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Summary of This Week's Key Articles on the Climate Crisis

Click the highlighted headlines for links to these stories.

Report: China, India, Brazil Could Slash Energy Use

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, May 30, 2006.

"China, India and Brazil could reduce energy use by a quarter with simple efficiency schemes but banks have been sluggish to lend to such projects, an international study said on Monday. The three-nation report, led by the World Bank and the UN Environment Programme, said many banks had overlooked chances to boost their profits by lending to help businesses cut energy waste while oil prices hover at around US$70 a barrel. 'Cutting energy waste is the cheapest, easiest, fastest way to solve many energy problems, improve the environment and enhance both energy security and economic development,' said Robert Taylor, a World Bank energy specialist who led the study." (A more detailed account about the report may be found here .)

Environmentalist Says Climate Change Could Destabilize World .

By Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters, May 29, 2006.

"Global warming is hitting the poor the hardest and climate change could cause worldwide destabilization if solutions are not found," one of the world's leading environmentalists said on Friday. Klaus Toepfer, a tireless promoter of the Kyoto Protocol as head of the UN environment agency for the last eight years, said in an interview he believed its 2012 goals could still be reached even though he said it was still 'not enough.' Toepfer, a driving force behind using the World Cup soccer tournament next month to project an environmental message and a former German environment minister, also said he sensed growing support for Kyoto in cities across the United States. 'I know Kyoto is by far not enough,' said Toepfer. "We have to do more because climate change is not a forecast for the long-term future but it is happening now. The poorest of the poor are suffering most. Our world will be destabilized if we are not able to solve this problem. It is not something on the margins. Our children and their children will suffer the most and it's our obligation to do it now.'"

EU Offers Tips on Curbing Greenhouse Gases

Agence France-Presse, May 29, 2006.

"The European Commission launched a campaign to raise awareness about climate change and show Europeans what they can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Households produce 16 percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for global warming, and the campaign aims to encourage people to bring them down.  The 'You control climate change' campaign, with a budget of some 4.7 million euros ($6 million), offers citizens around 50 tips and advises them to: 'Turn down. Switch off. Recycle. Walk.' The hints range from turning heating down by one degree Celsius to avoiding leaving televisions, stereos and computers on stand-by mode. The campaign, to be advertised on television and in the print media, will also see statues in EU capitals dressed in T-shirts bearing its slogan."

Navajos OK Lease on Planned $2.5 Billion Coal Plant .

Reuters, May 29, 2006.

"The Navajo Nation has signed a 50-year lease for a planned $2.5 billion coal plant in New Mexico, Sithe Global LLC, a company hoping to build the plant, said Friday. The lease on the proposed 1,500 megawatt Desert Rock plant is one of the many hurdles to be cleared before construction begins on the plant. The plant's planners still must clear several hurdles including obtaining a federal draft air permit, making power purchase agreements with utilities, and completing an environmental impact statement. Power from Desert Rock, planned to be built near Ship Rock in northwestern New Mexico would supply cities in the state as well as Nevada and Arizona. Sithe Global said the plant is expected to use technologies that will cut emissions of mercury and smog components sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Environmental groups such as the Dooda Desert Rock Committee have been fighting the plant saying that it would hurt air quality and use large qualities of water."

Study: Global Warming Boosts Poison Ivy,0,730480.story? coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines

The Associated Press, May 29, 2006.

"Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy. The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers reported Monday. And a CO2-driven vine also produces more of its rash-causing chemical, urushiol, conclude experiments conducted in a forest at Duke University where scientists increased carbon-dioxide levels to those expected in 2050. Poison ivy's itchy, sometimes blistering rash is one of the most widely reported ailments to poison-control centers, with more than 350,000 reported cases a year. Compared to poison ivy grown in usual atmospheric conditions, those exposed to the extra-high carbon dioxide grew about three times larger -- and produced more allergenic form of urushiol, scientists from Duke and Harvard University reported. Their study appears in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Gore Delivers Stark Climate Plea

BBC News, May 29, 2006.

Former Vice President Al Gore said Monday the world faces a danger in climate change "which could bring the end of civilization." Speaking at the Hay Festival in England, the former U.S. vice president admitted failing to get the climate-change message across as a politician, and promised to devote himself to doing so. "We face a challenge in the conversation of democracy that we must be up to in order to save the climate balance on which our civilization depends," he said. Asked to run for president again, Gore replied, "I honestly believe that the role I can most usefully play is to try to change the minds of the American people ... about what this crisis is about." Gore said he and others have to to help bring about "a sea change in the public's understanding and opinion. The only way that political leaders of all parties will find the courage for the bold actions that are needed." (Release of the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" has spurred four columns in the New York Times by regular op-ed writers in the last week on Gore and global warming (available to TimesSelect subscribers) -- Paul Krugman, "A Test of Our Character"  and "Swift Boating the Planet" ; John Tierney, "Gore Pulls His Punches" %2fEditorials%20and%20Op%2dEd%2fOp%2dEd%2fColumnists%2fJohn%20Tierney ; and Frank Rich, "The Cannes Landslide for Al Gore."

 Book Reviews:

"Global Warming: Al Gore's Inconvenient Jeremiad" 1336.html .

Book review by Warren Bass, The Washington Post, May 28, 2006.

"Al Gore may have missed his calling: He would have made a fine science writer. The former vice president's new book -- a movie tie-in entitled An Inconvenient Truth (Rodale; paperback, $21.95), like the film hitting screens in New York and Los Angeles this week -- shows an impressive talent for explanatory journalism. Based on a slide show that Gore has been perfecting on his Mac laptop for years, this handsome volume doesn't pack quite the same punch as the celluloid version, but it's still very effective: a book on global warming that's downright chilling."

"Global Warming Scenario Scarier Than a Spy Thriller"

Book review by Cherl Truman, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, May 25, 2006.

Of "The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth," by Tim Flannery: "I enthusiastically recommend this [difficult] book to all readers who plan to live past 2010.  If you haven't started to worry about global warming, reading even 50 pages of this book will be enough to start you down the path. This book isn't as smooth as a ride in a gas hog, but at its core, you will find possibilities more terrifying than anything Dean Koontz or James Patterson have dreamed up yet."

"In Epoch of Man, Earth Takes a Beating" 45f3327d80&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

 Book review by Mariana Gosnell, The New York Times, March 16, 2006.

Of "Field Notes From a Catastrophe" by Elizabeth Kolbert: "[Kolbert made visits] not only to places where climate change is affecting the natural world but also to ones -- labs, offices, observatories -- where humans are trying to understand the phenomenon of human-induced global warming. She examines the major pieces of the story, shedding light on some insider concepts of climatologists as she goes. The book may make a good handbook; it is both comprehensive and succinct."

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