Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blogger Auto Pagination Speeds Page Loads but Angers Bloggers

Susan's Blogging Blog, by Susan Gunelius, Thursday February 25, 2010

Last week, Blogger rolled out Auto Pagination, which automates the amount of content that is displayed on Blogger blog pages based on the amount of HTML and and images on each page. Google claimed that the purpose behind the change is to speed page load time. For example, with the new Auto Pagination feature, a Blogger blog might be limited to only display two posts per page if those posts include a lot of images. Visitors would need to click on the Next Post link to view additional posts from the blog.

While the change is unlikely to affect a lot of smaller bloggers, it has caused concern from larger bloggers, particularly those who use Blogger for photo blogs or blogs that are image-intensive, such as celebrity fan bloggers.

Many of the Blogger users who found their blogs suddenly altered to display only a couple of posts per page blogged about the new Blogger Auto Pagination feature in order to complain about the change. According to some of the more vocal bloggers, they were able to email Google and work with them to modify their blogs so the Auto Pagination feature doesn't affect their blogs. If you use Blogger and dislike the Auto Pagination feature, be sure to contact Blogger support and voice your concerns.

Has the new Blogger Auto Pagination function affected your blog or any of the blogs that you read? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

President outlines five strategies to save environment

Antara News, Wednesday, February 24, 2010 16:05 WIB

Nusa Dua (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono outlined five strategies to save the environment when officially opening the 11th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council /Global Ministerial Environment Forum, here on Wednesday.

The first strategy is to change the pattern of production and consumption in order to save the Earth which is seriously damaged, for the sake of the present and future generations.

Other strategies are to lower biodiversity loss by implementing real actions; to promote new orientation of development and economic paradigm which are pro-poor, pro-job, and pro-growth; to finalize agreements for sustainable development; and to finalize negotiations on climate change to ensure the success of the planned Mexico Climate Change Summit , the head of state said.

On the occasion, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner presented a UNEP Award of Leadership to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for promoting and conserving marine ecosystem management.

President Yudhoyono said he accepted the award as a recognition to the work of the whole Indonesian people in managing the marine ecosystem.

He also reaffirmed Indonesia`s commitment to reducing the level of deforestation and land degradation and to lowering the level of carbon emissions.

The world environmental minister meeting taking place under the auspices of UNEP at the Bali International Convention Center from February 24 to 26, is being participated in by around 1,000 delegates from 130 countries.The meeting`s slogan is "One Planet: Our Responsibility.

Related Article:

SBY Urges Bali Delegates to 'Save This World'

Delegates from around the world have gathered in Nusa Dua for the UNEP conference. (JG Photo/JP Christo)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

UN Says Tougher Targets Needed to Avert Climate Disaster

Jakarta Globe, February 23, 2010

Environmental organizations want clear commitments to control deforestation and forest fires in Indonesia. (Photo: AFP)

Countries need to set tougher targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions if the world is to avert a climate-change catastrophe, according to a new United Nations report released in Indonesia on Tuesday.

A study compiled by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that between 2020 and 2050, global emissions need to fall by between 48 and 72 per cent.

The report said the political will to cut greenhouse gases by around 3 per cent a year between 2030 and 2050 is needed for a “medium” likelihood — or at least a 50/50 chance — of keeping the global temperature increase at less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Under the non-binding Copenhagen Accord agreed at the UN climate change conference in December, countries pledged to cut and limit greenhouse gases by 2020.

“Yes, the Copenhagen Accord represents a significant step in the direction of managing emissions, but even in the best assumptions no one should assume for the moment that will be enough,” UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said at a news conference.

The study was published ahead of a meeting of global environmental ministers from Wednesday through Friday in the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

It analyzed the pledges of 60 developed and developing countries which were recently submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The study suggested that annual greenhouse gas emissions should not be larger than 40 to 48.3 gigatons of equivalent carbon dioxides in 2020, and should peak sometime between 2015 and 2021.

Steiner said Monday that the failure to reach a binding accord in Copenhagen has made efforts to reach such a deal more difficult.

“Copenhagen, in my mind, will be in history books as a moment where humanity has failed in its responsibility to act,” he said.

But he said the whole world shared a responsibility to act in the next annual climate conference in Mexico in December.

“You can always find reasons not to act because of someone else not doing the right thing,” he said. “And for Mexico, I think it will take leaders, and it is not only from the big ones (nations).”


Palm Oil, Sugar Cane Most Sustainable Energy Crops, Study Shows

BusinessWeek, February 19, 2010, 04:09 AM EST, By Rudy Ruitenberg

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Sugar cane grown in Brazil and palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia rank as the most sustainable of the current generation of biofuel crops, according to researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

Researchers at the university’s plant-science department compared nine crops on criteria including soil erosion, water use for each unit of energy produced and nitrogen usage, according to Sander de Vries, author of the comparative study.

“In terms of net energy, sugar cane has the best score of all energy crops,” Wageningen University’s De Vries said by telephone yesterday. “A crop like corn, which scores poorly, is at 10 percent of that.”

Biofuels production amounted to 83 billion liters (21.9 billion U.S. gallons) in 2008, up fourfold from 2000, and accounted for 1.5 percent of global transport fuel consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. First-generation biofuels have faced “heavy criticism” regarding their long- term effect on the environment, according to the IEA.

Sorghum in China, as well as oil palms and sugar cane, make the most efficient use of land, water, nitrogen and pesticides to produce a unit of energy, according to the study in the journal Biomass and Bioenergy. Provided no forest is cleared to grow the three crops, they produce “much less” greenhouse gases than fossil fuels, the study said.

“It takes a lot of water to grow sugar cane, but on balance you get a big return,” De Vries said. “You get back a lot of sugar cane.”

Nine Criteria

The crops were compared by ranking them against the best- performing plant on each of nine criteria, De Vries said. Sugar beet and rapeseed in Europe, cassava in Thailand and soybeans in Brazil had an average ranking, according to the study.

“In every case we looked at the dominant production area,” De Vries said. “With regards to erosion, oil palm scores well, rapeseed also. Soy doesn’t do well in terms of net energy, but does in nitrogen efficiency.”

Oil palm was most sustainable with regards to the maintenance of soil quality, according to the study, which disregarded effects on societies, economies and biodiversity.

U.S. corn and wheat in Europe, used to produce ethanol, had the worst sustainability score of the nine crops studied.

“It takes a lot of energy to process those crops,” De Vries said. “For corn it’s just positive. For wheat the balance of greenhouse-gas reductions is zero.”

--Editors: Claudia Carpenter, Dan Weeks

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at +33-1-5365-5039 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at +44-20-7673-2388 or

Friday, February 19, 2010

Power from rubbish

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 17 February 2010 - 5:05pm, by Thijs Westerbeek van Eerten

All Amsterdam trams run on 'refuse power' as well as all the street lighting and even the electricity used in public buildings is waste-generated.

AEB, the energy company run by Amsterdam city council, is the biggest power plant in the world to be run entirely on waste. What's more; AEB claims it's the best of its kind because it gets nearly 50 percent more energy out of the waste than its competitors.

Because no fossil fuel, such as coal or gas, is needed for the production of all this power, the plant substantially reduces Amsterdam's CO2 emissions; 350,000 tonnes annually.

And there is one more bonus; because even the ashes from the ovens are recycled, for instance in building materials, only one percent of all Amsterdam's rubbish remains, making landfill sites virtually unnecessary.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Space rock contains organic molecular feast

BBC News, by Doreen Walton, Science reporter

The Murchison meteorite came down in Australia in 1969

Scientists say they have confirmed that a meteorite that crashed into earth 40 years ago contains millions of different organic compounds.

It is thought the Murchison meteorite could be even older than the Sun.

"Having this information means you can tell what was happening during the birth of the Solar System," said lead researcher Dr Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin.

The results of the meteorite study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We are really excited. When I first studied it and saw the complexity I was so amazed," said Dr Schmitt-Kopplin, who works at the Institute for Ecological Chemistry in Neuherberg, Germany.

"Meteorites are like some kind of fossil. When you try to understand them you are looking back in time," he explained.

The researchers says the identification of many different chemicals shows the primordial Solar System probably had a higher molecular diversity than Earth.

The Murchison meteorite landed in a town of that name in Australia in 1969. It has been examined before by scientists looking for specific compounds but this is the first non-targeted analysis and has confirmed a huge variety of carbon-based chemicals.

A study using high resolution analytical tools including spectroscopy allowed the team to identify 14,000 different compounds including 70 amino acids in a sample of the meteorite.

They extrapolated this on the basis of knowledge of how similar organic molecules are arranged in space and calculated that the meteorite should contain several million different chemicals.

But the analysis technique is still limited, as Dr Schmitt-Kopplin explained: "We have to crush a few milligrams from the core of the meteorite to enable the extractions with solvents and thus we only see the extractable fraction."

"In addition we are only seeing the ions we can generate with the ionisation source of our mass spectrometer. With different types of ionisation sources we could see even more."

Burning question

Scientists believe the Murchison meteorite could have originated before the Sun was formed, 4.65 billion years ago. The researchers say it probably passed through primordial clouds in the early Solar System, picking up organic chemicals.

Dr Schmitt-Kopplin hopes the findings might contribute to the debate over how life on Earth originated.

"I guess many people working in these fields with access to this knowledge will have some further hypothesis and will possibly be having some of their hypotheses confirmed."

"Where did we come from and what happened before? We all have that question inside us."

The team is also analysing other meteorites but say Murchison is probably the most complex they have studied.

Open letter by Netherlands scientists on IPCC and errors in Climate Change 2007 report

Open letter (10 February 2010) to Netherlands parliament by Netherlands scientists on climate change and IPCC

Errors in the IPCC climate change report are being seized by some to discredit climate science. In the Netherlands parliament climate scientists have recently been depicted as 'swindlers' and 'climate mafia'. Such allegations are not supported by the facts and are unwarranted. The fact that IPCC is not infallible does not make its key findings untrue or biased. Still, IPCC should become more generous in acknowledging errors rapidly and openly.

With this open letter from the Netherlands scientific community, we aim to adjust the image that has emerged. We ask to keep the public debate more in accordance to the facts. We discuss the key messages from climate science, the IPCC procedures and the quality control mechanisms of the IPCC. Finally we explain what we will do next to contribute to improvement of the IPCC practice and to the restoration of the tarnished trust in climate science.

The climate problem

Since 1990, our knowledge on human made climate change and the understanding of its urgency have rapidly increased. Within the natural sciences, the major components of the climate system are well understood. It is a well established fact that the amount of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased rapidly since the industrial revolution. The major influence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere on the temperature on the ground is a matter of elementary physics. The increasing amounts of anthropogenic greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere change the heat radiation balance of the earth, which very likely leads to higher temperatures on the ground. Measurements consistently show a world wide temperature increase of about half a degree Centigrade over the past century. The measured temperature increase lags several decades behind the changes in atmospheric composition: with present day greenhouse gas concentrations the temperature is expected to further increase by at least 1°C in the coming decades.

The increase in greenhouse gas concentrations is mainly caused by the way in which coal, oil and natural gas are being used and by deforestation. Major uncertainties exist regarding future greenhouse gas emissions and their impacts. Studies by reputable research groups show that projected emissions of greenhouse gases may lead to a further warming of 1,1 to 6,4°C by the year 2100 (relative to the period 1980-1999). Given the fact that the climate system exhibits tipping points, this may lead to partly unpredictable and possibly far reaching and irreversible impacts on society and nature.

The Copenhagen Accord acknowledges that dangerous human interference with the climate should be prevented. For that reason governments agreed that global warming should be limited to 2°C at maximum (compared to the preindustrial climate). Research has shown that this is economically and technically feasible with emission reduction measures and changes in consumption patterns.

The IPCC and the Fourth Assessment Report

In 1988 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with the aim to provide policy makers regularly with a balanced overview of the state of knowledge on climate change. IPCC is an open network organization in which renowned scientist from all over the world collaborate. These scientists are mainly from universities – including most of the Dutch universities – and research institutes such as in our country the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). At present 194 countries participate in the IPCC, including the Netherlands.

IPCC publishes an assessment report every six years. The most recent was published in 2007. This report comprises three volumes: The Physical Science Basis (Working Group I); Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Working Group II) and Mitigation of Climate Change (Working Group III). The 2007 report has been authored by about 44 writing teams with a total of 450 lead authors. These authors have been selected on the basis of their expertise. All 194 countries have a say in this selection. Another 800 scientists have contributed texts on specific aspects. The whole process is supported by four Technical Support Units (TSUs) with 5 to 10 employees each.

Errors in the Fourth Assessment Report

We took cognizance of the commotion surrounding the errors that were found in the IPCC fourth assessment report, in particular in volume II. The wrong year for the projected disappearance of the Himalaya glaciers and the wrong percentage ‘land below sea level’ of the Netherlands are examples of errors that need be acknowledge frankly and need be rectified properly. However, they do not alter the key finding that human beings are very likely changing the climate, with far reaching impacts in the long run.

In heated debates that emerged around these errors, questions have been raised regarding the quality and integrity of the IPCC. The quality control procedure of IPCC has shown not to be watertight. But the suggestion that scientific data have deliberately been manipulated is not supported by the facts.

Also we strongly contest the impression that the main conclusions of the report are based on dubious sources. The reference list of the approximately three thousand page report refers to about 18,000 sources, the large majority being studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The IPCC has transparent procedures1 for using non-published and non-peer-reviewed sources in their reports. In the Himalaya case these procedures have not properly been followed. In the writing of new reports the compliance with the procedure requires extra attention.

Quality control within the IPCC

The impression that the IPCC does not have a proper quality control procedure is mistaken. The procedure for compiling reports and its quality control are governedby well documented principles2. These principles are reviewed regularly and amended as appropriate. On a website all steps of each chapter can be traced: the First Order Draft, the comments by many scientist on that draft, the Second Order Draft in which the comments are incorporated and the comments by experts and country representatives on that revised version. In the case of the Fourth Assessment Report, 2,500 reviewers provided together about 90,000 comments on the 44 chapters. For each comment it is documented how and why the comment has or has not been used in the revision. Review editors guarantee that each comment is treated properly and honestly in the revision of the chapter texts. As completion of the procedure, once they are satisfied with the result, review editors sign a statement in this regard.

The IPCC principles also govern how authors have to treat non-published and nonpeer reviewed sources. These procedures acknowledge that in peer reviewed scientific journals little information can be found regarding matters such as the emission reduction potential in a given industrial sector or in a country or regarding vulnerabilities of sectors and countries with regard to climate change. Such information can often only be found in reports from research institutes, reports of workshops and conferences or in publications from the industry or other organizations, the so-called gray literature. The IPCC procedure prescribes that authors are obliged to critically assess any gray source that they wish to include. The quality and validity of a finding from a non-peer reviewed source needs to be verified before the finding may be included in a chapter text. Each source needs to be completely traceable. In case unpublished sources are used, a copy needs to be made available to the IPCC secretariat to guarantee that it is available upon request for third parties.

We conclude that the IPCC procedures are transparent and thorough, even though they are not infallible. The writing of IPCC reports and its quality control remains the work of humans. A guarantee for an error free report is an unachievable ideal, however much an error free report is highly desired. It is however essential to continuously evaluate the IPCC principles and procedures and to amend them where appropriate and learn from errors that occurred.

What next?

Meanwhile, as a consequence of the impression that has emerged from the – in our view – disproportionate commotion, public trust in the scientific underpinning of climate policies is now tarnished. This is worrying because the climate change issue is serious and urgent. Despite the errors found, the robust key conclusions of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that we sketched above, remain valid.

IPCC should become more generous in acknowledging errors rapidly and openly. To this end, IPCC should put an erratum on its website that rectifies all errors that have been discovered in the text after publication. In doing so, a clear distinction needs to be made between errors and progressing knowledge. Progressing knowledge is published in new scientific journal articles and used in the next IPCC climate report; this information should not be in the errata.

Climate research and the IPCC reports on the state of knowledge provide a scientific foundation for climate policy making. We consider the quality of and balance in the knowledge delivered and the explicit communication of uncertainties to be of paramount importance, as IPCC does. Given the recent commotion we find it important to seek for ways to find a solution and restore trust in the climate change community. We will do our best to make sure that a critical evaluation of the IPCC procedure will take place – where possible in close consultation with the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). This should lead to both a better prevention of errors in IPCC reports and a mechanism for adequate rectification of errors found after publication.

February 10, 2010

The undersigned
  1. Prof. Wim Turkenburg, Utrecht University
  2. Prof. Rik Leemans, Wageningen University
  3. Prof. Hans Opschoor, Institute of Social Studies, Den Haag
  4. Dr. Bert Metz, European Climate Foundation / former co-chair IPCC Working Group III
  5. Prof. Rien Aerts, Free University of Amsterdam
  6. Prof. Theo Beckers, Tilburg University
  7. Prof. Frans Berkhout, Free University of Amsterdam
  8. Prof. Frank Biermann, Free University of Amsterdam
  9. Prof. Kornelis Blok, general director Ecofys, Utrecht / Utrecht University
  10. Prof. Henk Brinkhuis, Utrecht University
  11. Dr. Stefan Dekker, Utrecht University
  12. Prof. Peter Driessen, Utrecht University
  13. Prof. Klaas van Egmond, Utrecht University
  14. Prof. Nick van de Giesen, TU Delft
  15. Prof. Joyeeta Gupta, Free University of Amsterdam
  16. Prof. Jan Hendriks, Radboud University Nijmegen
  17. Dr. Ton Hoff, chairing director ECN, Petten
  18. Prof. Bert Holtslag, Wageningen University
  19. Prof. Jef Huisman, University of Amsterdam
  20. Dr. Gjalt Huppes, Leiden University
  21. Prof. Bart van den Hurk, Utrecht University / KNMI
  22. Prof. Ekko van Ierland, Wageningen University
  23. Dr. Ron Janssen, Free University of Amsterdam
  24. Prof. Pavel Kabat, Wageningen University
  25. Prof. Gert Jan Kramer, Eindhoven University of Technology
  26. Prof. Carolien Kroeze, Wageningen University / Open University Netherlands
  27. Prof. Maarten Krol, Wageningen University
  28. Dr. Lambert Kuijpers, Eindhoven University of Technology
  29. Dr. Lucas Lourens, Utrecht University
  30. Prof. Pim Martens, Maastricht University
  31. Prof. Arthur Mol, Wageningen University
  32. Prof. Henri Moll, University of Groningen
  33. Prof. Paul Opdam, Wageningen University
  34. Prof. Paquita Perez Salgado, Open University Netherlands
  35. Dr. Ad Ragas, Radboud University Nijmegen
  36. Dr. Max Rietkerk, Utrecht University
  37. Prof. Lucas Reijnders, University of Amsterdam
  38. Prof. Jan Rotmans, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  39. Prof. Paul van Seeters, Tilburg University
  40. Prof. Anton Schoot Uiterkamp, University of Groningen
  41. Dr. Appy Sluijs, Utrecht University
  42. Prof. Geert de Snoo, Leiden University
  43. Prof. Gert Spaargaren, Wageningen University
  44. Prof. Jef Vandenberghe, Free University of Amsterdam
  45. Prof. Anne van der Veen, Twente University
  46. Prof. Pier Vellinga, Wageningen University
  47. Prof. Herman Verhoef, Free University of Amsterdam
  48. Dr. Pita Verweij, Utrecht University
  49. Prof. Martin Wassen, Utrecht University
  50. Prof. Pieter Winsemius, Tilburg University
  51. Prof. Ernst Worrell, Utrecht University
  52. Prof. Sjoerd van der Zee, Wageningen University
  53. Prof. Bert van der Zwaan, Utrecht University
  54. Dr. Rob Swart, Wageningen University
  55. Prof. Karsten Kalbitz, University of Amsterdam
(The last two signatures, 54-55, were received just after closing time)

Related Articles:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995

MailOnline, by Jonathan Petre, 14th February 2010

Data: Professor Phil Jones admitted his record keeping is 'not as good as it should be'

  • Data for vital 'hockey stick graph' has gone missing
  • There has been no global warming since 1995
  • Warming periods have happened before - but NOT due to man-made changes

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.

Professor Jones has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that sceptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.

The raw data, collected from hundreds of weather stations around the world and analysed by his unit, has been used for years to bolster efforts by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Following the leak of the emails, Professor Jones has been accused of ‘scientific fraud’ for allegedly deliberately suppressing information and refusing to share vital data with critics.

Discussing the interview, the BBC’s environmental analyst Roger Harrabin said he had spoken to colleagues of Professor Jones who had told him that his strengths included integrity and doggedness but not record-keeping and office tidying.

Mr Harrabin, who conducted the interview for the BBC’s website, said the professor had been collating tens of thousands of pieces of data from around the world to produce a coherent record of temperature change.

That material has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’ which is relatively flat for centuries before rising steeply in recent decades.

According to Mr Harrabin, colleagues of Professor Jones said ‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realised that 20 years later he would be held to account over them’.

Asked by Mr Harrabin about these issues, Professor Jones admitted the lack of organisation in the system had contributed to his reluctance to share data with critics, which he regretted.

But he denied he had cheated over the data or unfairly influenced the scientific process, and said he still believed recent temperature rises were predominantly man-made.

Asked about whether he lost track of data, Professor Jones said: ‘There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be.

‘There’s a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data, so it can be very difficult. We have improved but we have to improve more.’

He also agreed that there had been two periods which experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but said these could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.

He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.

And he said that the debate over whether the world could have been even warmer than now during the medieval period, when there is evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, was far from settled.

Sceptics believe there is strong evidence that the world was warmer between about 800 and 1300 AD than now because of evidence of high temperatures in northern countries.

But climate change advocates have dismissed this as false or only applying to the northern part of the world.

Professor Jones departed from this consensus when he said: ‘There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia.

‘For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

‘Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today, then obviously the late 20th Century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm than today, then the current warmth would be unprecedented.’

Sceptics said this was the first time a senior scientist working with the IPCC had admitted to the possibility that the Medieval Warming Period could have been global, and therefore the world could have been hotter then than now.

Professor Jones criticised those who complained he had not shared his data with them, saying they could always collate their own from publicly available material in the US. And he said the climate had not cooled ‘until recently – and then barely at all. The trend is a warming trend’.

Mr Harrabin told Radio 4’s Today programme that, despite the controversies, there still appeared to be no fundamental flaws in the majority scientific view that climate change was largely man-made.

But Dr Benny Pieser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said Professor Jones’s ‘excuses’ for his failure to share data were hollow as he had shared it with colleagues and ‘mates’.

He said that until all the data was released, sceptics could not test it to see if it supported the conclusions claimed by climate change advocates.

He added that the professor’s concessions over medieval warming were ‘significant’ because they were his first public admission that the science was not settled.

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Nestlé cultivates 140,000 disease-resistant cocoa trees

Manila Bulletin, February 13, 2010, 2:11pm

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Nestlé has cultivated 140,000 disease-resistant cocoa trees to distribute to farmers in Ivory Coast and should boost that number to 1 million per year by 2012, a company executive said.

Nestlé last year launched a plan to hand out the high-yield saplings to farmers with a view to possibly doubling their productivity and improving the often poor quality of Ivory Coast's cocoa.

''This year, we are aiming to produce 500,000, and from next year onwards, 1 million every year,'' Klaus Zimmermann, Nestlé's global head of research and development, said.

He spoke to Reuters during a visit of World Bank President Robert Zoellick to a Nestlé installation in Ivory Coast.

Zoellick used the occasion to highlight badly needed reforms to the sector, which he said had to be more transparent and tax farmers less.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower, which supplies 40 percent of world demand, has suffered in recent years from lower yields because of aging trees and black pod disease.

Cocoa sector reforms have been held back by a political crisis that has persisted ever since a 2002-3 war split the country in two, leaving the north in the hands of rebels.

Echoing similar efforts in Indonesia and Ecuador, Nestlé, the world's biggest food group, is carrying out research on cuttings from Ivorian plantations to help propagate the stronger varieties.

Zimmermann said Nestlé's high-yield plants would be a hit with farmers.

''When the farmer realises he can get three-fold his income on the same land, he will be convinced,'' he said.

Benefits of the plants include higher quality cocoa, in a country better know for its bulk than its top grades, resistance to disease and drought, and 50 percent to 200 percent more productivity.

Zimmermann cautioned, however, against thinking this would quickly solve Ivory Coast's aggregate supply problems.

''In Ivory coast there are 3 billion trees. If we plant over the next 10 years 12 million, the impact on the quantity of the product will not be that big,'' he said.

Ivorian cocoa plantations yield, on average, between 400 and 500 kilograms of cocoa per hectare, compared with averages closer to 2 tonnes per hectare in countries like Indonesia.

Exporters on Monday estimated about 751,000 tonnes of beans had reached Ivory Coast's two ports by Jan. 24, up from 681,049 tonnes in the same period last year.

Fears that a vicious combination of aging trees, disease and dry weather will bode poorly for cocoa crop yields this season have kept cocoa futures trading at 30-year highs in London and New York in the past few weeks.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tiger Farms in China Feed Thirst for Parts

The New York Times, by Andrew Jacobs, February 12, 2010

Some tigers roam treeless, fenced-in areas at the Xiongsen Tiger and Bear Mountain Village in Guilin. Many others are packed in small cages. Until two years ago, the farm sold tiger steaks. (Photo: Shiho Fukada for The New York Times)

GUILIN, China — The crowd-pleasing Year of the Tiger, which begins Sunday, could be a lousy year for the estimated 3,200 tigers that still roam the world’s diminishing forests.

With as few as 20 in the wild in China, the country’s tigers are a few gun blasts away from extinction, and in India poachers are making quick work of the tiger population, the world’s largest. The number there, around 1,400, is about half that of a decade ago and a fraction of the 100,000 that roamed the subcontinent in the early 20th century.

Shrinking habitat remains a daunting challenge, but conservationists say the biggest threat to Asia’s largest predator is the Chinese appetite for tiger parts. Despite a government ban on the trade since 1993, there is a robust market for tiger bones, traditionally prized for their healing and aphrodisiac qualities, and tiger skins, which have become cherished trophies among China’s nouveau riche.

With pelts selling for $20,000 and a single paw worth as much as $1,000, the value of a dead tiger has never been higher, say those who investigate the trade. Last month the Indian government announced a surge in killings of tigers by poachers, with 88 found dead in 2009, double the previous year. Because figures are based on carcasses found on reserves or tiger parts seized at border crossings, conservationists say the true number is far higher.

“All of the demand for tiger parts is coming from China,” said Belinda Wright, executive director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India. “Unless the Chinese change their attitude, the tiger has no future on this earth.”

Although conservationists say India must do a better job of policing its 37 tiger reserves, they insist that the Chinese government has not done all it can to quell the domestic market for illicit tiger parts. Anti-trafficking efforts are haphazard, experts say; China bans the use of tiger parts in traditional Chinese medicine but overlooks the sale of alcohol-based health tonics steeped in tiger bone.

It is a gray area that has been exploited by Chinese tiger farms, which raise thousands of animals with assembly-line efficiency.

China's largest tiger farm is in Guilin and holds 1,500 tigers. (The New York Times)

If there is any mystery about what happens to the big cats at Xiongsen Tiger and Bear Mountain Village in Guilin, it is partly explained in the gift shop, where fuzz-coated bottles in the shape of a tiger are filled with “bone strengthening” wine. The liquor, which costs $132 for a six-year-old brew, is sold openly across the surrounding Guangxi region and beyond.

“This stuff works wonders,” said Zhang Hanchu, the owner of a spirits shop in Guilin. A daily shot glass of the rice-based alcohol, he said, can reduce joint stiffness, treat rheumatism and increase sexual vigor. With the Year of the Tiger nearing, demand has been soaring, he said.

Opened in 1993 with financing from the State Forestry Administration, Xiongsen is China’s largest tiger-breeding operation. Some of its 1,500 tigers roam treeless, fenced-in areas, while many others are packed in small cages where they pace agitatedly.

The park is a fairly dispiriting place. In addition to the tigers, there are hundreds of capuchin monkeys rattling in cages, awaiting their fate as fodder for medicinal elixirs or medical experiments. There are also about 300 Asiatic brown bears which are tapped for their bile, the main ingredient of a lucrative supplement said to improve eyesight.

Those who pay the park’s $12 entry fee are treated to an extravaganza of tigers jumping through rings of fire or balancing on balls; if the crowds are large enough, workers will place a cow and a tiger in an enclosure with predictably gruesome results.

Until a spate of negative press two years ago, Xiongsen proudly sold tiger steaks at its restaurant as “big king meat.” These days, the park takes a more low-key approach. The word “tiger” no longer appears on the wine packaging — “rare animal bones” is used instead — although those who sell the wine say the key ingredient remains tiger bone.

On a recent visit, a regular stream of cars, some with government license plates, pulled up to a building at the center of the park and drove away with their trunks full of Xiongsen’s wine tonic. A large sign in the building’s interior declares “Protecting Wild Animals is the Bounden Duty of Every Citizen.”

A woman who answered the phone at Xiongsen’s winery said the owner, Zhou Weisen, was not available to comment, but she insisted that tigers were not an ingredient in the 200,000 bottles a liquor produced each year.

In addition to overlooking the sale of tiger wine, the Chinese government has fueled the market in tiger parts by letting such farms exist, critics say. Although the State Forestry Administration reiterated its support for the ban on the trade of tigers last December, it reconsiders the restrictions each year, giving hope to the politically powerful owners of China’s 20 tiger farms.

If the ban were lifted, critics say, trade in farm-bred tigers would simply provide cover for poached tigers, which are far cheaper to harvest and bring in far higher prices because most Chinese believe the healing properties of wild tigers are greater than those raised in cages.

An employee at the forestry administration said the entire staff was away on a retreat and could not be reached.

Debbie Banks, who runs the tiger campaign at the Environmental Investigation Agency in London, said China’s stated resolve to help end the international trade in tigers was diluted by its ambivalent stand on domestic sales. “The government is stimulating and perpetuating demand, which is the real problem we’re facing,” she said.

Despite the grim news, conservationists say the coming year also presents an opportunity to raise awareness about the problem. All the hoopla surrounding the Year of the Tiger has captured the attention of many nations, especially China, whose government is sensitive to criticisms that it is encouraging the tiger’s extinction. In September, Russia and the World Bank will host a summit meeting on tigers that conservationists hope will yield a solid plan to restore plummeting tiger populations.

James Compton, Asia program director for TRAFFIC, which monitors the global wildlife trade, thinks the most important step would be for China and other nations to elevate the interdiction of tiger parts to that of illicit drugs. “It’s not rocket science to knock out the big traders,” he said, adding that bodies like Interpol and the World Customs Organization should take on the fight.

Guarded optimism aside, Mr. Compton cannot help but recall the last time the Year of the Tiger came around, in 1998. There was similar talk then of using the occasion to marshal the international community. He also has a vivid memory of the poster produced for the occasion. Its pitch: “Save the Last 5,000 Tigers.”

Xiyun Yang contributed reporting.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dutch sea water warming up faster

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 9 February 2010 - 5:08pm

According to a report published by the Royal Dutch Institute for Sea Research, Dutch seawater temperatures have increased faster than expected.

Since 1982, Dutch sea water temperature has increased by an average 1.5 degrees, which is three times more than can be attributed to the effects of increased greenhouse gases in the same period.

Researchers on the Dutch island of Texel investigated the higher temperatures and discovered that they are being caused by an increased number of sunny days in spring and summer and an increase in westerly winds in winter. To what extent greenhouse gases have contributed to these weather patterns in the last 25 years is unknown.

The research shows that there are other factors aside from an increase in greenhouse gases which can contribute to climate change on a local level. According to the report, these factors often fail to be taken into account by models that predict the effects of climate change.

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