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Environment - May 4

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Wesley Clark on global warming

General Wesley L. Clark
Three items related to global warming have just appeared on General Wesley Clark’s pac, WesPAC (at,. The first two are from General Clark’s current 4-part podcast series on Global Warming:

1. Clarkcast005 – Leadership and Global Warming
· Play Now (for a direct mp3 download)
General Clark discusses the issue of global warming, its origins and serious consequences. While technology can provide some assistance, the most effective approaches for solving the global warming issue require strong leadership. Listen, then share your thoughts with the Clark community at .

2. Clarkcast007 – A Conversation with Senator Barbara Boxer
· Play Now (for a direct mp3 download)
General Clark sits down with Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) to discuss global warming and the critical issues at hand in the U. S. Senate. Listen, then share your thoughts with the Clark community at

3. There's new feature within WesPAC, a feature run by a group of volunteers among Clark’s supporters, that we call our “Real Science” weblog :
(29 April 2006)
Clark calls global warming a national security problem. He has some position papers about global warming. I didn't see any mention of peak oil or related issues, so if you are a Clark supporter you might want to bring it up at the Clark discussion site.

Wesley Clark stood as a Democratic candidate for President of the United States in the last election.

Palm oil - the end of Borneo's tropical forests?

Jane Perlez, NY Times via Intl Herald Tribune
LONG ALONGO, Indonesia - For generations, Anyie Apui and his people have gotten by on fish and wild game, made do without roads, and left their majestic trees intact. But all that is about to change.

The Indonesian government recently signed a deal with China that would rip into some of the last untouched tropical forests here on Borneo, where dozens of new species have been found in recent years in an area so vital it is sometimes called the lungs of Southeast Asia.

For China, the wood from the forest will provide flooring and furniture for its ever-expanding middle class, and in its place will be planted vast plantations for palm oil, an increasingly popular ingredient in detergents, soaps, and lipstick.

For Anyie and his clan, the deal will bring jobs and the opportunity for a modern life.
(28 April 2006)

Bungle in the Jungle
Critics say Peru pipeline is an accident waiting to happen

Kelly Hearn, Grist
The boat ride down southeastern Peru's Urubamba River cuts through mountains and sweltering jungle, passing wooden shacks of colonos -- mixed race and grindingly poor Peruvians lured to the jungle with promises of free land -- and nativos, tribes recently brought into contact with the modern world. The area is a biological gold mine, home to endemic and rare species, and some of the world's last uncontacted humans. It's also home to an asset that may become the Amazonian rainforest's biggest threat: the mamma jamma of South America's natural-gas lodes.

Big Oil has been pushing its pipelines into the Amazon rainforest frontier since the 1960s. Nowadays, prompted by high oil prices and militarization of the Middle East's fossil fuels, the eastern slope of the Andes and the Amazonian jungle lowlands are being stripped, sawed, plowed, and piped into a global barrel of politically cheap fossil fuels. From Colombia to Ecuador, Brazil to Peru, themes are common: sloppy extractive industries tainting key ecosystems, polluting water, killing plants and animals, and causing strange human illnesses. The Camisea Natural Gas Project is the king of all extraction projects in this region, a billion-dollar operation that taps jungle gas here in the Lower Urubamba, then pipes it over the Andes and down to the Peruvian coast.
(26 Apr 2006)

Paid to Deny Global Warming

Donald Gutstein, The Tyee
The people out to 'poison the debate on climate change.'
In early April, the Financial Post published a letter addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and signed by 60 "accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines," as they describe themselves. They want Harper to begin a debate on the Kyoto Protocol.

Begin a debate? What do they think has been happening since 1988, when US National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist James Hansen testified before the US Congress that he was "99 percent certain that global warming was here." That statement has been subjected to extensive, prolonged and worldwide scrutiny ever since.

The point of their letter is to deny "alarmist forecasts" of global warming and to attack "the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups" whose goal is to capture "sensational headlines."

The letter is classic climate change denial and among the 60 signatories -- only 19 of whom are Canadian -- are the most prominent climate change sceptics, as they are frequently called.

The deniers' letter was followed two weeks later by one from 90 supporters of Kyoto. This group calls itself "climate science leaders from the academic, public and private sectors across Canada." No foreigners, no weasel phrases like "related scientific disciplines" (economics? agronomy?). Their point? The evidence is conclusive that warming has occurred and most of it is attributable to human activity.

These conclusions, they say, are supported by the vast majority of the world's climate scientists. Harper's assignment is to get on with developing an "effective national strategy" to deal with climate change.
(2 May 2006)

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