Mexican chief hopes Republicans change on climate

Mexican President Felipe Calderon says he can understand why U.S. voters in an economic crisis turned to the opposition party, but he hopes the Republicans will eventually accept the need to protect the planet's climate for "new generations." (Click on image for larger pictures)

"I hope they can realize sooner or later how important it is for the future," Calderon said Monday.

At the same time, in an implicit criticism of China, the Mexican leader also spoke of poorer nations taking a "radical" position against any legally binding commitments to rein in their emissions of carbon dioxide and other industrial, transport and agricultural gases blamed for global warming, something he said Mexico is willing to do.

Calderon met with The Associated Press annual negotiating conference of parties to the 193-nation U.N. climate treaty.

Mexican warships patrolled off the beaches as Calderon's government, in a bloody struggle with drug cartels, threw a thick security cordon around the sprawling hotel zone in this Caribbean resort for the two weeks of talks.

The diplomatic effort to impose stronger controls on global warming gases has been stymied in recent years by friction between the two biggest emitters, China and the United States.

The U.S. has long refused to join the rest of the industrialized world in the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 climate treaty adjunct that mandated modest emissions reductions by richer nations. The Americans complained it would hurt their economy and it exempted such emerging economies as China and India.

The Chinese, for their part, have resisted pressure from the U.S. and others in recent years to take on binding commitments not to reduce, but to limit the growth in their emissions, saying they were still too poor to risk slowing down their economy. (Right: who signed Kyoto; click on picture for larger image)

The election of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives in the Nov. 2 elections has made it all but impossible for at least two years that any U.S. legislation would pass to cap carbon emissions, essential for drawing other nations into a new, more stringent pact to succeed Kyoto, which expires in 2012.

Many Republicans dismiss scientific evidence of global warming, and fought against Democrat-sponsored energy legislation the past two years.

Asked about the impact of the U.S. November election on global climate efforts, Calderon said it was difficult to comment on a neighbor's internal affairs, but "the economic crisis in the United States was a setback to the quality of life for millions and millions of Americans, and it is a very important factor in the opinion of the people. I can understand that."

But, in an echo of President Barack Obama, Calderon, a former Mexican energy secretary, said political leaders must explain better to their people that a climate-friendly transformation from polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy would actually boost their economies.

"We need to persuade people that we are going to help them to recover the economy, to recover their jobs and at the same time we need to take action in favor of new generations, and probably they can find their new jobs in this new green economy," he said.

Asked whether he believed bigger developing nations, such as Mexico, would ever join with industrial nations in a new binding treaty on climate, Calderon said Mexico "has the will" to do it - on condition it's done on the basis of "common but differentiated responsibilities," climate treaty language taken to signify that poorer countries would not be required to actually roll back emissions, but only to institute other controls.

But he cited "other countries, especially big emitters, that express the radical position that they will not accept by any means any kind of binding commitments."

Is China among them? "It could be China, and other countries," he replied.

But he quickly added that "in my experience, the Chinese government is starting to take action in terms of these issues, particularly in terms of the energy efficiency program, very aggressive."

Calderon, Mexico's president for the past four years, was animated and engaged in a 40-minute interview on the climate crisis. He's expected to take a personal hand next week in trying to resolve disputes over secondary treaty issues debated here,while the world waits for an end to the gridlock on a new global accord to ward off the worst of climate change.

He lamented that the "big players" are stalling progress for everybody else, and said others "need to start already on what is possible."

As an example, he cited his government's soon-to-be-announced plan to replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with new energy-saving bulbs.

Washington Post,
"Mexican chief hopes Republicans change on climate", by Charles Haney of AP, accessed November 30, 2010
I got a couple of Josh Turner's CDs in the mail today and when Paula came home I put this song on the stereo system and we had a dance in the lounge room.

But not quite like the couple in the video clip though......
My current job is daylights, and during this time of year my bicycle riding often takes place during the gloaming hours. I hope that our pending health care reform includes mental-health days during nice weather so I can ride in the afternoons more often.

If I'm going to end up riding in the dark, I like to ride the Montour Trail from Enlow to McDonald. I know the trail, it doesn't have too many road crossings, and it's pretty much deserted out there.

Mind you, I would never intentionally ride the trail after sunset; it's against the rules. Sometimes, you could misunderestimate your time and speed. If a touring bike left San Diego at 2pm doing 12 mph, and sundown is at 5:15, how many minutes after sunset would it get to Chicago?, and somehow, against all precautions, you end up out there in the dark. It happens.

The other day I was out after hours, and it was really dark. As my friend J.P. says, it was darker than the inside of a cow. There was an overcast layer so there was no moonlight.

I was on the second half of the ride, on a slight downhill, staying in the center of the trail to avoid the little ruts and washouts at the edge. I was probably doing 16 mph, maybe a little more - my computer has a backlight for night riding, but my HID headlight interferes with my wireless computer, and when the light's on the computer is verklempt.

Silently, stealthily, a bike ninja was pedaling the opposite direction. No light. No front reflector. No helmet. Wearing either a black hoody or an invisibility cloak.

I rode around a bend in the trail, and fortunately my lights found the weakness in the ninja's invisibility - my lights lit up her pedal reflectors and we avoided a collision. If she had a ninja-sword, I couldn't see it. But then, you never can. Ninja are like that.

I hate bike ninjas, and I extend that to the larger category of ninjas in general. I hope the Pirates beat them.

If you have a bike ninja in your family, please break the cycle and buy them a light. Wise souls in San Francisco, Chicago, and D.C. have recently organized interventions to set bike ninja on the illuminated path of en-lightenment.

After all, it is written, "It is better to light one bike than to curse the darkness".

SOLDIERS who suffer repeated wounds or injury on frontline service, including in Afghanistan, are being denied compensation under a government scheme.
The grouped assessment used by the Department of Veterans Affairs means that points allocated to a previous wound or injury can cancel out those for a later one. Diggers who have already been compensated for being hurt in a war zone face the prospect of being turned down if they are injured again on their return to active duty.
Lawyers for defence personnel affected by the anomaly are launching legal appeals against the government to secure payouts for them.
One veteran army sergeant, who would be identified only as Robert, was denied compensation for shoulder and elbow injuries sustained in Afghanistan when his claim was offset against an earlier one for back and knee damage.

"My right forearm still locks up and I can't lift with it," said the soldier of 22 years, who has undergone surgery twice since 2007.He is mystified why the department insists on grouping the injuries under the points system introduced in 2004.

"They said any claim I get would have to be offset against any compensation I got for my knee."
The scheme was brought in by the Howard government to centralise entitlements for veterans, who had previously been covered by two older pieces of legislation.
Under the scheme, claims are assessed by a government-run independent body, the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, which ranks "whole body impairment" on a scale of zero to 107. The rating is calculated on the degree of medical impairment and its impact on the individual's quality of life. The commission determines a weekly payment rate commensurate with that impairment, which may be taken as a lump sum.
But if the claimant was compensated for an injury sustained on active service before the points scheme came into effect in July 2004, that payment is deducted from any additional sum they might receive.
Robert did not qualify for compensation for his hurt shoulder and elbow because they were assessed as less severe than his earlier injuries, which had been subject to a claim under the pre-2004 arrangements.
"It just makes you feel insignificant," he told The Australian.
"We're always taught if you put in the hard yards, they'll look after you. You soldier on because that's your job, then you try to get it sorted out and they don't help."
Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia vice-president John Smith, who was injured while deployed in 1969, said it was outrageous that young veterans weren't better looked after.
"It's something we're not at all happy with, but until such time as there's a politician who is prepared to put in a change to the legislation to make sure it doesn't happen, I doubt we'll see any change," he said. "Nobody seems willing to take that step."
The Department of Veterans' Affairs said the offsetting method was designed to ensure some veterans were not allowed to double-dip on entitlements.
"Compensation offsetting ensures that an ADF member with eligibility under two or more different pieces of legislation does not receive more compensation for impairment compared to what another member might get under one piece of legislation for the same impairment," the department said in a statement.
But former veterans affairs minister Danna Vale, who introduced the points scheme, said it was never the Howard government's intention for veterans to be unable to combine their entitlements. "That was absolutely not what was intended," Ms Vale told The Australian. "John Howard and I were consistent and clear on this: that any conflict between the schemes would always be resolved by erring on the side of generosity to the veteran.
"That's what John Howard always said, and that's what I said in the second reading speech."
In that 2003 speech to parliament, Ms Vale was explicit: "A member who suffers an injury or illness after that date (July 2004) will be able to combine prior impairments from (previous schemes) the SRCA (Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme) and the VEA (Veterans' Entitlements Act) with the new arrangements to get the best possible outcome."
Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon was unavailable to comment yesterday, but a spokeswoman said the department was reviewing the issue.
Robert's lawyer, Greg Isolani, said the commission's formula shook the foundations of Australian workers' compensation law. "If you look at Comcare, which is for public servants, they're entitled to individual assessments for each of their injuries," Mr Isolani said.
"If they're in a car crash, they'd get an individual assessment for every single injury they receive."
Mr Isolani said he was representing about a dozen veterans who had experienced similar knockbacks. "There could be hundreds more who are getting this outcome and then receive advice they can't fight it and just accept it," he said.
Ms Vale said the MRCC had the power to change its formula, and urged it to rectify the problem.

Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized

A pivotal 2006 congressional report that raised questions about the validity of global warming research was partly based on material copied from textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report, plagiarism experts say.

A report by George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman (right)
criticized earlier research led by scientist Michael Mann that said global temperatures were highest in the last century than the previous 1,000 years.

But according to plagiarism experts, 'significant' sections of the 91-page report were lifted from 'textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report'.

The Wegman report called into question Michael Mann's so-called 'hockey stick' graph which suggested a rapid rise in recent global temperatures.

The study was lauded as 'independent, impartial, expert' work and helped shape the
US's policy on climate change but its credibility has now been called into question.

The allegations come as some in Congress call for more investigations of climate scientists like the one that produced the Wegman report.
"It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others' integrity when you don't conform to the basic rules of scholarship," Virginia Tech plagiarism expert Skip Garner said.

"The report was integral to congressional hearings about climate
scientists," says Aaron Huertas of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C. "And it preceded a lot of conspiratorial thinking polluting the public debate today about climate scientists."

But in March, climate scientist Raymond Bradley (right) of the University of
Massachusetts asked GMU, based in Fairfax, Va., to investigate "clear plagiarism" of one of his textbooks.

Bradley says he learned of the copying on the Deep Climate website and through a year-long analysis of the Wegman report made by retired computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif. Mashey's analysis concludes that 35 of the report's 91 pages "are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning." Copying others' text or ideas without crediting them violates universities' standards, according to Liz Wager of the London-based Committee on Publication Ethics.

Allegations under review

"The matter is under investigation," says GMU spokesman Dan Walsch
by e-mail. In a phone interview, Wegman said he could not comment at the university's request. In an earlier e-mail Wegman sent to Joseph Kunc of the University of Southern California, however, he called the plagiarism charges "wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality."

The plagiarism experts queried by USA TODAY disagree after viewing the Wegman report:
  • "Actually fairly shocking," says Cornell physicist Paul Ginsparg by e-mail. "My own preliminary appraisal would be 'guilty as charged.'

  • "If I was a peer reviewer of this report and I was to observe the paragraphs they have taken, then I would be obligated to report them," says Garner of Virginia Tech, who heads a copying detection effort. "There are a lot of things in the report that rise to the level of inappropriate."

  • "The plagiarism is fairly obvious when you compare things side-by-side," says Ohio State's Robert Coleman, who chairs OSU's misconduct committee.
As an example, one section of the Wegman report reads: 'The average width of a tree ring is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, stored carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors.'

A book by Prof Bradley, meanwhile, states: 'The mean width of a ring in any one tree is a function of many variables, including the tree species, tree age, availability of stored food within the tree and of important nutrients in the soil, and a whole complex of climatic factors.'
The report was requested in 2005 by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas (left), then the
head of the House energy committee. Barton cited the report in an October letter to The Washington Post when he wrote that Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann's work was "rooted in fundamental errors of methodology that had been cemented in place as 'consensus' by a closed network of friends."

The Wegman report criticized 1998 and 1999 reports led by Michael
Mann (Bradley was a co-author) that calculated global temperatures over the last millennium. It also contained an analysis of Mann's co-authors that appears partly cribbed from Wikipedia, Garner says.

Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for Barton, reiterated the congressman's support of the Wegman report on Monday, saying it "found significant statistical issues" with climate studies.

A 2006 report by the National Research Council (NRC), which examines scientific disputes under a congressional charter, largely
validated Mann, Bradley and the other climate scientists, according to Texas A&M's Gerald North, the panel's head. The NRC report found that Wegman report-style criticisms of the type of statistics used in 1998 and 1999 papers were reasonable but beside the point, as many subsequent studies had reproduced their finding that the 20th century was likely the warmest one in centuries.

In a 2007 presentation at the university, report co-author Yasmin Said of GMU said that a Barton committee staffer, Peter Spencer, provided the background material for the report. "Although Dr. Said's presentation seemed to imply that we were being coached by the
Republicans by being given only their selected materials to look at, this was not true," Wegman said in response to a USA TODAY freedom-of-information act request.

In an updated response that he authorized on Monday, Wegman said, "In fact, when we had our initial interview with Peter Spencer, he made it very clear that the Committee wanted our opinion as statisticians as to the correctness of the mathematics used to develop the Hockey Stick (the 1999 and 1998 papers), and he explicitly told us that they wanted the truth as we saw it."

Wegman added, "I will say that there is a lot of speculation and
conspiracy theory in John Mashey's analysis which is simply not true... These attacks are unprecendented in my 42 years as an academic and scholar. We are not the bad guys and we have never intended that our Congressional testimony was intended to take intellectual credit for any aspect of paleoclimate reconstruction science or for any original research aspect of social network analysis."

Information not forthcoming

The Wegman report called for improved "sharing of research materials, data and results" from scientists. But in response to a request for
materials related to the report, GMU said it "does not have access to the information." Separately in that response, Wegman said his "email was downloaded to my notebook computer and was erased from the GMU mail server," and he would not disclose any report communications or materials because the "work was done off-site," aside from one meeting with Spencer.
"It's nothing personal. I don't want these guys fired or anything," Bradley says. "They should just retract or withdraw the report as you would any scientific publication that has these sort of problems."
USA Today,
"Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized", by Dan Vergano, accessed November 25, 2010
DailyMail, "Influential climate change report 'was copied from Wikipedia'" , accessed November 25, 2010

My goal was to ride 2000 miles on my bike this year. That's not an epic number, and I've had years when I rode more, but for me, this year, it seemed like a legitimate goal.

After today's ride, I'm at 1900 miles. 100 miles to go, four weeks, that should work.

After all, you can hear the whistle blow 100 miles.

Warning over desertification

Forestry experts warned degraded grasslands are likely to speed up the processes of soil erosion and desertification, feeding the sandstorms that usually sweep North China in the spring.

"Overgrazing causes about 90 percent of grassland erosion,
extending from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the arid reaches of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region," Zhang Xinshi (right), professor of the Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said on Friday at the Sino-German expert consultation on climate change and combating desertification project in Beijing.

"Erratic rainfall coupled with serious desertification; these may both
be the 'root cause' of the problem," added Dr Zhang Qianggong, research assistant at the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Institute of the China Academy of Sciences. He expressed that as the Qinghai-Tibet plateau is situated in the middle to upper reaches of the troposphere, the atmospheric conditions are severely unstable which allows sand and dust to enter the atmosphere and is having far-reaching effects.

In addition, the large shifting sand dunes and desertification of the
land of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau also account for the increased sand and dust levels in the atmosphere. Now there are large and active sand dunes at the headlands of the Brahmaputra and its tributary valleys, the Yellow river and the Yangtze. Moreover, the area of desertification of the land has increased dramatically.

Restoring grasslands and controlling desertification have become an important part of China's fight against climate change, said Liu Tuo, director-general of the State Forestry Administration's national bureau to combat desertification.

While grasslands cover more than 40 percent of China, comprising about 400 million hectares, growing urbanization and overgrazing are encroaching on and damaging the country's green areas.

China already suffers from severe desertification (left), with about 2.6 million square kilometers of land - or more than 25 percent of the country's total land area - affected by the process, according to the latest statistics from the forestry administration.

It is estimated that desertification poses a threat to 400 million people who live in arid regions of China, which cover more than 33 percent of the country.

Zhang said sandstorms (right) follow a general route in China from the
northwest to the southeast of the country.

Scientists found that sandstorms form above the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from December to March every year, before gradually moving to the north, Shanghai Morning Post reported earlier this month.

The newspaper quoted scientists from the Chinese Academy of
Sciences as having said that the plateau is likely to succumb to desertification if no effective measures are taken to halt the process, especially with less rain and rising temperatures in the area.

The average temperature in China has risen 1.1 degrees over the past five decades, while there has been a corresponding rise of 0.77 degrees on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau during the same period, according to Yang Weixi, chief engineer of the national bureau to combat desertification.

With the rising temperatures, the glacial area has contracted in western China and is currently 5.5 percent smaller than in the 1960s,
Yang said.

Since the 1980s, the country's glaciers have lost nearly 587 billion cubic meters of water capacity, comparable to 10 times the annual runoff from the Yangtze River, he said.

There is expected to be a water shortage of about 20 billion cubic meters in western China by 2030, said Jiang Youxu, a scientist with the Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection at the Chinese Academy of Forestry.

, "Warning over desertification", accessed November 24, 2010
The Daily Planet, "Sandstorms on the plateau", accessed November 24, 2010
I can’t buy normal light bulbs
I can’t water the garden
I can’t wash the car
I can’t use plastic bags
I was made to feel guilty if I didn’t comply.

So what has happened?

OK, so I reduced my consumption.

I have larger water bills because the price per litre went up.
I have larger power bills because the price per thingy went up.
This global warming has shown to be a con, just like the Y2K Bug.

Whose fault is this?
Has anyone been sacked over this?
Have heads rolled?
Has anyone said ‘sorry we wuz wrong?’

Enough of the hysteria.

Can I have my life back now to do as I choose.
I dunno who the author is, but this has been doing the rounds of the internet since 2006........

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however. Dogs curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Remember, dogs are better than kids because they:
(1) eat less,
(2) don't ask for money all the time,
(3) are easier to train,
(4) normally come when called,
(5) never ask to drive the car,
(6) don't smoke or drink,
(7) don't want to wear your clothes,
(8) don't have to buy the latest fashions,
(9) don't need a gazillion dollars for college and
(10) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children ...         

Indonesia's billion-dollar forest deal in danger

Greenpeace on Tuesday warned that a billion-dollar deal between Norway and Indonesia to cut carbon emissions from deforestation is in danger of being hijacked by timber and oil palm companies.

The environmental group said "notorious industrial rainforest destroyers" such as palm oil and pulp producers intended to manipulate the funds to subsidize further conversion of natural forests to plantations.

The allegations came in a new Greenpeace report called "REDD Alert: Protection Money", expressing doubts about Indonesia's plans to use a
UN-backed scheme to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

It said Indonesia's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction proposals "may
create perverse incentives to clear forests and peatlands, create opportunities for corruption... and actually drive an increase in GHG emissions".

Under a REDD scheme announced in May, Norway has agreed to contribute up to a billion dollars to help preserve Indonesia's forests, partly through a two-year moratorium on new clearing of natural forests and peatlands from 2011.

Indonesia is the world's third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, due mainly to rampant deforestation by the palm oil and paper industries, fueled by corruption.

"Expansion plans show that these sectors intend to utilize the Indonesian government's ambiguous definitions of forests and degraded land to hijack the funds and use them to subsidize ongoing conversion of natural forests to plantations," the group said in a statement.

The industries' current expansion plans -- which have support within some government ministries -- seek to treble pulp and paper production by 2025 and double palm oil production by 2020, the report said.

"This expansion, coupled with weak definitions for degraded land in Indonesia, could see REDD funds which are designed to support protection of Indonesia's forests and peatlands actually being used to support their destruction," it added.

The areas earmarked included 40 percent of Indonesia's remaining natural forest -- an area the size of Norway and Denmark combined.

It also risked up to 80 percent of the country's remaining peatland --
which stores massive amounts of carbon -- and nearly 50 percent of the remaining forested orangutan habitat in Kalimantan, on Borneo island.

The forest and peatland carbon at risk amounted to four years? worth of global greenhouse emissions, the report said.

Greenpeace applauded Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono's "progressive vision" on the need to cut emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

But Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said his plans were being "systematically undermined by the influence of the palm oil and pulp and paper industry".

With increased focus on productivity and higher yields, the palm and paper industry could reach its production targets without further deforestation, he added.

The report also criticized Indonesia for bundling plantation activity up with REDD-funded schemes to "rehabilitate" degraded or "idle" land, leading to forest replacement.
"Consequently, international REDD funds earmarked for forest protection may actually be used to subsidize their destruction, with significant climate, wildlife and social costs," it said.
Google Newsfeed
, "Indonesia's billion-dollar forest deal in danger", accessed November 24, 2010
Sean Hamill has a well written story in Saturday's Post-Gazette about the Delta Queen and her possible return to service as a riverine resort, a moored motel, or a crap-shooting casino.

The article tells the vessel's history and the fortunes of similar ships from the same era. The story goes on to describe the effect of the recent election on the ship's future utility, and in doing so hints at the pending sea change in transportation policy.

To lift a few details from Mr. Hamill's excellent piece, the 1966 federal Safety at Sea Act (P.L. 89-777) forced any predominantly wooden boat to cease operating as an overnight cruise vessel if it carried more than 49 passengers.

Although the Delta Queen has a steel hull, she has a wooden superstructure and carries up to 174 passengers. Congress had granted her nine exemptions to the Safety at Sea Act since 1966.

The last waiver expired Oct. 31, 2008, after Rep. James Oberstar, D-MN, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, denied the owner's request for a tenth exemption. Oberstar said he was concerned about the possibility of a fire on the wooden boat.

Company officials claimed that Mr. Oberstar opposed the tenth exemption because the company had forced the Seafarers International Union, which represented the Delta Queen's crew, off the boat when they bought it in 2006.

In this month's elections, Mr. Oberstar lost his House seat to a Republican challenger, ending his eighteen consecutive terms.

Since the House went Republican, the new Chairman of the House Transportation Committee is Rep. John Mica, R-FL. Mica's ascendence bodes well for the vessel's owners; this Republican has never met a union-busting Company that he wouldn't sell grant a safety waiver to.

To WWVB's untrained eye, this smacks of union-busting. A new Company bought the ship and forced the union out, replacing them with lower-paid employees. Oberstar, a good man and a union supporter, gave them a taste of their own medicine; in a way, he locked out the owners the same as they threw out the union.

Mr. Hamill's story about a parochial point of interest paints a broader picture of the times and suggests the shift we'll soon see in trucks, trains, ships and planes.

Next climate warming report will be dramatically worse: UN

United Nations leaders will demand "concrete results" from the looming Cancun climate summit as global warming is accelerating, a top UN organizer of the event said Monday.

Robert Orr, UN under secretary general for planning, said the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming will be much worse than the last one.

Representatives from 194 countries are to meet in the Mexican resort
city of Cancun from November 29 to December 10 for a new attempt to strike a deal to curb greenhouse gases after 2012.

Orr told reporters that negotiators heading for the Cancun conference "need to remind themselves, the longer we delay, the more we will pay both in terms of lives and in terms of money."

He said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would make it clear to
world leaders in Cancun "that we should not take any comfort in the climate deniers' siren call."

"The evidence shows us quite the opposite-- that we can't rest easy at all" as scientists agree that climate change "is happening in an accelerated way."

"As preparations are underway for the next IPCC report, just about everything that you will see in the next report will be more dramatic than the last report, because that is where all the data is pointing."

The fourth IPCC assessment released in 2007 said that global warming
is "unequivocal" and mainly caused by human activity.

Its next report, involving contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, is due in 2014.

With many countries fearful of a repeat of last year's bitter Copenhagen summit failure, Orr said that progress is possible in Cancun.

If governments "understand the peril that their populations are in, it is much easier to get over the political hurdles to do what you have to do," he said.

The United Nations wants breakthroughs on verifying deforestation and financing to combat the lost of tropical forests.

Efforts to speed up technology transfers to combat global warming and financing projects to slow the phenomenon could also be advanced, Orr said.

Thirty billion dollars of emergency funding over three years was agreed at Copenhagen and a UN panel on how to raise 100 billion dollars a year from 2020 has already delivered its report.

The panel recommended taxes on carbon emissions and international transport, including air tickets.

Orr said no one should expect "the final deal" in Cancun. But he said: "The time has come for some decisions on issues and therefore we do want some concrete results."

Google News Feed,
"Next climate warming report will be dramatically worse: UN", accessed November 24, 2010