1)The Articles linked below were Abstracted from the sources cited. After the abstract there's analysis and commentary, links to related articles, and a link to the database with suggested search terms.
global probability forecast for precipitation, Chart for may, june, and july, issued april 2008 see the chart
breathing earth: Real-Time CO2 and population figures, see the map
An analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center shows that the average temperature for March in the contiguous United States ranked near average for the past 113 years.
The average global land temperature last month was the warmest on record and ocean surface temperatures were the 13th warmest. Combining the land and the ocean temperatures, the overall global temperature ranked the second warmest for the month of March. Global temperature averages have been recorded since 1880.
Last year alone global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global climate change, increased by 0.6 percent, or 19 billion tons. Additionally methane rose by 27 million tons after nearly a decade with little or no increase. NOAA scientists released these and other preliminary findings today as part of an annual update to the agency’s greenhouse gas index, which tracks data from 60 sites around the world.
The burning of coal, oil, and gas, known as fossil fuels, is the primary source of increasing carbon dioxide emissions. Earth's oceans, vegetation, and soils soak up half of these emissions. The rest stays in the air for centuries or longer. Twenty percent of the 2007 fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide are expected to remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years, according to the latest scientific assessment by the International Panel on Climate Change.
Viewed another way, last year’s carbon dioxide increase means 2.4 molecules of the gas were added to every million molecules of air, boosting the global concentration to nearly 385 parts per million (ppm). Pre-industrial carbon dioxide levels hovered around 280 ppm until 1850. Human activities pushed those levels up to 380 ppm by early 2006.
The rate of increase in carbon dioxide concentrations accelerated over recent decades along with fossil fuel emissions. Since 2000, annual increases of two ppm or more have been common, compared with 1.5 ppm per year in the 1980s and less than one ppm per year during the 1960s.
Methane levels rose last year for the first time since 1998. Methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but there’s far less of it in the atmosphere—about 1,800 parts per billion. When related climate affects are taken into account, methane’s overall climate impact is nearly half that of carbon dioxide.
Rapidly growing industrialization in Asia and rising wetland emissions in the Arctic and tropics are the most likely causes of the recent methane increase, said scientist Ed Dlugokencky from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory.
”We’re on the lookout for the first sign of a methane release from thawing Arctic permafrost,” said Dlugokencky. “It’s too soon to tell whether last year’s spike in emissions includes the start of such a trend.”
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. in 2007 is officially the tenth warmest on record, according to data from scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The agency also determined the global surface temperature last year was the fifth warmest on record.
U.S. Temperature Highlights
The average U.S. temperature for 2007 was 54.2°F; 1.4°F warmer than the 20th century mean of 52.8°F. NCDC originally estimated in mid-December that 2007 would end as the eighth warmest on record, but below-average temperatures in areas of the country last month lowered the annual ranking. For Alaska, 2007 was the 15th warmest year since statewide records began in 1918.
Six of the 10 warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S. have occurred since 1998, part of a three decade period in which mean temperatures for the contiguous U.S. have risen at a rate near 0.6°F per decade.
For the contiguous U.S., the December 2007 mean temperature was 33.6°F, near the 20th century average of 33.4°F. The Southeast was much warmer than average, while 11 states — from the Upper Midwest to the West Coast — were cooler than average.
Warmer-than-average temperatures for December 2007 in large parts of the more heavily populated eastern U.S. resulted in temperature related energy demand about 1.9 percent below average for the nation as a whole, based on NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index. For the year, the REDTI estimates that national residential energy consumption was about 2.5 percent below.
For December 2007, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the 13th warmest on record (0.72°F/0.40°C above the 20th century mean). Separately, the global December land-surface temperature was the eighth warmest on record. The most anomalously warm temperatures occurred from Scandinavia to central Asia.
La Niña continued to strengthen as ocean surface temperatures in large areas of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific were more than 3°F (1.7°C) below average. The continuation of cooler-than-average temperatures dampened the global ocean average, which was the 18th warmest on record for December.
For 2007, the global land and ocean surface temperature was the fifth warmest on record. Separately, the global land surface temperature was warmest on record while the global ocean temperature was 9th warmest since records began in 1880. Seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, part of a rise in temperatures of more than 1°F (0.6°C) since 1900. Within the past three decades, the rate of warming in global temperatures has been approximately three times greater than the century scale trend.
Scientists have found new evidence that the Earth's natural feedback mechanism regulated carbon dioxide levels for hundreds of thousands of years.
But they say humans are now emitting CO2 so fast that the planet's natural balancing mechanism cannot keep up.
The researchers, writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, say their findings confirm a long-believed theory.
Carbon spewed out by volcanoes is removed from the air by rock weathering and transported to the ocean floor.
Using evidence from an Antarctic ice core, the team calculated that over a period of 610,000 years the long-term change in atmospheric CO2 concentration was just 22 parts per million (ppm), although there were larger fluctuations associated with the transitions between glacial and interglacial conditions.
By comparison, two centuries of human industry have raised levels by about 100 ppm - a speed of rise about 14,000 times faster.
"These long term cycles are way too slow to protect us from the effect of (anthropogenic) greenhouse gases," said Richard Zeebe from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.
"They will not help us with our current CO2 problem. Right now, we have put the system entirely out of equilibrium."
"A lot of people had tried to refute this hypothesis, but our study provides the first direct evidence (that it is correct)," said Dr Zeebe.
...rather than focusing on the peaks and troughs of CO2 - as other researchers have done - this group looked at the long term trend, and compared the ice core data with records of carbonate saturation in the deep sea for the last six glacial cycles.
"It is remarkable how exact the balance is between the carbon input from volcanoes and the output from rock weathering," said Dr Zeebe.
"This suggests a natural thermostat which helps maintain climate stability."
The delicately balanced carbon thermostat has been a key factor in allowing liquid water, and life, to remain on Earth, he said.
"If it weren’t for these feedbacks, the Earth would look very different today."
Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez
today declared a commercial fishery failure for
the West Coast salmon fishery due to historically
low salmon returns. Also today, NOAA's Fisheries
Service issued regulations to close or severely
limit recreational and commercial salmon fishing in the area.
"The unprecedented collapse of the
salmon population will hit fishermen, their
families, and fishing communities hard, and that
is why we have moved quickly to declare a fishery
disaster," Gutierrez said. "Our scientists are
working to better understand the effects that
ocean changes have on salmon populations. We are
also working closely with fishing communities to
improve salmon habitat in river systems to support sustainable fishing."
Hundreds of thousands of fall Chinook
salmon typically return to the Sacramento River
every year to spawn. This year, scientists
estimate that fewer than 60,000 adult Chinook
will make it back to the Sacramento River.
"This is far below what is needed to
sustain the population and we have decided to
shut down the commercial ocean salmon fishery for
all of California and most of Oregon to aid their
recovery," said Jim Balsiger, NOAA's Fisheries
Service acting assistant administrator. "It's a
tough decision, but the condition of the salmon
fishery forces us to close most of it to ensure
healthy runs of this valuable fish in the future."
Although the reasons for the sudden
decline of the fishery are not completely
understood, NOAA scientists suggest that changes
in ocean conditions, including unfavorable shifts
in ocean temperature and food sources for
juvenile salmon, likely caused poor survival of
salmon that would have comprised this year's
fishery. Loss of freshwater habitat for salmon
spawning, rearing, and migration to the ocean is
a chronic problem that has made salmon
populations more susceptible to the occasional
poor ocean conditions. NOAA will undertake a
thorough examination of the causes.
Coho salmon stocks off Washington and
northern Oregon, while in slightly better shape,
are still far below normal, and there will be
substantially curtailed commercial fishing off
those areas as well. A small recreational fishery
off Oregon's northern coast and targeted on
hatchery-produced coho salmon will be allowed.
The disaster declaration opens the door
for Congress to appropriate money towards
alleviating the financial hardship caused by the fishery disaster.
Under Section 312(a) of the
Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Commerce Secretary can
declare a commercial fishery failure if requested
to do so by a governor, or at the Secretary's
discretion. The Secretary must determine that the
commercial fishery failure resulted from a
fishery resource disaster due to natural causes,
man-made causes beyond the control of fishery
managers, or undetermined causes.
What else will you sacrifice to serve your greed and ego?
Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., April, 2008
Overpopulation, over consumption, and irresponsible growth in California has drained the fresh water from the Delta, killed the bait fish the salmon required to survive, which in turn decimated the salmon.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Our massive crimigrant-driven growth has supercharged the production of pollution and CO2, which has altered when the seasons begin and end, and changed the direction the winds blow from during summer and winter.
The change in the direction winds blow from has altered the ocean current circulation patterns along the whole west coast, creating vast dead zones where once held rich fisheries. This whole west coast fishery, which was under significant direct human pressure from our overfishing the hell out of it, is now being starved by the changes in ocean circulation our overpopulation triggered. The fishermen and birds who depended on the west coast fishery are moving towards extincition as I write.
The appearance of vast unprecedented dead zones along the west coast does not bode well for the fishermen, the salmon, or the birds.
The solution to our destruction of nature is simple: Zero Population Growth in the US. To achieve a responsible balance between the US and Nature, we must immediately end all illegal demographic growth, and remove every individual from the US that has entered our country illegally.
Reducing the population by 12 million will not just improve our natural environment and reduce our energy consumption and pollution, but it will also restore some of the things the crimigrants gave to the corporations: our decent wages, our decent schools and decent services for the middle class.
Even more importantly, denying the corporations and their corporate politicians crimigrant labor will deny them much of the profits they use to bribe and payoff the politicians for flooding the country with state-subsidized crimigrant labor.
The most importantly change that we need to make happen is to make citizenship dependent on your understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. We must stop the corporations from making American citizenship worthless, no more than a a debased reward for the crimigrant's cheap labor, obedience to the boss, and the desire to consume as much as possible. All this is done in service to the corporations that have smashed our democracy.
It's ironic that our politicians, of both parties, are so keen to reward the crimigrants who are breaking our law and border to work cheaper than Americans with citizenship. It appears that the crimigrants and politicians both work for the same goal, increasing the profits of our corporate masters.
The growth policy of the crimigrants, corporations, and corporate politicians has broken our democracy, seriously overwhelmed our social and natural infrastructures, and damaged the climate. We better start turning this mess around soon, or we will be in real trouble.
It is clear that our growth in population and consumption must stop. We must immediatly shift all growth in california from quanitive to qualitive growth. Until we fix our schools and hospitals, we must not let one more immigrant, let alone a single crimigrant into the country. Until we have adequete water and energy for our own citizens, we must stop the massive irresponsible expansion that is currently underway.
We will not be able to stop the crimigration until we clean the massive corporate bribery that has dishonored both the main political parties. Until we restore our democracy, our corporations and their corporate politicians are going to continue to perfer illegal mexican slaves to free American labor.
Until we restore our democracy we are going to continue our irresponsible growth, and our childern are going to live in conditions that increasingly resemble mexico poverty more than our own values. The grinding poverty of mexico has already been thickly spread across the whole western and southwestern regions of the country.
Environmentally, until we exchange growth for balance, none of our efforts to curb CO2 are going to be effective. As long as California is expanding by roughly a three-quarters of a million illegals every year, we are not going to be able to bring our schools, hospitals, and middle-class wages back up from the standards of corporate America to the standards of democratic America. As long as the corporations have an unlimited supply of illegals who willingly work for slave wages, and corporate employers are allowed to continue to use our schools, hospitals, and the wealth of citizens of this state to subsidize their illegal work force, the American middle class and its broken democracy will continue to be treated like foreigners in their own country.
An unholy alliance of corporate greed, political corruption, and crimigrants has joined forces to present the greatest threat to our democratic rights and our natural environment that our country has ever confronted during our whole history. So far, the crimigrants and their corporate politicians have succeeded in shifting the vast bulk of our nation's wealth into the the hands of our corporate masters. During the last 35 years the top levels of our corporate aristocracy and their servile politicians have become as rich, powerful, and as arrogant as Nazis.
If you want your country back, if you want your democracy, your wages, your schools, your hospitals, and especially if you want to restore the beauty and abundance of nature that California once possessed, your duty to nature and country demands that you fight the corporations, the corporate politicians, and the crimigrants who have joined forces to drain our political rights and national resources.
Your duty as an American is to take whatever measures your ethics dictate are required to seize your Constitutional rights back from the corporations, their corrupted politicians, and their obedient foreign slaves who are working an ongoing scheme to steal them all from us.
Decrying what he called the federal government's "overboard meat-ax approach," California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez joined executives of American Apparel Inc. on Tuesday to condemn escalating raids on businesses to look for undocumented workers.
Outside the company's pink factory in downtown Los Angeles, where a large "Legalize LA" sign hung on one building, Nuñez said stepped-up work site investigations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement were hurting the economy.
"The last thing we need is to bring the type of disruption to our economy that could ultimately lead us into a downward spiral into a recession," Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) said.
But in recent years the agency has increasingly cracked down on employers that hire undocumented workers, making more than 4,900 work site arrests in fiscal 2007. In 2002, 510 arrests were made.
Too many employers exploit undocumented workers and use their cheap labor to "gain an unfair economic advantage over other businesses and take jobs away from U.S. residents and citizens," Kice said.
And as companies employ more sophisticated means to scrutinize documents, Kice said undocumented workers were abandoning counterfeit paperwork in favor of outright identity theft.
"The prospect of gaining employment is one of the key factors fueling illegal immigration -- it's the prime magnet," Kice said. "These workers often use false identification and misrepresent who they are, and that's a security risk."
This month, more than 60 workers were arrested at South Bay warehouses during routine federal inspections; more than 130 were arrested in February at a Van Nuys manufacturing company.
In March, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a letter to Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, complaining that raids on "nonexploitative" companies could push businesses out of California and asking that federal immigration enforcement policies be reworked.
Although Nuñez said companies should not endorse hiring illegal immigrants, he said workers who were employed should be left alone.
It is time for all good citizens to rise up and break the illicit alignment between crimigrants, illegitimate politicians, and abusive corporations. These groups have joined forces to make the only qualification for American citizenship the willingness to run the border and obediently serve their corporate masters.
The most basic sovereign rights of every nation on the planet to determine who may join their body politic. Corporate America has decided that citizenship is based on economics, rather than political principals, ethics, or shared experiences and practices.
Our corporate controlled government has decided that political questions, like who are our citizens, what labor conditions they will work under, and the wages and benefits they recieve will be determined by how many illegals they can stuff into the country, rather than democratically, through the political process.
Both parties are each predominately funded by corporate bribes, and produce law and policy the serves the corporate interest in return for the bribes required to maintain their offices. This simple fact explains the main source of the majority of the dangerous, incompetent, and corrupt legislation that our Assembly and Congress produces.
The effects of corporate bribery go beyond damaging our concept of citizenship. Corporate bribery assures that the assembly is incompentent to regulate the affairs of their corporate bribers.
It is corporate bribery that has made our drugs dangerous, our political leaders incompetent, and made the rule of law a commodity auctioned off during each election cycle. Funding our politicians through corporate bribery assures that our Assembly and Congress are incapable of defending our health, our wealth, our rights or our borders.
The replacement of our democratic process by political bribery has allowed our corporations to loot the wealth and resources of this state, our country, and take a shot at imposing a corporate empire on the whole world.
The unholy alliance between crimigrants, corporations, and corrupt politicians that Fabian Nunez is fronting for is one of the main domestic engines of political corruption.
Our corporations have used crimigrants to transfer the wealth of our middle and working classes to the top levels of American society. This has generated and concentrated economic profits and political powers that are an insult to our democracy and our rights as Americans.
Ironically, the corporations and corporate politicians are using the same justifications for flooding LA with crimigrants as they are using to justify invading and occupying Iraq: the American concept that we constitute a "Better Way of Life."
Since we are superior, armed with a "better way of life," like the crimigrants, we are not required recognize the borders, the laws, or any other nation's attempt to limit the power and reach of our ability to impose our better way of life around the world. According to us, anyone who seeks "a better way of life" may break any laws, borders, or customs to achieve or impose "a better way of life."
Neither the crimigrants, our corporations, nor our corrupted politicians recognize the right of any country to determine its own identity, define their own terms of citizenship, or regulate their affairs of state through a democratic process.
According to Nunez, citizenship is devoid of principal, is merely a function of economics, and is solely contingent on the crimigrant's willingness to break our laws to obey and serve the corporate boss's greed. According to Nunez' definition of citizenship, Nunez has marked himself as a traitor to our country and Constitution, and a clear and present danger to our rights and privileges as citizens.
The dirty relationship between corrupted politicians like Fabian Nunez, other crimigrants, and corporate power has displaced the power of our citizens to exercise their democratic rights, make laws and policies for the general welfare of our citizens.
Nunez claims cutting off illegal labor will spark a recession. The opposite is true: during the last 20 years of irresponsible growth and out of control crimigration, corporate profits and asset growth has been based on spreading debt and poverty.
The growth in corporate profits during the last 30 years has been based on stealing the wealth and social institutions of our middle and working classes. It appears that Fabian's life of luxury has made him insensitive to the long recession the American working class has experienced during the last 30 years.
Fabian's life of pampered corporate luxury has blinded him to the fact that his crimigrant constituency has sucked the economic and political power out of the American middle class, and has already brought down a recession onto the heads of the American working class that is 30 years long.
Nunez' position is clear: unless illegals can be used to drive down wages, unless we allow corporations like American Apparel to break the border and spread poverty across California, unless we use our state's assets to subsidize the crimigrant labor who have gutted our wages, destroyed our schools, closed our emergency rooms, and bankrupted our public hospitals, we will have a recession.
Crimigrants like Fabian, working with our corporate traitors, have already smashed our democracy and impoverished the American working class. It is stunning that they have the audacity to launch this public propaganda campaign advertising their criminal conspiracy to defy our laws, steal our money and rights, and continue to promote the irresponsible growth that has already destroyed our natural and social infrastructures.
If Nunez wants to represent Mexicans, he should reverse migrate his traitor ass back to Mexico.
What Fabian and American Apparel are really saying is that unless the American middle and working classes are willing to work for mexican slave wages and accept poverty and abject obedience as their lot in life, Fabian's crimigrant constituency would disappear, American Apparel would disappear, and Fabian's corporate sponsors would no longer be able to provide him and his party with the bribes they use to stay in power, and live their lives of outrageous luxury.
Wow. Fabian Nunez has come out of the closet and admitted that his real constituency is crimigrants and criminal corporations.
Let's stop the speaker of the Assembly and his corporate masters from breaking the law. Let's strip Fabian of his crimigrant political base, and strip American Apparel of their state subsidized crimigrant labor force. If Fabian and American Apparel are not allowed to continue to profit from betraying our country, they will lose their hold on political and economic power.
Gee, what a shame that would be.
Oh yeah, I forgot to ask what the crimigrants think about our invasion of Iraq. I wonder what they think about our program of kidnapping, secret prisons, and torture? How do they feel about Gitmo? If they love the corporations and corporate politicians who have betrayed our country so much, let's send all the crimigrants to Iraq and Afghanistan to rebuild iraq and make it safe for democracy. Just like they are doing in LA.
It is clear that our politicians and corporations prefer crimigrants who are willing to work cheap, obey, and empower and support all of their political, war, and economic crimes without giving them any guff.
We would live in a different world today if we had done our duty and held our government within its own rules.
You Tube: "May Day, 2008 - March Footage, With Appropriate Commentary" by Doug McIntyre, a radio pundit from the far right KABC in LA. McIntyre appears to be some type of hybred radical composed of elements from both sides of the political spectrum.
A congressional watchdog agency has found that White House officials repeatedly intervened in the government's scientific process for assessing the health risks of toxic chemicals, prompting Sen. Barbara Boxer to threaten giving Congress control of the program.
The Government Accountability Office reported Tuesday that the White House's budget office, the Pentagon and other agencies had delayed or blocked efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to list chemicals as carcinogens by requesting more research or more time to review the risks.
GAO officials also faulted the administration for setting new rules that keep secret any involvement by the White House or a federal agency in a decision about the risks of a chemical.
"In the risk assessment program, you don't want anyone but the scientists involved," John Stephenson, GAO's chief investigator for environmental programs, told lawmakers.
The issue involves major changes the administration has made to an EPA program called "IRIS" - the Integrated Risk Information System - which allows the agency to determine safe levels of exposure to chemicals to protect the public health. The program has been used to set limits on arsenic in drinking water and benzene in the air, and foreign nations and states like California often use the data for their regulations.
Influencing risk assessment
Since President Bush took office in 2001, the White House has sought to take more control of a process that has long been led by EPA scientists, the report found. The Office of Management and Budget, the Defense Department, the Energy Department and even NASA have taken steps to influence risk assessments that could affect those agencies or hurt U.S. industries, the report said.
For example, the EPA started a risk assessment of naphthalene, a chemical used in jet fuel, in 2002, and agency scientists have been moving toward listing it as a likely human carcinogen. But many military sites are contaminated with naphthalene, which could lead to major cleanup costs for the Pentagon. So, White House budget officials slowed the process, repeatedly requesting more analysis. Six years later, the risk assessment is back at the drafting stage.
"The series of delays has limited EPA's ability to conduct its mission," the GAO report concluded.
The study also found irregularities in the agency's risk assessment of formaldehyde, a colorless gas used in plywood and many other household products, which the World Health Organization has listed as a known human carcinogen but EPA classifies only as a probable carcinogen.
In 2004, the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation decided to bypass the risk analysis of its own scientists and use data by an industry-funded group when it issued new rules for formaldehyde - even though EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment identified a number of problems with the group's data. A federal appellate court struck down the rules last year.
"It was fairly unprecedented," testified Lynn Goldman, who was assistant EPA administrator for prevention, pesticides and toxic substances during the Clinton administration and is now an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University.
Only 4 approved
Stephenson, the GAO investigator, told lawmakers the risk assessments had slowed to a crawl because of the prolonged inter-agency review. Out of 32 draft risk assessments prepared by the EPA over the last two years, only four were approved.
The program, Stephenson said, "is at serious risk of becoming obsolete."
This is yet another example of how the massive amounts of corporate bribery, liberally distributed to both parties, has gutted our government's duty to regulate chemical safety. Instead, industry bribes to the president, congressmen and senators have gutted our government's ability to regulate anything.
Drugs, air safety, food safety, pollution, highway safety, and the safety of every American has been compromised by the system of corporate bribery that runs our elections, parties, politicians and ultimately, our whole government.
There is only one fact you can rely on in today's political environment: every politician is lying to you. They are not protecting your rights, interests, or your safety, but in fact they have sold their authority over your rights, interests, and safety to the highest corporate bidders.
Let's be clear about how politics works: Politicians represent the interests of those who put them in office. Period. Our founders, wise to this fact, created a democracy.
Our present generation, in our apparently limitless ignorance, have not correlated the fact that the politicians depend on corporate bribery for office with the loss of our democracy, our rights, our money, and our safety. Until the politicians are cut off from their corporate bribers, and once again made dependent on the people, this country cannot be called a democracy, and the politicians will continue to be a threat to our health, wealth, safety and rights.
To define what our polity actually is, we must combine the fact that politicians represent the interests of those that put them into power, with the nature and character of the power the politicians wield.
Our corporate dominated process of forming political power, and the unlimited nature of the political power our government claims to use as a tool of state, defines our government as a corporate fascist state.
This will continue until the politicians are made to depend on the contributions of their local voters, rather than corporate bribes, to get elected. After that basic change, we can work on reimposing constitutional restraints on all three branches of our government. In any case, the politicians will always serve the interests of those they depend on to get and keep office.
Our job is to change the politicians' dependence from the corporations to the voters, to get and keep political office.
WASHINGTON, April 2, 2008 - The powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee today launched a landmark investigation into the chemical industry lobby group, The American Chemistry Council (ACC). In a letter addressed to the President of the American Chemistry Council, committee chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI/1st), chair of the committee's Oversight and Investigations Committee, demanded answers to a long list of questions designed to determine the degree to which chemical industry money and influence has corrupted science and decision making at the Environmental Protection Agency and potentially endangered the health of all Americans.
Said Stupak in a statement accompanying the letter to the ACC, "Americans rely on sound science to ensure the safety of everyday products. If that science has been compromised by industry, then the health and safety of the public is in danger."
"EWG has collected thousands of internal chemical industry documents showing that for decades the chemical industry has worked to corrupt the scientific process and deceive the American public about the health risks of their chemicals, even as they knowingly polluted the bodies of every person in the country with toxic chemicals," said Richard Wiles, Executive Director of EWG.
"This is a landmark investigation. For the first time the public will find out exactly how the chemical industry uses their influence to corrupt government science at the expense of public health," Wiles added.
In a letter to ACC, Reps. John D. Dingell (D-MI), the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak (D-MI), the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, note that ACC helps fund the International Society for Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (ISRTP), which publishes the scientific journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology The lawmakers' letter questions whether ACC's funding has resulted in bias in the journal.
"Peer reviewed journals play an important role in shaping and informing scientific debate about the safety of consumer products," Dingell said. "Our Committee intends to determine what influence the chemical industry yields over the scientific community and whether that influence is proper."
The letter also asks ACC for information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) peer review panels and Dr. Deborah Rice. Rice was dismissed from her position on an EPA peer review panel after ACC complained Rice was not impartial because she had previously expressed concerns about the health effects of decabromobiphenyl ether (deca), a chemical widely used as a flame retardant. Meanwhile, the letter notes, at least nine EPA panels assessing the human health effects of toxic chemicals have included individuals alleged to have financial interests in the chemical industry. Last month, Dingell and Stupak wrote EPA about its peer review panel process and Rice's dismissal.
(05-01) 15:19 PDT SACRAMENTO -- The population of California grew 1.3 percent last year and now tops 38 million, according to state figures released Thursday.
The nine-county Bay Area region grew at a slightly faster rate of 1.4 percent, adding 100,443 residents for a total of more than 7.3 million people.
"It's evidence that the Bay Area is doing better economically than the rest of the state," said Mary Heim, head of the demographics research unit at the state Department of Finance, which released the new population numbers.
San Francisco's population of 824,525 is the city's biggest ever, the state figures show. San Jose, which grew by 1.8 percent last year, now numbers just a shade under 1 million people - 989,496.
Los Angeles, California's biggest city and the nation's second largest behind New York, topped 4 million people last year.
Find your town
How much did your city grow? Find out by searching a database of California cities at sfgate.com/webdb/population.
(05-01) 18:48 PDT -- Two parched years - punctuated by the driest spring in at least 150 years - could force districts across California to ration water this summer as policymakers and scientists grow increasingly concerned that the state is on the verge of a long-term drought.
State water officials reported Thursday that the Sierra Nevada snowpack, the source of a huge portion of California's water supply, was only 67 percent of normal, due in part to historically low rainfall in March and April.
With many reservoirs at well-below-average levels from the previous winter and a federal ruling limiting water pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the new data added a dimension to a crisis already complicated by crumbling infrastructure, surging population and environmental concerns.
"We're in a dry spell if not a drought," said California Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman. "We're in the second year, and if we're looking at a third year, we're talking about a serious problem."
Chrisman stopped short of saying the state would issue mandatory water rationing, which appears possible only if the governor declares a state of emergency. Rather, the burden will fall on local water agencies. Many, such as San Francisco and Marin County, have asked residents and businesses over the past year to cut water usage voluntarily by 10 to 20 percent.
Others have taken more drastic steps.
In Southern California, the water district serving about 330,000 people in Orange County enacted water rationing last year, due in part to a ruling by U.S. Judge Oliver Wanger reducing water pumped from the delta by about a third to protect an endangered fish.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District announced in April that it was considering water rationing, price increases and other measures in response to critically low reservoirs. The district, which serves 1.3 million customers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, will vote on the measures this month.
"If you catch a third (dry) year, then you're looking at a supply that's so low you can't manage it well anymore," said Charles Hardy, spokesman for the district. "That's when its starts to hurt businesses and people across the board."
Already, some farmers are switching to crops requiring less water and letting fields go fallow. One water agency official recently talked to a Southern California avocado grower who cut his trees back to stumps and won't begin growing again until water supplies recover.
"We have a lot of water, but we also use a lot of water," said Jeffrey Mount, director for watershed sciences at UC Davis. "From an economic perspective, it makes sense moving water from agriculture to urban uses."
In fact, some farmers are already selling their water to urban districts. But there is no easy system for transporting that water, and the infrastructure required would be extremely costly.
It is unclear whether this dry period is a full-blown drought. Much like economic recessions, droughts can be diagnosed only in retrospect.
However, it is certain that if the dry conditions that began with the low 2006-2007 snowpack levels continue, they could have a cascading effect. The dryness of 2006-2007 contributed to this year's poor water supply totals, said Elissa Lynn, chief meteorologist with the California Department of Water Resources.
"We're losing a lot of what we did have as snow melted into the ground," Lynn said. "It's either in subsurface, waiting to come down, or it's going into soil moisture because we had a dry fall."
There is also a small chance that dry windy conditions blew snow straight from the mountains into vapor, she said.
Not all Bay Area agencies face the same challenges, because they get water from various sources: San Francisco and the Peninsula from Hetch Hetchy, East Bay Municipal Water District from the Mokelumne River watershed and the Santa Clara Valley Water District from a combination of reservoirs and the delta. Some local water managers say their supplies look good. Marin County, for instance, said its reservoirs are at more than 100 percent of capacity.
Nevertheless, stricter water controls could be a continuing part of California's future. So might large-scale projects that aim to use water in new and better ways.
"We're facing some pretty grim circumstances that call for some bold action - recycling water, desalinating water," said Tim Quinn executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. "Above and beyond that, we have to invest in the sustainability of this system that our grandfathers constructed in the middle of the last century. It was developed with the convenience of human beings in mind, not aquatic beings."
Delta Fish Kill: Symbolic of the damage that the massive population explosion of crimigrants in LA has brought to California's ecosystem and resource base. Irresponsible corporations, corporate politicians, and their foreign minions have drained california's last natural and social resources.
October, 2007, last summer's crop yields dropped significantly. This year's winter crops (2007-2008) were plagued by freak weather across the northern hemisphere.
April 8, 2008. I predicted that freak heating, significant weather disruptions, and changes in the onset and ending of the seasons around the northern Hemisphere would bring significant crop yield declines this summer. This has a high probability of triggering a global famine streaching across Asia, South Asia, Africa, and parts of South and Central America. Global food stocks will set new historic lows, and prices will set historic highs.
Today, May 2, 2008, it appears that the northern hemisphere's seasons have changed significantly. The onset and ending times of all of the seasons have changed significantly. The direction from which the wind blows, the prevailing winds, have shifted for significant periods of time during both summer and winter. Seasonal tempetures, the paths of the storm tracks, and the moisture content of the air have all changed, and no longer track traditional seasonal norms.
What is certain, is that the traditional seasonal patterns have been disrupted, and unpredictability is the predominant character of each season.
This does not bode well for agriculture in the northern hemisphere this summer. This means that the chances are very high that freak weather, increased heat, and excessive seasonal tempeture and unpredictable rainfall variability, from drought to deluge, will significantly decrease this summer's northern hemisphere crop yields.
OSLO (Reuters) - Global warming could gradually starve parts of the tropical oceans of oxygen, damaging fisheries and coastal economies, a study showed on Thursday.
Areas of the eastern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with low amounts of dissolved oxygen have expanded in the past 50 years, apparently in line with rising temperatures, according to the scientists based in Germany and the United States.
And models of global warming indicate the trend will continue because oxygen in the air mixes less readily with warmer water. Large fish such as tuna or swordfish avoid, or are unable to survive, in regions starved of oxygen.
"Reduced oxygen levels may have dramatic consequences for ecosystems and coastal economies," according to the scientists writing in the journal Science.
The north of the Indian Ocean, along with the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, is also oxygen-low but the available data showed no substantial change in the size of the oxygen-minimum zone in recent decades.
Lothar Stramma, lead author at IFM-GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany, said there were signs the oxygen-low bands between 300 and 700 meters depths were getting wider and moving into shallower coastal waters.
"The expansion of the oxygen-minimum zones is reaching more to the continental shelf areas," he told Reuters. "It's not just the open ocean." That could disrupt ever more fisheries.
Problems of lower oxygen supply add to woes for the oceans led by over-fishing as the world struggles to feed an expanding population. A U.N. conference in 2002 set a goal of trying to reverse declines in fish stocks by 2015.
The U.N. Climate Panel said last year that global warming, stoked by human use of fossil fuels, would push up temperatures and bring more droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels. More and more species would be at risk of extinction.
Thursday's study showed that a swathe of the eastern Pacific from Chile to the United States and a smaller part of the eastern Atlantic, centered off Angola, were low in oxygen.
Stramma said the oxygen-poor regions were away from major ocean currents that help absorb oxygen from the air. And warmer water is less dense and so floats more easily -- that makes it less prone to mix with the deeper levels of the oceans.
SYDNEY, Australia, April 21, 2008 (ENS) - One of the world's great wildlife spectacles is under way across Australia. Two million migratory shorebirds of 36 species are gathering around Broome before an amazing 10,000 kilometer (6,200 mile) annual flight to their breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere. The birds are preparing to make an annual flight along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, a route which passes through 22 countries.
But a new study shows that these migrants and Australia's one million resident shorebirds have suffered a serious long-term decline in numbers over the past 25 years.
A large scale aerial survey study covering the eastern third of the continent by researchers at the University of New South Wales has identified that migratory shorebirds populations there plunged by 73 percent between 1983 and 2006, while Australia's 15 species of resident shorebirds - such as avocets and stilts - have declined by 81 percent.
The first long-term analysis of shorebird populations and health at an almost a continental scale, the study is published in the scientific journal "Biological Conservation."
"This is a truly alarming result: in effect, three-quarters of eastern Australia's millions of resident and migratory shorebirds have disappeared in just one generation," says an author of the report, Professor Richard Kingsford.
"The wetlands and resting places that they rely on for food and recuperation are shrinking virtually all the way along their migration path, from Australia through Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and up through Asia into China and Russia," Kingsford said.
"Loss of wetlands due to river regulation is one of the more significant contributors to this drastic decline, but it appears such a threat is largely unrecognized in Australia's conservation plans and international agreements," says Professor Kingsford, who co-authored the report with Silke Nebel and John Porter, of the University of New South Wales School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
The study comes as nearly two million migratory shorebirds are gathering in what has been described as one of the world's greatest wildlife spectacles.
The Yellow Sea provides rich feeding habitat for more than three million migratory birds annually, and is a key refuelling stop. A total of 36 species pause here to rebuild their energy reserves before continuing on their migrations.
The Yellow Sea is also home to 600 million people in China and South Korea - about 10 percent of the world's population. The demands of this growing human population are destroying the tidal feeding grounds, crucial for migratory shorebirds.
"Destruction of habitat along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway is a major threat as birds are most vulnerable during their migration," said Simba Chan, senior conservation manager at BirdLife's Asia Division
The most important shorebird site within the Yellow Sea, Saemangeum, now is being reclaimed for development, putting millions of migratory birds under threat.
The 40,100 hectare construction project on the west coast of South Korea involves damming the estuaries of the Mangyeung and Dongjin Rivers with a seawall 33 km (20 miles) long.
"Our international agreements relating to shorebird conservation, such as the Ramsar Convention, the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement, the China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement, and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, do not seem to be working," warns Dr. Hamilton.
A worldwide assessment of the survival status of all bird species will be released on May 19. Published once every four years, the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for birds is a global assessment of every bird species on Earth.
For birds, the IUCN Red List is maintained by BirdLife International. The last assessment showed one in eight of the world's 10,000 bird species are at risk of extinction.