environment correspondent
Alister's Feed
Nov 27, 2012

Melting permafrost a new peril in global warming: U.N.

DOHA (Reuters) – Permafrost lands across Siberia and Alaska that contain vast stores of carbon are beginning to thaw, bringing with it the threat of a big increase in global warming by 2100, a U.N. report said on Tuesday.

A thaw of the vast areas of permanently frozen ground in Russia, Canada, China and the United States also threatens local homes, roads, railways and oil pipelines, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said in the report which was released at the U.N. climate talks being held this week and next in Qatar.

Nov 26, 2012

U.S. holds to climate goals despite poor nations’ pleas

DOHA (Reuters) – The United States resisted pledging steeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 on Monday despite calls by poor nations at the start of a U.N conference for tougher action to avert storms, droughts and rising seas.

About 200 nations met for annual U.N. talks on global warming with little prospect of a breakthrough and recriminations over how to keep alive hopes of a new, global U.N. deal to fight climate change meant to start up in 2020.

Nov 25, 2012

UN talks seen falling short despite climate change fears

DOHA, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Despite mounting alarm about
climate change, almost 200 nations meeting in Doha from Monday
are likely to pay little more than lip service to the need to
rein in rising greenhouse gas emissions.

A likely failure to agree a meaningful extension of the
U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding plan for cutting
emissions by developed nations, would also undercut work on a
new deal meant to unite rich and poor in fighting global warming
from 2020.

Nov 14, 2012

Mangroves under threat from shrimp farms – UN

OSLO, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Valuable mangrove forests that
protect coastlines, sustain sealife and help slow climate change
are being wrecked by the spread of shrimp and fish farms, a
U.N.-backed study showed on Wednesday.

About a fifth of mangroves worldwide have been lost since
1980, mostly because of clearance to make way for the farms
which often get choked with waste, antibiotics and fertilisers,
according to the study.

Nov 11, 2012

Poor nations dismayed by looming climate aid gap

OSLO/LONDON (Reuters) – Rich nations are dismaying developing countries with pledges merely to continue aid to help them combat climate change in 2013 despite past promises of a tenfold surge to $100 billion a year by 2020.

“There should be a transparent process to scale up finance” towards 2020, said Seyni Nafo of Mali, spokesman for the 54-nation African group at U.N. negotiations. The poor needed more than “an indication that funding will not fall off a cliff”.

Oct 31, 2012

Climate change, or crap shoot? Experts weigh Sandy’s causes

Oct 31 (Reuters) – A huge storm barrels down on the United
States, wreaking havoc with punishing winds, record flooding,
heavy snowfall and massive blackouts. Is the main culprit
climate change or a freak set of coincidences?

Sandy wiped out homes along the New Jersey shore, submerged
parts of New York City, and dumped snow as far south as the
Carolinas. At least 50 people were reported killed in the United
States, on top of 69 in the Caribbean, while millions of people
were left without power. For full coverage, see:

Oct 30, 2012

U.N. urges foreign fishing fleets to halt “ocean grabbing”

OSLO, Oct 30 (Reuters) – “Ocean grabbing” or aggressive
industrial fishing by foreign fleets is a threat to food
security in developing nations where governments should do more
to promote local, small-scale fisheries, a study by a U.N.
expert said on Tuesday.

The report said emerging nations should tighten rules for
access to their waters by an industrial fleet that is rapidly
growing and includes vessels from China, Russia, the European
Union, the United States and Japan.

Oct 21, 2012

Pesticides put bumblebee colonies at risk of failure

OSLO (Reuters) – Pesticides used in farming are also killing worker bumblebees and damaging their ability to gather food, meaning colonies that are vital for plant pollination are more likely to fail when they are used, a study showed on Sunday.

The United Nations has estimated that a third of all plant-based foods eaten by people depend on bee pollination and scientists have been baffled by plummeting numbers of bees, mainly in North America and Europe, in recent years.

Oct 19, 2012

Ecuador says companies join novel Amazon protection fund

OSLO (Reuters) – About a dozen companies are contributing to a novel conservation plan that pays Ecuador to protect part of the Amazon rainforest in return for barring oil drilling, the head of the initiative said on Friday.

Ivonne Baki said the scheme to conserve the Yasuni area of the Amazon basin, launched by leftist president Rafael Correa in 2010, has so far raised about $200 million, mostly from foreign governments.

Oct 19, 2012

In climate puzzle for crops, ancient tree offers clues

FULUFJALLET, Sweden, Oct 19 (Reuters) – On a windswept
Swedish mountain, a 10,000-year-old spruce with a claim to be
the world’s oldest tree is getting a new lease of life thanks to
global warming, even as many plants are struggling.

Scientists are finding that the drift of growing areas for
many plants out toward the poles is moving not in a smooth
progression but in fits and starts, causing problems for farmers
aiming to adapt and invest in cash crops that are more sensitive
to climate than is this ancient conifer known as “Old Tjikko”.