1. False Hopes and Natural Disasters
By Andrew Baird
26 December 2006
SINCE the Indian Ocean tsunami two years ago today that killed more than 200,000 people, governments, donors and experts have embraced the idea that healthy mangrove forests and coral reefs could reduce the death toll from a giant wave. Former President Bill Clinton, in his role as the United Nations special envoy for tsunami recovery, recently endorsed a program that will allocate $62 million to preserve such natural barriers in 12 Asian and African countries.
But the $62 million question is, will these barriers work?
Research suggests that the level of protection offered by greenbelts has been exaggerated. And by diverting resources from more effective measures like education campaigns and evacuation plans to well-meaning but misguided reforestation, we may even contribute to a greater loss of life in future tsunamis.
Read the complete article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/26/opinion/26baird.html?_r=2&ref=science&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
2. Middle Stance Emerges in Debate Over Climate
By Andrew Revkin
1 January 2007
Amid the shouting lately about whether global warming is a human-caused catastrophe or a hoax, some usually staid climate scientists in the usually invisible middle are speaking up.
The discourse over the issue has been feverish since Hurricane Katrina. Seizing the moment, many environmental campaigners, former Vice President Al Gore and some scientists have portrayed the growing human influence on the climate as an unfolding disaster that is already measurably strengthening hurricanes, spreading diseases and amplifying recent droughts and deluges.
Conservative politicians and a few scientists, many with ties to energy companies, have variously countered that human-driven warming is inconsequential, unproved or a manufactured crisis.
A third stance is now emerging, espoused by many experts who challenge both poles of the debate.
Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/science/01climate.html?ex=1168318800&en=c2ac6f9ea7718095&ei=5070&emc=eta1
3. Eco hysteria over polar bears unjustified:
By Lorne Gunter
31 December 2006
“No evidence exists that suggests that both [polar] bears and the conservation systems that regulate them will not adapt and respond to the new conditions. Polar bears have persisted through many similar climate cycles.”
There’s a lot in that two-sentence statement from Dr. Mitch Taylor, polar bear biologist for the government of Nunavut, and one of the leading experts in the world on Ursus maritimus.
First, it shows that polar bears are currently not threatened.
Not only that, there is every reason to believe they are going to stay that way.
Read the full article here: http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=8ddd3c0c-32ec-4aa5-995c-ccd82d9c7d4c