White House says Climate talks beyond platitudes
October 4, 2007 09:34 AM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-sponsored climate change talks have moved beyond the political positioning and platitudes that can mire such discussions, the top White House environment official told Reuters on Wednesday.
James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said last week's two-day Washington meeting of the 17 countries that emit the most greenhouse gases featured candid dialogue instead of "the formalistic presentations and set speeches that are typical of these climate discussions."
"It was not hostile but it was frank and we engaged the issue at a level of substance that moved us beyond the platitudes," Connaughton said at the Reuters Environment Summit. "It was intense and it's going to be more intense, because this is hard."
Connaughton disputed news reports in which participants in the talks complained that President George W. Bush seemed isolated in urging voluntary, rather than mandatory, requirements to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming.
Fact sheet: Perennial Ice, Sometimes thick enough to Defy Icebreakers, May be Key to Predicting Arctic Thaw
October 4, 2007 08:05 AM - uwnews,org
Loss of sea ice that is more than a year old -- called perennial ice -- may be the key predictor for how much Arctic ice melts each summer, a University of Washington polar scientist says. He says the loss of perennial ice in the last two years led to this summer's record-breaking ice retreat. A paper being published online today by Geophysical Research Letters, says perennial sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean decreased by 23 percent during the past two winters as strong winds swept more Arctic ice than usual out Fram Strait near Greenland.
Rumbling Volcano Sparks Panic in Indonesia
October 4, 2007 07:51 AM - Reuters
KEDIRI, Indonesia - Hundreds of Indonesians have begun evacuating the slopes of a rumbling volcano in East Java following increased levels of toxic fumes and tremors, a local rescue official said on Thursday. The country's volcanological survey raised Mount Kelud's alert status to the second-highest level on Sunday, following increased activity. A mix of carbon dioxide and toxic substances seven times normal levels has been recorded from the volcano in recent days, prompting authorities to isolate the area, said Saut Simatupang, head of the survey's volcano observation unit.
Power Utility Wants Auctioning of CO2 Permits by 2020
October 4, 2007 07:45 AM - Reuters
Typhoon Lekima Kills 12 in Southeast Asia
October 4, 2007 07:43 AM - Reuters
KY ANH, Vietnam - Typhoon Lekima lashed Vietnam and southern China with torrential rains and high winds, killing at least seven people, damaging hundreds of homes and disrupting air, sea and train travel, officials said on Thursday. The storm, which killed at least five people in the Philippines last weekend, swept into central Vietnam from the sea on Wednesday night, blowing roofs off houses, sinking scores of fishing vessels and grounding flights before moving to Laos. The typhoon raised rivers to dangerous levels in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, but the damage caused was not as serious as feared.
Indonesia to Plant 79 Million Trees in One Day
October 4, 2007 07:39 AM - Reuters
JAKARTA - Indonesia, which has destroyed vast tracts of forest, will plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December, an official said on Thursday. The event, scheduled for November 28, is part of a global campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate change talks in Nairobi last year, said Ahmad Fauzi Masud, spokesman for the forestry ministry. "Everybody, residents and officials from the lowest unit of the government to the president, will take part in this movement," he said. "It will be a national record and, possibly, a world record."
Despite Warming, Ships to Shun Northwest Passage
October 3, 2007 07:32 AM - Reuters
OTTAWA - While there has been much talk that Arctic trade routes will open up as northern ice melts, shipping companies and experts say using the fabled Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic archipelago would be too difficult, too dangerous and totally impractical. In theory, the idea is tempting -- the passage cuts the distance between Europe and the Far East to just 7,900 nautical miles, from 12,600 nautical miles through the Panama Canal.
Climate Change Seen Posing Big Risk For Insurers
October 3, 2007 07:18 AM - Reuters
SYDNEY The global insurance industry faces substantial risks from climate change due to the increased incidence of cyclones, floods, drought and bushfires, a major European reinsurer told the Greenhouse 2007 conference. Losses from tropical cyclones were increasing particularly strongly, Eberhard Faust, head of climate risks at Munich Re (MUVGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), he told the conference organized by the Australian government-backed Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
New method could advance development of hydrogen-fueled cars
October 2, 2007 09:29 PM - UCLA News
Los Angeles, California - Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a model that could help engineers and scientists speed up the development of hydrogen-fueled vehicles by identifying promising hydrogen-storage materials and predicting favored thermodynamic chemical reactions through which hydrogen can be reversibly stored and extracted.
The new method, published online in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials, was developed by Alireza Akbarzadeh, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher in the department of materials science and engineering; Vidvuds Ozolins, UCLA associate professor of materials science and engineering; and Christopher Wolverton, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois.
Expert says China would follow U.S. lead on climate
October 2, 2007 08:32 PM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - China would soon follow the U.S. lead if Washington agrees to tackle its emissions in the next few years because China's government takes the threat of global warming more seriously than the United States does, a climate expert said on Tuesday.
"My impression is that the national government -- top level ministry officials -- in China regard the threats of global warming to their country with a much higher level of seriousness than their counterparts do here in the United States," said David Hawkins of the environmental group National Resources Defense Council.
Hawkins, head of the group's climate center, spoke by telephone to the Reuters Environment Summit in New York.
If the United States agrees to cut emissions deeply with a baseline that gets tougher over time, it would spur U.S. manufacturers to build low-emissions technologies like alternative energy and coal plants that store carbon dioxide underground.