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Climate Crisis Newsfeed (July 16, 2006)

The G8 Meets in St. Petersburg
Compromise Statement on 'Global Energy Security' Approved at G8,2144,2097721,00.html

Deuch Welle (Germany),
July 16, 2006.

"The Group of Eight industrial nations approved a statement on 'Global Energy Security' on Sunday that allows for splits over nuclear energy and climate change among member nations. 'We recognize that G8 members pursue different ways to achieve energy security and the goals of climate protection,' the section of the statement on nuclear energy says. 'Those of us who have or are considering plans relating to the use and/or development of safe and secure nuclear energy believe that its development will contribute to global energy security, while simultaneously reducing harmful air pollution and addressing the climate change challenge,' it says. It includes a phrase German officials said was important to Berlin, which has committed to a phase-out of nuclear energy by the early 2020s: 'We are committed to further reduce the risks associated with the safe use of nuclear energy.'"

Blair to Push Climate Agenda at G8
By Andy Smith,
The Independent (UK),
July 15, 2006.

"Tony Blair hopes to force climate change back onto the agenda at the G8 summit - even if only in private talks with other leaders. Environmentalists have been horrified by the document that Russia has put forward as the main item for discussion Saturday, when leaders of the world's richest countries will assemble in St Petersburg. They see it an invitation to the big oil and gas producers to carry on polluting, ignoring the progress made at Gleneagles a year ago." (submitted by John Myers)

Moving Toward a Cooperative Future at the G8 Summit
Commentary By Jacques Chirac,
The Christian Science Monitor,
July 14, 2006. 

"For France, the raison d'être of the G-8 is to prepare joint responses to our shared challengesS Global threats require global responses. We shall not solve the problem of global warming if we each go our own way or increase the number of unilateral or partial solutions. This is particularly true for global warming. I am concerned by the weakening of the international regime for climate change. We must reverse this trend. Here, the seven G-8 members party to the Kyoto Protocol have a particular responsibility. They must set an example by respecting their commitments, as Europe and France are doing. It is up to them to show the way forward for the post-2012 period. We seek an ambitious agreement commensurate with the threat posed to humanity, one committing all the G-8 countries, including the United States, as well as emerging countries." Jacques Chirac is president of France.

The Civil G8: NGOs Meeting in Moscow Prior to the G8 Call for Carbon Tax and Suspension of Nuclear Development  Commentary by Richard Steiner,
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
July 14, 2006.

"Hoping to guide G-8 leaders toward a more sustainable path, more than 600 non-governmental organization representatives from 50 nations and every continent met in Moscow last week to put forth their hopes for the summit in St. PetersburgS   Energy was center-stage. Russian President Vladimir Putin participated and promised to present the many recommendations from the civil society groups directly to the other G-8 leaders this weekend. the groups called for a dedicated environmental tax on oil production globally to be used for sustainable energy, climate change abatement and conservation efforts in developing countries. And while the Moscow gathering lacked consensus on the nuclear energy issue (as Putin noted), there was a majority view that nuclear energy, in its present form, is not a solution to our energy or climate crisis and new development should be suspendedS The sooner we get on with the inevitable transition to sustainable energy, the better. There's no better time or place to begin than the G-8 summit this weekend."

International Group of Legislators Calls on G8 for Climate Action
Press Release, GLOBE International,
July 10, 2006.

"Legislators and representatives from the G8, European Parliament, Brazil, China, India and South Africa along with senior business leaders and representatives of IUCN and WWF-International met in Brussels July 7-8 at the invitation of GLOBE International (Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment). On Monday they issued a joint statement to the G8 ahead of the St Petersburg Summit [meeting this weekend] for renewed action on energy and climate security." (GLOBE International website )

The G8's Risky Nuclear Embrace
By Mark Hertsgaard,
The Nation,
July 14, 2004 (web only).

"During the lead-up to the summit, Russia and the United States have been the strongest pro-nuclear voices. France, which generates nearly 80 percent of its electricity in nuclear reactors, is a strong supporter as well. Germany and Italy remain opposed, both having passed laws prohibiting additional nuclear power plant constructionS  But the country to watch is Britain. The pro-nuclear argument got a strong push earlier this week when Prime Minister Tony Blair's government endorsed nukes as a crucial weapon in the fight against climate change... The Blair government's announcement triggered a political firestorm in Britain. The embrace of nuclear power, which had been rejected by a government White Paper on energy in 2003, was widely attacked both by environmentalists to Blair's left and the two opposition parties to his right... If G-8 leaders want to honor last year's pledge to fight climate change, they need to understand that going nuclear would actually represent a big step backward. Because nuclear power is so expensive, it delivers seven times fewer greenhouse reductions per dollar invested than boosting energy efficiency does."

Taking Part in Climate Solutions

Global Student Summit on Climate Change Meets in London
By Ashley Tucker (a 15-year-old student from South Africa).
Guardian Unlimited (UK),
July 14, 2006.

"International youth delegates met in London this week for a global student summit on climate changeS The summit has proved to be an incredible experience for the students taking part. Teenagers from as far as China, Kuwait, Russia and South Africa have been able to form a global network and discuss how to deal with climate change issues at a community level. Through this conference, we have learned that fighting the issue of climate change together is better than to stand alone." (Check summit website

A Million Trees in Los Angeles
By Ingrid Lobet,
Living on Earth, NPR,
July 14, 2004.

"Los Angeles will soon announce a program to plant one million trees in the city... Cities have increasingly sophisticated tools for this work. This month urban foresters from the US Forest Service will roll out new software that allows cities to quickly estimate their tree canopy, the condition of the trees and potential vacant planting sites. Greg McPherson directs the Center for Urban Forest Research and helped develop the software. He says 15 cities have already compared the cost of pruning and watering their trees with the benefit their trees provide by cooling, removing pollution and CO2, catching rainfall, even increased property taxes from higher home values."

State of Washington Offers Incentive for Home Solar-Power Units
By Gordy Holt,
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
July 11, 2006.

"The law provides a payment of 15 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity that backyard producers have sent into the grid. The incentive program extends to June 30, 2014, and is retroactive to July 1, 2005S The enabling legislation for the incentives, was described by primary sponsor Sen. Erik Poulsen, D-West Seattle, as Othe most progressive in America.'"

NJ's Meadowlands Commission Pledges to Meet Kyoto CO2 Targets tp:// _meet_kyoto_co2_targets
Timothy Gardner,
July 10, 2006.

"New Jersey's Meadowlands has become the latest U.S. region to buck the Bush administration by agreeing to greenhouse gas emissions goals outlined by an international pact on global warming. The Meadowlands, a region of swamps near New York City studded by landfills and crisscrossed by superhighways, adopted on Monday the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals outlined by the Kyoto Protocol, which went into force in 2005S The Meadowlands Commission has environmental protection and economic development powers over 14 townships recovering from decades of heavy industry, like chemical and paint plants. It is battling fumes from vehicles on its many freewaysS As of last Friday, 262 mayors of U.S. cities representing 47 million people had pledged to meet the goals, according to the Seattle mayor's Web site."

Los Angeles Cars Going Green tp://  . By Zachary Slobig,
Agence France Presse,
July 13, 2006.

"With gasoline prices soaring, anxieties about global warming, and concern over the war in Iraq, a small but growing group in Los Angeles is replacing petroleum with alternative fuels. Clean fuel vehicle mechanic and salesman Brian Friedman cannot keep up with demand and says he is selling twenty vegetable oil fueled cars a week. OLove Craft,' his shop just east of Hollywood, is overflowing with 100 mostly late 1970s to early 1980s Mercedes diesel cars waiting to be converted and sold to anxious buyersS Love Craft's cars run on either recycled or fresh vegetable oil, which Friedman recommends because it eliminates the need for industrial refinement."

Commercial Printer Signs On for 100% Wind Power .,
July 11, 2006.

"Monroe Litho, of Rochester NY, whose client roster includes five of the top 10 environmental organizations in the country, signed a contract to purchase approximately 1.8 million kilowatt hours of wind power each year. This purchase will "offset approximately 2.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would have been released into the atmosphere through conventional power generation. This is the equivalent of planting 134,000 trees, and eliminating 1.7 million miles of automobile driving or taking 140 cars off the highway every year."

Rivals Face Off in Electric Car Capital of the World,,1815720,00.html?gusrc=rss .
By John Vidal,
The Guardian Unlimited (UK),
July 8.

"They're small, eccentric and as quiet as Paris in August. But Britain, obsessed as it is with speed cameras and petrol prices, has unexpectedly become the world capital of electric cars. Next week two models will be launched at the London motor show, bringing to at least six the number of carmakers competing for a slice of the emerging Ozero emission' market."

Nuclear Power

The Nuclear Option .
By, Jon Gertner,
The New York Times Magazine,
July 16, 2006. (TimesSelect).

"Over the past year, the debate over nuclear power has increasingly been framed as an environmental one, as several commentators S have stepped forward to assert that global warming requires an embrace of new nuclear plantsSThe nuclear industry, in turn, has capitalized on the chance to adopt a green tinge, or at least greenish one; among its recent slogans is the exhortation to OGo nuclear: because you care about the air.' Most environmental groups have not softened their opposition, howeverS Nonetheless, whether any new nuclear plants are built in the United States depends less on the sentiments of the American public than on the country's individual utilities. S. And the feeling among many in the industry is that the financial prospects are almost certainly looking up."

Leaked Document for the G8 Promotes Nuclear Energy,,-5939446,00.html .
The Guardian Unlimited (UK),
July 9, 2006.

"A mass expansion of nuclear power is planned for G8 countries and across the developing world, according to claims. An action plan for Oglobal energy security' is to be agreed at the G8 Summit in St Petersburg, Russia, next weekend. Scotland's Sunday Herald newspaper said leaked documents drawn up for the summit envisage a network of nuclear fuel plants in G8 countries along with the widespread sale of reactors to developing countries, as long as a guarantee is given that they will not be used in the making of nuclear weaponsS The leaked version of the action plan is said to state: OThose of us who have plans relating to the use and/or expansion of nuclear energy believe that its development will promote prosperity and global energy security, while simultaneously offering a positive contribution to the climate change challenge.' The plan is said to argue that improving the economic competitiveness of nuclear power will Obenefit all nations'."

Lower Grade Uranium; a Growing Problem for Nuclear Energy tp:// .
By Rob Edward,
The Sunday Herald (Scotland),
July 9, 2006..

"As the use of nuclear power expands, it will become increasingly ineffective at combating global warming, warns a report by an independent think tank published today. The Oxford Research Group argues that a worldwide shortage of high- grade uranium ore will force new nuclear reactors to exploit increasingly lower-grade ores for their fuel. Because that requires more energy to extract, the process will result in ever-greater amounts of climate-wrecking pollution. A report by the Dutch nuclear expert Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen says that, after 2034, the grade of uranium ore being dug out of the ground will fall dramatically. 'This will cause nuclear power to become increasingly inefficient and expensive, leading to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions,' he says. 'By 2070 the grade of uranium ore being used will have become so poor he predicts that nuclear power will become a net energy user. At the end of 2005 the world's known recoverable uranium resources amounted to about 3.6 million tonnes, mostly in Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan.'"

Asia Going Nuclear Amid Rising Oil Prices tp://
By Michael Casey,
The Associated Press,
July 8, 2006.

"Led by fast-growing China and India, Asia is going nuclear in a big way to feed its ravenous appetite for energy. The strains of economic growth are already showing. Energy shortages have forced Chinese factories to scale back production, and farmers in India often have power for only half the day. Both countries say their future growth is at risk unless they diversify their energy mix...South Korea, the world's second biggest coal importer and third biggest oil importer, already depends on nuclear reactors for 40 percent of its power and is talking of increasing that to 60 percent by 2035...Eighteen reactors about 70 percent of the world's total under construction are going up in Asia, and another 77 are planned or proposed, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. Japan depends on nuclear plants for a third of its power and plans to double its nuclear capacity by 2050. Australia wants to build its first plant, and Indonesia has vowed to go nuclear, even though it's vulnerable to earthquakes, floods and landslides."

Nuclear Waste Looms As Challenge in Asia By Michael Casey,
The Associated Press,
July 8, 2006.

"As Asia goes nuclear in a big way to feed its appetite for energy, environmentalists are warning that the growing stockpiles could either be stolen by terrorists and used to make a bomb, or end up polluting the environment. The nuclear industry says a permanent solution will eventually be found and that the waste issue will not slow the growth of nuclear power in Asia. Temporary sites, they said, are safe."

Vital Signs

U.S. Experienced Record Warm First Half of Year
NOAA Magazine,
July 14, 2006.

"The average temperature for the continental United States from January through June 2006 was the warmest first half of any year since records began in 1895, according to scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center ...The global surface temperature was second warmest on record for June."

Worldwatch Institute Releases Report: Vital Signs 2006 - 2007
Press release by Worldwatch Institute,
July 12, 2006.

"Economic Gains Mask Underlying CrisisS Nearly 80 percent of the world's energy comes fromS fossil fuels... [which] continued to rise despite soaring energy prices over the past two years: in 2004, coal use jumped 6.3 percent and natural gas consumption rose 3.3 percent; in 2005, oil use increased 1.3 percent. These growth rates were dwarfed by those in renewable energy: global wind power capacity jumped 24 percent in 2005, solar photovoltaic production increased 45 percent, and biofuels production jumped 20 percent. OThese developments are impressive and are likely to provoke far-reaching changes in world energy markets within the next five years,' said Worldwatch Institute president Christopher Flavin. OBut the transition will have to move even faster to prevent the kind of ecological and economic crises that may be precipitated by continuing dependence on fossil fuels.'" (Selected vital facts in the report)

The Alps

Another Study Warns that the Alps Could Be Ice Free by 2100 tp:// ce=rss .
By James Owen,
National Geographic News,
July 11, 2006.

"The European Alps could be virtually ice free by the end of this century, a new study warns, as rising air temperatures melt away mountain glaciers... The team, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, predicted the likely impact of rising temperatures on the European Alps using modeling experiments based on past rates of glacier loss and future climate-change forecasts... The total area covered by Alpine glaciers has shrunk by 50 percent since 1850 began to accelerate one percent of their volume per year since 1975, the study adds. Their volume shrank by fully 8 percent in a single year, 2003, followed by an estimated 3 percent loss in 2004, the researchers say. Total glacier volume is estimated at just a third of the 1850 figure."

Climate Change Brings Eiger to Earth tp://,,2087-2262238,00.html .
By Steven Swinford,
The Sunday Times (UK),
July 9, 2006.

"A slab of rock weighing millions of tons is poised to break away from the Eiger, one of Europe's most treacherous mountains, and crash into the valley below, a geologist has warned. Hans-Rudolf Keusen, who monitors the Bernese Alps for the Swiss government, said 2m cubic metres of the Eiger mountain are set to collapse, in what would be Europe's biggest rock fall for 15 years... According to Keusen, the crack has been caused by the retreat of the Grindelwald glacier, which previously supported the rockface. As it has shrunk, holes in the limestone have opened and been eroded by water. He said: 'In the past 25 years the glacier has regressed very quickly, by up to a metre a year. We believe this accelerated regression is the result of climate change.'"

Massive Chunk Falls from the Eiger 1472.html .
The Associated Press,
July 13, 2006.
Rock wall of the Eiger begins anticipated collapsed.

Farming Woes

Ozone Pollution Costing Farmers Billions* /afp/20060711/sc_afp/environmentpollution .
By Anne Chaon,
Agence France Presse,
July 11, 2006.

"The internal combustion engine contributes massively to global warming, kills around 1.2 million people a year in road accidents and, scientists now warn, is costing billions of dollars in crop damage each year. The villain is a molecule of oxygen called ozone. Way up in the stratosphere, the wafer-thin ozone layer exists naturally as a protector of life, filtering out ultra-violet sunlight that would otherwise slice and corrupt human DNA. At ground level, though, ozone can be dangerous... An assessment of 45 countries made in 2002 for the UN Economic Commission for Europe found that ozone is already costing farmers in Europe and the former Soviet Union more than six billion euros (7.5 billion dollars) a year. Ozone enters plants through respiratory pores in the leaves. It then produces byproducts that crimp efficiency in photosynthesis, leaving a plant that is weak and undersized -- and with a crop size and quality to match."

Climate Change Could Wallop U.S. Wine Industry 60710141309990003?ncid=NWS00010000000001
By Randolph E. Schmid,
The Associated Press,
July 11, 2006.

"Climate warming could spell disaster for much of the multibillion-dollar U.S. wine industry. Areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced by 50 percent - and possibly as much as 81 percent - by the end of this century, according to a study Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper indicates increasing weather problems for grapes in such areas as California's Napa and Sonoma valleys. The main problem: An increase in the frequency of extremely hot days, according to Noah Diffenbaugh of the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University."

The Bush Record on Climate Change

A Sorry Record 1145.html?referrer=emailarticle .
Editorial, The Washington Post,
July 11, 2006.

"'We have done a lot to deal with greenhouse gases by advancing new technologies,' President Bush gushed to Larry King on CNN on Thursday... 'One of these days people are going to look back and say, well, thank goodness the Bush administration made these investments because we'll be able to have electricity from coal that won't pollute... We've done more on ethanol [than] any administration... We've got a great record.' ... Well, no, actually. The administration has not taken the steps necessary to limit greenhouse gas emissions, barring some miraculous technological breakthrough... It has resisted mandatory limits on carbon emissions and the sort of ambitious fuel economy standards that would force automakers to innovate and help make smaller cars more attractive. It has resisted taxing carbon use, preferring instead to provide incentives for oil and gas extraction -- just the opposite of what's needed. Investing in new technologies, about which Mr. Bush boasted, is worthy. But such investment is more likely to pay off if government creates incentives and then lets the market choose the most promising technologies; Mr. Bush apparently believes government can guess better. Meanwhile, the longer this country goes without action, the more difficult will be the reductions necessary to help prevent an environmental catastrophe."

The White House Responds . Press release, The White House,
July 11, 2003. T
he white house responds to the July 11th Washington Post Editorial, "A Sorry Record" with a press release titled: "Setting the Record Straight: President Bush's Strong Record of Addressing Climate Change."

A TV Special

Brokaw Presents Discovery Documentary About Global Warming,2564,ALBQ_19849_4847150,00.h tml .
The Associated Press,
July 15, 2006.

"Tom Brokaw is giving Al Gore some company in the effort to raise awareness of global warming. The former NBC anchorman is host of "Global Warming: What You Need to Know," which doubles as an explainer and call to action for average Americans. It premieres Sunday at 7 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

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