Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Arctic ice 'disappearing fast'

Reported by the BBC :

New data from US scientists shows that the area covered by sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk for a fourth consecutive year.

They say that September 2005 sees the lowest extent of ice cover for more than a century.

The researchers conclude that human-induced global warming is at least partially responsible...

The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a four-year study involving hundreds of scientists, projected an additional temperature rise of 4-7C by 2100.

If the current trend can be ascribed in part to human-induced climate change, Mark Serreze sees major reasons for concern.

'What we're seeing is a process in which we start to lose ice cover during the summer,' he said, 'so areas which formerly had ice are now open water, which is dark.

'These dark areas absorb a lot of the Sun's energy, much more than the ice; and what happens then is that the oceans start to warm up, and it becomes very difficult for ice to form during the following autumn and winter.

'It looks like this is exactly what we're seeing - a positive feedback effect, a 'tipping-point'.'

The idea behind tipping-points is that at some stage the rate of global warming would accelerate, as rising temperatures break down natural restraints or trigger environmental changes which release further amounts of greenhouse gases.

Possible tipping-points include:

The disappearance of sea ice leading to greater absorption of solar radiation.

A switch from forests being net absorbers of carbon dioxide to net producers.

Melting permafrost, releasing trapped methane.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Confining civilisation to narrow bands around the poles


Climate change: are some places going to get much hotter and some places going to get much colder?,6903,1153513,00.html

"Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us..."

"A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world."


"An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately,' according to a report commissioned by the Pentagon.

"The report... identifies a plausible scenario in which global warming disrupts ocean currents that help moderate climate in North America and Europe, causing a five degree Fahrenheit drop in parts of North America by 2020 and a six degree drop in Northern Europe. It says global warming 'should be... a U.S. national security concern.'"


"CLIMATE change researchers have detected the first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream — the mighty ocean current that keeps Britain and Europe from freezing.

"They have found that one of the “engines” driving the Gulf Stream — the sinking of supercooled water in the Greenland Sea — has weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength.

"The weakening, apparently caused by global warming, could herald big changes in the current over the next few years or decades. Paradoxically, it could lead to Britain and northwestern and Europe undergoing a sharp drop in temperatures.

"Such a change has long been predicted by scientists but the new research is among the first to show clear experimental evidence of the phenomenon."


The Sunday Herald, 19 June 2005, has a series of articles on climate change:

1987: Warmest year since records began, helping to make the 1980s the hottest decade to date.

1995: The hottest year recorded so far.

1998: The hottest year in the hottest decade of the hottest century of the millennium.

2000: IPCC scientists warn that the world could warm by 6°C within a century.

2001: US president Bush rejects Kyoto.

2003: The hottest summer in Europe for at least 500 years, causing an estimated 30,000 deaths.

Rob Edwards, in the Sunday Herald, 19 June 2005:

"The Antarctic ice sheet... Only a fraction of it has to melt to trigger a cataclysm... Over the past 50 years, 87% of its glaciers have retreated, and they are now retreating by an average of 50 metres a year...

"If the ice sheet melts, the level of the world’s seas could rise by about five metres, submerging half of Bangladesh and three-quarters of the Netherlands and drowning Calcutta, large parts of Sydney, London and Florida."

A scientific study last week revealed that "Bangladesh’s biggest island, Bhola, had been shrunk to half its size over the past 40 years by rising waters, making half a million people homeless.Altogether, 50 million people in Bangladesh live less than five metres above sea level."

"The entire Amazon rainforest could dry out and die. And the world’s climate could flip into a new stable state 6ºC hotter than now, turning a third of the land to desert and confining civilisation to narrow bands around the poles."

"Leaked drafts of the proposed Gleneagles declaration on climate change reveal that it has been watered down by the US to the point where it no longer even accepts that human activities are to blame."

"The pollution that belches from every vehicle, every factory, every farm and every home is rising up into the atmosphere and bouncing the sun’s reflected rays back to Earth, causing the greenhouse effect....

"Polar ice is melting, sea levels are rising, storms are increasing, droughts are becoming more frequent – and more communities around the globe are suffering...

"It has been accepted by every major scientific organisation, every major non-governmental organisation and the vast majority of governments.

"Even the tiny band of sceptics is dwindling, with the veteran TV botanist, David Bellamy, withdrawing from the argument after admitting that he was wrong to say that glaciers were advancing not retreating...

"An analysis of the latest figures shows that pollution from four of the G8 – Canada, US, Japan and Italy – has been increasing when it should have been decreasing.

"The US rise of 13%, between 1990 and 2002, is bigger than the overall reductions that the other seven countries are meant to achieve under Kyoto.

"Even the four countries that are on target for cutting their pollution – France, Germany, UK and Russia – have got there mostly by accident. Dirty old industries in Russia were closed by the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and in Germany, the same happened in the east after reunification.

"Much of the UK’s cuts can be attributed to the shutdown of the coal-mining industry and the Ravenscraig steelworks under the previous Conservative government. Overall, not counting Russia, the G8 countries have increased emissions of carbon dioxide by 7% since 1990, when they should have cut them by about 5%...

"Between 1970 and 1995, the availability of water in Africa decreased 2.8 times... In southern Africa and parts of the Horn, rainfall is projected to decline by about 10% by 2050...

"There are many other things that G8 countries should be doing to curb their own pollution. They need to boost their use of clean energy technologies, tapping wind, wave, tidal, solar and biomass to a much greater extent. They need to develop the technology to capture the carbon produced by burning coal and to store it under the sea or land, so that China has a clean way of utilising its coal.

"G8 leaders ....How can they carry on endorsing the unrelenting increase in air travel and car ownership...

"Along with floods in the Ganges delta and famines in Africa, it is the communities that inhabit low-lying Pacific islands or cling to the ice around the Arctic that are suffering...."


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ethical Consumers; Corporate 'Wrongdoers'

A look at some 'corporate wrongdoers'.

Alcoa - the company that links BacoFoil with the US treasury secretary, a Mexican sweatshop and an Icelandic wilderness

Animal testing labs - the UK's five largest contract animal testing laboratories



Biotech giant Bayer - the German pharmaceutical and pesticide multinational now moving into biotechnology

Boycott Bush relaunched with up-to-date brandlist of Republican donor companies

PR firm Burson Marsteller - "perception management" for Monsanto, Philip Morrix, Union Carbide, Exxon...

Carillion - constructing tomorrow with PFI

Caterpillar - treading heavily in the Occupied Territories

Corporate accountancy firms - the big five accountancy firms that play key roles in international corporate decision-making, and their influence on how issues like labour rights and climate change are addressed.

Dole - not so sweet billion dollar fruit and flower producer and marketer.

Ford - car manufacturer and one of the engines of climate change Venture capitalists

Doughty Hanson - Britain's largest venture capital fund

Oil company ExxonMobil

Chinese state oil company Petrochina

Sara Lee - cakes, sweatshops and racism

Prison builder Serco


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Katrina; mercenaries; a 'barge striking the levee'; diversion of funds to Israel; 40,000 dead?

Some extracts from the site of Wayne Madsen:

8 September

WMR is receiving reports that mercenary private military contractors (PMCs) are now operating in the New Orleans metropolitan area...

There are unconfirmed reports of mercenaries shooting residents of New Orleans and that mercenaries are involved in burning the bodies of victims in makeshift crematoria set up throughout the city. The reported burning of bodies could be an attempt by the White House to suppress the total death count to an "acceptable," "manageable," and "spinnable" level...

September 7, 2005 -- Locals from Lakeview subdivision of New Orleans report that after Katrina passed a loose barge struck levee causing breach that flooded city.

WMR has just been informed by evacuees in Baton Rouge from Lakeview, a well-to-do New Orleans neighborhood, that the flooding of the city was caused by a loose barge striking the levee on the 17th Street Canal thus weakening the retaining wall. The breach was not caused by rising flood waters as reported by FEMA and other agencies.

Distraught evacuees want to know why the Coast Guard or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not secure the barge. The evacuees who witnessed the barge striking the levee also want to know why the major media is not covering this story. It is not known what company owns the barge but if it is a major campaign contributor to the GOP, the answer is self-evident...

WMR has discovered that the Department of Homeland Security has, in addition to steering millions of dollars of FEMA money to GOP-connected firms, reallocated important disaster recovery funds to Israeli security and information technology contractors. DHS has even sponsored high tech fairs in Jerusalem that have provided a fast track for Israeli firms to grab a large portion of DHS's $47 billion annual budget. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff's wife Meryl worked for FEMA when the agency was undergoing severe budget cuts during Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's and Joseph Allbaugh's tenure. In addition, critical DHS funds earmarked for state disaster preparedness were instead re-steered to Israeli firms that landed lucrative contracts with state homeland security offices, especially in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York...

September 6, 2005 -- Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama death toll expected at between 30 and 40,000! According to mortuary teams on the Gulf Coast, they are expecting a death toll as high as 40,000. And just like the 911 debacle, Bush is holding no one responsible or accountable for this preventable mass murderof Americans. Incompetence breeds and rewards incompetence. One day, the history books will record that George W. Bush was responsible for America's worst terrorist attack, its costliest war that was based on a pack of lies, and the deadliest natural disaster in the nation's history. 3,000 dead from 911, 2000 dead American miltary from Iraq, and 40,000 from Katrina. 45,000 dead Americans during Bush's watch. Add to that 100,000 dead Iraqis. Total lost souls who will haunt Bush for the rest of his life (if he has a conscience) - 145,000. There's your damned legacy Bush!


Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina - New Orleans


"Heard that part of the reason our house flooded is they dynamited part of the levee "


"On Thursday, there was a report on the net Delta Force had just dropped into New Orleans."


"FEMA privatized hurricane disaster recovery planning for New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. The firms that received the contract are big GOP contributors."


"Last September, a Category 5 hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died."


At least five people shot dead by police as they walked across a New Orleans bridge yesterday were contractors working for the US Defence department, according to a report by The Associated Press.,5744,16494579%5e12377,00.html