environment correspondent
Alister's Feed
Jul 21, 2011

Twig tea, anyone? Study says labels often mislead

OSLO (Reuters) – Herbal teas often contain unlisted extra ingredients such as weeds, ferns or bits of tree, according to a study by New York high school students that could help tighten labeling rules.

“A third of the herbal teas had things in them that are not on the label,” Mark Stoeckle, of the Rockefeller University who helped oversee the project, told Reuters by telephone.

Jun 26, 2011

Arctic-crossing algae, whale show threat to Atlantic

OSLO (Reuters) – Tiny algae and a whale native to the Pacific have crossed a thawing Arctic Ocean in what may portend a marine invasion threatening Atlantic fish stocks, scientists said on Sunday.

The Pacific algae, absent from the North Atlantic for 800,000 years according to fossil records, apparently returned after climate change thawed sea ice and currents carried the microscopic plants across the Arctic Ocean, they said.

Jun 23, 2011

Oslo backs Jakarta’s forest plan, despite hurdles

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway backed Indonesia’s drive to slow deforestation on Thursday under a $1 billion deal with Oslo even though Jakarta said it faced a “maze” of reforms and lacks maps to pin down exact conservation areas.

“Any nation can do more. But they (Indonesia) are doing a lot,” Environment Minister Erik Solheim told Reuters during a conference in Oslo on ways to protect carbon-rich rainforests.

Jun 22, 2011

U.S. seeks exemption to EU aviation CO2 plan

OSLO (Reuters) – The United States demanded on Wednesday that the European Union exempt U.S. airlines from an EU law widening carbon permits to aviation, hardening a standoff over a scheme due to start in 2012.

After talks in Oslo, the EU insisted it would not back down on its unilateral plan to penalize greenhouse gas emissions from planes taking off and landing in the European Union as part of efforts to slow climate change.

Jun 21, 2011

Norway, Iceland join EU-U.S. open skies deal

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway and Iceland joined a U.S. and European Union “open skies” deal on Tuesday amid a transatlantic dispute about Europe’s plans to impose carbon emissions permits on all flights from 2012.

Under the deal, airlines in non-EU members Norway and Iceland will be able to fly to the United States from anywhere in the 27-nation EU rather than just from domestic airports.

Jun 19, 2011

Hopes fading for climate agreement

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – “Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat,” runs a Somali saying that sums up the fading of ambitions for United Nations talks on slowing climate change — aim high, but settle for far less.

Developing nations publicly insist the rich must agree far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but increasingly believe that only a weaker deal can actually be achieved to keep the existing Kyoto Protocol, or parts of it, alive beyond 2012.

Jun 19, 2011

Analysis: Hopes fading for climate agreement

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – “Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat,” runs a Somali saying that sums up the fading of ambitions for United Nations talks on slowing climate change — aim high, but settle for far less.

Developing nations publicly insist the rich must agree far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but increasingly believe that only a weaker deal can actually be achieved to keep the existing Kyoto Protocol, or parts of it, alive beyond 2012.

Jun 17, 2011

U.N. climate talks make scant progress to save Kyoto

BONN (Reuters) – Negotiators made scant progress toward salvaging the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol for fighting climate change beyond 2012 at two weeks of talks ending on Friday, delegates said.

“When you look at the progress …it is very uneven,” said Adrian Macey of New Zealand, chairing a session of talks among 180 nations in Bonn about the Kyoto Protocol, which risks dying beyond 2012 due to lack of support.

Jun 16, 2011

Call for votes to spur climate talks faces hurdles

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – A proposal by Mexico and Papua New Guinea to kick-start U.N. climate talks by shifting to voting on major decisions from an ill-defined need for consensus may face insurmountable hurdles, experts say.

“We want to break this process where the slowest is allowed to hold everyone else up,” Kevin Conrad, of Papua New Guinea, told Reuters of the proposal on the sidelines of U.N. negotiations in Bonn from June 6-17.

Jun 15, 2011

Weather, economy may spur climate “tipping point”

BONN/LONDON (Reuters) – More weather disasters and economic recovery could bring a “tipping point” that jolts governments into far tougher action to combat climate change, the U.N. climate chief said on Wednesday.

Christiana Figueres also told Reuters that government efforts so far to combat global warming were nowhere near enough to avert heatwaves, droughts, mudslides and rising sea levels projected by the U.N. panel of climate scientists.