environment correspondent
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Jun 15, 2011

U.N. urges G20 to do more to phase out subsidies

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – Big economies should do more to phase out damaging subsidies on fossil fuels, farming and fisheries that are hindering a shift to a green economy, the head of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Wednesday.

The Group of 20 leading economies agreed at a summit in 2009 to phase out damaging fossil fuel subsidies in the “medium term” — a step that would help cut greenhouse gas emissions and free up investments for cleaner energies to fight climate change.

Jun 14, 2011

World urged to stop net desertification by 2030

BONN (Reuters) – The world should set a goal of halting net desertification by 2030 to stem annual losses of farmland equivalent to three times the size of Switzerland, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.

“Drylands are on the front line of the climate change challenges for the world,” Luc Gnacadja, head of the Bonn-based U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit.

Jun 14, 2011

Reuters Summit – World urged to stop net desertification by 2030

BONN (Reuters) – The world should set a goal of halting net desertification by 2030 to stem annual losses of farmland equivalent to three times the size of Switzerland, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.

“Drylands are on the front line of the climate change challenges for the world,” Luc Gnacadja, head of the Bonn-based U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit.

Jun 14, 2011

Soot, smog curbs quick way to combat warming: U.N. study

BONN (Reuters) – Tighter limits on soot and smog provide a quick and easy way to fight global warming while protecting human health and raising crop output, a U.N. study said on Tuesday.

It outlined 16 measures, ranging from plugging leaky gas transport pipelines to improving wood burning stoves, to limit “black carbon” — soot — methane and tropospheric ozone, which is a greenhouse gas that is a big component of smog.

Jun 13, 2011

Analysis: Economy, public seen key to climate deal

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – Wider public unease about climate change and stronger economic growth are likely to be needed to revive sluggish U.N. talks after hopes for quick agreement on a treaty have fizzled, experts say.

Many nations at U.N. talks in Bonn from June 6-17 seem resigned to a long haul — more like arms reduction talks or U.N. trade negotiations — after failure to agree a binding U.N. climate deal by an end-2009 deadline at a summit in Copenhagen.

Jun 13, 2011

Reuters Summit-ANALYSIS-Economy, public seen key to climate deal

BONN, Germany, June 13 (Reuters) – Wider public unease about
climate change and stronger economic growth are likely to be
needed to revive sluggish U.N. talks after hopes for quick
agreement on a treaty have fizzled, experts say.

Many nations at U.N. talks in Bonn from June 6-17 seem
resigned to a long haul — more like arms reduction talks or
U.N. trade negotiations — after failure to agree a binding U.N.
climate deal by an end-2009 deadline at a summit in Copenhagen.

Jun 13, 2011

World off course on climate; renewables vital

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – The world is off course in fighting climate change and governments need to boost green energies to build new momentum, the head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists said on Monday.

Rajendra Pachauri said governments would face ever higher costs to slow global warming after new data showed greenhouse gas emissions rose to new highs in 2010.

Jun 8, 2011

World Bank seeks to curb North Africa handouts

OSLO (Reuters) – Developing countries, including post-revolution North African states Tunisia and Egypt, should limit welfare handouts to the most needy and address market bottlenecks to curb inflation, the World Bank chief said.

Robert Zoellick said authorities should resist pressure to boost wages or handouts, even as food prices surge and economic life remains uncertain after the people-power protests that ousted authoritarian leaders from Tunis and Cairo this year.

Jun 8, 2011

U.N. to upgrade “space weather” forecasts

OSLO, June 8 (Reuters) – A U.N. plan to upgrade “space
weather” forecasts can help the world cope with solar storms
that might wreak up to $2 trillion in damage if the sun repeated
a giant flare of 1859, experts said.

The sun is entering a more active phase due to peak in 2013
on a roughly 11-year sunspot cycle, the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) said. Power supplies, air traffic control,
communications and satellites can all be disrupted by storms.

Jun 6, 2011

World needs refugee re-think for climate victims: U.N.

OSLO (Reuters) – The world must invent new ways to protect people driven from their homes by climate change without copying safeguards for those uprooted by wars or persecution, the head of the U.N. refugee agency said on Monday.

“There is a protection gap in the international system that needs to be addressed,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told Reuters during a conference in Oslo on climate change and displaced people.