The Nature Of The New World
October 4, 2007 03:02 PM - Lester R. Brown

We recently entered a new century, but we are also entering a new world, one where the collisions between our demands and the earth’s capacity to satisfy them are becoming daily events. It may be another crop-withering heat wave, another village abandoned because of invading sand dunes, or another aquifer pumped dry. If we do not act quickly to reverse the trends, these seemingly isolated events will occur more and more frequently, accumulating and combining to determine our future.
Resources that accumulated over eons of geological time are being consumed in a single human lifespan.

Another warm winter seen for much of U.S.
October 4, 2007 01:31 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Long-range weather forecasts are predicting a warmer than average winter with less precipitation for much of the United States except the Pacific Northwest.

"It will be a lot like last year but the climate models are even more in agreement now than they were last fall," said Mike Halpert, head of forecast operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.

"Temperatures will be warmer than average in most places except the northwest of the country, which could see some cold."

Forecasters believe the emergence of a La Nina condition -- unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean -- will be the main factor behind the anticipated warmth for much of North America.

Rumbling Volcano Sparks Panic in Indonesia
October 4, 2007 07:51 AM - Reuters

KEDIRI, Indonesia - Hundreds of Indonesians have begun evacuating the slopes of a rumbling volcano in East Java following increased levels of toxic fumes and tremors, a local rescue official said on Thursday.  The country's volcanological survey raised Mount Kelud's alert status to the second-highest level on Sunday, following increased activity.   A mix of carbon dioxide and toxic substances seven times normal levels has been recorded from the volcano in recent days, prompting authorities to isolate the area, said Saut Simatupang, head of the survey's volcano observation unit.

Indonesia to Plant 79 Million Trees in One Day
October 4, 2007 07:39 AM - Reuters

JAKARTA - Indonesia, which has destroyed vast tracts of forest, will plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December, an official said on Thursday. The event, scheduled for November 28, is part of a global campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate change talks in Nairobi last year, said Ahmad Fauzi Masud, spokesman for the forestry ministry. "Everybody, residents and officials from the lowest unit of the government to the president, will take part in this movement," he said. "It will be a national record and, possibly, a world record."

Scientists Get $1 Million To Demonstrate How Restored Prairies Filter Water, Produce Bioenergy
October 3, 2007 07:44 PM -

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL - University of Minnesota researchers Clarence Lehman, John Nieber and David Tilman and colleagues have been awarded a $1.07 million grant to show how restored prairie areas can act as buffers to filter water polluted by agriculture while simultaneously producing bioenergy.

The strategy will also conserve prairies, expand areas available for wildlife habitats, reduce the amount of water needed for biofuels, enhance biodiversity in Minnesota and reduce Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon.

Rain Stops Banff Beetle Blight Burn
October 3, 2007 06:54 PM - Reuters

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Wet weather has thwarted a Canadian plan to stem the spread of tree-killing pine beetles eastward through the Rocky Mountains by burning an Alberta forest near Banff National Park, an official said on Wednesday.

The province of Alberta had planned to burn about 80 square kilometers of trees last week and it is now too late to make the attempt this year, said Duncan MacDonnell, a spokesman for the province's Sustainable Resource Development ministry.

Brazil urges world support for Amazon
October 3, 2007 03:28 PM - Raymond Colitt and Maria Pia Palermo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's environment minister said on Wednesday the international community was failing to honor pledges to help protect the Amazon and other tropical forests but that her government rejected specific deforestation targets.

Marina Silva, a former rubber tapper and activist, said a 50 percent reduction in deforestation over the past two years showed Brazil's increased control mechanisms were working.

Ensuring a long-term reduction by changing the economic development model of the Amazon required foreign help, Silva said in an interview at her office in Brasilia.

"We don't want charity, it's a question of ethics of solidarity," said Silva, who defended the Amazon in the 1980s alongside legendary conservationist Chico Mendes.

Polar bear endangered status "likely"
October 3, 2007 03:04 PM - Gerard Wynn and Alister Doyle

LONDON - An accelerating melt of Arctic sea ice is likely to make the polar bear officially "endangered" in the very near future, the head of a global wildlife conservation network said on Wednesday.

"They're running out of ice to be on," said Julia Marton-Lefevre, the director general of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) which publishes an annual "Red List" of threatened species.

The IUCN, grouping 83 states and hundreds of conservation organizations, currently lists the polar bear as "vulnerable".

"It's likely to be increased to endangered... in the very near future, unfortunately," Marton-Lefevre told the Reuters Environment Summit of the giant Arctic carnivore that is an emblem of manmade global warming for conservationists.

Invasive weed strangles Zambian park
October 3, 2007 08:22 AM - , SciDevNet

LUSAKA - An invasive shrub is upsetting the ecological balance of national parks in Zambia's Kafue Flats and could drive away tourism.  A study by the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ), released last month (20 September), shows that the weed Mimosa pigra has covered around 2,900 hectares of the Kafue Flats.  It is interfering with the ecosystems by blocking access to water for animals and birds and displacing animals by reducing available habitat.

Despite Warming, Ships to Shun Northwest Passage
October 3, 2007 07:32 AM - Reuters

OTTAWA - While there has been much talk that Arctic trade routes will open up as northern ice melts, shipping companies and experts say using the fabled Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic archipelago would be too difficult, too dangerous and totally impractical.  In theory, the idea is tempting -- the passage cuts the distance between Europe and the Far East to just 7,900 nautical miles, from 12,600 nautical miles through the Panama Canal.

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