With Wednesday's announcement that President Obama
plans to personally visit the UN-sponsored Copenhagen climate change
conference next month, there are mounting hopes that his pledge that
the US will cut greenhouses gases by 17 percent over a decade will
jump-start world action on climate change. (What's been generally
overlooked, though, is that the 17 percent figure is based on a
pollution high point in 2005 used in Congressional legislation, so the
proposed reduction is actually as little as 20 percent of the targeted
reduction goals - based on 1990 levels - recommended by the
UN-sponsored international scientific body that suggests treaty
Yet even that modest proposed reduction may not be
met. That's because of industry-driven compromises and delays in the
Senate after the House passed its own watered-down bill, so the Senate
won't consider climate legislation until the spring. Meanwhile, the
nuclear power industry, despite its dangers, is poised to make a major
comeback as a purported panacea for global warming. President Obama,
first as a candidate and now as president, expressed his willingness
to use nuclear power.
Despite the surprising acceptance so far of nuclear power by most
environmental groups as a necessary evil to get a final climate bill,
dissenting groups, including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and
Beyond Nuclear, are running a rear-guard action trying to head off the
rush to nuclear power. It's a troubled industry that hasn't seen a new
order placed since the 70s and a new plant built in over a decade,
with even Wall Street steering clear.
Yet a tri-partisan proposal, the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham bill, aims to
win 60 votes by adding more subsidies for nuclear power and fossil
fuel industries, while a bill co-sponsored by centrist Senator Jim
Webb would offer the struggling nuclear power industry - repackaged as
clean energy - as much as $100 billion in added loan guarantees. As
Nuclear Power Daily reported:
"Nuclear power needs to be a core component of electricity generation
if we are to meet our emission reduction targets," Kerry and Graham
wrote in an editorial published by The New York Times last month.
In any revised bill, Graham insisted on "a renaissance of nuclear
power that will help us solve the climate problem, as well as create
millions of new jobs."
But some environmental critics contend that the hype is misguided on
several fronts. Linda Gunter, a spokesperson for the Beyond Nuclear
advocacy group, points out, "It's an incredible amount of expense to
bring online and pour hundreds of billions into a slow industry that
endangers the public with waste, radioactivity and chemical releases."
Meanwhile, the billions in federal guarantees and the funds available
from selling "cap-and-trade" emissions permits would, they fear,
largely be funneled to the nuclear industry - instead of building
renewable energy industries and the green jobs potentially available
in solar power, wind power and conservation.
"Renewables and energy efficiency will be completely strangled by
investing in nuclear power, and will eliminate those opportunities,"
Gunter says. And with each nuclear plant taking between six to ten
years to start operating - and costs running between $12-$25 billion
each for ratepayers, investors or taxpayers - "we've got a finite
amount of time to face this [global warming]," she says.
Beyond Nuclear - allied with such progressive stalwarts as Greenpeace,
Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth and Physicians for Social
Responsibility (see its Nuclear Bailout site) - opposes nuclear power
as a solution for global warming on other grounds, as well:
- A meltdown could cause tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of
billions of dollars in damages and spread radioactive contamination
across vast areas for centuries.
- Security at reactors is inadequate, due to cost-cutting by an
industry otherwise unable to compete in the electricity market.
- Most reactors still remain vulnerable to aircraft and other attacks,
making them potential dirty bombs in our backyards.
- Civilian nuclear programs provide the materials, knowledge and
technology to transition to nuclear weapons production as happened in
India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Nuclear expansion impedes the
goals of nonproliferation and disarmament.
- No country has an operating repository for radioactive waste.
Instead, waste is stored in unsecured fuel pools and casks at reactor
sites. There is no solution to the seven-decade old radioactive waste
- Nuclear power is not an emissions-free energy
source. Reactors routinely release radioactivity and toxic chemicals,
both harmful to health. From uranium mining to waste storage, nuclear
power emits greenhouse gases.
- Exposure to radiation alters DNA which can cause
cancer and genetic mutations and shorten lives. Wildlife near the
Chernobyl reactor explosion have demonstrated decreased longevity.
And for taxpayers weary of the trillions in bailouts
and guarantees that have put us on the hook for Wall Street's future
risky bets that can blow up the economy, major recent reports show
what could happen if taxpayer-backed nuclear plants literally blew up
or defaulted on their loans. As Beyond Nuclear observed about this
month's Forbes magazine report on an ambitious nuclear company angling
for current federal loan guarantees:
As described in the current issue of Forbes magazine, federal nuclear
loan guarantees would transfer the financial risks of the "nuclear
renaissance" onto U.S. taxpayers. The non-partisan Congressional
Budget Office has estimated that "well over half" of nuclear loan
guarantees will default, leaving taxpayers to hold the bag for many
billions of dollars per failed project. In February 1985, Forbes
reported that "[t]he failure of the U.S. nuclear power program ranks
as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on
a monumental scale. The utility industry has already invested $125
billion in nuclear power, with an additional $140 billion to come
before the decade is out, and only the blind, or the biased, can now
think that most of the money has been well spent." If Energy Secretary
Chu rushes nuclear loan guarantees out the door by the end of the
year, as he has threatened to do, this ugly history could easily
And nuclear opponents wonder: Can we afford the risk of banking on
nuclear power when the latest report from the top international panel
of scientific experts shows that the dangers are mounting faster than
previously thought? As recounted by The Washington Independent in the
context of a new right-wing campaign over stolen internal emails of
global warming scientists:
A study released today by 26 leading climatologists, which finds that
the climate situation is actually far more dire than the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had led us to believe.
The new report, dubbed "The
Copenhagen Diagnosis," seeks to fill in the gaps since the last
IPCC assessment, published in 2007 but drafted earlier. Its authors
include 14 members of the IPCC, the world's top climate change
Jonathan Hiskes, who's compared the two reports in greater depth than
I have, writes:
The new diagnosis finds that arctic sea ice is melting 40 percent
faster than the panel estimated just a few years ago. Another
startling finding: Satellites have found that the global average for
rising sea levels was 3.4 millimeters per year from 1993-2008. The
IPCC estimated it would be 1.9 mm for that period--short by 80
In addition, a recent analysis of the economic dangers posed by
nuclear power - based on the well-justified wariness of Wall Street -
should also give its cheerleaders pause. If an investment is too risky
for Wall Street high-flyers willing to gamble on fuel options,
Singapore real estate and subprime mortgages, then maybe it's a bit
too dicey for taxpayers, too. Indeed, it seems that a nuclear power
plant is the ultimate toxic asset. As Nuclear Power Daily reported:
If Congress and the states do not follow the lead of
Wall Street in declining to underwrite financially "risky and
uneconomic" new nuclear reactors, the resulting taxpayer-backed loan
guarantees and other subsidies could pave the way for the same kind of
industry-wide meltdown that happened in the 1970s and 1980s, according
to a major new study by Dr. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic
analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont
Titled "All Risk, No Reward for Taxpayers and Ratepayers," the new
study by Dr. Cooper looks at the reasons that Wall Street is shunning
the financing of new reactors and concludes that Congress and state
lawmakers would be well-advised to follow the same course to avoid
leaving taxpayers and ratepayers holding the bag in the form of failed
loan guarantees and needlessly higher utility bills.
But despite all the potential dangers, critics say,
most mainstream environmental groups haven't strongly opposed the push
to nuclear power or protested legislative give-aways to other energy
industries. "It's gotten to the point where environmental groups and
members of Congress are bargaining away so much they're willing to
accept anything with the word 'climate' in the title," says Kyle Ash,
a Greenpeace lobbyist.
In contrast, Sierra Club spokesperson David Willett doesn't believe
that abandoning the bill over nuclear power is worth considering at
this point. "In general, I don't think that nuclear power is the best
option, and we have concerns for security, safety and cost," he told
Truthout. "But there are a lot of fronts on energy that we've focused
on aside from just getting a bill passed, like making sure that
there's more in there for energy efficiency and renewables." He adds,
"We are applauding the effort of Kerry, Graham and Lieberman for
[trying to] find a way for a bill to clear the Senate. Nuclear power
isn't now a deal-breaker."
Yet an insider look at the rifts among progressives over
climate-change bills by E&E Daily raises questions over the possible
high cost of effective global climate change resulting from the
trade-off for political influence and pragmatism. The well-respected
publication reported recently:
For the past year, major environmental groups have framed the climate
change bill as the movement's single most significant piece of
legislation in several decades - if not ever - dedicating the bulk of
their political muscle and heavy financial resources to passage of the
But as the bill moves forward, with this summer's historic House vote
and yesterday's Senate committee markup, some question whether in
their quest to get a bill, environmentalists and their allies are far
too willing to compromise on historic priorities such as offshore
drilling and nuclear power ...
And though [most] environmentalists openly admit that the final
product may not be their ideal bill, they also argue there is no
choice but to accept some items they do not want in a situation where
the fate of the legislation hangs on moderate lawmakers who are
hesitant to back a bill.
"We can only do what we have the political support to do," said Margie
Alt, executive director of Environment America ...
But one thing environmentalists and their congressional allies have
not done is make specific demands on items that must be in the bill to
ensure the environmental community's support. Perhaps even more
telling, when lawmakers have pushed for policies that have been
vehemently opposed in the past, environmental groups have not actively
The clearest example to date is last month's op-ed from Sens. John
Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), which stated the climate
bill needs to have provisions for increased offshore drilling and
support nuclear power if it hopes to pick up bipartisan support and
pass the Senate.
There has been virtually no outcry from mainstream environmental
groups over the bill's sponsor (Kerry) seemingly backing such a
And that's one reason why, when President Obama meets with foreign
leaders in Copenhagen, he won't be able to deliver on his early
promises for global climate change. And that's also why you could find
yourself living down the street from a nuclear power plant in the next
several years, even as portions of US coastal cities may eventually
find themselves underwater.
Hopes rise for climate deal
DECEMBER 07, 2009
The Copenhagen conference will be the biggest climate change meeting
in history [AFP]
The UN has expressed optimism over international talks on climate
change that are set to open in Denmark this week, billing it as a
"turning point" in a bid to slow down global warming.
Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN framework convention on climate
change, said he was confident the summit would be a success.
"Copenhagen is already a turning point in the international response
to climate change," he said.
The high-stakes talks starting on Monday in the Danish capital
Copenhagen seek to agree on measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions,
and raise billions of dollars for the poor in aid and clean
A major challenge facing the two-week conference ending with a summit
of 105 world leaders on December 18 is to overcome deep distrust
between rich and poor nations about sharing out the burden of costly
curbs on emissions.
But the planned attendance of heads of state and pledges to curb
emissions by all the top emitters - led by China, the US, Russia and
India - have raised hopes for an accord after sluggish negotiations in
the past two years.
Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, and
Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN's climate expert panel, will be
among the speakers at Monday's opening session.
Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister whose country is the world's
fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, announced on Saturday that he
would attend the closing summit, joining 104 other leaders, including
Barack Obama, the US president.
World leaders did not attend the last time the world's environment
ministers agreed on the existing UN climate pact, known as the Kyoto
Protocol, in 1997.
Copenhagen will be the biggest climate change meeting in history, with
15,000 participants from more than 190 nations.
New money needed
De Boer said developing nations need to take new action to slow the
rise of their emissions.
He also wants rich nations to accept deep cuts to their emissions by
2020 and come up with at least $10bn a year in aid to the poor
countries to kick off a deal, saying it has to be "new money, real and
On Sunday he tried to allay criticism among climate change sceptics
after emails from climate scientists that appeared to cast doubt on
their research were recently leaked to the public.
De Boer acknowledged the emails did serious damage, but said the
review process by some 2,500 scientists of climate change research was
thorough and credible.
China, India, Brazil and South Africa earlier rejected a Danish
suggestion to set a goal of halving world emissions by 2050, saying
rich nations which have burnt fossil fuels since the industrial
revolution must first cut their own emissions.
But South Africa added new impetus on Sunday, saying it was willing to
cut its carbon emissions to 34 per cent below expected levels by 2020,
provided that rich countries furnish financial and technological help.
"At the deal's heart must be a settlement between
the rich world and the developing world. Social justice demands that
the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets. Many of us,
particularly in the developed world, will have to change our
The climate talks have sparked protests in many
European cities, adding to the pressure world leaders are under to
reduce rising emissions that the UN says will cause desertification,
mudslides, more powerful cyclones, rising sea levels and the
extinction of species.
The existing Kyoto pact obliges industrialised nations to cut
emissions until 2012, and the idea behind the Copenhagen talks is to
get action from all major emitters, including China and India, which
were exempt from the Kyoto agreement.
The meeting will test how far developing nations will stick to
entrenched positions, for example that rich nations must cut their
greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent by 2020 - far deeper than
targets on offer.
On Monday some 56 newspapers from 45 countries
published a joint editorial urging rich and poor nations to unite in
"At the deal's heart must be a settlement between the rich world and
the developing world," it said.
"Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into
its pockets. Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will
have to change our lifestyles."
Climate change: How global warming is having an
PARIS, (AFP) Nov 29, 2009
From cautiously advising that man-made, heat-trapping carbon gases
would disrupt Earth's climate system, mainstream scientists are
increasingly convinced that the first signs of change are already
Following are the main indicators, reported in the
scientific press over past three years:
RISING SEAS: Sea levels have risen in tandem with
global warming, according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC). The global average sea level has risen since
1961 at an average rate of 1.8mm (0.07 inches) per year, but
accelerated from 1991 to 3.1mm (0.12 inches) per year. The IPCC
estimated sea levels would rise 18-59 centimetres (7.2-23.2 inches) by
2100. But added runoff from melting land ice is accelerating.
According to Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK),
the global sea level is likely to rise at least twice as much as
projected. If emissions are not curbed, "it may well exceed one metre
SHRINKING GLACIERS: Mountain glaciers and snow cover
in both hemispheres have widely retreated in the past few decades. One
of the most closely-observed sites, the Cook glacier on the southern
Indian Ocean island of Kerguelen, has shrunk by a fifth in 40 years.
Around 1.3 billion people depend on the water that flows down from
Himalayan glaciers, which in some places are falling back at up to 70
metres (230 feet) per year. The snows capping Mount Kilimanjaro,
Africa's tallest peak, could vanish entirely in 20 years, US experts
reported this month.
SHIFTING SEASONS: Some species of birds and fish are
shifting habitat in response to warmer temperatures. The range of 105
bird species in France moved north, on average, 91 kilometres (56.5
miles) from 1989 to 2006. Average temperatures, however, shifted
northward 273 kilometres (170 miles) over the same period, nearly
three times farther. Twenty-one out of 36 species of fish in the North
Sea migrated northwards between 1962 and 2001 in search of cooler
waters. Anecdotal evidence from commercial fishermen says once-exotic
species of fish from warmer latitudes now inhabit southern British
OCEAN ACIDIFICATION: The acidity of the seas is
rising as oceans absorb more carbon dioxide (CO2), with an impact on
coral and micro-organisms, marine biologists say. Since the start of
the Industrial Revolution, the protective calcium shell of amoeba-like
organisms living in the Southern Ocean called foraminifera, a vital
link in the food chain, has fallen in weight by a third. "Within
decades," acidification could severely affect biodiversity and
fisheries, 150 marine scientists jointly warned last January.
ARCTIC ICE: The Greenland ice sheet has lost 1,500
billion tonnes of ice since 2000, contributing 0.75 mm (0.03 inch)
annually to sea levels, according to a study published this month. In
2009, the Arctic summer sea ice pack thawed to its third smallest size
on record, confirming a shrinkage trend seen over the past 30 years.
Some experts believe the Arctic ice cap will disappear completely in
summer months within 20 to 30 years.
ANTARCTIC WARMING: The Antarctic peninsula has
warmed by 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in the last 50
years, around six times the global average. In the past 20 years,
Antarctica has lost seven ice shelves -- huge floating ledges of ice,
attached to the shore, that are fed by glaciers.
PERMAFROST RETREAT: Emissions of the potent
greenhouse gas methane were found to be soaring at sites investigated
in 2006 by University of Alaska scientists at lakes in northern
Siberia. The reason is thawing of the permafrost, causing the warmed
soil to release gas that had been stored for thousands of years.
Billions of tonnes of methane, which comes from natural sources such
as decomposing vegetation and marshland, are stored in the frozen
lands of Siberia, Canada and Alaska.
CHANGED PRECIPITATION: Patterns of rainfall or
snowfall increased "significantly" from 1900-2005 in eastern parts of
North and South America, northern Europe and northern and central Asia
but declined in the Sahel, southern Africa and parts of southern Asia,
says the IPCC. "Globally, the area affected by drought has likely
increased since the 1970s," it adds.
STORMS: A mooted link between climate change and
extreme events has little scientific consensus. A 2008 study by the
Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London found
that warmer seas accounted for 40 percent of a large increase (from
six a year to eight a year) in the number of Atlantic hurricanes from
1996-2005. Other scientists say it is hard to say whether a drought,
flood or cyclone is part of the longer trend which is climate change
or simply just a one-off event, or series of them.
SOURCES: IPCC 4th Assessment Report (2007);
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center
(Australia); Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK);
Nature; Science; Nature Geoscience; Laboratory for Studying Geophysics
and Space Oceanography (France); French National Museum of Natural
History; Pen Hadow Arctic expedition; US National Snow and Ice Data
Center; British Antarctic Survey (BAS); University of Alaska at
Copenhagen climate change talks must fail, says top scientist
Exclusive: World's leading climate change expert
says summit talks so flawed that deal would be a disaster
2 December 200
The scientist who convinced the world to take notice
of the looming danger of global warming says it would be better for
the planet and for future generations if next week's Copenhagen
climate change summit ended in collapse.
In an interview with the Guardian, James Hansen, the world's
pre-eminent climate scientist, said any agreement likely to emerge
from the negotiations would be so deeply flawed that it would be
better to start again from scratch.
"I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right
track because it's a disaster track," said Hansen, who heads the Nasa
Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.
"The whole approach is so fundamentally wrong that it is better to
reassess the situation. If it is going to be the Kyoto-type thing then
[people] will spend years trying to determine exactly what that
means." He was speaking as progress towards a deal in Copenhagen
received a boost today, with India revealing a target to curb its
carbon emissions. All four of the major emitters - the US, China, EU
and India - have now tabled offers on emissions, although the equally
vexed issue of funding for developing nations to deal with global
warming remains deadlocked.
Hansen, in repeated appearances before Congress beginning in 1989, has
done more than any other scientist to educate politicians about the
causes of global warming and to prod them into action to avoid its
most catastrophic consequences. But he is vehemently opposed to the
carbon market schemes - in which permits to pollute are bought and
sold - which are seen by the EU and other governments as the most
efficient way to cut emissions and move to a new clean energy economy.
Hansen is also fiercely critical of Barack Obama - and even Al Gore,
who won a Nobel peace prize for his efforts to get the world to act on
climate change - saying politicians have failed to meet what he
regards as the moral challenge of our age.
In Hansen's view, dealing with climate change allows
no room for the compromises that rule the world of elected politics.
"This is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or
the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill," he said. "On those
kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can't say let's reduce
slavery, let's find a compromise and reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%."
He added: "We don't have a leader who is able to grasp it and say what
is really needed. Instead we are trying to continue business as
The understated Iowan's journey from climate scientist to activist
accelerated in the last years of the Bush administration. Hansen, a
reluctant public speaker, says he was forced into the public realm by
the increasingly clear looming spectre of droughts, floods, famines
and drowned cities indicated by the science.
That enormous body of scientific evidence has been put under a
microscope by climate sceptics after last month's release online of
hacked emails sent by respected researchers at the climate research
unit of the University of East Anglia. Hansen admitted the controversy
could shake public's trust, and called for an investigation. "All that
stuff they are arguing about the data doesn't really change the
analysis at all, but it does leave a very bad impression," he said.
The row reached Congress today, with Republicans accusing the
researchers of engaging in "scientific fascism" and pressing the Obama
administration's top science adviser, John Holdren, to condemn the
email. Holdren, a climate scientist who wrote one of the emails in the
UEA trove, said he was prepared to denounce any misuse of
data by the scientists - if one is proved.
Hansen has emerged as a leading campaigner against
the coal industry, which produces more greenhouse gas emissions than
any other fuel source.
He has become a fixture at campus demonstrations and last summer was
arrested at a protest against mountaintop mining in West Virginia,
where he called the Obama government's policies "half-assed".
He has irked some environmentalists by espousing a direct carbon tax
on fuel use. Some see that as a distraction from rallying support in
Congress for cap-and-trade legislation that is on the table.
He is scathing of that approach. "This is analogous
to the indulgences that the Catholic church sold in the middle ages.
The bishops collected lots of money and the sinners got redemption.
Both parties liked that arrangement despite its absurdity. That is
exactly what's happening," he said. "We've got the developed countries
who want to continue more or less business as usual and then these
developing countries who want money and that is what they can get
through offsets [sold through the carbon markets]."
For all Hansen's pessimism, he insists there is still hope. "It may be
that we have already committed to a future sea level rise of a metre
or even more but that doesn't mean that you give up.
"Because if you give up you could be talking about tens of metres. So
I find it screwy that people say you passed a tipping point so it's
too late. In that case what are you thinking: that we are going to
abandon the planet? You want to minimise the damage."
Forwarded by loni (email@example.com)
NOTE from Jean: the following article was first
published in the Guardian under the following title:
Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate
what Japan is to whaling
The tar barons have held the nation to ransom. This
thuggish petro-state is today the greatest obstacle to a deal in
The Urgent Threat to World Peace is Canada
The harm this country could do in the next two weeks
will outweigh all the good it has done in a century.
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 20th
When you think of Canada, which qualities come to
mind? The world's peace-keeper, the friendly nation, a liberal
counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour,
decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This country's
government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a
chimpanzee's tea party. So amazingly destructive has Canada become,
and so insistent have my Canadian friends been that I weigh into this
fight, that I've broken my self-imposed ban on flying and come to
So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of
a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petrostate.
Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a
complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary
resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The
price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a
government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by
Until now I believed that the nation which has done
most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States.
I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the
harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good
In 2006 the new Canadian government announced that
it was abandoning its targets to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto
Protocol. No other country that had ratified the treaty has done this.
Canada was meant to have cut emissions by 6% between 1990 and 2012.
Instead they have already risen by 26%(1).
It's now clear that Canada will refuse to be
sanctioned for abandoning its legal obligations. The Kyoto Protocol
can be enforced only through goodwill: countries must agree to accept
punitive future obligations if they miss their current targets. But
the future cut Canada has volunteered is smaller than that of any
other rich nation(2). Never mind special measures; it won't accept
even an equal share. The Canadian government is testing the
international process to destruction and finding that it breaks all
too easily. By demonstrating that climate sanctions aren't worth the
paper they're written on, it threatens to render any treaty struck at
After giving the finger to Kyoto, Canada then set
out to prevent the other nations from striking a successor agreement.
At the end of 2007 it single-handedly blocked a Commonwealth
resolution to support binding targets for industrialised nations(3).
After the climate talks in Poland in December 2008, it won the Fossil
of the Year award, presented by environmental groups to the country
which had done most to disrupt the talks(4). The climate change
performance index, which assesses the efforts of the world's 60
richest nations, was published in the same month. Saudi Arabia came
60th. Canada came 59th(5).
In June this year the media obtained Canadian
briefing documents which showed that the government was scheming to
divide the Europeans(6). During the meeting in Bangkok in October,
almost the entire developing world bloc walked out when the Canadian
delegate was speaking, as they were so revolted by his bullying(7).
Last week the Commonwealth heads of government battled for hours (and
eventually won) against Canada's obstructions. A concerted campaign
has now begun to expel Canada from the Commonwealth(8).
In Copenhagen next week, this country will do
everything in its power to wreck the talks. The rest of the world must
do everything in its power to stop it. But such is the fragile nature
of climate agreements that one rich nation - especially a member of
the G8, the Commonwealth and the Kyoto group of industrialised
countries - could scupper the treaty. Canada now threatens the
well-being of the world.
Why? There's a simple answer. Canada is developing
the world's second largest reserve of oil. Did I say oil? It's
actually a filthy mixture of bitumen, sand, heavy metals and toxic
organic chemicals. The tar sands, most of which occur in Alberta, are
being extracted by the biggest opencast mining operation on earth. An
area the size of England, of pristine forests and marshes, will be dug
up, unless the Canadians can stop this madness. Already it looks like
a scene from the end of the world: the strip-miners are creating a
churned black hell on an unimaginable scale.
To extract oil from this mess, it needs to be heated
and washed. Three barrels of water are used to process one barrel of
oil(9). The contaminated water is held in vast tailing ponds, some of
which are so toxic that the tar companies employ people to scoop dead
birds off the surface(10). Most are unlined. They leak organic
poisons, arsenic and mercury into the rivers. The First Nations
people living downstream have developed a range of
exotic cancers and auto-immune diseases(11).
Refining tar sands requires two to three times as
much energy as refining crude oil. The companies exploiting them burn
enough natural gas to heat six million homes(12). Alberta's tar sands
operation is the world's biggest single industrial source of carbon
emissions(13). By 2020, if the current growth continues, it will
produce more greenhouse gases than Ireland or Denmark(14). Already,
thanks in part to the tar mining, Canadians have almost the highest
per capita emissions on earth, and the stripping of Alberta has
Canada hasn't acted alone. The biggest leaseholder
in the tar sands is Shell(15), a company that has spent millions
persuading the public that it respects the environment. The other
great greenwasher, BP, initially decided to stay out of tar. Now it
has invested in plants built to process it(16). The British bank RBS,
70% of which belongs to you and me (the government's share will soon
rise to 84%), has lent or underwritten £8bn for exploiting the tar
The purpose of Canada's assault on the international
talks is to protect this industry. This is not a poor nation. It does
not depend for its economic survival on exploiting this resource. But
the tar barons of Alberta have been able to hold the whole country to
ransom. They have captured Canada's politics and are turning this
lovely country into a cruel and thuggish place.
Canada is a cultured, peaceful nation, which every
so often allows a band of rampaging Neanderthals to trample all over
it. Timber companies were licensed to log the old-growth forest in
Clayaquot Sound; fishing companies were permitted to destroy the Grand
Banks: in both cases these get-rich-quick schemes impoverished Canada
and its reputation. But this is much worse, as it affects the whole
world. The government's scheming at the climate talks is doing for its
national image what whaling has done for Japan.
I will not pretend that this country is the only
obstacle to an agreement at Copenhagen. But it is the major one. It
feels odd to be writing this. The immediate threat to the global
effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi
Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?
2. The government has pledged to match the (feeble)
US 2020 target (which in Canada's case means just 3% against 1990
levels) , but unlike the United States, Canada has proposed no cuts
beyond that date.
4. Andrew Nikiforuk, September 2009. How The Tar
Sands Are Fueling The Global Climate Crisis.
Greenpeace Canada. ***
6. Lee Berthiaume, 17th June 2009. Government
Planned to Split EU On Climate Change Talks. Embassy Magazine. Cited
by Andrew Nikiforuk, ibid.
12. Andrew Nikiforuk, ibid.
14. Andrew Nikiforuk, ibid.
17. Ed Crooks, 16th November 2009. Canadian Protest
Over RBS Oil Sands Role. The Financial Times.
Related rebuttal, petition and information:
Canada doesn't deserve this criticism of its green
record (4 December 2009) MORE GREENWASHING HOGWASH FROM THE TORIES !!
BUT NOT ALL CANADIANS ARE AS BAD. The provinces of Quebec, Ontario and
British Columbia - amongst others - have already taken excellent steps
in the right direction.
We're committed to fighting climate change, and are
responsibly managing our oil sands In response to George Monbiot's
commentary, I would like to assure your readers that Canada remains
steadfast in its commitment to fight climate change (Canada's image
lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling, 30
November). The government of Canada remains committed to achieving
deep, economy-wide reductions in Canada's total greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions. All sectors will contribute to emission reductions,
including the oil sands, which today account for approximately 5% of
Canada's GHG emissions. The Canadian government, along with provincial
governments, and industry, is committed to managing this key strategic
resource in an environmentally responsible way. This includes
developing a progressive regulatory regime, investing in new
environmental technologies (including $3.5bn for carbon capture and
storage) and engaging our partners in the international community.
Canada's emission reduction targets are in line, and will remain
aligned, with those recently proposed by the Obama administration.
Canada is committed to a harmonised North American approach. This
approach is being advanced in several areas, including: the Canada-US
Clean Energy Dialogue; collaboration with the provinces and
territories to develop a continental cap-and-trade system; and
implementing a North American standard for GHG emissions and fuel
economy from passenger vehicles. CLIP
The Tar Sands - WITH NEW VIDEO "Tar Sands Blow"
GO SIGN THIS PETITION: Dear Canadian Leaders: I will
not allow Canada to exploit the world's dirtiest oil while the rest of
the world fights to prevent catastrophic climate change. P.S. If you
think the tar sands are the answer, then you're asking the wrong
The Tar Sands Blow
WFC (SEE World Future Council Newsletter BELOW)
Councillor Maude Barlow, in her role as national Chairperson to the
Council of Canadians, is supporting the demand for no new approvals of
tar sand developments and expansions. There are serious social,
environmental and economic consequences of tar sands development, such
as water waste and contamination. Faced with a standstill in the
market caused by dropping oil prices, the opportunity exists to
address the market-oriented energy gold rush in tar sands and plan for
more sustainable energy production and consumption. The Council of
Canadians are proposing a Canadian Energy Strategy that puts the
interests of people and the environment first. Watch the video The Tar
Sands That Blow. CHECK also the other
WFC Councillor Activities
(Edmonton, Alberta) Today, Rainforest Action
Network, Greenpeace Canada and an international network of
environmental groups launched a provocative and powerful new music
video mashup, called "Tar Sands Blow" targeting Canada's dirty oil
sands and focusing on Canada's role in blocking an international
climate treaty. The video which contains graphic images of the tar
sands, urges young people to immediately act to make their voices
heard before the international climate meeting in Copenhagen, Dec
7-18. The video is being distributed over the internet by groups and
individuals all over the world. Groups around Canada have called for
climate justice actions in a least nine cities during the period Nov
30- Dec 12. Already, a series of peaceful sit-in at MP's offices have
been staged by groups of people in three Canadian cities (Calgary,
Edmonton and Toronto) with the promises of more to follow.
Eriel-Tchekwie Deranger, an indigenous youth climate activist hopes
that this video will help connect the youth voice with politicians, "I
just returned from a UK speaking tour about the dirty, dangerous
environmental, climate and Indigenous and human rights impacts of the
Tar Sands. It's clear that people across the world and leaders in the
International community are beginning to understand that Canada has
actively been blocking international progress to develop collective
emission target agreements." Deranger points out: "There's one main
reason they are unwilling to join the rest of the world to meet these
targets: the Tar Sands. Despite the growing climate crisis, the Harper
Government is doing everything in its power to sabotage global
problem-solving efforts," said Mike Hudema Climate and Energy
campaigner with Greenpeace, Canada. "By endangering and blocking
progress on an international climate agreement and prioritizing the
tar sands over the health of people on this planet Harper is further
jeopardizing the lives of millions that will die or become displaced
due to the climate crisis. This government's behaviour is
unacceptable, we need governmental leadership for climate justice
now."The Canadian government announced recently it was leading its
biggest campaign to expand the Tar Sands, Canada's fastest growing
source of greenhouse gas emissions and responsible for making it one
of the world's top 10 polluters. Canada has refused to take any
international climate action in climate negotiations and has been
repeatedly accused of bullying others.The latest International Energy
Agency report showed that by the end of the century the planet is on
target to be 6 degrees hotter. The result would be a disaster.
Learn more about the Canadian tar sands, the
dirtiest oil on earth.
NO MORE STALLING WHILE PEOPLE DIE
Actions pushing for climate justice are being
organized across the country (Canada) right now! Email
firstname.lastname@example.org to see if one is being organized in
your region or just start organizing your own today!
Canada and Copenhagen
Canada is trying to kill any potential agreement
at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen this December while
blaming developing countries, which stand to lose most if we fail to
successfully fight global warming. And dirty oil sands are the
reason. The oil sands (also known as tar sands) areCanada's fastest
growing source of greenhouse gas pollution,the second largest
hydrocarbon deposit in the world,and the most carbon polluting. And
they're dictating Canada's negotiating position as Copenhagen
approaches. With Canada behaving like a climate bully, it's little
wonder developing countries feel like walking out on negotiations
because of Canada's tactics. While pointing its finger at developing
countries, Canada has the highest per person carbon pollution on the
planet and was ranked last amongst G8 countries' efforts to tackle
global warming pollution. Canada wants to keep getting richer by
expanding dirty oil sands and its carbon pollution. That's why
Canada doesn't want a strong climate treaty, and why Canada still
doesn't have any regulations to reduce carbon pollution. Canada's
environment minister has said that it would be "irresponsible" for
Canada to do its fair share to reduce carbon pollution. Canada wants
to make the developing world pay the costs of its inaction.With the
U.S. now showing that it's taking global warming seriously, the
world's worst climate culprit is Canada and its desire to push dirty
oil sands to the world.
Thirst for oil poses threat to US national
security, says military adviser (28 October 2009)
America's thirst for oil is a gathering threat to
its national security - and the risk will grow further as the
world's population touches 7 billion, a military adviser to the
Pentagon told the Senate today.In a second day of debate on energy,
Democratic senators today pivoted from the economy to national
security to try to make the case for a climate change bill.The
threat to Americans' security ranged from the here and now - with
troops in Afghanistan and Iraq tied down by their reliance on
gas-guzzling equipment - to years into the future when extreme
temperatures and rising sea levels could lead to a widespread social
breakdown."We have never before on this planet had close to 7
billion people which we will have in 2011. We have never had the
unprecedented level of per capita energy use multiplied by that 7
billion people," Dennis McGinn, a member of the Military Advisory
Board, composed of senior retired admirals and generals, told the
Senate. "We have a whole host of indicators, warnings and trends
that tells us climate change is bad for national security."He said
the country would face risks on multiple fronts. "America's current
energy posture constitutes a serious and urgent threat to national
security - militarily, diplomatically and economically." CLIP
Syncrude oil sands operations seen from the air - dirty pictures!
Alberta-Superior pipeline takes center stage in world climate debate
On Aug. 20, the U.S. State Department granted a
Presidential permit for the 1,000-mile "Alberta Clipper" pipeline
from Canada's Alberta oil sands to Superior, due for completion in
mid-2010.On Sept. 2 Enbridge (U.S.) Inc., the partner of
Canada-based Enbridge, celebrated in Carlton County, where the
company had stacks of pipes ready for construction. The project will
result in 3,000 construction jobs. The influx of workers already has
created a shortage of rental housing in Bemidji. On Sept. 3 a
coalition including the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
and Bemidji-based Indigenous Environmental Network filed a lawsuit
in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to stop the pipeline. "The
projects would spur refinery expansions and modifications in the
United States, leading to increased air and water pollution for
residents of the Midwest and other states," the complaint stated.
(...) The tapping of Canada's oil sands, also known as tar sands, is
often cited as the world's largest industrial project. It's been an
economic boon but arguably an environmental disaster and
unquestionably a public relations fiasco.The extraction process
creates more carbon dioxide than regular oil production. (Estimates
as to how much more vary, ranging from 15 percent to triple the
amount.) Huge swathes of remote forested land must be strip-mined to
extract a tar-like substance called bitumen. Steam plants literally
melt oil out the ground. The water used in the process ultimately
flows into toxic tailings ponds miles long. In a much-publicized
April 2008 event, 500 ducks died after landing on such a lake. The
extraction process also uses four times more natural gas than mining
operations and already accounts for 20 percent of Canada's natural
gas usage. As an alternative, some groups are proposing to build as
many as 25 nuclear reactors.In September the environmental group
Greenpeace, which has been staging protest actions at oil sands
operations, released "Dirty Oil," a report carrying apocalyptic
predictions for the oil sands: "The rapid development of
unconventional hydrocarbons such as Canada's tar sands could tip the
scales toward dangerous and uncontrollable climate change." CLIP
WHO IS HARPER?
A salesman for Big Oil who never met a dirty oil
project he didn't like.
A denier of climate change.
A Conservative Canadian Prime Minister near
election time looking for a boost from being photographed with
Someone who George Bush thinks "understands the
stakes of the 21st century".
All of the Above
CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his own words
Address at the Ottawa Leader's Dinner, November 20, 2002
"[Kyoto] is designed to address the so-called
'greenhouse gas' phenomenon, the hypothesis that the increase of
certain gases - not necessarily pollutants - contribute to a
long-term global warming trend."
2002 Canadian Alliance Fundraising letter
"Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck
money out of wealth-producing nationsIt's based on tentative and
contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends."
Transcript of Stephen Harper Interview on the Rafe Mair Show, CKNW
Radio Vancouver, November 29, 2002
"We think the deal itself [Kyoto] is simply
bogusCarbon dioxide which is a naturally occurring gas vital to the
life cycles of this planet. Smog is an entirely different issue is
not covered by this treaty."
Conservative leader Stephen Harper, then
vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997
Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing
American think tank.
"[Y]our country [the USA], and particularly your
conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in
this country and across the world."
"Climate to set stage on Obama's trip north. No seat for Stelmach at
talks: PM," Calgary Herald, Wednesday January 14 2009.
"The oilsands, notwithstanding the environmental
challenges they do have, are going to remain an important part of
the U.S. energy supply for a long time to come. And I'm sure the
president-elect will come to realize that in short order."
The climate denial industry is out to dupe the
public. And it's working
Think environmentalists are stooges? You're the unwitting recruit of
a hugely powerful oil lobby - I've got the proof
Read the case notes for this article here
George Monbiot - 7 December 2009
When you survey the trail of wreckage left by the climate emails
crisis, three things become clear. The first is the tendency of
those who claim to be the champions of climate science to minimise
their importance. Those who have most to lose if the science is
wrong have perversely sought to justify the secretive and chummy
ethos that some of the emails reveal. If science is not transparent
and accountable, it's not science.
I believe that all supporting data, codes and
programmes should be made available as soon as an article is
published in a peer-reviewed journal. That anyone should have to
lodge a freedom of information request to obtain them is wrong. That
the request should be turned down is worse. That a scientist
suggests deleting material that might be covered by that request is
Everyone who values the scientific process should demand complete
transparency, across all branches of science.
The second observation is the tendency of those who don't give a fig
about science to maximise their importance. The denial industry,
which has no interest in establishing the truth about global
warming, insists that these emails, which concern three or four
scientists and just one or two lines of evidence, destroy the entire
canon of climate science.
Even if you were to exclude every line of evidence
that could possibly be disputed - the proxy records, the computer
models, the complex science of clouds and ocean currents - the
evidence for man-made global warming would still be unequivocal. You
can see it in the
measured temperature record, which goes back to 1850; in the
shrinkage of glaciers and the thinning of sea ice; in the responses
of wild animals and plants and the rapidly changing crop zones.
No other explanation for these shifts makes sense.
Solar cycles have been out of synch with the temperature record for
40 years. The
Milankovic cycle, which describes variations in the Earth's
orbit, doesn't explain it either. But the warming trend is closely
correlated with the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the
atmosphere. The impact of these gases can be demonstrated in the
laboratory. To assert that they do not have the same effect in the
atmosphere, a novel and radical theory would be required. No such
theory exists. The science is not fixed - no science ever is - but
it is as firm as science can be. The evidence for man-made global
warming remains as strong as the evidence linking smoking to lung
cancer or HIV to Aids.
The third observation is the contrast between the
global scandal these emails have provoked and the muted response to
20 years of revelations about the propaganda planted by fossil fuel
companies. I have
placed on the Guardian's website four case studies; each of
which provides a shocking example of how the denial industry works.
Two of them are drawn from
Climate Cover-Up, the fascinating, funny and beautifully written
new book by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore. If every allegation
it contained could not be traced back to leaked documents (I have
checked all the sources), their findings would be unbelievable.
Nothing exposed by the
hacking of the Climatic Research Unit's server is one tenth as
bad as the least of these revelations.
When I use the term denial industry, I'm referring
to those who are paid to say that man-made global warming isn't
happening. The great majority of people who believe this have not
been paid: they have been duped. Reading Climate Cover-Up, you keep
stumbling across familiar phrases and concepts which you can see
every day on the comment threads. The book shows that these
memes were planted by PR companies and hired experts.
The first case study I've posted reveals how a coalition of US coal
companies sought to persuade people that the science is uncertain.
It listed the two social groups it was trying to reach - "Target 1:
Older, less educated males"; "Target 2: Younger, lower income women"
- and the methods by which it would reach them. One of its findings
was that "members of the public feel more confident expressing
opinions on others' motivations and tactics than they do expressing
opinions on scientific issues".
Remember this the next time you hear people claiming that climate
scientists are only in it for the money, or that environmentalists
are trying to create a communist world government: these ideas were
devised and broadcast by energy companies. The people who inform me,
apparently without irony, that "your article is an ad hominem
attack, you four-eyed, big-nosed, commie sack of shit", or "you
scaremongers will destroy the entire world economy and take us back
to the Stone Age", are the unwitting recruits of campaigns they have
never heard of.
The second case study reveals how Dr
Patrick Michaels, one of a handful of climate change deniers
with a qualification in climate science, has been lavishly paid by
companies seeking to protect their profits from burning coal. As far
as I can discover, none of the media outlets who use him as a
commentator - including the Guardian - has disclosed this interest
at the time of his appearance. Michaels is one of many people
commenting on climate change who presents himself as an independent
expert while being secretly paid for his services by fossil fuel
The third example shows how a list published by
Heartland Institute (which has been sponsored by oil company
Exxon) of 500 scientists "whose research contradicts man-made global
warming scares" turns out to be nothing of the kind: as soon as
these scientists found out what the institute was saying about them,
many angrily demanded that their names be removed. Twenty months
later, they are still on the list. The fourth example shows how,
during the Bush presidency, White House officials worked with oil
companies to remove regulators they didn't like and to doctor
official documents about climate change.
In Climate Cover-Up, in Ross Gelbspan's books The Heat is On and
Boiling Point, in my book Heat, and on the websites DeSmogBlog.com
and exxonsecrets.org, you can find dozens of such examples. Together
they expose a systematic, well-funded campaign to con the public. To
judge by the comments you can read on this paper's website, it has
But people behind these campaigns know that their claims are untrue.
One of the biggest was run by the Global Climate Coalition, which
represented ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, the American Petroleum Institute
and several big motor manufacturers. In 1995 the coalition's own
scientists reported that "the scientific basis for the greenhouse
effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse
gases such as CO2 on climate is well-established and cannot be
denied". The coalition hid this finding from the public, and spent
millions of dollars seeking to persuade people that the opposite was
These people haven't fooled themselves, but they
might have fooled you. Who, among those of you who claim that
climate scientists are liars and environmentalists are stooges, has
thought it through for yourself?
Exposing the true Global Warming Hoaxers
NOTE from Jean : Before going into the following
critical examination of part of a webpage from a website that
purportedly presents viewpoints opposed to the global warming
thesis, I'd like to mention briefly an example of the MANY ongoing
efforts by individual bloggers and groups opposing the general
consensus on the reality of global climate change. Some people have
been sending me LOTS of similar material lately and, as far as I can
tell, they are all an expression of the same US oil/coal lobby's
persistent efforts to derail the urgently needed shift away from
what has made those environmentally destructive corporations filthy
rich. If you dig a bit - and thank God Wikipedia exists to
facilitate this digging! - you invariably discover that the
corrupted scientists and obstinate bloggers who claim global warming
is a hoax are all financed, directly or indirectly by this oil/coal
lobby to spew a continuous flow of seemingly well constructed
propaganda, false science, disinformation and skewed statistics all
designed to con those among us who are often convinced that nothing
good can ever come out of governmental and UN institutions - as a
result of actual ongoing "wrongdoings" by those institutions over
the past several years... And who can blame these people for so
viscerally distrusting those organizations that are undoubtedly
infiltrated and often subverted or controlled to some degree by
operatives and accomplices of the elite cabal known under many names
(Bilderberg group, Illuminati, etc)?
[Of course, that does not mean that EVERYTHING the
UN does is bad. Hundreds of millions of hungry people survive only
because of the food given to them by the
Program; thanks to the
UN Refugee Agency, over
42 million refugees and internally displaced people have access
to a shelter and some protection from persecution; and the
Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) provides invaluable
services in 6 keys areas - to name just 3 among the
constellation of UN agencies that are doing their best to help
the whole world. The same reasoning can be applied to all
governmental agencies which provide invaluable service in most
democratic countries around the world, albeit, of course, not always
for the highest good of all depending on how corrupted they may be
by Cabal influence]
So it is precisely this psychological loophole,
this powerful instinctual recoiling from and doubting of everything
proposed by anyone in an official capacity that is cunningly
exploited by these professional public opinion manipulators whose
skewed "evidence" are all too often taken up by other people and
some alternative news networkers, thus making appear legitimate and
factual what is only a web of lies and deceit. To give you a
historic reference that illustrates one of the many smear techniques
often used by those manipulators, you may remember the Swift boat
episode, a smear job done to senator John Kerry that gave rise to
the term "Swiftboating"... Here is what we find on this at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiftboating
"The term 'swift boat' itself refers to a class of
US Navy vessel used during the Vietnam War. In 2004, a political
organization called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (later called
Swift Vets and POWs for Truth), composed of Vietnam veterans who
served on swift boats, formed with the intent of opposing the
presidential candidacy of John Kerry. Kerry himself had served for
four months as a swift boat commander in Vietnam. The group produced
a series of television ads and a bestselling book that challenged
Kerry's military record and criticized his subsequent antiwar
activities. Few of the charges were substantiated, giving rise to
the term 'swiftboating' to describe political tactics that are
essentially synonymous with a 'smear campaign'."
So it can be said that the environmental agenda,
that has now finally risen near the top of the priority list of
things to do of most governments, thanks in no small part to the
unrelenting campaigning of countless environmental groups and
individuals who have persisted in warning us. along with a growing
number of concerned scientists, about the increasingly dire
consequences of our environmental laissez-faire and neglect, has
been swiftboated by a stealth coalition of fossil fuel interests in
a desperate attempt to prevent their coming demise once serious
efforts are finally made to shift our civilization away from
self-destructive energy sources, over-consumption of limited
resources and rampant pollution and destruction of our now
critically threatened web of Life.
"Recent climate changes have led to a fairly large
warming trend in the region around the Antarctic Peninsula-the spit
of land the stretches from the Antarctic mainland towards the
southern tip of South America. In this region, comprising about 2%
of the entirety of Antarctica, significant changes associated with
rising temperatures are being observed-floating ice shelves are
breaking up, glaciers are shrinking, seal species are moving in,
grasses, tiny shrubs and mosses are thriving, etc. By most accounts,
transitioning from a relatively barren, frozen landscape to a
warmer, less frozen one would seem to be a positive development, as
this change presents a growing opportunity for increased species
richness and diversity. But, in today's world, dominated by an
eagerness to demonstrate how human activities are impacting the
innocent "natural" species of the world, all change is bad.
The fact is that the vast majority of global
warming stories that have come out of Antarctica are based upon
observations and events on and around the Peninsula. This isn't
surprising as it conforms to my theory of "Predictable Distortion"
recently published in my book
Meltdown. Indeed, the number of stories about Antarctic melting
is roughly in inverse proportion to the percentage of the Antarctic
continent that they pertain to (and thus their global significance).
For instance, most of Antarctica has actually been cooling for the
past couple of decades (see
here for more details). And now comes word that the snow and ice
cover over large portions of Antarctica has been increasing, leading
to a drawdown of global sea level."
OK ... To the uncritical - and I'd dare say
gullible - minds that may all sound reasonable and factual. And if
you go at that webpage above, you'll find on offering books with
titles like "The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global
warming" and "Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global
Now if you do as I always do when I'm faced with
such material, you'll google the name of the organization under
which this website is published. In this case I searched with World
Climate Report in Wikipedia which led me to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Climate_Report where I found
this: "World Climate Report, a newsletter edited by Patrick
Michaels, was produced by the Greening Earth Society, a
non-profit organization created by the Western Fuels Association."
"The Western Fuels Association is a not-for profit
cooperative that supplies coal and transportation services to
consumer-owned electric utility in the Great Plains, Rocky Mountain
and Southwest regions. It is based in Westminster, Colorado.
Controversy - The Western Fuels Association has played a
controversial role in the debate over global warming. Their 2005
Annual report refers only to 'environmental and regulatory
uncertainty', but they have been more outspoken in past annual
reports. They have established groups such as the Greening Earth
Society which promote various forms of climate change skepticism and
have funded individual skeptics, such as Patrick Michaels, Craig
D. Idso and Sherwood Idso. Groups established by industry bodies
like the Western Fuels Association have been criticized as Astroturf
organizations, since they appear superficially to be grassroots
does a good job of summarizing the main points and
views of the Climate change deniers
So now here I come at the main text I wish to
examine with you - hoping you are still interested to see through
the fallacies presented as truthful material on the Web - namely the
Green Agenda - another seemingly innocuous greenwashing name at
If you first check "About the Author" (or "About
us" which I always do before wasting my time reading through
anything) you will see - at
http://www.green-agenda.com/author.html - that this author is
Then if you look - and I suggest you explore a bit
those links for the telltale signs of fallacies and hyperbolic
disinformation, just to bone up a bit on your discernment abilities
- at the various topics proposed in the left-hand column, your will
The Turning Point
The Green Web
The Great Shift
The Earth Charter
A United World
The Spiritual UN
A United Faith
What about Greenland?
The Carbon Currency
A New Economy
Now if you are a bit familiar with the usual
distorted claims made by the professional deniers and perennial
critics of everything that does not conform to their narrow world
view, you will have noticed the usual culprits above - Sustainable
Development, Agenda 21, The Earth Charter, A United World - that are
all supposed to be evil things concocted by the Cabal to deceive us
all under good-looking disguises and aims... But this Web
manipulator pushes his "art" one notch above all other usual smear
jobs. He deliberately attacks and tries to discredit the mainstay of
today's emerging new consciousness that came to understand that all
Life on Earth is somehow working in a complementary, intelligent,
self-perpetuating fashion to ensure the existence of Life on Earth,
that is, the famous Gaia Hypothesis suggested years ago by James
Lovelock (check in Gaia's Gurus and under GREEN RELIGION where he
also strives to discredit the new spirituality we are now familiar
with). Now to anyone who is the least familiar with those emerging
ideas that are now gradually percolating through the mainstream
views of our societies, it is obvious that this man is out to
discredit and smear what is part of the solution and definitely not
part of the problem. But to the rest of the public still unaware of
this growing awareness of our spiritual nature and deep intertwining
with all that lives, this may indeed sound like a legitimate
criticism and thus it may create an impediment - to those who buy
into this nonsense - to further awakening and certainly to accepting
the reality of global warming, which is the main goal of this
website. Now as to who is actually behind this effort, your guess is
as good as mine, but let,s just say it is not an enlightened
With this introduction in mind, I encourage you to
read the following material just to see how cunningly crafted this
whole charade is. Of course, as in all well crafted disinformation
material, you will find that much of the content is generally
corrected presented and true but you will also noticed the slanted
perspective and conclusions as well as the outright negative
characterizations that are interspersed through he document to
gradually nudge you towards buying into their main views.
Finally, I'd like to offer the following
suggestion in conclusion: We should always remind ourselves to apply
this same critical discernment to everything we read and watch,
whether is comes from the mainstream media delivering the official
line of the day (generally conforming to the current dominant
social/cultural/scientific/political paradigm), from some spiritual
author or channeled source, or even from yourself so as to try to
decipher what is the ultimate purpose, agenda (if any) or influence
that is subtly weaved into what we are reading, watching or
thinking. I'd also suggest we always keep in mind that nothing is
ever all black or all white, and that the "truth" (which is always
relative to our current level of awareness in the spiritual sense)
is generally to be found among the infinite shades of grey in
between the extremes of black and white.
PS: I've added some brief comments in [CAPS] below
The Green Agenda - The First Global Revolution
The environmental movement has been described as the largest and
most influential social phenomenon in modern history. From relative
obscurity just a few decades ago it has spawned thousands of
organisations and claims millions of committed activists. Reading
the newspaper today it is hard to imagine a time when global
warming, resource depletion, environmental catastrophes and 'saving
the planet' were barely mentioned. They now rank among the top
priorities on the social, political and economic global agenda.
Environmental awareness is considered to be the mark of any good
honest decent citizen. Multi-national companies compete fiercely to
promote their environmental credentials and 'out-green' each other.
The threat of impending ecological disasters is uniting the world
through a plethora of international treaties and conventions. But
where did this phenomenon come from, how did it rise to such
prominence, and more importantly, where is it going?
While researching for these articles, and during my academic
studies, I have come across many references to the The Club of Rome
(CoR), and reports produced by them. Initially I assumed that they
were just another high-level environmental think-tank and dismissed
the conspiracy theories found on many websites claiming that the CoR
is a group of global elitists attempting to impose some kind of one
I am not a conspiratorial person by nature and was faced with a
dilemma when I first read their reports. But it's all there - in
black and white. The CoR claims that "we are facing an imminent
catastrophic ecological collapse" and "our only hope is to transform
humanity into a global interdependent sustainable society, based on
respect and reverence for the Earth." In the end I came to the
conclusion that there are two possibilities - either the CoR wrote
all these reports and setup a vast network of supporting
organisations just for fun or they actually believe what they have
written and are working hard to fulfill their role as the
self-appointed saviours of Gaia.
Based on my close observation of their actions, and watching the
recommendations made by the CoR many years ago now being adopted as
official UN and government policy - well, I have become personally
convinced that they are deadly serious. On this website I try to use
quotes and excerpts as much as possible and let the reader reach
their own conclusions.
So, what exactly is the Club of Rome and who are
its members? Founded in 1968, the CoR describes itself as "a group
of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of
humanity." It consists of current and former Heads of State, UN
bureaucrats, high-level politicians and government officials,
diplomats, scientists, economists, and business leaders from around
The Club of Rome subsequently founded two sibling organizations, the
Club of Budapest and the Club of Madrid. The former is focused on
social and cultural aspects of their agenda, while the latter
concentrates on the political aspects. All three of these 'Clubs'
share many common members and hold joint meetings and conferences.
As explained in other articles on this website it is abundantly
clear that these are three heads of the same beast. The CoR has also
established a network of 33 National Associations. Membership of the
'main Club' is limited to 100 individuals at any one time. Some
members, like Al Gore and Maurice Strong, are affiliated through
their respective National Associations (e.g. USACOR, CACOR etc).
I would like to start this analysis of the Club of
Rome by listing some prominent members of the CoR and its two
sub-groups, the Clubs of Budapest and Madrid. Personally it isn't
what the CoR is that I find so astonishing; it is WHO the CoR is!
This isn't some quirky little group of green activists or obscure
politicians. They are the most senior officials in the United
Nations, current and ex-world leaders, and the founders of some of
the most influential environmental organisations. When you read
their reports in the context of who they are - its gives an entirely
new, and frightening [WHY "FRIGHTENING"??], context to their extreme
Some current members of the Club of Rome or its two siblings:
Al Gore - former VP of the USA, leading climate
change campaigner, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Academy Award winner,
Emmy winner. Gore lead the US delegations to the Rio Earth Summit
and Kyoto Climate Change conference. He chaired a meeting of the
full Club of Rome held in Washington DC in 1997.
Javier Solana - Secretary General of the Council of the European
Union, High Representative for EU Foreign Policy.
Maurice Strong - former Head of the UN Environment
Programme, Chief Policy Advisor to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of
the Rio Earth Summit, co-author [THIS IS BLATANTLY FALSE!! As it is
HERE, Strong And Gorbachev launched this excellent initiative
but the drafting of the Earth Charter was a collective effort
involving countless individuals](with Gorbachev) of the
Earth Charter, co-author of the Kyoto Protocol, founder of the
Earth Council, devout Baha'i.
Mikhail Gorbachev - CoR executive member, former
President of the Soviet Union, founder of
International and the Gorbachev Foundation, Nobel Peace Prize
winner, co-founder (with Hidalgo) of the Club of Madrid, co-author
(with Strong) of the Earth Charter.
Diego Hidalgo - CoR executive member, co-founder (with Gorbachev) of
the Club of Madrid, founder and President of the European Council on
Foreign Relations in association with George Soros.
Ervin Laszlo - founding member of the CoR, founder
and President of the Club of Budapest, founder and Chairman of the
World Wisdom Council.
Anne Ehrlich - Population Biologist. Married to
Paul Ehrlich with whom she has authored many books on human
overpopulation. Also a former director of
Friends of the Earth and the
Sierra Club, and a member of the UN's Global Roll of Honor.
Hassan bin Talal - President of the CoR, President
Arab Thought Forum, founder of the World Future Council,
recently named as the United Nations 'Champion of the Earth'.
Sir Crispin Tickell - former British Permanent
Representative to the United Nations and Permanent Representative on
the Security Council, Chairman of the 'Gaia Society', Chairman of
the Board of the Climate Institute, leading British climate change
Kofi Annan - former Secretary General of the United Nations. Nobel
Peace Prize Laureate.
Javier Perez de Cuellar - former Secretary General of the United
Gro Harlem Bruntland - United Nations Special Envoy for Climate
Change, former President of Norway
Robert Muller - former Assistant Secretary General of the United
Nations, founder and Chancellor of the UN University of Peace.
The Dalai Lama - The 'Spiritual Leader' of Tibet. Nobel Peace Prize
Father Berry Thomas - Catholic Priest who is one of the leading
proponents of deep ecology, ecospirituality and global
David Rockefeller - CoR executive member, former Chairman of Chase
Manhattan Bank, founder of the Trilateral Commission, executive
member of the World Economic Forum, donated land on which the United
Stephen Schneider - Stanford Professor of Biology and Global Change.
Professor Schneider was among the earliest and most vocal proponents
of man-made global warming and a lead author of many IPCC reports.
Bill Clinton - former President of the United States, founder of the
Clinton Global Initiative.
Jimmy Carter - former President of the United States, Nobel Peace
Bill Gates - founder of Microsoft, philanthropist
Garret Hardin - Professor of Human Ecology. Originator of the
'Global Commons' concept. Has authored many controversial papers on
human overpopulation and eugenics.
Other current influential members [IN FACT THESE
PEOPLE ARE ALL HONORARY MEMBERS AS INDICATED
(these can be found on the membership lists of the
COR (here, here, and here), Club of Budapest, Club of Madrid and/or
CoR National Association membership pages)
Ted Turner - media mogul, philanthropist, founder of CNN
George Soros - multibillionare, major donor to the UN
Tony Blair - former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Deepak Chopra - New Age Guru
Desmond Tutu - South African Bishop and activist, Nobel Peace Prize
Timothy Wirth - President of the United Nations Foundation
Henry Kissinger - former US Secretary of State
George Matthews - Chairman of the Gorbachev Foundation
Harlan Cleveland - former Assistant US Secretary of State and NATO
Barbara Marx Hubbard - President of the Foundation
for Conscious Evolution
Betty Williams - Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Marianne Williamson - New Age 'Spiritual Activist'
Robert Thurman - assistant to the Dalai Lama
Jane Goodall - Primatologist and Evolutionary Biologist
Juan Carlos I - King of Spain
Prince Philippe of Belgium
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Dona Sophia - Queen of Spain
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero - current Prime Minister of Spain
Karan Singh - Former Prime Minister of India,
Chairman of the Temple of Understanding
Daisaku Ikeda - founder of the Soka Gakkai cult
Martin Lees - CoR Secretary General, Rector of the UN University of
Ernesto Zedillo - Director of The Yale Center for the Study of
Frithjof Finkbeiner - Coordinator of the Global Marshall Plan
Franz Josef Radermacher - Founder of the Global Marshall Plan
Eduard Shevardnadze - former Soviet foreign minister and President
Richard von Weizsacker - former President of Germany
Carl Bildt - former President of Sweden
Kim Campbell - former Prime Minister of Canada and Senior Fellow of
the Gorbachev Foundation
Vincente Fox - former President of Mexico
Helmut Kohl - former Chancellor of Germany
Romano Prodi - former Prime Minister of Italy and President of the
Vaclav Havel - former President of the Czech Republic
Hans Kung - Founder of the Global Ethic Foundation
Ruud Lubbers - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Mary Robinson - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Jerome Binde - Director of Foresight, UNESCO
Koïchiro Matsuura - Current Director General of UNESCO
Federico Mayor - Former Director General of UNESCO
Tapio Kanninen - Director of Policy and Planning, United Nations
Konrad Osterwalder - Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Peter Johnston - Director General of European Commission
Jacques Delors - Former President of the European Commission
Domingo Jimenez-Beltran - Executive Director of the European
Thomas Homer-Dixon - Director of Peace and
Conflict Studies, University of Toronto
Hazel Henderson - Futurist and 'evoluntionary economist'
Emeka Anyaoku - former Commonwealth Secretary General, current
President of the World Wildlife Fund
Wangari Maathai - Nobel Peace Prize Laureate,
founder of the
Green Belt Movement
and many more.
The concept of 'environmental sustainability' was
first brought to widespread public attention in 1972 by the Club of
Rome in their book entitled
The Limits to Growth. The official summary can be read
here. The report basically concluded that the growth of the
human population, and an increase in prosperity, would cause an
ecological collapse within the next hundred years:
"If the present growth trends in world population,
industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource
depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet
will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most
probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline
in both population and industrial capacity."
"It is possible to alter these growth trends and to establish a
condition of ecological and economic stability that is sustainable
far into the future. The state of global equilibrium could be
designed so that the basic material needs of each person on earth
are satisfied and each person has an equal opportunity to realize
his individual human potential."
"The overwhelming growth in world population caused by the positive
birth-rate loop is a recent phenomenon, a result of mankind's very
successful reduction of worldwide mortality. The controlling
negative feedback loop has been weakened, allowing the positive loop
to operate virtually without constraint. There are only two ways to
restore the resulting imbalance. Either the birth rate must be
brought down to equal the new, lower death rate, or the death rate
must rise again."
"The result of stopping population growth in 1975 and industrial
capital growth in 1985 with no other changes is that population and
capital reach constant values at a relatively high level of food,
industrial output and services per person. Eventually, however,
resource shortages reduce industrial output and the temporarily
stable state degenerates."
"Man possesses, for a small moment in his history, the most powerful
combination of knowledge, tools, and resources the world has ever
known. He has all that is physically necessary to create a totally
new form of human society - one that would be built to last for
generations. The two missing ingredients are a realistic, long-term
goal that can guide mankind to the equilibrium society and the Human
Will to achieve that goal."
"Without such a goal and a commitment to it, short-term concerns
will generate the exponential growth that drives the world system
toward the limits of the earth and ultimate collapse. With that goal
and that commitment, mankind would be ready now to begin a
controlled, orderly transition from growth to global equilibrium."
So as you can see the even back in 1972 the Club considered modern
industrial society to be completely unsustainable. They state that
even if population was frozen at 1975 levels, and industrial
activity at 1985 levels, then the earth's ecosystems would still
ultimately collapse. The CoR has not changed these views in the
slightest, in fact, in the last three decades their warnings have
become increasingly more urgent and alarmist. They call this
imminent collapse the 'World Problematique' and their proposed
solution the 'World Resolutique.'
The Limits to Growth is considered to be the most
successful environmental publication ever produced and propelled the
Club of Rome to its current position of an environmental
thought-leader and a major consultant to the United Nations. It has
been translated into more than forty languages and sold more than 30
million copies. Throughout the 1970s and 80s the concept that
humanity was irreparably damaging the earth gained popularity and
facilitated the formation of mainstream and activist environmental
The Denial Machine ORIGINALLY AIRED: November 15,
2006 on CBC-TV UPDATED: October 24, 2007
In the past few years, a rhetorical firestorm has
engulfed the debate about global warming, pitting science against
spin, with inflammatory words on both sides. That debate only
intensified recently when former Vice-President Al Gore received the
Nobel Peace Prize for his populist environmental campaign.Last
season, the fifth estate's Bob McKeown investigated the roots of
another kind of campaign--one to negate the science and the threat
of global warming. You can watch The Denial Machine again, more
timely than ever, with new, updated information.
Coalition of denial: The sceptics who are trying
to reshape the climate debate
The prominent climate change sceptics do not
speak with one voice
James Randerson - 4 December 2009 22.49 GMT
Danish academic and author, director of the Copenhagen consensus
Accepts that climate change is happening and is man-made but
argues that the proposed solutions are expensive and would not
address the problem.
Could it be true?
The Stern Report says that reduction carbon emissions will cost
1%-2% of global GDP, far less than adapting to it in the long run.
Hereditary peer and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher
Has denounced the Copenhagen negotiations as an attempt by
crypto-communists to impose a world government bent on curbing
Could it be true?
The negotiators in Copenhagen are having trouble creating a weak
"political argument" let alone a world government.
Has denounced global warming as "popycock" and "lies" and said he
was stopped from making TV programmes because of his views on
Could it be true?
Bellamy stopped making programmes in 1994 but his first sceptical
public statement about climate change was in 2004.
Leader of the British National Party
Believes the climate change is a conspiracy by environmentalists
and politicians to impose an "anti-human utopia as deadly as
anything conceived by Stalin or Mao".
Could it be true?
Development groups such as Oxfam say that climate change is a much
bigger problem for humanity (in terms of poverty, civil unrest,
food security, natural disasters) than for the Earth itself.
Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
Authors of Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics
They argue that reducing carbon emissions in prohibitively
expensive and hugely disruptive to the world economy. They favour
"geo-engineering" the planet by injecting sulphur dioxide into the
atmosphere in order to bounce back the sun's rays.
Could it be true?
Scientists say it is a risky option with other potentially
Former chancellor of the Exchequer
The science of global warming is not settled and the world should
not jeopardise economic growth in order to tackle climate change.
Could it be true?
The government's Stern Report argues that the costs of not acting
to curb global warming will prove to be far more costly in the
Dr Benny Peiser
Social anthropologist and director of Global Warming Policy
The GWPF does not exist to challenge the scientific view that
humans are largely responsible for climate change but advocates a
"more flexible and long term" approach to the problem.
Could it be true?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we do not have
the luxury of time. It says that annual CO2 emissions must begin
falling by 2020 if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.
Prof Ian Pilmer
Academic at the School of Civil Environmental and Mining
Engineering, University of Adelaide
His book Heaven and Earth attacks the scientific consensus that
climate change is caused by human activity. He has called the
scientific consensus a "fundamentalist religion".
Could it be true?
The IPCC, which reviews all the evidence on climate change for
governments, say that climate change is "very likely" (meaning a
greater than 90% chance) to be caused by human activity.
The senior Republican senator for Oklahoma, who is the most
prominent global warming sceptic in Congress
Has called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on
the American people".
Could it be true?
Opponents point out that he receives more money from fossil fuel
companies than any other sector.
President of the Czech Republic
Told US Congress that "manmade climate change has become one of
the most dangerous arguments aimed at distorting human efforts and
public policies in the whole world".
Could it be true?
His view that climate change is caused by natural processes such
as solar activity has been disproved by scientists.
Subject: World Future Council Newsletter
From: World Future Council (email@example.com)
Date: 1 Dec 2009
Newsletter - 10/2009
As we are approaching the UN Climate Conference
in Copenhagen, leading politicians seem to have already lost
confidence in their ability to pass an urgently required legally
binding agreement. In the meantime, even the International Energy
Agency (IEA), widely seen as biased in favour of fossil fuels,
warns that a failure in Copenhagen will cause huge costs. While
the IEA focuses on the consequences of climate change for
industrialised countries, action is even more urgent for the
countries of the global South already suffering from droughts,
floods, and rising sea levels.
The biggest obstacle to an agreement is the
conflict between rich and poor countries about financing emission
curbs and adaptation measures. Development in Southern countries
can no longer be built on fossil fuels - but this demands
compensation by the countries that have so far contributed most to
climate change. We need a holistic approach, for issues like
poverty alleviation, education and the right to food and water are
closely linked to the growing climate chaos. This is why at
Copenhagen the World Future Council will propose a new way of
financing a renewable energy transition to a world of climate
justice and climate security. This newsletter tells you more about
the World Future Council's
solutions for Copenhagen and about our project
PowerKick for Africa, for which we need your support.
With best regards,
Jakob von Uexküll
WFC launches solutions for Copenhagen
From December 7th to 18th, negotiators, ministers and world
leaders will assemble in Copenhagen for the United Nations climate
change conference (COP 15). One critical aspect of the
negotiations is the funding dilemma: How can measures to counter
climate change be financed in an equitable way? And how can funds
be allocated effectively on a global scale?
The WFC is calling for the establishment of a
dedicated Renewable Energy Policy Fund (REP) to facilitate
significant financial flows to the South, to foster technology and
knowledge transfer for renewable energy and energy efficiency
solutions. An innovative possibility of financing the REP is to
create the necessary liquidity from Special Drawing Rights issued
by the International Monetary Fund. These funding proposals will
be discussed at an evening reception on December 13th. The event
is organised by the World Future Council in cooperation with
Triodos Bank, Merkur Bank, and the green think tank CONCITO.
More about the event
Cities consume up to 80% of global energy resources and emit the
largest share of greenhouse gases. To research and advocate
sustainable urban development, the World Future Council and
Hamburg's HafenCity University have established a commission on
Cities and Climate change. In Copenhagen, ways of powering cities
using 100% renewable energies will be presented by commission
members and experts from partner institutions Arup, UN HABITAT,
ETH Zurich, and Fraunhofer Institute.
When it comes to reducing emissions and storing carbon,
agriculture is another major issue. Under the new agreement
negotiated in Copenhagen, organic farming should be actively
supported to extend its huge potential to absorb carbon emissions.
The World Future Council and the International Federation of
Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) will present organic
solutions for climate change and food security in Copenhagen -
measures like bio-sequestration are contrasted with high tech,
untested geo-sequestration (CCS). Read more about the World Future
Council's activities in Copenhagen.
Support PowerKick for Africa: Education powered by renewable
In 2010, the WFC aims to assist the provision of modern solar
electricity for various off-grid communities in Africa. This will
enable football enthusiasts to watch the FIFA World Cup 2010 - and
will be used as an emotional entry point for further deployment of
renewable energy technologies in rural villages, primarily to
Solar panels donated by partner companies will
be installed in village schools, where they will provide energy
for lights, projectors and satellite receivers. Village
inhabitants will be trained in the maintenance of the renewable
energy equipment and educated on issues of environment protection,
energy and climate change. Information on these topics as well as
alphabetization courses for adults can be supported by computer
and internet use powered by the sun.
Football is a unifying sport in many countries - and will be for
the whole world during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. As
Ghana's first independent President, Kwame Nkrumah, said, "Sport
can contribute to the development of nations and the achievement
of an African unity - as sport doesn't know borders."
To encourage the deployment of renewable energy for educational
purposes in Africa, the WFC aims to use this sporting event to
counter prejudices against renewable energy and to increase local
knowledge about the technologies.
PowerKick for Africa involves pre-event planning, organisation and
coordination with politicians and journalists during the event,
and ongoing support after the World Cup when the technology will
be used for demonstration and educational purposes. To make this
project possible, which will take approximately 85,000 Euro, we
need your help:
Donate online here for PowerKick for Africa! See
the WFC website for further details.)
Dolphins Hunted for Sport and Fertilizer
International Group Hopes to Put an End to
By NICOLE CHISMAR - July 28, 2006
The popular 1960's television series "Flipper"
may hold your image of the largely beloved dolphin. But in some
parts of the world, dolphins are increasingly hunted for food and
According to recent statistics from the Whale
and Dolphin Conservation Society, more than 20,000 small whales
and dolphins are killed each year in Japan alone.
The Earthtrust Organization said that other areas of the world,
including Chile, Turkey and the Faroe Islands, are also involved
in dolphin hunting. However, the Japanese method of hunting,
commonly known as drive hunting, is the most inhumane, the group
This method, in which dolphins are forced into shallow areas where
they are often brutally killed with knives and spears, is most
predominantly used by fisherman in the Japanese villages of Taji
and Futo. Uncontrolled catch quotas in these villages reach nearly
3,000 in Taji and 2,380 in Futo each season.
Although traditionally hunted for their meat, the Conservation
Society said that dolphins in Japan are used for fertilizer and
pet food. The drives, the Whale Dolphin Conservation Society
argues, "are conducted as a form of pest control."
An international consortium of scientists and zoo aquarium
officials released a report this week condemning the hunts.
Citing various studies about the mental, emotional and social
characteristics of dolphins, the group, which includes scientists
from the New York Aquarium and Emory University, among other
organizations, argued that dolphins are "on par with great apes
and humans as far as their mental and emotional capacities for
pain and suffering."
Dolphins have the largest brains relative to body size of any
living species of animal, a fact that many scientists believe
relates to the strength of their cognitive abilities.
The consortium, which is headed by Diana Reiss, senior research
scientist and director of the New York Aquarium's Marine Mammal
Research program, issued a joint statement that said: "The methods
of slaughter employed on these highly intelligent and sentient
beings constitute a level of cruelty that any nation should find
The dolphin hunts have been condemned by the International Whaling
Commission, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the
U.S. Association of Zoos and Aquariums. However, all these
requests, the consortium noted, have been ignored by authorities
who supervise the dolphin hunts.
Hoping to draw the attention of the Japanese
government and the rest of the world, the group said it would send
a statement to the prime minister of Japan citing statistics and
scientific findings regarding dolphins and the hunts. A Web page
displaying this information (http://www.actfordolphins.org)
also includes a public petition bearing 250 signatures from
scientists across the world.
The Japanese Embassy said it was not prepared to comment on the
Related articles and petition:
U.S. film puts spotlight on dolphin hunt in
It has caused a stir overseas with its graphic
coverage of dolphins being butchered in waters off a small town in
western Japan, but the U.S. documentary "The Cove" has yet to gain
a commercial release in Japan.The documentary made it into the
Tokyo International Film Festival at the last minute, despite
protests from a fishermen's cooperative in Taiji, Wakayama
Prefecture, the setting for the movie. When a preview screening
for the press concluded at the festival, some members of the
foreign media applauded boisterously. A commercial distributor for
the controversial film, directed by Louie Psihoyos, a National
Geographic photographer, has yet to be found in Japan. But the
film has the potential to astonish Japanese viewers for the simple
reason that many people are unaware of the long-established
fishing practice. Taiji, with a population of 3,800, was renowned
as a center of whaling for more than four centuries. It has also
been the location of an annual commercial dolphin hunt for the
last few decades. While local newspapers used to cover the dolphin
hunt as a seasonal event, fishermen in recent years have made an
effort to keep it out of sight from the general public."(Opponents
of the fishing of dolphins) will shoot our hunt and their footage
will be on the Internet in a second," one fisherman lamented. They
said their fishing nets had in the past been cut by foreign
environmental activists opposing the hunt.Several years ago, the
fishermen's cooperative began using guards to ensure that dolphins
could be caught and slaughtered away from prying eyes. "We, too,
find it painful to slaughter dolphins," one fisherman said. "But
we have been doing this since olden times, when little food was
available. (We cannot help it) even if some people tell us, all of
a sudden, not to kill dolphins because they are adorable."
According to the Taiji fishermen's cooperative, most of its 200
official members are engaged in dolphin fishing.They catch between
1,000 and 2,000 dolphins a year. Fetching between 30,000 yen and
40,000 yen each, the mammals provide a precious source of income
for locals. While little has been established about the origins of
dolphin hunting in Japan, archaeologists say the practice appears
to date back thousands of years.Pieces of dolphin bones have been
excavated at the Mawaki ruins in Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, which
date back to the Jomon Pottery Culture (8000 B.C.-300 B.C.), along
with artifacts that archaeologists believe were used during a
ceremony associated with dolphin fishing. Even though hunting for
dolphins is legal in Japan, fishermen catch them based on permits
under a catch quota set by the Fisheries Agency. In 2007, the most
recent year for which data was available, about 13,000 were
caught. (...) Public disapproval of dolphin hunting increased
after it was highlighted by foreign media, while conservation
groups have become more assertive in combating it. "You don't want
to do something others will point a finger at," Ishii
said.Business is starting to pick up for his new dolphin-watching
venture. The tour costs 4,200 yen per person. About 2,000 people
sign up annually. It brings economic benefits to the local area by
creating demand for lodgings.Former fishing colleagues
occasionally help Ishii run the tours."Here in Futo, dolphin
hunting is no longer a matter of life and death," Ishii said. "It
is now more beneficial not to catch dolphins than to catch them."
Open Season On Whales
The Japanese whaling fleet has left port in
Innoshima en route to Antarctica with over 1000 whales in its
sight. It will take the whaling fleet about three weeks to reach
the Southern Ocean beneath Australia.When they get there, the
Government of Japan's annual 'research' expedition to Antarctic
waters plans to kill up to 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50
of our beloved humpback whales."Japan's so-called scientific
whaling is nothing less than commercial whaling in disguise. You
don't need to kill whales to study them," said Darren Kindleysides,
Director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).This
is the fifth whaling season for the Japanese Government's
controversial and confrontational 'scientific whaling' program
known as 'JARPA II' and the 22nd consecutive year Japan has hunted
whales under the guise of scientific research. In that time,
Japan's whalers have killed more than 9000 whales in the Southern
Ocean."Hunting hundreds of whales and calling it research breaks
international law and defies the global ban on whaling brought in
by the International Whaling Commission in 1986. How many more
whaling seasons must be endured, how many more whales must die
under this charade?" Kindleysides said.This whaling season, the
whalers are planning to kill 50 humpback whales - this would break
a four decade ban on hunting humpbacks and has ramifications for
Australia's thriving whale watching industry."The whalers have our
beloved humpbacks in their sights - the same whales that migrate
to Australia during winter, the same whales that support our
multi-million dollar whale watching industries on our east and
west coasts."Research  has shown that whale watching is worth
approximately $300million dollars a year in Australia, with
humpbacks the backbone of our whale watching industries in many
locations. Japan withdrew plans to kill humpbacks in 2007 and
2008 following international outcry and pressure from countries
like Australia, but their self-appointed quota of 50 humpbacks in
the 2009 season still stands. With the recent change of Government
in Japan, there are suggestions the Japanese Government is
reviewing the funding for the annual whaling expeditions, a hugely
subsidised and controversial hunt that has stained Japan's
standing on the international stage. "The Australian Government
must demand Japan recall its whaling fleet immediately. It is time
to tell the new Japanese Government to put their unlawful whaling
program on ice. If diplomacy cannot prevent another season of
whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean the Rudd Government must
deliver on its election promise to pursue legal action against
Japan before international courts and tribunals to end whaling
once and for all," concluded Kindleysides.  Research undertaken
by the International Fund for Animal Welfare evaluating the
economic value of whale and dolphin watching in Australia.
Japanese Government Funding Cuts Could End
TOKYO, Japan, November 12, 2009 (ENS) - A review
of Japanese government spending now underway could put an end to
Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, according
to Greenpeace, an environmental group that has campaigned against
Japanese whaling for years.The spending review committee
established by Japan's new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has
recommended that funding for the Overseas Fishery Cooperation
Foundation be cancelled after 2010. CLIP
The Cove - playing at the Red Vic Movie House
You won't find dolphin on the Seafood Watch
'Avoid' list. If there was a list that accommodated dolphin
seafood it might be called the 'No Go' list, or perhaps the 'Don't
Even Go There' list. Or how about the 'Eat this Seafood and Go
Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200' list'? But
then we don't eat dolphin in this country. That's because they
appear on the Marine Mammal Protection Act list.We do have
performing dolphins here, however, and the movie
The Cove exposes the startling connections between the trade
in captive dolphins and the seafood business in Japan, where
dolphin and whale are very much on the menu.The Cove, an audience
favorite at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, is showing in San
Francisco at the Red Vic Movie House beginning Sunday, November
15th through Tuesday November 17th. Filmed by a group of ocean
activists and movie business veterans, it captures the real life
drama and plays it like a classic Hollywood action flick, full of
danger and high-stakes intrigue, which is what won the film a
coveted Audience Award at Sundance.
The Cove Trailer (24 June 2009)
Winner of the Audience Award for Best
Documentary at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, The Cove follows a
high-tech dive team on a mission to discover the truth about the
international dolphin capture trade as practiced in Taiji, Japan.
Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden
microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this
small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive
ecological crimes happening worldwide.
Stop the Calderon Dolphin Slaughter in Denmark
Every year, in Denmark, specifically the Faroe
Islands, innocent and helpless Calderon Dolphins are slaughtered
brutally by the Danes. Why you may ask, simply because. A
pointless and stupid right of passage to manhood. What points is
there in killing another living being just to prove you have
"evolved", you have transcended. There is simply no need.This poor
dolphins are stabbed a number of times, but as if that weren't
enough, they bleed to death, probably in excruciating pain while
the whole town watches. Needles to say, that killing a defenseless
animal is no prove of anybody's manhood. So, I urge, as I am sure
many more have, to stop this nonsense. And take action. Never,
ever, killing an other creature, another living being, with whom
we share this world, has done any good, to anyone. So let's stop
Every five years, Hindus travel for miles to
participate in Nepal's mass sacrifice of tens of thousands of
buffaloes, goats, roosters and pigeons. Animal rights activists,
including French actress Brigitte Bardot, have attempted to put an
end to the tradition. But as one of our Observers there points
out, the five-yearly mass slaughter is no worse than the daily
dealings of a modern abattoir.Held on November 24 -25, this year's
festival in southern Nepal attracted up to a million Hindus, many
from neighbouring India where the practice is banned. Priests say
that over 150,000 animals were offered to the goddess of power,
Gadhimai. It is thought to be the world's biggest animal
sacrifice. - VIDEO (WARNING: you may find these images upsetting.)
At a gathering at my house in Kathmandu where, incidentally, we
were sat around eating buffalo momo [meat dumplings], I said: 'I
wonder what psychological trauma the people around Gadhimai feel
through all the pain of the sacrificed animals!' My logic, that
somehow the violence inflicted on the animals must reflect on the
humans, was smartly counteracted by a friend of mine who said:
'But think about their beliefs. They believe that the sacrifice
brings them good luck; they may experience the event in a very
different way from what you imagine'.For the urban elite in
Kathmandu, who get their meat from butcher shops where the
slaughtering part is safely hidden out of sight, the mass
slaughter was cause for outcry. And so too for the people in
Europe and the US. But as my friend explained to me, the deep and
profound workings of human belief may make these sacrifices less
of a terrible animal massacre spree and more of a profound moment
of connection with the universe for the participants of this
festival. Of course, culture doesn't excuse everything. But for
those of us jaded by the stories of the US and Europe's
hidden slaughterhouses, where animals are shot with electric
stun guns and killed in much larger numbers everyday, the Gadhimai
sacrifice shouldn't cause any concern. How many Gadhimai-like
sacrifices happen every single day in
cattle farms across the meat-eating world? Nepal,
incidentally, has a poor population for whom meat remains a luxury
- for many of those doing the sacrificing, this may be the only
meat they eat during the entire year. So there is just a tiny bit
of hypocrisy associated with those who protest this event - if
only because the global footprint of meat consumption is so much
more gigantic in the western world.Gadhimai brings to light what
happens every single day in cattle farms across the planet. People
sacrifice huge numbers of animals everyday, especially for those
populations where meat is eaten more than twice a day. The only
difference in this is that we see the crudeness with which animals
are killed in this event. I, an aspiring vegetarian, almost
support sacrifices for this reason - because it provides a mirror
for the world to see exactly what goes onto their plates when they
eat some dumplings."
Ah! our many STRANGE cultural "traditions"!!!
How 16 ships create as much pollution as all the cars in the world
By FRED PEARCE - 21st November 2009
Last week it was revealed that 54 oil tankers are anchored off the
coast of Britain, refusing to unload their fuel until prices have
But that is not the only scandal in the shipping world. Today
award-winning science writer Fred Pearce - environmental
consultant to New Scientist and author of Confessions Of An Eco
Sinner - reveals that the super-ships that keep the West in
everything from Christmas gifts to computers pump out killer
chemicals linked to thousands of deaths because of the filthy fuel
We've all noticed it. The filthy black smoke kicked out by funnels
on cross-Channel ferries, cruise liners, container ships, oil
tankers and even tugboats.
It looks foul, and leaves a brown haze across ports and shipping
lanes. But what hasn't been clear until now is that it is also a
major killer, probably causing thousands of deaths in Britain
As ships get bigger, the pollution is getting worse. The most
staggering statistic of all is that just 16 of the world's largest
ships can produce as much lung-clogging sulphur pollution as all
the world's cars.
Because of their colossal engines, each as heavy as a small ship,
these super-vessels use as much fuel as small power stations.
But, unlike power stations or cars, they can burn the cheapest,
filthiest, high-sulphur fuel: the thick residues left behind in
refineries after the lighter liquids have been taken. The stuff
nobody on land is allowed to use.
Thanks to decisions taken in London by the body that polices world
shipping, this pollution could kill as many as a million more
people in the coming decade - even though a simple change in the
rules could stop it.
There are now an estimated 100,000 ships on the seas, and the
fleet is growing fast as goods are ferried in vast quantities from
Asian industrial powerhouses to consumers in Europe and North
The recession has barely dented the trade. This Christmas, most of
our presents will have come by super-ship from the Far East; ships
such as the Emma Maersk and her seven sisters Evelyn, Eugen,
Estelle, Ebba, Eleonora, Elly and Edith Maersk.
Each is a quarter of a mile long and can carry
up to 14,000 full-size containers on their regular routes from
China to Europe.
Emma - dubbed SS Santa by the media - brought Christmas presents
to Europe in October and is now en route from Algeciras in Spain
to Yantian in southern China, carrying containers full of our
waste paper, plastic and electronics for recycling.
But it burns marine heavy fuel, or 'bunker fuel', which leaves
behind a trail of potentially lethal chemicals: sulphur and smoke
that have been linked to breathing problems, inflammation, cancer
and heart disease.
James Corbett, of the University of Delaware, is an authority on
ship emissions. He calculates a worldwide death toll of about
64,000 a year, of which 27,000 are in Europe. Britain is one of
the worst-hit countries, with about 2,000 deaths from funnel
fumes. Corbett predicts the global figure will rise to 87,000
deaths a year by 2012.
Part of the blame for this international scandal lies close to
In London, on the south bank of the Thames looking across at the
Houses of Parliament, is the International Maritime Organisation,
the UN body that polices the world's shipping.
For decades, the IMO has rebuffed calls to clean up ship
pollution. As a result, while it has long since been illegal to
belch black, sulphur-laden smoke from power-station chimneys or
lorry exhausts, shipping has kept its licence to pollute.
For 31 years, the IMO has operated a policy agreed by the 169
governments that make up the organisation which allows most ships
to burn bunker fuel.
Christian Eyde Moller, boss of the DK shipping company in
Rotterdam, recently described this as 'just waste oil, basically
what is left over after all the cleaner fuels have been extracted
from crude oil. It's tar, the same as asphalt. It's the cheapest
and dirtiest fuel in the world'.
Bunker fuel is also thick with sulphur. IMO rules allow ships to
burn fuel containing up to 4.5 per cent sulphur. That is 4,500
times more than is allowed in car fuel in
the European Union. The sulphur comes out of ship funnels as tiny
particles, and it is these that get deep into lungs.
Thanks to the IMO's rules, the largest ships can each emit as much
as 5,000 tons of sulphur in a year - the same as 50million typical
cars, each emitting an average of 100 grams of sulphur a year.
With an estimated 800million cars driving around
the planet, that means 16 super-ships can emit as much sulphur as
the world fleet of cars.
A year ago, the IMO belatedly decided to clean up its act. It said
shipping fuel should not contain more than 3.5 per cent sulphur by
2012 and eventually must come down to 0.5 per cent. This lower
figure could halve the deaths, says Corbett.
It should not be hard to do. There is no reason ship engines
cannot run on clean fuel, like cars. But, away from a handful of
low-sulphur zones, including the English Channel and North Sea,
the IMO gave shipping lines a staggering 12 years to make the
switch. And, even then, it will depend on a final 'feasibility
review' in 2018.
In the meantime, according to Corbett's figures, nearly one
million more people will die.
Smoke and sulphur are not the only threats from ships' funnels.
Every year they are also belching out almost one billion tons of
carbon dioxide. Ships are as big a contributor to global warming
as aircraft - but have had much less attention from
Both international shipping and aviation are exempt from the Kyoto
Protocol rules on cutting carbon emissions. But green pressure is
having its effect on airlines. Ahead of next month's Copenhagen
climate talks, airlines have promised to cut emissions by 50 per
cent by 2050.
But shipping companies are keeping their heads
down. A meeting of the IMO in July threw out proposals from the
British Chamber of Shipping, among others, to set up a
carbon-trading scheme to encourage emissions reductions.
Amazingly, they pleaded poverty. Two-thirds of the world's ships
are registered in developing countries such as Panama. These are
just flags of convenience, to evade tougher rules on safety and
pay for sailors.
But at the IMO, governments successfully argued that ships from
developing countries should not have to cut carbon emissions. IMO
secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos insisted: 'We are heavily
and consistently engaged in the fight to protect and preserve our
environment.' Yet without limits, carbon emissions from shipping
could triple by 2050.
The failure brought calls for the IMO to be stripped of its powers
to control the world's ships. Colin Whybrow, of Greenwave, a
British charity set up to campaign for cleaner shipping, says:
'The IMO is drinking in the last-chance saloon.'
Burning low-sulphur fuel won't cut carbon emissions from ships.
But there are other ways. More efficient engines could reduce
emissions by 30 per cent, according to British marine consultant
Cutting speed could reduce emissions by as much again. And there
are even wackier ways, such as putting up giant kites to harness
the wind as in the days of sailing ships.
However you look at it, the super-ships are
rogues on the high seas, operating under pollution standards long
since banished on land; warming the planet and killing its
inhabitants. Santa's sleigh, they are not.
Forwarded by Mark Graffis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Israeli agents operating at international
28th November, 2009
Israeli spies have been found to be posing as airport security
guards at international terminals, subjecting unsuspecting
travellers to illegal interrogations and strip searches.
A television network covering southern Africa recently aired a
report, after an extensive undercover investigation, that revealed
an elaborate Israeli secret service operation is being carried out
at Johannesburg International Airport.
The report claims black and Muslim travellers are being subjected
to illegal interrogations and strip searches by Israeli
intelligence service, the Shin Bet, who are purportedly employed
as security guards by Israeli airline El Al, but pose as officials
of airport security.
The racial profiling is so extensive one former agent says he has
conducted 40,000 of the interrogations. An Israeli human rights
organization says similar operations are being carried out at most
major airports around the world.
The South African government has been investigating the claims
made by Carte Blanche, southern Africa's leading television
investigative news program which is beamed to 45 countries and has
won more than one hundred awards. A team of Israeli diplomats has
been flown to Johannesburg after South African authorities issued
an ultimatum demanding that Israel resolve the issues surrounding
the security guards by the end of this month, or the guards would
all be deported.
At least one El Al official, has already been deported as a result
of the investigations which are continuing. Curiously that
official was in fact revealed to be an employee of the Israeli
embassy, despite performing duties for El Al security. He was also
found to have had a diplomatic passport.
The explosive claims made on the southern African television
network have been supported by footage of an interrogation of an
undercover Muslim reporter with the network. The incident was
filmed by a hidden camera. A person employed by El Al was seen
approaching the Muslim reporter saying he was from "airport
security." He demanded the undercover reporter hand over his ID
and passport as part of "airport regulations." The reporter
objected to handing over documents, saying he was not travelling
and was waiting for a friend. At this point "El Al's Security
Manager," identified as Golan Rice, confronted the reporter for
additional interrogation. The reporter was then told he was in a
restricted area and was told to leave.
"What we are trained is to look for the immediate threat, the
Muslim guy. You can think he is a suicide bomber, he is collecting
information. The crazy thing is that we are profiling people
racially, ethnically, and even on religious grounds," Johnathon
Garb, a former El Al security guard told the Johannesburg TV
program. "This is what we do," he added.
Mr. Garb said the El Al airline had been a front
for Shin Bet for years. "Here is a secret service operating above
the law in South Africa," Garb said. "We pull the wool over
everyone's eyes. We do exactly what we want. The local authorities
do not know what we are doing."
Two other former security guards with El Al verified the
allegations. They told Carte Blanche black and Muslim people were
often taken to a special annex room where they were held for
questioning. They were interrogated they said not necessarily on
matters relating to airport security. In some cases they were
strip searched and their luggage taken apart. Clandestine searches
of their possessions and laptops were also carried out.
One person targeted for special treatment was Virginia Tilley, the
chief researcher at South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council
which recently released a report accusing Israel of apartheid in
the Palestinian territories. "The decision was she be checked in
the harshest way because of her connections," Garb told the Carte
Blanche news program. He said Ms Tilley's luggage was taken from
her and documents in her possession were photo-copied and
forwarded on to the Shin Bet in Israel. Ms Tilley confirmed she
had been detained by El Al staff at the airport and her luggage
was taken from her for inspection elsewhere.
El Al's General Manager in South Africa confirmed Mr Garb was
working in security at the airport but was indirect on who his
employer was, suggesting it was the Shin Bet.
Three years ago a report issued by two Israeli human rights
organizations, the Centre against Racism, and the Arab Association
for Human Rights, alleged that El Al security staff employed
racial profiling at most major airports around the world. The
report said people were subjected to discriminatory and degrading
treatment in violation of the relevant countries' laws, and
international law. "Our research showed that the checks conducted
by El Al at foreign airports had all the hallmarks of Shin Bet
interrogations," Mohammed Zeidan, the Director of the Human Rights
Mr Garb, who said he was recruited by the Shin Bet 19 years ago
and was trained in a secret Shin Bet facility in Israel, said El
Al smuggled weapons into the Johannesburg Airport with the
co-operation of the Israeli embassy.
Asked to comment on the allegations, the Israeli
foreign ministry, through spokesman Yossi Levy said, "the Ministry
cannot comment on security matters."
Vegetarian low protein diet could be key to long life
A vegetarian diet could be the key to a long
life, a new study suggests.
By Richard Alleyne - 03 Dec 2009
Reducing consumption of a protein found in fish and meat could
slow the ageing process and increase life expectancy, according to
Scientists have long believed that an ultra low calorie diet -
approximately 60 per cent of normal levels - can lead to greater
But now a team of British researchers have discovered that the key
to the effect is a reduction in a specific protein and not the
total number of calories.
That means that by reducing foods that contain
the protein - such as meat, fish and certain nuts - people should
live longer without the need to cut down on meals.
Dr Matthew Piper, from the Institute of Healthy Ageing at
University College London, said that a vegetarian diet could be
one way to achieve the effect.
Studies in animals including monkeys have shown that reducing food
intake can benefit health and increase lifespan.
Researchers have found that reducing calories by as much as 30 per
cent could reduce risks of developing heart disease or cancer by
half and increase lifetimes by nearly a third.
The extreme diets - just above malnutrition levels - add an extra
25 years to the average life in Britain with the vast majority of
people living to their 100th birthday
But in a series of new experiments on fruit flies, scientists
discovered that simply varying the mix of amino acids in the diet
Further study revealed that one particular amino acid, methionine,
made all the difference.
Although flies and people are very different, the researchers
believe the effects are likely to be conserved throughout a wide
range of different species including humans.
Dr Piper said: "It's not as simple as saying 'eat less nuts' or
'eat more nuts' to live longer - it's about getting the protein
balance right, a factor that might be particularly important for
high protein diets, such as the Atkins diet or body builders'
Methionine is essential to the formation of all proteins. It is
naturally abundant in foods such as fish and meats as well as
sesame seeds, Brazil nuts and wheat germ.
Humans have around four times more genes than the fruit fly, but
both share many similar genes with basic biological functions.
Therefore, even though the fruit fly does not on the surface
resemble humans, many findings about its basic biology can be
extrapolated to humans.
"This work was done on flies but similar results
have been found in mice," said Dr Piper. "If it turns it has the
same effect on humans, then the message is avoid high levels of