Blog about UN Climate Change Conference in Bali 3-14 December 2007 and other related issues
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Mr Hu called on developed countries to step up efforts on emission reduction, and provide financial and technical support for developing countries.
China will participate in next month's G8 meeting in Hokkaido, Japan, where climate change is top on the agenda. Countries are trying to set new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that will take effect after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
Although China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, on a per person basis it produces far less than many developed countries.
Chinese negotiators also point out that the country is only just catching up after two centuries of industrialisation in the West.
But Chinese policy makers are increasingly worried about the impact on China of global warming, which could dry up rivers that water the arid north and intensify flooding in the south.
China also suffers from intensely polluted water and air.
"How we cope with climate change is related to the country's economic development and people's practical benefits," Mr Hu told a study session on climate change.
"It's in line with the country's basic interests.
"Our task is tough, and our time is limited.
"Party organisations and governments at all levels must give priority to emission reduction ... and drive the idea deep into people's hearts."
Mr Hu urged organisations and companies to optimise energy use, recycle resources, increase forest coverage, explore water resources scientifically and strengthen international cooperation.
He called for enhancing China's ability to monitor, forecast and withstand extreme natural disasters brought by abnormal weather.
Flooding this summer has already killed over 200 people across China, after an earthquake in Sichuan province in May left more than 80,000 dead or missing and millions homeless.
Unusual rainfall could make this summer's flooding the worst in decades, the Sichuan meteorological bureau said.
Tropical storm Fengshan killed at least 15 people in Guangzhou and Jiangxi province after it came ashore on Wednesday and was downgraded from typhoon level.
It killed hundreds in the Philippines last week.
Floodwaters released from a swollen reservoir in southern Guangdong province caused a 300-metre bridge in the Baiyun district of Guangzhou to collapse, Chinese media said on Saturday.
And a month of unusual rainfall in Beijing claimed three lives and injured eight people who were overcome by gases when they tried to unblock a flooded sewer in Miyun County.
Source: - Reuters
Copyright 2008, Reuters
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The findings come after analysing the first year of measurements from the new Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory, recently set up by British, German and Cape Verdean scientists on the island of São Vicente in the tropical Atlantic. Alerted by these Observatory data, the scientists flew a research aircraft up into the atmosphere to make ozone measurements at different heights and more widely across the tropical Atlantic. The results mirrored those made at the Observatory, indicating major ozone loss in this remote area.
So, what's causing this loss? Instruments developed at the University of Leeds, and stationed at the Observatory, detected the presence of the chemicals bromine and iodine oxide over the ocean for this region. These chemicals, produced by sea spray and emissions from phytoplankton (microscopic plants in the ocean), attack the ozone, breaking it down. As the ozone is destroyed, a chemical is produced that attacks and destroys the greenhouse gas methane. Up until now it has been impossible to monitor the atmosphere of this remote region over time because of its physical inaccessibility. Including this new chemistry in climate models will provide far more accurate estimates of ozone and methane in the atmosphere and improve future climate predictions.
Professor Alastair Lewis, Director of Atmospheric Composition at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and a lead scientist in this study, said: "At the moment this is a good news story -- more ozone and methane being destroyed than we previously thought - but the tropical Atlantic cannot be taken for granted as a permanent 'sink' for ozone. The composition of the atmosphere is in fine balance here- it will only take a small increase in nitrogen oxides from fossil fuel combustion, carried here from Europe, West Africa or North America on the trade winds, to tip the balance from a sink to a source of ozone"
Professor John Plane, University of Leeds said: "This study provides a sharp reminder that to understand how the atmosphere really works, measurement and experiment are irreplaceable. The production of iodine and bromine mid-ocean implies that destruction of ozone over the oceans could be global".
Dr Lucy Carpenter, University of York and UK co-ordinator of the Observatory added: "This observatory is a terrific facility that will enable us to keep an eye on the chemical balance of the atmosphere and feed this information into global climate models to greatly improve predictions for this region in the future".
Source: Science Daily
The research appears in the June 27 edition of the journal Science, and has potentially "important ecological and evolutionary consequences," the study's authors wrote.
A team of international scientists working in mountainous regions of Western Europe compared the natural elevation range of 171 forest plant species between 1905 and 1985, and again between 1986 and 2005.
"Along the entire elevation range, 0 to 2,600 meters (8,500 feet) above sea level ... we show that climate warming has resulted in a significant upward shift in species optimum elevation averaging 29 meters (95 feet) per decade," the researchers wrote.
The lead author of the study was Jonathan Lenoir of AgroParisTech in Nancy, France.
The report, compiled with data from the French National Climatic Network, was conducted in six mountainous regions throughout Europe.
They include the Northern Pyrenees, the Massif Central, the Western Jura, the Vosges, the Corsican range and the alpine regions, where average temperature increases have approached one degree Celsius since the start of the 1980s, researchers said.
Friday, June 6, 2008
PARIS (AFP) — UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said on Tuesday the profiles of all three US presidential candidates pointed to a major change in US policies on global warming after George W. Bush leaves the White House next January.
Yvo de Boer, who is executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said he found the stances of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain "very encouraging."
"All three presidential candidates have recognised the importance of climate change; want to act on climate change; want to develop a strong domestic policy approach; seem to favour a policy approach that goes in the direction of a cap-and-trade regime which would mesh very well with the direction in which other industrialised countries want to go; and seem to favour an international approach to climate change," de Boer said in Paris.
"So, in other words, whoever wins the presidential elections, I think that we will see a pro-active, international, market-based approach to climate change in the United States, founded on solid domestic policy."
The United States is the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases which stoke man-made global warming, although by some estimates it has been overtaken by China.
Under the Bush presidency, the United States walked away from the UNFCCC's Kyoto Protocol, saying its caps on emissions by industrial countries were too costly for the US economy and unfair as big developing countries do not have such constraints.
Under a bill put before the US Senate this week, the United States would set up its own cap-and-trade system, meaning that companies would be set a ceiling of carbon emissions, and those who are below it can sell the surplus to those who are above it.
The idea behind cap-and-trade is to provide a financial incentive to reduce carbon pollution.
De Boer, speaking at a climate conference hosted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said it was a "very exciting week in Washington" but added "let's see" if the so-called Lieberman-Warner bill becomes law.
Bush has threatened to veto the bill "in its current form," saying it would impose six trillion dollars of new costs on the US economy.
Proponents, though, say the bill, in addition to reducing carbon emissions, would raise fuel efficiency and ease dependence on foreign energy imports.