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Global-warming resistant crops under development by researchers
(12/04/2006) Researchers at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) are working to develop climate-resilient agriculture to reduce the impact of global warming on food supplies. Climate change is expected to disproportionately affect the world's poorest regions most dependent on agriculture for economic sustenance.
Groundwater supplies polluted in 90% of cities in China
(12/03/2006) Groundwater water supplies are polluted or overexploited in about 9 out of every 10 Chinese cities according to official state media.
Outbreak may be killing chimps in Guinea - Reuters
(12/03/2006) Endangered chimpanzees are disappearing in the West African country of Guinea according to a report from Reuters.
Chinese river dolphin nearly extinct says official
(12/03/2006) Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported that a 26-day search for the Baiji, or the Yangtze dolphin, found no dolphins. The Baiji is highly threatened by pollution, overfishing, and obstructions like dams.
Single strike killed the dinosaurs says new study
(12/01/2006) A new study argues that "one and only one" meteorite impact -- not multiple impacts as some scientists have suggested -- caused the extinction of dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.
Invasive ants use genetic differences to distinguish friend from foe
(12/01/2006) A study led by University of California, San Diego biologists shows that invasive Argentine ants appear to use genetic differences to distinguish friend from foe, a finding that helps to explain why these ants form enormous colonies in California.
Global warming increases flooding in India
(12/01/2006) Extreme rains are becoming more common in India as more moderate rains decline, increasing the risk of flooding, according to a study published in the journal Science. The study, conducted by scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, found that heavy rain events -- one where at least 3.9 inches (100 mm) of rain fell -- are more frequent and severe than they were in 1951. The increase in heavy rains is offset by a decline in moderate rains, leaving overall rainfall levels unchanged overall. However the increase in heavy rain events means catastrophic flooding and landslides are more common said B.N. Goswami, lead author of the research.
Manatee food source threatened by development
(12/01/2006) Seagrass ecosystems are in peril according to an article published in the December issue of the journal Bioscience. The paper says that seagrasses, which provide important ecological services including habitat for aquatic life, mitigation of nutrient and sediment pollution, and reduction of beach erosion, are highly threatened by coastal development, pollution, and agricultural runoff. Further, the paper warns that their degradation could be sign of worsening environmental conditions.
Biodiversity could be explained by theory of oscillations
(12/01/2006) New work on the theory of coupled oscillators may help explain some ecological mysteries including the number and types of species in an ecosystem and possibly extinction, according to a paper published in the December 2006 issue of BioScience.
Clues about origin of life found in meteorite
(12/01/2006) NASA scientists studying a rare type of meteorite have found organic materials that were formed in the early days of the solar system according to a paper published in the December 1 issue of the journal Science. "Organic matter in meteorites is a subject of intense interest because this material formed at the dawn of the Solar System and may have seeded the early Earth with the building blocks of life," explained a media release from the Johnson Space Center. "The Tagish Lake meteorite is especially valuable for this work because much of it was collected immediately after its fall over Canada in 2000 and has been maintained in a frozen state, minimizing terrestrial contamination. The collection and curation of the meteorite samples preserved its pristine state."
Cattle produce more global warming gases than cars
(12/01/2006) Livestock-rearing generates more greenhouse gases than transportation according to a new report from the United Nations (U.N.), which adds that improved production methods could go a long way towards cutting emissions of gases reponsible for global warming. "Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems," said Henning Steinfeld, a senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official and lead author of the report. "Urgent action is required to remedy the situation."
Private land conservation booms in the United States
(12/01/2006) Private land conservation by local and state land trusts in the United States more than tripled between successive five-year periods from 2000 to 2005 according to a new report from the Land Trust Alliance, a group which represents 1,263 of the country's 1,667 local, state and national land trusts.
To avoid extinction humans must colonize space says Hawking
(11/30/2006) As he was awarded the most prestigious prize in science, British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said that humans need to colonize outer space in order avoid extinction. Hawking, who was presented Thursday with the Copley medal from Britain's Royal Society, told BBC Radio that humanity faces extinction if it confines itself to Earth.
Saved by el Nino! Warm Pacific means fewer hurricanes
(11/30/2006) El Nino's to blame for the quiet 2006 hurricane season according to researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While some climate scientists forecast a big hurricane year in 2006, the official six-month season produced only nine tropical storms and hurricanes, below the average of 11. For the first time since 1997, there were no Category 4 or 5 hurricanes, the strongest type of storm. 2005 saw the worst hurricane season on record with 28 storms including 3 category 5 storms: Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. Hurricane Katrina caused some $80 billion in damage as it destroyed the city of New Orleans.
Sugar cane plantation threatens rare forest in Uganda
(11/30/2006) A plan to clear a protected forest reserve for sugar cane has sparked controversy in Uganda according to a report from Reuters. Uganda-based Mehta Group, owner of a sugar plantation that borders Mabira forest, a nature reserve since 1932, asked Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to consider a proposal that would level about 7,000 hectares, or about a quarter of the reserve which is home to 312 species of tree, 287 species of bird and 199 species of butterfly.
How many whales are enough?
(11/30/2006) Iceland's decision to resume hunting endangered fin whales raises an important question: how many whales are enough to sustain a population? While conservionists will debate over the actual number using varying models and population studies, a new paper published in the journal Bioscience attempts to establish a new system for setting population targets for threatened species.
EU toughens rules on global warming
(11/29/2006) Wednesday the European Commission demanded stricter limits on climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions for the 2008-2012 period. According to a report from Reuters, only Britain's carbon dioxide cap was accepted by the commission, though other EU governments can challenge the Commission's ruling in court. Germany vocally objected to the decision with German Minister of the Economy Michael Glos calling it 'totally unacceptable.' France, Lithuania, and Slovakia also objected according to reports.
Supreme Court to decide on global warming issue
(11/29/2006) America's highest court will decide whether the U.S. government should regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The case, known as Massachusetts v. EPA pits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency charged with protecting the environment, with the auto and power industries and 10 states against a dozen mostly northeastern and western states and 13 environmental organizations. The EPA opposes regulation of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas scientists say contributes to global warming, arguing that CO2 is a naturally occurring gas that does not fit the U.S. Clean Air Act's definition of a pollutant.
Efficiency improvements could cut global energy demand significantly
(11/29/2006) Growth in global energy consumption could be reduced by more than two-thirds over the next 15 years through energy efficiency efforts according to a study released Wednesday by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Rainforest tree diversity may be tied to seed dispersal
(11/29/2006) A new study says tree distribution in the rainforest is highly dependent on species' method of seed dispersal. The research could help explain how a large number of rainforest trees can coexist in a small area.
Ancient fish had bite like Tyrannosaurus rex
(11/29/2006) 400-million years ago a 33-foot long, 4-ton fish terrorized the oceans with jaws that rivaled those of Tyrannosaurus rex, according to research published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters on November 29.
Canopy research is key to understanding rainforests
(11/28/2006) Home to perhaps half the world's terrestrial species, rainforests are the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. However, when one strolls through the forest, this biodiversity is rarely apparent for the simple reason that most activity in the rainforest occurs in the canopy, a layer of overlapping branches and leaves some 60-120 feet off the ground. Here, a wealth of ecological niches creates opportunities for plants and animals, including species generally considered to be ground-dwellers: crabs, kangaroos, and even earthworms. Beyond housing biodiversity, the canopy is the power source of the rainforest, with billions of tree leaves acting as miniature solar panels to convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. Since the rate of photosynthesis of canopy trees is so high, these plants generate higher yields of fruits, seeds, flowers, and leaves which attract and support a wide diversity of animal life. Further, as the principal site of the interchange of heat, water vapor, and atmospheric gases, the canopy also plays an important role in regulating regional and global climate.
Growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions doubles since 1990s
(11/28/2006) The growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions has more than doubled since the close of the 1990s as countries have failed to reign in use of fossil fuels, says a new report from the Global Carbon Project, a group involved in scientific research on the impact of carbon on the planet. The finding was announced at the Annual Science Meeting at Tasmania's Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station.
By 2030 AIDS could be leading global cause of illness
(11/28/2006) HIV/AIDS, depression, and ischemic heart disease could be leading causes of illness by 2030 say researchers from the World Health Organization in a new paper published in the journal PLoS Medicine. However the researchers project that fewer children under the age of 5 years will die from disease in coming decades.
AIDS will block Millennium Development Goals for some counties
(11/28/2006) HIV/AIDS will make it difficult, if not impossible, for many countries to reach the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to a new analysis by researchers published to coincide with World AIDS Day on December 1, 2006.
3 new lemur species identified in Madagascar
(11/27/2006) Genetic analysis has revealed three previously unknown species of lemurs on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. The newly described lemurs are all mouse lemurs, one of the world's smallest primates. These lively lemurs are found in virtually all of Madagascar's forests where they feed on insects, fruit, and plant sap. Nocturnal, mouse lemurs betray their presence with high-pitched chirps.
Fragmentation killing species in the Amazon rainforest
(11/27/2006) Forest fragmentation is rapidly eroding biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest and could worsen global warming according to research to be published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Rainforest trees can live for centuries, even millennia, so none of us expected things to change too fast. But in just two decades-a wink of time for a thousand year-old tree-the ecosystem has been seriously degraded." said Dr. William Laurance, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and leader of the international team of scientists that conducted the research.
Fish may have the ability to recruit new muscle to reach giant size (for a minnow)
(11/27/2006) Two fish that share much in common genetically appear to have markedly different abilities to grow, a finding that could provide a new way to research such disparate areas as muscle wasting disease and fish farming, a new study shows. The study in the November issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, finds that the giant danio, unlike its cousin the zebrafish, appears to have the ability to recruit new muscle throughout its life. Humans have the same ability before birth, but mostly lose it after birth.
Climate change could cause sex switch in crocs
(11/27/2006) Warming climate could cause a sex imbalance in crocodiles making it more difficult to find mates, according to a south African scientist. Dr. Alison Leslie, a prefessor at South Africa's University of Stellenbosch, said that crocodile gender is determined by embryo temperature during incubation and that higher temperatures could skew the sex ratio of populations.
Whales share human brain cells
(11/27/2006) Whales share brain cells with humans according to a new study published online November 27, 2006 in The Anatomical Record, the official journal of the American Association of Anatomists. The research suggests that "certain cetaceans and hominids may have evolved side by side."
$100 laptop arrives in Brazil
(11/27/2006) The $100 laptop has arrived in Brazil. According to the Associated Press, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday received a prototype version of the laptop, which has been billed as a durable low-cost PC for children in developing countries. 50 of the laptops are expected to be tested in Brazilian schools beginning today.
Responsible tourism: How to travel ethically
(11/27/2006) Ecotourism is hot. Travel companies everywhere are slapping eco-friendly labels on their tours and hotels to attract green-minded visitors. Alas some "ecotourism" is not really good for the environment or local people. That three-week round-the-world eco-tour via private jet for just $42,950 will generate a lot of greenhouse gases as you're flying between plush lodges that import food and staff from other places. Likewise those wood carvings purchased in tourist centers may come not from indigenous artisans but a factory turning endangered rainforest hardwoods into throwaway tourist items. Heavy anchors dropped on reefs are good neither for the coral reef ecosystem nor the sustainability of the local tourism industry. So what's a true "ecotourist" to do? Is it really possible to travel without trampling culture and tradition and further soiling the environment?
U.N. ocean trawling ban blocked by Iceland
(11/24/2006) United Nations negotiators failed to agree on a measure banning deep-sea bottom trawling, a practice that has been called highly destructive by environmental groups. Iceland, a country recently criticized for resuming commercial whaling, blocked the U.N. resolution.
Worst mass extinction shifted entire ecology of the world's oceans
(11/24/2006) New research suggests that Earth's greatest mass extinction did more than wipe out an estimated 95% of marine species and 70% of land species; it fundamentally changed the ecology of the world's oceans. The study, published in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science, found that 'ecologically simple marine communities were largely displaced by complex communities', a shift that continues has continue since.
Anti-poaching patrols paying off for safari wildlife in Tanzania
(11/24/2006) Enforcement patrols are effectively cutting poaching of elephants, African buffaloes and black rhinos in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania according to new research published in the journal Science. Employing a sampling technique used to estimate the abundance of fish, an international team of scientists showed that poaching is down significantly in the Serengeti since the mid-1980s due to law enforcement efforts.
As presidential election approaches, Madagascar's lemur sanctuary burns
(11/23/2006) Forest fires are burning crucial lemur habitat and other hotbeds of biodiversity in Madagascar according to reports from the northeastern part of the island. The upcoming presidential election -- a bitterly contested poll -- may be partially to blame for the upswing in destruction says a leading local conservationist. Madagascar, a biologically rich, but economically poor island country located off the southeastern coast of Africa is almost as famous for its environmental problems as for its lemurs, a charismatic group of primates found nowhere else on Earth. The country is home to some 90 types of lemurs as well as a bonanza of other rare and unusual creatures including a puma-like mongoose, spiny hedgehog-like beasts called tenrecs, and absurdly colorful chameleons. But these creatures are highly threatened by habitat destruction, most of which results from slash-and-burn agriculture that has left less than 10 percent of the island's original forest cover standing.
Global warming-fueled storms could devastate coral reefs
(11/23/2006) Australia's Great Barrier Reef and other coral ecosystems could suffer from increasingly powerful storms brought about by global warming according to computer models published by a team of Australian scientists in the journal Nature.
'Bushmeat' link to SARS outbreak confirmed
(11/23/2006) Chinese scientists say they have found a genetic link between SARS in civet cats, a racoon-like animal eaten as a delicacy in China, and humans.
Cotton could feed the world's poor
(11/21/2006) Genetically modified cottonseed could be used to feed half a billion people worldwide according to new research published in today's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Volcanic eruptions in Iceland shrunk Nile River
(11/21/2006) A series of volcanic eruptions in Iceland in the 18th century dramatically impacted the mighty Nile River according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. The research, partly funded by NASA, shows that volcanic eruptions in high latitudes can greatly alter global climate and distant river flows. The scientists found that Iceland's Laki volcanic event, a series of roughly ten eruptions from June 1783 through February 1784, altered atmospheric circulations across much of the Northern Hemisphere, reducing rainfall over much of the Nile River watershed and producing record low river levels. The researchers said that the Laki event had a significant impact on climate because it released large amounts of aerosol-forming sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. The aerosols, which cool climate by reflecting incoming sunlight into space, may have reduced the average temperature over Northern Hemisphere land masses by as much as 3 degrees Celsius in the summer of 1783, according to computer models used in the study.
China to build world's largest solar power plant
(11/21/2006) China plans to build the world's largest solar power station in the northwestern province of Gansu according to a report from Xinhua, China's state news agency. Construction of the 100 megawatt facility will take five years and cost 6.03 billion yuan ($766 million).
Mexico's rainforests depend on government conservation efforts
(11/21/2006) Few people realize that Mexico is home to the northernmost extent of rainforests that once extended clear down to the Amazon Basin. Though diminished in extent to about 30 percent of their original range, these rainforests are still characterized by high levels of biodiversity, including such charismatic species as jaguar, howler and spider monkeys, and macaws. These forests are also inhabited by indigenous people who live in ways largely unchanged since the arrival of Columbus in the 15th century. While still threatened by encroachment and illegal activities, in recent years the Mexican government and an assortment of environmental organizations has made progress in protecting these forests. Particularly active in these conservation efforts is the Los Tuxtlas Biological Station (Estacion de Biologia Tropical Los Tuxtlas del Instituto de Biologia Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) based in Veracruz (southern Mexico). In November 2006, Dr. Alejandro Estrada, senior research scientist at Los Tuxtlas and a leading authority on these forests, answered some questions on Mexico's remaining rainforests and conservation efforts in the country.
Unknown extremophile species discovered in seas off New Zealand
(11/21/2006) An international team of scientists has found bizarre creatures living around deep-sea methane seeps off New Zealand's eastern coast. Colorful tube worms, bacterial mats, corals, and sponges were among the organisms found living in the extreme environment where methane gas serves as the primary energy source for the community. Scientists say that a symbiotic relationship with bacteria enables such communities to convert methane into living matter in the absence of sunlight through a form of chemosynthesis.
87% of Americans have used Internet for science research
(11/21/2006) 40 million Americans use the internet as their primary source of news and information about science according to a new study by the Pew Internet Project and the Exploratorium, a museum based in San Francisco. The study also reports that 87 percent of adult internet users said they have used the internet to do science research.
Atmospheric levels of key greenhouse gas stabilize, could begin to decline
(11/20/2006) Atmospheric levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas have leveled off for the past seven years according to scientists at the University of California, Irvine. Human sources of methane, which is twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, include production of oil and natural gas, mining, sewage and decomposition of garbage, changes in land use and deforestation, and livestock. About one-third of methane emissions come from oceans, wetlands, wildfires, and termites.
$100 laptop for poor children ships
(11/20/2006) The first ten $100 laptops have shipped from their Taiwanese manufacturer according to a report from News Corporation. The One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) -- the nonprofit group behind the device -- reportedly tested the laptops, which were hand-built, at the U.S. State Department last week. The laptops have been billed as a durable low-cost PC for children in developing countries. OLPC says it will begin production once it has orders for 5-10 million machines. Already the governments of Brazil, Argentina, Libya, Nigeria, Thailand, and Israel have expressed interest in the machines which have received support from Google, AMD, Brightstar, News Corporation, and Red Hat, but not Microsoft.
Military coup in Madagascar fails, democracy remains in place
(11/20/2006) A Reuters reports that an attempted military coup by General Andrianafidisoa, who has been barred from running in the December 3 presidential election, failed on Friday.
Migratory species threatened by global warming
(11/20/2006) Urgent action is need to prevent extinction of migratory species due to global warming says a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
When icebergs attack!
(11/19/2006) An iceberg was spotted from the New Zealand shore for the first time in 75 years. The iceberg, one of more than 100 drifting off the southern coast of New Zealand's South Island, was briefly visible late last week from the town of Dunedin. It is the first time that icebergs have been seen from the shore since 1931 according to Mike Williams, an oceanographer at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
Cancer viewed an evolutionary and ecological process
(11/17/2006) The dynamics of evolution are fully in play within the environment of a tumor, just as they are in forests and meadows, oceans and streams. This is the view of researchers in an emerging cross-disciplinary field that brings the thinking of ecologists and evolutionary biologists to bear on cancer biology.
New species of orchids discovered in Papua New Guinea
(11/17/2006) Last month, environmental group WWF announced the discovery of eight orchid species previously unknown to science in the tropical forests of Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNG, which covers roughly half the island of New Guinea, has the more species of orchid than any country in the world.
Inhofe doesn't attend climate change meeting but issues statement on children's book
(11/17/2006) James Inhofe, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, dismissed the United Nations climate meeting in Nairobi as "a brainwashing session" and released a statement attacking the body's new children's book on the climate change. The Oklahoma Republican, who was the second largest recipient of campaign contributions from oil and gas companies during the 2004 election cycle, has been a vocal opponent of the idea that humans are contributing to global warming, a stance that puts him in opposition with the majority of climate scientists. Inhofe didn't bother to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which ends tomorrow, but he did find time to issue the following statement on "Tore and the Town on Thin Ice", the new children's book from the U.N.
Forest fires may cool climate
(11/17/2006) Boreal forest fires may actually cool climate according to research published in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science. Researchers at the Univerisity of California, Irvine (UCI), found that cooling may occur in regions where burned trees -- and reduced canopy cover -- exposes more snow, which reflects the sun's rays back into space. This effect may outweight the climate warming impact of the grenhouse gases released by forest burning.
Pollution could be used to fight global warming
(11/16/2006) A Nobel Prize-winning scientist caused a stir Wednesday at the U.N. climate conference in Nairobi when he said pollution could be used to help fight global warming. Paul J. Crutzen, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the hole in the ozone layer, said that injecting sulfur into the atmosphere could slow global warming by reflecting solar radiation back into space. The plan would use balloons carrying artillery guns to fire sulfates into the stratosphere. Unlike greenhouse gas emissions, which feature a lag-time in heating the globe, the climatic response from sulfate injection would take effect within six months and the reflective particles would remain in the stratosphere for up to two years.
Global warming reduces polar bear survival rate
(11/16/2006) Polar bear survival rates have dropped significantly in the past 20 years, probably due to melting sea ice caused by higher temperatures, according to a study released this week.
Indonesia may seek rainforest conservation compensation to fight global warming
(11/16/2006) Indonesia may soon join the Coalition of Rainforest Nations in seeking compensation for rainforest conservation, according to a report from the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), a timber industry group.
Ebola outbreaks may worsen with global warming
(11/15/2006) Ebola outbreaks are linked to wildlife and climate according to new research published in the journal Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Ebola, a deadly hemorrhagic fever made famous in Richard Preston's book The Hot Zone, periodically emerges to affect human populations in Central Africa. Until now, scientists had little understanding of the pattern behind Ebola outbreaks.
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rise 0.6% in 2005 to new record
(11/15/2006) Emissions of heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, rose by 0.6 percent between 2004 and 2005 according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy. Since 1990, such greenhouse gas emissions have climbed by 16.9 percent. The Kyoto Protocol calls for a 7 percent reduction in emissions levels below 1990 levels by 2012.
Election results means U.S. climate action likely by 2010
(11/15/2006) "Enactment of mandatory U.S. climate action is plausible by 2008, and likely by 2010," says a new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The Pew Center, which brings together business leaders, policy makers, scientists, and other experts to discuss climate change, says that "the new Democratic congressional majority puts control of the agenda in the hands of policymakers who, to a large extent, favor climate action."
Snail venom could be used to treat pain due to spinal cord injury
(11/15/2006) Cone snail venom may offer a new approach to treating severe pain according to researchers at the University of Utah. "We found a new way to treat a chronic and debilitating form of pain suffered by hundreds of millions of people on Earth," says J. Michael McIntosh, a University of Utah research professor of biology. "It is a previously unrecognized mechanism for treating pain."
Bottom trawling is ecologically destructive and should be banned says coalition
(11/15/2006) Deep sea bottom trawling is threatening marine ecosystems and biodiversity and should be banned said the Deep Sea conservation Coalition, an advocacy group representing more than 60 conservation organizations from around the world.
Amazon Indians use Google Earth, GPS to protect forest home
(11/15/2006) Deep in the most remote jungles of South America, Amazon Indians are using Google Earth, Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping, and other technologies to protect their fast-dwindling home. Tribes in Suriname, Brazil, and Colombia are combining their traditional knowledge of the rainforest with Western technology to conserve forests and maintain ties to their history and cultural traditions, which include profound knowledge of the forest ecosystem and medicinal plants. Helping them is the Amazon conservation Team (ACT), a nonprofit organization working with indigenous people to conserve biodiversity, health, and culture in South American rainforests.
Species evolution not making up for extinction caused by climate change
(11/14/2006) Current global warming has already caused extinctions in the world's most sensitive habitats and will continue to cause more species to go extinct over the next 50 to 100 years says a new study published in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics by a University of Texas at Austin biologist. The study, Dr. Camille Parmesan, an associate professor of integrative biology, also showed that species are not evolving fast enough to avoid extinction.
World's rarest cat captured in remote Russia
(11/14/2006) Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) captured a Far Eastern leopard in Southwest Primorski Krai in the southern Russian Far East, less than 20 miles from the Chinese border. With a wild population of 30, the Far Eastern leopard is the world's most endangered big cat.
Global warming could doom many bird species
(11/14/2006) Up to 72 percent of bird species in northeastern Australia and more than a third in Europe could go extinct unless action is taken to address global warming said a report from environmental group WWF. The report, "Bird Species and Climate Change: The Global Status Report", reviews more than 200 scientific articles on birds and identifies groups of birds at high risk from climate change: migratory, mountain, island, wetland, Arctic, Antarctic and seabirds. It says that species that can easily migrate to new habitats will likely thrive, while birds that live in niche environments may decline.
Sweden doing most to fight global warming, Saudi Arabia the least
(11/14/2006) Sweden, Britain and Denmark top the list of countries doing the most to address global warming, while the United States, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia rank as doing the least according to a new report released by environmental groups. Still, warns the report, even the best ranking countries are not doing enough to stave off climate change.
U.S. stymies attempt to crack down on illegal logging
(11/14/2006) Monday the United States stymied an attempt by timber exporting and importing nations to establish new trade rules to tackle illegal logging, according to a report from Reuters. The news agency said that the U.S. may have neutered the initiative by insisting that all agreements had to be voluntary and failing to show up a Houses of Parliament meeting where proposals for the 2008 G8 summit in Tokyo were being developed.
New study confirms continuing forest loss in most countries
(11/14/2006) Forest cover continues to shrink in most countries around the world, though forest expansion in some countries gives hope that net deforestation may be peaking, according to a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Renewable sources could power 25% of U.S. energy needs by 2025
(11/13/2006) Renewable energy sources could supply one quarter of America's electricity and motor vehicle fuel needs by 2025 according to a new study from RAND, a nonprofit research organization. Currently six percent is energy used in the United Stats comes from renewable sources like solar, biomass, hydroelectric, tidal, wind, and geothermal.
Music from air guitar now possible
(11/13/2006) CSIRO, Australia's scientific research agency, has developed a shirt that could give hope to air guitarists everywhere. According to the agency, the 'wearable instrument shirt' (WIS) "enables users to play an 'air guitar' simply by moving one arm to pick chords and the other to strum the imaginary instrument's strings."
China surpasses Italy as world's largest exporter of wooden furniture
(11/13/2006) As reported by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the latest figures from UN Comtrade confirmed that China (including Hong Kong) overtook Italy to become the world's largest exporter of wooden furniture in 2005.
Billion tree campaign launched in Nairobi
(11/13/2006) The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a campaign to plant a billion trees within a year. The campaign was announced last week at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
400% increase in carbon dioxide emissions growth since 1990s
(11/13/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion are currently increasing four times faster than they were in the 1990s said scientists meeting at the Beijing Conference on Global Environment Change. Scientists from the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) warned that growing emissions put the Earth at risk of catastrophic climate change and urged governments to take immediate action to reduce emissions.
Southeast Asian nations propose haze fund, but fail to address root cause
(11/13/2006) Southeast Asian nations agreed to create to a fund to help fight forest fires in Indonesian according to a report from Retuers. The pledge however stops short of addressing the root cause of the choking haze: deforestation.
Fleet of spacecraft could block catastrophic global warming
(11/09/2006) A space sunshield could be used to cool the Earth in an emergency scenario in which global warming reaches crisis levels, according to an astronomer at the University of Arizona. In a paper to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Roger Angel, Director of the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory and the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics, proposes launching "trillions of small free-flying spacecraft a million miles above Earth" into the L-1 orbit, an orbit aligned with the sun.
Mining in Venezuelan Amazon threatens biodiversity, indigenous people
(11/09/2006) Troubles are mounting in one of Earth's most beautiful landscapes. Deep in the Venezuelan Amazon, among ancient forested tabletop mountains known as tepuis, crystalline rivers, and breathtaking waterfalls, illegal gold miners are threatening one of world's largest remaining blocks of wilderness, one that is home to indigenous people and strikingly high levels of biological diversity. As the situation worsens -- a series of attacks have counted both miners and indigenous people as victims -- a leading scientific organization has called for the Venezuelan government to take action.
Showerhead cuts water use by injecting air bubbles
(11/09/2006) As Australians become increasingly alert to the importance of using water wisely in the home, CSIRO researchers have found a way to use a third less water when you shower -- by adding air. The scientists have developed a simple 'air shower' device which, when fitted into existing showerheads, fills the water droplets with a tiny bubble of air. The result is the shower feels just as wet and just as strong as before, but now uses much less water.
Conserving wildlife in Tanzania, Africa's most biodiverse country
(11/09/2006) With ecosystems ranging from Lake Tanganyika to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania is the most biodiverse country in Africa. Though Tanzania is world famous for its safari animals, the country is also home to two major biodiversity hotspots: coastal forests of Eastern Africa and the montane forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Tanzania has set aside nearly a quarter of its land mass in a network of protected areas and more than one-sixth of the country's income is derived from tourism, much of which comes from nature-oriented travel. Despite these conservation achievements, Tanzania's wildlands and biodiversity are not safe. Fueled by surging population growth and poverty, subsistence agriculture, fuelwood collection, and timber extraction have fragmented and degraded extensive areas that are nominally protected as parks. Hunting and unsustainable use of forest products have further imperiled ecosystems and species. In the near future, climate change looms as a major threat not only to Mt. Kilimanjaro's glaciers, which are expected to disappear within ten years, but also to Tanzania's many endemic plants and animals found in its montane forests. Working to better understand these threats and safeguard Tanzania's biodiversity for future generations is Tim Davenport, Country Director for the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) in Tanzania.
Philippines announces new nature conservation plan
(11/08/2006) Philippine president Gloria Arroyo has enacted a new national conservation policy according to conservation International (CI). Arroyo signed an Executive Order at a Nov. 8 ceremony that stated "It is the policy of the state to protect, conserve and sustainably use biological diversity to ensure and secure the well-being of present and future generations of Filipinos."
United States acting unethically on global warming says new report
(11/08/2006) A new paper argues that ethics, human rights, and justice should be key components to international negotiations on global warming. It says that some countries, notably the United States, are currently taking positions that are "ethically problematic" and may violate basic human rights of people living in other countries.
New map shows paths of historic hurricanes
(11/08/2006) NASA posted a new historic hurricane map showing all storm tracks available from the National Hurricane Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center through September 2006. The map was created by Robert A. Rohde of Global Warming Art.
China may surpass U.S. in carbon dioxide emissions by 2009
(11/07/2006) China's output of carbon dioxide, a gas linked to global warming, may surprass that of the United States by 2009, about a decade earlier than previous estimates according to a report released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency. China currently ranks second behind the United States in carbon dioxide emissions, but rapid economic growth, fueled heavily by coal, is spurring a dramatic rise in greenhouse gas pollution. China's emissions growth is one of the big reasons why the United States and Australia have refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol which calls for emissions limits for industrialized countries but none for developing economies including China, India, and Brazil.
Ocean phytoplankton may influence the formation of clouds, affect global warming
(11/07/2006) Atmospheric scientists have reported a new and potentially important mechanism by which chemical emissions from ocean phytoplankton may influence the formation of clouds that reflect sunlight away from our planet. Discovery of the new link between clouds and the biosphere grew out of efforts to explain increased cloud cover observed over an area of the Southern Ocean where a large bloom of phytoplankton was occurring. Based on satellite data, the researchers hypothesized that airborne particles produced by oxidation of the chemical isoprene -- which is emitted by the phytoplankton -- may have contributed to a doubling of cloud droplet concentrations seen over a large area of ocean off the eastern coast of South America.
Fires in Indonesia kill 1,000 endangered orangutans
(11/07/2006) 1000 orangutans perished this year in forest fires that raged across Borneo and Sumatra according to a conservationist interviewed by Reuters. Willie Smits, an ecologist at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation in Indonesia, told Reuters that the fires forced hungry orangutans into agricultural areas where they were killed as pests. Orangutans are known for feeding on fruit of oil palm and other crops in fields adjacent to forest areas.
Sri Lanka's rainforests fast-disappearing but hope remains
(11/07/2006) Sri Lanka, an island off the southern-most point of India, is known as a global biodiversity hotspot for its high number of species in a relatively limited area. However this biological richness is highly threatened by one of the highest deforestation rates of primary forests in the world. In that period, the country lost more than 35 percent of its old-growth forest cover, while total forest cover was diminished by almost 18 percent. Worse, since the close of the 1990s, deforestation rates have increased by more than 25 percent. Dr Ranil Senanayake, chairman of Rainforest Rescue International, a grassroots environmental organization based in Sri Lanka, says that the key to saving the island's last forests is to "reintroduce the concept of sustainable livelihood" to the people living in and around the island's rainforests by establishing "commercially viable projects that explore the social and cultural relationships between people and ecology."
Rhino horn nothing more than keratin, calcium, and melanin confirms research
(11/06/2006) Rhinoceros horns have long been objects of mythological beliefs. Some cultures prize them for their supposed magical or medicinal qualities. Others have used them as dagger handles or good luck charms. But new research at Ohio University removes some of the mystique by explaining how the horn gets its distinctive curve and sharply pointed tip.
Rainforest conservation could yield more cash than logging in PNG
(11/06/2006) Papua New Guinea (PNG) could earn hundreds of millions of dollars for cutting its rainforest destruction if a carbon carbon-trading initiative it proposed last year makes headway this week at U.N. climate talks in Nairobi, Kenya.
Stopping deforestation could net Burma $1 billion
(11/06/2006) Its status as a pariah state aside, Burma could earn hundreds of millions of dollars for cutting its deforestation rate under a carbon-trading initiative proposed by a coalition of developing countries and under discussion this week at U.N. climate talks in Nairobi, Kenya.
Central African Republic could make millions under carbon-trading deal
(11/06/2006) The Central African Republic could earn tens of millions of dollars under a carbon-trading initiative proposed by a coalition of developing countries. The proposal will likely be discussed this week at U.N. climate negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya.
Cameroon could make millions of dollars under emissions deal
(11/06/2006) Cameroon could net tens of millions of dollars under a carbon-trading initiative proposed by a coalition of developing countries and under discussion this week at U.N. climate talks in Nairobi, Kenya. The key: cutting deforestation rates.
Forest protection could earn tens of millions for Ghana
(11/06/2006) Ghana could earn tens of millions of dollars for reducing its deforestation rate under a carbon-trading initiative proposed by a coalition of developing countries and under discussion this week at U.N. climate talks in Nairobi, Kenya.
Cambodia sets aside land for endangered bird
(11/06/2006) Cambodia has set aside more than one hundred square miles of habitat for the Bengal florican, a large grassland bird that is endangered due to habitat loss, according to the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS).
Emissions for forest conservation scheme could net Uganda $50 million or more per year
(11/06/2006) Uganda could earn tens of millions of dollars through a global warming proposal under consideration this week at U.N. climate negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya.
Emissions proposal could generate $200m/year for DR Congo
(11/06/2006) The Democratic Republic of Congo could earn hundreds of millions of dollars through a global warming proposal under consideration this week at U.N. climate negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya.
Carbon finance could mean millions for Kenya
(11/06/2006) Kenya could earn millions of dollars for reducing its deforestation rate through a carbon trading mechanism under consideration this week at U.N. climate negotiations in Nairobi.
Cambodia could earn $100 million under climate deal
(11/06/2006) Cambodia could earn hundreds of millions of dollars through a global warming proposal under consideration this week at U.N. climate negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya. At talks last year in Montreal, a coalition of tropical developing countries lead by Papua New Guinea proposed a rainforest conservation compensation initiative whereby industrialized nations would pay them to protect their forests to offset heat-trapping gas emissions. After endorsements by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the United States, the plan will likely be discussed in greater detail at the Nairobi conference.
Carbon finance could net Guyana and Suriname tens of millions of dollars
(11/06/2006) Guyana and Suriname -- two of South America's least known countries -- could earn tens of millions of dollars through a global warming deal that may be proposed this week at U.N. climate talks between 189 countries in Nairobi, Kenya.
Carbon finance could mean billions for Indonesia
(11/06/2006) Indonesia could earn billions of dollars for reducing its deforestation rate through a carbon finance mechanism under consideration this week at U.N. climate negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya.
Bolivia could earn hundreds of millions under global warming deal
(11/06/2006) Bolivia could earn hundreds of millions of dollars through a global warming deal that may be proposed this week at climate talks between 189 countries in Nairobi, Kenya.
Africa will suffer dearly from global warming
(11/06/2006) Already the world's poorest continent, Africa will suffer dearly from global warming unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut by an eventual 80 percent, according to a report from the U.N. issued on the eve of a global climate conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
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