20071002 Marc Morano‘s Round-up

October 2, 2007, 9:58 am News

20071002 –Marc Morano’s Round up - October 2, 2007

Virginia State climatologist forced from office

VA State Climatologist skeptical of global warming loses job after clash with
Governor: 'I was told that I could not speak in public'
Excerpt: Michaels has argued that the climate is becoming warmer but that the
consequences will not be as dire as others have predicted. Gov. Kaine had warned. Michaels not to use his official title in discussing his views. "I resigned as Virginia state climatologist because I was told that I could not speak in public on my area of expertise, global warming, as state climatologist," Michaels said in a statement this week provided by the libertarian Cato Institute, where he has been a fellow since 1992. "It was impossible to maintain academic freedom with this speech restriction."

Former Harvard Physicist Lubos Motl Comments on VA State Climatologist Leaving
Excerpt: Totalitarianism vs state climatologist in Virginia - The State
Climatologist of Virginia and one of the most esteemed U.S. climatologists, Prof Patrick Michaels, was effectively stripped of his title.
 For purely ideological reasons, the quality of the office of the State Climatologist of Virginia was reduced by nearly three orders of magnitude. As a reader says, sharp scientists are being replaced by party officials. Much like the activists in Germany of the 1930s, these people are plain mad. They never realize that a possible decision could simply be over the edge. They are ready to do absolutely anything and everything for their silly unscientific ideology.

WaPo's Inconvenient Truth: No Alarm Sounded on Virginia Sacking Warming Skeptic
Excerpt: A respected state climatologist resigns his post citing inability to do his job due to political pressure. Sounds exactly like the "inconvenient truth" scenario that Al Gore complained about in his book and documentary. Only thing is in this case it's a Democratic governor, Tim Kaine of Virginia, arguably silencing a climatologist who believes the globe is warming, but that the Gore-ian forecasts of doom are overwrought. So how did the Washington Post report Dr. Pat Michaels's complaint of political pressure infringing on his academic freedom? By penning an article downplaying an arguable intrusion of political influence in the sanctuary of scientific inquest.

Virginia's decision to downgrade the state climatology post is a grave mistake, at least one colleague of Michaels insists. Spinner noted that objection, but buried it at the end of her article: But Paul G. Knight, the state climatologist for Pennsylvania and president of the American Association of State
Climatologists, which Michaels once headed, decried the developments. "They're throwing the baby out with the bathwater," Knight said, referring to Michaels' departure and the possible elimination of the title. Most states have a state climatologist. "The state tended to focus on his opinions instead of what the people of Virginia were getting, which was better than most places."

Inconvenient Youths: Eco-warrior kids go after parents for 'environmental offenses'
(Wall Street Journal)
Excerpt: In households across the country, kids are going after their parents for
environmental offenses, from using plastic cups to serving non-grass-fed beef at the dinner table. Many of these kids are getting more explicit messages about becoming eco-warriors at school and from popular books and movies. This year's global-warming documentary "Arctic Tale," for instance, closes with a child actor telling kids, "If your mom and dad buy a hybrid car, you'll make it easier for polar bears to get around." Kids on field trips to the Garbage Museum in Stratford, Conn., are sent home with instructions to recycle cans, bottles, newspaper and junk mail. The museum hosted 388 schools visits last year, 42 more than the year before. At one California elementary school, kids are given environmental activities to do with their families -- including one where parents have to yank out the refrigerator and clean the coils
to make it more energy efficient.  "Kids are putting pressure on their parents, and this is a very good thing," says Laurie David, a producer of the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Ms. David is the co-author of a new children's book, "The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming," which urges kids, among other things, to petition mom and dad for recycled-fiber toilet paper. "I know how powerful my kids are," she says. "When they want something, forget it -- all the resistance in the world isn't going to help you."

The 7-year-old recently decided he should try to help the cause by turning off his night-light. But when his older sister, Rowan, unplugged it at bedtime, he was soon screaming, "Help!" from his bunk bed. "I'm scared of the dark, so it's a real problem," says Benjamin. His father, Jay Adelson, founder of the social Web site Digg.com, says Benjamin's conservation concerns border on the obsessive: "He sees the cutting down of a tree as a sacrilegious and awful event." Fiona Henderson, a first-grader in Denver, got her environmental calling at church. One of the ministers had been talking about global
warming and the Environmental Protection Agency's children's climate-change Web site, where kids can click on a drawing of an Earth with a bandage on it to learn about greenhouse gases. Fiona, 6, started pestering her parents, John and Margit, to use the lights less often. She walked around shutting off lights, told her father not to drive to work and now gives 25 cents from her $1.50 weekly allowance to various environmental causes. "She's not so much upset as strident -- 'Turn off that light! Turn off that light!' " says Mr. Henderson. "We ended up having conversations with her that it's OK to use energy."

High Court in London told Gore's climate change film 'is propaganda' &
'indoctrinates school children'
Excerpt: Al Gore's climate change documentary contains "serious scientific
inaccuracies, political propaganda and sentimental mush", the High Court in London has heard. Stewart Dimmock: 'Indoctrinating school children in this
manner is unprecedented and unacceptable' The attack came as Stewart  Dimmock, 45, a father of two, challenged the Government's decision to provide every secondary school in England with a copy of the former American vice-president's film as part of an environmental campaign. Paul Downes, appearing for Mr Dimmock, argued that the key flaw of the film was that it was partisan, aimed at influencing rather than informing, and lacked balance. Mr Dimmock, a lorry driver who has children aged 11 and 14, wants the court to declare that the Government acted unlawfully and quash the decision to authorise distribution to more than 3,500 schools. Speaking before the case, Mr Dimmock, from Dover, said: "Climate change is important, but it should
be taught to children in a neutral and measured manner.
"Indoctrinating school children in this manner is unprecedented and unacceptable."

Students Thrown Climate Life Preserver with New book
Excerpt:  Two new books on global warming for kids are out. One is designed to reduce anxiety among children; the other is designed to heighten it. So which is better? That depends on how you like your facts - right or wrong. Sept. 1 saw the release of "The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming," co-authored by Al Gore acolyte and "Inconvenient Truth" co-producer Laurie David and former advertising copywriter and environmental activist Cambria Gordon.
Two weeks later, "The Sky's Not Falling! Why It's OK to Chill About Global Warming" was published. It was authored by resource economist Holly Fretwell, an adjunct professor at Montana State University and a senior research fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). Judging from the authors' credentials alone, you may already suspect
where this comparison of the two books might be headed - and you really don't have to go too far into either book to confirm that suspicion.

Americans consider global warming an urgent threat, according to poll
Excerpt: A growing number of Americans consider global warming an important threat that calls for drastic action, and 40% say that a presidential candidate's position on the issue will strongly influence how they vote, according to a national survey conducted by Yale University, Gallup and the ClearVision Institute. "One of the most surprising findings was the growing sense of urgency," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change and the study's principal investigator. "Nearly half of Americans now believe that global warming is either already having dangerous impacts on people around the world or will in the next 10 years - a 20-percentage-point increase since 2004. These results indicate a sea change
in public opinion." The survey's findings include: Sixty-two percent of respondents believe that life on earth will continue without major disruptions only if society takes immediate and drastic action to reduce global warming. Sixty-eight percent of Americans support a new international treaty requiring the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050. Yet, Leiserowitz notes, the United States has yet to sign the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that would require the United States to cut its emissions 7 percent by the year 2012.

Astrophysicist Dr. Howard Greyber calls warming fears 'unwarranted hysteria' -
Smacks down International Herald Tribune for warming hysteria (in published Letter
to Editor) (Greyber is a Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society; Member and member of the International Astronomical Union)
Excerpt: Science and global warming: When Thomas Friedman touts carbon dioxide as the cause of global warming in his column "Doha and Dalian" (Sept. 20), I respond as a physicist that he cannot comprehend that it is still not proven that carbon dioxide emissions actually are causing global warming. Correlation does not prove Causation. The Earth's climate changes all the time. Did carbon dioxide emissions cause the Medieval Warm Period, when Vikings raised crops on Greenland's coast? What caused the cold climate from 1700 to 1850? In 1975, articles were published predicting we were entering a New Ice Age. Reputable scientists oppose this unwarranted alarmist hysteria. If fanatic leftists who hate America's progressive capitalistic system had not opposed the building of nuclear power plants by wild allegations and interminable lawsuits, the United States could have built dozens of safe, modern reactors. These provide plentiful, reliable energy and, incidentally, emit zero carbon dioxide. Understanding climate change is an extremely difficult scientific problem. Giant computers generating climate models cannot be trusted so far. As any computer person knows, garbage in means garbage out. If research
suggests subtle variations in our Sun's radiation reaching Earth are causing global climate change, what would Friedman recommend?
By Howard D. Greyber, Ph.D.
(Physics), San Jose, California

Report from international physics group finds no scientific 'unanimity' about cause of global warming  
Excerpt: A new Institute of Physics' (IOP) report, Climate change prediction: A
robust or flawed process?, published today reveals that while there is general
consensus on the underlying causes of the changes in our atmosphere, there is not unanimity.
Scientific understanding is constantly on the move and for every theory there is inevitably a counter argument. Professor Richard Lindzen, Professor
of Atmospheric Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology argued that a poor understanding of 'feedback factors', such as clouds and water vapour in our atmosphere, is undermining the credibility of models. Lindzen argued that simple physical arguments led to much smaller sensitivity to increased greenhouse gases than found in current models implying that feedbacks in these models were excessively positive.  

Scientists question computerized climate-change models
Excerpt: As world leaders gathered in New York for a high-level UN meeting on climate change, a new report by some of the world's most renowned scientists urges policymakers to keep their eyes on the "science grapevine", arguing that their understanding of global warming is still far from complete. Recognizing that powerful computer-based simulations are a key element in predicting climate change, a new Institute of Physics (IOP ) report, published on 26 September 2007, shows that leading climate-physicists' views on the reliability of these models differ. The IOP is also urging world leaders "to remain alert to the latest scientific thought on climate change".

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Professor Richard S Lindzen believes that the "current climate models exaggerate the impact of CO2 on temperature because of a poor understanding and representation of the feedback effects due to clouds and water vapor".

IPCC reviewer Dr. Vincent Gray's new paper: Spinning the Climate (a skeptic)
[Note: This new paper comes from one of the thousands of UN scientists who
supposedly endorse the "consensus." Dr. Vincent Gray has been a member of the export reviewers' panel for all of the IPCC assessment since 1990.)
Excerpt: However, the authors of Chapter 1 "The Climate System: An Overview" signed their own death warrant when they wrote: " The fact that the global mean temperature has increased since the late 19th century and that other trends have been observed does not necessarily mean that an anthropogenic effect on the climate has been identified. Climate has always varied on all time-scales, so the observed change may be natural" This true statement has led to the replacement in "Climate Change 2007" of this introductory Chapter with a completely different Chapter entitled
"Historical Overview of Climate Change Science" which is a highly selective history boosting the activities of the IPCC.. One of its features is to conceal the very existence of measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration before 1958 which show a variability which would interfere with the IPCC calculations of "radiative forcing". The Chapters in "Climate Change 2007" are only slightly rearranged and they all push the same message, enforced by an increase in gloomy "opinions" derived from the "spin" process described herein.
It is all (the UN IPCC process) a magnificent example of what public relations can achieve, but the consequences for most of us, and for the scientific community before it is eventually exposed for the deception that it is do not bear contemplation.

National Park Service Superintendent states "Global Warming Irrelevant" in opposing wind farm
Excerpt: the National Park Service's Appalachian Trail Superintendent Pam Underhill of West Virginia, stated that global warming was "irrelevant" while testifying in opposing to the placement of Maine Mountain Power's proposed 18 wind turbines on Black Nubble Mountain near Sugarloaf Maine. Underhill, who was testifying in her official capacity as a NPS superintendent front of Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC), said she has fought hard to protect trail for 30 years and considers it her middle child. In her testimony she said didn't want wind turbines located anywhere near what she considers to be a pristine section of the Appalachian Trail because she didn't want hikers to have to see them. Under questioning she acknowledged that global warming was a concern, however, Underhill refused to say whether she would prefer to see the development of renewable energy over the development of more coal fired power plants.

Skeptics insist global warming fears 'blown out of proportion'
Excerpt:  Skeptics, including Marc Morano, an aide to Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, counter that some climate researchers receive funding (mp3)

from environmental interest groups and may be more partisan (FT)
than they present themselves.
Skeptics say consensus on climate science is not as firm
as environmentalists and the media portray it. They offer a number of possible reasons for warming trends in place of greenhouse gases, including natural variability
(Daily Mail)
an increased period of solar activity
 the end of a "little ice age," or possibly some yet-to-be-identified reason. They argue there is not enough evidence

to conclude human-generated concentrations of carbon dioxide are responsible for current and projected climate conditions. "No computer can accurately represent such a gigantic system as the Earth with all its unknown processes," writes Syun-Ichi Akasofu, former director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed

"Therefore, no supercomputer, no matter how powerful, is able to prove
definitively a simplistic hypothesis that says the greenhouse effect is responsible for warming." Other studies dispute both the little ice age and solar activity claims.

Fallacies about Global Warming by Climate researcher John McLean
Excerpt: It is utterly bizarre that, in face of this reality, public funding of many
billions of dollars is still being provided for climate change research. It is even
more bizarre that most governments, urged on by environmental NGSs and other self-interested parties, have either already introduced carbon taxation or trading systems (Europe; some groups of US States), or have indicated a firm intention to do so (Australia). At its most basic, if scientists cannot be sure that temperatures are today rising, nor establish that the gentle late 20th century warming was caused by CO2 emissions, then it is nonsense to propose that expensive controls are needed on human carbon dioxide emissions. Even more alarming still is the self-sustaining nature of the IPCC and its alarmist claims. The IPCC reports determine the direction of climate research and its funding, which ultimately leads to the number of scientific papers which take a particular line, and the dominance of that line of thinking is expressed in the subsequent IPCC report. The process is one of strong positive feedback for alarmist science advice.

$125,000 challenge issued to prove man-made catastrophic global warming
Excerpt; Junkscience.com would love nothing more than to pay you $125,000 to cause a catastrophic increase in global warming. Up 25 percent from the original promise of a cool $100,000 in cash, the people at Junkscience.com have increased their reward for someone who can scientifically prove them wrong and show that drastic climate change is an imminent danger for the world.
The contest, dramatically titled, "The Ultimate Global Warming Challenge," announced the increase in the prize money, and Steven J. Milloy, founder and publisher of JunkScience.com, has used the event as an opportunity to once again challenge those who believe in the threat posed by global warming - specifically, former Vice President Al Gore, presenter of "An Inconvenient
Truth." "If it's a matter of money, Al Gore and the alarmists should just come out and tell us what sum it will cost the rest of us to see what proof they have," said Mr. Milloy, who assures everyone that he and his backers are good for the money and have every intention to pay out to anyone who can prove them wrong, adding that he is putting his "name and reputation on the line."

Gore Dodges Repeated Calls to Debate Global Warming
Excerpt: The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free-market think tank, launched the debate campaign in April, using ads, press releases, and other tactics to prod Gore into confronting those who reject his alarmist views on global warming. For his part, President Klaus has not minced words on what he sees as the real agenda of those promoting climate hysteria. In an op-ed in the Financial Times (June 13, pointedly titled "Freedom, Not Climate, is at Risk," Klaus said: "Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives." Arguing that the issue of global warming "is more about social than about natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature," Klaus rejected the notion of a "scientific consensus" on climate change as an effort by a"loud minority" to impose its will on a "silent majority." However, Klaus reserved
his unkindest cut of all for the movement that has joined forces with Gore is
spreading fear about global warming: "As someone who lived under communism for mostof his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning." Gore's refusal to take on the likes of Klaus, Avery and Lord Monckton is no isolated incident of the former vice president's lacking the courage of his convictions.

The Top 100 Effects of Global Warming (People actually believe these predictions!
Great database of hysteria with links!)
Excerpt: Say Goodbye to French Wines Wacky temperatures and rain cycles brought on by global warming are threatening something very important: Wine. Scientists believe global warming will "shift viticultural regions toward the poles, cooler coastal zones and higher elevations." What that means in regular language: Get ready to say bye-bye to French Bordeaux and hello to British champagne. [LA Times]
Say Goodbye to Light and Dry Wines Warmer temperatures mean grapes in California and France develop their sugars too quickly, well before their other flavors. As a result, growers are forced to either a) leave the grapes on the vines longer, which dramatically raises the alcoholic content of the fruit or b) pick the grapes too soon and make overly sweet wine that tastes like jam. [Washington Post]
Say Goodbye to Pinot Noir The reason you adore pinot noir is that it comes from a notoriously temperamental thin-skinned grape that thrives in cool climates. Warmer temperatures are already damaging the pinots from Oregon, "baking away" the grape's berry flavors.[Bloomberg]
Say Goodbye to Baseball The future of the ash tree-from which all baseball bats  are made-is in danger of disappearing, thanks to a combination of
killer beetles and global warming. [NY Times]
Say Goodbye to Christmas Trees The Pine Bark Beetle, which feeds on and kills pine trees, used to be held in control by cold winter temperatures. Now the species is thriving and killing off entire forests in British Columbia, unchecked. [Seattle Post Intelligencer]
Say Goodbye to the
Beautiful Alaska Vacation Warmer weather allowed Spruce Bark Beetles to live longer, hardier lives in the forests of Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, where they killed off a section of spruce forest the size of Connecticut. [Alaska Science Forum

Year to Date Hurricane Activity - Lower than 2006 so far!
Excerpt: At this point, despite a couple of intense hurricanes, 2007 is even quieter thus far than 2006.
Some of you have been noticing a tendency for almost any gust of wind in the Atlantic to now become a named storm. Given this tendency, more relevant metrics are obviously the number of hurricane-days (and the closely related
ACE index) and the number of storm-days.  I've scraped the data and done the YTD calculations, comparing these to the corresponding values to the end of September in previous years (I'll replace this graphic in a few days when Sept 2007 is completed, but I don't expect much change.)

People wise up? No one shows up for global warming learning event
Excerpt: Doesn't anyone care about global warming? CALEDONIA –

Perhaps the problem on Saturday was that too many people were out enjoying the Earth on a fine, warm autumn day rather than gathering indoors to learn about saving it. Whatever the reason, no one showed up for a learning session on global warming held at River Bend Nature Center. Perhaps it was because there were also other environmental activities going on around the area, said Adrienne Roach of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. She was seated on a circle of benches with Rebecca Eisel, a volunteer with the National Wildlife Federation, and Kari Olesen of the Sierra Club.
Olesen's colleague, Laura Feider, waited outside for people to show up. It wasn't just global warming that the group was prepared to talk about. They also wanted to tell people about Senate Bill 81, a proposal in the Wisconsin Legislature which would set limits on the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Weather Stations Giving Bad Global Warming Data - Mainstream Media (MSM) Missing in Action
Excerpt: A few months ago, the blogosphere and talk radio were abuzz with the story of how the nation's various weather stations and temperature reading devices have been improperly located or badly constructed and how the data received from these improper devices must be suspected as inaccurate. The MSM briefly mentioned this story but quickly dropped it like the proverbial hot rock. It makes one wonder why?
Since global warming research often uses the suspect data that is gotten from these failed stations, the accuracy of the entire theory must therefore be called into question as its conclusions are derived from likely false data. Still the MSM ignores this explosive story.

Board should tackle potholes not global warming (letter to the editor in Lake
Country CA)
Excerpt: Recently our Board of Supervisors, led by Supervisor Rushing, voted for our county to lead the world in abolishing global warming. The vote to accomplish this monumental task was unanimous except for that of Supervisor Brown, who snidely remarked that putting Al Gore in charge of global warming was like putting Michael Vick in charge of Animal Control. He later apologized to Vick. Brown was in error, belittling our Board that way; the last time our distinguished Board took command of worldly matters was when they voted to censure South Africa. They were marvellously effective; the white government collapsed soon afterward and the citizens of South Africa lived happily ever after. It's beside the point that, shortly after our board voted to knock off global warming for the planet, a group of five hundred of the
world's most distinguished meteorologists published an opinion that manmade global warming is a crock. They don't deny that global warming is occurring; it obviously has been since the last ice age when Yosemite was under a glacier two miles thick. They simply doubt that man has contributed much to it, starting 10,000 years, or so, ago when this last earthly warming cycle began. They point to sun spots, global tilt and, and tectonic plate shifts as provable causes. But what do they know, compared to Al Gore and our Board of Supervisors? Now that our Board has straightened out South Africa and world global warming, I do wish they would be so kind as to turn their attention to our local potholes.
Randy Ridgel - Kelseyville

Kevin Costner: 'I've blown $40 million on inventions to save the planet'
Excerpt: Hollywood actor Kevin Costner has squandered more than £20million of his fortune on doomed investments to save the planet, he admits. The Oscar-winning Dances With Wolves star plunged the cash into "green technology", forming two companies to develop his passion. His first venture championed a revolutionary method to clean up major oil spills and the second tried to develop a successful non-chemical battery. But both projects failed and he lost the entire investment.
HHHHHHHe says in an interview in Live magazine: "I've invested enormous amounts in technologies I thought would help the world. "There's nothing to show for the millions I've invested. My God, most people would want to die if they lost $1,000 or $100,000. I've lost $40 million plus. "But I knew that if I was right it would change things in an incredibly positive way. Do I regret that? Yes. Has it changed my life one bit? No, because I haven't been moved by money." Costner, 52 - whose 1994 divorce from first wife Cindy Silva cost him £40million - was first moved to action by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, when the tanker struck a reef and lost 11million gallons of oil off Alaska.

Clinton Global Initiative charged $15,000 per person for NYC event featuring Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
Excerpt: Among those who are expected to attend are former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, tennis star Andre Agassi and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. For a price tag of $15,000, those at the conference attend a number of panel discussions and smaller working sessions about four broad topics. Three remain constant from year to year - poverty relief, global health, and energy and climate change - while the fourth changes. This year, the fourth topic is education. Those who attend are expected to make commitments for efforts they will make on those issues; so far more than $10 billion has been pledged in the first two conferences. Those who do not fulfill their pledges are not invited back; Yarrow said there were five people this year whose registration fees were not accepted.
While the conference will continue to announce major pledges at the event – last year, British business mogul Richard Branson pledged $3 billion to battle global warming - Yarrow said the foundation wants to go beyond that and start measuring the impact of pledges.

Rancher Kills Wolf to Save Cattle, Violates Endangered Species Act
Excerpt: A Montana rancher killed a wolf to protect his cattle herd, and now federal officials say he violated the Endangered Species Act, sparking fears the act is doing more harm than good, because it forces landowners to "shoot, shovel and shut up," reports CNSNews.com Editor/Staff Writer Randy Hall. Ironically, the California rancher has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to help ensure that his ranch is set up and operates legally, especially in conformity with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). He has experimented with fences, herders, and other nonfatal means to prevent his livestock from being killed by wolves, which had virtually been wiped out in the area during the 1970s but were reintroduced by federal officials in 1994.

Ethanol's Boom Stalling as Glut Depresses Price
Excerpt: The ethanol boom of recent years - which spurred a frenzy of distillery construction, record corn prices, rising food prices and hopes of a new future for rural America - may be fading. Only last year, farmers here spoke of a biofuel gold rush, and they rejoiced as prices for ethanol and the corn used to produce it set records. But companies and farm cooperatives have built so many distilleries so quickly that the ethanol market is suddenly plagued by a glut, in part because the means to distribute it have not kept pace. The average national ethanol price on the spot market has plunged 30 percent since May, with the decline escalating sharply in the last few weeks."The end of the ethanol boom is possibly in sight and may already be here," said Neil E. Harl, an economics professor emeritus at Iowa State University

 who lectures on ethanol and is a consultant for producers. "This is a dangerous
time for people who are making investments. "While generous government support is expected to keep the output of ethanol fuel growing, the poorly planned overexpansion of the industry raises questions about its ability to fulfill the hopes of President Bush and other policy makers to serve as a serious antidote to the nation's heavy reliance on foreign oil.

Ethanol Boom Is Running Out of Gas

Excerpt: Ethanol's frenzied growth over the past year is coming to a halt -- at
least for now. The price of ethanol has fallen by 30% over the past few months as a glut of the corn-based fuel looms, while the price of ethanol's primary component, corn, had risen. That is squeezing ethanol companies' profits and pushing some ethanol plants to the brink of bankruptcy.   Boom and Bust: The ethanol industry is running into problems as prices fall while corn prices rise.   Market Dynamics: The industry still faces considerable obstacles, ranging from its dependence on Washington to a lack of infrastructure. * Ethanol Shakeout? Larger, more established ethanol producers are expected to roll up smaller producers. Financing for new ethanol plants is drying up in many areas,
and plans to build are being delayed or canceled across the Midwest, as investors increasingly decide that only the most-efficient ethanol plants are worth their money. Some ethanol companies are "under deathwatch" now, says Chris Groobey, a partner in the project-finance practice of law firm Baker & McKenzie, which has worked with lenders and private-equity funds involved with ethanol.

French face tough choices to help save the planet
Excerpt: In a huge consultation exercise starting this week, the people of France will be asked whether they want to save the planet. The answer is likely to be "oui". They will, however, also be asked harder questions: Are French drivers willing to accept lower speed limits on motorways and ordinary roads to reduce carbon emissions? Are French consumers prepared to pay more for their food, to allow "bio", or organic, farming to take over one fifth of all fields in the next 13 years? Are French farmers ready to give up their addiction to pesticides? Are homeowners prepared to pay up to EU20,000 (£14,000) - EEU600bn in total - to insulate their houses? The consultation exercise - including an internet questionnaire and 17 public meetings - is part of a green revolution promised by President Nicolas Sarkozy during his election campaign in the spring. At the end of this month, all interested parties - employers, unions, farmers, consumers, green pressure groups, hunters and conservationists, even bull-fight fans and anti-bull-fight campaigners - will be invited to a conference in Paris.

Eco-activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. makes connection between democracy, environment
Excerpt: Appearing before a crowd of Westminster College students along with area residents Tuesday night as part of the second annual Symposium on Democracy, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he was "really happy the connection has been made here between democracy and the environment. "The primary measurement of how effective a democracy is, is how they distribute the goods of the land," Kennedy said. "Does the government make sure there is clean air and clean water - does it allow those things to be made available to everyone?" One of Kennedy's main arguments was that "the corrosive impact of corrupt corporate power is the biggest threat against both (democracy and the environment)." "They (corporations and industry) should not be running our government," he said. "Detroit should not have power in Washington
(D.C.), why are the oil industry and the coal industry writing our laws?"

UCLA Study finds Entertainment industry 2nd biggest polluter next to oil industry
Excerpt: From "green carpets" at awards shows to organic fruit served to actors on sets, Hollywood is going all out to promote itself as being environmentally hip. But is it all just show? No amount of public service announcements or celebrities driving hybrid cars can mask the fact that movie and TV production is a gritty industrial operation, consuming enormous amounts of power to feed bright lights, run sophisticated cameras, and feed a cast of thousands. Studios' back lots host cavernous soundstages that must be air-conditioned to counter the heat produced by decades-old lighting technology. Huge manufacturing facilities consume wood, steel, paint and plastic to build sets that are often torn down and tossed out after filming ends. The energy guzzling continues on the exhibition side, too, with multiplexes drawing millions of kilowatts to power old-school popcorn makers and clunky film projectors that cash-strapped theater owners are reluctant to replace. A two-year study released last year by the UCLA concluded that special effects explosions, idling vehicles and diesel generators make the entertainment industry a major Southern California polluter, second only to the oil industry.

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