environment correspondent
Alister's Feed
Jan 16, 2011

Thaw of Earth’s icy sunshade may stoke warming

OSLO (Reuters) – Shrinking ice and snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is reflecting ever less sunshine back into space in a previously underestimated mechanism that could add to global warming, a study showed.

Satellite data indicated that Arctic sea ice, glaciers, winter snow and Greenland’s ice were bouncing less energy back to space from 1979 to 2008. The dwindling white sunshade exposes ground or water, both of which are darker and absorb more heat.

Jan 13, 2011

Climate a factor in Rome’s rise and fall: study

OSLO (Reuters) – Climate change seems a factor in the rise and fall of the Roman empire, according to a study of ancient tree growth that urges greater awareness of the risks of global warming in the 21st century.

Good growth by oak and pine trees in central Europe in the past 2,500 years signaled warm and wet summers and coincided with periods of wealth among farming societies, for instance around the height of the Roman empire or in medieval times.

Jan 13, 2011

El Nino seen triggering next world warmth record

OSLO (Reuters) – Last year tied with 2005 as the warmest on record, according to U.S. agencies, but is likely to be overtaken soon by the next year with a strong El Nino weather event, experts said on Thursday.

A gradual build-up of greenhouse gases from human activities is heating the planet but natural events such as El Nino, which every few years warms the surface of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, can have a far bigger immediate impact.

Jan 12, 2011

Financial firms seek better climate information

OSLO (Reuters) – Major financial firms feel they lack information about climate change to help clients manage increasing risks ranging from heatwaves to rising sea levels, a U.N.-backed study showed on Wednesday.

“Climate expertise is an emerging factor of competition,” according to the survey of 60 insurers, banks and asset managers including Aviva, Banco Santander, Deutsche Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ and Citigroup.

Jan 6, 2011

Lakes a big source of climate-warming gas: study

OSLO (Reuters) – Lakes and rivers emit far more of a powerful greenhouse gas than previously thought, counteracting the overall role of nature in soaking up climate-warming gases, a study showed on Thursday.

A review of 474 freshwater systems indicated they emitted methane equivalent to 25 percent of all carbon dioxide — the main greenhouse gas blamed for stoking climate change — absorbed by the world’s land areas every year.

Jan 6, 2011

Mass bird deaths rare, not apocalyptic: experts

OSLO (Reuters) – Birds falling out of the sky in the United States and Sweden are freak examples of the kind of mass animal deaths, from beached whales to deluges of frogs, that have unusual but not apocalyptic causes, experts say.

Storms, hail or lightning can kill birds while tornadoes or waterspouts may suck up small fish or frogs and drop them far away. Human causes, such as fireworks, power lines or a collision with a truck, may explain avian deaths.

Dec 20, 2010

Invasive species lie in wait, strike after decades

OSLO (Reuters) – Animals and plants introduced from foreign habitats may not reveal themselves to be harmful ‘invasive’ species for decades, according to a European study published on Monday.

Species that are moved away from their natural predators back home can displace native species in their new habitats, and scientists say the problem already costs Europe 12 billion euros ($16 billion) a year.

Dec 12, 2010

New climate battle looms in South Africa in 2011

CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) – The world’s governments face a new battle in South Africa in 2011 between rich and poor about slowing climate change, buoyed by some progress in Mexico but with faded hopes for a new treaty in coming years.

In 2011, governments will try to build on a deal in Mexico to set up a Green Climate Fund to help channel $100 billion in climate aid a year from 2020, along with new systems to protect tropical forests and share clean technologies.

Dec 12, 2010

Climate talks: 18 years, too little action?

CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) – “I was born in 1992. You have been negotiating all my life. You cannot tell us that you need more time,” Christina Ora of the Solomon Islands complained to delegates at U.N. talks on fixing global warming.

Her line from a brief, riveting speech to a 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen was emblazoned on activists’ T-shirts at the latest U.N. talks in Mexico, expressing exasperation at small steps meant to slow floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels.

Dec 12, 2010

Analysis: Climate talks: 18 years, too little action?

CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) – “I was born in 1992. You have been negotiating all my life. You cannot tell us that you need more time,” Christina Ora of the Solomon Islands complained to delegates at U.N. talks on fixing global warming.

Her line from a brief, riveting speech to a 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen was emblazoned on activists’ T-shirts at the latest U.N. talks in Mexico, expressing exasperation at small steps meant to slow floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels.