Friday, July 23, 2004

What Goes Around Comes Around

Global warming melts Peruvian peaks
Fri 23 July, 2004 13:10

By Monica Vargas

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - The snow atop Pastoruri, one of the Andes most beautiful peaks and a big draw for mountaineers and skiers, could disappear along with many of Peru's glaciers in the next several years because of global warming, experts say.

At 17,000 feet (5,191 meters) in the northern Andes, the glacier which covers famed Pastoruri has shrunk at a rate of 62 feet (19 meters) every year since 1980. Today it covers a surface area of 0.7 square miles (1.8 square kilometres), about 25 percent less than a quarter of a century ago.


Peru has the most tropical glaciers in Latin America and has already lost 20 percent of the 1,615 miles (2,600 kms) of glaciers running through its central and southern Andes in the past 30 years, according to CONAM.

Climate change, caused by greenhouses gases such as carbon dioxide, is considered one of the biggest longer term threats to mankind and could bring higher sea levels, devastating floods and droughts.

The world has been heating up in the past 50 years and the Earth is at its hottest in 10,000 years, scientists say.

"There are 18 glacial mountains in Peru and they are all experiencing melting," Iturregui said.

President George W. Bush has been roundly, repeatedly, and justifiably criticized  for his handling of climate change issues.  He also is  great believer in justice and personal responsibility.  Thus, the following headline should come as no surprise:

Bush military records found
Saturday 24 July 2004, 2:31 Makka Time, 23:31 GMT

Crucial military records of US President George Bush, earlier reported destroyed by the Pentagon, have resurfaced.

The records relate to Bush's service in the Air National Guard three decades ago and are likely to help in throwing light on the president's whereabouts while he was a pilot during the Vietnam War.

In an election year, Bush is facing strident accusations of having shirked military duty in his younger days.

Defence Finance and Accounting Service spokesman Bryan Hubbard said the microfilm payroll records were found in Peru and blamed a clerical error for the Pentagon's failure to find the records.

"We are talking about a manual process for records that are over 30 years old," Hubbard said.

False alarm

The Pentagon earlier this month said microfilm records of large numbers of service members, including Bush, were buried under the snow on a mountain top in Peru, in 1996 and 1997, in a project to save large, brittle rolls of microfilm.  Last February, the White House released hundreds of pages of Bush's military records. Those records did not provide new evidence to place Bush in Alabama during the latter part of 1972 -- the period Democrats say he was basically absent without leave.

"The risk of fire and the risk of the microfilm drying out caused us to come up with a plan to bury the microfilm atop Pastoruri Mountain."  

A plan to bury the records at Yucca Mountain was derailed when a federal court ruled that they could be hazardous to the public, and a facility had to be found that would keep the records safe for more than 10,000 years.  "The court ruled that innocent civilians should not have to risk being exposed to the records.  The president agreed that the public should be protected at all costs, and that means we must withhold any information that could jeopardize the next election." 

Speaking off the record, a top White House official was quoted as saying: "The safety of the American People is the President's top priority.  If lies, half-truths, and withholding public information are what it takes to protect our citizens from themselves, George W. Bush will do that, and more, without hesitation."

The official, when asked about the exposure of the embarrassing records, stated: "Our scientists assured us that the snow and ice in the Peruvian Mountains would never melt, since Global Warming is known to be a myth perpetuated by liberal proponents of junk science."

In other news today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  dropped below 10,000  for the first time since May, as investor confidence was rattled by the revelation that Mr. Bush is a liar.  However, the market has been sinking steadily since early July, when a disappointing jobs report from the Labor Department ended hopes for a summer rally and also started giving investors severe doubt about the strength of the economy. Since then, other downbeat economic reports and a series of surprisingly poor second-half earnings outlooks have sent the market lower and lower.  By dropping below 10,000 the Dow reminded long-term investors that they haven't made a dime on the market's 30 most-watched stocks during the past five years. It was in the spring of 1999 that the Dow first broke into five-digit territory and after years of rallies and retreats, that is where it closed today.