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Rain Stops Banff Beetle Blight Burn

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Wet weather has thwarted a Canadian plan to stem the spread of tree-killing pine beetles eastward through the Rocky Mountains by burning an Alberta forest near Banff National Park, an official said on Wednesday.

The province of Alberta had planned to burn about 80 square kilometers of trees last week and it is now too late to make the attempt this year, said Duncan MacDonnell, a spokesman for the province's Sustainable Resource Development ministry.

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U.S. promotes swap to energy-saving light bulbs

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday kicked off a campaign to get U.S. consumers to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs as a way of reducing energy spending and greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA's "Change-a-Light, Change-the-World" bus tour will travel to 10 U.S. cities this month to promote Energy Star light bulbs that use about 75 percent less electricity than standard incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.

The government puts the Energy Star label on light bulbs, appliances and other products that save energy.

The agency wants every U.S. household to change at least one traditional bulb to an Energy Star bulb, collectively saving $600 million a year in energy costs and preventing enough greenhouse gas emissions to equal what is spewed from the tailpipes of 800,000 cars.

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Coal "Whipping Boy" For Greens Complaims Coal Exec

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The coal industry has become the "whipping boy" of environmentalists who fail to come up with realistic alternatives for energy, the head of one of America's biggest coal producers said.

Brett Harvey, chief executive of Consol Energy Inc (CNX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) also suggested a surcharge on electricity use to help pay for development of technology that makes coal burn off less carbon dioxide and converts the fossil fuel into liquids and gas.

"If you're not going to use coal anymore what are you going to use?" he said he asks anti-coal advocates. "Well, they respond to you: new technology, solar and wind.

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Brazil urges world support for Amazon

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's environment minister said on Wednesday the international community was failing to honor pledges to help protect the Amazon and other tropical forests but that her government rejected specific deforestation targets.

Marina Silva, a former rubber tapper and activist, said a 50 percent reduction in deforestation over the past two years showed Brazil's increased control mechanisms were working.

Ensuring a long-term reduction by changing the economic development model of the Amazon required foreign help, Silva said in an interview at her office in Brasilia.

"We don't want charity, it's a question of ethics of solidarity," said Silva, who defended the Amazon in the 1980s alongside legendary conservationist Chico Mendes.

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Polar bear endangered status "likely"

LONDON - An accelerating melt of Arctic sea ice is likely to make the polar bear officially "endangered" in the very near future, the head of a global wildlife conservation network said on Wednesday.

"They're running out of ice to be on," said Julia Marton-Lefevre, the director general of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) which publishes an annual "Red List" of threatened species.

The IUCN, grouping 83 states and hundreds of conservation organizations, currently lists the polar bear as "vulnerable".

"It's likely to be increased to endangered... in the very near future, unfortunately," Marton-Lefevre told the Reuters Environment Summit of the giant Arctic carnivore that is an emblem of manmade global warming for conservationists.

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EPA Urged To Limit CO2 Pollution From Cargo And Cruise Ships

Washington, D.C., - A US supreme court decision has cleared the way for the Environmental Protection AGency to order shipping companies to lower the pollution caused by ships.

Today a coalition of environmental advocates filed a petition today with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking the agency to set pollution rules for large, ocean-going marine vessels. These vessels include cargo and cruise ships. Earthjustice, the leading U.S. public interest environmental law firm, filed this first ever petition on behalf of Oceana, Friends of the Earth and the Center for Biological Diversity.

California Attorney General Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, Jr. also filed a petition to U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson on behalf of the state of California today, with a similar request.

The petitions would require the EPA to assess ships’ contributions to global warming, seek public comment and issue rules to reduce this pollution or explain why it will not act. 
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US Backs NKorea Nuclear Facilities Plan

The United States on Wednesday lauded an agreement for North Korea to acknowledge its nuclear programs and disable all activities at its main reactor complex, with the White House calling it significant progress toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. >> Read the Full Article

Invasive weed strangles Zambian park

LUSAKA - An invasive shrub is upsetting the ecological balance of national parks in Zambia's Kafue Flats and could drive away tourism.  A study by the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ), released last month (20 September), shows that the weed Mimosa pigra has covered around 2,900 hectares of the Kafue Flats.  It is interfering with the ecosystems by blocking access to water for animals and birds and displacing animals by reducing available habitat.

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Despite Warming, Ships to Shun Northwest Passage

OTTAWA - While there has been much talk that Arctic trade routes will open up as northern ice melts, shipping companies and experts say using the fabled Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic archipelago would be too difficult, too dangerous and totally impractical.  In theory, the idea is tempting -- the passage cuts the distance between Europe and the Far East to just 7,900 nautical miles, from 12,600 nautical miles through the Panama Canal.

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