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Sustaining World Resources

September 5, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 36

May 30, page 13: Ironwood Pharmaceuticals’ linaclotide contains 14 amino acids.

June 20, page 24: Clariant continues to operate several research and nonmanufacturing sites in the U.K. Also, its plant in Pontypridd, Wales, will operate into 2012.

July 25, page 18: NIH R&D funding was about $30 billion annually in the early 2000s. Also, Rex Reklaitis assisted the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology & Education on its technology presentation in Washington, D.C.

Aug. 8, page 14: Tiger Optics was spun off from Meeco in 2001. It raised more than $250,000 from initial investors.

This year, Queensland, Australia, has had flooding rains during autumn and winter. At one stage, the floods in Queensland covered an area equivalent to the whole of France and Germany. I am sure that the reservoirs of Toowoomba have adequate water (C&EN, July 4, page 3).

Australia has experienced 10- and 50-year climatic cycles before and will do so again. In the meantime, the state of Victoria, where seasonal rain normality has resumed, is building an unnecessary multi-billion-dollar desalination plant. As scientists, we should not be swayed by the popular tabloids but rather request some real scientific cause and effect for climate change (previously called global warming, I wonder why it was changed).

To blindly attribute climatic change to a slight increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is not science, but if you have some real evidence rather than that put forward by economists and politicians, please let me have it. It might be better to look at the second law of thermodynamics and give more credence to history and geology.

By Enrico Mocellin
Highton, Victoria

I read the following comment at the Alchemist newsletter from, which states, “A shining example of sustainable energy: Manure from millions of cattle, pigs, and chickens can be fed into anaerobic digesters to produce methane for electricity generation. There are about 150 anaerobic digesters in the U.S. alone. However, the power costs about double the average cost of energy from fossil fuels. An alternative energy policy that taxed carbon emissions from fossil fuels could make this renewable energy source more economically viable according to David Zaks of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and colleagues. In addition to replacing fossil fuels, the digesters would provide the benefit of reducing methane release from manure, Zaks says.”

The problem with David Zaks’s argument on making such renewable energy more economically viable under a carbon emissions tax is that all manure-handling operations, whether equipped with anaerobic digesters or not, would have the burden of very high taxes for any direct or indirect methane releases as a result of methane’s being 24 times more active in global warming than carbon dioxide (C&EN OnlineLatest News, July 21). Rather than subsidize anaerobic digesters that produce methane for electricity generation, I would rather eat less meat. I wonder how that sits with the animal farming industry.

By Bill Juris
Columbus, Ohio



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