World Environment for Equal Dignity (WEED)
HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated).
We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.
In its March 2012 session, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Human Rights and the Environment and decides to appoint an Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment. See 19th Session, A/HRC/19/L.8/Rev.1, 20 March 2012.
We look for interested people, who would like to develop our WEED page. Please see our Call for Creativity.
Our Environment for Equal Dignity (WEED) project aims at highlighting the point that environmental problems are deeply interlinked with social problems. We believe that what is needed, for the constructive maintenance of a dignified social and ecological environment of humankind, is a mindset of humility and not of humiliation.
The System Improvement Process
SIP was developed to solve any difficult large-scale social problem. This includes the "excessive humiliation problem." Systems Engineer Jack Harich invites all researchers to study SIP (in a personal message, 15th January 2013).
World Conservation Union (IUCN)
The World Conservation Union is the world’s largest and most important conservation network. The Union brings together 82 States, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. The World Conservation Union is a multicultural, multilingual organization with 1000 staff located in 62 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.
United Nations Environment Programme
UNEPS's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC)
The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre provides information services on conservation and sustainable use of the world's living resources, and helps others to develop information systems of their own.
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (UNEP, PNUE), Paris
International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC), Osaka, Japan
Earth Report's half hour documentary style programmes cover a wide range of environmental issues – from the importance of conserving wetlands to the need for responsible tourism, from strategies for sustainable food production, to the impact of climate change.
The highly successful Hands On programmes, an offspring of Earth Report, take a focused look at the challenges of sustainable development. Hands On offers a range of positive, practical solutions, based on examples of successful small-scale business enterprises and sustainable, transferable technologies. The programmes have elicited volumes of requests for further information from viewers in every corner of the world.
Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Climate Change Programme
The regular beat of the world's climate drives the seasons and regulates weather patterns. Climate change and global warming are matters of life and death. Increasing levels of air pollution threaten the survival of nature and the well-being of people around the world.
With over 150 forest officers worldwide and more than 300 on-the-ground projects backed up by scientific analysis, and by advocacy work at the policy level, WWF spends in excess of US$ 40 million every year seeking solutions to the problems and threats facing the world's forests.
By the year 2025, two-thirds of the world's population could experience water shortages. Freshwater is the single most essential good for our well-being. Like a giant engine working day and night, the water cycle and inherent ecosystems are the life support of the planet.
71% of the earth's surface is covered by the oceans.
Overfishing, inadequate management and habitat loss have pushed fish stocks to their lowest levels in history. WWF is working to ensure that exploitation of fish stocks is sustainable and to establish a network of well-managed marine protected areas covering at least 10% of the world's oceans.
Thousands of species of plants and animals are under increasing threat. Every day, added pressures such as loss of habitat, illegal trade, over-hunting, pollution, and the effects of climate change and economic development take their toll on the world's wildlife.
Pollution from toxic chemicals threatens life on this planet. Every ocean and every continent, from the tropics to the once-pristine polar regions, is contaminated.
Agriculture & Biodiverisity Programme
Trade and Investment Programme
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It is open to all Members of the UN and of WMO.
In 2007, the IPPC won the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore.
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of the Earth International is an influential, international network of grassroots groups in more than 70 countries.
Greenpeace exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs action.
Greenpeace is a non-profit organisation, with a presence in 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
To maintain its independence, Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments or corporations but relies on contributions from individual supporters and foundation grants.
As a global organisation, Greenpeace focuses on the most crucial worldwide threats to our planet's biodiversity and environment.
Gateway to Sources of Global Information
The Environmental Ethics & Public Policy Program has served as a major vehicle of outreach to the community of scholars and concerned citizens investigating issues of environmental ethics.
The OneWorld network spans five continents and produces content in 11 different languages, published across its international site, regional editions, and thematic channels. Many of these are produced from the South to widen the participation of the world's poorest and most marginalised peoples in the global debate.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It is currently finalizing its Fourth Assessment Report "Climate Change 2007". The reports by the three Working Groups provide a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the current state of knowledge on climate change. The Synthesis Report integrates the information around six topic areas...
Read more at http://www.ipcc.ch/about/about.htm.
Read about the report At A Glance on http://news.bbc.co.uk/:
• It is very likely that human activities are causing global warming
• Probable temperature rise by the end of the century will be between 1.8C and 4C (3.2-7.2F)
• Possible temperature rise by the end of the century ranges between 1.1C and 6.4C (2-11.5F)
• Sea levels are likely to rise by 28-43cm
• Arctic summer sea ice is likely to disappear in second half of century
• It is very likely that parts of the world will see an increase in the number of heatwaves
• Climate change is likely to lead to increased intensity of tropical storms
FOURTH ASSESSMENT REPORT:
• This is the first of four reports that will be published in 2007 by the IPCC as part of its Fourth Assessment Report (4AR)
• This report, from the IPCC's Working Group I, looks at the science of climate change
• The other reports will look at: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; mitigation of climate change; and finally, the Synthesis Report
WHAT IS THE IPCC?
• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep).
• The role of the IPCC is to assess the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation
• The global body does not carry out any research of its own
• Its assessments are mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature
• The First Assessment Report was published in 1990; the last one, the Third Assessment Report, was released in 2001
The world has to act now on climate change or face devastating economic consequences, according to a report compiled by Sir Nicholas Stern for the UK government.
Here are the key points of the review written by the former chief economist of the World Bank.
The world has to act now on climate change or face devastating economic consequences, according to a report compiled by Sir Nicholas Stern for the UK government.
Here are the key points of the review written by the former chief economist of the World Bank.
Carbon emissions have already pushed up global temperatures by half a degree Celsius
If no action is taken on emissions, there is more than a 75% chance of global temperatures rising between two and three degrees Celsius over the next 50 years
There is a 50% chance that average global temperatures could rise by five degrees Celsius
Melting glaciers will increase flood risk
Crop yields will decline, particularly in Africa
Rising sea levels could leave 200 million people permanently displaced
Up to 40% of species could face extinction
There will be more examples of extreme weather patterns
Extreme weather could reduce global gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 1%
A two to three degrees Celsius rise in temperatures could reduce global economic output by 3%
If temperatures rise by five degrees Celsius, up to 10% of global output could be lost. The poorest countries would lose more than 10% of their output
In the worst case scenario global consumption per head would fall 20%
To stabilise at manageable levels, emissions would need to stabilise in the next 20 years and fall between 1% and 3% after that. This would cost 1% of GDP
OPTIONS FOR CHANGE
Reduce consumer demand for heavily polluting goods and services
Make global energy supply more efficient
Act on non-energy emissions - preventing further deforestation would go a long way towards alleviating this source of carbon emissions
Promote cleaner energy and transport technology, with non-fossil fuels accounting for 60% of energy output by 2050
Create a global market for carbon pricing
Extend the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EETS) globally, bringing in countries such as the US, India and China
Set new target for EETS to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 and 60% by 2050
Pass a bill to enshrine carbon reduction targets and create a new independent body to monitor progress
Create a new commission to spearhead British company investment in green technology, with the aim of creating 100,000 new jobs
Former US vice-president Al Gore will advise the government on the issue
Work with the World Bank and other financial institutions to create a $20bn fund to help poor countries adjust to climate change challenges
Work with Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica to promote sustainable forestry and prevent deforestation
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/business/6098362.stm, published: 2006/10/30 13:00:14 GMT, © BBC MMVI
Mondial Energy Inc.
Mondial Energy Inc. pays for the installation and maintenance of renewable energy hardware - such as a solar thermal system. The owner or long-term tenant, pays a fixed rate for his or her energy needs over the term of the contract.
Green Global Village
Environmental Consultancy for the Travel and Tourism Industry, Committed to Sustainable and Ethical Tourism.
The Climate Group
The Climate Group's mission is to put the world on track for a low carbon economy by rapidly expanding the uptake of best practice on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Our work will be driven by the vision of a world where reducing greenhouse gas emissions is widely regarded as the norm, and specifically where:
. Aggressive medium and long-term targets for greenhouse gas reductions are adopted across the majority of the world's 20 highest-emitting economies and in the majority of Fortune 500 companies
. Carbon reduction strategies are in place in a critical mass of Fortune 500 companies and governments necessary to ensure future progress
. 'Smart' regulation for driving renewables and energy efficiency is well-understood and widely adopted
. Investment in sustainable energy and energy efficiency has shifted from niche to mainstream activity
. Climate change is a top five election and consumer issue for at least 20% of voters and consumers in the world's 20 highest-emitting economies
. Experts believe we are on track to arresting the increase in atmospheric CO 2 concentrations at reasonable levels (450-550 ppm)
The "Equator Principles"
A financial industry benchmark for determining, assessing and managing social & environmental risk in project financing
Project financing, a method of funding in which the lender looks primarily to the revenues generated by a single project both as the source of repayment and as security for the exposure, plays an important role in financing development throughout the world. 1 Project financiers may encounter social and environmental issues that are both complex and challenging, particularly with respect to projects in the emerging markets.
The Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) have consequently adopted these Principles in order to ensure that the projects we finance are developed in a manner that is socially responsible and reflect sound environmental management practices. By doing so, negative impacts on project-affected ecosystems and communities should be avoided where possible, and if these impacts are unavoidable, they should be reduced, mitigated and/or compensated for appropriately. We believe that adoption of and adherence to these Principles offers significant benefits to ourselves, our borrowers and local stakeholders through our borrowers' engagement with locally affected communities. We therefore recognise that our role as financiers affords us opportunities to promote responsible environmental stewardship and socially responsible development. As such, EPFIs will consider reviewing these Principles from time-to-time based on implementation experience, and in order to reflect ongoing learning and emerging good practice.
These Principles are intended to serve as a common baseline and framework for the implementation by each EPFI of its own internal social and environmental policies, procedures and standards related to its project financing activities. We will not provide loans to projects where the borrower will not or is unable to comply with our respective social and environmental policies and procedures that implement the Equator Principles.
Please see more at http://www.equator-principles.com/.
William McDonough & Michael Braungart
In 1999 Time Magazine called him "Hero for the Planet." In 2002, he wrote (with Michael Braungart) Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. As of 2005 McDonough is pursuing urban design work for the Chinese government including a model village called Huangbaiyu.
The Cradle to Cradle Community
The Next Industrial Revolution, a Documentary film about William McDonough and Michael Braungart
The Millennium Villages Projects
The Earth Institute leads numerous international efforts to mobilize science and technology toward building a sustainable future, particularly for the world's poor. In 2004, it launched the Millennium Villages Projects to work toward early successes in achieving the Millennium Development Goals through a proven integrated package of approaches. Villages in Kenya and Ethiopia have been established, and an additional ten villages in different eco-agricultural zones around Africa are currently being developed. The Institute's Earth Clinic sponsors a number of collaborative programs on initiatives such as reducing arsenic exposure in Bangladesh, expanding health care in Ethiopia, and advising the government of São Tomé and Príncipe to best manage and invest its new oil revenues for the betterment of its citizens. Climate experts from the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction are forecasting seasonal climate fluctuations to aid countries in decision making. Natural hazards experts from the Center for Hazards and Risk Research work with policymakers to build resilience into disaster-prone cities around the globe.
Ecology Action is a small non-profit education, training and research center located in northern California. For the past 36 years we have researched, developed and taught techniques for growing more food than conventional methods allow, all in a small space using simple tools, and while rebuilding essential, fertile topsoil. The method, known as GROW BIOINTENSIVE® Sustainable Mini-Farming, is being used in 141 countries, proving its effectiveness for meeting the needs of individuals in a wide range of climates, soils and cultures. Working smarter, not harder, has allowed us to develop the acute perception necessary to implement precise, well-placed efforts toward empowerment. We’ve demonstrated that we can shift away from the idea that massive organizations are needed for solutions to massive concerns, and can elicit a sense of pleasurable responsibility for being a part of needed solutions.
Center for a World in Balance
The Center for a World in Balance is an open global cooperative platform that aims to focus on key interconnected problem areas our world faces and to develop a common and coherent answer to these problems. The various crises we are facing today - financial, economic, social, human rights, and environmental - cannot be tackled using mechanisms or institutions that allowed these crises to occur. We need a new set of values and new guiding principles that work for all of us. The recent democratisation of interactive communication technologies has made vital and useful information available to the public worldwide, knowledge that gives us the potential to create a life-centered, egalitarian, sustainable world community based on democratic principles of partnership.
A Simple but Profound Message:
A world in balance is a world where the economy serves the people, where people respect and care for each other and live in accordance with the natural environment. The Center documents people's initiatives to create a world in balance, among them international agreements, philosophical reflections, documentary films and artistic expression. It aims to empower the public to think critically and to move beyond ignorance, malpractice and deception and into the realm of understanding, equality and respect. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. We are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Peace is not merely the absence of armed conflict; it is the presence of liberty, equality and solidarity.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development, IISD
The International Institute for Sustainable Development is a non-profit, non-governmental research institute demonstrating how human ingenuity can sustainably improve the development of our global environment, economy and society. Based in Winnipeg, IISD works in Canada and internationally through offices in Geneva, Ottawa and New York. IISD receives financial support from Canadian federal and provincial governments as well as other national governments, UN agencies, foundations, and the private sector. The Institute is a registered charity in Canada and has 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States.
New Economics Foundation (nef)
nef is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being. They aim to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues. They work in partnership and put people and the planet first. nef was founded in 1986 by the leaders of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) which forced issues such as international debt onto the agenda of the G7 and G8 summits. They are unique in combining rigorous analysis and policy debate with practical solutions on the ground, often run and designed with the help of local people. They also create new ways of measuring progress towards increased well-being and environmental sustainability. nef works with all sections of society in the UK and internationally - civil society, government, individuals, businesses and academia - to create more understanding and strategies for change.
The Plastic Pollution Coalition
The Plastic Pollution Coalition, a nonprofit organization, was created wih the vision of a world free of plastic pollution and of the toxic impacts of plastic on humans, the environment, wildlife and marine life.
The mission of Plastic Pollution Coalition is to create a global community and ignite a social movement to stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts worldwide. Plastic Pollution Coalition provides a platform for strategic planning and coherent communications; increases awareness and understanding of the problem and sustainable solutions; and empowers action to eliminate the negative impacts of plastics on the environment, wildlife, marine life, and human health.
Cradle to Cradle
As a society we are starting to understand that we are making to great a claim on the earth’s biodiversity and natural recourses. If the boundaries are already reached, what may we expect now that the earth’s population is growing rapidly and millions of people desire to copy western consumerism. Do we still have an economically abundant future ahead of us? Ore may we expect an ecological and therefore economical disaster ?
The Cradle to Cradle concept shows that we do not have to choose between economical and ecological prosperity. Economy and ecology can reinforce each other. To achieve this we will have to design our products, processes, buildings, cities, etc. more intelligently.
If we do this in accordance with the principles of Cradle to Cradle, production processes will be clean, ecosystems will be integrated in our buildings and cities, products may be completely disassembled into raw materials and consumers will no longer be polluters.
Cradle to Cradle is therefore not only a revolutionary ecological concept but also (and even more so) a totally new business model. The first experiences with the concept within city developments and industry show that the concept is very profitable.
The Global Footprint Network
Creating a world where everyone can live well, within the means of one planet, is going to take all of us pulling together toward this common goal. The scale of our challenge is enormous. Nothing short of a revolution in our economies, societies, energy choices and lifestyles is required. At Global Footprint Network our programs are designed to influence decision makers at all levels of society and to create a critical mass of powerful institutions using the Footprint to put an end to ecological overshoot and get our economies back into balance.
Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.
Bioneers is inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.
As a 501(C)3 nonprofit, they provide solutions-based education and social connectivity through the Bioneers national and local conferences and programs, including: The Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature radio series; anthology book series; television programs and online community. They act as a key source for the media. Their materials are used by colleges, schools and organizations. They conduct core programs on Women's Leadership, Dreaming New Mexico (state-based restoration), Youth and Food Systems.
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
In October 2002, Tony Blair announced the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
Quoted from the 2012 Report Building on Achievements: "The EITI has made good progress since it became operational in 2005/6, but it has not yet achieved the objectives it set itself when the Principles on which the EITI is based were adopted. It is now time to respond to the findings of our evaluation and the lessons learned in the first five years and to build on the foundations that have been laid down. The EITI is now implemented by 36 countries and a number of others, including Colombia, Myanmar, the Philippines and the United States are preparing to implement. Altogether 98 EITI reconciliation reports have been published, covering over US $700bn. In many countries EITI implementation is mandated by law. There is a growing body of evidence that the EITI can play a role in improving natural resource governance. However as it is, the EITI is not adequately delivering against the EITI Principles, to which all stakeholders are committed"
Der Autor, Gunther Mair, befasst sich mit Fragen, die den Umgang des Einzelnen mit Gütern der Gemeinschaft betreffen, Fragen, die globale Ausmaße annehmen (Klima, Ressourcen, Finanzmarkt). Für die Bearbeitung dieser Frage erhielt Elinor Ostrom 2009 (als erste Frau) den Wirtschaftsnobelpreis.
Conservation Refugees - Expelled from Paradise
A film by Steffen Keulig / Freunde der Naturvoelker e.V. / ECOTERRA Intl.
Written by ecoterra, Friday, 04 January 2013
It is no secret that millions of native people around the world have been forced off their homelands to make way for oil, mines, timber, and agriculture.
But few people realize that the same thing has happened for a cause which is considered by many as much nobler: land and wildlife conservation. Indigenous Peoples evicted from their ancestral homelands, for conservation initiatives, have never been counted; they are not even officially recognised as refugees.
The number of people displaced from their traditional homelands is estimated to be close to 20 million.
These expelled native peoples have been living sustainably for all their nation's generations on what must be recognized as their ancestral land.
The film has granted a Special Mention at the Chicago Short Film Festival and won the award "Special Prize of the Jury" and the "Special Prize from the Estonian Ministery of Environment" at the 8th Matsalu Nature Film Festival in Estonia: matsalufilm.ee/festival/auhinnad_eng.html and the "UWIP award" at the NAIFF film festival in Czech Republic: naiff.eu/fest/
Must watch: http://vimeo.com/56418809
Download: Original HD .MOV file (640x360 /459MB) or SD .MP4 file (640x360 / 113MB)
The film is also closely related to the Kampala Convention - the African Union (AU) treaty, which is now in force and enforced to protect especially the First Nation peoples of Africa and their folks driven off their ancestral homelands and are languishing in IDP camps.
Time for Big Brands to Stop Hiding in the Toxic Crowd
Blogpost by Laura Kenyon - December 4, 2012
Halogenated anilines and perfluorinated chemicals are two things you've probably never heard of before. In addition to being mouthfuls to pronounce, both are toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and life, both in water and on land. Some anilines can become carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, and several perfluorinated chemicals are known to be toxic for the reproductive and nervous systems of mammals...
Read more at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/time-for-big-brands-stop-hiding-in-the-toxic/blog/43232/.
Nigeria: Death Stalking Lead-Poisoned Children
December 6, 2012
More than 400 children in Zamfara State have died from lead poisoning according to official estimates. Unless the promised funds are released immediately, cleanup of the contaminated areas won't be able to start until after next year's rainy season, leaving thousands more children at risk of death and permanent disability...
Read more at http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/06/nigeria-death-stalking-lead-poisoned-children.
UN Energy Goals Threatened by Fossil Fuel Subsidies
Published 29 November 2012 Tags fossil fuels, renewables, sustainable energy, UNFCCC, UN's Sustainable Energy For All project Share on facebook Share on gmail 4 SPECIAL REPORT / UN plans to double the world's renewable energy capacity within two decades are under threat from fossil-fuel handouts, which have almost doubled in three years, campaigners say...
Read more at www.euractiv.com/specialreport-energising-tomorro/iea-32-aid-year-needed-fossil-fu-news-516325.
4 Decades on, U.S. Starts Cleanup of Agent Orange in Vietnam
By Thomas Fuller, August 9, 2012
Forty years after the United States stopped spraying herbicides in the jungles of Southeast Asia in the hopes of denying cover to Vietcong fighters and North Vietnamese troops, an air base here is one of about two dozen former American sites that remain polluted with an especially toxic strain of dioxin, the chemical contaminant in Agent Orange that has been linked to cancers, birth defects and other diseases... Read more.
Profits on Carbon Credits Drive Output of a Harmful Gas
By Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew W. Lehren, August 8, 2012
RANJIT NAGAR, India — When the United Nations wanted to help slow climate change, it established what seemed a sensible system. Greenhouse gases were rated based on their power to warm the atmosphere. The more dangerous the gas, the more that manufacturers in developing nations would be compensated as they reduced their emissions. But where the United Nations envisioned environmental reform, some manufacturers of gases used in air-conditioning and refrigeration saw a lucrative business opportunity. They quickly figured out that they could earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but could earn more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas. That is because that byproduct has a huge global warming effect. The credits could be sold on international markets, earning tens of millions of dollars a year. That incentive has driven plants in the developing world not only to increase production of the coolant gas but also to keep it high — a huge problem because the coolant itself contributes to global warming and depletes the ozone layer. That coolant gas is being phased out under a global treaty, but the effort has been a struggle. So since 2005 the 19 plants receiving the waste gas payments have profited handsomely from an unlikely business: churning out more harmful coolant gas so they can be paid to destroy its waste byproduct. The high output keeps the prices of the coolant gas irresistibly low, discouraging air-conditioning companies from switching to less-damaging alternative gases. That means, critics say, that United Nations subsidies intended to improve the environment are instead creating their own damage....
Please read more www.nytimes.com.
Bolivia Enshrines Natural World's Rights with Equal Status for Mother Earth
Law of Mother Earth expected to prompt radical new conservation and social measures in South American nation.
John Vidal in La Paz, guardian.co.uk, Sunday 10 April 2011
Bolivia is set to pass the world's first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country's rich mineral deposits as "blessings" and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry...
Read more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/10/bolivia-enshrines-natural-worlds-rights.
Monitoring Economic Performance, Quality of Life and Sustainability
December 2010 Joint Report as Requested by the Franco-German Ministerial Council http://www.sachverstaendigenrat-wirtschaft.de/fileadmin/dateiablage/Expertisen/2010/ex10_en.pdf.
Nuclear Energy Loses Cost Advantage
"According to an article on the New York Times, a historical cross-over has occurred because of the declining costs of solar vs. the increasing costs of nuclear energy: solar, hardly the cheapest of renewable technologies, is now cheaper than nuclear, at around 16 cents per kilowatt hour. Furthermore, the NY Times reports that financial markets will not finance the construction of nuclear power plants unless the risk of default (which is historically as high as 50 percent for the nuclear industry) is externalized to someone else through federal loan guarantees or ratepayer funding. The bottom line seems to be that nuclear is simply not competitive, and the push from the US government to subsidize it seems to be forcing the wrong choice on the market." Brian Ward, August 4, 2010. The source is www.slashdot.org.
UK Receives 'Final Warning' Over Air Pollution
By Katia Moskvitch Science reporter, BBC News
UK received a first warning about London's air pollution levels in 2009 The European Commission has threatened to take the UK to the European Court of Justice over air quality breaches...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10231389.stm.
Society to Review Climate Message
By Roger Harrabin Environment analyst, BBC News
There is debate over "feedback" effects on the climate The UK's Royal Society is reviewing its public statements on climate change after 43 Fellows complained that it had oversimplified its messages.
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10178124.stm.
'World's Biggest' Forest Protection Deal for Canada
By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News
The agreement will protect much of Canada's wide open rangelands Timber companies and environment groups have unveiled an agreement aimed at protecting two-thirds of Canada's vast forests from unsustainable logging...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10123210.stm.
Nature Loss Soon 'to Damage Economies'
The Earth's ongoing nature losses may soon begin to hit national economies, a major UN report has warned. The third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3, gbo3.cbd.int/) says that some ecosystems may soon reach "tipping points" where they rapidly become less useful to humanity.
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10103179.stm.
See also http://gbo3.cbd.int.
World's 2010 Nature Target 'Will not Be Met'
The world's governments will not meet their internationally-agreed target of curbing the loss of species and nature by 2010, a major study has confirmed.
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10092320.stm.
UK Sets Up Chagos Marine Reserve
By Paul Rincon Science reporter, BBC News
The UK government has created the world's largest marine reserve around the Chagos Islands. The reserve would cover a 545,000-sq-km area around the Indian Ocean archipelago, regarded as one of the world's richest marine ecosystems...
Reas more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8599125.stm.
Internet 'Threatens' Rare Species
The internet has emerged as one of the biggest threats to endangered species, according to conservationists who are meeting in Doha, Qatar. Campaigners say it is easier than ever before to buy and sell anything from live baby lions to polar bear pelts on online auction sites and chatrooms. The findings were presented at the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites)...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8579310.stm.
'Arrogance' Undid Climate Talks
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News
The "disappointing" outcome of December's climate summit was largely down to "arrogance" on the part of rich countries, according to Lord Stern. The economist told BBC News that the US and EU nations had not understood well enough the concerns of poorer nations. But, he said, the summit had led to a number of countries outlining what they were prepared to do to curb emissions. Seventy-three countries have now signed up to the non-binding Copenhagen Accord, the summit's outcome document. The weak nature of the document led many to condemn the summit as a failure; but Lord Stern said that view was mistaken. "The fact of Copenhagen and the setting of the deadline two years previously at Bali did concentrate minds, and it did lead... to quite specific plans from countries that hadn't set them out before," he said. “ The reality is different from half a year ago,” says Gro Harlem Brundtland UN special envoy on climate change ...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8571347.stm.
'Rubbish Patch' Blights Atlantic
By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC News, Portland
Scientists have discovered an area of the North Atlantic Ocean where plastic debris accumulates. The region is said to compare with the well-documented "great Pacific garbage patch"....
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8534052.stm.
Action Urged on Nature 'Crisis'
By Richard Black, environment correspondent, BBC News website
The UN has launched the International Year of Biodiversity, warning that the ongoing loss of species around the world is affecting human well-being. Eight years ago, governments pledged to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but the pledge will not be met. The expansion of human cities, farming and infrastructure is the main reason. Speaking at the launch in Berlin, German premier Angela Merkel urged the establishment of a new panel to collate scientific findings on the issue. Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), urged governments and their leaders to renew their commitment to curbing biodiversity loss even though the 2010 goal will be missed. “ The big opportunity during the International Year of Biodiversity is for governments to do for biodiversity what they failed to do for climate change in Copenhagen ” Simon Stuart Conservation International/IUCN "The urgency of the situation demands that as a global community we not only reverse the rate of loss, but that we stop the loss altogether and begin restoring the ecological infrastructure that has been damaged and degraded over the previous century or so," he said. The UN says that as natural systems such as forests and wetlands disappear, humanity loses the services they currently provide for free. These include purification of air and water, protection from extreme weather events, and the provision of materials for shelter and fire. With species extinctions running at about 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate, some biologists contend that we are in the middle of the Earth's sixth great extinction - the previous five stemming from natural events such as asteroid impacts. Cash log The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was agreed at the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, alongside the climate change convention. But it acquired its key global pledge during the Johannesburg summit of 2002, when governments agreed to achieve a "significant reduction" in the rate of biological diversity loss by 2010. Conservation organisations acknowledge that despite some regional successes, the target is not going to be met; some analyses suggest that nature loss is accelerating rather than decelerating. "We are facing an extinction crisis," said Jane Smart, director of the biodiversity conservation group with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). "The loss of this beautiful and complex natural diversity that underpins all life on the planet is a serious threat to humankind now and in the future." ...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8338880.stm.
Sahara Sun 'to Help Power Europe'
A sustainable energy initiative that will start with a huge solar project in the Sahara desert has been announced by a consortium of 12 European businesses. The Desertec Industrial Initiative aims to supply Europe with 15% of its energy needs by 2050. Companies who signed up to the $400bn (£240bn) venture include Deutsche Bank, Siemens and the energy provider E.On. The consortium, which will be based in Munich, hopes to start supplying Europe with electricity by 2015. Desertec Industrial Initiative aims to produce solar-generated electricity with a vast network of power plants and transmission grids across North Africa and the Middle East....
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/8337735.stm.
Downturn Is 'Climate Opportunity'
By Richard Black
BBC News website
The global recession provides a window of opportunity to curb climate change and build a low-carbon future, says the International Energy Agency (IEA). It calculates that global greenhouse gas emissions will fall by 3% this year - an increase on previous estimates. If governments take this opportunity to invest in clean technology, the global temperature rise can be kept below the G8 goal of 2C (3.6F), the agency says. The findings were released at UN climate talks in Bangkok...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8292175.stm.
$100bn a Year for Climate Safety
By Richard Black
BBC News website
Adapting to impacts of climate change will cost $75-100bn (£47-63bn) per year in the developing world from 2010, a World Bank study concludes. The bank released preliminary findings from its new global study at the latest round of UN climate talks in Bangkok. The figures assume that temperatures rise by 2C (3.6F) in the next 40 years. How to finance adaptation, and how much money will be available, is a major theme in the talks that are supposed to produce a new global treaty this year. The major costs would come from improving coastal protection and protecting transport links, the bank says... Developing countries say that as western nations grew prosperous largely through burning fossil fuels, they have a duty to finance protection around the world. The principle is accepted by some developed countries, and a number of proposals are on the table... The World Bank notes that the $75-100bn sum is roughly equivalent to existing levels of overseas aid... One analysis that departed dramatically from the $100bn per year ballpark emerged last month from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Grantham Institute. It suggested the true costs would be double or even treble that amount. It cited examples such as a Chinese study showing that the cost of adapting a single watershed would come in at $1bn per year. Professor Martin Parry, who led the IIED report, said the World Bank appeared to have omitted some significant elements from its analysis. "The biggest of these is the cost of adapting ecosystems, which could cost as much again, even if it were possible," he said. "And then there are other sectors that are not included, such as manufacturing, mining, energy and tourism, each of which would have an adaptation cost." The overall cost would also be higher if temperatures rose by more than 2C. Earlier this week, a new UK projection suggested that if the world's energy use continued along its current trajectory, a rise of 4C was likely by 2070. The World Bank will release further details before December's UN climate summit in Copenhagen, with the full report due out in March.
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8282308.stm.
The Gathering Storm by IRIN
Three more short films are part of IRIN's ongoing series on the human cost of climate change. Focusing on Asia, these high definition videos highlight the threat to Vietnam's coastal mangrove forests, the dwindling fish stocks of Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake, and the innovative introduction of floating schools to flood-prone Bangladesh.
Doctors Warn on Climate Failure
By Richard Black, Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Failure to agree a new UN climate deal in December will bring a "global health catastrophe", say 18 of the world's professional medical organisations. Writing in The Lancet and the British Medical Journal, they urge doctors to "take a lead" on the climate issue. In a separate editorial, the journals say that people in poor tropical nations will suffer the worst impacts. They argue that curbing climate change would have other benefits such as more healthy diets and cleaner air. December's UN summit, to be held in Copenhagen, is due to agree a new global climate treaty to supplant the Kyoto Protocol. But preparatory talks have been plagued by lack of agreement on how much to cut greenhouse gas emissions and how to finance climate protection for the poorest countries. “ Effects of climate change on health will... put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk ” Lancet/UCL report "There is a real danger that politicians will be indecisive, especially in such turbulent economic times as these," according to the letter signed by leaders of 18 colleges of medicine and other medical disciplines across the world...
See more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8257766.stm.
Trafigura Knew of Waste Dangers
BBC Newsnight has uncovered evidence revealing that oil-trading company Trafigura knew that waste dumped in Ivory Coast in 2006 was hazardous. Trafigura had persistently denied that the waste was harmful but internal e-mails show staff knew it was hazardous. On Wednesday, Newsnight learned that Trafigura has offered to pay damages to settle a class action brought on behalf of 31,000 who said they were injured. Up until now Trafigura has refused to settle, denying it was to blame. The news of the settlement came as a UN report on claims that people had fallen sick or died as a result of the dump was published. The report says there is "strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping of the waste from the cargo ship". The chemical waste came from a ship called Probo Koala and in August 2006 truckload after truckload of it was illegally fly-tipped at 15 locations around Abidjan, the biggest city in Ivory Coast. In the weeks that followed the dumping, tens of thousands of people reported a range of similar symptoms, including breathing problems, sickness and diarrhoea...
See more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8259765.stm.
DNA Clue to Honey Bee Deaths
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) was first identified in 2006. In the winter of 2007-8 more than a third of US bees were lost. Similar losses have been reported in Europe, giving rise to fears that CCD is a global problem...
The honey bee is the US's key agricultural pollinator. As such it is worth $14bn to the country's economy...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8219202.stm.
Africa Seeks Climate Change Cash
Ministers from 10 African countries have met in Ethiopia to try to agree a common position on climate change, months before a crucial UN meeting. They were expected to renew demands for billions of dollars in compensation for Africa because of damage caused by global warming. And they are likely to ask rich nations to cut emissions by 40% by 2012. African nations are among the lightest polluters but analysts say they will suffer the most from climate change. BBC science reporter Matt McGrath says the move to agree a common negotiating platform for Africa recognises the continent's failure to make its voice heard on the debate...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/8217449.stm.
Families Win Birth Defect Battle
Families who claim their children were born with defects caused by exposure to toxic waste in Northamptonshire have won a legal battle at the High Court. They sued Corby Borough Council, saying deformities to hands and feet were due to mothers being exposed to a "soup of toxic materials" between 1985 and 1999. The council was found negligent over work to reclaim a steel plant. It said it was "disappointed" at the ruling. The judge found in favour of 16 of the 18 claimants. Corby Borough Council chief executive Chris Mallender said: "Our position has always been that there was no link between the reclamation work that was carried out in Corby in past decades and these children's birth defects. That is still our position." The case relates to birth defects in 18 people with links to Corby aged between nine and 22. 'Extensively negligent': However, Mr Justice Akenhead said his ruling on liability did not cover the two youngest claimants. In his judgement, he said there was a "statistically significant" cluster of birth defects between 1989 and 1999. He said: "There was an extended period between 1983 and August 1997 in which Corby Borough Council was extensively negligent in its control and management of the sites which they acquired from British Steel and otherwise used. "Corby Borough Council is liable in public nuisance, negligence and breach of statutory duty, obviously subject to it being established in later proceedings by individual claimants that their particular conditions were actually caused by the defaults identified in this judgment." Some of those affected have missing or underdeveloped fingers and three have deformities on their feet. One of the children involved, Dylan South, said: "I can't do some things that other kids are doing, I can't run."...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/england/northamptonshire/8173733.stm.
UK Government Accused of Failing to Develop a Green Economy for the 21st Century
The government has been accused of failing to develop a green economy for the 21st Century by its own outgoing adviser on sustainable development. Sir Jonathon Porritt, who left his role at the weekend, criticised ministers on the environment and social justice, and for failing to protect UK prosperity. He told the BBC the biggest problems were in the Treasury, business and transport departments...
See more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/8169627.stm.
World Powers Accept Warming Limit
Developed and developing nations have agreed that global temperatures should not rise more than 2C above 1900 levels, a G8 summit declaration says. That is the level above which, the UN says, the Earth's climate system would become dangerously unstable. US President Barack Obama said the countries had made important strides in dealing with climate change. But the G8 failed to persuade developing countries to accept targets of cutting emissions by 50% by 2050. On Wednesday, the G8 agreed its own members would work towards 80% cuts by the same date. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the G8 had not done enough and should also set 2020 targets. He said that while the G8's Wednesday agreement was welcome, its leaders also needed to establish a strong and ambitious mid-term target for emissions cuts...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/8142825.stm.
'Time to Ditch Climate Policies'
By Roger Harrabin Environment analyst,
An international group of academics is urging world leaders to abandon their current policies on climate change. The authors of How to Get Climate Policy Back on Course say the strategy based on overall emissions cuts has failed and will continue to fail. They want G8 nations and emerging economies to focus on an approach based on improving energy efficiency and decarbonising energy supply. Critics of the report's recommendations say they are a dangerous diversion. The report is published by the London School of Economics' (LSE) Mackinder Programme and the University of Oxford's Institute for Science, Innovation & Society. LSE Mackinder programme director Gwyn Prins said the current system of attempting to cap carbon emissions then allow trading in emissions permits had led to emissions continuing to rise. He said world proposals to expand carbon trading schemes and channel billions of dollars into clean energy technologies would not work. "The world has been recarbonising, not decarbonising," Professor Prins said. "The evidence is that the Kyoto Protocol and its underlying approach have had and are having no meaningful effect whatsoever. "Worthwhile policy builds upon what we know works and upon what is feasible rather than trying to deploy never-before implemented policies through complex institutions requiring a hitherto unprecedented and never achieved degree of global political alignment." The report has drawn an angry response from some environmentalists, who acknowledge the problems it highlights but fear that the solutions it proposes will not work. Tom Burke, from Imperial College London and a former government adviser, said: "The authors are right to be concerned about the lack of urgency in the political response to climate change. "They are also right to identify significant weaknesses in the major policy instrument currently being negotiated. "But nothing could be more harmful than to propose that the world stop what it is doing on climate change and start again working in a different way," Professor Burke contested. "This is neither practical nor analytically defensible - and it seems to have been born more out of frustration than understanding of the nature of the political processes involved. "This is a far more complex, and urgent, diplomatic task than the strategic arms control negotiations and will require an even more sophisticated and multi-channel approach to its solution. Stop-go is not sophisticated." G8 leaders will discuss climate change on Wednesday before joining leaders of emerging economies on Thursday for a meeting chaired by President Obama.
Read all at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8138429.stm.
Hydrogen Car to Be 'Open Source'
By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News The manufacturer of a hydrogen car unveiled in London on Tuesday will make its designs available online so the cars can be built and improved locally...
Please see more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8103106.stm.
Environment Fears Halt China Dams
China's environment ministry has suspended construction of two dams on a tributary of the Yangtze River. The projects on the Jinsha River had been started without environmental assessments or approval from the ministry, officials said. The dams are part of a series of eight power stations planned for the Jinsha. The $30bn (£18bn) project has been criticised by conservationists, who say it will damage the region's environment and biodiversity...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8096860.stm.
Government 'Must Back Insulation'
By Roger Harrabin Environment analyst
The winner of a clean energy prize says government must show much greater urgency in insulating people's homes. West Yorkshire's Kirklees Council has won the prestigious Ashden award for its major home refurbishment programme. The council says the UK government could save families £200 a year and cut greenhouse gases if it guaranteed the cash for a nationwide "refurb"... Homes are the unnoticed polluters: they produce about a third of our greenhouse gases - and home energy bills are a burden for many...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8095470.stm.
'Boom and Bust' of Deforestation
By Richard Black Environment correspondent
Cutting down Amazon forest for cattle and soy does not bring long-term economic progress, researchers say. A study of 286 Amazon municipalities found that deforestation brought quick benefits that were soon reversed. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers say the deforestation cycle helps neither people nor nature. They suggest that mechanisms to reward people in poorer countries for conserving rainforest could change this "lose-lose-lose" situation...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8095833.stm.
Electricity to Power 'Smart Grid'
Global electricity networks could become smart grids that can help us monitor and control our energy usage, if plans from net firm Cisco take off... Smart grids would allow devices to communicate with utility firms to give an accurate view of energy use that could cut CO2 emissions by 211m tonnes...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/8056083.stm.
Climate 'Biggest Health Threat'
Climate change is "the biggest global health threat of the 21st Century", according to a leading medical journal. The Lancet, together with University College London researchers, has published a report outlining how public health services will need to adapt. It also highlights the consequences of climate-related mass migrations. The authors aim to add their voice to the call for carbon mitigation and will focus on making clear the ways in which climate change will affect health. University College London (UCL) climatologist Mark Maslin called it "the Stern report for medics", referring to the 2006 review that outlined the future impacts of the climate change situation in economic terms and advocated comprehensive, early-stage action to address it...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8049061.stm.
1970s Lifestyle 'Protects Planet'
Getting back to the relatively slim, trim days of the 1970s would help to tackle climate change, researchers say. The rising numbers of people who are overweight and obese in the UK means the nation uses 19% more food than 40 years ago, a study suggests. That could equate to an extra 60 mega-tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, the team calculated. Transport costs of a fatter population were also included in the International Journal of Epidemiology study. Dr Phil Edwards, study leader and researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said they had set out to calculate what the UK energy consumption would be if the weight of the population was put back a few decades...
See more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8004257.stm.
US to be 'Pragmatic on Climate'
By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst, Bonn
The US must balance science with what is politically and technologically achievable on climate change, America's lead negotiator has said. Speaking at UN talks in Bonn, Jonathan Pershing said the US must not offer more than it could deliver by 2020. Poor countries said the latest science showed rich states should cut emissions by 40% on 1990 levels by 2020. President Barack Obama's plan merely to stabilise greenhouse gases at 1990 levels by 2020 is much less ambitious. Mr Pershing, the US delegation head, previously spent many years promoting clean energy for the International Energy Agency and at the Washington think-tank WRI - World Resources Institute...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7980441.stm.
Virus Battery Could 'Power Cars'
Viruses have been used to help build batteries that may one day power cars and all types of electronic devices. The speed and relatively cheap cost of manufacturing virus batteries could prove attractive to industry. Professor Angela Belcher, who led the research team, said: "Our material is powerful enough to be able to be used in a car battery."...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/7977585.stm.
'Crunch Year' for World's Forests
By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter, BBC News
Efforts to mitigate climate change could be hampered if nations do not agree to protect the world's forests by the end of the year, warn researchers. Earthwatch says it is vital for leaders attending a key UN summit in December to find a way to halt deforestation. Deforestation accounts for about 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, UN data shows...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7963489.stm.
Global Crisis 'to Strike by 2030'
By Christine McGourty Science correspondent, BBC News
Growing world population will cause a "perfect storm" of food, energy and water shortages by 2030, the UK government chief scientist has warned. By 2030 the demand for resources will create a crisis with dire consequences, Prof John Beddington said...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/7951838.stm.
Climate Fears 'Being Realised'
By Matt McGrath
BBC environment reporter, Copenhagen
The worst-case scenarios on climate change envisaged by the UN two years ago are already being realised, say scientists at an international meeting. In a statement in Copenhagen on their six key messages to political leaders, they say there is a increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climate shifts. Even modest temperature rises will affect millions of people, particularly in the developing world, they warn. But, they say, most tools needed to cut carbon dioxide emissions already exist. More than 2,500 researchers and economists attended this meeting designed to update the world on the state of climate research ahead of key political negotiations set for December this year. New data was presented in Copenhagen on sea level rise, which indicated that the best estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made two years ago were woefully out of date. “Business as usual is dead - green growth is the answer to both our climate and economic problems.” Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7940532.stm.
Sea Rise 'to Exceed Projections'
By David Shukman
Environment correspondent, BBC News, Copenhagen
The global sea level looks set to rise far higher than forecast because of changes in the polar ice-sheets, a team of researchers has suggested. Scientists at a climate change summit in Copenhagen said earlier UN estimates were too low and that sea levels could rise by a metre or more by 2100. The projections did not include the potential impact of polar melting and ice breaking off, they added. The implications for millions of people would be "severe", they warned. Ten per cent of the world's population - about 600 million people - live in low-lying areas. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, had said that the maximum rise in sea level would be in the region of 59cm. Professor Konrad Steffen from the University of Colorado, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, highlighted new studies into ice loss in Greenland, showing it has accelerated over the last decade. Professor Steffen, who has studied the Arctic ice for the past 35 years, told me: "I would predict sea level rise by 2100 in the order of one metre; it could be 1.2m or 0.9m. "But it is one metre or more seeing the current change, which is up to three times more than the average predicted by the IPCC." "It is a major change and it actually calls for action." Dr John Church of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research added: "The most recent research showed that sea level is rising by 3mm a year since 1993, a rate well above the 20th century average."...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7935159.stm.
Climate Curbs Need 'People Power'
By Mark Kinver Science and environment reporter, BBC News The battle against climate change can only be won "in the hands of the many, not the few", a top scientist has said. Jacqueline McGlade, head of the European Environment Agency (EEA), warned the current approach left the public sidelined as "silent observers". Political and business leaders were not able to tackle the problem without help from ordinary people, she added. Professor McGlade said environmental policies would also benefit from data based on public observations. "There is just no way that we are going to be able to shift ourselves to tackle the fundamental problems of the crisis without addressing public participation," she told BBC News. By observing what was happening on the ground from more and more locations, Professor McGlade said that scientists and policymakers would get a more detailed picture of the impacts and what responses were needed. She outlined her views during a lecture hosted by environmental charity Earthwatch...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7892992.stm.
Galapagos Damage 'Must Be Curbed'
By David Shukman Science and environment correspondent, BBC News Famed for their unique biological treasures, the Galapagos Islands face irreversible damage unless tourism is curbed, according to conservationists. On the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, the director of the Darwin Foundation says there is only a decade to avoid an ecological disaster...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7884581.stm.
Acid Oceans 'Need Urgent Action'
The world's marine ecosystems risk being severely damaged by ocean acidification unless there are dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions, warn scientists...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7860350.stm.
Research Hope for New Power Cells
Scientists are attempting to master new technology to power cars, mobile phones and laptops. Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have been given almost £300,000 to create cheaper and lower temperature fuel cells. The cells convert fuel to electricity without the need for combustion, and could be introduced to the market in the near future. They could replace combustion engines in cars, and mobile device batteries...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/north_east/7826580.stm.
Heat May Spark World Food Crisis
By James Morgan Science reporter, BBC News Half the world's population could face a climate-induced food crisis by 2100, a new report by US scientists warns. Rapid warming is likely to reduce crop yields in the tropics and subtropics, according to Prof David Battisti of the University of Washington, Seattle. The most extreme summers of the last century will become the norm, he calculates, using 23 climate models. We must urgently create crops tolerant to heat and drought if we are to adapt in time, he writes in Science journal...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7817684.stm.
2008: 'Huge Year for Natural Disasters'
The past year has been one of the most devastating ever in terms of natural disasters, one of the world's biggest re-insurance companies has said. Munich Re said the impact of the disasters was greater than in 2007 in both human and economic terms. The company suggested climate change was boosting the destructive power of disasters like hurricanes and flooding. It has called for stricter curbs on emissions to prevent further uncontrollable weather scenarios. Although there were fewer "loss-producing events" in 2008 than in the previous year, the impact of natural disasters was higher, said Munich Re in its annual assessment. More than 220,000 people died in events like cyclones, earthquakes and flooding, the most since 2004, the year of the Asian tsunami. Meanwhile, overall global losses totalled about $200bn (£137bn), with uninsured losses totalling $45bn, about 50% more than in 2007. This makes 2008 the third most expensive year on record, after 1995, when the Kobe earthquake struck Japan, and 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina in the US. Torsten Jeworrek of Munich Re said the pattern continued a long-term trend already observed. "Climate change has already started and is very probably contributing to increasingly frequent weather extremes and ensuing natural catastrophes," he said...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/7803624.stm.
Food Needs 'Fundamental Rethink'
By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter, BBC News
A sustainable global food system in the 21st Century needs to be built on a series of "new fundamentals", according to a leading food expert. Tim Lang warned that the current system, designed in the 1940s, was showing "structural failures", such as "astronomic" environmental costs. The new approach needed to address key fundamentals like biodiversity, energy, water and urbanisation, he added. Professor Lang is a member of the UK government's newly formed Food Council. "Essentially, what we are dealing with at the moment is a food system that was laid down in the 1940s," he told BBC News. "It followed on from the dust bowl in the US, the collapse of food production in Europe and starvation in Asia. "At the time, there was clear evidence showing that there was a mismatch between producers and the need of consumers." ...Professor Lang lists a series of "new fundamentals", which he outlined during a speech he made as the president-elect of charity Garden Organic, which will shape future food production, including:
Oil and energy: "We have an entirely oil-based food economy, and yet oil is running out. The impact of that on agriculture is one of the drivers of the volatility in the world food commodity markets."
Water scarcity: "One of the key things that I have been pushing is to get the UK government to start auditing food by water," Professor Lang said, adding that 50% of the UK's vegetables are imported, many from water-stressed nations.
Biodiversity: "Biodiversity must not just be protected, it must be replaced and enhanced; but that is going to require a very different way growing food and using the land."
Urbanisation: "Probably the most important thing within the social sphere. More people now live in towns than in the countryside. In which case, where do they get their food?"
Professor Lang said that in order to feed a projected nine billion people by 2050, policymakers and scientists face a fundamental challenge: how can food systems work with the planet and biodiversity, rather than raiding and pillaging it?...
Please read more on http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7795652.stm.
Changes 'Amplify Arctic Warming'
By Jonathan Amos Science reporter, BBC News Scientists say they now have unambiguous evidence that the warming in the Arctic is accelerating. Computer models have long predicted that decreasing sea ice should amplify temperature changes in the northern polar region. Julienne Stroeve, from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union that this process was under way...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7786910.stm
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us...
Read more at http://www.350.org/en/about.
Italy Aims for Carbon-neutral Farm
By Duncan Kennedy BBC News, Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, Italy
An attempt to create a pioneering carbon-neutral farm is starting in Italy. A range of new technologies is being installed at the farm in the central region of Umbria as part of an experiment to cut its CO2 emissions to zero over the course of the next year. They include everything from electric farm vehicles to sun-reflecting paint on storage buildings. It is all taking place at the Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio olive oil farm, north of Rome. With its vineyards and olive trees, this beautiful corner of Italy might look like it has escaped the intrusions of climate change, but the farm's owners say they, too, have to play their part in making the world greener...
Please read more http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7669522.stm.
Polar Warming 'Caused by Humans'
By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News The rise in temperatures at Earth's poles has for the first time been attributed directly to human activities, according to a study. The work, by an international team, is published in Nature Geoscience journal. In 2007, the UN's climate change body presented strong scientific evidence the rise in average global temperature is mostly due to human activities. This contradicted ideas that it was not a result of natural processes such as an increase in the Sun's intensity. At the time, there was not sufficient evidence to say this for sure about the Arctic and Antarctic. "We really can't claim anymore that it's natural variations that are driving these very large changes." Peter Stott, Met Office...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7700387.stm and http://www.nature.com/ngeo/.
Earth on Course for Eco 'Crunch'
The planet is headed for an ecological "credit crunch", according to a report issued by conservation groups. The document contends that our demands on natural resources overreach what the Earth can sustain by almost a third. The Living Planet Report is the work of WWF, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network. It says that more than three quarters of the world's population lives in countries where consumption levels are outstripping environmental renewal. This makes them "ecological debtors", meaning that they are drawing - and often overdrawing - on the agricultural land, forests, seas and resources of other countries to sustain them...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7696197.stm and at http://www.wwf.org.uk/news_feed.cfm?uNewsID=2294.
A New Law of Nature
Ecuador next week votes on giving legal rights to rivers, forests and air. Is this the end of damaging development? The world is watching
The Guardian, Wednesday September 24 2008
The South American republic of Ecuador will next week consider what many countries in the world would say is unthinkable. People will be asked to vote on Sunday on a new constitution that would give Ecuador's tropical forests, islands, rivers and air similar legal rights to those normally granted to humans. If they vote yes - and polls show that 56% are for and only 23% are against - then an already approved bill of rights for nature will be introduced, and new laws will change the legal status of nature from being simply property to being a right-bearing entity. The proposed bill states: "Natural communities and ecosystems possess the unalienable right to exist, flourish and evolve within Ecuador. Those rights shall be self-executing, and it shall be the duty and right of all Ecuadorian governments, communities, and individuals to enforce those rights."...
Please read more on http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/24/equador.conservation.
Nature Loss 'Dwarfs Bank Crisis'
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Barcelona
The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study. It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion. The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide. The study, headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, parallels the Stern Review into the economics of climate change. It has been discussed during many sessions here at the World Conservation Congress. Some conservationists see it as a new way of persuading policymakers to fund nature protection rather than allowing the decline in ecosystems and species, highlighted in the release on Monday of the Red List of Threatened Species, to continue...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7662565.stm.
UN Forecasts Boom in 'Green Jobs'
The UN says millions of new jobs will be created worldwide over the next few decades by the development of alternative energy technologies. More than a million people already work in biofuels, but a UN report says that could rise by 12 million by 2030. It says "green jobs" depend on a shift of subsidies from oil and natural gas to wind, solar, and geothermal power. New jobs could also include the expansion of recycling and making environmentally friendly vehicles. The report, 'Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World', was commissioned and funded by the UN's Environment Programme (Unep).
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7634792.stm.
What a Waste!
“What a Waste!” is a BBC World series looking at how the world is going to cope as the demand for power and energy grows and grows.
Seen in July 2008:
- Vaitheeswaran, Vijay V. (2003). Power to the People: How the Coming Energy Revolution Will Transform an Industry, Change Our Lives, and Maybe Even Save the Planet. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
- Yeang, Ken (2008). Eco Skyscrapers. Mulgrave, VIC, Australia: Images.
- Rolf Disch, Die Solarsiedlung in Freiburg.
- Rocky Mountain Institute, established in 1982 by resource analysts L. Hunter Lovins and Amory B. Lovins.
- Nanyang Technology University, Singapore.
- Nokia Headquarters in China.
Concern over French Nuclear Leaks
A French nuclear monitoring body has expressed concern at the number of leaks from French nuclear power stations in recent weeks. The director of Criirad, an independent body, said the organisation was worried by the numbers of people contaminated by four separate incidents. In the most recent leaks, about 100 staff at Tricastin, in southern France, were exposed to low doses of radiation. It came two weeks after a leak forced the temporary closure of a reactor. There has also been a 10-fold increase in the number of incidents reported by people working in the French nuclear power industry, Criirad director Corinne Castanier said...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7522712.stm.
Solar Dyes Give a Guiding Light
By Matt McGrath
BBC science correspondent
A new way of capturing the energy from the Sun could increase the power generated by solar panels tenfold, a team of American scientists has shown. The new technique involves coating glass with a specific mixture of transparent dyes which redirect light to photovoltaic cells in the frame. The technology, outlined in the journal Science, could be used to convert glass buildings into vast energy plants. The technology could be in production within three years, the team said...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/technology/7501476.stm.
Hydrogen Refuel Station Unveiled
ITM Power's Jim Heathcoate demonstrates a car fuelled by home-brewed hydrogen A hydrogen refuelling station which could be installed in the home as an alternative to visiting a petrol station has been unveiled. Users will need a hydrogen-powered car to go with it although the system can also be used for heating and cooking. Hydrogen has long been touted as an alternative energy source to carbon-hungry fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles to wider adoption of fuel-cell vehicles is the lack of hydrogen fuelling stations. To be used as a fuel, hydrogen must first be produced using another energy source. While some scientists are hopeful of the fuel uses of hydrogen, many others are sceptical because it is inefficient to produce, expensive to transport and to convert into electricity. A home refuelling station could provide much needed infrastructure to kick-start a hydrogen-based economy, thinks Sheffield-based ITM Power, the firm behind the system.
Hydrogen fridge: The hydrogen home refuelling station works via an electrolyser which produces the gas from water and electricity. An internal combustion generator converts the gas back into electricity to provide power for the home. ITM Power has set up a showcase hydrogen home in Sheffield, where the gas is used for heating, cooking and to operate a fridge. In terms of producing hydrogen to power a car, the unit can make enough gas overnight to provide fuel for 25 miles. The hope is eventually to have higher-pressure refuelling units in public places which would be capable of offering enough hydrogen for cars to travel 100 miles. Such units would be more expensive as they would require a hydrogen compressor which costs around £20,000. But ITM thinks its system has the potential to revolutionise the move to more green energy. "Given the pressing need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, especially oil, and to cut CO2 emissions, the future for hydrogen as an alternative means of storing and utilising energy cost-effectively has never been brighter," said Jim Heathcote, chief executive of ITM. David Hart, a research fellow at Imperial College, London studying hydrogen energy, questioned the cost involved and how energy efficient it would be. "The critical element of this is how much it would cost to put such a refuelling station in your home. The technology is very plausible but there are some issues about public acceptance," he said. The fact that the refuelling station uses electricity meant it would not be a much-sought after zero emissions system unless the electricity itself is produced in a more green way, he added. According to Mr Heathcote, the unit - which is currently only a prototype - could be commercially available as soon as the end of this year. If they were mass produced he estimates they would initially cost around £2000. He see the first market for the product as being large companies which use a lot of vehicles such as the Post Office. But eventually it will become common in homes, he thinks. He said that the next stage of the firm's work would be to produce a liquid fuel.
Hydrogen cars: At the launch of the home refuel station, ITM also showed off a hybrid Ford Focus car converted to run on hydrogen. The car needed three pieces of hardware to make it petrol-free - a hydrogen tank, which cost around £3000, four hydrogen injectors (about £100 each) and a chip to allow the conversion. Last month, Japanese car manufacturer Honda began the first commercial production of a zero-emission, hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicle. Honda claims the vehicle offers three times better fuel efficiency than a traditional, petrol-powered car and plans to produce 200 of the cars over the next three years. Prime minister Gordon Brown has said that he wants all new cars sold in Britain by 2020 to be electric or hybrid vehicles producing less than 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. But Jon Gibbins, part of the hydrogen energy team at Imperial College, is not convinced that ITM's hybrid car will be the solution. "Unless the hydrogen is used in a fuel cell then hydrogen vehicles are very inefficient. For a conventional engine, perhaps 20% of the energy in the electricity ends up driving the wheels versus maybe 75% for an electric vehicle." "This seems unlikely to be a sustainable use of the limited supplies of renewable or low-carbon energy," he said.
HOW A HYDROGEN (PROTON EXCHANGE) FUEL CELL WORKS
1 Hydrogen: Constantly pumped in at negative terminal
2 Oxygen: Pumped in at opposite positive terminal
3 Catalyst: Helps electrons break free from hydrogen atoms
4 Membrane: Allows hydrogen ions through but blocks electrons
5 Circuit: Electrons flow through circuit to positive terminal
6 Electrons and hydrogen ions combine with oxygen, forming water
Story from BBC NEWS:
Business Chiefs Urge Carbon Curbs
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
A coalition of 99 companies is asking political leaders to set targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and to establish a global carbon market. Their blueprint for tackling climate change is being handed to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda ahead of next month's G8 summit in Japan. Companies involved include Alcoa, British Airways (BA), Deutsche Bank, EDF, Petrobras, Shell and Vattenfall. They argue that cutting emissions must be made to carry economic advantages. The business leaders hope their ideas will feed through the G8 into the series of UN climate meetings that are aiming to produce a successor to the Kyoto Protocol when its current targets expire in 2012...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7464517.stm.
Mark Lynas' Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
A book about global warming has won this year's Royal Society prize for popular science writing.
Mark Lynas' Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet has already been turned into a TV programme and is now almost certain to experience a jump in sales. The book explains how Earth will change for every degree rise in temperature - from droughts to mass extinctions...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7457317.stm.
Nature Loss 'to Hurt Global Poor'
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Damage to forests, rivers, marine life and other aspects of nature could halve living standards for the world's poor, a major report has concluded. Current rates of natural decline might reduce global GDP by about 7% by 2050. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) review is modelled on the Stern Review of climate change. It will be released at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Bonn, where 60 leaders have pledged to halt deforestation by 2020...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7424535.stm.
Call to Settle Ocean Care Dispute
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Governments are being urged to agree measures for protecting open ocean and sea floor habitats at a major United Nations conservation meeting in Bonn. Argentina and Brazil are among the countries objecting to proposals put forward at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting. Scientists advising the CBD believe more protection is vital for marine areas outside national jurisdiction. The CBD is the UN agreement intended to slow the loss of the Earth's species. Its key target is to halt and begin to reverse the global decline by 2010, a target that many observers believe cannot be met. The rate of species extinctions is estimated to be between 100 and 1,000 times the rate it would be without human impacts such as loss of habitat, climate change and overfishing, and some marine ecosystems remote from land are showing signs of degradation...
Please more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7413537.stm.
Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples
Source: United Nations Human Rights
While climate change affects everyone, it will probably hit the most vulnerable groups hardest. Indigenous peoples, according to the UN Development Group Guidelines on Indigenous Peoples Issues, are among the first to face direct adverse consequences of climate change, partly owing to their close relationship with the environment and its resources. The Permanent Forum, which ran from 21 April to 2 May, brought together more than 1,000 indigenous representatives, senior UN officials, and representatives of governments, civil society and academia to address the theme: Climate change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods, the stewardship role of indigenous peoples, and new challenges. Emerging evidence suggests that the livelihoods and cultural identities of the more than 370 million indigenous peoples of North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific are already under threat. For more information, click here.
UN Urges Biofuel Investment Halt
The UN's new top adviser on food has urged a freeze on biofuel investment, saying the blind pursuit of the policy is "irresponsible". Olivier de Schutter also wants curbs on investors whose speculation is, he says, driving food prices higher. UN officials liken the rise in food prices to a silent tsunami, threatening 100 million of the world's poorest. The use of food crops for alternative sources of energy like ethanol is one factor behind the price hike...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/in_depth/7381392.stm.
More Doubt on Cosmic Climate Link
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Vienna
Research has thrown further doubt on the notion that cosmic rays are a major influence on the Earth's climate. The idea that modern global warming is due to changes in cloudiness caused by solar influences on cosmic rays is popular with "climate sceptics". But scientists found changes in cosmic ray flux do not affect cloud formation - the second such report in a month. Separately, other researchers have found that particles from space may affect temperatures at the poles. Both pieces of research were presented here at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7352667.stm.
UN Food Chief Urges Crisis Action
Josette Sheeran from the UN World Food Programme has spoken about the shortages. The head of the UN World Food Programme has said urgent action is required to stimulate food production and help the poor cope with soaring food prices. Josette Sheeran told the BBC that an additional 100 million people, who did not need assistance six months ago, could not now afford to purchase food. Her warning came ahead of a meeting in London to discuss the rise in prices and an EU policy encouraging biofuels. Biofuels are intended to tackle climate change but can take away farm land. Earlier, Latin American leaders had warned about the growth in production of biofuels, which are derived from plant crops...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/7360485.stm.
French Push for EU Food Response
France is urging EU countries to come up with a global initiative on food security in the wake of violence linked to price rises in basic foodstuffs. Agriculture minister Michel Barnier said Europe could not remain passive and leave the situation to the markets. As he spoke, UN special rapporteur Jean Ziegler accused the EU of agricultural dumping in Africa. He said producing biofuels, a key part of the EU's plans to tackle climate change, was a "crime against humanity"...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7346198.stm.
Global Food System 'Must Change'
The global agriculture system will have to change radically if the world is to avoid future environmental and social problems, a report has warned. The study, commissioned by the UN and World Bank, concluded that while recent advances had increased food production, the benefits were spread unevenly. It said that 850 million people were still not getting enough food to eat. The authors added that food prices would remain volatile as a result of rising populations and biofuel growth...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7347239.stm.
Forecast for Big Sea Level Rise
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Vienna
Sea levels could rise by up to one-and-a-half metres by the end of this century, according to a new scientific analysis. This is substantially more than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast in last year's landmark assessment of climate science.
Sea level rise of this magnitude would have major impacts on low-lying countries such as Bangladesh. The findings were presented at a major science conference in Vienna.
The research group is not the first to suggest that the IPCC's forecast of an average rise in global sea levels of 28-43cm by 2100 is too conservative. The IPCC was unable to include the contribution from "accelerated" melting of polar ice sheets as water temperatures warm because the processes involved were not yet understood...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7349236.stm.
China 'Now Top Carbon Polluter'
By Roger Harrabin
BBC Environment analyst
China has already overtaken the US as the world's "biggest polluter", a report to be published next month says. The research suggests the country's greenhouse gas emissions have been underestimated, and probably passed those of the US in 2006-2007...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7347638.stm.
Hydrogen-Powered Plane Takes Off
The first manned, hydrogen-powered plane has been successfully tested in the skies above Spain, its makers say. The small, propeller-driven craft, developed by aviation giant Boeing, made three short flights at an airfield south of Madrid, the company said...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/technology/7330311.stm.
Warnings over Future Food Crisis
A world food crisis can be expected in the coming decades as our demand for food outstrips our ability to produce it, a UK government adviser has warned.
New chief science adviser, Professor John Beddington, said the crisis could be as serious as climate change and may hit sooner...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/7282196.stm.
Green Sports Car Set for Launch
By Jonathan Fildes
Science and technology reporter, BBC News
A "zero-emission" sports car with a top speed of nearly 100mph is set to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
The hydrogen-powered Lifecar, based on the design of the Morgan Aero-8 roadster, produces little noise and only water vapour from its exhaust...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/technology/7265267.stm.
See also Evelin's 2008 pictures.
Map Shows Toll on World's Oceans
By Helen Briggs
Science reporter, BBC News, Boston
Only about 4% of the world's oceans remain undamaged by human activity, according to the first detailed global map of human impacts on the seas. A study in Science journal says climate change, fishing, pollution and other human factors have exacted a heavy toll on almost half of the marine waters...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7241428.stm.
Work Starts on Gulf 'Green City'
Abu Dhabi has started to build what it says is the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste car-free city. Masdar City will cost $22bn (£11.3bn), take eight years to build and be home to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7237672.stm.
In April 2006, Abu Dhabi took a bold and historic decision to embrace renewable and sustainable energy technologies. As the first major hydrocarbon-producing nation to take such a step, it has established its leadership position by launching Masdar, a global cooperative platform for open engagement in the search for solutions to some of mankind's most pressing issues: energy security, climate change and truly sustainable human development.
Read more at http://www.masdaruae.com/.
Hypersonic Passenger Jet Designed
A British firm claims to have designed a hypersonic passenger plane that could one day fly between Europe and Australia in less than five hours. The A2 aeroplane, designed by Reaction Engines in Oxfordshire, would carry 300 passengers at a top speed of 4,000mph.
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/7228341.stm.
UK Homes Urged to 'Leave It Off'
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Britons are being asked to "leave it off" later this month, to show that cutting home energy use can have an impact on climate change. During E-Day, which begins on 27 February, people will be asked to switch off electrical items not in use...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7209817.stm.
EU 'Should Ban Inefficient Cars'
By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst
The EU should ban the sale of cars that do under 35 miles to the gallon, the ex-chairman of oil giant Shell says. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart told BBC News the motor industry would adapt to cope with stricter environmental rules...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7225451.stm.
Climate Set for 'Sudden Shifts'
By Pallab Ghosh
Science correspondent, BBC News
Many of Earth's climate systems will undergo a series of sudden shifts this century as a result of human-induced climate change, a study suggests.
A number of these shifts could occur this century, say the report's authors...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7227080.stm.
'Doomsday' Seeds Arrive in Norway
The first consignment of seeds bound for the "doomsday vault" on Svalbard has arrived in Norway. Twenty-one boxes containing 7,000 seed samples from 36 African nations were sent by the Nigeria-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7217821.stm.
Climate 'Could Devastate Crops'
Climate change could cause severe crop losses in South Asia and southern Africa over the next 20 years, a study in the journal Science says. The findings suggest southern Africa could lose more than 30% of its main crop, maize, by 2030...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7220807.stm.
Climate 'Clearly out of Balance'
The world's climate is "clearly out of balance and is warming", the world's largest society of Earth and space scientists has said in a statement.
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) warned that changes to the Earth's climate system were "not natural"...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7207335.stm.
EU Reveals Energy Plan of Action
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has announced "historic" plans to make Europe "the first economy for the low-carbon age".
He said Europeans wanted "a vision and a plan of action" against climate change and the measures would cost 3 euros (£2.10) a week for every citizen.
The aim would be a 20% cut in the EU's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, which could rise to 30% with a global deal...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7203514.stm.
Kite to Pull Ship Across Atlantic
The world's first commercial cargo ship partially powered by a giant kite is setting sail from Germany to Venezuela.
The designers of the MS Beluga Skysails say the computer-controlled kite, measuring 160sq m (1,722sq ft), could cut fuel consumption by as much as 20%. They also hope the state-of-the-art kite will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as it tugs the ship...
Pleas read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7201887.stm .
Abu Dhabi Plots Hydrogen Future
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
The government of Abu Dhabi has announced a $15bn (£7.5bn) initiative to develop clean energy technologies.
The Gulf state describes the five-year initiative as "the most ambitious sustainability project ever launched by a government"...
Please reaed more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7200052.stm.
Rising Seas 'to Beat Predictions'
The world's sea levels could rise twice as high this century as UN climate scientists have previously predicted, according to a study. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposes a maximum sea level rise of 81cm (32in) this century. But in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers say the true maximum could be about twice that: 163cm (64in). They looked at what happened more than 100,000 years ago - the last time Earth was this warm. The results join other studies showing that current sea level projections may be very conservative...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7148137.stm.
UN Warns on Soaring Food Prices
The soaring cost of food is threatening millions of people in poor countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned.
Food prices have risen an unprecedented 40% in the last year and many nations may be unable to cope, the agency says. It is calling for help for farmers in poor countries to buy seeds and fertiliser, and for a review of the impact of bio-fuels on food production. The FAO says 37 countries face food crises due to conflict and disaster.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/7148880.stm.
'Crunch Time' for Climate Change
The Bali conference was called to draft a follow-up to Kyoto
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has opened high-level talks at the climate change conference in Bali with a call to action. He said that if no action were taken, the world would face impacts such as drought, famine and rising sea levels...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7139676.stm.
Arctic Summers Ice-Free 'by 2013'
By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News, San Francisco
Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7139797.stm.
2007 Data Confirms Warming Trend
This year has been one of the warmest since 1850, despite the cooling influence of La Nina conditions, according to scientists. The UK's Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia conclude that globally, this year ranks as the seventh warmest. The 11 warmest years in this set have all occurred within the last 13 years. For the northern hemisphere alone, 2007 was the second warmest recorded...Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7142694.stm.
Sierra Leone Sets Up Forest Park
Sierra Leone's president has launched a scheme to save part of an endangered rainforest, which campaigners say will help fight climate change.
People living near the Gola Forest, near the border with Liberia, are to be paid annually to compensate for the loss of royalties from logging firms...
Aid agencies, the European Commission and France are setting up a $12m (£6m) trust fund to pay for the park's running costs and to make annual payments to some 100,000 people...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/7136606.stm.
Wind 'Could Power All UK Homes'
All UK homes could be powered by offshore wind farms by 2020 as part of the fight against climate change, under plans unveiled by John Hutton.
Up to 7,000 turbines could be installed to boost wind produced energy 60-fold by 2020...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/7135930.stm.
Key Climate Summit Opens in Bali
Governments at a key UN climate summit will discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after the current Kyoto Protocol targets expire in 2012.
Talks will centre on whether a further set of binding targets is needed.
It is the first such meeting since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that evidence for global warming was "unequivocal".
The two-week gathering in Bali, Indonesia, will also debate how to help poor nations cope in a warming world.
The annual high-level meeting, organised by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is under pressure to deliver a new global agreement on how to cut rising greenhouse gas emissions...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7120952.stm.
Rudd takes Australia inside Kyoto
Australian Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd has been sworn in as prime minister, following a landslide victory in parliamentary elections last week.
Immediately after the ceremony, he signed documents to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, reversing the previous administration's policy...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7124236.stm.
Key Climate Summit Opens in Bali
World governments are meeting for a key UN climate summit that will attempt to reach a deal on what should replace the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7120952.stm.
2007 State of the Future
By Jerome C. Glenn and Theodore J. Gordon
Article by Yuwei Zhang in the UN Chronicle Online Edition:
Providing a comprehensive overview of global trends and challenges, the 2007 State of the Future was launched at UN Headquarters in New York on 10 September 2007.
Produced by the Millennium Project, under the auspices of the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA), the State of the Future report contains insights into the Project’s work from a variety of creative and knowledgeable people, obtaining information from and getting feed back on emerging crises, opportunities, strategic priorities and the feasibility of actions. The report comes in two parts: an extensive 99-page executive summary, and a compact disc containing over 6,000 pages of research, including the Millennium Project’s 11 years of cumulative research.
“The Millennium Project brings together futurists, scholars, business partners and policymakers who work for international organizations, Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka, who hosted the book launch. As one of the primary products of the Millennium Project, “it collects and assesses judgments from several hundred participants to produce the annual State of the Future report”, he remarked.
“All of us have been in situations where we’ve been asked to provide a big picture of economics, education, politics … but that is extremely difficult to do”, Jerome Glenn pointed out, adding that producing such a complex annual report was a daunting task when he first started the research in 1992. He explained: “We can document a range of potential futures and we have an ongoing and continuous feedback system with our nodes around the world.” It is a decentralized and globalized think tank, said Mr. Glenn, who has over 30 years of experience in futures research for Governments, international organizations and private industry. Co-founder and Director of the Millennium Project, Mr. Glenn told the UN Chronicle that it was an ongoing and accumulative project with specialized studies for each year’s report. Chapter 3 of the 2007 report presents 19 possibilities that could influence future education and learning by the year 2030 in a special study which distills insights from more than 200 participants from around the world.
A new idea mentioned in the report is “trans-institution”, according to Mr. Glenn, which is a kind of new institutional invention that allows independent organizations—Governments, corporations, NGOs, universities, individuals and the United Nations or international organizations—to act like a trans-institution and cooperate with each other. The report states: “Each trans-institution could improve global resilience as coalitions of the willing, composed of national resilience officers and their counterparts in corporations, NGOs, universities and international organizations.” Mr. Glenn also suggested that trans-institutions should be created for each of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are referred to throughout the report.
Speaking at the book launch, Stephen Schlesinger, former Director of the World Policy Institute at the New School University, said: “This is quite an extraordinary project. It is a balanced, nuanced, forward-looking and prerogative document.” The 2007 State of Future report is about bringing nations together and working in unison. “The notion of the UN itself is collective security, which is about nations working together for the benefit of all humankind”, Professor Schlesinger noted. Hoping the report will be well-circulated both within and outside the Organization, he said that as we are reaching the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, it would be a most reliable guide, which would help form the UN agenda for the future.
For more information on the Millennium Project, please visit: http://www.millennium-project.org
The Executive Summary of the report can be viewed at:
New Book: Down-to-Earth Guide To Global Warming, by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon
A book giving children a guide to become active in addressing the problem of global warming. Please see http://www.scholastic.com/.
Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility
by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger
New York, N.Y. : Houghton Mifflin Company
Please read more at http://www.thebreakthrough.org/.
The Breakthrough Institute is a small think tank with big ideas. Breakthrough is committed to creating a new progressive politics, one that is large, aspirational, and asset-based. We believe that any effective politics must speak to core needs and values, not issues and interests, and we thus situate ourselves at the intersection of politics, policy, philosophy, and the social sciences.
Biofuels Bonanza Facing 'Crash'
By Roger Harrabin
Environment Analyst, BBC News, Valencia
The biofuels bonanza will crash unless producers can guarantee their crops have been produced responsibly, the UN's environment agency chief has said. Achim Steiner of the UN Environment Programme (Unep) said there was an urgent need for standards to make sure rainforests weren't being destroyed.
Please see more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7096819.stm.
UK Pioneers of Research into New Materials, Green Energy and Future Communications Will Share a 100m Government Fund to Back Innovation
More than 76 research and development projects covering eight technology priority areas will share the money. The money has been made available through the Technology Strategy Board which promotes innovation in business. The board has funded more than 700 projects with a total of £1bn since it was formed in 2004...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/technology/7085131.stm.
Energy Needs 'to Grow Inexorably'
The global demand for energy is set to grow inexorably through to 2030 if governments do not change their policies, warns a top energy official. Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said such a rise would threaten energy security and accelerate climate change. He said energy needs in 2030 could be more than 50% above current levels, with fossil fuels still dominant...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7081679.stm.
Organic Produce 'Better for You'
Organic produce is better for you than ordinary food, a major European Union-funded study says. The £12m four-year project, led by Newcastle University, found a general trend showing organic food contained more antioxidants and less fatty acids...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/7067100.stm.
Biofuels 'Crime against Humanity'
By Grant Ferrett
A United Nations expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for petrol as a crime against humanity.
The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, said he feared biofuels would bring more hunger ...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/7065061.stm.
Humans Failing the Sustainability Audit
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
With its Geo-4 report, the United Nations tells us that most aspects of the Earth's natural environment are in decline; and that the decline will affect us, the planet's human inhabitants, in some pretty important ways....
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/7060072.stm.
Porsgrunn kommune med hydrogenbil
Norges hittil største hydrogenstasjon er åpnet på Herøya i Porsgrunn. Porsgrunn kommune disponerer en av de nye hydrogenbilene som kjører rundt i Grenland. HyNor - Hydrogenveien i Norge - er under bygging og går fra Stavanger til Oslo via Porsgrunn. Hydrogenstasjonen på Herøya er Hydros første hydrogenstasjon i Norge og den andre stasjonen på hydrogenveien mellom Oslo og Stavanger.
Gore and UN Panel Win Nobel Prize
The committee said it wanted to bring the "increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states" posed by climate change into sharper focus" ...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7041082.stm.
Engineers without Borders (EWB)
Egineering a better world.
Ten-Year Climate Model Unveiled
Scientists say they have developed a model to predict how ocean currents, as well as human activities, will affect temperatures over the next decade.
By including short-term natural events, such as El Nino, a UK team says it is able to offer 10-year projections...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6939347.stm.
Humans 'Affect Global Rainfall'
Human-induced climate change has affected global rainfall patterns over the 20th Century, a study suggests.
Researchers said changes to the climate had led to an increase in annual average rainfall in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.
But while countries such as Canada, Russia and northern Europe had become wetter, areas including India and parts of Africa had become drier, they added.
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6912527.stm.
The Vertical Farming Project
The advent of agriculture ushered in an unprecedented increase in the human population and their domesticated animals. Farming catalyzed the transformation of hunter-gatherers into urban dwellers. Today, over 800 million hectares is committed to agriculture, or about 38% of the total landmass of the earth. Farming has re-arranged the landscape in favor of cultivated fields and herds of cattle, and has occurred at the expense of natural ecozones, reducing most of them to fragmented, semi-functional units, while completely eliminating many others. Undeniably, a reliable food supply has allowed for a healthier life style for most of the civilized world, while the very act of farming has created new health hazards. The transmission of numerous infectious disease agents - influenza, rabies, yellow fever, dengue fever, malaria, trypanosomiasis, hookworm, schistosomiasis - occur with relentlessly devastating regularity at the tropical and sub-tropical agricultural interface. Emerging infections, many of which are viral zoonoses (e.g., Ebola, Lassa fever), rapidly adapt to the human host following encroachment into natural environments. Exposure to toxic levels of some classes of agrochemicals (pesticides, fungicides) and trauma are two other significant health risks associated with traditional agricultural practices. Over the next 50 years, the human population is expected to rise to at least 8.6 billion, requiring an additional 109 hectares to feed them using current technologies. That quantity of farmland is no longer available. Thus, alternative strategies for obtaining an abundant and varied food supply without encroachment into the few remaining functional ecosystems must be seriously entertained. If traditional farming could be replaced by constructing urban food production centers - vertical farms - then a long-term benefit would be the gradual repair of many of the world’s damaged ecosystems through the systematic abandonment of farmland. In temperate and tropical zones, the re-growth of hardwood forests could play a significant role in carbon sequestration and may help reverse current trends in global climate change. Social benefits of vertical farming include the creation of a sustainable urban environment that encourages good health for all who choose to live there; new employment opportunities; fewer abandoned lots and buildings; cleaner air; and an abundant supply of safe drinking water...
Read more on http://verticalfarm.com/.
'New Thinking' Needed on Climate
By Mark Kinver
Science and Nature reporter, BBC News
The international climate debate needs to embrace a "new way of thinking" to tackle the problem, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged.
Too much time was being wasted arguing over "historical responsibilities" for past emissions, Mr Ban said. He called for both industrialised and developing nations to focus on limiting future global greenhouse gas emissions...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6292744.stm.
Koolpool is an experiment aimed at catalyzing the most important resource of the city into action. Which resource? You! Think about it. What’s common with the morning commute to work for most of us? Traffic. Mind numbing, energy sapping and time consuming traffic. We all moan about it. Now here’s a chance for you to do something to rectify the situation!
Please read more at http://www.koolpool.co.in/.
Charity Attacks Rush for Biofuels
By Roger Harrabin
BBC Environment Analyst
A furious attack on the drive to grow more biofuels has been launched by a charity supporting poor farmers in developing countries.
The charity - called Grain - says their research shows the rush for biofuels is causing much more environmental and social damage than previously realised.
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6252594.stm.
UN Issues Desertification Warning
Tens of millions of people could be driven from their homes by encroaching deserts, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia, a report says.
The study by the United Nations University suggests climate change is making desertification "the greatest environmental challenge of our times"...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/6247802.stm.
Samsø: Denmark's Renewable Energy Island
February 19, 2006
By Paul Gipe
Samsø is a 112 square kilometers island off the east coast of Denmark's Jutland peninsula. Home to 4,300 residents, the island is unique in the annals of renewable energy because it was the first to declare its intent to rely on renewable energy for 100% of the island's needs.
The island's proposal won a Danish government competition for communities that wanted to prove that they could live entirely off renewable energy. Within ten years, they've done so.
East African Ban on Plastics Bags
Kenya and Uganda have banned the use of thin plastic bags in an effort to curb environmental damage.
Ugandan Finance Minister Ezra Suruma banned the importation and use of the thinnest bags and imposed a 120% tax on thicker ones in his new budget...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/6754127.stm.
G8 Leaders Agree to Climate Deal
Leaders of the G8 nations have agreed to seek "substantial" cuts in emissions in an effort to tackle climate change. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the G8 would negotiate within a UN framework to seek a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol by the end of 2009. No mandatory target was set for the cuts, but Mrs Merkel's preference for a 50% emissions cut by the year 2050 was included in the agreed statement. Developing nations should also cut emissions, the leaders agreed...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/6731045.stm.
First Annual World Environment Review Poll
The 2007 World Environment Review polled 14,000 consumers in 14 countries around the world about their attitudes towards climate change.
Read more at http://www.gmi-mr.com/gmipoll/release.php?p=20070605.
Nations Meet to Protect Wildlife
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Elephants and the ivory trade come under the spotlight as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) summit opens. Just prior to the opening, a committee voted that a limited sale of stockpiled ivory from southern Africa to Japan could go ahead. Some African countries want a 20-year ban on trading ivory. The two-week meeting in The Hague will also seek protection for the sawfish, cedar, and some corals. Conservation groups are targeting China's tiger farming business. The three-yearly Cites meetings set restrictions on trade in species regarded as endangered or threatened. This year's summit on the 32-year old treaty brings 175 national delegations to The Hague, along with other UN agencies, and conservation and animal welfare organisations.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6715923.stm.
China Unveils Climate Change Plan
China has unveiled its first national plan for climate change, saying it is intent on tackling the problem but not at the expense of economic development.
The 62-page report reiterated China's aim to reduce energy use by a fifth before 2010 and increase the amount of renewable energy it produces. But it also repeated Beijing's view that responsibility for climate change rests with rich westernised countries...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6717671.stm.
Solar Impulse Airplane
Around the world with a solar airplane, flying day and night without fuel and pollution!
Climate Change 'Can Be Tackled'
The growth in greenhouse gas emissions can be curbed at reasonable cost, experts at a major UN climate change conference in Bangkok have agreed.
Boosting renewable energy, reducing deforestation and improving energy efficiency can all help, they said.
This is the third report this year from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and aims to set out the costs and benefits of various policies.
IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri said the report was "stunning".
"Human society as a whole has to look for changes in consumption patterns," he told reporters at a news conference in the Thai capital...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/6620909.stm.
Art From The Arctic
A 60 minute film directed by David Hinton, first broadcast on BBC FOUR on 21 February 2006 as part of Climate Chaos - a major season of BBC programmes on the science behind and issues surrounding climate change.
Please see also http://www.capefarewell.com/content/media-film.php.
The World Debate: The Business of Climate Change
The World Debate is a series of discussion programmes broadcast on BBC World from around the globe, mediated regularly by senior channel presenters Zeinab Badawi, Nik Gowing and Stephen Sackur.
Saturday 7th April
If global environmental sustainability is to be attained, business is almost certainly the engine through which much of the energy and effort for change will flow. The World Debate sets out to explore the dynamics, the challenges, and the evolution of those efforts. In particular, how is business adapting to address sustainable development challenges and how it can do so in a profitable way? Nik Gowing sits down with five of the world ' s most senior business leaders in Hong Kong, to explore these topics, their roles and their responsibilities.
Please read more at http://www.bbcworld.com/Pages/Programme.aspx?id=47.
Billions Face Climate Change Risk
Billions of people face shortages of food and water and increased risk of flooding, experts at a major climate change conference have warned.
The bleak conclusion came ahead of the publication of a key report by hundreds of international environmental experts...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6532323.stm.
Solar power for Communities, Farmers and Market Traders Across India
Aurore is a community-owned enterprise based at Auroville, near Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu, India. Over the past six years it has facilitated the installation across India of nearly 2 MWp of photovoltaic (PV) systems, including 845 PV-powered water pumps, 8,700 domestic PV systems, and over 6,000 PV-powered lanterns.
The Ashden judges commended Aurore for its integrated approach to supplying energy services, combining technical and business competence with a strong commitment to the greater use of sustainable energy...
Read more at http://www.ashdenawards.org/winners/aurore.
Living Tomorrow, Brussels, Belgium
A unique vision of the future World of Tomorrow together with prominent companies...
See more at http://www.livtom.dotnet35.hostbasket.com/corporate.aspx?node=259.
BBC World Hardtalk with James Rogers, American Corporate Leader, Wednesday 4th April 2007
Will the American Government legislate to cut carbon emissions? If they don’t, is there any point any of the rest of us bothering? James Rogers is one of a select group of American corporate leaders who are now calling for new laws to make carbon cuts mandatory.
Stephen Sackur talks to him about how business is leading the way in the US on global warming.
This text is retrieved from http://www.bbcworld.com/Pages/Programme.aspx?id=10 on 4th April 2007.
BBC World Hardtalk with Steve Howard, CEO The Climate Group and Rick Lazio, Vice President of JP Morgan, Monday 2nd April 2007
The world seems finally to have woken up to the threat of climate change, but where is the leadership to find effective ways of altering the course of global warming?
Can we rely on politicians to make us change our ways in time? Or is it the business world which will have to make the running?
All this week HARDtalk will be looking at the issue of climate change and leadership. In today’s programme Stephen Sackur talks to Steve Howard, CEO The Climate Group and Rick Lazio, Vice President of JP Morgan.
This text is retrieved from http://www.bbcworld.com/Pages/Programme.aspx?id=10 on 2nd April 2007.
JPMorgan and Innovest Launch Green Bond Index
NEW YORK – February 27, 2007 – JPMorgan and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors launched today the JPMorgan Environmental Index-Carbon Beta (JENI-Carbon Beta), the first bond index designed to address the risks of global warming. The JENI-Carbon Beta, a United States high-grade corporate bond index, enables credit investors to make return-driven investment decisions that systematically take into account risks and opportunities issuers face as they address climate change...
Please read the entire press release at http://www.jpmorgan.com/pages/jpmorgan/news/JENIlaunch_Feb07.
J.P. Morgan Adopts 'Green' Lending Policies
By Jim Carlton, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
April 25, 2005
Following pressure by ecological activists and shareholder groups, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. will adopt sweeping guidelines that restrict its lending and underwriting practices for industrial projects that are likely to have an environmental impact.
The New York banking giant -- third largest in assets in the U.S. -- issued a issue a 10-page environmental policy today that takes an aggressive stance on global warming, including tying carbon-dioxide emissions to its loan-review process for power plants and other large polluters. The bank also plans to calculate in loan reviews the financial cost of greenhouse-gas emissions, such as the risk of a company losing business to a competitor with lower emissions because it has a better public standing...
Please read the entire article at http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press607.htm.
Australia Fund to Protect Forests
Australia is setting up a A$200m ($160m, £80m) fund to protect the world's forests, in a bid to tackle illegal logging and global warming. The fund's main aims are to reduce deforestation and plant new forests...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6505693.stm.
Biodiversity 'Fundamental' to Economics
Sigmar Gabriel (Sigmar Gabriel is the German Federal Environment Minister and will head next week's G8 environment ministers' meeting in Potsdam)
Germany has put biodiversity, alongside climate change, at the top the agenda for its G8 presidency. In this week's Green Room, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel says failure to address the loss of species will make the world a poorer place - both naturally and economically...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/6432217.stm.
EU Agrees Renewable Energy Target
European Union leaders have agreed to adopt a binding target on the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, officials say.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Europe was now able to lead the way on climate change. The 27 EU states will each decide how they contribute to meeting a 20% boost overall in renewable fuel use by 2020.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6433503.stm.
EU Agrees on Carbon Dioxide Cuts
European Union leaders at a climate change summit in Brussels have agreed to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by the year 2020.
But a consensus on a binding target for the use of renewable fuels, like wind and solar power, has yet to be reached...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6432829.stm.
Politicians Sign New Climate Pact
Leading international politicians have reached a new agreement on tackling climate change, at a Washington summit. Delegates agreed that developing countries would also have to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, as well as rich countries. The informal meeting also agreed that a global market should be formed to cap and trade carbon dioxide emissions. The non-binding declaration is seen as vital in influencing a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, correspondents say. The forum's closing statement said man-made climate change was now "beyond doubt". "Climate change is a global issue and there is an obligation on us all to take action, in line with our capabilities and historic responsibilities," said the statement from the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe)...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6364663.stm.
Business Calls for Carbon Targets
An international grouping of corporate leaders has called on governments to take more action on climate change. The Global Roundtable on Climate Change, which includes more than 80 big companies, says politicians need to agree new targets for carbon emissions...
While many business groups have called for political action on climate over the last few years, not all have sought binding targets on emissions. Some have argued that voluntary actions are a better route...
But the Global Roundtable, which includes companies such as Air France, the aluminium giant Alcoa, re-insurers Swiss Re and Munich Re as well as energy companies Electricite de France and Centrica, is unequivocal in saying that politicians need to reach a new binding deal beyond the current Kyoto Protocol targets which expire in 2012.
"The world's governments should set scientifically informed targets, including an ambitious but achievable interim, mid-century target for global CO2 concentrations, for 'stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system'," the group says.
This wording mirrors the phraseology of the United Nations climate convention exactly.
And in language drawn from the Kyoto Protocol, which cuts through the Bush Administration's often-stated contention that China and India need to adopt emissions targets, the statement continues: "Commitments for actions by individual countries should reflect differences in levels of economic development and GHG emission patterns and the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities."
The statement was issued a few hours after European environment ministers agreed in principle to cut emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020.
Progress towards a new round of global targets, and a worldwide carbon market, has stalled in recent years, partly because of lobbying by companies in the opposite ideological corner to the Global Roundtable.
Please read the entire artice athttp://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6380463.stm.
EU Reaches Deal on Emissions Cuts
EU environment ministers have agreed in principle to cut greenhouse emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020. The ministers, meeting in Brussels, also agreed to seek a 30% cut worldwide if matched by other developed nations.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/6377983.stm.
Australia Pulls Plug on Old Bulbs
Australia has announced plans to ban incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. The environment minister said the move could cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tonnes by 2012.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6378161.stm.
Kommentar: Klimaschutz ist machbar, Menschenschutz auch
Von Ulrich Machold
Man muss jetzt keine Katastrophen heraufbeschwören. Man muss sich in die Zahlenkolonnen und Szenarienkarten des Berichts, den die UN-Unterorganisation IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) am Freitag vorlegt hat, auch gar nicht sonderlich vertiefen, nicht von Wirbelstürmen und Sturmfluten unken. Eigentlich geht es nur darum, eine einzige Sache zu verstehen: Der Mensch verändert das Weltklima. Er tut es zunehmend, zu seinem eigenen Schaden...
Trotzdem fehlt in der Debatte ein entscheidender Aspekt: Der Planet hat einen langen Bremsweg. Zwischen 30 und 50 Jahre dauert es, bis sich Veränderungen des menschlichen Verhaltens in der Atmosphäre niederschlagen. Was wir jetzt erleben, haben unsere Väter und Großväter angerichtet. Was wir jetzt tun, hilft frühestens unseren Kindern. Der Klimawandel kommt, aber kaum jemand bereitet sich vor.
Wo sind die Pläne dafür, was mit Bremen geschieht, wenn der Pegel der Nordsee steigt? Was macht man mit Atomkraftwerken, wenn die Flüsse, aus denen sie ihr Kühlwasser beziehen, aufgrund des bis 2100 erwarteten Anstiegs der Durchschnittstemperatur um mehr als vier Grad im Sommer kaum noch Wasser führen? Was passiert mit Schleusen und Wasserstraßen? Was ist mit den Entwicklungsländern? In Bangladesch ist eine der Hauptursachen der jährlichen Überschwemmungen, dass es oft keine Abwassersysteme gibt, die in der Regenzeit die Wassermassen aufnehmen können. Plant jemand für den Fall, dass sich dort die Niederschläge noch gewaltig erhöhen?
Auf all diese Fragen gibt es keine Antworten, zumindest keine öffentlich diskutierten. Aber es muss sie geben. Der Klimawandel ist nicht nur ein Problem der fernen Zukunft. Und hier sind auch Katastrophenszenarien angebracht. Tritt ein, was der IPCC-Bericht vorhersagt, sind Rostock und Kiel in 100 Jahren unbewohnbar. Lagos, die größte Stadt Nigerias, wird im Meer versinken. Vieles davon könnte man verhindern, durch Dämme oder andere ganz profane Vorkehrungen. Aber dazu müsste man jetzt anfangen.
Artikel erschienen am 04.02.2007
Lesen Sie den ganzen Artikel auf http://www.welt.de/data/2007/02/04/1200064.html.
Blame for Warming Pinned on Man
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Paris
Climatic changes seen around the world are "very likely" to have a human cause, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded. By "very likely", the IPCC means greater than 90% probability. The scientific body, in a report released in Paris today, forecasts temperatures will probably rise by between 1.8-4C (3.2-7.2F) by 2100. But another study released on the eve of publication suggests its previous reports may have been too conservative...
Please read the entire articl3e at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6321351.stm.
China Admits to Climate Failings
China is failing to make progress on improving and protecting the environment, according to a new Chinese government report. The research ranks China among the world's worst nations - a position unchanged since 2004. After the US, China produces the most greenhouse gases in the world. The Chinese report, prepared by academics and government experts, ranked the country 100th out of 118 countries surveyed. Some 30 indicators were used to measure the level of "ecological modernisation" including carbon dioxide emissions, sewage disposal rates and the safety of drinking water...
Please read the entgire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6306881.stm.
Energy Roadmap Backs Renewables
Half of the world's energy needs in 2050 could be met by renewables and improved efficiency, a study claims.
It said alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, could provide nearly 70% of the world's electricity and 65% of global heat demand.
Following a "business as usual" scenario would see demand for energy double by 2050, the authors warned.
The study, by the German Aerospace Center, was commissioned by Greenpeace and Europe's Renewable Energy Council.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6298467.stm.
Climate Resets 'Doomsday Clock'
By Molly Bentley
Experts have added climate change as a great threat
Experts assessing the dangers posed to civilisation have added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind.
As a result, the group has moved the minute hand on its famous "Doomsday Clock" two minutes closer to midnight. The concept timepiece, devised by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, now stands at five minutes to the hour. The clock was first featured by the magazine 60 years ago, shortly after the US dropped its A-bombs on Japan. Not since the darkest days of the Cold War has the Bulletin, which covers global security issues, felt the need to place the minute hand so close to midnight.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6270871.stm.
Stern Upbeat Over Climate Action
Economist Sir Nicholas Stern has told MPs he is encouraged by the progress being made around the world to tackle climate change.
India and China had to be persuaded to do more but the scientific arguments were gaining ground in the US...
He told the Commons environmental audit committee it did not matter "whether you are optimistic or pessimistic" about climate change, the "crucial thing" was to have the right policies in place....
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UN 'Should Take Lead on Climate'
By Laura Trevelyan
BBC News, UN, New York
The top UN official on climate change says the failure of world leaders to agree on global warming means it is time for the UN to take the lead. Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Secretariat, wants a summit of world leaders to talk about what happens when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Despite rising sea levels, there is no agreement on how to deal with global warming's long-term threat. In fact, Mr de Boer says, the process is getting more and more stuck...
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Partial Recovery for Iraq Marshes
About half of the marshlands area of Iraq has been restored to its 1970s condition, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep). UN officials and Iraqi ministers told a seminar in Japan that drinking water supplies for the local population had improved, but remained a concern. The area is believed by some to be the site of the Biblical "Garden of Eden". Large areas were drained in the 1990s to punish the Marsh Arabs for rebelling against former leader Saddam Hussein. By 2001, only one-tenth of the marshlands remained intact. Unep has been leading a project to restore the network of watercourses which provided inhabitants with water for drinking and farming, and supported the region's unique ecology.
"Working with Iraqi institutions and local communities, Unep is now providing safe drinking water to up to 22,000 people in six pilot communities by common distribution taps," said Dr Chizuru Aoki, Unep's Iraq project coordinator. The agency has trained about 300 residents in marshland management.
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Plastics 'Poisoning World's Seas'
By Maggie Ayre
Producer, Costing The Earth
Microscopic particles of plastic could be poisoning the oceans, according to a British team of researchers. They report that small plastic pellets called "mermaids' tears", which are the result of industry and domestic waste, have spread across the world's seas. The scientists had previously found the debris on UK beaches and in European waters; now they have replicated the finding on four continents. Scientists are worried that these fragments can get into the food chain. Plastic rubbish, from drinks bottles and fishing nets to the ubiquitous carrier bag, ends up in the world's oceans. Sturdy and durable plastic does not bio-degrade, it only breaks down physically, and so persists in the environment for possibly hundreds of years.
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/6218698.stm.
Rainforest Gets Protected Status
Vast tracts of rainforest in Brazil are to get a new protected status. The segments of land in the northern Para state together cover 15 million hectares (57,915 sq miles), an area of land that is bigger than England. Thousands of wildlife species inhabit the pristine forest, including jaguars, anteaters and colourful macaws. Campaigners say the decision made by Para Governor Simao Jatene is one of the most important conservation initiatives of recent years. It will protect the land from the unsustainable logging and agriculture practices that have blighted many parts of the Amazon.
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UN Chief Issues Climate Warning
UN chief Kofi Annan has criticised a "frightening lack of leadership" in tackling global warming, at a major UN climate summit in Nairobi. Mr Annan told delegates the phenomenon was as grave a threat as conflict, poverty and the spread of weapons. He said sceptics were "out of step, out of arguments and out of time". Mr Annan announced a plan by six UN agencies to help Africa receive funds for clean development projects, such as renewable energy and forestry. The BBC News website's environment correspondent, Richard Black, says the full details of the scheme have still to emerge. But he says what did become clear was Mr Annan's scorn for climate sceptics - people who do not accept that emissions of greenhouse gasses are warming the planet's surface. Our correspondent says it was strong language for a UN secretary general, particularly when the most politically important adherents of the sceptical position hold power in the White House in Washington.
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Climate Insurance Urged for Poor
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Nairobi
The UN wants insurance companies to help protect the world's poor against the impacts of climate change. Insurance-based schemes could make money available to affected communities much faster than traditional aid, its climate meeting in Nairobi was told. A pilot project in Ethiopia earlier this year insured 62,000 rural families against drought. Computer models of climate change suggest droughts and floods will become more common across Africa. Current extreme weather events on the continent affect most severely the livelihoods of people with no access to conventional insurance. "Every year, the World Bank donates millions in order to repair events and to repair disasters; and we need a step change in the way we manage relief for poorer parts of the world," said Thomas Loster of the Munich Re Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation linked to the re-insurance giant. "Through public-private partnerships that match seed money from public sources with the skills of the private sector, I believe we can do this by realising new kinds of risk cover across large parts of the developing world."
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Rain Capture Answer to Water Woe
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Nairobi
Rainwater harvesting could prove a cheap, easy solution to Africa's water woes, according to a UN report. Scientists found enough rain falls in some countries to supply six or seven times the current need, and provide security against future droughts. A pilot project in a Kenyan Maasai community has improved supplies and done away with the daily trek to collect river water. Currently, 14 out of 53 nations are classified as "water stressed". This number is forecast to double by 2025. The UN Environment Programme (Unep) says that a cultural change is needed across the continent. "The biggest problem is awareness," said Elizabeth Khaka of Unep. "Many people think of rainwater harvesting as a 'poor person's technology'," she told the BBC News website, "and we have to change that." Last week, the Kenyan government announced plans to make all new buildings include capacity for rainwater collection and storage.
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Global Climate Efforts 'Woeful'
Efforts to help developing nations adapt to the impacts of climate change have been called "woefully inadequate" by a UN-commissioned report. Rich countries have focused on ways to reduce carbon emissions but have largely ignored helping poor nations cope with the consequences, it says. The findings appear in the UNDP's Human Development Report 2006.
The authors say farmers whose crops are reliant on rainfall are already having to cope with unpredictable weather. The report, called Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis, says climate change "now poses what may be an unparalleled threat to human development".
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Ivory Coast Toxic Waste in France
A ship carrying some 3,000 metric tons of toxic waste has arrived in the French port of Le Havre from the main Ivory Coast city, Abidjan. The waste, which is to be neutralised, was dumped in Ivory Coast in August, and has been blamed for causing the deaths of 10 people there. In addition, more than 60 people were taken to hospital and up to 100,000 had vomiting and breathing problems. Ivory Coast has begun an inquiry into the waste, shipped by a Dutch firm. The ship, the MN Toucan, arrived in Le Havre after a 10-day journey from Abidjan with 141 sealed containers on board. France's Ecology Minister Nelly Olin said Ivory Coast had asked for French help because it "was not able to treat" the waste. Further waste shipments between Ivory Coast and France are expected.
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The Birth of a Quieter, Greener Plane
By Tim Bowler
Business reporter, BBC World Service
More and more of us fly every year. As we do so, the political pressure to act to curb greenhouse gas emissions from planes is rising. Now a team of researchers in Britain and the US has come up with a revolutionary new aircraft design that could make a dramatic contribution to curbing climate change. The SAX-40, which has been developed by the Cambridge-MIT Institute, is a radically different shape of aircraft. Officially, it is what is known as a "blended wing". It has a tailless wedge-shaped body with two bat-wings. The Silent Aircraft Initiative (SAI) team has succeeded in coming up with a radically quieter plane. Crucially, the SAX-40 is also 35% more fuel-efficient than any airliner currently flying.
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Africa Focus for Climate Summit
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
United Nations negotiations on climate change have opened in Nairobi, with the focus expected to be on helping poorer countries adapt to a changing climate. A UN report released on the eve of the talks forecast dire climate impacts on parts of Africa. Yields of crops will fall, it said, while rising seas could engulf cities. This is the 12th set of UN climate talks since the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, but data released last week shows greenhouse gas levels are still rising....
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Greenhouse Gases Hit Record High
The steady rise in atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gases blamed for climate change shows no signs of abating, a UN agency has announced. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide rose by about half a percent in 2005, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said. It said levels were likely to keep rising unless emissions of CO2, methane and nitrogen oxides were slashed. The announcement comes on the eve of UN climate negotiations in Nairobi. "There is no sign that N2O (nitrous oxide) and CO2 are starting to level off," Geir Braathen, a senior scientist at the WMO, told reporters.
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'Only 50 Years Left' for Sea Fish
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study. Stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Writing in the journal Science, the international team of researchers says fishery decline is closely tied to a broader loss of marine biodiversity. But a greater use of protected areas could safeguard existing stocks.
"The way we use the oceans is that we hope and assume there will always be another species to exploit after we've completely gone through the last one," said research leader Boris Worm, from Dalhousie University in Canada.
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World 'Lacks Will' on Disasters
There is a global lack of political will on preparing for natural disasters, according to a report by British MPs.
The International Development Committee says donors are unwilling to fund preventative and protective measures. It urges the UK to lobby international partners to spend more on prevention. And it says the government's aim of spending 10% of disaster response funds on preventing future damage should be extended to all humanitarian budgets. The report says two-thirds of natural disasters relate to climatic changes. Lives saved through risk reduction are invisible to the media, whereas people pulled from the rubble are highly visible.
But, the committee says, there is a reluctance at international level to link disasters with the changing climate. "More and more people are being afflicted by natural disasters and the impact of climate change will increase the number of disasters exponentially," said committee chair Malcolm Bruce. "Yet political decision-makers are failing to make responsible preparations."
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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rising
The UN has released new data showing an upward trend in emission of greenhouse gases, and called for urgent action from rich countries. The data showed a 2.4% total increase in emissions across 41 industrialised countries between 2000 and 2004. Britain, France and Germany were "relatively close" to achieving Kyoto Protocol targets, the UN said. The US remained the world's biggest greenhouse gas polluter - its emissions increased 15.4% between 1990 and 2004. Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries agreed in 1997 to cut emissions of the gases blamed for human-induced climate change to 5% below 1990 levels.
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World 'Failing on Hunger Pledges'
Little progress has been made in tackling world hunger despite pledges by leaders to halve the number who are underfed, the UN's food agency says. Some 820m people in the developing world were hungry in 2001-2003, only 3m fewer than 1990-1992, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said. Although the overall proportion of hungry people in the world has fallen, that is only down to population growth. FAO head Jacques Diouf said the "sad reality" was that little had been done.
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Climate Change Fight 'Can't Wait'
The world cannot afford to wait before tackling climate change, the UK prime minister has warned. A report by economist Sir Nicholas Stern suggests that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%. But taking action now would cost just 1% of global gross domestic product, the 700-page study says. Tony Blair said the Stern Review showed that scientific evidence of global warming was "overwhelming" and its consequences "disastrous"
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Climate Change 'Brings Huge Cost'
Climate change could cut global growth by a fifth, costing up to £3.68 trillion in total, unless drastic action is taken, a review is to warn. But taking action now would cost just 1% of global gross domestic product, economist Sir Nicholas Stern says. Without action up to 200 million people could become refugees as their homes are hit by drought or flood, he adds. Chancellor Gordon Brown is to promise the UK will lead the international response to tackle climate change. Mr Brown is to say of the government-commissioned report: "The truth is, we must tackle climate change internationally, or we will not tackle it at all." The Stern Review, which is published on Monday, will say the key to solving the crisis is getting the big polluting countries, such as the US and China, to cut their emissions. Sir Nicholas will say the polluters must be made to "pay the price" for the problems they are causing the planet.
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Climate Change 'Hitting Africa'
Climate change is already affecting people across Africa and will wipe out efforts to tackle poverty there unless urgent action is taken, a report says. Droughts are getting worse and climate uncertainty is growing, the research from a coalition of UK aid agencies and environmental groups says. Climate change is an "unprecedented" threat to food security, it says. It calls for a "climate-proof" model of development and massive emissions cuts to avoid "possibly cataclysmic change". The report, Up In Smoke 2, updates previous research from the organisations - Oxfam, the New Economics Foundation and the Working Group on Climate Change and Development, an umbrella group of aid and green groups.
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Most Car Brands 'Failing on CO2'
Three-quarters of Europe's car brands are failing to improve fuel efficiency fast enough to meet a key European emissions target, a study has claimed. The top performer on fuel efficiency was Fiat; while Nissan came bottom of the table. The report is the first to show the progress of individual European car brands on meeting the commitment to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
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Australia Plans Major Solar Plant
Australia is to build one of the world's biggest solar power plants as part of a major new strategy by the government to combat climate change. Canberra said it would be contributing A$75m (US$57m) to the A$420m plant due to be built in the state of Victoria. The government also announced A$50m in funding towards a major project to reduce carbon emissions from coal. Australia, a leading exporter in coal - has been criticised for failing to sign the Kyoto Protocol. The government had argued that the 1997 agreement on greenhouse gas emissions would damage the domestic economy. But the country has been forced to confront the issue of climate change with a prolonged drought - the worst in a century - that is destroying the livelihoods of thousands of farmers.
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Global Ecosystems 'Face Collapse'
Current global consumption levels could result in a large-scale ecosystem collapse by the middle of the century, environmental group WWF has warned. The group's biannual Living Planet Report said the natural world was being degraded "at a rate unprecedented in human history". Terrestrial species had declined by 31% between 1970-2003, the findings showed.
It warned that if demand continued at the current rate, two planets would be needed to meet global demand by 2050. The biodiversity loss was a result of resources being consumed faster than the planet could replace them, the authors said. They added that if the world's population shared the UK's lifestyle, three planets would be needed to support their needs.
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Planet Enters 'Ecological Debt'
Rising consumption of natural resources means that humans began "eating the planet" on 9 October, a study suggests. The date symbolised the day of the year when people's demands exceeded the Earth's ability to supply resources and absorb the demands placed upon it.
The figures' authors said the world first "ecological debt day" fell on 19 December 1987, but economic growth had seen it fall earlier each year. The data was produced by a US-based think-tank, Global Footprint Network. The New Economics Foundation (Nef), a UK think-tank that helped compile the report, had published a study that said Britain's "ecological debt day" in 2006 fell on 16 April. The authors said this year's global ecological debt day meant that it would take the Earth 15 months to regenerate what was consumed this year. "By living so far beyond our environmental means and running up ecological debts means we make two mistakes," said Andrew Simms, Nef's policy director. "First, we deny millions globally who already lack access to sufficient land, food and clean water the chance to meet their needs. Secondly, we put the planet's life support mechanisms in peril," he added.
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Climate Inaction 'Has High Cost'
The world must act now to curb climate change, as doing nothing will cost more long-term, UK officials have said. British government official and former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern said pursuing alternative energy made economic and environmental sense.
He was addressing a closed-door meeting in Mexico of representatives of 20 of the world's most-polluting nations.
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Rich Nations Have 'Climate Duty'
By Roger Harrabin
Environment analyst, BBC News
Rich nations must do far more to help poor countries cope with the consequences of climate change, an influential report is expected to say. The review will also say emissions need to be cut now, the BBC has learned. The author, former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern, argues it will be cheaper to act now rather than try to deal with the problem later.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5343208.stm.
Global Vision Corporation
Global Vision Corporation is an independent non-profit Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) accredited to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), a network of fifty-three Governments and over 700 NGOs collaborating to implement Agenda 21, the international action plan for the sustainable development of our planet which was agreed by 185 nations at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Anti-logging activist wins award
A campaigner who risked his own safety to expose illegal logging operations in Liberia has been recognised with a prestigious environmental award. Silas Siakor, 36, has won a Goldman Environmental Prize for his efforts, which resulted in the UN banning the export of Liberian timber. The awards are described as "the Nobel Prize for grassroots environmentalism". Mr Siakor and five other winners will receive their awards on Monday at a presentation ceremony in San Francisco. Working for the Liberian environmental group Save My Future Foundation (Samfu), Mr Siakor revealed in 2002 that President Charles Taylor's regime was selling off the nation's forests to timber companies. It is understood that warring factions in the region turned to logging after the trade in so-called "blood diamonds" became subject to UN sanctions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), illegal logging during the 14 years of civil war had reduced the nation's forest cover by almost one fifth...
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The Earth is likely to experience a temperature rise of at least 3C
Professor Sir David King warned this would happen because world governments were failing to agree on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases. He told the BBC that nations had to act now to tackle the warming expected to happen over the next 100 years. And he said even if a global agreement could be reached on limiting emissions, climate change was inevitable. The UK government and the EU want to try to stabilise the climate at an increase of no more than 2C, but the US refuses to cut emissions and those of India and China are rising quickly. A recent report called Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, produced by the Hadley Centre, one of the top world centres for projecting future climate, modelled the likely effects of a 3C rise. It warned the situation could wreck half the world's wildlife reserves, destroy major forest systems, and put 400 million more people at risk of hunger. Professor King told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "We don't have to succumb to a state of despondency where we say that there is nothing we can do so let's just carry on living as per usual. "It is very important to understand that we can manage the risks to our population.
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Agreements, technology and theory can reduce climate change
In CAS Newsletter no. 2 October 2005 13th year, side 4-5
Changes in the global climate will probably continue for many decades yet even if we should manage to control emissions of greenhouse gases. The environmental economist Michael Hoel does however believe that climate change can be moderated but in order for that to happen we need stronger international agreements and new technology as well as economic theory and economic models.
Please read the entire article at http://www.cas.uio.no/Publications/Info05no2/screen.pdf.
Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
Wallace S. Broecker, Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences (LDEO) at Columbia University, writes, "As I sometimes tell my students, the folks in the back room who designed our planet were pretty clever. We have clear evidence that different parts of the earth's climate system are linked in very subtle yet dramatic ways. The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth's climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change."
The Earth Institute, Columbia University
Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015. Sachs is internationally renowned for advising governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa on economic reforms and for his work with international agencies to promote poverty reduction, disease control, and debt reduction of poor countries. He was recently named among the 100 most influential leaders in the world by Time Magazine. He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books. Sachs was recently elected into the Institute of Medicine and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining Columbia, Sachs spent over twenty years at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University.
Earth & Peace Education Associates International (EPE)
Founded in 1992, Earth & Peace Education Associates International (EPE) consists of a global network of educators, who aim to promote the recognition of the reciprocal relationship between ecological degradation and the violation of human rights on a local, national, and global level. Contextual sustainability, the organizing principle underlying EPE’s educational approach, defines this relationship. It assumes that the Earth is the primary context and essential foundation of all social activity and that ecological sustainability is key to achieving a culture of peace. Reciprocally, respect for human rights characterizes the social context essential to ecological sustainability. EPE’s educational activities facilitate the development of an integrated and value-based perspective on issues related to the achievement of a culture of social and ecological peace.