PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet TERRA 6/2002 - 30 September 2002
---------------------------------------

"Instead of half a century or more to adapt to global warming, the
next 10 to 20 years might bring a climate change that would change the
world and the world economy. In Gagosian's words, it could "freeze
rivers and harbors and bind North Atlantic shipping lanes in ice ...
disrupt the operation of ground and air transportation ... cause energy
needs to soar exponentially ... force wholesale changes in agricultural
practices and fisheries."
--Robert C. Cowen, The Christian Science Monitor, 26
September 2002


"The Science report calls into question the accuracy of global
climate change models, which have not considered the effects of black
carbon. "We now have an opportunity to include more of the important
anthropogenic effects. It could be that there are other feedback
cycles in the global climate system that we don't understand."
--Georgia Institute of Technology, 27 September 2002



"A rocket fuel component has been detected in drinking water sources
in 18 states. Now the EPA wants to set the "safe" level of perchlorate in
drinking water at effectively one part per billion (ppb). That standard
would subject more groundwater to expensive cleanup -- estimated at $6
billion for Department of Defense facilities alone... It doesn't take a
rocket scientist to see that the EPA's proposed perchlorate standard is
needlessly low. But we will need a space program-sized budget to pay for
it."
--Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com, 27 September 2002


(1) NASA STUDY REVEALS NEW UNCERTAINTIES IN CLIMATE MODEL PREDICTIONS
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(2) GLOBAL WARMING BLAMED FOR ICE METEORS
    Reuters, 27 September 2002

(3) INTO THE COLD? GLOBAL COOLING SCARE WARNS OF ABRUPT FREAZING IN 10-20
YEARS
    The Christian Science Monitor, 26 September 2002

(4) URBAN 'HEAT ISLANDS' MAY CONTRIBUTE TO ERRONEOUS GLOBAL WARMING TRENDS
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(5) CLEAN-UP CONFUSION
    FoxNews.com, 27 September 2002

(6) GLOBAL PROGRESS IN SLASHING POVERTY
    The Christian Science Monitor, 26 September 2002

(7) THE GLOBALISATION OF HUMAN WELL-BEING
    Cato Institute, 22 August 2002

(8) AND FINALLY: MORE EVIDENCE FOR GLOBAL WARMING AS MUNICH HAS EARLIEST
SNOWFALL SINCE 1442
    The Times, 27 September 2002

=========
(1) NASA STUDY REVEALS NEW UNCERTAINTIES IN CLIMATE MODEL PREDICTIONS

>From Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

RESEARCH NEWS & PUBLICATIONS OFFICE
Georgia Institute of Technology
430 Tenth Street, N.W., Suite N-116
Atlanta, Georgia 30318 USA

MEDIA RELATIONS CONTACTS:
John Toon
404-894-6986   Fax: 404-894-4545
E-mail: john.toon@edi.gatech.edu
or
Jane Sanders
404-894-2214  Fax: 404-894-6983
E-mail: jane.sanders@edi.gatech.edu

TECHNICAL CONTACT:
Michael Bergin
404-894-9723   Fax: 404-894-8266
E-mail: mike.bergin@ce.gatech.edu

WRITER: John Toon

For Immediate Release: September 27, 2002

Report Assessing Impact of Soot on Global Warming Could Alter Control
Strategies, Place Burden on Developing Nations -- and Create New Uncertainty
in Climate Model Predictions

A new study on the role that atmospheric soot particles may play in global
warming suggests a new near-term control strategy, introduces a new element
of uncertainty in climate models and shifts more responsibility for curbing
pollution to developing nations such as China and India.

Published in the September 27 issue of the journal Science, the report -- by
researchers from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies -- suggests that
by absorbing sunlight and altering weather patterns, light absorbing
carbon-based particles could have nearly as much impact on global warming as
carbon dioxide: a greenhouse gas that has long been considered the primary
culprit in global warming. The soot particles are produced by diesel
engines, cooking fires and other sources.

In a perspectives article published with the NASA Goddard paper, atmospheric
researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology describe some of the
policy implications of the new findings. Among them:

* Because black carbon particles have relatively short
  atmospheric lifetimes, successful control efforts could
  curb their effects in a matter of months or years. Carbon
  dioxide remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years,
  meaning control efforts couldn't impact global warming for
  generations.

* Soot emissions come primarily from developing nations such
  as India and China. If these emissions do in fact play a
  large role in global warming, that could shift pressure
  for environmental control to those nations. Industrialized
  nations in North America and Europe are responsible for
  the bulk of carbon dioxide emissions.

* Efforts to control soot may also bring immediate
  improvements in human health since the small particles
  thought to be most active in affecting climate are the
  same PM 2.5 particles that cause respiratory distress when
  trapped deep in the lungs.

* Little is known about the worldwide impact of soot emissions
  or even how to properly measure them. Significant new
  research will be needed before the role of black carbon
  emissions can be reliably assessed.

"The study reported this week in Science really raises some important policy
issues regarding soot," said Michael Bergin, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and co-author of the perspectives article.
"In the past, researchers have felt that soot didn't really have a significant
warming effect. But as we've learned more about the amount of black carbon
emitted by countries like China and India, it appears now that soot could
have important climatic effects, and that these effects may be almost as
much as those of carbon dioxide."

In their perspectives article, Bergin and Professor William Chameides, also
in Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, point out the
differences between black carbon soot and greenhouse gases such as carbon
dioxide and methane. For instance, soot particles are removed from the
atmosphere on time scales of weeks to months, while carbon dioxide lingers
for hundreds of years. That could point toward a better near-term control
strategy.

"This could be 'low-hanging fruit' in trying to deal with the anthropogenic
(human-caused) effects on the climate," Bergin noted. "From a policy
standpoint, the payoff for controlling soot could be on the scale of years
rather than centuries."

Black carbon creates its warming effect through an entirely different
mechanism than greenhouse gases, which act as an insulating blanket to keep
heat within the earth's atmosphere. Black carbon absorbs light from the sun,
converting that to heat. The effect varies, depending upon
what is beneath the carbon particles.

If a light-colored surface lies below the carbon particles, the heating
effect is increased as incoming photons heat the particles on their way
toward the surface, then heat them again as they reflect off the land or
clouds. The particles are also involved in cloud formation which impacts
precipitation patterns. Those weather changes, seen in regions of China and
India with large soot emissions, may in turn affect the global climate.

"There are a lot of possible atmospheric effects from soot," Bergin said.
"We really don't yet understand all the feedback cycles involved."

In fact, researchers are just beginning to learn about black carbon soot --
and even to agree on what it is. Formed by the incomplete combustion from
diesel engines, cooking fires and coal burning, black carbon can take
different forms. Depending on the specifics of the combustion process, soot
can take many different forms from spherical particles to chain
agglomerates.

"The nature of the particles and how they absorb light could be different,"
Bergin explained. "So one gram of soot from one part of the world could be
different from a gram of soot from another part of the world. We are really
at the beginning of trying to understand the influences of
soot on climate. Right now, there is a great deal of uncertainty in any
estimate of the climatological impact of soot."

A key uncertainty is the amount of soot going into the atmosphere. Localized
studies in China and India, where crops wastes are burned for heating and
cooking, show very high levels. In developed nations, elevated soot levels
are found in urban areas -- which have often been excluded from climate
studies to avoid confusing global climate change with the local "urban heat
island" effect.

Because nations such as China and India produce so much black carbon, a new
focus on this pollutant could shift control responsibility to the developing
nations. Controlling soot emissions would include developing more efficient
combustion techniques, both for biomass burning and diesel engines, Bergin
added.

The Science report calls into question the accuracy of global climate change
models, which have not considered the effects of black carbon.

"This creates some opportunities for climate modelers to revise their
approaches and to add a potentially important anthropogenic climate forcing
agent to their models," said Bergin. "We now have an opportunity to include
more of the important anthropogenic effects. It could be that there are
other feedback cycles in the global climate system that we don't
understand."

Controlling soot could have an impact broader than global climate change.
The tiny particles that appear to be most active in absorbing radiation are
of the size implicated in causing human health effects because they can
lodge deeply in the lungs.

"These health impacts could make it politically much easier for
policy-makers to enact the kinds of controls needed," said Bergin. "The
control strategy could provide a double-whammy by increasing the health of
both human beings and the environment."

IMAGE CAPTIONS:

[Image 1:
http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/images/linan2.gif (32KB)
http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/images/linan2.jpg (1.9KB)]
A typical hazy day near Lin An, China. Black carbon emanates
from a small brick factory. Copyright Science Magazine.

[Image 2:
http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/images/filter1.gif (36KB)
http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/images/filter1.jpg (188KB)]
Aerosol particles collected near Lin An, China on a 47-mm Teflon filter. The
blackness of the filter indicates the presence of black carbon. Copyright
Science Magazine.

========
(2) GLOBAL WARMING BLAMED FOR ICE METEORS

>From Reuters, 27 September 2002
http://www.itechnology.co.za/index.php?click_id=31&art_id=ct20020927113128436I214627&set_id=1
 
A Spanish scientist says global warming may be to blame for giant blocks of
ice which fall from clear skies and rip gaping holes in cars and houses.

Jesus Martinez-Frias has spent the last two-and-a-half years investigating
so-called megacryometeors - ice meteors - which tend to weigh more than 10kg
and have been known to leave 1,5 metre-wide holes in houses.

He fears the formation of these hailstone-like blocks on clear days could be
a worrying symptom of climate change.

"I'm not worried that a block of ice might fall on your head, but that great
blocks of ice are forming where they shouldn't exist," said Martinez-Frias,
director of planetary geography at Spain's Astrobiology Centre in Madrid.

"Components of the atmosphere, like ozone and water, are changing in
different levels of the atmosphere. We think these signs could be evidence
of climate change."

He suggests that because global warming involves one level of the atmosphere
getting colder while another gets hotter, some ice clouds now remain longer.

Their centres then fall through the atmosphere, bouncing and gathering mass,
to end up smashing through a car windscreen or, more usually, landing softly
in a field, he suggested.

The first megacryometeor found this year in Spain - by a startled farmer
riding his tractor - weighed 16 kilograms. A 200kg ice meteor has been found
in Brazil, and others in Mexico and Australia. - Reuters

Copyright 2002, Reuters

======
(3) INTO THE COLD? NEW GLOBAL COOLING SCARE WARNS OF ABRUPT FREAZING IN
10-20 YEARS

>From The Christian Science Monitor, 26 September 2002
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0926/p14s02-sten.html

Slowing ocean circulation could presage dramatic - and chilly - climate
change

By Robert C. Cowen | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Call it global warming's dirty little secret. Those much-publicized
scenarios of how carbon-dioxide (CO2) pollution may gradually heat up the
earth don't tell you another key fact: that climate has sometimes changed
without warning. It can go from warm to cold - or cold to warm - in less
than decade, and stay that way for centuries.

Water-circulation data from the North Atlantic now suggest the climate
system may be approaching that kind of threshold. If man-made warming or
natural causes push it over the edge, the system will chill down many
temperate parts of North America and Europe, even while the planet as a
whole continues to warm.

Terrence Joyce, chairman of the physical-oceanography department at Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, is one of a handful of
scientists trying to raise awareness about this possibility. He says he is
"not predicting an imminent climate change - only that once it started (and
it is getting more likely) it could occur within 10 years."

Mr. Joyce explains that many of the computer simulations of climate change
"never predict any abrupt transition." But, he says, such an event could
occur. "Abrupt climate change has been a part of our history," he says.

That's what happened when the so-called Little Ice Age cut in about 500
years ago. Take a look at Bruegel's famous paintings of skaters on frozen
Dutch canals to get an idea of what would be in store for regions that
haven't known such harsh winters since we emerged from the Little Ice Age
during the last century.

There is as yet no conclusive evidence that the Dutch should stock pile ice
skates. But Woods Hole director Robert Gagosian feels an urgency to settle
the question. He sees enough disturbing information in the North Atlantic
data, which oceanographers from Woods Hole and other institutions have
gathered, to call it "strong evidence that we may be approaching a dangerous
threshold." He says we need to know whether we are blindly walking toward
the edge of a cliff.

North Atlantic water circulation raises this level of concern because it is
a key factor in the climate system. Broadly speaking, that system
redistributes solar heat from the tropics around the planet. The atmosphere
carries heat north and south in the form of warm air and water vapor. The
latter releases its heat when it condenses into droplets. That's about half
the distribution; ocean currents carry the rest.

Winds move heat around quickly. Ocean currents can take centuries.
Oceanographers call their stately flow the Great Ocean Conveyor. Warm
surface currents distribute tropical heat. Deep currents carry cold water
back toward the equator. Together, these currents form an interconnected
system that circulates through the North and South Atlantic into the Indian
Ocean and the Pacific.

The "pump" that drives the conveyor is in the northern part of the North
Atlantic. There, the Gulf Stream brings in warm, relatively salty water.
This cools as it gives up heat to the winds that warm Britain and Europe.
Cold, salty water is relatively heavy. Mingling with Arctic outflows, the
Gulf Stream water sinks to great depths and flows southward. More Gulf
Stream water flows in to replace it.

This circulation - sucking in Gulf Stream water at the top and forcing it
down and out at the bottom - propels the North Atlantic branch of the
conveyor. Shut down that pump, and you could have what Dr. Gagosian calls
"dramatic" climate change. He explains in a posting to the Woods Hole
website that "average winter temperatures could drop by 5 degrees Fahrenheit
over much of the United States, and by 10 degrees in the northeastern United
States and in Europe."

The way to shut down the pump is to dilute the inflow water to the point
where it is no longer salty enough to sink deeply and flow southward near
the bottom. That seems to be happening now. Last April, Robert Dickson of
Britain's Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Agricultural Science,
together with colleagues from Canada, Germany, and Scotland reported in
Nature magazine that fresh water has been diluting the North Atlantic for
the past four decades. Research by other groups confirms this trend.

Joyce says the evidence "strongly suggests" the North Atlantic pump is
"threatened by fresh-water dilution." The cause is unclear. It could be a
subtle effect of global warming. Changes in air circulation have altered the
freezing and melting patterns of Arctic ice generally. Ice in the Arctic
Ocean, in particular, has thinned. Also, the Arctic has warmed to the point
where melting permafrost now is a major concern. But there is no clear
causal pattern to the North Atlantic fresh-water dilution.

The urgent need, Joyce says, is for "specific research to clarify what is
going on." That includes more upper-ocean salinity measurements and
monitoring of the North Atlantic conveyor circulation.

Last December, the National Academy of Sciences released a report urging
research to understand abrupt climate change generally. Richard Alley of
Pennsylvania State University at University College, chairman of the Academy
committee, warned at that time that "it will be a long time, if at all,
before we are really good at predicting climate change...." He added, "Any
reality may be very different from the predictions, and we need to
anticipate changes and surprises."

Right now, those climate simulations don't deal with the nasty surprises
Gagosian anticipates if the North Atlantic circulation pump shuts down, as
it has done in some past climate changes. Instead of half a century or more
to adapt to global warming, the next 10 to 20 years might bring a climate
change that would change the world and the world economy. In Gagosian's
words, it could "freeze rivers and harbors and bind North Atlantic shipping
lanes in ice ... disrupt the operation of ground and air transportation ...
cause energy needs to soar exponentially ... force wholesale changes in
agricultural practices and fisheries." Efforts to curb CO2 emissions to slow
global warming would become a secondary issue as people tried to cope with
more immediate challenges.

Dr. Alley says there's no reason yet for alarm, although there is a case to
be made for more intensive research to find out what's happening to North
Atlantic circulation. He also sees a larger challenge. If drastic climate
change were imminent, there is little we could do to stop it. The best
strategy, he says, is to work harder now to build resiliency into
agriculture, housing, energy use, and into economies generally. That's
essentially the conclusion a US Department of Energy climate-change study
group reached 25 years ago.

Copyright 2002 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved

=============
(4) URBAN 'HEAT ISLANDS' MAY CONTRIBUTE TO ERRONEOUS GLOBAL WARMING TRENDS

>From Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

News Service
Cornell University

Contact: Blaine P. Friedlander, Jr.
Office: 607-255-3290
E-Mail: bpf2@cornell.edu

FOR RELEASE: Sept. 25, 2002

Sweating it out: U.S. cities have 10 more hot nights a year than 40 years
ago, Cornell climate researchers discover

ITHACA, N.Y. -- If you think that summers are getting hotter, you could be
right -- depending on where you live. Summers are heating up if you live in
or near any major U.S. city. But in
rural areas, temperatures have remained relatively constant.

"What surprised me was the difference in the extreme temperature trends
between rural and urban areas," says Arthur T. DeGaetano, Cornell associate
professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, who reviewed temperature trends
from climate-reporting stations across the United States over the
past century and examined data from the last 40 years in greater detail. "I
expected maybe a 25 percent increase for the urban areas compared to the
rural ones. I didn't expect a 300 percent increase across the U.S."

Because of population growth in urban and suburban areas over the past four
decades, particularly in major East Coast cities, there are more hot summer
nights than ever, says DeGaetano. "This means that cities and the suburbs
may be contributing greatly to their own heat problems," he says.
"Greenhouse gases could be a factor, but not the one and only cause. There
is natural climate variability, and you tend to see higher temperatures
during periods of drought."

Working with Robert J. Allen, a researcher in earth and atmospheric
sciences, he found that urban areas across the United States now have an
average of 10 more very warm nights a year than they did 40 years ago. In
rural areas there was an average increase of only three warm nights a year
in the same period.

The growth was the lowest in the central United States, with only two more
very warm nights. West of the Rocky Mountains the increase has been about
five nights. DeGaetano explains this disparity by the fact that there are
simply fewer urban areas in these regions.

DeGaetano classifies a warm night as 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the Eastern,
Southern and Midwestern United States. In the Southwest, he says, 80 degrees
would be considered a warm night and 70 degrees would be considered cool.

The research article, "Trends in Twentieth-Century Temperature Extremes in
the United States," describes average temperature increases for all cities
and rural areas across the United States. It will be published in a
forthcoming Journal of Climate . It was supported by grants from NASA and
from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Since the beginning of the 20th century almost three-fourths of the
climate-reporting stations examined in the study have shown an increase in
the number of very warm nights. DeGaetano says that the decade of the 1960s
stands out as a transition between a period that was relatively stable and
cool, and the sharp increase in warm nights that has occurred in recent
decades. "You would not expect such a change in the number of very warm
nights to occur by chance. We saw a statistically significant shift," he
explains.

Climate-reporting stations located in urban areas often are indicators of
the huge growth around them. In Manhattan, for example, the station is
located in Central Park, which was surrounded by a highly developed urban
area even a century ago. Thus that station did not show the wild
fluctuations recorded in cities such as Miami and Los Angeles, which have
grown exponentially over the past 100 years.

In very warm periods throughout the past century, drought has been a factor.
"Warm temperature trends in the past century across the United States are
strongly influenced by the peaks in warm maximum and warm minimum
temperature extremes during the 1930s and to some extent the 1950s. And
these peaks tend to coincide with widespread drought," says DeGaetano.

============
(5) CLEAN-UP CONFUSION

>From FoxNews.com, 27 September 2002
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,64198,00.html
 
By Steven Milloy

A rocket fuel component has been detected in drinking water sources in 18
states. It's a limited problem the Environmental Protection Agency's junk
science is about to make much worse.

U.S. missile and space programs used perchlorate as an oxidizer in solid
rocket propellants for decades. At some facilities where it was disposed,
perchlorate seeped into groundwater. Some nearby drinking water wells were
closed.

State and federal officials knew for years perchlorate was in some drinking
water. They didn't worry, though, because the perchlorate was generally
below worrisome levels.

Now the EPA wants to set the "safe" level of perchlorate in drinking water
at effectively one part per billion (ppb). That standard would subject more
groundwater to expensive cleanup -- estimated at $6 billion for Department
of Defense facilities alone.

Lake Mead, serving Las Vegas and Southern California, has perchlorate levels
from eight ppb to 16 ppb. That water would need to be diluted with other
water at an estimated cost to local water districts of up to $2 billion.

Before taxpayers bear billions in costs, a closer look at the situation is
warranted.

The health effect the EPA is concerned about is hypothyroidism caused by
inhibition of iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. At sufficiently high
doses, perchlorate reduces the thyroid gland's ability to take up iodine
from the blood. Iodine is essential to the production of thyroid hormones.

But the EPA ignores a fundamental tenet of toxicology -- the dose makes the
poison.

This can be demonstrated by comparing perchlorate's iodine uptake inhibition
to that of nitrate -- a substance that naturally occurs in meats, dairy
products and vegetables and that also inhibits the thyroid's uptake of
iodine.

A serving of spinach, for example, causes about 300 times more iodine uptake
inhibition than the one ppb of perchlorate the EPA says someone might
consume in two liters of groundwater.

But I haven't heard of anyone alarmed or harmed by spinach.

So what might be a more reasonable perchlorate standard?

The good news is much is known about perchlorate's toxicology. It's been
used to treat patients whose thyroid glands produce too much hormone
(hyperthyroidism). Also, workers exposed for an average of five years to
"high" levels of perchlorate during manufacturing processes show no changes
in blood chemistry or hormone levels.

Based on these real-life experiences, the actual safe exposure level for
most people may be as high as 12,000 ppb. This level, however, might not
fully protect pregnant women and children.

But such a level isn't needed since the highest concentration of perchlorate
in ground water is on the order of hundreds of ppb.

A 2002 clinical study of men and women of child-bearing age receiving
180-220 ppb perchlorate for two weeks reported no change in the thyroid's
uptake of iodine. Even at much higher doses, the volunteers showed no
changes in thyroid hormones and relevant blood chemistry.

A 2000 study of school-aged children in Chile reported no thyroid hormone or
relevant blood chemistry changes among children exposed to drinking water
containing 110 ppb of naturally occurring perchlorate.

Instead of using these real-life data, the EPA relied on dubious data from
laboratory rat studies. A majority of panelists who reviewed the matter in
the EPA's June 2002 peer review of the studies criticized their design,
laboratory practice and data analysis.

The EPA simply ignored this criticism.

Then, to reach one ppb from the rat data, the EPA arbitrarily divided the
dubious results by 300 -- as per the agency's standard, but non-scientific
method of accounting for the uncertainty of extrapolating from experimental
animal results to safety standards for humans.

It's not clear why the EPA staff is so determined to set a one ppb standard.
One reliable source says some staffers hope to advance their careers by
playing a role in the setting of a new and highly visible standard.

Others may be sympathetic to the anti-chemical extremists at the
Environmental Working Group who not only fearmonger about perchlorate but
oppose human testing of perchlorate -- research that helps scientists
determine safe levels.

The EWG claims human testing is unethical; it's real worry is that human
testing reveals the folly of the EPA's proposed standard.

Capping off this impending travesty are the personal injury lawyers who
salivate at the lawsuit potential of the one ppb standard and may be found
on the Internet trolling for clients.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the EPA's proposed
perchlorate standard is needlessly low. But we will need a space
program-sized budget to pay for it.

Steven Milloy is the publisher of JunkScience.com , an adjunct scholar at
the Cato Institute and the author of Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against
Health Scares and Scams (Cato Institute, 2001).

Copyright 2002, Fox.com

==============
(6) GLOBAL PROGRESS IN SLASHING POVERTY

>From The Christian Science Monitor, 26 September 2002
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0926/p01s02-usec.html

Global progress in slashing poverty
Studies suggest big economic strides, but many debate the pace and causes of
progress.

By David R. Francis | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Broad new studies suggest that the world has made extraordinary progress in
slashing poverty in
recent decades.

The magnitude of the change is the subject of strong debate. But the
research suggests that the pace of economic progress has been rapid and
sustained for decades, built on the foundations of relative political
stability, rising trade, and economic liberalization in the postwar era.

One new study, published Thursday by the Institute for International
Economics in Washington, finds that the proportion of the 6.1 billion people
in the world who live on $1 a day or less shrank from 63 percent in 1950 to
35 percent in 1980 and 12 percent in 1999 (adjusted for inflation). By some
other measures, the progress has been more modest. Still, economists agree
that poverty has plunged in key nations such as India and especially China,
thanks to slowing population growth as well as economic freedom.

"This is a smashing success for the world as a whole," says Harvard
University economist Richard Cooper. "We are doing something right."

The news comes as the World Bank is about to open its annual meeting in
Washington - an event that has been dogged in recent years by vocal protests
that the Bank and its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), have done too little for the world's poor.

The new economic research will not put an end to that controversy. Vast
populations remain poor, and many still question the wisdom of World Bank
policies.

Nonetheless, the research findings are relevant to the question of what
policies should be followed by the those institutions and hundreds of other
development groups striving to hasten the pace of world economic progress.

If dramatic gains are under way, the present mainstream policies - calling
for open markets, free enterprise, and stern fiscal and monetary discipline
- are working and correct. They need only "tinkering," as Mr. Cooper puts
it.

But critics of IMF and World Bank policies maintain that such economic
success stories as Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Singapore are
rooted in more than just "free" markets. These nations have managed to grow
rapidly, and thereby reduce poverty, by restraining imports when their
domestic industries were young, pushing exports to rich nations, and putting
controls on purely international financial flows. They have been open to
foreign-owned factories but have often insisted that those investors share
know-how on modern technologies.

Thus, some of the purely capitalist policies urged today, critics say, are
damaging.

Measuring incomes and poverty in many developing countries is extremely
difficult. Thus, studies are imprecise and conclusions controversial.

A Columbia University professor, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, published two working
papers last spring tending to support the rapid-progress thesis. Looking at
data from 125 nations, he finds that the number of extremely poor people
declined by 235 million between 1976 and 1998, even though population grew
hugely. The $1-a-day poverty rate (in 1985 value dollars; $532 a year in
today's dollars) fell from 20 percent to 5 percent.

"Looking at the planet as a whole, never in history has poverty been
eradicated so fast," says Mr. Sala-i-Martin. "The numbers have never looked
better. The world is a better place."

Curiously, World Bank statistics show a far less positive picture. The Human
Development Report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) finds
that the number of people living in extreme poverty fell only to 22.7
percent in 1999 from 29 percent in 1990. The number of people living on $1 a
day slipped to 1.15 billion from 1.27 billion.

"The level remains disturbingly high," the report notes.

The gap between the rich and poor in the world is clearly "grotesque," says
UNDP economist David Stewart. But whether inequality within poor countries
is shrinking is "ambiguous."

A key reason for the difference between the studies is varying statistical
techniques. The Institute for International Economics study, by Indian
economist Surjit Bhalla, uses national household surveys of income to find
the distribution of income, and thus the level of poverty. This he mixes
with aggregate national income statistics.

The World Bank uses the national household surveys of both consumption and
income, resulting in less progress.

Whatever the technique, economists agree that rapid development in China and
India is critical to the world picture.

China has 1.3 billion people, more than a fifth of the world's total
population. According to China's official statistics, its economy has grown
about 9 percent a year for two decades. That official number is in question.
About 5 percent is more accurate, says Lester Thurow, an economist at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He looked at the growth in
electricity usage in China's provinces to get his estimate. That rate is
"still pretty good," he says.

After long enchantment with socialism and its government controls, India has
moved in the direction of more free enterprise, and growth has risen for its
1.1 billion people in the last decade.

By the $1-a-day measure, America's poor are affluent indeed. But census
numbers released Tuesday show a rise in those classified as poor - income at
$18,104 or less for a family of four - to 32.9 million.

Elsewhere in the world, progress has been uneven, and often not so handsome.

Africa with its 500 million people has seen poverty worsen. Latin American
progress has been "disappointing" in the last two decades, says William
Easterly, an economist at the Center for Global Development in Washington.
The Mideast and the former East bloc countries have seen poverty grow,
though Russia has improved in the past two or three years.

Outside China and India, most developing countries are falling further
behind the rich industrial nations, says Mr. Easterly, a former World Bank
economist.

At the World Bank meeting this weekend, many critics will be urging debt
forgiveness to help foster growth.

To Sala-i-Martin, the key to success in developing nations is not "charity."
The US and other giants can do more by slashing farm subsidies and opening
to imports.

Copyright 2002 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.
 
================
(7) THE GLOBALISATION OF HUMAN WELL-BEING

>From Cata Institute, 22 August 2002
http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-447es.html

The Globalization of Human Well-Being
by Indur M. Goklany

Indur Goklany is an independent scholar and the author of The Precautionary
Principle: A Critical Appraisal of Environmental Risk Assessment (Cato
Institute, 2001) and Clearing the Air: The Real Story of the War on Air
Pollution (Cato Institute, 1999).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Executive Summary

Controversy over globalization has focused mainly on whether it exacerbates
income inequality between the rich and the poor. But, as opponents of
globalization frequently note, human well-being is not synonymous with
wealth. The central issue, therefore, is not whether income gaps are growing
but whether globalization advances well-being and, if inequalities in
well-being have expanded, whether that is because the rich have advanced at
the expense of the poor.

More direct measures of human well-being than per capita income include
freedom from hunger, mortality rates, child labor, education, access to safe
water, and life expectancy. Those indicators generally advance with wealth,
because wealth helps create and provide the means to improve them. In turn,
those improvements can stimulate economic growth by creating conditions
conducive to technological change and increasing productivity. Thus, wealth,
technological change, and well-being reinforce each other in a virtuous
cycle of progress.

During the last half century, as wealth and technological change advanced
worldwide, so did the well-being of the vast majority of the world's
population. Today's average person lives longer and is healthier, more
educated, less hungry, and less likely to have children in the work-force.
Moreover, gaps in these critical measures of well-being between the rich
countries and the middle- or low-income groups have generally shrunk
dramatically since the mid-1900s irrespective of trends in income
inequality. However, where those gaps have shrunk the least or even expanded
recently, the problem is not too much globalization but too little.

The rich are not better off because they have taken something away from the
poor; rather, the poor are better off because they benefit from the
technologies developed by the rich, and their situation would have improved
further had they been better able to capture the benefits of globalization.
A certain level of global inequality may even benefit the poor as rich
countries develop and invest in more expensive medicines and technologies
that then become affordable to the poor.

FULL PAPER AT http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa447.pdf

===========
(8) AND FINALLY: MORE EVIDENCE FOR GLOBAL WARMING AS MUNICH HAS EARLIEST
SNOWFALL SINCE 1442

>From The Times, 27 September 2002
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-2-428182,00.html

by Paul Simons
 
A BLAST of winter came early to the Alps on Tuesday night, when a bitterly
cold storm dropped two feet of snow on Austria's Sonnblick mountains.

Stranger still, the storm also left Munich under snow, the earliest autumn
snowfall since 1442. At that time Henry VI ruled England and a chunk of
France, while the rather laidback Austrian king, Frederick III, was more
interested in astrology than ruling his country.

Across Europe, the climate had been proving to be a growing problem, when a
run of severe winters in the 1430s crippled vineyards and wine production
plunged from the halcyon days of the previous century.

The snowfall of September 1442 heralded a cruel winter that lasted well into
May. Chroniclers of the time described how large rivers like the Rhine were
frozen for three months and snow lay on the ground for eight months. A thaw
did not arrive until the last week of May.

This period in the early 1400s was the start of a spectacularly cold epoch
called the Little Ice Age, which lasted on and off until the 1800s. In
Europe, glaciers grew larger, trees retreated from the Arctic regions and
there were frequent famines as harvests failed in the cold, wet weather.

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