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Emissions cap for poor unlikely at Bali talks

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - The chance that developing countries would accept firm emissions-cutting targets receded on Friday, as U.N.-led talks to launch negotiations on a climate pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol inched forwards.

About a dozen trade ministers meet in Bali at the weekend and finance ministers from Monday, their first-ever visit to the annual U.N. climate meeting normally attended by environment ministers, to help spur a booming global "green" economy.

"Nothing's been ruled out," said Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat at the December 3-14 talks being held at a luxury beach resort in Bali, Indonesia.


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Tanker Leaks Oil Off S.Korea Coast

SEOUL (Reuters) - A large oil tanker gushed thousands of tons of oil into the sea near one of South Korea's most scenic coastlines after being hit by a barge, South Korea's maritime ministry said on Friday.

The Hong Kong-registered Hebei Spirit was struck while at anchor off Daesan port in the Taean region on the country's west coast and the ministry said it had already leaked some 10,800 metric tons of crude oil.

"A barge ship being towed ... collided with the oil tanker at anchor, breaching the cargo section and leaking crude oil," ministry official Lee Jang-hoon told reporters.

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California sets key climate targets

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California on Thursday set key emissions targets and became the first state to require heavy industries to report their greenhouse gases, major steps in its landmark law to reduce global warming.

Starting in 2008, owners of power plants, oil refineries, cement plants and other big polluters will tell the state how much carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases they spew. By 2010, those reports will be independently verified.

Also on Thursday, the California Air Resources Board set a specific emissions target for the state to meet by 2020 .

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Hong Kong chokes on pollution

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong warned people with heart or lung problems to avoid outdoor activities on Friday as the territory experienced one of its most polluted days of the year, with the hills across the harbor almost invisible.

Pollution monitoring stations registered "very high" readings in several spots around the former British colony, and the Environmental Protection Department said the poor air was expected to continue.

Hong Kong's air has become increasingly clogged with pollutants from cars, ships, power plants and a booming manufacturing sector across the border in China's Guangdong province.

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Greenland ice could be next puzzle for U.N. panel

BALI, Indonesia (Reuters) - A thaw of Greenland ice that could raise world sea levels may be the next puzzle for the U.N. climate panel that won the Nobel Peace Prize, a senior member of the group said.

Dutch scientist Bert Metz said the risk of an accelerating melt of Greenland's ice sheet was among the unsolved issues in the U.N. reports this year that blame mankind for causing global warming and urge quick action to avert the worst impacts


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Polish energy sector to be hit hardest by CO2 quota

WARSAW (Reuters) - Energy will be among the sectors that bear the brunt of the European Union's decision to cut by 27 percent Poland's 2008-2012 carbon emissions quota, the environment minister said on Thursday.

The European Commission cut the annual quota for central Europe's biggest economy to 208.5 million tonnes as part of its attempts to shore up the emissions trading scheme, the EU's key tool to curb global warming.

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U.S. childhood cancer death rate declines sharply

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The cancer death rate for children in the United States has declined sharply -- down 20 percent from 1990 to 2004 -- thanks to better treatment of leukemia and other cancers, health officials said on Thursday.

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France suspends commercial GMO seed use, studies safety

PARIS (Reuters) - France formally suspended on Thursday the commercial use of genetically modified (GMO) seeds in the country until early February and ordered a biotech safety study.

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Germany ends ban on Monsanto GMO maize type

Germany had in May this year imposed a temporary ban on commercial sales of MON810 citing concerns about safety of the maize (corn), which is resistant to several types of butterflies which are pests to the grain in Europe.

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Ethiopian Airlines denies wildlife allegations

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian Airlines said on Thursday it was not aware of a Cameroonian conservation group's allegation that the state-run airline was involved in illegal wildlife smuggling.

The Yaounde-based Last Great Ape Organization, working with Cameroonian security forces, seized a consignment of 500 African Grey parrots on Tuesday on an Ethiopian Airlines plane shortly before it was due to take off.

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