• 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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  • Nations share blame for Indonesia deforestation: VP

    Foreign nations share the blame for the destruction of Indonesian forests and should pitch in to help restore them, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Friday.

    Indonesia, host of a U.N. climate change conference in December, has been a driving force behind calls for rich countries to compensate poor states that preserve their rainforests to soak up greenhouse gases.

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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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  • Researchers to develop improved cowpea varieties

    RIVERSIDE – Providing food security, one of the greatest challenges of our time, is a critical goal especially in the developing world, where crop destruction by drought, disease and pest infestation swiftly places millions of lives at risk of hunger.  Scientists will help meet this challenge by focusing on cowpea, a protein-rich legume crop of immense importance to Africa that complements starchy staple crops such as corn, cassava, sorghum and millets in the diets of millions of Africans.

    “Our project will develop the key genomic resources that are currently lacking in cowpea,” said Timothy Close, a professor of genetics and a co-principal investigator of the grant, who leads at the University of California, Riverside's cowpea genomics effort. “We will use modern plant breeding approaches that employ new and efficient molecular marker development methodologies.”

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  • What's Killing the Bees?

    The author of this commentary is Paul J. Tukey, HGTV Co-Host & Executive Producer,  Publisher, named by People, Places & Plants magazine the 2006 COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR by the American Horticultural Society, the author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual, National Spokesperson and the co-founder of safelawns.org.

    60 Minutes is on the case. NPR recently published an expose. The media everywhere is scrambling for an angle on one of the most chilling and compelling questions of our time: what is killing the bees?

    And while it’s exciting to see all the attention on this subject — since bees’ pollination accounts for about one third of the food we consume daily — it’s also enormously frustrating for beekeepers when many of our media brethren stop just short of telling the beekeepers’ version of the story. >> Read the Full Article
  • Greenland's Broccoli is Bad for Our Health

    It is a global warming story capable of striking fear into the hearts of children: broccoli can now be grown in Greenland. The land synonymous with ice sheets, polar bears and Eskimos has experienced a small but significant increase in temperature which has made it economically viable for the first time in hundreds of years to grow and sell the vegetable locally. >> Read the Full Article
  • Florida gov. to lobby for ethanol on U.S. Congress

    SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said on Monday he will encourage U.S. Congress members to lobby for more ethanol use and a reduction in the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on Brazilian imports of the biofuel.

    The use of more cane-based ethanol is seen as a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. state, which is aiming to reduce them to 1990 levels by 2015.

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  • How sweet is it?

    GAINSVILLE, FL -- We love it fresh, canned and frozen. It's grown in every state, and according to a recent study published by the American Society of Horticultural Science, adds up to a whopping $807 million per year industry in the U.S. In other words, sweet corn is big business. Fresh market production of sweet corn in the U.S. peaks in July, with only ten percent of the annual volume marketed during winter months. Fresh sweet corn is extremely perishable as a result of rapid decrease in sugar content, discoloration and risk of pathogen infection. >> Read the Full Article
  • France casts doubts on timing of GMO evaluation

    PARIS (Reuters) - It may take longer than expected to assess pest-resistant genetically modified (GMO) crops for use in France, the agriculture minister said in remarks published on Monday.

    "I cannot be absolutely sure how long it will take to carry out the scientific evaluation," Michel Barnier told the farming publication Agra Press.

    "I cannot say today that everything will have been completed in February," he added.

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  • Group to Create Rating System for Landscapes

    The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has been working with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas–Austin since 2005 to research environmentally friendly landscapes for building sites, parks, and public areas.

    In 2006, the U.S. Botanic Garden joined the effort, and now the group is going public with its Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI), a project to develop guidelines by 2009 and a rating system for landscapes by 2012.

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