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Archives - September 2004

September 30, 2004

"Loopy Links" - "You are about to learn of a beverage so dangerous, that we must ban or restrict its sales, or at least enact tax penalties on it to deter consumption." (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Danish Good Sense: Calories In, Calories Out" - "The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) recently reported that a soft drink per day doubles the risk of women getting type 2 diabetes. The online news story featured a doctor who argued that both men and women jeopardize their health when they consume soft drinks. A picture of a mountain of cola bottles served as an illustration of this new public health problem." (Chresten Anderson, TCS)

"Caffeine withdrawal recognized as a disorder" - "If you missed your morning coffee and now you have a headache and difficulty concentrating, you might be able to blame it on caffeine withdrawal. In general, the more caffeine consumed, the more severe withdrawal symptoms are likely to be, but as little as one standard cup of coffee a day can produce caffeine addiction, according to a Johns Hopkins study that reviewed over 170 years of caffeine withdrawal research." (Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions)

"Chemical treaty may fall to pressure groups" - "WASHINGTON - Legislation to implement a treaty banning a dozen of the world's most dangerous chemicals has become mired in political disagreements, making it likely the United States will be shut out of critical international meetings." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Study shows toxin in breast milk" - "A toxin found in widely used flame retardants has turned up in 100 percent of nursing mothers tested in Washington and other Northwest states.

The study, released yesterday by Seattle-based Northwest Environment Watch, found PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) in all 40 breast-milk samples taken from women in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Montana. PBDEs are found in foam furniture padding and other textiles, as well as the hard plastics used to house electronic equipment, including computers." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"Facts Versus Fears per FactsAndFears" - "Here at the American Council on Science and Health, we're releasing the fourth edition of our handy tome Facts Versus Fears (which inspired the name of our website, FactsAndFears). The booklet surveys the greatest unfounded health scares of the past five decades, from the "Cranberry Scare" of 1959 to current paranoia over PCBs in farmed salmon and thimerosal in vaccines. In between, scares have occurred with great regularity -- and precious little scientific evidence to justify them." (Todd Seavey, ACSH) | Facts Versus Fears (PDF)

"Near-miss asteroid could have wiped out Greater London area" - "An asteroid measuring nearly three miles across squeezed past Earth by the astronomical equivalent of a hair's breadth yesterday." (Independent)

"Lobbyist accuses wildlife group in summit row" - "One of the world's largest animal welfare groups was last night accused of trying to unduly influence a world meeting on endangered animals by paying for official delegates to attend." (The Guardian) | Wildlife trade? It's a jungle out there (The Guardian)

"Economics for Ecologists" - "In 1968 I had the immense good fortune to work with Garrett Hardin, a distinguished ecologist. His Science article, "The Tragedy of the Commons," is the most reprinted article in the magazine's history. Together, Garrett and I produced a book in print for nearly 20 years, Managing the Commons. (A second edition is published by Indiana University Press.)" (John A. Baden, TCS)

As if we needed more reasons to scrap UN 'conventions': "World Heritage Convention requires greenhouse gas emission cuts" - "Australia - A report published by leading international lawyers has concluded that legal obligations on countries under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention require cuts to be made in greenhouse gas emissions. This means that countries, including the US and Australia, must take action on climate change because of their legal duty to protect important natural heritage sites facing damage from climate change. The report was commissioned by the Climate Action Network of Australia (CANA), of which WWF is a member." (WWF)

"Green groups gleeful as Russia makes headway towards Kyoto ratification" - "International environmental pressure group WWF was upbeat on Wednesday about press reports that Russia was at last moving towards ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations' global warming pact." (AFP)

"Report: Russia to OK Kyoto Ratification" - "MOSCOW - The Russian Cabinet will approve ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.

Moscow has wavered on ratification of the 1997 protocol, which can go into force only with Russian ratification. President Vladimir Putin vowed to speed up the ratification process in May in return for European Union approval of Russia's bid to join the Worth Trade Organization." (Associated Press)

"Koizumi welcomes Russia's readiness to ratify Kyoto Protocol" - "Prime Minister Junchiro Koizumi on Thursday welcomed Russia's readiness to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and renewed his resolve to tackle the difficult environmental challenge." (Kyodo)

"Effect of Kyoto protocol debated again" - "WASHINGTON -- Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol would leave U.S. companies cut off from new markets worth billions of dollars, according to supporters of the treaty aimed at limiting "greenhouse gases." (Cox News Service)

Someone's noticed it's a scam? "Trees, the eco-investment of choice. But now campaigners question forests firm" - "Company defends 'carbon neutral' concept backed by Labour and Tories" (The Guardian)

In the virtual world: "Global Warming Is Expected to Raise Hurricane Intensity" - "Global warming is likely to produce a significant increase in the intensity and rainfall of hurricanes in coming decades, according to an analysis." (New York Times) | Impact of CO2-Induced Warming on Simulated Hurricane Intensity and Precipitation: Sensitivity to the Choice of Climate Model and Convective Parameterization (PDF)

"Plants will not save us from greenhouse gases" - "According to researchers at McGill University, we have been overestimating the ability of plants to counteract the greenhouse effect." (McGill University)

"Can bugs save the planet?" - "A project to combat climate change is seeking to enhance the life-giving properties of the Earth's smallest creatures. Roger Highfield reports" (Daily Telegraph)

"Green revolution wins converts" - "It might come as a surprise to learn that operable windows — the kind that open to let in the breeze — are one of the hallmarks of an energy-efficient building. Engineers have discovered that hermetically sealed workplaces don't save power or money." (Toronto Star)

"Governments Need to Act to Avert Water Crisis" - "SYDNEY, Australia — Strong action is needed to avert a global water crisis that has deprived 1 billion of the world's poor of drinking water and has killed millions through diarrhea, an international expert warned." (Reuters)

"Delusions of Personhood: Philosophy and Stem Cells" - "Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review wrote a September 24 TechCentralStation.com piece, "Delusions of Moderation," attacking embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. He criticized ACSH president Dr. Elizabeth Whelan and ACSH Director Dr. Henry Miller for their earlier defense of ESC, charging them with euphemistically promoting the mass-murder of tiny human beings." (Todd Seavey, ACSH)

"Report could put a crimp in corn exports" - "Even before its release, a report addressing the potential impact of genetically altered U.S. corn exports to Mexico has stirred up a dust devil of controversy, including fears that the Bush administration is trying to bury it." (Chicago Tribune)

"Dangers of GM salmon" - "What would happen if GM salmon escaped into the wild? The question has long vexed ecologists and is one of the main obstacles to allowing trials of growth-hormone boosted transgenic fish in marine pens. Writing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, researchers in Canada have found that it all depends on the abundance of predators." (The Guardian)

"The Travels of a Bioengineered Gene" - "A study showing that genes from a type of genetically engineered grass migrated much farther than anyone had thought possible virtually demands a careful reassessment of how such plants are regulated. We must ensure that the genes from genetically engineered plants do not escape into the wild and wreak havoc in natural ecosystems." (New York Times Editorial)

September 29, 2004

"New Report Finds: It's Safe to Eat Fish" - "WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 -- A new paper by the Center for Science and Public Policy concludes that there is no scientific evidence to support claims that eating ocean fish will expose pregnant women and infants to health risks, and that there is a greater health risk in avoiding fish than in consuming it. Environmental groups are largely responsible for the recent alarm and confusion surrounding mercury and fish consumption. The paper also calls for a re-evaluation of the EPA's mercury Reference Dose." (PRNewswire)

"EPA, EPA how many kids have you killed today?" - "Readers of the two books associated with [the Number Watch] web site will be left in no doubt about its author’s opinion of the EPA. Apart from the fact that it kills people (such as the thousands of Peruvians who died unnecessarily of cholera or the millions of Africans who are still dying of Malaria) it was responsible for sabotaging the method of statistical inference as a branch of applied science, by its adoption of ludicrously low standards of significance. The fact that this exercise (on passive smoking) was carried out by part of the official administration of the most powerful country on earth was a body blow to real science from which it has never recovered." (Number Watch)

"Federal Drug Use Surveys and Fuzzy Math" - "Here’s the good news. Only a tiny percentage of Americans indulge in the use of illicit, so called "hard" drugs like heroin and cocaine, according to annual survey data released this month by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Here’s the bad news. The government’s figures are not to be taken seriously." (Paul Armentano, LewRockwell.com)

"Cats, Cockroaches, Dampness, Fungi Linked to Asthma" - "NEW YORK - Airborne fungi are increasingly being seen as a risk factor for asthma and now, new research indicates that high levels of such fungi are found in inner city homes with cats, cockroaches, and dampness problems." (Reuters Health)

"Rolling in the Greenpeace" - "T he IRS has announced that it will investigate the executive-compensation packages paid at 2,000 nonprofit organizations and charities. It could do worse than turning its spotlight on the nation's foremost environmental charities. According to a recent report from Public Interest Watch, some of these organizations pay their top executives handsome salaries that bear comparison to packages in the private sector, where considerably more risk is assumed. Yet not all green charities are the same. The top charities could learn from others in their movement." (Iain Murray, NRO)

"Warnings on Warming" - "One wonders what it will take to bestir the Bush administration on the subject of global warming. Everywhere one looks nowadays - London, Moscow, even the odd precinct on Capitol Hill - there is evidence of mounting impatience with Washington's refusal to face up to the threat. While the links between global warming and Florida's serial hurricanes are largely theoretical, even the weather seems to be telling the politicians that it is time to start paying attention." (New York Times Editorial)

"Climate Control" - "We've long been skeptics about the science behind the political campaign to regulate greenhouse gasses, so imagine our surprise to discover that some of the global warmists seem to agree.

How else to read a paragraph that was included in a recent Senate spending bill exempting climate programs from having to pass scientific scrutiny? The legislative language excuses any "research and data collection, or information analysis conducted by or for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration" (the agency charged with monitoring climate change) from the Data Quality Act, a new law that requires sound science in policymaking. This is the sole exemption in the bill.

This amounts to a political end run around the Data Quality Act, which has proven to be an obstacle to those who want to impose costly new limits on greenhouse gas emissions. More than a year ago the Competitive Enterprise Institute sued the Bush Administration for not applying the act to two shoddy climate-change reports issued in 2000 and 2002. The reports based their analyses of the impact of climate change on computer models that are incapable of providing reliable predictions. The White House ultimately settled the suit by posting a disclaimer on one of the reports.

Nobody is rushing to take credit for the proposed exemption. But our sources say it was included at the request of Democrats on the Senate subcommittee that wrote the spending bill in question, but that now the exemption is getting the attention of Chairman Judd Gregg, who says he intends to remove it. Let's hope so. Surely those who claim to believe most in climate change aren't afraid to subject their theories to even basic tests of scientific accuracy. Or are they?" (The Wall Street Journal Editorial) [Complete]

"Illarionov Says Kyoto Will Be Ratified" - "Staff Writer Andrei Illarionov, the country's fiercest opponent of the Kyoto Protocol, said Tuesday that Russia will ratify the international treaty to limit greenhouse gases even though he believes the move will destroy its chances of doubling GDP by 2010.

Illarionov, President Vladimir Putin's top economic adviser, said Russian officials do not believe in the treaty's scientific or economic merits but will ratify it anyway in a political gesture toward the European Union." (Moscow Times)

"Counting the cost of global warming" - "Britain's insurance bill for bad weather - now £6 billion a year - could treble by 2050 as a result of climate change, writes Liam Halligan" (Daily Telegraph)

The Indy no less! "When the Sun lost its heat" - "Locked away in fossils is evidence of a sudden solar cooling. Kate Ravilious meets the experts who say it could explain a 3,000-year-old mass migration - and today's global warming" (Independent)

"'Greenhouse' Gas Rising Over Antarctica" - "TOKYO - A group of Japanese researchers has found that carbon dioxide levels over the Antarctica rose by over 2.6 percent from six years ago - the first such detection of an increase in a "greenhouse" gas above the southern continent, group members said Tuesday." (Associated Press)

So, now the super-cold Antarctic atmosphere will absorb a little more infrared radiation, thus not getting quite so super cold and reducing stratospheric ozone destruction. Great! Thus ozone panic-merchants can calm down knowing the 'ozone layer' will 'heal' and climate change worriers can relax a little, guessing that this wonderful news means that Antarctic cooling will slow, perhaps averting a precipitous plunge into a new ice age. Even better, a slight Antarctic atmospheric warming will allow for increased moisture transport onto the Antarctic continent, there to precipitate and increase the continental ice mass, thus reducing sea levels and averting coastal flood danger. What wonderful news for all manner of hand wringers.

"Climate Model In, Climate Model Out" - "A regional climate model predicts a hole in warming over the Midwest that increases rainfall and lowers temperature. As tempting as it is to embrace something so positive, the model suffers from the same difficulties all do: the inability to accurately capture reality. The use of regional climate models is an increasingly common gaming of the system to compensate for the fact global climate models, including the Hadley Centre model, don’t “resolve well” at, say, the level of Kansas. And, as we’ve demonstrated before, the British model (HadCM2) couldn’t beat a table of random numbers in replicating the observed temperature history of the United States." (GES)

"Greenlanders mystified by incredible shrinking glacier" - "ILULISSAT, Greenland - Residents of Ilulissat, the town on Greenland's western coast famed for the majestic icebergs that glide through its icefjord, nearly choked on their morning coffee as they read the news: the town's biggest attraction was melting away.

The Groenlands Posten newspaper sent locals into a tizzy when a few weeks ago it described how the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, one of the most active glaciers in the world, had receded by more than five kilometers (three miles) in the past two years." (AFP)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Coral Reef Decline: One Must Understand Its Cause To Properly Treat the Problem" - "Could all the attention that is currently being focused on high-temperature-induced coral bleaching actually be detrimental to the survival of earth's coral reefs?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Trends - Regional: Europe, Mediterranean)" - "What do the temperature histories of various parts of Europe (and Africa and Asia) that border the Mediterranean Sea reveal about the nature of post-Little Ice Age warming, particularly as it pertains to the theory of CO 2 -induced global warming?" (co2science.org)

"Wood Density" - "How is it affected by rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Cecropia longipes, European White Birch, Ficus insipida and Loblolly Pine." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Arctic Sea-Ice Thickness: A Harbinger of Global Warming?" - "Arctic sea-ice thickness has been claimed by some to have decreased dramatically during the 1990s in response to CO 2 -induced global warming.  Are they right on both counts?  One count?  Neither count?" (co2science.org)

"A 775-Year Temperature History from the Western Himalayas" - "The authors of the paper upon which this Journal Review is based ask in its title: "Do the western Himalayas defy global warming?"  Their data provide the answer." (co2science.org)

"The Past Two-Plus Centuries of Climate Change in Northern and Central Europe" - "Just how much did temperatures rise over the last halves of these records, when climate alarmists claim the earth experienced a global warming that was unprecedented over perhaps the past two millennia?" (co2science.org)

"Corals Adapt to Bleaching" - "Rather than totally succumbing to successive episodes of high-temperature-induced bleaching, earth's corals may well become more tolerant of periodic temperature spikes and thereby adapt to global warming, if such is truly occurring and continues to occur." (co2science.org)

"Long-Term Photosynthetic Acclimation in Sour Orange Trees" - "In many atmospheric CO 2 enrichment studies, the initial increase in net photosynthesis provided by the extra CO 2 declines over time, sometimes slowly and sometimes more rapidly, especially if soil nitrogen supply is low.  So what happens over very long times with trees when nitrogen supply is not limiting?" (co2science.org)

"Study: Emission of smog ingredients from trees is increasing rapidly" - "Changes in U.S. forests caused by shifts in land use practices may have inadvertently worsened ozone pollution, according to a study led by Princeton University scientists." (Princeton University)

"NY should curb carbon dioxide, too" - "Now that the California Air Resources Board has adopted the nation's first rules to control the automobile emissions that cause global warming, the State of New York should join in that common-sense campaign." (Newsday)

"Plans to Bury Greenhouse Gases a Fantasy - Report" - "CANBERRA, Sep 28 - A report by leading energy consultants has dismissed plans by the Australian government to promote the burying of greenhouse gases as the solution to climate change and has labelled the idea as an expensive and technologically uncertain strategy." (IPS)

"Buckyballs made safer for humans" - "The soccer-ball-shaped carbon molecules, which hold promise for nanotechnology - but cause brain damage in fish - could be neutralised." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Trade, Standards, and the Political Economy of Genetically Modified Food" - "Anderson, Damania, and Jackson develop a common-agency lobbying model to help understand why North America and the European Union have adopted such different policies toward genetically modified (GM) food. Their results show that when firms (in this case farmers) lobby policymakers to influence standards, and consumers and environmentalists care about the choice of standard, it is possible that increased competition from abroad can lead to strategic incentives to raise standards, not just lower them as shown in earlier models. The authors show that differences in comparative advantage in the adoption of GM crops may be sufficient to explain the trans-Atlantic difference in GM policies. On the one hand, farmers in a country with a comparative advantage in GM technology can gain a strategic cost advantage by lobbying for lax controls on GM production and use at home and abroad. On the other hand, when faced with greater competition, the optimal response of farmers in countries with a comparative disadvantage in GM adoption may be to lobby for more-stringent GM standards. So it is rational for producers in the European Union (whose relatively small farms would enjoy less gains from the new biotechnology than broad-acre American farms) to reject GM technology if that enables them and consumer and environmental lobbyists to argue for restraints on imports from GM-adopting countries. This theoretical proposition is supported by numerical results from a global general equilibrium model of GM adoption in America with and without an EU moratorium.

This paper—a product of the Trade Team, Development Research Group—is part of a larger effort in the group to understand the economic implications of standards and technology policies in a multilateral trading environment." (The World Bank)

"Biotechnology: Progress and Promise - Remarks by Chad Holliday, Chairman and CEO, DuPont at BioJapan 2004" - "Five yeas ago, I first spoke on biotechnology to a group in Boston. The main points I shared then dealt with the challenges that biotechnology faced in terms of acceptance and development.

The big difference between then and now is progress – progress in acceptance, in generating solid data on the benefits of the technology, and in getting new and exciting possibilities closer to the market. Today I plan to talk to you about how we are already delivering real value through the application of biotechnology.

In the past five years we have seen significant development in biotechnology, increased biotech product offerings, and important changes in public acceptance of biotechnology and biotech products around the world." (DuPont)

"[New Zealand] Simon Terry: New rules help to keep food pure" - "As many premium markets firm up on their unwillingness to accept even a trace of genetically modified content in food, New Zealand's ability to meet this demand has quietly taken two important steps forward." (New Zealand Herald)

"Material Risks of Genetic Engineering Undisclosed by Food Companies, Report Says" - "A survey of the 35 largest food processors finds only two mentioning genetic engineering risks in their annual reports, and none analyzing these risks." (SocialFunds.com)

September 28, 2004

"Chemical Treaty Covers 14 More Substances" - "Fourteen substances were added last week to the international agreement that requires an exporting nation to obtain advance approval from developing countries before shipping certain chemicals to them." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"Government to ratify convention against use of chemicals" - "New Zealand would ratify the Stockholm Convention, joining an international commitment to reduce or eliminate health and environmental risks from highly toxic chemicals, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today." (New Zealand Press Association)

"Even Wildlife Prefers the Capital" - "Intensive agricultural techniques, including the use of pesticides, are blamed for a drop in the number and diversity of animals now found on arable farmland. But the number of mammals, birds and insect species now thriving in the cities is growing significantly." (London Evening Standard)

Hand wringer du jour: "Don't let the good life cost the Earth" - "Our demands on the environment have a greater impact than draining rivers and destroying forests - it's a fight for survival, writes Stephanie Peatling." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Bush switches nation's tack on protecting species" - "When it comes to saving America's most endangered plants and animals, George W. Bush has listed fewer species for protection than any other president." (The Seattle Times)

People before bugs? Imagine that...

"The moral minefield" - "Time was, being a liberal meant never having to say you were wrong. 'They should have listened to me,' we muttered, as our rulers' plans went awry. But look around today and you'll see problems that have no 'right-thinking' answers. Have we lost the capacity for incisive thought - or have ethical certainties become more elusive? Richard Askwith wrestles with the issues" (Independent)

"What's the Role of Business in the Modern World?" - "In his new book, "The Role of Business in the Modern World", published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, David Henderson challenges the notion of "corporate social responsibility" (CSR), which many people believe to be the next logical and desirable step of corporate transformation. A former chief economist of the OECD, Henderson takes issue with this view. He believes that CSR represents a threat to capitalism, because it requires a redefinition of the role of business, in such a way that it would be, once again, subject to control by political rather than economic forces." (Hans Labohm, Tech Central Station)

"Is Disengagement the Wisest Choice?" - "The softening of a US-backed, UN security council resolution aimed at prodding the Sudanese government into improving conditions in Darfur came as no surprise to those familiar with the ugly realities of international oil interests in Sudan. China, who increasingly relies on Sudanese oil imports to fuel its growing economy and whose national oil company continues to play a key role in developing those oil resources, has long hinted that it would use its veto power to reject sanctions that might jeopardize the oil flow. So while peace talks flounder, violence persists, refugee numbers mount and the death toll climbs, the Security Council's tough response is that it "shall consider" action against a government responsible for the worst humanitarian crisis in the world." (Roger Bate and Benjamin Schwab, Tech Central Station)

"The Risk of an Anti-Development Trade Round" - "Countries join the World Trade Organisation to commit to reducing barriers to trade. Yet in the rhetoric of making trade fair, two key messages are lost: that a country benefits most from cutting its own barriers, and that if developing countries do not cut tariffs, it will be other developing countries that will be penalized most." (Alan Oxley, Tech Central Station)

"Head to head: Making trade work" - "The issue of fair trade is once again on the agenda, with global trade negotiations finally under way again, and the UK government pledging that it will write off its share of debts owed by the world's poorest nations. But activists insist that wealthy nations must do far more." (BBC Online)

"NGO Nonsense" - "The egregious Christian Aid, which still claims to be a charity, having long ago become an NGO (though, naturally, with charitable status) has launched a new campaign against free trade. In a way that raises questions about the supposed non-political nature of a charity, they have commissioned advertisements and leaflets to proclaim the evil results of free trade in the developing world." (Helen Szamuely, Tech Central Station)

"Where This Angell Should Have Feared to Tread" - "No one would pay much attention to the views of an economist with respect, say, to the causes of heart disease. Why then are prominent physicians accorded prime-time attention when they pontificate on the economics of pharmaceutical development?" (Sally C. Pipes and Benjamin Zycher, Tech Central Station)

"Scientists Begin a Campaign to Oppose President's Policies" - "While Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and other rock stars sing on a "Vote for Change" concert tour, another disgruntled group - this one of scientists - will crisscross the well-worn landscape of battleground states over the next month, giving lectures that will argue that the Bush administration has ignored and misused science." (New York Times)

"Russia: Gref Backs Kyoto but Warns of Hard Work" - "Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref has officially backed the Kyoto Protocol in a sign Russian approval is moving ever closer, but he says the country has hard work ahead to actually implement it, a government source said Monday.

Gref is now at least the second minister to back the climate change treaty following President Vladimir Putin's demand that officials move to approve the pact, which depends on Russia to come into force." (Reuters) | Russian Minister Backs Kyoto Amid Disagreement (MosNews)

"Russia: Illarionov: Kyoto Protocol Saps Prospects To Double GDP" - "MOSCOW, September 27 - At the Russia: Investments into a Growth Economy conference on Monday, the president's economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov, said that if Russia signed the Kyoto Protocol, it would be unable to double its GDP in ten years.

"It is impossible," he said, answering a question about the possibility of Russia doubling its GDP in ten years if it ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

He said that even with an annual GDP growth of 6.2%, by 2010 Russia will have reached the Kyoto Protocol's greenhouse gas emissions levels. According to Mr. Illarionov, an annual economic growth of 7.8% is necessary to double the GDP. Therefore, he concluded, the hopes that Russia, as a party to the Kyoto Protocol, would be able to sell its extra gas quotas are not justified." (RIA Novosti) | Putin Advisor Compares Kyoto Protocol to Fascism (MosNews)

"Experts warn of more surprises from global warming" - "WASHINGTON (09/27/04) -- During a Capitol Hill briefing last week, organized by the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, experts warned that events like the 2003 European heat wave, prolonged droughts like those lasting six years in the western U.S., and large hurricanes may be more likely and more severe in the future due to global warming." (Capitol Reports)

"Typhoons: Fewer but stronger?" - "Typhoons will be fewer in number but greater in strength at the end of this century if global warming continues, according to a recent meteorological study. This forecast could mean both severe water shortages and catastrophic damage, researchers say. Part of a science ministry project, the study was headed by Jun Yoshimura, a senior researcher at the Meteorological Research Institute in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. Results are being released this week in Italy to a panel on climate change. The global study focused on tropical cyclones, also known as typhoons and hurricanes, with wind speeds exceeding 61.2 kph. According to researchers, by the end of the century, the annual average number of such storms will drop 20 percent, from 83.6 to 66.5." (The Asahi Shimbun)

"Willie Soon & Sallie Baliunas: Uncertainties about global warming" - "British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently grumbled about the failure of countries to reach agreement on scientific evidence of the human-made portion of global warming, which he views as incontrovertible and disastrous.

A Whitehall spokesperson was even quoted: "Until we get consensus on the science we will never get a consensus on the rapid action needed before it's too late."

Stephen Byers, co-chairman of an Anglo-American-Australian task force on climate, plans to ratchet up the heat on the administration to join in that effort on a trip to Washington by claiming that the hurricanes this season are actually a result of human-made global warming." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Global warming creeps up on S.F.: City has plan to cut greenhouse gasses" - "Morning fog may chill the air and all that, but San Francisco climate watchdogs insist that global warming is about to transform life in the city by the bay.

So two local agencies -- the San Francisco Department of the Environment and the city Public Utilities Commission -- have devised a climate action plan being issued at City Hall today by Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The proposal stops short of declaring San Francisco a global-warming-free zone; it does list several ways to slash the city's greenhouse emissions by 2012 to a target level set at 20 percent below 1990 emissions." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Fly population set to double with global warming" - "A leading biological scientist from the University of Southampton is warning of massive increases in the UK’s fly population if temperatures continue to rise." (University of Southampton)

"Cheaper vs. cleaner: big differences" - "Consider two recent news items: oil prices creeping up toward $50 a barrel and Antarctic glaciers breaking up into icebergs at an accelerated pace, probably due to global warming. They may not seem related. And with war in Iraq and the economy topping the list of election concerns, energy and the environment aren't exactly front-page political news." (Brad Knickerbocker, The Christian Science Monitor)

Brad's got his knickerbockers in a bit of a twist here. Yes, it is reasonable to assume glacier retreat due to global warming - just not in the manner of the oft-touted populist concept. Retreat has been going on, at a more or less consistent rate, since the end of the last great glaciation (about a dozen millennia) and that is 'global warming' - at least relative to ice ages. It is also 'climate change' and 'change' is the natural state for climate.

"Shell, PowerGen step up UK wind farm project plan" - "LONDON - Energy giant Royal Dutch/Shell and PowerGen have stepped up plans to build a wind farm, aiming to submit a preliminary planning application to the British government by early 2005." (Reuters)

"Wind and Nuclear Power -- a Generation Gap?" - "BRUNSBUETTEL, Germany - In this north German town a huge crane is helping to build the world's largest wind power plant, a prototype for offshore wind farms from 2006.

Just across a meadow of grazing cows sits another source of energy, one generation older and a symbol of a different political ideology.

Built in the 1970s, the Brunsbuettel nuclear power station is still part of the backbone of German energy production, but will soon reach the end of its life cycle because of Germany's drive to phase out nuclear energy." (Reuters)

"Ontario eyes plan to burn tires for fuel" - "Ontario industries could be burning old tires for fuel and throwing more pollution into the air under a new proposal being considered at the environment ministry, warns the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

The tire-burning plan — buried deep in a report to the government agency Waste Diversion Ontario — calls for motorists to pay a $4 fee when they buy a tire. The money would go to incentives for recycling, re-using or burning old tires." (Toronto Star)

"Nano proponents square off against specter of 'gray goo'" - "WASHINGTON — Frankenstein's man-made monster, of Mary Shelley's classic horror tale, seems to be lumbering after proponents of nanotechnology.

The creature has been evoked by people fearful that the hot technology of the 21st century will run amok. This time, the torch-bearing villagers are gathering around the "gray goo" menace, fearful that self-replicating, biological nanomachines ceaselessly will reproduce and take over the world.

For nanotechnologists, these fears are as old hat as monster movie weekends. Experts from disparate disciplines met here this month at a National Academy of Sciences conference to discuss the challenges facing nanotechnology, including looking squarely at the risks involved." (Dan Vergano, USA TODAY)

"Men are like pigs, really" - "As a species, humans apparently aren't terribly bothered about farming other species for food, clothing or luggage, yet controversy swirls around the use of animals bred to save the lives of thousands of people waiting for organ transplants." (Dr. Dave Hepburn, Richmond News)

"Choice is to modify or starve" - "GENETIC modification of food crops and enhanced conventional breeding techniques would be needed to feed the world's population in the face of a grain shortage, an international conference was told yesterday.

Professor Monkombu Swaminathan, who has been recognised as the father of the green revolution, said crop-yield growth rates had fallen below levels needed to overcome malnutrition in developing countries." (The Courier-Mail)

"Brazil: Lula Between Greens and Farmers on GMC" - "Movements grounded in civil society raised their voices last week against the possibility of a new provisional executive decree (Medida Provisória - MP) authorizing the cultivation and commercialization of transgenic products in Brazil." (Agência Brasil)

September 27, 2004

"Hazard or Help" - "The Lancet reports on the successful use of DDT in malaria control around the world. WHO's Alan Schapira mysteriously states that 'because of much greater long- term population acceptability, treated nets are recommended...' Southern Africa has used indoor residual spraying since the 1920s with very good acceptability and good success. Apparently an 80 year track record of success means nothing to Roll Back Malaria." (Clare Kapp, The Lancet)

"Gene clue to malaria drug failure" - "A gene in malaria parasites could explain why drugs to treat the disease fail, researchers have said." (BBC Online)

According to the APS anyway: "Wealth does not create individual happiness and it doesn't build a strong country, either" - "A study in the recent issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest addresses how economic status is no longer a sufficient gauge of a nation's well-being. The authors argue that the psychological well-being of its citizens is the greatest measure of a nation-- not the well-being of its economy." (American Psychological Society)

but: "Pipes run dry in Tanzania" - "A water crisis is one symptom of the deep changes taking place in Tanzanian society. A country which once embraced socialism has embarked on a wholesale privatisation of its state-run industries." (London Guardian)

"NGO Nonsense" - "The egregious Christian Aid, which still claims to be a charity, having long ago become an NGO (though, naturally, with charitable status) has launched a new campaign against free trade. In a way that raises questions about the supposed non-political nature of a charity, they have commissioned advertisements and leaflets to proclaim the evil results of free trade in the developing world." (Helen Szamuely, TCS)

"New arsenic drinking water standard may still be toxic" - "Arsenic could be toxic at much lower levels than previously thought, suggesting that the new EPA drinking water standard of 10 parts per billion might still be too high, according to a team of researchers at Dartmouth Medical School." (Medical News Today)

Today's 'wow!' "Pesticides found in quarter of all food" - "PESTICIDES were discovered in a quarter of all food tested in the UK last year, according to a new report. Among the highest results were in fruit and vegetables, with a third of samples containing traces of chemicals used in agriculture." (The Scotsman)

"Doctors have pieces, but disease still puzzle" - "Researchers know genes play a role in asthma, but they don't know which ones; they know lifestyle and environment can be factors, but they can't quantify to what degree." (Chicago Tribune)

"Stanford/Packard researchers identify T cell that relieves asthma in mice" - "For the second time in two years, scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a new type of regulatory T cell that reduces asthma and airway inflammation in mice, bolstering the theory that a deficiency of such cells is a prime cause of the breathing disorder as well as allergies." (Stanford University Medical Center)

"Mr. Rifkin's Pipe Dream" - "Professional worrier Jeremy Rifkin's pronouncements always remind me of the characterization by one-time Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas B. Reed of his political opponents, "They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge." Rifkin's assertion that Americans' consumption of beef causes domestic violence were absurd. So were his claims that biotechnology threatens "a form of annihilation every bit as deadly as nuclear holocaust," and that a small-scale field trial of a gene-spliced soil bacterium could change weather patterns and disrupt air-traffic control." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"'Green guilt' set to transform Britain's throwaway society" - "Britain is rubbish when it comes to recycling, but now a £10m campaign aims to change the country's attitudes towards waste." (Independent)

"Sea defences 'raise floods risk'" - "Building sea defences could leave some coastal areas of England and Wales at greater risk of flooding, a report says. Coastal scientists from Halcrow Ltd looked at 1,000 locations in the first study of its kind in the UK. They found 61% of the shorelines and beaches had steepened over the last century because of man-made defences. The report, in the Royal Geographical Society's Geographical Journal, says steeper beaches allow more destructive waves to pound the coastlines." (BBC Online)

"Trees hold answer to floods menace" - "Scientists have discovered that simple strips of newly planted woodland could play a crucial role in halting the floods that have devastated British towns in recent years." (Robin McKie, The Observer)

"Deadly Floods in Haiti Blamed on Deforestation, Poverty" - "GONAIVES, Haiti — The torrents of water that raged down upon this city, killing more people than in all other hurricanes this year, are testimony to a human-made ecological disaster fed by poverty that has transformed once-verdant hills into a moonscape of bedrock ravaged by ravines.

More than 98 percent of Haiti's forests are gone, leaving no topsoil to hold rains. Even the mango and avocado trees have started to vanish, destroying a vital food source for the poor to make way for another necessity of the impoverished: charcoal for cooking." (Associated Press)

Hmm... "Size matters - but so do ethics" - "Stephen Pritchard on The Observer's values audit" (The Observer)

We wonder if 'service to readers' includes dropping eco-theism and restoring some factual environmental reporting. Thought not...

The Week That Was Sept 25, 2004 (SEPP)

"Vanishing Alaska" - "Global warming is flooding villages along the coast. Should they stand and fight-- or surrender and move?" (Time)

"West Antarctic glaciers speed up" - "Many glaciers in West Antarctica have substantially increased their rate of shrinkage compared with the 1990s. US-Chilean teams report to the journal Science that the glaciers are losing 60% more ice into the Amundsen Sea than they accumulate from inland snowfall." (BBC Online) | Press Release | GRL Paper | NASA Information | JPL Information

So, is this 'global warming' at work? According to this PDF from the British Antarctic Survey, it's not even a net Antarctic warming although the Antarctic Peninsula (thrusting northwards toward South America) has warmed recently, cause unknown. Much of Antarctica shows no trend or is actually cooling.

"Russia: Five Ministries Asked to Sign Off on Kyoto" - "The government has asked five ministries to approve ratification of the controversial Kyoto Protocol, officials said Thursday. The European Union has long urged Russia to ratify the 1997 protocol aimed at reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which are widely seen as a key contributor to global warming. But Kyoto foes in Russia have argued that the pact will stifle the nation's economic growth, derailing President Vladimir Putin's plan of doubling GDP in 10 years." (The Moscow Times)

"No Emission Reductions With Russian Ratification" (PDF) - "There will be NO Appreciable CO2 Emissions Reduction Even if Russia Ratifies the Kyoto Protocol" (George Marshall Institute)

"Kyotonomics Debunked" - "Chris Horner responds to claims that the U.S. would benefit economically from adhering to the Kyoto Protocol." (The Washington Times)

"UK: Met Office adds to global warming" - "Agency's air-conditioning system uses chemicals that cause climate change" (Mark Townsend, The Observer)

Ad hominem assault du jour: "Bellamy set to cause stir" - "Renowned British environmentalist David Bellamy will visit Australia this week to support anti-wind farm groups and expound his controversial views on global warming.

In a trip funded by the television show 60 Minutes, Professor Bellamy will be the main speaker at an anti-wind farm meeting in Foster, South Gippsland, on Wednesday night.

But the visit has dismayed Australian conservationists because the high-profile botanist has aligned himself with a small, discredited group of scientists who dismiss the problem of climate change.

Despite the now solid evidence that humans - by burning fossil fuels - largely caused global temperatures to rise 0.6 degrees last century, Professor Bellamy believes the warming is natural and that high levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are good and will make plants grow better.

This is a view shared by a small group of climate-change sceptics and some lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry." (Melissa Fyfe, The Age)

"Climate strategies of the oil companies shaped by domestic climate policy" - "Over the last ten years, the oil industry has faced significant environmental challenges. A new book focuses on the environmental strategies of the oil companies. The authors set out to discover why the companies choose different strategies, and which factors influence their choices. “We found that domestic climate policy has the greatest influence on the companies’ choice of strategy,” says political scientist Tora Skodvin, one of the authors." (CICERO)

"California, Russia Take Steps To Combat Global Warming" - "In two significant moves to reduce global-warming emissions, California regulators approved the first-ever rule in the U.S. limiting such emissions from cars and trucks, and Russian officials took what appeared to be the first formal steps toward ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty that seeks to curb global-warming emissions from industrialized countries." (The Wall Street Journal)

In the land of fruits and nuts: "California tightens auto emission regulations" - "LOS ANGELES, California -- California air regulators Friday unanimously approved the world's most stringent rules to reduce auto emissions that contribute to global warming -- a move that could affect car and truck buyers from coast to coast." (AP)

"California Backs Plan for Big Cut in Car Emissions" - "It would be the first such regulation in the nation and one that, if it survives legal challenges, would force automakers to increase sharply the fuel efficiency of millions of vehicles." (New York Times)

"Calif. emissions rules would raise car prices" - "SAN FRANCISCO — California's landmark new rules limiting greenhouse gases could bring sweeping change to the automobile industry and inspire other states to get tough on emissions." (USA TODAY)

"Ford parks its natural gas bandwagon" - "After a decade spent preaching the gospel of clean-burning natural gas and winning converts among air-quality regulators and vehicle fleet operators, Ford is leaving the congregation." (New York Times)

"New interest in coal sparks energy debate" - "Proposals for electric plants that feed on coal are dotting the West's deserts and plains, raising new questions about how the region should power its drive into the next half-century.

From Idaho to Nevada to Arizona, communities are being swept into a national resurgence of interest in coal-fired electricity.

It is the biggest upswing since the 1970s for a fuel that is abundant, home grown, inexpensive and linked by critics to a Pandora's box of environmental ills: acid rain, tainted streams, global warming and haze-smeared national parks." (Sacramento Bee)

"Congress Extends Wind Energy Tax Credit" - "WASHINGTON - Congress extended through 2005 a popular tax credit for companies that produce electricity from wind, enabling what an industry group said was about $2 billion worth of wind energy projects to proceed." (Reuters)

"Nuclear power slides back onto the agenda" - "NEW YORK — Reviled for more than a quarter of a century, nuclear energy is poised for a comeback. Soaring energy costs, worries about energy dependence and growing fears of global warming have combined to revive a once-doomed industry that remains the butt of pop-culture satire such as The Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Three utility consortiums — Exelon, Entergy and Dominion Resources — recently filed early site applications with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for new plants — the first in nearly three decades." (USA TODAY)

"British firm finds the nuclear industry's 'holy grail'" - "A British company claims to have found the "holy grail" of the nuclear energy industry - a solution to the problem of radioactive waste disposal." (London Daily Telegraph)

"The other population crisis" - "From China to Italy to India - the world is facing a baby drought. What will falling numbers mean for the globe?" (Robin McKie, The Observer)

"A new world" - "On the eve of National Biotechnology Week, Free Press reporter Patrick Maloney takes a look at London's burgeoning interest in changing the world for the better." (London Free Press)

"Crop yields need to lift: expert" - "Global crop yields must soar in coming years or the world will face a grain shortage, one of the world's leading grains experts warned. Professor Monkombu Swaminathan, one of the pioneers of the green revolution and a winner of the World Food Prize, told a crop conference in Brisbane that the world was going through a major decline in yield improvements. And he said all forms of technology, including conventional breeding and genetic modification, would be needed to address a potentially devastating drop-off in crop yields." (AAP)

"Vatican Urges Further Study of Genetically Engineered Food" - "Efforts to combat world hunger have led to increased attention on biotechnology, not only by farmers looking to produce more and better quality food, but now also by the Vatican. Church officials said at a recent U.S.- and Vatican-sponsored conference on the subject that it is a moral imperative to investigate the potential of this technology to meet global food needs. Despite existing prejudice and concerns about biotechnology in many countries, Vatican officials believe genetic engineering is a modern science tool that should be explored to address hunger and malnutrition in the world." (VOA News)

"US lobbies Vatican on GM food and world hunger" - "UN Ambassador to the Holy See James Nicholson attempted to persuade the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Friday that genetically modified food is not just a scientific innovation, but also a moral leap forward for mankind.

The United States is attempting to fight moral resistance to the widespread acceptance of the technology that opponents argue has an adverse effect on the environment, human health, or traditional farming practices. While there is significant opposition to GM food from within the Church, the Vatican is yet to make up its mind on the issue.

The US Embassy to the Holy See was co-sponsor of Friday's Gregorian University conference titled Feeding a Hungry World: The Moral Imperative of Biotechnology." (Catholic News)

"Can Biotech Crops Be Good Neighbors?" - "From papayas in Hawaii, to corn in Mexico and canola in Canada, the spread of pollen or seeds from genetically engineered plants is evolving from an abstract scientific worry into a significant practical problem.

Farmers, especially those raising organic crops, worry that they will lose sales from what they call contamination. Environmentalists worry that modified genes could escape from crops into weeds, wreaking ecological havoc. And once a gene has escaped, they say, there is no way to recall it." (New York Times)

"Coexistence Exists" - “It’s coexistence or no existence,” said the philosopher Bertrand Russell many years ago.

He was talking about war and peace in the nuclear age. But he might as well have been addressing one of the thorniest questions in U.S. agriculture today: the concern that biotech and organic crops can’t thrive side by side." (Dean Kleckner, Truth About Trade & Technology)

"Smoking Grass" - "A U.S. study of Frankenfood crops spells trouble for Europe" (Carla Power, Newsweek International)

"Of Greens and Greens" - "ACCORDING to a group called the Anarchist Golfing Association, "grass, like industrial culture, is invasive and permeates every aspect of our lives." The group is especially concerned about the Frankenstein variety - genetically modified grasses designed for golf courses - and tried to stomp it out a few years ago by breaking into two greenhouses owned by the Pure Seed company, destroying $500,000 worth of grass plants and leaving behind golf balls bearing its logo." (New York Times)

"One step closer to the perfect crop plant" - "REDWOOD CITY – Herbicide tolerance is the most common transgenic crop trait in the world. Its importance might increase in the next years, as researchers discovered a new gene, providing a robust tolerance against glyphosate, one of the most important commercially sold herbicide active ingredients." (Flora Mauch, Checkbiotech)

"15 Injured in French Protest Against Genetically Modified Crops" - "At least fifteen people were injured in clashes Saturday between French police and activists protesting against genetically modified crops." (VOA News)

"INTERVIEW - India oil trade chief backs GMO oilseeds" - "BOMBAY - India, the world's largest edible oil buyer, should closely examine cultivating genetically modified oilseeds to increase production and bridge a widening supply-demand gap, a top industry official said.

The country imports about five million tonnes of edible oils annually, nearly half its needs, and analysts say the volume could increase with growth in consumption and population.

It mainly buys palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia and soft oils from Argentina, Brazil and the United States." (Reuters)

"Monsanto Prods S. American Nations on Soy" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Monsanto Co., a company that has pioneered the development of bioengineered crops, is pushing hard to recover millions of dollars in lost revenue in three South American countries where farmers have sown its wonder seeds without paying royalties." (Reuters)

"BRAZIL: Latest Battle in ‘War' Over Transgenics" - "RIO DE JANEIRO, Sep 24 - The Brazilian government has made "horrific mistakes" regarding the issue of transgenic crops and is about to make another, according to 14 organisations that have sent an open letter to President Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva." (IPS)

"Africa insists GMOs can't be trusted" - "AS agricultural and environmental experts met in Harare this week to debate the potential risks of the production and trade in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), international green pressure groups insisted that the technology poses a serious threat to biodiversity.

Representatives of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Christian Aid said the technology posed a threat to small farmers and human health." (Zimbabwe Independent)

September 24, 2004

"Snack Foods Don't Fatten Kids" - "Be forewarned — this is not a column snack-food haters and the obesity obsessed will want to read." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Report: Fat Children Cost U.S. Schools Money, More" - "WASHINGTON - Obese children are costing U.S. schools millions of dollars every year in lost funding and may be lowering test scores as well, a report released by a former U.S. surgeon general said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Master of antimalarial resistance" - "The malaria gene pfcrt may be a "master" gene that controls the parasite's resistance to a variety of antimalarial drugs, according to new research by Stephen Ward and colleagues." (Cell Press)

"No role for simian virus 40 in human pleural mesotheliomas" - "Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the chest cavity that kills about 2000 people a year in the United States. It has been proposed that simian virus 40 (SV40), a contaminant in some polio vaccines administered in the 1950's and 1960's, might be a cause." (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center)

"The NAM You Should Worry About" - "The so-called Non Aligned Movement (NAM) recently held its 14th Ministerial Conference in Durban, South Africa and produced resolutions and statements with regard to world peace and aid transfer from rich countries to poor countries that are at the same time predictable and frustrating. The NAM, which was founded in 1961 in an effort to find a middle way between the West and the Communist block, urged rich countries to boost aid transfers to poor countries. The organisation, which now consists of 115 developing countries, among them some of the poorest countries on earth, feels that aid transfers will pull poor countries out of poverty. No surprise there, but the frustrating part is that there seems to be very little introspection among the NAM and a lack of willingness to address the source of their own poverty -- their own misguided economic policies and brutish political regimes.

The concern that the ruling elite of these countries express with regard to poverty in their countries would be touching, were it not for the fact that they are frequently the cause of that poverty." (Richard Tren, TCS)

"Antarctic Glaciers Quicken Pace to Sea; Warming Is Cited" - "Spurred by warming coastal air and waters, some of Antarctica's glaciers have accelerated their seaward march, fresh observations show, suggesting that ocean levels might be irreversibly on the rise for centuries to come.

Global warming from smokestack and tailpipe emissions of heat-trapping gases could well be contributing to the changes, but some of what is happening is probably a delayed reaction to the long warm-up since the last ice age, glaciologists said yesterday." (New York Times)

So glaciers held back by the resistance of ice shelves sped up when that resistance was lessened - didn't we expect this? Didn't we go through years of discussion watching the Ross Ice Shelf calve huge bergs and determine that the action of time and tide had eventually broken off the extruding glacial shelf, roughly at the same size it was observed in the 1950s? Weren't we confident then that the glaciers that form the shelf would accelerate, at least temporarily? Items like this: NASA Reports Show Antarctic Response to Global Warming appear downright silly.

Certainly the Antarctic Peninsula shows regional warming, at least that portion that protrudes north of the Antarctic Circle. This is anomalous since most of the Antarctic appears to be cooling but the direct cause of this anomaly is unknown - it might be changes to ocean currents or some phase of the circumpolar wave or both - or neither.

Of more interest perhaps is news of a "fold" in the ice under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that suggests it was moving faster and in a different direction a few centuries ago. We have much yet to discover before making judgments on what constitutes "normal" and what is "unusual" at the "cold end of the world."

"New structure found deep within West Antarctic Ice Sheet" - "Scientists have found a remarkable new structure deep within the West Antarctic Ice Sheet which suggests that the whole ice sheet is more susceptible to future change than previously thought. The discovery, by scientists from Bristol University and the British Antarctic Survey in collaboration with US colleagues, is reported this week (September 24) in the international journal Science." (British Antarctic Survey)

"Highest icefields will not last 100 years, study finds" - "China's glacier research warns of deserts and floods due to warming." (The Guardian)

"Global warming could imperil future rice crops: researchers" - "TSUKUBA, Ibaraki Pref. -- Global warming poses a threat to Japan's future rice crops and thus its food security, a Japanese agricultural research group warned Wednesday. If farming methods are left unaltered, Japan's rice harvest will fall by 10 percent by 2090 as a result of global warming, according to the group." (Kyodo)

"Russian Ministries Move to Approve Kyoto Treaty" - "MOSCOW - At least one Russian ministry has signed letters agreeing to Moscow's approval of the Kyoto Protocol, a spokesman said on Thursday in what could be a final step on the long road to bringing the global pact into force." (Reuters)

"At Kyoto Protocol Ratification Talks Russia Should Dictate Its Own Terms - Expert" - "MOSCOW, September 23 - In the talks on ratification of the Kyoto Protocol Russia should dictate its own terms, a Russian expert insists.

"Russia cannot ratify the protocol on the general terms and has to advance its own", head of the research group Russia and the Kyoto Protocol Anna Kashirova, Candidate of Economics, told RIA Novosti." (RIA Novosti

"California CO2 Regulation: Unscientific, Unlawful, Unaffordable, and Unsafe, CEI Warns" - "CEI comments on California Air Resources Board's attempts to implement rules governing global warming." (CEI)

The weekly Whipple (or, this week, Whipple spits at Tech Central Station and other naughty unbelievers): "Climate Skeptics Tend To KO Straw Men" - "A group of climatologists, scientists, professors, etc., as they deemed themselves, who are skeptical of global warming, held a news conference last week to respond to a hearing chaired by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on recent scientific research about the issue." (Dan Whipple, UPI)

There's a rather snide little aside in this piece: "In response to a request from UPI, Tech Central Station forwarded a collection of six news or Web articles it said supported its assertions. Only one - a broadside by the environmental group Greenpeace - can be interpreted as supporting the assertion that global warming is behind the hurricanes. Greenpeace is neither news media nor scientific organization. It is an advocacy group, like, say, Tech Central Station."

While we tend to agree with Dan that those associating hurricanes and 'global warming' are not really 'news media' but rather advocates, some still think of the Guardian stable publications as newspapers and so Observer headlines like Devastation linked to global warming give the wrong impression and should be refuted. Then there's Reuters with Global Warming May Spur Fiercer Hurricanes - Experts, that sounds like media associating 'global warming' with hurricanes and, of course, we have Pulitzer-pretender Ross Gelbspan hopping on the bandwagon and making the association in any media he can while promoting his book "Boiling Point," so the association is out there and seemingly gets plenty of press.

UPI could have tried an online search, Google returned some 500 recent news items from the search "'global warming' +hurricanes" and more than 80,000 from the general search - some media reports are skeptical, many are not. Doesn't exactly sound like a straw man argument with numbers like those.

Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, certainly likes to be referred to as a climate scientist and he sure isn't shy about associating 'global warming' and hurricanes either - he's the "climate expert" cited in Wired's Ivan May Just Be a Messenger (that would be the same Stephen Leahy who wrote Global Warming May Spawn More Super-Storms for IPS). Somehow, we doubt Kevin is going to be any too pleased with you calling him a 'straw man,' Dan. (Granted, we at JunkScience.com view Trenberth in the 'activist' category too but hey...)

A small point for Dan, it is technically true that Tony Blair's speech doesn't associate hurricanes and global warming (he may have in delivery but it isn't in the distributed text) - he says 'extreme events,' 'violent weather extremes' and 'severe weather events' and he also quotes Greenpeace opinion surveys. The media, however, are under the impression that he did make the connection recently: "Global climate shift dictates policy change" - "Blair pointed to recent extreme weather events - from the drought in southern Africa to the heat wave that claimed some 26,000 lives in Europe last summer to this summer's hurricanes in the Caribbean and Florida - as evidence that climate change must be addressed." Perhaps he so spoke while in Washington but I have no immediate record of it. Regardless, this doesn't appear to be a telling point against the skeptics as suggested near the end of this week's Whipple and Mr. Blair's claims are readily invalidated.

Could have done a lot better Dan. Francis Till did a pretty fair job of covering the issue for NBR in Hurricanes, global warming and scientists: A volatile stew" - "Pick two scientists, any two scientists with strong climatology credentials, and ask whether global warming has anything to do with the recent onslaught of hurricanes and typhoons.

There's no doubt which side the media is on -- almost every story about global warming and hurricanes available in searches of Google News carries a headline making the link, even when the stories themselves contain contradictory evidence.

But the scientists themselves tend to have polarised theories.

In fact, while some groups suggest that warmer oceans are more likely to spawn hurricanes (or, at least, spawn stronger ones), others say exactly the opposite.

See Dan? Francis managed to figure out that the media was associating hurricanes and global warming and didn't feel the need to malign any nasty old skeptics along the way.

"Project Investigates Lightning's Impact On Climate Change" - "A three-year, $300,000 research project at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will help scientists better understand the impact of lightning on global climate change.

The study, funded by NASA, will examine the nitric oxide produced by lightning. Nitric oxide is a greenhouse gas that produces or destroys ozone in the lower atmosphere, depending on the amount of nitric oxide present. Lightning-produced nitric oxide is the least well understood source of the gas in the atmosphere." (Space Daily)

"Business Roundtable Report Shows Companies from All Sectors are Taking Voluntary Action to Manage Greenhouse Gas Emissions" - "Washington, DC – Business Roundtable today announced that 70 percent of its member companies – representing every sector of the U.S. economy – have embraced voluntary actions to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by participating in its Climate RESOLVE program, which was launched in February 2003." (Press Release)

"Emissions will rise, not fall, under EU Emissions trading scheme, says new research" - "Emissions are set to rise because permit trading markets have failed to generate adequate pricing mechanisms, says a consultancy report. The latest research from Enviros Consulting has shown that a high number of reserve allowances entering the emissions trading market in 2006 will undermined the price competitiveness of permits, rendering the trading scheme toothless. According to the research, the first phase of the scheme may actually allow emissions to increase by up to 11% relative to 2000 levels, with no real incentive for firms to reduce emissions in the medium term. These increases are in stark contrast to the commitments of European Member States under the Kyoto Protocol, which require a collective reduction in emissions across all EU 15 countries of 8% by 2010 from 1990 levels. Persistently low permit prices provide little incentive to firms to invest in emission abatement technologies." (EthicalCorp.com)

"Air travellers asked to pay CO2 levy" - "Airline passengers should be encouraged to make voluntary payments to offset the damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions from their flights, the government suggested yesterday." (The Guardian)

"Oil Reserves Drop for 1st Time in 5 Years" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. proven crude oil reserves fell last year for the first time in five years, as energy companies replaced just over half the oil they took out of the ground, the U.S. government said.

The latest data show the United States will remain addicted to foreign oil imports for the foreseeable future. Critics have also complained that oil companies are not spending enough of their record profits to develop more supplies." (Reuters)

"Safer route to gene therapy found" - "Scientists say they have found a safer way of controlling genes to treat disease." (BBC Online)

"Pollutant causes delayed flowering in plants" - "Biologists have discovered that the air pollutant nitric oxide acts as a plant hormone to delay flowering in plants. The scientists discovered that while plants produce their own internal nitric oxide to regulate flowering, they are also influenced by external concentrations of the chemical." (Duke University)

"Genetic Engineering in California Agriculture" - ""This 30 minute video explains the science behind genetic engineering, outlines its uses in food crops and animals, details where and why this technology is being used by California farmers, and examines the science-based concerns pertaining to the use of genetic engineering in agricultural production systems.

If you want to view the movie:
a) It can be viewed as a streaming media version at the following address using Windows Media Player 9 or greater. WMP9 is available as a free download for Macintosh computers as well, but for OSX only. mms://STREAM.ucanr.org/Windows Media/UCTV_04_06.asf

b) The movie will also be shown on UCTV - Dish Network, Ch. 9412 which reaches all of North America and cable companies throughout California.

http://www.uctv.tv/where.shtml is the link on the UCTV site where people can find out when their local cable station airs UCTV material (most are not 24/7).

As of October 4 there will be a UCTV streaming video link that will require Real Player.

If you want to purchase a video or DVD:
The general public and other interested parties can purchase DVD or video copies at the following website: http://groups.ucanr.org/anronuctv/Video_Program_Sales_Information/" (AgBioView)

"Farmers must take up battling anti-biotech groups" - "The battle being waged to ban genetically modified crops in California is a war that must be fought and won not by biotech corporations, but by California farmers and ranchers because it is producers who stand to lose the most if the radical anti-biotech movement wins over an unsuspecting public with its lies and distortions." (Harry Cline, Western Farm Press)

"Fungus-resistant wheat tested" - "WINNIPEG - A new kind of genetically modified wheat that could solve a $100 million fungus problem for Prairie farmers is being field tested in Manitoba. Agriculture Canada scientists at Winnipeg's Cereal Research Centre are helping Swiss-based biotechnology company Syngenta with its Canadian field trials of a fusarium-resistance trait. The company is also testing the new wheat trait in the U.S., United Kingdom and Argentina. Test fields in Germany were destroyed by activists opposed to genetic engineering of food crops." (Broadcast News)

"Angry GM stalemate in Germany" - "Political parties and legislative bodies seem unable to resolve their dispute over GM crops" (The Scientist)

September 23, 2004

"A Chemical Kyoto" - "Environmentalists, joined by a growing body of regulators and the global insect pest community, are raising the alarm that a long list of chemicals are criminals on the loose, moving unnoticed from country to country, able to harm millions and kill thousands. In their minds, there's no better way to nab the suspect than with more environmental regulations.

Enter the Rotterdam Convention, a U.N. treaty whose parties are this week toasting its successful entry into force earlier this year. Reading like an environmentalist's Christmas wish-list, it has been justified to the world with the claim that "Pesticides and industrial chemicals have poisoned millions of people in recent decades and killed tens of thousands as a result of accidents." Klaus Toepfer, head of the U.N. Environment Program, this week went so far as to suggest that the treaty would benefit "subsistence farmers, nursing mothers, wildlife,...sustainable development and poverty alleviation."

So how does Rotterdam hope to achieve all these lofty goals? It's a global system of registration and trade restrictions for chemicals. Under its "prior informed consent" requirements, exporters of listed substances are obliged to inform authorities in the country of import as to the product's nature, legal and illegal uses, safety provisions, health effects, and even alternatives." (Kendra Okonski, The Wall Street Journal)

"Focusing on fine particles" - "A new collection of scientific data on health effects linked to exposure to fine particulates is setting the stage for a major policy debate on air pollution." (Chemical & Engineering News)

"The 'walking school bus' to tackle child obesity" - "Children who normally go to school by bus or car are to be encouraged to walk in groups supervised by adult volunteers under proposals to cut obesity and ease road congestion." (Daily Telegraph)

Just after it was shown there's no difference in activity levels dependent on whether kids walk or ride to school. Figures...

"Obesity rollers" (Number Watch)

"Fairy Shrimp vs. Man" - "A wide-body jet with 300 passengers lumbers westward on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport toward the ocean on its takeoff roll. About halfway down the runway, the captain pulls back on the yoke and the airliner pokes its nose skyward and climbs powerfully away from the Earth. By the time the jet clears the end of the runway, it will be more than 1,000 feet from the ground.

Swimmers on the beach don't even notice. Neither does a 1-inch crustacean that makes its home in vernal pools -- kids would call them mud puddles -- near the airport. It does not even know the jetliner and the people on it exist.

But that doesn't matter. What counts is the fairy shrimp has advocates who will zealously look out for its best interests -- whatever they might be." (C.C. Kraemer, TCS)

"Senate Mounts Sneak Attack on Sound Science" - "Federal agency could be exempt from law requiring integrity in government science." (CEI)

"Putin Tells Ministries to Salvage Kyoto -- Lobbyists" - "OSLO - Russian President Vladimir Putin has told key ministries to sign the Kyoto protocol on global warming in a step toward salvaging the U.N. plan, international environmentalists said Wednesday." (Reuters)

"'Clean air' threatens to speed global warming" - "AIR pollution may have masked the true extent of the threat posed by global warming, according to a leading scientist. Aerosols - particles of pollution in the air - help to cool the earth but, as they diminish in coming decades, global warming may be found to accelerate, Professor Meinrat Andreae of the Max Planck Institute in Mainz, Germany, has claimed. Prof Andreae told a major pollution conference in London that warming will be especially fast if aerosol "cooling" has hidden a higher climate sensitivity than is generally assumed." (The Scotsman)

In other words...

"Dim Sun" - "Global dimming? Global warming? What's with the globe, anyway?" (Grist)

"California to Adopt Car Emission Reducing Rule" - "California, long a leader in cutting-edge rules to combat air pollution, is poised this week to adopt the world's first regulation to reduce car emissions that contribute to global warming." (LA Times)

"Automakers Attack Proposal to Address Global Warming" - "DETROIT, Sept. 22 - Automakers on Wednesday attacked a California plan to regulate automotive emissions of global warming gases. The state's proposal "clearly goes far beyond what is reasonable and achievable," said Fred Webber, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a lobbying group that includes all of the major automakers except Honda and Nissan." (New York Times) | Industry claims it would spend $6B to meet mandates to reduce gas emissions (Detroit News)

"Businesses Aim to Avoid Global-Warming Mandates" - "U.S. businesses are launching a new push to persuade the public that they are doing an adequate job of voluntarily addressing global warming and shouldn't be hit with a government mandate. But even leaders of the effort said business must toughen its standards to be seen as environmentally credible.

The Business Roundtable, a Washington group that represents some of the nation's biggest companies, plans to announce in a report and in newspaper ads in Washington tomorrow that 70% of its about 150 member companies are taking part in a voluntary effort to combat global warming that the group launched in 2003." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Curbs on aircraft gases fail to take off" - "Pressure is growing on the aviation industry to curb its fast-growing greenhouse gas emissions. But attempts to impose emission charges or curbs on the industry are fraught with political and technical difficulties." (Financial Times)

Does everything need to refer to 'global warming' to get a run? "Poplar DNA code cracked -- a step in combating global warming?" - "Forests cover 30% of the world's land area, house 2/3 of life on earth, and are responsible for 90% of the biomass on dry land. So, the impact of trees on our daily life is enormous. Now, an international consortium; which includes researchers from VIB; has succeeded in deciphering the first tree genome, that of the poplar." (VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology)

Where else but The Sun? "Boffins say ewe-reek-a!" - "SCIENTISTS think they have found an answer to global warming — by cutting fumes from sheep parps. They have invented a vaccine that extracts methane gas produced when the animals break wind." (The Sun)

I hadda ask: "Tundra test stuns scientists: Carbon dioxide could be dumped into atmosphere: Raises spectre of accelerated global warming" - "OTTAWA—Dramatic results made public today from a unique 20-year American experiment are raising the spectre of runaway warming above the Arctic tundra that would accelerate global climate change.

The findings, if confirmed with additional studies, could also doom Canada's Kyoto plan targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas.

This double whammy arises because U.S. researchers discovered climate warming might trigger conditions where tundra decomposition will dump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster than it's soaked up by accelerated plant growth." (Toronto Star)

"New York goes Green" - "The New York State Public Service Commission today voted to adopt a renewable energy policy designed to increase to at least 25 percent by 2013 the proportion of electricity sold to consumers in New York State that is generated from renewable resources." (SRiMedia)

"Despite bumper harvest, world's cupboard grows bare" - "Grain reserves worldwide have fallen to their lowest level in 30 years. Population continues to mushroom. Bumper harvests this year probably will meet demand, but only barely.

This week the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is meeting in Rome with officials of some 120 nations. The top item on their agenda: food security. The world, some experts suggest, is teetering on the brink of a global food crisis." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Southern Africa Faces Food, Water Crises - Study" - "JOHANNESBURG - Southern Africa faces major challenges to feed its swelling populations and to keep its wells from running dry, a study showed Wednesday. On a greener note, it said much of the region's biological diversity is intact and tourism related to nature is growing quickly -- a huge economic boom." (Reuters)

Yeah, great... people are in trouble but the region's bugs are OK - sounds like a greenie note.

"Forum—How Safe Are Genetically Engineered Crops?" - "A lot of people around the world want to know the answer to the question posed in the title." (ARS)

"ARS Leads in Assessing Risk in Transgenics" - "Since before Mary Shelley published "Frankenstein" in 1818, people have oscillated between concern that what scientists create in the lab will be dangerous and hope that research progress will improve their lives." (ARS)

"GM 'Protato' to cure India's poor" - "Genetically modified potatoes are to play a key part in a 15-year plan to combat malnutrition among India's poorest children. Anti-poverty campaigners have greeted the "Protato" with caution and varying degrees of support, but what actually is a Protato?" (ruberyvillage.co.uk)

September 22, 2004

"Drinking-water disinfectant produces toxic compound" - "NEW YORK - A chlorine alternative used in the U.S. to disinfect some public drinking water can produce a class of byproducts far more toxic than those generated by chlorine, a new study suggests.

The byproducts, a family of chemicals called iodoacids, have been discovered only in chloramine-treated drinking water in Corpus Christi, Texas. Chloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia used in some municipal water supplies as an alternative to chlorine." (Reuters Health)

"Déjà vu Tobacco Lawsuit Seeks $280 Billion Tax" - "DOJ racketeering suit seeks billions from tobacco companies--with costs to be borne by taxpayers." (CEI)

"Study endorses wood as 'green' building material" - "A new report concludes that wood is one of the most environmentally-sensitive building materials for home construction – it uses less overall energy than other products, causes fewer air and water impacts and does a better job of the carbon "sequestration" that can help address global warming." (Oregon State University)

"Bring Out the Anti-Hurricane Artillery" - "MEXICO CITY, Sep 21 To date, all of the weapons that meteorologists and scientists have come up with to debilitate tropical cyclones have failed. But research into ways to fight hurricanes continues, and in five years there could be some important breakthroughs, say experts." (Tierramérica)

"Antarctic glaciers accelerating in response to 2002 ice sheet collapse" - "Glaciers in Antarctica's most rapidly warming region have quickened their pace following the collapse of a Delaware-sized ice shelf in March 2002, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder and a related study by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Glaciers surge when ice shelf breaks up" - "For the first time NASA, Canadian, and European satellites observed profound increases in the flow of glaciers into the open ocean, following the dramatic breakup of ice shelves two years ago in the Antarctic Peninsula." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Researchers discover 'hole' in global warming predictions" - "In the central United States, temperatures may not rise as high in the future, scientists from Saint Louis University and Iowa State University say." (Saint Louis University)

"EU Official Doubts Russia Will Ratify Kyoto" - "European Union Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, testifying before the European Parliament’s industry, research and energy committee, said that she doubts Russia’s willingness to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, Dow Jones Newswires reported on Tuesday, September 21.

De Palacio compared Russia’s attitude on Kyoto to the country’s resistance to ratifying an international energy charter. “Everyday they say they will ratify it and then nothing happens,” she said. “That is what has been happening for the last five years on the energy charter. I think that they will do the same with Kyoto.” (MosNews)

"Climate change 'our greatest threat'" - "The Liberal Democrats today vowed to deal with the "real" weapon of mass destruction, climate change, and put their environmental principles into action by making all future party conferences "carbon neutral." (The Guardian)

Doing a Blair?

"Global warning on global warming" - "THE weather is grabbing the headlines nowadays. The recent floods that hit China and Bangladesh were catastrophic, while hurricane Ivan hit the United States in what was described as a “one in 50” series of storm events for the insurance industry.

According to Thomas Larsen, senior vice-president of Eqecat Inc, a leading authority on extreme risk modelling, “Hurricane Ivan, together with Hurricanes Charley and Frances, is a confluence of events that statistically only has a 2% chance of occurring in any year in the United States.” (The Star Online)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Will Global Warming Cause Earth's Forests to Lose Carbon?" - "Climate alarmists are quick to claim that CO 2 -induced global warming will change earth's forests from carbon sinks to carbon sources, thereby enhancing the rate of greenhouse warming in a positive feedback cycle that produces catastrophic climatic consequences.  But is this claim correct?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Trends - Regional: Europe, Northern)" - "Climate alarmists claim CO2-induced global warming should be most evident in high northern latitudes.  Do temperature data from northern Europe support this contention?" (co2science.org)

"Health Effects (Temperature -- Dengue Fever)" - "Climate alarmists are notorious for proclaiming that global warming will lead to more and greater outbreaks of dengue fever and other mosquito-borne diseases throughout the world if the atmosphere's CO 2 concentration continues to rise, pushing air temperatures to ever higher values.  Are they correct?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Apple, Burr Medick, Medicago glomerata and Narrowleaf Lupine." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"A Century of Climate Change in Nuuk Fjord, Greenland" - "What has been happening in the vicinity of the fjord?  How does it relate to the climate history of the rest of Greenland, the Northern Hemisphere, and the world?  And what do the answers to these questions suggest about the CO 2 -induced global warming theory and its host of imagined disastrous consequences?" (co2science.org)

"The Paleosalinity-Based Climate Record of the Past Millennium at Qinghai Lake, China" - "What it reveals strikes a doubly troubling blow to the Mann et al.-derived and IPCC-endorsed climate history of the Northern Hemisphere." (co2science.org)

"Infectious Diseases in a Warming World: Running Rampant or Under Control?" - "Will there be higher or lower incidences of major vector- and water-borne diseases if global air temperatures rise to significantly higher levels in the years and decades ahead?" (co2science.org)

"Global Warming and the Rose Grain Aphid" - "How will the former affect the latter?  Why do we care?" (co2science.org)

"Carbon Sequestration in Eastern Canadian Peatlands" - "How has it changed over the past 10,000 years?" (co2science.org)

"Hot air on climate deaths" - "A current example of bad policy is regulations from California's Air Resources Board (ARB) to reduce "greenhouse gas emissions" from passenger vehicles by 25 percent." (Barry W. McCahill, The Washington Times)

"Rulemaking on the Proposed Regulations to Control Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Motor Vehicles" - "CEI comments on law requiring ARB to adopt regulations achieving "maximum feasible and cost-effective" reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles." (CEI)

"American Lung Association of California Urges Tough, New Global Warming Regulations to Improve Public Health" - "SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sep 21, 2004 -- With 87 percent of California adults saying that it is either very important (61 percent) or somewhat important (26 percent) for California to take a leading role in enforcing laws to reduce car emissions that lead to global warming pollution (see note) and with more than 2,000 California residents and medical professionals expressing individual support through American Lung Association of California efforts, the Association continues its push for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to pass a role-model regulation to reduce global warming air pollution from cars in the state at its September 23 hearing." (ASCRIBE NEWS via COMTEX)

"Honk If You Support World Car-Free Day" - "Anti-car advocates fail to realize just how not having the automobile would severely impact millions." (CEI)

"Expert Faults Court's Ruling About Waste From Reactors" - "WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - The court that derailed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in July, concluding that the government had not set strict enough rules on radioactivity leakage, based its decision on an incomplete reading of a National Academy of Sciences study, the chairman of the committee that wrote the study said on Monday." (New York Times)

"Nuclear power helps protect Japan from high oil prices" - "Nuclear power contributes to Japan's energy security by reducing the economic impact of an oil price shock. A Rice University study estimates that in the absence of nuclear power, the cumulative impact of a single oil price shock could result in a loss of up to 2 trillion yen in GDP." (Rice University)

"Green tax would see an end to '£15 flights to Faro'" - "THE era of ultra-cheap air travel would come to an end under a new Lib Dem tax regime designed to cut harmful emissions, the party’s environment spokesman said yesterday." (The Times)

"Chile's Agrosuper Sells Credits From Pig Waste to Utilities" - "Sept. 21 -- Agrosuper, the world's eighth- largest pork producer, is using a global anti-pollution agreement to turn pig-manure fumes into cash.

The Rancagua, Chile-based company earns credits for collecting methane gas from the waste of its 110,000 pigs. Agrosuper last month agreed to sell credits worth as much as $2.2 million a year to Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan's biggest utility, and TransAlta Corp., Canada's biggest publicly owned power generator, to help them meet their emissions quotas." (Bloomberg)

"ELIZABETH WHELAN & HENRY I. MILLER: Reality of stem cell research" - "President Bush stands in the way of new treatments for diseases ranging from Parkinson's to Alzheimer's, says Sen. John Kerry as he delineates his position on what has become a hot issue in this year's presidential campaigning: stem cell research.

The senator wants us to believe that if he is elected, the United States will be catapulted to world leadership in stem cell research and produce an array of miracle cures.

President Bush and many of his supporters argue that the Bush administration was the first to provide funding for stem cell research. But they also contend that the prospects for cures are grossly overstated, that federal funding is not needed and that the real potential for finding cures lies not in embryonic stem cells, but in applications of adult stem cells.

Both sides are inconsistent and somewhat disingenuous:" (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Coming soon - gene-engineered insects" - "WASHINGTON - Coming soon to a jungle near you -- mosquitoes genetically engineered so they cannot give people malaria. But this time scientists want to do it right." (Reuters)

Oh dear... "GMO Forum Shows County Residents Are Curious About GMOs" - "More than 70 people attended an educational forum about genetically modified organisms sponsored by the North Coast Co-op Monday night.

“You’re going to hear a lot of scary things tonight,” said Mary Ann Lyons, who serves on the Co-op’s board of directors.

“Talking about genetically modified foods gets heavy,” said Jeffrey Smith, author of “Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating,” one of the speakers at the event.

Other speakers included Noah Zerbe, an assistant political science professor at Humboldt State University; Ryan Zinn, a representative from the Organic Consumers Association; and Annie Eicher, program coordinator for organic farming in the county; and Ronnie Cummins, co-author of “Genetically Engineered Foods: A Self-Defense Guide For Consumers.”

Smith claimed there were numerous instances starting at least 20 years ago where he said after ingesting GMOs people all over the world have gotten sick and in some cases even died." (The Eureka Reporter)

September 21, 2004

"Drug companies under attack" - "America's pharmaceutical industry is under attack. Critics have pejoratively nicknamed the industry "Big Pharma" (to conjure up an image of it in a line-up next to "Big Tobacco") and characterize it as uncaring, duplicitous, profit-hungry and manipulative. The resentment of the industry is palpable — whether in my own conversations with relatives and friends (particularly elderly and/or infirm ones) or in Congress, where advocates are demanding the legalization of drug importation from Canada and elsewhere in a desperate (and in the long run, futile) attempt to bring prices down." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, The Washington Times)

"Bad Rap for Nitrate?" - "Infamous preservative may help defend against bacteria" (JR Minkel, Sciam)

"Salt firms complain over campaign" - "Salt manufacturers have made an official complaint about a health campaign which uses an animated slug to highlight warnings over salt intake." (BBC Online)

Sid's rather notorious - scroll down to "Newtons and Slugs"

"Second Thoughts for a Designer of Software That Aids Conservation" - "Australia's recent decision to ban fishing on a third of the Great Barrier Reef represented an important endorsement for an obscure computer program that has become the brains behind many conservation plans around the world." (New York Times)

Uh-huh... "The Weather Channel Follows Record-Breaking Hurricane Coverage With Special Documentary About Global Warming" - "ATLANTA, Sept. 20 -- On the heels of hurricane coverage that outranked all other news and information networks and broke its own records for viewership,* The Weather Channel shows its commitment to covering all aspects of weather and climate with the world premiere this Sunday of an important report on global warming: Alaska Meltdown. Besides drawing attention to immediate dangers from severe weather like that in the last few weeks, The Weather Channel also seeks to increase awareness of environmental issues with the "Forecast Earth" climate documentary series." (PRNewswire)

"Labrador getting cooler: study" - "ST. JOHN'S — A Memorial University study on climate change says there's evidence that Labrador is bucking a global trend towards higher seasonal temperatures. The study's research concludes the region has actually been getting slightly colder." (CBC)

Epstein... "Experts Warn There May Be More Climate Shocks and Surprises From Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 20 -- At a Capitol Hill briefing today organized by the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, experts warned that events like the 2003 European heat wave, prolonged droughts like those lasting six years in the western U.S., and large hurricanes may be more likely and more severe in the future due to global warming. Recent extreme events around the world have had major impacts on human health and food supplies.

"We're facing more climate shocks and surprises - events that are even beyond the extreme weather already associated with global warming," says Paul Epstein, associate director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment. "As the rate of warming increases, the climate system may be becoming more sensitive to large-scale and damaging episodes." (AScribe Newswire)

"Climate Control Can Be Good Business" - "LONDON, Sep 20 - Climate control is a good idea, but it can also be good business. Companies can make profit and do the world a favour, or so British companies are being told." (IPS)

Reality check

"Global warming boosts coffers" - "AT the risk of being accused of cynicism, it strikes me that greenhouse gases and global warming seem inextricably linked with huge opportunities for governments, universally, to raise taxes." (Sally Penton, News & Star)

"N.J. redefines CO2 as contaminant, proposes air pollution rule changes" - "Sept. 20 -- New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey on Sept. 16 redefined carbon dioxide as an air contaminant.

Carbon dioxide is suspected of helping trap the sun´s heat in the atmosphere, contributing to a rise in the Earth´s average temperature.

"As a coastal state, New Jersey is especially vulnerable to the consequences of global warming," McGreevey said.

Under the proposal unveiled by the governor, the state Department of Environmental Protection would revise several air pollution control rules to address carbon dioxide emissions, said the governor. It also lays the groundwork for regional initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide, he said." (WasteNews.com) [Complete]

"Oil firms must win back trust on environment - Browne" - "VIENNA - Oil companies must join forces with governments to restore public trust in the energy industry's ability to combat climate change, BP Chief Executive John Browne said." (Reuters)

"Have you run out of energy?" - "Imagine having your own annual greenhouse gas allowance which you ’spend’ each time you fill up with petrol or pay an electric or gas bill. It sounds like a scene from a futuristic movie, but this scenario could really happen in the next few years according to researchers at the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Prediction.

Dr Kevin Anderson and Richard Starkey are investigating a system of personal trading for carbon emissions. Instead of people being forced to pay a carbon ’tax’, much as we have to pay income tax and council tax, we would each hold an allowance from which units would be deducted. Welcome to life under Domestic Tradable Quotas, or DTQs." (NERC)

"The Carbon Trade" - "While some NGOs and "green" businesses favor the carbon trade and view it as a win-win solution that reconciles environmental protection with economic prosperity, some environmentalists and grassroots organizations claim that it is no answer to environmental problems and that it does not address the causes of global warming. By Carmelo Ruiz" (GreenBiz.com)

"China's Energy Crisis Blankets Hong Kong in Smog" - "HONG KONG - To gaze across Hong Kong's harbor at the city's glittering skyscrapers and soaring peaks is to take in one of the world's most spectacular urban vistas. When you can see it. The "fragrant harbor" from which Hong Kong takes its name is often shrouded in toxic smog." (Reuters)

"Turbine farm is no breezy issue" - "SOUTH Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley has met with villagers campaigning against a proposed wind farm on their doorstep. The visit comes in the same week as Greenpeace released a survey showing the majority of people in the region support wind farms." (Cambridge News)

"Turbulence over turbines in Cumbria" - "In the blustery northwest corner of Cumbria, wind farms are becoming part of the landscape." (BBC News Online)

"Wastewater could treat itself, power city" - "The energy stored in Toronto's municipal wastewater could be harnessed to run water treatment facilities and contribute power to the city grid, says new U of T research." (University of Toronto)

"Havens that have become a tax on the world's poor" - "A new group aims to expose how billions of pounds which should be funding development is being hidden offshore" (The Guardian)

"Fear of Pharming" - "Controversy swirls at the crossroads of agriculture and medicine" (Alla Katsnelson, Sciam)

"Australia defends Monsanto corn" - "Australia’s food watchdog reassures consumers on the safety of a genetically modified corn refined for use in a range of food products after new research sparks rumours." (FoodNavigator.com)

"Wind carries GM pollen record distances" - "Pollen from a genetically modified grass has blown on the wind and pollinated other grasses up to 21 kilometres away, says a new study. This distance is “much further than previously measured”, say the authors, and is thought to be a record for any GM pollen." (NewScientist.com news service)

"GMO taints isle's papaya crop" - "Most would probably just assume the food they buy at the grocery store is clean, not contaminated and safe to consume.

But this assumption may no longer be a safe one. A recent laboratory testing has found widespread contamination from the world's first commercially planted genetically engineered tree." (Ka Leo News)

"Measure B would ban genetically altered crops" - "Leaders of Measure B, a Marin ballot measure to ban genetically altered crops, say they are bracing for an intense campaign over the next few weeks until the Nov. 2 elections." (Marin Independent Journal)

"7.2 Million Tons of GM Soybean to Grow in Brazil" - "Present estimates are that Brazil's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, will plant some 4.1 million hectares with soybeans and harvest around 8 million tons. Out of that total, 90% will be genetically modified (GM). The estimate was made by agronomist Vicente Marques, a PT consultant at the Rio Grande do Sul state Legislative Assembly." (Agência Brasil)

September 20, 2004

"Health in the Balance" - "News flash! New artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT drugs) will, and pesticides (including DDT) may, henceforth play greater roles in the global battle against malaria. Thus spoke World Health Organization and U.S. Agency for International Development officials at a September 14 hearing before the House Subcommittee on Africa." (Paul Driessen and Niger Innis, TCS)

"Chemical treaty to extend scope" - "Up to 15 hazardous chemicals could have their global movement more strictly regulated at a conference in Geneva this week." (BBC Online)

"A new corporate villain - drugmakers?" - "A number of charges against the pharmaceutical industry damages its credibility and further erodes public support." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Post mortem drug tests 'flawed'" - "Experts raise concerns that flawed analysis of drug levels in corpses could affect the outcomes of court cases and inquests." (BBC Online)

"'Clear' bacteria link to Crohn's" - "The clearest evidence yet that Crohn's disease is caused by a type of bacteria blamed for a similar animal disorder has been published by US researchers." (BBC Online)

"Birth Dearth" - "Remember the population bomb? The new threat to the planet is not too many people but too few. How the new demography will shape the coming century." (Newsweek International)

"Bred in captivity" - "For the first time in 4 million years of human history, we are effectively trapping children indoors" (Tim Gill, The Guardian)

"Britons told to cut down on sugar" - "Britons will be persuaded to limit sugar intake and industry will be urged to cut levels in junk food as ministers have become convinced that more drastic action is needed to combat childhood obesity and tooth decay." (London Observer)

"Snacks not cause of obesity in children" - "The booming industry in chocolate bars and crisps, often blamed for the rise in childhood obesity, is not in fact responsible for weight gain in children, according to research by scientists at Harvard University." (London Independent)

"What Does a Body Good?" - "The debate over obesity triggers all sorts of odd confrontations, contradictions, and alliances. One of the more interesting discussions to emerge of late involves soda and dairy, and which of either is or isn't contributing to the obesity problem. It's interesting not because of either side's arguments, which are typical, but because of the way dueling allegiances and media hysteria over obesity have fought for the loyalties of politicians." (Radley Balko, TCS)

? "Lifespan crisis hits supersize America" - "Bloated, blue-collar Americans - gorged on diets of fries and burgers, but denied their share of US riches - are bringing the nation's steady rise in life expectancy to a grinding halt." (The Observer)

"Anti-obesity group mulls swell in suits" - "BOSTON — A single lawsuit against the food industry is not enough to reduce the number of overweight and obese Americans, according to panelists at a weekend health law conference." (The Washington Times)

"City children suffer serious lung damage" - "Children in polluted inner cities are five times more likely than those outside to develop weak and damaged lungs - greatly increasing their risk of premature death, researchers have found." (London Independent)

"Mexico's Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Make a Comeback" - "MEXICO CITY - Sea turtles are spawning in record numbers along Mexico's Pacific coast this year, thanks largely to stepped up protection against poachers, the nation's environmental watchdog said." (Reuters)

"As flow of salmon surges, US moves to cut protections" - "SEATTLE -- With salmon returning to Pacific Northwest rivers in bountiful numbers not seen since the 1960s, the Bush administration has moved aggressively this election season to roll back policies designed to help the fish survive passage through the region's huge hydroelectric dams." (Boston Globe)

"China's blurred horizon" - "China is now home to the world's worst environmental problems, extending far beyond the polluted air. And it is totally unprepared to combat them." (Washington Post)

"Natural disasters 'on the rise'" - "More and more people are being caught up in a growing number of natural disasters, a UN agency said on Friday. The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction said the increase in numbers vulnerable to natural shocks was due partly to global warming." (BBC Online) | Hurricanes and floods take growing number of victims, disasters on rise: UN (AFP)

"Algal contact as a trigger for coral disease" - "Infectious disease epidemics are causing widespread and alarming declines in reef-building coral species, the foundation blocks of coral reef ecosystems." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Mussels found near North Pole" - "OSLO - Mussels have been found growing on the seabed just 1,300 km (800 miles) from the North Pole in a likely sign of global warming.

The blue mussels, which normally favour warmer waters like off France or the eastern United States, were discovered last month off Norway's Svalbard archipelago in waters that are covered with ice most of the year, scientists said on Friday.

"The climate is changing fast," said Geir Johnsen, a professor at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology who was among experts who found the bivalves. Molluscs were a "very good indicator that the climate is warming", he said.

"It seems like the mussels we found are two to three years old," he told Reuters. Such shellfish have not been recorded off the islands since Viking times 1,000 years ago during another warm period." (Reuters) [em added]

"What Exactly Are the Global Warming Models Saying?" - "It's fright month for adherents of global warming who, following upon Russia's failure to meet the Sept. 6 deadline for signing a global treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions, apparently want to scare the public at large to pressure the Bush administration to support such measures." (Anthony Lupo, TCS)

"Fight to the last resort as alpine crisis looms" - "With climate change taking a grip on the continent, the Alps are set to become a battleground between developers and conservationists." (London Observer)

Cooler Heads Project Vol VIII, No 19 (CEI)

The Week That Was Sept. 18, 2004; Sept. 11, 2004; Sept. 4, 2004. (SEPP)

"Global warming flexes its muscle" - "The NSW Greenhouse Office has produced a list of communities that will bear the initial impact due to rising sea levels and greater storm activity." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Afraid of global warming? Chill out" - "First there was Frances, then came Ivan, and now Jeanne is stirring herself to do her worst. They are, of course, the hurricanes that are promising to make it the windiest season ever recorded in the Caribbean. Who knows, as we grind through the alphabet, we may even get to Hurricane Tony, named after the man who last week set out on a new mission to save the planet.

Even by his own low standards, the Prime Minister's speech marked a deep meteorological depression. To maintain, as he did, that climate change is the gravest threat we face, is arrant nonsense. Compared with, say, an atomic bomb in Piccadilly Circus or Times Square, it's almost benign." (Neil Collins, Daily Telegraph)

"Finally, U.S. facing up to global warming" - "The Atlantic Ocean is rising, spring comes a couple days earlier, winters are warmer, wildfires are bigger, weather is wackier, the glaciers are melting. Global warming is getting worse thanks to the pollution man is pouring into the environment. It’s time for urgent work to slow and reverse the trend." (The Virginian-Pilot)

Sigh... "Warning in the Winds" - "Watching storm after powerful storm plow into the U.S. coastline this year, I can't help wondering if the world's weather is actually trying to tell us something. Perhaps it was only coincidence that Hurricane Frances was covering the whole of Florida with blinding winds and torrential rains just as George W. Bush climbed the podium in New York to speak to the Republican National Convention (while poor brother Jeb was forced to stay home in Tallahassee). But to someone like me, who has been tracking global warming and its effects around the world for several years, it almost seemed as though the storm was trying to deliver a forceful reminder of the reality of climate change and the need to act now to address it." (Mark Lynas, The Washington Post)

"Personal view: There's pain but little gain from the climate change agenda" - "The Prime Minister warned last week that unchecked climate change could unleash a human and economic catastrophe and a "green industrial revolution" would be necessary to avert disaster. This quite ignores the fact that climate change has always been with us." (Ruth Lea, Daily Telegraph)

"Canada needs to develop a clear plan on Kyoto" - "Prime Minister Paul Martin's closest advisers are now busy putting together his government's Speech from the Throne, setting out its agenda for the upcoming meeting of the new Parliament elected by Canadians on June 28.

What we need in this speech are some goals and ambitions for Canada.

One of the most important messages must be a clear statement on the urgency of meeting the challenge of climate change, underlining Canada's commitment to implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and spelling out a strong forward-looking plan to make Canada a leading nation in moving beyond Kyoto to the next round of even more ambitious targets." (David Crane, Toronto Star)

"Climate change is here" - "AUSTRALIANS have to accept rainfall across much of the nation will never again fall as heavily as it did last century, a leading expert on climate change has warned." (Sunday Times)

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

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

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

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

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

"New life for old nuclear plants" - "Despite concerns over safety, including uncertainty over how long the reactors will be able to keep running, some licenses have been renewed through 2040." (Chicago Tribune)

"Beckett rejects nuclear option" - "Building nuclear power stations would risk landing future generations with 'difficult' legacies, the Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, warns today in a clear rebuff to the nuclear industry." (London Guardian)

"Blair's missing the point on financing renewables: fossil volatility costs more" - "Tony Blair's call on British businesses to take the moral lead on climate change is laudable and his encouragement to the UK renewable and low-carbon energy industry is welcome. But by tying renewables so closely to climate change, we are in danger of undervaluing them." (Tony White and Graham Meeks, The Guardian)

"Like it or not, the fossils aren't dead yet" - "While waiting for a 'miracle' fuel, we must learn how to burn hydrocarbons more cleanly, writes Brian Wilson" (The Observer)

"Britons 'in favour of wind farms'" - "Three-quarters of Britons believe wind farms are necessary to help meet the energy demand, a survey by the British Wind Energy Association suggests." (BBC Online)

"Asia switches slowly to green power" - "SINGAPORE -- Rising oil prices and pollution are fueling interest in green power in Asia but experts see no prospect of a rapid switch from the region's growing dependence on oil, coal and gas. The problem is the high cost of renewable energy projects such as solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels, lack of government incentives and vested interests who believe green power is unviable or a threat to their wallets." (Reuters)

"Down on the pharm" - "Will genetically engineered goats, rabbits and flies be the low-cost drug factories of the future? Medicines derived from transgenic animals are commercially untested, and could yet run into regulatory, safety or political problems." (Economist)

"'Ghost bugs' could help cut pesticide use" - "Bacterial "ghosts" could be a new way to treat plants with pesticides. These empty shells of bacterial cells can be filled with chemicals and will stick to leaves and stems even after heavy rain." (New Scientist)

"NCL working on pest-resistant crops" - "The National Chemical Laboratory in India is working on non-traditional lines to address the problem of agricultural pests, without inviting the hazards of environmental pollution or creating drug-resistant pests" (Times of India)

"Genetic modification of linseed produces healthier omega 3 and 6 fatty acids" - "In research reported this month in The Plant Cell, scientists succeeded in producing genetically modified linseed plants that accumulate significant levels of very long chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in seed. This is the first report of the successful engineering of very long chain PUFA into an oilseed crop, and is an excellent example of how genetic engineering of agronomically important species can provide real benefits to human health and nutrition and the environment." (American Society of Plant Biologists)

"Alan Oxley: Biosafety pact threatens future of food exports" - "It's dangerous in the Antipodes. We are so far from anywhere that we face the risk of dropping out of the global mainstream and, even worse, deluding ourselves to think that it is a plus to do so.

Wellington has just reminded us of this hazard by announcing it will ratify the Cartegena Biosafety Protocol." (New Zealand Herald)

"EU readies for another clash on approving new GMO" - "BRUSSELS, Sept 17 - EU governments look as divided as ever over genetically modified (GMO) food as a new request for importing a biotech maize type engineered by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto comes up for approval next week." (Reuters)

"Brazil Senate delays vote on GMO food bill to Oct." - "BRASILIA, Brazil, Sept 16 - Brazil's Senate on Thursday delayed voting on a bill to regulate genetically modified foods and stem cell research due to lack of a voting quorum and will try again in October." (Reuters)

September 17, 2004

"Kerry's Nuclear Power Problem" - "Kerry's support of nuclear energy is inconsistent with his opposition to Yucca Mountain." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Obituary: Eric Voice - "Eric Voice, who has died aged 80, volunteered to ingest plutonium in order to measure the effects of radioactivity on the body and to try to remove public misconceptions about the dangers of nuclear technology; he suffered no ill effects and died of motor neurone disease." (Daily Telegraph)

Lacking radiation: "Sun-starved Britons face increased risk of cancer" - "Pale-faced Britons who do not get enough sun during the winter months are left with insufficient levels of vitamin D, increasing their risk of cancer, diabetes and bone diseases, experts said yesterday." (Independent)

"Rise in consumers 'threatens environment'" - "A rapidly growing global consumer class of 1.7bn people is the main cause of the world's worsening environment problems, according to a report from the United Nations Population Fund. The consumers responsible for most of the world's meat eating, paper use, car driving and energy use are no longer limited to industrialised countries, the report indicated." (Financial Times)

so, too, a different consumer: "Day -- After Day After Day After Day -- of the Locusts" - "Africans in the Sahel are also very familiar with locusts, but their great dread is of locusts getting into their crops rather than their hair. The inhabitants of countries including Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Niger and Chad have their crops destroyed, putting livelihoods and lives at risk. The region is currently suffering its worst locust infestation for 15 years and a contributory factor is that the public health agencies in those countries can no longer use the single best weapon against locusts -- the insecticide Dieldrin." (Roger Bate, TCS)

more UN anti-chemistry: "UNEP warns against use of methyl bromide, harmful to ozoner" - "NAIROBI - The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned governments against use of methyl bromide, which could have hinder the global bid to repair the atmospheric ozone layer that filters out harmful levels of the sun's ultra-violet rays." (AFP)

"In Defense of the President's Environmental Record" - "While the environment remains at the bottom of the priority list for US voters, a number of factions continue nevertheless to flail wildly at the President on his green record -- claiming that his administration's work on the environment is poor, or worse:" (Max Borders, TCS)

"Vote for Private Conservation!" - "CEI has entered an EnviroAd contest sponsored by aBetterEarth.org , which is a project of the Institute for Humane Studies .  The article below tells of the wood duck, one of many examples of private conservation—and the example highlighted in our ad. Click here: http://www.abetterearth.org/enviroads/live/entries.php?id=255 to vote for the private conservation!   We need you to rate the ad 5 out of 5!  Any awards will be used to support the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s private conservation research programs.  You will need to register for the ad contest and then an input your vote.  Please share this email with everyone you know—and send to all your lists!" (Angela Logomasini, CEI)

"Past Antarctic ice sheet development linked to ocean temperatures and carbon dioxide" - "New research published in the September 17 issue of the journal Science sheds light on the evolution of Earth's climate system by identifying changes in temperature, ocean circulation, and global carbon cycling associated with the rapid growth of Antarctic ice sheets approximately 14 million years ago." (University of California - Santa Barbara)

Guess this shows we mustn't let atmospheric CO2 levels fall in case we'd start an ice age?

"Malaria experts abuzz on global warming fears" - "OSLO — Malaria-carrying mosquitoes were once a scourge of Shakespeare's chilly England and even Arctic regions of the Soviet Union.

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

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

But some insect experts swat those reports as simplistic." (The Daily Tribune)

"Global warming will spawn more Ivans: Climate change leading to hurricanes" - "An International group of scientists studying global warming predicted in 2001 a sharp increase in melting of glaciers and polar ice, heat waves and related deaths, severe storms and flooding, and drought and wildfires, as well as substantially altered patterns of species migration.

Three years later, it can be reported all of that and more has happened - with stunning and record speed. The latest fearful evidence storming in from the Gulf of Mexico goes by the name of Ivan, the fourth major hurricane of a season that usually doesn't produce so many and still has 2½ months to go." (The Baltimore Sun)

"Sowing The Whirlwind" - "News loves hurricanes. The storms usually begin to form far away and thereby provide at least a week’s worth of stories prior to the Main Event. Down in the tropical Atlantic, infant hurricanes bomb down to ridiculously low barometric pressures and feature outrageous sustained winds. Hurricane Ivan’s lowest pressure would make the needle on your home barometer spin around twice. Ivan’s eyewall winds actually were a 20-mile wide tornado. Incredible stuff!" (GES)

"Hurricanes, global warming and scientists: A volatile stew" - "Pick two scientists, any two scientists with strong climatology credentials, and ask whether global warming has anything to do with the recent onslaught of hurricanes and typhoons. There's no doubt which side the media is on -- almost every story about global warming and hurricanes available in searches of Google News carries a headline making the link, even when the stories themselves contain contradictory evidence." (Francis Till, NBR)

"The road to nowhere" - "Labour's environmental policy is well-meaning and ambitious - but fatally flawed. As a result, overall greenhouse gas emissions are rising" (John Vidal, The Guardian)

"Blair's New Battle: Weather of Mass Destruction" - "In a hyperbolic speech Tuesday night, British Prime Minister Tony Blair tried to rouse leaders of the G-8 group of industrial countries to battle global warming now or face "catastrophic consequences." Meanwhile, Mr. Blair and other supporters of the Kyoto Protocol, which would require large cuts in energy use, are pointing to recent volatile weather conditions, including hurricanes in the southern U.S., as evidence that rising temperatures are already having disastrous effects.

Is Kyoto making a comeback? Don't bet on it. It is difficult, in fact, to see how the treaty will survive the winter." (James K. Glassman, Wall Street Journal Europe)

"Japan to have 100 days a year over 30 C by 2050" - "Japan will have more than 100 days a year with temperatures of 30 C or above within 50 years due to global warming, according to research results released Thursday by organizations including the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) and Tokyo University's Center for Climate System Research." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Greener than thou" - "With the sudden flood of top-level warnings about imminent environmental doom, one could be forgiven for thinking that new scientific discoveries had been made about the link between global warming and climate change. But nothing much has changed - in terms of the science, that is." (sp!ked)

"Struggling to find GM's middle ground" - "If a 3m-high inflatable maize cob can keep GM foods out of Europe, the biotech industry doesn't have a hope." (BBC Online)

"NZ: Government to ratify Cartagena Biosafety Protocol" - "The government will ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, Environment and Associate Foreign Minister Marian Hobbs announced today. Public consultation on ratification attracted more than 1200 responses, mostly in favour." (Press Release)

"Portugal urged to ban genetically modified seeds" - "LISBON - An umbrella group of eight Portuguese environmental groups urged the government to ban the sale of all genetically modified (GMO) seeds for commercial use on national soil." (AFP)

September 16, 2004

"Use of DDT urged in malaria fight" - "Anti-malaria activists are accusing the U.S. Agency for International Development of being a prisoner of politically correct policies that are inadvertently killing millions of children and pregnant women in Africa." (Tom Carter, The Washington Times)

"Bush and Kerry battle over science" - "The leading international science journal Nature has focussed the US presidential election campaign on science by asking both President George Bush and Senator John Kerry for their views on the major issues." (BBC News Online)

"Candidates battle for hearts and minds in the science journals" - "The battle for the US presidency enters new territory today with both candidates turning to scientific journals to set out their election promises. In interviews in today's issue of Nature and tomorrow's Science, George Bush and John Kerry outline their positions - from whether the US should build nuclear weapons to global climate change. The arguments are mostly well-established but their engagement with the scientific establishment is revealing." (The Guardian)

"9/11 search-and-rescue dogs exhibit few effects from exposure to disaster sites" - "The search-and-rescue dogs deployed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have not suffered either immediate or short-term effects from exposure to the disaster sites. For the last three years, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine researchers tracked the health of 97 of 212 identified dogs deployed at the 9/11 disaster sites. Neither the death rate nor the cancer rate among the deployed dogs is different from that of the control group." (University of Pennsylvania)

"It's the Fitness, Stupid" - "Consumers were left more confused than ever when the media reported on two obesity-related studies from the Journal of the American Medical Association last week. One seemed to find it was more important to be fit than thin for your heart health; the other that it was more important to be thin than fit to prevent diabetes. As Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle wrote, the two studies disagreed and settled "nothing" in the debate over what matters most to a person's fitness: his overall fitness or his weight. " (Sandy Szwarc, TCS)

"Slowing population 'lacks funds'" - "Efforts to slow down the growth of the world's population by linking poverty relief to women's rights and access to birth control are working, the UN says." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"'Cities in crisis' leaders warn" - "World leaders and mayors have warned that rapid urbanisation is set to become one of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century." (BBC News Online)

"Man-made rainforest baffles scientists" - "A Man-Made rainforest that should have taken millennia to evolve has baffled scientists by springing up in just 150 years." (Independent)

"Climate Alarmists Try to Scare Californians Again; Study Authors First Warn Wine Industry, Now Warn of Heat Deaths" - "WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 -- After first warning Californians last month that global warming was going to spell the end to the state's prized wine industry, climate alarmists are back with a death threat for the state's residents. According to a new report released this week by ATMOS Research and Consulting, global warming will cause the state to experience longer and more intense heat waves in the decades ahead, leading to more heat-related deaths in several major cities. Yet experts from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) say this is another attempt to scare people using shaky science." (U.S. Newswire)

"Sen. McCain Holds Junk Science Climate Hearing: Regional Predictions of Harm Unsupported by Evidence" - "Washington, D.C., September 15, 2004—Today Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is again holding hearings on the possible impacts of climate change and is again failing to present an accurate picture of the relevant science. Pursuing his policy of favoring alarmist predictions over balanced debate, the Commerce Committee Chairman leads a stacked witness list chosen to bolster support for his own legislative agenda." (CEI)

"U.S. trying to ice report on global warming, Senate told" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is trying to bury an international report that contains recommendations on addressing the dramatic impacts of global warming on the people of the Arctic, an Arctic leader told a Senate panel Wednesday." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Global warming may spur fiercer hurricanes-experts" - "WASHINGTON, Sept 15 - As Hurricane Ivan and its powerful winds churned through the Gulf of Mexico, scientists told Congress on Wednesday that global warming could produce stronger and more destructive hurricanes in the future." (Reuters)

So "may" the Tooth Fairy or the flap of a butterfly's wing...

"Scientists Debunk 'Global Warming' Effect on Hurricanes" - "The recent onslaught of hurricanes has prompted some media outlets to mention "global warming" as a possible cause, but a team of climate researchers set the record straight." (CNSNews.com)

"Ivan May Just Be a Messenger" - "Hurricane Ivan is among the most powerful Atlantic storms in recent history, and more such storms are likely in the future due to global warming, say climate experts.

"Global warming is creating conditions that (are) more favorable for hurricanes to develop and be more severe," said Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado." (Wired News)

"Are all these severe hurricanes due to global warming?" - "Very unlikely. Weather systems in the Atlantic follow a 20-year cycle of severe storms and relative calm. We just happen to be nearly 10 years into the upswing of this cycle." (The Guardian)

"Stormy onslaught continues" - "But experts say no trend underlies the increase in hurricane damage." (News @ Nature)

"Payback For Blair?" - "Environment: Enough can't be said about Tony Blair's unwavering support of the U.S. in the war on terror. His position on global warming is another matter." (Investor's Business Daily)

CRUcet.gif (9590 bytes) Blair's position on 'global warming' is quite strange given the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research's Central England Temperature record. The adjacent thumbnail links to a graph of annual mean CET from 1659 (the depths of the Little Ice Age) to 2001 (latest available). Of particular interest is the peak calculated mean temperature of 10.63°C (1990; 1999), or rather, by how little it exceeds the 10.62°C calculated for 1949 or even the 10.47°C calculated for 1733.

Ponder, for a moment, 270-odd years of development and urbanization while recovering from the Little Ice Age. For all that the CET annual mean record is breached by a paltry 0.16°C? Up just one one-hundredth of one degree (0.01°C) during the 50 most-significant years of atmospheric CO2 increase... well call out the guard, something must be done!

"Mix-up over review of emissions" - "A promise by the prime minister to step up action to tackle climate change was postponed by a few months just the next day." (The Guardian)

"Journalistic Balancing Act?" - "A new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change (see here for a press report) argues that, by adhering to the journalistic standard of balance when reporting on global warming, prestigious American newspapers have introduced an "informational bias" into public discussion of the issue. The trouble is that the analysis fails to take into account why we have newspapers in the first place. The authors are essentially making a case for censorship in favor of special interests." (Iain Murray, TCS)

"Global warming projected to cause more rain, flooding in Japan" - "TOKYO — A team of researchers has found that continued global warming is expected to increase the rainfall in Japan during July at the end of the century." (Japan Today)

"Could a 'super-rich' America save the climate?" - "MACHIAS - Economist David Victor agrees with the majority of the world's scientists that global climate change is inevitable, in large part, because of the human race's use and misuse of the world's natural resources. However, Victor imagines a future where all but the most catastrophic and unpredictable impacts of climate change can be stemmed through the wealth of a future "super-rich" American society - without the need for top-down international rules such as those proposed in the Kyoto Protocol." (Bangor Daily News)

"Japan struggles to meet Kyoto protocol targets" - "Japan will fail to meet its Kyoto protocol targets for reducing greenhouse gases unless it buys a large quantity of emissions credits from other countries, according to analysts and diplomats, underlining the credibility problems of the unratified international treaty.

Japan, where the protocol was drawn up in 1997, has been seen as crucial to the success of the agreement, which has not been ratified by the US. Japan is committed to cutting average greenhouse gas emissions by 6 per cent from 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012, but is currently emitting about 10 per cent more than it did in 1990." (Financial Times)

"Will U.S. change tune on Kyoto?" - "The U.S. government recently released an official report in which it acknowledged global warming is partially induced by human activity.

In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pointed out in its third report that carbon dioxide emissions were a major causal factor of global warming.

The conclusion presented by the panel, which comprised scientists from all over the world, can be called common sense. But U.S. President George W. Bush took a different view.

Washington stood on the sidelines with Australia as the world agreed to the Kyoto Protocol--the international framework to prevent global warming--in 2001, saying it would adversely affect the U.S. economy, and that scientific mechanism of global warming was uncertain." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Has Blair the energy to convince Exxon?" - "Talking green is all well and good, but, says Mark Tran, if Tony Blair wants to get even halfway to his goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, he's going to have to wean consumers off oil and convince giants such as ExxonMobil it's worth their while changing" (The Guardian)

"UK needs 'more nuclear stations'" - "Climate change demands Britain consider building new nuclear power plants, says Lord May, the Royal Society president." (BBC Online)

"Building of new nuclear power units not ruled out" - "The government has not ruled out the possibility of building new nuclear power stations to meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Tony Blair said yesterday.

In a speech about "catastrophic" climate change, Mr Blair said the government's policy on nuclear power had not changed since last year's energy white paper which left the nuclear option open.

Some experts have warned that nuclear power will have to provide half of Britain's electricity needs if the government is to meet its international commitment on reducing greenhouse gases.

The government yesterday rejected claims that the Department of Trade and Industry's own research had concluded a large expansion of nuclear power was needed to meet long-term climate goals." (Financial Times)

"New York Summer Without New York Smog?" - "Summer is over, and it was a very good one for air quality in New York City. In fact, 2004 ranks as perhaps the cleanest year on record, and the long-term trends point to further improvements in the years ahead." (Ben Lieberman, The New York Post)

"Organic Doesn't Necessarily Mean Healthier" - "In the category of facts that "everyone knows" is the assumption that organic foods (mostly produce) are better for people's health than the same items produced by conventional means. According to a recent article from CNN, a number of schools are now providing children with salad bars consisting of organic foods and are patting themselves on the back about giving the kids more healthful foods." (Ruth Kava, ACSH)

"The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution" - "The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution is a book by Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, with a foreword by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. In this provocative and meticulously researched book, Henry Miller and Gregory Conko trace the origins of gene-splicing, its applications, and the backlash from consumer groups and government agencies against so-called “Frankenfoods”—from America to Zimbabwe. They explain how a “happy conspiracy” of anti-technology activism, bureaucratic overreach, and industry maneuvering has resulted in a regulatory framework that squanders advances in biotechnology and denies farmers and consumers in the U.S. and abroad the benefits of this safe and environmentally beneficial tool." (FrankenfoodMyth.com)

"Strict guidelines spell end of GM-free product claims" - "New Zealand is unlikely to see claims of GM-free food after strict draft guidelines issued by the Commerce Commission yesterday.

The new draft reaffirms the commission's longstanding policy that any claim that a product is "GM-free" will breach the Fair Trading Act if it contains any trace of genetically modified products, or if any of its components have been made by a process involving genetic modification." (New Zealand Herald)

"Canada: Feds secretly working on GM wheat: Greenpeace" - "WINNIPEG - It appears Agriculture Canada is still working on genetically modified wheat. Greenpeace officials say documents obtained through the Access to Information Act reveal an agreement with the biotechnology company, Syngenta. The agreement has federal researchers conducting field trials of genetically modified wheat at three secret locations in Western Canada this year. The wheat in question is resistant to a fungus called fusarium, which makes infected crops inedible." (CBC)

"Campaign launched for GMO-free zones in Europe" - "A joint campaign was launched yesterday in Strasbourg by the Assembly of European Regions and Friends of the Earth to lobby for GMO-free regions." (EUObserver)

September 15, 2004

"Byproduct of water-disinfection process found to be highly toxic" - "A recently discovered disinfection byproduct (DBP) found in U.S. drinking water treated with chloramines is the most toxic ever found, says a scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who tested samples on mammalian cells." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Against the grain" - "Health campaigners say it is implicated in tens of thousands of strokes and heart attacks each year. Now the government wants to persuade us all to eat less of it. But is salt really as bad for us as the health lobby insists? Sarah Boseley and Tim Radford investigate" (The Guardian)

Uh-huh... "The Return of the Ozone Layer" - "PARIS, Sep 14 The ozone layer of the Earth's atmosphere, assailed for decades by chemical products used in industry and agriculture, could begin to regenerate itself in the years ahead, predicts Rajendra Shende, director of the United Nations Environment Programme's Energy and Ozone Action Unit." (Tierramérica)

Who said it was broken? See: The "Ozone Layer" - what's going on?

"Awaiting Ivan in the Big Uneasy" - "NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 14 -- Walter Maestri, an emergency manager here in America's most vulnerable metropolitan area, has 10,000 body bags ready in case a major hurricane ever hits New Orleans. As Hurricane Ivan's expected path shifted uncomfortably close to this low-lying urban soup bowl Tuesday, Maestri said he might need a lot more.

If a strong Category 4 storm such as Ivan made a direct hit, he warned, 50,000 people could drown, and this city of Mardi Gras and jazz could cease to exist." (Washington Post)

"Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Global Warming" - "This year's active hurricane season is sure to bring out those who point to severe weather events as evidence of global warming. Never mind that the National Hurricane Center has been warning for many years that the U.S. coast has had a long run of relatively good luck, and it's only a matter of time before things change. The 1930's through the 1950's was a particularly bad time for major hurricanes hitting the United States. Well, at least for 2004, things have changed." (Roy Spencer, TCS)

"Blair 'shocked' by climate change" - "Tony Blair has said time is running out for tackling climate change." (BBC Online)

Click for audio.

"UK: PM gives dire warning on climate" - "Urgent action is needed now to combat the world's "greatest environmental challenge" - global warming, the prime minister has said. The effects of climate change would be felt within a generation unless action was taken now, he warned. In a key speech delivered on Tuesday, he said the world's richest nations had a responsibility to "lead the way." (BBC Online) | PM: Climate change an 'urgent issue' (Press Release)

"UK: PM'S ENVIRONMENT SPEECH" [Press briefing] (Number 10)

These are usually much more informative than the speeches themselves. Importantly, Blair looks to be calling for yet another IPCC-style exercise among the major nations/G8, presumably outside the UNFCCC.

Note that the press got the impression Blair was de-emphasizing Kyoto, while the PMOS (Prime Minister's Official Spokesman) emphasized technology and getting China and India in on the act (a possible hint at C and C?). Note also the repeated emphasis that this isn't about President Bush.

"UK: PM Speech on Climate Change" [Text of speech] (Number 10)

"Earth Faces Meltdown - But What Do We Do About It?" - "Planet Earth is facing global meltdown with climatic changes that threaten life as we know it. Governments around the world face the mammoth challenge of combating geological transformations never before witnessed. Global warming, unprecedented levels of greenhouse gas, rising oceans and increasingly extreme weather – future generations face an ecological timebomb." (PA News)

"Russia seen on track to ratify Kyoto - UNEP chief" - "BARCELONA, Sept 14 - Russia should ratify the Kyoto pact on climate change and breathe new life into it, as economic considerations win out over the doubts of some senior politicians, a leading U.N. environmentalist said." (Reuters)

"Global Jockeying over Global Warming" - "British Prime Minister Tony Blair's call for America to ratify the Kyoto Protocol this week tacitly acknowledges that Russian ratification, thought by then-Commissioner Wallstrom to have been secured by EU concessions on Russian World Trade Organization membership earlier this year, is no longer a serious prospect." (Iain Murray, EU Reporter Online)

"'Cool gray city' projected to turn murderously hot" - "Temperatures likely to rise by mid-century as a result of global warming, study warns" (San Francisco Chronicle)

The saddest part of this is the associated online poll, where, at time of writing, almost 2 out of every 3 of some 700 respondents had answered "Yes" to the question: "Do you believe study predicting frequent heat waves in SF by 2050?" Now that's tragic.

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Drought in the Heartland: Will the U.S. Corn Belt "Dry Up and Blow Away" as a Result of Global Warming?" - "Climate models have a long history of answering this question in the affirmative; but concomitant with their string of dire predictions, Mother Nature appears to have been moving in the opposite direction." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Temperature (Trends -- Regional: Europe, General)" - "How would the recent temperature history of Europe best be described?  And what does that description suggest about the source of the warming that fueled the demise of the Little Ice Age?" (co2science.org)

"Growth Response of Trees to CO 2 and Nitrogen (Trees: Other)" - "Do trees respond better to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment in terms of their growth and development when soil nitrogen concentrations are optimal or suboptimal?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Burr Medick, Compact Brome, Erect Brome and Medicago glomerata Balb." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Cyclical Drivers of Glacial Activity in Alaska" - "What are they?  How well do they describe the ebb and flow of Alaskan glaciers?  And what do the results suggest about greenhouse gas-induced climate change?" (co2science.org)

"The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age on the Faroe Islands" - "Are these extreme nodes of the millennial-scale oscillation of climate that reverberates through glacial and interglacial periods alike experienced in environments that are primarily marine in nature?" (co2science.org)

"A Roman Warm Period on East Antarctica's Windmill Islands?" - "Was the coast of East Antarctica two thousand years ago really much warmer than it is today … when the air's CO 2 concentration was 100 ppm less than it is currently?" (co2science.org)

"How Long Can Carbon Continue to Accumulate in the Soils of Boreal Forests?" - "Is it of such a length of time that their carbon "sinks" will not fill so rapidly as to become ineffective after a period of time that is too short to have an effective lasting impact on the air's CO 2 concentration?" (co2science.org)

"Growth Responses of Two Plant Pests to Foliage Grown in High-CO 2 Air" - "Are the larval growth rates of the pests enhanced or reduced when they eat foliage grown under twice the ambient atmospheric CO 2 concentration?" (co2science.org)

"Simon Jenkins magisterial on Blair and 'global warming' hypocrisy..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"Nuclear Power 'Threatens the World Too'" - "Using nuclear power to combat climate change would replace one global threat with another, green campaigners warned today. The stark message came after a Government official forecast nuclear energy would have to provide half of Britain’s electricity if it is to hit international targets to cut greenhouse gases." (PA News)

"We need more nuclear power stations, not wishful thinking" - "The Prime Minister yesterday issued a rallying call to the world to respond urgently to the increasing threat of greenhouse gases which are transforming the climate of our planet. But with Britain leading the way in tackling emissions of carbon dioxide, the biggest culprit in our atmosphere, it is disappointing that a lack of political courage is still preventing the Government from making a hard decision on how we generate our electricity. The truth is that it will be difficult for Britain to lead the way on climate change in the mid-term future without building new nuclear power stations." (Lord May, Daily Telegraph)

"Eclipse of the Sun" - "Why does Wall Street continue to look down on renewable energy? If alternative-energy companies are so hot, why are their stocks so unpopular? Record-high oil prices make wind and solar increasingly competitive. Fear of climate change should brighten prospects for any alternative to fossil fuels, which release the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Yet over the past two years, the worldwide stock-market value of companies developing renewable energy—which includes everything from wind and solar to recycling—fell from $13 billion to $10.7 billion, while the value of fossil-fuel companies surged to record highs of more than $1.2 trillion." (Newsweek)

"Anti-car propaganda that is blindly accepted as truth" - "DR DAN Barlow, the head of research for Friends of the Earth and a member of the Forthright Alliance, used "sustainable" seven times in 300 words about a new Forth bridge. Sustainable alternatives, least sustainable, sustainable option, sustainable transport, sustainable transport planning, sustainable transport alternatives, neither sustainable nor supportable... He was against a new bridge.

"Sustainable" means a lot to environmental lobbyists. It is like perpetual motion or alchemy - a chimera that takes scant account of reality or practicality. It has been endowed with a mystic quality, such as "renewable" or "consultation", and become an ingredient in roundhead collectivist jargon." (Scotland on Sunday)

"Earth Centre closes as visitor numbers drop and debts rise" - "The Millennium Commission conceded yesterday that the first British visitor attraction built to celebrate the environment had been built "ahead of its time" as the venue closed its gates amid mounting losses and dismal visitor numbers.

The £43m lottery-funded Earth Centre opened on colliery spoilheaps near Doncaster, Yorkshire, in 1999, with the high ideal that the public would be interested in the concept of sustainable development." (Independent)

Says it all really. People will pay lip service to high-ideal buzzwords - they just won't pay real money. That's the trouble with "contingent valuation" isn't it - see "Green space no guarantee of greenbacks" for a prime example.

"'Sustainable relief' is needed" - "Governments in areas prone to natural disasters such as flooding, landslides and drought have been urged to turn the aftermath of catastrophic events into greatly improved living conditions for the people affected." (BBC News Online)

"Safe water for a thirsty world" - "Pick a crisis — any crisis — the world is facing today: civil war, famine, AIDS, malaria, land mines. All pale in comparison with the problem we face regarding water. (Toronto Star)

"Researchers release tree genome database" - "CORVALLIS, Ore. — A database of tree genes has been released by Oregon and Swedish researchers in an effort to speed up basic and commercial research." (Associated Press)

"Genetically modified bacterium as remedy for intestinal diseases" - "Researchers from VIB at Ghent University are joining the fight against chronic intestinal disease with a genetically modified bacterium (Lactococcus lactis). The modified bacterium is able to produce medication right in the intestine. The researchers have shown that the genetically modified bacterium is able to manufacture the potential medicine, Trefoil Factors, in the intestines of diseased mice." (VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology)

"Thai government admits GM contamination over papaya crops" - "BANGKOK - Thailand admitted that genetically modified papaya at a state-run experimental centre had contaminated surrounding fruit farms, in a blow to the government's agriculture policy." (AFP)

September 14, 2004

"A Modest Plea for Pollution Control" - "It is now a well-accepted principle that governments can, through central regulatory control, protect us from whatever it decides is "pollution." The word pollution is not a scientific term; pollution is whatever the people who control discourse on this issue deem it to be. In that spirit, I would like to propose that government get busy at once controlling the most damaging form of pollution the human race has to contend with: mind pollution." (Bob Formaini, TCS)

"Arctic's toxic burden harms bears" - "New evidence confirms the damage toxic chemicals are causing to the health of polar bears, conservationists say." (BBC Online)

"Lewis and Clark slip through climatic window to the West" - "They hadn't planned it, but Meriwether Lewis and William Clark picked a fine time for a road trip when they set out to find a water route across the American Northwest two centuries ago. Leading a small group of explorers, known as the Corps of Discovery, Lewis and Clark experienced favorable climatic conditions from 1804 to 1806 in search of an inland "Northwest Passage," according to a Georgia State University professor." (Georgia State University)

"Hurricanes and Global Warming: Is There a Link?" - "I could see this one coming.

The other day a lady in my department saw me and said, "Well, George, with all these hurricanes it's pretty clear that global warming is happening, right?" I think Jane was just being playful, because she's heard me talk about global warming and knows of my "politically incorrect" viewpoint on this issue, Yet she raises a question that a lot of people have been asking: does the busy hurricane year in the Atlantic have anything to do with global warming?

The short answer: no." (George Taylor, TCS)

"About Nature" - "A magazine named Nature is said to be a "journal of science." (Still Waiting For Greenhouse)

"Record highs make 2004 a summer to remember" - "Salmon swam up streams they weren't born in. Southeast Alaska fishermen shrugged off their raincoats and rejoiced in balmy weather. A mountain on Prince of Wales Island sizzled at 103 degrees. And glaciers calved and melted away like there was no tomorrow." (Juneau Empire)

"Penguin Decline Due to Global Warming?" - "The Earth is getting warmer, according to most scientists. In recent years that phenomenon has prompted researchers to investigate what effect rising temperatures are having on cold-loving penguins and other wildlife species." (National Geographic News)

"Howard raises wind of change on climate" - "Michael Howard laid out a series of measures to get Britain's climate change policy back on track yesterday and attacked the government's failure at home and Tony Blair's inability to influence George Bush on the issue." (The Guardian)

"Blair unveils his green offensive with demand US ratifies Kyoto" - "Tony Blair will today urge the United States to commit itself to tougher action to combat global warming and promise that a list of green policies will be included in Labour's general election manifesto." (Independent)

"Blair to Press on Climate Change, Challenge Bush" - "LONDON - Britain's Tony Blair will make an uncompromising speech on climate change on Tuesday, urging the world to act in concert and pressing Washington to change its stance. Government sources say the prime minister's speech, to environmental experts, should not be seen as a cooling of relations with President Bush." (Reuters)

"Russian prime minister opposes Kyoto Protocol" - "Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov is reportedly against Russia's signing the Kyoto protocol, which he has called "ineffective, unfair, and disadvantageous" in a letter to Putin, a Russian newspaper has reported. Other government members, notably the Ministry of Industry and Energy and the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade, believe the Kyoto protocol is to Russia's advantage. The following is text of report by Russian newspaper Vedomosti on 9 September." (Gateway to Russia)

"Scientists set off wrong alarm bells with global warming conclusions" (PDF) - "The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently has been criticized by several prominent economists and economic statisticians for its technical errors and its use of faulty economic assumptions in making global warming predictions." (United States Senate Republican Policy Committee)

"Hydrocarbons in the deep Earth?" - "In an era of rising oil and gas prices, the possibility that there are untapped reserves is enticing. A series of high-pressure experiments indicate the possibility of an inorganic source of hydrocarbons deep in the Earth--hydrocarbons that come from simple reactions between water and rock and not just from the decomposition of living organisms. The study is published in the September 13-17, early, on-line edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (Carnegie Institution)

"State tilting at windmill power" - "WASHINGTON -- Many more windmills would sprout throughout California under a Bush-administration plan given a boost last week." (Fresno Bee)

"Sea windfarms 'put lives at risk'" - "Offshore windfarms and giant turbines are affecting navigation equipment and putting seamen's lives at risk, say maritime experts, who last night attacked the Government for creating potential disaster sites around Britain's coastline." (Yorkshire Post)

September 13, 2004

"Food watchdog launches drive to cut salt intake" - "The government launches a £4m poster and TV advertising campaign to combat excessive salt consumption today amid concerns about the risk to public health posed by its links with high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes." (The Guardian) | Salt victim backs food campaign (The Observer)

"Supermarkets defy ministers over safer food" - "Britain's giant supermarket chains are in open conflict with the Government over unhealthy levels of salt in the food they sell." (Independent)

"Gleneagles G8 summit accused of 'eco-fakery'" - "The G8 summit of world leaders at Gleneagles next year is to be given a carefully crafted green image, according to an internal government memo leaked to the Sunday Herald." (Glasgow Sunday Herald)

"Reservation Comes Into Play as Officials Make Water-Management Decisions" - "MIAMI, Sept. 11 - The wetlands of southern Florida were formed for, or at least well adapted to, the weather of the hurricane belt. Most of its natural vegetation grows low, except for the oak trees. Its native animals are built low to the ground; alligators hunker down and present their tails to the wind when it gets wild." (New York Times)

"Recipe for a Hurricane Relies on Happenstance" - "Hurricane Ivan, which is set to strike western Cuba today, may have a name, path and personal narrative never to be repeated. But it shares a long list of features with every tropical cyclone, named or forgotten, that has formed over warm oceans since time immemorial.

Hurricanes are assembled from the usual building blocks of weather -- air, water, heat, wind, differences in pressure and temperature, and the contours of Earth. In the case of these destructive storms, however, the pieces come together in a way that, while not exactly rare, is always somewhat unlikely.

The result is a phenomenon that is self-feeding and self-reinforcing. A hurricane's size and power allow it to grow even larger and more powerful. For a while at least, hurricanes defy the universe's natural tendency toward disorder -- its pieces becoming more ordered and less random, its energy concentrated rather than dissipated." (Washington Post)

"Why so many hurricanes?" - "This summer's onslaught repeats a long-term cycle, bringing back warmer waters and more storms." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Barrage of Hurricanes May Just Be Florida Normality" - "MIAMI - Sorry Florida. This is normal." (Reuters)

"Japan Battered as Asian Typhoons Take Unusual Turn" - "Despite the unusual weather, experts are wary of linking it to long-term trends such as global warming, noting that Asia as a whole has not seen an increase in storms." (Reuters)

"Storm Activity Part of a Cycle" - "The seemingly nonstop pummeling of Florida during the last month has been the result of a highly active hurricane season mixed with two unusually stubborn high-pressure ridges funneling the storms in a track directly over the state. It is also a taste of things to come." (Los Angeles Times)

Most of the media appear to be sticking close to the facts about hurricanes and cycles. Then again, some aren't: "Why are there so many hurricanes?" (Geoffrey Lean, Independent)

"You ain't seen nothing yet: after Hurricane Ivan, prepare for the return of El Niño" - "Disastrous weather is set to continue for at least another six months, it was officially announced yesterday, as Hurricane Ivan headed for the Cayman Islands and Cuba after leaving at least eight people dead in Jamaica." (Independent)

Not sure where they're going with this - as I recall El Niño events and hurricanes are negatively correlated.

"Leader: Hurricanes are just the start" - "US must see sense on climate change" (The Observer)

and, with a few bob each way: "Devastation linked to global warming" - "Scientists are claiming that the unprecedented ferocity and frequency of the hurricanes that have battered the Caribbean this year can be blamed on one factor: the unexpectedly warm water that has been building up in the Atlantic over the past year.

But some leading US meteorologists reject the idea that this heating is in turn directly linked to global warming. The real villain is the great ocean conveyor belt that ferries warm water from the Equator to the poles, they say. Man-made climate change is a peripheral issue." (The Observer)

"Your Sunday meditation: Tractatus Logico-Climaticus..." (EnviroSpin Watch)

"EDITORIAL: The Fact of Global Warming" - "The Union of Concerned Scientists plans to release a study Monday explaining the ways global warming is changing California. The report predicts a rise in average summer temperatures of up to 5.5 degrees by mid-century, far higher than previous studies have projected. Even the scientists' most optimistic scenario, a temperature rise of only 2 degrees, could cause a host of economically damaging effects, such as the premature ripening of wine grapes." (Los Angeles Times)

"UK party leaders target climate" - "In a rare show of unanimity the British prime minister and the leader of the opposition are both to insist on the urgency of tackling climate change." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"Blair and Howard pledge action on climate change action" - "Michael Howard and Tony Blair will compete to grab the initiative on climate change next week in speeches promising action to use tax incentives and aid to make renewables an attractive buy for the average household." (The Guardian)

"UK must lead on climate change" - "Tory leader Michael Howard has accused Tony Blair of squandering the chance to lead efforts against climate change." (BBC Online)

"Tony Blair to hound 'global warming'..." - "Here is an important Report from: The Barking Sunday Posthorn (Sunday, 12 September)" (EnviroSpin Watch)

"California faces up to last of the summer wines" - "IN California, the grape harvest has arrived early. Among the vineyards of Ridge, high above the Napa Valley, winemaker Paul Draper instructed his team to begin picking on 17 August. It was four weeks ahead of schedule - the earliest in the winery’s 43-year history.

Ridge is not an isolated case. Across the state winemakers and vignerons are reacting to an unprecedented March heatwave in which temperatures soared to 83F (28C). For the first time there is talk of a major "shift" in wine growing seasons.

It took California little more than two generations to establish itself as one of the world’s most important producers of fine wine. Now, nearly 200 years after Franciscan Missionaries planted the first vineyards on the outskirts of Los Angeles there are ripples of concern that California’s lucrative fine wine industry might be coming to an end." (The Scotsman)

"Global warming fears for Chinese crops" - "Rice production in China could fall by as much as a fifth by 2080 because of global warming, according to a British-Chinese study. Overall, China's yields of rice, wheat and corn could drop by as much as 37 per cent over the next 100 years unless levels of carbon emissions are reduced, the researchers said. By the end of the 21st century, they found, average temperatures in China are expected to rise by between three and four degrees celsius." (AAP)

"Lobster Industry Is in Hot Water" - "Starting in the late 1990s, in the southern reaches of its near-shore commercial range, the big-clawed American lobster has been withering at an alarming rate from New York state to Massachusetts. Signs point to global warming. (Associated Press)

"Ireland: Carbon tax U-turn ‘will cost taxpayer €1.1bn’" - "THE taxpayer will have to pay €1.1 billion in fines for the Government’s abandonment of the carbon tax plan because we will fail to comply with international regulations, the Green Party claimed yesterday.

The tax was part of a plan to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions through the Kyoto Protocol by imposing taxes on petrol, diesel, coal, natural gas and peat.

Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy said yesterday that the Government decided to abandon the carbon tax after a long consultation process showed it would have little impact on our annual targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (Irish Examiner) | Ireland abandons carbon tax plan, but vows to meet Kyoto targets (AFP)

"Environmentalists fault company" - "A Cambridge power plant reduced its emissions last year when it switched from oil to natural gas. But environmentalists gathered yesterday to say that the plant simply traded one kind of pollution for another, now threatening the water instead of the air." (The Boston Globe)

"Russia: Fradkov says govt made no decision on Kyoto Protocol yet" - "MOSCOW, Sept 10 -- The Russian government has made no decision on whether to ratify the Kyoto Protocol yet, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said Friday at a meeting with EU members’ ambassadors to Russia. The consultations are still in process, and the experts are about to complete their work, he said. Fradkov also refuted recent media reports that he was against the ratification." (Prime-Tass)

"After wind power, Germany turns to the sun for electricity" - "Germany has launched a renewable energy offensive, first into wind and now solar power but the limits of this policy, introduced as the nuclear industry is phased out, have been exposed by the rise in oil prices." (AFP)

"Australia fails to match EU targets" - "Australia's renewable energy commitments lag behind those of 15 European Union nations and will fall further behind by 2010 following the Federal Government's recent decision not to raise the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) subsidy scheme." (The Age)

"US Atomic Energy Pioneers Regret Lost Chances" - "ATOMIC CITY, Idaho - In the early days of the Cold War, a small team of U.S. scientists watched as nuclear energy powered four light bulbs for the first time." (Reuters)

"How Greenpeace Changed the World Forever" - "Now A Global Monolith, The Vancouver-Born Activist Group Still Has Lessons For Would-Be Peaceniks And Revolutionaries" (Vancouver Free Press)

"Guilt: Use it And Lose it" - “The two biggest sellers in any bookstore are the cookbooks and the diet books,” Andy Rooney once observed. “The cookbooks tell you how to prepare the food, and the diet books tell you how not to eat it.”

Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes it seems that when we eat, guilt is always on the menu.

That reminds me of another saying: Guilt is the mother of invention.

That’s why so many biotech scientists are trying to create food that’s guilt-free. We’ve already used biotechnology to improve some of our most basic crops, such as corn and soybeans. But most of the immediate benefits have accrued to producers, who have seen their yields go up along with the environmental benefits." (Terry Wanzek, Truth About Trade and Technology)

"In three years, 36 states pass laws regulating or aiding biotechnology" - "The state of Oregon has no rules on the cultivation and transport of genetically modified crops. "My personal thinking and department policy is that it doesn't make sense to regulate these things on a state level," said Dan Hilburn, administrator of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's plant division. The federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, regulates the field testing, movement and commercial release of genetically modified, or GM, crops. But other states have begun limited forays into the debate. During the past three years, 36 states have passed 73 laws regulating or promoting agricultural biotechnology." (The Oregonian)

"A growing controversy" - "An effort to genetically create a Roundup-tolerant grass seed stalls because of market, scientific and regulatory dilemmas" (The Oregonian)

"Europe urged to embrace GM foods" - "A major conference on genetically-modified crops has opened in Germany with calls for Europe to embrace GM food more enthusiastically." (Richard Black, BBC News Online)

September 10, 2004

"Cool Summer Gives Global Warmers the Freeze" - "It's been a disappointing summer for global warming alarmists." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Increasingly desperate claims: "Global Warnings" - "Hurricane devastation in the US, flash floods in Japan and a UK village washed into the sea. As climate change gathers pace, devastation caused by extreme weather is becoming more common. Take a visual tour of storm and flood destruction." (Greenpeace)

Cooler Heads Project Vol. VIII, No. 18

"This Time, Man Defeated Nature: Florida's Flood-Control System Kept Frances From Swamping Plains" - "WELLINGTON, Fla., Sept. 8 -- The most remarkable feature of Hurricane Frances was not its gargantuan size, which helped it drench almost all of Florida, or its glacial speed, which helped it dump as much as 13 inches of rain during its leisurely jaunt across the state.

The most remarkable feature of Frances was its flooding -- or, more precisely, its lack of flooding. Millions of people in South and central Florida live in low-lying flood plains that were wetlands in their natural state, and officials had worried that a big slow storm such as Frances would cause enormous water damage. But thanks to the world's most extensive and expensive water-control system, featuring thousands of miles of canals and levees as well as hundreds of powerful pumps, most of those flood plains did not flood." (Washington Post)

"The City That Raised Itself From the Dead" - "Floridians were hit hard by Tropical Storm Frances, but at least they saw it coming. Back in 1900, the people of Galveston didn't." (Ralph Kinney Bennett, TCS)

"Warming a Hot Topic Among Arctic Scientists" - "ABOARD THE PROFESSOR KHROMOV - On a cloudy day in the Chukchi Sea near Alaska's northwestern coast, two marine biologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Zoological Institute pulled up a small crab that could be proof the Arctic is growing warmer.

Boris Sirenko and Sergei Gagayev spent much of a recent voyage through Arctic waters leaning over the starboard side of their research ship, dredging the sea floor for crustaceans.

The so-called graceful decorator crab, or Oregonia gracilis, had never been found anywhere near this cold northern water. "It's real evidence of warming -- maybe," Sirenko said in his cabin aboard the Professor Khromov research vessel." (Reuters)

I wasn't aware anyone believed the world anything but warmer than when it was, um... cooler - it's just the why and by how much that introduces contention. Some like to 'blame' people and CO2 while others point to the sun (see Sun more active than for a millennium).

The Bentinel suggests that's covered though: "NASA Combats Global Warming, Begins Dismantling Sun" - "UTAH - A daring trip to study the solar wind will end on Wednesday with the midair retrieval of extraterrestrial samples above the Utah desert. However, the scientific journey is only the beginning. "We have begun the process of dismantling the Sun," said Charles Elachi, the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "That's going to take us a few years, of course, given that we can only drag off a few pounds at a time. But we hope with the knowledge gained here on Genesis, we can make our next scavenger -- Exodus, to be launched in early 2006 -- even more successful."

Scientists say the material will not only reduce the Sun's overall size, but more importantly, will reduce the number and scale of nuclear fusion reactions taking place on it, thereby reducing its output. "We're taking on global warming at its source," explained Elachi." (The Bentinel)

"Russia Insists It Still Intends to Approve Kyoto" - "MOSCOW - Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted on Thursday Russia still intended to approve the Kyoto pact on climate change, despite official papers showing the government was turning against it." (Reuters)

Groan... "Hurricanes signal a nearing crisis" - "The startling truth is that natural disasters such as wildfires, floods and hurricanes have seen a dramatic increase in their regularity and intensity over the last 20 years. From the period between 1990 an 2000, the total number of natural disasters around the globe has risen from 650 to 850 per year.

To prevent this sort of scenario from occurring, the developed nations of the world, including the U.S., finally signed the Kyoto Protocols in 1997, after ten years of debate . These protocols, mandating the reduction of global emissions by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels, is an important, though not dramatic, step toward dampening the effects of global warming. Though countries including the European Union, China, Canada and Japan have ratified the agreement, the Bush administration withdrew the U.S. from this agreement pending "further environmental study." (Bryan Balin, The Johns Hopkins News-Letter)

"Bad weather a pest, but not often a killer" - "So hurricanes are the hype now. In five or six months, blizzards will be the buzz. A few months later, we'll be talking tornados. Wherever you live in the USA, weather is much discussed and often feared. That's partly because some in the media and some politicians sometimes unnecessarily alarm us." (Al Neuharth, USA TODAY)

"Warming Trend Will Decimate Arctic Peoples, Report Warns" - "BROOKLIN, Canada, Sep 9 - Climate change will soon make the Arctic regions of the world nearly unrecognisable, dramatically disrupting traditional Inuit and other northern native peoples' way of life, according to a new report that has yet to be publicly released." (IPS)

"Transcript: GlobalWarming.org LIVE CHAT: Thursday, Sept. 9 2pm ET" - "Featuring Jonathan H. Adler, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Director, Center for Business Law & Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law on the topic of state Attorneys General lawsuit against public utilities." (globalwarming.org)

"Modeling ocean behavior: The key to understanding our future climate" - "Scientists have long recognized the importance of oceans in our climate. In fact, the unique physical characteristics of our oceans are largely responsible for making the Earth a livable environment. Oceans are major "climate-controllers" because of their large heat capacity." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office)

"Envisat Symposium report day 3: Satellites supporting Kyoto - our future is in our forests" - "The greatest single strength of Earth Observation is its wideness of view: the 10 instruments aboard ESA's Envisat spacecraft allow scientists simultaneous looks across large expanses of our planet." (European Space Agency)

"Michael Moore's Acolytes" - "September 9, 2004 -- Michael Moore, watch out: The left- wing sister-brother act of Robert and Rory Kennedy has a new propaganda piece set to air on HBO tonight about the "dangers" of the Indian Point power plant — and it's likely to make Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" drivel seem a model of objectivity.

The piece is called "Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable." Its goal: to scare the bejabbers out of viewers — and open the way for a panic-driven shutdown of the at-present-indispensable facility." (New York Post)

Living in Australia I don't get HBO and so didn't see this. Judging by the outraged e-mails I have received, it must've been a real 'woohoo hat' doozy! Descriptors include: ridiculous; claptrap; vacuous; specious; impossible; fallacious; moronic; unfounded... I particularly enjoyed the "speculative, uninformed twaddle" passage from one annoyed physicist.

Although not having witnessed the item precludes a personal response I am quite prepared to accept the judgment of suitably qualified viewers and place a Junk Science label on "Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable."

"Hydrogen seen as car fuel of the future" - "Hydrogen produced by nuclear power stations will fuel the world's vehicles by 2050, providing pollution-free transport while combating global warming, the World Nuclear Association was told in London yesterday." (Paul Brown, The Guardian)

"New gas tax ineffective" - "The Environment Ministry is planning to introduce an environment tax when the tax system is revised next fiscal year, but faces many difficulties in implementing such a plan. The tax is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions--the main cause of global warming--by imposing duties on the use of fossil fuels, including coal, petroleum and natural gas. The move will restrict the consumption of those resources and generate revenue for environmental projects." (Yomiuri Shimbun)

"Study finds no link between MMR and autism - but doubts remain" - "A MAJOR new scientific study has found no evidence that the controversial MMR vaccine causes autism in children. The research, published today in the Lancet, debunks the claim made in the same journal six years ago that led thousands of parents to opt for single vaccines against mumps, measles and rubella or to avoid inoculating their children altogether." | So, if not MMR, what is causing a fourfold rise in autism? (The Scotsman)

"Kerry's wellness police" - "When Bill Clinton suggested that John Kerry talk more about domestic issues in order to boost his sagging presidential campaign, the creation of a new federal Department of Wellness was probably not what the former president had in mind. But that's what Mr. Kerry advocated Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C. MSNBC quoted him as stating that, in an effort to reduce the cost of health-care coverage, "I intend to have not just a Department of Health and Human Services, but a Department of Wellness." (The Washington Times)

Here we go again: "Actress Pam Anderson lends image to help chickens" - "Actress Pamela Anderson, always game to ruffle a few feathers in the name of mistreated fowl, has lent her famous face to a billboard campaign calling for a boycott of the KFC chain of chicken restaurants." (Reuters)

"We'd be mad to ignore BSE" - "Mad cow disease hasn't gone away - it's just simmering quietly, writes Jennifer Cooke." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Australians asked to provide water as koalas are dropping from trees because of thirst" - "CANBERRA, Australia — Residents of Australia's drought-ravaged east coast were urged Wednesday to leave buckets of water underneath trees because koalas are dropping dead of thirst." (Associated Press)

The AKF again... not sure that many of their club members have actually seen a koala outside a petting zoo but I digress. Yes, drought affects koalas, as it does all Australian denizens. Yes, koalas can suffer from drought stress and the aged, weak and infirm die. It's a natural cull of our arboreal rabbits - no biggie.

Doh! It just gets worse and worse! "Endangered species list more bleak than originally thought" - "The global extinction crisis ignores thousands of affiliated species that are also at risk of being wiped out, making the list of endangered species much larger and more serious than originally thought, says a study produced in part at the University of Alberta." (University of Alberta)

"Behind the organic label" - "As the industry grows, skeptics are challenging the health claims." (Los Angeles Times)

"How BSE misinformation is devastating the meat industry" - "09/08/2004 - Ken Conrad, a farmer who has been farming organically since 1982, believes that misinformation about the true nature of Mad Cow Disease continues to cost the global meat industry millions. Anthony Fletcher reports." (FoodAndDrinkEurope.com)

"Putting the icy back in the pole" - "The world's biggest ice-cream maker plans to genetically modify ice blocks to imitate Arctic fish in an attempt to solve one of summer's frustrations - melting treats that slide off the stick. Unilever has asked Food Standards Australia to amend the food code to allow it to use an ice-structuring protein that mirrors a protein found in fish in Arctic seas. It protects the fish from damage by controlling ice crystal growth and promises to make ice-cream less messy." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Experts say GM crops alone will not end hunger" - "Swiss experts have warned that genetically modified (GM) crops are not the only way to combat global hunger. A government advisory body said on Thursday that not enough research had been carried out into the impact of gene technology." (swissinfo)

September 9, 2004

"Malaria Costs the African Continent $12bn per annum" - "Prof. Wen Kilama speaks out about the cost of malaria to Africa and the prospects for a malaria vaccine." (The East African (Nairobi))

"Junk-Science Reporting. Marcia Angell does a hatchet job on Big Pharma" - "America's pharmaceutical industry is under scrutiny and attack more than ever before. Critics have pejoratively nicknamed the industry "Big Pharma" (to associate it with "Big Tobacco"); they characterize it as uncaring, duplicitous, profit-hungry, and manipulative; they claim that the industry excels in price-gouging while at the same time delivering very few products of any real value. The resentment of the industry is palpable — from my own conversations with relatives and friends (particularly elderly or infirm ones) to Congress, where advocates are demanding the legalization of drug importation from Canada and elsewhere in a desperate (and, in the long run, futile) attempt to bring drug prices down." (Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH)

"Jabs and junk science" - "Parents-led anti-vaccination groups are becoming hugely influential. But the information they provide is often extremely dodgy, argues Michael Fitzpatrick" (The Guardian)

"The fatal fern" - "Bracken is polluting water supplies worldwide - and causing cancer. Kate Ravilious reports on a shocking discovery" (The Guardian)

"Sleeping with the light on 'raises child leukaemia'" - "Children should not be allowed to sleep with the light on because it inhibits the production of a hormone that protects them from cancer, a scientist said yesterday." (Daily Telegraph)

"New research suggests link between maternal diet and childhood leukemia risk" - "A new study suggests that eating more vegetables, fruit and protein before pregnancy may lower the risk of having a child who develops leukemia, the most common childhood cancer in the United States." (NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

"Chernobyl children have normal mental function" - "NEW YORK - The low level of radiation that occurred after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 did not appear to affect the mental performance of exposed children, researchers in Israel have found. However, they observed that mothers who were pregnant at the time of the accident have children with above-average rates of hyperactivity, regardless of the level of radiation they were exposed to. The investigators therefore suggest that the hyperactivity may reflect heightened anxiety in mothers that was transferred to their offspring." (Reuters Health)

"The Cheeseburgers Didn't Cause Clinton's Heart Trouble" - "Former President Bill Clinton's heart disease and its treatment have been in the headlines of late, and no wonder: heart disease due to atherosclerosis (fatty deposits also containing cholesterol) is the leading killer of Americans, with a death toll of over one-million annually. But for many of us in his age range, the reasons we are so interested are complex: aside from humane concern for his health, we also think: if heart disease can sneak up on an apparently healthy and robust ex-president, who among us is immune?" (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Air pollution stunts lung development in teens" - "NEW YORK - Long-term exposure to air pollution adversely affects lung function in teenagers, results of The Children's Health Study indicate." (Reuters Health)

"Viral suspect for amphibian decline traced to human spread through bait" - "A genetic study indicates that a virus known to be partially responsible for the global disappearance of amphibians may have been transmitted through the bait trade – by infected salamanders being distributed and introduced to remote, uncontaminated environments by interstate bait wholesalers and fishermen." (Arizona State University)

GlobalWarming.org LIVE CHAT Thursday, Sept. 9 2pm ET - Featuring Jonathan H. Adler, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Director, Center for Business Law & Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law on the topic of state Attorneys General lawsuit against public utilities. | Heated Nuisance Suits (Jonathan H. Adler, TCS)

"The Dutch give ground" - "In the past few years, Europe has experienced severe flooding of the Oder, Elbe and Vltava, damaging the historic cities of Wroclaw, Dresden and Prague. In 2004 alone, Bangladesh has again been swamped by the Ganges, Brahmaputra and other rivers, and China has put the Three Gorges Dam on alert because of the rising Yangtze.

Imagine the impact of these disasters on a densely populated country half of which lies below sea level." (Daily Telegraph)

"North Greenland reveals gradual, abrupt climate swings" - "A new, undisturbed Greenland ice deep-core record going back 123,000 years shows the Eemian period prior to the last glacial period was slightly warmer than the present day before it gradually cooled and sent Earth into an extended deep freeze." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Paul Ehrlich vs. the IPCC" - "God save Paul Ehrlich, patron saint of lazy hacks (coff, coff) the world over. He appears to be incapable of opening his mouth without providing a comment suitable for refutation and derision in a thousand articles, his latest being this from the New York Times:

"I have severe doubts that we can support even two billion if they all live like citizens of the U.S.," he said. "The world can support a lot more vegetarian saints than Hummer-driving idiots."

It's a less than magisterial response to an article that trashes his public stance of the past 35 years that there is nothing we can do to solve the population problem. The article pointed out that we have actually solved it and we did so by getting rich. I will agree that he got one thing right, that the world would be a better place with more saints than idiots; but that appears not to be the way the Good Lord planned it." (Tim Worstall, TCS)

Uh-oh... "U.S. better than Canada at cutting greenhouse gases, numbers show" - "Even though the United States has been vilified by environmentalists for withdrawing from the Kyoto accord, it's doing a better job of cutting greenhouse emissions than Canada, figures show." (Canadian Press)

"Another Treaty Custom-Made for Washington?" - "BUENOS AIRES, Sep 8 - The 188 countries that are party to the Climate Change Convention will try to find a way, at their December meeting in Argentina, to get the world's biggest generator of greenhouse gas emissions, the United States, to return to the debate on global warming. That is what the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Joke Waller-Hunter, told IPS on her visit to Buenos Aires this week, three months before the Dec. 6-17 tenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the convention (COP 10), to be held in the Argentine capital. The main hope is that Russia will ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for industrialised nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, that cause global warming." (IPS)

"Russia still unsure on Kyoto, postpones decision" - "MOSCOW, Sept 8 - Russia has not decided if it will support the Kyoto Protocol, the landmark environmental treaty it can sink or save, and the government has asked to delay making an official report to President Vladimir Putin until December.

In a draft report obtained by Reuters on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov criticised the pact, which aims to limit global warming by stabilising greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters)

"Global warming alert" - "BRUSSELS - By the year 3000, Brussels will be a coastal capital and Antwerp will have disappeared into the sea, warned a report out on Wednesday. The study into the effects Belgium could suffer from global warming was carried out by the Catholic University of Leuven (UCL) and was commissioned by the environmental group Greenpeace." (Expatica)

"AG's overreaching" - "Eight state attorneys general, to vindicate their singular view of the public interest, have decided to supersede the federal government's role and sue the nation's five largest public utilities — none of which is in any of the eight states." (Robert A. Levy, The Washington Times)

"It must be bad: the suits are going green" - "The rising cost of climate change is prompting the insurance industry to measure hailstones and monitor tropical cyclones. James Woodford reports." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Oceans to acid" - "Oceans act as giant sponges for CO2 - but what eases global warming harms marine life." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"EC backs off nuclear shutdown" - "The European Union will have to retain the option of building new nuclear power plants for at least the next 50 years, energy commissioner Loyola de Palacio said yesterday.

Insisting there was no alternative, she said: "The production of nuclear energy has been increasing. This is the reality and, with the challenge of climate change, the EU cannot avoid nuclear energy for the foreseeable future." (The Guardian)

"Small Companies Far from Meeting 'Green' Standards" - "MEXICO CITY, Sep 8 - Slowly, the biggest companies in Latin America are adopting environmental regulations to measure and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change." (Tierramérica)

"New batteries aid climate battle" - "A new generation of rechargeable lithium batteries would help reduce global warming, a leading expert says." (BBC News Online)

"Businesses warn global energy demand could triple by 2050" - "In short: Economic growth in the developing world combined with rising population trends mean that global energy demand could double or triple by 2050, putting a growing strain on the earth's climate." (EurActiv)

"World Energy Conference: Oil, gas to remain dominant commodities" - "SYDNEY, Sept. 8 -- Oil and gas will remain a dominant commodity in the world's energy supply mix for at least the next 25 years. The Middle East will continue to be the major supplier and there will be increasing inter-dependence between oil producing and consuming countries." (OGJ)

"Australia, Japan work on near zero-emission coal-fired electricity plant" - "SYDNEY : Australian and Japanese researchers are working on a prototype "near zero-emission" coal-fired electricity plant in an effort to reduce a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, they said.

Announcing the program in the Queensland state capital Brisbane, they said Thursday the oxy-fuel combustion technology could provide a "retro-fit" which could be applied to existing power stations.

The Australian Coal Association said the technology would involve the capture and geological storage of carbon dioxide, the leading cause of global warming, after substituting air with pure oxygen in the generating process." (Agence France Presse)

"Climate change at Rio Tinto" - "The head of Rio Tinto's global energy business has described climate change as a deadly threat to humans and "the most serious environmental issue facing the world." (Melbourne Age)

"Energy Bills Soar in Europe as Wholesale Costs Bite" - "LONDON - Businesses and households across Europe are feeling the heat as gas and power bills surge toward levels not seen since market liberalization started to bite in the late 1990s.

Millions of consumers face higher prices this winter as utilities pass on gains in wholesale costs, which have shot to record levels on the back of rampant oil and coal prices, and tightening environmental laws." (Reuters)

"Canada drips with oil, but it's tough to get at" - "By conservative estimates, the underground deposits around Fort McMurray hold 1.6 trillion - with a "t" - barrels of oil, making them the largest lode of hydrocarbons on Earth. Up to 330 billion barrels of the crude here in Canada's oil sands region are recoverable, geologists say. Saudi Arabia, by contrast, possesses 262 billion barrels of proven reserves." (USA TODAY)

"Sandia experiments may reduce possibility of future water wars" - "A method that uses roughly only one-hundredth the fresh water customarily needed to grow forage for livestock may leave much more water available for human consumption, as well as for residential and industrial uses. As a byproduct, it also may add formerly untapped solar energy to the electrical grid." (DOE/Sandia National Laboratories)

"Biz-War and the Out-Of-Power Elites: The Progressive-Left Attack on the Corporation" - "A valuable new book documents the rise of the new anti-corporate Left, analyzing that movement's ideology, organizing strategies and communications tactics." (CEI)

"Fish to help stem severe bleeding" - "A fish could be used to produce a treatment for people with haemophilia and gunshot wounds, scientists believe. Researchers have already made a blood clotting agent, known as factor VII, from genetically modified tilapia, a freshwater fish farmed for food." (BBC Online)

"Genetically modified corn is on the rise" - "U.S. farmers have planted an additional 4.9 million acres of genetically modified corn this year, increasing the portion of U.S. corn that is genetically modified from 81 percent in 2003 to 85 percent in 2004, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology reports." (Pacific Business News)

"GMO Measure May Be Unconstitutional, Scientifically Inaccurate" - "A measure that would ban genetically modified organisms in Humboldt County recently came under fire.

Measure M qualified for the November ballot in July after it received almost twice as many signatures as it needed to qualify. It is a measure intended to “prohibit the propagation, cultivation, raising or growing of genetically modified organisms” in the county, according to an impartial analysis prepared by Humboldt County Counsel that appears on the Humboldt County elections Web site.

To pass, Measure M needs 50 percent plus one vote.

However, recently, Milton Boyd, chairman of the Biological Sciences Department at Humboldt State University, called into question some of the language used in the proposed ordinance." (The Eureka Reporter)

"Nobody's Afraid of Gm Crops, It's All a Media Scare" - "Prof BRUCE M. CHASSY, executive associate director of the Biotechnology Centre at the University of Illinois in the, US, recently conducted a media discussion on biotechnology in Kampala. He talked to Special Correspondent BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI about the benefits of biotechnology to the African farmer" (The East African (Nairobi))

"EU approves GMO seed for planting across bloc" - "BRUSSELS - The European Union approved yesterday the first biotech seeds for planting and sale across EU territory, angering green groups who maintain they could contaminate other crops." (Reuters)

"EU Sends Mixed Messages on Biotech" - "At the same time, however, the European Commission put off a decision on new labeling rules for seeds amid bitter differences over how much stray bioengineered material could be tolerated in packages of conventional strains before it must be labeled." (AP)

"Permission for GM maize threatens contamination, warn campaigners" - "Seventeen varieties of genetically modified maize are to be made available for planting throughout the EU after a decision that environmental campaigners warned could lead to contamination of conventional crops. The move, the first of its kind by the European Commission, came as the authorities also opened the way to licence the import and processing of a GM oilseed rape produced by the biotech company Monsanto." (Independent)

September 8, 2004

"Ratification Without Representation - Making a joke out of the Constitution" - “Why don't we just give them ours?" Jay Leno asked last summer as the Bush administration was helping Iraq develop a constitution. After all, Leno noted: "It's served us well for over two hundred years, and besides, we're not using it anymore." The joke is both funny and sad — because it's somewhat true. The U.S. Constitution was designed to safeguard American freedoms, but in modern times it has increasingly been disregarded and creatively reinterpreted.

Congress is currently working on legislation that takes constitutional disregard to a new level. At issue is how to implement future changes to a yet to be ratified treaty — the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, known as the POPs Treaty. It imposes international bans on 12 chemicals and sets up a process for banning more chemicals in the future." (Angela Logomasini, NRO)

"Nauseating Cases of Product Liability" - "Product liability cases do little to protect consumers--in fact, the regulations they foster are a threat to public health and a drag on national competitiveness." (Henry I. Miller, The Washington Times)

"Study Finds Lack of Data on Health Effects of 9/11 Dust" - "Days before the third anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center, federal agencies have yet to make a coordinated and comprehensive effort to study the health effects of the debris that filled the air in the weeks after the attack, according to a draft copy of a government study to be presented to Congress today. The study also shows that there is still no federal treatment program for those suffering from related problems." (New York Times)

"No jab link to behaviour problems" - "Bristol researchers find no evidence that a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines is linked to child behaviour problems." (BBC Online)

"30 Day McDiet: Results Are In" - "Over the past few months I've written several short commentaries on Morgan Spurlock's movie, "Super Size Me" -- the documentary about how Mr. Spurlock ate (or rather overate) at McDonald's for 30 days and gained upwards of 25 pounds. I mentioned a couple of people who also ate at McDonald's restaurants for 30 days, with very different results -- Ms. Soso Whaley and Mr. Chazz Weaver. Both of these folks managed, on their strictly fast food diets, to lose weight and improve some of their health-related characteristics like blood cholesterol levels. " (Ruth Kava, TCS)

"Dads 'pass on' radiation effects" - "Fathers exposed to radiation pass on the damage to their children, research suggests. Offspring of radiation-exposed male mice had mutations in their cells suggestive of radiation damage, despite having had no direct exposure." (BBC Online)

"New evidence of radiation risk in childhood leukaemia" - "Ionising radiation has long been recognised as a cause of leukaemia in exposed children. But delegates at a conference in London (Tuesday 7 September) will hear how ground-breaking research is now providing evidence that the children of men exposed to radiation may also be at increased risk of developing leukaemia." (Children With Leukaemia)

"Proposed ban on chemicals angers toy and vinyl manufacturers" - "A proposal from the Dutch Presidency to permanently ban phtalates used in toys is infuriating industry, who says risk assessment procedures are being ignored and the precautionary principle misused." (Euractiv)

"Bad weather brightens autumn leaves" - "The extreme weather endured by Britain this summer will mean a magnificent display of autumn colour across the country, according to woodland experts. Glowing golden and scarlet leaves for the next few weeks may be some consolation for the successive droughts, floods and high winds of 2004. The current spell of high pressure added to the recent rains should ensure that the show is not only sensational, but that it lasts well into autumn, according to David Rose, a tree pathologist at Forest Research." (Daily Telegraph)

Today's hand-wringer: "Scientist: Extreme Weather Will Kill Millions" - "EXETER, England - Millions of people across the globe are set to die early due to extreme weather events such as floods and heat waves caused by climate change, a British scientist said Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Hurricane expert on busy season: 'Our luck ran out'" - "Get used to it.

That's the advice of hurricane experts, who predict Florida's recent spike in hurricanes — two hits in less than a month and another on the way — is a trend that will endure for decades to come.

"We were overdue by a huge margin. Our luck ran out," said Chris Landsea, a hurricane research meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "So many more people are living in harm's way." (Naples Daily News)

Wow! "Kyoto solution? Stuffing Co2 gas back in the ground" (sic) - (Dave Ebner, Globe and Mail)

Not sure exactly what Cobalt2 gas is but Cobalt (Co) melts at ~1,500°C and doesn't boil 'til ~ 2,850°C - now that's global warming!

"Western Canadian study concludes large-scale CO2 storage is safe" - "A four-year, $40-million multidiciplinary study was conducted by the Petroleum Technology Research Centre in Regina was funded by 15 public and private sector organizations and involved 24 research groups in five countries and three continents." (Petroleum Technology Research Centre)

"July Was Coldest Month in Four Years" - "The global temperature report for July 2004 from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (USA) Earth System Science Center found that July 2004 was the planet's coolest month in four and a half years and the coolest July in a dozen years." (Iain Murray, EU Reporter Online)

Sigh... "Growing Scientific Evidence of Global Warming Becoming an 'Urgent Priority' for Business and Other Leaders, Concludes New Conference Board Report" - "Growing scientific evidence is confirming that the world's climate is radically changing and that human activity is now contributing to global warming, according to a report released today by The Conference Board.

The report is based on the collective views of 11 noted climate scientists who met this June under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Conference Board's participation in the meeting was facilitated by Environmental Defense, which links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems.

Concludes the report: "The Earth - for whatever the exact reasons - is on a trajectory toward an ever warmer climate. This cannot be avoided at this point, but the trajectory can be jiggled and potential risks associated with the warming can be mitigated. Ultimately the trajectory could be reversed." (CSRwire)

"Climate change can slash animal gene pools" - "Climate change can slash the genetic diversity of animals, affecting their long-term survival, suggests a study examining the evolution of two rodent species over 3000 years. Previous research has shown that climate change can influence animals' behaviour, such as when migratory birds fly south for the winter. And it can spur genetic adaptations in some insects in just a few generations. But now, the new mammalian study suggests animals may lose the ability to adapt quickly because climate change can cause unexpected shifts in a species' genetic diversity." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Fossils reveal direct link between global warming and genetic diversity in wildlife" - "For the first time, scientists have found a direct relationship between global warming and the evolution of contemporary wildlife. A research team led by Stanford University biologist Elizabeth A. Hadly published its findings in the Sept. 7 online edition of the journal PloS Biology." (Stanford University)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"CO 2 -Induced Foliar Chemistry Changes May Slow Global Warming: The Evidence from Tropical Trees" - "Evidence obtained from tropical trees confirms what has been learned from temperate forests." (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Hurricanes (Atlantic Ocean - Global Warming Effect)" - "Will hurricanes become more frequent and intense if the planet warms?  Climate alarmists routinely say they will.  Real-world data, on the other hand, tell a vastly different story … which is the one reported here." (co2science.org)

"Growth Response to CO 2 With Other Variables -- Nitrogen (Crops: Other)" - "Are high levels of soil nitrogen needed to achieve the greatest CO 2 -induced stimulation of crop yields?" (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Big Bluestem, Compact Brome, Erect Brome and White Clover." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"Jet Contrails: Air Traffic Climate Controllers" - "Do the condensation trails generated by the exhaust from high-altitude aircraft and the outward-spreading cirrus clouds they create have a significant influence on regional climate?" (co2science.org)

"The Little Ice Age-to-Modern Warm Period Transition on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada" - "When did it begin?  And why is this question so important?" (co2science.org)

"Net Primary Production in China is on the Rise" - "How long has it been increasing?  How high has it risen?  What's the driving force behind the phenomenon?  This study, and our review of it, provide the answers." (co2science.org)

"Global Vegetative Productivity: Its Response to the "Twin Evils" of High Air Temperatures and CO 2 Concentrations" - "It is a primary tenet of the radical environmental movement that continued increases in the air's CO 2 content and temperature bode nothing but ill for the biosphere.  So how has the planet's terrestrial productivity fared over the latter part of the 20th century, when both of these factors have reached levels that give the world's climate alarmists great angst?" (co2science.org)

"Desert Biological Soil Crusts" - "The tiny organisms that comprise these communities living on and beneath the surfaces of desert sands provide a host of ecosystem services that make the desert a much more habitable place for higher plants than it would be in their absence." (co2science.org)

Hot air exchange: "EU pollution cap fuels futures" - "The Chicago Climate Exchange will team up with the International Petroleum Exchange to create a new futures market in Europe for greenhouse gas emissions. The European Climate Exchange will provide a forum for the trading of carbon dioxide emission credits and will be a subsidiary of the Chicago exchange, with offices based in Amsterdam." (Chicago Tribune)

Australia's version of the land of fruits and nuts: "Appeal to build power station denied due to greenhouse gas concerns" - "Sydney, Australia - An historic decision rejecting the construction of a power station because of greenhouse gas concerns has been upheld in court, after an appeal attempting to overturn the decision failed. The end of legal action has been welcomed by WWF as an important national first in reducing the pollution that causes climate change. National Power, the project developers who planned on building the Redbank 2 coal power station in the Australian state of New South Wales, lost their appeal against the state government that last year denied a building permit." (WWF)

"Mandate for cleaner power urged" - "Wisconsin should require utilities to produce or buy 10% of the state's electricity from renewable sources, the leader of an environmental and consumer political advocacy group says." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Today's meaching: "Cover-up claim over report on nuclear power dangers" - "Michael Meacher, the former Environment minister, accused the Government yesterday of covering up the risk to human health from nuclear power." (Independent) | Meacher rails at 'biased' cancer report (The Guardian)

"European deaths from air pollution set to rise" - "Deaths from air pollution are likely to rise in European cities, due to the combined effects of climate change and the failure to reduce the emission levels of major pollutants, warns a UK expert." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Action stations" - "The nuclear lobby is making itself heard, arguing that the building of new power plants is essential to meet climate change targets. Catherine Mitchell disagrees." (The Guardian)

"Modified animals continue trend" - "The use of genetically modified animals in UK labs continues to grow, official statistics released on Tuesday show." (BBC News Online)

"“Frankenfood Myth” Debunks Biotech Scare - New Book Explores Politics and Regulation of Biotech Foods" - "Washington, D.C., September 7, 2004—The Competitive Enterprise Institute announces a new book on biotech foods and the future of agriculture by Senior Fellow Gregory Conko and co-author Dr. Henry I. Miller. The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution (www.frankenfoodmyth.com) takes a clear look at one of the most controversial issues of our time and offers a sober assessment on how best to bring the benefits of new agricultural technology to those who need it most." (CEI)

"Monsanto's BT cotton seed sales soar in India" - "U.S. seed giant Monsanto Co. said Tuesday it has sold 1.3 million packets of genetically modified cotton seeds in India this year, recording an almost five-fold increase over 2003 sales." (Associated Press)

"Genetically modified corn is on the rise" - "U.S. farmers have planted an additional 4.9 million acres of genetically modified corn this year, increasing the portion of U.S. corn that is genetically modified from 81 percent in 2003 to 85 percent in 2004, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology reports.

"Crop varieties developed by genetic engineering were first introduced for commercial production in 1996. Today, these crops are planted on more than 167 million acres worldwide. U.S. farmers are by far the largest producers of genetically modified crops," the Pew trust said." (American City Business Journals)

September 7, 2004

"Tanzania: Searching for a Solution to the Malaria Crisis" - "Nets for malaria control are failing in Tanzania, no surprise there. No surprise either that this piece from the UN is inaccurate about the use of DDT. It says that DDT spraying is radical, would be widespread and is harmful to humans and the environment. Wrong on all counts. DDT is a tried and tested and highly effective method of malaria control, is used in tiny quantities inside houses in a targeted and controlled way and is safe to humans and the environment. The UN news agency IRIN has reported inaccurately on DDT before - please stop this and get your facts right IRIN!" (AFM)

"Zambia: Poverty Stifling War on Malaria" - "In Zambia, as in most other places, insecticide treated nets destined for malaria control are being used as fishing nets, harming malaria control and aquatic life (as the insecticides wash off in the water). Thank goodness Zambia is doing the right thing and has restared its indoor residual spraying programme with DDT - it is already saving thousands of lives." (AFM)

"Ill-Gotten Gains Keep Edwards Smiling" - "Everyone knows a Kerry-Edwards win means higher taxes. Few know that half the ticket has already helped raise our medical premiums. You see, while Kerry made his fortune the double old-fashioned way by first inheriting it and then marrying it, his grinning running mate was piling up a Mt. McKinley of cash from medical lawsuits. Further, his favorite weapon was what's known in the science community as "a bunch of hooey." (Michael Fumento, TCS)

"The wonder drug that can transform a story" - "The press's fascination with health scares and miracle cures is enough to make you feel queasy." (Peter Cole, Independent)

"'Fivefold increase' in child leukaemia" - "Childhood leukaemia increased approximately fivefold during the 20th century, a study claims. It also says there were around seven times more sufferers from the disease aged between one and four in the 1990s than during 1911-1915. The statistics will be presented at the five-day Children With Leukaemia conference starting today at Church House in Westminster. Increases in the disease among youngsters have been reported before, but not on this scale. Scientists are divided on the subject because of disagreement about the reliability of early figures." (Daily Telegraph)

"Childhood leukaemia research call" - "Experts are calling for more research into the causes of childhood leukaemia. Doctors have made significant advances in treating the disease over the last 40 years, and far fewer children die from it. But a conference in London on Monday will be told far less progress has been made in identifying what causes the disease." (BBC Online)

"Pesticides linked to child cancer" - "Pesticides and other pollutants in the environment may contribute to childhood leukaemia, say UK scientists." (BBC Online)

"Warning over 'unsafe' natural remedies" - "Herbal remedies may be unsafe, especially when patients suffering from chronic illness take them alongside conventional medicines, scientists warned yesterday." (Independent)

"Time to demystify science to win trust" - "Public concern about the direction of research should be taken seriously, one of Britain's leading scientists will warn today. Dame Julia Higgins, president of the British Association, believes that although people support science through taxes, they have very little control over its uses - and often suffer the consequences. "There is a whole raft of questions about the dual use of science. Knowledge always has a dangerous side, you can use it for good, you can use it for ill." Nuclear power and nuclear weapons provided an example. Many people were suspicious of chemicals, forgetting that most of modern life would be impossible without developments in chemistry. This raised questions about the public's trust in science." (The Guardian)

"Health chief criticises mobile phone risks" - "Sir William Stewart, one of the Government's leading public health advisers, has criticised the mobile phone industry for failing to make handset radiation levels available to the public and called for emissions data to appear on each phone.

Sir William, chairman of the Health Protection Agency and the National Radiation Protection Board, said new guidelines on the potential health effects of using mobile phones would be published by the end of the year." (Daily Telegraph)

"One in five teenagers show signs of heart disease" - "The couch potato way of life has become so common that one in five young teenagers suffers from the early signs of heart disease and stroke, a disturbing new study has found.

Tests on children aged 11 to 14 showed 20 per cent with the sort of blood vessel damage normally associated with cardiovascular disease, regarded as the preserve of adults.

Although the children would be unlikely to show symptoms until middle age, the study says poor diet and inactivity are having an impact on health far earlier than many doctors realised." (Daily Telegraph)

"£62m Biobank may not be worth it, says professor" - "The scientist who invented DNA fingerprinting two decades ago has warned that the world's biggest study of the role of nature and nurture in disease could cost billions and yet be of little medical benefit." (Daily Telegraph)

"Trawlermen in North Sea clash accuse Greenpeace of piracy" - "GREENPEACE activists were yesterday accused of "modern day piracy" after they harassed Scottish trawlers fishing in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

Campaigners from the environmental pressure group have boarded at least one trawler operating in the Bergen Bank, 100 miles east of Shetland.

It was claimed yesterday that they warned one of the skippers: "If you don’t want to be headline news it would be in your interests to be out of the area by the time we come back."

The confrontation in the Bergen Bank between Scottish trawlermen and Greenpeace activists is the latest phase in a concerted campaign by the group to have 40 per cent of the North Sea and Baltic Sea declared a marine reserve to protect threatened fish stocks." (The Scotsman)

"Animal rights protesters threaten 10 attacks every night in violent campaign" - "Animal rights militants threatened yesterday to deliver a "knockout blow to the fur trade" as part of the most extreme campaign in their history." (Independent)

"From animal rights to Zara: why fur is flying once again" - "Once, the fashion world shunned it. Now, though, sales are on the march, and campaigners promise a new backlash" (Independent)

Couldn't resist 'global warming' reference: "More fierce hurricanes may loom on horizon" - "As Hurricane Frances bears down on the United States, weather trackers are sounding the alarm. Yet Frances may only be the first in a series of large, powerful storms to march across the Atlantic in coming years.

A combination of natural cycles and warming ocean temperatures from global warming may be fueling the destructive storms." (CNN)

U.S. Landfalling Hurricanes - increasing with 'global warming'?

Kenneth Chang does better: "Climate, and Bad Luck, Favor Hurricanes in Florida" - "Battered on the west three weeks ago by Hurricane Charley and being battered this weekend on the east by Hurricane Frances, Florida is a victim of a climate currently favorable for hurricanes and of simple bad luck.

In 1995, after three relatively unstormy decades, a naturally occurring oscillation in the Atlantic Ocean started a new active era for hurricanes.

Global warming is not a significant factor in this year's storminess, experts said. While some climate models predict that warming might eventually mean somewhat stronger hurricanes, that effect is expected to be very small compared to the natural hurricane cycle." (Kenneth Chang, New York Times)

as does David Brown: "2 Storms In Florida Not Seen As Trend: Experts Don't Fault Global Warming" - "Bad luck, not global warming, is the best explanation for the arrival of two severe hurricanes on the Florida peninsula in three weeks, several experts said yesterday." (The Washington Post)

"Hurricanes bring environmental renewal" - "MIAMI -- Along with their destructive force, hurricanes can have beneficial effects as part of the rhythm of nature. Storms that erode beaches, uproot trees and flatten wildlife habitats may also refresh waterways, revive dry areas and bulk up barrier islands with redistributed sand. "What we see is the damage it does to our structures, but it can actually renew areas," said Karen Westphal, a coastal scientist at Louisiana State University's School of the Coast and Environment." (Associated Press)

"Subtropical Arctic" - "The scientists taking part in the Arctic Coring Expedition has just discovered that the Arctic Ocean once was ice-free because of prehistoric global warming. The recovered sediment cores show evidence of subtropical, shallow seas in the form of tiny fossils-extinct marine plants and animals." (Swedish Polar Research Secretariat)

"Global Warming Thaws Arctic, Divides Governments" - "OSLO - Global warming is set to accelerate in the Arctic and bring drastic change for people and wildlife in coming decades, according to a draft report that has opened cracks among nations in the region about how to slow the thaw. "(The) Arctic climate is warming rapidly now and much larger changes are projected," according to the conclusions of the international study, compiled by 600 experts and due for release at a conference in Iceland in November." (Reuters)

"Dark future for white animals in Arctic" - "Rising temperatures may simply make white animals too obvious if melting ice and snow exposes tracts of dark, bare ground." (Reuters)

"Do genes respond to global warming?" - "A novel analysis of paleoclimatic data, fossil abundance and contemporary and ancient DNA from different time periods introduces "phylochronology" and reveals how species respond genetically to climate change." (Public Library of Science)

"Eskimos Fret as Climate Shifts and Wildlife Changes" - "Scientists say the problems Mr. Nasalik observes result from climate change and the gradual increase in contaminants like pesticides and industrial compounds like mercury and PCB's that are transported by wind and currents from the industrialized south and accumulate in the fatty tissues of Arctic animals." (New York Times)

"Unusually cool August topped lovely summer" - "June, July and August this year combined for the coolest summer in St. Louis, Missouri since 1985." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"National Geographic melting down?" - "This is not your father's National Geographic any more. Once a coffee table staple with gorgeous photos of people, places and things, it now more resembles a host of other slick lobbying mags, pushing today's popular issues." (Patrick J. Michaels, The Washington Times)

"Six degrees of separation - by 2070 we'll be hotter, drier and thirstier" - "Temperatures in NSW could rise by up to 6.4 degrees by 2070 unless drastic measures are taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have warned.

In a report for the State Government, they say the most specific scientific predictions to date suggest there will be less rain, fewer frosty days and longer sweaty summers in the coming decades." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Faulty Figuring on Emissions" - "An Aug. 16 Science Notebook story described an article in the journal Science about global warming and carbon dioxide emissions. A writer of that article said that if governments fail to act, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will triple in 50 years." (Patrick J. Michaels, The Washington Post)

"Carbon dioxide emissions could double in 50 years, says report" - "Global carbon dioxide emissions could double by 2050 if energy-saving measures are not universally introduced, an international energy report released in Sydney yesterday shows.

The document Energy and Climate Change, released by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development at the World Energy Congress, reports on energy trends for the next 46 years. It highlights natural gas, nuclear energy, renewable energy, bio-products and low energy appliances as tools to help reduce fast-growing levels of carbon dioxide." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Climate change takes its toll on Fiji's coral" - "A marine biologist is alarmed at the deterioration of the Fijian coral reefs he has seen in the past 20 years. Professor Leon Zann, head of the University of the South Pacific's marine studies programme, said Fiji's once large and robust reefs were failing." (New Zealand Herald)

"Insurers raise the eco-alarm" - "FOR Mike Hawker, chief executive of Australia's biggest insurer, Insurance Australia Group, the emergence of Hurricane Frances off the coast of Florida less than a month after Hurricane Charley became the sixth-biggest world disaster since 1970 confirms his worst fear – that the world is headed for decades of more cyclones, storms, floods and droughts as a result of global warming.

Hawker believes that from an insurance view point, the most vulnerable areas of Australia are southern Queensland, northern NSW and, perhaps, Sydney.

He stunned the Australian Leadership Conference on Hayman Island last week when he revealed that IAG was cutting its exposure to southern Queensland and northern NSW by reinsuring a much larger proportion of its risk from policies in this area.

Global reinsurers have not increased their southern Queensland premiums because there has been no catastrophic damage since Cyclone Wanda caused vast flooding in Brisbane in 1974 (the same year that Cyclone Tracey hit Darwin)." (The Australian)

"Too late to stop global warming, says expert" - "Earth will continue to get hotter even if we reduce our output of greenhouse gases, says a top American climate-change expert.

Susan Solomon is a senior scientist at the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and co-chairwoman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr Solomon said that despite the sceptics, evidence for the phenomenon was indisputable. "It's basic physics." (The Dominion Post)

"EU loses a round in fight for Kyoto" - "The European Union lost a round in its battle to turn the Kyoto Protocol on global warming from a draft pact into an international treaty. September 6 was a symbolic deadline for signatories to ratify Kyoto ahead of a major meeting, due in Buenos Aires from December 6-17. Supporters had been desperately hoping Russia would ratify in time so that the gathering in Argentina could be the first at which Kyoto is debated as a full-fledged treaty rather than a draft agreement whose future is in doubt. Ever since US President George Bush ditched Kyoto in 2001, all eyes have been on Russia, whose ratification is required under the mathematics of Kyoto's rulebook to push the agreement over the numbers threshold. But as of Monday, Russia not only had failed to ratify - it still appeared reluctant and divided about even wanting to do so, reviving fears that the complex accord to trim greenhouse-gas emissions would be consigned to limbo." (AFP)

Here 'e goes again: "Why the Kyoto Protocol is essential to Australia's future" - "Hailstones during the worst drought for 100 years are a climate wake-up call for all of us, writes Bob Carr." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

"Australian PM defiant on Kyoto stance at World Energy Congress launch" - "SYDNEY : Australian Prime Minister John Howard defended his country's controversial refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases as he launched the 19th World Energy Congress in Sydney.

Howard acknowledged Australia's stance on Kyoto was "at variance with the attitudes of many countries around the world" -- it is the only major industrialised nation aside from the United States not to ratify the treaty.

But he told international energy industry powerbrokers gathered for the triennial congress that Australia remained committed to reducing greenhouse gases without ratifying the agreement.

"We are unwilling to sign the Kyoto Protocol in its present form because it will impose obligations on Australia which will not be imposed on other large (carbon) emitters around the world," Howard said." (Agence France Presse)

"Power brokers warn energy is the hot topic" - "The World Energy Conference airs possible solutions to cut reliance on fossil fuels, writes Melissa Fyfe, in Sydney." (The Age)

"International Atomic Agency Regrets Lack of Progress on Kyoto" - "In a press release assessing the state of nuclear power worldwide, the International Atomic Energy Agency regretted the lack of progress on Kyoto." (Iain Murray, EU Reporter Online)

"Nuclear energy should 'be back on agenda'" - "Rising energy prices could force Australia to re-visit the nuclear power debate, an energy expert believes." (The Australian)

"China's Boom Economy Is Starved for Electricity" - "If power is the lifeblood of an economy, China is hemorrhaging. Across the country, electric utilities can't keep up with demand, generators are hot sellers and brownouts endemic." (Los Angeles Times)

Moonbatty mutterings: "There is an alternative" - "Politicians are once more revving up the debate that only nuclear power can save the planet" (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

"Islanders in uprising over wind farm plan" - "Marion MacLeod and Anne Campbell are standing on the edge of a sprawling expanse of purple heather and peat bog, swatting at midges and trying to describe their fears.

The turbines will be everywhere, they say, gesturing north and south. There could be as many as 500 on three separate wind farms, and they will dominate the largely flat landscape in every direction." (Daily Telegraph)

"Scots wind-turbine firms in crisis as new orders dry up" - "PLANNING refusals and objections from campaigners opposed to the building of huge turbines have left the wind energy industry in Scotland in crisis. Two of the country’s biggest manufacturing plants for turbine parts are considering slashing jobs to stay in business, The Scotsman has learned. One blade-manufacturing factory in Kirkcaldy could face closure by the end of the month unless new contracts or a last-minute buyer can be found. The workforce at NOI Scotland’s plant has already been cut from 75 to a skeleton staff of 30, who are working on a trio of blade contracts, and preparations are under way to shut down." (The Scotsman)

"Buying organic 'gives you boost'" - "Simply making the choice to buy organic food can induce a sense of well-being, according to research." (BBC Online)

"Malawi Reintroduces Fertiliser Subsidy to Boost Yield" - "BLANTYRE, Sep 6 - Fertiliser subsidy, phased out in 1996 on the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is set to return to Malawi to boost food production and counter perennial hunger." (IPS)

"Mitochondrial genes cause nuclear mischief" - "DNA from mitochondria has regularly inserted into the human nuclear genome. Some insertions are polymorphic, revealing that the invasion of the human genome is an ongoing process." (Public Library of Science)

"What about choice for people who want GM crops?" - "The Agricultural Biotechnology Council called for the Consumers' Association to reconsider its policy with respect to GM crops, as its stance favours denying choice to farmers and consumers who wish to experience the benefits of GM technology." (Medical News Today)

"Australia exports threatened by GMO bans - institute" - "SYDNEY - Australia, one of the world's top farm exporters, could lose its edge on world markets if it does not take the plunge into genetically modified crops, a farm industry think tank said on Monday. The recent withdrawal of crop science group Monsanto Co. from genetically modified (GMO) canola operations in Australia, after varying state regulations halted a planned GMO canola crop, threatened wide consequences, the Australian Farm Institute said. "It's a double (loss) ... We lose the production advantage and we also lose the R&D advantage," said Mick Keogh, executive director of the newly-established farmer-backed institute." (Reuters)

"French farmer Bove arrested as anti-GM militants clash with police" - "AUCH, France - Several hundred anti-GM activists clashed with police during a protest in southwestern France and 10 people were briefly detained including the militant French farmer Jose Bove.

The activists had aimed to rip up a crop of genetically-modified maize in the village of Solomiac in the Gers region, but were stopped by large numbers of gendarmes and soldiers who barricaded the field." (AFP)

"EU May Allow First GMO Seeds for Sale Across Bloc" - "NOORDWIJK, Netherlands - The European Commission is likely to authorize the first genetically modified (GMO) seeds for commercial use across EU territory this week, in the face of widespread consumer resistance to biotech crops." (Reuters)

"Anti-GMO measure draws concern over constitutional rights" - "EUREKA -- It sailed easily onto the November ballot -- and seemed to have relatively little opposition.

But as if suddenly attacked by a swarm of locusts, a proposed measure banning genetically modified crops in Humboldt County has fallen on hard times.

First the Humboldt County Democratic Party last month held off on supporting Measure M after a leading Humboldt Statue University professor found errors in some of the scientific language of the measure.

Then this past week District Attorney Paul Gallegos attacked the teeth of the measure as unconstitutional and said that it could be thrown out by the courts if ever challenged. Gallegos even reportedly called on the measure's backers to abandon their support." (The Times-Standard)

"Brazil court eases path for GMO corn, cotton, rice" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil, Sept 3 - Brazil's biotech regulator said on Friday it could clear new varieties of genetically modified (GMO) soy, corn, cotton and rice for commercial use by December, after five years of backlog. On Wednesday, a federal tribunal said a majority of its judges recognized the power of the government's Technical Commission on Biotechnology (CTNBio) to determine what GMO products can be sold in Brazil." (Reuters)

September 3, 2004

"Government Questions Obesity Scare" - "It is virtually official U.S. government policy that obesity kills 300,000 people every year. But a new analysis by some brave federal researchers exposes this factoid for what it really is — junk science." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Amazing Organohalogens" (PDF) - "Although best known as synthetic toxicants, thousands of halogen compounds are, in fact, part of our natural environment." (Gordon W. Gribble, American Scientist)

"Banning Guns In the U.K. Has Backfired" - "Worried that even showing a starting pistol in a car ad might encourage gun crime in Britain, the British communications regulator has banned a Ford Motor Co. television spot because in it a woman is pictured holding such a "weapon." According to a report by Bloomberg News, the ad was said by regulators to "normalize" the use of guns and "must not be shown again."

What's next? Toy guns? Actually, the British government this year has been debating whether to ban toy guns. As a middle course, some unspecified number of imitation guns will be banned, and it will be illegal to take imitation guns into public places.

And in July a new debate erupted over whether those who own shotguns must now justify their continued ownership to the government before they will get a license.

The irony is that after gun laws are passed and crime rises, no one asks whether the original laws actually accomplished their purpose. Instead, it is automatically assumed that the only "problem" with past laws was they didn't go far enough. But now what is there left to do? Perhaps the country can follow Australia's recent lead and ban ceremonial swords." (John R. Lott, The Wall Street Journal) [$$$ Registration Required]

"Where has all the science gone?" - "The Lancet laments the lack of scientific discussion at the recent Bangkok AIDS conference. They also weigh in against the AIDS activists that attack research based drug companies for being 'very short-sighted as in 10 years we might not have the variety of AIDS drugs we have today.' AFM has been warning of this for years." (AFM)

"Gulf syndrome 'raised war toll to 10pc of force'" - "Britain's casualty rate in the 1991 Gulf War was not the relatively small number celebrated at the time but 10 per cent of its deployment once "Gulf War Syndrome" was included, an independent inquiry into the condition was told yesterday." (Daily Telegraph)

Peak silly season: "Pollution triggers bizarre behaviour in animals" - "Hyperactive fish, stupid frogs, fearless mice and seagulls that fall over. It sounds like a weird animal circus, but this is no freak show. Animals around the world are increasingly behaving in bizarre ways, and the cause is environmental pollution.

The chemicals to blame are known as endocrine disruptors, and range from heavy metals such as lead to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and additives such as bisphenol A." (New Scientist

"U.K. to tackle endocrine disruptors in wastewater" - "England and Wales are likely to become the first places in the world to actively remove endocrine-disrupting chemicals from their sewage. The Environment Agency of England and Wales has proposed a £40 million demonstration project to assess how estrogenic substances can be prevented from entering sewage effluent or can be removed from effluent. The effort follows a report released in July that finds that sexual disruption in fish is widespread throughout rivers in England and Wales (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2003, 37, 331A–336A)." (ACS)

"Fear of risk is making us cowards, says Letwin" - "Britain is turning into a country of cowards because the state has introduced so many regulations to reduce risks for adults and children, Oliver Letwin, the shadow chancellor, claims today. Much of the responsibility, he says, lies with the media which always seeks to point the finger of blame and find scapegoats for misfortunes. Politicians often became "paranoid" and responded to fears of being blamed by introducing new rules "as if risk could be abolished by law." (Daily Telegraph)

"MRSA 'super-weapon' waste of money" - "A LEADING scientist who helped to develop a disinfectant that NHS Scotland officials hope will provide a groundbreaking weapon against MRSA has claimed the product is little different to common household cleaners found in supermarkets." (The Scotsman)

"Phone towers likened to asbestos" - "LABOR has likened the potential dangers of mobile phone radiation to asbestos and wants to keep them away from schools, kindergartens and hospitals. Labor wants communities to be given a greater say in where transmission towers can be located. Despite admitting he had no evidence to support his claim, Opposition communications spokesman Lindsay Tanner said the towers could be shown to cause health problems for nearby residents." (The Australian)

"Blueprint for the Earth" - "How much would you be willing to pay to stand on the stern of the last oil tanker to leave the Middle East, waving good-bye as you go?" Physicist James Trefil asks this question almost as an aside, more than halfway through his provocative new book, Human Nature. He gets to oil only at tail end of his chapter on global warming--one among many chapters that will infuriate party-line greens. Trefil isn't much persuaded by computer models that predict what our climate will be like a century hence." (Peter Huber, Forbes)

"Hurricane Frances part of record-setting period for storms" - "WASHINGTON - If it seems as if more monster hurricanes, such as the soon-to-strike Frances, are swirling off the U.S. coast, you're right. We're in the midst of a record-breaking decade of hurricane activity.

And it's likely to get worse, some experts predict.

The past nine years, from 1995 through 2003, mark the busiest, most intense nine-year storm period on record, based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's hurricane season index. The number takes into account how many storms develop, how strong their winds are and how long they last." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)

This claim is rather hard to believe - here's a few resources you might wish to consult:

Starting with the National Hurricane Center: U.S. Hurricane Strikes by Decade; 1492-1996 (Atlan); 1900-2000 (USA); Most Expensive; Most Intense (all from NHC);
Downward trends in the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes during the past five decades (Geophysical Research Letters, 23, 1697-1700,1996);
Reply to Comment (Geophysical Research Letters, 24, 2205,1997);
Atlantic Hurricane Responses to Rising Global Temperatures: An Update (CO2 Science Magazine, Volume 5, Number 18);
Long-Term Hurricane Records (CO2 Science Magazine, Volume 3, Number 19);
Does global warming threaten US coastal regions with stronger hurricanes? The facts will blow you away! (Dr. Anthony R. Lupo, Department of Soil and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia)

"Swedish government considers tax on SUVs" - "The Swedish government is considering a tax on drivers of sports utility vehicles that could add up to $7,900 to the price of Volvo's popular XC90, the country's biggest export.

The Green and the Left parties, both part of the ruling coalition, are pushing for the tax. They argue there ought to be financial disincentives for consumers to buy and use vehicles that they claim emit more greenhouse gases than other vehicles.

However, Hans-Olov Olsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars, has said that if the tax is introduced, he will scrap plans to create 600 new jobs at its Gothenburg factory. As a result, Swedish trade unions are opposed to the new tax.

Elsewhere, French officials are considering introducing a tax of up to €3,200 on the vehicles, and London's mayor is studying measures to reduce demand for them.

More than one in 20 cars sold is now an SUV. Volkswagen, Ford, Opel, Fiat and Audi are all planning SUVs in the next two years to take advantage of rising demand." (EthicalCorp.com) [Complete]

"Natural mineral locks up carbon dioxide" - "A common mineral can remove carbon dioxide from combustion gases, but in its natural state, it is glacially slow. Now, a team of Penn State researchers is changing serpentine so that it sequesters the carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning in hours, not eons." (Penn State)

"NASA Scientists Develop Tools for Carbon Management" - "NASA scientists have recently unveiled Internet software tools that will aid in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, Calif, developed the CQUEST science information visualization and modeling software. It enables government agencies, land managers and farm cooperatives to display, predict and analyze carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes in U.S. ecosystems. The application uses 'what if' scenarios, so land managers can decide where and when planting trees, mixing agriculture with trees or restoring native grasslands are effective for 'sponging up' CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by industrial activities." (NASA press release)

"US plans portable nuclear power plants" - "A nuclear reactor that can meet the energy needs of developing countries without the risk that they will use the by-products to make weapons is being developed by the US Department of Energy.

The aim is to create a sealed reactor that can be delivered to a site, left to generate power for up to 30 years, and retrieved when its fuel is spent. The developers claim that no one would be able to remove the fissile material from the reactor because its core would be inside a tamper-proof cask protected by a thicket of alarms." (New Scientist)

"Nuclear power to fuel growth" - "With a decision to move forward to build additional nuclear power plants, nuclear power will take on a larger proportion in China's power supply system." (People's Daily Online)

"Let a Thousand Reactors Bloom" - "Explosive growth has made the People's Republic of China the most power-hungry nation on earth. Get ready for the mass-produced, meltdown-proof future of nuclear energy." (Spencer Reiss, Wired)

"Seas Only Hope for World Water Supply, Says Spain" - "MADRID - The world's fast-growing thirst for water can only be met by purifying sea water as rivers and reservoirs become unable to meet demand, Spain said on Thursday unveiling a major program to fight its own chronic shortages. Spain's Socialist government, elected in March, has ditched plans to reroute the country's longest river to irrigate its parched southeast, saying it would harm fragile wetlands in the north, cost too much and not provide enough water anyway." (Reuters)

"Soya boom threat to South America" - "The spiralling foreign demand for soya beans could mean the loss of millions of hectares of forest and savannah in South America, conservationists warn. WWF, the global conservation group, says nearly 22 million hectares (54m acres) could be destroyed by 2020." (Alex Kirby, BBC News Online)

"GE corn that caused rat abnormalities approved for NZ food use" - "The Greens today revealed that a genetically engineered corn variety approved for human food in New Zealand was refused approval by a French scientific committee because of a study showing rats fed with it developed several abnormalities.

Le Monde reported in April that France's Commission du Genie Biomoleculaire (CGB) raised serious concerns last year about Monsanto's MON863 corn after it read the company's own three-month rat-feeding study. Its decision to turn down approval was subsequently overturned by the European Food Safety Authority." (Press Release)

"Greens' worries over GE corn spark data check by regulator" - "Safety concerns have prompted a Transtasman food regulator to check the original data from a trial conducted on genetically engineered corn it approved last year for consumption. "Monsanto are providing us with this data," says Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) general manager Melanie Fisher. "We expect it in the next day or two and we will be looking at it immediately." (NZPA)

September 2, 2004

"Something fishy about fish's health benefits" - "Munich - The health benefits of eating oily fish such as salmon and mackerel seems to depend on what the fish are fed, and adding vegetable oil to the feed pellets appears to dilute the powerful heart disease fighting effect, new research indicates." (Sapa-AP)

"Risky CAT Scans: Not Always Worth It" - "The authors of a report in the latest Radiology, a peer-reviewed medical journal, estimate that exposure to the radiation from one total-body CT scan -- often called a "CAT scan" -- may increase the risk of cancer by a small, but not negligible, amount. The researchers make this estimate by analogy to the measured radiation exposure of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the rate of cancer in those survivors." (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

"Chernobyl study: Risk of thyroid cancer rises with radiation dose" - "The risk of thyroid cancer rises with increasing radiation dose, according to the most thorough risk analysis for thyroid cancer to date among people who grew up in the shadow of the 1986 Chernobyl power-plant disaster." (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)

"Flame Retardants Found on Supermarket Shelves" - "A new study has found flame retardant chemicals, called PBDEs, in foods taken straight from supermarket shelves in Dallas, Texas, suggesting that food may be a key source of the contamination measured in people around the world." (ACS Press Release)

"UND researchers studying pesticide impact on children" - "University of North Dakota researchers have launched a study to find out whether pesticide exposure has an impact on children's growth." (Associated Press)

"World-renowned paleontologist presses for 'green California'" - "Richard Leakey is launching an international campaign to address global warming, noting that all the world's parks can't save animal and plant species from a phenomenon that has no respect for borders and boundaries." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Men from early middle ages were nearly as tall as modern people" - "Northern European men living during the early Middle Ages were nearly as tall as their modern-day American descendants, a finding that defies conventional wisdom about progress in living standards during the last millennium. Men living during the early Middle Ages (the ninth to 11th centuries) were several centimeters taller than men who lived hundreds of years later, on the eve of the Industrial Revolution." (Ohio State University)

Interesting. "Height is an indicator of overall health and economic well-being, and learning that people were so well-off 1,000 to 1,200 years ago was surprising," [Richard Steckel] said.

Steckel appears to have proven that people are indeed better off when the climate is warmer. Certainly they were in the Medieval Climate Optimum Warm Period as opposed the depths of the Little Ice Age.

"Just in Time for Labor Day: Summer" - "Temperatures in Los Angeles will begin to climb today after an unusually cool and smog-free August, meteorologists said Tuesday." (Los Angeles Times)

Yawn... "Envisat witnesses return of the South Polar ozone hole" - "The smudges of dark blue on this Envisat-derived ozone forecast trace the start of what has unfortunately become an annual event: the opening of the ozone hole above the South Pole." (European Space Agency)

Uh-huh... it seems to have been an annual event since a Dobson Spectrophotometer was first deployed at Halley Bay in 1955 - an no one knows for how many millennia prior to then.

Whatever, it's been a cold winter in the southern hemisphere so expect a significant Antarctic Ozone Anomaly this year, complete with breathless media blathering about 'depletion' and 'delayed healing' but that the Montreal Protocol is working, really.

Parenthetically, The Protocol is cynically known by various aliases along the line of the Du Pont Patent Protection Scheme as industry abruptly endorsed the hypothesis of anthropogenic stratospheric ozone depletion - just as their CFC patents were due to expire and they needed a market for newly patented substitutes. So the story goes anyway.

"Need for carbon sink technologies" - "Governments should consider setting lower targets for levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and investigate ways to extract surplus amounts of the greenhouse gas from circulation, say climate scientists.

Before the industrial revolution, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was around 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv) but that has risen to around 380ppmv due to our burning of fossil fuels.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is focusing its efforts on emission scenarios that lead to concentrations of no less than 450ppmv while the UK government is working towards a concentration target of around double pre-industrial levels, at 550ppmv." (BBC Online)

"Oil rally not enough to spur renewables investment" - "LONDON - Investment in renewables is unlikely to be spurred by this year's record rally on oil futures, as only longer-term high prices and stable revenues for new projects will force an energy shift, experts say." (Reuters)

"Blair 'backtracking' on energy cash" - "The Government has been accused of back-tracking on its funding plans for solar energy by winding down support programmes earlier than planned. Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth said there was "little clarity" from ministers about how they planned to support solar energy. The two schemes, which offered grants and advice, should be extended rather than wound up, Friends of the Earth argued. Climate campaigner Catherine Pearce said: "Whilst Tony Blair stands on the world stage, championing the fight against climate change, the UK's domestic solar power industry is under threat because of a lack of Government funding." (Press Association)

"World Bank Says Dam Will Lift Laos Out of Poverty" - "A long-delayed project to build a dam in Laos could help reduce poverty in one of the world’s last remaining communist countries, said the World Bank, which is considering financing the venture." (Associated Press)

"U.S. Says It Won't Remove Dams" - "SEATTLE, Aug. 31 -- The Bush administration announced Tuesday that it will not remove dams on the Columbia and Snake river system to save endangered salmon. The announcement rules out what the federal government had once described as the most scientifically sound -- if politically problematic -- method for saving salmon in the heavily dammed river system." (Washington Post)

"China's nuclear electricity to hit 36 mln kw in 2020" - "A Chinese top official in atomic energy said Wednesday that, as an important shift in the country's energy development strategy, China is taking steps to increase the proportion of nuclear power in its overall energy supply." (People's Daily)

"A voracious Earth" - "Some regions - especially in Asia - are overusing their renewable resources." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Imagine that - they've discovered the reason humanity thrives by liberating previously sequestered carbon and banked 'primary productivity.'

"Who does globalisation hurt?" - "THE past two years have seen a plethora of books and reports on globalisation. The best by far is Why Globalisation Works (Yale University Press 2004) by Financial Times financial editor Martin Wolf.

But even Wolf concedes ground to the forces opposing economic liberalisation, while supposedly market-oriented academic economists like Jagdish Bhagwati (In Defence of Globalisation, Oxford University Press) accept whole swathes of the arguments promoted by the opponents of globalisation.

The result is a continued advance of the forces of protectionism and stagnation while at the same time marketliberalising globalisation is benefiting more and more around the planet." (Roger Bate, Business Day)

"Attacking Capitalism: the Human Costs" - "There has been a rising swell of voices to denounce the forces of capitalism and globalization. It has gone beyond the normal complaints of professors, journalists and politicians who criticize capitalism and markets and, if not the wealth they create, the way it is distributed. Demonstrations at the WTO meeting in Seattle and Genoa have been followed by similar outbursts during the World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington on an annual basis." (Christopher Lingle, Tech Central Station)

"A voice for agriculture" - "SLO County Farm Bureau director speaks out for growers, ranchers as winds of change blow through the fields" (The Tribune)

"Monsanto launches new 'heart-healthy' soybean seed" - "CHICAGO - Monsanto Company said it has begun marketing a new low-linolenic soybean crop that, once processed, will yield an enhanced oil that is low in trans fats. The new soybean crop is one of a raft of new heart-healthy products that Monsanto has in development, which it plans to market under the brand name Vistive." (AFP)

"UK: Public opposition to GM foods mount" - "The public has hardened its stance against genetically modified foods, according to a new survey. More than six out of 10 people (61%) polled on behalf of the consumer magazine Which? said they were concerned about the use of GM material in food production - up from 56% in 2002. The survey of almost 1,000 people also recorded a rise in the number who said they tried to avoid GM food and a fall in the percentage who backed the widespread growth of GM crops in the UK." (Press Association)

"India: Govt To Promote GMO Crops" - "NEW DELHI, SEPT 1: The govt is planning a new policy promoting speedy approval of GMO crops to boost yields and feed its growing population, Kapil Sibal, Science and Technology Minister said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Monsanto says to challenge Brazil ban on GMO" - "BRASILIA, Brazil, Sept 1 - Monsanto Co. said on Wednesday it intends to appeal a legal ban in Brazil on selling its genetically modified Roundup Ready soybeans after a court decision cleared the way for an appeal.
A federal court published on Wednesday its decision, made late in June, reinstating the power of Brazil's National Technical Committee on Biosafety (CTNBio) to regulate genetically modified products.

The publication of the decision ends a legal wrangle that started in 1998 when CTNBio waived a five-year environmental impact study and cleared Roundup Ready soy for commercial use. Shortly after that, in 1999, environmental group Greenpeace won a court injunction against the release of Roundup Ready soy on the grounds that CTNBio had acted beyond its powers." (Reuters)

"Thailand backs down over GMO crop trials after public outcry" - "The Thai government has halted plans for open-field trials of genetically modified crops in a move dismissed by activists Wednesday as a short-term tactical ploy in the face of public protest. Officials will begin a new study to decide if the trials should be delayed or even abandoned after the cabinet backed down from relaxing three-year-old regulations governing the crops." (AFP)

"Larger Battle Ahead for Anti-GMO Activists" - "While activists welcomed the Thai prime minister's reversal of a recent decision to allow the commercial growing of genetically modified (GM) crops, and hailed it as a people's victory, they warned that a national committee set up by the government to study the issue could run the risk of being hijacked by scientists having links to bio-technology companies." (Inter Press Service)

September 1, 2004

"Animal rightists or terrorists?" - "LONDON -- The threat of attacks by Islamic extremists is not the only terrorist threat to our society. Animal-rights extremists have been threatening firms that carry out experiments on animals. Animal rightists do not regard as justification for the research the fact that most initial tests are conducted on mice and rats, and only at later stages on a limited number of primates.

Nor do they think it relevant that mice and rats are generally regarded as vermin that spread diseases in society. The animal rightists also refuse to take any account of the misery caused by diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, which pharmaceutical companies are trying to treat by developing new drugs. For them, animals seem to matter more than humans." (Hugh Cortazzi, The Japan Times)

"The Truth About Marcia Angell" - "I never knew my maternal grandparents. During the nineteen-teens, my maternal grandmother died of a wound infection following a routine gall-bladder operation. A few years later, her husband suffered a fatal stroke brought on by untreated high blood pressure. Both were in their thirties.

Neither occurrence was uncommon back then, but a half-century of new drugs has changed that." (Henry I. Miller, TCS)

"Trans-Fats and the World of Tomorrow" - "When it comes to fats, I call for eating a smart balance of different types rather than a complete abandonment, every three decades or so, of one type of fat. "Everything has its pros and cons," Robert M. Reeves, president of a Washington trade group called the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils, was quoted as saying in a Washington Post article today about food manufacturers trying to get every last ounce of trans-fats out of foods like cookies and chips." (Jeff Stier, ACSH)

"Poultry farms' use of antibiotics raises concerns about drug-resistant germs" - "Hopkins researcher studying effect on humans, environment" (The Baltimore Sun)

"Arsenal in bug battle raises concerns" - "Chemicals used in pesticides have researchers concerned over the neurological effects of long-term, low-level exposure, particularly on unborn children and infants." (Seattle Times)

Hmm... "Medical Doctor proves Tobacco can improve your Health" - 'Little Rock, AR September 1, 2004 -- Noted author and physician, Dr. William Campbell Douglass II MD, has uncovered the facts about the fraud of the EPA and the health benefits of smoking and tobacco. The truth is being told in his latest book, The Health Benefits of Tobacco. Research from respected researchers and scientific journals prove smoking and tobacco are not the killers the establishment has claimed, and that moderate smoking can actually be good for you." (PRWEB)

Granted, many of the anti-tobacco claims are most-politely called 'dubious,' particularly the ETS nonsense but claiming that smoking is good for you is, I fear, a stretch too far.

For people haters: "Crowd control" - "Despite fears that the far right will jump on the bandwagon, respected figures are now calling for public debate on how a predicted population explosion in the UK will be devastating for sustainable development. Walter Schwarz reports." (The Guardian)

Sigh... "Eco sounding" - "Warming to the theme; No change there, then; Sour milk..." (John Vidal, The Guardian)

John, you really need to get out more and open your circle of acquaint and discourse, seems you're spending much too much time with Paul Brown.

Re: "Warming to the theme" Last I heard, the Archbishop of Canterbury claims no direct communication with, nor special inside information from deities of any description. Theology would not seem an especially useful field of learning for interpreting climate data. I wish Rowan Williams the best of all good fortune engaging the competing doctrine of eco-theology on the 21st.

"No change there, then" For your info, John, enhanced atmospheric CO2 levels might inhibit climate change, by delaying an ice age or by increasing the greenhouse potential of the super-cold, dry air masses of winter polar extremes, warming which would reduce the thermal disparity between equator and poles thus likely reducing wind speeds and weather event severity. Lots of things might happen John, but no one can say with certainty that Unilever (or anyone else) is contributive to any climate change whatsoever.

"Sour milk" Absence of spending power is a tragedy of poverty, John. I wasn't there but it seems likely Jöhr was speaking about such topical items as C.K. Prahalad's latest book, recently featured in the Financial Times - if you've no access to that try "Profits and poverty" (The Economist, Aug 19th 2004)

You're pretty quick on the quip, John, pity you don't seem to do any homework.

"Summer chill leaves experts with red faces" - "Canada's weather forecasters are confessing that their predictions for the summer season were so wretched that Canadians would have known roughly as much without any forecast at all.

"Never have we been so wrong for so long in so many parts of the country," said David Phillips, the senior climatologist at Environment Canada.

Richard Verret, in charge of the weather element division at the Canadian Meteorological Centre, was equally blunt. "It turned out that the forecast was not very good, to say the least," he said. "In fact, it's been a particularly bad forecast."

Canada's weather agency, hand in hand with its supercomputer and complex global climate models, had predicted that June, July and August would be warmer and drier than usual right across the country." (Alanna Mitchell, Globe and Mail)

"Putin To Inform Shroeder And Chirac On Kyoto Protocol Discussion" - "During the second part of talks with the French and German leaders Russian President Vladimir Putin will inform them on the development in Russia of the discussion on the Kyoto protocol. "We have discussed almost everything; there remain only several topics we planned to touch upon. The Kyoto protocol is among them," the Russian President said at the talks. "I will inform you on how the discussion on this issue proceeds," Mr. Putin said addressing the German Chancellor and the French President." (PutinRu.com)

"Modest climate change could lead to substantially more and larger fires" - "The area burned by wildfires in 11 Western states could double by the end of the century if summer climate warms by slightly more than a degree and a half, say researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington.

Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico appear acutely sensitive, especially to temperature changes, and fire seasons there may respond more dramatically to global warming than in states such as California and Nevada.

Researchers have developed statistical relationships between observed climate and an 85-year record of fire extent during the 20th century and used them in conjunction with existing state-of-the-art global climate models." (USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station)

"California Nightmare" - "It’s become increasingly difficult to keep a straight face while reading some global warming papers in major scientific journals. A recent article on impending deaths in California and the destruction of its wine industry due to global warming is a case-in-point. The fact it appears in the July 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is a lot less funny. What on earth is happening to scientific peer-review when a paper as bad as this gets through the process and is published?" (GES)

Star Tribune misunderestimates: "Editorial: Climate findings/What more does Bush need?" - "Americans have yet to hear how President Bush regards his administration's latest official assessment of global warming, except for a typically dismissive comment about whether it constitutes a change in policy. "I don't think so," are the words he chose in an interview with the New York Times -- leading reporters to infer that he might be unfamiliar with the report's key findings" (Star Tribune)

"There's only one thing worse than British weather. And that's the British weather forecast" - "Aided by a battery of new supercomputers and Nasa's most advanced weather satellite, they have battled valiantly to predict every twist and turn of Britain's wettest summer in half a century." (Independent)

"Mt Everest is getting shorter!" - "If you are planning to climb Mount Everest, better hurry because a Chinese survey has revealed that it is shrinking. The world's highest peak, Mt Everest, is gradually loosing its height -- nearly 0.1metre annually -- due to global warming and shrinking of glaciers in the Himalayan region, the survey says." (PTI)

From CO2 Science Magazine this week:

"Temperature History of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica" - "Are air temperatures in the terrestrial Ross Sea region of Antarctica warming or cooling?  And on what timescale?  Also, how representative are they of the bulk of Antarctica?  Finally, what do they suggest about CO 2 -induced global warming?" (co2science.org)

Subject Index Summaries:
"Hurricanes (Atlantic Ocean - El Niño Effect)" - "Climate alarmists claim that future global warming will increase both the frequency and intensity of hurricanes.  One way to test this claim is to determine how these hurricane characteristics have varied in the past between warmer El Niño years and cooler La Niña years.  This summary reviews the results of several studies that have done just that." (co2science.org)

"Carbonyl Sulfide" - "Hundreds of scientific papers describe various aspects of the role played by the biological modification of the atmosphere's dimethyl sulfide concentration in determining climate change or stasis.  Far fewer studies address the analogous operations of earth's biosphere in achieving the same ends via modifications of the atmosphere's carbonyl sulfide concentration.  We here briefly review this much neglected subject." (co2science.org)

Plant Growth Data:
"This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Blue Panicgrass, Dallas Grass, Narrowleaf Plantain and Woodland Sage." (co2science.org)

Journal Reviews:
"A 217-Year Swedish Air Temperature History Derived from Yearly Growth Increments of Freshwater Pearl Mussels" - "What does it reveal about the nature of 20th-century global warming as experienced in Sweden?" (co2science.org)

"A 400-Year Temperature History of Kunashir Island, Northwest Pacific" - "How does its temperature trend of the last century differ from that of the prior three centuries?  Would you believe not at all?" (co2science.org)

"Nitrogen Fixation in Corals" - "New research indicates that corals may not be as limited by the state of their environment as they were once thought to be." (co2science.org)

"Effects of Elevated O 3 and CO 2 on Yellow Poplar Seedlings Over Five Seasons" - "Which wins?  The deleterious effect of a 50% increase in ambient ozone concentration or the beneficial effect of a doubling of the air's CO 2 concentration?  And just how close is the decision?" (co2science.org)

"Nitrogen Dynamics in the Duke Forest FACE Study" - "Theory and observation remain in conflict.  When can we expect a resolution of the issue?" (co2science.org)

"No-Till Farming Can Decrease 'Global Warming Potential'" - "Farmers may be able to lower the net rate of the "greenhouse gases"--known as the "Global Warming Potential"--that their farming systems emit, according to Agricultural Research Service scientists and university collaborators. The scientists found that certain activities, such as switching to no-till farming, may also increase crop yields while helping the environment." (Agricultural Research Service)

"Large Volumes of CO2 Safely Stored in Oilfields, New Study in Western Canada Concludes" - "REGINA, Aug. 31 - Large volumes of carbon dioxide can safely be stored in oil-bearing geological formations, concludes a four-year, multi-discipline research study in Western Canada." (PRNewswire)

"AEP to build clean coal utility plant" - "Columbus, OH, Aug. 31 -- Ohio's American Electric Power said it will build the largest power plant ever using technology to convert coal into a cleaner-burning gas. The 1,000-megawatt synthetic-gas-fired plant will use a technology called integrated gasification combined cycle, or IGCC, that leaves fewer air pollutants, like soot particulates, than do conventional coal-fired power plants, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday." (UPI)

"Options exhausted, oil firms turn to tar" - "FORT McMURRAY, Alberta North America's crude oil resources have been so thoroughly explored and developed that experts believe that there is hardly any left to find, except perhaps in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In the rest of the world, most of the best places to drill for new oil are off limits to the Western energy industry for political reasons, and existing fields are already pumping every barrel they can.

So, with roaring global demand driving energy prices up to record levels and fresh supplies of crude oil hard to find, Suncor and more than a dozen other energy companies, including Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco and Royal Dutch/Shell, are pursuing projects here in Fort McMurray, a city of 50,000 where the temperature can dip to 40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, or minus 40 degrees Celsius, in the winter.

The geologists, roughnecks and recently minted MBAs being ferried north from Calgary each morning by the Suncor jet are all focused on one objective: an unconventional approach to producing oil by sucking the viscous tar out of the sandy soil in this area." (IHT)

"Laos Defends Dam Project Against Environmental Critics" - "BANGKOK - Communist Laos defended a billion-dollar hydro-electric project on Tuesday against activists who insist Indochina's biggest dam will be a social and environmental disaster for the tiny, impoverished nation. Laos officials told a World Bank workshop in Bangkok the proposed Nam Theun 2 dam was the best option for development and fighting poverty in a nation where 70 percent of the people live on less than $2 a day." (Reuters)

"Techno probe" - "Science risks a re-run of the GM debacle without debate on its latest find, say James Wilsdon and Rebecca Willis" (The Guardian)

Presumably this means they're threatening another scare campaign by irrational fearmongers.

"Expert in call for study of tiny risks" - "The "science of small things" may bring potential threats to health, an Edinburgh University academic has warned." (Evening News)

"Thai cabinet overturns GMO approval" - "BANGKOK, Aug 31 - Thailand's cabinet decided on Tuesday to keep a three-year ban on planting crops using genetically modified organisms (GMO), overturning a decision by a panel chaired by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Instead, it decided to set up a panel to hear the arguments for and against GMO crops from state agencies and biotech lecturers at all Thai universities, Science Minister Korn Dabbaransi told reporters." (Reuters)