"March 20 News: Climate Change Could Wipe Out Most Of World’s Rare Forests, Say Researchers"
Other stories below: Florida inland residents may pay with sea level rise; It’s the GOP vs. the Navy — on Clean Energy Use
Many of the world’s rarest and richest forests, located in high-altitudes, could be all but wiped out by the combined impact of man-made climate change and habitat destruction.
An international scientific team has warned of the near-total loss of one of the world’s most delicate ecosystems, the Mexican cloud forest, along with 70 percent of its plant and animal species, as a result of human pressures.
“Cloud forests occur only at certain high altitudes and their species are exceptionally vulnerable to the loss of the cool, moist environment that sustains them,” explains Rocio Ponce-Reyes of ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), who led the study.
In 2012, if you want to reduce your use of fossil fuels in favor of clean energy sources, expect to be taken to task by Republicans. Even if you’re the United States Armed Forces.
Under most of the mainstream media radar, the U.S. military has emerged as one of the nation’s biggest adopters of clean technologies including solar power, wind energy, green buildings, and biofuels. And why not — who knows better the cost, in dollars and human lives, of our (to use George W. Bush’s phrase) addiction to oil? The Pentagon is the world’s largest single consumer of energy, spending about $15 billion a year and accounting for 70 percent of the entire U.S. government’s energy bill. Even more to the point, one out of eight soldiers killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2007 were protecting fuel convoys, a telling statistic that has continued in Afghanistan as well.
So you would think that any effort to diversify the military’s fuel sources away from petroleum, and help end our dependence on often-hostile foreign oil suppliers, would be cheered by politicians of all stripes. And you would be wrong.
With rising gas prices squeezing consumers at the pump and the Republican presidential field blaming the White House, President Obama will head out on a two-day tour of various energy ventures this week to highlight his efforts to increase production and lower prices.
The president will visit a solar production facility that powers 17,000 homes in Nevada, oil and gas drilling sites on federal land in New Mexico and a stretch of the Keystone Pipeline in Oklahoma, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.
Telephone repairman Josh Smith lives in Jasper, which is Florida’s most inland city, according to the state’s Geological Survey.
Even 75 miles (121 kilometers) from the Atlantic Ocean, Smith isn’t immune to rising seas and stronger storms caused by global warming. That’s because U.S. taxpayers help insure against hurricane damage for nearly 5 million Americans, mostly in Florida (BEESFL), whose homes are less than four feet (1.2 meters) above normal high tides. The programs pit beachfront property owners against inland residents who subsidize their policies.
Temperatures will average higher than normal across all of Europe until June, with the exception of the U.K., Iberia and southern parts of the continent in April, Weather Services International said Monday, just as the region’s wheat crops are already suffering from prolonged dry conditions.
WSI—a private forecaster for professionals in the agriculture, energy and aviation markets and federal and state government agencies—said a lack of North Atlantic “blocking,” an atmospheric phenomenon that affects weather patterns, will likely result in warmer temperatures and reverse the prevailing trend experienced since 2008.
“As we head into late spring and early summer, we expect a distinctly different pattern than what we’ve observed over the last four years, [which] should result in greater chances for summer heat in western and northern sections, rather than southern and eastern sections,” said Chief Meteorologist Todd Crawford.
The remote, wind-blasted desert of northwestern Gansu could be the most unloved, environmentally abused corner of China. It is home to the country’s first oilfield and several of the coalmines and steel factories that have contributed to China’s notoriety as the planet’s biggest polluter and carbon dioxide emitter.
But in the past few years, the landscape has started to undergo a transformation as Gansu has moved to the frontline of government efforts to reinvent China’s economy with a massive investment in renewable energy.
The change is evident soon after driving across the plains from Jiuquan, an ancient garrison town on the Silk Road that is now a base for more than 50 energy companies.
When President Obama names his pick to replace outgoing World Bank President Robert Zoellick, that nominee will take over an institution whose role in the global economy is becoming ever more unclear.
In part, the World Bank is a lender. But its biggest borrowers are the rapidly growing powerhouses of the developing world, countries like China and India that can arguably borrow plenty of money on their own from private investors.
The bank is also an aid donor, giving grants to some of the world’s poorest countries. But these contributions represent only a small fraction of the aid money distributed by developed countries, private groups like the Gates Foundation and other institutions.
And the bank is also an investor in private companies in emerging economies. But these investments are a drop in the sea of capital that now moves easily to places once considered too poor or too risky.
The question now is whether the bank’s new leader, who could be named in the coming days, can enhance the institution’s role at a time when developing countries are emerging as the engines of world economic growth.