Flash floods in Brisbane, Australia
January 10, 2011 07:07 AM - Michael Perry, Reuters SYDNEY

Residents in Australia's third largest city, Brisbane, sandbagged their homes against rising waters on Monday as torrential rain worsened floods that have paralysed the coal industry in the northeast and now threaten tourism. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the cost of the floods would not delay a return to budget surplus in 2012-13, but J.P. Morgan predicted the disaster would crimp growth this year and could delay another increase in interest rates. The worst floods in 50 years have at times covered an area the size of France and Germany combined in Queensland state. Six people have been killed while dozens of towns have been isolated or partially submerged. More monsoon rains are expected all week.

Europe and Renewable Energy
January 6, 2011 11:24 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

The European Union (EU)27 will exceed its target of meeting 20 % of its gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Today the European Wind Energy Association published its analysis of the 27 National Renewable Energy Action Plans, submitted by the EU Member States to the European Commission. "Taken together the Action Plans show that the EU-27 will meet 20.7 % of its 2020 energy consumption from renewables", said Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The countries of the European Union are currently the global leaders in the development and application of renewable energy. Promoting the use of renewable energy sources is important both to the reduction of the EU's dependence on foreign energy imports, and in meeting targets to combat global warming.

December was the coldest in 100 years in UK
January 6, 2011 06:37 AM - Reuters, LONDON

Britain has just gone through its coldest December since nationwide records began 100 years ago, the Met Office said on Wednesday. The country shivered as temperatures averaged minus 1 degree Celsius, well below the long-term average of 4.2 degrees, and colder than the previous record for the month of 0.1 degrees hit in 1981. Provisional figures released by the forecaster showed that December saw exceptionally cold and snowy weather across the country, with temperatures regularly falling to between minus 10 and minus 20 overnight. The Arctic blast caused havoc with the country's transport sector, closing roads, airports and railways and hitting retail sales during the traditionally busy Christmas period as shoppers struggled to get to stores.

Gulf of Mexico Coral
January 5, 2011 04:23 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and academic scientists are analyzing samples of coral and surrounding sediments from an area damaged near the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico. These samples, collected in December, are being used to investigate how and why the corals on these reefs died. There are many potential causes of coral death. This particular case may be related to the oil release from Deepwater. Coral colonies may live for decades or centuries. Some causes are predation by other sea creatures such as Sea Stars. Global warming is a potential cause as well as other human related activities.

On Eve of New Climate Regs, A Primer, Part II: Lawsuits
January 3, 2011 12:13 PM - Eli Kintisch, Science AAAS

Yesterday ScienceInsider went through the implications of new federal rules on greenhouse gases for industries which pollute the air with these pollutants. But legal challenges could complicate an already complex landscape for the rules.

Texas files again to block EPA carbon rules
January 1, 2011 09:51 AM - Jim Forsyth, Reuters, SAN ANTONIO

Texas on Thursday filed a fresh motion in federal appeals court to block the Obama Administration's attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the state, one day after another federal court rejected the state's petitions. At issue is the state's lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prevent the agency from forcing it to issue greenhouse gas permits for its biggest polluters when national carbon rules take effect in January. Until there is a ruling on the case, Texas asked the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to block the EPA's mandate that the state expand its pollution regulations to include greenhouse gases. The Fifth Circuit court denied that request on Wednesday. On Thursday, EPA published in the Federal Register details of its proposed permit rules for Texas to go into effect on Sunday, January 2.

U.S. court rules Texas cannot delay EPA - mandated greenhouse gas rules
December 31, 2010 08:47 AM - Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters, WASHINGTON

A federal court on Wednesday blocked an attempt by Texas to delay the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to impose carbon regulations in the state early next year. The state of Texas is suing the EPA to prevent the agency from forcing it to issue greenhouse gas permits for the biggest polluters when national carbon rules take effect in early January. Until there is a ruling on the case, Texas asked the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the EPA's mandate that the state expand its pollution regulations to include greenhouse gases. The court denied the request. The EPA issued a finding last year that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. Since then the agency has moved forward with developing rules under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions blamed for climate change.

On Eve of New Climate Regs, A Primer on Federal Greenhouse Gas Regimes: Part I
December 30, 2010 09:12 AM - Eli Kintisch, Science AAAS

For 2 years industry officials, states, and environmentalists have had 2 January 2011 circled on their calendars. That's the date greenhouse gases officially become regulated pollutants under the Clean Air Act—a direct result of a 2007 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under that law. The Environmental Protection Agency's effort to control greenhouse emissions will only get more controversial as myriad lawsuits challenge the regime and Republicans, now ascendant in the House of Representatives, seek to stop EPA in its tracks.

Indonesia moves ahead on climate action
December 30, 2010 06:58 AM - Olivia Rondonuwu and David Fogarty, Reuters, JAKARTA/SINGAPORE

Indonesia has chosen once of its largest and richest provinces to test efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving forest and peatlands, a key part of a $1 billion climate deal with Norway. Central Kalimantan province on Borneo island is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases among Indonesia's 33 provinces because of deforestation, destruction of carbon-rich peat swamps, and land use change, the government says. "The assessment showed that Central Kalimantan is a province with large forest cover and peatland and faces a real threat of deforestation," top technocrat Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of a special presidential delivery unit charged with managing the Norway deal, said in a statement on Thursday.

Climate change: we are like slave-owners
December 29, 2010 09:21 AM - Jean-Francois Mouhot, Ecologist

An economy run on slave labour has much in common with one run on fossil fuels, argues Jean-Francois Mouhot. Ending suffering means we all need to become modern-day abolitionists.

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