Thursday, July 26, 2007

Diesel pollution 'clogs arteries'

Diesel fumes appear to combine with artery-clogging fats to raise the risk of heart disease, research published in the online journal Genome Biology suggests.

UCLA scientists found the two act in concert to switch on genes that cause potentially dangerous inflammation of the blood vessels.

The results suggest that government incentives - such as cheaper road tax - to encourage people to buy diesel cars in order to reduce carbon emissions is likely to be having a directly adverse effect on human health.

Yet it's far from proven that reducing human carbon emissions will have any effect whatsoever on the planet's climate.

Lead researcher Dr André Nel, an expert in nanomedicine, said the impact of diesel particles and cholesterol fats combined was much greater than the impact of each in isolation.

He said: "Their combination creates a dangerous synergy that wreaks cardiovascular havoc far beyond what's caused by the diesel or cholesterol alone."

Both are sources of molecules called free radicals which cause cell and tissue damage, and can trigger the inflammation that leads to artery disease.

The researchers combined the pollutants and fats and cultured them with cells taken from the inner lining of human blood vessels.

A few hours later, they extracted DNA from the cells for genetic analysis. They showed that the genes that promote cellular inflammation had been activated.

Then they exposed mice with high cholesterol to the diesel particles, and saw that some of the same genes were activated in the animals' tissue.

Dr Nel said: "Exactly how air pollutants cause cardiovascular injury is poorly understood.

"But we do know that these particles are coated with chemicals that damage tissue and cause inflammation of the nose and lungs.

"Vascular inflammation in turn leads to cholesterol deposits and clogged arteries, which can give rise to blood clots that trigger heart attack or stroke."

If the government turns out to be wrong about the cause of climate change, and global warming is not related to man-made carbon emissions, then they will have to take responsibility for pursuing policies likely to have caused thousands of people major health problems.

This study certainly destroys any claim by London mayor Ken Livingstone - in seeking to reduce the number of petrol cars on the road through congestion charging, yet needlessly packing the roads with diesel buses - to be motivated by a desire to improve air quality or human health.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

EU pays to be lobbied on global warming

The EU Referendum blog has a story today that gives a very revealing insight into how global warming obsessives and politicians have organised themselves into a mutually-supportive society at taxpayers' expense.

It's a perfect demonstration of exactly how, consequently, the global warming agenda has become so prevalent among political decision-makers, despite the science behind it being far from conclusive.

Friends of the Earth Europe, a leading group in lobbying the EU for oppressive taxes on car users and the car industry in the hope of combatting global warming, apparently received an astonishing €635,000 in funding from the European Commission last year.

Together with funds from the German, Austrian and Dutch ministries of environment, plus contributions from the United Nations Environment Programme, this accounted for over half of the group's income, making it primarily a taxpayer-funded organisation - not an independent grass-roots environmental campaign group as it likes to style itself.

FoE forms part of the "civil society" caucus to which the EU Commission pays special attention, as part of its programme to encourage "participative democracy" – its response to the low turn-out for EU parliament elections and the fact that Commission members are unelected.

So FoEE gets access to high-level decision-makers, plus some very helpful funding to promote their global warming agenda.

The Commission gets to say it's 'responding' to a group supposedly arising from "civil society" to justify the needlessly oppressive regulations and higher taxes it wants to impose.

Read more here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Global warming to go into reverse?

The BBC reports today on a new scientific study that purports to show that changes in the Sun's output cannot be causing modern-day climate change.

The study has been carried out by Mike Lockwood, from the UK's Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory, together with Claus Froehlich from the World Radiation Center in Switzerland.

Their main argument is that, in the last 20 years, the Sun's output has declined while temperatures on our planet have continued to rise.

While the authors concede that most of the 20th Century saw a slight but steady increase in solar output, and even that cosmic rays may have affected our climate in the past, they point out that in about 1985 that trend appears to have reversed and solar output started to decline.

'Small' detail missing

However, what they don't acknowledge is that the temperature effects of solar radiation have been shown to lag, one big reason being the time it takes for the heat from the sun, or lack of, to affect the temperature of our oceans.

So the influence on Earth's temperatures from the declining solar output this study highlights may in fact take considerably longer to become apparent in temperature changes.

In essence, Lockwood is drawing his conclusions prematurely.

So far from "settling the debate", as Lockwood rather arrogantly hopes, what he may have in fact revealed in this study is not that global warming is man-made, but a looming cooling trend.

Once again, far from an excuse for politicians to heap excessive financial burdens on hard-pressed car users.