Ecosystems

Bondi Beach placed on protected heritage list
January 25, 2008 03:48 AM - Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's Bondi Beach, the country's most famous strip of sand, was placed on the National Heritage List on Friday to protect its sand, cliffs, waves, parks and surf lifesaving clubs. Sydney's Bondi is Australia's third most visited landmark and local officials say it is being loved to death, with traffic gridlock on summer days and massive amounts of day-tripper rubbish.

New Zealand PM warns off Japanese whalers
January 25, 2008 02:52 AM - Reuters

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark warned Japanese whaling ships on Friday that surveillance photos of the fleet revealing their location would be published if they entered New Zealand's Antarctic waters. Japan's six-ship whaling fleet has been trying to avoid anti-whaling protest ships in the Southern Ocean after protesters stopped whaling operations when two activists boarded a whaling ship and another group stopped a whaling ship refueling.

Why Diatoms could help stop global warming
January 24, 2008 10:57 AM - University of Washington

The shells of diatoms are so heavy that when they die in the oceans they typically sink to watery graves on the seafloor, taking carbon out of the surface waters and locking it into sediments below. Scientists have reported the discovery of whole subsets of genes and proteins that govern how one species of diatom builds its shell. For oceanographers, the work might one day help them understand how thousands of different kinds of diatoms -- and their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere -- might be affected by something like global climate change. Material scientists involved in the work are interested in the possibilities of manipulating the genes responsible for silica production as a way of fabricating more efficient computer chips.

Antarctic Ice Loss Dangerously Fast
January 24, 2008 09:53 AM - ENN

New studies show that the Antarctic ice sheet is melting faster than previously anticipated. If this jump is indicative of a trend due to global warming the entire antarctic ecology could be threatened much sooner than expected.
In a first-of-its-kind study, an international team led by Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California, Irvine, estimated changes in Antarctica's ice mass between 1996 and 2006 and mapped patterns of ice loss on a glacier-by-glacier basis.

China sees little optimism in anti-desert fight
January 24, 2008 02:33 AM - Reuters

There is little cause for optimism in China's fight to turn back the spreading deserts, with efforts so far failing to live up to expectations, a senior government official said on Thursday. Deserts, which cover a fifth of China, are spreading on the upper reaches of the Yellow River, on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and parts of Inner Mongolia and Gansu, driven by decades of overgrazing and deforestation.

Californa's Warming Climate Caused by Humans

Recent research by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of California, Merced and the National Center for Atmospheric Research shows that California temperatures have jumped statewide by more than 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit between 1915 and 2000. This warming is likely related to human activities. Using data from up to eight different observational records, the team found the warming has been fastest in late winter and early spring.

Beijing Olympic water scheme drains parched farmers
January 23, 2008 08:21 AM - Reuters

BAODING, China (Reuters) - Dusty villages far from China's capital are paying their own price for the government's plan to stage a postcard-perfect Olympic Games, enduring shrunken crops, drained wells and contention over lost land and homes. China is rushing to finish canals to pump 300 million cubic meters of "emergency" water to Beijing for its "green" Games, ensuring a lush, sparkling host city greets the world in August.

China sets 2030 target to clean up lakes
January 22, 2008 09:17 AM - Reuters

Beijing has ordered officials to halt a trend of worsening contamination by the end of this decade, and ensure anyone pumping pollution into the lakes has a permit, the report said, citing orders from the country's State Council or cabinet.

Eco-risks loom as arctic oil activity grows
January 22, 2008 07:08 AM - Reuters

Exploitation of the Arctic's huge oil and gas wealth poses a growing danger to an icy wilderness that can recover only slowly from heavy oil spills, a report by the eight-nation Arctic Council said on Monday. "Oil spills can kill large numbers of animals by covering them in oil, and create long-term contamination that can affect populations and ecosystems for decades," an overview report by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), an Arctic Council body, said.

Beijing population tops 16 mln target 2 years early
January 22, 2008 01:13 AM - Reuters

Olympic Games host Beijing, scrambling to provide water and infrastructure for its burgeoning population, has exceeded its target population of 16 million two years early, state media reported on Tuesday. The number of permanent residents in the capital of the world's most populous country reached 16.33 million at the end of 2007, an increase of 520,000 on the previous year, the Beijing statistics bureau said on its Web site.

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