Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ecuador Takes Leadership Role On Climate Change

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa.
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) Sep 25, 2007
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa presented the Yasuni-ITT Initiative at a United Nations meeting of world leader's on global climate change. This pioneering initiative is an unprecedented proposal by an oil exporting country to leave its largest oil reserve unexploited to contribute to the reduction of global greenhouse gases and to initiate Ecuador's transition toward the world's first truly sustainable economy.

A key part of this initiative is to avoid oil extraction activities in Yasuni National Park, home to at least two indigenous tribes that live in voluntary isolation and one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Ecuador proposes to leave the nearly one billion barrel ITT oilfield unexploited in order to preserve Yasuni's astounding biodiversity, ecosystem services, and the cultural integrity of its indigenous inhabitants.

Ecuador is proposing to forgo the revenue from oil production because it believes the value of avoiding climate change and deforestation is of greater value to Ecuador and the planet as a whole. Read More

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ethanol Production Threatens Plains States With Water Scarcity

BOULDER, Colorado, September 21, 2007 (ENS) - The rapid increase in ethanol plants under construction or planned for eight key farm states is threatening to pull billions of gallons of water each year from an aquifer that is already depleted and under stress, according to a new report issued Thursday by Environmental Defense.

Authored by Martha Roberts and Theodore Toombs of the Environmental Defense Rocky Mountain office and Dr. Timothy Male, senior ecologist with the Land, Water & Wildlife Program in the group's Washington, DC office, the report takes the form of a case study of the Ogallala Aquifer region.
One of the world's largest aquifers, the Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is a vast, shallow underground pool of water located beneath portions of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
The Ogallala Aquifer supports the majority of irrigated agriculture in the southern Great Plains. But the water table is declining in areas where rates of groundwater pumping have far exceeded rates of replacement. The region was also the center of Dust Bowl conditions in the 1930s. Read More

Friday, September 21, 2007

Groups Urge New Drive to Fight Oil-Climate Crisi

WASHINGTON - Activists and foreign policy experts held a public forum this weekend to launch what they hope will be “a combined international movement” to respond to the threats of climate change and the depletion of oil and other cheap energy sources.

They said no less than “planetary survival” is at stake.0920 04

“Confronting the Triple Crisis” brought 60 speakers from 16 countries to Washington, DC, the capital of a nation “whose way of life is one of the key drivers behind the global crises we face,” according to a statement from conference organizer International Forum on Globalization (IFG).

The 3-day summit was the first of its kind to examine climate change, peak oil, and the extinction of species as one interconnected problem with common solutions, according to the IFG and co-sponsor Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

“We hope that this diversity [of speakers] and cross-fertilization will help build a really strong movement,” said IFG co-director Jerry Mander, addressing the opening session.

Speakers urged attendees to lobby their governments for more proactive climate change and energy policies and to make specific adjustments in their own lives to help mitigate the challenges the world faces. Among other personal initiatives, they suggested using more public transportation and consuming fewer — not just “greener” — products. Read More

Thursday, September 20, 2007

EU to Help Poor Nations Fight Global Warming

The European Commission is setting up a Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) with developing countries, which foresees integrating the tackling of climate change into poverty reduction strategies.

The European Commission this week announced the creation of a fund to help developing nations battle climate change, putting in 50 million euros ($69 million) itself to kick it off.

Louis Michel, EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, proposed the global alliance to help developing nations deal with and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Read More

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Healing the Ozone Holes Could Help Lower Earth's Temperature

MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada, September 17, 2007 (ENS) - Refrigerating and air conditioning today employ hydrochlorofluorocarbons, HCFCs - chemicals that by international agreement have replaced other chemicals known to damage the Earth's ozone layer. But now HCFCs have fallen out of favor because they too deplete the ozone layer and also act as greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.

Today in Montreal, representatives of 191 governments opened a four day conference at which they will try to speed up the phaseout of both production and consumption of HCFCs. They are seeking solutions that can both protect the ozone layer and help to stabilize the climate.
The largest ever Antarctic ozone hole, recorded on September 10, 2000, when it covered 11.5 million square miles. (Image courtesy TOMS science team NASA)
The governments are Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which on Sunday marked its 20th anniversary with a seminar entitled “Celebrating 20 Years of Progress.”

Hosted by Environment Canada and the UN Environment Programme, UNEP, which is responsible for the Montreal Protocol, the seminar was held at the Palais de Congrès in Montreal, Canada, in advance of the conference negotiations.

Participants from governments, international organizations, business and NGOs took part in the keynote presentations and panel discussions on the history, development and implementation of the Montreal Protocol, ozone science, and links with other environmental issues such as climate change Read More

Monday, September 17, 2007

Arctic Ocean Ice Thinner By Half in Six Year

BREMERHAVEN, Germany, September 14, 2007 (ENS) - Large areas of Arctic sea ice are only one meter thick this year, about 50 percent thinner than they were in the year 2001, according to measurements taken by 50 scientists on board the research ship Polarstern. The international team is conducting research on sea ice in the central Arctic Basin.

Dr. Ursula Schauer (Photos by Florian Breier courtesy Alfred-Wegener Institute)
"The ice cover in the North Polar Sea is dwindling, the ocean and the atmosphere are becoming steadily warmer, the ocean currents are changing," said chief scientist Dr. Ursula Schauer from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, who has been aboard the Polarstern for two and a half months.

Schauer is currently in the Arctic, underway with scientists from Germany, Russia, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States, Switzerland, Japan, France and China, where they are investigating ocean and sea ice conditions.

"We are in the midst of phase of dramatic change in the Arctic, and the International Polar Year 2007/08 offers us a unique opportunity to study this dwindling ocean in collaboration with international researchers," said Schauer.

The thickness of the Arctic sea ice has been shrinking since 1979, and on this trip oceanographers have found a particularly high concentration of melt-water in the ocean and a large number of melt-ponds. Read More

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Warming 'opens Northwest Passage'

The most direct shipping route from Europe to Asia is fully clear of ice for the first time since records began, the European Space Agency (Esa) says.

Historically, the Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans has been ice-bound through the year.

But the agency says ice cover has been steadily shrinking, and this summer's reduction has made the route navigable.

The findings, based on satellite images, raised concerns about the speed of global warming. Read More

Friday, September 14, 2007

Man is to blame for global warming, US admits

George Bush's top scientific advisor has delivered the strongest statement yet from within the US administration that greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity are to blame for climate change.

Man is to blame for global warming, US admits
President Bush has invited world
leaders to Washingtonlater this
month to discuss climate change

George Bush's top scientific advisor has delivered the strongest statement yet from within the US administration that greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity are to blame for climate change.

Professor John Marburger said it was more than 90 per cent likely that mankind was causing global warming and that the earth may become "unlivable" without reductions in CO2 output. Read More

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

FAO Warns Climate Change Could be Major Threat to Food Security

FAO Warns Climate Change Could be Major Threat to Food Security

11 September 2007

De Capua interview on climate change mp3 audio clip
Listen to De Capua interview on climate change mp3 audio clip
De Capua interview on climate change ra audio clip

Recent picture released by the World Food Programme shows a displaced Burundian boy standing outside houses destroyed by floods at Gatumba, near Bujumbura, 25 Jan 2007
World Food Program picture shows a displaced Burundian boy standing outside houses destroyed by floods at Gatumba, near Bujumbura, 25 Jan 2007
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says climate change could become a “major threat to world food security.” It calls climate change one of the “main challenges humankind will have to face for many years to come.”

About 140 international experts are meeting in Rome this week to discuss the issue. One of them is Jeff Tschirley, chief of the FAO’s Environment, Climate Change and Bio-Energy Division. From Rome, he told VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua that a fourth assessment report on climate change is about to be released. Read More

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ice-Free Arctic Could Be Here in 23 Years

The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said last night. Experts said they were “stunned” by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this summer that the north-west passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia’s Arctic coast could open later this month. If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030.
Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver which released the figures, said: “It’s amazing. It’s simply fallen off a cliff and we’re still losing ice.” The Arctic has now lost about a third of its ice since satellite measurements began 30 years ago, and the rate of loss has accelerated sharply since 2002. Read More

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

World's dams are 'contributing to global warming'

September 04, 2007 12:00am
Article from: AAP

THE world's dams are contributing millions of tonnes of harmful greenhouse gases and spurring on global warming, according to a US environmental agency.
International Rivers Network executive director Patrick McCully today told Brisbane's Riversymposium rotting vegetation and fish found in dams produced surprising amounts of methane - 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

"Often it's accepted that hydropower is a climate friendly technology but in fact probably all reservoirs around the world emit greenhouse gases and some of them, especially some of the ones in the tropics, emit very high quantities of greenhouse gases even comparable to, in some cases even much worse than, fossil fuels like coal and gas," Mr McCully said. Read More

Sunday, September 2, 2007

US regulators consider global warming in power plant case

LITTLE ROCK — A change in climates over the generations has the Arkansas Public Service Commission taking a hard look at a proposed power plant for southwestern Arkansas. Is the use of low-cost coal worth the greater amount of carbon emissions from the 600-megawatt unit?

Southwestern Electric Power Co. acknowledges the proposed $1.3 billion John W. Turk power station will have a larger "carbon footprint" than plants powered by other fuels, but say complaints can be boiled down to "Not in my back yard."

Plant opponents say they don't want the power station in their back yards for a good reason: industrial activity and increased pollution will damage prime hunting grounds near Fulton, and contribute to global warming.

While scientists say Earth's climate has changed, so has the regulatory climate. With increased worries about global warming, PSC chairman Paul Suskie said last week that state environmental agencies must do their jobs while the PSC does its: making sure consumer costs are justified. Read More