Climate

Indonesian peatlands seen playing key climate role
August 28, 2007 07:37 AM - Sugita Katyal -Reuters

To the average person, they are just ordinary swamps or bogs. But peatlands across the world are more than just simple marsh land: they are one of the largest carbon stores on earth and play a significant role in the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. Not for long, perhaps.

63 Dead, Greeks Flee Burning Homes, Criticize Government
August 27, 2007 07:19 PM - Karolos Grohmann, Reuters

KRESTENA, Greece (Reuters) - The battle against raging forest fires that have killed 63 Greeks and made thousands homeless entered its fifth day as opposition parties accused the government of incompetence in handling the crisis. Helicopters have winched trapped people out of blazing hamlets, impossible to reach by land, and EU allies joined Greek fire crews in the struggle to stop the flames reaching more towns and villages across the country.

European hot spots and fires identified from space
August 27, 2007 02:47 PM - European Space Agency

Hot spots across Southeastern Europe from 21 to 26 August have been detected with instruments aboard ESA satellites, which have been continuously surveying fires burning across the Earth’s surface for a decade. Working like thermometers in the sky, the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) on ESA’s ERS-2 satellite and the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) on ESA’s Envisat satellite measure thermal infrared radiation to take the temperature of Earth's land surfaces.

Analysis: Weak Laws, Neglect Behind Greek Fires
August 27, 2007 12:00 PM - Dina Kyriakidou

ATHENS - Weak zoning laws, careless farmers and smoldering garbage dumps are the main reasons for the forest fires that have killed 63 and destroyed whole rural economies in Greece in recent days, Greenpeace said on Monday. The fires, fanned by strong winds, have engulfed whole villages, forcing thousands to flee their homes, and burned millions of hectares of woods and farmland dried by summer heat. Greece has declared a state of emergency and sought help from its EU partners. The prime minister, facing parliamentary elections on September 16, indicated arsonists might have been responsible and vowed to punish them.

Climate talks start with calls for new global deal
August 27, 2007 08:21 AM - Alister Doyle - Reuters

Climate negotiators from more than 150 nations assembled in Vienna on Monday with calls for a global deal beyond 2012 to replace the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol and include outsiders such as the United States and China. "Climate change is already a harsh reality, a massive obstacle to development," Austrian Environment Minister Josef Proell told the opening ceremony at a meeting of more than 1,000 senior officials, activists and other experts.

63 Dead,Thousands Homeless, Greek Forest Fires Surround Villages
August 27, 2007 07:38 AM - Vassilis Triandafyllou -Reuters

Desperate Greek villages encircled by flames appealed for help on Monday as strong winds continued to fan forest fires sweeping through the country, killing 63 people in three days. People sought refuge by river banks as towering flames engulfed homes, farms and forests and firefighters battled scores of blazes across the country, which has declared a nationwide emergency

Beijing Traffic Restriction Not a Silver Bullet for Air Pollution
August 27, 2007 07:31 AM - Ling Li - Worldwatch Institute

A recent traffic restriction that limited driving in China’s capital city during the four-day “Good Luck Beijing” Olympic test games initially resulted in a measurable improvement in the city’s haze, according to Beijing officials. But over the full period of the restriction, air pollution levels in fact showed a slight increase, The Washington Post reported. Zhao Yue, vice director of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, noted on the agency’s Web site that humid, windless conditions had trapped particulate matter in the city, preventing greater improvement.

Indonesia hopes to include peat in new climate deal
August 27, 2007 07:10 AM - Adhityani Arga

Indonesia wants emission cuts from preserving its vast carbon-rich peatlands to be eligible for trade in a new deal on combating global warming at upcoming climate talks, a forestry official said on Monday. Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed nations can pay poor countries to cut emissions from activities such as the manufacture of refrigerants and fertilizers as well as capturing greenhouse gases from farm waste and rubbish dumps.

Germany's Merkel Presses China On Climate Change
August 27, 2007 07:07 AM - Claudia Kade -Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged China on Monday to do more to halt climate change, prompting the response that the developed West has been polluting the skies for much longer than the newly developing Chinese. Merkel is on her second visit to China as Chancellor and the trip comes four months before world environment ministers meet in Bali to try to launch new talks to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. She pressed for stronger protection of intellectual property rights and said the ground rules for gathering resources should be the same worldwide, an apparent criticism of China's relations with Sudan.

N.Korea Floods Left 600 People Dead Or Missing
August 26, 2007 04:38 PM - Jon Herskovitz, Reuters

SEOUL - Some of the worst flooding to hit North Korea in decades has killed at least 600 people, double the previous known toll, the official news agency said at the weekend.

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