage the use of cleaner fuels like natural gas, sending a shudder through the shares of the world's biggest producers." (Reuters)

"Kyoto won't kill Canada's oil sands boom - analysts" - "CALGARY, Alberta - Canada's energy future remains linked to Alberta's vast oil sands despite claims by some executives that ratifying the Kyoto Protocol will prevent companies from investing in the high-emission projects." (Reuters)

"Implementing Kyoto would be a costly error" - "-- It's hard to attack the Kyoto protocol without seeming like some rapacious capitalist or anti-government ideologue with no concern for the planet we live on.Who, after all, is against cleaner air and water or a safer environment? Who thinks global warming is good? If Canadians wanted the searing heat of a subtropical climate every summer they would simply stay in Florida all year round." (Globe and Mail)

"Driven to alcohol; Brazil has another try at running its cars on ethanol made from sugar cane" - "ONE of the deals struck at the Johannesburg summit on sustainable development was a pact between Brazil and Germany to develop a scheme in which German companies will subsidise Brazilians to buy cars that run on ethanol instead of petrol. That should reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas covered by the Kyoto protocol, an agreement intended to curb global warming. The “credits” that the German firms earn from this will count towards their country's targets under the protocol. Brazil thinks it will benefit by reducing its dependence on imported oil." (The Economist)

"Oilmen's "green" pledges met with disbelief in Rio" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Oilmen from across the world pledged to protect the environment and foster sustainable development at an industry conference in Brazil this week, but environmental groups met their promises with skepticism." (Reuters)

"Drugs-from-chicken eggs firm faces funding crunch" - "LONDON - A biotechnology firm pioneering the production of drugs in the eggs of genetically modified chickens said yesterday it had only around one year's funding left and would need to raise more money in the coming months." (Reuters)

"South African nations fail in hunger fight - Powell" - "JOHANNESBURG - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said this week that southern African nations had failed to address looming famine with their refusal to accept genetically modified (GM) U.S. food aid." (Reuters)

"Seedy Politics" - "JOHANNESBURG - A raging debate over the use of agricultural biotechnology for producing food dominated the final days of the World Summit for Sustainable Development. The debate reached a low point when Zambian President, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa discussed food aid to his country saying, "We would rather starve than get something toxic." (Kendra Okonski, TCS)

"Save the planet, kill the people" - "In Zambia, one of the most wretched nations in the world, people are foraging for roots and berries. The country has been stricken by famine. Luckily, the warehouses in Lusaka are stuffed with sacks of corn. Unluckily, people aren't allowed to eat it. Some of it is genetically modified. It might be dangerous." (Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail)

"Scientists Applaud Limited Activist Support for GM Food Aid; 'Do Not Repeat the Mistakes of Orissa,' They Challenge" - "AUBURN, Ala., Sept. 5 -- A group of scientists and agriculture experts led by the AgBioWorld Foundation are applauding recent activist statements supporting genetically-modified food aid from the United States, which has been refused by some African leaders despite the risk of millions dying from starvation. The group also challenged these and other activists to act responsibly and stop spreading misinformation about foods grown using biotechnology." (U.S. Newswire)

September 5, 2002

"Dentists sued in Texas over mercury fillings" - "AUSTIN, Texas - Austin has become the latest front in a mass-litigation war by a lawyer who contends that millions of Americans are being poisoned by dental fillings of mercury amalgam.

California lawyer Shawn Khorrami, in a lawsuit filed Friday in state district court in Travis County, is seeking unspecified millions of dollars from Lufkin dentist Taylor McKewen, the Texas and American dental associations and more than 30 corporations involved in manufacturing the fillings. The suit alleges that the silver-colored fillings caused severe autism in Cody Wyatt Botter, a 4-year-old Alabama boy born in Texas.

The suit was filed in Travis County because the Texas Dental Association is based in Austin.

Khorrami said he has filed more than two dozen similar lawsuits in California, Georgia, Ohio, New York and Maryland. None has gone to trial." (Cox News Service)

"Fluoride in water 'risks unknown'" - "The use of fluoride in toothpaste is now so widespread that people's total exposure to the chemical is no longer known, leading scientists said yesterday. A report from the Medical Research Council, commissioned by the Government, could put into question Labour's plans to change the law to encourage more fluoridation in the fight against tooth decay. The MRC report says that fluoride toothpaste use has risen so much in 20 years that the earlier research on its safety is out of date and needs to be done again." (Telegraph)

"UN Summits: A Spent Force" - "United Nations "summits" on global topics need a rest. A long one.

The latest one ended Wednesday in South Africa with little to show after nine days of haggling over broad wording on an even broader topic of "sustainable development." The final document has enough wiggle room to allow most nations to claim some sort of victory and do little.

One reason for such inaction is that these expensive conferences have been hijacked by private activist groups who are generally out of touch with most elected governments. The heckling of US Secretary of State Colin Powell during his speech Wednesday was an example of just how uncivil some members of so-called "civil society" have become." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Slow up on Kyoto, PM told; Provinces line up behind Alberta" - "EDMONTON — Provincial governments across the country are telling Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to slow up on Kyoto. "Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol now would be like signing a mortgage for a property you have never seen at a price you have never discussed," Alberta Premier Ralph Klein told a news conference here yesterday. "We still don't know how much Kyoto will cost, how it will be implemented and what role the different provinces will play," he said." (Toronto Star)

"Climate change becomes a bureaucratic monster" - "OTTAWA - Thousands of federal and provincial bureaucrats have been working on a plan to ratify the Kyoto Protocol since it was signed in 1997.

While this past weekend's announcement by the Prime Minister means the stage is now set for parliamentary debate on the matter, implementation of the treaty is far from certain.

The sheer volume of meetings that have taken place over the past five years hints at the complexity of the undertaking. Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada have been the two major players, but joining them at the federal level are at least 18 other departments that have been involved with the plan." (National Post)

"Howard defiant on Kyoto rejection" - "Prime Minister John Howard has remained defiant over Australia's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in the face of strong criticism after China, Russia, India and Canada promised to sign on.

Mr Howard said yesterday he remained unconvinced that ratifying the legally binding agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions was in Australia's best interest, although he left open the possibility of changing his mind over the next few months.

But senior government advisers said it was highly unlikely that Australia would sign the protocol in the near future." (The Age)

"Kyoto puts oilsands at risk" - "CALGARY - Petro-Canada will scale back its investment in two massive oilsands projects if the federal government ratifies the Kyoto Protocol on climate change under any one of the four implementation strategies it has put forth to date, the company said yesterday." (National Post)

"UK poll reports switch from Esso fuel, Esso denies" - "LONDON - A significant number of British motorists have stopped buying petrol from Esso stations and have switched to other retailers, following a campaign to associate the company with global warming, a survey said. But an Esso UK spokesman said the company's retail business had not been affected. "We have seen no discernible impact on our forecourt sales," he said." (Reuters)

"UCR News - University of California, Riverside study shows new generation of gasoline vehicles contributes to cleaner air" - "Groundbreaking results of ongoing three-year study indicates that the vehicles produce extremely low emissions under real-world driving conditions"

September 4, 2002

"Quorn 'meat' must be sold as fungus" - "The advertising standards authority has declared that the Quorn brand of meat substitutes has been misleading the public by referring to their key ingredient as a "mushroom protein". It has told manufacturers Marlow Foods to delete the claim from advertising unless it also gives equal prominence to either the ingredient's fungal origin or explains its technical origin as a mycoprotein, found naturally in the soil but then put in a glucose medium and fermented. The food industry is already under investigation by the food standards agency for being too ready to use label descriptions that imply natural, country goodness." (The Guardian)

"EPA says exposure to diesel exhaust can cause cancer" - "WASHINGTON — Diesel exhaust from large trucks and other sources probably causes lung cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday. An EPA health-impact report concludes that uncertainties remain about long-term health effects of exposure to diesel exhaust. It says, however, that studies involving both tests on animals and occupational exposure suggest strong evidence of a cancer risk to humans. "Overall, the evidence for a potential cancer hazard to humans resulting from chronic inhalation exposure to (diesel emissions) is persuasive," the report says." (AP)

"WHO Reports Indoor Air Pollution Is Killing Millions" - "Indoor stoves burning coal, wood or cow dung, which are used by more than half the world's households to cook or heat, have been linked to the premature deaths of 2.1 million women and children each year, according to the World Health Organization. The stoves, which are often used without adequate ventilation or chimneys, produce indoor air pollution with high concentrations of carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and carcinogens such as benzene." (UN Wire)

"France's Chirac backs tax to fight world poverty" - "JOHANNESBURG - French President Jacques Chirac called for an international solidarity tax to fight world poverty this week, telling the Earth Summit in Johannesburg that current development aid was inadequate. Chirac steered clear of the "Tobin Tax" on foreign exchange trading, a popular idea among anti-globalisation activists, but insisted on broad-based funding to help bridge the gap between rich and poor and finance sustainable growth." (Reuters)

"Overdraft at the Nature Bank" - "Earth summits won't achieve sustainable development. We need to start a real accounting for the use of natural capital, says DAVID McGUINTY" (Globe and Mail)

"Reality Check for Redistributionists; Why property rights are environmental rights" - "Johannesburg—Forward to Socialism," "W$$D Stop Bushing People," "Don't Owe, Won't Pay," "Israel USA UK—The Toxic Axis of Evil," "Osama Bomb Sandton Kill Bush and MBeki," and "No to Neoliberal policies and Capitalism" were just a few of the slogans that adorned banners and posters in Saturday's march on the World Summit on Sustainable Development. None of the banners or chants in the demonstration of more than 10,000 people mentioned any of the conventional environmental issues like climate change, population control, renewable resources, or biodiversity. One poster, carried by a white guy, did read "No to GM Food." That was about as close as the demonstration got to addressing the issues that animate the major Green lobbying groups from the rich countries." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"China, Russia back Kyoto greenhouse gas pact" - "JOHANNESBURG - Russia and China gave their backing yesterday for the Kyoto protocol meant to cut emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for warming the planet. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told the Earth Summit he expected Moscow to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming soon." (Reuters)

"Decision to ratify Kyoto delights environmentalists" - "Prime Minister Jean Chrétien delighted environmentalists yesterday by promising that Parliament will be asked to ratify the Kyoto climate accord before the end of the year." (The Ottawa Citizen)

"Alberta vows to fight Kyoto in court" - "The Alberta government is demanding a full say in the federal government's plan to implement the Kyoto accord, but if that fails, the province is also readying a court challenge to the federal government's right to impose any global warming pact on the province." (The Edmonton Journal)

"Alberta can't beat Ottawa in battle of Kyoto" - "Ottawa and Alberta are about to go to war. Alberta will lose.

When Jean Chrétien finally confirmed yesterday that the federal government will ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the Prime Minister accepted that Alberta Premier Ralph Klein might go so far as to invoke the Constitution's notwithstanding clause in his fight against the accord.

But Mr. Chrétien has accepted that challenge, partly because he knows neither he nor Mr. Klein is likely to be in office during the final rounds, partly because federal Liberals don't really care much any more about Alberta, and mostly because Mr. Chrétien knows Alberta can't win." (Globe and Mail)

"Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Spring sprung weeks earlier as Britain heats up" - "Spring came earlier this year to Britain. Hazel trees flowered 23 days earlier than in 2001, and the first carpets of bluebells emerged 16 days earlier, according to a study by the Woodland Trust. There were other telltale signs of a dramatically warmer Britain. The cuckoo made its characteristic call five days earlier and the snowdrops came seven days ahead of schedule. The alder trees burst into leaf 13 days, and the hawthorn 17 days ahead of the dates recorded in 2001."

Consecutive years (2) = trend... oh dear!

"Species at risk as experts predict demise of winter" - "Autumn is likely to arrive later and last longer than before, a study of plants and animals in Britain's woodlands has revealed. Spring, meanwhile, is coming earlier and winter is close to disappearing.

For centuries people have been able to predict the timing of the seasons by the arrival and departure of birds, the flowering of plants and fruits, and the shedding of leaves or sprouting of green shoots.

But, according to findings from the conservation charity the Woodland Trust and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology changing weather patterns have caused the seasons to become muddled. Many species have become endangered by traditional events thrown out of sequence." (Independent)

"Feeding Humanity to Help Save Natural Ecosystems: The Role of the Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentration" - "Summary: As the human population of the globe continues to grow, we take ever more land from nature and use it to produce the food we need. What will be the final outcome of this greatest "land grab" of all time? And how can it be altered by the continued burning of coal, gas and oil?" (co2science.org)

"Temperature - Urbanization Effects" - "Summary: Are the near-surface air temperature data we possess good enough to detect a component of historical global warming that can confidently be attributed to the model-predicted greenhouse effect of the past couple of centuries' anthropogenic CO2 emissions? Or do contemporary urbanization effects so contaminate the data as to make such attribution impossible?" (co2science.org)

"Global Warming: Can It Be Slowed by Worms?" - "Summary: Faced with a perceived problem that challenges the ability of technological man to even make a dent in it, nature reveals another of its secrets for keeping its cool, but only after some ingenious scientific probing of an obscure facet of its complex suite of biological thermoregulatory systems." (co2science.org)

"A 232-Year History of High Water Levels at Liverpool" - "Summary: Are the seas that cast themselves upon the shores of England any higher nowadays than those that did so a quarter of a millennium ago? International Journal of Climatology 22: 697-714." (co2science.org)

"Deaths in Oslo, Norway" - "Summary: Do they follow the climate-alarmist dictum that they become more numerous as temperatures rise? European Journal of Epidemiology 17: 621-627." (co2science.org)

"The Climatic Secrets of Elk Lake, Minnesota, USA" - "Summary: More new evidence points to the existence of multidecadal and multicentennial solar influences on climate. Journal of Paleolimnology 27: 287-299." (co2science.org)

"ANALYSIS - Earth Summit deal-a grey day for green energy?" - "JOHANNESBURG - The Earth Summit's decision not to set itself a firm target for boosting green energy is a lost battle for renewable energies like solar and wind power, but it's not the end of the war, analysts said." (Reuters)

"An Energetic Victory" - "JOHANNESBURG - On a day when European leaders like France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Gerhard Schroeder parachuted into this giant Earth Summit to blast the lack of American leadership on the environment, the United States scored a stunning victory on the contentious issue of energy - with the help of developing nations." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Debate provides chance to push nuclear option" - "For the folks in Canada's nuclear power industry, it's an ill wind that blows no good. So they are seizing on the controversy surrounding ratification of the Kyoto accord on climate change as a way of getting attention (and money) to promote a new generation of cheaper, more efficient Candu reactors." (Globe and Mail)

"Fears over GM farm animals" - "Stricter controls on the development of genetically modified (GM) and cloned animals should be put in place to avoid "mistakes", a panel of experts has said. The Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC) recognised there were concerns about, for instance, farmed GM salmon escaping into the wild. A strategic body should be set up specifically to deal with the issues surrounding GM farm animals, it said in a report released on Tuesday." (BBC News Online)

"Britain urged to ban GM salmon" - "Genetically modified North American salmon, capable of growing up to six times as fast as conventional fish, must not be permitted in British fish farms, government advisers on GM animals said yesterday. Urgent measures to ban the GM super salmon, thought by its creators to be only a few years away from shop shelves, were among recommendations from the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission to ensure that government, science and public opinion do not end up out of step on GM and cloned animals as they did on GM crops." (The Guardian)

"Among Food Activists in Europe, Famine Sparks GMO Revisionism" - "The famine in southern Africa has caused some staunch opponents of genetically modified food to take a second look.

Thousands of tons of genetically modified food has been donated to the region, stoking concerns of environmentalists and some African governments that some of it would be planted by local farmers, letting the GM genie out of the bottle and potentially shuttering a future export market in the GM-averse European Union. But the dire circumstances are causing some erstwhile opponents of GM food to re-evaluate." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Starving for Technology" - "JOHANNESBURG - At this surprisingly sensible Earth Summit, staunch advocates of reducing poverty in developing nations have put radical environmentalists, who typically dominate these affairs, squarely on the defensive." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Malawi to accept, mill genetically altered food aid" - "LILONGWE - Malawi, one of the southern African countries hardest hit by a regional food crisis, will accept genetically modified food aid, but will mill it prior to distribution, Agriculture Minister Aleke Banda said." (Reuters)

"Engineered Food Can Help the World’s Poor" - "Johannesburg - The apartheid system is gone, but many here at the World Summit on Sustainable Development seem to want to bring back a form of "separate and unequal" for South Africa and for the rest of the Third World - in the form of environmental regulation that would stifle economic development.

Politically correct greens, of course, recoil at the thought of any kind of racism, but actions speak louder than words. So, if ecological activists from the developed countries of the North push policies that would retard agriculture in the developing South, consigning billions to permanent poverty, maybe they deserve to be labeled as "neo-apartheid-ists." (James P. Pinkerton, Newsday)

"Zambia will not expose people to 'poisonous' GM foods" - "Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa vowed at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development on Tuesday not to expose his people to genetically modified (GM) "poisonous" food being offered to aid about 2,5-million Zambians facing starvation. "Simply because my people are hungry, that is no justification to give them poison, to give them food that is intrinsically dangerous to their health," Mwanawasa said. "We have made a decision. We have rejected GM-food. It is not a slight on donors. There is no conclusive evidence that it is safe. We wish not to use our people as guinea pigs in this experiment. Our decision is final." (AFP)

"Zambia accepts U.S. offer to research safety of genetically modified food" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said Tuesday he would accept U.S. offers to provide his country with research on the safety of genetically modified food, after Zambia rejected desperately needed aid over health fears. Though nearly 2.5 million Zambians face starvation because of a massive food shortage, the government recently turned down U.S. corn donations that might be genetically modified, saying it could pose health risks. Hoping to persuade the impoverished nation to accept the corn, U.S. officials then offered to help Zambia study modified food to dispel myths about its danger. In response, Mwanawasa told the World Summit he was dispatching a Zambian team of scientists to the United States to research food that he called "poison." (AP)

September 3, 2002

"Gun Industry Is Gaining Immunity Against Suits" - "A spate of government litigation against the nation's gun companies has been stifled in 30 states, which have passed laws granting the industry immunity from civil lawsuits.

Those laws have all been enacted since 1998, when New Orleans became the first of almost three dozen cities and counties to file suits against gun manufacturers and dealers, accusing them of being public nuisances and seeking huge damage awards in a campaign similar to that waged against the tobacco industry." (New York Times)

"Breast Cancer Mythology on Long Island" - "The search for environmental causes for a supposed breast cancer epidemic on Long Island is beginning to look like a wild goose chase. The cornerstone study in a $30 million federal effort to unravel the contentious issue reported this month that it could find no link between breast cancer and the prime environmental suspects, such as DDT and PCB's. It identified only a modest link, possibly due to chance, to pollutants in car exhaust and cigarette smoke. More results are still to be published, and breast cancer activists are calling for yet more investigations into a wider array of chemicals. But the negative findings suggest it is time to rein in this fruitless quest. There may simply be no significant environmental cause of breast cancer on Long Island, or if there is, it may be undetectable." (New York Times)

"High-fibre diet has no effect on prostate cancer incidence" - "A low-fat, high-fibre diet heavy in fruits and vegetables has no impact on PSA levels in men over a four-year period, and does not affect the incidence of prostate cancer, according to a study by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute, and seven other US research centres." (NutraIngredients)

"No safe intake limit for trans fatty acids" - "02/09/02 - A report released by America’s Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences claims that there is no known safe intake amount of trans fatty acids in the diet. The findings could see the introduction of food labels that list the amount of trans fatty acids in food so consumers can measure the potential health risks of the food they buy, reports Healthnotes Newswire." (NutraIngredients)

"Trans Fat Data to Be Added to Food Labels" - "Next year, the Food and Drug Administration will require manufacturers to tell consumers how much artery-damaging trans fat their products contain." (New York Times)

Dubious dredge of the day: "Allergies soar in Greenland, modernization to blame" - "NEW YORK - Providing further support for the theory that modern living contributes to allergic illnesses, new study findings suggest that allergies nearly doubled among residents of Greenland from 1987 to 1998, a period marked by substantial Westernization." (Reuters Health)

"Couch potato lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking" - "Poor diet and lack of exercise cause more illness than smoking, new figures show. The lifestyle of couch potatoes has overtaken smoking as the major cause of ill-health in EU countries for the first time, the World Health Organisation says. Dr Aileen Robertson told the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting in Berlin yesterday that doctors and governments must take the issue of diet and exercise more seriously." (Telegraph)

"MIT team probes arsenic and old lakes" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--MIT researchers have shown that a common pollutant strongly impacts the behavior of arsenic and possibly other toxic metals in some lakes, adding to scientists' understanding of how such elements move through the water.

In an interesting twist, said Hemond, the nitrate pollution, which is also associated with noxious impacts such as excessive algal growth, was found to have a mitigating effect. It reacts with naturally occurring iron to create iron oxides that in turn adsorb arsenic. "The result is a suppression of seasonal arsenic release into the water," said Hemond, who is director of MIT's Parsons Laboratory."

"Newsday.com - N.J. scientists seek link between birth defects and dust, stress from terrorist attacks" - "TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey researchers will try to determine whether high levels of stress and exposure to pollutants during the World Trade Center attacks will lead to more birth defects."

"The Brundtland fallacy: wealthy equals healthy" - "The director-general of the World Health Organisation, Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former prime minister of Norway, has unexpectedly announced that she will not be seeking reappointment for a second term - the first director-general in the organisation's history to stick at a single term.

The Lancet reported last week that the normally somnolent corridors of the WHO headquarters in Geneva, which needless to say are extensive, were set abuzz by the news. Who will be the next Buggins to have a turn? This is the kind of burning question that really agitates the mind of a WHO functionary." (Telegraph)

"Garnished with doom" - "There was money in fear, but you had to move quick - Famine! 1975 didn't sell well in 1976. -- From Game Control, by Lionel Shriver.

JOHANNESBURG - In September 1980, two 48-year-old academics, one an economist at the University of Maryland, the other on the faculty of the biology department at Stanford, made what would become a famous bet.: (Bret Stephens, Jerusalem Post)

"Actions Are Better" - "JOHANNESBURG -- The top U.S. State Department official here at the giant United Nations Earth Summit came out swinging today, sending a strong message that the American delegation, which seemed timid and obscure at the last few environmental meetings, has restored its confidence and its mission." (James K. Glassman, TCS)

"Johannesburg summit calls clean water a human right" - "Arlington, Virginia: The World Chlorine Council(R) (WCC) and the Global Vinyl Council (GVC) today praised delegates to the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development for their immediate focus on the critical and growing need to provide clean and safe water to millions, especially children, around the world.

Water-related illnesses kill 6,000 children every day (more than two million each year). Over the past 25 years, diarrhoel diseases resulting from inadequate water and sanitation have killed over 54 million children -- more than the total population of South Africa today, where the summit is being held.

Leaders of the two organisations noted that chlorinated water delivered through PVC pipes is the best way to "deliver safe water safely." (Press Release)

Hmm... "Introduction of the Flush Toilet Deplored at Earth Summit" - "Johannesburg - In what some see as a sign that the Earth summit is literally going down the drain, an environmentalist at the Earth summit here has lamented the introduction of the flush toilet.

One of the panelists taking part in a television special on the Earth summit complained about the "pernicious introduction of the flush toilet," according to Competitive Entreprise Institute President Fred Smith, who also was a panelist on the program.

The TV special, hosted by hosted PBS's Bill Moyers, was taped on Tuesday and is set to air Friday night.

A female panelist from India complained that the flush toilet encourages excessive water consumption around the world and is not ecologically friendly.

The remark prompted an associate of Smith, CEI's Chris Horner, to ponder what alternative the woman would suggest. "Presumably the preferred solution to human waste problems is now abstinence," Horner quipped." (CNSNews.com)

"America bows to summit demand on sanitation for the world's poor" - "America, which has been resisting any new international agreements at the Earth Summit, conceded yesterday the one target for which the rest of the world had been holding out: sanitation for the poor. The breakthrough came after Tony Blair emphasised his faith in the multilateral agreements that the United States has regularly resisted." (Telegraph)

"Heat Not Light" - "Walkout averted!" trumpeted a headline last week from Johannesburg. Apparently 12,000 activists and lobbyists from environmental and anti-globalization NGOs had threatened to abandon the UN's World Summit on Sustainable Development if they weren't given more access to the main conference center so they could bend the ears and twist the arms of the official delegations inside.

But that potential disaster was averted, thank God, when UN organizers swiftly and tremulously capitulated. I shudder to think of all the anti-corporate conspiracy theories, impractical solutions and Marxist rhetoric that would have been lost had these self-anointed advocates for "the voiceless" and "the people" withdrawn - not to mention the mounds of lobster pate that would have spoiled and the champagne that would have gone flat had these tireless champions of the poor not been there to consume it." (Lorne Gunter, TCS)

"I do not need white NGOs to speak for me" - "The hundreds of NGOs and environmental groups assembled at the World Summit on Sustainable Development would like us to believe that they are the best spokesmen for the world’s needy.

But as First World delegates sat in conference halls and debated, African and Indian farmers hit the streets of Johannesburg to tell the world what they really want and need — not sustainable development but economic growth. The contrast is stark between many developed country NGOs and the people they claim to represent: wealthy countries want the Earth to be green, the underdeveloped want the Earth fed." (James Shikwati, The Times)

"To save the planet, first get an interpreter" - "JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – THE bulletin boards set up around the conference center at the Word Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) are supposed to guide the 50,000 delegates to various events. But many here admit sheepishly even they don't "grok" the new polyglot." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"The First Priority" - "JOHANNESBURG - Trade and globalisation were major themes of the conference last week. As we move into the second week the official delegates are still split on the issue, which is reflected in different bracketed text under discussion. Paragraph 45 of the official negotiating text contains competing definitions of globalisation. While both discuss the benefits and flaws of globalisation the first is more positive (written largely by American authors and the business lobby), the second decidedly negative (written more by European officials and NGOs). Indeed, these two differences in definitions are, in microcosm, the differences between these two warring factions." (Roger Bate, TCS Europe)

"Sad facts to recall at the summit" space - "Quick now, what form of air pollution kills more people than any other? Smog from car exhaust? Nope. Emissions from coal-fired power plants? Wrong again. The answer is indoor cooking fires." (Globe and Mail)

"Environment study casts cloud on Earth Summit's impact" - "JOHANNESBURG -- The Earth Summit produces a lot of hot air. Global meetings aimed at protecting the environment, such as the World Summit for Sustainable Development, spew out clouds of harmful particles that contribute to global warming." (Globe and Mail)

"Cold spelt end of dinosaurs" - "Cold was killing dinosaurs long before the asteroid commonly thought to have been their downfall hit, according to scientists. That asteroid 65 million years ago in the past Cretaceous period was probably the "final straw". But Australian experts say up to half of all dinosaurs were gone by then, because the climate had got too cold for them to bear. Fossil evidence from the Drumheller valley in Alberta, Canada, covering 7m years before the asteroid hit, shows that average temperatures dropped from 25°C to 15°C." (BBC News Online)

"Careful What You Wish For" - "JOHANNESBURG - South Africa. As over 100 judges from around the world at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) call for more lawyers to file more environmental lawsuits, Greenpeace files a lawsuit that truly puts the mental in environmental law. The latter makes the prima facie case that there are at least a few too many lawyers, already." (Christopher Horner, TCS)

"Link between freak weather, climate change" - "Evidence is growing of a link between global warming and the floods and droughts that devastated parts of Asia and Europe this year, the head of the UN's body on climate change said at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development on Friday.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said there is undeniable proof that the earth is warming.

Scientists, he said, are striving to determine whether these higher temperatures have already wreaked climate change, including extreme weather events.

It is impossible to give a "scientifically robust answer" at the moment, he said." (AFP)

"As Alaska Warms, Glaciers Stage a Ferocious Dance" - "If glacial growth provided the most striking story this summer in Alaska, the more important news was glacial retreat." (New York Times)

"Dry, Dry Again (washingtonpost.com)" - "Here's a disaster script that might interest the burgeoning Virginia film industry: Three hundred thousand acres, including much of Shenandoah National Park, go up in smoke; downtown D.C. hits 110 degrees day after day; mega-drought costs Virginia $1 billion, sending state finances into a death spiral; the president declares a national emergency; and hordes of thirst-crazed snakes attack a turkey farm. This isn't the storyboard for the next global warming flick. It's a scene from a much more fearful genre: reality. Welcome to the summer of 1930."

"Kyoto's Mr. Inside, Mr. Outside" - "It should come as no surprise that the European Union is leading the effort to harmonize global energy policy in Johannesburg this week. But behind the scenes, 11 states are mobilizing to enact their own Kyoto Protocols despite unanimous congressional and presidential rejection of EU Kyoto harmonization efforts.

Concurrent to the start of the Johannesburg Summit, the 27th annual New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP) met in Quebec City to discuss the implementation of Kyoto standards by northeastern elected officials. These rogue state leaders in the northeast and elsewhere, under the pretext of adhering to treaties with Canadian provinces, are forging ahead with Kyoto-style emissions controls on the taxpayer's dime." (Emily Sedgwick and Dan Clifton, TCS)

"Global warming opens door to North-West Passage - theage.com.au" - "The fabled North-West Passage - the shortest sea link between Europe and east Asia, across the Arctic Ocean - could be open for business this century. It would cut 11,000 kilometres off the Europe-Asia route through the Panama Canal, and 19,000 kilometres off the route supertankers must take around Cape Horn, according to the US journal Science yesterday. The thinning Arctic ice could open the way for exploitation of an estimated 130 billion barrels of oil. But the retreat of the ice also poses a threat to polar bears, walruses and the peoples living within the Arctic Circle."

"Blair fires salvo against US over Kyoto" - "Tony Blair rebuked America last night for failing to lead the world in fighting global warming and withdrawing from the Kyoto climate change treaty. Tony Blair watches a play highlighting the dangers of AIDS while visiting Dondo village in Mozambique The Prime Minister, in Mozambique before his arrival in Johannesburg for the final stage of the Earth Summit, said he would launch a scientific study aimed at persuading America and other critics that it would be economically advantageous to join the Kyoto treaty." (Telegraph)

"Blair rebukes US on global warming" - "UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has rebuked countries like America which have failed to sign up to the Kyoto treaty on climate change. Speaking at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Mr Blair did not mention the United States directly. But he said the whole world had to face up to climate change, ratify Kyoto and then do more to cut pollution." (BBC News Online)

"Rothschild, E3 launch carbon credit investment fund" - "SYDNEY - Rothschild Australia and Australia-based environmental group E3 International launched yesterday a new fund to allow highly polluting companies to offset their emissions by buying carbon credits from cleaner firms.

Billed as the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region and soon to be followed by other similar private investment vehicles, the Carbon Ring Consortium seeks to raise $2 million, with individual investors obliged to pay $100,000.

"With recent developments in international climate change policy, the question is no longer if, but when the global carbon trading market will emerge," said Richard Martin, chief executive officer of Rothschild Australia." (Reuters)

"Russia should scrap Kyoto pact, advisers say" - "MOSCOW - Russia, under pressure at the U.N. Earth Summit to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, would be better off sinking the pact altogether, leading Russian scientists said last week. Russia, one of the world's worst polluters, has committed itself to ratifying the accord on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. At the Sustainable Development summit in Johannesburg this week it heard calls to speed up the process. India, host to an October U.N. Climate Summit, said it had received "positive indications", but Russian ecologists saw little sign Moscow intended to ratify the treaty any time soon." (Reuters)

"Moscow Threatens U-Turn On Kyoto" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Russia has warned that it might decide against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, a move that would effectively kill off the pact against global warming that has already been rejected by the United States.

"There is a risk. There is a risk, without a doubt," Deputy Minister Mukhamed Tsikanov of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Friday in an interview at the Earth Summit.

"Because ... we don't have the economic stimulus, the economic interest in the Kyoto Protocol," he said, although he added that, for the moment, the plan in Moscow was still to ratify.

Moscow believes billions of dollars it had expected to earn by selling "rights to pollute" under the treaty's quota-trading mechanism are now in doubt since the United States, the biggest potential buyer, has pulled out of the Kyoto process." (Moscow Times)

"Russian Roulette" - "JOHANNESBURG - Russia played the first Kyoto card at this "World Summit on Sustainable Development," and it just might be an Ace.

A member of the Russian delegation alarmed the greens and our economic competitors in the European Union (EU) by slyly leaking that, though Russian ratification will make or break Kyoto, there still may not be enough booty in the Kyoto Protocol to justify ratification. This though Moscow has no emission reduction commitments under Kyoto, and struck an extraordinary deal affording substantial profits if they play ball." (Chris Horner, TCS)

"Ottawa alone will decide Kyoto, PM says" - "Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister, said the ratification of the Kyoto accord will go ahead without the approval of the provinces, including Alberta. He said the federal government alone will make the final decision on Kyoto ratification, one day after Ralph Klein, the Alberta Premier, accused the Prime Minister of reneging on a promise to consult with the provinces." (National Post)

"PM to Put Kyoto to Parliament by Year-End" - "JOHANNESBURG - Canada's parliament will vote on ratifying the Kyoto climate change pact by the end of the year, Prime Minister Jean Chretien said in a surprise announcement to the Earth Summit on Monday. If parliament approves the pact, which was rejected by the United States last year, and if Russia also ratifies, as it has said it intends to do, the treaty on cutting "greenhouse gas" emissions blamed for contributing to global warming will have enough backers to come into legal force." (Reuters)

"Blair's Blunder" - "British PM Tony Blair, speaking at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, pushed aggressively for ratification of the Kyoto Treaty. 'The whole world must face up to the challenge of climate change,' he said. 'Kyoto is right and it should be ratified by all of us.'" (Hans H.J. Labohm, TCS Europe)

"Summit agrees on Kyoto compromise" - "Ministers at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development agreed on Saturday on a declaration to support the Kyoto climate change pact without embarrassing the United States, the only major state to shun the treaty.

"We have agreed on Kyoto," Danish Environment minister Hans Christian Schmidt said during a break in the talks at the summit.

In a small but significant breakthrough at talks that have shown little movement for several days, ministers agreed on compromise text that was acceptable to both pro-Kyoto countries and those that have rejected it.

Pro-Kyoto countries wanted the summit's action plan to call on governments to back the pact, but this was resisted by Washington, which withdrew from the climate change deal last year.

The agreed text reads: "States that have ratified strongly urge those that have not done so to ratify Kyoto in a timely manner," according to a copy shown to reporters." (Reuters)

"SPP seeks to calm greenhouse concerns" - "MELBOURNE - Australian shale oil producer Southern Pacific Petroleum Ltd (SPP) attempted to quell environmental concerns about its product yesterday by releasing a greenhouse gas strategy.

The company, which is the target of a long-running campaign by Greenpeace, said the A$800 million strategy aims to ensure that it achieves lower net greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil through offsets such as planting forests." (Reuters)

"Carbon dioxide? Norway can't get enough" - "STAVANGER, Norway - The rest of the world may be struggling to get rid of greenhouse gas emissions but Norwegian oil companies and environmentalists are uniting to claim they cannot get enough carbon dioxide. The focus is growing on returning the pollutant to oil and gas reservoirs, a process which could help the world's third largest oil exporter to meet its Kyoto commitments." (Reuters)

"The less visible energy scandal -- The Washington Times" - "Prosecutors snagged their first guilty plea in the Enron energy scandal last week. Former executive Michael Kopper admitted to money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He has promised to forfeit $12 million in illegal profits, which will be distributed to Enron victims. Now, if only taxpayers could get some of their money back from a far bigger corporate energy fraud that continues unabated in Washington: Ethanol."

"UK 'running out of gas'" - "The UK could start experiencing gas shortages within as little as two years, scientists are warning. A report by the Royal Academy of Engineering, submitted to Energy Minister Brian Wilson on Friday, predicts the UK could have to import virtually all the gas it needs as early as 2020 because it will no longer have enough of its own. It attacks the government's energy policy as "hopelessly unrealistic" and says it places too much emphasis on renewable energy." (BBC News Online)

"Brazil says summit considers boosting nuclear power" - "JOHANNESBURG - Brazil and green groups said the Earth Summit was considering giving a boost to nuclear energy, seen by environmentalists as a pariah technology blighted by a poor safety record.

They said a paragraph proposed for inclusion in the summit agreement originally intended to boost renewable energy such as solar and wind power had been amended to included an open-ended reference to "energy technologies".

The reference, in a passage calling for diversifying energy sources and transfering energy know-how to poor countries, would be seized on by the nuclear industry as an opportunity to promote the controversial technology, Brazilian government delegates and environmentalists argued." (Reuters)

"OPEC said blocking Summit "green" energy goal" - "JOHANNESBURG - Oil exporting countries are blocking European Union efforts to form an alliance with over 100 developing countries to push for firm targets on boosting "green" energy, Earth Summit delegates said on the weekend." (Reuters)

"Agreement on energy at summit" - "Negotiators at the UN World Summit on sustainable Development in Johannesburg reached an agreement on Monday on renewable energy sources, the last major stumbling block in an action plan, Danish delegate Thomas Becker said. The text agreed by the ministers calls on all countries to: "With a sense of urgency, substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources, with the objective of increasing its contribution to total energy supply ... " It sets no percentage target, nor any target date." (AFP)

"Ford Abandons Venture in Making Electric Cars" - "DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 30 — In another sign of the auto industry's struggle to make money selling electric vehicles, the Ford Motor Company said today that it was giving up on Think, an electric-car venture in which it sank $123 million. Instead, Ford said it would invest in other forms of alternative fuel technology like hybrid-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells.

Ford's move comes despite a regulatory mandate in California requiring manufacturers to offer up to 100,000 electric and other low-emissions vehicles a year, beginning with the 2003 model year, which officially starts Oct. 1. Similar requirements are pending in New York and Massachusetts, extending the mandate to one-fifth of the American auto market." (New York Times)

"Citing low demand, Ford to drop electric vehicles" - "DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. said Friday that it will stop selling Think electric vehicles in the United States at the end of the year because of lack of demand." (AP)

"Ford of Europe Pulls Plug on Th!nk Car" - "OSLO, Norway, September 2, 2002 - Under severe financial pressure in its American heartland, Ford Motor Company is pulling the plug on its Norway based electric vehicle division, Th!nk. Friday's announcement marks the latest in a series of reverses for electric cars - General Motors and Honda both stopped making them three years ago, and most industry efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions are now focused on other technologies." (ENS)

"Japan looks to help Africa with revolutionary rice" - "JOHANNESBURG - Japan said it hoped to help halt famine in Africa by encouraging farmers on the world's poorest continent to grow a new rice that mixes the best of Japanese grains with those of Africa. The rice, dubbed new rice for Africa or NERICA, is a high-yielding grain developed in west Africa that can survive heat and water shortages and can be cultivated with less fertiliser or chemicals and without an irrigation system." (Reuters)

"Phony Fears Fan a Famine (washingtonpost.com)" - "The politics of climate change features right-wing Americans ignoring sound science, with bad consequences for humanity. The politics of biotechnology features left-wing Europeans ignoring sound science, with results that are equally nasty. And there's a further twist. Just when the U.N. environmental summit in South Africa offers an occasion to decry America's eco-vandalism, Europe's reckless ignorance threatens southern Africans with starvation."

Curious, Sebastian Mallaby rightly identifies anti-biotechnology as ignoring sound science and yet adheres to to the dogma of enhanced greenhouse-induced climate change. Adopting such contradictory positions suggests more emotion than analysis.

"World Bank panel to review GM, other technologies - 8 31 2002 - ENN.com" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Genetic modification (GM) and other controversial farming techniques will face an international scientific jury to see if they are safe under an initiative unveiled by the World Bank Thursday. The bank intends to create an international panel to review the science on issues like GM crops, irrigation, and organics, to help governments decide which technologies to use and which to avoid. The project's launch, on the sidelines of the Johannesburg Earth Summit, took place during fierce debate in southern Africa about the safety of GM food."

"Plans to promote GM crops defeated" - "American plans to force genetically modified crops and food on to Third World countries were unexpectedly frustrated at the Earth Summit last night. After an impassioned plea from Ethiopia, ministers rejected clauses in the summit's plan of action which would have given the World Trade Organisation (WTO) powers over international treaties on the environment. One effect of this would have been to give the WTO the power to override the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, giving developing countries the right to refuse to take GM imports. The WTO regards free trade as its top priority." (Independent)

"Genetically modified food fight -- The Washington Times" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The battle of Indian non-governmental organizations simply will not die down. After a news conference Sunday, old foes Vandana Shiva and Barun Mitra argued over whether Gujarati farmers wanted to plant genetically modified, or BT, seed."

"Biotech fears endanger starving Africans - USDA" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman last week sharply criticized African leaders and environmental groups who have shunned genetically modified food aid, saying their actions are endangering millions of starving people in the region." (Reuters)

"Zimbabwe rules out GM food aid, won't talk to US" - "JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe will not accept genetically modified (GM) foodstuffs as part of mostly U.S. aid shipments to its famine-threatened population, its agriculture minister, Joseph Made, said on the weekend." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - WFP running out of distributable food in Zambia" - "JOHANNESBURG - The world's biggest food agency said on the weekend it would soon run out of distributable food in Zambia, where it has been barred from using genetically altered supplies to feed 2.4 million people facing starvation. Zambia has barred GM food imports until its scientists establish through their own tests whether the food, sourced mostly from the United States, is safe for human consumption. It said it would take several weeks for its scientists to make a final decision on whether the food was safe." (Reuters)

"Talk turns to biotech crops at World Summit" - "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The debate is no longer academic. Genetically modified foods mean life or death for millions of starving Africans. The United Nations estimates 12.8 million people in six countries in Southern Africa urgently need help to avoid catastrophe. The looming famine is caused by erratic weather and, in some countries, is exacerbated by government mismanagement. Despite the immediate threat, the countries fear that modified food aid might damage their farm exports from more plentiful future harvests. And some politicians worry the food may hold unknown health risks. International aid agencies estimate the region needs roughly 1.1 million tons of grain. The United States has offered 540,000 tons thus far." (AP)

"Genetically modified food in aid packages poses no risks – UN official" - "30 August – With some 13 million people in southern Africa in urgent need of food assistance in the coming months, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today urged the governments of the most-affected countries to carefully consider current scientific knowledge before rejecting food aid containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)." (UN News)