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Environment Headlines - 18 August, 2005

Judge Reluctant to Rule on Global Warming

Larry Neumeister, Associated Press via Yahoo
NEW YORK - A federal judge expressed reluctance about beginning judicial oversight of pollution issues that affect global warming as she heard arguments Friday in a complaint brought by eight states against some of the nation's largest power companies.

"Why should I do something that Congress and the president have decided they don't want to do as a matter of policy?" Judge Loretta Preska asked lawyers for the states.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the states would prove that the five power companies are responsible for 10 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.
The states are asking the judge to order the companies to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 3 percent annually for 10 years. ...
(13 August 2005)

Cars replacing industry as Sound's worst foe

Robert McClure, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Pollution of Puget Sound appears to be coming increasingly from ordinary, everyday citizens driving around in their cars rather than industrial polluters, a state study released Monday says.
(16 August 2005)

Climate change: Heat and light

The Economist
CLIMATOLOGY is an inexact science at the best of times. Unfortunately it has become, over the past couple of decades, a politically charged one as well. As the debate about global warming-and what, if anything, to do about it-has gathered pace, uncertainties in the data that would be of merely academic interest in other disciplines have acquired enormous practical significance. And one of the most curious uncertainties of all is the apparent discrepancy between what is happening to temperatures at the Earth's surface and what is happening in the troposphere-the lowest layer of the atmosphere, and thus the part that is in contact with that surface.

...It is, nevertheless, doubtful that these papers will end the matter. Studying the climate is a hard problem for three reasons. The system itself is incredibly complex. There is only one such system, so comparative studies are impossible. And controlled experiments are equally impossible. So there will always be uncertainty and therefore room for dissent. How policymakers treat that dissent is a political question, not a scientific one.
(11 August 2005)
Plays up "dissent," while neglecting to mention the scientific consensus that has emerged around global warming. The fact is that this finding is a severe blow to the few climate change skeptics.

Will Climate Wake Up Call Be Answered?

Daniel Ihara, Ph.D., ENN
...Stanford Professor Stephen H. Schneider called these latest reports "the latest of a few hundred wake up calls that don't seem to stir the slumbering political establishment in the United States, though whether this is a tiny ring or a clarion call remains to be determined."

Schneider observed that "increased intensity of hurricanes, many more damaging heat waves, rapidly waning mountain glaciers, thinning Arctic sea ice and the warmest few decades in thousands of years should have been wake up calls enough! How many oil company executives and members of Congress has that awakened from their climate change policy slumbers?"
(15 August 2005)
Dr. Ihara is Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Economic Development (CEED).

Nuclear Waste: The 1,000-Year Fudge

Geoffrey Lean, The Independent (UK)
Secret plans to postpone solving Britain's nuclear waste crisis for up to 1,000 years are being drawn up by the nuclear industry, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

The government-owned British Nuclear Fuels is developing a scheme for indefinitely storing the intensely dangerous material in giant "millennium domes" around Britain, leaving it for generations far into the future to work out what to do with it.
(12 June 2005)
If not a subscriber to The Independent, and doesn't get you through, a full text version is available on Rense.

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