Samstag, 1. April 2006

Imperialismus als Farce

Fukuyamas Abrechnung mit der verschworenen Gemeinschaft der Neokonservativen, seinen einstigen Bundesgenossen, für die der Irak-Krieg zum Fiasko wurde.

Fly and be damned

The New Statesman (London)
April 3, 2006

Fly and be damned

Cover story

We could close every factory, lock away every car and turn off every light in the country, but it won't halt global warming if we carry on taking planes as often as we do. A voluntary no-flying movement offers the only hope, argues Mark Lynas

Some tout wind turbines or nuclear power. Others insist on micropower or biodiesel. Everyone has a preferred solution to global warming. But few seem to have realised that all their efforts will come to nothing if an increasing number of jet aircraft continue to take to Britain's crowded skies.

Aviation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse-gas emissions, already accounting for eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year - more than 10 per cent of the UK total. The sheer rate of growth is staggering: at 12 per cent per year, aviation is growing faster here than even in the boom economy of China.

This will be an environmental catastrophe, yet instead of trying to rein in the destructive surge in flying, government ministers are assiduously promoting its growth. The Labour government plans to bulldoze communities across the country for new runways and access roads, pushing the Kyoto goals out of reach for ever and giving a terrible boost to global warming.

A recent letter from Tony Blair to the campaign coalition Stop Climate Chaos shows just what a master of doublethink he has become. The government's initiatives on global warming will "reduce carbon emissions by over seven million tonnes by 2010", he crowed. Even if this were true (which is doubtful), the growth in the aviation sector would more than wipe out these gains by the end of the decade. Blair claims to think that "climate change is, without doubt, the major long-term threat facing our planet", yet the actions of his government make him just as culpable for the coming crisis as more familiar demons such as ExxonMobil or George W Bush.

It has often been said that unlimited growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. If so, then aviation's tumours are metastasising all over Britain. No major city today is complete without its own local airport, offering cheap flights to an ever-increasing list of domestic and international destinations. Heathrow is already making plans for a sixth terminal - even while the fifth is still a gigantic building site - and a third runway. Twelve other airports, including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Southampton, Norwich and Swansea, are planning large-scale expansions. Six, including Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow and possibly Gatwick, may almost double in size with new runways.

As an unavoidable consequence, aviation emissions will double by 2020 and quadruple by 2050, a prospect that makes a mockery of all other national efforts to combat global warming. According to a recent report by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, even if we were to shut down the rest of the economy in order to save on greenhouse-gas emissions, aviation alone would bust the sustainable emissions budget by the middle of the century. Without heating, lights, cars, factories or any of the other sources of pollution, the growth in flying alone will propel us into a future of melting ice caps, spreading deserts, rising sea levels, vanishing farmland and collapsing ecosystems.

The stance of our presumed prime minister-in-waiting, Gordon Brown, is if anything even worse than Blair's - although at least Brown doesn't bother trying to make us believe he knows or cares much about global warming. His Budget tossed a few crumbs in the direction of the environmental movement (pre-sumably with one eye on David Cameron's shiny new micro wind turbine) but, like Bush, Brown insists that nothing should get in the way of economic growth - not even the planet.

A stark example of Brown's poverty of imagination emerged in the Budget: householders, he said, would get support to fluff up their loft insulation, supposedly saving 35,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Big deal: this is the same amount that a single jumbo jet pumps out in the course of 25 return trips to Miami. And Brown is the biggest aviation enthusiast of all.

He's too canny to draw attention to this openly, of course. You need to read the small print - in this case a couple of paragraphs buried right at the end of chapter three of the pre-Budget report, under a section entitled "Meeting the Productivity Challenge". "The government is committed to meeting the demand for additional runway capacity in the south-east," the report says, in the name of which "a second runway at Stansted should be delivered as soon as possible".

The document goes on to commit the government to supporting Stansted expansion with a "package" of "surface access improvements" - code for new roads and motorways, all of which will be built at public expense, to funnel ever more traffic into the expanding airport.

Clear-sighted MPs on the Commons environmental audit committee have rightly lambasted the government's approach as the same old model of "predict and provide", which brought chaos and endless traffic growth to British roads. Ministers "predict" an increase in aviation passenger journeys from 180 million passengers per year at present to 476 million by 2030. This, the MPs point out, is the equivalent of another Heathrow every five years.

A government truly committed to achieving climate-change goals would rein in demand in the interests of sustainability and future generations. Instead, as the committee charges, "the Department for Transport has forecast future demand and then provided the framework to meet practically all of it. It is actively promoting growth on the scale envisaged", rather than being a neutral arbiter.

Just as building new roads created more traffic to fill them, building new runways and airports will encourage more people to adopt lifestyles that include lots of flying, such as second homes in Malaga, weekend shopping breaks in Prague, or family ties in Sydney.

Just look at where the big money is being spent. The private sector's price tag for Stansted's proposed runway is £2.7bn, somewhere between ten and a hundred times the amount the government puts into its entire climate-change programme, windmills, loft insulation schemes and cycle lanes included.

The government's one response to these concerns has been to seek the inclusion of aviation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme. The vague idea seems to be that airlines would buy carbon credits on the open market to cover their emissions, necessitating equivalent cuts in other polluting sectors of the economy. What happens when there aren't enough credits to go round? The answer seems obvious: given that the rest of the European economy won't want to roll over and shut down, the airlines will just bust the budget.

But maybe there's a technofix, where the white knight of technology miraculously rides to the rescue? The industry claims that its jet engines are becoming steadily more efficient, but the truth is that any likely emissions reductions will be quickly swamped by the increase in flights.

A bolder approach would be to launch aircraft which burn either hydrogen or biofuels. Alas, no experts believe such a thing is even on the radar for decades yet. Hydrogen is too bulky to work as a fuel, and in any case its combustion output of water, when injected high in the stratosphere, would contribute to global warming rather than reducing it. As for biofuels, they don't have the energy density of kerosene (the standard fossil jet fuel), and the business of producing them in large quantities is already endangering food security and boosting deforestation across the tropics. There is simply no possibility that they could be produced in the volume needed to slake the thirst of jet aircraft in the long term.

Another solution we are offered is carbon offsets, a sort of voluntary "tax" on airline tickets which goes to plant trees or fund renewable energy projects in the developing world. One of the companies offering offsets is Climate Care, which uses cash wrung from guilty frequent flyers to fund small-scale projects such as biogas digesters in India or low-energy school lighting in Kazakhstan. The projects undoubtedly bring benefits to their recipient communities, but it is far from clear whether or not they really neutralise the hugely damaging atmospheric impact of flying. Their psychological impact is also questionable: are they simply salving the consciences of people who might otherwise scale back their flights?

In this dreadful, dark picture there is one glimmer of hope. A no-flying movement is beginning to take shape, with many people voluntarily committing not to fly at all for non-essential trips. It is already a sufficiently large market to be taken seriously by the newspaper travel supplements, which are starting to provide information on train or shipping alternatives. And there are benefits. Travel to the Alps by train and you get a real sense of geography, of evolving culture and changing climatic zones. Arrive by air and all you see is identikit airport terminals and thousands of other culture-shocked, aggravated travellers. Slow travel, like slow food, is about clawing back quality of life.

Perhaps it is to this incipient movement that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair should look if they want to avoid going down in history - as they surely will on present form - as villains or fools who chose the wrong side of the struggle against global warming. No, Mr Brown, Stansted's second runway should not be "delivered as soon as possible". No, Mr Blair, Heathrow should not be given a sixth terminal and a third runway.

As the writer George Monbiot has pointed out, the farmland around Heathrow village once grew some of the best apples in England, and the cargo planes bringing out-of-season strawberries from California are touching down on grubbed-out orchards and market gardens. If we begin to rein in aviation, perhaps Britain can flower once again.

Here's a positive vision for the future: rather than opening new runways, the government should be closing them down.

Tim Hermach
Native Forest Council
PO Box 2190 Eugene, OR 97402
541.461.2156 fax

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Save Morrell Canyon from Hydroelectric Boondoggle

Morrell Canyon, a beautiful, biologically diverse, oak-filled canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains of southern California's Cleveland National Forest, is at serious risk of imminent destruction. A private energy company, Nevada Hydro, is proposing to flood the canyon to create a reservoir for generating electricity, by pumping water up from Lake Elsinore below. Associated transmission lines will further degrade and fragment the biologically rich natural habitats of the forest. Please send a comment letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on their draft Environmental Impact Statement and attend a public meeting sponsored by FERC on April 4 in San Juan Capistrano or April 5 in Lake Elsinore to voice your opposition to this ill-conceived energy boondoggle.

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You Don´t Deserve Brain Cancer - You Deserve The Facts


A message from Eleanor:

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

e - @ b o l i t i o n i s t

April 2006

Please forward and cross-post this message widely.

Six Executions Scheduled for the Second-half of April

There are six execution dates lined up in April, all within two weeks of each other. Three are from Texas and one each from Virginia, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. One of the Texas death row inmates is Pedro Sosa, who was granted a stay back in October 2005, and has been scheduled a new date.

Pedro Sosa has been on death row for 23 years. His most recent execution date was stayed after his attorneys filed a motion, arguing that the courts had yet to consider evidence that Sosa is mentally retarded. Generally, a person with an IQ of 70 or below is considered mentally retarded. Sosa scored a 66. The case of Marvin Wilson also touches on the issue of mental retardation. The most recent measure of Wilson’s IQ, presented by a psy­cho­lo­gist at a 2004 state hearing, was 61. In this particular case, the attorney assigned to Wilson failed to meet a deadline laid out by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), which governs the habeas appeals process, and as a result, Wilson will likely be executed on a technicality.

Read more about these and the other four cases below -- and ACT!

Do Not Execute Pedro Sosa!

The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Pedro Sosa, a Latino, on April 25, 2006 for the kidnapping and shooting death of Ollie “Sammy” Childress, a white man and a Wilson County sheriff’s deputy. There is good reason to believe that Sosa--who scored a 66 on his IQ test--is mentally retarded. Furthermore, Sosa maintains his innocence, denying any involvement with the kidnapping, bank robbery, or murder.

Not only is the State preparing to execute a mentally retarded person, it is planning to do so on a weak case. There are several issues surrounding the case that cast doubt upon Sosa’s guilt. Moreover, Sosa claims that law enforcement officials forced him to confess by threatening him and his wife, who was with Sosa at the time of his arrest.

ACT NOW by contacting Gov. Rick Perry requesting that he stop the execution of Pedro Sosa!

Read More and Take Action at:

Do Not Execute Marvin Lee Wilson! Marvin Lee Wilson, a black man, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the kidnapping and murder of 21-year old Jeffrey Robert Williams, a police informant. Wilson’s case highlights many of the most troubling issues of the U.S. death penalty system.

In a December 2005 ruling the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals callously refused to consider Wilson’s case despite their acceptance that Wilson made a prima facie showing of mental retardation simply because Wilson’s court-appointed attorney failed to file the appeal on time. The average court-appointed capital defense lawyer is overworked and underpaid, so it is not surprising that those factors, combined with the somewhat incomprehensible statutes of the AEDPA, led to Wilson’s attorney failing to file his appeal within the necessary time frame.

ACT NOW by contacting Gov. Rick Perry and asking that Marvin Lee Wilson's execution be halted!

Read More and Take Action at:

See and act on all current Execution Alerts at

April 18: Richard Thornburg Jr., OK

April 21: Willie Brown Jr., NC

April 25: Pedro Sosa, TX

April 26: Marvin Wilson, TX

April 27: Derrick Frazier, TX

April 27: Dexter Lee Vinson, VA

Is your newspaper afraid of this (real) story?

Long mobile phone use raises brain tumor risk

Nutrients are Bad For Your Health?


March 31, 2006
Natural Solutions Foundation

Just a quick note: the Wall Street Journal has joined the Poison Press attack on Dietary Supplements. Here's a look at the real story. Check out the new blog at .

Make sure you add your comments. This is your issue if you care about your health and your health freedom!

Oh, and make sure you tell the FDA you don't want to loose the right to choose Bio Identical Hormones so Wyeth's dangerous synthetic hormones, Premarin and Prempro, don't have to compete with the natural ones that women prefer.

Send your comments to before the April 4, 2006 deadline.

And let Congress hear your voice, too. Go to

Yours in both health and freedom,

Dr. Laibow
Medical Director

Impeachment Talk Becomes More Than Whisper

Committee Hearing Statement on the Call To Censure the President


By Ker Than
March 23, 2006

About 130,000 years ago, an ice age ended and there was a period of few centuries before the next one began. During this lull, Earth's temperature warmed, glaciers retreated and ice sheets melted. Sea levels rose by up to 20 feet.

Scientists warn that this could happen again -- and soon. But while the last great thaw was the result of a natural tilt in the Earth's axis towards the Sun, the next one will be caused by humans, some scientists argue.

If global warming continues at its current pace, by 2100 Earth could be up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is today. If steps are not taken soon to reduce greenhouse emissions, the Arctic will be as warm as it was 130,000 years ago and similar rises in sea level will occur, according to two new studies released today.

"Although the focus of our work is polar, the implications are global," said Bette Otto-Bliesner from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado, who was involved in both studies. "These ice sheets melted before and sea levels rose. The warmth needed isn't that much above present conditions."

The findings are detailed in the March 24 issue of the journal Science.

Antarctica's role

The studies are the first to definitively link Antarctica to the sea level rises that occurred between the last two ice ages, the researchers say.

Called the Last Interglaciation, this period lasted from about 129,000 to
116,000 years ago. Scientists had previously known that meltwater from Greenland and other Arctic ice sheets were important factors in sea level rises during this period, but it was unclear what Antarctica's contribution was.

The new results, which draw upon a combination of computer simulations and paleoclimate records, suggests that Arctic melting caused sea levels to rise by up to 11 feet during the Last Interglaciation.

This in turn triggered melting in Antarctica, causing sea levels to rise further.

Rising seas

The researchers combined a computer climate prediction model, the NCAR-based Community Climate System Model (CCSM), with ice sheet simulations to estimate what the Earth's climate was like 130,000 years ago.

They crosschecked the computer's estimates with data from natural records of ancient climate change such as sediments, fossils and ice cores.

All the methods indicated similar warming. However, the computer model showed meltwater from Greenland and other Arctic sources raising sea levels by only about 11 feet, while coral records indicate that the sea level actually rose up to 20 feet.

The researchers think this discrepancy can be explained by meltwater from Antarctica, which could have caused sea levels to rise by another 6 to 10 feet.

Rising seas from Arctic meltwater would have destabilized ice shelves in Antarctica, causing them to melt or break apart and fall into the ocean.

"It's just like throwing a bunch of ice cubes into a full glass of water and watching the water spill over the top," said Jonathon Overpeck of the University of Arizona, who was also involved in both studies.

This hypothesis is consistent with earlier studies based on fossilized microscopic marine organisms, which showed that parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet disappeared at some point over the last several hundred thousand years.

3 feet per century

Once the researchers were confident that their computer model could accurately simulate past climate conditions, they used it to predict future climate change.

"Getting the past climate change correct in these models gives us more confidence in their ability to predict future climate change," Otto-Bliesner said.

The researchers concluded that if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed and we continue with "business as usual," Arctic temperatures will become at least as warm as it was during the Last Interglacial.

If this happens, humanity will be committing the planet to a sea level rise as drastic as, or worse than, the 20-foot increase that occurred 130,000 years ago, Overpeck said.

"Paleoclimatic data shows that we could get 3 feet of sea level rise per century," he told LiveScience. "That's what we would be triggering later in the century. We'd be committing to a sea level rise of that magnitude."

Currently, global sea level rises at a rate of about an inch per decade.

Not too late

Scientists warn that if the warming seen 130,000 years ago occurred today, it would be accelerated by global warming and other human activities.

"The ocean is the vehicle by which this heat is getting to the edges of the ice sheets, so if you increase the rate at which you're putting heat into the ocean, then it would further accelerate the melting," said Robert Bindschadler, a glaciologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center who was not involved in the study by Otto-Bliesner and Overpeck.

Bindschadler is the author of another study, also published in this week's issue of Science, which shows how glaciers can be melted from below by pockets of warm water.

The pace of Arctic melting would also quicken because of pollution-darkened snow, scientists say, which absorbs more sunlight and melts faster than regular snow.

The process will become irreversible sometime in the second half of the 21st century unless steps are taken in the next few decades to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Overpeck said.

"We need to start serious measures to reduce greenhouse gases within the next decade. If we don't do something soon, we're committed to four-to-six meters (13 to 20 feet) of sea level rise in the future."


By John Roach
National Geographic News
March 30, 2006

The air over Antarctica has warmed dramatically over the past 30 years, according to a new study of archived data collected by weather balloons floated over the icy continent.

The greatest warming -- nearly 1.4ºF (0.75ºC) per decade in the winter -- has occurred about 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the surface.

Scientists are hard pressed to explain the temperature spike, which is three times larger than the global average. The rise cannot be explained by the climate models scientists use to predict the effects of global warming from increased greenhouse gases.

"That could point to some mechanism of climate change we don't understand, a failing in these models, or just a result of natural climate variability," said John Turner, a climate scientist with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England.

Meanwhile, surface temperatures have increased 4.5ºF (2.5ºC) in the last 50 years on the Antarctic Peninsula, the mountainous arm that trails toward the southern tip of South America.

"But the rest of Antarctica has done virtually nothing [at the surface]", Turner said.

Turner is the lead author of the study, which appears in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science.

David Bromwich, a meteorologist with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University in Columbus, said there's "no doubt this [warming] is real."

But, he added, the finding only "deepens the mystery of what's going on over Antarctica."

Potential Implications

According to Turner, the unexpected warming could affect snowfall across the continent, which might have implications for global sea-level rise.

Snowfall records of the past three decades show no change, Turner said. "But measuring snowfall is hard. Measuring temperature is obviously easier," he added.

Scientists expect the warming to create a small increase in snowfall over Antarctica, as the warmer, moister air blows over the continent and is cooled to form snow.

This in turn could mitigate, to a small extent, sea-level rise by "locking up" meltwater in the form of snow.

Since the atmospheric warming is greatest three miles (five kilometers) up in the atmosphere, Turner said it is unlikely to result in extensive melting of ice on the surface. The continent's tallest mountains are 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) high.

Complex Signals

Turner and his colleagues are now trying to understand why the atmosphere warming is disconnected from surface temperatures.

One possibility, he said, is that the region is showing a greater than expected sensitivity to greenhouse gases in the winter.

Antarctica is dark during the winter months, which means there is no sunlight to heat the surface.

However, the heat that is on the surface continues to radiate into the atmosphere, where it is trapped by the blanket of greenhouse gases, Turner explained.

Alternatively, the warming may reflect a change in air circulation patterns, though data collected at Antarctic weather stations suggest this has not happened, he said.

Bromwich, of the Byrd Center, said the findings fit the emerging picture of Earth experiencing the effects of global warming, such as the widely reported melting in the Arctic.

"To understand what is happening to our world, we also need to understand what is happening in Antarctica," Bromwich said.

"This [research] deepens the mystery rather than solves it, but it shows us the direction we should be looking."

Informant: NHNE


Antarctic Air is Warming Faster Than Rest of World

Protect California's last remaining old-growth trees

California's old growth trees not only preserve the state's spectacular landscapes, but offer habitat for endangered species and reduce wildfire risk. Urge state Senator Kuehl to support an important bill that would help protect these "heritage" trees.

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