Climate

Ocean acidification may threaten food security
December 3, 2010 07:10 AM - Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent, Reuters, CANCUN, Mexico

Acidification of the seas linked to climate change could threaten fisheries production and is already causing the fastest shift in ocean chemistry in 65 million years, a U.N. study showed on Thursday. Production of shellfish, such as mussels, shrimp or lobsters, could be most at risk since they will find it harder to build protective shells, according to the report issued on the sidelines of U.N. climate talks in Mexico. It could also damage coral reefs, vital as nurseries for many commercial fish stocks. "Ocean acidification is yet another red flag being raised, carrying planetary health warnings about the uncontrolled growth in greenhouse gas emissions," said Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

Polar bears 'spotted swimming with cubs on back'
December 2, 2010 07:50 AM - Editor, World Wildlife Fund, WWF

Polar bears have been spotted carrying their cubs on their backs while they swim through icy waters, according to an article in UK online newspaper the Telegraph. According to the article, the practice is thought to be the result of the bears having to swim longer distances in the sea because of recent reductions in the arctic summer sea ice.

Amazon deforestation slows in Brazil
December 2, 2010 06:56 AM - Raymond Colitt, Reuters, BRASILIA

Deforestation in the Amazon forest fell to its lowest level on record, the Brazilian government said on Wednesday, marking what could be a watershed in the conservation of the world's largest rain forest. The figures coincide with a United Nations global climate conference in Mexico. There, Brazil wants to showcase it is one of the few major economies significantly slashing its greenhouse gas emissions, which for it come mostly from burning or rotting trees. "We will honor the pledge we made and we don't need any favors. We do it because it's our obligation," said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, adding that the developed world was failing to agree to ambitious cuts in greenhouse gases and was not transparent about financial aid to developing nations.

Governments around the World are Acting to Reduce their Footprints
December 1, 2010 05:49 PM - Richard Matthews, Global Warming is Real

The sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Cancun is the latest UN effort to get the international community to act on climate change. Although COP16 is not expected to produce a binding agreement, many governments have adopted initiatives to diminish their environmental impacts and carbon footprint.

Many Coastal Wetlands Likely to Disappear This Century
December 1, 2010 05:38 PM - Editor, Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2010) — Many coastal wetlands worldwide -- including several on the U.S. Atlantic coast -- may be more sensitive than previously thought to climate change and sea-level rise projections for the 21st century.

Polluted Holidays in Iran
December 1, 2010 01:16 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A holiday is supposed to be a fun off day to enjoy life in some fashion. For the second time in a month, heavy air pollution in Iran's smog-filled capital has forced authorities to close government offices and schools and declare a two-day public holiday because of the health dangers of being outdoors. Yet this happened in July 2009 too when Iranian authorities declared public holiday in the capital Tehran after a sandstorm blotted out the already heavily polluted city. All of this is caused by several factors, some man made and some due to local climate and geological conditions. It is also not unique for Tehran though that city is suffering in the extreme.

Hurricane Season 2010
November 30, 2010 01:00 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

There were no reported hurricane disasters like Katrina that hit New Orleans in 2005. So it is somewhat surprising to hear that according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,) the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, was one of the busiest on record. In contrast, the eastern North Pacific season had the fewest storms on record since the satellite era began. In the Atlantic Basin a total of 19 named storms formed – tied with 1887 and 1995 for third highest on record. Of those, 12 became hurricanes – tied with 1969 for second highest on record. Five of those reached major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher.

Four degree rise 'would scupper African farming'
November 30, 2010 08:52 AM - Yojana Sharma, SciDevNet

A widespread farming catastrophe could hit Africa if global temperatures rose by four degrees Celsius or more, according to a study that calls for urgent planning for a much warmer future and investment in technology to avert disaster.

Cancun climate talks update: US on track to meet emission reduction goals
November 30, 2010 07:09 AM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters, CANCUN, Mexico

he United States will keep a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions made last year perhaps with help from a domestic boom in cleaner-burning natural gas, Washington's lead negotiator said at the U.N. climate talks. At last year's climate talks in Copenhagen, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged the United States would cut emissions in a range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. "We must stand behind the underpinnings of what our leaders agreed to last year," Jonathan Pershing, the head of the U.S. delegation, told reporters on the first day of the annual two-week talks, held in Mexico this year.

Peat. Climate and Fires
November 29, 2010 03:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Peat, or turf, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world. Peat has a high carbon content and can burn under low moisture conditions. Once ignited by the presence of a heat source, it smolders. These smoldering fires can burn undetected for very long periods of time (months, years and even centuries) propagating in a creeping fashion through the underground peat layer. The rate of global warming could lead to a rapid release of carbon from these peat lands that would then further accelerate global warming. Two recent studies published by the Mathematics Research Institute at the University of Exeter highlight the risk that this 'compost bomb' instability could pose, and calculate the conditions under which it could occur.

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