environment correspondent
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Dec 12, 2014

Special Report: Flirting with retreat along Britain’s battered shores

HAPPISBURGH, England (Reuters) – Bryony Nierop-Reading has what she calls a million-dollar view from her clifftop property in east England, looking out over North Sea swells beyond a sandy beach where gulls wheel overhead.

The drawback: The place is all but worthless.

Her bungalow was demolished by the local council after a December 2013 storm bit a 33-foot (10 meter) chunk out of the cliff, leaving her home perched over a void. She now lives in a camper parked at the back of her property.

Dec 12, 2014

On the Dutch coast, an experiment in sand

TER HEIJDE, Netherlands (Reuters) – A pile of sand about eight times the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza is shaping up as a cut-rate model for protecting coasts from rising seas.

The “Sand Engine” is 28 million cubic yards (21.5 million cubic meters) covering an area 1.2 miles (2 km) long and half a mile wide. Dumped along the shore here in 2011, the sand pile marks a shift from the Dutch tradition of armoring the coast with dikes and other hardware.

Dec 11, 2014

‘Berlin Wall’ climate divide looms over Lima

LIMA (Reuters) – As UN climate talks enter their final days, the “Berlin Wall” that has for years divided rich and poor countries once again looms large as negotiators race to write a draft of a global deal that is meant to tear it down.

At the root of the problem is a 1992 U.N. climate Convention splits the world into rich and poor nations and obliges only the rich to cut emissions. Since then, however, nations such as Singapore or Mexico have grown rich but are still deemed “poor”.

Dec 10, 2014

Green Climate Fund hits $10 billion goal, after Australia surprise

LIMA (Reuters) – A new Green Climate Fund that aims to help poor nations cope with global warming reached a U.N. goal of $10 billion on Tuesday at global climate talks in Lima, helped by a surprise donation from Australia.

Several of the 190 nations at the meeting welcomed the cash from both Australia and Belgium, but China said rich countries were not working fast enough to meet a broader goal of providing $100 billion a year by 2020 from public and private sources to help the poor cope.

Dec 9, 2014

UN’s Ban says no ‘time for tinkering’ on global warming action

LIMA (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expressing deep concern about slow action to combat climate change, told governments at U.N. talks in Lima on Tuesday there was no “time for tinkering” and urged a radical shift to greener economies.

Ban said there was still a chance of limiting global warming to an internationally agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to limit more floods, droughts, desertification and rising sea levels.

Dec 8, 2014

Global Environment Fund wants to coordinate green supply chains

LIMA (Reuters) – The Global Environment Facility, which has provided $13.5 billion in grants to developing nations since 1991, wants a wider role in protecting nature by tightening commodity supply chains from farmers to consumers.

Naoko Ishii, chief executive officer of the 183-nation GEF, told Reuters that efforts to safeguard tropical forests from land clearance to make way, for instance, for palm oil plantations were hampered by a lack of oversight.

Dec 5, 2014

Rift widens among greens over burying carbon as climate fix

LIMA (Reuters) – A rift is widening among the world’s biggest environmental groups over a little-tested technology for burying carbon that might help cut the cost of fighting climate change.

A report by the U.N.’s panel of climate scientists last month dismayed some greens by showing that action to slow climate change could cost 138 percent more this century if governments do not use carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Dec 4, 2014

China says climate aid inadequate, especially Australia

LIMA (Reuters) – Rich nations’ pledges of almost $10 billion to a green fund to help poor nations cope with global warming are “far from adequate”, particularly Australia’s lack of a donation, the head of China’s delegation at U.N. climate talks said on Thursday.

Su Wei also urged all rich nations to deepen their planned cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, signaling that a joint Chinese-U.S. announcement of greenhouse gas curbs last month does not mean an end to deep differences on climate policy.

Dec 3, 2014

UN sets modest hopes for climate pledges at 2015 Paris summit

LIMA (Reuters) – Government pledges due in 2015 to cut rising world greenhouse gases will be too weak to avert the worst of global warming and merely be part of a long haul to agree far tougher curbs, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters TV at 190-nation talks in Lima on limiting warming that it was unrealistic to expect a miracle solution at a U.N. summit in Paris in a year’s time.

Dec 3, 2014

This year may be hottest on record; adds urgency to climate talks-UN

LIMA, Dec 3 (Reuters) – This year is on track to be the
hottest on record, or at least among the very warmest, the
United Nations said on Wednesday in new evidence of long-term
warming that adds urgency to 190-nation talks under way in Lima
on slowing climate change.

Including this year, 14 of the 15 most sweltering years on
record will have been in the 21st century, the U.N.’s World
Meteorological Organization said of the findings presented
during the Dec. 1-12 climate negotiations in Peru.