From: Carrie Schluter, ENN
Published February 4, 2005 12:00 AM

Week In Review: January 31st - February 4th

Global warming grabbed headlines this week with news from Exeter, England, site of a major climate conference called "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change." Scientists painted a bleak picture of the outlook for people, animals, and ecosystems in a warmer world. Opening the three-day conference, British Environment Secretary Margaret Becker set the tone, stating, "What is certainly clear is that temperatures will go on rising... most of the warming we are expecting over the next few decades is now virtually inevitable...No one country, not even one continent, can solve the problem by acting alone."


Related articles:
British Minister Opens International Conference on Climate Change
Landmarks Since Prehistory, Glaciers are Shrinking in a Warming World
Climate Warming Spells Species Wipeout, Experts Say
Food Scarcity Predicted with Rising Temperatures, Falling Water Tables
Scientists Say Global Warming Hurts Africa

In the midst of a grim series of climate-related articles, some good news for wolves: U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones ruled that the Bush administration crossed the Endangered Species Act by limiting protections for many of the country's gray wolves. According to Mike Senatore of Defenders of Wildlife, the ruling has potential positive implications for other species. Get the whole story: Judge Rules U.S. Government Wrong to Downgrade Wolf from Endangered to Threatened


On Wednesday, Washington, DC-based Center for Science in the Public Interest had a few scathing words for the biotechnology industry. The group challenged the industry's promises to change the face of agriculture. Greg Jaffe, author of the report, said, "Despite glowing pronouncements from the agricultural biotechnology industry, the regulatory data suggests that the industry is stagnating, not thriving." Read more at Group Claims Biotechs Don't Deliver on Promises


Also on Wednesday, a book called "Hotspots Revisited," with contributions by nearly 400 leading scientists, identified nine new environmental "hotspots" -- ecologically diverse areas that are under threat -- bringing to 34 the number of hotspots worldwide. Russ Mittermeier, president of Conservation International, referred to biodiversity hotspots as "the environmental emergency rooms of Earth's life forms." Get the list of new "hotspot" designees at Study Uncovers New Threatened Ecological Hotspots


Following an internal audit, the EPA released a report that calls into question its own criteria for establishing mercury pollution limits in the rule it proposed in December of 2003. Senator Tim Jeffords (D-VT) said, "Unfortunately, this report confirms that the administration's proposal to regulate mercury compromises children's health for the benefit of corporate profits." Find the whole article here: EPA Overlooked Health Impact, Based Mercury Rule on Industry Plan, Internal Audit Finds


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The environmental impact of the tsunami seems to come into clearer focus every day. This week, the results of a survey of Sri Lanka's reefs offered hope for the near-term recovery of the region's beaches, but suggested that coral colonies will likely take significantly longer to rebound from the assault. Read more: Sri Lanka's Beaches Will Recover but Coral Damaged


The week ahead: From February 6th through 9th, the Asian Wetland Symposium, will take place in Bhubaneswar, India. The symposium's stated goal is "to synergize cooperation among all stakeholders to achieve the wise use of wetlands."


On the sustainable energy front, Scottsdale, Arizona will be the site of the 10th Annual National Ethanol Conference from February 7th through 9th. According to the conference program, "This year's conference will highlight the sustainability, growth and importance of the ethanol industry in relation to domestic energy use."


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