The US government has opted to retain a Bush-era rule that limits protection for polar bears from the effects of global warming. Environmental groups had been calling for the rule to be lifted, and the US Congress had given Interior Secretary Ken Salazar the power to do so. Mr Salazar said lifting the rule would create uncertainty and confusion.
Forty four deaths had been confirmed in northern Brazil's worst flooding in decades, fed by two months of unusually heavy rains in a zone stretching from deep in the Amazon to normally arid areas near the Atlantic coast. In spite of a gradual Sunday retreat of water in some areas the number of homeless climbed to 300.000
Under of the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program meeting in Geneva 150 governments have agreed to ban the production of nine of the world's most hazardous chemicals.
Brazil rushed aid Wednesday by air, over land and through rapidly rising waters to scores of cities and towns isolated by floods that have killed at least 32 and left nearly 200,000 homeless. However in the south the country is suffering a severe months-long drought which is threatening hydroelectricity generation and agriculture.
A massive Antarctic ice shelf is breaking up and pieces are expected to float away as icebergs over the course of the next few weeks. Scientists estimate the Wilkins Ice Shelf, which was originally about the size of Northern Ireland, had been in place for several hundred years. But satellite images taken over the past week show it has begun collapsing into the ocean as more than half a dozen similar Antarctic ice shelves have already done, said an article posted Tuesday by the European Space Agency on its website.
For the fifth year running a massive concentration of Argentine environmentalists and picketers marched Sunday across an international bridge linking with Uruguay to protest against a pulp mill built on the Uruguayan side and which has been at the heart of a bilateral political and diplomatic dispute between the neighbouring countries.
Water levels in some of the world's most important rivers have declined significantly over the past 50 years, US researchers say. They say the reduced flows are linked to climate change and will have a major impact as the human population grows.
Forests' role as massive carbon sinks is at risk of being lost entirely, top forestry scientists have warned. The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) says forests are under increasing degrees of stress as a result of climate change.
Polar bears, the poster children for Arctic climate change, are getting competition for the title of climate change casualty from the opposite side of the globe. Antarctica’s emperor penguins may face an equally dire fate. Like polar bears, these birds depend on sea ice for breeding and feeding habitat. Also like polar bears, emperor penguins seem unlikely to adapt to the rapid rate of sea ice extent change, according to a National Academy of Science study released by the National Centre for Atmospheric Research.
A report by a Brazilian official organization published on Saturday in the daily O Globo criticized the lack of security at Brazil’s nuclear installations, which range from electricity-generating plants to hospital equipment.