Paris climate summit: UN negotiations 'need redesign'
The UN climate negotiations are heading for failure and need a major redesign if they are to succeed, scientists say. The pledges that individual countries are offering ahead of the Paris climate summit in December are too entrenched in self interest instead of being focussed on a common goal. The researchers say the science of cooperation is being ignored. Instead, they say the negotiations should focus on a common commitment on the global price of carbon. This means countries would agree o...Next two years hottest, says Met Office
The next two years could be the hottest on record globally, says research from the UK's Met Office. It warns big changes could be under way in the climate system with greenhouse gases increasing the impact of natural trends. The research shows that a major El Nino event is in play in the Pacific, which is expected to heat the world overall. But it also reveals that summers in Europe might get cooler for a while as the rest of the globe warms. The scientists confirm that in 2015 the Earth's a...Fracking: Think again, campaigner urges environmentalists
Environmentalists should keep cool heads over fracking, says Friends of the Earth's former climate campaigner. Bryony Worthington - now Labour shadow energy minister - says fracking will create less CO2 than compressing gas in Qatar and shipping it to Britain. But she insists shale gas should only be developed if its emissions are captured and stored underground. The current FoE position is that more fossil fuel exploitation will further destabilise the climate. Nonetheless, Baroness Worthin...UN climate talks: Hints of compromise on key issue
Rich nations at UN climate talks are said to be edging towards a compromise on the thorny issue of loss and damage. Poorer countries want compensation for extreme weather events that they link to large scale carbon emissions. But the US and EU have long resisted this idea, fearing an endless liability running into billions of dollars. However a clarified proposal from the US, to be made on Friday, is being seen as a "step forward" by some delegates. Loss and damage has increasingly become a ...Earth's trees number 'three trillion'
There are just over three trillion trees on Earth, according to a new assessment. The figure is eight times as big as the previous best estimate, which counted perhaps 400 billion at most. It has been produced by Thomas Crowther from Yale University, and colleagues, who combined a mass of ground survey data with satellite pictures. The team tells the journal Nature that the new total represents upwards of 420 trees for every person on the planet. The more refined number will now fo...Obama pleads for Paris climate change deal
US President Barack Obama has called on world leaders to agree to cut carbon emissions at crucial talks in Paris later this year. Speaking in Alaska, he said countries including his own were not doing enough to stop global warming. World powers meet in Paris in December with the aim of agreeing to curb global temperature rises. Mr Obama said now was the time "to protect the one planet we've got while we still can". "On this issue - of all issues - there is such a thing as being too late,'' h...Carbon credits undercut climate change actions says report
The vast majority of carbon credits generated by Russia and Ukraine did not represent cuts in emissions, according to a new study.The authors say that offsets created under a UN scheme "significantly undermined" efforts to tackle climate change.The credits may have increased emissions by 600 million tonnes.In some projects, chemicals known to warm the climate were created and then destroyed to claim cash.As a result of political horse trading at UN negotiations on climate change, countries like ...Genetically modified trees are being 'strangled' by red tape
US researchers say it has become "virtually impossible" to plant genetically modified trees in any part of the world.They argue that the GM trees are desperately needed to deal with an upsurge in forest diseases and pests.What they term "misguided" concerns about genetic engineering have slowed progress to a crawl.But environmental campaigners say the technology is risky and the long-term safety unproven.Genetically modified trees were developed in the 1980s amid hopes that the technology could ...Marine mammals thriving in Thames
Ten years of public sightings show that large marine mammals are regularly found in the River Thames.The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has received records of 2,732 animals over that period.Seals were the most common animal seen, with many spotted around London's Canary Wharf, probably because many people spot them from its skyscrapers.In addition, the public reported 444 porpoises and dolphins on the river, and 49 whales.Joanna Barker, ZSL's European conservation projects manager, said: "M...Climate change plans require urgent action, government warned
The UK must take urgent action to prepare for the impact of climate change, the government has been warned. Ministers should focus on the future risks of heatwaves and flooding, says the Committee on Climate Change. Its report said more needed to be done to keep emissions on track, although the government said it was committed to meeting its climate change target. It also warned a decision to stop onshore wind farm subsidies early could potentially add £1bn a year to bills. The report ...Call for more protection for seagrass meadows
Seagrasses - the underwater plants that act as nursery grounds for young fish - need more protection, say scientists. Monitoring of seagrass meadows off the North Wales coast found areas damaged by the likes of boat moorings, anchors and vehicles crossing at low tide had reduced value to the ecosystem. Fewer species of fish were found where seagrass was degraded, according to research published in PeerJ journal. The seagrass studied was near the village of Porthdinllaen, in Gwynned. Re...Netherlands ordered to cut greenhouse gas emissions
A Dutch court has ordered the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020, in a case environmentalists hope will set a precedent for other countries. Campaigners brought the case on behalf of almost 900 Dutch citizens. They argued the government had a duty to protect its citizens from the looming dangers of climate change. Government lawyers did not immediately comment on the ruling at the court in the Hague. Jasper Teulings from Greenpeace called it a "landmark ...England's wild beaver colony has kits
A female from the first wild beaver colony in England for centuries has given birth to at least two young. New footage shows the kits being helped through the water by their mother. The images taken in Devon by local filmmaker Tom Buckley provide the first evidence of the new arrivals. The Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) said the slowly expanding population would help to provide an insight into their effect on the surrounding River Otter system in east Devon. The Angling Trust warned that a...Numbers show threatened bittern is booming again - RSPB
One of the UK's most threatened birds - the bittern - is returning to England and Wales, according to conservationists. More bitterns have been recorded than at any time since the early 19th Century, says the RSPB. Bitterns are counted by listening for the far-carrying, booming call of the male bird. So far this year more than 150 have been recorded in England and Wales. Last year, 140 booming males were counted at 61 sites. According to the RSPB, it has already been an exceptional ...
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