Reflects international failure to reach agreement on emissions targets
The Guardian | January 24, 2010
Banks and investors are pulling out of the carbon market after the failure to make progress at Copenhagen on reaching new emissions targets after 2012.
Carbon financiers have already begun leaving banks in London because of the lack of activity and the drop-off in investment demand. The Guardian has been told that backers have this month pulled out of a large planned clean-energy project in the developing world because of the expected fall in emissions credits after 2012.
Anthony Hobley, partner and global head of climate change and carbon finance at law firm Norton Rose, said: “People will gradually start to leave carbon desks, we are beginning to see that already. We are seeing a freeze in banks’ recruitment plans for the carbon market. It’s not clear at what point this will turn into a cull or a rout.”
Paul Kelly, chief executive of EcoSecurities, which develops clean energy projects, said that while markets had not expected a definitive post-Kyoto Protocol deal at Copenhagen, they had expected some progress.
“The lack of regulatory certainty in the post 2012 world affects the market’s view of what CERs [carbon credits from clean energy projects] will be worth and subsequently will constrain financing for projects. If you had an agreement at Copenhagen with a bit more detail, people would be more willing to take risk.”
After two weeks of extenuating talks, world leaders delivered an agreement in Copenhagen that left campaigners disappointed as it failed to commit rich and poor countries to any greenhouse gas emission reductions.
Banks had been scaling back their plans to invest in carbon markets before Copenhagen. Fewer new clean energy projects need to be financed as, because of the recession, there are fewer global emissions to offset. The price of carbon credits has also fallen, while plans to introduce national trading schemes, particularly in the US and Australia, remain uncertain.
Two sources said that Australian bank Westpac had scaled back plans to increase its carbon desk in London. A bank spokeswoman denied there were plans to recruit more staff in London, adding: “We have always said that we would look to grow this business organically as carbon markets develop and that remains the case.”
Carbon markets were central to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012 and obliged developed countries that exceed their targets to purchase credits from clean energy projects in the developing world. Policymakers will meet again in Mexico in November in an attempt to revive the climate change talks.
1. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean volume of 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil in the Orinoco Oil Belt Assessment Unit of the East Venezuela Basin Province; the range is 380 to 652 billion barrels. (4 page pdf)
Estimates of Original Oil-in-Place
A comprehensive study by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) established the magnitude of the original oil-in-place (OOIP) at 1,180 billion barrels of oil (BBO), a commonly cited estimate for the Orinoco Oil Belt (Fiorillo, 1987); PDVSA recently revised this value to more than 1,300 BBO (Gonzalez and others, 2006). In this study the median OOIP was estimated at 1,300 BBO and the maximum at 1,400 BBO. The minimum OOIP was estimated at 900 BBO, given the uncertainty of regional sandstone distribution and oil saturation (Fiorillo, 1987).
Estimates of Recovery Factor
Recovery factor, or that percentage of the OOIP that is determined to be technically recoverable, was estimated from what is currently known of the technology for recovery of heavy oil in the Orinoco Oil Belt AU and in other areas, particularly California, west Texas, and western Canada. The minimum recovery factor was estimated to be 15 percent, the recovery expected for cold production using horizontal wells. The median recovery factor was estimated to be 45 percent, on the assumption that horizontal drilling and thermal recovery methods might be widely used. The maximum recovery factor was estimated to be 70 percent, on the assumption that other recovery processes, in addition to horizontal drilling and steam-assisted gravity drainage, might eventually be applied on a large scale in the Orinoco Oil Belt AU.
The assessment of technically recoverable heavy oil and associated gas resources is shown in table 2. The mean of the distribution of heavy oil resources is about 513 BBO, with a range from 380 to about 652 BBO. The mean estimate of associated dissolved-gas resource is 135 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCFG), with a range from 53 to 262 TCFG. No attempt was made in this study to estimate either economically recoverable
2. North Dakota raised its forecast for oil output on growth in and around the Bakken Shale formation There is another 100,000 barrels a day in north Dakota from oil that is not in the Bakken.
Output may reach 300,000 to 400,000 barrels a day by mid- 2011 and stay at that level for 10 to 15 years, said Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Mineral Resources Department. The state’s previous estimate was 220,000 to 280,000.
The forecast was raised on discoveries by companies such as Continental Resources Inc., Helms said in an interview. Drilling advances are enabling producers to tap the Bakken, where rocks lack the porosity and permeability of conventional oil fields. The Bakken contributed to last year’s 7.5 percent gain in U.S. crude output, the biggest since 1955 and the first in 18 years. The Energy Department forecast a 1.8 percent increase in 2010.
The top end of North Dakota’s production projection would represent more than 7 percent of nationwide oil output.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 (Bernama) — More than 100 members of Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM), a coalition of NGOs, on Sunday participated in a walkabout for about five kilometres here in support of the efforts towards creating a free and independent state of Palestine.
The walkabout, held at Jalan Changkat Haji Abang Openg here, saw the participants wearing white T-shirts bearing the words “Boikot Israel” (Boycott Israel) as part of a campaign to boycott the products of four multinational companies alleged to be strong supporters of the Zionist regime.
VPM chairman Datuk Adnan Mohd Tahir said the walkabout was the third in the series of the VPM “Boikot Israel” programme, the first having been held in August last year at Menara Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) and the second in November at the Sunway Pyramid in Selangor.
VPM, formerly known as the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs Against Persecution of Palestinians (Complete), was set up on Jan 5 last year grouping 50 NGOs.
Doctors accuse Lord Hutton of concealing vital information
By Miles Goslett | Daily Mail | 23rd January 2010
Vital evidence which could solve the mystery of the death of Government weapons inspector Dr David Kelly will be kept under wraps for up to 70 years.
In a draconian – and highly unusual – order, Lord Hutton, the peer who chaired the controversial inquiry into the Dr Kelly scandal, has secretly barred the release of all medical records, including the results of the post mortem, and unpublished evidence.
The move, which will stoke fresh speculation about the true circumstances of Dr Kelly’s death, comes just days before Tony Blair appears before the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War.
It is also bound to revive claims of an establishment cover-up and fresh questions about the verdict that Dr Kelly killed himself.
Whistle-blower: Dr Kelly died after casting doubt on Government claims about Saddam’s weapons
Tonight, Dr Michael Powers QC, a doctor campaigning to overturn the Hutton findings, said: ‘What is it about David Kelly’s death which is so secret as to justify these reports being kept out of the public domain for 70 years?’
Campaigning Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has also questioned the verdict that Dr Kelly committed suicide, said: ‘It is astonishing this is the first we’ve known about this decision by Lord Hutton and even more astonishing he should have seen fit to hide this material away.’
The body of former United Nations weapons inspector Dr Kelly was found in July 2003 in woods close to his Oxfordshire home, shortly after he was exposed as the source of a BBC news report questioning the Government’s claims that
Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which could be deployed within 45 minutes.
Lord Hutton’s 2004 report, commissioned by Mr Blair, concluded that Dr Kelly killed himself by cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife.
It was dismissed by many experts as a whitewash for clearing the Government of any culpability, despite evidence that it had leaked Dr Kelly’s name in an attempt to smear him.
Only now has it emerged that a year after his inquiry was completed, Lord Hutton took unprecedented action to ensure that the vital evidence remains a state secret for so long.
A letter, leaked to The Mail on Sunday, revealed that a 30-year ban was placed on ‘records provided [which were] not produced in evidence’. This is thought to refer to witness statements given to the inquiry which were not disclosed at the time.
In addition, it has now been established that Lord Hutton ordered all medical reports – including the post-mortem findings by pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt and photographs of Dr Kelly’s body – to remain classified information for 70 years.
The normal rules on post-mortems allow close relatives and ‘properly interested persons’ to apply to see a copy of the report and to ‘inspect’ other documents.
Lord Hutton’s measure has overridden these rules, so the files will not be opened until all such people are likely to be dead.
Last night, the Ministry of Justice was unable to explain the legal basis for Lord Hutton’s order.
The restrictions came to light in a letter from the legal team of Oxfordshire County Council to a group of doctors who are challenging the Hutton verdict.
Last year, a group of doctors, including Dr Powers, compiled a medical dossier as part of their legal challenge to the Hutton verdict.
They argue that Hutton’s conclusion that Dr Kelly killed himself by severing the ulnar artery in his left wrist after taking an overdose of prescription painkillers is untenable because the artery is small and difficult to access, and severing it could not have caused death.
In their 12-page opinion, they concluded: ‘The bleeding from Dr Kelly’s ulnar artery is highly unlikely to have been so voluminous and rapid that it was the cause of death. We advise the instructing solicitors to obtain the autopsy reports so that the concerns of a group of properly interested medical specialists can be answered.’
Tonight, Dr Powers, a former assistant coroner, added: ‘Supposedly all evidence relevant to the cause of death has been heard in public at the time of Lord Hutton’s inquiry. If these secret reports support the suicide finding, what could they contain that could be so sensitive?’
The letter disclosing the 70-year restriction was written by Nick Graham, assistant head of legal and democratic services at Oxfordshire Council.
It states: ‘Lord Hutton made a request for the records provided to the inquiry, not produced in evidence, to be closed for 30 years, and that medical (including post-mortem) reports and photographs be closed for 70 years.’
Nicholas Gardiner, the Chief Coroner for Oxfordshire, confirmed that he had seen the letter.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday today, he said: ‘I know that Lord Hutton made that recommendation. Someone told me at the time. Anybody concerned will be dead by then, and that is quite clearly Lord Hutton’s intention.’
By David Rose | Daily Mail | January 24, 2010
The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.
Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.
‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’
Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation.
According to the IPCC’s statement of principles, its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.
The claim that Himalayan glaciers are set to disappear by 2035 rests on two 1999 magazine interviews with glaciologist Syed Hasnain, which were then recycled without any further investigation in a 2005 report by the environmental campaign group WWF.
It was this report that Dr Lal and his team cited as their source.
The WWF article also contained a basic error in its arithmetic. A claim that one glacier was retreating at the alarming rate of 134 metres a year should in fact have said 23 metres – the authors had divided the total loss measured over 121 years by 21, not 121.
Last Friday, the WWF website posted a humiliating statement recognising the claim as ‘unsound’, and saying it ‘regrets any confusion caused’.
Dr Lal said: ‘We knew the WWF report with the 2035 date was “grey literature” [material not published in a peer-reviewed journal]. But it was never picked up by any of the authors in our working group, nor by any of the more than 500 external reviewers, by the governments to which it was sent, or by the final IPCC review editors.’
In fact, the 2035 melting date seems to have been plucked from thin air.
Professor Graham Cogley, a glacier expert at Trent University in Canada, who began to raise doubts in scientific circles last year, said the claim multiplies the rate at which glaciers have been seen to melt by a factor of about 25.
‘My educated guess is that there will be somewhat less ice in 2035 than there is now,’ he said.
‘But there is no way the glaciers will be close to disappearing. It doesn’t seem to me that exaggerating the problem’s seriousness is going to help solve it.’
One of the problems bedeviling Himalayan glacier research is a lack of reliable data. But an authoritative report published last November by the Indian government said: ‘Himalayan glaciers have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.’
When this report was issued, Raj Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, denounced it as ‘voodoo science’.
Having been forced to apologise over the 2035 claim, Dr Pachauri blamed Dr Lal, saying his team had failed to apply IPCC procedures.
It was an accusation rebutted angrily by Dr Lal. ‘We as authors followed them to the letter,’ he said. ‘Had we received information that undermined the claim, we would have included it.’
However, an analysis of those 500-plus formal review comments, to be published tomorrow by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the new body founded by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, suggests that when reviewers did raise issues that called the claim into question, Dr Lal and his colleagues simply ignored them.
For example, Hayley Fowler of Newcastle University, suggested that their draft did not mention that Himalayan glaciers in the Karakoram range are growing rapidly, citing a paper published in the influential journal Nature.
In their response, the IPCC authors said, bizarrely, that they were ‘unable to get hold of the suggested references’, but would ‘consider’ this in their final version. They failed to do so.
The Japanese government commented that the draft did not clarify what it meant by stating that the likelihood of the glaciers disappearing by 2035 was ‘very high’. ‘What is the confidence level?’ it asked.
The authors’ response said ‘appropriate revisions and editing made’. But the final version was identical to their draft.
Last week, Professor Georg Kaser, a glacier expert from Austria, who was lead author of a different chapter in the IPCC report, said when he became aware of the 2035 claim a few months before the report was published, he wrote to Dr Lal, urging him to withdraw it as patently untrue.
Dr Lal claimed he never received this letter. ‘He didn’t contact me or any of the other authors of the chapter,’ he said.
The damage to the IPCC’s reputation, already tarnished by last year’s ‘Warmergate’ leaked email scandal, is likely to be considerable.
Benny Peiser, the GWPF’s director, said the affair suggested the IPCC review process was ‘skewed by a bias towards alarmist assessments’.
Environmentalist Alton Byers said the panel’s credibility had been damaged. ‘They’ve done sloppy work,’ he said. ‘We need better research on the ground, not unreliable predictions derived from computer models.’
Last night, Dr Pachauri defended the IPCC, saying it was wrong to generalise based on a single mistake. ‘Our procedure is robust,’ he added.
By Philip Weiss | January 24, 2010
Here is a story by New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner in yesterday’s paper, anticipating the Israeli defense forces’ official response to the Goldstone Report. Bronner’s story is 99-44/100ths hasbara. He quotes an Israeli general, he quotes Moshe Halbertal. He even gets B’tselem to chime in against the Goldstone report. There is no effort, in the New York Times no less, to have anyone stand up for the Goldstone report, one of the most astonishing moral documents of human rights atrocities that has ever been compiled.
[Close your eyes. Imagine the Times submarining Seymour Hersh by quoting lots of people defending the My Lai massacre.]
Let me give you one example of the bias in this piece. Bronner writes:
The rebuttal will be given to United Nations officials in the coming weeks and its contents will remain under wraps until then. But officers involved in writing the report [i.e., I am serving as a conduit for hasbara] gave some details.
One concerned the destruction of Gaza’s sole flour mill. The Goldstone report asserts that the Bader flour mill “was hit by an airstrike, possibly by an F-16.” The Israeli investigators say they have photographic proof that this is false, that the mill was accidentally hit by artillery in the course of a firefight with Hamas militiamen.
The dispute is significant since the United Nations report asserts that “the destruction of the mill was carried out for the purpose of denying sustenance to the civilian population,” an explicit war crime.
Now let’s go over a few facts. First, I did a search; and it appears that this is the first reference to the el-Bader flour mill destruction in the New York Times. That is to say, despite the fact that Goldstone devoted a whole chapter to the flour mill’s destruction last September, this is the first time Bronner has thought to lift his pen to tell American readers about it. To repeat: the only source of flour inside Gaza is destroyed by the Israeli military, it is cited by an unimpeachable judge who investigated Bosnia and Rwanda as a war crime, and the New York Times correspondent only sees fit to mention it when Israeli officials confidentially tell him the “real” story.
Second, read Goldstone’s own narrative on the el-Bader flour mill, beginning on paragraph 913 of the report. Goldstone says that after two warnings (12/30/2008 and 1/4/2009) caused the flour mill’s 45 employees to have to evacuate, the mill was struck on Jan. 9 at 3 in the morning by an F-16. And that Apaches then struck it several more times with “missiles” that rendered it inoperative. Then for the next four days, Israeli soldiers occupied the plant–which is in the northwest of Gaza–and evidently used it as a base/machine gun nest. They left “100s” of spent 40 mm shells on the roof.
Goldstone got his information from the Hamada brothers, who own the plant and were interviewed four times, and from visits to the plant. “The Hamada brothers rejected any suggestion that the building was at any time used for any purpose by Palestinian armed groups,” Goldstone wrote. There was a high wall around the plant, and it was guarded 24/7. The brothers were issued “Businessman” cards by the Israeli gov’t so as to be able to travel to and fro from Israel, and were in touch with Israeli business associates during the war in an effort to protect their plant. They would never have gotten such cards, the Hamadas said adamantly, if the Israeli gov’t regarded them as a security risk.
Why doesn’t the Times print the Hamada brothers’ story? Why does it believe unnamed gov’t officials? Shouldn’t American readers be given both sides?
By REGINA MEDINA | Philadelphia Daily News | January 24, 2010
Residents of eastern Pennsylvania might not know it, but they’re living in the middle of a thyroid-cancer hot spot, according to a public-health advocate.
The eastern side of the state lays claim to six of the nation’s top 18 counties with the highest thyroid-cancer rates, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pennsylvania ranked as the No. 1 state in thyroid-cancer cases between 2001 and 2005, 12.8 cases per 100,000 residents. (New Jersey comes in at No. 5 with 11.8 cases per 100,000.)
Joseph Mangano, the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project research group, said yesterday that he believes the spike in cancer is due to the high number of nuclear plants in the area.
At a news conference at City Hall where thyroid-cancer survivors and physicians also spoke, Mangano said that within 100 miles of eastern Pennsylvania, 16 nuclear reactors are operating at seven nuclear plants, the highest concentration in the country.
The emissions from the Limerick and Three-Mile Island plants don’t come close to those from the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima or the 1986 Chernobyl accident, but “that doesn’t necessarily mean [it's] safer,” Mangano said.
“Not only have we documented an epidemic of thyroid cancer in the area, but we have raised a red flag for more and more detailed study of the relationship between the reactor emissions and thyroid cancer,” Mangano said.
Mangano, who published his findings in the International Journal of Health Services, said that the only known cause of thyroid cancer is exposure to radiation, specifically radioactive iodine, “one of the 100 man-made chemicals” produced by nuclear energy.
One University of Pennsylvania doctor who has researched thyroid cancer called the findings “provocative” and “intriguing,” but added that the author needed to delve more into the subject.
“We do know nuclear plants give off radioactive iodine [and] radioactive iodine can be associated with thyroid cancer,” said Susan J. Mandel, a professor of medicine and radiology. “Does it mean it causes it? It requires further investigation to see if it’s causing it.”
Lehigh County had the highest thyroid-cancer rate; others in eastern Pennsylvania were: Northampton (3rd), Luzerne (6th), York (7th), Bucks (14th) and Lancaster (18th). In New Jersey, Camden was ranked No. 16 and Burlington was 17th.
DPA | January 23, 2010
Beirut – The National Lebanese Council for Audio-Visual Media and the Lebanese Press Association on Saturday urged the United States to reverse a decision to take ‘punitive measures’ against a satellite broadcaster run by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
The Council hinted that it will resort to banning from Lebanese airwaves US-networks such as Cable News Network (CNN) and others financed by the US.
Council head Abdel Hadi Mahfouz said that if the US bill against Hezbollah’s al-Manar television was adopted, ‘we as an independent council can cut off transmissions of US-based stations such as CNN and (US-backed Arabic satellite channel) al-Houra by asking cable distributors in Lebanon not to air such channels.’
‘We have expressed our refusal for such a legal measure against al-Manar and other channels which the US has listed as Arab terrorist entities,’ said Mahfouz.
The US House of Representatives passed a bill in December 2009 calling for ‘punitive measures’ against Middle East television networks, including al-Manar, seen to be fueling anti-US sentiment.
The bill was adopted in a decisive 395 to 3 vote against media outlets that broadcast ‘anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East.’
The networks listed in the bill include Al-Aqsa, the television station of the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas, which broadcasts from the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah’s al-Manar.
Hezbollah’s al-Manar broadcasts from Beirut. It was launched in 1991. In 2004 it was banned from broadcasting in the US, France, Spain and Germany.
By Jonathan Leake | The Australian | January 25, 2010
THE UN climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to a rise in natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny – and ignored warnings from scientific advisers. The report’s author later withdrew the claim because the evidence was too weak.
The link was central to demands at last month’s Copenhagen climate summit by African nations for compensation of $US100 billion from the rich nations.
However, the IPCC knew in 2008 that the link could not be proved but did not alert world leaders, who have used weather extremes to bolster the case for action on climate change.
Kevin Rudd last November linked weather extremes to the debate over the government’s emissions trading scheme.
“We will feel the effects of climate change fastest and hardest, and therefore we must act this week, and the government will be doing everything possible to make sure that can occur,” the Prime Minister said at the time.
British Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband has suggested floods – such as those in Bangladesh in 2007 – could be linked to global warming.
US President Barack Obama said last year: “More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent.”
Last month British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told parliament that the financial agreement at Copenhagen “must address the great injustice that . . . those hit first and hardest by climate change are those that have done least harm”.
The IPCC has now been forced to reassess its report linking extreme weather to climate change.
The UN body’s about-face comes less than a week after it was forced to retract claims that the Himalayan glaciers would be largely melted by 2035. The claim was sourced to an environmental group’s report of an interview in New Scientist magazine.
The Indian glaciologist who made the quote said a week ago the claim was “speculation” and had not been used in a peer-reviewed scientific paper.
It also comes as the British parliament launches an inquiry into leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit that raised questions about the legitimacy of some data published by the IPCC about global warming.
The latest controversy goes back to the IPCC’s benchmark 2007 report on climate change, which warned that the world had “suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s”. It suggested part of the increase was because of global warming.
However, the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, by the time the climate body issued its report. When the paper was published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: “We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophic losses.”
The IPCC failed to issue a clarification before the Copenhagen climate summit last month. Two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts, but were ignored.
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a climatologist at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, who is vice-chairman of the IPCC, said the UN body was now “reassessing the evidence” and it would publish a report on natural disasters and extreme weather with the latest findings.
The opposition used the latest revelations to savage Mr Rudd over his handling of climate change. Tony Abbott pointed to Mr Rudd’s reluctance to mention climate change in the series of speeches he had delivered around the nation in the lead-up to Australia Day.
“This is yet another case of the Prime Minister raising expectations and not acting on them,” the Opposition Leader said. “The challenge for the Prime Minister is to say now whether he really will reintroduce the ETS given the failure of Copenhagen.”
Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt backed the British parliamentary inquiry into the so-called Climategate emails, established on Friday. “The key to community consensus on climate change is confidence in the science,” he said.
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong last week endorsed the IPCC report that contained the glacier claim. “It has been intensely scrutinised with very few errors being identified, and none that challenge the central conclusions of the report,” she said. “The Fourth Assessment Report represents the international consensus on climate change science. All reports of the IPCC are subjected to extensive expert and government review.”
The paper at the centre of the latest questions was written in 2006 by Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at Risk Management Solutions, a London consultancy, who became a contributing author on the IPCC report on climate change impacts.
He wanted to find out if the eight year-on-year increase in losses caused by weather-related disasters since the 1960s was larger than could be explained by the impact of social changes such as growth in population. Such an increase, coinciding with rising temperatures, would suggest global warming was to blame.
In the research, Mr Muir-Wood looked at a range of hazards, including tropical cyclones, floods and hurricanes. He found from 1950 to 2005 there was no increase in the impact of disasters once growth was accounted for. For 1970 to 2005 he found a 2 per cent annual increase that “corresponded with a period of rising global temperatures”, but said almost all of it was because of strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005. Despite such caveats, the IPCC report cited only the 1970-2005 results.
Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, who commissioned Mr Muir-Wood’s paper, has told the IPCC that citing one section in preference to the rest was wrong.
“The idea that catastrophes are rising in cost because of climate change is completely misleading,” Mr Muir-Wood said.
Additional reporting: Christian Kerr
January 24, 2010 – By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies
Palestinian medical sources reported on Saturday evening that two Palestinian youths were wounded by Israeli military fire as the soldiers opened fire at local residents who were defending themselves after being attacked by fundamentalist settlers near Nablus. The settlers attacked local villagers of Iraq-Burin village, south of Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank.
Sources at the Palestinian Red crescent Society reported that Ahmad Isam Al Faqeeh, 16, was wounded by a rubber-coated bullet in his thigh, and was moved to the Rafidia Hospital. His condition was described as light-to-moderate. Resident Nasr Daoud Daqlous, 18, was lightly wounded and received treatment by medics at the scene.
The clashes started when dozens of fundamentalist settlers of the Yitzhar illegal settlement attacked the village and its residents.
Ghassan Douglas, in Charge of Settlements File in the northern part of the West Bank, stated that after the settlers attacked the residents, Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene and opened fire at the Palestinians instead removing the settlers who initiated the confrontation.
Iraq-Burin is a small village of nearly 1000 residents in addition to some 600 residents living abroad, especially in Jordan and Kuwait. It has 125 homes and the families living there are originally from Burin village.