Irish minister bans climate change adverts

An advertising campaign urging people to help tackle climate change has been banned by Northern Ireland’s Environment minister because he does not believe humans are the main cause of global warming.

Sammy Wilson said the ads suggested that turning off a television rather than putting it on standby could help save the planet, a notion he described as “patent nonsense”.

Al Gore sued by over 30.000 Scientists for fraud (YouTube)
World is getting colder: It’s the sun, not CO2, that’s to blame (Washington Times)
Global warning: We are actually heading towards a new Ice Age, claim scientists (Daily Mail)

Scientists find greenhouse gas hysteria to be myth (World Net Daily)
2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved (Telegraph)
Army: Sun, Not Man, Is Causing Climate Change (Wired)
World might be heading towards Ice Age (Economic Times)

The East Antrim MP said he was in favour of encouraging people in Northern Ireland to save energy, but added that the link between carbon emissions and global warming was a matter of political debate.

The Green Party and the campaign group Friends of the Earth demanded his resignation, but Mr Wilson said he had a right to hold his own opinion on the issue. The DUP representative added last night: “Why should I resign? I fulfil all my ministerial obligations in all areas of my department, and the idea that I should resign just because I hold a different view from other people on what is a very controversial topic is nonsense. And it just shows the intolerance of these people if they think I should resign because I have a different opinion.”

Brian Wilson, a Green Party assembly member, said the minister was being “grossly irresponsible”, adding: “While the minister is entitled to his own views, he is not entitled to ignore the “overwhelming scientific” evidence that man-made climate change exists.”

By Chris Green
Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Source: The Independent

California faces grimmest water situation ever

Drought causes the state’s agriculture industry to disappear while residents continue to consume water at high levels


Sprinklers water wheat crops in Bakersfield, California. The state is facing a severe water crisis. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images

Bill Diedrich, a fourth-generation almond grower in California’s Central Valley, expects that many of his trees won’t make it through the year. “It’s one of the grimmest water situations we’ve ever faced,” he said. “It’s an absolute emergency and anything to get water flowing quickly is needed.”

The 400-mile Central Valley is many things: the world’s largest agricultural area; the “salad bowl”, where half of the country’s vegetables are grown. But this year, with water shortages of a severity not seen for decades, many farmers and others are echoing the recent words of energy secretary Steven Chu: if current weather patterns continue, Californian agriculture could disappear.

John “Dusty” Giacone, another fourth-generation Central Valley farmer, was forced to abandon his vegetable crop and divert his scarce water to save his 4,000 hectares of almond trees.

Related article: Obama’s energy secretary outlines dire climate change scenario (Guardian)

“Taking water from a farmer is like taking a pipe from a plumber,” Giacone told the Associated Press. “How do you conduct business?”

But many farmers are choosing the opposite course, abandoning their almond trees for a season in the hope that the good times, and a wetter than normal spring, might return. In the meantime, the trees are being left to die, or maintained just enough to survive.

The decline in the number of almond trees has led to an unintended consequence: a glut of bee colonies. Bees are used to pollinate almond trees, and beekeepers now face the prospect of an economic collapse as the almond market withers away.

Read moreCalifornia faces grimmest water situation ever

Severe drought threatens Chinese wheat crop

Low rainfall in the north has put nearly half of the country’s harvest at risk

A severe drought in northern China – considered the country’s breadbasket – has hit almost 43% of the country’s wheat crop this winter, senior officials have warned.

Low rainfall since October has affected more than 9.3m hectares (229.71 acres) of land in northern China across six major grain-producing provinces, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. Last week it warned that 3.7 million people and 1.85 million livestock had lost access to drinking water.

Vice-premier Hui Liangyu has urged local officials to make tackling the water shortage a priority, state media reported today. Beijing has set aside 100m yuan (£10m) of funding to help farmers combat the problem and have sent specialist teams to the worst affected areas. Provincial governments are planning to seed clouds to ensure it rains.

Henan Daily reported that the drought is the province’s most severe since 1951, with no rain for 105 days. It warned that up to 63% of the region’s wheat crop is threatened.

Read moreSevere drought threatens Chinese wheat crop

World is getting colder: It’s the sun, not CO2, that’s to blame

David J. Bellamy is a professor at three British universities and an officer in several conservation organizations. Mark Duchamp, a retired businessman, has investigated global- warming theory and written more than 100 articles.

After the wet and cold centuries of the Little Ice Age (around 1550-1850 A.D.), the world’s climate recuperated some warmth, but did not replicate the balmy period known as the Middle Age Warm Period (around 800-1300 A.D.), when the margins of Greenland were green and England had vineyards.

Climate began to cool again after World War II, for about 30 years. This is undisputed. The cooling occurred at a time when emissions of C02 were rising sharply from the reconstruction effort and from unprecedented development. It is important to realize that.


Related article: BBC abandons ‘impartiality’ on warming (Telegraph):
Again and again the BBC has been eager to promote every new scare raised by the advocates of man-made global warming. As late as August 28 this year it was still predicting that Arctic ice might soon disappear, just as this winter’ s refreezing was about to take ice-cover back to a point it was at 30 years ago.


By 1978 it had started to warm again, to everybody’s relief. But two decades later, after the temperature peaked in 1998 under the influence of El Nino, climate stopped warming for eight years; and in 2007 entered a cooling phase marked by lower solar radiation and a reversal of the cycles of warm ocean temperature in the Atlantic and the Pacific. And here again, it is important to note that this new cooling period is occurring concurrently with an acceleration in CO2 emissions, caused by the emergence of two industrial giants: China and India.

To anyone analyzing this data with common sense, it is obvious that factors other than CO2 emissions are ruling the climate. And the same applies to other periods of the planet’s history. Al Gore, in his famous movie “The Inconvenient Truth,” had simply omitted to say that for the past 420,000 years that he cited as an example, rises in CO2 levels in the atmosphere always followed increases in global temperature by at least 800 years. It means that CO2 can’t possibly be the cause of the warming cycles.

So, if it’s not CO2, what is it that makes the world’s temperature periodically rise and fall? The obvious answer is the sun, and sea currents in a subsidiary manner.

Read moreWorld is getting colder: It’s the sun, not CO2, that’s to blame

Once-in-century Australian heatwave claims almost 30 lives


Spectators seek shade at the Australian Open in Melbourne

MELBOURNE (AFP) – Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne ground to a halt Saturday, crippled by a once-in-a-century heatwave that has claimed almost 30 lives and razed at least 17 homes.

Wildfires raged through the southeastern state of Victoria, where authorities said flames had come dangerously close to major electricity transmission lines which supplied power to Melbourne on Saturday.

More than 500,000 homes and businesses in Melbourne were left without power on Friday night after an electrical substation exploded in the heat, bringing the city to a standstill.

Temperatures in Victoria topped 43 degrees Celsius (109 Fahrenheit) for a record-breaking third consecutive day on Friday, when 10 homes and a timber plantation were destroyed in a 6,500 hectare (16,000 acre) blaze.

Read moreOnce-in-century Australian heatwave claims almost 30 lives

Residents face long, icy wait for power to return

A vehicle drives under a tree that is weighed down by ice on Old Wire Road as a result of wintry weather on Wednesday Jan. 28, 2009, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More than a million homes and businesses were left in the cold without power Thursday in the wake of an icy winter storm could face a lengthy wait for electricity to come back, even as federal help was promised to two states hit hardest by the blast.

Read moreResidents face long, icy wait for power to return

World warned of ‘food crunch’ threat

The world faces “the real risk of a food crunch” if governments do not take immediate action to address the agricultural impact of climate change and water scarcity, according to an authoritative report out on Monday.

Chatham House, the London-based think-tank, suggests that the recent fall in food prices is only a temporary reprieve and that prices are set to resume their upward trend once the world emerges from the current downturn.

“There is therefore a real risk of a ‘food crunch’ at some point in the future, which would fall particularly hard on import-dependent countries and on poor people everywhere,” the report states. “Food prices are poised to rise again,” it adds.

The warning is made as agriculture ministers and United Nations officials gather from Monday in Madrid for a UN meeting on food security likely to conclude that last year’s food crisis, with almost 1bn people hungry, is far from over.

The UN will warn ministers in Madrid that “as the global financial crisis deepens, hunger is likely to increase” under the impact of rising unemployment and lower remittances, according to three officials briefed ahead of the meeting.

Read moreWorld warned of ‘food crunch’ threat

Cowskulls and dust: Worst Drought in 100 Years grips Argentina


Farmer Edgardo Vazquez walks by dead cows in Stroeder, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. Farmers nationwide are demanding the government’s help after a year long drought that has killed nearly one million animals and destroyed crops. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

STROEDER, Argentina (AP) – Skeletons of livestock are piling up in the scorching sun of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer as the worst drought in a generation turns much of Argentina’s breadbasket into a dust bowl.

The nation’s farm sector stands to lose $5 billion this year alone – a huge blow to the economy of Argentina, a top world exporter of soy, corn, wheat and beef – as well as to the government of President Cristina Fernandez, which faces billions of dollars in debt payments this year.

Wheat fields that once supplied flour for pasta-loving Argentines now resemble deserts, and spiny thistles are all that survive on cattle ranches in southern Buenos Aires province.

Nothing edible grows, said Hilda Schneider, a 65-year-old rancher who has lost nearly 500 cows to starvation.

Read moreCowskulls and dust: Worst Drought in 100 Years grips Argentina

US freezes as Arctic air blasts in from Canada

America is not unfamiliar with low temperatures, but the present cold snap is exceptional by any standards


Lake Michigan has been turned into a frozen wasteland by plunging temperatures (AP)

Alabama was colder than Alaska, water fountains froze into ice sculptures in South Carolina, and Florida shivered through an Arctic air blast as the coldest week of the winter continued to grip large parts of the US.

The Northeast in particular suffered from the bitterly cold air from Canada that sent temperatures plunging in some places below minus 34C (minus 30F) and left even hardy veterans of such weather reluctant to venture outdoors.

Related article: Weather Eye: temperatures in Western Europe go crazy (Times)

It brought to an end a week which will be remembered for some time in Chicago. The city has now suffered the most consecutive days of snow since records began in 1884 and, on Friday, the wind chill took the temperature to minus 40C.

The cold claimed at least six lives and contributed to dozens of traffic accidents.

One death involved a man in a wheelchair who was found in sub-zero temperatures stuck in the snow, a shovel in his hand, outside his home in Des Moines, Iowa.

Temperatures of minus 12C to minus 18C and sub-zero wind chills were expected in western New York through the weekend, with more seasonable conditions moving in early next week.

Read moreUS freezes as Arctic air blasts in from Canada

North Dakota gets blizzard on top of December’s record snow


This photo provided by bus passenger Maria Nasta shows a scene from a 59 vehicle pileup including three buses and two tractor-trailer rigs that crashed on a snowy highway on Sunday morning Jan. 11, 2009 on Interstate 93 at Derry, N.H. (AP Photo/Courtesy Maria Nasta)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A fast-moving blizzard clogged roads and closed schools in North Dakota on Monday, causing more headaches for residents still trying to dig out from a record snowfall last month.

And, forecasters said a blast of cold air was on the way that could send the thermometer as low as 30 below zero.

Related article:
Storm brings more snow and strong winds to Iowa (Chicago Tribune)
Dirty snow causes early runoff in Cascades (Seattle Post Intelligencer)
First the Snow, Then Comes the Bitter Cold (MSNBC)

“Four-wheel drives are useless – people are just snowed in,” Rhonda Woodhams, the office manager for the Williams County highway department. “People are calling in saying they’re out of milk and diapers for their kids, or they have doctor appointments they need to get to.”

Read moreNorth Dakota gets blizzard on top of December’s record snow