Climate Bill Seen as Sign of Political Shift
November 1, 2007 08:47 PM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A milestone, a landmark and "the political center of gravity is finally shifting on global warming."
Those accolades greeted a Senate subcommittee's approval on Thursday of a bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions, mostly because it is the first of a dozen such measures that might have a chance of becoming law.
The approval vote, 4 to 3 ,means the bill will be debated in the full Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by longtime environmentalist Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Australian man killed in water-rage attack
November 1, 2007 12:31 PM - Reuters
SYDNEY (Reuters) - A man has been charged with murder in Australia after an elderly man who was watering his garden was bashed to death in an apparent case of suburban water-rage. Australia is in its sixth year of severe drought and most towns and cities have imposed strict limits on household water use, prompting a rise in suburban arguments and neighbors informing authorities about those who waste water. In the latest incident, police said 66-year-old Ken Proctor was using a hose to water the front lawn of his suburban Sydney home when a man walking past made a remark about water waste.
Storm warning in Florida as Noel edges northward
November 1, 2007 11:00 AM -
MIAMI (Reuters) - Southeast Florida came under a storm warning on Thursday as Tropical Storm Noel edged northward off the peninsula's Atlantic coast after dumping days of torrential rain in the Caribbean and killing at least 91 people. The storm had grown in size and some of its outer winds could reach coastal areas of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, U.S. forecasters said, but the worst of its fury was expected to rumble over the northwestern Bahamas as strong westerly winds carried Noel eventually to the northeast. The storm's winds were "close enough to the Florida coast that any deviation to the left of the forecast track would bring them on to the Florida coast," hurricane expert Jack Beven at the U.S. National Hurricane Center wrote in a report. "Thus a tropical storm warning is being issued at this time for the immediate coastal area of Miami-Dade and Broward counties."
California wildfires unleash climate-warming carbon
November 1, 2007 09:43 AM - Deborah Zabarenko -Reuters
California wildfires pumped nearly 8 million metric tons of climate-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in just a week, about one-quarter as much as fossil fuels do in that state in a month, scientists said on Wednesday. The release of carbon dioxide in wildfires is part of the natural cycle in which burning plays an important role, the scientists reported in the online journal Carbon Balance and Management. And the ebb and flow of carbon that is alternately sucked up and emitted by plants is different from that spewed by fossil-fueled factories and vehicles.
Nordic nations sound alarm over melting Arctic
October 31, 2007 02:18 PM - Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent
OSLO (Reuters) - Nordic nations sounded the alarm on Wednesday about a quickening melt of Arctic ice and said the thaw might soon prove irreversible because of global warming. Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland also urged all governments to agree before the end of 2009 a broader U.N. plan to curb greenhouse gases in succession to the Kyoto Protocol. "The Arctic and the world cannot wait any longer," environment ministers from the five nations said in a joint statement after talks in Oslo. The five all have Arctic territories.
La Nina seen persisting into 2008
October 31, 2007 01:58 PM - Reuters
A "La Nina" cooling of sea temperatures is under way in the Pacific Ocean and the phenomenon is likely to persist into next year, the United Nations weather agency said on Wednesday.
Even with "blue skies," is Beijing's air safe?
October 31, 2007 01:03 PM - Emma Graham-Harrison
Beijing has vowed that next year's Olympic Games will take place under blue skies, but even on an apparently clear day the pollution levels may not be safe for athletes. In an attempt to clean up the capital and appease the International Olympic Committee, factories have been closed, construction halted and cars cleared from the roads in an effort to lift the grey cloak that often shrouds the city.
Monkey sighting stirs climate fears in Kenya
October 31, 2007 01:01 PM - Duncan Miriri
NAIROBI (Reuters) - The discovery in Kenya of a new population of monkeys far from their normal habitat is a sign of how climate change may already be changing Africa's ecology, a leading conservationist said on Wednesday. The white-bearded De Brazza's monkeys were found in the Great Rift Valley, a place they had never been spotted before, Richard Leakey, a prominent white Kenyan credited with ending the slaughter of the nation's elephants, told Reuters in Nairobi. "That is telling us a lot about the climate change scenarios we are looking at now," he said. "It puts climate change as the most critical consideration as we plan for the future."
US To Study Wildlife Vs. Wind Turbines
October 31, 2007 12:22 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
Washington - A special wind turbine advisory committee will study and advise the Secretary and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on ways to avoid or minimize the impact f wind turbines on wildlife and their habitats. The study only concerns land-based wind energy facilities.Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today named 22 individuals to serve on the panal. "By some estimates, wind power could provide clean and renewable electricity to meet up to 20 percent of the nation's energy needs," said Secretary Kempthorne. "This committee will help examine issues, such as site selection and turbine design, so we can develop wind resources while protecting wildlife."
Solar energy boom may help world's poorest
October 31, 2007 01:06 AM - Gerard Wynn, Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - A surge in investment in solar power is bringing down costs of the alternative energy source, but affordability problems still dog hopes for the 1.6 billion people worldwide without electricity.
The sun supplies only a tiny fraction -- less than one tenth of 1 percent -- of mankind's energy needs. But its supporters believe a solar era may be dawning, boosted by western funding to combat oil "addiction" and climate change.
Governments from Japan to Germany and the United States are helping the public wean themselves off fossil fuels.