Archive for September 21st, 2011

Respublika passes a bill on Issyk-Kul ecology protection

Respublika passes a bill on Issyk-Kul ecology protection


Posted 21 September 2011, by Tolgonai Osmongazieva,” News Agency,



Respublika parliamentary faction has passed a bill on amending the law on the sustainable development of eco-economic system of Issyk-Kul Lake. The decision was made today at its meeting.

According to the MP Maksat Sabirov, the document is aimed at improving and protecting the ecology of the lake that is now in danger. “The provision of the law that the capital construction is possible at a distance of 100 meters is necessary to change to 300 meters should be changed. The owners of boarding houses construct the houses disorderly near the water wishing to earn more money during the season. However, there are no treatment facilities in many buildings and the available are not answerable to the requirements. In theory beach areas belong to the state. But the owners of boarding houses have assigned the plots. They destroy the sea-buckthorn that is a natural filter of the Lake,” he said.

Maksat Sabirov said that according to the draft law, the restriction applies to boarding houses located in a resort area – from Korumdu village to Cholpon-Ata town. “We need to stop the chaotic construction of buildings otherwise we will lose the unique lake. We sent the bill to the government. The State Agency of Environment and Forestry has approved it,” added the people’s deputy.

His colleague Cholpon Sultanbekova stressed that they are to make the owners of boarding houses to install treatment facilities.

Several MPs noted the need to coordinate the amendments to the State Agency for Construction and Architecture.

The leader of the faction Kanatbek Isaev to review the work of scooters and motor boats that cause great harm to the lake in his opinion. “If it’s a tourist area then we can not prohibit scooters and boats. But it is necessary that all water appliances annually to be held passportization, the taxes to be paid to the local or state budget,” he added.

Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan - September 1992, Photo: NASA, Retrieved from Wikipedia Commons by Only Ed


China’s Solar Technology Pollutes Local Ecology

China’s Solar Technology Pollutes Local Ecology


Posted 21 September 2011, by Li Le, The Epoch Times,


Angry villagers argue with Jinko Solar staff over its pollution in Yuanhua Township, Zhejiang Province, Sept. 15. (Posted to an Internet forum by a Chinese blogger)

A four-day protest outside a solar manufacturing plant in a small Chinese township illustrates the harsh realities of China’s green energy manufacturing boom. While China is producing solar products for export at cutthroat prices, Chinese people get none of the green benefits. Instead they have to put up with the manufacturers’ cancer-causing pollution and get beaten up by police if they talk about it.

Villagers from Yuanhua Township of Haining City in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province had enough of a local solar company’s pollution. Anywhere between five hundred and a thousand local people staged a four-day protest that began on Sept. 15, to try and hold Jinko Solar Holding Co. accountable for its pollution and force an investigation into local residents increased cancer rate.

Authorities dispatched riot police who injured many protesters. Two local reporters who were on location were beaten by the solar company’s employees.

Jinko Solar Holding Co. is a manufacturer of solar silicon wafers and ingots. It was established in 2006 and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Local villagers told New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) that Jinko Solar Holding Co., has been discharging waste water since moving into the Hongxiao Village of Yuanghua Township in 2006. The pollution has caused fish to die and is threatening local people’s health.

Mr. Zhou, a villager, told The Epoch Times: “More than 10 villagers have developed leukemia and dozens have developed other cancers. We have been living in fear, and been constantly lodging complaints regarding the pollution to local authorities and the Jinko company.”

Because neither the authorities nor Jinko responded to their numerous requests, villagers went to the county government on Sept. 15 and demanded Jinko’s closure. But no one at the county government responded to them, so the villagers went on to Jinko’s, but were refused entry. Angry villagers then broke down the gate and rushed into the plant where they vandalized offices and work areas, Zhou said.

Protesters overturn and vandalize a vehicle; Yuanhua Township, Sept. 15. (Posted to an Internet forum by a Chinese blogger)

Jinko staff called the police, which quickly arrived, totaling one or two thousand. Police used tear gas to disperse people, injuring many, and took away an unknown number of villagers, according to Zhou.

One netizen said on a blog that he witnessed police beating even young girls and the elderly. He said he saw four police beating one elderly person.

Another netizen said: “A girl, aged 17 or 18, was chased and beaten into a coma and somehow fell into the river. Her body has not been recovered.”

Chinese media reported that protesters overturned eight cars in the solar company’s parking lot and damaged four police vehicles.

According to Zhejian Online News, Jinko staff beat two reporters from Zhejiang TV. The reporters’ video camera was also smashed and tapes were taken.

An NTDTV reporter called Jinko on the afternoon of Sept. 15. The person who answered acknowledged that there was a protest but would not provide details.

Haining municipal authorities announced on Sept. 17 that Jinko was ordered to stop production and that a villager surnamed Sun had been arrested for spreading “untruthful information” over the Internet.

Sun had posted information about the pollution produced by Jinko, saying it caused local people to have health problems.

Mr. Guo, a local resident, told The Epoch Times that a few years ago several young women working at Jinko had health checks because they weren’t able to get pregnant. Medical checkup revealed that they had radiation damage and would never be able to have children. After that came out, young women who planned on having families avoided working for the company, Guo said.

Local authorities dispatch riot police to squash the protest; Yuanhua Township, Sept. 15. (

Some Internet postings said that the company is located 300 meters (984 ft.) away from a daycare center and only 100 meters away from an elementary school, and that the impact on the health of the children and neighboring residents is devastating.

According to latest reports by Chinese media, local authorities have detained 31 people, while Haning Environmental Protection Department fined Jinko 470,000 yuan (US$75,625).

Local villagers said they are not satisfied with the outcome; they want Jinko to leave Haning City.

The production of silicon involves high energy consumption and high pollution, Hu Chuli, director of the Institute for Industrial and Technical Economic Studies, National Development and Reform Commission, said at China’s Low Carbon Technology Innovation Forum on Dec. 17, 2010.

Hu pointed out that in the solar photovoltaic industry, China accounts for more than 40 percent of the world’s silicon production, yet Chinese people do not have the privilege to enjoy this kind of clean energy at all, because 95 percent of the production is for export.

In fact, the most unique characteristic of China’s solar photovoltaic industry is that production and resource consumption occur inside China, whereas product use and conservation of energy takes place outside of China, according to Meng Xiangan, secretary general of China Renewable Energy Society.

Hong Kong scholar and economics commentator, Larry Hsien Ping Lang said, “China protects the environment of other countries by exporting green products, but keeps all the pollution inside the country.”

Low labor cost in China, as well as disregard for the environment, and government subsidies to domestic enterprises make it often impossible for foreign companies to compete with Chinese manufacturing. California’s solar industry is an example according to Xia Ming, professor of political science at the City University of New York. Because of price subsidies paid by the Chinese regime and low labor costs, Solyndra, a California Solar company, announced bankruptcy on Aug. 31 Xia told the Epoch Times for a previous report.

Read the original Chinese article.

Related Articles


Orissa: People issue forest rights title in own name


Orissa: People issue forest rights title in own name


Posted  21 September 2011, by Pradeep Baisakh, Orissa Diary,



 Report by Pradeep Baisakh; Kashipur: After approaching the Tehsil office, Block office and Collectorate Office time again to know the status of the claims they have filed under Forest Rights Act and having failed to find any answer each time, the people decided to prepare the forest right title of their own in the same style the district administration has prepared.

In place of the signatories in the title like Divisional Forest Officer, District Collector and District Welfare Officer the self-styled title contains the signature and seal of President of Forest Rights Committee (FRC), Sarpanch of Panchayat and Secretary of FRC respectively. One of the title which is issued in the name of Sripati Majhi of Ranjuguda Village in Renga Panchayat of Kashipur Block in Rayagada District of Odisha contains the signature of Saiba Majhi the President of FRC, Sumitra Majhi the Sarapanch of Renga Panchayat and Anantaram Majhi the Secretary of FRC. The title recognizes right over three acres of Forest land which was claimed before the Administration.

Hundred and fifty such titles in Renga Panchayat and fifty titles each in Kashipur and Mandibisi Panchayat have already been issued to the claimants according to their claim after due verification by the FRC. Local Activist Nabin Nayak says that around 15,000 tribal people had undertaken a march in February 2011 to ventilate their grievance of inaction and apathy of district administration in recognizing their forest rights. Scenario did not change, so the people finally decided to issue their titles by equating their Sarpanch with the District Collector.

These titles are already in the knowledge of government officials who still remain silent to such novel form of protest of people.



Women aim to be a light for future generations

Women aim to be a light for future generations

Vow to vote for individuals they believe will bring about change in performance of the House


Posted 22 September 2011, by Iman Shefif, Gulf News (Al Nisr Publishing LLC),


Abu Dhabi: Women voters pledged to take part in the Federal National Council (FNC) elections on Saturday and said they will vote for those whom they believe would make a change in the performance of the House.

“It is imperative that women contribute in the FNC elections. We should set an example for the new generation,” said Suad Al Sarkal, 26, spokeswoman at the Shaikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding.

Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, said: “Today, we are at the threshold of the FNC elections, which shows [that the] Emirati woman is in her golden age. Due to confidence vested on women by our prudent leadership, [the] Emirati woman is represented by 46 per cent of… electoral colleges nationwide.”

Emirati women believe that since they have the right to be educated, they should thus have the right to play a role in the politics of their own country.

Hence they will utilise this opportunity to bring about change and maintain their well-being in what is also their own society.

“[The condition of women] has currently evolved. Today we have the right, just as men to take part in the elections. We are as educated… and should have equal opportunities to make a difference in the economy and development of our country,” said Ayesha Al Mutaiwi, 23, external affairs officer at Zayed University.

“Women constitute a major part of the society so when [a woman] takes part in the elections, she would be reflecting a large portion of the society [and] expressing their problems and needs,” said Thuraya Al Shamsi, head of health and environment development at the Family Development Foundation.


Ecological anthropologist involves, empowers communities through research

Ecological anthropologist involves, empowers communities through research


Posted 20 September 2011, by Rebecca Howe, Arizona State University News,



ASU ecological anthropologist Shauna BurnSilver has conducted research on the subsistence sharing networks of three Alaska Native communities. A project with which she was involved has been selected for a Partners in Conservation Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Photo by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

For Shauna BurnSilver, an ecological anthropologist at Arizona State University, the most valuable social science research combines strong science and real partnerships in a collaborative process. Her ideal research project begins by building relationships with all stakeholders and ends with results being shared iteratively with agencies and institutions, policymakers and the participants themselves.

A strong proponent of community-based research, BurnSilver has racked up years of on-the-ground experience involving people in studies that are not only about them but that ultimately could affect their way of life and well-being.

This is BurnSilver’s first semester at ASU, where she is an assistant professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her prior position as a post doctoral researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks focused on the Subsistence Sharing Network Project, funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. The project documented the social networks of sharing and cooperation vital to the hunting and fishing livelihoods of three Alaska Native villages (Wainwright, Kaktovik and Venetie) to assess potential vulnerabilities and resilience to the effects of oil and gas development and climate change.

BurnSilver and her UAF colleagues invested a year and a half prior to the project, setting up local advisory boards and working with community members to define how the research should be carried out – all this before beginning the data collection portion of the project. The project was based on strong research partnerships with UAF, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and tribal and village government entities.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm, creativity and local leadership that came out of this process, and our combined efforts contributed to an exceptionally high participation rate within the study,” BurnSilver said. “These communities and agencies can use the data to inform future policy decisions, and that is very gratifying.”

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently chose the project for its Partners in Conservation Award, which will be presented by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar this week in Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled and honored to have been selected for this award,” BurnSilver said. “It belongs to many, many people who contributed to the project. It is truly encouraging that this kind of collaborative research process is being recognized by the highest levels of the U.S. government.”

She shared, “I believe that knowledge really is power, and results from research should not just appear in scholarly journals, but be available to people on the ground, as well as institutions and agencies.”

BurnSilver’s recent Alaska work is part of a long progression towards collaborative research engagement with communities. As an undergraduate, BurnSilver studied international relations at Scripps College. She read obsessively, sorting through the conflicting viewpoints represented in various texts. Finally, in her senior year she decided she “needed to stop reading and talking and start doing.”

She joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Mali, West Africa, where she gained experience in the importance of collaboration and process in development.

“Getting out in the field and learning about the ecological and cultural components of a setting made me understand that there are usually very specific reasons why people do what they do,” she said.

She went on to earn a master’s in resource interpretation and a doctorate in human ecology, studying the impact of land tenure change on the livelihoods of the Kenyan Maasai. She found that in the face of broad changes in land tenure, people used traditional social relationships to renegotiate access to critical resources. In 2007, as a graduate student, she received the Lourdes Arizpe Student Award from the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association. The award recognized “her collaborative, precedent-setting fieldwork with the Maasai on community-based conservation.”

From her new faculty position at ASU, her work in Alaska continues, and she is also working with Fulani and Tamashek pastoralists in Northern Mali on issues of land tenure and wellbeing. “Alaska and sub-Saharan Africa are not as far apart as one might think,” BurnSilver said. “One is bitter cold and one is scalding hot, but people face similar issues of livelihood change and insecure resources.”

BurnSilver was attracted to the School of Human Evolution and Social Change since the university and the school are good fits for her interests and skills. “Both the administration and my colleagues here acknowledge that the major problems humans wrestle with are transdisciplinary in nature and that the research we do should matter to people,” she said. “I wanted to be where that type of thinking is epitomized and collaboration among fields is encouraged.”

Rebecca Howe,
School of Human Evolution and Social Change



Occupied Wall Street: Four arrests so far on Wednesday


Four arrests so far on Wednesday


Posted 21 September 2011, by , Occupy Wall Street,



Four people have been arrested so far (as of 1:28 PM EST) on day 5 of the Occupy Wall Street protest. The first arrest took place this morning during Opening Bell March. At 10:10 AM, Isaac Wilder was taken into police custody and is being held at W. 154 St. New York, NY. One firsthand witness has informed us he was at the front of the peaceful march taking place on a public sidewalk when police demanded protesters turned left. When Isaac asserted his right to continue marching forward in public space, he was immediately arrested.

Two other arrests took place at 12:30 PM EST at Liberty Plaza. Two first-hand witnesses have confirmed the following story:

People were peacefully assembling on the sidewalk and the police told the public that they could not stand on public sidewalks. one person, was standing peacefully on the sidewalk and holding up a sign and the police swarmed him and arrested him. he peacefully went with them, without resisting in any way. People then peacefully walked with him and chanted in solidarity. And the police ran into the middle of the crowd and tackled one of the people there, and arrested him.

The following is a first hand account from Adrianna, a demonstrator who was assaulted by the police:

I was picketing at Broadway and Liberty St. and heard shouts and swarms of people come down the block, so I knew it must have been an arrest. I stayed up there because I knew that’s where they were going to bring the arrested people. So a huge crowd started approaching and getting louder while holding up peace signs. They pulled one guy at random and after they put him in the van, Officer Caradona and other officers rushed the crowd standing on the corner, pulled one guy from random, and started to pull him and shove him to the ground.

That’s when I started to try to push everyone back when somebody, it might have been Caradona, grabbed and swung me around and punched me in the face and I fell down. Luckily someone was there to pull me back up again and I know they pushed and shoved other people too. They were pushing and shoving everyone, but none of us resisted. We kept backing up, trying to get out of their way and continued holding up our peace signs.

Here is a video of a second eyewitness account.

At 1:13 PM EST, Kevin Graham was also arrested (Photo)

Updates will be posted as more information becomes available.



A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Four)

A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Four)


Posted 21 September 2011, by easilydistr, Occupy Wall Street,


This is the fourth communiqué from the 99 percent. We are occupying Wall Street.

On September 18th, 2011, we were awoken by police bullhorns around seven in the morning, they objected to us protecting ourselves from the rain. They told us that the tarps suspended above us had to be taken down. We held a General Assembly to determine how to respond. We decided that we would hold the tarps over ourselves and our possessions. The police ripped the plastic away from us. We then scrambled to protect our possessions, primarily the media equipment streaming our occupation to the world. The police were also mostly interested in our cameras, it seems like they don’t want you watching us.

Before we say more about what happened to us it seems important to point this out: we do not think the police are our enemy. They have jobs, how could we fault them for that, when one sixth of America lives in poverty? when one sixth of America can’t find work? The police are part of the 99 per cent.

The police informed us that the tarps over our equipment counted as a tent, and were therefore illegal. We objected to this interpretation of the law. One of us sat on top of the tarp to keep the police from extralegally removing our possessions. This is what happened next – it is graphic:


In the first video you can clearly see a senior police officer hurling a protester face first toward the ground. Luckily the protester’s blow was cushioned, but that didn’t keep him from losing a piece of his tooth.

In the second video police drag a protester across the ground, cutting his hands. You can clearly hear a police officer say that the young man will receive medical attention – in spite of this, it was our medics who bandaged him when he was released. Later, you can see the police deny a young man an inhaler during an asthma attack which the crowd explains may kill him.

After these events the police continued pressuring protesters with extralegal tactics by stating that a protester on a bullhorn was breaking a law. The protester refused to cease exercising his first amendment rights and was also arrested. Then the police began to indiscriminately attempt to arrest protesters, many unsheathing their batons, in spite of the protest remaining peaceful. In the end the police arrested seven of our members, holding five without charge for more than twelve hours. Liberato’s Pizza graciously offered to donate 20 pizzas for every hour a protester was held without charge.

In spite of these gross occurrences, we had work to do. After the abrupt end of our General Assembly we split ourselves into our normal working groups, and went about our tasks. Our outreach group organized a community march for Thursday at five in the afternoon. Our food group organized a group dinner. Our arts and culture group lifted our depressed and insulted mood. Our media outreach group was very busy.

Around three in the afternoon we reconvened our General Assembly. There was a brief discussion on how the Assembly worked due to the new members that were among us. We work as an ordered democratic body that passes proposals through a modified-consensus. Anyone can speak, but there is a list, we call it a stack. Our stack isn’t first come first serve – socially marginalized voices are given priority. We use hand signals to express assent (wave your hand high), dissent (wave your hand low), points of process (make a triangle with your forefingers and thumbs), and blocks (make an X with your forearms). A point of process indicates a query or an objection, or, rarely, a valued interruption. A block is used to indicate that the Assembly is disobeying its principles. A block voices its principled objection and the Assembly votes again, a vote of 90%+1 can overturn a block.

The General Assembly heard many proposals, here are some that were approved: the trade union group will attend a meeting with the Teamsters; the arts and culture group are organizing a benefit concert to be held in two or three weeks; our outreach group is heading to marginalized communities; next Saturday is devoted to you, to us, the 99 percent. We also came to consensus on how to respond to the morning’s police aggression.

At 4:30 we stood in solidarity with Troy Davis, an innocent man that the state of Georgia wants to murder today. We were joined by the International Action Center.

Afterward we heard a rousing speech from one of our released members, and then broke bread together. At seven we reconvened our General Assembly, which lasted until nine. Among other things, we designated talking spaces and quiet spaces, and we solidified our schedule. We’re still here. We intend to stay until we see movements toward real change in our country and the world.

We speak as one. All of our decisions, from our choice to march on Wall Street to our decision to continue occupying Liberty Square in spite of police brutality, were decided through a consensus based process by the group, for the group.


Opinion: Animals with Human Material


Opinion: Animals with Human Material

Careful oversight is required to ensure that chimeras and transgenic animals continue to serve as powerful biomedical research tools.


Posted 21 September 2011, by Martin Bobrow, The Scientist,



Mouse: Wikimedia Commons, Rama, DNA:

Research involving the integration of human DNA, cells, or tissues into animals has been undertaken since the 1960s. Transgenic animals (with one or more human genes in their makeup) and chimeras (with some human cells or tissues amongst their own animal tissues) are now important biomedical research approaches. They are used in studies where it is morally or practically impossible to conduct the experiments in humans, and where alternative approaches, such as computer simulations or cell cultures, are not adequately representative of the system being studied. Such approaches are used to determine the function of human genes by expressing the relevant DNA segment in an animal and observing its effect, or to test, develop, and produce therapies for disease, among other applications.

Chimeric mice, for example, are used to study human liver diseases such as hepatitis, and to test antiviral drugs. The mice are made by introducing human hepatocytes into the animals’ livers, which can be comprised of up to 95 percent human cells and so are a more accurate model of human liver function than a normal mouse liver. Similarly, mice with “humanised” immune systems are being used to make antibody treatments for human cancer.

Non-rodent species are also used. Transgenic goats carrying a human gene, for example, are used to produce a human protein now licensed for use during surgery in patients whose blood otherwise fails to clot correctly. Although these animals have some specific human chemicals and cellular functions, they usually do not outwardly resemble humans in any way—the mice still look like ordinary mice; and the goats, to the naked eye, are goats. Many thousands of such “animals containing human material” have been created without major regulatory or ethical concern.

Despite this history, research using such animals has received very little public recognition—or even discussion. Instead, film-makers and novelists have found it an easy subject to dramatise and distort, and have portrayed scientists undertaking seemingly bizarre enterprises to create part-human, part-animal beings. (Some even go so far as to endow apes with enough human capabilities to take over the planet.)

To encourage a more informed debate, the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences recently organized an expert working group study, which I chaired. Our aim was to consider the research use of animals containing human material from scientific, ethical, social, and safety perspectives, and to make recommendations for the future regulation of this research. We addressed difficult questions (such as the extent to which human cells might be substituted into rodent or primate brains, to study therapies for conditions such as stroke) and considered where the line should be drawn to best fulfil ethical, social, and scientific interests, and how effective regulation might be achieved.

An important aspect of our work was to understand which areas of this research might evoke public concern in the United Kingdom, over and above any concerns some people might have generally about the use of animals in medical research. Our public dialogue, involving participants from across the country, and other evidence highlighted three areas that warranted particularly careful consideration: the substitution of an animal’s brain cells with human cells to a degree which might lead to human-like cognitive capacity in the animal; research involving human–derived reproductive cells in an animal, especially where there is a possibility of fertilisation; and the creation of animals that resemble humans in important aspects of their outward appearance or behavior.

We recommended that these areas of research should be subject to careful oversight by a national expert advisory body. Scientific techniques are advancing rapidly, and will undoubtedly bring new means of developing animals which are, in specific aspects, ever more similar to our species. This will increasingly help us to learn more about human and animal biology, as well as to develop new diagnostics and treatments. We also concluded that a small number of experiments should not for now be undertaken, at least until there is greater understanding of their likely outcomes. Potentially controversial science proceeds best in an open environment, and to make the most of this research, we need to avoid the public distrust that can result from surprise at unexpected scientific developments. An informed and supportive public voice can also act as a mediator to counter the influence wielded by vocal minorities opposed to all animal research.

Our recommendations were intended primarily for the UK research system, but science is an international endeavour, and we hope that our report will encourage other countries to consider these issues, and catalyse the development of international standards and guidelines. We hope that by beginning this debate openly now, future decisions about research using animals containing human material can be made by experts who are fully informed both by scientific possibility and by public opinion. Both must be grounded in scientific fact, not science fiction.

For more information or to downloads the report visit

Professor Martin Bobrow is an Emeritus professor of medical genetics at the University of Cambridge and chair of the Academy of Medical Sciences Working group on “Animals containing human material.”


Related Articles

Top 7 in Genomics & Genetics By Sabrina RichardsA snapshot of the most highly ranked articles in genomics, genetics and related areas, from Faculty of 1000

Neurotransmitter-Regulated Immunity By Rachel NuwerNerve signals control T cell responses, helping to explain inflammation and stroke.

Mouse Genomes Catalogued By Sabrina Richards

Researchers have sequenced the genomes of 17 different mouse strains, boosting research into the genetic basis of phenotypic variation, disease, and evolution.




Surviving the Warmth of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum


Surviving the Warmth of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum


Posted 21 September 2011, by Staff, CO2 Science (Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change),


McInerney, F.A. and Wing, S.L. 2011. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: A perturbation of carbon cycle, climate, and biosphere with implications for the future. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 39: 489-516.

During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, of some 56 million years ago, it is believed that large amounts of carbon were released to the ocean-atmosphere system and that global temperatures may have risen by 5-8°C. Thus, the authors write that study of the PETM may provide “valuable insights into the carbon cycle, climate system and biotic responses to environmental change that are relevant to long-term future global changes.”

What was done
McInerney and Wing reviewed much of the scientific literature pertaining to the insights being sought by biologists concerned about potential species extinctions due to CO2-induced global warming; and they give their assessment of the current status of the grand enterprise in which many scientists have been involved since the early 1990s, when the PETM and its significance first began to be recognized (Kennett and Stott, 1991; Koch et al., 1992).

What was learned
In summarizing their findings, the two researchers write that although there was a major extinction of benthic foraminifera in the world’s oceans, “most groups of organisms did not suffer mass extinction.” In fact, they say “it is surprising that cool-adapted species already living at higher latitudes before the onset of the PETM are not known to have experienced major extinctions,” and they remark that “this absence of significant extinction in most groups is particularly interesting in light of the predictions of substantial future extinction with anthropogenic global warming.” In addition, they note that “low levels of extinction in the face of rapid environmental change during the Quaternary pose a similar challenge to modeled extinctions under future greenhouse warming,” citing Botkin et al. (2007). And, last of all, they indicate that “rapid morphological change occurred in both marine and terrestrial lineages, suggesting that organisms adjusted to climate change through evolution as well as dispersal.”

What it means
McInerney and Wing wrap up their review by noting that “research on the PETM and other intervals of rapid global change has been driven by the idea that they provide geological parallels to future anthropogenic warming.” And in this regard, the many research results they review seem to suggest that earth’s plants and animals, both on land and in the sea, may be much better equipped to deal with the environmental changes that climate alarmists claim are occurring in response to anthropogenic CO2 emissions than what many students of the subject have long believed to be possible.

Botkin, D.B., Saxe, H., Araujo, M.B., Betts, R, Bradshaw, R.H.W., Cedhagen, T., Chesson, P., Dawson, T.P., Etterson, J.R., Faith, D.P., Ferrier, S., Guisan, A., Skjoldborg-Hansen, A., Hilbert, D.W., Loehle, C., Margules, C., New, M., Sobel, M.J. and Stockwell, D.R.B. 2007. Forecasting the effects of global warming on biodiversity. BioScience 57: 227-236.

Kennett, J.P. and Stott, L.D. 1991. Abrupt deep-sea warming, palaeoceanographic changes and benthic extinctions at the end of the Palaeocene. Nature 353: 225-229.

Koch, P.L., Zachos, J.C. and Gingerich, P.D. 1992. Correlation between isotope records in marine and continental carbon reservoirs near the Paleocene/Eocene boundary. Nature 358: 319-322.