• Bleak U.S. "report card" finds warming Arctic

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bleak "report card" on global warming's Arctic impact released on Wednesday found less ice, hotter air and dying wildlife, and stressed that what happens around the North Pole affects the entire planet.

    The report, issued by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also found that weird winds blowing warm air toward the North Pole and unusually persistent sunshine added to the warming trend.

    Unlike previous years, when there have been hot spots and cold spots at different times in the Arctic, "winter and spring, the temperatures are all above average throughout the whole Arctic and all at the same time," said James Overland of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.

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  • Amazon loggers hold activists captive

    BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian loggers besieged eight Greenpeace activists on Wednesday in a remote Amazon town, angered by a campaign against global warming that they fear could hurt their image, the conservation group said.

    Hundreds of townspeople, including dozens of loggers in trucks, cars and motorcycles, blockaded the activists in a local branch of the government's environmental protection agency Ibama, a Greenpeace spokesman said.

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  • Hidden Costs of Climate Change: Major, Nationwide, Uncounted

    The total economic cost of climate change in the United States will be major and nationwide in scope, but remains uncounted, unplanned for and largely hidden in public debate, says a new study from the University of Maryland. The report, The U.S. Economic Impacts of Climate Change and the Costs of Inaction, is the first to pull together and analyze the previous economic research on the subject, along with other relevant data, in order to develop a more complete estimate of costs.

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  • Climate-change Clues From Wisconsin's Lakes

    Madison, Wisconsin - As part of the world carbon cycle, bacterial communities in freshwater lakes break down carbon in decaying organic matter, converting it into carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere.

    However, in humic lakes — darkly stained, bog-rimmed bodies of water that contain high levels of decaying organic matter — this process creates even higher carbon-dioxide emission levels. "There's a lot of concern that, as the climate changes, more carbon will be turned into carbon dioxide in these kinds of lakes," says Katherine McMahon, a University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.
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  • China launches Effort To Green Inner Mongolian Desert

    Bejing, China - Beijing and Seoul recently signed an agreement to launch a joint program to harness China's eighth-largest desert - the Ulan Buh in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

    About 15 million yuan (1.99 million U.S. dollars) will be spent growing trees and building greenhouses to prevent environmental deterioration in the Ulan Buh region, according to officials involved in the project.
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  • Kyoto approach on climate is "bad policy": Bush

    President George W. Bush said on Monday his administration's approach of emphasizing voluntary approaches to address climate change was working and he denounced Kyoto-style mandatory caps as "bad policy."

    Bush's comments were the latest sign that his opposition to binding emissions caps remains firmly entrenched, even as he has made efforts to show he wants to be more engaged in the global debate on climate change amid sharp criticism from other countries.

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  • Virgin Atlantic 747 to Test Biofuel in Early 2008

    BOSTON (Reuters) - British billionaire Richard Branson said on Monday his Virgin Group hopes to produce clean biofuels by around the start of the next decade and early next year will test a jet plane on renewable fuel.

    Virgin hopes to provide clean fuel for buses, trains and cars within three or four years, Branson told a Mortgage Bankers Association meeting in Boston.

    In the meantime, Virgin will be conducting a test jet flight on renewable fuels. "Early next year we will fly one of our 747s without passengers with one of the fuels that we have developed," Branson told the annual conference.

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  • Torrential rains, floods kill 20 in Central America

    SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - Emergency officials across Central America worked to clean up towns inundated by recent deadly floods and landslides, and braced for more bad weather on Sunday.

    At least 20 people were killed and thousands evacuated across Central America after days of torrential rain sparked landslides and flooding.

    The same weather system that killed 23 people in a Haitian village on Friday triggered a landslide that buried 14 people under mud and debris in Costa Rica.

    Red Cross workers had been digging through the debris since Thursday, when about 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of land on a steep slope gave way and fell on the small town of Atenas, about 20 miles west of the Costa Rican capital.

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  • Planet Wins Nobel Prize

    The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a triumph for the planet and its inhabitants, who will increasingly struggle to adjust as the world warms.

    It is with extreme satisfaction that we receive the news that Gore and the IPCC have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Oystein Dahle, Chairman of the Board of Worldwatch Institute and a leading Norwegian environmentalist.

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  • Five Asian nations to study flood, climate risks

    OSLO (Reuters) - A new U.N. course will help five Asian nations cope with a predicted worsening of floods due to climate change that may threaten cities from Beijing to Hanoi, the U.N. University said on Sunday.

    Experts from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Nepal and Sri Lanka would take part from November in a three-month course run by the U.N. University in Thailand to help map risks of downpours, rivers breaking their banks and rising sea levels.

    If successful, the course could be expanded to other regions.

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