Environmental news: 2007
Media reports on the environment:
||2007-JAN-01: ON: Catholic priest reported as minimizing global warning concerns:
Father Jim McLenaghen at St. Mary’s Parish in Collingwood, ON delivered a
homily on 2006-DEC-31 for the Catholic Feast of the Holy Family. He said, in
"In the media there has been much doom and gloom about the state of
the planet in recent years. There are those who say we are causing
global warming and that we are polluting ourselves to death. I think we
need to maintain a healthy skepticism towards the view that the sky is
falling. The fact is scientists are disagreed among themselves as to the
causes of global warming. I just read an article about two climate
physicists from the Hudson Institute who have published a book
with the thesis that global warming occurs naturally every 1,500 years.
They point out that the Romans grew grapes in Britain in the first
century, and that it was warm enough in the C11th as well for grapes.
Greenland was much warmer when the Vikings named it centuries ago. After
all, they named it Greenland because crops grew so readily on it. Today
it is much colder there than it was when it was named. The point is
climate change is a natural phenomenon.
So don’t believe everything you read – especially when it’s all doom and
Webmaster's note: It is true that there are cycles in the Earth's
temperature that occur naturally. However, the rate of change of temperature
in recent years is unparalleled. It has essentially all environmental
scientists extremely concerned. On another note, Erik the Red selected the
name "Greenland" as a marketing ploy in order to encourage exploration and
settlement. It was definitely not an accurate name.
||2007-FEB-02: World: UN panel releases report on climate change: The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
released the first of four reports it has scheduled for 2007. The panel was created
by the United Nations in 1988. It is a conservative report: it is based only
on peer-reviewed published material and was edited by the consensus of
representatives from 113 governments. World-science.net commented: " Key
world polluters including the United States, China and India steered clear,
while Europeans embraced it."
The report concluded that at present rates of change, global temperatures
could increase by as much as 11º Fahrenheit
(6º C) by the year 2100. However, if
greenhouse gas emissions are brought under control, this can be reduced to
about 3º F (1.7º
C). The world's sea levels are expected to rise by 7 to 23 inches (18 to 58
cm) by the
year 2100. Eventually, if emissions are not controlled, the world's ice sheets
will melt and the se level will rise 20
feet. Fewer cold days, hotter nights, heat waves, floods, heavy rains,
droughts and strong storms are predicted.
Jacques Chirac, president of France, has proposed a new
environmental body that could identify and perhaps police polluting nations.
He said "It is our responsibility. The future of humanity demands it."
||2007-APR-07: World: UN panel releases second
report: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)
released the second of four reports that indicates the danger posed by
global warming is greater than was earlier believed. The authors believe
that the effects of global warming are already visible. RTE Entertainment
"Many of the warnings about effects of climate change are familiar,
but now the IPCC says it is no longer based on models but on what has
actually been seen to happen. The report states that the poor will be
hardest hit. Drinking water will become more scarce, some areas will be
flooded by rising sea levels, and death rates from malnutrition, malaria
and other conditions will rise. Ocean and coastal ecosystems are said to
be most under threat, including fragile coral reefs. The European
Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas said the report
underlined the need for fast action on reducing greenhouse gas
However, the number of extinct
species and the number of humans who will starve or face water shortages or
floods will increase. Scientists said that with a 90% level of confidence:
"... over the last three decades has had a discernible influence on many
physical and biological systems." Predictions include:
||2007-JUN-20: China: China becomes highest CO2
emitter in the world: The Netherlands Environmental Assessment
Agency report states that, because of its economic boom, China has become
the top emitter of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. The report said
that: "China's 2006 carbon dioxide emissions surpassed those of the
United States by 8 percent." In 2005, China's emissions were two percent
below that of the U.S. 6
||2007-JUN-21: World: Plan to promote blooms of
plankton: Planktos, Inc. plans to seed 10,000 square kilometers (3860
square miles) of the Pacific Ocean near the Galapagos Islands with 45 tonnes
(44 tons) of iron-rich dust. Their intent is to promote blooms of plankton.
The very small plants consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. It plans to
sell the carbon-eating capacity as CO2 credits. Unfortunately,
the increased plankton will increase the acidity of the ocean, potentially
harming coral reefs, and depleting fish stocks. Planktos claims that it will
only try to restore the plankton levels to their original volume. Plankton
levels have dropped about 25% over the past 25 years in the Pacific Ocean.
||2007-JUN-29: World: Professor challenges Al
Gore on global warming: Marketing professor Scott Armstrong has
challenged Al Gore to a wager. He proposes that both of them place $10,000
in a charitable trust at the end of 2007, and select a climate change model.
Armstrong predicts zero temperature change over the next decade; Al Gore
would probably select a mathematical model that calls for a rise in
temperature. After ten years, a winner would be selected and the winner
would choose to which charity the proceeds would go. 8
||2007-JUN-29: World: High altitude clouds
studied: NASA launched the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere
(AIM) satellite on APR-25 to study noctilucent (night-shining) clouds. These
are clouds of tiny ice crystals floating some 80 lm (50 miles) above the
earth. Shortly after sunset and before sunrise, sunlight makes them glow
even as the ground is in darkness.
These clouds were first observed in the 1900s. They have become more
numerous in recent years. Some researchers believe that the clouds are
linked to global warming. As carbon dioxide collects in the upper
atmosphere, it absorbs energy from the sun as well as heat radiation from
the earth. It then re-radiates this energy, producing a net cooling in the
upper atmosphere and heating at the surface of earth. Methane can react with
oxygen to create water molecules which would then freeze into noctilucent
||2007-JUL-21: USA: Eight states and NYC
suing five power companies: Eight states -- California, Connecticut,
Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin -- have
jointed New York City in a joint lawsuit against five large power companies.
The plaintiffs charge that carbon dioxide from electric generating plants is
contributing to global warming. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said: "Global
warming is an important issue for our country, for our state and for our
world. It can have enormous consequences.'' Miller claims that
power plants owned by the defendants -- American Power Company, The Southern
Company, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Xcel Energy, and Cinergy
Corporation -- generate over 650 million tons of CO2
yearly. This is about 25% of the total released by America's power plants.
He said that power plants account for 40 percent of the country's total
carbon dioxide emissions. The plaintiffs are asking for a federal court
order that would require the companies to reduce emissions by 1 to 3% each
||2007-SEP-15: Ancient weather records
proving useful: According to Christian Pfister, a climate historian at
the University of Bern in Switzerland, there is an increased interest among
scientists concerning the study of ancient records of weather. He notes that
in the 2006/2007 winter was the warmest in 500 years of record keeping.
Spring blossoms sprang up in the Austrian Alps, an official chestnut tree in
Geneva sprouted leaves and flowers, and mushrooms were being harvested well
into December. It was preceded by the hottest autumn in 1,000 years. He
said: "In the last year there was a series of extremely exceptional
weather. The probability of this [having happened by chance] is very low."
His team has pieced together information from ancient weather reports as far
back as the 10th century.
According to Associated Press:
"Pfister has found that from 1900 to 1990, there was an average of
five months of extreme warmth per decade. In the 1990s, that number
jumped to an unprecedented 22 months. The same decade also had no months
of extreme cold, in contrast to the half-millennium before."
"Even in the last major global warming period from 900 to 1300,
severe winters were only 'somewhat less frequent and less extreme,'
Pfister says. Over the past century, temperatures have gone up an
average of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is often attributed to the
accumulation of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, in the
||2007-SEP-17: CA: Federal judge dismisses
lawsuit: A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of
California. It claimed that the car emissions were responsible for a
significant part of global warming. This is causing increased flooding and
other disasters. This forces the state to spend millions of dollars on
repairs. California sued Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and the U.S.
subsidiaries of Honda, Nissan and Toyota.
The judge ruled that it is impossible for the court to determine to what
extent carmakers were responsible for global warming and the damages that it
causes. Other industries, animals and other natural sources are responsible
for part of the problem. 12
||2007-DEC-03: Indonesia: U.N. Climate Change
Conference in Bali: In 2002, the Kyoto Protocol came into force.
175 countries carefully weighed the short-term cost of implementing the
protocol with the long-term devastation that would result if it was not
followed. 174 nations accepted Kyoto; only the United States chose the
future devastation option.
Since the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, a conference was held in Bali,
Indonesia to develop a path forward beyond that date. Delegates from over
180 nations joined observers from intergovernmental and non-governmental
organizations in Bali, Indonesia. Their goal was to negotiate a new treaty
to replace the Kyoto protocol which expires in 2012. According to the
Guardia, a UK newspaper:
"The UN says that this year's scientific report from the its
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has 'made clear beyond
doubt that climate change is a reality', which poses a serious threat to
the future development of the world's economies, societies and
"According to the IPCC, if no action is taken on greenhouse gases,
the earth's temperature could rise by 4.5C or more."
"The effects of climate change are being felt already, the panel
says. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average and
adverse effects on human activities are documented. Impacts of warming
have also been observed in other regions and sectors, in particular on
"As glaciers retreat, water supplies are being put at risk. And for
populations living in dry lands, especially those in Africa, changing
weather patterns threaten to exacerbate desertification, drought and
food insecurity. Other regions are expected to suffer from floods, sea
level rise and extreme weather events."
" 'We cannot go on this way for long,' the UN secretary general, Ban
Ki-moon, has said. 'We cannot continue with business as usual. The time
has come for decisive action on a global scale'." 13
||2007-DEC-15: Indonesia: U.S. reverses position; conference achieves
partial success: A near consensus was reached on a compromise resolution
that would start intense negotiations over the next two years to reduce CO2
emissions worldwide. Initially, the U.S. rejected the consensus. On
Saturday, DEC-15, a delegate from Papua New Guinea suggested that the U.S.
"either lead, follow or get out of the way." The head of the U.S.
delegation, Paul Dobriansky then announced support for the resolution after
specific guidelines were removed. 14
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Priest Says Beware of Science Experts Quoting Statistics and Saying Sky is
Falling. Says real concern should be about declining state of family,"
LifeSiteNews.com, 2007-JAN-03, at:
"Vinland," Wikipedia, at:
"Report spurs backing for global body on warming," Associated Press,
"Poor will be hardest hit by climate change," RTE News, 2007-APR-06, at:
"Climate report charts 'highway to extinction'," World Science, 2007-APR-10,
"China Top CO2 emitter,
passing U.S., report says," The Toronto Star, 2007-JUN-21, Page AA3.
Catherine Brahic, "Company plans 'eco' iron dump off Galapagos," New
Scientist, 2007-JUN-22; updated JUN-25, at:
Jim Brown, "Al Gore challenged to 'climate change' wager," One News Now,
David Shiga, "Satellite snaps first images of mysterious glowing clouds,"
New Scientist, 2007-JUN-29, at:
Todd Dorman, "Iowa joins lawsuit battling global warming," Quad-City Times,
"Ancient records help test climate change," Boston Herald, 2007-SEP-15, at:
Paul Elias, "Judge tosses Calif global warming suit," Quad-City Times,
"Q&A: Bali climate change conference," The Guardian, 2007-DEC-03, at:
"In U-turn, U.S. agrees to global warming deal," CNN, 2007-DEC-15, at:
Copyright 2007 and 2008 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally posted: 2007-JAN-01
Latest update: 2008-JAN-13
Author: B.A. Robinson