Climate - Oct 30
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Children particularly at risk from global warming: report
Children are especially vulnerable to the adverse health effects of global warming, said a report released Monday.
"Anticipated direct health consequences of climate change include injury and death from extreme weather events and natural disasters, increases in climate-sensitive infectious diseases, increases in air pollution-related illness, and more heat-related, potentially fatal, illness," the report presented at the annual congress of the American Academy of Pediatrics said.
(29 October 2007)
Schwarzenegger regrets US's poor effort on global warming
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told a conference in Lisbon on Monday that he regretted Washington's lack of engagement on global warming but insisted it was not ignoring the issue.
"Just because you don't see Washington leading this issue, don't be thinking that America is shirking its responsibilities," he said in a video message transmitted for an international conference on global warming.
...On Monday, the states of California, New Jersey and New York joined eight European Union countries -- Portugal, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands -- and New Zealand, Norway, and the Canadian region of British Columbia to create an International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP).
This new forum was created to enable countries to work together against climate change and exchange their experiences on the matter.
(29 October 2007)
Malaria moves in behind the loggers
Andrés Schipani and John Vidal, Guardian
Deforestation and climate change are returning the mosquito-borne disease to parts of Peru after 40 years
...n Peru, malaria was almost eradicated 40 years ago, but this year 64,000 cases have been registered in the country, half in the Amazon region. It is thought there are many more unregistered cases deep within the massive and humid rainforest, where health authorities find it almost impossible to gain access.
"Malaria is present. There have been 32,000 cases this year in this area alone - that says malaria is very much present," said Hugo Rodríguez, a doctor at the Andean Health Organisation, which is fighting malaria in border areas of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
His organisation distributes mosquito nets to some villagers, spreading the message through the area that the illness is dangerous and - where they can identify the cases - helping in post-infection treatment.
"Now we are not talking about eradicating malaria any more, as that is impossible and unsustainable; we are doing our best to try and control it," he added.
Climate change and deforestation are behind the return of malaria in the Peruvian Amazon.
Off-season rain is altering the pattern of mosquito development, leaving puddles containing the lethal larvae in areas where malaria had been nonexistent.
"The actual malaria problem of the Peruvian Amazon is caused by constant climate changes," said biologist Carlos Pacheco, head of the mosquito control unit in Iquitos, the regional capital south of Mazán.
And deforestation is having a similar effect, forcing the mosquito to move to new areas and spreading the disease to places where people are not aware of the disease, where villagers lack the means to get hold of mosquito nets and preventive medicines, and where health authorities have no presence.
(30 October 2007)
The other side of global warming
We have plenty of solutions at hand beyond technology
Peter Donovan , Gristmill
Today the dominant view of global warming is that it's a technical problem. The burning of fossil fuels -- often regarded as the lifeblood of modern economies -- puts greenhouse gases into the air, mainly carbon dioxide, trapping more solar energy, which heats the planet and alters weather patterns. Methane and nitrous oxide also contribute. The solution is defined as reducing greenhouse gas emissions (pollution). The political, social, and moral campaign is directed at technological change, and at using our technology less.
But if everyone stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, global warming will continue for decades. We don't have an economical technology for removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Limiting ourselves to technology-focused solutions doesn't give us much leverage. It gives us an agenda of "let's wreck the world slower."
There is another side to global warming, one that existing scientific panels are ill-equipped to recognize and that existing institutions are ill-equipped to act on. Global warming is not just an atmospheric pollution problem caused by fossil fuel burning. It is also the result of changes in basic biospheric processes. Let's look at some examples.
Carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning represent less than 3% of the net annual flow of carbon into the atmosphere. The other 97% also results from combustion reactions -- respiration, decay of organic compounds, and burning of biomass. These reactions emit carbon and yield energy.
The left hand bar below represents the flow out of the atmosphere. This is driven by the photosynthesis of green plants, which is the opposite reaction: consuming solar energy, plants take in carbon, and store both carbon and energy in complex organic compounds.
[FIGURE] The difference between the two flows is less than 3%, which makes the fossil-fuel contribution loom large in the ongoing accumulation of atmospheric carbon.
There is also a guilt factor. Fossil carbon is a human add-on to the "natural" cycle of carbon from plants to atmosphere and back again.
But as a wealth of new findings are showing, the rest of the carbon cycle is also controlled or influenced by our decisions. Our human circle of influence is a good deal larger than our concerns over fossil fuels and deforestation.
Because humans exercise such dominion over plant growth, decay, and fire, most of these carbon flows represent our human desire to survive, and to prosper. They are our habits, and may be difficult to change. But they are also our decisions. ...
(28 October 2007)
Full Version of White House "Edited" CDC Climate Report - with highlights!
Julie L. Gerberding, DeSmogBlog
"Edits" does not even come close to describing the grammatical massacre the White House undertook with CDC Director Julie Gerberding's Senate testimony on the public health effects of climate change.
These were not minor edits the White House PR spin machine would like us to believe. The word-count for the CDC Director's Senate testimony went from 3,107 to 1,500 after the White House got through with it.
Whole sections on health related effects to extreme weather, air pollution-related health effect, allergic diseases, water and food-borne infectious diseases, food and water scarcity and the long term impacts of chronic diseases and other health effects were completely wiped out of the testimony.
Here's the unedited testimony, with the "edits" in highlighted in red:
Climate Change and Public Health Statement of Julie L. Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
TESTIMONY BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS UNITED STATES SENATE
For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 am Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Introduction Good morning Madam Chairwoman, Senator Inhofe, and other distinguished members of the Committee. It is a pleasure to appear before you as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Nation’s leading public health protection agency located within the Department of Health and Human Services. Thank you for the opportunity to present on climate change and human health and to highlight the role of CDC in preparing for and responding to the health effects of climate change. Background
The health of all individuals is influenced by the health of people, animals, and the environment around us. Many trends within this larger, interdependent ecologic system influence public health on a global scale, including climate change. The public health response to such trends requires a holistic understanding of disease and the various external factors influencing public health. It is within this larger context where the greatest challenges and opportunities for protecting and promoting public health occur.
[The next 12 or so paragraphs were censored by the White House].
(26 October 2007)