By the Numbers

Beyond propaganda and rhetoric, numbers tell the real story

Flatulent cows and other livestock far outrank sport utility vehicles as the largest single source of the gas emissions said to cause global warming, according to "Livestock’s Long Shadow," a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The report found that the gas and manure produced in barnyards worldwide contribute 35 percent to 40 percent of the methane emitted into the atmosphere. Overall, livestock emissions total 18 percent of so-called greenhouse gases when measured as equivalents of carbon dioxide. For more information go to

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has recommended designating the polar bear as a "threatened" species because of warmer temperatures in their arctic habitat. However, data published in the Wall Street Journal indicate that the polar bear population is larger now than 50 years ago. The number of polar bears in the 1950s was estimated at 5,000. The population increased to an estimated 8,000-10,000 from 1965 to 1970, and rose to 25,000 by 1984. Current estimates range between 20,000 and 25,000, according to the data collected by the Wall Street Journal from the International Bear Association, International Wildlife, the Polar Bear Study Group, the World Conservation Union, CoveBear and the New York Times. For more information go to

Between 1980 and 2005, the number of vehicle miles driven annually roughly doubled, and the amount of coal burned for electricity production increased 61 percent. During the same period, sulfur dioxide levels in the air fell 63 percent; carbon monoxide concentrations dropped 74 percent; nitrogen dioxide levels decreased 37 percent; and fine particulate matter declined 40 percent, according to research by scientist Joel Schwartz, an American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar who analyzed air quality data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information go to

An analysis of cyclone data from 1970 through 2003 found no evidence supporting claims that global warming is intensifying hurricanes. The findings of the study, which was conducted by climatologists Robert Balling and Randall Cerveny and published in the journal Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, revealed no significant relationship between the intensification of cyclones and temperature anomalies between the sea surface and the lower troposphere. For more information go to p=d9867cff278e4998adcf7f23f22b1a5e&pi=3.

The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), one of many invasive species in the Great Lakes. The lamprey is a parasite that attaches to a host fish with its suction disc, which it uses to penetrate the host’s scales and suck out the fish’s fluids — a creature capable of killing up to 40 pounds of fish in less than two years.
Source: SGNIS,

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