RIYADH (Reuters) - OPEC oil exporters must take climate change seriously at a summit meeting this week, ahead of a key meeting to tackle global warming in Bali next month. a leading U.N. climate change official said on Thursday.
"I encourage OPEC to contribute to climate change abatement and to play an important role in history to drive forward sound solutions to a global problem," Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told an OPEC forum in the Saudi capital.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government said the number of Americans who went hungry in 2006 was held in check at 35 million people from the prior year, but food advocacy groups said on Wednesday more needs to be done.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said a total of 12.65 million households were "food insecure," or 10.9 percent of U.S. homes, up from 12.59 million a year ago.
The USDA defines food insecurity - its metric for measuring hunger - as having difficulty acquiring enough food for the household throughout the year.
STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars made by German manufacturers rose in 2006, while French and Italian producers cut pollution from their vehicles, data showed on Thursday.
Brussels-based environmental group Transport & Environment (T&E) said average emissions from new German vehicles jumped 0.6 percent last year because Germany was producing heavier cars, while French and Italian manufacturers cut emissions from their new cars by 1.6 percent on average.
ROME (Reuters) - Paying farmers to protect the environment -- rather than just for their produce -- will be an important way to ensure a rapidly increasing demand for food does not destroy the planet, a U.N. agency said on Thursday.
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said paying for "environmental services" is set to be an important way to link two of humanity's greatest challenges: beating poverty and safeguarding the environment.
"(Farming) has the potential to degrade the Earth's land, water, atmosphere and biological resources -- or to enhance them -- depending on the decisions made by the more than 2 billion people whose livelihoods depend directly on crops, livestock, fisheries or forests," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Greenpeace has blocked a tanker carrying more than 30,000 tonnes of palm oil from leaving an Indonesian port to protest against forest destruction blamed on plantations, the environmental group said on Thursday.
The protest came less than three weeks before a U.N. climate change meeting on the resort island of Bali, where delegates from 189 countries will debate ways to slow down global warming, including the impact of dwindling tropical rainforests.
BEIJING (Reuters) - Two key measures of pollution in China have fallen slightly in what the country's environmental regulator claimed was a victory for its clean-up procedures, state media reported on Thursday.
Emissions of sulphur dioxide, which belches from smokestacks and causes acid rain, fell by 1.81 percent in the first nine months of 2007 compared with the same period last year, the China Daily reported.
COD, or chemical oxygen demand, a measure of water pollution, dropped by 0.28 percent, the paper said.
Many Chinese cities are enveloped in choking smog, including 2008 Olympic host Beijing. The level of air pollution in the capital and its possible effects on athletes' health has been one of the biggest issues facing organizers of next year's Games.
BEIJING (Reuters) - China defended the environmental effects of its huge Three Gorges Dam on Thursday, with a senior official saying pollution was under control and threats from landslides under close guard.
The dam on the Yangtze River lies in the central province of Hubei and holds a 660-km (410-mile) reservoir. In September, an official warned of environmental calamity if landslides, siltage and pollution were not contained.
But in an implicit denial of that warning, the office director of the Three Gorges Project Committee, Wang Xiaofeng, said problems were manageable and within expectations.
MIAMI - Loggerhead sea turtles in U.S. Atlantic waters face extinction from commercial fishing and global warming and should be designated an endangered species, two environmental groups said on Thursday.
The ocean conservation group Oceana and the Center for Biological Diversity are petitioning the U.S. government to win better protection for loggerhead habitats and nesting beaches along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
The petition to be filed on Thursday with the U.S. Commerce Department and the Department of the Interior serves as a warning that the groups could sue the U.S. government if it fails to act to protect the species.
Loggerhead nest counts in Florida have dropped nearly 50 percent in the last decade, according to Florida's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
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