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Climate Crisis--Daily Newsfeed (August 10, 2006)

Nuclear Power in Europe Faces News Problems . By Susan Sachs, The Christian Science Monitor, August 10, 2006. "The extended heat wave in July aggravated drought conditions across much of Europe, lowering water levels in the lakes and rivers that many nuclear plants depend on to cool their reactorsS As a result, utility companies in France, Spain, and Germany were forced to take some plants offline and reduce operations at others. Across Western Europe, nuclear plants also had to secure exemptions from regulations in order to discharge overheated water into the environmentS Sweden shut four of its 10 nuclear reactors after a short-circuit cut power at one plant on July 26, raising fears of a dangerous design flaw. One week later, Czech utility officials shut down one of the country's six nuclear reactors because of what they described as a serious mechanical problem that led to the leak of radioactive water. The disruptions highlight some of the vulnerabilities of nuclear power, just at a time when its future was looking brighter in traditionally nuclear-shy parts of Europe."

An Oil Leak Rattles a State and Its Workers . By William Yardley, The New York Times, August 10, 2006. "As oil markets shudder and BP struggles to maintain the image of an energy company with an environmental conscience, the focus here is on getting the corroded transit lines repaired or replaced and getting back to workS The future of oil production at Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in the United States, is tangled in issues like depletion of the fields, global pressure to find alternate sources of energy and debate in the state capital, Juneau, over whether to increase taxes on oil companies. There are also plans, remote for now, to spend about $20 billion for a natural gas pipeline that would tap the gas that is as abundant below ground here as oil seemed in the 1960's. Some here see the shutdown as less about protecting the environment or BP's image than as BP flexing its muscles to influence the state debate over taxes and natural gas."

In Upstate Maine, a Wind-Power Project Gathers Momentum _a_wind_power_project_gathers_momentum . By Glenn Adams, The Associated Press, August 7, 2006. "At the crest of a mountain ridge that hugs northern Maine's border with Canada and shares names with the potato-growing town below, what will become New England's biggest wind-power development so far is quietly taking shape... the 42-megawatt Mars Hill project will provide enough power to supply about 45,000 average Maine homes at full capacity, in effect all of northern Maine's Aroostook County."

Foes of Cape Wind Form a New Lobbying Organization . By Bill Farley, Cape Cod Today, August 8, 2006. "The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a tax-exemptS organization established in 2001 to block development of Cape Wind S has created a new lobbying armSCoal, oil and gas magnate William I. Koch, of West Palm Beach, FL and Hyannisport, is S listed on the incorporation papers."

Super Typhoon Slams into China aspx . By Nir Elias, Reuters, August 10, 2006. " Super Typhoon Saomai, the strongest to threaten China in 50 years, slammed into the southeast coast on Thursday after forcing more than 1.5 million people from their homesS Storm tracker Tropical Storm Risk ( ) had graded Saomai a category five "super" typhoon -- its highest category -- but reduced that to category 4 once it came ashoreS Much of south China has been repeatedly battered by typhoons and tropical storms this year. Hundreds have been killed by rainstorms, mudslides and floods."

Indian Floods Worsen, 4.5 Million People Homeless aspx . Reuters, August 9, 2006. "Swollen rivers swamped thousands of villages and towns across India's south and west on Wednesday, forcing 4.5 million from their homes as rescuers struggled to bring them food and drinking water, officials said. India's annual monsoon rains -- vital for the country's agriculture-driven economy -- have triggered floods across at least five states since the weekend, killing at least 311 people, submerging villages and causing widespread damage to crops."

A Rare Cloud and Extreme Weather Above Antarctica ss . National Geographic News, August 8, 2006.  "An unusual sight livened the sunset for scientists working in one of the coldest places on Earth--a rare nacreous cloud, which form only at extremely icy temperaturesS OOur weather balloon measured temperatures down to minus 87 degrees Celsius [minus 125 degrees Fahrenheit] in the vicinity of the cloud layer, said Renae Baker, a scientist with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, OThat's about as cold as the lowest temperatures ever recorded on the surface of the Earth. Amazingly, the winds at this height were blowing at nearly 230 kilometers [143 miles] per hour.' S OThese clouds are more than just a curiosity,' added Andrew Klekociuk, an atmospheric scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division. OThey reveal extreme conditions in the atmosphere and promote chemical changes that lead to destruction of vital stratospheric ozone.' "

Palm Tree Deaths in Florida Attributed to Rising Seas . Underwater Times, August 8, 2006. "Palm trees on Florida's west coast appear to be dying more rapidly than in previous years because of sea level rise tied to global warming."

Will the World's Polluters Pay for Climate Change? . Commentary by Peter Singer, Taipei Times, August 9, 2006. "Americans tend to talk a lot about morality and justice. But most Americans still fail to realize that their country's refusal to sign the Kyoto protocol, and their business-as-usual approach to greenhouse gas emissions, is a moral failing of the most serious kind. It is already having harmful consequences for others, and the greatest inequity is that it is the rich who are using most of the energy that leads to the emissions that cause climate change, while it is the poor who will bear most of the costs." Peter Singer is professor of bioethics at Princeton University.

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