Winds wane as 18 wildfires burn in California
October 24, 2007 04:36 PM - Adam Tanner, Reuters
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Dying winds gave California firefighters their first big break on Wednesday after four days battling wildfires, but San Diego faced more calamity as blazes there burned out of control and kept more than half a million evacuees from returning home.
The skies over much of the region were filled with thick, acrid smoke, forcing residents to stay indoors or wear masks.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said 18 fires burned on Wednesday and threatened 25,000 structures. Nearly 1,500 homes had already been lost. San Diego bore the brunt of the damage and officials there put losses in excess of $1 billion.
More than 500,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the biggest mass evacuation in California's modern history.
Six deaths have been reported, while 40 people suffered injuries, many of them firefighters.
White House Accused Of Watering Down Climate Testimony To Congress
October 24, 2007 04:15 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House watered down climate change testimony to Congress - testimony by the head of the CDC -- the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The changes were made before the testimony was delivered, according to a watchdog group Both the CD and White House deny it.
The anti-nuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility said White House officials had forced CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding to remove specific references about the effects of climate change from Tuesday's testimony to a Senate committee.
Fires create electricity 'island' in San Diego
October 24, 2007 04:01 PM - Bernie Woodall
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California wildfires created an electricity "island" of San Diego County on Wednesday as one major power transmission link to the U.S. West grid was shut and the other flickering on and off, said San Diego Gas & Electric Co.
This makes the San Diego area susceptible to major blackouts unless customers conserve power, said Michael Niggli, chief operating officer of SDG&E.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders implored residents to cut power use.
"You've got to conserve today. You have no choice," Sanders said.
About 20,000 homes and businesses were without power late Wednesday morning, down from 33,000 on Tuesday, SDG&E spokeswoman Rachel Laing said.
IUCN Partners Work to Change the Climate Outlook
October 24, 2007 08:49 AM - ICUN
Representatives of overseas development agencies, foundations, multilateral environmental agreements, and corporations all pooled their expertise and ideas yesterday, over how IUCN can be most effective in the battle against climate change. They gathered at IUCN’s headquarters for the annual conference of partners. This is a valuable opportunity for partner organizations to learn more about the work of IUCN, progress made, challenges ahead, and to guide its work programme.
California's Wildfires Rage Into Fourth Day
October 24, 2007 08:45 AM - Reuters
SAN DIEGO - Relentless wildfires forcing the largest evacuations in California's modern history raged into a fourth day on Wednesday as 10,000 exhausted firefighters hoped for a break in the hot winds whipping the flames. With half a million people driven from their homes, 1,000 houses already lost and some 470 square miles scorched across the southern half of the state, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's government has put economic losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
CNN's "Planet in Peril" Confronts Tough Issues
October 24, 2007 08:23 AM - Reuters
LOS ANGELES - This Halloween season, if you want to watch something truly scary, try "Planet in Peril," a two-night, four-hour special that aired Tuesday andtonight on CNN This is not to say that correspondents Anderson Cooper, meteorologist Sanjay Gupta or Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin try to frighten viewers. Far from it. They report from around the world in a straightforward, even restrained, fashion. It's just that what they have to say about what's happening to the planet is very unsettling.
Is Beijing’s Air Quality Ready for the 2008 Olympics?
October 24, 2007 08:19 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
The upcoming Summer Olympic Games have galvanized the host city of Beijing into a frenzy of efforts to beautify its image. With the clock ticking down to August 8, 2008, Beijing has expedited the revitalization of buildings along the city’s major roads, painting worn gray exteriors with more vibrant colors. Flat rooftops have been converted to more-attractive sloped ones, and shoddy and chaotic one-story houses are now hidden behind newly erected ancient-style walls decorated with beautiful imagery.
More Japan Industries Raise CO2 Emission Cut Targets
October 24, 2007 07:17 AM - Reuters
Gore says 2007 pivotal year in climate change fight
October 23, 2007 07:28 PM - Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters
BERLIN (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore said on Tuesday he was optimistic future generations would look back at 2007 as the pivotal year when the world finally found the courage to fight together against climate change.
In one of his first public speeches since winning a share of the award on October 12, Gore also said world leaders should meet in January under the auspices of the United Nations to act on the results of U.N. climate change talks in Bali in December.
Warming said to have potential to wipe out most species
October 23, 2007 07:24 PM - Michael Kahn, Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - Rising temperatures could wipe out more than half of the earth's species in the next few centuries, according to researchers who published a study on Wednesday linking climate change to past mass extinctions.
Researchers at the University of York said their study was the first to examine the relationship between climate, extinction rates and biodiversity over a long period.
The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, suggest climate change was the cause of large-scale extinctions, said Peter Mayhew, an ecologist who worked on the study.