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US urges scientists to block out sun
David Adam and Liz Minchin
THE US wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming.
It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be "important insurance" against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a UN report on climate change, the first part of which is due out on Friday).
The US has also attempted to steer the UN report, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), away from conclusions that would support a new worldwide climate treaty based on binding targets to reduce emissions. It has demanded a draft of the report be changed to emphasise the benefits of voluntary agreements and to include criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol, which the US opposes.
The final report, written by experts from across the world, will underpin international negotiations to devise an emissions treaty to succeed Kyoto, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft of the report last year and invited to comment.
The US response says the idea of interfering with sunlight should be included in the summary for policymakers, the prominent chapter at the front of each panel report. It says: "Modifying solar radiance may be an important strategy if mitigation of emissions fails. Doing the R&D to estimate the consequences of applying such a strategy is important insurance that should be taken out. This is a very important possibility that should be considered."
Scientists have previously estimated that reflecting less than 1 per cent of sunlight back into space could compensate for the warming generated by all greenhouse gases emitted since the industrial revolution. Possible techniques include putting a giant screen into orbit, thousands of tiny, shiny balloons, or microscopic sulfate droplets pumped into the high atmosphere to mimic the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption. The IPCC draft said such ideas were "speculative, uncosted and with potential unknown side-effects".
The US submission complains the draft report is "Kyoto-centric" and it wants to include the work of economists who have reported "the degree to which the Kyoto framework is found wanting".
It also complains that overall "the report tends to overstate or focus on the negative effects of climate change". It also wants more emphasis on responsibilities of the developing world.
But Professor Stephen Schneider, a climate consultant to the US government for more than 30 years and a key figure in the panel process for more than a decade, says the world is "playing Russian roulette" with its future by responding too slowly to climate change.
The panel's draft report shows projections for average global temperature rise from 1990 to 2100 will expand slightly, with a new range of one to 6.3 degrees. The 2001 report's range was 1.4 to 5.8 degrees.
Professor Schneider said he was concerned the increase was more likely to be three degrees or higher, with a 10 per cent chance of a six-degree rise by the end of the century.
"Hell, we buy fire insurance based on a 1 per cent chance," he said. "If we're going to be risk averse … we cannot dismiss the possibility of potentially catastrophic outliers and that includes Greenland and West Antarctica [ice sheets breaking up], massive species extinctions, intensified hurricanes and all those things. "There's at least a 10 per cent chance of that. And that to me for a society is too high a risk … My value judgement when you're talking about planetary life support systems is that 10 per cent, my God, that's Russian roulette with a Luger."
With Guardian News & Media
Below article related
Chemtrail Sunscreen Taught In US Schools
A is for Apple.
B is for Boy.
C is for Chemtrails.
At least this is what one American father found while paging through his child's science book. SmT was astonished to find seventh graders being taught about chemtrails. And geoengineeering their home planet.
Anyone with question about the "spray programs" he now says, "should perhaps just ask their kids."
The chemtrails section is found in the Centre Point Learning Science I Essential Interactions science book. Under "Solutions for Global Warming", section 5.19 features a photo of a big multi-engine jet sporting a familiar orange/red paint scheme.
The caption reads: "Figure 1- Jet engines running on richer fuel would add particles to the atmosphere to create a sunscreen".
The logo on the plane says: "Particle Air".
"I kid you not," SmT insists. "Why did I spend all of that time doing research when I could have just asked my kids?"
Helping habituate children to a life under lethal sunshine and "protective" spray planes, this trippy textbook urges young readers to "Use Sun Block". But its authors are referring to a sunscreen spread across the sky.
Could we deliberately add particles to the atmosphere?" asks the text, before helpfully suggesting that "Burning coal adds soot to the air."
You might be old enough to recoil at such a notion. But in a country where down is up and wrong is right, your kids could be learning that what used to be bad and a bummer is a now good thing!
RUNNING ON EMPTY
"Be real interesting to see the politics of the folks putting this out." SmT suggests.
In the current White House, those politics are as "crude" as invading oil-rich Iraq over a bogus nuclear threat - while permitting Pakistan to export atom bomb materials to terrorist organizations in return for the chance at an election-boosting capture of Osama bin Laden by US forces in the Hindu Kush later this month. [New Yorker Mar1/04]
Why shouldn't the same petrol politics produce textbooks for children inheriting a nightmare? Led by a piggish petroleum president, with most major nations cutting back, US oil consumption is rising as steeply as supplies of cheap crude are collapsing.
The coal connection is this: In order to briefly "stretch the glide" of the fast-looming end of cheap oil that will utterly transform life as we know it, America's unelected oil president recently revoked pollution regulations on more than 2,000 of the nation's biggest polluting coal-fired power plants.
Ironically, this move - like so many others made by an oil-addled White House - will only hasten an Earthwreck as shattering to all onboard as a lurching square-rigger striking a rocky reef. Except our spaceship is surrounded by the cold, irradiated vacuum of deep space.
It turns out that a single 150-megawatt coal-burning power plant produces more emissions than 300,000 cars. Termed an "Extreme Human health Hazard" by the EPA, microscopic coal particles also rot lungs, stop hearts, kill lakes, choke cities - and stunt the lives of school kids with deadly sulphuric acid rain. [AP Aug27/03; LA Times Aug28/03]
Airborne soot also blocks sunlight, lowering greenhouse temperatures. Volcanic eruptions like Krakatoa and Pinatubo - and globe-circling soot from 1,000 burning oil wells during Desert Storm - belched enough sulphur into the stratosphere to cause a plunge in world temperatures, temporarily slowing global warming.
World scientists looking at deliberately putting megatons more sulphur into a closed, recirculating atmosphere already smoggy enough to depresses orbiting astronauts, decided that a sulphur sunscreen is not a swift idea.
But not this Jr. High science text. "Creating either kind of sunscreen would be cheap," it tells young readers. As if "cheap" is the only consideration.
Even this claim is bogus. SmT says he looked, but the section on the downstream costs associated with the health and environmental effects of massive coal pollution - or the 10 million tons of a chemical sunscreen suggested by the late Edward Teller - "seemed to have been left out."
Ditto "the cost to the solar industry". Or cumulative impacts on kids, critters and plants on which our future depends.
Sunlight is already on the way out. Repeatedly expressing shock at how quickly our space colony's life-support systems are failing, scientists are finding levels of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface decreasing by almost 3% a decade.
"Global Dimming" is too small to detect with the eye. "But it has implications for everything from climate change to solar power and even the future sustainability of plant photosynthesis," reports the Guardian.
All those jet-propelled vacations and car trips to the corner store add up. Since 1960, 10% less sunlight has reached Earth's inhabitants. Levels of solar radiation reaching parts of the former coal-belching Soviet Union are down almost 20%.
In any greenhouse, the rule of a green thumb is that every 1% decrease in solar radiation results in a 1% drop in plant productivity.
"It's actually quite a big deal,” says Graham Farquhar, a climate scientist at the Australian National University in Canberra. But get this: Farquhar doesn't think that identified pollutants, "by themselves would be able to produce this amount of global dimming." [Guardian Dec18/03]
The baffled Aussie should check out the role of contrails in turning off sunlight. Since the Jet Age took off in the 1960s, normal condensation trails from five million jet flights every year have been found to block 10% of sunlight across Europe and the USA. Over heavily trafficked Atlantic and American air-routes, artificial cloud cover caused by jet engine pollutants has increased 20%. [Chemtrails Confirmed '04]
Chemtrails are another major sunblock. Measurements taken with a calibrated photometer by Clifford Carnicom in Santa Fe show a rapid reduction in sunlight - from a value of 97% on a “clear day” to around 80% during the early stages of heavy chemtrailing. Using a simple UV radiation meter, this reporter has confirmed similar drops in sunlight beneath artificial "chemcasts" on Canada's west coast.
WHAT JANE AND DICK DIDN'T LEARN IN SCHOOL TODAY
In a country whose self-appointed regime routinely censors scientific studies, at least some 7th grade science are more focused on indoctrinating kids with risky techno "quick-fixes" than conscious conservation and common sense.
Forget science. SmT gazed in disbelief at another schoolbook picture showing a helicopter seeding the ocean with iron particles. These desperate "IronX" experiments did indeed trigger plankton "blooms" that, in turn, transferred tons of atmospheric C02 underwater as those carbon-inhaling critters eventually died and sank to the seafloor.
But – oops! – his kid's science book fails to mention that the resulting ocean blooms also sucked all available oxygen from the seawater, suffocating all marine life in massive, spreading "dead zones". [Chemtrails Confirmed '04]
Where are the picture, SmT wonders, "of people planting trees, or turning down thermostats, or bicycling, or any of the other ways not to add to the problem?"
Though his family gave up the idea of home schooling, he says, "it's perhaps time to reconsider."
Perhaps it's also time to reconsider state-sponsored brainwashing. And other escalating consequences of our carbon addiction, as well.
US Germany Issues Arrest Warrants for CIA Agents
Germany has issued warrants for the arrest of several CIA agents allegedly involved in the kidnapping and "extraordinary rendition" of a German citizen.
According to Bavarian senior state prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld, over the last few days Germany has issued arrest warrants for 13 suspected CIA operatives thought to have been involved in the 2004 abduction of a German citizen. The citizen, Khaled el-Masri, claims he was kidnapped by the CIA while on vacation in Macedonia, held without charge, and flown, via one of the now notorious "extraordinary rendition" flights, to Afghanistan where he was tortured and accused of colluding with the 9/11 hijackers.
Germany is the second nation to initiate legal action against CIA operatives involved in the "extraordinary rendition" program. Earlier this month, Italian prosecutor Armando Spataro argued before a Milan court that 26 CIA agents and 5 Italian secret agents should be indicted for their role in the abduction of Egyptian imam Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, better known as Abu Omar.
As reported by Der Spiegel, during that operation, a drugged and tied-up Abu Omar was "was bundled into a white mini-van and taken to the US base at Aviano, and then by jet via the US airbase in Ramstein, Germany more or less directly to an Egyptian jail. During his weeks of interrogation there, Abu Omar claims to have been tortured by the local officials. In a letter that was smuggled out of the jail, he reports of electrical shocks and writes that his face has been disfigured by these methods. He is being held in a jail in Alexandria to this day."
Back in Germany, el-Masri – who was eventually released after the CIA finally figured out that it nabbed the wrong guy – first filed suit in the U.S. against CIA director George Tenet and others accused of participation in the extra-judicial kidnapping program. In that case Der Spiegel reported, el-Masri argued that his abduction "was the result of mistaken identity and he has demanded $75,000 in damages from the US spy agency. He says he was beaten and sodomized by his captors while held captive and was also forced to wear a diaper and was drugged." That suit was dismissed by District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III who concluded, based on information he received from the CIA, that allowing the case to continue would jeopardize national security.
The Der Spiegel article noted that the CIA declined comment on the new German arrest warrants and the names of those wanted are not known. However, Munich prosecutor August Stern told Reuters, "the suspects are 'people who in part were part of the plane's crew, and in part, those who were part of the so-called rendition team – that is, the kidnapping team.'"
It is a shame that Americans must rely on the efforts of prosecutors in Germany and Italy for justice in the case of the abusive extraordinary rendition program. First, the targets of these efforts are lower-level operatives who were following orders handed down from superiors. It is these superiors who should be investigated and possibly prosecuted for developing an extra judicial program that made a mockery of the rule of law in general and of the United States in particular. But it is also unfortunate that these cases, should they be tried, will be prosecuted in foreign courts. Instead, Congress should investigate evidence of wrongdoing in the extraordinary rendition abductions and criminal activity stemming from the program should be prosecuted in U.S. federal court.
Iran signs $10b LNG agreement with Repsol, Shell
Iran has signed a preliminary agreement with Spain's Repsol and Royal Dutch Shell to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its South Pars (SP) gas field, the student news agency ISNA reported Sunday.
"This contract is the biggest project in terms of investment and the volume of gas converted to LNG," said the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Gholam-Hossein Nozari, quoted by ISNA.
But he added the final investment decision (FID), which the agency valued at $10 billion, would be made by the end of 2007, according to AFP.
"The upstream work of phases 13 and 14 (of South Pars field) will be carried out on buyback terms," Nozari said, adding the Anglo-Dutch firm Shell and Repsol would each have a 25-percent share while Iran maintained a 50 percent share in the project aimed at producing an annual 16 million tons of LNG.
An industry source close to the deal told Reuters the deal signed was an upstream service agreement. "It is part of the work to assess the feasibility of the project," the source said. "The important thing is that the final decision to develop the LNG project is a year or so away."
A source said last Tuesday such a preliminary deal would be signed in days and put the value at $4.3 billion for an LNG plant and port terminal. Nozari said the $10 billion price tag was for both upstream work and the LNG facilities.
The source said the LNG plant would cost about $2.5 billion and the port terminal and other infrastructure would cost about $1.8 billion, the source said, adding that exports -- if the project went ahead -- could start in 2011 or 2012.
Under Iran's "buy back" contracts, investment in developing a field is rewarded with a share of production for a short period before the state repurchases the field.
Iran has said it is reviewing the terms of deals to make them more attractive.
Iran has the world's second largest natural gas reserves -- about 940 trillion cubic feet, and it is negotiating terms on other LNG deals.
France's Total agreed to build Iran's first LNG terminal in February 2004 with an initial start date of 2009. Three years later, Total and Iran are still negotiating terms and the start date has been pushed back to 2011.
Meanwhile AFP on Monday reported a U.S. official claiming that Iran’s proposed multi-billion dollar agreement with oil giants Repsol of Spain and Royal Dutch Shell could trigger U.S. sanctions.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the investment agreement, if confirmed, would likely trigger a U.S. investigation and possible sanctions under U.S. law.
The 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act requires the U.S. president to impose sanctions on companies which invest more than $20 million in Iran's energy sector.
McCormack refused to speculate on what possible sanctions Repsol and Shell, which has operations in the United States, could face if they go through with the South Pars investment.
January 31, 2007
The Crime of the Century
by Paul Craig Roberts
President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq is the greatest crime of the 21st century.
Armed with a powerful moral case against Bush, whose lies are responsible for a war that has caused thousands of U.S. casualties and killed vast numbers of Iraqi civilians, Democratic leaders are damning Bush's war because it did not succeed!
The Bush regime lied and fabricated "evidence" that was used to deceive Congress, the American people, and the United Nations. The vice president of the United States and the national security adviser created public images of mushroom clouds going up over American cities unless Iraq was invaded and Saddam Hussein's terrible weapons of mass destruction were destroyed.
At the time that these absurd claims were being made, experts knew that they were false. Today everyone knows that the claims were lies.
The invasion of Iraq under false pretenses comprises solid grounds for impeaching both Bush and Cheney and for turning them over to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague. Under the Nuremberg standard, to commit unprovoked aggression is a war crime.
Among the consequences of Bush's monstrous war crime are the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, the destruction of Iraqi civilian infrastructure, the outbreak of civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'ites, the spreading of this sectarian conflict throughout the Middle East, and the consequent destabilization of the region.
Try to imagine all the lives, careers, hopes, and families that Bush has destroyed. Try to imagine the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees, the departure of educated and skilled Iraqis from Iraq, the ultimate horror of civil war that is only beginning.
Official U.S. casualties (dead, wounded, and maimed) at time of writing total 26,194. Experts have estimated the cost of the invasion and attempted occupation to be in excess of the enormous sum of 1,000 billion dollars.
This expenditure has made profits for Vice President Cheney, for Cheney's firm, Halliburton, for the U.S. military-industrial complex, and for private contractors, but it has done nothing whatsoever for Americans. Sen. Frank Lautenberg reports that "Halliburton has already raked in more that $10 billion" from the Iraq war and that the value of Cheney's Halliburton stock options has jumped from $241,498 to more than $8,000,000.
Moreover, the cost of Bush's aggression in Iraq has been covered by red ink and foreign borrowing, which is financially punishing every American by pushing down the value of the dollar and pushing up the tax burden to service the war debt.
The conclusion is unavoidable that Bush has committed a massive crime against Iraqis, against the Middle East, against American citizens and military families, and against America's reputation.
Finally coming to their senses and realizing the pointlessness of Bush's war, the American people gave the Democratic Party control over the House and Senate in the hopes that the Democrats would put a stop to Bush's war.
Was the electorate's faith in the Democrats justified?
Listen to the Democrats' statements and judge for yourself.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden declared on ABC's This Week that "it's the failed policy of this president, going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely, going to war without enough troops, going to war without enough equipment."
Sen. Hillary Clinton, a likely Democratic candidate for president, says, "This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy."
The Democrats are damning Bush not for his monstrous crime but for failing at it!
Instead of holding Bush accountable for his crimes with impeachment proceedings, Hillary Clinton merely wants Bush to get rid of the problem so she will not be troubled with it on her watch: "We expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office." Hillary says it would be "the height of irresponsibility" for Bush to pass the war along to the next president.
A moral, humane, decent, honest person would define "the height of irresponsibility" as the act of taking two countries to war on the basis of lies and deception.
Now that Bush and Cheney have lost their war due to their incompetence and faulty execution, the Democrats are going to pass a nonbinding resolution against escalating the war in Iraq. While Congress negotiates a posture on the Iraq war, the Bush regime moves forward with its plans to attack Iran.
Everyone can see the U.S. buildup of massive air and naval attack forces on Iran's borders. Fox "News," the Bush regime's main disinformation agency, is busy preparing its viewers for the U.S. attack by whipping up fear and hysteria over Iran. The Bush regime suddenly changed its line and now blames Iran instead of al-Qaeda for its defeat in Iraq. The Israel Lobby is working around the clock for a U.S. strike on Iran. On Jan. 30 Bush again threatened that he will respond firmly if Tehran escalates its involvement in Iraq.
Bush's threats are part of the propaganda that is creating an excuse that Bush can use to attack Iran.
Bush plans to bomb Iran. U.S. war doctrine has been altered to allow Bush to use nuclear weapons to attack Iran. American neoconservatives and Israel's right wing have argued in behalf of attacking Iran with nuclear weapons, and a number of foreign experts are forecasting such an attack.
While Bush prepares in public view his war on Iran, the Democrats turn a blind eye. For the Democrats the only issue is whether or not Bush should send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq.
The issue is whether the war in Iraq can be quickly ended, or Bush and Cheney impeached, before the two war criminals create a more monstrous crime and a more dangerous situation for America and the world by attacking Iran.
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US money is 'squandered' in Iraq
Millions of dollars in US rebuilding funds have been wasted in Iraq, US auditors say in a report which warns corruption in the country is rife.
A never-used camp in Baghdad for police trainers with an Olympic-size swimming pool is one of the examples highlighted in the quarterly audit.
Billions of budgeted dollars meanwhile remain unspent by Iraq's government.
The report comes as President Bush is urging Congress to approve $1.2bn (£600m) in further reconstruction aid.
The audit by Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction (Sigir), is the latest in a regular series of updates to Congress.
"The security situation continue to deteriorate, hindering progress in all reconstruction sectors and threatening the overall reconstruction effort," says his 579-page report, which is due to be released later on Wednesday.
Among the wide-ranging findings, the audit says that corruption continues to plague Iraq and infrastructure security remains vulnerable.
Auditors express "significant concern" about the Iraqi government's record in managing and spending budgets.
Billions of dollars budgeted for capital projects remained unspent at the end of 2006, the report says.
As well as not spending funds, the audit also highlights ways in which money has been used either improperly or wastefully.
One case involved a payment by the US State Department of $43.8m to a contractor, DynCorp International, for a residential camp for police trainers outside the Adnan Palace grounds in Baghdad. The camp has never been used.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry ordered $4.2m of work there, never authorised by the State Department, that included 20 trailers for important visitors and an Olympic-size swimming pool.
The State Department has said that it is working to improve controls.
Another example cited in the report is $36.4m spent by US officials on armoured vehicles, body armour and communications equipment that cannot be accounted for because invoices were vague and there was no back-up documentation.
Contracts have been awarded for virtually all of the $21bn earmarked by the US government for Iraqi reconstruction, and some 80% has been spent. Democrats, who now control the US Congress, have expressed concern at the prospect of devoting more funds to rebuilding efforts in Iraq.
Rep Henry Waxman is planning in-depth hearings next week into charges of waste and fraud in Iraq.
Since 2003, the way reconstruction aid is used has changed, with money originally destined for infrastructure programmes cut and more spent on areas like security and democracy projects.
Electricity output remains below pre-war levels, while funds initially earmarked for water and sewerage have been cut by 50%, the audit says.
The report also points to continuing high unemployment, put at 18% but widely believed to be under-reported, as a contributing factor in the insurgency.
It concludes that the Iraqi government's "most significant challenge" continues to be strengthening the judiciary, prisons and the police.
"The United States has spent billions of dollars in this area, with limited success to date."
Mr Bowen's audit office began operations in March 2004 and is currently conducting 78 investigations, of which 23 have been referred to the US Department of Justice.
There have so far been four convictions.
His office, which was nearly closed down last year by Republicans, is now due to carry on its oversight work through 2008.