environment correspondent
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Apr 17, 2015

Climate plans put world on track for warming above agreed limits

OSLO (Reuters) – Plans by 34 nations for fighting climate change beyond 2020 would leave the world on track for warming well above the limits agreed with the U.N., and Moscow’s strategy is especially weak because it lets Russia’s greenhouse gas emissions rise, experts said on Friday.

The United States, the 28-nation European Union, Russia, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway and Gabon have so far submitted strategies to the United Nations, meant as the building blocks of a global deal to be agreed in December at a summit in Paris.

Apr 15, 2015

Carbon emissions from new cars in EU fall 2.6 pct in 2014 – report

OSLO, April 15 (Reuters) – Average carbon dioxide emissions
from new cars sold in the European Union fell 2.6 percent last
year, beating goals set for 2015 as part of efforts to slow
climate change, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said on

Average emissions slipped to 123.4 grams of carbon dioxide
per kilometre, below a 2015 goal of 130 grams that was already
reached in 2013 with 126.7 grams, the Copenhagen-based EEA said
in a report.

Apr 13, 2015

China to surpass US as top cause of modern global warming

OSLO, April 13 (Reuters) – China is poised to overtake the United States as the main cause of man-made global warming since 1990, the benchmark year for U.N.-led action, in a historic shift that may raise pressure on Beijing to act.

China’s cumulative greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, when governments were becoming aware of climate change, will outstrip those of the United States in 2015 or 2016, according to separate estimates by experts in Norway and the United States.

Mar 26, 2015

Limit U.N. development goals for 2030, get more value for money: study

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Focusing on a few global U.N. targets for 2030, such as cutting child malnutrition or phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, will give better value for money than a scattergun list, an expert panel said on Thursday.

The group, comprising two Nobel economics laureates and a U.S. professor, estimated that the best 19 policies would yield $20 to $40 in benefits per dollar spent against less than $10 on average from 169 proposed U.N. development targets for 2030.

Mar 20, 2015

Forests shrink; 70 percent now less than 1 km from edge

OSLO (Reuters) – Farms, roads and towns are fast slicing up the world’s wilderness, leaving 70 percent of the world’s remaining forested land less than one km (half a mile) from a forest edge, a U.S.-led study showed on Friday.

The report, by two dozen researchers on five continents and using data the covers the past 35 years, said a rising human population was putting more pressure on forest animals and plants, which suffer greater risk of extinction as their habitats become fragmented.

Mar 19, 2015

Arctic sea ice covers record low extent this winter

OSLO (Reuters) – Arctic sea ice has set a new winter record by freezing over the smallest extent since satellite records began in 1979, in a new sign of long-term climate change, U.S. data showed on Thursday.

The ice floating on the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole reached its maximum annual extent of just 14.54 million square kms (5.61 million sq miles) on Feb. 25 – slightly bigger than Canada – and is now expected to shrink with a spring thaw.

Mar 18, 2015

Amazon rainforest soaking up less carbon as trees die young: study

OSLO (Reuters) – The Amazon rainforest’s ability to soak up greenhouse gases from the air has fallen sharply, possibly because climate change and droughts mean more trees are dying, an international team of scientists said on Wednesday.

The world’s biggest rainforest has soaked up vast amounts of carbon dioxide. Plants use the heat-trapping gas to grow and release it when they rot or burn, but the report said that role in offsetting global warming may be under threat.

Mar 13, 2015

Arctic eclipse alert: hotels full, it’s cold, polar bears prowl

OSLO (Reuters) – The Norwegian Arctic islands of Svalbard are discouraging last-minute visitors for a rare solar eclipse next week, warning that hotels are full, it will be freezing cold and polar bears are on the prowl.

Christin Kristoffersen, mayor of Svalbard’s main settlement Longyearbyen, told Reuters an expected 1,500 visitors for the eclipse, on top of about 2,500 residents, meant the usually welcoming archipelago had reached a maximum safe limit.

Mar 12, 2015

Oil price fall may aid long-term Arctic exploitation-Norway

OSLO, March 12 (Reuters) – A fall in oil prices may help
long-term exploitation of fossil fuels in the Arctic by averting
a short-lived “gold rush” into the vulnerable icy region,
Norway’s Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said on Thursday.

Exploitation of oil and gas required long planning to
safeguard the fragile environment, which is heating up faster
than the world average because of global warming, he said.

Mar 12, 2015

Oceans yield 1,500 new creatures, many others lurk unknown

OSLO (Reuters) – Scientists identified almost 1,500 new creatures in the world’s oceans last year, including a humpbacked dolphin and a giant jellyfish, and reckon that most species of marine life are yet to be found.

The experts publishing their findings on Thursday listed a total of 228,450 marine species worldwide, ranging from seaweeds to blue whales, and estimated that between 500,000 and 2 million more multi-celled marine organisms were still unknown.