Thursday, June 30, 2005

Eco-Terrorists Aim to Stop Research on Medical Cures

He was not a scientist and did not harm animals. But they blew his car up anyway

"Michael Kendall has been described as a family man with no personal links to animal testing whatsoever. He is, however, finance director for the small Canadian stockbrokers Canaccord Capital, which has provided services to Phytopharm, a British biotechnology group. Phytopharm has, in the past, been a customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences, the research laboratory based in Cambridgeshire that has received a great deal of threatening attention from animal rights extremists.

When Bite Back suggested that this tenuous link had made Mr Kendall a personal target, his company responded by ending its relationship with Phytopharm. Soon afterwards, the Phytopharm share price tumbled.

That was exactly what the ALF wanted. It claimed responsibility for the fire with an internet posting that announced "a new era" of attacks had dawned. "If you support or raise funds for any company connected with Huntingdon Life Sciences we will track you down, come for you, and destroy your property with fire."
"

"The website of one of the most militant groups, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, declares: "Shac is here to deliver justice to Huntingdon's suppliers." Jim Watkins (not his real name) was a victim of Shac. He believes extremists targeted him because a foreign shareholder in his company had once done business with HLS. At first he received threats by email. One read: "You're f**ked. Your company is f**ked. I would gladly go to prison for stabbing an animal abuser to death.""

Monday, June 27, 2005

Africans Need DDT

Africans need DDT, not 'blah, blah, blah':

"We have heard a lot about 'African voices' and 'what Africans want' recently. One thing they want is to be able to use DDT, or at least a reliable alternative. During a visit to Berlin in May, Alcinda Abreu, foreign minister of Mozambique, called on the industrialised world to 'provide alternative methods to fight malaria or else drop opposition to using DDT against mosquitoes'. Following reports that DDT was harmful to the environment, it was banned in the USA by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1972. This led to an effective worldwide ban, as countries dependent on US-funded aid agencies curtailed their use of the pesticide.

Now, as malaria death rates rise in Africa and other parts of the third world, some Africans are demanding change. When she was asked about environmentalist campaigners in the West who oppose the use of DDT, Alcinda Abreu said: 'They have to give us alternatives…not blah, blah, blah.' She proposed the development of an 'effective and easy-to-administer vaccine', and revealed that Mozambique intended to start re-testing the use of DDT in the battle against malaria, because no reliable alternative had been developed (1). Other countries, including Zimbabwe, have also said they will start using DDT again."

"In 1969, the director of the World Health Organisation said: 'DDT is so safe that no symptoms have been observed among the 130,000 spray men or the 535million inhabitants of spray houses [over the past 29 years of its existence]…. Therefore WHO has no grounds to abandon this chemical which has saved millions of lives, the discontinuation of which would result in thousands of human deaths and millions of illnesses. It has served at least two billion people in the world without costing a single human life by poisoning from DDT. The discontinuation of the use of DDT would be a disaster to world health.' That has proven to be the case in recent decades."

"Since 1981 around 20million people have died from malaria - deaths that could have been prevented by DDT."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The good news that the climate change lobby doesn't want you to hear

Warmer, wetter and better(or the good news that the climate change lobby doesn't want you to hear) (hat tip: EnviroSpin Watch)

"After studying the likely consequences for everything from crop yields to human health, their results are anything but apocalyptic. They have found that a hotter planet brings with it many benefits, and that humans can adapt perfectly well to it.

Indeed, far from joining the calls for action, some now warn that trying to prevent climate change could prove far more catastrophic than learning to live with it. Nor is this cheery vision based solely on questionable computer models. Analysis of past episodes of dramatic - but entirely natural - climate change repeatedly shows the benefits of a warmer world.

"If you could vote for a change in climate, you would always want a warmer one," says Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London. "Cold is nearly always worse for everything - the economy, agriculture, disease, biodiversity"."

"A review published last year by scientists at the University of London pointed out a basic medical fact: in many countries, cold kills far more people each year than heat. For the kind of temperature rise predicted for the UK over the next 50 years, the team estimated that heat-related deaths would rise by about 2,000 a year - but that this figure would be dwarfed by a cut in cold-related deaths of 20,000."

"Ironically, some of the benefits come from the growth-promoting effect of the very greenhouse gas now causing so much alarm: carbon dioxide. Global yields of wheat and rice are expected to rise by 18 per cent, while yields of clover - a key foodstuff for grazing animals - looks set to rise by 36 per cent.

Global vegetation density seems to be benefiting already, with net gains in growth across the whole planet since the early 1980s. Even tropical forests and the Amazon are reported to be growing more luxuriant as CO2 levels rise."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Making a real difference

Global warming cyclical, says climate expert (hat tip: JunkScience.com)

"Rob Carter, from James Cook University in Townsville, said the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in recent decades had boosted agricultural crop yields."

"Professor Carter said greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide were not causing the earth to warm up. On both annual and geological (up to 100,000-year) time scales, changes in temperature preceded changes in carbon dioxide, he said. This was true even in the famous 1960-1991 graph showing rising amounts of carbon dioxide."

"Carbon dioxide was a minor greenhouse gas, responsible for 3.6 per cent of the total greenhouse effect, he said. Of this, only 0.12 per cent, or 0.036 degrees Celsius, could be attributed to human activity."

Forget global warming. Let's make a real difference (hat tip: JunkScience.com)

"They do not tell us that even if all the industrial nations agreed to the cuts (about 30pc from what would otherwise have been by 2010), and stuck to them all through the century, the impact would simply be to postpone warming by about six years beyond 2100. The unfortunate peasant in Bangladesh will find that his house floods in 2106 instead.

Moreover, they should also tell what they expect the cost of the Kyoto Protocol to be. That may not come easy to natural scientists, but there is plenty of literature on the subject, and the best guess is that the cost of doing a very little good for the third world 100 years from now would be $150billion per year for the rest of this century."

"What we should do first depends on the economics of where we can do the most good for the resources we spend. Some of the world's most distinguished economists - including three Nobel laureates - answered this question at the Copenhagen Consensus last year, prioritising all major policies for improving the world.

They found dealing with communicable diseases like Aids and malaria, malnutrition, free trade and clean drinking water were the world's top priorities. The experts rated urgent responses to climate change at the bottom. In fact, the panel called these ventures, including Kyoto, "bad projects", because they actually cost more than the good they do."