Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Evidence of climate change?


"'Across North America, severe to extreme drought was present across large parts of the western U.S. and Upper Midwest, including southern Ontario, Canada, for much of 2007,' the World Meteorological Organization said...

"Major U.S. lakes shrank; Atlanta had to worry about its drinking water supply...

"In November, Atlanta's main water source, Lake Lanier, shrank to an all-time low. Lake Okeechobee, crucial to south Florida, hit its lowest level in recorded history in May, exposing muck and debris not seen for decades. Lake Superior, the biggest and deepest of the Great Lakes, dropped to its lowest August and September levels in history.

"Los Angeles hit its driest year on record. Lakes fed by the Colorado River and which help supply water for more than 20 million westerners, were only half full.

"Australia, already a dry continent, suffered its worst drought in a century, making global warming an election issue."


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Destruction of Forests

Category: Photographs by Graham Bould

"Sumatra has lost a staggering 80 per cent of its old growth forest in an orgy of logging, both legal and illegal, over the past 30 years, putting it in a league occupied only by Kalimantan - Indonesian Borneo - and the eastern Amazon...

"A failure of officialdom to enforce the rules in logging concessions means too much timber is taken out.
"A similar failure to enforce land rights, despite the fact that the government owns all forest land, often the result of corruption at all levels, means illegal loggers move in, often in collusion with illegal squatters." - Indonesia destroys forests as Bali looks for solution

"When the trees are gone, the ground temperature increases to as high as 70 degrees" Celsius, said Indonesian forestry worker Jonotoro...

"Because of the destruction of the forests Indonesia has become the third-largest source of carbon dioxide emissions caused by human activity, behind the US and China.
Indonesia, host of the world climate conference now under way on the resort island of Bali, plans to make protection of tropical forests an important topic during the meeting. In particular, Jakarta wants to be financially compensated for taking steps to protect the forests...
The problem is that while the central government in Jakarta has passed a number of laws to protect the forest, local officials can be bribed to ignore them. - Demand for palm oil sets off wave of deforestation

"In South America, the loss of 4.3 million hectares a year is driven in part by meat consumption that encourages conversion of forests to pasture lands throughout the region. In Ecuador, road building has been a major cause of deforestation.

"In sub-Saharan Africa, fuelwood extraction and charcoal production are factors behind the continent's loss of 4 million hectares a year...

"Since forest property rights are often very unclear, payment for carbon services could end up providing incentives for corrupt officials or local elites to appropriate this new forest value from local communities." - Scientists warn forest carbon payment schemes could increase poverty


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bali climate change talks

Climate change talks are taking place in Bali, Indonesia, December 2007.

A fifth of Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, may be permanently flooded by 2050, Indonesian officials believe. (Jakarta faces perils of warming, inaction)

Jakarta's international airport may soon be surrounded by water and accessible only by boat.

Many of Jakarta's slums and luxury housing developments will be submerged, said Rachmat Witoelar, Indonesia's environment minister.

One of the problems in Indonesia has been the cutting down of vast numbers of trees.

Some people believe that China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's top emitter of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

But China questions the fairness of binding cuts when its per capita emissions are about one-sixth of America's.

China says it has only been pumping pollutants into the atmosphere for a few decades, whereas the West has done so for hundreds of years. (China Says West Should Deal With Warming)

The USA has not yet signed up to the Kyoto agreement.

The USA opposes Kyoto because it does not include major polluters like China and India.