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

Archives - September 2006

September 29, 2006

"Enviros Target Target" - "Target’s ubiquitous red-and-white logo has proved prophetic. The discount retailer has become the bullseye-du-jour for a nationwide protest-attack by an environmental group that equates plastic with “poison.” (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Uganda: US to fund DDT spraying – envoy" - "THE US government is prepared to fund the spraying of DDT to control malaria. US ambassador Steven Browning said once the government puts in place the necessary structures and plans for the safe use of the insecticide, it would support the campaign." (New Vision)

Developed world activists still trying to kill third world victims: "Experts Oppose Chemical War on Malaria" - "BUDAPEST, Sep 28 - A coalition of health experts have staged a protest parallel to the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety, expressing concern over a recent policy turn by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that calls for fighting malaria by spraying the controversial DDT chemical." (IPS)

II: "Exports risk EU ban over DDT, says envoy" - "THE European Union (EU) will ban exports from Uganda if the proposed use of DDT as a malaria preventive measure goes ahead, Uganda’s envoy to Belgium has said." (New Vision)

"Namibia: Malaria Stunts Economic Growth" - "The economic burden wrought by malaria known for the deaths of innumerable lives, is an astronomical N$91.2 billion a year in Africa alone, and experts project that this disease slows down the continent's economic growth by 1.3 percent a year." (New Era (Windhoek))

Price of anti-science ratbaggery: "Confidence 'returning in MMR jab'" - "Doctors believe confidence in the MMR vaccine is returning after the second yearly rise in uptake of the jab. The number of two-year-olds given the vaccine was 84% in 2005-6, up from 81% the year before, the government's Information Centre said. It is still short of the 95% needed for herd immunity, but represents a rise after uptake fell to 80% following the jab being linked to autism in 1998." (BBC)

1st sign of more honest reporting? "As ozone hole approaches annual peak, NASA scientists reveal latest information and images" - "In 1987, the United States joined several other nations in signing the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to protect the Earth's ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

I don't recall having seen so-called ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances) described as "substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion" before. Hopefully this is the beginnings of factual information dissemination since "ozone depletion" is indeed a belief to be taken on faith rather than a confirmed phenomenon. While CFCs do facilitate ozone reactions in the lab we have no serious indicators they are involved in any change in stratospheric ozone, nor do we really know what constitutes any form of norm for the conceptual "ozone layer" (for all we know it has been behaving the same way for thousands or even millions of years).

Possibly influenced by findings like this: "Winds trigger increases in ozone destroying gases in upper stratosphere" - "A surprising new University of Colorado at Boulder study indicates winds circling high above the far Northern Hemisphere have a much greater impact on upper stratospheric ozone levels than scientists had thought.

According to Associate Professor Cora Randall of CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, the winds allowed near-record amounts of ozone-destroying nitrogen oxide gases, collectively known as NOx, to descend some 30 miles to the top of Earth's stratosphere in March 2006.

Because NOx destroys ozone, which heats up the stratosphere by absorbing ultraviolet radiation, the naturally occurring gases could trigger atmospheric changes that could have unanticipated climate consequences, she said.

In February 2006, winds in the polar upper stratospheric vortex -- a massive winter low-pressure system that confines air over the Arctic region -- sped up to rival the strongest such winds on record, said Randall. The only time more NOx was observed in the upper stratosphere was in the winter of 2003-04, when huge solar storms bombarded the region with energetic particles, triggering up to a 60 percent reduction in ozone molecules, said Randall.

"We knew strong winds would lead to more NOx in the stratosphere if there were solar storms," said Randall, who also is associated with CU-Boulder's atmospheric and oceanic sciences department. "But seeing that much NOx come down into the stratosphere when the sun was essentially quiet was amazing." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Book reviews Philip Stott considers the calls of two 'eco-prophets' and wonders, if we follow them, can we really save the world? (The Sunday Telegraph)

"Holocene thermal optimal and climate variability of East Asian monsoon inferred from forest reconstruction of a subalpine pollen sequence, Taiwan" - "Abstract: The East Asian monsoon Holocene optimal period has been debated both about duration and whether conditions were a maximum in thermal conditions or in precipitation. In this study we show Holocene climate variability inferred by a forest reconstruction of a subalpine pollen sequence from peat bog deposits in central Taiwan, based on modern analogues of various altitudinal biomes in the region. A warmer interval occurred between 8 and 4 ka BP (calibrated 14C years) when the subtropical forests were more extensive. The Holocene thermal optimum is represented by an altitudinal tropical forest at 6.1–5.9 ka BP and 6.9 ka BP and only the latter was accompanied by wet conditions, indicating decoupling of thermal and precipitation mechanism in the middle Holocene. Abrupt and relative severe cold phases, shown by biome changes, occurred at about 11.2–11.0 ka BP; 7.5 ka BP; 7.2 ka BP; 7.1 ka BP; 5.2 ka BP, 5.0 ka BP and 4.9 ka BP. A spectral analysis of pollen of a relatively cold taxon — Salix, reveals that the time series is dominated by a 1500 yr periodicity and similar to the cold cycle reported in the marine records of Indian and western Pacific Oceans. The cold–warm conditions inferred by the change of forests show close relationship to solar energy in comparison with the production rate of Be-10." (Earth and Planetary Science Letters)

New Journal of Geophysical Research Paper on Biomass Heat and Biochemical Energy Associated With Vegetation Processes - Two Important Largely Neglected Climate Processes (Climate Science)

America Reacts To Speech Debunking Media Global Warming Alarmism (U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works)

"Nethaway: OK, we're not buried in ice" - "WACO, Texas — In a speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate, the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., accused me, my parents, my grandfather and my great-grandfather of peddling hysterical eco-doom. Actually, Inhofe didn't mention me or my family. He just blamed the media for generating centuries of environmental scares. Peddling eco-doom must come naturally to me due to my family's journalism history. "Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling and warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping time periods," Inhofe said in a speech he titled "Hot and Cold Media Spin: A Challenge To Journalists Who Cover Global Warming." Inhofe is hot over global warming reporting, which he describes as alarmist, hysterical, unfair, one-sided and unbalanced. Well, what can I say? Nobody's perfect." (Cox News Service)

"White House says no change on carbon strategy" - "NEW YORK - The Bush administration has no plans to ease its opposition to national limits on greenhouse gas output despite talk that a change may be under consideration, a White House spokeswoman said on Thursday." (Reuters)

Idiot commentary of the moment: "Mark Ritson on branding: Exxon vision is perilously short-term" - "In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler outlined the crucial importance of an 'effective emblem', which he saw as 'the first impetus for the interest in the movement'.

His adoption of the swastika was a vital ingredient in the rise of National Socialism in Germany and its eventual domination of much of Europe. It is impossible, therefore, not to include the swastika, along with the Coca-Cola swirl or the Ford oval, as one of the 20th century's most iconic and important logos.

It is an uncomfortable inclusion. Any sane individual abhors everything the Nazis stood for, yet it is still possible to acknowledge the expert manner in which its brand identity was conceived without supporting the ends to which it was used.

I have similar feelings about ExxonMobil. Over the past eight years, it has masterminded one of the most impressive global communications campaigns in the history of public relations. At the same time, however, the company's success in obfuscating the issues in its response to global warming must surely rank as one of the most shameful exercises in corporate self-interest." (Brand Republic)

Ritson naïvely bases some of this on FoE's "ExxonMobil is the world's biggest publicly listed corporation - and one of the biggest polluters. A Friends of the Earth study found it responsible for 5% of all man-made carbon dioxide emitted over the past 120 years." Did Exxon burn all the oil they produced? Of course not, we used the product they extract and sell (which we bought not grudgingly but willingly).

While said corporation wisely has a history of not promoting a hysterical response to a trivial estimated warming of the globe it is not true to claim Exxon is the source of skepticism. Anyone aware of the physical properties of carbon dioxide and with access to contemporary temperature histories should be wondering why postulated unmitigated positive feedback mechanisms don't kick in with the warming associated with El Niño events or even with the annual warming associated with the northern hemisphere summer. Global mean temperature response to the big El Niño of 1997/98 was at least three-tenths of a degree (K), atmospheric mean temperature leapt by almost a whole degree -- well over 5 times the warming attributable to atmospheric carbon dioxide increase over 150 years -- yet far from "runaway" warming from atmospheric water vapor increases from increased evaporation the world rapidly cooled following the end of the El Niño event. If a sudden significant warming doesn't trigger a self-perpetuating feedback loop of the most important greenhouse gas, water vapor, why should anyone believe the trivial carbon dioxide-induced warming will do so?

It is not Exxon's vision which is perilously short-term as Ritson alleges but rather that those hopping on the global warming bandwagon for a quick "green buff" of their credentials that are aiming at the precipice and stepping on the gas.

From chief Fiend of the Earth re former Commander in Chief: "Tony Juniper: Warm words on climate change are not enough" - "A climate change law would be a clear sign of the kind of the action Clinton called for." (London Independent)

Slick Willy's real good at saying what [some] people want to hear. So, what did he do about this "most urgent and pressing issue" when he held the most powerful office on the planet? That'd be when Ozone Man was a literal heartbeat from the U.S. Presidency. Tell us again what this pair of "We'll sign anything -- we just don't mean it" office holders did beyond lip service and hand wringing. (In fairness they followed exactly the right course of "climate control" actions -- doing absolutely nothing.)

There's a lot of desperate claims about the Earth being on course for meltdown but how much is accurate or even sincere? Of course all the Arctic ice will be gone by about 10 minutes past Thursday -- it's just that researchers want a fleet of new taxpayer-funded icebreakers built because they've got a mate with a shipyard and a burning desire to build icebreakers (and he could really use the work, you know?). Oh, and we need to increase Antarctic research budgets to study the disappearing ice caps because we've had to divert so much from research to base re-supply costs due to unusually heavy sea ice causing major problems over the last decade or so.

"Down with carbon colonialism" - "Did you know that the money you donate to carbon-offsetting schemes is often spent on programmes that stifle development in the Third World?" (Austin Williams, sp!ked)

"Scientists offer guidelines for coping with climate change in Alaska" - "Coping with the devastating effects of climate change in Alaska will require institutional nimbleness and a willingness among those living at lower latitudes to “share the pain,” according to the authors of a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (PhysOrg)

"Climate change is good for Scotland - professor" - "SCOTLAND'S leaders should accept that climate change would be good for the country instead of spending millions of pounds cutting carbon emissions, a leading academic claimed last night." (The Scotsman)

More readings of chook entrails: "Hot 'Prehistoric' Conditions May Return by 2100, Study Says" - "Earth's future could resemble its hottest ancient epoch, a new study says. Picture palm trees swaying in Canada, warm seas lapping at shorelines hundreds of feet higher than they are today—and no natural ice anywhere." (National Geographic News)

"Analysis: When he signs a bill, it's star time" - "Schwarzenegger gets the most in political mileage from events." (Sacramento Bee)

And if you believe this they'll tell you another: "Cost of saving the planet: a year's growth" - "The world would have to give up only one year's economic growth over the next four decades to reduce carbon emissions sufficiently to stave off the threat of global warming, a report says today. Consultants at PricewaterhouseCoopers offer a "green growth plus" strategy, combining energy efficiency, greater use of renewables and carbon capture to cut emissions by 60% by 2050 from the level reached by doing nothing. Nuclear energy, it says, can play a role, but it is not crucial." (The Guardian)

Even if it cost only a single dollar to fight the phantom menace it's a dollar wasted and a price too high.

"Canada needs massive effort to fight climate change: report" - "OTTAWA - Canada's environment commissioner is calling for a massive increase in efforts to combat climate change. Released on Thursday, Johanne Gelinas's hard-hitting report is critical of the previous Liberal government but largely focuses on what the new Conservative administration needs to do better. She said the government urgently needs a believable, clear and realistic plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (CBC)

Actually, we all need a major reduction in emissions about greenhouse gases.

"Emissions plan West-friendly, Ignatieff says" - "OTTAWA -- Michael Ignatieff made his strongest pitch yet in favour of a carbon tax, telling university students yesterday that, contrary to public perception, his plan would be welcomed by Alberta's oil and gas sector." (Globe and Mail)

"Merkel to Target Climate Change as G8, EU Leader" - "Germany will take the reins of both the G8 and the European Union next year and Angela Merkel has made battling climate change her top priority. But the chancellor will face the tough task of bringing the US in line." (Deutsche Welle)

"EU Opens Probe into Danish CO2 Tax Exemption Plans" - "BRUSSELS - The European Commission said on Thursday it has opened a formal investigation into plans by Denmark to grant tax exemptions to companies covered by the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Coal Said Top Enemy in Fighting Global Warming" - "OSLO - Cheap coal will be the main enemy in a fight against global warming in the 21st century because high oil prices are likely to encourage a shift to coal before wind or solar power, a top economist said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"China claims success in test of fusion reactor" - "BEIJING Scientists on Thursday carried out China's first successful test of an experimental fusion reactor, powered by the process that fuels the sun, a research institute spokeswoman said. China, the United States and other governments are pursuing fusion research in hopes that it could become a clean, potentially limitless energy source. Fusion produces little radioactive waste, unlike fission, which powers conventional nuclear reactors." (Associated Press)

"The Ascent of Wind Power" - "Wind power is emerging as an alternative in fast-growing countries like India and China that are avidly seeking new energy sources." (New York Times)

"Dennis Avery Whitepaper: Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife? The Massive Land Costs of U.S. Ethanol" - "Executive Summary: The high price of fossil fuels, environmental concerns, and geopolitical instability in some major oilproducing nations have spurred intense interest in the United States in alternative fuels, especially from renewable energy sources. While popular with environmental activists, wind and solar power, because of their costs and unreliability, are not expected to grow significantly, even with massive subsidies. Nuclear power is still viewed with suspicion, even though other countries, including France, supply a majority of their energy needs from nuclear plants..." (CGFI) | Click here to read the full report.

"PAKISTAN: Days of the Eucalyptus Numbered" - "LAHORE, Sep 28 - Debates and a huge outcry are hounding the Punjab provincial government a month after it began cutting down thousands of eucalyptus trees that line this northern Pakistani city. Endless rows of eucalyptus trees are marked with red, which means they face the axe soon. Many of the trees are along the banks of the canal that passes through the city. In mid-June this year, the Punjab Forest Department and the Environmental Protection Department declared that eucalyptus trees are ‘environmentally unfriendly’ -- officially meting out the death sentence to this tree species in Pakistan’s most populated province. The future planting of eucalyptus trees has also been prohibited." (IPS)

"2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation: U.N. report" - "UNITED NATIONS - Some 2.6 billion people in the world, mainly in Africa and Asia, lack access to basic sanitation, increasing the risk of diarrhea and other diseases fatal to children, said a U.N. report released on Thursday. UNICEF, the U.N. children's fund, in a study on water and sanitation in developing nations, concluded that U.N. goals could be met on clean water, especially in urban areas, but the same was not true for access to the crudest of toilets. The report, Progress for Children, surveyed available clean water and sanitation facilities from 1990 to 2004 and calculated which countries could meet goals set at a U.N. Millennium summit in 2000." (Reuters)

"Scientists use an 'ice lolly' to find polar bacteria in their own backyard" - "To study the bacteria which survive in extreme cold, scientists no longer have to go to extreme environments, such as Antarctic lakes and glaciers. Bacteria previously isolated from polar climates, and have properties which allow them to survive in extreme cold, have been isolated from soil in temperate environments." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Beta-carotene-rich maize boosts vitamin A in rodents" - "Maize, bred to contain high concentrations of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene, did increase the vitamin A status in gerbils, and could be used to tackle vitamin A deficiency, says a new study." (Nutra Ingredients)

"Bangladesh: Golden Rice in 3 yrs: MK Anwar" - "Agriculture Minister MK Anwar yesterday said the Golden Rice, a genetically modified crop enriched by Vitamin-A, is expected to be released in the country within the next two or three years." (Daily Star)

"Genetically modified food need of the hour" - "LUCKNOW: For feeding millions of Indians we need to go for genetically modified (GM) foods. This was stated by director, Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) and Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC), CM Gupta while addressing a press conference on the eve of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Foundation Day on Monday. This day is celebrated by 38 national laboratories of CSIR throughout the country." (Times of India)

September 28, 2006

"Deadly Environmental Program Ends" - "As reported in the September 18, 2006, Investor’s Business Daily, The World Health Organization reversed its 30 year opposition to the use of DDT a very effective pesticide. This is good news for millions of 3rd World citizens, millions of whom have died from malaria, yellow fever, typhus, dengue, plague, encephalitis, and other insect-borne diseases.

It is bad news for those who have willfully helped withhold the extraordinarily beneficial chemical from those who needed it most. The 30 to 50 million deaths since the 1972 ban are on the hands of environmental groups who have promoted the continuing ban for decades.

It is also bad news for the thousands of bureaucrats, lawyers, and scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many state environmental agencies, and international agencies such as the WHO which collectively created, then enforced the ban. Even the European Union (EU) was deeply involved with enforcement of the ban through economic sanctions." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

"Call for global action over continued huge burden of maternal deaths in poor countries" - "Experts will issue a stark warning today that Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, which aims to reduce maternal deaths by 75% before 2015, will only be met with intensified commitment and a focus on effective strategies. The warning comes from a team writing in the Lancet as part of its Maternal Survival Series, which begins today. The authors call for action on the part of donors and governments to develop a clear strategic vision to reduce the 'largest discrepancy of all public health statistics'." (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

"Kazakstan: Fears of Over-Hasty Green Legislation" - "Pressure from Kazakstan's president to pass a new "ecological code" by the end of the year could force parliament into passing a flawed piece of legislation, NBCentral Asia experts say.

Architects of the code, a draft of which was submitted to the lower house of parliament on September 19, say the aim is to bring Kazakstan's environmental protection legislation into line with the international treaties to which it is a signatory.

Kazakstan has ratified around 22 international agreements on the environment, including the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Aarhus Convention on Access to Environmental Information.

Ecologists who have been involved in drafting the ecology code told NBCentralAsia that its significance lies in setting out a new and progressive area of law, and synchronising the functions of four existing laws and around 80 regulations.

However, some of the code's provisions have already come under fire from members of parliament, for example a clause that bans access to environmental information if it constitutes a commercial secret, if it forms part of a criminal investigation, or is categorised as "for official use only". Deputies believe this runs contrary to the Aarhus convention on access to information." (IWPR)

"Living close to heavy industry may increase risk of lung cancer" - "Living close to heavy industry may increase the risk of developing lung cancer, although the effect is relatively modest, suggests research published ahead of print in Thorax." (BMJ Specialty Journals)

The relentless quest for test tube-pure air: "Study of toxins in Houston air warrants new standards" - "Report recommends immediate action to lower pollutants in environment." (Rice University)

"Study: Airbags, antilock brakes not likely to reduce accidents, injuries" - "WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Researchers have determined that airbags and antilock braking systems do not reduce the likelihood of accidents or injuries because they may encourage more aggressive driving, thwarting the potential benefits of such safety features.

The behavior responsible for this seeming paradox is called the offset hypotheses, which predicts that consumers adapt to innovations meant to improve safety by becoming less vigilant about safety, said Fred Mannering, a professor of civil engineering at Purdue University.

"When antilock brakes were first introduced, insurance companies noticed that the accident rates for those cars increased," he said. "We decided to see whether the offset hypothesis could explain this phenomenon." (Purdue University)

Courtesy of pain-in-the-butt lifestyle nannies: "Kids say 'Yuck!' to healthy school lunch" - "WATERLOOVILLE, ENGLAND – Margaret Beacher looks deflated as she chucks out the leftover pasta and wipes down the work surface. She's been cooking all morning for the pupils of Hart Plain junior school. And yet when lunchtime came, not many children did. "There are fewer kids coming for lunch now," she complains. "It's a shame. For a lot of them it's the only hot meal they'll have in a day." (Christian Science Monitor)

"New York trans fat ban: Life-saver or Orwellian?" - "NEW YORK, Sept 27 - A proposal to ban most artery-clogging trans fats from New York's restaurants could save thousands of lives at little cost to restaurateurs, supporters of the initiative said on Wednesday. But a leading industry group called for dialogue with city authorities to modify their "Orwellian regulation," which comes as many fast-food restaurants are already trying to reduce trans fats in response to shifting consumer demand." (Reuters)

"Big Brother in the Kitchen? New Yorkers Balk" - "New Yorkers’ reaction to the city’s proposal to severely limit trans fats in restaurants for health reasons typically went something like, “Right, but on the other hand ...” (New York Times)

"Dead zone off Oregon needs storms to break" - "GRANTS PASS, Ore. - The dead zone of oxygen-depleted water that has been killing crabs and fish along the central Oregon Coast is showing the first signs of breaking up, but will likely remain in place until fall storms move in next month." (Associated Press)

Insufficient mixing due to insufficiently stormy weather, in turn due to, you guessed it, global warming -- which will supposedly cause more and more-intense storms (unless that'd be good, in which case it'll cause less). Right...

Revealed! NOAA's Mystery Hurricane Report (Prometheus)

Apolitical A political science: "Scientists Form Group to Support Science-Friendly Candidates" - "Several prominent scientists said yesterday that they had formed an organization dedicated to electing politicians “who respect evidence and understand the importance of using scientific and engineering advice in making public policy.” (New York Times)

The glory that was (Number Watch)

NS plays the authority card: "Editorial: Still in a mess over climate change" - "The politically and commercially motivated abuse of science carried out by some climate change sceptics must be exposed for what it is." (New Scientist)

Gosh! "Heed This Warning" - "The problem of climate change has become a crisis that no responsible politician can ignore." (Washington Post)

Did The Post not bother to look at the PNAS article (2.34Mb .pdf, 7pp including cover) or just not understand any of it? It is not even certain they read or got a handle on the rather breathless press release. This is just wrong on so many levels. Let's look at a few of the apparently dodgy claims presented:

Firstly, can a couple of proxy sites be used to extrapolate global mean temperatures? In this case, apparently not since the listed Eastern and Western Equatorial Pacific sites show differences of opposing signs wrt 1870-1900 means (fig. 3.B). Two Eastern Equatorial Pacific sites (just north of the Galapagos Islands) demonstrate significant disparity over the last 100K years, somewhat unlikely for sea surface temperatures at sites within a couple of hundred miles of the equator, no?

Hansen and GISS generally produce temperature anomalies with reference to (wrt) 1951-1980 but here use 1870-1900. Why recalculate to a new reference period unless perhaps to include warming predating significant change in atmospheric trace gas levels? The effect of this recalculation is to double estimated warming and greatly inflate the apparent 2001-2005 anomaly.

Comparing a five-year running mean with 1,000-year averages? (The caption Fig. 5. reads: Modern sea surface temperatures (5, 6) in the WEP compared with paleoclimate proxy data (28). Modern data are the 5-year running mean, while the paleoclimate data has a resolution of the order of 1,000 years.) What do you suppose is the value of that?

Then there's "The paleoclimate SST, based on Mg content of foraminifera shells, provides accuracy to ≈ 1°C (29)."

Really? "The analysis of foraminifera suggests an interlaboratory variance of about ±8% (%RSD) for Mg/Ca measurements, which translates to reproducibility of about ±2–3°C. The relatively large range in the reproducibility of foraminiferal analysis is primarily due to relatively poor intralaboratory repeatability (about ±1–2°C) and a bias (about 1°C) due to the application of different cleaning methods by different laboratories." -- Rosenthal (2004) (1.92Mb .pdf, 29pp).

Hansen states "It seems safe to assume that the SST will not decline this century, given continued increases of GHGs, so in a practical sense the WEP temperature is at or near its highest level in the Holocene." Well, that may not be a "safe" assumption given the recently observed ocean cooling (3.33Mb .pdf, 15pp), a cooling not predicted by any climate model (nor climate researcher of which we are aware) and which will be of unknown duration.

Actually, the paper is littered with unsupported muses, rambling semi-editorializing and a rehashing of recycled papers, all accompanied by odd conclusions making it all the more surprising PNAS published it.

More commentary on Hansen's latest essay: "How Warm Is the Earth Nowadays?" - "In a recent attempt to put earth's current temperature in a perspective that supposedly emphasizes its unique warmth, Hansen et al. (2006) focus almost exclusively on a single point (0.3°N, 159.4°E) of the earth's surface in the Western Equatorial Pacific (WEP), comparing modern sea surface temperatures (SSTs) at that location with paleo-SSTs derived by Medina-Elizade and Lea (2005) from the Mg/Ca ratios of the shells of the surface-dwelling planktonic foraminifer Globigerinoides ruber, which were obtained from an ocean drilling program on the Ontong Java Plateau. In doing so, they conclude that "this critical ocean region, and probably the planet as a whole, is approximately as warm now as at the Holocene maximum and within ~1°C of the maximum temperature of the past million years," while in another place they say that "recent warming of the WEP has brought its temperature within <1°C of its maximum in the past million years."

Is there any compelling reason to believe what these six illustrious researchers are telling us about the entire planet? In a word, no. And why? Because many other single-point measurements suggest something vastly different." (co2science.org)

Update: We're told Climate Audit has a couple of threads open on the above: Warmest in a Millll-yun Years and Warmest in a Millll-yun #2

Overview of The 4th Annual SORCE Meeting: Earth’s Radiative Budget - Part II (Climate Science)

"Explaining the methane mystery" - "Scientists have explained why atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas methane have stabilised." (CSIRO Australia)

"China, Wetlands Driving Global Warming" - "Some countries have been trying to reduce greenhouse gases emissions over the last decade, but a perfect storm of methane emissions may undo all the good work. According to a new study, the environmental threat posed by China's booming economy has been partially masked by a decline in natural methane emissions from wetlands. Soon, however, the drought that has reduced wetland emissions will end, pumping additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as China's own emissions continue to rise." (Dan Whipple, ScienceNOW Daily News)

So, Dan, this "Earth saving" drought keeping methane emissions down is going to end soon... you mean it's not a global warming-induced drought bound to worsen after all?

Gotta hand it to Big Warming, they sure are flexible when it comes to warming results, feedbacks, consequences, risks... everything that could conceivably be taken as things being bad and going to get worse (and people's fault, of course).

"Miliband tells UK to wake up over climate change" - "People are not concerned enough about the threat of climate change, the environment secretary said today, as he warned that the UK was in danger of "sleepwalking towards catastrophe" over the issue." (Guardian Unlimited)

Earth to Dave: a possible mean temperature drift from 287.15 K* (14 °C) to 287.75 K** (14.6 °C) since the late 19th Century is more soporific than panic-inducing -- it does not indicate looming catastrophe.

* Exactly what temperature the Earth "should" be is unknown but Hansen puts it at ≈ 14.0 ± 0.7 °C, based apparently on the model ensemble output from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) (see original .pdf), with model runs tending to cluster between ≈ 13.5 °C and ≈ 14.5 °C and spanning a range of ≈ 11.5 °C (284.65 K) to ≈ 16.5 °C (289.65 K) or ≈ 14.0 ± 2.5 °C, if you prefer.

** Earth's global mean for 2005 is variously estimated as GISTEMP: 14.63 °C; HadCRUT3: 14.47 °C; NCDC: 14.5 °C; GHCN-ERSST; 14.51 °C; HadCRUT2: 14.49 °C... It is interesting to note that the difference between GISTEMP and HadCRUT3 estimates is equivalent to the entire effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide from 280 ppmv (the level c1780) to 375 ppmv (2003).

"UK: Miliband fears on climate change" - "People "should be scared" about global warming - and be ready to take action to help tackle the problem, says Environment Secretary David Miliband." (BBC)

Isn't it funny that environment ministers/secretaries... all tend to be fearful nitwits? Do you suppose it's a prerequisite for the position or just a position no more stable individual wants?

"U.S. scientists say they urgently need more icebreakers for Arctic waters" - "WASHINGTON - A U.S. scientist told a congressional committee Wednesday the country urgently needs new American icebreakers for Arctic waters, partly to maintain a national presence amid Canada's sovereignty claims. Mead Treadwell, chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, said building more icebreakers is vital to conducting research, accessing future oil supplies and mapping areas outside the 370-kilometre limit." (CP)

The hazard for them here is the amount of ink expended on claims of "disappearing" ice -- what price icebreakers if there's nothing for them to do?

"Canada: Environment commissioner chides Tories for lack of climate-change plan" - "OTTAWA - Canada has no plan for adapting to the effects of climate change and federal work on a national adaptation strategy has stalled, Environment Commissioner Johanne Gelinas will report Thursday. Although Gelinas' annual report remained under wraps Wednesday, an internal government paper summarizing her conclusions was leaked to The Canadian Press." (Canadian Press)

"Researchers stress adaptation to global warming" - "WASHINGTON - Install massive steel barriers in the waters around New York City to ward off storm surges as sea levels rise. Plant heat-friendly corn instead of heat-sensitive wheat. Air-condition stifling apartments to prevent widespread heat-related deaths. Require new buildings to be set well back from the seashore or raised on stilts. These are some of the ideas that scientists and engineers are discussing to help the world adapt to climate change. No matter what efforts are made to slow global warming, even many skeptics say that further temperature increases are inevitable. As a result, adaptation - actions that individuals, companies or governments take to reduce damage from climate change - is gaining more attention from researchers and policymakers." (McClatchy Newspapers)

More political grandstanding: "Schwarzenegger signs global warming bill" - "SAN FRANCISCO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday signed into law a sweeping global warming initiative that imposes the nation's first cap on greenhouse gas emissions, saying the effort kicks off "a bold new era of environmental protection." (Associated Press)

"A global warming moment" - "Governor signs measure capping greenhouse gas emissions that could lead to big changes in industries and life in cities." (Mark Martin, SF Chronicle)

If this nonsense survives then likely changes are significantly increased costs for consumers and further damage to California's economy. The land of fruits and nuts...

"Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'" - "One-sided, Misleading, Exaggerated, Speculative, Wrong" (Marlo Lewis, Jr., CEI)

Indoctrination campaign of the moment: "Program to train corporate directors on climate change" - "New Haven, Conn. -- Yale University, along with two other leading U.S. organizations, has announced a unique collaborative effort to educate hundreds of independent corporate board members about the potential liabilities and strategic business opportunities that global climate change can create for companies.

"Climate change is no longer the purview of scientists only," said Gus Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "The widespread ramifications of unchecked climate change require that more leaders in our society understand its implications." The announcement was made at a plenary session of the 2006 annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative hosted in New York this week by former President Bill Clinton." (Yale University)

II: "Weather Channel ready to take heat on global warming" - "So you think weather is a noncontroversial topic? Starting Sunday, the Weather Channel will test that notion by wading into the often-divisive discussion about climate change. With a new weekly program called "The Climate Code with Dr. Heidi Cullen," the Weather Channel will take the position that global warming is happening, people are contributing to it, and it's a big problem." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"Bosses saving our planet can't ignore the bottom line" - "The polar ice cap may melt before Sir Richard Branson's transport businesses turn a $3bn profit. This has not stopped the great entrepreneur trumpeting this sum over the next 10 years to save the planet. As ever with Sir Richard the small print bears careful scrutiny. In the meantime, he still plans to send tourists into space. And not just fuelled by hot air.

The profits from Virgin's rail and air businesses are now slated for recycling into Virgin Fuels, which is pursuing the biofuels Holy Grail. There are those more environmentally savvy than me, who know their composted potato peelings from their horse manure, questioning the wisdom of this choice of green target. Others are simply choking on the polluting air of a trademark piece of Virgin spin that dresses up a calculated business decision as an act of charity on behalf of all mankind." (London Telegraph)

'nother scam promo: "Warming Trend Is Hatching a Business" - "U.S. governors, impatient with federal inaction on global warming, are taking matters into their own hands. The result could add impetus to an emerging industry. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) yesterday signed legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions. And seven Northeastern states, which together emit as much greenhouse gas as Germany, have banded together to set rules that would cut their emissions by 10 percent by 2019. Other states may join them." (Washington Post)

"Green moves on buses and fuel" - "Labour yesterday attempted to reclaim the green agenda by seeking to reverse the decline in bus use and investing £10m to provide enough renewable energy to meet the domestic demands of Norwich, Oxford, Exeter and Newcastle combined." (The Guardian)

"Oil spikes, pandemics biggest threat to growth: WEF" - "WASHINGTON - Surging oil prices, a pandemic or extreme weather are more likely to spoil the world's best growth in a generation than snowballing economic imbalances, a World Economic Forum study group said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Campaigners attack Shell's charity arm over Sakhalin talks" - "An attempt by Shell to portray itself as a model of corporate social responsibility was undermined last night after Whitehall documents showed its charitable arm discussing a key commercial project with a British government minister." (The Guardian)

"A Pebble's Ripple Effect" - "Whether or not you believe that we're in the midst of an episode of anthropogenic global warming, it seems to me that burning fossil fuels when there are alternatives is obviously a bad idea. Leaving aside greenhouse gases, burning coal and oil releases all sorts of nasty substances into the air, ranging from the obvious -- like hydrocarbons and soot -- to the not-so-obvious, like the surprising amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere by burning coal." (Glenn Harlan Reynolds, TCS Daily)

"Glue made from ethanol-production leftovers may be worth more than the fuel itself" - "MADISON -- Mixing up a batch of ethanol from alfalfa or switchgrass isn't nearly as efficient as creating it from corn, but that doesn't mean growing grass crops for fuel won't pay, says Paul Weimer. Rather than dwelling on finding ways to squeeze extra ethanol out of biomass from crops such as switchgrass, Weimer is concentrating his research on the leftovers. He thinks that the large heap of fermentation residue from the ethanol-making process - what many people consider a byproduct - could be far more valuable than the ethanol itself." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"PORTUGAL: Riding the Wave of the Future" - "LISBON - Atlantic Ocean waves are to light up 1,500 homes in the north of Portugal. The first 2.25 megawatts of electricity produced from wave power will be brought ashore at Aguçadoura, on the northern coast, as of October." (IPS)

Cockeyed worldview of the moment: "Economic crisis, civil war and tsunami no problem if reefs well managed" - "A tsunami's impact on a coral reef is slight compared to the devastation wreaked by human use of explosives and poison, latest research from the coast of Aceh in Indonesia has disclosed." (James Cook University)

"Women's Expertise Key to Rolling Back Deserts" - "UNITED NATIONS - Empowering and investing in women is the key to combating the effects of desertification and paving the way for rural poverty alleviation in many of the world's least developed countries (LDCs), according to researchers, government policy-makers and United Nations experts." (IPS)

"Hemp is at hand" - "For decades, UK farmers were banned from growing a plant wrongly associated with potheads. But this versatile member of the cannabis family is moving back into the agricultural mainstream." (The Guardian)

"Tainted Spinach Raises Big Questions of Manure on Food Crops" - "Ten years after one of the country’s top food safety experts warned of danger from putting manure on food crops, Americans are still being devastated by manure-born pathogens. It doesn’t have to be." (Dennis Avery and Alex Avery, CGFI)

"UGA scientists engineer root-knot nematode resistance" - "Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia professor Richard Hussey has spent 20 years studying a worm-shaped parasite too small to see without a microscope. His discovery is vastly bigger. Hussey and his research team have found a way to halt the damage caused by one of the world's most destructive groups of plant pathogens." (University of Georgia)

"Voluntary nanotechnology reporting launched in UK" - "UK food manufacturers and others are been asked to provide any information on nanotechnologies they are working on, under a programme launched this week by the government." (Food Production Daily)

September 27, 2006

Net Gains By Jessie Stone [Bracketed bold comments by JunkScience.com]

"Winning Africa’s War on Malaria" - "The WHO, USAID and EU support new efforts that will bring victory

I’ve had malaria more times than I care to remember. My son, two sisters and four cousins died from it. My once-brilliant brother is permanently brain-damaged from it. In just one year, 50 out of 500 children in the school that my husband and I help sponsor died from malaria.

This terrible disease infects 12 million Ugandans and kills up to 100,000 of our people every year. Even at only US $1,000 per life (and surely our lives are worth far more than that), this means a loss of US $100-million (180 billion Ugandan shillings), every year. It costs our country millions of lost working days and billions of shillings in lost wages, every year. It forces families to spend billions on medicines and hospital visits, and keeps tourists and foreign investment from coming to our country.

Stopping this death and devastation has to be our highest priority.

Thankfully, we now have the weapons and allies to win our war against Killer Malaria." (Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes, ChronWatch)

"Tobacco Company Seeks New Ways to Kill in Africa" - "One passage in a recent news item sent to me by the public health group Africa Fighting Malaria featured a link to a bizarre secondary story:" (Gilbert Ross, ACSH)

Join us as we celebrate WHO's somewhat belated return to rationality and show your support for safe, effective health care. Get your DDTee™ at the special price of just $14.99 and stand with us against the fear mongers whose nonsense claims have killed so many.

The misanthropists are in full cry: "Globalisation Institute: DDT spraying 'a top down solution doomed to failure'" - "The Globalisation Institute has today criticised the decision of the World Health Organisation to promote DDT use in Africa, saying that it offers poor value for money as a way to fight malaria." (Press release)

"KENYA: Fresh anti-malaria initiative launched" - "NAIROBI, 26 Sep 2006 - Kenya has launched a malaria control initiative to encourage the widespread use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and provision of free treatment in hospitals." (IRIN)

"Critics Say EU Parliament Dilutes Pollution Rules" - "STRASBOURG, France - The European Parliament approved new rules to curb air pollution on Tuesday, but environmentalists and the European Union's executive arm accused lawmakers of weakening more ambitious proposals." (Reuters)

"Solvent exposure linked to birth defects in babies of male painters" - "Men who paint for a living may be placing their unborn children at increased risk of birth defects and low birth weight. A study of construction workers in the Netherlands, conducted in part by the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, links low birth weight and birth defects to paternal, airborne exposure to organic solvents such as paints, thinner and cleansers." (University of Alberta)

"New vaccine would target ear, sinus infections" - "WASHINGTON - U.S. researchers said on Tuesday they are starting trials of a new vaccine aimed at wiping out childhood ear and sinus infections and many cases of bronchitis in adults. Unlike virtually all other vaccines on the market, this one will not be aimed at saving lives, but at preventing nuisance illnesses, the researchers said. "We are now in an era where we look to vaccines that make life better," said Dr. Michael Pichichero, a professor of microbiology, immunology, pediatrics, and medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who is leading the trial." (Reuters Life!)

"A risky idea for FDA" - "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will behave a lot more like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if Congress and the FDA adopt recommendations of last week's Institute of Medicine (IOM) report. And that is dangerous news for consumers who need a steady flow of innovative medicines." (Jeff Stier, Washington Times)

"New York proposes trans fat ban in restaurants" - "NEW YORK - New York City's Health Department on Tuesday proposed a near ban on the use of artificial trans fat at restaurants, likening its health danger to that of lead paint. The proposal would limit the use of the artery-clogging fat, which is often used in fast foods, to 0.5 grams per serving. The proposal comes after a year-long city campaign to educate restaurants on the effects of such fats and encourage them to stop their use. The city said the voluntary campaign failed and while some of New York's more than 20,000 restaurants reduced or stopped using artificial trans fat, overall use did not decline at all." (Reuters)

"What Do You Know?" - "If you're an American college student, probably not much." (Pete du Pont, Opinion Journal)

"NASA technology captures massive hurricane waves" - "A hurricane's fury can be relentless, from frightening winds, to torrential rains and flooding. These storms also create enormous ocean waves that are hazardous to ships. And through storm surges of up to 30 feet the storms can demolish shoreline structures, erode beaches and wash out coastal roads. As part of its activities to better understand Earth's dynamic climate, NASA research is helping to increase knowledge about the behavior of hurricane waves." (NASA/GSFC)

"You can't scare people into getting fit or going green" - "New research published today by the Economic and Social Research Council shows that positive, informative strategies which help people set specific health and environmental goals are far more effective when it comes to encouraging behaviour change than negatives strategies which employ messages of fear, guilt or regret." (Economic & Social Research Council)

But that doesn't discourage greenies and the AGW industry from trying.

"Forecasters Butt Heads Over US Winter Outlook" - "NEW YORK - US forecasters are at odds over how cold and snowy the coming winter will be, with predictions ranging from frigid to mild in the key Northeast and Midwest heating regions. The murky outlook follows last year's surprisingly balmy winter, the warmest on record, which caught most meteorologists off guard and triggered a free fall in natural gas prices that hurt consumers with locked in supply contracts. "It looks like another year without consensus," said Matt Rogers, forecaster for EarthSat." (Reuters)

Yes it did, no it didn't -- this week, yes, it did -- solar activity increased: "Meteorites record past solar activity" - "Ilya Usoskin (Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, University of Oulu, Finland) and his colleagues have investigated the solar activity over the past centuries. Their study is to be published this week in Astronomy & Astrophysics Letters. They compare the amount of Titanium 44 in nineteen meteorites that have fallen to the Earth over the past 240 years. Their work confirms that the solar activity has increased strongly during the 20th century. They also find that the Sun has been particularly active in the past few decades." (Astronomy & Astrophysics Letters)

"IARC scientists document warm water surging into Arctic" - "Fairbanks, Alaska -- Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center this fall documented that recent surges of warm water from the North Atlantic Ocean continue to pulse into the Arctic Ocean and are moving toward Alaska and the Canadian Basin." (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Oh boy... "We are not climate-change deniers" - "ExxonMobil knows the dangers of carbon emissions and is committed to cutting them, says Nick Thomas." (The Guardian)

... not that there is any short-term reason for oil companies to "deny global warming" since any costs incurred "fighting" the phantom menace will be passed on to consumers (with a margin, no doubt, causing no damage to profits). The big disappointment is "admitting" the populist version of "global warming", which is a nonsense, rather than making a virtue of sticking to the facts, which are that fossil fuel combustion emissions over the last 150-odd years could have contributed as much as 0.17 kelvin to the mean global temperature of about 288 kelvins. That's a stupid thing to do guys because appeasement never works.

Southern hemisphere ignores global warming (Luboš Motl, Reference Frame)

Further Comments on the Denver Post article “Global Warming?” (Climate Science)

"Economists on climate change: do we care?" - "LONDON - Will the spending needed to prevent global warming cost the world more than just sitting back, or even enjoying the possible financial benefits of a hotter planet? Economists are divided over that cold financial calculation in the week ahead of a major report on the issue to be presented to ministers of the world's leading nations. Some want action now to curb climate-changing emissions, saying that will cost little today but more if we delay, while others urge a slower approach, saying uncontrolled climate change will cost little or nothing in the short-term." (Reuters)

The question really is whether we are prepared to spend anything to attempt adjusting planetary temperature by a paltry couple of hundredths (10-2) of a degree? We can't even measure the planet's temperature to that kind of accuracy, nor will we ever be able to tell whether our sacrifice made any difference, let alone whether it improved or worsened the environmental lot of most people. Why is it even being contemplated?

"Skeptical Environmentalist' to give Holyrood futures forum lecture" - "London, 27 September -- Professor Bjorn Lomborg, the controversial Danish author and thinker, will be in Holyrood on Thursday to deliver the next lecture in the Scotland's Futures Forum series." (PRNewswire-GNN)

"Government Said to Be Blocking Hurricane Report That Attributes Storms to Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON Sep 26, 2006— The Bush administration has blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday." (AP)

"Germany to Put Global Warming Back on G8 Agenda" - "BERLIN - Germany will make fighting climate change a top priority when it takes control of the G8 next year and will try to persuade the United States of its importance, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"No Laughing Matter: Reducing Levels Of Nitrous Oxide From Soil To Lessen Impact Of Global Warming" - "Abertay University is supporting the University of Plymouth in a £1 million project which could reduce the impact of global warming by decreasing the levels of nitrous oxide -- 'laughing gas' -- produced by the earth's soil." (Science Daily)

"Discovering how river water is mixed into the sea can assist in mapping climate change" - "A study of the freshwater that flows into Liverpool Bay from the region’s two main rivers is to help scientists piece together another part of the climate change ‘map’." (PhysOrg)

From CO2 Science this week:

What Motivates the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change?: Is it to learn and promulgate what we perceive to be the truth about CO 2 and global change, or is it to make as much money as we possibly can by promulgating what we know to be false?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Spain and Lake Kamalété, Central Gabon. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Droughts (North America - Mexico): Over the past two millennia, have Mexican droughts been more prevalent and/or severe during times of greater or lesser warmth?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Black Poplar, Coral Honeysuckle, Poison Ivy, and Robusta Poplar.

Journal Reviews:
A Brief History of Upper Colorado River Basin Streamflow: How did the region's hydroclimate change as the earth transited from the Little Ice Age to the Current Warm Period?

The Millennial-Scale Oscillation of Climate in the Qinghai-Tibetan Region of China: What does it imply about earth's recent climate history?

The Primary Sources of Salt Lake City's Urban CO 2 Dome: What are they? ... and how do they vary with respect to meteorological conditions and human activities?

Plant Response to CO 2 Escaping from Fractures and Faults of Active Volcanic Systems: The aerial fertilization effect of the escaping CO 2 is manifest as enhanced greenness in high-resolution vegetative reflectance spectra obtained from satellite-borne radiometers.

Land Surface Temperatures and Plant Productivity of Europe: 1982-1999: What do they tell us about the "twin evils" of the radical environmental movement, i.e., the ongoing rise in the air's CO 2 content and the global warming it is claimed to cause? (co2science.org)

"Australia: Climate change [sows] weed threat seeds" - "SOME of the 3000 foreign plant species established as weeds in Australia could explode in numbers in new areas because of human-induced climate change, a conference has been told. But, as the climate changed, their area of habitat could decrease." (The Australian)

We have to wonder about the education of "science reporters" when this piece comes entitled "Climate change sews weed threat seeds" -- had us in stitches (sorry!).

"EPA, International Partners to Reduce Methane Emissions" - "Seven oil and gas companies are signing on as charter members of the Natural Gas Star International program, an expansion of the successful Environmental Protection Agency domestic program to reduce methane emissions. This cost-effective program to capture and use methane as a clean fuel not only enhances the environment but also provides immediate economic and energy security benefits, since methane is the primary component of natural gas." (News Blaze)

"Schwarzenegger says global warming a top priority" - "SACRAMENTO - California's landmark effort to set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions is just one step in a long-term strategy by the nation's most populous state to combat global climate change, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday in an interview. The governor said the global warming strategy for California, the world's 12th largest producer of greenhouse gases, will include further industrial reductions and initiatives such as placing greater emphasis on renewable energy and hydrogen-fueled cars. Schwarzenegger said he hopes California's efforts on global warming will inspire other states and the federal government, which has done little to curb the emissions scientists blame for warming the Earth." (Associated Press)

"GLOBAL WARMING: Governor, lawmakers don't exactly practice what they preach" - "Sacramento -- Despite their outspoken support for landmark legislation to fight global warming, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and some of the leading Democratic lawmakers who voted for the measure still use gas-guzzling vehicles for official state business." (SF Chronicle)

"It's the law: 20 percent of electricity from renewables" - "California's three major utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric, will be required to provide 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy within four years under a new law signed today by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger." (Mercury News)

"Branson launches plan to cut aviation emissions" - "LONDON - British billionaire Richard Branson proposed on Wednesday changes to aircraft movements at busy airports and the way planes land under a plan he said would cut the world's aviation emissions by up to 25 percent." (Reuters)

And this "global warming" plan wouldn't perchance reduce Virgin's costs now, would it? Say by circumventing fuel-wasteful "noise abatement" procedures, maybe?

"France Pushes Wider Use of Flex-Fuel Cars by 2007" - "PARIS - Cars that can run on ethanol or conventional fuel will be widely available from September 2007 to ease France's dependency on fossil fuels, French Finance Minister Thierry Breton said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Iowa State researchers helping to take the natural gas out of ethanol production" - "AMES, Iowa -- It takes a lot of natural gas to run an ethanol plant. A plant needs steam to liquefy corn starch and heat to distill alcohol and more heat to dry the leftover distillers grains." (Iowa State University)

"In Midwest, a harvest that may be a little too sweet" - "With record yields forecast, sugar beet growers may have to limit what they harvest." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Banana lovers rejoice - Israeli company develops bug-resistant bananas" - "If you eat five bananas a week, there's a good chance that one of them has its genetic origins in Israel." (Israel21C)

September 26, 2006

Oh boy, here we go again... "NASA study finds world warmth edging ancient levels" - "A new study by NASA climatologists finds that the world's temperature is reaching a level that has not been seen in thousands of years.

The study appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, authored by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, N.Y. and colleagues from Columbia University, Sigma Space Partners, Inc., and the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). The study concludes that, because of a rapid warming trend over the past 30 years, the Earth is now reaching and passing through the warmest levels in the current interglacial period, which has lasted nearly 12,000 years. This warming is forcing a migration of plant and animal species toward the poles.

The study includes worldwide instrumental temperature measurements during the past century. These data reveal that the Earth has been warming at the remarkably rapid rate of approximately 0.2° Celsius (.36° Fahrenheit) per decade for the past 30 years. This observed warming is similar to the warming rate predicted in the 1980s in initial global climate model simulations with changing levels of greenhouse gases.

"This evidence implies that we are getting close to dangerous levels of human-made (anthropogenic) pollution," said Hansen. In recent decades, human-made greenhouse gases (GHGs) have become the dominant climate change factor." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

... with the claims of biggest, baddest, somethingest. Notwithstanding the uncertainty of current global mean temperature, which Hansen and GISS quantify as variation from ≈ 14.0 ± 0.7 °C, a guesstimate based on the model ensemble (a snazzy term for "we don't have a clue but hope this whole bunch of errors might cancel out) from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) (see original .pdf), does this necessarily follow that we have a problem? The fact that the period whose warmth we are said to approach is called the Holocene Climatic Optimum might suggest otherwise.

Moreover, the temperature was supposed to have been like this at a time when there were few people and they hadn't even figured out agriculture or animal husbandry yet, so we'd have to settle for it being within the bounds of natural variability. In the same vein, recent conjecture has been over whether it was in fact the cooling and drying climate that forced people to adapt via the development of complex societies and cooperative farming and husbandry as a defense against more hostile conditions. If true, it sure doesn't sound as though a return to more optimal conditions constitutes some form of crisis.

abs_lt.gif (16205 bytes) The NCDC's Global Mean Monthly Surface Temperature Estimates for the Base Period 1880 to 2004 suggest monthly mean temperature rises 3.8 °C from January to July and back again in an annual cycle. MSU data, meanwhile, tells us the lower troposphere global mean varies somewhat less than near-surface temperature with monthly averages rising and falling approximately 2.3 °C through the year. The Northern Hemisphere (where most people live) cycles a staggering 9.76 °C as far as tropospheric measures are concerned and a whopping 11.6 °C according to land-based near-surface measures.

Finally, the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) quantifies net warming as 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th Century (increased to 0.65 ± 0.2 °C in the draft Fourth Assessment, AR4), with roughly a quarter of this amount coming increased atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use and land use change. So possible warming from fossil fuel use is only one-quarter the magnitude of the error margin of temperature estimates based on an ensemble of models suggesting the expected surface temperature should be somewhere between ≈ 11.5 and ≈ 16.5 °C. The total estimated net warming since the late 19th Century is about 5% of the mean annual variation experienced on land in the Northern Hemisphere. Well, there's reason to panic...

What is this, synchronized shrieking? "Global warming report hopes to "cure" addiction to oil" - "VANCOUVER - A landmark climate change report coming early next year will reveal such a strong link between global warming and fossil fuels that the world will have to end its addiction to oil, says a leading Canadian climate researcher. Ignoring the findings of the report will lead to widespread environmental catastrophies (sic), added Andrew Weaver, Canada research chair at the University of Victoria's school of earth and ocean sciences." (CanWest News Service; Vancouver Sun)

Cute! Flog a book by claiming others get paid to air their opinions:  "Pundits who contest climate change should tell us who is paying them" - "Covert lobbying, in the UK as well as the US, has severely set back efforts to combat the world's biggest problem." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Good one, Moonbat! Now, don't misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with following the money and knowing whether people espousing a particular position profit from it, that's perfectly legitimate, as is George profiting from his tub-thumping (something most authors do). What makes this such a howler is the rank hypocrisy -- the Washington Post ran an editorial, "Hunting Witches", on the dastardly request by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Tex.) for information on research and funding from three climate scientists (as did most liberal media and virtually the entire Global Warming Industry) and, you guessed it, George was part of the pack!

So which is it, George? Do you think questions of funding are legitimate, in which case you should withdraw your attacks on Barton et al for daring to ask whether publicly funded research was being withheld, or do you not? Additionally, your incessant attack pieces should probably bear the disclaimer that you expect to profit by generating book sales as a direct result of your claims if you do honestly consider profit to be the ultimate motivator. So, tell us George -- are you a shill for Big Warming*?

While we are on the topic of pay for view, why is it, do you suppose, that the "everything must be bad and humans are responsible" brigade are apparently blind to the billions of dollars streaming into the AGW pot every year but are convinced that a few thousands or even millions must be the reason people are skeptical? Thousands corrupt but billions don't?

* Facetious rhetorical question -- we could care less whether George chooses to make a buck out of casual slander or shilling for the misguided, misanthropic or the outright demented, for that matter.

Text of Inhofe Speech: “Hot & Cold Media Spin: A Challenge To Journalists Who Cover Global Warming” - "I am going to speak today about the most media-hyped environmental issue of all time, global warming. I have spoken more about global warming than any other politician in Washington today. My speech will be a bit different from the previous seven floor speeches, as I focus not only on the science, but on the media’s coverage of climate change." (Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works)

Overview of The 4th Annual SORCE Meeting: Earth’s Radiative Budget (Climate Science)

"Man-Made Volcanic Effect?" - "Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego has proposed one way to curb global warming (natural and/or man-made) is to purposely shoot sulfur into the atmosphere, in much the same way that major volcanic eruptions do. Injecting sulfur into the stratosphere would reflect more sunlight back to space and offset greenhouse gas warming, according to Crutzen. Crutzen suggests carrying sulfur into the atmosphere via balloons and using artillery guns to release it, where the particles would stay for up to two years. The results could be seen in six months." (Joseph D'Aleo, TCS Daily)

"Spotlight on climate change" - "Despite attention, little movement seen before next Congress" (Market Watch)

"Canada: Tories set to clear air on climate" - "They've axed programs, snubbed international meetings, mocked the Kyoto protocol and promised something better. This week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives will finally start to reveal how, if at all, they intend to deal with climate change." (Toronto Star)

Distressingly widespread problem: "'Naive' syllabus neglects basics" - "HIGH school geography is being taught as a series of issues presented in a naive and unquestioning way, often by teachers with no relevant qualifications. Associate professor John Lidstone of the Queensland University of Technology said much of what was taught was "naive environmentalism". And amid calls for a government review, Professor Lidstone said high school students were often not presented with the fundamentals of geography, such as the formation of mountains or glaciers, or the science behind issues, such as the rainfall cycle in Australia when examining drought. "There's an unquestioned acceptance of issues like the greenhouse effect; they're not actually engaging in the debate," he said." (The Australian)

Squelching Opposition to the Greens (George Reisman, LewRockwell.com)

"Judge says lawsuit over California auto emissions can go forward" - "SACRAMENTO - Automakers can continue their lawsuit seeking to block strict vehicle emission standards adopted two years ago by California regulators, a federal judge said in a ruling filed Monday." (Associated Press)

Blimey! "UK: Rocky road for buses as passengers switch to cars" - "THOUSANDS of daily bus services will be scrapped and fares will rise by 20 per cent during the next decade in a continuing exodus from public transport to the car, a report has found." (London Times)

"Now we're gridlocked" - "Generating your own energy can be a bureaucratic nightmare, says Adam Barnard" (London Times)

Ah yes, the joys of rustic biomass energy... "Uganda: Wood Scarcity Hits Kabale" - "Households in Kabale have resorted to cooking using coach grass and crop residues like maize and sorghum stalks due to scarcity of firewood. The district used to have plenty of trees covering most hilltops. Black wattle, famed for its durability and used in construction, and eucalyptus were the dominant species. But with the growing population, most trees were cut down to create land for cultivation, which has left most hilltops bare. According to the 2000 National Biomass Study, more than 30% of the residents do not have enough wood fuel for use." (New Vision (Kampala))

"MIT: engine on a chip promises to best the battery" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass. --MIT researchers are putting a tiny gas-turbine engine inside a silicon chip about the size of a quarter. The resulting device could run 10 times longer than a battery of the same weight can, powering laptops, cell phones, radios and other electronic devices." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"USAID's Malaria Control Plan Risks Public Disapproval" - "KAMPALA, Sep 25 - A population explosion in the highlands in south-west Uganda has turned fertile wetlands into breeding grounds for malarial mosquitoes. Waves of migrant settlers have encroached on the wetlands to build makeshift homes and practice farming which is the main source of livelihood in these villages in Kabale district, on the border with Rwanda. Wetland reclamation has contributed to changes in malaria epidemiology, observed the Ministry of Health. Official figures, which have not been updated for the last six years, revealed that 100,000 people had died from malaria in Kabale in 1999." (IPS)

"Kenya: Good anti-malaria effort, but more needs to be done" - "The launch of the national campaign against malaria is a crucial effort to fight the killer disease. Malaria kills more people than the dreaded HIV/Aids scourge and accounts for 30 per cent of outpatients and 20 per cent of inpatients. For children who die before the age of five, the disease accounts for nearly 20 per cent or about 35,000 every year. Pregnant women are another group that is prone to malaria. The Government should be commended for the efforts it has made in fighting the disease. The Health ministry has a National Malaria Control Strategy that has four key fronts." (East African Standard)

Join us as we celebrate WHO's somewhat belated return to rationality and show your support for safe, effective health care. Get your DDTee™ at the special price of just $14.99 and stand with us against the fear mongers whose nonsense claims have killed so many.

"Kenya: Guidelines on DDT use out next month, says minister" - "The Government will issue guidelines on the use of DDT for the control of malaria within a month, Heath minister, Mrs Charity Ngilu, has said. Ngilu said indoor residual spraying (IRS) method now under use in malaria-prone areas would be extended. The head of malaria department, Dr Willis Akhwale, told The Standard that a technical committee would meet early next month to decide on the use of DDT." (East African Standard)

"Ugandans Applaud DDT Clearance" - "HUNDREDS of people on Tuesday marched on Kampala streets praising the World Health organisation for authorising the use of DDT to fight malaria in Uganda." (The Monitor (Kampala))

"Rumors in Developing World Slow Vaccine" - "KANO, Nigeria -- For Ramatu Garba, the polio vaccine is part of an evil conspiracy hatched in the West to sterilize Nigerian girls. ''Allah used Muslim scientists to expose the Western plot of using polio vaccines to reduce our population,'' said the 28-year-old Muslim food vendor in Kano. Each time health teams have tried to vaccinate her daughter, Garba has refused. It's been three years since local politicians began a campaign of fear and rumor, claiming the polio vaccine would sterilize children. Those unfounded fears still persist today, and it's this myth, and others like it, that are largely responsible for the spread of polio into almost two dozen other countries where it was once stamped out." (AP)

"Judicial FREEdom" - "The conflict-of-interest fetish continues to interfere with normal human relations, so it's a relief when someone sounds rational on the subject. That now includes the Judicial Conference of the U.S., which last week adopted new disclosure rules for federal judges who attend privately funded education seminars.

The Judicial Conference sets ethical standards for the judiciary, and its ruling is a rebuke to activists who have used bogus conflict-of-interest complaints to try to ban judges from attending seminars sponsored by groups out of favor with the political left. This cause has been a special obsession of the Community Rights Counsel (CRC), a Beltway political operation that has tried to get Congress to limit the kinds of seminars judges can attend." (Wall Street Journal)

Capitalists after all? How gauche: "European public research performs better than thought" - "It is generally thought that Europe has failed to benefit commercially from its substantial investments in research performed by public universities and government research institutes. This is the so called European Paradox. The United States seems to do much better, with public research institutes linked to the creation of several globally competitive firms and blockbuster products.

The US is widely believed to outperform Europe on the commercialization of the results of public research. Examples of American success include formal measures of technology transfer such as the number of patents, start-ups and licensing revenue earned by universities as diverse as Stanford, Columbia and the University of Florida. In contrast, the perception is that European academics are less entrepreneurial than their American counterparts, resulting in less formal technology transfer from European universities to firms.

Until recently, a lack of comparable data prevented an assessment of the actual situation in Europe. But according to a recent study by researchers at UNU-MERIT in The Netherlands - a research and training centre of United Nations University – Europe does better than assumed, at least as far as formal technology transfer goes." (United Nations University)

"In stroke, negative studies less likely to get published" - "ST. PAUL, Minn. – Stroke studies where the results are positive or neutral are more likely to get published than studies with negative results, according to an analysis of 45 years worth of studies published in the September 26, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Science is best served when the results of all studies, whether positive or negative, are published in peer-reviewed journals," said author David S. Liebeskind, MD, of UCLA Stroke Center in Los Angeles, California, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "This is evidence of publication bias. Failure to publish negative results deprives doctors, patients, and future researchers of valuable data and intellectual discoveries." (American Academy of Neurology)

Stock misanthropy: "The environmental load of 300 million: How heavy?" - "As the US population rises, environmental problems that were once pushed aside may get worse, experts say." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"New Claim for Evidence of Ivory Bills" - "Two scientists say 14 sightings and extensive sound recordings suggest the ivory-billed woodpeckers may live in the Florida Panhandle." (New York Times)

"Healthy lunch snacks? Mars offers better diet" - "CHILDREN would be better off sitting down to a big fry-up for breakfast than eating some commercially produced muesli bars, so loaded are they with fats and sugars. A test found seven were so laden with kilojoules that a Mars Bar presented a healthier breakfast alternative." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Recycled paper and compost could both be key tools to control plant disease" - "New research by the University of Warwick should have gardeners and commercial growers competing for both recycled paper and organic waste composts. The University's plant research department, Warwick HRI, is finding that recycled paper based composts are proving to be a major weapon in the fight against a range of plant diseases." (University of Warwick)

"Most widely used organic pesticide requires help to kill" - "MADISON -- The world's most widely used organic insecticide, a plucky bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt for short, requires the assistance of other microbes to perform its insect-slaying work, a new study has found." (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Dozy blighters! "Agroterrorism: How real is the threat?" - "LONDON, England -- We all know it's a dangerous world out there, but when you can't even trust a salad, you know things are getting serious. Tonnes of spinach has been destroyed in the U.S. after an E. coli outbreak spread through the country, affecting more than 170 people and unsettling shoppers already treading a minefield of genetically modified, irradiated and chemically-tainted food." (CNN)

If consumers actively selected genetically modified, irradiated and chemically-[protected] food they'd be availing themselves of the safest possible food supply. "Minefield of..." "chemically-tainted..." Sheesh!

"Jumping gene could provide non-viral alternative for gene therapy" - "A jumping gene first identified in a cabbage-eating moth may one day provide a safer, target-specific alternative to viruses for gene therapy, researchers say." (Medical College of Georgia)

"Biopharming committee sees reasons to redo draft" - "SALEM -- Swayed by public opposition and their own misgivings, members of a state biopharming committee decided Monday to rewrite their own recommendations to the governor. How extensively the recommendations will be retooled won't be made clear for another month or so. However, some of the committee's strongest advocates for the genetic alteration of crops in the creation of pharmaceuticals acknowledged that imprecise wording in a draft document probably led to confusion." (The Oregonian)

"Farmers Increase Planting of Biotechnology in India" - "St. Louis September 25, 2006 -- The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) – the regulatory authority for biotechnology crops in India – recently announced that farmers increased the area planted with genetically modified (GM) insect-protected cotton to 8.1 million acres (3.2 million hectares) in 2006, up from 3.1 million acres (1.2 million hectares) in 2005." (PRWEB)

September 25, 2006

"AFM Media Release - British American Tobacco's Anti-DDT Activism" - "British American Tobacco has been leading anti-DDT activism in Uganda. BAT demands for more studies on DDT simply delay a tried and tested and highly effective weapon against malaria - the result is more death and disease. BAT's behaviour is similar to Bayer Crop Science's anti-DDT activism last year." (AFM)

"Life-saving DDT meets new hurdle: BAT-ting for malaria" - "Imagine a tobacco company stepping up to the plate against Ugandan mothers and children dying by the millions of malaria. "Just days after the World Health Organization announced new policies to control the spread of malaria, British American Tobacco (BAT) has emerged as the leader and financier of efforts to undermine those policies," the Congress of Racial Equality charged yesterday. "BAT's actions are unconscionable," said CORE international director Cyril Boynes, Jr. "They will prolong a vicious disease that infects 12 million Ugandans every year and kills them at the rate of nearly 300 a day. " (Canada Free Press)

Join us as we celebrate WHO's somewhat belated return to rationality and show your support for safe, effective health care. Get your DDTee™ at the special price of just $14.99 and stand with us against the fear mongers whose nonsense claims have killed so many.

"Health agency backs use of DDT against malaria" - "After decades of being shunned as an environmentally damaging chemical, the pesticide DDT is once again being touted as the most effective way to fight malaria." (Nature)

"Agro-exporters say return of DDT will be devastating" - "Agricultural exporters in Uganda, who have an annual turnover of nearly half a billion dollars, are up in arms over the proposed use of the controversial insecticide DDT to control malaria in the country. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) threw a spanner in their works last week when it urged countries with a malaria problem to use controlled spraying of the insecticide, DDT, to fight the disease. The exporters, with interests in fish, coffee, flower, and cotton exports, wrote to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) two weeks ago strongly protesting an environmental impact study commissioned by the Ministry of Health on the potential impact of using DDT in the country." (The EastAfrican)

"Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes testifies before the Ugandan Parliament" - "Statement of Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes before the Ugandan Parliament about the use of DDT for malaria control." (AFM)

"Corruption? Ho-Hum" - "You might think the biggest objections to a World Bank anticorruption push would come from, say, corrupt poor countries in danger of losing international aid. In fact, it's such donor nations as Britain, France and Germany -- and bureaucrats at international aid agencies -- that seem to be complaining the loudest. Welcome to the upside-down world of development aid, where a country's actual use (or misuse) of money is much less important than how much it receives." (Wall Street Journal)

A surprise only to environmentalists: "Environmentalists are new foes of some of the world's poorest" - "Colorado's miners have struggled long and hard for the right to organize and have safe working conditions. Many have paid with their lives in this struggle. Some were the victims of the poor safety standards that used to characterize the industry, while others died in bloody confrontations when mine owners were quick to hire private armies to confront troublesome workers.

As a liberal European journalist, I was familiar with these stories and also knew about how Europe's miners faced similar battles to improve their working lives. These struggles meant that miners have always had a special status for us left-wingers. They were a superior breed who fought for themselves and the rights of all workers.

However in my more recent journalism, I have discovered there is a new threat to miners, their families and their wider communities. This threat is not from cigar-sucking, champagne-swilling robber barons. Mining is now one of the most regulated businesses in the world. Banks will not lend to, insurance companies will not cover and governments will not give licenses to companies that want to open unsafe or polluting mines.

Instead I have discovered that the biggest threat to miners and their families comes from upper-class Western environmentalists." (Phelim Mcaleer, Rocky Mountain News)

"Rare Woodpecker Sends a Town Running for Its Chain Saws" - "Landowners in a North Carolina town have been clear-cutting thousands of trees to keep them from becoming homes for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker." (Associated Press)

The sad but inevitable result of a rampant and unreasonable enviro-clique. If property rights were properly protected and people had no fear of enviro-takings then they would be much more amenable to coexisting with and actively supporting critters in trouble. As things stand the threat of enviro-takings lead to a shoot, shovel and shut up response to the discovery of less-common critters.

"Antarctic ozone hole nears record - U.N. agency" - "GENEVA - The hole over Antarctica's ozone layer is bigger than last year and is nearing the record 29-million-square-km (11-million-sq-mile) hole seen in 2000, the World Meteorological Organisation said on Friday. Geir Braathen, the United Nations weather agency's top ozone expert, said ozone depletion had a late onset in this year's southern hemisphere winter, when low temperatures normally trigger chemical reactions that break down the atmospheric layer that filters dangerous solar radiation." (Reuters)

It's alright though -- we're "fixing" it. That's right, we don't know it's broken, we don't know its history and we don't know much about it but we're "fixing" it by preventing access to useful compounds like methyl bromide even though highly desirable salt marshes and other habitats (now in apparently desperately short supply) are major producers of organic halogens, as apparently are oceans.

"With spring bloom come El Niño and deadly algae" - "Chilean investigators warned this week that temperatures in Chile’s coastal waters have increased by half a degree since August, setting the stage for the arrival of “El Niño” by the end of this year." (Mercosur)

"ESA's microsatellite playing major role in scientific studies" - "ESA's smallest Earth Observation satellite, Proba, is making big contributions to science with applications ranging from environmental monitoring, agriculture, forest, land use, crop forecasting, marine and coastal science as well as biological soil crusts and solid waste landfill monitoring." (European Space Agency)

"Short-term Cooling Of Oceans Suggest 'Speed Bump' In Warming" - "The average temperature of the water near the top of the Earth's oceans has cooled significantly since 2003. The new research suggests that global warming trends are not always steady in their effects on ocean temperatures.

Although the average temperature of the upper oceans has cooled significantly since 2003, the decline is a fraction of the total ocean warming seen over the previous 48 years.

"This research suggests global warming isn't always steady but happens with occasional 'speed bumps'," said Josh Willis, a co-author of the study at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "This cooling is probably natural climate variability. The oceans today are still warmer than they were during the 1980s, and most scientists expect the oceans will eventually continue to warm in response to human-induced climate change." (NOAA)

"Dinosaurs' climate shifted too, reports show" - "BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ancient rocks from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean suggest dramatic climate changes during the dinosaur-dominated Mesozoic Era, a time once thought to have been monotonously hot and humid. In this month's Geology, scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research present new evidence that ocean surface temperatures varied as much as 6 degrees Celsius (about 11 degrees Fahrenheit) during the Aptian Epoch of the Cretaceous Period 120 million years ago. The finding is relevant to the ongoing climate change discussion, IUB geologist Simon Brassell says, because it portrays an ancient Earth whose temperatures shifted erratically due to changes in carbon cycling and did so without human input." (Indiana University)

"Consensus" on display: "Global warming?" - "The words "global warming" provoke a sharp retort from Colorado State University meteorology professor emeritus William Gray: "It's a big scam." And the name of climate researcher Kevin Trenberth elicits a sputtered "opportunist." At the National Center for Atmospheric Research, where Trenberth works, Gray's name prompts dismay. "Bill Gray is completely unreasonable," Trenberth says. "He has a mind block on this." Only 55 miles separate NCAR's headquarters, nestled in the Front Range foothills, from CSU in Fort Collins. But when it comes to climate change, the gap is as big as any in the scientific community." (Mark Jaffe, Denver Post)

"Global Warnings from the Ivory Tower" - "The Royal Society of London, England's premier scientific society, has sent a letter to Exxon-Mobil asking that the energy giant stop funding organizations which have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence." This unusual step seems strangely out of place for a scientific organization, and it belies a dogmatic adherence to a prevailing scientific theory that will, in the end, only make the Royal Society look a little foolish." (Roy Spencer, TCS Daily)

How quaint... "Cooling Sun brings relief to sweltering Earth" - "Help in battle against global warming as scientists claim that our nearest star is about to go into a period of reduced activity." (The Observer)

... a cooling sun might "rescue" us from the Little Ice Age recovery (a Little Ice Age from which a warming sun presumably rescued us) but no thought about the sun having been responsible for most of the change estimated. If the less-active sun does cause a planetary cooling (a statement apparently heretical to the AGW crowd) then the sun is obviously a stronger determinant of global mean temperature than are atmospheric trace gas constituents (a "Well, DUH!" statement as far as real-worlders are concerned). It's going to get colder (a truly frightening prospect from the perspective of energy requirements, feeding the global population -- especially with the absurd push to bio-fuels and the general nastiness of weather extremes when the planet is in a cold cycle...) and, according to Big Warming, we are supposed to try to cool the planet? There is something seriously wrong with these critters.

News Article Quote Attributed To Jim Hansen (Climate Science)

It's common knowledge that we consider Jim something of a media tart, to use the Australian vernacular (a shameless publicity hound, in other words), but we sincerely doubt the good Doctor wishes any harm to befall holders of other opinions. We strongly suspect this is an out-of-context expression suggesting entrenched positions of the various protagonists, opinions that will be held to the grave as there is no possibility of proving the situation to everyone's satisfaction with currently available technology -- there may never be such an ability. Although we might sledge Jim for any number of his media utterances, this won't be one of them.

A Presentation by Peter Pilewskie at the SORCE Meeting entitled “An Overview of the Radiation Budget in the Lower Atmosphere” (Climate Science)

"Tyranny of convenient numbers" - "Being intimidated by numbers is troubling enough in a society that views so many issues through a quantitative lens. Even worse, however, is the harm to critical thinking from the numeracy shortcomings that afflict so many Canadians. Especially journalists." (Toronto Star)

True, something that applies especially to The Star with their dearth of critical thinking where "global warming" is concerned.

Oh... "Climate change ministry unveiled" - "Plans for better co-ordination of Whitehall climate change policy have been unveiled by the Government. Environment Secretary David Miliband said ministers have agreed to the new Office of Climate Change (OCC), its scope, role and initial work plan." (Press Association)

II: "Climate change tops British agenda in speech to U.N." - "UNITED NATIONS - Britain's foreign secretary warned at the United Nations on Friday that climate change was a growing threat to international security and the world economy, saying the next 10 years would be crucial." (Reuters)

III: "EU Global Warming Target Difficult - UK Official" - "NEW YORK - A European Union threshold to avoid dangerous climate change is proving a more difficult goal to achieve than anticipated, according to the British foreign secretary. The EU has set a goal that global average temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above preindustrial levels if dangerous interference with the climate is to be avoided." (Reuters)

But doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide levels can barely achieve 10% of that arbitrary and capricious figure, so carbon constraint will have nothing to do with whether it occurs or not.

Typically elitist bravo sierra: "Beckett warns of developing nations' link to climate change" - "MARGARET Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, last night warned growing industrialisation and prosperity in the developing world is accelerating climate change and risks global disaster." (The Scotsman)

One of the things I intensely dislike about "save the Earth" fruit-loopery is the colossal arrogance and selfishness of these developed world nitwits: "I've got mine but it'll be a disaster if you underdeveloped world people have a decent standard of living too."

If you're that worried about the world then step off it, you silly cow!

"Siberian 'Hotspot' Warning: Global Warming Experts Consider Accelerated Greenhouse Effect" - "The prospect of Siberian winters sending a chill down people's spines may not hold true for long given the threat posed to them by global warming according to experts at the University of Leicester." (Science Daily)

"Washington state melting away" - "Glacial coverage shrinking at an increasing pace, raising more global warming fears." (McClatchy News Service)

Grifting -- that's the term for talking up a scam isn't it? This would seem to qualify: "Turning hot air into hard cash" - "Founder of the world's biggest private carbon fund tells Charles Clover why he believes Kyoto will lead to real change." (London Telegraph)

Qui bono? "Business has to do more to tackle climate change" - "We can solve humanity's biggest problem - but only if corporations work together with individuals and governments." (James Murdoch, The Guardian)

"Lifestyles of Lear Jet liberals" - "Limousine liberals, move over. You've been out-glammed by Lear Jet liberals who burn beaucoup fossil fuels in the sky as they soar across the globe fighting global warming.

Last week, they flew to their Mecca, the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York. For the left-leaning and loaded, this is the meet that has it all -- the mega-rich paying to be seen caring about poor people and the environment, while posing for photos with former President Clinton.

You see, they care so much more about the environment than President Bush because they support the Kyoto global warming pact, which they believe would save the planet from greenhouse gases, if only Bush had not rejected it. (Never mind that Clinton never asked the Senate to ratify the pact, probably because senators voted 95 to 0 for a resolution rejecting any treaty that exempted China and India.)" (Debra J. Saunders, Townhall)

"California global warming bill clouded by multiple lawsuits" - "SACRAMENTO, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday is expected to sign into law the United States' first state cap on greenhouse gas emissions, after striking a deal with legislative Democrats that brought California and the governor global notoriety. But even before the bill is signed, the law's future is in doubt. Federal lawsuits related to greenhouse gas issues, involving California, Vermont and Massachusetts, could cloud California's latest attempt to be a leader in the fight against global climate change." (Associated Press)

"California Is a Nuisance" - "Ah, election year. Don't you just love it, folks? It's a time for debates on the airwaves, flyers in the mail ... and bat-crazy lawsuits in the courtroom." (Motley Fool)

"Climate Change and the Demographic Shift" - "A great deal of ink and electrons have been wasted in trying to explain what it is or is not that we should do to try and reduce emissions of CO2 in the United States. One fascinating paper just published provides perhaps the simplest answer of all: just wait for the Baby Boomers to get old." (Tim Worstall, TCS Daily)

"CO2 targets 'should be binding'" - "Binding targets to reduce CO2 emissions should be included in regional planning rules, campaigners are to say in a "mock" climate change policy statement. They will also call for local development plans to help communities deal with flood risks. In March, a government report said Britain would be unlikely to meet its 2010 target to cut emissions by 20%." (BBC)

Yeah, we'd mock such a climate statement, too.

Creative accounting of the moment: "Carbon capture, water filtration, other boreal forest ecoservices worth estimated $250 billion/year" - "It's time to create a comprehensive accounting system for natural capital to recognize the full value of ecosystem services provided by boreal forests, an ecological economist will urge delegates to Canada's 10th National Forest Congress Sept. 25-27. The forests' huge value as sinks and reservoirs of atmospheric carbon, for example, is unaccounted for today but needs to be recognized in future, according to Mark Anielski of Edmonton, who will make a presentation to Canadian and international forest officials, and experts from native peoples communities, the energy, farming and tourism sectors and other stakeholders assembling for the Congress at Lac Leamy, Gatineau-Ottawa." (Canadian Forest Congress)

This carbon capture thing has quite a lot of people excited. How long, we wonder, before growers of various description start squabbling over "carbon theft" (someone else "taking" the carbon their crops need to grow and thrive). Commercial greenhouses frequently deliberately elevate diurnal carbon dioxide levels to between 700 and 1,000 ppmv at no little expense -- it's a business production cost. Will they try to claim some or all of the imaginary value (the rent seeking) extorted by other growers for sequestering (and so reducing the atmospheric background level of) atmospheric carbon dioxide? Atmospheric carbon dioxide is an essential trace gas underpinning the global food web. Even if the potential 0.25 °C warming from a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution levels is unmitigated by any negative feedback mechanisms there is no evidence that constitutes a net harm to life on Earth.

Peel back all the onionskin layers of hypothesis, guesswork and extreme claims what we are left with is a possible one-sixth of one degree warming from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide overlaid on a background temperature of 287 or 288 Kelvin (depending of reference used). How are we supposed to distinguish a change of ~0.05% from all the noise of natural variability? That's the equivalent of having your optimally air conditioned home go from 24 °C to 24.012 °C. Would it be worth big $s to you to reduce it by that 0.012 °C? Well guess what? That's basically what we are talking about with all this fuss over trivial increase in the trace gas, carbon dioxide.

"ANALYSIS - China's Fierce Kyoto Rules Irk Foreign Investors" - "DABANCHENG WIND FARM, China - For Lu Feng, the Kyoto Protocol is like a lottery ticket with a guaranteed winning number -- a cash windfall that will make life easier but not something he can build business plans around." (Reuters)

"Germany Expects Smooth Passage for its Carbon Plan" - "FRANKFURT - German proposals for future limits on its greenhouse gas emissions should clear bureaucratic hurdles quickly in the coming months and undergo discussion in parliament from November, a Berlin official said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Global warming film lights fire under Congress" - "Washington -- Congress, it appears, is channeling Al Gore. After years of debating whether global warming was real or a hoax, the House and Senate staged six hearings this week on how the government should respond to climate change." (SF Chronicle)

"Global warming: time for a heated debate" - "Al Gore's dogmatic documentary An Inconvenient Truth embodies the worst possible response to climate change." (Daniel Ben-Ami, sp!ked)

"California: State red tape trips up green energy efforts" - "As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares this week to sign into law the nation's most ambitious effort to address global warming, a key component of California's push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- increasing the use of renewable power to create electricity -- has faltered." (SF Chronicle)

"A reality check on plug-in hybrids" - "Vehicles that draw power from the electricity grid offer uneven benefits, a new study finds." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Bumpy Road Seen for New Canadian Emission Rules" - "TORONTO - Canada's plan to adopt strict auto emission standards similar to California's, which are the toughest in North America, will do nothing more than increase costs to the public, with little environmental benefit, an auto industry group said Friday." (Reuters)

"Gas/Coal to Oil" - "Sydney, Sept 25, 2006 - You are going to hear a lot about gas/coal to liquids technology in Australia in coming years and it could very well end up supplanting the likes of ethanol and biodiesel as a source of energy in competition with oil." (ACN Newswire)

"Green Virgin" - "There are plenty of reasons to cock a skeptical eyebrow at Richard Branson's pledge, announced last week in New York in the company of Al Gore and Bill Clinton, that he will devote 10 years and about $3 billion of profits from his Virgin airline and railroad businesses to combat global warming. But we'll give him this much: At least he puts his money where his mouth is.

That's true in more sense than one. What the British entrepreneur mainly plans to do is invest in biofuels such as ethanol or rapeseed through his latest venture, Virgin Fuels. There are serious doubts among scientists whether biofuels can serve as safe and efficient substitutes for current fossil fuels. There are also real questions about the environmental impact -- in deforestation and intensive farming -- of switching to biofuels. And there's the suggestion that Sir Richard hopes to capitalize on a British government mandate that requires all fuel stations to get 5% of their gas from "renewable sources" by 2010." (Wall Street Journal)

"LATIN AMERICA: Biofuel Boom Sparks Environmental Fears" - "RIO DE JANEIRO - The use of biofuels is on the rise in Latin America and is feeding dreams of abundance in countries like Argentina and Colombia. But the experience of Brazil, a pioneer in this alternative energy, raises questions about their potential negative environmental consequences." (IPS)

"Is it time to lift the nuclear ban?" - "With nuclear power plants aging, state must review options." (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

"CANADA: Native Tribes Fight to Block New Pipeline" - "VANCOUVER - With oil sands crude production in the western Canadian province of Alberta projected to triple by 2015, several pipelines are competing for access to Asian export markets." (IPS)

"More Hot Air from the EPA" - "Nine years ago in these pages, in an article on new EPA air pollution standards ("The EPA's Hot Air," July 7, 1997), I predicted that lawn mowers would one day fall victim to these onerous and unnecessary regulations. This was not really going out on a limb. In 1994, the Clinton EPA administrator Carol Browner had said that "small gasoline engines that Americans use in yard and garden work are a significant source of air pollution." But in sworn testimony to Congress in 1997, she told a different story. The standards are "not about outdoor barbecues and lawn mowers," she testified, smearing such assertions as "junk science" and "scare tactics." Said Browner: "They are fake. They are wrong. They are manipulative." Frank O'Donnell, then-executive director of the Clean Air Trust, called talk of regulating lawn mowers "crazed propaganda."

Today the EPA openly seeks implementation of pollution standards for lawn mowers that would apparently cut smog-causing emissions by 35 percent. As for O'Donnell, he's now president of Clean Air Watch where he's working hard to implement that "crazed propaganda."

So what's new? The EPA lies, and the green groups lie. That's because they're on a mission: Where you might see a freshly-mowed lawn, they see an opportunity to extend another regulatory tentacle. But if we accept that some environmental regulation is good, is this?" (Michael Fumento, The Weekly Standard)

Gosh people must be stupid... "Raw organic milk blamed for sickening 3 California children" - "FRESNO, Calif. - Raw organic milk from a Fresno County company was recalled and put under quarantine after it was linked to E. coli that sent three Southern California children to the hospital, state officials said." (Associated Press)

... why on Earth would you avoid one of the greatest food safety aids in history?

"Earthbound suddenly mum about E. coli link to plant" - "Once a readily accessible media darling celebrated for its eco-friendly business practices and humble beginnings, Earthbound Farm shied away from public scrutiny almost entirely Wednesday after investigators found E. coli bacteria in spinach that had been processed at the company's San Juan Bautista plant." (Monterey County Herald)

Chemical fruit-loopery: "UK: Survey points to unsafe levels of pesticide residues in food" - "Consumers are being routinely exposed to unsafe levels of pesticide residues in their food which are nevertheless still within legal limits, campaigners warn today." (The Guardian)

Legal limits of pesticides generally have huge arbitrary safety margins, the exceeding of which does not quantify the product as "unsafe". Those within the legal limits are not considered "unsafe" by any but the nitwits who fail to realize we are chemical engines well adapted to dealing with a plethora of toxic compounds produced by the very plants we classify as "food".

"Diabetes, not obesity, increases risk of developing critical illness and early death" - "Diabetes puts people at risk of developing critical illness and dying early, but obesity without diabetes does not. A study published today in the open access journal Critical Care reveals that individuals suffering from diabetes are three times more at risk of developing critical illness and dying young than individuals who do not have diabetes. Obese individuals who do not have diabetes, by contrast, have the same risk of dying or of falling critically ill as non-obese patients who do not have diabetes. These results are surprising, as obesity is linked to diabetes. The authors of the study conclude that the relationship between obesity, diabetes and critical illness is complex and that obesity, per se, does not predict poor outcomes." (BioMed Central)

"Iowa seeks manure ban on soybean crops" - "DES MOINES, Iowa - The state's Environmental Protection Commission is closer to implementing a ban on the spreading of manure on land planted with soybeans. The commission met this week and instructed the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to craft a notice that begins the rule-making process for the ban. If the rules change is approved, it could have a big effect on the farming community. Row crop farmers use manure as fertilizer, and livestock producers get rid of tons of animal waste by applying it to fields." (Associated Press)

"EU Tackles Soil Contamination in New Law Proposal" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's soil is rapidly deteriorating from industrial and agricultural use and new laws are needed to preserve it for future generations, the European Commission warned on Friday." (Reuters)

"India: Supreme Court says no to GM products till further orders" - "New Delhi, Sep 22 The Supreme Court Friday asked the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) not to give approvals to genetically modified products until further orders." (IANS)

September 22, 2006

"Day of Reckoning for DDT Foes?" - "Last week's announcement that the World Health Organization lifted its nearly 30-year ban on the insecticide DDT is perhaps the most promising development in global public health since… well, 1943 when DDT was first used to combat insect-borne diseases like typhus and malaria.

Overlooked in all the hoopla over the announcement, however, is the terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead — mostly pregnant women and children under the age of 5), illness (billions sickened) and poverty (more than $1 trillion dollars in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban.

Much of this human catastrophe was preventable, so why did it happen? Who is responsible? Should the individuals and activist groups who caused the DDT ban be held accountable in some way?" (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Join us as we celebrate WHO's somewhat belated return to rationality and show your support for safe, effective health care. Get your DDTee™ at the special price of just $14.99 and stand with us against the fear mongers whose nonsense claims have killed so many.

"Congress of Racial Equality: British American Tobacco Perpetuates Disease in Africa" - "NEW YORK, Sept. 21 - Just days after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced new policies to control the spread of malaria, British American Tobacco (BAT) has emerged as the leader and financier of efforts to undermine those policies, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) charged today. "BAT's actions are unconscionable," said CORE International Director Cyril Boynes, Jr. "They will prolong a vicious disease that infects 12 million Ugandans every year and kills them at the rate of nearly 300 a day." Worldwide, malaria infects 500 million people and kills up to 2 million every year, the vast majority in Africa and most of them children." (U.S. Newswire)

"Bravo WHO! Please keep thinking right!" - "Until last Friday, September 15 2006, the single most pernicious suitor of female mosquitoes, DDT, had been discarded by the World Health Organization (WHO). But just as it recently made frank remarks much to the annoyance of Oxfam and Medicine San Frontiers, that drug patents were not the main barriers to accessing essential medicines in poor countries, WHO has delivered yet another painful but effective pill." (Franklin Cudjoe, Accra Daily Mail)

Even the best intentioned are sadly misinformed: "Net Gains" - "TO many of us in the malaria-control business, it came as no great surprise last week when the World Health Organization recommended wider use of DDT in Africa to combat the mosquitoes that cause the disease, which kills more than a million people a year, most of them children in Africa.

The W.H.O.’s endorsement of DDT for spraying inside houses has the support of Congress and the Bush administration. With the W.H.O.’s encouragement, several African nations have approved DDT for use in indoor residual spraying (that is, spraying the walls of huts to kill the mosquitoes that wait there until dark). Uganda’s Ministry of Health and National Malaria Control Program, for example, have embraced this approach. Newspaper articles across Africa have assured readers that DDT has gotten a bad rap and is, in fact, safe for use.

But people have short memories. Doesn’t anyone remember the American bald eagle? DDT brought it to the brink of extinction." (Jessie Stone, New York Times)

 Actually not, see: DDT FAQ

Please support

Donate US$25 or more
and get a free copy of
Silencing Science
by Steven Milloy
(while supplies last).

"Oil giant hits at 'unfair' attack by scientists" - "ExxonMobil has escalated a row with the Royal Society by accusing it of "inaccurately and unfairly" depicting the world's largest oil company as a climate change sceptic." (The Guardian)

Oil companies, in fact all major enterprises pussyfoot around way too much -- they should stick to and actively promote the facts and the facts are these:

  • The estimated warming for the 19th and 20th Centuries is ≈ 0.6 ± 0.2 °C.
  • Possibly one quarter of that warming might be due to increased downwelling infrared radiation from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. The remainder, if real, is mostly from a combination of increased solar activity and land use changes, irrigated agriculture and the like, which we would not undo even if we could (mostly because people have an aversion to starving).
  • Thus ≈ 0.15 ± 0.05 °C warming is from accumulated atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution (from ≈ 280 to ≈ 370 ppmv).
  • This represents roughly 75% of all possible warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide post Industrial Revolution (from ≈ 280 to ≈ 560 ppmv).
  • ≈ 0.05 ± 0.013 °C warming potential remains from elevating atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from ≈ 370 to ≈ 560 ppmv.
  • These trivial amounts are the only potential available for humans to constrain carbon dioxide-driven warming.
  • No amount of restraint on human emission of carbon dioxide will make a difference in global mean temperature of sufficient magnitude for us to actually measure.

Those are the facts while illusions of huge and troublesome warming remain in the virtual realm of the computer games we call climate models. Unfortunately, corporate directors and representatives are completely cowed and beaten by misanthropists and anti-corporates brandishing the garbage output of these computer games as though they constitute data or likely outcomes. There seems to be a distinct lack of vertebral rigidity and a dearth of cojones among corporate and political leaders of the day. Appeasement never works, ya dopey buggers!

"Dominic Lawson: The debate on climate change is far too important to be shut down by the scientists Society" - "As the history of malaria in Africa shows, those who appear most passionate can be most dangerous." (London Independent)

Audio: "Is free speech under threat from scientists?" - "Is it the job of Britain's foremost scientific academy, The Royal Society, to hector private companies about how they spend their money? There has been criticism of the Royal Society for asking the oil company Exxon Mobile to stop giving money to groups it argues misrepresent the science of climate change. Dr David Whitehouse is a scientist and an author. Bob Ward is from the Royal Society. He wrote the letter to Exxon Mobile. Both join me now." (BBC Today Programme, Sarah Montague)

David Whitehouse on Royal Society Efforts to Censor (Prometheus) - Includes transcript of above audio in comments section.

"Greenpeace co-founder asks UK's Royal Society to stop playing political blame game on global warming" - "VANCOUVER, Sept. 21 - Greenpeace co-founder and former leader Dr. Patrick Moore said the United Kingdom's Royal Society should stop playing a political blame game on global warming and retract its recent letter that smacks of a repressive and anti-intellectual attitude." (CNW)

Oh dear... "Love enough to change the climate" - "There isn't much question that Earth's climate is warming at a relatively rapid rate, at least more rapidly than would be predicted by the planet's historical cycles of climate change. Nor, say climate researchers, is there much doubt that the primary cause of change is rooted in human behavior, and especially in the world's accelerating deforestation and the consumption of fossil fuels." (Christian Science Monitor)

... the indoctrination has been terribly effective, hasn't it? To begin with we don't know whether the warming is even genuine or whether it's at all abnormal. We think the world has warmed by 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th Century but how much of this is due to urbanization of the record is unknown. We're pretty sure there's nothing abnormal about relatively sudden and aggressive warming -- see, for example, the late 17th, early 18th Century warming in the Central England Temperature record. There was no industrialization to cause that warming so it's pretty much self-defining as "natural" and, since it happened only a few hundred years ago, we can say it is a feature of the current solar system orbital configuration. So, while people certainly have an influence on their environment, particularly at local and regional levels, the influence is not particularly large and very difficult to differentiate from the noise of natural variation. Finally, our ability to knowingly and predictably alter the climate is miniscule and no amount of "love" is sufficient to allow tweaking of the planet's thermostat.

A Presentation by R.A. Pielke Sr. at the SORCE Meeting entitled Regional and Global Climate Forcings - The Need to Move Beyond a Focus of the Radiative Forcing of the Well-Mixed Greenhouse Gases” (Climate Science)

That poor virtual world's taking a hiding again: "New research detects human-induced climate change at a regional scale" - "Canadian and British climate scientists have clearly detected human-induced climate change at a regional scale in Canada, southern Europe and China. This new research is the first to combine the results from several climate model simulations, increasing scientific confidence in these findings. The study, by climate scientists Xuebin Zhang and Francis Zwiers of Environment Canada, and Peter Stott of the UK Meteorological Office, is published in the September issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate. In the study, the scientists used four climate models – two developed by Environment Canada, and two developed by the UK Met Office." (American Meteorological Society)

Really? "Next US President Should Engage More on Climate - UK" - "NEW YORK - Britain's foreign secretary said Thursday the next U.S president should quickly get involved in global negotiations to slow global warming, which she warned was fast becoming a crucial foreign policy issue. "What I would like for the next administration to do is to engage fully in the international dialogue," Margaret Beckett told a meeting of Wall Street bankers at New York's Council on Foreign Relations." (Reuters)

How about Ms Beckett actually learn something about enhanced greenhouse -- maybe then she wouldn't say such stupid things.

"UK Spent Billions Keeping Cool this Summer - Survey" - "LONDON - The long, hot summer was not without cost this year as overheated Britons spent an estimated 5 billion pounds trying to keep cool, according to a survey on Thursday." (Reuters)

Yeah? How much do they spend trying to keep warm over the rest of the year? If the following is correct then we can expect plenty of the usual howls about "fuel poverty" all the while politicians and activists work at making the situation worse. Stupid game.

"Europe winter seen colder than average in Jan/Feb" - "LONDON - Europe is likely to see near-average temperatures overall this winter, with colder-than-usual weather in January and February, the UK Met Office said on Thursday. The weather forecaster had said in an earlier long-range forecast in July that the coming winter would be milder than average and wetter than last year. "The new strands of evidence suggest that the January-February period will cool significantly below the climatological average for that period," said Adam Scaife, lead scientist of the modelling climate variability group at the Met Office's Hadley Centre.

The updated prediction comes after weather forecaster U.S. AccuWeather predicted colder-than-normal temperatures this winter in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, home to about 80 percent of the nation's heating oil demand. Like Europe, the winter was expected to begin mild, before turning significantly colder in January and February, AccuWeather said." (Reuters)

"Wasteful efforts to curb global warming" - "In this first of two articles arguing for and against radical spending on climate change, Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist argues that we should be addressing other problems instead." (BBC)

"Climate change remains top priority" - "In this second of two articles arguing for and against radical spending on climate change, Green MEP Caroline Lucas responds to a piece by Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, published on Wednesday 20 September." (BBC)

Even the LA Times thinks Lockyer's a crackpot: "Cars as Global Warming's Causes: California's attorney general files a kooky election-year suit against the Big Six automakers." - "THE CHARITABLE SPIN ON Bill Lockyer's lawsuit against major auto manufacturers is that it's a politically inspired, headline-grabbing stunt by a state attorney general running for state treasurer. The alternative — that he might actually believe this suit has legal merit — may be more frightening." (LA Times editorial)

"Auto industry calls California suit over global warming a 'nuisance'" - "WASHINGTON - Industry groups slammed the state of California for suing six US and Japanese automakers for their alleged contribution to global warming, the first such legal fight in the United States. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the trade group representing global automakers in the United States called the action a "nuisance" lawsuit. "Automakers are already building cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and every single auto sold in California is approved by the State of California before it goes to the dealer's lot," the Alliance said in a statement." (AFP)

"Mass tourism and climate change could lead to destruction of world's wonders" - "Gloomy predictions of extreme heat and destruction of some of the world's leading holiday destinations were made yesterday in a report assessing the impact of the dangers of mass tourism and climate change." (London Independent)

"Japan considers emissions exchange" - "A group of businesses in Japan's Kansai area is considering setting up Japan's first formal market for emissions trading. If the plan comes to fruition, it could turn Japan into an important centre for international emissions trading within Asia-Pacific, should the market take off in the region in the future." (Financial Times)

Therein lies the rub -- the market shouldn't take off at all.

Scam du jour: "Dutch Bank to Ease Climate Guilt With Credit Card" - "AMSTERDAM - A Dutch bank is aiming to neutralise the purchase of energy-hungry goods and services by introducing a "climate credit card" that puts money into environmentally friendly projects. Instead of simply investing a portion of charge card proceeds into environmental funds, the card being introduced by Rabobank will look at the type of purchase, such as consumer goods, air travel or petrol, and pay into projects run by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)." (Reuters)

Too many dollars, not enough sense? "Schwarzenegger, Bloomberg Team on Climate Change" - "SUNNYVALE, California - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed on Thursday to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because the Republicans said they cannot wait for the Bush administration to take action on climate change." (Reuters)

II: "Branson makes $3bn climate pledge" - "Sir Richard Branson is to invest $3bn (£1.6bn) to fight global warming. The Virgin boss said he would commit all profits from his travel firms, such as airline Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, over the next 10 years. "We must rapidly wean ourselves off our dependence on coal and fossil fuels," Sir Richard said. The funds will be invested in schemes to develop new renewable energy technologies, through an investment unit called Virgin Fuels." (BBC)

"U.N. watchdog to consider world atom fuel supply bank" - "VIENNA - Proposals for a global nuclear fuel bank meant to boost economic development while stemming the spread of atom bomb know-how are to be put to a U.N. watchdog's decision-making board in 2007, officials say." (Reuters)

"New US Air Pollution Rules Rankle Health Groups" - "WASHINGTON - The US government approved new air pollution standards Thursday, promising "cleaner air to all Americans," but health and environmental groups said the revised rules are too weak to protect against lung disease and other pollution-related ailments. Meanwhile, groups that represents US electric power companies -- one key source of the particle pollution addressed by the standards -- said the new rules were too stringent." (Reuters)

"FEATURE - Texans Debate Air Quality Amid Coal Expansion" - "HOUSTON - Texans may consume more electricity than other Americans, but they're suddenly debating the wisdom of doubling the number of coal-fired power plants in the state -- plants critics say will worsen air quality and increase health risks." (Reuters)

"'Imported' pollution tied to poor air quality in Texas in 2004" - "Scientists using NASA satellites and other data including computer models and ground sensors have demonstrated that pollutants traveling even thousands of miles can impact air quality. The study concludes that ozone pollution levels increased significantly in the air above Houston on July 19 and 20, 2004. Researchers attribute this increase in part as a result of smoke transported into the area over the course of a week from forest fires raging in Alaska and Canada. The study is one of only a few that has quantitatively examined the impact of remotely generated pollutants on air quality in the lower atmosphere." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

"Environmental Battle Heats up Over New York Tire Burn" - "SHOREHAM, Vermont - Vermont officials are going to court and activists are threatening a boycott of the world's largest forest products company as a battle intensifies over a plan to burn old tires as fuel in New York state. The actions follow three years of wrangling to try to stop International Paper Co. from going ahead with a two-week trial burn of up to 72 tonnes of scrap tires a day, which critics say would seriously pollute the pristine air of neighboring and environmentally conscious Vermont. The company's plan moved a step forward on Wednesday when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, or DEC, issued a Title V air permit allowing the incineration to proceed as International Paper had requested at its Ticonderoga plant." (Reuters)

"Lucky find off Galapagos: Ocean scientists discover how bacteria produce propane in the deep seafloor" - "During an expedition off the South American coast, an international team of ocean scientists discovered that the gases ethane and propane are widespread, and are being produced by microorganisms in deeply buried sediments. Prof. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs (Research Center Ocean Margins, University of Bremen), co-author Prof. John Hayes (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), and colleagues report new findings on the production of energy-laden gases in a paper in this week's online edition of the renowned Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. (PNAS). The findings suggest that microbes in the deeply buried, vast ecosystem below the seafloor carry out hitherto unrecognized processes, which are highly relevant to both our understanding of global element cycles and the metabolic abilities of Earth's microbial biosphere." (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International)

"Call for tough line on wind farms" - "A petition is calling on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to push for wind farm developments to be suspended in the UK." (BBC)

"Farming the World's Energy" - "Agriculture offers the first serious alternatives to fossil fuels: Diesel, natural gas, and petroleum could give way in the future to "biomass" energy. As development continues apace, so too do concerns about the farmed fuels' effectiveness." (Der Spiegel)

"Biofuels, Food, or Wildlife? The Massive Land Costs of U.S. Ethanol" - "Executive Summary: The high price of fossil fuels, environmental concerns, and geopolitical instability in some major oil-producing nations have spurred intense interest in the United States in alternative fuels, especially from renewable energy sources. ... " (Dennis Avery, CEI)

"EU Chases GMO-Tainted Rice Strain in Four Countries" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's problems with shipments of unauthorised genetically modified (GMO) rice have taken a turn for the worse as two US shipments tested positive for an illegal biotech strain, the EU executive said." (Reuters)

"Rethinking Peer Review: How the Internet is Changing Science Journals" - "The past few years have been a period of significant turmoil—some of it quite constructive—for publishers and editors of science journals. Controversies regarding potential conflicts of interest have led some journals to reexamine their rules for revealing the financial relationships of published researchers. Competition from free online “open access” journals, such as the six new journals published by the nonprofit Public Library of Science, has led several mainstream print journals to beef up their online offerings. And some notable journals concerned about fraudulent research have reportedly improved the screening of manuscripts under consideration, in an attempt to catch those who would misrepresent or “beautify” their data. (“Let’s celebrate real data,” the editors of Nature Cell Biology recently wrote, “wrinkles, warts, and all.”)" (The New Atlantis)

"Ban on plastic bags 'not worth the cost'" - "THE cost of banning plastic bags is about four times higher than the environmental harm they cause, according to an independent report handed to the Victorian Government before it announced a bag tax in July. Slower checkouts and retraining of retail staff could cost more than $1 billion over the next 10 years, which would be only partially offset by the environmental benefit of removing plastic bags from the litter stream. The findings followed a warning by the Productivity Commission in May that bans on plastic bags should not proceed unless supported by "transparent cost-benefit analysis", suggesting tougher anti-litter laws and greater community participation as possible alternatives." (The Australian)

September 21, 2006

"Sen Tom Coburn's Letter to AFM" - "Senator Tom Coburn has written to Africa Fighting Malaria , congratulating us on our advocacy work, particularly with regard to promoting indoor residual spraying with DDT." (AFM)

Join us as we celebrate WHO's somewhat belated return to rationality and show your support for safe, effective health care. Get your DDTee at the special price of just $14.99 and stand with us against the fear mongers whose nonsense claims have killed so many.

The worldwide font of nonsense is at it again: "Man-made toxins are found in even the best diets" - "TRACES of a cocktail of toxic chemicals linked to cancer and foetal deformities are being eaten even in the healthiest of diets. Man-made pollutants and chemicals were found in every one of 27 food products, including staples such as bread and eggs, that were tested by experts. In further tests carried out by WWF, formerly the World Wide Fund for Nature, every one of 352 people who provided blood samples over the past five years was found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals. All the contaminants found in the samples were at low levels, well within legal limits, but there are serious fears for long-term health. None of the contaminants in the quantities detected is thought to pose an immediate, direct risk. There is concern among toxicologists, however, that even at low concentrations the chemicals may represent a serious risk when they mix together in the body." (London Times)

By golly, they tested stuff and found [gasp!] chemicals! Not mentioned however is that we have become very good at finding and identifying minute traces of compounds but this has no health consequences. Also absent is that human lifespans continue to increase despite the best efforts of these dills.

"Animal activists free 15,000 farmed fish to their deaths" - "POLICE have warned fish farmers to increase their security after 15,000 halibut were released from their cages in an attack believed to have been carried out by animal rights activists." (London Times)

Slick Willy has much to answer for: "US Judge Rejects Logging Roads in National Forests" - "WASHINGTON - In a setback for the Bush administration, a federal judge rejected a policy to allow logging roads in national forests and reinstated environmental protections put in place by former President Clinton. In a decision released Wednesday, Judge Elizabeth Laporte of California's Northern District ruled to set aside the Bush administration's policy that gave states more control over whether to protect national forest land within state borders from development." (Reuters)

"New research puts 'killer La Palma tsunami' at distant future" - "The volcanic island of La Palma in the Canaries is much more stable than is generally assumed, Dutch scientists working at the TU Delft have found. The southwestern flank of the island isn't likely to fall into the sea (potentially causing a tsunami) for at least another 10,000 years, professor Jan Nieuwenhuis states in the September edition of the university's science magazine Delft Integraal." (Delft University of Technology)

"NASA's TRMM satellite tracks 2006 hurricane rainfall" - 'How can one know how much rain really falls over the path of a tropical storm or hurricane? This is a question that greatly interests meteorologists and hydrologists. On their behalf, and on behalf of the public which ultimately benefits from better observations of storms, NASA scientists are using satellite data from its rain gauge in space, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or "TRMM" to help provide these measurements." (NASA/GSFC)

"60 Years to Restore the Ozone Layer Over Antarctica" - "TORONTO - Another giant ozone hole has opened up over the Antarctic, while evidence mounts that 20 years of international efforts have finally helped the atmosphere to start to heal itself." (IPS)

How would anyone know?

Funny, if it wasn't so sad: "California sues 6 carmakers over greenhouse gases" - "SAN FRANCISCO - California filed suit against Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and three other carmakers on Wednesday, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have cost the state millions of dollars. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer said the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California was the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles' emissions." (Reuters)

The obvious question is what happens if they establish "ownership" of emissions? Does this mean America's "salad bowl" will have to pay for the aerial fertilization from vehicle emissions from which growers profit? This aerial fertilization disproportionately affects "organic" produce -- will organic growers then be responsible for higher payments due to their disproportionately higher benefits derived?

"Schwarzenegger says California to lead, not US, on global warming" - "LONDON - The world should look to California, and not the US government, for leadership on finding solutions to global warming, according to the state's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger." (AFP) | Arnold Schwarzenegger: Look to California, not the US, on global warming (London Independent)

You're only leading if anyone's stupid enough to follow, Arnie.

"White House Wobbles on Warming?" - "Rumor around Washington has it that the White House is about to change its long-established policy on global warming. It is hard to see why the Bush administration would contemplate such a move, but whatever the reasons, there will be little gain in what is at best a meaningless gesture and at worst an albatross around the economy’s neck." (Iain Murray, National Review Online)

"White House Outlines Global Warming Fight: Technology and Voluntary Cutbacks Urged"  -"The Bush administration yesterday laid out a long-term "strategic plan" for using technology to curb the impact of global warming, reiterating its position that basic scientific research and voluntary actions can curb greenhouse gases linked to climate change." (Washington Post) | White House Presents Plans to Cut Emissions (New York Times)

"Colorado State professor disputes global warming is human-caused" - "Views ‘out of step’ with others are good for science, academic says." (Daily Reporter-Herald)

"Exxon Reviews Funding For Global Warming Skeptics" - "Exxon Mobil Corp., which has sparked intense political criticism for its funding of groups that challenge the scientific validity of concerns about global warming, is reviewing whether it will continue to fund some of those groups." (Wall Street Journal)

Please support

Donate US$25 or more
and get a free copy of
Silencing Science
by Steven Milloy
(while supplies last).

Of course, this is not the first time the Royal Society has played thought police. It is very troubling when an organization ostensibly devoted to honest inquiry (the very essence of skepticism) and openness to all views plays the "consensus" card -- the antithesis to scientific method and the development of knowledge.

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. -- Albert Einstein

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin. -- Thomas H. Huxley

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. -- Albert Einstein

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
-- Gautama Buddha

Now it's your fault for having an acceptable quality of life: "The threat is from those who accept climate change, not those who deny it" - "If the biosphere is ruined it will be done by people who know that emissions must be cut - but refuse to alter the way they live." (George Monbiot, The Guardian

Poor old Moonbat. Sometimes he seems genuinely convinced that a possible change from 287 kelvin to 287.6 kelvin (≈0.2%) in Earth's global mean temperature represents some sort of disaster. Of course, no one's too sure whether the "correct" temperature for the Earth at this stage of the Holocene is 287 K or 288 K so we aren't too sure whether it's currently on the warm or the cool side of the ledger. No matter, we think the current trend is away from the desperately unfriendly cool of the Little Ice Age and that is definitely a good thing.

We would tend to disagree with George in that the only real threat to society we can see is posed by global warming panicked zealots managing to force antisocial actions (like killing development and wealth generation in the impoverished underdeveloped world). It isn't the trivial estimated warming we need to worry about but the nitwits who want to "do something about it".

No, wait! It's those darn recyclers! "Home composting generates greenhouse gas, academics warn" - "Home composting efforts may be doing more harm than good in the fight against global warming, writes James Cartledge." (letsrecycle.com)

Really stupid question of the moment: "Global Warming Subject for Directors at Big Companies" - "If corporate directors really understood the implications of global warming, would they steer their companies toward preventing it?" (New York Times)

If corporate directors actually understood the "global warming" issue they'd know the only deleterious consequences likely come from allowing global warming panic merchants to force actions to fight the phantom menace. Three-fourths of the anticipated warming from a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution atmospheric carbon dioxide has already occurred and amounts to a yawn-inspiring one-sixth of a degree or thereabouts.

A Presentation by V. Ramanathan at the SORCE Meeting entitled “How do Aerosols and Clouds Regulate the Planetary Albedo and the Solar Radiation Budget?” (Climate Science)

Oh my... "Greenland ice sheet still losing mass, says new University of Colorado study" - "Data gathered by a pair of NASA satellites orbiting Earth show Greenland continued to lose ice mass at a significant rate through April 2006, and that the rate of loss is accelerating, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

... they do seem in a ruddy blush to get these hybrid satellite/model GRACE studies out, don't they? When UT at Austin brought their version out, there were not merely sections of Greenland ice missing but chunks of open ocean too. This is what we've said about ice and GRACE data previously and we've seen nothing to change our view:

Oops! 'Trends' from <3.5 years data? "Antarctica's Annual Melt Equals Water in Lake Tahoe, Study Says" - "Antarctica is melting at an annual rate equal to dumping Lake Tahoe into the ocean, causing global seawater to rise as much as 0.6 millimeters (0.02 inches) a year, according to a study published by Science. Researchers used two NASA satellites to measure the loss of the ice sheet on the Earth's fifth-largest continent between April 2002 and August 2005. The findings contradict an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment in 2001, which predicted the ice sheet would gain mass in the 21st century. ``We can now see Antarctica melting,'' said Isabella Velicogna, a member of the University of Colorado at Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences. ``We have a number for the ice sheet. It's a big step toward understanding how the sea level is going to change.'' (Bloomberg) | Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity Show Mass Loss in Antarctica | PDF (Science) | See Google News listing for lots of bad coverage of this.

Ooh! Bad headlines! Is Antarctica 'melting'? The definitive answer is 'No, not currently'.

How do we know this? Since 1979 we have had satellite coverage of the frozen continent and the UAH MSU data for the Southern Polar Region, displayed graphically here, shows a slight cooling trend of -0.01 °C/decade.

'Aha!' cry the hand-wringers, '"Unproven" satellite data must be wrong!'. Fair enough, ignoring the fact these headlines are generated from, ahem, just 3 years, 5 months satellite data, let's compare the MSU data with Goddard Institute of Space Studies (a.k.a. the "House of Hansen") data, displayed here. Their trend is different from that of the UAH MSU, indicating greater Antarctic cooling at -0.04 °C/decade for the period 1979-2005.

GHCN-ERSST plotted here for the region 66.33S - 90.00S over the same period gives a trend of -0.02 °C/decade.

The cooperative effort by the UK Met. Office's Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit dataset known as HadCRUT2v also provides regional splits and their data, shown here, for the Antarctic not including the peninsula protruding north of the Antarctic Circle, shows no trend (0.0 °C/decade) for the period 1979-2004 while the Antarctic Peninsula, here, shows an anomalous trend of +0.5 °C/decade. Their combined 65S - 90S (including part of the Southern Ocean), here, gives a trend of +0.1 °C/decade.

The Antarctic is not exactly over-serviced with historical temperature data and some extraordinary gyrations appear in what record we do have - probably as a result of measurement changes but possibly not. During the period of global cooling worry the Antarctic appears to have been warming although we cannot determine whether the changes around the 1950s are the result of some sort of phase shift or alterations in temperature recording and calculation. What we don't have is any indication of a warming trend within the Antarctic Circle during the period of allegedly alarming anthropogenic global warming (our so-called 'hottest decades' of the 'hottest century' for a millennium). And if the sub-zero south is not warming then it is not melting, is it?

Continental ice egress is not a smooth and steady procedure but seems to happen in fits and starts. Some of the reason for this is ice sheets adding significant resistance as they slowly grow out to sea until eventually stalling ice flow. Eventually tide and currents break off these extruded sheets, releasing back pressure and allowing temporary 'sprints' of ice streams to sea, slowly rebuilding the blocking sheets until the cycle repeats. Over the last decade we have seen ice shelves in several regions around Antarctica breaking back to levels last seen in the 1950s so if there is a net transient loss in progress no one would (or should) really be surprised.

What is perhaps more surprising is the number of distribution points utilised by NASA putting out their press release regarding just 3 years and 5 months data (April 2002 to August 2005), which is one reason the 'trend' confidence is ±50% - another is that 'corrections' of unknown efficacy have had to be applied to the signal in an attempt to use this technique to derive ice shield mass balance. What do you suppose would be the response if we used the same period of UAH MSU data to claim a global temperature 'trend'? For those who might be interested, under comparable trend guidelines as used by NASA above, the world is heading into a chill, with global cooling 'trend' of -0.013 °C/decade (can I get a place in Igloo Building 101?).

What an absurd beat up from almost non-extant data! Maybe NASA is getting in very early for April 1? And what an appalling media response with no one yet observed treating these claims with any degree of scepticism. Sheesh!

Update: 22:50 GMT - Pretty sad state of general media, so far we've only noted London Telegraph's Roger Highfield adding any caveat to this story while most of the majors have uncritically regurgitated this pap. On the plus side of the ledger TCS Daily is hosting Pat Michael's response: Antarctic Ice: The Cold Truth while The Commons Blog has Long Term Policy, Short Term Data — A Poor Fit.

If NASA proliferated somewhat suspect virtual snapshot data* as a test of the media's scientific literacy - and we sincerely hope that was NASA's motivation for swamping the PR networks with their breathless blurt - then the media failed the test and failed it big. If NASA has seriously released and promoted this as a conclusion securely based on thorough observation and robust science then we fear the instructions for the Shuttle's replacement may be something akin to "Ignite blue touch paper and stand clear..." Make no mistake, the underlying science is dazzling and may prove extraordinarily useful in time but the difference between a snapshot and a trend, at least in terms of planetary climate, is at least thirty years, something of which NASA is well aware.

* so labeled because it contradicts other longer-term satellite analyses with a 'series' so short it is analogous to having a child tell you whether a flashing light is working: "Yes it is, no it isn't, yes it is...".

Apparent contradictions explained:) "Antarctic Ice Increasing AND Decreasing" - "Seemingly contradictory research results, such as recent reports of both decreasing and increasing Antarctic ice, can be explained with a new metaphysical theory." (ecoEnquirer)

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

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

At present it looks like GRACE is none for 2 in the polar ice stakes.

With the notable exception of the satirical ecoEnquirer piece this has been somewhat disappointing. To say that a pitiful few years' worth of data suggests anything beyond an interesting anomaly is a stretch way too far, most especially since the data only make such suggestion under extreme statistical duress. "Premature" would be the most polite description possible.

New entry in the propaganda stakes: "Bskyb Aims to Spread Word on Climate Change" - "LONDON - UK satellite TV operator BSkyB wants to use its extensive access to consumers to hammer home the threat of climate change, Chief Executive James Murdoch told business leaders on Wednesday. "A company such as ours can bring the climate change debate into the household," he said at the British launch of the Carbon Disclosure Project, a survey of industry awareness about climate change." (Reuters)

"U.N. climate body keeps hope alive on U.S." - "RIYADH - Talks to extend the Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming should address U.S. concerns in the hope Washington may sign up to a successor pact, the head of the U.N.'s climate change secretariat said on Tuesday. President George W. Bush withdrew the United States from Kyoto in 2001, saying it would damage the U.S. economy and wrongly excluded developing nations from emissions caps, which expire in 2012." (Reuters)

Remember this as you watch companies adopt the "green" mantle and support expensive regulation: "Credit card ricochet" - "Partners in plunder." That's how an intriguing new book describes the hidden relationship between big government and big business. In "The Big Ripoff," investigative reporter Timothy P. Carney, now a journalism fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, takes on the media myth that business staunchly opposes government intervention. Often, Mr. Carney writes, companies actively lobby for government regulation to help their bottom line, while cloaking themselves in the rhetoric they're acting in the public interest. When this happens, Mr. Carney writes, usually "the regular guy gets ripped off." (John Berlau, Washington Times)

Some more dopey Left-Coastism: "Hollywood stars on a mission to stop BHP gas rig off Malibu coast" - "BHP Billiton, the oil and mining conglomerate, is used to facing tough environmental opposition to its work across the globe, but the company may not have bargained for its latest opponent: James Bond. The former 007 actor Pierce Brosnan is heading a mission to halt the construction of a $800m (£420m) gas platform off the coast of Malibu, west of Los Angeles, which he says will be a health hazard and terrorist target." (London Independent)

"US Sees Delay in Big Rise in Alternative Motor Fuels" - "WASHINGTON - The Bush administration says the United States needs an extra 20 years to meet Congress' goal of having almost a third of US motor fuel supply come from energy sources other than gasoline." (Reuters)

"When Spinach Is Bad For You" - "Environmentalism: Organic spinach appears to be the culprit behind a 20-state outbreak of deadly E. coli poisoning, casting further doubt on greens' claims that "organic is safer." About 15 years ago, environmentalists set off a scare over the pesticide Alar used on apples. They brainwashed the public into thinking they could die from trace amounts of such chemicals, and the organic movement was born." (IBD)

"Spinach E. coli Contamination: Media Advisory" - "The following is to correct misinformation regarding organic farming practices and food safety risks distributed to national media by organic food interest groups in an effort to deflect scrutiny in the wake of the recent and tragic outbreak of virulent E. coli that has killed at least one, hospitalized nearly 20, and sickened 114 individuals in 21 states." (CGFI)

"Food agency rejects organic milk health claims" - "LONDON - The Food Standards Agency said on Tuesday that a study has concluded that organic milk does not provide significant health benefits over conventional milk despite higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Organic milk sales have been rising strongly in recent months after studies conducted by several universities concluded that organic milk was higher in omega-3 fatty acids which are believed to protect against cardiovascular disease." (Reuters)

"French Farmers Protest over GMO Attacks, Water Curbs" - "BORDEAUX, France - At least several hundred French farmers marched through the south-west town of Pau on Wednesday to protest against attacks on genetically modified (GMO) crops, bans on pesticides and irrigation curbs." (Reuters)

September 20, 2006

"The Buzz on DDT" - "The environmental left has received some severe blows lately. One is the declining cost of oil, which environmental nannies fear will lead Americans to forget that they have a moral duty to consume less fossil fuel. The other is a decision by the World Health Organization to lift its ban on the use of the insecticide DDT for combating malaria in the Third World." (Thomas Bray, New York Sun)

Join us as we celebrate WHO's somewhat belated return to rationality and show your support for safe, effective health care. Get your DDTee at the special price of just $14.99 and stand with us against the fear mongers whose nonsense claims have killed so many.

"Mosquito's lust for sugar can fight malaria-study" - "JERUSALEM - Mosquitoes' thirst for sugar could help kill the pests and eradicate the malaria they spread, scientists in Israel said on Tuesday. Yosef Schlein and Gunter Muller of Jerusalem's Hebrew University said they wiped out virtually the entire mosquito population of a southern Israeli oasis by spraying a sugar solution mixed with "Spinosad" insecticide on acacia trees." (Reuters)

"Tree-ring isotope records of tropical cyclone activity" - "The destruction wrought by North Atlantic hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 dramatically emphasizes the need for better understanding of tropical cyclone activity apart from the records provided by meteorological data and historical documentation. We present a 220-year record of oxygen isotope values of -cellulose in longleaf pine tree rings that preserves anomalously low isotope values in the latewood portion of the ring in years corresponding with known 19th and 20th century landfalling/near-coastal tropical storms and hurricanes. Our results suggest the potential for a tree-ring oxygen isotope proxy record of tropical cyclone occurrence extending back many centuries based on remnant pine wood from protected areas in the southeastern U.S." (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0606549103) | PDF version of: PNAS Miller et al. (729K)

Interesting... "Arctic summer ice anomaly shocks scientists" - "Satellite images acquired from 23 to 25 August 2006 have shown for the first time dramatic openings – over a geographic extent larger than the size of the British Isles – in the Arctic's perennial sea ice pack north of Svalbard, and extending into the Russian Arctic all the way to the North Pole." (European Space Agency)

... but unfortunately we don't have prior warm period data with which to compare it, so it doesn't tell us much.

Also interesting: "This was hottest summer since 1936, report says" - "The USA sweated this year through its hottest summer in 70 years, with temperatures not seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, according to a government report. From June 1 to Aug. 31, as summer is defined by the National Climatic Data Center, the continental USA had an average temperature of 74.5 degrees, based on readings from hundreds of weather stations nationwide. It was the second-hottest summer temperature the government has recorded since it started keeping track in 1895. The only one warmer — by about two-tenths of a degree — was in 1936." (Brad Heath, USA TODAY)

Oddly enough, the provided ranking list (don't you just love 'top-10's?) contains 5 entries from the 1930s and yet there is no suggestion enhanced greenhouse drove the '30s to such warmth. Thinking something might be astray I checked NCDC's statewide analyses, well, Alabama, anyway. How interesting that the summer months display a negative temperature trend... most curious when the planet is supposed to be heating dramatically due to "global warming." How about Georgia, home of "Hotlanta"? Also negative. I didn't have time to further query the database but it does look to be an exercise of some merit.

Oh-ho! "Royal Society tells Exxon: stop funding climate change denial" - "Britain's leading scientists have challenged the US oil company ExxonMobil to stop funding groups that attempt to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change." (The Guardian)

This is the climate "debate" we hear so much about eh? The Royal Society wants to silence any who might disagree with its advocacy and to intimidate any organization out of providing possible rebuttal funding to counterbalance the multibillion dollar indoctrination campaign. A campaign, incidentally, attempting to convince the populace that a possible warming smaller than the error margin on our ability to determine the Earth's temperature constitutes some form of crisis. I still don't believe there's a "conspiracy" but this is certainly outrageous.

Please support

Donate US$25 or more
and get a free copy of
Silencing Science
by Steven Milloy
(while supplies last).

What with Moonbat yesterday and the Royal Society today all whining about nasty skeptics rudely exposing facts and pointing people to empirical measures and consensus-conflicting information you'd almost think Big Warming is actually running a campaign to silence non-conformists (like us, for instance). So now you know -- it's up to readers to fund their favorite skeptics or simply wear the consequences (you know it's true -- The Guardian and the Royal Society said so).

It's troubling that such organizations are trying to force ridiculous action and silence all cautionary voices at a time when indications are that solar activity is likely to decline and global cooling become problematic before mid-century. Unlike the imaginary disasters of trivial warming (and a possible mean shift from 287.15 K to 287.75 K in global mean temperature since ~1880 is certainly trivial) a cooling will make feeding the largest population in human history much more of a problem than it currently is -- and the population is still growing.

2nd Edition of the Book Human Impacts on Weather and Climate (Climate Science)

"Population aging and future carbon emissions in the United States" - "Abstract: Changes in the age composition of U.S. households over the next several decades could affect energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the most important greenhouse gas. This article incorporates population age structure into an energy–economic growth model with multiple dynasties of heterogeneous households. The model is used to estimate and compare effects of population aging and technical change on baseline paths of U.S. energy use, and CO2 emissions. Results show that population aging reduces long-term emissions, by almost 40% in a low population scenario, and effects of aging on emissions can be as large, or larger than, effects of technical change in some cases. These results are derived under standard assumptions and functional forms that are used in economic growth models. The model also assumes a closed economy, substitution elasticities that are fixed, and identical across age groups, and patterns of labor supply that vary by age group, but are fixed over time." (Energy Economics)

Um... "Sea levels are rising faster than predicted, warns Antarctic Survey" - "The global sea level rise caused by climate change, severely threatening many of the world's coastal and low-lying areas from Bangladesh to East Anglia, is proceeding faster than UN scientists predicted only five years ago, Professor Chris Rapley, director of the British Antarctic Survey, said yesterday." (London Independent)

... dubious. The warming trend in the upper ocean has actually gone into reverse, now demonstrating a cooling which no models predicted. Rapley should be aware of this, particularly as it tends to negate his hypothesis of thermal expansion increasing sea level rise.

"Growth in Amazon cropland may impact climate and deforestation patterns" - "Scientists using NASA satellite data have found that clearing for mechanized cropland has recently become a significant force in Brazilian Amazon deforestation. This change in land use may alter the region's climate and the land's ability to absorb carbon dioxide." (NASA/GSFC)

"Canada: Moralists bring on climate-change fog" - 'The Conservatives will soon unveil their environmental package. It's most contentious aspects will be the government's actions -- or what will undoubtedly be claimed to be the lack of them -- on climate change. Clarity is obviously needed when making policy decisions that could have profoundly negative effects on the economy. Unfortunately, few issues are surrounded by more emotion and obfuscation. The root of this hypercharged policy fog is the contention that climate change is not primarily a scientific or political issue, but a moral one." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

KTH, Stockholm Conference (Climate Audit)

"At the core: Climate secrets -- past, present and future revealed with new tool" - "VIRGINIA KEY, FLA. (Sept. 19, 2006) – A few years ago, chemical analyses of deep sea muds that used a new X-ray technology were able to help explain why the Classic Mayan civilization collapsed more than a thousand years ago. At the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, a new tool will apply a similar technology to find answers to historic climate changes from earth and marine sediment core samples. The XRF (X-ray Fluorescence) Core Scanner is only the second to make its way to the United States, and the first of this new and improved model made by Avaatech, a company based in the Netherlands." (University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science)

From the rubber room: "UK: Lib Dem call to tax patio heaters" - "Heavy taxes should be slapped on everything from patio heaters to energy inefficient light bulbs, a Lib Dem environment spokesman has said. Martin Horwood said the idea of taxing the most polluting cars should be extended to cover all environmentally unfriendly products. He told a conference fringe meeting climate change was "a crisis just as serious as the Second World War." (BBC)

Oh boy... apprentice propagandists: "The Reliable Source" - "It's hard trying to save the world by yourself! So Al Gore is commissioning an army of Mini-Me's to help him do the work. Fifty volunteers will descend on Nashville Sunday for three days of training in how to deliver the global-warming slide show that the former veep has presented around the world, captured in "An Inconvenient Truth" (now the third-highest-grossing documentary of all time). They'll be on the front line of what organizers hope will eventually be 1,000 Gore proxies prepared to go out to community groups across the country raising the alarm about climate change." (Washington Post)

That poor virtual world is getting a hiding again: "Common garden plant threatened by climate change" - "Cyclamen, a common, pretty garden flower, is at risk of extinction because of climate change. In a study published today in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology (http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcevolbiol/), researchers show, using mathematical modelling, that the ideal climate for Cyclamen will become increasingly rare and might have totally disappeared by the 2050's. Some species of Cyclamen are adaptable enough and could survive climate change, but many would probably disappear." (BioMed Central)

From CO2 Science this week:

The Retreating Glaciers of Kilimanjaro: Their behavior throughout the 20th century appears to be a consequence of late 19th-century "relic climate change."

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Tagus River Estuary, off Lisbon, Portugal and Berre Lagoon, southeast France. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Aquatic Plant Growth Response to Very High CO 2 Concentrations: How high can the air's CO 2 content rise and its effects on aquatic plants still remain positive?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Alfalfa, Grassland of Cedar Creek Natural History Area in central Minnesota, USA, Poison Ivy, and White Poplar.

Journal Reviews:
A Two-Century History of Rainfall in Zimbabwe: Does it reveal a tendency for more extreme dry and wet periods with rising global temperatures, as is routinely predicted to occur by climate alarmists?

Precipitation Variability in Mongolia: Was it affected in any way as the earth recovered from the global chill of the Little Ice Age?

Rhone River Flood Deposits in Lake Le Bourget: What do they tell us about the climatic history of the Northwest Alps of France and much of the rest of Europe?

Methane Bubbling from Siberian Thaw Lakes: What impact is it having on the atmosphere's methane concentration?

Tundra Responses to Experimental Warming: What are they? ... and how do they likely differ from responses to natural warming? (co2science.org)

Disunion in the Union? "Czech president attacks global warming "fiction": report" - "PRAGUE - Czech President Vaclav Klaus has reportedly attacked the widely held belief that human activities contribute to global warming as "a senseless fiction." (AFP)

"Schwarzenegger Guru Says CO2 Plan Starts at Border" - "WASHINGTON - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's environmental adviser said his mission to change federal policy on global warming by getting vast regions of the United States to regulate greenhouse gas emissions will start with states on the Mexican border.

Terry Tamminen is working with Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat in neighboring Arizona, to spearhead an effort to spread rules like California's to cut greenhouse gases to other states." (Reuters)

"Carbon Trade Seen as Essential For California" - "WASHINGTON - California's new greenhouse gas reduction rules will need trading of the right to emit heat-trapping gases to meet their goals, experts said." (Reuters)

Yeah, hurray... "Nike Goes For The Green" - "After 14 years, it figures out how to get greenhouse gas out of its sneakers." (Business Week)

"Ceramic microreactors developed for on-site hydrogen production" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed and built ceramic microreactors for the on-site reforming of hydrocarbon fuels, such as propane, into hydrogen for use in fuel cells and other portable power sources. Applications include power supplies for small appliances and laptop computers, and on-site rechargers for battery packs used by the military." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Doh! "FEATURE - Bumps on the Road for US Ethanol Vehicles" - "You can only go so far in doing the right thing, but if you can't get the fuel, it doesn't help you much," said Beldon, who owns a roofing business. What's more, he learned only after buying the sport utility vehicle that while E85 can cost less at the pump, it actually costs 20 percent more than gasoline because its lower energy content cuts fuel efficiency." (Reuters)

"FEATURE - Car Emissions to End? Don't Hold Your Breath" - "FRANKFURT - The dream of smog-free cities served by whispering fleets of zero-emission cars is still decades away from becoming reality." (Reuters)

"The socialists who would regulate your happiness" - "Nanny state activists should heed the message of a federation free-marketeer Bruce Smith, writes Janet Albrechtsen." (The Australian)

"Sinister Spinach" - "It wouldn't surprise us one bit were it to turn out that the E. Coli bacteria came from manure that is being used instead of chemical fertilizer. In an effort to avoid the imagined health threats of chemical fertilizer, farmers and consumers are using bacteria-laden manure. In an effort to avoid the imagined health threats of radiation, the organic spinach isn't irradiated to kill the harmful bacteria, either.

So now hundreds of Americans are suffering, millions of dollars worth of spinach is being thrown away, and at least one person is reported to have died. The spinach scare comes the weekend that the World Health Organization recommended the use of DDT to fight malaria in Africa. In the 24 years since the chemical pesticide was banned in America because of health concerns, millions of African children have died of malaria.

The harm from organic spinach will likely be on a much smaller scale, but the principles may well be the same. Chemicals, radiation, and technology aren't always bad, but can actually lead to better health. What's "natural" — whether they are malarial mosquitoes or bacteria-laden manure — isn't always best for your health. And the politically correct public health bureaucrats are usually a good decade or two behind the times." (New York Sun Editorial)

"FEATURE - Indians Struggle to Digest Claims of Poisoned Foods" - "SIMBHAOLI, India - Under the scorching afternoon sun, Babu Khan crouches over his crops gently pulling out stray weeds from his small plot on the fringes of Simbhaoli, a town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The one-acre plot, divided into patches of rapeseed, maize, rice paddy and radish, has helped Babu and his family eke out a modest living -- something he says would have been impossible without the use of pesticides." (Reuters)

"World Food Day to highlight declining food aid" - "The theme of this year's World Food Day, 'Investing in agriculture for food security', underlines growing concern that aid to this particular sector has been declining for years." (Food Navigator)

"Instead of water wars, let's go for less-thirsty plants" - "Wars have been fought over politics, economics, territory, ethnic origin, race, religion and national pride. We may soon have to add a new reason: water, which is in increasingly short supply -- and increasingly sought after." (Henry I. Miller, SF Chronicle)

"Rice farmers hold tight to crop after GMO woes" - "CHICAGO - U.S. farmers are keeping a tight hold on their freshly harvested rice crop, waiting for prices to recover after an unapproved biotech variety was found in regular supplies, trade sources said." (Reuters)

"Thailand sees GM as key to rising threat from Chinese agriculture" - "Thailand is likely to start developing genetically modified crops in order to maintain its competitive edge in the global food export business, said an official from a government science body last week." (AP-Food Technology

September 19, 2006

Assault and moonbattery: "The denial industry" - "The oil giant ExxonMobil gives money to scores of organisations that claim the science on global warming is inconclusive - which it isn't. It's a strategy that has set back action on climate change by a decade, and it involves the same people who insist that passive smoking is harmless, reveals George Monbiot in the first of three extracts from his new book." (The Guardian)

George does offer one nice accolade speaking of JunkScience.com:

I have lost count of the number of correspondents who, while questioning manmade global warming, have pointed me there.

Bit of a shame George didn't take the time to read and understand but, oh well... here's the word from Moonbat Corner:

George probably won't approve of this either: Join us as we celebrate WHO's somewhat belated return to rationality and show your support for safe, effective health care. Get your DDTee at the special price of just $14.99 and stand with us against the fear mongers whose nonsense claims have killed so many.

"Let Us Spray" - "Disease Prevention: The World Health Organization has reversed its 30-year-old opposition to the use of DDT, deciding that saving African babies is as vital as saving the environment. How many millions have died in the meantime?" (IBD)

"Fighting malaria, saving lives" - "Overturning a long-standing policy, the World Health Organization announced Friday that it will -- finally -- encourage the use of DDT to fight malaria in some of the world's poorest countries. While this is most welcome, what's maddening about WHO's announcement is that it has long considered DDT a safe insecticide. The U.N. agency, however, wouldn't aggressively promote its use due to pressure from environmental groups. It seems even the United Nations can't argue with facts and the fact is DDT, if used properly, could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year." (Washington Times)

"South Africa: Light At End of Malaria Tunnel" - "It is no coincidence that the new head of WHO's Global Malaria Programme and the driving force behind the reforms to malaria control policy, Dr Arata Kochi, released the new policy in Washington. For while the US government is getting things right, most other donors are lagging behind. Few European donors will support IRS and the European Union has set the proverbial cat among the pigeons in east Africa by suggesting that agricultural exports could be turned away from Europe if DDT is used in malaria control. These threats have been partially retracted, but the damage has been done and now exporters in Uganda and Kenya vehemently oppose IRS using DDT." (Business Day)

The collateral damage from 'organic' lunacy and EU arrogance: "East Africa: Region Divided Over DDT" - "East African countries are at crossroads having to chose between two tough options; either to eradicate the malaria-carrying anopheles mosquito using DDT and consequently risk the region's organic credentials; or tread more delicately and explore 'less costly' means to offset malaria prevalence in the region. Last week, a consortium of key members of the agricultural, horticultural and fish producers and exporters sent out a strong message to the government urging (it) to desist from using Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)." (East African Business Week)

"Analysis: Malaria in the spotlight" - "WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 -- After decades of complacency, world health groups are launching an unprecedented assault on the scourge of malaria, but much work remains to be done." (UPI)

"EU approves two pesticides over greens' objections" - "BRUSSELS - EU agriculture ministers issued seven-year authorisations for two highly toxic crop pesticides on Monday, overriding objections from environmental groups that said the products should be banned outright." (Reuters)

Or did they? "EU Rejects Two Pesticides After Greens' Objection" - "BRUSSELS - EU agriculture ministers turned down seven-year authorisations for two highly toxic crop pesticides on Monday after objections from environmental groups that said the products should be banned outright." (Reuters)

"Bitter taste identifies poisons in foods" - "Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center report that bitter taste perception of vegetables is influenced by an interaction between variants of taste genes and the presence of naturally-occurring toxins in a given vegetable. The study appears in the September 19 issue of Current Biology. Scientists have long assumed that bitter taste evolved as a defense mechanism to detect potentially harmful toxins in plants. The Current Biology paper provides the first direct evidence in support of this hypothesis by establishing that variants of the bitter taste receptor TAS2R38 can detect glucosinolates, a class of compounds with potentially harmful physiological actions, in natural foods." (Monell Chemical Senses Center)

"'Safe' blood lead levels linked to risk of death" - "Blood lead levels generally considered safe may be associated with an increased risk of death from many causes, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to a report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers studied lead levels below 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) which previously has been considered safe." (American Heart Association)

"UK: Arms manufacturer loads lead-free bullets" - "Traditional variety 'pose a risk to people', warns BAE Systems." (The Register)

No word on the relative merits of being shot with "reduced lead" projectiles as opposed the regular kind.

"Boat paint to blame for Norfolk Broads' desolation" - "One of the main culprits behind an environmental catastrophe that desolated one of Britain's most important wildlife habitats has finally been identified in a study led by researchers from UCL (University College London) and Acroloxus Wetlands Consultancy Ltd, Canada. In the current issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, they reveal that introduction of the compound tributyltin (TBT) as a biocide in boat paint in the 1960s resulted in a dramatic and sudden loss of aquatic vegetation from most of the 50 or so Norfolk Broads lakes. At the time, scientists pointed the finger at contamination from sewage works and fertiliser run-off from farmland, despite suggestions from the local community that the burgeoning leisure boating industry might be to blame." (University College London)

"Is there a relationship between a mother prompting her child to eat and obesity?" - "The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased significantly since the 1980s. Many factors contribute to childhood obesity; however, parents are in a key position to help shape children's eating behaviors and eating environments. A study in the September issue of The Journal of Pediatrics evaluates the role of mothers prompting their child to eat, the child's compliance with those prompts, and the potential contribution of each to the risk of obesity." (Elsevier Health Sciences)

Typically poor headline: "Global view shows strong link between kidney cancer, sunlight exposure" - "Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence to map cancer rates in relation to proximity to the equator, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and kidney cancer." (University of California - San Diego)

Note that this refers to an inverse correlation with kidney cancers associated with a lack of sun exposure -- specifically UVB.

"A skewed vision from team green" - "Alan Oxley says Greenpeace is using misleading claims to cut down logging." (The Australian)

"Tree Rings Can Reveal Hurricane Record - US Study" - "WASHINGTON - Oxygen taken from tree rings could help settle the question of whether hurricanes are getting stronger and more frequent, US researchers said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Time to Move the Mississippi, Experts Say" - "Scientists and state officials are considering a broad diversion of the Mississippi River into Louisiana’s sediment-starved marshes." (New York Times)

"Phenomenological solar signature in 400 years of reconstructed Northern Hemisphere temperature record" (.pdf) - "We study the solar impact on 400 years of a global surface temperature record since 1600. This period includes the pre-industrial era (roughly 1600–1800 or 1600–1900), when negligible amount of anthropogenic-added climate forcing was present and the sun realistically was the only climate force affecting climate on a secular scale, and the industrial era (roughly since 1800–1900), when anthropogenic-added climate forcing has been present in some degree. We use a recent secular Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction (Moberg et al., 2005), three alternative total solar irradiance (TSI) proxy reconstructions (Lean et al., 1995; Lean, 2000; Wang et al., 2005) and a scale-by-scale transfer climate sensitivity model to solar changes (Scafetta and West, 2005, 2006). The phenomenological approach we propose is an alternative to the more traditional computer-based climate model approach, and yields results proven to be almost independent on the secular TSI proxy reconstruction used. We find good correspondence between global temperature and solar induced temperature curves during the pre-industrial period such as the cooling periods occurring during the Maunder Minimum (1645–1715) and the Dalton Minimum (1795–1825). The sun might have contributed approximately 50% of the observed global warming since 1900 (Scafetta and West, 2006). We briefly discuss the global cooling that occurred from the medieval maximum (≈1000–1100 AD) to the 17th century minimum." (Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L17718, doi:10.1029/2006GL027142.)

CERN to create CLOUD with cosmic rays (Luboš Motl, Reference Frame)

Irrigation Effect on Surface Temperatures (Climate Science)

Bearing remarkable similarities to the 'old' climate... "'New climate' detected as Britain grows ever hotter" - "England has become a full degree Celsius warmer since the Beatles started playing - and human activity is the cause, according to research released yesterday." (London Independent)

... of the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, the Modern Warm is beginning to look as though it too may support at least a limited wine industry in the UK.

Shameless bit it cherry-picking choosing the Beatles era too, the early sixties were a full degree cooler than the late thirties and forties, periods only just eclipsed in the last couple of years despite massive population increase and urbanisation. In fact, rural Armagh Observatory suggests CET may be overstating the warming trend somewhat.

Apparently not a Japanese retro-movie: "Moth Man's prophecies at global warming conference" - "World experts on global warming gathering at the University of Leicester will discuss this week – amongst other topics- the danger posed to forests in Siberia by global warming …and a moth." (University of Leicester)

"Global Warming Pushes Politicians To Mark Positions" - "WASHINGTON -- With climate change looming as a potential issue in midterm elections, Republicans and Democrats are scrambling to put their political spin on solutions to the problem.

For weeks there has been speculation fueled by some published reports that President Bush might be considering a shift in his approach to curbing carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" thought to be artificially warming the atmosphere through voluntary, rather than government-mandated, steps.

In an interview, James L. Connaughton, head of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality, said there is no "imminent" policy change in the works. But he added that White House policy makers continue to review incentives to push new technologies that help reduce greenhouse gases." (Wall Street Journal)

Latest from Ozone Man: "Gore Says Tax Pollution, Not Payrolls" - "NEW YORK - Former US Vice President Al Gore on Monday suggested taxing carbon dioxide emissions instead of employees' pay in a bid to stem global warming." (Reuters)

"Gore Calls for Immediate Freeze on Heat-Trapping Gas Emissions" - "Former Vice President Al Gore called yesterday for a popular movement in the United States to seek an “immediate freeze” in heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases linked by most scientists to global warming." (New York Times)

Yeah, great Al. Um... how much difference in global mean temperature should we expect to measure from this sacrifice? Absolutely none eh? Qui bono?

"Californian Climate Registry Seeks National Expansion" - "WASHINGTON - A California registry, which companies use to attempt to secure credit for voluntarily cutting greenhouse gas emissions ahead of laws limiting them, is seeking to expand in the United States, a source at the group said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Netherlands Delays CO2 Plan Submission to EU" - "AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands will delay submitting to Brussels its plan for carbon emission limits in 2008-2012, due to a political debate over the future of the trading scheme after 2012, the economy ministry said on Monday." (Reuters)

"House Should Stand Firm on Offshore Energy -- Senate Should Accept Key Provisions in House Bill" - "The Competitive Enterprise Institute urges leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to resist political pressure to accept the Senate-passed OCS bill, S. 3711. Senate leaders instead should schedule a vote on the House-passed bill, H.R. 4761, or accept a compromise that includes key provisions of the House bill to expand offshore oil and gas production." (CEI)

"Fort McMurray gives new meaning to 'boom town'" - "FORT McMURRAY, ALTA. — All Canadian roads, and not just the overburdened one from Edmonton, these days lead to Fort McMurray, Alberta. The massive oil sands that lie throughout northern Alberta, with Fort McMurray as the urban epicentre, are pouring money into Alberta's coffers, widening the spread between its fiscal wealth and that of all other provinces. The oil sands are pouring money into the federal treasury, helping it to show surpluses, which in turn are eyed by provinces and interest groups. They are pouring contracts into other provinces, spreading at least some of the wealth elsewhere in Canada. They are pouring profits into shareholders' pockets of energy companies. They are pouring oil into the market, especially the United States, at the very moment when Alberta's sources of conventional oil and natural gas are declining. Canada produces about 2.5-million barrels of crude oil daily, and ships about 1.6-million to the U.S. To keep that level of exports, let alone to expand it, the oil sands are critical." (Globe and Mail)

"Russia Cancels Shell's Sakhalin Ecological Approval" - "MOSCOW - Russia's resources ministry said on Monday it had cancelled its own ecological approvals for Royal Dutch Shell's Sakhalin-2 project but this did not mean the US$20 billion development would close." (Reuters)

"Biofuels look to the next generation" - "Biofuels are being hailed by politicians around the globe as a salvation from the twin evils of high oil prices and climate change. The boom in biofuels in the US stems from President Bush's drive to reduce dependence on imports of foreign oil; in Europe it has a more environmental dimension. Transport is responsible for a quarter of the UK's total emissions; four-fifths of that quarter comes from road vehicles. Realising this could threaten to undermine efforts to meet Kyoto Protocol commitments, the UK government announced earlier this year the introduction of a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO)." (BBC)

Otherwise known as the ROFL plan?

"Stop Work on Financing Clean Energy, World Bank Told" - "SINGAPORE - The World Bank should stop exploring options for financing the development of clean energy because it does not have enough strength in the field, South Korea said on Monday. "The Bank's ideas would seem to be poor value to developing countries," Finance Minister Kwon O-kyu told the Development Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund." (Reuters)

"MIT designs 'invisible,' floating wind turbines" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--An MIT researcher has a vision: Four hundred huge offshore wind turbines are providing onshore customers with enough electricity to power several hundred thousand homes, and nobody standing onshore can see them. The trick? The wind turbines are floating on platforms a hundred miles out to sea, where the winds are strong and steady." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Droughts and reservoirs: Finding storage space underground" - "Boulder, CO -- Odd as it sounds, in some places the smartest way to safeguard the water supply is to let it drain out of the reservoirs and soak into the ground. That's what been discovered in local water shortages in Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico – all of which could be microcosms of water shortage issues looming throughout the Western U.S." (Geological Society of America)

"UCI scientists use near real-time sensor data to detect coastal ocean pollution" - "Irvine, Calif., Sept. 18, 2006 -- A discovery by UC Irvine scientists could help public health officials know instantly when pollution has moved into the coastal ocean -- a breakthrough that could enable authorities to post warnings or close beaches in minutes rather than days." (University of California - Irvine)

Crappy food -- but at least it's "nachural": "Spinach Company Faces Unwelcome Scrutiny" - "SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. -- Earthbound Farm, the country's largest grower of organic produce, is facing unwelcome scrutiny after federal officials linked a nationwide E. coli outbreak to its bagged spinach. The company, also known by its legal name Natural Selection Foods LLC, recalled and stopped shipping all its spinach products after E. coli outbreaks killed one person and sickened more than 100 others in 19 states." (Associated Press)

"A seedbed of revolution" - "Africa needs markets, as well as technology, for a green revolution to take root." (The Economist)

"EU ministers deadlocked over GMO rapeseed imports" - "BRUSSELS - EU farm ministers fell short of a consensus agreement on Monday to allow imports of various genetically modified (GMO) rapeseed types, again revealing their deep differences on biotech crops and foods, officials said. The import application, submitted by German drugs and chemicals group Bayer , will now be sent to the European Commission -- the EU's executive arm -- for a default approval that will be for a 10-year period." (Reuters)

"EU Clashes Three Times in One Day on GMO Policy" - "BRUSSELS - European Union governments clashed three times on Monday on genetically modified (GMO) foods and crops, again exposing their deep-rooted differences on biotechnology by failing to secure any agreement whatsoever." (Reuters)

"A Growth Industry" - "Plants that are genetically engineered show promise, but critics fear lax oversight." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

September 18, 2006

After three decades of bad policy: WHO gives indoor use of DDT a clean bill of health for controlling malaria
WHO promotes indoor spraying with insecticides as one of three main interventions to fight malaria

15 SEPTEMBER 2006 | WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nearly thirty years after phasing out the widespread use of indoor spraying with DDT and other insecticides to control malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that this intervention will once again play a major role in its efforts to fight the disease. WHO is now recommending the use of indoor residual spraying (IRS) not only in epidemic areas but also in areas with constant and high malaria transmission, including throughout Africa.

“The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment,” said Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. "Indoor residual spraying is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures, and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.” (WHO News Release)

Tens of millions of lives and untold human misery too late but it is progress, kind of: "WHO backs DDT for malaria control" - "The World Health Organization (WHO) has reversed a 30-year policy by endorsing the use of DDT for malaria control." (BBC)

In addition to the mortality and morbidity there's the horrendous perpetuation of poverty this ridiculous chemophobia has been responsible for (people with recurrent bouts of malaria can neither work nor grow crops and tend livestock, making food insufficiency a much larger problem than it would otherwise be, too). We don't like misanthropic Greens and their semi-deified Rachel The Terrible -- this is a big part of the reason.

Even worse, these misanthropic anti-development dipsticks wreck wildlife habitat and populations too, simply by retarding development and wealth generation (witness the wildlife slaughter that accompanied Mugabe's de-development of Zimbabwe for an extreme and accelerated example).

Most people believing the anti-human spiel of "Greens" are simply honest folk deceived but the well-paid, well-financed and frequently well-educated people directing the now multinational corporates still called "NGOs" have no such excuse. They are genocidal lunatics out to remove (most) humans from the "natural" world and they will use any excuse to attack useful chemicals, any energy, water or resource supply, any productivity improvement, anything helping humans prosper and thrive -- and anything that helps humans by increasing agricultural productivity reduces agricultural land requirement leaves more room for wildlife and wildlife habitat, anything facilitating wealth generation helps fund wildlife habitat and preservation. Even "global warming" is largely a Green-driven and manipulated scare designed to suppress human development and wealth generation.

Try parsing the "Green" manifestos -- their entire purpose is to kill as many people as possible and reduce the standard of living of the rest as far as possible. If you like people, critters and the planet then do them all a favor and don't support the misanthropist organizations, don't feed them, don't pay them, don't follow them -- most importantly, don't blindly swallow their poisonous anti-development, anti-industry, anti-human spiel.

AFM is far more polite: "World Health Organization (WHO) Announces New Policy Position on Indoor Residual Spraying for Malaria Control" - "Washington, DC - WHO today releases new policies on a highly effective method of malaria control – Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS). The new policy statement released by Dr. Arata Kochi, head of WHO’s Global Malaria Program, is greatly welcomed by Africa Fighting Malaria, though it has been criticized by some western environmentalist groups for promoting the careful, targeted use of DDT. Dr Kochi called on environmentalist groups to join the WHO and help to save lives in Africa in the same way that they strive to save the environment." (AFM)

"W.H.O. Supports Wider Use of DDT vs. Malaria" - "WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 — The World Health Organization on Friday forcefully endorsed wider use of the insecticide DDT across Africa to exterminate and repel the mosquitoes that cause malaria. The disease kills more than a million people a year, 800,000 of them young children in Africa. Dr. Arata Kochi, who leads the group’s global malaria program, unequivocally declared at a news conference on Friday that DDT was the most effective insecticide against malaria and that it posed no health risk when sprayed in small amounts on the inner walls of people’s homes. Expanding its use is essential to reviving the flagging international campaign to control the disease, he said." (New York Times)

Finally: Good News for Malaria Victims (Paul Driessen, ChronWatch)

DDT's New Friend (Wall Street Journal)

"Independent evaluation finds GAVI funding to poor countries can boost childhood vaccine coverage" - "Boston, MA -- The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) was created in 1999 with the goal of enabling even the poorest countries to provide vaccines to all children. A study by researchers associated with the Harvard Initiative for Global Health set out to measure the extent to which GAVI funding had succeeded in raising the percentage of children who received the combined diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP3) and whether the cost had been close to GAVI's original estimates of $20 per additional child immunized." (Harvard School of Public Health)

"New Journals Bet 'Negative Results' Save Time, Money" - "In ancient Greece, sailors who survived shipwrecks had their portraits displayed in a temple on Samothrace as a testament to the power of Neptune. When Diagoras of Melos was told that this proved that the gods insert themselves into the lives of men, he answered, "but where are they painted that are drowned?"

Today, showing only the rescued sailors would be called publication bias, the tendency of scientists to report findings that support some point (Neptune rescues sailors) but to bury examples (drowned sailors) that undercut it. It has existed for years, most seriously in the failure to publish studies that cast doubt on the safety or efficacy of new drugs.

Now, guardians of scientific probity are fighting back. A handful of journals that publish only negative results are gaining traction, and new ones are on the drawing boards." (Wall Street Journal)

"Drug Testing, Drug Hazards" - "A clinical trial that went badly awry at London's Northwick Park Hospital in March became the drug-testing community's worst nightmare. Six healthy volunteers ended up in intensive care after each received the first injection of a new drug called TGN1412, a highly purified antibody intended as a treatment for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis." (Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily)

"Scientific research ruse" - "I am completely unqualified to issue scientific opinions, but that's about all I have in common with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). However, I do consider myself somewhat of an authority on political hardball, and it's time corporate America started playing it with the CSPI." (Bob Barr, Washington Times)

"Eat Your Spinach" - "As news reports continue to focus on a spinach-induced illness caused by a single strain of Escherichia Coli bacteria known as 0157:H7, many of us tend to believe that our next bite of spinach will be our last. The facts don't back this up. With the FDA linking the outbreak to a single Natural Selection Foods processing plant in California, and with just around 100 people sick, 29 hospitalized and 14 with kidney failure across 19 states, the risks remain minimal. I could eat uncooked spinach all day and the overwhelming odds would be against my ever having a problem. The fear epidemic spreads faster than any bacteria." (Marc Siegel, Wall Street Journal)

"Investigative report: Budget going up in smoke" - "Billowing toward a record high, Forest Service firefighting costs threaten to drain funds from other programs, including reforestation." (Sacramento Bee)

"How to keep fires down in California scrub: Chew it." - "Goats can help keep wildfires from springing up - by eating away brush prone to fueling them."

Things are getting better... and that can't be good: "Tiny plants that feed fish in bay bouncing back -- But recovery of vital food chain ingredient could get out of hand"  -"Scientists used to worry that San Francisco Bay didn't have enough phytoplankton, the tiny plants at the base of the food web that support aquatic life like clams and fish and on up to the diving ducks and harbor seals. But new studies from the U.S. Geological Survey show that phytoplankton has increased 75 percent since the early 1990s. From San Pablo Bay to the southern tip of the estuary, levels of the microscopic plants are at their highest since monitoring began 30 years ago, transforming the bay into a richer estuary for wildlife. The reasons behind the increase remain a mystery. Some experts suspect a decline in the phytoplankton-grazing nonnative clams, a reduction in toxic chemicals and sediment, and a shift in ocean currents. Yet there is a possibility of too much of a good thing." (Jane Kay, SF Chronicle)

"Northwestern biologists demote Southeast Asia's 'forest ox'" - "EVANSTON, Ill. -- It was one of the most famous discoveries of the 20th century. Shrouded in mystery since its recognition as a new species in 1937, the kouprey -- an ox with dramatic, curving horns -- has been an icon of Southeast Asian conservation. Feared extinct, it's been the object of perilous expeditions to the region's jungles by adventurers, scientists and journalists. Now, in a paper published by the Journal of Zoology (London), Northwestern University biologists and a Cambodian conservationist present compelling genetic evidence that the kouprey may never have existed as a wild, natural species." (Northwestern University)

"Scientists baffled by decline in water levels of upper Great Lakes" - "OTTAWA - Canada and the United States are launching a $17.5-million study to determine why water levels in the upper Great Lakes have declined to near-record lows. The study by the International Joint Commission will consider a number of possible causes, from climate change to erosion caused by dredging in the St. Clair River." (CP)

"Scientists see stormy relationships in clouds" - "SACRAMENTO — Scientists say bits of air pollution as small as a thousandth of a hair's width appear to be reducing rain and snowfall in the Sierra, Cascades and Rockies, potentially adding to threats of water shortages tied to global warming. Three years ago, Israeli cloud physicist Daniel Rosenfeld saw clues in data from a NASA satellite that tiny airborne grime released by everything from diesel trucks to cattle was affecting clouds and precipitation downwind of cities. And other scientists are finding the same phenomenon worldwide, from France to South Africa, and say they have witnessed the effects in flights over Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland and the Sierra foothills." (The Argus)

More Stormy Weather Ahead for Hurricane Doomsayers (WCR)

Drivel: "Delay fatal as world heats up"  -"As a city, a province and a nation, we must address global warming. Or face the consequences. Reasons for inaction on global warming and climate change include indifference, fear, other competing interests, giving up without trying and lack of knowledge. What is clear, from all the evidence, is that the issues involved are no longer "uncertain." (Toronto Star)

"Global cooling effect" - "News that the Conservatives might be taking a more cautious approach to Kyoto and climate change could not come at a more appropriate time. The science behind the idea of man-made global warming, always theoretical and often speculative, appears set to receive another blow. A report in New Scientist magazine yesterday chronicles the work of a crew of scientists who forecast a new wave of global cooling brought on by a decline in activity in the sun.

The New Scientist report, along with other scientific assessments warning of global cooling, also come as a blow to the campaign -- led by David Suzuki and one of the directors of his foundation -- to portray all who raise doubts about climate change theory -- so-called skeptics -- as pawns of corporate PR thugs manipulating opinion. If the Suzuki claim is true, then the tentacles of Exxon-Mobil reach deeper into science than anyone has so far imagined." (Terence Corcoran, National Post)

One "rescue" we can well do without: "Global warming: Will the Sun come to our rescue?" - "We may have one last chance to tackle climate change, and it comes from the unlikeliest source, as New Scientist discovers:

IT is known as the Little Ice Age. Bitter winters blighted much of the northern hemisphere for decades in the second half of the 17th century. The French army used frozen rivers as thoroughfares to invade the Netherlands. New Yorkers walked from Manhattan to Staten Island across the frozen harbour. Sea ice surrounded Iceland for miles and the island's population halved. It wasn't the first time temperatures had plunged: a couple of hundred years earlier, between 1420 and 1570, a climatic downturn claimed the Viking colonies on Greenland, turning them from fertile farmlands into arctic wastelands.

Could the sun have been to blame? We now know that, curiously, both these mini ice ages coincided with prolonged lulls in the sun's activity - the sunspots and dramatic flares that are driven by its powerful magnetic field.

Now some astronomers are predicting that the sun is about to enter another quiet period. ..." (New Scientist)

Curious that the Little Ice Age gets a run when it suits but have you ever noticed a reporter with enough sense to realize "global warming" is relative to baseline measures still emerging from that unfriendly cold? Or that heavily urbanized Central England is but trivially warmer now than periods in each of the preceding centuries? Such a silly game.

Forests bad again this week... "Nitrous oxide - no laughing matter for forests" - "THIS is getting serious. Climate change could cause forests in Europe to spew out more and more nitrous oxide, aka laughing gas, a potent contributor to global warming." (New Scientist)

... and so is the EU's bio-diversification program, apparently.

Hmm... "Solar alchemy turns fumes back into fuels" - "IT IS the biggest contributor to climate change. Now chemists are hoping to convert carbon dioxide into a useful fuel, with a little help from the sun. If they succeed, it will be possible to recycle the greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels." (NewScientist.com news service)

... kind of like plants have been doing for, oh... a gazillion years or so? Coupled with the usual mythology regarding climate change, New Scientist must be giving satire a go, no?

Uh-huh... must be a satirical issue: "Last chance to stop plant catastrophe" - "Time is running out [if] we are going to prevent climate change leading to a mass extinction of plants, an international groups of botanists warn" (New Scientist)

Let's see: the wet tropics are plant diversity hot zones, if the world warms the wet tropics should extend to higher latitudes, plants generally thrive at carbon dioxide levels higher than current and these factors will... cause mass plant extinctions?

"Why next summer could well be even longer and hotter . . . " - "Man-made CO2 pollution will continue to alter the world’s climate." (Paul Simons, London Times)

"More hot air" - "California has cocked the revolver of a greenhouse gas-capping plan. Will it now put the barrel to its head?" (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

"California Carbon" - "You may have heard that California recently passed the nation's first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other businesses. But you may not have heard of companion legislation that would force all western producers who want to sell electricity to California to limit their carbon dioxide as well." (Living on Earth)

"H. Sterling Burnett: California loses with greenhouse law" - "WASHINGTON -- Arnold Schwarzenegger's signing the first statewide, multi-industry greenhouse gas emission limits may be a calculated political move to burnish his green credentials in an attempt to get re-elected governor. Or it may symbolize his sincere belief that California should take a leadership role in reducing the threat of climate change. But whatever his motives, the results will be higher prices for California's consumers, higher unemployment for California's workers and little or no benefit for the environment." (Sacramento Bee)

So, he's to blame: "INTERVIEW - Schwarzenegger Sends Green Guru to Spread the Word" - "SANTA MONICA, Calif. - If Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most influential leaders on the environment today, much credit goes to Terry Tamminen, the brains behind the California governor's brawn on all things green. Tamminen, a Democrat and long-time conservationist, teamed up with the Republican actor and bodybuilder three years ago for his election and later became his top environmental aide." (Reuters)

"California defends rules on auto emissions of greenhouse gases" - "FRESNO, Calif. - California should be permitted to enact the world's toughest vehicle-emission standards as part of its effort to combat global warming, a state attorney told a federal judge Friday. "Congress wanted California to be an innovator," California Deputy Attorney General Mark Melnick argued in U.S. District Court in defense of regulations seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. At issue are tailpipe emission standards for greenhouse gases approved in 2004 by the California Air Resources Board. The rules are designed to cut polluting exhaust from cars and light trucks by 25 percent and from sport utility vehicles by 18 percent. A coalition of automakers is challenging the rules as a de-facto mandate on fuel-economy standards, which can be set only by the federal government." (Associated Press)

"High Court and Climate Change" - "The nation’s capital has been pretty quiet on climate change. But that will change soon as the Supreme Court hears a case that could force the regulation of greenhouse gasses. Living on Earth’s Washington correspondent Jeff Young reports that the case is making for some strange bedfellows with some electric companies arguing in favor of regulation." (Living on Earth)

"Gov. Rick Perry: Why did I cut the red tape?" - "As governor, I must find a balance between our economic and energy needs and our environmental standards. Texas is the largest producer and user of energy in the country. Our population exceeds 22 million and is expected to double by 2050, and energy demand is forecast to grow 35 percent by 2025. To meet these growing demands, Texas must begin building additional energy generation now. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has stated that by 2008, Texas' electric reserve margins will fall below acceptable levels. Such a drop will threaten the reliability of electric service during times of peak demand and would likely result in the power blackouts that Californians have endured. We can't bury our head in the sand when it comes to building additional energy capacity and take the same attitude that some cities took toward building highways in the last 25 years, which was, "If we don't build it, they won't come." They came anyway, and traffic is a mess, and so will our electric grid be, if we don't build additional generation capacity." (Dallas Morning News)

Without irony? "Gore's 2008 Plans May Become Clearer After Release of Book" - "Although saying he has no plans to run for president in 2008, former vice president Al Gore has nonetheless left the door ever so slightly ajar. It's a good bet that door will swing open a good bit wider come next May. That is when Gore is scheduled to publish his next book. With no fanfare, he signed a few weeks ago with Penguin Press to write "The Assault on Reason." As described by editor Scott Moyers, the book is a meditation on how "the public arena has grown more hostile to reason," and how solving problems such as global warming is impeded by a political culture with a pervasive "unwillingness to let facts drive decisions." (Washington Post)

Well, we guess a headless chook is in a fair position to understand an "unwillingness to let facts drive decisions." For sure he's running a major "Assault on Reason" with his "global warming" shtick so that probably qualifies him as an expert.

"Kyoto 'a slogan, not a solution'" - "ENVIRONMENT Minister Ian Campbell today stood firm on Australia's long standing refusal to sign onto the Kyoto protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions, declaring it a slogan not a solution." (AAP)

Granted, he's only an environment minister but not as bad as some.

Scam of the moment: "Firm makes mark on the climate" - "Shoppers will be able to take account of climate when deciding what to buy with the launch of a new mark. Manufacturers who go "carbon neutral" can apply for their labels to feature the Penguin Approved logo, which carries the assurance: "No Global Warming." (London Independent)

Handing out investors' money in greenmail: "Paying the Freight for Polluting the Air: Europe Takes the Lead" - "WHEN HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, flies its executives around the world, it pays for the carbon dioxide emissions of every flight in the form of offsets, or investments in nonpolluting energy projects. The busy London-Hong Kong route, for example, produces 2.76 metric tons of carbon dioxide per passenger, which the company offsets for roughly $4.45 a ton, adding around $25 to the ticket price. (The amount varies with the price per ton of emissions.) Of the bank’s total carbon emissions this year, 10 percent will come from business travel, resulting in a fee of $310,000 in offsets. HSBC will pay $3 million more in offsets to achieve carbon neutrality, the first major bank to do so." (New York Times)

"Committed to the business of the environment" - "The elevation of Hank Paulson to the top job at the US Treasury provided a boost for all those interested in how environmental concerns are having an impact on the world of finance. While at Goldman Sachs, Mr Paulson was known for his passionate interest in environmental matters and was instrumental in overhauling some of the bank's policies to give it a more environmental slant." (Fiona Harvey, Financial Times)

Also known as stealing investors' funds.

Reality check: "Green does necessarily produce the greenbacks" - "What people say and what they do are not always the same. Just ask Akeler, the property group behind several green office schemes in the UK. A few years ago, the group designed a building with Europe's largest solar panel facade in windswept Sunderland. Leaving aside the obvious question - how much sunlight is there in County Durham - you might have thought this would have proved a winning lure for occupiers. But Doxford International Business Park, as it is called, took rather a long time to let." (Jim Pickard, Financial Times)

Nor is there any guarantee anyone's willing to pay for what they say they desire: Greenspace no guarantee of greenbacks (.pdf)

"African nations pledged support to deal with climate change" - "RUESCHLIKON, Switzerland - Rich nations have pledged more support for poor countries, especially in Africa, to cut greenhouse gas emissions and deal with climate change, ministers said." (AFP)

"INTERVIEW - TEPCO Wants More Carbon Credit from CDM" - "TOKYO - Japan's biggest utility Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) will dip more into the carbon market as it aims to meet emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol, a company executive said on Friday. Kyoto ties some 35 countries to legally binding greenhouse gas emissions limits by 2012 and in 2004 Japan -- the world's fifth biggest polluter -- exceeded that cap by 14 percent." (Reuters)

Wrong... "World's leading companies lack plan on climate change" - "Most of the world's 500 biggest companies have no programme in place, with explicit targets, to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, despite mounting evidence that the earth is heading towards environmental catastrophe. The most comprehensive study of the environmental behaviour of the world's biggest corporations, by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), found that emissions from these businesses are rising at an alarming rate and most are not acting to tackle the issue." (London Independent)

... these companies are taking precisely the correct course of action by refusing to be panicked by misanthropic nitwits attempting to kill the global economy. Three-fourths of the warming expected from a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution atmospheric carbon dioxide levels has already occurred, although its benefit is largely hidden by the recovery from the unfriendly cold of the Little Ice Age. Forget atmospheric carbon dioxide -- it's simply not an issue.

"Swiss Push Polluter Tax in Fight vs Climate Change" - "ZURICH - Switzerland on Friday pushed for an international tax on greenhouse gases to help poor countries cope with droughts, floods and storms caused by global warming." (Reuters)

Calling an essential trace gas a "pollutant" does not make it so and, with the sun expected to go somewhat quiet during this century, every bit of less-colding greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is to be welcomed.

Science Issues Related To The Lawsuit To The Supreme Court As To Whether CO2 is a Pollutant (Climate Science)

Obligatory eye-roller: "Inconvenient truths (for Al Gore and the rest of the planet)" - "The truth behind Gore's extraordinary documentary about the perils of global warming is that he might have become President had he campaigned in office. Geoffrey Lean traces the conversion of one man, his country and a reluctant world." (London Independent)

A touch of Clapp: "Al Gore: A matter of convenience" - "Al Gore's climate film may not change what Americans think on climate change; but that doesn't matter, argues Philip Clapp in the Green Room, because Americans are already concerned - and politicians are following the public's lead." (Philip Clapp, BBC)

Horse spit! "No more green posturing - the planet can't wait" - "Climate change sceptics, once a thriving species, will soon be extinct. The overwhelming majority of scientific opinion recognises that global warming is a reality and that humankind is responsible. As a result of carbon compounds emitted into the atmosphere the world, on its current trajectory, will get up to six degrees hotter this century, with drastic consequences." (The Observer)

20 times the estimated non-solar warming of the last 120 years or thereabouts? Gullible nitwits!

Imagine that... "Critics Call World Bank Energy Scheme Misguided" - "SINGAPORE - A World Bank scheme to bring electricity to the world's poor is short-sighted and won't curb climate change or help the people it's aimed at, environmental groups said on Sunday. The Bank released a progress report on Sunday looking at ways to fund cleaner energy projects in some of the world's poorest regions and drive economic growth in those areas. The report, entitled Investment Framework on Clean Energy and Development, says an estimated 1.6 billion people do not have access to electricity. Environmental groups said the Bank was missing a huge opportunity to promote the use of renewable energy by instead backing conventional fossil-fuel based generation." (Reuters)

... the bank backs useful, reliable technology and the anti-everything brigade don't like it.

Sadly typical: "The Good News About Oil Prices Is the Bad News" - "THE bad news about energy just keeps coming. Oil prices have fallen sharply since July. Nuclear tensions with Iran and Alaskan pipeline troubles haven’t caused an upward spike. A weakening real estate market and other possible harbingers of recession suggest that oil demand — and therefore prices — could erode even further.

Finally, in something like the coup de grâce, Chevron and its partners announced a new oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, one that could increase America’s oil reserves by as much as 50 percent.

What’s that you say? You think this sounds like good news rather than bad? You figure cheaper oil would boost economic growth while slashing the income of such lovable oil exporters as Iran?

Don’t kid yourself. Anything that reinforces the role of fossil fuels — particularly oil — as the industrial world’s primary energy source is bad, not good. Anything that prolongs the life of the internal combustion engine is a negative, not a positive. Anything that makes it cheaper to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is cause for mourning rather than celebration." (Daniel Akst, New York Times)

"UK: Lib Dems plan to tax polluters" - "Campbell's scheme could add £2,000 a year to running costs of 4x4 cars" (The Observer)

"GM to build fuel-cell vehicles in Oshawa" - "DANA POINT, Calif.—General Motors announced today it will build 100 hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Chevrolet Equinox SUVs for U.S. distribution in 2007. The vehicles will be built by GM of Canada at the company's Regional Engineering Centre in Oshawa. The initial fleet of 100 will go to customers, including government officials and business leaders in three high-profile, coastal U.S. markets: New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. The announcement, the second major one for the Oshawa operation recently, follows on the heels of Oshawa's choice as the production site for the new Camaro in 2008. Fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) are widely believed to be the way of the future, because they generate no local emissions. The only waste by-product of their conversion of hydrogen and oxygen into electric power is water vapour." (Toronto Star)

But wait! They're bad for the environment:

"Road to hydrogen cars may not be so clean -- Environmental peril in making, containing fuel" - "Auto-industry ads depict hydrogen cars as the vehicular route to clean, blue skies. President Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are among their biggest champions. The politicians' enthusiasm for the technology -- a leading proposal to solve global warming -- is shared by many scientists. But reality could prove more complex, some critics say. Among the problems detailed at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco last week:" (Keay Davidson, SF Chronicle, December 20, 2004)

"Sweden's burning with enthusiasm" - "MALMO—Garbage disposal may be a burning question in Toronto; here in Sweden, as in much of Europe, it's simply a question of burning." (Toronto Star)

"Could sugar cane save the planet?" - "Cars that run on sugar cane, fuel made from palm trees - it sounds like an oil-free future that could solve global warming. But, as a major report backs the biofuels revolution, the critics are gathering." (The Observer)

"Dutch moving wind turbines offshore" - "AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - For centuries, Dutch windmills have pumped water out of the low-lying country, and old-fashioned wooden mills are as closely linked with the Netherlands' international image as its dikes and bikes. But in the face of a large and growing lobby against the windmill's modern electricity-generating counterpart - the wind turbine - the country has started moving them offshore and out of sight." (Associated Press)

"'Pharm' goats give birth to new drugs" - "BRITISH patients could soon be using the world’s first medicine derived from transgenic animals after European regulators approved a drug produced by genetically modified goats." (Sunday Times)

"Crop Rotation in the Grain Belt" - "GARDEN CITY, Kan. — Once the driving force behind transforming the United States into the “breadbasket of the world,” wheat is being steadily replaced by corn as the crop of choice for American farmers. Genetic modifications to corn seeds, the growing demand for corn-based ethanol as a fuel blend and more favorable farm subsidies are leading farmers to plant corn in places where wheat long dominated. In Kansas, known for a century as the Wheat State, corn production quietly pulled ahead of wheat in 2000, with Kansas producing 23 percent more corn than wheat last year." (New York Times)

"GMO Rice Strain Unlikely to Pose Health Risk" - "BRUSSELS - Europe's leading food safety agency advised consumers on Friday that eating rice with trace amounts of an unauthorised genetically modified (GMO) strain was unlikely to pose a health risk to humans or animals." (Reuters)

"UK: Watchdog faces legal action over GM rice" - "The government's food safety watchdog is facing a legal challenge over allegations that it failed to take sufficient precautions to stop genetically modified rice entering the food chain." (The Guardian)

"Genetically engineered plums may not find a willing market" - "A genetically engineered stone fruit tree, the 'HoneySweet' plum could be the first such stone fruit to be released for commercial use." (Deborah Rich, SF Chronicle)

September 15, 2006

"Lance Armstrong's Self-Inflicted Cancer?" - "Did the use of performance-enhancing drugs cause seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong’s testicular cancer? That’s what a Sports Illustrated columnist suggested this week. It’s a provocative comment that warrants scrutiny from a scientific perspective." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Malaria Kills 300,000 People Annually in Nigeria" - "President of Malaria Society of Nigeria and erstwhile chief consultant malariologist to the Federal Government, Dr. Okokon Ekanem, has stated that malaria kills 300,000 Nigerians annually. The epidemic, he added, is also responsible for the loss of about N132bn per year in the country just as at least, 50 per cent of the populace suffer a bout each year." (AFM)

 "WHO may allow more DDT to fight malaria" - "WASHINGTON - The World Health Organization is poised to promote broader use of the controversial pesticide DDT in the battle against malaria." (Associated Press)

"WHO Calls for Spraying Controversial DDT To Fight Malaria" - "The World Health Organization, in a sign that widely used methods of fighting malaria have failed to bring the catastrophic disease under control, plans to announce today that it will encourage the use of DDT, even though the pesticide is banned or tightly restricted in much of the world." (Wall Street Journal)

"The Resurrection of DDT" - "DDT's targeted use for malaria control is timely and appropriate." (AFM)

"California scientists find natural way to control spread of destructive Argentine ants" - "SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14 - Pesticides haven't stopped them. Trapping hasn't worked, either. But now chemists and biologists at the University of California, Irvine, (UCI) think they may have found a natural way to finally check the spread of environmentally destructive Argentine ants in California and elsewhere in the United States: Spark a family feud." (American Chemical Society)

"Pesticide exposure could increase risk of early onset of Parkinson's disease" - "SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14 - Low-level exposure to a banned but lingering pesticide appears to accelerate changes in the brain that can potentially lead to the onset of Parkinson's disease symptoms years or even decades before they might naturally develop. This finding, by researchers at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, was presented today at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The concept of an accelerated disease process is a new twist in the investigation of the long-suspected link between the use of pesticides and Parkinson's disease, according to the researchers." (American Chemical Society)

Lots of coverage on Arctic sea ice - here's an early response from Professor Roger Pielke, Sr.:

A NASA Press Release On Arctic Sea Ice Areal Extent (Climate Science)

"Climate-change critic sues paper, school, professor" - "CALGARY -- The skeptic at the centre of the heated debate about climate change that has been taking place in Canadian newspapers is moving the dispute to the courts, where Tim Ball is seeking $325,000 in damages for a letter to the editor that he says amounted to a "malicious attack" on his reputation." (Globe and Mail)

Hmm... "Scientist who refused to be silenced" - "Two things about Jim Hansen have remained near-constant for the past 30 years. He has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the science of global warming, issuing warning after warning about the consequences for the planet if we do nothing to stop the creation of greenhouse gases. And he has run up against a wall of resistance from politicians and policy-makers who simply don't want to believe what they hear from him." (London Independent)

... without the spin:

Hansen is Director of the NASA Institute for Space Studies, which is a division of Goddard Space Flight Center's Earth Sciences Directorate. He is also one of the most widely quoted individuals on the topic of "global warming", frequently termed the "father of..." and is outrageously outspoken on the topic. He is politically active and campaigns for and on behalf of the Democrats. A skilled media manipulator, he is given to claiming "censorship" by Republican Administrations whenever he is seeking publicity. He is the darling of misanthropic green groups and has been the recipient of considerable gratuities there from. WCR has followed his activities to some extent. He's also the fellow who, in a rash moment of honesty, stated:

"The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change." -- James Hansen, "Climate forcings in the Industrial era", PNAS, Vol. 95, Issue 22, 12753-12758, October 27, 1998.

Well said, Jim, as true today as the moment you penned it, mate!

Um... "Irrigation holds off global warming effects on farmland" - "SACRAMENTO - California's agricultural lands have largely escaped the effects of global warming, but the honeymoon may soon be over. New research suggests that irrigation has kept croplands cool, essentially countering rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions over the last half century. But in the future, global warming will win out and agricultural areas will see hotter temperatures. "When you irrigate the land it causes cooling that is almost equal in magnitude to the global warming effect," said climate scientist Lisa Sloan of UC Santa Cruz. "Changing the land surface can change regional climate a lot." (Contra Costa Times)

... not necessarily. Irrigation most likely to blame for Central California warming (see .pdf of paper, 266Kb, 6pp). There's also some discussion on Professor Pielke's Climate Science web log.

"U.S. climate researcher: We've got 10 years left" - "NASA scientist urges action to stop catastrophe, but records show summer of '36 hotter than '06." (Joe Kovacs, WorldNetDaily.com)

"Fluctuating temperature not global warming" - "Geography prof. cites jet stream location as cause for inconsistency." (Northern Star)

Oh brother... Global warming could ignite sudden calamity (Fiona Harvey, Financial Times)

... now the Financial Times is engaging in curve fitting and chartsmanship. More realistically represented the global mean temperature anomaly and atmospheric carbon dioxide plots look like this while, on a scale meaningful for the planet's history they look like this with fairly ordinary planetary temperature and critically low atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Couldn't be more wrong: "When it comes to climate change, I'll take a small bet that Pascal was right" - "Unless the sceptics are really, really certain that we’re all going to be OK, we must act now." (Gerard Baker, London Times)

Pascal wagered on benefit without cost but, unfortunately, that does not apply in the hair shirt enhanced greenhouse case. The costs to society of this mass hysteria are enormous and those to suffer the most painful effects are those who can least afford it in the underdeveloped nations. There is no upside to destroying economies when the "profit" is an immeasurably small difference in planetary mean temperature. For heaven's sake stop "feeling" and start thinking!

The Tyndall Centre for mythology and scare propagation... "UK Has Four-Year Action Deadline on Climate Change" - "LONDON - The British government must start slashing climate warming carbon emissions within four years or face even more painful action in years to come, a new report said on Friday. Urging a new law committing the country to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by three percent every year, the report by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research said emissions had not fallen since 1990 despite government claims to the contrary." (Reuters)

... and it's working: "Climate change is biggest global threat, say Britons" - "Almost half of all Britons see climate change as the biggest threat to the world - more than terrorism or war - according to the latest opinion poll results." (Edie)

For the latest in flimflam: "INTERVIEW - Noble Group Sees Money in Carbon on Utility Demand" - "SINGAPORE - An emerging trade in pollution cuts, called carbon credits, will remain profitable despite a squeeze on prices, Thorsten Ansong, managing director at commodity trader Noble Group, said on Thursday." (Reuters)

Desperate solution in need of a problem: "Stratospheric Sulfur Could Stall Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON - To stall global warming for 20 years, one climate scientist on Thursday proposed lobbing sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, which would work in concert with cuts in greenhouse gas emissions." (Reuters) | Stratospheric injections could help cool Earth, computer model shows (NCAR/UCAR)

Not exactly the first time California's been stupid about electrical supply: "In Gamble, Calif. Tries to Curb Greenhouse Gases" - "SACRAMENTO — In the Rocky Mountain States and the fast-growing desert Southwest, more than 20 power plants, designed to burn coal that is plentiful and cheap, are on the drawing boards. Much of the power, their owners expected, would be destined for the people of California. But such plants would also be among the country’s most potent producers of carbon dioxide, the king of gases linked to global warming. So California has just delivered a new message to these energy suppliers: If you cannot produce power with the lowest possible emissions of these greenhouse gases, we are not interested." (New York Times)

"Will California's new limits on greenhouse gas emissions help the state's economy and reduce global warming?" (Salt Lake Tribune)
Pro: 'Green' strategy can generate greenbacks galore for Calif. economy (Wayne Madsen)
Con: Carbon curbs will send business fleeing to friendlier states (H. Sterling Burnett)

"US to cut funds for two renewable energy sources" - "Geothermal and hydropower are mature enough for private enterprise to take the lead, the government says." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Clean technology sticker shock" - "Xcel Energy plans to build a clean-coal power plant to capture its CO2 emissions. It's hailed as a breakthrough in addressing global warming — but Colorado ratepayers may be stuck with a billion dollar bill. Sam Eaton looks at clean energy's next big hurdle: the tab." (Marketplace)

"New Technology Delivers Oil Jackpot" - "Using new drilling technologies, Chevron is currently tapping the largest oil field to be discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in decades. New drilling technology has enabled workers on the Cajun Express offshore oil rig to probe deeper into the ocean floor than ever before." (Der Spiegel)

"The first tree genome is published: Poplar holds promise as renewable bioenergy resource" - "WALNUT CREEK, CA--Wood from a common tree may one day factor prominently in meeting transportation fuel needs, according to scientists whose research on the fast-growing poplar tree is featured on the cover of tomorrow's edition of the journal Science. The article, highlighting the analysis of the first complete DNA sequence of a tree, the black cottonwood or Populus trichocarpa, lays the groundwork that may lead to the development of trees as an ideal "feedstock" for a new generation of biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. The research is the result of a four-year scientific and technical effort, led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), uniting the efforts of 34 institutions from around the world, including the University of British Columbia, and Genome Canada; Umeå University, Sweden; and Ghent University, Belgium." (DOE/Joint Genome Institute)

"MIT team describes unique cloud forest" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Trees that live in an odd desert forest in Oman have found an unusual way to water themselves by extracting moisture from low-lying clouds, MIT scientists report. In an area that is characterized mostly by desert, the trees have preserved an ecological niche because they exploit a wispy-thin source of water that only occurs seasonally, said Elfatih A.B. Eltahir, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and former MIT graduate student Anke Hildebrandt." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Getting real: Drought as the 'New Normal'" - "Boulder, Colo. - Droughts are slow, tortuous emergencies that seem to sneak up on us. It doesn't have to be that way, say a climatologist and a political scientist who point to a better way. It's perfectly possible to plan for droughts and minimize the losses they cause. In fact Australia has set in place policies that blaze a trail for the US follow to some extent, says Linda Botterill, a political scientist at the Australian National University in Canberra. Botterill is presenting drought policy lessons learned in Australia at the Geological Society of America conference entitled Managing Drought and Water Scarcity in Vulnerable Environments: Creating a Roadmap for Change in the United States. The meeting takes place 18-20 September at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Longmont, Colorado. "In policy terms drought is no longer considered a disaster," said Botterill, of the fundamental change in perspective when Australia adopted a national drought policy in 1989. The shift made perfect sense because of Australia's climate, in which drought is always an issue." (Geological Society of America)

Some of these claims would be a hard sell in Australia where successive State Governments have spectacularly failed to provide sufficient water storage to keep up with expanding populations. It's true that Australia averages 5 years out of 7 classified as drought over half the continent or more, which is why huge water storage is required to harvest the roughly 1 in 7 wet years (in a good cycle, although geological study raises the frightening possibility that 1 in 100 is nearer the long-term average). Australia requires a massive amount of engineering before it can reach much of its potential.

Define 'precautionary principle' to avoid clashes over biotechnology under World Trade rules (United Nations University)

Easy! It's a BS term never to be permitted in any agreement or document of importance. At best it's a useless platitude and, at worst, a universal formula for never permitting anything.

"Consumer group urges USDA not to approve GMO rice" - "WASHINGTON - A controversial genetically modified rice strain found in commercial supplies last month should not be approved by the U.S. Agriculture Department, which a consumer group said on Thursday has failed to adequately protect farmers and consumers. The Center for Food Safety filed a petition with USDA asking it to instead regulate the rice as a "plant pest" under the Plant Protection Act. The center said the rice, known as LLRICE 601, could further contaminate commercial rice, damage trade, create herbicide resistant weeds and increase chemical residue on rice." (Reuters)

September 14, 2006

"Southern Africa: Malaria Kills 83 000 in SADC -- Experts" - "At least 83 000 people from the bulk of southern African countries have died of malaria between October 2005 and March 2006." (The Herald)

"The Medicines That Could Kill Millions" - "In south-east Asia half of all medicine sold is thought to be fake, much of it counterfeit versions of new anti-malaria drugs based on the molecule artemisinin, which many believe will be vital in curbing the spread of the disease." (New Scientist)

Another case for DDT: "Warning over tropical virus risk" - "Travellers to the Indian Ocean are being warned about an increased risk of the crippling Chikungunya virus." (BBC)

"Taking a shine to health, nail enamels forgo DBP" - "If it hasn't already, your nail polish is about to become safer -- depending on the brand." (Sacramento Bee)

Actually not -- it just won't contain dibutyl phthalate, used to give a shiny, durable finish.

"Grading Weather Forecasts" - "There are few numbers that have as much impact on Americans' daily routines than the predicted high and low temperatures and the chance of rain. Yet, competing weather companies sometimes disagree on forecasts, leading to confusion about whether it's better to pack a picnic or an umbrella for that weekend trip." (The Numbers Guy, Wall Street Journal)

Oops! "Forecast of hurricane severity decreased" - "The hurricane forecast for 2006 has been revised from Tropical Storm Risk's original prediction of above-average activity to slightly below-normal activity. The London-based group of insurance, risk management and seasonal climate experts, led by the Benfield centre, say the new forecast indicates hurricane activity will be 10% below what has been the norm from 1950-2005. This new outlook is a far departure from the group original statement that indicated hurricane activity would be 40% above the norm for the same period. This revision to a hurricane prediction is the first time Tropical Storm Risk marked has been required to reduce an earlier forecast by such a great degree." (Canadian Underwriter)

Disaster prognosticators cost consumers big bucks: "Gas prices heading south: Motorists benefit as speculators' worst fears fail to pan out." - "... And the hurricane season has been kind to oil and gas production, particularly when compared with last year's devastation caused by Katrina and Rita. "You had a lot of speculation in the market, starting probably in May, June, betting on the fact that we were going to have a very active hurricane season once again," said Denton Cinquegrana, West Coast markets editor at the Oil Price Information Service. "They're all kind of heading to the exits right now." (Sacramento Bee)

They could... "Lead with action, lead by example" - "If New Mexico takes a strong stand on global warming, it can become a model for the nation and world." (Albuquerque Tribune)

... by refusing to run screaming from the boogeyman. By all measures the world has warmed about six-tenths of a degree (give or take) since it was unfortunately cold (not a good time -- see, for example, the French Food Riots of the late Eighteenth Century). Of that, three-tenths is believed due to increased solar activity, about one-tenth from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (in association with other gases and particulates) while the remaining two-tenths come from changes in land use, irrigation practices etc. (always providing this warming actually exists and is not the result of simple measurement bias as rural recording points close and Urban Heat Island Effect taints the record).

The enhanced greenhouse hypothesis postulates unmitigated "positive feedback" as a little carbon dioxide-driven warming causes increased evaporation, thus increasing the major greenhouse gas, water vapor and causing a self-perpetuating cycle of more warming causing more evaporation which would cause more water vapor-driven warming and yet more evaporation and so on. This is an obvious nonsense since the world warms with each northern summer and indeed there is an attendant increase in evaporation and abundance of water vapor, all without runaway water vapor-driven warming. The average rise in global mean temperature according to the NCDC for the period 1880-2004 has been 3.8 °C between January (12.0 °C) and July (15.8 °C) (that's their estimated global mean of 13.9 °C ± 1.9 °C as an annual cycle -- so much for "stable temperature" supposedly at extreme risk with a rise of 2 °C given that it occurs every year anyway). That is almost 20 times the temperature increase possible from doubling the pre-Industrial Revolution level of atmospheric carbon dioxide and yet there is no sign of "runaway" water vapor-driven warming, despite the fact this global warming occurs every year.

The enhanced greenhouse hypothesis is broken and climate model-generated projections of massive warming from the trivial increase in downwelling radiation from increase in a mere trace gas are utter rubbish.

<chuckle> Now they're turning down the sun: "Study acquits sun of climate change, blames humans" - "OSLO - The sun's energy output has barely varied over the past 1,000 years, raising chances that global warming has human rather than celestial causes, a study showed on Wednesday. Researchers from Germany, Switzerland and the United States found that the sun's brightness varied by only 0.07 percent over 11-year sunspot cycles, far too little to account for the rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution." (Reuters) | Changes in solar brightness too weak to explain global warming (NCAR/UCAR)

Wonder if anyone told 'em there is little confidence in guesstimated global mean temperatures beyond about 400 years before present? Come to think of it, high resolution solar history is a tad vague before then, too but certainly a lot better than temperature history. No matter...

irradiance.gif (21293 bytes) This Solar Irradiance Reconstruction is by Judith Lean, Naval Research Laboratory. ABSTRACT (Lean 2000): Because of the dependence of the Sun's irradiance on solar activity, reductions from contemporary levels are expected during the seventeenth century Maunder Minimum. New reconstructions of spectral irradiance are developed since 1600 with absolute scales traceable to space-based observations. The long-term variations track the envelope of group sunspot numbers and have amplitudes consistent with the range of Ca II brightness in Sun-like stars. Estimated increases since 1675 are 0.7%, 0.2% and 0.07% in broad ultraviolet, visible/near infrared and infrared spectral bands, with a total irradiance increase of 0.2%.

"Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900–2000 global surface warming" - "Abstract: We study the role of solar forcing on global surface temperature during four periods of the industrial era (1900–2000, 1900–1950, 1950–2000 and 1980–2000) by using a sun-climate coupling model based on four scale-dependent empirical climate sensitive parameters to solar variations. We use two alternative total solar irradiance satellite composites, ACRIM and PMOD, and a total solar irradiance proxy reconstruction. We estimate that the sun contributed as much as 45–50% of the 1900–2000 global warming, and 25–35% of the 1980–2000 global warming. These results, while confirming that anthropogenic-added climate forcing might have progressively played a dominant role in climate change during the last century, also suggest that the solar impact on climate change during the same period is significantly stronger than what some theoretical models have predicted." (GRL, VOL. 33, L05708, doi:10.1029/2005GL025539)

"Sun more active than for a millennium" - "The Sun is more active now than it has been for a millennium. The realisation, which comes from a reconstruction of sunspots stretching back 1150 years, comes just as the Sun has thrown a tantrum. Over the last week, giant plumes of have material burst out from our star's surface and streamed into space, causing geomagnetic storms on Earth." (New Scientist)

"The Sun is More Active Now than Over the Last 8000 Years" - "The activity of the Sun over the last 11,400 years, i.e., back to the end of the last ice age on Earth, has now for the first time been reconstructed quantitatively by an international group of researchers led by Sami K. Solanki from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany). The scientists have analyzed the radioactive isotopes in trees that lived thousands of years ago. As the scientists from Germany, Finland, and Switzerland report in the current issue of the science journal "Nature" from October 28, one needs to go back over 8,000 years in order to find a time when the Sun was, on average, as active as in the last 60 years. Based on a statistical study of earlier periods of increased solar activity, the researchers predict that the current level of high solar activity will probably continue only for a few more decades." (Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science)

Not getting enough ink, Jim? "World has 10-year window to act on climate: expert" - "SACRAMENTO, California - A leading U.S. climate researcher said on Wednesday the world has a 10-year window of opportunity to take decisive action on global warming and avert a weather catastrophe. NASA scientist James Hansen, widely considered the doyen of American climate researchers, said governments must adopt an alternative scenario to keep carbon dioxide emission growth in check and limit the increase in global temperatures to 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit)." (Reuters)

The silliest part of this is that the world already warms (and cools) roughly four times as much every year and has been doing so a lot longer than people have been trying to measure it (something we still don't do particularly well).

Further Evidence On The Non-Spatially Representative Siting of The U.S. Historical Climate Reference Network (Climate Science)

"Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks, a Sign of Greenhouse Effect" - "WASHINGTON - Arctic perennial sea ice -- the kind that stays frozen year-round -- declined by 14 percent between 2004 and 2005, climate scientists said on Wednesday, in what one expert saw as a clear sign of greenhouse warming." (Reuters) | Arctic ice meltdown continues with significantly reduced winter ice cover (NASA/GSFC) | Arctic sea ice diminished rapidly in 2004 and 2005 (AGU)

Oddly enough, this is from the same group who told us back in March of this year that ozone is the Arctic warming culprit:

"NASA Study Links 'Smog' to Arctic Warming" - "NASA scientists have found that a major form of global air pollution involved in summertime "smog" has also played a significant role in warming the Arctic." (NASA/GSFC, March 14, 2006)

Whatever, two years is nothing to make a trend out of, especially as 2004/2005 is wildly anomalous compared with the previous 30 years. Gradually accumulating trace gases have no known mechanism for having no or negligible effect for three decades and then producing it all at once over a single season or two. This kind of observing what might be anomalous behavior (which could be perfectly normal but we just haven't observed it before, perhaps because we weren't looking) and then trying to pin it on "global warming" is becoming extremely tedious.

"Warming climate may put chill on arctic polar bear population" - "Some travel agencies touting Arctic tours have been revving up their recent promotions to tourists about the increased likelihood they will spot polar bears in this region where several populations of polar bears live. According to scientists from NASA and the Canadian Wildlife Service, these increased Arctic polar bear sightings are probably related to retreating sea ice triggered by climate warming and not due to population increases as some may believe." (NASA/GSFC)

So, they're saying the wildlife population studies are no good?

A leading Canadian authority on polar bears, Mitch Taylor, said: "We’re seeing an increase in bears that’s really unprecedented, and in places where we’re seeing a decrease in the population it’s from hunting, not from climate change."

Mr Taylor estimates that during the past decade, the Canadian polar bear population has increased by 25 per cent - from 12,000 to 15,000 bears.

He even suggests that global warming could actually be good for the bears, and warns that the ever-increasing proximity of the animals to local communities could mean that a cull will be required sooner rather that later if bear numbers are to be kept under control.

In the northern territories, where temperatures have risen an average of four degrees since 1950, wildlife experts such as Mr Taylor say the bears have never been healthier or more plentiful.

"Spain's beaches and flora feel the heat" - "Two studies say global warming is responsible for a shifting coastline and visits from Arctic seals." (The Christian Science Monitor)

In the virtual world: "Scientists Predict More European Heatwaves" - "LONDON - Summer temperatures in Europe will become more variable in the future and could cause more heatwaves similar to that of 2003, Swiss scientists said on Wednesday. They used computer models of the impact of greenhouse gases on climate to determine why summer heatwaves could become more common." (Reuters)

Doubtful: "White House to unveil new global warming policy: sources" - "The Bush administration plans to announce as early as next week a goal of stabilizing carbon dioxide levels in the global atmosphere at 450 parts per million by the year 2106, congressional and non-government sources told Platts Wednesday. Such an announcement, if true, might lead to the establishment of new regulatory policies -- either voluntary or mandatory -- for the power sector and other sources of CO2 emissions. But a high-ranking source at the White House Council on Environmental Quality rejected the suggestion, saying the administration has no plans to unveil any new climate-change policies." (Platts)

At least some Australian politicians are less-easily panicked: "Minister criticised for likening global warming to Y2K" - "ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has drawn furious criticism from the Opposition parties today by suggesting that the alarm surrounding global warming is similar to the predictions about Y2K at the turn of the century, which went nowhere. Senator Campbell says it's not useful to use extreme language to talk about the threat of global warming or people will switch off and think that there's little that they can do. But both the Labor Party and the Greens say the science behind greenhouse gases is real and the world should be alarmed." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Scammers' wish list: "US Carbon Markets Must Set Baselines High - Group" - "NEW YORK - US states developing markets for carbon trading should be careful not to give rights to pollute too freely to industry if they want the market approach to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a carbon analysis group said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Canada: Conservatives plan tough restrictions on smog" - "OTTAWA - The Conservative government's $2-billion plan for the environment will introduce rigid regulations on smog-causing pollutants, but will likely be far less tough on greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, according to people familiar with the legislation." (John Ivison, National Post)

"UK-China climate change working group launched" - "An agreement to establish a UK-China climate change working group was signed today by Environment Secretary David Miliband and the Chinese Minister for National Development and Reform Commission Ma Kai. The working group will enable progress to be made on key issues. It will help feed into and shape discussions and activities under the Gleneagles Dialogue, the EU-China Partnership on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change." (Defra)

Eye-roller: "Rich nations have 'climate duty'" - "Rich nations must do far more to help poor countries cope with the consequences of climate change, an influential report is expected to say." (BBC)

II: "ANALYSIS - Climate Change Poses Disaster Scenario for Miners" - "LONDON - Flooded railway lines and storms destroying open-pit mines are among the challenges mining firms will face in the future as climate change grips the planet." (Reuters)

"'Clinics' put climate change at heart of political agenda" - "It is increasingly recognised as the greatest threat humanity has faced - so how come climate change is not at the top of every political party's agenda? That paradox is being addressed head-on in the next three weeks by a formidable coalition of environmental groups, businesses and energy saving bodies, who are taking the issue of global warming to the heart of Liberal Democrat, Labour and Tory territory, during their party conferences." (London Independent)

"Climate change to make nuclear power a winner: Citi" - "LONDON - The increasingly urgent need to combat climate change will probably spawn U.S. policies to impose fossil fuel charges and so dramatically favor nuclear power, Citigroup said in a research note on Wednesday. Burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil is one of the biggest sources of the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists fear are leading to dangerous climate change." (Reuters)

"Smog pollutants in East drop, EPA says" - "WASHINGTON - Ozone levels are falling sharply in Eastern states where smog has been a recurring summer problem, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday. The improvement in air quality for a third of the nation's population is due to fewer emissions of nitrogen oxides from hundreds of coal-burning power plants, manufacturing and other large facilities in 19 Eastern states." (Associated Press)

"ANALYSIS - Biomass Offers Heat as UK's Subsea Gas Dwindles" - "LONDON - Britain's shrinking North Sea gas reserves are pushing up energy bills, yet the opportunity for heating homes cleanly and cheaply by burning organic matter such as grass and sewage sludge is being missed." (Reuters)

"Brown engineers build a better battery -- with plastic" - "PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University engineers have created a new battery that uses plastic, not metal, to conduct electrical current. The hybrid device marries the power of a capacitor with the storage capacity of a battery." (Brown University)

"Lumber Pain" - "ROSEBURG, Ore. -- What if the largest property owner in your county suddenly decided he wasn't going to pay property taxes anymore? And, worse, there wasn't a damn thing you could do about it.

Some 700 counties scattered across rural America now find themselves in precisely this position. And the deadbeat property owner is none other than the U.S. government, the owner of some 90 million acres of timberland -- holdings that account for more than half the entire land base in many counties.

The history here is straightforward. Since 1906, counties holding federal forestlands have received a share of the revenue generated by various management-related activities, including timber harvesting. While technically not a property tax, revenue sharing placated the Western solons who feared nationalizing public domain lands would make community formation impossible.

But the program has slowly ground to a halt over the last 20 years as one administration after another lost its enthusiasm for harvesting federally owned timber. West of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington, folks blame the Endangered Species Act, lawyers and the northern spotted owl, in that order. Down South, its red-cockaded woodpeckers. In the Midwest, its Indiana bats.

Here in the Intermountain West, where it is still possible to drive all night without seeing another set of headlights, we prefer to blame Eastern dilettantes, trust-fund babies, liberals in general and soccer moms who have no idea where lumber comes from or how tough it is to make a living out here.

I think we've all missed the mark. The real culprit is a federal government that has utilized whatever surrogates it could find as an excuse to stop harvesting timber from the public's forests. And the fact that they've stopped is simply a reflection of what my old lawyer friend Leonard Netzorg called "felt necessities," those gentle societal urgings that eventually become cultural tidal waves. And make no mistake: The nation's decision to leave its national forests to nature's whims, despite their enormous monetary value, swept over hundreds of small logging towns with all the force of a tsunami." (Jim Petersen, Wall Street Journal)

"Fuel cell membrane materials offer solution for removing salt from water" - "Blacksburg, Va., September 13, 2006 -- The problem of separating salt from water has long been solved by forcing the water through a polyamide membrane in a process called reverse osmosis (RO). However, the water can't be disinfected with chlorine because it degrades polyamid material. Now, researchers at Virginia Tech have created a new polymer membrane for RO that will not be degraded by chlorine." (Virginia Tech)

"Mega-dams back on the agenda" - "The World Bank is showing a growing enthusiasm for funding new large dams, especially in Africa. Yet according to a leading ecologist at an organisation part-funded by the bank, this policy threatens to drive parts of the world back into poverty. Max Finlayson of the International Water Management Institute told the 2006 International Riversymposium conference, held in Brisbane, Queensland, last week that many large dams exacerbate poverty by damaging the fisheries and wetlands on which the poorest people depend most. "A quarter of the world lives in river basins where the water is already fully or over-allocated," Finlayson adds. New developments in these areas "will only take water from some users and give it to others". He says investment should go instead into using water more efficiently." (New Scientist)

"'Organic' label little more than a marketing tool for food, critics say" - "Washington — At the local supermarket, the organic fruit and vegetable display is a frequent stop for health-conscious consumers. But turn to the next aisle and shoppers are likely to find a different array of "natural" and "organic" foods. Some organic farmers and activists say that in the United States the organic label, once the symbol of foods produced by environmentally friendly means, has with time been cheapened into a gimmicky marketing tool." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Here's some sad news fellas -- it's never been more than a gimmicky marketing tool.

"Western Australian Parliament votes down commercial GM trials" - "A WA Liberal Party proposal to allow commercial trials of genetically modified canola has been defeated in Parliament." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

September 13, 2006

"Uganda: Exporters oppose DDT" - "A consortium of national exporters that include dealers in fish and agricultural exports have opposed the spraying of DDT, saying it would likely lead to the ban of Uganda’s exports." (New Vision)

"Hope for major advance in fighting world killer disease" - "University of Leicester scientists are heading a worldwide research project which could revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of diarrhoea in children in developing countries. The four-year project, the results of which are now being piloted in four hospitals in India, will offer a means of identifying the two most deadly forms of the disease quickly, cheaply and with little training necessary for practitioners. The implications for improving children's health could be enormous. Diarrhoea is a major killer in developing countries. World Health Organisation statistics indicate that more than 2 million people die each year from the effects of diarrhoea, most of them children under five years old." (University of Leicester)

"Experts unable to find Gulf War syndrome evidence" - "WASHINGTON - Troops deployed during the 1990-1991 Gulf War get sicker than most other veterans, but a panel of experts looking for evidence of a suspected Gulf War syndrome said on Wednesday they could not find it." (Reuters)

Hmm... "Wearing helmets 'more dangerous'" - "Cyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be knocked down by passing vehicles, new research from Bath University suggests." (BBC)

"Modern Ways Open India’s Doors to Diabetes" - "In India, alongside the stick-thin poverty, the malaria and the AIDS, the number of diabetics now totals around 35 million, and counting." (New York Times)

"Junk culture 'is poisoning our children'" - "A sinister cocktail of junk food, marketing, over-competitive schooling and electronic entertainment is poisoning childhood, a powerful lobby of academics and children's experts says today." (London Telegraph)

"The War Over Salt" - "The nation’s largest doctors’ group wants the government and the food industry to reduce what it sees as a persistently high level of salt in many processed foods." (New York Times)

People don't listen to nanny government? Imagine that... "Scots eating even less fruit and veg despite health drive" - "Story in full A £100 million, ten-year government health drive has failed to improve Scotland's diet, according to a damning report, which reveals many of the country's eating habits are worse than they were a decade ago." (The Scotsman)

Uh-oh:) "Report: Majority Of Americans Unprepared For Apocalypse" - "WASHINGTON, DC—Over 87 percent of Americans are unprepared to protect themselves from even the most basic world-ending scenarios, according to a study released Monday by the nonpartisan doomsday think-tank The Malthusian Institute." (The Onion)

"More Support for an AMO/Atlantic Hurricanes Link" - "Last week, WCR commented on research by Jeffrey Knight and his colleagues, tying natural variations in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) to long-term patterns of Atlantic hurricane activity (including the enhanced level of storm activity beginning in 1995). Immediately another paper appeared Geophysical Research Letters, by Rong Zang and Thomas Delworth titled “Impact of Atlantic multidecadal oscillations on India/Sahel rainfall and Atlantic hurricanes.” Zang and Delworth work for the Department of Commerce’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton." (WCR)

"Canadian summer was the 2nd warmest on record" - "OTTAWA -- Yes, it was hot. Environment Canada says the summer of 2006 was the second-warmest since national record-keeping began in 1948." (Canadian Press)

"The climate change learning curve" - "Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to confront economic models of climate change with the reality that limited information exists with which to form expectations about the evolution of the climate. A key element in the tension between those who believe we should impose aggressive climate change mitigation policies and those who do not is the question of if we are merely in a long period of shock-induced, above average temperatures or if observed increases in temperature are a result of carbon emissions. This paper characterizes learning dynamics resulting from the use of observations of temperature to update beliefs about two key characteristics of global climate: the persistence of natural trends and the sensitivity of temperature to atmospheric carbon levels. This paper shows that, contrary to predictions in the literature that uncertainty may be resolved very quickly, the time to learn the true processes may be in the order of thousands of years. Further, this paper shows the effects of uncertainty on the likelihood that observations from the statistical record lead to important estimate and policy errors." (Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control)

"Modelling the primary control of paleogeography on Cretaceous climate" - "Abstract: The low thermal gradients and clement winters characterizing climates of the Cretaceous period reveal that the climate system has modes of behaviour quite different from the present. Recent proxy data analyses suggest that some aspects of climate change within the Cretaceous appear to be decoupled from CO2 evolution at the geological time scale..." (Earth and Planetary Science Letters)

New Journal of Geophysical Research Article On The Complex Interaction Between Atmospheric Aerosols, Clouds and Lower Tropospheric Thermodynamic Stability (Climate Science)

From CO2 Science this week:

Solar Control of Climate: Lessons from the Tropical Andes: An impressive new study presents a solid case for solar modulation of earth's climate.

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Chappice Lake, Alberta, Canada and Dog Lake, British Columbia, Canada. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Floods (General): Are floods increasing in frequency and intensity in response to global warming, as climate alarmists say they should?

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: Ponderosa Pine, Rice, Soybean, and Sugarcane.

Journal Reviews:
Trends in 20th-Century U.S. Droughts: Have they been what one would expect in the face of a warming that climate alarmists claim was unprecedented over the past two millennia?

North American Summer Soil Moisture Availability: How has it responded to 20th-century warming?

Canada's Kootenay Valley on the Path to Returning to Medieval Warm Period Conditions: ... which means it has not been as warm there yet, nor for as long a time, as it was between AD 800 and 1200, when the Medieval Warm Period held sway in that part of the world.

Temperature-Related Mortality in London: How has it changed over the past century? ... and why?

Global Forest Productivity Since the Mid-20th Century: How has it changed in response to concurrent environmental changes? (co2science.org)

"Playtime In California" - "State Government: Living up to California's reputation as a land of fantasy, Democrat legislators there have just enacted just about every dream in left-liberalism's storybook. Thank you, Arnold Schwarzenegger. For starters, the Republican governor out-Gored Al Gore by welcoming, even encouraging, a radical plan to combat global warming. The state is now committed to reducing greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — essentially the aim of the Kyoto treaty, which President Bush prudently refused." (IBD)

Can Al Gore save the World? (The Scotsman)

More to the point: Can the world be saved from Al?

"Bulled by a Gore" - "Andrew Bolt writes: The former US vice-president's ludicrous scaremongering contains exaggerations, half-truths and falsehoods." (Herald Sun)

"Terminator Is Girlie Man" - "At the 2004 Republican National Convention, Arnold Schwarzenegger brought a roar from the faithful with his admonition to the economic pessimists on the left, "Don't be economic girlie men!" But when it comes to the environment, it turns out that the Terminator has a distinctly softer, gentler side himself.." (Thomas Bray, New York Sun)

Better than average: "Mass. Governor Resolves not to Rejoin CO2 Pact" - "NEW YORK - Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will not rejoin a regional pact to regulate greenhouse gases despite the urging of the state's congressional delegation, a spokesman said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Climate change seen pushing plants to the brink" - "LONDON - Thousands of plant species are being pushed to the brink of extinction by global warming, and those already at the extremes are in the greatest danger, a leading botanist said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Climate change warning for a nation of gardeners" - "The quintessential English garden and lawn are "under threat" from climate change, a government minister warned today. In a speech at Kew Gardens in west London, the environment minister, Ian Pearson, said in future gardeners would need to use water sparingly and choose Mediterranean plant species that could survive heatwaves and drought." (Guardian Unlimited)

Scams not panning out? "Kyoto’s CDM approaches the crossroads" - "The most lucrative projects to generate carbon credits under Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) are close to drying up after a two-year flurry by Western financial houses to secure them. While the most lucrative deals reflect activity to eliminate emissions of the most potent greenhouse gases, there is concern that they are shutting out projects which would create the more long-term solutions required in fight against climate change, particularly the development of cleaner energy." (carbonpositive)

Doh! "Drax goes back to belching carbon to boost profits" - "Drax power station, the biggest producer of greenhouse gases in the country, has reduced the amount of biomass fuel it has been burning by 90% since April, despite soaring profits. Last year the company cut its carbon dioxide output by 450,000 tonnes by burning crops but this strategy has been all but abandoned because, it claims, there are insufficient financial incentives." (The Guardian)

"MIT forges greener path to iron production" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- MIT engineers have demonstrated an eco-friendly way to make iron that eliminates the greenhouse gases usually associated with its production." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Big Gulf Oil Strike Could Save 100 Million Acres of U.S. Forests" - "Chevron’s big new Gulf of Mexico oil strike could save 100 million acres of U.S. forests from being plowed down to grow inefficient biofuels. Does that spark your eco-interest in off-shore oil drilling? It should. Right now, those are our choices for increased energy independence." (CGFI)

"Duke Energy pitches need for new coal plants to N.C. commission" - "RALEIGH, N.C. -- Global warming restrictions and even technology that takes greenhouse gases out of burned coal are probably around the corner, but right now Duke Energy needs $2 billion from ratepayers to build two coal-fired power plants, company CEO John Rogers said Tuesday." (AP)

"Snake Oil Policy" - "Washington has hundreds of pending bills dealing with energy, and it's difficult to predict which ones will move in a Congress under pressure to do something about $3-a-gallon gas before the November elections (even though average prices have recently fallen by nearly 20 percent from that mark). Unfortunately, most of these proposals are anti-market and pro-big government and therefore likely to do more harm than good." (Ben Lieberman, TCS Daily)

This just in from Sweden: Statement by the Committee Save Barsebäck: Demand restart and development! (CSB)

"Shell Appeals Over Largest Offshore Wind Farm" - "LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell and its partners in a project near London to build the world's biggest offshore wind farm have appealed against a local government's refusal of planning permission, the companies said." (Reuters)

"A Slow Burn for Ethanol" - "Falling gas prices have stolen a little heat from the corn-based additive, but thanks to government subsidies, it isn't going away." (Business Week)

"Gadgets eating more energy" - "Gadgets like plasma screen TVs, DVD players and iPod chargers are forecast to spark soaring electricity demand." (Toronto Star)

"Tiny fuel cell might replace batteries in laptop computers, portable electronics" - "SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 12 -- If you're frustrated by frequently losing battery power in your laptop computer, digital camera or portable music player, then take heart: A better source of "juice" is in the works. Chemists at Arizona State University in Tempe have created a tiny hydrogen-gas generator that they say can be developed into a compact fuel cell package that can power these and other electronic devices -- from three to five times longer than conventional batteries of the same size and weight.

The generator uses a special solution containing borohydride, an alkaline compound that has an unusually high capacity for storing hydrogen, a key element that is used by fuel cells to generate electricity. In laboratory studies, a prototype fuel cell made from this generator was used to provide sustained power to light bulbs, radios and DVD players, the researchers say." (American Chemical Society)

"Using microbes to fuel the US hydrogen economy" - "SAN FRANCISCO, CA - "If the U.S. is to have a future hydrogen-based economy, we'll need a way to generate abundant quantities of hydrogen safely and economically," said Daniel (Niels) van der Lelie, a biologist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. Van der Lelie will discuss the prospect of using vats of microbes to brew up the hydrogen in a talk at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco, California, at 3:35 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, September 12, 2006, in the Telegraph Hill room of the Sheraton Palace.

The focus on hydrogen as a future fuel source is compelling given dwindling supplies of oil and natural gas, as well as escalating costs and the fact that burning fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, a "greenhouse" gas, into the atmosphere. In contrast, burning hydrogen gas (for example, in a fuel cell) produces no pollution. And hydrogen, a constituent of water, is widely abundant. However, finding simple, inexpensive ways to extract that abundant element and produce it in a pure gaseous form -- a crucial step toward making the "hydrogen economy" a reality -- has been a technological challenge." (DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory)

"Do green markets actually lead to improvements in environmental quality?" - "Goods and services with environmental benefits are a growing part of many sectors of the economy, and a timely new paper from the current issue of the Journal of Political Economy analyzes how our willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly products actually influences environmental quality and social welfare. Surprisingly, the study finds that under certain reasonable conditions, green markets can actually discourage private support of public environmental entities." (University of Chicago Press Journals)

"US studies big farm impact on health, environment" - "WASHINGTON - Former U.S. government officials, environmentalists and industry leaders have launched a two-year study into health and environmental impacts of large-scale animal farms, a study group said on Tuesday. The National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production will probe how big farms -- where they said the bulk of poultry, pork, beef and dairy that Americans consume are raised -- could bring new diseases or pollution." (Reuters)

"FAO Director-General Appeals for Second Green Revolution" - "ROME and SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 12 -- FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf today called for a second Green Revolution to feed the world's growing population while preserving natural resources and the environment." (PRNewswire)

"Gates, Rockefeller charities take aim at African hunger" - "Hoping to reduce hunger and poverty by sparking a "green revolution" in Africa, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday announced a new partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation to dramatically increase productivity of small farms in the poorest region of the world. This is the Seattle-based foundation's first major push into agriculture, one of several new areas it has targeted for investment as it ramps up to spend $3 billion annually." (Seattle Times)

"Critics of modified plants grow louder" - "Several incidents, including in Oregon, breed more debate over the safety of altering genetics." (The Oregonian)

September 12, 2006

"New Orleans 'toxic soup' a less serious problem than initially believed" - "SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 11 - Despite the tragic human and economic toll from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the Gulf Coast in 2005, the much-discussed "toxic-soup" environmental pollution was nowhere close to being as bad as people thought. That's the bottom-line message from dozens of scientific papers scheduled for presentation at a four-day symposium that opened here today at the American Chemical Society's national meeting, according to symposium organizer Ruth A. Hathaway. Entitled "Recovery From and Prevention of Natural Disasters," it is one of the key themes for the meeting, which runs through Sept. 14." (American Chemical Society)

Mussels with identity crisis -- not happy as clams: "Ingredient in Prozac increases risk of extinction for freshwater mussels" - "SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 11 - You'd think in a river filled with anti-depressants, freshwater mussels would be, well, happy as clams. Far from it. In fact, a new laboratory study suggests that exposure to Prozac can disrupt the reproductive cycle of these mollusks, potentially increasing their risk of extinction." (American Chemical Society)

"New catalyst removes harmful perchlorate from groundwater" - "CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new chemical catalyst that uses hydrogen gas to efficiently remove and destroy harmful perchlorate in contaminated groundwater." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Air travel and flu: Post-9/11 restrictions delayed start of season" - "The onset of the flu season in the USA has been shown to be influenced by air travel. After flights were restricted following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the flu season started about two weeks later than usual." (Public Library of Science)

"Swift swap of the salts could stave off a looming health risk" - "COMMON foods such as breakfast cereals, breads and biscuits will soon contain a mandatory new ingredient - iodine. The move follows the re-emergence of iodine deficiency in parts of Australia and New Zealand, with the statutory agency for food regulation warning the mild-to-moderate deficiency could become worse. "If we do nothing, the current levels of iodine deficiency may become more serious and widespread … especially among pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and young children," said Dr Marion Healy, the chief scientist at Food Standards Australia New Zealand." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Oh boy... "UK: Praise or penalty for recyclers?" - "Should householders be penalised for their waste or rewarded for recycling their rubbish?" (BBC)

... how about public employees actually do their jobs and make sure refuse is removed and infrastructure adequate for all conceivable requirements (like adequate water storage and well-maintained reticulation systems, for example) rather than trying to reengineer society and member behavior?

Voter notice to elected slackers -- deliver the goods (services) or bugger off! Excuses not accepted. You are employed by society to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

"Bicyclists winning a war of lanes in San Francisco" - "A plan to install bike lanes citywide has met resistance from environmentalists and others who question its wisdom." (Christian Science Monitor)

There's a reason bikes aren't permitted on highways and freeways -- they're recognized as a danger to themselves and others. No matter, let's give cyclists a strictly fair cop.

The nation builds and maintains a road system to facilitate transport and users pay an impressive array of taxes and charges including the costs built into the purchases made by passive users (receivers of goods transported via the road system -- active users pay vehicular fees, taxes on vehicles, parts and consumables such as fuels, tires...).

In essence then, every active user (except cyclists) pays rent for the road system while passive users do so via transport costs on goods and services. Since cyclists 'rent' space on the road system longer than powered vehicles (by virtue of slow speeds) and require much larger exclusion zones (swapping paint with another vehicle is usually nuisance value while cyclists have a terrible tendency to go under the car, wrecking tires, misaligning steering and generally causing extensive and expensive damage) then tag prices for bike registration and insurance should reflect their road-hogging nature.

So, how to give cyclists a fair cop? Let's say a "persistence charge" for their long usage times for a given length of the transport network of about three times that of the average SUV? Then we'd need to add for the extensive exclusion zones around cyclists, inconvenience and delay costs for real goods and passenger transport (for which the network was originally constructed) and of course cyclists are not paying fuel taxes so a huge extra charge would need to be added in so they are not unfairly using the system without paying fair price. Then they are low occupancy vehicles so you'd have to keep the selfish blighters out of HOV lanes and with so many more of the buggers clogging up the system it's inevitable there'll be more fender-benders, so we'd need to look at certain safety standards like front and side air bags for cyclists, anti-intrusion bars, collapsible bumpers and crumple zones, seatbelts, rollover protection... a "safe" bike will probably be the size of a car and weigh as much but we must give them a fair cop, after all.

I'm really only guessing about pricing but, at first blush, it looks like a tag price per bike somewhere far north of $5,000 per year should be about right and would buy cyclists at least limited usage rights for the system on which all other active users pay.

"Race is on to save the Dead Sea" - "LORD FOSTER, the British architect, has been enlisted by the King of Jordan for his most grandiose project yet — a canal carved through the Sinai desert to rescue the Dead Sea from environmental disaster.

His proposal is to carry sea water from the Gulf of Aqaba to replenish the Dead Sea, which has shrunk by a third over the past 50 years and faces total evaporation. At stake is the area’s delicate ecology and a tourist industry — that draws 100,000 Britons each year — centred on the sea’s mineral-rich waters and mud.

However, Friends of the Earth warned that mixing water from the Red Sea with the unique chemical soup of the Dead Sea could create a natural catastrophe. “The [Dead Sea’s] mix of bromide, potash, magnesium and salt is like no other body of water on the planet,” said Bromberg. “By bringing in the marine water, this composition will be changed. There is concern about algae growth and we could see the sea change from deep blue to red and brown and the different waters could separate.” (Sunday Times)

"Wikipedia vs. Britannica" - "Wikipedia has blossomed, but its unorthodox approach has prompted questions about accuracy. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales debates Dale Hoiberg, the editor-in-chief of Encyclopaedia Britannica, on the best way to build a reliable encyclopedia." (Wall Street Journal)

Topical given the request we posted yesterday. In case you missed it:

Correspondence received: A close-knit group of environmentalist zealots have taken over all the pages of Wikipedia dedicated to such subjects as "Global Warming," "Climate Change," etc. Wikipedia is becoming influential, and they know it. What is needed to rectify this situation is an equally determined group of global warming skeptics who could stand up against the green crowd proclaiming "full consensus." (In Wikipedia, the majority of page discussion participants usually decide editing matters.) ... If you know a suitable group of people who would be willing to restore the balance of opinion in Wikipedia on global warming and climate change matters, please, make a suggestion to them. It would be a first step toward a long-term resistance. (Name and contact supplied)

If warmers have hijacked the listings and I see no reason they wouldn't (very dedicated, these warming zealots) then it pretty much says it all about the comparative value of the reference works, no?

In the virtual world: "Humans 'causing stronger storms'" - "Increases in hurricane intensity are down to humanity's greenhouse gas emissions, according to new analysis. Scientists calculate that two-thirds of the recent rise in sea temperatures, thought to fuel hurricanes, is down to anthropogenic emissions. Research published last year found there had been a sharp rise in the incidence of category 4 and 5 storms - the strongest - in recent decades. But other scientists caution there may be errors in historical storm records." (BBC) | New Data Erases Doubt on Storms and Warming (IPS) | Human activities are boosting ocean temperatures in areas where hurricanes form, new study finds (NCAR/UCAR) | A Human Spin on Hurricanes (Dan Whipple, ScienceNOW Daily News) | Valid science or a perfect storm for controversy? (Houston Chronicle)

Actually not in the real world though, the oceans have apparently been cooling over the last few years, which is something no model predicted. Here's a few things of which you should be aware: Weathering Hurricane Hysteria; Natural Hurricane Variability; Peer-reviewed Papers Which Support The Lyman et al Ocean Cooling Diagnosis.

Additional Demonstration On The Importance of Oceanic Heat Content Change (Climate Science)

"William Kininmonth: Don't be Gored into going along" - "Global warming militants don't know what they're talking about." (The Australian)

Oh dear... "The heat is on" - "The uncertainty surrounding climate change argues for action, not inaction. America should lead the way." (The Economist)

... there's actually very little uncertainty -- atmospheric carbon dioxide emission from human activity presents no foreseeable risk. The additional down-welling radiation from an additional 180 ppmv (to take us to double pre-Industrial Revolution levels) is insufficient to warm the planet's surface by another one-tenth of one degree. The hypothetical unmitigated positive feedback mechanisms programmed into climate models that generate imaginary warming in multiples of degrees are not operating in the real world. Three of the estimated six-tenths of one degree warming since about 1880 can be shown to be the result of increased solar activity, one might be unmitigated increased down-welling radiation from the additional 100 ppmv carbon dioxide accumulated from human activity (or not) while a further two-tenths might be from land use changes or other human effects -- if in fact they exist and are not mere UHI corruption of the temperature record (a strong possibility). There is absolutely no possibility of humans raising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels sufficiently to cause harm (CO2 is toxic at about 6000 ppmv).

"Kew spreads climate change word" - "The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has issued a "position paper" saying that man-made global warming is changing the outlook for plants and trees worldwide." (BBC)

Parenthetically, following yesterday's items from the London Times regarding English wine grape growing (thriving due to "global warming" or barely making it and needing extended summer, depending on the article) we had some comments submitted regarding the two previous periods in history when vineyards were features in English agriculture -- the first during the Roman Warm Period and the second during the Medieval Warm with the Doomsday Book (1089AD) listing 45 large vineyards in southern England. Funny how a similarly warm period is now considered a disaster.

"Climate Science Abuzz over Fly Genetics" - "So what do you think? Is it good news that a species adapts to climate change or not? Given that evolution is a fact, should it even be news at all? Or should some nice, cuddly species adapt (e.g., koala bears, owls, baby seals) but not others (e.g., Colorado potato beetles, hissing cockroaches)?" (World Climate Report)

Extraordinarily successful scam: "Bank raises $1bn to help firms hit their CO2 targets" - "CLIMATE Change Capital (CCC), the boutique “green” investment bank, has raised nearly $1 billion (£537 million) to start trading in carbon dioxide emissions." (London Times)

How utterly amazing that people can be parted from their money with such a ridiculous scare as the presence of an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide, the increased availability of which may have helped reduce life-unfriendly cold by perhaps one-tenth of one degree over a century and whose surface temperature effect is diminishing with relative abundance, has successfully been rebranded an environmental villain and used to extort money from the gullible (not to mention steal it from consumers under the guise of politicians "saving" us). What a sad commentary on a scientifically illiterate society.

Hair shirt, anyone? (Number Watch)

"Europeans, Asians skate around climate-change pledges" - "Leaders of 25 European and 13 Asian nations have undertaken to do their best to fight global warming but sidestepped any decision on emissions targets beyond the 2008-12 period now covered by the United Nations Kyoto Protocol.

In a carefully worded statement after a two-day gathering in Helsinki, representatives of the 38 nations said Monday they "are committed to ensuring a successful outcome to [the] discussions on further commitments" and to ensuring that there is no gap in between commitment periods, but made no commitments." (CBC News)

"Emissions Pact Stresses Developing Nations' Role" - "European and Asian leaders indicated that curbing global warming relies largely on action in the developing world -- and may depend more on clean-energy investments from the West than on extending emissions ceilings to developing nations." (Wall Street Journal)

"World oil not running out, says energy boss" - "THE world has an abundant supply of oil, and high petrol prices are just the reality of a globally traded commodity, ExxonMobil Australia chairman Mark Nolan said today." (AAP) | Big oil says reserves are plentiful (The Australian)

"Study considers auto industry and consumer behavior in reducing greenhouse gas emissions" - "Tougher environmental policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. transportation sector will affect more than the production of cars and light trucks. Changes throughout the automotive industry will impact consumer behavior and the environment in uncertain ways." (Rochester Institute of Technology)

"Biofuels Come of Age as the Demand Rises" - "On the day that Mr. Obama joined the Renewable Energy Group in announcing that it would build a 60-million-gallon-a-year refinery, the company said it had garnered $100 million in financing, the largest equity investment in biofuels so far. The infusion came from the American division of Bunge Ltd., a major food processor; two venture-capital funds controlled by Natural Gas Partners of Irving, Tex.; and ED&F Man Holdings Ltd., a global shipper of grains.

The investment underscores how the biodiesel industry is coming of age as demand for renewable fuels increases. The businesses range from soybean farmers in the Midwest seeking new markets to coastal start-ups with an environmental mission. Both camps are attracting a flow of money from venture capitalists and corporations alike." (New York Times)

"Updating Prescriptions for Avoiding Worldwide Catastrophe" - "Environmental scientist and author James E. Lovelock is coming under attack from some environmentalists for his support of nuclear power." (New York Times)

"Is a bigger nation richer?" - "As the US population clock approaches 300 million, experts examine a possible link between growth and prosperity." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Islands spark accelerated evolution" - "The notion of islands as natural test beds of evolution is nearly as old as the theory itself. The restricted scale, isolation, and sharp boundaries of islands create unique selective pressures, often to dramatic effect. Following what's known as the "island rule," small animals evolve into outsize versions of their continental counterparts while large animals shrink. Giant tortoises and iguanas still inhabit the Galápagos and a few other remote islands today, but only fossils remain of the dwarf hippopotami, elephants, and deer that once lived on islands in Indonesia, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific Ocean. The fossil record suggests that these size changes occur rapidly after species become isolated on islands, but this long standing assumption has never been empirically examined in a systematic manner. Now, in a new study published in PLoS Biology, Virginie Millien confirms that island species undergo accelerated evolutionary changes over relatively short time frames, between decades and several thousand years." (Public Library of Science)

"EU confirms presence of tainted GMO rice" - "BRUSSELS, Sept 11 - The European Commission confirmed on Monday the presence of an unauthorised genetically modified (GMO) strain of rice." (Reuters)

"Bayer petitions for approval of GM rice in contamination case" - "Agro giant Bayer Crop Sciences has petitioned the US Department of Agriculture to approve a genetically modified rice variety that has been at the heart of a recent contamination scandal." (Food Production Daily)

September 11, 2006

"UK multinationals face ethical backlash from US investors" - "British business giants such as BP, Shell and GlaxoSmithKline face a new onslaught over corporate governance if proposals to empower their US shareholders are adopted by Wall Street's regulator. A new plan under consideration at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would unleash US-style investor activism at the shareholder meetings of companies whose shares also trade in New York. And it could lead to pitched battles between European shareholders lobbying for companies to take their social and environmental impact more seriously, and some American funds that think the corporate social responsibility movement has already gone too far." (London Independent)

"PAKISTAN: As Floods Recede, Epidemics Wait in the Wings" - "KARACHI - Floods and torrential rain have caused public sanitation in this port city to deteriorate to a point where health experts are not sure whether its 12 million inhabitants are going to be hit by malaria first or by gastroenteritis -- conditions are rife for both, as well as a host of other pestilences." (IPS)

"A Cosmetic Victory for Public Health" - "Fears over phthalates force manufacturers to change formulas for nail polish: we are saved from an illusory risk." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Inhofe-Feinstein Introduce Bi-Partisan Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act" - "WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee together with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced bi-partisan legislation that will enhance the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Justice’s response to recent trends in the animal rights terrorist movement. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) was drafted with technical assistance from counter-terror experts at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Senators Inhofe and Feinstein are committed to passing legislation this year." (Press Release)

"Microbes Can Clean up Toxic Waste Dumps - Scientist" - "CANBERRA - Microbes with a taste for toxic waste may hold the solution to cleaning up contaminated industrial sites and poisoned waterways across the globe, saving billions of dollars in cleanup bills, an Australian scientist said." (Reuters)

"Predicting an answer to the threat of flooding" - "The latest advances in computer flood modeling and animation that could help to improve the way we protect the UK's towns and cities from flooding will be highlighted at this year's BA Festival of Science in Norwich. By improving the prediction and visualisation of the speed, direction and extent of water flow during potential flooding events, this research will help inform investment in flood defence and drainage infrastructure, where new developments should be sited and, where necessary, evacuation planning." (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

"Probe to study mighty explosions" - "Scientists have been giving details of a new mission to explore the Sun. Solar-B is a Japanese spacecraft which will have three telescopes to study solar flares, the huge bursts of energy which erupt from the Sun's surface." (BBC)

Science Issues With “The Hockey Stick” (Climate Science)

"Reason Roundtable: Global Warming: The Missing Elements in the 'Science' of Global Warming" - "Ignoring global warming isn't a sign of scientific illiteracy or of ideologically induced stupidity" (Donald J. Boudreaux, Reason Foundation)

"The French Climate Skeptic" - "Skeptical voices in the international global warming debate are predominantly Anglo-Saxon, with occasional smatterings of Nordic, Russian, Italian and Dutch. But the French are conspicuously absent. How come? French intellectuals are reputed for their independence and dissenting views on any conceivable subject. Consequently, the French have a tradition of a very lively political debate -- yes, even of passionate polemics on just about any issue. But one topic has been conspicuously absent from the debate so far: global warming. Or has it? Not exactly. But because of the language barrier, French climate skepticism has hardly been noticed outside the francophone world, while it has generally been ignored by politicians and the established climate community in France itself." (Hans H.J. Labohm, TCS Daily)

Correspondence received: A close-knit group of environmentalist zealots have taken over all the pages of Wikipedia dedicated to such subjects as "Global Warming," "Climate Change," etc. Wikipedia is becoming influential, and they know it. What is needed to rectify this situation is an equally determined group of global warming skeptics who could stand up against the green crowd proclaiming "full consensus." (In Wikipedia, the majority of page discussion participants usually decide editing matters.) ... If you know a suitable group of people who would be willing to restore the balance of opinion in Wikipedia on global warming and climate change matters, please, make a suggestion to them. It would be a first step toward a long-term resistance. (Name and contact supplied)

I admit "Wikipedia" is not something I consider a source and I generally ignore search results mentioning "Wiki" unless it's for a public domain graphic or something equally innocuous. That said I realize a growing number of people do take it seriously and so echo this appeal for suitably knowledgeable people to help correct pages of interest. So, if you have the time and energy...

"Costly futile gestures in the climate change debate" - "Last week there was a welcome outbreak of common sense in the climate change debate. The British Association (BA) for the Advancement of Science's festival of science was told that climate change was the making of civilisation. Nick Brooks of the University of East Anglia said that, without dramatic changes in climate thousands of years ago, we might have remained farmers, herders and hunter-gatherers. Early civilisations were founded between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago when global climate changes, driven by natural fluctuations in the Earth's orbit, resulted in increasingly arid conditions. Mankind used his initiative and adapted – with startling consequences. The BA's President, Frances Cairncross, also spoke of adaptation. She said that climate change was inevitable and that the Kyoto agreement to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions would be "ineffectual". It was, therefore, necessary to implement adaptation strategies." (Ruth Lea, London Telegraph)

"Start planning now for warmer planet"  -"The latest research on global warming raises the possibility that the problem could be even more intractable than scientists had originally thought." (Toronto Star)

Go John! "Take him to task: Gore challenges PM on climate" - "CLIMATE change is a bigger threat to world security than terrorism and the world's industrial countries must cut their greenhouse gas pollution before they can demand developing nations take action, says the former US vice-president, Al Gore. In Australia to promote his documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, Mr Gore dismissed the Howard Government's reasons for refusing to address climate change and said Australia was in a position to influence the US." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Woohoo! Here's a guy who was Vice President of the United States of America and he says Australia (meaning Australian Prime Minister John Howard, presumably) is in a position to influence the U.S.. Heck, this bloke even signed the stupid Kyoto Protocol and he couldn't say to The Prez, "Dude, we gotta get the Senate to ratify this thing"? They didn't even bother submitting it. Somehow we suspect that's not the "inconvenient truth" Ozone Man is peddling.

We knew you were good John, but with power! Oh, and someone thought this noteworthy: Howard has no plans to meet Al Gore (AAP)

"Al Gore Says He Hasn't Ruled Out 2nd Run" - "Former Vice President Al Gore said Sunday he hadn't rule out making a second bid for the White House, though he said it was unlikely." (AP)

"Minister warns of 'desert gardens'" - "GARDENERS should grub up their roses and rhododendrons and replace them with yuccas and lavenders in preparation for the hot, dry summers that climate change will bring to Britain, Ian Pearson, the environment minister, will warn this week, write Jonathan Milne and Jonathan Leake." (Sunday Times)

"English wine sparkles as global climate warms up" - "GLOBAL warming has its detractors but English wine-makers won’t have a word said against it. The rise in average temperatures is making all the difference in the world to the English wine making industry, which is expected to expand by 50 per cent over the next year. July and August provided such perfect weather for cultivating grapes that growers are confident of a bumper crop, especially for sparkling wine. Continued good weather until picking begins in about four weeks would guarantee a large crop, but early frosts could yet ruin the growers’ hopes." (London Times)

"UK: Vines need an Indian summer" - "ENGLAND’S wine-makers are, as usual, desperate for an Indian summer to ripen their skinny, acidic grapes. Unlike the continued heat enjoyed by their continental counterparts, who start picking their grapes in August or at the beginning of September, English wine-makers must wait a month longer for their grapes to ripen. The likelihood of the weather remaining warm, dry and sunny until the end of October is remote. Despite global warming, England is, and always will be, a marginal northern grape growing climate. As with previous English vintages that looked good in September, there is plenty of time for rain, hail, frost or rabbits and birds, to ruin everything. No one could criticise British producers for their enthusiasm and tenacity but a fair few English vineyards have been sold, grubbed up and gone bankrupt over the years and the trend continues. As one English wine-maker put it: “The only way any of us is going to make a million pounds out of English wine is to start with two million.” (London Times)

"Global warming to wash away beaches, warns Spanish study" - "The fight for space on Spain's beaches looks set to grow fiercer over the next four decades as the sand starts to disappear under a rising sea that also threatens to flood beach-side homes, according to a Spanish environment ministry report." (The Guardian)

Another misguided misanthropic rant: "Climate change demands action: Solutions require drastic measures and time is running out" - "Perhaps no issue will challenge the world more over the next decade than how to deal with climate change. The science is real, the threat is significant; solutions require dramatic change and time is running out. The U.N. Population Fund has just published its latest forecast for population growth to 2050. It shows world population growing from 6.5 billion people now to 9.1 billion people by 2050, which in itself could lead to an enormous increase in the greenhouse gas emissions that trigger climate change. But the pressure on the environment and climate is not just a matter of population numbers. The desire of people around the world for a higher standard of living — from China and India to South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria to Brazil and Mexico — will lead to much higher levels of consumption, from cars and refrigerators to higher-value food and a vast array of other consumer products. So per capita consumption also matters." (Toronto Star)

"Economic Growth, Not Climate Change Should Be Priority for Developing Countries Says NCPA ; Report Suggests Economic Growth Improves the Environment" - "DALLAS, Sept. 8 -- Forcing developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate change before they fully develop their economies will lead to continued poverty and more environmental harm, according to a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). The report notes that access to cheap and dependable energy is critical to developing nation's continued progress from poverty, and that economic progress is a prerequisite for improving environmental quality." (U.S. Newswire)

"California Dreamin'" - "If you've noticed a certain glow emanating from somewhere out West, don't be alarmed. It's only California, engaged in its latest bout of feel-good environmentalism. We say feel-good, because even the supporters of that state's recent decision to unilaterally enact a mandatory global warming program are admitting it will accomplish, well, nothing much. That didn't stop a round of media huzzahs when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sacramento Democrats announced a program to require a 25% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. A point of special pride was that the new regime would be the most stringent in the nation, encompassing not just power plants but companies ranging from oil refineries to cement manufacturers." (Wall Street Journal)

"Drax protesters: radicals for austerity" - "In the name of reducing CO2 emissions, greens are demonising mass electricity production – one of the marvels of the modern age." (David Perks, sp!ked)

"For German Firms, New Emission Caps Roil Landscape" - "NIEDERAUSSEM, Germany -- Last year, to help combat global warming, Europe started charging industry for the right to spew hot air. For the first time on such a scale, governments slapped limits on the carbon-dioxide emissions of power plants, steelworks and other factories. Companies exceeding the caps have to buy CO2 "allowances" that trade on a European market." (Wall Street Journal)

"Cheap flights should be a cause of national rejoicing" - "In the first of a series of interviews with speakers at the forthcoming Battle of Ideas, David Soskin of CheapFlights.co.uk defends no-frills holidaymaking against its 'ignorant' critics." (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

"Ottawa reneges on Liberal pledge to help poor countries cut greenhouse gases" - "OTTAWA - The federal Conservatives are cancelling a $1.5 million pledge by the previous Liberal government to help developing countries cut greenhouse emissions under the rules of the Kyoto Protocol. Abandoning the pledge made at a United Nations conference in Montreal last December is another blow to the teetering climate treaty which the Conservative government still claims to support." (CP)

Turn around, dopey! "UN Climate Chief Praises Warming Actions" - "American states and private companies are adopting laudable initiatives on global warming, but the United States will lag behind Europe for years to come, the new U.N. climate chief said Friday." (AP)

The US is not "lagging behind" but rather leading -- it's just that Europe is heading for the past rather than the future.

"INTERVIEW - EU Could Bury 30 Billion Tonnes of CO2 By 2050" - "OSLO - The European Union could bury 30 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2050 to help slow global warming, more than five times the bloc's current annual emissions, results of a study due out next week show." (Reuters)

"Carbon dioxide sent into sea instead of into air" - "Critics worry possible global-warming solution will alter the chemistry of underwater storage rocks, allowing gas to seep out." (LA Times)

"ANALYSIS - Biggest Nuggets Taken in Global Carbon Rush" - "LONDON - A business fix to save the planet, where rich world polluters pay the developing world to cut greenhouse gas emissions on their behalf, is drawing breath after hoovering up its biggest money-spinning deals." (Reuters)

Scammers scammed? "INDIA: Sale of Carbon Credits Rise, Amid Complaints" - "BANGALORE - India is leading developing nations in carbon credits, expecting over 2.27 billion US dollars by selling certified emissions reduction units (CER) from approximately 300 Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, according to the country's ministry of environment and forests. But some CDM consultants cite low CER rates, non-enforcement of rich nations' renewable energy investment commitments in poor nations, lack of transparency in the CDM quantification process and several other irregularities in the CDM market." (IPS)

"Big Oil's New Conspiracy" - "We have heard much in recent months about the plot by oil companies to gouge consumers at the pump. Now, I am writing to report another insidious plot on the part of Big Oil. They are scheming to lower prices." (Pejman Yousefzadeh, TCS Daily)

"MIT uses sound to search for gas, oil" - "CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Just as doctors use ultrasound to image internal organs and unborn babies, MIT Earth Resources Laboratory researchers listen to the echoing language of rocks to map what's going on tens of thousands of feet below the Earth's surface. With the help of a new $580,000 US Department of Energy (DOE) grant, the earth scientists will use their skills at interpreting underground sound to seek out "sweet spots"--pockets of natural gas and oil contained in fractured porous rocks--in a Wyoming oil field. If the method proves effective at determining where to drill wells, it could eventually be used at oil and gas fields across the country." (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Scotland: Ministers say no to plan for giant wind turbines in beauty spot" - "PLANS to build a new wind farm in a Perthshire beauty spot were rejected by the Scottish Executive yesterday because of concerns that it could damage the environment." (The Scotsman)

"Virgin pumps £214m into 'green' fuel initiatives" - "Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group has moved into "green fuels" with the launch of an investment fund that plans to pump up to $400m (£214m) into renewable energy initiatives over the next three years." (Press Association)

"FEATURE-Argentina's soybean producers eye biodiesel boom" - "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Sept 8 - Soy farmers in Argentina, the world's top soyoil exporter, are eyeing expansion to meet demand for biodiesel, but green campaigners say the oilseed's continuing spread is unsustainable. Demand for biodiesel is surging, especially in Europe, where the European Union sees grain use for biofuels quadrupling by 2013 -- and Argentine producers are determined not to miss out. Many expect sown area to increase from a record 15.3 million hectares in the 2005/06 season." (Reuters)

Funny how a bloke with his heart apparently in the right place can get it so wrong: "Protectionist backlash 'will derail world economy'" - "Global carbon taxes, wealth redistribution ... radical social solutions are globalisation's last chance, Nobel winner Joseph Stiglitz tells Heather Stewart." (The Observer)

It is not wealth redistribution that's required but rather wealth generation -- which carbon taxes and wannabe social engineers destroy. The cited French youth unemployment, for example, is a result of high-taxing socialist regimes, not a sign of their requirement. Protectionism is certainly bad but carbon taxes are significantly worse.

"In the West, a Water Fight Over Quality, Not Quantity" - "Coal bed methane producers are dumping wastewater that Montana ranchers say can destroy the ability to grow anything." (New York Times)

"Nearly half of all fish eaten today farmed, not caught" - "Nearly half the fish consumed as food worldwide are raised on fish farms rather than caught in the wild, says a new report from FAO." (Mercopress)

Had to happen... "Ethical underwear gives mums clear consciences" - "For the pregnant woman wanting to retain a sense of elegance while doing her bit for the environment there is now support. A stockist in Epsom Downs claims to have developed the first range of organic cotton maternity lingerie." (Wimbledon Guardian)

... as the (il)logical progression of unreasoned pesticide terror and the continuing campaigns of the fear profiteers.

How "ethical" is it to pander to chemophobes like this when the necessarily lower yield "pesticide free" cotton displaces productive land that either could be feeding the undernourished or, if not required for the purpose, set aside as wildlife habitat?

And just how "pesticide free" are these products anyway? Actually, not even close since plants unassisted by people with synthetic pesticide applications are chosen for "natural resistance" -- the translation for which is "brimming with plant-grown toxins and irritants" (pesticides, in other words). 99 out of 100 toxic molecules in any plant were probably either synthesized by that plant or are heavy metals transported from the soil and accumulated by the plant for the specific purpose of discouraging plant predators. Plants not consumed out of existence by herbivorous insects and animals and thus surviving to successfully propagate are those which most successfully discourage pests with [gasp!] pesticides.

"Softer" varieties, bred by people for taste, nutrition, low allergenicity, etc., while requiring more human assistance to ward off predators, probably provide a significantly lower insult to the consumer than all the "natural" "organic" products do simply because the plant has not had to divert resources to the manufacture or accumulation of pesticides in order to defend itself.

If you really want to help yourself and the planet, choose modern agriculture's output over superstitious fare every time -- it's cheaper, too.

"Dry Weather in Southern US - Not Bt Crops - Threaten Monarch Butterflies" - "This year’s population is probably the biggest Monarch watchers have seen in 10 years, but extreme temperatures in Texas and Oklahoma pose dangers." (University of Kansas)

"A glimpse at Monsanto's future crops technology" - "What the heck do they have in there?" I asked myself as I eyed a walled enclosure laced with three strands of barbed wire to the west of the Monsanto tent at the Farm Progress Show. Fortunately, it was worth the stop I made when Robb Fraley, chief technology officer for Monsanto, showed what was behind those walls. He hosted a walking tour that featured 25 plots highlighting the technology Monsanto will offer to farmers in the next few years." (Agriculture.com)

"Genetically modified wheat still shunned" - "FARGO, N.D. - An eminent agricultural economist has looked at it again: The world still is against genetically modified wheat. Robert Wisner of Iowa State University in Ames, offering an annual update of his 2003 study "Market Risks of Genetically Modified Wheat," said introducing genetically modified wheat won't turn around the trend of declining wheat acres in the United States, as some proponents suggest." (Billings Gazette)

September 8, 2006

"Green CEOs Bad for Business" - "Green CEOs and good business just don't mix. Witness this past week's embarrassing examples of Ford Motor Co.'s Bill Ford and BP's Lord John Browne – with General Electric's Jeff Immelt warming up in the bull pen." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

BP needs to cut the BS and get back to business: "Contrite BP bosses admit blame for Alaskan oil leaks" - "Senior BP executives owned up yesterday to "unacceptable" operating failures as they faced a barrage of attacks from US politicians over the company's leaking pipelines in the Alaskan wilderness." (The Guardian)

Here's another one! "Nation needs policy on greenhouse gases, Shell chief says" - "ST. LOUIS — Touting the importance of a "culture of conservation" and investment in alternative fuels, John Hofmeister sounded less the leader of the world's third-largest oil company as much as a speaker at an Earth Day celebration." (Associated Press)

"Dr. Coburn Challenges EU to Let African Countries Save Children from Malaria with DDT" - "Coburn writes to the EU about its poorly articulated policies on malaria control and DDT, and the EU responds." (AFM)

"Intersex fish raises pollution concerns in U.S." - "WASHINGTON - The discovery of intersex fish — males with some female characteristics, including some carrying eggs — in Washington's Potomac River is raising concerns about pollution from chemicals that can affect hormones. A preliminary investigation by the U.S. Geological Survey found a high incidence of intersex among smallmouth bass in the South Branch of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, both near Washington." (Reuters)

"Infection risk in kids living near landfills" - "NEW YORK - Living near a hazardous waste site containing persistent pollutants such as dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated pesticides, seems to increase the risk of hospitalization for respiratory infections and asthma in children, a study suggests." (Reuters Health)

Hmm... be interesting to see how they controlled for the socio-economics of those who can afford not to live downwind of waste facilities.

The EPA's Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Standards, Lung Disease, and Mortality - A Failure of Epidemiology (Jerome Arnett, CEI)

"Patients urge limits on mercury tooth fillings" - "GAITHERSBURG, Maryland - Patients who say silver, mercury-containing tooth fillings caused health problems asked a panel on Wednesday to recommend a ban on their use or at least warnings for consumers. Reviews by U.S. and other health officials have found no evidence the silver fillings cause health problems, except for rare cases of allergic reactions. Their use also is declining as dentists turn more often to newer materials." (Reuters)

This'll create a howl: "Males have greater G: sex differences in general mental ability" - "A study of 100,000 17- to 18-year-olds on the Scholastic Assessment Test published in the September 2006 issue of the journal Intelligence, has confirmed a surprising new finding-that men have a 4- to 5-point IQ advantage over women by adulthood. Because girls mature faster than boys, the sex difference is masked during the school years, which explains why the sex difference was missed for 100 years." (Charles Darwin Research Institute)

"Lifestyles of the Superrich and Not So Famous" - "When I lecture to teenagers and twentysomethings here in the United States, I often ask members of the audience to "raise your hand if you're wealthy." Except for the young woman years ago who announced that her father owned a string of 7-11s, no one ever raises a hand. "Oh but you are wealthy!" I insist. "Each of us is among the wealthiest people ever to breathe." (Donald Boudreaux, TCS Daily)

"New sunscreen ingredient to heal sunburn and help prevent skin cancer" - "People who suffer from sunburn could soon benefit from a new sunscreen ingredient that actively repairs sunburnt skin and helps prevent the onset of skin cancer, according to research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology." (University of Bath)

More twaddle: "DuPont Scientists Honored for Inventing CFC Alternatives" - "Twenty years after international scientists determined that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were impacting the ozone layer, three DuPont scientists are being recognized for their invention of non-ozone-depleting alternatives." (DuPont News)

There's no real change in atmospheric ozone or the annual South Polar "Ozone Hole" that can be determined since people first paid serious attention in 1956, let alone attributed to CFCs. The only people actually at risk from the "hole" are those sunbathing at the South Pole in September (likely to be a very select group). If the scare really was manipulated by DuPont as a marketing strategy for HFC-134a then it was a resounding success and the current warming hullabaloo gives them a brand new opportunity to flog a brand new replacement (HFCs and HCFCs are supposed to be "dangerous" enhanced greenhouse compounds).

As DuPont puts it, however:

"... Moline and Rowland publish ozone depletion theory in 1974.

The theory suggests that continued use of CFCs could eventually deplete the ozone layer. Although the link to ozone depletion is not firmly established for over a decade, the potential for ozone depletion adds another dimension to refrigerant desirability.

As ozone depletion joins toxicity, flammability and corrosion on the list of undesirable traits of refrigerants, DuPont introduces HFC-134a as a CFC replacement.

Automotive air-conditioning units become lighter, more efficient and more compact. However, concerns about ozone-depletion reach the automotive industry. By 1976, R-134a is being considered the heir apparent to R-12 as the standard refrigerant. ..."

What a silly world where we panic over things which can have no effect on us yet will not apply ourselves to defeating relatively easily addressed health and supply problems.

Natural Hurricane Variability (Climate Science)

"A Knight’s Tale" - "A new paper by Jeff Knight and colleagues finds further evidence to support their findings, reported last year, that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is a real, physical phenomenon (as opposed to a statistical artifact) involving multidecadal variations in surface temperature primarily in the North Atlantic region and that its oscillations have consequences on regional climate, including North Atlantic tropical cyclones." (World Climate Report)

"Hot dust and moisture collide to fuel Asian summer rainy season" - "Who would think that something like dust in the air could trigger rain? According to a new NASA study, this is just what's happening over South Asia's Tibetan Plateau. Very small dust particles called aerosols blow in from desert regions and collect in the atmosphere over the plateau's slopes early in the region's monsoon season, helping trigger rainfall. A monsoon is a seasonal shift in wind direction that alternately brings very wet and then very dry seasons to India and much of Southeast Asia." (NASA/GSFC)

More heat than light sounds about right for a climate show: "Climate conference strip show storm" - "Outraged scientists stormed out of a government-sponsored climate change conference dinner in Canberra last night, after the strippers booked as entertainment left them all hot and bothered." | Don't overreact to strip show: PM (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Climate change forged first civilizations: scientist" - "NORWICH - The earliest civilizations were not a product of favorable conditions but rather a last resort in the face of dramatic shifts in the weather, a climate scientist said on Thursday. Flying in the face of accepted theory that settled societies emerged from the development of static farming in good climatic conditions that produced food surpluses and allowed specialization, Nick Brooks said the opposite was true. "Civilization did not arise as the result of a benign environment which allowed humanity to indulge a preference for living in complex, urban civilized societies," he told the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. "On the contrary, what we tend to think of today as civilization was an accidental by-product of unplanned adaptation to catastrophic climate change. Civilization was a last resort," he added." (Reuters) | Climate change rocked cradles of civilization (University of East Anglia)

Silly season is getting, well, sillier and seemingly longer. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is leading the charge (how unusual) despite the fact Earth's mean temperature is a dubious metric and temperature only one facet of climate. Earth's globally averaged temperature is only of interest if you happen to live at that mythical place "Globally Averaged", otherwise it's quite irrelevant to you. What is important is your local climate, what extremes you suffer, how much too much or too little precipitation you get, how that affects the local topography (floods, land slips, erosion, drifting sand...) and so on. Of all the things that will affect you it is highly doubtful that a trace gas adding a relatively uniform couple of tenths of a degree to average temperatures, likely as slightly less-cold winter and nighttime minimum temperatures, will even make it on to a very long list. The current obsession over atmospheric carbon dioxide is foolish in the extreme and acts as a distraction from real, addressable problems. Too foolish for words really.

And here's a classic example of what's wrong with this hysteria: "Solve climate 'whatever it costs'" - "Climate change is "potentially the most serious threat there has ever been" to security and prosperity, according to Britain's new climate ambassador. In an article for the BBC News website - his first since taking the post in June - John Ashton says climate change must be tackled "whatever it costs." (BBC)

"Whatever it costs" is way too much because there is no potential benefit. Misdirecting funding and effort from potentially useful tasks to a very expensive version of shouting to frighten away the thunder actually makes it much more difficult to assist the world's most impoverished to develop and generate wealth. Worse, it's hampering such efforts by reducing developed world affordability for the goods and services developing regions need to trade and generate the wealth to underwrite the health care, potable water, sanitation, transport and energy distribution we all take for granted.

What has become of our society that claims of trivial mean temperature change driven by an essential trace gas are viewed as a disaster? That's the equivalent of holding a reign of terror with a balloon on a stick (Lord help us if someone draws a scary face on it)! Only scammers and the deranged misanthropes who want to replace people with bugs and weeds profit from this stupidity.

"Plan to escape warming comes with a hefty tab" - "Worried about global warming? Two experts say there is a way out of our carbon-based economy: But it's going to cost a pretty penny - $200 billion a year for the next 30 years or so. Reuel Shinnar and Francesco Citro, two chemical engineers at the Clean Fuels Institute at the City College of New York, published a paper in the current issue of the journal Science that estimates that for that amount of money, the United States could reduce its fossil fuel use by 70 percent within three decades." (The Spectrum Online)

Obligatory eye-roller: "Global warming taking earth back to dinosaur era" - "NORWICH - Global warming over the coming century could mean a return of temperatures last seen in the age of the dinosaur and lead to the extinction of up to half of all species, a scientist said on Thursday. Not only will carbon dioxide levels be at the highest levels for 24 million years, but global average temperatures will be higher than for up to 10 million years, said Chris Thomas of the University of York. Between 10 and 99 percent of species will be faced with atmospheric conditions that last existed before they evolved, and as a result from 10-50 percent of them could disappear." (Reuters)

What utter rubbish! Carbon dioxide-driven warming has already almost run its course because the atmosphere is opaque or nearly so in the infrared bandwidths in which carbon dioxide absorbs -- it doesn't matter how many times you paint a window black, once it's opaque, it's opaque. Sheesh!

Climb every mountain to escape Global Warming (An Englishman's Castle)

Fantasy Times (Number Watch)

More hysterical nonsense: "INTERVIEW - World Needs Far Tougher Action on Warming - UN" - "OSLO - Industrial countries will have to make swingeing cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming, perhaps of up to 80 percent by 2050 as suggested by some nations, the UN's top climate official said on Thursday." (Reuters)

Even if humans stopped all emissions today there would be no discernable effect on planetary temperatures (though you'd sure notice natural variation a lot more without heating/cooling).

"Renewables effect uncertain" - "LONDON, England -- Efforts to expand renewable energy generation will not prevent climate change, the head of one of Britain's leading scientific societies has warned. Frances Cairncross said world leaders needed to face up to the reality of climate change and focus on adaptation rather than mitigation." (UPI)

"Emissions trading is not the answer" - "Big environmental problems need more than tokenistic tinkering." (Sharon Beder, The Age)

Guess that depends on the question, eh Sharon? Where the dreaded "global warming" is concerned we agree, there's nothing to gain from emissions trading, or capping, or restriction... The "global warming risk" of adding another 180 ppmv to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (doubling pre-Industrial Revolution levels) is approximately 0.05 °C in addition to the ~0.15 °C experienced to date. Of course, where there have been genuine problems then emissions trading has been quite beneficial (witness the extraordinary improvement in US air quality). There's no question carbon dioxide emissions are benign, if not beneficial, so it's true that carbon dioxide emissions trading is not the answer to anything.

"Alarm on global warming just a load of hot air" - "ALARMIST stories about greenhouse gases causing catastrophic warming continue to be aired in the media. Notwithstanding the lack of evidence, global warming is even being blamed for hurricanes and an apocryphal disappearance of polar bears." (Alan Moran, The Age)

GIGO... "Precision climate modeling forecast by ORNL researchers" - "OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sept. 7, 2006 -- Climate modeling of tomorrow will feature precision and scale only imagined just a few years ago, say researchers David Erickson and John Drake of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Computer Science and Mathematics Division. Tremendous computational capabilities at ORNL's Leadership Computing Facility combined with other software tools now make it possible for researchers to create models that take into account the complete carbon cycle, terrestrial biology, El Ninos and hundreds of other factors. The goal is to provide what scientists call a fully integrated Earth system model that can be simulated every 15 minutes for centuries." (DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

... but really, really fast :) For a reminder of why we remain extreme model skeptics:

"In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible." -- Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

"The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change." -- James Hansen, "Climate forcings in the Industrial era", PNAS, Vol. 95, Issue 22, 12753-12758, October 27, 1998.

Because climate is uncontrollable . . . the models are the only available experimental laboratory for climate. . . . However, climate models are imperfect. Their simulation skill is limited by uncertainties in their formulation, the limited size of their calculations, and the difficulty of interpreting their answers that exhibit almost as much complexity as in nature." -- Climate Change Science - An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p15 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

'So what' of the day: "Siberian lakes burp 'time-bomb' greenhouse gas" - "FAIRBANKS, Alaska--Frozen bubbles in Siberian lakes are releasing methane, a greenhouse gas, at rates that appear to be "... five times higher than previously estimated" and acting as a positive feedback to climate warming, said Katey Walter, in a paper published today in the journal Nature." (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

We see a lot of these "new discovery -- dramatic new risk" items (this one's been blundering on for days) but they really are of no consequence. Total atmospheric methane levels are needed for those interested in calculating downwelling radiation (for quantifying enhanced greenhouse, for example) and, since methane is now apparently in atmospheric equilibrium (neither increasing nor decreasing), this is simply an exercise in shifting some of the same (already counted) net total gas in various columns of the ledger -- a paperwork shuffle. Move the numbers around however you like, the end result is still steady at just short of 1.8 ppmv.

Does methane have unique warming potential? Nope -- it shares the 3.0 - 4.0 µm band (where roughly as much incoming Solar radiation is affected as outgoing Earth radiation) with water vapor, the 7.0 - 8.0 µm band (where there is still a small warming potential) is shared with nitrous oxide and the 13.7 - 14.7 µm band (also still having a small warming potential), where it's crowded out by both carbon dioxide and ozone.

"Canada Plans to Boost Environment, Ignore Kyoto" - "OTTAWA - The Canadian government, under fire for dismissing the Kyoto protocol as unworkable, will next month unveil an environmental package that focuses on improving air quality, but says little about global warming, officials and activists say." (Reuters)

Greenland_GISP2_long.gif (26632 bytes) Inappropriate anticipation of climate 'stasis': "Climate change hits roads and airports in Nunavik: Rising Arctic temperatures are melting permafrost" - "Take a piece of black paper and lay it on the ground for a while. When the sun shines, it won’t be long before you find a mucky mess underneath and the black paper slides away. That’s the kind of impact that higher temperatures are having on the roads and runways of Nunavik, largely built above a layer of permafrost, or permanently frozen ground. And this is why the Quebec transport department is scrambling to fix the damage – and avoid future problems – on airport access roads and runways which are buckling and splitting as permafrost melts under Nunavik’s ever-warmer temperatures." (Nunatsiaq News)

Using the Central Greenland GISP2 Ice Core record as a proxy it would appear the northern high latitude region has been unusually cool since about the Fourteenth Century. That does not imply such a cold regime to be its "normal" state, nor that it remain so in the future. Oddly enough, the Gulf of Alaska and Baffin Island seem to miss the warming trend, although trees in Northwestern Canada seem to have been growing better for the last 180-odd years. Maybe they just shouldn't put dark pavement over permafrost and expect it not to absorb solar energy?

"Hang on to your parkas" - "Global cooling could develop in 50 years and have serious consequences before it is replaced by a period of warming in the early 22nd century, a Russian scientist says. “On the basis of our [solar emission] research, we developed a scenario of a global cooling of the Earth’s climate by the middle of this century and the beginning of a regular 200-year-long cycle of the climate’s global warming at the start of the 22nd century,” said Khabibullo Abdusamatov, the head of the space research sector of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ astronomical observatory." (Nunatsiaq News)

Hypocritical whining: "Pollution Bill Aimed at California" - "A bill to crank up penalties for the nation's most polluted air regions - both in California - was introduced Thursday in the Senate by Congress' biggest skeptic of global warming. A week after reacting angrily to California's passage of landmark anti-global warming legislation, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., produced a bill to more than double fines on polluters who don't meet cleanup deadlines for soot and smog. States that don't require them to clean up could be denied federal highway funds. Democrats and environmental activists accused Inhofe, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, of retaliating against California." (AP)

These guys want bizarre and extraordinary effort applied to fighting a phantom menace yet grizzle about efforts to deal with real pollution... go figure!

"Beware importing Europe's flight tax to U.S." - "In a headlong burst of Chicken Littleism that puts California to shame, the European Parliament voted this summer to impose an immediate tax on jet fuel for flights within the 25 member states of the European Union. The charge is predicted to double the cost of round-trip airfare. The United States can't afford to follow Europe's experiment, which is a direct result of the Clinton administration-backed Kyoto Protocol on controlling greenhouse gases that the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly repudiated in the late 1990s. Yet former Vice President Al Gore continues to push these kinds of agreements as an immediate call to arms against global warming." (Barrett Kalellis, Detroit News)

"US EPA Proposes Mandated Clean Fuel Rules" - "WASHINGTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed new clean fuel rules to comply with a 2005 energy law that directs refiners and marketers to increase biofuel production from 4 billion gallons this year to 7.5 billion gallons in 2012." (Reuters)

"Redesigning Crops to Harvest Fuel" - "More miles to the bushel. That is the new mission of crop scientists. In an era of $3-a-gallon gasoline and growing concern about global warming from fossil fuels, seed and biotechnology companies see a big new opportunity in developing corn and other crops tailored for use in ethanol and other biofuels." (New York Times)

"Biofuels Growth Seen Posing Threat to Wild Birds" - "WESTON-SUPER-MARE, England - A rapid rise in biofuels production in Europe poses a potential threat to some wild birds, Mark Avery, director of conservation for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"NZ: Go nuclear, says electricity chief" - "New Zealand needs to seriously look at using a nuclear power plant to generate electricity with low greenhouse gas emissions, says a leading electricity company." (New Zealand Herald)

"NZ: Energy minister says no to nuclear power" - "The Government today shot down an electricity company's call for New Zealand to seriously consider nuclear power. Energy Minister David Parker said the electricity it produced would be far more expensive than available alternatives. "And quite apart from that, the Labour government is committed to a nuclear-free policy," he said." (NZPA)

"Planes, trains and automobiles the preferred choices of travel as Britain gives walking the boot" - "Walking has taken another backwards step with the publication of official statistics showing that Britons are making far fewer journeys by foot than a generation ago. Despite official advertising campaigns urging people to stride out for their health, the Government's annual transport survey showed that walking was declining." (London Independent)

"Organic milk is healthier? Don't swallow it" - "The popular press is going cow-wild over research that supposedly proves ‘organic’ milk is healthier than ‘conventional’ milk. Not quite. Just as two cents might be twice as much as a penny, neither amounts to wealth." (Alex Avery, sp!ked)

"The Snap, Crackle and Pop of Doom? The bogus furor over GM rice" - "In August, Bayer Cropscience reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that some of the American long grain rice crop had been commingled with its genetically modified (GM) LL-601 rice. LL-601 is the abbreviation for the gene that confers resistance to the Liberty Link herbicide. LL-601 rice, which has not been approved for human consumption, was field tested between 1998 and 2001 and was dropped by Bayer when other varieties proved more productive and it judged that the time was not ripe for introducing GM rice. No one currently knows how the LL-601 rice got commingled at a rate of six grains of LL-601 to about 10,000 grains of conventional rice." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"French Fried Reactionary Still Hurting Poor People" - "Militant anti-biotechnology activist extraordinaire Jose Bove was back in action this weekend, leading hundreds of protestors in an invasion of a genetically-modified corn field in France on Saturday. Police arrived before the mob could completely destroy the crops and, after a brief scuffle, arrested three people. Bove, who rose to prominence in 1999 after he and his anti-everything confreres literally destroyed a McDonald's, escaped scot-free. But as he told the French press in a self-proclaimed move of solidarity with his captured brethren, "I act with my face uncovered, I take responsibility for my actions." (CCF)

"Southern Africa: Boost Capacity for GMO Testing, SADC States Told" - "COUNTRIES in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) should mobilise resources for their national biosafety systems to enhance their capacity to test for the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, stock feed and seed, a Cabinet minister said yesterday." (The Herald (Harare))

"Genome code cracked for breast and colon cancers" - "Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have completed the first draft of the genetic code for breast and colon cancers. Their report, published online in the September 7 issue of Science Express, identifies close to 200 mutated genes, now linked to these cancers, most of which were not previously recognized as associated with tumor initiation, growth, spread or control." (Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions) | Statement from the NIH on cancer genetics findings at Johns Hopkins University (NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute)

September 7, 2006

"Mount Sinai researcher finds drinking water safe to drink" - "New York, NY, September 06, 2006 -- Are disinfection by-products (DBPs) in drinking water harmful to an unborn fetus? According to a study in the November issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology (available online September 5), a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health headed by David A. Savitz, Ph.D., Director of the Center of Excellence in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Disease Prevention at MSSM, and formerly Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have determined that drinking water DBPs -- in the range commonly encountered in the US -- do not affect fetal survival. This finding is particularly important because previous research has suggested that exposure to elevated levels of drinking water DBPs might cause pregnancy loss." (The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

"Nail Polish Makers Yield on Disputed Chemical" - "Several cosmetics makers are removing a chemical from nail polish that is suspected of interfering with the endocrine system." (New York Times)

"Keep slapping on that sunscreen" - "WHEN out in the sun, how often do you apply sunscreen? If it's anything less than once every 2 hours, you might be better off not using any in the first place." (New Scientist)

"Evolution debate rears head again in Ohio" - "CINCINNATI - Americans who question evolution are testing a new tactic in Ohio, arguing that schools should be required to discuss all controversial issues from creation to stem cell research and global warming." (Reuters)

"Unwanted: a global pollution policeman" - "Pollution knows no boundaries – but what about pollution laws? Poison in the water or particles in the air cross borders without a moment’s notice: does that mean American courts should cross borders too, acting as pollution policeman to the world?

A US federal appeals court in California seems to think that is not such a bad idea. In a case involving a Canadian smelter and an American Indian tribe, the ninth circuit federal court of appeals recently issued an unprecedented opinion that reaches across the border to regulate for the first time what a Canadian company does entirely in Canada. The case is a manifesto for those who believe in a new kind of US legal imperialism: the right of US courts to regulate foreign companies operating legally under foreign law in foreign lands, if the judge thinks they have hurt the American environment.

The irony of it all is just too rich: the same country that refuses to participate in an international global warming deal instead flirts with the idea of establishing its own world court for pollution claims. But for American business, irony is the least of it: the ruling could invite retaliation by other countries that want to haul American polluters into their far-distant courts – not least for causing global warming. The result could be a world arms race in environmental litigation – and a lot of money wasted on legal fees." (Patti Waldmeir, Financial Times)

"Eco-fatalism is for wimps" - "Ignore the pessimists: we can do a heck of a lot to curb the catastrophic effects of climate change." (Camilla Cavendish, London Times)

No Camilla, eco-hysteria is for ignorant dills.

"In Vino, non Veritas?" - "Today’s (September 6th, 2006) Washington Post, features Ben Giliberti’s Wine of the Week—a Tamar Ridge 2005 Pinot Gris from Tasmania. After extolling the virtues of this rich white, peary, with a hint of almond and French oak, Giliberti proclaims it to be “one of the most exciting pinot gris I have tasted from anywhere lately” adding “global warming…appears to working in Tasmania’s favor.” Let’s guess that there’s a post-it note stuck to the editor’s monitor when it comes to global warming: “No Fact Checks, Please.” (World Climate Report)

"What else may change with climate" - "There's more to global warming than temperature changes and rising seas. Scientists are also finding many subtle side effects." (Robert C. Cowen, Christian Science Monitor)

"Arctic Ice Melt Close to Record Low" - "For the second year in a row, Earth's northern ice cap has shrunk alarmingly — closely following the record-setting ice losses last year, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Slightly cooler temperatures in August may keep the melting of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean from breaking the 2005 sea ice minimum record, say experts. In 2005 the ice shrank to an area of about 2 million square miles. Right now it's at less than 2.5 million square miles, and still shrinking, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)." (Discovery News)

New Paper On The Climate of Mount Kilimanjaro (Climate Science)

"Greenhouse gas bubbling from melting permafrost feeds climate warming" - "TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A study co-authored by a Florida State University scientist and published in the Sept. 7 issue of the journal Nature has found that as the permafrost melts in North Siberia due to climate change, carbon sequestered and buried there since the Pleistocene era is bubbling up to the surface of Siberian thaw lakes and into the atmosphere as methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide." (Florida State University)

Fascinating. Um... how come CH4 has achieved atmospheric equilibrium then?

"France Aims to Submit CO2 Emission Plan to EU Soon" - "PARIS - France aims to submit its plan to cap carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for 2008-2012 to the European Commission very soon, an environment ministry official said on Wednesday. France was one of a number of EU member states to miss the June 30 deadline, by which they had been asked to deliver their full national allocation plans (NAPs) for the period, the second round of the bloc's carbon trading scheme." (Reuters)

"US Funds Project to Pump Oil, Fight Global Warming" - "WASHINGTON - The US Energy Department said on Wednesday it would spend US$3 million to help fund an demonstration project in Alabama that will inject carbon dioxide (CO2) into a mature oil reservoir to push out more crude and also displace greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"China's Scramble for Energy" - "With a rapidly expanding economy, China doesn't have enough of its own natural resources to cover its growing energy needs. Beijng is trying to close the gap by increasing its imports and by betting on nuclear energy and renewables." (Der Spiegel)

Blowin' sunshine: "Solar Power to Shine in Coming Decades - Report" - "OSLO - The tiny solar power industry is booming and could generate 2.5 percent of world electricity by 2025 in a shift from fossil fuels, a report by a business group and environmental lobby Greenpeace said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Enzymes May Hold Answer to Harnessing Hydrogen Power" - "NORWICH, England - Enzymes rather than scarce and expensive platinum may hold the answer to the hydrogen fuel cells of the future to halt global warming and as the oil runs out, a scientist said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Fishing trade helps Africa" - "Eating fish imported from poor African countries can help rather than harm those economies according to new research by scientists at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, working in partnership with the University of East Anglia." (University of East Anglia)

September 6, 2006

Missing the point? "Climate Science on Trial: How a single scientific graph became the focus of the debate over global warming" - "Can the U.S. Congress impeach a chart?

In one of the more unusual scenes of the 109th Congress, a House of Representatives subcommittee did just that.

For more than 10 hours spread out over two days, Rep. Edward Whitfield, a Republican from Kentucky, swore in a dozen witnesses to provide testimony about a squiggly two-dimensional figure. They delved into its past, looking at who had sired it and what company it had kept over the years in numerous scientific publications, newspaper articles, and political documents. As in many trials, there was even false testimony, when eyewitnesses mistakenly said they had seen the accused at one scene or another.

The defendant is a temperature chart, an estimate of how the climate has changed across the Northern Hemisphere in the past millennium. It's known as the "hockey stick" because the line representing temperature remains relatively straight through nine centuries and then arcs sharply up in the past 100 years, like the blade of a hockey stick." (Richard Monastersky, Chronicle of Higher Education)

No mistake, it is a crappy graph with distorted perspective -- just see Jones and Mann's own series below to see the hokey hockey stick effect collapse. There's nothing dramatic in the difference in recent CET temperatures compared with early in the record. In fact, considering population growth, development and urbanization of the record the biggest surprise is how little contemporary warming is apparent. Historical accounts tell us the IPCC's iconic graph is a cockeyed misrepresentation but that is not really relevant to enhanced greenhouse and the whole Anthropogenic Global Warming thing.

At issue is the claim of dramatic contemporary warming, which the IPCC "consensus" puts at a yawn-inspiring 0.6 ± 0.2 °C over the Twentieth Century (or since 1870/1880, depending on whose favorite dataset you consult). We're pretty sure no one disputes at least Europe and the North Atlantic region were afflicted by the Little Ice Age up to about the time modern thermometric records begin (significant because this is also the region from which longer thermometric records are available). So, there may have been a warming of 0.4 - 0.8 °C over the period (or may not, depending on the efficacy of efforts to eliminate UHIE from the record but at least some warming is likely). Assuming Earth's mean temperature to be 287 K, this potential warming represents change in the order of 0.2 ± 0.07%. This potential warming is also with reference to a period that was unusually cold for the Holocene (at least in the region from which we have some thermometric records). Hardly cause for alarm.

HadCRUT3-1850.png (34883 bytes) At the same time as we believe we have measured some increase in Earth's mean temperature we have seen an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels due to human activity. There is no obvious correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global mean temperature. It is not known whether the estimate of warming truly exists or is partly or wholly an artifact of urbanization of the record.

irradiance.gif (21293 bytes) What is known is that the sun is definitely more active now than in the 1600s, particularly recently, and at least some warming is attributable to solar activity. There has been much discussion of solar activity in recent years and New Scientist published a most interesting graph in Sun more active than for a millennium. The Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research went so far as to claim The Sun is More Active Now than Over the Last 8000 Years (and forecast decreased activity within a few decades -- there's been a few such worrying estimates surfacing recently).

Professor Roger Pielke Sr., using IPCC figures, helpfully calculates that, at most, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are responsible for 28% of observed warming (0.11 - 0.22 °C). This amount concurs with previous calculations by Shaviv (0.14), Lindzen (0.17) and Idso (0.10), among others. Call it an IPCC-style "ensemble" estimate of 0.15 °C. That sum represents three-fourths of the total net increase available from a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Remaining warming potential from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide is trivial.

Alarming tales of catastrophic warming are driven entirely by climate models devoid of demonstrated skill predicting future climate and really bad at reproducing past and current climate. These models do not even come close to agreement on the Earth's temperature in the absence of additional forcing factors (variation of solar brilliance, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, etc., ...). It is not that the models are without value but rather that they are process models -- they help us sort out atmospheric processes involved in climate and are a terrific aid to understanding when used for their intended purpose -- but this does not imply any sort of value as predictive tools.

Dramatic warming estimates generated by models rely on imaginative unmitigated "positive feedback mechanisms" of which there is no physical evidence. If there were no mitigating negative feedback mechanisms in the physical world it would have suffered "runaway" warming driven by water vapor long before humans learned to manipulate fire (or even existed, for that matter).

Exclusive focus on minor greenhouse gases is really quite silly. There is no temperature advantage to be had in attempting to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide -- we couldn't even measure any response which might occur if all human emissions stopped today. Humans undoubtedly have an effect on the planet but emission of carbon dioxide is so inconsequential that it is not worthy of consideration when problems of inadequate potable water supplies, sanitation and treatable/preventable disease go unaddressed.

Mann & the Hockey Team may indeed have "screwed the pooch" attempting to reconstruct northern hemisphere temperatures but why should anyone really give a damn? What we need to cope with is now and we know that additional atmospheric carbon dioxide will have but trivial effect. The "runaway" greenhouse hypothesis has never needed carbon dioxide to drive a feedback loop -- water is superabundant compared with carbon dioxide and requires no miniscule help from insignificant greenhouse gases to add a little warming to increase evaporation to increase the major greenhouse gas -- water vapor, which is your enhanced greenhouse hypothesis in a nutshell. The Holocene Thermal Maximum was warmer than anticipated carbon dioxide-assisted enhanced greenhouse can hope to achieve -- why didn't the models' imagined unmitigated positive water vapor feedback occur then? Because the world is wrong... or the models are?

The models are clearly broken when misused as prognosticators and this stupid game is way out of hand. The populist concept of carbon dioxide-driven catastrophic "global warming" does not exist in the real world and constitutes no risk (unless you happen to exist in a model-generated virtual world).

Sigh... "Climate change forum told temperature forecasts too low" - "A climate change forum in Canberra opened today with a warning that the severity of global climate change has been underestimated. The view contradicts weekend reports that the latest inter-governmental assessment due next year will show projected temperature increases are lower than predicted five years ago. Professor Will Steffen from the Australian National University says if anything, the projected temperatures will be slightly higher. "We may see a most probable temperature increase of between two-and-a-half and three degrees projected for 2100, in which case it will have gone up slightly. But until this report is released, and it's still under review so it's not been released yet, we can't really say," he said." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

?!! "Adaptation to Global Warming Counterproductive - Gore" - "HELSINKI - Former US Vice President Al Gore said on Tuesday that reducing drastically the amount of greenhouse gas emissions was vital for the future of the planet." (Reuters)

Now the Ozone Man thinks people shouldn't adapt. Say Al, if you want to perch in a cave and do without fire buddy, you go for it and you are welcome to try living without adaptation (i.e., living off leaves and bugs without the products of industry, agriculture or animal husbandry for that requires varied degrees of adaptation to understand, manipulate and exploit). Not too sure many camp followers will go with you though...

"Gore Predicts Shift in Bush Climate Policy" - "OSLO - Former US Vice President Al Gore predicted on Tuesday that President George W. Bush would shift to do more to fight global warming, under Republican pressure from California to New York." (Reuters)

"Britain's human history revealed" - "Eight times humans came to try to live in Britain and on at least seven occasions they failed - beaten back by freezing conditions. Scientists think they can now write a reasonably comprehensive history of the occupation of these isles. It stretches from 700,000 years ago and the first known settlers at Pakefield in Suffolk, through to the most recent incomers just 12,000 years or so ago." (BBC)

Gosh! They almost make it sound as though cold is inconvenient -- even undesirable.

Two-tenths of a degree? Call out the guard! "New evidence shows Antarctica has warmed in last 150 years" - "Despite recent indications that Antarctica cooled considerably during the 1990s, new research suggests that the world's iciest continent has been getting gradually warmer for the last 150 years, a trend not identifiable in the short meteorological records and masked at the end of the 20th century by large temperature variations." (University of Washington)

Typically confused reporting: "New Zealand glaciers retreating" - "Wellington - In apparent evidence of global warming, 50 glaciers in New Zealand's Southern Alps retreated in the 12 months to last March for the first time in four years, a scientist reported on Wednesday. Jim Salinger, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), said much less snow fell on the Alps in the last half of 2005 when anticyclones produced milder and drier conditions over the country. With temperatures in the southern hemisphere winter above average, the snow that did fall melted earlier than usual and the glaciers lost ice mass. This contrasted with gains that occurred in the previous three years, Salinger said.

NIWA has surveyed the 50 glaciers for the past 30 years using an aircraft to record the height of the snow line at the end of the summer. "The higher the snow line, the more snow has been lost to feed the glacier," he said. "On average, the snow line this year was about 50 metres above where it would be to keep the ice mass constant." Salinger noted the effects of the winter just ended, which has been declared the coldest in a decade, were not included in the survey, but could result in a gain in glacier ice mass by next March, depending on conditions over the coming summer." (dpa)

"Dion touts $10-billion bid to meet Kyoto goals" - "OTTAWA -- Liberal leadership candidate Stéphane Dion is making the fight against global warming a central plank in his campaign, unveiling a plan today that could spend up to $10-billion to goad Canada into swiftly curbing emissions. He says his package could put Canada back on track to meet its greenhouse-gas reduction commitments under the controversial Kyoto accord -- but only if the Liberals are able to win office by early 2007. Mr. Dion, who was serving as federal environment minister when the Liberals were defeated in January, said his plan contains no carbon taxes -- meaning, he explained, there are no levies on petroleum production linked to its carbon-dioxide emissions. Mr. Dion's plan includes new taxes to help curb consumption, but he declined to reveal them yesterday." (Globe and Mail)

"Canadians more worried about climate change, support Kyoto targets: poll" - "OTTAWA - Climate change has jumped dramatically on the scale of Canadians' worries over the last year and most people want the government to meet Kyoto targets, according to an environmental poll." (CP)

"California's inconvenient truth" - "If you buy a large appliance these days, a sticker reveals the estimated costs to run it. California lawmakers should have been as forthright last week. They ordered a 25 percent cut in carbon emissions for the state by 2020. But they weren't upfront on the cost to consumers. An honest accounting of the price to be paid in the battle against global warming is necessary if that battle is to be won. Politicians cannot just set lofty goals that force industries and consumers to spend billions on clean or efficient energy technologies without providing down-to-earth estimates on the ultimate financial burden to working families." (Christian Science Monitor)

"California Retro" - "For nearly 100 years, Californians have claimed to be the innovators that the rest of the United States and the world ultimately follow. Not so on global warming. Instead, the California Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger have just passed and signed global warming legislation that is an awful lot like a watered-down version of the failed Kyoto Protocol. That’s sooo 1990s." (World Climate Report)

"EU Losing Patience With Late CO2 Emission Plans" - "STRASBOURG, France - EU regulators might take legal action against governments that are taking too long to submit national allocation plans for the EU's emissions trading scheme, the EU environment chief indicated on Tuesday." (Reuters)

A Narrowly Focused Paper on The Role of Black Carbon and Land Use Changes As Climate Forcings in the Climate System (Climate Science)

"Africa: Deforestation Causes Global Warming - Key Role for Developing Countries in Fighting Greenhouse Gas Emissions" - "Most people assume that global warming is caused by burning oil and gas. But in fact between 25 and 30 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year - 1.6 billion tonnes - is caused by deforestation." (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)

From CO2 Science this week:

Global Warming and Plant Respiration: How does the former affect the latter?

Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Records of the Week come from Lower Grindelwald Glacier, Bernese Alps, Switzerland and Sierra Nevada, California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Respiration (Response to CO 2 - Herbaceous Plants: Other): A hodgepodge of studies of various herbaceous plants suggests that elevated levels of atmospheric CO 2 tend to somewhat reduce their respiration rates. However ...

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: Climbing Nightshade, Perennial Ryegrass, Rice, and Sugarcane.

Journal Reviews:
Melting of Antarctic Ice Margins: How fast did the melting accelerate over the last two decades of the 20th century, when the earth experienced a warming that has been claimed by climate alarmists to have been unprecedented over the past two millennia?

A Half-Century of Snow Cover Data from Western China: What do the data reveal about snow response to rising temperatures?

Millennial-Scale Climate Cycling in North-Central China: How does it compare with the North Atlantic drift-ice record? And what do we learn from the comparison?

Possible Future Global Change Effects on Seawater Salinity and Acidity: How significant might they be, especially for the world's marine life?

CO 2 Effects on Weed-Challenged Soybeans: Atmospheric CO 2 enrichment helps most when weeds threaten most. (co2science.org)

"What's left in the planet's tank?" - "Experts disagree about how much conventional oil remains and how long it will last" (Deepak Gopinath, Bloomberg News)

"Coaxing oil from huge U.S. shale deposits" - "Underneath the high, scrub-covered rangeland of northwest Colorado is the world's biggest oil field. Getting the oil out of the ground, however, is one of the world's biggest headaches. The area's deposits of oil shale are believed to be larger than all the oil reserves of the Middle East. But past attempts to get at this oil locked in tarry rock have cost billions of dollars and raised the prospect of strip-mining large areas of the Rocky Mountain West. Now, as the federal government makes another push to develop oil shale, Shell and other companies say they have developed techniques that may extract this treasure with much less environmental impact." (Scripps Howard News Service)

"Sakhalin gas project under fire" - "Russian regulators are trying to block a $20bn (£10.5bn) foreign-financed energy project on the Pacific island of Sakhalin, led by Royal Dutch Shell. An environmental watchdog will attempt to have approval for the huge project - the world's largest integrated oil and natural gas scheme - revoked." (BBC)

"Workshop suggests turning problems into biofuels" - "COLLEGE STATION — The twin problems of too much feedlot manure and too many mesquite trees could be solved by converting them into renewable bioenergy products, Texas A&M University System agricultural researchers, engineers and commercialization experts suggested Friday." (Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications)

"Brazil and UK to develop ethanol project in Africa" - "BRASILIA, Brazil - Brazil, the world's largest ethanol exporter, and Britain want to develop the production of ethanol from sugar cane in southern Africa, officials from both governments said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Malaria remains 'leading killer disease in Ghana'" - "Johannesburg -- Malaria is reportedly the top killer disease in Ghana, killing an average of five people every minute." (AND)

"Is Montana in Eco-Collapse" - "Eco-author Jared Diamond says humankind is committing “ecocide” –failing to recognize environmental degradation before it is too late and bringing on its own collapse. Diamond says such societies as the Mayans of Central America, and the Vikings on Greenland likewise brought about their own doom. He warns many modern societies are also headed for eco-doom--including the State of Montana. The state of Montana? In collapse? Why?" (CGFI)

"Chemical Reaction" - "BRUSSELS -- It is well accepted that a key to unlocking Europe's innovation, creativity and growth potential is improving its regulatory climate. This entails both cutting back outmoded existing regulations and ensuring that the benefits of future regulations outweigh their costs to society. But it appears that the European Union is having difficulty turning the excellent intentions of its "better regulation" policy into reality.

There is perhaps no better example of this problem than the EU's gigantic chemicals regulation known as Reach, whose final adoption is expected by the end of 2006. Many improvements have been made, but Reach still has flaws that will hurt small European businesses and foreign companies in particular." (C. Boyden Gray, Wall Street Journal))

"Science in the Media Sausage Grinder" - "Recent weeks have offered a rich harvest of new "health" threats with splashy headlines warning us about the supposed dangers from processed meats, hair dyes, and tanning parlors." (John Luik, TCS Daily)

"Junk food tax 'won't stop obesity'" - "TAXING unhealthy foods in a bid to put the brakes on the obesity epidemic would be ineffective, inefficient and unfair to the poor. Access Economics health expert Lynne Pezzullo said the growing clamour from health experts for a so-called "fat tax" was misguided and would hurt the poor much more than it would hurt the rich. Low-income people who were not obese would suffer unduly as a result, she told an international obesity conference in Sydney. A "fat tax" also incorrectly assumed that the type of food consumed was the problem rather than the amount of food - a point that was also made this week by federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, who said there was nothing wrong with the occasional "treat." (The Australian)

"Eating protein boosts hormone that staves off hunger" - "The amount of a hunger-fighting hormone can be increased by eating a higher protein diet, researchers report in the September issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, published by Cell Press. The hormone, known as peptide YY (PYY), was earlier found by the researchers to reduce food intake by a third in both normal-weight and obese people when given by injection." (Cell Press)

"U.N. all wet on water issues" - "Wars have been fought over politics, economics, territory, ethnic origin, race, religion and national pride. We may soon have to add a new reason: water, which is in increasingly short supply -- and sought after -- worldwide." (Henry I. Miller, Washington Times)

"Commodifying Life and Its Critics" - "In Marxist theory, capitalist drones afflicted by false consciousness are constantly indulging in the fetishism of commodities -- placing material possessions on an absurdly high pedestal. Likewise, critics of the practice of obtaining patent protection on life forms -- generally found on the neo-Marxist left -- object that by patenting life we heartlessly commodify it." (Michael Rosen, TCS Daily)

"EU says food importers should do more to keep out genetically modified products" - "The European Union said Tuesday food importers need to do more to keep imports of genetically modified products out of the 25-nation bloc." (AP)

"Brazilian Scientist Speaks Out on GMO Crops and Foods" - "St. Louis, MO September 5, 2006 -- Genetically modified (GM) crops are among the most studied and reviewed food crops in the world. Using well established, internationally accepted standards of risk assessment, regulatory authorities worldwide have reviewed the safety of all GMO crops and foods now on the market and determined that they pose no more risk than those produced through traditional breeding methods." (PRWEB)

September 5, 2006

"Topical Fruit Salad (Or Why We Think GISTEMP's A `Lemon')" - "Ever tried to compare the various global temperature records? Yes, well, "interesting experience" is one way of putting it, we suppose. While not necessarily tropical, the global mean temperature is certainly topical and you would expect something rather more standard than the "fruit salad" of anomaly reference periods on offer. During this document we'll try to work out how real are apparent trends and how serious they might be." (JunkScience.com)

Ooh! Bad timing, eh Penny? "Average daily temperatures continuing to increase: scientist" - "An Australian scientist who contributes to the world's foremost authority on climate change says the scientific consensus is that average daily temperatures will increase by as much as 5.8 degrees over the next century. The CSIRO's Dr Penny Whetton says the latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due to be finalised by early next year. While she will not comment on what the panel's findings are likely to be, she says not much has changed since 2001 when the panel made its last assessment. "The science, as it stands now, is really much the same in that if we factor in those range of future emission scenarios and the uncertainty we have in how fast the warming will occur for a given level of greenhouse gasses - then we're still looking at a possibility of warmings as high as 5.8 degrees," she said." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Yes... "Editorial: It's not the end of the world: A climate change report helps separate fact from hype" - "THE world's scientists are getting a clearer idea of just how the Earth's climate is changing and just what that means for us humans living and working on it. Rejecting doomsday scenarios, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has projected a rise of 3C in average daily global temperature by the end of the century, assuming greenhouse gas emissions remain stable. According to a draft report obtained exclusively by The Weekend Australian, the world's top climate scientists have narrowed the band of predicted temperature rises and all but eliminated the possibility of a 5.8C average temperature increase mooted when the group last met in 2001. In other words, according to the IPCC, the planet is heating up -- but nowhere near as much as once thought or feared. The report is particularly valuable as a rebuke to that radical and disproportionately loud fringe of greenies and leftists who treat environmentalism as a religion for whom humanity's sinful, decadent ways threaten to bring down the wrath of nature or the gods and must be changed. It is also further evidence that such alarmist scenarios such as the "hockey stick" theory (so named for the shape of the line on the graph it is taken from) are, well, overheated." | Science tempers fears on climate change (The Australian)

... and no. Yes because it's not the end of the world and it's high time governments and their departments were made fully aware of the fact and no because there has never been any foundation for the alarmist claims to begin with.

By the IPCC's own numbers increased atmospheric carbon dioxide accounts for at most 0.17 ± 0.06 °C of the estimated 0.6 ± 0.2 °C warming of the Twentieth Century. This represents roughly three-fourths of the total estimated warming from a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide because the surface heating effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic (i.e., it has a diminishing per unit effect as concentration increases). Whether the "rest" of the warming is real or merely an artifact of Urban Heat Island corruption of the record, whether it is caused by land use changes, increased solar brightness, shortened solar cycle length, all or none of these things is as yet unknown. Whatever the case we are most definitely not expecting significant warming from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Just look at the following graphic from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) (see original .pdf). This represents the unforced control runs for the "ensemble" (IPCC-speak for "haven't got a clue if any of these actually represent reality -- throw 'em all together and say the errors average out"). The range starts out guessing mean Earth surface temperature anything from 11.5 °C to 16.5 °C and ends -- without messing with carbon dioxide levels or anything else -- with the guesses even further apart. If they can't agree where they should start in a 5 °C range how in blazes are they supposed to figure out trends an order of magnitude smaller? Note further that several of these models produce at least as much warming as we think we have measured over the entire Twentieth Century absent any additional forcing whatsoever. Seven of the sixteen controls suggest the world should be a little (or a lot) warmer than we believe it to be at present (how's that for "consensus"?). Precipitation results for the various models are similarly erratic, signifying a huge problem in the way models handle the most important greenhouse gas: water vapor. How did this grab bag of shoulder shrugging ever morph into "the planet's gonna cook and we're all gonna die" hysteria? Sheesh!

Peer-reviewed Papers Which Support The Lyman et al Ocean Cooling Diagnosis (Climate Science)

A New Paper That Further Documents The Important Role of Regional Climate Forcings on the Global Climate System (Climate Science)

"Too vital for guesses" - "Growing belief in global warming is pressuring governments and scientists to get their projections right. Environment writer Matthew Warren reports." (The Australian)

"Kyoto isn't working, prepare for climate change, say scientists" - "The Kyoto agreement to cut greenhouse emissions is "ineffectual" and the world should prepare for the effects of climate change, the nation's biggest general science meeting will be told tonight." (London Telegraph)

Woohoo! "Ice Core Evidence of Human Impact on CO2 in Air" - "NORWICH, England - Air from the oldest ice core confirms human activity has increased the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere to levels not seen for hundreds of thousands of years, scientists said on Monday.

The natural level of CO2 over most of the past 800,000 years has been 180-300 parts per million by volume (ppmv) of air. But today it is at 380 ppmv." (Reuters)

And the significance of this is... what? Actually very little because atmospheric carbon dioxide is a trivial bit-player on the global climate stage. If nothing has interfered to reduce its effect, the 100 ppmv increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased the global mean temperature by about 0.15 °C, another 200 ppmv could push that up to a total net warming of about 0.2 °C.

Update: Question for the day -- if atmospheric carbon dioxide is as strong a determinant of planetary temperature as is frequently alleged, why isn't the world at its warmest in April and coolest in August when the annual peak and trough in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels occur? The annual northern hemisphere spring/summer growing season sees a draw down of 4-5 ppmv in the atmospheric carbon resource yet global temperature peaks when atmospheric carbon dioxide is lowest and is a little below average when CO2 is highest. Something wrong here, surely. End update.

Imagine what the world could be like if we devoted this much attention and effort to real problems.

"Global changes alter plant growth schedule" - "Stanford, CA--Any gardener knows that different plant species mature at different times. Scientists studying natural plant communities know this phenomenon allows species to co-exist by reducing overlap so there is less competition for limited resources. Scientists working in a natural grassland ecosystem in California have now found evidence that climate change may alter this delicate balance." (Carnegie Institution)

"Global warming 'cannot be stopped'" - "Our correspondent reports from the British Association for the Advancement of Science's Festival of Science." (London Times)

Given our inability to knowingly or predictably make any changes to the climate that is a true statement.

We've been wondering why otherwise rational people cling to the CO2 myth -- perhaps this is the reason: "Evolution keeps us superstitious. Now that's lucky" - "HUMANS have evolved over tens of thousands of years to be susceptible to supernatural beliefs, a psychologist has claimed." (London Times)

"A Hot Case" - "This fall, the Supreme Court will consider perhaps its most important environmental case in recent history." (Newsweek)

"Adapt to Climate Change, UK Economist Urges" - "NORWICH, England - Countries should prepare policies to adapt to climate change as well as efforts to lessen its impact, a leading British economist said on Monday. "Adaptation policies have had far less attention than mitigation, and that is a mistake," Frances Cairncross, the chair of Britain's Economic and Social research council, told a conference." (Reuters)

"Climate Change Raises Europe Infectious Disease Threat" - "NORWICH, England - Diseases not normally seen in Europe are now starting to appear because of the world's changing climate, a scientist said on Monday. Professor Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia in England, told a British science conference that erratic weather that will cause flooding and drought will also lead to changes in the incidence of infectious disease." (Reuters)

International travel and trade, yes, definite increase in disease threat there. Climate change? Barely worth a footnote.

Oh boy... "California Sees 'Greenrush' in Global Warming Move" - "LOS ANGELES, Aug 31 - In a land where fortunes were spun from gold, films and silicon chips, California's leaders envisage a "greenrush" with their groundbreaking law to fight global warming." (Reuters)

"California's Lofty Goals" - "The climate change initiative California unveiled this week amid great fanfare has been heralded as the most ambitious plan to combat greenhouse gases in the nation. But the plan is so short on details that it is difficult see how the state can accomplish its lofty goal--much less, do so without harming the economy, as proponents claim." (Forbes)

Hey! It's working already! Is there nothing Hollywood can't do? "California: August comes up roses" - "After July's broiler, city blissfully goes a month without 100s" (Sacramento Bee)

"UK: So, was it a washout... or one of the best summers of our lives?" - "WE SO sweltered in July that we complained about the heat, then we moaned again as a wet August brought us back down to earth and we felt like we were drowning. But despite the gloom, August was warmer than average, and the summer as a whole was the second hottest on record, according to provisional figures from the Met Office. You could not have found two more different summer months than this July and August. After the hottest July on record — also the hottest month of all time — the heat appeared simply to vanish in August." (London Times)

"Britain gets a monsoon forecast" - "BRITAIN’S gentle drizzle is giving way to tropical-style downpours and cloudbursts as accelerating climate change disrupts weather systems, according to academic research." (Sunday Times) | "Extreme rainfall" incidents increasing in parts of UK (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

"Canada: Transit trumps climate change, Ottawa told" - "OTTAWA -- Releasing a strong environmental plan would give the Conservative government an issue that could boost its public support, an internal summary of focus-group testing states. With just a few weeks left before the government releases its plan for the environment, the report says that investing in public transit "has the potential to be a huge winner" with Canadians. The report summarizing the interviews found that participants were more concerned with air and water quality than addressing climate change. "There is some, albeit minor, criticism of the government for pulling out of Kyoto," states the report, noting that two focus groups in Quebec were a clear exception, saying Canada's position on Kyoto has weakened the government's credibility." (Globe and Mail)

Eco-toffs and other bloody idiots: "Cameron seeks binding CO2 targets" - "David Cameron ratcheted up his claim to the "green vote" as he shared a platform with the environmental group Friends of the Earth to demand that the Government impose legally binding targets to slash Britain's carbon emissions." (London Independent)

"Focus: The war on hot air" - "In the 1980s it was the bomb, in the 1990s globalisation. Now CO2 is the enemy du jour. Jonathan Leake on why green is the new black." (Sunday Times)

"Green grass to cut cow flatulence" - "AN Irish scientist has proposed replanting pastures with modified grass in an attempt to cut down on cattle flatulence, a major source of the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions." (Sunday Times)

Demonstrating once again that EU lawmakers never saw a tax they didn't like: "EU Lawmakers Lend Support for Car Tax to Cut CO2" - "STRASBOURG, France - Car registration and road taxes should be dovetailed into a single levy in the European Union, with part of the charge linked to how much the vehicle pollutes, EU lawmakers said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Leaner designs fuel race to build next generation of reactors" - "CORVALLIS, Oregon Jose Reyes' research lab looks like a three-story tangle of pipes and instruments. But to nuclear engineers like him, it's evidence that generating electricity by splitting atoms can cost less and be done more safely than in the past. Reyes heads an Oregon State University team that's built a quarter-scale model of the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear plant — which the company hopes will lead an atomic-energy renaissance in the U.S. and the rest of the world." (Associated Press)

"INTERVIEW - Third World Greenhouse Gas Cut Plan Seen Doubling" - "OSLO - A fast-growing UN project to cut emissions of greenhouse gases in the Third World could more than double by 2012 with new growth in regions such as the Middle East, a leading industry expert said on Friday." (Reuters)

We fully approve of getting affordable electricity to developing countries but greenhouse? Puh-lease!

"Dutch Eye Tighter Emissions, Romania, Spain Late" - "AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands will cut the quota of pollution-permitting carbon credits it gives industry in the second phase of the EU trading scheme, but Spain and Romania said on Monday they need more time to submit their plans." (Reuters)

"Carbon credits critiqued" - "Carbon trading is unsustainable and requires the developing world to stay poor, while turning the atmosphere into a commodity provides a useful tool for those seeking to profit from climate change." (Edie)

"UK: Energy review ignores climate change 'tipping point'" - "The world only has 10 years to develop and implement new technologies to generate clean electricity before climate change reaches a point of no return, something the British government has failed to appreciate in its energy review, according to an energy expert." (Guardian Unlimited)

20 years? "Climate change will reach point of no return in 20 years, says expert" - "The world only has 10 years to develop and implement new technologies to generate clean electricity before climate change reaches the point of no return - something the UK government failed to appreciate in its recent energy review, according to an expert." (The Guardian)

No, wait! Make that 10 in the first sentence -- can we get that down to 5 before the end of the article? (We don't know, we didn't bother with the silly twaddle.)

"UK: Chancellor accused of blocking global warming plans" - "Gordon Brown was accused today by one of Britain’s leading climate change scientists of blocking attempts to combat global warming. Peter Smith, an emeritus professor at Nottingham University, said the Chancellor of the Exchequer has repeatedly refused to provide adequate finances for green energy. Professor Smith said that politicians lack the necessary will to introduce measures to reduce carbon dioxide levels but even when they show signs of wanting to take action, they are confounded by the Treasury." (The Times)

See! Everyone is good for something.

"Storm Warnings" - "Is global warming to blame for the intensity of recent Atlantic hurricanes? While experts debate that question, they agree that more devastating tempests are headed our way." (Smithsonian)

"The Importance Of Being Ernesto" - "Climate Change: The first tropical storm to hit the U.S. struggled to reach hurricane status and missed New Orleans, disappointing Democrats and global warmers. The world is not coming to an end in an election year. One of the tenets of the global warmers is that global warming and the Bush administration's indifference to it are causing an escalation in hurricane frequency and intensity. Al Gore made that claim a central feature of his full-length cartoon, "An Inconvenient Truth." (IBD)

"High-flying balloons track hurricane formation" - "The eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean is out of range for U.S. hurricane-hunter aircraft, and forecasters have little skill predicting which systems brewing there will develop into hurricanes, atmospheric scientists say. So, to find out how some of the most dangerous hurricanes form, U.S. and French researchers are launching large, specialized balloons carrying nearly 300 instruments over wide swaths of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean." (National Science Foundation)

Ove's at it again: "Gardening to save the reef" - "Australians may have to resort to "underwater gardening" if they are to protect their priceless coral reefs through the stresses of climate change." (UQ promo)

Ever since the 'peas paid him big bucks to write a GBR AGW disaster scenario he's been trying to regain both his 15 minutes and the big bucks.

"INDIA: Large Dams Blamed for Floods" - "NEW DELHI - While floods are a perennial feature of the Indian sub-continent, this year's inundations have left leading environmental activists pointing fingers at the many large dams built precisely with the idea of controlling natural water systems." (IPS)

"INTERVIEW - Don't Ditch Dams, World Bank Water Boss Says" - "SYDNEY - Rich countries should not keep less developed ones poor by fashionable trends that oppose dams and water management infrastructure, a top World Bank water resources chief said on Monday. Australia, the driest inhabited country in the world, would not be the rich, developed country it is today if dams and water infrastructure had not been built, David Grey, senior water adviser at The World Bank, told Reuters in an interview. Developed countries have been taking too broad a brush to dams and keeping poor countries poor in the process, he said." (Reuters)

"New findings could lead to vaccine for severe malaria" - "The most severe form of malaria hits pregnant women and children the hardest. A joint study between Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Makerere University in Uganda has now produced some important findings on how the malaria parasite conceals itself in the placenta. Plasmodium falciparium is the name of by far the most virulent of the four malaria parasites that infect man. It is particularly dangerous in that it also infects the placenta of pregnant women, with fatal consequences for both her and the foetus. This, combined with the often feeble medical resources of malaria-stricken countries, can lead to such serous complications that the mother dies during delivery." (Karolinska Institutet)

"Move Over Malaria" - "One of the biggest problems with malaria is that well over 50 percent of malaria parasites are resistant to current therapies. Now one American doctor has found a way to treat drug-resistant malaria." (AFM)

"Increase in drug development for killer diseases is not enough" - "A recent report shows that drug development for killer diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, Chagas and Sleeping Sickness has increased in recent years. This is despite the fact that these diseases mainly affect the poor in developing countries and development of treatments is inhibitive due to lack of economic demand. Researchers argue that the rate of development of drugs (and of some vaccines and diagnostics) would increase if more incentives were created using patent rights and providing guarantees to purchase drugs for the poor as they are developed." (Economic & Social Research Council)

"Despite study, public works leaders say mosquito spraying works" - "GREENVILLE, S.C. - Public works leaders say their trucks will continue to send clouds of mosquito fog out across neighborhoods despite a study's conclusions that the long-held practice does little to control the biting bugs or curb West Nile virus.

The researchers said spraying was ineffective largely because the pesticide has to hit a mosquito to kill it. And in suburban settings, obstacles such as shrubbery can limit the reach of the spray. "We were concerned about the distribution of the spray in the affected area - were we getting even coverage," said one of the study's authors, Andrew Spielman, professor of tropical public health at Harvard." (Associated Press)

"'Stress and the city': Urban birds keep cool" - "Animals colonizing cities are exposed to many novel and potentially stressful situations. Chronic stress, however, can cause deleterious effects. Hence, wild animals would suffer from city life unless they adjusted their stress response to the conditions in a city. Jesko Partecke, Ingrid Schwabl and Eberhard Gwinner of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology Andechs/Seewiesen in Germany have now shown that European blackbirds born in a city have a lower stress response than their forest counterparts. This reduced reactivity probably has a genetic basis and could be the result of the urban-specific selection pressures to which urban blackbirds are exposed (Ecology 87(8) 2006)." (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft)

"Health experts: Obesity pandemic looms" - "Weight is as big a threat as global warning and bird flu, some say." (AP)

Not worth a mention, then.

"Autism risk linked to older dads" - "Children with older fathers have a significantly increased risk of having autism, a study has concluded. The team of UK and US experts said children born to men over 40 had a six times higher risk than those born to men under 30." (BBC) | Older fathers more likely to have autistic children (JAMA and Archives Journals)

"The Man Who Fed the World" - "How a poor Iowa farm boy came to be one of humanity's greatest benefactors." (Ron Bailey, Opinion Journal)

"The hungry planet: As stocks run out and harvests fail, the world faces its worst crisis for 30 years" - "Food supplies are shrinking alarmingly around the globe, plunging the world into its greatest crisis for more than 30 years. New figures show that this year's harvest will fail to produce enough to feed everyone on Earth, for the sixth time in the past seven years. Humanity has so far managed by eating its way through stockpiles built up in better times - but these have now fallen below the danger level." (London Independent)

Now, about this turning grain and agricultural land over to faux fuel...

"From Subsistence to Sustainable Farming in Africa" - "London: To achieve a sustainable food supply, Africa needs an agricultural revolution, according to the authors of a new report, Growing Green: The Challenge of Sustainable Agricultural Development in Sub-Saharan Africa." (SDN)

"Are genomic technologies the answer to world hunger?" - "Genomic technologies may have the potential to alleviate food insecurity and food shortages around the world. Researchers believe that biotechnology has the potential to improve the nutritional content of food crops and, crucially, resistance to insects and disease. This could lead to improved yields of food crops for both human and animal consumption. Researchers are also working on 'molecular farming' – production of pharmaceutical products in plants, with the potential to revolutionise vaccination procedures. However, these technologies are only likely to impact on world hunger if there is effective and efficient exchange of knowledge and experience through partnerships." (Economic & Social Research Council)

"Genome info from 'plant destroyers' could save trees, beans and chocolate" - "An international team of scientists has published the first two genome sequences from a destructive group of plant pathogens called Phytophthora--a name that literally means "plant destroyer." The more than 80 species of fungus-like Phytophthora (pronounced "fy-TOFF-thor-uh") attack a broad range of plants and together cost the agriculture, forestry and nursery industries hundreds of billions of dollars each year." (National Science Foundation)

"Fight weeds with plant pathogens" - "St. Paul, Minn. (September 1, 2006) -- Although plant pathogens are typically viewed as detrimental, plant pathologists with the American Phytopathological Society (APS) say plant pathogens may be a successful, eco-friendly tool for managing weeds. "The use of plant pathogens to suppress weeds is considered as one of the alternative weed control options for areas or production systems where the use of chemical herbicides is not permitted or feasible," said Erin Rosskopf, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Fort Pierce, FL. "Plant pathogens may also be used when the herbicide selection or usage must be rotated with other control methods in order to prevent the development of resistant weeds or lessen the impact of herbicides on the environment," she said." (American Phytopathological Society)

"Scientist challenges anti-GM findings" - "An Australian scientist has challenged claims that a GM crop may produce dangerous herbicides in human intestines. Dr Christopher Preston of the University of Adelaide, Australia, wrote this week that Jeffrey Smith's assertion that LibertyLink crops could pose a risk to human health were an "example how a few kernels of truth can be dressed up into a royal banquet." (Food Navigator)

"Nanotech: Small stuff, big concerns" - "There's nothing tiny about the international controversy brewing over the safety of nanomaterials. In April, a German company recalled a tile sealant called Magic Nano after dozens of consumers suffered breathing problems while using it. Never mind that the product contained particles too large to actually count as nanomaterials (which must be smaller than a billionth of a meter) the scare was on, and European confidence in products labeled "nano" had already sunk." (Popular Science)

"French police arrest three as hundreds try to destroy GM crops" - "GREZET-CAVAGNAN, France - French police arrested three people after hundreds of protesters including anti-globalisation icon Jose Bove tried to destroy a field of genetically-modified maize." (AFP)

"RP can achieve corn sufficiency with expansion of hybrid, Bt corn areas" - "The Philippines can achieve sufficiency in corn in one or two years if high-yielding hybrid corn including the genetically modified (GM) Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn can be intensively expanded on just an additional 200,000 hectares." (Manilla Bulletin)

"Gene-altered rice from China found in EU-Greenpeace" - "BRUSSELS, Sept 5 - European consumers are at risk from unauthorised genetically modified (GMO) rice grown in China after evidence of a strain was found in Britain, France and Germany, environment group Greenpeace said on Tuesday.

"Innocent consumers again become the victims of the GE (genetic engineering) industry's 'contamination first' strategy," Greenpeace International GMO campaigner Jeremy Tager said in a statement." (Reuters)

My, hasn't ol' "Tugger" done well for himself since he was a mere dugong-hugging anti-development nuisance trying to obstruct Queensland's Hinchinbrook holiday resort development? From "Friends of Hinchinbrook" Jeremy dropped out of sight for a while (some say he left under a cloud following the in-laws' leveling of a significant patch of forest and scrub that obstructed their holiday home view of Nellie Bay) only to reappear as a greenpeas antibiotech campaigner. Guess this beats slogging around among the mozzies and sandflies planting weeds, eh Tugger?

September 1, 2006

"Weathering Hurricane Hysteria" - "It’s peak North Atlantic hurricane season again and much is being made of a supposedly increased hurricane threat due to man-made global warming." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"High-flying balloons begin tracking hurricane formation" - "BOULDER--In a unique collaboration, U.S. and French researchers are launching large, specialized balloons into the stratosphere to drop nearly 300 instrument packages over wide swaths of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. The packages, designed by scientists and technicians at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), will gather detailed data over the next month from critical regions of the atmosphere where some of the most dangerous U.S. hurricanes develop." (NCAR/UCAR)

"Was Katrina a Sign of the Gathering Storm?" - "BROOKLIN, Canada - One year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast, a new survey reveals a majority of U.S. citizens now believe global warming is responsible for extreme weather events in recent years." (IPS)

"Contrarian view: Gulf Coast will keep sinking" - "COCODRIE, LA. – To build a levee or to enlist wetlands to defend against a hurricane's storm surge, it's critical to know how fast - and why - the land is sinking under your feet." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Gasp! "Japan Swelters Under Urban Heat Island Effect" - "TOKYO - The gleaming high rise buildings that crowd the cityscape may symbolize Japan's economic recovery but they have also converted this priciest of human habitats into vast heat-trapping canyons in what is known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect." (IPS)

With so much coverage of UHI lately we have to wonder whether the media might just get the hang of the dubious nature of alleged near-surface trends and the triviality of additional carbon dioxide-driven enhanced greenhouse.

New Papers on the Importance of Land Use/Land Cover Change on Climate (Climate Science)

Uh-huh... "Changing climate: 'Compost effect' may cause global warming to reach crisis point in 2050" - "The world faces a catastrophic rise in global warming in 2050 unless urgent action is taken to cut human-induced carbon emissions, a leading academic warned yesterday. Professor Peter Cox, of Exeter University, told the Royal Geographical Society annual conference that temperatures could rise 8C by 2100 because of a "compost effect" which could see carbon dioxide levels increase 50 per cent faster than previously estimated." (London Independent)

... and what if they did? Um, nothing really -- well nothing measurable anyway. Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is responsible for between 0.1 and 0.15 °C increment in global mean temperature (always assuming there has been no mitigation via negative feedback mechanisms). The temperature effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is logarithmic -- you get a diminishing return as you keep adding more. Doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide from pre-Industrial Revolution levels could warm the planet a total of about 0.22 °C under the same assumptions of no mitigation. A temperature increase some 40 times larger, as cited above, is somewhere out past the Tooth Fairy and Trolls under the bridge. "Compost effect" sounds about right.

Alas, poor Science: "Top scientist's fears for climate" - "One of America's top scientists has said that the world has already entered a state of dangerous climate change. In his first broadcast interview as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren told the BBC that the climate was changing much faster than predicted. "We are not talking anymore about what climate models say might happen in the future. We are experiencing dangerous human disruption of the global climate and we're going to experience more," Professor Holdren said." (BBC)

"Evolution of Old World fruit flies on three continents mirrors climate change" - "Fast-warming climate appears to be triggering genetic changes in a species of fruit fly that is native to Europe and was introduced into North and South America about 25 years ago." (University of Washington)

"Brazil Proposes Fund to Stem Rainforest Cutting" - "SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazil proposed on Thursday a fund to compensate developing countries that slow the destruction of their rainforests, a move that could help lower emissions of gases blamed for rising world temperatures." (Reuters)

Doh! "Rich nations' greenhouse gases up, despite Kyoto" - "OSLO - Industrialized nations' emissions of greenhouse gases edged up to the highest level in more than a decade in 2004 despite curbs meant to fight global warming, data compiled by Reuters showed on Thursday. The figures, based on national submissions to the U.N. Climate Secretariat in Bonn, indicate many countries will have to do more to meet 2012 goals set by the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol for cutting emissions of gases from fossil fuels. Emissions from 40 industrial nations climbed 1.6 percent overall to 17.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide — mainly from power plants, factories and cars — in 2004 from in 2003 even though oil prices were surging." (Reuters)

"NASA study solves ocean plant mystery" - "A NASA-sponsored study shows that by using a new technique, scientists can determine what limits the growth of ocean algae, or phytoplankton, and how this affects Earth's climate. Phytoplankton is a microscopic ocean plant and an important part of the ocean food chain. By knowing what limits its growth scientists can better understand how ecosystems respond to climate change. The study focused on phytoplankton in the tropical Pacific Ocean. It is an area of the ocean that plays a particularly important role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide and the world's climate. This area of the ocean is the largest natural source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere." (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

Oh boy... "Australia: Eco plan puts wind up critics" - "THE success of the Labor states' proposed carbon emissions trading scheme may hinge on stopping cows breaking wind. A joint discussion paper released by the states says agricultural emissions must be cut by 60 per cent and part of the solution is reducing flatulence in cows. Livestock produces more than 60 million tonnes of methane gas annually – the equivalent of 10 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions." (Courier-Mail)

... does this mean when you go to Maccas you'll pay 10% Goods and Services Tax and another 2.5% Fart Tax over the price of your burger?

Frankly stupid: "California takes lead in global-warming fight" - "But caps on greenhouse-gas emissions are largely symbolic." (The Christian Science Monitor) | California heats up the political climate with greenhouse gas law (The Times) | Global Warming Plan Could Be Costly (LA Times) | California Plan to Cut Gases Splits Industry (New York Times) | Making Good on California's Global Warming Gambit (Time)

Of all the things humanity needs to address carbon dioxide doesn't even deserve to warm the bench. This is an enviro-terror threat equivalent to a balloon on a stick.

Speaking of bloody idiots: "Cameron calls for emissions law" - "Conservative leader David Cameron will join environmental campaigners to press ministers to promise a law on climate change in the next Queen's speech." (BBC)

"California Votes to Join the Third World" - "Washington, D.C., August 31, 2006—In what could prove a disastrous move for consumers and businesses, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is poised to sign legislation imposing statutory limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the state of California." (CEI)

"Californian Emissions Cap Move Draws Mixed Responses" - "NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES - California's landmark legislation to curtail greenhouse gas emissions could hurt some manufacturers, but its largest industrial emitters -- electric utilities -- should emerge unharmed, industry experts said Thursday." (Reuters)

"ANALYSIS - US State CO2 Laws Won't Prevent Coal Boom" - "NEW YORK - US states' plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could lead to little change in national carbon output, simply pushing coal-fired power plants and other dirty industries to relocate in states without rules, experts said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Canada: Focus-group used to plan environmental policy" - "OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper insists he doesn't govern by polls, but a leaked report indicates his government has been paying for research to see what Canadians think about the environment. Conservative plans for a new environmental policy -- said to rely heavily on pollution-fighting measures rather than climate change -- fall in line with what focus groups told researchers this summer." (Canadian Press)

The nice people who want to return you to the dark age: "Power station protesters arrested" - "Thirty-eight campaigners have been arrested during a "mass day of action" against carbon emissions at Britain's largest coal-fired power station. Hundreds of demonstrators were hoping to disrupt operations at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire. Offences included criminal damage, aggravated trespass and possession of offensive weapons." (BBC) | Arrests as 600 march on coal power station (The Times) | The Battle of Drax: 38 held as protest fails to close plant (London Independent)

"Fill Up on Corn if You Can" - “There is no way E-85 can survive on its own without massive government subsidies at the state and federal levels,’’ said Lawrence J. Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, an energy consultancy in New York. Many drivers whose vehicles can run on ethanol will not buy E-85 unless it is markedly cheaper than regular gasoline, which has not always been the case. Part of the reason is basic economics: E-85 delivers only three-quarters as much energy per gallon as gasoline, meaning drivers will have to fill up their tanks more often if they choose to use the fuel." (New York Times)

"INTERVIEW - Sharp Sees Solar Power Costs Halving By 2010" - "BERLIN - Japan's Sharp Corp., the world's biggest maker of solar cells, expects the cost of generating solar power to halve by 2010 and to be comparable with that of nuclear power by 2030, Sharp's president said." (Reuters)

"FEATURE - In Eastern US, Wind Farms Face Growing Opposition" - "LOWVILLE, N.Y. - From the front of the Flat Rock Inn, a restaurant and campground on a gravel road, owner Gordon Yancey can see more than 100 windmills spinning, part of the electricity-generating wind farm that surrounds his property in upstate New York." (Reuters)

"China Eyes Sulphur Dioxide Emissions Trading - Paper" - "BEIJING - China is planning to launch an emissions trading scheme as early as next year that would require power plants to pay 7 billion yuan a year for the right to emit sulphur dioxide, the South China Morning Post reported." (Reuters)

This is nifty: "Real-time traffic routing from the comfort of your car" - "Engineers have developed a system for taking anonymous cell-phone location information and turning it into an illuminated traffic map that identifies congestion in real time. The system takes advantage of the steady stream of positioning cues--untraced signals all cell phones produce, whether in use or not, as they seek towers with the strongest signals. It is the first traffic-solution technology that monitors patterns on rural roads and city streets as easily as on highways." (National Science Foundation)

"Safety in the Driver's Seat" - "In a series of new ads for Volkswagen's Jetta, drivers merrily go about their way, yakking it up with passengers, when a terrible crash occurs. Air bags burst open. Passengers emerge relatively unscathed. And the tagline appears: Safe happens. They are powerful commercials -- and just a tad misleading." (John Merline, TCS Daily)

Number of the month – 21 (Number Watch)

"Study shows link between morbid obesity, low IQ in toddlers" - "GAINESVILLE, Fla. - University of Florida researchers have discovered a link between morbid obesity in toddlers and lower IQ scores, cognitive delays and brain lesions similar to those seen in Alzheimer's disease patients, a new study shows. Although the cause of these cognitive impairments is still unknown, UF researchers suspect the metabolic disturbances obesity causes could be taking a toll on young brains, which are still developing and not fully protected, they write in an article published in the Journal of Pediatrics this month." (University of Florida)

Which came first, the ovine mentality or the porcine physique?

"Landscape corridors promote plant diversity" - "Landscape corridors – thin strips of habitat that connect isolated patches of habitat – are lifelines for native plants that live in the connected patches and therefore are a useful tool for conserving biodiversity. That's the result of the first replicated, large-scale study of plants and how they survive in both connected patches of habitat – those utilizing landscape corridors – and unconnected patches. Scientists at North Carolina State University and collaborators at other U.S. universities conducted the study." (North Carolina State University)

"BRAZIL: Teens Teach Parents New Family Farming Techniques" - "TRÊS PASSOS, Brazil - For centuries, farming methods have been passed down from parents to children. But an innovative rural education programme has broken with that tradition, and students are now bringing home new techniques to teach their parents in the Brazilian municipality of Três Passos." (IPS)

"Attack of the Lifesaving Tomatoes" - "Five years ago, Dr. Eduardo Blumwald of the University of California announced that he and his team had succeeded in genetically modifying tomato plants so that they could grow in soil with a high salt content. Not only that, but these plants actually removed the salt from the soil, storing it in their leaves. This was big news." (Joseph Kynaston Reeves, TCS Daily)

"Biotech Forests: Menace or Salvation for Wild Forests?" - "Last March, activists at the 8th Conference of the Parties (COP-8) for the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Curitiba, Brazil called for a global moratorium on genetically modified trees (GM trees). The activists claimed that genetically enhanced trees could harm the environment and the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities. In response, the COP-8 passed a resolution recommending the CBD signatories "take a precautionary approach when addressing the issue of genetically modified trees." The precautionary approach "recognizes that the absence of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing decisions where there is a risk of serious or irreversible harm." In general, it is chiefly decisions that would permit the deployment of new technologies that the precautionary approach postpones. We shall see that this line of attack cuts both ways when considering the effects of genetically enhanced trees." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"EU May Order Austria to Lift Ban on GMO Maize Types" - "BRUSSELS - Austria may soon face an order to lift its bans on two genetically modified (GMO) types of maize now that its presidency of the 25-country European Union has run its course, diplomats and officials said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Efforts to take GMO control blocked" - "Local food safety activists have apparently successfully led efforts to defeat a proposed new state law that would prevent other counties from following the lead of Mendocino County on genetically-modified (GM) farm crop regulation." (The Beacon)