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Sweden aims for renewable sources for half its energy

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will aim to get nearly half its energy from renewable sources by 2020 as part of an EU-wide plan, Energy and Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson said on Wednesday. Olofsson said in Washington that Sweden had been tasked with increasing its share of renewable energy to 49 percent from a current 40 percent as part of binding targets set by the European Union. >> Read the Full Article

Warming climate may cause arctic tundra to burn

Bozeman – Research from ancient sediment cores indicates that a warming climate could make the world’s arctic tundra far more susceptible to fires than previously thought. The findings, published this week in the online journal, PLoS ONE, are important given the potential for tundra fires to release organic carbon – which could add significantly to the amount of greenhouse gases already blamed for global warming. >> Read the Full Article

Hibernation-like behavior in Antarctic fish -- on ice for winter

Scientists have discovered an Antarctic fish species that adopts a winter survival strategy similar to hibernation. Reporting this week in the journal PLoS ONE, the online journal from the Public Library of Science, scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the University of Birmingham reveal, for the first time, that the Antarctic ‘cod’ Notothenia coriiceps effectively ‘puts itself on ice’ to survive the long Antarctic winter. >> Read the Full Article

"Plastic Soup" Debris in Pacific Ocean

Here's another reason for retailers to charge for plastic bags. The swirling debris of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean has now grown to a size that is twice as large as the continental U.S. How do we know this? The Alguita Marine Research team just landed from a month-long tour of the area, known as the North Pacific Gyre. They set out to investigate just how much plastic debris is floating in the ocean, how this plastic affects marine life, and how this might affect humans that eat fish found in the area. >> Read the Full Article

Greenwash, Green Certification and Consumer Responsibility

Commenting on a recent “Countering Greenwash” post, one insightful reader pointed out how ”green” product certifications, such as the EPA-backed, Green Electronic Council’s EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) and the United Nations led StEP (Solving the E-Waste Program) - can be an excellent means of getting past the greenwash. I can only agree, depending of course, on the quality of the criteria and the rigor of any green product’s assessment. >> Read the Full Article

Controversial Russian oil pipeline defeated

WWF-UK is celebrating the successful culmination of four years of campaigning today, after Sakhalin Energy announced the withdrawal of its request for government backing for its controversial oil and gas project in the Russian Far East. "WWF is delighted that Sakhalin Energy's application for financial backing from the UK government has proved unsuccessful," said James Leaton, Oil and Gas Policy Advisor for WWF-UK. >> Read the Full Article

Environmental safeguards affordable: OECD

OSLO (Reuters) - Tackling climate change, pollution and other environmental hazards is affordable and urgent action is needed to avoid irreversible damage, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Wednesday. "Climate change is mankind's most important long-term challenge," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria told Reuters after issuing a 520-page Environmental Outlook in Oslo. >> Read the Full Article

Automakers hopeful for new CO2 limit deadline

GENEVA (Reuters) - Car makers are becoming more optimistic that European authorities will grant them more time to meet proposed limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from their vehicles -- a major point of contention between them. As part of an effort to cut emissions linked to global warming, the European Commission has drafted tough legislation to reduce CO2 emissions from cars, with steep fines on manufacturers that fail to comply. >> Read the Full Article

Japan eyes technology upgrades to halve emissions

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to focus on its efforts to improve 21 technologies to help the world halve greenhouse gases by 2050, a trade ministry official said on Wednesday. The technologies that need to be improved to combat global warming include coal-fired power generation, power generation using natural gas, solar power, vehicles powered by fuel cells or biofuels, and hydrogen-based steelmaking, the official said. >> Read the Full Article

Renewed fears for rare Mekong dolphin in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A sharp drop in the number Mekong dolphins born in Cambodia has renewed fears for the survival of the rare mammals, wildlife experts said on Wednesday. Only three baby dolphins, one of them dead, were found during an annual survey conducted in late November, down from six newborns in previous years, Touch Seang Tana told Reuters. >> Read the Full Article