ENN Weekly: December 25th - 29th

ENN rounds up the most important and compelling environmental news stories of the week. In the news December 25th - 29th: Threatened polar bears, cloned food, ocean temperatures, simple ways to "go green" in 2007, and much more.

Top Ten Articles of the Week

In the news December 25th - 29th: Threatened polar bears, cloned food, ocean temperatures, simple ways to "go green" in 2007, and much more.

1. Government Sees Polar Bears As 'Threatened'
Polar bears are in jeopardy and need stronger government protection because of melting Arctic sea ice related to global warming, the Bush administration said Wednesday. The Interior Department cites thinning sea ice as the big problem; outside the government, other scientists studying the issue say pollution, overhunting, development and even tourism also may be factors.

2. FDA Set to OK Food From Cloned Animals
The government has decided that food from cloned animals is safe to eat and does not require special labeling. Consumer groups say labels are a must, because surveys have shown people to be uncomfortable with the idea of cloned livestock.

3. Democrats Want to Redistribute Big Oil Money to Conservation, Renewables
House Democrats in the first weeks of the new Congress plan to establish a dedicated fund to promote renewable energy and conservation, using money from oil companies. That's only one legislative hit the oil industry is expected to take next year as a Congress run by Democrats is likely to show little sympathy to the cash-rich, high-profile business.

4. Southeast Asia Hunts Wildlife Poachers
Long outgunned and outmaneuvered by smuggling gangs, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed last year to form the Wildlife Enforcement Network to combat a black-market trade in plants and animals that generates $10 billion in revenue each year.

5. Researchers Use Yellowstone As CO2 Lab
Researchers studying plants and trees near Yellowstone National Park's thermal vents hope to glean an indication of how rising carbon dioxide emissions could affect vegetation worldwide a century from now. Plants near the vents are exposed to nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as is normal.

6. Study Links Fires to Ocean Temperatures
Using fire scars on nearly 5,000 tree stumps dating back 450 years, scientists have found that extended periods of major wildfires in the West occurred when the North Atlantic Ocean was going through periodic warming.

7. In Many Villages, Alaskans Face Physical and Cultural Erosion
Erosion and flooding affect 86 percent -- or 184 -- of 213 Alaska native villages to some degree, according to a 2003 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is trying to determine which communities need the most help from a network of state and federal agencies.

8. Regulators Move Forward on Ban of Children's Jewelry Containing Too Much Lead
The Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously to move forward in a process that could ultimately lead to a ban on children's jewelry containing more than .06 percent lead by weight.

9. Thailand Tree Apes Use Song As Warning
Wah, wow, hoo! Turns out humans aren't the only primates using songs to warn of life's dangers and travails. White-handed gibbons in Thailand's forests have been found to communicate threats from predators by singing -- the first time the behavior has been discovered among non-human primates, researchers said Wednesday.

10. Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Go Green
Laurie David, who produced Al Gore's documentary about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," says saving the planet isn't about everyone doing everything. As 2007 dawns and new year's resolutions abound, consider some small ways in which you can have an impact on the health of the environment.

Photo: Chinstrap penguins are social animals and number about 5 million. Credit: Zee Evans/National Science Foundation/Antarctic Photo Library.

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