Break in Weather Slows California Wildfires
October 25, 2007 07:56 AM - Reuters
LOS ANGELES- California wildfires that have destroyed 1,300 homes and forced the evacuation of 500,000 people raged into a fifth day on Thursday but firefighters seized on a break in the weather to largely halt the march of destruction.
Some 15 fires still blazed across the southern part of the state, lighting up the night sky, but officials said cooler temperatures and weaker winds allowed them to win a measure of control for the first time and that the worst was behind them.
Australian farmers face bankruptcy from drought
October 24, 2007 04:41 PM - Michael Byrnes
WEST WYALONG, Australia (Reuters) - Farmer John Ridley won't be harvesting so much as a bag of wheat this season from fields that stretch to the horizon as Australia's worst drought in 100 years takes its toll on the country's grain belt.
Beneath a cloudless sky, 60-year-old Ridley, a descendant of one of Australia's pioneering farming families, pulls a clump of brittle stubble from the dusty earth.
"It should be this high, waving green in the breeze," he says. "Farmers are in a stunned state at the moment. In a state of disbelief, shock, helplessness."
Ridley's farm is in the epicenter of devastation from the drought, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) west of Sydney. Prime wheat growing territory, the district normally grows much of the wheat that makes Australia the world's second-biggest exporter. Yet this year the district will produce almost nothing.
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.