INBOX - Energy and environment issues and animal and human healthTo send emails or newspaper links
See page in new window
The Salter Duck can convert 90% of the wave motion it stops into electricity.
Vital, recent articles (new windows) :
James Lovelock The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years
Jeremy Leggett What they don't want you to know about the coming oil crisis
Simon Jenkins May 28 2006 Global warming might not be so bad, if we keep our cool
___________________________Apologies. This page is not being updated at present
November 25 2006 ~ Water Crisis - Has the government a duty to protect health? The Western Morning News reports that documents released to the newspaper show that a Government committee of experts chose to ignore findings after Britain's worst water poisoning incident - when 20 tons of aluminium sulphate was dumped into the wrong tank at water treatment works on Bodmin Moor in 1988. It was found that victims could have absorbed exceptionally high quatities of aluminium.
" The Government-appointed committee of experts took no action on the findings made and blamed people's continuing health problems on their "sustained anxiety" which had been fuelled by the media.....The BBC reports that on Tuesday a coalition of conservation groups will present a report to the environment minister Ian Pearson. They are alarmed at the state of crisis in Britain's water systems, warning that the government has only a decade to put things right and offering a ten-point plan to make UK water systems sustainable, including fair pricing, upgrading sewerage facilities, metering and setting a maximum consumption ceiling of 125 litres per person per day. (A bath uses about 80 litres, flushing the toilet about 5-10 litres, and a hosepipe 500 litres per hour.) .
Dr Chris Exley, an expert on aluminium toxicity from Keele University, said the data presented to the advisory group was "damning" and said, "..It is quite incredible it was ignored...."
Meanwhile, in a press release, the pesticides campaigner Georgina Downs says the Government and its scientific advisors must now seriously consider the role of environmental pollution from pesticides and other toxic chemicals. "... public exposure to all pesticides groups must now be taken seriously by those whose duty it is to protect the nations health."
November 25 2006 ~Turning on a gene found in wheat could boost levels of protein, iron and zinc, scientists have discovered. The gene occurs naturally in wheat, but has largely been silenced during the evolution of domestic varieties. Researchers found evidence that turning it back on could raise levels of the nutrients in wheat grains. Writing in the journal Science, they suggest that new varieties with a fully functioning gene can be created through cross-breeding with wild wheat. .." BBC
September 2006 ~ Energy Alert A new report by Friends of the Earth outlines what the Government could do - and by when - to keep within this carbon budget and maps out how homes, business and transport in the UK could change as a result. It says that, to reduce greenhouse gases emitted by car engines, high- speed, high-capacity trains should be the standard form of transport to the Continent and around the UK by the 2030s. In the same timescale, farmers should be growing biofuels and most homes and businesses should be generating some of their own electricity through mini wind turbines or solar panels. By 2050, all vehicles should be powered by electricity, and hydrogen fuel cells - which turn hydrogen gases into electricity with only water as a by-product - should be routinely used to heat homes.
July 24 2006 ~ Global " free trade" talks, billed as a once in a generation chance to boost growth and ease poverty, collapsed today after nearly five years of haggling. Resuming them could take years. ".....major trading powers failed in a last-ditch bid to overcome differences on reforming world farm trade, which lies at the heart of the round..."Reuters
July 24 2006 ~ Pesticides "This response is an absolute disgrace as it does not actually realistically change anything. The Government have refused to acknowledge the health risks inherent in the spraying of agricultural chemicals and have decided not to introduce any legal measures toinherent in the spraying of agricultural chemicals and have decided not to introduce any legal measures to protect rural residents and communities. This shows absolute contempt for people who live, work, go to school or just spend considerable time in the countryside. Voluntary and self-regulatory measures have existed for decades, have not worked and are completely unacceptable in this situation. ..." Read the latest press release from Georgina Downs - whose campaign has been gaining ground and who is herself the recipient of a major environmental award.
July 17 2006 ~ Another Tsunami "strong undersea earthquake off the southern coast of Indonesia's Java island on Monday triggered a tsunami that swept away buildings at a popular beach resort and killed at least 11 people.." Reuters
July 16 2006 ~ "Hazardous waste" baloney. As Christopher Booker points out "... There are two reasons for the confusion over asbestos enshrined in EC legislation. The first is that it no longer makes any distinction between the wholly different minerals which are loosely described as asbestos: the "amphiboles", blue and brown asbestos, which pose a genuine threat to human health, and the infinitely commoner white asbestos fibres which, bonded in cement or textured coatings, pose no measurable risk." (Sunday Telegraph)
July 14 2006 ~ "Oil surged to record highs above $78 on Friday on fears the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas could escalate and spread to more Middle East countries." Reuters
July 10 2006 ~ MPs warn Blair over nuclear review sham Independent Mr Luff said: "The Government's Energy Review risks being seen as little more than a rubber-stamping exercise for a decision the Prime Minister took some time ago."
July 9 2006 ~ Oil Crisis ".... this 'bull' market in oil is here to stay for one or more decades, in which time the world had better have weaned itself off oil or see the world in a major fight over the remaining supplies!" Resoource Investor, quoted on warmwell's oil pages
July 8 2006 ~ "End Of Cheap Oil, The Global Energy Crisis And Climate Change" The timely article by Vandana Shiva has been reprinted at Zmag "....Oil is at the heart of industrial food production and processing, and long distance food transport. The wheat, India is importing is not just bringing weeds, pests and pesticides. It is also carrying thousands of "food miles"...."
July 7 2006 ~ Organic food and drink now account for 1.3 per cent of total sales. Although the figure is small, the UK is the third largest market for organic food in Europe after Germany and Italy. See Independent "the Soil Association, said in its annual report that sales of organic food leapt by 30 per cent to #1.6bn in 2005 - almost treble the 11 per cent growth the previous year."
July 4 2006 ~ "plan to carpet England in general, and the south in particular, with new houses in the mistaken belief that this will reduce prices enough to win votes...." Read Max Hastings in today's Guardian
"....No sane person can dispute that we need to build more houses, and that some of them will have to go on green fields. But it seems madness to concrete huge tracts of countryside to meet extravagant and entirely speculative projections of demand. At a time when centralisation is perceived an abject failure in dictating education, health, and social policies, it seems deplorable to emasculate the powers of local authorities to influence planning. "
July 4 2006 ~ Population The UK has no policy on controlling its population size BBC "...... UK's population had topped 60 million for the first time last year and was expected to rise 12% in the next generation. The rises were equivalent to having a new Oxford, a new Middlesbrough and a new Ipswich every year..."
July 4 2006 ~ " Thames Water has not been fined by Ofwat as was expected . It has been losing 894 million litres of water every day ( enough to fill 344 Olympic-sized swimming pools every day) and is trying to get a drought order that will restrict water to its customers. Thames Water is owned by RWE of Germany and made a 31 per cent increase in annual profits to #346.5 million last year. The Times says, " Ofwat again branded Thames Water failures "unacceptable" today and threatened the company with a fine next year if it did not take appropriate measures to replace leaking water mains. .." (One does rather wonder in what circumstances a water company would be fined by OFWAT.)
July 3 2006 ~ depleted uranium ".....Depleted uranium aerosols will permanently contaminate vast regions and slowly destroy the genetic future of populations living in those regions where there are resources which the US must control, in order to establish and maintain American primacy. Described as the Trojan Horse of nuclear war, depleted uranium is the weapon that keeps killing. ...." (See Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War by Leuren Moret "...... Women in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq are afraid now to have babies, and when they do give birth, instead of asking if it is a girl or a boy, they ask 'is it normal?'..." )
"Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. For example, leukemia and cancer of the stomach. We had one patient with two cancers - one in his stomach and kidney. Months later, primary cancer was developing in his other kidney - he had three different cancer types. The second is the clustering of cancer in families. We have 58 families here with more than one person affected by cancer. . . . My wife has nine members of her family with cancer."This is Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, director of the oncology center at the largest hospital in Basra, speaking in 2003 at a peace conference in Japan. .." Free Press.org
July 2 2006 ~ Climate Change- an alternate view Bjorn Lomborg writes in the Observer that With $50bn, we could make the planet a better place but money spent on global warming would be wasted
".... economists, who included four Nobel laureates... The question that they strove to answer was: 'How could you spend $50bn to achieve the most good possible?'
...With access to specially commissioned research, the team came up with a concrete, prioritised 'to do' list that outlined how policy-makers could achieve the most good possible. The economists found that spending $27bn on an HIV/Aids prevention programme would be the best possible investment for humanity. ...
.....Providing micronutrient-rich dietary supplements to the malnourished was their second-highest priority...
....Third on the list was trade liberalisation... it would be remarkably cheap and would benefit the entire world, not least the developing world. ..."
July 2 2006 ~ Level 2 Heatwave warning A notice on the DoH website reads: "The Met Office has forecast that in at least the next three days there is an 80pc chance of temperatures in the London, south-east and West Midlands regions being high enough on at least two consecutive days to give rise to significant health risks."
July 2 2006 ~ Near miss? An asteroid up to half a mile wide is due to brush past the Earth tomorrow BBC and Telegraph
July 2 2006 ~Bird migration "a study in Science suggests they have evolved in response to climate change and are returning earlier. ..The study revealed that long-distance fliers have adjusted their migration habits to arrive earlier in northern Europe in time for the start of spring. This suggests a more permanent change in migratory behaviour due to climate change than previously thought. ... ." BBC
June 30 2006 ~ Fordhall Farm has been saved by members of the public buying shares. The farm was one of the first in the country to go organic. ( See BBC.
June 30 2006 ~ "Oil is a non-renewable resource. We have always known that yet the world has been behaving as if oil is in endless supply. And we in India who have lived in a biodiversity and biomass energy economy are rushing into oil addiction precisely when the global oil supply is running low and prices are running high...." Vandana Shiva, the voice of sanity. See Zmag.org and warmwell's oil pages
June 29 2006 ~ wind turbines WMN "Campaigners against onshore windfarms say they are horrified to learn of moves to build four of the tallest turbines in the Westcountry .... at Bickham Moor, between Rackenford and Tiverton. Opponents of the scheme warned it would devastate the landscape and hit the rural economy...Two Moors campaign secretary, Caroline Harvey, said the turbines proposed for Bickham Moor could be taller than any previous proposal.
"They would soar to a height nearly 100ft taller than Big Ben," she said. "The possible development at Bickham Moor combined with the plans for Batsworthy Cross will rip apart our stunning natural environment and wage war on our rural economy and the communities in Devon."Although I said that warmwell hasn't really got time to cover turbines, turbines will soon be covering us. Time to take arms against a sea of turbines and by opposing, end them?
June 29 2006 ~ euthanasia "....The British Medical Association voted at its conference last year to drop its stance against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. But a motion at this year's Belfast meeting calls for a rethink. A bill to relax current rules was blocked by the House of Lords in May, but is likely to be reintroduced. .....The conference will be asked to back a motion opposing any attempt to legalise physician-assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia in the UK. Representatives will also consider whether they should hold a ballot of all BMA members on the issue. ... " BBC.
June 29 2006 ~ GMOs "Transgenic rice is a direct threat to China's environment and biodiversity and will not benefit farmers, Greenpeace said on Wednesday, calling on the government to think twice about its commercialisation. .." Reuters
June 29 2006 ~ Animal homeoopathic remedies Many thanks to kind readers who have helped with this issue. The wording of Annexe A may be read here. " .....The proposed amendment will allow homoeopathic medicines to be administered to animals in accordance with EC legislation..." read in full.
(DEFRA, we read, has a "designated consultation co-ordinator" to monitor it's (sic) "effectiveness at consultation" and that "In line with Defra's policy of openness, at the end of the consultation period copies of the responses we receive will be made publicly available through the Defra Information Resource Centre, Lower Ground Floor, Ergon House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR.....personal callers should give the library at least 24 hours notice of their requirements. An administrative charge will be made to cover photocopying and postage costs. ..." )
June 28 2006 ~ Animal homeoopathic remedies - Prescription only Medicines? Even though homeopathic medicines can be bought in the High Street, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, it seems, is running a consultation of only six weeks entitled Proposals for the administration of homoeopathic veterinary medicinal products (ending 7th July 2006) specifically about homoeopathic remedies. We are unable to open this pdf file at http://www.vmd.gov.uk/publications/consultations/Homoeopathic.pdf
Is any interested reader able to open it and send a view about the issue? If mainstream vets refuse to recognise homoeopathy, and remedies have to be registered as veterinary medicines then treatment for farm animals with homoeopathy will become very difficult.
June 28 2006 ~ GMOs Austria is one of the staunchest opponents of GM technology in the EU and is sticking to its own ban on modified plants within its territory but, now that Finland has taken over the EU Presidency, the subject of GMOs is unlikely to be discussed. Adrian Bebb from Friends of the Earth, says of the European Food Security Agency (EFSA) "It ignores major safety concerns raised across Europe and appears to protect the biotech industry rather then the public." FOE Europe says that member states should set the safety standards needed to protect their environment, farming industry and public from GM foods and crops - not EFSA. (See EUobserver)
June 27 2006 ~ Oil crisis "If we are not preparing ourselves toward a comprehensive plan that reduces our oil dependence we may be dooming our future to a global crisis..." Huffington Post and oil pages
June 26 2006 ~ Pesticides ".. yet another study finds pesticides associated with Parkinson's disease."
"...The study found that the risk of Parkinson's disease was 70 percent higher for people exposed to pesticides. Notably, a similar increase in risk was observed among people who were exposed because of their occupation, such as farmers, as among people not occupationally exposed, suggesting that home or garden use of pesticides, as well as other exposure groups, (ie. such as resident and bystander exposure), is also deleterious. .."Georgina Downs' press release
June 23 2006 ~"need for more independent arms-length advice to government", particularly in regard to assessing the "relative merits" of technologies. .." It is pleasing to see that the Edinburgh Royal Society's report " Inquiries / Issues for Scotland's Energy Supply " asserts that
"Energy is an emotive subject and too important to become a party political issue."The Renewable Energy Foundation's Chief Executive, Campbell Dunford, said,
"The Royal Society of Edinburgh's recommendations are both judicious and constructive, yet no punches have been pulled, particularly in regard to the flawed and counterproductive Renewables Obligation. This is an excellent study, and will form a benchmark by which the DTI's own Energy Review, now imminent, can be judged."
June 23 2006 ~ Antarctica" Scientists are calling for action to prevent foreign species from taking hold in Antarctica and wrecking the continent's unique ecosystems. Despite Antarctica's inhospitable environment, non-native species introduced by tourists, scientists and explorers are gaining a foothold. Species can hitch a ride on ships and planes carrying visitors and supplies.." BBC
June 20 2006 ~ 'doomsday' vault "Work began yesterday on a 'doomsday' vault buried in the Arctic permafrost that will become the guardian of 10,000 years of agriculture, protecting millions of seed samples in the event of a global catastrophe" Times
June 20 2006 ~ Arm lock The Western Morning News reported last week that the impact of the supermarkets on small suppliers such as farmers would be included as part of the Competition Commission long-awaited investigation of the major retailers.
June 19 2006 ~ North Yorkshire community spirit Yorkshire Post "It seems as though everything has been thrown at us in the last 20 years. But without the help of the community, I certainly wouldn't have been able to open up again as quickly as I did."
June 19 2006 ~ Whales "Japan seizes control of whaling group after vote " Independent
Guardian "Japan's campaign to restart commercial whale hunting received a major boost last night when the International Whaling Commission declared invalid a 20-year ban on the slaughter of the planet's largest creatures for anything other than scientific purposes"
June 18 2006 ~ Wind turbines Booker's Notebook "....somehow, in environmental terms, the loss of Scotland's unique landscape to these vast steel structures is never taken into account. Forty years ago we pointlessly sacrificed the skylines of our cities to building tower blocks of council flats, many of which have since had to be demolished. When this mad obsession with turbines comes to be seen as a similar fantasy, who will then restore the wild beauty of those Scottish hills?"
June 18 2006 ~ Whales Japan has failed to win a vote to allow some of its coastal communities to hunt minke whales for local use. BBC
June 17 2006 ~ Rapid Prion Detection Assays - easy-to-use rapid strip test for rapid BSE testing produces visual results in less than an hour. "PDL recently achieved 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity in a trial on confirmed positive and negative samples at the Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Weybridge, UK. " See biz.yahoo.com "Genesis Bioventures, Inc has announced that it has granted an exclusive licence to Bio Business Development Company (BBDC) to commercialize the Rapid Prion Detection Assays in eighteen countries of the Pacific Rim...The licensed technology has been developed by Prion Developmental Laboratories (PDL), a portfolio company of GBI."
June 17 2006 ~ NHS "the green light for the private sector to take control of a large slice of primary care in England"? Guardian
June 16 2006 ~ "The obsession of major world powers with terrorism is consuming resources that should be devoted to solving far more dangerous planetary threats, says John Sloboda of the Oxford Research Group.
a report from the Oxford Research Group (ORG), Global Responses to Global Threats: Sustainable Security for the 21st Century, published on 12 June 2006.....identifies four main threats to security in the next century and outlines a plan of action. The four threats are:
- climate change
- competition over resources
- marginalisation of the "majority world"
- global militarisation.
"If these growing threats are not halted within the next few years, the world could pass a tipping-point which would catapult it into a period of intense and unprecedented conflict."
June 16 2006 ~ ( Back on broadband. Broad-ish at any rate. What a difference!)
June 16 2006 ~ Deep sea Conservationists say urgent action is needed to protect the world's oceans from human exploitation. BBC
June 16 2006 ~ Whales Japan has warned that it will pull out of the International Whaling Commission "in a few years" if a ban is not overturned. ITN
June 16 2006 ~ Permafrost "....You have anthropogenic (human-generated) carbon that's making things a little bit warmer, and that causes the permafrost to warm up and carbon is then released from the permafrost," he said. "It goes into the atmosphere and makes things warmer yet again, so then more permafrost thaws." If all Siberian permafrost thawed and released its carbon in the form of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it could nearly double the 730 billion metric tons of carbon now in the atmosphere, the scientists said." Reuters
June 15 2006 ~ New vaccine protects ferrets against H5N1 Chinese People's Daily reports
"An inactivated whole-virus vaccine successfully protected ferrets against the deadly H5N1 bird flu, a U.S. research team reported on Wednesday. Unlike earlier candidate vaccines that rooted in part sequences of the virus' hemagglutinin (HA) gene, this new virus is a first recombinant virus based on both the HA and the neuraminidase (NA) genes, according to the researchers at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. These findings were published in the June 15 edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases. "
June 15 2006 ~US The American charity Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of industrialized farming. Its "No Downers Campaign seeks to prevent the suffering of downed animals (animals too sick even to stand) through public education and by enacting laws and policies to prevent the marketing and slaughter of downed animals. . "
( In the UK, the respected and excellent Compassion in World Farming does not overtly encourage vegetarianism but its aims and campaigns demonstrate a similar awareness of farm animal suffering and a determination to educate the public and work for better legislation.)
Now that there is a growing worry about so-called "atypical BSE", the US campaign may be more successful. Common Dreams reports,
"......The Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finally admitted that the U.S. may have its own variant of mad cow disease after confirming two cases of mad cow disease reported in Texas and Alabama were atypical strains of the disease. The Agency can no longer dismiss the scientific research published in 1993 by Dr. Richard Marsh of the University of Wisconsin that warned about "the presence of an unrecognized BSE-like disease in the United States. Rather than heeding the evidence presented by scientists like Dr. Richard Marsh, the USDA chose to ignore it," said Gene Bauston, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. "We are concerned that the USDA adopted a 'don't look, don't find' approach and that an undetected disease has been incubating and spreading as a result." "
June 15 2006 ~ Kentucky Fried Chicken sued for use of hydrogenated oils Independent "The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed the suit in Washington arguing that KFC, more than any other restaurant chain, relies on partly hydrogenated oils for its food. Those oils contain trans fat, a notoriously indigestible substance that food reformers have been campaigning to eliminate from the American diet......Research shows that it is more harmful even than saturated fat, because it both increases the level of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol and lowers the level of HDL, or "good" cholesterol... "
June 15 2006 ~ Stephen Hawking "insists the survival of the human race depends on it finding new homes on other planets. He believes global warming, nuclear war or a genetically engineered virus could wipe out the earth. Speaking at a news conference in Hong Kong the 64-year-old scientist said humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and colony on Mars in the next 40 years. " Daily Mail
June 14 2006 ~British Ports - an open gateway for smugglers? "In a BBC investigation one retired customs officer from the Plymouth area said: 'You may get the odd seizure. But it's just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of importations fo unchallenged, simply because there's no staff here.' Daily Mail
June 13 2006 ~ Monbiot on "Behind the spin, the oil giants are more dangerous than ever The green rebranding of Shell and BP is a fraud. Far from switching to biofuels, it's drilling and devastation as usual..." Guardian
June 11 2006 ~ "Pollution From Chinese Coal Casts a Global Shadow" is a NYT headline today in an article that points out both the cooling effect of pollution and its eventual disastrous effects. The article is interesting for showing how China has now had a taste of the lifestyles that the West, particularly the US and the UK, thinks it unthinkable to give up merely in order to save the planet. The artical seems uneasily aware of this :
"One of China's lesser-known exports is a dangerous brew of soot, toxic chemicals and climate-changing gases from the smokestacks of coal-burning power plants....The sulfur pollution is so pervasive as to have an extraordinary side effect that is helping the rest of the world, but only temporarily: It actually slows global warming. The tiny, airborne particles deflect the sun's hot rays back into space. But the cooling effect from sulfur is short-lived. By contrast, the carbon dioxide emanating from Chinese coal plants will last for decades, with a cumulative warming effect that will eventually overwhelm the cooling from sulfur and deliver another large kick to global warming, climate scientists say. A warmer climate could lead to rising sea levels, the spread of tropical diseases in previously temperate climes, crop failures in some regions and the extinction of many plant and animal species, especially those in polar or alpine areas....
China depends overwhelmingly on coal. And using coal to produce electricity and run factories generates more global-warming gases and lung-damaging pollutants than relying on oil or gas....Sulfur and ash that make breathing a hazard are being carried by the wind to South Korea, Japan and beyond. ....China is also the world's largest emitter of mercury, which has been linked to fetal and child development problems.....halving sulfur emissions has its own consequences: it would make global warming noticeable sooner. ..........For all the worries about pollution from China, international climate experts are loath to criticize the country without pointing out that the average American still consumes more energy and is responsible for the release of 10 times as much carbon dioxide as the average Chinese. .....With Chinese leaders under constant pressure to create jobs for the millions of workers flooding from farms into cities each year, as well as the rapidly growing ranks of college graduates, there has been little enthusiasm for a change of strategy. Indeed, China is using subsidies to make its energy even cheaper, a strategy that is not unfamiliar to Americans, said Kenneth Lieberthal, a China specialist at the University of Michigan. "They have done in many ways," he said, "what we have done." ."
June 9 2006 ~ Bird Flu brings bad news to Smithfield. The US based pig farming conglomerate Smithfield Foods has found that its sales and profits in international operations have declined, "particularly in Poland, due to decreased demand for its poultry products due to avian influenza worries." The reality of factory farming is typified by America's largest agricultural corporations, such as ConAgra, Tyson Foods, Cargill and Smithfield Farms. To get a flavour of this read Robert Kennedy Jr's prescient article in the Ecologist in 2004
June 8 2006 ~ " Prof James Lovelock "... yesterday offered to store high level nuclear waste on his land if it would help to revive the revive the fortunes of atomic energy in Britain...... "I would be glad to have it. I would use it for home heating. It would be a waste not to use it." ........ "I am a scientist when they [environmentalists] are mostly not," he added, arguing that new reactors should be built on the old sites. The Green movement's recommendations of sustainable development and renewable energy are well intentioned but too late, said Prof Lovelock, who was discussing his ideas yesterday at the Cheltenham Science Festival..." Telegraph
June 8 2006 ~ Hansard Wave Technology
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with Scottish Ministers on the use of wave technology for energy production in Scotland. Not the most helpful of answers we feel. Indeed, a refusal to bother to engage with the question at all - as are the answers to an increasing number of PQs these days, it seems.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Ministers and officials from the Scotland Office regularly discuss a wide range of matters with colleagues in the Scottish Executive.
June 8 2006 ~ The government is to appoint an "international envoy" on climate change, the BBC tells us.
June 8 2006 ~ Technical problems are still continuing here - including the fact that broadband is still temporarily not available. Uploading is unwieldy, uncertain and very slow. As soon as possible, warmwell reports will resume in full.
June 7 2006 ~ 'Era of cheap fuel is over' Telegraph
June 5 2006 ~ FMD We understand that Anthony Gibson, communication co-coordinator for NFU, gave a speech on the impact of foot and mouth disease at the assembly rooms at Kingsbridge, at 3.15pm on Saturday. Any report would be very welcome.
June 4 2006 ~ one of the real scandals of our time....the devastation being wreaked along the west coast of Africa by hundreds of large foreign trawlers, which are destroying the livelihoods and often the lives of local fishermen. Booker's Notebook
"...The BBC last week excitably reported that nine EU countries have offered ships and planes to Spain, to help stem the flood of West Africans prepared to risk their lives crossing in fragile wooden boats to the Canary Islands. ..... "Third World fisheries agreements" negotiated by the EU, for which EU taxpayers have shelled out more than £2 billion (some £250 million contributed by Britain) to the governments of countries such as Mali, Senegal and Mauritania.
Most of this money, as has been well documented, goes to a small ruling class of politicians and officials. The African fishermen cannot compete. Thousands have died, simply because their tiny craft are run down by the foreign trawlers pillaging the same fishing grounds - hence their desperation to escape to Europe..."
June 2 2006 ~ Head of France's nuclear watchdog 'lied over Chernobyl fallout' Independent Professor Pierre Pellerin, who was the head of France's nuclear safety watchdog 20 years ago, has been formally accused of deliberately concealing the seriousness of contamination of parts of the French countryside from the French people......As the "cloud" of contamination passed over France between 30 April and 5 May (1986) Professor Pellerin issued a series of reassuring statements. He published low average findings of radiation across whole regions. Campaigners have long protested that this deliberately concealed the fact that there were pockets of contamination which suffered high rainfall as the Chernobyl cloud moved westwards..." ."
June 1 2006 ~ "Compassion in World Farming was appalled at an amendment to the national welfare at slaughter law that was rushed through Parliament over the May Bank Holiday, effectively authorising the culling of poultry by closing the air vents in the sheds and shutting off the ventilation system. CIWF broke this story nationally with an exclusive in theTimes newspaper. UK Cons. Party leader, David Cameron MP, has called for the overturning of these new powers - for a full update on this, see our new -look home page at www.ciwf.org"
May 30 2006 ~ No broadband for warmwell.com. My attempts to get back on line properly are stymied. I have bought a new comput er - but it will take some time to get an ADSL connection. Apologies again.
May 30 2006 ~ John Prescott spent millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on buying an area of outstanding natural beauty, with proud boasts that it would be "transformed" into a "community green space". .....the Sunday Telegraph reported.
".....In an environmental blunder that may result in criminal charges, a picturesque 360-acre home counties farm, once teeming with skylarks and other songbirds, now lies ruined. .... On its website, the ( Forestry) Commission boasts about the "transformation" of the farm and says it uses "best practice management techniques to provide the conditions for rare or important species to flourish". The reality of these techniques was that, two weeks ago, teams of tractors moved in and ploughed up the fields and with them around 60 nests full of newly-born skylarks and their eggs. Conservationists fear that all of the birds are dead, killed as they nested. A liberal spraying of super-strength pesticide has ensured that they and other forms of wildlife do not come back..."
May 28 2006 ~ Trying to make sense of all the global warming to-ing and fro-ing, we read Simon Jenkins today with gratitude.
".. One lobby demands millions for renewables, yet denies them for nuclear. Another demands the reverse. Government backs inefficient power sources, such as wind, if they are cheap but not more reliable ones such as wave, solar and subterranean. The future of the earth is apparently a matter of public expenditure. ..."
May 21 2006 ~ Nuclear power Now we have a 'first cut' See Sunday Herald.
". ...one MP, who says the debate has already been cut short by Blair:.... "A crucial debate has been sidelined by Tony Blair. Once again the party is being asked to trust his judgement alone. He says it would be a 'serious dereliction' to the future of this country if we didn't do it his way. It would be a worse dereliction of duty if we did do it his way - and that is without a meaningful debate at all."
May 21 2006 ~ Nuclear power. This letter, one of several in the Independent yesterday came from Paul Berkeley in Cirencester:
"Sir: The Prime Minister advocates a new generation of nuclear-power plants to protect the nation from the insecurity of reliance on imported fuels. Presumably he thinks that the uranium orchards of Hereford and Kent will be ready for harvesting this autumn. The only secure reliable energy that is ours for free are the natural elements of sun, wind, earth and water, which we have in abundance."
May 20 2006 ~ To those who remember Morgan A special message of support and affection to those who have lost loved animals in the past five years. I wish that all animals could receive the same loving and competent attention at the time of their death as my border collie Morgan did yesterday. There are, of course, some wonderful vets in England - but if my vet here is a typical example of french vets then it is hardly surprising that France has adopted vaccination for birds at risk. Morgan, with his two companions beside him, lying comfortably in the back of the car and looking up at me with confidence as the anaesthetic took effect, died gently. And the vet, himself holding back tears with an effort, gave me a hug before I left. Compare this with the terrors of mass culling - and weep.
A huge thank you to the emailer who sent this:
"Near this spot are deposited
the remains of one who possessed
beauty without vanity, strength
without insolence, courage without ferocity,
and all the virtues of man without his vices" (Byron)
May 14 2006 ~Veterinary Surgeons Act - we have been sent a link to a petition asking that
an independent ombudsman deal with complaints concerning veterinary negligence and misconduct ;Continuous supervision be given by qualified staff for pets hospitalised at veterinary surgeries overnight ;Veterinary fees be regulated by the Department of Trade ;The veterinary code of conduct be made statutory - any breaches of the code to be made public in the interest of the consumerWe read that, " On average, the Royal College of Veterinary Sugeons (RCVS) receives about 800 complaints against veterinary surgeons annually (about 15 per week). Most of us hope that we will never have cause to complain to the RCVS and that if we do, our complaint will be dealt with fairly. The RCVS is a self-governing body, there is increasing evidence that the present RCVS disciplinary system does not protect animals and that complaints are NOT dealt with fairly."
May 12 2006 ~ A Cultural Strategy for Rural England; Funded by the national Lottery, the Rural Cultural Summit will take place at the Clore Auditorium, Tate Britain, London, Tuesday May 23rd 2006 "This is a unique event, where for the first time the leaders of the main rural and farming cultural communities, speaking as partner members of the coalition -The Rural Cultural Forum - will come together with the lead stake holders for the urban arts and culture sector to discuss the aims and objectives, proposed funding, implementation mechanisms and outputs for a rural cultural strategy." If you wish to attend the Rural Cultural Summit, to help us with catering numbers, please register your name, address, and contact number to email@example.com no later than Wednesday May 18th.
May 11 2006 ~Oil "..... Only a few percent of us, in America, live on or anywhere near a farm anymore and what were once near universal agricultural skills are now possessed by very few. The true necessities of life - food, shelter, clothing, and medicine - come to us through highly complex supply chains - all of which run on oil. ..." See oil page
May 10 2006 ~ A prototype French vaccine against H5N1 bird flu has been found to be safe and effective in initial tests on several hundred volunteers See DNA India
May 9 2006 ~ Malcolm Wicks dismisses Peak Oil before 2030. See oil page
May 6 2006 ~ FMD Vietnam will start mass vaccinations for pigs and cattle against foot and mouth disease next week.
May 4 2006 ~ BBC Question Time "Joining David Dimbleby for the interactive debate will be environment secretary Margaret Beckett MP, shadow foreign secretary William Hague MP, chief secretary to the Treasury for the Liberal Democrats Julia Goldsworthy MP, and Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail." (Any feedback for those of us unable to watch would be much appreciated)
May 2 2006 ~ BSE " Twenty-eight people abroad have already developed vCJD by eating cattle meat from Britain infected with BSE.." assert James Meikle and Rob Evans in the Guardian today as if there were no uncertainty about the nature of TSEs at all. See warmwell BSE page
May 2 2006 ~ "the heroic minority of green shoppers" can't do it alone.
The main conclusion of Sustainable Consumption Roundtable (SCR) report, I Will If You Will, is that people are generally quite happy with measures which bring positive environmental results, even at some cost to themselves, so long as those measures are applied fairly. It urges measures such as taxing flights, rewarding water conservation and banning over-fishing. It says consultation shows that people want to adopt greener habits, but many believe individual action is futile. The BBC page is worth reading in full
May 2 2006 ~ "The polar bear, hippo and many sharks are among species newly listed as threatened with extinction..." BBC
May 2 2006 ~ Why are we importing so much of something we can grow ourselves? What has happened to the effort to reduce food miles and Defra's "buy local" policy? Food from Britain received £8 million in grants from Defra last year. Where is that money is going? ..." Read in full
May 2 2006 ~ Suffolk farmer launches a High Court battle against Margaret Beckett Today, Mark Horvath, from Suffolk, supported by a legal team acting free of charge, will argue in the High Court that Mrs Beckett is penalising English farmers by including footpaths in cross-compliance regulations imposed on farmers. The requirement does not apply to farmers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. See EADT.co.uk
May 1 2006 ~ Margaret Beckett "To cap it all, the long-serving and normally impressive environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, has a farmers' revolt on her hands due to messing up the new system of rural payments." The Guardian is one of the few papers to place Mrs Beckett's spectacular failure with the RPA alongside the other Labour embarrassments this week.
May 1 2006 ~ Climate Change Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will this week receive in Sweden the Leo prize for independent thinking. He stands out against what he describes as "climate change alarmism". See yesterday's Sunday Times
"He describes a "triangle of alarmism", in which scientists make meaningless or ambiguous statements, advocates translate them into alarmist declarations and politicians respond to the alarm by feeding more money to the scientists............... Lindzen is not the only sceptic. The excellent House of Lords economic affairs committee, including former chancellors Lawson and Lamont, examined climate-change economics. "The scientific context was one of uncertainty," it said, urging the government to encourage "a dispassionate evidence-based approach". While acknowledging most scientists had signed up, it said "majorities do not necessarily embody the truth". It was particularly critical of the IPCC's lack of rigour...."An article well worth reading for bemused laymen such as ourselves.
May 1 2006 ~ The "CASE" anti-casino website aims to raise national awareness and opposition to Super-Casinos, inform campaigners from across the country, provide arguments and campaign tips and enable local objectors to share information and co-ordinate their activity.
Run by Councillor Steven Bate, from Blackpool. The site also has a national petition for those of us who find the idea of super casinos in the UK repugnant. Emailing the supercasino advisory panel is just as important and can be done very simply from the website via direct email - it is on the "register your support"link in the LHS.
May 1 2006 ~ EU emissions trading scheme has resulted in £1bn windfall for carbon trade firms See BBC " firms have been given, free-of-charge, the carbon emissions permits on which the scheme is based. This, he explained, is like the government giving energy firms free money..." The Conservative environment spokesman Peter Ainsworth said: "The problem will not be sorted out until the market is made to work properly by forcing firms to bid for their permits instead of being allowed to lobby government for them free of charge. The DTI aren't competent to decide on this."
May 1 2006 ~ "Food and farming in the UK faces a stark choice," Friends of the Earth reminds us." Do we continue to put profit first? Or adopt practices that safeguard the future of what we eat - and those who provide it. If we let them - the Government, biotech industry and supermarkets will decide for us."
30 April 2006 ~ The warmwell oil page is now over two years old. Yesterday's article in the Guardian looked closely at who exactly is making all the money.
April 29 2006 ~ The real cost of a bag of salad: You pay 99p. Africa pays 50 litres of fresh water By Jeremy Laurance in the Independent
April 28 2006 ~ Quick Fixes Won't Solve Looming Oil Crisis, Scientists Say - www.livescience.com or see Oil Page for a summary
April 27 2006 ~ Eaglesham Moor News that ScottishPower was today granted final planning consent for Europe's largest on-shore windfarm (South of Glasgow, East Kilbride) provoked this comment from a campaigner
"Appalling. Eaglesham Moor is a great and necessary lung in a beautiful, open area. The fact that it is near Glasgow makes it an even greater loss. But never mind, the visitor centre with lots of TV screens and interactive displays will make up for the destruction of the open space and all that nasty un-air-conditioned air."
April 26 2006 ~ Tallow is a renewable, carbon-neutral fuel. Its banning in the UK will cause the burning of £70,000 worth of fossil fuels per rendering plant and increase Britain's rising carbon dioxide emissions by 750,000 tons a year. What is more, livestock farmers face extra costs of between £30 million and £50 million. Defra's interpretation of the EU Waste Incineration Directive does not apply in Ireland, France and Holland where tallow continues to be burned. See Sunday Telegraph
April 25 2006 ~ "a contrast to the deadly apathy of most Western governments in the face of global warming, this call for local action strikes me as the healthier approach. " Magnus Linklater in last week's Times on the bleaching of the coral in Tobago. Tobago is "taking local steps to control its own pollution and to limit the land-based developments that threaten its coastal waters with erosion and sedimentation."
"Like a skeleton in the desert, the whitened coral remains only as a stark warning of its own mortality. The death of the reef would signal the end of the marine life it supports, as well as the fish and the birds that feed on them. .."
April 25 2006 ~ UK condemned as 'animal experiment capital' of Europe says One World UK And just in case anyone was still under any illusions about what happens to the primates, dogs, pigs and others at the centres in Cambridge, Durham, Oxford, Newcastle, Southampton, Manchester , London and Edinburgh:
"....Laboratory animals suffer terribly at every stage of their lives; the law allows the infliction of pain and suffering that would, in other circumstances, be illegal. ..."The article also describes the recent TGN1412 drug disaster which made healthy volunteers critically ill. The drug had previously been tested in monkeys without serious side effects, using doses 500 times stronger than those given to the people in the clinical trial. The drug had also been tested in rabbits.
April 24 2006 ~ Oil prices continue upward spiral as markets feels jitters over Iran Independent and warmwell's oil page
April 24 2006 ~ "woeful" level of research into energy Independent ".....the engineering lobby group, the EEF, also called on the Government to commit to a new nuclear programme. But it also urged ministers to tackle the "woeful" level of research into energy...It claimed that the UK spent just 0.02 per cent of national output on energy R&D - the lowest amount of any EU member apart from Portugal and a tenth of what was spent in the US. Martin Temple, the EEF's director general, said that these figures suggested the Government's actions were at odds with the Chancellor Gordon Brown's claims that Britain was taking the lead in tackling climate change. The CBI also lambasted the UK's "laborious" planning system, blaming it for blocking the building of crucial new gas-storage facilities. Mr Jones, who last autumn warned that the UK had only 11 days of energy supply set aside
"We got away with it this winter but may not be so lucky next time. An energy policy based on crossing fingers and the use of a prayer mat is not acceptable for the fifth-biggest economy on Earth,"
April 24 2006 ~ "Why is the heavy-handed intervention of the public sector reducing our recycling efforts to chaos?" is one of the questions asked by Christopher Booker this week. "Do we really need a nationwide network of giant incinerators, which are proving so unpopular wherever they are proposed? Are we wise to be ramming through plans for thousands of wind turbines, which will make such an insignificant contribution to our energy needs at such ludicrous financial and environmental cost?" He is less than impressed by the Tories attitude to the "environment" He also points out Defra's discomforture at having the ludicrously wrong map reference for the finding of the dead swan pointed out (Bryn Wayt's eagle eyes noticed that the reference was to somewhere near Stoke on Trent)
April 22 2006 ~ On the Today Programme, (Listen Again) Gordon Brown warned that rising oil prices could threaten global economic stability - the first time we have heard this publicly stated by a British politician since we began the oil page in April 2004
John Humphrys asked, "Given that voluntarism (?) is not enough and that you accept this is a moral issue, how do you justify the fact that CO2 emissions have increased since this government has been in power?"
Gordon Brown said, "Because of the rise in oil prices and the cost of gas prices as well there has been a greater use of coal because of that and that of course is the reason why the carbon target has been more difficult to meet.."
John Humphrys pointed out the under the stewardship of the Chancellor the proportion of green taxes has gone down. Yet in the past it had been agreed that "polluters would have to pay more" What is more, the cost of driving has been allowed to fall relative to the cost of public transport. Poor Gordon Brown was left ( "but hold on, John") only with the reply that pensioners now had a free local bus pass. The interview is well worth listening to. The BBC report of the interview has none of the challenging punch of John Humphrys' questions.
April 22 2006 ~ No consensus on global warming An article in the Washington Times "Global warming may not be as dramatic as some scientists have predicted" reports "Using temperature readings from the past 100 years, 1,000 computer simulations and the evidence left in ancient tree rings, Duke University scientists announced yesterday that "the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions."
April 22 2006 ~ US class action. Three big meatpackers - Tyson, Swift & Co and Cargill have been held responsible for deceiving cattlemen in the spring of 2001
"a victory for struggling cattle producers nationwide against the unlawful practices of the big packing companies.....The packers for years have acted to crush competition and squeeze the small cattle producer to maximize packer profits. We are pleased that a jury of everyday citizens has held the packers accountable for their unlawful activities in this case."
April 20 2006 ~Mrs Beckett and minister Lord Bach are facing calls to resign over the delays in subsidy payments. BBC
April 20 2006 ~ The £2.99 spray, No-Germs, was tested against a strain of H5N1 at a lab at Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry in the University of London. It was found that the handwash was more than 99.8 per cent efficient in killing H5N1. See Glasgow Daily Record
April 20 2006 ~Crude oil rose to a record after a car bomb exploded in the capital of Nigeria's oil-producing region, renewing concern of militant attacks on rigs and pipelines that will disrupt supplies from Africa's largest producer. Oil page
April 19 2006 ~ Margaret Beckett has admitted in an answer to Parliament that 400 litres of diesel has had to be pumped from a borehole next to the Buncefield oil depot. It leads directly to an underground reservoir used to supply local tap water.
April 19 2006 ~ With a faith that would move mountains, a Canadian newspaper answers its own question "How does a six-year-old cow come down with mad-cow disease when it was born three years after the feed ban was put into place?" with
"The likely answer is the cow in question ate feed leftover from before the ban."The possibility that there could be other reasons than specified risk material in feed for spongiform encephalopathies can't seem to get through - and in spite of Dr Jeffrey's research current dogmas continue unchallenged. See also BSE page
April 19 2006 ~ Oil prices remain close to $71 a barrel, amid ongoing concerns about tensions between the US and Iran. (See oil page)
April 19 2006 ~Chernobyl Greenpeace says a UN report grossly under-estimated the health effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. See BBC
April 18 2006 ~ " McDonald's Corp is having its suppliers in Europe bring normally free-range chickens indoors to try to contain the spread of bird flu and to make sure the food it serves is not tainted with the disease, the company said on Monday." Reuters
April 15 2006 ~ DEFRA and the Cunning Plan.... Mike at www.sunflowerhealth.com, firmly tongue-in-cheek, admits that this conspiracy theory is a little off the wall. It made us smile- and yet, and yet....
April 15 2006 ~ UK now "eating the planet" The UK's food self-sufficiency has been falling steadily for more than a decade, and indigenous food production is now said to be at its lowest level for half a century. So says the New Economics Foundation (Nef) and the Open University report. See BBC Some of the idiocies noted by the report :
In 2004, the UK exported 1,500 tonnes of fresh potatoes to Germany, and imported 1,500 tonnes of the same product from the same country
Imported 465 tonnes of gingerbread, but exported 460 tonnes of the same produce
Sent 10,200 tonnes of milk and cream to France, yet imported 9,900 tonnes of the dairy goods from France
April 14 2006 ~ Saying 'no' to NAIS On the new US National Animal Identification System, Vermont County Courier puts the other side of the story. ".....the idea that non-commercial operations would become part of a required national system is a disturbing one. Seeing parallels to the Patriot Act and beyond, opponents say the plan is far too broad, is ineffective in disease control and would put small farmers and producers out of business. "Here's another heavy-handed, backdoor government intrusion into our personal freedom and our farm activity. This is a top-down system. Top-down systems are famous for being a problem. Who makes a decision about what's necessary? Highly fallible non-farmers, basically." (see also below)
April 14 2006 ~ From Britain's Chief Scientific Adviser on Everything: "The world is likely to suffer a temperature rise of more than 3C. That would cause drought and famine and threaten millions of lives." See BBC
April 13 2006 ~ "By betraying the public's trust in their positions of influence...the great and good become the small and silly." So says the climatologist, Bob Carter, in this thought-provoking article on climate ".... official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia for the years 1998-2005 - global average temperatures did not increase..
.... most government scientists are gagged from making public comment on contentious issues, their employing organisations instead making use of public relations experts to craft carefully-tailored Frisbee-science press releases. "
April 13 2006 ~ Storm overflows used by South West Water in the Torbay Clean Sweep project do not comply with EU sewage rules. "A final warning has been received by the UK before possible court action over four urban centres, including Torbay, which result in sewage being discharged into the sea or rivers, causing pollution and health hazards..." WMN
April 13 2006 ~ 1,000-home eco-estate Ken Livingstone "set out plans today to build Britain's biggest eco-development in east London, modelled on a sustainable city being planned in China. The London scheme will involve at least 1,000 homes, which will be powered entirely by renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and the burning of waste." Guardian
April 13 2006 ~ "Paul Bateman, of Westhay Farm in Banwell, plans to put Margaret Beckett, the secretary of state for environment, before a judge ..." See RPA page
April 12 2006 ~The price of bird flu. Nine poultry farmers commit suicide in flu-hit India Reuters There are "123,000 poultry farmers in India and about 70 percent of them were in a "dire situation."
April 12 2006 ~ "Restoring wetlands and clearing poultry farms from migratory flyways could help curb the spread of bird flu by stopping wild birds from mixing with domestic fowl, a U.N.-commissioned report said on Tuesday" Reuters
April 12 2006 ~ for security reasons "Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and ministerial colleagues were last night accused of using private jets in the Queen's Flight like a private taxi service. .... Downing Street defended his readiness to use jets, even though CO2 emissions from their engines are recognised as one of the greatest contributors to global warming. No 10 said the Prime Minister needed to use the jets for security reasons..." Independent
April 11 2006 ~ Airmiles Margaret Mrs Beckett is in trouble. Not only has it been revealed that she clocked up 106 RAF flights between 2002 and 2004 including many to East Midlands airport near her home but now the NFU are threatening to insist on her resignation if farmers are not paid by June 30 and they want to see a full independent inquiry into the SFP debacle (see RPA page)
April 11 2006 ~ Protecting the Food Supply? In America, the NAIS (National Animal Identification System) will require every farm animal to be electronically tagged and all movements, births, deaths and sales must now be reported. The given reason of "food safety and adequate surveillance" may be sincerely believed - but the recent pronouncements of David King make us wonder if it is not the intensive sector that feels "unsafe" . It is in the interests of the Smithfields and Tysons and their ilk to make small farming unviable - and they are a powerful lobby globally.
April 11 2006 ~ The Environment Agency faces a large fine after a fly fisherman in Devon successfully prosecuted it for polluting the Barle, a tributary of the Exe. Cement waste containing hazardous chemicals should have been pumped away from the river but was instead allowed to flow into it. See Telegraph
April 10 2006 ~ Smithfield again
"An undercover investigation by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) has revealed that hundreds of animals, some injured or sick, are crammed into barns without daylight. Dead animals are left to rot on the ground. The investigation into Polish pig farms owned by Smithfields Food, one of the world's largest pork suppliers, also found that powerful cocktails of drugs are administered to pigs reared in intensive factory-style conditions. Many of these chemicals include controversial antibiotics banned as growth promoters in other countries." Guardian (link mended)Smithfield supplies Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, the Co-op, Iceland and Makro. Its brands include Morliny, Animex and PEK chopped pork. The company also supplies a range of Polish Wiejska pork sausages sold in Waitrose and Harrods. Waitrose has withdrawn the delicatessen products made by Smithfield.
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ Chikungunya seems to be on the march. It is a mosquito-transmitted viral disease which, although not usually fatal, affects joints and brings muscular pain, red eyes and high fever. It is rife in the Indian Ocean, Malaysia, India and has affected literally thousands of people. ProMed has details
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ Risk to pets? "Non-avian species do not act as reservoirs for H5N1. ... Pet owners should be made aware that the risk to their mammals of H5N1 infection is very low..." Medical News today
April 2 - 9 2006 ~"DEFRA and the Scottish Executive have been swamped with calls from members of the public who've spotted dead birds, which will make it very difficult to prioritise those that do need to be picked up and tested straight away..." Snowmail (Difficult indeed. But pretty easy with a portable RT-PCR machine that delivers the analysis within hours.)
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ "World Migratory Bird Day " To promote awareness on the importance of bird migrations for ecosystem functioning, as well as to inform on the threats and the conservation challenges birds face, UNEP, AEWA and CMS have launched the "World Migratory Bird Day", to be celebrated every year on a date in early spring (this year the celebration will be held on 8 April). More
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ Andrea Doyle is a small holder and part of the Breakfast bird flu panel Andrea travelled to Holland with Breakfast reporter Tim Muffett where the government has implemented a mass vaccination programme. She thinks the UK government should do the same. And Professor John Oxford agreed that vaccination - in conjunction with careful monitoring - would be a useful way to help to control the disease. http://126.96.36.199/1/hi/programmes/breakfast/4881962.stm
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ The journey linking Amazon destruction and fast food Farmers illegally seize virgin land for soya crops 7 Export chain ends in big fast food outlets in UK Guardian
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ BBC "Cat bird flu risks 'overlooked' "However, animal health experts said there was a "limited risk" to humans from infected mammals with H5N1 flu. .."
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ RPA page Weston-super - Mare MP John Penrose is backing a local farmer's court action against Margaret Beckett for non-payment of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) to his North Somerset farm.
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ Oliver Pritchett - less than solemn about climate change - and what we can do about it - in the Sunday Telegraph"....as part of my "green" lifestyle, I have been starting the day with paler toast..."
April 2 - 9 2006 ~ "No Silver Bullet" Stephen Lister MRCVS, a partner in Crowshall Veterinary Services, is quoted on the BBC : "It is a tool to help us control the situation, but is not a 'silver bullet' to wipe the disease out" - and this is used to give the story its headline. Yet Mr Lister himself says on a Dupont Animal Health Solutions (commercial) webpage: "Control measures should include vaccination, quarantine and surveillance."
March 29 2006 ~ What has world hunger to do with us? Around 350,000 hectares of agricultural land, above all in Latin America, are dedicated to the cultivation of soybeans to feed Austria's livestock while one quarter of the local population starves. Every European eats ten kilograms a year of artificially irrigated greenhouse vegetables from southern Spain, with water shortages the result. In WE FEED THE WORLD, (new window) Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer traces the origins of the food we eat.
March 29 2006 ~ RPA ( IT system costs went from £18.1m to £37.4million) "During the debate, Simpson (Keith Simpson, Conservative MP for mid-Norfolk) asked the government why it had not listened to select committee warnings on the RPA IT system years ago. He said:
"[I]f she looks at the report of the debate in committee on the statutory instrument that set up the Rural Payments Agency she will find that I, along with many others including some of her honourable friends, questioned whether the agency's computer system would be able to handle what was being proposed then, let alone now." (More)
March 29 2006 ~ the film looks without commenting "Welcome to the world of industrial food production and high-tech farming! To the rhythm of conveyor belts and immense machines, the film looks without commenting into the places where food is produced in Europe: monumental spaces, surreal landscapes and bizarre sounds ...." if you have broadband, it is worth a look "Our Daily Bread" new window. (Thanks Sabine.)
March 29 2006 ~ Margaret Beckett came under attack from all sides yesterday over the Government's new Climate Change Review. See Independent. In her own article in the same paper, Mrs Beckett counters that
"Our opponents argue that "more should be done" But the UK has done more than any other country. .."Opponents? Perhaps, on this issue, Mrs Beckett might consider that we are all on the same side? The, the Telegraph pulls no punches. "... campaigners said her proposals to tackle it showed the Government was more worried about the effect drastic measures would have on the opinion polls. "
March 28 2006 ~Great Orton " I have held a lone vigil here, each year since FMD, quietly and alone. This year was different..." a brief comment and photo from Nick Green
March 28 2006 ~ Independent butchers now hold only 13.8% of the £5.4 billion retail market, according to the Meat and Livestock Commission. BBC
March 27 2006 ~ Fwi "details of how the government intends to sort out the SFP mess are expected to emerge in the next couple of days. Anne McIntosh, MP for the Vale of York, has secured an adjournment debate on the subject on Wednesday (29 March)."
March 27 2006 ~ Targeting Tesco and Asda and "careful to exclude Waitrose, M&S and Budgens from our criticisms" the British Pig Industry Support Group will plaster warning stickers over imported pork products See their webpage
March 27 2006 ~ Wicks' microgeneration strategy Today's Times " The scheme would see householders, schools and businesses offered grants to install wind turbines, solar panels, "ground source heat pumps" and other systems to generate their own electricity and export it to the National Grid.
March 26 2006 ~ Booker's Notebook here
March 23 2006 ~ live calf exports are due to resume later this spring.
Please visit CIWF's website (new window) to send an e-card to Margaret Beckett and to see other ways to engage with this.
(Kent Action against Live Exports (KALE) hold regular monthly demonstrations at Dover on the first Saturday of every month from 12pm - 3pm at the Eastern Dock roundabout.)
March 23 2006 ~ Smokies and the billion pound dirty meat scandal. You can now watch the Watchdog programme on the warmwell's Dirty Meat pages (new window) , thanks to the BBC via ICC .
March 23 2006 ~ Congratulations to Georgina Downs who last night was judged joint winner of the Andrew Lees Memorial Award at the 2006 British Environment and Media Awards, sponsored by WWF-UK, in recognition of her campaigning efforts.(see pesticides page in new window) She says,
"I shall continue to fight on until the Government stop exposing people to these poisonous chemicals and start making the protection of public health and the environment the number one priority, instead of simply protecting industry interests.."
March 22 2006 ~ Cepheid GeneXpert RT-PCR GeneXpert is now listed among products approved by the US Department of Homeland Security. See press release
March 22 2006 ~ Rallies to protest against genetic modification in crops are planned for Saturday April 8th to take place all over the UK (and internationally), headed up by local organisations. Warmwell would welcome further information about this from any source.
Our GM page has the pdf file about the international day of protest and recent news includes the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and this week's United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Also, deep concern remains about the 'terminator technology' designed to make seeds infertile after their first harvest to prevent sharing and re-use by farmers .
March 22 2006 ~ Two Minute Silence We have received an email from Nick Green, who was so courageously active and so appalled at what happened in Cumbria - and at Great Orton in particular - during the Foot and Mouth crisis. He will be publicly observing the silence at Great Orton and invites others to stand with him. (If anyone still does not understand why people like us cannot "move on" they should read Nick's account here from the time of the senseless Great Orton massacre.)
March 20 2006 ~ organochlorines " Parents were yesterday warned by researchers that levels of pesticides previously thought to be harmless could cause cancers in babies and young children. Liverpool University scientists argue that low levels of chemicals from pesticides and plastics could affect the development of babies before they are born and increase their likelihood of developing cancer later in life. " Guardian
March 20 2006 ~ Whales are still being slaughtered in international waters. The International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW, has an online link for sending a message requesting that Ben Bradshaw should speak out against such killing. (Opens in new window)
March 20 2006 ~ Decline in Biodiversity Virtually all indicators of biodiversity are heading in the wrong direction, says a major new report . by the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) It is published as national delegates gather in Brazil under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The Convention commits governments to slow the decline in the richness of living systems by 2010 - but the GBO says "unprecedented efforts" will be needed to achieve this aim. BBC
March 19 2006 ~ The world's 2nd largest oilfield has peaked. A leaked internal memo from inside Mexico's state-owned oil company, Pemex, says that water and gas are seeping into the massive offshore oil field. Peak Oil News (new window)
As James Lovelock says, "remember we won't have a constant supply of food coming in from abroad"
March 19 2006 ~ Georgina Downs We are very pleased to see that Georgina Downs has been nominated for the Observer Ethical Award's Campaigner of the Year. The list of 10 will soon be shortlisted to 3 The link to vote is at http://observer.guardian.co.uk/competitions/page/0,,-724,00.html and it is category 2, Campaigner of the Year. We wish her luck. She deserves to be shortlisted. It would give an even higher profile to her courageous work on pesticides. (pesticides page)
March 19 2006 ~ Remember the mad cow scare? asks Christopher Booker today. " The Government's top BSE scientist thought that deaths could reach half a million and that it would be a catastrophe "worse than Aids"........ the total of vCJD cases is still only 150. The incidence curve has declined virtually to zero. It was the epidemic that never was."
March 19 2006 ~ ten million pounds of UK lottery money given to a Danish wind giant £10m of lottery money intended for good causes has been given by the government to subsidise the construction of a wind farm. See windfarms
March 17 2006 ~ Commenting on the announcement from The Natural Environment Research Council that four research laboratories operated by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) are to close, Shadow Environment Secretary Peter Ainsworth said:
"Whilst the NERC Council has adapted its plans to offer a small increase in its funding allocation to CEH, it is a matter of great regret that they have rubber stamped the decision to close these important laboratories. Spending £43 million to stem annual losses of around £2 million seems a strange decision, setting aside the damage to our science base which experts have warned will result from the closures. At a time when climate change is top of the agenda, shutting down laboratories which help us to understand its impacts is perverse. NERC receives over £300 million from the taxpayer every year; this decision will lead some people to question their accountability."
March 15 2006 ~ Vaccination in Holland BBC's Countryfile will focus on Holland this coming Sunday 19th March.
March 15 2006 ~ US Army: Peak Oil and the Army's future
"The days of inexpensive, convenient, abundant energy sources are quickly drawing to a close," according to a recently released US Army strategic report. The report posits that a peak in global oil production looks likely to be imminent, with wide reaching implications for the US Army and society in general..." See peak oil pages on warmwell
March 15 2006 ~ Global Trade "In the UK, imports of food and animal feed require over 83 billion tonne-kms of transport, use 1.6 billion litres of fuel, and emit more than 4 million tonnes of CO2. Much of this transport is utterly needless, since the 'logic' of global trade leads countries to simultaneously import and export the same commodity...
...a large portion of what we pay for global food comes out of our taxes - to fund research into pesticides and biotech, to subsidise the transport, communications and energy infrastructures the system requires, and to pay for the foreign aid that pulls Third World economies into the destructive global system. " http://www.isec.org.uk/articles/bringing.html
March 14 2006 ~nuclear "No one would now build a reactor as unsafe as those at Chernobyl, which were jerry built. Even so, I think a lot of people will be shocked to know that, as we approach the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl, hundreds of farming families are still living with the fallout." Independent
March 14 2006 ~ supermarkets The OFT will "consult" for four weeks before making a final decision on whether to refer the supermarkets to the Competition Commission. The WMN quotes Michael Hart
"Most people, including the Prime Minister, recognise that farmers are in an armlock, but no-one seems to have the guts to do anything. But I think we are also entering really dangerous territory for the consumer now. There are several towns now where you buy your groceries at Tesco or you don't buy them at all - that is not healthy. Milk Marque was deemed to be a monopoly with a market share of more than 25 per cent and broken up. On its own figures Tesco has 31 per cent and I do not understand why it is not being forced to sell off some stores."
March 14 2006 ~ Cost cutting "The decision to close three leading wildlife research centres as a cost-cutting exercise has been confirmed... The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) said it was going ahead with the decision to scrap the centres in Monk's Wood, Cambridgeshire, Winfrith in Dorset and Banchory near Aberdeen. ..criticism from the Royal Society.
"While, on the one hand, we are told the work on predicting the impacts of climate change on biodiversity is to be preserved, on the other, work on the prediction of climate change impacts is identified as an area where CEH is planning to do less,"said the Royal Society's vice-president Professor David Read..." Independent
March 13 2006 ~ scrapie "One might as well refer to BSE as "scrapie of cattle". .." thoughtful email which is also wryly funny.
March 13 2006 ~Tesco now controls 30% of the grocery market in the UK www.tescopoly.org is a campaign directed against Tesco by an alliance of organisations "concerned about the market-distorting power of the major supermarkets". (See also "Truly, Tesco is the other son of God")
March 12 2006 ~a hundred years too late "Dear Zac, The crux of our climate problem is an imminent heat age that could last as long as 100,000 years and nothing that we now do will stop it. The Green Movement's recommendations of sustainable development and renewable energy are well intentioned but a hundred years too late."
"....To me, the urgent task before our government is to plan and spend now to lessen the catastrophe when storms and rising sea levels flood London and other coastal cities. We will need also to protect by embankments the low lying productive farmland of East Anglia that is our best source of food. Food and fuel imports may no longer be available at prices that we can afford. " correspondence between Goldsmith and Lovelock in the Sunday Telegraph
March 12 2006 ~ An oil spill at Prudhoe Bay field has been confirmed by US officials as the largest ever on Alaska's North Slope region. BBC
March 12 2006 ~the "Hands Off Badgers" campaign - which is thought to have cost several thousand pounds - has angered critics who say that it is not the role of a charity to lobby in this way. RSPCA investigated over 'political' badgers campaign Sunday Telegraph
March 10 2006 ~ Doomed... Simon Hoggart in the Guardian: "....We later learned that the great battle against illegally imported meat - which could start foot and mouth again - is in the paws of just 10 sniffer dogs distributed among 110 ports of entry. "That is 10 more than there were under the Conservative government," sniffed the minister, Ben Bradshaw, as if that were an answer..." (See also Hansard)
March 10 2006 ~ bovine TB Guardian letter from Prof Aubrey Manning, David Attenborough and Prof David Macdonald "....the evidence is that a badger cull on a scale or level of efficiency that seems feasible will not solve cattle farmers' problem - that problem is truly serious. Understandably, the feeling is that something must be done, but the evidence is that it should not be a badger cull."
March 10 2006 ~ Manchester Conference Pighealth.com, like warmwell, (see below), is publicising the Manchester Conference, Manchester UK from 14-16 March 2006
"Like all major epidemics throughout history, the EU 2001 FMD epidemic has had a "tail" of cultural change - a natural desire to respond to suffering and loss by learning lessons and evolving our skill to prevent and control disease epidemics in the future. The 5th Anniversary of this awful FMD epidemic is being marked by a FREE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE " Latest Programme
March 9 2006 ~ the Big Four supermarkets - Sainsburys, ASDA, Tesco and Morrisons- are to be investigated by the Competition Commission
March 8 2006 ~ Depression caused by foot and mouth drove farmer Ian Bouch to hang himself years after the disease wiped out his cattle, an inquest heard.... He hanged himself in a barn at the farm in November last year...In 2004, the farm was once again isolated when cases of BSE and tuberculosis were discovered in the new herd. There were also problems with mastitis in the Holstein Friesian cattle ..." News and Star
March 8 2006 ~"I speak for the entire mollusc community when I ask: what is Defra doing? Margaret Beckett ought to be out there wading off Broadstairs with her skirt tucked into her knickers and a knotted Union Jack on her head, lashing out with a baseball bat. A bit unladylike, admittedly, but her husband doesn't have to know." Alan Coren in the Times on the arrival of the rapacious superwhelk (and much else)
March 6 2006 ~ GRAIN is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) which "promotes the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people's control over genetic resources and local knowledge" Their latest press release says that small-scale poultry farming and wild birds are being unfairly blamed for H5N1 when " the transnational poultry industry is the root of the problem and must be the focus of efforts to control the virus"
March 5 2006 ~ "Following Orders" On page 389 of James Drew's novel, the veterinary officer Steve Turner, says:
".... I believe that the use of vaccine against Foot and Mouth Disease should be sanctioned immediately. It should be used on farms contiguous to IPs instead of the contiguous cull of susceptible stock. Vaccination should then be used on other farms in the infected areas until new cases of the disease cease."This is now is the conclusion of the latest research from Warwick (...and hope that such sanity would prevail was our reason for setting up this website five years ago)
March 3 2006 ~ "The Antarctic Ice Sheet Shrinking" says Washington Post It is is losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year. The Telegraph says "Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking, but only by a fraction". Interesting how the same facts can have such different headlines.
March 2 2006 ~ We learn today that Sheilagh Kremer's Dexter calf, Fern, has been granted a second test by Defra
. If the test is carried out competently and is positive she will accept the result
March 2 2006 ~ Whinash "Plans to create England's largest wind farm in Cumbria have been rejected by the government. The £55m development would have seen 27 turbines, each 377ft tall, erected at Whinash, near Kendal." Windfarms
March 2 2006 ~ Nuclear Power. Boris Johnson in the Telegraph "If the Government decided to build a nuclear reactor today, there are only half a dozen people who have the experience to do it in this country, and they have all retired." That's it, my friends: the birthplace of Newton, and Boyle, and J J Thomson - and we can't even build our own nukes any more! "
March 2 2006 ~ "Already vets are having birds brought in by people saying please put them down in case they get avian flu. There is potentially a welfare problem of enormous proportions looming." Freda Scott-Park, president of the BVA is quoted on the front page of the Guardian
March 2 2006 ~ US stockpiling anti virals for 14 million people. NYT reports that Terence Hurley, a Roche spokesman said, "We have to fill orders from around the world as they come in," Mr. Hurley said. "Delays in ordering can affect delivery schedules. We do require firm orders to get into the queue. We can't produce or hold or allocate product off 'letters of intent.' We have to start with a contract."
March 2 2006 ~ Easyjet's comments on the environment " drew a frosty response from the green lobby, which argues that aviation accounts for between 7% and 11% of Britain's harmful carbon dioxide emissions - a proportion which is rising. Jeff Gazzard, director of the GreenSkies Alliance, said easyJet's planes were "not benign by any measure". "We know airline executives are paid to have their heads in the skies. Andy Harrison's facile statements show his head is further into the clouds than most." Guardian
March 2 2006 ~ water shortage DEFRA granted special powers to Folkestone and Dover Water because of the worsening shortage in southern England. It will be the first water company in Britain to force customers to have meters to reduce consumption
March 2 2006 ~ "Stilton "The Food Standards Agency should be tackling salt in mass-produced food. It's nothing to do with Stilton. Salt is essential to Stilton to make sure it does not deteriorate too quickly."Independent
February 2006 ~ It may not be possible to update warmwell for a few days. Apologies.
9th February 2006 ~ Compulsory Purchase to put up giant turbines? CRE Energy Ltd, a subsidiary of Scottish Power is aiming to extend its network of windfarms across the UK. It says it would be "helpful to have the power to acquire land compulsorily". Windfarms page
9th February 2006 ~Wind Turbines A study, by officers of Conwy Council, says not enough has been done to assess the risks of siting 200 turbines 15km off Llandudno. See windfarm page
9th February 2006 ~Tesco is plans to open convenience stores in the US next year BBC
9th February 2006 ~ Foot and Mouth "How the disease arrived there can only be speculated upon at this point..." Just having been declared FMD free, Argentina has now discovered two outbreaks of FMD 200 kilometres apart. See ProMed: "a terrible blow...Obviously, there are questions about how it got there from Brazil..."
9th February 2006 ~ "The obsessive one-solution-fits-all pretension of privatisation is not working in any of our public services." Michael Meacher in the Independent
8th February 2006 ~ Peak Oil and Climate Change The two issues have crept ever closer together in the public eye. Robert Newman's It's capitalism or a habitable planet - you can't have both in last week's Guardian, opens in new window
".... The very model of the supermarket is unsustainable, what with the packaging, food miles and destruction of British farming. Small, independent suppliers, processors and retailers or community-owned shops selling locally produced food provide a social glue and reduce carbon emissions.."
8th February 2006 ~ Bird Flu in Nigeria. See H5N1 pages
8th February 2006 ~ The earliest recorded tyrannosaur has been discovered in China, scientists report BBC
8th February 2006 ~ Sweden says it aims to completely wean itself off oil within 15 years, without building new nuclear plants. BBC
7th February 2006 ~ Bovine TB The National Farmers Union said today it is to mount a legal challenge to government plans to introduce pre-movement testing of cattle later this month in a bid to tackle bovine tuberculosis. See Bovine TB latest
7th February 2006 ~ Negative Peers? "Farming Minister Lord Bach chided peers for their negativity, arguing that the Government had a good record on rural issues...." WMN and see Hansard for the debate
7th February 2006 ~ Pesticides WMN ".....Mrs Bray was one of a number of pesticides victims who gave evidence to the Royal Commission during its study of the issue. She said she was now convinced that exposure to pesticides caused real health problems for many people.
"What this report is saying is dreadful," she said. "Professor Coggon is saying it is all in our heads, which is just not true. I don't know how he sleeps at night. Airborne chemicals do cause problems for many." See also below
7th February 2006 ~ Farming Today "Anyone who keeps sheep may soon be expected to gain a certificate of competence - a reassuring sign to the consumer that the industry is well run, or an unnecessary extra layer of bureaucracy? With one farmer telling Farming Today that he believes excessive paperwork harms animal welfare, we ask whether things have just gone too far.
And with the arguments against a badger cull to be put to the Environment and Rural Affairs select committee today, we hear why some believe we managed bovine TB more effectively forty years ago." Click on Listen Again
6th February 2006 ~ Pesticides - Key government advisors (the ACP) were criticised over pesticides by last September's Royal Commission ...but it emerges today that the ACP remain defiant. See press release from Georgina Downs
6th February 2006 ~ bovine TB. See the bovine TB pages for the latest in Mrs Sheilagh Kremers' situation. She is certainly a fighter. See also Bill Wiggin's response to the new cattle compensation table. He says, ""Unless Defra remember that it is only by working with farmers instead of against them, will they have any chance of defeating these diseases."
6th February 2006 ~When the crude runs out: Life after oil Geoffrey Lean in yesterday's Independent "... energy crop - oilseed rape - enables the production of biodiesel........now the end of oil is in sight. The world has been burning more oil than it has discovered, every year for the past quarter of a century. Some analysts predict that production will peak in a couple of years; even industry optimists expect it to do so by the 2030s....."
5th February 2006 ~ James Lovelock is so quotable that snippets are now on nearly all the main subsidiary warmwell pages - especially peak oil and windfarms. The Sunday Times interview is well worth reading in full. "Europe criticises America, but its policy on sustainable development is lots of greedy snouts in the subsidy trough. It's a scam." As for Tony Blair: "He hints he wants to go nuclear but is he just making noises? I fear he will decide opposition within his cabinet is too strong. It's full of old CND marchers like Margaret Beckett." (read in full)
4th February 2006 ~ live export "It's likely that the export ban will be lifted later this year and preparations are being made to restart the trade in live calves. Ten years on will it still be seen as controversial?" asks BBC's Countryfile.
"New European legislation means the welfare of calves in European farms has improved since the ban in 1996. However, Joyce D'Silva, of Compassion in World Farming, argues that many European farms still fall short of British standards and that transportation to Europe has serious animal welfare issues..."Countryfile tomorrow on BBC at 11.00.
4th February 2006 ~ Birmingham area schools closed because of sickness. An outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea, which has seen children and staff sent home and schools closed. 40 schools have been affected, with 17 expected to be closed on Friday and some already announcing they will stay shut into next week. See BBC
4th February 2006 ~ EU Dioxin alarm 650 farms, mostly pig farms, but including some poultry farms have been quarantined this week in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Dutch and Belgian food officials have said that meat from contaminated farms was sold in shops in the last two months . More information and background on this situation is available at www.pighealth.com
3rd February 2006 ~ 15% of English farming households have incomes that are below the DWP low-incomes threshold. Jim Paice commented in a recent press release:
"......farmers are leaving the industry in droves. Urgent action is necessary to enable farmers to compete with cheap imports. Better labeling, fewer regulations, and action to ensure imported food meets UK standards would at least show that the Government cares."But caring about what? In the light of James Lovelock's article about the Earth's damaged ability to self-regulate and
Jeremy Leggett's extraordinary article about the end of cheap oil , that family farming is being delibertely phased out in the UK may soon seem a suicidal and catastrophic mistake.
3rd February 2006 ~ SFP "...Delays in paying farmers the £1.6 billion they are owed is estimated to have cost the farming industry at least £25 million in interest charges but the Government has refused to pay compensation, insisting payments are still being made before the EU summer deadline..." WMN
2nd/3rd February 2006 ~ Climate Change " A case can be made that the consequences of global warming do seem to have some bearing on peak oil both before and after the peak arrives." More
2nd February 2006 ~ US firms must go green, says Gore BBC "Corporate America must face up to green and ethical challenges to avoid disaster, former US Vice President Al Gore...he firmly believed the impact a company has on the environment and on society affects both its underlying health and the price of its shares, and he believed ever more US business leaders are waking up to this new reality..."
2nd February 2006 ~ flu vaccine "a feasible vaccine strategy against existing and newly emerging viruses of highly pathogenic avian influenza to prepare against a pandemic.." Alertnet on the new H5N1 vaccine from Texas
1st February 2006 ~ "the most important book for decades"Andrew Marr on James Lovelock
"He is winning his argument, and his final testament about the catastrophe of global warming is probably the most important book for decades. It is scary, but offers ways out many greens will recoil from - no to windfarms, yes to nuclear power; forget sustainable development, but hurray for mobile phones and the internet.
Lovelock deserves to stir up a Galileo-sized political storm .."
1st February 2006 ~ UK Bird deathsAt least 22 swans have died in less than 3 weeks in Southport's Marine Lake. ProMed comments: "Exclusion of infectious diseases -- particularly Newcastle disease and avian influenza -- is essential. Any additional information, when available, will be appreciated."
1st February 2006 ~ Wind Turbines "...Each turbine would have been 394ft high to the tip of the blade. Their size meant that they would have been double the height of St Paul's Cathedral in London and three times the height of Exeter Cathedral. Committee chairman Coun Roger Mathew said the sheer scale of the turbines was what swayed him against the plan from energy firm Renewable Energy Systems (RES)."
The tenacity of the Den Brook Valley Action Group has been vindicated - for now. See windfarm page
31st January 2006 ~The EU budget deal that slashes funding for so-called "green" farming schemes has been described by the RSPB as "one of the greatest cock-ups of our time". Older member states like the UK will have only 65% of what was available for rural development in the previous seven years .See WMN Many farmers have heeded Government advice to take part in farm diversification, environmental stewardship and rural communities in recent years but Anthony Gibson says the schemes will either be scrapped or crippled by a lack of funds. See WMN in new window
31st January 2006 ~ Live Export " We believe it is ethically unacceptable to export calves for rearing abroad in systems that have been prohibited in the UK on welfare grounds..." Advocates for Animals news release
30th January 2006 ~ "remember we won't have a constant supply of food coming in from abroad" James Lovelock on "Start the Week" A delight to Listen Again.
"...mankind a plague reprieved by civilisation... windfarms worse than useless...you still have to have three quarters as much fossil fuels to back them up... I am not a wild enthusiast for things nuclear but they can at least provide a safe way to provide electricity in the next difficult years.... You can't have civilisation now without electricity...The most important job for us in Britain is to preserve our civilisation and remember we won't have a constant supply of food coming in from abroad..." Lovelock sees the whole picture.
30th January 2006 ~ Debt ".... subjects very close to home: mortgages, building societies and banks, food and farming, transport, worldwide poverty, and what's on the supermarket shelf." Few of us know much about our "debt-based money system that befuddle bankers, economists, and politicians"
But we are learning. (new window)
30th January 2006 ~a government-approved orderly flow of information - or the freedom to keep the public informed "....government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen." Read this NYT article Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him . It encapsulates the problem that exists in the UK too whether the real facts about GM, BSE/CJD, climate change, Iraq and all the rest can be allowed to reach the ordinary people whose lives they will affect. We remember that even Sir David King has his "script"
29th January 2006 ~ Wind turbines "several wind-power companies, asked to put millions of pounds on the table before their turbines are even built, are having second thoughts as to whether to proceed at all..." Sunday Telegraph -see windfarm page latest
29th January 2006 ~ A small symbol of the loss of that Englishness we mourn with its common sense, humour and refusal to be hoodwinked is the loss of the BBC early morning wake up medley with its heart in the British Isles. As Christopher Booker says today
" increasingly the charm, subtle humour and clever professionalism of Fritz's interwoven medley of traditional British tunes has seemed so jarringly at odds with everything today's smug, amateurish, self-regarding, politically correct, tiny-minded BBC has come to represent..."
28th January 2006 ~ Manchester FMD Conference March Cultural Documents of Foot and Mouth (FMD) Manchester Town Hall, 14 - 16 March 2006 International Conference and exhibition Details have been updated
28th January 2006 ~ Oil "The earth's official oil reserve just fell by about five percent...." See peak oil news
28th January 2006 ~blots on the landscape "I am not opposed to renewables as such, only to those like wind that are blots on the landscape, grossly expensive and virtually useless for powering Britain or in combating global warming."Bernard Ingham in the North Devon Journal. See windfarms page (new window)
28th January 2006 ~ New Orleans "Nearly five months after Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans, President Bush's lofty promises to rebuild the Gulf Coast have been frustrated by bureaucratic failures and competing priorities.." Washington Post
28th January 2006 ~ emails to warmwell are apparently being rejected for no reason that we are able to see. Please keep trying.
27th January 2006 ~ The Telegraph reports on the case of a woman- an expert - who has been picking mushrooms in the New Forest for 30 years and has now been told by DEFRA to stop.
27th January 2006 ~ GM "suicide" seeds What happens when the gene that renders all subsequent generations of seed unable to germinate, escapes the original product.... all farmers would eventually be forced to purchase GM seeds because their natural food crops would die out. See News.yahoo and GM page
27th January 2006 ~self-serving rhetoric The New Economics Foundationshows that globalisation is failing the world's poorest
"World's poorest see 73 per cent drop in share of benefits from growth in last decade according to new research from nef released as World Economic Forum gathers in Davos... the notion that global economic growth is the only way of reducing poverty for the world's poorest people is the self-serving rhetoric of those who already enjoy the greatest share of world income."
26th January 2006 ~ The Government could face a referral to the European Court of Justice after failing to stop the "carnage" of dead dolphins off the Westcountry coastline, an MEP has warned. WMN
26th January 2006 ~ giant turbines "According to the Two Moors campaign group, tourists will join birds and bats on the endangered species list if a nine-turbine development on land at Batsworthy Cross goes ahead. Campaigners dressed in black carried an 8ft scale-model wind turbine into the market to draw attention to their campaign..."WMN
26th January 2006 ~ Iraq Oil Guerrillas blew up pipelines again on Wednesday, halting Iraqi petroleum exports through Turkey. peak oil news
26th January 2006 ~ Wave and tide power could provide up to 20% of the UK's current electricity, a report claims. Guardian
26th January 2006 ~ Interest in peak oil has been growing steadily in the two years since warmwell began its Peak Oil news (new window) ".. we would be ill-advised to passively wait to see what happens. Strategies for responding to peak oil merge with many community goals such as conservation, supporting the local economy and smart land use. "
25th January 2006 ~ Nuclear energy A correspondent involved in the issue writes,
" the Govt is woefully ignorant and has no comprehension of the complexity of what is involved in dealing with the waste and the many differing types of it. The Netherlands and Canada have opted for deep disposal - but both have put these plans in abeyance for 100 years while they carry out further research and evaluation. I understand France has made some sort of decision - in principle - but still researching. It seems that the leading independent UK nuclear experts have been sidelined - and much weight given to those from the industry and government advisers."So once again, the UK government is listening to those interested parties it wants to hear from and sidelining the real experts.
25th January 2006 ~ Oil workers' unions in Nigeria have threatened to withdraw members from the main oil-producing region unless the government moves to improve security. The instability has led to a 10% fall in Nigeria's oil production. The country is Africa's leading oil exporter and the fifth-biggest source of US oil imports, but despite its wealth, many Nigerians live in abject poverty. Peak Oil pages
24th January 2006 ~ BSE A cow from Alberta, Canada, has tested positive for BSE Yakima Herald
24th January 2006 ~ Bird Flu "Governments across Europe are being too hasty in blaming the spread of avian flu on wild birds, says the RSPB." BBC
24th January 2006 ~'FMD burial site has damaged my family's health' WMN "The landfill site at Kingsteignton.... 8,500 tonnes of cattle carcasses were dumped at the height of the foot and mouth crisis in 2001 ..."
23rd January 2006 ~ Giant Wind turbines " They contribute nothing to the power needs of the nation and they scare the living daylights out of birds. They attract huge European subsidies and, as a direct result, they attract huge numbers of Johnny-come-lately companies who want a slice of the action..."Conservative Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger. windfarm page
23rd January 2006 ~ Debt Trap The Belfast Telegraphreports that almost 90 per cent of credit card companies failed to check the incomes of applicants, a survey shows, raising concerns that banks have a "lend now, ask questions later" culture. Some people on low incomes were allowed credit limits of 10,000.
23rd January 2006 ~ Energy Malcolm Wicks believes there are no practical obstacles to a new generation of nuclear power stations. Guardian
23rd January 2006 ~ Bird Flu A French woman tested for bird flu after returning from Turkey does not have the disease, health officials say. BBC
23rd January 2006 ~ Antibiotic resistance Canadian scientists have tested 480 different soil bacteria and found every single one had some resistance to major classes of antibiotics. Science
22nd January 2006 ~ Smithfield Foods, the ever-expanding US intensive pig operation ( described in some alarming detail in Snouts in the Trough), is now investing in farms located in three counties in western Romania; Arad, Timis and Bihor. This is another significant and worrying move for farming in the expanded EU. (It is also a revolting and inhumne way of producing pigs for slaughter.)
22nd January 2006 ~ Severe cold weather is spreading west from Russia to Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states and Scandinavia. See BBC
22nd January 2006 ~ "....The more closely surveyors, estate agents and lawyers look into Mr Prescott's scheme, the more horrified they become, not just by its pointlessness, but by the damage it is likely to inflict on the property market..... Nevertheless, anyone caught by trading standards officials selling a home without an HIP will be liable to a summary penalty up to £500. The shortage of inspectors means that, unless Mr Prescott is allowed a postponement from Brussels, delays of months, even years, will be inevitable, creating havoc across the domestic property market..." Booker's Notebook
22nd January 2006 ~ Geoffrey Cox, the Conservative Member for Torridge and West Devon is putting pressure on the Government over the levels of subsidies it grants windfarm companies. and has launched a probe into the amount of public money the government is spending subsidising companies that develop windfarms. See windfarm page
21st January 2006 ~ Woking "....One benefit of the town's fuel cell generator is the steady supply of pure water as a by product of hydrogen and oxygen combining to produce electricity. The Woking plant alone produces a million litres a year of the cleanest water. .." Guardian 2004 (Woking is mentioned in the fascinating if bleak article by Jeremy Leggett below and should surely serve as a model in the energy crisis.)
21st January 2006 ~ whale Telegraph " A rescue team of medics and vets has successfully lifted the River Thames whale on to a barge." Later. The whale died - but an emailer writes, " the following is the website of the lovely people who fought desperately to save the whale. http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/ Very busy site, as you can imagine. At least it died giving awareness to millions of people around the World of the plight of these wonderful creatures. Shame on Japan and the rest that inhumanely slaughter them daily."
21st January 2006 ~ Energy Crisis " Microcosms of what could be done can be found already on the local government scene. Take the small town of Woking.... cut carbon-dioxide emissions by fully 77 per cent ...since 1990 using a hybrid-energy system involving small private electricity grids, combined heat and power (CHP), solar photovoltaics (PV), and energy efficiency. Woking has turned its town centre, its housing estates, and its old people's homes into inspirational islands of energy self-sufficiency. The UK grid could go down for ever, and these folks would have their own heating and electricity year-round....."
21st January 2006 ~ Energy Crisis Jeremy Leggett says that the government white paper of 2003 placed heavy emphasis on renewable energy and hydrogen, rather than nuclear power.
Of solar energy, the report concludes: "[It] alone could meet world energy demand by using less than 1 per cent of land currently used for agriculture." Tony Blair used these same words in the speech he gave launching the UK Energy White Paper. I sat there watching him do it, 10 feet away in the front row. I was momentarily tempted to leap to my feet and shout: "So why don't you invest in it like the Germans and Japanese, then?" But he hasn't. Not then. Not now.
21st January 2006 ~ Oil depletion "If the core infrastructure does not improve, energy crises are likely to become progressively more frequent, more severe and more disruptive of economic activity " Goldman Sachs.
The Independent on peak oil "..... the most basic of the foundations of our assumptions of future economic wellbeing is rotten. Our society is in a state of collective denial that has no precedent in history, in terms of its scale and implications." See warmwell's peak oil pages (new window)
19th/20th January 2006 ~ streptoccus suis ~ A Hong Kong woman has been infected with the pig-borne disease that killed at least 40 people in China during 2005. In August 2005 Reuters said:
"The pig and bird diseases have raised questions about the over-aggressive use of antibiotics in animals as well as humans.... "Streptococcus pneumoniae is not only resistant to penicillin, its resistance to quinolones is becoming worse... scientists say such practices must be stopped or mankind will face a shrinking pool of antibiotics that work. ..." More
19th January 2006 ~ Live export to resume The Daily Post says
"...Secret Welsh plans have been hatched to dispatch chartered ferries of calves and sheep from April. "Compassion in World Farming says
"...no animal should be transported for more than 8 hours to its final destination. Thousands of sheep are expected to pass through Dover Docks again, and CIWF will be present for this first shipment this year holding a peaceful vigil. CIWF will continue campaigning for the trade in live exports to be replaced by a trade in meat..." MoreIt will be remembered that, although the spread of FMD to the UK remains a mystery, it was the export of live animals from the UK in 2001 that spread foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease to France and Ireland. A combination of Irish calf exports and UK sheep exports spread FMD to the Netherlands.
19th January 2006 ~ "culls have clearly been inhumane" Avian influenza - CIWF's concerns
"....Turkey has signed up to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines on humane killing for disease control, which specify that animals should suffer immediate death or should be stunned and remain unconscious until death. The OIE guidelines require that avian influenza management is fully planned, with veterinary supervision and sufficient resources. There is some evidence from the recent outbreak that suggests in some cases the authorities have tried to implement gas killing, but other culls have clearly been inhumane...."
19th January 2006 ~ the allocation of £7m for training and apprenticeships in 10 traditional building and restoration crafts around the UK, including the Norfolk Broads reed cutters the Heritage Lottery Fund is announcing on Wednesday. BBC
18th January 2006 ~ "A total of 21 dolphin carcasses have been found on Cornwall's beaches, and two in Devon, in the past five days. Wildlife groups have made fresh calls for a ban on pair trawling.." WMN
17th January 2006 ~ Mounting tension between Iran and the West over the country's refusal to abandon nuclear research and worries over rebel attacks on oil installations in Nigeria drove crude prices higher yesterday. ...peak oil news
17th January 2006 ~ Muckspreader on Defra's tallow fiasco ".... Of course countries such as France, Germany and Italy are nothing like so daft. By continuing to classify tallow as a fuel rather than as waste they will be saving themselves and their farmers millions of pounds, thus enabling them to export their meat more cheaply to Britain. But the final twist is that UK rendering plants must now buy in fossil fuels such as oil to replace the tallow, thus hugely increasing their emissions of CO2..."
16th January 2006 ~ Guardian "....The increasing incidence of mental ill health echoes changes in food production in the UK. The last 50 years have witnessed significant changes to the way food is produced and manufactured. The proliferation of industrialised farming has introduced higher levels and different types of fat into our diet. .." ll this has echoes in the Lovelock article today:
"we cannot pollute the air or use the Earth's skin - its forest and ocean ecosystems - as a mere source of products to feed ourselves ..."
16th January 2006 ~ US "...what do you call it when multi-national corporations (e.g. Monsanto, ADM) control all grain seeds, via patents, GMOs, and chemical controls? ... What do you call it when all beef is controlled by the likes of Tyson, Cargill, et al, and imported meat receives the coveted USDA stamp of approval? What do you call it when all pork is controlled and imported from overseas by Smithfield? ... " More (new window) The NAIS was initiated by the National Institute of Animal Agriculture in the US. It is a non-government organization consisting of the leaders of agribusiness.
16th January 2006 ~ James Lovelock "By failing to see that the Earth regulates its climate and composition, we have blundered into trying to do it ourselves, acting as if we were in charge. .." See Independent Those of us who have a profound respect for Professor Lovelock's brilliance, humanity and honesty will read this article with deep disquiet.
15/16th January 2006 ~ "Out of 1102 live caught birds in various parts of the UK, not a single one was found positive, while out of 279 freshly shot birds, one bird was found infected. This isolate, reported on 7 Dec 2005, related to a Low Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (LPAI) virus (subtype H6N2) strain." ProMed
Warmwell now has a separate page on avian flu (new window)
15/16th January 2006 ~Teheran says sanctions against Iran will spark oil crisis. See oil pages
15th January 2006 ~ "... It appears that MAFF (as I still call them) are in a lose/lose situation." writes Nick Green from Cumbria, more entitled than most to comment on FMD 2001 since his life too was irrevocably changed after watching and recording the mayhem and misery of the disastrous policy.
Nick Green's letter.
15th January 2006 ~ The largest lamb abattoir in the West Country, Lloyd Maunder, is to close after losing a contract to supply lamb to Sainsbury's. Lambs will now have to be hauled around the country at an increased price for farmers but also at a grim cost in animal welfare. Robert Persey comments, concluding: "Supermarkets provide cheap food but look at the real cost."
This is particularly alarming when a glance at the oil depletion pages give a glimpse into a possible future where transport and imports are severely limited and local food production vital for survival. Meanwhile, DEFRA says we are in a "post agricultural"era...
15th January 2006 ~ massive landslide near Charmouth "Seventeen people were rescued after they became trapped by rising tides following a "massive" landslide."
14th January 2006 ~ No bird flu in Belgium. See Reuters
14th January 2006 ~ Bird Flu Reuters "Rich donors promised to step up the cash flow for fighting bird flu on Friday, with the World Bank saying $1.4 billion is needed, the European Union pledging $100 million, and the U.S. sending a team of experts to Turkey to fight a growing outbreak there."
14th January 2006 ~ "the dismaying extent to which reason, evidence and objectivity have been squashed under the stampede of ideology, irrationality and pseudo-scientific sloppiness"....the surest way to obtain research funding is to produce yet another study confirming global warming theory - and the surest way to academic ostracism is to deny it....we actually know next to nothing about how climate change works. .." One may not much like the tone, but Melanie Phillips in the Mail yesterday does make some important points about how little is really understood about global warming and how a gravy train can seem like sound scientific advice.
13th January 2006 ~"regrettable" accident. The UK Government has admitted that nearly all its files on the infection of patients through NHS blood products have been destroyed. Hundreds of haemophiliacs and other patients were infected with hepatitis C or HIV in the 1980s and early 1990s. The government denied campaigners' claims of a cover-up and said it was a "regrettable" accident...." BBC
12th January 2006 ~Britain "the only Western country considered at "extreme risk" from the general impact of a pandemic. The alarming figures are from a global survey that uses World Health Organisation (WHO) data to calculate the hazards that a pandemic of flu or another new infectious disease would pose to individual countries and regions. .." according to today's Times which also links to an interactive pandemic risk map (new window)
12th January 2006 ~ "The Worldwatch Institute "State of the World 2006" . ...if China and India were to consume as much resources per capita as Japan in 2030 "together they would require a full planet Earth to meet their needs" However, "China already has a solar-powered heating system which supplies hot water to 35 million homes, while Indian has pioneered a system bringing clean water from rainfall, the report said." BBC
11th January 2006 ~ Another wind turbine threat in Devon. As is Knowstone hadn't suffered enough...The Welsh firm Dulas is looking to build turbines more than twice the height of Nelson's Column on the southern fringe of Exmoor near Knowstone. See WMN
11th January 2006 ~ Yesterday's debate on the Second Reading of Animal Welfare Bill.
11th January 2006 ~ In the debate, Mr. Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con) quoted
" a highly respected member of my constituency, who is the driving force behind a local animal welfare sanctuary. He said: "It appears that the Government has released yet another unworkable piece of legislation that will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on animal keeping. All that appears to have come out of this new Animal Welfare Bill is seeing more power given to the RSPCA and more legislation and costs that cannot be absorbed into already stretched budgets by sanctuaries."Margaret Beckett's answer was that the Bill does not give greater powers to the RSPCA but the RSPCA has become, like many groups with benign intentions, increasingly politicised. We wholly support the good intentions of the bill - but see also Warmwell pages on the RSPCA - new window)
11th January 2006 ~ Stan Rawlinson, a full time Dog Behaviourist, points out www.doglistener.co.uk:
"This act (i.e. the Animal Welfare Bill ) could also impose expensive and difficult legislation on animal sanctuaries, livery yards, and rescue centres. Setting down codes of practice that may be impossible to implement on the small budget these organisations have at their disposal. These small rescue centres and sanctuaries are run on a shoestring and do exceptional and profit free work rehoming and looking after an enormous cross section of animals, from snakes to donkeys, dogs to parrots. If the rules are unworkable that puts these volunteers at risk of criminal prosecution.."
11th January 2006 ~ The New York Times reports today that doctors in Turkey are " unsure whether they are for the first time seeing human bird flu in its earliest stages or if they are discovering that infection with the A(H5N1) virus does not always lead to illness. ...the highly unusual cluster of five cases detected here in Turkey's capital over the last three days - all traceable to contact with sick birds - is challenging some of the doctors' assumptions about bird flu and giving them new insights into how it spreads and causes disease.."
11th January 2006 ~ The Guardian in a distressing report of the mass (and horribly inhumane) killing of chickens says that many there regard it as useless and it has, anyway, failed to stop the panic in Turkey. See aso warmwell's avian influenza pages
11th January 2006 ~ The Korean scientist fabricated nearly all his research results - only the cloning of a puppy has been found to be true. See Guardian
10th January 2006 ~ Five new human cases of bird flu are confirmed - making 14 in total - as the virus spreads in Turkey.BBC - but keep an eye also on ProMed for an academic, non-journalistic take on what is happening.
9th January 2006 ~ No signs of human-to-human bird flu in Turkey: World Health Organisation Reuters
9th January 2006 ~ Russian research into GM "Within three weeks, 55.6 per cent of the young of the (rat) mothers given the modified soya died, against 9 per cent of the offspring of those fed the conventional soya. http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article337253.ece
6th January 2006 ~ CRE Energy wants compulsory purchase powers for wind turbines Scotsman "CRE Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of ScottishPower has submitted an application to Ofgem, the gas and electricity industry regulator, to be granted compulsory purchase powers under the 1989 Electricity Act to acquire land needed for a series of wind-farm schemes throughout the country." (windfarms page)
6th January 2006 ~ David Cameron last night told the Soil Association's pre-conference reception:
"I want the Conservative Party to look at issues like farming and the environment in the round rather than in separate boxes. We need a balanced approach, with thriving agriculture, ensuring that both organic and traditional farming methods play their part. Politicians should ask what more we can do to expand farmers' markets, increase branding of top-class UK produce and increase transparency, so consumers know exactly what they're buying and eating. That's the way to support our agriculture, to foster good practice, to sustain the environment and to give people the high-quality food they want."
6th January 2006 ~ Bird Flu has been confirmed as the killer of two teenagers in Turkey. "We know they've died from H5, but we don't know yet from what strain," spokesman Michael Mann said, adding that the EU was expecting test results from British laboratories in the "coming days".
6th January 2006 ~ The World Health Organisation said last night that fears of a global human flu pandemic were exaggeratedGuardian Even so,
"The US today issued a guide to the public on preparing for a bird flu outbreak, warning that a pandemic could come in waves and last for months. The guide advises parents to prepare to teach their children at home, chart family members' blood types and allergies, stock supplies of water, non-perishable food and prescription drugs, and find out in advance if they will be able to work from their house."Guardian
5th January 2006 ~ UK Ports and airports are left vulnerable The Western Morning News (Friday December 30, 2005) reported that David Millar, South West regional officer for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has said, ""We believe there is insufficient Customs cover in the South West - that's across the whole range of duties that Customs and Excise are responsible for." The report also quoted South east Cornwall Lib-Dem MP Colin Breed who said
"We need a dedicated border force which will cover everything in and out. Obviously that would include any terrorist activity but also drugs, people traffickers and illegal immigrants. It would also help to protect us against animal diseases like avian flu and BSS. Rather than fragment the service across different government departments we need a uniformed border police."
5th January 2006 ~ A second child has died from a suspected bird flu outbreak in Turkey, the World Health Organisation has said. ITN
5th January 2006 ~ Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Jim Paice has called on the Government to give greater priority to the future of farming after research revealed that the last Commons debate on agriculture held in Government time was over 3 years ago. (12/12/2002 - HC Deb 396 c409-504)
"Farming in this country is undergoing the biggest changes since 1947 yet the Government hasn't seen fit to debate the subject for over three years. This demonstrates what people in the countryside have long since known - that this Government is out of touch with rural Britain and has little interest in the future of farming. The challenges currently facing the British farming industry have wide-ranging implications and must be given the attention they deserve in the year ahead."
4th January 2006 ~ "Energy ministers are holding EU crisis talks amid fears there could soon be gas shortages across Europe...Tony Blair's official spokesman confirmed that UK gas supplies were not affected "in any substantial way". .... Energy Retail Association .. chief executive Duncan Sedgwick said: "Energy is a precious resource and we should not be complacent in the way we use our electricity and gas. As part of our New Year's resolutions, we need to be more energy-aware and take a more active interest in our gas and electricity usage." " ITN - and see Peak Oil pages
4th January 2006 ~ the Scotsman "The British Government's unwillingness to join 22 other European Union states in allowing the continued use of tallow as a fuel could add £5 a head to beef processing costs, it was claimed this week. " Margaret Beckett "has forced the UK to adopt a minority, gold-plated, option which will add up to £5 a head to beef processing costs this year." Tallow has been an approved green fuel which was burnt safely in rendering plant boilers throughout Europe. In the UK it has now become a product with a "significant disposal cost"
3rd January 2006 ~ Bovine TB: Listen to Farming Today (tomorrow Wednesday 4th) on applications for slaughter warrants against animals who "might" have TB.
3rd January 2006 ~ EDF listens to turbines concern from both sides of the Channel "... the French state electricity generator, Elictriciti de France (EDF), withdrew a planning application to place four 459ft (140m) wind turbines half a mile from the battlefield. (of Agincourt) The plan had been fought by campaigners on both sides of the Channel, including the actor, Robert Hardy, who said that it would desecrate the battlefield..." See windfarms page
3rd January 2006 ~ Britons in debt to the tune of £1.13 trillion Independent
- 66,000 people predicted to go bust this year;
- Average household debt is £7,650 (exc. mortgage);
- Two-thirds of EU credit card debt is British;
- One in five students owes at least £15,000;
- 40% of women keep debt secret from partners;
- Half of all heavy debtors suffer from depression
2nd January 2006 ~Salter Duck In view of the accelerating energy crisis, it must surely be time to reconsider the Salter Duck which can convert 90% of the wave motion it stops into electricity. In the 1970's Oil Crisis, Professor Steven Salter of the University of Edinburgh invented his Salter-Duck wave power (link opens in new page). Its development was stalled during the 1980s owing to a miscalculation
"According to sworn testimony before the House of Parliament, The UK Wave Energy program was shuttered on March 19, 1982 in a closed meeting, the details of which remain secret. The members of the meeting were recruited largely from the nuclear and fossil fuels industries, and the wave programme manager, Clive Grove-Palmer, was excluded."
2nd January 2006 ~ Gas crisis in Ukraine Gazprom has attempted to soothe fears that the cutting off of gas supplies to the Ukraine will hurt other parts of Europe but Ukraine has no options for other natural gas suppliers and could well 'siphon off' the gas that passes through its pipelines en route to western Europe. Russia is already accusing the Ukraine of grabbing oil. See BBC.
At the high prices now demanded by Russia, Ukraine's chemical and metallurgical industries would immediately become unviable. The national currency would destabilise and the investment climate in Ukraine would be badly affected.
See also focus-fen.net "...Without Ukraine, Russia not only cannot function as an effective regional power, but the future of its remaining territorial integrity would be in severe question..."
The Scotsman today: "Ukrainian gas crisis sparks fears of soaring bills for British households"
2nd January 2006 ~ Gas row reignites nuclear debate Guardian "Russian gas supply crisis triggers warnings that UK householders will face further significant price increases during 2006."
2nd January 2006 ~ Shandong Province, China. FMD vaccination of cattle "....The diagnosis of FMD was finally made on December 29 and the 48 ill cattle were slaughtered along with 43 others that shared close proximity with them. The farm has also been quarantined and other animals of the area are being inoculated to prevent the virus from spreading." Earthtimes.org
1st January 2006 ~ Warmwell is very pleased to hear that National Sheep Association chief executive John Thorley has been made an OBE in the New Years Honours list.
31 December 2005 ~ Latest Hansard Written answers to questions to DEFRA. It is disquieting to note how many answers, ".. could be provided only at disproportionate cost." or are to be placed in the Library or elsewhere.
27 December 2005 ~ Letter in the Scotsman "An adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority, released on 21 December, confirms that the wind power industry has duped the country..."
27 December 2005 ~ Milk prices and the armlock of supermarkets. See WMN "....Andrew George, the Lib-Dem MP for St Ives, said he detected a "shift in attitude" among ministers towards the supermarkets - and said it was "encouraging" that they were prepared to take the issues up...have been suffering incredibly since the supermarkets achieved the position where they could dictate market conditions."
24 December 2005 ~Wind turbines From a letter written by the Australian Environment and Heritage Minister Senator, Ian Campbell, and sent to all State Environment Ministers
"While wind technology is a part of the portfolio of power sources that the world needs to combat greenhouse gas emissions, it is vital that local communities, including those in often sensitive and scenic coastal areas, do not have wind farms thrust upon them. If such action continues to be taken it will make wind farms increasingly unpopular and this will create an animosity towards wind energy and be counterproductive to all our interests. I believe that we need a truly inclusive and consultative local planning process. "
24 December 2005 ~ The Guardian reports on the stem cell fraud. "..research that gave hope to millions of people with incurable diseases has been put "back on the starting line" by one of the worst cases of scientific fraud."
Prof Hwang Woo-suk, who was hailed as a superstar with "God's hand" in his native South Korea, has resigned in disgrace Telegraph
23 December 2005 ~ Windfarms "All over Scotland anger is mounting about the onward march of supposedly environmentally-friendly power projects which will dramatically alter the Scottish landscape. .." Scotsman
23 December 2005 ~ SAC press release from Defra brings interesting news of 8 new members for the Science Advisory Council. Professor Beddington is quoted as saying that
".... Defra has committed to greater openness and engagement with the science community. Strengthening the ability of the independent Science Advisory Council to scrutinise, and where appropriate challenge, will further improve the credibility of Defra science."(to open link here)
23 December 2005 ~ Two thirds of the donated Tsunami money remains unspent - but the Independent report does not mention that luxury tourism is being promoted at the expense of sustainable tourism and local people are not always being given a voice. Business leaders are dominating the reconstruction plans. See report by the pressure group >Tourism Concern
23 December 2005 ~ China's small family farms are likely to disappear in a huge new program to modernize its agriculture industry. It has undertaken a program to rapidly expand industrial production to emply the displaced workers and, to this end, is forming alliances with many oil rich nations such as Iran, other Middle East countries and several African nations, to assure them a supply of oil in the future. See peak oil news
23 December 2005 ~ Did warmwell readers know that Defra spends "more than" £300 million a year on science and research?
23 December 2005 ~ "... bones were sold for more than $7,000 to two tissue processing companies for use in transplant operations." The news about Mr Cooke is almost unbelievable - but it appears from the Telegraph that even Britian has bone banks around the country and in January, a laboratory manager was jailed for stealing bones from a freezer at a hospital in Yorkshire and selling them for £12,000 to two private clinics.
22 December 2005 ~ ".... the importance of ecological research in evidence-based policy making. "These ecological insights are of crucial importance in evaluating badger culling as a TB control measure. Ecological data will also be important in determining whether other management actions, such as badger vaccination or improved cattle controls, might be more effective." Science Daily
22 December 2005 ~ ANWR bill killed "The Senate has narrowly blocked a Republican plan to tap into the United States' largest reservoir of oil beneath the frozen tundra of an Alaska wildlife refuge. Drilling supporters fell four votes short of getting the required 60 votes to avoid a Democrat-led filibuster, a procedural move to delay or derail legislation. The vote was 56-44." Independent See also Reuters (and the Peak Oil pages in new window)
22 December 2005 ~ Organic food "....There are millions and millions of citizens for whom local and organic food purchases have resonance." Patrick Holden quoted in the Independent
22 December 2005 ~ Two more bird flu deaths in Indonesia reported today, and more reports that Tamilflu is ineffective. See BBC
22 December 2005 ~ Threatened Power Grid link by Panama and Colombia The Darien Gap hosts more than 900 different mammals and birds, including endangered species such as the spectacled bear and puma, along with over 2,000 plant species. .... plans are a time bomb. "Once there is access, deforestation will explode," ... Some of the power lines' routes skirt Panama's Kuna Yala, an indigenous sovereign homeland ruled by Kuna Indians. "...the area is our territory, we take medicinal plants and hunt there. And there is a fear of paramilitaries and guerrillas, above all on the border. We have already experienced guerrilla and paramilitary incursions." Reuters
21 December 2005 ~ ANWR decision could rest with Cheney Now that Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska has added the Alaska drilling measure to a big military-spending bill (few politicians want to be seen rejecting a defense bill that pays the salaries of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The bill also includes funding for Hurricane Katrina reconstruction, the bird flu pandemic and a program that helps poor families pay winter heating bills. see below) Democrats say they will seek a parliamentary ruling that the ANWR measure does not belong in such a bill. They would need 51 votes to do this.
"both Democrats and Republicans said the situation was fluid with some senators still undecided on whether to support a filibuster that would effectively talk the bill to death. ... "I think it will be a very close vote," said Democratic Leader Harry Reid. "This is going to be a hard day." ReutersDick Cheney has cut short a trip to the Middle East to return to Washington. In his role as Senate president, Cheney could break any tie.
20 December 2005 ~ Mrs Fischer Boel. Our general stance towards the EU notwithstanding, from what we have heard recently we are grateful to Mariann Fischer Boel for her work as European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. See front page
20 December 2005 ~ New York Strike City's subways and buses were replaced by rusty bicycles, old walking shoes, ferries and $20 cab rides today....New Yorkers were compelled to hop into cars with perfect strangers in order to comply with the four-passenger rule..." A glimpse of things to come?
20 December 2005 ~ Malcolm Wicks, reported in the Guardian
"...we are likely to see around 30% of our generating capacity being decommissioned over the next 15 years. In addition to already being a net importer of gas we will be a net importer of oil by the end of the decade. .. we run a real risk of falling behind our energy goals"("Falling behind our energy goals"? Many would say that we risk economic and social collapse. oil pages)
20 December 2005 ~ EU raises farmer compensation in battle on bird flu. bird flu pages
20 December 2005 ~ The new version of the Guide Guide Online Database is now available at www.greenguide.co.uk (new window) "The Green Guide is the most comprehensive directory of eco-friendly, natural, ethical and organic goods and services.."
20 December 2005 ~ US health agency says China open on bird flu "The U.S. and Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Agriculture Ministries were collaborating to build the ability to detect and diagnose the virus and train experts.." Reuters
19 December 2005 ~ "One of the last items added to the military spending bill was a provision sought by Mr. Frist that would shield drug makers from lawsuits related to vaccines that protect against biological agents or viruses like the one that causes the avian flu. The language would allow lawsuits against vaccine makers only if they engaged in "willful misconduct." The government would pay medical expenses and benefits to those injured or killed by vaccines..." New York Times
19 December 2005 ~ Arctic drilling "Working through the night, the House early today voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling as part of a military measure.." NYT
This is a dark day in the history of the American constitutional form of government," Senator Harry Reid of Nevada
19 December 2005 ~ Guardian on Hong Kong talks " Although the meeting avoided outright failure, the outcome was described as "disappointing" by trade ministers and condemned as a betrayal of the poor by campaign groups...Steve Tibbett, from Action Aid, said: "The WTO has served up a diet of peanuts, waffle and fudge.."
( "The average person (in the UK) will spend £365 on presents this year, with 47 per cent of this being spent on toys, according to the internet bank Egg" Independent)
19 December 2005 ~ bovine TB "...the government cannot hope to sweeten a bitter pill of reduced compensation, pre-movement testing and greater cattle culling resulting from blood testing by blandishing a promise of a consultation on wildlife." Sarah Slade, quoted in FWi
19 December 2005 ~ A £25m scheme offering farmers free advice to help them cut the pollutants that run off their land is being launched. BBC
18 December 2005 ~ Booker's Notebook sings the praises of Owen Paterson who " ... inspired the crucial letter, now signed by more than 420 concerned vets and scientists, demanding a cull of diseased badgers on welfare grounds, for the sake not just of the farmers and their cattle (25,000 more slaughtered this year alone) but of the badgers themselves, condemned otherwise to a lingering death.."
18 December 2005 ~ Hong Kong Reuters "A draft deal put to World Trade Organization (WTO) states on Sunday set an end date of 2013 for farm export subsidies, extended some help for the WTO's poorest states and offered something to African cotton producers...Leading developing countries gave it a cautious welcome.....he compromise text, proposed after six days and almost as many nights of hard bargaining between rich and poor nations, must be approved by the full 149-state membership gathered for a ministerial conference in Hong Kong."
16 December 2005 ~ Syriana - see Peak Oil News page. See also an interesting review of this new film at Grist.org
".....There is only the fight for resources. All else is ephemera: The rule of law in the U.S. Transparent democratic government. International treaties. Reform in the Middle East. Even our most cherished ideals, our most personal relationships. These are bourgeois preoccupations that crumble like dust when they come between the powerful nations of the world and the resources that fuel them. Oil is running out, and the only law left is the law of the jungle. "Corruption," says a memorable character played by Tim Blake Nelson, "is why we win."
I have only one small quibble with what is one of the most intellectually and politically galvanizing movies of our young century...."
16 December 2005 ~ "The gassing, snaring or shooting of badgers could start from as early as May next year.." -( but not vaccination trials apparently which, as we say below, will not begin until September and then only in a small area of Cirencester.) We are to have yet another consultation. The Independent's headline, "The Culling Fields" is an indication of the polarity between those who care for badgers and cannot see the farmers' point of view - and those who have had to see their reactor cattle die - many later proved to have been uninfected. As the National Beef Association said last February
"....The obvious potential of a portable PCR cycler machine is to give a rapid identification of TB and the spoligotype of TB present in badgers. If one animal from a sett is found to have TB of a type causing infection in nearby cattle, then that sett could be treated with carbon monoxide with less nervousness by Ministers who would be able to give a better explanation to the general public.."Over 2,000 farms are now affected with Bovine TB.
16 December 2005 ~ "Thousands will give up and sell for development." Today's Guardian Sir Simon Jenkins:
"....The implementation of single farm payments is thus critical to more than the fate of British farming. It will decide whether the countryside, at least in southern Britain, remains in a remotely rural form...... Landscape must be listed and conserved. Otherwise, outside national parks, all is gone.. ." (Read in full)
15 December 2005 ~ WMN "...The Treasury is also said to be alarmed by projections suggesting the disease will cost taxpayers £2 billion over the next decade unless action is taken. But the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which would have to oversee the culling strategy, has been reluctant to rush into what will inevitably be a highly controversial policy."
15 December 2005 ~ Professor Neil Ferguson, whose mathematical modelling work on flu virus infections appears to have been at least partially funded by Roche, has once again been warning of mass deaths from bird flu. BBC
"any vaccine we stockpile now may not be perfectly matched to the strain of the virus that we'd see in the pandemic. But again, my calculations indicate that we could get really substantial benefits even from a partially protective vaccine"The irony of this will not escape regular readers. As for Roche's Tamilflu, Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor of the Independentt, wrote, "There is no vaccine available against bird flu. Existing vaccines are unlikely to be effective against the new strain." (see below)
15 December 2005 ~ A new policy on how to tackle bovine TB is to be announced by the Welsh Assembly Government. BBC
14 December 2005 ~ TB badger vaccine trial will not start until September, will cover 50 kilometres square (near Cirencester) and take 3 years.
"Trapping and sampling of badgers will commence in June 2006. Vaccination will be carried out in September 2006, and then annually. The study is likely to run for three years. .." Hansard
14 December 2005 ~ "....Far more dangerous are those particles in the range of less than five-micron mean diameter ..... enter the cells of our body where they can do great damage
.... Dr Clare Lee proclaims that: "environmentally, the news from our readings is good. The cloud is made up of soot particles ranging from one to three microns ..."
"....the soot which is "nothing more nasty than you'd get from a regular bonfire" will contain adsorbed incompletely combusted hydrocarbons, which will include PAH carcinogens and their even more harmful oxygenated derivatives..." from two of several letters about the Buncefield soot in the Guardian
14 December 2005 ~ "we need trade justice - not free trade." Christian Aid. "We need to change the rules that govern international trade so that poor countries have the freedom to help and support their vulnerable farmers and industries..."
14 December 2005 ~ "... For a variety of political and cultural reasons, Europe, the US and Japan subsidise their farmers and refuse to open their domestic markets properly to produce from the developing world. It is this agricultural protectionism - more than perhaps any other single factor - that keeps those in the most deprived regions of the world in poverty." Independent Leader
14 December 2005 ~ "If Africa took just 1 per cent more in world trade it would earn $70bn more annually - three times what it now receives in aid." Independent
"......Police sprayed orange liquid into the faces of protesters as they repeatedly rushed police lines, crashing against their plastic shields. Television showed some policemen with what appeared to be shotguns behind the main police ranks.... violence marred the end of a peaceful march by an estimated 4,000 people through the streets of Hong King" Independent
14 December 2005 ~"While trade ministers and economists all over the world have converged on Hong Kong to discuss ways to liberalize trade and improve lives, displaced fishermen, farmers, factory workers and prostitutes have taken to the streets to vent their wrath. They accuse the world body of making rules that take away their jobs and benefit only the rich...." Reuters
13 December 2005 "...gas supplies this winter will be "tighter than was anticipated", mainly because of the faster-than-expected fall in production from UK offshore fields...": House of Commons trade and industry committee. Guardian: MPs warn of fuel poverty threat
13 December 2005 ~ What does Ben Bradshaw mean by a "high-risk" animal sanctuary?
"The regulation of animal sanctuaries under the Animal Welfare Bill will enable reliable data to be built up by local authorities so that high-risk establishments can be identified and inspected. We propose to work closely with welfare organisations and representatives of animal sanctuaries in preparing secondary legislation.... consultation...."Hansard 12 Dec 2005
13 December 2005 ~ The news from Kashmir, where 80,000 survivors of the earthquake now face severe winter weather and problems of food and shelter, is not good. The UN High Commissioner on Refugees is complaining about lack of resources. See www.dailytimes.com.pk
13 December 2005 ~ Fears of new explosion Firefighters described the blaze at the Hemel Hempstead oil depot as an " environmental tragedy" last night as they battled to quell the inferno and contain the toxic cocktail of chemicals it was spewing out." Independent
"Despite the still spectacular emissions coming from the site, the public can be reassured that the fire remains under control." A police spokeswoman is quoted in the Independent
13 December 2005 ~"Downing Street has urged drivers not to rush to the pumps but has acknowledged that there could be "short-term local difficulties". A spokesman for Tony Blair said oil executives and the Department of Trade and Industry were working together "to overcome any distribution issues" . Independent
13 December 2005 ~ Saudi Arabia, the ultimate oil state, is seeking to shift its economy away from oil. See warmwell's Peak Oil News (new window)
12 December 2005 ~ Better NFU - a new pressure group, is launched today. Its manifesto and campaign material will be available on its website, www.betternfu.org.uk One of the founders, Derek Mead, says
"Having seen the NFU working from inside, I know it's time for a change to give farmers the voice they deserve."See also Zac Goldsmith's article in the Times
12 December 2005 ~ Professor Emeritus Philip Stott's EnviroSpinWatch Weblog focuses on "science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient."
"... the myths of carbon trading are likely to increase overall emissions, while binding targets are now off the agenda."
12 December 2005 ~ "....It would be nice, too, if this group of Tory thinkers could move some institutional goalposts. First, they need to smash up the crass Office of the Deputy Prime Ministerr, a planning department which, shorn of any environmental responsibilities, has become a delivery mechanism for whatever development Labour's corporate cronies want next, whether it is football stadiums or wind-farms..." Charles Clover in Saturday's Telegraph
12 December 2005 ~ Channel 4 has a programme called 'What's in your Christmas Dinner?' going out on Monday 19th of December at 9pm. It will focus on supermarket sourcing and the welfare standards and origins of some of the imports.
Will future generations get the chance to look back on our food and wonder how we could have allowed such appalling treatment both of ourselves and of the animals who feed us?
11 December 2005 ~ "Wind power now appears to be pie in the sky, while the penny drops that nuclear is the only answer. "Kyoto-ism" is seen as a mad self-deception, which can only result in crippling the world's economies to no purpose. .." Says Bookers Notebook
"Cue for Mr Cameron to pledge his support to it, and to enlist as his champion John Gummer - whose major contribution to the "environment" is his energetic chairmanship, for some undisclosed sum, of Valpak, a company set up to steer businesses through the crazy EU recycling rules which Gummer himself introduced when he was environment minister. .."
11 December 2005 ~ "Small scale private production is a better application of wind power generation than large scale commercial production. In a small setup, say for one or two homes, a small wind turbine atop a slender tower generates the energy. This power is then put into storage batteries where it can be saved until it is needed. .."www.wind.netwny.com
9 December 2005 ~ David Cameron has appointed Zac Goldsmith and Peter Ainsworth to help lead a rethink on environmental issues. Good news. See Guardian report
9 December 2005 ~ "There is simply no substitute for cutting back." George Monbiot reminds us (as did John Humphrys this morning when interviewing David Cameron) that
"The biodiesel industry has accidentally invented the world's most carbon-intensive fuel. In promoting biodiesel - as the European Union, the British and US governments and thousands of environmental campaigners do - you might imagine that you are creating a market for old chip fat, or rapeseed oil, or oil from algae grown in desert ponds. In reality you are creating a market for the most destructive crop on earth."
9 December 2005 ~ Kyoto "Under the compliance system, any country that overshoots its targets will have to make up the shortfall, and an extra 30 per cent penalty, in the next period. Countries can also lose a right for trading emissions of greenhouse gases..." Reuters
8 December 2005 ~ ."It's the processors that have benefited from CAP...The Guardian' analysis of figures obtained under Freedom of Information shows where the CAP money has been going.
... Tate & Lyle, Nestle, Cadbury, Kraft and a host of manufacturers of bulk animal fats, sugars and refined starches..." Guardian
8 December 2005 ~ Vivisection MPs will be told today how many animals are being used for laboratory tests. At midday, the BBC reported, "(Genetically) Modified animals made up 32% of all procedures in 2004, compared with 27% the previous year...The number of animals used in research was 2.78 million, a rise of 2.1% on 2003 figures... Dr Jarrod Bailey, a medical scientist at Newcastle University, carried out an analysis of scientific papers and found that, in some 70% of cases where a GM animal is created in the hope of replicating human symptoms, the animal does not perform as expected..."
7 December 2005 ~ TB Ben Bradshaw has confirmed that the government intends to present a package of measures on the control of bovine TB before parliament rises for the year on December 20. FWi
7 December 2005 ~ Debt
" We have spent the income of future generations in order to consume today, amassing a staggering debt that grows ever larger. ... We are slouching toward an evening in America, unaware of our own fate. ...."From the Daily Reckoning review of Empire of Debt - number 6 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
7 December 2005 ~ James Lovelock, in his Preface to The Essential Mary Midgley:
"Soon, in historical terms, humanity will face a great and severe trial. An acceleration of the global change now under way will sweep away the comfortable environment to which we are adapted....What is unusual and interesting about the coming event is that we are the cause of it and nothing as severe has happened in tens of millions of years.... We are in a sense like passengers on a small pleasure boat sailing quietly down the St Lawrence River towards the Niagara Falls, not knowing the engines are about to fail.."More
6 December 2005 ~ "The war on climate change can only be won by burying CO2 emissions under ground, says Sir David King...The process is currently being developed by an international consortium of energy firms." BBC He said the same thing in February when he advocated tax incentives for British oil firms. However, Gordon Brown has, as Reuters put it, just "launched a tax raid on North Sea oil companies"
(In spite of the FMD "culling by computer" fiasco -see, for example, Dr. David Shannon's remarks- David King remains one of Tony Blair's most trusted advisers.)
5 December 2005 ~ UN Climate Change Conference 2005 second week. George Monbiot, Clare Short and Michael Meacher have signed an open letter from scientists and policy experts urging Tony Blair to stick up for legally-binding targets. News release from London-based think-tank www.iied.org
5 December 2005 ~ Oil prices are nearing $60 a barrel again. Peak Oil pages
5 December 2005 ~ Economic Slowdown The chancellor is expected to acknowledge a slowing UK economy when he gives his Pre-Budget Report. BBC
5 December 2005 ~ English recyclers taken for a ride. The BBC reports that 80,000 green bins worth of material sent for recycling has ended up in Indonesia as hazardous waste. "The one recycling plant in Jakarta did not receive foreign rubbish and was struggling to cope with the waste produced locally."
4 December 2005 ~ Energy Crisis " ... If wind were used to provide the 23 per cent which we now get from nuclear, the annual subsidy would be £46 billion a year, equivalent to nearly 5 per cent of our entire GDP. " Booker's Notebook
4 December 2005 ~ "Tamiflu is really only meant for treating ordinary type A flu. It was not designed to combat H5N1." A Vietnamese doctor with experience in treating avian flu says Tamiflu, the drug being stockpiled for treatment of avian flue is useless against the virus. Science Daily.com
(The Sunday Times) ".. said the finding casts doubt on the British government's pandemic flu policy. The nation's top medical official, Sir Liam Donaldson, has ordered 15 million doses of Tamiflu be stockpiled."
4 December 2005 ~ The problem of wind... War on climate change targets flatulent cows ...Sunday Times
4 December 2005 ~ Energy Crisis ~ Limits to growth - certainly of fossil fuel consumption - must now be observed. See"Contraction and Convergence" page on warmwell. The Rimini Protocol, backed by many including Michael Meacher, who said that the peak-oil crisis would "unleash an economic apocalypse if governments didn't act", has been sidelined. See below.
4 December 2005 ~ James Lovelock "I've devoted most of my working life to Gaia. Most of my research has been self-funded. I could never get a grant. No surprise, though. If you start any large theory, such as quantum mechanics, plate tectonics, evolution, it generally takes about 40 years for mainstream science to come around. Gaia has been going for only 30 years or so." IoS
4 December 2005 ~ Tens of thousands of people marched in 33 countries yesterday to express concern for the environment. Geoffrey Lean and David Randall report in the Independent on Sunday
"Scientists are broadly agreed that rich countries have to reduce their emissions by a massive 80 per cent by 2050 if there is to be any hope of stopping climate change escalating out of control. The Kyoto protocol targets, even if they are met, will reduce them by only 5.2 per cent, and everyone agrees that it barely makes a dent....the developing countries have already taken far-reaching domestic action to cut pollution and develop renewable energy and were expressing their willingness in Montreal's corridors last week to "play their part". The big obstacle - as yesterday's demonstrators pointed out - is the White House..."
1 December 2005 ~ Scotland's MSPs are worried about slaughter powers in the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill "As at every evidence session so far, concern was again expressed .... "In effect, ministers could order the culling of thousands of animals without having recourse to scientific advice." Scotsman (As for the highly dubious suggestion in this Scotsman report that vaccinated legal imports pose a risk, a vet writes, " curing and post-mortem changes acidify the meat and make it unlikely that virus will persist so it would be at the very low end of risk assessment.")
30 November 2005 ~ Gulf Stream "Researchers from the UK's National Oceanography Centre say currents derived from the Gulf Stream are weakening, bringing less heat north. Their conclusions, reported in the scientific journal Nature, are based on 50 years of Atlantic observations...." BBC
30 November 2005 ~"... the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland claims that the £411 million development (on Lewes) , involving the erection of 234 wind turbines across 43km, will have a "catastrophic" effect on more than 6,000 hectares of protected peatland other vital habitats..." windfarms
30 November 2005 ~ "Scientist urges world to get serious about oil crisis The world's politicians should act decisively to help reduce the wasteful use of oil, as a growing gap looms between demand and supply, Swedish physicist Kjell Aleklett says..." Stuff.co.nz see Peak Oil pages
29 November 2005 ~Residents reject windfarm plan People living in North Northumberland have rejected the idea of another windfarm close to their homes. Residents from Lowick, Bowsden, Ford and Etal packed into Lowick Village Hall ....at a final vote by residents, the overwhelming result was to object to the scheme. Barmoor is one of four sites picked out for possible wind farms in North Northumberland.Tynetees tv
29 November 2005 ~ "How much nuclear waste is there and what are we going to do with it?" The question, posed briefly by the Independent's Steve Connor, gets no satisfactory answer.
29 November 2005 ~ "plenty of Labour backbenchers, led by former environment minister Michael Meacher, the Liberal Democrats and a significant number of ministers... deeply opposed to any return to a nuclear energy programme..." BBC The Independent looks at the pros and cons.
29 November 2005 ~" Vaccinating chickens against avian flu can prevent a major outbreak of the disease by preventing birds from passing on the virus, Dutch scientists said in a study published on Monday...." Reuters
29 November 2005 ~ December 1 is World Aids Day. Globally more than 40 million people now have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to this year's annual United Nations report.
28 November 2005 ~ Ex President Giscard D'Estaing has added his not uninfluential voice to those who say that the scramble to build wind turbines is a result only of hugely powerful lobbies, and turbines produce neither employment nor much electricity
"....ripond exclusivement aux puissants lobbies extirieurs. Les ioliennes ne crient, comme vous le savez, aucun emploi et produisent en faible quantiti une ilectriciti non compititive, et appelie ` le rester.." His signed letter here
27 November 2005 ~ Tony Blair's plans to build new nuclear power stations were thrown into doubt last night after a government agency warned that the preferred sites would be flooded or eroded by global warming. .If those sites are ruled out, reactors will have to be built inland on new, greenfield sites...." .Sunday Herald
27 November 2005 ~ " as with the Iraq war, the public is being misled about the choices..."
About a third of the energy that we consume is in the form of oil and petrol for transport while the rest - mainly gas and coal - is used by industry and for heating buildings. Nuclear energy simply cannot replace fossil fuels for such purposes...... Tom Burke, the veteran environmentalist and opponent of nuclear energy, believes that, as with the Iraq war, the public is being misled about the choices..." Sunday Times
27 November 2005 ~ Fears that migratory wild birds will spread a deadly strain of avian flu across the world have little, if any, scientific proof - and chances of them infecting humans are even more remote, experts said.
"... "I think bird flu fear has been over-emphasised," said Leslie Dierauf, director of the National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin "Concentrating on wild birds as the main suspect is wrong and dangerous," said Marco Lambertini of BirdLife International, based in Britain. "The cull of wild birds in order to prevent the disease is unreasonable and impractical," Lambertini said. Reuters
27 November 2005 ~ " Pakistan....charities are struggling with difficult conditions on the ground.. top UN official Jan Vandemoortele, who called on the international community not to neglect the millions affected by the 8 October earthquake. There is concern that focus is shifting away to long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation. 'It is important to start building new hospitals and schools as soon as possible, but it's most urgent to save the lives of thousands of children who could then make use of these schools,' he said..." Observer
26 November 2005 ~ A Qatar firm that is to supply a fifth of Britain's future gas warns high prices could spark a global recession. BBC
25 November 2005 ~ Imports of live wild birds are banned at last - but wild "pet" birds are only "restricted". Oliver Letwin asked how inspectors were to make the distinction:
Hansard Margaret Beckett (sounding not unlike Dolores Umbrage) said that, because of the requirements for wild bird pet imports brought into effect by Commission Decision 2005/759/EC, pet birds must be accompanied by a declaration by the owner, or representative of the owner, which says that the animals are not intended for commercial purposes - and there must not be more than four birds imported at a time.
24 November 2005 ~ Patricia Hewitt is preparing to make up to 6,000 NHS staff redundant, according to a leak of department plans. Guardian
24 November 2005 ~Pakistan Earthquake "Agriculture and health officials say farm animals are vital for the mountain people of northern Pakistan -- for both their health and economic well being -- and the animal survivors of the quake must be kept alive. "We're very frightened when farmers begin selling their assets. What happens next year?" said Keith Ursel of the U.N. World Food Program, which is helping to feed about 1 million human survivors of the quake...."Reuters ( As well as a vital part of people's diet, animals are the only way most rural people have of making money. One group trying to help is the British animal welfare organization the Brooke Hospital for Animals. Or online donations can be made via the UN Refugee Agency new window )
24 November 2005 ~ A huge slick of toxic chemicals has now reached the Chinese city of Harbin in northern China after drifting down the Songhua river. BBC
23 November 2005 ~ The trade and industry secretary, Alan Johnson, today said energy supplies would not fail this winter "under any scenario whatsoever" and, according to the Guardian, has accused the media of "scaremongering".
Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives now has a Peak Oil caucus founded by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett whose speech in April to the House of Representatives can be seen here (new window) as a webpage
23 November 2005 ~ The United Nations says additional protection measures are needed for dolphins and small whales. A new global survey, released at a conservation meeting in Kenya, finds that more than 70% of species are at risk through snaring in fishing nets. BBC
21 November 2005 ~ Michael Meacher has said that Sir David King is " a spin doctor for the nuclear industry" Guardian
21 November 2005 ~ "Less than two years after a government paper called nuclear power an unattractive option, the Prime Minister has become convinced that building nuclear power stations is the only way to secure energy needs and meet obligations to reduce carbon emissions...Mr Blair will face down critics and set up a government review within the next two weeks... " Times
21 November 2005 ~ Downing Street Advisers. Radio 4's Sunday Best (
The response paper above includes the following points - but it deserves to be read in full.had former advisers to Tony Blair talking about their time in Downing Street. Fascinating and worrying to hear how elected Ministers "jumped to attention" if telephoned by one of these unelected, powerful and not altogether articulate beings. Today we hear that the public administration select committee has "accused John Birt of
- None of the new proposals contain anything which would increase our capability to protect from and respond to the introduction of FMD or any serious animal disease...
- still no recognition of the role, or acceptance of, new diagnostic tools which can provide rapid identification of disease on site. ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/sunday_best"target=new>Listen Again)
hampering its probe into strategic thinking and planning in government by refusing to answer its questions. There was "resistance" from Number 10 for advisers to appear despite earlier assurances they would do so..."BBC
20/21 November 2005 ~Beatrix Potter's gift to be broken up An excellent letter in the Telegraph from Edward Hart, Ludlow, Shrops
Sir - The National Trust claims to encourage new entrants to farming, yet is splitting up that valuable Lakeland hill farm High Yewdale (report, November 17). ... the pride and joy of the donor, Beatrix Potter - farmed by someone miles away. ... Every Lakeland farmer I have met declares that, if High Yewdale is non-viable, then so is every other Lakeland farm.... I wrote to the National Trust asking if any of the dwelling houses bequeathed to it are occupied by its own officials, and at what rental. There has been no reply. To sacrifice a farm such as High Yewdale for purely financial and administrative reasons is the very antithesis of the trust's raison d'jtre."
20/21 November 2005 ~ At the end of the Radio 4 "Great Lives" programme (Listen Again) the suggestion by Cabinet Office-trained Fiona Reynolds that Beatrix Potter's view was that "Time moves on and things have to change", implying that she would therefore have applauded the National Trust's decision to break up High Yewdale, is the final insult in this sad affair. Beatrix Potter's main purpose in buying land in the Lake District was to prevent the break-up of farms and estates. When she died in 1943 she left over 4,000 acres of land, her farms and her cottages to her husband, and thence to the National Trust on condition that they "let and manage the same on the same lines as previously let and managed during the lifetime of myself and my said Husband".
November 20th 2005 ~ "Gordon Brown has refused to fund a fleet of Prime Ministerial planes, nicknamed 'Blair Force One' after the US presidential jet, to ferry senior politicians around the world..the Chancellor has made clear in the past when ministerial travel has been reviewed that he does not regard such prestige projects as a priority." Observer
November 19th 2005 ~ "a choice of vaccines that can be applied" In the OIE's press release, following the conference in Saoul, Dr Bernard Vallat's words are reported: "I believe that there is still a window of opportunity for substantially reducing the risk of a human pandemic by minimising the virus load in animals world-wide. ..." He explained that the OIE has through its world-wide network of Reference Laboratories and experts, provided Member Countries with standards on AI surveillance and safe trade in poultry and poultry products, a choice of vaccines that can be applied and a joint OIE/FAO forum for the exchange of scientific information
November 19th 2005 ~ Interestng too that Dr Vallat mentioned BSE and the "major trade disruptions and serious loss of consumer confidence... unfortunately sometimes the result of speculation, which is not based on science."
18th November 2005~ Beatrix Potter "Radio Choice - Friday 18 November 2005 Great Lives:Beatrix Potter, Radio 4, 11.00pm
Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, argues that Beatrix Potter deserves to be recognised as great, not just for her literary and graphic talents but for her understanding of the British countryside and the people who live there, as well as for her exemplary land management (not to mention bequeathing her 4,000 acres to the National Trust). ..."After Wednesday's decision this takes the breath away somewhat.
18th November 2005~ "US and EU authorities investigate reports of suicides in Japanese teenagers who took flu treatment. The US Food and Drug Administration said it is reviewing safety reports on Tamiflu.." Red Herring.com
18th November 2005~ A farmer writes about the human waste sludge, banned at sea, but being spread on the soil "..... hormones - oestrogen - , antibiotics, cocaine (recent report in Telegraph - Thames awash with cocaine) heavy metals, chloros (via domestic use) cannot be filtered out of this waste. We have had to put up with this stench for a month now and spreading has not even started. This sludge is treated with Lime and heated to kill pathogens. Great. It is now sterile but still STINKS. It will contain no micro organisms....Contrary to belief, rain does not wash it into the soil. The rain will only cause Diffuse Pollution. Micro organisms take manures etc into the soil and it will now be left to those in the soil to do the work - should there be any in arable land drenched with insecticides constantly...." read in full
17th November 2005~ Peak Oil ".... Let's say it's no longer a poisoned apple to be left for the grandkids, but something we must face right now. For example, we know that UK North Sea oil and gas production peaked in 1999. We know that thanks to Thatcher's free-market policies, the deposit was plundered hastily and sold cheaply...." Peak Oil news As we say below, Colin Campbell was not allocated a slot to speak in the main Peak Oil plenary session at Rimini . The Rimini Protocol, backed by many including Michael Meacher, who said that the peak-oil crisis would "unleash an economic apocalypse if governments didn't act", has been sidelined.
17th November 2005~ Indonesia says 2 more deaths from bird flu confirmed Reuters "... a senior official from the ministry, said the tests were from a 20-year-old woman who died last weekend and a 16-year-old girl who died last week. Both victims, who died in Jakarta, had contact with dead chickens.."
16th November 2005~ High Yewdale. "Trust" and "National" seem to have no meaning today. The Trustees have allowed the NT's decision over the break-up of this viable and much-loved Lake District farm to stand. Words fail us for the moment. Thanks to readers who did try to make a difference.
16th November 2005~Pakistan says it needs at least $5.2bn to recover from last month's earthquake BBC
16th November 2005~ Bird flu has killed at least one person in China Reuters
16th November 2005~ Parrots were not infected "an investigation into the outbreak by the National Emergency Epidemiology Group has concluded that the disease did not spread from the finches to the other birds...."Independent
"This is yet another worrying indication that confusion reigns. It is now clear that the original reports of what went on at Pegasus Birds were misleading. Defra says it will be another three weeks before they will announce what they will do to strengthen the quarantine system. This delay is quite unacceptable. "The pooled testing of samples also remains a concern and has clearly led to the confusion and chaos at the centre of this discovery."Oliver Letwin.
15th November 2005~ "experts admitted that they could not be definitive about the source of the virus because tissue from the parrot and a sick mesia were mixed for testing...." Times
15th November 2005~ countrywide FMD vaccination in Afghanistan "Recently completed research on the Foot and Mouth Disease virus will allow proper vaccine selection to control the FMD scourge.... Launch a countrywide vaccination campaign ... -- not another farmer welfare program. The estimated $40 million cost over five years to radically upgrade the Afghan herd's health.." Washington Times
14th/ 15th November 2005~" They said millions of us would have CJD by now. Isn't the bird flu scare likely to be just as accurate?" asks Lionel Shriver in this outspoken article in the Guardian "According to the World Health Organisation, BSE and vCJD are still "strongly linked", but the causal relationship has yet to be proven. ..."
14th/ 15th November 2005~ Telegraph "Defra had released an apparently false statement claiming that all staff at the centre who came into contact with the birds which were being held for the convicted tax fraudster Brett Hammond, had received preventative medication. An inquiry has now been launched to discover how emergency plans were ignored..."
14th/ 15th November 2005~ Richard Heinberg's paper was presented to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall last week at the California Leaders Round Table Dialogue on Peak Oil, Climate Change and Business Action in San Francisco.
14th/ 15th November 2005~ "We have completely failed to uphold our end of the contract" Roger thanks Bryn for the link to the EU Consultation on animal welfare - quotes Hugh Fearnley - Whittingstall, and points out that today's methods of meat production are a far more reasonable target for public outrage than Jamie Oliver's dispatching of a lamb.
14th/ 15th November 2005~ ".. were it not for massive subsidy the current scramble to despoil our upland areas would not be taking place." Letter in the Times. See windfarm page
14th/ 15th November 2005~ Comments received about last night's Panorama on bird flu:
- " very poor except for Hugh Pennington, who gave the only piece of wise advice.."
- about vaccination, " no examination of the issues. What the programmes should have focused on is how we get rid of the reservoir of infection in the bird population so that it does not have the potential to spread to humans...",
- generally "...sensationalist....so light weight it was incredible. It allowed the myth to be perpetuated that the threat from bird flu, and the threat of a normal significant pandemic (which occurs every 30/40 years or so) were one and the same. Hopeless. No intellectual rigour whatsoever. .."
- on Debby Reynolds "..is this reallly the best Defra could do?",
- about Anna Jonas (Soil Association) " she was never given a chance to give feedback as others were.",
14th November 2005~ "Three of the entrances to Downing Street were blocked with dumped coal today, as environmental groups attacked the government's record on climate change. Greenpeace dumped the fuel around No 10 to highlight the UK's increasing CO2 emissions, whilst the World Wildlife Fund criticised Tony Blair for adopting an "indistinguishable" position from US president George Bush..." Guardian
13th November 2005 ~ Disappearance of plankton is causing unprecedented collapse in sea and bird life off western US coast. Geoffrey Lean in the IoS reports that "this ecological meltdown mirrors a similar development taking place thousands of miles away in the North Sea.."
13th November 2005 ~ "Gas and electricity prices soared last week as traders fretted that the UK's creaking network will not be able to cope with the winter's first real cold snap and the closure of a gas terminal. ...Falling gas reserves in the North Sea mean that the UK needs to import more gas from mainland Europe, but enough new pipelines to transport this gas will not be ready for several years." IoS
11th November 2005 ~ High Yewdale. Urgent. The National Trust AGM is tomorrow (Saturday) Those who feel deep concern about High Yewdale (new window) could again email firstname.lastname@example.org asking the Trust to consider all the reasons not to break up the farm.
11th November 2005 ~ Internet consultation on the welfare of farm animals Many thanks to Bryn Wayt for drawing our attention to the fact that the EU is trying to assess"the level of public awareness of animal welfare issues, and to gauge how important they are for EU citizens... " To take part (new window) you simply answer some multiple choice questions. It takes a few moments only.
11th November 2005 ~ Prince Charles and Peak Oil "We simply can't go on as we are. Somehow we have to find the courage to reassert the once commonplace belief that human beings have a duty to act as the stewards of creation. We have to accept that globalization comes at an alarming price for the future. That price may be paid in terms of displaced rural communities and the destruction of social and cultural systems built up over many centuries." Global Public media
11th November 2005 ~ Kuwait has said the highly pathogenic strain of the H5N1 virus has been detected in a flamingo - its first appearance in the Gulf region. Reuters
11th November 2005 ~Has Professor John Oxford encouraged the world wide rush for Tamilflu? He told Channel 4 News that his university research group has benefitted from Roche, raising questions again about the relationships between scientists and drugs companies. Channel 4 report
11th November 2005 ~ "According to e-mail marketing firm Interactive Prospect Targeting Services, Tesco is blitzing the nation with 16-20 million e-mails per month." BBC
11th November 2005 ~ a bird flu pandemic that infected 20 percent of the world's population and killed 5 million people could wipe out a year's worth of global oil demand, or 7 million barrels per day for a quarter... (PIRA Energy Group said) all modes of travel would be drastically reduced worldwide Reuters
11th November 2005 ~ Alaska Refuge wins reprieve as oil drilling plan dropped Independent
11th November 2005 ~ ITN "Three million UK households are currently unable to sufficiently heat their homes due to high fuel prices, resulting in 31,000 excess deaths each winter. Energy Efficiency charity, National Energy Action (NEA) together with Energy Action Scotland, are launching The Warm Homes Campaign, to raise awareness of the plight of households who can't afford to heat their homes adequately."
10th November 2005 ~ Earthquake "Refugees from far-flung mountain villages are on the move in search of shelter before the first snowfalls. The relief effort for the homeless is desperately underfunded." Independent
We can help by donating online via the UN Refugee Agency (new window)
10th November 2005 ~ US "In a new poll commissioned by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom and conducted by Opinion Research Corp., nearly half of respondents mistakenly believe they can contract bird flu by eating cooked poultry." Meatingplace.com
9th November 2005 ~"...we'll be making it clear to Defra that the decision to move birds indoors should be based on a genuine assessment of risk and not on panic or hysteria...." Chief executive officer Philip Lymbery of Compassion in World Farming. (More)
9th November 2005 ~" In a cheap-fuel economy you can take advantage of cheap Chinese labour and sell Chinese apples for a cheap forty cents. Say that the price of oil rises ....." Peak Oil news on the advisability of producing local food. "With a little lead time, we can put in place the no-regrets kinds of policies that make sense for a less spendthrift society....."
9th November 2005 ~ " Hundreds of earthquake survivors living in camps in Pakistani-administered Kashmir have come down with acute diarrhoea, WHO officials say..." BBC
The disaster is of a scale unknown in the history of the subcontinent. We can help these people (who have lost everything) by donating online via UN Refugee Agency (new window)
8th / 9th November 2005 ~ Colin Campbell was not allocated a slot to speak in the main Peak Oil plenary session at Rimini . The Rimini Protocol, backed by many including Michael Meacher, who said that the peak-oil crisis would "unleash an economic apocalypse if governments didn't act", has been sidelined. See peak oil news
8th / 9th November 2005 ~ High Yewdale Farm (new window) The Board of Trustees meet to discuss this vital issue on November 16th. Emails to the Secretary of the National Trust might mention some of the main points for asking the Trustees to overturn the National Trust's decision - or write to the Trustees in person at 36, Queen Anne's Gate LONDON SW1H 9AS
8th / 9th November 2005 ~ Tesco not wanted in Poland Teresa Lubinska, Poland's Finance Minister, has told the Financial Times that Tesco is an example of the kind of non-productive investment that is not needed in Poland "... worries that such shops are driving smaller retailers out of business.."
8th November 2005 ~ The OTMS rule is replaced by a "robust testing regime," (though cattle born before August 1996 will continue to be excluded). "The replacement of the OTM rule marks a significant step in the year-on-year decline of the BSE epidemic to record low levels," said Lord Bach.
7th November 2005 ~ "As greedy supermarkets drive prices down, farmers are turning to 'battery' production - and the sight of cows grazing may soon be a thing of the past, says Martin Hickman.....The solution is in the hands of the customer. ..." Independent
7th November 2005 ~The 'appalling' energy wastrels of Westminster Telegraph "MPs are always telling other people that they should save energy and water and produce less waste but their own record is shameful, research shows..."
7th November 2005 ~ The mules of the Pakistan army have transported hundreds of tons of relief supplies, ferried the lightly wounded to field hospitals and helped to set up advance bases to reach the remotest of mountain dwellings. Telegraph
7th November 2005 ~ "...The Government is drawing up a biofuel obligation, which will require oil companies such as Shell and BP to blend a fixed proportion of biofuels - initially 5 per cent - with all the petrol and diesel that they sell on garage forecourts." Independent
7th November 2005 ~ "the debate on peak oil needs to happen here and now, even if the outcome is unpleasant and alarming......" National Post Canada. See peak oil news
7th November 2005 ~ India and Pakistan have opened a single border crossing in Kashmir to relief materials but no civilians can yet cross. BBC
7th November 2005 ~ China has culled six million birds in a northeastern region of China hit by the country's fourth outbreak of avian flu in a month Topix net
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the discovery of chickens infected by the bird flu virus but showing no symptoms of the disease has triggered concern over consumption of their eggs. Reuters
4th November 2005 ~ Panorama on Bird Flu "Viewers are invited to send their questions, on bird flu and the issues raised, through the Panorama website for inclusion in our second programme "Ask The Experts", on Sunday 13 November 2005."
4th November 2005 ~ Best Mate "MPs yesterday demanded an explanation of why official permission has been refused to bury Triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate at Exeter Racecourse. The champion collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack after being pulled up on his reappearance in the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup at the Devon track on Tuesday..." WMN
4th November 2005 ~ Asthma dominates the waking hours of millions of British adults and children. Guardian "British researchers - leading the world in the hunt for causes and a cure - are struggling for funds. The reality is that cancer and heart disease upstage the long-term misery of those who labour just to breathe."
3 November 2005 ~ Best Mate will not be buried at Exeter racecourse because of government/EU legislation. Diane's email asks when the genuinely dangerous carcasses buried at Kinsteignton in Devon are - like those at Tow Law in Cumbria - to be exhumed and disposed of by incineration because of fears of leachate in the ground water.
3 November 2005 ~Extract from the Senate testimony by Robert Ebel, energy expert for CSIS, an influential think tank:
"... the prospect of increasingly ramping up global production to meet ever increasing demand and pitting strategic consumers against one another, competing for available and secure supplies...unappealing..... as a world we are consuming conventional energy resources at a rate far in excess of replenishment..."
1/2 November 2005 ~ Time Magazine covers Peak Oil. See peak oil news pages
1/2 November 2005 ~ It will be interesting to see what the Public Accounts Committee report actually says. The Chairman, Edward Leigh, is reported as saying that it would be unacceptable for people to face such a bill - a" prodigious waste of taxpayers' money" again.
31st October 2005 ~ Avian Quarantine review "....Professor Nigel Dimmock, Emeritus Professor of Virology at Warwick University will examine avian quarantine arrangements and procedures for captive birds and make recommendations on any changes needed to policies or procedures in order to ensure that they are as secure as possible. The review will....... cover the work of Defra and its agencies, HM Customs and Revenue and the role of local authorities....." DEFRA today.
31st October 2005 ~ "In light of recent reports which suggest some birds from the same infected batch in Essex had been released from quarantine early, the Government must act to trace where these birds are now. If we are to avoid being the first Western country to be hit by avian flu we must take urgent steps, ministers must show that they are on top of this and that farmers are fully equipped to deal with any outbreak." Oliver Letwin
30th October 2005 ~ Hurricane Beta strengthened to a dangerous Category 3 early on Sunday as it battered Nicaragua's Caribbean coast, where troops tried to rush thousands of people into shelters to escape its fierce winds and rains. Reuters
30th October 2005 ~ Human Vaccine - Hungary "....Omninvest is making about 50,000 doses for London's European Medicines Agency, which tests new medicines for use in the European Union. .... (Hungary's)Health Minister Jeno Racz .... volunteered to be injected with a deactivated form of the lethal H5N1 virus. 'I felt that if I am convinced that this vaccine is effective, then I could prove this best by trying it on myself first,' he told The Observer...." (read in full)
30th October 2005 ~ "Plans to build millions of homes across the UK have been thrown into doubt after damning criticism by..... the Countryside Agency and English Nature ........a joint report this week that the east of England plan poses 'serious risk' of damage to 'nationally important landscapes and habitats'...Labour-dominated Environmental Audit Committee has also warned the environmental impacts 'deserve much greater consideration'." Observer
30th October 2005 ~"The United Nations welcomed India and Pakistan's agreement on Sunday to open their Kashmir border to earthquake survivors and relief supplies but said getting aid to millions would remain a logistical nightmare..." Reuters
28th October 2005 ~ "efforts should continue to clarify that the spread of avian influenza in birds does not constitute an influenza pandemic in humans..." EuroSurveillance And one wonders what on earth the nonsense about not eating eggs and chicken was about. When "reassurances" from the EFSA and the like speak of the theoretical risks and 50% fatality rate it is not surprising that the people who only listen to the news with half an ear may stop eating eggs and poultry altogether.
28th October 2005 ~ "... nuclear power is at least real power... ...If Wicks can put turbines on Romney Marsh, nowhere is safe. .." Simon Jenkins in the Guardian or windfarms latest
27th October 2005 ~ The Financial Times on the fact that the H5N1 flu is not easy for humans to catch.
27th October 2005 ~ French authorities say tests on a man suspected of having bird flu on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion have proved negative. The health ministry said the man, who had returned from a trip to Thailand, was "not a carrier of the H5N1 virus". ...BBC
26th October 2005 ~ Roger writes, "Smallholders with rare breeds are panicking and are already housing their free range hens / bantums. DEFRA are giving no help at all to these people and they are living in hope that if the cull comes they will be OK because their hens will have been inside. I feel desperate for them and sickened that the birds will have an inhumane death." Compassion in World Farming (action advice. pdf file, new window) too, seems to assume a mass cull is a foregone conclusion. Let us hope they are horribly wrong.
26th October 2005 ~ Mrs Beckett is still saying that the the H5N1 strain of bird flu which apparently killed two parrots in UK quarantine "probably came from Taiwan". ( But see warmwell front page)
Oliver Letwin has asked why Mrs Beckett and her ministers "strenuously resisted EU proposals to impose a ban on wild bird imports" and questioned why quarantine procedures were "so lax that birds from different continents are kept together, test samples are pooled" He asked why there was no clarity in her department about the implications of the tests. ......We do not want to see your department once again rendered impotent in the face of disaster and the army being brought in to clear up the mess." (See BBC report)
23rd/24th October 2005 ~ Quarantined bird deaths BBC "..... some died before the parrot did.
Taiwan's representative in the UK has requested an official report .... and expressed concern to Ms Reynolds about the implication that the virus was initially in a bird from Taiwan. It said such a statement "damages Taiwan's image and good reputation as a health-conscious nation".
Defra was not immediately available to comment on Taiwan's concerns..."
23rd/24th October 2005 ~ tissue samples mixed H5N1 found in tissue samples - but which? (Debby) "Reynolds said the parrot's tissue samples were mixed by mistake with another bird's so there may be two infected birds in the quarantine center but that is not clear...." Reuters (They have killed all 364 birds in quarantine, it seems.)
23rd/24th October 2005 ~ Heavy rain and gales will batter much of Britain in the coming days, prompting fears of flooding, forecasters said today. Most of the country will suffer downpours and strong winds from this evening, with Wales and the west of -England expected to be worst hit.
23rd October 2005 ~Joyce D'Silva (director of Compassion in World Farming) on the news that there are now more than 30 farms in Britain using an automated milking system said: "This system can bring relief to the cow's bulging udder, but she is under such pressure because we have bred her to produce so much milk. We are worried that this development will lead to an increase in factory farming."
23rd October 2005 ~ Windfarms Booker's Notebook calls the Romney Marsh decision "one of the most shameless confidence tricks of our time" windfarms page
23rd October 2005 ~ "Defra said that it would increase the number of random searches, sniffer dogs and customs personnel as part of a renewed campaign to clamp down on the trade in wild animals." Observer (The dangers and misery of the disgraceful Bushmeat trade has been mentioned on these pages for several years now and was highlighted in the BBC programme File on Four last year. According to experts, another AIDS-like epidemic looms if the Government does not invest in stopping the twelve thousand tons of illegal bushmeat. If the avian flu scare is what it takes for action then we must be grateful.)
22nd October 2005 ~ Avian flu "Are all imported birds tested?" Saturday Today Programme CVO Debby Reynolds seemed rattled by the question. What emerged is that quarantined birds are not routinely tested unless they die:
"well, what we've got is a system which operates EU wide - it's operating in the UK - which is the quarantine arrangement on this premises and we have a virus isolation from the parrot from Surinam and we're doing a full investigation to determine the current position.."
22nd October 2005 ~ Bob McCracken said the discovery of the parrot was a warning that Britain's border controls should be on high alert. "There are two main ways the influenza could arrive in the UK: one is wild birds migrating and the other is in the illegal trading of birds. We are well aware of people trying to smuggle them in, avoiding quarantine." Telegraph
22nd October 2005 ~ Avian flu The latest reports from 500 km west of Beijing in the Eastern part of Inner Mongolia prompted one ProMed moderator to write, " Dots are beginning to fall in place. One wonders how many of the recent outbreaks across Eurasia fall along the migratory flight paths of wild birds residing in the big Asia lakes this summer..." ProMED
22nd October 2005 ~"Hurricane Wilma slammed into Mexico's Caribbean beach resorts on Friday with screaming winds that knocked over houses, upturned trees and trapped thousands of tourists in cramped shelters..." Reuters
22nd October 2005 ~ Earthquake Incidents of people attacking and looting aid trucks in parts of earthquake-stricken Pakistani Kashmir are growing, witnesses say. Rescuers are still trying to reach untold numbers of survivors in the rugged hills of northern Pakistan. President Musharraf says aid offers are totally inadequate. Reuters
22nd October 2005 ~ Sick Parrot "UK scientists are carrying out tests to see if a parrot that died from bird flu in quarantine had the H5N1 strain" BBC
22nd October 2005 ~ Brazil has reported nine new outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease. There are now 14 cases. ABC online
21st October 2005 ~ "A U.S. Senate committee this week endorsed opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. It's a terrible idea, potentially damaging the Alaskan environment without benefiting U.S. consumers. The oil wouldn't be available for years. When it is, it likely would be exported." Opinion Statesman Journal
21st October 2005 ~ The EU has ordered restrictions on bird shows and urged governments to vaccinate the birds in their zoos as part of the continent's defence against a possible bird flu pandemic. ..Times
21st October 2005 ~ Another "heresy" about rogue prions The Daily Mail reports on US and Japanese research (led by Professor Laura Manuelidis, from Yale) in the journal Science suggesting that BSE, variant CJD in humans, and other kindred diseases are most probably caused by a virus. They also suggest that persistent infection by a "weak" CJD strain protected cells from infection by a more virulent and potentially lethal form of CJD. It also prevented infection by two versions of the sheep TSE disease, scrapie.
The government National Scrapie Plan carries on regardless of uncertainty.
21st October 2005 ~ The UK population has now passed 60 million. Independent
21st October 2005 ~ Deforestation of Brazil's Amazon has been underestimated by at least 60%, according to new research BBC
21st October 2005 ~ Earthquake The UN's emergency relief chief is to ask Nato to boost its role in helping victims of the South Asia earthquake. BBC
21st October 2005 ~ Roche will, after all, allow other drug companies to aid production of the medicine in case a pandemic hits Europe. See ITN
20th/21st October 2005 ~ The aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Pakistan's northern mountains is turning into the toughest relief operation the world has ever known, international aid officials said on Thursday. Reuters
20th/21st October 2005 ~ "Plans for a chain of wind "superturbines", each twice the height of Nelson's Column, have been put forward for a site on the southern fringes of Exmoor. Last night the scheme met a storm of protest from families living in the area, who said the 110 metre high (360ft) turbines would be visible across the moor and a huge swathe of Devon. ." WMN and see windfarm page (new window)
20th/21st October 2005 ~ "...Lib-Dems reversed their long-standing policy of supporting the Government's controversial trials on the issue to call for an immediate cull in TB hotspot areas like the Westcountry. .....Mr Breed, MP for South East Cornwall, warned that if action was not taken, bovine TB could act as the "catalyst for a total collapse" of a beef and dairy industry that was already struggling to survive on rock bottom prices..." WMN
20th/21st October 2005 ~ "Bird flu" UK population to be vaccinated... WMN
20th October 2005 ~ 26,000 sq km of rainforest were burned in 2004 The price of cheap beef: disease, deforestation, slavery and murder
"... Cattle ranching, if it keeps expanding in the Amazon, threatens two-fifths of the world's remaining rainforest. This is not just the most diverse ecosystem but also the biggest reserve of standing carbon. Its clearance could provoke a hydrological disaster in South America, as rainfall is reduced as the trees come down... " George Monbiot in the Guardian.
20th October 2005 ~ energy crisis " ....It is so alarming and so disturbing that this government has allowed this to happen. Ministers have said we are being alarmist, saying that there is no chance of the consumer being blacked out. We are not saying that. What we are saying is that business is going to have the switch thrown." Sir Digby Jones, director-general of the CBI, reported in the Guardian, accuses the government of failing to ensure enough gas storage capacity, leaving the country acutely vulnerable to a short freeze.
20th October 2005 ~ Wilma ITN Online - Headlines "Hurricane Wilma has become the fiercest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded as it turned its power towards Florida."
19th October 2005 ~ No human epidemic"....Stockholm-based European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) European Union: "For the time being there is no reason to panic in Europe. The risk for citizens to have this virus is minimal. This virus is not yet adapted to humans, it is not capable of human-to-human transmission and until that happens this will not be a pandemic strain.." Reuters
19th October 2005 ~ Tamilflu".. Swiss drugmaker Roche, manufacturer of the Tamiflu antiviral, said on Wednesday patents would not be an obstacle to getting the drug to the sick in case of a bird flu pandemic. .... chief executive Franz Humer... "We will talk to anybody -- people who can manufacture the drug, and are able to manufacture it faster than us, and complement our manufacturing," Reuters
19th October 2005 ~ China is now by far the world's biggest driver of rainforest destruction. Independent
19th October 2005 ~ Hurricane Wilma is category 5 now. "Miami - Local authorities on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of tourists and non-residents from the low-lying Florida Keys island chain, amid fears that Hurricane Wilma could strike the southern US state. .." News 24
15th - 20th October 2005 ~ delay in the transport of the suspected avian flu samples from Romania to the reference laboratory in Weybridge wa apparently due to customs/security procedures. The ProMed moderator describes this as " unfortunate and should be prevented in future."
15th - 20th October 2005 ~ Homes urgently wanted for British Primitive Goats See website " Primitive goats are ideal for conservation grazing purposes! We are urgently seeking homes for goats from a well known herd of feral British Primitive goats due to a substantial herd reduction planned for this autumn " (ie culling) "... we are doing our best to try and establish breeding units in other locations to safeguard the gene pool. .."Shirley Goodyer , British Feral Goat Research Group, Tel 0191 3735027 (home), 0191 3341860 (work)
15th October 2005 ~ Nature (pdf new window) "Further investigation is necessary to determine the prevalence of oseltamivir-resistant H5N1 viruses among patients treated with this drug...... Although our findings are based on a virus from only a single patient, they raise the possibility that it might be useful to stockpile zanamivir as well as oseltamivir in the event of an H5N1 influenza pandemic. They also highlight the importance of monitoring the emergence of drug resistance in H5N1 isolates from patients treated with neuraminidase inhibitors." ( about Zanamivir)
15th October 2005 ~ The pharmaceutical giant Roche holds the patent for Tamilflu (oseltamivir phosphate). The drug is made from dwindling supplies of star anise. Roche will not relinquish the patent. FuturePundit.com compares how countries have stockpiled doses. ITN says that the European Commission has told Britain to act now by identifying areas that could be struck by bird flu if the bug mutates.
15th October 2005 ~The RSPB is to transform 1,000 acres of industrial wasteland into Britain's biggest urban wetland nature reserve and bird centre. Telegraph
15th October 2005 ~ A week after South Asia's strongest earthquake in 100 years, in which 38,000 people are now feared to have died, it is uncertain how those left can survive the coming winter without permanent shelter. See Reuters The Independent's donation page is here (new window)
14th October 2005 ~ BP website "... We are drilling deeper, farther, and in more challenging environments such as high pressure and high temperature, deep water, or depleted zones.....we are involved in several pioneering projects to explore new technologies..... ." See peak oil news
14th October 2005 ~"The Government will today announce a £7 million aid package for the beleaguered beef industry in a bid to head off a threatened "exodus" of Westcountry farmers this winter.." WMN
14th October 2005 ~ "even after making allowance for decommissioning costs, nuclear is significantly cheaper than wind or wave power." The FT quotes Lord Broers, president of Britain's Royal Academy of Engineering.
14th October 2005 ~ " Ben Bradshaw said: "Once the legislation is enacted our law will be worthy of our reputation as a nation of animal lovers. We are raising standards of animal welfare. Anyone who is responsible for an animal will have to do all that is reasonable to meet the needs of their animal." Independent
14th October 2005 ~ "Turkish medical staff on Friday tested nine people for possible bird flu a day after European health officials confirmed what many had long feared -- the arrival of the deadly H5N1 strain on Europe's doorstep." Reuters
14th October 2005 ~ There was an article on High Yewdale in the Daily Mail today (by Robin Page) If anyone is able to quote it or scan it I'd be very grateful. (email warmwell)
14th October 2005 ~ There is no vaccine available against bird flu says the Independent "The Government has ordered 14.6 million courses of Tamiflu, enough for a quarter of the population, at a cost of £200m, from the manufacturers, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche. About 900,000 doses have been delivered. There is a worldwide shortage of Tamiflu because the raw materials from which it is made are scarce and the manufacturing process is slow and complex. If a human pandemic were to arrive in the UK this winter, the shortage could provoke panic, with hospitals under siege."
13th October 2005 ~ Bird Flu in Romania after all?" A strain of avian influenza has been detected in samples from Romanian ducks, confirming that the virus has arrived in Europe, Romania's chief veterinarian and the European Commission said" Reuters
12th October 2005 ~ Yet another Defra consultation "The Government today began a consultation on expected changes to UK legislation to lift the EU ban on the export of beef, bovine products and live cattle. The consultation also deals with consequential changes to controls on Specified Risk Materials (SRM)...." Defra website today. An exasperated farmer writes,
"Why can't they just implement the relevant legislation ( like everybody else does) and get their export ban lifted ? This is another sick joke; the regulations are there and they start to discuss things that are already done all over Europe..."
12th October 2005 ~ Bird flu does not so far appear to have hit Romania, according to test results released on Wednesday by the European Commission, raising hopes that the highly contagious disease has not yet reached Europe. Reuters
12th October 2005 ~ Greenpeace".... As the world's ecological situation gets increasingly desperate and in need of the hope, possibilities and radical suggestions Greenpeace might once have given, the group is now utterly moribund.... Greenpeace doesn't have leaders any more, just managers, and mediocre ones at that...." A sad, timely, angry - and salutary - article in the Independent
12th October 2005 ~ FMD in Brazil The Herald "...The suspicion is foot-and-mouth arrived in Brazil as a result of illegal movements across the border from Paraguay. Arrests have been made. "
12th October 2005 ~ Peak Oil John Ikerd, an economist and author of a recent book, Sustainable Capitalism...... brought the audience to a wild applause when he ended by saying,
"We will choose an economy of sustainable energy when we realize that our happiness depends on our relationships with people and with nature, as well as our individual, material well-being. We will choose a life of social responsibility when we realize that caring for others is not a sacrifice, but instead enhances our quality of life. One by one, we will create an economy of sustainable energy, as we realize that working and living sustainably is simply a better way to work and a better way to live."from A Report from the Second U.S. Conference on Peak Oil and Community Solutions
12th October 2005 ~ Giant Wind turbines. If successful, it will result in Cumbria's largest windfarm being built near Shap. "If that goes ahead it will open the floodgates around here," See windfarms. As one campaigner was heard to say,
"....unbelievable. After two refusals and a lost appeal and a High Court judgement against them - the windfarm developers are back again at Pica.
Has someone in Government passed them the word that this time they will be "all right"?
Have they been reassured they are now untouchable by the local planners or the local Council?
Are they even beyond control by the High Court?
Am I still living in England?"
11/12th October 2005 ~ bird flu special report at: Channel4
(warmwell note: The feared strain of avian influenza, H5N1, has swept through poultry populations in Asia since 2003. 116 people have been infected. 60 of these have died. The victims have been mostly poultry workers. More than 100 million birds have been killed.)
11/12th October 2005 ~ High Yewdale(new window) One extra letter to the National Trust might just do the trick... See also below, and as Peter Greenhill wrote; "By breaking up this historic farm you drive yet another nail into the coffin of fell farming which is still recovering from the ravages of the Foot and Mouth disaster."
Please email warmwell if you could write to the National Trust to urge them to keep High Yewdale for the nation - but are not sure where to send your letter.
11th October 2005 ~ US debt "According to US Comptroller General David Walker, who audits the federal government's books, the tab for the long-term promises the US Government has made to creditors, retirees, veterans and the poor amounts to US$43,000 billion - i.e. $145,000 per US citizen, or $350,000 for every full-time worker. And this figure does not even take into account all the personal debts such as credit card bills and mortgages..........Alan Greenspan, who recently warned his countrymen that the federal budget deficit would hamper the nation's ability to absorb possible shocks from the soaring trade deficit and the housing boom. Now he may have to add two more worries: soaring oil prices and cyclones. The US is now clearly in huge trouble..." It's time to take seriously a US-led global recession
11th October 2005 ~ Anger grows among quake survivors * Pockets of looting are reported in Kashmir as frustration at the pace of earthquake relief increases. BBC
"Hope was fading on Tuesday of finding survivors among thousands buried under houses and schools by an earthquake in northern Pakistan and rescuers pleaded for more helicopters to bring relief to remote areas." Reuters
"Hundreds of thousands of victims of the earthquake in South Asia have spent a third night without shelter in freezing conditions." ITN
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ High Yewdale(new window) ~ Some good news at last. The National Trust's own Executive Council is challenging the Trust's decision to break up the farm ".. after a constructive debate at its meeting (on Thursday) the National Trust Council has decided to refer the issue of High Yewdale to its highest decision making body - the Board of Trustees - for its consideration." See Sunday's North West Evening Mail The National Trust Board of Trustees is expected to consider the issue in November.
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ Sunday Times - First bird flu cases reported in Europe
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ Turbines"The Government's policy on wind power is rapidly becoming such a fiasco that it is hard to know where to begin." Booker's Notebook or windfarms page
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ High Yewdale(new window) ~
Beatrix Potter sometimes amalgamated farms - and this was cited by the National Trust as a justification to break up High Yewdale. Those who knew her stress that Beatrix Potter constantly visited and talked to the farmers and asked their advice. Any decision she took was based on detailed consultation and consensus. It is a mark of the respect in which she was held that she was President of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association. Contrast this with the behaviour of the present management of the NT, which notified neighbouring tenants of the fate of High Yewdale by letter, from a new Area Manager, whom none of them had even met.(We hope to report on developments on Sunday)
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ badgers BVA calls for "humane badger cull" BBC"It warns tuberculosis costs the farming industry millions of pounds a year and must be eradicated. In a letter to the government it cites "established links" between the prevalence of the disease within the cattle and badger populations."
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ avian influenza There are fears that Asian bird flu has spread to Europe following duck deaths in Romania. Guardian
U.S. Health and Human services Secretary Mike Leavitt prepared to leave for Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos on Saturday to try to cement cooperation in case of a feared bird flu epidemic. Reuters
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ cervical cancer vaccine Vaccination against cervical cancer could become as common in schools as jabs against meningitis are now, following the dramatic results of the latest clinical trials, says the Guardian
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ bird flu Bush plan for flu crisis shows U.S. not ready -NYT Reuters
7 - 10 October 2005 ~ High Yewdale (new window) We are expecting new information about the National Trust's Cumbrian hill farm this weekend. Could it possibly be that the very strong feelings expressed have made a difference?
7 October 2005 ~ Lancaster University report (see webpage) An emailer writes "What about you.....us...... and hundreds of thousands of other people that were not directly involved but are still haunted by what happened?" read in full
7 October 2005 ~ peak oil "We have to have nuclear power, because China and India will industrialize, and if they decide to do so using oil and coal, we'll choke to death. Alternative sources like wind and solar can't take up the slack. This is not to say they aren't important, but they will be a small component. We've also got to move away from oil and gas because it's so expensive." Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr. See peak oil news
6 October 2005 ~ "Nuclear power was dead in the water - wildly expensive, deeply unpopular and a nightmare to clean up. But now the government is talking about a new generation of reactors. Can it really be the green answer to our energy needs?.." James Meek reports in the Guardian
6 October 2005 ~ "Migrating birds and animals are already feeling the effects of global climatic change, says a UK government report.." BBC
6 October 2005 ~ interdisciplinary cooperation and the international community ProMed reports on the OIE mission to Russia to assess the avian influenza situation in wildlife and the national measures being taken to minimize the risk of international spread. praises the
".. exemplary initiative, reflecting the attained interdisciplinary cooperation of experts from the host-country and the international community and the need to tackle the avian influenza problem at its source...."
6 October 2005 ~ diabetes"The epidemics of obesity and Type II, or late-onset diabetes, are rising in parallel, driven by modern lifestyles. A diet of fast foods, high in fats and calories, eaten by people who take the car rather than walk is to blame... International Obesity Task Force in the British Medical Journal suggested 1,400 children in the UK have full-blown type II diabetes and up to 20,000 have impaired glucose tolerance, where the body loses its capacity to use sugar, which foreshadows diabetes..." Independent
5/6 October 2005 ~ Melting Arctic cnews.canoe.ca
"New satellite observations show sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster, while air temperatures in the region are rising sharply....... The scientists stopped short of directly blaming the melting trend on global warming but said they have few other explanations at this point. During the 1990s, a cyclical atmospheric circulation pattern called the Arctic Oscillation was believed to have been pushing sea ice out of the region and into adjacent waters. But the oscillation has weakened in recent years and yet the melting continued and even accelerated..."
5/6 October 2005 ~ 1918 killer flu 'came from birds' BBC "The Spanish flu virus that killed 50 million people in 1918-19 was probably a strain that originated in birds, research has shown. US scientists have found the 1918 virus shares genetic mutations with the bird flu virus now circulating in Asia. .." See also Nature
5 October 2005 ~ High Yewdale Farm(new window) Following the news that High Yewdale Farm's sheep are to be sold, MP Tim Farron has claimed that the National Trust have been too cautious over their financial forecasts for the farm.
"The Trust has used the current situation with the Hill Farming Allowance and modulation payments to say that the farm is unviable. However, discussions between my All Party Group on Hill Farming and the NFU indicate that we could see a real change in these payments in the next six months. Unfortunately, it will then be too late to save High Yewdale....My All Party Group on Hill Farming will be meeting Agriculture Minister Lord Bach on 31 October, and I am quite confident that our fight for hill farmers will be successful."
3 October 2005 ~ Amphibians at risk The Zoological Society of London is to build a new centre for the conservation of frogs, toad and other amphibians. The £2.2m (US$4m) project ..... first integrated amphibian conservation centre in the world. Amphibians are possibly the most threatened animals on Earth, with a third of species at risk of extinction...."The problem is that most people don't understand how serious the situation is regarding amphibians - to be honest, many of my colleagues who work with other kinds of animals don't fully understand it either."...." BBC
2 October 2005 ~ Local Food The Local Food section of the BBC's Action Network website (new window): ".. food transported long distances is having a severe impact on the environment and local economies....." The site publicises local action and campaigns - especially in this British Food fortnight.
2 October 2005 ~ A dangerous level of asbestos inexpertise is one of the stories in this week's Booker's Notebook (Sunday Telegraph) - always well worth reading in full. "The "great asbestos scam" continues....Asbestos Watchdog, run by a genuine asbestos expert, John Bridle, was set up following this column's exposure of how many surveyors and contractors are exploiting the confusion over the dangers of asbestos, and it has saved our readers millions of pounds."
1 October 2005 ~ C02 emisions "As recently as May 2004, Labour claimed that they would cut Carbon emissions not merely by the 12.5% decreed by Kyoto, but by a total of 20% by 2010. (http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2004/040506c.htm ) In reality, CO2 emissions in 2004 were 4.5 MtC higher than in 1997. CO2 emissions have risen in five of the last seven years. (Friends of the Earth Press Release, 26 February 2004). (From a Conservative Party press release)
1 October 2005 ~ Wind Turbines Proposed sites in Gloucestershire include Bourton-on- the-Water, Moreton-in-Marsh, SomerfordKeynes, Fairford, Twyning, Sheepscombe and Hardwicke. See windfarm pages "We all support the principles behind renewable energy but you're circumnavigating every rule put down to protect our environment." said one protester.
September 30 2005 ~ Indonesia "Petrol and kerosene prices are expected to rise by about 60%, as the government slashes untenable subsidies." BBC
September 30 2005 ~ " ... five people have been killed across Canada by bears..at least two cases black bears apparently attacked people in order to eat them.....Rob Woito, a boiler engineer: "I'm against killing animals unnecessarily. But we need to bring back the hunt. Banning it was a purely political decision that had nothing to do with the biology of bears."....." Independent.
September 30 2005 ~ In spite of yesterday's report from the Netherlands, the BBC reports a UN health official warning that "an influenza pandemic linked to bird flu might kill up to 150 million people"
The ProMed moderator is far more cautious.
September 30 2005 ~ The area covered by Arctic sea ice has shrunk for a fourth consecutive year, according to a new study. BBC
September 29 2005 ~ Russia Lifting Foot, Mouth Quarantine In Eastern Regions... The statement said all the cattle in the region had been vaccinated twice against the disease. Cattlenetwork.com
September 29 2005 ~ News from the Netherlands that the threat of bird flu may just be a scare as they relax the rules that caused all poultry farmers to keep their flocks indoors. BBC (Listen again) Free range poultry farmers in Holland, however, have to put nets over the birds outside. "There is no scientific evidence that the strain is moving"
September 28 2005 ~ Depleted Uranium "US troops returning from Iraq are for the first time to be offered state-of-the-art radiation testing to check for contamination from depleted uranium.." Independent and see warmwell's DU page
September 28 2005 ~ Junk food ban in schools ITN Online Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is set to announce that junk food will be banned from school canteens and vending machines. The reforms come after a high profile campaign by TV chef Jamie Oliver.
September 28 2005 ~ e-coli The Welsh assembly is to hold a debate on the E.coli outbreak which has seen 122 cases in south Wales. BBC
September 28 2005 ~ Britain has met the main conditions for lifting European curbs on beef exports, a report says. BBC
September 27 2005 ~ WMN Fishermen facing ruin after £60,000 in fines..."
September 27 2005 ~ The North Sea needs to be managed as a complete ecosystem if fish stocks and livelihoods are to continue, experts say. BBC
September 26 2005 ~Dog flu Independent "a new and potentially deadly strain of species-hopping influenza ... mutated from a strain of influenza that cripples horses and has killed racing greyhounds in seven states. The illness starts by mimicking the common kennel cough. Many animals develop pneumonia, with sometimes deadly complications..."
September 26 2005 ~British Food Week Its third year. Begins today. A national campaign to celebrate national foods.
September 26 2005 ~Bird Flu Customs officers in Australia have seized tonnes of poultry meat coming into Australia to keep away bird flu
September 25 2005 ~Blair says Kyoto will never succeed Sunday Telegraph "...Mr Blair, who has been seen up to now as a strong supporter of the Kyoto Treaty, effectively tore the document up and admitted that rows over its implementation will "never be resolved.".... .......... His remarks, unreported at the time but now published in a transcript of the conference, are certain to spark wide-ranging criticism that he is again signing up to the agenda of President George W Bush. .... comments have emerged as his biographer, Anthony Seldon, branded him a "weak man" who has been unable to stand up to rich and powerful figures such as Mr Bush and Rupert Murdoch...."
September 25 2005 ~Pesticides Booker's Notebook ".... since all pesticides are licensed by the Government itself as safe to use, the Government cannot afford to admit that it is responsible for a massive public health disaster.... Miss Downs is a heroine of our time. But like other campaigners before her, such as the redoubtable Countess of Mar, she has run into one of the most ruthless conspiracies of silence in modern government. "
September 25 2005 ~" ZooBank - has been launched by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in a bid to bring order to the dizzying numbers of parrots, wasps, monkeys and antelopes being added to world wildlife lists. This species increase may seem surprising, given the rate at which other animals are heading for, or have reached, extinction. Wild populations of chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans are likely to disappear by 2025, it was reported last week, while creatures including the Hawaiian crow, the gastric-brooding frog and most species of Polynesian partula snail have already disappeared from the planet in recent years. 'It's a race against time,' said biologist Professor James Mallet..." Observer
September 25 2005 ~ Rita "It's not as powerful, not as large and it did not hit as populated an area". In Texas, Rita spared the flood-prone cities of Houston and Galveston a direct hit. But oil refinery towns, including Beaumont and Port Arthur in Texas and Lake Charles in Louisiana, were in the path of the strongest winds. The economic impact, not least on petrol prices, is yet to emerge..." Channel 4 update
BBC "....The storm badly damaged several towns along with ports in neighbouring Texas. But with no reports of deaths and Houston spared a direct hit, many Texan evacuees have been heading home. State authorities reported that traffic jams were beginning again as people headed for the city, America's fourth-largest...."
September 24 2005 ~ Rita has now made land. Associated Press "NEW ORLEANS - Hurricane Rita's wind-driven storm surge topped one of New Orleans' battered levees and poked holes in another Friday, sending water gushing into already-devastated neighborhoods just days after they had been pumped dry. Lm Otero, Associated PressA dog runs down a flooded North Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans on Friday. Hurricane Rita's surge has pushed water back into neighborhoods that had just dried out. An initial surge of water cascaded over a patched levee protecting the impoverished Ninth Ward, flooding the abandoned neighborhood with at least 6 feet of water. "Our worst fears came true," said Maj. Barry Guidry, a National Guardsman on duty at the broken levee..."
September 24 2005 ~UK Economy growth will be downgraded because - says Mr Brown - of the rising price of oil. peak oil news
September 23 2005 ~Rita bbsnews.net Maximum Sustained Winds Have Decreased To Near 125 Mph With Higher Gusts. Rita Is Now A Category Three Hurricane On The Saffir-Simpson Scale. A Further Slow Weakening Is Possible Before Landfall...But Rita Is Still Expected To Come Ashore As A Dangerous Hurricane.
September 23 2005 ~Rita Jon Snow's Channel 4 update "...two foot of water tipping over one of the most important levees in New Orleans and I'm afraid the prognosis is absolutely dreadful. You see it's beginning to look as if New Orleans may become unsustainable, and that could affect the whole of the Mississippi river which is completely dependent on the port there for its traffic - and the whole of the core of America is dependent on the river for its life. A big fat river is hard to replace.."
September 23 2005 ~Threat to Orang-utans ( See below) A German farmer writes of the BBC report, "Isn't it funny ? Pork that is reared in Europe has to be LEAN although nothing can beat lard used for cooking. Every little bit of fat that might be attached to a chop is discarded but we need to import large amounts of oil from Asia ??? Men is the most stupid and dangerous inhabitant of the universe!" Agreed.
September 23 2005 ~pesticides John Vidal, environment editor of the Guardian "Up to 1.5 million people who live near or visit fields sprayed with pesticides need better health protection and more information, says Britain's leading environmental body, which yesterday condemned government regulation as inadequate and flawed."
September 23 2005 ~68 e-coli cases - Wales A ProMed moderator comments "This outbreak of _E. coli_ O157 involving multiple South Wales Valleys schools suggests a source common to each school. More epidemiologic work is needed, but it is important to know if a common food preparing area exists or, alternatively, if food for each school is prepared at the school but the ingredients come from a common source..."
September 23 2005 ~human/mice experiment Critics say boundaries being pushed too far Guardian
September 23 2005 ~ orang-utans Consumer demand for palm oil based products is threatening orang-utans with extinction, researchers say. BBC
September 23 2005 ~Turbines Concern about the impact on the future of the twite - facing extinction - is one of the reasons for the delay in Powergen's application to build seven 365ft wind turbines on Denshaw Moor Manchester Evening News reported yesterday
September 22 2005 ~pets in the hurricane In New Orleans, the National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard have started letting pet owners bring their animals with them when they're rescued. The Humane Society of the United States says it's logged thousands of reports of stranded pets. So far, animal rescue teams have picked up more than a thousand animals in Louisiana and Mississippi and delivered them to temporary shelters. If you would like to donate to their efforts go to https://secure.hsus.org/01/disaster_relief_fund_2005?
September 22 2005 ~Paice on Pesticides Press release Jim Paice, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said: "....The research necessary to clarify the extent to which the public is at risk from pesticides must be immediately undertaken so that we can be certain of any impact on the health of those living near sprayed fields and quantify any changes in husbandry practice which may be necessary. "Protecting public health is paramount, but measures to achieve this must be sensitive to the financial pressures faced by British farmers."
September 22 2005 ~ Q&A: Hurricane Rita and global warming Times Julian Heming of the Met Office in Exeter explains how Hurricane Rita has grown so big and whether these storms are getting more frequent.
September 22 2005 ~ Global Warming, Science and accountability Dr. David Legates says in the Canadian national Post Holding science to prospectus standards would stop climate researchers from launching misrepresentations like the 'Hockey Stick' "...the House energy committee has uncovered a real problem in science - one that extends far beyond the climate-change issue. Scientists must demand that results and conclusions stand up to independent verification. Yet since the climate-change community has failed to impose such standards on itself, it cannot be surprised if legislators have opted to do the job for them."
September 22 2005 ~ Rita is now a category 5 hurricane and has been described this mornng as "potentially catastrophic" See Reuters and Guardian
(Oil pollution in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: more than 6.5 million gallons of crude oil was spilt in at least seven major incidents. Guardian)
September 22 2005 ~ NHS privatisation "strictly confidential" documents reveal that "companies bidding for contracts to treat patients from the NHS waiting list will be allowed to take over NHS premises, doctors and nurses. .......... likely to fuel protests at the Labour conference next week that the government's NHS reforms are in danger of destabilising the health service, but Ms Hewitt will argue she is saving it by putting the needs of patients before those of providers...." Guardian
September 22 2005 ~ Pesticides The report of the Royal Commission for Environmental Pollution, published today, is highly critical of the government's inaction over pesticides. Georgina Downs says, "The fact that the RCEP have agreed that there are serious inherent flaws throughout the existing regulations and called for a complete overhaul is a positive outcome and obviously I do feel somewhat vindicated."
September 22 2005 ~ Bird Flu - "wild species are being demonised. " Yahoo News
".... spread of H5N1 ... does not fit any known migratory pattern for any species," wrote Hong Kong University biology professor Kevin Shortridge and prominent New Zealand ornithologist David Melville in The Lancet medical journal. ...Dennis Alexander in the journal Veterinary Microbiology.. it is human movement of birds through farming, slaughter and trade that accelerates its spread. Michel Gaulthier-Clerc ... The responsibility lies in the "export of birds that are not sufficiently supervised" and "the smuggling of wild birds", he told Le Monde newspaper. Ornithologists are particularly upset.... bird sanctuaries and conservation areas vital to many species' survival could lose public support and funding...""WHO cautious over Indonesia bird flu outbreak... there is no sign the virus can be passed easily among people, top U.N. health experts said on Thursday." Reuters
September 22 2005 ~ Heatwave made dying plants pump out greenhouse gases Plants, which usually absorb carbon dioxide, started emitting the gas as temperatures soared 6 degrees Centigrade above average. "It stopped the CO2 uptake by plants and within a few weeks the plants started, in the middle of the summer, to emit CO2 into the atmosphere instead of their normal behaviour where they pump CO2 out of the atmosphere," said Dr Philippe Ciais, a carbon cycle scientist at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement in Gif sur Yvette. Independent
September 21 2005 ~ Oil "....Because Rita could wipe out more refinery capacity while the United States is still catching its breath from Katrina, "the market is going to keep a keen eye on energy prices," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. of New York. "It's a very big deal." Washington Post"...U.S. weekly oil inventory data from the Energy Information Administration showed an unexpected decline of 300,000 barrels in crude stockpiles. Analysts had expected a modest increase"
September 21 2005 ~ Bird Flu Dutch to lift outdoor poultry ban BBC The Dutch government decides to lift a ban on keeping poultry outdoors, imposed to prevent the spread of bird flu.
September 21 2005 ~ Bird Flu Indonesia may be "overreacting" suggests ProMed. Xinhuanet.com reports "6 Indonesian residents, including 4 children, have been admitted to a hospital with avian influenza symptoms, spreading fears of a major outbreak ....."
" As of today, only 2 of the presumptive cases of avian influenza in Indonesia have been confirmed by laboratory testing as genuine cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection. ...In the present circumstances, the threat by the government of forcible hospitalization of suspected bird flu cases might seem to be an over-reaction; the most important measure is containment of animal disease."September 21 2005 ~ Nasa says the surface of Mars is more active than previously thought, and could be undergoing climate change. BBC
September 21 2005 ~ pesticides "Free fruit and vegetables distributed by the government to children contain over 25% more pesticide residues than fruit and vegetables on sale in shops according to the Soil Association" Guardian
September 20 2005 ~ Oil prices Reuters "OPEC says it is coming to oil consumers' aid by building badly needed refineries to turn out gasoline and heating fuel, but the new plants will also increase the West's energy reliance on the volatile Middle East. OPEC, including top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, announced ambitious plans to add some four million barrels per day of refining capacity at its meeting in Vienna on Tuesday."
September 20 2005 ~ Oil prices gained $4.39 a barrel yesterday in the largest one-day gain ever. Fears are mounting that Hurricane Rita could damage oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico and Texas. See peak oil news(New window)
September 20 2005 ~ Sugar "...There is no case for the temperate production of sugar using sugar beet. This crop, at best, can deliver a mere three tons per acre, compared with nine tons per acre routinely obtained from sugar cane in tropical climates. It would make far more sense to devote the five million acres devoted to beet growing in just the EU-15 to other crops. A sensible alternative, much canvassed by both the "Greens" and the farming community is biofuel, and in particular Miscanthus elephant grass. The crop requires little in the way of artificial fertiliser, next to nothing by way of pesticides and harbours a wide variety of wildlife..." EUreferendum post
September 19 2005 ~ Household pollutants. For those of us still shamefacedly using detergents, an article in the Independent. "...... Is it really worth abandoning our tried and trusted cleaning methods? For one thing, while Jones and Girardi say scary things about hormone disruptors and carcinogens, I don't have a clear sense of how risky all these chemicals are. Jones's answer is: "There is no safe limit." For some people, one part in a million of some carcinogen will be enough...."
September 19 2005 ~ Katrina ~ "The mosquito numbers have taken off and are building," said Janet McAllister, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We're talking biblical proportions. Clouds of mosquitoes," McAllister said Monday from Baton Rouge, Louisiana..." See ProMed mail
September 18 2005 ~ Michael Portillo, who says he "loathes wind turbines" writes in the Sunday Times, If we don't want to depend on oil, we must go nuclear
"...turbines scythe down migrating birds. On a recent visit to Spain, where turbines have spread like a vicious pox, I learnt that this month 47 vultures headed for the Strait of Gibraltar had been felled by turbine blades. Wind turbines are not efficient. In Germany during 2003 they were used to only a sixth of their capacity, largely because the wind is unpredictable. Fossil stations are kept turning over and emitting greenhouse gases in case they are needed to make up the shortfall, yet if the turbines produce too much electricity the excess cannot be stored. The turbines are to the countryside in our times what the tower blocks were to the cities in the 1960s. I look forward to the parties when, 40 years from now, we dynamite them. .."
September 17 2005 ~ birth deformities from PCBs and dioxins "....nestlings that had deformities were fed by parents that habitually fed from lakes in the south of the area. The lakes in the north were clean......The greatest fear is that some of this stuff could get into the water supplies of the human population." The Guardian's article about herons in Nottinghamshire has been brought to our attention together with an account of the rising rate of human birth defects in some areas after the incineration of cattle in 2001. Mid Devon, for example, reports 6% of babies were born with defects in 2002, compared with average rate of 1.1%.
September 17 2005 ~Planning for Housing Provision BBC "....Neil Sinden, director of policy at CPRE, called for the government to listen to "widespread public concern". "Parts of the country desperately need more affordable housing but, as Kate Barker herself pointed out, a huge wave of house building for sale wouldn't even dent that problem," he said. "Yet it would threaten the future health of our towns and cities and wreck the countryside."
September 16 2005 ~ Battery Hens Rick Stein: "People who I have spoken to who have been to look at these hens in cages say there is no room to move, their legs can't support their weight and their legs have been burned by standing in excrement..." BBC
September 16 2005 ~ Climate change Scientists monitoring the size of the ice sheet over the Arctic say it's melting faster than ever - and the world could be past the "point of no return" when it can never recover.
Britain's biggest fish, the basking shark, is deserting the waters off southern England and heading to Scotland as global warming pushes its favourite food source northwards. See Independent for both stories
September 16 2005 ~ The debt trap. "40,000 people and 65 MPs say no to debt ads yet are ignored" Martin's petition(new page) against airing secured debt ads on childrens TV had its 40,000th signature this week. It has had a parliamentary motion supporting it. Yet the childrens' TV channels still ignore it.
September 16 2005 ~ Nuclear British Energy Group PLC has confirmed it will extend Dungeness B nuclear power station until 2018. ... (Around 70% of all UK Nuclear plants were due to be decommissioned by 2010.) See also today's peak oil news page
September 16 2005 ~ " In a damming critique of Tan 8, the CPRW claims the planning process has been manipulated to ease the frustrations of wind power developers. CPRW chairman John Edwards said: "This detailed "advice" has the effect of reversing decades of planning democracy and precedents, by curtailing the local judgment of local authorities, which is ironic, given that our Welsh Assembly Government owes its own power to devolution, rather than the centralisation of power." See /www.industrywatch.com
September 16 2005 ~ organic farming Telegraph "...The Globalisation Institute says "farmers would be better off following the Prince of Wales in growing high-value organic food than producing subsidised crops " ..... ".....Lord Melchett, of the Soil Association, said: "I have often wondered how long it would be before people who were interested in free markets would notice that organic farming is the only kind that is responding to the market. Look at the subsidies that have gone into GM crops. One of the differences farmers who have converted tell us is that they actually begin to meet their customers."
September 16 2005 ~ Wind Turbines "The planned explosion in the number of giant wind turbines in North Wales could prompt a public backlash against efforts to save the environment.. the Public Accounts Committee today claim growing numbers of turbines could enrage members of the public and turn them off the idea of renewable energy. In contrast, they say offshore windpower was less "en-vironmentally intrusive". ...."http://icnorthwales
September 14 2005 ~ Wind Turbines Caithness is being bombarded with wind farm applications, this is the latest S36 (23 turbines @ 410 feet). All the details are on the website. There is an on-line objection form that once complete will be sent directly to the SE - closing date is 23 SEPTEMBER 2005.
September 14 2005 ~ Not Cricket "Please, not Downing Street. Anywhere but Downing Street, I prayed, as the bus left Trafalgar Square. Go to the Palace or straight to Lord's. If we must make cricket a state occasion, greet it with a head of state, not a politician. And since the triumph was, above all, a victory over spin, don't go where they manufacture the stuff. But politics could not miss its photo opportunity. " Simon Jenkins in the Guardian (at last) Hitler and Mussolini liked to associate themselves with victorious sports teams too.
September 14 2005 ~ Hurricane Ophelia is picking up strength as it closes in on North Carolina Bloomberg
September 14 2005 ~ Fuel protests Guardian "..If the situation deteriorates the government can invoke powers under the Civil Contingencies Act.....Once emergency laws to protect or restore the fuel supply are in place police powers could be "limitless", according to the Cabinet Office. In a worst case scenario, this might include calling in troops."
September 14 2005 ~ Katrina and bioweapon reearch Nearly 5,000 monkeys (kept outdoors behind barbed wire) were being used in infectious disease research at the Tulane University National Primate Center in New Orleans. It is not known if other defense-related bioweapons or infectious disease research programs in the region were affected. From the Wilderness.com " finds it ironic that at the same time that the Bush administration was slashing funding for essential levee repairs and reinforcements it was handing out money for bioweapons research in the region."
September 13 2005 ~ Superbugs. Guardian report ".... No bugs similar to those causing the latest crisis have surfaced in livestock in this country, but they have been found in chickens in Spain and cattle in Japan. They spread very quickly in Argentina in the 1990s and are now causing problems in continental Europe and Asia. The problem bugs are resistant to penicillins and cephalosporins, the common workhorse antibiotics. Only two oral antibiotics and a few intravenous ones remain effective."
September 13 2005 ~ WMN ".......this hideous industrialisation of the Devon countryside"
September 12 2005 ~ Prince Charles says (see Telegraph) it is
"important for any human being to have a time for silence ... for things to slow down just a bit. I always feel now we are going faster and faster and faster than the whole rhythm and patterns of Nature.... we need to remember that we are a part of Nature and not apart from it, which I think has been one of the great problems of the 20th century.....we have got out of balance...this business of reflection and action: you have to have both, you can't just endlessly act."How the cynics will scoff and jeer. But how right HRH is. Better a generous-hearted Prince with his reverence for Nature than a simpering, destructive, dangerous Emperor (wearing no clothes). How right was the late, great Anthony Sampson when he said,
" The Prime Minister's own little court in Number 10, his showbiz receptions, his holidays in grand houses and his travels on planes from the Queen's Flight, have become more publicised than royal tours or lavish receptions in the royal palaces, which kept the cameras away from them. A vague and nostalgic loyalty to the monarchy is becoming a less effective counterweight to the growing practical powers of a Prime Minister under an unwritten and increasingly confused constitution. .."
September 11 2005 ~US economy Forbes reports that former President Clinton has said (China) "really could lose access to the American market if you quit buying our securities, our debt, because if everyone quits buying our debt we'll have to get our own house in order - which means we'll either have to get rid of our deficit by raising taxes and cutting spending - or we'll have to pay more for the money-raising interest rates, lowering the value of the dollar, and undermining our ability to buy exports.'
September 11 2005 ~ Primates in danger BBC "..... Experts warn wild populations of great apes could disappear in a generation. ..Poaching and damage to forest habitats have led gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo and orangutan numbers to fall sharply. The five-day meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was the first involving ministers from the countries where the threatened species remain. Officials for the United Nations Great Ape Survival project, which set up the conference, said the nations' joint commitment was an important step forward..."
September 11 2005 ~ Fuel prices IoS "Specific measures ... may include a restriction in some form of the amount of fuel a motorist is able to purchase at any given time," states the document under a section entitled "Forecourt Supply Management". It continues: "Measures may also be introduced to discourage motorists from the practice of topping up their fuel tanks at frequent intervals. The Secretary of State may also restrict the hours during which filling stations may sell fuel."
September 11 2005 ~ Oil prices Channel 4 News Saturday - "increasing concern of finance ministers all over the world at the price of oil. Gordon Brown and his EU counterparts hinted strongly to Saudi Arabia to start producing more oil to steady markets. But their appeals may well be naive in any case.
...investment banker and energy analyst Matthew Simmons.. has predicted that oil prices will triple in the longer term on the basis that the world's oil production has already peaked as supply struggles to catch up to demand....his view of the worst case scenario is indeed scary stuff and worth listening to." ( warmwell's peak oil page has been updated almost daily since April 2004. See what Matthew Simmons said on Channel 4. "..... And if we don't clamour as a bunch of stakeholders around the world and force data transparency we probably deserve the awful shock we're going to get...." It opens in new window.)
September 10 2005 ~ Katrina No adequate plan to deal with a scenario that had been predicted three years before. In a five part series in the Times-Picayune see video the hurricane's damage was predicted in extraordinary detail. Yet last week, Michael Brown, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who has now been sacked, told CNN "That Category 4 hurricane caused the same kind of damage that we anticipated. So we planned for it two years ago. Last year, we exercised it. And unfortunately this year, we're implementing it." He suggested FEMA was carrying out a prepared plan, rather than having to suddenly create a new one.
But Michael Brown has been sacked and there may well be a proper independent inquiry. Let's hope so.
September 10 2005 ~ Windfalls for turbine companies Wind energy companies "queuing up" to submit an ever-growing pile of applications on the edge of Dartmoor. "They are all watching each other," he said. "If even one of them is successful, it will open up the floodgates for hundreds."Jonathan Cardale, chief executive of the Dartmoor Preservation Association is quoted in the WMN "Before they are discovered to be a fraud which does not save the environment, there is going to be huge pressure to put them up," he said. "The only way to oppose them is under the planning system, which must start locally."
September 10 2005 ~ impact on Katrina affected farms "Diesel deperately needed on farms affected by Katrina "....another tragedy is happening on the farms of southern Mississippi and Louisiana. Many farmers there raise poultry and dairy animals, and are heavily dependent on electrical power to run equipment. Some farmers have called asking if they can donate hay, but the cost to get it where it's needed is prohibitive. Plus, they're in summer so cows are on pasture and don't really need hay. "It would help us more if you would sell the hay, and send us the money," Greg Gibson, the public relations director of the Mississippi Farm Bureau told Agriculture Online on Wednesday." More
September 9 2005 ~ The Mad March of the Turbines ... Harrogate Council, which had refused permission for eight turbines on Knabs Ridge, close to the busy A59 and barely three miles from Harrogate, has been overruled. The decision has been overturned by a government inspector who claimed the need to produce more clean energy outweighed the "adverse impact" on the landscape. Councillor Richard Cooper, Cabinet Member for Planning, said "For a Government Inspector to come to our district and ignore all the good planning reasons why these towering metal structures should not be allowed is a smack in the face to local people and the local council." See www.harrogatetoday
September 8 2005 ~ Fuel tax Protests WMN "... the protest group Fuel Lobby, whose spokesman Andrew Spence said refineries would be blockaded from 6am next Wednesday if cuts were not introduced....In the UK, 66 per cent of the cost of unleaded petrol is tax. In France and Germany, it is 63 per cent, and in Spain it is just 41 per cent.
On diesel, tax in Britain is 64 per cent, while French consumers pay 53 per cent in tax and Germans 55 per cent...."
September 8 2005 ~ a disconnect between the process and the people who make the decisions An editorial in the Journal Nature points out something warmwell has become more and more aware of since FMD 2001, namely the gulf between the policy makers and the "on the ground" realities that those policies affect. As the news today about the Child Support Agency underlines, modern government seems rather too hard and complicated for those trying to do it. Increased centralisation and an arrogant refusal to admit difficulties is not at all appropriate:
" ..... There seems to be a disconnect, however, between the process that identifies such risks and the people who make the decisions that might manage them. There are indications that many senior politicians - not just President Bush - were simply unaware that the New Orleans flood risk even existed..." (More)
September 5 2005 ~ unsustainable, ecologically disastrous industrial agribusiness "In Russia, family farms were decimated during collectivization, along with agricultural output; in the U.S., a variety of other forces produced a similar result with regard to rural population, but without any loss of production. Both countries replaced family farms with unsustainable, ecologically disastrous industrial agribusiness, addicted to fossil fuels. The American ones work better, as long as energy is cheap, and, after that, probably not at all...."
Fascinating articles Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century by Dmitry Orlov (new window)
September 3/4 2005 ~ Disastrous effects of some aspects of ESA The Oxfordshire sheep farmer, Paul Haskins, has written about the effects of an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) Scheme on the welfare of grazing livestock. Extract: " ..... Under ESA management, ragwort colonised land where it had not been seen within living memory. ... Sheep will graze large quantities of ragwort whilst it is young, making it difficult to estimate how much they have ingested. The accumulation of poisonous alkaloids can result in liver sclerosis, which may not be obvious for up to eighteen months. This makes positive diagnosis of poisoning very difficult..." Read in full
September 2 2005 ~ sonic shock waves activate prion contaminates We're pleased that Mark Purdey has responded to the latest BSE/vCJD story "....nobody has picked up on the true relevance of the other press release put out by Texas Uni last week - that the use of sound waves on living tissues will determine whether a person's prion protein is primed for BSE or not. Although widely aired on the BBC news, nobody had connected this lab observation to my 4x published field research studies carried out in every cluster zone of TSE across the world - which concluded that exposures to sonic shock waves will activate the metal microcrystallised piezoelectic prion contaminants in mammalian brain..." Like Mark, we can't understand why his research is not considered of prime importance. But the establishment's exclusion of anyone dissenting from the current scientific orthodoxy is all too successful, it seems.Read in full
September 2 2005 ~ More speculation on BSE/vCJD Telegraph and BBC report on the Lancet's article about Prof Colchester's theory that " the most likely origin of BSE and the subsequent deaths from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was the import from the Indian subcontinent of bone meal containing infected human remains"
September 1 2005 ~ Continuing problems of FMD site leachate "... The workers tell me their next job is 14 weeks at the Tow Law (Cumbria) burial site, digging up the carcasses for incineration as leachate from the site has now entered the ground water in the area..." A letter in the WMN today
September 1 2005 ~4.5 million euros to the EUFMD FAO press release " The European Commission will step up its fight against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) by providing euro 4.5 million to the FAO European Commission for the Control of FMD (EUFMD). An agreement between the EC and FAO was signed today. The objective of the EC project is to prevent the entry of the FMD virus from infected areas outside Europe, with a focus on neighbouring countries such as Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and the Caucasus region...."
August/September 2005 ~ Yet another DEFRA consultation - this time it is on draft contingency plan for Specified Type Equine Exotic Diseases (Equine encephalitides including West Nile Virus, and also Hendra Virus. http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/steed-contingency/index.htm (new window) Nowhere in the 175 pages of "consultation" is there anything of practical interest about combatting the diseases. Mona writes, "... This plan does not contain the instructions for implementing disease control measures in the field, nor local public health plans. Strange that is the part I want to know about - how an outbreak will be dealt with......."
Nor does it deal with Vesicular Stomatitis which produces very similar symptoms to FMD.
August/September 2005 ~ US setting out to re-engineer Iraq's traditional farming systems Jeremy Smith at the Ecologist "Under the guise of helping get Iraq back on its feet, the US is setting out to totally re-engineer the country's traditional farming systems into a US-style corporate agribusiness. They've even created a new law - Order 81 - to make sure it happens..."
August 2005 ~ FMD vaccination 29 Aug " A large-scale vaccination program to protect cattle from foot-and-mouth has begun in Russia's far-eastern Maritime Territory... over 150,000 vaccines against the Asia 1 (FMDV-Asia 1) virus had been delivered to the region, and 160,000 more were expected in the next few days. This will allow all cattle at state and private farms to be vaccinated." http://en.rian.ru/russia/20050829/41243474.html
August 2005 ~ detailed inquiry into the costs and benefits of a range of energy sources WMN " .The Commons environmental audit committee has announced plans for a detailed inquiry into the costs and benefits of a range of energy sources .....The focus on costs is likely to prove embarrassing for the onshore wind industry, which enjoys lavish subsidies, although it could also raise difficult questions for those who favour a new generation of nuclear power stations..." Windfarms
August 2005 ~ avian influenza Bob McCracken, president of the BVA says," It is inevitable that bird flu will be carried to this country by migrating birds. The majority of our reared birds are still intensively reared and bred in large houses that are wild bird-proof. The danger is to free range birds and to backyard flocks." BBC Defra officials said the risk of the virus spreading to the UK was very low and that taking the same steps as those recently undertaken in the Netherlands would be "disproportionate".
August 2005 ~ "... this difficult question of animal testing" The BBC's Thought for the Day this morning with Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Cambridge, concluded thoughtfully with words along the lines of : " ...one religious teaching is unarguable and it is unique to religion - it is meaningless to apologise to animals, but if we continue with experimenting on their bodies, for whatever reason, we must at least apologise to God."
August 2005 ~ Oil, food and moving towards local sanity "....For the average American meal (and we assume the average Canadian meal is similar), World Watch reports that the ingredients typically travel between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometres, a 25 percent increase from 1980 alone. This average meal uses up to 17 times more petroleum products, and increases carbon dioxide emissions by the same amount, compared to an entirely local meal....The only starch left to us was the potato. Between us, we lost about 15 pounds in six weeks. ..." Living on the Hundred-Mile Diet ( and see peak oil news)
August 25 2005 ~ 110m high turbines in Carmarthenshire BBC Decision due on tallest wind farm. Controversial plans could be given the go-ahead later. . .." Windfarms
Archive July and August 2005
Archive Jan 2005 - July 2005
Archive Oct 2004 - Dec 2004
Archive August 2004 -October
OTHER WARMWELL ARCHIVES(opens in new window)
See also warmwell pages on concern about wind turbines, on oil depletion, on BSE/vCJD, on rapid diagnosis, on GM , UK meat scandals - High Yewdale Farm - or see index of main pages (new windows)
"There are just too many humans who think that unless you are a bullying un-compassionate sort of person you are not really farming. I am keeping these sheep for what they are bred for: wool production."