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03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Earth Hour: Turning out the lights plays into the hands of our critics
Guardian: In my 25 years of environmental campaigning I have seen lots of inspired protests and lots of daft or pointless ones. But the WWF Earth Hour campaign has to be one of the most misguided and counterproductive actions I have ever seen. On the face of it, this seems like a rather neat idea, which ticks every box for a mass action. Turning your lights off for an hour this Saturday from 8.30pm is a small, simple act that is easy to publicise. It is highly visible. It's something ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
South Africa: Centre Opened to Reduce Greenhouse Gasses
BuaNews: A Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere in South Africa, was unveiled in Johannesburg on Friday. The centre is currently the only technology available to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, while still using fossil fuels and much of current energy infrastructure. The centre will capture the carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted to the atmosphere and store it in deep geological formations. The ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Alaska's Coast Disappearing At Record Rates
National Public Radio: Reporting in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers find that a portion of the Alaskan coast is eroding at a rate of 45 feet per year. Chris Arp, a research ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage, explains why the coast is crumbling faster than before. read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
NOAA Head Jane Lubchenco On Ocean Policy
National Public Radio: What is on the horizon for the U.S. role in ocean management? Jane Lubchenco, newly-confirmed administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), discusses her top priorities for ocean policy -- from forming a National Climate Service to ending overfishing. read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
China pulls out of Earth Hour to celebrate Tibet 'liberation' day
Guardian: The Chinese government has been turned off this Saturday's "Earth Hour" after officials realised the event falls on a newly created holiday to commemorate the ousting of the Dalai Lama from Tibet. Chinese journalists and student groups have been told to scale back their participation because images of cities and campuses turning dark do not fit the upbeat propaganda message that the authorities wanted to convey by declaring 28 March "Serf Liberation Day" in Tibet. The United ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
US hopes to avoid repeat of Kyoto Protocol
Associated Press: President Barack Obama's administration will be guided by a mix of "science and pragmatism" as it helps craft a global deal on climate change, the top U.S. climate official said Friday. Todd Stern said that would help the administration avoid a repeat of what happened with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, when U.S. officials negotiated a deal in Japan that failed to win domestic support. The U.S. refusal to join the program to reduce emissions drew sharp international rebuke, and ... read more

03/05/2009 07:00 PM
Carbon Offsets: Fact or Fiction?
Scientific American: The producers of the Fox TV show 24 are going carbon neutral. They're helping to fund a wind farm in India and burning some biodiesel in the production trucks to try to precisely balance the carbon dioxide emitted from all those klieg lights with the amount avoided by generating Indian electricity from the breeze rather than burning coal. Only problem? The accounting doesn't quite work. To truly offset CO<sub>2</sub> emissions, a project like a wind farm must be in addition to ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
U.S. fuel efficiency for cars up for first time
Reuters: The Obama administration on Friday imposed the first increase in fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars, requiring model year 2011 vehicles to average 30.2 miles per gallon. A copy of the fuel efficiency rule obtained by Reuters would require sport utilities, vans, and pickups -- the light truck class -- to achieve 24.1 mpg. The standard is estimated to save nearly 900 million gallons of fuel and to cost the industry $1.4 billion, the regulation said. Congress has ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
US Senators try to cut ethanol import tariffs
Bioenergy Business: A bipartisan group of US Senators has introduced a bill to lower tariffs on imported ethanol, a proposal that US ethanol supporters have fiercely resisted in the past. The proposal is designed to ensure parity between the ethanol blending subsidy and two tariffs on imported ethanol, by requiring US President Barack Obama to lower the tariffs by at least $0.11/gallon ($0.03/litre) within 30 days of enactment. The 2008 Farm Bill lowered the ethanol blender subsidy from ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Federal Funding Gap Cited For Research On Human Health Impacts Due To Climate Change
ScienceDaily: Climate change will seriously impact public health, but the United States has yet to allocate adequate research funding to understand and prepare for these impacts, according to a report published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The report suggests that the current knowledge gap regarding climate change and public health is putting multitudes at risk and calls for a major expansion of research to tackle ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Dust Plays Larger Than Expected Role In Determining Atlantic Temperature
ScienceDaily: The recent warming trend in the Atlantic Ocean is largely due to reductions in airborne dust and volcanic emissions during the past 30 years, according to a new study. Since 1980, the tropical North Atlantic has been warming by an average of a quarter-degree Celsius (a half-degree Fahrenheit) per decade. Though this number sounds small, it can translate to big impacts on hurricanes, which thrive on warmer water, says Amato Evan, a researcher with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Japan: Toshiba, Sharp mull solar power tie-up: companies
Agence France-Presse: Japanese consumer electronics giants Toshiba and Sharp are in talks on a possible tie-up in the solar power generation field, the companies said Friday. "It is true that we are holding talks on the solar cell business with other companies, including Toshiba," Sharp Corp. spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said, declining to give further details. Sharp wants to enhance its solar business further, with its solar cell revenue expected to reach 170 billion yen (1.7 billion dollars) ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
This gift of nature is the best way to save us from climate catastrophe
Guardian: I believe that George Monbiot, in rubbishing the concept of biochar, misrepresents my work (Woodchips with everything. It's the Atkins plan of the low-carbon world, 24 March). "The great green miracle works like this: we turn the planet's surface into charcoal. Sorry, not charcoal ... Now we say biochar." I coined the word about four years ago. It doesn't mean charcoal like you burn on the barbecue, but finely divided pyrolysed (OK, George, "cooked" if you like) biomass prepared for soil ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
United Kingdom: Heathrow third runway plans dealt massive blow
Guardian: The chances of a third runway being built at Heathrow airport have been dealt a serious blow after a government document warned that BAA cannot lodge a planning application for the project before the next general election. The Conservatives -- who are well ahead of Labour in the polls -- have pledged to block a new landing strip at the UK's busiest international airport. The admission gives a Tory administration ample time to draft a new aviation policy that will block BAA's ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Italy: Students give up wheels for their own two feet
New York Times: Each morning, about 450 students travel along 17 school bus routes to 10 elementary schools in this lakeside city at the southern tip of Lake Como. There are zero school buses. In 2003, to confront the triple threats of childhood obesity, local traffic jams and – most important – a rise in global greenhouse gases abetted by car emissions, an environmental group here proposed a retro-radical concept: children should walk to school. They set up a piedibus (literally foot-bus in ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
Trying to make nuclear power less risky
U.S. News and World Report: Thorium is a slightly radioactive element, a cousin of uranium. For the past four decades, in fits and starts, researchers have been testing it as a potentially attractive competitor to uranium as a source of nuclear fuel. Within the nuclear community, it's won a small, devoted following. Up to now, it's had little commercial impact. Today, however, thorium is getting a serious second look from some powerful global players. With interest in nuclear power soaring, thorium is being ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
The truth about all those green jobs
U.S. News and World Report: It's no wonder that the "green jobs" chant has become a chorus. What's not to like about the prospect of millions of newly created and hard-to-outsource positions? Particularly if they are filled by people hard at work designing and building and installing the very equipment that will overhaul the nation's energy habit--replacing, or at least diminishing, the nation's addiction to oil with plentiful, renewable, made-in-America energy. This idyllic vision is being trumpeted in newly ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Hotter days ahead to change farming, greenhouse conference told
Australian: AUSTRALIA is hotter than ever and is expected to get hotter, with huge consequences for the nation's farming industry. CSIRO scientist Mark Howden has warned that changes in climate, even though only slight, meant the nation needed to re-think approaches to agriculture. Dr Howden, from the CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship, told the Greenhouse 2009 conference yesterday that agriculture practices could look quite different in future decades. He believes Australian ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
New cars and trucks will need to reach 27.3 miles per gallon in 2011 model year
Associated Press: The Obama administration plans to raise fuel efficiency standards by 2 miles per gallon to 27.3 mpg for new cars and trucks in the 2011 model year, marking the first increase in passenger car standards in more than two decades. Under the changes, which are slightly less stringent than those proposed by the Bush administration, new passenger cars will need to meet 30.2 mpg for the 2011 model year and pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, and minivans will need to reach 24.1 mpg, an ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Drought in Kenya ravages Maasai cattle
Reuters: Isaac Deka and his three exhausted cows cluster under a thorny acacia tree that provides little shelter from the midday sun. They are all that is left of a proud herd of 55 Borana cattle that were the wealth and livelihood of the 45-year-old Maasai pastoralist, his two wives and five children. "One of them is already lying down and it will not be able to stand again. By tomorrow or the day after I am not sure any of them will still be alive," said Deka. Cattle are the ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Oregon legislature weighs ethanol bills
Oregonian: The backlash against ethanol hit Oregon's Legislature on Thursday, with five bills up for consideration that would scale back the state's commitment to the largely corn-based fuel. Legislators from both sides of the aisle complained about reduced mileage, potential engine and fuel system damage and increased food and livestock feed prices. Ethanol is a favorite of Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who helped push biofuel tax breaks through the previous Legislature, along with a requirement ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Climate changes Europe's borders - and the world's
New Scientist: Italy and Switzerland are planning to redraw their shared alpine border, as global warming is melting the glaciers that originally guided the line. Although peaceful, the move raises fears of future conflicts over shifting borders and resources. Glaciers and ice fields around the world are melting as temperatures rise, with Europe's high mountains particularly hard hit. The original proposal to move the Swiss-Italian border comes from Franco Narducci, a member of Italy's ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Financial crisis, price hike and climate change decelerating growth in Asia-Pacific: UN
Nepal News: A new report by the United Nations has pointed out three simultaneous threats in Asia and Pacific region - financial crisis, food-fuel price rise and climate change, which have decelerated the development process. The report 'Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2009: Addressing triple threats to Development' by Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) made public on Friday in Kathmandu underlines the need of addressing these issues together to ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Destroying the glacier to save it
Asia Sentinel: The Siachen glacier, at 19,000 feet in elevation, has long been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan and is the world's highest battlefield, with intermittent exchanges of fire. However, there may not be much left to fight over as the ice mass is disappearing due to global warming caused by emissions by industry and transport sectors. Recent studies have found that the length of the glacier has dwindled to half from 150 km to 74 km. Dr Rajeev Upadhayay, of the geology department at ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
United Kingdom: The gaunt, skeletal beauty of pylons
Guardian: Our desire for ever more electricity is fuelling a fresh row over pylons - and where to place them. Bill Bryson, president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, calls plans for new pylons to be stretched across 170 miles of British countryside "crazy". And given that the countryside in question includes sublime swathes of Snowdonia, Kent and Somerset, he has a point. Yet the electricity pylon itself is all too often an object of hate, when not only does it perform an invaluable ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Farmers Want Obama to Make Carbon a Cash Crop Under Climate Law
Bloomberg: Rex Woollen grows corn and soybeans. In 2007, the Wilcox, Nebraska, farmer started cultivating a new commodity: carbon. By not tilling his 800 acres, Woollen by some estimates keeps 470 tons of carbon per year in the ground and out of the atmosphere. Because of that, Woollen gets carbon credits he can sell on the Chicago Climate Exchange. At first, neighboring farmers were skeptical. "They called me a tree-hugger," Woollen said. "Then I showed them my first ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Last chance to change
Age: It's Copenhagen or bust. Ben Cubby reports on a meeting that may be our only hope of doing the right thing for the planet. World leaders will meet in the Danish capital of Copenhagen in December to design a new global plan to combat climate change. The negotiations are the best chance to start reducing the world's spiralling greenhouse gas emissions. The next 20 years are proving to be a crucial period, when scientists believe it is still possible to ward off the worst effects ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
U.K. Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Declined 2% Last Year
Bloomberg: U.K. emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming fell 2 percent last year as the country took steps to meet its international treaty obligations. Output of six heat-trapping gases dropped to 623.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, from 636.6 million tons a year earlier, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, or DECC. Reduced fossil-fuel consumption by transport and manufacturing and lower use of coal to generate power led to ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Kirk Asked to Explain Obama's Position on U.S. Climate Tariffs
Bloomberg: Republican lawmakers asked U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to explain the Obama administration's position on imposing tariffs on imports from countries that aren't limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Representative Joe Barton of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and three other Republicans questioned the policy in a letter to Kirk today that was posted on the committee Web site. The lawmakers said their concerns stem from statements ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Climate change will cause 'untold upheaval' to wine industry
Decanter.com: One of Australia's leading voices in the wine industry has warned producers that they face untold upheaval if they are to combat the effects of global warming. Dr Tony Jordan, formerly the head of Moet Hennessy's Australasian portfolio, including Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay, and now a high profile consultant, claimed that producers 'are in denial about climate change'. Speaking at last week's inaugural International Sparkling Wine Symposium, Jordan predicted that 'vineyards ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Canada: Harper government announces funding for eight carbon capture projects
Canadian Press: The Harper government has given the "green" light to eight projects aimed at developing carbon capture and storage technologies. Funding was announced last April but it took the Natural Resources Department a year to choose from almost 40 proposals it received. "I don't think it's possible to overstate the importance of this technology," Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday at an announcement in Calgary. "These companies span B.C., Alberta and ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Japan Panel's Emissions Targets May Shrink GDP by as Much as 6%
Bloomberg: A panel advising Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso on climate change has proposed mid-term targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that could shrink the country's gross domestic product by as much as 6 percent. The five proposals range from a 25 percent cut in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2020 to a 4 percent increase, according to a document released today in Tokyo. The panel's subcommittee, chaired by former Bank of Japan governor Toshihiko Fukui, is due to make a final ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Earth Hour more than a symbolic gesture
Metro Canada: On Saturday, hundreds of millions of people will take part in what could be the biggest global movement ever. Earth Hour -- at 8.30 p.m. local time -- is a unique opportunity for us all to demand action to combat climate change. From London to Beijing, from Cape Town to New York, in more than a thousand towns and cities, citizens will send a clear signal to the world's leaders that they want to keep the lid on global warming. Earth Hour is far more than a symbolic gesture. By ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Greenhouse gas goals for major nations
Reuters: The following factbox compares goals for curbs on greenhouse gas emissions by major nations ahead of U.N. climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany, from March 29-April 8. China, the United States, the European Union, Russia and India are top world emitters. Targets they set will go a long way to decide the ambition of a new U.N. deal to fight global warming due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December. Rich nations' plans cluster around cuts of roughly 15 percent below current ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Clampdown on 'Easy' China Carbon Deals to Cost Firms
Bloomberg: The European Union, frustrated that its 11,000 factories and power plants are failing to adequately reduce greenhouse-gas pollution, will seek tighter emission rules that may raise the price of burning fossil fuels. The 27-nation bloc wants to curb access to a program run by the United Nations that rewards companies more for funding emission-reduction projects in China and India than for decreasing their own gas output in Europe. New limits are needed to force extra pollution cuts at ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Recession dampens Obama negotiators' climate debut
Reuters: President Barack Obama's negotiators make their debut at U.N. climate talks on Sunday but U.S. promises of tougher action are unlikely to brighten prospects for strong treaty now overshadowed by recession. Up to 190 nations meet in Bonn from March 29-April 8 to work on plugging huge gaps in a pact due to be agreed in December. Some industrial nations -- Japan, Russia and Ukraine -- have not even set goals for key 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The U.N.'s climate chief ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Millions to flick the switch for climate change
Agence France-Presse: Millions of people across the globe will kill their lights for one hour this Saturday, in what organisers hope will be a resounding call for tough action on climate change. The waters of Sydney Harbour will be plunged into darkness for an hour from 8:30 pm (0930 GMT) as the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge dim their lights. The pyramids of Giza, Niagara Falls, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Acropolis and Beijing's "Birds Nest" Olympic stadium are among ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Australia: Farmers Face Challenges To Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions
redOrbit: An Australian scientist said Thursday that farmers of the future will have to use sheep and cattle that produce less methane, and crops that emit less nitrous oxide. They must also become experts in reporting their greenhouse gas emissions to governments, said University of Melbourne scientist Richard John Eckard on Thursday. Agriculture represents a significant source of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is only expected to rise as an increasing human population demands more and ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
CO2 treaty must not spark "trade war": U.S. lawmaker
Reuters: As the world tries to forge a new treaty to slow global warming, care must be taken not to spark trade conflicts between rich and developing countries, a key U.S. lawmaker said on Thursday. "We clearly we do not want to trigger a trade war," Ed Markey, a Democrat who heads the House climate change committee, told reporters in a teleconference. Already a trade spat has been brewing between interests in China and the United States, the world's two biggest emitters of ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
United Kingdom: Climate change targets will not be met unless Government invests in renewables
Telegraph: The Department for the Environment said greenhouse gases have fallen by two per cent in the last year. But environmentalists pointed out overall emissions have actually risen under the Labour Government and the recent fall is only as a consequence of the recession and the switch from coal to gas. In order to meet ambitious targets to cut greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050, they claimed the country will have to make much larger cuts in emissions in the next few decades ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Global Climate Efforts Await New US Input
Wall Street Journal: When the Obama administration makes its debut in the international climate-change debate at talks next week, expectations will be high: Europe hopes the U.S. can help end a standoff between rich and poor countries over how to share the burden of cutting carbon emissions. "The arrival of the new U.S. administration will have a huge and positive effect on the negotiations," said Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, which is overseeing the talks. "This will ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
United Kingdom: Holyrood hosts climate conference
BBC: The Scottish Parliament's environment committee is to host a special climate change conference at Holyrood. Experts from across the world have been brought together to give their views on Scotland's own climate change bill, which is now going through parliament. Among them will be representatives from low lying countries like Bangladesh and the Maldives, which fear catastrophic flooding. Delegates will also discuss the key climate-change issues around the ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Key Senate panel backs Obama's budget blueprint
Associated Press: A key Senate panel stacked with allies of President Barack Obama approved his ambitious budget blueprint Thursday, giving the president a symbolic endorsement of efforts to boost clean energy, fight global warming and improve access to health care. Senate Budget Committee approval by a party-line vote sets the stage for floor debate next week, where moderate Democrats unhappy with deficits wield more influence. The Senate measure is a nonbinding road map for major legislation later ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
United Kingdom: Ministers pore over incentives to save growth of green energy
Times (UK): Ministers were last night considering fresh incentives designed to spur investment in renewable energy amid evidence that the credit crunch is threatening government energy targets. The Energy Minister hit back at claims that the Government was failing to deliver on an ambitious plan to foster a green energy revolution by building thousands of onshore and offshore wind turbines. Mike O'Brien told a meeting of renewable-energy chiefs that he was determined that Britain would meet its ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
Toyota poised to join hybrid price war
Business Green: Toyota has this week confirmed that it is developing a low-cost hybrid version of its Yaris model, designed to take on Honda's new Insight hybrid model. Honda is preparing to roll out the latest version of its hybrid Insight in the US and Europe and is expected to significantly undercut Toyota's market-leading Prius. The current Prius model sells for about $22,000 (£15,000), while the Insight will be priced from $19,800. Speaking at the unveiling of the next version of the ... read more

03/27/2009 07:00 PM
United Kingdom: MPs call for government geo-engineering strategy
Business Green: The government's failure to invest in engineering skills could seriously undermine its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, according to a highly critical MPs report which also calls on ministers to establish a clear strategy for investing in geo-engineering projects capable of minimising the effects of climate change. The report from the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee concludes that the UK has "no clear strategy" for the engineering sector and is facing a "lack ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
A timeline of major events in nuclear power
Associated Press: * 1955: A U.S. government reactor makes Arco, Idaho, the world's first town electrified by nuclear power. * 1957: The U.S.' first commercial nuclear power plant becomes operational in Shippingport, Pa. (Nuclear reactors were already in service in the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom). It was retired in 1982. * March 29, 1979: Three Mile Island Unit 2 in Middletown, Pa., melts down. No one was killed or seriously injured that day, but the public relations disaster sets back ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Canada offers to fund carbon-capture projects
Reuters: Eight carbon capture and storage projects in Western Canada will share C$140 million ($114 million) in funding from the Canadian government, Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said on Thursday. The projects, whose backers include TransCanada Corp Spectra Energy, TransAlta Corp, Husky Energy Inc, Enbridge Inc and others, will cut emissions of carbon dioxide from electricity and oil and gas production The eight proposals are early stage projects that will reduce emissions into ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Less dusty air warms Atlantic, may spur hurricanes
Reuters: A decline in sun-dimming airborne dust has caused a fast warming of the tropical North Atlantic in recent decades, according to a study that might help predict hurricanes on the other side of the ocean. About 70 percent of the warming of the Atlantic since the early 1980s was caused by less dust, blown from Saharan sandstorms or caused by volcanic eruptions, U.S.-based scientists wrote in the journal Science. Clouds of dust can be blown thousands of kilometers (miles) and ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Climate Change Capital cuts staff in US, Britain
Reuters: Clean energy project investment manager Climate Change Capital said on Thursday it was reducing the headcount at its offices in the U.S. and Britain. "We have reduced some of the support and administrative activities. It's not a significant number for us," chief executive Mark Woodall told Reuters, declining to disclose exactly how many staff were reduced. "The core activities of the company are unaffected by the changes we have made," he added. Climate Change Capital ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
United Kingdom: Government fails to plug renewables funding gap
Business Green: Climate change minister Mike O'Brien sought to defend the government's policy on feed-in tariffs for renewable energy earlier today, in the face of mounting anger from industry leaders who fear many renewables will go under before the tariffs are introduced next year. At a summit organised by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) to discuss how the proposed feed-in tariffs should be structured, O'Brien faced repeated criticism from the floor that the current consultation on feed-in ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Billion people invited to switch off lights
Agence France-Presse: Around a billion people living in the world's major cities are being invited to turn off their lights at 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday for "Earth Hour," described as the biggest mass campaign to demand action on climate change. The Empire State Building, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the Acropolis in Athens and the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taiwan are among the buildings whose illuminations will be switched off for an hour, the organisers said on ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
G20 summit will test resolve on greener economy
Reuters: A G20 summit next week will test leading countries' appetite to fight climate change after spending trillions bailing out banks and shoring up the global economy. The April 2 meeting in London of leaders of major developed and emerging economies aims to battle a financial crisis. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, hosting the meeting, also wants to coordinate economic stimulus spending on a global response to climate change. If the summit fails to widen its agenda to ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Budget reconciliation talk for climate bill refuses to die
ClimateWire: Even as the House and Senate move ahead with budget resolutions that leaves little room for the use of the budget reconciliation process to move climate change legislation, Republicans and even some liberal Democrats are unwilling to close the door on the possible use of the filibuster-proof tactic. The House Budget Committee late last night cleared a budget resolution that contained reconciliation instructions for health care and education but not for cap-and-trade legislation. The ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Mind the gap: Reducing climate-related health risks
SciDev.Net: We must bridge the research--policy gap and use existing information to reduce the health risks caused by climate change, says Dziedzom De Souza. He argues that although much research has focused on predicting climate change's impact on health, little has actually been applied to controlling or preventing diseases. For example, studies have shown that a malaria epidemic is five times more likely in the year following an El Niño event -- but this information is not being used to ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Clean fuels are a social panacea - EPA
Daily Climate: Shifting the United States to clean-burning renewable fuels has the potential to cut through a thicket of thorny social ills and solve long-standing problems across the entire spectrum of American life, from manufacturing to national security to clean water, the country's top environmental cop said on Wednesday. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson spoke before 150 scientists, lawyers, industry executives, activists and others gathered at this alpine town ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
The growing case against red meat
Time Magazine: In more news that has steak lovers feeling deflated, a study published in this week's issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that people who indulge in high amounts of red meat and processed meats, including steak, bacon, sausage and cold cuts, have an increased risk of death from cancer and heart disease. The findings add power to the growing push -- by health officials, environmentalists and even some chefs -- to cool America's love affair with meat. The analysis of more ... read more

03/23/2009 07:00 PM
Will the military lead the way to greener technology?
Time Magazine: On Feb. 26, the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) published a "Defense Technology Plan" that laid out the British military's long-term research needs. The document was designed to guide arms and defense manufacturers on where to direct their research and development budgets. It highlighted five "capability visions" which it hoped would "stimulate new technologies." One of those visions was "Reduce dependency on fossil fuels." (See pictures of technological advances in the ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Australia: More aged deaths predicted due to increase in extreme heat
Age: THE number of elderly Melburnians dying due to extreme heat is expected to rise dramatically as climate change takes hold this century, research suggests. Heat stress is also projected to hit workplaces, with more regular oppressive days affecting productivity. A separate study found the projected increase in bushfires would reduce air quality, leading to more cases of potentially fatal respiratory illness. Nicole Joffe from consultants Net Balance found the number of ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Are the ice caps in trouble? Disappearing? You're getting warmer
Age: Polar ice is melting at such an alarming rate the rest of the world can't help but feel the heat, reports Marian Wilkinson. Before the summer heatwave hit Australia in January, climate scientists around the world were already turning their attention in our direction. The popular belief that Antarctica might be resistant to global warming was punctured with new research based on data from satellites and weather stations, confirming that for the past 50 years, much of the ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Why the Copenhagen climate change cliffhanger could drag on a little longer
Guardian: After nearly a decade of George Bush's denial and obstruction, Barack Obama could hold the key to a new global deal to tackle global warming. Which is why anyone who knows anything about climate change has been waiting for 2009 for a long time. Obama, as they see it, has arrived in the nick of time. The UN negotiations most likely to broker an international treaty have crawled into the home straight and the finishing line is in sight. A deadline of December has been set, ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Australia: More heat-related deaths 'likely'
AAP: Australia's big cities need to guard against a surge in heat-related deaths as they suffer more days with temperatures topping 30 degrees, scientists warn. Two independent studies looking at projected atmospheric conditions in Sydney and Melbourne have concluded that deaths of older people from heat stress and air pollution could double. The Sydney study, by Dr Martin Cope of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, sought to forecast the number of days when the maximum ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Compressed natural gas clears the air in Bangladesh
Christian Science Monitor: Muhammad Mokles plies the busy Dhaka streets in his green-painted auto-rickshaw. But when it's time to refuel, he skips the traditional gas pump and goes straight to a compressed natural gas (CNG) station. It's not only much cheaper than gasoline but it's also much better for the environment. Here in Bangladesh's capital, the streets overflow with thousands of noisy honking vehicles, pedestrians, beggar children, food vendors, and stray animals. Millions of people need to move around ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Australia: Carbon neutral farming a furphy
Stock Journal: The winner of last year's national 'Raising the Baa' competition has concluded carbon farming to offset a farm's own emissions cannot work under the present rules. Western Victorian sheep producer Andrew Dufty won the competition after being judged as one of the best adopters of technology and labour efficiency in the sheep industry, together with his innovative management and environmental awareness. On farm carbon neutrality a pipe-dream without including soil ... read more

03/20/2009 07:00 PM
Coal hard facts: cleaning it won't be dirt cheap
Wall Street Journal: Big industry calls it the future. Al Gore suggests it's a fantasy. Whatever the truth about "clean coal," consumers will be paying for it one way or another. Coal, more than any other fuel, powers the planet. It is the primary source of electricity in dominant economies from the U.S. to China to Germany. In all those places, coal is cheap and, unlike oil, domestically plentiful. Its use is rising, particularly in developing countries that soon will consume more energy than the ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
United States: Poor ocean conditions hurt Sacramento River salmon runs
Oregonian: The collapse of Sacramento River salmon runs that led to the close of coastal fisheries in Oregon in recent years can be largely traced to poor ocean conditions. That is the conclusion of a recent report (PDF) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. But the report points out that the salmon who were hurt by warm sea-surface temperatures and low food supply were already suffering from declining freshwater conditions in the Sacramento River basin, where water ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Ice loss on Great Lakes shows complexity of climate change
New Scientist: Glaciers and the polar caps aren't the only places to be feeling the heat. The ice cover on America's Great Lakes has apparently dropped by 30% since the 1970s, and there are all sorts of possible consequences. What's interesting is that the loss of ice could actually lead to feedback effects which could make it easier for ice to form. Quite what will happen as a result of all these competing effects is still anybody's guess. It's a nice example of just how difficult it can be ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Maldives' carbon neutral plan is not greenwash, just imperfect progress
Guardian: Mark Lynas's book Six Degrees strongly affects those who read it. It is a powerful but quietly voiced assessment of how the world will change as temperatures rise. The people of the Maldives, only too aware that their low-lying coral atolls are likely to disappear before the end of the century, are particularly interested in climate change and Lynas's book has been widely read in government circles in the capital Malé. Last month the Maldives asked him for a plan to make the country ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
New Enzymes Created For Biofuel Production
ScienceDaily: Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and world-leading gene-synthesis company DNA2.0 have taken an important step toward the development of a cost-efficient process to extract sugars from cellulose--the world's most abundant organic material and cheapest form of solar-energy storage. Plant sugars are easily converted into a variety of renewable fuels such as ethanol or butanol. In a paper published this week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Global warming giving nuclear new claim to clean
Associated Press: The nation's worst nuclear power plant accident was unfolding on Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island when an industry economist took the rostrum at a nearby business luncheon. It did not go well. Those in the standing-room-only crowd listened to economist Doug Biden's thoughts about cheap, reliable nuclear power, but Biden could not calm their nerves or answer their pointed questions: Should they join the tens of thousands of people fleeing south-central Pennsylvania? Should they ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Don't hold the US to climate standards it cannot achieve
Guardian: Europe is inadvertently undermining President Obama on global warming, with potentially damaging consequences for climate co-operation and transatlantic relations. Consider these troubling developments. First, many European policymakers have unrealistic expectations about how quickly Obama can reduce US emissions. Europe expects all developed countries to cut their emissions to 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. This may be reasonable for Europe, which expects to be 8% below 1990 ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Ice that burns could be a green fossil fuel
New Scientist: Natural gas locked up in water crystals could be a source of enormous amounts of energy âEUR" and if a new technology delivers what scientists are claiming, then it could be even be emissions-free too. To the naked eye, clathrate hydrate looks like regular ice. However, while it is made up partly of water, the water molecules are organised into "cages", which trap individual molecules of methane inside them. Compared to other fossil fuels, methane âEUR" also known as natural ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
NRC finds violation at Conn. nuclear power plant
Associated Press: Federal regulators are calling a piping system problem at a southeastern Connecticut nuclear power plant a "more than minor" safety violation. But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there are no public safety issues, because the owner of the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford fixed the problem during routine maintenance in October. NRC officials say some gas got trapped in pipes designed to deliver cooling water to one of two operating reactors at the plant. ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Can NEPA pass tests posed by climate-related projects?
ClimateWire: The "magna carta" of U.S. environmental law is having growing pains as federal agencies grapple with how it will incorporate climate change and whether it will invite lawsuits that could send streams of climate-related issues into the courts. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the ambitious statute requiring that federal agencies publicly evaluate the environmental impacts of their decisions -- from building a highway to permitting wetland development. It also requires ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Iberdrola to slash UK wind investment 40 per cent
Business Green: The government's wind energy plans have received a major blow after the world's biggest investor in wind power, Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, announced it was to cut its investment in the UK by £300m. According to Times reports, the company is to cut its budget in the UK by 40 per cent, equivalent to the investment required to build a wind farm capable of powering 200,000 homes. Xabier Viteri, chief of Iberdrola Renewables, whose Spanish parent company owns ScottishPower, ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
Understanding Sea Temperature-atmospheric Pressure Links In North Atlantic
ScienceDaily: Feedback effects between the ocean and atmosphere are important to understanding the mechanisms affecting climate variations. Previous studies have found that atmospheric anomalies associated with a variation in atmospheric pressure above the North Atlantic Ocean called the North Atlantic Oscillation produce a three-part pattern (tripole) of sea surface temperature anomalies at midlatitudes. Scientists refer to such anomalies as the North Atlantic sea surface temperature tripole, and ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
Environmental and economic crises threaten 'perfect storm'
Edie: Time is running out to address climate change and build a new kind of economics that will not damage the environment, according to green thinker Jonathon Porritt. Writing in his new book, Living Within Our Means, Mr Porritt argues that politicians now have a unique opportunity to rebuild economies in a more sustainable way. But, he continues, if the problems are ignored it could lead to a 'perfect storm' as accelerating climate change and financial meltdown ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
Virtual Meetings and Climate Innovation in the 21st Century
World Wildlife Fund: Due to technological improvements, an increasing number of business trips can now be substituted by 'virtual meetings' and therefore help to minimize aviation-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. For example, an Australian study has estimated that video-conferencing could avoid 2.4 million tonnes of national CO2 emissions, equivalent to 0.43 percent of the country's total. However, despite improved quality and reliability, and the qualitative change arising from new high definition ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
Melting permafrost could trigger 'unstoppable' climate change
Telegraph: A range of studies have found that Arctic ice is melting faster, with some scientists predicting there will be no summer ice in the Arctic at all by 2030. This not only has consequences for the human population and wildlife but could release a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions stored in the ground under the ice. The release of methane or carbon causes "positive feedback" where the warming temperature causes more gas to be released and therefore a spiralling increase in global ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Climate change debunkers take stage in US Congress
Agence France-Presse: As President Barack Obama tries to green the United States by slapping limits on carbon emissions, Congress has been was told to ignore his plan because climate change does not exist. "The right response to the non-problem of global warming is to have the courage to do nothing," said British aristocrat Lord Christopher Walter Monckton, a leading proponent of the "climate change is myth" movement. The Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, who was an advisor to former British ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
Climate speeds Japan's cherry blossom season
Agence France-Presse: Japan's celebrated cherry blossom, which for millions heralds the start of spring, is under threat from climate change, according to experts, who say warmer weather is causing early flowering. Cherry blossom season officially began in Tokyo this year on March 21 -- five days ahead of schedule and a full week earlier than the average for the last 30 years of the 20th century. Far from being a freak occurrence, the phenomenon of early blossoming has been happening for several ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
IEA chief calls for 'clean energy new deal'
EurActiv: Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), urged world governments to ensure that stimulus packages aimed at restoring growth also embrace low-carbon technologies. He spoke to EurActiv in an exclusive interview ahead of the European Business Summit, which opens today (26 March) in Brussels. As the financial crisis dries up funding for energy projects, Tanaka called on governments across the world not to overlook the energy and climate crisis when ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
Las Vegas to go dark to shine light on climate change
Las Vegas Sun: Scores of casino-hotels and other businesses and organizations on and off the Las Vegas Strip have committed to show their support for the environment by participating in "Earth Hour'' on Saturday night, when they'll dim or turn off their signs and decorative lighting for an hour to raise awareness about climate change. The event, organized worldwide by the World Wildlife Fund, lasts for one hour beginning at 8:30 p.m. Some 2,500 cities globally are participating. Among the ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Greenpeace accuses Sinar Mas corporation of violence toward its protestors
Mongabay: In a press release issued by Greenpeace the organization states that Sinar Mas corporation security guards "brutally kicked and punched" peaceful protestors in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 19th. Greenpeace activists had chained themselves to the entrance of Sinar Mas headquarters and hung a banner labeling the corporation a 'Forest and Climate Criminal'. "The excessive violence today by Sinar Mas security is testament to the way this company does business. Sinar Mas may think they are ... read more

03/25/2009 07:00 PM
Active efforts to cope with global warming
People's Daily: Global warming is an irrefutable fact to date, and the pace of global warming has sped up in the past 50 years. Latest observation data show that the average temperature of the Earth's surface has risen by 0.74 degrees Celsius in a century between 1906 and 2005, and the average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century was likely the warmest in the 50-year period of the last 1300 years, according to Dr. Liu Hongbin from China's National Climate ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
IT solutions offer cost and climate benefits
WWF: Existing information technologies (IT) can produce dramatic reductions in harmful CO2 emissions while fully meeting the demands of today's corporations, two new WWF reports are demonstrating. Virtual Meetings and Climate Innovation in the 21st Century highlights the significant impact employee travel makes on a company's total carbon footprint – accounting for 50% or more among non-manufacturing companies. "Creating a global network of more than 4,000 high quality ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Asia-Pacific poor face triple crisis - U.N. agency
Reuters: Asian and Pacific countries are particularly vulnerable to the triple threat of food and fuel price volatility, climate change and the global economic crisis, a United Nations agency said on Thursday. This is because the region has almost two thirds of the world's poor and half of its natural disasters, the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said in a regional survey. The emergence of all three crises at the same time has "hit the world's poor ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Toyota to sell 2 Prius models in hot hybrid battle
Associated Press: Toyota will continue to sell the current Prius when the revamped version goes on sale in May in an unusual move likely to help the top-selling hybrid ride out a threat from rival Honda. Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe said Thursday there is demand in the Japanese market for both the third-generation Prius and the smaller model that's already on sale. He declined to give details, including overseas plans. But his comment is the first from Toyota confirming recent ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Taking the wind out of Miliband's sails
Guardian: In his oh-so-earnest style Ed Miliband has spoken out at a screening of the climate change documentary The Age of Stupid. "The government needs to be saying, 'It is socially unacceptable to be against wind turbines in your area – like not wearing your seatbelt or driving past a zebra crossing,'" the climate change secretary said. Of course it should be socially unacceptable to drive across a zebra crossing when someone is intending to cross. That's logical. Blindly supporting the ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Test-driving the Honda Insight: 'like a little environmental videogame'
Guardian: The new Honda Insight is not shy about publicising its green credentials. It shouts them from the rooftops - make that the treetops, the tops of the trees that will live so much longer because you have bought one of these cars instead of a filthy gas-guzzler. The little booklet that tells me all about the car is covered in paper that has seeds embedded in it. Presumably, when I have finished reading it, I will toss it into an urban wasteland and a meadow will spring up, and we Insight ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
EPA presses ahead with CO2 regulation
Business Green: Nine months after delaying its decision, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sent a proposal to the White House, asking to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The Agency reportedly sent the proposal on Friday. The Office Of Information and Regulatory Affairs, part of the Office of Management and Budget, is now considering the document. The proposal for an endangerment finding would clear the way for the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide, which could have significant ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Greenwash: Shell betrays 'new energy future' promises
Guardian: Shell, I have to report, is the new Exxon. The company that back in December was filling this and other newspapers with double-page adverts promoting its conversion to a "new energy future" of wind farms, hydrogen fuels, fuel made from marine algae and much else, has pulled the plug. In the 1990s Royal Dutch Shell set its boffins on finding new green fuels, such as forest plantations to make biofuels. I remember them at the Earth Summit in Rio back in 1992. Not long after, Shell was ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Lawsuit by a father in Indiana targets polluters
Associated Press: Ron Kurth, who grew up in Gary and worked in the steel mills, raised his family in the region near the outskirts of Chicago. He always wondered about the smoke and smog that overcast the Lake Michigan shoreline. "It's just a horrible atmosphere," he said. Kurth, who has a 16-year-old daughter attending school in the Lake County city of Crown Point, decided someone ought to do something about the pollution. On Wednesday, he did. He filed a lawsuit on behalf of his ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
United Kingdom: Regulators move to strengthen green advertising codes
Business Green: The UK's advertising regulators have today released new codes of practice that, if adopted, will lead to a significant tightening of the rules governing firms environmental claims. Following an 18-month review of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), the regulators have published updated versions of the codes for broadcast and non-broadcast advertising designed to increase protection for children, crack down on ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
The Obamas Kick Off a Victory Garden Movement -- Who Will Join Them?
Huffington Post: Faithful followers of Obama Foodorama, the food politics blog whose house specialty is a perfect blend of substance and froth, were treated to an especially tasty scoop yesterday -- the news that there will, indeed, be a vegetable garden at the White House. As they say in my native San Fernando Valley, OMG. This turn of events is not just epic, it's biblical: ask, and ye shall receive. I'm not talking about the slacktivists who sit around railing and wailing, "why bother?" I ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Barack Obama's pledges in peril as Blue Dogs take a bite at budget
Times (UK): President Obama was huddled in talks yesterday with congressional Democrats over proposals that would pare his $3.6 trillion budget, raising question marks over how he would fund promises on healthcare, climate change and tax cuts. Although the President was braced for ferocious opposition from Republicans, who warn that his spending plans will bankrupt America, he also faces growing hostility from a group of fiscally conservative Democrats alarmed by forecasts of a $9.3 trillion ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Barack Obama may delay signing up to Copenhagen climate change deal
Guardian: Barack Obama may be forced to delay signing up to a new international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year because of the scale of opposition in the US Congress, it emerged yesterday. Senior figures in the Obama administration have been warning Labour counterparts that the president may need at least another six months to win domestic support for any proposal. Such a delay could derail the securing of a tough global agreement in time for countries ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Australia: Farmers face growing climate change dilemma: scientist
Reuters: Farmers of the future will have to use cattle and sheep that belch less methane, crops that emit far less planet-warming nitrous oxide and become experts in reporting their greenhouse gas emissions to the government. Agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and globally that share will rise as demand for food from growing human populations also increases, scientist Richard John Eckard of the University of Melbourne said on Thursday. But farmers are facing a ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
Deforestation Prevention Vital To Curb Greenhouse Gases
redOrbit: Attempts to moderate the world's climate change could be hindered if nations do not band together to safeguard the world's forests by the end of 2009, researchers from Earthwatch announced Wednesday. Earthwatch says it is incredibly important for UN leaders to create a way to stop continued deforestation. Deforestation is the cause for 20% of the carbon emissions ensuing from human activities, UN data states. Earthwatch will outline their worries during a public forum in London ... read more

03/26/2009 07:00 PM
UN outlines plan for CDM crackdown
Business Green: The Executive Board of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has this week agreed to strengthen many of the standards and procedures that govern the controversial carbon offset scheme in an attempt to better ensure that only credible emission reduction projects are allowed to take part. Following a scandal late last year that saw the CDM's top project verifier, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), suspended from checking emission reduction initiatives after it uncovered flaws in its ... read more



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