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Eco-news archive: May-June 2007

Sahara desert
UN issues desertification warning
(Jun 28, 2007)

Tens of millions of people could be driven from their homes by encroaching deserts, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia, a report says. The study by the United Nations University suggests climate change is making desertification "the greatest environmental challenge of our times". If action is not taken, the report warns that some 50 million people could be displaced within the next 10 years.

Read more. Source: BBC

Los Angelese smog
Scarce water and population boom leads California to 'perfect drought'
(Jun 25, 2007)

A typical summer's day in Los Angeles: temperatures nudge the nineties, the sun blazes high in the sky, palm trees sway in the ocean breeze, and sprinklers spray a fine mist of water into the scorching air. But if the predictions of climatologists, environmentalists, city planners and the head of the water board are correct, the sprinklers and many other of the comforts that have made southern California habitable may have to be turned off.

Read more. Source: Guardian

desalination plant
Desalination 'not the solution'
(Jun 21, 2007)

Turning salt water into drinking water is not a solution to tackle global water scarcity, the WWF has said. A report by the environmental group said a growth in the energy intensive technology would increase emissions and damage coastal and river habitats. More attention should instead be paid to conserving supplies, it suggested.

Read more. Source: BBC

Arctic spring melting
Arctic spring's 'rapid advance'
(Jun 18, 2007)

Spring in the Arctic is arriving "weeks earlier" than a decade ago, a team of Danish researchers have reported. Ice in north-east Greenland is melting an average of 14.6 days earlier than in the mid-1990s, bringing forward the date plants flower and birds lay eggs. The team warned that the observed changes could disrupt the region's ecosystems and food chain, affecting the long-term survival of some species.

Read more. Source: BBC

ice melting
UN warning over global ice loss
(Jun 4, 2007)

Hundreds of millions of livelihoods will be affected by declining snow and ice cover as a result of global warming, a UN report has warned. The risks facing people included losing access to drinking water, and rising sea levels, the study concluded. The findings were published by the UN's Environment Programme (UNEP).

Read more. Source: BBC

Great apes 'facing climate peril'
(May 31, 2007)

Great apes are facing an "inevitable crisis" arising from climate change, a leading conservationist has warned. Dr Richard Leakey said that growing pressure to switch from fossil fuels to biofuels could result in further destruction of the animals' habitats. The chair of WildlifeDirect called for immediate action and proposed financial incentives to save forests from destruction as one possible solution.

Read more. Source: BBC

power station emissions
Recent CO2 rises exceed worst-case scenarios
(May 21, 2007)

The world's recent carbon dioxide emissions are growing more rapidly than even the worst-case climate scenario used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, say researchers. The team, led by Michael Raupach of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, looked at the growth of CO2 emissions and found that emissions growth suddenly accelerated in 2000.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

iceberg in Southern Ocean
Polar ocean 'soaking up less CO2'
(May 18, 2007)

One of Earth's most important absorbers of carbon dioxide (CO2) is failing to soak up as much of the greenhouse gas as it was expected to, scientists say. The decline of Antarctica's Southern Ocean carbon "sink" – or reservoir – means that atmospheric CO2 levels may be higher in future than predicted. These carbon sinks are vital as they mop up excess CO2 from the atmosphere, slowing down global warming.

Read more. Source: BBC


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