environment correspondent
Alister's Feed
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”.

Oct 15, 2012

Cities can get greener by 2030 as new urban areas built -UN

OSLO (Reuters) – The world’s urban areas will more than double in size by 2030, presenting an opportunity to build greener and healthier cities, a U.N. study showed on Monday.

Simple planning measures such as more parks, trees or roof gardens could make cities less polluted and help protect plants and animals, especially in emerging nations led by China and India where city growth will be fastest, it said.

Oct 12, 2012

Eurosceptic Norway questions its Peace Prize choice

OSLO (Reuters) – Some of the fiercest objections to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union on Friday came from Norway, home of the prize.

The country is not in the European Union and voted twice against joining. Friday’s announcement reopened political divisions and prompted calls for a review of how the committee that chooses the laureates is appointed.

Oct 12, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize expected to stir debate

OSLO, Oct 12 (Reuters) – The Nobel Peace Prize Committee
announces its 2012 winner on Friday with prize watchers
favouring dissidents from Russia and Belarus or religious
leaders working on Muslim-Christian reconciliation.

“It was a unanimous decision and it was not particularly
complicated,” Thorbjoern Jagland, the head of the selection
committee, told the Aftenposten newspaper.

Oct 11, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize could go to dissidents, EU, religious leaders

OSLO (Reuters) – The Nobel Peace Prize Committee announces its 2012 laureate on Friday with prize watchers favoring east European dissidents, the European Union itself or religious leaders working on Muslim-Christian reconciliation.

“The long term trend is that the world is indeed getting more peaceful,” said Geir Lundestad, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute. “Still, every year (picking the winner) is difficult.”

Oct 11, 2012

Halting extinctions would cost $80 bln; half of bankers’ bonuses

OSLO, Oct 11 (Reuters) – Governments need to spend $80
billion a year to halt extinctions of endangered animals and
plants, many times current levels and only half the amount paid
to bankers in bonuses last year, a study showed.

The extra spending is vital to protect natural services such
as insect pollination of crops or water purification by
wetlands, the report in Friday’s edition of Science said.