• U.N.'s Ban says global warming is "an emergency"

    EDUARDO FREI BASE, Antarctica (Reuters) - With prehistoric Antarctic ice sheets melting beneath his feet, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for urgent political action to tackle global warming.

    The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth in the last 50 years, making the continent a fitting destination for Ban, who has made climate change a priority since he took office earlier this year.

    "I need a political answer. This is an emergency and for emergency situations we need emergency action," he said during a visit to three scientific bases on the barren continent, where temperatures are their highest in about 1,800 years.

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  • Norway seeks land power for offshore fields

    OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's centre-left government pushed ahead on Friday with controversial plans to power some offshore oil and gas platforms by electricity produced on land, in an effort to cut carbon emissions by the oil industry.

    The Energy and Petroleum Ministry linked its approval for BP's Skarv field development with pledges by field partners to help develop technology that brings electrical power to offshore platforms or floating production vessels.

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  • Politics of ethanol is to make more, Iowans agree

    MUSCATINE, Iowa (Reuters) - For Iowans, ethanol is a home-grown success story few presidential candidates would dare sully in their search for votes as the harvest season ends and campaigns ramp up in earnest.

    In stump speeches and position papers, Democratic and Republican hopefuls vying for Iowa's January 3 first-in-the-nation caucuses pay regular homage to the biofuels industry.

    The industry has created tens of thousands of jobs in Iowa -- and more than 150,000 across the United States -- and is credited with lifting the prices paid to farmers for their crops, and even eased the pain at the gas pump.

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  • Climate change endangers Alaska's coastal villages

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - At risk from surging storm waves and floods, Alaska's coastal villagers are dealing with the immediate consequences of climate change -- threats to their health, safety and even their ancestors' graves.

    The rapid erosion of the state's coastline is blamed on the scarcity of sea ice and thawing of permafrost. Without solid ice to shield the land, and without hard-frozen conditions to keep it held fast, encroaching waves and floods easily carve large chunks from shorelines or riverbanks.

    "People are dying and getting injured as a result of trying to engage in traditional activities in much-changing conditions," said Deborah Williams, a former Interior Department official who heads an Alaska organization focused on climate change.

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  • UN climate panel to meet, add pressure for action

    OSLO (Reuters) - About 130 governments meet in Spain next week to agree a stark guide to the mounting risks of climate change that the United Nations says will leave no option but tougher action to fix the problem.

    The U.N. climate panel, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, will meet in Valencia from November 12-17 to condense 3,000 pages of already published science into a 20-page summary for policy makers.

     

     

     

     

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  • China emission-cutting fund to reap up to $3 bln

    China could have as much as $3 billion coming to a state-owned fund that supports emissions-reducing ventures, if a slate of projects on its books win U.N. approval, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.

    As of last month, China had approved 885 projects, which would prevent emissions equivalent to 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide and generate credits worth $15 billion.

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  • California sues EPA over car emissions

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, demanding a quick federal decision that would allow the nation's most populous state to limit greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

    "California is ready to implement the nation's cleanest standards for vehicle emissions, but we cannot do that until the federal government grants a waiver allowing us to enforce those standards," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

    The long-threatened legal action follows a 2005 California law requiring new vehicles to meet tighter standards for emissions, starting with 2009 models introduced next year.

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  • Human-generated Ozone Will Damage Crops, According to MIT Study

    A novel MIT study concludes that increasing levels of ozone due to the growing use of fossil fuels will damage global vegetation, resulting in serious costs to the world's economy.  The analysis, reported in the November issue of Energy Policy, focused on how three environmental changes (increases in temperature, carbon dioxide and ozone) associated with human activity will affect crops, pastures and forests.

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  • Booming Palm Oil Demand Fueling Climate Crisis

    SINGAPORE - Indonesia's peatland forests are a ticking "climate bomb" and Kit Kats, Pringles and other palm oil-based products are lighting the fuse, global conservation group Greenpeace said on Thursday.  Clearing forests that grow on the country's thick carbon-storing peatland releases more than a billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, the group said at the unveiling of its "Cooking the Climate" report in Singapore.

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  • Cholera and Dengue Threaten Mexican Flood Victims

    VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico  - Tens of thousands of Mexicans forced into makeshift shelters by massive flooding are threatened by ailments ranging from colds to cholera, health officials said on Wednesday.  About 80,000 people from the flooded city of Villahermosa have taken refuge in crammed schools, churches and a multistory parking garage.   Colds, respiratory illnesses and foot fungus have become common, and doctors in the tropical city fear outbreaks of more serious diseases like cholera due to a lack of running water.

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