Ecosystems

Climate change: research suggests it is not a swindle
April 3, 2008 09:09 AM - Institute of Physics

New research has dealt a blow to the skeptics who argue that climate change is all due to cosmic rays rather than to man-made greenhouse gases. The new evidence shows no reliable connection between the cosmic ray intensity and cloud cover. Lauded and criticized for offering a possible way out of the dangers of man made climate change, UK TV Channel 4's programme "The Great Global Warming Swindle", broadcast in 2007, suggested that global warming is due to a decrease in cosmic rays over the last hundred years.

Viruses, oxygen and our green oceans
April 2, 2008 09:13 AM - Society for General Microbiology

Some of the oxygen we breathe today is being produced because of viruses infecting micro-organisms in the world’s oceans, scientists heard today (Wednesday 2 April 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. About half the world’s oxygen is being produced by tiny photosynthesising creatures called phytoplankton in the major oceans. These organisms are also responsible for removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and locking it away in their bodies, which sink to the bottom of the ocean when they die, removing it forever and limiting global warming.

Coral reefs and climate change: Microbes could be the key to coral death
April 2, 2008 09:10 AM - Society for General Microbiology

Coral reefs could be dying out because of changes to the microbes that live in them just as much as from the direct rise in temperature caused by global warming, according to scientists speaking today (Wednesday 2 April 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Tropical ecosystems are currently balanced on a climate change knife edge. Corals in coral reefs, which are made up of animals called polyps that secrete hard external skeletons of calcium carbonate, are living perilously close to their upper temperature limits. This makes them very vulnerable to even small temperature rises of 1-2oC above the normal summer maximum.

Beijing pollution risky for endurance athletes
April 2, 2008 06:41 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - Endurance events at the Beijing Olympics could pose a health risk if they are staged on heavily polluted days, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday, although it was prepared to reschedule such events. Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC coordination commission, said there was a small chance of athletes suffering some damage to their health if they took part in events lasting longer than an hour, such as the marathon and cycling road races.

World Mayors Propose Urban Water Declaration
April 1, 2008 09:40 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

Ankara, Turkey's capital and second largest city, dried up last summer. Faced with low rainfall and a shrinking reservoir, the city of 4 million resorted to water rationing. Hospitals delayed surgeries. Stray dogs died in the streets. Mayor Melih Gokcek asked residents to "wash your hair, not your bodies" and came under heavy criticism for alleged water mismanagement. In an effort to be better prepared for future droughts as well as the catastrophic dry spells expected to accompany climate change, Turkey's leaders and the World Water Council (WWC), a multi-stakeholder group based in Marseilles, France, are proposing a global declaration on urban water management strategies.

China's economic boom sparks biological invasions
April 1, 2008 09:20 AM - American Institute of Biological Sciences

The rapid growth of China’s industrial and transportation infrastructure is helping to establish non-native species throughout that country and “setting the stage for potentially rampant environmental damage,” according to an article in the April 2008 issue of BioScience. The article, by a Chinese-US team, describes how more than 400 alien plants and animals are now considered invasive in China, including some that are causing serious harm even though they were first documented in the country only a few years ago.

Study sheds light on Woolly Mammoth demise
April 1, 2008 12:12 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Climate change drove woolly mammoths to the edge of extinction and then humans finished them off, according to a Spanish study on Tuesday that adds to the debate over the demise of the Ice Age behemoths. Using climate models and fossil remains, the researchers determined that warming temperatures had so shrunk the mammoths' habitat that when humans entered their territory about 6,000 years ago the species were already hanging by a thread.

Is Lake Mead Disappearing
March 31, 2008 09:33 AM - , The Alternative Consumer

The water supply crisis is not just a third world issue. Nevada’s Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the U.S., could go dry by 2021, according to a pair of scientists at the Scripp’s Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, California. If human-induced climate change and water usage continues at the present rate, or even slower, there is a 50% chance the lake will go dry in coming years – and sooner, rather than later. The Colorado River’s water is being consumed far beyond a sustainable level.

Deforestation-Carbon Markets Research
March 31, 2008 09:13 AM - , Triple Pundit

Finding ways to include deforestation abatement projects into the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and private sector emissions trading schemes such as the EU's ETS– thereby providing a market-based mechanism that offers an incentive and financing to jumpstart forest conservation initiatives – is one of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s priorities.

"Kyoto II" climate talks open in Bangkok
March 31, 2008 05:16 AM - Reuters

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The first formal talks in the long process of drawing up a replacement for the Kyoto climate change pact opened in Thailand on Monday with appeals to a common human purpose to defeat global warming. "The world is waiting for a solution that is long-term and economically viable," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said in a video address to the 1,000 delegates from 190 nations gathered in Bangkok.

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