Global Warming, Climate, Air Pollution

Global Warming     "Today, for every one of the more than 5.8 billion people on Earth nearly six tons of carbon dioxide are spewed into the air annually. As a result of our activities, the atmospheric concentration of this heat-trapping gas has risen by more than 30 percent."     Environmental Defense Fund
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Impacts Overview
Global Warming
Methane
Air Pollution
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Too Much Nitrogen
Desertification
Food & Water Shortages
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Australia: Clean Future Starts Now.   Current trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable. Until last year, the International Energy Agency was in denial. The agency's conversion is the latest example of a new global attitude. It is dishonest to claim that our pollution reductions are comparable with those of Europe. Increasing population is not being forced on us but results from policies to boost immigration and encourage larger families. Countries such as Australia need to reduce greenhouse pollution by 25% to 40% to avoid dangerous climate change. Unpublished research shows methane is coming from the Arctic. This is a possible tipping point. Warming is releasing methane from tundra, possibly setting in train an unstoppable surge in temperature. Responses to the financial crisis need to be integrated with policies that take into account climate change, energy security, food and water. China has shown it is serious by closing 2300 small coal mines, improving energy efficiency by 7% and planning to expand solar and wind energy. We should join the energy revolution, rather than try to prop up old technologies. As a scientifically and technologically literate country, we must recognise that for Austrailia a green economy is vital.   December 31, 2009   Age 023575

Two Women Offer Guidelines for a Healthier Planet.   In a presentation by the Sierra Club, Quintana Roo resident and activist Karina de la Torre Garcia, and environmental author/editor Laurie Mazur, a mesaage about the ecological threats in the world's future was delivered. Playa del Carmen, in Quintana Roo, a state in Mexico, was a fishing village that was a tropical paradise for tourists, with its pearl-like beaches and blue water. Hotels, restaurants, and bars began appearing along the beach, and the village grew to a city of more than 100,000. Mangrove forests were cut down, destabilizing the coastline. The garbage dump grew huge. With garbage burning, the fumes raised the incidence of cancer. Sewage went right into the ocean. Tourists began complaining that the beach was dirty and the ocean water was polluted. In addition to the growing tourist population, the native Maya were also multiplying. "In these areas," de la Torre said, "people believe they must have all the children God sends them." The church advises sexual abstinence, but the tourists display sexual behavior that is copied by the local adolescents. If boys know about condoms, they can go to the pharmacy, but if they buy a package of condoms, everyone in town will know their secret. De la Torre works with a group active in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, called Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program, nicknamed GOJoven. In addition to providing basic information to young people, it also provides leadership training so they can reach more people. De la Torre believes this program can "help young people realize they can control their own lives." She has brought a close-up example of the consequences of ecological problems brought to the boiling point by expanding population and its demands on limited resources. Laurie Mazur, on the other hand, takes a global perspective. She has just written a new book, " Pivotal Moment, Population, Justice & the Environmental Challenge." World population was just 1.65 billion in 1900, but by 2000 the count had risen by 4.41 billion to a total of 6.06 billion. Mid-century population projections range from 8 billion to 11 billion. This is because a large percent of world population today is 25 or younger - the top child-bearing years. An increased population will double the amount of CO2 and create a grim future for all people. People living with marginal conditions are more likely to do things like destroy forests in order to maintain their existence, while richer countries with higher consumption are likely to add more than their share of carbon into the atmosphere. Mazur cited claims that we have only six years to change our carbon footprints or else it will be too late to save the planet. Slowing population growth is part of the answer. We know everything we need to know to slow population growth, Mazur said. We need to educate people about the means and making sure all people have the means and the power to make their own decisions about childbearing. Mazur advocates universal access to family planning. The costs of these programs are very small compared to the size of bonuses given to officers of failed banks or the cost of prosecuting a day of war in Afghanistan.   October 22, 2009   El Hispanic News (Portland, Oregon, USA) 024216

Carbon Emissions: Trend Improves, but ....   Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute said that the falling global economy may be good for the environment. U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, have dropped 9% since 2007. Much of the material in this article is from his new book - Plan B 4.0 (W.W. Norton: New York, released Oct. 5). Americans are buying/keeping fewer cars. In the latter 1990s, automakers sold more than 15 million cars a year. From 1999-2008 it was 17 million a year. In 2009 sales slumped to a measly 10 million and 14 million are expected to be scrapped. New cars tend to have a smaller carbon footprint than those now being scrapped. Super-efficient electric and plug-in hybrids are due in about a year. A new White House policy says new U.S. cars must get an average 35.5 mpg. As steel is being been replaced with lighter-weight structural materials, the weight of U.S. cars has been diminishing. The amount of steel in the cars being retired is at least 40% larger than in the new cars being sold. It requires only about one-third as much energy to reuse steel than to produce it from scratch, contributing fewer carbon emissions to the atmosphere. U.S. oil consumption has already fallen 5% last year and another 5% this year, due to the smaller, lighter U.S. fleet and recent reductions in annual driving distances per household. Because communities have been rebelling at the idea of a new soot-belching generating station being sited in their backyards, coal use fell 1% last year and another 10% this year. Most of these trends reflect America's sour economy, but some of these trends might continue, according to Brown. Many utilities are investing in renewable energy sources for an increasing share of their electricity generation and many companies are choosing to make their production processes less carbon intensive and polluting. The worst is yet to come. White House science adviser John Holdren noted that the best available data from Earth and atmospheric scientists indicate that to prevent wholesale havoc as the planet warms, "global emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants should level off by about 2020 and shrink thereafter to something like 50% of the current levels by 2050. Brown argues that what Holdren outlined constitutes an anemic goal. Earth is already running a small fever, and to prevent it getting dangerously higher, nations "need to cut net carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2020." If carbon emissions dropped only 10% - despite the help of the worst economy since the Big Depression - how is the world going to average changes eight times that big over the next decade? "Turning this situation around will take a worldwide, wartime-like mobilization."   October 15, 2009   Science News 024196

Global Surface Temperature was Second Warmest for September.   Based on records going back to 1880, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the second warmest September on record, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. In 2005, the land surface temperature was the warmest on record. The global ocean surface temperature was tied for the fifth warmest on record for September. * The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.12 degrees F above the 20th century average of 59.0 degrees F. * Warmer-than-average temperatures engulfed most of the world's land areas during the month, with the greatest warmth occurring across Canada and the northern and western contiguous United States. * The near-Antarctic southern ocean and the Gulf of Alaska featured notable cooler-than-average temperatures. * Arctic sea ice coverage was the third lowest for any September since records began in 1979, 23.8% below the 1979-2000 average, and the 13th consecutive September with below-average Arctic sea ice extent. * Typhoon Ketsana, in September, became 2009's second-deadliest tropical cyclone so far, claiming nearly 500 lives across the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. 80% of Manila was left submerged.   October 15, 2009   NOAA News 024197

Arctic Now Traps 25 Percent of World's Carbon -- but That Could Change.   The arctic is a carbon sink, now trapping or absorbing up to 25% of global atmospheric carbon dioxide, but the rapid rate of climate change in the Arctic - about twice that of lower latitudes - could eliminate the sink and instead, possibly make the Arctic a source of carbon dioxide, according to a review paper from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. On average the Arctic accounts for 10-15% of the Earth's carbon sink. Carbon generally enters the oceans and land masses of the Arctic from the atmosphere and largely accumulates in permafrost, the frozen layer of soil underneath the land's surface. Unlike active soils, permafrost does not decompose its carbon; thus, the carbon becomes trapped in the frozen soil. Cold conditions at the surface have also slowed the rate of organic matter decomposition, allowing Arctic carbon accumulation to exceed its release. The permafrost has begun to thaw, exposing previously frozen soil to decomposition and erosion. The thawing permafrost could also result in a more waterlogged Arctic, which may encourage the activity of methane-producing organisms. Currently, the Arctic releases as much as 50 million metric tons of methane to the atmosphere per year. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas - about 23 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide on a 100-year time scale. If the release of Arctic methane accelerates, global warming could increase at much faster rates. Global warming may produce longer growing seasons that promote plant photosynthesis, which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Also, the expansion of shrubs in tundra and the movement of treeline northward could sequester more carbon in vegetation. However, increasingly dry conditions may counteract and overcome these effects. Similarly, dry conditions can lead to increased fire prevalence, releasing even more carbon.   October 14, 2009   USGS 024202

Developing World Population Controls Won't Save Climate, Study Claims.   A study by David Satterthwaite, of the International Institute for Environment and Development, claims the population explosion in poor countries will contribute little to climate change and is a dangerous distraction from the main problem of over-consumption in rich nations. It challenges claims by leading environmentalists that strict birth control is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In September Optimum Population Trust called for population restraint policies to be adopted by every world state to combat climate change. [On the contrary, OPT advocates meeting all 'unmet need' for family planning, defined as the number of women who wish to delay or terminate childbearing but who are not using contraception. ... see link above.] The call was endorsed by Sir David Attenborough, James Lovelock and Jonathon Porritt. Since poor countries have such low emissions, spending billions of pounds of aid on contraception in the developing world will not benefit the climate. The study analyzed changes in population and greenhouse gas emissions between 1980 and 2005. Sub-Saharan Africa had 18.5% of the world's population growth and only 2.4% of carbon emissions growth. In the U.S., it was 3.4% and 12.6%. China had a sharp decline in population growth but its CO2 emissions had risen 44.5%. "A child born into a very poor African household who during their life never escapes from poverty contributes very little to climate change, especially if they die young, as many do. A child born into a wealthy household in North America or Europe and who enjoys a full life and a high-consumption lifestyle contributes far more - thousands or even tens of thousands of times more." The world's population has risen from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 6.8 billion. It is growing by 75 million a year and is almost certain to exceed 9 billion by 2050. Nine of the ten countries with the highest predicted growth rates up to 2050 are in Africa. Uganda's population is expected to treble from 33 million to 91 million. A study by the Princeton Environmental Institute found that the world's richest half billion people accounted for 7% of the world's population but 50% of emissions.   Karen Gaia says: the author has blinders on: if China had not practiced birth control, it still would become more urbanized and industrialized, thus emitting more carbon. Even Africa is becoming urbanized. One only has to visit Egypt to see the congestion and air pollution there, to see the future of Africa's emissions. As people overcrowd the countryside, they move to the city. The author also ignores India, whose rising middle class is demanding cars. If there had not been a population explosion there, there would not be such a growing middle class. Does the author take into account the deforestation going on in Africa and the trend towards using charcoal for cooking? This study proves nothing.   September 29, 2009   The Times 024183

US Oregon: Emission Goals Prove Elusive; as Population Grows, Caps on Greenhouse Gases Look Hard to Reach.   In Tualatin Oregon, the nation's first highway solar project has operated since 2008, but it may not be enough to meet future demand, due to population growth. While the state of Oregon and the city of Portland have goals to reduce emissions believed to cause global warming, Portland General Electric says it needs to increase greenhouse gas emissions from its power plants to meet customer demand for additional energy during the next 20 years. Environmentalists complain that PGE and the council are not trying hard enough to fight global warming, but the projections are consistent with what governments and utilities have experienced as theyve tried to reduce greenhouse gases. Portland was supposed to reduce emissions 10% below 1990 levels by 2010. Emissions have fallen approximately 17% per capita since 2001, but due to population growth, the net reduction is likely to be 1 to 3% below 1990 levels and some of that will be the result of the recession that curtailed driving, construction and employment. Japan ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, promising to cut its emissions by 6% below 1990 levels. But Japans emissions are at a 16% above its reduction goals. In its Draft Integrated Resource Plan, PGE predicted that population and job growth will increase electricity demand within its service district by 2.3% a year or 20% by 2020. Some of the increases can be met by conservation, energy efficiency and new renewable energy resources, including wind and solar power. To meet demand on peak days, PGE must increase its share of the power produced by the coal-burning plant in Boardman and build two new natural gas-powered plants. The Sierra Club denounced the draft, but PGE must have reliable power sources to meet peak demands. The population in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana is predicted to increase around 1% a year, driving up energy demand. The draft estimates that conservation measures can meet only 85% of future demand growth. The 2007 Legislature approved emission reduction goals 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 75% below 1990 levels by 2050. But the 2009 Legislature did not approve a cap-and-trade policy to help meet those goals. The Portland City Council and Multnomah County commissioners want to cut emissions in the county 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. As currently written, it predicts that in the future, conservation and energy efficiency measures can more than overcome the effects of population growth.   September 17, 2009   Portland Tribune 024158

Contraception Cheapest Way to Combat Climate Change.   The London School of Economics has determined that contraception is almost five times cheaper as a means of preventing climate change than conventional green technologies. Over the next four decades, £19 would have to be spent on low-carbon technologies to achieve the same result as spending £4 on family planning. 34 gigatons (billion tonnes) of CO2 - equivalent to nearly 6 times the annual emissions of the US and almost 60 times the UK's annual total - would be saved if basic family planning needs were met. Roger Martin of the Optimum Population Trust said: "the carbon tonnage can't shoot down as we want, while the population keeps shooting up." UN data suggests that meeting unmet need for family planning would reduce unintended births by 72%, reducing projected world population in 2050 by half a billion to 8.64 million. The British government's climate change advisers warned that a planned 80% reduction in emissions are likely to prove insufficient.   September 09, 2009   Telegraph 024153

Global: Climate Will Hit Women Hard .   In Africa, poor women farmers will likely be the hardest hit by climate change because of their economic and social inequality, leading to poverty and greater dependence on the state, according to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A study of disasters in 141 countries found that women and children were 14 times more likely to die than men during a disaster. Rural women produce more than half of all the food that is grown - up to 80% in Africa, 60% in Asia, and 30%-40% in Latin and North America, according to the Women's World Summit Foundation. In South Africa, not enough is being done by local government to help rural farmers, who are mainly women, to adapt to changing weather patterns and plant crops better suited to the climate, or to cope with increased rainfall or flooding. Climate change could mean women spending more time trying to meet their food and water needs for their families, reducing the quality of their lives. "Women can play a critical role in either hindering or promoting vital climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives relating to energy consumption, deforestation, burning of vegetation, population growth, development of scientific research and technologies and policy making." Productivity is also expected to drop 20%-50% during a new el Niño weather event, which forecasters say is likely to bring below-average rainfall from October to March.   August 20, 2009   Business Day (South Africa) 024130

U.S.: Droughts 'May Lay Waste' to Parts of US.   Climate scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science warned the US Congress of droughts that could reduce the American south-west to a wasteland and heatwaves that could make life impossible even in northern cities. The melting snow pack could lead to severe drought from California to Oklahoma. Sacramento in California could face heatwaves for up to 100 days a year. In the midwest, diminishing rains and shrinking rivers are lowering water levels in the Great Lakes, even to the extent where it could affect shipping. There is growing evidence that the impact of climate change will be far more severe than revealed even in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 report. In the same year, the Bush administration censored testimony from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the rise in asthma and other respiratory illnesses, as well as the increasing occurrence of "tropical" parasites. "If we don't do it people are going to die. They are going to get sick and they are going to die," said Barbara Boxer, who as chair of the Senate environment and public works committee is key to securing the passage of climate change legislation. She is opposed by climate change skeptic Senator James Inhofe.Some skeptics say our actions [to combat climate change] will be futile and Professor William Happer, a physicist at Princeton University, says "It's still not as warm as it was when the Vikings settled England."   Karen Gaia says: while we cannot be certain that our actions are leading to global warming, can we afford to be wrong. Besides, we have an energy shortage coming up, so we might as well conserve now before the consequences are forced upon us.   July 27, 2009   Guardian (London) 024098

U.S.: New, Highly Toxic Pesticide is Greenhouse Gas 4,780 Times More Potent Than CO2.   The Alaska Community Action on Toxics, the Center for Environmental Health, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, the Pesticide Action Network, and the Sierra Club recently asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny a request from Dow AgroSciences for a permit allowing it to release large amounts of sulfuryl fluoride onto 65 acres of test plots in farm fields in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California. The chemical is intended to sterilize soil in farm fields, but is a toxic pesticide "4,780 times as potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide", according to Pesticide Action Network. The permit would allow the release of 32,435 pounds. "A car that gets 30 miles per gallon would have to be driven 23 million miles - the distance of a trip circling the world over 930 times" - to cause as much global warming that the test would emit. Craig Segall of the Sierra Club said "We're asking EPA to nip this problem in the bud." Sulfuryl fluoride also poses significant human health and ecological risks, due to its high toxicity. The EPA needs to carefully reviewed the health risks for those exposed to the chemical or considered the impacts of the releases on endangered species and other wildlife.   Karen Gaia says: the more people there are to feed, the more we need to resort to drastic measures to feed them.   July 13, 2009   Center for Biological Diversity 024059

Chilean Glaciers Melting at Unprecedented Rates.   The latest research by NASA Scientists Chile's Valdivia-based Center of Scientific Studies (CECS) revealed that alpine glaciers in the Chilean and Argentine Andes are disappearing at much faster rates than previously anticipated by the scientific community. Masses of ice in the Patagonia are melting in larger proportions and in much higher alpine zones than in any other part of the world, including Alaska and the Himalayas. Glacier ice accounts for around 75% of the world's fresh water. The loss of ice mass in the higher zones is a new phenomenon, the scientists said. With ice thinning both high up and down low, loss in glacial mass in Patagonia is likely to be much greater than what has previously been calculated by scientists. Most of Chile's 3,500 identified glaciers have experienced significant losses in volume and surface area due to climate change and are in danger of disappearing altogether. Between 1995 and 2000, Patagonian glaciers made up 9% of the total glacier contribution to global sea levels. The Southern Patagonia Ice Field has the third largest concentration of continental ice, after Antarctica and Greenland. The higher temperatures associated with glacier meltdowns and climate change are largely caused by CO2 or 'greenhouse gas' emissions. Chile's failure to develop a sensible renewable energy policy has resulted in a green light to highly-polluting coal and diesel fuel energy production. State authorities confirm that the nation's CO2 emissions will quadruple in the next 20 year if no mitigating actions are taken.   June 23, 2009   Santiago Times 024032

Gaia Proponent Lovelock Says It's Time to Adapt to Inevitable Global Heating.   Jeffrey Sachs, economist with the Earth Institute, recently said that climate change cannot be averted without massive use of unproven carbon-capture and sequestration technology. British scientist James Lovelock says that efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions won't amount to much. "Our main task, should the earth continue to heat, is to adapt and learn how to survive," he said. "We're unlikely to become extinct by global heating, but we may be cut back to one billion people or less. The current population is around 6.8 billion. Lovelock is the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis that the Earth's physical and biological processes are self-regulating and sustaining, not sentient, but in some sense a cohesive "being." The hypothesis has been somewhat influential among biologists and ecologists. Recently, Lovelock's books - The Revenge of Gaia and The Vanishing Face of Gaia - have turned to 'global heating,' - 'warming' is too tame. He said nuclear and solar thermal power were the only sensible clean energy responses, and that the U.S. might learn from France about safe handling and disposal of nuclear waste. Lovelock likened the idea of injecting aerosols into the upper atmosphere to reflect solar heat away from the Earth Lovelock compared such approaches to dialysis for failing kidneys. "It will buy you time, but it's not a cure," he said. "Then again, if your kidneys fail, you never refuse dialysis."   June 16, 2009   Grist Magazine 024001

Gaia Proponent Lovelock Says It's Time to Adapt to Inevitable Global Heating.   Jeffrey Sachs, economist with the Earth Institute, recently said that climate change cannot be averted without massive use of unproven carbon-capture and sequestration technology. British scientist James Lovelock says that efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions won't amount to much. "Our main task, should the earth continue to heat, is to adapt and learn how to survive," he said. "We're unlikely to become extinct by global heating, but we may be cut back to one billion people or less. The current population is around 6.8 billion. Lovelock is the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis that the Earth's physical and biological processes are self-regulating and sustaining, not sentient, but in some sense a cohesive "being." The hypothesis has been somewhat influential among biologists and ecologists. Recently, Lovelock's books - The Revenge of Gaia and The Vanishing Face of Gaia - have turned to 'global heating,' - "warming" is too tame. He said nuclear and solar thermal power were the only sensible clean energy responses, and that the U.S. might learn from France about safe handling and disposal of nuclear waste. Lovelock likened the idea of injecting aerosols into the upper atmosphere to reflect solar heat away from the Earth Lovelock compared such approaches to dialysis for failing kidneys. �It will buy you time, but it�s not a cure,� he said. �Then again, if your kidneys fail, you never refuse dialysis.�   June 16, 2009   Grist Magazine 024002

Climate Change Forces New Migration Response.   Rising seas resulting from climate change will force millions of people to leave their homes in search of viable livelihoods and safety over the coming decades. Funds are needed to help migrants escape worsening natural disasters, threatening political stability, according to a report published by the U.N. University, CARE International and Columbia University. "Environmentally induced migration and displacement has the potential to become an unprecedented phenomenon -- both in terms of scale and scope." While the science of climate change impacts is not exact, the International Organisation for Migration estimates 200 million environmentally induced migrants by 2050. Especially vulnerable are island states such as Tuvalu and the Maldives, dry areas such as Africa's Sahel and in Mexico, and delta regions in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Egypt. "In the densely populated Ganges, Mekong, and Nile River deltas, a sea level rise of 1 metre could affect 23.5 million people and reduce the land currently under intensive agriculture by at least 1.5 million hectares." Sea levels could rise by at least a metre this century. Investment in irrigation would make farmers less dependent on rains. Tilling the soil less leaves a protective mulch, which preserves moisture. Those displaced will require resettlement. Currently, people who move because of gradually worsening living conditions are categorised as voluntary economic migrants and denied recognition of their special protection needs. U.N. talks to extend the Kyoto Protocol after 2012 are being held in Bonn, and they are struggling with rich-poor splits on how to share the cost.   June 10, 2009   Reuters 024047

M.I.T.doubles Its 2095 Warming Projection to 10 Degrees F..   One wonders how the Greenland ice sheet will survive accelerated disintegration from projected 20% warming by the 2090s. In January a report by over a dozen leading experts doubled their 2095 warming projection to 5.2 degrees C. The media mostly ignored it. Now, the MIT study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal - The American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, making it much more credible and high-profile. Reuters has a good story on it, "Global warming could be twice as bad as forecast." Substantial improvements have been made to the MIT Integrated Global System Model, used to make projections of climate change from 1861 to 2100. The new projections are considerably warmer than the 2003 projections, e.g., the median surface warming in 2091 to 2100 is 5.2C compared to 2.4C in the earlier study.   May 20, 2009   Grist Magazine 023961

How Do Recent Population Trends Matter to Climate Change?.   Demographic change is closely associated with greenhouse gas emissions, and that population dynamics will play a key role in attempts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of changes in the climate system in the future. according to the strong evidence that exists. By looking at only population size as the demographic variable in climate models, the contribution of "population" to climate change has been underestimated. Understanding fertility, population growth, urbanization, migration from environmentally depleted areas, household size and composition, and growing population density in marginal and vulnerable areas, is also crucial for the world to adapt to and cope with the adverse impacts of current and projected climate change. Climate change threatens to cause the greatest and widest ranging market failure ever seen, Sir Nicholas Stern warned in 2006. One percent of global GDP must be invested in order to mitigate climate change, and that failure to do so could risk a recession worth up to 20% of global GDP. Climate change poses a grave challenge for the whole world and has wide ranging implications for human well-being as well as for security, including the risk of armed conflict over resources and large-scale migrations of population within nations and across national borders. 150 million environmental refugees will exist in 2050, says the International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), due mainly to the effects of coastal flooding, shoreline erosion and agricultural disruption. Population policies and programs that promote universal access to voluntary contraception, when linked with broader efforts to address a range of demographic factors and meet development and poverty reduction objectives, such as the MDGs, particularly investments in family planning and reproductive health, girls education, economic opportunities and empowering of women, and in youth. These would help least developed and developing countries to speed up their demographic transition, enabling them to achieve demographic windows of opportunity which may contribute to economic growth and a greater capacity to cope with climate change impacts.   April 29, 2009   Population Action International 024240

Mother Nature's Dow.   Mother Nature doesn't tell us how she's feeling. But scientists have been warning that climate change is happening faster and will bring bigger changes quicker than we anticipated. The pace of global warming is likely to be faster than predicted, because industrial emissions have increased more quickly than expected and higher temperatures are triggering feedback in global ecosystems. The Program on the Science of Global Change updated its projection that with current carbon-dioxide emissions, average surface temperatures on Earth by 2100 will hit levels beyond anything humans have experienced. Ocean heat-uptake is slower than previously estimated, the ocean uptake of carbon is weaker, feedbacks from the land system as temperature rises are stronger, cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases over the century are higher, and offsetting cooling from aerosol emissions is lower. Not one of these effects is very strong on its own. Rather than interacting additively, these effects appear to interact multiplicatively, with feedbacks among the contributing factors, leading to the large increase in the chance of much higher temperatures. We have to change the economics to affect the Dow (stock market indicator) and the chemistry, biology and physics to affect Mother Nature. We need a climate bailout along with our economic bailout. There are five policies that can help us win the energy-climate battle. Energy-efficient building and appliance codes now save Californians $6 billion per year. Better vehicle fuel-efficiency standards: The European Union's fuel-efficiency fleet average for new cars now stands at 41 miles per gallon, and is rising steadily. We need a national renewable standard, mandating that power utilities produce 15 or 20% of their energy from renewables by 2020. Whenever utilities are required to purchase electricity from renewable sources, clean energy booms. Under decoupling, power utilities make money by helping homeowners save energy rather than by encouraging them to consume it. Finally we need a price on carbon. Polluting the atmosphere can't be free. Some of these have upfront costs, but all would foster innovation in new clean technologies that would stimulate the real Dow and much lower emissions.   March 28, 2009   New York Times* 023650

Africa's Fisheries Least Able to Adapt to Climate Change .   A report by the WorldFish Center says that African nations' fisheries will be hardest hit by climate change. The report identifies 33 countries whose economies are "highly vulnerable" to climate change because they rely heavily on fisheries to supply food and income. The report is designed to guide the World Bank, governments and nongovernmental organizations that might provide money to help such nations adapt to shifting weather patterns. In Africa, fish accounts for half of the animal protein consumed each day. Asian and South American countries rounded out the list, with the notable exception of Russia, which ranked third. Countries on the list have limited ability to bring in other industry or grow other sources of food protein if climate change harms their fisheries. "Fisherfolk" are first in line in terms of exposure to impending storms, rising sea levels, flood and droughts.   February 26, 2009   Earth Portal 024141

Climate Change Will Wipe Out Most Life on Earth by the End of This Century and Mankind is Too Late to Avert Catastrophe, a Leading British Climate Scientist Said .   James Lovelock, 89, whose theory is that the Earth is a kind of living organism, said higher temperatures will generate deserts and flooding. His theory foresees crop failures, drought and death on an unprecedented scale. The population could shrink from about seven billion to one billion by 2100 as people compete for resources. By 2040, temperatures in European cities will rise to an average of 110 Fahrenheit in summer. Attempts to cut emissions in an attempt to reduce the risks are probably doomed to failure, he says. It is now too late to cool the Earth. Recycling and energy sources such as wind and solar power are a waste of time, Lovelock adds, although he concedes that nuclear power will help meet the demand for energy. Efforts should be focused on creating safe havens to escape the worst effects of climate change. The destruction of ecosystems for farmland, deforestation and the rapid growth of the human race have exacerbated the problem, he added. Most of the Earth's surface is the ocean. And there is no question that the ocean is steadily warming. He says the scale and speed of the crisis are so great he must speak out. He is struck by the public's lack of urgency about the problem.   Karen Gaia says: does this mean that we can relax about having smaller families? Only if we can be sure that Prof. Lovelock is right.   February 25, 2009   Reuters 023616

Climate Change Even Worse Than Predicted.   A representative from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that, from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than reported last year. Only a year ago IPCC published a landmark report warning of rising sea levels, expanding deserts, more intense storms and the extinction of up to 30% of plant and animal species. Much of the increase is because China and India recently experienced a huge increase in electric power generation, most of it based on coal. The resulting higher temperatures could ignite tropical forests and thaw the Arctic tundra, potentially releasing billions of tons of carbon dioxide that has been stored for thousands of years, resulting in "a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control by the end of the century." An estimated 350 billion tons of carbon dioxide has been released through the burning of fossil fuels since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The Arctic's permafrost soils contains about 1,000 billion tons. And the Arctic is warming faster than any other part of the globe. The loss of tropical rainforests to wildfires, deforestation and other causes could increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 10 to 100 parts per million by the end of the century. The current level is about 380 parts per million. While rain forests are too wet to be flammable, but if they dry out just a little bit, the result can be very large and destructive wildfires. Also studies have also shown that global warming is reducing the ocean's ability to store carbon by altering wind patterns in the oceans surrounding Antarctica, like the Southern Ocean. The surface water is blown out of the way, allowing water with higher concentrations of CO2 to rise to the surface. This higher-CO2 water is closer to CO2-saturated, so it takes up less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere." "We now know that, without effective action, climate change is going to be larger and more difficult to deal with than we thought."   Karen Gaia says: we need to reduce our fossil fuel consumption immediately. At the same time, because it is unlikely that we can accomplish that goal, we need to continue our efforts at reducing population growth by making the means of family planning available and reducing early marriages and pregnancies.   February 14, 2009   Yahoo News 024221

Population, Consumption Key to Climate Solutions.   Global climate change results from multiple, factors. The "IPAT" formula explains this. The impact (I) on the environment is a function of the size of the population (P), multiplied by its level of consumption (A), multiplied by its technology (T). In the US, discussion about stabilizing the population often is interpreted as being anti-immigration or anti-life. Efforts to shift consumption are seen as undermining the American way of life. Few officials are willing to openly tackle the issues. No matter how much we improve our technologies, the combination of rising population and consumption will increase greenhouse gas emissions. Human consumption of natural resources now exceeds the Earth's capacity to replenish them by 30%. The past economic growth was built on financial and ecological debt. The 6.5 billion of us living today produce about 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. To stabilize climate, emissions must be reduced by at least 60% by mid-century. The more people we have, the smaller will be each person's future emissions allowance. Yet, solutions to the climate crisis never include population. With new thinking and smarter designs, we can construct and power our buildings, vehicles and products with half the inputs of raw material and energy while achieving equal or greater levels of comfort and service. On the demand side, we can consume more responsibly and that involves consuming more of some things. We want to consume more renewable energy. We also want to consume more materials that, when spent, can be returned to the environment easily without harm to serve as nutrients for new biological growth. We can routinely turn off and unplug lights, computers, motors and other gadgets when not in use. We can cut our use of fossil fuels through greater use of public transport and shift consumption away from hard goods. Population can be stabilized. Birth rates nearly have leveled off in many countries through a combination of poverty reduction, and other steps. Stabilizing consumption and population would benefit everyone, now and in the future. Success will require determination and a commitment to equity. It's time to openly acknowledge and systematically address all of the core drivers of climate change. Doppelt is accused of writing "hogwash" because he characterizes those who doubt that humans are causing climate change and that it is an extremely serious problem as "naysayers" and "deniers." He warns that if we fail to take substantial action by 2012 it will be "too late." Doppelt is remarkable for his restraint when it comes to delivering the news about climate.   February 09, 2009   The Register-Guard 023596

U.S.: EPA Agrees to Review Ocean Acidification Impacts Under Clean Water Act: Agency Will Analyze Effects of CO2 Emissions on Water Quality.   The EPA has agreed to review how ocean acidification should be addressed. The ocean's absorption of excess CO2 in the atmosphere, increases the acidity of the ocean and changes the chemistry of seawater. This impairs the ability of marine animals to build and maintain their shells and skeletons. The EPA will impose stricter pH standards for ocean water quality and publish guidance to help states protect U.S. waters from ocean acidification. EPA also agreed to develop biological assessment methods and other technical guidance relating to evaluation of the health of coral reefs. Acidification is a primary threat to our oceans. In the past few decades, the oceans have absorbed approximately 30% of the CO2 and store about 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere. Most CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels will eventually be absorbed by the ocean. Surface ocean pH has risen by about 30%. Ocean acidification threatens to erode away coral reefs and some plankton, suffer from weaker and thinner shells due to ocean acidification. If the EPA strengthens the pH for oceans, then the Clean Water Act requires states to adopt a water-quality standard at least as protective as the one established by the EPA and stronger water-quality standards could translate into regulating CO2 pollution.   Ralph says: Generating new regulations will not achieve any improvement. Start at the basic cause, reduce the source of the polution, --- too many people.   January 27, 2009   Center for Biological Diversity 023592

U.S.: Holdren as Obama Science Pick Adds Climate Activism.   Harvard University Professor John P. Holdren, President-elect Barack Obama's pick as his top science adviser, will push for action on climate change and embryonic stem cell research. His appointment to the position of assistant to the president for science and technology depends on confirmation by the U.S. Senate. His appointment signals a sharp about- face from President George W. Bush's approach to greenhouse gases and global warming. Holdren uses a U.S. map in global warming presentations to show areas of Cape Cod and Florida that would vanish if temperatures continue rising. It is rapid in relation to the capacity of societies and eco-systems to respond, it is highly non- uniform, and it is certainly not benign. Holdren is an expert in energy climate and environment and in national security, nuclear arms and nuclear energy. Holdren's views on embryonic stem cell research are likely to run contrary to those of Bush. Holdren said he thinks the research should advance without the funding restrictions.   December 19, 2008   023442

U.S.: Obama Left with Little Time to Curb Global Warming.   Global warming is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it. He said "We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now that this is a matter of urgency and national security and it has to be dealt with in a serious way." But it's not clear that he and Congress will agree on an approach. Obama is pushing changes in the way Americans use energy, and produce greenhouse gases. Next year, diplomats will try to agree on a major new international treaty to curb the gases that promote global warming. Scientists are increasingly anxious, talking more often about exceeding "tipping points." "We're out of time," Stanford University biologist said. "Things are going extinct." U.S. emissions have increased by 20% percent since 1992. China has more than doubled its carbon dioxide pollution in that time. World carbon dioxide emissions have grown faster than scientists' worst-case scenarios. Methane, the next most potent greenhouse gas, is on the rise again and scientists fear that vast amounts of the trapped gas will escape from thawing Arctic permafrost. Now some scientists, but not all, say the safe carbon dioxide level for Earth is about 10% below what it is now. Scientists fear that what's happening with Arctic ice melt will be amplified so that sea level rise will occur sooner than they expected. In December 2009, diplomats are charged with forging a new treaty replacing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set limits on greenhouse gases, and which the United States didn't ratify. Complicating everything is the worldwide financial meltdown. The poor economy is "a huge factor" that could stop everything, because global warming efforts are aimed at restricting coal power, which is cheap. One of the first things Obaama will do when he gets to Washington is grant California and other states permission to control car tailpipe emissions. The incoming Congress will be more inclined to act on global warming. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., vowed to push two global warming bills starting in January: one to promote energy efficiency, and the other to create a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from utilities. Ironically, 2008 is a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line. Experts say it's thanks to a La Nina weather variation. The average global temperature in 2008 is likely to be under 57.9 degrees F, about a tenth of a degree cooler than last year.   December 14, 2008   Associated Press 023437

The Answer to Climate Change?.   While scientists and engineers have been discussing geoengineering for years, it has not yet made its way into policy discussions. While geoengineering is not a panacea for climate change, it does have the potential to slow, and perhaps halt planetary warming. If mitigating climate change through reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions were cheap, or the benefits large, it would already have been done. In fact, significant reductions would be expensive and require major economic sacrifices. In addition, no country acting alone can reduce greenhouse gases enough to slow it. Several different types of interventions have been discussed. Spraying clouds with saltwater to increase their reflectivity could reduce climate change. Estimates for how much this would cost are not definitive. Some of the problems associated with carbon dioxide emissions would require other solutions. Even with drastic policy changes we will probably not reach the low emissions levels that many scientists recommend. Agricultural productivity in some countries is likely to suffer from global warming; other countries may see their agricultural output increase. Very little modeling has been done on the regional effects of technical solutions to global warming. Climate systems are complex, and an intervention that brings down the average global temperature might also change regional weather patterns. Only a few scientists are actively studying the concept.   December 08, 2008   The American 023466

UN Climate Boss Warns of 'cheap, Dirty' Energy Fix .   The world must avoid a "cheap and dirty" fix for the economy that could undermine the fight against global warming. The world risks a second financial crisis if governments build high-polluting coal-fired power plants that might then have to be scrapped as climate impacts hit. Short-sighted investments could lead to a need to build new low-carbon solar or wind power plants in 10-20 years. The economic slowdown is an opportunity to re-design the world economy and focus on the opportunities for green growth that can put the global economy onto a stable and sustainable path. Obama's ambitious goal is cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020 - they are now 14% above 1990. Bush did not ratify Kyoto, saying it would be too costly. In Europe, economic slowdown has exposed doubts about the costs of an EU goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from fossil fuels, by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. Poland, which gets 93% of its electricity from coal, and Italy are leading a drive for concessions in the package meant to be agreed at a Dec. 11-12 summit of EU leaders in Brussels. They will also look at details of a new climate treaty, based on ideas on ways to slow rising temperatures. Plans include giving tropical nations credits for slowing deforestation from the Amazon to the Congo, and China wants rich nations to give up to 1.0% of their gross national product in new climate aid.   December 01, 2008   Reuters Alternet 023409

Global: Industrialized countries' emissions on the rise.   The 40 industrialized nations that agreed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol have met their goal of cutting to about 5% below 1990 levels. Some of the biggest reductions were due to economic declines in the 1990s. Between 2000 and 2006, emissions of the 40 nations rose by 2.3% that threatens to wipe out past improvements.   Karen Gaia says: Gains made will most certainly be wiped out by population growth until we can get that growth under control. In the past few years no progress has been made towards reducing population growth.   November 18, 2008   CNN 023352

Rising Seas and Powerful Storms Threaten Global Security.   The President of the Maldives said that, this year, 'unusual high waves' in the Indian Ocean inundated a quarter of the urban area on the capital island of Male, flooded farms, and washed away reclaimed land. Human activities are releasing greenhouse gases that warm the planet and raise global sea level. Rising seas would wreak havoc on the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Netherlands, and the river deltas of Egypt and Bangladesh." With small island nations in peril, he does not speak alone: this fall, 50 countries, are planning to put a resolution before the U.N. requesting that they address the problem. Without a dramatic reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases the global average temperature is projected to increase by up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit and sea level could rise some 3 feet (1 meter) by the end of this century. Recent accelerated melting on the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets means that seas could rise even faster than predicted. The warming of the globe also provides more energy to fuel stronger storms. Because much of humanity, is located in vulnerable coastal areas, hundreds of millions of people are directly at risk. More than 630 million people could be left searching for safer ground. The risk of massive economic disruption and "migration on an unprecedented scale" make climate change a true security threat.   November 2008   Environmental News Network 023381

UN: Financial Chills Are Ill Wind for Climate.   The financial turmoil will set back efforts to fight climate change. A pledge of investment in developing countries, for "green" economic growth and impacts of warming, would be essential to get poorer nations to sign onto a climate agreement. Ongoing negotiations aim to produce such an agreement. Richer nations want China, India and other big Third World emitters of greenhouse gases to contribute to reducing emissions. But the credit crisis changes the outlook. Many industrialized countries are propping up their financial sector and borrowing money to do it. Should the world pursue carbon taxes to discourage the burning of fossil fuels rather than the "carbon trading" system. In carbon trading, industries subject to emissions caps are allotted or allowances that they can buy and sell among one another. But economic arguments are increasingly overshadowed by news that points up the need for more urgent action. Worldwide carbon dioxide leaped by 3% in 2007. Scientists are saying 60-to-80% cuts will be necessary. Both presidential candidates favor a cap-and-trade system.   October 10, 2008   Associated Press 023289

U.S.: How Ike Scarred the Terrain; the Hurricane Ravaged the Texas Gulf Coast Two Weeks Ago, but the Damage it Did to Wildlife and Waterways Could Last Years.   Migratory birds might not find refuge for a while on the Boliver peninsular. Hurricane Ike stripped the trees. Ike caused environmental damage to Southeast Texas, ripping through the barrier islands, washing debris into Galveston Bay and the Gulf, and imperiling animals, fish and plants by pouring saltwater into marshes. The upper Texas coast is under stress because of development, rising seas and sinking land. This has led to the erosion of the shoreline, by as much as 10 feet each year. The dunes and marshes reduce the strength of wind and waves and without the buffer, storms can do more damage. The recent development boom along the coast won't help because dams and levees are stealing much of the sediment that once replenished marshes and barrier beaches. As a general rule, every mile or two of wetlands, or any other kind of land, will reduce a storm surge by a foot. The surge destroyed grasses for grazing cattle and other vegetation. Up to 20 miles inland, post-Ike samples showed salt levels 25 parts per thousand in water that usually has no salinity. There is concern over the plight of a variety of birds that stop for a meal of fish along the upper Texas coast on their way south for the winter. Among the rookeries on the Bolivar Peninsula, the Houston Audubon Society's sanctuaries are covered with debris from destroyed houses and boats. Debris and untreated sewage in Galveston Bay and the bayous around Greater Houston are sucking the oxygen out of the water, leaving little or none for marine life. The city of Houston estimated that as much as 5 million gallons, or 2 percent, of the sewage processed daily flowed into the bayous because of Ike-related power outages. While state and federal authorities have reported 2,221 spills of oil and other hazardous materials from Houston to Lake Charles, La., none of them is considered major.   September 30, 2008   Houston Chronicle 023278

Last Year's World CO2 Emissions Exceeded Most Dire IPCC Predictions.   The world's carbon dioxide emissions in 2007 exceeded the predictions of climate scientists, growing 3% from 2006. This was surprising given the economic downturn. Developing nations took the lead in overall CO2 emissions, accounting for 53% of the total. China was the world's largest CO2 polluter accounting for 60% of the rise in worldwide emissions in 2007. Oceans and forests that lock away carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere, have been absorbing some 3% less pollution since 2000 than the first half of the 20th century. We're locked into more warming than we thought.   September 26, 2008   Los Angeles Times 023261

U.S.: Top Story Northeast States' Regional Carbon Trading System Goes Live This Week.   Twenty-four states are working on cap-and-trade" along with four large Canadian provinces. The northeastern states' Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) offers a "modest" start. It requires a 10% reduction in emissions by power plants by 2019. RGGI's supporters say the program will generate millions of dollars that the states have pledged to use to boost energy efficiency. And set a price on carbon dioxide emissions. The program's western counterpart led by California and embracing seven states and four Canadian provinces, the initiative will require power plants and industries to cut emissions by 15% by 2020. In 2015, it will cover emissions from transportation, residential, and commercial fuel use. An initial blueprint requires industry to start measuring their greenhouse-gas emissions in about two years. A program in the Midwest last year started planning a cap-and-trade program for six more states and Manitoba. These initiatives will bring pressure on the next U.S. president to create a uniform national cap-and-trade program. RGGI say a chief achievement was the decision to auction off 100% of the allowances that power plants will need. Under the RGGI program, 223 power plants in the Northeast will have to buy allowances for all their C02 emissions. Power plants will have six years to stabilize emissions. The program applies to Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maryland. Plants that do not meet the goals may be able to purchase "offsets" from projects that create carbon dioxide reductions. But the use of offsets will be restricted to 3.3 percent of a power plant's emissions. Energy consumption remained roughly flat in the Northeast, and carbon emissions from the power plants are expected to be about 9 percent below 2009. The program requires $1.86 per ton for power plant emissions, which will encourage power producers and their larger customers to consider alternative power sources. Customers will see their electricity bills rise by an amount that depends on the final price of the allowances. Energy efficiency programs will be funded by the auctions and help consumers reduce their bills. After the RGGI states have stabilized power sector carbon emissions, the cap will be reduced each year from 2015 through 2018.   September 24, 2008   Grist Magazine 023259

Texans Mired in Hurricane Ike's Aftermath.   Residents of the Texas coast foraged for water, ice, generators and gasoline as rescuers continued to save people trapped by widespread flooding last month after Hurricane Ike. Emergency officials had tried to unsnarl a snag that delayed deliveries of U.S. government food, water and ice to several million people. Federal officials blamed state leaders for abruptly changing distribution plans. The number of people rescued along the coast rose to nearly 2,000. Rescuers had to go door-to-door to find those who refused to evacuate. The rescue effort involved 50 helicopters and 1,500 searchers. The restoration of power took a month. Nearly 4 million people were without electricity in Texas and Louisiana. A total of 21 deaths in nine states have been blamed on the storm. The hurricane destroyed 10 oil production platforms. Houston police put the city under a weeklong nighttime curfew. Residents peppered radio and TV news programs with angry calls about price gouging at gasoline stations and food stores, low water pressure and a delay by emergency authorities in distributing food, water and ice. Elected officials warned those who evacuated not to try to return home. Federal officials said state authorities asked them to take over distribution of supplies. Many residents were unable to return home because of roads clogged with debris or water. Some ran out of gasoline on highways or had their cars mired in water along low-lying roads. More than 500 National Guard troops helped control traffic and maintain calm on the streets.   Karen Gaia says: the more people you add, the more these natural disasters have an impact. Also population growth may have contributed to the intensity of the storms since climate change causes intense storms and higher quantities of CO2 contribute to climate change.   September 15, 2008   Los Angeles Times 023250

Earthjustice Will Sue EPA to Reduce Global Warming Pollution from Ships and Aircraft.   A coalition of conservation groups and state attorneys general has warned of impending lawsuits over the EPA's failure to address pollution from ships and aircraft. Eight state and local jurisdictions filed similar notices. The coalition filed petitions to the EPA in 2007, requesting that it determine whether greenhouse gas emissions from marine vessels and aircraft endanger public health and if so, to issue regulations to control emissions from these sources. The EPA delayed its obligations by issuing an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" (ANPR) that does not make a finding as to whether EPA intends to regulate greenhouse gases as the Supreme Court determined was required to do. Instead, the ANPR compiles comments from other government agencies, reviews provisions of the Clean Air Act, and raises issues regarding potential regulations. The administration is wasting time with continued foot-dragging. Global climate change is damaging our daily lives, even more rapidly than forecast. The conservation groups also released a report that analyzes the large impacts of shipping on climate change and discusses solutions. Instead of taking action the EPA is again putting the brakes on developing innovative solutions. Aircraft emit 12% of carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. transport sources and 3% of the US total emissions. Aircraft also emit nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of ozone. Emissions of NOX at high altitudes result in greater concentrations of ozone than ground-level emissions. Aircraft also emit water vapor which forms condensation trails. The persistent formation of contrails is associated with increased cirrus cloud cover, which warms the Earth's surface. The effects of ozone, contrail and aviation-induced cloud cover is likely to triple the warming effect of aircraft-emitted CO2 alone. If these estimates are correct aviation may be responsible for between 6% and 10% of the human impact on climate by the year 2050. According to the FAA emissions from US domestic aircraft are expected to increase 60% by 2025. The US has failed to address these emissions. The global fleet of marine vessels releases almost 3% of the world's carbon dioxide. Marine vessels release carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and soot. Emissions from ships are not currently regulated. Global shipping has increased by 3% per year for the last three decades and this growth is projected to increase. Shipping pollution will potentially double from 2002 levels by 2020.   July 31, 2008   Earthjustice 023213

MIT Energy Storage Discovery Could Lead to 'Unlimited' Solar Power.   MIT has discovered a new way of storing energy from sunlight that could lead to 'unlimited' solar power. The process, uses solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. When needed, the gases can then be re-combined in a fuel cell, creating carbon-free electricity. Solar power has always been a limited, solution. Now, we can think about solar power as unlimited. The process uses natural materials, is inexpensive and is easy to set up. Other scientists in the field have rushed to highlight the revolutionary potential of the new process. This is a major discovery with enormous implications for the future prosperity of humankind. It opens up the door for developing new technologies for energy production. Within 10 years homes will be able to harness solar power during daylight hours and use this new energy storage method for electricity at night.   Karen Gaia says: the breakthrough that the researchers have found is the use of a catalyst of cobalt phosphate instead of a platinum for a nearly 100% efficient method of electrolysis to produce the oxygen and hydrogen from water. It doesn't matter that the energy used in the electrolysis is from solar or wind or any renewable source. See http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=209900956 for a more precise article on the subject. The other thing to consider is that photovoltaic (solar panels) is currently not that cost-effective. It will become more cost-effective when the price of other energy sources goes up and/or the efficiency of photovoltaic goes up.   July 25, 2008   Solar Energy 023386

U.K.: Global Warming: Unintended Consequences of Action.   Even if CO2 emissions cause global warming, there are unintended consequences when the government tries to solve this problem. A proposal in Britain would establish personal CO2 rationing. Every gasoline purchase, air conditioner turned on and jet flight would be charged against your account. Run out of credits, and you must buy more from anyone with a surplus. Companies such as Chiquita Brands are considering costs of being sued or prosecuted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for not accurately disclosing "carbon footprints" to investors. Different types of farms and varying sizes of fruit must be factored in, differentiating organically grown from traditionally grown. Energy, waste, water use, travel, storage in refrigerated containers and even transport in retailers' trucks are all factors in determining the carbon footprint.   July 18, 2008   Gazette 023186

Gore Sets Moon Shot Goal on Climate Change.   Al Gore is challenging the nation to produce all electricity through wind, sun and Earth-friendly energy sources within 10 years. Fuel costs, climate change and the national security threats by U.S. dependence on foreign oil are creating a political environment that Gore said will sustain bold steps to wean the nation off fossil fuels. He said he understands the magnitude of the challenge. A bipartisan group estimates the cost of transforming the nation to clean electricity sources at $1.5 to $3 trillion over 30 years. But he says it would cost about as much to build ozone free coal plants. "I hope to contribute to a new political environment that will allow the next president to do the right thing." To meet his 10-year goal, Gore said nuclear energy output would continue at current levels while the nation increases its use of solar, wind, geothermal and so-called clean coal energy. If the nation fails to act, the cost of oil will continue to rise. Experts predicted that, at the current rate, world energy demand will grow 50% over the next two decades. The world is not close to abandoning fossil fuels despite their effect on global warming.   July 17, 2008   Associated Press 023185

Fall in Tiny Animals a Disaster.   Experts on invertebrates have expressed shock over a report showing a decline in zooplankton of more than 70% since the 1960s. The tiny animals are food for fish, mammals and crustaceans. Figures suggested a fall in abundance that could be a "biodiversity disaster of enormous proportions" and could have implications all the way up the food chain. Experts were shocked to read that zooplankton abundance has declined by about 73% since 1960 and about 50% since 1990. A graph charts a steady decline in zooplankton from 1990 to 2006. Climate change could be a factor. Zooplankton is the basis of many food chains in the marine environment, without them there will be problems further up the chain.   July 11, 2008   Earth News 023399

U.S. Joins G-8 Plan To Halve Emissions.   The United States joined the major industrialized countries to try to halve greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. The countries will "consider and adopt" reductions of at least 50% as part of a new U.N. treaty. The leaders expect developing countries to promise "meaningful" actions to reduce emissions. Bush and G-8 leaders met Wednesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the heads of other developing countries, hoping to come to some kind of agreement on climate change. But deep differences between the two groups remain. The G-8 leaders also promised to make cuts in emissions in the "midterm," though they did not set specific targets. The communique's language drew the disapproval of many environmental groups, which said the targets were weak or ambiguous. The environmental minister of South Africa said: "It is regrettable that the lowest common denominator in the G-8 determined the level of ambition." At the last G-8 summit, the US refused to adopt the 50% target. Bush's shift appears to have stemmed from firmer scientific findings, pressure from allies and Democrats in Congress. White House aides say Bush wants a plan but thinks the debate to date has focused too often on unrealistic aims rather than specifics. The summit leaders left unaddressed several key issues, such as the baseline for calculating a 50% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions. European countries favor ambitious midterm and long-term emissions-reduction targets. The US, joined to varying degrees by Canada and Russia, has been wary of setting what it calls unrealistic targets.   July 08, 2008   Washington Post 023168

Climate Change: Disease Spread Fears.   Viral and parasitic diseases have been shown to increase because of climate change. The most worrying effect is the spread of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, on the African continent. The external changes in the temperature have a direct effect on the metabolism and development of parasites. If there was a warming in temperature above between 14-18C, this can lead to an increase in disease transmission. Case studies conducted in Kenya indicated that climate change has contributed to the evolution of the malaria epidemic in the east African highlands. This information can be used to create early warning systems to deal with the epidemics.   July 08, 2008   Independant Online 023374

Global: Climate risk from flat-screen TVs.   The rising demand for flat-screen TVs could have a greater impact on global warming than the world's largest coal-fired power stations. Manufacturers use nitrogen trifluoride to make the TVs, and as the sets have become popular, annual production of the gas has risen to about 4,000 tonnes. As a driver of global warming, nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Production of the gas, which remains in the atmosphere for 550 years, is expected to double by next year. Emissions of the gas are not restricted by the Kyoto protocol or similar agreements. This year's production of the gas is equivalent to 67m tonnes of carbon dioxide. Concerns have led Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology to avoid using the gas. Very little nitrogen trifluoride is released into the atmosphere. But the gas is not controlled in the same way as other greenhouse gases.   Karen Gaia says: You can't always rely on technology to get us out of trouble. Often, it is technology that gets us into trouble.   July 07, 2008   Guardian (London) 023165

Secret Report: Biofuel Caused Food Crisis.   Biofuels forced food prices up by 75%, more than previously estimated. The unpublished assessment is based on an analysis of the crisis so far. The figure contradicts the US government's claims that biofuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will put pressure on the British government, which is due to release its own report on the impact of biofuels, that will state that plant fuels have played a "significant" part in pushing up food prices. While politicians keep industry lobbies happy, people in poor countries cannot afford enough to eat. Rising food prices have pushed 100m people below the poverty line, and sparked riots from Bangladesh to Egypt. Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor for the price increases. The EU and US drive for biofuels has had the biggest impact on prices. Since April, all petrol and diesel in Britain has had to include 2.5% from biofuels. Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases would have been moderate. Biofuels have been responsible for a 75% jump. Production of biofuels has distorted food markets in three ways. It has diverted grain, with over a third of US corn now used to produce ethanol and about half of vegetable oils in the EU going towards the production of biodiesel. Farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production and it has sparked financial speculation in grains. Biofuels from sugarcane from Brazil have not had such an impact. Supporters of biofuels argue that they are a greener alternative to fossil fuels, but that claim has been disputed as it does not apply to US production of ethanol from plants. All we are doing is subsidising higher food prices, while doing nothing to tackle climate change.   July 04, 2008   Guardian (London) 023272

Bangladesh is Set to Disappear Under the Waves by the End of the Century.   In the remote village of Munshigonj, the surviving villagers were sitting by a stagnant pond. Ten years ago, the village began to die. Many of the trees turned a strange colour and rotted. The rice paddies stopped festered in the water and fish floated to the surface, animals began to die and many of the children. People wash in this pond but all got dysentery, and children died. Bangladesh is a flat, low-lying land made of silt, squeezed in between the melting mountains of the Himalayas and the rising seas of the Bay of Bengal. The sea is swelling and wiping Bangladesh off the map. Below the ground saltwater is swelling up. Some farmers are farming shrimp.But unless we change now, this salt water will keep rising until everything is ocean. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - said that Bangladesh will lose 17% of its land and 30% of its food production by 2050. Many climatologists think the IPCC is too optimistic and believe we are facing a 25-metre rise in sea levels this century which would drown Bangladesh entirely. In Dhaka, Dr Atiq Rahman says the IPCC predictions are much too conservative. We are facing a catastrophe and talking about a massive displacement of human beings. Bangladesh is ground zero of global warming. The seas are rising, so land is being claimed from the outside. The rivers are becoming wider, so land is being claimed from within. Cyclones are becoming more intense and more violent, and salt water is rendering the land barren. If you want people in the West to understand the effect they are having here, it's simple. We need to have a system where for every 10,000 tons of carbon you emit, you have to take a Bangladeshi family to live with you. If one of the world's land-based ice-sheets breaks up, we lose 70 to 80% of our land, including Dhaka. This will probably happen towards the end of the lifetime of babies born today. Karim Chowdry, said in the past 30 years, two-thirds of his home island has gone under the water and he had to abandon his house. The land has gone into the sea. The ocean is coming very fast now and we think all the island will be gone in 15 years. Twenty years ago, there were 30,000 people on this island, now there are 18,000, and most think they will be the last inhabitants. Fishing is almost impossible, the waves are much bigger than they used to be. Tere have always been cyclones in Bangladesh, but global warming is making them much more violent.   June 20, 2008   Johann Hari 023264

China Increases Lead as Biggest Carbon Dioxide Emitter.   China has overtaken the US as the leading emitter of carbon dioxide, its emissions increasing 8% in 2007. In 2007 China's emissions were 14% higher than those of the US. China's emissions are likely to continue growing because they are tied to the country's economic growth and its mix of industry and power sources. China is dependent on coal and has seen its most rapid growth in industrial sectors: cement, aluminum and plate glass. About 20% of China's emissions come from its cement kilns. The average American is responsible for 19.4 tons. in Russia 11.8 tons; in the EU 8.6 tons; China, 5.1 tons; and India, 1.8 tons. The data emphasized the importance of getting China to sign on to any new global climate agreement. The Kyoto Protocol will be replaced by a new agreement to be signed in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. Late last year, UN experts warned that the world had only a few years to reverse growing emissions. China had been acting progressively on environmental policy in the past year. There cannot be a solution to the climate change without China, but Chinese leaders would not become more engaged unless the US also made new commitments. Emissions in the original EU states fell 2% in 2007, though this drop was at least partly attributable to a warm winter. High oil prices have created an interest in coal-fired power plants, which are heavily polluting. Eighty percent of the world's coal demand comes from China, but the US is also a major user of coal.   June 16, 2008   New York Times* 023090

U.S.: White House Issues Climate Report 4 Years Late.   Under a court order and four years late, the White House produced a "one-stop shop" of threats to the United States from man-made global warming. It pulls together different U.S. studies and international reports into one document required by law. A Canadian climate scientist called it "a litany of bad news in store for the U.S." One of the scientists who reviewed the report said: "It basically says the America we've known we can no longer count on." White House said the report was comprehensive and "communicates what the scientists are telling us." Increased heat deaths and deaths from climate-worsened smog. Worsening water shortages for agriculture and urban users. A need for billions of dollars in more power plants. Summer cooling will mean Seattle's energy consumption would increase by 146% with the warming by the end of the century. More death and damage from wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters and extreme weather. Increased insect infestations and food- and waterborne microbes and diseases. Climate change is likely to accentuate the disparities in the American health care system. Many of the health effects are likely to fall disproportionately on the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the uninsured." Every four years the government must produce a comprehensive science assessment of global warming. Environmental groups got a court order to force the Bush administration to produce the document by the end of this month.   May 30, 2008   Yahoo News 023039

Global Warming: Nine Things That Will Put Us Over the Edge.   An international investigation by leading climate scientists has found that the "tipping points" for all nine scenarios could occur within the next 100 years. Climate change is likely to result in dramatic changes to some of the major geophysical elements of the Earth if global temperatures continue to rise. The nine scenarios are irreversible on a human timescale once they pass a certain threshold of change, and the effects of the transition will be felt for generations to come. A variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century. The nine elements range from the melting of polar ice sheets to the collapse of the Indian and West African monsoons. The effects of the changes could varied, from a rise in sea levels that flood coastal regions to widespread crop failures and famine. Some of the tipping points may be close at hand, such as the point at which the disappearance of the summer sea ice in the Arctic becomes inevitable, others, such as the tipping point for the destruction of northern boreal forests, may take several more decades. While the collapse of the Indian monsoon could occur within a few years, the melting of the Greenland ice cap or the West Antarctic ice sheet, may take several centuries. A tipping point is where a small change in the climate could trigger a larger change in the future. There are many potential tipping points that could occur this century, but it is possible to avoid them with cuts in greenhouse gases. We should be prepared to adapt and to design an early-warning system that alerts us. * Scientists believe that the tipping point for the total loss of summer Arctic sea ice is imminent. * Greenland ice sheet could see irreversible change within 50 years. * West Antarctic ice sheet: could unexpectedly collapse if it slips into the sea at its warming edges. * Gulf Stream: few scientists believe it could be switched off completely this century but its collapse is a possibility. * El Nio: the southern Pacific current may be affected by warmer seas, resulting in far-reaching climate change. * Indian monsoon: could be tipped off-balance by pollutants that cause localised cooling. * West African monsoon: in the future it could cause droughts. * Amazon rainforest: a warmer world and further deforestation may cause a collapse of the rain supporting this ecosystem. * Boreal forests: cold-adapted trees of Siberia and Canada are dying as temperatures rise.   May 08, 2008   Alternet 022994

The Arab World Gets Serious About Climate Change.   Arab environmentalists know that, when it comes to leadership to combat climate change, the Arab World was not the best example. Arab countries that build their economies on fossil energy, and middle-income countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt and Morocco that depend mostly on imported oil, are not at the fore front of policies and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Its per capita production rate of greenhouse gases is almost identical to the EU. This puts pressures on the region to start reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is a major threat to the security of the Middle East. Existing tensions over access to water are almost certain to intensify in this region leading to further political instability. In a recent report by FAO it was stated that crop growing may become unsustainable in some areas as a result of the interactions of factors. Maize yields in North Africa, could fall by 15-25% with a three degree centigrade rise in temperature. The 19th session of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment witnessed the agreement of the all Arab countries to deal with climate change issues. The declaration stated the need for the production and use of cleaner fuels, improving the efficiency of energy use, expanding the use of cleaner production techniques and environmental friendly technologies. The Arab world has became active in developing new technologies for reduction of greenhouse emissions. The beginning of construction of the first carbon-neutral, waste-free city in Abu Dhabi, will showcase the best available technologies for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The city will use 75% less electricity and half the water of conventional cities. The city's narrow thoroughfares will draw on the traditional architecture of the old walled towns of the Middle East. In the last meeting of the OPEC Ministers in Riyadh four Arab Gulf countries have decided to develop a US $ 750 million research fund for Climate Change. This is to support more efficient petroleum technologies for the protection of the environment, and promote the development of technologies such as carbon capture and storage. An estimated $120 billion investment is anticipated in the industry over the next 10 years. If this package of initiatives can be linked together in a shift towards sustainability and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Arab World will be able to declare its role as an active contributor in the global efforts to save the Earth.   April 22, 2008   Reporter Associati 022959

Australia: Climate Change Likely to Dominate Debates.   This climate scenario is likely to hit Australia before the globe warms by between 1.1 and 6.4 degrees. It's 2012. Energy costs have skyrocketed in the two years since businesses were forced to buy permits to emit greenhouse gas. The poor pay about $600 extra a year for electricity, so goods are more expensive, especially food and transport. Water costs more as we develop ways, to increase its supply. This is the picture former Victorian deputy premier John Thwaites will paint at the environment session at Kevin Rudd's 2020 Summit. "There needs to be some support that assists with higher energy and water bills. But the primary goal has to be to get them to reduce emissions through energy efficiency and housing being upgraded." The climate debate it is likely to feature in half the summit sessions, including health, rural Australia and the economy. The full title of the environment session is ambitious Population, Sustainability, Climate Change, Water and the Future of our Cities. What impact will climate change have on our water supplies? Projections suggest that water demand will exceed sustainable supply by 2025. There are also important issues including better planning for the predicted increase in extreme weather events. It is likely to require a program encouraging more volunteers and better preparing households.   April 08, 2008   Age 022924

Global Warming May Bring Malaria to Britain: Doctors.   Climate change could bring malaria and other diseases to Britain and trigger more frequent heatwaves. With the exception of Lyme disease, insect-borne diseases are largely unknown in Britain. But global warming could change that. Higher temperatures and heavier rainfall may increase the spread of infections like malaria. Hotter weather also poses a significant risk of an increase in skin cancers, sunburn and sunstroke. Around the world, climate change could have potentially devastating consequences for human health. Between 20 and 70 million more people were likely to be living in malarial regions worldwide by 2080.   April 02, 2008   Reuters 023156

Government Secures UN Climate Change Resolution; Says Maldives Will Not Disappear.   The Maldivian government spearheaded a resolution at the UN to conduct a study into the effects of climate change on human rights. The Maldives refuses to believe that the international community will allow any state to disappear under the sea. Dr Ahmed Shaheed, who last year worked on the issue, warned international moves on human rights and climate change must be matched by action within the Maldives. The resolution springs from a meeting of small island states and a 70-country meeting of the Friends of Human Rights and Climate Change. The new study will form the basis of a Human Rights Council debate. The lack of a human rights study is a "major gap". No-one denies that climate change is having an impact on human lives, and human rights. Extreme weather events have an impact on the right to housing. A warmer and wetter climate can cause the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, which has an impact on the right to health. International human rights treaties require each country to plan adequately for its citizens. Maldivians should hold their government to account, and ask whether plans for the future are adequate. The National Adaptation Programme of Action includes investments in flood and tidal defences, engineering works to reinforce vital transport and communications infrastructure and to protect public utilities such as energy, water and sanitation, intended to allow population consolidation and protection against natural disasters. Maldivians still feel the impact of the 2004 tsunami. Of the 2,987 houses needed for tsunami victims, just over a thousand had not yet begun construction. Local lobby groups maintain the government's record is poor, citing the lack of a sewage treatment plant for Mal's 100,000 residents. If the projected 2C temperature rise comes to pass much of the reef system will be irreparably damaged, threatening the tourism and fishing industries, but "political will" can stop this.   March 31, 2008   Minivan News 022897

U.S.: Battening Down the Hatches - States Are Starting to Prepare for Climate Change.   New Orleans is worried. Heat waves. Seas rising six feet, flooding everything south of Interstate 10, now 50 miles inland. Forward-thinking utilities are proposing strengthening transmission poles and shoring up substations. Other states have initiatives to cope with rising sea levels. Congress is considering nearly two dozen bills for funding research and helping communities cope. Climate scientists say it's too late to prevent significant warming and we have only three options: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. In Alaska,loss of sea ice has left coastal communities at the mercy of storms, which are eating away the land. The manager of Denver Water says he can no longer plan for tomorrow's water needs. The new alliance of water agencies is trying to construct a more accurate picture of the future. Denver aims to make the region's water system more resilient. Annapolis, Md., is spending $9 million to raise the city dock and build flood walls. Florida is exploring the idea of man-made barrier islands. These steps may be too little. What if polar ice melts faster than expected, and the oceans rise 15 feet? Several of the bills pending would create funds to promote adaptation. The task is urgent, says Annapolis Mayor. "We need to come to grips with this now, and not when it's on our doorstep."   March 13, 2008   Busisness Week 023086

Rwanda;: Investment in Renewable Energy is Vital.   Sustainable development cannot be realized when the environment is abused and people indulge in environmental degradation. Energy used during production produces carbon dioxide, bringing about global warming, which causes multiple problems. Replacing the energy that comes from fossils is a gradual one, as new methods of using renewable sources have been more effective as far as environment conservation is concerned. Solar energy is more cost effective than fossil fuel, if more expensive in the short run. The population has to be taught about renewable energy and reducing the rate of cutting trees. The executive secretary of Rwanda Environmental Conservation Organization (RECOR), avers that there is need to think alternative energy sources, and a campaign is on in Rwanda to encourage investors to inject their money in renewable energy. The coordinator of RECOR blames the use of fossil related fuels on the current global warming pattern. In order to achieve the MDG's, environment must be a priority. Every body must have an active role towards planting trees, which reduce carbon dioxide, as green plants use carbon dioxide while making their own food. Petroleum is exhaustible, and environmentally hazardous. More engineers and technicians should be trained to impart the knowledge that will implement renewable energy engineering. Rainfall patterns have changed, which brings about poor harvests, poor economic performance and famine. RECOR has made a list of the equipment needed in generating renewable energy, so that importers are exonerated from taxation. The sources of renewable energy include sunshine, wind, animal waste and others, according to Kayigamba. Rwanda does not possess enough land for planting trees. Environmental conservation is everyone's duty. Fifty years from todate, water will be costing as much as petrol because of the current environmental degradation worldwide. Protect wet lands and maintain the water table intact thus deterring future water scarcity. Global warming will adversely affect developing countries most since they don't have resources to counter the consequences that will have resulted from global warming.   January 28, 2008   Africa News Service 022600

20-year-Olds Need to Know They're Going to Grow Up in a Warmer World.   Fewer hard freezes in winter. More prolonged periods of drought. Worsening air quality. More extreme individual rainfall events are predicted for 2100 in South Texas. A century from now, South Texas will experience the type of climate change that would occur if the entire region were moved 100 miles to the southwest, becoming more tropical and arid. The water supply will be reduced, even as the population to grow. The sea level will rise flooding the region's salt marshes and leading to changes in the ecosystem. Some animals will be able to cope with the changing conditions and some will not, and no current model exists to predict which will and won't. The injurious effects on regional and urban air quality will intensify. Long-term climate change will exacerbate the effects of urbanization as population grows. The agricultural industry will increase its demand on the water supply by more than 50%. There will be a northward and eastward shift in the breeding ranges of several bird species. Hurricanes, droughts, heat waves will intersect with the region's ecologies to create future megadisasters, and leaders at all levels are underestimating the fragility of the region and failing to enhance sustainability.   January 17, 2008   PR Web 022546

U.S. Population, Energy & Climate Change   There is growing evidence that population, linked to energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, is a key factor in global climatic change. In the climate change equation, population is the 'big multiplier' - particularly when linked with resource consumption - because it intensifies the rate, scale, and scope of both the root causes and effects of climate change in the United States (U.S.), and worldwide. Follow the link for the full report (you need Adobe Acrobat for this report).   2008   Center for Environment & Population 023388

Energy and Climate Change.   There is growing evidence that, in the climate change equation, population is the "big multiplier" - particularly when linked with resource consumption - because it intensifies the rate, scale, and scope of both the root causes and effects of climate change in the United States and worldwide. The U.S. has by far the largest population of all industrialized nations, the only sizable one with significant population growth, and; it uses more energy than any other country and is the largest carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas emitter amongst industrialized nations worldwide [editor's note: China excluded?]. In addition, the country's population is growing rapidly. This makes the U.S. pivotal in the national and global population climate change debate. While the U.S. represents about 1/20 of the global population, it consumes about 1/4 of the world's energy, and generates 5 times the world average of CO2 emissions. With about 3 million people added each year, there's real potential to reach 1 billion high-energy-consuming Americans by 2100. Because Americans are high resource consumers in a country with a large, rapidly growing population base, the U.S. has a much bigger "per-person" impact on global climate change than any other nation. How can we meet the energy demands of this large and rapidly growing population that consumes elevated levels of resources and energy - while at the same time reducing the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change? Population factors can exacerbate climate change's effects by placing more pressures on the natural resource base at specific sites, for example, when there is high population density and continued rapid growth in coastal, urban, suburban, or ecologically vulnerable areas of the U.S. In contrast to the almost 20 tons of CO2 per person that US Americans consume per year, Europeans consume 8 tons, and developing countries only 2 tons. The U.S. population is expected to double by 2076, and U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose about 15% from 1990 to 2006. We live in a 'global commons', where the planet's air and emissions typically move halfway around the world a week later, so America's large footprint places it front and center in relation to the world's climatic changes. The growth of metro and suburban areas, as well as land use changes are also playing an important part in climate change. The 11 warmest years on record, worldwide, have all occurred in the past 13 years, and in the U.S., 2006 was the warmest year on record, temperatures are over two degrees Fahrenheit higher than a century ago, rainstorms, heat waves, and hurricanes are occuring with increased frequency, and growing seasons are shifting. In addition, rare vector-borne diseases the like malaria and dengue fever are on the rise, and the nation's freshwater resources are more prone to drought and the consequences of less mountain snow pack. Yet,it is the U.S.in the hot seat of "population-climate change" impacts worldwide. What matters are these factors: 1. Population size and growth rate. The U.S. is the third most populous country in the world after China (1.3 billion) and India (1.1 billion). The U.S. population has more than doubled since 1950, and will double again in 70 years, likely to reach the billion mark this century. 2. Population density: where the U.S. population lives (Metropolitan areas, Coast, South and West regions). Over half (53%) of all U.S. residents now live within 50 miles of the coast - on just 17% of the nation's total land area - where they are most vulnerable to sea level rise and the severe weather events (such as hurricanes and flooding) associated with climate change. 59% of the U.S. population lives in the South and the West, which are "population-climate change hotspots" because of their combination of population numbers and growth, and ecological vulnerabilities (as associated with the coastal areas of the South and freshwater resources in the West). 3. Per capita resource use: how the U.S. population lives (Land use, Vehicles, Households) Land in the U.S. is converted for development at about twice the rate of population growth, and each American effectively occupies 20% more developed land (for housing, schools, shopping, roads, and other uses) than he/she did 20 years ago. Growth outside cities in the suburban and surrounding "exurban" areas far outpaces growth within cities. This spread-out land development results in a marked increase in vehicle use and road systems, and leads to rapid loss of forest and agricultural land which would otherwise act as "carbon sinks". There has also been a major increase in the number of households (with fewer people per house and the number of second homes on the rise); house size (square footage), and amount of land around each. 4. Population composition (Age, Baby Boomers, Income) The nation's "Baby Boomers", the largest ever of this particular U.S. demographic (26% of the total U.S. population) are wealthier, spend more money, drive more vehicles and miles, have more homes per capita including second homes, and use more energy per capita than any generation before them. U.S. per capita income is nearly $40,000 in contrast to $26,000 for other developed nations, and $4,000 for less developed nations.   2008   Center for Environment and Population 024259

Climate Change May Lead to War.   A study finds that long-term climate change with its resulting food shortages, population shifts, and economic instability can lead to war and population decline. The study revealed that as temperatures decreased centuries ago during a period called the Little Ice Age, the number of wars increased, famine occurred, and the population declined. Even though temperatures are increasing now, the same conflicts may occur, as 80% of the world's wars from 1400 to 1900 were triggered by food shortages and famine caused by extreme weather. Previous research found that temperature changes were correlated with times of war in Eastern China between 1000 and 1911.   December 18, 2007   Natural Hazards Center newsletter 022433

U.K.;: Rising Population Adds to Climate Woes; Socio-economic Factors Play Big Part in Global Warming.   Three-quartersu of the problems associated with global warming have to do with factors like rising population, and only a quarter with the climate. The population debate has gone off the agenda. Climate change is not the major issue. Its a population problem. Even in the UK, demographers once thought the population would stabilise at 60 million, but the latest projections suggest it could hit 75 million and that would make meeting the emissions obligations that much more difficult. The issue of growing populations and consumer behaviour could prove even harder for governments to deal with. Meanwhile, government policy must accommodate the uncertainty and wide range of climatic predictions. Ideally, policy should could allow for further steps to be taken after initial mitigation, if outcomes turn out worse than expected. But neither the UK nor any other government has yet been 'realistic' about the efforts needed to combat global warming. The UK has a target of reducing emissions by 60% by 2050. Its climate change bill will get 'nowhere near' the target, which requires a 9% drop in emissions every year.   December 18, 2007   The Business Times 022440

Speech by Al Gore on the Acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize.   The distinguished scientists with whom it is the honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures. Life or death, blessings or curses. The human species, are confronting a threat to the survival of our civilization. But we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly. Today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet. The earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. As the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun, scientists report that the North Polar ice cap is falling and could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Major cities in North and South America, Asia and Australia are nearly out of water due to massive droughts and melting glaciers. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods. Peoples on low-lying Pacific islands are planning evacuations. Millions have been displaced by massive flooding. We are recklessly burning and clearing our forests and driving more and more species into extinction. Without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself. Now, we and the earth's climate are locked in a relationship of "Mutually assured destruction." It is time to make peace with the planet. We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun's energy or invent an engine that's carbon negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world. We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community. We need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide. And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon -- with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people. Shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. Two nations are failing to do enough: the US tates and China. Both countries should stop using the other's behavior as an excuse for stalemate and develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.   December 13, 2007   Al Gore 022407

While the West Protects Itself Against Global Warming, the Poor Beg for Help.   Singapore has built one of the world's largest desalination plants and is paying Dutch experts tens of millions of dollars to devise ways to protect their island. Bangladesh is digging out from a cyclone that killed at least 3,200 and left millions homeless. The country wants to build up its coastlines but has no money. The disparities between the rich and poor in adapting to floods and droughts that are expected to worsen with rising temperatures have dominated the U.N. climate conference. The haves are arguing about emission targets and high-tech solutions. The have-nots need tens of billions of dollars to save their sinking islands, to help farmers adapt and to relocate those in the path of destruction. Those who are least able to cope are being hit hardest. Those who have done the least to cause the problem bear the gravest consequences. The United Nations Development Program says 98% of the 262 million people hit by disasters from 2000 to 2004 came from impoverished countries. The U.N. predicts that about 1.8 billion of the most vulnerable people will be hit by water shortages, 600 million more will go hungry and 32 million will be displaced by droughts and floods. Poor countries have priorities putting food on the table, accessing water, health care. Climate change is making these things worse. Canada said it would spend US$85.4 million on adaptation measures, including tens of millions of dollars to help its Inuit communities adapt to warming Arctic climate. The Netherlands is now spending an additional US$25 billion to improve its water defenses. Italy is doing the same. Singapore has built a 139 million desalination plant to boost its domestic water supply, and with the Dutch firm Delft Hydraulics as part of a more than US$208 million effort to become a hub for climate change research. The city-state is vulnerable to global warming, but realizes that there is potential to make money. Other countries will come to us for help. Some poor countries are creating early warning systems, building shelters on stilts or making plans to relocate communities. But the money often does not reach villages hardest hit. Climate change has become a daily reality in small island states. Up to US$300 million annually will be available and up to US$1.5 billion a year if an international climate agreement is approved. That still falls short of the nearly US$86 billion the UNDP estimates is needed annually by 2015. Impoverished nations are also demanding increased access to technology for adaptation and assurances the money for climate response won't be taken from development aid. Comparing problems in Bangladesh to those of New Orleans, one officer asked "Why are they putting up a few billion for a city like New Orleans when they are putting up only a few million for the entire world?"   December 12, 2007   Associated Press 022417

Climate Change Underway in US.   The non-profit Pew Center on Global Climate Change released a report examining the impact climate change is having on different regions of the United States. With international climate talks under way, the report argues that federal, state and local decision-makers must work both to mitigate global warming and to adapt to its consequences. The report finds that climate change in U.S. is underway and looks at specific impacts. It finds that Midwestern heat waves and Western wildfires are both likely to become larger, more frequent and more intense. Gulf Coast wetland loss and Chesapeake 'dead zones' are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. The studies consider how population growth, development, and land management interact with the problems of a warming planet. A coastal scientist says that wetlands restoration is critical to life and the economy of the Gulf Coast. Continued coastal development coupled with the anticipated rise in sea levels could drown the wetlands. Under storm events such as hurricanes, these open waters increase the risk of coastal flooding More wild fires are likely if forests are not managed for climate change. The report notes that earlier spring snowmelt and hotter, drier summers have led to more wildfires. Carbon dioxide, also promotes tree growth. But that may cause problems, unless the growth is managed properly to lessen fire risk. Agricultural runoff from farms and cities has led to an inadequate level of oxygen in the The Chesapeake Bay, coastal waters and dead zones, which affect fisheries and recreation in the region. The future of the Chesapeake Bay is compromised by climate change. Every planner, every developer, every policy maker, will have to factor climate change into the equation. Getting the right policies in place now is essential to reducing the risk from current and future climate-change impacts.   December 11, 2007   Voice of America 022404

U.N.: Ignoring Global Warming Is "Criminally Irresponsible".   In the fourth and last report issued this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.'s top climate official warned that ignoring the urgency of global warming would be "criminally irresponsible." Environmentalists and authors of the report expected tense discussions on what to include and leave out of the document. Scientists were determined to "adhere to standards of quality" in the report. It was indirect barb at the government representatives, who have been accused of watering down and excluding vital information to fit their domestic agendas. The document sums up the scientific consensus on how rapidly the Earth is warming and the effects already observed;. The IPCC already has established that the climate has begun to change because of the greenhouse gases. Global warming will hit the poorest countries hardest. Failing to recognize the urgency of this message and act on it would be nothing less that criminally irresponsible. A new conference will begin exploring a global strategy to curb greenhouse gas emissions after the expiration of the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol According to an early draft the report will be the first to include a chapter on "robust findings and key uncertainties," in which the authors pick out what they believe are the most relevant certainties and doubts about climate change. Among the uncertainties cited: the lack of data from key areas of the world, conflicting studies on the effects of cloud cover and carbon soaked up by oceans, and projections on how planners in developing countries will factor climate change into their decisions. The IPCC has been criticized for the language of the policy summaries, which have been softened on several points because of objections by countries including the USA, China and some big oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia. One of several environmental groups invited to observe the process, said "governments cut vital facts and important information" during the negotiations. The WWF accused governments of "politically inspired trimming" of facts which diluted the urgency to make deep cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.   December 10, 2007   Associated Press 022386

European Union Forests Expanding, Absorbing Carbon at Surprisingly High Rate.   The University of Helsinki study says that despite rising population, the EU can meet its obligations post-Kyoto (2012-2020). New technologies and mitigating non-CO2 gasses such as methane; partial credit for expansion of the region's forests could be decisive. A study finds that between 1990 and 2005, expansion of tree vegetation in the EU countries annually absorbed an additional 126 million tonnes of carbon, equal to 11% of the region's emissions. The rate varied from 10% in the 15 old member states 15% in the 12 new members. The findings were surprising, in 1992 they estimated the rate of increase of CO2 absorbsion through the expansion of forests at no more than 5%. The study shows that total CO2 sequestered by EU forests varies widely from country to country. Last year they advanced a more sophisticated approach to measuring forest cover that considers not just forested area but density of trees per hectare. Their calculation also quantifies the biomass and atmospheric carbon stored in forests. They reported that, amid concern about deforestation, growing stock has expanded over the past 15 years in 22 of the 50 countries with most forest, including several EU members. The good news is that trees are efficient mechanisms for capturing and storing carbon. The better news is that Europe's forests are thriving and expanding and will play an increasingly important role in helping the EU to reach its environmental goals. Every year, the expanding European forests remove a surprisingly large amount of carbon from the atmosphere. Their impact in reducing atmospheric carbon may be twice that achieved by the use of renewable energy in Europe today. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU commited to an 8% reduction of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. Under the protocol, countries do not get credit for increasing natural carbon sinks through forestry and agriculture. The researchers note the challenge confronting EU nations in order to meet a post-Kyoto commitment to reduce emissions 20% from 1990 levels by 2020. CO2 emissions in EU nations grew by an average of roughly 1% every three years between 1992 and 2004. Europe-wide emissions have not yet started to decline and time is running out for the EU to achieve its 2020 goal. "Policies that accelerate the expansion of our forest biomass not only represent a win-win for climate change and biodiversity, they also open up economic opportunities," "Land owners can benefit with new industries This could also help to reduce one of the main threats to sustained forest expansion, the need to open land to produce agricultural biofuels as alternatives to fossil fuels."   November 29, 2007   Science Daily 022343

Europe;: Fever Outbreak Linked to Climate Change.   An outbreak in Europe of an obscure disease from Africa is raising concerns that globalization and climate change are combining to pose a health threat to the West. Nearly 300 cases of chikungunya fever, a virus that previously has been common only in Africa and Asia, were reported in Italy. While the outbreak was largely the result of stronger trade and travel ties, some experts believe it is a sign of how global warming is creating new breeding grounds for diseases. Officials said the mild winter in Italy allowed mosquitoes to start breeding earlier than usual. More mosquitoes mean more disease. With warmer temperatures in the future, Europe and North America might be hit by outbreaks of diseases usually confined to southern continents. We need to be prepared for more surprises like this in the future. Italian officials grew suspicious in July, when dozens of people in the country's northeast complained of fevers, joint pain, headaches and rashes. Lab tests confirmed chikungunya fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes. Officials believe the virus arrived when a tourist from India brought the virus. The Asian tiger mosquito, which can spread the disease, had reached Italy nearly two decades earlier. The Asian tiger mosquito might be capable of spreading more dangerous diseases. Scientists think Europe's advanced health systems will help avert widespread disease. Malaria was once endemic in much of Europe but disappeared once the swamps that bred mosquitoes were replaced by buildings and medicines to treat malaria became available. But some species of mosquito prefer breeding sites like rain-filled gutters and plastic containers. France also saw a few dozen cases of chikungunya last year. Southern European countries around the Adriatic coast like Greece, France and Spain are also at risk. As temperatures keep rising, disease detection and response systems need to be reinforced. With warmer weather, it is likely we will have diseases in Europe that no one had ever expected.   November 29, 2007   Associated Press 022410

UN: Poor Need $86 Billion in Climate Aid.   Helping the world's poor adapt to changes from a warming planet will cost the richest nations at least $86 billion a year by 2015. $44 billion, would go for "climate-proofing" developing nations' infrastructure while $40 billion would help the poor cope with climate-related risks. $2 billion would go to preventing natural disasters. The report recommends the biggest share be paid by the US and other rich nations, based on calculations by the World Bank and Group of Eight major industrialized nations. The Bush administration said that one of its top priorities is "to alleviate poverty and spur economic growth in the developing world." The Human Development Report compares nations by life expectancy, literacy and other data. This year, it focuses on climate change.   November 27, 2007   Associated Press 022336

U.S.: Source of Water for West at Risk.   The West's water supply is breaking down under the rising temperatures. Mountain-snow runoff bears the scars of climate change in the highest elevations, where winter ends earlier and snow melts before downstream users need it, or vanishes in the mild-spring winds. The change threatens water but also the way it is stored and released. "Changes in runoff are only one step away from the warmth in global warming," said an environmental engineer. Climate change could drain power from renewable energy, forcing power providers to rely more heavily on pollution-spewing power plants. Hydroelectric generators are often at the back of the line when it comes to securing water rights. Power-generating capacity decreased at Glen Canyon Dam in 2003 and 2004 after water levels dropped in Lake Powell, the reservoir that provides water for the dam's turbines. "Hydropower should be encouraged to play an important part in solving the climate problem." Washington state relies on hydropower for 72% of its electricity and would suffer if plants shut down. Arizona would fare better. The Salt River Project draws on hydropower sources for about 5% of its electricity. Arizona Public Service decommissioned its last hydroelectric dam in 2005, leaving it with no hydropower. Some of Arizona's rural areas rely more heavily on hydropower, from Western Area Power Administration. They market and distribute electricity generated by 56 hydropowered plants. Western is studying the effects if its flow of hydropower if interrupted and has begun investing in wind and solar projects. Forests lie in the middle of the West's watersheds and rely on winter snow and runoff to stay healthy. When the weather dries out, so do the trees, leaving them vulnerable to pests, disease and fire. Global warming will fuel hotter and bigger fires. Researchers concluded that wildfire frequency was tied to the timing of snowmelt. A late-starting winter could leave the ground and trees exposed to cold weather. The ground freezes, preventing water from reaching the roots, and the roots freeze, hurting the tree's ability to draw nutrients. Drought-weakened trees have allowed bark-beetle infestations in Arizona and Colorado. If trees disappear, the watershed may not produce as much runoff. Moderately dense forests result in better and wetter snowpacks. Population growth has destroyed wildlife habitat, paving over washes and streams, pumping groundwater away from rivers. Birds would suffer most in the desert areas of Arizona and New Mexico. The flycatcher relies on riparian vegetation that would die if water stopped flowing. The San Pedro River, could suffer devastating losses if the climate turned drier. In the Northwest, uneven runoff cycles have affected fish that depend on regular river flows for spawning. A Tucson-based advocacy group recently cited global warming as it sought protection for a small relative of the rabbit that roams the uplands of the West. The American pika is California's canary in the coal mine, as global warming raises temperatures across California, American pikas are disappearing. Snow and runoff are part of a natural system that stores water through the winter and releases it in the spring. Problems occur when you start to shift the timing. In the high mountains, spring snowmelt occurs as much as two weeks earlier than it once did. The difference has reduced runoff at about 75% percent of the measuring stations. When the snow melts too soon, before planting season, for example, farmers lose some of their share. Reservoirs downstream will fill up before demand climbs high enough and reservoir managers could be forced to release water unused. In 2004 and 2006, snowpacks on the upper Colorado River vanished in a flurry of warm dry winds. Snow stores water efficiently; rain sinks into the soil or evaporates and can cause flooding. Most of the reservoirs that supply water to Arizona can store unused water for months or years. That will help protect water resources for Phoenix and Tucson, which may not see shortages for decades. A bigger question for Arizona is how climate change affects the summer monsoon. If winters get dry, then our landscape's going to be more dependent on summer rain. No one has any idea what's going to happen with the monsoon. A stronger monsoon in Arizona would benefit from storm runoff. Monsoon rains contributed as much or more to SRP's water stores as snow the past two years. Much remains unknown about changes in the way snow refills water resources. Runoff feeds rivers and streams it also recharges underground aquifers. Hotter weather will drive up water use by vegetation, and the ground itself will keep water, soaking up rain and snow before it runs off.   November 26, 2007   The Arizona Republic 022691

CHOGM Plan on Climate Falls Short.   COMMONWEALTH leaders said that climate change threatened the survival of small island members. A "Climate Action Plan", contained only vague language on global warming. The agreement appeared to stop short of the major statement which many members, led by Britain, had wanted. Host President Museveni was not happy with the call for increased financial flows for adaptation. Ths full statement is long and detailed and covers many items including solutions to today's environmental challenges that require active participation by all. We are conscious of the threat to low-lying coastal regions. Climate change can undermine our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The cost of inaction on mitigation and adaptation is greater than the cost of early action. There was a call for increased finance for adaptation, and additional incentives for developing countries, through flexibility mechanisms, for commitments to enhanced mitigation action. Carbon trading will be important in this regard. Measures to tackle climate change should support the economic and social transformation of societies. In particular, the easing of population pressure on agricultural land and the successful development of secondary and tertiary sectors in economies requires the provision of clean energy. A well educated and healthy society, with a diverse economy, is best placed to generate the resources to invest in cleaner technologies.   November 25, 2007   Africa News Service 022323

Australia: It's Hard Being Green and Lean.   Saving the planet is not cheap. It's easy to spend thousands of dollars minimising your carbon footprint giving you the warm feeling that you are doing the right thing. The average household won't have trouble insulating their homes, and switching to renewable energy sources. But people on low incomes can't take advantage of government grants, because the capital expenditure is still beyond their capacity. Upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances presents the same problem. Low-income households can't afford to change to more energy-efficient vehicles. Access to public transport is also a problem. In the outer suburbs of Melbourne, 90% of the population is not within walking distance of public transport after 7 on any night of the week. Australian cities are organised so the poorest live in the outer suburbs, where public transport is also the poorest. Wealthier people could afford to live in the inner suburbs which were close to work and serviced by good public transport. Modelling showed that if carbon is priced at $50 a tonne, then that will cost poor households an extra $1316 a year to carry out the same level of spending. In contrast, the expenditure of high-income households will only increase by 0.7% by paying an extra $2891 a year. Low-income households have smaller carbon footprints than high income households, but carbon prices will cost poorer people proportionately more and increase the pool of disadvantaged people. 15% of Australian families are living under the poverty line, (of about $512 a week income for 2 adults and 2 children). It was argued that a national fund is required to assist low-income and other disadvantaged people to manage climate change and policy responses to it. Community service providers were trained to identify people who use more energy and water, due to a lack of awareness, then shown simple ways to help reduce their energy and water bills. The Phoenix Fridges project involves collecting inefficient fridges, repairing them to improve energy efficiency, then reselling them at affordable prices to people on low incomes. Many of the rebate schemes aren't available to people who rent. We need to find ways to support this group.   November 20, 2007   Sydney Morning Herald 022304

India;: Climate Injustice: the Rich Are Hiding Behind the Poor.   In India, 150 million in the upper-income groups emit more than 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per annum. A Greenpeace report states that India's rich are hiding their carbon footprint behind legions of poor. Climate change is the largest threat to humanity and has focused on the linkages between development and environmental sustainability. The carbon footprint of a small wealthy class (1% of the population) is camouflaged by the 823 million poor population who keep the overall per capita emissions below 2 tonnes per year. The richest income class produce slightly less than the global average CO2 emissions but exceeds the acceptable average of 2.5 tonnes per capita that needs to be reached to limit global warming. The carbon footprint of the four highest income classes exceeds sustainable levels. Developed nations need to cut their CO2 emissions to give space to the developing world to catch up. In India if the upper and middle classes do not manage to check their CO2 emissions, they will deny hundreds of millions of poor Indians access to development. The response is not that India should not develop or the wealthy should stop consuming, but to decarbonise its development. The Five Year Plans of the Indian government bases the future of energy production on coal power plants, increasing CO2 emissions. A major shifting to renewables and energy efficiency would create the carbon space for the poor to develop. Increase in global temperatures will have detrimental effects. Changing rainfall patterns will result in flooding and droughts, melting glaciers will aggravate the problem of freshwater shortage. The intensity and frequency of storms will increase, vector-borne diseases will spread and rising sea-levels will drown coastal low-lying megacities like Mumbai and Kolkata. Countries like India will find their development jeopardised if global temperatures rise above 2 degrees Centigrade. Until now, the Indian government has maintained that the average per capita CO2 emission of India is low compared to that of the EU-25 states and the US. India claims its right to consume more energy from fossil fuels. Implicit is the notion that the developed countries need to decrease their CO2 emissions drastically. India's overall average per capita CO2 emission is 1.67 tonnes. The average CO2 emissions per income group range from 335 kg for the income class below 3,000 rupees per month to an average of 1,494 kg for the income classes above 30,000 rupees per month. While only 14% of the population earns more than 8,000 rupees a month, they contribute 24% of the CO2 emissions of the country. It is the country's poor who keep the average CO2 emissions low. An increasing use of electricity for lighting stabilises for income classes above Rs 5,000. A far sharper increase of CO2 emission from lighting between the lower and the higher income classes has been mitigated by the use of more efficient lighting systems, which are not accessible for the poor because of their high price. CO2 emissions from lighting increase by a factor of 1.6 from the below Rs 3,000 to the Rs 5,000-8,000 income class. Making efficient lighting systems accessible to the poor could cut emissions by 95 million tonnes. The CO2 emissions from fans, reaches a plateau in the 5-8,000 income class while water heaters hits a plateau at the 8-10,000 income. Washing machines start to appear in the 5-8,000 class and peak at the 15-30,000 class. The outsourcing of services is not factored in this assessment. Air conditioning due to its high price only starts to be used by income classes over 10,000 rupees but increases steeply by 6.5 times up to the Rs 30,000 class. The most pronounced increase in electricity consumption is in the use of other appliances, all the devices that make living more comfortable. Together they add 49% of the overall household emissions of the >30k income class. With increasing income, consumption changes from essentials to goods including electronics. Individual CO2 emissions from transport were split into two-wheelers, cars, buses, flights and other forms of transportation. The increase in CO2 from the lowest to the richest income class increased by a factor of 7.1. There is an increase in the use of two-wheelers resulting in an increase from 11 kg to 98 kg of CO2 per person The use of cars is starting at an income of more than Rs 10,000 per month There is a massive increase in air travel for the income class above Rs 30,000 per month The share of transport contributes only 7.2% of the personal emissions assessed by this study. From the 1980s to 2003, the number of vehicles on the road increased by almost 15 times. The number of vehicles in India will increase from today's 60 million to approximately 537 million by 2030, resulting in a 9-13-fold increase of CO2 emissions. In the absence of fast-train connections between cities, the country will need 1,500 to 2,000 passenger planes in 10 years, up from 260 now. The overall CO2 emissions of transportation in India could increase to 1,200 million tonnes in 2030. Mandatory fuel efficiency standards need to be put in place swiftly. This also helps the country to reduce its dependency on oil imports. -- Public transport systems like metros and efficient bus networks need to be built at least in all metros, also enabling these cities to handle the growing traffic burden. To achieve the needed reduction average world CO2 emissions need to be brought down to 2.5 tonnes per capita by 2030. In India 150 million people who today earn more than 8,000 rupees per month emit more than 2.5 tonnes CO2 per annum.   November 14, 2007   InfoChange 022269

Spain;: Too Close for Comfort.   The demolition of Spanish holiday homes is in the headlines, following proposals announced last week by the government aimed at protecting the country's coastline from overdevelopment. At issue are thousands of properties up and down the coast and islands that have been built illegally too close to the coastline. The initiative, which follows years of construction, is about establishing a new development model. It is also about preparing for global warming. A document entitled A Strategy for Coastal Sustainability argues that Spain should move away from mass tourism and rapid urbanisation. Radical solutions are needed to save the environment and guarantee a sustainable future for the coastal economy. The proposal is evidence of overcrowding and overdevelopment on the coast, where 44% of Spain's population is squeezed into 7% of its territory, which attracts 80% of tourists. According to the document, 40% of the Mediterranean coastline is built up and 57% of its beaches hemmed in by construction. As a result, 30% of the coast, 51% of beaches and 70% of dune areas are now in trouble. Then there is the threat of rising sea levels from global warming, which environmentalists say will shave 15 metres off the average Spanish beach by 2050, rising to 30 meters or more in some areas. The coastal law, passed in 1988, aims to protect the shore by turning all beaches into public land and prohibiting the building of new residential zones within 100 metres. Urban-planning rules in Spain have often been ignored, and thousands of residential properties have been illegally built close to the beach, often with permission from local authorities. Properties that were built legally before the Ley de Costas are unaffected. Though no figures are available, it is thought many of the illegal homes are owned by Britons, most of whom have never heard of that particular law and have no idea that their properties are at risk. Any new plan will have to deal with these properties, which could in theory involve expropriation or compulsory purchase leading to demolition. The proposals show that environmental concerns, are moving up the political agenda. This could boost the value of properties that have been legally built. If Gore is right, global warming will bring the waterfront right to your door.   November 04, 2007   Times Online 022192

U.K.;: Wales Carbon Footprint Shame.   With a population just under three million and some of the greatest scenery on earth, many would expect Wales' carbon output to rank among the lowest in the world. But the nation is producing more carbon dioxide per person than Russia or China. The Government is facing accusations that it is failing to deal with the problem. Wales has the 12th worst carbon footprint in the world. The latest figures show Wales produces 41.8m tonnes of CO2 every year, 14.2 tonnes per person. In England, CO2 emissions per person sit at 8.8 tonnes, while in Scotland the figure is 8.5 tonnes and in Northern Ireland it is 9.5 tonnes. In Europe, Wales is the third worst pollutant, and the problem has steadily worsened over the last 15 years. The Government is working to create a three per cent annual cut of CO2 emissions by 2011. But it is unlikely to reach these goals. We have the potential to lead the way because we have all the right resources here, but they're not being used. Two things must be done, including an awareness campaign so people can understand why it is a good thing to reduce energy use. Every government should be spending at least 2% of their GDP on addressing issues of climate change. Everyone needs full insulation in their houses, we need to make sure there is enough public transport and make sure the Carbon Trust gets in and does a lot of work with industries.” There needs to be legislation in place to force local authorities to take action.” "Unless we address the issue of reducing carbon emissions in Wales now, then it will escalate. It could become a total disaster.” "We must become more sophisticated in the targets that we use. We have done a lot with public sector stock and private rental housing, but we need to start focusing on private sector housing." She said: "Carbon emissions in Wales appear higher because of the amount of heavy industry and electricity generation in Wales. Road transport and residential emissions are in line with the rest of the UK." The Environment Minister was providing more resources to making sure Wales' reliance on coal and gas fired power stations was reduced.   November 04, 2007   IC Wales 022195

Concern Grows About Health Risks Posed by Climate Change.   Risks to public health from floods, heat waves and droughts are becoming the focus of global health organizations and officials. A range of health problems is expected to accompany rising temperatures, especially in developing countries. WHO announced that its theme for World Health Day would be "protecting health from climate change." "We need to put public health at the heart of the climate change agenda, this includes mobilizing governments to collaborate on strengthening surveillance and control of infectious diseases, safer use of diminishing water supplies and health action in emergencies." Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, and human activity. Recent, rapid climate change is the result of increased concentrations of the greenhouse gases, likely generated by emissions from human use of fossil fuels. On the ground, climate change can increase the occurrence and intensity of natural events like heat waves, floods, droughts and storms, directly affecting the health of millions of people. Health is at risk from a range of climate-related causes, including increases in malnutrition and consequent disorders; deaths, disease and injury due to heat waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts; diarrheal diseases; and a change in the distribution of some infectious-disease carriers (mosquitoes, ticks). WHO concludes that the health hazards posed by climate change are wide-ranging, distributed throughout the globe and difficult to reverse. Climate change is expected to have mixed effects, including a decrease or increase of the range and transmission potential of malaria in Africa, and some benefits, such as fewer deaths from cold exposure. Overall, these benefits will be outweighed by the negative health effects of rising temperatures world-wide, especially in developing countries. The greatest risks are to populations living in small-island developing states, mountain regions, water-stressed regions, megacities in developing nations, and people who are poor and poorly protected by health services. It will be necessary to strengthen health systems to protect public health from the associated risks. Bolstering health systems should include climate-specific interventions for heat wave and vector-borne disease early warning systems, and supporting choices that enhance health in sectors such as agriculture and water management.   October 25, 2007   USINFO 022239

Climate Change a Global Emergency, Experts Warn.   Climate change is the first global emergency and there are multiple reasons why our society is not sustainable. It is caused by carbon dioxide emissions and three-quarters came from burning fossil fuels and a quarter from land-use change. Deforestation emits more than the entire transport sector. South Africa's emissions are high, mainly as a result of burning coal to generate electricity. South Africa emits more carbon dioxide than Brazil, which has four times SA's population. It is said that climate change was wrongly perceived as a first-world issue being used by foreign governments to inhibit the country's economic development. On the contrary, there is cause for concern. At no time in the past 800,000 years has the concentration of carbon dioxide risen above 300 parts per million. It now stands at almost 400 ppm and is rising fast. No one knows what will happen. Even if we stop burning everything, we might have lost control. The expected impact of climate change on South Africa is drier winters to the west and shorter periods of intense summer rainfall in the east, conditions that would harm agriculture. Climate change would have a catastrophic effect on South Africa's water and food supply, and would harm subsistence farming communities. Sub-Saharan Africa is vulnerable to climate change with the low adaptive capacity of much of the population as a result of poverty. Greater use of telecommunications is likely to provide a fillip for the long-term earnings sustainability of cellphone and line operations. South Africa is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in Africa, and must start adapting early to a warmer world. There is the potential for "legal liability shifts" when litigious groups started looking for parties to blame. For example of three British retailers - Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury - require "carbon footprinting and reporting" from suppliers. Six recommendations for South African business: research, become knowledgeable on climate change; discover and work on your own carbon footprint; explore the implications of climate change then go down your own supply chain and demand carbon-neutral suppliers. The basic scientific and ecological knowledge on climate change was sound, but legal and financial frameworks needed to be developed. Business has been calling for long, loud legal signals from government. South Africa ratified the UN Kyoto Protocol and appointed the Department of Minerals and Energy as its designated national authority.   October 14, 2007   The Times 022062

Heat May Kill Hundreds More in NYC Region by 2050.   Heat-related deaths in and around New York City will nearly double by 2050 due to global warming if no efforts are made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By taking steps now to cut emissions, New Yorkers could prevent 300 of these expected deaths annually. Scientists offered an estimate of temperature increases in the City and its environs based on two scenarios, one representing rapid population growth and the other based on slower growth and concerns about environmental sustainability. By 2050, heat-related deaths would increase by 95% a year in the worst-case, reduced to 68% by acclimatization with increased air conditioning, heat alerts and other adaptations. Under the lower emissions projection, deaths would increase by 71% or 47% with acclimatization. A variation in mortality increases across the region, would range from 38% to 208%. The smallest increases in the more urban parts of the region, such as within the city itself. But deaths could skyrocket in the suburban and rural New York and Connecticut which are currently relatively cool. Urban areas, suburbs, and the countryside are all going to be affected by these hotter temperatures. No matter where they live, poor people will have a tougher time coping, given that many may not have air conditioning, or may be reluctant to use it due to electrical costs. The best and fairest approach to reducing excess heat deaths due to global warming will be to introduce regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.   October 09, 2007   Reuters 022046

World Crops Could Decline 16% Due to Warming.   Global warming could send world agriculture into serious decline by 2080. India, Pakistan, most of Africa and most of Latin America would be hit hardest. The US, most of Europe, Russia and Canada would probably see agricultural gains. Overall, the world's agricultural productivity was forecast to decline by between 3% and 16% by 2080. Australia's predicted declines in crops range between 16% and 27%. India's declines are forecast between 29% and 38% while Sudan and Senegal had predicted crop declines of more than 50%. Some analysts maintain that global warming could make the impact of human-caused climate change negligible. Studies have shown potential gains in crop yields of up to 30% when carbon dioxide emissions increased. Similar tests have shown gains to be around 15%. The boost tends to flatten out. It turns out that global yields for the major cereal crops have in fact slowed down. The average annual growth in yields in the 1960s and 1970s was 2.6% per year, but by the 1980s and 1990s it had slowed to 1.8%. The global demand for food taking into account higher population, and incomes, would about triple from now to late in the century. Northern countries such as parts of the United States, Russia and Canada would have longer growing seasons due to global warming. But the world could not rely on increased crop yields in those areas. Strong currencies would make it prohibitively expensive for most other countries to buy Russian or Canadian agricultural goods.   October 07, 2007   Planet Ark 022026

Family Planning to Reduce Emissions.   Expanding family planning in developing countries is one of the cheapest ways of reducing global greenhouse emissions. A rapid reduction in population growth in developing countries would play a critical role in reducing demand for energy and pressure on environmental systems. Aggressive programs to keep the global population to the low end of growth ranges is often overlooked as a relatively inexpensive and effective response to managing climate change. The world's population is growing by about 80 million people each year, with almost all in less developed countries. It is estimated it would cost $17 billion a year for comprehensive family planning in developing countries, excluding China and the Eastern Bloc countries. Slowing population growth would alleviate poverty and improve health standards. If you look at the history of family planning, it's about changing minds about family size.   September 25, 2007   The Australian 021960

UK Engineers Urged to Tackle Climate Change.   The next generation of engineers must lead the world in developing environmentally friendly technologies. Tackling climate change and the effects of population growth could generate at least £700bn globally by 2015. British engineers should capitalise on the opportunity while helping to mitigate the most damaging aspects of climate change. The sustainable companies of tomorrow will need engineers that can help them find ethical, environmentally sound solutions to the tough challenges. Companies must ensure that UK engineering has the highly skilled workforce required. If action is not taken in all sectors of industry and the community, global temperatures will rise by up to 6.4 degrees, and sea levels by 20cm to 60cm by the end of this century.   September 21, 2007   021945

We Need Fewer People to Halt Global Warming.   London's Science Museum's new director, Charles Rapley, says that having a billion fewer people by 2050 will reduce carbon emissions and cost 1,000 times less than all the other options. While director of the British Antarctic Survey, he told the world that the West Antarctic ice sheet, previously described as "a slumbering giant" was beginning to drip into the sea. Two years ago, he declared that Antarctica was now "a giant awakened" that could eventually raise global sea levels by five metres. He believes that there is an "unequivocal" link between mankind's fossil fuel emissions and the global temperature rise. It is Rapley's view that the "jury is still out" on the prediction that the human race would exceed its food supply by having too many children. Last year, he wrote saying that "if we believe that the size of the human 'footprint' is a serious problem (and there is much evidence for this) then a rational view would be that, the issue of population management must be addressed". Many in the scientific establishment would agree with him. "My position on population is that I am disturbed that no one will talk about it", Rapley says. Hundreds of emails from people around the world support him for standing up and being counted, and a "daft response" from commentators warning that Rapley was out to curb our freedom to procreate. Saving a gigaton of carbon, through education for women and birth control programmes, would cost 1,000 times less than any of the other technical options. In his view, technology alone will not solve the global warming problem - it will take changes in the very ways society behaves. Within 20 years, he says, journeys of up to 600 miles will be made by surface traffic. He says that there is a possibility that Malthus's prediction that we will run out of food could come true we are already struggling to feed 6.5 billion of us adequately, let alone to provide enough water and energy.   September 20, 2007   Telegraph 021939

Family Planning to Reduce Emissions.   Expanding family planning is one of the cheapest ways of reducing greenhouse emissions and alleviating poverty. A rapid reduction in population growth in developing countries would play a critical role in reducing demand for energy and pressure on other environmental systems. Programs to keep the global population to the low end of growth ranges was often overlooked as an effective response to managing climate change. It was estimated in 1994 that it would cost $17 billion a year to roll out comprehensive family planning strategies in developing countries. Slowing population growth would also alleviate poverty and improve health standards. Family planning is not expensive, we are giving people the ability to make decisions about family sizes.   September 18, 2007   The Australian 022085

Brazil Ethanol Seen Good for Climate, Maybe Not Environment.   Brazil's Environmental Minister said that ethanol production is cutting the country's greenhouse gas emissions, but another ministry official said that it remains to be seen whether ethanol is good for the environment. Reductions in deforestation and increased ethanol use has reduced Brazil's CO2 emissions by 500 million tons. Between 2003 and 2004, Brazilian agribusiness and the civilian population cut down 27,000 square kilometers of forest. the number should be around 9,000 square kilometers in 2007. The number one contributor to deforestation is the lumber and cattle industry. Agribusiness is responsible for 25% of Brazil's carbon emissions, due to fertilizer production and burning of sugarcane fields. Sugar and ethanol production is a contributor to greenhouse gases, despite being a force in reducing overall contributions. Ethanol isn't as green as people might like to think. Brazil is studying whether ethanol and biofuels in general are harmful for the environment. The remedy could be worse than the sickness. Sugarcane may be harmful to the environment. The impact of sugarcane expansion on Brazil's groundwater and potassium in fertilizer could be harmful to Brazilian aquifers. Municipalities, state, federal laws and even federal departments often have opposing views on sustainable agriculture. Many small and midsize sugarcane industries simply break environmental laws. One concern is the environmental sustainability of Brazil's ethanol industry. Brazil's government views ethanol much the way oil-producing nations view petroleum.   September 17, 2007   CattleNetwork.com 021927

Letters: Controlling Growth Can Control Global Warming.   Relatively little attention has been given to the largest factor creating greenhouse gas emissions, which is the immensity of the world's population. If we humans don't manage our growth, no policy will ever be sufficient to solve global warming. A 40% cut in per capita carbon emissions in the developed world by 2050 could be completely cancelled out by population growth. This means that all current efforts at reducing global warming will be futile. We can successfully enhance our global health and we can reduce human population growth but only if done simultaneously. Support legislation that provides funding for comprehensive sex education and family planning. When families have this choice they have fewer children and fully desired children. We must acknowledge the harmful consequences of unchecked population growth. Securing our planet's sustainability and our human survivability go hand in hand. To achieve the best for all generations means limiting our species growth as we also limit global warming.   September 14, 2007   Appleton Post Crescent 021922

Window to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change Closing; EU Should Press for Immediate U.S. Action.   Consumption of resources is breaking records, disrupting the climate and undermining life on the planet. The trends illustrate the need to check consumption of resources that are contributing to the climate crisis, starting with the U.S., which accounted for over 21% of carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning in 2005. The world is running out of time and it is essential that the international community bring pressure to bear on U.S. policy makers. This summer, the EU had fires in Greece and the Canary Islands, floods in England, and heat waves across the Continent. With a global population of 6.6 billion and growing, the ecosystem services are being stretched to the limit due to record levels of consumption In 2006, the world used 3.9 billion tons of oil and in 2005 produced 7.6 billion tons of carbon emissions. More wood was removed from forests in 2005 than ever before. Steel production grew 10% while primary aluminum output increased to 33 million tons. Meat production hit a record 276 million tons. Expansion of soybean plantations could displace 22 million hectares of tropical forest and savanna in the next 20 years. Many fish species become scarcer - with consumption three times as much seafood per person than in 1950. The expanding world population is endangering organisms on the land and in the sea. The warming climate is undermining biodiversity by accelerating habitat loss. The oceans have absorbed about half of the carbon dioxide emitted by humans in the last 200 years. In 2006, the world experienced more weather-related disasters than in any of the previous three years. It is essential that the international community bring pressure to bear on U.S. policy makers to address the climate crisis. The fastest growth carbon emissions is occurring in Asia, particularly China and India. Denmark and Russia are starting to vie for control over the Lomonosov Ridge, where new sources of oil and natural gas could be accessed if the Arctic Circle becomes ice-free. These actions assume that a warming world is here.   September 13, 2007   Worldwatch Institute 022094

Canada: Climate Change Ticks Ever Closer.   At the foot of Leslie St., a spit of land fans out into Lake Ontario. The peninsula, built with rubble from Toronto construction sites, has grown into a home to butterflies, birds, rabbits and coyote. The park is popular with migratory birds many coming from as far away as South America. But among these birds and animals are ticks that can carry Lyme disease. Every morning the co-ordinator of the Bird Research Station in Tommy Thompson Park organizes a group of volunteers who track the birds. It is part of the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network sites across southern Canada and the northern United States that monitor the population trends of northern breeding birds. From March to June, volunteers plucked ticks from migrating birds and mailed them to scientists who are trying to gain a better understanding of how birds and climate change might increase the spread of Lyme disease through Canada. Since the 1970s, parts of the US have suffered an epidemic of Lyme disease, mostly within the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central states. In the US, approximately 20,000 new cases are reported each year. The disease is rarely reported in Canada, but ranks among the top bug-borne diseases in the United States. Ten years ago, eastern Canada had only two known populations of blacklegged tick. Today, there are 13 or 14. They tend to settle in migratory bird landfalls. Leslie St. Spit, the Toronto Islands and the Toronto lakeshore are popular resting spots for migrants. Toronto has always been on the migration highways, there are lots of green spaces where the birds can drop in and rest. The birds may be bringing ticks into Canada after passing through the northeastern and north-central states, where they're abundant. All the stations from western Ontario to Nova Scotia captured migratory birds with ticks on them. Canada's cooler climate offered protection from the diseases of warmer regions. But as climate change brings milder winters, scientists worry that the ticks may move farther north. The warmer air temperature can make it easier for the insect to survive the Canadian winter. Should greenhouse gas emissions remain high, average summer temperatures in southern Ontario are expected to be 4 to 5C warmer and average winter temperatures about 6C warmer before the end of the century.   September 01, 2007   Toronto Star 021868

Greenhouse Gases Fueled 2006 US Warmth - Report.   Greenhouse gas emissions pushed U.S. temperatures close to a record high, government scientists reported. The annual average U.S. temperature in 2006 was 2.1F above the 20th century average. Most climate scientists attribute this to greenhouse gas emission, notably from petroleum-fueled vehicles and coal-fired power plants. But other factors also play a role, and U.S. climate scientists wondered if this warmth was due to climate change or to the naturally occurring El Nino. El Nino seemed a logical culprit, and if not El Nino then what? Computer simulations showed, with 90% probability, that human activities contribute to global warming. They compared the simulations for 2006, which included projections of greenhouse gas emissions, with the actual average temperature for the US, and found a correlation, consistent with the greenhouse gas effect. Updated numbers showed last year was 0.08F cooler than 1998. The difference in U.S. average temperatures between 2006, 1998 and 1934 was minuscule.   August 28, 2007   Reuters Alert Net 021853

Norway Debates the Promise, Costs of New Drilling.   In two generations, oil and gas have transformed Norway into an economic powerhouse. But now its citizens and politicians are debating whether it should take advantage of Earth's warming to drill for more oil above the Arctic Circle, knowing that consumption of that oil will accelerate climate change. About 73 billion barrels of oil and natural gas could be trapped in a 1,220-mile-long stretch of the Arctic seabed. The country is the world's third biggest gas exporter and fifth largest oil exporter. Petroleum accounted for 36% of the government's revenue. If Norway holds back, Russia, Denmark, Canada and other countries with Arctic claims could well vie to exploit these resources. Statoil, the Norwegian oil company whose majority owner is the government, said global warming is a problem, but they also feel a need to supply international markets. Government officials say they are committed to reducing Norway's greenhouse gas emissions and will cut emissions by 30% by 2020. While changing climate make it easier to extract oil and gas from beneath the Barents Sea, Norway is pioneering carbon-capture and storage technologies. But some say the government is making a mistake in pushing for energy exploration in a melting ecosystem.   August 21, 2007   Washington Post 021804

US California;: State Reaches Settlement on Gas Emissions.   San Bernardino County will be forced to measure how much it contributes to global warming and cut its emissions in the next 2 1/2 years. Counties across California realize that local decisions about where to allow new subdivisions and how buildings are constructed, are factors in the climate changes. San Bernardino County, is expected to grow by 500,000 people by 2030 and will show how local government can combat oil dependency and climate disruption. The county could make improvements in transport centers, energy-efficient building, and methane recovery to create electricity. San Bernardino County generates about 10 trips per household per day, and more than 84% of the work trips are made by vehicle. It needs people living closer to where they work. The attorney general's lawsuit had raised the ire of local officials, builders and industry groups. In a compromise, lawmakers agreed that by 2010, new rules would spell out how to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions of projects covered by the law. He has sent stern letters to officials in 11 other counties, on their duty to reduce greenhouse gases. The settlement applies only to unincorporated areas of the county and to government operations, not to the county's fast-growing cities. One lawsuit seeks to force the county to keep new homes out of the path of wildfires and decrease sprawl and protect wildlife. San Bernardino is notorious for adopting goals that sound good on paper but result in little benefit.   August 21, 2007   Los Angeles Times 021814

Scientists Warn on Climate Tipping Points.   Scientists predict that the loss of the Greenland ice sheet may lead to catastrophic sea-level rises. If the Greenland ice sheet melted completely, it would raise global sea levels by seven metres. This should take about 1,000 years. But the break-up could happen more quickly, in 300 years. A study identified eight tipping points that could be passed by the end of this century. The destruction of the Amazon rainforest, the melting of the west Antarctic ice sheet, and a collapse of the global ocean current known as the thermohaline circulation. Prof Lenton said the IPCC issued more conservative reports than his team. If you could stabilise the greenhouse gas levels to today's level, you'll still get some further warming. The average temperature rise of just 1C would be enough to slip the Greenland ice over the edge.   August 15, 2007   Guardian (London) 021780

The Cult of Global Warming.   Note from the editor: More ramblings from the name-callers who get their power and glory by trying to shout down the wisdom of 1000s of scientists... Global warming has become the apocalyptic cult of the new millennium. "The World Tomorrow" stunningly depicts ecological end-times in familiar settings. Singapore is demolished by super tornadoes. Fires ravage downtown San Diego, floods drench Central Europe. This enviro-porn compliments the ravings of Global Warming's nuttier acolytes. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. raved to the Live Earth audience: "Get rid of all of these rotten politicians we have in Washington, who are nothing more than corporate toadies. The environmentalist canon may be described as Global Warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions is revealed truth. If we don't repent, mankind will be eternally damned. Doubters are monsters and mental defectives. It's time to turn to pig manure and solar power for energy. Michael Crichton described the religion of environmentalism, we are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Facts are irrelevant, Crichton explains. The Earth has regularly gone through hot and cold cycles. A thousand years ago, Viking settlements in Greenland were growing crops. Reid Bryson, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is a Global Warming iconoclast, and shunned by many of his colleagues. The professor does not doubt the Earth is warming, but there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide," Bryson told a reporter. "Speaking out against global warming is like being a heretic," Bryson declares. A study in the journal Science analyzed ancient tree rings from 14 sites on three continents in the northern hemisphere and concluded that temperatures in an era known as the Medieval Warm Period some 800 to 1,000 years ago closely matched the warming trend of the 20th century. We're in a mild, erratic natural warming cycle that will gradually return us to the finest weather pattern in all recorded history. The polar ice caps will not melt, and the sea level will continue to rise very slowly. But this is an inconvenient truth for the Church of CO2 Emissions. In the '50s and '60s, it was the military/industrial complex. Then came overpopulation. Now birthrates are falling worldwide, and well below replacement levels in most industrialized nations, And now we have the Church of Global Warming, under the leadership of Pope Albert I and his cardinals (the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and editorial board of The New York Times). As science, Global Warming ranks right up there with the Piltdown Man and the gay-gene theory. All of the left's quasi-religions seek to take us to a state of rigid control, central planning, rationing, pre-industrial living standards and flagellation to purge us of our sins. Brits have to limit childbearing, the Optimum Population Trust insists. If they won't do so voluntarily, the government should adopt coercive measures - which in China has meant forced abortions and sterilizations, and infanticide. Be afraid. Be very afraid.   The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC's purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities: "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686 The author does not dispute that there is global warming - just that it is caused by humans. If we follow the advice of the author - can afford to be wrong?   July 31, 2007   FrontPage magazine.com 021697

Sri Lanka;: Breeding Food Crops to Take Advantage of Rising Atmospheric CO2.   There is concern that it will be difficult to feed the expanding human population of the planet without taking more land and nearly all available freshwater This could lead to the extinction of plant and animal species. The fertilization effect of the rise in the atmosphere's CO2 can boost the yields of current crop varieties and help avert this disaster. The authors grew 16 genotypes of rice under standard paddy culture with adequate water and nutrients, from May to August and from November to March within open-top chambers maintained at either the ambient or an elevated CO2 concentration. They found that the CO2-induced enhancement of the grain yields of the 16 different genotypes ranged from +4% to +175% in the yala season and from -5% to +64% in the maha season. The results demonstrate the significant variation in the response to increased atmospheric CO2 of yield and suggest that types responsive to elevated CO2 may be selected and produce new rice varieties which would be higher yielding in a future high CO2 climate. To avert the catastrophe foreseen by the scientists will require that the breeding programs be initiated as soon as possible.   July 31, 2007   CO2 Science Magazine 021698

Study Links More Hurricanes, Climate Change.   The number of hurricanes each year has doubled over the past century, tied to global warming. Researchers found that average hurricane numbers jumped during the 20th century, from 3.5 per year in the first 30 years to 8.4 in the earliest years of the 21st century. Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures increased .65 degrees. The extent to which this can be blamed on human activities has been the subject of scientific debate over the past two years. The new study drew criticism from experts who dispute the merits of combining data from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with statistics gleaned from more modern technology. "They're saying there's a long, upward trend of the last 100 years in tropical storms. All the data I have looked at show that's not the case," says scientist William Gray a critic of the view that human-induced greenhouse gases drive climate and hurricanes, 19th-century data "is just not that good." While 2006 was a quiet year for hurricanes, with five storms, 100 years ago it would have been considered a very stormy year and 20 years ago, it would have been an average year.   July 30, 2007   USA Today 021696

G.E. Unveils Credit Card Aimed at Relieving Carbon Footprints.   G.E. will introduce the GE Money Earth Rewards Platinum MasterCard, which allows cardholders to forgo a 1% cash rebate and earmark that amount for projects that reduce greenhouse gases. Each Earth Day GE will use the total to buy offsets of greenhouse gas emissions. GE says it is in a position to help people make a difference through their purchases. Environmentalists are not quite as sure. G.E. supplies parts for coal-fired plants, so its credit card offsets emissions it helps create. At myearthrewards.com, the new card's Web site, consumers can calculate their carbon footprint and read tips for reducing it, like buying items that G.E. sells. G.E. is an investor and indirectly a manufacturer of alternative energy devices. G.E. says it is supporting only projects that have been certified by third parties to be effective. The venture first will buy offsets from projects that capture methane from landfills and coal mines. Later, it will add reforestation and alternative energy projects. The card will have no annual fee and will charge interest of 12.99% to 18.99%. If someone charges $750 each month, 1% would offset the activities that yield the 10 metric tons of greenhouse gases that G.E. says a consumer produces each year on average. G.E. is is spurning paper applications, insisting that people apply online or by phone. MasterCard, will sponsor the card and may help G.E. set up arrangements to automatically pay recurring bills. There are similar credit cards available in some parts of Europe. A research group, Redefining Progress, formed a company called Cooler, which is to soon unveil a shopping site that has arranged for about 350 vendors, including Wal-Mart, to purchase carbon credits to offset the greenhouse gases resulting from the manufacture and use of items purchased through the site.   July 25, 2007   New York Times* 021654

Study Confirms Connection Between Human Activity and Increased Rainfall.   For the first time, climate scientists have detected the human fingerprint on changing global precipitation patterns over the past century. Comparing rainfall from 1925 to 1999 the team found that 50% to 85% of rainfall increase at latitudes north of 40 degrees, was connected to human activity. The study pinned increased rain in the 30 degrees of latitude south of the equator on fossil-fuel use in the Northern Hemisphere; latitudes up to 30 degrees north of the equator are getting dryer. That will have economic impacts, and impacts on food production, and could ultimately displace populations.   July 24, 2007   The Vancouver Sun 021647

Solar Variations Not Behind Global Warming: Study.   Solar variations over the past 20 years should have had a cooling effect, scientists said. Their findings add to the evidence that human activity lies behind rising average world temperatures. Over the past 20 years, the trends in the sun that could have influenced Earth's climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the rise in global temperatures. Most scientists say greenhouse gases are the prime cause of the current warming trend. The estimate is that temperatures would rise 1.8 to 4.0 degrees Celsius (3.2 to 7.8 Fahrenheit) this century.   July 11, 2007   Reuters 021548

Agency Takes First Step to Protect Emperor Penguin and 9 Others.   The Fish and Wildlife Service took the first step toward declaring the Emperor penguin and nine other species as needing the protections of the Endangered Species Act. The service said it had evidence to begin a review of the 10 groups of penguins, to determine the rates of decline and their possible causes. One possibility is commercial fishing, when birds are caught in nets, or when the fishing provides competition for their prey. Other factors include habitat loss, predators and climate change. The penguins may join a list of species, including polar bears and two corals found off Florida, whose survival is deemed at risk in part because of the increasing warmth of the atmosphere and oceans. The lists include 568 foreign species. The US government's ability to protect them is largely limited to working in partnership with other governments or international groups. A news release said the Emperor penguin colony featured in the 2005 film “March of the Penguins” has declined by more than 50% because of global warming. Krill has declined by as much as 80% since the 1970s over large areas of the oceans in the Southern Hemisphere. The 10 species named include the African and Humboldt penguins, as well as southern and northern rockhoppers and the macaroni, white-flippered, erect-crested, fiordland-crested and yellow-eyed penguins. The Galapagos penguin is already under the protection.   July 09, 2007   New York Times* 021555

Links


Aircraft Emissions to Double by 2030 Despite Hi-tech Jets.   Emissions from aircraft will double by 2030. Any savings in emissions per flight will be eclipsed by the growth in air travel forecast for the next 25 years. The European Commission is investigating a tax on aviation fuel or an emissions charge, in addition to extending its emissions trading scheme to airlines. The group aims to introduce new aircraft that will produce 50% less carbon dioxide. Other targets include reducing nitrogen oxides by 80% and noise by 50%. Improvements will not keep pace with the rising number of flights. The Government estimates that passenger numbers will more than double, to 470 million in 2030. Aircraft, even assuming that fuel efficiency targets are met, will increase to 18 million tonnes by 2030. Emissions of greenhouse gases at cruising altitude is three times greater than at ground level. The group pledged to cooperate in investigating the impact of emissions at altitude. It also promised to report each airline’s fleet fuel efficiency by the end of 2005. Airlines will encourage passengers to make contributions to offset emissions. Future Forests and Atmosfair offer passengers the opportunity to pay for carbon-reducing measures such as planting trees. BA’s environmental affairs manager, said the airline would calculate the emissions from all flights booked by a company and then jointly invest in sustainable projects around the world. Aviation can best help the environment not by reducing its own emissions but by paying for other industries to cut theirs. The group admitted that airlines were unlikely to find an alternative to fossil fuels for several decades.   The depletion of oil will mean far less air travel.   June 18, 2005   Times Online 014291

Green Peace Climate Page .     006868

An Inventory of Data, for Reconstructing 'natural Steady State' .   Carbon Storage in Terrestrial Ecosystems   006869

Human Population and Global Warming .   By Gary W. Harding. Makes the connection between population growth and global warming   006870

1998 Record Year for Weather-related Disasters .   From the WorldWatch Institute   006867

Global Change Research Information Office (GCRIO).   The Nature and Implications of Environmental Change   006866

Air Pollution


Organo Failure California Study Suggests Link Between Autism and Pesticide Exposure.   California found that exposure to two pesticides may make women more likely to give birth to children with autism. But the scientists cautioned that their finding is preliminary because of the small number of women and children involved. Very preliminary data suggests there may be an association. The two pesticides are compounds developed in the 1950s and used to kill mites, primarily on cotton as well as some vegetables and other crops. Scientists determined that the Central Valley women lived within 500 meters, or 547 yards, of fields sprayed with organochlorine pesticides during their first trimester of pregnancy. Eight of them had children with autism, six times greater than for mothers who did not live near the fields. This is a sixfold risk factor in comparison to someone who is not exposed. The findings suggest that 7% of autism cases in the Central Valley during 1996 through 1998 might have been connected to exposure to the insecticides drifting off fields into residential areas. Scientists have been exploring various environmental factors, including children's vaccines and chemical pollutants. Scientists collected records of nearly 300,000 children born in the 19 counties of the Sacramento and San Joaquin river valleys, 465 had autism. They compared the addresses during pregnancy to records that detailed the location of fields sprayed with pesticides. For most pesticides, no unusual numbers of autism cases were found, but the exception was a class of compounds called organochlorines. Most, including DDT, were banned in the US several decades ago, only dicofol and endosulfan remain. The autism rate was highest for children of mothers who lived the closest to the fields. The scientists concluded that the possibility of a connection requires further study. A July report said endosulfan can spread far from fields via the air. The agency is likely to designate endosulfan as a toxic air contaminant, and dicofol could follow. That triggers a review to see whether steps should be taken to minimize the chemicals drifting off fields. More work on the potential link is needed before it can carry much weight in assessments of the chemicals' risks. The two insecticides are used much less than in the years in which the possible connection to autism was found. Insects have built up resistance and cotton farmers have switched to new compounds. The chemicals are used most extensively in Fresno, Kings, Imperial and Tulare counties. Dicofol is used on cotton, oranges, beans and walnuts. Endosulfan is used in tomato processing and on lettuce, alfalfa and cotton crops.   Karen Gaia says: More pesticides become necessary to grow more plants required by more people.   July 31, 2007   Los Angeles Times 021695

Pollution Leaves Women at Greater Risk for Heart Disease, Death.   The most rigorous study to link pollution and heart disease has found that women are at much greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Women living in cities with the highest levels of air particles, such as Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York, were 76% more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than women breathing cleaner air. "The magnitude of the findings are higher than what's been seen in prior research. The study monitored the health of more than 65,000 post-menopausal women for up to nine years. It used pollution meters to measure the amount of particles in the air. The EPA compiled the results. The findings were consistent regardless of a woman's weight, smoking history, blood pressure or cholesterol levels. The particles affect the lining of the blood vessels, which makes it easier for cholesterol plaque to form, and also makes the blood stickier so clots are more likely to form. Women may be more vulnerable, in part, because they have smaller coronary arteries.   January 31, 2007   The Press-Enterprise 020180

China Fails Environment Targets.   Only Beijing and five other provinces or municipalities improved energy efficiency by 4% and cut emissions by 2% in the first six months of 2006. These targets are part of the 2006-10 Five Year Plan, and call for energy consumption per unit of GDP to be cut by 20%, while pollution emissions should fall 10%. National Development and Reform Commission Minister Ma Kai said "it is extremely hard to achieve this year's goal". Much of China's airborne pollution comes from coal-burning power stations and car exhaust fumes, neither can be reduced quickly. Many factories also ignore the law and pump toxic waste into rivers and lakes. There is little sign that things are going to get better any time soon. Senior officials said the situation was worse than ever. 2006 has been the most grim year for China's environmental situation, vice-minister Pan Yue said on the Web site of the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa).   January 2007   International Herald Tribune 020028

House That Can ‘Eat’ Pollution.   Coating buildings and roads in Europe and Japan with a "smog-eating" titanium dioxide cleans surfaces and nearby air. It can reduce some pollutants by 20% to 70%. A breakthrough by a British company can create buildings that absorb pollution. The technique involves applying titanium dioxide as a spray coating to the surface of buildings or as an ingredient in plastics, fabrics and ceramic tiles. It acts as a catalyst to break down the pollutants from vehicle exhausts.The material could be applied to the outside of existing buildings or be incorporated in new ones. In addition to keeping walls clean, it has the potential to cut breathing problems by cleaning the air around buildings. Trials are under way in the City. Titanium dioxide has been used as a whitener in products such as toothpaste, but its ability to soak up pollution has been recognised only recently. The titanium dioxide allows the pollutants in the air to react with the oxygen in the air and coverts it to a form which then falls onto the ground and is washed away by the rain.   November 28, 2006   The Sunday Times 019589

U.S.;: Engineers Gone Wild.   General Motors Corp., BMW AG and DaimlerChrysler AG plan to invest over US $1 billion in the development of a new hybrid transmission and related systems. They have about 500 engineers who have been working on the development of the next-generation hybrid engine technology. An onboard computer determines when and at what speeds the two motors will be used and how the battery will be recharged. Development of the transmission is expected to cost about US$300. The remainder of the investment represents the cost of integrating the new hybrid system. The hybrid engine will be available in two rear-wheel drive configurations or a front-wheel drive system. It can be adjusted to provide either improved value or high performance. DaimlerChrysler plans to use the new system in its 2008 Dodge Durango. GM will use the hybrid in versions of the Tahoe and Yukon SUVs. BMW has said it will make vehicles available with the system over the next 3 to 5 years. A collaborative development effort on an expensive emerging technology will become increasingly common in the auto industry. GM is considering an alliance with Renault-Nissan that could include shared development efforts.   August 14, 2006   Planet Ark 018347

U.S. Emits Half of Car-Caused Greenhouse Gas.   American cars and pickups are responsible for nearly half of the greenhouse gases emitted by automobiles globally. Cars in the U.S. are driven more miles, face lower fuel economy standards and use fuel with more carbon than in many other countries. It is hoped a report's findings will bolster efforts to raise fuel economy standards and set a mandatory cap on greenhouse gases from all sources. Small cars emitted more carbon dioxide than SUVs, because there are more older small vehicles with higher emissions in service. SUVs get worse fuel economy but there's twice as many small cars. That will change in a few years with SUVs bought taking the lead. The study concludes that vehicles manufactured by General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler produce the most emissions, with Toyota fourth. GM said it was committed to cutting emissions through research and development of alternative fuels and technologies. The company would like to see greenhouse gases eliminated with the development of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. The study was designed to show the amount of carbon dioxide released by American cars and to stimulate passage of tougher laws aimed at reducing it. Auto industry companies have fought efforts to pass tougher federal fuel economy standards and is suing California and several other states to block state-by-state tailpipe emission laws.   June 28, 2006   MSNBC.com 017926

Asian Pollution May Harm Washington Air.   Most pollution in Washington state is produced locally, but some, like mercury in lake fish, or the haze that rings Mount Rainier, could have Asian connections. A team of researchers recently received two state-of-the-art planes as part of the first concerted federal effort to decipher how air from Asia carries pollutants to America. The added pollution could push parts of the country over clean-air thresholds, or erase gains made from costly efforts to cut local pollution. In 2003 the EPA struck a deal to help Chinese officials to monitor air-pollution levels and cut emissions. More sensitive equipment to track the pollution and a growing Asian industry has created greater awareness that Asia is a source of U.S. air pollution. The team uses computer models to search for pollution associated with industrial activity. 1997, near the northwest tip of the Olympic Peninsula, was found higher-than-expected levels of CO2 and a chemical that helps create ozone when the winds were blowing from Asia. Dust from Asian dust storms made up more than half the small-particulate pollution in Seattle during one week. In 2003, ozone that had pushed Seattle-area levels above federal air-quality limits could be traced to Siberian forest fires. Mercury in the air around the summit of Mount Bachelor had originated in Asia, where coal burning is a major source of atmospheric mercury. A modified C-130 cargo and a DC-8 jet from NASA was added to help their efforts. Both planes will spend next month over the Pacific Ocean, taking samples from plumes of pollution from Asia as part of a project spearheaded by NASA.   April 27, 2006   Associated Press 017228

Mexico City Breathes Fresher Air.   One of two volcanoes southeast of Mexico City, used to be perpetually obscured by the nearly permanent shroud of smog that once covered the Mexican capital. These days, the volcano can often be seen against a Marian-blue sky. They've cleaned up this city's famously polluted air. It's still bad, but better than it used to be. Twenty years ago, this city seemed bound for environmental and demographic disaster. The population of the city was poised to proliferate to about 36 million people by the year 2000 but it hasn't worked out that way. The population of the city's greater metropolitan area is now about 20 million. Meanwhile, the air quality has improved. It is still among the 10 most-polluted cities in the world, but better than New Delhi or Bangkok. Over the course of a generation and a concerted campaign against the worst excesses of the internal-combustion engine, Mexico's capital has gone from being the dirtiest city in the world to not as unpleasant as before. In April 1992, monitoring stations recorded high or concentrations of pollutants on 11 occasions, including two instances when the air quality was serious enough to aggravate respiratory ailment. In April 2003, a bad reading was recorded on just one occasion.   April 17, 2006   Toronto Star 017150

Jakarta Says to Sue If Freeport Snubs Complaints.   Indonesia will sue U.S. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold if it fails to follow recommendations to stop pollution from its Papua operations. Critics say the mine creates environmental damage by polluting streams and killing wildlife. The report said tailings, had flowed through the nearby Ajkwa river and recommended the firm better manage its tailings, for example by using them for building construction. The firm might have up to three years to follow the recommendations. Freeport said it had implemented some of the recommendations and would follow through on the rest. The Grasberg mine is believed to hold the world's third-largest copper reserves and one of the biggest gold deposits. Indonesia needs foreign investment to speed up the recovery of an economy that verged on collapse in late 1990s. "If they look at it in a reasonable way they will know that it is for the long run," said a key member of President Yudhoyono's campaign team. He also said that haze from Indonesian forest fires could cloud skies again this year. That is bad news for neighbours Malaysia and Singapore where the smoke has caused health problems and shut down airports, close schools, and businesses. The haze, much of it caused by slash-and-burn at palm oil plantations, tends to be an annual problem but its intensity varies with the severity of the dry season. The problem has persisted and interest in resolving the issue tends to fade when rain comes. The government has been trying to litigate against plantation firms, many owned by Malaysians, whose practices cause haze, but could do nothing if courts fail to severely punish them. The government plans to open palm oil plantations near the Indonesian border on Borneo island. They will start by making use of the areas ready for planting and strongly oppose cutting down forest for the replanting of palm oil plantations.      March 24, 2006   Forbes 016892

Soil Erosion Threatens Environment and Human Health.   Around the world, soil is being washed away 10 to 40 times faster than it is being replenished. Yet the need for agricultural products continues to soar. Soil erosion is second only to population growth as the biggest environmental problem the world faces, yet the problem is being ignored. Erosion is a slow and insidious process, yet it can be controlled with cover crops when the land is not being used to grow crops. Other ways to include reducing the need for people in developing countries to clear forests for agriculture, overgraze their cattle and remove crop residues for cooking fuel. 99.7% of human food comes from cropland, which is shrinking by more than 10 million hectares (almost 37,000 square miles) a year due to soil erosion. More than 3.7 billion people are malnourished. A study reports: • The US is losing soil 10 times faster, and China and India are losing soil 30 to 40 times faster than the natural replenishment rate. • The economic impact of soil erosion in the US costs the nation about $37.6 billion each year in productivity losses, worldwide, $400 billion per year. • Over the past 40 years, 30% of the world's arable land has become unproductive. • About 60% of soil that is washed away ends up in rivers, streams and lakes. • Soil erosion reduces the ability of soil to store water and support plant growth. Erosion promotes losses of water, nutrients, soil organic matter and soil biota, harming natural ecosystems. • Erosion increases the amount of dust which not only acts as an abrasive and air pollutant but carries about 20 human infectious disease organisms.   March 22, 2006   Newswise 016867

U.S.: The Perils of Pesticides.   High concentrations of pesticide in the air can cause poisonings and serious illness. Exposure may cause birth defects, cancer, asthma, developmental disabilities and other long-term health effects. It can also harm the local environment, killing fish, birds and other wildlife. Sometimes you can see and smell a cloud of pesticides drifting off a field, but some are invisible and odorless. Some pesticides continue to evaporate for several days to several weeks. People who live near farms, or in the city or suburbs can all be affected. Pesticides sprayed onto a school sports field may drift into the classroom. Pesticides have been found 50 miles from where they were applied. Many communities are concerned about the effects pesticides have on their health and well-being. The goal is to protect human health and the environment as well as the viability and integrity of sustainable agriculture by eliminating sources of pesticide drift. The EPA is conducting a review of soil fumigant pesticides in a process called the Fumigant Cluster Assessment.      August 17, 2005   Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) 014974

China Halts Megaprojects, Citing Environment - 26 of 30 Projects Are Power Plants, Many Coal-fired.   The Chinese government has halted construction at 30 projects, including two at the Three Gorges Dam, due to violations of environmental regulations and other concerns. Twenty-six are power plants in 12 provinces, to boost the nation’s generating capacity amid electricity shortages, many expansions of coal-fired plants. One is a cardboard factory. Two are roads, including a section of a highway from Tibet to China’s border with North Korea. Many of the projects had not complied with environmental impact assessments or other authorizations. The administration said some projects might be resumed but that others would be canceled. The government said it was stepping up controls on investment in power plants, saying many were being launched without legal approvals. It estimated the unauthorized power plants at 120,000 megawatts, or 30 times current generating capacity. Two projects are power facilities connected with the Three georges dam, while the third, was part of a plan to develop hydropower in the upper Yangtze.      January 19, 2005   MSNBC.com 012664

White House to Push 'Clear Skies' Legislation; EPA Rule Put on Hold as Bush Seeks Bill.   The White House plans to retool the nation's air quality laws. The move has alarmed environmentalists, who fear that the "Clear Skies" proposal would undercut existing standards more than the plan to revise pollution controls through regulation. The proposal is to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide in 28 states that fail to meet air quality standards or produce pollution that ends up in other states. The rules are to cut nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollution by 70% after 2015. The EPA expects to finalize regulations to curb mercury emissions by 70% over the same period. The administration is hoping to establish a cap-and-trade system that would allow companies to buy and sell pollution credits. Electric utility operators, who are responsible for 22% of the nitrogen oxide and 68% of sulfur dioxide pollution, said they prefer this over a new set of federal rules. Any new regulations will be delayed by litigation, perpetuating uncertainty for power companies. Environmental advocates said the administration is undermining public health by pressing for legislation that would make it easier for companies to continue polluting. The Clear Skies bill makes changes to air quality enforcement and also regulates mercury. The bill would postpone deadlines for meeting public health standards and would exempt affected smokestacks from installing stricter pollution controls.      December 11, 2004   Washington Post 012426

Eastern U.S. May Face More Bad Summer Air.   Summer days when smog hits unhealthy levels could rise to 20 from 12 in cities in the east of the US. Rising temperatures will cause smog levels to rise, smog levels which are linked with respiratory problems. The number of "red alert" days, when the air is deemed unhealthy, could double in many cities. Atlanta would see them rise to 16 from 11. Since 1970, precursors to ozone formation have fallen substantially while population and energy consumption rose. The EPA found that 159 million Americans in 31 states live in counties where smog levels exceed federal standards. Unhealthy air means that children will have to spend more time indoors, with serious consequences for asthmatic children and people with cardiovascular problems.      August 05, 2004   Reuters 011152

Toxic Pollution Up 5 Percent, EPA Says; Environmentalists Say 512,000 Pounds of Air Pollution Not Reported in Delaware.   Nationwide toxic pollutants rose 5% in 2002. A study estimates this overlooked 330 million pounds of 10 air pollution in 2001, including 512,000 pounds in Delaware. Current practices for refineries and chemical plants miss some health-threatening chemicals. In Delaware, it is suggested that emissions were 8% higher than reported including cancer-causing benzene. EPA officials reported that most toxic releases have declined nationwide. Data for 2002 focused on total releases, preventing comparisons with 2001. Most of the 2002 increase was attributed to a copper smelter which is now idle. Mercury releases increased 10%, from 3 sites where wastes are sent to landfills. Two facilities accounted for half of a 3.2% increase in lead emissions in 2002. But states may have underestimated emissions by as much as 155%. There should be more direct testing instead of industry estimates. Delaware released a report showing that emissions from local factories fell by 6% compared with 2001. A study at the Delaware City refinery found leaks were 3.8 times more prevalent than the refinery reported. State regulators would welcome better methods for calculating pollution, but said they could be costly. Some refineries are using outdated estimating methods and refineries may be underestimating emission sources. 570 other chemicals are tracked under the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, in addition to those mentioned in the environmental study. Emissions of benzene and toxic compounds have been falling in recent years. Air pollution has declined, because of improved controls. It's time to be skeptical of industry-reported data, until people who provide the data can show how it's collected and prove it's reasonably accurate.      June 23, 2004   Delaware Online 010767

Europe: Poor Air Harms Lungs of Unborn.   Air pollution in Hungary may damage the lungs of children before birth. Studies confirm that pollutants can impair lung growth in the womb. The pollutants are tiny fragments of soot emitted from vehicle exhausts. Findings of various studies indicate that intrauterine as well as post-natal exposures to pollutants can lead to impaired lung growth. 60-70% of the pollutants come from vehicles with diesel engines. Drastic policies to reduce traffic or cut speed limits have produced results in some European cities. Introducing cleaner engines is not a solution, because the increase in traffic means the pollutant levels remain stable. One of the most damaging forms is called PM10, as the particles are smaller than 10 microns. They cannot be filtered out in the nose, and are able to penetrate deep into the lungs. The evidence is enough to infer a causal relationship between particulate pollution and respiratory deaths in infants in their first year of life but there is not enough evidence to say that outdoor air pollution levels found in Europe cause childhood cancer.   More population = more traffic = more lung damage in infants   June 23, 2004   BBC News 010774

But the Air Was Clean.   Air monitoring over central Pennsylvania on the second day of last summer's blackout showed reduced concentrations of ozone and sulfur dioxide. Visibility had increased by 20 miles. For nearly two decades, Maryland has monitored air quality using small planes. Aug. 15 was an opportunity to quantify directly the contribution of power plants to haze and pollution, so the plane was diverted downwind of shutdown power plants. The data was compared with data from Northern Virginia and western Maryland, outside the blackout area. Simulations showed the cleaner air reached Baltimore, New York and other East Coast cities. Scientists had to rely on simulations because there was little other data available. The ground stations which monitor air quality were down because of the blackout.      June 22, 2004   New York Times* 010770

Albania at Risk of Disaster From Heightened Pollution Levels.   Albania is facing pollution from gases that are 10 times above the level set by the WHO. Every day growing numbers of people suffer from cancer, cardiovascular and pneumonia diseases due to gases and carbon dioxide. 50,000 tons of air bubbles and carbon dioxide fall on the capital every year making Tirana one of the most polluted cities, behind New Delhi and Beijing. 90% of vehicles in the capital are old, 70% use diesel and 30% petrol containing lead and sulfur. No reliable data exists, but experts said that deaths due to pollution have increased by 20% in the past two years with respiratory diseases third on the list. An increasing number of babies are born with deformities, particularly in the region west of Tirana, where pollution is 15 times the acceptable levels. There have been cases of four-legged roosters and two-headed calves or rabbits in the centre of steel production with no regular pollution control. Cement-and metal-producing factories emit 40,000 tons of dust per year. The government has threatened to close all factories that fail to take anti-pollution measures. Throughout Albania, tens of thousands of tons of chemical and toxic waste was abandoned in the ruins of communist-era factories. The danger is higher nowadays as families, fleeing poor regions, camp or build temporary huts near these centers. Cancerous substance had been found in ground water in the area, due to left-over pesticides. International institutions are called on to help Albania.      May 25, 2004   Terra Daily 010686

4 Northeast States Join Against Pollution.   New York and three adjoining states began legal action against a Pennsylvania power company, accusing it of emitting air pollution that drifts across state lines. It seeks to force the company to install antipollution equipment. After the federal government dropped investigations of pollution violations, the New York attorney general said he and the attorneys general of Connecticut and New Jersey would carry on enforcement through litigation. The four states sent the letter of intent to sue to Allegheny Energy Inc, who provides power to about four million people and said its plants were not violating pollution laws. The company has 60 days to negotiate a settlement; if not the case will proceed. The action represents the struggle between Northeast states and utility companies concerning pollution that drifts eastward. An industry representative said that bringing a lawsuit is not the way to reduce pollution. Federal rules require new or modified coal-burning power plants to use the most advanced pollution-control available. Officials claim Allegheny made modifications to the plants but classified the work as routine maintenance to avoid installing the pollution controls. Those coal-fired plants emitted more than 175,000 tons of sulfur dioxide a year and more than 60,000 tons of nitrous oxide a year, the state officials said.      May 20, 2004   New York Times* 010588

Tougher Emission Rules Set for Big Diesel Vehicles.   The administration announced regulations that will reduce emissions from non-road vehicles propelled by diesel fuel. They require refineries to produce cleaner-burning diesel fuel and engine makers to cut emissions by more than 90%. The result is that people will live longer and healthier lives. Adoption of the new standards reflect a willingness of the E.P.A. to listen to everybody. The goal is to lower the sulfur content of diesel fuel that not only leads to more soot in the atmosphere, but also prevents newer engine technologies from reducing the levels of other pollutants. The new regulations require the sulfur content of diesel fuel to be 500 parts per million by 2007 and 15 parts per million by 2010. Locomotives and boats have until 2012 to reach the standard. Currently the average level of sulfur content is 3,400 parts per million. Once the current fleet of diesel-powered engines is retired, the level of nitrogen oxides will be reduced by 738,000 tons annually and the level of soot by 129,000 tons. This rule will go a long way toward reducing the pollution problem. This positive step stands in contrast with the administration's backward slide on other air pollution issues.      May 11, 2004   New York Times* 010498

Double Dose of Bad Air Puts Fetuses at Risk.   Exposure to secondhand smoke and air pollutants can hurt fetal development. Babies exposed in the womb had a 7% reduction in weight and a 3% reduction in head circumference, compared with babies exposed only to urban air pollution and the effects have been linked to problems in school performance. The findings show how pollutants affect the body simultaneously, rather than separately. The scientists tracked the pollutants in DNA. The research studied 214 infants of nonsmoking African-American and Dominican women in Washington Heights, Central Harlem and the South Bronx. The findings can be generalized across race and ethnicity. The researchers examined the effect of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and combustion-related pollutants. Interviewers questioned the participants during the last trimester to track travel away from homes, household members who smoke and use alcohol. The researchers compared infants whose mothers had lived in households with a smoker to those whose mothers did not, by measuring DNA damage in the umbilical cord blood. Babies exposed to second-hand smoke and air pollutants were, on average, half a pound lighter and their heads were almost half an inch smaller.      January 27, 2004   New York Times* 009636

Air Pollution Cancer Fears Grow.   Norwegian experts who looked at 16,000 men over three decades found those in polluted areas were more at risk to develop lung cancer. The stronger the concentration of nitrogen dioxide, the greater the chance of developing lung cancer although smoking remains the biggest risk factor. During 27 years, more than 400 men developed lung cancer and for every rise in concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in their home there was an 8% increase in risk. There was no increase linked to sulphur dioxide (SO2). The overall risk of lung cancer is small but there is clear evidence that air pollution may increase the risk of lung cancer in men.      December 04, 2003   BBC News 009353

The Loophole in the Ozone Layer.   For a few months every year, Punta Arenas sits beneath the hole in the ozone layer. The ultraviolet light leaking through that hole poses significant health threats to residents, increasing risk of sunburns, skin cancer, weakened immune systems, and cataracts. The people of Punta Arenas had reason for cautious optimism as the global community was making an effort to resolve the problem through the Montreal Protocol. Then the US demanded an exemption to phase out methyl bromide, which destroys ozone, by 2005. The Bush administration asked permission to increase methyl bromide to 38.2% of 1991 levels in 2005 and 37% in 2006. The negotiators agreed to revisit the issue in March. Methyl bromide is the fumigant of choice for growing, storing, and shipping many agricultural products and fumigating imports to destroy any invasive species.      November 20, 2003   Grist Magazine 009297

US California: State's Small-Engine Pollution Curb Foiled.   The Senate voted to block California from proceeding with new regulations to reduce air pollution from small engines, such as lawnmowers. By requiring that new engines be equipped with catalytic converters, the regulations were expected to reduce pollution equivalent to 1.8 million cars. The federal Clean Air Act gives California the right to make rules tougher than federal regulations. The regulations were attacked by Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., whose home state Missouri is the home of Briggs & Stratton, the largest small-engine manufacturer which claimed the cost of retooling would force it to move out of the country. Briggs & Stratton said the California rule would have cost 22,000 manufacturing jobs in 23 states. Environmentalists said that California residents will be breathing dirtier air.      November 13, 2003   Sacramento Bee 009205

U.S. Could Endanger Ozone Layer with Push for Pesticide Use.   The Montreal Protocol calls for phasing out the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide by 2005, but representatives from the U.S. will fight for an exemption to allow U.S. farmers to use it in larger amounts. The U.S. agricultural industry argues that it is essential for growing strawberries and other crops, but EU officials contend there are alternatives. Chemists say the ozone layer will take 50 years to heal.      November 10, 2003   New York Times* 009144

Heart Attacks More Common When Air Pollution Rises.   A study showed a 250% increase in heart attacks among smokers, compared with 161% in the general population, when particles less than 10 micrometers, chiefly from diesel exhaust, exceeded 25 micrograms per cubic meter. Hospital admissions for heart attack rose 91% in the general population and more in smokers. Data was taken over two years among 322 patients treated for heart attack in the Dijon area, 42% were smokers. This is a strong case against smoking, and a warning for high-risk people to stay indoors, or refrain from strenuous activities during peak air pollution. Doctors could consider increasing heart disease treatment during high-risk pollution. Researchers compared the number of heart attacks to the concentration of particles smaller than 10 microns. Ozone, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide did not cause detrimental effects, but particulate matter increased heart attack risk, even at levels lower than present standards.      November 10, 2003   Sydney Morning Herald 009145

Californian Senators Seek to Limit Mexico Utility Emissions.   California's two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, introduced legislation to ban Mexican power plants from using the state's natural gas supplies unless the plants meet its strict air pollution standards. It applies to natural gas-fired generators within 50 miles of the California-Mexico border that produce over 50 megawatts of electricity. Tight natural gas supplies contributed to California's power crisis of 2000-01, which spurred blackouts and bankruptcy of the state's biggest utility. The legislation would affect two new plants planned for Mexicali, Mexico. Both are owned by U.S. companies.      January 13, 2003   Planet Ark 005279

Worsening Urban Air Pollution Won't Increase Global Temperature Over Next 100 Years.   Despite the fact that urban air pollution will worsen substantially in the next 100 years, it will not effect global temperature change, says researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In a recently published paper by MIT's Join Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, the group said computer models show that as ozone decreases from pollutants, methane increases, and the two cancel each other out. "People thought things would go in this direction, but they couldn't quantify it before," stated Monika Mayer, research scientist at MIT's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The sophisticated equipment used by the researchers to predict future conditions include the MIT Integrated Global System Model, which includes an economic development model; a two-dimensional land and ocean resolving interactive chemistry-climate model that divides the planet into 24 latitudinal bands; a terrestrial ecosystems model, and a natural emissions model. Their conclusions as published in the report excluded urban air pollution, the authors saying, "Global-scale models that do not take into account urban areas' highly nonlinear atmospheric chemistry most likely overestimate tropospheric ozone production due to unreasonably high background nitric oxide concentrations." These powerful computer models help researcher answer many questions from how do air pollution and climate policies interact to what are the long-term effects of regional regulations regarding air pollution? Today, while only 30-40% of air pollution comes from urban areas, in 100 years as much as 70% of pollution will be attributed to , as the concentration of people in urban areas increases dramatically. The researchers factored this into their model and concluded that although there will be severe increases in air pollution, the global mean temperature will not change much. There will be, however, significant changes in local climates and temperatures surrounding the cities.   September 19, 2000   Environmental News Network 006856

Methane


France: Belching Cows Join the Apocalypse.   According to a researcher, France's 20 million cows account for 6.5% of national greenhouse-gas emissions. Each year, their belches send 26 million tonnes of gases into the atmosphere. Their faeces account for 12 million tonnes. Bovine gas comprises methane and nitrous oxide, which are 21 and 310 times more effective at trapping solar heat than CO2. Methane is to blame for a fifth of the greenhouse effect of the past 200 years. Agriculture and forestry have been identified as major factors in the greenhouse debate, but data is sparse, and has made decisions difficult. Yet scientists warned that the assumption that forests are "carbon sinks" was uncertain and possibly dangerous. France's cow population accounts for 80% of emissions from farm animals, with the rest from sheep, goats, pigs and fowl. Ideas for attenuating bovine pollutioninclude higher-protein fodder as soya can reduce the gastic fermentation, and faecal waste put in a closed silo that traps the methane, which can be burned as a biofuel. Australian scientists are trying a vaccine against three species of microbe that produce methane in sheep's stomachs.      October 10, 2005   TerraDaily 015297

Methane Targeted by U.S. as McCain Raps Bush on Global Warming.   The U.S. signed an agreement with 13 other nations that calls for investing up to $53 million in companies that will profitably control emissions of methane, mainly from landfills. They are second behind carbon dioxide for warming the earth's climate. Earlier Sen. McCain called on President Bush to do more to fight global warming. McCain had been playing down his policy differences with Bush to support the president's re-election. McCain said the study demonstrates that climate change is real but Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the environment committee, called the study yet another scare tactic. A study released says the Arctic is vulnerable to warming from greenhouse gases and projects that polar bears could become extinct, and seals, caribou, reindeer herds and the people who depend on them for food also could be threatened. The Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality said that the administration's strategy is broader than perceived and will reduce the greenhouse gas in the American economy by 18%. Research and technology programs exceed $5 billion yearly. The climate plan, unveiled in 2002, calls on industry to voluntarily reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released by 18% by 2012, or about 1.5% a year - about the same rate that has occurred over the past 12 years. Bush rejected an international climate treaty for controls on carbon dioxide and other gases. McCain has held hearings to build support for a bill he sponsored with Sen. Lieberman, to impose modest mandatory controls on U.S. greenhouse gases. The 13 other countries signing the agreement were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, Colombia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Ukraine.      November 17, 2004   San Francisco Chronicle 012144

Methane Hydrates Could Be Next Big Energy Source; Enviros Concerned.   Methane hydrates under the ocean floor and the Alaskan permafrost may be the world's next energy source, if they can be extracted safely. Ten trillion tons of carbon are trapped in the compounds which form when methane is subjected to cold and high-pressure. They can explode or release methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Extracting and processing them is six times more expensive than traditional oil and gas drilling. The DoE is paying for technological advancements that could make it cheaper. Environmentalists worry as burning methane hydrates is like opening a Pandora's box with quite probably a genocidal genie within it.      March 16, 2004   Salon 010068

After 200 Years of Growth, Level of Methane Stabilizes.   After a 200-year rise, levels of methane have stopped growing - which shows that curbing emissions could slow global warming. Methane contributes to the formation of ozone, an ingredient of smog. Methane remains in the atmosphere for only 8 to 10 years; carbon dioxide can last a century. Human actions appear to be the cause, specifically the shutdown of oil and gas extraction after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Old production methods released gas from leaking pipelines, uncapped wells and the like. Less leaky methods are being adopted now. Emissions of methane are more controllable than carbon dioxide, but this is the first time that scientists have found a sustained plateau in methane concentrations. Methane has many sources, about 70% from fossil-fuel extraction, but also from cattle and termites, wetlands, rice paddies and garbage dumps. There was a drop in emissions in 1991 and 1992 in a region dominated by Russia and Canada and evidence pointed to Russia. The drop in methane levels have compensated for a rise in emissions from Asia. Some scientists note that the estimates of emissions from nonindustrial sources like rice cultivation, are extremely rough. Flares on oil rigs destroy only a portion of the methane and could reveal overall activity and leakage. Will methane resume the climb? Now that natural gas has become a valuable commodity, there are economic incentives to stop leaks.      November 25, 2003   New York Times* 009324

Extinction Traced to Methane Burp.   Many forms of life, including 80% of some deep-sea species, suddenly vanished 183 million years ago. In an article published in the journal Nature, huge reservoirs of methane trapped beneath the ocean floor rapidly escaped during prehistoric volcanic-caused global warming and depleted much of the sea's oxygen, according to new research by Stephen Hesselbo, an Oxford University researcher. The study also raised questions about the stability of today's sea floor reservoir of methane hydrate, which the federal government plans to study as a possible energy source. "How easy it is to release the methane that is there," Hesselbo said. Methane hydrate is formed beneath the sea floor when algae from the surface dies and sinks. Beneath the ocean floor, methane exists in an ice-like state but is susceptible to changes in pressure and temperature. Researchers believe that during the Jurassic period carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were spewed into the atmosphere by massive volcanic eruptions, warming the subocean floor by deep ocean currents, which in turn freed the methane from its suboceanic cage. The methane then used the oxygen in the water or atmosphere to form carbon dioxide, accelerating the global warming. The release was estimated to be 20% of the present-day 14,000 billion tons of gas hydrate on the sea floor. The event took place over 5,000 years. Note: Other governments, including the Japanese, are also studing this possibility. Harvesting the methane also has a potential for releasing it into the atmosphere. But, as our huge population uses up available petroleum, the attention of energy hogs will turn to risky alternatives.   July 27, 2000   Environmental News Network 006871

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