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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 AmazĂ´nia, 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.


U.S. wildlife refuges generate 4x return on investment

(11/28/2007) National wildlife refuges generate about $4 in economic activity for every $1 the government spends, according to a study released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday.


Ecomigration: global warming will increase environmental refugees

(11/28/2007) Climate change could spawn the largest-ever migration of environmental refugees due to intensifying droughts, storms and floods, according to a new study published in Human Ecology.


Cooking oil, palm oil biodiesel can reduce emissions relative to diesel

(11/28/2007) A lifecycle analysis of biodiesel by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) shows that using palm oil derived from existing plantations can be an effective biofuel feedstock for reducing greenhouse gas emissions relative to conventional diesel fuel. However, palm oil sourced from rainforest and peatlands generating emissions 8 to 21 times greater than those from diesel.


Photo of the Venomous Gila Monster Getting an X-ray

(11/28/2007) Dr. Tim Georoff, a veterinarian for the Wildlife conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, handles this venomous lizard with great care as he prepares this female for an radiograph (X-ray).


Hope in Bali: the December Meetings on Climate Change

(11/28/2007) The fourth, and final, report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) painted the most irrefutable and sobering picture yet of global warming. Two thousand scientists from over one hundred countries agreed to the statement that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level". The report also stated that it was more than 90% certain that global warming is due to human activity. This report, released last week, will hopefully set the tone for the two week meeting in Bali, Indonesia on climate change and create the rapid and strong responses that are required.


Can wildlife conservation banking generate investment returns?

(11/27/2007) A commercial venture in the Malaysian rainforest will seek to generate competitive returns on investment by protecting wildlife. The scheme -- signed by the Sabah government and Sydney-based New Forests Pty Ltd -- will establish a wildlife habitat conservation bank to manage the 34,000 ha Malua Forest Reserve on the island of Borneo.


Carbon credits for forest conservation concept faces challenges

(11/27/2007) While environmentalists, scientists, development exports, and policymakers across the political spectrum are ethusiastic about the idea of offsetting carbon emissions by preventing deforestation (a concept known as "avoided deforestation" or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)), the concept still faces many challenges, especially in implementation.


NASA releases high-resolution map of Antarctica

(11/27/2007) A team of researchers from NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation and the British Antarctic Survey today unveiled a high resolution, true-color map of Antarctica. The map is expected to help scientists better understand changes occurring on the icy continent.


Video game-makers score low on sustainability

(11/27/2007) While environmentalists, scientists, development exports, and policymakers across the political spectrum are ethusiastic about the idea of offsetting carbon emissions by preventing deforestation (a concept known as "avoided deforestation" or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)), the concept still faces many challenges, especially in implementation.


Dutch bank arranges carbon-conservation deal in the Amazon rainforest

(11/27/2007) Dutch bank Rabobank will launch the first-ever carbon credits project in the Xingu region of the Brazilian Amazon, reports The Financial Times.


Ground-breaking Amazon rainforest imagery will help monitor deforestation

(11/27/2007) Scientists have developed a ground-breaking high resolution snapshot of 400,000 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest. The work will help researchers remotely monitor deforestation, according to the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC).


Vulnerable Australian sea lions further threatened by gillnets and lobster pots

(11/26/2007) The Australian Sea Lion inhabits only the coastal waters off south and west Australia. Historically, they were hunted almost to extinction by Europeans of the 18th and 19th centuries for their fur and oil. Beginning in 1895, certain populations of the marine mammal were placed under protection until the species gained national protection in 1975. These protections have yet to achieve their goal; Australian Sea Lion populations remain low with some subpopulations in decline. Due to these facts, Australia recently changed their conservation status to 'threatened'.


Guyana's forests offered as massive carbon offset

(11/26/2007) Guyana has offered up the entirity of its remaining forest cover as a giant carbon offset, reports The Independent.


Palm oil industry announces "eco" standards for production

(11/26/2007) Palm oil producers -- under fire from environmentalists who say the industry is driving the wholesale destruction of biodiverse rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia -- last week announced a new certification process to ensure greener environmental standards for palm oil, reports Reuters.


Transgenic plant may thrive under global warming-induced drought

(11/26/2007) Researchers have created a drought-resistant tobacco plant through genetic engineering, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The work could eventually lead to the development of crops that are better able to survive higher temperatures and reduced rainfall associated with global warming.


Global warming may provoke evolution

(11/26/2007) Some 80 million years ago, during a period of global warming, a group of relatively immobile salamanders trekked from western North America to the continent that became Asia, report researchers writing in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.


Drought hurts carbon sinks in North America

(11/26/2007) A new system for tracking carbon uptake in North America, shows that deciduous forests along the East Coast (32 percent) and the boreal coniferous forests (22 percent) of northern Canada absorbed the bulk of carbon dioxide emissions between 2000 and 2005, but suggests that climate change may increasingly affect carbon sinks, according to research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.


UN says palm oil destroys forests, indigenous cultures in Indonesia, Malaysia

(11/26/2007) Europe's demand for supposedly eco-friendly biodiesel is fueling destruction of biodiverse rainforests in southeast Asia, warns a new report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


Is the oil-palm industry using global warming to mislead the public?

(11/23/2007) Members of the Indonesian Palm Oil Commission are distributing materials that misrepresent the carbon balance of oil-palm plantations, according to accounts from people who have seen presentations by commission members. These officials are apparently arguing that oil-palm plantations store and sequester many times the amount of CO2 as natural forests, and therefore that converting forests for plantations is the best way to fight climate change. In making such claims, these Indonesian representatives evidently are ignoring data that show the opposite, putting the credibility of the oil-palm industry at risk, and undermining efforts to slow deforestation and rein in greenhouse gas emissions.


Termites may produce cleaner biofuels

(11/23/2007) Termites may be the key to greener, more effective biofuels, report scientists writing in the November 22 edition of the journal Nature.


Greenhouse gas levels rise to new record in 2006

(11/23/2007) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels hit a new record in 2006 according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the U.N. weather agency.


Wind could supply baseline electrical power

(11/22/2007) Wind power, long considered to be as fickle as wind itself, can be groomed to become a steady, dependable source of electricity and delivered at a lower cost than at present, according to scientists at Stanford University.


Amazon rainforest children to get medicinal plant training from shamans

(11/21/2007) The Amazon conservation Team (ACT) -- a group using innovative approaches to preserving culture and improving health among Amazonian rainforest tribes -- has been awarded a $100,000 grant from Nature's Path, an organic cereal manufacturer. The funds will allow ACT to address one of the most pressing social concerns for Amazon forest dwellers by expanding its educational and cultural "Shamans and Apprentice" program for indigenous children in the region.


Past climate change triggered wars, population decline

(11/21/2007) Long-term climate change may lead to wars and population decline according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research looked at the cool period known as the Little Ice Age and found that the number of wars increased, famine occurred and the population declined.


Subway sandwiches launches first fast-food recycling program

(11/21/2007) Sandwich chain Subway is implementing a recycling program, switching from conventional napkins, cutlery and plastic cups, and reducing gasoline use in an effort to minimize its impact on the environment, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal.


Asian countries sign symbolic global warming pact

(11/21/2007) Leaders of 16 Asian countries have signed a "vague" pact on climate change according to Reuters.


Carbon offset returns beat forest conversion for agriculture in Indonesia

(11/21/2007) Conversion of forests and peatlands for agriculture in Indonesia has generated little economic benefit while releasing substantial amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, reports a new study from the the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and their Indonesian partners.


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