"Climate News Roundup"
Panel Sees Problems in Ethanol Production – New York Times. “Greater cultivation of crops to produce ethanol could harm water quality and leave some regions of the country with water shortages, a panel of experts is reporting.” The full National Research Council report, “Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States,” is available online.
We’re Carboholics. Make Us Stop. — Washington Post. Op-Ed calling for carbon regulations by David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy Inc., a wholesale power generator serving 19 million households with total greenhouse gas emissions exceeding Norway’s:
Global warming should be at the top of Congress’s agenda — because action by this Congress will turn the tide of climate change around the world. Never before have we faced the prospect of fundamentally damaging our global ecosystem by the day-to-day activities of each and every one of us. A cap-and-trade system is the place to start. America must act now to protect our future.
Row erupts over risk to polar bears — The Guardian. “The global warming sceptic Bjorn Lomborg, has sparked fresh debate about the dangers of increasing temperatures with new claims that polar bears are not on the brink of collapse and are more threatened by hunting than by climate change.” We’ve already debunked “Bear” Lomborg on this claim, but it’s good to see the British media take this nonsense on:
Last night Lomborg was accused of the same misuse of statistics which he levels at other scientists, environmental groups and the media.
Dr Andrew Derocher, chairman of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group, said Lomborg’s book was based on outdated statistics because the group had published an updated report in 2006, which showed that of 19 populations five were declining, five were stable and two were increasing; and for the remaining six there was not enough data to judge.
Derocher said data from before the Eighties was considered ‘very questionable’, that hunting was considered a ‘minor concern in some populations’, and that the decision by the IUCN to classify polar bears as ‘vulnerable’ was based on the unanimous advice of his committee of 20 members from the five ‘polar bear nations’ in the Arctic, including the only previous dissenter, a scientist quoted by Lomborg in his book.
Derocher, a professor in biological sciences at the University of Alberta in Canada, also criticised the idea that polar bears can adapt to the sort of life lived by the brown bear because they need to eat vast numbers of seals, which are also threatened by the changing ice. ‘The changes of sea ice are evident to local people living in the north,’ he said. ‘Over the last 25 years that I’ve worked in the Arctic the changes are astounding. Polar bears are adaptable, but there are limits to this.’
Derocher said the author had not tried to contact him: ‘Lomborg choosing not to ask for accurate information or using outdated information reflects a lack of scholarship.’