environment correspondent
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Jan 31, 2011

Fertilizing oceans seen fruitless in climate fight

OSLO (Reuters) – Fertilizing the oceans to boost the growth of tiny plants that soak up greenhouse gases is unlikely to work as a way to slow climate change, a U.N.-backed study showed on Monday.

Such “geo-engineering” schemes would be hard to monitor and were likely to store away only small amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, according to a report by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

Jan 31, 2011
via Environment Forum

Pure water from solar power; will it catch on?


 Remote villages in developing countries might benefit from these twin 40-ft long containers (left) — a water purification system driven by solar power — as a substitute for noisy diesel-powered generators, trucks bringing in water or people spending hours every day walking to fetch water.

That’s the hope of the makers, environmental technology group SwissINSO Holding Inc. The small company has recently won its first contracts to supply the systems to Algeria and Malaysia and is aiming to sell 42 units of what it calls the world’s “first high-volume, 100 percent-solar turnkey water purification system” in 2011.

Jan 30, 2011

Risk of new Chile quake seen after 2010 disaster

OSLO (Reuters) – The risk of a new earthquake may have increased in an area of Chile’s Pacific coast that suffered a massive quake and tsunamis last year that killed more than 500 people, a team of scientists said on Sunday.

They said the 8.8 magnitude February 27 quake had only partly broken stresses, deep in the Earth’s crust in an area south of Santiago, that have been building up since an 1835 quake witnessed by British naturalist Charles Darwin.

Jan 27, 2011

Arctic current warmer than for 2,000 years: study

OSLO (Reuters) – A North Atlantic current flowing into the Arctic Ocean is warmer than for at least 2,000 years in a sign that global warming is likely to bring ice-free seas around the North Pole in summers, a study showed.

Scientists said that waters at the northern end of the Gulf Stream, between Greenland and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, averaged 6 degrees Celsius (42.80F) in recent summers, warmer than at natural peaks during Roman or Medieval times.

Jan 26, 2011

Experts seek Arctic climate early warning system

TROMSOE, Norway (Reuters) – Scientists sought on Wednesday to pin down triggers for abrupt climate shifts in the Arctic, such as a feared runaway melt of Greenland’s ice sheet, to create an early warning system for governments.

“We need leading indicators to see when we are approaching a threshold so that we can stop before we reach it,” Carlos Duarte, a professor at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, told a conference on “Arctic Frontiers” in Norway.

Jan 26, 2011

Castration seen as climate change aid for reindeer

TROMSOE, Norway (Reuters) – Indigenous Sami peoples in the Arctic may have found a way to help their reindeer herds cope with climate change: more castration.

Research by Sami experts shows that sterilized males can grow larger and so are better at digging for food — as Arctic temperatures vary more, thawing snow often refreezes to form thick ice over lichen pastures.

Jan 25, 2011

Arctic short-cut shipping to leap in 2011 -Russia

TROMSOE, Norway, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Russia predicted on
Tuesday a surge in voyages on an Arctic short-cut sea route in
2011 as a thaw linked to climate change opens the region even
more to shipping and oil and mining companies.

High metals and oil prices, linked to rising demand from
China and other emerging economies, is helping to spur interest
in the Arctic and the route between the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans as an alternative to travelling via the Suez canal.

Jan 24, 2011

Despite Nobel, Norway favors China role in Arctic

TROMSOE, Norway (Reuters) – Norway reiterated support on Monday for China to have an observer role in Arctic affairs despite a slump in relations since the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said Oslo’s relations with Beijing would take time to recover after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the prize in October to Liu Xiaobo, serving an 11-year sentence in China for subversion.

Jan 24, 2011

New shipping rules urged to avert “Arctic Titanic”

TROMSOE, Norway (Reuters) – The Arctic Ocean needs tough new shipping rules as a rapid thaw opens the remote, icy region and brings risks of disasters on the scale of the Titanic, politicians and experts said on Monday.

“We need to agree on a new binding polar code” for shipping, Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told Reuters during a conference on “Arctic Frontiers” in Tromsoe, a city north of the Arctic Circle in Norway.

Jan 24, 2011

U.N. climate plans said too narrow to save forests

OSLO (Reuters) – World efforts to slow deforestation should do more to address underlying causes such as rising demand for crops or biofuels, widening from a U.N. focus on using trees to fight climate change, a study said Monday.

It said a series of projects to protect forests had had limited success in recent decades — U.N. figures show that 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forest were lost every year from 2000-09, an area equivalent to the size of Greece.