• E.ON takes first step into U.S. renewables market

    FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's E.ON (EONG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest utility, is taking its first step into the U.S. market for renewable energy with the takeover of wind farms there for $1.4 billion including debt.

    With the acquisition of the American division of Ireland's Airtricity, E.ON is buying current and future projects with a total capacity of more than 7,000 megawatts in the United States and Canada, the German company said in a statement on Thursday.

    "E.ON is late in renewables, but it makes clear it's strongly committed to picking up," London-based UBS analyst Per Lekander said. "Valuations in the area are high and can only be justified by the expectation of future projects."

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  • Another warm winter seen for much of U.S.

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Long-range weather forecasts are predicting a warmer than average winter with less precipitation for much of the United States except the Pacific Northwest.

    "It will be a lot like last year but the climate models are even more in agreement now than they were last fall," said Mike Halpert, head of forecast operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.

    "Temperatures will be warmer than average in most places except the northwest of the country, which could see some cold."

    Forecasters believe the emergence of a La Nina condition -- unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean -- will be the main factor behind the anticipated warmth for much of North America.

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  • White House says Climate talks beyond platitudes

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-sponsored climate change talks have moved beyond the political positioning and platitudes that can mire such discussions, the top White House environment official told Reuters on Wednesday.

    James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said last week's two-day Washington meeting of the 17 countries that emit the most greenhouse gases featured candid dialogue instead of "the formalistic presentations and set speeches that are typical of these climate discussions."

    "It was not hostile but it was frank and we engaged the issue at a level of substance that moved us beyond the platitudes," Connaughton said at the Reuters Environment Summit. "It was intense and it's going to be more intense, because this is hard."

    Connaughton disputed news reports in which participants in the talks complained that President George W. Bush seemed isolated in urging voluntary, rather than mandatory, requirements to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming.


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  • Fact sheet: Perennial Ice, Sometimes thick enough to Defy Icebreakers, May be Key to Predicting Arctic Thaw

    Loss of sea ice that is more than a year old -- called perennial ice -- may be the key predictor for how much Arctic ice melts each summer, a University of Washington polar scientist says. He says the loss of perennial ice in the last two years led to this summer's record-breaking ice retreat.  A paper being published online today by Geophysical Research Letters, says perennial sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean decreased by 23 percent during the past two winters as strong winds swept more Arctic ice than usual out Fram Strait near Greenland.

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  • Rumbling Volcano Sparks Panic in Indonesia

    KEDIRI, Indonesia - Hundreds of Indonesians have begun evacuating the slopes of a rumbling volcano in East Java following increased levels of toxic fumes and tremors, a local rescue official said on Thursday.  The country's volcanological survey raised Mount Kelud's alert status to the second-highest level on Sunday, following increased activity.   A mix of carbon dioxide and toxic substances seven times normal levels has been recorded from the volcano in recent days, prompting authorities to isolate the area, said Saut Simatupang, head of the survey's volcano observation unit.

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  • Power Utility Wants Auctioning of CO2 Permits by 2020

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  • Typhoon Lekima Kills 12 in Southeast Asia

    KY ANH, Vietnam - Typhoon Lekima lashed Vietnam and southern China with torrential rains and high winds, killing at least seven people, damaging hundreds of homes and disrupting air, sea and train travel, officials said on Thursday.  The storm, which killed at least five people in the Philippines last weekend, swept into central Vietnam from the sea on Wednesday night, blowing roofs off houses, sinking scores of fishing vessels and grounding flights before moving to Laos. The typhoon raised rivers to dangerous levels in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, but the damage caused was not as serious as feared.

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  • Indonesia to Plant 79 Million Trees in One Day

    JAKARTA - Indonesia, which has destroyed vast tracts of forest, will plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December, an official said on Thursday. The event, scheduled for November 28, is part of a global campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate change talks in Nairobi last year, said Ahmad Fauzi Masud, spokesman for the forestry ministry. "Everybody, residents and officials from the lowest unit of the government to the president, will take part in this movement," he said. "It will be a national record and, possibly, a world record."

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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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  • Climate Change Seen Posing Big Risk For Insurers

    SYDNEY  The global insurance industry faces substantial risks from climate change due to the increased incidence of cyclones, floods, drought and bushfires, a major European reinsurer told the Greenhouse 2007 conference.  Losses from tropical cyclones were increasing particularly strongly, Eberhard Faust, head of climate risks at Munich Re (MUVGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), he told the conference organized by the Australian government-backed Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

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