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.
Tropical Storm Noel drenches Cuba, Bahamas
October 30, 2007 05:12 PM - By Anthony Boadle, reuters
HAVANA (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Noel weakened as it moved across northeastern Cuba on Tuesday and the storm that killed more than a dozen people in the Dominican Republic was not expected to become a hurricane as it neared the Bahamas.
Torrential rains drenched eastern Cuba, where double the average rainfall in October had reservoirs already filled to the brim and authorities worried about flooding. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages.
"There's lots of rain but no really strong winds like a hurricane," said Chantal Rivas, owner of a bed and breakfast in the port of Gibara, 470 miles east of Havana.
Merkel asks India to do more on climate change
October 30, 2007 04:01 PM - Y.P. Rajesh, Reuters
NEW DELHI - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged India, one of the world's biggest polluters, to do more to combat climate change on Tuesday, saying her country was willing to help New Delhi make progress. Merkel, a former environment minister who has pushed global warming to the top of her international agenda, said rich nations and emerging economies needed to strike a balance over the amount of responsibility they need to shoulder to prevent climate change and not fight over it. "We have to prove that we are willing to strike a balance," Merkel told business leaders in New Delhi during a four-day visit to India. "Multilateral agreements are of the essence."
Southeast drought leads to spat over lake
October 30, 2007 02:33 PM - Matthew Bigg, Reuters
LAKE LANIER, Georgia (Reuters) - A large, man-made lake in north Georgia is at the center of a political storm over how to distribute water resources between three states in the face of the region's worst drought in decades. Lake Lanier stands near the head of a watershed that feeds the booming city of Atlanta about 45 miles to the south, leading to accusations that the city is consuming more than its fair share of water.
Norway Upbeat on Backing for CO2 Storage Aid
October 30, 2007 10:17 AM - Reuters
Norway voiced confidence on Tuesday it would gain European Union support for plans to fund technology to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground, even if such projects breach the bloc's limits on public aid. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as a way to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses blamed for global warming but projects are not economically viable without state aid.
More than dozen dead as storm drenches Hispaniola
October 29, 2007 10:02 PM - German Marte, Reuters
SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - More than a dozen people died in the Dominican Republic on Monday after Tropical Storm Noel dumped torrential rain on the Caribbean country, sending thigh-high water surging through streets and cutting power to thousands.
Hundreds of families were left homeless after the 14th named storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season poured 10 to 30 inches of rain on the Dominican Republic and over the treeless hillsides of Haiti, its neighbor on the island of Hispaniola.
The head of the Dominican National Emergency Committee, retired Gen. Luis Luna Paulino, said 13 deaths had been confirmed.
He said there was a report of a family buried when their house collapsed on them and another of a family in a car killed by a falling wall. "If those two accidents are confirmed then the deaths climb to 18," he said.
German carmakers blast motorway speed limit idea
October 29, 2007 11:27 AM -
HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Imposing a standard speed limit of 130 kph (80 mph) on German motorways would have scant impact on the environment and only hurt domestic carmakers, the country's VDA auto industry group said on Monday.
"Such fixed speed limits would be an ecological zero-sum game and would damage the German auto sector," VDA President Matthias Wissmann said in a statement to Reuters.
Germany is unusual in that stretches of its motorways still have no speed limit, and the country's influential car industry has lobbied hard against any national rules.