environment correspondent
Alister's Feed
Apr 1, 2011

Governments face climate test of resolve at Bangkok talks

SINGAPORE/OSLO (Reuters) – Governments face a test of their pledges to fight climate change next week when almost 200 nations meet in Bangkok to try to build on a modest deal reached last year that includes a new green fund and rising aid.

The April 3-8 talks are the first since environment ministers agreed a package last December in Mexico that put the U.N. negotiations back on track. Japan’s nuclear crisis is likely to overshadow the 2011 sessions about low-carbon energies.

Mar 30, 2011

Analysis: Radiation fixes may help Fukushima exclusion zone

LONDON/OSLO (Reuters) – People evacuated from a danger zone around Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear plant may need to stay away for many months, but experts say there are ways to make their return swifter and easier.

Radiation levels in the area now are higher than normal and could increase risks to long-term health, but so-called remediation methods, such as deep-plowing the soil, removing topsoil altogether and choosing crops and ways of farming that don’t pick up much radioactivity, can cut the risk of harm.

Mar 29, 2011

Aircraft contrails stoke warming, cloud formation

OSLO (Reuters) – Aircraft condensation trails criss-crossing the sky may be warming the planet on a normal day more than the carbon dioxide emitted by all planes since the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903, a study said on Tuesday.

It indicated that contrails — white lines of vapour left by jet engines — also have big knock-on effects by adding to the formation of high-altitude, heat-trapping cirrus clouds as the lines break up.

Mar 28, 2011

“Greener” corporate accounts urged to aid nature

OSLO (Reuters) – Companies should do more to report their impact on nature to help curb damage that drains trillions of dollars a year from the world economy, a leading U.N. expert said on Monday.

Pavan Sukhdev, head of the U.N. Environment Programme’s Green Economy Initiative, said it could take five to 10 years to develop rules that would enable comparisons about which firms were best or worst in protecting the natural world.

Mar 23, 2011

Japan radiation release lower than Chernobyl

VIENNA/OSLO (Reuters) – The release of two types of radioactive particles in the first 3-4 days of Japan’s nuclear crisis is estimated to have reached 20-50 percent of the amounts from Chernobyl in 10 days, an Austrian expert said Wednesday.

The calculations published by Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics may add to growing concern in Japan and elsewhere over the contamination of food products such as milk and vegetables in areas near the Japanese reactor site.

Mar 23, 2011

Japan iodine release lower than Chernobyl-expert

VIENNA/OSLO, March 23 (Reuters) – The release of two types of
radioactive particles in the first 3-4 days of Japan’s nuclear
crisis is estimated to have reached 20-50 percent of the amounts
from Chernobyl in 10 days, an Austrian expert said on Wednesday.

The calculations published by Austria’s Central Institute
for Meteorology and Geodynamics may add to growing concern in
Japan and elsewhere over the contamination of food products such
as milk and vegetables in areas near the Japanese reactor site.

Mar 22, 2011

Tiny traces of Japan radiation spread to Iceland

VIENNA/OSLO (Reuters) – Minuscule numbers of radioactive particles believed to have come from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected as far away as Iceland, officials said on Tuesday.

Traces of iodine-131, below levels of concern for human health, were discovered in an air filter used at a radiation monitoring centre in Reykjavik at the weekend, the Icelandic Radiation Safety Authority (IRSA) said.

Mar 22, 2011

Radioactive particle traces from Japan reach Iceland

VIENNA/OSLO (Reuters) – Miniscule numbers of radioactive particles believed to have come from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected as far away as Iceland, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.

They stressed the tiny traces, measured by a network of international monitoring stations as they spread eastwards from Japan across the Pacific, North America, the Atlantic and to Europe, were far too low to cause any harm to humans.

Mar 21, 2011

Experts cautious on signs of Japan nuclear progress

LONDON/OSLO (Reuters) – Japan’s reconnection of power to its earthquake-damaged reactors is a major step in managing its nuclear crisis, experts said on Monday, but smoke from two reactors and worries about food safety showed the crisis was far from over.

“There is more than a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel,” said Robin Grimes, head of the center for nuclear engineering at Imperial College, London.

Mar 20, 2011

“Hydro-diplomacy” needed to avert Arab water wars

OSLO (Reuters) – The United Nations should promote “hydro-diplomacy” to defuse any tensions over water in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where scarce supplies have the potential to spark future conflicts, experts said on Sunday.

They said the U.N. Security Council should work out ways to bolster cooperation over water in shared lakes or rivers, from the Mekong to the Nile, that are likely to come under pressure from a rising world population and climate change.