The Week That Was
August 3-9, 1997

Undersecretary of State Tim Wirth may think the global warming science is "settled," but scientists are proving otherwise.

Research Update: The Christian Science Monitor reported on July 29 that scientists at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia are also tracking aircraft contrails as a possible source of a regional warming over northern mid-latitudes. The Science & Environmental Policy Project, in a June 26 press release, announced research findings by atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer that an unusual and unexplained warming over northern mid-latitudes had been increasing in line with the growth of commercial air traffic and that contrails could be the cause. In the CSM article on an independent study of the same phenomenon at Langley, climate scientist Patrick Minnis said satellite observations of aircraft contrails provide "solid evidence" that they induce much more cirrus cloud cover than previously thought. According to the article, aircraft contrails may be inducing enough extra cloudiness over the heavily traveled northern hemisphere to significantly warm the ground below. Minnis calculated that this cirrus warming could account for as much as two-thirds of the warming previously attributed to a build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

on Monday, August 4, The Science & Environmental Policy Project received a ruling on controversial author Ross Gelbspan's claim to a 1984 Pulitzer Prize. Responding in a letter, Pulitzer Prize Administrator Seymour Topping of Columbia University confirmed that Gelbspan, having served only as an editor on a prize-winning series of articles penned by seven Boston Globe staff writers, was not entitled to claim the title "Pulitzer-winning journalist" for himself. For more on the story, see Controversies: Pulitzer Board Nixes Gelbspan's Claim.

on Wednesday, August 6, e-mails from scientists in Chile and Australia offer more evidence that information on the SEPP web site is proving invaluable to researchers and policy analysts around the world. We note that the Finnish Heidelberg Association, one of SEPP's web links, has even translated some SEPP reports into Suomi (Finnish).

on Friday, August 8, New York Times journalist William K. Stevens rehashed an Environmental Defense Fund report, claiming that British Petroleum (BP), the world's third largest oil producer, had broken ranks with other oil companies on the global warming issue because there is "enough scientific evidence to warrant concern." While BP CEO John Browne is certainly making nice with the EDF, even promising to work with the advocacy group to develop a voluntary emissions-trading system for greenhouse gases, the notion that he has something other than profits in mind is pure balderdash. Policy analyst Steve Milloy, director of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, says implementation of emissions limits could give BP a huge competitive edge over U.S. oil producers. Europeans rely more on nuclear energy to generate electricity, which would permit more greenhouse gas emissions from internal combustion engines. (Mr. Stevens at the Times probably also thinks Dupont "broke ranks" with the other chemical companies in 1986 over its "concern" for the ozone layer, and that a chance to corner the market on new refrigerants had nothing to do with it.)

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