Climate change and global warming headlines for October 2007

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October 31 - Standby power and carbon dioxide emissions
5 percent of electricity used in the USA is consumed by standby power and this figure could rise to 20 percent by 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The figure is particularly disturbing given carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity production. Read more

October 31 - Australian renewables election promises
Australian opposition leader Kevin Rudd has set a renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020, trumping the current government's clean energy target of 15 per cent, with that energy coming from renewable sources and "clean" coal. Read more.

October 30 - Car ads to carry emissions warning in the EU?
The European Parliament has proposed car advertisements in the European Union carry labels warning of the environmental impact they cause. If the proposal is accepted, 20 percent of the space or time of car ads would need to be dedicated to providing details of a car's fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Read more

October 29 - Beijing air pollution Olympic concerns
A United Nations report states that Beijing's air pollution in Beijing will not appreciably improve before next year's Olympic Games. In some areas of Beijing, air pollution is still more than three times limits considered safe. Read more

October 28 - UK backs down on green energy targets
Britain will push for a decreased renewable energy target. The 20 per cent target to which European governments agreed earlier this year seems to be an unreachable target for the country. Currently Britain generates only 1 per cent of all energy - from renewable energy. Read more

October 28 - Australian government Kyoto squabble
Australia is one of the only developed countries not to have ratified the Kyoto protocol. With general elections to be held in just a couple of weeks time, it's been revealed the current Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, proposed that Australia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol earlier this year; a proposal that was rejected by most of his party colleagues. Read more

October 28 - US Air Force turning to coal
The U.S. Air Force has set a goal to switch its fleet of bombers, fighters, transports and other aircraft to a locally blend of synthetic and petroleum-based fuel. The synthetic fuel will be derived from coal. Jet fuel made from coal produces 1.8 times more carbon dioxide, but William Anderson, an assistant Air Force secretary, states that most of the excess could be captured during production. Read more

October 26 - Fastest climate change in 500,000 years : UN
The fourth Global Environment Outlook published by the United Nations Environment Program has relayed a great sense of urgency about the state of our environment. Compiled by hundreds of experts, studies and data gathered over two decades; the report states world leaders must take further action now to tackle a daily worsening crisis, one that is says is responsible for our climate changing faster than at any time in the past 500,000 years. Read more

October 25 - France's green revolution
France's environment minister has set lofty goals to reduce general energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020. Road transport, which is responsible for twenty-five percent of French emissions, is a top priority. Also announced was a freeze on new road and airport construction and consumers will be discouraged from inefficient cars through bonuses and penalties. Read more

October 25 - Kashmir's climate crisis
A recent report states Kashmir is on the brink of an environmental disaster as a result of increasing temperatures and melting glaciers. Average temperatures in Kashmir have increased by 1.45 C during the past twenty years, while in the southern plains of Kashmir, average temperature have increased by 2.32 C. Read more

October 24 - Climate change cold war looms
Climate change is an escalating threat to global peace and has already led to territorial claims by Canada, Russia, the United States, Norway and Denmark in the Arctic that could take a turn for the worst and develop into a Cold War,  according to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier . Read more

October 24 - UK's highest carbon footprint cities
A survey of residents of 60 cities in England, Wales and Scotland was recently carried out by conservation group WWF in order to gauge overall ecological and carbon footprints. In England, Plymouth and Newport were found to have the minimum impact while Winchester had the most environmental impact. Glasgow topped the list in Scotland and Bangor had the highest impact in Wales. Read more

October 23 - 250,000 flee California fires
A quarter of a million people have left their homes in order to escape wildfires that have so far burned 100,000 acres around San Diego County. The dry Santa Ana winds driving the flames are expected to stay strong over the next 24 hours. Read more

October 23 - EU delays emissions strategy rollout
Infighting among European governments has caused the EU to delay implementing plans for dealing with climate change. The decision has come before a vote by MEPs this week over the commission's plans to force auto manufacturers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars. Read more

October 22 - Prince Charles to launch rainforest campaign
Prince Charles will this week launch an organisation which calls for a new green economics. The Prince's Rainforests Project will gather environmentalists, scientists and country leaders in an attempt to address mass deforestation. Deforestation is responsible for 18-25 per cent of global carbon emissions. Read more

October 22 - Australian PM changing tune on emissions
Australian Prime Minister John Howard is increasingly giving in to pressure related to climate change issues given the upcoming election. In a debate on Sunday, Howard has stated that he would accept targets for cutting Australia's greenhouse gases that resulted from the successor of the Kyoto protocol; which expires in 2012. Read more

October 21 - California to sue Bush over emission limits
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office has stated that California will sue the Bush administration next week in a bid to compel action on a pending request to allow the state to limit automotive emissions of greenhouse gases. California originally sought permission from the EPA to enforce the law in December 2005. Read more

October 21 - American West's future drying up
The loss of accumulation of high-altitude winter snow that melts each spring to provide the American West with most of its water is becoming an increasingly urgent problem as some 30 million people depend on that water. This New York Times article takes a very detailed look at the current crisis and what it means for the future of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.  Read more

October 20 - Atlantic Ocean's CO2 absorption halves
Results of a 10-year study in the North Atlantic by University of East Anglia researchers show carbon dioxide absorption halved between the mid-90s and 2000 to 2005. This lends further credibility to fears our oceans may become so saturated with CO2 that they may not only become acidic, but global warming effects may be further amplified. Read more

October 20 - Exports & China's greenhouse gas emissions
While China is often berated for its environmental record, particularly in relation to carbon dioxide emissions, it's often forgotten that much of their greenhouse gas generation is attributable to the thirst from the West for cheap goods. 23% greenhouse gas emissions are generated through the production of goods exported to the West, a recent report from a UK government-funded body has found. Read more 

October 19 - US greenhouse gas cap and trade bill tabled
Senators Joseph Lieberman and John Warner have introduced legislation that would see U.S.greenhouse gas emissions from industry and transportation reduced by 15 percent by 2020 and 70 percent by 2050. The national cap and trade program would generate more than $2 billion per year in dedicated conservation funding. Read more

October 18 - CO2 in oceans causing acidity threat
The buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, has been reflected in our oceans, causing them to become acidic and threatening a third of all marine life. Corals and plankton, which form the basis of the marine food web rely on the calcium carbonate in seawater to to build their skeletons. As acidity intensifies, calcium carbonate levels fall. Read more

October 17 - Amazon destruction intensifying
Across Brazil's Amazon region, illegal loggers, cattle ranchers and a soy producers are picking up the pace of destruction of the world's largest tropical forest. In August; satellites registered 16,592 fires across Brazil, the overwhelming majority in the Amazon. Read more 

October 16 - George Bush states Kyoto is "bad policy"
George W Bush continues to denounce Kyoto-type mandatory caps as being bad policy. He has recently reaffirmed his view that putting more emphasis on voluntary approaches to address climate change is effective. Read more

October 16 - Climate change and UK consumers.
According to a recent survey published by the Climate Group,  60% of UK consumers said they admired companies that are tackling climate change, but 69% were unable to name any brands that are taking a lead on climate change. Read more

October 15 - Atmospheric nitrogen damaging grasslands
Agricultural and fossil fuel related nitrogen pollution is seriously damaging grasslands in the UK and likely across Europe according to a recent study. Nitrogen, although an important nutrient when in proper balance, is also a greenhouse gas and nitrogen deposition from the atmosphere is reportedly depleting numbers of plant species. Read more

October 14 - USA's smoggiest town
Arvin, a small farming community in California,is the smoggiest place in the United States with 73 "bad air days" a year. The most frustrating issue for local residents is most of the smog in Arvin isn't generated by the town itself - it comes from a procession of trucks using nearby highways and is blown in from the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Read more

October 13 - Global warming and global peace
A congressional panel was informed by a retired US general that climate change will not only be a significant threat to life on earth, but also to national security. This view reflects many similar statements from other security experts over the last couple of years. Stresses created by a changing global environment and conflict for disappearing resources may increase the danger of violent conflicts and wars. Read more

October 13 - Adelaide, Australia facing major water crisis
Contingency plans are currently being developed to provide the population of Adelaide, South Australia with spring water if the city's water crisis deepens. The city of 1 million people may be faced with having drinking water supplies brought in by tankers to distribution points, or have bottled water provided. Read more

October 12 - Gore, IPCC awarded Nobel Peace Prize
Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in research and raising awareness of global warming. The award will be shared by thousands of scientists and representatives from over 100 countries. Read more

October 12 - Green travel prices a barrier to US consumers
According to a recent survey, while over 50% of US adults may be supporters of environmental responsibility, only 14% would make a choice relating to travel services influenced by a company's commitment to environmental issues and only 13% would be willing to pay higher prices to providers demonstrating environmental stewardship. Read more

October 11 - Global warming related humidity increases
The level of humidity near the earth's surface has increased 2.2 percent in just under three decades according to a report from the UK. High humidity coupled with warm temperatures can pose a health threat as it impairs the body's ability to cool itself. Read more

October 11 - Shipping a bigger climate threat than aviation
New research recently released states the climate change impact associated with shipping may have been grossly underestimated and that the industry is now generating greenhouse gases at nearly twice the rate of aviation. Read more 

October 10 - UPS expands alternate fuel fleet
Major shipping company UPS has announced an additional 306 alternative fuel vehicles to its "green fleet" and the company has also launched an initiative to use biodiesel fuel in its ground support vehicles at the UPS air hub in Louisville. Read more

October 10 - China desertification worsening
Approximately 27.5 percent of China's total land area is now desert compared to about 17.6 percent in 1994. While China's "Green Great Wall", a barrier of trees planted in an attempt to stop the advancing desert, has slowed down desertification; the movement of sands are relentless. Read more

October 9 - Greenpeace shuts down UK power plant
50 Greenpeace UK volunteers accessed Kingsnorth coal fired power station, immobilizing  conveyor belts feeding coal into the plant , chaining themselves to the machinery and climbing up the chimney to force the power station off the national grid. Greenpeace are protesting an application by the plant to construct a new coal fired power station that Greenpeace says would emit as much carbon dioxide as the world's 24 lowest emitting countries combined. Read more

October 9 - Dangerous greenhouse gas levels exceeded
Conservation scientist and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has revealed that a crucial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, due be released in November, shows the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere crossed the threshold considered dangerous in mid 2005. The combination of 30 greenhouse gases during that year reached the equivalent of 455 parts per million carbon dioxide. Read more

October 8 - Indonesia to plant 79 million trees in 24 hrs
According to Greenpeace, Indonesia had the most rapid deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, with the equivalent of 300 soccer pitches worth of forest destroyed hourly. An Indonesian official recently stated that the nation will plant 79 million trees in one day in the lead up to a UN climate change summit in Bali in December. Read more

October 7 - Japan planning mandatory emissions scheme
With Japan struggling to reach its Kyoto obligation of reducing greenhouse emissions by 6% of 1990 levels by 2012, mandatory caps on industrial emissions are being considered and plans to expand a voluntary scheme will be the first step. Read more

October 7 - Ethanol losing its lustre
Due to massive increases in the price of corn and other ingredients favored in the production of ethanol, combined with poor infrastructure for developing and distributing ethanol based products; the industry is suffering from a lack of interest and plummeting stock prices. Read more

October 6 - World Bank encouraged Congo forest logging
According to an internal investigation by senior bank staff and external experts, the World Bank encouraged foreign companies to irresponsibly undertake logging operations in forests of the Congo. The report by the investigative panel also accuses the World Bank of deceiving the Congolese government regarding the value of its forests. Read more

October 6 - 2007 climate change "mega disaster" - UN
A record incidence of weather related events globally during 2007 is a climate change "mega disaster", according to the emergency relief coordinator for the United Nations. Sir John Holmes states that two years ago only half the international disasters dealt with by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs were climate-related, wheras 12 of the 13 emergency appeals so far this year are connected to climate. Read more.

October 5 - Giant ice island breaks in two
The Ayles Ice Island, originally 10 miles by 3 miles long, has unexpectedly broken in two. The island chunks drifting off Canada's northern shores have been able to travel at up to 60 miles a week due to  low sea-ice conditions. Where large ice islands have survived for up to 50 years in the past, the Ayles pieces are expected to only last for a decade due to their drift rate taking them into warmer air and water conditions. Read more

October 5 - Rickshaws in Europe
When we think of rickshaws, images of Asia usually spring to mind, but humble and high-tech rickshaws are starting to make their presence felt in European cities. Berlin recently saw the the addition of 200 bicycle taxis - some with engines to assist the drivers climb hills, but using 100 percent renewable energy. Read more.

October 4 - Climate change making insurers nervous
At the Greenhouse 2007 conference, a major reinsurer from Europe has state the global insurance industry faces major challenges from an increase in floods, droughts, fires and cyclones due to the effects of climate change. Read more

October 3 - California fast tracks new clean air rules
Over 680,000 diesel fueled trucks generate in excess of 25% of California's particulate air pollution. New air cleanup legislation approved last week promises faster replacement or modification of trucks, much to the dismay of transport associations who say the regulations will cost their members billions. Read more

October 2 - Australian climate outlook beyond grim
According to a joint assessment report entitled "Climate Change in Australia"; the country could see increases in average temperature of  up to 5 degrees Celsius and experience 40 to 80 per cent drier conditions by 2070. The authors of the report; Australia's CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, also state that sea levels are expected to rise anywhere from 18 and 59 centimetres by 2100. Read more

October 2 - Lake Superior at record low
Low rainfall and warmer temperatures have seen Lake Superior's water level drop to a record low for this time of year, continuing a similar trend across all the Great Lakes in North America. Lake Superior's average water level dropped 1.6 inches below the previous low for September reached in 1926. The Great Lakes combine account for approximately 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water. Read more

October 1 - UK tax breaks for carbon neutral homes
Home buyers in the UK will soon be able to save thousands of dollars on a new home through relief on stamp duty, if the house purchased is "zero carbon" rated - a standard yet to be properly defined. The UK government is also striving towards a goal of  all new homes will being built to zero carbon standards by 2016. Read more

October 1 - Greenland - mixed climate fortunes
With Spring arriving many weeks earlier in Greenland now and the sea in north of the country not having frozen solidly for nearly a decade, the landscape is rapidly changing from one of ice, snow and stone to green pastures. Farming on any reasonable scale was practically unheard of in Greenland just a century ago; but with seal hunting and other traditional forms of food gathering on the wane due to climatic conditions, more are turning their hand to the land. Read more

October 1 - Profiting from a melting planet
With global warming related ice melt opening up areas of the Arctic, some shipping companies are profiting from a climate in crisis by taking advantage of an extended period of time they have to ship goods before the ice closes in again for winter. But even more attractive to governments and energy companies is the possibility of gaining access to oil and gas reserves believed to be in abundance in the Arctic - and the squabbling over who has rights to what is steadily increasing. Read more

October 1 - Bush declared an outsider on climate issues
According to some analysts and official representatives of various countries, President George Bush is increasingly being seen as an outsider rather than taking the lead in addressing climate change. His resistance to accepting the validity of global warming theory, perceived attempts to undermine the UN, missing important meetings and his continuation of suggesting non-binding targets have disappointed many countries. Read more.

 

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