Friday, January 13, 2006

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

Liberals want to feed the hungry but want to stop genetic research to help do so. They want to save the environment but want to stop the use of alternative (nuclear) energy. They want to plant trees and save greenery that contributes to the global warming they fear. They want to provide shelter but with no wood, but chemicals that make plastics, etc. harm the environment and should also be banned. What exactly is their stance?!

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060113/BUSINESS11/601130327/1071

Greenpeace co-founder praises global warming

By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff

Global warming and nuclear energy are good and the way to save forests is to use more wood.

That was the message delivered to a biotechnology industry gathering yesterday in Waikiki. However, it wasn't the message that was unconventional, but the messenger — Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore. Moore said he broke with Greenpeace in the 1980s over the rise of what he called "environmental extremism," or stands by environmental groups against issues such as genetic crop research, genetically modified foods and nuclear energy that aren't supported by science or logic.

Hawai'i, which is one of the top locations nationwide for genetically modified crop research, has become a focal point in the debate about the risks and value of such work. Friction between environmentalists and other concerned groups and the biotech industry surfaced most recently in relation to the use of local crops to grow industrial and pharmaceutical compounds. Last year that opposition halted a Big Island project planning to use algae for trial production of pharmaceutical drugs.

Zero-tolerance standards against such research by environmental groups delay developments that could help those with unmet basic needs, Moore said. Instead Moore called for compromise rather than confrontation on the part of the environmentalists.

"There's no getting away from the fact that over 6 billion people wake up each day on this planet with real needs for food, energy and materials," he told those attending a luncheon at a three-day Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.

The event was sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Sponsors included Dupont, Carghill and the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which spent $15,000 to support the conference.

In direct opposition to common environmentalist positions, Moore contended that global warming and the melting of glaciers is positive because it creates more arable land and the use of forest products drives up demand for wood and spurs the planting of more trees. He added that any realistic plan to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the emission of so-called greenhouse gases should include increased use of nuclear energy.

Among the 300 or so members in the audience yesterday was Henry Curtis, executive director for environmental group Life of the Land. Curtis said he found Moore's comments "interesting."

"He's obviously thought about things," Curtis said. "But I don't buy a lot of his arguments.

"I think the movement dealing with (genetically modified organisms) is very wide. You can't just say everybody that's against it is against it for this reason and they're totally against it.

"Part of what we're doing in the environmental movement is safeguarding the downsides," Curtis added. "We don't want to see a downside that we don't anticipate overwhelming the system."

Reach Sean Hao at shao@honoluluadvertiser.com.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060111/sc_nm/environment_methane_dc

New source of global warming gas found: plants

LONDON (Reuters) - German scientists have discovered a new source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change.

The culprits are plants.

They produce about 10 to 30 percent of the annual methane found in the atmosphere, according to researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.

The scientists measured the amount of methane released by plants in controlled experiments. They found it increases with rising temperatures and exposure to sunlight.

"Significant methane emissions from both intact plants and detached leaves were observed ... in the laboratory and in the field," Dr Frank Keppler and his team said in a report in the journal Nature.

Methane, which is produced by city rubbish dumps, coal mining, flatulent animals, rice cultivation and peat bogs, is one of the most potent greenhouse gases in terms of its ability to trap heat.

Concentrations of the gas in the atmosphere have almost tripled in the last 150 years. About 600 million tonnes worldwide are produced annually.

The scientists said their finding is important for understanding the link between global warming and a rise in greenhouse gases.

It could also have implications for the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for developed countries to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Keppler and his colleagues discovered that living plants emit 10 to 100 times more methane than dead plants.

Scientists had previously thought that plants could only emit methane in the absence of oxygen.

David Lowe, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, said the findings are startling and controversial.

"Keppler and colleagues' finding helps to account for observations from space of incredibly large plumes of methane above tropical forests," he said in a commentary on the research.

But the study also poses questions, such as how such a potentially large source of methane could have been overlooked and how plants produced it.

"There will be a lively scramble among researchers for the answers to these and other questions," Lowe added.

1 comment:

James Aach said...

Another prominent enviromentalist who has called for a second look at nuclear power is Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. His article in the May 2005 MIT Technology Review stirred up some controversy.

Mr. Brand has also endorsed a techno-thriller novel about the American nuclear power industry, available at no cost on the net. Written by a longtime nuclear engineer, it provides an entertaining and accurate portrait of a nuclear power plant and how an accident might be handled. “Rad Decision” is at RadDecision.blogspot.com.

"I'd like to see Rad Decision widely read." - Stewart Brand

I hope you'll take the opportunity to check out Rad Decision - and if you like what you see, please pass the word.