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Environmental damage linked to new diseases says WHO

(12/09/2005) The rise of deadly new diseases such as SARS, Nipah virus and bird flu could be linked to the degradation and destruction of the environment says a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Changes in forest cover could affect climate as much as greenhouse gases in some areas

(12/09/2005) Deforestation, the growth of forests, and other changes in land cover could produce local temperature changes comparable to those caused by greenhouse gases according to new simulations from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Alaska could lose Northern Lights in 50 years

(12/09/2005) Earth's north magnetic pole is drifting away from North America and toward Siberia at a rate that Alaska might lose its spectacular Northern Lights within the next 50 years according to research presented at an American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Dancing monkeys could be a risk to your health

(12/08/2005) Some urban performing monkeys in Indonesia are carrying several retroviruses that are capable of infecting people, according to a new study led by University of Washington researchers. The results indicate that contact with performing monkeys, which is common in many Asian countries, could represent a little-known path for viruses to jump the species barrier from monkeys to humans and eventually cause human disease. Performing monkeys are animals that are trained to produce tricks in public.

Arctic Inuit sue U.S. govt over global warming pollution

(12/08/2005) A group of people living in the Arctic have filed a lawsuit against the US government, claiming its climate change policies violate their human rights. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) says that by failing to control emissions of greenhouse gases, the US is damaging the livelihoods those living in the Arctic. The group has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights demanding that the US limit its emissions.

Future forests may absorb more carbon dioxide than current forests

(12/08/2005) Forests of the future may grow faster and absorb more carbon in a carbon dioxide enriched environment according to a new study by researchers at the Department of Energy (DOE).

Alaska's Columbia Glacier shrunk by 9 miles since 1980

(12/08/2005) Alaska's rapidly disintegrating Columbia Glacier, which has shrunk in length by 9 miles since 1980, has reached the mid-point of its projected retreat, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Mexico addressing greenhouse gas emissions despite no Kyoto obligation

(12/07/2005) Mexico, a country that has no emission reduction obligatons under the Kyoto Protocol, is acting on its own to assist companies in managing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

2005 had worst weather-related economic losses in history

(12/07/2005) This year witnessed the largest financial losses ever as a result of weather-related natural disasters linked by many to human action, more than $200 billion compared to $145 billion in 2004, the previous record, according to statistics presented to the United Nations Climate Change Conference currently meeting in Montreal, Canada.

45% chance Gulf Stream will collapse by 2100 say scientists

(12/07/2005) New research indicates there is a 45 percent chance that the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean could shut down by the end of the century if nothing is done to slow greenhouse gas emissions. Even with immediate climate policy action, say scientists, there would still be a 25 percent probability of a collapse of the system of currents that keep western Europe warmer than regions at similar latitudes in other parts of the world.

Photos of erupting volcano in Vanuatu

(12/07/2005) The Manaro Volcano of Ambae Island, Vanuatu in the South Pacific erupted in spectacular fashion early Thursday. The volano shot steam, toxic gases and ash up to 1,500 meters (4,500 feet) into the air.

Rising ocean causes permanent evacuation of Pacific island community

(12/06/2005) A small community living in the Pacfic island chain of Vanuatu has become one of, if not the first, to be formally moved out of harms way as a result of climate change.

Using biomimicry to fight computer viruses via "immunity software"

(12/06/2005) Biomimicry is being used to fight computer viruses. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Arizona (UA) received $1 million to fund research and development of security software that mimics biological immune systems. The software will screen a computer network for abnormalities, isolating infectious computer viruses, worms and other attack agents while developing software "antibodies" to fight them. UA received the grant from the Army Research Office.

Easter Island's demise caused by rats, Dutch traders says new theory

(12/06/2005) Rats and Dutch traders may be responsible for the mysterious demise of Easter Island according to research presented last week during an American Anthropological Association meeting by a University of Hawaii anthropologist.

2006 Hurricane season likely to be active

(12/06/2005) The United States faces another very active Atlantic basin hurricane season in 2006, but with likely fewer landfalling intense hurricanes than in 2005 - the costliest, most destructive hurricane season ever - according to a report issued today by Philip Klotzbach, William Gray and the Colorado State University forecast team.

Warming could free far more carbon from high Arctic soil than earlier thought

(12/05/2005) Scientists studying the effects of carbon on climate warming are very likely underestimating, by a vast amount, how much soil carbon is available in the high Arctic to be released into the atmosphere, new University of Washington research shows. A three-year study of soils in northwest Greenland found that a key previous study greatly underestimated the organic carbon stored in the soil. That's because the earlier work generally looked only at the top 10 inches of soil, said Jennifer Horwath, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences.

Soil moisture, root depth influence climate models

(12/05/2005) By soaking up moisture with their roots and later releasing it from their leaves, plants play an active role in regulating the climate. In fact, in vegetated ecosystems, plants are the primary channels that connect the soil to the atmosphere, with plant roots controlling the below-ground dynamics.

Somali pirates force UN food aid to take land route

(12/05/2005) Facing a plague of piracy off the Horn of Africa that has closed its usual supply lines by sea, the United Nations World Food programme (WFP) today announced the arrival in southern Somalia of its first overland truck convoy carrying food aid in almost five years, and called for urgent funding to make up for the increased costs.

Pandas threatened by roads and forest fragmentation in China

(12/05/2005) China's endangered giant panda is threatened by the rapid expansion of the national highway network, which causing fragmentation of its natural habitat, according to Chinese state media.

70 years after logging, forests don't hold as much carbon as original forests

(12/05/2005) New research out of Ohio State University suggests that following logging, temperate forests take long periods of time to recover their carbon storing capacity. The scientists examined forests of of the upper Great Lakes region, which were 90% logged at the turn of the century, and found that they store only half the carbon the original forests contained. Poor forest management is blamed for the shortfall.

Mozambique Gets World Bank conservation, Tourism Project

(12/05/2005) More of Mozambique's natural ecosystems will be conserved, and thus draw more tourism to the country, thanks to a World Bank-funded project that aims to promote economic growth through sustainable use of natural resources.

Archaeologists make ancient Maya discovery in Guatemala

(12/05/2005) Researchers working in Guatemala have unearthed a monument with the earliest-known depiction of a woman of authority in ancient Mayan culture, according to an archaeologist at the University of Calgary. Kathryn Reese-Taylor said the 2-meter high limestone monument has a portrait of a female who could be either a ruler or a mythical goddess and dates 4th Century A.D. The statue, called a stela, was found at Naachtun, a Mayan city 90 km (55 miles) north of Tikal.

New maps reveal the human footprint on Earth

(12/05/2005) As global populations swell, farmers are cultivating more and more land in a desperate bid to keep pace with the ever-intensifying needs of humans.

Elephant drunk from fruit not likely, finds study

(12/05/2005) Dispelling years of anecdotes in travelogues, the popular press, and scholarly works, biologists from the University of Bristol argue that it is nearly impossible for elephants to become intoxicated from eating the fruit of the marula tree.

Amazon rainforest biodiversity due to biology not climate change says study

(12/05/2005) The biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest results from biological factors, not climate change as widely thought, says new research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Scientists have long argued that the species richness of tropical forests could be due to climate change-induced fragmentation, known as the "forest refuge: theory, and other external factors that caused geographic isolation. Now, researchers from University College London say that biological influences play a greater role in driving species evolution.

Congo rainforest - 600,000 sq km slated for logging

(12/05/2005) The World Bank will meet Thursday to decide whether it will fund large-scale logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo's rainforests. The country, home to the second largest rainforest in the world after Brazil, is emerging from years of civil strife which resulted in the deaths of some 3.8 million people from violence and disease.

Companies increasingly at risk for climate change litigation says UN

(12/05/2005) Companies which contribute to climate change will increasingly face legal action according to a U.N.-sponsored report accounced last week but scheduled for released in March 2006. London-based law firm Freshfields is working with Dutch bank ABN Amro to produce the U.N. report which aims to encourage investors to address environmental, social and governance issues in their investment decisions.

Temperate forests may worsen global warming, tropical forests fight higher temperatures

(12/05/2005) Growing a forest might sound like a good idea to combat global warming, since trees draw carbon dioxide from the air and release cool water from their leaves. But they also absorb sunlight, warming the air in the process. According to a new study from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, planting forests at certain latitudes could make the Earth warmer.

Mysterious carnivore found in Borneo rain forest

(12/05/2005) WWF researchers may have discovered a new, mysterious carnivore species in the dense, central forests of Borneo.

Elevated atmospheric CO2 increases soil carbon

(12/05/2005) An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology indicates that soils in temperate ecosystems might contribute more to partially offsetting the effects of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations than earlier studies have suggested.

Amazon deforestation slows in Brazil for 2005

(12/05/2005) Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest fell 37% for the 2004-2004 year according to Brazilian government figures released today. Between July 2004 and August 2005, 7,298 square miles of rainforest (18,900 square kilometers) -- an area almost half the size of Switzerland -- were destroyed. Last year the figure was 10,088 square miles (26,129 sq km kilometers) and since 1978 some 206,250 square miles (534,200 sq km) of forest has been lost.

Energy efficiency helped California grow an extra $31 billion finds study

(12/04/2005) Countering Bush administration claims to the contrary, environmental officials for the state of California and the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo have found significant evidence that greenhouse gas pollution can be substantially reduced at a profit rather than a cost. The study, commissioned by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, found that energy efficiency has helped the California economy grow an extra 3 percent - a $31 billion gain - compared to business as usual. Further, the researchers say that each Californian typically saved about $1,000 per year between 1975 and 1995 just through efficiency standards for buildings and appliances.

Governments making progress in fight against illegal logging says FAO

(12/03/2005) Governments are becoming increasingly innovative in devising ways to control illegal logging claims new research released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Tropical Timber Organization.

Poisonous volcanic gas probably caused worst mass extinction says new study

(12/02/2005) The mass extinction event at the end of the Permian -- where more than two-thirds of reptile and amphibian families perished and 95% of oceans life forms became extinct -- was probably caused by poisonous volcanic gas, according to research published in the journal Geology. The researchers believe that volcanic gases from the eruption depleted earth's protective ozone layer and acidified the land and sea.

Tropical Atlantic cooling and deforestation correlate to drought in Africa

(12/02/2005) Against the backdrop of the Montreal Summit on global climate being held this week, an article on African droughts and monsoons, by a University of California, Santa Barbara scientist and others, which appears in the December issue of the journal Geology, underlines concern about the effects of global climate change.

US denies hurricane link with climate change

(12/01/2005) Harlan Watson, chief climate control negotiator for the U.S. State Department, told the Associated Press that the Bush administration does not blame global warming or climate change for extreme weather -- including the hurricanes that thrashed the Gulf earlier this year.

Crystal sponges can absorb carbon dioxide and fight global warming

(12/01/2005) Since the Industrial Revolution, levels of carbon dioxide---a major contributor to the greenhouse effect---have been on the rise, prompting scientists to search for ways of counteracting the trend. One of the main strategies is removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the flue exhaust of power plants, using porous materials that take up the gas as it travels up the flue.

Biosensor Could Help People with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's Disease

(12/01/2005) An engineering researcher at the University of Arkansas has developed a wireless, implantable biosensor that may one day help physicians treat patients with neurological brain disorders such as Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease and epilepsy. Made of carbon nanotubes, the sensor monitors and controls chemicals in the brain and communicates with other sensors to control tremors or direct the movement of prosthetic limbs.

Change in Atlantic circulation could plunge Europe into cold winters

(12/01/2005) The Atlantic Ocean circulation that carries warm waters north and returns cold waters south is slowing, putting Europe at risk of colder temperatures, according to research published in Nature. The Atlantic Heat Conveyor, the system of currents in the Atlantic Ocean that result in a net transport of warm water into the northern hemisphere, keeps western Europe warmer than regions at similar latitudes in other parts of the world. A weakening of the system, which includes the Gulf Stream, could cause a cooling in northwest Europe.

Giant, human-sized scorpion discovered

(12/01/2005) Tracks made 330 million years ago by a 1.6 meter-long (5 ft 3 inches) water scorpion have been discovered in Scotland.

U.S. fishing bycatch wastes 1 million metric tons of fish per year

(12/01/2005) A new study shows that for every five pounds of fish caught by U.S. commercial fisheries, one pound is dumped -- dead, dying and wasted. Each year, U.S. commercial fishing operations throw away more than one million metric tons of fish, an amount equivalent to 28 percent of all commercial landings and more than all of the fish landed on the East and West coasts combined.

Overfishing of fresh waters of serious concern

(12/01/2005) Systematic overfishing of fresh waters occurs worldwide but is largely unrecognized because of weak reporting and because other pressures can obscure fishery declines, according to an article in the December 2005 issue of BioScience.

U.S. "exporting" carbon emissions to China says study

(12/01/2005) The growth of Chinese imports in the U.S. economy boosted the total emissions of carbon dioxide (a primary greenhouse gas) from the two countries by over 700 million metric tons between 1997 and 2003, according to a study published online in the journal Energy Policy. The analysis, prepared by two scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, suggests that American emissions of carbon dioxide in 2003 would have been 6% higher if the United States had manufactured the products that it imported from China. Meanwhile, China's 2003 emissions would have been 14% lower had it not produced goods for the United States.

Australian industry embraces green energy while government fights emissions cuts

(12/01/2005) Despite Australia's resistance to limiting carbon dioxide emissions through the Kyoto Protocol, Australian industry and entrepreneurs are working on novel ways to reduce dependence on traditional fossil fuels.

Scientists taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding nature

(12/01/2005) Improved tools and increasingly sophisticated approaches are helping researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory gain a better understanding of how organisms respond to and interact with their environment.

Toucan Beaks Are Models Of Lightweight Strength says UCSD engineer

(11/30/2005) As a boy growing up in Brazil 40 years ago, Marc A. Meyers marveled at the lightweight toughness of toucan beaks that he occasionally found on the forest floor. Now a materials scientist and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering, Meyers said makers of airplanes and automobiles may benefit from the first ever detailed engineering analysis of toucan beaks conducted in his lab.

Study uncovers how thousands of tree species coexist in rain forest

(11/30/2005) A group of scientists have a developed a new theory to explain why the biodiversity of tropical rain forests is so high and how species are assembled in an ecological community. According to their research presented in Nature, the answer can be found in 'neutral theory' whereby community membership is determined by just five fundamental processes. The scientists say that species will regulate themselves to make room for each other if they follow the 'membership rules.' The new theory undermines the conventional 'niche theory' which has been traditionally used to explain community assemblages.

Rise in deer ticks put East Coast hikers at risk says Penn State entomologist

(11/30/2005) Every year it seems the tick identification laboratory in Penn State's entomology department receives more submissions from residents around the state than the year before. But Steven Jacobs, the extension entomologist who oversees the lab, said this year is different.

Young women smokers have higher risk of breast cancer

(11/30/2005) Researchers outline in the November issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings their study of postmenopausal women, which supports the hypothesis that women who smoke cigarettes before first full-term pregnancy have a 20 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared with women who began smoking after the birth of their first child or were never smokers.

75% of Switzerland's glaciers gone by 2050, Europe heats up

(11/30/2005) The four hottest years on record were 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Ten percent of Alpine glaciers disappeared during the summer of 2003 alone. At current rates, three quarters of Switzerland's glaciers will have melted by 2050. Europe has not seen climate changes on this scale for 5 000 years, says a new report by the European Environment Agency.

Bird songs can serve as a warning system to detect ecological disturbances

(11/30/2005) Changes in bird song could be used as an early warning system to detect man-made ecological disturbances, new research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology has found.

Rainforests worth $1.1 trillion for carbon alone in Coalition nations

(11/29/2005) If a coalition of developing countries has its way, there could soon be new forests sprouting up in tropical regions. The group of ten countries, led by Papua New Guinea, has proposed that wealthy countries pay them to preserve their rainforests. The Coalition for Rainforest Nations argues that all countries should pay for the benefits -- from carbon sequestration to watershed protection -- that tropical rainforests provide.

2005 Atlantic hurricane season worst on record

(11/29/2005) The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season is the busiest on record and extends the active hurricane cycle that began in 1995 -- a trend likely to continue for years to come. The season included 26 named storms, including 13 hurricanes in which seven were major.

Dire consequences if global warming exceeds 2 degrees says IUCN

(11/29/2005) The parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change must keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, says the World conservation Union.

Vaccination can prevent bird flu epidemic

(11/28/2005) Vaccinating chickens against avian flu can prevent a major outbreak of the disease by preventing birds from passing on the virus, according to research published by Dutch scientists on Monday.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels closely correlated with global temperatures

(11/28/2005) Studying ice cores from Antarctica, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research extended the record of historic concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere by 250,000 years. The team found a close correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global temperatures. Over the past 650,000 years, low greenhouse gas concentrations have been associated with cooler conditions. The current concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, at 380 parts-per-million, is the highest level recorded over the past 650,000 years.

Developing countries: pay us to save rainforests

(11/27/2005) At this week's United Nations summit on climate change in Montreal a coalition of tropical developing countries plans to propose that wealthy countries pay them to preserve their rainforests. The group of 10 countries, led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, will argue that they should be compensated for the services rainforests provide the rest of the world.

Average temperatures climbing faster than thought in North America

(11/27/2005) Tree rings and borehole drill samples have added to the evidence that average temperatures in North America have risen steadily in the past 150 years according to a new study by researchers at Oregon State University and the University of Utah. In their paper published in Journal of Geophysical Research, scientists found that average temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere increased about 1.5 degrees since the beginning of the industrial revolution when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations began to increase sharply.

Exploring freshwater fish habitats in the rainforest of Peru

(11/26/2005) This fall the editor of, a leading environmental science and tropical freshwater fish information site, traveled to the Peruvian Amazon and examined habitats for freshwater fish. As a result of this effort, two new biotope descriptions have been posted on the site. The descriptions include underwater photographs for those interested in replicating the natural conditions of these habitats.

"Health" beer could help prevent cancer

(11/26/2005) A compound found only in hops and the main product they are used in - beer - has rapidly gained interest as a micronutrient that might help prevent many types of cancer.

Oil sands' development for energy a threat to environment says group

(11/25/2005) Wednesday the Pembina Institute released "Oil Sands Fever: The Environmental Implications of Canada's Oil Sands Rush" [PDF]. According to the report's main author, Dan Woynillowicz, "The story of Canada's rapid development of the oil sands has only been partially told. What's been missing from all the discussion and reporting is a comprehensive look at the environmental consequences of this development".

Singing iceberg discovered in Antarctica

(11/25/2005) Scientists believe they have found a singing iceberg in Antarctica, according to research published in Science on Friday.

Ocean levels rising twice as fast

(11/25/2005) Global ocean levels are rising twice as fast today as they were 150 years ago according to research presented in Science by a team of researchers. The Using core samples of sediments along the New Jersey coast, the scientists found that rates of sea level change have climbed significantly over the past 200 years, coinciding with the beginning of the industrial revolutions when carbon dioxide emissions began to dramatically increase. Carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas believed to contribute to global warming.

Carbon in Canada's boreal forest worth $3.7 trillion

(11/25/2005) Carbon stored in Canada's boreal forests and peatlands is worth $3.7 trillion according to research by the Pembina Institute for the Canadian Boreal Initiative.

Rising seas and disappearing islands will produce environmental refugees

(11/24/2005) The Carteret Islands are almost invisible on a map of the South Pacific, but the horseshoe scattering of atolls is on the front-line of climate change, as rising sea levels and storm surges eat away at their existence.

Children spread malaria most says new study

(11/24/2005) Children should be the focus malaria control efforts as they are ones most likely to be bitten by mosquitoes carrying the parasite, according to new research published in Nature.

Carbon dioxide at highest level in 650,000 years

(11/24/2005) Carbon dioxide levels are now 27 percent higher than at any point in the last 650,000 years, according to research into Antarctic ice cores published on Thursday in Science.

Will 'tipping points' accelerate global warming?

(11/24/2005) Rising temperatures trigger a runaway melt of Greenland's ice sheet, raising sea levels and drowning Pacific islands and cities from New York to Tokyo.

Eco-friendly palm oil coming soon, criteria could result in cleaner biofuels

(11/23/2005) Consumers can soon enjoy soap, shampoos and many other products containing palm oil with a clean conscience following overwhelmingly acceptance by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) -- a group of producers, buyers, retailers, financial institutions and NGOs -- on a set of criteria for the responsible production of palm oil.

Climate change already affecting Europeans says WWF "Climate Witnesses"

(11/23/2005) Five WWF "Climate Witnesses" from the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain descended on Brussels to tell their personal stories of how climate change is affecting their lives and businesses. Snow disappearing in Scotland, fewer bees in Italy, crop losses in Spain, forests on the decline in Germany and sea levels rising off the coast of England are dangerous signs of climate change in Europe.

25% of Americans live in places compliant with Kyoto protocol

(11/23/2005) Even though the United States does not participate in the Kyoto protocol, about one-quarter of the population lives in states, counties or cities that have adopted climate change policies similar to those of the global initiative, according to a Brief Communication published in the November 17 issue of Nature.

Goldman Sachs first investment bank to adopt comprehensive environmental policy

(11/22/2005) The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) today issued a release commending Goldman Sachs for becoming the first global investment bank to adopt a comprehensive environmental policy. The policy acknowledges the scientific consensus on climate change and calls for urgent action by public policy makers and federal regulators to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Britain is largest importer of illegal timber in EU says WWF

(11/21/2005) Britain is the biggest importer of illegally-logged timber in Europe, responsible for the destruction of 1.4 million acres of forest a year according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).

203 million people malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa

(11/21/2005) Hunger and malnutrition kill nearly 6 million children a year, and more people are malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa this decade than in the 1990s, according to a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization Tuesday. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of malnourished people grew to 203.5 million people in 2000-02 from 170.4 million 10 years earlier says "The State of Food Insecurity in the World" report.

Forests flushed down the toilet

(11/21/2005) The major tissue manufacturers are not offering enough recycled toilet paper, towels and napkins to European consumers and must be more responsible when sourcing their wood, according to a new WWF report.

G8 aid for Africa under threat from climate change

(11/21/2005) An increase in aid for Africa agreed at the Gleneagles summit may be entirely consumed by the cost of dealing with climate change, the President of the Royal Society, the UK national academy of science, has warned Margaret Beckett and other G8 energy and environment ministers in an open letter published ahead of their key climate change meeting in London on 1 November.

Underwater sound pollution threat to marine life says new report

(11/21/2005) New evidence shows that the rising level of intense underwater sound produced by oil and gas exploration, military sonar and other manmade sources poses a significant long-term threat to whales, dolphins, fish and other marine species, according to a report published today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Salamanders feed on bat guano in cave system

(11/21/2005) A species of blind, cave-dwelling salamander in Oklahoma feeds on bat guano according to research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society and presented on the online version of Nature.

Madagascar faces food shortage in the southeast

(11/20/2005) With up to 18,000 children in Madagascar's south-eastern region showing signs of acute malnutrition, United Nations agencies are supporting Government-initiated emergency food and medical assistance, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a press release last week.

Disposable solar panels developed using nanotechnology

(11/20/2005) Scientists at the University of Cape Town are exploiting the nano-scale properties of silicon to develop a super-thin disposable solar panel poster which they hope could offer rural dwellers a cheap, alternative source of power.

Pantanal wetland in Bolivia threatened by port project says WWF

(11/20/2005) Plans for the construction of a commercial port and railway access line crossing Bolivia's Otuquis National Park -- a protected area and Ramsar site located in the heart of the world's largest wetland area, the Pantanal -- must be radically restructured so that it doesn't cause irreparable environmental damage and economic losses, warns WWF.

Mangrove forests protected areas from 2004 tsunami says new study

(11/18/2005) A study released in late October shows that areas buffered by coastal forests, like mangroves, were less damaged by the 2004 tsunami than areas without tree vegetation. Last week the FAO reported that 20% of the world's mangrove forests have disappeared since 1980.

Developing countries to suffer worst global warming impacts

(11/18/2005) In a recent chilling assessment, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that human-induced changes in the Earth's climate now lead to at least 5 million cases of illness and more than 150,000 deaths every year.

5-10 million fuel cell vehicles possible by 2020

(11/18/2005) An international conference on hydrogen fuel cells, their application in the transport sector, and the implications for developing countries met last week at the United Nations University Institute for New Technologies (UNU-INTECH) in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Fish threatened by climate change

(11/18/2005) Fish are increasingly threatened by the effects of climate change as temperatures rise in rivers, lakes and oceans, says a new WWF report. It says that hotter water means less food, less offspring and even less oxygen for marine and freshwater fish populations.

Nature's engineering shows butterfly innovation

(11/18/2005) Flourescent patches on the wings of African swallowtail butterflies work in a very similar, but more efficient way to high emission light emitting diodes (LEDs) used in electronic equipment and displays, according to University of Exeter research published in Science.

Climate change means less water for western US by 2050, more for Montana

(11/17/2005) USGS scientists simulated the impact of future climate change on global water availability. By 2050, the models predict increased water runoff in eastern equatorial Africa, the La Plata basin and high latitude North America and Eurasia. They predict decreases in runoff in southern Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and mid-latitude western North America. The authors of the paper, which appears tomorrow in Science, say climate climate will result in costly disruptions to water supply and resource management systems.

Developed countries cut greenhouse gas emissions 5.9% since 1990

(11/17/2005) Developed countries, taken as a group, have cut overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 5.9% compared to the 1990 levels according to a new publication from the United Nations Climate Change secretariat.

Solar projects in California desert could help state's energy problems

(11/17/2005) Two large solar projects in the desert of California could boost industrial-scale development of solar technology according to an article in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal.

$100 computer for children unveiled by UN

(11/17/2005) As the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) continued in Tunis last night, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan unveiled a prototype of a cheap and rugged $100 laptop for children, as part of the Summit's goal of giving poor communities access to the benefits of information technologies and networks.

Nigeria has worst deforestation rate, FAO revises figures

(11/17/2005) Nigeria has the world's highest deforestation rate of primary forests according to revised deforestation figures from the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Coral reefs decimated by 2050, Great Barrier Reef's coral 95% dead

(11/17/2005) Australia's Great Barrier Reef could lose 95 percent of its living coral by 2050 should ocean temperatures increase by the 1.5 degrees Celsius projected by climate scientists. The startling and controversial prediction, made last year in a report commissioned by the World Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Queensland government, is just one of the dire scenarios forecast for reefs in the near future. The degradation and possible disappearance of these ecosystems would have profound socioeconomic ramifications as well as ecological impacts says Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, head of the University of Queensland's Centre for Marine Studies.

Genetic defenders protect crops from fungal disease

(11/17/2005) Like waves of soldiers guarding a castle gate, multiple genetic defenders cooperate to protect plant cells against powdery mildew disease, according to a new study. Powdery mildew is a common fungal infection in plants that attacks more than 9,000 species, including many crops such as barley and wheat, and horticultural plants such as roses and cucumbers. The researchers, including Shauna Somerville and Monica Stein of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Plant Biology, are the first to document how these defense genes team up in plants. The discovery could help combat fungal parasites that devastate crops and cost growers billions of dollars in pesticides every year.

Global warming will reduce glaciers, water supply and affect millions of people

(11/16/2005) In the looming future, global warming will reduce glaciers and storage packs of snow in regions around the world, causing water shortages and other problems that will impact millions of people. That is the conclusion of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California , San Diego, and the University of Washington in a review paper published in the November 17 issue of the journal Nature.

United States has 7th highest rate of primary forest loss

(11/16/2005) Primary forests are being replaced by "modified natural," "seminatural," and plantation forests in the United States according to new deforestation figures from the United Nations.

Five million tons of carbon dioxide successfully buried, DOE eyes Kyoto

(11/16/2005) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today announced that the Department of Energy (DOE)-funded "Weyburn Project" successfully sequestered five million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Weyburn Oilfield in Saskatchewan, Canada, while doubling the field's oil recovery rate. If the methodology used in the Weyburn Project was successfully applied on a worldwide scale, one-third to one-half of CO2 emissions could be eliminated in the next 100 years and billions of barrels of oil could be recovered.

Photovoltaic solar energy conversion can be cost-competitive by 2030

(11/16/2005) Professor Andrew Blakers from The Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University will today report to the Greenhouse 2000 Conference in Melbourne that photovoltaic (PV) solar energy conversion can be cost-competitive with any low-emission electricity generation technology by 2030.

Australia's freshwater ecosystems threatened by climate change

(11/16/2005) Australia's freshwater ecosystems are increasingly under threat from global warmning and expanding human population according to an interview of an Australian academic by The Age.

World deforestation rates and forest cover statistics, 2000-2005

(11/16/2005) Cambodia has the world's highest deforestation rate, Brazil loses the largest area of forest annually, and Congo consumes more bushmeat than any other tropical country. These are among the findings from's analysis of new deforestation figures from the United Nations. Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released its 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment, a regular report on the status world's forest resources. Overall, FAO concludes that net deforestation rates have fallen since the 1990-2000 period, but some 13 million hectares of the world's forests are still lost each year, including 6 million hectares of primary forests. Primary forests -- forests with no visible signs of past or present human activities -- are considered the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet.

Rain key to survival of baby lemurs

(11/14/2005) Researchers studying lemurs in Madagascar have discovered a link between tooth deterioration and rainfall amounts that suggests long-lived mammals may be particularly sensitive to changing environmental conditions--and that reproduction and infant survival is linked to tooth wear.

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