Global daily temperature extremes are “virtually certain” to become warmer this century, a panel of about 200 UN scientists said in a draft of their most comprehensive study of weather-related natural disasters to date, Bloomberg reported. The 18-page document said downpours, storm surges and other events could make parts of the planet “marginal” for inhabitants.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders to establish the promised US$100 billion per year green fund to help countries worst affected by climate change, the BBC said. Speaking at a conference for vulnerable nations in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, he said the economic crisis must not deter governments from launching the funds at the international global-warming summit in Durban this month.
Developer TransCanada agreed to shift its controversial Keystone XL pipeline scheme away from an environmentally sensitive area of Nebraska, Businessweek said, and is confident the project to pump crude oil from Canada’s tar sands to Texas refineries will still win approval. The announcement follows a US government decision to delay project permission until alternative routes are studied.
New research revealed that radioactive material in parts of north-eastern Japan exceeds levels considered safe for farming, according to the BBC. Food production is likely to be affected, the researchers said in the first comprehensive estimates of contamination following the Fukushima nuclear disaster eight months ago. The news came as the first journalists allowed into the stricken east-Japan facility reported “grim and shambolic” conditions, The Guardian said.
As officials from 48 Atlantic fishing countries gather in Istanbul for a meeting about conservation of large fish, a new study warned existing protection efforts are saving only a tiny proportion of sharks. The Guardian reported findings from the Oceana conservation group that just 1% of sharks caught in the Atlantic are under protection, even though most species are heading for extinction.
Canada's environment minister listed the polar bear as a species of "special concern" requiring a new strategy to protect the iconic animal to be unveiled within three years, AFP said. Peter Kent said his country, home to two-thirds of the world’s polar bear population, had a unique responsibility of care.
US energy giant Chevron said it had sealed a ruptured offshore well which for the past week has seeped oil into waters off Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state at a reported rate of 400 barrels per day, according to AFP. Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency has approved a plan to encase the 1,200-metre deep well in cement.
The sun's abundant energy, if harvested in space, could provide a cost-effective way to meet global power needs in as little as 30 years with seed money from governments, according to a study featured by Reuters. Space researchers at Paris-based International Academy of Astronautics said it was “technically feasible” for orbiting power plants to beam energy back to earth, but did not lay out a road map for achieving their vision.
Climatic changes in China, the Middle East and Africa could see more severe outbreaks of locusts devastating food crops