Global environmental challenges
from Tales from the Trail:
OK, so President Barack Obama's lightning jaunt to Copenhagen last week was less than successful. Even with Oprah along, the Cheerleader-in-Chief couldn't clinch the deal for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympics. It happens.
But now that he knows the way to Denmark, might the American president consider arguing the U.S. case at international climate meetings in Copenhagen in December? The White House said he might, if other heads of state showed up.
"Right now you've got a meeting that's set up for a level not at the head of state level," presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One last week. "If it got switched, we would certainly look at coming."
Those climate talks might need a bit of a boost from the United States. White House climate czarina Carol Browner has said it's unlikely Obama will be able to sign any U.S. legislation to curb climate change before the December meeting. And that sets up a familiar Catch-22: if there's no U.S. law in place before Copenhagen climate talks, can the United States commit to anything? And if there IS a U.S. law in place, does the United States have the flexibility to maneuver in these international negotiations?
The sweeping legislation unveiled in the U.S. Senate today aims to curb climate change, arguably one of the biggest tasks ever undertaken on this planet. But it’s a bill that runs to more than 800 pages, and hidden in its folds is a provision that could turn a noted symbol of New York City — the yellow taxicab — green.
And it wouldn’t just be in New York. Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and other major U.S. cities would be able to create taxi fleets made up entirely of hybrid vehicles under the proposed Green Taxis Act of 2009.
Will the guardians of the Nobel Peace Prize make another green award in 2009 to encourage sluggish talks on new U.N. climate treaty due to be agreed in Copenhagen?
Or is it too early after environmental prizes in both 2004 and 2007?
The five-member Nobel panel likes to make topical awards to try to influence the world – a prize announcement on Oct. 9 linked to climate change could hardly be better timed since 190 nations will meet in Copenhagen in December to agree a new pact for fighting global warming.
After a series of setbacks since he took office in May 2008, Brazil’s Environment Minister Carlos Minc has scored several political victories in recent weeks that give his portfolio some clout for the first time in Latin America’s largest country.
Only a few months ago Minc looked like he would follow the path of his predecessor, internationally-renowned Amazon defender Marina Silva, who stepped down in May 2008 citing opposition to her environmental policies.
On a year when the Arctic sea ice has receded in the summer to its third-smallest on record, researchers on the RUSALCA expedition got the opportunity to study the water, sea life and the ocean floor at a location where there is rarely open water.
Scientists aboard the Russian research vessel Professor Khromov spent the weekend collecting samples of water, sealife and ocean-floor mud at a spot in the western Arctic Ocean that in most years would be covered with sea ice.
The ship, carrying researchers for the six-week RUSALCA expedition, was in its most northerly planned sampling stop, or “station,” a location nearly 350 miles (563 km) northwest of Barrow, Alaska. During the mission’s last cruise in 2004, the most northerly accessible location was 345 miles (555 km) south of the weekend’s station.
Former Arkanas Governor and Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee has won the first informal round in what will no doubt be a long race to head the party's White House ticket in 2012.
The affable Baptist preacher, who won the hearts and minds of conservative evangelicals during his failed 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, topped other possible Republican presidential contenders in a straw poll at a summit of Christian conservative voters in Washington.
from Summit Notebook:
Scientists may face an uphill battle in trying to warn the world about the looming perils of global warming, but one of Britain's top academics wouldn't trade places with the politicians tasked with negotiating a new global treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
"Although the science (of climate change) is difficult and still uncertain, it's a doddle compared to the politics," said Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, Britain's science academy.
from Summit Notebook:
British and American English speakers often differ about whether to pronounce it "Copen'hay'gen" or "Copen'haa'gen". And interviews for the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy summit this week are bringing varieties in between.
Rodney Russ lives for the times he is at the rudder of a Zodiac.
For the owner of Heritage Expeditions, the New Zealand-based company that is operating the Russian research ship Professor Khromov in the Bering Sea, the more challenging the conditions the better.