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Environmental concerns

Environmental news: 2006-MAY to DEC

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Media reports on the environment:

bullet 2006-MAY-02: World: U.S. government report on climate change: The U.S. Climate Change Science Program issued the first of a series of 21 reports which deal with climate change and the human influences on temperature trends. The report finds that there is no discrepancy in the average rate of the world's temperature rise on the surface compared with the atmosphere. That discrepancy had been used by skeptics to challenge the validity of climate models. They concluded:

"The evidence continues to support a substantial human impact on global temperature increases. This should constitute a valuable source of information to policymakers." 1,2

bullet 2006-JUN-22: World: Average temperature: Congress requested a study from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council on global warming. They said that Michael Man and his team's climate reconstructions published in the late 1990s are "plausible." They had concluded that the warming of the Northern Hemisphere during the last decades of the 20th century was unprecedented over the previous thousand years. 3,4

bullet 2006-JUN-26: USA: The Supreme Court decided to hear a global warming case: The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear a lawsuit launched by a group of state Attorneys General, the America Samoa territory, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth. They hope that the court will order the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish rules concerning carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. The court has agreed to review their appeal during its fall session which begins in October. More information. 5

bullet 2006-JUL-11: USA: Global warming threatens U.S. wineries: A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concluded that areas in the U.S. suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced by 50 to 81% by the end of the 21st century due to global warming. Noah Diffenbaugh of Perdue University wrote that the main problem is an increase in the frequency of extremely hot days. At maximum daily temperatures of about 95 degrees, F (35ºC), wine grapes experience problems with photosynthesis and the breakdown of sugars. 6

bullet 2006-JUL-13: World: "Happy Planet Index" rates 178 countries: The New Economics Foundation, a UK company, and Friends of the Earth computed their Happy Planet Index (HPI)for 178 countries. This index does not measure the happiness of the public; it monitors how countries convert their natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. They examine three factors: the country's ecological footprint, the life satisfaction of its citizens, and their life expectancy. Each country is rated on a scale of 0  to 100; 83.5 is considered a reasonable target. None of the countries reached this value. Some results:
bullet Vanuatu, an archipelago in the South Pacific was highest with a index value of 68.2.

bullet Next came Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Panama.

bullet Among industrialized countries: Italy was rated 66th out of 178 ; Germany 81, Japan 95, UK 108, Canada 111, France 129, USA 129, and Russia 172 out of 178.

bullet Zimbabwe's index value was lowest at 16.6. 7

bullet 2006-AUG-03: USA: Pat Robertson jumps ship on global warming: A serious split has become obvious during 2006 in the Evangelical Christian community over global warming. The split may now have become a chasm as Fundamentalist teleminister Pat Robertson announced on his 700 Club that he has reversed his position on global warming. He told his audience that he had not been a believer in global warming, but the record-breaking heat wave across the U.S. in recent weeks was:

"making a convert out of me....We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels. It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air.....If we are contributing to the destruction of this planet, we need to do something about it." 8

Almost a year earlier, In 2005-OCT, Robertson warned that the National Association of Evangelicals was teaming up with "far-left environmentalists" to promote the belief that global warming was being caused by human and needs to be reduced. But now he appears to be embracing their position.

bullet 2006-AUG-18: India: Coca-Cola and Pepsi under fire: The Centre of Science and Environment (CSE), an Indian non-governmental organization, sampled Coca-Cola and Pepsi drinks from 12 states in India. They found that pesticide residue, on average, was 24 times higher than allowed by the Bureau of Indian Standards. The companies responded, claiming that their products "comply with the stringent international norms and all applicable national regulations." There have also been reports in the media that discharges from the manufactures' factories have seriously polluted the local environment. 9

bullet 2006-AUG-31: California: Greenhouse gas limits: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) has reached an agreement with state Democrats to impose a limit on greenhouse gas emissions including those from industrial plants. The target would have California reduce its CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gasses by about 25% by the year 2020. This would be the first state to do so. 10

bullet 2006-AUG-31: Arizona, etc.: Arizona seeking regulatory power to control automobile pollution: The state of Arizona has joined a group of 17 other states who are seeking a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can regulate automobile greenhouse gas emissions. 11 More information.

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bullet 2006-SEP-13: World: The Arctic's polar ice cap shrinking: Scientists from NASA have found that the maximum winter coverage of sea ice in the Arctic has fallen by 5% over each of the past two winters. The maximum summer coverage is dropping by 10% per decade. Joey Comiso, a NASA scientist said:

"This amount of Arctic sea ice reduction the past two consecutive winters has not taken place before [at least] during the 27 years satellite data has been available. In the past, sea ice reduction in winter was significantly lower per decade compared to summer sea ice. What's remarkable is that we've witnessed sea ice reduction at 6% per year over just the last two winters, most likely a result of warming due to greenhouse gases."

Scientists from NASA and the Canadian Wildlife Service have noted that female Arctic polar bears are having difficulties coping with the reduced spring hunting season. They are experiencing weight loss, and this in turn means that they have problems reproducing and feeding their young. There have been other reports about orphaned walrus pups and polar bears that had resorted to cannibalism. 13
bullet 2006-SEP-16: World: Cheetah population threatened: The cheetah, whose scientific name is Acinonyx Jubatus, is the world's fastest land animal. It can reach 70 mph (115 kph). It was once found on five continents but is now an endangered species. The main pressures on the cheetah populations are lost of habitat; poaching; competition with large predators and ranchers; and loss of genetic variation. In the year 1900, there were more than 100,000 cheetahs in at least 44 countries in Africa and Asia. Today only about 11,000 animals remain in about 25 countries in Africa, and about 200 in Iran. See


2006-SEP-20: Clinton administration's "roadless rule" reinstated: A ruling to protect America's national forest from commercial exploitation had been adopted during the Clinton era after a three year process that involved 600 public meetings and 1.6 million comments from the pubic. President Bush had repealed the rule in 2005. As a result, a number of states, including Oregon and Colorado faced "administration plans to log or develop oil and gas in roadless areas." Conservation groups, and four states challenged the Bush administration repeal. A federal district court reinstated the roadless rule to protect almost 50 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands from road building, logging, and development. The court ruled:

"Defendants are enjoined from taking any further action contrary to the Roadless Rule without undertaking environmental analysis consistent with this opinion....Adoption of (the Roadless Rule) ensures that inventoried roadless areas will be managed in a manner that sustains their values now and for future generations. ... this Court concludes that the Forest Service failed adequately to consider the environmental and species impacts when it (repealed the Roadless Rule) in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Kristen Boyles, an EarthJustice attorney said:

"Americans love the great natural areas our country has been blessed with. From hunters, hikers, fishermen, and bird watchers, to cities and towns that rely on clean, mountain-fed drinking water, the last great roadless natural areas in our national forests deserve preservation. As America grows, so does the need to preserve these natural areas -- because they're not making these kind of natural areas anymore. ... The sad fact is that the Bush administration gave a timber industry lobbyist a high White House appointment and put him in charge of reversing the government's policy to protect our last great roadless natural areas. They made these changes in a flatly illegal way and the Court caught them." 1

bullet 2006-OCT-03: Canada: Evangelical Christian appointed to senior environmental post: The Conservative federal government appointed Conservative member of parliament, Darrel Reid, as Chief of Staff to Environment Minister Rona Ambrose. Reid was Canadian president of the U.S. based fundamentalist group Focus on the Family. Liberal Leader Bill Graham called Reid's appointment an "affront to our democracy."

Some in the opposition Liberal Party have expressed concerns about Reid's attitude towards minorities of other languages, sexual orientations, and religions. Andre Fortin, press secretary the office of Liberal Party Leader Bill Graham, is reported as saying that:

"A number of positions Mr. Reid's taken in the past he's made comments about Quebec, about gays and lesbians, about the Muslim world, all these things we're concerned about."

Earlier, Reid is reported as having said:

"Only God can make Canada a truly Christian country... Christians are called to be faithful where God places them. We are called to speak biblical truth to seek justice -- and that obviously has implications for our political life."

Former Liberal MP Pat O'Brien, who is now a conservative, said:

"As far as I'm concerned the Liberal Party lost all credibility long ago with regard to guarding morals, so it's no surprise to me that they are taking umbrage at someone standing up for Christian values in society ... They continue to erode those values.  I think that is one reason why the Liberal Party has and will continue to lose support from traditional Liberal voters." 14

bullet 2006-NOV-03: World: Seafood may disappear by 2048: The research journal Science published an article predicting that seafood may run out by the year 2048, if current rates of species loss and ocean pollution continue. Lead author is Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He said:

"Species have been disappearing faster and faster. If the long-term trend continues, all fish and seafood species are projected to collapse within my lifetime. Twenty-nine percent of fish and seafood species have collapsed already. It is a very clear trend, and it is accelerating. We don’t have to use models to understand this trend; it is based on all the available data. ... The good news is that it is not too late to turn things around. [Among 48 areas world­wide that have been protected to improve marine biodiversity,] we see that diversity of species recovered dramatically, and with it the ecosystem’s productivity and stability. ... We hardly appreciate living on a blue planet. The oceans define our planet, and their fate may to a large extent determine our fate" 15

bullet 2006-NOV-15: World: Hadley Center for Climate Prediction & Research: Laura Hannon of reports:

"You know, climate isn't just about temperature. It's also about rainfall, weather patterns, stuff like that. There's a new study from the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research out of the UK's Met Office which warns that drought could double or more by the end of the century. And that's the figure for moderate drought. Extreme drought could increase 10-fold, from 3 percent to 30 percent of the Earth's land surface, and severe drought could increase from 8 percent to 40 percent of land. Moderate drought currently affects 25 percent of Earth's land surface, and that is forecast to increase to 50 percent. If you are a subscriber to the American Meteorological Society's Journals Online, you can read about this study here.

"Increased drought will mean increased wildfires, and this fire season has been the most severe on record in the western states. If that trend continues, we can expect to see changes in the ecology of the West with the potential for extinction of plant and animal species. In addition, wildfires emit tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, adding yet another layer of feedback [of greenhouse gasses] into the climate picture." 16

bullet 2006-NOV-18: Kenya: Countries agree to review the Kyoto Protocol: More than 165 countries meeting in Nairobi, Kenya decided to review the Kyoto Protocol during 2008. According to the Canadian Press

"Member countries acknowledged for the first time that global carbon dioxide emissions must be cut 50 percent to avoid dangerous climate change. ... Countries agreed that a review of what has been accomplished under the treaty must be completed before there is any attempt to negotiate the second phase. This means negotiations on the second phase won't begin before 2009. Environmentalists were disappointed with the outcome of the conference, saying it did not recognize the need for urgent action." 17

bullet 2006-NOV-20: USA: Change may be possible on carbon emissions: James Inhofe (R-OK), chairperson of the Senate Environmental Committee, said in an interview

"God's still up there. Climate change is a hoax. The Hollywood elitists, the far-left environmentalists ... all of them want us to believe that science is settled and it's not."

With Democratic wins in the Senate, that party now gets to appoint all of the committee chairpersons. Party leaders say they want an aggressive action on climate change, and plan to select a replacement for Inhofe who will take a strong stance on pollution and global warming.

bullet 2006-DEC-12: Melting of the Arctic sea ice: In 2005, a study claimed that the Arctic ocean would be nearly ice-free by the end of this century. However, a new study by scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and other institutions has concluded that it may happen by 2040. They detected two reasons for the acceleration:
bullet Open water absorbs more sunlight than ice does. So, as more open water is produced, it heats up and melts additional ice.

bullet Global climate change is expected to change the circulation of water in the world's oceans, driving warmer water into the Arctic.

Lead author, Marika Holland, said that it is a "... feedback loop with dramatic implications for the entire Arctic region."

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

    1. "Report Reconciles Atmospheric Temperature Trends. First of 21 reports from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program significantly revises, updates conclusions from previous key reports," NOAA, 2006-MAY-02, at:
    2. T.R. Karl, et al., "Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences," at:
    3. "Earth hottest in 400 years, report says," World Science, 2006-JUN-28, at:
    4. Thomas H. Maugh II and Karen Kaplan, "U.S. Panel Backs Data on Global Warming. Growing Washington acceptance of climate change is seen in the top science body's finding," LA Times, 2006-JUN-23, at:
    5. J.R. Pegg, "U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Global Warming Case," Environment News Service, 2006-JUN-27, at:
    6. Randolph Schmid, "Global warming a threat to U.S. wineries, study," Associated Press, 2006-JUL-11.
    7. "Canada so-so on happy index," Canadian Press, Published by Toronto Star, 2006-JUL-13, Page A13.
    8. "Pat Robertson converts – to 'global warming.' Broadcaster says U.S. heatwave convinced him burning fossil fuels needs to be addressed," WorldNetDaily, 2006-AUG-03, at:
    9. Shi Weigan, "Coke, Pepsi facing quandary in India," China Daily, 2006-AUG-18, at:
    10. "Greenhouse gas emissions targeted," The Toronto Star, 2006-AUG-31, Page A7.
    11. Tony Davis, "Arizona wants greenhouse-emission authority," Arizona Daily Star, Tucson AZ, 2006-SEP-01, at:
    12. "Court Reinstates Roadless Rule; Almost 50 Million Acres of National Forests and Grasslands..." U.S. Newswire, 2006-SEP-20, at:
    13. "Arctic in meltdown," World Science, 2006-SEP-113, at:
    14. John-Henry Westen, "Liberal Leader Calls Christian's Appointment an 'Affront to Our Democracy'," 2006-OCT-03, at:
    15. "Almost no more seafood after 2048 at current rates, study warns," World Science, 2006-NOV-03, at:
    16. Laura Hannon, "Of droughts and fires," AccuWeather, 2006-NOV-15, at:
    17. Dennis Bueckert, "Carbon cuts set for 2008 talks," The Canadian Press. Publ

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    Copyright 2007 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
    Originally posted: 2007-JAN-01
    Latest update: 2018-JAN-27
    Author: B.A. Robinson


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