Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monbiot Attacks Climate Change Deniers

There's a fantastic article in The Guardian today about the attempts to discredit the evidence that global warming is a very real threat to the world (more than the phantom, organised terrorist threat). The article is an extract from Monbiot's latest book, Heat. Monbiot investigates those that claim that global warming is 'junk science' and reveals that they are largely in the pay of companies who wish to protect their interests. Yet, despite their obvious conflict of interest, they are regarded as experts by the media (particularly Fox News - what a surprise). Of course, it should come as no surprise to learn that the main groups that fund this perversion are major contributers to the Bush presidency (hence the refusal to sign the Kyoto agreement). The piece excellently exposes the danger posed by corporations who wish to protect the interests of the shareholders and their union with corrupt right-wing politicians. If you are concerned by the intentions of the right in conjunction with their corporate buddies, this is essential reading.

It is also worth checking out the website Monbiot refers to, Junk Science - a disturbing and dangerous attempt to misinform to protect the interests of the rich. Interestingly, his website currently supports the use of DDT. The Lancet wrote an article on DDT concluding the following:

Although DDT is generally not toxic to human beings and was banned mainly for ecological reasons, subsequent research has shown that exposure to DDT at amounts that would be needed in malaria control might cause preterm birth and early weaning, abrogating the benefit of reducing infant mortality from malaria. ... DDT might be useful in controlling malaria, but the evidence of its adverse effects on human health needs appropriate research on whether it achieves a favourable balance of risk versus benefit.

Future perspectives

Although acute toxic effects are scarce, toxicological evidence shows endocrine-disrupting properties; human data also indicate possible disruption in semen quality, menstruation, gestational length, and duration of lactation. The research focus on human reproduction and development seems to be appropriate. DDT could be an effective public-health intervention that is cheap, longlasting, and effective. However, various toxic-effects that would be difficult to detect without specific study might exist and could result in substantial morbidity or mortality. Responsible use of DDT should include research programmes that would detect the most plausible forms of toxic effects as well as the documentation of benefits attributable specifically to DDT. Although this viewpoint amounts to a platitude if applied to malaria research in Africa, the research question here could be sufficiently focused and compelling, so that governments and funding agencies recognise the need to include research on all infant mortality when DDT is to be used.

Mr Milloy is in the pay of Phillip Morris and ExxonMobil, which might explain some of his interesting/outlandish ideas (he also denies the effects of secondary smoke). Something that might be worth considering next time he appears on the TV denouncing what he calls 'junk science'.