Global warming news

LA River's flood role is 'paramount'

BBC: Any moves to modify the Los Angeles River, to return parts of it to a more natural setting or to capture water, need to be implemented with care. Scientists say the key job of the concrete channel, which has featured in countless films and pop videos, is to protect the city from damaging floods. And that role is likely to become more challenging if climate change brings heavier rains, they argue. Alternatives to the river's current brutalism will not be easy to find. "This is not a simple...
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Gov. Inslee of Washington unveils carbon cap, predicts Republican support

ClimateWire: Despite a divided state Legislature coming out of the 2014 midterm elections, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) says 2015 is the year for his state to get serious about climate change. "Everyone agrees on the basic proposition" that the climate is changing and that the state needs to act on it, he said yesterday, speaking at REI's main outlet in Seattle. "We don't all agree on what the first steps should be. But I'm open to all ideas." Inslee laid out his plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions...
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Do Australia, US 'compare favourably' on emissions targets?

Australian Broadcasting Corporation: With increasing focus on international climate change cooperation in the run-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Conference in Paris, ministers in the Abbott Government have been saying that Australia is doing its share to tackle global warming. Environment Minister Greg Hunt says Australia's emissions reduction efforts can be compared favourably to the United States. "If you use the same basis as the United States - 2005 to 2020 - the US is minus 17, we're minus 12 per cent," Environment...
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Gulf corals may hold key to future of reefs globally

Gulf News: When seawater temperatures reach 31 degrees Celsius, coral reefs the world over are unable to survive and begin to die off. Yet in the UAE coastal waters, where temperatures routinely top 35 degrees, coral reefs continue to thrive and survive, making them one of the hardiest marine life forms on the planet, experts say. As a result, many scientists are taking a renewed interest in studying the coral reefs of the region in order to gain a better understanding of how climate change could affect...
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Is UN's climate change body still fit for purpose?

RTCC: Going into the Lima talks there was a great sense of optimism buoyed by the successful climate change summit held by the UN secretary general in September and with the many hundreds of thousands of marchers in New York and many other cities around the world. This was followed closely with the historic agreement by President Obama and President Xi that the United States of America and China, the two biggest polluting countries, will act together to tackle their respective emissions. This positive...
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UN boss: Lima was a reality check, and leaders need to step up for Paris

EurActiv: The differences between how the developed and developing countries view their responsibilities will hinder agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, unless top political leaders provide the momentum needed to drive the talks, says Achim Steiner. Achim Steiner is executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Before joining UNEP, he was director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and before that secretary general of the World...
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Study: Climate change affecting fish movement

Asbury Park Press: According to a study being conducted by Rutgers University, climate change seems to be pushing several species of fish and crustaceans northward along the east and west coasts of North America. The movement could have serious effects on birds, marine mammals and those who depend on fishing for food and income. "As temperatures have warmed in the waters off our coasts, animals with a low tolerance for that warming have just picked up and shifted," says Malin Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers...
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Shrink ship bubbles ‘for climate fix’

BBC: Getting ships to generate smaller bubbles as they sail across the oceans could counteract the impact of climate change, a study suggests. Scientists from University of Leeds, UK, say this would create a brighter wake behind a vessel and reflect more sunlight back into space. However, it could also increase rainfall in some areas. The findings were presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. This is the latest idea from the hotly debated field of geoengineering...
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Europe's Record Heat Tied Directly to Climate Change

Weather Channel: As 2014 comes to a close, Europe is virtually certain to lock in its hottest year in more than 500 years, and according to research by three independent teams of climate scientists, the record can be closely attributed to climate change. The three groups, from the UK, the Netherlands and Australia, each using a different method, found that Europe should best its previous heat record set in 2007, and that setting that record has been made at least 35 to 80 times more likely by the manmade rise...
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Clearing tropical rainforests distorts Earth's wind & water systems, packs climate wallop

ScienceDaily: A new study released today presents powerful evidence that clearing trees not only spews carbon into the atmosphere, but also triggers major shifts in rainfall and increased temperatures worldwide that are just as potent as those caused by current carbon pollution. Further, the study finds that future agricultural productivity across the globe is at risk from deforestation-induced warming and altered rainfall patterns. The report, "Effects of Tropical Deforestation on Climate Change and Agriculture,"...
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Going in the Right Direction?

This working paper explores local finance structures in Nepal, the Philippines, Uganda and Zambia. It highlights challenges and good practices in channeling funding to communities that are vulnerable to climate change.

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Indonesia: Report highlights link between palm oil and illegal logging

Asian Correspondent: Palm oil — that nearly ubiquitous ingredient found in processed foods, hygiene products and cosmetics — fuels air and water pollution, climate change, extinction and human rights violations. A multi-billion-dollar industry, “big palm” has the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia, where around 80% of the world’s palm oil is produced, in its pocket. This means there has been little enforcement of laws that protect the environment and people from a destructive sector that is both incredibly powerful...
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WH: Agencies should factor for climate change in project reviews

Hill: The White House is floating new guidelines for federal agencies on how to weigh climate change impacts when reviewing energy and infrastructure projects. The proposed guidelines from the White House Council on Environmental Quality specifically address National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews by agencies, which require an analysis of the environmental impact by projects that need a federal greenlight. NEPA reviews are used when the federal agencies consider offshore drilling leases,...
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New Solar Policy Gives Boost to India’s Energy Market

This blog post originally appeared in Clean Technica on December 18, 2014. India is facing down one of the key challenges confronting developing economies: Can it reduce power-sector emissions to curb climate change without hindering economic growth? This challenge became even more pressing when China and the United States, the world’s two largest carbon emitters, agreed to landmark emissions reductions and renewable energy targets. International attention has now turned to India, the...

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Clearing Rainforests Distorts Global Rainfall & Agriculture, Study Says

Yale Environment 360: Clearing forests not only releases carbon into the atmosphere, it also triggers worldwide shifts in rainfall and temperatures that are just as potent as those caused by current carbon pollution and that pose great risk to future agricultural productivity, researchers report. Deforestation in South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa may alter growing conditions in agricultural areas as far away as the U.S. Midwest, Europe, and China, the study in Nature Climate Change finds. The researchers calculate...
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How will climate change transform agriculture?

PhysOrg: Climate change impacts will require major but very uncertain transformations of global agriculture systems by mid-century, according to new research from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Climate change will require major transformations in agricultural systems, including increased irrigation and moving production from one region to another, according to the new study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. However without careful planning for uncertain...
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Washington governor proposes big, bold climate plan

Grist: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) really wants his state to do something about climate change, but his legislature hasn’t been cooperative. So now he`s got an ambitious new climate proposal, and he hopes lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will give it a chance. On Wednesday, Inslee proposed the Carbon Pollution Accountability Act, a cap-and-trade program for the state`s biggest polluters, which he estimates would raise about $1 billion a year. The proceeds would go into the state budget, helping...
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Tropical deforestation could disrupt rainfall globally

Mongabay: Large-scale deforestation in the tropics could drive significant and widespread shifts in rainfall distribution and temperatures, potentially affecting agriculture both locally and far from where forest loss is occurring, concludes a study published today in Nature Climate Change. The research, authored by Deborah Lawrence and Karen Vandecar of the University of Virginia, is based on a review of several studies that measured and modeled the impacts of tropical forest clearance in different geographies...
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Arctic Update: Temperatures Rising Faster Anywhere Else on Earth

Nature World: As scientists continue to monitor the Arctic for changes in the face of climate change, they recently discovered some staggering new information - temperatures in the region are rising twice as fast as anywhere else on Earth, a new NOAA-led report says. Global warming may be on a natural pause, but not according to the Arctic. Among the observations released Wednesday in the Arctic Report Card 2014, researchers found that Arctic snow cover, which has been measured since 1967, fell below the...
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ADVISORY: Transforming Transportation 2015: Smart Cities for Shared Prosperity

ADVISORY: Transforming Transportation 2015: Smart Cities for Shared ProsperityDecember 18, 2014 From climate change to poverty reduction, 2015 is a year of immense opportunity to advance progress on sustainable transport and inclusive cities. Heads of state, mayors, and global leaders will convene in Washington, D.C., to discuss policies and opportunities for unlocking smart and sustainable urban growth.Read more

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Deadly cholera outbreaks could increase with climate change

LiveScience: Increasingly severe heat waves and more frequent and intense flooding due to climate change will spur the spread of cholera in vulnerable regions of the world, new research suggests. In an effort to better understand the environmental conditions that cause deadly cholera outbreaks and to be able to predict them in the future, researchers based at the University of Maryland compiled more than 40 years of cholera studies to compare weather and groundwater conditions to patterns of outbreaks. Based...
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Front Yards Turn to Wetlands as Climate Change Takes Toll

Bloomberg: Climate change is beginning to take a toll on real estate in Norfolk, about 80 miles southeast of Richmond, as insurance costs soar and residents resort to putting their homes on stilts or opening up space underneath for the water to flow through. Amanda Armstrong schedules her life around the tides. For the past year and a half, she’s had to navigate rising waters that saturate the lawn of her red brick house in Norfolk, Virginia, and sometimes fill a puddle out front with crabs and fish. “We...
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Amazonian peatlands store mega carbon

Mongabay: Peatlands in the Peruvian Amazon store ten times the amount of carbon as undisturbed rainforest in adjacent areas, making them critical in the battle to fight climate change, finds a new study published in Environmental Research Letters. While peatlands in Southeast Asia - namely Sumatra, Borneo, and New Guinea - are best known to tropical ecologists, they are also found in other parts of the world, including the Amazon. The new research looks specifically at an area known as the Pastaza-Marañón...
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Persistent Warming Drives Big Arctic Changes

Scientific American: Not every year can be a record setter in the Arctic. But records are only one small piece of a larger puzzle that shows persistent change in the Arctic. And that change hasn't slowed according to this year's Arctic Report Card released at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting on Wednesday. Long-term trends in rising temperatures, spiraling sea ice loss, and ecosystem shifts paint a picture of a region in transition due to climate change that is transpiring at a much faster rate than the...
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EU member states oppose to plans to scrap environment law

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European environment ministers opposed plans on Wednesday from the EU executive to scrap draft laws on waste and air quality, saying they sent a "negative signal" about Europe's ambition to curb climate change and were at odds with a push for growth.

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California pensions should divest coal assets -state senate leader

Reuters: California pension plans would divest all assets related to the coal industry under a measure the leader of the state senate said he will propose to reduce support for an industry that critics blame for contributing to climate change. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said on Monday he would introduce a bill that would require state pension plans to divest from coal assets. He had just returned from United Nations talks in Lima, Peru on international efforts to fight climate change. At the...
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Europe record hot year at least 35 times more likely by climate change

Guardian: This year is on track to be the warmest ever recorded in Europe, and greenhouse gas emissions played a major role, according to new research. Scientists have analysed centuries of temperature records to conclude that this year’s warmth was made at least 35 times more likely because of climate change. In the UK, this year’s weather included an unusually warm beginning to autumn, with hot sunny days continuing into late October. A team of researchers at Oxford found that the odds of such a warm...
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Climate change: global pressure will make Australia do more, says Cameron

Guardian: Global pressure will force Australia to do more on climate change, Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, has predicted. Cameron told a committee of British MPs in London he sensed the Australian government recognised it did not want to be the international “back marker” on the issue. “Look, it’s a sovereign country. It has to make its own decisions. There has obviously been a very big debate in Australia about carbon taxes and prices and all the rest of it,” Cameron said as he gave evidence...
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More Rice, Less Methane

Rice is the nutritious staple crop for more than half of the world’s people, but growing rice produces methane, a greenhouse gas more than 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Methane from rice contributes around 1.5 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, and could grow substantially. That may not sound like a lot, but agriculture as a whole contributes around one quarter of all emissions. Effectively tackling climate change could require cutting agricultural emissions by two-thirds...

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Success of 'land sparing' will depend on global economics, regulations

Mongabay: Agriculture is the primary driver of tropical deforestation. Indeed, most global food production occurs in the tropics, including important commodity crops such as sugarcane, soybeans, palm oil, and beef. Recent estimates indicate that forest clearing for agriculture contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. This fuels concern over how to balance food production for a growing population with climate change mitigation through conserving tropical forests. Increasing food supplies while...
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India-US climate talks to focus on clean energy, tech R&D

Economic Times: India and the United States are expected to announce a joint effort to tackle climate change with focus on clean energy and technology R&D during President Barack Obama's visit to the country in January. Though a big ticket announcement like the US-China deal last month has been ruled out, in keeping with the leadership role that the US has sought to take on in climate negotiations over the last two months, Obama is expected to persuade Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ramp up India's efforts to...
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Long, Hard Road Ahead Reach Climate Agreement in Paris

EcoWatch: With yet another United Nations-hosted climate change conference making very little real progress, a near miracle will be required if countries are to reach a meaningful and binding global agreement on carbon emissions in Paris next December. The ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’ document, agreed to on Sunday by 194 countries, is not a new “deal” for the climate. It is a 12-month work plan leading to COP21 a year from now. The major change—a victory for rich countries—calls upon countries with...
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Lima deal leaves ominous climate questions

Politico: The U.S. and other nations were applauding this weekend's climate change agreement on Monday, but the deal's difficult negotiations showed all too clearly the major hurdles that lie ahead as officials try to reach a much more sweeping pact next year in Paris. The 196 nations gathered in the Peruvian capital agreed that each country should offer a plan next year for reducing its own greenhouse gas pollution. In a major win for the U.S. position, developing nations like China and India are also...
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China climate negotiator says Lima deal ‘balanced’

Guardian: Chinese media coverage of the Lima climate change talks included comments by the country’s top climate negotiator who described the deal reached as “balanced”. Xie Zhenhua told the state news agency Xinhua that the outcome was “within” the Chinese delegation’s expectation. However he said: “we’re not very satisfied with the outcome, but we think it’s a balanced and nice document”. Xie added that the summit is an important step towards next year’s summit in Paris but that those “negotiations...
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Trees are fed up with our carbon, refuse to grow faster

Grist: tists have long expected extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to boost tree growth - the climate-changing waste product of our fuel-burning ways is plant food, after all. But a new study suggests that trees in tropical rainforests around the world are not in fact growing any faster, even as CO2 levels in the air shoot past 400 parts per million. This conclusion isn`t just bad news for trees, though. All species threatened by climate change - that`s you, humans - should be worried. You see,...
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Climate policy pledges are an important step forward but fall short of 2°C

ScienceDaily: Pledges to reduce emissions in China, Europe and the US provide an important step forward for climate change action, but a more comprehensive effort is needed to stabilize the climate below critical thresholds. Climate finance can cover investment gaps and alleviate distributional tensions, a new study shows. Researchers have released one of the most comprehensive assessments of the timing and amount of greenhouse gas emissions that each of the world's major economies could produce under different...
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Climate change could leave cities more in the dark

ScienceDaily: Cities like Miami are all too familiar with hurricane-related power outages. But a Johns Hopkins University analysis finds climate change will give other major metro areas a lot to worry about in future storms. Johns Hopkins engineers created a computer model to predict the increasing vulnerability to hurricanes of power grids in major cities on or relatively near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. They factored historic hurricane information in with plausible scenarios for future storm behavior, given...
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Earth's Future? Ancient Warming Gives Ominous Peek Climate Change

NBC: New data from the Earth's last big warmup, some 56 million years ago, may offer a sneak peek into what today's climate change may eventually look like. Scientists have determined that the rate at which carbon emissions heated up the planet during the late Paleocene is much more similar to modern human-caused warming than many experts previously thought, a new report published Monday in Nature Geoscience shows. The good news, the researchers say, is that most of the species around at the time...
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Beyond Lima: Major Investors Must Fund Global Green Initiatives

Yale Environment 360: The United Nations climate talks in Lima, Peru -- the world’s most recent attempt to reach an agreement on how to deal with climate change -- limped to a late close in the small hours of Sunday morning after narrowly avoiding breakdown. After 12 days of meetings and more than 36 continuous hours of last-ditch negotiations, a loose draft emerged that provided for non-binding commitments from each nation to reduce its fossil fuel emissions. But a final deal that satisfies both rich and poor countries,...
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Amazon peatlands are 'most carbon-dense ecosystem'

BBC: The most dense store of carbon in Amazonia is not above ground in trees but below ground in peatlands, a study has calculated. An international team of researchers said their work, which uses satellite data and field measurements, provides the "most accurate estimates to date". Protecting these landscapes is vital if efforts to curb climate change are to be successful, they added. The findings appear in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Writing in the paper, the scientists observed:...
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Yale Study Finds Americans Ignorant Health Impacts From Global Warming

EcoWatch: When the average American thinks about how climate change-caused global warming could affect their health, what do they think of? Not much, apparently, according to a new study, Public Perceptions of the Health Impacts of Global Warming, just released by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The study is based on the results of a survey, Climate Change in the American Mind. The researchers found that Americans largely...
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Paris climate summit faces tougher job after modest Lima deal

LIMA (Reuters) - A Paris summit in 2015 will face a tougher task to agree a U.N. deal to slow climate change after the hopes of many that cooperation between Washington and Beijing would be a magic key to end global gridlock dissolved in chaotic preparatory talks in Lima.







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Why America Should Invest in Renewables, Not Fracking

EcoWatch: Callie Roberts is a senior, studying cancer biology and environmental policy, at Duke University. She has been awarded the Teens for Planet Earth Award, Ashoka Youth Venture Award, President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award, and President’s Environmental Youth Award for her work with biofuels and environmental health. She is currently a student in Dr. Rebecca Vidra’s environmental science & policy class. We have all heard about America’s energy crisis, “peak oil,” and anthropogenic climate change....
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Developing states left in dark on 2020 climate finance goal

LIMA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Major questions persist over how rich countries will boost funding for poorer nations to tackle climate change in the next five years, after U.N. climate talks failed to decide on clear plans.

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Late deal in Lima saves UN climate talks from collapse

RTCC: UN talks in Peru have concluded with agreement on a pathway towards a deal to address climate change in Paris next December. With the summit 33 hours in overtime the 195 countries taking part finally agreed to adopt a four page document that explains the types of national climate targets they will need to deliver in the next six months. Under the proposals the world`s leading economies will still need to reveal how they will slash carbon emissions by March 2015, with others following by June....
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Nations Agree To Deal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

National Public Radio: In Lima, Peru, almost all of the world's governments agreed on a document meant to galvanize efforts to curb climate change. While the outcome was modest, it did establish some important principles.
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Paris climate summit tougher job after modest Lima deal

Reuters: A Paris summit in 2015 will face a tougher task to agree a U.N. deal to slow climate change after the hopes of many that cooperation between Washington and Beijing would be a magic key to end global gridlock dissolved in chaotic preparatory talks in Lima. At best, Paris may be a chance to reform a sprawling system of annual U.N. talks - more than 11,000 delegates attended the two-week talks in a tent city in Lima - and find ways to boost long-term action to stem rising greenhouse gas emissions....
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Countdown Clock to Paris Is Now Ticking

EcoWatch: A deal struck in Lima between 196 nations today leaves open the possibility of saving the planet from dangerous overheating. But its critics say the prospects of success are now slim. The talks—which ran two days longer than scheduled—set a series of deadlines which mean that every nation is charged with producing its plans to cap and reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. These commitments will then be assessed to see if they are enough to prevent the world heating up more than 2°C...
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Lima Climate Talks Produce Weak Draft for Global Treaty

Environment News Service: A climate deal reached late today by world governments at a UN conference in Lima keeps negotiations on track for a universal global climate treaty in Paris in 2015, but the weak text points to a tough year of talks ahead. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the outcome of the UN-backed climate conference, praising delegates for setting the groundwork for a more conclusive agreement to be reached in Paris. The UN Climate Change Conference, known also as Conference of the Parties...
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UN agrees way forward climate change – but path is unclear

Guardian: Governments took a step back from chaos in the climate change discussions in Lima and found a way forward on Sunday, albeit with some fudges and compromises, giving themselves just 12 months to finalise a crucial international agreement to avoid dangerous levels of global warming. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s environment minister, who had skilfully presided over more than two weeks of fraught negotiations, announced that a deal had been struck by more than 190 countries. The five pages of text,...
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