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Aceh, Papua, Amazonas governors sign carbon-for-forests pact

(12/08/2007) Three governors have signed the Forests Now Declaration to protect tropical forests for their carbon value. The Governors, Irwandi Yusuf (Aceh, Indonesia), Barnabas Suebu (Papua, Indonesia), and Eduardo Braga (Amazonas, Brazil), agreed to the declaration's action plan which calls for compensation for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and protection of standing forests. Deforestation and forest degradation account for roughly 20 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, but steps to reduce forest loss will help mitigate climate change. The UK government's 2005 Stern Review said that forest protection could be one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change.


Amazon deforestation rates drop 20% in 2007

(12/08/2007) Deforestation rates in Brazil's Amazon rainforest dropped 20 percent since last year, reported the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE).


REDD will fail if needs of forest communities aren't addressed

(12/07/2007) Initiatives to reduce emissions by reducing tropical deforestation (REDD) will fail unless policymakers adequately address the underlying drivers of forest degradation and destruction, argues a new report published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).


Bali talks update: Brazil blocks deforestation initiative, US stalls

(12/07/2007) Thousands of United Nation's delegates are convening over the next ten days to chart a new course for tackling climate change. One of the hottest topics at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD). Tropical deforestation causes 20% of global greenhouse gases. REDD is based on the principal that if the world wants to fight climate change and deforestation - conservation behvaior must be more profitable than destruction. The UN diplomats are trying to reach accord on new financial resources that will empower developing countries to slow down their rates of deforestation.


Hurricane forecast calls for 7 hurricanes, 3 major, in 2008

(12/07/2007) Hurricane forecasters William Gray and Philip Klotzbach are predicting a "somewhat above-average" hurricane season for 2008. The Colorado State University researchers anticipate seven Atlantic hurricanes, three of them "major" (category 3 or higher), during the 2008 season. In total 13 named storms in the Atlantic are expected.


Rainforest logging moratorium established in Indonesian provinces, Amazonas state

(12/07/2007) Governors from the Brazilian state of Amazonas and the Indonesian provinces of Aceh, Papua and West Papua signed a historic agreement to protect threatened rainforests.


Peatlands restoration is a cheap way to cut CO2 emissions

(12/07/2007) Rehabilitating damaged peatlands in Indonesia may be one of the most cost-effective ways to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, said an international NGO.


Global warming will significantly increase bird extinctions

(12/06/2007) Where do you go when you've reached the top of a mountain and you can't go back down? It's a question increasingly relevant to plants and animals, as their habitats slowly shift to higher elevations, driven by rising temperatures worldwide. The answer, unfortunately, is you can't go anywhere. Habitats shrink to the vanishing point, and species go extinct. That scenario is likely to be played out repeatedly and at an accelerating rate as the world continues to warm, Stanford researchers say.


Merrill Lynch announces carbon credits-for-forest conservation partnership

(12/06/2007) Merrill Lynch is working with Carbon conservation, an ecosystem services firms, to explore opportunities in avoided deforestation and integrated sustainable land management. The partnership was announced Thursday in Bali, Indonesia, where more than 10,000 policymakers, scientists, and activists are meeting to discuss a post-Kyoto framework on limiting climate change.


U.S. to cut funding for rainforest conservation during Bali climate talks

(12/06/2007) While delegates meet in Bali to discuss a post-Kyoto framework on climate change, it appears likely that the U.S. Treasury Department will cut funding for the Tropical Forest conservation Act (TFCA), the largest pool of U.S. government money exclusively for helping developing countries conserve threatened tropical forests, according to the Tropical Forest Group, a forest policy group based in Santa Barbara.


Global warming accelerates destruction of the Amazon

(12/06/2007) Deforestation and climate change could damage or destroy as much as 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest by 2030, according to a new report from environmental group WWF. The report, The Amazon's Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire in the Greenhouse, shows that degradation in the Amazon could release 55-97 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2030. Forest loss could also dramatically impact water cycles in the region, affecting rainfall that is critical for river flows and agriculture.


conservation promotes larger fish stocks and higher profits for fishermen

(12/06/2007) Using conservation techniques can promote larger fish stocks and higher profits for fishermen, reports a study published in the journal Science. The research suggests that industry opposition to lower catches in the short term, may be misguided.


Pictures of new species discovered in West Africa

(12/06/2007) Scientists have discovered significant populations of new, rare and threatened species in one of the largest remaining blocks of tropical forest in West Africa, reports conservation International (CI). The findings underscore the need to conserve the area's high biological richness.


China relaxing its control over the forestry sector

(12/06/2007) China's reforms in its forestry sector have slowed deforestation, improved environmental quality, and enhanced the competitiveness of Chinese wood products despite pressure from growing internal demand for wood products and a profitable export market, according to an assessment published in Science. The authors say the trend towards public sector management of forests is likely to grow.


Hot spring bacteria could fight global warming

(12/06/2007) A newly discovered species of bacteria living in hot springs could help fight global warming, according to a study published in Nature.


Melting of Greenland ice sheet could alter warming trend

(12/06/2007) A massive release from freshwater from the glacial Lake Agassiz 8,200 years ago triggered dramatic cooling in the North Atlantic region, report researchers writing in Science. The sudden and intense cooling, which ended the stable climate that had characterized the Holocene warm period, could have future implications for the melting of Greenland's ice sheet.


Photo: snowy owl gets his inoculations

(12/06/2007) Dr. Robert Moore, Wildlife conservation Society Veterinarian, assisted by Nancy Gonzalez, Senior Bird Keeper, and Shanna Hall, Bird Keeper, are readying Hedwig, a snowy owl at the Wildlife conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, for his favorite weather - COLD.


Photo: Bronx Zoo has bred 80 endangered snow leopard

(12/06/2007) The Snow Leopard, hunted for its attractive coat, is an endangered species found in the mountain ranges of central and southern Asia. After reaching a population low during the 1960s when only around 1000 individuals remained, the cat has staged a recovery thanks to conservation efforts both in its native habitat and captivity.


Blue-eared pheasant in the snow at Central Park Zoo

(12/06/2007) Snow showers heightened the holiday mood today at the Central Park Zoo, a Wildlife conservation Society park in New York City. Our blue-eared pheasant took in the weather from his sentinel post at the Tisch Children's Zoo. Its distinctive white feathers that look like ears start beneath its chin and extend above the head.


Kyoto pact ignores CO2 emissions from biofuels

(12/05/2007) The Kyoto climate pact, as it currently stands, ignores millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the drainage of peatsoils for palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia, warnned Wetlands International, an international NGO, in a report released at the UN climate meeting in Bali.


New satellite system will penetrate clouds to track deforestation

(12/05/2007) Satellite monitoring will play a critical role in any agreement that compensates tropical countries for preserving their forests, such as "Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation" (REDD) mechanisms currently under discussion at UN climate talks in Bali. Released Tuesday, a new study, "New Eyes in the Sky: Cloud-Free Tropical Forest Monitoring for REDD with the Japanese Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS)", details significant advancements in the field of remote sensing of forests.


Tropical forests face huge threat from industrial agriculture

(12/05/2007) With forest conversion for large-scale agriculture rapidly emerging as a leading driver of tropical deforestation, a new report from the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) suggests the trend is likely to continue with Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Peru, and Colombia containing 75 percent of the world's forested land that is highly suitable for industrial agriculture expansion. Nevertheless the study identifies forests that may be best suited (low population density, unsuitable climate and soils) for "Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation" (REDD) initiatives which compensate countries for preserving forest lands in exchange for carbon credits.


Rare gorillas use weapons to attack forest-intruding humans

(12/05/2007) Following the first documented cases of the Cross River gorillas -- world's most endangered gorilla -- throwing sticks and clumps of grass when threatened by people, the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) has announced new research to better protect the species from poaching and encroachment.


Vehicle-to-grid car generates electricity and cash for owners

(12/04/2007) University of Delaware researchers have created a system that enables vehicles to not only run on electricity alone, but also to generate revenue by storing and providing electricity for utilities. The technology--known as V2G, for vehicle-to-grid--lets electricity flow from the car's battery to power lines and back.


Beetle droppings help forests recover from fire

(12/04/2007) Armed with a pair of tweezers and a handful of beetle droppings, University of Alberta forestry graduate Tyler Cobb has discovered why the bug-sized dung is so important to areas ravaged by fire.


China boosts wheat production with new high-yielding varieties

(12/04/2007) A research initiative to boost China's wheat production has yielded new high-quality, high-yielding varieties that have added 2.4 million tons to Chinese harvests and generated an extra US$411 million in farm income over the past four years, reports a new assessment from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). The new varieties also offer natural resistance to a new strain of wheat stem rust now emerging as a threat to global food security, according to the researchers.


Piranhas originated when Amazon was flooded by seawater

(12/04/2007) South America's piranha family of fish -- notorious as eaters of flesh -- can be traced back to a single ancestor which dispersed when the Amazon was flooded by seawater some five million years ago, report researchers from the Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement (IRD). Today piranhas are exclusively freshwater fish found from the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela to the Paraná in Argentina.


Amazon deforestation could be eliminated with carbon priced at $3

(12/04/2007) The Amazon rainforest could play a major part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that result from deforestation, reports a new study published by scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center, the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia, and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. At a carbon price of $3 per ton, protecting the Amazon for its carbon value could outweigh the opportunity costs of forgoing logging, cattle ranching, and soy expansion in the region. 2008 certified emission-reduction credits for carbon currently trade at more than $90 per ton ($25 per ton of CO2).


Returns from carbon offsets could beat palm oil in Congo DRC

(12/04/2007) A proposal to pay the Democratic of Congo (DRC) for reducing deforestation could add 15-50 percent to the amount of international aid given to the warn-torn country, reports a new study published by scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC). The funds would help alleviate rural poverty while cutting emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting threatened biodiversity.


Earthquake triggers decline in a frog species

(12/03/2007) In 1999 a 7.3 earthquake struck Nantou County at the center of quake-prone Taiwan. The earthquake caused considerable damage: over 2,000 people died and just under 45,000 houses were destroyed. It was Taiwan's strongest quake in a hundred years. The quake also devastated a subpopulation of riparian frogs, Rana swinhoana, which had been under scientific study for three years prior. This devastation allowed scientists the opportunity to study the population changes in a species affected suddenly and irretrievably by natural disaster.


Photo: Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano erupts

(12/03/2007) Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano erupted several times on Saturday, December 1, ejecting steam and ash, according to Mexico's National Disaster Prevention Center (CENAPRED).


35-mpg mileage target will save consumers $22 billion a year in gas costs

(12/03/2007) The recently passed 35-miles per gallon target for the U.S. car fleet will save American consumers $22 billion a year in gasoline costs assuming an average price of $2.55 according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. However price premiums on fuel-efficient technologies could eat into these savings, reports an article in the Wall Street Journal.


Tropics are expanding

(12/03/2007) Climate change has caused a widening of Earth's tropical belt, according to a new study published in a new scientific journal, Nature Geoscience. "Remarkably, the tropics appear to have already expanded -- during only the last few decades of the 20th century -- by at least the same margin as models predict for this century," said the scientists who conducted the research.


Marriage is "greener" than divorce, finds study

(12/03/2007) Divorce has previously unrecognized environmental impacts including higher demand for resources and lower efficiency in household resource use, reports a new study published in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Global warming to boost severe thunderstorms in NYC, Atlanta

(12/03/2007) Global warming could lead to weather conditions that spawn severe thunderstorms in the United States, according to research appearing in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Climate risks to global agriculture are underestimated

(12/03/2007) Vulnerability of global agricultural to climate change may be underestimated by experts, warns a trio of papers published in week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research says that "progressive changes predicted to stem from 1- to 5-degree C temperature rises in coming decades fail to account for seasonal extremes of heat, drought or rain, multiplier effects of spreading diseases or weeds, and other ecological upsets," according to a statement from Columbia University's Earth Institute.


Food prices to rise due to energy demand, economic trends

(12/03/2007) Income growth, climate change, high energy prices, globalization, and urbanization are converging to drive food prices higher, threatening livelihoods and nutrition of poor people in developing countries, says a new report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


Forest carbon may not fully offset fossil carbon, says expert

(12/03/2007) As policymakers meet in Bali, Indonesia to discuss various mechanisms for mitigating greenhouse emissions, a tropical ecologist from Sri Lanka warns that one ton of forest carbon is not equal to one ton of fossil carbon when it comes to using offsets to fight global warming. The implications: considerably larger forest areas (preferably old growth since it has higher carbon values than plantations) would need to be protected and reforested than are presently anticipated by most policymakers.


Largest-ever climate meeting begins in Bali

(12/02/2007) In Bali, Indonesia, more than 10,000 delegates, scientists, journalists, and activists from around the world kicked off the largest-ever climate change conference Monday. Organizers hope that the meeting lays the groundwork for a new international pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.


Deal reached on U.S. fuel-economy standards

(11/30/2007) U.S. lawmakers reached an agreement to boost fuel-economy standards of the nation's cars and light-duty trucks for the first time in more than 30 years.


New research discredits a $100 billion geoengineering fix to global warming

(11/29/2007) Scientists have revealed an important discovery that raises doubts concerning the viability of plans to fertilize the ocean to solve global warming, a projected $100 billion venture.


Could the carbon market save the Amazon rainforest?

(11/29/2007) The global carbon market could play a key role in saving the Amazon from the effects of climate change and economic development, which could otherwise trigger dramatic ecological changes, reports a new paper published in Science. The authors argue that a well-articulated plan, financed by carbon markets, could prevent the worst outcomes for the Amazon forest while generating economic benefits for the region's inhabitants.


25% of American birds threatened

(11/29/2007) More than one quarter of the bird species found in the United States are imperiled, reports a new survey by the National Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy. Overall 178 species in the continental U.S. and 39 in Hawaii are listed on WatchList 2007, which is based on a comprehensive analysis of population size and trends, distribution, and threats for 700 bird species in the U.S.


Coral reefs with seasonal temperatures may survive climate change

(11/29/2007) Scientists have revealed an important discovery that raises doubts concerning the viability of plans to fertilize the ocean to solve global warming, a projected $100 billion venture.


European Union forests expanding, absorbing carbon rapidly

(11/29/2007) European Union countries likely require an old ally -- Mother Nature and her forests -- to meet an ambitious post-Kyoto goal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020, according to new research.


Historical records of Atlantic hurricanes are accurate says study

(11/28/2007) Counting tropical storms that occurred before the advent of aircraft and satellites relies on ships logs and hurricane landfalls, making many believe that the numbers of historic tropical storms in the Atlantic are seriously undercounted. However, a statistical model based on the climate factors that influence Atlantic tropical storm activity shows that the estimates currently used are only slightly below modeled numbers and indicate that the numbers of tropical storms in the recent past are increasing, according to researchers.


Carbon dioxide can be safely stored in porous sandstone of former oil fields

(11/28/2007) New research suggests that carbon dioxide can be safely geosequestered in porous sandstone that formely contained oil. The findings may help scientists devise alternative mechanisms for fighting global warming.


Primate journal offers free online access through year-end

(11/28/2007) The International Journal of Primatology, a prominent peer-reviewed journal on current primatology research, is offering free and unlimited online access until December 31, 2007.


Shipping industry struggles with pollution

(11/28/2007) Pollution is a rising concern for the cargo shipping industry which carries more than 90% of the world's merchandise by volume, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Google aims to make renewable energy sources cheaper than coal

(11/28/2007) Tuesday Google announced an initiative to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal.


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