Friday, October 26, 2007

Earth Is Reaching The Point of No Return, Says Major UN Environment Report

Fundamental changes in political policy and individual lifestyles were demanded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as it gave warning that the “point of no return” for the environment is fast being approached.

The damage being done was regarded by the UN programme as so serious that it said the time had come for the environment to be a central theme of policy-making instead of just a fringe issue, even though it would damage the vested interests of powerful industries.

Marion Cheatle, of the environment programme, said that damage sustained by the environment was of fundamental economic concern and, if left unchecked, would affect growth.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

States Set to Sue the U.S. Over Greenhouse Gases

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By Danny Hakim for the New York Times

ALBANY, Oct. 23 — New York is one of more than a dozen states, led by California, preparing to sue the Bush administration for holding up efforts to regulate emissions from cars and trucks, several people involved in the lawsuit said on Tuesday.

The move comes as New York and other Northeastern states are stepping up their push for tougher regulation of greenhouse gases as part of their continuing opposition to President Bush’s policies.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Fears That Seas Soak Up Less Greenhouse Gas

by Andrew Woodcock in London for the Sydney Morning Herald

THE oceans’ ability to act as a “carbon sink” soaking up greenhouse gases appears to be decreasing, research shows, leading to new fears about global warming

Measurements of the North Atlantic taken by British scientists over the decade from the mid-1990s to 2005 show the level of carbon dioxide in its waters fell by about half over that time.

One of the authors of the study, published on Saturday in a paper for the Journal of Geophysical Research, said the change may have been triggered by climate change and may also accelerate the process by leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere.

Natural processes mean the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is reduced when the gas dissolves into the waters of the oceans which cover much of the surface of the earth, turning them into vast “sinks” storing the carbon safely.

But the new study suggests the amount of carbon dioxide entering the oceans is declining, possibly because warmer global weather has heated the water near the surface.

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Oceans may be losing ability to absorb CO2

PARIS (AFP) - The world's oceans may be losing their ability to soak up extra carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, with the risk that this will help stoke global warming, two new studies say.

Absorption of atmospheric CO2 by the North Atlantic plunged by half between the mid-1990s and 2002-5, British researchers say in a paper published in the November issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research.

The data comes from sensors lowered by a container ship carrying bananas, which makes a round trip from the West Indies to Britain every month. It has generated more than 90,000 measurements of ocean CO2.

The finding touches on a key aspect of the global warming question, because for decades the ocean has been absorbing much of the CO2 released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.

If the sea performs less well as a carbon sponge, or "sink" according to the technical jargon, more CO2 will remain in the atmosphere, thus accelerating the greenhouse effect.

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